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  1. #1
    Lesser Hivemind Node TailSwallower's Avatar
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    FTL AAR - The Frigate That Exploded

    Part One

    It was a Wednesday, I can tell you that much. Nine months’ worth of luggage were strewn over the floor; I’d barely had a chance to unpack when I was told I was going on another journey – The Federation needed my help getting sensitive data away from the Rebel Fleet. The Rebel scum have been making a mockery of galactic order. We need to maintain control.

    Who was I to say no?


    The Burroughs has a scant crew, and when I meet them their eyes are buried in deep hollows, blackened by lack of sleep. I don’t know what these men saw, did, or lost in the process of gaining this intelligence, but it has obviously scarred them all.






    1st Jump



    I hope our first jump is not a portent of things to come – we jump straight into a plasma storm and are set upon by a Rebel automated-scout. The plasma storm wreaks havoc on my reactor and I have to power down the engines and our Burst Laser MkII just to keep the shields up and the oxygen flowing… Not only that, but the scout is some sort of advanced model I haven’t witnessed before, carrying a Cloaking system that I can only hope limits its weapons loadout.


    My hopes are unfounded though, and the ship knocks out our shields with an Ion Cannon and tears through our other systems with a Beam weapon. Through the hard work and determination of the crew we emerge victorious, but not without extensive damage to our hull and ship systems. We’re only able to salvage a scant amount of scrap, nowhere near enough to repair the hull, but Grozeley and Luaan Ti are able to repair our systems while Mort gets us safely through the storm.


    2nd Jump



    We come across some Rock alien civilians trapped in the depths of space with no fuel for a hyperspace jump. What good is battling the Rebel fleet if people die through our inaction? I give them 4 fuel rods and hope I won’t later regret the decision.


    3rd Jump



    A mercenary offers some assistance, but the way he sneers into the holodisplay irks me and I signal to Luaan Ti to prep our weapons. We need to maintain control; we simply cannot allow mercenaries to run the galaxy for profit.

    We secure an easy victory, and some necessary salvage.


    4th Jump



    We come across a sector controlled by a single Rebel craft gone AWOL. They demand a toll that we cannot afford and would be disinclined to pay even if we could. I pay them instead with missiles and bolts of energy and then reject their terms of surrender. In the debris cloud that was their ship we discover an engine Augmentation that will allow us to charge our FTL drive 15% faster, as well as some useful scrap.


    5th Jump



    We arrive to find an outpost under attack – good Federation citizens beset by the Rebel dogs. The Rebel Rigger offers little challenge, with a Beam-firing Attack Drone and a Beam weapon, both of which are unable to penetrate The Burroughs’ shields. We recover fuel rods from the carcass of the defeated ship, some salvage, and then receive some more from the outpost in thanks. A good day to be the Captain of a Federation ship.


    The men are still exhausted, but the morale boost from the cheering outposters is clearly visible. I get the outpost engineers to help perform some upgrades to our shield system, but the generator isn’t quite up to snuff. I elect to power-down the Medbay – a decision that is unpopular with the men, but I’m certain the extra layer of energy shields will prevent us from needing any medical treatment.


    6th Jump



    We finally reach the Exit Beacon for the first sector of our journey. An outpost is in desperate need of Drone Parts to do repair work for them, and as we have Drone Parts but no Drone subsystem, and not enough scrap, we trade. We head to the Jump Beacon and pick our next destination – a Zoltan system.


    To Be Continued...



    Sorry about the lack of images. Was running FTL outside of Steam and apparently when I press Print Screen all I get is my (admittedly nice looking) desktop background image, and not the game. Will be able to fix it eventually, but not for the next couple of updates ('cause I've already played that far ahead).
    weekendwarrio.rs - We've got more games than time...

  2. #2
    I absolutely love the name of the ship, and I enjoyed reading this through. Keep it up!
    I'm Respecting your culture!

  3. #3
    Lesser Hivemind Node Gorzan's Avatar
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    Keep this coming, it was nice.

  4. #4
    Lesser Hivemind Node TailSwallower's Avatar
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    Part Two

    7th Jump



    We arrive in the Zoltan system and our sensors pick up a store just one jump away. Mort points out that unless we double back, travelling to the store will have us heading through a nebula before we leave the sector. Nebulas can be risky, but so can travelling through space ill-equipped and with a hull scarred with missile craters and laser burn.


    8th Jump



    At the store I sell our FTL Recharge Booster Augmentation so we can afford to fully repair the damage our hull received in our first battle. I know the men would prefer me to jump away from battles on occasion, but I simply can’t leave our hull in such poor shape.


    9th Jump



    We come face to face with a Mantis Pirate Ship idly waiting for prey. They teleport a boarding party on to the ship, a predictable (and oft-deadly) Mantis tactic, and I send the men to battle the insectoid aliens. We come out on top, but not before Grozeley is badly wounded. I take power from the engines to boot-up the Medbay, whilst laying waste to the Mantis craft. They sue for peace, but I can’t let such an affront to the Federation go unpunished.


    10th Jump



    The Burroughs exits hyperspace to see a Zoltan Security ship chasing another band of Mantis Pirates through an asteroid field. I make the decision to stay out of the fight; Zoltan Security are as bureaucratic as they are brutal, and Mantis Pirates are notoriously dangerous. I leave Mort to dodge asteroids until the FTL engine is charged.


    11th Jump



    We arrive at another store, this one inside the petrified carcass of a giant Space Whale, a majestic creature now apparently extinct. The merchants have some fantastic items for sale, but I can barely afford the necessary hull repairs.

    The Rebel Fleet is gaining on us, so I direct Mort to plunge us into the nebula he had previously warned me about. It will slow them down somewhat, and it’s the most direct path to the next Jump Beacon.


    12th Jump



    A derelict ship spins slowly in the blackness of space, damaged by an electrical storm. We need scrap desperately, so I prepare the away team. They find someone on the ship and elect to bring her back, along with some salvage. Kirby isn’t as experienced as the rest of the crew, but she is better rested. Hopefully the extra crew members will mean the other men can finally get some proper rest.


    13th Jump



    A Rebel fighter lies in wait as we come out of hyperspace. I leave Kirby in charge of shields and move Luaan Ti back to Weapons, where he feels most comfortable. She proves herself to be a deft hand on the control panel and together the team easily decimates the Rebels. We gain a relative mother-lode of scrap, and the crew all pitches in to upgrade our reactor core. No more juggling the power supply mid-battle.


    14th Jump



    Jump Beacons are always a hive of activity, and this one is no different. Space Pirates threaten a civilian ship, leaving me only one course of action. Their hull melts away beneath our onslaught as the civilian ship jumps away. We collect some salvage and follow the damaged Pleasure Cruiser to the Civilian sector.
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  5. #5
    Network Hub Raaritsgozilla's Avatar
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    If anything will convince be to buy FTL it may just be this. Keep it up

  6. #6
    Lesser Hivemind Node TailSwallower's Avatar
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    Part Three


    15th Jump



    The quiet emptiness of space. Mort takes this contemplative moment to plot us a path through the sector that will only take 4 jumps. That’s what I like – efficiency.


    16th Jump



    A group of ships sit around a Space Station, publicly broadcasting their plans to take possession of an enemy spacecraft. I offer to help their cause, but we are not “properly equipped” for the mission, whatever that means.


    17th Jump



    We find another store, but there is nothing that is both interesting and within our price range. We set course for a nearby distress signal and wait for the FTL engine to charge.


    18th Jump



    The distress signal is coming from a nearby moon. There is a man living alone in a cave, scratching together some meager existence.. He is obviously unbalanced, but it seems inhumane to leave him to this fate. The away team returns to the ship with the man in tow – heavily sedated – and they take him to the infirmary. Kirby takes first watch over him, but at some point during the night her vigilance must have faltered. The madman woke from his drug-induced slumber in a violent frenzy and murdered Kirby. Luaan Ti subdued the man and I ordered him placed into one of the airlocks.
    I never should have let him on my ship, so his sentence is mine alone to pass.


    19th Jump



    Mort gets us to the Beacon in four jumps, as he said he would. Normally I would have congratulated him on his excellent navigation, but it is too soon for celebrations of any sort when one of our own lays dead in the hangar bay.
    A band of mercenaries in an Energy Fighter offer to delay the Rebel Fleet… for a cost, of course. We have made good speed through this sector of space, so I don’t feel the need to take the mercs up on their offer. We sail towards the Jump Beacon and the next sector beyond.


    20th Jump



    We jump to the Zoltan homeworlds. They are an enigmatic race, and I don’t expect we’ll have any issues here.


    21st Jump



    A store transmits its advert out into the depths of space and I have Mort pull The Burroughs in to dock. We can only afford repairs and some basic equipment, so we grab what we can.


    22nd Jump



    A Zoltan transport ship greets us. They’re unarmed, carrying only a message of mercy. It sounds like quasi-religious nonsense, but for the sake of keeping our journey through the sector quiet I decide to listen to them.
    Afterwards they give us coordinates for their “brethren.” It’s a little bit out of our way – ok, it’s in the opposite direction of where we need to go – but I find myself intrigued. Is it all some elaborate hoax to trap unwary Captains, or are these Space Hippies on the level?


    23rd Jump



    A Rebel Auto-Scout blocks our way. The worst thing about these ships is that you cannot even exchange witty banter with the other captain as you trade volleys of weaponised plasma. It carries Ion Cannons which prove irritating, but we still defeat the drone easily and collect rather a lot of scrap metal from the derelict ship.


    24th Jump



    We arrive at the coordinates given to us by the religious brothers, but it appears that the only ship in this sector is a Rebel Fighter. So it is a trap.
    Wait, they are prepared to talk.
    I’m not sure what it is that comes over me, maybe it was the Brother’s speech, or perhaps it was Kirby’s death and the subsequent execution still weighing heavily on my mind, but I speak to the Rebels of peace and of ending the constant, galaxy-wide bloodshed. As I finish my oration the Rebel ship disappears. As the hologram fades a Zoltan ship appears. They were moved by my earnest speech and donate a Zoltan ship to our cause. The ship will join the main Federation Fleet and we shall meet up with it there.


    25th Jump



    A Rebel ship engages us as soon as we exit hyperspace. So much for peace, love and understanding.
    It’s a brutal, drawn-out battle and when they finally surrender the damage to my hull convinces me to accept.
    With any luck we will find a shop soon – we have salvage, but we desperately need to perform repairs on the ship.


    26th Jump



    There seems to be some problem with our paperwork and some Zoltan Customs Officials board the ship. There is an unfortunate disagreement concerning the contents of Grozeley’s medicine cabinet, and this quickly escalates. The crew battle the officers on board while I take aim at their ship. There must be a second ship out there, because this Customs vessel has no teleporter pads.
    Grozeley, Mort and Luaan Ti fight bravely, but Grozeley falls to laser fire. When the boarding party is subdued the two remaining men get to work repairing our systems, but the Zoltan ship unleashes hell.
    From my escape pod window I watch The Burroughs explode, large chunks of the once-fine Frigate floating out in different directions. I desperately hope Mort and Luaan Ti made it to their pods in time, but my scanners don’t give me hope.



    This was my very first run through the game on Normal, so obviously it ended a little sooner than it otherwise could have. Would like to follow-up with another run in a different vessel, so if I do I'll be better at the game and better with the screenshots. If I do it, it'll be called the Interzone Interceptor, to keep with the Burroughs theme.
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  7. #7
    Lesser Hivemind Node TailSwallower's Avatar
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    A new AAR begins - Sectors of the Red Night, following the continued adventures of Federation Agent Bill Lee, this time in a new ship...

    After weeks in cryosleep, I made it back to the Federation fleet, but without the data package I had been carrying in The Burroughs. Dr Benway gave me a thorough once over before giving me some LSD-75 and wishing me ‘a safe trip.’
    Meanwhile, Federation engineers had been busy getting the Zoltan Cruiser ready for its mission. I know they wanted to tear out the Zoltan Shield (ZS) system so they could send it up to the R&D boys, but I’d be damned before I let those eggheads take apart the only thing that’ll be keeping me alive out there.


    I christened her The Exterminator and took to the helm.





    Sector 1



    Jump 1



    My first stroke of brilliance is to order Navigator Bovee to jump towards the Rebel Fleet… Not right into their midst mind you, just backtrack a little. I realised that the mistake I made last time was racing like hell towards the Federation Fleet, which meant that when we were inevitably stopped by Rebels, Pirates and goddamn Customs Officials we were outgunned and underpowered. Not this time. This time I’m going to scour the whole galaxy for enough weapons to set the whole Rebel Fleet on fire.

    Speaking of fire, our first jump takes us too close to a large sun, where some Pirates wait to pounce. They’re in an exact replica of the ship I now Captain, except I can see they went for the Ion Cannon instead of the Halberd Beam.

    The aftermath:




    Fires in the engine room, damaged systems, and major damage to the hull. We have to make quick repairs and move before we all cook. I could really use an Engi right about now.


    Jump 2



    I decide to take us into a nearby nebula. We see a smuggler ship in the distance, but they wish not to engage, and I don’t feel like kicking any hornets nests right after that last battle.


    Jump 3



    Another jump within the same nebula. I’m hoping that this section of the nebula will be just as quiet as the last, but our luck cannot hold, can it. We are boarded as soon as we leave hyperspace, but no ship stands to face us, which is a blessing of some sort.

    I open up all the airlocks and move my men to the Medbay – it’s all I can do without any Mantis or Rockman crewmembers.

    My ruse works and the human boarders die, clutching at their throats. We dump the bodies in the airlock and prepare for the next jump.


    Jump 4



    We jump away from the nebula and see a Pirate ship chasing some civilians. We cannot let this stand! And we desperately need some scrap to keep this hunk of metal in the skies. It’s a Scout Class ship, which should mean an easy victory.

    Their initial Heavy Laser and Missile barrage hits the ZS impotently as Weapons Officer Cy Heng charges our Halberd Beam. It cuts through 4 of their systems, damaging them all, but not enough to knock any of them out. I’m just glad that the assault took their missile launcher offline, as the Heavy Laser on its own shouldn’t be able to penetrate our shielding.

    They get the launcher repaired, but not in time. The Halberd cuts their hull in half and we watch as the contents of the ship spill out into the vacuum.

    The civilian ship fled while we had the Pirates occupied. I probably would have done the same, but still, a ‘thanks’ would have been nice. I put some of the scrap towards an engine upgrade, in the hope we might be able to dodge a few missiles, instead of relying on the ZS to take all the hits.


    Jump 5



    We exit hyperspace and are faced with a Rebel Fighter splashed with the purple paint that is so popular amongst Space Pirates. They hail us and demand we give up a member of the crew. Not today, Slaver scum.

    The ZS takes the first attack and we bide our time while the Halberd charges. The beam burns down through the hull, damaging their weapons, engine and shield systems, but not before they get another missile away. The launcher stays online, but their Heavy Laser is down for now.

    Another hit across three systems, this one taking all offline, and leaving their hull in critical condition. I power down the Halberd and prepare Leto, our oddly-named missile launcher. It is far quicker to arm, so it won’t give them a chance to make any repairs.

    Their ship cracks into pieces and we gain some much needed salvage. We didn’t take any damage either, which is a plus.


    Jump 6



    As we leave hyperspace the computer systems start blaring incessantly – a Rebel Autoscout has taken down our shield system with a viral attack. Thankfully the ZS runs on different software (I guess? We really don’t know how it works), so it stays up.

    I’d been hoping that the ZS would hold up for at least 2 attacks, but I didn’t realise that a single hit from an Ion Cannon would knock it out completely.





    Now we’re floating in space, with only one weapon I can keep online and absolutely no shields. Damn this Artificially Intelligent bastard. We knock their Ion Cannon out and damage the Autoscout’s navigation system, but it still has a Beam to level at us. I switch to the Leto launcher, hoping we might be able to take the weapons system offline entirely before the next attack.

    I’m not quick enough, and its beam burns through our O2 generators and lights a fire on the deck. The missile hits, but doesn’t do enough damage to take the Beam out, so I switch back to the Halberd and brace for the next attack.

    It manages to hit us twice in the time it takes for the Halberd to power up, damaging our hull and engine systems. But we finally manage to knock out the beam.

    It doesn’t stay down for long though, and I decide that surviving is the better part of valour, and as soon as the FTL system dings I punch that little yellow button.


    Jump 7



    It’s an empty section of space, which gives us a chance to repair the engine damage.


    Jump 8



    There’s a shop here, and whilst we don’t have enough to buy anything interesting, we can at least repair most of the damage to the hull.


    Jump 9



    Another Autoscout, but this one doesn’t have the foresight to launch a virus attack on our shields. Should make it a far easier battle then.

    Our sensors pick up that it’s powering up its FTL drives to get our position back to the Rebel Fleet. The last thing I need is for them to gain ground on us, but I can only attack their engines or their weapons with the Halberd not both. Knocking out their engines gives them a couple of free shots at the ship, but there’s not much else I can do.

    It carries a beam and a heavy laser – enough to do 80% damage to the ZS in one round. Halberd cuts through both its engines and navigation systems, so we don’t have to worry about it leaving any time soon.

    Thankfully it mistimes its 3rd attack – its beam is unable to penetrate our shields on its own, and it fires ahead of the Heavy Laser. That flaw in its targeting algorithm spells death for the little AI that couldn’t.





    We collect a little salvage and jump.


    Jump 10



    Another Automated Scout, this one appears to be guarding a Long Range Sensor station and doesn’t see us arrive. I have little need for the intel we could get from the station because we’re only a couple of jumps away from the Beacon, and the defeating the last scout gave us so little scrap that this battle really doesn’t seem worthwhile.


    Jump 11



    An offer of some Mercenary work. I take the job, which must be in the next sector as it doesn’t appear on my navigational charts. I decide to head straight for the Beacon as delaying for one more jump might put the Rebel Fleet within range. It’s hard to tell for sure, but it’s not a risk I’m willing to take when the ship still isn’t fitted out very well.


    Jump 12



    Looks like an Engi ship wanted to offload some cargo before they jumped, ‘cause there’s an Ion Bomb weapon just floating in space. We collect it and fit it immediately. Ion Bomb in conjunction with Leto might be a better option than Halberd whilst we have missiles to use.

    And with that we leave Sector 1 behind. It has hardly been a glorious journey so far, but at least the ship lived up to its named and Exterminated a number of Autopests.
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  8. #8
    Lesser Hivemind Node TailSwallower's Avatar
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    We arrive in a nebula and I check the charts for the best route to complete our mission and get to the exit before the Rebels arrive… Doesn’t seem too perilous, but time will tell. With our new weapons we should be able to end fights sooner; at least that’s my hope.

    Sector 2

    Our hyperspace exit point leaves us floating within a nebula. I check the charts for the best route to complete our new mission and get to the exit before the Rebels arrive… Doesn’t seem too perilous, but time will tell. With our new weapons we should be able to end fights sooner; at least that’s my hope.

    Jump 1


    An Autoscout sans shield – should be easy pickings. Ion cannon the weapons, and then pick away at it with Leto. The tactic is successful, but after the weapon system is down I switch out the missile weapons for the Halberd to conserve ammunition.

    The debris from the scout floats into the depths of space while we investigate the station it had been guarding. Fuel, missiles and scrap; a tidy little score.

    Jump 2


    Another jump into nebula space, another Autoscout. This one is on a reconnaissance mission, waiting to report our position to the Rebel Fleet. No shields, but it’s packing some serious firepower and a cloaking system. We need to knock out its FTL system before it can head back to the fleet, so I can only hope the ZS can keep its laser, missile and ion weapons at bay for long enough.



    Its weapons largely miss – that engine upgrade has already paid for itself – and we score a decent hit on its engine systems, but not enough to knock it out altogether.

    Another missile hit takes the engines and the Ion bomb knocks out its weapon systems. Now we just have to strike the killing blow. Switch back to Halberd and hope it can’t make the necessary engine repairs while the beam charges.

    The beam cuts through what’s left of its tattered hull, but not before it scores a piercing hit on our hull in an empty room. Shield Operator Arries on repair duties while we pick up the scrap.

    Jump 3


    Nebula hopping again. We come across some traders selling missiles in exchange for fuel, but we need the fuel more.

    Jump 4


    Automated Assault ship waiting for us inside a plasma storm. The storm knocks out our engines, but I get them back online by switching the Halberd out.

    An easy fight, though it does score a good hit on the hull.

    Jump 5


    A black market weapons trader hails the ship. The pirate markings make me suspicious and I order CY Heng to open fire. We knock out one of its weapons and after a second beam attack they offer a paltry sum to sue for peace.



    The bodies of the pirate crew gracefully somersault towards the stars.

    Jump 6


    A Federation Scout being chased by Rebels. Some of the men want to use the distraction to escape, but I will have none of that. To the aid of our Federation Brethren we go!

    It’s a Rebel Rigger with a Beam Attack Drone, Heavy Laser and Missile Launcher – a formidable foe. I switch the Halberd out so we can hit them faster, before they do too much damage. The drone cuts through the ZS too quickly for my liking and our first missile misses the mark whilst theirs finds our Sensor subsystems.

    We knock out the drone and neutralise the shields for a short period of time – long enough I hope to cripple their weapons with the Halberd.

    They fall to the beam and we contact our brothers. They give us a parting gift in thanks… Now we just need to repair the hull, which is at about half strength.

    Jump 7


    Finally we arrive at the marker given to us at the end of last sector – a moon base that needs protecting from the Rebels in the area. Sounds like a worthy cause, and one that should improve the Federation’s reputation in this sector.

    The ship is a Rebel Fighter, whose layout is perfect for a Halberd assault – Weapons, Engines and Shields side-by-side, ripe for the picking.



    Once we’ve decimated the ship we dock with the base where they patch up some of our hull damage pro bono and show us their wares. I pick up a Teleportation System, some fuel, weapon reloader and finish repairing the hull. I also decide to part with the Ion Bomb – relying on two missile weapons goes through the ammunition too quickly, and out of the two I prefer Leto, at least he has a name.

    Jump 8


    We respond to a distress call and find a small research facility engulfed in flames. I can’t risk losing any crew members by sending them in to fight the blaze, so I choose to dock and try and evacuate the scientists.

    We’re too late though and a fireball engulfs the staff before we finish docking. Debris damages the hull, but it’s the loss of life that weighs more heavily on my mind.

    Jump 9


    Once in a lifetime deal, apparently, and I’m inclined to agree – 2 Drone Parts for 10 Fuel Cells. I make the trade, and we continue on our way.

    Jump 10


    Another trader, but this one wants Missiles, which we currently lack.

    Jump 11


    I didn’t plan this too well, so we end up backtracking to the store we just visited, though I take this opportunity to repair the damage we just received, and buy a couple of missiles for good measure.

    Jump 12


    One more jump before we have to flee to the Beacon, so I hope it’s a good one.

    We find a Rebel Ship transporting goods. They aren’t heavily armed, so we demand they hand over the goods. They refuse, and prepare to flee whilst charging their 2 laser cannons. Weapons Officer Heng takes aim with the Halberd, targeting three of their systems.



    Our third blast destroys the ship. We get only a little scrap, but they were carrying some intelligence on the sector… The sector we’re just about to leave. Typical. It’s completely useless now, so we make haste to the jump beacon.

    Jump 13


    We find a derelict pirate vessel and strip it.

    We prepare to leave the sector. The ship still isn’t in fighting form, but it fared much better in this sector than in the last. Bovee would prefer we head into the Engi controlled sector, and I’m inclined to agree with him. Onwards we go.
    weekendwarrio.rs - We've got more games than time...

  9. #9
    yeah, i think so,
    I absolutely love the name of the ship, and I enjoyed reading this through.

  10. #10
    Lesser Hivemind Node TailSwallower's Avatar
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    The Exterminator makes it's way through the cold depths of space. Is the Zoltan ship up to the task? More to the point, is it's crew? Is it's Captain? Part One is here, and part Two is here.

    Sector 3
    The Engi are strange, synthetic creatures, whose motives are near impossible to understand. They aren’t violent though, so I hope this sector will provide us with smooth space sailing. Only time, will tell...


    Jump 1

    We come out of hyperspace and find ourselves caught between a Pirate ship and its quarry. They see the weapons bristling on our hull and try to bribe us to stay out of it…
    They’re flying with an active Defense Drone, so missiles are out of the question, but the layout of the Rigger means I can target the shields, drone and weapon systems with the Halberd.
    After three blasts the pirate vessel is reduced to slag, and we make contact with the other ship. It’s an arms dealer who normally only works with Rebels, but is happy to trade with us after our intervention. Funnily enough he carries no weapons, but we hire another Zoltan crew member from his roster. Welcome aboard Tee Lek. Be a good living power conduit and man the Engine room, eh?

    Jump 2


    As if to prove my earlier philosophising concerning the Engi, an Engi vessel attempts to surrender to us after merely glancing at our weapons. I explain we’re friendly and a little about our mission and they happily donate some goods to the cause.

    Jump 3


    We jump to the location of a Distress Signal. It’s a space station overrun by Giant Spiders. I thank the stars that I have to stay with the ship as I send my loyal Zoltan crew to help deal with the situation. They each come back alive, carrying some goods given in thanks by the station owners.

    Jump 4


    Another store, but it carries nothing useful that we can afford, and we need no hull repairs.

    Jump 5


    Another distress signal – the Engi do seem to always be in need of assistance. The inhabitants of a space station need help repairing or disabling an overzealous satellite defense system. We don’t have the means of repairing it, so I order Weapons Officer CY Heng to shoot it out of the skies. He fails miserably and the satellite manages to pierce our ZS before we have to pull away.
    They’ll need to find someone with bigger guns.

    Jump 6


    A well-armed Engi ship approaches, and my instincts tell me something is afoot. Before I have a chance to open my mouth and warn the crew the intruder alarm starts blaring.

    The men gather their laser pistols, but the invader is a single, wounded looking Mantis. He begs for help, whilst the Engi on the ship bay for blood. Something isn’t right here, and I will not hand him over to the homicidal aliens.
    Mantis Maxwell joins the team, heals up in the Medbay, and I send him to the teleporter room.
    I aim the Halberd at their Drone, Medbay and Shield systems whilst preparing to teleport Maxwell to the other side of the ship where the Weapons Systems sit. Maxwell tears into his former tormentors with his sharp mandibles, but they flee before he can finish any of them off. I bring him back to the ship and re-aim the Halberd – their Ion Cannon is annoying me, so I’m hoping Halberd can knock it out of commission.



    Unfortunately, between their level 2 shields and Defense Drone I can’t get a hit in, so we warm the FTL engines and make a getaway.

    Jump 7


    The scraps from a recent battle float gently in the vacuum of space. We grab what we can and the men perform some repairs to the ship. I decide to take this opportunity to upgrade our Shield system too.


    Jump 8



    Another distress signal. The Engi are once again playing the role of victim not aggressor, and we move in to help them against a Rebel ship.





    Our newly upgraded shields and some excellent piloting from Bovee see us through the fight safely. We pick their bones dry, even gathering a Hull Smasher Laser from the husk of the derelict vessel.


    Jump 9



    The Rebel Fleet is right on our tail now. We stop just outside their reach where an Engi is again in trouble. What type of trouble is not readily apparent at first, but I order Bovee to pull us in anyway.

    Turns out to be a Mantis ship attacking the outclassed Engi vessel. I tell Maxwell to get ready ‘cause we’re almost certainly about to get some boarders.




    I switch over to Leto and our new laser, and after a few tense minutes of waiting they send boarders. I open the airlocks and hope I can choke them first, but if not I’ll have Maxwell meet them in the Medbay.

    The ship breaks beneath the onslaught and the Engi send a member of their crew over to help us with repairs. He seems to be staying for the long haul, so I have him and Bovee help Maxwell out with the intruders.


    Jump 10



    It’s further to the next jump point, so we have a little breathing room now. There’s nothing of interest here, so we carry on. We could go to a store to repair our hull, but doing so would put the Jump Beacon well within Rebel space. Instead we jump to the beacon so we can escape their clutches.


    Jump 11



    More Engi being threatened by Mantis. These Mantis are smart enough to leave when they see us approach however, so we get paid without even needing to charge our weapons.

    We have only one option with our next jump – the Slug Home Nebula. I have no love for the Slug, and with our hull at around 50% it will be a dangerous trip.
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  11. #11
    Lesser Hivemind Node TailSwallower's Avatar
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    The Slug Homeworlds – a nebula-plagued section of space. It will help us avoid the Rebel Fleet, but it will also make it easy for opportunistic pirates to get the jump on us. The crew are wary, but ready.

    Jump 1

    This jump doesn’t quite take us into the nebula the Slugs have their civilisation within. Our sensors stay silent, so we charge the FTL and continue to a nearby store.

    Jump 2


    We repair the hull and get some fuel and missiles. The fuel may not be necessary, but I don’t like to gamble with something so basic. The Hull Smasher and Leto combination seemed to work well in our last battle, so I’m hoping the extra ammunition will let me keep that up.

    Jump 3


    A damaged Federation ship is floating in the nebula. We almost lose them, but with our teleporter we’re able to lock on to their life signs. One of the crew – another Engi – comes aboard, the rest await transport to a nearby Federation Space Station.

    Jump 4


    We see nothing through the Nebula gas. We jump…

    Jump 5


    … right into a Plasma storm. A Rebel AutoScout moves in to engage. I warm up Halberd, hoping that our plasma-crippled shields can still weather the storm and the Scout while it charges. It hits us a couple of times before we manage to subdue it.
    Our new Engi crewmembers get to work on repairs whilst we prepare to jump.

    Jump 6


    A Pirate ship laying low within the Nebula. We slowly glide past, choosing not to engage.

    Jump 7


    A small, but fierce Mantis craft, with level 3 shields, 2 weapons, and the ever-present teleporter. I open the airlocks in preparation for boarding.
    My tactic works and the boarder dies before doing any damage, though the ship’s weapons strike our engine and shields.
    I decide to send Maxwell into the breach. He finds a solitary Engi making desperate repairs and puts him out of his misery.



    We get some scrap and another laser. I decide to upgrade the Weapon Systems so we can field more of the weapons that are taking up space on the hull.

    Jump 8


    Another Rebel ship trying to remain incognito. I decide to try out our new weapons systems on a live target, but they slip out of reach and our sensors lose them.

    Jump 9


    We face our first Slug ship within the Slug home nebula… They really are adept at remaining hidden.
    I aim our Burst Laser and Hull Laser at the shield systems, and send Maxwell to the teleporter room. I’m holding off because I don’t know if the Slug are any good in a fight, but I want him ready.



    Their weapons are ineffectual against our shields, and after a time they sue for peace. I accept, and in exchange for their lives they offer up a prototype weapon – a Bio-Beam specifically designed to target crew rather than ship. Part of me is disgusted at the thought, but another part of me instantly starts to form stratagems revolving around the new weapon.
    No, the weapon is against galactic regulations, and information is more important right now. The Bio-Beam might destroy our enemies, but information could keep us alive. They give us the coordinates for where a new Slug Cruiser is being constructed. It could be a huge asset to the Federation Fleet, so I only hope we have a chance to investigate. The coordinates do not appear to be located within this sector, so I hope we can find them in the next.

    Jump 10


    Just a mining area that has been stripped completely bare. We move on.

    Jump 11


    Ships passing through the night… Some slug vessels appear briefly on our sensors and then disappear. We brace for a flanking attack, but none comes. Once the FTL drive has charged we jump.

    Jump 12


    A Slug Interceptor has somehow disabled our door system by remote control, and are preparing to fire – uhhh – fire weapons at the ship. They hope to cook us all alive. Do Slug eat barbecue Zoltan, Engi and Mantis? I don’t want to find out.
    I get Maxwell ready to teleport, whilst targeting their weapon systems. My plan is to send him just after the first volley so his target is softened somewhat.
    Nooooooo. The Slug are more dangerous than I realised, and the two creatures on board tear Maxwell apart. If only I had had a Rockman, or even a Human to send with him as backup.
    I nod to CY Heng, and he nods in return. The unspoken words between us, “Destroy them, utterly.”



    Our FTL system dings happily and I order Bovee to ignore it. Minutes later the Slug ship shatters. We collect what we can, but we’re unable to find Maxwell’s body in the wreckage.

    Jump 13


    We arrive at a store. There is a Slug for hire and whilst my first reaction is to want to strangle him, I decide that if 2 of them could kill Maxwell so easily, then perhaps this GMFaux could be an asset to the team. I put my prejudice aside and hire the thing.
    We have them repair our hull as well, and then we jump.

    Jump 14


    I miscalculated before our shopping trip, and now we’re faced with a heavily armed Rebel Fighter at the Jump Beacon. They’re fitted with a teleporter, so I drain a few rooms of oxygen in preparation.
    My brilliant plan fails when they teleport their crew onto the room adjacent to our shield systems. No way to flush the oxygen without also exposing our shields to their attack. Still, it might be the easiest way to kill them with my current crew.



    Between their shields and their skilled pilot we’re unable to score any decent hits, so when the FTL engine chimes I order Bovee to punch it.

    He aims the Exterminator towards the Engi Homeworlds.
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  12. #12
    Lesser Hivemind Node TailSwallower's Avatar
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    Sector 5

    We enter the home sector of the fairly peaceful, fairly helpful Engi. We have a marker on our Nav screen pointing to… Something, and whilst the Exterminator isn’t the deadliest ship in the Galaxy, it is certainly a capable vessel.



    Jump 1


    I decide to jump to a different beacon before heading to the Slug-given marker. I don’t trust them, and with a little scrap we might be able to perform some upgrades before jumping into a potential trap.

    Unfortunately we find only a merchant in need of some help. A ship of his has disappeared in Pirate space and he wants us to investigate. Another marker for us to aim towards.

    Jump 2


    We arrive in a small section of nebula. It seems the Slug were true to their word and at their coordinates sits some sort of construction platform building a Slug Cruiser, the likes of which I’ve never seen before. It looks dangerous, but nonoperational. A couple of ships patrol around it.

    We try and slip into the nebula clouds so we can get a bit closer without being seen, but the clouds are too thick. GMFaux, our Slug crewmember, comes into his own and is able to use his species’ telepathic talents to get a lock on the vessel.

    We close in, unnoticed, and the larger of the ships guarding the Cruiser leaves. GMFaux leads us in to take a closer look. It’s only an Interceptor left, so we move in to engage. Power readings suggest that the Interceptor is linked to the Cruiser, and if it leaves so will the experimental ship. I order CY Heng to target the engines.



    It’s a nerve-wracking few minutes as our weapons struggle to break through the shielding. Eventually they do though, and we’re able to whittle away at the hull. Because we have to focus fire on the Engines instead of Weapons we take more hits than I would like, but I can’t seem to worry too much about that when I see the ship that waits before us.

    I teleport GMFaux over, and he rigs the ship to fly itself back to the Federation Fleet so we can get on with our mission. We also gain a Repair Arm Augmentation and some scrap – quite a boon for us, really.

    Jump 3


    We jump near an Asteroid field and move in to investigate. Bovee’s expert piloting keeps us safe, and we find 6 fuel cells floating amongst the rocks, probably scattered to the solar winds when a ship met its fate in the field.

    Jump 4


    We spot a Rebel ship, but it doesn’t see us. We choose not to engage.

    Jump 5


    A store. We repair some damage to the hull and continue on.

    Jump 6


    We answer a distress call and find a Rebel ship waiting for us. The main Rebel Fleet is gaining on us too, so this must be a forward scout. They turn to engage.

    They have 2 levels of shield, a Defense Drone, a Missile launcher and a Heavy Laser. This will not be an easy fight, especially when Leto is out of ammo.

    My stomach drops when I see the Defense Drone shooting my lasers out of the sky. I thought they could only attack missiles. Obviously this is some new technology the Rebels have created, and not a demonstration of my ineptitude as a Captain.

    It’s impossible to get a hit in, so as soon as the FTL button lights up I punch it.

    Jump 7


    We arrive at another store, and I take this opportunity to re-work my weapons line-up. I replace the Hull Laser with a Heavy Laser, as it takes 5 seconds less to power up, I never target system-less rooms anyway, and its lower power-requirements means I could couple it with Halberd.

    Jump 8


    We jump to our second quest marker – the Merchant ship that went missing. We arrive just in time to find them being chased by a Pirate. We move in to intercept.

    It’s a Rebel Rigger with 3 levels of shielding, an Attack Drone, a Defensive Drone, and some rather menacing looking weapons on the hull. I’m not actually sure if we can best this vessel, so I keep my hand near the FTL button.
    We hold out for longer than we probably should have, getting nowhere. We jump.

    Jump 9


    An Engi ship needs assistance, but when we move in closer it appears to be some Mantis Pirates at the helm. We prepare to battle.

    They can’t get through our shields, and we can’t get enough shots past their Drones. We circle each other lazily in an elliptical orbit, firing lasers, but eventually I tire and we jump away.

    Jump 10


    Another Distress signal, but this time it isn’t a trap. It’s a Federation Scout that ran out of fuel. With the Rebel Fleet fast approaching I can’t leave them here, so I give them 2 fuel cells and in return they give us quite a reasonable sum of scrap.



    Jump 11

    We arrive at the Jump Beacon to find a derelict space station. I send an away team to check for survivors, but they find nothing. We tear some scrap from the hull and prepare to jump.

    We have the choice of a Slug controlled sector or a Zoltan controlled sector. Neither option seems fantastic, but I opt for the Zoltan. Viciously bureaucratic, but at least they are predictable.
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  13. #13
    Lesser Hivemind Node TailSwallower's Avatar
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    Sector 6


    We arrive in Zoltan space. It’s quiet, and there is a store nearby, but we won’t go there just yet…


    Jump 1



    We find an unmanned Rebel Autoscout. It has upgraded shield systems, but otherwise shouldn’t be too much trouble.


    …Except that it has a Cloaking System as well.


    It comes out of cloak with a powerful opening volley of lasers and ion blasts. The rate at which its weapons cycle means it’s already hitting us with a second assault before our weapons have even warmed up.


    It gets a couple of good shots in, but it’s not enough to stop us from decimating the small roboship. We collect some scrap and move on.


    Jump 2



    Goddamn it! The Federation Fleet still hasn’t sorted out my paperwork! Zoltan Customs have boarded the ship again. Four agents make it on to our vessel, and their ship is a heavily armed Energy Fighter – the same as ours.


    I purge oxygen from the centre of the ship and the Shield room, hoping I can suffocate them before they damage the Shield systems. They must have slow-firing weapons, as we’re able to take down most of their Zoltan Shield before they’ve even launched their first volley. The boarders make it into the Shield room and start gasping for air.





    They make it into the weapons room where 4 of my crewmembers are waiting. They’ve already suffered from a lack of oxygen, so it’s a short fight.


    Their pilot must be a talented one, because he dodges half our assaults, and we take quite a lot of damage before we finally get a good hit on their shield system. I bring Halberd in to play, and hope that we can keep their shields down long enough for it to charge up.


    The gamble pays off, but our hull is in extremely poor shape, even with the Repair Arm augmentation we picked up in the last sector.


    Jump 3



    We go to the nearby store and repair our hull damage. I sell Leto and buy a second Burst Laser 1, and stock up on fuel.


    Jump 4



    We come across a large Rebel Ship. It powers its weapons systems and moves in towards us. It has 3 lasers, 1 beam and 3 levels of shielding. This will likely be one of our toughest battles yet.





    Opening volley and we manage to get one hit on the shield systems. If we can keep their weapons at bay until we’re able to knock the shields out altogether we’ll be in the clear.


    They fire a barrage of laser, but Bovee dodges the worst of it. We aren’t so lucky with their second volley though, taking hits to the engines and shields. We swap attacks back and forth, them doing more damage than we manage. Our hull is down to half and we haven’t even scratched their paintwork.


    Somehow the tides turn and we manage to force them into surrender. I look at the situation – another volley from both burst lasers will finish them off – and decide to not accept. They’ve done so much damage that we need more scrap than they’re offering.


    We get slightly more scrap and the satisfaction of destroying yet another rebel ship.


    Jump 5



    A Zoltan science facility. They want us to volunteer, and we have some time before the Rebels gain a foothold on this sector, so I decide we should participate.


    It’s a trap! Pirates are holding laser pistols to the Zoltan scientist’s heads. They send boarders and we grit our teeth and get to work.




    Their boarding party is 3 Rockmen and a Slug – far outclassing my own squad. They make quick work of the doors and head into our Shield room. We manage to repel the boarders, but the Federation bomber outside the ship tears us to pieces. I make it to the escape pod, but the fate of my men is unknown.





    I’m getting new orders. It looks like I’ll be getting sent to a planet Earth to repel an alien invasion. I guess they think after working alongside different aliens I’ll be able to get inside their heads. I’ll report about that mission soon… (XCOM diary coming soon...ish)
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  14. #14
    Network Hub DeVadder's Avatar
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    Damn pirates!

  15. #15
    Lesser Hivemind Node TailSwallower's Avatar
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    Heh. I was just glad to get past those goddamn Zoltan Customs officers this time around.
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