Hello readers. A new fic (I know more blurb from my brain). Hope you like, reviews very welcome and help keep the cogs turning.
Chapter 1 – Wake up
Lister lay on the cold hard floor, the pita patter drops of rain bounced lightly off his face. His head hurt, hurt like a three day booze run. He gingerly opened his eyes and immediately regretted it, as the world of colour caused his brain to ache even more. He dragged himself to a sitting position and rubbed his eyes then tried again. This time he could make out shapes as well as colours, he seemed to be in a brick alley, next to a large green skip. 'What the smeg am I doing here?' he thought.
Lister got up to his feet and was forced to use the lid of the green skip for support. For some reason his legs were like jelly, almost like he had not been using them for some time. He clocked some movement outside the alley, it looked like a car driving past. A car, where the smeg in the universe had cars, much less old VW Bettles. He staggered down the alley until he reached the end using the wall for support.
Outside the alley a road led left to right and across the road a bar sign flashed a neon sign proclaiming 'BOOZE 24/7'
'My kind of place.' Thought Lister stumbling across the road to the bar door.
Inside it was almost empty, the low lighting and booths told him it was a less of a party house and more of a serious loose yourself in a bottle or two kind of place.
He found his way to the small bar and smiled at the bar man that appeared from a back room.
"What can I get you mate?" asked the thick Australian accented man.
"Err a Beer ta." Said Lister reaching into his pocket and finding a bundle of well used cash. He flicked through it and realised he was loaded. 'What was a loaded handsome guy like him waking up in an alley and not some swanky hotel.' He thought.
The beer appeared and the barman held out his hand. "Two pounds fifty please?" he said.
Lister pulled the three pound notes from the pile and placed them in the barman's hand.
"Cheers, anything else you want , or can I get back to the game?" he asked already turning and leaning back towards the back room.
"Err just where am I?" said Lister.
"What, its 4'0'Clock in the morning in the dirtiest shitty part of town and you want to know where you are?" said the Barman with a raised eyebrow.
"No, I mean what planet?" said Lister taking a swig from his beer.
The barman look confused, what was this clown on about. "Earth mate, Liverpool England, where did you expect to find yourself. the moon?"
Lister looked serious. "No a space ship 3 million years into deep space." Said Lister.
The barman laughed. "That's a good one, Ill have to remember that one mate." He said heading for the back room.
"Wait, what year is it?" called Lister.
The Barman didn't turn round but shouted back at him. "2010, the yeah we lost the big one. Now let me get back to my game will yeah." He said disappearing into a room beyond Listers view.
Lister thought long and hard. 'How the smeg had he landed back on Earth, and way back in the past, this place was practically the dark ages.'
He knocked back the beer feeling a little better and headed back outside.
Sure enough the big yellow sun that warmed Earth up each morning had begun to rise in the east. Lister noticed a paper thrown in the gutter and bent down to take a look.
'GERMANY 4 – ENGLAND 1 DOOMSDAY IS NOW!'
The title read. He flicked through it but decided that there was nothing of interest and deposited it in a nearby bin.
He walked for about a mile wandering the empty streets until he came across a place he vaguely knew. The small row of shops had a curry house, a corner shop, a barbers and a betting shop. Lister stood there his mind trying to recall why it looked like somewhere he had been before. "Smegging hell, this is my street!" he finally said out-loud.
David Lister was home, 3 million odd years late but this was his street and that flat above the curry house was his, or it would be in 20 or 30 years.
Kryten folded the pair of pants for the twelfth time before finally setting them down. Something was troubling him and he knew what. It had been three months since that they had gone on board the SS Devonshire and found something that changed Listers mood for the better. Up to this point Lister had been deeply depressed and was struggling once again with the loss of Kris.
Kryten remembered them all carefully picking there way through the abandoned ship and finally coming across a leisure deck. They found a full suite of AR machines which of course they had already got but there was an optional extra on these that Lister had jumped at, the Total immersion body suite. Basically as far as Kryten could tell it worked by sending sensory signals back and fro from the brain to parts of the body. Once hooked up to an AR game you could feel everything, it was the next best thing to being there. Cold, hot, wet, dry, sweaty, pain, pleasure it was all there. Lister had hooked it up and had spent an increasing amount of time inside the game world. So much so Kryten was becoming worried that Lister had a gaming addiction. He had raised it with Lister who laughed at him and promised that he would spend some time with him and the others soon. That had been over a week ago and for the last three days Kryten had not even seen Lister leave the AR suite.
He walked out into the corridor making for the AR suite but Rimmer spotting him and came over.
"Kryten, have you completed that task I set you?" Rimmer asked suspiciously.
"Yes sir, two days ago." Said Kryten knowing full well he had told Mr Rimmer as much back then.
"I see, what about the follow up work I asked for." Said Rimmer raising an eyebrow.
"You haven't asked for any sir, now if you don't mind I really must go check on Mr Lister." Said Kryten looking concerned.
Rimmer clucked his tongue. "Back in the AR suite is he? That boy will ware that machine out you know. Do you know I found him lying on the floor the other day with that suite on doing breast stroke, I was tempted to video it just for laughs but well you know."
"Err yes." Said Kryten not sure what he meant but thought it easier to agree.
"He'll be fine, he's a grown man you know, and things are certainly quieter around here with him out of the way." Said Rimmer.
"But sir, hes been in that game for three days straight, for a start the suits waste bag will need changing let alone the basic need of food or sleep." Said Kryten sound even more concerned.
"Oh you don't need to worry about sleep, the other day I went in there and he was curled up in the suite fast asleep, I guess he's taken to sleeping in game." Said Rimmer.
"Well, I'm worried sir." Said Kryten.
"OK I'll come with you but if he's grinding away at the floor again…." Said Rimmer pulling his face into one that's just seen something disgusting.
Lister stepped through the door way of his old local shop. 'This place hasn't changed a bit.' He thought looking around at the interior and the collection of groceries and magazines on display.
He was feeling hungry, in fact he had been hungry for some while now, so went over to a chiller with some snacks displayed. He picked up a pie and went to the counter, where he placed it on the pile of today's news papers.
"One pound fifty please." Said the cheerful Indian sounding voice from behind the stack of papers.
Lister placed the change on the top and make to leave, but stopped at the cards in the window. As he scanned them he could not believe his luck, his old flat was vacant. He turned back towards the papers.
"Here mate, who do I need to speak to about this flat." Said Lister pointing at the card.
A small rounded Indian face peered out from behind the papers and smiled. "Oh, it's easy that's me. I just brought it last week and I am looking for a tenant. Why you interested?" he asked.
"Yeah I might be. How much?" said Lister sounding a little too interested.
A glint the Indian fella's eye told Lister he should of played it down and guessed that the monthly rent had just gone up by twenty pounds.
"470 including bills, it's a good little flat." Said the shop keeper.
"I know, I mean yeah cool." Said Lister correcting himself.
The shop keeper came out from behind the counter holding the biggest bunch of keys Lister had ever seen. "Do you want to see my friend?" he asked.
"Err why not." Said Lister.
"OK, hang on a second please." Said the shop keeper turning to face the back of the shop.
"DERRICK….. DERRICK." He called.
He turned to Lister and smiled. "One second more please." Then turned back to continue his search of Derrick.
"DERRICK, Oh there you are…" the rest of the conversation was lost on Lister but he guessed whoever Derrick was, he was going to look after the shop.
The shop keeper appeared from an isle followed by a large tattooed bald headed biker type.
"This is Derrick." Said the Shop keeper to Lister.
"Nice to meet you." said Lister eyeing the six foot six hulk that was not standing behind the counter.
Derrick smiled and in a low gravely voice said. "Alright."
"Come now we go." Said the shop keeper leaving his shop to the care of Derrick.
Kryten and Rimmer entered the AR suite and found Lister in an animated state within the AR suite. He appeared to be walking up something, it looked like Stairs.
"Oh thank goodness, he looks fine." Said Kryten eyeing Lister up.
Rimmer looked at the oddly animated frame of Lister. His limbs moving to some task the game was showing him. Lister however did not look fine, he had lost weight and his hair was longer than normal.
"Are you sure, he looks a bit well thinner!" said Rimmer.
Kryten agreed Mr Lister had lost quite a bit of weight. "I'll run a quick med scan on him while he is in the suite, that should give us the info we need." Said Kryten going over to the nearby console.
"Or, we could just bring him out and ask him how he feels?" said Rimmer.
Kryten looked slightly embarrassed. "Oh yes, that would work too. Hang on Ill just log in."
He tapped a few commands on the keyboard but didn't get the response he expected. Rimmer noticed Krytens features go into that puzzled mode.
"Kryten, is there a problem?" asked Rimmer.
"Well it seems that the game is not running." Said Kryten.
"What, it must be what the smeg is he doing then, human puppetering?" said Rimmer eyeing Lister up who continued to move in his suit.
"I'm not sure sir, the computer says there is no game in session." Said Kryten still tapping away at the keyboard.
Rimmer went over to Lister and tapped him on the shoulder. Lister carried on giving no response. He tried again only harder. Still nothing. He bent over and as best as he could got his head next to Listers and shouted.
Still Lister did nothing to acknowledge Rimmers attempts to communicate.
"Well, that's me out of ideas." Said Rimmer stepping back.
Kryten in the mean time had run a medi scan. "Oh dear, oh dear." He muttered.
"What is it Kryten?" said Rimmer leaning over to scan the console.
"Well it seems Mr Lister here is in some sort of comma, which as far as I can tell was brought on my a virus." Said Kryten.
Rimmer stepped back three paces. "A virus, what kind and where did he catch it from." Said Rimmer sounding nervous.
"Best guess, it was dormant in the suit and Mr Listers own body heat has woken it up. It must of come from the SS Devonshire." He finished.
"Oh great, so what happens to us, when do we start walking about in an animated comma state?" asked Rimmer.
"We don't it only affects humans." Said Kryten.
Rimmer sighed in relief and moved back closer to Kryten. "Thank goodness for that, now if you don't mind I have to get back to my book." Said Rimmer turning to leave.
"Your book sir, but what about Mr Lister sir, he needs our help, surely no book is more important than that sir." Said Kryten looking shocked.
Rimmer stopped and looked back at Kryten. "It's the Kama sutra deluxe 3D addition, I picked it up back on that ship and anyway he got himself into this mess he can get himself out. Won't his body develop some sort of anti-virus thingy?" said Rimmer.
"It might, but I fear Mr Lister is to distracted." Said Kryten.
"What, how?" asked Rimmer.
"Well according to this brain scan it shows he is in some sort of dream state, but the readings are nothing like I have seen before. It looks like somehow the suite is feeding back readings to his comma induced brain. It might mean to him the dream he is in is very real indeed." Said Kryten sounding worried.
Rimmer thought for a second than brightened. "Why don't we just unplug the connection from the suite?" he asked, thinking this was a great idea.
Kryten shook his head. "I am afraid the loss of connection might send him into a deeper comma, one he might never wake up from."
The two of them looked at the still animated form of Lister unsure of what to do next.
Lister followed the shop keeper up the narrow stairs towards his old flat. God he missed this place, the lingering smell of curry the faint smell of mold. 'This was home.' He thought.
"It's not much but the furniture is included, all new." Said the shopkeeper.
Lister looked around at the single room with its tiny kitchen, dark brown sofa and there it was, his bed, only better this one was brand new. Lister made his way over to it but before he reached the bed something tapped him on the shoulder. He turned to see if the shopkeeper wanted something but he was busy looking out the only window into the street below. Lister shook it off and continued only to be prodded again only much harder. "What the smeg!" he said.
The shopkeeper turned round. "What, is something wrong?" he asked.
"Yeah, this place wasn't haunted the last time I lived here." Said Lister looking around the room slightly on edge.
"What, no no, this is 100% new build no Indian reservations cemeteries around here." He chuckled.
Lister look confused then he twigged the late 20th century film called Poltergeist. "Naaa, sure it was nothing he said, but then he heard a faint voice in his ear.
"lister…" it said.
Lister span round, what the smeg was that.
The shopkeeper was looking at his watch, obviously concerned about the time away from his business and leaving Derrick in charge. "So you want or not?" he asked.
Lister didn't believe in ghosts and so he shock it off. "Yeah, Ill take it ta."
The shopkeeper smiled and ushered him back down the stairs so that they could signed some paperwork that Lister hoped he would not regret.
Next Time : Kryten and Rimmer have a little problem of there own.