Title: Impasse
Author: RangerGirl
Rating: PG to be safe
Summary: Rimmer after the crew's death. Could be considered a drabble, depending on your definition.
Author's Notes: Written for LJ's fanfic100 challenge, prompt 006 - Hours.


Impasse

He wonders how long it's going to take him to stop trying to check his watch.

He's the first to admit that his attention to punctuality borders, at times, on the obsessive. He's never understood how Lister can live as he does, rolling out of bed at whatever hour he happens to emerge from his inebriated stupor with no regard whatsoever for duty or timekeeping. Rimmer, by contrast, lives his life by the minute hand.

Hold on. Past tense. Lived. Had lived. Because of course he's dead now, or existing in some sort of limbo state between life and death, and he's sure that there's something wrong with the fact that so far, he hasn't been able to discern much difference between the two.

By far the most unpleasant surprise, second only to the discovery that he had died three million years ago, that he now existed in a form composed entirely of light and that his purpose in un-life was to act as companion to a man he had barely tolerated at the best of times, was the revelation that his whole existence depended almost solely on the performance of a moronic and increasingly deranged A.I. computer. Holly, it transpired, was responsible for projecting his hologrammatic image, ensuring that his incorporeal appendages were correctly arranged, providing him with hologrammatic clothing, even overseeing his motor functions. Needless to say, he was far from ecstatic.

When Rimmer had inquired, in what he considered to be a fairly courteous tone of voice given the circumstances, why his watch was no longer on his wrist where he normally kept it, Holly told him it had disintegrated along with the rest of his solid form. Hologrammatic watches were, evidently, "a bit dodgy", as they required a complex set of remote configuration instructions which would enable them to link to Red Dwarf's internal time projection system and thus display the correct ship time. When asked why this would prove such a problem for a computer with a supposed IQ of 6,000, Holly had explained that he "couldn't be bothered", before returning to his game of computer chess with himself.

So, Rimmer is watchless.

According to the ship's clock, it's seventeen twenty-two, but he's not at all sure he trusts Holly to perform even the most basic of functions at this point. He does at least know that it's been two hours and seventeen minutes since Lister emerged from stasis; probably around two hours and fifteen since he was told that the crew are dead.

The more he muses on the latter, the more it makes him sad - not in the way one might expect, but rather sad at the realisation that on a personal level, he feels almost nothing at all. Contrary to popular opinion he's not entirely devoid of humanity, and of course there's some part of him that feels sorrow. But it's distant, somehow, the kind of grief one feels for strangers, for the nameless victims of some disaster in a news report. And in fact it makes perfect sense, because that's exactly what they are. One thousand six hundred anonymous faces; people he'd never known and never could have known because really, who wanted to get to know him?

He's getting maudlin now, he knows, but what does it really matter any more? They are all that's left, he and Lister and Holly if you really wanted to count him, and as far as he can see there's absolutely no reason why he shouldn't spend as long as he likes wallowing in self-pity. Lister, who had remained uncharacteristically silent since Holly had broken the news, had disappeared into their sleeping quarters almost an hour ago. Rimmer had not followed.

He doesn't know what Holly had been thinking, bringing him back. There's no question that he would have been better off left as radioactive dust. Death, at least, was easy. Whereas this...What's he supposed to do with this? He has no idea how to face an eternity in deep space with no tangible physical presence, no ties to his admittedly wretched twenty seven years of life, no exams or future or possibility for promotion.

He certainly has no idea how on earth he's supposed to keep Lister sane, now when he's barely holding himself together.

For the first time in his life, he's realising how little he really knows at all.