Plague rats

“Don’t the rest of us get a choice in the matter?” Jelena demanded
Gritting her teeth, Cass closed her eyes for a few seconds and sighed
“Sure – Let’s have a vote” she said brightly after a moment “We can either hang around here and get killed, or we can escape while we have the chance and live a life of fun and adventure travelling through time”
She paused to look around the group; Stevens’ gasps for breath the only sound in the room
“Who’s up for what?”
<end snip>

Where: Drive room

“Jolly good idea, lets have a vote.” Seymour said. “All in favour of abandoning Mr Chrysler to certain death, raise your hands.” Everyone exchanged awkward glances. But that's when Seymour stared at the time drive device in Cass' hands. It allowed them to go anywhere, at any time. If they could figure out how to use it, they could go back home, 3 million years ago. But that's not what Seymour was thinking. Somewhere, his daughter was lost and alone, trapped on the Red Dwarf, drifting into outer space. If he could get the device working, that's what he'd do.
He raised his hand.
“You've changed your tune!” Said Cass.
“Yes... ahh... well.... you see, I just thought we could look for Alota. Mr Chrysler is probably going to be fine anyway. The old chap has got out of worse. He even cheated death. So I propose we figure out how that device works, even if it means asking Mr uncooperative over there.” He pointed to Stevens, who was sat against the far wall with his hands tied,. He rolled his eyes at them.

“I've already been interrogating him!” Cass said.
“Ahh yes, but unsuccessfully.” Said Seymour. “You see, he's a prisoner of war, and as such should be treated with respect, how else can we get him to respect us?”
Cass screwed her face up with scepticism.

Seymour nodded to Efof to follow him, and asked him to take out his laser pistol. “Let's play good cop bad cop, eh? Like in an old noir detective film.” He pushed himself over to their STCP prisoner.
“So, Mr Stevens, I trust we're treating you well?” Seymour said.
“Sod off you four-wheeled ponce.” Replied Stevens.
Seymour's face went red with rage. “Why you ungrateful ruffian! Okay, Efof, time for bad cop worse cop!” Seymour ran over Stevens' hand with his wheelchair, making him howl.

“Efof, I'm going to count to 3. If he doesn't help us, I want you to shoot him, yes?” As he said this, Seymour winked to Efof, hoping he'd understand the threat as a bluff.
Efof nodded.
“Stevens, I want you to program this for our time. The time we came from.” He extended the device to him, keeping hold of it so the man couldn't snatch it and use it to escape.
“No.” Stevens said.
“1”. Seymour started counting. “My four-armed blue friend here is very proficient at using a laser.”
“Are you sure? He doesn't look proficient at anything?” Efof was juggling the laser between his hands until he almost dropped it. Seymour scowled at him and Efof stopped.
“2”. Seymour said. “Running out of time Stevens. We'll let you go if you help us.”
He shook his head.
“3. Final chance to-”

Efof fired and vaporised him. In his final second he screamed in pain before his skin was nothing more than floating ash.
“EFOF!” Seymour screeched. “Why did you do that?!”
“You told me to!”
“I winked at you. It was a bluff! I didn't expect you to murder him! How are we going to program the device now?!” Seymour turned the device over in his hands, the buttons and display were incomprehensible.
“Why don't just jab things at random?” Efof suggested.
“Oh splendid.” Seymour said sarcastically. “Is that what you do when you're sitting at the navigation console, just press things at random? I feel so safe knowing that that you're doing a professional job”.
“How else do you know what things do if you don't try them?” Efof said, completely candidly.

Seymour shook his head and looked down at the device in his hands. He thought about how much he really wanted to find his daughter. With the power of time and space, he could go back and find her just after she disappeared, saving her the many years of loneliness she must have spent on an unknown spaceship.

“Let me try.” Efof said, holding out one of his four arms. “I'm good with technology.”
“Absolutely not!” Seymour snatched it to his chest. “You're good at jabbing buttons and pulling triggers, which might or might not result in someone's death. I'll do it myself.”

Nearby, Cass was just about to object but Seymour was already using the device.
“It can't be dreadfully difficult, just enter a date and some spacial coordinates and...” He pressed the largest of the buttons on the small device and it started to glow.
“Spiffing!” Seymour grinned and waited for them all to disappear in a glow of temporal energy. But the only thing that disappeared was the drive from his hand.
“What? It's gone! It disappeared! Where to?”
“Probably to the time and place you set, idiot.” Said Cass. “You're supposed to increase the area of influence.”
“Ahh.... erm.... well. I um... I meant to do that!”
“You did?”
“Yes, I meant to get rid of that infernal machine, it was the one thing stopping us from thinking straight. Too much temptation, when we should be focussing on the task in hand. We should be rescuing Mr Chrysler!”
“Oh ok.” Said Efof, but he was the only one convinced.

It took them a few minutes to equip themselves with weapons and make their way down to the ramscoop tunnel, where the front of the Blue Dwarf had crashed through to the interior of the STCP's HQ.

Davie saw them and saluted, laying covering fire towards the ancient soldiers. “Stay back!” He said, just as a spear was launched at them. It hit Justin (still in Jelena's body), and passed through his softlight form, embedding into the ground just behind him.
“I've been penetrated!” He giggled. Beside him, Jelena didn't look pleased, and wanted her body back.
“There's just one remaining.” said Davie, pointing to an area behind some rubble and a dead elephant. They could just see the leapard skin headdress of a Carthaginian soldier ducking out of sight.
“I'll handle this.” Said Justin, standing atop the elephant corpse and massaged his boobs together like he was kneading bread. He made a face like he was blowing on an invisible trumpet, which he thought looked sexy.
The ancient solder looked so confused that he didn't notice Alex get behind and shoot him.

“I want my body back NOW!” Jelena said, and dragged Justin back into the ship, and the others continued into the STCP base.

Seymour ordered Alex to push his wheelchair over the rubble and wreckage. As he did, he looked around at the bent and twisted metal. “Oh there isn't too much damage. We should be able to reverse out of here just fine.”

“Not really.” Said Cass, pointing upwards. “One of the ramscoop pylons has wrapped around that column. If we reverse it'll rip the front of the ship off.”
“Oh we can free that with a welding torch.” Seymour said, speaking as if he knew the first thing about engineering. “Now let's find Mr Chrysler and Febuggure.”

The corridor they were in ran adjacent to a large room with glass walls. Most of the glass had been shattered in the crash, allowing them to walk straight inside. Vials of liquids and substances had been smashed and were leaking onto the floor. Slumped in the corner was a man wearing the same STCP uniform they'd seen.

“I say old chap, can you direct us to where you'd possibly be detaining a small child by the name of... what did Mr Chrysler say he was called? Maximilian? And possibly his mother and father who came to rescue him?”

The man looked up slowly, exposing his face which they could now see fully. It was covered in dark buboes and painful looking welts.
Everyone immediately took a step back. “Ugh, it looks like he's got some sort of plague!” Seymour said, wheeling himself out of the room quickly.
“Not just any plague.” Said Cass. “The bubonic plague! This must be a lab where they find and store diseases from all times in history.”

The man slowly stood up, he still had some energy, although he stopped to cough up blood. Then he started running out of the room into a corridor at the far side.
“Go after him!” Seymour ordered.
“What?!” Cass and Alex said in unison.
“I'm not going anywhere near him!”
“He's got a time drive, I saw it in his hand. We need it.”

Alex followed him, poking his head around the corner. “He just disappeared.” He called back.
“Damn. He must have used the device.”
“No... he's back again.” Alex said running back to them.
“What are you coming back here for. Go get the device.”
“Rats!” Alex screamed.

A swarm of a hundred rats came through the door towards them. Black rats. Plague carrying rats.
“Did that gentleman just spread the bubonic plague just to attack us?” Seymour questioned, before turning his wheelchair around and following the others as the plague rats nipped at his wheels.

<tag – Can we get away from the rats? Will anyone become infected? Will we meet Jay, Phil, Hoshi, Katrina and Max? How will we get back to our own time?>

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