<SNIP>Seymour, Wolfgang, Queen Britney and Baby Alota re-materialised seconds later in a smoking crater and found themselves staring at the mangled hunk of metal that remained of the blue dwarf they then noticed however they were not alone as they could clearly see the familiar shapes of Lester and Efof close by.</SNIP>
'You should prepare yourself,' Lester's voice carried on the wind, 'my blue friend, there will, in all likelihood, not be any survivors, but there may be remains.'
'That's ok,' they heard Efof reply, 'I'll just wait up here until you've done whatever it is you want to do.'
'You're taking this rather well for someone who has just lost his ship.'
'It's wierd isn't it?' Efof agreed, 'you'd think I'd be more upset about losing the only home I have left. I mean the guy I thought was my friend tried to have me burned at the stake and now potentially I have nowhere to go, no friends or family.'
'Not to mention the total destruction of the promenade,' Lester commented over his shoulder.
Efof began to whine, then sob, eventually he curled up on the ground and started to howl and keen like a dog with its tail caught in mangle. Lester crouched beside him.
'There there,' he said, adding after an awkward pause, 'there.'
'The laundrette is gone!' Efof cried, the tears pouring down his face, 'I loved that laundrette!'
'I see,' Lester became aware that several figures were coming closer.
'I used to spend hours watching the tumble-dryers,' Efof snivelled, 'round and round, round and round.' He began to drift off, pulling his knees up under him and rocking, 'no more laundrette. No more fabric softener.'
'Seymour?' Lester rose from the whimpering alien and approached the Ambassador with genuine affection, 'Seymour!' He wrapped his arms around both Seymour and baby Alota and embraced them warmly in a solid hug.
'Hello?' Seymour managed. Then he began to speak slowly: 'my. Name. Is. Seymour. I. Don't. Believe. We've. Met.'
'Ah Seymour,' Lester said releasing him and tickling Alota under the chin, 'your name is Seymour Niples and you once spent an hour in a photo-u-kwik booth in a hotel lobby because your friend had told you it was an upmarket strip-show booth.'
Seymour stared in horror, 'that's an absolute lie!' He snapped, then his upper-lip stopped quivering and he carefully adjusted his grip on Alota so that he could cover her ears and hissed: 'who told you that?'
'You did,' Lester grinned, 'over champagne and caviar in your private quarters.' He bowed elaborately with a flourish of his metallic hand. 'Lester Seventeen-Dot-Phelps at your service.'
Seymour eyed him much as if he had just extracted a live dolphin from his own ear then sighed. 'You really are Lester?'
'Only your well... the Lester I know he uh... he um.. um...'
'Has less of a tan?' Lester smiled and turned to the Queen. 'Your majesty,' he said and bowed again, ending with a kiss to the hand. 'Beautiful as ever I see,' Brittany opened her mouth to speak, 'no, sadly your Majesty I am impoverished still. Sorry.'
Seymour gaped: 'what are you doing here?'
'That's an excellent question,' Lester said, snapping his fingers. 'I need scavengers.'
'Scavengers?' Seymour repeated, 'no I mean: what are you doing here. why aren't you the Lester I know? Is he dead? Good smegging God, are you a Time Lord? You haven't regenerated or something have you?'
Lester glared hard at Seymour for a moment then sighed, 'yes, I'm a Time Lord. Shall we hop in the TARDIS and fight the Daleks? Or shall we be a bit more realistic?'
Efof had recovered enough to join them.
'Ah, Efof Yuwan'Kar,' Seymour said grandiosely, 'may I present Her Majesty Queen Brittany of the United Kingdom and British Commonwealth.'
'Oh, hey, how you doing?' Efof shrugged.
'How you doing?' Seymour began to splutter but Lester snapped his fingers commandingly.
'Seymour, focus,' he said with an edge to his voice, 'I need parts.'
'Body parts,' Lester said and started to climb down into the crater.
'Excuse me! Your attention if you please!' The voice was high-pitched, slightly irritating and heavily accented. Lester regarded this strange man in his smart uniform with somethign approaching bafflement'As Health and Safety Officer for the JMC ship Blue Dwarf I must object,' Wolfgang continued admonishingly, 'manhandling corpses or parts thereof is considered unhygenic, not to mention immoral.'
Lester regarded him, looking him up and down slowly, getting the size of him. Then he suddenly leaped sideways, grabbed something from under a sheet of metal, scooped it up and hurled it to Wolfgang.
The Health and Safety officer attempted to catch it, fumbled, dropped the object, then bent down to pick it up again. It was, indeed a body part. A slender arm that was sliced off at the elbow at which point cables and tubes hung limply from the joint. 'Robots?'
'Mechanoids,' Lester said, 'we have a feeling we'll need them.'
'What do you mean?'
'J-just f-find as m-many bits as you can,' Lester snapped, sounding completely different.
Queen Brittany gaped: 'it's you?'
'Yes, your Majesty,' Lester bowed again, 'now would you like to get your beautiful bottom down here and help me find as many parts of as many robots as you can?'
They searched together, except for Wolfgang who moved from person to person, hopping carefully between the piles of wreckage offering advice and assistance whether it was wanted or not. In addition to the staggeringly huge crater, the actual component pieces of the Blue Dwarf had been scattered over many miles. They kept to a smaller area and picked their way around the girders and twisted deck plates.
Seymour had realised, with some relief, that either the impact of the Blue Dwarf had completely incinerated its occupants, or the ship had been empty when it crashed. So far, apart from charred robot remains, he had yet to find any ghoulish limbs or simliar.
The going was slow, especially as everyone had to keep coming back to Lester who was perched on half an engine intake cowling rummaging through what they had brought him. He talked to himself almost constantly as he worked with a screwdriver, but as the hours went past, something was quite clearly forming under his hands. Seymour would stop his scavenge occasionally to watch him.
Despite the obvious physical difference, this was clearly the same man with whom he had rescued Queen Brittany. He had that bizarre split-personality thing, but where his Lester had snarled and berated his other self, this one clearly embraced the tag-along personality. Seymour's knowledge of multi-universe theory was patchy at best, but he found himself vaguely wondering what differences in their lives seperated and define them.
He moved his gaze from watching Lester over to Wolfgang, currently arguing with Efof about the best way to lift a heavy object.
'Knees bent, spine straight,' Wolfgang was telling him as sternly as possible.
Seymour's gaze continued over to Brittany, who hadn't objected at all to the sexist assumption that she would happily play with Alota. Seymour smiled as he watched them together. Despite her manner, she was certainly a pleasant young lady and there could be worse people to hold the crown of Britain. She also seemed to be very good with children. Seymour wondered what sort of wife she would make...
No, he shook his head, that would be inappropriate to the highest degree. His job, as Seymour saw it, was to ensure that she married someone suitable and gave up all this gallavanting about.
By now Efof and Wolfgang were sitting on the splintered rocks that dotted about the wreckage and were deep in discussion about the differing methods of lifting when you have extra limbs and a need to protect your forehead from sudden impact. Lester was sitting with bits of robot and mechanism in his lap, Brittany was sitting with Alota.
'Why am I the only one working?' He said angrily.
'Because you're a dedicated and committed individual,' Lester said without looking up. 'But we're running out of time. Don't you think you should get a move on?' He held up something technical: 'see if you can find me another one of these.'
Seymour's mouth opened and closed so much he looked like a goldfish in the middle of a stroke. With nothing constructive to say he turned back to his work, quietly seething. He was interrupted from his glowering and muttering by a chirp from another section of the wrecked ship.
'You!' Seymour couldn't hide his annoyance as he greeted SNIDE. 'What do you want?'
SNIDE reached back, behind the panel it was standing on and hauled up an almost exact copy of the component Lester had been asking for.
'SNIDE!' Seymour exclaimed happily, 'that's brilliant! Let me have it.'
There was loud "PANG!" as the robot part bounced off Seymour's forehead. Quite clearly, Seymour thought as he keeled over backwards, it was going to be a long day.
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