Arnold Judas Rimmer was born on Io, one of Jupiter's moons. There he was raised by unloving parents and often bullied by his three successful, popular brothers John, Frank, and Howard. His father was rejected from the Space Corps due to being just under regulation height and would instill the military obsessions into Rimmer that he would carry for his entire life.
Career-minded, yet underachieving, Rimmer consistently failed the Astro-Navigation Exams necessary to further climb the ladder of success. Onboard the Jupiter Mining Corporation (JMC) mining vessel, Red Dwarf, Rimmer was Second Technician and the second-to-last lowest ranking crewmember on the entire ship.
In charge of Z-Shift, he was in command of Third Technician Dave Lister, the lowest ranking crewmember. After Lister was put into stasis as punishment for smuggling an unquarantined cat aboard the ship, Rimmer was tasked with repairing a faulty drive plate, which he failed. This resulted in the death of the entire crew, excluding Lister, and for 3 million years the ship wandered into the depths of deep space. After the radiation had subsided, Lister was released and Rimmer was made the ship's hologram by Holly to keep his former bunkmate sane.