Author's Notes: I'm starting to get fond of this retconning lark. 'Rimmerworld' feels like the weakest episode of Series VI to me. There are some moments of brilliancy (i.e.: "Or we could use the teleporter"), but beyond that, It doesn't really go anywhere. For a start, we're only on Rimmerworld itself for all of five minutes, and that's probably because it's rather a thin premise. Rimmer's heart condition was much interesting, and it was promptly forgotten about once he was in the escape pod. The idea that too much stress could kill interested me, so I expanded on that.
So here's the first part. Reviews are appreciated.
To say that Rimmer hadn't been feeling well lately would've been a gross understatement. He'd felt awful. Bloody awful. In fact, suffice it to say that he was feeling about as wonderful as the rubber glove part of a rectal exam. He'd been feeling some rather harsh chest pains lately, and they were really beginning to get to him. He'd tried to avoid making a fuss, wanting to look tougher in front of his crewmates, but this past week he'd almost passed out from the sheer agony of it all and now he was convinced that this was an undeniable thing that needed seeing to.
So he'd swallowed his pride and confided in Kryten, asking for an examination.
That's why he was lying on his back on the medical bench while the mechanoid fussed over some control panels and completed his business.
"Well, that's finished the tests, sir," Kryten said, moving some equipment aside. "We just have to wait while the Navicomp processes the results. Unfortunately I have had to allow for the fact that you cheated at your eye tests."
Sitting up on the bench, Rimmer stared at him, hoping he looked at least somewhat innocent. "What do you mean, cheated?"
"There's no point in lying, sir. You crept in here last night, knowing you were going to have a medical, and you copied the eye charts onto your shoes."
Rimmer swung his gangly legs over the side of the bench and decided to own up. "I admit I might have taken a peek, but I'm a competitive man, Kryten. Always have been. That's what makes me what I am."
"We're all perfectly well aware of what you are, sir," Kryten assured him, with just a hint of irritation in his voice. "Oh, the results." He walked over to where a small card was being ejected through a slot on the medi-scanner. He read it in an instant and felt his worry-chip kick in.
"Everything tickety-boo?" Rimmer asked, making to stand.
"Would you like to take a seat, sir?" Kryten asked carefully, trying to decide how to word his next sentence.
Rimmer felt a slight stab of worry in his midsection as he sat down on the bench again. "Problem?" he asked, trying to sound nonchalant about the whole business.
Deciding on a course of action, Kryten asked the all-important question. "You don't have any next of kin, do you, sir?"
Rimmer stared at him blankly for a moment. Of course he didn't. Everyone who could've counted was dead. They'd all died three million years ago. But now that he thought about it, he came to a rather worrying realization.
"No, they all died of heart attacks," he said aloud, still think this over. "And not just heart attacks – aneurysms, strokes, brain clots… You name it. I don't think there's a single blood vessel in my entire family that hasn't exploded at some point."
Kryten pressed on. "Are you of the school that, when faced with bad news, prefers to hear that news naked and unvarnished, or are you of the ilk that prefers to live in happy and blissful ignorance of the nightmare you're facing?"
Rimmer stared again, his worry growing. His natural cowardice kicked in before he could stop it. "Ignorance. Every time," he said quickly before he could really think about it.
Kryten then put on his brightest plastic smile. "Congratulations, sir! You've come storming through your medical with flying colors! See you next time!" he said, pleased he was about to get out of this awkward situation.
But Rimmer wasn't convinced. "Everything's okay, then?"
"I want to know, Kryten, if there's something wrong."
"If there were something wrong, sir, I would tell you."
"Even if I'd asked you not to?"
Kryten squirmed, feeling that this conversation was dragging him back into the depths of uncomfortableness once again. "Well, no," he said awkwardly. "In that case, I would lie and tell you everything was absolutely peachy."
Rimmer looked at the mech sternly. "Kryten, I want to know. That's why I asked for a medical in the first place. Is there bad news?"
"Lie mode cancel," Kryten said, not bothering to hide it. "Yes, sir, I'm afraid there is."
Rimmer sat up a little straighter, feeling his panic attack getting worse and clutching his chest. "I knew it. It's the headaches, isn't it? And the heart palpitations and the blackouts and the chest pains and the voices! It's something to do with that, isn't it?"
Kryten immediately dove into exposition mode. "Sir, when you died you were recreated as a hologram, and your exact personality was refined to an algorithm and duplicated electronically. If that algorithm contained a flaw, that flaw would be duplicated also."
Rimmer's brow creased with worry. "Flaw?" he repeated.
"It's not common, but it's possible for a hologram to die," Kryten said, as if that explained the whole thing.
Rimmer's nostrils briefly flared with annoyance before he calmed himself and managed to say, in as even a voice as he could, "Kryten, kindly get to the point before I jam your nose between your cheeks and make it the filling of a buttock sandwich."
Kryten hurried on. "As a result of both your genetics and environment, you are particularly prone to stress-related nervous disorders, and you activities over the past couple of years have pushed your brain to, well, frankly, beyond the breaking point."
Oh god, oh god, oh god, I'm going to die, I'm going to die, I'm going to die!
That was all Rimmer could hear ringing throughout his brain as he started breathing heavily and clutching his chest again. He got up and tried to move across the room, but he got dizzy again and thudded down onto one of the bunks in the wall.
"Your T-count," Kryten continued, "which is the hologrammatic equivalent of blood pressure, is higher than a hippy on the third day of an open air festival, and if you wish to avoid a gigantic electronic aneurysm, it is imperative that you start on a program of relaxation."
Rimmer glared with irritation. "I see, and you thought that the best way for me to start this program of relaxation was to tell me my brains are about to explode," he snapped. "You've got the bedside manner of an abattoir giblet gutter."
Kryten ignored him and continued on. "Here's what I suggest: try and avoid all stressful situations. Spend more time in your hard-light form and take a little exercise, and here…" He trailed off to move over to a cupboard, where he took out a pair of shiny metallic balls. "…Try these Chinese worry balls whenever you feel anxious or tense."
Rimmer stared at the balls suspiciously. It was amazing what you could find three million years into deep space. Traffic cones, policewomen's helmets, suspenders, and now Chinese worry balls. Unbelievable.
Before he could voice his concerns, however, Lister suddenly arrived, sticking his head through the hatch. "Hey, maybe some good news! Come and check it out!" he chirped out before fleeing back the way he came.
Kryten made to follow after the human before Rimmer stopped him. "Er, Kryten," he said quietly. "I don't want the others to know about this. I want you to behave as if everything's absolutely normal."
Kryten nodded with understanding. "As you wish, sir," he agreed, and he headed out of the room.
Rimmer looked at the worry balls again, still feeling doubtful, before he took a deep breath and followed after him.
Author's Notes: Not much changed from this part. Things won't really start to deviate from the original until they get to the simulant ship, really, so stay with me, 'kay?