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The Sand Skiff breaks down the second you try to drive it, so Shade directs you to go meet the local townspeople who will have the parts you need to fix the vehicle. As it turns out, Shade is the only resident of the town and all the "people" you meet are just mannikins with loudspeakers attached to them. Shade pretends to be each citizen, and it gets hilariously creepy. Nothing but the best from writer Anthony Burch!
Once you've acquired all the parts, you can repair the Sand Skiff, which will remind you of the sand skiffs from The Return of the Jedi largely thanks to Randy Pitchford's love of Star Wars. You can equip the Sand Skiff with a machine gun, rocket launcher, and a explosive harpoon gun, and the vehicle handles really well thanks to its ability to strafe and move laterally. Although they can only hold two people at a time, there will be additional Sand Skiffs available when playing with four players.
These aren't the pirates of our own world, though. While they may bear more than a little resemblance to the likes of sea-faring pirates, these scoundrels live in an area devoid of moisture. Thus Borderlands 2 introduces us to the concept of sand pirates, even unlocking a new hovering vehicle that looks like an amalgamation of a sail boat and the sand skiffs from Return of the Jedi. It's not a simple reskin, either; the skiff can strafe around targets, has a sense of momentum to its movements make it feel like it's sailing. Plus it can be equipped with a gun that fires exploding harpoons. To what extent and how effectively the Captain Scarlett DLC will make use of the skiff and the pirate motif remains to be seen, but with developer Gearbox's Borderlands add-on content track record I'm quite hopeful.