DAY THREE of the return tripThis is captain Aiden of Federal Starship Nyema. Our operation is going well. Our ship's firepower and shields have been upgraded since we started, by an engi named Markus we saved earlier. Weapons specialist Borman has been doing great job taking down the enemies, who have caused only little harm to us so far. Unfortunately we lost our original shield operator Howard in a little accident when he went to investigate an abandoned space station. May he rest in peace.
Our crew is getting tired of the battle, as we have had two very action packed days across three galaxies and it has taken its toll. I hope the two others are ok. Borman has been acting really stressed and Markus sometimes looks a bit distracted in situations where focus is needed. He has to do two men's work but he's very experienced in what he's doing.
Our missile and fuel supplies are pretty low, but I think we can manage. The ship is in nice condition with just couple of scratches. We just arrived in a rebel controlled sector to avoid another nebula, and the intergalactic map says we could finally reach a non-hostile region from here. We still need to proceed carefully to avoid conflict.
I summon a morning briefing. Exit point is six jumps away if we don't need to stop at traders. For now, I am again heading towards the exit because next sector should be easier to explore than this. Markus looks like he has been working all the time while others slept. Borman is slightly calmer than before. I am ready. "Man your stations."
First jump is interrupted by another automated sentry with level three shields. I hope we don't run out of missiles.
Fire in the medical bay. Markus suggest over the radio that we upgrade the doors to prevent fire from spreading because with only three of us, we don't have time to take care of them. Borman concentrates on taking down the enemy shield system with missiles because lasers don't do much against the ship that still has two blocks of shield. He misses two times in a row and has to use the slowly charging ion cannon to finish the job, there is no more ammunition for the Artemis.
Ion cannon takes the enemy shields down so that our burst laser can destroy their weapons. Borman still keeps missing most of the shots but without resistance it is only a matter of time before we destroy the enemy. Another victory. The ship dropped 30 units worth of scraps, which should be enough to upgrade the reactor to keep almost all of our systems running at the same time.
I call Borman for a meeting asking why he was performing so poorly. He explained that the enemy autopilot was programmed too well for evading but I think it's because he can't concentrate enough and there's something he needs to get off his chest. He shrugs it off and returns to his position. Maybe we need a longer talk when we reach the friendly sector.
I received a distress call that's off our course but couldn't risk running out of fuel, so we continued forwards. On the way there was a shipwreck orbiting a gas giant and surprisingly no one had raided it yet. It must have been destroyed just a while ago. We got more fuel and lots of scrap from it.
A rebel scout ambushed us and tries to escape to inform the pursuing fleet of our position. We must quickly try to stop it. I was so nervous and concentrating on dodging the ship that I couldn't get into a good firing position, We couldn't hit almost a single shot on the enemy ship. Destroying their cockpit and maybe killing the pilot would have delayed them a little but they got away. Now we have to hurry to the exit as fast as we can.
Our ship also took massive damage in this desperate combat, but we definitely don't have enough time to search for repair stations. If we come across one on our way we might just barely get our ship repaired and reach the exit before we are caught.
At the next jump point an automated scout was waiting for us. If it too gets away the rebels would know which way we are heading in addition to earlier discovering our position.
I can't dodge all of the enemy lasers. It keeps our shields down with its ion cannon. Markus rushes to the engine room to overload our hyperdrive charger. The shields are practically useless right now anyway. This is a fight we may not win, so we need to get going right away. I hope the scout doesn't come after us. I think there is a hull breach somewhere on this ship, I see the internal air pressure dropping. Sensors are down so I can't be sure.
Now the scout starts ioning our weapons too. We have no way to prevent it from getting away. It speeds up a little and almost instantly disappears into distance. We are fucked.
A trader hails us. He sees we have taken a bad beating and offers us repair service, for a price of course. Now I feel like being in the same situation as the rockmen we gave fuel to earlier. It's not gonna be cheap for us.
Yep. They took ALL of our scrap in exchange to repair some of our ship's damage. I had no choice but to pay. As we leave after being practically robbed clean they even tell us to come back later for shopping. I hope I never have to see them again. I don't even want to know what Borman thinks about them.
I step into the cockpit, sit down and check everything is ok. One dial indicates that we have fuel for two jumps. HOW COULD I FORGET!?
There's no one at the exit beacon. Just vast, empty, silent, dark space. We are about to get stuck in that space. Intergalactic jump would consume our last fuel, and we don't know where it would take us. I don't know how we ever manage to survive. We are still too far away to radio the base of operations. I call the crew for an emergency meeting.
We have no other chance than to take this leap of faith. The rebels are right on our heels, but the jump might lose them for a while. I try my best to give faith to Markus and Borman, but it's useless. I can't even lie that we still have hope. We go to the cockpit together, I light up the engines and look out of the window in silence. May the stars guide us.
We arrived in engi space. I pray for someone to find us and give us some fuel. I turn on the distress beacon. It's like a bait for the rebels and bandits but it's the only way out of this.
Oh crap! Seems like they are screwed for good. Godspeed Nyema. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you guys.