We Must Be Faster Than Light
based upon events in a game of Faster Than Light
Shield Engineer: Teldarin
A Galactic Civil War has begun in the Milkyway Galaxy, after 15 years of war The Federation is everything but defeated. They are ravaged, scattered and broken. The Rebel Fleet, calling themselves the Coalition of Common Beings has almost annihilated the federation, the last daunting fleet of The Federation stands by at Earth, awaiting the Rebel wave that is to come. Grossly outnumbered 500:1 The Federation has only one hope left. A ship of Pro-Federation smugglers that have come across valuable info that may allow The Federation to come out on top may be the only hope The Federation has of defeating the Rebel menace.
The Coalition of Common Beings, the Rebels, the cause of the war, decided to rise up against The Federation thinking that their laws and government were oppressive and corrupt. Perhaps The Federation was, maybe some laws discriminating against some alien races, perhaps they were allowing intergalactic corporations to buy out planets and practically rule over the inhabitants while gaining the benefits of money in their avarice. One thing is for sure, the Rebel fleet consists of a compilation of many alien races: Engi cybernetic organisms, they seem all machine but some parts of them fleshy; Mantis, insectoid creatures that look like praying mantis, very few of these serve anyone but their own; Rockmen, mostly neutral mineral based organisms, there are some of these creatures with any fleet, rebel or federation; Zoltan, very friendly with the Engi, there are as many of them as there are Engi on a ship; Slugs, very rare race, hidden and elusive, cunning as well; and the most common of the rebel and what is almost strictly the only race among Federation forces are Humans. Many races other than humans sided with the Rebel forces due to their propaganda of “Racist Laws” against anything not human. Little do these races know, the federation was largely unbiased, but the Rebels, once they gain control, will soon shun their alien allies and turn them into slaves, commit wholesale slaughter of them, and ultimately break any remaining diplomacy with the alien races, some of this can be seen behind the Rebel advancing wave as we speak.
The Federation, the old government, was corrupt, like what happens to any government over time, but overall a nice, and civil government to deal with, in their courts, aliens were treated no different than humans, all was well, till the uprising.
Now to tell you of the most important and vital people that may change the course of war through their actions, or die trying. The ship they man is named the Crusader. They are smugglers that have no care for the war; they are mostly Pro-Federation due to their first hand witnessing of the rebel controlled worlds crimes. While doing some smuggle runs in a pirate infested nebula system, they came across a ravaged and totally annihilated Federation Cruiser, they checked it out and the only somewhat intact part of the ship was the cockpit, they gathered the scrap and while scanning for any intact tech that might sell well, they found that the Data-Drive was unharmed. They plugged it in to see a very improbable but at the same time, very probable plan for beating the implacable rebel fleet. It showed a hologram of the Rebel flagship, and described “destroy this, and you destroy their fleet.” After some debate on selling it to the Rebels for high cash value, they decided to go on a mission to deliver it to The Federation. After all, the rebels would probably just kill them for it, rather than pay the price.
The smuggler ship is an Engi ship, square in design. The captain is an Engi named Arcus very powerful leader, and efficient pilot, has gotten the crew out of many bad situations. The Shields Engineer is also an Engi, he is named Teldarin, and he is very reliable and very efficient, when any system is messed with by friend or foe though, they will know his wrath if he boards their ship, or if they board the Crusader. Finally, there is the Engineer for the ship engines, his name is Eugene, he is human and has gotten the engine repaired in the direst of times, with some very close calls in solar flares near stars.
These are the paths set forth for the galaxy, they have a mission, and they must be faster than light…
After warping in from their last destination, now being tailed by the Rebel wave, they find themselves in a nebula. Arcus checks the ship cartographer and says on intercom, “We just landed in the next system; it seems we are at the edge of a Nebula in it, so we’re in the right place.” Teldarin says in relief, “Good, I hope they lost our signature and wonder if we just vanished like ghosts into the void, that last fight we got in was a close one.” Arcus replies, “Always is a close one.” Eugene pipes in, “We should jump to the next coordinate that stays in the edge of the nebula, just to be safe.” Arcus replies, “Roger dodger, heading to the next beacon, now we got to be careful. These planets are uncharted in the ship cartographer, we have never been this far from our home systems, so be on alert.”
And they jump to the next planet on their way to the other edge of the system for their jump to the next system.
As they arrive into the next part of the Nebula, their ship’s senses alert them to an enemy Rebel ship. The way its systems are ready notifies them that it had been waiting for them, must be a scout. “Contact! And it’s ready for us!” exclaims Arcus. “Generator weakened! We must be in a plasma storm!” yells Eugene. “This will be interesting.” Arcus mutters to himself. As the battle commences the enemy releases their anti-ship drone. It begins wreaking havoc on the Crusader, it knocks out the engine, med-bay, and weapons room in the first hour of combat. Due to the plasma storm, power must be re-routed from the med-bay and even shields just to give enough power to the to the Crusader’s anti-ship drone. On the bright side, the crusader knocks out the Rebel Oxygen life-support systems and damages their engine. “Ah hell! Who’s idea was it again to jump here? This was a bad idea!” exclaims Teldarin in furious anger over the enemy’s surgical fire on the systems. “Not now to be bitching! Fix those modules and knock out the enemy ship!” replies Arcus. After the second hour of combat the enemy ship is destroyed, but in its last dying breathe, the Rebel ship takes out the door control systems, pilot systems, and the ships sensor systems. The Crusader has taken a beating and isn’t looking good. “Damn, never again!” says Eugene. “Those bastards are lucky that I wasn’t on their ship with them, I would have killed them all with my bare hands for this critical damage!” says Teldarin in steaming anger. “Alright get the systems running, and then prepare for jump to the next planet.”
After a couple of hours of repairing and gather the enemy ship’s scraps, fully repair their systems to full functionality they prep for jump to the next planet. “Cross our fingers boys.” Arcus says as he hits the button for light speed jump. Before Arcus can hit the button Eugene yells over the intercom, “Fire, fire! Next to the oxygen room!” after using their fire extinguishers for a while Arcus just tells them to come to the med bay on the other end of the ship so he can open air-locks on that half to effectively prevent any further fire spread. While the ship is being aired out, the oxygen system soon takes critical damage from the fire. After a few minutes of airing the ship out, they rush to the oxygen and repair it quickly. Damage was minor, but enough to shut off the oxygen, everything turns out fine and the jump to the next system.
Upon entering to the next planet, they get an emergency message from a small Federation straggler world. Their commander explains, “Help! All of our military ships have been severely damaged or destroyed by military vessels of The Coalition of Common Beings! They ran off after destroying our ships and our long-range scanners sense a nearby Mantis war camp just a few jumps from us. Please help us!”
After receiving this, Arcus asks for one hour to discuss this with his crew as they have taken some heavy damage from their last coordinate and it may be too risky for them to go. The commander understands and lets him be. “Alright, so crew meeting everyone!” says Arcus over the intercom, “meet in the med-bay.” When Teldarin enters he says, “Great, meetings now a days never mean anything good. What’s it this time?” “The people of this system want us to scout a Mantis war camp a few jumps from here to assess if they might be coming here.” Explains Arcus, “Our ship integrity is at half from our last skirmish and I called you all in for a vote on what we should do.” “I think we should try for it, see what we can do.” Says Eugene. “I think we should try and find a merchant space platform to get repairs, ship isn’t looking good at all.” Says Teldarin. “If we do this mission we might get some repairs though.” Arcus says. They sit there in silence for a few minutes thinking of a solution for as to what they should do. Finally Eugene says, “let’s do a coin toss over this, heads we help and tails we don’t.” “you humans and your antics for gambling, I actually like it sometime, and like it as such for this case.” Teldarin agrees. “It’s settled, we coin toss for it.” Arcus says. With anticipation as the coin flies through the air, Arcus catches it and puts it on the back of his hand, concealed. He removes his hand, revealing tails.
When Arcus reaches the pilot seat he notifies the commander of their decision, apologizes for their inconvenience, and preps for jump to the next system. Before they jump, Teldarin says on intercom, “Hey! I just used some scraps to upgrade our med-bay, it should be more efficient now.”
They jump to the next planet, their cartographer scanned it previously as having a merchant space platform. Upon entering they see a fleet of alien craft, they hail them with greetings and offer to sell some of their goods, and also offer for repairs. The crew of the Crusader trade what scrap they have to repair their ship to seventy-five percent hull integrity. They exchange thanks with what look to be Zoltans and move on to the next system. Before jumping, the scanner picks up on a distress beacon. When they arrive, they are hailed on the emergency frequency by some human smugglers, “We are in dire need of assistance! We had a shipment of giant alien spider eggs in a containment cell. We planned to sell them for a very high price to a med facility that thinks they can make a great medical breakthrough with these spider’s venom. Usually we have nothing go wrong, but one of the hatch doors was loose. The eggs hatched and they are now rampant in our ship! We locked ourselves in the pilot’s room, and they are trying to break in! At this point we just want these things dead!”
Arcus had this all wired to the ship intercom so the others heard it, he asks them on the intercom what they want to do. They both reply, “let’s go squish some space bugs.”
After boarding the ship they move cautiously down the corridors, they neither see nor hear any of the spiders. They reach the pilot room and let them know it’s clear. After the door opens, a giant black spider with squiggly green stripes running up and down its face jumps them. They vigorously fight back against the spider but are forced to quickly retreat back down the halls they came from when dozens upon dozens more erupt from the ships ventilation. Upon arriving back upon the Crusader, they do a head count, none of the people they came to save lived. Also, one of the crew did not survive, Teldarin had been killed, and they didn’t even notice his loss. Eugene breaks out crying for hours, and says in despair and anger, “we need to go back on that ship, I know he’s alive! I’ll kill every one of those goddamn spiders! Every last one of them!” Arcus eventually calms him down and convinces him that he is lost. They sit in silence for some hours, then Arcus says, “Prep the F.T.L. drive, we’re going to the next system.”
When reaching the beacon that links this sector to the next, they arrive to see a deactivated ship with the markings of the Coalition of Common Beings on it. Arcus decides they should attempt to download its data stores to see if there is anything useful. After the attempt, nothing goes wrong, they find that the ship cartographer is now updated and reveals the entire system and everything that lies within. They also scrap the ship and take some of its fuel.
They use the beacon’s link to the next sector and find themselves in a civilian sector, untouched by the rebels, or so it seems. The coordinate they jumped to lands them in a nebula. Arcus says, “not this shit again…” they jump to the next coordinate in the nebula, nervously watching the sensors for any pings, but none appear, they jump to the next coordinate that lies outside of the nebula. When they reach the next beacon, they find a pirate ship blockading a nearby planetary settlement. The pirates contact their ship and message, “Stay out of this, unless you want to be turned into space junk. The Rebels are coming and we have got to be prepared. Survival of the fittest, you know how it goes. So move along and gather you’re supplies, these ones are ours.” Arcus and Eugene infuriated by the pirates gall and decide to engage them; Arcus fires an Ion blast that misses the enemy pirate ship, they are alerted by this and turn to engage. The pirates pipe in on the transmission, “you imbeciles!”
After an hour of fighting, the Crusader has only taken shield damage, the pirate ship has taken critical damage to the: pilot controls, disabled shields from the ion cannon, and damage to weapons control. With hull integrity barely holding, the pirates offer a ceasefire. Arcus and Eugene disgusted by this, reply with more gunfire. They fire an ion shot disabling their life-support, and the drone obliterates the rest of their ship. They gather the ship’s scrap. They are immediately contacted by the settlement from the planet, they receive many thanks and are given some scrap, and fuel as reward for their heroic effort. Arcus jumps them to the next planetary system, they find a heavily wrecked ship that shouldn’t, but still is, be operational. They come in on the intercom, and say, “Greetings! We have been crippled by a band of pirates and are forced to sell our valuables and equipment to get the necessary supplies to get home.” They trade some supplies for repairs to the Crusader, Arcus and Eugene wish them luck and head out. Before leaving, Arcus tells them, “I like your Anti-ship drone, what model is it?” crew member replies, “It’s a Mark II.” “I’ll come back with more scrap to buy this item, we need an upgrade to the one we currently have.” The crew seems delighted as Arcus and Eugene prep for a jump.
They jump to the next system to find nothing. They re-route to jump back into the nebula and upon entering they are hailed by a travelling black market salesman. They know he is a pirate, the salesman offers to sell them a mysterious weapon a considerable amount of scrap. Arcus replies to the deal with gunfire, knowing that it is either a scam to get nothing or a worthless weapon. After some minutes of vigorous fighting, the Crusader takes heavy critical damage to the oxygen system, a fire starts in the drone control room, and sensors are knocked out. The enemy takes some hull damage, and minor critical damage that is quickly repaired. Without Teldarin, things are looking bleak. After the repairs are quickly assessed, their drone hits the enemy engines and damages them while the weapons and shields are disabled on the pirate ship. The enemy ship starts powering up its F.T.L. drive. Shortly after the pirate attempt to jump away, the Crusader’s drone annihilates the enemy ship, they collect its scrap.
Upon entering the next system the crew comes across an auto-drone. It has no markings, but it regardless finds the crew as hostiles and attacks. After sometime fighting, the enemy ship hits the cockpit and the drone control center. The Crusader hits with multiple ion blasts on the drone ship, and damages: weapon control, the cockpit, and shields. Shortly after, the enemy ship is annihilated and scrapped. They make a few quick jumps backward, attaining the amount of crap they needed and buy the Anti-ship Drone Mark II from the floating merchants, they thank each other and make leave.
With the Rebels quickly advancing in this sector, faster than expected, that have no choice but to jump into some controlled space of theirs and fight some of them to get to the other end of the system to jump to the next sector. They first skirmish in the nebula with a Rebel hunter ship, these guys are tasked with finding the Crusader and destroying them, personally. After an some hours of fighting, the enemy ship has the superior generator and is unphased by the plasma storm that is harrying the Crusader. Shields are down, door controls are gone, and engine is down. In the attempt to repair the door controls so they can seal off the breach in their ship that is sucking out half the ships oxygen, Eugene dies of suffocation, he attempts to reach the med-bay to get a respirator, but he only reaches just before the door, before he loses consciousness and ultimately dies. It’s now up to Arcus. He successfully repairs the door controls, the ship hull integrity is critical. And a fire is raging in the engine room, he leaves the doors open hoping the fire will die soon. Systems say the fire is down and he closes the doors. Just as he reaches the engine room to fix it, the Rebel hunter launches one, final, missile. As it hits the Crusader, it rips open the hull, enters the engine room with Arcus, and destroys him along with his ship, in a raging fire ball. The ship breaks apart. Arcus’s last thought in his mind before he died, is that he atleast will get to see his friends… in the afterlife…
© Copyright 2016 spaghetti space monster. All rights reserved.
Short Story / Science Fiction
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