The events of (and indeed leading up to) Strike Suit Zero are defined by large-scale fleet battles where the tide of war can turn very quickly. In this feature we’re going to look at some of the more notable battles in Strike Suit lore. These battles were so notable, in fact, that the UNE re-created them as simulations, all of which are playable in the Heroes of the Fleet mission pack.
THE AKIRA 5 MASSACRE
This mission is based on the actions of 1st Lieutenant Tom Whittaker who disobeyed a direct order not to pursue the Colonial forces after they destroyed the freighters transporting U.N.E. personnel involved in the Akira incident. Whittaker followed the Colonial Cruiser and two frigates into an asteroid field, where he destroyed them by attacking their structural weak points. What is even more impressive is that he accomplished this feat despite the fact that he was piloting a damaged Scythe Interceptor with a configuration that was suboptimal for engaging capital ships.
As a result of his insubordination, the U.N.E. was left with no choice but to subject to non-judicial punishment in accordance with article 15: Forfeiture of half his base pay for two months; Reduction of rank and base pay by one grade; Flight status revoked for two months.
Despite being hailed as a hero by his comrades, Whittaker’s treatment at the hands of the U.N.E. administration left him disillusioned and he quit the U.N.E. in disgust. However, Whittaker made a small fortune in the private sector both from his autobiographical media releases and by consulting on capital ship destruction and pilot training programs.
Eventually, under pressure from a growing fan base – the U.N.E. revoked the charges against Whittaker and he now lectures at their pilot training academy.
THE BATTLE OF FOLD POINT 1138
This simulation is based on the battle at Fold Point 1138 and the final engagement of Flight Leader Phil Robinson. Robinson was just one of many U.N.E. pilots dispatched to Fold Point 1138, charged with securing the location, however, Robinson’s name remains etched in history because of his selfless dedication to his team and the defense of the U.N.E. Fleet.
Robinson helped to hold the Colonial forces at bay for over an hour and, during this time, logged six corvette kills, four frigate kills and three cruiser kills.
However, the Colonial Fleet was commanded by Admiral Suvarov, a rising star in the Colonial ranks responsible for multiple Colonial victories over U.N.E. forces, and with his direction the Colonial Capital ships overwhelmed the U.N.E. forces.
Suvorov’s victory cemented his position within the Colonial hierarchy and he was approached to direct, develop and train captains for the Colonial Elite force that became known as the Black Fleet.
It appears that Robinson’s success brought the flaws in the Colonial capital ship designs to Suvarov’s attention. Unable to redesign the ships themselves in the time frame available, Suvarov pushed through prototype miniaturized beam technology, capable of tracking and shooting down small, fast ships into deployment on capital ships in his new fleet.
In the aftermath, Robinson’s sacrifice was recognized by the U.N.E. He was posthumously awarded the gold service medial.
THE BATTLE OF THE ARES R&D STATION
The Ares beam cannon prototype was developed in response to a series of hit-and-run attacks taking place deep inside U.N.E. space against both military installations and civilian stations. Although, unknown to the U.N.E. at the time, these attacks were performed by the Black Fleet on its first mission to disrupt U.N.E. operations.
The U.N.E. had hoped to develop a weapon that would allow their stations to defend themselves from capital ships without fleet support. Flight Team Leader Grace Reynolds was assigned to the Ares space station during the prototype’s initial deployment. Reynolds and her squadron had been flying on a standard combat air patrol when the Black Fleet command ship folded in almost directly on top of their position.
Reynolds barely had time to register the new contact before the heavily modified carrier, refitted with what would become the Black Fleet’s signature beam weapons, opened fire on the squadron destroying almost all of the U.N.E. fighters instantly. Reynolds ordered the handful of surviving fighters to fall back to the Ares station.
During the actual mission, the commander of the Black Fleet Carrier – a prodigy trained by Suvorov called Demian Tarkovsy – held back capital ships to use as shields for the carrier so he could fold in and send squad after squad of fighters craft to take down the generators. The destruction of the Ares project was the U.N.E.’s first recorded encounter with the Colonial Elite and helped create the legend of the Black Fleet.
Next week we’ll take a look at some of the pilots that have defined Strike Suit Zero. Until then!