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Freelancer Mission 4


Juni: Trent! This is Juni. Something is going on. I need your help. Meet me on Manhattan.
Planet Manhattan Landing Pad
Trent: Juni, what’s going on?
Juni: Over here.
Trent: Hey, what’s wrong?
Juni is troubled
Juni: Nothing! Something! I don’t know yet.
Trent: What do you mean?
Juni: Ashcroft’s missing. He was on a Liberty dreadnought, in a maximum security cell, surrounded by armed guards! Trent, you don’t escape from that. After our last assignment, I had a few more questions for him about his Rheinland connection, when I got there, he was gone.
Trent: Who would transfer him without telling you?
Juni: He wasn’t transferred. Every record of him ever being arrested was wiped clean. Even the guards were changed. They say they never even heard of Sean Ashcroft.
Trent: What do you think is going on?
Juni: I– I don’t know! But… there’s more: Walker. He’s gone, too.
Trent: Walker’s gone? But he’s the captain of a Naval cruiser. Ship captains just don’t go missing without someone noticing.
Juni: Neither do their ships. It’s listed as lost – five years ago.
Trent: Five years ago! That’s impossible!
Juni: People around us are disappearing, Trent.
Trent: Well, we’re here. What’s our move?
Juni: We have to find out what’s going on. The last place Walker’s ship was stationed was California, somebody must have seen him. That’s where we’ll start. Are you with me?
Trent: When do we leave?
Juni: In a few minutes. I need to finish up some business inside first.
Trent: Watch yourself!
Juni: Keep an eye on our ships, all right?
Montague: Mr Trent. It’s very important that you and I speak.
Trent: And why is that?
Montague: Because we’re the last two.
Trent: Last two what?
Montague: Freeport 7 survivors, Mr Trent! You and I are the last ones in Liberty. Everyone else is either dead or missing.
Trent: Wait, I know you. From the rescue ship! What happened out there?
Montague: They were looking for something. I’m a thief, Mr Trent. I came to Freeport 7 to deliver something that a certain party wanted very badly. Apparently, they weren’t alone.
Trent: You telling me this is all because of you?
Montague: It’s not really about me, Mr Trent… it’s about this. This is what they’re after. And now they’re after us. We need to get as far away from here as possible…
Syd Montague is shot dead
Soldier: Hold it right there! Get your hands up!
Trent: Whoa, whoa, whoa! I can explain!
Soldier: I have my orders. All artefact smugglers are considered enemies of the state and are to be shot on sight.
Stand-off…
Juni: Freeze, soldier! I am an agent with the Liberty Security Force! This man is a Freelancer who is working with me on assignment.
Soldier: I found him dealing in illegal artefacts–
Juni: Then arrest him.
Trent: What?
Soldier: I’m afraid I can’t do that.
Juni: Soldier, you are bound by Liberty Code to uphold the law. You don’t have a choice. If he’s a suspect, take him into custody. The law protects him and ensures a fair trial.
Soldier: Not any more.
Soldier: Ugh!
Juni: He was gonna kill me!
Trent: What do you mean ‘arrest him’?
Juni: He was going to kill us both! Who was that?
Trent: I don’t know. But he had the right idea. Liberty isn’t safe for us right now. We’ve got to leave.
Juni: Trent, no! What about Walker?
Desperate partners must stick together
Trent: We won’t be any good to Walker if we’re dead. Do you see this man? I don’t think he’s alone. Juni, we need to stick together and we need some time and distance to sort this out.
Juni: I know a place. Follow me…
Planet Manhattan Orbit
Trent: What’s the plan?
Juni: First to Fort Bush and then from there to the Badlands. If they find the bodies on the landing pad, the Navy will lock down all trade lanes. We have to hurry!
Navy: This is the Liberty Navy! Cut your engines and prepare to be taken into custody.
Juni: Damn! They’ve blocked the Fort Bush trade lane? Come on, we’ve got to get out of here now! We have to get to West Point, it’s the only way out! The Unity is blocking the entrance! We’re surrounded! Trent, I don’t think we can get out of this.
Juni: I’m picking up additional hostiles coming in from Manhattan. There’s just too many of them – I’m sorry…
King: Juni, this is King. Proceed to West Point.
Juni: King!
Walker: Walker here! We’ll take care of the battleship. All hands: fire at will! I repeat: all hands fire at will!
Unity: Code Red! I repeat: Code Red! This is the Battleship Unity! We are under attack and taking heavy casualties! In need of immediate assistance! All available units, please <static>
Unity: All hands: abandon ship! I repeat: all hands abandon– <static>
Lambda 1: This is Lambda 1 to all fighter groups: move to intercept remaining fighters. Over.
Walker: The trade lane is clear! Juni, Trent: get out of here! King, go with them.
Juni: What about you?
Walker: I’ll be fine. Now, go!
King: This is gonna get rough. West Point will be alerted that we’re coming. What’s the plan?
Juni: We have to get to the Badlands! There’s a place where we can hide.
King: Understood! Lambda 4 and Lambda 5: take flanking positions. We’re heading straight for the old trade lane to Ithaca station.
King: Hostile fighters detected. They’re closing fast!
Juni: Here they come! Several wings of Navy fighters!
Lambda 4: We’ll provide you cover.
Juni: Understood. Quickly, Trent! We’re got to get to the Badlands. You take point.
King: Lambda 4 is down. Quick! Lambda 5 has been destroyed. We have to get out of here. Now!
Juni: We made it! The Badlands will shield us from their scanners. I don’t think the Navy will follow us in here.
King: Damn it! That was close! I think we managed to shake ’em.
Juni: Thanks for getting us out of there. It started to look grim!
King: Thank Walker. When he told me that Trent’s name showed up on the Navy’s most wanted list, I knew you were in trouble.
Juni: What?
King: He’s wanted for murder, artefact smuggling, treason and the destruction of Freeport 7. Quite an impressive list, actually. Look, I have to rendezvous with Walker near Detroit. Stay low for a while. I’ll be in touch.
Juni: Trent, I’ve uploaded new co-ordinates. You’re going to meet a friend of mine. Take point.
Van Pelt: Approaching ships, this is a restricted area! Turn around at once!
Juni: Doctor Van Pelt. This is Jun’ko – Jun’ko Zane!
Van Pelt: Juni, is this you? I’ve heard the news about you on the secure channel! What is going on?
Juni: Too long to explain! We need a place to hide.
Van Pelt: You’re cleared to dock. I’ll meet you on the deck.
Benford Station
Van Pelt: Juni! Oh! I’m glad you made it. The secure channel is buzzing with reports about you.
Juni: This is Trent.
Van Pelt: Van Pelt’s my name, young man. Welcome!
Juni: We just need to lay low for a while.
Van Pelt: Oh well, you’ve come to the right place. The only visitor I get is a supply ship once a month.
Trent: If you don’t mind my asking: what are you doing this far out?
Van Pelt: Studying the anomalies in the Badlands. This station you see around you was part of a– a grand experiment to fuel Liberty’s waning resources. That was long before the Gas Mining Guild, of course.
Trent: I never heard about that.
Van Pelt: Nor would you. There was an accident here. Liberty doesn’t like to publicise its failures. It was abandoned… except for me of course.
Trent: You’re here all alone?
Van Pelt: Except for the machines! I like it that way. Not a lot of distractions.
Van Pelt, Trent and Juni
Broadcast: To all Liberty Bounty Hunters and Peacekeeping Forces: be advised there is a bounty for two suspects wanted for questioning. Sending identity data now. They are armed and extremely dangerous. End transmission.
Van Pelt: Juni, what is this all about?
Trent: I think it has something to do with this. Freeport 7 was destroyed for it. The man who had it was killed in front of me. We were almost next.
Van Pelt: Ah, I see. May I? Clearly an artefact, but I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s very ancient… rarified… Nadnium crystal setting… still active! Hmm. You might try Quintaine.
Juni: What, Doctor?
Van Pelt: Not what, dear, who: Professor Roland Quintaine, of Cambridge. I can’t help you with this, but he might. He’s a respected Xeno-Archeologist.
Juni: I don’t understand. Help us what?
Van Pelt: Why, identify it.
Juni: I don’t want to identify it, I want to get rid of it!
Trent: We can’t get rid of it now. There’s a reason all of this is happening and we’re in the middle of it. At least, if we keep it we have a bargaining chip. If we find him.
Van Pelt: Ah, I’m afraid your young man is right, my dear.
Juni: Oh, this is just great!
Trent, Van Pelt and Juni
Van Pelt: Don’t worry. You’ll both be safe in Bretonia. Now, how to get you there…
Computer: Liberty ships approaching!
Van Pelt: Long range scan shows a Liberty patrol. They must have followed you somehow, they never come out this far.
Trent: So much for laying low.
Van Pelt: I’m setting the automatic defence systems to cover you. Take the back way.
Juni: What back way?
Van Pelt: One of the things that was left behind here was a jump-gate to Magellan. No-one has used it since the disaster, but it still works. It’s deep in the Badlands. I’m loading the co-ordinates for you now.
Juni: What about you?
Van Pelt: I’ll be fine! Take care of yourself.
Trent: Thank you.
Van Pelt: Good luck, young man. You must go! Now!
Trent: Come on!
Benford Station Orbit
Van Pelt: Juni, the patrol is getting closer. The interference from the anomaly will only hide you for so long. Quick, head into the Badlands!
Navy: Unidentified craft: stay right where you are! You are in violation of Liberty Security Code and are subject to immediate termination.
Van Pelt: Liberty Patrol, this is Benford station. These people are here under my authority!
Navy: Negative, Benford! Target renegade ships, on my signal!
Juni: Van Pelt!
Navy: Fire!
Juni: No! C’mon Trent, we’ve got to help him.
Van Pelt: Juni, get clear! The defence system will hold them off.
Juni: We’re not leaving you.
Van Pelt: I’m picking up more incoming ships. Oh my – three cruisers! They’re closing fast!
Juni: Doctor, you’ve got to come with us. We’re coming in to pick you up.
Van Pelt: There’s no time, they’re almost on top of us. You’ve got the co-ordinates to the jump-gate. Go!
Van Pelt: Juni! <static> out of here! There’s <static> –thing you can do. Save yourselves! I will– <static> Juni!
The Liberty Navy destroys Benford Station
Juni: No! They’ll pay for this!
Justice: Commander Zane: power down your engines and surrender now.
Juni: All right, Trent, we have to get out of here. Head to the co-ordinates. Quickly!
Justice: They’re making a run for it. All fighter wings: break formation and pursue.
Juni: We’ve got to make it to the jump-gate.
Juni: According to Van Pelt’s data, we should be close to the jump-gate. It’s still working. Let’s go!
Magellan System, Independent Systems
Juni: I’ve disabled the gate, but we can’t sit still. We have to keep moving. The only station around here is Freeport 4. We’ll stop there for repairs and try to work out what’s going on. Come on!
Juni: I have multiple signals on an approach vector. Prepare to engage!
Hunter: Commander Zane – you are outmanned and outgunned. Surrender and we will spare your life.
Juni: Trent, there’s a bounty on our head. They’ll never let us out of here alive. We have to fight! Come on!
Hunter: Target their engines. We need it intact.
Hacker: Bounty Hunters ships: cease fire! These two are under the protection of the Lane Hackers.
Hunter: Negative. Those two have a big bounty on their heads. Clear out, there’s no bounty for Hackers.
Hacker: You leave us no choice – all ships, open fire!
Hunter: What the– are you crazy! You’ll pay for this!
Juni: Last one!
Hacker: We’ve got to get out of here. Everybody is looking for you. Uploading a waypoint to your Neural Net! Come with us!
Juni: Thank you. But… why are you helping us?
Hacker: The enemies of Liberty are our friends. We’re maintaining a base in the asteroid field nearby. The Navy isn’t aware of its existence. It’s the only safe place for you right now.
Hacker: This is Delta Wing. We found them. Repeat: we found them.
Mactan: Affirmative, Delta Wing! Ms Zane, Mr Trent, we’ve been expecting you. Our commander wants to have a word with you, Ms Zane. Please land immediately.
Juni: Understood! Trent, repair your ship and buy whatever equipment you need. I’ll see you shortly.
Mactan Base Orbit
Juni: Well, I’ve got good and bad news. The good news is that there are jump-holes nearby that lead to Manchester and Leeds.
Trent: Leeds! My friend Tobias runs the Equipment Dealership there.
Juni: The bad news is that Liberty has dramatically stepped up their policies against illegal artefacts. Rumours speak of hundreds of arrests, and there’s a reward on our heads: 1 million credits. Can you believe it? The artefact is the key. We have to find out what it is and why they want it so badly.
Hacker: Alert! Unknown contacts are closing in fast! Launch all fighters!
Mactan: Picking up at least four Rheinland heavy fighters. Man all turrets.
Juni: Rheinlanders again! They’re here for the artefact. Trent, engage!
Rheinlander: Hand over the artefact and you will be spared.
Juni: Target the leader.
Mactan: Got one!
Mactan: Got another one!
Mactan: That’s it, last one! Ms Zane, we can no longer protect you. Leave Liberty while there’s still time. Good luck.
Juni: It’s best if we split up. With that price on our heads, every bounty hunter in the colonies is gonna be after us. I’ll go to Cambridge to find Professor Quintaine. Trent, find to your friend on Leeds and stay out of sight. I’m uploading the co-ordinates of the Leeds jump-hole. I’ll contact you when I reach Cambridge. Good luck and be careful!
Juni: Trent, this is Juni. I’m on New London. King just contacted me. He’s with Walker. He said the Navy has been placed on heightened alert. Jacobi has classified all artefacts as illegal. And congratulations… you and I are now Liberty’s most wanted criminals. Take on a few jobs and try to get a new ship. I’ll contact you when I find Quintaine. Juni out.
Juni: Trent! This is Juni. I’ve made it to Cambridge. No luck so far finding the Professor. I’ll contact you when I hear anything. Until then, keep a low profile. Every bounty hunter in the colonies is probably looking for us.
Planet Leeds Equipment Room
Tobias: You won’t be sorry with that one, let me tell you. You can trust Richard Winston Tobias to make you the best deal anywhere. I was wondering when you might come back. Are you in some kind of trouble?
Trent: You might say that.
Tobias: You might also say ‘I told you so’? I didn’t take the time to apprentice you so you could throw it all away on some fool scheme. But you knew better. ‘The deal of a lifetime’, you said. Remember? Eh? Now look at you. That your hunk of junk on the landing pad?
Trent: Yeah.
Tobias: Hmmm. I suppose you’ll be wanting some new parts on that thing… It’s good to see you, boy. So are you back now… for good?
Trent: It’s complicated, Tobias. Seems like all of Liberty is after me!
Tobias: I see. Well, the first thing to do is get rid of your ship. There’s likely to be a description out on it. That’ll make you a popular target for bounty hunters. You’ll be needing something that blends in better around here… I want you to go and see the ship dealer on New London. I’ll tell him you’re coming. He’ll have a ship for you.
Trent: I don’t think I have the credits for that.
Tobias: For once, just do what I tell you, boy. I’ve been putting some aside. You’ll have enough. Come with me.

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