|Simulant Battle Cruiser|
|Appearances||"Gunmen of the Apocalypse"|
|Type||Battle-class Cruiser equipped with laser cannons and a teleporter|
|Size||Several times larger than Starbug|
|Crew Complement||Simulant Captain|
Unknown number of other Simulants
|Status||Disintegrated in a ship-quake|
The Simulant Battle Cruiser was a military spacecraft crewed by Rogue Simulants. This warship appears in two episodes of Red Dwarf, the Series VI episodes "Gunmen of the Apocalypse" and "Rimmerworld".
The origins of the warship are unknown. It was either a Space Corps warship commandeered by the Simulants, or was built by the Simulants in Deep Space when the bio-mechanical soldiers escaped their dismantling program.
The warship resembled the skull of a cow, and had numerous banks of laser cannons and a working teleporter. It was seemingly built for speed and maneuverability, since it was not very well armoured. Inside was a small bridge, manned by the Simulant Captain and his lieutenant, the teleporter room, an escape pod, and a significant and well-stocked cargo bay filled with fuel and foodstuffs.
Three million years later, the ship was still prowling around Deep Space, looking for a quarry worthy of their mettle. In their hunting zone, also referred to as "Simulant Country" by the Cat, they left utter devastation on a number of vessels. It was on one such derelict that Starbug found a working AR Machine, and a number of games, such as Lister's favourite, Gumshoe.
The Simulant Battle Cruiser was heavily stocked with food, to keep human captives alive for extended periods of time. The Simulants had spent some time looting Space Corps derelicts, most notably seeding ships, since the Simulants were in possession of Eco-Accelerator Rockets.
First Encounter with Starbug
When Kryten detected Millennial Oxide in the region he realised that Starbug had wandered into a Rogue Simulant Hunting Zone. Kryten was forced to pull Lister out of his favourite game - mid-coitus with Loretta - so that Starbug could operate on a powered-down, "silent running" stealth mode. It was not enough, however, and using the navicomp (and the Cat's nose) Rimmer detected the battle-class cruiser on an intercept course.
The Simulant Captain hailed Starbug, requesting that they state their species and purpose. The boys from the Dwarf pretended to be a fictional alien race, the Vindaloovians, but the Simulant Captain broke their ruse when he beamed aboard Starbug using the teleporter. The Simulant Captain was dismayed at finding a human, a hologram, a humanoid, and a mechanoid who is a slave to humans, all aboard such an inferior ship. Noting that they won't be any sport at all, he shoots at them with a ray gun on "stun", knocking out Rimmer's light bee and the rest unconscious.
Two weeks later, they all wake up in the Starbug cockpit, to find that the whole ship has been upgraded by the Simulants, and they've even gotten rid of the squeak on the seat-tilt control. They'd also armed Starbug with laser cannons, so that they "might prove some small amusement", expecting no more than a brief chase. Apparently the Simulants were accustomed to their prey fleeing, and were not accustomed to their prey standing ground and fighting back.
However, Cat insists they fight back instead of fleeing, and Starbug gets some lucky two hits on the Simulant Battle Cruiser, crippling it. In his final act, the Simulant Captain ordered his lieutenant to transmit the Armageddon Virus to the navicomp of Starbug, locking Starbug on a course with a volcanic moon. The Simulant Captain told the Dwarfers that he would see them in Silicon Hell, before his ship was rocked by a giant explosion, rending it in two pieces, and killing most of the Simulants.
Second Encounter with Starbug
A few weeks later, and after a battle with a Enforcement Orb and crashing into a Kinitawowi moon ("Emohawk") Starbug was running dangerously low on supplies and fuel. The Dwarfers were forced to return to the site of their former battle and scavenge the wreck of the Simulant Battle Cruiser, since Starbug was nearly out of power. Without curry, Lister had been forced to eat fungus scraped off passing asteroids.
One half (the largest half) of what was the Simulant Battle Cruiser still had power, artificial gravity, and life support. However, the superstructure was so unstable that even a loud noise could start a ship-quake. The Dwarfers brought along bazookoids, but Lister told them that they couldn't use them only once they'd docked and entered, causing Rimmer (who'd just been diagnosed with a stress-related nervous disorder and given Chinese worry balls by Kryten) to have a panic attack.
Discovering plentiful stocks still intact, and the fully functional teleporter, they beamed all the fuel and curry back to Starbug that they would ever need. However, Kryten's Psi-Scan picked up life-signs, causing Rimmer to slink off, before a very-damaged Simulant Lieutenant appeared, and held Lister, Cat and Kryten at gunpoint. She had exposed wiring hanging out her head, and a damaged speech unit, and talked with a very low, husky voice.
Lister tried to reason with her, to no avail, even asking her out on a date, to which she replied in the negative and rather humorously for a Simulant. Lister shouted veiled references to Rimmer in the background for help, but instead Rimmer went off in a escape pod. This began a ship-quake, and the Simulant Lieutenant was crushed by falling debris.
Lister, Kryten, and Cat used the teleporter to beam back to Starbug, but in the hurry they beam a week into the past, upsetting Kryten's former self. They then beam back to the present-Starbug, flying out of the hangar bay as explosions rocked it. Starbug was able to get clear of the blast radius as the Simulant Battle Cruiser finally disintegrated.
Rimmer's escape pod fell through a wormhole before Starbug could reach it. Landing on a desolate planet, Rimmer was able to use the Eco-Accelerator Rockets in the pod to make the planet more livable. By the time Starbug reached Rimmer, the planet had been taken over by Rimmer's clones, and the original had been held in a dungeon for six centuries, grinding away his Chinese worry balls. ("Rimmerworld")
Behind the scenes
The ship's first design was in the shape of a human skull. This was changed to a goat skull and finally, to make it fit in with the overall Western theme of "Gunmen of the Apocalypse", to a cow skull.