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ACT 3, MISSION 1
Fighter squadron: 203rd Scorpions
Description: The 203rd are scrambled to destroy the forward beam cannons of the Sathanas juggernaut.
The SJ Sathanas entered Gamma Draconis, despite the destruction of the Knossos portal. The bulk of the Allied Fleet is amassing in Capella and Alpha wing of the 203rd must destroy at least two of the Sathanas' forward beam cannons to give the GTVA Colossus a fighting chance. In the meantime, Delta wing will be tasked with destroying the juggernaut's flak guns. Beta and Epsilon wings will provide cover for Alpha and Delta respectively.
Divert all gun energy to shields, but leave the engines as they are. Increasing engine energy in a Bakha does not do anything save increase afterburner recharge rate, and your Mekhu HL-7 is incredibly energy-efficient and shouldn't need much recharge. On higher difficulty levels, you will need to call in your reinforcement wing immediately; calling in the support ship also makes your wingmen survive a lot longer, somehow, because it apparently distracts the Shivan fighters. If possible without wasting time or missiles, kill the two nearby Basilisks as this will make Beta Wing's (your fighter escort) job much easier. Approach on the SJ Sathanas on afterburners at ludicrous speed, firing an equal load of Trebuchets at each of its two forward flak turrets. As soon as you're out of Trebuchets, switch to the Helios and target the nearest frontal beam. Now you have to bomb the turret from the correct angle; if you fail to destroy each turret with only two bombs, your chances of taking out all of them are slim. Try to release your bombs at under 200m going at maximum speed (with afterburners). You get the most damage if you approach a turret from the forward hemisphere. Now barrel in on the flak cannons, quickly destroying what's left of them using Mekhu (not Akheton, which does little damage on them for some reason).
You will have less chance to follow the trick above in the case of the second turret. Target the second turret and try to acquire a lock on it. Hit your burners and fire the GTM Helios warheads at close range. Call in support, ignoring anything in your vicinity. When you're waiting for the support ship, you can put your shields at full and totally disregard any flak, but fighters will still wax you. With practice, you can shoot down all four big beam cannons on the Sathanas. Do not entrust the AI with destroying the turrets. They are too stupid to do anything complicated.
When the Sathanas departs (and your performance is assessed on-site), Command will inform you that a Demon-class destroyer, the Beleth, is about to jump in. Command deploys the Thebes, a Sobek-class corvette, and Gamma wing to assist. Your new objective is to destroy its beam turrets and destroy it before it escapes. The GTM Trebuchets are good against its anti-fighter turrets, but use the GTM Helios to attack the ship's beam cannons. The Beleth has only one wing and two waves of Aeshma escorts, which you should quickly take care of to keep your wingmen alive. Disable the Beleth by doing a quick Helios run on its engines, and you'll have all the time in the world to kill it.
- The speed of the Helios torpedo is partially determined by the speed of the ship firing it at the point of launch.
- Depending on your luck, the GTD Phoenicia may or may not be destroyed upon jumping out. This is determined to be the cause of a mission sexp.
- Protecting the Thebes is not an objective. If it is destroyed by the Beleth, Commander Habu will only lament its loss, but you will not be punished.
- If this mission is played on Very Easy or Easy difficulty, you become invulnerable for the duration of the Sathanas departing.