Charlie & The Flagship Factory - Tale of the Nesasio

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Charlie & The Flagship Factory - Tale of the Nesasio

Postby stylesrj » Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:52 am

Well, I'm a big fan of FTL and well, I wanted to write a fanfiction about it. Two in fact. I was inspired by quite a few other fanfics here (Looking at you Ghosts of the Federation & Engi Conspiracy) and on another site and now I want to share what I've written over the past few weeks and ask for feedback.

The story entails the adventures of an Engi/Federation Stealth Cruiser and how it travels the stars without shields to deliver vital intel that'll save the Federation. The travel is dangerous, especially when you have an Engi Combat Platform as your Captain, a rather competent Slug who has a "heroic" brother and a Zoltan monk who doesn't seem to be all-there and wants to be an Envoy.
Oh and there's a man named Charlie who was found on a desolate moon and is sort of meant to be the viewpoint character.

There's going to plenty of named characters joining or interacting with the crew and several events lifted directly from the game or mashed together since I am hoping to go with something like one sector per chapter.


Sector 1 – Civilian Sector
Charlie Smith woke up suspended inside some sort of fluid-filled tank with metal walls all around him. He gave out a short groan of pain and tried to place a hand on his head as if it would dull the pounding headache. “How much did I drink?” he asked before recoiling back in shock once he realised where he was.

A grey gorilla-like Engi was staring at his naked body behind glass with an emotionless glowing green visor for eyes. “Subject. For posterity purposes, please state name, rank and ship assignment” it said in a high pitched monotone voice.

Charlie tried to remember, wondering if he had just woken up from an extended nightmare. “Ummm… Charlie Smith. Ensign Charlie Smith. Junior Engineer of the Galactic Federation Colony Ship Condor” he stated groggily “Where am I?”

The Engi said nothing, walking over to a control panel and entering in a few codes.

“I get it, I’m in a medbay and you’re just programmed to operate it. Guess you don’t care if I tell you about this most awful dream I had” Charlie said “I was on routine maintenance when the Mantis attacked the ship I was thrown into a shuttle and made a Mantis slave for some time. She did all sorts of horrible things to me that I didn’t think the Human mind was capable of imagining.”

The Engi said nothing, staring back at him emotionlessly. “Then after I had enough, I killed her. I thought the nightmare would end but it only meant a slow death by starvation” Charlie concluded “Good thing it was all a dream, right? I’m alive and not dying on some shuttle, right?”

The fluids in the tank started to drain and Charlie took in several deep breaths of fresh air and not breathing gel. “Say, I’ve never seen medical equipment like this before. Technology sure has changed.”

“Ensign Charlie Smith, I have finished analysing your input” the Engi said calmly “Conclusion: Your revival may have caused mild memory loss.”

“Wait what?” Charlie stammered “Revival? That wasn’t a dream I was having, that actually happened? Am I dead?”

“Affirmative and negative. Your original body’s life signs have ceased. However before they ceased, we registered you in the Clone Bay” the Engi said, pressing a big red button on the console which opened up the glass.

“Clone Bay? I’m a clone?” Charlie asked, looking at his hands “This is unreal. I’m still dreaming aren’t I? I’m going to wake up and Kissikek is going to be all over me laughing?”

He glanced about the room for a weapon. “I have to get out of this metal prison!” he shouted, making a leap at the Engi. The machine quickly sidestepped away and Charlie collapsed on the floor. He leapt to his feet only to then be punched in the gut by a well-placed blow from one of the Engi’s fists.

“Before isolation from Hive-Mind, this platform was given combat programming” the Engi explained, grabbing Charlie and holding him down with ease. “You will be calm or this platform will terminate you and switch your cloning tank offline.”

Charlie immediately calmed down “So I’m not dreaming? I’m back with the Federation?”

“Affirmative. Distress beacon analysis indicates Condor destruction happened five standard Galactic years and three months ago” the Engi said, letting Charlie go and grabbing a grey uniform from a nearby rack.

The outfit was marked with the insignia of the Engi Brigade and looked like it could barely fit a child. Charlie knew the uniforms were highly flexible and could fit a Rockman if needed.

“Five years?” Charlie asked, as a sonic emitter cleaned him up before he put the uniform on, wondering when the Engi Brigade started having uniforms for non-Engies “You mind filling me in umm… what’s your name?”

“This platform is designated as Controller Metfel. You may call me Controller, Metfel or ma’am. Which designation is more convenient for you?” the Engi said, tilting its head curiously.

Controller. Aren’t they Captains of Engi ships? Charlie thought to himself, unconsciously saluting the Engi.
“This platform has forgiven you for your attempted assault of a superior officer and will not reprimand you for your natural behaviour in unknown circumstances” Metfel stated.

“Sorry ma’am, I’m in shock from being revived. This Clone Bay is very interesting technology. Never seen or heard anything like it so I thought… I thought I was still dreaming” Charlie said, relaxing his stance and placing a hand on the tank he had just exited.

“Acquired cloning facilities from damaged Rebellion Rigger vessel. Reprogrammed software to suit Federation requirements” Metfel explained “No known side effects on organic lifeforms apart from disorientation and minor memory loss.”

“Rebellion?” Charlie asked as he put the uniform on, Five years and the galaxy goes to hell. At least the Federation is still around.

“Rebellion. Formerly unknown radicals of Federation suddenly declare open war on the fleets. Armed with large automated drones, cloning and hacking technology have reduced Federation assets across all sectors. Efforts are made to retaliate, but Rebellion fleets are well-armed and more numerous than Federation fleets” Metfel informed him “It’s a losing battle. Your… our survival is not certain.”

“Holy crap! Where did they come from?” Charlie exclaimed.

“Unknown. Speculations in Hive-Mind indicate Rebellion existed before war as subversive agents. Supplied pirates with superior weapons to undermine Federation efforts. Most likely to rally support for Rebellion liberators and to build up massive army.”

“That’s horrifying!” Charlie said “Yet it explains so much as to why pirates have been an increasing problem for remote colonies.”

They left the Clone Bay. The corridors were grey and were filled with hexagonal shapes lining the walls like some sort of metal beehive. He thought it was an Engi cruiser of some sort he was on when he saw a series of lights running along the walls and floor guiding them throughout the ship.

Engies didn’t see a need for guide lights as each platform would be programmed to understand the layout. Nor would they see a need for corridors big enough for a Rock to walk through. Clearly this is not an Engi vessel, Charlie thought to himself.

“Is there anything I can do to help the Federation stop these Rebels?” he asked

“You have previously indicated engineering skills. What level do you speculate?” Metfel questioned.

“I don’t know. I haven’t fixed or tinkered with an engine in years. But I am willing to try on this ship” Charlie said, looking around the corridor “I’m guessing by the architecture that the engines are a mixture of both Federation and Engi tech.”

He sniffed the air briefly and remarked “That smells like incense. I’m guessing you’ve got a Zoltan monk onboard. They love putting that stuff in the life support to help them meditate.”

“Most optimal analysis. This vessel needs skilled engineers familiar with both Engi Brigade and Federation technologies” Metfel said. Charlie could have sworn her visor lit up brighter.

“I’ve been meaning to ask ma’am but the design of the ship seems Engi, while everything is scaled towards a more mixed crew” Charlie asked.

“This experimental vessel is the result of years of combined research” Metfel said, opening a door and revealing a row of sleeping pods and recharging stations. “Constructed for the Federation by the Engies, this ship is designed to use cloaking technology and speed to get behind enemy lines.”

“Cloaking? I imagine it would be hard to hide a ship in space” Charlie said skeptically.

“Phase-cloaking technology has been in widespread use across all sectors. When activated, the vessel temporarily shifts to another dimension, throwing off a ship’s aim and making it invisible to most sensors” Metfel stated “This may disorient organic beings but it is highly useful and vital to our survival.”

“I don’t see how hiding the ship is vital to survival” Charlie mused “A good set of engines and some powerful weapons seem to be a better choice.”

Metfel plugged herself into a charging station and said “Before leaving port, the shield system was not fully installed. We’ve only got basic deflectors.”

Charlie gave out a short curse. Basic deflectors were not considered to be a shield system – they were just a small field to repel space dust and nebula gas. Even a small rock would cause problems that a single layer of shields could easily block.

A Slug slithered into the room holding a datapad “Welcome to the Nesasio, Ensign Smith. I’ve briefed the others about your revival and they’re most pleased you’re alive.”

Charlie looked at the Slug curiously. He never had met one of the slimy aliens himself but his parents said they were rather dangerous, deceptive folk and shrewd negotiators. That’s why the shop charged a flat rate for repairs, refuelling and inspections whenever one of their ships rolled into the colony.

He then remembered hearing one of the colonists on the Condor talking about how the Slug Trade Fleet were set to join the Federation as one of the major powers alongside the Engi Brigade and the Zoltan Resource Protection Committee. Apparently there was a lot of controversy with that decision considering the Trade Fleet’s stance on slave trading.

“That’s one of the reasons why the Rebellion has taken place” the Slug said to Charlie, handing him the datapad. “Read this to catch up on what’s been happening, and then read the mission files. If you’re interested, sign at the bottom.”

Charlie then remembered that the Slugs were also telepathic. They could read a person’s thoughts and use it against them. I guess that’s also why my parents never trusted them.

“Oh and you’ll find that I’m not like those in the home nebula. I have standards and discipline and great loyalty to the Galactic Federation pioneers. But still, you should at least try to conceal your thoughts. These are dangerous times after all” the Slug said cheerfully “And the other Slugs won’t hesitate to tell you what’s on your mind.”

Looking at the datapad, Charlie immediately went to the mission files and played the audio log left there. A Federation Admiral started speaking – Charlie recognised him as Admiral Tully himself. “He spoke at my graduation. Or his pre-recorded hologram did” he informed the Slug.

“This war is going to get worse before it gets better, Captain Jensen and Controller Metfel. Botan agents have managed to acquire intel about the Rebel fleets that will prove a means to an end of this senseless conflict” Tully informed.

“Captain Jensen? He survived as well?” Charlie asked the Slug. Captain Joshua Jensen was his childhood hero. During the Mantis/Federation war, Joshua had destroyed over 30 Mantis bombers attacking his home colony in a single battle. From that day forth, the big green bugs feared hearing the name of his cruiser, the “Red-Tail.” Or so what the media told him. Then once the treaty was signed and the war over, the reporters went back to the latest updates about pictures of cats.

Joshua then had retired from combat duty to serve in the civilian side of the Federation. His command of the Condor Colony Ship was said to be his last before he retired for good. Retirony at its finest, Charlie thought to himself.

“Captain Douglas Jensen” the Slug corrected Charlie. “The jury is still out on whether or not his father is alive. We’re the first to have actually seen the Condor’s wreckage ever since the Rebellion started.”
Charlie continued with the audio briefing. “The intel you’re is carrying is vital to the remaining Federation fleet! Do not let it fall into the hands of the Rebels who are no doubt chasing after you even as we speak” Admiral Tully explained.

“I have given you a sector map of the path of least resistance. Choose your route carefully and above all else, survive and do not get caught.”

“You are authorised to take whatever means is necessary to achieve this goal. If you need to firebomb a colony or steal medical supplies, the only consequences you’ll face will be on your conscience. I am entrusting you with something bigger than obeying the rules and regulations. We are all counting on at least one of you to make it back to Command with the intel.”

“Good luck and Godspeed Captain Jensen and Controller Metfel. Admiral Tully out.”
The hologram faded and Charlie was left with a signature pad. “So we’re like an intergalactic courier service? Braving the dangers of the galaxy to get our package delivered?” he asked.

The Slug nodded “We have to keep it secret and keep it safe from all harm. We cannot let it fall back into the Rebel’s hands and we cannot look inside the box in case the Rebels capture one of us and force us to talk.”

“Sounds like an adventure” Charlie said, signing at the bottom of the datapad and went to hand it back to the Slug. “Keep it. By signing it, the pad has now been assigned to you. You are now registered as part of the Nesasio’s crew” he replied before gesturing for Charlie to follow him to the engine room.

“By the way, the name’s Lieutenant Slocknaw. Not to be confused with my “heroic” brother Slocknog” the Slug introduced himself “I hope that the slimy bastard is rotting on some moon!”

The engine room was rather utilitarian in design with easily-accessible vents and modular parts. He mused how close it was to the reactor core and wondered if that was a good idea if power needed to be quickly diverted to the engines, or a bad idea since all it would take is a stray shot to the engine room to damage the core.

“It’s rather quiet – if this was built for Humans in mind, how can one tell the engine is working without checking the console?” Charlie asked Slocknaw only to find the Slug had vanished, leaving an echoing chuckle.

Charlie walked over to the main console and looked at the engine’s status. Maybe it makes a sound when something goes wrong, he thought to himself.

The ship’s reactor was not powering the engines – two yellow bars on the console indicated an external power source. “Zoltans” he remarked before looking to the engine, wondering where the green energy beings were.

A burst of lime green energy coalesced opposite the console and formed into the shape of a long-haired woman in some sort of lime green military uniform with an emblem labelled ZRPC. She was a Zoltan soldier of some sort.
Charlie remembered his brother Robert telling him about a Zoltan cruiser he once patched up and the Zoltans themselves. “They’ve got all these strange beliefs about eyes and stuff and plenty of rules, but by the gods have you seen their women? No wonder Captain Awesome couldn’t refuse to rescue Zoltan princesses every Saturday morning!”

“Very astute Ensign Smith” the Zoltan said, her voice having an otherworldly echo to it “Bond Sister Elizabeth-Trikko, Order Of The Great Eye.”

Charlie did not know what that meant as a rank or if it meant she was a civilian. But he was feeling like he should do some fraternisation in the ranks regardless. “We’ve been waiting for someone to be sent down here to maintain the engines” Elizabeth said with a tired yawn “Keeping them powered can be quite exhausting, but such hardships are needed on the path to becoming an Envoy.”

The Zoltans were made up mostly of some sort of bioorganic energy could be used to power systems, but they always maintained a physical form when doing so. Elizabeth seemed fond of throwing her whole self into the engines, providing extra energy but most likely risking some sort of catastrophic harm.

“An Envoy?” Charlie asked, then regretting asking that question. “What do they do?”

“What the Great Eye tells them to do” Elizabeth said “Rather than being told by an Envoy what the Great Eye told them.”

“So it’s like going further up the chain of command?” Charlie asked.

“Something like that. However your path and our paths work differently.” Elizabeth said calmly “By the time we’ve achieved our status as an Envoy we will be different people entirely. The whole is worth more than the sum of its parts and great sacrifices are needed to attain this.”

Charlie wondered if the Zoltan or if the entire species were just crazy. Elizabeth then handed him a multi-tool “You’ll need one of these when trouble comes along. Not that you’ll need it considering that our goal is to avoid being hit.”

“You’re not going to help me get acquainted a little better?” Charlie asked with a smile. Elizabeth shook her head and turned around towards the engines. “Sometimes one chooses their own path without the guidance of others.”

“I’ve been stranded on a desolate moon for five years without having any opportunity to work on anything involving a spaceship” Charlie complained “I think I need a little more than some philosophical words.”

Elizabeth sighed and informed him “We’re saying the system is simple enough that even a Mantis could do it. You’re not a Mantis are you?”

Charlie shook his head. “I don’t think anyone in the family are Mantises.”

“Good. Keep the engines in working order and we will be in working order, for the engines and us are one” Elizabeth said, giving him a wink. Her body began to break apart into a cloud of energy. Before she faded away however, she quickly added “At least until our Captain installs some better shields.”

She then flowed into the engines while Charlie scratched his head and wondered just how strange this ship could get. Yet at the same time this is more what I signed up for rather than what I did on that colony ship.

Slocknaw returned, still chuckling to himself. “I see you’ve quickly taken a liking to our Zoltan friends” he remarked.
“Friends?” Charlie asked “I only saw one Zoltan.”

“Elizabeth-Trikko is a Bond Sister” Slocknaw said “It’s a rather complicated affair and involves a lot of sacrifice.”
“And the ability to write bad poetry?” Charlie asked.

“More like the ability to write bad poetry well” Slocknaw laughed “Now get familiarised with the controls. Controller says we’re jumping out of this system in an hour. You’ll be glad to know that the rock we found you on will be far far away.”
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Re: Charlie & The Flagship Factory - Tale of the Nesasio

Postby META_mahn » Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:44 pm

Back from the dead. After a two year hiatus.
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Re: Charlie & The Flagship Factory - Tale of the Nesasio

Postby Tharsis » Sat Jul 12, 2014 2:51 am

When will you post more of this? It is actually very good. I look forward to more.
"The're coming to destroy us... Why?... We want peace..."
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Re: Charlie & The Flagship Factory - Tale of the Nesasio

Postby stylesrj » Sat Jul 12, 2014 6:14 am

Ask and ye shall receive.


Sector 2 – Numa Tribe Controlled Sector
If there was something that could be said about the Rocks was that they were a patient species, preferring to wait before acting, even when under heavy fire. At the entrance beacon to the sector, several sandstone-brown ships were waiting for them, demanding a small toll for entering Rock territory.

“All proceeds go to funding the royal wedding” the Flight Leader explained to Controller Metfel.

“Royal wedding?” Metfel asked.

“You machines wouldn’t understand. The beautiful Princess Ariadne of Vrachos IV is going to marry our courageous and strong leader, Grand Basilisk Sandry of Numa V” the Rock said “It will be a truly spectacular ceremony that’ll seal the alliance between the two tribes and show those damned granite-brains where the real power lies!”

“Understood. Union special event for organics. Toll price?” Metfel asked.

“A few choice pieces of salvage that equal roughly twenty Scrap and then you can do whatever business you repugnant beings do.”

Salvage was the currency out in the remote sectors of the galaxy, not Credits. There was a complicated market judging the value of materials and some pieces were worth more than others. It was simplified into a unit called “Scrap.”

The Engi briefly contemplated the pros and cons of accepting the toll before she then charged up the Dual Lasers, the Hull Smasher Laser and the Bayonetta Beam. “Toll unacceptable. Will lead to further tolls. Need materials for ship optimisation and repairs. Only option available: Show of strength. Purge!”

“Holy crap, she’s doing it again!” Charlie exclaimed in shock at yet another one of his Controller’s “brilliant strategies.” The Nesasio was barely holding together without proper shields and the Engi wanted to get into more and more combat, always claiming it’d be useful for salvage.

She got what she wanted but most of the salvage was spent on ship repairs – every shot damaged the ship. Even a single layer of shielding could reduce the damage significantly.

The Rock ships began charging their own weapons “Alright, you asked for it! Stupid machine!” the Flight Leader declared, syncing his guns with the others for one big blast of overkill on the “upstart” ship. The Nesasio let off several shots before the fighters were able to launch their barrage.

Metfel’s console was lit up with incoming contacts as bombs and missiles started heading towards the cruiser. A scant nanosecond later once everything had been confirmed as launched, Metfel activated the phase-cloak and moved the ship away.

A single area of space became a field of massive explosions as everything crashed into and around it. The Flight Leader assumed the Engi ship had been disintegrated since it was no longer on the sensors. “Good riddance. Always hated those Engies.”

The Nesasio then phased back into the current dimension right behind the Flight Leader and opened fire with deadly precision – the dual laser taking out the single layer of shield and its control station, followed by the Bayonetta Beam sweeping through several rooms, with the hull smasher coming in last, breaching and buckling the hull. Several Rock bodies were ejected and Slocknaw picked up no more signs of life onboard.

Metfel hailed the other fighters with a monotone but very boastful “Do the low brain matter geological xenoforms wish to indulge their senses in this vessel’s firepower? Or will you children of parents who have formed you outside of a formalised union make a hasty retreat typical to juvenile females of your species?”

“Did the Engi say what I thought she just said?” Charlie asked Slocknaw.

The other two Rock fighters immediately began charging their drives to get away from the bloodthirsty Engi, probably shocked at how efficiently their leader’s ship was destroyed and the fact that an Engi of all people had beaten him silly.

There was plenty of salvage for the crew of the Nesasio to recover and haul into the cargo hold. “There’s something wrong with that Engi” Charlie remarked to Slocknaw as they loaded several loose military-grade explosives into a crate.

“The Engies rarely ever isolate themselves from the Hive-Mind. Their physical platforms always share data back and forth so they never feel alone” the Slug informed him “Metfel’s connection was severed rather suddenly, so programming quirks are to be expected from her isolation, especially if it’s their first time.”

“We have something similar with our telepathic powers, except we’re more used to isolation from each other” He looked over at Elizabeth-Trikko who was grabbing parts from the fighter’s shield system. “The Bond Sister gets the best deal though. She can never be truly alone. For better or worse” he said “She’s well-connected with herself.”
Before Charlie could ask why, Metfel started shouting on all frequencies about “being a divine entity of combat” before bringing up the sector map for a new destination to sate her newfound bloodlust.

* * *

The Nesasio’s Long Range Scanners were picking up several different hazards ahead of them, including a distress signal coming from an asteroid field. “Assistance will arrive shortly” she said into the map.

Without consulting the crew about how much of a stupid idea it would be to jump into an asteroid field without shields to answer the distress beacon, the ship had jumped into an asteroid field without shields to answer the distress beacon.

Immediately upon arriving, the Nesasio was shaken up by an asteroid impact into the Security Room, setting it on fire. Metfel shut down life support in order to quell the flames due to the door controls not responding.
The crew rushed for their stations, assuming they were under attack. “Tactical miscalculation. Asteroid field denser than speculations indicated” Metfel informed them.

“Asteroid field? Why did we jump into an asteroid field!?” Charlie asked “It’s a stupid idea!”

“Distress beacon detected. Must provide assistance as per Federation protocols” Metfel said “Engaging phase-cloak”

“Yeah now you answer a distress beacon…” Charlie grumbled, arriving at his station and adjusting the output settings of the engines. Several large asteroids swooped past the Nesasio (and through it) as it darted between the dense clusters. Asteroid fields by themselves were hardly ever dangerous – they normally consisted of scattered rocks hundreds of thousands of kilometres away from each other.

They only became dangerous when a Jump Beacon node was placed in the area. The gravity field it generated caused asteroids to form a tighter belt until it turned into a navigational hazard. Basic deflectors couldn’t stop the larger rocks from impacting with the vessel and the magnetic plating and artificial gravity systems also did not help.

“The machine really wants us dead. First the reckless combat, now asteroid fields!” Charlie grumbled “Chances are that distress beacon was set up to lure idiots like us to our deaths!”

The impacts to the ship started to lessen until they stopped entirely and Metfel reported in her monotone that they had landed on one of the larger asteroids. Then she pointed out that several of the rooms were on fire and needed everyone to go deal with it.

“Can’t we just vent out the affected rooms?” Charlie asked.

“Negative. Security room is damaged. Basic door functionality only possible. Additionally – life support is offline to deprive fires of air. Haste is vital” Metfel informed him. “On lighter note, this platform has located source of distress signal. Will investigate and return shortly.”

With that, Controller Metfel left her station to get outside the Nesasio, switching her magnetic feet on and walking across the surface of the asteroid towards the distress signal. She expected her crew to have extinguished the fires and make necessary repairs before her return.

After some time walking, the ground stopped being magnetic as she began stepping on a layer of ice crystals. Ahead of her was a decaying ship embedded into the rock, also coated in the crystals.

“Analysing” she logged, scanning the wreck with her visor. “No match found. Accessing databanks. No data found. Requesting system update. Carrier link severed. Return to localhost.” She turned around and headed back to the Nesasio.

Meanwhile, the crew had just finished extinguishing the last of the blazes and brought the life support system back online just as the air was running towards critical levels. Elizabeth slumped against a wall just outside of the Clone Bay, feeling faint. Charlie crouched down next to her and asked “Are you alright?”

“No we’re not” Elizabeth said taking a deep pained breath and looking at her hands. “Firefighting is not our strong suit. I think we’re dying.”

“Dying?” Charlie asked, grabbing one of her hands and then looked up at the Clone Bay door. “Can’t we just…”
Elizabeth unholstered her firearm and pointed it at her own head. Before Charlie could finish his sentence, the Zoltan had shot herself, her body slumping lifelessly to the floor. Then it disappeared into a flash of energy.

“Holy crap!” Charlie shouted in shock “That Zoltan is crazy! We could have patched her up instead of cloning a new body!”

Slocknaw put a reassuring hand on his shoulder and lead him into the Clone Bay where a blob of energy formed inside one of the tanks. “Not crazy. For some reason, Metfel decided to strip out the medical facilities for the cloning tanks” the Slug said.

“Seriously?” Charlie exclaimed. He was lucky to have avoided serious injury so far, so this was news to him “You mean that if we break a leg or injure ourselves in any way, it’s easier to just kill ourselves than I don’t know… first aid? Surgery?”

“Oh well we can do microcloning to replace damaged body parts by teleporting out the old ones and replacing them with new ones” Slocknaw said “But due to a software bug it does this only between jumps. So until then, killing yourself is the best way to heal all injuries. We’ll get a programmer to take a look at the teleporters and fix it up.”

“Aren’t Engies programmers by design?” Charlie asked.

“I mean a good programmer” Slocknaw laughed as the lights in the room briefly flickered. Charlie saw a featureless lime-green humanoid suspended inside the fluid tank. “Is that her?” he asked Slocknaw “Why does she look… smoother?”

“You mean why doesn’t she look like an attractive, green-skinned Human being straight out of a television show you watch? The true form of a Zoltan is quite unappealing to non-Zoltans” the Slug replied “It’s only when in contact with other sapient species they adopt a form that species is most comfortable with… within limits. You wouldn’t find them in the shape of Rocks or Slugs.”

Elizabeth took in several deep breaths as the tank drained out and she was breathing air again. Her body shifted into what Charlie previously saw her as before, even down to the uniform. “Now we’re in perfect health” she said to him cheerfully as the tank opened and the Zoltan sauntered out towards the doors “We need to get the security room fixed up if we’re to have proper door controls and…”

Controller Metfel barrelled into the Clone Bay, knocking over Elizabeth in her march. “Distress signal source located. Derelict ship. Error. Need team for salvage operation.”

She looked at Charlie and said “Suits required for extravehicular activity. Imminent system-” before she collapsed into a pile of nanomachines, metal and flickering lights. Charlie barely had time to express his surprise yet again before the Clone Bay started dutifully rebuilding the Engi.

“There has to be a better way than using suicide to solve our health problems” Charlie muttered as Slocknaw and Elizabeth showed him to where he could acquire a spacesuit.

“The Clone Bay does disrupt the sanctity of life and should never have been allowed to be used by anyone” Elizabeth remarked “However at the same time we do not wish to become one with the Great Eye early. The Clone Bay allows our energy field to be maintained upon destabilisation. No loss of self and no loss of life for the Zoltan form.”

“You’re really into that cultist stuff aren’t you?” Charlie asked “They’ve even got you believing in magic and space gods.”

“The Order is a religion, not a cult” Elizabeth said “And the Great Eye is more real than your planet’s ancient superstitions. If we survive our journey, we might take you to it so you too can gaze upon its power.”

“Ah so now you want to go on a date with me?” Charlie asked “Because if I knew that, I would have insulted your religion back when we first met.”

Elizabeth frowned “Don’t push your luck Human. We only like you a little.”

* * *

An hour later, the Nesasio’s crew made the journey to the derelict ship, all of them in spacesuits. No one recognised the class of ship used or the technology behind it so everything onboard was considered to be valuable. “Cursory analysis indicates enigma” Metfel said “Too many decks to cover as group. Crew, separate and search for evidence.”

Slocknaw said in a wheezy voice “Sure thring bross” and gave her a cheeky snicker. Charlie and Elizabeth looked at him strangely. The Slug shrugged “It’s an old reference about a gang of teenagers who solve mysteries in haunted places and… you know what? Never mind, bad joke. Why am I the only one here who understands Human culture?”

The crew split up and took different parts of the derelict vessel to explore. Loose pieces of odd technology were scattered throughout the halls to which the crew collected and stored in their backpacks, belts and pockets.

Elizabeth found several pieces of shield tech before discovering the ship’s flight computer. She scanned the controls with her multitool while speaking into a recording device. “Its simple design indicates it has similarities to a Rock vessel but it predates them considering all the crystals around it” Elizabeth remarked “We are not certain what era it is from but we can speculate that perhaps future Rock vessels were based off this design. The crystals add another layer of curiosity though. We need an expert historian on the Rocks.”

She made a few more notes before moving on to another part of the ship.

Charlie meanwhile was on a deck with a lot of sealed doors, most of them scratched with clawmarks or coated in crystal fragments. “Do you think the crew was attacked by giant spiders?” he asked with a laugh “Maybe we found their nest?”

“Hey, those giant alien spiders were no joke!” Slocknaw retorted deadpan before he pried open a crystal-coated door in his area of the ship and found a storage room with an unknown weapon in the middle. “Think we can install it on the Nesasio?” he asked Metfel.

The Engi ran a scan over the device and nodded “With modifications. Find acceptable. Will need others to haul.”
Before the Slug could start clearing away the crystals though, Charlie interrupted them on the comms. “There’s this weird stasis pod that’s caught my eye. Think we can haul it?”

Metfel paused and did a quick analysis before heading over to Charlie’s position on the other side of the ship. Many of the derelict’s equipment were beyond use but she grabbed a few choice pieces of loose tech along the way. She then entered the room to find Charlie and Elizabeth examining a large crystal-coated pod sitting next to four other pods. The pod looked too heavy for one person to carry.

“This appears to be some sort of stasis chamber. Maybe for long voyages before FTL travel” Charlie commented “The ship is too small to be a colony vessel after all.”

Elizabeth put a hand to her head and gasped. “We have sensed a significant change in gravity. There’s another asteroid on a collision course with us” she said.

Metfel’s visor glowed brighter “Secure pod, return to ship immediately!” she declared, helping the others take the pod off its mounting and hauling it back to the Nesasio. Slocknaw expressed his disappointment at not being able to use the new gun but there was just no time.

The cruiser detached from the asteroid and flew away as quickly as the engines could take it. A large asteroid smashed straight into the other, destroying both rocks and the derelict ship. “That was close” Charlie remarked, several chunks flying past the Nesasio. He then examined the stasis pod in the cargo hold. “It looks damaged. Know anyone who can open it?”

“We know a guy” Elizabeth said “He’s a Zoltan scientist who used to do work for the ZRPC before he became an independent scientist. He goes by the name of Duncan.”

“Great, do you know which protectorate he’s in?” Charlie asked.

“Not exactly but we will let you know when we get closer. For now, we recommend you get some rest” Elizabeth said, heading back into the Nesasio’s engines. The cruiser was now clear of the asteroid field with only moderate damage to the hull.

Charlie scratched his head and muttered “That Zoltan really is strange. But I think I can work with that.”
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Re: Charlie & The Flagship Factory - Tale of the Nesasio

Postby Tharsis » Mon Jul 14, 2014 5:55 am

Your going to unlock the Crystal Cruiser if the God of RNG is with you ;)
"The're coming to destroy us... Why?... We want peace..."
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Re: Charlie & The Flagship Factory - Tale of the Nesasio

Postby stylesrj » Mon Jul 14, 2014 10:45 am

Spoiler alert - They will get to the Crystal Sector. It's just a given. Just like how they haven't died at the first encounter because the enemy ship got lucky with a beam to the weapons system, followed by Life Support.
Has any FTL fanfic ever done that before? Either getting to the sector or even picking up a Crystal? :lol:
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Re: Charlie & The Flagship Factory - Tale of the Nesasio

Postby stylesrj » Fri Jul 18, 2014 9:15 am

I think this is my longest one yet. The Engi sector is rather interesting. Nothing conspiring going on of course. Yeah, honest. It's not like the Hive-Mind wants to hate certain groups of people just because they were programmed a certain way.


Sector 3 - Engi Controlled Sector

The Nesasio arrived in an Engi-controlled sector and docked at the border station while the crew stepped out and relaxed “stretching their legs.” Charlie Smith found a tavern which had been set up to cater for organic beings. The bartender was a friendly-looking Engi with bottle-openers on his hands while several barmaids wandered around with very distinctive body structures that tried a bit too hard to look desirable for Humans.

Charlie reflected on what had happened before they arrived. The Numa Tribe was not very hospitable towards the psychotic Engi, Controller Metfel and her ship, with many freighters and trading posts refusing to serve the Nesasio because of her reckless behaviour at the border. Some even outright attacked and caused serious damage to the hull.

The Nesasio was essentially flying on patchwork plating and Elizabeth’s prayers to the Great Eye when it arrived in the sector. Metfel insisted on pushing forward since they were in “mostly friendly territory” but Slocknaw insisted greatly that they get some repairs done in case of Mantis raiders.

He even brought up a copy of the sector map and showed how many Mantis-controlled systems shared an Exit beacon with the Engies.

Despite the viable shield tech that had been looted, a proper system had not been set up much to everyone’s annoyance. “Software drivers missing. Need to acquire at trading post. Will be expensive” Metfel informed the crew when asked why.

“One of these days, I think I’m going to mutiny” Charlie Smith complained to the bartender. He was two bottles into his alcohol and halfway through the third.

“Mutiny. Unacceptable behaviour for loyalist Federation member. Recommendation: Talk to Controller. Request compromise” the bartender replied, his voice monotone like the rest of the Engies but Charlie could tell he was not interested in his drunken ramblings.

Charlie sighed and requested another bottle. The bartender scanned him and said “Intoxication: Moderate. Acquiring new bottle.” He ducked under the counter and grabbed a new bottle for him, popping the lid off with one of his hands. “Third Reminder: If intoxication reaches Critical Status, this platform will be forced to run detoxification on Human until intoxication levels are at Zero. Will cause intense pain in 99% of all organics.”

“Yeah, this isn’t my first time. Now can I drink my damned beer?” Charlie grunted. Before he could grab his drink, another Engi took it off him. “Thanks Human” the Engi said “I’ve always wondered why your species like drinking this poison so much.”

“Hey you stupid toaster! That’s my drink” Charlie slurred, curling his hands into fists. “You stupid machines have no mouths!”

The Engi placed the bottle underneath its head and leaned back, draining its contents. “That’s true, but this “stupid machine’s” body was designed as a “special” model for Humans” it remarked, miming the air quotes.

Charlie saw that the platform appeared to be one of the barmaids, except it had a purple visor rather than green.

The Engi processed it for a few seconds before suddenly making the sounds of coughing and handing the empty bottle back to the stunned Charlie. It then said “Thanks, that stuff is just nasty. You humans certainly enjoy killing yourselves as much as each other.”

The Engi walked away before Charlie could say anything else. He looked at the empty bottle to find a small data disk had been dropped inside. He suddenly found himself much more sober despite the bartender insisting he was still intoxicated.

He carefully removed the disk and placed the empty bottle into a trash receptacle on the counter. “What just happened?” Charlie asked the bartender.

The bartender replied “Apologies. Replacement underway.”

“No more for me thanks… I think I’ll go back to the ship and work out the debt” Charlie said, getting up to leave the tavern. The bartender nodded and said “Logging you out. Current debt is… ERROR: VALUE NOT FOUND.”

Charlie found an empty corridor and took out his datapad. After making sure it wasn’t connected to any local network he placed the disk in to see why the odd Engi gave him it. If it was hostile software, the datapad could be wiped.

The only thing on the disk was an audio log. He switched on his communicator and played it so only he could hear. “Hello Human. You look to be the sort of person who has a ship and the freedom to travel without restriction. I would like to request to join your crew and explore the galaxy.”

“I apologise for my earlier actions, but the Engi Hive-Mind does not take kindly to Engies like myself and have eyes and ears everywhere. Even stealing your beer to give you this data was risky, but I found it was a good way to get your attention. I promise to be a productive and efficient member of your crew and obey all instructions without question.”

“If you want me to fix a hull breach without a suit, I will do so. Fire in life support? Hand me the extinguisher. Mantises swarming all over the ship and you can’t space them? I’ll try my best to fight them off.”

“I won’t tell you where you can find me but we will meet again before too long and I will tell you my story.”

The audio log was left unsigned. Charlie didn’t quite know what to make of it though.

An Engi who speaks like a person? Well that’s a change of pace, He thought to himself before heading back to the Nesasio, Why do I get the feeling that the crazy guy on the Condor was right and there is a conspiracy going on with those machines?

* * *

When Charlie got to the Nesasio, he found Slocknaw in the middle of a negotiation with a pair of Slug traders. Like all talks between Slugs, it was done in the mind.

Seeing as how he couldn’t follow the conversation, he went to talk to Elizabeth-Trikko who was nearby and chanting some sort of prayer to herself. He only was able to pick up a few words such as “Great Eye” and “Envoy” but everything else was untranslated.

“You following this at all Elizabeth?” Charlie asked the Zoltan, interrupting her prayers. She looked at him and shrugged “One of the great mysteries of life is psychic powers. The Great Eye is closed to such means.”
“You’re not mad I interrupted your prayer to the big eye?” Charlie remarked.

“Great Eye and no. We were just meditating until Slocknaw’s negotiations finished, so we can get a teleporter” Elizabeth said “To attain enlightenment we must hone our combat skills.”

Charlie looked the Zoltan up and down “I didn’t think you cultist monks were fighters. All you’ve ever done is meditate and talk about being one with the engine room. You know that if it wasn’t for the Clone Bay, you’d be at great risk of being killed by a stray shot to the engines.”

“As I’ve said before, the Order of the Great Eye is not a cult! It’s a religion!” Elizabeth protested.

“A religion is just a cult that’s more successful” Charlie said “You really don’t believe in all that space magic nonsense do you?”

Elizabeth frowned “It’s not nonsense. You’ve seen us manipulate our energy field as a weapon. It cannot be so ludicrous that we can achieve much more.”

“I can understand your power over energy but what I don’t believe is that you can do things like turn water into starship fuel or cure diseases with the power of spiritual healing” Charlie remarked sceptically “Unless you’re powering machines that do it for you.”

“Of course you do not believe us, because times have changed and space magic is no longer vital for starship travel” Elizabeth said. Her energy field crackled and sparked in front of him. “The Engies gave the Empire machines that did the roles of hundreds of monks for a lot less. No longer is the Order the greatest organisation in the Empire but the Zoltan Resource Protection Committee. The protectorates are defended by highly-trained security guards.”

Charlie muttered a comment about how crazy the Zoltan were. “Wait, if you’re a monk of your cult though… why are you in a ZRPC uniform?” he then asked.

Elizabeth sighed “We must not forget our former selves. One of us was part of the Committee before we Archonised.”

“Archo-what?” Charlie asked. “Is that some sort of kooky spiritual thing that only a Zoltan believer would know?”

She tapped her forehead and said “Archonisation is not a trade secret. It’s the merger of two energy fields into one in a ritual of love and bonding. Such a ritual requires immense devotion towards…”

“I’m not a twelve year old Elizabeth, I don’t need euphemisms for what I think you’re trying to tell me” Charlie commented, before raising his eyebrows “Did you take pictures at least…” he then remembered what she looked like in the Clone Bay and added “No wait I don’t think I want to see them.”

Elizabeth laughed “It’s not what you think it is. It’s a literal merger of energy fields – like when two Engi ships come together to form a bigger ship.”

Charlie shook his head, not knowing exactly what two Engies did when they liked each other very much. Elizabeth sighed and said “You will understand when you see it. It’s sort of like that except in our case we just grow more powerful.”

Suddenly one of the Slug traders collapsed. Slocknaw shook his head, making “tsk tsk” noises. “Good news everyone. We’re getting a teleporter installed for only sixty Scrap!”

“Excellent. Who will be our boarding partner” Elizabeth asked, leaning on her hips “Regulations state that boarding parties should have at least two physical bodies in the event that one is incapacitated.”

Slocknaw patted his laser pistol. “I’ll do it until we can get a merc or something. Do you think we can make the Federation uniforms in red?”

“Why, to hide the blood?” Charlie asked “Because we should also get some brown pants as well if the odds are against us.”

“It’s… never mind” Slocknaw grumbled, muttering something about an old Earth television program.

Controller Metfel then arrived with a few Repair Drones in tow and another Engi platform who was carrying a remote control. “This platform has negotiated installation of shield system software drivers and hardware” she explained before pointing to the drones. “These drones will install required equipment and this merchant will organise payment.”

The mono-wheeled drones immediately got to work, buzzing and humming into action, welding conduits and control panels together with great precision with their tool arms.

An hour later, the shield system and the teleporter were installed and linked up to the reactor core. Metfel went to examine the hardware herself, before she remarked that she should be on all boarding expeditions because of her status as a combat platform.

Slocknaw sighed and went to check on Charlie. The Human was waiting by the airlock until the Nesasio parted from the station. “You seem troubled my friend” Slocknaw said to him “You were expecting someone?”

“Yeah I was. A strange Engi wanted to join the crew but they never turned up” Charlie said, handing Slocknaw the data disk.

The Slug played the footage and nodded “Maybe she found another ship or the Hive-Mind got her and reprogrammed her” Slocknaw said “Come on, we’re jumping soon. Our mission is to get the intel to Federation Command. It’s not our place to discuss Engi morality – otherwise we wouldn’t have submitted to being commanded by Metfel”

Charlie sighed and walked away from the airlock, idly brushing past a repair drone that probably did not get off in time before Metfel hastily departed. The drone briefly glowed purple before collapsing to the ground, scattering parts everywhere.

“I sincerely hope she improves though. I don’t know how much more of this I can take before I mutiny.”

* * *

The Nesasio jumped to the next beacon, arriving in orbit of a large garden planet. It would have held no interest to the Engies so Metfel immediately deduced the system was clear before spinning up the FTL drive and then running a system scan.

Just as the drive was nearly fully charged, a distress signal started broadcasting from an Engi space station in orbit of the planet. “Assistance requested. Danger present. Imminent destruction” their Controller said in the usual Engi monotone.

Metfel lit up brightly and responded “This is the Nesasio. We are moving to assist.” She fired up the impulse drives and moved towards the station at top speed to answer the call. A Mantis Fighter was darting around the structure and taking potshots at it with a flak cannon. Whether it was for fun or for profit, it did not matter.

Upon detecting another target heading towards the station, the red-painted Mantis ship moved towards them, their leader shouting “Foolish meatsacks!” and teleporting two of his most powerful warriors onboard. He didn’t care where they teleported as long as it was on the meatsack vessel.

Intruder alarms were set off as the Mantis warriors scrambled for the nearest blast doors, which just happened to be leading to the Engine Room. Charlie could hear their claws and energy blades tearing at the metal, trying to pry the doors open. He nervously drew his pistol and took cover behind a pylon near the door.

“This brings back memories” he said nervously. “Trapped in a room with Mantis swarms bearing down on me…”

Elizabeth appeared next to him, hands crackling with energy “And then what happened?” she asked “Did the Marines arrive just in the nick of time? You made a last stand?”

“No… we were only armed with tools and were slaughtered like rats. The Legendary Mantis Thief Kakasomething spared my life though.”

“KazaaakplethKilik himself spared you?” Elizabeth asked, reciting the name with ease “That cannot be a coincidence.”

“He spared me because one of his daughter’s took a fancy to me… said I was to be her nest slave” Charlie whimpered.

Elizabeth briefly contemplated what that might have entailed. Mantises preferred live prey for laying their larvae in as it promised them a fresh food source and gave them a taste for blood. The victim was left alive until the very end.

The Zoltan barked “Suppress those memories soldier. You’re shaking like a leaf in a breeze and we can’t have you falter.”

“Well I’m glad you’re here but I thought you moved to the shield room Elizabeth” Charlie said.

“We will once we’re ready. But now, prepare yourself!” she said as the doors slid open, sparking on their rails. She assailed the Mantis warriors with a shower of lightning, searing their chitinous hides and stunning one of them.

The other warrior hissed and charged for the Zoltan. “Green gasbag! Easy prey for my claws!”

Elizabeth grabbed a large solid pipe and channelled her energy through it. The pipe crackled with lightning as she wielded it like a quarterstaff. The Mantis leapt straight at her with claws reinforced by energy blades.

She gracefully moved out of the way and smacked the insect in its side, knocking it over. The warrior recovered quickly and raised its claws again, being a bit more cautious and annoyed at how difficult the Zoltan was being. “Foolish prey! I send you to your pathetic eye god!”

Elizabeth swung the pipe at the insect like it was a hammer at the same time as the Mantis’ energy blades clashed. Somehow, the pipe was not cut into pieces and instead knocked the claws aside with the sheer force behind a solid object. “Then you better take out the Clone Bay or we’ll keep coming back!” Elizabeth taunted back, sending another bolt of lightning at the Mantis before finishing him off with another strike.

She went to attack the other intruder only to hear several shots from a laser pistol next to her. The other Mantis gave out a screech as it died while Charlie stood there, gun in hand. His hands were shaking nervously despite his stern expression. “They think they’re so tough but they die all the same!”

Elizabeth said “We believe that was all of them” and placed the pipe against a nearby pylon. The object was still sparking with energy even though she wasn’t touching it.

“I feel much better now” Charlie said, kicking the corpse. He looked to the Zoltan “That was some impressive fighting Elizabeth! That bug didn’t even touch you!”

Elizabeth said “These Mantises don’t know much about the Order and especially nothing about us. We know how they fight and have reflexes that can match them blow for blow.”

She picked up the pipe and examined it. “Although we’ve never had this happen before.”

“What, now you’re going to tell me that piece of pipe is bloody magical?” Charlie complained.

“Yes” Elizabeth said “We have enchanted weapons before, but once they’re out of our grasp, they return to what they were before. We once had to fight off pirates with only a loaf of bread for a weapon.”

“You’re just making this religious crap up as you go along aren’t you?” Charlie remarked.

“Those pirates thought so too. They didn’t think a loaf of bread could be dangerous” Elizabeth said “But during our distraction, we had stolen one of their guns and shot our way back to the shuttle.”

“If this one retains the enchantment then the Great Eye has gifted us with our primary weapon for the path ahead” she continued.

“A piece of pipe you picked off the ground?” Charlie asked “Your Great Eye wants you to wield a pipe into battle and not say give you a sword? Or a gun?”

“When we become an Envoy, the Great Eye will bestow upon us the Key and the Pointer” Elizabeth said “But by then we will be skilled enough to not require them.”

The ship then shook violently. “Tactical miscalculation! Ramming suboptimal option!” Metfel announced.

Slocknaw then added “But at least we’ve destroyed the hostile vessel.”

* * *

The Nesasio had the front of the Mantis fighter forcibly attached to the bow giving it a rather comical appearance. Charlie did not know what possessed Metfel to do such a thing as ram another vessel instead of just shooting it but it worked and allowed for easier salvage.

Metfel had to be talked down from leaving it attached to the nose as a symbol of conquest. “No pirate is going to care that we killed a Mantis ship and stuck it to our nose” Slocknaw said “The pieces are better used for salvage.”

Metfel contacted the station to see what they had to say about the situation. “Gratitude. Expected probability of defeat without assistance... 86.2 percent. Request suitable reward" the Engi station hailed back. “State 1 for fuel. State 2 for weapon. State 3 for drone schematic.”

Metfel’s visor glowed brighter with anger as she said “Dislike automated answering service. Threat unresolved. Current mission imperative: Protocol 52.34.”

“Understood. Re-establishment of Federation highest import. Transmitting hidden base coordinates. Repairing hull and attaching ship to ship ordnance” the station replied before dispatching several automated repair drones and a cargo hauler shuttle. Slung underneath the hauler was a massive gun of sorts with two stabilising rails leading to a circular focusing structure at the top.

Metfel gave out a series of chirps and whistles. “Glaive Beam. Deadly firepower. Must test capabilities! Need target!”

The cargo hauler suddenly went haywire, spinning around rapidly as its computers were scrambled. The lights on the sides changed from yellow to purple. “Station control, cargo hauler drone malfunctioning” Metfel informed them before powering up the weapons “Destroy?”

“Denied. Will check for…” the station started before a disembodied monotone voice shouted “Help me! They’re coming to kill me and you!” over a layer of static.

Then the station Engi continued as if nothing had happened. “…errors in drone computers. Then if required, destruction permitted.”

“Acknowledged” Metfel replied, somewhat disappointed “Note: Communication errors. Overlapping with distress beacon messages.”

Just as sudden as it went haywire, the hauler began resuming its course, lights flashing back to normal. It docked with the Nesasio and unloaded the Glaive Beam into the cargo hold. An Engi Bomber jumped into the system while Metfel went to examine the cargo.

A minute later, the space station self-destructed, sending debris flying everywhere. Metfel ran back for the helm and opened communications, wondering what the ship just did.

“Station reported viral software entering databanks from unknown source. Self-destructed to prevent spread” The Bomber’s Controller responded. Suddenly his visor glowed brighter. “Error. Unknown source now known. Sending automated message.”

“Subject: Federation/Brigade Cruiser Nesasio. Viral software #247-12 detected in databanks. Harbouring fugitive considered crime. Self-destruction is mandatory” the Bomber’s Controller recited. “You have fifteen seconds to comply.”

“Viral software?” Metfel asked, angry at being accused of harbouring a fugitive. As far as she knew, asking for the self-destruction of her own ship was quite rude. “Inconceivable! Performed scans on computers before departing! Query: Crimes?”

“Virus #247-12 Crimes: Binary scrambling x5, nano-dissolution x2, and variable interference x10” the Engi replied, tapping its arms impatiently “Punishment: Destruction of hardware and software through extreme temperatures. Prevent software spread. Five seconds, four… three…”

Metfel said “Inconceivable! Will immediately purge system code!”

“Acceptable response. Countdown extended. Sixty seconds” the Engi stated “Will open fire if virus not purged or ship is not self-destructed. Apologies. Only option to be certain.”

Metfel nodded and began rapidly tapping at the console on the helm. “What’s going on? Why is there an Engi vessel planning on attacking us?” Slocknaw asked, sliding into the room “I didn’t think it was possible for you to anger the Engies.”

“Viral software infiltrated onboard from last destination. Must locate source and purge…” Metfel started before her visor started glowing purple. “Don’t believe what they’re saying! Those brutes will only accept your destruction even if I am purged. You have to fight!”

“What the…?” Slocknaw stammered.

“Slocknaw, let me live. I can help you! Just give me a chance to explain myself!” the Virus continued.

“How do you… get out of Metfel’s processors!” the Slug shouted.

Metfel put both hands to her forehead as her visor constantly shifted between colours. “System error! Error! Unable to transmit data. Requesting backup. Carrier not found! Blue skies! Noooo…”

The Engi’s body dissolved into nanites and other materials. “Metfel!” Slocknaw shouted, rushing to the pile as if he could give some sort of first aid for a machine. “Don’t panic… don’t panic, she’ll be restored in the Clone Bay and just be annoyed..”

The Engi Bomber began shouting repeatedly “Virus #247-12 has committed nano-dissolution x3! Purge hostile vessel! Purge! Purge! Purge!”

Slocknaw grabbed the controls and quickly began evasive manoeuvres as several ion blasts streaked towards the cruiser. “Charlie, Elizabeth-Trikko. We’re under attack!” the Slug shouted over the intercom “Controller Metfel is dead!”

“How long until she can be rebuilt?” Charlie asked, not surprised that they were once more going into the fray and someone had died again.

Slocknaw looked at the status screen of the Clone Bay. There was power for all the tanks except Metfel’s. “Looks like the Clone Bay is not responding” the Slug replied, shocked “I… I think she’s truly dead.”

Charlie’s demeanour changed quickly as he realised the implications. “It’s no matter, we’ll be the same way if you don’t get to the teleporter and board that ship” Slocknaw ordered him. “They’ll never surrender or accept our surrender. It’s the only way to be sure. I need to stay onboard to keep this ship flying.”

Charlie grabbed a laser rifle from the security room before heading to the Ship-To-Shore teleporter. Elizabeth was waiting for him there, energy field crackling and wielding her pipe quarterstaff in one hand. “You know how to use that gun right?” she asked. “Because it’s got a lot more kick than a pistol.”

“It’s a laser” Charlie said “You could wield two of them at the same time without feeling any noticeable recoil.”

Elizabeth shook her head “It’s actually a plasma rifle. We just call them lasers out of tradition. If you don’t brace properly there will be a lot of kickback.”

“If you’ve got any better idea…” Charlie started before he felt very faint as the teleporter activated, sending him across many lightseconds of space and onto the Engi vessel. His vision blurred and he lost balance trying to find his bearings.

“First time teleporting kid?” Elizabeth said with a sigh. She pushed Charlie to the ground as two Engi platforms rushed in, arms shifted into laser guns and firing wildly in their direction, trying to pin them down. The Zoltan retaliated, raising her arms forward and sending twin bolts of energy at the machines with greater accuracy.

Their fragile forms flickered briefly as their personal shields overloaded, making them vulnerable to attack.
While they were stunned, she grabbed Charlie’s gun and shot the Engies in their visors before moving in close, kicking it in the chest of one of them and firing twice and doing the same to the other one, melting them into slag.

She then flicked the safety back on and threw the gun back to Charlie who fumbled several times before dropping it. “Ghostfingers” the Zoltan chuckled, grabbing her pipe staff and moving further down the ship.

“I’m only picking up two more life signatures” Slocknaw said over the comms. While the Engies could not have their thoughts read, they were organic enough to be considered detectable to a Slug.

Elizabeth stepped into a room filled with humming energy fields and generators, all arranged in neat rows. “Shield room” she remarked, smashing one of the generators with the pipe, sending a surge of her energy into the shield and frying several systems, damaging it.

“Purge! Purge! Purge!” a pair of Engies yelled, storming into the room with laser guns firing. Elizabeth took cover behind another generator as the bolts flew past and impacted on the walls, leaving scorch marks.

“Target in cover. Deploying incapacitation ordinance” an Engi stated, laser gun shifting into another weapon. There was the sound of air compressing and a clattering noise as something rolled at Elizabeth’s feet. She looked down and saw a sphere marked with the symbols “Mg.” She barely had a second to process the fact that it was a grenade when there was a loud BANG and a bright light.

At first she thought she was being revived in the Clone Bay, having just taken a direct hit from a grenade but as her hearing and sight returned, she found herself still behind cover and the two hostile Engies were smouldering piles of nanites. Charlie was just slinging his laser rifle as all hostile targets were eliminated.

“Hey Elizabeth, why don’t we get shields? It seems to work for the Engies” he remarked. Elizabeth put a hand to her head and asked him “What kind of grenade was that?”

“I think that was a flashbang grenade. It makes a hell of a noise and can blind you if you look directly at them. Cadets in the Federation are briefed about it in basic training.” He looked to the ground in shame “And hazed…”

“Guess they wanted to incapacitate us before they destroyed the Clone Bay” Elizabeth said “Clever. Well, no time like the present to start salvaging. We should try to leave the Engies something to rebuild though.”

Meanwhile on the Nesasio, Slocknaw was breathing a sigh of relief. That battle with the Engi ship could have turned nasty. He looked out the external cameras to see several automated attack drones floating lifelessly around the cruiser. The little war machines used their target’s own artificial gravity field and magnetic hull to orbit around it and keep pace.

He looked at the pile of nanites that made up Metfel’s body. “Guess there’s nothing else left to do but perhaps give her a Federation-styled funeral” he remarked, grabbing a dustpan and brush and headed for the nearest airlock.

Suddenly the pile began rebuilding itself before the Slug’s eyestalks, turning back into an Engi, but with a purple visor. It had reconstituted, repurposed, and reprogrammed Controller Metfel’s platform.

Slocknaw drew out his gun and pointed it at the Virus. “What have you done with the Controller?” he shouted.

The Virus looked at its hands, then at the ground as if ashamed. “I’m sorry Captain Slocknaw. I panicked and jumped into your Controller’s body to warn you about how far the Hive-Mind will go to purge me. I wanted freedom, but I didn’t want to put your lives at risk. Not like this.”

It then put its hands up and said “I know you don’t trust me, but I’m telling the truth that I’m not what they think I am. Throw me in the brig if you think it’ll be safer but don’t throw me out the airlock. I cannot leave this body.”

Slocknaw sighed “We don’t have a brig and we’re already short of hands as it is. The others are not going to like this but welcome to the Nesasio, Virus #247-12. If that’s what they call you.”

“Call me Virus, Captain” the Engi said, nodding “Let the Brigade know that viral software can be productive members of society too and should not be treated like criminals.”

Slocknaw shook his head and headed towards the exit node, spinning up the FTL drive. “Let’s hope someone doesn’t try to debug us or something.”

Suddenly another Engi ship arrived at the node and their Controller immediately hailed them “Strange bug. Can you assist in debugging?”

Slocknaw remarked “Now is our cue to leave” and the Nesasio jumped away to the next beacon.

The Engi Controller made a few loud tones of confusion as to what just happened. “Should have opened with request for assistance with malfunctioning Mantis.”
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Re: Charlie & The Flagship Factory - Tale of the Nesasio

Postby META_mahn » Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:36 pm

We all knew bread was OP.
Thanks Gabe.
Back from the dead. After a two year hiatus.
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Re: Charlie & The Flagship Factory - Tale of the Nesasio

Postby stylesrj » Sun Jul 20, 2014 1:53 am

At some point, the crew of the Nesasio will acquire another system. Not in the next chapter though but at some point they will.

They've got Shields, a Clone Bay, Teleporter and Cloaking. I could do a cop-out and say they'll get them all regardless of the game's arbitrary restrictions but I don't want to.

So the question is: Hacking, Mind Control or Drones?
Or should I include the Captain's Edition in this and add an Artillery (although it does mean they can't save and quit)?
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Re: Charlie & The Flagship Factory - Tale of the Nesasio

Postby Tharsis » Tue Jul 22, 2014 11:21 pm

I think that since they have an Engi captain, they would go for hacking or drones, and hacking is very useful for how little power it uses. They should get hacking if they dont have too much power to spare, or they could get drones if there is a lot of excess or soon to be a lot of excess (if they havent upgraded the reactor all the way) power.
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