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Annual Award Legendary.png This article, Chancer V, was voted as the Legendary Article of 2014 in the Seventh Annual Halo Fanon Wikia Awards.


Annual Award Best Starship.png This article, Chancer V, written by Ahalosniper, Actene, and The Pale Kestrl, was voted as the Best Vehicle of 2014 in the Seventh Annual Halo Fanon Wikia Awards.


Terminal.png This article, Chancer V, was written by Ahalosniper, Actene and The Pale Kestrl. Please do not edit this fiction without the writers' permission.
Chancer.jpg
Chancer V
Production information
Class

Argo-class transport

Production

Rhodes Collosi Shipwrights

Modified by
Technical specifications
Length

80 meters

Armament
Complement

1 Spade Pickup

Minimum crew

1

Cargo capacity
  • 2500m3 (cargo bay)
  • 100m3 (smuggling cavities)
Usage
Role(s)
  • Freighter
  • Passenger transport
Commissioned

November 17th, 2519

Affiliation
Known crewmembers
Known commander(s)
  [Source]
Gavin Dunn: "Everybody thinks the only way to survive out here's by being strong. You know how a fool like me has made it this long?"
Zoey Hunsinger: "Not really, no."
Gavin Dunn: "Trust. The Chancer trusts me to take care of her, and if I've done my job, I know I can trust her."
—Gavin Dunn and Zoey Hunsinger.

The Chancer V was a highly modified Argo-class transport starship with a storied history that stretched to just over half a decade before the start of the Great War. Manufactured by Rhodes Collosi Shipwrights on Skopje, the Chancer traded hands countless times before eventually arriving in the hands of the insurrectionist-turned-smuggler Gavin Dunn. Dunn eventually hired on a traitor Spartan, a failed ship thief and later a Sangheili gladiator, and the unlikely crew formed a makeshift family aboard the battered freighter. The Chancer’s crew scraped out a living on the fringes of the post-war galaxy, more often than not straying onto the wrong side of the law. Crossing paths with Spartans, revolutionaries, crime bosses, and warlords, the Chancer and its crew would play a pivotal role in many galaxy-shaping events.

Operational History Biography[3]

Construction and Early History

"She and her sisters are a relic of a bygone age. There used to be a time when you couldn't even look skyward on an outer colony without seeing one of these things lifting off or touching down."
―Tom Spender referring to the Argo-class.

The year 2519 signaled the end of an era, as Rhodes Collosi announced that it would cease its production on the Series-7 Argo-class light freighter, last of a dynasty which had played a pivotal role in settling the Outer Colonies as the first slipspace-capable vessel available on the civilian market. When the last batch rolled off of the assembly lines in New Richmond, the colonial capital of Skopje, in November of that year, a small celebration was held for the shipyard's workers, executives, and a number of minor government officials whom attended. The last freighter of her kind to ever be assembled was specially purchased by the planet's governor and donated to the Skopje Historical Society to serve as a museum display, open to the public until in 2547 when the planet was glassed. No one, however, would pay attention to the ship just four units ahead of the last, serial number RCS-SK-519/000A823543, a vessel destined to outlast and outdo any of its sister-ships. Spending a week in drydock before she was purchased, the ship would be christened the Karen J. after the owner's wife and become the workhorse of a one-horse construction company on Jericho VII, where it was given its black, white, and orange paint scheme. For fifteen years, the Karen J. served as the company's heavy lifter and the owner's personal vehicle, enduring work no more extreme than ferrying building supplies to sites across the flourishing Outer Colony and making the occasional slipspace jump to neighboring systems to pick up materials unavailable on Jericho.

ArgoBlueprints.png
Constructed precisely according to the blueprints of her class, no one could have known what this ship's future held.

When Jericho VII was attacked by the Covenant in 2535, the vessel would be responsible for the evacuation of 47 civilians, including the owner and his family, when it slipped past the alien fleet to make a randomized slipspace jump and eventually end up on Actium. Though the it had saved his life, the owner found himself among the growing number of refugees gathering in the core worlds and was forced to sell the ship to keep his family fed and clothed, passing it into the hands of a member of the criminal cartel known as the Syndicate. In service of a young criminal lieutenant's branch operation, the ship would be extensively reworked to accommodate a myriad concealed smuggling compartments and fly under a half-dozen faked registrations and names, including Ace of Trades, Nylund's Hat-Trick, and Turul, to carry slapsticks and numerous other illegal substances through the security nets of intercolonial law enforcement. The ship developed a reputation for being reliable in its deliveries, sneaking under the noses of ever-sparser colonial garrisons with ease and often completing slipspace jumps well ahead of schedule, enough so that her various crews began remarking that the ship's sponsor must have been Saint Elisa herself.

Eventually, its luck caught the eye of a rising Syndicate underboss by the nickname of "Gleaner", who appropriated the vessel for his own use. On his authority, the ship was refitted with a pair of powerful Traxus R171 Bucephalis thrusters, two retractable M638 20-millimeter autocannons, and an Acheron Security Systems Variable-Munitions Launcher Tube in addition to shoring up key points in the vessel's frame, making it more formidable without sacrificing the advantage of speed from a ship its size. Renamed the Starlight, Gleaner used the ship for tasks of high importance and payoff, such as looting priceless cultural artifacts from colonies under active attack by the Covenant or a courier for Syndicate-bought government officials. Soon, the freighter's operations were based on Iskandar, where the Syndicate was headquartered, where it was at the call of their most powerful members as Gleaner continued moving up in the organization. This very promotion, however, would become its downfall, as the fickle elite demanded newer, sleeker ships to suit their expensive tastes, passing over the outdated freighter as it began to show its age. Though Gleaner continued to see the Starlight as a more-than-capable asset, when some of its parts were cannibalized in 2548 to repair Captain Tom Spender's Argo-class freighter Chancer, he retired it from service to his organization, keeping the vessel on Iskandar to handle odd jobs.

Barn.png
Swiftly reclaimed by Beta Gabriel's forests, this barn almost became the Starlight’s final resting place.

At last, in 2551, the vessel was sold when an anonymous client came to the Syndicate in need of a shuttle for a one-way slipspace journey. Still possessing its translight drive, the Starlight was fitted with enough replacement parts to make her spaceworthy again and exchanged to the client for untraceable cash-credit notes. Its buyer was Dasc Gevadim, the spiritual guru who had founded the Triad and recently disappeared from the public eye in order to retire and lead his followers to believe he had attained some form of spiritual transcendence. Making what was believed to be its final jump, the freighter landed on Beta Gabriel, a colony well-suited to human habitation, but populated by less than a thousand people, kept secret by an entrepreneurial company as a vacation resort catering to the exorbitantly wealthy. There, an opulent country villa awaited Gevadim, while the Starlight was deemed not worth the cost of fueling up again to take out and resell. Instead, the vessel was parked in a secluded wood-built hangar several miles from the nearest human inhabitants and locked away. When the planet was discovered by a Jiralhanae ship fleeing the Battle of Reach and its sparse human population rounded up, the Starlight’s hangar was overlooked by the aliens and forgotten altogether, left to rust for the next seven years.

Under New Management

While the Starlight’s shelter was overcome by moss, vines, and rot in the planet's temperate climate, galaxy-shaping events took place elsewhere. Following the Battle of Earth and a truce between the UNSC and Sangheili in early 2553, humanity began looking to re-expand and recolonize worlds that had been lost in the war. Because it had never been glassed and was in the same system as the symbolic military stronghold that had been Reach, Beta Gabriel was one of the first planets considered for major reclamation efforts. Although politicians would squabble for years over whether to settle it as a population center for the billions of refugees clustered on Earth or terraform it as a desperately-needed agricultural world, the first new colonists arrived as soon as 2554. Among these were an ex-Marine named Moses Wheatley and his new-found family, having met his wife, Serina, by saving her life during the Battle of Earth and left the service to settle down with her and her children and grandchildren. While Moses found work as an engineer with a Beta Gabriel-based company surveying Reach for recolonization, his two stepsons registered claim to a large plot of land around their remote homestead for farming, on which happened to be hidden the old barn. When the barn and freighter were uncovered as the land was cleared, the family briefly discussed fixing up the ship for sale or having it hauled away, but had neither the time nor money to spend on it. Ultimately, the vessel continued to be left alone, apart from the family's grandchildren, who used the barn and the ship as a playground.

Only the chance arrival of an off-worlder would change the vessel's fortunes. In 2554, a spacer and former Insurrectionist named Gavin Dunn, already considered a public enemy by the UNSC for his part in leading the Second Insurrection of Mamore, was on the run after taking part in an ill-fated rescue mission to free a young Spartan from the custody of ONI, which devolved into a tragic attack on a major Earth city. The event had placed Gavin at the top of United Earth Government and UNSC Most Wanted lists, second only to the rogue Spartan who'd planned the raid and his former comrade from Mamore, Simon-G294. After parting ways with the raid's other survivors on the independent colony of Venezia, Gavin took his CH-14 Cargo Hauler, the Chancer IV, and began planet-hopping, accepting jobs that entailed risky slipspace jumps between distant planets regularly in the belief that moving between star systems would make him harder to track. While this was true for official channels, the hefty bounty offered for Gavin's capture attracted those who worked in unofficial channels, including the greatest bounty hunter of the time: David Kahn.

When Kahn tracked Gavin down on the nearby world of Circumstance, he took the precaution of sabotaging the Chancer IV to ensure the smuggler didn't escape, knowing from the failure of other bounty hunters before that Gavin was a more difficult mark than he appeared. He underestimated Gavin nonetheless, however, not counting on Gavin's skill to repair his ship being as good as his ability to fly it, and a chase ensued. Though Gavin was the better pilot, Kahn's ship was faster than the smuggler and his relentless assault prevented his target from having time to plot a slipspace jump. Outgunned and without a means of evading his attacker in open space, Gavin saw his only chance was to outmaneuver the bounty hunter by dropping into Beta Gabriel's atmosphere. The trick might have worked, if the old Cargo Hauler's aileron hydraulics hadn't failed in the intense heat of reentry. A burst of fire from Kahn's ship finished the job, and Gavin was forced to ride out the vessel's death throes in a barely-controlled crash landing as he was shot down. Though he survived the impact, Gavin knew the bounty hunter would be coming for him soon, and grabbing what few supplies he could carry, set out into the planet's wilderness. Though the smuggler had learned how to evade military patrols on Mamore, Kahn was a master tracker and quickly caught up with him. Dunn would have been captured were it not for the arrival of Moses Wheatley, who'd come to investigate the crash and whom Kahn warned to step aside, and then a Spartan suited in full Mark V MJOLNIR armor: Vinh-030. Confronted with such an unexpected and capable opponent which he was unprepared for, Kahn backed down, leaving the smuggler in their hands.[4][5][6]

While at first intimidated by the legendary UNSC soldier, Gavin quickly learned their confrontation had been a bluff; Vinh had retired and been welcomed into her old friend's household after losing her eyesight to an energy sword wound in battle, the scar obscured by the outdated armor she'd illicitly kept for emergencies such as rescuing an injured spacer from the wreck of his ship. Returning with them to Wheatley's homestead, Gavin was treated as a guest, given a hot meal and a room to stay overnight, Moses going so far as to drive Gavin out the following day to the crash site, where they found to Gavin's disappointment that the wreck was unsalvageable. What troubled him more, however, was Gavin's rising feelings of guilt for not revealing to them who he was, when they were potentially putting themselves at risk by sheltering him. Privately, he confided to Vinh and Moses who he was, and though Vinh nearly attacked him at first, she grudgingly stood down after Gavin explained what the intended goal of the Philadelphia raid had been and that the crew had neither planned nor known how the bombardment from the UNSC Sogdia which devastated the city occurred. After their conversation, Gavin realized that even if he ran, he would be hunted relentlessly for the rest of his life unless he found some way of clearing his name, which he had no chance of doing on Beta Gabriel. To that end, the following morning, Gavin was led by Wheatley, Vinh, and the family's eldest grandchild, Aisha, to the barn where the Starlight sat.

AtFirstSight.png
Gavin Dunn, the remade ship's first captain.
Moses Wheatley: "I can't tell you how many times I've said to myself we'd start fixing her up, just to find some more pressing matter to deal with . . . it's kind of more shipwreck than ship, after all. But if you think you can get it back in working order, it's yours."
Gavin Dunn: "She's beautiful."
―Gavin Dunn, first laying eyes on the ship.

Gavin fell in love with the ship immediately, and set to work assessing it for repairs that very day. Though it had hundreds of problems in need of fixing, each one more critical than the last, Gavin's teenage years had been spent growing up aboard a ship of the same class, and with scrap hauled from the wreck of the Chancer IV, he dove headfirst into its restoration. Many long days and sleepless nights followed, sometimes with an audience of the farm children or neighbors who came by to confirm the rumor of a starship being rebuilt, others with assistance from Vinh or Moses, both of whom had been instructed by the military in engineering. The only breaks he took were to eat, sleep, and carry out whatever odd jobs his hosts asked of him as the least he could do to earn his keep. Within a month, the ship was comfortable enough that Gavin was able to move into his cabin aboard it, and in two, though it nearly broke through the deteriorating hangar's wall, he'd made his first successful test of its thrusters. At last, in late March by the military calendar and just as Beta Gabriel's summer was coming to an end, Gavin declared the freighter's reconstruction complete, and renamed the ship, as he had with three previous vessels, after the first he'd ever crewed, also an Argo-class; and so it was that it became the Chancer V.

Clearing A Name

Takeoff.png
The Chancer V dusts off of a distant frontier planet.

The Hijacking

In late 2556, Gavin was still trying to eke out a living on the colonial frontier. Now determined to remain independent of the Syndicate and its criminal network, he risked the underworld empire's wrath by evading the various "protection fees" imposed by its local agents and taking jobs from clients on the Syndicate's blacklist. Gavin's friends within the Syndicate such as Judith Ives and his handful of endearing encounters with the Syndicate's young but ruthless leader Helen Powell allowed him to get away with far more offenses than most spacers, but Helen knew that she would eventually have to make an example of him in order to keep other potential freelancers in line. She personally placed a modest bounty on Gavin's head, directing the Syndicate's expansive network of privateers and freelance mercenaries to capture him alive for delivery to the Syndicate leadership. At first Gavin was wily enough to evade the string of bounty hunters without losing out on his smuggling business. But the consequences of the Syndicate's bounty finally came back to him when a figure from his past picked up the contract.

While fighting for the Insurrection during Mamore's secession attempt, Gavin had fought alongside a turncoat SPARTAN-III named Simon-G294. After abandoning the Insurrectionist cause and being declared a Class-A war criminal following their disastrous raid on Earth, the traitor Spartan fled UEG space and became a mercenary on the frontier. Under the alias of "Stray," Simon set his sights on his former comrade and began hounding Gavin across the frontier. Despite Stray's skills as a hunter and aid from his partner, the cunning smart A.I. Diana, Gavin managed to escape the capture attempts, outfoxing and humiliating the young mercenary on several occasions. But Stray came closer and closer with each successive ambush and his relentless pursuit began to kill Gavin's chances at picking up new contracts. Dangerously short on funds and unable to maintain the Chancer on his own, Gavin flew the ship to the independent colony of Talitsa in order to seek out Judith Ives and negotiate with the Syndicate through her. Judith promised her old friend to do what she could to placate her criminal superiors; in the meantime, she asked Gavin to provide off-world passage for her protege, a young orphan named Zoey Hunsinger. Gavin took an instant liking to the girl and brought her aboard the Chancer. Unfortunately, the ship had picked up another passenger while Gavin was away. The smuggler realized too late that Stray had followed him to Talitsa and stowed away aboard the Chancer; with nowhere left to run Gavin surrendered at gunpoint and found himself a prisoner aboard his own ship.

Stray had Gavin take the ship to Famul, a Jiralhanae pirate haven where he had arranged to hand Gavin over to the Syndicate. Gavin was surprised to learn that Stray and Zoey already knew each other; the mercenary had saved Zoey from Syndicate thugs who killed her parents when he himself had been on the criminal empire's blacklist. In orbit above Famul, Stray escorted Gavin off of the Chancer in order to hand him over to Syndicate agents. With the captain and his mercenary captor gone, Zoey put a plan of her own into motion by bypassing the ship's rudimentary security systems and instructing the autopilot function to fly it to Famul's surface. The young thief's plan was to make her fortune by selling the ship to the highest bidder and quickly put out feelers to entice potential buyers.[7] The black market advertisement was quickly picked up by members of the Humanity Liberation Front rebel group on the lookout for ships to use for their operations. Zoey arranged to make the deal at one of the pirate world's shipyards but got more than she bargained for when she came face to face with the HLF's formidable commander, Redmond Venter. The meeting was cut short when Stray and Gavin―having reluctantly put aside their differences to take on their mutual enemy, Venter―ambushed the HLF party. In the ensuing firefight, Venter took Gavin hostage and flew the Chancer back up into orbit. Ordered by the Syndicate to hand Gavin over alive, Venter arrived back on Famul's main orbital station only for the system to erupt in an unanticipated civil war, unintentionally kicked off by Gavin and Simon's killing of a Jiralhanae crime lord, upsetting Famul's balance of power and allowing the forces of Shinsu 'Refum to stage a coup. With violence breaking out in space and on the surface, Venter was forced to rely on Gavin to pilot the Chancer through the fighting as he rallied his HLF contingent. Their reluctant truce was shattered as the Chancer was once again ambushed, this time by Stray and Zoey. While Stray fought his former mentor, Gavin and Zoey cooperated to repair damages to the Chancer’s internal systems. Zoey impressed Gavin with her knack for shipwork; for his part, the smuggler interrupted Stray's losing battle with Venter, forcing the rebel commander into an escape pod and ejecting him from the ship.

The grounded Chancer was beset by battle-crazed Jiralhanae. Despite his past rivalry with Gavin, Stray held the pirates off while the ship was repaired. The mercenary was heavily wounded during the fierce fighting but managed to escape aboard the Chancer when Gavin and Zoey refused to leave him behind. The smuggling ship fled the system as the violence continued unabated. With the ship in desperate need of repairs, Gavin offered Zoey a place in his crew. Despite the girl's hijacking attempt, he realized her potential for work aboard a ship and saw more in her than just another would-be thief. Realizing just how far she had left to go in life, Zoey quickly took him up on his offer. Stray, who had betrayed his Syndicate employers by attacking Venter and saving Gavin, reluctantly agreed to stay on as well. The young mercenary believed that the Chancer would only be a temporary home as he lay low to avoid the criminal empire's wrath.

A Place to Call Home

Gavin Dunn: "You know what your problem is? You've got some serious commitment issues!"
Stray: "Oh, cram it. I just wanted to weigh my options before locking myself on this rusty death trap again!"
Zoey Hunsinger: "Can you two maybe have this discussion when we're not getting shot at?"
— The Chancer’s new crew, off to an promising start

Following the escape from Famul, Gavin brought the Chancer to the frontier colony of Talitsa to repair the damage suffered during the fighting. In the respite that followed their close shave with death, the smuggler took his first tentative steps toward bonding with Zoey as he tried to scrape together the funds needed for the repairs. Blacklisted by the Syndicate and wary of any Colonial Authority contracts, Gavin instead found himself hired by an anonymous source that needed products transported without Syndicate interference. In desperate need of credits, Gavin agreed to the contract despite his wariness regarding unknown employers. In the meantime, Stray slipped away from the ship amidst a wave of second thoughts over his decision to stay with Gavin and Zoey. It wasn’t long before he found himself under attack by Ro'nin and Kenpachus, two mercenaries hunting after the Syndicate bounty on his head. Stray fled the scuffle and returned to the ship, which blasted off just ahead of the persistent duo. Remembering how difficult life on the Syndicate’s hit list was, Stray finally committed to remaining on the Chancer full time.

In the weeks and months that followed, the Chancer’s new crew worked to stay below the grid, taking odd jobs only from contacts that Gavin and Simon trusted not to sell them out to the Syndicate. Even some of these choice employers proved treacherous, and the fight on Talitsa was only the first of many encounters with criminal enforcers. Both the smuggler and the mercenary were used to life as fugitives but Zoey had a more difficult time adjusting to the shipboard environment. Gavin did his best to ease the transition by beginning to teach her the fundamentals of running and managing a spacecraft. Suddenly finding himself the most capable fighter aboard a ship with a price on its hull, Simon set about looking for ways to improve their precarious position while also seeking opportunities to strike rich and buy their way back into the Syndicate's good graces. To this end he re-established contact with Diana, a renegade artificial intelligence who had served as his partner in crime ever since his desertion from the UNSC. Though Diana's capabilities were indeed formidable, Gavin deeply mistrusted the cunning AI and severely limited her access to the ship's systems. Simon felt that cooperating with Diana was the best way to stay ahead of the Syndicate, but he grudgingly deferred to Gavin's leadership. It would not be the the last time Gavin and Simon clashed over shipboard policy. Stray also troubled Gavin by resuming the combat training he had begun with Zoey back when she was his ward on Venezia. Though the captain could not object to teaching the girl self-defense, he was haunted by memories of his role in the rebellion on Mamore and the child soldiers he had helped arm and send to their deaths.

Zoey Hunsinger: "Is there anyone out here who doesn't want you dead?"
Gavin Dunn: "When you get to be my age you've had a whole lot of time to make a whole bunch of enemies. Of course, some people don't need so much time to get everyone to hate them."
Simon-G294: "They're all just jealous of my good looks and winning personality."
— The crew discussing their surplus of enemies.

The Chancer’s problems were compounded by several Insurrectionist factions' determination to execute Gavin as a traitor and capture Simon for use in a burgeoning special warfare project. Due to his familiarity with both marks, Redmond Venter was tasked with hunting down the Chancer. After detouring to evacuate Simon's friend and fellow renegade Cassandra-G006 from a Venezian "Oonskie purge," the Chancer found itself hounded by both Venter's agents and the Syndicate's enforcerst. The Chancer skirted the fringes of civilized space but also found itself pursued by agents of the UNSC's Office of Naval Intelligence who aimed to eliminate Simon as a traitor Spartan. The Chancer’s increasingly desperate crew found themselves escaping their pursuers by narrower and narrower margins until Gavin caved in to Simon's advice and accepted Diana's help. The rogue AI used her connections with an enigmatic organization to bring the crew into contact with Helen Powell, the fearsome leader at the heart of the Syndicate's criminal network. In exchange for an end to the bounty on their heads, Gavin and Stray agreed to undertake a dangerous mission to steal Forerunner artifacts from a UNSC outpost on Erebus VII. Unbeknownst to them, the Chancer was tracked by Venter's rebel task force. Upon learning of the ship's mission, Venter's superiors promptly ordered a full-scale assault on Erebus in an effort to steal the artifacts for the Insurrection. The crew's mission was further jeopardized when a Spartan Headhunter team abducted Zoey in an attempt to lure Simon into an ambush. As the Insurrectionist attack brought the Erebus facility to full alert, Gavin headed off Venter's strike team while Simon fought a pitched battle with his former comrades. Zoey escaped in the confusion and used the chaos of the fighting to single-handedly steal the artifacts and deliver them to the Chancer. Cornered by Venter, Gavin was moments away from losing his life to his former friend when UNSC reinforcements arrived to overwhelm the Insurrectionist forces. Venter abandoned his pursuit of Gavin in order to assume command of the survivors and prevent the rebel defeat from turning into an out-and out massacre, allowing the Chancer’s captain to rejoin Zoey aboard the ship. They returned to pick up Simon and were shocked at the brutality with which he dispatched his fellow Spartans. With the battle over, the Chancer was very nearly captured by the UNSC Navy. Gavin won them safe passage through his rapport with one of the naval commanders and the Chancer was allowed to slip away with the stolen artifacts hidden inside its cargo bay.

"Frontier's crawling with pirates, Covie remnant, and worse. But on the plus side, there will definitely be less people trying to actively kill us. Which will make earning an honest living that much easier."
―Gavin Dunn

With the debt to the Syndicate paid, the Chancer was once again able to choose jobs from a broader pool of potential employers. But fearing further UNSC entanglements, the crew agreed to abandon human-controlled space entirely. Charting a course for the chaotic border between humanity's colonies and those of the former Covenant client races, Gavin, Simon, and Zoey looked forward to finding new opportunities to strike it rich on the galactic frontier.

On The Frontier

"If anything were to happen to this ship right now, half the galaxy would probably have reason to throw a parade."
―Gavin Dunn

Following their narrow escape, the Chancer’s crew agreed to leave UEG territory entirely and strike out across the frontier, a growing strip of lawless fringe systems outside the jurisdiction of the major galactic powers. Gavin decided that the independent hub colony of Fell Justice would provide them an abundance of job opportunities. However they were not entirely free of their past troubles yet. During a resupply stop en route to Fell Justice, one of Gavin's old contacts betrayed him for one of the underworld prices still on his head. Simon disrupted the double-cross in pursuit of a Syndicate bounty on the treacherous contact; Gavin was saved, but found himself troubled by Simon's increasingly reflexive brutality. Wary of Diana's influence on the rogue Spartan, Gavin made his displeasure at the AI's continued presence on his ship known but could not argue with the benefits to having her on board. Tensions on board ran high until Gavin was again ambushed, this time by Redmond Venter. The rebel commander's defeat at Erebus VII had allowed his rivals within the Insurrection to purge what remained of his forces. Now on the run from his former comrades, Venter intended to use the Chancer to link up with his allies on the frontier. Perhaps seeing a chance to win his old friend back, Gavin tentatively forged a strained truce, and despite obvious tension from a vengeful Stray, Venter accepted.

With the situation on the Chancer now more tense than it had ever been, the crew struggled to focus on their journey to Fell Justice. His nerves already stretched thin by his former friend's presence on board, Gavin was driven nearly to the breaking point when the ever-manipulative Diana began engineering conflicts between Stray and Venter. The AI insisted that she was acting on orders from a larger organization, but her coy explanations left Gavin more suspicious than ever. As Gavin and Simon's disagreements over whether or not Diana could be trusted intensified, she proved to be an even more destabilizing element than Venter. The exiled rebel, for his part, proved to be far more level-headed than Gavin had anticipated, even going so far as to instruct Zoey in a few combat fundamentals. He warned Gavin not to take Diana at her word and hinted that there was something more to her explanations and excuses—advice that hardly served to put Gavin's mind at ease.

Despite his misgivings, Gavin grudgingly allowed Diana to chart a roundabout course in order to avoid Insurrectionist hubs such as Talitsa and Venezia. Diana's flight pattern took them through space frequented by Storm Covenant raiding parties and before long the ship ran afoul of a task force led by Fuga 'Torvan, the warrior in charge of all Covenant operations on the frontier. Gavin's flying allowed the Chancer to escape 'Torvan's forces but the Sangheili's pride was wounded and he maintained a dogged pursuit of the ship as it fled to the colony of Victoria. Diana shocked the crew when she signaled the Covenant forces and alerted them to the Chancer's position. Venter became convinced Diana was trying to eliminate him, again claiming that she was somehow connected with both the Insurrection and the Syndicate. He took Zoey hostage and fled the ship onto one of Victoria's orbital stations as the Covenant clashed with the planet's defense forces. Simon gave chase and fought Venter in single combat while Zoey escaped back to the Chancer. Despite Simon's augmented abilities, he was once again defeated by his former mentor and forced to flee when Gavin and Zoey fired a missile at Venter's position. After picking up Simon from the damaged station, the Chancer retreated to a safe distance from the ongoing battle. Diana had endangered the ship for the last time, and Gavin ordered Simon to sever ties with her or leave the ship himself. The rogue Spartan, his pride battered by the encounter with Venter, complied and Diana allowed herself to be purged from the ship with surprisingly little resistance. The crew believed she had transferred herself to a system on Victoria when in fact she had infiltrated the systems of one of the Covenant warships still in the area. Of Venter there was no sign, though Gavin and Simon were not confident enough to count him among the dead and left the system as quickly as possible, this time taking a direct course to Fell Justice.

Upon reaching the thriving gateway to the frontier, the crew cultivated a group of contacts and brokers who were at least reasonably trustworthy, and began making smuggling or otherwise legally transporting goods between fringe worlds in desperate need of supplies. While the jobs they took were more lucrative than they'd been in human space, the increased reward also entailed increased risk. Pirates operating Covenant technology were a constant threat, as were cutthroat smuggling rings like the Blackdust "courier guild". In crossing a cunning Kig-Yar shipmistress named Chur'R-Ren, the crew was sold out to UNSC agents who arrested Gavin, only for Ren to seize custody before he could be shipped back to human space and send him to Forsaken Solitude, the frontier's most dreaded asteroid prison. Though Stray tried to take the ship and complete a job before seeing to his release, not wanting to anger yet another faction by being late with their cargo, Zoey leveraged the fact that only she had authority in the ship's biometric system to fly the ship, taking the lead on an escape plan. Gavin, meanwhile, survived the brutal use of prisoners as miners with the help of Tal 'Zerex, a Sangheili gladiator and mercenary. 'Zerex eventually played a key role in Zoey' prison break, their actions resulting in the complete shutdown of Forsaken Solitude, further proving the crew's ability to have profound impacts on the galactic landscape. In another such instance, the crew had their first crossing with Ryuko Kawada when Zoey was taken by Kig-Yar slavers and sold to an arena on Preserving Ties. Unable to buy back their crewmate and obligated to help Kawada as the only thing protecting Zoey in the arena, the crew tried several means of breaking them out and getting Simon captured for their trouble before inciting a full-fledged slave revolt on the colony, destabilizing the entire sector as the pirate haven collapsed. Ryuko and a fellow gladiator named Sabine freed during the revolt would go on to found the Devas, a slave liberation army which would further tear down what the warlords and criminal empires had built in the frontier.

Tobias Lensky, the wealthy frontier entrepreneur whose encounter with the Chancer V radically altered the crew's prospects.

The Chancer’s growing reputation as a dependable freelancer attracted the attention of yet more independent employers—a relief to Gavin, who wished to distance his ship from the Syndicate’s influence as much as possible. One such client was Tobias Lensky, a frontier investor and entrepreneur with a reputation for his cunning business practices. Despite the spacer’s scruffy appearance [8], Lensky was rumored to be one of the wealthiest individuals in the galaxy. After inviting the crew out for drinks, Lensky proposed that they accompany him on an “archeological expedition” to an as-yet unclaimed frontier planet. Lured in by the promise of a hefty fee, Gavin agreed to take the job and the Chancer ferried Lensky to his dig site: an excavated Forerunner facility. The crew soon realized that this was far more than just a simple archeological dig when they were attacked by an advanced Forerunner combat automaton. As they struggled to survive the machine's assault, Stray realized that he could interface with the complex’s systemsin ways his companions could not. The "excavation" was further complicated by the arrival of a UNSC recovery team accompanied by SPARTAN-IVs. The Chancer's crew retreated and watched in horrified amazement as the Forerunner defender slaughtered the UNSC forces. As Gavin and Lensky plundered the Forerunner facility, Stray and Zoey engaged the damaged Forerunner machine and finally brought it down. Before Lensky and the Chancer crew could flee the planet they were confronted by yet another SPARTAN-IV: an elusive agent called Ryder Kedar. After easily subduing Stray, Ryder forced the crew to surrender the stolen artifacts but then allowed them to withdraw peacefully. Once they were safely in orbit Lensky revealed that his true objective was not the plundered artifacts but the chassis of the Forerunner automaton, recovered from the field by Stray and Zoey. Pleased with the crew’s work, Lensky paid them the agreed-upon amount along with a substantial bonus and the promise of future employment opportunities. Although suspicious of Lensky’s true intentions, Gavin could not deny the benefits of a continued relationship with the charismatic billionaire. Unfortunately, the Chancer crew had unwittingly become entangled in Ryder Kedar's ambitious machinations. Now pawns in a game they did not understand, their reprieve from UNSC pursuit had come to an end.

Spartan Heritage

Zoey Hunsinger: "I don't get why he's so upset. People call him nasty things all the time."
Gavin Dunn: "Things are different between Spartans. I don't really get it either, but Spartans are like a big weird family. Simon doesn't like being reminded that he used to be part of that family."
―Gavin and Zoey in the aftermath of an encounter with SPARTAN-IIIs

In the coming months the Chancer found itself tangling with the UNSC more and more in spite of its crew's fervent efforts to keep off the grid. As the post-war recovery boom intensified the frontier was becoming a more and more profitable place for colonization—and the new human colonists brought the long arms of ONI and the Syndicate with them. Though he prided himself on taking independent contracts Gavin had little choice but to straddle the line between principle and association with the great powers on the frontier. One job, smuggling a young fugitive away from her ONI pursuers, once again brought the Chancer into contact with Ryder Kedar. A specialized SPARTAN-IV operative, Ryder had vast ambitions for the future of the frontier and quickly recognized the Chancer and its crew as a means to support those goals. He struck a deal with Gavin, agreeing to drop pursuit of the fugitive in exchange for future cooperation with his plans. Though Ryder's aloof and superior attitude grated on Simon he offered little resistance to the arrangement and before long the Chancer found itself caught up in Ryder's enigmatic machinations.

Though Simon was just as committed to the Chancer 's jobs as Gavin and Zoey, there was a mounting tension between the young mercenary and the role fate had laid out for him. The dealings with Ryder and his Spartan associates were a constant reminder of his own past—the failings and misfortune that had seen him fall from being a Spartan, the vaunted heroes of humanity, to being a shipmate aboard a battered freighter on the edges of known space. Ryder's condescending decision to "overlook" his fugitive status with the UNSC only aggravated Simon's irritation with the new state of affairs. Under Ryder's guidance, Gavin found himself introduced to a new network of para-intelligence agencies clandestinely gathering power across the frontier. Although the Chancer 's captain did not yet know it, he was being quietly screened for entrance into something larger than even Ryder's machinations. Though the Chancer 's fortunes quickly shifted for the better, Gavin and Zoey soon joined Simon in resenting Ryder for his growing authority over their movements. In the meantime, their work for the ONI agent brought them back into conflict with the Covenant. Fleetmaster Fuga 'Torvan had not forgotten about the smuggling ship giving his operations grief and dispatched Sangheili kill teams with orders to make an example of the Chancer and her crew.

Gavin Dunn: "Thought you'd finally met the girl of your dreams down there."
Simon-G294: "I'll let that slide just once, since it's you. It's gonna take more than a pretty face to get me off this tub. Especially if it means having to hang out with a bunch of born-again freaks like that."
Gavin Dunn: "Just a pretty face, huh? All her thieving and rebelling weren't a plus?"
Simon-G294: "You're getting cocky with me, just like everyone else. Yeah, the girl was great. Lousy in-laws though."
―Gavin and Simon following their escape from the Enclave

During what would turn out to be one of the last missions the Chancer flew for Ryder, the crew were introduced to a closely guarded frontier secret: a small colony of decommissioned Spartans dedicated to raising a new generation in the only way they new how. Calling themselves "the Enclave" , the former Spartans sought to live a peaceful life while also raising an assortment of war orphans and their own offspring to be self-sufficient frontier survivalists. Gavin was fascinated to find so many of the mythical Spartans in one place and was proud to see Zoey hold her own in friendly competition against the Enclave children. Simon was less amused, particularly when he learned that his reputation as a disgraced traitor preceded him. He did, however, strike up a quick rapport with an independent young trainee named Eve. When the two disappeared together, Gavin quietly admitted to Zoey that he wondered if the Enclave might be a better place for Simon than the Chancer—though he quickly retracted the sentiment when he realized Zoey was actually jealous of Eve. The tranquility of the mission was shattered when a Covenant kill team arrived at the Enclave and tried to catch the Chancer on the ground. The Covenant warriors were hopelessly outmatched by the Enclave's lethal inhabitants but a team's attempt to flank the Chancer was only thwarted by Simon's reappearance. With the attack soundly defeated, the Enclave prepared to move their encampment to avoid future reprisals. Simon went off with Eve once again, and Gavin was convinced the rogue Spartan had decided to stay until he returned to the Chancer at the last moment.

Tragedy at Fell Justice

Simon-G294: "I'm not throwing my life away for a planet full of scumbags and neither are you."
Gavin Dunn: "We can't just leave our people to die like this."
Simon-G294: "Your people. Not mine."
— Gavin and Simon argue prior to the Battle of Fell Justice

The Chancer V pulls away as the remnants of the Prism of Faith orbit. Victory at Fell Justice was a triumph for the frontier but a tragic loss for the Chancer.

With the Covenant pressing hard against the Frontier, Ryder redoubled his own efforts and soon demanded even more of the Chancer V and her weary crew. A particularly dangerous mission on Venezia nearly cost Zoey her life, and when a furious Simon confronted Ryder the ONI agent again defeated him easily. On Ryder's orders, the Chancer intercepted "Syndicate couriers" with instructions to deliver the captives to ONI. The courier turned out to be their old associate Tal 'Zerex bearing news of an impending Covenant assault on the frontier hub of Fell Justice. Tired of Ryder's machinations, the crew abandoned their mission and instead accompanied Tal to warn Fell Justice. Most of the planet's inhabitants scrambled to evacuate but a handful of desperate mercenaries and warlords banded together to form a ragtag defense fleet. Though Simon wanted nothing more than to leave the planet to its fate, Gavin caved in to Tal's request for aid and insisted on staying. The smuggler used his connections with previous employers to muster the Jiralhanae Chieftain Saernus and Campbell's Marauders to join the defense fleet. Inspired by the willingness of even the lowest of frontier criminals to make a stand against the Covenant, Gavin overrode Simon's demands that the Chancer evacuate and instead threw his ship in with the fleet. Furious at the risk, Simon nonetheless agreed to stay on the ship as the battle loomed before them.

"It's just the strangest thing..."
―Simon-G294

A Covenant task force under Fuga 'Torvan soon approached Fell Justice. Though surprised to encounter organized resistance, 'Torvan quickly committed his ships to sweeping the makeshift defense fleet aside. As the mercenary line struggled to hold, the Chancer acted as a courier and scout, helping to coordinate communications among the disparate coaltion while joining other small ships in screening against incoming fighter craft. Zoey proved that her training under Gavin had paid off, deftly maneuvering the Chancer through streams of plasma fire and oncoming debris. But though the defense fleet put up a valiant fight, its ships were utterly outgunned by 'Torvan's flagship, the carrier Prism of Faith. In a desperate bid to turn the tide, a small commando team rallied aboard the Chancer to infiltrate the Prism of Faith and sabotage it from within. The Chancer used the chaos of battle to land a team including Simon and Tal inside the carrier. When the team took heavy losses securing a hangar, Gavin reluctantly joined them as they hurried to plant explosive charges near the Prism's reactor. When Covenant security teams closed in on their position, Simon convinced Gavin and Tal to retreat back to the hangar while he used the diversion to plant the remaining charges. Though the Spartan planned to escape via one of the carrier's life pods, his plan was thwarted when he was confronted by Fuga 'Torvan himself. The battle with the furious fleetmaster forced Simon to detonate the charges early, and though he finally killed 'Torvan he was left maimed on the floor of the burning carrier as it plunged into Fell Justice's atmosphere. Gavin and Zoey had no choice but to blast away from the Prism of Faith, leaving Simon behind.

With 'Torvan's death and the loss of their carrier, the remaining Covenant forces soon retreated from Fell Justice. The battle was a great triumph for the fringe elements on the frontier, proving that they could hold their own against the Covenant without interference from the UEG or other galactic governments. But a heartbroken Gavin and Zoey could take no part in the victory celebrations. Mourning Simon's death, they made preparations to depart Fell Justice. They were joined by Tal 'Zerex, who offered his services as compensation for his role in the tragedy. Though hesitant to replace Simon, Gavin could not turn away the offer of a Sangheili warrior and agreed to take Tal on as part of the crew. Following a brief funeral service for Simon on Mamore the Chancer once again set off across the frontier in search of more peaceful skies.

Betrayal

Layout

ChancerDiagram.png
A rough approximation of the Chancer’s layout.

The Argo-class' internal setup is defined by two overlapping levels, with the forward mid-level counting towards the upper deck as it incorporates the passenger-devoted galley, while the lower deck consists of the engine room and cargo bay where crew would normally work.

Upper Deck

Cabin[9]

Set in the Chancer’s bow is the nerve center of every ship: its cab. At a cramped three meters wide by two and a half long, the cabin incorporates a pilot's and copilot's station side by side with just enough room for one or two other occupants to stand behind them. Both stations are surrounded by wraparound banks of control consoles, which Gavin tries to keep clean, and furbished with crash-harnessed seats[10] facing forward unto a wide, segmented porthole that affords crew members with a nearly one-hundred and eighty degree field of vision.[11] All of the ship's functions can be controlled from either station, though the freighter's NAV computer and a series of star charts are hung on the port wall beside the pilot's station while the COMs panel sits next to the copilot starboard.

Most of the internal systems, like the NAV computer, were designed by AMG Transport Dynamics, but have seen significant modification on the part of Gavin, his human allies, and the artificial intelligences Diana and Juno. While biometric ignition keyed to members of the crew[12] is a start, most prominent of these is a remote piloting function accessible by a backdoor, installed very early in Gavin's ownership of the vessel during one of his misadventures. Though it has been exploited by his enemies before, electronic countermeasures put in place by Juno have made this very difficult to do. These systems also control a pair of retractable M638 20mm autocannons hidden in hull compartments beneath the cabin. Years later, a rudimentary shielding system would also be installed on the ship by Captain Zoey Hunsinger.

Galley and Common Rooms

Located just aft of the cockpit cabin, the Chancer’s small galley serves as the crew's communal kitchen and dining room, just large enough to accommodate four or five people comfortably. The shipwrights of Rhodes Collosi designed it for efficiency, from the table and swivel-chairs bolted down to prevent them from being thrown around to the bank of longitudinal appliances along the starboard wall. These include a sink, refrigerator, microwave, and small stove for storing and preparing the ship's perpetually minimal supply of food. Dry goods as well as plates and silverware are stowed in overhead cupboards, compartmentalized to ensure a maximum use of space.

Connected to the galley by a steeply-pitched ship's ladder, the vessel's other common rooms occupy a space above the engine room. Separate compartments are set aside for a shower and bathroom, while most of this space was formerly used to provide for eight Jakubaitis Standard Systems cryogenic beds to preserve a crew in cryostasis over long slipspace voyages. Shortly after acquiring the vessel, however, Gavin sold the cryo beds to help pay for the ship's restoration, and the relatively large room now functions as a makeshift rec room[13] and meeting area for when room-to-room shouting or wireless communication just won't do. The lack of cryo pods also cuts down on the Chancer’s power consumption, allowing more of the engine's output to be devoted elsewhere.

Private Quarters

Cabin.png
Zoey Hunsinger's first cabin aboard the Chancer V.

Although secondary to the role of cargo vessel, all Argo-class ships are equipped with personal quarters for members of the crew, and when running shorthanded as the Chancer often does, spare compartments can be used to accommodate passengers. The Chancer V incorporates eight dormitories in addition to the captain's cabin, located along the aft corridor above the cargo bay. Each measures around ten by ten feet, and include a modest bed, storage compartments, and a computer terminal for the occupant. The readiness of these quarters to receive guests, however, may vary, as Captain Dunn has been known to sell the spare bedding when particularly tight for credits.

The captain's cabin is double the size of the other accommodations, set in the very tail of the ship beneath a slanted roof, which bears several dents from the many times its resident has bumped his head getting up.[14] The room includes a private bathroom and shower in addition to the bed, storage cabinets, and a desk. A large section of the back wall can be retracted to reveal an observation window for stargazing.

Lower Deck

Engine Room

If the cabin is the Chancer’s brain, then the engine room most certainly comprises its heart. Between the galley and cargo bay and below the common rooms, the engine room contains the ship's powerplant, slipspace drive, and most of the Chancer’s life support systems. Originally, electrical power was supplied by an RCS-1 Generator developed in-house by Rhodes Collosi to cut costs from incorporating technology from other companies, but was considered underpowered and replaced by the Syndicate's first modification with an industrial-strength EMG 16807. This generator converts power from a number of available sources, including a dorsal solar panel array, air turbines in the wings, and even collected thermal energy built up during re-entries to power a tiny internal steam turbine, using water borrowed from the life support system. Energy is then stored in a network of batteries throughout the ship to provide each room with local power, and prevent catastrophic loss of power from excessive damage.

During its refit, the Chancer also received a pair of R171 Bucephalis Thrusters manufactured by Traxus Heavy Industries, greatly increasing the ship's speed and hauling power. These engines are mounted on mechanical gimbals powered by the ship's main generator, but the thrusters themselves are fed by Traxus' standard fusion fuel cells, housed carefully within the reinforced hardpoints of the wings due to their instability. As the primary source of power to actually propel the ship, these cores need to be replaced several times a year, which can be potentially expensive based on supply and demand on whatever colony the crew happen to find themselves on. Independent of both of these power systems, however, is the Chancer’s true heart: her Model 2555 Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine. Supplied by its own generator, the ship's current slipspace drive is the first of its kind, modified on commission by the Freelancers and given to Captain Dunn by Reginald Harding as a payment. The drive is known to be unpredictable, sometimes making journeys in the expected weeks while at others traversing major distances across the galaxy in a matter of days or hours, though seldom to the crew's advantage.[15]

Life support is handled by a GWC Hydroponics Cistern, a dated technology, but revolutionary in its time. Within the engine room is a central tank that contains layered beds of genetically-engineered algae, which perform the dual roles of producing oxygen through photosynthesis and recycling water. The organic recycling system produces noticeably fresher air inside the Chancer than on other modern starships, while a smaller auxiliary life support system uses a more typical recycling system and oxygen tanks. In the role of a water recycling system, the tank employs a greywater approach through which some water filtering back through the main tank, where the algae breaks down bacteria and purifies it for reuse. On a small ship, however, no system can be one hundred percent effective, and the unusable blackwater is dumped and has to be replaced later. This system poses a potential risk, as alien toxins could begin to kill off the bacteria colony, leaving the ship on auxiliary life support until the colony is able to be regrown.

Cargo Bay

CargoBay.png
The ship's cargo bay.

By far the largest single space aboard[16], the cargo bay measures roughly ten meters tall by ten meters wide, and thirty deep, located aft below the crew compartments. Twin stairwells run on either wall leading up into the common rooms, each a meter wide, leaving an 8-meter wide cargo deck for the freighter to hold up to 2500 square meters, enough room for two UNSC Scorpion tanks end-to-end. The deck is flanked by two raised platforms under the stairwells on either side, where a workbench and myriad chests of tools are stored starboard, and cargo bay door controls, a small medical supply, and the local intercom terminal port.

Beneath the bay's floor lies the majority of the ship's smuggling compartment space. Normally reserved for the majority of landing gear and bay door hydraulics, the Chancer V was modified to employ smaller alternative mechanics to leave room for one wide, though shallow, hidden compartment. Lined with layers of insulation that seal the space airtight and dampen the sound of hollow space beneath a metal deck, the section appears to scanning like merely another part of the ship's heat-retaining hull. Identifying the space from within the cargo bay is no less difficult; the floor panels over the compartment are genuinely bolted down, making it a pain to open and close each time, but creating a much more convincing facade. Only the best-trained eyes will notice the metal stripping around the bolts which give away that they've been frequently removed, hinting at what lies underneath. Though the largest individual compartment, dozens of smaller hideaways riddle the walls and floors of the ship, and even its owners might not be able to account for them all.

Crew

"This ship is a hell of a lot more than just her specs and the tech holding her together. Don't get me wrong, I'm plenty proud of all the cabling and mods and systems I've crammed into her old bulkheads. They're the muscle, the veins, the nervous system, the stuff that makes her tick. But the heart and soul, those'd be the people who've come together to live inside the old girl and keep her flying the space lanes."
―Gavin Dunn

[17]

"After Mamore, I didn't think I could ever do enough to make up for it. This ship gave me — gave us all — what we needed. A second chance."
Gavin Dunn
Gavin.png
Gavin Dunn, rebel turned captain.

From the days of his childhood, Gavin Dunn has always had a passion for flying. It led him once upon a time to stow away aboard a freighter, but after a tragic series of events on Reach, Gavin was left a lost child amid thousands of refugees in the colony's streets. Escaping the life of a street thief when he stowed away again on Tom Spender's original Chancer, the boy was taken in and spent the teenage years of his life as a cabin boy, working his way up as he learned every job on a ship from veteran pilots and expert mechanics. When the original ship's crew were arrested by the UNSC after risking their lives in the evacuation of Sigma Octanus IV, Gavin alone escaped and resolved to fight for independence when the Great War ended, joining up with his childhood friend Redmond Venter to join the Insurrection on Mamore. There, he pushed for the use of child soldiers, convinced by a driven young girl named Emily and her friend Stray who wanted to fight for her home. When Redmond allowed Emily to carry out a suicide bombing, however, Gavin realized that he'd gone too far, and betrayed the Insurrection before fleeing the planet and eventually finding employment with the Syndicate as a smuggler, going through several ships before acquiring the Chancer V. After crossing paths with Stray several times, Gavin reached out to him and met Zoey Hunsinger in the process[18], offering them both a place to stay to help one another get by, and later brought on Tal 'Zerex after helping the Sangheili to the point where he was honor-bound to protect Gavin. Recognizing in each of them something better than they'd give themselves credit for, Gavin tried to bind the crew together through helping one another deal with painful pasts and present problems, eventually succeeding enough to make a future for them together as an unusual sort of family.

At first, the ship was a way for Gavin to escape the guilt he had felt over his part in the Insurrection, but when its crew began to form, the Chancer V came to mean much more. Driven by an abiding desire to make up for his past, Gavin feels responsible for protecting anyone aboard his ship, and that goes doubly for anyone he counts as a member of his crew. Unfortunately, circumstances often beyond his control seem to naturally find trouble for the lot of them, and when it comes down to a fight, Gavin can be deceptively unassuming the moment before an unsecured cargo container or well-aimed escape pod crushes you flat. Though his strategies are often improvised in a bar fight brawling fashion, the number of times he's had to contend with opponents as powerful as Sangheili or even Spartans suggest there's more to do with it than luck. Despite this apparent skill in fighting and the obvious skill of his crew, Gavin refuses to put that strength to use preying on those weaker than themselves, although he hasn't shied away from picking a fight from those stronger than his little band who do. Rather than survive on using their strength, Gavin gets by on what he considers honest work, even if the job's legality is far below his appraisal of its morality[19].

"I'm grateful for the parents I had and the life they tried to give me. But the Chancer is my home now, and I'll do whatever it takes to protect my family."
Zoey Hunsinger
Zoey pos.png
Zoey Hunsinger, thief turned pilot.

Zoey Hunsinger wanted the Chancer for her own the moment she laid eyes on it. Orphaned at an early age when her family's farm was caught in the crossfire between Stray and local gangsters, Zoey dreamed of escaping her hand to mouth existence and exploring the galaxy in a ship of her own. Her family's brutal death and stints as a criminal assistant, first under Stray and then under the thief Judith Ives, steeped her in the knowledge that the galaxy was a harsh and brutal place and when Gavin Dunn made the mistake of putting too much trust in a vagabond he had just met she jumped at the opportunity to steal the ship. Her underestimation of Dunn's abilities meant that the Chancer did not remain hers for long, but the smuggler stunned her when instead of venting her out the airlock he offered her a place as his copilot-in-training. Under Gavin, Zoey learned the Chancer’s intricacies and nuances and when Stray made a home for himself aboard the ship she resumed combat training under the renegade Spartan. After years of mourning her lost parents she grew to see her dysfunctional crewmates as a surrogate family and despite a heavily cynical outlook[20] cares as much for them as she did for her parents.

Since the deaths of her parents, Zoey's short career has given new meaning to the phrase "broad fields of study." She trained first under Stray, who thought nothing of molding the young girl into a child soldier to fight alongside him on the battlefield. When the brutal nature of Stray's contract killings drove her away, Zoey found a new teacher in the thief Judith Ives, who honed Zoey's technical expertise into a tool to help advance her criminal career. But it was through Gavin Dunn's mentorship that Zoey finally realized her lifelong dream of becoming a starship captain. An excellent pilot and technician, Zoey knows the Chancer like the back of her hand and has recently taken over for Gavin as the ship's chief pilot. Gavin's training focused Zoey on engine maintenance and Slipspace navigation, but Stray has not given up on drilling combat skills into his crewmate. Stray has passed his expertise at close combat on to Zoey, but she has expanded on her training to become an accomplished marksman, surpassing even the trained Spartan in terms of long-ranged accuracy.[21] Zoey is no Spartan and she has no desire to ever become one[22], but she has learned her lessons well and can hold her own on the battlefield.

"I've lost too many people already. They won't be the next ones on that list. You touch them, and there'll be no hole in this galaxy that's deep enough for you to hide in because I won't rest until I've hunted you down and killed you."
Simon-G294
Simon seated.png
Stray, Spartan turned wanderer.

Orphan. Failure. Traitor. Murderer. Simon-G294 bore so many hateful stigmas that it's no wonder he discarded his name for the simple title "Stray." Following his desertion from the UNSC and a disastrous raid on Earth, Stray fled UEG space and set up shop on Venezia as a mercenary. Putting his skills as an augmented supersoldier to use as a bounty hunter and enforcer, Stray worked with his AI partner Diana to succeed in a daily struggle to survive. Misfortune seemed to follow him wherever he went; his arrival on the Hunsinger farm heralded its destruction and the orphaning of Zoey, who he reluctantly took in as a ward-turned-apprentice. His violent lifestyle soon pushed her away, but the two young vagrants met each other again while staking out their mutual prey, Gavin Dunn. Stray had fought alongside Dunn after joining the Insurrection and hoped bringing the former rebel to justice[23] might ease the ghosts of his past. Instead, circumstances threw Stray in with his former assistant and the man he had accepted a contract on. Hardened and embittered by the galaxy's hardships and his own misfortune, Stray initially only saw the Chancer as a convenient means of getting from contract to contract without having to pay transportation fees. But his crewmates' willingness to accept him in spite of his brutal past and selfish tendencies gradually broke chinks in the armor he had erected about himself. The Chancer became a home for the young outcast as well as a new lease on life; unfortunately, the past did not simply go away and Stray's latent ambition and the interests countless third parties took in the Chancer’s affairs would stretch his loyalty to his new family to the breaking point.

Though Gavin might claim that the Chancer has no need of an enforcer[24], Stray begs to differ. Though every member of the Chancer’s crew more than capable of taking care of themselves, the Spartan commando is their trump card for when things get truly out of hand. Gamma Spartans who remember their former comrade as a clumsy failure are often caught off guard by the cunning fighter Gavin sics on the ship's enemies. Stray makes use of an ad hoc arsenal built into his heavily modified SPI armor and prides himself in always having an extra trick up his gauntlet. He has learned to work around Gavin's limited defense budget[25] and the ship is littered with looted weapons, gadgets, and explosives that Stray is either making or bribing Zoey to make for him.[26] Behind Stray's callous, cynical exterior lurks a truly frightening killer with a penchant for brutal close combat and merciless methods that hearken back to a darker time before he found his way onto the Chancer.

"You're crazy, Simon! Wake up, will you? Get away from all of this, come back to us, before it's too late!"
―Gavin Dunn
"I have woken up. That guy who thought he'd found a happy future full of family and friendship: he's the one who was asleep. If I just kept palling around with you guys I'd never have been able to come this far and achieve this much."
―Simon-G294
During the battle with the Storm Covenant above Fell Justice, Stray was believed dead after he was caught up in the destruction of an enemy carrier. But he had, in fact, survived[27] and was taken prisoner by the Covenant. Tortured and reshaped by Diana—who had herself infiltrated the Covenant—Stray eventually pledged allegiance to Jul 'Mdama, seizing command of a specialized Covenant battalion in an ambitious bid for power. Determined to win 'Mdama's trust, he led his unit on a series of frontier endeavors that eventually brought him into conflict with his former family. The shocked crew survived several close encounters with Stray's unit, and though he eventually abandoned his dreams of seizing power within the Covenant, the shame and guilt over what he had done prevented him from seeking forgiveness from Gavin and the others. Instead, he returned to his previous life of wandering the frontier, once again alone in the galaxy.

"For as long as I can remember I have felt this rage boiling inside of me. But here, on this vessel, I feel peace, but don't mistake that for complacency. Try to take this peace from me and I will not rest until you are broken beneath my feet."
Tal 'Zerex
Tal.png
Tal, gladiator turned protector.

Tal is often seen as the odd one out in the Chancer’s 'diverse' crew. Orphaned at a young age after his keep was annihilated Tal, led a solitary existence on the streets of one of Sanghelios's cities. Seeking to escape his poverty and loneliness he joined the Covenant military. Despite finding some purpose in the Covenant's genocidal war Tal's career was brought to a sudden end when he suffered severe injuries during the Battle of Skopje. He was only saved thanks to cybernetic augmentation but this also lead to stigmatization by the very culture he had been raised in. Following the end of the war he left to wander the galaxy and eventually found his calling as a gladiator, putting his natural combat skills to use for the violent amusement of others. Tal eventually freed himself from the Pits to become a wandering mercenary. However his time as a gladiator had cost him a lot and as he took more jobs his own sanity begun to spiral away even as he became more and more ruthless and psychotic. Eventually his unquenchable fury was his downfall and he was thrown in the hellish prison of Forsaken Solitude. Driven to near breaking point by his past actions, Tal was pulled back to reality by fellow inmate Gavin Dunn. The pair were able to escape the prison and Tal, seeing the chance for something to live for again, chose to bind himself in honour to Captain Dunn and join his crew.

Compared to the other three, Tal is the crew's heavy hitter and the main form of 'physical protection'. Whereas Simon has a wide array of skills and tools to keep his friends alive Tal achieves this through his appearance and demeanour, often accompanying Gavin on trade agreements and ensuring that the employer gets the message [28]. Tal's intuitive combat skills also come in handy whenever the crew find themselves in a bind as Tal skilled in a range of combat techniques, ranging from close quarters and marksmanship to bomb making. Outside of combat and intimidation Tal usually puts his strength to use as a heavy lifter, moving crates and helping repair the ship where needed.

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"Ain't nothin' better than a good brawl. Except maybe getting paid for it."
Ryuko Kawada
Ryuko (15).png
Ryuko, slave turned mercenary

When the Chancer crew got drawn into a slave rebellion on Doisac, they got their first taste of the rather unique young lady, Ryuko Kawada. Kidnapped by slavers as a teenager, and pressed into gladiatorial combat for the entertainment of others, Ryuko learned everything she knew about fighting brawling in arenas. Having already met Tal once before in the arenas, she ended up leading a slave revolt instigated to rescue Chancer crew member, Zoey Hunsinger. Escaping her life of slavery, she parted ways with the Chancer, to strike it out on her own. Living the life of a mercenary, bounty hunter, and soldier, she drifted for a while, before coming back into contact with the Chancer V, and joined the crew.

A trained soldier, an expert bounty hunter, and a skilled mercenary, Ryuko brings just that little bit more muscle to any job. Lacking the augmentations of Simon, or the raw physical power of Tal, she instead relies on her wits and well honed skills. Skilled with an array of firearms, especially Covenant weapons, and lethal up close with her sword, she's much faster and stronger than she appears. She's usually the muscle to back up Simon or Tal, or to go in with Dunn, most underestimating the young lady. However, more than once she's taken a peaceful situation and started a fight, over the tiniest of slights[29]. Out of all the crew, she gets on the best with Tal, closest to him in mannerisms and personality, but she also looks out for Zoey, and tends to be Simon's over-watch out on jobs. However, her relationship with Dunn, is more than a little rocky, the two more often than not exchanging barbs with one another [30]

Gallery

Development Notes

  1. And proud of it.
  2. Um, no.—Zoey
  3. Don't go treating my girl like she's some soulless hunk of metal.—Gavin
  4. Backed down? Hah! More like turned and ran with his tail between his legs and lifted off just as fast as he could!—Gavin
  5. Armor or no, you went to a wood-walled structure out in the open with a faraway treeline. If I'd had something with me that had more range than a pistol, I would've collected that bounty. Kahn, out.
  6. Holy crap.—Gavin
  7. Judy really taught her well, can't deny that.―Gavin
  8. That crusty old bastard made Gavin look like some Eridanus dandy-Zoey
  9. I am not calling it something as stupid as a cockpit or Diana's gonna start making puns again. —Gavin
  10. They're the real deal, original RCS make. And man did they ever know comfort.—Gavin
  11. Has the best view, too.—Gavin
  12. Caused a lot of trouble when we first met the Knights. —Gavin
  13. We really need to buy that new holotable model, the Z-Cube's broken again. —Zoey
  14. You should really invest in a helmet.—Stray
  15. I swear the goddamn thing's cursed.—Gavin
  16. If it is the largest place on the ship then why do I keep hitting my head on things?-Tal
  17. Just write a damn poem why don't you?-Stray
  18. You mean the process where Stray was going to turn you in, I stole your ship, and we escaped Red Venter all in a day? That "process"?—Zoey
  19. Smuggling can be honest, you've just got to tell the truth about the other half of your cargo.—Gavin
  20. This is mostly Stray's fault.
  21. The Spartan in question being Simon-G294, this is not necessarily a groundbreaking achievement.
  22. Upon learning of Kryptes-developed analogues to SPARTAN-III augmentation procedures, Stray offered Zoey the chance to receive the enhancements. She refused.
  23. That is to say, turning him in for the Syndicate bounty on his head.
  24. He has this fairy land headspace he likes to live in. I don't get it.—Stray
  25. Read: nonexistant
  26. Oh, so this means I'll eventually get paid for all the extra work he makes me do?—Zoey
  27. He does that.—Zoey
  28. You don't come up on your end of the deal and I'll be back to get it. With interest.—Tal
  29. Hey, he's gonna wolf whistle at me, I'm gonna break his jaw. -Ryuko
  30. Remind me why we took a nudist on?-Gavin

Behind the Scenes

Literary Appearances

Notes

  • The Chancer V is a reference to ChanServ, the freenode bot jokingly referred to by the regulars on the #Halo-Fanon IRC as the channel's benevolent patron lady.
  • The vessel's original serial number identifies the maker (Rhodes Collosi Shipwrights), planet of construction (Skopje), year of construction (2519), model (Argo-class), and finally sequential number (000823543, which follows the equation used by Bungie for the ring Monitors, 7^7).

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