Act I: Pleased To Meet Me
“So much for a slow night,” Spike muttered to himself. Instinctively, his face shifted to its vampiric form. But he noticed he wasn’t the only one looking for a piece of this stranger. He crouched and waited for the right moment.
At the center of the bar, the second, taller Rimmer was fending off five attackers with little effort. Finally, Lister broke through, sneaking up behind the visitor and laying into his back with a metal folding chair. Unfortunately, the only thing it knocked over was his cigar. But at least, Spike noticed, it got a reaction.
“I guess you watch wrestling in every
dimension, eh, Lister?” the stranger asked, as he started to turn around. “Don’t you know it’s all fake?” The next voice Lister heard was Spike’s.
Lister ducked in time to see his blond friend lunge at the other Rimmer like a cat … and hit the side of the bar like a brick. Now no one stood between this other Arnie and the one slouched over on the floor. And what’s wrong with Blondie’s face?
“If you’re all quite done, I think it’s time you let me explain,” the visitor said, walking toward his drunken double and picking him up gingerly. “I’m Ace Rimmer. You know, Guardian of the Universe. One day, Drinky McPukerson here will be, too. I’m here to make sure he gets that chance.”
As Spike picked himself up and reverted to human form, Lister’s shock turned to recognition.
“You’re him! The guy that blasted into the office that one day!” Dave said, before the look reverted to shock. “But wait … you’re really him? Him?
” He pointed at Arnie.
“You’re me?” Arnold asked, upright but still seeing through beer goggles. “Both of you? But you’re …”
“Cool? Yeah, I get that a lot,” Ace said. “You will, too, if Count Chocula here lets me do my job.” The vampire and the mail clerk came closer to the Rimmers.
“Oh, excuse me for taking offense when some ponce on a star-scooter threatens my life – while I’m having tequila!” Spike huffed back. “But what do you mean, make sure Skippy gets his chance?”
“We have to get out of here first,” Ace answered tersely, dragging Arnie toward his bike. “I had a head start on it, but lost it pissing about with you all.” Spike was used to his gut clenching upon hearing things like that, but the feeling was new for Dave.
“Head start on what?” Lister asked, haltingly.
A side wall exploded in a blast of laser fire, cutting down the final few people trying to escape the bar, and sending the Rimmers for cover behind Ace’s motorcycle as Spike dove again, getting Lister out of harm’s way. They got up a few seconds later, as the smoke cleared to reveal yet another, even larger Rimmer. A very long, very silent five seconds passed before the next person spoke.
“You just had
do asshk, dinchu?” Arnold yelled at Lister.