Wing Commander 4 Replay Week 1

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
Welcome back Pilots.

"You're either an earthworm or an eagle."

Week 1 will cover 8 missions and 3 systems: Hellespont, Tyr and Masa. I bumped it up to 8 because I really dislike splitting systems between weeks. This brings us right to the Eisen defection in week 1.

I can't wait to see your after action reports!

Good hunting and good luck.
 

DaveO

Commodore
Gah!!! I expected four missions, but no troubles. I'm uploading mission #4 to YouTube right now. The other four will have to wait for now, but I did get thru a major hurdle by completing mission 4 without invulnerability.

P.S. - I might as well say this now. That first Tyr mission is a doozy, and it's one of the most difficult missions in the entire Wing Commander series for me.
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
If you want we can bump it down to five (so only Hellespont and Tyr), I figured eight would be ok since several of the missions are fairly quick at the beginning.
 

DaveO

Commodore
I'm fine with eight. It's a good break point, and now I have to get back there. I had a crash when the game was adding the .TRE files and have to start from scratch. Kill counts will be much higher than normal since I'll do rookie and invulnerability to get to mission 6. I had #5 recorded when everything was lost.

EDIT - I'm to mission #5 already, and that took only 25 minutes :)
 

Flying Target

Swabbie
Banned
WC4 is a really polished product for the time. Following straight on from WC3 you can really see where the work went to iron out all the little creases. Still holds up pretty well today, really. It's a shame they didn't plan for 1024*768 resolution back then! Just imagine how she'd look.

Gives your CD drive a damned good blatting too. Lots of FMV. Lots and lots. The missus keeps wandering in and going "Is that a game or a movie?" To be honest, I'm not sure what the right answer is!
 

DaveO

Commodore
I finished the eight missions yesterday, and encoding looks to be done but I have some double checking to do before posting to YouTube. I did need HCL's excellent Wing Commander movie player to get multiple segments. Without that, this replay would be subpar. It still is below my standards for the video capturing, but I have to accept that this will be the best I can do. My apologies for the minor gripe about eight missions since they are quite short in terms of flight time. No mission flights took over ten minutes, and I'll be interested in seeing if Lorien can survive mission 4. He's got a primer on how to do it with my video, but it's not as easy as I make it look. I have now been shot down more times in those eight missions then in the entire replay of Wing Commander 3. Looks like it's back to Wing Commander 2 difficulty for surviving some missions, but I'm used to that. As usual, I'll post a reply when the other four missions have been uploaded. I had stopped at mission 4 for the uploading.
 

DaveO

Commodore
Mission and other WC4 recordings finished uploading to YouTube a few hours ago. The FMVs are higher in time than the mission times so far. So to answer Flying Target's question: WC4 is a VIDEO game whereas other WC entries tend to emphasize video GAME.

http://www.youtube.com/davecaspermeyer
 

DaveO

Commodore
Screen shots have been added to my Photobucket album at:
http://s204.photobucket.com/albums/bb15/DaveO-MM/Wing Commander/

I'll take this opportunity to say that the level of detail from this version is impressive for its time. You've got bodies floating in space, extra explosion detail if you watch close enough, and much of the space combat stuff had been polished to very good detail including added detail for ground missions.

P.S. - My apologies about the movie viewer, it was made by HCl and not HCL. I know, it's just a capitalization error but I'd rather give proper credit. :eek:

P.S.S. - The shots look interlaced, but are correct when you click on them. So don't be deceived by the thumbnail shots.
 

Attachments

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
P.S.S. - The shots look interlaced, but are correct when you click on them. So don't be deceived by the thumbnail shots.
They are as they looked in the game but they are also interlaced. There's a command line switch at least in the Windows version to remove the interlacing... or you can just grab screenshots from the DVD version.
 

Death

gh0d (Administrator)
I'll take this opportunity to say that the level of detail from this version is impressive for its time. You've got bodies floating in space[...]
I remember my first play-through of WC4. On the investigation of the dead transport, I looked away to something offscreen, then as soon as my attention returned to the screen a charred skeleton floated by the cockpit window. Seriously freaked me out.

Though, given the Doom-alicious gibs sometimes seen in Privateer, I suppose I shouldn't have been too surprised...
 

DaveO

Commodore
In the depths of space, a group of three Hellcats are escorting a medical transport. There is a bit of light banter from Green Leader to the lady at control expressing his wishes to have her at his side. She warns Green Leader and the other pilots to stay alert due to reports of trouble around where they are. Unknown to ALL of the ships, a group of five bandits uncloak to attack the fighters and the transport. One of the bandits drops its wings like a Klingon Bird of Prey and blows one of the Hellcats to bits. The other patrol fighters know that something is up once they see their buddy go off the radar scope. Another of the Hellcat fighters is frantically checking for any sign of the bandits, and he gets an unpleasant and fatal surprise from a bandit blasting him at point-blank range. The final Hellcat takes a hit from another bandit, and his fighter is spinning out of control with all ship systems smashed. The bandit is following too close to the Hellcat, and it runs right into the fighter. The leader of the bandits finishes off the Hellcat, and now it is five fighters against a lightly armed transport. The bandit leader is buzzing around the transport, and they are begging them to stop their attack. He states that ‘Border Worlders take no prisoners’ and a disc-like object is released from the ship and attaches itself to the transport. The bandit group pulls back, and the transport thinks that everyone on their ship will be ok. The disc creates an internal inferno within the transport, and the charred shell is drifting thru space. In a special move, the bandit leader drops a mine and times his afterburner thrust exactly to get out of its detonation range.

On Earth, Paladin is bringing the Senate house to order. Due to the success of his special ops folks for the attack run on Kilrah, Paladin has risen quickly in the world of politics. Paladin promises to hear the opinions of the audience members for their reaction to the numerous incidents that have happened near the Border Worlds. Before hearing from the people, Paladin introduces the commander of the Strategic Readiness Agency: Admiral Tolwyn. Tolwyn gives a small speech about his duties to protect Confed space from acts of aggression. He then says he has few answers to the questions on who is behind this increase in tensions between Confed and the Border Worlds. The crowd’s not too happy with that, and they leap in with theories on who could be causing the trouble. The Admiral makes an attempt to calm the fury of the crowd by reminding them that the Border Worlds were a loyal ally in the recent victory against the Kilrathi. He also states that the public should not let a lust for revenge to cloud their thinking, and they should remember the Border Worlds are their friends. During the war against the Kilrathi, the Border Worlds were going thru social and political changes. The Admiral promises an investigation into the true culprit, and the crowd is enthused over that proposed course of action. Paladin gives the Admiral his blessing, and acknowledges that the current tensions are at a dangerous level. In order to give some time to let the tensions cool down as well as to allow the Admiral to complete his investigation, Paladin gives Tolwyn two weeks before letting the decision of war with the Border Worlds come to a public vote.


Hellespont 1
I’m entering a bar and hear the concluding remarks from the news personnel about Admiral Tolwyn’s address to the Senate. I head straight to the bar, hoping to forgot my recent troubles. Things did not pan out with Rachel after the war, and I went into farming in attempt to find something else I was good at. The farm is doing ok, but I was much better as a combat pilot and am beginning to wonder what lies over the horizon. Before the bar order of a Hell’s Kitchen can be delivered, another person who claims to be a veteran of the war wants me to give him some money to help him out. I decide to help him, and ask him to use it to buy a meal instead of a drink. The bartender laments how a lot of veterans are having equally difficult times transitioning from military to civilian life. Unemployment is above normal, and I state my belief that we all make our own paths in life. The bartender recognizes my face after I tell him that I’m a war veteran too. Before the bartender can positively identify me, I see a woman slapping somebody and hear a familiar voice. It’s Maniac, and he’s STILL trying his desperate moves to have a relationship with a woman. Maniac figures that ladies on the ‘edge of nowhere’ have no appreciation for civilized men. I return a retort that they do display appreciation when they meet somebody more civilized than Maniac. Maniac has a little laugh and says that it’s good to see me again. He then throws in an insult about my choice to farm instead of fight. I admit that it’s a peaceful life, and he thinks that I’m wasting my talents by being an earthworm instead of an eagle. If it’s anything like the Wild Eagle squadron that Maniac once led, you can count me out of that action. I ask Maniac if he has continued flying after my departure from military duty, and he says that he could not think of a better use for his talents and considers my successful bombing run on Kilrah lucky. I get a little tired of his insults and explain that I made my choice because it was what I wanted at the time. Maniac thinks my reply sounded rehearsed, and before I can respond I turn my attention to a scuffle in the bar. Some person is treating a fellow human like a piece of dirt, and I wonder if anybody will do anything to stop the abuse. Maniac’s uncommitted about the matter, just like everything else. I decide to step in and stop this. That person seems to be seething in hate towards his fellow man, and I ask him to let him go. He tells me to buzz off, and I let him know that I’m prepared to do what is necessary to stop him. The man pulls a knife and holds it close to my throat. He then says that I’ll wish we had never met. I state coolly that I already do, and he gets a small laugh from that. He withdraws the knife and states his wishes to meet me again. I have a feeling that it will be on his terms and personal. Maniac comes charging over after the man with the knife is gone and makes feeble attempts at bravado. Despite my misgivings about Maniac, I can’t afford to let him do something supremely stupid and distract him with my question on what he wanted to talk to me about. Maniac gives me the news that I’m being recalled to active military service. I tell Maniac that the war with the Kilrathi has been over for a while, and he tells me that he was sent to retrieve me. I ask who sent him, but it must have been somebody in the upper ranks since he does not have a clue. Maniac then rants on how he’ll never understand Confed command decisions including his lack of promotion. He continues his rant on how lucky I was in defeating the Kilrathi, and I stop him cold by asking when we’re leaving. That stuns him enough that he does not have yet another witty reply, and he tells me that there are two Hellcat fighters waiting outside. Once we’re both in our fighters, Maniac is back to his usual self and tosses more insults my way. I ignore a few of them, and am about to tell him to stop it when he admits that he knew he was going too far but knows I did enjoy his repartee to a point before.

Maniac has a special surprise for me with a virtual dogfight challenge in order to see if he is better than me. I get right behind him before acknowledging the challenge and quickly tag him a few times with 40% virtual damage. He comes on a direct pass, and we exchange equal damage. He accuses me of getting lucky again, and then a bit of an ambush happens. Maniac and I are caught completely defenseless, but he sends the signal to reconfigure our fighters for battle. It takes approximately twenty seconds for the reconfiguration to complete, and I’m dodging around and using afterburners to keep from taking hits. I see our opponents, which happen to be two Razor fighters. These things look like rockets with wings and a cockpit. They are REALLY fast, but can’t take many hits before exploding. My missiles handle both pirate fighters, and Maniac is blanked again. We head for Orlando depot, but before we land a pilot in an Avenger launches all of its torpedoes at it. The depot goes up, and Maniac curses over the loss of life as well as our low fuel status. He’s not sure if we can make the next nearest station which is Bluepoint, but there is no choice. We both autopilot to Bluepoint, and get clearance to land with some fuel to spare.

Maniac and I are flying together in a shuttle, and he’s wondering how the pilot of the Avenger knew my name during the attack on Orlando depot. I admit my puzzlement, but also my desires to personally deal with that unknown pilot. Maniac thinks that the special maneuver the pilot pulled with the mine drop and afterburn trick was hot-dogging, but I know better. I get a nice surprise in seeing the Victory in orbit around Saturn. Maniac tells me that it has been made into an orbital museum, and teases me a few times. As we pass the Victory and close in on our destination, we both see two super carriers under construction. Maniac gets quite a good look at the one nearing completion. It’s called the Vesuvius, and it is definitely much longer than a standard Confed carrier. We land, and I enter the office of Admiral Tolwyn. I get his attention, and he points out how spectacular the Vesuvius looks. He then states the obvious by saying that we could have used something like that ship during the war, and thinks the cats would have thought twice about attacking such a large target. I’m not entirely convinced, since the Behemoth was a super ship itself and the Kilrathi were able to destroy it. I point out that carriers don’t fly themselves, and he acknowledges that it is the personnel that can make or break a Confed capital ship. Admiral Tolwyn admires the lack of detrimental effect that farming had on me. He explains that if he felt more confident about the current Confed security situation, he would walk away. He asks about, and I confirm some trouble along the way to this meeting. Tolwyn thinks that law and order are crumbling concepts for Confed. I point out that we are going thru transitional times after the finish of the war with the Kilrathi, and the Admiral points out that the cats presented a common enemy for everyone to fight. Now with all the different factions, there is a high amount of uncertainty. I’ve seen the destruction firsthand myself, and Tolwyn explains that is part of the reason why I’ve been brought back to active duty. I state that it’s no secret where my loyalties are, and the Admiral is counting on that. Tolwyn explains that for the last few months there have been acts of piracy, terrorism, and sabotage in an undeclared war being waged against Confed. I ask if there is any strategy being shown by these actions, and Tolwyn says that each time he makes a connection it is pointing to the Border Worlds as the culprit. I ask for confirmation that they have undertaken a guerilla war, and he’s not entirely sure although the relationship has been uneasy even during the war. Tolwyn says that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and I figure that is another reason I’ve been asked to come back. Tolwyn acknowledges that we have had a rocky past, but despite our differences that we’ve achieved much together. The Admiral then explains the final reason that I’ve been allowed to return. I’m to be a potent message as well as an extension of the Admiral’s eyes and ears. I admit no expertise in being a politician, and the Admiral admits that he thought it would be good for me to get reacquainted with an old friend: the thrill of battle. Maniac and I board the Confed carrier Lexington, and Maniac is off to his usual antics of trying to impress the crew. A lot of the pilots on the ship express their thanks in meeting me, and Maniac gets jealous. He calls me ‘Heart of the Tiger’, so I return the favor in saying that the Admiral talked all about him during my meeting. Of course, if I told him anything I’d have to kill him. Maniac insists he has clearance to hear what I have to say, but I’m going to be holding my tongue to keep him in line and in suspense for a while.


Hellespont 2
I meet Captain Eisen, and he reminds me of a bet that I made with him at the end of the Kilrathi war. I said that I was done with flying, but Eisen made a bet that I’d be back in action. I admire how good the Lexington looks in comparison to the Victory, and express my belief that Confed has been taking good care of him. The duties and tasks of the Captain have changed slightly, but the need for good and experienced pilots has not changed. The Captain gets called away to the bridge over the intercom, but he encourages me to have a good look around the ship during my stay here. I happen to see another familiar face from Vagabond in the lounge, and I lose a card draw for the next drink. I ask Vagabond if he’s still living up to not being tied down to one place. He has done a lot of roaming around until his assignment here, and then went into the active reserve. After a while, he got reinstated to active service and Vagabond admits that it was a stupid mistake. I tell him that I’ve yet to see him lose when it mattered, and head over to the bar to get his drink. I head to the briefing room to see what my first mission from the Lexington will be. Eisen tells me that he expects pilots to use their heads and not worry so much about contingencies. My task is to help in tracking down a base of operations for pirates in this area. The pirates have disrupted convoy shipment traffic in this sector, so I’ll be flying with a wingman to escort a convoy to a jump point. My next goal is to do a patrol relief for a communications array under construction. I express my feelings that it’s good to be flying under Eisen’s command again and take off in a Hellcat with Vero on my wing.

We encounter pirate Razor fighters, and I let Vero go to work. She and I split for pirate fighter kills. At the next nav point, it’s pretty much the same encounter with the same results. At the communications array, I see multiple Thunderbolts attacking. The patrol requests help in the defense, but one of the bombers is destroyed before either Vero or I can get in range. My guns take down the other one. I get a communications message from Captain Eisen to tail the Thunderbolts so that we can find their base. I stay within visual range of the pirates, but not too close to disobey Eisen’s order. I succeed in the objective of getting the pirate home base location, and head back to the Lexington. Both of our Hellcats are in perfect condition, so that’s a good way to start off.


Hellespont 3
I see a new Lieutenant that looks like he’s lost. I ask if he needs assistance, and he points out that he just shipped in. He’s obviously not sure on whom to report to, and I ask if he’s fresh from the Academy. It turns out that he was the number one graduate from his class, and was hoping for some Kilrathi action with his callsign of Catscratch. Maniac comes up the stairs to ask me a question, but by using my name Catscratch recognizes that I’m the pilot who handed the Kilrathi their final defeat. Catscratch certainly sounds impressed after meeting me, and wants to tell everyone he knows of our meeting. Maniac feels that the new kid is brown nosing, and I ask him if it’s true. Catscratch denies Maniac’s accusations, and admits that it has been a dream of his to fly with a veteran like myself who could teach him on how to be an even better pilot. He is sure that I have plenty of stories to share with him, and I tell him that the greatest instructor will be from flying missions. Catscratch really wants to fly on my wing for the next mission, and I tell him that I’ll decide if I want him to come along. I check with Captain Eisen for the latest briefing, and it’s time to go after the pirate base. There is uncertainty over whether the pirates are acting alone or working along with the Border Worlds militia. Due to obeying Eisen’s orders, Confed intel was able to determine that the pirates have a frigate operating on the edge of the Hellespont asteroid belt. We’ll be flying in Longbow bombers to take out the frigate, and we’ll also have fighter cover to help us out.

I let Vagabond come along since I feel I need somebody with some previous experience. There are a few Thunderbolts along the way to greet us. The Longbow handles the same sluggish way it did before when I used it against the Kilrathi. The fighter cover and Vagabond handle one of them, and I get very close to the other and give him a gun barrage that fragments his ship. At the next nav point, there is a more serious greeting. The fighters and Vagabond distract the pirate defense, and I get an easy torpedo shot on the frigate. Two of the enemies are downed by the time the frigate is taken care of. Vagabond deals a pirate a losing hand, and I see a good target with an enemy Thunderbolt. Again, I let the guns do the damage and the bomber is blown up. Vagabond scores another kill, and I let one of the fighters have a missile for a meal. We head back to the Lexington, but Captain Eisen wants us to investigate reports of a Border Worlds probe invading the Hellespont area. The Lexington recently picked up an SOS from a civilian transport carrying terraforming colonists, so Eisen wants us to check out the transport. Together, Vagabond and I head off for the transport. When we arrive, we are greeted with a gruesome sight. There are bodies floating around outside the transport. A shuttle from the Lexington gives us a report that some new type of weapon has caused this carnage. The unknown weapon caused the artificial atmosphere in the transport to super heat and turn into an inferno. Vagabond wonders why anybody would choose a civilian target for a military weapons test. There’s nothing to do here except to clean up the mess.


Tyr 1
I see Vagabond and Maniac at the bar, and they’re both making guesses for who was responsible for what has been going on lately. Maniac thinks a Border World radical faction is the culprit, but I point out that a test like the one on the civilian transport is beyond their current technology. Maniac is not entirely convinced since there has been enough time since the end of the Kilrathi war to make some technological advances. Maniac is right that pirates would not have the kind of firepower to destroy Orlando as well as the transport. Vagabond points out that Confed has used the Border Worlds as a dumping ground, so that has so far been their reward for helping us win the war against the cats. The only rationale that Vagabond can see for the Border Worlds turning against Confed is a desperate attempt to obtain their own freedom. I check in with Captain Eisen for my next briefing. He expresses doubts over the intelligence that we’ve been receiving from Confed. The Border Worlds have taken an important hostage has been taken due to the tensions. I’m given the mission of doing aerial reconnaissance in order to rescue the hostage. In order to get as much recon as possible, my Hellcat has been outfitted with a device that will allow me to get good pictures. There are three points on the planet that I’ve been ordered to check out, so I’ll have to get pictures at each point to ensure success for the hostage rescue. Eisen tells me to also check the mission notes and nav map before taking off. There’s obviously going to be a hostile reception, so I have to make the most of the Hellcat’s capabilities to avoid annihilation.

I take off, and there are two Border Worlds Banshee fighters in orbit around the planet to stop me. I tail one of the Banshees and overshoot him on my pursuit. I’m close enough that I accidentally ram the fighter, so now it’s a one-on-one situation. My front has taken serious damage, but I’m still able to fight. I’m able to stay on the rear of the other Banshee, and multiple barrages from my guns eliminate him. I head down to the planet surface, and make sure that my power and gun settings are ok before going to the first designated point. There is a missile turret along with two Vindicator fighters. They look a bit similar to the Kilrathi Ekapshis, and are just as maneuverable. I take out the turret first, and then attempt a multiple missile launch against the Vindicator ace. He decoys the missiles away, so I handle things the old fashioned way with my guns. I almost get too careless by taking multiple rear turret laser hits from the Vindicator, but I pull out of that line of fire and re-engage him from the rear. I hammer him enough that he’s gone for good, and go after the remaining defender. Again, I run into the rear of the fighter but it’s not a fatal blow for his fighter or mine. I get the recon pictures at this point and head onwards. The resistance is lighter with only a missile turret and Vindicator to deal with. I nail the turret by strafing it from a low attack approach, and turn my attention to the fighter. I decoy away a few missiles, and don’t play his game of ground chicken. I make sure that I let my shots count, and multiple hits vaporize the Vindicator. I get more recon pictures, and go on to the third point. Another missile turret with two Vindicators are there, so I do the same high speed strafing attack to handle the turret. I again use a multiple missile launch on one of the Vindicators, and I succeed. I have one Vindicator and one missile left, so there is no point in holding back. I get very close behind the Vindicator and let him make friends with my missile. I’m hoping there is not another reception of fighters awaiting me after I exit the planet atmosphere. I get the needed recon pictures and trust to luck. There is no further opposition, and I land on the Lexington.


Tyr 2
I see Captain Eisen in his cabin, and see him at work. I ask if it’s the recon data he’s looking at, but he tells me that he’s just composing a transmission to his grandchildren who are starting a new school year. The Captain asks if I came in for a particular reason, and I ask about the rescue mission assignment coming up. The Captain promises to fill me in once I see him in the briefing room. Once I enter the briefing room, Eisen tells me that Confed has made the hostage rescue a critical mission that I need to succeed at. I ask if there’s a reason that this rescue is so important, but Eisen cuts to the chase about what to expect for resistance on the rescue. There are expected reinforcements coming in fast, so time is of the essence. A Marine trooper transport will rescue the hostage, and due to the recon data I obtained we know exactly where to go as well as the expected resistance at that point. I’m to cover the transport so that it can succeed in its mission, and Maniac is along to assist.

There are again two Banshees patrolling outside the atmosphere of the planet. Maniac promises to give the Banshees his magic, and I quickly take one out with a missile. Maniac and I combine for the other fighter kill. After entering the atmosphere, I have to make readjustments to my settings since they were reset. At the hostage rescue point, I see a familiar reception with two Vindicators and a missile turret. I get the ground missile turret the same way I did on the previous mission and let Maniac keep the Vindicators busy. He takes one down, and I get the other one with guns. The transport lands, and gets the hostage on board. More adjustments have to be made after we exit the atmosphere, and we head back for the Lexington. There is a reception committee of four Banshees here to stop us. I hand one of the Banshees a missile, and Maniac blasts one as well. I get another with a missile, and am then forced to fly evasively and use five decoys to keep a missile from hitting me. I feed that final fighter my last missile, and he fails to digest it. We head to the Lexington with no further opposition, and I get clearance to land. We’ll be heading out of this system shortly.

There is a new Captain arriving on the Lexington. He identifies himself as Hugh Paulsen with orders from regional Confed command. Eisen is impressed, and feels they must be very important orders to be delivered personally by Paulsen. Paulsen explains that we are to go to the Masa system where we will rendezvous with the Third Fleet. Eisen asks to be filled on these orders, and Captain Paulsen says there will be much to discuss in private inside Eisen’s cabin. I head into the briefing room to receive a personal communiqué from Admiral Tolwyn. The Admiral is confident that I’m having good feelings about protecting the interests of Confed again. He is also sure that I have renewed old friendships, as well as making new ones. He expresses his regret that he can’t personally experience such camaraderie. Without the unifying presence of resistance against the Kilrathi, the Admiral must now contend with multiple different political interests. He asks for my evaluation of things on the frontier, and asks if we’re heading for war with the Border Worlds. I submit my reply that things are fluid on the frontier with us having to deal with pirates, the Border Worlds militia, and unmarked ships. There is difficulty in discerning any sort of pattern. I then make an inquiry about Captain Hugh Paulsen, and his ‘orders’ from Third Fleet.


Masa 1
Maniac is trying to help Catscratch win against Vagabond in a card match. He then wonders if I noticed the bioconvergence chemist we rescued from Tyr. Maniac feels that he has a good chance to be successful in his maneuvers to have a passionate fling with the scientist. He chastises me for not keeping up to date for science briefings, and says that he’s going to use his recently gained science knowledge to impress the scientist. I have a feeling on how that’s going to go down due to his lack of success when we met at the bar, and Vagabond is amazed that Maniac is making the effort. Maniac says that he’ll do anything to impress a woman, and he makes a lewd comment. I express my feelings that it would be an act of desperation for the scientist to even like Maniac. Catscratch loses his match, and he’s impressed on how good Vagabond is. I admit that he’s the best I’ve seen at cards, and I remark that I’ve never seen him show mercy to any players. Vagabond says that he’s just giving Catscratch some wisdom and experience. Catscratch asks for my feelings about the arrival of Paulsen, and Vagabond chimes in that there are too many cooks in the kitchen. I explain that new brass are usually a pain in the rear, and that things get a bit top heavy with too many senior officers on board. I head to the briefing room, and get surprise in seeing Paulsen there. I ask if Captain Eisen will be joining this briefing, and I get the news that Confed has given him other duties from orders. I attempt to find out more, but Paulsen says that he can’t discuss personnel matters with me. He does say that Captain Eisen’s new obligations won’t let him continue his previous functions as Captain of the Lexington. The Border Worlds have hijacked an important military spacelab, and Paulsen will be sending in the Marines to take it back. I’m to cover the Marines, and Paulsen expresses his confidence that I’ll succeed in my mission.

This time, I let Catscratch come along and we head off for the spacelab in Hellcats. There are multiple Avenger bombers here, and I let Catscratch break off in pursuit. I stay on an Avenger’s rear long enough to take him down, and Catscratch has helped with a kill. I get a few hits on another Avenger with my guns, but decide that speed is more important and finish him off with a missile. I seriously damage another Avenger, and Catscratch finishes it off. The Marines thank me for clearing a path for them, and they are moving in on the spacelab. Our work is not quite done yet since I see more Avengers approaching. I do the same approach of softening up the rear of an Avenger and finishing him with a missile. I then assist Catscratch in finishing off an Avenger that he did some significant damage to. Two more Avengers come in to attack as soon as the Marines dock at the spacelab. I get those last two bombers with my missiles, and there are no other hostile Border Worlds forces in the area. It takes a few minutes for the Marines to report a successful acquisition of the spacelab. Catscratch and I head back to the Lexington to get landing clearance. I receive news that Captain Paulsen is pleased with our performance, but I’m not enthused over how things are being handled with Captain Eisen. Something is seriously wrong, and I hope the situation does not go further south.


Masa 2
Maniac makes his move on the scientist, and she shoots him down in typical Maniac ‘magic’ style. Barbara Miles from the TCN Nightly News comes on a screen in the lounge, and she states that there will be a brief interview with Admiral Tolwyn about the escalation tensions with the Border Worlds. The Border Worlds are claiming that they are no longer going to be governed by Confed. In a response, all Border Worlds craft in Confed space will be required to fly under Confed escort. Barbara introduces the Admiral, and he informs about the increase in harassment by Border Worlds forces. Until the personnel primarily response for these acts of violence are brought to justice, the Admiral feels justified in his decision for the required escorts. Barbara asks if Confed and the Border Worlds can come to terms, and he says that there is not much choice if war is to be prevented. Maniac feels that Tolwyn is right in his actions to maintain order, and Vagabond feels that the action is an insult to the Border Worlds that will only increase tensions. Maniac thinks that the Border Worlds should feel grateful that it’s not Kilrathi bossing them around, and Vagabond pipes in his feelings that the Border Worlds kept us in the fight against the Kilrathi long enough for us to obtain victory over them. Vagabond asks my opinion on whether the Border Worlds should be forced to fly under escort, and I feel that Confed is having a hard time in relinquishing some of the control they’ve had for over forty years. Vagabond asks if I’ve seen Captain Eisen, and I shake my head no. Vagabond thinks that Eisen is lying low, and I decide to visit him in his cabin. I ask for an explanation of the new ‘orders’ that Eisen received from Paulsen. Eisen explains that he’s just waiting for a transfer to another ship. I state my belief that senior Confed command personnel will rescind this decision, but Eisen explains that things have changed since my previous tour of duty. Apparently, commanding a carrier like the Lexington takes a new breed of Captains like Paulsen. Eisen does his best to assuage my concerns and asks me to relay to the crew that he’s looking forward to new challenges. I enter the briefing room for my next mission assignment from Paulsen. I’m to take a Longbow, and use ‘any means necessary’ to enforce Confed’s interdiction edict. We’re to give them one final warning before we take this action.

I take off with Fhish as my wingman, and boy is he good! I’m not even in torpedo range of the Border Worlds cruiser, and he takes down a Banshee. I’m still heading for the cruiser and making some evasive maneuvers, and Fhish fries another fighter. I then launch a torpedo as soon as it locks on. The torpedo hits, and I have to afterburn in order to make a second torpedo attack on the cruiser. Fhish gets yet another kill, and I hear the lock tone for the torpedo. The second one hits, and forces the Border Worlds to surrender. We head back for the Lexington, and get congratulations from Paulsen for a job well done.


Masa 3
I see Catscratch in the lounge, and he’s concerned that attacking the convoy may trigger the start of war with the Border Worlds. I explain that it’s going to take a while before the fuse we just lit to trigger the bomb of war. Catscratch tells me of his Border Worlds background, and explains his doubts that what we are doing is right. It’s hard to make a good decision without all the data that is needed, so I tell Catscatch that I’ll chat with Captain Eisen again. I know that Paulsen is part of the problem, so there is no hope for help from him. I enter Eisen’s cabin, and he expresses his desire to make sure that his transfer will go off without a huge hassle. I tell Eisen about the doubts concerning the missions we have been flying. Eisen feels that the Kilrathi war made decisions about loyalty to Confed easier since the alternative was annihilation. I express my surprise in having to come to the point of being forced to shoot down fellow human pilots. Eisen explains that people will always strive for positions of power, and defends Confed as the driving force that led to victory during the Kilrathi war. The success of Confed in uniting humanity against the Kilrathi was second to none. I realize that this is our ultimate goal, and Eisen feels that the largest challenge is how to execute this duty. I stand up from my seat and give Eisen a salute, and he gives me an unusual farewell. It almost feels like that he does not expect to see me again. I see Maniac outside the briefing room, and he’s getting the cold shoulder from a fellow pilot. I ask how things went with the scientist, but before Maniac can give an answer we both hear an announcement over the intercom to clear the flight deck. Maniac wonders if even more security crackdowns will be coming in the future, and asks if I know who is arriving. I express my lack of knowledge, but explain to Maniac that I’ll personally rectify the matter by going to the flight deck against orders. Maniac says that he’ll look forward to seeing me in the brig. I return a retort that perhaps the arrival is yet another biochemist. I head down to the flight deck, and hide behind some parts to keep the guards from seeing me. I see the shuttle land, and I get a huge shock. It’s the same person I met during the bar scuffle, and can barely make out his callsign of Seether on his uniform. Paulsen explains his surprise in seeing Seether, and Seether is there to help make things progress as planned. I get another surprise in the briefing room when Captain Paulsen tells me that Eisen has stolen a shuttle and fled the Lexington. Vagabond wonders what Eisen’s motives were, and Paulsen explains that Confed thought that Eisen was giving the Border Worlds Confed intelligence. Paulsen uses that as the reason why Eisen was relieved of command, and his hopes were to resolve the situation silently. Since that failed, we are to stop Captain Eisen from reaching his rendezvous with Border Worlds forces by ‘any means necessary’. Paulsen tells us that Maniac is piloting the shuttle. Captain Paulsen feels that additional information from Eisen to the Border Worlds will cause serious damage that may lead to war. Catscratch and Miner are assigned as my wingmen, and we take off in pursuit.

Once we sight Eisen’s shuttle, Vagabond says that he’s going along with the Captain in defection. I agree to come as well, and Miner tries to mash me with a missile. I decoy it away, and return the favor after I seriously damage his ship with my guns. At the next nav point are more Hellcats from the Lexington looking to eliminate us. I let both Catscratch and Vagabond tangle with the fighters, and pursue my target. Catscratch and Vagabond take down Quality together. I give Hazard a dose of vacuum due to a missile hit, and help to also finish off Hippie. At our approach to the Intrepid, there are three more Hellcats attacking it. The Intrepid nails one with its turrets, and Vagabond ices another. I let a missile handle that final fighter, and we all land on the Intrepid.

The hangar bay of the Intrepid is on fire, and it looks like they took a lot of serious hits. The fire detail crew is doing their best to handle the hangar blaze, and one of the crew wants more fire retardant to handle another blaze. The person in charge of the hangar fire detail overrules that person. Captain Eisen encourages all of us to lend assistance in battling these blazes. We manage to make our way across the hangar to the two leaders of this ship. They let us know that their current troubles were caused by a Confed contingent. Once introductions are out of the way, I recognize them as Panther and Hawk. Captain Eisen asks to see Captain Dominguez, but Hawk explains that anyone on the bridge or in the bays died during the attack. Two thirds of the Intrepid’s crew was lost, and Panther does say that they were briefed about Eisen’s defection before the attack. Panther and Hawk are called away to battle another fire, and most of our group goes along to help. Captain Eisen and I are still in the hangar bay, and Eisen laments losing an old friend that he fought with during Confed’s Venice offensive against the Kilrathi. Eisen asks what things are coming to, and I answer that my hopes were for an answer from him to justify my defection. I tell the Captain about Paulsen’s accusations of Eisen being a spy, but Eisen says that he was acting more like a detective in attempting to ferret out the truth from the bogus intelligence information that was being relayed by Confed. Eisen was able to find evidence that Confed is attempting to provoke a war with the Border Worlds. Apparently the left hand of Confed is not aware of what the right hand is doing, so this means somebody with Covert Operations access is green lighting these attacks. I ask why he did not tell me this before his defection, but he admits that he has no idea about the instigator of the attacks. Eisen felt that his choice to defect might have been a suicidal course that he could not ask me to also take. I express my lack of regrets in my decision to defect. Eisen helps out with the cleanup in the hangar bay, and I lend my assistance in the upper areas of the ship.

P.S. - Sorry for the long delays in my journal reply. I've adapted to flying my missions on Saturday so that I have enough time to do the recording and editing. I've flown eight more missions up to the end of Pasqual, and just need to record the three missions that will happen if you don't defect. I did miss a few cinematics on my recordings, so my apologies to the fans. I'm looking forward to seeing Lorien's report soon, and hope he's not running into technical issues like he did for Wing Commander 3.
 

Lorien

Rear Admiral
8 missions in the first week of WC4? I'm never going to catch up :(

I'm just about done with this week's missions and hopefully I'll be caught up by week 3 or 4.

In the meantime, here's my journal entry for the first two Hellespont missions:

Hellespont 1:

I step into the bar on Nephele to hear the tail end of a news cast featuring one of my favourite people, Paladin, and someone to whom I was quite fond but these days I'm not too sure of, Admiral Tolwyn. With tensions rising between the central Confederation worlds and the worlds on the border, those two have got their work cut out for them trying to avert another war. I did my part to finish the last one and wish them all the best for stopping any others that may come along. The bar seems like your typical meet market, not really a suprise considering who I'm here to meet.

Unable to spot Maniac anywhere, I decide to grab my usual, a Hell's Kitchen, at the bar. The barman states that he hasn't served one of those since the war. I guess I'm showing my age a little. I certainly don't feel as young as the guy who sidles up to me asking if I can spare the price of a drink for an old vet. I ask and he reports that he flew off the TCS Liberty. I can't say I served on her, but I decide to help a fellow flyer out and pass him the price of a meal instead. He thanks me and leaves with some strange words. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. The barman tells me how a lot of vets are struggling to make ends meet as the economy struggles to recover from the war. I let him know that I also flew in the war but, before he can identify me and make a fuss I get a lucky distraction in the form of Maniac getting slapped by a woman he no doubt tried his unusual charm out on.

Grateful for the escape I head over to greet Maniac. The end of the war seems to have taken the edge of off him a little and he's no longer the tough guy he was trying to be on the Victory. In fact, he seems almost comic. We swap news on our time since the service. Maniac has stayed in but Command wisely avoided promoting him. He's rather dismissive of my decision to stay on Nephele and farm and a little part of me agrees with him. I've always loved the cockpit. I'm about to ask Maniac why he's called me here when a fight breaks out at the entrance to the bar. Seeing no one else moving to do anything, certainly not Maniac, I decide to do my second good act for the day and intervene.

My old combat nerves are still with and I know I didn't flinch when the guy pulled a knife to my throat. It was still a tense situation, however, until my attacker puts his knife away and leaves me wandering when he could possibly be seeing me again. With the danger safely gone, Maniac decides to put in an appearance, promising that he would have backed me up. This is about as reassuring as it was during the war and I decide that it's time we get to the point of this meeting.

Maniac's reply leaves me a little shocked. My reserve commission has been activated and I'm now a member of the Confederation Space Forces again. Maniac isn't sure why they needed me back, either, but I cut off his rant about being promoted to find out what the plan is. A part of me is very excited to get back into things. Especially since Maniac has arranged for some fighters for us to travel in instead of the usual shuttle. Even though they're Hellcats, I'm still delighted to be in the air again. I almost turn around again hearing Maniac's banter over the radio but I decide he isn't worth it.

The reason for the fighters becomes obvious once we're in orbit. Maniac's always wanted to prove himself against me and he thinks a battle simulation now would do the trick. I accept after only a second's thought and instantly pull in behind him and and score several good hits before he manages to pull outside the range that I can effectively aim at him. Spreading my fire scores some additional hits, but the 1 timer runs out before I can finish him off. The final score is Blair: 70, Maniac 0. Maniac's still griping about me being lucky when another foe appears on our screens. Two Razor light fighters, the type favoured by pirates. We break away to let our systems reconfigure from Simulation mode and are forced to play defensive. The defensive posture only lasts until the reconfiguration is done, though, after that the hunted becomes the hunter. The first razor falls quickly to my guns. I turn quickly to engage the second one, but Maniac takes it out with a missile before my guns can take the shields down.

With the fighters out of our way, we set course for Orlando Depot, home to the shuttle that will take us the rest of the way. Our arrival, however, is greeted with explosions as a fighter I don't recognise destroys the depot before jumping away, using a very dangerous trick with a mine to avoid the missiles I'd flung his way. Maniac manages to find another station for us to set course for without running out of fuel and we change course and settled in for a long cruise.

As we finally board the shuttle and leave for Sol, Maniac picks up on something in the exchange that I'd missed. The Border Worlds pilot knew who I was, I'm a little disturbed by that thought and so I respond to Maniac's comment about hotdogging with what I hope are the lamest words to come out of my mouth. At least I'll have a hard time topping them. We take a bit of a tour of the Sol system when we arrive. The Victory's been turned into a floating museum. She's certainly no match for the two massive carriers being built near headquarters. They even have Maniac impressed.

Even Tolwyn seems impressed by them and they're his project from what I understand. I'm forced to clear my mouth to get his attention and the first words out of his mouth are about how impressive they are. I'm forced to agree but, as the Kilrathi learned with their remaining Hakagas, a carrier's no good without the pilots to fly from it. He makes a little comment about my weight but mostly as segue into a discussion about the situation on the Border Worlds and how he's responsible for fixing it. I tell him that my loyalty will always be to Confed and he states that he was counting on that. It seems I'm to be his eyes and ears on the frontier, viewing everything from the cockpit and making sure that the reports he receives are personal. It seems like a reasonable role to me and I'm happy to take the duty on.

The TCS Lexington has been assigned to this duty, rebuilt after the events during the Battle of Terra. I rain a bit on Maniac's parade as he's introducing himself to the new pilots. The hero worship's embarassing, but it's something I've come to put up with over the years. That doesn't stop me from getting a few good shots in on Maniac, however, and this new version of him almost plays along. Probably trying to be a good mentor for the new pilots and prove his command ability.

Hellespont 2:

A very proud looking Eisen is standing watch over operations on the flight deck but he can't help but turn away from the action to remind me of the bet we made about me returning to flying. It seems I'll have to pay up on that one. He gets a very strange tone when I state that Confeds been looking after him well. A full fleet carrier instead of an old light carrier. He states that it's a different game now but he still needs good pilots. We're about to jump into the Hellespont system and he asks to take a good look around, no doubt still proud of his new command.

I see another old hand on board during my tour of the Lexington. Vagabond challenges me to a game of one card draw for the next drink. Like a sucker, I just cut the deck instead of doing my own little shuffle. Predictably, I lose. Vagabond's story is similar to my own, we stayed in the active reserve for the monthly credits and are now stuck back on the flight roster because of the current crisis. At least I'm not the only sucker at the table, even if I am the sucker paying for drinks.

The briefing for today's mission is simple. After a quick chat from Eisen about using my brain and making my own decisions, he's no doubt bothered by some of the newbies, we get down to business. Pirates have been disrupting trade routes in and out of the Hellespont system with a mix of the usual raids and some senseless violence. I'm to escort a transport to the jump point and then take over the patrol at a comm relay. I'm disappointed to see that only Hellcats and Longbows are ready and decide on a Hellcat with Vero as my wingman.

We rendezvous with the transport to find it already under attack. I order Vero to attack one Razor as I take off after the other, using a long range missile shot to distract it. This allows me to get nice and close on his rear and finish him off with guns. I turn to engage the second as Vero takes it down with a well-placed missile shot. Another two Razors are waiting for us by the jump bouy. One of them is an ace and I order Vero to take off after the other fighter so that she doesn't get in over her head. The ace isn't too bad, but he still can't shake me off quickly enough to avoid an ImRec up the tailpipe. I turn back to help Vero take out her target and then we both sit back to wait for the transport to jump.

After the jump, we set course for the comm relay to find it also under attack. This time by a force of Thunderbolts. Again, there's an ace amongst them and I take him on to give the newbies a chance. BEfore the dogfight can get started, however, Eisen hops on the comm and tells me to tail the fighters back to their home base instead of destroying them. Ordering Vero tight on my wing, I use my afterburners to keep myself between 13k and 14k klicks behind and my efforts are rewarded with a frigate showing up on our radar.

How the pirates got their hands on a frigate is Intel's problem, my next responsibility is clear as I set course back to the Lexington so that we can ready a strike to take it out.
 

Lorien

Rear Admiral
And the rest of week one. Man, this play-through is going to take ages to write up.

Hellespont 3:

There's an unfamiliar face at the top of the stair from the flight deck. He introduces himself as Troy Carter, callsign Catscratch. This kid's so freshly out of the Academy that he might as well still have his graduation cap on. He's top of the class and looking for some action. There aren't many Kilrathi to fight anymore, but I suspect that he'll see his fair share before this tour is over. The refreshing lack of worship evaporates quickly, though, after Maniac gives my name away. Maniac thinks his reaction is trying to suck up to the old man, but there's an honesty to the kid that means I believe him. As Maniac makes his retreat I tell the kid that I can tell him plenty of stories but the best place to learn from me is out in the cockpit.

Today's mission is pretty simple, take out the pirate frigate I located during our last mission. I decide to give Catscratch a slot on my wing, the Longbow's thick shields and armour should protect him. A flight of 4 Thunderbolts try to stop us on our way to attack the frigate, but the Longbow's heavy missile armament takes short work of them. Catscratch even chalks up his first kill during the battle. We arrive at the frigate to find more Arrows and Thunderbolts. I let Catscratch off the leash and cover him during the dogfight. The pirate pilots aren't good enough to avoid me in their Thunderbolts, even though I'm in a Longbow, and the Arrows lack the punch to do any serious damage, leaving their vulnerable rears exposed when pulling away after a strafing run. Catscratch scores his second kill and we move in on the Frigate. The capship had plowed into the dogfight, so I'm unable to lock a torpedo on to it from a safe range. Instead, we go after it with the Longbow's heavy guns. A few passes are all it takes to down the Frigate. Unfortunately, Catscatch gets distracted by the explosion and fails to decoy a missile fired at him. His first combat mission ends with an eject, but at least he survived it. The Hellcat escort and I finish off the remaining pirate fighters and return to the Lexington.

Upon arriving at the Lexington, Captain Eisen informs me that the mission isn't quite over yet. A Border Worlds force has apparently made an attack into Confederation space, hitting a civilian convoy. He's sending a detachment but wants me to get an up close look. The look is a little too close, with the autopilot cutting out and not leaving me enough time to avoid a charred body floating through space. The shuttle present informs me that the transport ahead of me had it's internal atmosphere ignited by some kind of new weapon. The colonists on the transport at least died quickly. I take a good look at the remains of the transport, wondering why anyone would do that, before returning to the Lexington.

Tyr 1:

With images of the charred colonists floating through my mind, I head to the bar to get a drink. At the bar, I find Vagabond and Maniac discussing the political situation of the Border Worlds. Maniac points out that it was a Border Worlds pilot who dusted the Orlando Depot but I don't think they've got the technology to develop the sort of weapon used against that transport. Vagabond is clearly on the Border World's side, pointing out the Confed hasn't treated the Border Worlds as equally as they do the core worlds. He concludes by pointing out that sort of treatment could lead to desperate measures.

There are a lot of grey areas in today's mission, a fact that Captain Eisen comments on before beginning his briefing. We've jumped into Border Worlds territory, the Tyr system, where some hostages have apparently been taken in response to the current crisis. We have some marines on the way, but we need to know where the hostages are being held before we send them in. Finding them is my mission. I'm to use a camera-equipped Hellcat to scout several complexes for the hostages. Captain Eisen warns me that the militia aren't likely to appreciate my presence. A warning that's confirmed when two Border World's light fighters, called Banshees, intercept my approach to the planet. Those craft are faster than my Hellcat and well shielded, but 4 lasers isn't much to write home about. I take them both out quickly, wishing that I didn't have to. It's not the first time I've fought against ex-allies and I don't like it any more than when I had to do it back then. Groundside, I find that each of the complexes is defended by a missile turret and the Border Worlds' medium fighter, the Vindicator. The ground turrets are top priority, having them bombard me with missiles while I attempt to dogfight isn't going to be easy so my first move is take them out with guns before they can drain my decoys too much. Engaging the Vindicators isn't too difficult, though the rear laser turret packs just enough sting to make you back off after a while. They're too slow to dodge missiles reliably, though, and that's how most of them are destroyed. I take a slow pass past each complex to collect enough photos before returning to the Lexington, my mission complete.

Tyr 2:

Feeling a bit uneasy about our current assignment, I decide to discuss my concerns with Captain Eisen. He claimes to have been sending a message to his grandchildren who are all excited about the new school year, but he's acting awfully cagey about it. That plus his dismissal of my questions about the mission that we're currently on leave me feeling very concerned about the whole situation.

Captain Eisen does nothing to alleviate my concerns at the start of today's briefing, pointedly ignoring a question about the priority of today's mission, which leaves me very puzzled. With the location of the hostages confirmed, Maniac and I are to escort a marine transport to the ground to get them out. Border Worlds reinforcements are on the way and we should expect more resistance on the ground as well. It seems that reinforcements have already partially arrived and Maniac and myself encounter some ace pilots flying the Border Worlds craft. Neither of them are up to our standards, however, and the extraction is performed flawlessly with the transport not even receiving a shot from the fighters along our return path.

Shortly after landing, some new guests arrive. Captain Hugh Paulsen from the Third Fleet. He instantly rubs me the wrong way with his by-the-book attitude and lousy treatment of Captain Eisen. He tells Eisen that they need to chat privately as the Lexington jumps into the Masa system to rendezvous with the Third Fleet.

Masa 1:

The loudspeaker orders me to the briefing room to receive an important communique. Admiral Tolwyn has send me a message. He envies me my comraderie in the field compared to the nest of vipers he has to deal with at HQ before asking for a report on the situation. My report is depressingly light, unfortunately, there's no pattern to the fights we've been having. I finish up by asking Tolwyn about the new captain that's come on board. Following my report, I head to the Officer's Lounge to find Maniac, Vagabon and Catscratch. Catscratch is playing a hand of cards against Vagabond with Maniac's dubious assistance. Maniac's trying to strut himself around, having decided that the hostage we sprung from Tyr VII is a hottie. Apparently she's a bio-convergence specialist, a field that I've never heard of before. Maniac thinks he's in with a chance but I doubt that. Catscratch loses his game against Vagabond and then asks about the new Captain that's come on board and Vagabond states that he thinks there's too many cooks in the kitchen. I'm forced to agree with Vagabond. New brass is a pain in the ass.

Our warning to Catscatch is validated at today's briefing. Captain Eisen has been relived of command and Captain Paulsen is taking over. Again, no one will answer my questions as to what exactly is going on. Instead, we focus on the mission at hand. The Border Worlds have apparently hijacked a confederation spacelab. Vagabond and I are to clear out the defenses and allow a marine transport to land. Defending the spacelab are a new breed of fighter I haven't encountered yet. A heavy fighter called an Avenger. It has heavy guns and shields similar to the logbow and the rear mass driver packs a hell of a punch. Complicating the fight is the Border Worlders almost insance manuevers. One fighter actually rams the rear of my Hellcat as I tail his wingman, causing significant structural damage. Vagabond is forced to eject early during the dogfight thanks to their prolific missile usage, but I manage to survive the battle with heavy use of my missiles to keep the gun battles to 1:1 odds. I can't risk another collision. Only three waves of these fighters contest the spacelab indicating a lack of numbers on their part. The forces committed prove to be inadequate to the role of pushing us away and the spacelab is soon Confed territory again.

I head to the Officer's Lounge after landing to see the bioconvergence scientest storming past and Maniac nursing a sore jaw, that went about as well as expected. I head over to offer my condolences but am interrupted by some breaking news on the screen. The Border Worlds have broken away from the Confederation. The Confederation has enacted a law indicating that all Border Worlds ships must fly under an escort in Confederation territory. It seems like a reasonable enough law but there's something about the situation out here that doesn't sit right. Admiral Tolwyn still seems to be on the side of peace, at least.

Masa 2:

Following the announcement, I join Vagabond and Maniac at the bar. They're discussing the recent announcement with Vagabond siding with the Border Worlds and Maniac siding with the Confederation, as usual. I think Vagabond has got a point with the required escort escalating the situation. It certainly seems to be getting more serious very quickly. Vagabond asks about the captain, who's been laying low since his removal, and I decide to go pay Eisen a visit. Captain Eisen certainly doesn't seem like a man who's just been removed from command. He may just be putting on a brave face, but he won't even open up to me when pressed. Despite his word that he's looking forward to new challenges, I'm feeling worse about our situation now than I did earlier.


Today's mission is as predictable as they come. A Border Worlds force is ignoring the Confederation edict. Maniac and I are to eject them from Confederation space. The original mission specification calls from a Longbow but I don't want that to escalate the situation with bombers and instead we head out in Hellcats. The Border Worlds cruisers refuse to obey the edict, stating that the rescued spacelab was instead stolen by the Confederation. They conclude by having the escorting Banshees open fire. The resulting dogfight is a tense one with 2:1 odds flying against Maniac and I and the Border Worlds forces not hesitating to use their impressive missile supplies. Maniac is forced to eject early into the mission and I'm forced to be equally profligate with my missile expenditure to keep the odds down. 4 lasers isn't much to worry about, but 12 of them pounding away at you while you try to take down a fighter isn't healthy. I suffer a few hits to my rear armour but finally manage to take down the Cruiser's supply of fighters. With their capital ships exposed, the Border Worlds cruisers heed the edict and set course outside the system.

Masa 3:

I receive a response from Tolwyn to my last message. He states that fluid situations rarely end up going well, a fact that's readily apparent thse days. He also informs me that Paulsen is little more then a paper-pusher and his appointment here is nothing to be worried about. There's plenty of worry to go around, however, as I find Catscratch nursing a drink in the Officer's Lounge. He's worried that we're on a course towards a war and there's little I can do to reassure him, especially as he's from the Border Worlds, whose forces we're likely to end up at war with. He asks whether the missions we've been flying lately are the right thing to do and unfortunately, I'm unsure about that as well. I decide to give Captain Eisen a visit to see how he feels.

Captain Eisen states that he's about to ship out soon and I decide to open up and tell him about how some of the crew have been feeling lately. Eisen states that things during the Kilrathi War were easy, as there was little choice about your loyalties especially after the Mandarins were dealt with. Nowadays with just humans vying for power, the choice is a lot more difficult. I go to salute Eisen farewell but he suprises me with a handshake and a sincere wish for a long and happy life.

Wandering a little aimlessly following my talk with Eisen, I find Maniac attempting to introduce himself to people around the ship but not having much luck. After a quick jab at home regarding the bioconvergence chemist, a loud speaker orders all non-essential crew away from the flight deck. Maniac wants to get a drink at the bar, but with all the junk that's been going on, I decide to stick around to get the full story. The person I see on the flight deck is a familiar face, the tough guy from the bar on Nephele. Captain Paulsen rushes to see him and states that this is very unusual and I'm shaken to see this guy treating Paulsen as an underling. I'm beginning to wonder about my own loyalty to the Confederation if it trusts people like him.

That loyalty is tested as an emergency is called for me to report to the briefing room. Inside I find Vagabond, Paulsen and some shocking news. Captain Eisen has fled the Lexington and is in a shuttle piloted by Maniac to the Border Worlds. Apparently, he's been feeding information to their intelligence services and we're to bring him back to prevent his information from damaging the Confederation. Our ships and wingmen have already been selected and we're to use any means necessary to prevent him leaving the system.

When we finally catch up with the shuttle, Vagabond echoes my thoughts and declares that he's not going to fire on the captain. I agree with him, there's too much dodgy stuff going on board the Lexington and I need a captain I can trust. Catscratch agrees to come with us, but the other pilot in our flight refuses and instead opens fire. I'm forced to destroy his ship and make him eject. Three more Hellcats intercept as we escort Captain Eisen to his destination and I'm forced to destroy men that I was flying with just before. We finally arrive at our destination to find a Border Worlds ship, the Intrepid under attack by 3 Hellcats. Another 3 of my shipmates eject. Eisen thanks me for his trust and we land on the Intrepid.

Inside the ship, we find that it's in as bad a condition as it looks like on the outside. Fires and explosions are everywhere and two crewmembers seem to be directing things. Once we get a clear path through the fires, we finally manage to introduce ourselves. They're Panther and Hawk from the Astoria system. Captain Eisen asks to be escorted to the Captain of the Intrepid and Dominguez, but apparently he was on the bridge when the Intrepid was attack by a Confederation frigate and didn't survive, along with two thirds of the crew. For now, we'll help the crew fight the fires, but we can't get too cosy until they've spoken to the crew and agreed what to do. While Vagabond and Maniac head off to assist with the damage control efforts, I confront Eisen about what just happened. He replies that we wasn't a spy simply a detective and that we were being fed a lot of bogus information. That much I can certainly understand and agree with, nothing on the Lexington seemed right. Eisen's been collecting information and what he has in his briefcase could stop a full-blown war. The only problem is, he wasn't able to identify the elements within Confed that are provoking this conflict. When I ask him why he didn't tell me earlier, he informs me that he couldn't ask me to defect by himself, rather, that he needed me to make that choice on my own. Well, now that the choice is made, my only choice is to live with it. We both head off to assist with the damage control efforts on board our new home.
 

Flying Target

Swabbie
Banned
They are as they looked in the game but they are also interlaced. There's a command line switch at least in the Windows version to remove the interlacing... or you can just grab screenshots from the DVD version.
Anyone know that switch by any chance?
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Anyone know that switch by any chance?
I believe you add '-no_interlace' to the command line when you right click the game exe and go to properties. There's also a '-true_color' switch as well. The info is included in the readme that comes with the win95 patch

-i Run install program (from Wing IV DOS)

-d

Force hardware double buffering off -- essentially disables the
speed gain of DirectDraw, and draws the screen similar to the
DOS version. This is on by default.

-h

Use the MUSICx.TRE from the CD -- This file was copied
to the hard drive to increase frame rate of the DOS version.
Explosions, comms, and music all spooling from the CD cause the
frame rate to decrease dramatically.

-l#

With native CDs, the game will use the native language. If the
switch is used, the subtitles will appear in the desired
language.

0 English
1 German
2 French

For example, -l2 will select French subtitles.

-no_interlace

Do not draw the "black lines" between each line of the
movies.

-no_sound
Disable DirectSound


-true_color
Use 24-bit color for the movies

-dead_zone=#
Increase or decrease the dead zone for greater
joystick precision. By default, the dead zone is
1. Using a value of 0 will turn the dead zone
off, and using a value of 3 will make the game
respond similar to the DOS version.

For example, -dead_zone=0 will turn off the dead zone.



To use command line parameters, you will need to change your shortcut
on the desktop before running the game.

1 Right-click on the Wing Commander IV icon
2 Click Properties
3 Click Shortcut
4 Depending on where you installed the game, the Target line
should read something similar to "c:\wc4\wc4w.exe"
5 Add parameters (with a space between them) on the Target line
after "c:\wc4\wc4w.exe".

For example, "c:\wc4\wc4w.exe -dead_zone=0 -no_interlace"
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Thank you!!!!

Wow. That looks really good now.

I don't suppose there was something like this for WC3 was there?
Your welcome.

The dos version of WC3 isn't interlaced though so no switch is needed. The Kilrathi saga adds interlacing to WC3 though but the same switch should turn it off.
 
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