Cardamine is a highly addictive drug and one of the two illegal trade goods in Freelancer. Cardamine creates a sense of euphoria and energy in consumers, and the distribution of the drug by its makers, the Outcasts, have created links between three criminal organizations, known respectavely as the Liberty Rogues, the Lane Hackers and the Golden Crysanthemums.
Cardamine was discovered on a planet in the Edge World system Omicron Alpha called Malta, which was the chosen home of the ancestors of the Outcasts who came to the system on the crippled Sleeper Ship Hispania. The Cardamine was found in the form of a strange species of tall orange grass that had covered most of the planet. When the colonists decided to explore the system, the scouts experienced some sort of sickness shortly after leaving Malta. Medical examinations revealed something shocking. The DNA of the pilots had been infused with the DNA of the alien grass! They found out that the sickness was caused by withdrawal symptoms. They now needed the grass to live. Without it, they would go into shock and die. The grass was cultivated into the drug that we now know as Cardamine. The Outcasts, as they called themselves, needed frequent doses of the drug, and it was added to their basic supplies, including foodstuffs and water. They also needed Cardamine infused air, and wore breather masks that added a dose with every breath, like an inhaler. They also use the drug as a way to strike back at the other colonies. They are trying to make the other "normal" human colonies dependant on the drug, so that they will be in power.
As mentioned earlier, Cardamine is known to generate bursts of euphoric and energenic sensations when used. The drug is highly addictive, and users do not develop a tolerance for it, requiring users to constantly dose themselves to avoid crashing. As also mentioned earlier, long-term exposure to Cardamine causes genetic alterations, binding Cardamine DNA to the consumer's. If this occurs, the consumer becomes completely dependant on Cardamine, like the Outcasts (for he IS an Outcast now), or else he will die from Cardamine Withdrawal. However, despite the considerable repercussions of Cardamine addiction, there are some benefits. Besides being an effective psychedelic, the genitic alterations from long-term Cardamine use extends the average lifespan nearly twofold.
Upon learning of the pontential benefits of Cardamine, a project to create a synthetic, harmless, "Work-Safe" version of the drug was planned by the Libertonian medical firm Cryer Pharmaceuticals. Upon learning this, the Outcasts recognized this as a direct threat to their plans to spread the drug's influence.