It was with little pomp and even less ceremony (and in the worst circumstances) that the Hailey I was sent on her maiden voyage. After all, there was a galactic crisis afoot: the relentless advance of the rebel forces, their blood-lust and savagery unparalleled across the galaxy. And the Hailey I was loaded with a vital piece of information that, in the right hands, could change the entire course of the war.
So, with greasy hands and heavy hearts, the Federation engineers set the Hailey I on her way.
On board was Houston, the hotshot pilot; Grant, the ham-handed engine room man; and Hails, the reliable and steadfast (as well as beautiful) handler of the guns. Grant and Hails were dating without Houston’s knowledge. Houston was good-looking alright, every bit the hotshot pilot, but not very perceptive, to say the least. He didn’t pick up on any of Grant and Hails’ furtive glances and winking, dismissing it as childish. Whatever their differences, the crew was united in purpose: the salvation of the Federation.
They set sail. Ship and hanger diverged; the cold, eternal night of space blew between; the screaming sun blazed off the port bow; the hull wildly rolled forward; the crew gave three heavy-hearted cheers, and they blindly plunged like fate into lone galactic space.
Their journey started simply enough: a cruise through space to their first objective. However, whatever illusions they may have held about the beauty and tranquility of space were quickly shattered! The very first planet they approached, just like the space they has just explored, looked beautiful and tranquil. But, when they docked at a nearby station, pirates boarded their vessel!
There were three of them: a human, a mantis, and an Engi. It was a three-on-three fight in the armory! With rotational trips to the infirmary, Houston, Grant, and Hails survived, and gained some valuable hand-to-hand combat knowledge and experience besides.
The crew cruises on. They come to a derelict-looking planet, but are picking up some signals on radio. The ravings of a madman? They dock and find a single man aboard the station. Could it be? The madman is Houston the pilot’s father, marooned on this waste in the middle of nowhere!
Their reunion is joyous. He is assigned to the shields, and the Hailey I continues her journey.
A beautiful, tranquil cruise. A pickup of spare parts here, a small alien encounter there: basically, smooth sailing.
It’s not long before she reaches trouble again.
Again, they’re boarded!
They lock the intruders into the armory while they drain their section of the ship of air, and the intruders die.
They triumphantly destroy the annoying Zoltan customs police.
They next head for a rock-controlled sector, where they pick up a rock friend, Magmar, who happily joins their crew. He’s put on shield duty, while Houston’s father, Charlie, is moved to door crew.
In a market, they pick up mercenary Liu Jun, a Zoltan who agrees to help us on their quest. He’s put on sensor duty.
They next head for a Slug-controlled Nebula. Here they stop to help a station overrun by giant arachnids, with tragic results. Houston dies.
Charlie was inconsolable for months.
As they continue their journey, they pick up Smith, the mantis, and Xin Xin, the Engi. They are additive crew members.
Finally they’re in the same sector as their objective, the rebel flagship.
They do their best to target their shields and weapons, and unload on them with everything they have.
Success! They’ve dealt them a heavy blow. Part of their ship has been blown off! But, using their FTL drive, they escape.
With their original Blast Laser and Artemis missiles, as well as the Hull Laser II and the Pike Beam, both of which they picked up on their journey, they’re locked and loaded. We repair all systems before pursuing the gargantuan rebel flagship.
Even with part of their ship blown off, they’re the most impressive and dangerous ship our crew has faced thus far.
They aim to disable their shields and missile firing capabilities, but the relentless assault of their drones proves too much for them.
Not only have they sent 3 attack drones, they’ve sent a boarding drone, and their missiles are tearing holes in our hull.
Near death now, being lasered to smithereens, they load the guns one last time and send off one last broadside...to no avail. Grant and Hails look longingly at each other from across the room as the ship starts to break apart.
Our ship has exploded; every crew member has died; they have failed.
In retrospect, it was a very successful run. They dealt serious damage to the rebel flagship and collected five unique (in their species) crew members; they destroyed and defeated 23 ships, explored 84 beacons, collected 1335 pieces of scrap, and hired 9 different crew members. Liu Jun performed 10 repairs, Charlie killed 4 boarders, Houston piloted and directed 63 combat evasions of missiles and lasers (while also earning 2 skill masteries), and Grant and Hails survived 85 jumps together, while only Houston was lost on the journey. Our final score is 2635.
That vital piece of information still needs to be delivered. The Federation has no choice but to outfit yet another desperation attempt, the Hailey II. Hailey I’s story is over; Hailey II’s story has just begun.
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