Part 33: Their Finest Hour
Their Finest Hour
Command Briefing Video / Mirror (20,602.9KB)
Command Briefing Audio / Mirror (3,197.1 KB)
Admiral Petrarch lets you know the score in the command briefing (I've inserted some still images from the command briefs to help you visualize. Or just watch it above and listen to Robert Loggia)
And the mission briefing:
With over one hundred thousand casualties and more Shivans incoming, we have no hope of holding Capella. Our only real chance is to seal off the system and prevent the invasion from spreading to other Terran-Vasudan worlds. If we fail to contain the Shivan advance, we will unleash the second Great War, a conflict we have virtually no chance of surviving. The Lucifer fleet we defeated 32 years ago is nothing compared to the strength of this armada. Command is committed to getting every last Terran out of the system.
Over 80 Shivan Juggernauts are now in position around the Capella sun. Science vessels monitoring their activity have detected an anomalous subspace field rippling from the Juggernaut fleet. Though we can barely detect the field with our instruments, its intensity has been increasing slowly over the past seventy-two hours. We have known since the Great War that the Shivans possess advanced subspace technologies, but this field goes beyond our wildest speculations. The Shivans may be powering up a new kind of weapon, the likes of which we have never before encountered.
Preparations are now underway to collapse the Epsilon Pegasi jump node. A Great-War-era destroyer, the GTD Bastion, will contain multiple meson warheads that will detonate inside the node. Scientists believe an explosion of sufficient magnitude will cause this node to collapse, as evidenced by the destruction of the Lucifer 32 years ago. The detonation of the Lucifer's reactors sealed off the Sol jump node in Delta Serpentis and severed all contact with Earth. The Bastion has completed its modifications in the Vega system and is now entering Capella.
Skeptics have argued the Shivans made intersystem jumps without using nodes in Ross 128, Ikeya, Vega, and other systems at the outbreak of the Great War. However, scientists assure us this plan will work. Though Shivans have used uncharted nodes and nodes too unstable for Terran and Vasudan vessels, they are as dependent on jump nodes as we are. Nevertheless, we must accept this strategy as nothing more than a temporary measure.
Once we have evacuated all civilian and military personnel from the Capella system, we will send a second destroyer, also carrying meson warheads, through the Capella jump node in Vega. If we succeed in sealing off both nodes, the Alliance will have trapped the Shivans in this system. If we fail, we face certain annihilation.
This is our Alamo, pilots. We hold them here, or we die trying. / Mirror
Mission Briefing Video / Mirror (7,567.4 KB)
Mission Briefing Audio / Mirror (1,275.7 KB)
Something "special." Great! We're screwed. I mean, the GTVA is pretty screwed, but we're super-screwed in particular.
The GTD Bastion will enter the Capella system at 1835 hours. We're sending in the 116th to escort the warship into position. Our forward observer units near the Juggernauts are calling for backup, so we'll send in the 83rd. The 309th will assist with the containment effort at the Vega node, and as for the 70th Blue Lions, we've got something special for you.
I knew it! Screwed.
Your mission is to create a diversion at the Gamma Draconis node. The operation here will be a feint to lure the Shivan armada. The Colossus and its group will form a battle line near the node. By focusing our firepower here, we'll draw the brunt of the Shivan offensive. Meanwhile, on the other side of the system, the Bastion will collapse the node to Epsilon Pegasi.
Your objectives are simple. Destroy all enemy targets. Be advised reinforcements will not be readily available. In a recent engagement, the Colossus sustained damage to its fighterbays. You'll have to hold out until they get the flight deck cleared. Good luck, pilot.
Colossus: Command, the Shivans have four undefended freighters in-system. The Juggernauts near the star have not responded to our deployment.
Command: Proceed Colossus. We are sending in the fleet to attack the freighters.
The fleet: One Mentu-class cruiser - the Heket - one Sobek-class corvette - the Khepri - and (not pictured) one Aeolus-class cruiser - the Stalwart.
They bore in on the freighters, guns blazing. As you can see from their positioning, though, the Colossus is too far out of position - and disabled, unfortunately - to move into direct fire support range.
The Sobek corvette tears a Shivan freighter apart with a pair of beam blasts. Note that this is a special occasion - although their beams are freed to fire at will, both times I played this they were strangely reluctant to do so. It makes this mission just a tiny bit more challenging...
Alpha 2: You call that a fleet, Command? We could use some more help out here.
The Shivans send in fighter wings and a Cain-class cruiser emerges from the Gamma Draconis node.
Command: A Cain-class cruiser has now entered from Gamma Draconis.
I jump the Demogorgon fast, because Cains aren't too much of a threat unless they're backed up by other support, and I don't think anyone here wants the Shivans to get momentum building on this assault.
Command: They've scrambled some fighters from within the system. Jump 'em fast before they swarm us.
We start hitting Scorpio's fighters, but even as the first Cain-class cruiser goes down, a second one, the Baal, jumps in.
Command: A second Cain-class cruiser has entered the system. Designation, Baal.
I order my wingmen to hammer the Baal while I go after the Maras from Scorpio wing.
The Stalwart helps us take down the Baal, and then we start getting to work on enemy fighters - at least Alpha and Beta wings are in Ares fighters and can hang tough with our rather unhelpful capital ships.
The more Maras from Scorpio we take out, the more they send in, it feels like. In total there are 12 from Scorpio, plus more from Virgo and Cancer.
Command: The SC Hela, a Lilith-class cruiser, has entered the system and is headed your way.
Now for anyone who forgets, the Lilith might LOOK like a Cain, but these are arguably the nastiest cruiser the Shivans have in their inventory (which means it's pretty much nastier than any cruiser the GTVA has twice over) - it mounts a single anti-capital ship beam gun more suited for a Ravana or Demon-class destroyer, and has 75% the hitpoints of an Orion or Ravana-class destroyer, with obnoxiously well-armored (and thus hard to destroy) turrets and subsystems. Thankfully, these guys are rare.
This one, though, seems pretty pissed. Its main beam carves the Stalwart into pieces, then it passes over the Heket:
As it passes, it keeps firing, eventually destroying the Mentu cruiser as well:
And although Command gives us Delta Wing - 4 heavy bombers - it still manages to take a piece of the Khepri before finally going down.
After a short breather, the Khepri moves into position closer to the Gamma Draconis node, thus (conveniently) staying out of reach of the forward beam guns of the newest Shivan threat, the Orcus, a Rakshasha-class cruiser.
I pass one of my wingmen catching a quick reload, and move in to take out the anti-fighter beam on the cruiser. With it down, Delta's Boanerges bombers can pound it into scrap.
Unfortunately, the Shivans have figured out we're basically gatecamping them and get smart about it:
Colossus: A Ravana-class destroyer has emerged from subspace. They're putting the pressure on us now!
They send in the Beast, a Ravana-class destroyer, to attack the Colossus directly. We're too far away to assist, so I concentrate on taking out the remaining fighters from Libra-wing.
Colossus: The Ravana is going down, but we've sustained critical damage. Request status update, Command.
Of course before Command can tell us the bad news - hell, before the Ravana can finish blowing up - the Shivans send in some MORE bad news:
Colossus: Command, a Shivan Juggernaut has jumped within range. What's the status of the Bastion?
Command: The situation at the Epsilon Pegasi node remains unresolved.
Well, Command, the situation here's about to get resolved if you know what I mean, what with Colossus getting T-boned by a Sathanas here...
Colossus: Command, the Shivan Juggernaut is ripping our hull to pieces! We can't hold them back much longer!
Command: Colossus, we're pulling you out. Engage your subspace drive.
Colossus: Colossus here. Command, hull failure seems imminent. We've bought the Bastion all the time we could. Let's hope this plan works.
Command: Follow your orders, Colossus! Jump out of there now!
Colossus: Negative, Command. We'll hold them off here. Just get the Bastion through!
Command: Abort mission! All units return to base! Alpha, you will be scrambled immediately to assist the Bastion.