Hunter Gratzner was a merchant vessel and combined freighter, owned by Hunter Gratzner Industries Inc. and hired by the New Oslo Shipping Corporation. The ship was insured by Chiroptera Insurance. While en route to the Tangiers System with 40 commercial passengers, it was damaged by a comet in the M-344/G System and forced to crash-land on one of its planets.
The Hunter Gratzner consisted of a cockpit and bridge section, its engine column and a total of five mismatched cargo containers. Two of the forward containers held over forty passengers while the other containers held cargo and supplies.
The Hunter Gratzner was equipped with numerous emergency features, such as drag fins to slow the ship in case of uncontrollable turbulence, and a system that enabled the vessel to jettison excess mass, such as the cargo containers or even the engines in more severe circumstances. The ship was also served by a limited artificial intelligence, which automatically piloted the ship and was mostly answerable to the crew.
The Hunter Gratzner was taking a roundabout route to the Tangiers system when it flew through a comet's tail and was badly damaged. With its captain Tom Mitchell dead and ship officers Owens and Fry left to take control, the ship began to plummet towards the nearest planet. Fry managed to jettison most of the ship before Owens stopped her, and the vessel, somewhat lighter and more controllable, was able to effect a crash landing which ended in a heated impact and a miles-long skid to a rough stop in the middle of the desert.
- The ship is like a towing vehicle, delivering different containers and passengers to different locations.
- An onboard computer system is somewhat present, aiding Fry in the crash and also choosing the planet for its oxygen information.
- There are only four crew members.
- The ship runs on power cells capable of being used on other vessels.
- The ship is named after two of its creators Ian Hunter and Matthew Gratzner.