- The very beginning of a new single-player game is pure Paranoia Fuel. It starts off with an exterior view of Freeport 7 in the Sigma systems, backed by the Sickly Green Glow of the Edge Nebula. A freighter is departing, and over the station's radio chatter, you hear the traffic controller assigning fighter craft as an escort because of "unknown contacts" on the station's long-range sensors. Without warning, multiple Nomad craft promptly appear (or decloak) right next to the station and blow it to bits in a single volley of obviously powerful torpedoes. As you later see on the news after reaching Manhattan, or read in Trent's personal log, there were mere seconds to get to safety, and Trent was among only seven survivors out of a population of over 2600.note And all those bystanders were murdered in cold blood in an attempt to destroy the Artifact MacGuffin that turns out to be the sole key to getting rid of the Nomads. Had that been lost, the human race would have been inevitably doomed right there and then. It's a Near-Villain Victory, and you haven't even started controlling the Player Character yet.
- Amidst the early missions, Trent's fellow Freeport 7 survivors get imprisoned or picked off one by one by Nomad-corrupted agents. Lonnigan and a thief (the original holder of the Artifact) get shot on Manhattan, right in front of Trent. Another one, Brandon Rowlett, gets abruptly blown away by Liberty Navy fighters moments after he and Trent meet in the California system. You can fight the three pilots who ambushed him, but they are armed with more of the powerful missiles they just used and make for a very difficult battle (if you're not packing a good dodging strategy and enough countermeasure flares to deplete their missile ammo beyond the ability to defend — they won't use their guns). And if you do defeat them, if you pay close attention, your reputation with Liberty Navy doesn't tarnish and the exclusive item dropped ("Rowlett's Revenge") is named a "Nomad Prototype" in the loot hub instead of its actual name — strongly suggesting that the "Liberty Navy" fighters weren't your everyday police patrol.
- Sean Ashcroft, a criminal you apprehend for the LSF in the second mission, gets thoroughly Unpersoned in short order, after Juni interrogated him in his heavily-guarded and fortified cell (in the middle of a battleship) a few days prior in-universe. She notes that someone does not simply escape from that. Shortly thereafter, Marcus Walker's entire cruiser squadron is suddenly listed by the Liberty Navy as missing five years ago when you might have played the previous mission aiding him mere minutes before. It just adds to the implication (and later confirmation) that something has gone horribly wrong within Liberty's military forces.
- During the Liberty section of the game, most locations (planets or Space Stations) are green or friendly to you, and red is reserved for enemy fighters. Then, when Trent and Juni are framed and have to make their escape from Manhattan, everything save for Juni's fighter (and shortly Walker's squadron) is marked in red. Including Newark Station, Trenton Outpost, all of the trade lanes, and Planet Manhattan itself. What was once the safest place in the universe for you is now the most dangerous. And you're stuck in a small, weak single fighter against a huge Liberty Navy fleet — including multiple capital ships, which you have never faced before — that promptly start to open fire on you from all directions. Essentially, it's the opening battle against the Order fighters, only inverted against you, and all you can really do is Run or Die.
- Just the mere concept that Nomads can evict a human's organs and reside within their body as a Puppeteer Parasite.
- The Edge worlds are as far as one can go from civilization and reside within a Sickly Green Nebula, which makes it a creepy part of Sirius to begin with. Then comes the knowledge of Nomad presence in the area, along with the fact that their "homeworld" is not far away.
- Omega 11. This solar system is absolutely perilous, especially given the disturbingly powerful field of radiation surrounding the giant star that can kill you very fast if you're not careful. To make it even worse, the radioactive field also contains several ship wrecks (one of which contains a pair of "CODENAME" weapons) and is also rich in the ever-valuable diamonds (which you must either mine or obtain from the wrecks), making for quite the temptation to enter the field if you're particularly desperate.
- Omega 41 is the same as Omega 11 - but much more dangerous and unnerving. Like Omega 11, it is veiled in a field of strong radiation, but unlike Omega 11 (and just about any other system), it has a neutron star as the "sun" in the center. Going near the neutron star will deteriorate your hull much faster than the giant dying sun in Omega 11. And if that wasn't enough, the system is also populated by Red Hessians and Corsairs who will attack you if you're hostile with them. Good luck trying to brave this system because even the strongest ships may not last long without proper care.
- "Danger. Radiation damage detected." Even when you know you're about to enter a dangerous area, the sudden alert from your ship's system is sure to startle once it detects a major hazard such as radiation damage or explosive gas pockets. It becomes worse if you DON'T know if the area you're entering has such hazards, making it even easier to get surprised. Luckily, the alerts can be "removed" by turning the "Dialogue" sound setting all the way down, at the cost of turning off every other dialogue-based sound off.
Nightmare Fuel / Freelancer