| Sitting at the controls of his damaged freighter, the captain worked furiously to save his ship.
"Computer, status report," He barked to the empty bridge.
His reply came in the form of data, which flashed across one of his monitors, and was accompanied by a modulated voice from the ship's speakers.
"Cargo Bay three was destroyed in the pirate attack Captain, and the bulkheads have sealed that area off to protect life support in the rest of the ship. The faraday cage around the fusion reactor which powers the engines has been stressed to the verge of being compromised. Shields are holding for now, but during the retreat, we ventured too close to this system's sun, and are now caught in it's gravity well."
"Can we break free of the star?" He asked, already knowing the answer.
"I'm sorry captain, but with the stress level on the faraday cage, the engines would never get enough power to allow the ship to escape."
"I see, and what if we reroute the energy from the shields into the engines? Can we bypass the main engine fusion reactor completely?"
"No captain, the primary reactor can't be bypassed, also the loss of shields would cause the ship to suffer the strain of competing forces of gravity, and thrust. It would risk tearing the ship apart."
Staring silently at his monitor read outs for a moment, the captain considered what was happening. If he did nothing, his ship would fall into the star, and be disintegrated, of that he had no doubt. If he tried to break free using the main power source for the engines, the faraday cage would fail, and he'd have a fusion reactor go into meltdown, leaving him stranded, possibly still within range of the star's gravity. His only other option was to cut power to the shields, and redirect that power to the engines, hopefully that would cause less strain to the damaged cage, and his ship could survive, unfortunately, even that idea had it's risks.
Realizing that he only had one option, he sighed as he gave the order.
"Computer, reroute power from shields to engines."
"I'm afraid I can't follow that order Captain, my programming doesn't allow me to put stress on an already damaged safety system, such as the faraday cage." The ship replied.
"Fine, then I'll do it," The captain yelled. "Just transfer control of all systems to manual, I'll handle everything from here."
"That too would violate my programming."
Realizing how bad this was, the captain looked around his bridge. It wasn't much, but his ship was almost the only thing he cared about in this universe, now he was losing it, and his life. His wife had passed away years ago, and his daughter blamed him for her death, so he had no one to miss him when he was gone, but he didn't want to go out like this. He wanted to live, and he had to find a way to do it, so he looked for any inspiration he could find which might save him. Finally, he saw it, the ship's AI had it's brain on the bridge, if he destroyed that, he could take manual control of the ship, and hopefully save it, and himself.
Pulling his holstered weapon quickly, he took aim, and squeezed the contacts. The small beam of compressed light energy burned into the central processing unit of the AI, and quickly disabled it. The captain turned back to the console, and quickly began work to reroute the energy he would need to the engines.
The heat on the bridge jumped tremendously as soon as he lowered the shields, but he was still far enough away from the star's surface to survive. He touched the controls in front him, and slowly fed the energy to his damaged ships engines. The hull warped around him, as the thrust from his engines fought with the star's gravity, both forces attempting to pull him, and it, in opposite directions. None of this even caused him to blink an eye as he watched his monitors, holding his breath, as he waited to see if it was going to be enough, if he would have the ability to pull away from the star.
Slowly, the distance between the star and his ship increased, as the engines pushed him away from the burning surface which threatened his death. He almost let out a cry of joy, when he realized he was picking up speed, moving away from the fate he had been facing. In victory, he relaxed, watching his monitors and smiling.
Suddenly, the monitors flashed red, as damage appeared on his ship. Cargo bays one and two were both destroyed, but both had been sealed. Unfortunately, the laws of physics weren't kind to him today, and the forces acting on his ship had also caused the faraday cage to fail. A warning klaxon sounded, as the main reactor spiked before it went into meltdown. The energy fluctuation caused the engines to fail, fusing power relays, and turning his ship into floating debris.
Captain Justin Gallarad was in shock as he saw the damage through his monitors. Looking to his left, all hope left his body, as he realized he'd failed. He was still in range of the star's gravity, and was beginning to be pulled back towards it, he had hours left to live.
Realizing he had only one course of action left to him, he reached forward, and turned off life support in his ship, then he leaned back and closed his eyes, wishing only that he could see his daughter one last time before he was reunited with his wife. And with those thoughts in his mind, he went to sleep, and to find the woman he loved.