Red Dwarf characters owned by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor.

With thanks to Cmar for beta reading this for me!

Takes place just after Season VII – Stoke me a Clipper. Follows what happens to Rimmer when he takes on the mantle of the great and noble "Ace" Rimmer and completely wrecks it.

Chapter One – The Adventures of Ace "Bonehead" Rimmer

Rimmer craned his neck behind him until the Starbug, his home for several years, disappeared and the lights on it were lost in the sea of stars surrounding him. He had been longing to leave for years and now he had he felt slightly odd. No, odd was the wrong word.

He had a strange tingling in his stomach and his nose.

What was it?

Loss?

Heartache?

No. He could smell again! The smell of curries that had for so long seared his hologramatic nasal passages had gone.

Jeez!

In space nothing can beat the speed of light. The Wildfire ship therefore got the equivalent of a galactic speeding ticket as it jumped dimensions. Or at least it would have done if anything could have caught it.

The stomach-lurching dimension jump warped him into another sector of space. The honeyed tones of the ship's computer interrupted his queasiness.

"Ace, I'm receiving several reports of wars we can assist with. The evil Ptashi are attacking the good Gwelomites."

Rimmer looked down at the planet beneath them. Even from thousands of miles in orbit he could see the orange sparks and puffs of citywide destruction. Small vapor trails, tooth-floss thin, some ending in minute sparks like fireflies dotted the atmosphere beneath him as the planet's army vainly tried to defend against the huge attack.

"The Ptashi don't look like they need any assistance, they look like they are winning fine without me!"

"No, no, you don't understand, the evil Ptashi Gelf Empire is consolidating its grip on this sector. I don't want you to help them!"

"But they're winning?" said Rimmer, squinting out of the ship as a huge grey Ptashi warship dove down towards the planet with the same grace as a brick. As it fell, firing all the time, it dropped thousands of little globes, each containing a hundred horribly clawed and beweaponed Ptashi warriors. "They are quite patently, look, you can see from here! Why would I want to help the losers?"

"But they're the evil slave-taking Empire!"

"Marvelous! Can we loot the place afterwards when they're all gone?"

"I don't have time to talk about right and wrong; suffice it to say that as Ace Rimmer you help the oppressed, the needy, and the good!"

"Yes, yes, I'd like to add a small bit in about helping myself. Also this is my first mission, computer, have you anything slightly easier?"

"Some tornadoes have swept through the Martian colony of Betamax and …"

"A teensy bit easier?"

"We have reports of a hostage situation on the Ganymede colony of Atari that…"

"A hostage situation?"

"Yes, involving thirty armed members of the BTZBB 'Bring the ZX Spectrum back' brigade."

"Sounds marvelous, exchanging gunfire and what not." He rubbed his hands together. "Anything not involving physical peril?"

"A shoplifter in the Mimas branch of Walmart? She's 103."

"Yes indeedy, wheel her round, computer!" Rimmer thought for a moment. "Does she have a walking stick?"

"She has a zimmer frame."

"They can be a bit nasty if she drives her wheel over my foot." Rimmer thought for a bit. "Any beautiful women in peril? You know the type of thing, broken nail, full-fat pint of milk in the fridge?"

"The super model Natalya Kaplinska." A picture of a beautiful blonde girl who seemed to be wearing clothes several sizes too small for her filled the screen in front of him.

"This looks more like my kind of mission! What's her problem, computer?"

"She is being held hostage by a robotic David Bowie at the Ziggy Stardust memorial theme park on Pluto."

"Yes, yes, yes, sounds wonderful fighting robots, just what I'm good at! Anything slightly lower down the scale?"

"All the other Aces would have leapt at the chance to…"

"Yes, yes, I'm sure they would. They also all looked like the gay centerfold for Big Boys in Boots. I'm Ace Rimmer now! Me!" He jabbed himself in the chest with his finger for emphasis and winced slightly with the light pain. "Ouch! Anyway, we are doing things my way, computer! Take me to a beach planet. With babes, free pina coladas and one of those places you can hire one of those little pedal boats."

"Certainly, Ace, the pleasure planet of Mimas Alpha is under attack by the crystalline jelly gelfs of…"

"No, no, no, you don't understand," said Ace, shaking his head at each word. He stopped when he realized his wig had fallen over his nose. He pushed it back irritably. Since when do you need to wear a rug to save the universe? "I'm Ace now, Arnold Rimmer, old iron balls, the Duke."

"Bonehead," muttered the computer.

"What was that?"

"Nothing, nothing. So you want somewhere safe to go to?"

"Yes."

"Not under attack?"

"No!"

"You just sit back, Ace, I've got just the place for you."

"Marvelous! You couldn't just play a bit of my lift music classic collection while we fly?"

"Ace normally liked to read the mission briefings, run a full systems diagnostic, check his…"

"Yes, yes, yes! Also the original Ace caught the business end of a neutron tank in dimension 165, whatever that is; I won't go the same way!"

"Unlikely."

"Good."

"He had already beaten off half the Tkjaldkj Gelf army before he got caught by the tank, and saved the Mimas colony of Vic20 before that. You couldn't beat a wet lettuce leaf."

"I beg your pardon?"

"I said you couldn't beat a wet lettuce leaf, and one that had already been nibbled by a herd of rabbits."

"Rabbits don't herd, they…" Rimmer thought.

"They what?"

"I don't know! Gather, flock! What's a herd, I mean a group of rabbits called?"

"That is besides the point. You are not half the man he was. In fact if we are talking fractions, if you were to take one thousandth of him you wouldn't even equal a hundredth of that!"

"I'm a better man than he ever was! I bet he couldn't whistle Reggie Wilson's tango treats?"

"No."

"There, told you."

"He wouldn't want to. You are nothing like as good as…"

"I am! I am!" Then Rimmer gave one of his little nasally laughs. "I know what you're trying to do?"

"What?"

"It's reverse psychology, isn't it?"

"What is?" asked the computer, trying to sound innocent.

"All this trying to make me seem bad stuff. It won't work, I am indefat, indisputt, indi…" He thought for a moment. "What's that word to describe me?"

"Moron?"

"No."

"Knucklehead?"

"You're not helping! Whatever the word is, I am it!"

Space around the Wildfire seemed to warp again as the hugely powerful drives sent it on its way.

Rimmer's wig ended up halfway down his chest.

"Warn me next time! I nearly swallowed my own teeth!"

"Sorry Ace, we are here. This is the pleasure planet of Skegness Minor. The year is 2390. We are currently cruising in at a height of 30,000 feet. If you look to your right you can see the huge golden beaches that stretch for thousands of miles in the length and breadth of this planet's equator."

"And it's not due for an invasion?"

"Not as such, no."

"Nor some horrible natural disaster probably involving winds fiercer than Lister after curry night?"

"No."

"Marvelous, land over there next to that pleasure dome, can you, computer; I'll just stretch my legs! Actually, is that some sunbathing women? I'll have to try out the old Ace charm on them!"

The landing jets sent clouds of steam and sand erupting from the beach as it landed.

Rimmer straightened his wig and pressed the button to release the cockpit. A ladder elongated down and he clambered down towards the golden sand. Several scantily clad women surrounded his ship and gasped when they saw the handsome young pilot.

He gave a roguish smile to the adoring crowd and whispered to his ship. "Be back in a couple of hours, Wildfire, I'm going to get myself acquainted with these lovelies."

The ship leapt into the air behind him and Rimmer started strolling nonchalantly towards them. He then rather spoilt this by tripping up over his shoelace and sending his wig onto a passing beach crab that immediately started scuttling for the sea as it got covered by his hair piece. The women squealed as this rat-like thing made a bid for freedom with Rimmer capering after it like a deranged gazelle.

He leapt on it before it scurried into the sea and recovered his wig. He then gave an un-heroic squeal as it attacked his nipple with its pincer.

There was some un-Ace-like swearing as he danced and span around trying to remove the crab. He hurled it into the sea where it raised two pincers to give him two V signs before it sank beneath the waves with a gurgle.

Curiously, the women had all run off at this.

Strange lot.

Rimmer sighed to himself; maybe it wasn't quite this easy. Anyway, he was here now, he might as well enjoy himself!

He felt in his pocket and was surprised to find a Neutron card. Basically no credit limit at all! He could buy the planet if he wanted to (not that he wanted to, just by looking around he could tell it had a damp problem, the local wildlife was rude and aggressive and they hadn't even added a mock Tudor conservatory).

He might as well start with an ice cream though. Rimmer strolled over to a handy ice cream van just past the souvenir stand. Even though the whole planet was just a giant beach with several floating pleasure cities, the souvenir stand was still covered in cheap plastic models of the Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal. In this century the Eiffel Tower had now been converted to a supporting strut in the 'Paris experience' theme park and was full of tables and waiters studiously ignoring the hundreds of tourists milling around.

He gave a rakish smile to the ice cream sales robot and ordered a rocket shaped ice lolly.

He then nearly dropped it down his front, as the sea in front of him seemed to boil as thousands of giant angry crustaceans started to invade the resort, sending thousands of screaming holidaymakers fleeing for their lives.