Part 19: Endgame
(00:06:08) Psion: I wonder if the original guy who started this thread has posted recently
(00:06:35) BloodWulfe: you mean the fs2 one?
(00:06:42) Psion: yeah gasket basket
(00:06:45) Psion: he hasn't posted since 02/07
(00:06:47) BloodWulfe: i checked a while ago, and he just vanished one day
(00:07:03) Psion: I wonder what'd happen if he showed up when I was playing, I dunno, Endgame
(00:07:08) BloodWulfe: hahahaha
(00:07:11) BloodWulfe: that's going to be a surprise
And yes, he did show up the day I posted this update, five days after this conversation
Watch the briefing here, 10,291KB / Mirror
Listen to the briefing here, 2020KB / Mirror
Bosch and the Iceni still remain at large. The NTF has been bled every step of the way to Gamma Draconis, at the node, inside the system, and now the defense is down to the final stop: The Knossos portal. The NTF's rebellion is over, and this is the last stop for the die-hard fanatics.
The NTF's first wave was repelled, though the NTC Alexandria made it into the nebula. Command, believing a second wave is on the way, has positioned the GTCv Monitor and the GTC Fortune (Fenris-class) to defend the gate, and is sending in both the 64th Raptors and - as soon as it finishes its current engagement against two other NTF warships, the NTC Vanguard and the NTCv Congreve - the Colossus.
The 64th, as Beckett tells you, is actually tasked with a fighter role instead of a strike bomber role. The NTF is likely to deploy its few remaining Zeus medium bomber and Medusa heavy bomber wings to try and clear the way into the portal - the 64th's job is to shut down the bombers, and make sure the Monitor and the Fortune stop any NTF ships cold until the Colossus can arrive to seal the node from any further NTF incursions.
We've got access to two new missiles, the first being the GTM-4A Tornado, an upgraded version of the Hornet. The Tornado fires faster and is more accurate than the Hornet swarm missile, though you carry fewer of them overall and they will do no damage (and likely not hit a target) unless you've achieved a full missile lock-on. No dumbfiring these.
Keep an eye out for the NTF Iceni. If this vessel emerges within range, you are authorized to engage and destroy it. Bosch has eluded our forces since he entered the Gamma Draconis system. Though we anticipate Bosch will either attempt to gain control of the Knossos or enter the portal itself, be prepared for any development.
The second is the GTM-11 Infyrno, a "wide-area fighter suppression warhead. The Infyrno is a remote detonation missile. Hit your secondary trigger a second time to detonate. A HUD indicator will display the warhead's distance. The Infyrno will release multiple submunitions with ultra-high explosive charges."
The Infyrno is also a useless piece of crap except for its highly useful ability (though the Pirhana does this better) to lag the hell out of your opponents in FS2 MP back in the day when everyone was on 56k. It was, unsurprisingly, frowned upon to do this. Then again, so was exploiting the fact that the third weapon bay in the Myrmidon could carry 2 Helios torpedoes, or the Cyclops having infinite fuel, or ... let's just say I abused a lot of things in FS2 MP
If you feel like flying the Pegasus stealth fighter, you can in this mission. I prefer the Myrmidon because there are going to be an awful lot of fighters and bombers, and having a six-rack of Prometheus-S cannon can't go wrong. I even stopped carrying exclusively Tempests JUST for you guys, so you can see something slightly less boring than pew-pew and rockets.
Mission start. The Monitor is tucked close to the Knossos gate, ready to interdict any pesky NTF forces which come through. They update you on the situation:
Monitor: Welcome to the Knossos, Alpha wing. All is quiet on this front. We repelled the NTF's first wave, but they'll make another run. We just recieved word the Colossus took down the NTC Vanguard.
Alpha 2: We'll keep you covered, Monitor. Those bombers won't get within two clicks of you.
It's funny that Alpha 2 says this, NTF bombers jump in, and I'm pretty sure (I haven't checked for certain) they jump in about two kilometers from the corvette. Sorry, Alpha 2.
Not even thirty seconds from mission start, the NTF starts their attack: Four Zeus bombers, Aquarius wing, covered by six Ulysses fighters, Virgo. (The bombers are the lower formation of jump points, the fighters the top. The fighters are also a bit further away.)
Alpha 2: Intercept Aquarius wing! Neutralize their warheads before they impact the Monitor!
Monitor: And keep an eye on the fighter escort! Don't let those bandits flank you!
The nice thing about the NTF fighting at knife range is we're under the Monitor's guns - the AAA beams and flak start shredding the NTF formation even as they begin to launch Cyclops torpedoes.
Of course, ten fighters and bombers isn't really a credible wave, so even as I'm busy shooting down torpedoes and finishing off the remaining Zeus bombers from Aquarius:
The NTF sends in the NTC Loyola, an Aeolus-class cruiser, with four Loki escorts - Sagittarius, and if that's not enough, Leo wing, which is six more Ulysses fighters. For those of you counting at home, the NTF has sent, in rapid succession, 14 fighters, 4 bombers, and a cruiser.
After polishing off the bombers, my wingmen and I first get the rest of Virgo wing,
Then we go for Leo and Sagittarius:
Hornets are quite effective against the Ulysses fighter - as it is a Great War (FS1) era ship, its hull is relatively weak, and so a double-salvo (8) of Hornets blasts right through its shields and hull in a supreme display of overkill. However, given the sheer number of NTF fighters jumping in every thirty seconds, overkill's not really a bad plan on this mission. It's not like they're stopping either - after taking out Leo and Sagittarius, we move fast to finish off the Loyola.
The Monitor and Fortune tag-team it. And while Hornets might not do much damage against capital ships (they're actually pretty awful at it, don't do this) if you and your wingmen put enough of them in space, even tiny scratches add up:
There's a short lull in the combat here, and Allied Command takes the time to do a little force restructuring:
The Monitor packs up and redeploys elsewhere; the Fortune (which isn't mentioned in any briefings or text; I have the feeling it was a last-minute addition) stays silently and gets ready to peck at anything that comes by with its guns.
The NTF, now facing something with the combined firepower of five destroyers, sends in ... well, more or less a similar attack force that ran into the brick wall that was known as the Monitor.
Four Medusa heavy bombers from Cancer wing deploy in, followed by five Hercules I fighters from Gemini.
First, the bombers:
These poor saps - all four of them - think they can take out the Colossus? Right.
Gemini does a spectacularly miserable job of defending the Medusa bombers, letting me hammer them at my leisure and show off some SCP lighting effects at the same time.
Also this is my preferred range for killing bombers
Anyway, to make a short story even shorter, the Colossus isn't exactly hurting for anti-fighter weaponry, and between us, the bombers and fighters disappear in rapid order.
Not done yet, the NTF sends in another strike - four Herc-Is from Pisces wing, and the NTCv Danton. The Colossus obliterates the poor Hercs before I even get a chance to shoot them, while the Fortune tries to take out the Danton. It's kind of cute, in a way:
Look at that widdle beam!
The Colossus fares slightly better in the "size of whoop-ass can just opened" department:
Facing a super-capital ship and a cruiser, the Danton succumbs to battle damage relatively quickly. No sign of that sneaky Admiral Bosch though. I'd like to know how many more NTF ships the guy even has.
Last, but not least (as far as fighters are concerned) comes Taurus, 4 Ulysses. For anyone counting at home, we've totaled 29 fighters and 8 bombers so far, plus two capital ships. And we're not done.
Listen to this MP3 / Mirror (622 KB) as you page through the next 3 screenshots.
Command: Admiral Bosch has jumped in! He's heading for the subspace portal. Colossus, open fire with all forward turrets!
Finally! Come get some, Bosch!
Colossus: Command! We're experiencing a global malfunction in fire control! We need 30 seconds to get auxiliaries on line!
Command: We don't have that kind of window, Colossus!
Colossus: The Iceni has reached the Knossos! It's jumping into the nebula!
Colossus: Command, the rebels are withdrawing!
Colossus: Command, should we pursue the Iceni through the portal?
BOSCHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH (power tools)
I'LL GET YOU NEXT TIME,
Command: Negative. We'll send in a search party to find the Admiral. The Neo-Terran Front has been crushed, Pilots. The Rebellion is over. Return to base.
MEDALS FOR EVERYONE!