The Blade Itself
|The following information has not been confirmed by Volition |
and is therefore not canon for the FreeSpace universe.
Description: As the UEFg Katana and the UEFg Altan Orde are completing refits at Europa, the GTVA launches a massive attack on the Jovian Systems Republic, and the frigates must repel a Tev strike force.
You are Captain Ivan Genady, Officer Commanding the UEFg Katana. Your ship and her squadmate, the UEFg Altan Orde, are in drydock at Europa for a refit of their weapons systems, which will hopefully make them more effective against the GTVA's paired-corvette strike teams. The upgrade package includes MHD thrusters to aid in acceleration and manoeuvring, ECM systems to jam beam weaponry, enhanced hull repair capabilities, and active armour able to prematurely detonate bombs and torpedoes. Very handy hardware.
And it's about to be tested. As the Katana and Altan Orde are preparing to get underway, Artemis Station drops off the air, and the Deimos-class corvette Ania enters the Europa system. Accompanying the Tev corvette are two marine transports carrying cometcracker-yield nuclear devices. As your tac officer says, this may be more than just a simple raid...
About the controls
While your retinal command interface may look suspiciously like a fighter's HUD, the Katana is not a fighter.
For one, it's slower than a fighter (though pretty good for a capship). Pressing your afterburner button will give you a boost of speed. You also have reverse thrust, which you can use with your afterb--er, MHD thrusters to accelerate backward. This is good for keeping the distance open between you and an enemy. Remember that your ship has inertia; turning a specific direction and accelerating will not result in an immediate change in vector. This is somewhat of a good thing because this allows your ship to glide and strafe targets.
You do not have direct control of your weapons. You have gun crews for that. What you can do is tell your gun crews who to target. You do this by using the arrow keys to set one of three modes for each weapons system:
- Automatic Mode tells your crews to automatically engage targets of opportunity.
- Track Mode tells your crews to engage your current target.
- Lock Mode tells your crews to engage a secondary target, which can be done by putting a ship in the reticle and pressing the primary fire button.
- Offline will take the specified weapon offline, preventing it from firing on anyone.
Note that you can't control your point defence batteries (flak guns, blob turrets, etc.); they will engage automatically if needed. Also, if you target a subsystem, weapons in Track mode will try to aim for that subsystem.
The last thing you do have control over are your special upgrades. You have three to select from:
- The ECM Burst will jam GTVA direct beam targeting for 15 seconds, after which it will take 15 seconds to recharge. This will not protect against slashing beams, however.
- Damage Control will pump active polymers into your active armour, repairing a portion of your hull strength. It will first charge for 60 seconds, then will repair 23% of your hull hitpoints over 7 seconds.
- The Active Armour will prematurely detonate incoming bombs and torpedoes, reducing their damage by 30%. It is active for 15 seconds, and then it takes 5 seconds to recharge.
Note that selecting one ability will lock out the others until the ability is finished.
Your first order of business; get away from Bowman Station, as the nukes the Tev marines have set there will explode within 30 seconds. Open your throttle, and hit your burners, and gain the speed to get enough distance between you and the station before it goes off. As you'll do this, you'll be flying into a furball between some Kents (Psi), a few Tev bombers, and assorted Tev fighters. Laugh at the Tevs as they get shredded by your flak fire on the way out.
After Bowman is destroyed, your tactical officer pipes up, telling you that bombers are on approach. She suggests that you safe the torpedoes so that you don't draw fire from the Ania and her bomber group, which are currently working on the Altan Orde as she scrambles to get underway. Avoiding the Ania is a good idea for now, so set the torpedoes to Offline; we'll come back to her later.
A few seconds later, 4 Kents (Beta) will join you. Have them cover you, and have them ignore the Ania; otherwise they'll try to banzai the corvette when you attack her, which will not end well. Remember that UEF fighters work best in flak range of their frigates. Use your active armour to reduce the bombs' damage. while your fighters and point defence picks off the bombers as they come into range. The Ania will keep attacking the Altan Orde until you distract her, so dealing with the bombers swiftly is key.
Once you're down to two or three bombers, it's safe to free the torpedoes and target the Ania. Target her engines, and you may take one or two of them out, reducing her mobility a bit. Eventually, the Ania will break off from attacking the Altan Orde and turn toward you. Range is your best ally in a UEF frigate, so keep your distance from the corvette -- between 4000 and 6000 meters is best. Use your ECM Burst to scramble their beam guidance while your forward guns chip away at the Ania. Eventually, the Altan Orde will get underway and join the fight; have them target the Ania. If the corvette's bombers start targeting you, 3 more Kents (Gamma) will be called in for you; give them the same orders as Beta.
After a while of the Ania taking a pounding, another Deimos-class corvette, the Thalassa, will jump in, escorted by a wing of Herc IIs (Leo). Keep your fighters close, and have them ignore the second corvette; sending them to attack the fighters is a bad idea, as they'll be doing so within the corvette's flak range. More importantly, do not let yourself get boxed in between the two corvettes; they'll cut you to shreds with their beams. Try to keep your distance from both of them, and continue using your ECM jammers. From here, you can either finish off the Ania, take on the Thalassa, or split your fire between them, using your main guns on one while you torpedo the other. Remember that you still have the Altan Orde to help out. Continue the attack until they are both destroyed; any bombers left after this will jump out.
Start damage control while dialogue happens. The salient points: The GTVA have made a massive push toward Jupiter, and Admiral Calder has activated the scorched-earth protocols. The intrasystem gate network is being hacked. Speaking of which, a minute later a little present will jump in to the area. While it shows up as an "Unknown Device", everyone quickly finds out that it's a massive bomb, which necessitates a need to jump. However, the Altan Orde will need several minutes before her jump drive recharges, which means that the gate network is the only option. You agree to cover the Altan Orde while her OC, Captain Albani, uses her command codes to reroute the gate to Callisto.
As that happens, the Tev strike corvette Triteia will jump in, escorting four marine transports. They intend to capture Simak Station, and threaten to detonate the meson bomb if they are interfered with. Since the scorched-earth protocols are in effect, you order the commander of the station to self-destruct. He refuses, as he has civilians on board and will not detonate until they are evacuated, thank you very much. After cursing the station commander, your tactical officer offers you a way to deny the station to the GTVA; if you disrupt their boarding operation, they will detonate the meson bomb and jump out. You can do this by either destroying a few of the transports or severely damaging the Triteia. Meanwhile, the Altan Orde needs a few minutes to finish reprogramming the gate and get clear.
If you're near the station and damaged, go ahead and finish one more damage control cycle before you head out to meet them; this will buy time and give you more hull points. If you decide to duel the Triteia, do what you did to the Ania at the start; safe your main guns and use your torpedoes to soften them up. The Triteia will engage with beams at 6000 meters, so keep that ECM up if you close. When the Altan Orde tells you they have one minute until the gate is theirs, it's safe to go ahead and have them trigger the bomb. Either turn your main guns on the Triteia, or attack the transports and have your fighters do the same. Either way, they trigger the bomb and jump out. From that point, you have a minute to get clear before it blows, killing everyone. Make sure that the Altan Orde jumps out ahead of you, then jump out.
Alternatively, you can wait until the Tevs capture Simak Station. This will take a while, and the Altan Orde will be long gone by then. When the cowardly station commander surrenders, your tactical officer will redesignate Simak Station as a hostile target, allowing you to fire on it with your guns until it blows up. Also, you can destroy the Triteia and her transports at this point without triggering the bomb. After the station is destroyed, you can jump out.
- The meson bomb is invulnerable to damage, and cannot be targeted with your ship-mounted guns or torpedoes.
- Contrary to Blue Planet canon, the ECM Blast on the Katana can jam the slashing beams on the Triteia.
- There is no real way to be a traitor in this mission; you can't jump out after the Tevs capture Simak Station, for instance.
- Artemis Station takes place at roughly the same time as this mission.
- Curiously, the Katana and Altan Orde do not utilize their Block 4 upgrades in any of the engagements in the main storyline.
Total number of forces
(*) May be destroyed post-mission