A fan-made campaign for Freespace 2, Derelict boasts full voice-acting, compatibility with the Freespace source-code project, and forty-six missions, eleven more than the retail campaign. Part of the Cold Element series of campaigns, to eventually be followed by Blackwater Operations.
Five years after the Shivans caused Capella to supernova, hundreds of thousands of refugees have been adrift among GTVA space looking for a new home. The player assumes the role of a pilot newly assigned to the 212 Silver Scythes squadron in the remote, backwater Tau Sigma system, described by one wingman as "the armpit of the universe." It seems like the excitment will pick up when it's announced that, sponsored by Morgan Technologies, the Capellan refugees are on their way to permanently resettle in Tau Sigma.
- Aborted Arc: The new GTVI insurrection starts with a literal bang and then fizzles out shortly thereafter.
- All Just a Dream: Not the entire campaign, fortunately, just one mission. It ends with a Jump Scare by a Sathanas Juggernaut, of all things.
- Apocalypse How: Class 6 through all of Alliance space if the Nyarlathotep makes it to Capella.
- Artifact Title: After The Stars are Right.
- Beam Spam: Beams fly around here even more than in the main Freespace 2 campaign.
- Bolivian Army Ending: The Nonstandard Game Over in the final mission does this.
- Chekhov's Gun: The Nyarlathotep's portable Knossos device.
- Cool Ship: The GTFf Cypher, built on Admiral Bosch's Iceni design, and still with way more firepower than other ships of comparable size.
- Subverted with the MTD Auriga, which does far more harm than good and doesn't look any different from a standard Orion-class destroyer.
- Continuity Nod: The GVD Nekhbet is from a popular single mission produced before Derelict was released. Mackie and Alpha 3 reference the events of that mission while flying escort for it.
- Deadpan Snarker: Lieutenant Mackie
- Evil Twin: The Enigma to the GTFf Cypher. Also the MTD Auriga to the SD Nyarlathotep, the former being noted as likely the only thing that can take on the Nyarlathotep and win. Unfortunately, being its evil twin doesn't make the Auriga friendly.
- False-Flag Operation: An accidental case; when the MTD Auriga passes through an Allied blockade like it isn't there, it also takes out the attacking Shivans. The Shivans are unaware the Auriga isn't a GTVA warship, and, thinking the Alliance has far more hardware at their disposal than they actually do, retreat.
- Foreshadowing: One of the researchers on the Nyarlathotep writes in his journal, "Home...I want to go home..."
- The Reveal that Morgan Technologies is responsible for the increased pirate activity is foreshadowed when pirates specifically target GTVA science ships so the Alliance will have to accept their offer for help researching the derelict.
- Genre Savvy: Lieutenant Mackie. When unscheduled escort fighters jump in, he assumes it's not a clerical oversight. When the Shivans avoid killing as many people as possible, he knows something is very, very wrong, a revelation that Allied Command not only doesn't pick up on, but outright dismisses until the last minute.
- Glass Cannon: The Gorgon is an uber-beam platform built into a gutted gas miner with a Meson Bomb hooked into it from outside as a reactor. Both are extremely fragile pieces of equipment, although the Gorgon ultimately survives enemy attack only to be destroyed by an overload after the crew pushes it too hard in order to survive said attack.
- H.P. Lovecraft: A central theme through the campaign. The opening passage to The Call of Cthulhu is quoted at one point. Shivan ships are given names from the Lovecraft mythos, the most obvious being SD Nyarlathotep.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Mackie is too stable to be a Shell-Shocked Veteran, but it's hinted that he's a veteran of Capella and since his cynicism doesn't go away when he gets out of the humdrum of being stationed in the boonies, it probably comes from seeing just how much the Shivans outclass the GTVA firsthand, and thus how little he and everything he cares about matters.
- Meaningful Name:
- The GTFf Cypher is a frigate serving the intelligence division, while the Enigma is its Evil Twin.
- The MTD Auriga could be a reference to more than one actual naval vessel, a constellation, a ship from the Alien movies, or even StarCraft.
- The Nyarlathotep, and the Shivans in general, are a fine parallel to Cosmic Horror from which the name derives.
- Mackie's friend, Kyle SAthanas.
- More Dakka: The GTFf Cypher, MTD Auriga and SD Nyarlathotep can deliver several times the firepower of similar-sized ships.
- Never Tell Me the Odds: Mackie dismisses the odds in Hail Mary and tells everyone to do their jobs.
- Nonstandard Game Over: If the suicide attack in Hail Mary fails, the Nyarlathotep will succeed in stabilizing the jump node to Capella and go through. A New Meat pilot, in the brief calm, asks what they do now. Mackie, who knows exactly what's on the other side, calmly tells him to kiss his ass goodbye just before it comes through.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Played with; several characters notice that the Shivans aren't being as omnicidally maniacal as they usually are, skipping by several targets of opportunity, including a heavily populated planet. It turns out to be an important plot-point.
- Ramming Always Works: The Argentus rams the Nyarlathotep, and it works fine because its packed full of Meson Bombs.
- Running Gag: Mackie's snark, be it commenting on the duct tape holding his instrument panel together, displeasure at how capital ships get all the credit for winning engagements where they would explicitly not survive without their fighter cover, and everything in between.
Mackie:"These fighters are held together with glue and duct tape [...] The Lonewolf's a flying wreck. You want to hear another story about duct tape?"
GTC Lonewolf:"We heard that, Alpha 2!"
- Space Pirates: Mostly harmless, and it's insinuated that the GTVA even drafts some into service at one point. The mercenaries masquerading as pirates do a lot of damage, though.
- This Is Gonna Suck: "Looks like the defecation is about to hit the ventilation..."
- Title Drop: The Nyarlathotep is the campaign's eponymous derelict, and it's referred to as such several times.
- Translator Microbes: Played with; when the Altair <-> Tau Ceti jump node is closed, Lieutenant Mackie and the player are temporarily assigned to a Vasudan squadron while stranded on the Altair side. While patrolling the area as the refugees from Capella begin to arrive, a wing of Terran fighters jumps in, unscheduled. The Vasudan commander assumes it to be a clerical oversight. Mackie and the player, the only other humans in the escort, realize that the newly arrived fighters are bogus because their comm chatter lacks the intonation most disciplined military pilots speak with, something lost to the translator.
- Updated Rerelease: The campaign was originally released for retail-Free Space 2 with no voice acting. It was later updated to work with the source-code project that heavily upgrades the engine's graphical and scripting capabilities, fully voice acted and with some rough spots in mission design ironed out.
- What Could Have Been: Before the full campaign was released, the developers released several single missions with a completely different voice cast. Mackie, in particular, had a ridiculous accent.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The MTD Auriga. Doubly aggravating because your de-briefing specifically says the hunt has been called off because Allied Command is unwilling to take more losses chasing the thing. Some fans are hoping it shows up in Blackwater Operations.
- Also the Enigma, which never shows up again after its initial appearance.
- Wham! Episode: Several, but most notably The Stars are Right. Those who have picked up on the Lovecraft theme will call an Untwist on it, though.
- Wham! Line: When someone finally figures out what the Shivans are trying to accomplish.