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Gripper ships were initially used for non-violent purposes, on ships like EVA craft. Specifically repairing the hulls of ships or transporting or moving heavy objects in zero-gravity environment. However, at some point, Chinese pirates decided to use Grappler ships to aid in crime, Dragonite transportation and combat. As a result, Grappler arms became symbolic of strength. China’s alternate use in Grappler arms inspired other pirates to use them in combat against each other.
Grappler ships became a staple in Outlaws and Space pirates devious activities, to the point where they were able to overpower Space forces galaxy wide. Frustrated with situation, Space forces began to incorporate grappler arms into future designs of their own ships with the implication that their grappler ships outclassed that of the pirates.
The complicated nature of grappler arm combat prompted specialized supercomputers to be used in conjunction with skill of the pilots; pilots who mastered grappler arm combat were considered top tier pilots and referred to as “Grapplers”.
The location of grappler arms vary, depending on the ship, but appear to be commonly located on the underbelly or the side of the ship. In particular, when engaged in "combat mode", the Outlaw Star and its cockpit modifies itself to better assist the pilot. Gene Starwind appears to use a specialized headset that feeds visual information directly into the center of his eye.
Oppositely, however, a ship like the MacDougall Brother's El Dorado appears to use no specialized equipment within its cockpit, and merely relies on the reaction time of the pilot. All grappler ships use small cameras which are jettisoned out into the immediate combat area, in order to gain a complete view of the area and so that pilots are able to pinpoint the location of their opponents at all times. However, cameras are almost useless in asteroid or debris fields as there is too much in the immediate area for the pilot and the computer's A.I. to take into account.