Little is revealed of the Simulant Convict's past. Kryten explains in a later episode that Simulants were bio-mechanical killers created for a war that never took place; some of them escaped the dismantling program and now prowl around Deep Space looking for humans to kill. ("RD: Gunmen of the Apocalypse")
The Simulant Convict had been found guilty by the Space Corps of murder, and it later took part in a mutiny aboard the 40-Simulant strong prison transport. There was a pitched battle that yielded only two survivors — one of the crazed robotic killers, and a female guard, Barbra Bellini, but the Simulant took her cryogenic escape pod. (RD: Justice)
Encounter with the Dwarfers
The Red Dwarf crew salvage an escape pod that came from a prison transport ship. The pod's Black Box reveals that the prisoners were a group of psychopathic Simulants, who mutinied and there was a pitched battle with only two survivors. As a result, they can't be sure whether an innocent guard called Barbra Bellini or a kill-crazed Simulant is inside the pod (which can't be x-rayed as it has lead lining to survive in space), but the crew find themselves facing a deadline when Cat and Lister activate the pod's thaw process before Rimmer and Kryten can tell them the situation and warn them about the risk. With no way to determine who could be inside the pod before it opens, the crew are reluctant to simply blast the pod into space, but Kryten warns them that they cannot destroy the Simulant.
Holly suggests they travel to the prison where the ship was headed. If the pod's occupant is the guard, she can be released. If it's a Simulant, they can "bung him in a cell and leave him to rot." They travel to Justice World to hand over the prisoner, but have to save Rimmer from the station computer.
Just as the crew are about to leave, a Simulant revives from the pod and chases the Dwarfers into the Justice Zone. After avoiding each other the Simulant asks to talk to one of the crew, something Lister agrees to do. They both promise not to bring any weapons to the meeting, which is a lie from them both. However, much to Lister's dismay, the Simulant lied twice. Without any hope in the fight, the Simulant attacks — only to find his blows strike him instead of Lister. Thanks to the Justice Field's ability to make the effects of a crime happen to the perpetrator rather than the victim, Lister is spared from the wrath of the Simulant's assault. It throws a knife at Lister which reappears in the Simulant's own chest, and Lister is unharmed. The Simulant in fact defeats itself by attacking Lister; but not before the Cat hits it with a shovel, knocking himself out unconscious. (RD: Justice)
Behind the scenes
- The Simulant Convict was the first simulant encountered by the Boys from the Dwarf. Simulants would become a recurring enemy after this, and are also the final villains in the last episode of the show.
- An interview on the official Red Dwarf website suggested that Ackerman, warden of The Tank on Red Dwarf, used to work at Justice World, alongside Barbra Bellini, whom he was having an affair with and had to leave in a hurry when caught out. Ackerman was the one who accidentally set the Simulants free; providing an interesting irony that he later imprisoned those who helped contain one of those he had set free.