SS Manny Celeste was a saucer or frisbee-shaped spaceship of the Space Corps operating in Deep Space. The original crew of the SS Manny Celeste disappeared whilst experimenting with manipulation of the fourth dimension.
Three million years into the future, the nanobot-recreated JMC mining ship Red Dwarf came across the derelict SS Manny Celeste in Deep Space. Although the SS Manny Celeste was deemed still fully functional by the Rebuilt Holly, Red Dwarf could not establish contact. Captain Hollister sent a battalion of Canaries led by Mex out in a Canary shuttle to scout the ship. When they did not return, he sent a second battalion, followed by a third when the second disappeared also.
The third battalion, which included Kryten, Kochanski and The Cat, found a strange interior which was industrial in some places and highly futuristic in others. They determined that the first two battalions were held aboard the Manny Celeste in a time pocket that froze them to an imperceptibly slow speed.
This time distortion had been caused by a sophisticated Time Wand called "Tempus", the Latin word for time. Kryten experimented with the Wand, turning Cat and Kochanski into younger versions of themselves (infants and teenagers) and then back again. Confident of how to use it, Kryten used the wand to restore Mex and the other troops, but with no memory of the Time Wand. Kryten then smuggled the Wand back aboard Red Dwarf and through customs with the Time Wand inside his head.
The idea was to use it to help pass their sentences in The Tank a lot quicker, but the Time Wand proved unpredictable and caused chaos aboard Red Dwarf, resulting in a Tyrannosaurus Rex stalking the ship. (RD: Pete I)
- It is unknown what happened to the original crew of the SS Manny Celeste, as they are not present aboard the ship (or at least seen in the episode). It would seem that the crew are simply missing, although misuse of the Time Wand would be the logical explanation to their absence.
- Since the Time Wand was supposed to be a secret, it is likely that Kryten would have told the crew that there was nothing of note aboard the SS Manny Celeste. Given that the disappearance of the Celeste crew couldn't be explained either way, and the ship isn't mentioned again in the series, Red Dwarf likely allowed the Celeste to drift.
- The "frisbee" shape of the ship was also apparently shared with the Leviathan.
Behind the scenes
- The SS Manny Celeste was presumably an in-universe version of the real-life Mary or Marie Celeste, the "cursed", mysteriously-abandoned ship of Earth's history. It is possible that the Red Dwarf version was not originally named so, but given the designation by the crew of Red Dwarf due the inexplicable disappearance of the ship's crew like it's historical namesake.