The Let's Play Archive

Freespace 2

by Psion, BloodWulfe, & Gasket Basket

Part 10: Feint! Parry! Riposte!

Feint! Parry! Riposte!

This mission is rather aptly named, as it consists of a feint, then a parry, and then a riposte. For those of you unfamiliar with fencing, a feint is a move that looks like an attack, but isn't, meant to draw your opponent out of position. A parry is a blocking blow that stops an attack, and a riposte is a quick counter-attack launched immediately after being parried.

Now You Know (TM) and the GTVA does too.

This is, seriously, one of the better missions in the game since it's pretty much GTVA sucker-punching the NTF. Gotta get these NTF scrubs out of the way before the Shivans get really nasty. Two-front wars are bad news.

Now that the Colossus is all gassed up and ready to go, it's time for space pew-pew. Our target? The NTD Repulse, an Orion-class destroyer - two kilometers of flying sideways skyscraper.
I'm serious, look at the damn thing. The USS Sears Tower reporting for duty!


Just in case you forgot: This is our big gun right here.

The plan is thus:

The GTVA wants to draw out Admiral Koth, Epsilon Pegasi's NTF commander, and his flagship, the Orion-class destroyer NTD Repulse. To do this, you, a pair of Medusa bomber wings, and a Leviathan-class cruiser are sent to feint an assault on a pair of NTF Fenris-class cruisers, the Majestic and the Refute.

The Leviathan (GTC Rampart) is like the Fenris' big brother - same hull design, slower, but a lot tougher and better armed. Two on one isn't so bad, especially since the objective isn't to destroy the two NTF cruisers, it's to draw out the Repulse -- hoping Admiral Koth will fall for the bait, see a half-assed GTVA strikeforce, and move in to kill it. At that point, Command will riposte with the Colossus, and show the NTF who's got the bigger gun.

Apparently, to answer Admiral Tolwyn's question, you don't point it at Kilrah - you point it the Repulse.

First thing's first. There are twelve Hercules heavy fighters covering the pair of NTF cruisers. Your job is to take them out to clear the way for your four bombers, two in Iota and two in Zeta wing, to move in and hammer the NTF hard enough to make them cry for mommy Admiral Koth to come in and save the day.

My idea of how to do this involves my wingmen guarding the Rampart - our Leviathan cruiser - and me getting twelve quick kills. Alas, the Hercs have another strategy. Two of them rush me, and four rush the Rampart. Six stay in close cover formation on the NTF cruisers, indicating that while the NTF may be full of bigoted morons, at least some of them understand the basic principle of fighting on 'home ground.'

The idiots die rather spectacularly and deprive me of kills

Unfortunately for me, six of the Hercules pilots aren't idiots with a deathwish who want to bumrush a heavy cruiser and four interceptors, and so they might be a bit of a problem.

As you can see, they're...not exactly straying far from their cruisers. Not a bad strategy, since flak guns and anti-fighter beams are pretty nice. However, they neglected to remember one key element: Fenris-class cruisers have pitiful anti-fighter weapon arcs in the entire forward hemisphere. So if you approach like so:

You can get in range without getting zapped.

Command: Proceed with caution, Alpha. Those anti-fighter beams have an effective range of fifteen hundred meters. Try to lure the escorts away from the cruisers.

Command Saying Something Really Obvious Count: 3 (since the first nebula mission, anyway)

When you get closer:
Command: The escort fighters are closing in on you, Alpha. Lure them back to the Rampart.

4 -- seriously, when Command says this, I had six Hercs doing a head-on pass at me, guns blazing. I was busy dodging before I got a good screenshot but trust me, this one counts.

I mean, lure them back to the Rampart? Six on one isn't that terrible. Geez, do they not understand I am the one, the only, the Alpha 1?

And for good measure I do it in the aft arc of those two Fenris cruisers, where their anti-fighter beam guns CAN hit me. Except they don't

Six kills later, Iota wing and Zeta wing - two bombers each - target the NTF cruisers. Not content to just roll over and die, the NTF close in and start firing on the GTC Rampart.

Their beam guns are actually pretty weak, even though they look identical to the heavy beams on larger Terran capital ships. And to make matters worse,

Way to miss!

Iota and Zeta quickly smash the two NTF cruisers into the low 20% hull strength range, and bug out as ordered. If the NTF cruisers die before Koth jumps in to save them, this plan will fail.


"You are as clumsy as you are stupid, Admiral."

If you hustle to the Repulse, you can nail its initial launch of four Loki scout/interceptors as they take off from the main hangar. One of the Orion's major downfalls is weak anti-fighter weaponry - it's pretty good against capital ships actually, better than the newer Terran destroyer class, the Hecate-class. The Hecates are better at fighter suppression but actually rather bad at capital ship combat.
(You're based on a Hecate-class destroyer itself, though you don't see the Aquitane itself until later.)


Command: Incoming jump signature! Friendly configuration! The Colossus is now on station.

yeah Command, because the NTF has a friggin pocket fleet of six kilometer long dreadnaughts I NEEDED YOU TO TELL ME THIS. Obviously I could not tell what this ship was. Obvious Count: 5

Here's the setup:

Colossus jumped in, at close range, nose to nose with the Repulse. The Rampart is to the flank, having polished off the two NTF Fenris cruisers once the Repulse arrived.

The exchange between Colossus and Koth on the Repulse is gold:

Listen to this exchange (plus a little extra) / Mirror

And Koth isn't lying. Orions aren't exactly speed demons but he sets his ship on a collision course with the Colossus' nose. Both ships start firing their heavy beam cannon at maximum rate. The Colossus, with massively more powerful beams, can do upwards of thirty percent hull damage with a single cannon strike. And just to add insult to injury for Koth, the Colossus has ten times an Orion's hitpoints - it's just no contest.

It's not like the Repulse isn't trying, but in the end, the result is pretty grim for the NTF:

Command: Repulse objective neutralized. Colossus, what's your status?
Colossus: Damage is minimal here, Command. If only Koth had surrendered instead of playing martyr, his crew would still be alive.

After polishing off the remaining random Lokis which managed to launch from the Repulse before its useless sacrifice, Command orders me home, already predicting the collapse of the NTF in a matter of days. Of course, with the Colossus on our side, this isn't exactly a hard guess to make.

Now that the NTF in Epsilon Pegasi has pretty much been broken, GTVA Command decides there's only one thing to do:


The Alliance has declared a decisive victory in Epsilon Pegasi. With our blockade of the Polaris jump node, all rebel forces in the system have surrendered. In recognition of your contributions to the allied victory, you are hereby awarded the Epsilon Pegasi Liberation Medal. The GTVA Security Council and General Assembly extend their gratitude for your service.
Admiral Petrarch has requested reccomendations for the 134th Barracuda Squadron. A Combat Evaluation Unit, I have forwarded your name as an outstanding candidate. The primary role of the 134th is the field testing of new technologies. In my estimation, you will excel in this challenging position.
However, I have also learned that Special Operations Command requires a volunteer for an extremely dangerous operation. If you choose to pursue this course, your assignment with the 134th will be waiting for you upon your return. The decision is yours, Pilot.

God anything to get away from Cordova if I hear him say Pi-loTT again I'm gonna snap. And the 134th? New technology sounds good to me. Maybe I can finally change from using my pew-pew lasers and dumbfires for some better tech. Assuming, of course, that it all works in my new role as a space beta tester.

Like this is really a question. Extremely dangerous? Like I'd choose anything else.

(Note for any potential players: Skipping the SOC loops doesn't affect your campaign progress in any tangible way except two. Completing each mission set unlocks a new ship for use in the main campaign you wouldn't otherwise have, and skipping these mission sets means you skip the coolest character Freespace 2 has, bar none. There is no reason to skip these, obviously.)