Last night I unlocked the Engi ship. I've been waiting to unlock a ship besides the Kestrel, and this one doesn't seem bad. It has an ion weapon that charge quickly. It has a drone, and no missiles. It has a perk that automatically heals crew, so they don't have to stand around in the medical bay. I'll have to make sure that I'm always well stocked on drone parts when I stop at the stores, and as always, fuel. You run out of fuel, and you become one of the many distress signals hopelessly pinging the dark.
Things start well. I engage all hostile ships until they are destroyed. A lot of scrap. A few new crew members. I upgrade the doors to blast doors, which is cheap and gives a little defense against fire and unwanted visitors. I upgrade my shields twice, and my power capacity twice. This is expensive, but it pays off right away, when I start running into pirates with tough shields.
I had a crew of 5 the first time I was boarded. I fought them off, but lost 2 members to bad unit management. It's a tough lesson. I lose the 2 more to a large mantis boarding raid a few jumps later, but these casualties couldn't be avoided. The mantis destroy everything except for my oxygen system, and that bit of luck saves me. I defeat them by opening the doors to almost every room except the cockpit and letting my attackers suffocate. They finally succumb, and the oxygen refills the rooms as I repair my first aid station. It takes almost 5 minutes for my lone survivor, Charlie, to patch the holes in the hull, and repair all the systems. Without the engi nano medical bots perk that heals my crew automatically I would have died long, long ago.
Things go well for the next few turns for Charlie. I acquire a burst laser, and enough scrap to upgrade my power and weapons to support this new piece of hardware. This allows me to deal direct damage to a system on their ship, something sorely lacking in this default Engi ship layout that relies on ion and drones. I am avoiding all risk at this point, but still winning the ones I'm forced into. I control fire by keeping most rooms oxygen free, and jump out of fights as often as possible. I pick up a repair drone, but have to sell him for gas at the next store I come across.
Ironically, I won my final battle. My opponents hailed me and begged for a cease-fire, to which I agreed. I ran around trying to repair the oxygen system while fire was spreading in the cockpit, but the damage to our ships was too much. As I watched my enemy's ship explode outside my viewport, I wondered if I should have held on to that repair drone. I didn't have long to wonder, as my hull gave way just a few moments later.