Pawns on a Board of Bone
|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 07
Fighter squadron: Not given.
The UEF's attempt to establish peaceful relations with the Vasudans has ended in catastrophe. Elder Lin Taudigani, the Federation's chosen negotiator with the Imperium, was killed when GTVA stealth fighters destroyed the Elder's shuttle near Eris Station. Worse, Admiral Recamai, the Vasudan representative to the negotiations and a member of the Medjai, is furious. After being shown "evidence" by Admiral Steele that the Gefs that attacked the Pesedjet were in the employ of the UEF, he has suspected that the Federation's entire effort to open negotiations with the Imperium has been part of an elaborate scheme to fracture the GTVA from within. His suspicions turn into conclusions when he arrives at the negotiation site and sees no Elder, a damaged "empty" transport, and Gef fighters attempting to disable his vessel "for the buntu".
The end result has been a total breakdown in negotiations between the UEF and the Imperium. Diplomatic ties have been severed, and Vasudan logistics vessels are pouring in from the Sol-Delta Serpentis subspace node, replenishing the Tevs' supplies and undoing all of the Wargods' hard work over the weeks. Admiral Steele is building up for his all-out offensive on Earth, and the UEF dares not attack his logistics train, as it would further anger the Vasudans and may push them to commit warships to the Alliance's in-theater forces. The situation is grim.
Meanwhile, Admirals Netreba and Calder have become convinced that a diplomatic solution is impossible, and has begun to plan another Big Op -- this time, to eliminate a GTVA destroyer in order to throw them off balance and weaken their political resolve. The UEF's spy among the GTVA has sent to them the plans for the GTD Carthage and her battlegroup to attack civilian Federation infrastructure in the asteroid belt. In addition, the spy has sent the UEF the psych profile of the Carthage's skipper, Admiral Anita Lopez. It shows her to be fiercely loyal and protective of her subordinates, willing to come to their aid no matter what the cost.
Netreba and Calder plan to exploit this psychological trait of the Admiral's to lure her into a trap. One of her group's corvettes is slated to attack Sopron Station, and the Wargods will be there to disable her. After the corvette sends a distress call, the Wargods will disable her comm system and wait for Lopez to send reinforcements, including another corvette; the Wargods will disable that one too. Expecting that the second corvette will warn the Carthage of the trap laying in wait, the Wargods will use the AWACS vessel Hanuman to edit the corvette's transmissions to make it read like another distress call.
At this point, the Carthage will undoubtedly come to the rescue, and the Wargods will spring the trap in the form of the frigates Katana and Altan Orde. If the Carthage uses her subspace drive to make a run for it, the Indus and Yangtze will track her and give chase.
This is the first mission in which you get to fly the Uriel; given that you're going to be assaulting two of the GTVA's flying fortresses, you probably don't want to go in something lighter. The default loadout is fine for this mission.
You start out some four klicks from the GTCv Antenor as it is busy attacking the civilian stations. Along as escort are 3 Persei (Gemini) and 2 Nyx (Aries). As a first order of business, splashing the escort ought to be on your list. This will be easy enough when you get into gun range; you should save your Slammers, as they usually break up too quickly to give you time to launch.
Once the escort is down, start taking out the corvette's engines. If you want the civilians to survive, you'll have to take out the starboard beam cannons as well. The latter is a bit tricky, given that Sopron Station is pretty fragile and the Antenor will use its defenses to dog your progress. Once the engines are down, disable their weapons turrets, but don't take out the corvette's comms system or it's game over.
Not long after you splash the escort, the Antenor will call for help, and the Carthage will send Sagittarius wing, consisting of 2 Atalantas to assist. These buggers are quite nimble, especially when you realize you're piloting a craft that handles as well as a pig on tranquilizers. It's best to engage them out of defensive range of the corvette, otherwise you'll be taking damage from AAA beams, flak guns, and the fighters. After you destroy the first pair, another pair comes out to meet you. Kill them too.
After Sag is dealt with, the Antenor will request the Jump Five team be sortied to his location. When that happens, disable the comms system on the Antenor and any remaining turrets. Then the Federation AWACS ship Hanuman will arrive, sensing that the Jump Five team will be arriving soon.
Sure enough, not long after the GTC Norfolk, an Aeolus-class cruiser, jumps in along with 2 Nyx (Cepheus), 4 Myrmidons (Draco), and 3 Herc IIs (Aquila). Same as before, destroy the fighters, then disable and disarm the cruiser. After that's done, the Norfolk tries to warn the Carthage off, but the Hanuman forges it to look like a distress call.
The Carthage arrives a few minutes later, along with 6 Persei (Capricorn) and 6 Myrmidons (Aquarius). The trap is sprung with the arrival of the Katana and Altan Orde on the field. Go ahead and start escort, but it doesn't really matter, as in a minute or two the Carthage will power up its tactical jump drive and leave the area. After this, there's a small bit of dialogue, and you will be ordered to jump out.
- The Norfolk will always send a transmission to the Carthage, even if you strip out all of its subsystems, so don't fret about silencing it after you killed its communications. However, its methods of accomplishing this transmission will grow increasingly Byzantine.
Total number of forces