Fresh from trying to kill the Dwarfers with her hex-vision, Dr Hildegarde Lanstrom - aka Dr Fruit Loop - settles down for a chat with Talkie Toaster.

Name: Dr Hildegarde Lanstrom Dr Hildegarde Lanstrom
Occupation: Research Scientist
Qualifications: Doctorates in viral contagion, general medicine and target shooting (failed).
Distinguishing Marks: Decaying features as the result of a mutated holovirus. Strong German accent.
Cat's Comments: Okay, this chick may have been some kind of genius with viruses once, but oh boy did she lose it! She caught some kind of holovirus and blasted at us with her hex-vision. All I can say is thank God we never meet anyone who can shoot straight! Unfortunately, she passed the bug on to goalpost head, which meant we got stuck in Quarantine - without an adequate supply of mirrors!

Howdy doodly-doo!

Ah-ha, clearly you are suffering from my often-postulated 'reverse flu'.

I am?

Clearly! Such an up-beat attitude, so chirpy, so optimistic. All this despite the fact that you are engaged in conversation with a deranged scientist suffering from a hologrammatic virus that gives me the power to blast you into pieces with my hex vision. Thus - reverse flu. That unaccountable feeling of wellbeing and happiness which became such a burden for twentieth century DJs.

What was that bit about blasting me into pieces...?

Perhaps I should give your life a little meaning. Arthur Schopenhauer was right, my toasting friend - life without pain has no meaning. That is my motto.

I prefer my own motto - I toast therefore I am.

Ah-ha! Existential, intelligent, sophisticated - I like it. You may live. Continue with your questions, little red one.

Would you like some toast?

I am the revived hologram of a scientist with a wheat allergy. I'm about as interested in toast as I am in the finer points of the offside rule.

Dr Lanstrom

Very well. Tell me how you came to work in the research facility where the Dwarfers encountered you.

I was one of a huge team of quite brilliant scientists. Experts in their fields. We had mathematicians, philosophers, chemists, physicists, everything. Oh, and dinner ladies.

Dinner ladies?

Well, we had to eat at some point.

I see.

Then came the accident. It was so very stupid. It was during a birthday party for one of the physicists. The party itself was pretty slow - a major highlight was when everyone decided to swap spectacles. Oh, the hilarity.

Eventually, one of the philosophers decided to prove that he was actually the product of my imagination. His theory was that, if I died, he would cease to exist. So he went a bit mad with a fire axe and cut off my head. The irony of it all was that, in the frenzy, one of the security guards shot him - so, he did, in fact, cease to exist.


Oh, how I laughed about that one once I was revived. He ha ha...

I see.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ...

Er, Dr Lanstrom?

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ...


Ha ha... sorry.

When did you begin work on your 'positive viruses'?

Shortly after my demise, actually. I was revived as a hologram and allowed to continue my work in earnest. It always made sense to me that, if certain viral strains made one feel bad, why shouldn't there be a similar explanation for the good things that happen? Reverse flu was only the first of the strains that I isolated.

Tell me about the others...

Well, for example, I isolated the viral strain Inflatus Mentis - inspiration. It's that moment where the thunderbolt hits your brain, it builds to create a moment of pure genius.

But presumably, as a hologram, you couldn't contract the virus yourself?

That is correct. The irony of my discovery was that I could not use it to propel my research further. If only I had discovered it before my death - or simply not answered the telephone to that fire axe salesman - everything could have been different.

Nevertheless, I pressed on. Pretty soon I had located felicitus populi (luck), delecto quislibet (sexual magnetism), and ignotus venustas (charisma).

I imagine it was tempting for your colleagues to make use of these viruses for their own ends?

Indeed it was, mein geringfügig toaster. To this day, I have no idea if it was a genuine idea on the part of Dr Murdoch or simply an uncontained outbreak of the inspiration bug, but either way the idea struck him to break into my lab and purloin samples for himself and his team. The luck, charisma... and, of course, the sexual magnetism.

What effect did that have?

Well, it certainly improved their parties.

But you still couldn't contract the viral stains yourself.

Sadly not. As soon as I realised what I was missing, I began work on hologrammatical versions of the viruses. Holoviruses that would imbibe me with the same luck, inspiration and sex appeal that my colleagues so enjoyed.

One of our computer experts - doped up with inspiration - managed to convert the hologram scanning software to accept patterns other than those from a human brain. Such a success! Soon I was relishing the power that these infections gave to me!

Dr Lanstrom

Isn't that a little... unethical?

Do you wish to be blasted with hex vision?

No, no, no! Please, here, have a toasted teacake.

Your pleas and offers of grilled bread produce mean little to me. How many toasters does it take to change a light bulb?

I don't know.

None. They can't change light bulbs when they are shattered into a billion pieces! Ha ha ha ha!

Doctor, please...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha....


Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha...

Please! At least finish your story!

Ha ha... Oh, very well. During a particularly virulent bout of inspiration, I realised that I could combine elements of the existing viral strains and create a holovirus of incredible magnitude. One which stimulated the dormant, psychic areas of the brain. Frankly, I was disappointed with the results of the other hologrammatic viruses. I could be dosed up to the eyeballs with sexual magnetism - what good did it do me when every man who threw himself at me dropped straight through my body?

I work diligently, day and night, year after year. Decades passed, and while my hologram batteries continued to run, my fellow scientists withered and died. Still I worked, until, one day, a breakthrough. The strain I created was the holovirus latin name.

Latin name?

I'm afraid I didn't have the time to look up a suitable title. It made me psychic, able to read the thoughts of those around me. I developed telekinetic powers - finally, even as a hologram, I didn't have to rely on service droids and voice-activated computers.

But it had a side-effect of making you... well, a little barmy.

Oh yes, there is no denying that, my tiny grilling chum. I went utterly, utterly, utterly, utterly, utterly, utterly, utterly, utterly, utterly, utterly bonkers. Round my rocker and off the bend. Totally nuts and bananas - ooh, good name for a chocolate bar!


The virus used up so much of my energy that it began to drain my hologrammatic life force. I was dying - again! A ship was passing at the time - rare for that quadrant of space - and I did radio in an SOS... but the virus, it turns out, can be transmitted via radio waves. I believe their resident hologram went a little... peculiar.


The crew were blown out of an airlock for not calling him 'Grandmaster Crust Wangle'. Very unfortunate. The last message I had was from the hologram himself. He sang the Saturnian anthem over the radio for 300 verses. Which is what alerted me to his condition.

How so?

The Saturnian anthem only has four stanzas. He was making the rest up as he went along. Actually something of an improvement over the original. He crashed his ship into a moon, believing himself to be involved in an intergalactic Olympic game of 'chicken'. It was then that I decided to activate the distress beacon, hide myself in stasis and wait until qualified medical personnel arrived.

And instead you got Lister, the Cat and Kryten.

It was something of a disappointment.

Dr Lanstrom

So you fired at them with your hex vision.

Another benefit of the virus - it unleashed your hatred in a hex, a kind of literal curse on your enemies. Very useful.

Finally Doctor, can you tell me what you make of Rimmer and Lister's later use of your viruses for their own ends?

Well, clearly, I am a scientist, dedicated to the pure pursuit of mankind's advancement. My goals are spiritual, intellectual. And as such... I wish I'd had the chance to go mad on a populated ship with a tube of sexual magnetism virus and my own bunk.

Thank you, Dr Lanstrom. One final question - would you like some toast?