All this seconds before a Cadmium II Radiation Leak flash fries and irradiates the Space Corps Search and Rescue Vessel Yellow Sun. The leak was caused by Lt. Wilder purposely sabotaging a Drive Plate in order to practice a Radiation Leak Drill. Wilder believed such an accident may have damaged or destroyed the ship the Yellow Sun had been dispatched to search for, the JMC Mining Vessel Red Dwarf.
Season I, Episode 1
'It All Ends Here'
The Stasis Booth containing passenger Mitchell Webb, the comedian hired by the Space Corps to improve moral on the Yellow Sun during its difficult mission of trying to locate the missing mining ship Red Dwarf opens with a hiss, a hydraulic creak, and the sudden return of background noise to Webb's ears.
"...for just a moment!"
Half way through a sentence to Security Robot ARTHUR 1001, Webb completes his thought while simultaneously realizing the droid is no where to be seen.
ADAM, the Yellow Sun's AI fades into view on multiple computer screens.
"Good Morning Mr. Webb. The time is 0900 hours, or 9 am if you prefer, the temperature in comfortable, and you appear to be in perfect health. How do you feel?"
"I feel...wait...a moment ago there was an emergency. An emergency so severe you yourself shouted as such from every available speaker. I was thrown in the Stasis Booth and never even got an idea of what the emergency was! Is it suddenly over?"
"The emergency has past Mr. Webb. As such it is safe to allow you to come out of Stasis. I and the Space Corps apologize for any inconvenience. Please proceed to the Drive Room for debriefing. As a matter of fact [ Voice increases in volume and authority ], Would all available personnel please report to the Drive Room. Repeat, would all active crew members please report to the Drive Room. Thank you."
As Webb walks the halls, directed by ADAM on how to get to the Bridge or Drive Room, he notes a complete lack of any other people. Not a single solitary individual passes him in the corridors. Periodically he notes small piles of white dust.
"Adam, I've noticed it's very quiet. Where are the usual crewmembers who run up and down the decks doing the usual crewmember things?"
"Well Mr. Webb...it's Mitchell isn't it? May I call you Mitchell?"
"Well Mitch, they're dead."
"I'm sorry, I...perhaps I wasn't quite paying attention. Perhaps I don't feel as well as I initially assumed. I almost thought you said they were dead."
"That is correct Mitchell. The crew is dead. Everyone. Everyone is dead Mitchell."
"Dead? How did they die? Is that what the Emergency was?"
"In a manner of speaking. Ah, here we are." Webb finally arrives at the command center for the Yellow Sun, a large-ish room filled with consoles, screens on the walls, chairs, and more piles of white, grainy dust here and there. ADAM continues, "The Emergency was a Cadmium II Radiation Leak caused by a damaged Drive Plate. You were placed in Stasis for your protection. The rest of the crew was killed. Once the Emergency was over and conditions were safe I released you."
"It seems like it all just happened. One second I'm talking to the Security Droid, the next the door to the Stasis Booth Shuts, and then it opens. Not beyond the blink of an eye."
"That is only your perception I've afraid. Time does not pass for individuals in Stasis. To you it seems like the very next moment but outside the crew had to respond to the emergency, mobilize, fail to do so in time, die horribly, and then I had to wait for the radiation to clear down to levels where it was safe to release you. A good bit of time has passed since you went in to the booth."
"I see. I suppose that makes sense. How much time?"
"Three million years."
"...WHAT?! Three MILLION years!"
A door to the Drive Room slides open and ARTHUR 1001 stands at the entry holding a book of some kind. ADAM bids him to enter and he walks up to Mitchell and gives him a friendly nod.
A THUG S1001 Security Robot
And a right nice bloke. No really.
" 'Ello Mister Webb sir. You survived dija? Good on you then. My task weren't for not."
Mitchell is happy to see a familiar face, even if it is the red-eyed, metal skull of the menacing, seven foot Security Robot. Mitchell greets him and then nods to the book, "That wouldn't be titled, "To Serve Man" would it?"
"Now that the entire crew has arrived - Hello ARTHUR - I will enact Space Corps Special Directive Alpha 135. In the event of a catastrophic emergency wherein the crew is killed or otherwise unable to perform the duties necessary for the situation at hand or completion of the mission, one crewmember will be resurrected as a Hologram from Memory Tapes in the ship's archives. Given that this vessel needs rescuing and the ship we were searching for needs rescuing, I hereby designate the Yellow Sun's Hologram to be...Lt. Donald Wilder."
Wilder appears, disoriented for only a second. He realizes he is a hologram, and therefore dead, and gets a quick rundown on things from the the rest of the group. Webb asks what happened to him that he was A) the Rescue Specialist but B) killed before he could do anything about the Radiation Leak and Wilder simply avoids that line of question coming from a civilian unfamiliar with the complex operations of the Space Corps.
"There is one additional person onboard I would like you all to meet", ADAM says as the group begins to argue...hmmm perhaps that's too strong...discuss? No, stronger than that. Politely bicker? Let's go with this. - As the group politely bickers over what part who played in which disaster, another door to the Drive Room slides open revealing a humanoid female with some distinctly non-Human features.
"AHHH!", she screams, "Who are you? What are you? ADAM, who are they?"
"Who is she? That...who is that?"
"I do not know her proper name. I have not had extensive conversations with this individual or many members of her species."
"Species? She's an...an...al..."
"Chicken", the young lady says. "I'm Chicken. I'm called Chicken. Who are you? Why are you here? Is there anything to eat?"
The group answers but keeping 'Chicken''s attention proves to be quite difficult as there was not, in point of fact, anything to eat in the Drive Room. While the rest of the characters try to find out more about Chicken and each other, ARTHUR 1001 summons a Skutter Maintenance Droid to the bridge. When the Skutter arrives, he points at the woman calling herself Chicken and says, "What gives man? I gave you one job." The Skutter hangs his 'head' in shame. "S'all right. There's always next time."
Chicken sees the Skutter and runs out one of the doors, saying something about her people being on the run from him since 'the days of legend'. The Skutter tries to grab her but misses. ARTHUR stands next to the Skutter, pats it on the 'head', and says, "Good try. Good try."
As ARTHUR and the Skutter stroll casually out of the command center, words between Wilder and Webb become a tad more heated. For the most part, Lt. Wilder tries to assert that this is still an emergency situation, that he is in charge as long as that's the case, and the group needs to work together and follow protocol and procedure to get out of this alive. While Webb isn't directly disagreeing, he is beyond out of his element and wants to focus on getting a drink and taking a breather before doing anything else. He also points out the absurdity of the situation they are in. At one point Wilder threatens to put Webb on report and Webb responds with, "I am not a member of the crew. I am a passenger. A guest. And...report me to WHOM?!"
We change scenes, with Wilder and Webb walking down a corridor and talking as Webb insists the most important thing they can do right now is find a pub. Walk into a pub they do, only to find ARTHUR behind the bar cleaning glasses and asking, "What'll it be gov?" Webb orders a Scotch and ARTHUR makes his very first drink but pouring Mitchell a shot of scotch with a little water in it. ARTHUR's read several books on bartending you see.
Chicken pops in, looking around for the Skutter and eyeing the others suspiciously. She quickly walks to the end of the bar, sees a bowl of nuts and pretzels, sits down and digs in. Webb asks ADAM for more information on Chicken and he is informed that an escaped Chicken from the galley hid in a radiation shielded cargo hold during the Drive Plate incident. Eventually its descendants evolved into Gallus Sapiens over the course of three million years. The rest of her species are simply described as 'gone', with Chicken being the last member of her people on the Yellow Sun.
It was about then that the lights went out, ADAM disappeared, Wilder flickered out, and things got really quiet. Except for Chicken of course. Chicken freaked out.
The Yellow Sun Gang.