In the most recent podcast, it was mentioned that you have started implementing fail-states for timed missions. I have some concerns as informed by previous experiences with similar systems in other games.
Please make the failure state more analog than simply "late == failure == decrease in relations with mission giver." For example, if you are running a delivery mission and are 2 minutes away from the destination, but the mission fails in 1:50, being 10 seconds late should absolutely not be equivalent to simply never completing the mission. Based on when you complete the mission, it should have a variable effect on both your reward and relationship.
Depending on the mission, maybe being only slightly late would not affect the reward, but instead harm your relationship.
Depending on the mission, maybe it's understood that it's particularly tough to get something delivered on time (smuggling?), and so being early has a major increase in reward and relationship, however being late wouldn't be penalized that much.
Of course, depending on the task at hand, being on time could be imperative and there would be a hard failure state, even if a second late (delivering time-sensitive intel?). Context is everything...
On a technical level, the way I am envisioning this is by two separate functions that take time-of-completion as an input variable (early: t < 0; on-time: t == 0; late: t > 0), with the first function determining change in reward and the second function change in relationship. These two curves could be procedurally generated based on the mission type, the mission giver's "personality", and even current relationship with the mission giver (so your previous performance could have an impact on your future bonuses or losses). Maybe you are late a few times and aren't penalized that much, but after being late over and over again, you lose trust which leads to a much steeper reward penalty as t increases.
the next question is how would this information be presented to the player? maybe not at all? maybe the fun in figuring out NPCs' personalities would be having to understand how well they take to being early or late on mission completions... it would be fun to be able to send a message to an NPC if you are close, but might be late, and say "hey I am on my way! please forgive me but i ran into pirates! but your cargo is safe!" and maybe they would forgive you and be thankful that you still came through despite other challenges... or maybe they would respond with "don't bother, I do not tolerate late deliveries, if I see your ship again I will blast it to smithereens"...
I am already looking forward to your game, but if you implement a more dynamic reward/failure system for missions that would catapult my feelings into... unhealthy levels.