Into the Lion's Den
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SOC LOOP 2, MISSION 2
Fighter squadron: 99th Skulls (?)
Description: Snipes leads Alpha wing of the 99th Skulls on a mission through the second Knossos portal.
Somebody has to go through Knossos 2 and see what's going on over there. Guess who's been selected?
This mission is often considered Volition's best, although others find the long minutes of straight flying to be boring.
This is the only mission in which you can fly the Mara, and even if it isn't exactly like the Shivan version, it's pretty close. Load up with at least some Tempests or Trebuchets, as you'll be spending a fair amount of time strafing at close range, although with such large banks GTM Tornados may fit the bill as well. Keep in mind the Subach's main advantage of efficiency doesn't mean a thing in the Mara, and that the Mara's probably the only fighter that can truly support an all-Kayser gun configuration.
After accomplishing the first major challenge of this mission you're pretty much home free.
You have fifteen minutes before you are able to jump, and your ride apparently won't wait; so whatever you do in this mission, get back to the node in that time. Immediately locate and head for one of the funny-looking unidentified objects, they possess spinning arms, and are rather larger than a cruiser. Those are your primary targets this mission. They're widely spaced, so consider diverting some power to your engines. Each can be killed by a well-placed dual Trebuchet hit; aim for the "Crystal" subsystem if you're going the surgical-kill route, once this is destroyed, they self-destruct, otherwise continue to unload on them, and they'll give out eventually. Deliver the final shot from a distance, because those devices blow up quite energetically. Take the first and the third, as the elite wing of SOC pilots prove capable of taking out the second of these floating targets. If you hurry you should be able to get some SB Nahema kills, and one or two SC Rakshasa kills.
The dialogue in this mission has probably at least the most humanity of anything else in the game.
Now, once you have killed all three devices, call for your wingmen to cover you and head for the node. Hopefully you've still got a good amount of time left. Diverting power to your engines will probably be a wise idea. Remember, you must be at the node at the 15 minute mark.
A wing of SF Astaroths will jump in. Take them out quickly, and try not to take too much damage. Those will be shortly followed by the SD Nebiros when it jumps in, avoid its AAA beam as it can kill you in seconds.
For Lazy People (This method will only make you fight a couple wings): As soon as you jump in (and avoid being rammed by the Sathanas) order your wingmen to attack the first device and head to the third yourself. Once in range of dual Trebuchets, get into a good angle to hit the Crystal subsystem and let loose a couple. It'll take it down in no time and you can even escape without suffering damage. Do this for the second as well, let your wingmen finish off the first, and finally "the Honeymoon" will be over. The last seven minutes is perfectly normal.
Notable ships present
Sathanas 3, Sathanas 4, Sathanas 5, SD Nebiros
If you have some time left, take a look at the planets. Jupiter is one of them, probably an Easter egg.