Wise. Optimistic. Lucky. These are all qualities that Oran Zapal doesn't embody. Born and raised in the city of Pons Ora on Abafar, 1st Lieutenant Oran "Duck" Zapal's life has been anything but ordinary. Orphaned at the age of seven, he survived the streets of his homeworld, stealing and scrounging what he could to survive. He would have been headed for a life of crime had it not been for a chance encounter with Jana Cyone, an Outer Rim treasure hunter and smuggler. Taking pity on the young boy, she raised him and trained him to be a skilled pilot, slicer, mechanic, and oftentimes clumsy deckhand on her ship. The two had many adventures together, skillfully evading pirate gangs, Imperial patrols, and passing the odd inspection by Imperial forces.
One day, however, this all changed when a treasure hunt went bad. Hired to retrieve an artifact from a long-forgotten temple, they ran into members of the Crimson Dawn crime syndicate who were also pursuing the artifact. Jana Cyone was killed, and Oran barely escaped in his former master's ship with his life and the artifact. The Crimson Dawn thugs chased Oran half-way across the galaxy until the ship took significant damage near Nar Shaddaa. Forced to crash in a scrapyard, Oran was able to hide from his pursuers. It was here that he found the discarded remains of 9D-0, an R2-style ferry droid. Repairing the droid, the two became fast friends and set out to make a name for themselves while surviving the crime-ridden streets of Nar Shaddaa.
The two eventually secured jobs as pilots for an off-world mining company. While daily patrols were less than exciting, it provided ample flight time and opportunities for the two pilots to hone their skills and teamwork abilities. This would prove invaluable when one day, years later, the Empire attacked and took over the facility, citing illegal mining and criminal activities to justify doing so. Oran and 9D-0 knew better, but with little choice they were forced on the run again.
With nowhere to go and no love for the Empire, the two did what they could to survive. Playing at sabacc tables, frequenting bars, and taking odd jobs to scrounge up credits only worked for so long. Eventually, Oran became indebted to the Pyke Syndicate, and with no way to pay off his debts was forced to run again. Oran and 9D-0 evaded the Pyke's until they were cornered and captured on Kijimi. The two were spared only because of their wide array of skills, and spent two years working off Oran's debts under close guard.
Wanting nothing more to do with the Pyke's or a life of crime, Oran and 9D-0 set out to find a new purpose for themselves. Wandering the galaxy, it wasn't until they happened to be passing by the shattered moon of Bori that they picked up a distress signal. A small convoy of civilian cargo transports and luxury liners had come under attack by pirates. Outnumbered and outgunned, the two decided to do the right thing for once and stop running, hoping to buy the civilian craft enough time until local Imperial forces arrived.
Unfortunately, the Empire never came to the rescue. All hope seemed lost until a patrol of Rebel fighters from Diamond Squadron arrived to lend aid. Impressed by their flying ability - in Z-95s, no less - the squadron leader extended an offer for the two to join the growing Rebellion against the Empire once the pirates were driven away. Seeing an opportunity to do some good for once, Oran and 9D-0 accepted the offer.
Both were stationed at the outpost on the forest moon of Corvy, which was well-protected from Imperial patrols thanks to its extensive asteroid belt. Oran proved to be a natural fit for the band of rebels. He quickly rose through the training program there, mastering any starfighter he was trained in. This proved invaluable as he gained valuable flight time, skills, and sorties against the Empire. Eventually, he and 9D-0 transferred into Heart Squadron, the training squadron, and helped train new recruits alongside other squadron veterans. It was during this time met and befriended Andrew "Dobber" Dobson, showing him the ropes and teaching the young recruit a few tricks. It was here that he also earned his nickname "Duck" for his uncanny ability to hit his head on pipes, doorways, and while repairing his fighter craft.
Tragedy struck, however, when the squadron was ambushed by Imperial forces after a routine convoy raid. Had Blue Squadron not arrived to save the day, they wouldn't have survived the assault. While some of the survivors transferred into Blue Squadron, Oran and 9D-0 chose to remain and focus on serving the Rebellion as best they could elsewhere.
Oran may not have been part of the engagements at Scarif, Yavin, Hoth, or Endor, but his time in other campaigns has proven him more than capable of being a match for the Empire, and one of the few pilots to survive several years worth of fighting against Imperial rule to make the galaxy a better place.