Originally posted to the A-Team Fan-Fiction mailing list. This story takes place two days after the Red Dwarf episode "Tikka to Ride.
Deep space. Really, really deep space.
Many many years into the future, on board the Jupiter Mining Corp. Shuttle Starbug...
Ships log, Stardate...3. Our recent journey back in time to get some curry turned into a bit of a cock-up, Im afraid, and everyones determined to lay the blame on me. Rimmers invoked a smeg load of SpaceCorps directives against me, and even Krytens agreeing with him that I must be going space-happy with grief since the loss of so much of our food reserves in the recent battle with our future selves. I dont know if hell ever forgive me for removing his guilt chip but hey, it seemed like a good enough idea at the time.
As such, they've relieved me of duty and placed me under "Ship arrest" for the next weekor until Kryten gets fed up with Rimmer being in command. Kryten made sure to bust up the Time Drive so I couldnt be tempted to use it again, but Ive got me an idea. Since I dont have much else to do for the next few days, Im trying to see if I can rebuild the Time Drive. I mean, if we cant go to the past to get some proper popadoms and vindaloo, maybe we can bring the past to us...
"Good morning, Mr. Lister-sir. And how are you feeling on Day Two of your Ship Arrest?"
"Fine, Kryten, just fine." Lister looked up from his tools and the disarray on his desk for a moment, as Kryten lay down his sparse breakfast: sprout scramble and Tang-flavored recyc. All the more reason to redouble his efforts to fix the Time Drive. "I really am sorry about switching heads on you, Kryten. I dont know what got into me."
"Well sir, it is quite obvious that you were simply...temporarily out of your even-so-simple mind with grief at the loss of our curry supplies. But have no fear, Mr. Lister, try my sprout scramble. I tell you it is simply divine! Why, in no time at all, those popadoms and curries will just be long-forgotten memories," Kryten beamed.
Lister tried not to gag at the prospect. "Well see about that. In the meantime, I havent given up hope. What was that saying from that old movieIf you build it, they will come?"
"Wasnt that the jingle for the Series Eleven Pleasure Droid, sir?"
"Never mind, just keep Rimmer from getting us blown to smegging hell in the next five days till this Ship Arrest is over. I cant believe he finally remembered a proper space corps directive to use against me," Lister sighed.
"Number 667-oh-5: Any officer found guilty of tampering with the time line of history and nearly bringing about extinction of the human race in an incredibly stupid, selfish manner, must be removed from duty until a proper psychological evaluation can be completed. Yes sir, who would have thought that one would ever need to be invoked." Kryten finally took notice of the jumbled spare parts and wires on Listers desk, and a look of horror spread upon his face. "Oh dear, sir! Youre not trying to rebuild the Time Drivenot after what just happened! Begging your pardon, but have gone completely sme-me-me-me-meout of your mind?! Why if Mr. Rimmer were to see this, hed have you locked up in the sewage treatment facilities for the next seven years!"
"Take it easy, KrytenIm just trying to rewire it, thats all. I mean, weve seen already how dangerous it can be to go back in time. But what if I could bring the past...and most importantly, the curryto us? It should be simple, really. Just change a few connections here, switch around a few wires there..." Lister did as much as a demonstration, and a flurry of sparks flew in response.
Kryten tried to flap away the resulting cloud of smoke. "Simple for a trained engineer, yes. But for a Second Technician who cant even get a chicken soup machine working properlyoh my! Oh my oh my!"
"Look, look, dont get your transistors all in a twist, its almost ready. Here, lets give it a try, all right?" With a quick swat of his arm, Lister knocked all the remaining pieces of the Drive off his desk. "All I should have to do is type in a certain location and date in time: Chalsford House of Curry, 2309fine vintage that was!and activate the Drive, and..."
Kryten ducked for cover as a loud BOOM reverberated through the small room. There was a blinding flash of light, and when his visual sensors came back on-line, he saw there was now a cow standing where the table had been.
"Mooo...!" the cow exclaimed in terror.
"Well, maybe there are still a few kinks I havent worked out yet," Lister admitted.
Soon enough, Rimmer was standing in the doorway, nostrils flaring and hair standing more on end than usual. "What the smeg are you doing now, Listy?! And what in bloody hell are we doing with a cow on board Starbug?"
"Uuuh...I was just trying to get us some dinner," Lister answered meekly.
"Never mind, I dont want to know the details," Rimmer said. "Just send it back to wherever it came from, before I have to invoke Space Corps Directive 22-6989."
Kryten looked at the holographic technician, puzzled. "22-6989, sir? Red asteroids are for loading and unloading of radioactive waste only?"
"Stuff a wrench in it, motor-oil breath," Rimmer snapped. "Ive got to get back to the bridge before Kat takes off after another shiny comet. Just get rid of the cow."
"Mmmmmmooooooo!" the animal agreed. Rimmer left in a huff.
"Now look what youve done, Mr. Lister!" Kryten cried. "Oh! If you keep this up I am going to have to determine you to be criminally insane, and youll never be allowed out of Ship Arrest, and Ill have to deal with reporting to Mr. Rimmer for the rest of eternity! I think all my heads will explode!" the android moaned.
"Easy, Kryten, no problem. I think I figured it out. I was just a little off on the time and date calibrations on this thing," Lister said. Actually, he had no idea why the device hadnt worked, but he wasnt about to admit to that. He more or less randomly readjusted the Drives calibration and said, "This ought to send the cow back, and get us some curry instead."
"Wait, Mr. Lister, maybe you should"
Before Kryten could finish, Lister activated the device. There was another blinding flash, but no BOOM this time around. Instead, once Kryten could see again, he spotted on the smashed remains of the desk a lovely, shimmering pair of pink silk pajama bottoms and a matching top.
"Well..." Lister bent over and picked up the garment in curiosity. A mischievous grin spread on his cherubic face. "I sure hope the poor bloke whom these belonged to doesnt have too much explaining to do at the moment!"
Kryten grabbed the rewired Time Drive away from Lister and tossed it into the garbage shoot.
_ _ _ _
Meanwhile, three billion and several centuries earlier in Los Angeles...
"Tem-ple-ton! I thought you were going to show me how lovely you looked in those jammies I bought you tonight!" Carlotta whined from where she sat in the Facemans latest scammed apartment. "Whats taking so long?"
"Uuuuuuh...nothing! Nothing at all, darling, Ill just be another...oh boy..."
_ _ _ _
Lister was no fool, though he often came across as one. However, when it came to the really important things in life like papadoms and vindaloo, he always prided himself on his ability to plan ahead. He had known in his head that Kryten would almost certainly do something half-bakedoh God, if he could only stop thinking of food, real food, not some repulsive recyc goo that Kryten kept trying to pass off as gastronomically acceptable. But enough whining for now; thered be time for that later. Looking furtively around, he reached into a hidey hole only he knew about and pulled out the spare rewired Time Drive and set it up. First, he twiddled some dials, then he placed the silk jammies in its vicinity and activated the device...
_ _ _ _
Many many centuries in the past, in the town of Los Angeles, also known as a center of culinary delights:
The smiling waiter approached the table where the handsome silver-haired gentleman sat with the beautiful dark-haired doctor. Hannibal Smith smiled into Maggie Sullivans eyes. The colonel began to speak, then started slightly as the waiter placed the steaming tray of shrimp vindaloo down next to the papadoms, dahl and sag aloo. "Thank you," the colonel said. He smiled at Maggie, then when the waiter had retreated a safe distance from the table reached for the vindaloo, saying, "Ive always thought that Indian food is the most erotic of all cuisines. Every taste: sweet, sour, salty, spicy...you name it, is..."
Just then, a pulsating, thrumming, shimmering light/noise/atmospheric disturbance opened above their heads and with a sound that reminded Smith somewhat of a really bad special effect from The Day the Earth Stood Still, the table, and all that deliciously erotic Indian food just <POOF> vanished.
_ _ _ _
Meanwhile, clean across town, in a luxury high-rise that catered exxxxxxclusively to the ever-present beautiful people (as long as they were on the A list of beautiful people, no B list beautiful people here, no siree):
Templeton "Faceman" Peck stood in the doorway to his recently scammed master bedroom suite and peered out towards the lovely and masterfully arranged living room suite where his beloved (at this moment anyway) Carlotta had artfully draped her gorgeous body across the divan, trailing a scarf (Carlotta, not Temp) seductively across the delicious swelling of her thigh. Gotta get a grip on this, Face thought as he nervously ran a hand across his chin. How am I gonna explain the cow to her, much less the missing silk pajamas...Oh, Murdocks gonna pay for this...I just know hes behind it...Frustrated, he yanked at a silky golden lock of hair and turned back to the bedroom just in time to see the cow vanish <POOF>.
_ _ _ _
Meanwhile, six miles away, Murdock was happily ensconced on his favorite couch in Dr. Richters office, explaining his latest nightmare to his favorite psychiatrist. "...the crowd was hot...the band was fired up...I went out there...and the crowd was going Born in the U.S.A., Born...I got out there and all I could do was Mooooo, the crowd was going Born in the U.S.A. and I was going Mooooo..."
Richter was never sure what happened next. When questioned by the authorities all he could remember was that suddenly a strong pulsating/thrumming/hum-ming atmospheric disturbance opened up above the couch and with a sound that reminded him of a bad special effect from Attack of the Killer Tomatoes the pilot just vanished and a brown and white Guernsey cow, needing to be milked, appeared on the couch in his place and began to Mooooo mournfully.
_ _ _ _
Meanwhile, back at the Ghandis Passage to India and All Points East Restaurant/Lounge:
Hannibal and Maggie leapt to their feet as their table and magnificently erotic meal vanished before their eyes. "Oh, Hannibal, what a great magic trick, I didnt..." Maggie began, but she was interrupted when a pair of tan pants, a T-shirt with a strange slogan on it, a plaid flannel shirt, a leather flight jacket, an extremely teensy red-and-yellow striped bikini undies with a pouch large enough for the well-endowed, and two black high-top Converse All Stars landed on her head, knocking her down with a thud.
"Maggie!" Hannibal bent to rescue his beloved from beneath the pile of somewhat eccentric clothing. "Oh my God!" he exclaimed. "These are still warm! Somethings happened to Murdock!" and he began to dig even more frantically through the pile.
_ _ _ _
Meanwhile, on our favorite futuristic vehicle:
Lister happily applied himself to the task of consuming the huge Indian meal that had appeared shortly after he activated the Time Drive...
Gotta hurry, he thought, before Kat smells the shrimp and wants some...
_ _ _ _
Once again in L.A. at a certain very exclusive high rise where only the A-list beautiful people are allowed:
Extremely relieved that the cow was now gone and all he had to do was come up with some little white lie about the whereabouts of the jammies, Face turned to Carlotta and said, "Why dont we talk about this someplace more comfortable. I can explain where the lovely pink silk jammies you gave me are, and I think youll be pleased at the wonderful use to which Ive put them."
With a self-assured smirk (for she was definitely one of the A-list beautiful people and was always truly aware of the effect her presence had on ordinary mortals), Carlotta rose from the divan and padded (some-thing like a large predatory cat) over to the bedroom where Face stood waiting with his hand outstretched in what he hoped was a classy, yet sexy, pose.
Grasping Faces hand, Carlotta pulled him into the bedroom behind her just as a loud whirring/ humming/siren-shrieking vortex opened over the bed and dumped one extremely good looking, 6-foot 2-inch tall, slightly eccentric (some would say crazy) pilot, dressed in the pink silk jammies.
"Oh, hi Faceman, these are a pretty good fit. Say, whos the Cruella DaVille lookalike?" Murdock babbled on, somewhat disoriented at having been summarily deposited in the middle of Facemans scammed king-size waterbed...
"Murdock?!" Face exclaimed in horror. Not that jammies werent a perfect fit and quite a stunning sight in all their shimmering, nearly translucent glory, but this was almost going to be more difficult to explain than the cow. Perhaps I have been spending too much time around Murdock and Im starting to hallucinate, he wondered to himself with dread.
Carlottas eyes bulged and her mouth dropped. She remembered what Templeton had just said: "I think youll be pleased at the wonderful use to which Ive put them." The hand that had been grasped in Faces now swung around to slap him harshly in the... well...face.
"If you think Im interested in joining you and your...your friend here in something kinky, well, youre just not the man I thought you were, Templeton!" And with that, Carlotta and her definitely A-list body stormed out of the bedroom, the door slamming behind her as she ignored Faces pleas to stay.
With an impatient sigh, he returned to the bedroom, determined to get to the bottom of this nightmare. Murdock was casually examining his profile in the full length mirror, obviously quite pleased with the view (as would have been this authoress, but that is neither here nor there). "Gee, wonder what got into her, Faceguy, huh? These are pretty nice; whered you get them? Can you buy me a pairmaybe in mauve, though. Pink really isnt my color, dont you agree?"
"I didnt buy them, Carlotta did. What are you doing here, Murdock?"
"The current girl of my dreams, who has just stormed out the door. What are you doing here, Murdock?"
"Oh, you mean Cruella. She seemed a little too uptight for you, Faceguy. Aw man, looktheres already a stain on the sleeve!" Murdock cried in dismay. Sniffing at it, he was unable to identify the offending source of the stain (rather just as well, considering it was something that the garment had picked up from its brief time lying on the floor of Listers quarters). "You think you can still return it for an exchange?"
"Murdock!" Face grabbed the pilot by his shoulders. The rather uncharacteristically unhinged look in Faces eyes surprised the pilot. "Listen to meI am not having a good night here. First the pajamas disappear and theres a cow in my bedroom. Then the cow disappears, I turn around, and youre here, in my pajamas. Now will you please tell me what is going on?"
"Yes, a cow."
"A real, honest-to-goodness, full-size cow."
"Yes! A real, honest to goodness, full-size cow."
"Was it alive?"
"Yes! A living, breathing, mooing, brown-and-white honest to goodness full-size cow."
Murdock considered this seriously for a moment the look of skepticism on his face infuriating the lieutenant further. "Look, dont tell me you can believe in invisible dogs, wee people, and talking lobster claws but you dont believe me when I say something ridiculous."
Murdock was about to say something in response when the phone rang. Face hesitated answering it. "Youd better checkit could be Farmer Brown looking for old Bessie," Murdock suggested.
Face grabbed the phone. "What?!" he answered impatiently.
"Faceits Hannibal. I think somethings happened to Murdock."
"Not yet, but Im about ready to kill him. Why?"
Hannibal paused, confused. "You mean, hes at your place? Great! Maggie and I will be right over. You can tell him we have his clothes."
"Hannibalwhat" before Face could continue Hannibal hang up. "All right, Murdock, what are Hannibal and Maggie doing with your clothes?!"
"Oh man, Faceguy, did anyone ever tell you how cute you are when youre mad?" Murdock walked over to Face and gently took the telephones receiver from him. Placing it back on the hook, he turned back to Face, invading the scammers personal space as he did so.
"Cute?! Is that all youve got to say for yourself? That Im cute?!" Face backed up a step, but Murdock closed the gap once again. This process continued for several seconds until Face had plastered his deliciously tight buns and delightfully sensuous shoulders to the wall.
"Yeah, cute. Id think you could do better than Cruella there," Murdock observed. Placing one sexy, long-fingered hand against the wall beside Faces left ear, he leaned forward, holding up the other arm. "Smell this, Im pretty sure she let someone else wear these jammies before she gave em to you."
Face, now intensely aware of the heat radiating from the pilots body, leaned forward and sniffed. "Um...I see what you mean..." He drew back a moment, then leaned forward again, this time to sniff the collar and lapel of the pink silk jammies, hanging so sexily from the pilots lanky body. "...But these parts smell like you, its just the sleeve...oh whoops!" Hed been so intent on sniffing the jammies that hed leaned a little too far into the pilot, causing them to overbalance...
_ _ _ _
Meanwhile, still at Ghandis Passage to India and All Points East Restaurant/Lounge:
"Um, Ive been thinking, Hannibal. Do we really have to return Murdocks clothes right away?" Maggie asked as she watched Hannibal absently stroking the satiny red and yellow striped bikini briefs. "I mean," she gulped, "we know hes all right since hes with Face and, well, those briefs are just so..." she paused, breathing deeply in an attempt to calm her racing heart.
Ive always looked good in red and yellow, Hannibal thought to himself. "Good point, Maggie. Lets make a quick stop by my place for a snack, since our food seems to have disappeared." He smiled, thankful that Murdock had recently become interested in edible underwear...
_ _ _ _
Many many centuries in the future:
Kat looked around and sniffed...Do I smell seafood?
_ _ _ _
Meanwhile, back in L.A. at the V.A. Psychiatric Hospital:
"What do you mean, that fools not here?" B.A. was beginning to get very agitated. Though he didnt usually show it, he was, in fact, smitten with the crazy pilot and definitely not happy to find out that H.M. had been replaced by a Guernsey cow. Im gonna hafta round up Hannibal; Murdock could be in trouble. With that thought, he stormed out of the V.A., climbed into his van and headed over to Hannibals place, where, unbeknownst to him, Hannibal and Maggie were just finishing their "light snack."
"Mmmmm, delicious," Maggie sighed contentedly and stretched. "But, I guess we should get dressed and take Murdocks clothes, or whats left of them," she snickered, "to him."
They had just finished dressing when the doorbell rang. "Oh, hi B.A., whats up?" Hannibal asked as the big guy stalked in.
"Do you know Murdocks missin? Crazy Fool! Been replaced by a cow." B.A. was obviously wound up tight. Unable to stand still, he stomped into the bedroom where he spied a scrap of cloth lying on the floor. "Hey, these are Murdocks!" he exclaimed, holding up a shred of the red and yellow striped edible underwear that had somehow escaped Maggies attentions. "What they doin here?" He was too upset to think about the consequences of admitting to Hannibal that he knew about Murdocks recent interest in edible undies. How could he? B.A. fumed, worried now about Murdocks disappearance from the V.A., and hurt to think that the crazy fool would have given the undies to Hannibal after he (B.A.) had spent so much time picking out the colors and flavors. I really thought he liked them. B.A. remembered the pilots delighted squeal as hed opened the present and saw the briefs laying there with the note that said, "Happy Birthday, Fool!"
"Well, B.A., we were sitting at Ghandis Passage to India and All Points East Restaurant/Lounge, getting ready to eat an erotic meal consisting of shrimp vindaloo, sag aloo, dahl and papadoms, when the whole table suddenly disappeared in a whirling/swirling/squealing vortex that sounded something like a bad special effect from Night of the Comet and Murdocks clothes landed on my head, knocking me down," Maggie patiently explained. "Since our food was gone and we were still hungry, we came back here for a snack, after Hannibal telephoned Face to let him know something had happened to Murdock. But Face said that Murdock was at his place, so of course we decided hes probably all right, though Hannibal did say that Face sounded pretty stressed out..." Maggie would have continued, but she was interrupted when both B.A. and Hannibal grabbed her arms and dragged her out the door to B.A.s van. "As I was saying, Face seems to get stressed out rather easily, and as the Teams phy-sician, Im going to recommend that he take a stress reduction course, perhaps get a little more exercise as well, thats a great stress reliever..." She continued to babble happily as they drove down the road toward Faces scammed A-list beautiful people only high rise.
_ _ _ _
Speaking of the A-list beautiful people high rise:
"Uh, Face..." Murdock spit out a lock of the silky golden blond hair that had fallen forward to land in his mouth when Face had fallen on top of him and tried again. "Face, are you comfortable there? I mean, we could find someplace softer than the floor...if thats what you want...if Id known all along how you felt, well..."
_ _ _ _
Meanwhile, back on board the Bug...
Kat opened his extra sensitive, fish-seeking nostrils wide. Yesdefinitely seafood. Seafood! And not just any seafoodno, no canned and processed tuna, or bland and over-broiled halibut was this. Shrimp! He definitely smelled shrimp.
Without even thinking it over he immediately put the Bug on auto-pilot, jumped out of the pilots seat, and took off with a hearty refrain of "Im gonna eat you little fishy"much to Krytens surprise and Rimmers annoyance.
"Whats gotten into that flea-brain now?" Rimmer demanded.
"I do not know, sir, but based on his singing, and his rather loud and persistent sniffing the moment before then, I would wager that...he smelled a fish?"
"Ever so incredibly observant as always, Kryten." Still, Rimmer gave the stale ship air a sniff as well, but despite the rather unusually large size of his own nostrils, he could not smell anythingwell, except for Listers favorite socks, which had been left to "air out" somewhere on ship near the heating ducts, and the stink had since permeated throughout the rest of Starbug. "You stay here, Im going to follow him. Lister must be up to something."
"Yes, sir, Im right on top of things, sir," Kryten answered, trying to hide his building anxiety (which was now at 85%) and apprehension (72% and rising rapidly) that Lister was indeed up to something something involving the Time Drive, no doubt.
_ _ _ _
Meanwhile, back at Facemans A-list place...where the temperature had definitely risen more than a few degrees...
"Uh, Murdock, maybe we oughtta take a breather...Hannibal and Maggie did say they were on their way...over...here..." Face tried to remember the rest of what he was going to say, but Murdock was making it rather difficult for him to concentrate at the moment. "Maybe wed better leave the bubble-bath until later tonight..."
"Spoil sport. Besides, Hannibal called over two hours ago...they probably got distracted themselves..." He wondered if theyd gotten inspired by the edible undies. Too bad he hadnt had the chance to show them to Faceman. Oh well, he decided, as long as they were put to good use, no real harm done..."Besides, the jammies are gonna be in the spin cycle another half-hour, and theres simply nothing decent for me to wear here!"
Well, Face decided, Murdock does have a point... and really, there were much more fun things to do than worry about the colonel and Maggie. "Okay, you go get the water running. Im going to order some delivery. All this intense physical activity suddenly is making me hungry. Any preferences?"
"Mmmm...how about Indian? Suddenly Ive got a cravin for some curry."
_ _ _ _
"Yyyyyyyyyyyyyyeow! Fishy, fishy, where are you, fishy?" Kat cried, his favorite personal-serving-size fishing net out and ready for some action. He followed the scent, which was leading him right back to Listers quarters. He was a little disappointed when the smell became clearer and it was not that of fresh, lively, happy swimming fishies, but rather of dead, boiled and currified Indian fishiesbut no real matter! When one had to live off Krytens goo for too long, Lister-style fish was better than no fish at all.
"Oh, Im gonna eat you little fishy, Im gonna eat you little fish. Im gonna eat you little fishy, cause I like eating fish!"
He was just beginning on his third round of the "Fishy Song" as he jumped, whirled and pounced into Listers quarters. There, he spotted Lister and a stack of empty, dirty dishes piled on the remaining mess that had been a desk the last time Kat had seen it.
Lister looked up when he heard Kat enter, letting the braid of hair hed been sucking some remnants of chutney out of drop from his mouth. "Smeg! Figured youd catch the scent before long. All right, Kat, what are you up for? Maybe if I move to the next table this time, Ill get us some red snapper with white wine sauce and a side of samosas."
"What is that?" Kat asked, gliding over to where Lister stood with the rewired extra bits from the Time Drive. The Kats limited brain power (except when it came to matters of the three holy FsFish, Fashion and Females) did not connect the device to the one which had led them only days ago to the Texas Book Depository on Listers last curry hunt.
"Its erm, just somethin I was throwin to-gether, yknow, a little gizmo to grab things from the past and bring them ere. Been havin a bit of trouble gettin it to behave right, thoughI cant seem to find the Charsford House of Curry. First time I got a cow, and second time I got some really wicked jammies. I tried to send the jammies back, but ended up with this naked ravin lunatic instead! At least e arrived with some vindaloo, so my settings cant be too far off. So I gave him the jammies, apologized and sent im back I hope to wherever e came from, but who the smeg knows. Anyway, I was just gettin ready to give it another go."
Kat frowned and folded his armscarefully, so as not to crease his perfectly pressed purple-and-gold suit (complete with to-die-for gemstone cufflinks and braided trim). "I aint quite followin you, bud, but if youre sayin you can get us some fish, Im all for it!" He began another chorus of the "Fishy Song" and danced around Lister to show his enthusiasm. Lister tried not to become distracted as he programmed the Time Drive to send back the dirty dishes (he hoped) to the restaurant (he hoped) to get another tables worth of Indian food (he hoped). He never even noticed when Rimmer arrived, saw the device in Listers hands, and in a fit of fury began charging at his least favorite last-living-human-in-the-universe. Unfortunately, in his rage Rimmer never noticed Kat, who was too busy dancing around to notice that he was about to smash into Rimmer. The two collided with a "Listy you smeg-head!" and an "I like eating fishyeow!" and fell together onto the pile of dirty dishes. Unfortunately, Lister noticed this just as he had activated the Drive, and before he could even yell out "Smegging smeggy hell!" there was a flash, a rumbling horrible noise sort of like one he remembered from Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, and they were gone.
...And he was now face-to-face with a rather large, angry black man dripping in gold chains and definitely not looking as if he was happy to be there. His trembling right hand was clutching a scrap of what looked to Lister to be...edible underpants?!
"Oh smeg," Lister muttered to himself. And this guy didnt even bring me any vindaloo.
_ _ _ _
20th century L.A.:
The van veered sharply to the left as a swirling/ pulsating/psychedelic vortex opened above the drivers seat, and with a noise that Hannibal and Maggie both later said reminded them of the sounds some of the Roller Derby queens used to make when theyd get slammed against the rails, B.A. disappeared and was replaced by two very strange (for 20th century Earth at least) individuals. Fortunately, Kat had the presence of mind to grab the steering wheel, preventing a collision with the tractor trailer in the left lane.
"Uh...Hannibal, I dont want to alarm you, but these two look like they could be characters out of the Rocky Horror Picture Show," Maggie whispered.
"Yeah, and that ones stolen Faces wardrobe," Hannibal whispered back while pointing at Kat.
"I so dont want to believe this is happening..." Rimmer sniffed loudly and sat back against the seat with a thunk.
_ _ _ _
Back at the A-list high rise, things were going quite well, at least as far as Murdock and Face were concerned:
"Oh Face, my favorite, Papaya and Guava scented bubble bath...hhhhhmmmm..." Murdock happily breathed in the heavenly aroma. "Can we eat in the tub when the curry gets here?"
"Sure thing, darlin." Face smiled and bent forward to nibble the pilots ear. "But how about we have some more fun first...itll be about twenty more minutes before dinner gets here..." He reached for the pilots hand and led him toward the scammed master bedroom. "After all, you did point out that the floor was kinda hard; lets try something a little softer, shall we, my sweet?"
"We can do anything you want, babe," Murdock sighed happily.
The extremely handsome and sexy pilot and the oh so good-looking and sensuous lieutenant had just collapsed onto the bed and were being gently rocked by the wave action when a swirling vortex opened above the bathtubhowever, it is unknown whether there were any sounds associated with it since there was no one in the bathroom at the time (sort of like that problem about the tree falling in the woods).
Listers dirty dishes gradually sank to the bottom of the tub, leaving a small area of open water as the only indicator that something had disturbed the soft, bubbly peaks. Within seconds, new bubbles had formed, obliterating all evidence of the recent intrusion, as they rose again to form soft peaks billowing well above the tubs rim.
"Uh...Murdock...mmmmmm...Murdock. Stop for a second...Did you hear something in the bathroom?"
"Oh, come on Faceman, why you gotta spoil a perfectly luscious moment like this?" Murdock asked as the waterbeds wave action intensified.
Untangling himself from Murdocks embrace, Face got out of bed. "Shhhhh...Im sure I heard something." He smiled sheepishly a moment later, after hed looked into the bathroom and seen nothing but a bathtub full of bubbles. "Must have been the waterbed making that splashing noise."
_ _ _ _
Things were not going so well on Starbug, at least as far as Lister was concerned.
"Vindaloo!...Ill vindaloo you...Wheres Murdock?"
"Uh...Do you always run around with your psyche in such a twist?" Lister quickly retreated behind the splintery remains of the desk. "Im the one who hasnt had a decent meal in, well, except for that shrimp vindaloo, sag aloo, dahl and papadoms that I just finished, but after all Ive been through, suffering near starvation, having to face Krytens concoctions, well, that Indian meal just scratched the surface. What I really need is some good curry...Say, are you going to eat that?" He pointed to the last remaining scrap of Murdocks edible underwear which B.A. was now clutching tightly to his chest. "What flavor is it, any-way?" He continued to maneuver around the small cabin. One more step, and Ill have him, then its just a matter of flipping the switch to send him back where he came from. Right!
B.A. gasped as he was sucked into a shimmering vortex. Just then, he felt a tug as the babbling fool grabbed the last remaining piece of Murdocks edible undies and yanked. He yanked back and just before he was spit out of the vortex, he heard a ripping sound and he was left holding an even smaller piece of the red and yellow striped fabric than hed started with.
_ _ _ _
At the A-list high rise:
"Dinners here!" Face paid the delivery person and included a generous tip, then carried the paper cartons into the bathroom. Dropping his robe, he called out, "Come on Murdock, before everything gets cold."
The two men had just settled in for a long soak with Face reclining luxuriously against Murdocks delightfully furry chest, when Murdock stretched his leg toward the end of the tub and banged his toe on something. "Uh, Faceman, not to complain or any-thing, but did you check out the tub before you scammed this place? I mean, theres a pile of stuff down there at the foot of the tub, and look at that oily sheen."
"Lets worry about that later, kay darlin? Right now, I just want to enjoy this moment with you. Here, have some curry." Face picked up a carton, fished out a chunk of lamb curry and twisted toward Murdock, intending to pop the morsel into the pilots mouth, when suddenly, a roiling/boiling/smoky/witches caul-dron like vortex opened above the tub and with a sound that both men would later describe as being very like the one they imagined would come from the mouth of the figure in Edvard Munchs painting The Scream, the dirty dishes on which Murdock had stubbed his toe dissapeared, along with the curry dinner, and in their place was deposited one very distraught, naked B.A., still clutching the scrap of edible underwear.
"Oh hi, B.A. Look, Face, B.A. brought dessert."
_ _ _ _
"Who the hell are you?" Hannibal demanded of the two strangers who had appeared in the van. The one had a strange "H" tattoo or something on his fore-head and a terrible scowl on the rest of his face. The otherthe one who was dressed even more spiffily than Face at his most outrageous, was busy trying to get up close and personal with Maggie while driving.
"I was just about to ask you the same question, matie," the one with the "H" answered. Drawing himself up in his seat, he commenced with a quick half-Rimmer salute and introduced himself as "Arnold J. Rimmer, Second Technician. And tuna-breath over there in the drivers seat is a pile of raging male hormones we simply call Kat."
"...And momma, let me tell you, youve got all my hormones ragin and all six of my nipples standing at attention," Kat purred to Maggie, who quickly tried to slink away from him. "Hey, where are we going, anyway?" he asked, as the van swerved dangerously around the highway.
"Why dont you just pull over to the side of the road until we can straighten out whats going on?" Hannibal suggested, before turning back to the one called Rimmer. "Hannibal Smith, Colonel," he identified himself, which forced Rimmer to salute him again, this time with a full double-Rimmer display. Hannibal had no idea what this guy was doingif he was having some sort of weird spasm or somethingso he thought best to try to ignore it. "And the lovely lady is my girlfriend" stressed that for Kats sake, "Maggie Sullivan."
In short time, Kat swerved the van off to the side of the road and stopped it suddenly, causing everyone to jerk forward in their seats and causing Rimmer to nearly land in Hannibals lap. "First a question if I may, Colonel," Rimmer began solicitously, always at his fawning best in the presence of someone of higher rank than himself. "Might I inquire, sir, where exactly we are, and what year it is?"
Hannibal frowned. "This is Los Angeles, 1984. Why?"
"That smeghead," Rimmer muttered under his breath. He was just starting to open his mouth to attempt some explanation when a swirling, rumbling vortex which sounded not a bit like a tie-fighter rushing by opened over their heads in the van. Hannibal and Maggie were becoming used to this, so they just watched and wondered who or what would appear next as Rimmer and Kat were sucked up into it.
The vortex closed, and in its wake, they were left with a pile of clothes and jewelry that appeared to belong to B.A.along with Face and Murdocks take-out curry dinner.
"Oooh, Hannibal, lookits more Indian food! This must be to make up for the meal that was stolen from us earlier!" Maggie cried in excitement.
"I wonder what happened to B.A.?" Hannibal asked, picking through the jewelry and finding no signs of the sergeant underneath.
"Why dont we forget about him for a while. Remember, we had Murdocks clothes earlier, and they just disappeared. And apparently Murdock is fine now. So lets eat this food now before it disappears again."
"Maggie, sounds like a plan to me," Hannibal agreed. He hopped into the drivers seat and got back on the highway, quickly finding the first exit. There was a small public park near the exit, so they stopped the van and had a lovely picnic dinner under the moonlight.
"Mmmm, Hannibal...remember how we were talking about how erotic Indian food is? Think maybe we could go back to your place again and call it a night?"
"Shouldnt we at least check on Face and Murdock, and see if anythings happened to B.A. and his clothes?"
"Nah, somehow I think all of this craziness will simply work itself out in the end."
_ _ _ _
"B.A., dont just stand there gettin all goose-bumpy, come on inthe waters nice and warmeven if its a little oily..." Murdock suggested helpfully.
"Fool! Whats goin on? And...my clothes! My gold!!" B.A. shrieked.
"Dont worry, B.A., weird things have been going on all night," Face explained, nonplused until he noticed their curry was gone. "Oh rats! B.A., why dont you calm down, grab a robe, and go order us some more food."
"What happened to my gold!!" B.A. roared again, forgetting about all else. "That sucka with the rasta hair is gonna pay if he took my gold!"
"You met Lister too, B.A.? Nice guy, he was the one who gave me Facemans jammies."
"Suckas gonna pay...gotta find my gold!" B.A. declared, storming out of the bathroom and forgetting all else for the moment. A few moments later they heard the apartment door slam shut.
Face raised an eyebrow and looked over to Murdock. "I hope he at least remembered to put on some clothes."
"I hope he just comes back with some food," Murdock added.
_ _ _ _
Somewhere in Ohio...
Farmer Daniel Barnes searched his field in the middle of the night, calling for Martaone of his prize heifersto come inside before the thunderstorm hit.
"Marta! Marta ol girl, come on, now!" he called again, but there was no reply. He was growing worried, because all the other cows were accounted for. Maybe it was one of those weird cattle mutilations by aliens, he mused, growing even more upset. Suddenly, a strange rumbling vortex opened up overhead and he was transfixed, terrified...unable to move as there was a sudden crackle and flash of light and the sky looked like something out of Ghostbusters.
"Marta!" he exclaimed, as magically the brown and white cow appeared before him and the vortex closed.
"Mooooooo!" the cow cried back.
The farmer was so happy at the return of his cow that he didnt even notice the strange attire that had suddenly replaced the old coveralls hed been wearing.
_ _ _ _
Back at the Gandhis Passage to India and All Points East Restaurant, Colonel Roderick Decker was just sitting down for a quiet late evening dinner with his favorite companion after a disappointing day.
"Its too bad that lead didnt pan out about the A-Team, sir," Captain Crane said, opening his menu.
"There will be other leads, other days to catch Colonel Smith, Captain," Decker responded. Then he added, with a slightly odd glimmer in his eyes, "Did you know, Captain, that Indian food is considered by many to be one of the most erotic cuisines of the world?"
Cranes eyes opened wide. "Sir...?"
At exactly that moment, a strange rumbling/roar-ing/thunderous noise shook the restaurant, sending some of the diners to drop for cover on the floor. Then with a snap, a crackle and a pop that really bore no resemblance to the sound of Rice Crispies in milk, a pile of dirty dishes fell out of the air and landed on Decker and Cranes table.
Somehow, Decker just knew Hannibal Smith was responsible for this.
_ _ _ _
Back on board the bug:
"All right, Listy, from the toplets go through every single smeggy thing youve done today and figure out how severely you messed up the time line." Rimmer was standing over the innocent-faced Dave Lister, joined by a most distressed Kryten and a rather annoyed Kat.
"Okay, okay, okay. It started with the cow. I got a cow from somewhere, sent it back, changed the settings quite a bit, and got a pair of pink jammies. I tried to send the jammies back, but they didnt leave, and I just got this naked skinny guy instead. I gave im the jammies, sent em both back somewhere, and finally got a mess of Indian food like I wanted from the start.
"Then I tried to send the dirty dishes back, but thats when you and Kat came in ere, collided, and got set back in time and space. And this big, angry naked guy chased me all around, clutchin a scrap of edible undies." Lister picked at his back teeth, where the last of the undies was stuck. "I didnt change a single damn smegging thing on the Drive this timehardly, at leastand I got you guys back."
"Except my clothes, bud! These make me look worse than when I was Dwane Dibbley!" Kat cried, indicating his dirty old farmers overalls, plaid workshirt, and worn old boots. "If I dont take a bath and change back into something stylish in the next two minutes, Im gonna start feelin un-beautiful!"
"All right, Kat, youre free to go preen. Old Davey-boy and I have some more talking to do," Rim-mer said. The Kat leapt out of his chair and tore off to his chambers. Rimmer gloated down at Lister. "Well, well, well, Listy. Cant even leave you under Ship Arrest for two days before you start causing more trouble, is that it?"
"Its the Time Drive," Lister sighed. "Its just too smegging tempting."
"But sir, dont you remember? I thought we already discussed how each time we use the Driveor any components from itwe bring ourselves closer to becoming like our dreaded future selves?" Kryten pleaded. "Do you want to see Mr. Rimmer turn into a fat, even more pompous piece of fawning scum?"
"Wait a minute" Rimmer interrupted.
"Actually..." Lister started, but Kryten cut him off.
"Do you want to see yourself reduced to being nothing more than a blob of neural tissue floating a specimen jar? I know I certainly dont want to see thatnor myself, reduced to wearing baby-blue leisure suits and that terrible toupeeyeeeugh!"
"Okay, okay, I get the picture," Lister sighed wearily. "I just wanted some curry. Is that too much for a bloke to ask for? Just a little smegging currya popadom or two, and some lager, every now and then, just to make life worth living."
"Dont worry, Mr. Lister, somewhere out there, Im sure theres a curry waiting with your name on it. Dont give up hope!" Kryten encouraged. "Well find it, if we ever catch up with the Red Dwarf again. This should give us more incentive than ever to try to find our lost ship."
"I wonder if there was any connection between the things and people I pulled forward in time today," Lis-ter mused. "The second naked guy seemed to know the first naked guy. Maybe theres some weird relativity dynamics involved with the Drive...maybe somehow we were actually helping the past somehow... bringing certain people together...maybe my quest for curry wasnt as dangerous as you two want to make it out to be." Lister looked up at them hopefully, but received only disapproving stares in return.
"Just give up the Time Drivewhatever scraps of it are left," Rimmer demanded. "Give it up, and Ill only increase your Ship Arrest sentence by two weeks. I dont care about any relativity mumbo-jumbo, especially hearing it from someone who never even once even attempted to study engineering for the officers exam!"
Lister sighed. "Okay, fine." He got up, and dropped the backup rewired drive into the trash shootleaving it to drift somewhere out in space, along with the first one that Kryten had trashed after the cow and the jammies. "You happy now?"
Rimmer smiled. "Why yes. Because the only thing that gives me pleasure in my death is making you unhappy. All right, Kryters, back to the bridge. Toodle-rooni, Listy!" Rimmer cried cheerily. Kryten looked at Lister with a miserable expression and Lister just shrugged.
"Please, Mr. Lister-sirno more of this Time Drive foolery nowI cant take this much stress on my circuits! You did toss out every last bit of the equipment now, didnt you?"
"Of course, Kryten! You know you can trust me."
"I know no such thing, Mr. Lister-sir, and thats what worries me."
After everyone had left, Lister plopped down on his bed with a sigh. At least hed gotten one good meal out of the days mischiefand that was worth the two weeks extra detention. Besides, it gave him all the more time without distractions to go over the blue-prints hed started constructing on how to make a new Time Drive from scratch...