In a mercenary encounter, why would it be strategic to hire the mercenary?

  1. If you fight the mercenary, you've spent 1 fuel, explored 1 beacon, and gained default rewards through battle. This is what I consider a good beacon.
  2. If you hire them to delay the rebels and use those 2 extra jumps, you've spent 3 fuel, 10-25 scrap, and explored 3 beacons, one of them (the mercenary one) being effectively empty.
  3. If you hire them to scout the sector, you've spent 1 fuel, 10-20 scrap, and gained the sector map.

I currently always fight the mercenary (they are worse than rebels and I must be honorable). Delaying the rebels does not seem better on average and the only situation I would consider it is if I am able to complete a quest or avoid Rebel elites. Scouting the sector seems situational, such as if you are very damaged and looking for a store.

Why would you let those filthy mercenaries live?

  • 1
    Good question.. I would imagine its very situational, like you want to go to a store but would otherwise not have been able to get back there.. but honestly, this feels so situational I am not sure a good solid reason exists.
    – James
    Jan 5, 2016 at 18:31

2 Answers 2


In the few times I've hired a mercenary for extra jumps it was when

  • I'm scrap heavy and fuel heavy and I've been hunting for a shop (shields maxed and I need to get better guns) so I want to explore every beacon. I find extra jumps are more useful than the map as you only need to be 1 system away to discover a shop.


  • Trying to increase quest related odds, like getting to and back from a quest beacon in a weird system map or finding a ship like the incomplete rebel cruiser, finding the right slug, mantis, rock, etc. ship.


  • I have the system mapped already and getting the extra jump enables me to hit an extra distress beacon or two and I have the abilities that maximizes profits from these or I'm desperate for an extra crew member.

And finally if you have one or more scrap arms the chance to turn 1 default rewards with bonuses into 2 default rewards with bonuses is quite enticing.

Most of the time though I agree with you, blast those mercenary scum into scrap!


I have always fought them but I have started to rethink this. Besides the fairly obvious situational things usually get mentioned (completing quests, desperate for a shop, no rebel free path to the exit, etc) I actually think it is sometimes economical to delay.

As mentioned in the question, there are two sides

side 1: default battle rewards

side 2: -scrap, -2 fuel, two encounters

Now if we assume every encounter is a default battle, and we feel we can win default battles without injury, AND fuel isn't really an issue, then I think this is actually a good deal. Beyond sector 1, the cost to hire the mercenary is almost always lower then the reward for a default battle, especially if you are killing crew. In other words, 1 default reward is worse than 2 default rewards minus the fee. When you factor in the possibility to get much better than default rewards this is even more attractive.

I want reiterate though, that this only applies if fuel is not an issue and you are feeling strong for the area.

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