Space Cowboys: The Crew of the Cabra
(This is part two, in which we bring the focus in and look at the PCs for the Space Cowboys game. You can find part one here, talking about the larger ‘verse that these guys live in.)
The Cabra was originally built by Volvo, over one hundred years before the story began. It started off as a mid-sized cargo hauler with sails, but was expanded and improved over the years. Originally, it was more spindle-shaped, had little internal cargo space, and didn’t use spin gravity. The engine room dates back to those days.
The ship was part of the fleet of the Solo clan*, an extended family group dedicated to interplanetary trade. They called no planet home, being life-long spacers. The clan was loosely run by “Grandma”, their amazingly-old matriarch. It was their practice to have ships working on their own, crewed by family members, with periodic family reunions. When sufficient cash and grown kids accumulated, a new ship would be added to the fleet and a crew gathered from across the clan. As we join the Cabra, it is going through one of these changes in manpower.
For the first season, the crew PCs were Bubba, Hal, Mel, Osolo, and Samale. The second season had a shakeup in the cast, adding Felix, Jasmine, and Terreno. Bubba and Osolo were twin brothers and Mel was their sister, while Hal and Samale were more distant cousins, as was Terreno. Felix and Jasmine were non-family contractors.
As a youth, Bubba Solo had gone off to volunteer for the Patrol, a military organization run by the Core Worlds Coalition. He was a big guy, over 7 feet tall, and a fighter. The Patrol trained him as a ship’s engineer and all-around mechanic, but his experiences at war left him with a touch of PTSD. He was quite protective of his ship and his family members. He shared a bond with his twin, and they always knew when the other was in trouble. Their father was a big Scandinavian, while their mom was Samoan, which explains the difference in their names. (“Bubba” wasn’t his real, given name, but damned if I can remember what it was.)
Hal had led a troubled life, growing up in an asteroid tree farm**, raised by his Grandpa. A life spent in “ziggy” (zero-gravity) had made him particularly at home in a space suit, and work around the farm had given him excellent mechanical skills, but he suffered from yo-yo luck, where catastrophic bad fortune would be followed by implausible windfalls and freak coincidences. He had left home to work a tour on a ship to fund his upcoming wedding, only to be delayed by pirates. Left for dead, he jury-rigged a plasma sail and surfed the rest of the way home, wearing his suit, eating nutritional paste, drinking recycled water, and switching bottles of oxygen as needed… only to arrive three days too late. The insult to his fiance’s family’s honor was too much for them to bear, and they had left, taking her with them, but leaving a few big guys behind to explain Hal’s mistakes to him. Among other things, they informed him that he still owed them the finger that should have worn a ring, and took it with them when they left. In an attempt to turn this disaster around, Grandpa called his space-faring cousins and arranged a new job for Hal working the sails on the Cabra.
Melika Nanika, or “Mel”, was the younger sister of Bubba and Osolo. She was fiercely intelligent, and had gone off to medical school on Mars at a young age. Having spent so much time there, she understood the TL 10 culture, but could also relate to TL 9 folks, thanks to her childhood upbringing. Her wearable computer had more computing power in it than the entire rest of the Cabra and all of its contents, combined. She was an honest, caring, giving person… to start with. She had gotten married and divorced on Mars, keeping her married name. She handled the sick bay, and also filled in as copilot, navigator, and communications officer.
Osolo-Solo Bono Solo was Bubba’s twin. (See, I told you there would be a difference in the names!) Even so, in many ways, he was the opposite of his brother. Where Bubba was driven and ambitious, Osolo was more laid-back. “Lazy”, in fact. While his siblings left to pursue their educations, Osolo stayed on the ship and made himself useful there, getting his learning from the books he read on the long journeys between planets. He was nearly as tall as Bubba, but lacked the drive to exercise, so where Bubba was muscular, Osolo ran to fat. He handled the cooking, cleaning, and passenger management on the ship.
Solo no Samale was another cousin, who had grown up in space, but among a family that pursued more aggressive trading than most of the clan. “Smugglers” was the word most often used. He was a pilot of great skill, but suffered from boredom from the slower pace of work on the Cabra. He was easily distracted, somewhat superstitious, and outgoing to a fault. He chased women single-mindedly, which often put him in hot water.
Felix took Bubba’s place in engineering. He was a neurotic, bearded cross-dresser with a perverse fascination for robotics. He was notoriously bad at remembering names, and would give everyone nicknames to compensate.
Jasmine Mung was hired to work as a business agent and accountant. She came from the Core Worlds, originally. She had a sordid history that had major repercussions for the rest of the crew.
Terreno took over as pilot after Samale. Unlike his predecessor, he saw the job not as a calling unto itself but as a way to make a living while he pursued his true passion: mixed martial arts masked ziggy wrestling. He was a space luchador. He believed that he needed a couple of stiff drinks to pilot effectively, and so hid several bottles around the ship’s control deck.
They were joined by the occasional NPC crew members, but these folks formed the core of the Cabra‘s crew.
* Yes, indeed, they did take their name from Han Solo, of Star Wars fame. During the time of the exodus from Earth, some of the clan’s less-reputable ancestors had found their birth names a heavy burden to bear, and shed them along with the rest of their pasts. As a joke, they took a new name from a character who shared their new work of hauling cargo from world to world. By 2517, of course, this was long-lost legend, unknown to the PCs. (But known to the players!)
** It’s hard to grow trees in space. They take a lot of room and time, and unless you put them under the stress of gravity, you don’t get the strong, straight grain that’s desirable for most applications. Therefore, wood was a semi-precious commodity in this ‘verse.