Polymorph (prologue only - Red Dwarf centric)
Wormholes, to the best of any advanced civilisation, are unstable and dangerous things – unless channelled through a Stargate or a hyperspace window generated by a special drive, that is. Freak, unstable wormholes are actually quite frequent in the space time continuum. The crew of the mining ship Red Dwarf were expelling great sighs of relief after successfully ridding the ship of a nasty creature called a polymorph.
Dave Lister dusted off his hands. “Well, that’s that. We won’t be seein’ that bugger again.”
“Mr Lister sir,” a robot with boxy features piped up worriedly. “I do believe a freak unstable wormhole has just appeared and taken the polymorph somewhere or, should I say, some-when else.”
The other human of their company (bearing the letter H on his forehead) rebuked him instantly, “Don’t be stupid, Kryten. It’s not our problem anymore. Now where are those scutters? I thought I told them no slacking off…”
“I’d hate to agree with goalpost head,” the cat lowered his voice, “but the bug thing is gone. And there’s a pile of fish with my name on it.”
Kryten managed to express upset on his frozen face. “But sirs, the polymorph could rematerialise at another time on this ship! I’m sure I explained this to you…”
“Yeah, yeah.” Lister tried to keep a little more polite. “Ye keep telling us about those wormholes or – what do ye call ‘ems – Stargates.”
Goalpost head, aka Arnold J. Rimmer, snapped from down the corridor, “Don’t be a gimboid, Lister! None of that stuff exists. I would know.”
Kryten exclaimed in surprise, “But surely you know of the Stargate Program!”
“Say what?” Dave raised his eyebrows.
“Oh, of course, how stupid of me!” The robot clanged his head on his hand. “The Stargate Program was revealed to the world scant months after the…ah…accident. Quite odd really…waiting until after commercial space travel began before telling everyone. Stargates are capable of establishing stable wormholes which were able to send teams through to other worlds. Unstable wormholes occur all the time. We may have inadvertently doomed our future selves – or anyone else for that matter – to an encounter with that same polymorph.”
“Oh well. I’m hungry. Is there any curry left?”
Lister strode off down the corridor after his ship mates, leaving Kryten to shake his head.
The polymorph growled to itself as it spun through space towards a blue-green planet. The freak wormhole had not taken it into the future, though it had certainly taken it to another galaxy. In fact, the polymorph was flung back three million years in the past into the Pegasus Galaxy.
It had been deposited in the outer atmosphere of a mainly water logged planet and gravity was drawing it towards the surface. It morphed into a metal plated creature capable of withstanding entry into the atmosphere and aimed for a dry place to land.
It aimed for a shining and gleaming city, floating on the water. This city was called Atlantis.