|The following information refers to the Solaris universe and is therefore not canon for the FreeSpace continuity.|
||Campaign Walkthrough||Next Mission
Description: In the front lines of the Sulsian-Malikan war, the Hoshikuzu protects Alban Commonwealth personnel evacuating the system. Katherine's past catches up with her, complicating the mission.
Created: May 2nd, 2020
Released: October 9th, 2021
Commerce in Sulsia has ground to a halt. The immensely wealthy multinational trade cartels have packed up, and jobs are scarce. The Albans, Jacobines and Rhenish have withdrawn the last of their cruiser patrols. Sulsia is alone against the fury of the Malikans.
The Hoshikuzu isn't a warship, and Lau makes plans to leave for the fringe system of Vicare. Outgoing transports are congregating before making the week-long journey to Aryavarta Subah, the closest major nation to Sulsia. Enroute to Vicare, the Hoshikuzu receives a distress call from the Alban Commonwealth Diplomatic Corps. The embassy evacuation at Kotus is running into difficulties and the Malikans are coming. The Hoshikuzu diverts to provide security for the operation.
The transports at Kotus Anchorage Embassy are small and carry intrasystem impellers. The Commonwealth transport Elgin has been dispatched to collect the Kotus embassy staff, as well as other Commonwealth evacuations elsewhere in the system.
Recommended Loadout: Comet-class Gunship, Vulcan, Sparrow AAM.
Kotus Anchorage is a small moon base. Two Aries-class shuttles are loading passengers at the Anchorage Tower and the base hangar. Ross and Meiks grumble at the government's abandonment of Commonwealth citizens in Sulsia and the pullout of fleet assets at the time they're needed most. Meiks complains that it damages the international standing of the Commonwealth when even diplomatic staff can't be protected. Ross compares it to demilitarising on the eve of a major war.
Large crowds of panicked people trying to get out of Kotus Anchorage hamper the evacuation effort. The Commonwealth shuttles are still on the ground when the Malikans arrive.
The attack force is considerable. Three cutters, two troop transports and two fighter transports arrive above the base. Six Armadillo gunships and six swarm fighters undock and conduct an air assault against the transports and Hoshikuzu. The corvette, her two gunships and a couple of light ground turrets are all that oppose the Malikans.
Players are under some pressure to take out the attacking fighters swiftly, as the transports' thin armour makes them susceptible to the light and medium cannons of the Malikan strikecraft. Launching AAMs at the Mace fighters at range will thin out their numbers before they reach the transports. However, some Armadillo fighters will make this difficult, engaging the player with missiles of their own.
The transports eventually complete their evacuation and launch to join the Hoshikuzu. Once in position, Ross and Meiks are ordered to dock with the corvette so they can make their escape. The dock process is done automatically (with the player going under AI control), and it is better for the player to engage autopilot closer to the Hoshikuzu to minimise dock time. Once both gunships are confirmed secure, the Hoshikuzu and both Commonwealth shuttles jump out of the area. Those remaining at Kotus Anchorage must now face the brunt of the Malikan attack.
The Hoshikuzu and shuttles arrive to relative calm, far away from Kotus Anchorage. This was supposed to be the Elgin rendezvous, but the transport is nowhere to be found. The quiet is broken by the arrival of a destroyer, identified as the Nassau. Lau recognises the name and her apprehension is confirmed by a hail from the destroyer: "Hello Katherine."
Kendra, the captain of the destroyer, has a history with Lau going back years. At first she is surprised to see Lau there, but soon realises that they're on opposite sides of the same job - Katherine was hired to protect the Alban transports, while Kendra was sent to destroy them. As the Nassau prepares for battle, Kendra is more than happy to destroy the Hoshikuzu as a bonus. Lau tells Ross that Kendra is not her nemesis...she's her family.
The Nassau launches ASM salvos at the transports, and two mercenary heavy fighters undock from the destroyer's hull. The Hoshikuzu along with Ross and Meiks are the only missile defense for the unarmed transports. If the player gets too close to the Nassau, the escorting fighters engage them in combat. Getting tied up in a melee with these agile fighters will generally end poorly for the player. Otherwise, the fighters will stay close to Nassau, happy to let the destroyer launch missiles at range.
Kendra taunts Katherine, suggesting the Hoshikuzu leaves the transports to save herself. The Nassau's top speed is faster than that of the transports, and the destroyer will eventually get within PDC range of her targets with nothing the Hoshikuzu could do to prevent their destruction. Lau recognises this, and decides to buy the transports time by engaging the Nassau at point blank range. Ross and Meiks are incredulous at first - the Nassau significantly outclasses the Hoshikuzu in displacement and firepower. However, the Hoshikuzu has the advantage of speed and agility, which Lau plans to use in order to come out on top over Kendra.
The Hoshikuzu burns at maximum speed past the destroyer and settles behind her engines out of reach of her cannons. Kendra realises the advantage has gone to the Hoshikuzu and orders the Nassau to swing around to bring cannons to bear. Lau's bought a reprieve for the transports for now, but needs help disabling the Nassau's turrets to minimise incoming fire. A Vulcan primary cannon loadout will assist with disabling the turrets quicker, at the cost of decreased effectiveness against fighters and gunships. As the Nassau continues to take damage, or starts losing CIWS turrets, Kendra orders her crew to open fire on the Hoshikuzu with the ASM launchers.
A PDC round from Hoshikuzu goes through Nassau's armour and hits her reactor, disabling the destroyer. A victorious Lau hails Kendra, telling her to stand down. At first Kendra sees Katherine's tone as condescending and she reacts angrily. Lau admits she can't fight Kendra any more. It's been too many years, and too much conflict. What's past is past, and it's time to move on. Kendra agrees to stand down, her tone resentful. She hasn't forgiven Katherine for her years of hurt, but is willing to pause the conflict for now.
The transport Pollux Arrow arrives, having been asked by the Alban Commonwealth to stand in for the destroyed Elgin. Navo remembers Lau from the Korra Refinery mission and greets her. Lau directs him to the Alban shuttles, and asks Navo if he has access to tow facilities to help with the Nassau. Navo reports the auxiliary ship Hopewell is in the system to assist.
The Albans are now safe, and the mission is complete.
Notable ships present
- Hoshikuzu - Rasputin-class corvette
- Courier wing - Aries-class shuttles
- Nassau - Horizon-class destroyer
- Londinium - Orleans-class cutter
- Fusillade - Orleans-class cutter
- Ivory Dagger - Orleans-class cutter
- Nubia wing - Barbican-class transport
- Successful evacuation of Kotus Anchorage.
- The Malika People's Militia occupy the system of Kotus.
- The Nassau is salvaged and comes under the care of Katherine Lau.
- There is a bonus objective for taking out Nassau's ASM launchers before Lau moves to engage the destroyer with the Hoshikuzu.
- This is the first use of the Stargazer-class freighter as a fighter transport. Like all small craft, Malikan fighters and gunships aren't equipped with a hyperspace impeller and rely on larger ships for long distance travel. The Malikans make heavy use of flat-top freighters in the absence of hulls with enclosed hangars.