First engagements against the Shivans
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WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the following storylines:
- FreeSpace 1
- Main article: Heist of the Avenger Prototype
The incident of the GTSC Plato
The Avenger Prototype was being transferred to the Ribos system by the GTSC Plato, a Faustus-class science vessel. The jump node was barely defended by Vasudans, only a number of fighters and the PVC Taurus. A squadron of Anubis fighters were ordered to attack the Plato, but the captain of the Taurus underestimated the power of the escort of the Plato. The PVC Taurus jumped in with her fighter escorts to block the way of the Plato going towards the jump node. Before the sides could engage each other in dogfight, unknown aliens appeared and attack both of them. The Vasudan fighters quickly fell and the Taurus was destroyed. Alpha 1 was ordered to approach the Vasudan forces and get visual data. While doing so, the aliens attack the Plato with bombers and fighters. The crew of the Plato were elusive: they used an escape pod to put the prototype and the crew safe. The Plato was destroyed but the mission eventually succeeded when the escape pod made the jump. The fighter pilots were dreaded to realize their ML-16 weapons were no much against the Shielding systems of the aliens. By concentrating firepower on only one fighter, they managed to neutralize one craft.
Encounters with less confidence-boosting outcome were played all through the system. The aliens destroyed the GTD Eisenhower and inflicted heavy damage to the Vasudans as well. The two formely rivalling sides agreed on a cease-fire and non-aggression pacts. The 14-Year War officially ended, just to begin a new war. The unknown aliens were designated as Shivans. Destroyers and cruisers were diverted in large numbers, which most of the time came under Shivan attack. The GTD Galatea barely escaped a Shivan assault through an asteroid field and several smaller, less resilient warships were destroyed.
Acquiring shielding technology
Terran Command had no choice, but to launch reconnaissance missions to acquire Shivan shields without proper weapons on the fighters to defend themselves. Scorpion fighters ambushed the Terran fighters who had to be hastened to quickly scan the containers and get out. Only one fighter managed to escape. The GTD Bastion carried out this task and using the scan data acquired, the GTA was capable of using shielding technology for the first time in the history of space travel.
By the time the Shields were ready to use, the Avenger cannon had been optimized against shields. The first notable victory for the Alliance came while transferring the Shield prototypes to Beta Cygni. Using the Avenger cannon, the attacking Shivans were deflected and the cargo was successfully delivered.