The Hammer and the Anvil
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ACT 1 MISSION 8
Fighter squadron: Unknown.
Description: Shield prototypes based off Shivan technologies have been successfully tested. Alpha and Beta wings will escort the prototype shipments to be sent for mass production.
- At roughly 1400 hours a large convoy carrying one of our newly developed shield prototypes was deployed. It was expected that the Shivans would attack the convoy.
- The Shivans destroyed the convoy. What the Shivans do not know is that the convoy was a decoy. There were a total of 4 working prototypes, only one of which was destroyed.
- You are to take two wings of fighters to escort the three remaining shield prototypes. The Shivans should just think you are just another shipment headed for Beta Cygni. This is not the direct route to Earth, which should divert the Shivans from our true intent.
- You are to accompany the freighters until the Vasudans arrive to escort them on the second leg. Do not leave the freighters until they have jumped to the Beta Cygni system.
- The Shivans have hit everything sent from this installation. Expect resistance. Many pilots lost their lives today that the chances for success on this mission would be greater. You will succeed.
- Available ships: Apollo, Valkyrie.
- Available weapons: ML-16, Disruptor, Avenger. MX-50, Fury.
A recommended ship is the GTF Valkyrie with both banks of Avengers with Fury missiles. (For all wingmen, they should all carry full Avengers, there's enough for the whole team.)
This is one of the first hard missions -- unless you read note 2 below. At first all will be quiet, then two wings consisting of two Basilisks (Arjuna wing) will jump in, followed by the Andromeda, Omega 1-3, and Rho wing (consisting of one single fighter). The Andromeda will call for assistance as Hammer of Light forces have already damaged it down to the mid thirties.
Quickly order Rho wing to protect Cargo Gamma and ignore the Andromeda's pleas. If you save it you do not receive anything, plus it's extremely tough to do anyway. Just let the two wings of Hammer of Light ships toy around with it and then they won't hurt you. Quite soon after the Andromeda is attacked, Krishna wing will arrive.
Krishna wing will attack the cargo. Eliminate them quickly. Krishna wing is followed by Rama wing. Eliminate these quickly also. Lastly will be, in succession, two wings of Basilisks. After you dispatch them some HoL fighters will arrive.
If you scanned the bonus cargo in the previous mission, then the HoL will arrive posing as friendly reinforcements. This makes the mission much easier, as you have time to prepare for their attack and perhaps even kill a few before they turn hostile (see Alternate Missions scenario). Target one of the Seth fighters and eliminate it. Target the other Seth and eliminate it too. Ignore Command yelling at you. Shoot the Anubis's if you have time. But be careful: get too triggerhappy and Command will designate you as a traitor instead. Omicron 1 will jump in and tell you that the reinforcements are really the Hammer of Light. That is why you should have shot the reinforcements. They will be easy to kill now.
After you destroy the Hammer of Light ships stay by the cargo and wait until they reach the jump node and jump out. Then proceed to do the same.
If you did not scan any of the cargo in the previous mission, the HoL will jump directly in as hostile and you're practically certain to lose at least one cargo container on Insane.
This mission can be frustratingly difficult on any level of difficulty above Very Easy, if you are playing it in FSPort and trying to get your medal by saving every piece of cargo. (Missiles behave differently in FSO compared to the original FS1) In particular - the moment, when Gamma is attacked by 2 wings of fighters, one after another. There is almost no way of stopping them from launching the amount of missiles that will be sufficient enough to vaporise your precious Gamma. The following tactics works best here. Order all your wingmen to protect the first transport ( the one, that's carrying Alpha ). Then, when the Krishna wing warps in - start dropping countermeasures between them, and the Gamma. Ideally you'll want to lay on the same course as Krishna, between them and Gamma ( in front of Krishna and the missiles of course ) - and start flying towards the Gamma dropping CMS, and let your wingmen do the killing. It may take a couple of attempts to figure out how to do this effectively, but if you do it right, it will become quite easy. Bear in mind, that you will not have time to rearm before the second wing of Krishna arrives, so use countermeasures wisely. You can repeat this tactics when Rama wings tries to destroy Alpha, but it is essentially not that hard, as the Krishna one.
For a little bit of humour; if any of the Omega ships survive the initial skirmish, you can race to the Arcada installation after the mission objectives are complete and watch their strangely hypnotic Self-Immolation Death Ritual™, when they're trying to occupy the same infinitesimally small amount of space, slamming into each other until all but one of them are dead. The Andromeda will jump out normally. For the Vasudan Death Dance™ to commence, at least two of the Omega ships must make it to the installation.
Also note that on easier difficulty settings the mission is another self-playing one. If you do not feel like playing the mission yourself, you can let the FreeSpace engine take care of it for you. Just point your ship in any direction -- away from the jump node is the recommended heading -- and engage full thrusters and time compression. The game will play the entire mission all by itself. After two minutes you will get your medal.