I am about to tell you how to break the early game. First get a sparrow do the intro James mission to the planet in the next system. Get the follow up mission. The second you launch go back to your initial planet and sell the sparrow and get the shuttle load it with creq. The trick is the two ships you have are powerful enough to beat the sparrow and sometimes fury that are chasing them. So launch and steal one when the disable it. At some point strip everything you don't need for more bunks and buy frags. Now carefully (don't lose the escorts) start capturing ships selling missiles replace with lasers when you can. Do not go to gemstone. If you head south eventually you will get a clipper. Repeat with more bunks and more frags. The argosy repeat. Now you should have 10 ish fighters switch to a sparrow as your flag go to finish the James mission while in the sparrow pick up the follow up. DO NOT launch yet. Hit I move your capturing argosy to your capitol. Launch and easily disable the bastion. You don't care about James and his tour of the stars at this point. Sell your fleet except the bastion. I strip the bastion and repeat the more crew more frags plan. Except I tend to get the better engines. Now you have enough to capture II shield beetles in hai space via the previous methods II it's faster than any of the other methods trust me I've tried to beat it. I have way to many hours in this game.