Destroy Research Station
Destroy Defence Forces
Destroy Enemy Carrier
The Mothership and the fleet hyperspaces in, protected from the intense radiation by a large dust bank. Their objective is simple: destroy the outpost and wipe out the Taiidan defence fleet. The task is complicated by the deadly radiation being emitted by the exploding star. While capital ships can shrug off the majority of the radiation, strike craft prove to be very vulnerable due to their lighter armour. Two dust veins are plotted leading towards the research station which can shield ships from the radiation.
The veins themselves are defended by minefields and Taiidan ships, including a new vessel: a Taiidan Qwaar-Jet Class Heavy Cruiser. Once these are neutralized, the main assault begins, involving a dive through the radiation. During the battle an enemy Carrier attempts to escape and warn the main Taiidani fleet, but it is destroyed before it can hyperspace away.
- Destroy the Research Station
- Destroy all Defence Forces
- Destroy Enemy Carrier
As soon as you jump into this level, Fleet Intelligence informs you that the background radiation in this mission is high enough to fry your ships. If you auto-launched any Strike Craft, you'd best dock them quick unless you want to lose them. Your capital ships will be fine so long as you keep them in the protective dust clouds. You'll have to send your battle group down one of two paths to reach the enemy and guess what? The enemy knows this.
You have to decide which route you're going to take: the simple one, or the easy one. The simple path is super easy to navigate, but unless you got that Missile Destroyer from the previous mission, you're screwed. Mine fields in the dust cloud will rip your battle group apart before you even get to use your guns. Once you clear the mines and get all the way to the top of the cloud, you'll need to fight: A Carrier, a Heavy Cruiser, 2 Destroyers, 16 Frigates, plus multiple strike craft (You can use your strike craft at the research station where the dust is thick enough to shield even them. If you can't clear the mines, or don't think you can take on that kind of fire power, go with Plan B. Otherwise, go with Plan A.
As for resourcing, send your guys to one of those two circled asteroid fields. There's a few other resources scattered around, but they're all protected by enemy frigates, or unshielded from the radiation.
In case you didn't catch the talk of lethal radiation, you can't go directly at the research station. Not a single frigate will survive, so you'd have to clear out the baddies with just your badly damaged Destroyers. Not gonna happen. Instead, you'll have to follow the dust path that angles up. Put your Missile Destroyer in front, supported by as many Support Frigates as you can spare. (If you can, build multiple Missile Destroyers and have them all lead the way in Wall formation. You'll fight some enemy strike craft, but nothing serious. The real threat is the mines. They're tiny little orange dots in symmetrical formations. Issue attack group orders on them, but even so, a few will slip through. Keep your Missile Destroyers in good repair. If you lose them before you get to the top of the cloud, you'll have to fall back on Plan B.
Once you get to the top, you'll meet your first Heavy Cruiser! Throw everything you have at it, then go for it's Destroyer escorts. (Remember those Multi-Beam Frigates? If you captured them all, they can waste that heavy cruiser in eight seconds flat. Oh yeah.) Once that's gone, then make straight for the research station. Direct your whole battle group at the enemy Carrier. If it escapes, you lose! After that, mop up the rest of the defenders, saving the research station for last. It can't shoot back after all.
Once you've cleared everything, suck the place dry of the safe resources, then hyperspace away. (Use quick docking!)
Note: It is possible to snag that Heavy Cruiser for yourself. You will need about 12 Salvage corvettes to be safe and make SURE they stay in the dust cloud (tell them to escort your support frigates to be safe). Once you engage the Destroyers and Heavy Cruiser keep them distracted with a Destroyer that has the Support frigates healing it and slip your Salvage corvettes in. When they latch on the path to the Mothership is almost directly through the protective dust so they will actually be fine. If you want to be sure have a single Repair corvette for every 3 Salvage corvettes following and if anyone starts taking damage repair it (I have only had to do this once in the many times I played this mission). This DOES make the mission significantly longer to complete (due to keeping an eye on your salvagers) but isn't it worth it for some free Destroyers and a Heavy Cruiser?
So you either can't take out the mines, can't take out the Heavy Cruiser, or don't want to fight. Well, this path is guarded by a single Assault frigate group. The only problem is that it's quite a bit trickier to navigate. You'll also have to leave the dust cloud once or twice. It's doable though, and once you get to the Research Station, play it just like Plan A. Take out the enemy Carrier, then Frigates, then Strike craft, lastly, the research station. Harvest the safe resources, then jump away. (Quick Dock, otherwise, you'll get to the next mission without your fleet.
- It's strongly advised only to harvest the resources from the two main clumps, in front of and behind the Mothership. There are some resources very far away from a normal route which you don't particularly require to complete the game. Apart from the two main clumps, the other resources are too small and extremely difficult to reach for very little gain.
- There is a thin dust vein at the rear of the station. It is possible to have a small group of Ion Cannon Frigates navigate through it to launch a sneak-attack while the main force pins down the enemy. A couple of enemy frigates may attempt to counter but they should not last very long. Alternatively, sneaking from the back with a mixed force of 2 Destroyers + 2 Missile Destroyers, set to aggressive, with Support Frigates should do the trick.
- Send in a Carrier loaded with a few Multi-Gun Corvettes to wipe out the enemy Defenders. This is useful if your Missile Destroyer is tied up with something else or you destroyed the enemy Missile Destroyer from the previous mission, thus failing to get Guided Missiles technology.
- Tackle both routes at the same time. Destroying the enemy frigates along the lower route means less enemy reinforcements when you attack the station. Frigates backed up by a Destroyer and a Support Frigate or two should suffice, and can used for a pincer movement. However, given that the enemy frigates stationed away from the actual base will travel slowly through the radiated areas of the map, they will be heavily damaged by the time they reach the research base and fall quickly to any ion frigates you may have.