Click on a link below or scroll down to view pictures and stats for the tramp freighter Ruptured Duck and her crew.
The Ruptured Duck (view stats) is Grus Gyre’s “new” starship. Grus discovered the abandoned transport half-buried in a swamp after being marooned along with Drolin Narlig and Tiana Antipodal on the prehistoric planet Dyass by the shipwrecked pirate Alandra Zond. Alandra lured Grus to Dyass with a distress beacon and then hijacked his ship, the Red Silk. With help from an intelligent race of giant arachnids and parts scavenged from the pirates’ wrecked starship, Grus and his crew were able to restore the Ruptured Duck to a spaceworthy condition and leave Dyass.
The Ruptured Duck is a long-obsolete Fink & Wiggles Bx-10 light freighter. The small merchant starship features the same saucer-shaped main hull and offset cockpit configuration pioneered by Corellian Engineering Corporation (CEC) and now common in so many other light freighters across the galaxy. With an overall length just under 21 meters, the Bx-10 is considerably shorter than CEC’s famous YT-1300 yet has roughly the same cargo capacity. F&W accomplished this by utilizing a “double-decker” hull design with passengers and crew housed on the forward upper deck and cargo carried on the bottom. Access to the cargo hold is provided by a large pressure door on the lower starboard side, while a single docking hatch on the upper port side aft of the cockpit allows the ship to dock with other vessels in space. The transport’s Class 2 hyperdrive was touted as being “state-of-the-art” when the Bx-10 was introduced, although the drive’s reputation for being temperamental is one of the reasons F&W went out of business decades ago.
The Ruptured Duck’s previous owners obviously made some modifications to the small freighter, because the ship’s dorsally-mounted double laser cannon, deflector shield generators and lateral thrusters are all after-market components. Grus and his crew modified the laser cannon so that it may be fired either from the turret gunner’s station or remotely from the bridge. During a trip to the Minos cluster, Grus talked the famous Goo brothers into installing more powerful lateral thrusters to improve the small freighter's maneuverability. The Duck’s former crew tinkered with her rather anemic ion engines in an attempt to coax every last ounce of available thrust out of them, but still achieved only modest performance. The Goo's creative solution involved the installation of a pair of Novaldex D-990 turbo-boosters salvaged from a wrecked blockade runner. The oversized boosters give the Duck a starfighter's sublight speed, but can only be used for brief periods before the engines overheat. Rebel technicians on Scrapyard later replaced the Duck's old Class 2 hyperdrive with a reconditioned Koensayr KH-1M military-grade Class 1 hyperdrive.
The Ruptured Duck is not a heavily-armed vessel and Grus prefers to keep her that way. As Grus puts it, "An old smuggler once told me that ships with too many guns attract unwanted attention from Customs inspectors. The fact he was an old smuggler made me think he knew what he was talkin' about. Besides, I'll take a ship with more legs over one with more teeth any day!"
"I've never been alright, but I'll live."
Like many young boys, starry-eyed Grus Gyre (see photo) spent his formative years watching holovids about brave starfighter pilots, dastardly space pirates and crafty smugglers, and dreamed about someday becoming a free trader and roaming the spacelanes in his trusty tramp freighter with his loyal crew. Like so many others, he saw his fanciful boyhood dreams fall by the wayside as he grew older. He married his college sweetheart and got a (boring) job with a huge, multi-planet trading corporation. A few years later his wife left him for a co-worker. That triggered a mid-life crisis for Grus, who decided that he wasn’t going to spend the rest of his days flying a desk and started putting aside his credits with the intention of someday purchasing a spaceship. Much of the time he still worked, played, ate and slept in the same, city-sized tower like everyone else on the high-population world Byblos. For excitement Grus made regular after-hour forays into Byblos undercity, and about once a week he took his beloved T-16 out for a spin with the other members of the local Skyhoppers Club. Flying the tiny suborbital ship in mock dogfights with the other club members helped him sharpen his piloting skills and gave him something to look forward to on his days off.
Then one day Grus’ world was turned upside down when he came home to find a Gorean smuggler and a pirate girl hiding in his apartment. What followed was the sort of wild adventure that Grus used to fantasize about as a kid. In the end, he helped Ral Peleton rescue the kidnapped daughter of a planetary governor from a slave auction and saved the life of the beautiful pirate girl Tiana.
But that wasn’t the end of Grus’ adventures. Captain Peleton was tired of the slave trade and wanted to return to his home planet, Gor. Ral sold his small freighter, the Red Silk, for a modest sum to Grus under the condition Grus keep Tiana and his speech-impaired droid “Skeezix” on as the ship’s crew. Grus eagerly agreed.
Grus soon discovered that the life of a free trader wasn't as glamorous as the old holovids made it. Shortly after Grus bought the Red Silk the ship was hijacked by the pirate Alandra Zond, leaving Grus to salvage the Ruptured Duck. The aging light freighter frequently needs repairs; his First Mate, Drolen Narlig, has a “bit of a gambling problem”; and Grus still has trouble understanding Skeezix. To top it off, Grus inherited the (undeserved) reputation of being a highly successful smuggler when he acquired the Red Silk. While this opened certain "dark alley" doors for Grus, it also made him a frequent target of Imperial (and later, New Republic) Customs Inspectors. Grus has managed to gradually shed his "shady reputation" although it occasionally comes back to haunt him.
In the years since he became a tramp freighter captain, Grus' enthusiasm for the trader's life has given way to cynicism. Fortunately, he made enough money aiding the Rebel Alliance and the New Republic that he no longer needs to regularly haul cargo for a living. Grus hasn't lost his love of space travel, though.
Grus' only real vice is cold utoz (beer). He claims he drinks because he likes the taste, but his close friends believe he drinks to forget all the years he wasted on Byblos. As the new half-owner of the infamous Black Hole Bar, Grus has a steady supply of utoz.
Force Sensitive: No
Force Points: 1
Character Points: 8
Equipment: Modified stock light freighter Ruptured Duck, half-ownership in The Black Hole Bar, comlink, customized SoroSuub Marksman 50 sporting blaster pistol (damage 3D+1), datapad, 48,200 credits in ready cash.
"Ah, who wants to live forever? That would be soooo boring!"
Drolen Narlig left his home planet Celanon when he was just a pup by stowing away aboard a tramp freighter, and never returned. Always a seeker of adventure, Drolen has been many things in his time. In his younger days he made something of a name for himself on the pod racing circuit, earning - and then losing - a sizeable fortune. After a near fatal crash ended his pod racing career, Drolen redirected his talents to flying space transports. Prior to hiring on with Grus, he served aboard the tramp freighter Cheap Trick with Captain Ouwen.
A compulsive gambler, Drolen has made and lost several fortunes at the Sabacc table. Aside from the thrill he gets from evading Imperial Customs Corvettes, Drolen's main reason for continuing to fly has been one of both economic necessity and personal safety. He is chronically in debt, and pilots space transports to stay one step ahead of his creditors. Drolen regularly loses his share of the ship's profits trying to win back his fortune playing Sabacc.
In space, the crew often relies on Drolen's lightning quick reflexes and skillful piloting to stay out of trouble. The wisecracking, fast talking Nalroni is also a crack shot with a blaster.
Force Sensitive: No
Force Points: 1
Character Points: 5
Equipment: Comlink, deck of sabacc cards, BlasTech DL-18 blaster pistol (damage 4D), 5,080 credits.
"If it pleases Master."
Jo'hara's story is a familiar one among Twi'lek girls from Kala'uun on Ryloth: She was given to the slaver Voorg as part of her clan's annual tribute. Voorg in turn sold her to Fenn Oflamm, a human con artist and thief posing as a free trader. Fenn quickly put Jo'hara's dancing skills to use by having the short, buxom Twi'lek divert attention with her seductive dance moves while he and his protocol droid "RR-DR" did their dirty work. In time Jo'hara's part in Fenn's scams grew as he "showed her the ropes". He also gave her more responsibilities aboard his small freighter, the Paper Moon, and she learned important spacer's skills as they travelled the galaxy. Fenn treated Jo'hara fairly, although he had no intention of ever freeing her. Fenn's ownership of Jo'hara abruptly ended when he was killed by a "mark" after a failed con. Jo'hara suddenly found herself the property of an utoz-guzzling "wannbe" pirate/petty thief who routinely beat her when he wasn't passed-out drunk. Her deliverance came in the personage of Grus Gyre, who shot and killed Jo'hara's abusive owner after the thief drew his heavy blaster on Grus. Grateful for her rescue, Jo'hara pledged herself to Grus - despite the free trader's protests that he didn't want a slave. She hasn't wasted any time making herself at home aboard the Ruptured Duck.
Jo'hara has played the part of a submissive slave girl for so long that it is second nature for her. She insists on calling Grus "Master" and enthusiastically waits on him - often to his embarrassment. She has shown that she can be stubborn and opinionated at times, though.
Jo'hara literally means "purple jewel" (i.e., amethyst) in the old Twi'lek dialect. It is probably not a coincidence that Jo'hara's skin is purple.
Force Sensitive: No
Character Points: 10
Equipment: Twi'lek dancer's costume.
"By your command. Nah, jushhh kiddin', gwar, gwar!"
Take one surplus Trade Federation Battle Droid, replace its brain with a reconditioned Cybot Galactica protocol droid brain, reprogram with everything from hyperdrive repair procedures to recipes, sports trivia, and bad jokes, and you have "Skeezix". Originally acquired by Ral Peleton's father, Van Peleton, the droid was the Red Silk's oldest crewmember. When Ral Peleton was the ship's captain, Skeezix served as the ship's security guard, preventing unauthorized entry to the ship and discouraging the kajira from attempting to escape. When Ral sold the Red Silk to Grus Gyre, Skeezix came with the ship.
Although the droid is unerringly loyal to ship and crew and efficient in performing its duties, years of reprogramming have left it with a few quirks - most noticeably the droid often mispronounces or transposes words with results ranging from hilarious to embarrassing. The speech impediment, coupled with a defective voice synthesizer that causes the droid to sound a bit like a drunken Donald Duck on helium, can make having a conversation with Skeezix an interesting experience.
Skeezix was briefly separated from Grus and his crew when the pirate Alandra Zond hijacked the Red Silk on Dyass. Zond quickly tired of the droid's strange quirks and sold Skeezix to a used droid dealer on Tatooine. Grus caught up with the droid a few months later and found the frustrated dealer only too happy to sell Skeezix for only 200 credits just to get rid of it!
The name "Skeezix" is presumably a corruption of the droid's long forgotten original designation, which is thought to be "SKE-6".
Force Sensitive: No
Force Points: 1
Character Points: 2
Equipment: Body armor (+2D to all locations), built-in comlink, droid blaster (damage 5D).
"Pain? That's the story of my life!"
Tiana Antipodal was barely twelve years old when she was abducted along with her mother and sister by the notorious Black Moons corsair band. Tiana watched in horror as they were sold on the auction block, a fate she only narrowly escaped by convincing a young corsair to keep her as his “pet”. In the years that followed she endured an often hellish, humiliating existence, but gradually earned the corsairs’ trust and worked her way up from slavery to being a full-fledged crewmember. According to Tiana, she never intended to make piracy a career – she only wanted a chance to go dirtside unsupervised so that she could escape. Tiana claims that during a raid on the mining colony on Rhyax, she attempted to slip away from the corsairs and was captured by the miners. The colony’s governor insisted on putting the “bloodthirsty pirate wench” on public display in a steel cage in the center of the town square. For weeks Tiana was kept half-naked in the tiny cage, fed only scraps, and routinely pelted with stones and garbage by passers-by. She was finally freed by the Gorean smuggler Ral Peleton, who needed her help in locating the Black Moons so that he could rescue the governor’s kidnapped daughter. While assisting Ral in his search on Byblos, she was kidnapped by the Black Moons and subsequently rescued by Grus Gyre (See "WAKE OF THE RED SILK"). Tiana was grateful to Grus for saving her life, and remained with him as part of the Red Silk’s crew after Ral sold the small freighter to Grus.
Unfortunately, Tiana's troubles weren't over. The Black Moons still had a score to settle with her, and they did so in a horrific fashion. Tiana was kidnapped and tortured by having her limbs and organs surgically removed for the pirate leader's amusement. What was left of her was dumped, barely alive, on the Red Silk's cargo ramp. Grus and his crew managed to save her by convincing the great cyborg doctor Daisuke Ido to transplant Tiana's head onto a droid body. Cyborged Tiana then sought vengence on the Black Moons and used her new battle-borg body to "kick some pirate butt". She subsequently left the crew to hunt down the leader of the Black Moons and find her long-lost mother and sister. Rumor has it that Tiana eventually located her sister Kara, who had escaped from slavery and joined the rebels. Unconfirmed reports indicate that she was killed in the Battle of Endor.
Tiana’s specially constructed battle-borg body gives her superior strength and speed, as well as other abilities. Sensitive tactile sensors allow her droid body to “feel” and sense differences in temperature. Since she has no internal organs or muscles, Tiana does not require food and in fact is incapable of eating. However, her human head still requires fluids and nutrients which she obtains by drinking small amounts of water and “baby formula”. Although she lacks lungs, Tiana “breaths” using a reciprocating air pump as part of her cyborg body’s internal cooling mechanism and blood oxygenation system. High-efficiency scrubbers constantly clean and maintain the small blood supply required for her head, allowing her to live without breathing for up to one hour should the need arise. However, she must still receive weekly “blood transfusions” to replace lost blood cells.
Force Sensitive: No
Force Points: 1
Character Points: 5
Equipment: Armored cybernetic body (+2D to all physical attacks, +1D to all energy attacks), trenchcoat, comlink, BlasTech DL-18 blaster pistol (damage 4D), 500 credits.
"Some people are just born bad."
She stood barefoot in the dust before him, her gaze steady and her posture defiant despite the broad cuffs of the electro-binders that invisibly chained her slender wrists and ankles together. The auctioneer had warned him to not remove the binders (“She’s a runner!”). Her long black hair was filthy and matted and she smelled of the slave pens. She wore a tattered, dirt and blood stained poncho that barely covered her ass – and apparently little else. The storm troopers out here in the Outer Rim were hard on female prisoners – especially the young attractive ones – and from what Grus had heard rape was a daily occurrence in the pens. If Alandra Zond had been used by the Imps for “recreational purposes”, she certainly didn’t show it. She had a hardened I-know-you-think-I’m-bad-and-I don’t-give-a-damn look about her, which Tiana never had even after she’d been ‘borged from the neck down. Tiana never was a real pirate, though – at least not a willing one. By way of contrast, Alandra had been the leader of the small band that hijacked Grus’ starship, the Red Silk, and left him and his crew marooned on the swamp world Dyass two years ago.
Now she was Grus’ fresh-off-the-auction-block slave. The freetrader hadn’t purchased her because he wanted any sort of pay-back or desired a bunk-warmer, although convincing her of his true intentions wasn’t going to be easy. Assuming he did manage to win the young pirate girl’s trust, there was still the possibility that she had no idea where her former partners in crime had taken the Red Silk – or wouldn’t tell him even if she knew. Grus had finally given up on the idea of ever getting his former vessel back, but vowed to recover a certain encrypted data file from the ship’s nav-computer if it took him the next half-century. Finding Alandra at a slave auction in Mos Espa had been pure dumb luck, and her decidedly less-than-impressive performance on the block (“Yes she bites, but she has good teeth!”) allowed Grus to buy her for a measly 500 credits.
“Let’s take her back to the Duck and clean her up,” Grus told Drolen Narlig.
“She awfully dirty,” his Nalroni First Mate replied as he slowly shook his long snout from side to side. “I say we just strip her and hose her down outside.”
“Just try it big nose,” Alandra growled hoarsely.
“Uh uh. Water’s worth more than gold here,” said Grus. “We’ll clean her up in the cargo hold with the sonic scrubber.”
“Quit talking about me like I’m a piece of meat!” Alandra shouted defiantly as she struggled against her binders.
“There’s a hot meal and clean clothes waiting for you back at the Ruptured Duck,” Grus told her. “You can either walk there under your own power or I’ll have Skeezix carry you over his shoulder. It’s your call.”
Alandra hesitated then held her magnetically fettered wrists out. “You’ll take these damn things off so I can feed myself?”
“I'll think about it. I'll turn them off so you can use your hands and move. Whether they eventually come off is up to you. Behave yourself and you’ll be treated fairly. Try anything stupid and I’ll space you.”
“Ah, you’re not the type to space a helpless female!” Alandra laughed.
“Just watch me. Now get a move on,” Grus ordered as fingered small control unit in his palm. At that moment Alandra felt the magnetic fields that bound her wrists and ankles together vanish.
* * *
Abandoned by her mother as a child, Alandra Zond grew up in the slums of Tekar on the planet Derilyn. To survive on the mean streets, she became an accomplished pick-pocket when she was only five years old. Alandra was arrested for grand larceny when she was 18 and given the choice between serving time in an Imperial prison or serving in the Imperial Navy, which was in dire need of pilots following the Battle of Yavin. She chose the Imperial Navy and was hastily trained as a TIE fighter pilot. Quick-handed Alandra proved to be a capable pilot, but she resented authority and deserted at the first opportunity. She quickly gravitated to a life of piracy and joined Crimson Jack's pirate band. Alandra remained with Jack until her leader and mentor met his untimely death at the hands of the famous Corellian smuggler Han Solo. She formed her own small band of corsairs, but success routinely eluded her. She and her crew were shipwrecked on the swamp world Dyass for several months before they were able to lure Grus Gyre with a phony distress call and hijack his starship, the small tramp freighter Red Silk. Unfortunately for Alandra, her crew finally grew weary of her repeated failures and turned her over to the Imperial Navy for the bounty. With the sector prisons already overflowing with "rebel scum", Alandra was sold into slavery in the Outer Rim. In an odd twist of fate she was purchased at a slave auction in Mos Espa on Tatooine by Grus Gyre, who hoped that she could help him find the missing Red Silk (See "HUNT FOR THE RED SILK"). Alas, Alandra proved the old saying, "Once a thief, always a thief," and ran off with most of the crew's available cash. Fortunately for Grus, most of the money was returned (except for about 400 credits) indicating that Alandra really isn't as bad as she pretends to be.
After leaving Grus, Alandra met and - after a brief courtship - subsequently married Joe "Jolly" Wanker, the aging and leacherous proprietor of the infamous Black Hole Bar. It seems that both of Jolly's hearts simultaneously failed on their wedding night during a bout of passionate love-making. The grieving widow soon (but probably not unexpectedly) found herself to be the new owner of the Black Hole.
Alandra is self-centered and an opportunist. She is mistrustful of others and only "loyal" to those who clearly have the upper hand. She is outwardly friendly, seductive, and boastful. Everything is just a "con" to Alandra. Alandra is no murderer, although she often pretends to have no regard for life as part of her "bloodthirsty pirate" persona.
Force Sensitive: No
Character Points: 5
Equipment: The clothes on her back, BlasTech DL-18 blaster pistol (damage 4D), 400 credits ("borrowed" from Grus Gyre).
All illustrations and photo manipulations by "Free Trader". All stats are D6 for "Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, Second Edition", published by West End Games. The characters featured on this web page are purely fictional. Any resemblance to actual persons either living or deceased is strictly coincidental.