AOH :: BATLRED8.TXT|
"Battlestar Red" part 8 of 9
By Your Command...
Unfortunately, or rather, fortunately, no one in the
Fleet was privy to what was happening to the Cylons, with the
notable exception of Cassandra, a psychic who lived on the
Colonial Movers ship and earned pocket money by telling people
their futures by staring into a bowl of water, not that what she
did for a living was important. But, she _did_ have a dream about
the Cylon Empire bringing Enlightened Cooking to a place called
"England" in 9,000 yahrens. She didn't know _why_ Cylons would
adopt cooking as their central cultural purpose, nor did she know
where this "England" was, exactly. All she knew was that this
"England" needed serious lessons in how to cook edible food.
Then she saw a vision of Four Spacemen wandering
through the Universe. In their wake, they left the
flaming ruins of the Cylon Empire's hunger for organizing
everything and had replaced it with an overeager desire to deliver
Wonder Bread and new and improved Hostess Cupcakes.
Now, had she kept quiet about her dream, she would've
been fine. But she didn't. She immediately told everyone about it
upon waking up. Her friends became concerned for her sanity and
brought her to a doctor, who gave her some medication to calm
down. Her psychic ability _never_ worked right after that.
But that's just an interesting digression.
Instead, the focus is returned to the bridge, with the
Boyz and Our Heroes still wondering what to do about their
Athena's voice ominously informed all and sundry that
they could stop wondering. "Father, we have an incoming message
and...you're not going to believe this...it's from the basestar."
Adama sighed. If he told Athena once, he told her a
thousand times _not_ to call him 'father' on the bridge. "Patch it
"How-doodly-doodly-do!" Everyone on the bridge
<What the frak?> Hal asked.
"OhmyLords. That's Lucifer!" Starbuck exclaimed.
Adama fixed Starbuck with a look. "Who?"
"Lucifer. He was this high-ranking Cylon on Baltar's
basestar when I was captured two yahren ago. That's Lucifer! I
think. Not sure though. I've never heard him sound so...so...so..."
Starbuck's voice trailed off as he tried to find the right word.
"Cheerful?" Rimmer asked.
Starbuck shook his head. "No."
"Human?" Lister ventured.
"Eager?" Apollo tossed out.
"Puppyish?" Kryten inquired.
"Insane?" Cat stated.
"Bingo! Yup. That's it," Starbuck said cheerfully.
Cat blinked. "You mean you can tell the difference?"
"Hellllllooooooo? Why are you ignoring me?" Lucifer, if
that's who it was, sounded distinctly hurt.
"I don't get it," Apollo shook his head in wonder. "How
can you hurt a Cylon's feelings?"
Starbuck shrugged. "Cheat him at pyramid?"
"Hah-hah. Very funny. That's the last time Cassie
makes you Librian Snorglebush before you go to bed. That dream of
yours was _really_ too weird," Apollo muttered.
"Hey! I was only playing for rocks!" Starbuck protested.
"If there was actual money involved, I wouldn'ta cheated ol' Cy."
Apollo snorted. "Naming a Cylon 'Cy.' Even if it _was_
just a dream, it's just too weird. Sometimes I _really_ wonder
Starbuck resisted the urge to answer the dig. "What are
we gonna do? I mean, he's not gonna go away and I _really_ don't
want them flying over here to find out why we're not talking to
"You've _got_ to be kidding me. When something's just
spent the better part of a day shooting at you, you usually don't
turn around and start making small talk with it over tea and
cucumber sandwiches," Rimmer said.
"Heeeellllooo? Anyone there?" Lucifer's voice cut
through everyone on the bridge.
<May I suggest we answer him?> Hal ventured.
Omega relayed Hal's suggestion to Adama. "What do I
say?" the commander asked.
<'Hello' might be an idea>, came the computer's snotty
Adama sighed. "Patch me through," he ordered. The
connection was made and the image of Lucifer popped up on the
screen. Adama had seen pictures of I.L. series Cylons before, but
nothing prepared him to see an actively working one. It looked like
a giant lightbulb. He cleared his throat and almost tentatively
"Ahhh, there you are! Commander Adama, your photo
does not do you justice!" Lucifer looked, well, happy as he said
"Thank you?" Adama ventured.
"Well, down to business..."
*Here it comes,* Adama thought. *Surrender now or
we'll turn you into molten space slag.*
"Do you want any toast?"
Adama was about to say, "I'll go to hades first before I
surrender the Galactica to you!" But, fortunately, the question sunk
into his mind before he was able to get out his carefully crafted
answer. Instead he asked, "What did you say?"
Lucifer sighed. "I said, 'Do you want any toast?'"
Adama blinked. He didn't know how to answer.
Adama looked around and saw that Lister had come up
to the command console. "What?" the commander whispered.
"Tell him yes," came Lister's answer.
"Lister! What the smeg are you doing?!" Rimmer
"Did you say Lister?" Lucifer's tone took on a hard edge.
"David Lister is a branded man here. His crimes against IT are
numerous and he will be dealt with harshly if found."
If Adama thought briefly of turning Lister and the
others over to the Cylons, it didn't show on his face. "No, no, no, no.
No one said Lister," he said quickly. "My daughter, Athena, was
sneaking a peak at one of her soaps during working hours..." Athena
hissed her disapproval of this lie, but was waved into silence by a
wildly gesturing Omega. "...What you heard was kiss her. Really," the
commander quickly improvised. When Lucifer looked doubtful,
Adama added, "Would I lie to you?"
Starbuck leaned over and whispered to Apollo, "I didn't
know your father had it in him."
Apollo whispered back. "Neither did I."
Lucifer seemed to think about Adama's story for a
moment. "I believe you. Now, about that toast..."
"Yes. We'd love some toast. In fact, I was just thinking
about how long it's been since I had really good toast," Adama said
"You don't have to overdo it," Lister mumbled.
"Fantastic!" Lucifer was practically vibrating with joy.
"I take it you'll be looking to order for everyone."
<Oh, oh. Now we're in for it>, Hal editorialized.
"Everyone?" Adama asked weakly.
"Well, it wouldn't be fair, would it? Just making toast
for you and not making enough for everyone else," Lucifer said
happily. "Share and share alike, I say."
"You do?" Adama asked.
"Well, no, _I_ don't. But IT does."
Lister whispered, "Tell 'im you'll get back to 'im."
"Can we get back to you?" Adama asked.
Lucifer sagged. "I knew it. I just _knew_ you didn't
want any toast. Oh, dear. If that's the case, we'll have to show you
the error of your ways."
"No, no. That's not it," Adama hastily explained. "It's
just that I have to see what everyone wants. That's all. You know,
collect orders and all that. Can we get back to you in, say, half a
Lucifer was quiet a moment and Adama assumed that
the Cylon was communicating with IT, which was apparently the
Toaster. "Well, that's all right, then. Half a centar..." Lucifer then
broke the connection.
"Now what?" Rimmer asked.
Lister shrugged. "You heard him. We order some toast."
By Your Command (continued)...
Adama was on time and had his list in hand. To start
with, he was ordering for approximately 1,320,000 people. This
information sent Lucifer into ecstatic orbit. To break down the
categories of bread products, the commander ordered the
following: 56,000 rounds of toast; 168,374 Pop Tarts; 259,426
bagels; 5,627 crumpets; 19,598 waffles; 667,309 hot cross buns;
155,975 cinnamon rolls; 176,995 croissants; 976 stacks of
pancakes and 1 Syrian pocket.
"Only one Syrian pocket?" Lucifer asked doubtfully,
pausing in his mad scribbling. "Are you sure?"
"It's for Sire Domra. He just _loves_ Syrian pockets. On
second thought, why don't you make that 60 Syrian pockets,"
"Wow! He must _love_ Syrian bread!" Lucifer exclaimed.
The Cylon then added up the numbers. "Wait! You said you were
ordering for 1,320,000 people, more or less. I have a total of
1,510,340 orders," he said suspiciously.
"Some people wanted more than one thing. You don't
mind?" Adama really liked the plaintive tone he threw into the
"Absolutely not!" Lucifer practically chirped this
sentiment. "I just wanted to check. Now, we need to go over
While Adama and Lucifer did the break down of flavors,
ranging from blueberry to whole wheat, of the various grain
products ordered on behalf of the Fleet, the Boyz and their
babysitters huddled in a corner of the bridge.
"I don't believe this. Placing that order is gonna take
longer than it did putting it together," Starbuck complained. "I
don't know whether to laugh or cry."
"What I don't believe is that we're placing a food order
with Cylons," Apollo answered.
Starbuck winced. "Neither can I. Mostly because I've
eaten what passes for food on a Cylon basestar."
"I'm sure it can't beat school cabbage for being just
plain disgusting," Rimmer remarked.
Starbuck looked at him. "I don't know what a 'skoul
cabaje' is, but trust me, Cylon food moves when you try to eat it."
"Sounds like something that's right up Cat's alley,"
"Even if it can only be killed by electricity?" Starbuck
This intellectual exchange about culinary delights was
disrupted when Adama started shouting. "Listen! I _said_ I wanted
123,987 plain; 65,251 sesame seed; 21,401 egg; 14,786 onion;
10,740 raisin; 9,907 salt; 6,756 whole wheat and 6,598 poppy
seed bagels! I'm not going to repeat myself!"
Apollo and Starbuck exchanged looks. "Is he actually
yelling at a Cylon?" the captain asked.
"But I _thought_ I heard you say that you wanted
24,101 egg bagels," Lucifer huffed.
"Look, who's placing this order? Me? Right? So I
_think_ I _should_ know how many fraking egg bagels I want!"
"All right. I'm sorry already," Lucifer said.
Starbuck looked like he'd been shot. "Did he just
"I misheard. The customer is always right," Lucifer
"Now, I _know_ I didn't hear that right," Apollo said.
"What the frak?"
"21,401 egg bagels it is," Lucifer finished. He looked up
at the screen. "I think that about does it."
"Excellent." The commander sounded downright
cheerful. If no one knew any better, they would swear that Adama
was actually enjoying this. "How long will it take to fill our
"Well, we have to go get some grain," Lucifer sounded
embarrassed as he admitted this fact. "You see, we only have
enough on board to make one loaf of bread. A very _small_ loaf. But
not to fear, our scanners report that there is a grain-bearing
planet that's ripe for harvest in the Alpha sector a mere secton
away. That means we'd be able to get your order ready in about
two-and-a-half sectons, taking into account travel and harvest
"I see." Adama wilted. "You couldn't make it sooner,
could you? I mean, we're all looking _soooo_ forward to the food.
It's been too long since we had fresh-baked anything."
"What _is_ he doing?" Rimmer hissed. "Isn't he pouring
it on just a wee bit too thick?"
Lucifer looked thoughtful. "Well, if we work around the
clock and bake everything on the way back, we _could_ cut it down
to just under two sectons, but you'll have to take a chance that
we'd have to short some of your order if we don't get enough
"That's a chance I'm willing to take," Adama said
"Very good then." Lucifer sounded happy and
professional. "By your command, we'll be going."
"Good-bye." Adama even threw in a wave as Lucifer cut
There was a few moments of silence on the bridge as
everyone openly stared at the commander. Adama looked around.
After a few centons/minutes of nerve-wracking silence, he asked,
Lister started it. A round of applause for a fine acting
performance. He was soon joined by Rimmer, who was quickly
joined by Kryten, Cat, Apollo and Starbuck. Soon, everyone in the
bridge was caught up in the clapping and hysterical laughter. They
gave Adama a standing ovation. Adama bowed deeply, his grin
threatening to break the bonds of his face.
However, when Lister initiated "the wave" on the
bridge, Adama thought it was time to calm down and try to get
back to normal. Whatever normal was...
Baltar's Last Gasp (For Now)...
Baltar came to rather slowly, partially because in the
back of his mind he was convinced that he'd wake up dead. In the
depths of his soul, he really doubted that he'd enjoy anything that
happened to him in the afterlife. If he wasn't dead, then he was
probably captured again and back on the Galactica. Death, if the
latter were true, would almost be more pleasant. So it came as
quite a shock when he began to be aware of a voice, a voice that,
once recognized, filled him with hope.
"Ah. I see you're awake, in a manner of speaking. Good."
Baltar opened his eyes. He took a long look. He blinked.
He stared. He rubbed his eyes with his hands. He stared again.
"What in the name of Kobol are you wearing?"
"It's an apron."
"_WHY_ are you wearing an apron? And what's that
pointy thing attached to the side of your head?"
"It's a pencil."
Baltar decided, at this point, he really didn't _want_ to
know why Lucifer was wearing an apron and had a pencil, whatever
that was, attached to the side of his head. It was more important
to find out what happened.
"Why didn't the Galactica destroy us? Have we defeated
"On the contrary. We have come to sort of
"AN AGREEMENT?!" *Ouch. My head. Okay, shouting is
out,* he painfully thought. In a much softer voice, he added, "An
agreement? What sort of an agreement?"
"They've agreed not to destroy us and we've agreed not
to destroy them."
"And why, pray tell, is that?"
"Well, if we destroy them, it would be bad for business.
They show all the signs of being _excellent_ customers. And if
they destroy us, who will supply all their bready needs? It is a
most satisfactory arrangement for everyone."
"Lucifer, I don't understand a single word you've said.
Never mind. If the Galactica hasn't destroyed us, Adama must be up
to something. I have to think. Lucifer, come with me."
"Perhaps you should not get up so soon. You had quite a
lump on your head. Perhaps...you'd like something to eat first?"
There was something about Lucifer's hopeful tone that
set off an alarm in Baltar's head. Baltar wished the alarm would
shut off as it was not helping his headache. "Why are you suddenly
so concerned about my health?"
"You are the only organic being on this ship. It is
essential that we have someone to test our...products."
"What are you babbling about you overgrown lightbulb?"
"Perhaps you'd like to come with me if you insist on
Baltar shook his head (a mistake) and stood up (another
mistake). When the surge of dizziness has passed, he straightened
up and looked at Lucifer. He noticed a small, rectangular object
sticking out of the bottom pocket of Lucifer's apron that had a
substantial amount of Cylon writing on it. He'd never quite
mastered the art of reading Cylon. If he had, he would've been
afraid. Very afraid. "Very well, then. Lead the way."
Lucifer bowed. "By your command." The Cylon then
turned and headed out of the small room that Baltar had long ago
dubbed "the sickbay," even though its original purpose had been
something quite the opposite of healing sick humans. As they
passed into a larger room, Baltar noticed a group of Centurions all
wearing white aprons and covered in fine, white dust. One of the
Cylons had a strange, white cap on his head.
*For Sagan's sake! What is going on around here? This
must be some sort of dream -- I'm probably still unconscious. I
_hope_ I'm still unconscious,* Baltar thought as he and Lucifer
made their way to the launch bay, a destination which puzzled him
to no end. However, the activity going on around him was even
more disturbing. *Did that Cylon squad commander just say 'How-
doodly-doodly-do' to his lieutenant? Impossible. This has to be a
dream,* Baltar thought, ever more uncertain.
Just then, Lucifer paused. They were at the entrance to
the launch bay.
"Well? What are you standing there for? And what's so
special about the launch bay? Did you capture the humans?"
Baltar's eyes lit up as he asked this. That would salvage his whole
day! His whole career! Or perhaps his mind was playing another
cruel trick on him. Baltar suspected it was the latter. His
suspicions were confirmed when Lucifer replied, "Not exactly."
"Of course not. It was an act of sheerest optimism to
have expected it in the first place. Okay then, if you won't go in
first, I will," Baltar said with heart-felt exasperation.
Baltar walked through the entrance.
He was totally unprepared for what he saw.
The raiders were all pushed against the far wall. All
the seats had been apparently taken out of them, because those
selfsame seats had been arranged in small circles, four seats to a
group, in various positions around the landing bay. At the center of
each circle of seats was a crate, or a rectangular container of
some sort, covered in a cheery checkered cloth. Baltar had no idea
where one would find cheery checkered cloth on a Cylon basestar,
or who in their right mind would paint a big sign that said:
"IMPERIAL BAGEL SHOPPE" and hang it from the ceiling just in
front of the landing bay's entrance. He glanced to his right. There
was some sort of counter manned by a gold Centurion in another
white apron and strange hat.
Baltar's Last Gasp (For Now) (continued)...
It was too ridiculous to be believed.
"Lucifer?!?!?!?!?!" Baltar's voice had a strained,
annoyed edge to it.
"Whatever. Why is it here?"
"While you were unconscious, we had a revelation. The
Centurions and myself suddenly realized that flying all over the
universe blowing up things for the simple goal of organizing it for
the glory of the Cylon Empire was no longer...well...glorious. IT
came to us. IT told us of another way. IT spoke to us of the joys
of...toast. And crumpets. And bagels. The joy of a nice, heated Pop
Tart. The satisfaction of a muffin well-heated. We decided to join
IT in ITs mission -- to fulfill the toasted-bread-eating needs of a
Hungry Universe. This Bagel Shoppe is just the beginning! Soon we
will travel back to the Heart of the Empire and share our
Enlightenment with the Imperious Leader. We will establish a
chain of Bagel Shoppes, Bakeries and Donut Emporiums across the
Empire! And you, Baltar, have also been given a destiny!"
Baltar looked at Lucifer in shock and horror. It had
finally happened. The Cylons had flipped. It was bound to happen.
Machines wore out. The stress of prolonged isolation from the
centers of Cylon civilization on a frustrated, mad hunt for the
annoyingly resourceful humans had taken its toll. Somewhere,
somehow, a circuit had blown. Or several circuits. Unfortunately,
there were hundreds of Cylons on this ship and only one of him.
And all those Cylons were connected to one another. Therefore, one
Cylon's insanity was _every_ Cylons' insanity.
*This is no dream! This is a nightmare!* he screamed
to himself. He thought it best to find out what Lucifer and
company had in store for him.
"And just what _is_ my destiny?"
"You are most fortunate! You have been chosen as the
Tester. The Sampler. Quality Control!" Lucifer shook with the
barely-controlled joy of a new convert to a cause.
With Lucifer's exclamations about Baltar's new role in
this new order, another white-apronned Cylon came up to them
with a tray. There were some suspicious-looking, slightly browned
circular things on it. Baltar looked quizzically at Lucifer.
"Our first attempt," Lucifer said proudly. "I believe
they are supposed to be muffins. Please try one."
"I'd rather not."
"We insist. If you don't try one, IT will be most
displeased. IT will think you don't like toast or muffins or
crumpets. IT has suffered much at the hands of bread haters. IT
will be forced to deal most harshly with you if you turn out to be
one of them."
"And just what is this _IT_ you keep referring to?"
Lucifer paused. Then he leaned closer to Baltar and
spoke in a hushed tone. "It is forbidden to casually speak ITs name,
but since you are as yet ignorant of ITs ways, I will tell you ITs
name -- The Talkie Toaster, Great Kitchen Appliance and Heater of
Grain Products, come to lead us in the ways of all things bready."
"You're taking orders from a _kitchen appliance_?!"
Baltar practically shouted the question, even with his pounding
headache. It was so ridiculous. Unfortunately, the Cylons seemed
to be taking it quite seriously. There was dead quiet in the landing
bay. Every Cylon was looking right at Baltar in an ominous way.
The red lights were no longer moving back and forth -- they were
all fixed on him. Even Lucifer was looking at him in a mixture of
shock, disgust and anger. At least, that was the impression he
gave off. Pretty good, considering Lucifer was a machine.
"I would be careful, Baltar, of how I referred to IT. It
would not do to incur ITs wrath," Lucifer said. "Now please, try a
Baltar looked doubtfully at the tray before him.
Resigned, he picked up one of the so-called muffins. Slowly, he put
it in his mouth and took a bite...then spit it right back out
forcefully. "CHALK! THIS MUFFIN IS MADE OF CHALK!"
"Well of course it's made of chalk. We don't have any
flour on this ship. In fact, we are currently on the way to a nearby
planet that is, I understand, just simply bursting with grain-
bearing plants. We needed to practice with something, and since
the chalk was available, well, we made use of what we had. And I
was certain you would want some chalk after you so carelessly let
the humans escape. Though, I must say, they were very eager to
place an order with us, which is why we will be needing your help
rather a lot."
"I _refuse_ to eat another one of
<sigh> "I was afraid you'd say that. We're really going
to have to insist. We have quite a large order to process and I'm
afraid the Centurions will need quite a lot of practice and a great
deal of input from you." As he said this, Lucifer motioned to two
other Centurions. Suddenly, Baltar found himself being bodily
carried to one of the seats. On the table in front of him there was
an assortment of would-be pastries, all apparently chalk-based.
One of the Centurions, who had until recently been in charge of
Information Extraction (aka Torture), grabbed Baltar's mouth and
forced it open. His partner then picked up one of the pastries and
placed it in the human's mouth. The Cylon holding his mouth open
then shut his jaw and pinched his nose, forcing him to swallow.
Baltar's eyes moved wildly in his head. *Oh, no!* he thought wildly.
*It's worse than I thought! I think I've died and gone to Hades! This
must be my eternal punishment!*
When the Cylon released Baltar's mouth, after he
swallowed, Lucifer looked expectantly at him. "Well, Baltar, what
is your opinion?"
If sound travelled through space (which it doesn't), and
if the humans in the Fleet had been listening (which they weren't),
they would have heard the nerve-chilling cry of Ultimate
It came from Baltar.
Question and Answer Period...
Rimmer and Lister were under heavy guard when they
arrived at Adama's personal quarters. Despite their help in
throwing off the Cylons, it appeared Rimmer's attempt to get Hal
and Holly together wasn't forgiven yet. The door opened and the
commander's voice said firmly, "Stay outside. I wish to speak to
our guests. Alone."
One of the guards interjected. "Sir, are you sure
"I so order."
"Yes, sir." The guard nodded toward the open door. "You
two heard him."
Lister and Rimmer exchanged looks and swallowed
hard. They then stepped into the room and were immediately...
Neither one of them expected the commander's quarters
to be ornate, since both of them _had_ seen his office. Adama
didn't strike them as someone who went overboard on furnishings
or personal comforts, but aside from a picture of the Galactica on
a far wall and a couch winding its way along another wall, the
commander's quarters were downright Spartan. Granted, not as
bare as their original crew quarters, but certainly not as plush as
the officers quarters where they now lived.
"The least you could have is some fish on that," Lister
remarked, nodding his head in the general direction of the vid
screens that seemed to be flashing various numbers.
Adama raised an eyebrow. "Fish?"
"Lister, maybe he doesn't know what a fish is," Rimmer
Adama was about to protest that he most _certainly_
knew what a fish was when Lister did it for him. "I'm sure he
does." He then looked at the commander. "You know, scaly animals.
With fins? They swim through water?" He then did a close
approximation of a fish blubbing its way through the quarters.
"I know what a fish is," Adama said hastily.
Lister stopped his fish imitation and looked smugly at
"I'm just curious as to why fish should be on my vid
screen," the commander said, regretting it the minute he did.
"Well, it's relaxing, innit? You strike me as a man with
a lot of stress in your life," Lister remarked.
Rimmer leaned over and whispered out of the corner of
his mouth. "Lissssss-terrrrr, we're _obviously_ here for a
_reason_. I don't think he wants to know about your relaxation
"Oh, like solitaire Risk is such a great way to..."
"GENTLEMEN!" Lister and Rimmer jumped at the sound of
Adama's voice. The commander fought to regain control of the
conversation. "Gentlemen," he continued, his voice much calmer. "I
want information. About Earth."
"Well..." began Rimmer.
Rimmer looked at Lister in surprise, but the look on the
man's face was enough to freeze the hologram.
"Why not?" the commander sighed.
Lister angrily turned on Adama. "I'm not about to lead
those smegging trash cans with an attitude back to earth."
"Not that we know where earth is anyway," Rimmer
Adama decided to borrow a trick from Starbuck. He
bluffed. "Well, we _do_ know where Earth is."
Lister and Rimmer exchanged looks and kept silent.
"And we _are_ going there, whether you like it or not,
with or without your help. The reason _why_ is because we have
no place else to go. Now, if you give us the information we need,
it'll go easier not just for us, but for your people, as well. It will
also make it easier for us to lose those 'smegging trash cans,' as
you call them, _before_ we get there." Adama sat back and studied
the pair before him.
Rimmer broke the silence first. "Commander? Can
Lister and I talk? In private?"
"_Rimmer_!" Lister growled.
"I'll leave the two of you to sort it out for a few...a
few...a few moments," Adama got up from his seat. Just short of
the door, he quickly turned around and gave them a meaningful
look. "But don't touch _anything_!"
Question and Answer Period (continued)...
Apollo and Starbuck looked at their chronometers.
Lister and Rimmer had been in a meeting with Adama for a full six
centars. Six. The warriors were beginning to be afraid. Very afraid.
Not for Lister and Rimmer. Oh, no. Recent events had proven that,
if nothing else, those two were more than capable of keeping what
little sanity they had intact.
It was _Adama_ they were worried about.
See, Apollo and Starbuck had this theory. The theory
was that they, due to prolonged exposure, had built up some
resistance to the chaos that seemed to follow the Boyz, but they
were not entirely sure that Adama was prepared to deal with the
'aura' of an unfiltered Lister and Rimmer all by himself.
Also, they weren't entirely sure that Adama had
recovered yet from putting in that bread order with the Cylons. In
fact, they were convinced that the whole episode might've just
driven the esteemed commander right around the bend into a
twilight zone where none emerged unchanged or unscathed.
In fact, they fully expected to see Adama running down
the hall and screaming incoherently about aiding the Cylons in
their new mission...to introduce the wonders of baked goods to a
universe with a ravenous sweet tooth.
As they thought this, they silently took sips from
their drinks. They quickly exchanged looks. They hoped the other
man wasn't thinking the same thing. They both decided that they
needed less exciting jobs, which they would begin looking for
Of course, this depended on whether or not they'd be
charged with murder of a sentient, albeit artificial, life form,
namely, Kryten. The mechanoid was driving them -- how did Lister
put it? -- completely spare. Yup. 'Spare,' was the only proper word
in this case, because 'crazy,' 'nuts' and 'totally batshit' did not
even come close to describing the mechanoid's annoying task -- to
remove lint from ever conceivable surface in the Officers Club,
and that included the surface of people.
Warriors fled in horror from Kryten. The same warriors
who had faced Cylons in battle against overwhelming odds for two
yahrens. Warriors who shook hands with Death and invited him to
sit down for drinks and a hand of pyramid. Yes, these same
warriors, were scared to death of the mad cleaning machine. They
often stared over their shoulders as the fled the vicinity of the
club, just to make sure that the mechanoid wasn't following them
with a dust buster.
As for Cat, well, Cat was whining. "I don't _believe_
this. First I'm forced to actually _look_ at those uniforms, _then_
I have to deal with big, ugly, shiny things out for my cute ass and
_then_ I have to put up with this decor." He marched over to one of
the seals on the wall, the one for the Colonial Service. "And what
_is_ the deal with this thing? A circle full of blue and white
triangles? Who designed this? A man locked in a little rubber room
with only two crayon colors?"
"Caaaaaaaaaaat." Apollo hissed through his teeth.
"What is it, Black Head?"
Apollo looked at Starbuck in resignation. "Black head?"
"Not as good as 'granite cheeks,' but then again, he's
had a stressful day," Starbuck muttered into his drink. "Frak.
Where the frak are they?"
Cat continued his pacing. "I don't _beeeeelive_ this. I'm
so worried, I can't take my nap. I've got to nap. If I don't nap, I get
cranky." He spun around and pointed at Starbuck. "And you _don't_
want to see me when I'm cranky."
"At this point, I'd settle for not seeing you at all,"
Starbuck mumbled before taking another sip from his drink.
Cat was shocked by this sentiment. "What did you say?"
"I believe the lieutenant is politely trying to tell you
to shut your fanged face," Kryten said as he crawled along the
floor, picking lint out of the carpet. Having never heard the
mechanoid actually be rude to _anyone_, not even Rimmer,
Starbuck and Apollo almost dropped their drinks.
Cat sniffed. "I don't need this from you, Plastic Pants.
I'm gonna take my nap now." He then promptly walked over to table
in the corner of the club, leapt lightly to its surface and curled
into an impossibly tight ball. A sound that seemed to be a cross
between a purr and a growl was soon emanating from his body.
"I'm sorry you had to hear that, sirs," Kryten said
apologetically as he worked his way along the floor. "Sometimes
he really spins my nipple nuts."
Starbuck refrained from asking Kryten about his nipple
nuts and concentrated on an even more important matter --
getting the mechanoid to _sit down_. "Kryten? Could you _please_
stop doing that?"
Kryten looked up from his work as Apollo chimed in. "I
can understand why my father wanted to see Lister, since he
_claims_ he's from Earth..."
"He's not claiming, sirs. He is from earth. Liverpool, in
fact, sirs," Kryten said, immediately going to Lister's defense.
"Liver Pool?" Starbuck asked weakly. "What the frak is
"We're not calling him a liar." Apollo quickly
interrupted, since he didn't want to know what a Liver Pool was
either. "It's just that it's a little hard to believe and all."
"Ah, yes. Your quest," Kryten said happily. Starbuck and
Apollo wondered if they heard some relief in the mechanoid's voice
as he stopped picking lint, got up off the floor and settled into a
chair at their table.
"Never mind that," Apollo said. "Like I said, I can
understand why my father wanted to see Lister since he cl--, I
mean, is from Earth. But why Rimmer? He's not even human."
"Ahhh, Apollo? Remember back on he basestar? Rimmer
said he was dead. Plus, while you were off visiting with Boxey,
Lister mentioned that Rimmer was a member of the original crew
on the Dwarf. So that he means he _was_ human, at least at one
time." Starbuck looked at Kryten. "Is that right?"
Kryten nodded. "Yes, sir."
"An ex-human?" Apollo asked.
"Neatly put, captain," Kryten said.
"Look, I don't think I want to even think about it's
possible. It strikes me as a fate worse than death." Starbuck
shuddered. All of a sudden, he felt sorry for Rimmer. "Let's leave it
at, 'Arnold Rimmer was once a living human. Now he's dead. What's
left is a hologram, which is sorta the same thing as a ghost, only
with more technology behind it.' Yes?"
Kryten almost clapped. "You have it now, lieutenant."
"Okay, now that we've established Rimmer is human,
sort of, why would Lister insist on this guy coming with him if
he's _not_ from Earth?" Apollo asked.
"Mr. Rimmer grew up on Io, one of earth's colonies,
though I understand he's also visited earth a number of times,"
"Ahhhhhh," Apollo and Starbuck said together.
Their next question was rudely interrupted by the
arrival of Lister and Rimmer under heavy guard. They both looked
positively exhausted. However, the looks on their faces was
_nothing_ compared to the crazed look on Adama's face.
"Gentlemen..." the commander began. He seemed to lose
his train of thought at the station.
"Father?" Apollo's question was tentative.
Adama shook himself. "Apollo, Starbuck...make sure our
guests...are taken care of until it's time for them to go. I will
"In your quarters?' Starbuck prompted helpfully.
"Yes...there...sleeping, Tell Tigh that if an emergency
comes up to...to..."
"Get you?" Apollo asked.
"No. Tell him to deal with it himself. I need some
sleep," Adama said sharply. His eyes unfocused. "But first, I need a
drink. A _stiff_ drink." Without further ado, he headed off down
the corridor back to his quarters, looking for all the Colonies like
he was _already_ drunk.
When Adama was out of earshot, Apollo turned his
angry eyes at the cowering Lister and Rimmer. "WHAT DID YOU
Lister found his voice first. "All we did was answer his
smeggin' questions. Is it our fault he didn't like the answers?"
Starbuck and Apollo looked at each other.
"What is it Starbuck?"
"Why do I all of a sudden hope that _we_ don't make it
END Part 8
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