|The following information refers to the Solaris universe and is therefore not canon for the FreeSpace continuity.|
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Solaris - Mission 3: Red Revolution
Description: The Artemis heads a Federation/Republic Coalition strike group to engage a Qahtadnan battlegroup in the asteroid field.
Created: March 19th, 2018
Released: June 9th, 2019
FNS Euphrates is dispatched from Akkad to join FNS Artemis, ERS Sina and ERS Ghadir at Durius Installation. She is a Constitution class destroyer, with firepower that almost matches the much larger Artemis. The four ships combined make a formidable strike group, and are deployed to engage a large force of Qahtadnan warships massing in the asteroid field. The Qahtadnan command ship Gharial is a Great War-era battle carrier, comparable in size to modern battlecruisers. The carrier is escorted by two support carriers, multiple gunboats and several wings of strike craft. On paper the formation appears powerful, but the Qahtadnan warships are obsolete, last-generation platforms that are outclassed by modern equivalents.
Ahab impresses upon Ross the seriousness of the situation and wants to know if the lieutenant is in the right state of mind to take part. Alpha wing is allocated Hornet strikers for this operation. Though heavily armed, the strikers can't match the Viper's agility and can easily be caught out by hostile fighters if engaging without support. This last point is emphatically driven home by Ahab, who apologises and blames the effect of the cocktail for his outburst.
This is an introduction to striker gameplay. Your loadout is locked to the Hornet striker, armed with Gattler 40mm autocannons - devastating against warship armour and subsystems but ineffective at dogfighting small craft.
As with the previous mission Force Your Way the mission space is a dense asteroid field with active collision threats from incoming asteroids. Almost immediately the strike group is under attack by a pair of light attack craft carrying heavy grenade launchers. These are a significant threat to the Artemis and Euphrates, capable of inflicting heavy damage in only a few hits. The Combine-made LACs are escorted by M-21 Cobra fighters which can tear into the player if they rush to engage the incoming hostiles without support. Raptor tells Alpha to hold back and wait for Beta wing to engage the fighters before moving in. Beta wing then moves to occupy the escort fighters leaving Alpha free to engage the LACs.
Several striker wings move into sensor range, targeting the weapons subystems of the strike group. While engaging these craft, the damage potential of the Gattler will be noticeable compared to the Maxim, but players will find the slow shell velocity makes it almost impossible to engage fighters. The hostile strikers can be engaged with some effort, with Gattler rounds doing significant damage if the player manages to land a hit.
Artemis sensors identify the Khalid gunboat on an attack run towards the strike group. As it becomes clear the Khalid is continuing to move at top speed towards the Artemis, Ahab calls for Alpha wing to destroy the gunboat as a priority. The collision of the gunboat is enough to destroy the Artemis outright. If the player manages to prevent the Qahtadnan strikers from doing too much damage to the Artemis weapons subsystem, the cruiser's autocannons should be enough to destroy the gunboat without needing intervention.
Once the Khalid, both LACs and the striker wings are dealt with, Ross makes a comment about the relentless intensity of the engagement. Ahab tells Ross to take advantage of the lull.
The destroyer Bombard makes a dangerous and close-ranged jump exit in proximity to the strike group. The recklessness of the manoeuvre is commented on by Raptor - the tiniest miscalculation could have put the destroyer face-first into an asteroid, or into another ship. Docked to the destroyer are a wing of M-21s which eject and engage the Coalition strike craft. Players will be able to compare this engagement with that of the Tadna in Force Your Way, in particular regarding the effectiveness of the Gattler cannon against turrets and subsystems. Ahab berates the Qahtadnans for letting the Bombard jump in unsupported against a full strike group.
The strike group eventually reaches the muster point of the Gharial battlegroup and are attacked by a wing of three gunboats. The Gharial also begins launching Javelin anti-ship missiles from range. The player is encouraged to destroy the gunboats first before engaging the Gharial. Once the path is clear, the Gharial's ASM silo is highlighted to aid player targeting. Artemis comms also orders the strike wings to defang the Gharial's turrets, especially the heavy mass drivers. Use caution on approach to the carrier, as the warship carries flak cannons which are difficult to dodge and can rack up damage to the player's craft over time. Raptor suggests taking out the flak turrets to minimise the risk.
The Gharial retreats after taking significant hull damage. Like with the previous mission, the carrier does not need to be destroyed to resolve the engagement. Shortly after the Gharial leaves, the support carriers Abha and Al-Yarmouk also engage hyperspace in retreat.
Once the area is clear, Artemis comms orders all pilots to return to the Artemis.
Notable ships present
- FNS Artemis - Leander-class cruiser
- FNS Euphrates - Constitution-class destroyer
- ERS Sina - Pegasus-class corvette
- ERS Ghadir - Pegasus-class corvette
- Ghadir - Leviathan-class carrier
- Abha - Khopesh-class frigate
- Al-Yarmouk - Khopesh-class frigate
- Bombard - Ronin-class destroyer
- Khalid - Charger-class gunboat
- Amr - Charger-class gunboat
- Fahad - Charger-class gunboat
- Jafar - Charger-class gunboat
- Decisive Coalition victory.
- The Qahtadnan invasion of Durius is repelled.
- There is a bonus objective for destroying all hostile ships. This includes the Gharial and the two support carriers. Taking out the astrogation or engine subsystems of these ships will prevent them from warping out before they can be destroyed.
- Fighters and other small craft lack the space for their own hyperspace impeller and require either a transport dock or carrier for long-distance travel. This can be seen by the fighters docked onto the destroyer Bombard.
- If either of the Elam corvettes take too much damage, they will retreat back to Durius Installation.