I was challenged by a friend to write a short fic about Lister. Here it is, set around season 1-2.
In his dreams, there was the light and warmth of his sun. In his dreams there were people laughing - men, women, children. In his dreams there was grass and trees and the salt water of the Earth's sea and the feel of fertile soil beneath his toes and unsynthesizable scent of fresh rain. In his dreams he felt the warm comradery of Petersen and Chen and the warmer flesh of a soft woman with a pinball machine smile.
And then he would wake up, and there would be nothing.
Lister opened his eyes blearily to a word of fluorescent lighting and steel. He groaned. He was hungover again.
'What time is it, Hol?'
The familiarly pixelated bald head popped up on the screen hidden within the mirror.
'Twenty past one, Dave.'
'What?' Lister rubbed his face 'In the afternoon?'
'Of course in the afternoon,' replied the computer in a deadpan monotone, 'although I wouldn't put it past you to carry on sleeping until after midnight. Now that would be a lie-in to write home about.'
'Why didn't you wake me up?'
Holly smiled lopsidedly. 'You looked so peaceful there asleep. You looked like you were having a nice dream.'
Lister achingly got down from his bunk.
'But you all knew I wanted to go up to A Deck today. See if I can get a nicer room at least. There's supposed to be a couple of penthouses up there, for special visitors, you know...' He took a sip of flat lager from an open can and grimaced. 'Why didn't Rimmer wake me up with his Smegging excersises? He usually does.'
'Probably 'cause he knew you wanted to do something today,' grinned Holly. Never mind though, you can still go today. It's not as if you've got a schedule to keep or anything.'
Lister sat on Rimmer's bunk and set about turning his socks inside out. 'But it's Wednesday.'
'Wednesday night. It's movie night, isn't it? Wednesday's always been movie night.'
'You can miss it for one week...' began the computer.
'No way, Hol. It's Jimmy Stewart season. It's Harvey tonight, I Smegging love that movie, dude.'
'I know it's Jimmy Stewart season. I know it's Harvey,' replied Holly, 'you're the one that chose them. Wednesday night is only movie night because you say it is, so why can't you change it to tomorrow?'
Lister stomped his boots on. 'Wednesday has always been movie night, Hol. Back from before the accident. I never missed it, not once. Sometimes I'd take a girl, or go with the lads and throw popcorn. Sometimes I'd just go on my own, but I'd always go. 1800 hours. Wednesday. Like clockwork.'
'You know who you're sounding like,' sneered Holly, 'don't you?'
'Shut up, Hol.' Lister reached for Rimmer's drawer in the desk and started rooting through the marker pens.
'Strike a light,' continued the computer, 'you haven't started alphabetising your underwear as well, have you? Then we'll know you're definitely turning into...'
'I said,' growled Lister, 'shut up.' He paused, softening a little to the face on the screen. 'Where's that Cat? Could you tell him I want to see him?'
'Why?' Asked Holly, 'you're not taking him up there with you, are you?'
'I told you, I don't have time to go today.' Lister started drawing coloured dots on the desk's surface with the markers. 'I promised him I'd teach him Finger Twister.'
'Finger Twister?' Holly rolled his eyes. 'You just spent two days teaching him to play Kerplunk with a jar of toothpicks.'
'Just find him would you, Hol? Tell him there's a piece of shiny string in it for him if he comes over.'
'And that's what you're going to do today, is it?' sighed Holly, 'that's how the last Human Being and Felis Sapiens are going to while away the final precious moments of their species' existence? Playing Finger Twister?'
'And watching the movie. Finger Twister, then something to eat, then Harvey at 6pm.'
'And then what?'
Lister didn't look up from drawing the coloured circles. He'd think about tomorrow when it happened. He had a plan to keep himself occupied for today at least. He would keep himself from going completely mad for another day. And then he'd go back to sleep, and he'd dream.