Written By 'Xandria'
Dave Lister watched with casual interest as the only surviving descendent of his pet cat wheeled an antique steamer trunk into his living quarters aboard the Red Dwarf. The midnight blue case with brass trim perched precariously on the trolley cart, threatening to dislodge itself any moment.
"Hey, monkey, you have got to see what's in this box," Cat, enthusiastic as always, was attired in a finely tailored peach coloured suit, offset with black patent and matching handkerchief. "What'd you find now, Cat?" Lister tossed aside a magazine he had been perusing (for about the eighth time in the last two years) and slid from the top bunk onto the floor. He absently brushed the crumbs of his latest powder puff from his khaki jacket.
"It's all mine. I found it and you can't have it," Cat began defensively, staking claim to his newest possession. With that stated, he threw open the lid and grinned from ear to ear as only a Cheshire could. Lister cocked his head to the side and read the address sticker plastered to the trunk, "Dr. Kassandra Winters." Lister reflected momentarily, a grin forming across his powder puff stained visage, "She was this research geologist. And if I recall, she had gorgeous long red hair, but she hardly ever wore it down. Almost always wore it up, making her look like my grade school librarian."
"Yeah? Well, she had fine taste in clothes and accessories. Look at all this" Lister peered into the case at Cat's behest as he rifled through Dr. Winters' possessions, already planning the modifications he would make to fit his willowy frame. He was quite pleased that Dr. Winters had been tiny in stature, therefore minimising the required alterations.
Lister was immediately taken by the patent leather, velvet and latex fashions in all styles and colours. He'd only seen such clothing on models and was astounded that a former crew member of this mining ship would have had such indulgences. "Would you look at her gear."
"That's what I've been sayin'!" Cat emphasised with an inflection of his waving arms. Before he could elaborate further, the trunk shifted its weight and tumbled downwards, spilling its entire contents onto the floor.
"Smeg!" Lister cursed under his breath. Cat slightly annoyed, "You better not have torn anything, buddy." Lister joined Cat on the floor, righting the trunk and depositing articles into the former geologist's storage wardrobe. "Hang on a minute, what's this?" Lister lifted a black leather-bound pocket book. Cat peered over with intense interest at this new discovery. Upon observing it was a book, his interest waned and he returned to his find. Lister flipped through the pages from the beginning and announced with some excitement, "It's a diary. It's her diary." Lister repositioned himself for maximum comfort onto the floor. "What's it say?" Cat asked disinterestedly, inspecting each piece of clothing for possible damage. "What does what say?" inquired Rimmer as he strode into the quarters he shared with Lister.
"It's a diary," Lister announced with a sense of pride, pleased they had a new source of amusement. "Whose diary is it, Listy? I thought you raided Kochanski's quarters ages ago." Rimmer laid himself upon his tidy bunk bed, stretching his arms above his shoulders, knitting his fingers beneath his head. Rimmer proceeded to gaze blankly above him, eager to listen to passages from a diary in the hopes it would provide a distraction from those aspects of his life he wished to forget (death, lack of career advancement, lack of a sex life...)
"Dr. Kassandra Winters," Lister replied with a salacious tone to his voice. While he had admired her from a distance from a visual perspective, he had to admit he knew nothing about her. Lister recalled rumours that she fancied several crew members whom she invited to her quarters quite frequently for nocturnal indulgences. Lister dismissed the rumours as simply that - vivid imaginings from his ship mates who perhaps were attempting to live out some deep seated fantasy involving their librarian from school. "Wasn't she that stunning red headed geologist? Kind of eccentric. Quiet, kept to herself. Sort of reminds you of what your grade school librarian would be like if she had any sort of sexuality?" Rimmer recounted with a smile and then added seriously, "You know, she never spoke an unkind word to me." "She probably never spoke a word to you at all," Lister teased.
"She did," Rimmer grew defensive and shot upright and out of his bunk to assert a semblance of dominance in the conversation by way of attaining a physically superior position to that of his antagonist. "She spoke to me once in the gymnasium, twice in the observation dome and several times in the library." Lister glanced upwards at Rimmer and remarked incredulously, "What. Was she drunk then?" Lister ignored Rimmer's flaring nostrils of disapproval and flipped the pages to the first entry. He began to read to himself in silence, if nothing else to annoy Rimmer. He read sentence after sentence of uninteresting technical purges of her soul.
"What does she say?" Cat asked, momentarily interrupting his reverie of clothing appropriation. "It's really boring stuff." Lister read aloud an excerpt he felt exemplified his own analysis, "I am hopeful the impending stopover at Callisto will afford me the time to investigate further the continuing anomalies in the 5th Station Mine I've been cataloguing since my first visitation seven years ago. My theory of current and undetected alien influences may become more certain should my tests prove positive." Lister rolled his eyes in disappointment, "Yeah, Dr. Winters -- a real exciting woman." "But she had fine taste in clothes," Cat smiled widely.
"She sounds fascinating to me," Rimmer was genuinely intrigued by her mention of aliens. He recalled one of their brief conversations in the Observation Dome where she had asked him whether or not he believed in the existence of extensive and superior life forms within Earth's galaxy.
"Yeah. You could bore each other to death," Lister chided, flipping through the pages, casually glancing down, hopeful his attention would be apprehended by a more interesting phrase or word. And there it was, looming before his face. SEX. "Oh, wait, I think I found an interesting bit." Lister backtracked to the beginning of the paragraph at the top of the page.
"Yes..." Rimmer, rapt with attention now, encouraged his room mate to continue. Lister cleared his throat. "I wish I knew what went on in that mind of his. He appears to be a loner, much like myself. But I never seem to be able to approach him on anything more than surface discussions. He's dashing in his own way, but painfully shy. I have contemplated sending him a letter, but that is so childish. I am an adult woman with a healthy disposition towards sex. I have no problems with the other crew members and our liaisons.
"Why is it different with him? I'm afraid I already know the answer to that question. To think I might actually be more than physically attracted to someone astounds me. I've never had time for relationships and never wanted to. And I hardly know the man. I haven't had more than a handful of conversations with him, yet I feel something deeper than lust. Certainly, I find him incredibly sexy. I even find his unmanageable hair attractive. His eyes I could melt into like molten lava -- oh to lose myself in his gaze. His shoulders and upper arms are screaming to be passionately bitten into during a moment of heated foreplay. I'd love to dig my nails into his backside at the height of our coupling. But I feel more than physical desire towards him. I've witnessed witty sarcasm slip from his tongue that is sharp and comedic. His pomp and arrogance, although misplaced, is well meaning and even charming. He even appears to share similar interests as myself.
"And as soon as I attempt to converse with him, I cannot say more than a few casual words. It's incredibly frustrating to be capable of such wild relationships with those I don't truly care for and also be unable to even extend a simple dinner invitation to the one whom I do care for. Madness. I remain hopeful that he, in some way, feels the same for me and will eventually break the ice, because I fear I cannot. It's the tired old rejection syndrome I have oft heard others speak of. Something that has never plagued me until now." "That's tragic, it really is. Is there more?" Rimmer probed genuinely caught up in the classic tale he knew all too well himself.
"Yeah, hang on. I want to find out who this poor smeg is," Lister flipped back a page and read the paragraph previous to the one he began with. "Oh, God," Lister groaned, nearly in shock. "Who was it? Who was this pathetic prat, unaware of this sex starved woman's attractions?" Lister glanced up at Rimmer, dumbfounded, "It was you, Rimmer."
"What?!" Rimmer lunged behind Lister to read the applicable passage from the diary, "I saw Rimmer in the library this afternoon, which completely distracted me from my research. A simple glimpse will send my mind reeling and heart pounding wildly in my chest. My eyes followed him around the main library floor from my perch on the top floor. He seemed to be searching for something in the history area." A pain filled grimace washed over Rimmer's face.
"That was you, man," Lister repeated with a chuckle. "I can't believe what a naive git I'd been," Rimmer slumped into a chair, his shoulders sagging with disappointment.
"Sounds like you missed a chance of a life time," Cat grinned once more like a Cheshire and contentedly closed the trunk.
Lister felt a rare moment of pity for Rimmer who sat, virtually lifeless, in his chair. "There's no point in beatin' yourself up about this, man. It happens to all of us. We find out that the girl we've been thinkin' is way out of our league actually feels the same way for us. And it's almost always way too late for us to do somethin' about it."
Rimmer dragged his listless body from the chair to his bunk and fell onto the mattress. "This should not have happened. I wish that diary did not exist. I feel terrible." All the 'what ifs' began to play out in Rimmer's mind. All the 'what should have been' or 'could have been' scenarios flitted about unrelentingly, deepening his depressive state dramatically.
Lister shifted himself on the floor so that he faced Rimmer, "At least you know some girl really liked you. You may be a total smeg head to the rest of the Universe, but to Dr. Kassandra Winters you were the object of her undying devotion. So you're in pain, yeah. You'll get over it. We all do."
"We could have been perfect. Nights of endless passion, discussions of aliens and who knows what else," Rimmer lamented.
Cat approached Rimmer and leaned into his bunk pointing out the obvious, "And she would still be dead and you would still be a hologram." Rimmer replied softly with a nostalgic sadness, "At least I would have been loved." "But you were, man, you were." Lister rose to his feet and tossed the diary into the corner of Rimmer's bunk prior to slipping out of the room with Cat and indulge in some unicycle polo.
Lister imagined that Rimmer, in an even more diminished state of self pity, will punish himself further by having the Skutters assist him in reading the entire book, cover to cover, enshrouding himself in that anguish he's come to know so intimately. Lister further speculated that once Rimmer had tormented himself to the full extent of his inadequacies, he would return to his usual state of smegginess and self-importance. Lister enjoyed that Rimmer, for it was in that state he could delight in driving Rimmer nuts - which is one of the few things that kept him sane, three million years from home.
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