Why 3 Million Years?

Discussion in 'RED DWARF UNIVERSE' started by Simonr1978, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 Deck Sergeant

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    I've been thinking about this one a bit since starting to listen to the Introcasts where the question is brought up about why Holly just pelted out of the Solar system and kept going rather than just getting to a safe a distance then parking up while the radiation died down.

    My theory is that Holly may have been acting in the best interests of the JMC at this point. With no living crew members around and needing to keep Lister in stasis, perhaps obeying some Robocop Directive 4 style secret program that even he was not aware of, Red Dwarf was sent accelerating out into deep space in order to hide the evidence of the accident.

    With Lister alive but in stasis, Holly couldn't allow the ship to be destroyed, but it wouldn't be in the interests of the JMC for a salvage crew suitably protected with radiation suits or using androids to find the ship and go poking around. First because they might end up getting billed for the costs of decontaminating, decommissioning and disposing of the ship (The latter two obviously wouldn't be in Holly's interests either) but also, once the crew files and black boxes are recovered the company might find itself being held responsible for the deaths of the crew (Afterall they did let Dennis the Donut boy blackmail his way up to Captain, under whose supervision an incompetent technician failed to repair the drive plate causing the accident), which could then lead to them being sued by the bereaved relatives and fined by the 23rd century's equivalent of the HSE.

    No ship, no evidence, no problem. It's just written off as an unexplained insurance loss and it gives the conspiracy nuts something to talk about too.
     
  2. djmcbell

    djmcbell Supply Officer

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    Some good points there. I always wondered if Holly actually had the ability to "pilot" Red Dwarf or whether he required some form of human authorisation to do so, but he must have had the ability - he did state that Red Dwarf had been accelerating up towards light speed in Future Echoes for a good while, which would have been before Lister was revived. So, as you say, why didn't he hang around?

    As you say, it could be that the JMC didn't want to have to deal with the ship and the aftermath of the leak. I also believe one of the books (I think it was Last Human) says that, in order to prevent anyone else from coming into contact with Red Dwarf and the radiation, Holly basically got the ship as far out of the solar system as he could - but did manage to eject the black box (or at least *a* black box - counting the one from Thanks For The Memories) which did make it's way back to the JMC. I forget whether Last Human gave a reason as to why Holly didn't just keep Red Dwarf in a safe position until the background radiation died away, or why the JMC didn't mount an operation to retrieve the vessel (though space is a big place, and in the Red Dwarf universe still very cost-prohibitive to operate in).
     
  3. Strat-tastic

    Strat-tastic Flight Co-Ordinator

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    I could be wrong here, but doesn't the ship need to harvest hydrogen from space to power itself? Therefore being stationary it would soon run out of power to keep things going. There again, if that was the case, it could have gone round and round in circles for 3m years, orbitting a star at a suitably safe distance (from the sun and our solar system).
     
  4. codename_47

    codename_47 First Technician

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    I think the intention behind the look of the Red Dwarf ship is that it's a bit old and run down even for its time.

    There's debate as to whether the rock embedded in the underside is a result of a meter strike or is in fact being mined by the ship
    (Though it's not impossible that both theories could be accurate!) but you can tell from that alone that it's been in service a while and the JMC doesn't think it is cost effective enough to spruce up.

    It's basically a giant work horse. It runs from the mining yards of Ganymede or Titan (ulp! Careful!) or wherever, deposits the load Back to Earth (Well, I'm going namedropping crazy!) and then repeats this as many times as it profitable.

    When the accident happened the JMC were probably gutted it ruined its precious payload with radiation, held a service for the crew and quickly assigned the white giant or another ship to assume its duties.
    It was hardly worth their effort or particularly their expense to salvage that old tin can.
    So they probably observed it leaving the solar system, patted themselves on the back that the emergency "get the hell out of dodge" protocols worked well then promptly forgot about it.
    In the ensuing decades the JMC was either probably sold off or taken over and after a lot of lost paperwork it was promptly forgotten about.

    The End.

    Well, The Beginning ;-)
     
  5. djmcbell

    djmcbell Supply Officer

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    Still doesn't really answer why Holly let the Red Dwarf leave the solar system and basically carry on going for those 3 million years. I did initially think it was maybe because he needed some form of "human authorisation" but, as we found out in Future Echoes, the ship had been accelerating and getting ready to perform a turn for a few thousand years. Did Holly only have access to some controls and not others?
     
  6. 74384338

    74384338 First Technician

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    I may be wrong, but wasn't Holly busy reading for most of the three million years?

    I'm sure there's a bit in Infinity where it says something about him not concentrating, but someone will have to correct me as I don't have the book to hand.
     
  7. djmcbell

    djmcbell Supply Officer

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    I'm going to make a few assumptions here.

    Red Dwarf is an old JMC ship. I'm assuming it has two power supplies - the scoop, and some form of nuclear reactor (which provided the radiation leak). When the ship was built, scoop tech wouldn't have been that good and provided sporadic output, and the crew would have had to maintain and rely on the reactor. Then, when scoop tech improved, the JMC didn't decomission the reactor - it would have been too costly. Instead they let it be, maintaining it from time to time. Perhaps they used it to produce batteries.

    In any case, the reactor is still active. Radiation leak. Oh dear.

    We have to assume that Holly contacts the JMC. Whilst the only form of communication we've seen is mail pods, it's safe to assume that there is some sort of near-real-time communication, as there is with probes and stuff that are currently in the solar system. The JMC, as other posters have suggested, decide Red Dwarf is a loss to be written off. Holly will, of course, have relayed to them that Lister is aboard and in stasis. The operation to rescue Lister will have been deemed too expensive and questions will have been asked about both Hollister and Rimmer (for the record, I'm going to assume Hollister is actually a capable captain and disregard his "Dennis the Donut Boy" confession).

    Now, we also have to remember that the Holly we see at the beginning of The End is actually a genius with an IQ of 6000. After receiving confirmation of the JMC not wanting to salvage the ship, he will most likely have enacted some form of emergency protocol. Holly's priorities will have been:

    1 - help any survivors. The only survivor is Lister who is safe and in stasis.
    2 - prevent the spread of radiation. This may be why Red Dwarf left the solar system.
    3 - follow some orders.

    In the orders department, the JMC have basically told him to get stuffed. As such, Holly will remove George McIntyre's hologram (assuming he was still the current hologram at the time of the accident) and put Hollister online.

    Now is where we seriously get into fiction.

    Hollister, realising he is dead and has no future and that Red Dwarf can conceivably continue going indefinitely, orders Holly to basically "keep going". Holly reminds him that Lister has survived. Hollister basically gives Holly an order, that Holly cannot disobey, to keep going until Lister can be revived - some 3 million years hence - at which point Lister, as the ranking human (taking precedence over any hologram) can essentially take the responsibility of the ship. Holly HAS to obey this order.

    So Red Dwarf keeps going, for 3 million years, away from the solar system and into deep space. Holly has the idea to accelerate Red Dwarf up towards light speed and turn. Only problem is, he's locked in on the current course, and since light speed is uncharted territory he will need to consult with Lister to get the go-ahead from him. As such, he begins accelerating the ship up towards light speed, timing it so that Lister will be out of stasis just before they break the light barrier, giving Lister the opportunity to approve the plan and also begin the turn with actual human approval.

    And the award for bad fan-fiction goes to...
     
  8. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 Deck Sergeant

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    It does for me anyway. I know this is purely on the level of fan speculation here, but if Holly was acting on the basis of "Can't kill the living human but must protect the company" it makes perfect sense that once he'd decided to head out of the solar system, the logical thing to do was to keep going, why waste fuel braking to a halt or manoeuvring into orbit where you might be discovered in a decade or two by an experimental Quantum Twister? In any case, we didn't find out that he'd been getting ready to make a turn for a few thousand years in Future Echoes at all, all we found out there was that it would take thousands of years just to make the turn*. There was no suggestion that Holly had started that turn up till that point at all.

    * Which does raise another issue as even by RDX, they'd still be in the very early stages of the outbound portion of the curve and still heading away from Earth. Personally, I assumed that at some point (Off screen of course) Holly performed some kind of incredible feat of space aerobatics and swung Red Dwarf around a star or black hole for an effective 180 degree turn. But that is just what I've come up with to satisfy the narrative in my own mind.
     
  9. djmcbell

    djmcbell Supply Officer

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    I think that, when Red Dwarf dropped back under light speed (again, in Future Echoes) the crew decided to abandon that plan. Holly will have turned around using regular power and, at the moment, they're just pootling along. After all, when Red Dwarf was taken apart by the nanobots it wasn't going anywhere.

    Not to mention that craft have been coming and going ever since, as well as people in space suits (mainly Lister after forgetting the keys).
     
  10. Almighty_crj

    Almighty_crj First Technician

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    I prefer to be more optimistic by thinking that the nanobots, in keeping with their apologetic nature & knowing it would take the crew two millennia to turn the ship, simply built it facing in the reverse direction from when they dismantled it.
     
  11. karnie

    karnie Supply Officer

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    i thought the order to turn around was given by Lister in "The End"? I assumed the ship had been going straight up until the time he decided to go back to Earth.
     
  12. karnie

    karnie Supply Officer

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    Yeah, it's clear the ship (somehow) dropped to it's normal operating speed shortly after "Future Echoes", as the crew start going to different planets at the beginning of Series 2, and they're heading straight back to Earth if the post pod caught up with them.
     

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