Well, here is Chapter 2

Sorry it's taken so long, but my computer decided to die on me. I'm having to use the local library to type things up.

This is gonna get pretty big lengthwise, and I've got some Ideas that I'm pondering.

I want to make Rimmer good at something cos I feel sorry for him, and I want to make one of the dwarfers a real alien. If you think these are bad ideas, please let me know before I write anything else.

Thanx to Ace_of_Spades for the encouragement, and Thanx to Kuja Akuma and Lynn Luthor for the pointers. I hope my punctuation has improved! Please R&R.

D-Day 2

Kryten was happy beyond words. Today he would get out of the tank, but this was not the reason for his joy.

Kryten's cellmate Christine Kochanski had been released earlier in the day, leaving piles of rubbish and washing at her back. Kochanski had become quite the layabout during her year and a half in the tank due to the fact that Kryten was always there, eager and willing to clean up her mess. If Kochanski's cellmate had been anyone else, they would have been suitably miffed. But Kryten was a sanitation mechanoid with a lust for cleaning. Having filled a pail with soapy suds, he grabbed his mop and set to work. His happiness was going to be short-lived, as first officer Todhunter appeared at the door of the cell.

Looking at his cellmates sat in the Tank's Messhall, the Cat felt a twinge of pain, and it wasn't from the food. The last eight years had been a gift from Cloister the Stupid, as for this time, his title as the 'King of Cool' had been undisputed. His fellow Dwarfers had no style or sophistication and his cellmates...well...you can imagine!

Now the Cat was terrified. He was being let out onto a ship where he'd be seen as a misfit. Not only that, but he'd heard that some of the ship's female officers were better dressed than him. Oh the shame. Grabbing his manicure kit, the Cat set to work grooming. He was determined to remain the King of cool.

Lister's moon boots clanked along the grey metal floor of the Tank. He, Chen and Rimmer had been walking for a full half-hour, and were still inside the confines of the Tank. Red Dwarf was one big ship. Glancing back, he saw Rimmer, his face twisted in concentration. Something was bugging him and Lister resolved to find out what.

Rimmer was trailing several metres behind him and Chen, who was babbling some incoherent nonsense about Selby and a Scutter. Normally, Lister would listen rapt to his friend's inane chatter, but his mind was elsewhere like Rimmer's. While his catering officer friend had spent a meagre two years cooking curries and laughing at flatulence jokes, Lister had been lost in space for over three million years. During that time, he'd seen time running backwards, played pool with planets, given birth to twins and become his own father. This therefore ensured humanity's survival, as humanity could never truly die out. Trust fate to put the burden of humanity's future on his shoulders. To add to his already large piles of worries, he'd spent almost two years in a prison cell with a man who had a passion for Risk™ and Telegraph Poles.

Chen was still spewing out silly tales of his escapades on Red Dwarf, but Lister was no longer in the least bit interested. The truth had just smacked him on the face – he'd changed.

Rimmer had changed to he realised. Ol' Goalpost head was not as superficial as he had once been. Rimmer had actually grown and changed a lot. He'd even shown bravery (albeit once), but had nothing to show for the past few years of his life.

While his hologramatic counterpart had done a lot of things and had even become the superhero Ace Rimmer, all the real Rimmer had to show for his years of loyal service to the JMC were three long service medals, two swimming certificates, no rank and a criminal record.

Life hadn't been good to Rimmer.

Lister once again turned his thoughts inward, to his own trials and tribulations. He'd been promoted to second technician (at Rimmer's expense). He'd had a baby with the woman of his dreams (the baby actually being himself causing one hell of a paradox!). He'd given birth to Jim and Bexley, his beloved sons, and become friends with the Cat, Kryten and Holly the ship's computer. Lister had even become an expert at mechanoid maintenance.

The most important thing he'd found was himself. Lister had spent most of his life drifting; feeling lost as his parents had abandoned him. Lister spent years of his life looking for signs of his parentage, but to no avail. Disheartened, he'd wasted his younger years – a result of his anger. He'd so many questions to ask his real father. Why had he been abandoned? Why? Lister smiled inwardly. He knew now.

Kochanski had asked Lister to father her child through an in-vitro tube. As she was leaving, Lister noticed that one of her belongings had 'Ouroboros' written on it. Perplexed, he'd asked Kryten what it meant. The rest had fallen into place.

When his son was old enough, they placed him in an 'Ouroboros' battery box and left in a pub in the twentieth century, where he was adopted by Lister's adoptive parents. Lister was his own father.

Lister suddenly felt a wave of sympathy for Rimmer, as he'd gained so much in his life while Rimmer had lost everything of value.

Chen was still babbling, recounting a tale involving Petersen and a triplicator.

"Chen man. Could you go and get Todhunter." asked Lister.

"Yeah sure. Why?"

"To find out our parole conditions." replied Lister.

"Oh, all right." Chen gave Lister a toothless grin. "See ya soon matey!"

"Yeah, bye." Responded Lister "Rimmer?"

"Hmm?"

"What do you think you'll do now we're out?"

"Pass the engineer's exam!" Rimmer replied with a trademark smarmy grin.

"But you hate engineering. Why don't you do something you enjoy?"

"Like..."

"Ah don't know. You like music don't you? You could learn a new instrument."

Rimmer turned and glared at Lister.

"Or of course...eh...you could take up the Hammond organ again"

"Hmmph" came Rimmer's response

"Alright. I was just saying..."

"Well don't!"

The pair continued walking in silence for another half-hour.

Chapter three coming up!