|Chronological and political information|
- "Don't call me Master!"
- ―Lando Calrissian to Vuffi Raa
Vuffi Raa was a specially designed and constructed droid thought to be an agent of the extra-galactic droid species known as the Silentium, who created him to explore the galaxy and learn about other civilizations for his "parental" droids. In one of Vuffi Raa's early encounters, he was reprogrammed by the shape-shifting Croke sorcerer Rokur Gepta. Gepta gave him to an agent, Osuno Whett, who used him in the field. He served Whett until asked to perform an operation that had him labeled as a "butcher" and sought refuge on a desolate planet. It was there that he encountered Lando Calrissian, who had won him in a game of sabacc, and after serving out a program to betray Lando, began his new life as a vagrant wanderer and partner to Calrissian.
Vuffi Raa was programmed by his creators to be completely non-violent, and even piloting a starship in battle stressed him. However, he eventually became one of the few droids to overcome his own programming, and became able to attack in defense of himself and his friends.
Vuffi Raa was a mixture between sentient life and advanced droid technology, designed to resemble the original creators of his "species." He had been created by an interstellar being known as The One for the purpose of exploring the rest of the galaxy and learning about other civilizations.
Vuffi Raa stood one meter tall and resembled an attenuated starfish with five elongated chromite tentacles. His main body was pentagonal in shape and made of polished chromite. In the center of his body was a powerful multi-frequency photoreceptor capable of seeing in ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths. Vuffi also had a range of other sensors and a miniature vocabulator hidden in his underside. Furthermore, he was powered by a microfusion pile, a near-infinite source of power.
His five tentacles each tapered into a point at the end, and then divided into five-tentacled hands, with one tiny optic sensor in each palm. At the end of each tentacle, Vuffi Raa's fingers continued to split into microscopic strand fingers which allowed him to manipulate minuscule objects. He could also direct heat into his tentacles, and was able to detach all five from his body and control them remotely. These functions were facilitated by a thick, blood-like liquid that circulated throughout the droid's systems, keeping them lubricated and allowing coagulation in the event the outer shell was ever punctured. He could also repair himself.
Vuffi Raa's name was actually a number in the language of the extinct species who designed his droid progenitors, and he detested being referred to as just "Vuffi".
Vuffi Raa was an intricately-designed and constructed droid that was thought to be an agent of the extragalactic species known as the Silentium. This starship-sized race of droids were able to fly from one side of the galaxy to the next, and built their culture around the primary numbers of one, five, seven and eleven. They had been manufactured by an asteridian species who had gone extinct when the sun of their planet went supernova; their droids lived on and eventually achieved full sentience. Members of his kind included beings referred to as The One and The Other; others were collectively called The Rest. Long ago in their home galaxy, the droids of the Silentium waged a protracted war against the Abominor, another droid species that was based upon asymmetry and chaos.
Vuffi Raa was created to explore the galaxy and learn about other civilizations for his parental droids. Early in his career, he was captured and reprogrammed by the shape-shifting Croke Rokur Gepta, a Sorcerer of Tund and the Scrivinir of the Centrality. Rokur Gepta then gave Vuffi Raa to his agent Ottdefa Osuno Whett.
On one occasion, following the rediscovery of the Renatasia system—a lost Human colony founded by ancient settlers from Grizmallt—shortly after the foundation of the Galactic Empire, Whett was tasked by the Empire and the Centrality to win the trust of the Renatasians so as to make them easy targets for the armed forces to subdue. Covering the droid with an organic exterior, he posed as Vuffi Raa's assistant and presented themselves as representatives of a galactic civilization eager to welcome the Renatasians.
Vuffi Raa and Whett toured the world and helped the Renatasians form a unified world government. Then, after 700 days, Whett transmitted all of his data, beginning the invasion by Imperial and Centrality forces. Because of the massacre that followed, Vuffi Raa was nicknamed the "Butcher of Renatasia," as none of the Renatasians realized he was a droid and that Whett was behind the event.
Fearing for his life, Whett radically changed his appearance. He lost forty kilograms, added four centimeters of bonemer to each of his arms and legs, and added a vertebra. He also changed the style of his hair, which turned itself white from worry. Whett hid Vuffi Raa on Rafa IV, in the Rafa system.
A new master
- "How should I call you, sir?"
"Not too loudly, Vuffi Raa, and no earlier than nine-hundred in the morning."
- ―Vuffi Raa and Lando Calrissian
Later, Whett played sabacc with Lando Calrissian during Lando's visit to Oseon 2795, in which Lando won Vuffi Raa, though he had to travel to Rafa IV to acquire the droid. However, before he could depart, he was arrested on trumped-up charges by Governor Duttes Mer and forced to aid Rokur Gepta in locating the Mindharp of Sharu. Provided with a transdimensional key, Calrissian chose to begin his search on Rafa V, location of the largest Sharu pyramid in the Rafa system. He was ambushed by several Toka, who tied him to one of the crystalline lifetrees, hoping he would freeze during the night.
Even though the lifetree was robbing him of intelligent thought, Calrissian was able to free himself, though his feet were severely frostbitten and required light bacta treatment in a portable gel-bath kept on the Falcon. Later, Calrissian and Vuffi Raa investigated the largest pyramid and located the Mindharp, and were promptly teleported back to Rafa IV.
Vuffi Raa, who in fact had been programmed to betray Calrissian before he had even been "won," promptly turned Calrissian in to Governor Mer. Mer took the Mindharp and sentenced Calrissian to a lifetime of hard labor, but Vuffi Raa, having fulfilled his imperative to betray Calrissian, rescued the gambler just as Mer activated the Mindharp. As the two fled Rafa IV, the transdimensional artifact's subharmonic emanations restored the Toka into the Sharu that they once were, and the great pyramids of the Rafa system crumbled, leaving alien cities in their wake. Calrissian and Vuffi Raa entered hyperspace with a full hold of the last Rafa life-crystals to leave the Rafa system; this valuable cargo netted Calrissian nearly 250,000 credits.
Returning to Nar Shaddaa, Calrissian bought a used-starship lot from a Duros, but discovered the business was expensive and difficult to run. He was pondering selling it off when the Empire arrived in the system. Calrissian donated his inventory to his fellow outlaws, and Vuffi Raa piloted the Millennium Falcon in the resulting Battle of Nar Shaddaa. The attack was diverted, but less than ten percent of his stock was still space-worthy. Calrissian sold ninety percent ownership in what was left of his lot to Roa at a loss.
Calrissian sought a way to recover his losses, and saw an opportunity in the regional sabacc championships that were soon to be held at Cloud City's Yarith Bespin casino. In order to raise the ten thousand credit buy-in, Calrissian and Vuffi Raa returned to the Centrality and attempted to haul legitimate cargo; but tariffs, fees, and licensing cost him more than he made, leaving him with nothing.
Flamewind of Oseon
Thus, when an opportunity to play sabacc in the Oseon system during the Flamewind arose, Calrissian accepted, and Vuffi Raa accompanied him. Soon after arriving at Oseon 6845, Calrissian was assaulted and forced to shoot his assailant in self-defense with his stingbeam. The Administrator Senior of the Oseon System, Lob Doluff, informed Calrissian that the penalty for possessing a deadly weapon was death by exposure, but since the administrator admired Calrissian, he arranged for him to instead participate in a drug bust against the lesai-using wealthy industrialist Bohhuah Mutdah. Posing as Mutdah's dealer, Calrissian and Vuffi Raa transported two agents, Bassi Vobah and Waywa Fybot, through the maddening radiation of the Flamewind to Oseon 5792.
Mutdah turned out to be Rokur Gepta in disguise, who promptly killed Fybot—who was corrupt and had himself killed Vobah—and planned to kill Calrissian after forcing him to endure a machine that made him relive all the painful moments of his life, but the latter was saved by the intervention of Renatasian starfighters, whose goal was to kill Vuffi Raa. During the chaos surrounding his escape, Calrissian grabbed Mutdah's drug payment—twenty million credits. He deposited small sums in banks on several worlds, including fifty thousand credits into the Bank of Aargau, which he planned to use for covering the entry fee for the Bespin sabacc tournament. However, his attempt to deposit the bulk of the money on the Centrality's primary financial planet, Dela, interrupted a pirate attack being committed by the "pirate queen" Drea Renthal. Despite Calrissian's charm, Renthal kept the remainder of Mutdah's money.
Saving the Oswaft
Soon after, Calrissian and Vuffi Raa encountered Lehesu, a young member of the space-dwelling, hyperjump-capable Oswaft species, whose curiosity had carried it from its home in the ThonBoka Nebula (or StarCave) to a desolate part of the Centrality. After halting attempts at communication, Lehesu finally communicated to the crew of the Millennium Falcon his need for sustenance. Calrissian emptied the contents of the ship's recyclers into space, which Lehesu eagerly consumed. Some months later, the Empire and the Centrality blockaded the entrance to the sack-shaped ThonBoka with five hundred capital ships modified to contaminate the "interstellar plankton" drifting into the nebula, intending to starve the entire Oswaft race into extinction. Lehesu used a transceiver provided to him by Vuffi Raa to contact the Millennium Falcon and plead for help.
Calrissian penetrated the blockade, using a ruse that he was a trader plying his wares to the very ships that were his obstacle. Though the Falcon was inspected, no one below the rank of Admiral was informed of the reason for the blockade, so no one suspected that the ship's real cargo was the ordinary waste carried in its trash and toilet recyclers. After working his way to the front of the blockade, Lando made a break for the mouth of the ThonBoka. Vuffi Raa had rigged a device containing metal flakes on the aft hull of the Falcon to make the ship appear to disintegrate when hit by blasts from the blockade ships. Inside the ThonBoka, they contacted Lehesu and the Oswaft Elders, and they began making plans while other Oswaft went to negotiate with the picket fleet. However, as the Empire's goals were complete extermination, the Empire merely killed the negotiators; in the process, one of them "shouted" at the unshielded cruiser Courteous, destroying it with its maser voice-stream. The fleet, seeking retribution, raised their shields and entered the ThonBoka, but were called back by Gepta, who sought to destroy Calrissian.
When Gepta arrived, the fleet mobilized and entered the nebula. Fortunately, their pause had given Calrissian time to suggest a battle plan. The Oswaft excreted heavy metals from their pores and then hyperjumped, leaving decoys placed between the enemy cruisers and resulting in massive friendly fire casualties among the fleet; meanwhile, they "shouted" at the starfighters, destroying them with their powerful masers. After the fleet's forces had been reduced by eleven percent, the battle ceased, and Gepta offered Calrissian an ultimatum: engage Gepta in personal combat, or he would fire an electromagnetic torpedo into the nebula, killing all life therein.
Calrissian and Vuffi Raa, who was allowed to participate because Gepta believed he could reprogram the droid to betray his master, faced off against the Sorcerer of Tund in the vacuum of space. After much maneuvering and several ploys, Calrissian landed a stray shot in Gepta's ankle as one of Vuffi Raa's detached tentacles engaged Gepta. The Sorcerer's form withered as he cried out, landing a stray shot that injured Vuffi Raa's torso. Calrissian searched the space suit and found an injured Croke where his shot had landed—Rokur Gepta had not been a humanoid, but a Croke from Crakull, a planet in the Unknown Regions which Lando had once visited. Calrissian squeezed the alien until the last Sorcerer of Tund was little more than a stain on his gloves.
At that, the Battle of ThonBoka renewed, but for only a moment; out of nowhere, a multitude of fifty-kilometer self-aware droids appeared, issuing a demand on all channels: "Cease fire immediately or be destroyed!". They were The One, The Other and The Rest, who had come for Vuffi Raa. The Imperial fleet, faced with thousands of gigantic ships, retreated from their genocidal mission. Vuffi Raa's progenitors repaired the little droid and departed with him into the Unknown Regions, and Lando departed the ThonBoka with a hold filled with valuable Oswaft-synthesized gemstones.
- "…And Vuffi Raa?"
"Don't you think, now that you know exactly who and what you are, that you could stop calling me master?
"Why, I suppose so, Lando. Why didn't you ask me before?"
- ―Lando Calrissian and Vuffi Raa after meeting the Silentium.
Although Vuffi and his Master parted ways, the droid would again encounter Calrissian on a number of occasions after their last adventure. When Kyle Katarn met Lando aboard Star of Empire in 1 BBY, Calrissian was accompanied by his former droid companion.
Personality and traits
Vuffi Raa was programmed by his creators to be completely non-violent, and even piloting a starship in combat stressed his circuits; this was evidenced by the stress he suffered when piloting the Millennium Falcon during the defense of Nar Shaddaa. However, he eventually became one of the few droids to overcome his own programming, and became able to inflict injury in the defense of himself and his friends or master. He was very loyal to his owners, particularly Lando, with whom he had developed something of a bond.
Behind the scenes
Vuffi Raa was created by L. Neil Smith for the novel Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu, and featured prominently in its two sequels, Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon and Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of ThonBoka.
Though the above images are accepted as being the most canonical depiction of Vuffi Raa, a different version of him could be seen on the cover of Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu, the original source material for the character.
Vuffi Raa's "hands," which branch repeatedly from finger-sized appendages down to the microscopic level, were evidently modeled on the concept of the "bush robot." Hans Moravec first envisioned the concept of "a robot that looks like a tree, with a big stem, repeatedly branching into thinner, shorter and more numerous twigs, finally ending up in jillions of near-microscopic cilia" in 1980, shortly before Smith began writing his books. The concept of the bush robot has continued to be explored, and in 1999 Moravec and Jesse Easudes presented a final report to NASA on "Fractal branching ultra-dexterous robots."
- Millennium Falcon (Mentioned only)
- Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu (First appearance)
- The Hutt Gambit
- Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon
- Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of ThonBoka
- Rebel Dawn (Mentioned only)
- Dark Forces: Soldier for the Empire audio drama
- Lando Calrissian: Idiot's Array (Mentioned only)
- The Essential Guide to Droids
- The Essential Chronology
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 126 (VUF1-2, Vuffi Raa)
- The New Essential Chronology
- The New Essential Guide to Droids
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 1
- The Essential Atlas
- Millennium Falcon Owners' Workshop Manual
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of ThonBoka
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 The New Essential Guide to Droids
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Lando Calrissian and the Flamewind of Oseon
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 The Hutt Gambit
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 The New Essential Chronology
- ↑ Dark Forces: Soldier for the Empire audio drama
- ↑ Bush Robots
- ↑ Fractal branching ultra-dexterous robots (Bush robots)