Aboard the Jupiter mining ship Red Dwarf
, crewmen Dave Lister is conducting ship's repairs under the supervision of Senior Technician Arnold J. Rimmer. Dave keeps making annoying noises until Rimmer orders him to stop, and then Dave refuses to talk and Rimmer writes him up. He insists that they're conducting vital routine maintenance as they unclog the chicken soup dispenser nozzle. Once Rimmer finishes clearing the nozzle, they move onto the botanical gardens and Rimmer insists that he'll soon be promoted. Dave points out that he has to pass his engineering exam and panicked the last time, saying he was a fish. He lights up a cigarette and Rimmer puts him on report.
Lt. Frank Todhunter comes by and points out that Rimmer has filed 247 complaints against Dave. Dave insists that he only stepped on his foot by accident, but Rimmer accused him of stepping on his toe. When Dave calls Rimmer a smeghead, he threatens to file charges but Todhunter points out that he is a smeghead and leaves.
On the bridge, the command crew gathers to pay their respects to George McIntyre. They commend his ashes to the stars and play his favorite song. In the quarters that he shares with Rimmer, Dave watches the canister shoot out into space while Rimmer writes cheat notes on his arm. He insists that it's only a memory aid but Dave isn't convinced. When Rimmer says that he has no ambition, Dave explains that he has a plan to buy a farm on Fiji and breed horses. Rimmer points out that Fiji is three feet underwater but Dave is undeterred. The ship's computer, Holly, interrupts to tell them that the welcome-back party for McIntyre will be taking place shortly.
Dave and Rimmer go to the mess where Dave joins his friends Olaf Peterson, Selby, and Chen. Captain Frank Hollister offers a toast to George, who has been reproduced as a hologram. Hollister assures them that the hologram has all of George's memories and personality, but can't touch anything. George gives a few words and explains that Holly can only sustain one hologram at a time. As they break up for the disco, Hollister tells the crew that Holly has sensed a non-human life form aboard and tells them to be careful.
Back in his quarters, Rimmer writes more cheat notes on his thighs while Dave sleeps. He realizes that he has no idea what he's written down, waking up Dave, and claims that he knows everything for the test. Holly calls for the test subjects to go to the teaching room and Dave wishes Rimmer luck. Once Rimmer leaves, Dave gets his pregnant cat Frankenstein out of the locker and shows her a picture of Fiji.
In the teaching room, Todhunter administers the engineering exam and Rimmer realizes that he has no idea what he's reading. He tries to check his notes only to discover that he's smeared the ink. Rimmer slaps his ink-smeared hand down on the paper, signs it, salutes Todhunter, and faints.
Hollister calls Dave to his office. On the way, Dave flirts with Kristine Kochanski, a bridge officer. In Hollister's office, the captain asks where the cat is. Dave tries to deny it, but Hollister points out that he took a photo of himself with the cat and sent it to the ship's lab to be processed. When Dave admits that he has it, Hollister points out that an unquarantined animal could cause havoc and spread disease. Dave realizes that they'll dissect the cat and refuses to turn Frankenstein over. Hollister points out that if he doesn't, he'll go into stasis for the rest of the trip and forfeit 18 months' wages. Dave refuses and Todhunter escorts him to the stasis chamber. They go past Rimmer, who is being taken away by medics. Todhunter tells Dave that he won't exist in time while he's in stasis and will have no idea of time passing. Holly activates the stasis field, immobilizing Dave.
Sometime later, Holly releases Dave and tells him that it now safe for him to emerge. He directs Dave to the drive room for debriefing and explains that everyone on ship is dead. Dave eventually figures out that yes, everyone is dead. Holly explains that the drive plate was inefficiently repaired and it blew, flooding the ship with radiation and reducing all organic matter to dust. The computer tells Dave that Rimmer was in the drive room at the time because he hadn't sealed the drive plate properly. Dave asks how long he was in stasis and Holly finally tells him that he had to wait until the background radiation reached safe levels: three million years. When Dave realizes that Kochanski is also dead, he admits that she was part of his plan for Fiji. The computer admits that he's gone a bit peculiar after being alone for three million years.
Dave wonders if he's completely alone and Holly says that he is, technically speaking. When Dave wonders what he means, a hologram of Rimmer comes in. He blames Dave for getting him killed because he would have had help if Dave hadn't gone into stasis. Rimmer looks down at the pile of dust which is all that's left of his body, but Dave points out that he isn't dead-dead because he's still there. Upon consideration, Rimmer figures that he can still make something of himself and starts by putting Dave on report for smoking.
Dave walks off and Rimmer follows him, unaware that a humanoid figure wearing a pink suit has climbed out of the vent behind them. He looks around, checks himself in a mirror, and saunters off, only to run into Dave and Rimmer. They run off into the teaching room and Holly tells them that during the crisis, Frankenstein and her kittens were safely sealed in the hold. They've been breeding there for three million years and became the life form they just encountered. Cat comes into the room and Rimmer tries to attack him without success.
Dave gets Cat some cat food and tries to find out where the other cats went, but Cat doesn't respond. When Rimmer says he wants Cat off the ship, Dave says that they're heading back home to Earth. Rimmer says that Dave would be slime compared to what humanity has evolved into, but Dave insists that he still has his plan. He mentions Frankenstein and Cat knows of her as the Holy Mother but doesn't believe the legend that "Cloister the Stupid" gave his life and was frozen in time so that the cats could live. In the stories, Dave would lead them to Fiji, and Dave tells Holly to plot a course to Earth.