Mask of a Fanatic

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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 4

Player squadron: 223rd Moonbears (transition to 26th Yellow Lancers)

System: Alpha Centauri

Description: The Hikuptah has left Vasuda for Alpha Centauri, which is disputed. A former pilot from the GTD Ixion is deployed on a scout fighter, with two PVI special agents on board, to stage a defection and gain vital information...

Created: November 27th, 2007

Released: October 16th, 2020


Background

The HLD Hikuptah, the Hammer of Light flagship that appeared from nowhere and eliminated the GTD Ixion using powerful reverse-engineered beam weapons of Shivan origin, has eluded detection since that engagement and must be countered. The Alliance realizes that a pure engagement with the vessel, which is suspected to have set a course to Alpha Centauri, would result in bloodshed, and relies on a side plan to gather vital data on the destroyer's specs and react according to said data. Despite the obvious advantage in term of firepower, the Hikuptah also plays a delicate political role, and may induce further defections within the PVE. Supreme Admiral Khu decides that experienced and skilled Terran pilots, all but impervious to HoL influence, may perform a task that would otherwise put any Vasudan pilot, no matter how loyal to the PVE, in an ambiguous situation.

Walkthrough

Our designation will be Pi 1. The mission objectives are rather straightforward, but please note that the mission may be long and while it doesn't involve much fighting, it does however require concentration and a good idea of what to do. After the cutscene, we'll find ourselves in Alpha Centauri, and many Hammer of Light units of all kinds will be around, guarding the node connecting said system to Vasuda. The PVI agents Aidha and Rhadames will take care of the intel part, and while it may be a good idea to read the messages to monitor progress on the interaction with HoL fanatics, we have to be quick and scan as many ships as possible. Our scanning range has increased to over 700 meters, yet the scans will take quite some time to complete. Let's start with the PVC Anedjib, then move to the remaining ships, including the HLD Prophecy. The Typhon will require its subsystems to be scanned, and due to the modifications of our scanning systems, each scan will be way slower than usual. We should be able to perform all indicated scans before the jump to the next stage of the mission, which will be automatic as any other warpout in this operation. The second stage of this intel operation is primarily focused on dialogue, with scanning being a side task. A long discussion will take place between the PVI agents onboard our fighter and the CO of the Hutyemhat, a Sobek prototype. We'll have plenty of time to scan the corvette, as well as the prototype Ka fighters in Taurus wing. After the message exchanges, we'll be headed to a third sector of the system.

The previous stages were a cakewalk compared to the third. We'll find ourselves in front of a large structure built around a Demon destroyer, the SD Ifrit, as well as numerous HoL ships and fighters. We'll also see ten Nahema bombers, yet more proof that the HoL have had access to more Shivan technology than previously thought. Our job is to scan all ships marked in the escort list, and that includes the main subsystems on the Ifrit, as well as the Nahema bombers. Please note, however, that the presence of so many HoL ships in a constrained area like the research structure will result in their sensors showing better performances than before - in fact, you'll get a warning for approaching any of the HoL ships. At this point, randomization will determine your fate: the number of warnings you can get before the mission failes ranges between two and three, so you have to be cautious; don't worry, however, as all scans can be easily performed without getting a single warning. The mission will also fail if we don't perform all indicated scans after a certain amount of time, so be sure to maintain a constant pace and rely on the increase range of scanning to optimize your resources. At some point, a warship we'll soon learn to love and hate, the HLD Hedju Hor, will jump in and deploy Scarab support ships to retrieve five Nahema bombers. We'll have to scan three of the Atum's subsystems, but don't scan a fourth subsystem or the mission will fail. The retrieval operation is rather slow, so we should be able to perform these scans before the Hedju Hor warps out. Soon afterwards, the HLD Hikuptah itself will enter the area and follow a similar pattern; that's where things get serious. We must scan all of the main subsystems on this warship before it completes its retrieval operation, and it may take minutes to do it. The destroyer's large and due to the distances involved, it's a good idea to scan the subsystems progressively without hopping from one side of the flagship to the other. Make sure to scan its engines all at once, for example, as they're grouped together. Its communication and navigation subsystems are also very close to each other, so you'd rather scan them altogether.

At this point we may believe we can pull back to Vasuda, but it won't be the case. The HoL flagship will interact with the Ifrit and all enemy ships in the area will withdraw. Due to the threat posed by the reactivation of a Shivan destroyer right in the middle of Vasudan controlled space, Rhadames will send a distress call to all Allied warships which can hear it, and two cruisers, the GTC Arusha and the PVC Dedumose, will jump in with some friendly wings to eliminate this threat. The Hutyemhat and its Ka escort fighters will jump in to interfere, but they will soon fall to prolonged barrage. Two Shivan cruisers, one Cain and a Lilith, will emerge from subspace, awakened by the call of the Ifrit, but they will also pose no critical threat to Allied forces. If things go as planned, the area will be cleared in minutes and the Ifrit itself will fall. Only at this point we'll be able to pull back to Vasuda, but there's one more obstacle to our return on the PVD Hedetet: as we approach the jump node, we'll notice a Seshat scout fighter moving towards the node itself, and said fighter would match our own in configuration. It's precisely what you think: the HoL are now attempting to send an impostor as a last resort to disrupt your scans of strategic assets. You may ignore the fighter, or you may destroy it - as long as you don't get too close to the various HoL wings that will jump in, you'll be fine. It's recommended to head straight to the node and complete the mission, however.

Notable ships present

Outcome

The plans to obtain vital data on the Hikuptah by relying on top of the notch PVI agents as well as a skilled Terran pilot were successful. Preliminary analysis of the scans doesn't show any major flaws in the Hikuptah designs, meaning that the Alliance will have to work hard on finding a strategy to stop the vessel. It has also become clear that the Hammer of Light has had access to many Shivan assets including the previously unencountered Nahema bomber, which gave a boost to the Sekhmet design, and the root for the Ka fighter, which is also based on Shivan technology. There are many worrying implications of this discovery: one is purely strategical and tactical, as it proves how technologically advanced the enemy is; the second implication is that the HoL benefits from the huge support of corrupted members within the Parliament, as none of these achievements and coverups would be possible without major help from influential politicians. Yet still, something has to be done to bring back peace to Allied space.

Notes

The HLCv Hutyemhat was initially supposed to be an Imhotep science vessel. However, due to the prominence of its CO within the Hammer of Light, as well as the ship's involvement in an engagement later on in the mission, it was ultimately proposed to introduce the Sobek prototype Renenutet.