Prelude to Nanarchy is a web comic produced in 2005 by Across the Pond Comics and Grant Naylor Productions set between the fifth and sixth series of BBC science fiction sitcom Red Dwarf. It was published online at a page a day on the official Red Dwarf website. The last page was posted on 4 November 2005.
It follows immediately from the end of the Series V finale "Back to Reality" and takes place before the Series VI opener "Psirens" and after; and sets key plot points for developments in the next three series of the show. The comic was produced six years after the last original episode of Red Dwarf was produced.
The events of the comic have since been contradicted by the events of Back to Earth, which states that the crew returned to Red Dwarf after leaving the ocean planet. The comic depicts the nanobots' theft of Red Dwarf occurring before Starbug has a chance to return.
Following Starbug's escape from the ocean world where they encountered the SSS Esperanto and the Despair Squid, the nanobots inside Kryten decide they have had enough of simply repairing Kryten's body and have ambitions to see the universe. They leave Kryten's body in the form of a red mulch which Kryten unwittingly flicks out of his ear. The mulch then squirms away out through a grate into the next room where they begin to tunnel out of the ship. The hull breach causes a vacuum - the crew are thrown about the ship.
Holly (in the female likeness of Hattie Hayridge) reports that there is a hull breach a moment too late. When the crew complain about this lapse in the computer's attention, she reports that the breach is aboard Red Dwarf itself. She then changes her mind, but her image flickers off of the screen and they are unable to recall it.
The 'Bugs navicomp tells them the vapour trail of Red Dwarf is speeding away across Deep Space at a phenomenal speed - which is actually that of a molecular, fake one created by the nanobots to throw the Dwarfers off the trail as a diversion. Not knowing what is really going on, Kryten stipulates that in order to catch up with their seemingly stolen and escaping mothership, the rest of the gang will need to go into Deep Sleep.
Meanwhile, on the surface of a newly formed sand planet not too far away from the ocean planet and where they left Red Dwarf, a computer monitor atop a junk pile flickers into life. The image of the original incarnation of Holly (in the male likeness of Norman Lovett), albeit slightly balder, appears on the screen, his core program having being restored by the nanobots.
The marooned computer calls for the others to come back, but Starbug cannot hear him. Holly complains that they never listen to him anyway, as he prepares to spend yet another eon alone, and which will inevitably send him slightly peculiar again.
The webcomic ends by saying that the story will continue in 200 years.
- Prelude to Nanarchy Web Comic - The full comic on the official Red Dwarf homepage
- Red Dwarf homepage
- Across the Pond Comics
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