Epilogue...

They got the cat because they couldn't have children. It was as simple as that. They had wanted something that could be theirs; something that they could love and care for together.

They hadn't planned it. It was just that when they'd walked past the pet shop on Titan, enjoying some time on shore leave, there had been the little black cat sitting in the window, staring out at them with its huge blue eyes. Dave had fallen in love with it immediately and Rimmer, who had never been able to deny the love of his life anything he really wanted – and had also felt the pangs of their inability to have kids together more than he would ever admit – had suggested the scheme.

They had smuggled their treasure aboard in Dave's jacket and made up a cosy bed for her in the air vents; and for four months they had lived together as a happy family in their sleeping quarters without any worries. Until Holly detected the cat's presence and informed the captain.

They had explained their situation. The captain had sympathised. But it didn't change anything. The choice remained the same; give up the cat or face the stasis punishment. Naturally, they had refused to hand over the animal that had, in all respects but the actual, become their baby. They knew Frankie had the run of the air vents and would have no problem foraging food from the stores or even killing any rats she found along her way. They stood their ground.

As Todhunter had escorted them down the corridor to face their punishment, Rimmer had requested that they be allowed to share the same booth. Todhunter wasn't a bad guy and had actually felt that in the circumstances the captain had been too harsh. Personally he couldn't see why they couldn't keep their pet, seeing as it was healthy and not a threat to anyone. Therefore, even though it was technically against regulations, he granted Rimmer's request.

As the door had hissed shut behind them, Lister had looked up at him anxiously. "Do you think she'll be alright?" he'd asked anxiously, "Do you think we did the right thing?"

"I'm sure of it," Rimmer replied, "She'll be just fine. Once we get out of here we'll just rattle her food bowl and I bet you she'll come running; looking as round and happy as when we left her. Don't worry about it." He wrapped his arms around him and held him close, "Don't worry about a thing."

It was an embrace that would last three million years.....

THE END