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Welcome to Manhattan! You can't do anything until you get a ship, so follow the instructions and accept the mission.

Before you take off, you can add another Justice Mk I to the ship with your starting $500. Or you could save your money to buy bigger guns later; you only get 30% of the purchase price back when you sell equipment. If you don't buy the gun, you could visit the commodities trader and pick up some water; you can buy 20 at $15 to sell at your next stop for $30, a whopping profit of $300.

Anyway, fly the mission. You might want to remap your keyboard the way I describe in the Keyboard Setup screen. In any case, useful keys to remember are F3 to dock, F4 to go into formation, and most importantly, B to tractor in any salvage. Get used to hitting B every time you destroy another ship.

When you get to Pittsburgh, you again have the option of upgrading your ship. You now have enough money for a Class 2 shield. Pittsburgh sells Civilian laser weapons, which are slightly cheaper and weaker than the Liberty laser weapons you can buy on Manhattan. If you have a full load of Shield Batteries or Nanobots, sell a few so that you can still tractor more in. At $200 each, they'll be a significant source of income in the early game.

Fly the next mission piece.


When you're done, you're at liberty for the first time to do whatever you want. As the game says, fly some bar missions, haul cargo, or mine. Since you're still stuck in New York system, the trading opportunities are pretty limited.

You're now Level 2, so you can buy Class 3 weapons and shields. You can't find a Class 3 Graviton shield in the New York system, but most bases will sell you Class 3 weapons.

You'll want to upgrade your ship as soon as possible. Your best option is the Liberty Defender heavy fighter, available from Battleship Missouri. Another option is the Pirate Bloodhound light fighter, available from Rochester Base. If you want to trade (or pirate), you could buy a Rhino freighter; it has more gun mounts than any fighter, and freighter shields are the strongest. Unfortunately, its gun batteries are pretty weak, it doesn't take Class 4 weapons, and there's not much trading to be done just in New York.

Fly a few random missions against the Rogues. Also, take the trade lane due west of Manhattan to Detroit Station where you can fight Xenos (this will help you stay off the Red end of the Faction list with the Junkers)

Take the trade lanes around and visit all of the bases. In addition to the bases along the lanes, there are two criminal bases. Directly north of Manhattan is the Junkers' Rochester Base. In the south of the system is the Rogues' Buffalo Base. You should definitely visit Rochester, but the Rogues hate you, so Buffalo won't let you dock.

While it is not mentioned that you can break out of a trade lane at any point you like, you can press the Free-Flight Icon (top-center/Left on your H.U.D.) as if you were breaking formation.

You can buy Improved Countermeasures and the Heavy Thruster at Rochester.

There are several abandoned ships in the Badlands, of which the first is by far the most interesting; Cardamine sells for $1500 on Manhattan.

Flint (lower right C6) - 2xAzrael, 4xBadariel Turret, 20xCardamine
Patrol 27 (middle E6) - 3xJustice Mk III
Agressor (upper right D6) - 4xGunslinger Mk 1, 1xGunslinger Turret Mk 1, Countermeasure Dropper, 20xCountermeasure Flare

You can mine the Debris fields for Scrap Metal and sell it at Fort Bush for $20 each, but it's not really worthwhile. Note that turning off background dust in the Performance Options menu makes mining much easier.

There's not much profit to be made from trade at this point. The most profitable route is running Cardamine from Rochester to Manhattan, and Food Rations back, for a profit of $104 per unit per round trip.

When you're done flying around, head back to Manhattan for Mission 2. You may do this once you reach level 3.