Return an abandoned drifting ship to the client within a set time period.
 General difficulty
Easy in some cases, very hard in other cases.
 What you will need
- A fast way to get to the ship, claim it and get back
 Useful Tools
- A fast M5 or a ship with Jumpdrive and Energy Cells
- System Override Software is useful but illegal.
- TM class ship with Jumpdrive and Energy Cells to transport fighters quickly.
- A ship equipped with Tractor Beam - Can be used to tow large slow-moving ships (TS, M7 or M8) to their stations slightly faster than their maximum speed.
 What you will find
In the beginning of the game, you will be usually asked to retreive M5, M4, or M3 class ships. Later on, you can be asked to retreive M8, TS, TP, M6 or M7 class ships; the latter two classes may be used for boarding practice. M1, M2, and TL class ships are never featured in Return Ship missions.
Oftentimes the ship has few or no speed upgrades so it's advantageous to have a carrier for smaller ships and a tug for larger ships to hurry them along. Jumpdrives are invaluable to getting the target vessel back to the return station's sector and can often compensate for poor speed.
 Commentary and strategy
This is a simple 'retrieve' mission you will need to do to find a ship, claim it and send it back to it's owner. However there is a twist to this mission favoured by many X-Gamers. You can gain by claiming it and NOT sending it back. The downside of keeping the ship in one of these missions is that you take a big rep loss, because it's considered stealing.
There are many ways to suffer rep loss on this mission:
- Aborting the mission - rep loss, plus the ship will jump away if you haven't claimed it.
- Shoot it down - rep loss.
- Crash into it and blow it up - rep loss.
- Keep ship - rep loss.
By contrast there are only a few ways to avoid losing rep on this mission:
- Successfully complete the mission.
- Have ship destroyed by someone else - and you will receive a small sum of money and no rep loss!
- Self Destruct will have the same effect as having it destroyed by hostiles. A curious quirk!
So choose this mission only if you seriously plan to finish it or plan to keep the ship and suffer the consequences. Sometimes the ship is worth more than the mission reward.
Note that failing to deliver it back on time (whether voluntarily or involuntarily) after claiming the ship causes some sector police to spawn dedicated to destroying it. They will continue to try until the ship is somehow destroyed, meaning that these sector police require eliminating with the full repercussions to your race rep of doing so. By luring the police through a Xenon sector using the ship's jumpdrive, this problem can be got round quite easily. Alternately, if you are friendly with the Yaki, dock the ship at the Shipyard in Senator's Badlands; the Yaki patrols will eventually take care of the pursuers.
Note: You can be offered return ship missions for M7 ships from a station where they cannot dock. In such circumstances, simply moving the ship close to the client's station will complete the mission.
 Boarding Practice
Even though all target ships in Return Ship missions can be claimed (even those which otherwise would need to be boarded), you can still choose to board them instead. Curiously enough, the "abandoned" ships will put up a fight when boarded with marines, and your marines can suffer casualties and even fail the boarding.
Because target ships in Return Ship missions spawn without shields, do not move, do not fire guns or missiles, do not intercept your boarding pods, and do not have escorts, they can be ideal targets for you to practice boarding on. Just as importantly, your marines can have their skills (including the Combat skill, which cannot be trained in facilities) improve during such boarding ops, making the Return Ship missions a great way to train up a squad of marines in preparation for "real" boardings.
 See Also
|Small Ships||Bailing • Claiming|
|Large Ships||Boarding • Boarding Pods • Boardable Ships • Boarding Ships|
|Marines||Marine • Marine Training Barracks • Military Outpost • Rehabilitation Facility|
|List of Missions|
|Terran Plot | Operation: Final Fury | Goner Plot | Hub Plot | HQ Plot|
|Treasure Hunt | A New Home | Aldrin Expansion | Balance of Power|
|Albion Prelude | Operation: Loose Ends | Shady Business | Corporation Troubles|
|Assassination | Transport Passenger | Return Ship | Follow Ship | Transport Cargo | Scan Asteroids|
|Escort Convoy | Build Stations | Deliver Matching Ship | Destroy Convoy | Transport Passengers | Freight Scan|
|Patrol | Defend Station | Retrieve Stolen Ship | Xenon Hold Position | Xenon Patrol | Deliver Wares|
|Station Hack | Buy Asteroid Information | Buy Sector Information | Buy Used Ship | Buy Blueprints|