As I promised, here's the little story I wrought for the B'day of our beloved Queen
Serious though, I took as many things from the "Battuta interviews Volition" thread as possible; and the result is different from any (released) campaign I know of. It might be not everybodys darling, but I like it
FS2 Expansion - <insert random Sol war here>
FS3 - 2400
Changes in the Nodemap: Uses the extended BWO-nodemap, minus Cygnus-X1. Addontional nodes:
-Gehenna links Ross 128, Ikeya and the Nebula system.
-Addontional node between Epsilon Eridani and Aldebaran.
Backstory: Shortly after the end of the Reunion war with Earth in 2390, GTVEA starts exploration of jump nodes leading out of allied space. Those were previously considered too unstable, but are now accesible due to a new generation of subspace drives based on the research for the Sol Gate. Meanwhile the Alliance still struggles to integrate Earth into its structures. In addition to the ideological shock of the Terran brotherwar (particular significant because GTVEA has now a large Terran majority), the discovery of the Ancients brings further instability to the Grand Alliance...
Beginns with a few training missions - how TAG weapons altered dogfighting entirely, how to fly a remotely controlled meson missiles the size of a fighter etc.
The GTVEA encounters the Ancients while exploring the regions beyond Altair. They survived the downfall of the Ancient Empire; for they are remains of the sublight Empire of the Ancients - 8.000 years ago they were just a small colony that wasn't linked with the main part via Knossos (the reason they built this was to access/connect all pre-subspace colonies), but have grown over time.
Due to having found out what happend with their brothers and sisters, the Ancients decide to join the GTVEA, which is then recalled "Grand Alliance". However, not all of them want that and a minor rebellion breaks out, carried by people who are worried about their autonomy, their culture etc. The player enters the story as pilot of the SOC and is tasked to put down the rebellion as silently as possible. While doing that, Alpha 1 learns about the negative sides of the Alliance - it has become an institution that follows its own interest, and not necessary common sense (corruption?); the idealism of the founder generation is lost and while the races have lost direct power they now compete for influence in the Alliance, which is mostly being held together by being without alternative (like current EU).
When they discover a route that leads to Capella and Shivan ships show up, the Alliance decides to overcome its internal problems by going into the offense. A gigantic fleet is assembled, the Shivan defenses gets crushed, and the Alliance enters the center of the Capella nebula. Travelling through the Super-Node - the journey takes far longer than any recorded jump in history - the Allied fleet reaches the Shivan homesystem. Near the node (maybe a few 100km off or so), they discover a giant space station (like the SI Hara, maybe larger). Believing this to be the center of all Shivan activity, the GA attacks it.
Meanwhile, a small exploration force enters the orbit of the systems' red dwarf in order to investigate the stars' strange spectral lines (it is also covered by a dust cloud from the initial arrival point). And they find out the reason - a Shivan Dyson Grid around the sun, consisting of hundred thousands/millions of these giant space stations that they just try to blow up. The Alliance is completely shocked, some suggest to withdraw before the Shivans "get angry"(while in truth Command realizes that the Shivans can access GA space as they please, and that they can't destroy the Super-Node).
Instead, the Alliance goes into the offense, attacking furiously the Dyson Grid. While the propaganda is optimistic, most question the sense behind this action, what later becomes a major point in the agitation against the GA. The player can choose here after its first homeship got destroyed (branching mission structure instead of the loop missions of FS1 and FS2) - join a specially prepared ship, protect it against Shivan assaults while scanning the empty space between the filaments of the grid in order to monitor the Shivan activity while other ships attack them (a seemingly useless task) - OR - the player can join the attack force (fly super bombs, scanning for weakpoints etc).
Eventually, the Alliance is able to deal much more damage than anybody would've expected; taking advantage of orbits, the debris of destroyed parts of the Dyson Grid causes further damage and so on. In the end, however, only 1/10.000 or 1/100.000 of the grid is destroyed, at the price of 1/4 of the allied fleet.
Then, the worst fears become true - a huge part of the Grid (something from 500km to 3000km) breaks loose and starts heading for the Shivantown-Capella supernode. In panic, the GA tries to seal the node with multiple Nodebusters, but since the node was actually formed by a supernova, it is far too strong to collapse by such small explosions. The node ulitmatly collapses under the energy release during the transit of the giant Shivan ship - but only after it already left subspace. Like the Sathanas armada, it ignores GA mostly, yet the 2 huge accompanying fleets (1 as escort for the Hive, the other one attacks GAs core systems) wreak havoc.
GA tries to stop the advance fleet by destroying nodes, but the Shivans always find other ways. This becomes critical when a part of the Shivan fleet arrives in Ross 128, 2 jumps away from Earth. Then the player takes part in a SOC taskforce to destroy the Ross 128-Delta Serpentis node in order to prevent the main fleet from hitting Earth directly and to buy time... instead the Shivans destroy Beta Aquilae, Antares, Vega and other core systems of the Alliance, killing billions of people. The Shivan advance is only stopped by a massive armada in Earth orbit.
<Background/CB only plot: Meanwhile, the Hive travels through GA space until reaching the "lower group" of GTVA (Laramis/Luyten etc, which hasn't been explained much by Volition so far). Once the Hive reaches a red dwarf in the group, it destroys one of the planets in orbit (one of the densiest populated planets of the entire Alliance) with its subspace weapon, killing hundreds of millions of people. An act of pure evil. But shortly afterwards, the motives of the Hive become apparent. Deploying countless construction machines near the exposed core of the destroyed planet, the ship starts to construct a Dyson Grid, similar to the one in Shivantown, right in the middle of GA space.>
While the Earth is safe for now, the Shivans attack the strategically important Vasuda system. A Vasudan admiral refuses his orders to engage the Shivans, and instead holds a Hammer of Light-ceremony while his ship gets destroyed, causing the system to fall into the hands of the Shivans. Also, occasional HoL raids occur. As a result, the Ancients use the (misinformation) that the assault on the Dyson Sphere was the fault of the GA and threaten to withdraw their fleets from the frontlines and to protect only their homesystems, even though some are aware that this could result in their own extermination. In addition, once the news about the construction works of the Hive and the devastations in the Core systems spread, several important ships such as freighters and transports dessert, trying to bring themselves and their loved ones to safety by flying into interstellar space; causing the player to enforce order for a few missions.
Since the Hive can't be destroyed, the Alliance starts to deal with the rest of the escorting Armada first. It turns out that the destroyer in the scanning mission was equipped with a special ETAK device. Due to the scanning of the comm-nodes of the Dyson Grid, the GA has created a tool that predicts Shivan behavior and detects their ships at long-range, giving them a huge advantage. GA not only evades Shivan traps, but is able to set them on its own, and eventually calculate the reaction of the enemy. The ratio of destroyed ships shifts in favor of the GA, and despite the vast numerical superiority of the Shivans, the GA has now the upper hand against them. After most of the Shivan fleet has been destroyed, the remaining 40% of GAs fleet gather to attack the Hive. They are able to destroy most of the facilities specialized for warship production, but the much larger "civillian" bays can't be destroyed, for they are simply too huge. Despite the fleet being down to 20% now, the GA has bought time again.
The End: The Terrans are finally truly reunited - but at a high price. Except for the former NTF systems, virtually every of the Exile systems has been destroyed, and the former inhabitants are either dead or live in Sol.
The key to fight the Shivans now is to maintain/improve the Alliance; military wise by developing better technology, for the Shivans now have less sophisticated technology (minus supernovas). While GA realizes that the Shivans can never be truly defeated for they rule atleast the galaxy, they don't have to worry about the main Shivan Dyson Grid anymore that send them the Lucifer and the Sathanas armada. Yet, they are more threatend than ever by the one in construction right next to them, but they learned how to damage the Grid, the fleet and the Hive once in a while to prevent it from becoming strong enough to annihilate GA. Also, there's further speculation about the Shivans and the reason for their actions - apparently having been created once by somebody, they try to configure the universe for maximum access via subspace i.e. removing gravity sources that prevent the formation of jump nodes.
Throughout the entire time, not a single Sathanas or Lucifer is sightened, for they are specific ships (head of exploration-elimination task forces, construction of galactic nodes). Perhabs the hive entirely (or partitially) disperses into a construction swarm of also huge ships. Also, while being completely deliusional about the nature of the Shivans, Bosch ultimatly helped to develop something that allowed better understanding (though not communicating) of them, and gave GA a weapon to fight on uneven terms. Perhabs the GA would even use NTF tactics in order to deal with a vastly superior enemy.
For the non Shivan-antagonist I did not want to have the generic "there's a big dangerous group of people doing/believing the wrong thing so they attack". Among starships the size of planets, the scope could very well shift to the behavior of individuals and between selfish and selfless acting as well as the reasons for that. Same thing could work for the role of the Alliance and in particular the Ancients, which might not be the first ones to be affected by the Shivan invasion but are basically aware of the importance of the GA for their own survival, but play with the idea of leaving the inevitable casaulties to the rest of GA at the expanse of common military strength. In the end the Alliance is given a chance to survive in a hostile universe - if it can avoid self-destruction/dispersion, and the player can do something about it.
~5 missions for each act
2 initial Training missions
Act 1 - A group of influential rogue Ancients has prepared a plot that would shatter the ties with the Alliance.
Act 2 - After the Shivans return through Ikeya, a massive fleet enters Shivan space, racing through Gehenna, the Nebula system, Gamma Draconis, Capella, Shivantown.
Act 3 - The Alliance enters Shivantown, finds a SI Hara and attacks it (1 mission). After the discovery of the Dyson Grid the players' ship gets destroyed by a new juggernaut. Story branches (2*3 missions), either attack on the Grid or AWACS analisys. In the final mission of both branches GA fleet flees Shivantown.
Act 5 - The Hive follows them. Once in allied space launches an entire Armada of juggernauts, GA core systems are overrun (the story is told from Exile-Terran POV, who are hit hardest). The Shivans enter Sol, and fight the Terrans over Earth which narrowly escapes destruction.
Act 6 - In face of the Shivan threat - it has become clear that they'll stay this time - GAs morality goes low, many ships try to flee the Shivans by escaping into interstellar space.
Act 7 - The GA invades the lower group of systems that has been captured by the Shivans. They launch the assault on the Hive and destroy significant parts of the construction facilities.
What I couldn't fit in was the thing with the FS2 nebula system as it's implied that it's the result of another Shivan supernova. Probably this might fall in the same category as the question "Which route would the Shivans have taken to Capella if the NTF hadn't opened them the 3 Knossos portals?", what is also not explained...
I don't know about the middlepart, with GA attacking instead of running away, but I thought it'd be more interesting that way.
Thoughts anybody? Feedback is welcome, positive or otherwise.