Wing Commander Secret Ops Replay Week 2


Frog Blast the Vent Core!
Hello pilots,

This week we continue with six missions in the Ella system. Make sure to take care of that superbase!

I apologize for my own falling behind yet again, however, I recently got a new job as a adjunct history professor so needless to say I've been quite busy with lesson plans, syllabi, and the like. I'll try to squeeze in some flying time soon.


Seventh Part of the Seal
NOOOOO!!!! I lost the base for the 4th time! AHHH Damn I'm out of practice. Time to try again, Aunt Ella will survive.


Rear Admiral
Your best friend is 'Attack my target'. The Plasma particle guns of the Shrike should help you to take down at least one Manta.


Rear Admiral
Maybe he let the Mantas escape on purpose? After all, The Unwelcome is one of the most epic battles in the WC universe...

Anyway, if you quickly take out a Devil Ray or two, it's not that hard. Then you can either help your allies kill the Orca or focus on shooting down the Capship Missiles. In my opinion, the hardest part is surviving after the Ella battle, because you'll most likely have little AB fuel left.


Rear Admiral
Sorry for the delay on the journals, and I'll search thru the videos for some good screen shots later.

Ella 1
As soon as we arrive here, we launch in Panther fighters due to additional alien resistance. The bugs at this area are in Moray fighters, and we get to work on whittling them down. I shoot down four of the Morays before Zero pitches in with a kill of his own. I get one more of the alien fighters, and our group takes down the last Moray. We head off to the second nav point with the Cerberus, and there are Mantas along with Morays attacking. That Manta soon becomes space dust, and Stiletto scores a kill. Another Moray falls to my fighter, and Amazon gets in on the action with her own kill. I wipe out another alien, and the final fighter falls from the firepower of our wing. Spyder tells us of news that a lot of civilians are searching the Kilrah system for alien debris. It’s become a highly profitable enterprise, and Zero hopes that Disease Control will take a look at the debris in case of a bacterial threat. We head off for the third nav point, and this time there are Stingrays along with the Morays. I select a Stingray to shatter, and it’s swiftly scattered to the void of space. I let three of the Morays have the same fate as the Stingray, and I attack and destroy a Stingray fairly close to the Cerberus. There is a Manta left to deal with, but against an entire wing of fighters it is quickly fried. When we arrive at the fourth nav point, I make it a priority to look for Mantas. I take one out of action, but another of the Mantas shoots down Zero’s fighter and he has to eject. I handle that Manta, and pounce on another one with my Panther. The Cerberus calls for help, and I see some Stingrays close to it. Three of them must have linked up, so I shift my focus to that threat. I have to take care of two close Morays before I can close on the Stingray. I get a little careless and let that clustered Stingray open fire with its plasma cannon on my fighter. Fortunately, the aim is errant and I break the cluster apart. I squish one of the Stingrays, and our group easily handles the other two. We move onwards to a fifth nav point, and there are more Mantas with Moray support. I quickly destroy a Manta with a missile and guns, and the other fighters on our wing wax a Devil Ray fighter. I eliminate a Manta I’m pursuing, and then a Moray fighter follows it into the void. Two more of the Mantas are pulverized by my Panther, and Amazon shoots down the last Moray.

Ella 2
Due to the unknown amount of alien resistance, we’re to head out on a patrol to get a gauge on the strength of the aliens around this area. At the first nav point, it’s another mix of Mantas and Morays. I quickly handle one of the Mantas, but another shoots down Zero’s fighter. I take out that Manta as well, and then take some damage from a frontal attack of two fighters. I deal out deadly damage to one Moray, and am forced to use a missile to finish off a second due to a Manta on my tail. I turn on the Manta and shoot it down, and then eliminate two more Morays before we move on to the next nav point. There are enough Stingrays to cluster together, so I head for the nearest one. It’s combined into a cluster by the time I reach it, but I let loose with the firepower of my Panther and eliminate one of the Stingrays. A Moray does a bit of damage to my ship, and I get on its tail. That Moray is taken down, and another Moray follows the fall of its friends. I take out the trash of that last Moray fighter, and we move onward for our patrol. At the third nav point there are Confed Excaliburs here so I use my afterburners to engage the Mantas. One Manta is quickly quarantined, and I notice a clustered Stingray attacking. I swiftly shoot down a Manta I’m pursuing, and head for the nearest Stingray. The bugs are trying to link together into another cluster, but this makes them an easy target. I scatter into space two of the stationary Stingrays attempting to link up. Due to the small profile of the Stingray as well as its quick speed, I have to use a missile to take down a third. The last Moray fighter is handled by our wing. When we arrive at the next nav point, there is a Devil Ray and more of the Stingrays. I pursue and pummel the Devil Ray with a missile and gun combination. I then have to help break a Stingray cluster apart, and shoot down one of the Stingrays with a missile. I get a second easily due its attempts to link up, and put a missile up the tailpipe of a third. I then finish off the last two Morays, and we head back for the Cerberus.

Ella 3
We are now in transmission range of the Ella starbase, and have received a report of a destroyer in the area. I’m launching in the ‘Black’ Shrike for this mission, and it has a compliment of the Wasp’s Dust Cannon along with plasma particle guns. At the first nav point, I head after a Manta within range and notice that the Shrike does not quite have enough energy to take down aliens like the Wasp can with its cannons. I’m able to finish off the Manta, and another alien falls to the Dust Cannon of my bomber. I assist on the kill of another fighter, and then switch to the plasma guns. With the three plasma guns, the Shrike is almost like the old Confed Broadsword with the exception of afterburners on this bomber. The Cerberus warns us that the Ella station is under attack, and that we must prevent any of the alien bombers from reaching it. As soon as we arrive at the next nav point, I notice three Manta bombers. I’m able to quickly trash one of the Mantas with help from our fighters, and a second is also rapidly shot down. The third one is trying to make a break for it, and I ask for our fighters to attack this target. I don’t see an immediate pursuit, so I let two missiles make mincemeat of the Manta. I let the plasma particle guns take care of three of the Morays. Our fighters take down the last Moray, and we head for the alien capital ships. They’re protected by Mantas and Morays, and I’m able to take down one of the Mantas along with a Moray. One of the aliens has me in his sights, and my Shrike is seriously damaged. I check the damage, and the afterburners of the Shrike are gone. I take some more damage to my bomber, but I’m able to handle two of the Mantas. Our fighters help out on the last alien fighter, and it’s going to be a slow run to attack the capital ships. The other bombers in our group do damage to the capital ships with their torpedoes, and I see some Thunderbolts expend a lot of missiles against the hull of Triton in a failed attempt to trash its rear turret. I finally get within gun range of a Triton transport, and it takes many hits before that rear turret is down. I hit the engines of the Triton with a torpedo, and then make sure I have a clear shot at the bridge to finish the transport off. The closest cap ship is the destroyer, and I target its badly damaged engines. I let loose with the torpedo at long range, and hope that its turrets don’t see it coming. One of the Thunderbolt bombers goes down from turret fire before that destroyer is put out of action by my successful torpedo hit. There is just one Triton transport left, and my bomber takes a bit of additional damage before I can take out its rear turret. Another torpedo lets me finish off the transport, and thankfully there are no aliens to deal with on our return to the Cerberus. Upon approach, the Captain of the Cerberus says that the Ella starbase is our next stop. We’ll see if we can get replacement parts along with fighters and food. I know that this Shrike is on the menu for being replaced due to its damage.

Ella 4
The TCS Tereshkova Plunkett cruiser along with two Murphy destroyers will be jumping in from Vespus. Our fighters are to patrol the path between Cerberus and the jump point where the Confed reinforcements are arriving. At the first nav point is the standard reception of Mantas and Morays. Three of the Mantas and two of the Morays are gunned down by my Panther with just one decoy deployed to avoid an enemy missile. At the next nav point, there are Morays and a few Skate segments. Our wing accounts for two of the aliens while my ship handles the rest. We reach the point where the Confed cap ships are to arrive. The bugs bring in a surprise with some Devil Rays, Mantas, and Stingrays. I take out two of the Devil Rays, but my Panther took a lot of damage from the return fire. I then down two of the Stingrays to keep any clustering from happening, and turn my attention on the Mantas. I deal with one of the Mantas, and another one mocks us for fragile craft after eliminating an Excalibur. I make five of the Mantas pay for that poor remark, and our group makes it back to the Cerberus without additional aliens attacking. I make a mental note to fly better so that badly damaged ships don’t become a regular occurrence for me.

Ella 5
We’re to protect the Cerberus as she approaches the Cygnus jump point. At our first nav point, there are a few Mantas and Morays to handle. I take out the Mantas first due to their torpedo threats to the Cerberus. I make a Moray turn into molecules, and assist in shooting down a second. The other fighters on our wing handle the last Moray, and we head onward. The next nav point has multiple Stingrays and Morays. I take out three of the Stingrays with missiles and guns, and assist in helping a Moray take a multiple missile hit. I again make an assist on the final alien fighter, and we head for the third nav point. More Mantas, Morays, and Stingrays are here to greet us. I take out a Manta first, and then trash two of the Morays. I turn my attention to the straggler Stingrays and let one succumb to a missile. Our fighter wing handles the rest of the Stingrays, and our group heads for the fourth nav point. Meanwhile, on the far edge of the Ella system Confed reinforcements jump in from Calimachius. Another group of Mantas, Morays, and Stingrays is waiting for us. I take out the threat of a Manta, and then trash three of the Morays. Our fighter wing eliminates the final Stingray, and I land on the Cerberus with only some ship armor damage.

Ella 6
The Cerberus will try to jump into the Cygnus. The bugs are in pursuit, and it will be a race to reach the jump point before more of the alien fleet arrives. Our fighter wing has to handle alien opposition as soon as we launch, and I go after the Mantas so that their torpedoes are not targeted to the engines of the Cerberus. I get one of the Mantas, but another is opening up on the defenses of the Cerberus. I’m asked to help out, and I fill the Manta attacking the Cerberus with holes. I use a missile to get a Manta off Stiletto’s tail, and finish off that alien. I make a mess of another Manta, and the Captain of the Cerberus tells us that we’ve been cut off from the Cygnus jump point. We’ll have to fall back to Talos, but there is the more immediate issue of addressing the aliens still around. I bring down two of the Manta bombers, and make two Morays experience the vacuum of space. I sight and shoot down another Manta, and fry three of the Moray fighters before this nav point is cleared. On our way to the fallback position, more Stingrays and Morays are around as well as a lone Devil Ray. I singe three of the Stingrays, and the Devil Ray decides to try to take me down. It takes two Friend or Foe missiles and multiple hits from my guns to destroy that alien. I then send the pilot of a Stingray into space, and a Moray pilot soon shares the same fate. I make an assisted kill on the final alien fighter, and the Captain of the Cerberus congratulates me on my work. The Cerberus then makes its jump into Talos as soon as our fighter wing lands.


Rear Admiral


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Rear Admiral
I have strayed a little from the cause. Finally managed to finish off Battle Isle 2 last week after having owned the game for a decade and a half at least.

Ella 1:

The crew are a little shaken as we jump into the Ella system, with Maestro boozing it up, Zero worrying and Spyder and Stiletto withdrawing into themselves. At least we managed to get out of the courage sector without warning the aliens about our presence. That performance has put us firmly into the captain's good books. He even offered to by me a drink. I do a quick scan of my computer to see if anything interesting has come in, but a report on the new Panther seems a little late after taking it into combat and the report on attacking alien capital ships is written like it's for a rookie pilot. I've taken out enough Tritons to know about that damned rear turret.

There's a bit of an email thread going as we head towards Ella starbase. There's enough banter in it to hopefully raise moral, despite Maestro signing off with a "destroying morale". The discussion is cut short by the jump into the Ella system, followed shorly by the scramble alarm. We leap into our Panthers to find a swarm of aliens already over the Cerberus, fortunately none of them were bombers in the first batch and were cut to pieces by our forces. With those aliens out of the way, the captain decides not to sit tight and wait for more but to take the fight to the enemy and take the fight to the enemy we do.

Every nav point along the way features a cloud of red dots. Not too many of them are bombers and I make a point of taking those out first and leaving the fighters until after. Half-way through the patrol Spyder relates some disturbing news about treasure hunters moving in on the alien debris in the Kilrah system and selling it to the highest bidder. Zero points out the risk of disease that we're facing from that threat. His dire words must have had a distracting effect upon Meastro as both of them collided with asteroids during the next battle. Luckily they were alert enough to eject in time, but it left Amazon and I alone to face the 8 fighters at the last nav point on our own. With the bombers gone, we rely on cover from the Cerberus' turrets to finish off the last batch of aliens, including another Devil Ray. The captain congratulates us as we land.

Ella 2:

With the aliens off of our backs, the Cerberus is launching a ptrol to determine the strength of the enemy resistance in the area. The alien presence remains heavy during our patrol and we encounter a large number of fighters during our run, including a lot of Stingrays. The stingrays obviously take every chance to cluster up and use their big gun against us. They don't score any direct hits but their stream of fire forces Maestro into another asteroid. As I look over his ejection pod, I think we'll have to talk to him about avoiding those rocks. Fortunately, the lack of his fighter is made up for when we save a wing of 4 Excaliburs at the next nav point. The older fighters are having a big of trouble with the numbers against them but we soon even the odds up. The aliens like to pick on the weaker fighters as we find out at the next nav point with the Devil Ray passing up the two Panthers to attack a single Excalibur. I manage to take it out, but only as the Excalibur is itself taken down. It's a simple mop up past that, though, and we return to the Cerberus to make our reports.

Ella 3:

We've finally managed to contact Ella starbase. They report the presence of an alien destroyer in the region and we've been assigned to take it down in the new Shrikes. There's a light fighter presence on the way there that lets us test out the new weapons. The gun combination is potent but the gun capacitor doesn't last long, meaning that you have to be dead on with your targeting, can't afford to spray and pray with such little shooting time. The new feature that I like the most are the mosquito rocket pods. They're just like the old dragonfly pods but with the ability to home in on their targets. In the hands of a good pilot the new Shrike is deadly to fighters that get caught in it's grasp.

We put the new abilities to the test very quickly. Ella has reported that it's under attack. They're holding on but any more alien forces will tip the scales in this battle. We manage to intecept one group of reinforcements on their way, including a force of three bombers. I order my wingmen onto one target as our escort engages a second and I move on to the third, guns and rockets blazing. Our escorts and myself manage to take out our target but the last bomber is making a break for it. I launch a double shot of Artemis ELRIR and watch them finish the target off. Once the Moray escorts are scrap we move on to the Destroyer.

The aliens seem to be a lot smarter about escorts this time around, with a heavy fighter presence and two Corvettes guarding the Destroyer and its supply transports. The battle at Ella must be going well, as they've also sent along some Excaliburs and Thunderbolts to attack the Destroyer. I release my wingmen to attack and move in on the escorts harassing our bombers. With the Black Panthers backing up the Excaliburs it doesn't take long for the fighters to fold and our bombers beging making attack runs. I'm clearing out the last Corvette when Zero reports that the destroyer has been taken care of, leaving just the transports. It's almost a race between ships to clear off the rear turret and take them out, but part of that perception may have been because I won the race with both transports as my light torpedoes take them both out. With Ella starbase safe for a little while, we head home. Cerberus is going to drop by Ella for resupply before moving on to our next target.


Rear Admiral
And the second half of episode 2. I should have episode 3 knocked over by the end of the week and then I'll be back on track.

Ella 4:

With the Cerberus nicely stocked up from Ella starbase, it's time to move out, but before we can go we need to make sure that Ella is well protected. Confed are sending reinforcements in the form of a Plunkett class cruiser and two Murphy class destroyers. We didn't see much of these ships out at Kilrah but I'm sure they're just the thing to take care of the bugs. They'll be vulnerable as they jump in, so the Cerberus is sending us out to rendezvous with them and protect them from any 'sect suprises.

There's still a heavy bug presence in this system as we find on our way to the rendezvous. It seems that their major assets have been destroyed but there are still plenty of fighters around to cause trouble. We've run out of rocks for Meastro to run into, the early dogfights prove to be little problem. Seeing Skates on their own attacking us without being part of a cluster is certainly strange and I notice my wingmen using their missiles to take the annoying buggers out. I'm keeping mine in reserve for any bombers making a run at our charges.

That reservation makes a great deal of sense when we encounter the Tereshkova's group and the alien force attacking them. 9 bombers are enough to take out a significant force and the Stingrays and Devil Rays in escort mean that a quick missile to take the bombers out is preferable to using guns while the bugs spray fire into your rear. The dogfight is intense and I'm unable to stop the third bomber from releasing it's payload. The gunners on its Murphy target were on the ball, however, and take the torpedo down well short of its destination. Once the bombers have been cleared from around the cap ships, I turn and face the Devil Rays that have been bothering me. With a little fire from the Tereshkova's Tigersharks boxing them in, they soon fall prey to the Black Panther's guns. The group forms up after the last bug is destroyed and I do a quick survey. The cap ships have some dents, but no vital components have been destroyed and their fighter complement is intact. A good day's work in my opinion.

Ella 5:

With the Tereshkova group supporting the base and additional confed forces coming in from Callimachus, the Cerberus is setting a course for the Cygnus system. Our wing will be providing escort as we punch through the alien forces. The aliens don't really seem to have been expecting our move as we don't encounter resistance quite as heavy as we've already seen in this system. The Red Mantas are still a threat to the Cerberus and must be dealt with before they can deliver their torpedoes. My preferred method is an ELRIR shot followed by afterburning close and putting gunfire through the shield and armour holes.

This focus on the Red Mantas serves a good purpose at the first two nav points of our journey, but at the third a Stingray cluster mananaged to form up while I was dispatching the last bomber and destroy the Cerberus' main bridge. I use my remaining missiles to clear out the remaining Stingrays, accidentally shooting one of my missiles down after it had overshoot it's target and come around for another pass. The aliens aren't able to inflict and more damaage on the Cerberus and the captain still seems pleased at our performance, despite the damage to his ship. We land and refuel, ready for the final push into Cygnus.

Ella 6:

The bug forces are hot on our tail as we head for the Cygnus jump point. We're to escort the Cerberus and make sure she can jump before the aliens block our path. The first wave of bug fighters won't be enough to stop us, as there are no bombers in the group but 13 enemy fighters is enough to cause quite a serious delay in our plans. Long enough for the bugs to bring some extra forces into play, including some bombers. Seeing the forces arrayed against us, the captain orders us to clear the area and then make a break for the Talos system, abandoning the plan to get to Cygnus for now.

The bugs seem quite intent on protecting their bombers as they setup for an attack run and I start taking some hard hits from behind as I dispatch the lead Manta. The sudden change in direction towards the second throws off my pursuers for long enough for me to take it out but they're back in place and firing as the third bomber succumbs to my missiles and guns. It is with great pleasure that I turn and vaporise the Morays that have been harassing me all mission, before continuing on to their friends.

The aliens aren't keen for us to make it to Talos, either, with another reception committee waiting for us at the jump point. Seeing that none of them are dedicated bombers, I decide to accept the challenge of the Devil Ray that comes running straight towards me. Without an ace at the controls, the heavy fighter is easily lured into head-to-head passes that always end up worse for it than for me and it's soon space dust. A quick check of my radar indicates that the Stingrays haven't clustered up just yet and I decide to make sure that none of them do with a duo of ELRIR shots, each taking out a Stingray and reducing their numbers enough to prevent clustering. The dogfight that follows is almost routine, just the repeated manuevers to get behind a Moray and supplying enough gunfire to destroy it. The Cerberus is at the jump point as the last fighter is destroyed and the captain orders us to land and prepare for jump as we head into the Talos system.