It was a Wednesday, I can tell you that much. Nine months’ worth of luggage was 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.
The Burroughs is a Zoltan vessel, equipped with the latest in Zoltan Shield (ZS) technology. She is manned by a peculiar collection of aliens who wouldn’t be out of place in the backalleys of Interzone.
These are her stories.
My first stroke of brilliance is to order Navigator Bovee to jump towards the Rebels… Not right into their midst mind you, just backtrack a little. The captain who previously had this mission made the mistake of racing towards the Federation Fleet, which meant that when they were inevitably stopped by Rebels, Pirates and bastard Customs Officials they were severely outgunned.
I shall not make the same mistake. I’m going to scour the galaxy for enough weapons to set the whole Rebel Fleet on fire.
Speaking of fire, our first jump takes us too close to a sun. Not only that, but a band of Pirates are waiting to pounce. They’re in an exact replica of the ship I now Captain, except I can see they chose the Ion Cannon instead of the Halberd Beam.
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…
We glide into a nearby nebula in the hopes that the electrical interference will keep us flying under the radar, so to speak. We see a smuggler ship in the distance, but they wish not to engage, and I don’t feel like kicking any hornets nests so soon after that last battle.
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 sorts.
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.
We jump away from the nebula and see a Pirate ship chasing some civilians. We cannot let this stand! Plus we desperately need some scrap to keep this hunk of metal in the skies…
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 heavily enough to knock any 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 understand the decision, 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.
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, taking them all offline and leaving the 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 boon.
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 don’t actually 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 the 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 the beam burns through our O2 generators, lighting 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.
It’s an empty section of space, which gives us a chance to repair the engine damage.
There’s a shop here, and whilst we can’t afford to buy anything interesting, we can at least repair most of the damage to the hull.
Another Autoscout, but this one doesn’t have the foresight to launch a virus to take out our shields. Should make it a far easier battle then.
Our sensors detect a power spike in its FTL drives – probably to return to the Rebel Fleet with our current position. The last thing I need is for the Rebels to gain ground on us, but I can only attack their engines or weapons, 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. Our 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 and that flaw in its targeting algorithm spells death for the little AI that couldn’t. We collect a little salvage and jump.
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 as we’re close to the Jump Beacon, and defeating the last scout gave us so little scrap that another battle doesn’t seem worthwhile.
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 as well as I would like.
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.
Stay tuned for more exciting and tactical adventures of The Burroughs and her fearless lightbulb crew.