The desert planetoid is an unnamed small moon or planetoid in Deep Space which was covered entirely in desert. Three million years later, a massive, ancient Space Corps station, Iron Star, still had power and orbited the planetoid.
When the boys from the Dwarf re-uploaded their previously offline ship computer Holly, Holly did not recognise them. With Holly declaring the Red Dwarf redundant, the Dwarfers plotted to erase him, and in return Holly forced them off the ship.
The Dwarfers fled in Starbug 19, and decided to look for a new home. Searching for a distress signal they had recently picked up, they fail to find the source. Three months later, they come across the desert planetoid and Iron Star in orbit.
The Dwarfers board Iron Star, and exploring it, they find advanced hologram technology. Arnold Rimmer is upgraded to the "Diamond-Light" superhero "The Mighty Light". However, Rimmer burns up his Light Bee energy rapidly.
As the Dwarfers further explored the station, they found three Felis sapiens Cat Clerics hiding out in a storage cupboard. The Cat Clerics - Sol, Luna and Peanut - immediately recognise Dave Lister as their 'god' Cloister, despite Lister refuting it. They give Lister/Cloister a powerful artefact, the Anubis Stone, which they stole from their ruthless sovereign, Rodon and his feral faction.
Within a very short while, the Cat Fleet containing the rest of the Felis sapiens arrived in orbit of the planetoid. Rodon, who had been searching for the stolen Anubis Stone, teleported into Iron Star with his lieutenant Count Ludo and two henchman. After a short altercation, Rodon and his goons fled back to the Cat Fleet, and Rodon ordered Iron Star be destroyed with meow missiles.
The Dwarfers and the Cat Clerics were able to get to Starbug 19 in time to escape the destruction of Iron Star, but debris from the explosion hit the rear section of Starbug and set it on fire. Lister decoupled the rear section, leaving it behind, and the front section of Starbug plummeted down to the surface of the planetoid below.
Panic ensued when they realised that Cat had taken the emergency parachute of Starbug, since he liked the shiny fabric and had made it into clothes. Fortunately, Kryten who had opened up a copy of the Starbug technical manual and realised that there was a secondary parachute and deployed it.
After crash landing, a massive piece of Iron Star landed near to Starbug. The Dwarfers resolved to go and salvage it, since Iron Star had a teleporter which they could put to good use. Kryten revealed that Starbug is a a hybrid which could use electricity to hover over to the wreckage using the manoeuvring thrusters. The Cat Clerics took all this as a miraculous sign that Lister was indeed Cloister.
However, Rodon's flagship appeared and began to fire missiles at Starbug. Since the 'bug was not fast enough to outrun Rodon, Lister decided to fly the 'bug into a massive sandstorm where the ferals could not track them. The ferals gave up the chase, however the 'bug became completely buried under a large amount of sand.
Kryten drilled a small hole through the hull and poked an antenna which he extended from his finger through it and out of the sand. Contact was successfully established with Holly on the Red Dwarf through this antenna, establishing that fortunately the ship was nearby and Holly had not yet destroyed Red Dwarf. Rimmer convinced Holly to reupload his most recent save file, restoring his former personality, memories and senility. This also made Holly willing to help his crewmates.
Holly came up with a very precarious plan - he would fire a nuclear mining torpedo at the moon to blow it to smithereens. Since Starbug is quite tough, it may survive the blast and may be thrown free of the moon. With no other options available to them, the Dwarfers agreed. The first missile completely missed the moon, since Holly's calculations were completely wrong. The second missile, however, blew the moon into pieces and luckily Starbug was thrown free of it.
Holly then said that he would swing Red Dwarf around and pick them up. To the dismay of the Dwarfers, Holly forgot to mention that he had already been boarded by the ferals. (The Promised Land)
- Although the planetoid clearly had an atmosphere, given the massive sandstorms, it is unknown whether or not the planet had a breathable S3 atmosphere since none of the Dwarfers step outside onto the surface at any time.
Behind the Scenes
- Axis Studios, which produced some of the visual effects for The Promised Land, created the desert planetoid. From space, the moon was a complete digital creation. The surface however was based on a real-life location in Jordan.