The Let's Play Archive

Freespace 2

by Psion, BloodWulfe, & Gasket Basket

Part 9: Into the Maelstrom

NB: From here on in, Psion takes over this LP since GB had no internet access for a couple months

AND NOW what we all haven't been waiting for:
Into The Maelstrom

Actually there's a cutscene here:

High Quality / High Quality (mirror)

Low Quality (Youtube) / Backup (Thanks for finding this, GuavaMoment!)

Narrated by the dad from That 70s Show (also known as "coolest bad guy ever" from Robocop - "Bitches leave!") it tells you the Colossus was a project started after the Great War (see: Freespace 1) and was a twenty-year long building project between the Terrans and the Vasudans to build an immense capital ship capable of smashing any Shivan forces. It carries some 720 (240 in the cutscene, but this is actually contradicting other canon, so pick one) fighters, has a dozen heavy anti-capital ship beam cannon, 15 flak, 12 missile launchers, and 45 laser turrets, and is called the equivilant firepower of five Orion-class destroyers. The Lucifer-class it refers to was the Shivan supership of Freespace 1; it was invincible in normal space and had two forward guns that could hull a destroyer in seconds. Nasty guy.

Amusingly enough due to its size, it's actually got very low weapon density - so much hull space and comparatively so few guns compared to something like an Aeolus-class cruiser or any corvette. Still, size counts - It can lay down the hurt so, so, very hard - its anti-capital beam guns are the most powerful in the GTVA and it's no slouch at picking smaller enemies apart. The Colossus shines when faced with multiple smaller foes from multiple angles, it has excellent 360-degree spherical coverage, but relatively little ability to focus maximum firepower on a single target due to the placement of its weapons.

Commander ExceLLent JOB PiloTT himself:

Lt. Commander Cordova posted:

The 242nd will escort a supply convoy as it makes its rendezvous with the GTVA Colossus. As we prepare the Colossus for the Allied counterattack, we must handle the logistics of supplying and maintaining this warship. Convoys of transports, gas miners, and freighters have been deployed for this purpose.
The Colossus will jump in and rendezvous with your convoy at the Capella jump node, located on the far side of an asteroid field. The area has been the site of intense fighting and rebel activity. Intelligence believes that the Rebels might attempt to attack our supply convoys rather than challenge the Colossus directly.
You will be leading Alpha wing, the main escort component. Your mission is to defend the GTFr Paracombe, the GTG Avila, and the GVG Jooyun. The Avila and Jooyun are mining vessels designed to collect fuel from gas giants for the reactors that power the Colossus.
The Vasudans have dispatched a wing of Serapis fighters to guard the Jooyun. You do not have command over this unit. However, the 242nd Suicide Kings are responsible for the Jooyun's safety. Eighteen months of civil war are beginning to strain Terran-Vasudan relations, especially in contested systems. See to it the Jooyun survives.

And something you haven't seen in this thread before: Ship and loadout selection screens

Here's where you can select what craft you want to fly. Depending on what squadron you're in and what mission you're on, you get a variety of choices. Here I can choose from the Ulysses, which is crap, the Loki, which is worse, or the Perseus. Now I know I railed on the Perseus, but it's by far the best choice for this mission, by virtue of not sucking. Note you can also change what ships your wingmen fly.

And here's loadout. Same deal - you drag your weapons from the ready pool on the left into the appropriate slots on your ship, and can do this for your wing by selecting them below and then dragging ordinance over. I tend to leave my wingmen alone since they die a lot (and thus wasting effort on them is pointless) except in situations where the AI simply can't use the default loadout for crap, and so I HAVE to change it, but I'm a fan of the Tempest dumbfire rockets. They let you deal out massive damage on an attack run, and since the Perseus is relatively lightly armed, getting in as hard a strike as possible means you can tag more than one bomber on a firing run, which makes your life easier.

This is critical right here, by the way. During the briefing, if you click on an icon, it will bring up a model view which rotates of your targeted object (or the class of fighter/bomber/capital ship in question)...however, just in case anyone is worried, this asteroid field is made of asteroids.

Mission start. One of my convoy ships is to the right, and I'm looking at my HUD representation of the jump node. I've got to get these fragile - and slow - freighters twenty-three kilometers forward.

Alpha 3: We're heading into the asteroid field now, Command. We're approximately twenty-three kilometers from the Capella jump node.
Alpha 4: I'm picking up hostile indicators on my radar. I can't get a lock. Might be nothing but asteroid interference.
Command: That's wishful thinking, Pilot. Proceed with caution, and stay close to the convoy.

I'm not one for following orders, so I punch up maximum afterburner and head right for the unknown contacts.

Alpha 2: Command, a Rebel Sentry Gun has activated one thousand meters from the convoy!
Command: Destroy it, but be careful, Alpha. The NTF seem to have an ambush in the works. Keep an eye out for hostile fighters.

Of course, as Command "helpfully" tells me this, three NTF Medusa heavy bombers and three NTF Hercules heavy fighters jump in - one to my convoy's left flank and one to the right. I order my wingmen to start picking off sentry guns (these things are pathetic, by the way) and head for the Medusa bombers.
(This is about as helpful as Command telling me to "Avoid the beam and you won't get hit," when discussing the GTCv Actium's first salvo of fire in the nebula a couple missions ago. Gee, you think that'd work Command? Don't get hit to not get hit?)

I'm making a gun+Tempest run here. The bomber under my fire disintigrated about half a second from my fire - even though it is at 85% hull strength - and if you look closely you can see the lead bomber firing its first (and last) torpedo. On this same run I nailed the third bomber as it tried to fly by me, reversed, and popped the first bomber and bomb. My wingmen cleaned up the Hercs.

A second wave jumped in and it was more of the same - three Medusas, three Hercs, again trying for a pincer. They died and I ordered my wingmen to pick off the remaining two sentry guns they'd ignored (wisely) for killing the Hercules fighters.

Thirteen kilometers from the jump node, as I'm polishing off the last NTF Hercs, things start to happen in rapid order:

The GTCv Parapet (the caption says GTC, it's wrong) - a Deimos corvette, jumps in at the node itself and whistles up four more Perseus interceptors, Theta Wing. The Parapet also helpfully tells me they have orders to blockade the node and must not leave their position - basically, "Hey you have a capital ship here but we aren't going to do shit hope this helps!"
The NTF counters with a Fenris-class cruiser, the NTC Maelstrom, aiming right at the convoy - bringing its forward beam gun to bear. It's directly in the convoy's path, between the jump node (and the Parapet) and the convoy, about four kilometers from the convoy and further from the node - Theta wing, which was launched right next to the Parapet, isn't going to be able to get there faster than you.
Command: The NTC Maelstrom has entered the asteroid field! When it gets in range, the cruiser will fire its forward beam cannon at the convoy! Alpha 1, you are ordered to neutralize that turret.

The Fenris is a Great War era light cruiser, retrofitted with a single anti-capital ship beam gun on the chin, a pair of lightweight anti-fighter beam guns on the stern, and a hull made of reinforced paper. Further, its subsystems (turrets, etc) are highly vulnerable to targeted damage, like say, that beam cannon I just got ordered to take out.

One bumrush with Tempests and HL-7 cannonfire later, it's out.

Of course, as I'm distracted with the turret, the NTF sends in another wing of three Medusa bombers and three more Hercules fighters. After taking out the turret I turn around, put all power into engines, and fly back to the convoy, intercepting the bombs before they hit and killing bombers.
My wingmen whine about needing assistance or something. Noobs
Alpha 2: All units in the vicinity of the Capella jump node! Mayday! Our convoy is under attack! Repeat! Our convoy is under attack!

Theta kills the Maelstrom when I'm not looking (I wanted that kill, jerks) and assists in taking out the last few fighters. At this point, I rearm, and the convoy is a bare three kilometers from the jump node - looks like we're home free.

At this point the convoy is three kilometers from the node, and no NTF in sight. Shortly thereafter, the Colossus jumps in - here the NTCv Parapet is barely a kilometer away and the Colossus is over ten, if that helps your sense of scale:

The Colossus deploys fighters, thanks me for my escort, and orders me home. One subspace jump later:

Lt. Commander PI-LOTT posted:

Excellent Job, Pilot. The convoy made its rendezvous with the Colossus without losing a single ship. As the other freighters and gas miners transfer their payload to the Colossus, the Alliance is making final preparations for our attack against Admiral Koth and the NTD Repulse. A demonstration of our ultimate weapon should force the Rebel leadership to reconsider their territorial ambitions.
GTVA units throughout the system report a successful, coordinated strike against NTF targets. Command is confident the long stalemate in Epsilon Pegasi will soon come to a favorable resolution.
By clearing out the rebel Sentry Guns in the asteroid field, you have significantly reduced the danger posed to future convoys on this route. Your initative may save many lives.

(Yes, that IS where the quote came from. Refer to this post:

Now Cordova says "a demonstration of our ultimate weapon," implying the Colossus. As you'll soon find out, the ACTUAL ultimate weapon of the GTVA is the player, Alpha 1.
Trust me when I say this. The Colossus? Oh sure it's big and bad, but by the end of this game you'll have slaughtered enough enemies to build a Colossus out of their corpses and broken ships ... about five times over.


For your excellent record of confirmed kills, you have achieved the status of Ace.
I got twelve this mission, totalling 83 career - Ace is presumably at 75. My, the GTVA sets their standards high. Ace is nominally five kills these days. Must be some sort of FUTURE KILL INFLATION. "Sorry, GTVA pilot, you need to kill the entire fighter compliment of an Orion before we call YOU an Ace."

One of the more fun missions in FS2!
An actual use of tactics by the GTVA!
Alpha 1 saves the day ... AGAIN!