Enforcement Orbs were designed by the Space Corps to patrol Deep Space and bring to justice those who had contravened Space Corps Directives; Kryten claimed that they were ruthless, enacting the equivalent to "frontier justice." Dave Lister referred to them as the "Space Filth"; Filth being derogatory British slang for police. Kryten refers to it as a "damn space hog" for warping so close to another vessel.
One such Enforcement Orb was still functional after three million years, when it gave the death penalty to the Boys from the Dwarf as the equivalent of "deep space horse rustlers", since they had been looting Space Corps derelicts after losing Red Dwarf. Its age was shown by its voice unit being scrambled into reverse. Starbug was severely damaged by the Enforcement Orb, and the Dwarfers only escaped by going into dangerous Kinitawowi territory, where even the Enforcement Orb would not follow.
Enforcement orbs were extremely fast and maneuverable, easily able to outrun their prey, which were vessels guilty of transgressing the laws of the space frontiers. They were equipped with cloaking devices that enabled them to sneak up on the offending craft and powerful pulse missiles that cold deal significant damage when necessary.
Encounter with the Dwarfers
When the Boys from the Dwarf were cut off from Red Dwarf, aboard Starbug they encountered a powerful energy surge that wreaked havoc with the navicomp of Starbug. Kryten called it a "damned space hog" for this. It turned out to be an enforcement orb de-cloaking, something that worried both Rimmer and Lister, who referred to them as "the space filth".
Kryten explained to The Cat that enforcement orbs were used by the Space Corps to patrol deep space in order to prevent and punish any criminal acts commited in their territory. The orb scanned Starbug and then opened communications. The decloaking process had scrambled its voice unit, making it form its sentences in reverse. It accused the Dwarfers of looting from Space Corps vessels (which they had been doing for some time) and ordered them to surrender. Since the penalty for looting was execution, Lister suggested trying to escape.
Kryten pointed out that a Class A vehicle could easily outrun Starbug, but Lister insisted the same was true of the Eastbourne Zimmerframe Relay Team. He suggested heading for the nearby GELF zone, an area of space so dangerous that even the orb would never dare enter. They headed for the border, dodging the orb's pulse missiles, until they reached a GELF icon carved out of a vast asteroid into the shape of a Kinitawowi skull. As a last missile reached Starbug, The Cat steered into the skull's eye socket, where the missile demolished the asteroid.
The destruction of the asteroid created enough debris to mask the escape of Starbug into the GELF zone, with the orb giving up the chase. Starbug crashed onto a Kinitawowi moon with an ocean to put out the flames, and to trade with the Kinitawowi for a new Oxy-Generation Unit. (RD: Emohawk: Polymorph II)
- The voice of the Enforcement Orb's computer was provided by Shakespearean actor Hugh Quarshie, who was also the voice of the Kinitawowi warning message.
- In the deleted scenes of the episode, the battle sequence between Starbug and the Orb is extended. The Orb's full designation is given as "Space Corps External Enforcement Vehicle Five Beta Stroke Two."
- The orb's radio messages were in reverse order, such as "Plead you do how?", which Rimmer realised was "How do you plead?". Kryten theorises that the uncloaking must have scrambled it's voice unit, although the fact it had been operating for three million years is possibly another explanation.