Act I: Hello, Baby, Hello
“You’ve gotta be kidding me,” Spike said upon seeing the craft, before pulling a smoke out of his satchel. Spike was sure the ship was smaller than anything he’d ever seen on Star Trek.
And painted a hideous shade of green.
“No joke,” Gunn answered, pointing out the NO SMOKING sign in the hangar. “Doctor Scott says this baby can take us where no man – nor demon – has gone before.” Spike scowled and shelved the unlit cigarette.
From the control room, Scott explained via intercom that the four-person shuttle, though small, was designed for better mileage and speed than anything NASA had ever put together.
“We call it Starbug,
” he said proudly after explaining the schematics.
“More like a Space Pinto,” Spike muttered, earning him a poke in the ribs from Winifred.
The maiden crew was assembled easily: Gunn’s enhanced intelligence allowed him to understand the ship, making him the pilot; Wesley would go in order to cast the trigger spell that would alert Fred, Dr. Scott and the 12 assembled clerics at the hangar to open a return portal, in effect yanking on the tether to get them home. Wesley and Fred shared a brief kiss before he joined Gunn onboard.
“Right, then, warp factor five and all that,” Spike said, turning toward the ship’s entrance before Angel cut him off.
“No way,” the office head said, before getting cut off by his cel phone. It was Amy, Harmony’s temporary replacement. Spike knew what she was telling him, and resumed his path.
“That meeting’s today?” Angel said into the receiver. “Are you sure they can’t reschedule?” He closed the phone angrily seconds later, settling the issue. With a grin, Spike waved goodbye from the ship’s cockpit. And reminded himself he owed the temp a drink.
The clerics gathered around the small ship and locked hands. With a nod from Wesley, they chanted for half a minute, until Spacebug vanished in a flash.
“Maybe they’ll trade Spike for Harmony,” Angel said idly. Fred rolled her eyes, before noticing something was off … She turned to her boss.
“Hey, where’s Lorne?” she asked.
The best thing about his android buddy, Dave Lister thought aboard Red Dwarf, was how agreeable he was to even the oddest requests. Even if it meant dragging what looked like a dead woman onboard.
“Let’s use the tractor beam,” he urged Kryten. Kind of cute,
he thought of the strange discovery. In a
Neighbours-reject kind of way.
“Maybe it’s another cat,” The Cat suggested hopefully. In the 20 minutes since the ship’s computer, Holly, detected the blonde life form, he’d put on a new suit, brushed his fangs and was currently slicking back his hair. Again. Finally,
he thought, somebody who’ll appreciate how good I look!
“Dave, I don’t detect any life signs,” Holly pointed out. “Are you sure you want to do this? I mean, she probably doesn’t even have any money on her.”
“We have to. Dead or not, this is the first person we’ve seen since Rimmer left,” Lister answered, before noticing his feline friend eyeing him. “Well, if she is human, anyway.” A few seconds later, Holly confirmed the life form was safely aboard, though unconscious. The boys decided to leave her in the detox chamber for the time being; it gave them more time to clean up the ship.
The Captain noticed Red Dwarf
’s capture from the safety of his quarters – and his ship’s cloaking device. He pressed a button to signal the helm. They were to maintain pace with the alien vessel and close in slowly, before taking it, and what – whom – he considered his by right.
More than a century ago, Spike recalled, when he was still a human boy named William, he used to sit outside his London flat with his mother, watching the stars and asking what kind of wonders lay among them. As Starbug
left the portal, he wondered if any children back home were having those types of talks. Of course, he didn’t share that with the blokes sitting in front of him; it’d damage his reputation.
The rest of the crew was just as deep in thought, until they heard a familiar voice coming from behind Spike.
“Is it safe yet?” Lorne asked upon entering the bridge, wiping his mouth with his hankie. “Oh, and uh, you may want to watch your step. My breakfast came out for a curtain call a few minutes ago.” He sat down besides Spike, who handed out shot glasses and opened his bag.
“Didn’t think this crate would have a mini-bar, so I came prepared,” Spike explained, pouring tequila into each glass.
“Not me, I’m driving,” Gunn protested weakly.
“You should drink more than any of us,” Spike teased. “It’ll make this space cop pull us over. You know, bring him to us.” Gunn had to chuckle at that, and took his glass, setting the cruise control. After quick toasts to space, and to being on the road again, the lawyer decided he had to set some ground rules before getting something off his chest.
“You all know whatever happens on the road stays on the road, right?” he asked the group. They all nodded affirmatively. “Good,” Gunn added, before launching into “We Sail The Ocean Blue,” one of the showtunes he got in his memory upgrade.
Lorne joined in at the second verse, then, surprisingly, Wesley two verses later. If it
stays on the road …,
Spike reasoned … Ahoy! Ahoy! The balls whistle free
Ahoy! Ahoy! O’er the bright blue sea,
We stand to our guns, to our guns all day.
As Spike joined the group in song, Gunn suddenly remembered to forget about one of Dr. Scott’s installments to the ship.