Red Dwarf 7

"Where am I?" the male pilot asked blearily.

"In the medical bay of the Red Dwarf," Kryten said cheerfully. "We recovered you from a damaged fighter that had lost it's distress beacon and whose life support system was almost out of power."

"I feel drugged."

"That would be the drugs, Mr. Jensen, Sir" Kryten said with a smile.

"You drugged me?"

"For surgery," Kryten explained. "There was shrapnel in your chest and you were suffering from oxygen deprivation and frostbite."

"Frostbite?"

"Several toes, your right thumb and two inches of your... um," Kryten paused as he tried to think of a nice euphemism to use.

"Did they have to amputate it?" the man asked nervously. There wasn't nearly enough drugs to keep him calm for this conversation.

"Yes, sir. You will be happy to note, unless it's against your religion, that we found a compatible donor and replaced everything that was cut off."

"Even the two inches of my...?" Jensen trailed off nervously.

"Yes, though Xander insisted we use the full six inches of... tubing that was available to replace the two you were missing. I told him you'd probably be upset you were out of specs, but he assured me it was a human thing and to leave it be," Kryten said.

"So he's four inches over specs now?" the female pilot asked, having awoken while they were talking.

"Yes, Ma'am," Kryten said. "Your injuries were much less serious as you simply needed skin grafts and your left nipple replaced."

"Janice?" Jensen asked.

"Had to eject as I tried to ram a saucer," she replied. "Guess I cut it a bit too close."

"You can say that again," Xander said as he entered the med bay. "We had to run you through decom five times"

"You can't be part of the fleet," she said. "I've never seen any place like this or someone like him." She gestured towards Kryten.

"We're not," Xander replied. "We stumbled across the area you guys fought in while looking for metal rich asteroids and I'm guessing our sensors are a lot better than yours are, because we managed to find several life signs."

"Anyone else survive?" Jensen asked.

"Sorry it was touch and go with the third pilot, but even with his enhanced systems the damage was too great and we couldn't clone enough blood in time to save him," Xander said.

"Enhanced systems?" Janice asked.

"Yes, Ma'am," Kryten said, bringing up a display on a nearby monitor. "He resembled a simulant, but was far closer to human so you wouldn't know it by looking at him."

"Simulant?" she asked.

"Some jerk decided Kryten's type of android were obsolete and created a superior model much closer to human," Xander explained. "Naturally they all went insane and tried to wipe out humanity."

"I have no idea why you humans insist on building things to replace yourselves with and then act surprised when they try to do so," Kryten said.

"Everyone's got to have a hobby," Xander said cheerfully.

"Must have been a cylon infiltrator," Janice said, deciding to ignore everything else they'd said, hoping it was just the drugs causing her to hallucinate.

"Yes they were and you have at least a dozen scattered throughout the fleet and several that the cylons believe have turned on them," Willow said as she appeared in a flash of light. "It took me over a month to break the encryption, but the files I recovered from that cylon infiltrator made for fascinating reading."

"A month?! How long were we out?" Jensen demanded.

"Under two days," Willow assured them. "I tweaked my own run time so I could get everything done faster."

"You shouldn't overclock yourself," Xander told her. "The last thing we need is your program becoming corrupted before we can clone you a new body."

"What are you people?" Janice demanded. "Are any of you human?!"

"Holly, give her more morphine," Willow ordered. "I'm going to go examine the medical data on that cylon." She vanished in a burst of light.

"You guys can't be cylons, you're too weird," Jensen said.

"Thanks," Xander replied. "We've already contacted the fleet, we'll be dropping you guys off in about twelve hours."

Janice snored loudly.

"I think we'll keep her out until then, she seems a bit excitable," Xander said.

"That's probably for the best," the other pilot admitted.

0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0

The Shuttle that landed in the docking bay discharged a dozen heavily armed marines, two doctors, and four nurses.

Xander opened his beer and took a sip while they scanned the area for dangers.

"There's a saucer and two vipers, sir," one of the marines reported to his superior.

"We put them together out of the wreckage we found," Xander said as he approached.

"And you are?" the officer in charge, wearing the same unmarked camo as his men, asked.

"Xander Harris, captain of the Red Dwarf," Xander introduced himself

"You guys are at war with a bunch of robots, so I thought it best that you see a human face," Xander explained.

"That's very thoughtful of you, thanks," the officer said. "I'm Lt. Clarkson," the officer introduced himself before introducing the others.

Xander nodded, not bothering to remember any of the names. "My ship has a number of A.I.s and robots onboard, so if you see something strange, ask before you shoot it. Everyone follow me."

"How far is the medical bay, if I may ask?" one of the doctors asked.

"About fifteen minutes," Xander replied.

"Minutes?"

"Approximately fifteen centons," Holly spoke from one of the monitors, appearing and disappearing after he spoke.

"Ship's still under construction Xander replied. "We were scanning for sources of metal we could use in the asteroid belt when we stumbled on the scene of your battle. Speaking of which, we've recovered a dozen bodies from both sides, the humans we put on ice so the organs can be used to save others, unless that's against your religion."

"That's fine," the doctor said. "How do you deal with tissue rejection?"

We've got a pre-programed retro-virus that goes through and modifies the DNA of all the added bits," Xander explained, recalling how Holly had explained it to him. "It lasts twenty four hours and its not safe to use on pregnant women and no having sex while it's active."

"How advanced is your technology?" the doctor asked as they entered the elevator car.

"You guys seem pretty advanced in one or two spots, and severely behind in all the others," Xander said. "I mean you guys still use nuclear fuel rather than fusion, but you are really good at squeezing use out of every drop of energy."

"Would you object to sharing technology?" Lt. Clarkson asked.

"Be glad to," Xander said. "We're interested in the whole hyperspace technology thingie," Xander said while one of the soldiers mouthed 'hyperspace thingie' to another.

"You don't use hyperspace to jump between systems?" Clarkson asked.

"We're stuck with sublight drives for the moment, we use suspended animation for crossing between systems, takes forever. You guys however seem to have a faster way between systems, though in system you are as limited as we are and from the records we recovered from your enemy, you are all limited to jumping from one system to the next closest one."

"Power costs to leapfrog systems are staggering," Clarkson admitted as the elevator car stopped and they exited.

"Staggering for you is probably negligible to us," Xander said. "If you adapt and install a fusion plant on your ship you can leave your enemy far behind. The only problem is keeping the data from leaking to them and I hate to tell you but I got about twenty hyperspace transmission logged from various spots in your fleet."

"Can you prove it?!" Clarkson asked instantly.

"I can give you some advanced scanners so you can catch them," Xander replied.

"What is all this going to cost us?" one of the doctors asked. "You're offering a significant amount of help, so I assume the cost is also going to be significant."

Xander shrugged. "The cost on our end is negligible. It may do a whole lot for you, but it's costing us almost nothing. Plus, what we're getting from you is also helping us out a whole lot. I don't consider this more than basic human decency."

"We appreciate it," Clarkson assured him.

A string of scutters zoomed past carrying cleaning supplies and were quickly tracked by several of the marines, though no one fired.

"Med bay," Xander called out as they reached their destination.

As the door opened they found Kryten Standing next to the pilots' beds, covered in food, with a fork stuck in his head, while Harmony muttered dire things under her breath and stalked back and forth.

"What'd I miss?" Xander asked.

Typing by Falkun (Don't tell my boss that I did this while at work.)