Mechanical failure of any of dozens of critical systems onboard your ship
Klaxons began sounding. The lights flickered, then went out. "Captain! The FTL reactor is offline! The containment core is about to blow!" Lt. Wilkins yelled, staring at all the red, flashing, warning indicators on his console.
The captain said nothing for a second, weighing his options, then began bellowing orders, "Engineering, prepare to jettison the core! Nav, drop us out of hyperspace and make for the nearest planet. Comms, send out a distress beacon. All hands, prepare for emergency landing!"
Nav or computer failure
We dropped out of warp. The computers began analyzing the stars visible to the sensors from our position. Before it could calculate our location, the screen froze up. "Captain! We've lost navigation!" Unlike every TV and holocast show ever, I didn't hit the side of the console, since I knew the computers were buried deep in the ship's interior.
"Captain! The FTL navigation computers have gone offline. Diagnostics indicate a drive failure. Trying to restore from backups," computer operations office Wilkins said. Then, "Captain, our backups...they're corrupt, too. I think... I think we picked up a virus at our last port, sir." The fear was evident in his voice.
"Make for the nearest system. Hopefully, there's an inhabited world there. Comms, send a distress beacon."
I saw Ensign Wilkins come out of the engine bay. He froze as he saw me. "Ensign, may I ask what you were doing down there?" He worked in computers, not in engineering. He wasn't authorized...
He lunged at me with a spanner in his hands. I dodged, barely. Just as I prepared for his next attack, the ship lurched. With cold dread, I felt the FTL engines shudder and go offline...
"Battle stations! All hands, battle stations!" We weren't supposed to have any drills this voyage. Just carrying food to some backwoods science station.
Suddenly, there was a loud wooshing noise. Acting as much on instinct as on thought, I grabbed the cookie tin I had just pulled from the ship's oven and slapped it over the hole in the ship's outer hull. That slowed the leak long enough for me to get to the repair kit on the wall. Someone had hit us with a railgun round. But who?
The next half hour was a terrifying scene as we tried to escape the combat. But our ship wasn't built for battles. At the end, we escaped. Barely. But now we have to crash land on some uncharted planet, thanks to the railgun damage to our FTL engines.
"Captain, a word, please?" I tried not to sound worried.
"Sir, its... It's our water supply sir. We're low. We can't make it back to station with what we have on hand."
And that's how we ended up having to make a landing on this planet. Sadly, Ensign Wilkins botched the landing, thanks to a freak hurricane or tornado or monsoon or something. He should've checked the scanners. But he didn't. And now we're stuck here.
Later, we analyzed the data and determined that two dwarf planets collided at speed. Centuries ago, probably. Alas, we didn't know. There's no way Ensign Wilkins could've picked up the hundreds of thousands of micro-meteors that made up the cloud of debris we passed through. He couldn't have known. He picked up the big pieces and steered us through those safely, at least. But at 25% of light speed, we simply couldn't maneuver around the smaller pieces. Nor are our scanners sensitive enough to see them.
The XO was killed trying to patch a hole in the cockpit. The rest of us lived. We've landed on this planet, third from the sun. I don't know if our distress beacons got out, or if anyone will hear the signal.
I fear Wilkins may not make it. He's blaming himself for the disaster. He was at the Nav console, so it was his job... but he couldn't have known. No one could have.
Captain Wilkins has been locked in the brig. I suppose that's small comfort now. He's deleted the navigational database. So we don't know where we are or how to get home. We're screwed. I don't understand why he went mad. We all passed the psych evaluations before we joined this mission. He shouldn't have cracked. He damn near killed Lt. Jones. And now, I guess, he's probably killed us all.
We'll land soon. We found a world that appears safe. No communications, so it's probably uninhabited. Lonely, but better than dying in this floating tin can, I guess.