The players had limited amount of time, due to the vicinity of the military base. While Heem-Lyeh and Ivan scouted the asteroid, even the damaged sensors of the craft alerted Alexander of an incoming enemy dropship. They had very little time to make their move.
Soon the scouting party returned and reported that the other of the enemy fighters was still operational and patrolling the area, while the base itself seemed to be protected by dual gauss turret emplacements and the mechs that had retreated earlier. Pondering their options, Alexander ordered an assault and accepted the russians' plan to infiltrate the base in power armor and disable the power generator. The operation was planned to be simultaneous, and the assault itself would provide cover to the infiltration operation.
The makeup of the players' force changed. Both Heem-Lyeh's Crab and Josef's Thanatos were heavily damaged and Eurich was sceptical that Juho could beat the air superiority fighter in his Aquila, instead ordering the pilot to field the Striga heavy fighter they had originally captured along with the dropship. The wisdom of this choice was to be debated later, as the heavy fighter, while very powerful, was slower than the enemy Rusalka and did not have the range advantage the Aquila had. The air battle ended up being too close to comfort while the gauss turrets almost made short work of Bjornlöf's Marauder.
The russians, however, managed to infiltrate and capture the fusion generator and coerce the engineers to cut power to the guns. It turns out they were only partially powered by this generator, but the move nonetheless succeeds in greatly reducing their firepower. This allowed Eurich to pick his targets and go toe to toe with the guns, while the rest of the players concentrated on eliminating the defending mechs. The battle was close, but eventually successful, and everybody's eyes turned to the skies and on Juho, who had spent the whole time dogfighting with the enemy Rusalka.
This fight had not gone too well, as the Rusalka has managed to outmanouver Juho on multiple occasions, and even force him on the defensive. The finnish pilot was almost finished by a crafty move by his opponent but managed to tail him in turn and even the fight out. Both pilots entered the final stages of the fight extremely damaged and too proud to quit, which ultimately means that their final head-on assault and mutual alpha strike resulted in the utter destruction of both fighters. To the players' dismay, neither of the pilots were seen ejecting and Juho was pronounced KIA.
Hardly anyone had time to think about this, though, as they were forced to assault the control tower of the dock. The tower complex itself was light on manpower and the russians quickly managed to take control of the killer whale launcher. Eurich then did his best to lure the incoming dropship close enough to prevent it from escaping and only started firing when the ship was well into their trap. Seeing that the launcher is possessed by the enemy, the dropship tried to turn tail, but was ultimately shot down.
While Alexander was transmitting the debriefing to ILLI, it became evident that the dock has been constructing a scouting vessel with advanced sensors and stealth capabilities. How convenient. The players were ordered to stay put and hold the installation as ILLI moved its resources towards them. However, the scout ship was ordered to depart towards Kersia immediately and to be escorted by Shadow Flare aerospace assets which were returning from their own assignments.