FTL The Final Voyages of the U.S.S Kestrel

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Mr. Bibb
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Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:11 pm

Jump 1 (part 4): An Unexpected Surprise

Postby Mr. Bibb » Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:29 pm

Elwood stood on the bridge of the ship in his Captains uniform. His cast was removed, the nanotechnology guided by electromyographic sensors worked remarkably fast, as usual. In the past he had often wondered how humanity ever survived the barbaric and clumsy medical practices of 'human' surgeons, but today he was thoroughly focussed on the task at hand. Tightly clasping his hands behind his back he gazed sternly through the front window of the ship.

A soft chime rang throughout the Kestrel and Elwood took a deep breath. He flicked on the intercom.
"Exiting FTL jump in T-minus 5 minutes; everyone to your stations and prepare to dock." He commanded.
"Do you have to say 'everyone'?" Garland's voice came through the bridge speakers. "There's only me n' Jon, damnit."
"Er, Captain?" The Communications Officer's voice asked sheepishly, "What IS my station… exactly? I-I mean before the incident I used to go up to the bridge for any translating or- well, do you want me to monitor someone else's station since...-?"

Elwood sighed deeply and pressed the intercom again.
"No, Easton, you still…" He paused to rub his hand over his face, "You still report to the bridge… And Garland?"
"Just… just shut up, Garland."

It had been almost a full earth day cycle since they first jumped into faster than light, and a little over 12 hours since the funeral. Although the ship still had a sombre air to it, moral had slightly improved after the chance to clean, bathe, and rest. Even Garland managed to catch a few hours having barely finished with repairs.

Elwood straightened his uniform after Jon entered the deck and quietly took a seat. This is just the break we need… He thought to himself. We can see what these civilians have for sale and re-outfit the ship. At best we'll upgrade our engines and weapon systems… maybe see about enhancing the shields… hire a bit of extra man power… The Kestrel rocked gently as it exited faster than light, and the ship that had set the broadcast came into view; Elwood's eyes widened in horror.
A large civilian vessel hung suspended in space. Black scorch marks from laser bursts marred the hull. There was a noticeable breach. Elwood slammed his hand down on the console.
"Jon! Scan the ship for life forms!" He shouted as he fired in the command to open a hailing frequency. "Civilian vessel! This is the U.S.S Kestrel of the Federation, do you read? Civilian vessel, respond!"
"C-Captain!" Jon called.

"Greetings, U.S.S Kestrel." A voice answered. A viewing screen of the civilian vessel's aging captain suddenly filled the window.
"Four life forms detected," Jon continued. "Two human, one Engi, and one… it looks like, Mantis?"

The Captain on the viewing screen chuckled, he had wrinkles around his eyes and his hair was noticeably greying.
"That is correct," He said. Elwood blinked, his panic not fading entirely.
"Civilian, what happened to your ship? Do you have functioning medical facilities and life support? Are you all right?" he asked. The older man smiled and nodded.
"We're fine, we're fine… Well, all alive and accounted for, anyways. We were crippled by a band of pirates, unfortunately, so you'll have to excuse if we don't look up to snuff."

Elwood frowned, worried.
"Pirates?" He asked. "This deep in civilian space?" The Captain aboard the other vessel scowled and shook his head..
"Worthless… Rednecked sons of…" He muttered. "Rebels must be pushing them out of their territory, been worming their way into any sector without heavy Federation patrol, which is most of 'em these days."
"I suppose times are hard everywhere…" Elwood sympathized, "Is that why you used a mercantile frequency instead of a distress call?"
"Distress call...? Why would we- ah heck we ain't THAT badly beat up! Looks worse than it is, I assure you. We were running supplies to a store in the next sector, but no way in hell we're making the trip in this condition. So we're selling the supplies, cutting our losses, and turning tail while the turning's good." The civilian Captain said with a matter-of-fact nod.

"So… you don't need any assistance, then?" Elwood asked, finally.
"Nah, we've limped back in worse condition, just never this early on. Now, enough chit chat, I assume you're looking to buy?" the older man said with a smile. Elwood raised his eyebrows, looking momentarily to Jon who simply shrugged.
"All right," Elwood said, smirking lightly as he placed his hands on the sides of the control station and leaned forward. "What've you got?"

"Heh, great to hear son, great to hear. Lesse now, we wont be needing our drone control system, or the crew teleportation bay… We've got a cargo ooof… at lest six missiles, a couple of extra automated drones… Few drops of fuel, in a pinch… And Hutz and Felicity, that's our resident Engi and Mantis, respectively, are both willing to take on any vessel that'll pay 'em better than we can." The older man listed off.
Elwood pursed his lips and nodded slowly.
"You know what…? It's not everything I was looking for but… We could definitely use all of it." He said. The old man beamed brightly.
"Fantastic!" he cheered. "I knew you looked like a smart buyer."
"No friggin way," Garland came through on the intercom. "An Engi? I wouldnt've busted my ass on repairs if I thought we were hiring one of those bloody cyborgs!"
"A-are you s-sure about bringing a Mantis onboard… Captain?" Jon swallowed nervously. I'm tolerant as the next guy of other species but uh… I happen to like keeping all of my limbs attached."

The older man laughed.
"Felicity may have a vicious streak, as all her kind do, I s'pose, but she isn't exactly inclined to sever the hand that signs her pay check, so to speak."
Elwood smirked,
"It's fine, Jon. And besides, A Mantis would make a fine back bone to any boarding or repelling party on the ship. The former we'd be able to achieve with that teleporter."
"Smart man," The civilian captain said with a smile, "that she would, that she would. Now… Shall we talk about payment?"

"Right, of course," Elwood exhaled. He thanked God they'd been paid in advance before making the run. "We've got one hundred and fifty thousand Federation credits to spare, which, given the circumstances, I believe is more than fai-"
"Woah woah woah," the civilian suddenly cut him off. "Federation credits? Nope, that ain't good out here no more."

Elwood stared blankly.
"I beg your pardon?" He said after a short pause.
"We're out on the edge of Federation space, boy! Not that it matters much, 'tho. I doubt the Federation has more than a quarter of an Earth year cycle left. Maybe half a cycle, at best. Rebels been hittin' em hard, and rumour has it the entire armada's movin' in for the final squeeze if ya catch my drift. Anyhow, fancy lot those credits are gunna do once the Feds are overrun, can't imagine the rebels would accept 'em. Just data in a computer now, I'm afraid."

Elwood gripped the sides of the console, his expression still shocked. He closed his mouth. He knew he had to hold rank and presence in front of his remaining crew, but a foul curse word still escaped his mouth before he thought better of it. Jon's eyebrows shot up and the older civilian captain looked shocked.

"Hey! Sorry you gotta hear the news from me, thought everybody knew that… But no reason we still can't deal! Scrap metal's the name of the game now, or most places will accept weapons and parts if you can spare 'em."

Pulling himself together Elwood opened the intercom.
"Garland, how much scrap can we salvage from what's left of our original cargo?" He asked. The engineer exhaled deeply.
"Uhhh… Off the top of my head? Well after the repairs we made in the last FTL jump I'd say… nine, maybe ten units?" Elwood bit his lip and thought for a moment.
"What can you sell for ten units of scrap?" He asked finally. The civilian scoffed.
"For TEN? Hunh... Uhh, maybe a missile and a single jump's worth of fuel? Can't offer you much more than that, I'm afraid."

Elwood tapped the control panel for a moment.
"Mind if I discuss things with my crew?" he asked.
"Course! Take all the time you need, we're gunna be stickin' round these parts for a while anyways." The civilian smiled. The screen suddenly faded as the hailing frequency closed, replacing the man's face with a vision of stars and a battered ship.

"Engineer Garland…" Elwood said slowly after opening the intercom. "report to the bridge, immediately."

((Sorry for the delay everyone! Halo 4 turned out to be surprisingly better than I thought it would be x_x I'm back to posting regularly now tho' :'3 Also yay! Made it to the first jump XD ))
Mr. Bibb
Posts: 13
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Jump 1 (part 5): Decision

Postby Mr. Bibb » Tue Nov 13, 2012 1:45 pm

The three crew members of the U.S.S Kestrel sat within the bridge. Garland was pacing back and forth while Elwood leaned against the control console, arms crossed and mouth in a tight line. Jon was sitting in one of the chairs,
"I don't understand what the problem is…" He said, blinking, "Can't we just tell them what happened? Ask them for help?"

Elwood shook his head.
"No… That's not an option." He said. "The rebels are going to be hunting us down for that intel, and they're at most a jump or two behind us." Elwood stopped to run his hand over his face. He felt tired. "They'll catch those civilians, inevitably. The less they know, the better."
"But-!" Jon protested, "We have to at least warn them, or take them on board our ship!"

Garland rolled his eyes.
"Yeah, well in case you hadn't noticed, they didn't exactly seem friendly to the word 'Federation'." He snarled, "You'd think we'd already rolled over and died. Honestly, I think we should not only keep quiet, but find a way to keep them quiet too, if you catch my drift."

The room went silent again as everyone looked at Garland. He looked back at the other two, feeling the judgement on their glances.
"What!" He defended, "Those little worms think the Federation is dead and done for… We wanna stop that from happening? Then we need supplies. They're already blown half way to kingdom come, might as well finish the job-"
"Out of the question!" Elwood shouted. "Since when did this become a pirating vessel?!"
"Since we had our backs put against the wall, damn it!" Garland shouted back. "This isn't just about us! We're talking about the survival of the Federation, here! The ends justify the means!"
"No, they don't!" Elwood snapped. Garland swore angrily and slammed his fist against the wall. "Don't you get it?!" The Captain continued, "The Federation was built on the principal that we aren't just animals… And if that's what we become to survive, then there's NO POINT in defeating the rebellion!"

Garland and Elwood both breathed heavily, glaring at one another. A few moments passed before the engineer began to drum his finger on the wall and Elwood sat at the pilot's chair.
"So, what's the plan then… 'captain'?" Garland grumbled. Elwood flipped a few switches and began inputting commands to charge the FTL drive.
"They already know the rebel armada's on their way… So no point in confirming we know that. We politely decline their offer…" He finished the code and the engines dully hummed to life. "Then we jump as soon as the drive is ready."
Mr. Bibb
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:11 pm

Jump 2 (part 1): Paying The Toll

Postby Mr. Bibb » Sat Nov 17, 2012 4:47 pm

A large asteroid floated silently through the great void. Too far from any star or planet to be drawn by gravity, it hung, forever suspended. Upon it rested a lone, powerful beacon. The beacon winked dully at regular intervals, sending out long range broadcasts that signified safe passage. Suddenly, a single, infinitely small star winked into existence. With an explosion of speed and light space folded in on itself and the star burst forward, assuming the shape of a Federation vessel.

Jon watched from the bridge of the U.S.S Kestrel as they exited faster than light travel.
"I don't know…" He sighed, seeing only a solitary asteroid, "I mean, do you really think we can do…. this?" he gestured meaninglessly with his hands, finding his words inadequate.
"Depends on what 'this' is," Elwood muttered while he poured over a command console.
"You know exactly what… This mission it's just… I- well, it's so far… We don't have nearly enough fuel or supplies and what if-" John tried to muster.
"Then we'll find some." the captain shot his communications officer a hard glare. "Just check the scanners. Who knows if this is just dead space or-"

A computer beeped suddenly with the sound of an incoming hail.
"What the hell?!" Elwood's eyes opened wide, scanning the void outside the window. Jon swung a console down and gasped,
"Captain! There's a ship behind the asteroid!"
"Readings?" Elwood stopped his hand, looking back just before answering the hail.
"Weapons armed, at least four life signs detected." Jon swallowed.

The captain nodded slowly and opened the transmission. Suddenly his window was filled with the holographic vision of a wide, sickly green, triangular head. Bulbous translucent eyes were perched on the top corners, one of which had long since been cut and rendered useless and opaque. Antennae, long and thin protruded from what should have been its forehead, wavering slightly back and forth. A strange voice, ominous and peppered with a clicking sound, suddenly spoke,
"Greetings, and welcome to our beacon!" its jointed mandibles quivered as a multi faceted jaw worked out a bizarre mimicry of human language.

Elwood peered at the face of the mantis.
"Your beacon?" He said slowly.
"Indeed," the mantis' mandibles became crooked and upturning in what might have been an attempt to imitate a smile. "And for a miniscule 'groundskeepers fee', we'll let you continue on your way."

A mantis vessel, scout class, slowly rose from behind the asteroid, weapons raised and primed. More threatening than the guns was the crude painted skull and war markings on the hull. It was a pirate ship.

"Of course," Elwood said calmly. "How much are you asking for?"

A strange hissing noise came from the mantis; the crew of the U.S.S Kestrel could only guess it was laughter.
"How delightfully cooperative of you, captain… An exchange of, say, 19 scrap will adequately placate this beacon's 'janitorial needs'."
"And if we should reject your 'offer'?" Elwood raised an eyebrow.
"That would be most… unfortunate…" The mantis cooed. "Do you see these hands, Captain?" the mantis raised a limb, it's 'hand' was a hook like appendage that bent back against its arm, filled with barbs and cruel looking spines. "They're so… frustratingly difficult, you see. Horribly suited for menial tasks such as repair, or peeling the scrap from the ruined hull of an uncooperative ship. It takes us twice as long as most, you see. And that kind of work could make a mantis hungry… Hungry enough to pierce the flesh of a man and break his arms with these hands, Captain. Hungry enough to strip the raw, succulent meat from his bones, piece by piece, while I hold him down with these hands, Captain…"

"I think I understand," Elwood nodded. The mantis' voice suddenly turned from jovial to terrifyingly menacing as it slurred "You have 5 minutes."

The view screen winked out as communications were severed. Jon stood with his back against the wall; his jaw was slack and he was visibly shivering.
"I, bu- we don't have that much scrap! We- Oh God no…. not like this," He quivered. "Not like this…"

Elwood smoothed the front of his uniform, sitting down calmly in his chair. He flicked on the intercom.
"Get all that, Garland?"
"... Yeah"
"Good." Elwood cracked his neck before imputing a command into the computer console
"C-captain?" Jon asked. Elwood ignored him.
"Divert all power from the medical bay to impulse engines, I want maximum maneuverability,"
"Aye Captain." Garland's voice crackled.
"Jon, get your ass down to the weapon systems," Elwood gripped the helm firmly, turning the ship around to face the mantis vessel.
"Y-you can't be serious…" Jon blinked, stunned.

Elwood shot his communications officer a hard glare,
"The Federation doesn't negotiate with pirates."
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Re: FTL The Final Voyages of the U.S.S Kestrel

Postby GeneralSnap » Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:58 pm

Excellent writing technique should get a prize for Sci- Fi.
I would Buy if it was a Book!
Mr. Bibb
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:11 pm

Re: FTL The Final Voyages of the U.S.S Kestrel

Postby Mr. Bibb » Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:53 pm

GeneralSnap wrote:Excellent writing technique should get a prize for Sci- Fi.
I would Buy if it was a Book!

You have no idea how incredibly encouraging it is to hear things like that. Thank you very much for the amazing compliment!
Mr. Bibb
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:11 pm

Jump 2 (part 2): Paying the Toll

Postby Mr. Bibb » Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:17 pm

John's breath came out in ragged gasps as he bolted around a corner. His hand slammed against the wall and pushed off of it, barely stopping himself from falling over again as he sprinted down another long corridor. Engines hummed angrily as the ship rumbled with power. The Captain's voice filled the vessel through the onboard intercom:
"Moving into attack range." Jon dove through a door way, banging against the smooth ground with one knee. He swore while scrambling and clawing his way into a spinning chair.

The communications officer took a panicked look at the controls for the Kestrel's weapon systems. And, with eyes wide and horrified, he suddenly forgot everything. Hands trembled over blinking lights, switches, and joysticks. He ran his shaking fingers through his hair, swearing quickly and repeatedly.

The intercom suddenly crackled to life once more:
"What's the matter kid?" Garland shouted.
"Did you re-route enough energy for him to fully power the weapon systems?" Elwood asked.
"Of course I did, damn it! Does that Ginger headed little coward even know what he's doing?"
"I-I can hear both of you!" Jon shouted. Everything suddenly came rushing back to him, and he furiously pounded the keyboard; entering the commands and flipping on a pair of switches. "Artemis Missle… Online and charging," He swallowed, watching the power cycle through the weapon systems. "Burst Laser Mark II, online and charging."

Outside of the ship the weapons lowered from their docking ports, exposed and ready to fire.

"Good work, man. Had me worried for a second." Elwood nodded at his intercom before manoeuvring the Kestrel closer to the Mantis vessel.
"What are you thinking?!" Jon shouted, "Have you lost your mind?!"
"You said you had experience on weapon systems." The captain replied smoothly, checking energy readings and gripping the helm tightly.
"I meant I played a weapon simulator we reprogrammed to run Galaga!" The communications officer exclaimed.

"Ah hell." Garland grumbled. "Well you better pray that translates, boy, because we've still got fifty three minutes remaining until the FTL drive is prepped. Unless you can hold out in a fire fight for almost a full hour, jumping out of this isn't an option, Captain."
"Roger than," Elwood replied.

The Mantis vessel fired its impulse engines, tearing away from the asteroid as it rocked forwards. Both ships rushed towards one another, gaining momentum as they charged on a direct collision course.
"30 seconds until impact" Garland said as he moved quickly between screens.
"Burst Lasers are fully charged," Jon swallowed.
"Wait for my mark…" Elwood whispered through gritted teeth, tightening his fingers around the helm.
"15 seconds until impact," Neither ship flinched, speeding onwards to suicide.
"5 seconds, Captain!"
"W-we're going to crash!" Jon screamed.
Bright red bursts of light suddenly flared from the mantis vessel and Elwood instantaneously slammed the helm hard to starboard.
"Fire!" He yelled. Thin laser bolts flashed past the Kestrel, narrowly missing as the vessel rolled on its right side and returned a volley of its own; striking the shield and underbelly of the scout ship just before they surged past one another. The two space ships rushed off in opposite directions, wheeling around in wide arcs, the glow trailing from their engines.

"Damn," Elwood glanced at the scanners, "We hit an empty room."
"Are you crazy?!" Jon yelled. "I can't aim with that small a window to fire in!"

The ships continued to circle one another as the faint glow of shielding returned to the Mantis vessel.
"Artemis missile fully charged, preparing the shot." Jon swallowed, taking aim as he plotted the trajectory of the enemy ship.
"Belay that, officer." Elwood snapped. "Wait until we have a clear line of fire with their shield control room,."
"B-but that's on the opposite side! They're circling to keep it away from us." Jon stammered.
"That's exactly why we're-" Elwood stopped suddenly, swearing as he jerked the controls. Another red volley of laser fire tore through space from the mantis vessel. The great nose of the Kestrel dipped and a blast dissipated against the shield. It was absorbed fully while a second trail of red narrowly skimmed over the hull of ship, missing by inches.

Jon switched back to the controls for their own burst lasers and returned fire. Streaks of crimson light illuminated the black void of space before disappearing into nothingness, traveling forever onwards as they missed the twisting and diving scout ship.

"They've got the advantage at this distance, Captain!" Jon shouted. "I can't hit them!"

"Understood," Elwood replied, flipping a switch "Hold your fire until I can line up a better shot." The engines of the Kestrel suddenly powered down and the ship began to drift, no longer following the circling curve. Continuing the loop, however, the Mantis scout ship quickly came up upon the rear of the federation vessel.

Forked, jaw like wings loomed ominously as the Pirate's ship ascended, preparing to attack the Kestrel from behind and above. It crept closer, and closer, reducing speed as not to overshoot its prey; Elwood returned power to the engines and his vessel lurched forwards. Red streaks of light flashed in the void of space as the Pirate's fired a volley exactly where the Kestrel had been a split second ago. The federation vessel raced off while the Mantis opened up their own engines in response, giving chase.

The two ships dashed noiselessly through the void of space. The Kestrel ducked and weaved, trying unsuccessfully to shake off their pursuers. It heaved starboard before twisting portside, but the Pirate's didn't fall for the feint. They kept a close rein on the federation vessel, lowering in directly behind it while their weapons recharged.

"We're not shaking them," Garland called. The asteroid that held the beacon came into view, and Elwood raced towards it at full speed.
"We can't shake them. Mantis scout ships are far too maneuverable." Elwood replied.
"Then what the hell are betting on a bum horse for?!" Garland shouted. His eyes widened in panic as he added "They've locked on! They're going to fire any second!" The engines roared angrily, putting out maximum power outside of an FTL jump as the Kestrel neared the small asteroid.
"C-captain," Jon gulped, "This isn't going to work! We wont pull up in time! This trick is supposed to go the other way around!"
"Then you're thinking of a different trick!" Elwood shouted "Shields at maximum! Brace for impact!"

The nose of federation vessel smashed into the corner of the asteroid, causing the giant rock to spin wildly. The obstacle swirled, blocking the path of the Mantis ship. They veered off, pulling up and skimming over it without harm.

Suddenly the Pirates saw only empty space before them.

Thinking only of avoiding shield or structural damage, they had dodged the collision, but in doing so maintained full speed. The Kestrel, in turn, lost some of its forward momentum, and now pulled in behind them.

Garland nearly choked, "You ballsy sonova-" a sharp, blaring siren cut him short. Scanners flashed as they picked up the energy signal of a teleportation.
"Watch out for boarders!" Elwood shouted. Jon glanced at the controls, his brow furrowing as a secondary screen flashed up.
"Captain! Wait- They're… The life sign readings aboard either vessel aren't fluctuating… It-! It isn't people! IT'S A BOM-"

Garland couldn't hear the intercom as he watched the explosive device merge into the engine in front of him. He stood, frozen, jaw hanging slack as he breathed the words "Mother of God-"

Battles in space are normally silent. Void of air molecules for sound to travel along, they consist rather of noiseless but deadly displays of light and colour. Yet that all changes inside of a ship.

The sound of the explosion filled the Kestrel.

((Gah! I'm so slow at posting >.< I'll pick up the pace! Honest. On a happier note, Yay! Finally made it to combat! In... a story that should almost be filled entirely with combat ^_^U))
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Re: FTL The Final Voyages of the U.S.S Kestrel

Postby Falcon87456 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:40 am

Dude, this is fuckin' awesome! Keep it up. I'm honestly impressed. It's detailed, dramatic, realistic... I love it.
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Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:10 pm

Re: FTL The Final Voyages of the U.S.S Kestrel

Postby spacecadet13 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:18 am

Great stuff! You're capturing the essence of what makes FTl so intense - decisions, trade-offs, the overarching goal of the mission, tough situations, heroic crew - more please!
Mr. Bibb
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:11 pm

Re: FTL The Final Voyages of the U.S.S Kestrel

Postby Mr. Bibb » Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:33 pm

Falcon87456 wrote:Dude, this is fuckin' awesome! Keep it up. I'm honestly impressed. It's detailed, dramatic, realistic... I love it.
Thanks! :D I'm honoured that all of those themes are coming across :3

spacecadet13 wrote:Great stuff! You're capturing the essence of what makes FTl so intense - decisions, trade-offs, the overarching goal of the mission, tough situations, heroic crew

n_n that's pretty high praise! Thanks

- more please!

Your wish is my command! :3
Mr. Bibb
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:11 pm

Jump 2 (part 3): Paying the Toll

Postby Mr. Bibb » Sun Dec 02, 2012 2:42 pm

Elwood grabbed the intercom, shouting into it "Get out! Garland! GET OU-" the explosion cut him off, booming loudly throughout the ship. The Kestrel lurched, causing Elwood to stumble and drop the intercom. He picked it up quickly, calling into it, but his own voice sounded distant and far off; only a ringing filled his ears. Lowering the intercom slowly, the captain looked to the control console. A single red light blinked over the engine, signifying the extent of the damage. Power cycled uselessly through the ship's systems, still routing into the dead engine as the Kestrel began to drift.

Faintly he began to hear Jon yelling after Garland, but the intercom only came back with static. The Captain looked up, watching out the window of the ship. The Mantis vessel, coloured a vibrant shade of crimson and splashed with pirate warpaint, was now beginning to pull away from the federation ship.

Jon slammed the controls.
"Dammit!" He snapped, jumping from his chair "I'm going after him! We have to see! He might still be oka-"
"You'll do NO such thing, soldier!" Elwood yelled. "Stay at your post!"
"B-but Captain…!" Jon stuttered, "Look! The pirates, they're fleeing, they're pulling away from us!"
"That's because we're dead in the water!" Elwood retorted, "For all we know they're just circling around for another attack!"
"We don't know that, Captain!"
"They're almost out of your range, officer! Fire! Fire now! That's an order!" Elwood roared, "Shoot those motherless dogs down!!"

Jon swallowed and quickly sat back in his chair; his fingers tapped swiftly across the keys before he grabbed hold of the joystick and took aim.

Elwood watched from the bridge, slowly putting his hands behind his back. Neither he, nor his communications officer, knew anything about engine repair. He watched as the missile glided silently through space, passing through the shield of the pirate vessel. He watched it explode with a flash as the ship spun from impact. The pirate's shielding flickered and went offline. Elwood tightened his grip; he knew that this was his last order as Captain. Without a working engine they could only drift, helpless, through the great void of space. Brilliant crimson bolts streaked from their vessel, striking the defensive pirates mercilessly, destroying their weapon control systems. Elwood frowned, Jon had turned out to not be a bad shot in the end. Perhaps they could destroy a vessel or two of the Rebel Armada when it caught up to them. The thought failed to comfort him, however. Their hope, along with that of the federation, had died with Garland.

"David!" Jon finally called. Elwood's attention was suddenly torn from the window; he looked down at his controls, seeing the flashing light on his monitor. He raised an eyebrow, curious, and answered the hail. The view screen became flooded with the view of the pirate's bridge, red lights were flashing in the background.

"Greetings, Captain," The Mantis hissed, somewhat nervously, "You have admirable piloting skills. Had we known the federation still housed such a… commendable force, we wouldn't have been so quick to move into this sector."

Elwood didn't respond. He stared at the screen, silently watching, judging. He wasn't sure if Mantis could sweat, but this one was undoubtedly on edge.

"What say we make a deal?" The pirate hastily continued. "Half of all our loot, and we'll go our separate ways. Live to fight another day, and all that?"

Elwood continued to stare, unflinching.

"Well…? D-do we…? All right, we'll split it 70/30, you drive a hard bargain, Captain but…. But…"

Elwood still didn't respond, but his breath was getting quicker and quicker.

"A-All right! All of it! Take all of it! We lost! We're sorry! We'll leave and never come back! J-just…! Say something! Say SOMETHING damn you!”

The captain gripped the sides of the control console tightly and he slowly leaned forward.
"The Federation," He growled through gritted teeth, "Does not Negotiate-" The Mantis suddenly had a look of terror on his face, "With Pirates,"

"Wait! You ca-!" Elwood closed the hailing frequency.
"You may fire when ready, Officer," He added simply before looking back out the window.
"Aye… Captain..." Another volley burst from the Kestrel, striking the surface of the pirate ship. It cracked, a breach formed, and metal slowly began shearing as the vacuum of space began its own attack. The ship tore into pieces, small fires swirled in the last of the oxygen before being forever snuffed, the same as the lives of those onboard who were pulled into space. Human or not, their bodies would drift for countless eons, disgraced and abandoned, until in millennia gone by they would feel the faint pull of a planet or star, wherein they would burn and become truly nothing.

Elwood stopped watching, taking his hands from behind his back. He found his cold blooded vengeance had done nothing to ease the pain of futility that now enveloped their mission. Sliding carefully into his chair he felt only bitterness. What if their ship still had an engineer onboard before we-? he wondered, What if we still could have…? What does it matter… It's all over now…

David reached for the intercom, he exhaled heavily before picking it up.
"Jon… Garland didn't leave behind anything to drink, did he?"

The intercom crackled in response, only picking up static until finally a hacking voice coughed:
"You… You touch ma stash n' *cough* n' I'll kill you."

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