All hands on desk! PCG plays the best Star Trek game you've never heard of: Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator

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Uhurich: On our exit from the Hamak station, we receive another wave of messages. I try to play them, but our weapons and science officers are conducting a loud discussion about energy levels over the top of the transmissions. How do I insult them again? Ah yeah, with my own face.

“Guys, be quiet. Also, you suck.”

I play the messages again. There are some Tachyon sources, apparently, and they’re ‘unknown’. I wonder if I can insult them.

Science Officer Smith: With power and scanners now operational, I can see the world around us. It’s purple and wibbly still, but within that, I’m also detecting three Unknown Tachyon Sources. A friendly ship, the Warsaw, is checking them out, bragging about how they’re going to discover the cause before us. Oh yeah? We’ll see about that. “Helmsman! Boldly set a course to go boldly where no person has boldly gone before: Unknown Tachyon Source #1.”

Captain Tim: It’s been a few minutes since I told anyone what to do and I’m beginning to get nervous. A crew is only as good as it’s leader, and that means I need to step up. “Helmsman! Do whatever it was that Science Officer Smith just said.”

Oh yeah. I’m a manager.

Senior Ensign Senior: Without a bearing to work with, a helmsman is left only with his instincts, and my instincts say, “Look at the long-range scanners and head towards the thing Graham just said.”

I see a mysterious blob in a nearby sector and power us towards it. As we depart, Rich receives an incoming message from Admiral Weeks. It says something about us now owning a share in an arms-trading company, and the torpedoes more than covering the cost of our energy scooper. I have no idea what that means, but whatever. Onwards!

Uhurich: “We’ve had a message from Captain Haynes suggesting that we’re far behind combat lines and incredibly unlikely to be attacked. Suggested course of action: divert all power to shields, move at half impulse and look suspiciously out of the window.”

O’Francis: “At some point we really need to talk about the torpedoes.”

T’om, Son of Martyn: “This is a good point. I’m no longer registering any torpedoes on board. I assume that’s because miserly Chief Engineer Ebeneezer O’Francis has shut off power to weapons between fights, right?”

O’Francis: “That would make it my fault, so it can’t possibly be that. I think it’s because we’re at warp. That would make it Ensign Senior’s fault, something I think we can all live with.”

Senior Ensign Senior: I get the feeling that somehow, somewhere, someone is blaming me for something. No matter, all power to the engines!

Uhurich: I have a horrible gnawing sensation in my gut. Am I hungry? No, it’s not that.

Oh. Wait. Didn’t one of the messages we received mention something about torpedoes? Hang on, I’ll play it back.

The crew sits obediently as Weeks explains how he sold our torpedo contingent for shares in an arms dealer’s company. We are weaponless. Fortunately, we’re in a sector that hasn’t seen conflict in 20 years. Nothing could possibly go wrong.

Science Officer Smith: I’m beginning to realise there’s not a lot for me to do as the Science Officer. I look at the scanners; there’s nothing there. I whirl them around, checking every direction. Nope, nothing there. Shouldn’t I have more to do? Tim is the captain, so he gets all the good lines, but I get more fanmail than he does. I’ve done fucking Shakespeare, I bring an air of class to this. Sigh. Maybe I should ask if I can direct an- wait. Wait. “Everyone shut up for a second.”

Senior Ensign Senior: “W-”

Science Officer Smith: “Shut up! Captain, I have... 16 enemy Torgoth ships on the scanners. Permission to break character and freak the hell out.”

Captain Tim: “Permission... granted.”

Uhurich: “We’ve just received a message from Captain Haynes on board the Warsaw – they’re under attack from those Torgoth thingies, and they sound a bit dead. Permission to turn the red alert button off and on again really fast for a legitimate reason this time.”

Too late, I’m doing it anyway. I think it’s helping morale.

O’Francis: Everything is flashing red. Enemies are everywhere. We have no torpedoes. It’s time to blow this sector. Helmsman!

Senior Ensign Senior: I need more manoeuvrability! Tom does something complicated and suddenly our space whale becomes a nimble minnow. I flip the ship around in seconds. We hightail the ship all the way back to the space station, where the torpedoes live, but there’s a problem. They have no torpedoes. No torpedoes at all.

T’om, Son of Martyn: Right, Rich has forgotten to order torpedoes so we aren’t getting any. But wait – if I can turn torpedoes into energy, surely I can turn energy into torpedoes. That makes sense, right?

It doesn’t, but I can anyway. I assume we must have some sort of replicator system installed. Anyway, since we’re docked at a station, we effectively have infinite energy. This means I have unlimited torpedoes. Actually, eight. Since that’s how many I can carry. Still, it was nice to dream.

O’Francis: “Sir, I’m receiving word from the Artemis Wiki I just Alt+Tabbed that increasing power to warp engines actually makes them more efficient, not less.

“On the downside, this means it was totally my fault we ran out of power. On the upside, it means we can now head out with warp engines running at 300% power and not feel bad about it. Permission to refer to this as Warp Factor Woo.”

Captain Tim: “Permission… granted.”

Senior Ensign Senior: We undock from the space station. I point us at the distant enemies. Warp Factor Woo, engage.

The ship makes a noise like a washing machine on heat and we ping across the system. We pass one sector, another sector, and another in a matter of seconds. I abandon the helmsman’s traditional quiet dignity and professionalism for a moment to say, “Wwwwoooah!” This is exactly why I pretended to join Starfleet.

I overshoot drastically and plonk us right in the middle of the swarm of enemies. There’s a chorus of worried noises from the rest of the crew. I enter Warp Factor Woo quickly once more and blast through the pack. I call to O’Francis for manoeuvrability and speed from moment to moment, keeping the ship out of enemy firing arcs. Behind me, Graham is calling out ship numbers and ship types. He actually sounds like a bridge officer.

We’re in position. We have our targets. The rest is up to whoever it is that controls the nukes.