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Privateer - Sprite - Tarsus - Perspective.png
Type Merchant Scout
Primary User Merchants

The Tarsus is a class of Merchant scout. The plural of Tarsus is Tarsi. Tarsi are one of the four basic models of single-person ships available to the general public in Gemini Sector. Around 2670, Tarsi became able to support level 3 engine upgrades and level 4 shield generators. Gabriel Quentin wrote about the spaeccraft in GEMINI SECTOR: AN OVERVIEW. Tarsus production was discontinued around 2659. The ship was the mainstay of the Exploratory Services fleet until the mid 2660s. Tarsi remain available on the used market.

Mack Christiensen owned a Tarsus which he purchased from an Exploratory Service officer who was in debt. He bequeathed it to Grayson Burrows who traveled to Troy around 2669 to take posession of the ship. He discovered the Tarsus was no longer in working order. He spent nearly two months and most of his money on repairs and hangar fees before beginning a new career as a privateer. Shortly after this, his Tarsus was ambushed by three pirate Talons in the system's asteroid field. Burrows refused to allow the pirates to board his Tarsus and istead attacked. He destroyed the first Talon with his laser. The remaining two each fired two missiles at Burrows but he outmaneuvered them, causing two to hit and destroy another Talon. Burrows ignored the remaining Talons' begging to be spared and destroyed it with a missile. A final missile accidentally impacted a derelict Steltek Drone, activating it. Burrows continued to fly the Tarsus through 2670 and ultimately sold it and purchased a Centurion.





Sprite Sheets


Name Tarsus Tarsus Tarsus Tarsus Tarsus
Source Playguide Privateer Privateer Righteous Fire Righteous Fire
Faction Merchant Merchant Mack Christiensen (2669) Merchant Grayson Burrows (2670)
Class Scout Scout Scout Scout Scout
Max. Velocity 300 kps 300 kps 300 kps 300 kps 300 kps
Aft. Velocity 600 kps 600 kps n/a 600 kps 600 kps
Acceleration Average 375 375 375 375
Max. YPR Average 97/95/105 97/95/105 97/95/105 97/95/105
Power Supply 100 GW 40 GW 100 GW 55 GW
Energy Gauge 130 GJ 50 GJ 130 GJ 100 GJ
Guns Mass Driver (2) Mass Driver (2) Laser (1) Mass Driver (2) Meson Blaster (2)
Weapons Dumb Fire (3) Launcher #1: Dumb Fire (2)
Launcher #2: Dumb Fire (1)
Launcher #1: Dumb Fire (5) Launcher #1: Dumb Fire (2)
Launcher #2: Dumb Fire (1)
Launcher #1: Dumb Fire (10)
Cargo Hold 100 units 1-4 containers from:
Food Dspnsrs (4-10)
Hshld Applncs (5-15)
Roboworkers (1-4)
Roboservants (1-2)
[Liquor]] (5-10)
Space Salvage (5-10)
Ejected Pilot (1-1)
100 units 100 units 100 units
Shields Medium Generator 1 Medium Generator 1
Levels 2 1 2 1
Power 45 GW 30 GW 45 GW 30 GW
Regen 2 4 2 4
Side Shields 20 cm equiv. each 10 cm equiv. each 20 cm equiv. each 10 cm equiv. each
Fore Shields 20 cm equiv. 10 cm equiv. 20 cm equiv. 10 cm equiv.
Aft Shields 20 cm equiv. 10 cm equiv. 20 cm equiv. 10 cm equiv.
Shield Effect 96% 111% 96% 111%
Side Armor 8 cm equiv. each 8 cm equiv. each 33 cm equiv. each 8 cm equiv. each 33 cm equiv. each
Fore Armor 10 cm equiv. 10 cm equiv. 35 cm equiv. 10 cm equiv. 35 cm equiv.
Aft Armor 10 cm equiv. 10 cm equiv. 35 cm equiv. 10 cm equiv. 35 cm equiv.
Upgrades Afterburners Shield Generator 1
Plasteel Armor
Iris Mk II
Humboldt Quadrant Map
Afterburners Engine Upgrade 1
Shield Generator 1
Plasteel Armor
Jump Drive
Hunter AW 6
Potter Quadrant Map


Version Privateer Righteous Fire
Engine Upgrade Level 1 Level 3
Shield Upgrade Level 2 Level 4
Gun Racks 2 2
WoTB Racks 2 2
Turrets No No
Cargo Exp. 50 50
MDFs 1 1







B and S



Missile Launcher

Torpedo Launcher

Tractor Beam



Mass Driver

Meson Blaster

Neutron Gun

Particle Cannon

Tachyon Cannon

Ionic Pulse Cannon

Plasma Gun

Fusion Cannon

Steltek Gun

Wing Commander Privateer Player's Guide


The mainstay of the Exploratory Services fleet just a few years ago, these steady craft are now a familiar part of private enterprise. The Tarsus has been discontinued. We list it here because of its popularity and general availability in the used markets.

Cockpit. Low visibility, especially through the small side windows. Cockpit placement prevents any over-the-shoulder view. Offers one MFD along with standard radar and armor displays (see illustration, p. 12). Comfort is comparable to the Orion but claustrophobic by comparison with the other two models reviewed here.

Speed/Maneuverability. Sluggish in turns and rolls. Can upgrade to Level 1 engine.

Ordnance/Protection. No slots available for turrets. Supports Level 2 shield upgrades. Two gun racks and two weapon or tractor beam racks.

Overall Performance Rating. I would give it a B in peacetime. With the war so close and the rise of piracy, I have to downgrade my rating to a D. Longevity in Gemini is worth the extra expense of purchasing a better ship or paying for protection.

Privateer Playtesters' Guide


Since this ship is very vulnerable, you need to concentrate on upgrading your weapons right away:

  • Sell your missile launcher for 7500 credits.
  • Buy a torpedo launcher, torpedoes and two meson blasters. Meson blasters are the best cheap guns available.
  • Once you have loaded out your ship with reasonably effective weapons, use your spare credits to join the Merchants' Guild. The Tarsus has large amounts of cargo space so you can easily accept cargo missions from the guild.
  • As soon as you have accumulated enough money, upgrade your shields and engines and buy an ECM package. Now you are also ready to accept patrol and out missions in the Troy system. Patrol and scout missions at this stage of the game rarely generate more than one or two enemies. Your opponents in the Troy system are not very smart. They will usually fly straight at you, making it easy for you to down them with a few well-placed torpedoes.
  • Use all available money to upgrade your ship. As soon as you can afford it, invest in a Hunter AW 6i scanner, which offers the best features of all scanners in its price range and distinguishes objects by color.

Suggested Loadout
Make sure your ship is completely equipped before you leave the Troy system:

  • Shield upgrade 2 and full loadout of tungsten armor
  • ECM package, upgraded to highest level possible
  • Fly your missions in Troy with a torpedo launcher and two meson blasters, then switch to dual missile launchers before you leave the system.
  • Load out your missile launchers with image recognition missiles. They lock more quickly than heat seekers and are cheaper than friend or foe missiles.
  • Repair droid
  • Engine upgrade
  • Upgraded scanner
  • All quadrant maps
  • Cargo expansion
  • Jump drive

You are now ready to leave the Troy System. The Potter Quadrant is probably your wisest choice. The Tarsus has poor capacity for speed. On the other hand, it can serve as a combat ship because it is very small and enemies have a hard time forget-ting it. Once you leave Troy, you should avoid taking patrol missions against groups of enemies. The random enemies in other quadrants are significantly smarter and will give you a hard time if you try to defeat them in the Tarsus. Instead, accept scout and bounty hunting missions and trade constantly. When you have reached the heart of the Potter Quadrant, i.e. the area right around New Constantinople, New Detroit and Oxford, you can accept patrol missions. This area is relatively safe.

As long as you are on the fringes of the Potter Quadrant, however, avoid patrol mis-sions at all cost. Continue to wait and fly missions until you can afford to buy an Orion.


Behind the Screens

Hidden Designation

The 3D model used for the Tarsus includes the designation "DOUGLAS ASTROSPACE C-1000" printed on the rear of the ship. This is not visible in the game.

Privateer's files include a cockpit damage effect which does not appear in the course of usual play. It seems to have been designed for the earlier version of the cockpit which is still displayed in the game's intro cinematic.

Concept Art

Unused Manual Art

Pre-Release Screenshots

Source Models

  • CLNKVIEW - Tarsus
  • CLUNKER - Tarsus
  • LANDCLNK - Tarsus
  • LNCHCLNK - Tarsus
  • BURNER - Tarsus (afterburners)
  • CLUNKPAD - Tarsus w/ Landing Pad
  • CLNKGEAR - Tarsus w/ Loader
  • CLUNKEXP - Tarsus Exploding
  • CLUNKPIT - Tarssus cockpit
  • B_REPLAN - Landing Pad w/ Ships
  • DD_DELR1 - Ship Dealer w/ Ships
  • DD_DLR-S - Ship Dealer w/ Ships
  • PERSHIP2 - Box Cover Tarsus
  • EIGHTB - Intro Shot - Talon and Tarsus
  • EIGHTB01 - Intro Shot - 2 Talons and Tarsus
  • JAKE - Intro Shot - Talon and Tarsus
  • JAKE01 - Intro Shot - Talon and Tarsus
  • S1 - Intro Shot - Tarsus
  • S3 - Intro Shot - Talon and Tarsus
  • S6A - Intro Shot - Tarsus
  • S7A - Intro Shot - 3 Talons and Tarsus
  • S7B02 - Intro Shot - 3 Talons and Tarsus
  • S9A03 - Intro Shot - Tarsus
  • S9A03TEM - Intro Shot - Tarsus
  • S9B - Intro Shot - 3 Talons and Tarsus
  • S9C - Intro Shot - 3 Talons and Tarsus
  • S9C01 - Intro Shot - 3 Talons and Tarsus
  • S9D - Intro Shot - 3 Talons and Tarsus
  • S10B1 - Intro Shot - Tarsus
  • S10BMISH - Intro Shot - Tarsus

Media Appearances


An episode of the television series Viper, "Ghost" (1x04, January 14, 1994), features a character playing Privateer and flying a Tarsus. A clip of the game's introduction is what is actually being displayed on the monitor.

Babylon 5

An episode of the television show Babylon 5, War Without End Part 1 (3x16), includes a brief appearance from a spacecraft (Zathras' shuttle) that looks similar to a Tarsus. Several watchers asked about the ship when the episode aired and the series' creator confirmed it was not intentionally referencing Privateer.

JMS : WWE1: Sheridan
Posted on 8/5/1996 by J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com> to CIS

Martin Shaw <101642.505@compuserve.com> asks:
> The ship that Zathras hooked up to whitestar in looked helluva
> similiar to one of the ships you can get in 'Privateer' - I have
> heard that you are a bit of a Wing Commander buff, was this a
> deliberate homage?

Nope. Only coincidence.


<WWE1: Familiar Shuttle>
Posted on 5/16/1996 by J. Michael Straczynski <71016.1644@compuserve.com> to CIS

Bernard F. Dowdy, J <76550.347@compuserve.com> asks:
> .did you ever get any stick time in that part of the Wing
> Commander universe?

No, actually, I've never gotten into the Privateer stuff...I
have the new Wing Commander, but my joystick is screwed up (others have
made that observation before), so it's waiting until I can yank the
computer out of its niche and install the Fancy New Joystick I bought
that has fifteen thousand different plug-in points.


Comcast Commercial

A mid-2022 Comcast Xfinity commercial featured actor Ed Helms flying a spacecraft that seemed to be heavily inspired by the Tarsus. The 30-second ad is named 'Crying Uncle Ed'. The commercial is available for download here.