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.

With thanks to Cmar for beta reading this for me! Also thanks to Cmar, Sunrise over the Tango factory, Radar-fox, Tom from Down Under, E.Nagrom, RPQ, BasketweaverJesserfor and Lyxsing the reviews so far! All very much appreciated! All reviews welcome!

Been very slack with the writing recently. Will try and get better soon!

Chapter Fourteen – The Adventures of Ace "Bonehead" Rimmer

Rimmer was standing there in shock. The Cat walked past him.

"What's happening buddy?" asked the Cat. "Answer before I lose all interest!"

"Well…" started Rimmer.

The Cat carried on walking past.

Rimmer turned back to the soup machine. "Did you just say…"

There was a roaring sound and Lister careered past on his motorbike. He screeched to a halt in front of the soup machine, drowning out the sounds of its little speech that she had spent the past 478,000 years perfecting. The bit about them being as alike as two soup cans in a shop and how she compared him to a can of Campbell's Concentrated Mushroom soup but not the one with the sweet corn in it.

"Rimmer," said Lister, smirking. "Do you know the difference between you and a smeg head?"

"What? No?"

"Neither do I! See ya, smeg head!" Lister roared off down the corridor.

"Right," said Rimmer, pointing to the two scutters that were just about to start unplugging the soup machine. "You two, your mission is to travel back in time and stop Lister's mother having Lister!"

The two scutters stared at each other and shook their little robotic hand heads sadly.

Rimmer thought a moment. "No, probably won't work; they won't allow you into Titan Zoo, and certainly not into the baboon section." He turned back to the soup machine. "Unplug her!"

"Arnie," said the soup machine. "I have waited three million years to say this…"

"These machines." Rimmer tutted. "Left alone for three million years and they have turned completely mad. Unlike myself," said Rimmer. "Now's a good opportunity to complete my photo collection of mid twentieth century post boxes."

The soup machine had planned for 3,476 ways this conversation could end, even with Arnold Rimmer turning unexpectedly into a blancmange. Sadly she hadn't planned for Rimmer preferring to ogle his collection of twentieth century post boxes (including the rather racy ones they put in London with the yellow stripes in 1948 and camouflage ones they put in Skegness in 1966; the postman has never been able to find it) instead of her.

She carried her own power supply now and being unplugged would trigger a chain of events that should lead to Rimmer falling into her soup tray.

The scutters unplugged her.

Pink balloons fell from the ceiling, each one with a heart shape on it and a specially chosen romantic phrase on it calculated to warm the coldest heart.

Lister's motorbike came roaring past, popping each balloon before Rimmer had a chance to read them.

Still always have a contingency plan! Curiously, despite its name it is not a shortened version of "continent emergency" like what happened to Atlantis. Where are the Thunderbirds when you need them? In their case it was probably the plans for an indoor swimming pool that went a little awry. You know what it's like when you leave the builders in the house when you go to work; you come back to find no tea, no biscuits and the front door installed in the ceiling.

Anyway, the soup machine's plan did not involve builders or tea, it involved a machine she had been working on for nearly 100,000 thousand years and yes, she probably is related to that bloke your grandmother took her radio to to fix in 1946 and it has only just turned up and can only get the shipping forecast now and that's in French.

It was a machine designed to make anyone fall in love with anyone else (and for all you men out there it was not a Lamborghini or even the very latest mobile phone).

It was a machine designed to affect the brain waves of the hypothalamus in such a way as to induce love. Sadly, she had only had the chance to test it on a small collection of soup bacteria she found living under her drinks tray. It worked very well for them; they were very attached to her and had in fact formed a "We love soup machines!" group with Reg the Bacteria on backing vocals. Its effect on holograms was a little more suspect.

"You look absolutely divine," said Rimmer to the first thing he saw. Unfortunately this was Philbert the scutter. Squeaking with alarm, the scutter rolled off with Rimmer in hot pursuit.

"Darn!" said the soup machine. "Cancel! Cancel! Right, okay. Click on Start – Programs. Where did I put it? It's not under Office. Make Rimmer Love me? No, that's Solitaire, great way to kill a couple of centuries, that. Oh, here it is. Rimmer Love Me! Prog One. Oh, that's the beta version. Oh no, it's started anyway! Cancel! Cancel! Here it is! Okay, click on File – Target – Timmer. Timmer? I mean Rimmer! Right, there he is. Target Hypothalamus. Click on Insert. Emoticon. That's the one. Where's that love one gone? The one with the heart shape? That's the sad face. Click on the heart one. Oops! That got the one with the big grin! He's coming back down the corridor looking confused with a big grin now! Cancel that one. What do you mean invalid command! I created you! What does contact your network administrator mean? I'm the administrator! I'm not going to contact me!"

"That was strange," said Rimmer as he walked back up the corridor grinning at everything as he passed. "What is wrong with me today?"

Lister came roaring back up the corridor. "What are you grinning at, man?"

"Stop riding that motorcycle!"

"You're still grinning!"

"I'm not grinning! I am very angry with you!"

"Now you're smiling, now you've got a frowny face, and are you winking at me?"

Behind them the soup machine quietly cursed as she accidentally hit all the emoticons together. Oh, Tomato Soup! she said as she cursed in fluent soup machine.

"You've gone weird," said Lister. "Well, I say gone - you've always been weird, just weirder than normal."

"Yes, yes, yes," said Rimmer irritably. "Now where did that soup machine go?"

"What soup machine?" asked Lister.

"That one," said Rimmer, pointing to a hole in the wall. "Well, obviously I can't point at it since it's not there. How can I point at something that is not there? Well, I suppose I could point at your head where your brain isn't but that's not the point."

"Alert! Alert! This is a Lert! What's the plural of a lert? Lottalerts? Manylerts? Lorra lorra lerts?" said Holly. Her visage was filling one of the screens in the corridor. "This is an Erlert! Or an Allert! Whatever it is, it is an Alert!"

"What is it, man?" asked Lister.

"I am detecting some kind of dimensional instability."

"What is it, man?" said Lister again.

"Dimensional instability."


"This is Lister you're talking to," said Rimmer. "Add some curry in it and his spice addled brain cell might be able to understand."

"Right," said Holly, thinking quickly. "You know what happens in your stomach when you eat a curry?"

"Yep," said Lister.

"Well, that kind of thing is happening now outside the Red Dwarf but with space instead of your stomach and a space ship instead of a curry."

"Oh, a dimensional instability! Why didn't you say! You know my Uncle had a dimensional instability once. Cleared the pub it did. They had to call in the man from the council to clear it up."

"You know, you really should write all these marvellous stories and anecdotes into a wonderful book that people could burn."

"You really think so?" asked Lister.

"Yes, they could call it Firelighter," said Rimmer. "Now what about this dimensional insta wotty?"

"It's gone!" Holly exclaimed.

"What's gone?"

"Weird, could have sworn I saw..."

"Yes, let us not forget you thought you saw a strange blue police box in the docking bay the other day. I thought the police were collecting the library fines for my book on Renaissance art I took out three million years ago! You got us all excited and when we got there, there was nothing there!"

"It was there," said Holly sulkily. "Along with some weird bloke with a scarf being chased by a giant pepper pot."

"I don't know what pills you are taking, Holly, but my advice is to stop now. There was nothing there!"

"How do you know anyway?" asked Lister. "You were cowering in the women's lavatory on the 87th floor in the sealed off Tiddlywinks hall at the time."

"I was not cowering!" said Rimmer vehemently. "I was planning a strategy of surprise and attack."

"The surprise being if you turn up, I suppose?"

Rimmer gave him a look that on a Gorgon would have not only turned him into a stone but would have sold him off to a house in Lesser Water on the Brain (a lovely village in the county of Ditherings on Tweed) as an attractive garden statue. "You wouldn't understand military tactics."

"Yeah that's you, Rimmer, a legend in your own lunchtime. God I could murder a drink at the moment. Anyone fancy a soup?"