The Brilliant was built to look like an old-fashioned sailing ship. The first class sections were finely crafted, though sparsely furnished. The crew area and engine rooms were much more compact. The bridge was more like an office, with a horseshoe-shaped room filled with computers. There were transmat booths connecting the engine room and bridge.
The mechanics who worked on the Brilliant were genetically created to have no mouths. Instead, they had holes for eating. This made it impossible for them to talk back to their superiors, but also unable to warn them of dangers such as an attack by pirates. Bondoux 56 androids, such as Gabriel, were modified to deal with the passengers.
The Brilliant was created with an experimental drive, allowing it to move far faster than other methods. In order to test it, but without arousing suspicion, the Brilliant was made as a pleasure starship.
When the Brilliant was attacked by the Mandelbrot Sett, the engine was engaged incorrectly, causing a major temporal accident. From the point of view of the Brilliant, the rest of the universe was frozen. Different parts of the ship had time moving at different rates. An incomplete time loop was also created. When the ship tried to repeat things, mistakes were made, causing dying people to be brought back with scarring and objects to be recreated repeatedly. Meanwhile, three pirates who had been trapped in the ship — (Dashiel, Jocelyn and Archibald) — repeatedly killed people and ate the repetition of the same canapés. This whole process required great amounts of energy. This meant the ship would explode if it was stopped.
The Tenth Doctor eventually repaired the time loop, connected the Brilliant's engine to the TARDIS and extended it over the Mandelbrot Sett. Though the pirates destroyed the ship, killing the crew and the Doctor, they were all brought back in the next repetition. Seeing that fighting would be useless and having been told of the delicacies on the Brilliant, the pirates joined them on the Brilliant. With the time loop repaired, they partied forever. (PROSE: The Pirate Loop)