The Pkunk Fury is a very interesting ship. It moves fast, has a great turning rate and fires in 3 directions simultaneously: Left, right and forward. It does not regenerate battery power on its own; the player must hold down the secondary button to generate this power. During this time, the Pkunk captain will say insults such as “worm”, “dummy” and “fool”.
One of the interesting things about this ship is that when it is destroyed, there is a constant 50% chance that the ship will return with a full crew. There is no set limit to how many times it can reincarnate. This means that there is nothing stopping the Fury from coming back 0, 1, 2, 3 or even 50 times (it’s possible, though extremely improbable). I remember seeing a video of a single ship coming back a total of 7 times.
The ability to come back with a full crew complement also creates an interesting strategy for Pkunk players with low crew: Should he or she move cautiously and try to avoid damage, or move in with all guns blazing, betting on being destroyed to come back for another chance to win? When I play as the Pkunk, there are times when I will only have 2 crew members left against a more powerful ship (e.g. Dreadnought, Broodhome, etc.) and I will intentionally crash into a planet, die and hope that I’ll come back.
The Fury’s ability to reincarnate has created a very interesting question regarding a fight against a Syreen Penetrator: If a Penetrator takes Pkunk crew, and the Fury is destroyed and reincarnated, is the new crew cloned or replaced with other Pkunk? Serge van den Boom (meep-eep) had a very good answer for it:
"Reincarnation does not have to happen in chronological order. You could die as Gandhi and be reincarnated as Nero. You could even have just one "soul" sequentially reincarnating as everyone who has ever lived."
‐ Serge van den Boom, UQM forums
Since we’re on the subject of the Pkunk, here’s some text from the 2007 IRC chatlog when TFB was working on Madagascar 2:
"<+CeeVee> The Pkunk...how physically similar to the Yehat are they? We only see their heads and necks, and I was just wondering if they had more of a resemblance in the rest of their anatomy.
<+PR3> Pkunk, Yehat, Erol?
<+Erol> Pkunk very very different... really really different."
"<+RainDaemon> silly question: If the Pkunk are such endearing fellows, how come their middle fingers are so long?
<+PR3> I presume that Pkunk with a longer middle finger had a reproductive advantage."
‐ 2007 TFB IRC Chatlog
That’s what creates the mystery behind Star Control and many other games; there are these small (and sometimes weird) questions we have and as we try to answer them, they expand to even more questions and they become more than just a great game to an entire universe within itself.
Link: Pkunk on UQM Wiki