- Wildfire Computer
"Stiff upper modem, old girl. Smoke me a Kipper, I'll be back for breakfast"
- Ace Rimmer
("Dimension Jump", Series IV)
Wildfire is the personal ship of dashing test pilot Ace Rimmer and has a female-personalitied, sultry-voiced sentient computer, which is madly in love with it's pilot, often begging Ace to not go on dangerous missions.
The most advanced spaceship ever devised, Wildfire is capable of breaking the speed of reality, travelling through Black Holes and to alternate dimensions. Later events would reveal that there have been countless versions of Ace Rimmer to pilot Wildfire, each passing on The Flame to an alternate Rimmer in another dimension to then also become Ace, and keep the legacy of Ace alive. This is perhaps the reason for the computer's apprehension, however.
Wildfire is a one-man craft with only a cockpit, and is run by a female computer who has a crush on Ace Rimmer. It first appeared in the Series IV episode "Dimension Jump", which also introduced Ace Rimmer. Its second appearance was in the Series VII episode "Stoke Me a Clipper", where it was slightly redesigned, being small enough to fit inside the Starbug hangar (even with Starbug becoming larger in "Tikka to Ride").
Wildfire was created in Ace Rimmer's own dimension by his team on Mimas, including "Spanners" Lister, and is capable of crossing the barrier between alternate dimensions. Ace Rimmer agreed to test-fly it even though it was a one-way ticket as there was no way of returning to his own dimension, but he couldn't resist due to his natural character of daredevil bravado. Ace said it handled like "a frolicking filly in a harvest-time pasture" around Black Holes.
Ace used it to cross into our dimension where he met the Dwarfers three million years into Deep Space. Although the initial meeting was to crash right into Starbug, Ace rescued the stricken Starbug from sinking on an ocean moon. The Rimmer aboard Red Dwarf despised his charming counterpart. Afterwards Ace used Wildfire as his own dimension-jumping spaceship, and gained a reputation across many alternate dimensions as a kind of intergalactic space adventurer and dashing hero. But as the ending text to "Dimension Jump" explains, Ace met thousands of Rimmers in the countless realities he searched, but never encountered another Rimmer as weaselly and hopeless as the very jealous one he met aboard Red Dwarf. His impossible search continued until he entered Dimension 165.
Ace Rimmer "caught the business end of a neutron tank in Dimension 165," after which another version of himself in that dimension took up his persona and continued adventuring through the dimensions with Wildfire. This has since occurred many times and many alternate counterparts of Ace from various dimensions have piloted Wildfire, including human and hologram versions. When each Ace dies, Wildfire is given to the next one in the counterpart dimension. The Light Bee coffins of all the previous Aces were numbered in their trillions, making up the entire ring system of a planet in Dimension 165.
The "original" hologram version of Arnold Rimmer left Starbug with Wildfire in an attempt to become the new Ace, at the end of "Stoke Me a Clipper". Wildfire has not been seen since. The Red Dwarf Rimmer's exploits in Wildfire as Ace are unknown, except within a disturbing dream of Lister's. However Arnold would be resurrected in the flesh from his ashes in the first episode of Series VIII by the nanobots. This version was as weaselly as the original Arnold had been, although he finds the hologram Rimmer's diary in the crashed wreckage of Starbug in the Red Dwarf hangar from the earlier Red Dwarf, and by the next series is once again a hologram.
Wildfire is never named in the television series: it is only named in the Red Dwarf novel Backwards, where it was built on Europa rather than Mimas. In that novel (the novels had different stories to the television series) Wildfire is taken by Lister and Cat after Holly, Ace, Rimmer and Kryten are killed in a confrontation with a pair of agonoids, Wildfire their only means of escape as Starbug is now on a collision course with a moon after running out of fuel. With Red Dwarf gutted by the Agonoids, the two decide to use Wildfire to jump into another dimension, arriving in a reality where their own counterparts are dead, and dock in the alternate Red Dwarf.
Behind the Scenes
- In the Red Dwarf script book Primordial Soup, the ship is described as being "a cross between a jet fighter and a dragster".