An odd question

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    Here’s a question which has bothered me for the last couple of days:
    If the radiation leak went through everywhere on the ship except the cargo holds, how come articles of clothing were still perfectly intact _except_ those being worn by personnel at the time? They clearly weren’t nude, as seen in Me^2. Am I just being too picky?



    This still bothers me.



    Maybe they were all nude but in the recreation of Rimmer’s death for his video Holly put them all in clothes to save their modesty.

    TBF, there’s a lot that doesn’t make sense if we think about it too hard. Why was Frankenstien in the hold, when we’re shown her being hidden in Lister’s quarters.

    Why the hell doesn’t Rimmer notice Frankenstien?

    Why is the hold sealed off and not, ya know, the living areas?!

    Why is Holister content with punishing Lister and not finding Frankenstien?

    This is has just lead me to a side thought … given Holister’s comments about The Oregon with the rabbits, it’s surprising the show doesn’t ever hint at the fact it might have been a stray cat that caused the radiation leak.

    In fact, that could be the ultimate joke on Rimmer … it was never actually his fault but no-one is aware of that fact.

    Anyway … where was I? What’s going on?


    Flap Jack

    I always thought the radiation leak <i>poisoned</i> the crew rather than, say, disintegrating them. After all, it was a leak, not an explosion. I know Skipper at least implicitly contradicts this, but eh.

    This doesn’t explain why the clothes worn by the crew would decompose over 3 million years but the clothes in wardrobes wouldn’t, though.

    My vague assumption was that the hold is lead-lined and full of the ship’s insecure reserve supplies, and that Lister snuck Frankenstein in there before going into stasis, hoping that she’d be able to keep herself alive and nobody else would go looking in there.

    The more pressing questions for me were:

    – How did the cats get into food and water that would have been packaged specifically for humans, especially as Lister wouldn’t have planned for more than his stasis term?

    – Who cleaned up all of their poo while they were in there?

    – How did the cat race evolve without any natural predators?

    – How did they gain the resources and infrastructure to form a fully functional society, have civil wars etc.?

    – How does every cat other than The Cat and the priest flee the ship without leaving the hold and exposing themselves to lethal radiation?

    – How do the cats flee without taking all of the shuttles?

    – How does The Cat know to break into the main part of the ship only when the radiation levels are safe?

    – Has Holly been communicating with the cats? If not, why not?

    – Isn’t it an absurd coincidence that it was safe to wake up Lister when there was just 1 cat (or 2) on the ship, when just 50-100 years later and there’d be none?

    – Why wasn’t Hollister immediately revived as a hologram so he could instruct Holly to stop Red Dwarf from drifting further away from civilisation for 3 million years?

    I have some head-canon ideas for a few of these, but man that’s a lot of gaps that almost exclusively concern The Cat.


    Ben Saunders

    “I know Skipper at least implicitly contradicts this, but eh.”

    As does Rimmer’s death video in Me2. “Radiation leak” implies poisoning to me (actually I don’t know what would happen if a human was hit with an absolutely massive dose or radiation all at once, to be honest) bu the episodes show it was an explosion. The video in Me2 looks more like a hull breach, really.


    International Debris

    To be fair, the crew are shown to be reduced to piles of dust in The End, so it obviously wasn’t just poisoning.



    The first novel goes into more detail about the evolution and history the cats. There’s a bit where they work out how to use a tin opener, but presumably this could only happen once they’d evolved to be able to actually hold a tin opener.


    Plastic Percy

    The implication is that for Cat’s clothes to survive the three million stasis journey they have to be put into vacuum storage like Lister was putting his possessions into.

    I never thought of the crew being atomised, simply that the dust was all that was left of the crew after three million years of decay.


    Flap Jack

    I loved the stuff in IWCD about the cats, but it only covered a small fraction of the questions.

    Honestly, an entire race of cat-like humanoids evolving from a single pregnant cat is more of a spiritual or symbolic plot point than a scientific one, so the correct course of action is to treat it as such and not think too hard about it, BUT I CAN’T HELP IT.



    > Has Holly been communicating with the cats? If not, why not?

    Too busy gurning and reading novels by Netta Muskett. (Yes I’ve just read that chapter of Infinity…) Or maybe the cats are in an area of the ship where Holly simply can’t communicate. In Waiting for God he doesn’t know where Cat is because he’s not in his “supervision field”, which Lister knows means the cargo decks. Then when Lister’s looking for Cat and asks Holly if he can still hear him, Holly doesn’t answer. Of course if we accept this, we then have to wonder how Holly knows who the Cat is in The End, and the history of the cats people.


    Plastic Percy

    I think one of the articles in the Smegazine expands upon the evolution of the cats. It points out that the modern cat is, like Humans, effectively at an end level of evolution. It was due to a minute amount of radiation coming through from Red Dwarf’s irradiated decks that caused mutation in the gene pool and caused them to slowly evolve.



    If a human was hit with a massive wave of radiation they would start to fall to bits, skin off, cell walls break down, leaky, puddle like death. Which would have been a very disturbing episode of Red Dwarf.

    Heat must have come into play somewhere for all the ash, if not from the leak, a dark interpretation could be that Holly got fed up at looking at dead puddles of people and cranked up the heat, then had the skutters repair any faulty systems.

    The reason Red Dwarf drifted is addressed somewhere I’m sure, that it had to bugger off because it was massively radioactive and wasn’t salvageable given the decay rate of the radioactive material, maybe in a novel.


    Flap Jack

    Radiation basically being magic in sci-fi is a good potential explanation for a fair few of the problems.

    So, you could say that the background radiation over thousands/millions of years was enough to make the cat race immune to it, which is what allowed them to break out and go to other parts of the ship without dying long before Lister could be woken up from stasis.

    I used to have a theory to explain both the food access and the evolution, which is that the hold contained some sort of super advanced terraforming device, which Frankenstein or one of her kittens accidentally triggered, and the hold was converted into a full ecosystem filled with plants and other animal species. But that is one hell of a stretch, let’s be honest.



    They could have found their way into the botanical gardens which may have had some kind of super filtration system which saved it, or the radiation could’ve mutated it and it expanded to cover the lower decks and hold and provided the environment, squirrels to hunt and some kind of super wasp as a predator for the Cat race to overcome.


    Plastic Percy

    It’s a bit of a stretch to think that the tinned food designed to feed a thousand odd people for a couple of years would last an entire civilisation for three million years. We know that Red Dwarf has botanical gardens so they possibly had access to them in order to grow and harvest fruit and vegetables.

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