A Weakened Giant

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The following information has not been confirmed by Volition
and is therefore not canon for the FreeSpace universe. Also, it may contain spoilers regarding Series Resurrecta campaigns.


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Shadows of the Great War - The Spirit of Ptah Mission 2

Player squadron: 223rd Moonbears

System: Vasuda

Description: The 223rd is ordered to force a Karnak outpost in the hands of the HoL to surrender, with the close support of the PVD Hedetet. The HoL is not known, however, for its tendence to favor reason over fanatism...

Created: March 14th, 2007

Released: October 16th, 2020


Background

Now that the Ixion has reached a safe position in Vasuda, it can and will coordinate surgical strikes against Hammer of Light positions in the system. It turns out that the PVT Qanun, sent by the Hedetet, carried strictly classified plans on how to execute a strike that would lead HLI Senwosre, a huge Karnak facility and HoL staging point in Vasuda, to surrender and be captured. The plans involve a detailed analysis of the station's weaknesses and workaround to prevent it from self-destructing, as the HoL is known for their extreme policies on capture attempts. In addition to this, Senwosre plays a vital role for HoL ideologies, due to an interpretation of an ancient Vasudan text that is by some intended as a way to predict the existence of this very station. The Alliance will face not only the weapons of HoL fanatics, but also their minds.

Walkthrough

Watch the intro cutscene carefully, as it's more than meaningful, and you'll soon understand why. After the cutscene, you'll see a true fortress right in front of you: the Senwosre itself, plus a multitude of Ankh sentry guns, several wings of fighters, the HLD Pramessu and many cruisers massed all around the outpost. Your designation will be Theta 1, with Iota and Kappa wings being at your disposal. The operation has the true potential of turning into a battle of attrition, which may culminate with failure: it's pivotal to follow a certain consecutio of events, and accomplishing the primary objectives while performing some of the additional tasks. Early in the mission, two Satis freighters and one Imhotep science cruiser, the likes of which you've already encountered before, will make a run to leave the station and depart. Taking them out is impossible, but you need to make sure that at least one of them is destroyed, or later on in the campaign you'll regret it. An Aten cruiser will jump in and its configuration will be friendly, but it turns out it's defecting in that very moment and moves to leave area while deploying a small Ra pod which you can disable, providing that it doesn't interfere with your mission objectives. Don't forget that you're in that battlefield to scan subsystems you're meant to scan, so you'd rather do it, and please note that the scan time will not be fast as usual; once a subsystem is scanned, move to the next and eliminate a few sentries in the process. In case an enemy fighter comes in to bother you, take it down but don't get involved in prolonged dogfights, or the mission will eventually fail. Once all critical subsystems are scanned, an encrypted message will order you to take down a specific subsystem, which is randomized: Karnak subsystems are tough, so head towards your target immediately and fire on it.

The destruction of the specified subsystem will result in the Hedetet jumping in to "convince" Senwosre to surrender. During the consequent message exchange between the two units, it'd be a good idea to split up your wings and move to protect the Hedetet, as well as eliminate the primary neutron cannons on the Pramessu. Prioritize the front Neheh heavy cannon, as it poses the most credible threat to the Allied Typhon, then clear the two Abui medium cannons which are also located in the front. Disarming the Pramessu will result in the destroyer changing its course, and jumping out soon afterwards, de facto clearing the area from the most significant threat to the Hedetet. Our ally will be more than capable of handling the various HoL cruisers converging on its position, though we'd better take care of the enemy bombers, or ask our wingmen to do so. That's where the mission gets challenging: Allied strategists realize than even though the primary means by which the station can self destruct are disabled, a secondary system exists and it may come online in no-time, providing that the central reactor is operational. The message exchange will allow the Karnak's external and internal doors to be targetable and destroyable, allowing you to get inside and clear the reactor before it's too late. Don't worry, there's plenty of time, so if you happen to be nearby the station, you should be able to move ahead and do it without interference. The destruction of the reactor will cause the installation to cripple and lose its functions, but it isn't over yet - the Hedetet will deploy commandos on Isis transports to conquer the station. The transports will come under attack by HoL wings, but despite their efforts, some of them will always manage to land and take over the station after a while. At that point, you'll be reassigned to the Hedetet and ordered to land on the destroyer, while multiple Allied forces will come in to secure the area.

Notable ships present

Outcome

The operation is a major victory for the Alliance in Vasuda: a former fundament of fanatic ideology, outpost Senwosre, has been captured, and multiple losses have been inflicted to the Hammer of Light, in the form of cruisers and spacecraft wings. The HLD Pramessu has lost its capacity to counter opposing warships and even though its whereabouts are unknown, the destroyer will not bother Allied forces in the system as it used to. It isn't over yet, because the fanatics can still mount quite an offensive by relying on their residual forces in the system, and data leaks have to be monitored carefully. The captured outpost has to be brought to operational status, and this will expose the installation itself to additional risks - will the HoL attempt to recapture or destroy it, or will it leave the installation as it is, as per the ancient scrolls?

Notes

The mission title is rather straightforward, and is similar to that of the second mission of Gehenna's Gate, A Renewed Threat.

In the original version of the mission, the HLD Pramessu was a Bastet-class destroyer, then replaced with the much better looking Atum. Furthermore, the station was supposed to be destroyed via a surgical strike on its reactor, and a considerable chunk of the messages and debriefing stages have been completely rewritten from scratch in order to adapt to the new favorable ending of the mission.