(Reposted here since the contest asks us to focus on waves, not stages. I still very much like the idea, so.)
New PvE Mission - "Shipyard Raid"
Playable with up to 4 players - potentially more if the design calls for it. Could be made into a special operation with increased difficulty and such.
With the sudden and massive power change as the Cybers left the Jericho to fight alongside the aliens, the Empire found themselves afraid of the new combined onslaught. Adamant to maintain their galactic presence and fearing that the rest of the Jericho will follow in the footsteps of the Cybers, the Empire launched a series of powerful assaults on vital Jericho star systems in Sector 1337. A massive battle has broken out in Pallas, where the Jericho have built a massive shipyard complex to construct new dreadnoughts and conduct sinister research. An experimental dreadnought at this complex is nearly complete, and is beginning the lengthy process of initial power-up. However due to its construction process, the dreadnought is drawing power from the station in order to initialize. The Empire cannot allow this shipyard to remain intact, and if the dreadnought powers up, the battle will be lost! Mercenaries, you must infiltrate the complex and destroy it from the inside!
Stage 1: Approach
[sCENE: A remote sector near the edge of Pallas, orbiting the Gas Giant. A massive orbital station complex of facilities and shipyards holds a foreboding presence as it hovers only a few hundred kilometers above the stormy clouds of the planet. A Jericho dreadnought sits at a shipyard dock inside the complex’s shield barrier, its systems still offline, but not for long. The Empire has launched an all-out assault on the shipyard, but the complex is armed to the teeth - turrets of all kinds cover the armor-plated buildings and stations, and hundreds of defense force ships have launched from the hangars to do battle. Upwards of a thousand ships choke the player’s view, arcing and spiraling as weapons fire and ship explosions light up the sky. And an Empire dreadnought - the mighty Maelstrom - is on approach, its major caliber guns battering against the complex shield barrier with thunderous force, the shockwaves felt across the entire battlefield.]
[ENTER THE MERCENARIES, UNDOCKING FROM THE EMPIRE DREADNOUGHT]
COMMANDER: Mercenaries, this is your commander. We only have a few minutes left before the enemy dreadnought powers up. Begin the operation - enter the complex under the cover of battle!
The players undock from the Empire Dreadnought, in the same way they spawn during a dreadnought battle. Sitting at the front of the ship is a “Radar Masker”, a bomb-like object that one of the players can pick up like a bomb. The masker projects a 2000m radius of radar-jamming protection, that hides the players inside from incoming fire. The Radar Masker slows the ship holding it by 50%, or 25% if the ship is a Frigate. Any pilot that leaves the masking radius will be picked up by enemy radar and quickly vaporized by turrets and ships, so the players must stay close as the leader approaches the complex, weapons fire and ship trails screaming past. The players only have five minutes to reach the complex entrance.
[sCENE: The players carefully inch towards the complex entrance, avoiding floating turret emplacements and finding a path that keeps them safe. Several waves of ships will occasionally get close and enter the bubble - those ships must be destroyed before they expose your plan!]
When the players reach the complex entrance, Stage 2 begins.
Stage 2: Infiltration - Leads to Stage 3 with no loading, much like PvE: Defense Contract
[sCENE: The interior of a massive complex. Sleek and shining tunnel walls dizzy the players, extending out into a labyrinth of passageways. The lights occasionally flicker and the walls occasionally shake with muffled thuds as the dreadnought outside slams the shields with major caliber fire. Interior defense turrets litter the complex, though they are only designed to handle a single intruder, not an organized team.]
COMMANDER : Mercenaries! Infiltrate the complex and find the power core. Destroy it so that we may destroy this station!
The players navigate the labyrinth of tunnels, engaging turrets and breaking power cells to reach further into the facility. If anything notices the players, they only have a short time to destroy them - wait too long and the tunnel region will go on alert, trapping the players behind endless walls of blast doors. The players can destroy these doors with considerable focus fire, but only have about 30 seconds to destroy one before the entire facility locks down and ends the mission in failure!
Entering a new part of the complex will spawn a wave of specialized defense fighters equipped with disabling missiles!
The players finally reach the center - a two-frigate-sized power core in a large spherical room. The core spins around the room wildly, emitting occasional static charges at the walls in random directions - if the players get too close, the static will hit them first!
Stage 3: Escape!
COMMANDER : Great job, mercenaries! The shields are failing! Our dreadnought is preparing to fire, get out of there before the whole place goes up!
When the players destroy the core with some focus fire, a countdown of 180 seconds begins - the shields of the station are failing, and the Empire dreadnought has no intention of waiting for the mercs to get out before it rips the complex apart! The players scramble to leave the way they came, dodging random debris falling as the shield loses power and occasional shots from the dreadnought pierce the barrier. The debris can block the player’s path, and damage the players as it hits them. Some tunnels crunch in as the complex is pummeled with increasing intensity, forcing the players to navigate around the shrinking walls.
When the players escape the complex, they aren’t yet out of the blast radius - they must get 2km away and approach the Empire dreadnought. As they do, the Empire dreadnought fires a massive major caliber blast at the unshielded complex, ripping it to shreds and bringing the mercenaries a victory!