|The following information refers to the Solaris universe and is therefore not canon for the FreeSpace continuity.|
||Campaign Walkthrough||Next Mission
System: LTT 2469
Description: In the 25th Century, it takes five people to pay for a ship too small to live comfortably.
Created: September 14th, 2019
Released: October 9th, 2021
The Hoshikuzu is more than a transport with guns - it's a home, with a new family. Katherine Lau is the captain, having bolted together a fully armed corvette through sheer hard work and willpower. Derek Kaur is a Combine engineer from the Great War who helped Lau put together the reactor. Verma Erikson has a mysterious past that somehow involves tactical and weapons training. Dodo Meiks and Stuart Ross form the gunship pair. One is loud and boisterous, and the other a lone wolf but dependable.
Lau like a proud child describes the Hoshikuzu's first security contract to Ross and Meiks. A freighter has dropped out of hyperspace after an "engine failure" enroute to the Multnomah system. Her last transmission came from an area notorious for pirate activity from various Fringe paramilitary groups. The trade corporation Trinity Holdings wants an investigation into whether her cargo is salvageable.
Ross and Meiks are taking out two fully equipped Comet gunships as Alfa 1 and Bravo 1. Along with the Hoshikuzu's 40mm PDCs, it should be more than enough to handle the local militia rabble. As with all strike craft, the gunships are too small for their own hyperspace impeller so rely on Hoshikuzu to transport them via dockable fighter rails (similar to the parasite fighter attachments of HMS Merlin).
The loadout is locked to Comet missile ships, Huaqing primaries and Sparrow anti-air missiles.
Ross and Meiks detach from the Hoshikuzu and begin flight operations. The freighter Compass Rose can be seen in the distance surrounded by a cutter and several small fighters. A disgruntled comms from Andri Gadaria of the Malika People's Militia assures Lau that the freighter is safe and his ships are assisting with repairs. However, he refuses to let the freighter's master speak to Lau, raising everyone's suspicions instantly. After warning the corvette not to come any closer, he closes comms and Lau orders Erikson and Kaur to prepare the Hoshikuzu for battle. Ross remarks that Gadaria sounds like a small-time dictator, but Meiks is dismissive, saying the Fringe was full of these people.
As the Hoshikuzu continues to close, the pirate ships warm up their own weapons and make attack runs on the Hoshikuzu. This is the first combat in the Comet gunship, and by this time the player will be aware of the missile ship's sluggish agility. The player must be especially careful not to get entangled in a dogfight with the far more manoeuvrable Mace fighters, instead staying at standoff range for as long as possible firing Sparrow AAMs. Similar to the M-21 "Cobras" the swarm fighters aren't equipped with countermeasure launchers and are susceptible to the AAMs.
As the fighters are taken out and the cutter is forced to withdraw, contact is made with the freighter's master Shafer. He had been forced at gunpoint not to answer the Hoshikuzu's hails. A quick situation report reveals the impeller had failed mid-flight in hyperspace, causing the freighter to make an emergency decelaration. The catastrophic failure of the engine injured several of the freighters' crew. The Compass Rose won't be sailing again until a replacement impeller could be found and installed.
Lau calls Azar Station for a repair ship. The auxiliary ship Hopewell is the closest available, and will be free for a repair operation in the next three hours. A panicked crew member Cooper takes over the transmission telling the Hoshikuzu to take the crew on board and leave the freighter, saying they haven't got that long until more pirates arrive. Ross is tempted, but Lau advises that the job required salvage of the cargo.
A new jump signature turns out to be a civilian transport. The incoming ship reports it is performing an outreach mission of the Children of Renewal, with engineers and medical personnel on board to provide help to the stricken freighter. Lau is bemused by this development, as they now have two civilian ships to keep safe from the next pirate encounter.
Two missile corvettes jump in with several fighters docked to their hulls. A communications from the lead ship by a woman called Feroz, also of the Malika People's Militia, states her intention to claim the freighter as per prior agreements between the Fringe paramliitary factions. No one, not even the Sulsian Hegemony, can interfere with the Malikan's claim. Lau reminds Feroz of the penalty of interdicting Sulsian merchant traffic. Feroz is furious at this enforcement of a status quo that lets corporate tycoons benefit from Fringe resources leaving the region's population impoverished and fighting for scraps. As both ships launch Javelin anti-ship missiles at the Hoshikuzu, the fighters swarm Ross and Meiks.
The player has encountered Javelins before, but these are an acute threat to the small, lightly armoured Hoshikuzu. Her CIWS can take out a few of the incoming missiles but the player should intercept the missiles as a priority. The fighters can be held at bay with missiles and supporting CIWS fire, but the player must again make sure they don't get entangled in a dogfight.
Meiks keeps the fighters distracted while Ross is asked to take out the ASM silos of both Malikan ships. Once this is done both ships retreat, leaving Meiks and Ross to mop up the stranded fighters.
In the aftermath, Meiks comments on the sophistication of the weapons used against them. Ross is dismissive however, stating the pirates probably stole everything they use. The Children of Renewal transport docks with Compass Rose and makes a preliminary assessment: the damage to the engine is extensive and the freighter will likely need a week in drydock. Field repairs aren't possible. The Reverend on board the transport decides to tow the freighter - this is usually a highly dangerous manoeuvre needing a reinforced docking scaffold. However, the Renewal engineer agrees the freighter is built solidly enough to survive the hyperspac trip.
The freighter and Renewal transport jump to hyperspace, and the mission is complete.
Notable ships present
- Hoshikuzu - Rasputin-class corvette
- Onyx - Orleans-class cutter
- Equinox - Icarus-class corvette
- Tukera - Icarus-class corvette
- Successful completion of contract.
- Though the player had previously seen AAMs on Federation warships, this is the first mission where the player has them as loadout. AAMs are interceptable and easily defeated by countermeasures, but do significant damage to fighters on a successful hit.