The UNN Rickenbacker is a military space-faring vessel directly involved in the events of System Shock 2. Named after legendary World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker, it is a UNN Protectorate heavy destroyer ship capable of sub-light speeds that is assigned to escort TriOptimum Corporation's first faster-than-light starship, the Von Braun, during her maiden exploratory voyage into deep space. Appointed to helm the ship during this historic mission is UNN Navy Captain William Bedford Diego, a well-known war hero and son of infamous TriOptimum ex-vice-president Edward Diego. William also helped to broker the deal between UNN officials and TriOptimum leadership that allows the corporately-crewed Von Braun to embark as humanity's first FTL starship under the oversight and protection of the UNN Rickenbacker. System Shock 2's player character is a UNN Protectorate soldier serving aboard the Rickenbacker during this same mission.
Because the Rickenbacker is not fitted with TriOptimum's new FTL technology, it must be physically tethered to the Von Braun via a complex series of interlocks between both ships' systems in order to "piggy-back" its way into hyperspace.
Contact with the UNN Rickenbacker was lost in 2114 while performing its escort for the Von Braun's maiden voyage near the Tau Ceti star system, leaving the current status of both ships unknown.
The Rickenbacker is divided into three main sections called Pods (or sometimes Decks), each of which contains one or more sub-decks.
- Pod 1/Deck A: Von Braun Umbilical, Auxiliary Support Struts A & B, Chemical Storeroom, Morgue, Missile Storage & Control, Nacelles A & B
- Pod 2/Deck B: Meson Acceleration Coil #2, Chapel, Sickbay
- Pod 3/Deck C: Bridge, Escape Pod, Computer Core
Navigation inside the Rickenbacker is made more difficult for players due to a lack of detailed maps like those available for each of the Von Braun's six decks; fortunately, the interior of the Rickenbacker is much smaller than that of the Von Braun. Some portions of the Rickenbacker are inaccessible during the events of System Shock 2 due to severe structural damage caused by The Many's agents, requiring the player to detour through several maintenance areas on their way to the ship's bridge. Pod 2's artificial gravity must be inverted by the player character in order to avoid triggering a catastrophic explosion caused by the Rickenbacker's remaining meson acceleration coil. Both coils were sabotaged by annelid-infected crew members, resulting in the destruction of several sub-decks in Pod 1.
By the time the player character reaches the Rickenbacker's bridge, The Many's main biomass has wrapped itself around both the Von Braun and the Rickenbacker in order to prevent SHODAN's plan to separate the two ships and scuttle the Von Braun. After boarding the bridge's lone escape pod, the player launches themselves directly into the biomass so that it may be destroyed from within.