A/N It always riled me that in BTE they didn't cover which Rimmer it was, so here's my take on what happened.
As always, RD isn't mine and neither are any of the characters. Sadface.
Lister paused, measuring his next action oh-so-carefully. This was a matter of life and death, winning or losing, beating or being beaten.
He took a small step to the left, flickering his eyes between the target and his feet, wondering if he could make it.
One firm kick.
The dead space weevil shot across the floor into the makeshift goal.
"SCORE!" he screamed, and the Cat rolled his eyes, turning away from where Lister was now doing a victory lap of the mess hall. Rimmer watched him with contempt.
"I hope you know that you two are disgusting," he said as Lister retrieved the curled-up insect from the corner of the room and repositioned it on the chalk line, nudging it back into position with his foot as its uneven shape made it roll a little to the right. He gestured for Cat to take his turn.
"No can do, bud," he said, smoothing a hand over his still-immaculate hair. "I know when enough is enough."
"So you admit it?" Lister asked triumphantly, "You admit that I win? That I beat you? That you lose?"
Cat snorted. "Not a chance in hell. I'd win no matter what. I just don't want to play anymore. So I'm leaving."
He screeched and turned on his heel, vanishing through the door before Lister had a chance to do anything about it.
"Oh, eh," Lister muttered, plonking himself down in the seat opposite Rimmer, who was steadfastly ignoring him as he leafed idly through a magazine.
"Rimmer," he said, and grinned when he got no reply.
"Rimmer. Rimmer. Rimsy? Riiiiiiimmer… Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiimmer?"
The nostrils flared.
"Rim Rim Rim Rim Rim Rim ?"
"WHAT?" the hologram asked, snapping. Nostrils flared, eyebrows raised, eyes wide. Madness was close.
"I just wanted to say, I'm glad you're back, man." Lister said, sincerity evident in his eyes. Rimmer's face relaxed slightly in surprise, before his eyes narrowed again.
"Don't try and mess with me, you stupid goit. Leave me alone."
Lister sniggered. "Why so tetchy, Rimsy old pal? Missing the wig?"
Rimmer clamped his lips shut and shot Lister a look that would have frozen Hell. The Liverpudlian was not so easily discouraged.
"I mean, seriously. The roast spud look didn't work out?"
Rimmer's eyes flickered away and back to the magazine, but he wasn't really reading it any more and they stared, blank and unfocused at the page. Lister seemed to sense that something had snapped in his crewmate, because the smirk dropped off his face.
"Seriously, though man. Why did you come back?"
Rimmer sighed and came back to the present. "What? You mean why did I decide to stop being Ace "What a Guy" Rimmer, saviour of universes? Why did I give up the constant stream of sex and booze and free food? Why did I forgo the thrill of being universally revered, adored, worshipped?"
Lister blinked. "Well, yeah."
Rimmer swallowed and let out a low breath through his nose before answering, placing the magazine carefully on the table and looking his irritating crewmate straight in the eye.
"It wasn't worth it."
He couldn't remember her name. Stephanie? Sophie? Something like that. Her blonde hair ticked his shoulder as he slept and he sighed and propped himself up on one elbow to stare out of the window set into the opposite wall.
It was a good hotel, in a good area, and they'd given him the room for free once they'd realised who he was.
It felt a bit hollow now.
He was in Universe 2739, one of the still-populated ones, and on the outside it looked like he was enjoying every second on it.
He wondered if any of the other Aces had made mistakes like he had.
If any of them dwelled, night and day, on them.
Wondering about the faces, the voices, the histories. He knew the names.
Three hundred of them.
It had been different on the Red Dwarf. Sure, it had been him who'd incorrectly repaired the drive plate and therefore his fault that the crew had died, and he had always blamed himself for it, but at least something good had come of it. Lister's 'Ouroboros' circle, meaning that in their universe the human race would never really die out. That had kind of been all down to him.
But it was different, being Ace. As Arnold Judas Rimmer people had expected him to fail, to screw up. No-one ever really predicted that he'd do anything right, and they kind of didn't want him to. It was nice having someone to blame.
But Ace. Oh, no. Ace was wonderful, a superhero. Almost a god - it was insane. If Ace screwed up, it couldn't be put down to incompetence or lack of talent or cowardice. Ace Rimmer always had to be prepared, ready to run into trouble, always brave.
Always ready to take the blame.
If people died on his watch, it really was his fault.
Lister looked at him for a long moment. "Whaddaya mean, man?"
Rimmer sighed and looked away, rubbing at his eyes wearily.
"Nothing, Lister. It doesn't matter."
He wondered if the new Ace Rimmer, the living one resurrected by the nanobots who'd gone to take his place, was doing any better than he had.
"No, come on, tell me, man," Lister said, a brief sparkle of concern in his eyes.
Don't tell him. He doesn't know. Don't make that concern vanish.
"I said, leave it alone, you smeggy gimboid," Rimmer snapped, slapping the magazine down onto the table and storming out, leaving Lister sat on his own.
Don't ever let him know how many people you killed.