- First of all, the problems related to the hosting of images seem to be fixed. For now.
- Second. I kinda made more screenies along with videos, but had to rerun some moments and snap some screenshots from videos. You can thell those from others 'cos they will have a Bandicam watermark.
So, the game wants us to move the story along by going to the Manhattan bar and talking to Juni and King.
I think it's the only place where the game is generous enough to let us start the cinematics by talking to them. Afterwards the game will spring cinematics on us as soon as we either enter the bar or land on the planet.
King: Good to see you again, Trent.
Juni: Well, now that we all here. The LSF has an important mission for you. Are you interested?
Trent: Yeah, sounds good.
King: Alien. The very old and fetch a good price among collectors of high arts. Liberty purposely monitors and restricts their trade, but the LSF is about to ban them altogether under orders of the President.
Juni: Can I finish, please? Okay. The smuggler's name is Sean Ashcroft, and he's been under investigation for a while. Now we have information he's going to try and move a shipment into New York through the Colorado gate. We want him. Your job is to stop the convoy before it reaches New York and bring him in for interrogation.
Now, I kinda remember Scanner and Tractor Beam being actually mounted onto the ship since Day 1. In fact, in vanilla FL you can't even replace them. CF gives a vast assortment of Scanners and three different Tractor Beams, but you still can't launch without either of these.
King: *whispers* wait. Tell her about the bonus.
Trent: What about the bonus?
Juni: I've got the access codes to the rest of the Liberty gates. You can have them once you deliver Ashcroft.
Actually... there is one gate that remains locked. But that's a story for a different day...
King: Trent, I've got a pitstop to make. See you in space.
On going to the landing pad, game springs another cinematics on us.
Trent walks to the landing pad. There, he meets someone he didn't expect to see...
Trent: Lonnigan, is that you? When did they release you from Medical?
Lonnigan: You think you're safe, but you're not!
Lonnigan is visibly nervous the whole time, pacing around and gesticulating wildly
Trent: What are you talking about?
Lonnigan: What do you think happened on Freeport 7, hm?
Lonnigan: Easy come, easy go.
Trent: No, no no. We had a deal.
Lonnigan: A deal that died with the station. It all seems so long ago now... it doesn't matter anyway. They want us all dead...
Trent: Who wants us all dead?
Lonnigan: Men... government men... they'll find the manifest... they'll know who was there... they're already after me... but I'm smart. I escaped from medical.
Trent: Wait, you what, you escaped?
Lonnigan: I had to! They came for me, Trent! Because of what I saw on the station! I saw what did this to us! To me! There were these ships... but they weren't there, they weren't...
Trent: You're not making sense!
Lonnigan: You don't understand! They know me now! We aren't safe here anymore, none of us are! Trent, we've gotta get outta here...
Lonnigan notices something behind Trent
Lonnigan tries to run. One of the Liberty Navy men fires.
Trent narrowly dodges out of the way as dart hits Lonnigan and he drops on the floor.
Trent: Hey, what do you think you..
Trent promptly blacks out.
Juni: Hey... hey...
Juni: Hey, wake up! *Slaps Trent*
That's right. No sleeping on the job, Trent!
Trent gets up
King: Whoa. You look terrible. Are you all right?
Trent: I don't know.
Juni: What happened?
Trent: Two men. They jumped me. Ow, my chest... Where's Lonnigan?
Juni: Who's Lonnigan?
Trent: They must have taken him...
Juni: Trent, pull yourself together! Remember Ashcroft and the mission?
Juni: Are you sure you're up to this?
Trent: I'll be fine.
Juni: Then I'll see you when you'll get back. Good hunting. *leaves*
Camera pans out, showing the same man we saw during one of the intro cinematics.
Mr. Foreshadowing takes a drag from his cigarette, then takes a look at the purple egg-shaped rock in his hand.
Actually, I think one of the intro videos revealed more info about this man and this thing. Specificaly, how Mr. Foreshadowing stole this thing from a scientific expedition on Planet Pygar in Omicron Theta. Nope, this thing is totally not going to become a McGuffin that drives the plot of the entire half of storyline (or whole storyline if we ignore the CF campaign).
King: There you are! I was starting to wonder if you were really okay. you are okay, aren'tcha?
Trent: Yeah. I'm fine.
King: Good. So what was going on down there? Who's Lonnigan?
King: Aaand? What did he say?
Trent: Nothing about money. He said he escaped from Medical, and that people were after him. I thought he'd lost it, but then these two guys appeared and shot him! Naybe he wasn't just paranoid. Aaargh, I'm never getting paid. Goodbye, million credits.
King: Hold on, We're almost at the Trade Lane.
Player docks to the trade lane.
King: Activation sequence completed. Lane jump initiated.
King: It's only a short run from here to the Colorado gate. Let's go.
King: Activation sequence completed. Lane jump initiated. Ever since the attack on Shultzky the Navy moved heavy battleships to all the New York gates. Every ship going in or out of New York system is being scanned.
Actually, not every. Jump holes are a thing, you know? There is an area south of Norfolk Shipyard -> West Point trade lane called Badlands that's pretty much a swiss cheese in regards to entry security.
Trent and King arrive to the Jump Gate. There is indeed Battleship Unity camping near it.
Battleship Unity: This is jump Gate Control of Battleship Unity. Please identify yourself. Over.
Unity: Patrol Gamma 6, you're clear to proceed. Over.
King: Roger that, Gamma 6 out. That wasn't too bad. Let's go.
King: Good. Next stop, the Colorado system.
On entering the Colorado system you get a waypoint and orders to scan everyone. I flakked up and did not record the banter and I didn't even have screenies so deal with it.
In fact, here's a question: do I have to write down all the banter? 'Cos it's the most time consuming part. I even have to record extra videos to keep it.
So. The fact is, you don't have to scan all the people. Eventually, a DSE convoy will appear. One of its escorts will literally be named "DSE- Unknown". In addition, it will show up in "Important" contacts and it will be a Patriot (DSE escorts are usually Civilian fighters, such as Starflier). Naturally, you have to scan this one.
King: You are in violation of the Liberty Artifact code and are under arrest! Cut your engines!
The guy doesn't buy it and bolts.
King: Trent! Cut out his engines!
You only have to damage this jerk. Then again, I have plasma cannons and he's got a nimble light fighter. Still, once I started landing consistent hits...
Unknown: Alright! I'm out of it! Are you crazy?
King: Cease fire or you will be destroyed!
Unknown: I hope you've got good lawyers. This is abuse of power here!
King: Sean Ashcroft, you are under arrest!
Unknown: I'm not Ashcroft you jarhead! I'm really gonna have your butt!
Unknown: The name is Cosmo Benaspra. Remember, I'm about to be your worst nightmare. This is unlawful arrest, harrasment, and wanton destruction of my property!
Actually, I think this is Artifact smugging, resisting arrest, and perhaps insulting an officer...
Juni: King? Our plan has failed. Ashcroft broke through our forces at Pueblo. We've lost contact with the station. Get there as fast as you can, hurry!
King: Acknowledged! We're on our way!
Player has to dock with the trade lane to Pueblo Station.
Unknown: This is outrage! You haven't heard the last of this *coughs*
Actually we probably had. And this jerk best not add obstruction of justice and obstruction of mayday signal response to his own charges.
Trent and King arrive to Pueblo
And we have six Rogue fighters attacking Pueblo. With the station smoking and sparking... I have one question: HOW the Rogue fighters with their dinky laser guns dealt ANY damage to the station?
King: Dear God...
King: This is Patrol Gamma 6. Engaging enemy!
Pueblo Station: Gamma 6, we *static*, we've got fires on several decks and life support is failing! We can't take much more!
King: Understood. Let's go, Trent!
Pueblo: The station is falling apart, hurry!
Okay. Folks keeping up with the game of "When something big explodes near Trent, take a shot"?..
King: Yeah! Last one! Pueblo, what's your status?
Pueblo: We lost life support to several sections. But we're all right.
Okay, you can squint, consider that Pueblo was shot to seven hells and it kinda counts as an attempt and take a sip.
King: What happened?
Pueblo: We set up a transport for the convoy and Ashcroft, but the convoy didn't come from the asteroid field as we thought. They came from the Copperton Field and totally surprised us. The LSF fighters were swatted down like flies.
Okay. When have you EVER saw Rogues using trade lanes? Of course they would come from Copperton! Especially considering that Kepler Jump Hole is there! (one of the banter lines I missed was Juni telling us that Ashcroft was spotted in Kepler.)
King: Where are the transports?
Pueblo: When the fighting started they took off into the Silverton field. We tagged one of them with a tracking device. Uploading data. *beep beep* Are you reading the signal?
King: Yes we are, strong and clear. Thank you, Pueblo. They will pay for this.
Pueblo: Good hunting.
King: Ashcroft is ours. Trent, take the lead.
They waypoint appears in the Silverton field. Midway to the waypoint, Juni calls.
Juni: King, what is going on? Where's Ashcroft?
KingL We're on his tail. Pueblo managed to tag one of Ashcroft's ships. We're following his signal into the Silverton field. We could use some help.
Juni: Understood. I'm ordering the Rio Grande send several fighter wings. Don't do anything foolish, King. Wait for the support. Juni out.
Zeta 1: Gamma 6, this is Navy patrol Zeta 1. Proceeding to your location. Over.
Trent and King arrive to the waypoint. Four Rogue fighters show up
King: Here they are. Ashcroft and his thugs. This must be their drop off point for the Artifacts.
Actually, I think you can scan the transports and they are full of Food Rations. There's also an unselectable base in an asteroid.
King: This is LSF Gamma 6. We found Ashcroft. Need immediate backup. Walk onto my signal over.
King: ignore the transports, Thrent. We have to take out the fighters.
Zeta 1: This is patrol Zeta 1. Ready to engage.
King: Good to see you, Zeta 1. We're looking for a criminal named Ashcroft. We need him alive.
Zeta 1: Acknowledged. This is Zeta Leader. Engage Rogue fighters.
All fighters down
King: All units, I've found Ashcroft! He's fleeing into the field!
The player is immediately given a waypoint. Go into cruise and head there. Ashcroft himself also appears and immediately cruises towards the waypoint.
One thing to note is that at this point, Dangerous Chase starts playing, which had me bobbing my head in my chair the whole chase.
King: Dammit! Ashcroft is making a run for it! He's activating his cruise engines!
King: Firing cruise disruptor!
Does King even have a cruise disruptor equipped?..
King: Damn! The disruptor missile missed Ashcroft! He set a cruise speed!
King: We have to hurry before he can get away! Activate your cruise engine and head for the coordinates!
Actually, once you get close to the waypoint, Ashcroft turns around and extra 4 Rogue fighters show up.
King: I'm picking up a disturbance! Could be a jump hole! We have to hurry or he's gotta get away!
Zeta 1: I'm picking up something on my scanners!
King: Roger that! I'm seeing the same thing! Everybody... get ready.
Aschroft: You'll be sorry... *gets cut off by Trent blowing him up*
Actually, Crossfire kinda messes up the dialogue by upping the cruise speed of our ships. Also Aschroft has an extra line when he's heavily damaged.
King: He's ejected! Trent, use your tractor beam to pick him up.
And here I encountered that one thing which makes me hate podding in mineable asteroid fields. I failed to tractor in Ashcroft's escape pod because at one point, I shot a tiny rock and it dropped a metric flak ton of Silver, which clogged up my cargo hold. I had to:
- go into Inventory -> Cargo Bay
- Select Silver
- Press Jettison
- Select quantity
- Drop it (which dropped my shield)
- Get closer to Ashcroft's pod and tractor it in again
- All of this under fire from four more enemy fighters.
King: Zeta 1, we're taking Ashcroft back to New York for interrogation. Thanks for your help.
Zeta 1: Don't mention it.
King: I hope Ashcroft's interrogation will help shed some light on the illegal artifact trade here in Liberty. Pressure from high up has been mounting in the past few weeks.
King: Rumor has it that about a month ago a Rheinland expedition discovered a whole new supply of these things on a distant planet in the Omicron system.
King: I mean... Everybody knows there are alien ruins. But they're mostly dust, and the artifacts are mostly as dead as beings who created them. But these new artifacts are different. They are active. And could be dangerous.
Juni: Trent, King, what is going on? Where is Ashcroft?
King: We're fine, mission accomplished. We broke up Ashcroft's little party. he was getting ready to move these artifacts out on the black market when we took him down.
Juni: You didn't kill him, did you? I remember the last time...
King: Negative. Trent has him tied up in his cargo bay. He deserves the worst.
Juni: He'll get what he deserves, but not until he's tld us all we need to know. I've made preparations for your arrival.
after jumping through the gate
Unity: This is jump gate control of Battleship Unity. Please identify yourself, over.
King: This is patrol Gamma 6 on special assignment. We've got a prisoner for the LSF. Requesting permission to proceed. Over.
Unity: Acknowledged Gamma 6, you've received priority clearance, over.
King: Thank you, Unity. Out. Juni must have arranged this for us. Let's go.
King: The Missouri? She's full of surprises The navy usually draws the line at Zone 21. They must really want to get their hands on Ashcroft.
King: We're almost there. One more trade lane.
As soon as you arrive to Fort Bush, 4 Rogue fighters show up.
FB: This is Fort Bush. We're launching two wings to assist you.
Alpha: Fort Bush Wing Alpha here. Engaging enemy.
All Rogues down.
King: Last one! That was close. Thank you, Alpha wing.
Alpha: Don't mention it, Gamma 6.
King: This way, Trent. Juni's waiting.
Trent and King dock with the trade Lane.
Missouri: This is battleship Missouri control. Identify yourself. Over.
Missouri: Acknowledged. Commander Zane is awaiting you. Over.
King: Hold on? Yeah. I understand, yes. I'm leaving right now, over. hey Trent. A convoy near Pittsburrgh is in trouble and needs help! I'll see you later.
King: Give Juni my best. You've got clearance, dock with the battleship. Juni is waiting. You did a great job out there, Trent. See you.
Trent: Are you sure you've brought enough men? He's unconscious in my cargo hold.
Juni: Trent, Ashcroft is a dangerous man. And I don't like to take unnecessary risks. *signals the Navy men to move out* Which reminds me. The bounty. And I owe you the access codes. They both are being uploaded to your Neural Net now. You'll also find an extra bonus.
Juni: You did a good job. He deserved it.
Trent: What's gonna happen to Ashcroft?
Juni: He'll be interogated of course. He's our best inside in the smuggling ring. I'm sure we can make him talk. Meanwhile with security status I suppose you can occupy your time while I'm gone.
Trent: Where are you going?
Juni: On assignment. I take orders too, Trent. But don't go too far. I might need you again, soon.
With that out of the way, the Mission 2 is over. Let's check the new requirements...
Yes. We need 150000 credits to proceed to the next level!
...But don't worry. This will be a piece of cake now. The most of the Intermission will be spent already on the next level. The real deal will be getting all that overpowered gear.
See you in the Intermission 2!
Meeting Juni & Meeting Lonnigan
DSE Unknown fight
Battle at Pueblo Station
Firefight at Fort Bush