Raise Thy Sword
|The following information has not been confirmed by Volition |
and is therefore not canon for the FreeSpace universe. Also, it may contain spoilers regarding Series Resurrecta campaigns.
||Campaign Walkthrough||Next Mission
Player squadron: 144th Ghost Dolphins
Description: The SD Secleth is moving to attack, and the Veritas is preparing to engage the Demon in a very intense battle...
Created: August 31st, 2009
Released: October 16th, 2020
- Fiction: August 5th, 2337 - Classified transcript from the interrogation of a Hammer of Light fanatic
- Preload quote: "Before me, there were no created things"
There's a price to pay for the strike on Iksura convoys and its resultant degradation of their jamming fields. The SD Secleth and its battlegroup, which has eluded detection for days, has appeared to face the GTD Veritas and her attending warships in close combat. It will be a matter of minutes before a close exchange, so the pilots onboard the Veritas have to prepare quickly for a decisive battle. Meanwhile, the PVD Imhotep comes under heavy fire as well from warships and spacecraft alike, and the assault seems planned to prevent the Typhon from providing support to the Orion in trouble. The pattern of these strikes is the same: enemy warships are located, but wings after wings of strike craft arrive from all directions, and their source can't be the Secleth alone. There's so many of them it can't be just one separate destroyer, either. The mystery behind those assault spacecraft will be solved after the upcoming battle.
We'll start the mission as Delta 1, and we'll have control over Epsilon wing from our squadron. If you play this mission multiple times, you'll notice that both battlegroups will be randomized in their patterns: there are two possible configurations, one of which is a bit harder than the other, yet perfectly beatable. We start the mission and stumble upon residual jamming effects, which have no influence over us - you'll get many of these warnings, don't get distracted by them. It may be a good idea to order your wingmen to guard the Kimbell and Rochelle, as the Challenger usually falls behind and benefits from crossfire. This way, Allied cruisers will be guarded from incoming torpedoes, and the Veritas herself would still be protected in case anything gets too close to the destroyer.
Wave after wave of Shivan assault wings will jump in, all with their own purposes. Light fighters will distract you, while heavy bombers will go after the Allied battlegroup: prioritizing targets is pivotal. Pay attention to Leo wing of Nephilim bombers: multiple playthroughs have showed how this wing poses quite a threat to the good outcome of the mission. Some Serpent fighters will employ the Kraken long range missile for the first time: though it is implied that they go after the Veritas weapons subsystem, these fighters can and will cause enormous damage to Allied cruisers should they pass the defensive screen untouched. In any case, it's essential to keep the Veritas weapons subsystem operational, or the precision of railguns will drop dramatically. At some point, a wing of Seraphims equipped with Mandragora subspace torpedoes will make a direct bombing run; go after these bombers when they're close enough, but don't stray too far, as they will nanojump and perform a second run. The earlier you clear these threats, the better.
The defensive pattern will turn into a combined defense-assault effort when the Secleth and its attending warships get too close. When you see the first railgun/plasma cannon artillery exchange, move to attack the Shivan warships and aim specifically at their main plasma turrets. The Skylla has a powerful Malchidael turret which is better off destroyed; taking down the two cannons on the Daturon would be helpful too. Don't bother disarming the Buel, it has many light plasma cannons and hitting them is rather difficult: either destroy the cruiser outright, or focus on other assets. Please note that friendly cruisers can and probably will go down in the process, but the mission will still be a go without them. As Allied bombers are launched from the Veritas, it is essential to lure the fight to the Secleth and engage its fighter escort while damaging its main plasma cannons. Shivan fighters will quickly eliminate the 148th Physeters and turn the tide of the battle, if they're not engaged immediately. If things go as planned, the bombers will handle the Shivan warships in minutes, and only a few errant enemy spacecraft will be left to clear. Once all threats are destroyed, you'll be able to land on the Veritas and celebrate a decisive victory.
Notable ships present
The destruction of the Secleth, combined with the elimination of several other minor Shivan warships, is excellent news for the Alliance. The Shivan counterattack has been stopped, and no Allied destroyer was lost in the process. Casualties inflicted to enemy strike wings are so consistent that whatever was the source of their deployment, it is now effectively depleted of combat spacecraft and will hardly respond, if attacked. Yet still, the Shivan assault was coordinated, as evidenced by the precise pattern of a Lilith cruiser which positioned itself in front of the Imhotep to prevent it from reaching the Veritas and provide direct assistance. Both Allied destroyers have sustained heavy damage, so the final assault on the Shivan source of command in the system has to be carried out by other units.
Besides the many naming references already seen in the fourth mission, it's worth noting that the Allied cruiser Challenger is named after an Arthur Conan Doyle recurring character who, in the tale "The Poison Belt", assigns the name "daturon" to a toxic agent.