An hour or so into the game, I'm given a transporter ship and a mission to ferry some civilians from one sector to another. Accompanying me is my employer's daughter, Saya (who bears an uncanny likeness to Alyx Vance). Just as I'm approaching the last jump gate separating me and my destination, Saya's voice crackles over comms: "...I think we're being followed...I swear I saw a pirate ship." We pass through the gate and my heart sinks. A dozen pirate ships were waiting for me. I hand the controls over to the ship's computer and hop in the aft turret to lay down some desperate cover fire. The intelligent auto-pilot system gracefully and effectively dodges the brightly colored emmisions from the enemies' gamma impulse rays as I fire wildly into space. This is a transport vessel; unequipped for a sustained firefight, and woefully ineffective against a sorty of pirate ships. We aren't going to make it. But then, I remember that I have a ship docked in this sector: an M5 class Argon Discoverer light reconnaissance fighter craft. I call up my shipboard computer and access the ship to ship command console. I order my fighter to fly out into space, then I retake manual control of the transport. This plan might just work. I close the distance between my two craft to about 400 meters, rolling and weaving all the while to avoid the enemy projectiles. Commanding the transporter to dock at the TerraCorp HQ, I eject into space. Saya's voice on comms again: "W-what are you...where are you going? You can't just leave us here!" I ignore it, my plan already seeming foolish enough without her to remind me. I jetpack over to the Discoverer and enter the ship. Payback time. Locking onto the nearest pirate ship, I engage the ship's thrusters and begin pursuit. My M5 has the weakest weapons and shielding available, but I don't care. I have to protect the civilians; I have to protect Saya. The majority of the pirate ships turn to face this new threat. Two still chase the transporter. I throw my ship back and forth, narrowly dodging would-be kill shots, but still sustaining heavy damage. Shields critical. Hull at 43%. This plan was suicide. I lock on to the transport to track its progress. 200 meters out from docking. A few seconds away. With renewed hope, I turn my craft around and fly towards TerraCorp HQ and the transport. I just might pull this off. Suddenly, one of the pirates tailing the transport increases its speed and positions itself between the station and the transport. I'm 2 kilometers out, just out of effective firing range. I can only watch as the pirate ship fires a volley of lasers directly into the cockpit of the transport ship. The transport erupts in flames, spirals out of control. "No," I hear myself utter, "no no no..." The transport ship careens into the station and explodes, and with it, my passengers. My ship's computer makes an announcement: "Attention, your Argon Express has been destroyed by a pirate Orinoco in sector Home of Light." Saya, my employer's daughter and my character's potential love interest, dead. The pirates break formation and scatter, their mission accomplished. My M5 is crippled, my S.E.T.A. booster, one of the alpha impulse ray emmiters, and my duplex scanner all destroyed. I haven't the time to mourn, however, as I'm already receiving a message from my other employer: the Argon Secret Service. "Welcome to X2," I think to myself, as I fly my busted ship back to TerraCorp HQ. X2 improves upon Beyond the Frontier in almost every way. You can now fly any ship, leave your ship in a space suit, and trade and command stations remotely. Combat has been heavily refined, the story line improved, graphics modernized, and the universe expanded. This is the one of the few times I've ever seen a sequel outshine its predecessor, and I know that I'll enjoy every second of my journey across the X-universe.