“What is FTL Like?” or “Tension, Terror and Trauma”
The Medusa has been breached by a three-man boarding party. The next solar flare is imminent. The enemy ship has punched through the shields, and both their weapons are charging to take the next shot, and my hull integrity is down to below 50%. My sensor control is down. The three rockmen promptly proceed to the engine room. This is a bastard of the situation to be in.
Why? Let me tell you one thing at a time. My crew is three humans and two mantis. Rockmen are not built for war, but they are sturdy. In a toe-to-toe fight against humans, they will win the attrition war. My mantis are bred for war, so they must fight the boarding party. The system I am in has a sun going nova, which results in periodic solar flares, lighting parts of the ship on fire. It is only a matter of time before the fires get out of control. Luckily, the first two fires are in the small rooms on the starboard side, so I opened up the airlocks. The oxygen will get sucked out of the room, and the fire will put itself out. My pilot must stay in the cockpit to continue spooling up the FTL drive, so I can jump at the first chance I get.
The boarding party head straight for the FTL drive. They will try to sabotage it so I cannot leave the system. Apparently the idiots are oblivious to the sun that is about to obliterate us all. The sensors are down, disabled by a rocket strike, and I need that functioning to see the overview of my ship and plan my next action. I send one of my human crew members to fix the sensors. The remaining three crew, two mantis and one human, are dispatched to the FTL room to deal with the intruders. There is another solar flare, and now the cockpit, and the FTL drive room (where the 3-on-3 fight isin full swing) are both engulfed in flames. A rocket strike takes out my oxygen system, which will slowly lower the oxygen levels, until it eventually kills everyone on my ship. Hull integrity is now at 35%. One of my mantis crew members die. This is what hell must be like.
Like I said, it is a bastard of a situation to be in. And it is just one of the many, many nerve-wrecking, gut-twisting battles you will fight. This is what Faster Than Light (FTL) is all about.