This is our Tales From on FTL: Faster Than Light played on Normal difficulty, following the story of the Kestral’s overly heroic captain, Ryan, and his brave crew, Mange and Nazia. Follow the full series here.

The brave crew of the Kestral await their orders.

With bravery unmatched, myself and the remaining crew of the Kestral obtained data on a key weakness in the Rebel fleet, and as we flee across this great expanse of space to what remains of the Federation, surely there will be planets to explore, strange creatures to meet, and situations in which my crew will valiantly battle for the greater good of this universe..

“Mange, watch the shields,” I say, turning to my crew. “Nazia, get to the guns and power them up… I’m sure we’ll need them.”

A distress beacon, you say? To the rescue!

We’re starting this journey in the Sector 1 Civilian quadrant. Already someone calls to us for aid. Three unexplored planets beckon us from afar, and a store temps me with its wares despite my terribly empty pockets. But we’re all heroes here, so to the distress call we fly!

What do you know, a small ship caught in an asteroid belt. Surely asteroid are no match for the shields of this mighty ship. Mange! Hold up the shields, we’re going in… or not. It seems the civilian ship couldn’t take the heat, but surely the souls of its crew will find peace as they drift aimlessly through this star system. But as for us, destiny calls.

It seems our warp into unexplored space has revealed a Rebel Fighter, approaching cautiously to its inevitable doom. A drone floats over to us and its puny red lasers zap frantically at our shields. How cute. Let’s see how their drone control likes missiles. Not very much it seems. And their shields also went down with one blast form our Burst Laser. One more blast takes out their weapons and they want to surrender… maybe if they offered a bit more scrap, but not today.

We fly on, victorious.

Lots of not very interesting encounters awaited us at the next stops, and we had thought all was well before a small cruiser hailed us. “What good fortune that we happen to run into each other,” its captain says over the intercom. “Nothing personal, but you have information we need!”

Words of someone who wants to taste some missile, I believe. Or not. It seems this Energy Bomber has very large shields and it also has missiles, which we just tasted… With our oxygen systems down and our flight controls also down, our only hope is to keep up our barrage… now the flight controls and the med-bay are on fire. Open the airlocks! We’ll suck the fire right out of this ship! They may have hit our guns with that last missile, but we still have one missile pod left.

Well, it looks bad. Most of our systems were severely damaged or disabled completely, but this can be repaired, and what’s more important is that we took little damage to our hull. My crew and I slowly repair our ship, and head on.

To celebrate our victory, the crew puts out the fires around the ship.

First an abandoned systems, then an automated Rebel ship waiting for us near a star shooting fire in all directions. Sounds like an adventure.

I open the airlocks to all unneeded systems. If we get hit with sun flares, the fires will be out before any harm can be done. I lean into the intercom and say with confidence in the plan, “Nazia, fire at the drone’s weapon systems.”

The plan worked beautifully. Fire from a solar flare was put out immediately. The enemy’s drone and weapons are down. One last shot does the job, and after one more flare, we move on.

The crew and I disable a local scout ship near a burning star. Ah, memories.

Ah, what do you know. A Federation Scout turned to piracy is coming at us with weapons hot. “Save our missiles, and hit their weapons with our laser,” I tell Nazia over the intercom. They don’t land a single shot before the fight is over, and before hitting the FTL to the next sector we find a Fire Bomb just floating around space. This should prove useful.

We move to a Rock-controlled system in Sector 2. The Rocks are a large and powerful race that also happens to be fireproof… so it looks like we’ll have to wait to try out the new Fire Bomb…

We quickly find a ship floating dead in an asteroid field, its distress beacon active. I send my crew aboard and they report back that it’s an abandoned Pirate Ship. They bring back what they can carry, and we move on.

It seems fate just doesn’t like us. We again find ourselves close to a star and its infernal solar flares. A Rock Scout ship must have been enjoying the heat, since as we approach they yell out over the intercom, “Even out here you follow us! We only wish to be left alone!” Their weapons activate, and instinct tells me to do the same.

One of the friendlier Rock ships we encountered.

There’s an explosion in our engine room. The hull is cracked by the blast. A second explosion and another room is breached. I open the doors anticipating a fireball from the nearby star. Our lasers take out the enemy ship’s weapons just before a solar flare sets fire to two parts of the ship.

Meanwhile, the Rock people don’t seem to mind fire, but their ships do, and I watch as their control room goes down in flames. Another shot from our lasers blows the ship into pieces.

Our ship is damaged, but I fly us to a nearby planet before the next solar flare. It will be easier to repair the Kestral here. Nearby, a small ship caught in an asteroid field calls for help, but before we can save them an asteroid smashes into it and their communications cut short. We salvage what we can from the debris. Sorry my ill-fated friends, but this is space.

Well, it seems it’s our turn to get caught in an asteroid field. This wouldn’t have been a problem had I upgraded our shields, but I wanted to save up for a shiny new laser. A group of pirates controlling a Rock Scout ship want to battle it out here, and it looks like we’ll have no choice but to stay and fight. It’s never nice to get caught in an asteroid field, but if I can take out the enemy ship’s shields, we can use this to our advantage. A well-placed laser does just that, and we take out part of their weapon systems with a single missile. The plan worked. After taking out the shields, the asteroids did the rest of the work. We collect what we can from the wreckage and journey on.

A pirate ship breaks into pieces after an asteroid smashes into its shieldless hull.

Our next jump lands us right in the middle of a Rock excavation project, and we don’t seem welcome. A Rock Scout moves in to dish out some justice, and after watching three guns pop out of the ship, I decide that taking out those weapon systems is the top priority.

Success! We take one missile to our flight controls, but not before we bring down all their guns. Keep firing with that Burst Laser and this should be over before they can get another shot in. We fly on victorious.

It seems fortune smiles on us. We meet a small merchant ship who heard of our cause. “Underground Federation comm channels are talking about your ‘secret’ mission,” a voice says over the intercom. “Let us install a weapon to help.” Have at it, dear friend. We leave with a brand-new Heavy Laser Mark II and a few pieces of scrap to boot.

Given that I’ve hardly spent a piece of scrap this whole mission, I upgrade our energy core and weapon system. I use the rest to upgrade our shields to level 2.

We make a few more stops, but nothing of interest. A space battle, a paranoid merchant. We continue on. Then we find something interesting. There’s a Mantis ship with Rock body parts. A hunter. They don’t seem to want any trouble, and given our state, I couldn’t agree more. We head to the next system.

Before we head out, I make the mistake of visiting one more planet. What do you know. It brings us to a flame-shooting star and a few Rock people decide to board our ship to kill all of us. This is turning bad fast. I send the crew to the weapons room. They start fighting one of the invaders, but the other two take out our oxygen system… although I’m not sure why they would do that, given that they also need air to live…

After destroying the oxygen systems, Rock soldiers pummel the crew in the weapons room.

I open the doors to all non-vital rooms to prepare for a solar flare. The other two invaders join the battle in the weapons room. Meanwhile, oxygen levels throughout the ship drop to 40%. We need to act fast. I evacuate my crew to the med-bay and send Magne and Nazia to run past the Rock soldiers and repair the oxygen systems. A solar flare sets the med-bay on fire. Nazia goes alone, while Magne stays to help out out the flames. Oxygen is at 28% when work to repair the systems begin.

Magne and I look at each other, knowing what we must do, and we dash to the engine room to face the 3 Rock soldiers, screaming like maddened rabbits running to our doom. We soon realize that we’re not as tough as we think, and as the Rock men punch us in the faces repeatedly, we glance again at each other, knowing what we must do, and we run together like helpless ninnies back to the med-bay.

Magne and I rest in the med-bay while Nazia brings back the oxygen. The Rock soldiers continue to punch our weapon systems.

The Rock soldiers come chasing after us, but by this time, Nazia has brought sweet, sweet oxygen back into this starship and she heads back to save us. Victory is ours. And after asserting that we would have been fine without Nazia’s help, Ryan and I return, dignified, to our assigned stations.

We make a last stop before hitting the FTL and soaring to the next system, where we find a Rebel automated scout floating around. I’m tempted to try downloading its data stores, but given the poor state of things—particularly our half-broken hull—I decide to just have it stripped for scrap.

We have a choice between jumping to a Pirate sector or a Civilian sector, and I choose the simple route this time, hoping we’ll have a better shot at getting the Kestral repaired. Before we find a shop though, we find a Rebel Rigger that seems bent on our destruction. Well, at least we’ll get to test out the new Heavy Laser.

One of the local Rebel Riggers just before it exploded.

“Hit its guns with the Burst Laser, use the Heavy Laser on its drone system,” I say over the intercom. The plan works well. The drone goes down and the guns draw back. The ship offers to surrender, I tap on the microphone and make static sounds, “Can’t… ere… you…” I say. A few more shots and the battle is won.

We get a distress call from a local mining colony. Apparently an unknown disease is infecting the workers and attempts to quarantine them led to riots. I look at my crew through the security cameras for a moment. I’m not sure how much help these delicate, sensitive souls would be against a mob of angry, diseased miners. We fly past.

We then stumble across a small Rebel Auto-Scout flying around a long-range sensor station. It doesn’t attack us, but given that we only have enough fuel for two more jumps, I decide to take out the ship and loot the nearby station. We don’t get the fuel we were looking for, just a bit of scrap, but we do find a map of the local system at the station, which we quickly download, and just our luck, all the nearest shops are on the other side of the sector. With two fuel left, that’s not good news, but regardless, we head towards the nearest one.

We run into one of the friendly, neighborhood mercenaries who offers its services. I glance at my fuel gauge, then back at the Mantis Scout ship, then to the intercom button which I quickly push and order to have all weapons fired at once. The mercenary quickly surrenders, and offers a hefty load of goodies, including 3 fuel (yay!) and a Stealth Weapons augment, which, if nothing else just sounds really cool. I accept.

With our hull nearly destroyed, we realize all the shops are on the other side of the sector.

With our hull nearly destroyed, the next jump needs careful consideration. The intel we gathered from the sensor station showed both our options have ships laying in wait, but just beyond them is a shop, and that’s what we need most. We proceed cautiously and find a large Rebel Auto-Scout ship attacking a small re-fueling outpost. We’d love to help, but we’d probably die. So we head onward to the shop. Luckily, as we leave, the scout stops its attack, and the outpost makes it as well. See? Everyone’s happy.

We meet a friendly space merchant who patches up our nearly nonexistent hull, sells us some much needed fuel, buys our not-so-needed Fire Bomb and Steal Weapons system, and sells us a very useful Drone Control system.

After leaving, we find a few human settlements that seem uninterested in speaking with us, then a blip comes across the alert system. A distress beacon has been activated on a ship with an angry pirate chasing it around. Angry pirates are no joke. We move in to help. It’s a Slug Light-Cruiser with level 3 shields and a crew who undoubtably growl through their slimy slug-lip things when they see us. We’ll have to break their shields before we can do much damage, which means we’ll probably take a few shots before we can bring down their weapons. “Magne, pull energy from the med-bay and engine, and bring shields up to full power,” I say over the intercom. “Nazia, focus all fire on their shields.”

Nazia aims both lasers at the Slug pirate’s shields. Boy, were they surprised!

One shot from the pirate ship brings down our shields. Right after, a missile takes out the engine room. We bring their shields down to just one level. “Nazia,” I say over the intercom. “Keep the Heavy Laser focused on their shields. Direct the Burst Laser at their weapon systems.”

The pirate ship’s shields go down completely. Another shot and its missile pod retracts into the hull. Another shot and victory is ours. After the ship bursts into pieces, we contact the civilian ship, but find they already ran for it while we were holding off the pirates. Wise move, but it would have been nice if they gave us a token of gratitude or two… Nazia fixes up the engines, and we head onward.

We find a nearby station where we stop for a rest. I tell them about our daring battles with the Rebels, about my frail yet brave crew, about how funny the Pirates must have looked when they started floating out into space from the burning remains of their ship, and the station attendants install a Small Bomb weapon system on our ship as a tribute to our adventures. At the next stop, a station fixes our hull for 10 scrap, and we jump to the Mantis Homeworlds in Sector 4.

The Mantis are terrible, blood thirsty bug thingies that love combat, and I’m hoping to coax a few to join my crew. So we venture off into this strange, unhappy little part of the galaxy, my trusted crew in tow.

To be continued…

About The Author

Joshua Philipp is the founder and editor of TechZwn.com. He's also an award-winning journalist at Epoch Times.

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