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- 6.17 TOD4 M1/1 – Tactical Strike (Gammulan)
6.17 TOD4 M1/1 – Tactical Strike (Gammulan)
- Start location: Earth, Sol (mission brief says Gammulan Quadrant).
- Pre-mission time: 30 minutes.
- Mission duration: 90 minutes.
- Primary Objectives: Stations Hexar, Gammula, Sorius, Parix, Rogan, Sovar and Rocon must be destroyed.
- Rewards: 150,000 experience points, Star of Merit medal, Eye of Andromeda medal and Order of Universe.
- Artifacts: RANDOM and RANDOM Decoder.
The following stations need to be destroyed:
- Hexar, Gamma-1, Gammula (contains RANDOM decoder).
- Gammula, Gamma-2, Gammula (contains RANDOM).
- Sorius, LV-110, Gammula.
- Parix, LV-115, Gammula.
- Rogan, Chalinis, Alpha Gamma.
- Sovar, Mantisi, Alpha Gamma.
- Rocon, Regis VI, Regulus.
Several additional Gammulan Stormcarriers and several fighter groups are patrolling Gammula and Alpha Gamma systems.
Gammulan stations are not easy to destroy, but will fall eventually. What makes this mission difficult is that seven stations must be destroyed within 2 hours.
Do not be concerned that the mission start location is shown as Earth, Sol – there is no need to go there. Instead, aim to start the mission in the Gammulan quadrant of the map. This will allow you to use the pre-mission and mission time, giving you a total of 2 hours. You may pre-empt the mission, and start your attacks during the last stage of the previous mission – this might give a total of 2.5 hours. The mission description implies that you should retrieve the RANDOM artifact and its decoder before attacking the stations. Both these artifacts are on stations anyway (see below). The RANDOM weapon has no use against star-stations, so there is no advantage to retrieving it first. The order of your attacks does not appear to make any difference.
You do not have time to draw out station defenders and defenses before assaulting each station. Once travel time has been discounted, you might only have 10-15 minutes per station. I think the best strategy is to cloak, enter the region, fly close to the station and fire. The aim is to destroy the station before it can overwhelm you with its defenses. Doing this without any artifacts is hard. One of two artifacts make it easy. The Trans-Matrix Cloaking Device should allow you to fire whilst cloaked, so the station will never be alerted to your presence. It is unlikely you will have the required officer AI levels to use the device, even if you have it. An alternative is to use the Phased Array Ion Disruptor, which inflicts huge amounts of damage on stations quite rapidly. With a reasonable shield, you should be able to survive long enough to destroy the station so long as you get into one of the station’s blind spots:
- Hexar, Gamma-1, Gammula: Try to position yourself in the gap in the centre of the station – this is not easy.
- Gammula, Gamma-2, Gammula: Move into the gap in between the station’s ‘legs’. See below for hints on finding the station.
- Parix, LV-115, Gammula: Position your ship in the small gap in the centre, inbetween the upper and lower tier of the station – this is not easy.
- Sorius, LV-110, Gammula: Position your ship very close, between the large circular part that makes up the top of the station and the ‘legs’ protruding from the base.
- Rogan, Chalinis, Alpha Gamma: Position your ship very close, between the large circular part that makes up the top of the station and the ‘legs’ protruding from the base.
- Sovar, Mantisi, Alpha Gamma: Get in between the two star shaped segments that make up the station.
- Rocon, Regis VI, Regulus: Align your ship so that the station appears as thin as possible, then get very close – almost inside the structure, but not quite.
Gammula station (in Gamma-2) has an unusual feature – it cloaks. Like cloaked ships, it de-cloaks momentarily when launching ships or firing missiles. It can also be seen when gun-fire hits it. Unlike cloaked ships, it will not move far, so once you get its approximate position the easiest tactic is to fly in a straight line towards it, firing into ‘space’ until it shows up – or you ram it… The station may not de-cloak until it sees you, meaning you will have to de-cloak momentarily on entering the region.
It is important to remain operational throughout the mission. As soon as a station has been destroyed, de-cloak. Do not start your next attack until radiation levels decline or else your crew will become radiated. Light damage is inevitable. Expect to keep your System Engineers busy. Do not expect to find any nearby stations willing to sell you spare parts.
Without artifacts, consider using large quantities of missiles instead of the Phased Array Ion Disruptor. 40-50 STS-Vagrant missiles per station should be adequate. This is likely to require stocks of missiles to be purchased in advance and placed in storage in Shuttle, ATVs, and on the Transporter.
6.17.4 Artifacts: RANDOM and RANDOM Decoder
Both these items are available anytime after TOD3 M1/5 – Planetary Strike (Moon), but there are few opportunities to capture them at that stage since most of the TOD3 activity takes place close to Sol, and there are no particular advantages to doing so. RANDOM is on Gammula station, Gamma-2, Gammula. The RANDOM decoder is on Hexar station, Gamma-1, Gammula. Both are required to use the weapon. RANDOM is a planetary attack weapon, launched in a similar way to OTS missiles via Tacops. It destroys all life on the targeted planet. Its use also leads to a court-martial (however, by this stage of the game you are more than capable of surviving without the Terran Military). RANDOM requires the Research Engineer, Tactical Officer and Chief Engineer to have AIs of 100 (see The AI problem above for further discussion).
6.17.5 What now?
Congratulations. You are one of the few players who have ever completed the ACM. It is likely you will have amassed enough experience points by the end of the ACM to reach the rank of Supreme Commander – completing the last mission should give at least 185,000 experience points (mission bonus plus 5,000 for each Gammulan station), which is only 15,000 off Supreme Commander rank. Supreme Commander rank gives you access to Fleet Command and Control. Once the ACM has been completed, the game defaults to free-flight style, allowing you to do whatever you wish. Unlike free-flight, you should have assembled an exceptionally powerful, artifact laden battlecruiser – you are practically unstoppable… Some artifacts will require additional crew experience, so consider using repair-based delaying tactics to raise officer AI levels (see The AI problem above).
There is only one official ACM, however an unofficial Insurgent campaign has been written, which you may wish to try – see Can I play as an Insurgent? Are there other ACMs? below.