Part 27: Straight, No Chaser
Straight, No Chaser
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At 1640 hours, Reconnaissance detected the Shivan transport carrying Admiral Bosch and his subordinates deep within a Shivan-controlled zone of the nebula. A wing of Maras repelled our recon unit, but we now have an approximate location. Alpha and Beta, your mission is to find and disable the Azrael transport.
The attack must be executed quickly, before the transport escapes. Once its engines are disabled, defend the transport until the recovery team arrives on Lambda 1. They will dock with the Azrael and haul the vessel back to Gamma Draconis. Lambda 2 will be standing by in case Lambda 1 should fail.
Capturing Bosch and his lieutenants is of the utmost importance. We do not know if they are alive or dead, or what the Shivans intend to do with them.
Given our luck with Bosch and escaping, any bets on whether he'll escape this time? Anyone? Is his time finally up? Or are we to remain foiled for the rest of the game, shaking our fist at him in despair?
All I can say is don't bother packing Disruptors.
If you guessed "you'll start the nebula mission with sensor contacts outside of range," give yourself a no-prize.
Beta 3: We are reading hostile indicators on radar. Unable to acquire lock.
Command: Maintain your current heading. Recon tracked the Azrael to that position, it must be somewhere nearby.
Just as the Maras come into targeting range, Beta 1 spots something.
Beta 1: Wait! I am detecting a large object on sensors! Acquiring visual confirmation now!
Beta 1: Command, we have encountered a second subspace portal!
Command: Say again, pilot? Another subspace portal?
Beta 1: Affirmative. The device has been activated.
Command: Any sign of the Azrael?
Beta 4: Negative. There is no sign of the Shivan transport.
Look! No sign of Bosch! SURPRISE! (not surprise)
Command: All units, secure the area! Nullify all enemy ships! We have a new objective! We must seize control of this portal!
Command: We are picking up a Cain-class cruiser on sensors, the SC Dahaka!
With the few Maras in the vicinity dead, sweeping the Cain apart takes seconds. Command notifies us we have reinforcements available (one wing of 4 Tauret heavy fighters) if we want them.
Command: Well done. We have neutralized the Dahaka!
I turn to take out the last couple Maras, and the other cruiser - a Rakshasha class - comes into sensor range.
Command: A Rakshasha-class cruiser has come within sensor range. Designation Sephiroth!
No, not him.
Rakshashas are a bit tougher than Cains, and have a rather unusual hull design which prevents its anti-fighter beam from covering anything more than a rather narrow vertical segment of its frontal arc, but they still take a bit of pounding.
Their anti-capital ship beams, however, are excellently placed.
Still when you have a swarm of angry Vasudans, there's little an unsupported cruiser can do.
Good work, pilots. We have taken down the Sephiroth!
We? Command you haven't done shit ever, don't take credit
Command: All units, stand by for mission brief. We are deploying the Psamtik.
Psamtik: This is the GVD Psamtik! We have emerged 9,000 meters from the subspace portal!
Command: 9,000 meters? You're way off course, Psamtik! What happened?
Psamtik: The subspace field generated by the portal appears to have interfered with our transit.
(Useless trivia: In FRED2, this SEXP is titled "Psamtik BS". Way to flub your jump, Vasudans!)
You'll also remember Bosch made a precision jump right up to the Gamma Draconis gate; unless the nebula is affecting precision jumping - which it's given no indication of doing - someone just got caught in a lie
Command: Pilots, head directly for the Psamtik. We need time to get the ship into position.
The Psamtik will spearhead our exploration of the region beyond the portal. You will escort the Psamtik until we deploy our expeditionary force.
I order my wingmen to defend the Psamtik and start afterburning towards it. I also feel that given our rather impressive failure to find Admiral Bosch, mentioning that a Terran in a dinky frigate plotted a far better jump than the Vasudans did would be inappropriate.
On our way, Shivan fighters jump in. I swing behind one wing of them, while the other wing starts an attack run on the Psamtik.
Psamtik: Command, we are under attack!
Command: All units, defend the Psamtik! Do not allow the Shivan attack to build momentum!
By the time I even reach the Psamtik, the battle's over. She's destroyed the rest of the Shivan fighters and is cruising towards the gate.
As we turn and form up to escort the Psamtik to the gate, it looks like something comes out of the gate.
Psamtik: Command, we are detecting an incoming jump signature through the subspace portal.
Command: What is it, Psamtik? Can you identify?
Sathanas configuration! Repeat! Sathanas configuration!
Command: That's impossible, Psamtik!
I really don't think Command knows what that word means.
I hate to reuse the joke, but ...
It's pretty obvious when something is a Sathanas.
Psamtik: The Sathanas has opened fire! We are sustaining massive hull damage!
Command: Psamtik, get out of there! Now! We're pulling you out!
Psamtik: Jump drive inoperative! All systems compromised! Catastrophic hull failure imminent!
Command: Psamtik, do you copy? Come in, Psamtik! This is Allied Command! Do you read me?
Command: Pilots, you will jump to the GVD Memphis. Your nav computer has the coordiantes. Return to base!