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Freelancer Mission 2


Juni: Trent! This is Juni. I have a new assignment for you, if you’re interested. Meet me on Manhattan. King and I will be waiting for you in the bar.
Planet Manhattan Bar
King: Good to see you again, Trent.
Trent, Juni, and King
Juni: Well, now that we’re all here… The LSF has an important mission for you. Are you interested?
Trent: Yeah, sounds good.
Juni: All right, here are the details. The LSF has got a line on a smuggler who’s been moving artefacts in and out of Liberty space–
Trent: What sort of artefacts?
King: Alien. They’re very old and fetch a huge price among collectors as high art. 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. This smuggler’s name is Sean Ashcroft. He’s been under investigation for a while. Now we have information that he’s going to try to 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, he’s probably got help, so be careful. I’m uploading the access code to the Colorado gate into your Neural Net now. I’ll also have a scanner and tractor beam installed in your ship.
King: Wait, tell him 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.
Trent: Really?
Juni: Really. Good luck.
King: Trent, I’ve got a pit stop to make. I’ll see you in space.
Trent: All right.
Manhattan Landing Pad
Trent: Lonnigan, is that you? When did they release you from Medical?
Lonnigan: You think you’re safe, but you’re not!
Trent: What are you talking about?
Lonnigan: What do you think happened on Freeport 7, hmm?
Trent: It was blown to dust! Like my ship, my ore shipment, and my million credits that, by the way, you still owe me.
Lonnigan: Pah! Easy come, easy go, Trent.
Trent: No! No, no, no! We had a deal–
Lonnigan: A deal that died with the station! Oh, it all seems so long ago now. 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: 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: Lonnigan, you’re not making sense!
Lonnigan: You don’t understand! They know me now! I’m not safe here any more. None of us are! Trent, we’ve got to get off Manhattan! I–
Trent: Hey, wait! Lonnigan!
Tranquiliser Sharp-Shooter
Lonnigan: Ugh! Ah! Uh! Uhhh!
Trent: Hey, what do you think you’re– Uh!
Juni: Hey.
Trent: Ugh…
Juni: Hey!
Trent: Ugh…
Juni: Hey, wake up!
Trent: Ow!
King: Whoa! You look terrible! Are you all right?
Trent: I… I don’t know…
Juni: What happened to you?
Trent: Two men, they jumped me. Oh! My chest! Where’s Lonnigan?
Juni: Lonnigan? Who’s Lonnigan?
Trent: They must have taken him!
Juni: Trent, pull yourself together! Remember Ashcroft and the mission.
Trent: Yeah.
King: He’ll be fine. C’mon Trent, we’ve got work to do.
Juni: Are you sure you’re up for this?
Trent: I’ll be fine.
Juni: Then I’ll see you when you get back. Good hunting!
Planet Manhattan Orbit
King: There you are! I was starting to wonder if you were really okay. You are okay, aren’t you?
Trent: Yeah. I’m fine.
King: Good. So, what was going on down there? Who’s Lonnigan?
Trent: I met him on Freeport 7. We just signed a deal when the station was attacked. He was injured and has been in Medical ever since. I’ve been waiting for him to recover to get my money back.
King: And? What did he say?
Trent: Nothing about the 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. Maybe he wasn’t just paranoid. Ah, I’m never getting paid! Goodbye million credits.
King: Hold on, we’re almost at the trade lane. Our flight path takes us right past Fort Bush and straight on to the Colorado gate. You first, Trent.
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 Schultzky, the Navy has moved heavy battleships to all jump-gates. Every ship going in or out of the New York system is being scanned.
Unity: This is Jump-Gate Control on the Battleship Unity. Please identify yourselves. Over.
King: Unity, this is Patrol Gamma 6 on special LSF assignment. Requesting permission to jump to Colorado. 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.
Colorado System, Liberty
King: System jump successful! All systems show green. Trent, take up position near the trade lane.
Juni: This is Juni. Ashcroft has been sighted in the Kepler System. We don’t know which way he’s going, but it looks like he’s coming straight at you. Keep your eyes open. Over.
King: Acknowledged. Trent, we have to scan every ship that’s coming through. Fly to the waypoint and take up position.
King: Good. Cut your engines. We’ll wait here.
Juni: King, Ashcroft’s convoy just entered Colorado. We’ve set up a trap for him at Pueblo Station. Stay where you are and make sure that none of his men get away. Over.
King: Roger. Trent, stay sharp.
King: There! A convoy! Target the ships and scan their cargo.
King: Got him! I’m going in! Follow me. You are in violation of the Liberty artefact code and are under arrest. Cut your engines! Trent! Go for his engines.
Van Nostrom: All right! All right, already! Are you crazy?
King: Cease fire or you will be destroyed!
Van Nostrom: I hope you got good lawyers. This is abuse of power, here. I’ll sue!
King: Sean Ashcroft, you are under arrest.
Van Nostrom: I’m not Ashcroft, you jar-head. Now I’m really going to have your butt.
King: What?
Van Nostrom: The name is Van Nostrom. Remember it! I’m about to be your worst nightmare, flatfoot. This is wrongful arrest, harassment and wanton destruction of my property.
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.
Van Nostrom: This is outrageous! You haven’t heard the last of this! I– <coughs>
King: This could get rough, ready your weapons.
Pueblo Station: Mayday! Mayday! This is Pueblo Station. We’re under attack! Repeat: we’re under attack!
King: This is Patrol Gamma 6. Engaging enemy!
Pueblo Station: Gamma 6, we’re tracking six hostiles! We have fires on several decks and life support is failing. We can’t take much more!
King: Understood! Let’s go, Trent!
Pueblo Station: The station is falling apart, hurry!
King: Yeah! Last one! Pueblo, what’s your status?
Pueblo Station: We lost life support to several sections, but we’re all right.
King: What happened?
Pueblo Station: We set up a trap for a guy named Ashcroft. But his convoy didn’t come out of the trade lane as we thought – they came from the Copperton field and totally surprised us. The LSF fighters were taken down like flies!
King: Where are the transports?
Pueblo Station: When the fighting started, they took off into the Silverton field. We tagged one of them with a tracking device – uploading now. Are you getting the signal?
King: Yes, we are, strong and clear. Thank you, Pueblo. They will pay for this.
Pueblo Station: Good hunting!
King: Ashcroft is ours. Trent! Head for the co-ordinates.
Juni: King, what is going on? Where’s Ashcroft?
King: We’re on his tail. Pueblo managed to tag one of Ashcroft’s ships – we’re following the signal into the Silverton field. We could use some help.
Juni: Understood! I’m ordering the Rio Grande to 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.
King: There they are! Ashcroft and his thugs! This must be the drop-off point for the artefacts. This is LSF Gamma 6. We found Ashcroft! Need immediate back-up. Lock on to my signal. Over. Ignore the transports, Trent. We have to take out the fighters.
Zeta 1: Gamma 6, 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.
King: All units, I found Ashcroft. He’s fleeing into the field, I’ve tagged him. Trent, we can’t let him get away. Come on! Damn it! Ashcroft’s making a run for it! He’s activated his cruise engines! Firing cruise disruptor! Damn! The disruptor missile missed Ashcroft. He’s entered cruise speed. We have to hurry before he can get away. Activate your cruise engines and head for the co-ordinates!
King: I’m picking up a disturbance – could be a jump-hole. We have to hurry or he’s gonna get away!
Zeta 1: I’m picking something up on my scanners.
King: Roger that! I’m seeing the same thing. Everybody, get ready!
Ashcroft: You’ll be sorry you ever met me!
Ashcroft: Stop! You need me alive!
King: He’s ejected! Trent, use your tractor beam to bring him in. Zeta 1, we’re taking Ashcroft back to New York for interrogation. Thanks for your help!
Zeta 1: Don’t mention it.
King: Good job, Trent. Ashcroft’s on ice and Juni’s waiting for us in New York. I’m uploading a waypoint to the gate. Let’s get going. I hope Ashcroft’s interrogation will shed some light on the illegal artefact trade here in Liberty. Pressure from high up has been mounting in the last few weeks. Rumour 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 systems. I mean, everybody knows that there are alien ruins, but they’re mostly dust and the artefacts are just as dead as the beings who made them. Apparently, these new ones are different – they’re active and could be dangerous. Both LSF and the Liberty Navy have stepped up their patrols and I’ve heard rumours within the LSF that the President will soon be banning these artefacts altogether.
Juni: This is Juni. King, are you and Trent all right? What is your status? Over.
King: We’re fine. Mission accomplished. We broke up Ashcroft’s little party. He was getting ready to move those artefacts on to 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 hold. He deserves worse.
Juni: He’ll get what he deserves, but not until he’s told us all we need to know. I’ll make preparations for your arrival. Be careful heading back to New York. Intel advises that members of Ashcroft’s gang might try to free him before we get him into lockdown. I’m still on Manhattan. Meet me there. Juni out!
New York System, Liberty
Unity: This is Jump-Gate Control on the Battleship Unity. Please identify yourself. Over.
King: This is Patrol Gamma 6 on special assignment. We have 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 that for us. Let’s go.
Juni: This is Juni. Change of plans. You and Trent are to proceed directly to the Battleship Missouri near Zone-21. I’ll take charge of Ashcroft there. Juni out.
King: The Missouri… she’s full of surprises. Usually, the Navy 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. Damn it! Intel was right. More Rogues! Trent, we have to fight them off. Fort Bush, this is LSF Gamma 6! We’re under attack and need assistance. Over.
Fort Bush: This is Fort Bush. We’re launching two wings to assist you.
Alpha Wing: Fort Bush Wing Alpha here. Engaging enemy!
King: Last one! That was close! Thank you Alpha wing!
Alpha Wing: Don’t mention it, Gamma 6.
King: This way, Trent! Juni’s waiting.
King: For the Rogues to attack us so close to Fort Bush… Ashcroft must really know something important.
Missouri: This is Battleship Missouri Control. Identify yourself. Over.
King: This is Patrol Gamma 6 on special LSF assignment. We’re bringing a prisoner to LSF Commander Jun’ko Zane. Over.
Missouri: Acknowledged. Commander Zane is awaiting you. Over.
King: Roger that. Gamma 6 out. Time to collect your credits, Trent. Hold on… Yeah, I understand. Yes, I’m leaving right now. Over. Hey Trent, a convoy near Pittsburgh is in trouble and needs help. I’ll see you later. Give Juni my best. You have clearance, dock with the battleship. Juni is waiting. You did a great job out there, Trent. See ya!
Battleship Missouri Landing Deck
Trent: Are you sure you brought enough men? He’s unconscious in my cargo hold.
Trent, Juni, and the Liberty Navy
Juni: Trent, Ashcroft is a dangerous man. And I don’t like to take unnecessary risks. Which reminds me: the bounty, and I owe you the access codes. They’re both being uploaded to your Neural Net now. You’ll also find an extra bonus.
Trent: Thanks.
Juni: You did a good job. You deserve it.
Trent: What’s gonna to happen to Ashcroft?
Juni: He’ll be interrogated, of course. He’s our best insight into the smuggling ring. I’m sure we can make him talk. Meanwhile, with your new security status I suspect you’ll be able to 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.

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