FTL: The Fatal Frontier, Sector 6

By Alec Meer on September 28th, 2012 at 12:00 pm.

Captain of the Excelsior as of Star Trek VI I THINK YOU'LL FIND

I’m feeling pretty good, which is exactly the sort of thing one should never say in FTL. Doom, disaster and dismay inevitably looms, but having pulled my ship and my crew back from the brink of disaster at least I’ve got a war story out of it. Now, let’s see what’s out there in Sector 6 – this needs to go well, as I’m now just two sectors away from the final f(l)ight – presuming I survive that long.

Jump 1


Offered the choice between a Zoltan or Rebel-held sector, I opt for the latter. I don’t want to be a coward anymore.

We find an Autoscout with stealth on our first jump, lurking in an asteroid field. It keeps hiding, which is infuriating as it means we just sit there watching and waiting for it to decloak, while asteroids bully our shields all the while. Once the damn thing finally does emerge it doesn’t take much to biff it to oblivion. /Me flexes.

Jump 2

We’re given a quest, which involves making a few jumps to the North (is there a North in space?), and some scrap for our troubles. I’ve got that itch again now. The retail itch.

Jump 3

Another stealth scout. Sigh. Same process, same slightly annoying tedium, same suprising lack of challenge once the bugger stops hiding.

However, its demise and the subsequent looting of its carcass finally gives me enough scrap to do something I’ve been waiting a long, long time for. We finally picked up a proper gun a couple of sectors back, but we weren’t able to upgrade weapons and reactor enough to use it. Now we can. Now we are a fully armed and operational but frighteningly fragile battlestation. Say hello to my little Hull Beam. Game over man, game over. You’re too old for this shit. I am Spaceacus. Stop throwing those bloody spacelasers at me.

Jump 4

Another stealth drone, but my brand new gun – I HAVE A GUN NOW I CAN’T BELIEVE IT – in combination with the trust Ion Blast messes it up pretty quick. I’ve got a bit of a power trip going on now, I don’t mind telling you.

Fuel’s on the wane again, mind, and I’ve just spent all my scrap. Shop!

Jump 5

Another rebel scout. No cloak this time, but it’s threatening to jump away and tell on me – which would mean the Rebel fleet would catch up to me fast.

It’s a weirdly tough fight, as this idiot’s shields do not want to go down. It gets a few good hits on our hull, then dies without the good grace to leave us a decent reward.

Jump 6

Yet another Rebel autodrone – this is the space rebellion equivalent of a supermarket where all the checkouts have been replaced by those self-scanners that scream all your purchases are the wrong weight.

This autodrone has lots of missiles, it transpires. We are now down to 50% hull again. Nng.

Jump 7

A store! That is exciting, though I don’t experience the same rapture as in Sector 5 as, for a change, we are not 99% dead.

We’ve picked up a reasonable amount of scrap by now, so I decide it’s time for a new friend. Welcome to the crew Steven Dengler, who is a Mantis.

This means he’s rubbish at repairing stuff, but good at biffing stuff. Thus, we have some onboard muscle in the case of an enemy boarding party. As we already have a Steven onboard I’d like to call him Security Officer Dengler, but he frightens me a little so I just order him to hang around in the air supply room as it’s a short walk to most other areas of the ship should invaders arrive.

The rest of our cash I spend on hull and fuel. Again. C’est la vie.

Jump 8

It’s a rebel ship, a proper one this time, and it has ALL THE MISSILES IN THE WORLD. Boom, boom, boom, boom. There goes my shiny new hull. What a money pit this ship is. The Rebels also have a crew transporter, which means Security Officer Dengler gets to rend flesh with his mighty talons immediately. He’s really very good at it.

Jump 9
Whee, another store. Hey, guess what we’re going to do here? I’m Sisyphus in space.

Jump 10

Another drone fight, another immediate loss of 25% of newly-restored hull. This is getting ridiculous. I need to raise enough cash to ramp up either shields or evasion, and stop wasting every penny on repairs. Long-term survival, not short-term limping along.

Jump 11
We reach the destination for that quest from earlier, which turns out to involve the four hundred and eighty thousandth auto-drone we’ve fought in this sector.

We win with not too much harm done for a change and we’re rewarded with a new gun. Ooh! Except it’s worse than the one I already have. Oh.

I could spend what’s become a decent amount of scrap again on more weapon capacity so it could work in tandem with my existing gun, but… No, I’ll save it for something else.

Jump 12
You have three guesses as to what kind of enemy I encountered here, and the first two don’t count.

In this case, the autodrone is harassing a civilian ship. We take some more hull damage, but as the civilians are grateful they give us a reward in addition to the scrap we looted from Autodrone #56546543654375423232233246667009099. There’s quite a lot of scrap in the bank now, so let’s talk defence. I opt for wwo lots of engine (i.e. evade) upgrades and the reactor upgrades necessary to power them, and an upgrade to our blast doors to stop intruders roaming or fire spreading like… well, wildfire. Fire like wildfire. Great simile Captain Meer, great simile.

Jump 13
Whoopsie, I’ve delayed too long and now the rebels are waiting at the sector exit. There’ll be a big fight on our hands just to get out of here.

As I’m warming up the guns, I notice something’s amiss. It takes a while to work out just what it is.

What the hell? We have a new crew member, who I hadn’t even noticed had come aboard. He’s lurking in the cockpit with Tacky, doing sod all. This doesn’t make a lick of sense. Is he a spy? A hitcher? Is an alternate dimension leaking into this one? After toying with whether I should chuck him out of the airlock just to be on a safe side, eventually I decide he must have been part of my gift package for the quest I resolved a few jumps back, but I was so wrapped up in shopping that I didn’t notice him arriving. What a terrible host I am. So, a belated hello to Weston, who’s another Engi. Keep an eye on Droid Control please Weston, we need those little guys in the fight at all times.

Speaking of the fight, there’s one against a Rebel cruiser that I should start paying attention to right now. With two enemy crew immediately beaming aboard and missiles flying everywhere, Ensign Weston immediately makes himself useful by pegging it over to the immediately bombed O2 supply while Dengler and Tacky deal with an invasion in the cockpit.

This rebel ship is weirdly resistant to taking damage, but fortunately our FTL drive is now charged. There’d be little to gain from winning this fight, but everything to gain from escaping from it before anything went south. Some might call it cowardly. I call it a dramatic exit. We’re out of here. WAZZZZZZZUMP-blink.

(That’s my faster than light jump impression. Did you like it?)

To be continued

, , .

77 Comments »

  1. DBG says:

    Didn’t notice when he joined? it says on the screenshot on Jump 11 that he joins actually.

    • olemars says:

      It’s actually quite easy to miss new crewmembers joining since the messages are so understated. Maybe they should add a JRPG dance and fanfare.

      • JD Ogre says:

        Nah. They should just add it to the list of rewards. “New Crew: Weston”

  2. yurusei says:

    In space, no one can hear me scream with glee.

    Loving this series. Pretty much sums up the harrowing experience and indecision that fill this fantastic game.

  3. The Godzilla Hunter says:

    And still, no one is dead. Impressive.

  4. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    it should be something like a crescendo, so wazzzzZZZUMP-blink, but yes, I like it.

    That blink is the little star that lights up everytime an Enterprise disappears into the void, is it?

    • Velko says:

      I’d rather put a diminuendo in it: WAZZZZzzzzump-blink, you see the ship starts closer to the spectator (and yes, I am perfectly aware that there is no sound in the void, but this discussion has to do with space-movie cliches and they all have sounds (except the few that have managed to turn the silence into a part of completely awesome sound environment (like 2001: A Space Oddysey))).

  5. Velko says:

    WAZZZZZZZUMP-blink is a great FTL-jump expression, to a degree that it is immediately recognizable (though you have to say it out loud first).

    • RakeShark says:

      I still prefer CHOOMchoom-BEEEEeeeeeeoooooooow.

      • MrLebanon says:

        when i’m on skype playing FTL while chattin with friends i’m constantly making these noises in sync with the game

    • Premium User Badge

      Hypocee says:

      It sounds like BareeEE-pchew to me.

  6. Wichtel says:

    And now you have 33 min till they catch up to you.

  7. Chizu says:

    I knew a Steven Dengler once…
    He was a slug, and the finest Captain I have ever known.
    He could dodge missiles like nobody else. Alas, for he was lost to an infiltration squad during a fatal confrontation with the Rebel Flagship.

  8. Calneon says:

    I had a game yesterday, up to sector 6 with my engi ship (totally the best ship). Rocking three shields, a Halberd beam (those things wreck if you take their shields down), a crew teleporter with some full rank combat mantis as my assault squad.

    I was exploring the sector as I normally do, aiming to reach the exit just as the approaching Rebel forces do, my timing is usually rather good in that regard. However, this time, I had miscalculated. My planned route to the exit ended up not going to the exit at all, there was no jump path. It was so close, but yet so far! I had 1/3 hull left, and four jumps backtracking through the Rebel fleet towards the exit. Sensing the end, I pumped all my remaining scrap into my engines and power, boosting my dodge to 48% and increasing the speed at which my FTL drive charges.

    First jump went well. Our shields held long enough to allow the FTL drive to charge and we made our escape. Second jump was more problematic, the Rebel ship had some heavy laser weaponry which tore through our shields, but we got away only suffering 2 damage. Two down, two to go. But then disaster! My long range scanner was telling me that the nebula storm I noticed a few jumps ago had moved directly into my path. Going around would cost an additional 3 jumps, certain doom, so I planned my strategy and made the jump…

    A rebel ship armed to the teeth with rocket launchers, shields were useless here so power had to be diverted from them into my engines. Hopefully my 48% evade would carry me through. All weapon systems were offline, my trusty anti-ship drone was deployed in the hope it would soak up a missile or two. If that wasn’t enough, there were intruders on the ship but because of the nebula I had no idea where they were. I sent my non vital crew (all except the pilot and engineman) to go seek the invaders. The missiles hit hard and fast, fires were breaking out everywhere. I withdrew my crew from the hunt and opened all doors apart from those to the med bay and the engineroom, hoping to flush out both the fire and the invaders. 50%, and 5 hull left. Just a bit longer. I must have been evading upwards of 75% of the missiles sent at me, but it was not enough, there were too many. The infiltrators found the engineroom, and I pulled my engi back, conceding defeat.

    I like to think that in those final moments my crew found peace in those final few moments in the med bay, before a final missile tore the hull in two.

    Damn this game is good.

    • Tacroy says:

      I disagree! The Type B (Red-Tailed) Kestrel is the best ship. The four quick-firing lasers make your weapons officer level up ridiculously quickly.

      • skyorrichegg says:

        I disagree! The Mantis type B is the coolest… 4 person teleporter, no weapons, try not to head to any rebel or zoltan controlled sectors early on bwhaha

        • KDR_11k says:

          Crystal B wins hands down. No weapons or drones but shields, cloaking and a 4 man teleport. Plus crystal crew (which can seal all the doors in a room for about 20 seconds, enough to beat up anybody inside without them legging it to the med bay or to break a system before defenders arrive and they take half damage from vacuum so they can easily smash systems on an AI drone before you have to port them out) and a 40 scrap vendor trash augmentation.

    • HothMonster says:

      Even with your sensor out you can tell what room is on fire or under siege as long as it has a system or subsystem in it. On top of the power indicator there will be a little fist or fire icon. Sure it doesn’t tell you if an empty room is on fire or packed with bads but it does help when you get invaders in a nebula.

      • Groove says:

        Or if they’re hacking their way through a door then the door flashes red.

        If you’ve not upgraded to even basic blast doors then you deserve death.

    • Lone Gunman says:

      Epic story.

    • jalf says:

      I had a similar backtracking adventure… Except that I didn’t just have to go a mere 4 jumps through rebel space. How does 7 sound?

      The map literally forked out right near the start, into an upper and a lower half, with no connections between the two, and I’d made it all the way to the top right corner… which was a dead end. So backtrack nearly all the way, and then venture into the unexplored lower half of the map.

      The game had been good to me though. I was in the zoltan ship, had run into four slavers so I had plenty of crew (got two zoltans, an engi and a mantis), so I had plenty of power, and had even been given an extra gun and an auto-reloader.

      Which just meant I’d hate to die now. This was still one of the first sectors, and I thought with all this stuff, I could make it far.

      Well, I made it those 7 jumps back to the exit, and even had something like 15% hull left. Nearly all my missiles and fuel was gone, of course, but I’d survived 7 jumps through rebel space!

      Then the last guy took me out. While I was on the exit, waiting for engines to charge, I got torn apart by a ship with an ion gun disabling my shields, beam drone tearing everything up, and missiles just wreaking havoc and starting fires.

      In the end, I had to abandon shield, engines and weapons, which were all destroyed and still on fire, to retreat my crew to the medbay for urgent healing. And just as they got there, the beam drone hit the medbay, killing my badly hurt crewmembers.

      A moment later, the last precious points of hull were taken away, and the ship imploded…

      So close…

  9. Atic Atac says:

    Lol Steven Dengler is a frequent kickstarter backer and has sponsored some Double Fine ports as well. I guess these are reward names.

    At least on my current run the best pilot on my ship is named “Notch”.

    • UmmonTL says:

      I find it a bit annoying that you can’t rename crewmembers when you get them. I mean kickstarter names are one thing but when you run around with four guys named Charlie, three of them humans it gets a bit annoying. At least check wich names you already have on your crew when generating new ones.

      • Premium User Badge

        Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        What a bunch of Charlies.

      • BluElement says:

        That would be a little odd, wouldn’t it?

        “Oh, you want to join my crew? I’m sorry, we already have a Steven. Your name is now Fkiofrjkmt.”

        Fkiofrjkmt: …

        • Grygus says:

          That kind of thing happens all the time, actually. That’s how a lot of nicknames get started; differentiation between people with same/similar names.

    • Max Ursa says:

      i tweeted to notch that on one playthrough he’d been a damn fine pilot until a mantis had eaten his face. he retweeted it and my @connect feed proceded to explode.

  10. trjp says:

    I see that image and all I can think of is

    “SHIELDS!”

    or perhaps

    “Captain, shall we report this to Starfleet”

    “Are you kidding?”

    • Koozer says:

      I am merely reminded of how much I want his Federation cup and saucer.

  11. Yosharian says:

    Hold on. He’s in Sector 7 now? This is one fucking lucky run.

    He needs a defense drone. Those things are awesome against missiles.

    • biggergun says:

      Lucky is the word. Most of my time in FTL I die a horrible fiery death 2-3 sectors into the game. Sometimes, after the first jump. More than once, actually.

  12. Premium User Badge

    cspkg says:

    I love this diary. I love-hate-love this game. Still not beaten it yet, though. :(

    • Premium User Badge

      cspkg says:

      I hate this freaking game. I freaking hate it. I got to the final boss but once my boarding party killed their weapons, I didn’t have the firepower to finish them off. Stupid defensive weapons at shop after shop. I had 300 scrap by the end and had to rage quit.

      • jalf says:

        how is that possible? If your boarding party could take out its guns, surely they could take out the shield as well?

        • Chris D says:

          The boss has its weapons in sealed compartments so it’s possible that a boarding party could take them out but would have been overwhelmed if they had tried to assault the main body of the ship.

          • Premium User Badge

            cspkg says:

            This. I only had an ion weapon, two single lasers and a 2 burst laser. Together they weren’t enough to hurt the boss enough to really take it down. And every time I boarded (2 man teams), they rotated their crew and cloaked just as I wanted to beam my guys bak out to heal. :(

          • jalf says:

            Yeah, guess. When I used the same tactic, I did manage to take out the central rooms too, but I guess I just had more/stronger boarding crew.

    • Aankhen says:

      I’d recommend getting the mod to disable the fleet pursuit. It makes life much easier. I beat the game for the first time yesterday thanks to that and the amazing Zoltan Cruiser. (Seriously, that Halberd Beam just rips through everything.)

  13. Neurotic says:

    I forget if this is Normal or Easy mode. Every game I play on Normal, I get annihilated in or before Sector 4!

  14. Hybrid says:

    I think the most crew I’ve had at one time was six, but only for a few jumps. With seven, though? Wow, you pretty much don’t have to move anyone. Almost everything is covered.

  15. zebramatt says:

    I must admit, the most success I’ve ever had was on the Engi ship, type A.

    • Groove says:

      My most successful run was on the Osprey. I got the final boss (third form) down to ONE hit point, on normal. Unfortunately I was also on one hit point and he missled me.

      • KDR_11k says:

        Shouldn’t your most successful run have been the one you won to get the Osprey in the first place?

    • ShootyFace says:

      I really do love the Engi type A, and the Engi type B is hard mode, but can be really powerful if you get lucky with crew and drones. I have to say, though, I’ve become pretty handy with the default Kestrel. I went from repeatedly getting stomped in sector 4 or 5 to being able to get to the last sector regularly now. I still haven’t beaten the game, but I’m also playing on Normal only and have been keeping away from tactics/exploits posts. I am starting to focus on unlocking more layouts and ships, as I only have the Kestrel, Engi, and Rock ships.

      Absolutely LOVE this game. It has the perfect blend of ‘kick your ass’, luck, tactics, and micro. This series has been fun to read, I love the desperation and hope, such a huge part of what makes this game shine. I hope we see a million clones and that FTL gets an arcade and/or endless mode and heaps of new content. Bravo, Subset, awesome stuff.

  16. squareking says:

    Needs a Staring Takei tag.

  17. zind says:

    I’m so bad at this game. I mean, I make it to sector 6 at least almost every game, and have made it to the final fight a couple times, but I haven’t unlocked a single achievement other than the ones for getting to sectors 5 and 8. I want more ships, or at least new hull variations!

    The RNG hates me though. I’ve been so close to the “United Federation” Kestrel achievement so many times, only to make it through a Zoltan/Slug/Rock/Mantis/whatever I’m missing sector without any shops having crew for hire D:

    • skyorrichegg says:

      yeah I got cheated out of the Kestrel achievement in a similar was as well (stupid slug homeworlds not having any slugs in their stores) I have a youtube channel though where I’ve been going over how to get some of the easier and faster ship achievements: https://www.youtube.com/user/skyorrichegg?feature=mhee but I understand if you want to try and get them all yourself

    • Dark Nexus says:

      I gave up on trying for that achievement, then got it a few runs later without paying attention…

  18. sbs says:

    I rage-quit today when a ship jumped away with m accomplished boarding party onboard.

    • Brian_black says:

      I had a strong run going using the Gila Monster until I killed an attacking ship (and my two gold mantis boarders) with a pegasus missile.

    • Highstorm says:

      I had a great run going with the Rock Cruiser-B. Highly defensive with a strong, 4-man boarding party. Nothing could stop me, not even the Rebel Flagship.

      Until I had the boarding party on said Flagship, tearing the crew apart – forgot I had “Autofire” on, and had my hull lazer locked. Boom boom. It jumped away, and on the next screen my crew was nowhere.

      I was utterly destroyed 30 seconds later…

  19. kikito says:

    I’m going to assume that you have not forgotten about Jonathan Archer – you know, the captain in Star Trek: Enterprise. Sure, the opening tune was cheesy as hell. But the show itself wasn’t that bad.

    Crew teleporter. Now that you have a mantis, you need a crew teleporter. It’s the obvious next step.

    • Warduke says:

      Watching Enterprise on Netflix right now.. Pretty good series all in all..

    • Vinraith says:

      I’d understand excluding Archer if they’d excluded Janeway. Simply forgetting that both Voyager and Enterprise exist is a fair tack, IMO. That said, of the two I’d argue Enterprise is the less crap one, so at this point it only seems fair to include everyone.

      All that said, George Takei rules, so I fully support the header image here.

      • derbefrier says:

        Yeah hes a cool dude hes posting funny shit all the time on facebook

  20. LionsPhil says:

    This series is great, although my inner pedant can’t help but frown at every screenshot where the faux-pixelart style can’t decide what size the pixel grid it’s feigning is supposed to be.

    I know, I know. Shallow graphical frippery. But it’s not even a technical limitation; it’s a deliberate stylistic choice!

    • Premium User Badge

      Hypocee says:

      It’s, uh, not faux pixelart? Subset’s most frequent support request right now is people unable to play it on weeny-screens because it’s res-locked. Alec has cropped out small sections of the screenshots and blown them up for the article.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Look at the screenshot right under Jump 1. The text. The game UI is one big mismash of sizes.

        • Premium User Badge

          Hypocee says:

          Durr, I had not noticed that some things were bigger than others in the article when I told you things had been resized for the article, nor had I noticed the gigantic resizing artifacts due to the fact that it’s blown up from a tiny text subwindow.

        • Premium User Badge

          Hypocee says:

          I see now. Yes, they used a font instead of hand-drawing different text sizes. How dare they, I guess.

  21. Lone Gunman says:

    I have 8 crew members, 2 shields, a load of engine power, defense drone II, Zoltan shield bonus and some decent weapons and near full hull.

    I wonder how long it is going to before I manage to crew this up…

  22. The Dark One says:

    I think you’ll find that the only Sulu in Star Trek VII was ensign Demora Sulu, Alec!!

    Hikaru was a captain at the start of VI and in a lame episode of Voyager called Flashback.

  23. spectone says:

    I bought this game after reading these diaries. If only my ship would survive more than a few sectors, best is four.

    • jazzglands says:

      Have heart and keep at it. Revise your strategies if it looks like something isn’t working. Soon you’ll be consistently getting killed in sector 7 or 8 instead of sector 2 or 3 :)