First off, a big thank you to everyone who entered the Trygg Poftu contest. As I read each entry, I imagined I was reading through a number of alternate universes where the being named “Trygg Poftu” led some very different lives (often within some very different bodies). The entries ranged from bizarre to fairly serious, although all of them had an element of humor.
The winning submission contained all the qualities I was looking for in a Trygg Poftu bio. The style and tone reminded me of Andy Mangels’s Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Characters, which I’m quite fond of and had in mind when I created this contest. In classic Expanded Universe tradition, it’s exhaustively thorough without being boring. It makes the character important to the Star Wars universe without giving him an integral Marty Stu-like role. It has a great Mystery Science Theater 3000 reference.
It also made me think of something: if Anakin Skywalker was such a famous person in the galaxy, presumably a household name, why wouldn’t Obi-Wan change Luke’s last name? Wouldn’t anyone who met Luke say, “Luke Skywalker? Are you related to that famous Jedi, Anakin Skywalker?” Unless “Skywalker” is the equivalent of “Smith” in the Star Wars galaxy or something, it seems downright careless of General Kenobi. Or maybe it’s just another prequel plot hole.
But I digress – let’s set that all aside and enjoy the true biography of Trygg Poftu, as written by contest winner JH.
Trygg Poftu was a human male pilot who was a member of the Rebel Alliance during the Galactic Civil War.
Born on Chandrila in 31 BBY to a comfortable, upper middle class family from the small spaceport-city Emita, some of Poftu’s strongest memories of childhood were of following the exploits of Anakin Skywalker and other legendary starfighter aces during the Clone Wars. In fact, his most prized possession as a child (after Trumpy, his stuffed squall) was a toy version of Skywalker’s famous yellow and grey Delta-7 Aethersprite.
This early fascination with flying, plus the tragic deaths of a fondly-remembered aunt and uncle in the Separatist bio-weapon attack on HannaCity, would inevitably push Poftu in the direction of the newly-rebranded ImperialAcademy’s starfighter pilot program. Never the most graceful or sure-footed of his peers on the ground, the gawky Poftu nonetheless managed to demonstrate sufficient affinity for the handling of the Sienar Fleet Systems TIE/LN starfighter to convince his instructors not to throw him out on his ear, though his fellow cadets, after having had Poftu trip over them for the hundredth time, or having been subjected to the latest round of reminiscences of his childhood adventures with Trumpy, were not-infrequently known to suggest to each other that this judgment may just possibly have been a mistake.
Poftu, however, would eventually graduate, if not with honours then at least with no major smirches on his record, and go on to serve the Empire faithfully for nearly a decade, most of it spent patrolling the Outer Rim running down pirates and smugglers as part of the TIE compliment of the Star Destroyer Zahn’s Beard, until the day his squadron was ordered to punitively destroy one of the Squib salvage vessels attached to the flotilla to serve as an example to the other Squibs against the endemic issue of “unreported salvage”.
It was in the aftermath of this action that the one and only note of remark, censure or anything else worthy of comment cropped up on Poftu’s service record. Apparently, during the routine flight through the resulting debris field to assess the thoroughness of the Squib vessel’s destruction, Poftu observed the remains of numerous members of the ship’s crew drifting past his fighter, or so the after-action report concluded from the gibbering’s Poftu’s incessant cries of “their faces! Their cute, long-eared, buck-toothed purple-furred faces!” once his drifting, unresponsive craft had been tractor-beamed back into the hangar-bay of the Beard.
At the hearing, the episode was found to be the result of post-traumatic stress, but Poftu’s squadron-mates knew better. It was all the fault of that damn Trumpy and Poftu’s sick attachment to it, they were known to opine amongst themselves, noting the morphological resemblance borne by the Squibs to Poftu’s description of his cute, fluffy, long-eared stuffed Squall, which every being aboard the ship below the rank of Lieutenant-Commander had heard at least once.
Something had to be done about Poftu, but as there was nothing in his record that could conceivably justify simply blasting him (no matter how hard the Squadron Commander looked), it was eventually determined that he would simply be honourably discharged from the service. Cut loose and emotionally broken, Poftu would drift directionless from one backplanet cantina to another, all the while nursing a growing, if confused, anger with the Empire in general. By the time the Alliance found him, left lying face-down in a puddle of his own drool and blood by COMPNOR “volunteers” who had caught him distributing anti-Imperial leaflets, he was ready.
Cleaned up, forcibly detoxed and provided, once again, with a clear sense of purpose for his life, Poftu turned out to be a valuable, if somewhat worrying asset to the nascent Rebellion. His formerly adequate piloting skills, now wedded to a barely-contained psychotic rage, improved beyond all expectation, making him a formidable weapon against the Empire. Flying first a refurbished Z-95 Headhunter before graduating to one of the Alliance’s first run of homebuilt T-65 X-Wings, Poftu steadily racked up kills, decorating the sides of his helmet, with a grim irony only he understood, with the “dotted chevron” symbol of his old squadron aboard the Beard.
Eventually, fate would see to it that Poftu was present at the Rebel base on Yavin IV. While some of the other starfighter pilots were understandably perturbed by the arrival of Princess Leia with news that the single most powerful weapon in the Empire was hot on her trail, Poftu’s only thoughts were of grim eagerness to take on the best that the Empire had to offer, until, that is, word reached him that the scrawny farmboy who had accompanied the princess wanted to take a shot at the Death Star himself. The idea of some untested Outer-Rim dustball kid with no experience in fighters or even exo-atmospheric flight getting a seat in one of the bases’ limited number of functional starfighters struck Poftu as patently ludicrous, so much so that he demanded the name of the young fool for future reference as an example of overweening idiocy. It was duly provided: Luke Skywalker.
Upon hearing the name “Skywalker,” Poftu’s carefully-maintained composure fell apart. He saw it all over again: the toy Aethersprite fighter, Trumpy, the empty, fuzzy faces of all those cute little squibs floating past his cockpit viewport. He collapsed in a heap, while his fellow pilots, understandably concerned for his flying ability if not his personal welfare, sought help immediately.
Put in a tight spot by Poftu’s sudden collapse, the decision of Red Leader, Garven Dreis, was swift. Skywalker would fly in Poftu’s place, in Poftu’s now-vacant X-Wing. Appraised of this development, Skywalker suited up for battle, unknowingly gabbing Poftu’s distinctive, heavily-decorated helmet on his way to the hangar. As it happened, Skywalker was not only one of the few Rebel pilots to return from the Death Star battle, but also single-handedly destroyed the battle-moon himself with a lucky shot with his single pair of proton torpedoes, dealing the Empire an immense blow, handing a priceless symbolic victory to the Alliance and forging a personal legend which would inspire millions of beings to flock to the Alliance’s starbird banner.
Under the circumstances, Poftu thought it best not to ask for his helmet back.
However, regardless of how much a victory the Battle of Yavin might have been for the Alliance, the war was far from over and both Poftu and Skywalker continued to fly against the Empire on countless missions, all the way up the Battle of Endor, by which time Poftu’s admiration of Skywalker as a pilot and a leader had grown to the point that the announcement that Skywalker would be accompanying General Solo’s commando team to the surface of Endor’s forest moon, rather than participating in the attack on the Death Star itself, came as a severe blow to the veteran pilot, so much so that he even forgot to finally ask Skywalker if he was related to the legendary Anakin before Solo’s team departed on their mission. In the ensuing space battle over the forest moon, Poftu would be brushed by death more times than he could count, but somehow, a combination of his skill and pure luck saw him through that massive brawl, and he would be among those eager to congratulate Luke and the other Rebel heroes in the celebrations held at the Ewok Bright Tree Village.
Even then, though, the Empire refused to die, and the coming years saw Poftu constantly in action, flying for the New Republic against the dwindling forces of the Imperial Renant, and it was with great reluctance that the now-grizzled veteran greeted the news of Imperial Admiral Pellaeon’s treaty with the New Republic and the final cessation of hostilities after the Bastion Accords. Trygg had never married, nor even made any serious attempts at romance, due in part to his near-fanatic devotion to the defeat of the Empire, and his reputation for emotional instability, and he had been out of contact with his family for so long he saw no point in returning to Chandrila. Shorn of purpose once again, he eventually accepted an offer to serve as a flight instructor for the New Republic Defense Force, where he endured a very dull six years, though he did take some satisfaction in finally confirming that Luke Skywalker was, in fact, the son of his childhood hero.
Those years of relative peace and quiet (and for Poftu, largely uninterrupted boredom) were not to last, however, as the Yuuzhan Vong invasion once again plunged the galaxy into war, a development he greeted with entirely too much enthusiasm, in the opinions of his fellow instructors. Exposed to the heat of battle, Poftu came alive once more. Strapped once more into the cockpit of an X-Wing, the old, fearsome fire that had driven him in his Rebellion days awoke from the ashes in a roaring blaze that cut laser-burned swathes through the ranks of Vong pilots wherever he was deployed. So intent and driven was he, in fact, that many of the younger pilots were concerned he might one day spontaneously combust in the middle of a dogfight, but Poftu didn’t care. So long as he could fight, he had purpose, and if he were to die, he would have no need of purpose anyway.
So it continued, until Poftu’s squadron was deployed with an NRDF force to cover the departure of a refugee fleet from Druckenwell. Assigned to the rearguard, Poftu’s squadron slowly dwindled under the weight of the Yuuzhan Vong’s numbers till little more than a bare handful remained, but the majority of the refugee fleet had safely managed to jump to hyperspace. As the last remaining vessels lined up to jump out of the system, Poftu and his remaining comrades were preparing to withdraw, when a new signature came up on Poftu’s scanner: a beaten-up wreck assembled from parts of dozens of different small craft and held together mainly by luck and several thousand metres of space-tape, it was unmistakably a Squib salvage ship, and a swarm of Vong craft, intent on seizing this last, fleeting prize, was hot on its tail.
With memories of dead, buck-toothed, fuzzy faces suddenly all too sharp and clear in his mind, Poftu ordered his surviving pilots to see to the remaining refugee ships, then wheeled his fighter and tore through the Vong Coral Skipper fighters like a hungry Nexu through a pack of womp-rats. No clear record exists of what happened next. That Col. Trygg “Mad” Poftu, was killed in action against Yuuzhan Vong forces over Druckenwell while escorting the last few refugee ships out-system is all that can be confirmed. Poftu’s surviving pilots claim to be unable to offer any explanation for the decisions that led to the last few minutes of their commander’s life, nor can they offer a substantive account of exactly what took place in those last few minutes. Stories have circulated of a much the worse for wear Squib salvage ship turning up at the rendezvous point at Duro bearing wild tales of a lone X-Wing single-handedly destroying an entire Yuuzhan Vong worldship over Druckenwell, but Squibs are, of course, noted for their love of exaggeration.