The Let's Play Archive

Freespace 2

by Psion, BloodWulfe, & Gasket Basket

Part 21: A Monster in the Mist

Bosch's Third Monologue / Mirror (High Quality) plays before this mission.
Youtube / Backup (Low Quality)

A Monster in the Mist
Watch this briefing here / Mirror
Listen to this briefing here / Mirror

Alpha 1, you will pilot the new Ptah-class stealth fighter. Your mission is to scan the subsystems of the Sathanas Juggernaut. Allied Intelligence has requested data regarding the navigation, weapons, sensors, and communications subsystems of the warship.
To scan a subsystem, you must first select it with the subsystem targeting control. Then close to 150 meters to scan. The lead indicator must be in the center of your reticle. Maintain that position until the scan indicator has moved across your target view. Average scanning time is five seconds.
The design of the stealth fighter will minimize your EM signature, though we have not tested the stealth fighter against Shivan targets. Avoid flying into the line of sight of enemy fighters, and keep moving as much as possible. The longer you stay in one position, the greater your risk of detection. Firing weapons will also reveal your position.
To create a diversion, the GVCv Maahes will direct an assault toward the stern of the warship. This will draw enemy fire away from you and the systems you must target. The Sathanas has a smaller concentration of turrets in this quadrant, but you must complete your mission quickly. The corvette will not last long against the Juggernaut.

Yeah, because this isn't suicidal at all. Hell no.
The Ptah is basically the Vasudan Pegasus; statistically identical but with a worse target profile; you'll get hit more, but then again hopefully you won't be getting hit at all. Isn't it grand being the guinea pig to see if these stealth systems actually work against the Shivans?

Yeah I can just see the Vasudans talking about this one now.
"Hey, [Generic Vasudan Name], who've we got for a suicide mission to scan the turrets of a death juggernaut that looks like it could sodomize 4 destroyers at once?"
"Well, [Other Generic Vasudan Name], I don't know. Wait. Wait. I've got it! We have those Terran exchange pilots, right? Let's fuck them right in the ass. Make what's-his-name do this shit. That way if it fails, we can just blame him for not being a Vasudan, and thus not being totally awesome, because we're totally awesome."
"Now correct me if I'm wrong, but whose home planet got turned into a ball of glass last war with the Shivans? What was that about Vasudans being more awesome?"
"Err...send the goddamn human anyway."

I have made this helpful drawing to let you understand what you're really up against here:

This mission is similar in nature to the Freespace 1 mission where you scan the SD Lucifer in a captured Dragon fighter - basically it lets you roam around the enemy's supercapital without being fired upon to really impress the scale of the thing on your mind. It works even better in FS2 because aside from the Sathanas being larger, you're in the nebula and thus can't SEE the whole damn thing at once.
I am thus cheating with that little picture, but shut up. The point is, this thing is enormous and that really gets rammed home when you fly it, less so perhaps in an LP. I'll try.

Here you can see the spoiling attack starting - beam fire only. The Sathanas is a heavily offensive-oriented craft; its four monster beam turrets are forward-arc only, and it only has a single (admittedly, decent) beam covering the rear arc, and limited anti-fighter protection all around. However, given that in the canon the Shivans have a level of mastery with accurate subspace jumps the Terrans and Vasudans can't hope to match, the ability for the Sathanas to choose its entry vector, obliterate an enemy capital ship, and jump right out is insanely powerful.

Command gives you a refresher on how to scan as you fly in; within a few hundred meters, keep the lead indicator in your reticle, make sure you have line-of-sight to your targeted subsystem, blah blah blah. Not useful if you aren't PLAYING the game, so I'll skip it.

I bounce from subsystem to subsystem, scanning away. The trickiest part is placing yourself so you don't get run over (the Sathanas is moving at a respectable pace of 25m/s) but also stay close enough to scan. I like to be slightly ahead and below my scanning target, letting me simply stop and angle my nose to keep it in the sights long enough to scan.

Command: One down and three to go. Here you can also see what a subsystem not in line of sight looks like - crossed with a red X. You have to manuever so this diamond goes away -- bringing it into LOS, actually -- or else you can't scan it even if you're within range otherwise.

This is pretty boring, really. But this thing is HUGE.

After you get the fourth subsystem, Command asks you if you want to complete an additional task, but that it's optional and you may return to base at any time - they want you to evaluate the Sathanas' turret strength by killing as many turrets as you can (non main-beams; so laser, AAA flak, or antifighter beam). Your default loadout of the Akheton SDG disruptor is a good gun, it's the best you have against subsystems right now, and carry full racks of Tempests just for the extra help.
It really is optional too - the triggers in the mission will get you an extra line in the debriefing and that's IT. No extra points, no secondary objective, nothing. A line in the debrief.

Surprisingly the stealth system actually works - once you start firing, the Sathanas fires back, but until then you're safe, so killing a turret or two shouldn't be too hard.
Don't take too long - after a minute or two, the Sathanas jumps out. Again. With that, your mission is complete.

If you kill the turrets like Command asks you to (and don't ask me why it didn't trigger in this screenshot - I got 5 turrets on this run in question) you should get this text:
Your attack against the turrets of the Sathanas has yielded important data regarding the relative strength of the Juggernaut's weapons. This information should prove useful.
If you don't, seriously do not worry about it at ALL. This isn't even a damn secondary objective, the ONLY thing that changes is the blurb in the debrief. That's it. You can still get the MoV without it.