Captain Turner’s arms and legs could have been replaced with limbs of lead for all he knew, it took that much effort to drag himself through the smoking, devastated corridors of his ship. Each lurch forwards made his lungs burn, trying to find enough oxygen to power his exertions.
The Kestrel had been ambushed by pirates. In their rush to man their battle stations, the crew were taken by surprise from an enemy boarding party. The fighting had been fierce, fires starting all over the ship. From the room near the helm, Turner had been forced to open various airlocks to smother the flames before heading back to navigate them away at light speed.
When the jump had finished, several warning lights flashed up. Engines had just been taken offline. The medbay was without power. Teleporters were down. Weapons were inactive. The shielding system would need a complete refit after the vandalism done to it. The repair drones had been jettisoned. The worse was yet to come.
Before the internal sensors flickered off, along with the door control mechanisms, he had checked the life sign readings. He was the only one left.
Another explosion jolted him into action, and sent him on his way to the atmospherics room. So much of the atmosphere had been vented to control the rampant fires set on the vessel, the oxygen scrubbers and generators had failed. The wailing klaxons and purple emergency lighting in addition to the red warning lights made that clear.
Getting them working again was not made easier by his condition. His fingers felt cold, numb and clumsy. The now sticky rivers of blood running from his wounds, sustained in hand to hand combat with the intruders, didn’t help matters. Blood loss was dulling his concentration, spots flickered across his vision.
But the O2 generators whirred back to life. He’d connected the back up power supplies. Now he just needed medical help, and he could get the rest of the ship running again. Enough of it to limp back to a space station. Spurred on by this, he ignored the heavy weight of his body and started to stumble his way to the medbay.
There was just one door to go, unresponsive thanks to the damage to the control systems. With shaking hands he fumbled with the manual release, pain lashing across his brain as he fought with his arms to move the lever. With a howl of desperation he hefted it up, and was rewarded with a rush of air…
Going past him, into the room and out of the airlock doors.
His entire body was uncomfortably numb as he blacked out, staring at bulkhead doors standing wide open, allowing Captain Turner to gaze out into space for his last glimpse at the sea of stars.
Today’s story was inspired by the crowdsource-funded computer game FTL: Faster Than Light. And yes, it struck me after that defeat that it was similar to the excellent episode of Firefly, ‘Out of Gas.’