Doomtrains of Salem
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and is therefore not canon for the FreeSpace universe. Also, it may contain spoilers regarding Series Resurrecta campaigns.
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Shadows of the Great War - Gehenna's Gate Mission 5: Doomtrains of Salem
Player squadron: 144th Ghost Dolphins
Description: The discovery of the Secleth hasn't come easily: because of intense jamming, sensor contact with the warship was lost. In order to locate the destroyer and attack it, part of the sources of jamming need to be cleared. A huge Shivan convoy has attracted the Alliance's attention, and it needs to be taken care of...
Created: September 2nd, 2010
Released: October 16th, 2020
- Fiction: April 13th, 2365 - Excerpt from the book 'Tales of a Wounded Great War Pilot'
- Preload quote: "It was the Divine Trinity who created me"
Iksura freighters have been positively identified as the source of the colossal jamming fields which have engulfed much of the Ross 128 system. Allied forces can't progress any further with their advance unless this logistic and strategic threat is dealt with. Fortunately, Vasudan scout wings have located a large convoy of Iksuras designated Kharon, which subsequently split into two sub-convoys comprised of six freighters and sixty SAC 4 units each. These containers are the sole example in the entire history of known warfare and space travel to be equipped with defensive turrets. The routes, origins and destinations of these convoys are unclear, and the Alliance can only speculate on the contents of those containers. Nevertheless, the destruction of Kharon may be the most significant victory over the Shivans since the destruction of the Lucifer. It's time to clear this threat.
We'll start this mission as Epsilon 1. Zeta wing will be from our squadron, while Theta and Iota are from the 151st Outlaws. We have performed so well in the last few operations that we've replaced the Outlaws as the premier squadron on the GTD Veritas, so we will be leading this operation. This will be no conventional mission - forget about support ships and wing orders, and don't rely on your sensors. The jamming field will be extremely intense, but is expected to reduce its intensity as Iksura freighters and their cargo are eliminated. You'll notice several smaller freighters, as well as one Abel cruiser, the SC Midsgardsormr, whose position will be randomized at the very beginning of the intro cutscene so it could start the mission close to any of the six Kharon freighters. Chimera fighters will be in system too, as will be the GTD Hades, watching you from the distance - let's pretend you don't see this warship, however.
Shivan forces other than the Kharon freighters will leave the area once the Iksuras are gone, so be sure to destroy these units before inflicting the final blow to the last Kharon. Taking down a SAC 4 in a so called "Doomtrain" will cause all of the following containers to self destruct, and that will both reduce the intensity of the jamming field and the volume of Shivan lasers firing at you or your wingmen. Taking down the first container in the chain will leave the Iksura wih poor defenses, and once the satellite freighter is cleared too, Iksuras will be nothing but sitting ducks to repeated barrages. Eliminating the fourth Iksura will reduce the jamming field enough for you to call in support ships via a special channel, and that'd be a good way to replenish your secondaries ahead of your run on the two remaining Doomtrains. Two wings of Vasudan fighters from the 54th Squadron, PVD Imhotep will jump in soon afterwards to provide much appreciated help. There's no preferred order in taking down Shivan units in the area, but it may be a good idea to pave your way through the convoy progressively, without hopping from one place to another.
The jamming field may be frustrating so it's perfectly understandable to redirect all of your attention on the last freighter and perform the last sprint run to victory. Don't do it, or you'll pay the consequences later on - make sure that the Midgardsormr, the satellite freighters and as many escort fighters as possible are destroyed before dealing the final blow to the last Iksura. You'll be relieved when the jamming field fades away and a nice directive will finally allow you to return to base.
Notable ships present
- GTD Hades (untargetable)
- SFr Ereshkigal (may survive)
- SFr Garulah (may survive)
- SFr Glamhoth (may survive)
- SFr Iseulthalon (may survive)
- SFr Kharon 07 (destroyed)
- SFr Kharon 08 (destroyed)
- SFr Kharon 09 (destroyed)
- SFr Kharon 10 (destroyed)
- SFr Kharon 11 (destroyed)
- SFr Kharon 12 (destroyed)
- SFr Salpinx (may survive)
- SFr Tonurok (may survive)
- SC Midsgardsormr (may survive)
Anything involving massive quantities of Shivan supplies is by definition harmful to any species but the Shivans themselves. The quantity of supplies carried by the entirety of Kharon, is staggering, therefore saying that the destruction of the convoy is comparable in terms of importance to the destruction of the Lucifer is no exaggeration. Unfortunately, the Vasudan branch of the assault didn't go as planned and a few Iksuras managed to escape, but the achievement is still notable. It remains unclear what the Kharon freighters were attempting to do, but there's no time for speculation - the colossal jamming field is fading away, and the Alliance has a new chance to perform coordinated strikes against the last Shivan warships in the system. Al last, victory seems within out grasp.
The title of this mission and several features of the mission itself can be explained by remarkable differences in the names given to specific summons and items between the Italian and English versions of the game Final Fantasy VIII. In the Italian version, in fact, the Guardian Force Kharonte can be acquired via the "Anello di Salem" (Salem Ring) and a number of additional items; in the English version, the Guardian Force is called Doomtrain and is obtained via the Solomon Ring and other items. The title Doomtrains of Salem, with Kharon being the designated name of the convoy, combines these names.
Doomtrain is the nickname given by Terran pilots to these freighters, as indicated by in-mission messages (which are hard to read because of jamming) and the fiction that precedes the mission itself; coincidentally, it was the same name given to these convoys by the Ancients, in their language.
The Iksuras in the first versions of this mission had far more hitpoints, making them far more difficult to destroy. However they lacked the escort of both the satellite fighters and SC Midgardsormr, both of which were added at a later stage. The Iksuras were then rebalanced in order to favor the addition of these units. Kharon was initially designated as Olimassa, after the Italian name of the Oilboyle bosses seen in FFVIII.
The Hades was also a late addition, meant to further enforce, plot-wise, possible GTI involvement in the last stages of the Ross 128 battle, particularly in Lasciate ogne speranza....