The USS Terminal, commanded by Captain Tom Doomed, limped from system to system. Fuel was in short supply; so was scrap. The fuel eventually ran out completely with the Terminal docked at a station that had plentiful supplies, but the ship had no way to pay for them. Captain Doomed triggered the distress beacon, and waited for help. None came.|
The Rebels approached, system by system. Panic began to set in. With the Rebels just a system away, Captain Doomed made the fateful decision - he'd sell the Terminal's missile system, and use the proceeds to buy fuel. Tanks once again full, the Terminal blasted off, just ahead of the Rebels.
The next couple of encounters were tricky, with only the Terminal's trusty burst laser for offence. Lieutenant Commander Redshirt and Commander Fodder were killed by enemy fire while repairing critical systems. Captain Doomed and the Terminal escaped by more luck than skill, but fuel was running low again.
The captain, last of the crew, repaired his ship as best he could, and even managed to improve the shields with the scrap he'd collected. Even if the Terminal packed little more than a pop-gun, at least it would be hard to kill.
Two more jumps, and there was no more fuel. The Terminal spotted an Auto-Assault class unmanned enemy ship, and had no choice but to engage in the hope of overcoming the enemy and salvaging some fuel from its wreckage.
Pew-pew-pew! went the Terminal's burst lasers, and the shields dropped on the enemy ship. "Hurrah!" shouted Captain Doomed. Then, before the laser could recharge, the enemy triple shields came back up.
The Terminal's double shields were more than adequate to handle the enemy ship's feeble attack, but those damned triple shields protected it from the Terminal's burst lasers completely. Three good hits and the shields would drop, leaving the enemy completely undefended - a single missile or a solitary laser blast would have been enough to shut down the shield system completely, and the enemy would have been toast. If only he hadn't sold their missile system. He had five missiles taking up space in his hold, and no way of launching them.
Captain Doomed leapt from the pilot's chair and raced to the gunnery console. "Maybe I can speed up the laser fire recharge," he thought, and yes, he could - but not enough. Twenty minutes he sat at the gunnery console, squeezing every last fraction of a second out of the recharge time, but still there was a gap of a couple of seconds after the shields came back up before the Terminal's lasers could fire again.
Doomed slumped in defeat.
There was no way to win. No way to escape. If he could have rammed the damn thing, he would have.
He trudged back to his pilot's chair and stared at the inky blackness of space, lit by the periodic fruitless stab of lasers across the void. He was safe as long as his shields held. The Terminal could maintain those shields indefinitely, and the enemy AI was too dumb to realise it couldn't win.
"I'll be damned if I let them blow me up," he said to himself. "If they want to keep firing their little pop-gun at my ship forever, let them. But I don't intend to be around to watch it."
What to do? He could open the airlocks. But he'd seen explosive decompression, and that was no way to go. No. He'd do it quietly. Disengaging all the fail-safes, he put the environmental systems off-line. With no O2 system working, the atmosphere in the ship would deteriorate. As the air slowly became unbreathable, he sat in his pilot's chair and tried to ignore the alarms.
Captain Doomed breathed his last, and his dead eyes stared out at the implacable enemy that wouldn't even know it had won.
#9009291, By BlackJedi FTL - Space Roguelike
BlackJedi 387 posts
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