A/N: Later that day...


Arnold J. Rimmer, JMC hard-light hologram, reluctant dead companion to the last human alive - if one were feeling generous enough to call Lister that - was not happy.

If anyone had stopped to ask him why he was not happy, he would have told that person, irately and tersely, that he was in no mood to discuss it. As nobody stopped to ask him why - despite the copious body language he was using to express that he was, from his flared nostrils to his crossed arms to his restless legs - he was annoyed and irritated that people could be so unsolicitous.

Even when he stalked into the midsection, where Lister sat knitting a shapeless blob while Kryten attempted to clean Lister's boots with Lister still in them, nobody bothered to notice that he was not happy, or to ask him, with all kindness, why he was not, so that he could feel better by rebuffing said person. Rimmer paced irately from one side of the midsection to the other a few times, but Lister's attention was on his knitting, and Kryten's attention was on Lister's left boot. "I'm not pleased!" Rimmer barked, finally.

"Why aincha' pleased?" Lister asked, picking out a knot.

"Do you know what today is?" Rimmer asked, still pacing.

"Yeah. It's Christmas," Lister told the knot.

Kryten either finished what he was doing or gave it up as a bad job. From the state of Lister's boots, Rimmer guessed the latter. "Yes, I have been pulling up Christmas customs from my holiday database. I have hard-boiled some eggs and hidden them throughout the lander. I have also made some unleavened bread. We have no red wine, but I have added food coloring to the urine re-cyc wine..." he hurried into the kitchen as he trailed off.

Rimmer stopped pacing. "Nice going, Kryten. In like Flynnowitz." He tapped his foot. "It has been over a year since we lost Red Dwarf. Is this what we have to look forward to? An eternity of celebratory beverages that are increasingly indistinguishable from the human (and I use that word in the loosest sense) waste from which they are made, used to celebrate Kryten's decayed memory of Chreasterkuh, as we plod through the universe trying to catch an ancient, slow trash can with the use of an even slower and more ancient lander?" Rimmer shut his mouth with a snap.

Lister put down his pile of yarn. "What do you want me to do about it?"

Rimmer sighed and looked heavenward. "I want you three to disappear and be replaced by three blond, female Space Corps test pilots in tight silver flightsuits with their nipples making those little pointy dints in the front."

"Funny," Cat yelled from the cockpit. "I was thinking just the same thing."

Rimmer took a close look at one of the chairs, brushed some of what he was sure was dirt off of the seat, and sat in it, gingerly. "What is that?" he asked, looking at Lister's current project doubtfully. It was yellow and red. Beyond that, Rimmer could draw no useful information. It was about two feet wide, and long enough to trickle off of the table and puddle on the floor.

"It's a gift. I'm tryin' to make one for each of ya. You know, the personal touch and all." Lister picked it up and looked at it critically.

"Yes, but what the smeg is it?" Rimmer asked, flaring his copious nostrils at it. It was a look that he found expressed just the perfect balance of haughtiness, condescension, and a manly level of inexperience in the domestic arts.

Lister picked up one end in each hand and pulled his arms apart. The knitted thing dangled between his hands like a suspension bridge with half the wires cut. "Er, not sure, exactly. A cozy cozy, mebbe."

"A cozy cozy?" Rimmer asked, dubiously.

"Yeah. Something to keep your cozies warm." Satisfied, Lister went back to his knitting.

"That is pathetic." Rimmer stood again.

"Yeah? What'd you get me, eh?" Lister asked, torturously making another stitch.

Rimmer spread his hands, indicating the general stuck-on-lander-ness of his situation. "Where in the smeg am I supposed to get anything?" he asked, annoyed. The futility should be obvious even to someone of Lister's limited mental capacity!

"Yeah, that's what I thought," Lister growled. "'Least I'm tryin'."

"Well, tell me, Lister," Rimmer said, leaning over the table, "just what do you want? A guitar-shaped waterbed? A cold set of trainers? A crate of curry paste?"

Lister dropped his knitting, looked up at Rimmer, and shrugged. "Peace on Earth, goodwill towards men, all that smeg, I guess."

Rimmer put his right elbow in his left hand and tapped his lips with his right forefinger. "Ah. Well, the human race is now gone from Earth..."

"Prolly pretty peaceful, then," Lister muttered, sadness crossing his face.

Rimmer barged ahead. "And you are the only man left, I believe."

The sadness in Lister's face lessened, replaced by snark. "Yep! So if yeh can show me a little goodwill, I'll have everything I want!"

Rimmer sat back down, flexing his fingers. "Just how do I do that?"

"Tell me you like the prezzie I made for ya." Lister fished under his chair and pulled out a blue-and-green knitted pile, tossing it across to Rimmer. He then settled back to his red-and-yellow monstrosity.

Rimmer picked it up. It was long, it was generally rectangular, and Doctor Who would not be displeased to show up in public with it around his neck. No way in smegging hell would A.J.R. be seen in it, extinction of the human race be damned. Still, if he wadded it up and stuffed it under the foam wedge that the designers of Starbug laughingly designated as a pillow, it might help with the hard-light crick in his hard-light neck. "It's a... lovely... thing," Rimmer pronounced, dropping it on the table and flicking it away slightly with two fingers.

"There, now," Lister said to his yarn, a wry smile tugging at the corner of his mouth, "was that so difficult?"

And although Rimmer protested, quite loudly, that it was, indeed, nearly physically painful, some small part of himself had to admit that it wasn't.

Very quietly.