Ares Rising.
This game is frustrating to get in to, but becomes more enjoyable as you play. You start out with the most pathetic of ships, but as you complete jobs, you can upgrade those to progressively better ships. The game has some annoying aspects to it, though: if you use cheats, the game forces you to replay the mission without them, and even with them escort runs can be disastrous (This is for the control panel cheats, not the "true" cheats). The command line ("true") cheats don't always work. Also, your wingmen don't come with their own ships - You have to purchase and stock a ship for your wingman to use! Some nice points, though, are that you can change the difficulty level each time you launch the game, rather than living with the difficulty level you chose when you created the character, and it allows you to choose either an arcade style or realistic flight model, though I had a great deal of difficulty adjusting to the space-realistic model. The arcade model makes the game more playable. The down side of this game is that it apparently didn't have wide distribution, so there's little support for it on the Internet.

The story line is similar to Tachyon, in that you're an independent star pilot on the lam, and you can choose from your "employer's" jobs, or from a variety of other jobs. Naturally, you get caught up in universal intrigue until the fate of the entire universe rests on your shoulders. The story line is a tad melodramatic, but is still able to keep your interest. My one tip: avoid survey missions. You'll almost always encounter opposition, and the damage done to your ship will generally cost more in repairs than you'll earn on your mission. Do survey missions out of the goodness of your heart, not to make money.

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