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 Freelancer Advanced Walkthrough

 
   
 
 
Freelancer Advanced Walkthrough

=======================================================================
==                  Freelancer Advanced Walkthrough                  ==
=======================================================================

2004-2006 Steve Breslin

License
=======

You will be welcome to republish this howsoever you like, but please do
not alter the text in any way, and please let me know in advance. My
contact information is at the end of the file.

Introduction
------------ 

Freelancer is amazing because of the wide range of action possible
within the central campaign. As the title suggests, it's the freedom of
the game which makes it so wonderful.

There are, of course, limits to this range of freedom. This walkthrough
attempts to explore these limits exhaustively, and provides
"sideplay-missions" for profit, fun, and challenge.

The walkthrough makes practically no comment upon the central-plot
missions, since that stuff is covered exhaustively in other
walkthroughs, and also since the game makes it perfectly obvious what
you're expected to do at all times.

We will take our time between missions. When Juni (or whoever) asks you
if you're ready to begin a mission, you can always safely decline. You
may get yelled at a bit, and at times this can be annoying or
repetitive, but you can always freelance indefinitely before committing
to any mission, without effecting the central plot in any way.

This walkthrough is designed for the advanced player, so if you are not
already very familiar with the game, refer to Matthew Lawson's "Wrecks"
FAQ, and especially Gary Dwyer's "Maps" FAQ. Dustin Shaffer's "Lists"
FAQ you may also find quite useful. Jason Merrill's general walkthrough
is superb, and probably preferable if this is your first time through
the game; it also contains a useful reference section. These resources
are all available from gamefaqs.

LancersReactor  is the main resource for
further information, for both playing and modding.

=======================================================================

The Sideplay-Missions:

1.1 Rhino Challenge
    Buy and equip a Rhino during Mission 1.
1.2 Allied Aggression
    Kill as many allies as you can during Mission 1.
1.3 Buffalo Rogues
    Land on Buffalo Base.
1.4 Purloined Kit
    Loot superb equipment.

2.1 Kill Cosmo
    Destroy the infamous smart-mouth smuggler.
2.2 Ambush Ashcroft
    Take him out before he has a chance to flee.
2.3 Destroy the Unity
    Blast your first battleship!
2.4 Smuggler's Paradise
    Smuggle goods throughout the New York system.
2.5 Pirate Glory
    Engage in piracy throughout the New York system.
2.6 Avenge Brandon Rowlett
    Kill the the three Navy ships who blasted poor Brandon.

3.1 Pirate Fury
    Burn your bridges in New York.

4.1 Cruiser Killer
    Kill four cruisers during your flight from New York.
4.2 Equip
    Get yourself situated in Bretonia.
4.3 Bloodbath in the Badlands
    Land on Manhattan.
4.4 Go Radical
    Visit the Mollys and Gaians.
4.5 Exploration Challenge
    Visit all the systems in Sirius, and perform a series of challenges.

5.1 Perfect Neutrality
    Establish a good trade-reputation.
5.2 All Systems Show Green
    Push goods around the system, reaching upwards 2mil/hour.
5.3 The Way of the Pirate
    Perfect your pirating skills.

6.1 Teach Dexter's Cronies a Lesson
    Kill both ambushers before Dexter Hovis reaches the finish line.
6.2 Teach Dexter a Lesson
    Shame Hovis by beating him in a Dromedary.

7.1 Battleship Bomber
    Destroy two Battleships during Mission 7.

9.1 Battleship Belter
    Take out the Destroyer and Battleship before docking at the arch.
9.2 The End of Freedom
    Final parade before you join The Order.

10.1 Hey, You Sunk My Battleships
    Decimate an elaborate series of cruisers and battleships.

11.1 Battleship Quickie
    Destroy the cruisers and battleship at the end of Mission 11.

13.1 Three for the Road
    Kill three bonus battleships.

Epilogue: Other Challenges

=========
MISSION 1
========= 

Once you get your bearings and start fighting the Order, the
Sideplay-Walkthrough begins. 

Sideplay-Mission 1.1: Rhino Challenge
-------------------------------------

Your first sideplay-mission is to purchase a Rhino on your first trip to
Pittsburgh, after the first half of Mission 1 (when you first meet King
face to face). 

This is a challenge because it's difficult to raise the necessary cash,
especially if you want the Rhino well equipped. Like most "Sideplay"
missions, this is not really "worth doing" for any compelling reason,
except that it's a fun challenge.

Note that loot (including shield batteries, nanobots, cargo, weapons and
other equipment) only shows up when you did some damage to the enemy,
and especially when you make the kill shot, so try to make as many kill
shots as you can, and quickly: you need all the loot you can get. With
this in mind, focus your attention on damaged ships, and fly very
aggressively. It's difficult to die in this opening phase of the game,
so you can go all out.

After dispatching the Order ships, and meeting up with the LSF convoy,
you will be stopped by a disrupted trade lane, and ambushed by Liberty
Rogues. Once the attack has begun, you are free to destroy the Transport
USV Champion and tractor in its goods. (Yes, sure, shoot your own guy --
you can use the loot; but leave the USV Brandt alone: its destruction
means mission failure.) After you've destroyed the USV Champion, kill as
many Rogues as you can.

After the first wave of Rogues has been dispatched, King will order you
to return to the convoy, and he will get mad if you do not. However, if
you continue fighting the next wave of Rogues, the mission will not fail
-- not right away anyhow. Once he repeats four times that you need to
"speed up/dock with the trade lane," you will fail the mission, but you
have at least enough time to kill a few more Rogues, and if the Rogues
follow you back to the trade lane ring, you'll get some additional time
and additional kills. One of these "second wave" Rogues has a bounty on
his head, which you will need if you want to succeed in the first
sideplay-mission. (Once you get back to the trade lane, a third wave of
Rogues may appear; depending where you are, it's hopeless trying to kill
all the Rogues.)

After you reach King and the Brandt, you have no choice but to dock on
Pittsburg; trying to go out on your own at this point results in mission
failure. If you flew aggressively enough, you can claim your Rhino.

By the way, a great Rhino loadout is...

2x Justice I
Javelin missile
Stunpulse Turret

...which you can probably afford if you flew aggressively and were
blessed with a bit of luck. With that setup, you can cut through the
rest of the mission like butter. That's precisely the loadout I'd
recommend for the next sideplay mission.

Sideplay-Mission 1.2: Allied Aggression
---------------------------------------

If you're feeling really evil you can see how many friendlies you can
kill. The basic rule for killing friendlies is that you can normally get
away with killing "non essential" friendlies when there are hostile
fighters in the area. So don't try killing King or so, and only attack
when there are hostiles nearby.

This first hostility is probably impossible if you're also doing
Sideplay Mission 1.1 -- but that's okay: just choose one or the other,
or skip the first bit of this one.

There's really no way you can possibly kill all the friendlies near
Manhattan, but if you're very good and pretty lucky, you can you can
take down all three Valkyries escorting the Donau. (You have to kill
them before the last Order fighter falls, or you'll get mission failure
for attacking a friendly, and it turns out that this is a pretty tight
time-constraint.) Of great help is an Eraser with 15 missiles and a
well-stocked Javelin launcher, which you can afford if you sell your
shield batteries, nanobots, and your shield. The leader, Klaus Braun,
will be immune to death for a few seconds, so you'll want to focus on
his two wingmen at the beginning of the battle, then clean up Klaus
last. Hint: to find them easier, use the "ships" readout, and look for
craft designated as 'Military' rather than 'Navy' (and they have German
names too, of course). Unfortunately, they do not drop their fancy Class
1 Stealthblades.

A slightly easier challenge is to destroy all the destructible the Navy
fighters. The two wings of Navy fighters appear in sequence; the leaders
are both invulnerable, but the rest can be destroyed. (The leaders are
somehow both named "Greg Barwis.")

Naturally, you'll take down the USV Champion during the initial Rogue
ambush. (Taking down the Brandt means mission failure.)

After Pittsburgh, by XT-19 Prison Ship, you can destroy your Epsilon
allies. (In theory it should be possible to loot a shield here, but I
haven't ever been able to do it. Perhaps in practice it's impossible
because your net worth is inevitably too low. We'll return to this
question of shield-looting later, when it becomes relevant.)

Beta 4 is, alas, immune to damage. You can follow him back to Pittsburgh
if you like, but he just docks -- nothing very unusual or exciting
there.

At the Rogue base, before you destroy the Weapons Platforms, you can
take out Alpha Wing. 

After the Weapons Platforms are down, Delta will show up, and if you
take them out they'll re-spawn. So basically you can destroy them over
and over again, for fun and for their loot.

Because you can continue to destroy Delta wing indefinitely (plus the
Rogue that periodically pops out of the base), in theory it would be
possible to loot enough Justices, Azraels, Thrusters, and other junk to
get your "total worth" high enough that some incarnation of 'Delta 2'
will drop his Starkiller -- but this will take a *very* long time. The
only time I sort-of tried this, I got totally bored before I reached
20,000 credits, and I optimistically estimate that I had at least
another 35,000 to go. Also, the mission objectives got screwed up and I
was unable to advance after the base was destroyed. So although it would
be a great pleasure to roast Ashcroft (or heck, the Unity) with a
Starkiller, this particular challenge isn't highly recommended -- but do
let me know if you try this with any success.

After you finish flying around with King, he sends you off to explore on
your own for a bit, and for the first time you're free to explore the
system. (When King cuts you loose, you can go into formation with him,
but he just docks at Fort Bush -- nothing terribly interesting there.)

If you want to go sightseeing, you can work your way through the
minefield of sector G4 and G5 (a.k.a. Zone-21), find the Magellan gate
and the New York jump hole, and the anomaly near Binford station (plus
the other jump-holes, to Texas and Colorado). However, it's impossible
to find Binford station itself until it appears during Mission 4. 

(You are now level 2. Ships available: Rhino, Patriot, Defender,
Bloodhound.)

Sideplay-Mission 1.3: Buffalo Rogues
------------------------------------ 

For this sideplay-mission simply dock with Buffalo Base. 

This is difficult because you need to seriously fix your reputation with
the Liberty Rogues. This actually turns out to be quite worthwhile, both
for money and equipment.

After Mission 1, avoid and flee from any Liberty Rogue encounters, until
your reputation with them is fixed. You will not be able to fix your
reputation if you return fire. 

The fastest way to change your reputation is to hit a depot. Taking down
the DSE depots outside Fort Bush will fix your reputation with the
Rogues immediately.

If, however, you want to protect your reputation with DSE (and with the
Police, whose depots you can find outside Manhattan), you can more
carefully select specific enemies of the Rogues.

Though it is possible to strategically attack certain vessels such that
your overall reputation is nice and white, you might rather enjoy
targeting Bounty Hunters specifically.

If you really want to get into the spirit of it, I recommend getting the
Cardamine from the Flint shipwreck (in sector C6, lower right corner),
selling it on Manhattan, and going to Rochester to purchase a Pirate
Bloodhound. (Or you can get the Liberty Defender from Battleship
Missouri if you prefer; the Defender is superior on most counts, but
you'll be grabbing that one in a bit, so you might like to have a go at
the Bloodhound in the meanwhile. The Bloodhound has a bit more cargo
area, and better armor, but a weaker gun battery for fewer guns; the
Defender and Bloodhound maneuver about the same.) While you're at
Rochester, you can pick up a full loadout of Barragers too. They're
great.

When your reputation is fixed with the Rogues (when they turn white, not
red), you can land on Buffalo! 

Unfortunately, you cannot buy a Dagger until you are level 4, and level
4 requires completion of Mission 2. 

However, you can make a pile of cash hauling Cardamine from Buffalo to
Manhattan, and H-fuel back to Buffalo. This is by far the most
profitable route available within the New York system. I recommend
getting a Rhino for this. Near Fort Bush, actually quite close to the
Baltimore Shipyard, the silver-colored DSE depot contains H-fuel, which
you can pick up on your way back to Buffalo, but as above, this piracy
will get some of the bases mad at you.

Sideplay Mission 1.4: Purloined Kit
===================================

Once you have a nice nest egg, acquire whichever combat vessel you
prefer, and equip it with the most advanced weaponry available in the
system.

You are too low level to *buy* the most advanced weaponry, and much of
it is not for sale in the system anyway. -- So, you'll have to loot it
instead.

Note that the quality and likelihood of "equipment drops" is
proportional to your "Current Worth" (as displayed on the player screen,
under your "Current Level"). 55,000 credits is a rough number for level
4 equipment drops, which you'll have easily if you've followed the
walkthrough so far.

The best equipment depends on who you're fighting, and what ship you
got, but the best equipment available in this system includes:

Slingshot missile from Police, near Manhattan for example.

Scorpion from Xenos, near Rochester for instance.

Vengeance from Navy fighters.

Pyros and Dragoons from Outcasts near Buffalo.

The very best gun you can acquire -- actually pretty close to dead-even
with the amazing Pyros -- is the Class 6 Winchester. You cannot actually
*use* this item until you reach Kusari space, by which time you'll have
much better equipment anyway, but it's kinda fun to get Class 6 gear so
early. Regular wandering ships do not equip this gun. To get it, you
must accept "Difficulty 5" missions from Buffalo, flying against the
Bounty Hunters, and hope you get *very* lucky. It's *very* rare to get
such a high-class item so early in the game, but it is definitely
possible.

(You are now level 3.) 

=========
MISSION 2
========= 

This is quite arguably the most interesting mission of all, in terms of
side-play opportunities.

Note that in preparation for Sideplay Mission 2.3, you must wreck your
reputation with the Liberty Navy, *before* accepting Mission 2 proper.
The best way to wreck your rep is to go to Buffalo and accept missions
running against the Liberty Navy.

Essentials
----------

Defender Heavy Fighter
2x Slingshot      (loot from Police, or buy at Rochester or Buffalo)
Scorpion          (loot from the Xenos near Rochester for example)
2x Pyros I        (loot from the Outcasts, in the Badlands for example)
Stunpulse Turret  (buy on Pittsburgh or Newark for example)
Wasp Cruise Disruptor (buy from Rochester or Buffalo)
Wardog Mine Launcher  (buy from Rochester or Buffalo)

Of course this is just totally overkill. -- But hey, overkill is fun
too, and it'll help with Sideplay Mission 2.3.

When you're all equipped, head back to the bar in Manhattan to begin
Mission 2.

If you ran your reputation into the red, you'll have a fun little
bloodbath to deal with when you enter Colorado for the first time. It
seems to be random what ships appear for this little bloodbath, but if
you've at least got Samura in the red you should have an interesting
time here: if one corporation treats you as a hostile, all the others
will as well, including any nearby police. Well once you've had your
fun, it's time to get down to business....

Sideplay Mission 2.1: Kill Cosmo
--------------------------------

Who's ever played this game and didn't want to kill this guy!? -- But
alas! The game doesn't let you... or does it?

Yes, it is in factpossible, but only if you handle things very
carefully.

First thing, you got to strip Cosmo's shield, then finish him with dual
Slingshot missiles. This will get his hull down far enough that you can
deal the final blow *without* doing so much damage that you fail the
mission for attacking a neutral target. (You're allowed to do about 15%
damage to a neutral target before the mission fails. If it's the *last*
15 percent, that's still okay.)

Second, you have to wait until you get the objective update, to take the
trade lane to Pueblo station. Before you get this update, you're still
under the order to "stand down." Attacking defenseless Cosmo in any way
will cause you to fail the mission. But after the objective updates,
Cosmo becomes just a typical neutral target, and you can give him a
little "friendly fire" damage without failing the mission. (Do not use a
missile for this! The full damage of the missile counts against you, so
you'll automatically fail the mission.)

If you kill him, you get to loot the very valuable artifacts he's
carrying. Then just fly to Pueblo as usual to proceed with the mission.

Note that it's possible to destroy the two transports escorted by Cosmo
van Nostrom (after he turns red and before you turn to deal with him).

Warning: it is possible to lock up the mission at Pueblo if you get
there before King gives you the objective to defend the station. Just be
sure not to kill any Rogues until you get the objective, and you'll be
fine.

It's possible to destroy some of your "Zeta Wing" allies (marked
"Police") after defending Pueblo (along the same lines as Sideplay
Mission 1.2), but you will note that one of the allies is
indestructable.

Sideplay Mission 2.2: Ambush Ashcroft
-------------------------------------

King's cruise disruptor misses Ashcroft, but that doesn't mean yours has
to.

The secret to this sideplay mission is location: you got to already be
in the place where Ashcroft appears.

As you leave Pueblo station, and approach "the drop-off point for the
artifacts," you will be flying almost directly towards an orange nebula
in the background. Ashcroft will appear 3km from the drop-off point, in
the direction of the orange nebula. And he will appear after you kill
the four Rogues covering the drop-off point.

The correct technique is to kill the first two Rogues, then fly to the
point where Ashcroft appears. If you killed the first two Rogues, the
second two will follow you. Finish the second two and Ashcroft will
appear nearby. -- Easy pickings!

It's a long way to the gate, and King assumes you're closer than you
actually are. He'll get mad and scold you for going too slow, and you'll
get a mission failure if you don't fly *directly* back to the jump gate:
the timing is pretty tight. But if you do get caught like that, it's no
problem to reload.

Sideplay Mission 2.3: Destroy the Unity
---------------------------------------

If you demolished your reputation with the Liberty Navy before you began
Mission 2, the Battleship Unity will turn red as you re-enter New York
space. Red ships are always fair game during missions, even ones which
are "supposed" to be your allies.

You don't have a lot of time before King loses patience and the mission
fails. Take out the Unity as quickly as possible.

Battleships destroyed: 1

Killing battleships does not get you any fabulous prizes or anything,
but it's a really fun challenge to max the "battleships destroyed"
score, so we'll continue to keep a running tally.

Another stylish maneuver is to loot the silver-colored DSE storage depot
during that Rogue fight at Fort Bush, on the way back to the Missouri
with Sean Ashcroft. (Don't shoot this depot until the battle has
properly begun, or you will fail the mission for attacking a friendly.
You can get away with it after the battle has begun.)

Finally, you can destroy "Alpha Wing" allies (also marked "Police"), who
assist after the Rogue ambush by Fort Bush.

After you dock on the Missouri, you'll have some freelance time, but
there's still a number of challenges for you before Mission 3 gets
underway.

Sideplay Mission 2.4: The Liberty Collection
--------------------------------------------

It's time to get all the cool equipment you can get in Liberty space. A
lot of it you got to know where to look, and some of it only appears in
those randomly-generated missions you can pick up in bars. -- It won't
show up on regular wandering ships.

But first -- word of warning:

The following missions, particularly 2.6, involve attacking
corporations, so a word of warning: if all the corporations go after
you, the military and police can turn on you as well. This is not
terrible if you can play with a bit of finesse, but...

WARNING: 

Don't get the Police against you, or Planetform, or at least make sure
you can get through the docking ring of California Minor, since this is
not guaranteed, but absolutely necessary for the game to progress during
Mission 3. Getting through this ring is easy the first time, but can
become impossible the second time, after killing the three Rheinland
Valkyries. 

I have at least twice gotten stuck immediately after fighting the three
Rheinland vessels, when California Minor refused to let me land, and
nothing else worked because the "mission" prohibited all other docking.
The docking ring of California Minor appears to react angrily, in
sympathy with the trade-route rings, which have a police designation. 

By the way, there's a couple other places later on where a bad rep can
land you in an impossible situation: you can get stuck outside Shinkaku,
if Samura is mad at you during Mission 7; and Kyoto won't let you dock
at the end of Mission 9, if the Dragons are in the red.

Anyhow:

You are now level 4.
Ships available: Mule/Alcatraz, Dagger/Buffalo, Startracker/Manhattan

And with the rest of Liberty space opened up, you will be able to score
lots more goodies, for instance:

Rogues now regularly pack Raphaels and Usiels.

The Hackers (near the California jump-hole to Cortez, or the Colorado
hole to Galileo) drop Hellflurries.

Junkers traveling through Texas drop the Barrager Mark II, which is one
of the best usable guns at this point, and Barrager Turret Mark III.
Check for them in the vicinity of the California jump-hole. (The
enterprising pirate will note that they very often carry high-dollar
cargo.)

Their Bounty-Hunter counterparts drop the Winchester Mark I (which the
enterprising pilot can acquire even earlier, after Mission 1, as
described above).

The Rheinlanders you encounter during the following missions can drop
Stealthblade equipment (neat, although it's not the best -- super
long-range though).

The very best gun you can acquire at this point is the Vassago -- your
first Class 7 gun, which you can't actually *use* until the entire
campaign is finished. Like the Winchester after Mission 1, regular
wandering ships do not equip this gun. To get it, you must accept
"Difficulty 8" missions from Willard Station, flying against the Rogues,
and hope you get *very* lucky. It's *very* rare to get a Vassago in this
way -- rarely do even Difficulty-8 Rogues even equip Vassagos, and even
more rarely do they actually drop, and only if you have a very large
amount of credits. -- But again it is definitely possible.

Finally, the Xenos in Colorado can drop the must-have Advanced Scorpions
-- perfect if you have a level-3 slot that doesn't need a Slingshot.

(Alternatively, you could elect to buy the Advanced Scorpions, and as
the Xenos are angry with you, you might either buy back your reputation,
or earn a good Xeno reputation by plundering and killing corporations.
Note, however, that sideplay-Mission 2.4 involves smuggling, and the
smart smuggler knows the value of a low profile. You don't want to draw
too much fire, and you need to keep Manhattan friendly, so keep the
plundering and killing within intelligent bounds. Keep an eye on your
reputation information and use good judgment.)

There are two other superb items to acquire around this point: the Pyros
turret from the Balboa wreck in California (5C, lower right), and the
best level-3 turret in the game, Rowlett's Revenge (see below).

Sideplay-Mission 2.4: Smuggler's Paradise
----------------------------------------- 

Pick up a Mule from Alcatraz and arm yourself with the best of the
currently available weapons. (Also, pick up a shield from Willard when
you get a chance.)

You can make a ton of cash by smuggling Cardamine from Alcatraz to
Manhattan, and hauling (pirated) H-fuel back. You'll make the major
bucks here, as smuggling is frequently even more profitable than
pirating.

With the Xeno guns, the Mule happens to be a pretty powerful and fun
combat tank, though it has the normal freighter shortcomings: weak gun
battery and poor maneuverability. You might want to fly a combat mission
with it, to evaluate it for yourself -- it requires a good
reverse-thrust technique. I find that it is quite capable of Mission 3,
and I just love it for Mission 4. For standard dogfighting, of course
it's got nothing on the Dagger, which is certainly the most advanced and
well balanced combat craft in Liberty. 

Sideplay-Mission 2.5: Pirate Glory
---------------------------------- 

Acquire that hard earned and well deserved Dagger from Buffalo, and
outfit it. (And pick up a shield from Willard.) Go marauding! 

You can shoot out a trade lane a safe distance from any bases, and wait
for transports to stall. If you enter formation with your Rogue buddies,
that's likely what you'll end up doing. Or you can be more aggressive
and ambush transports at a jump gate or base. Also, you can loot trade
depots: the silver-colored one near Fort Bush has H-fuel, which sells
well to either Rogue base; the middle one near Manhattan contains
Polymers, which sell well on Denver (if you are careful not to alienate
Denver).

Cautionary note: 

If you run against international corporations, significant parts of
Bretonia may be hostile when you begin there after Mission 4. If you
decide you want to keep aggressions local, pursue the Liberty-based
factions more aggressively than the corporations. Note that Ageira, DSE,
Interspace, Synth Foods, and Universal have a smaller stake in Bretonia,
and that BMM, Republican, Gateway, and Cryer have the highest presence
there. Not to worry too much -- you can for the most part simply avoid
hostile stations if you want relative peace immediately after mission 4.
And plus, you'll probably be restoring your reputation immediately after
entering Bretonia.

(You are now level 5.) 

Sideplay-Mission 2.6: Avenge Brandon Rowlett
--------------------------------------------

After you reach level 5, and before you meet Juni on California Minor to
properly begin Mission 3, you will see three Liberty Navy ships destroy
Brandon Rowlett, a fellow Freeport-7 survivor -- just inside the gate to
California (when you're going to meet Juni on California Minor). Your
task here is to destroy the three Navy vessels.

Before you enter California, I highly recommend you save your game at
West Point. (Do not rely on autosave: you only get one crack at this;
loading from autosave will put you after the fight, not before.)

Before you enter the jump-gate to California, select your Improved
Countermeasures in the right-hand HUD display, so they turn green like
your guns. Now they'll shoot out wildly when the Navy launches their
missiles at you, which is exactly what you need, as the three Navy
vessels are fully loaded with Windstalkers -- killer homing missiles.
You might also want to select your mines for this operation.

Avenge Rowlett, and you'll get a prize: Rowlett's Revenge, a nice lazer
turret (class 3). It will show up in your scanner as "Nomad Prototype
Weapon" -- a foreshadowing of what is to come.

Note that if you want to postpone or avoid the battle, you can take the
jump hole from Texas into California; the exchange will simply occur
next time you use the gate to California, provided you have not yet
talked to Juni on California Minor. But be warned -- your opportunity to
avenge Rowlett will expire if you talk to Juni, whether you accept
Mission 3 or not. (It's okay to let her radio you from space, and even
land on the planet, so long as you don't enter the bar.)

If you are extremely lucky, you will get not only Rowlett's Revenge, but
a Navy fighter will drop a Moonstalker missile launcher as well. It is
normal for them to drop one or two Moonstalker missiles, but you should
be quite pleased indeed if you get the launcher itself. This is the only
opportunity to get this wonderful item until it becomes availible for
purchase. No big deal though -- there's noplace you can scavenge, loot
or otherwise acquire the ammunition for it, and that becomes available
for purchase only after you finish Mission 5 (and reach level 10), which
is the same time the launcher itself becomes available for purchase.
It's a sweet trophy, though.

=========
MISSION 3
========= 

In order to destroy the Battleship LNS Harmony on your *first* trip to
Willard (when you approach with the convoy through the Barrera Passage),
you must once again wreck your reputation with the Liberty Navy, before
you accept Mission 3.

However, be careful to keep a neutral reputation with the Police and ,
or the mission will lock up on your return to California Minor (after
you escort the Convoy -- just after the three Valkyres ambush you).

Essentials
----------

This setup is all style, and you certainly can't beat the power...

Mule Pirate Freighter
Windstalker           (purchased from Willard or Beaumont for example)
Slingshot             (looted from Liberty Police, or purchased)
2x Pyros Type I       (looted from Outcasts)
Rowlett's Revenge     (looted from the Navy fighters before Mission 3)
(empty)               (this slot doesn't fire forward)
Pyros Type I Turret   (from the Balboa wreck in California)
Dragoon Turret Type 1 (looted from Outcasts)

Or, if you want something a little more conservative, perhaps something
like this...

Dagger Light Fighter
2x Advanced Scorpion (or missiles)
2x Pyros Type I
Stunpulse Turret or Pyros Type I Turret

Another tightly scripted mission, with one similarity to the first: once
the convoy enters combat, you can destroy the #2 transport and loot its
hold -- Artifacts are quite a valuable commodity, and particularly nice
when you can get them for free. For another amusement during this fight
you can destory your Epislon Wing allies.

If you once again wrecked your rep with the Navy, you have enough time
to take down the Harmony before docking on Willard.

If you decide to play the first part of the mission in a Mule, you might
consider getting the Patriot when you're back on California Minor,
before defending Willard from the Rheinland attack. On the other hand,
if you have good reverse-burn technique, and generally good combat
control, big battles can be fun with a Mule, but this would not be the
easiest approach for most pilots.

If you're going for top battleship kills, you should destroy the
cruisers Alabama and Ohio.

Battleships destroyed: 3 (Thanks Dan!)

(Any other allies you like are strictly optional.) Naturally you cannot
destroy Walker's cruiser (the Utah), or you'll get "mission failure,"
after a mournful comment from Juni. You can, however, destroy the
Harmony -- and you can even destroy it *again* if you did it earlier, on
your first approach to Willard. Also again, you get no "Battleships
destroyed" credit in your personal stats for destroying the Harmony.
(Otherwise, once the battle at Willard is finished, the Battleship
suddenly and suprisingly disappears.)

Oh, and if your worth is high enough, the Fighter escorts might drop
Vengeance Mk II guns. And the Rheinland Bombers pack Starkillers, so if
you're lucky you might loot one of them too.

Now that you've seen what there is to see in the 4 systems, it's time to
traffic Cardamine from Alcatraz, run combat missions, but above all,
absolutely destroy your newly restored reputation! 

(You are now level 6.) 

Sideplay-Mission 3.1: Pirate Fury
--------------------------------- 

The Manhattan Docking Ring is the only object that you need to stay
friendly with, and it stays green even after the Police and everybody
are against you. So if you were holding back a bit during Sideplay-Mission
2.5, now you can go for broke. 

I might end this sideplay-mission with 6 or 10 corporations hating me,
and in good with Outcasts, Xenos, Rogues, Junkers, and Hackers. The
Liberty Corporations will turn against you at the beginning of the
fourth mission, as will the Police and Navy, so go ahead and burn as
many bridges as you like. 

Probably the best place for piracy is not any trade lane or depot, but
the Texas side of the NY/Texas jump hole or either side of the
California/Texas jump hole. These locations also recommend themselves
for having pirate bases nearby on both sides: Buffalo and Beaumont, and
Alcatraz respectively -- which pay reasonably well for most any
high-dollar loot. You'll wait on average a minute for a Junker CSV or a
Mule packed with high-dollar items. The Outcasts and Rogues on the NY
side of the NY/Texas hole frequently have great cargo also, but the wait
is a bit longer.

The outward-going jump holes are, surprisingly, less interesting; the
best is the Colorado/Kepler jump-hole. The Xeno Startrackers carry small
loads of such interesting items as Mox and Luxury Food.

Pirate a load of Cardamine for one last Manhattan run, accepting the
mission with Juni just before you sell it. Or load up on Engine
Components, to fly through to Mactan, where they sell for a whopping
1424. But far more important than the coin is the kit: the next sideplay
mission is considerably harder than anything so far, and the choice of
ship and loadout is essential.

(You are now level 7.) 

=========
MISSION 4
========= 

Essentials
----------

Before accepting the mission, get a ship that maximizes damage per
second (and not doubling up on missiles, as you'll definitely run out).
Thus I would recommend either of the following two kits:

Mule Freighter
Windstalker            (purchased from almost anywhere outside Manhattan)
Slingshot              (looted from Liberty Police, or purchased)
2x Pyros Type I        (looted from Outcasts in the Badlands)
Rowlett's Revenge      (looted from the Navy fighters before Mission 3)
(empty)                (does not fire forward)
Pyros Type I Turret    (from the Balboa wreck in California)
Barrager II Turret     (purchased from Rochester, NY or Beaumont, TX)
Razor Mine             (purchased from Rochester or Buffalo for example)

Dagger Light Fighter
2x Advanced Scorpion   (or one Slingshot (and optionally one Javelin))
2x Pyros Type I        (looted from Outcasts)
Pyros Type I Turret    (from the Balboa wreck in California)
Wasp Cruise Disruptor  (for a teensy little extra damage)
Razor Mine

The Dagger is far more maneuverable, and much easier and safer, but the
Mule's combat-tank style is just classic, and it's actually faster if
you can reasonably handle the beast. That said, the upcoming sideplay
mission is pretty difficult, and you should go with whatever will get
you through -- and expect to reload several times, no matter which setup
you choose. Definitely go with the Dagger if you're having trouble.

After exiting Manhattan with Juni, you will be immediately attacked by
the Liberty Navy, and your escape routes blocked. At this point,
Sideplay-Mission 4.1 begins.

Sideplay-Mission 4.1: Cruiser Killer
------------------------------------

Destroy four cruisers during your flight from Liberty space.

Outside Manhattan, destroy:

Cruiser LNS Rampart (by the Fort Bush trade lane)
Cruiser LNS Twilight (by the Detroit Munitions lane)

(There is a false rumor floating around that it's possible to make the
"kill shot" on the Unity and gain an additional battleship kill credit.
This is definitely incorrect. You can hammer away at the Unity if you
want to, but you'll never get credit for destroying it.)

Battleships destroyed: 5

(Note that it's possible to kill all the Navy fighters at West Point,
but you got enough on your plate already.)

After the Van Pelt cutscene, destroy:

Cruiser LNS Justice (by Binford station)
Cruiser LNS Victory (by Binford station)

(All cruisers are 60% invulnerable until Binford actually explodes. LNS
Freedom remains so, but the other two, LNS Justice and LNS Victory,
become vulnerable after Binford explodes.)

Battleships destroyed: 7

Fans of "allied aggression" will find that Walker and his enitre
entourage are immune to death. It's possible to ambush them -- they
approach the battle from over the top of Manhattan, and are initially
marked "red" as enemies -- but you can't kill them. However, you can
destroy your escorts, Lambda 4 and Lambda 5, after you reach West Point.
And I believe it's possible to loot one of their shields, though I have
never accomplished this.

Recognize that the second pair of cruisers are considerably tougher than
the first, so during the first battle you'll probably want to conserve
your expendables: shield batteries, nanobots, missiles, and
countermeasures. You probably won't go through all your mines, so you
can go for broke there.

As far as destroying the second pair, you'll get more time and a much
needed break if you destroy one, then cruise towards the Magellan gate,
then when your shield is back up turn around and take the other.
(Alternatively, you can select the Magellan gate and hit "dock," and
remain in dock mode, but continue dogfighting as normal. An odd side
effect of this is that you cannot use reverse-thrust or otherwise drop
below top speed: 80m/s. -- You can still thrust, though, so your
maneuverability isn't *totally* shot.)

(Again, it's possible to kill all the Navy fighters accompanying the
cruisers, but again you've got quite enough to worry about already.)

That done, and once through to Magellan, there's one other fun thing you
can do, if you have enough missiles left after destroying the cruisers.
It is possible to destroy all the Bounty Hunters before the dialogue
between the Hackers and Hunters finishes. (Thus, the Bounty Hunter who
says "What? You'll pay for this!" will be a ghost.) You can attack your
Hacker allies while the battle rages, but you'll find them immune to
death.

Upon your departure from Mactan, you'll battle four Rheinland heavy
fighters, packing Starkillers among other things. -- If you're lucky,
they'll drop one. (But alas, the ammunition is beyond reach until after
the next mission.) You might also target your Hacker allies, but the
only piece of equipment they drop is the standard Hellflurry Mark I. For
an amusement, you can cruise to where the Rheinlanders spawn, select one
and join formation. They begin neutral, so if you can join formation
before they turn red, you can stay in formation with them during their
brief existence.

Immediately after you speak with Tobias, unfortunately and for no reason
apparent, the Outcasts become furious with you, and the Liberty Rogues,
once also great allies, grow quite neutral. The only pirates remaining
in the green are the faithful Xenos and Junkers. The Junkers are the
ones you'll need most urgently, and they should be more or less
unaffected by the Mission 4 shake-up.

We could at this point just as well fly to Rheinland or Kusari, and
we'll be doing precisely that as a part of Sideplay-Mission 4.5, but
we'll begin closer to home and work outward. But the order of the
upcoming Sideplay-Missions is roughly arbitrary.

(You are now level 8. Ships available: Legionaire/Trafalger,
Piranha/Leeds, Clydesdale/Leeds, Cavalier/Leeds, Crusader/Battleships.)

Sideplay-Mission 4.2: Equip
---------------------------

Get the Legionnaire, Advanced Thruster, and Advanced Countermeasure
Dropper, and start collecting guns.

Richard Winston Tobias urges you on to New London, for to get a new
ship. It's not entirely clear why he insists on New London, and he
probably means "New London" the planet, not "New London" the sector, but
it happens that the Legionaire, the best combat-oriented ship for this
stage of the game, is available in that sector at the Junker base
Trafalger.

Next you will want to decide which way you want to head: up towards
Holman Outpost, or down towards Cadiz. Either place sells the Advanced
Thruster and Advanced Countermeasure Dropper. Outside Liberty they use
cruise disruptors, so the Advanced Thruster is quite handy, as is the
Advanced Countermeasure Dropper, which can frequently foil those nasty
Wasps and Hornets. You'll want to pick up a level 4 Shield or three (you
have to wait until the next mission to purchase a level 5 shield). The
Gravitron version is availible from Cambridge Research Station, which is
conveniently on the way to Cadiz, if you're heading in that direction.

Now that you have the basic equipment, you're ready to go gun
collecting.

A good loadout to begin with is 2x Pyros 1 (looted from Outcasts), and
2x Pyros 2 (from the Balboa).

As for missiles, you'll either have to settle for the Slingshot, or go
with the Catapult from the Avenger in Texas. You're too low level to buy
ammunition for it, which means your only source for ammunition at this
point is Unioner Falcons in Rheinland. (A Crusader with a Stunpulse +
Pyros + Catapult loadout during mission 5 -- what a wonderful world. You'll
probably just use the 10 missiles from the Avenger before reaching Baxter,
so the munitions that come with the Catapults should be enough for the
Sprague battle. But more on this in a bit....)

An excellent collection will include the most damaging of each popular
weapon class, in both turret and standard gun form, levels 4, 5 and 6.
To perfectly equip any decent ship availible before the end of the
campaign, of guns you'll need two level 4, three level 5, and six level
6; of turrets, two level 4, three level 5, and three level 6.

Here are the most damaging, arranged by shield type of the opponent:

Vs. Graviton...
level 4 gun: Pyros Type 1
level 5 gun: Pyros Type 2 or Tarantula
level 6 gun: Pyros Type 3 or Advanced Tarantula
level 4 turret: Pyros Turret Type 1
level 5 turret: Pyros Turret Type 1
level 6 turret: Pyros Turret Type 2
(The Pyros Turret Type 1 easily beats all level 5 turrets.)

Vs. Positron...
level 4 gun: Barrager Mark II
level 5 gun: Sunfury 1
level 6 gun: Barrager Mark III or Sunblast A
level 4 turret: Barrager Turret Mark II
level 5 turret: Sunfury Turret 1
level 6 turret: Barrager Turret Mark III
(But either Pyros or Tarantula equipment is still very good also.)

Vs. Molecular...
level 4 gun: Dragoon Type 1
level 5 gun: Dragoon Type 2
level 6 gun: Luger Type A
level 4 turret: Dragoon Turret Type 1
level 5 turret: Angelito Turret Mark I
level 6 turret: Dragoon Turret Type 2

Plus of course the shield busters...
level 4 gun: (none: use level 3 Advanced Stunpulse)
level 5 gun: Borroco 1
level 6 gun: Borocco 2 or Debilitator
level 4 turret: (none: use level 2 Stunpulse Turret)
level 5 turret: (none: use level 2 Stunpulse Turret)
level 6 turret: Borocco Turret or Debilitator Turret

(Note: the Vulture guns have the most efficient damage:energy ratio (by
far), if that's what you're looking to maximize.)

The favorites are probably the Pyros, which can be salvaged from Balboa
and Lorenzo, and looted from various Outcasts.

The class 5 Tarantula can be looted from Xeno Hawks and Falcons in
Hudson and Kepler.

The class 6 Advanced Tarantula can be salvaged from the Lonestar wreck in
Bering.

The class 5 and 6 Vultures can be looted from Farmers' Alliance ships in
Kyushu and elsewhere.

However, for now, not all can be acquired, as some must be bought rather
than looted. Also, you cannot yet acquire a ship that supports level-6
equipment, so you might also want to hold off perfecting your collection
until the level-6 equipment becomes relevant.

Until you can *buy* level-6 equipment, the best are the Pyros and
Tarantulas, but coming in a close second are the Barrager III guns and
turrets, which can be looted off the Junkers CSVs outside Yanagi. (The
equivalent Sunblast A guns can be looted off GMG fighters, but nowhere
do these guys drop turrets, so if you want a pretty match, you probably
want to go with Barragers; on the other hand, they are equivalent in all
other respects (though the Sunblasts are a tiny bit more
energy-efficient), and as equivalent, they can be mixed and matched.)

The only other things to keep an eye out for are the Hornet cruise
disruptor, which you can loot from many of the various Sabres and
Titans, and the Ripper Mine, four of which can be scavenged from the
Sabre graveyard in Omicron Alpha (quadrant 4F). -- And maybe the Swatter
mine too, since the Ripper ammunition is in such short supply, and
cannot be replenished (while Sabres do drop Swatter ammunition).

Sideplay-Mission 4.3: Bloodbath in the Badlands
----------------------------------------------- 

The objective of this Sideplay-Mission is simple: dock with planet
Manhattan. 

This will be difficult, of course, because everyone in New York except
the Junkers (and perhaps the Rogues) wants to grill you for dinner. 

This is an intense combat operation, so definitely fly your favorite
combat vessel. Also you will want to equip weapons that are appropriate
for a mixed Rogues/Outcasts combat; they have different shields (Rogues:
molecular; Outcasts: positronic), so you'll want to mix your weapon
type. (The Outcasts are harder, so your level 5 weapons should probably
be geared for them.) -- And definitely go with the level 4 Graviton
shield, the Advanced Guardian.

You may meet some resistance flying through Magellan, but you know how
to bob and weave with thruster engaged, so you'll be fine. 

Once you get back to New York, head towards Buffalo. You are likely
going to be refused docking privileges, on account of the little
Outcast misunderstanding. The Outcasts. Those turncoats. The Rogues too
for that matter.... 

So kill 'em, kill 'em, and keep on killin' 'em, Outcasts and Rogues,
until you are in the white for Manhattan. This will stabilize you
reputation for the entire region as well.

While you are killing Rogues and Outcasts, you will likely run across
Cardamine and other high-dollar convoys. Loot them and take them back to
Rochester to sell. Taken all at once, this is a considerable battle, so
a little run up to Rochester to save and take a break from the action
will be welcome. Then just head back to the Badlands for more fighting. 

This Badlands battle is, for my money, one of the most enjoyable battles
possible in the game. It soon settles into cool arcade-style action. The
asteroids are a good size and shape, and if you're flying a
well-equipped Legionaire, the difficulty level is fun but not
terrifying. Sometimes you will be fighting a pretty big group, so keep
frosty, or you may become a corpse before your time! 

After you've won back Manhattan, you might consider rewarding yourself
by running a shipment of Cardamine from Trafalger to Manhattan, for a
one-way profit of about 900 per item -- that's a pretty penny in a
125-capacity Clydesdale. Running Light Arms from New London to Cadiz (or
better, Leon) and returning with Artifacts is also quite lucrative, so
you might try that on for size if the Corsairs aren't in the red at the
moment. However, we'll hold off on the serious smuggling until after the
next mission, when the Dromedary (with its mammoth 275 cargo hold)
becomes available. 

Sideplay-Mission 4.4: Go Radical
--------------------------------

Visit Gaian base Islay (in Edinburgh) and Molly base Arranmore (in
Dublin). 

Visiting them at this point in the game is the most difficult thing you
can do in Bretonian space, and that's why we're doing it, plain and
simple. Their weapons are quite reasonable, but you can get the same
weapons by killing their ships rather than visiting their bases. So
we're not really doing this for weapons, nor is there any compelling
trade benefit in this, for the Gaians are not terribly eager to buy
anything, and while the Mollys are extremely interested in Engine Parts
(which sell for 1500 at Aranmore), Mactan is well located and buys them
for 1424, so there isn't much difference.

Trafalger is a fine base, hosting Gaians, Mollys, Outcasts, and
Corsairs, in addition to the Junkers who run it -- the whole Britonian
underground! You might want to revisit there now, shore up a good
relation with Junkers if necessary by running a mission or two for them,
and if you want, bribe the Mollys and Gaians. Of course it's always more
fun to earn a reputation than buy one, and it's a good idea to do so
with at least one of them, for this will stabilize your reputation with
the other pirating factions. 

The only base of the Gaians, Islay, is well positioned in the Edinburgh
system with two of their enemies, Luxury Spa & Cruise, and Planetform.
The fastest way to their hearts is to blockade Spa & Cruise shipments by
simply lurking outside of Luxury Liner Shetland, in sector 3E, and
killing all approaching vessels. You will notice that sometimes Luxury
Food is the cargo. This can be a nice pirating/trade run later on, but
for now, just kill everything to fix your reputation with Gaians. As a
nice side effect, your reputation with the Outcasts gets fixed as well,
and with that, reconciliation with the Rogues and Hackers is not far
off.

If you didn't bother getting that level 4 shield from Mactan (because
you never reconciled with the Outcasts), you can buy back your Outcast
reputation, and go get it now. This shield is an absolute necessity for
mission 4.5.

Pleasing the Mollys means killing Bounty Hunters in large numbers. There
is a Bounty Hunter station called Sheffield in Manchester, which has a
number of storage depots. It will take you some time to kill a
sufficient number of Bounty Hunters, for they only come around
occasionally, and in small numbers most of the time. When you're done,
visit the Molly base Arranmore in Dublin.

(If you do Sideplay-Mission 4.5 before Sideplay-Mission 4.4, note that
there's a Bounty Hunter base Deshima in Shikoku, along with a couple of
trade depots. Killing Bounty Humters here is as good as killing Bounty
Hunters elsewhere.) 

Upon reaching Dublin you may notice that some jump gates are "access
denied." This is trivial, as you can normally reach the same places by
going through jump holes; however, some areas really are off limits
until the game progresses, such as the Tohoku jump hole in faraway
Chugoku and Hokkaido, or the Alaska gate.

Sideplay-Mission 4.5: Exploration Challenge
------------------------------------------- 

As almost all of the map is available for exploration now, we'll take a
little tour through the whole sector. 

The following challenges are in the spirit of exploration, and are just
for fun. Feel free to explore and make up your own challenges. Mapping
the sector is useful for next sideplay mission, for we will be running
commodities and contraband around the sector, and a mapped sector makes
navigation much easier. Speed helps especially when running perishable
commodities, and the spirit of the cargo-run is in maximizing profit,
which at bottom is all about speed.

Challenges: 

* Visit Omega, Omicron, Sigma, Tau, and Unknown space. Here's a complete
list of these outlying sectors: 

Omega 3, Omega 5, Omega 7, Omega 11, Omega 41 

Omicron Alpha, Omicron Beta, Omicron Gamma, Omicron Theta. (Omicron
Major and Omicron Minor are not accessible at this stage of the game.
Jump holes for them will eventually appear in Omicron Beta, sector D4.)

Sigma 13, Sigma 17, Sigma 19 

Tau 23, Tau 29, Tau 31, Tau 37

The two "Unknown" systems, accessible from Omicron Alpha (F4) and
Omicron Gamma (F2). (Amusingly, the inhabitants of the unknown system
accessible from Omicron Gamma will remember Trent, although you have not
visited their system before. Strangely, the bases in this sector do not
have original infocards, instead borrowing from Junyo for the
description.)

(You might want to consult Dustin Shaffer's "Freelancer Jump
Holes/Gates, Base List, Commodities List, and Ships" for directions, or
Gary Dwyer's "Maps FAQ" for maps, if you're having trouble finding
anything.) 

1. Find the Blood Dragon base Kyoto (in Chugoku), and run a mission for
them. (And as a bonus, when Juni later says, "I don't know anyone who's
even seen Kyoto," you can smile a bit.)

2. Find the five sleeper ships (mentioned and displayed in the opening
movie). (One hint: the opening movie provides a clue on where to look
for the first one.) (Spoiler for the first one: 33, 43, 7, 10, 52, 9,
36, 52, 35. -- These numbers correspond to column-numbers of the first
line in this paragraph.)

3. Find the wreckage of Freeport 7. Note that: 1) it is not of the same
station designation as appears in the opening destruction-movie (in the
destruction movie, it's military-class, like West Point, but here it's
station class Dern, like a couple other Freeports in the game); 2) if you
find it, you'll know it. (One hint: Treant's logs contain at least one
clue on which system it's in.) (Spoiler: 55, 5, 19, 70, 18, 48, 34, 1,
11. -- These numbers correspond to column-numbers of the first line in
this paragraph.)

4. Destroy one of each during your exploration of the system: a Titan,
Centurion, Sabre, Eagle, Hammerhead, and Banshee. Of these, the
Centurion is the easiest, owing to its relatively poor maneuverability;
the GMG Eagles in Omicron Beta are argueably the hardest. If you're
lucky, you'll pick up a Hornet cruise disruptor from the loot, and you
might get a Swatter mine dropper to use when you run out of ammunition
for your Ripper.

And as a final challenge:

5. Destroy a Nomad ship. You can find these in either of the "Unknown"
systems.

Please note: the Nomads are quite difficult at this point. The first
time I tried this, it took me maybe fifteen tries before I was able to
take one down, and I came out of the fight missing a wing. I have found
it much easier to fight in the Unknown system accessible from Omicron
Gamma (F2), I think because the asteroids make dodging easier, and the
radiation in the other Unknown system is significant. In this case you
can fly out of Planet Primus, where you can make repairs from the
Omicron Gamma radiation (although you cannot re-supply much needed
shield-batteries or nanobots). I would recommend bringing the Legionaire
to the battle, and leaning on afterburner most of the time. Reverse
thrust, while normally invaluable, will slow you down just enough to
make you a target, which means a very quick death. The Nomads will
probably try to ambush you on the other side of the jump hole as you
leave their system, so don't relax until after you are well away from
the Unknown jump hole. Be warned that this Sideplay-Mission is
significantly tougher than any so far.

While you're in the vicinity, remember to pick up a Ripper mine dropper.

You will find that none of the ships outside of Britonia (and Liberty)
are yet available, and only a few of the weaker weapons can be
purchased. Serious trading we're saving for the next round of
Sideplay-Missions, since then we'll have the Dromedary. Also, randomly
generated missions are only available in Britonia, Kusari, and Liberty
sectors -- of these, the Kusari missions are the most fun. Anyway,
fighting arbitrarily selected targets and flying around exploring is
going to be the best fun in many of the newly availabe sectors.

=========
MISSION 5
=========

Essentials
----------
Crusader Heavy Fighter
2x Pyros Type I       (looted from Outcasts)
Catapult              (salvaged from the Avenger wreck in Texas)
3x Pyros Type II      (salvaged from the Balboa and Lorenzo, or looted)

[N.B.: The Lorenzo is in the lower-right region of quadrant 2C in Leeds.
Other FAQs incorrectly list it in the lower-left region of 2C.]

You only have 10 Catapults, so you'll probably want to switch to a
missile (say, the Slingshot) or another Pyros (or Stunpulse, etc.) when
you hit Baxter.

The Sprague docking ring appears for the first time during this mission,
and is destroyed shortly thereafter by Rheinland vessels. So you can
never actually visit anything at Sprague (except the animation that
plays between docking and the destruction of the ring). 

When you exit from the exploding planet, you can elect to destroy all
the Rheinland gunboats and fighters rather than simply run as you're
told. This is a bit of a challenge because if you take too long you will
get a "mission failure". (Also, the gunboats are kind enough to drop
H-fuel, a somewhat valuable commodity well worth grabbing if your hold
is empty.) A couple more fighters will appear as you approach the
waypoint, and there's a time challenge to take them out also.

You then fly to Baxter Base, which has only now appeared -- and only to
be immediately blown up upon your departure. If, for some reason, you
haven't acquired the Adv. Guardian Shield, it is available from this
base. When you exit the base you have the opportunity of destroying
another gunboat, which drops H-Fuel.

It is impossible to assist the renegade Rheinlanders in their traitorous
destruction of the Rheinland Battleship. It is also impossible to make
the continuing battle more interesting by destroying your allies: the
Rheinland defectors are immune to death.

Just after you enter the Leeds system, it is possible to dock at Durham.
There's no compelling reason to do this that I can think of, but it's
interesting in itself: this is the only case I know of where it is
possible to interrupt any mission by docking on an unrelated base.
Nothing happens, though: Juni just hangs out in space until you're done
with Durham.

(You are now level 10. Ships available: Drake/Planets Honshu, Kyushu,
and New Tokyo; Drone/Planets Junyo and New Tokyo; Dromedary/Mactan.)

Sideplay-Mission 5.1: Perfect Neutrality
----------------------------------------

So, now that the Dromedary is available, we'll want to make a bundle of
cash trading. But before we get started with this, we'll want to achieve
a neutral (or better) reputation with all the factions in the entire
sector. This is a tricky balancing act, but it will serve you very well
for trading, since you'll have perfect freedom to land wherever you
want, and you won't have to worry about getting distracted or
interrupted, and can enjoy running trade missions in perfect time, and
exploring all avenues for trade.

How to do this depends on who exactly you have angered so far, and how
much. Greasing palms is certainly useful here -- and don't worry about
the cash: you'll make it back very easily trading once you have a
perfect reputation. (Matthew Lawson's Bribes FAQ will be useful here.)
But you'll probably also want to kill a large number of (more friendly)
ships to balance things out with the angrier factions, and for this the
newly available Drake is definitely the best bet. It's the most
maneuverable ship in the whole game, which more than makes up for its
lack of power. Equip a Tarantula loadout and you'll just slice the skies
in half.

Towards fixing your reputation, you may run missions in Bretonia,
Kusari, and of course Liberty, but Sigma, Rheinland and the outer
regions of Sirius refuse to hire you on account of your low level. On
the other hand, taking missions does not do a great deal of good, since
it's the factions who won't hire you (or even let you land) that you're
trying to impress.

You're done with this Sideplay-Mission when all of the factions are
listed as white (or green). Note, however, that "barely white" on your
reputation screen normally means "still red" when you encounter a ship
or base of the faction in question, so a thin sliver better than "barely
white" is what you're really aiming for.

Sideplay-Mission 5.2: All Systems Show Green
--------------------------------------------

It's time to get serious about trade, and if you know what you're doing,
you can make upwards 2 million credits per hour! This sideplay-mission
is a cross between a race, mind-numbing calculations for the quickest
buck, and further exploration. There are few guidelines here: the whole
sector is open to you, and it is yours to make the most of. 

This sideplay-mission begins at Mactan, where you can finally acquire
the best freighter in the game (by far): the Dromedary. If you're
following this walkthrough, you will have roughly mapped out the whole
sector after Mission 4, and you probably already have a good sense of
which trade routes will be most profitable. Indeed, the most obvious
ones are also some of the best. Speaking of Mactan, for example, here's
a highly profitable trade route which you have no doubt already
considered:

Mactan: Cardamine -> Manhattan
Manhattan: H-Fuel -> Mactan
Total: 8 minutes (game clock time), 233k credits (in a Dromedary):
1.75mil/hour

This is perhaps the best "two stop" run -- and since you're at Mactan
already, why not take it for a spin in your fantastic new Dromedary?

"What's your best time?" along with "what's the next interesting route?"
and "what's the quickest buck?" are the operative questions for this
sideplay-mission -- and this sort of racing/exploration/calculation game
can be really fun, even though it doesn't involve combat. Try running
guns to the Omega systems, and quality Cardamine or Artifacts back to
the more civilized regions. Try finding the profitable trades through
the Tau systems; you might even reconstruct Trent's prospective Boron
trade (see the early entries in the "neural net Log"), somewhere near
Kurile and the now-lost Freeport 7.

To get you started on the trader's track, there follows here a brief
list of some of the more elaborate trade runs that I have found and
learned from other players. (Many thanks to Bosson for his fine work
discovering several of the most profitable and fun trade routes.) Even
after having written a few computer-program "tools" to crunch and
variously organize the available information on bases, commodities, and
jump gates/holes, I haven't found anything markedly better than what has
already been discovered by others: two million credits per hour of
trading seems the sort of "soft limit" on what is possible at this point
(though a couple other very useful jumpholes will open later). -- In any
case, upwards 2mil/hour is the main goal here.

If you have a different route that makes upwards (or beyond!) 2 million
an hour, and you would like to see it included here, please let me know.
Also please share any improvements on any of these routes.

Trade routes:
-------------

A note on the Omega-41 Neutron Star: Some of the most profitable paths
go through Omega-41, and taking the most direct path through this system
can mean flying right past the neutron star. If you're worried, you can
go around it, thus suffering only minor radiation damage -- but you can
actually fly straight past the beast, provided you don't mind cutting
things a little close. When performing this little maneuver, don't use
your nanobots until your red-line is all the way down ("Hull breach
imminent"), or else you may not make it out of the system. Also, I
highly recommend you un-mount your gear before taking this path: you
will lose your wings, along with anything mounted on them, and of course
removing your gear saves on repairs anyway. (During this entire
sideplay-mission, I fly without any equipment except my thruster and
shield, and you really don't need even that.)

"Money run 101"
Freeport 9: Alien Organisms -> Cambridge Research Station
  [Omicron Theta, Omega 41, Omega 5, Cambridge]
    (10 minutes, 421k)
Cambridge Research Station: Empty -> Cambridge
    (1 minute, 0k)
Planet Cambridge: Diamonds -> Planet Leeds
  [Cambridge, Leeds]
    (7 minutes, 100k)
Planet Leeds: H-Fuel -> Mactan
  [Leeds, Magellan]
    (3 minutes, 60k)
Mactan: Cardamine -> Planet Manhattan
  [Magellan, New York]
    (4 minutes, 190k)
Planet Manhattan: Luxury Consumer Goods -> Planet Kyushu
  [New York, Colorado, Kepler, Shikoku, New Tokyo, Kyushu]
    (16 minutes, 223k)
Planet Kyushu: Engine Components -> Planet Malta
  [Kyushu, Tau 23, Tau 37, Omicron Alpha]
    (9 minutes, 277k)
Malta: Cardamine -> Freeport 9
  [Omicron Alpha, Omicron Theta]
    (5 minutes, 123k)
Total: 46 minutes, 1394k: 1.81m/hour
This is the best route I have found. Like many of the most profitable
routes, this one involves a couple "money runs": moving Alien Organisms
from Freeport 9 to Cambridge Research Station; and (even more profitable
time-wise) smuggling Cardamine from Mactan to Manhattan. The remainder
of such routes are basically aimed to get back to the starting point of
the respective money runs, without losing too much on the money/time
ratio: hence the somewhat longer and less profitable trip from Manhattan
back towards Freeport 9.

"Blame it on the Black Star" (Compliments of Bosson -- Thanks Bosson!) 
Freeport 9: Alien Organisms -> Cambridge Research Station
  [Omicron Theta, Omega 41, Omega 5, Cambridge]
    (10 minutes, 421k)
Planet Cambridge: Luxury Food -> Hawaii
  [Omega 5, Omega 41, Omicron Theta, Sigma 17, Sigma 19]
    (15.5 minutes, 372k)
Hawaii: Empty -> Honshu
  [Sigma 19, Honshu]
    (4 minutes, 0k)
Planet Honshu: Optronics -> Ruiz
  [Honshu, Sigma 19, Omicron Beta]
    (6.5 minutes, 249k)
Ruiz: Cardamine -> Freeport 9
  [Omicron Beta, Omicron Alpha, Omicron Theta]
    (4 minutes, 115k)
Total: 40 minutes, 1202k: 1.8mil/hour
[Note: Bosson clocks this trip at an amazing 35 minutes, for a total
2.0mil/hour]
An ingenious little route -- the best of Bosson's by his clocking (and
that is saying something!). I would be interested to find how Bosson
compares this one with the "money run" route immediately above; I
suspect they're about even. Please note that you will experience some
relatively minor radiation damage even after Omega 41, when you're on
the way to Hawaii: so be careful to carefully handle the damage incurred
from the Neutron star -- remember, don't use the nanobots (near the
Neutron star) until you're almost dead. You should leave Omega 41 with
no nanobots (and no wings), and about halfway down your redline.

"Advance to go" (Compliments of Bosson -- Thanks Bosson!)
Planet Honshu: Optronics -> Yanagi
  [Honshu, Sigma 13]
    (3.66 minutes, 135k)
Yanagi: Cardamine -> Planet New Berlin
  [Sigma 13, New Berlin]
    (7 minutes, 231k)
New Berlin: Silver -> Mainz Storage Facility
  [New Berlin, Frankfurt]
    (3.33 minutes, 36k)
Mainz: Cobalt -> Planet Honshu
  [Frankfurt, Sigma 13, Honshu]
    (6.5 minutes, 188k)
Total: 20.5minutes, 590k: 1.72mil/hour
[Note: Bosson clocks this at 20 minutes, for a total of 1.77mil/hour]
In Bosson's words: "This neat little route has no massive profits but is
very quick and knocks up the most profit of any of the safe routes I
have found. It's fairly straightforward but take care into Yanagi and
out to the Frankfurt jumphole if the Corsairs don't like you."

"I think you're crazy, maybe" (Compliments of Bosson -- Thanks Bosson!)
Freeport 9: Alien Organisms -> Cambridge Research Station
  [Omicron Theta, Omega 41, Omega 5, Cambridge]
    (10 minutes, 421k)
Cambridge: Empty -> Cardiff Mining Facility
    (2.5 minutes, 0k)
Cardiff: Beryllium -> Freiberg Station
  [Cambridge, Omega 3, Omega 7, Stuttgart]
    (10.5 minutes, 208k)
Freiberg: Engine Components -> Freital
  [Stuttgart, Omega 7 (F6 jump hole)->, Omega 11]
    (5 minutes, 185k)
Freital: Diamonds -> Freeport 9
  [Omega 11, Omega 41, Omicron Theta]
    (5 minutes, 115k) (on cruise through the Omega 41 minefield)
Total: 33 minutes, 929k: 1.69mil/hour
[Note: Bosson clocks this trip at an amazing 30 minutes, for a total
1.9mil/hour]
This is a really fun route, especially the Omega 41 minefield on cruise!
A most profitable challenge!

"Roll around the rim"
Freeport 9: Alien Organisms -> Cambridge
  [Omicron Theta, Omega 41, Omega 5, Cambridge]
    (10 minutes, 421k)
Cambridge: Diamonds -> Leeds
  [Cambridge, Leeds]
    (7 minutes, 100k)
Leeds: Light Arms -> Malta
  [Leeds, Tau 31, Tau 23, Tau 37, Omicron Alpha]
    (14 minutes, 289k)
Malta: Cardamine -> Freeport 9
  [Omicron Alpha, Omicron Theta]
    (5 minutes, 123k)
Total: 36 minutes, 933k: 1.55m/hour
This is yet another trip featuring the Freeport-9 to Cambridge "money
run" and a scrabble back to Freeport 9. For this one, we go all the way
around the outer rim of the sector. A nice tour around the sector!

====

Note that THE MOST PROFITABLE trade route involves the Sigma-13 C5
jumphole to New Berlin, but this jumphole is closed at this stage of the
game. (The trade is: Cardamine from Yanagi to New Berlin, and Engine
Components back to the Yanagi.) This trade is of course still possible
at this stage of the game, but only by a less-direct route. Without the
currently-closed jump hole, this trade is not terribly efficient. You'll
only be able to capitalize on this trade after the "game proper" plays
out.

Sideplay-Mission 5.3: The Way of the Pirate
-------------------------------------------

Time to re-equip that weaponry!

Now that you've familiarized yourself with the most profitable trade
routes, you're ready to try your hand at true piracy. Beyond knowing
where to hunt (ideally, near where you want to sell what loot you
pillage), the main trick is to protect your reputation well enough that
you'll have a good place to sell whatever cargo you come across.
Remember that you don't always have to shoot/loot absolutely everything,
but can wait around a couple minutes for the big score. Take advantage
of your turrets when you're pirating with a Dromedary: a good turret
view technique is well worth the necessary practice. (And rear view is a
nice touch too.)

Here's a few ideas to get you started:

Look for a Synth Foods "luxury food" train at the Honshu->New Tokyo jump
gate. This perishable commodity can be sold at Hawaii for example.

Daumann Trains at the Dresden jumpgate carry diamonds, which can be very
profitably fenced in New Tokyo.

In Cortez, by the California jumpgate: fly south toward the California
jumphole, and wait for a Rogue Mule to appear. If you get Cardamine, fly
it to Manhattan. With Alien Organisms use the nearby jumphole to deliver
them to California Minor.

Near The Ring you will often find Hessians carrying Niobium. Bust them,
and sell the loot at The Ring.

You may find a train full of Niobium at the Dresden jumpgate. Crash the
train, and proceed to Leipzig for the payoff.

At Yanagi Depot you will always find numerous Junker ships with
high-dollar cargo.

The empty jump-gate corners at Galileo and Hudson are ideal for ambush;
a nice place to crash parties.

(Email me your favorite pirate practice, if you would like to see it
included here. My contact information is at the bottom of this file.)

=========
MISSION 6
=========

Essentials
----------

Bring a Dromedary with your favorite dogfighting loadout, optimizing for
speed kill. (Recommend missile/Pulse/Pyros loadout.)

Sideplay-Mission 6.1: Teach Dexter's Cronies a Lesson
------------------------------------------------------

The first time through the course, as soon as you're ambushed, forget
the race and take out both the ships that are attacking you (ignoring
the weapon platforms). Destroy both cronies before Hovis reaches the
finish line.

Sideplay-Mission 6.2: Teach Dexter a Lesson
-------------------------------------------

Beat Hovis with your Dromedary. This and the Drone are the largest and
least maneuverable ship available, so the race will push your piloting
skills. I found this somewhat difficult the first time, but it is not
impossible. (It's actually possible to beat Hovis in a Humpback, but
that's another story....)

By the way, no matter how you beat him, Hovis will say the same thing
("Damn. Bretonian. Not bad." -- And he sounds real surprised and
impressed). The spectator, however, will react differently depending on
how well you beat him. Beating Hovis very badly stuns this cheering fan,
who first says "I can't believe this!" -- then shut his yap so you can
hear Hovis' little speech. If you beat him a fair amount the
chatter-voices shouts "the newcomer has won! Unbelievable!" -- but he
yells this over Hovis so you cannot hear Hovis' congratulatory message.
Finally, if you beat him very little, which doesn't activate his little
ambush, he'll give his congratulatory message *after* you go back to
cockpit view, which means his speech is unoccluded by the spectator's
enthusiasms.

After you beat Hovis, the mission is highly scripted: you have no option
but land back on the Hood (jumps and other bases are closed). Continue
to its conclusion the standard mission, proceeding to the newly
appearing base "Glorious" (which will disappear once again after you
leave the system), and after this, simply warding off the attackers as
directed.

Upon your initial approach to the Glorius, it is possible to kill three
of the four friendly fighters. (Jarvis is immune to death.) With any
luck, you'll pick up a Sunblast A, a fantastic level 6 photon blaster.
After leaving Glorius, Albertson is immune and Quintain is essential,
but you can take out the other two allies. Here you might pick up an
Advanced Scorpion or a Wasp launcher, but nothing more interesting than
that.

When you land on Leeds, the mission ends, and although you are rushed
into the next mission right away, you may, as always, indefinitely
decline to proceed, and go out on your own for another stretch.

(You are now level 12.)

However, there's absolutely nothing new that you haven't already seen,
and no new ships or equipment available. So we proceed directly to...

=========
MISSION 7
=========

Essentials
----------

I think a light fighter is not suited to the following challenge. I
recommend a Dromedary, but let me know if you have better luck in a
heavy fighter, which has a toropdo slot to recommend it.

My Dromedary loadout is...
2x Catapult
Pyros Type 2
2x Pyros Turret Type 2 (slot number 4 cannot fire directly forward)
3x Barrager Turret Mark 3
Tadpole Mine

Before you begin, make sure you're at least neutral with Samura, or you
might not be able to land on Shinkaku. I've had the mission freeze on me
at this point, and had to reload from Leeds. Luckily, you can find a
Samura rep-fixer on Leeds.

Also note: you cannot destroy the second fighter of the initial ambush
before he cloaks. Once the first one is killed, the other one becomes
invincible. You can, however, kill one of the two other cloaking ships
at the ambush near Stokes. But that's just minor trivia, and things only
really pick up outside the Tau-31 gate....

Sideplay-Mission 7.1: Battleship Bomber
---------------------------------------

First, destroy the cruiser guarding the gate out of Leeds *before*
Tobias shows up. He'll then talk about concentrating on a cruiser that
you've already turned to space-dust, and you can smile a little.

Battleships destroyed: 8

Also you can take down Tobias' buddies -- and here you might nab another
Starkiller if you're lucky. (Or, for an amusingly bizarre effect, you can
shoot out the trade lane, even returning to keep it down until the whole
fight near Glasgow is over. Thus, Tobias never arrives. -- And when the
last fighter falls, Tobias and friends magically appear.)

After you arrive at Tau 31, destroy the Rheinland Battleship guarding
the trade lane to Tau 29 gate. (For this I recommend getting very close
at the battleship's underbelly and belting it with the catapult missiles
while you continuously fire your guns. -- You need to dispatch this
dangerous creature quickly or you will run out of time and receive
"mission failure.") Even though you kill this battleship and its entire
entourage, you still won't get an official battleship credit -- but it's
fun anyway.

Shortly after you leave Shinkaku, there will be another Battleship to
dispatch, plus three cruisers, two gunships, and several fighters.

You won't get an official battleship credit for the Schiller itself, but
each of these three cruisers counts as a "battleship destroyed" credit.
You have a number of allies competing with you to take them down, so
you'll have to move quickly if you want all three.

Battleships destroyed: 11

Razor One is invincible, but the rest of Razor Wing can be destroyed.
Sometimes you'll get a Dragoon Type 2, or a Dragoon Type 2 Turret, and
rarely it is possible to loot a Protector LF shield, the absolute best
equippable LF shield in the game.

/---------------
| Special Note:
|
| This is one of the few times in the entire game when it is possible to
| loot a shield. It's a class 7 shield too, and now is of course the
| earliest place you can acquire it. Normally you'd have to wait until
| the campaign is over, and even now you'll have to wait until the
| campaign is over if you want to use it.
|
| Normal NPC shields have a "Regen Rate" of 1, which basically means
| they don't regenerate at all. -- These shields never drop, but shields
| with "normal" regen rates will drop. The Razor assist is one of only a
| few situations where an NPC has a "normal" shield with a "normal" regen
| rate.
|
| By the way, you can easily check the regen rate of any ship's shields:
| just scan a ship, go to its "shields and thrusters" readout, click on
| the shield listed there, and scroll down to see the "Regen Rate."
\---------------

Proceed with the standard mission to its conclusion on Kyushu.

(You are now level 13. Ships available: Hawk/Kyoto, Planets Honshu and
Kyushu; Wolfhound/Bases Montezuma and Arranmore; Dragon/Battleships
Matsumoto, Myoko, and Nagumo; Barracuda/Planets Curacao, Kyushu, New
Tokyo, and Honshu.)

Again there's not much doing that hasn't already been done. The best
ship at this stage is the Barracuda, no contest. Normally, ships of the
same level have competing strengths, but the Barracuda ties or beats all
other ships in all areas. (Users of Jason Merrill's walkthrough should
note that his gun battery approximations are inaccurate: the Barracuda
has exactly the same gun battery (3400) and regen rate (345) as the
Hawk, Dragon, and Wolfhound.)

=========
MISSION 8
=========

Essentials
----------

A fun "kill the ships" mission, framed as a surgical strike and hijack.

A good loadout for this mission is:

Barracuda with...
2x Catapult
4x Sunblast A (or Barragers)
Starkiller
Tadpole

There is only minor side-play here: of course you can destroy the three
Blood Dragon Escorts, though this doesn't lead to anything remarkable;
near Yukawa you could loot the storage depots, but they carry only Toxic
Waste and Scrap Metal; best of all, if you shoot the underbelly of
Tekagi's transport, you can knock loose some of its valuable cargo,
which you can then loot -- but be careful not to destroy it, or you get
mission failure. That's all I could think of to do with this one, other
than return to Kyoto as directed.

(You are now level 15.)

Do what you do to achieve level 16, maybe heading towards Cali with a
turret-equippable ship, so you can get the Pyros Turret Type 2, which
you'll enjoy putting on your Anubis. (Unfortunately this means ditching
the Barracuda at a time when your reputation makes it difficult to
re-acquire it, but rep-fixing is fun, so no big deal.)

(You are now level 16. Level 6 equipment is now availible!)

Pick up an Advanced Sentry shield, and complete your gun collection
however you fancy -- I like best a full Pyros loadout with twin
Catapults. When you're ready, proceed to the next mission, but with one
caveat...

=========
MISSION 9
=========

Warning: in your gun-collecting exploits, it's not unlikely that you
purchased a turret-equippable ship (in order to enable the purchase of
level 6 turrets), and then killed Blood Dragons and GC to fix your
reputation with Tokyo so you can re-acquire a Barracuda. This is fine,
but you must fix rep again so that you're at least neutral with the
Blood Dragons (and one sliver better than barely), before you start the
mission. (The fact that you are allowed to land on Kyoto the first time
is *quite* misleading.)

If you are hostile with the Blood Dragons, you will not be able to dock
on Kyoto on return from the Arch. -- You'll basically be stuck in space
(as is also possible in the second trip to California Minor during
Mission 3, or outside Shinkaku dirung Mission 7), and will have to
restore and re-do the mission from the beginning.

Ok, on to the good stuff....

Essentials
----------

Barracuda with the standard Pyros loadout; or, for variation, Tarantula
or Vulture, etc., plus Catapults and Starkillers, and a Borocco if you
like.

Play the first part of the mission as usual. You can kill some of your
Dragon allies if you wish, though three are invulnerable (four if you
include Ozu). When you approach the arch, you encounter the first
challenge...

Sideplay-Mission 9.1: Battleship Belter
---------------------------------------

Upon approach, you may be attacked by the Destroyer KNF Hissatsu and a
couple fighters. (It's the cruiser circling the arch at a 2500-M
radius.) Destroying the Hissatsu earns you a battleship kill.

Battleships destroyed: 12

The first thing to do upon nearing the arch is destroy the battleship,
though it does not earn you an official kill. (Note that when it
explodes, the blast will consume you if you are too close.)

After this, you will have a Destroyer and a couple Gunboats to deal
with, and a large number of fighters. More fighters will arrive as you
dispatch the ones now present, so it's hopeless to destroy the entire
defenses. Take care of the major vessels for good measure, and proceed
with the mission proper by destroying the shield generators.

When this is done, dock at the arch, proceeding with the mission as
usual. When eventually you meet up with Juni, there will be a couple
more Gunboats to destroy, and some more fighters -- nothing major, and
no possibility for side-play, although if you wish you can take out all
your allies except Hakkera and Juni -- and you might get a Dragoon 3 or
so out of the deal. When all's done, you'll be back at Kyoto, and ready
for the next mission.

(You are now level 17.)

Sideplay-Mission 9.2: The End of Freedom
----------------------------------------

Upon accepting mission 10, you are locked into the final series of
missions which allows no breaks for freelance work. Your next
opportunity to set your own course will be when the missions proper have
played out and the good guys have won. (You are a good guy, aren't you?)

So now you might like fixing your reputation again, and having a final
go at the whole sector. If so, you'll be walking a delicate line here,
as you will have a bad reputation for many systems, and you will have to
target your few piratical allies in order to improve your reputation;
this puts challenging limits on your movement and strategy.

One might begin by killing Dragons at the Honshu jump-gate, and
returning to Kyoto to get more shield batteries and take a break.

Once the Kusari reputation is more or less stabilized, make your way
down to Dresden, the best place to kill Hessians -- and this is the
fastest way to stabilize your reputation with the Rheinlanders. You'll
probably have to run at some point, as these ships are far more powerful
than yours. One fun place to run is Freital.

Once you've left Freital, it's a great pleasure to assist the Corsairs
destroying Hessians in the near vicinity of Freital. As you wish, you
can run missions out of many Rheinland bases for the Bounty Hunters,
killing Hessians. Pleasing the Bounty Hunters is rather a good move,
since you'll want to kill some Bounty Hunters while you're on the hunt
for Outcasts, to ensure you won't go too far south that the Outcasts
become angry.

You'll probably want to make your way back to Liberty space, as the
corporations are angry with you, and their Outcast enemies are (at this
point in the game) quite easy to kill in this area of the sector -- like
swatting flies really... slow flies.

Once you get relatively stabilized, you've mastered the system, and can
do whatever you fancy, until you return to Kyoto and bite the bit once
more.

NOTE:

Before mission 10, you should set up your heavy fighter of choice for
maximum damage to stationary targets. I'd once again recommend the
Barracuda with an all-Pyros loadout.

Prepare the ship, including all ammunition, before you accept Mission
10, for Kyoto may not sell you all necessary goods unless you're on
friendly terms with the Dragons.

==========
MISSION 10
==========

Although your freedom will be entirely limited from this point until the
end of the game proper, there's still a number of fun challenges you can
attempt along the way. The first of these is somewhat difficult, but
with a properly equipped fighter you will be able to carry it off.

Sideplay-Mission 10.1: Hey, You Sunk My Battleships
---------------------------------------------------

Shortly after you enter Sigma 13, you will confront a Rheinland fleet.

There are four cruisers and four battleships total (two of which appear
during the battle), each of which will earn you a battleship kill. Go
for the cruisers first, since they're fragile and more likely to be
destroyed by an ally of yours (which does not earn you a battleship
kill).

You will then have time to kill one battleship before Hakkera demands
your retreat. Retreat you must, so cruise towards the waypoint -- but
only a very short distance, to reset the mission-failure timer. Return
to the battle and destroy another battleship. Repeat this yo-yo
technique until you've wasted them all.

Battleships destroyed: 20

Alternatively, you can destroy the five non-essential Dragon allies,
from whom you might score a Katana or two, maybe a Starkiller, and if
you're lucky, a Sunstalker missile launcher. -- Plus also some cargo,
such as Pharmaceuticals or Niobium. This is also one of the rare places
in the game where it is possible to loot a shield. In this case the
shield is not so spectacular (Sentinel HF) -- indeed you're probably
already equipping a better one at this point.

Outside Bruchsal, destroying your Bundschuh allies can get you, among
other things, a Lancer launcher, or better still, a Luger Type C.

After landing on Bruchsal, stock up on missiles and torpedoes.

Now for the hard part: at the Experimental Shipyard, destroy *all*
Rheinland ships. Take out the Cruisers first, as these are the only ones
which count as official battleship scores...

Battleships destroyed: 23

...then the Gunboats and the fighters, and save the (conventional)
Battleships for last. Don't destroy any of the "Experimental" (Nomad)
Battleships until you're all clear. Finally, you must destroy one of the
Experimental Battleships before you are allowed to leave the area. Even
if you have spent your munitions, in theory you could destroy two or
three Nomads very easily (if you knock one down to minimal, then kill
another one, and go back to the first), but in actuality the remaining
Nomad Battleships become immune once one of them is destroyed.

(There's a few Bundschuh allies you can destroy also, another few
chances at the Lancer launcher and the Luger Type C.)

Last but not least, after entering Hamburg and before boarding the
Osiris, destroy Battleship Odin. This doesn't earn you an official
battleship kill either, but it's fun and for good measure.

==========
MISSION 11
==========

On the Osiris, buy the Anubis and equip now (or at the latest, on
Buffalo) a full array of "Battleship destruction" weaponry:

Anubis
Catapult Missile
5x Pyros Type 3
Reaper Turret Mark 1
Starkiller Torpedo
Ripper Mine

You won't use them for a while, but you'll need them for the main
project of the next sideplay-mission.

If you're going for the main sideplay mission here, then I strongly
recommend you conserve nanobots and shield batteries, which means flying
very defensively until the very end.

The mission is pretty straightforward up to the Alaska gate.
Unfortunately, the Nomad Prototype weapons don't drop, but you can loot
Vengeance III guns from the enemies packing normal weaponry -- and you
might destroy some of your allies for the same. At the Alaska gate, more
Navy fighters will continue to enter the system, so it's pointless to
try killing them all, although you can easily take the next wave after
Juni unlocks the gate. Proceed through Alaska as usual.

Upon leaving Alaska, the obvious challenge would be to destroy the
Battleships guarding the gate back to New York. However, I have found
this to be impossible, because they are basically invincible: you can
get either one of the Battleships down to 10 percent, but beyond that
they do not sustain further damage. In any case, Walker will do his
suicide run as usual. The best fun here is lingering to kill Navy and
Nomad fighters -- oh and there's a Rheinland Gunboat you can take out
also.

Or, if you're feeling evil, you can instead target your allies. The
Cruiser LNS Phoenix is destructible, as are the non-essential allied
fighters.

Sideplay-Mission 11.1: Battleship Quickie
-----------------------------------------

After re-entering New York, we have the real challenge. Destroy all
three cruisers, plus the Battleship Omaha, before docking with the
Osirus. It is fairly difficult to accomplish this because you're under
relatively heavy fire, and also because you have rather limited time
before your fail the mission for taking too long to dock.

You have to take out the Merrimack first -- and quickly! When the Osiris
appears it automatically destroys the Merrimack if it is not yet
finished, which will steal the battleship kill from you.

After finishing the three cruisers...

Battleships destroyed: 26

...I pretend that I want to dock with the Osiris, then I break back into
battle. This little maneuver buys enough time to destroy the Battleship
Omaha. It's very heavily armored, and the timing is pretty tight, but
this is also the final "official" battleship kill in the game, so good
luck!

Battleships destroyed: 27

Total Battleships destroyed: 27

When you dock with the Osiris, the mission ends.

==========
MISSION 12
==========

There's not much to do other than the standard mission. After leaving
the Nomad Lair, you can destroy the four Nomad Gunboats before racing
back to the collapsing jump-hole, but more will appear as you reach it,
and it's clearly impossible to kill everthing before leaving this Nomad
system. (The Interceptors drop shield-batteries, but the Gunboats drop
nothing.)

When you arrive at Omicron Minor, you have another wave of Nomads to
deal with, and this time you can destroy all of them, but there's no
opportunity for side-play here either. It's fun to destroy the several
Gunboats.

When you're done with the Omicron Minor battle, there's nothing to do
but land on Toledo.

(For an amusement, you can survive a head-on collision with Toledo (if
you're flying an Anubis anyway). -- You'll be severely damaged, but if
you're undamaged to begin with, and you hit it right you'll simply
bounce off.)

==========
MISSION 13
==========

Upon your initial departure from Toledo, you will be joined by Juni plus
two wings of fighters, Alpha and Beta. Each wing has two members, a
leader (who does the talking), and a wingman. -- You can kill both
wingmen, and in fact you'll have to hustle or the Nomads will beat you
to it. They drop Death Hand guns and turrets, various cargo, Advanced
Countermeasure Droppers, Screamer mines (either munition or, if you're very
lucky, the launcher itself), and Cannonball missiles (or with extreme luck,
the launcher).

Upon your second and final departure from Toledo, the situation is quite
similar, except that there are five wings, Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta,
and Omicron. Again, they're in pairs or triples, with an invulnerable
leaders but killable wingmen. Here you can loot as before, but beware
not to attack any allies after the nomad fighters have been dispatched
-- and this happens quickly: you'll be lucky to destroy two allies
before the window of opportunity closes. (Attacking allies near the
nomad battleships doesn't work: you need fighters around.)

At the gate you get yet another chance to destroy some allies, but once
again be careful to cease friendly fire as the last nomad fighter falls.

Sideplay-Mission 13.1: Three for the Road
-----------------------------------------

The normal mission will have you destroy the first Battleship and then
return to base shortly after another Battleship appears.

You do, however, have just enough time enough to destroy this
newly-appearing Battleship, as well as all remaining Nomad Interceptors.

When you leave Toledo once again, you will have yet another Battleship
along your path. Destroy it of course, and then proceed to the mission
waypoint as usual.

Upon your approach to the Nomad homeworld jump-gate, a Battleship will
appear. Dispatch it as usual, and proceed through the gate.

Coda: Destroy Orillion (Temporarily)
------------------------------------

Upon approaching the entrance to the Dyson Sphere, after the Nomads
fighters engage, you can take out Orillion. If you're extremely lucky,
you'll nab his shield, a Class 7 Gravitron shield, the Protector HF.

(He re-spawns after you enter the Dyson Sphere area, after which point
he becomes indestructible.)

========
Epilogue
========

When the campaign concludes, so drop most of the constraints which make
the game so fun to toy with. To your taste may be the full freelance
missions. Even though they're the same as before, only with harder
opponents, finding and flying the highest-level (and best paying)
missions is a fun task.

Or, if you're just plain crazy, you might enjoy finding out how far
through the game you can go in a Starflier (or even Rhino, which beyond
a certain point is even harder!). At least a few people (including
myself) have made it to the end of the game in a Starflier (and at least
a couple others in the Rhino), and I have written a walkthrough for both
Starflier and Rhino (availible on gamefaqs) in hopes you may be
interested in trying these fun little stunts yourself.

Certainly the most interesting challenge I've attempted is to figure out
how to beat the game in the shortest amount of time on the game clock.
Naturally this tests your piloting skills, but it is most fun because
it's a really intricate logistical problem: what ship to fly, what to
trade and loot, what equipment to outfit, given a tight budget (since it
costs time to make extra money). And, yes, there's a walkthrough for
this challenge on gamefaqs also.

And don't forget about mods and multiplayer -- there's some great mods
and servers out there.

=======================================================================

Anyway, I hope you found this walkthrough enjoyable. Let me know if
there's anything significant that I have left out.

=======
Credits
======= 

Jason Merrill, for his inspiring walkthrough.

Dustin Shaffer for the invaluable lists FAQ.

Matthew Lawson, for his Wrecks FAQ and Bribes FAQ. 

Gary Dwyer, for the maps FAQ.

Bosson, for his brilliant trade routes.

Preacher0815, for the correct Rowlett strategy.

Dan Paton, for noting that the Ohio and Alabama count as battleship kills.

John Harris, for numerous discoveries ("Ashcroft Ambush" among them),
sharp analysis and inspiration all round.

This revision of the walkthrough was inspired in part by Sherlog, and
dedicated to him.

=======
Contact
=======

Steve Breslin
versim at hotmail dot com

Corrections and suggestions are warmly welcome.

Please put [freelancer walkthrough] at the beginning of the subject
line, to make sure I don't accidentally delete your mail. 

=== End ===
 

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