For the Wrong Reasons

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The following information has not been confirmed by Volition
and is therefore not canon for the FreeSpace universe.


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MISSION 05
ACT 1, MISSION 05

Fighter squadron: 170th Fighting Navajas

Description: The Navajas answer a distress call from a Freighter that was apparently taken over by the renegade Gaian Effort.


Background

Elder Martin Mandho has received your letter expressing your concerns over what you have seen and has sent a reply communique. In it, he concedes that he cannot assist you, and that it may be advisable to consult an actual doctor. However, he also adds that there are some things that even science itself cannot explain, and brings up the suggestion that you might actually be better off listening to the advice given to you by your "imaginary friend", citing that at least one other person has made peace with himself by doing so.

A heavy freighter, designated Nauticus, containing supplies for Rheza Station and classified cargo, left Mars without its fighter escort. It was attacked by a wing of Gaian Effort pirates not too long after it left the normal traffic lanes.

The local gates in the immediate area have been shut off by Command to force the Gaians to deploy a vessel capable of towing the freighter into subspace, which will take more time. During this period, Brie, Kassim and you will be sent in to secure the area.

Second Fleet's UEFg Yangtze will be on station nearby, ready to respond to any new deployments by the Gaians.

Walkthrough

You can only fly the UEF Uhlan in this mission. Bring along at least one bank of aspect-seeking missiles.

As you jump in, you see the Nauticus, a Demeter-class freighter, being surrounded by five Scimitar fighters, designated Pisces wing. If you are able to scan through all hostile targets fast enough, you will also be able to target the Pillager, a hostile Corsair-class transport. The Pillager will depart five seconds after you start the mission, just as Pisces spots you and engage. Follow Brie's advice and break formation, as they can smack you up quite badly with their combined firepower. You must destroy three of their fighters to make the surviving two jump out and clear the area of all hostiles momentarily.

When Pisces clears out (or is destroyed), target the Nauticus, fly to within 350 metres of it and scan it by keeping its lead indicator in the centre of your reticle. Do not shoot the freighter. When the scan is complete, your ship's computer detects a radiation source with specifications similar to a comet-cracker nuclear device. This object is incredibly volatile; a single jolt, or even a slight nudge, could trigger it.

In short, somebody set up Nauticus the bomb.

Brie cautions you to get clear while he signals the Nauticus. There is no response, so he contacts Command. The Solaris receives his transmission and deploys a transport to defuse the bomb and recapture the freighter.

After a bit of banter, mostly between you and Kassim, the Nairobi Wind, a Corsair-class transport, will jump in and head directly towards the Nauticus. Both Brie and Kassim will fly towards it. Follow them.

Kassim picks up a beacon just after the Nairobi Wind secures a dock point with the Nauticus. While Brie remains behind to supply the Nairobi Wind with the specifications of the bomb, follow Kassim and find the source of the beacon. This turns out to be a Spacesuit, simply marked as Survivor. The Survivor refuses to speak nicely towards you, Kassim or Brie, so Kassim decides to shut her up by jamming her comms link. Do not blow her up despite her insults.

Almost immediately, a massive Gaian Effort squadron jumps in some six kilometres away. This squadron comprises of fifteen Scimitar fighters, divided into three wings of five fighters designated Gemini, Libra and Aquarius wings and, most notably, an Argo-class transport. Aquarius 1 identifies himself as the leader of this squadron and has the detonation codes for the bomb. He threatens to blow everyone near the Nauticus up if you do not surrender the freighter and your own ship within thirty seconds. With Brie tied down assisting the Nairobi Wind in disarming the bomb, he gives you a hasty order to keep Aquarius 1 from detonating the bomb. You have three options:

  1. call his bluff and talk him into not blowing the Nauticus up;
  2. threaten to kill the Survivor and exploit the Gaian Effort's policy of protecting their own people; or
  3. just attack.

Pick and choose.

Call His Bluff

Out loud over the comms channel, you tell Aquarius 1 that he is lying. He will never set off the bomb because the Nauticus carries cargo that the Gaian Effort needs very badly. Aquarius 1 is having none of it and replies that he might just conveniently forget about the cargo. Your counter: you threaten to put a few rounds into the Nauticus yourself to make things easier for everyone (don't do it). Aquarius 1 admonishes you for your stupidity and offers you the option to leave while they take the Nauticus but spare its crew. However, you threaten to blow up the freighter if they even dare to do so much as attempt to board the freighter or attack anyone.

Aquarius 1 falls for your taunt and orders all of his wingmen to enter combat range, but not to fire, with the intent of jittering your nerves so that you end up shooting first. You order Kassim not to attack, but to fly circles with them instead. You can now choose to either maintain fire discipline and just keep flying circles around the Scimitar fighters or to fire at will.

If you choose to hold your fire, keep flying circles until the Nairobi Wind announces over a secure channel that the bomb is disarmed. If you choose to fire at will, you must destroy three fighters before the Nairobi Wind is able to disarm the bomb.

Take a Hostage

You call out to the pirates, knowing that they can target the nearby Survivor. They immediately get wind of what you are attempting to do. Aquarius 1 spells it loud and clear: you are threatening to kill a prisoner of war, in almost direct defiance of the principles of Ubuntu. You do not deny it, and adds that you will kill her if they get close. Aquarius 1 scoffs at your threat, saying that you, as an Earthling and raised under the principles of Ubuntu, can never do it. Your reply: perhaps he's right, but if he gets close, you might end up doing so by accident.

This clearly rattles Aquarius 1, and he almost resorts to pleading for the Survivor's life before you cut the channel. You tell Kassim to unjam the Survivor's comms. As you think about your next move, the fifteen Scimitar fighters engage full burners and speed towards you. You now have two choices: to really follow up on your threats and kill the Survivor, or to toe the line and gain aspect lock on the Survivor just to make it seem as if you will kill her.

If you choose to kill the Survivor, you must also deal with all of the Scimitar fighters and kill at least three of them before the Nairobi Wind is able to disarm the bomb. However, the Survivor's death will deal a massive blow to their morale, as they can longer fight effectively. If you choose to only gain aspect lock, maintain it for ten seconds, and the Scimitar fighters will pull back to the Argo. As they pull back, the Nairobi Wind disarms the bomb.

Just Fight

Free for all. You must kill at least eight of the Scimitar fighters before the Nairobi Wind can disarm the bomb.


Once the Nairobi Wind disarms the bomb, Yangtze Alpha and Yangtze Beta, both comprising of three Uriel-class gunships, will jump in near the Argo and start attacking both the transport and its escorts. Yangtze Alpha 1 identifies herself as Lieutenant Karen Ng'Mei, the wing leader. Aquarius 1 will attempt to detonate the bomb, but because the Nairobi Wind has disconnected it from the ship's sensors, the detonation fails. Upon realising this, the surviving pirates flee into subspace.

Lieutenant Ng'Mei exchanges a few pleasantries with Brie, Kassim and you, and your interest is piqued when you learn that Ng'Mei knows Lorna Simms. By luck, Ng'Mei mentions that Simms has also taken note of you. Brie ends the conversation by requesting permission to return to base. Ng'Mei gives it as the Nairobi Wind commends you for the fighter cover. Jump out.

Notes

  • Elder Mandho was very likely referring to Samuel Bei Cheow Keng when he mentioned that at least one person attained peace by following the voices in his head. Although very brief, this description nonetheless fits Bei very well, as he not only thwarted the Shivan attempt to destroy the GTVA 14th Battlegroup, saving and reconciling with his father in the process, but also re-met his wife, Eriana, on board the Sleeper Ship Sanctuary, and lived to see Earth in his universe, along with nearly everyone he held dear to him. None of these would have been possible if he chose to ignore the Vishnan communications he received.
  • The Pillager was most likely responsible for rigging the Nauticus with the comet-cracker charge. This may be inferred from it carrying no cargo.
  • The Nauticus will self-destruct if its hull integrity, or the hull integrity of UEC-DEM, falls below 84%. Once the bomb is disarmed, the Nauticus will not self-destruct even if its hull integrity, or the hull integrity of UEC-DEM, falls below 84%.
  • You can't kill Sergei Gwilym (Aquarius 1); once his hull falls to critical, he will turn invulnerable and jump out. He appears later in the game.
    • Oddly enough, this doesn't stop him from trying to trigger the bomb once the Argo is destroyed...
  • If you kill the Survivor before choosing "Take a Hostage", or if you kill the Survivor after choosing either one of the other two options, you will fail the mission.
  • If you choose to "Take a Hostage", it is revealed that the Survivor is Aquarius 1's daughter, and her name is Ghanna.
  • One of the two branches that stem from choosing "Take a Hostage" requires you to have aspect-seeking missiles for it to work. If you do not have a bank of aspect-seeking missiles, you will need to kill the hostage.
  • A FREDding oversight allows you to kill the hostage, if you choose "Take a Hostage", even after the Scimitar fighters have been driven off by the Yangtze wings.
  • If you choose to "Call His Bluff", Ng'Mei mentions that, while the UEFg Indus was sent for repairs, she caught up with Lorna Simms and the latter mentioned that Laporte either performed well during the strike on the GTD Meridian or was striking. If you choose the other two options, Ng'Mei mentions that Simms found a photograph of Laporte during the latter's days at the flight academy instead. Given the difference in dialogue between the first option and the other two, it may be assumed that, canon-wise, Laporte chose the first option.

Tips

  • Any one of the three options will still lead to a successful debriefing; this also includes killing the hostage after choosing "Take a Hostage". What each option controls is the reaction of Brie or Kassim towards you, shown under Recommendations.
  • There are four bonus objectives in this mission. They are tied to the following events:
  1. the destruction of the Argo;
  2. maintaining fire discipline after choosing "Call His Bluff";
  3. killing the Survivor after choosing "Take a Hostage"; and
  4. successfully threatening to kill the Survivor after choosing "Take a Hostage".

Total number of forces

Forces involved
Belligerents
  • Unknown
Ships
  • 1 UEC-DEM Container
    • UEC-DEM
      • Cargo: N-space Oscillators


  • 2 Intrasystem Gate
    • Intrasystem Gate
      • Mars Gate Farm
    • Intrasystem Gate#
      • Earth (Rheza Station)
  • 1 UEFr Demeter
    • Nauticus
      • Cargo: Comet-cracker Charge
      • Docked: UEC-DEM
  • 1 GTT Argo
    • Argo
      • Cargo: Cargo Retrieval Team
Strikecraft
  • 3 UEF Uhlan
    • Alpha 1
      • Brie
    • Alpha 2
      • Kassim
    • Alpha 3
      • Laporte
  • 6 UEF Uriel
    • Yangtze Alpha 1
      • Ng'Mei
    • Yangtze Alpha 2
      • Olefumi
    • Yangtze Alpha 3
    • Yangtze Beta (3)
  • 20 Scimitar
    • Pisces (5)
    • Aquarius (5)
    • Libra (5)
    • Gemini (5)
Casualties
  • 0-1 GTT Argo
    • Argo
      • Cargo: Cargo Retrieval Team


  • 3-20 Scimitar
    • Pisces (5)
    • Aquarius (5)
    • Libra (5)
    • Gemini (5)