|Name||black market identification chip|
“This identification chip is used by pirates and other outlaws to identify each other in the black market. Only people who have this chip can trade in the black market.”
The most common way of obtaining a black market ID is to dock at a corporate hotel station with something illegal in your cargo hold, then go to the restaurant. Two men will offer to purchase the item, and will give you an ID. However, there is a small chance (5%) that the men will arrest you instead, fining you 1000 credits and making it impossible to obtain an ID in this manner. If you do not have 1000 credits, you will be arrested and your game will end.
Losing your shot at obtaining a black market ID can be a significant setback, causing the mid-game's difficulty to spike. Without a black market ID, you won't be able to buy, sell or install military or illegal equipment at black market locations. A military ID can eventually be acquired by succesfully completing Commonwealth Militia missions. Even then, not having black market access means the player is missing out on convenient docking services and lucrative smuggling opportunities. For some Transcendence players, not having found a black market ID by the time they get to the Rigel Aurelius system is a reason to abort the game and start over, but it needn't be that way. You can obtain an ID chip fairly easily by “farming” smuggler vessels – repeatedly killing the same type of enemies in the hopes of looting specific items from the wrecks of their ships. Sooner or later, one of your victims will cough up the coveted black market ID.
Most (but not all!) of the traffic in a given star system system is generated by its active stations. Both friendly and hostile stations will attract a continuous influx of reinforcements and other traffic. As long as you (or others) don't destroy these stations, new spaceships will keep on entering the system, eventually leaving again after conducting their business. Many of the systems you'll journey through on your coreward pilgrimage are home to stations (both friendly and hostile) that are frequented by smugglers.
Smugglers are outlaws that attempt to sneak illegal contraband into Commonwealth territory in their distinctive, boxy-looking T31-class armed shuttles. Encountered very early in the game, they're invariably escorted by 1-4 gunships, either Zulus or Zulu-IIs. Although T31s may be effectively defenseless against predation by prepared players, the Zulu-series gunships that escort them are plated in light ceramic armor, a material that resistant laser weapons. For more information on the ships piloted by outlaws, refer to thestarship guide.
T31-class ships generated by friendly stations will appear to the player as friendly NPCs, although they will retaliate aggressively – a single, stray shot is usually enough to provoke them into breaking formation. Players are at a disadvantage when engaging “friendly” smuggler convoys in combat:
The slightly more aggressive gunships that escort hostile T31-class armed transports will snipe at the player's ship whenever the opportunity presents itself. However, this is generally only an issue if the player parks their ship right in front of an incoming convoy of smuggler hostiles – the T31's guardians seldomly deviate from their linear trajectories, instead plowing on ahead in a straight line. Only when the player opens fire on the convoy will the gunships attempt to engage the player's ship in a dogfight. More importantly, your omnidirectional weapons, targeting ROM and wingmen all perform as they were designed to, no longer handicapped by being “hostile allies” to the player. In short: hostile convoys require considerably less effort to eradicate than friendly ones.
Destroying a Commonwealth or Corporate cargo freighter either accidentally or deliberately, will see you executed on charges of piracy in no time (ending your game right then and there), these same anti-piracy laws don't seem to apply preying on smuggling vessels – friendly or otherwise. Smuggler convoys are easy enough to spot on the mini-map once you learn what to watch for: a triangular formation, consisting of 2-5 all-green or all-red “blips” moving in a straight line at semi-high speed.
Multiple stations are needed to reliably generate full-time smuggler activity within a system; what's more, (hostile) smuggler transports encountered from the mid-game onwards don't carry black market ID chips. On the player's side, black market stations are the primary source of “friendly”, farmable smuggler convoys, although they more often than not attract other types of civilian craft instead.
When it comes to rapidly & reliably respawning hostile T31 convoys, outlaw bases and havens are second to none, often popping up as soon as you set a single foot out of Starton Eridani. With some luck, you might be able to pocket your black market ID before you've finished clearing out your second system. Even if you'd rather attempt acquiring your illegal identification through the usual channels (by bringing illegal cargo to a corporate hotel station), you might want to considering curtailing your indomitable wrath temporarily, sparing one or two outlaw bases/havens so you have a “plan B” in case you get stung by those corrupt cops again.