|The following information has not been confirmed by Volition |
and is therefore not canon for the FreeSpace universe.
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ACT 2, MISSION 08
Fighter squadron: Not given.
Description: As the backs of the GTD Carthage and her battlegroup are against the gravity well of Saturn, the Wargods move in for the kill.
A cunning trap was laid for Admiral Lopez and the GTD Carthage; unfortunately for the UEF, it seems that her preservation instinct overrode the concern for the lives of her crew. She flashed her tactical jump drive, but instead of getting to Jupiter, her trajectory got snagged on Saturn's gravity well. As such, her back is against the wall, and she has 20 minutes before she can jump to safety again. While she has recovered her screening elements, the Wargods, led by the Indus and Yangtze, have tracked them down and are preparing to strike.
The plan is this: The two frigates plus two cruisers will press the attack, the cruisers drawing off some of the warship screen while the frigates concentrate on pounding the destroyer. Meanwhile, the Hanuman will be running interference for the Tevs' beam cannons, and four wings of fighters will be escorting the frigates in, repelling attacks from the 7 remaining fighter wings of the Carthage strikecraft group.
The second phase of the plan -- where the Katana and Altan Orde enter the fray -- depends on Lopez's actions. If she pushes her screen out to attack, then Contingency CARTWHEEL will be implemented, and the two frigates will jump in beyond the Tev screen and blow the hell out of the Carthage. If Lopez keeps her screen close, then Contingency JACKKNIFE will be triggered, and the Katana and Altan Orde will join the other two frigates for a concentrated push through the GTVA defenders and on to the Carthage.
Either way, there will be a lot of fireworks. And casualties. Laporte believes that whatever happens, she will be one of them, as the woman she was when she entered the academy is dead. She may well be right.
You start about 20 kilometers from the Carthage, with the Indus and the cruiser Insuperable jumping in. After some dialogue, the Carthage will sortie two Deimos corvettes, along with 5 Artemis (Libra) and 4 Rhea (Aquila) bombers, to attack the Indus. On top of that, 5 Erinyes fighters (Corvus) will jump in closer to commence a fighter sweep. Splash the fighters. Not long after this, 4 Artemis bombers (Draco) with 2 Perseus escorts (Ophiuchus) arrive from behind the Indus to take it out. The bombers are carrying Maxim cannons, so take them out fast. Slammers are less useful here, as Draco is a bit too spread out. When the first wave is destroyed, a second wave will jump in.
After a bit, you'll get a notice that an SSM strike force is approaching from the front; head back and splash them quickly before the Indus is swarmed by vampires. Then take out Libra and Aquila, which will be in range of the Indus by now. A second wave of Aquila will come in when the first one is destroyed. Slammers as they arrive could take them out, if used properly.
After the bombers are dealt with, the Indus and Insuperable move to attack the first pair of corvettes, the Leander and Legionary, calling in the Yangtze. When she arrives with Gamma wing in tow, you'll be tasked with disarming the corvettes. Switch to your Archers and nail the beam weapons; save your Paveways for later if you have them. They will jump out when their hull falls to critical; there's not much you can do to realistically prevent this.
After the corvettes are dealt with, the frigates notice that the Carthage is still holding her screen close. As such, the Indus signals the Katana and Altan Orde that it's to be Contingency JACKKNIFE. They acknowledge, and will be on station in two minutes.
Meanwhile, the Carthage decides to flush her fighter bay. The remainder of the Carthage air group, some 30-odd fighters, comes out in an effort to swarm the gunships. Heed Sorenson's advice; stick close to the frigates and snipe them with Slammers. This is the furriest furball in the campaign right here, so avoid target fixation. (If you armed Beta 1 and 2 with Paveway Missiles and you need to buy time for the next phase, send them to take out the forward beams of either the Deianira or the Iolanthe as soon as the second screen arrives. They have plot immunity, so don't worry about them drawing attention.)
Two minutes later, the Katana, Altan Orde, the AWACS ship Hanuman, and the cruiser Kyoto arrive and start going to work, attacking the second pair of corvettes, the Iolanthe and Deianira. Most of the enemy fighters should be mopped up by now. Which is good, because not long after, the Hanuman lets you know that the corvettes are preparing to fire overdriven beam cannons. You then have 80 seconds to disable the beam cannons, port and starboard, bow and stern, on both corvettes. Here's where the Paveways come in handy; use them with your Archers and/or Gattlers to nail the beam cannons before they fire. As you disable the beams, the corvettes roll to bring undamaged cannons to bear. Once they're disabled, you'll get a notification, and combat with them proceeds much like the last pair.
Now it's the cruisers' turn. They'll start to rip holy hell out of the cruisers. As the corvettes are mission-killed, the Hanuman gets TAGged. They try to jam the signal, but too late -- the Carthage finds the beacon and opens up with her main beam cannon, destroying the AWACS. Uh oh.
Realizing what just happened, Captain Sorenson orders the group to hit the Carthage now, but it's much worse than you think, as the Katana detects a massive incoming subspace transit.
That transit is the arrival of the GTD Imperieuse. Along with the GTCv Hydra.
So. Your new task: cover the Indus as she makes her escape from the bloodbath. The Yangtze will join you while the Katana, Altan Orde, Kyoto, and Insuperable move to cover your escape. They don't stand a chance, and there's nothing you can do. Keep moving.
At some point, wings of Boanerges bombers will jump in, hoping to finish the Indus off. Defend her with all you've got. At the tail end of that, the Yangtze will report an engine failure, making her unable to jump. As the Imperieuse and more bombers are approaching, she -- along with Ng'Mei and Olefumi -- will turn back and fight. After the dialogue, you can land inside the Indus' fighter bay.
- This was the first mission General Battuta created for Blue Planet, as well as the very first mission he ever made for any FreeSpace mod.
- Any invulnerability flags set by the player are reset to normal once the Imperieuse enters the area.
- Using cheat codes to destroy the Carthage results in an alternate ending.
- It is actually possible to win this, but the reward is a rather bland debrief followed by the recommendation of "Now go read a book".
- As this forum post makes clear, Admiral Lopez actually knew of her role in this gambit before it was carried out.
- The name of this mission comes from the Latin expression "Carthago delenda est", meaning "Carthage must be destroyed". Phrases similar to this were used by Roman politicians—particularly, Cato the Elder—during the Punic Wars, which indeed ended with the complete destruction of the ancient city-state of Carthage. Today, the same phrase is often used to denote an attitude of total war, which could allude to how the United Earth Federation appears to be losing their Ubuntu philosophy and moving closer towards fanatic militarism.
- The 212th Silver Scythes is a reference to Derelict, being the squadron of the protagonist of that campaign.
Total number of forces
This does not currently include the Tev fighters that jump in in the ending cutscene.