This is our Tales From on FTL: Faster Than Light, continuing the story of Captain Ryan and the Kestral, after the mission is continued with the the exploits of Captain Kadreal. Follow the series here.

We receive an odd message… teasing us and calling us aliens. I prepare for a fight, but find it’s coming from a small civilian shuttle. We let them pass as they continue to tease us.

At the next beacon we encounter a small rock craft with minimal propulsion. One of its crew members contacts us and explains that the Rock homeworld is run on lies and propaganda meant to control the Rock people. He says they want no part of it.

Given that our ship is equipped with Improved Sensors, I decide to show them our data suite. Impressed by our plethora of information, the Rock captain agrees to stay with us until her people can find their footing in the galaxy. We welcome Jill aboard as she stomps past the rest of the crew and stations herself near the engine room.

We pick up a distress beacon nearby, and after a short travel we find a pirate ship trapped in an asteroid field, crushed between two large rocks. Although we’ve been attacked by pirates more times than I can count, I decide to save them. I contact the weapons control room over the intercom. “Tai Yi, do you think you can use the Mini Beam to cut the ship from the rocks?”

“I shouldn’t be a problem, Captain,” he answers.

The asteroid crumbles and the pirate ship hits its thrusters. Once freed they thank us and send over some much-needed fuel and scrap.

We move on but find something interesting at the next beacon. A Federation encrypted signal is being broadcasted from a nearby planet. It could be a trap set for Federation ships, but I decide to send a party to investigate—and it’s a lucky thing we did. The crew comes back with broad smiles, lugging a small supply cache. Inside we find one unit of fuel, a drone part, and 56 scrap. Not bad. These must have been left here to help out Federation ships in trouble, like us.

I use the drone part to turn on our Hull Repair Drone, and it zips around our ship, zapping us with its magical little beam that fixes all the remaining holes in our ship.

At the next beacon we find a disabled Rock freighter driving in space while two Mantis ships battle nearby, presumably over who gets to scrap the Rock ship. But today it will be neither of them. I turn on the Hull Repair Drone again and as the Mantis continue to fight, it flies over and fixes up the Rock freighter.

As soon as the Rock freighter goes back online it engages one of the Mantis ships. The other Mantis ship, meanwhile, turns to fight us. The battle is drawn out. I’m realizing that our weapons are growing less and less useful as the enemy’s shields grow more powerful. Our Dual Lasers can barely take down level 2 shields, and our Mini Beam is useless until the shields are down completely. I decide that next chance we get, I’m buying a new gun.

The battle nearly kills us, but finally the Mantis Scout explodes in a glorious cloud of flames and victory. It seems the Rock freighter left long ago. They probably got bored of waiting.

I decide to reassign some of our crew. Adnan and Charlie are now our on-call mechanics. Jill is stationed nearby as our onboard firefighter and enemy crusher.

We find a shop at the next beacon, and a Crew Teleporter catches my interest. Most of the ships we fight only have a couple crew members onboard, and if we can take them out—rather than the ship itself—we probably have a much better chance at victory… until we get some real weapons on this ship, that is. “Jill and Adnan. You’re our new enemy kill squad,” I say over the intercom.

We run into a Rock Scout at the next beacon. They beam aboard a soldier looking for a fight, and Jill and Adnan head over to show them who owns this system. After a lengthy battle, we manage to kill the three Rock crew. We get 6 fuel and more than 50 scrap out of it, but we suffered a terrible loss.

Charlie… the weapons room caught fire, and he died trying to put out the flames…

Meanwhile, our hull can only take two more shots before our ship is destroyed. We have no more drone parts, so we can’t activate the Hull Repair Drone. We hang on the edge of oblivion, one of our most beloved crew dead.

We’re lucky though. We’re still within reach of the shop, and we have them repair our hull as much as we can afford.

At the next beacon, however, we come across a frightening sight. There’s a mantis ship outfitted with Rock body parts. Apparently this ship has a special hatred for the Rock people. Yet, our own Rock crew member, Jill, decides to contact them. She stares into the screen of the comm system. A Mantis face stares back.

Then the Mantis yell out, “Cave-dwelling pebble-man! See, I paint my ship with your companions! I paint my ship with you!”

Well, here we go. We have no missiles left. Our only hope is that Jill and Adnan can take out the two crew members of the enemy ship. Meanwhile, I’ll do what I can with our old beam and lasers.

In an incredibly foolish move, however, the Mantis captain beams to our ship, leaving a lone Egni guarding its ship. My crew makes quick work of the Mantis. Jill and Adnan, meanwhile, make quick work of the Egni.

With its crew dead, we strip the Mantis Scout of its fuel and scrap, and leave its gruesome hull floating empty in space.

I decide we have time for one more jump. We find several Rock ships with pirate markings near a station. It seems we’ve come to the wrong place… A Rock Fighter engages us.

Immediately, Jill and Adnan beam aboard. They’re both great fighters, but unfortunately they’re no match for two Rocks at once. But I have a plan up my sleeve. I send them to the weapons room at the far end of the ship. Then I hit the shield room on the other end with our Dual Laser and Mini Beam. One of the Rocks goes to fix the shields, which leaves Jill and Adnan alone with the other.

They make quick work of the Rock. The other rushes back and meets a similar fate. We collect 53 scrap, a drone part, and a missile before leaving for the exit beacon and the next sector.

About The Author

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

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