*** Riding Your Friendly Neighbourhood JS ***
The JS/AS combination is one of the most efficient neuting/taking forces available to a Paradise Netrek team. Striking quickly and often without much opposition, an AS docked onto a JS can quickly gain another planet for the team or perform a neut with almost 100 percent chance of success so that someone else can backtake. A clued JS/AS team is certainly an annoyance to the opposing team and in addition to your neuting/taking you can also help your cause by getting enemy players to waste time that could otherwise be used doing useful things futilely chasing you across the galaxy.
The point I stress however, is that the JS/AS combination is a team. You and your JS must work together to make the most use of the JS's speed. Like any process the rate of progress is dictated by the slowest factor, in this case the AS as it is essentially a slow-moving troop transport. The JS pilot has his own set of skills to master and enough problems to worry about without having his taker doing things he doesn't expect and getting them both of you killed. I've actually had takers finding resources on a planet upon orbit and spending time bombing off the resources before taking it!
Communication is the key -- talk to your JS often and let him know if you are damaged, how many armies you have and can carry, and any neut/take planet recommendations. Once you partner up a few times the two of you will start to form an understanding of each other's habits and you will know what you can expect from each other when the enemy starts contesting your neut/takes. For example, if you know your JS is going to run off anytime red alert comes up you'll quickly learn not to lock onto things or carry 20 armies ;).
This said, let's get to the list of hints I propose. These suggestions are things I have picked up from both riding good JSs and JS piloting. Other JS/AS teams may have their own ideas on how to do things so nothing here is written in stone, but it is certainly one of the valid ways to work as a JS/AS team.
Always cloak. Otherwise, enemy ships can pull you off the JS and then doosh you. In addition, you'll give away your JS's position when they see an AS hurtling around at warp 45 on the galactic. Cloaking while docked costs you nothing, and retains your element of surprise. The only time you should be uncloaked is when you want your JS to pick you up after you pickup/neut/take. This is so your JS can tractor you and initiate docking quicker as well as letting your JS see that you are docked on properly and not just circling all around him. Once docked, cloak.
If under ogg, don't uncloak and fight unless absolutely sure of success. This is typically a case where you are at an acceptably remote planet and the ogger cannot expect backup soon. If you are at a planet close to enemy core, then it is not advisable since the ogger's buddies are likely to show up quickly and any delay in getting back on your JS increases the probability that you and your JS will get toasted. Use your afterburners liberally and get out of the area. Don't worry about going towards your JS -- if he's got any kind of self-preservation instinct he's already ABed out of phasor range and is beginning to look for the friendly-colored cloak crosshairs. If you're in a safe area, he will come get you.
Never lock onto any planet until your JS either puts you right over the target planet or he stops to one side of it (which he shouldn't be doing). Otherwise if he needs to make a speedy getaway, during his warp prep time when he is at zero impulse, you will disengage and be left behind.
If your JS is afraid to take shield damage, once he puts you close to the planet, AB towards it and lock on, remaining cloaked. Bomb and neut/take. If he is a nice JS and puts you over the planet, he will remain above impulse 4 the entire approach time so that you will not disengage by accident. Once right over the planet, he will drop to impulse 3 or less at which time you should lock onto the planet. You'll begin orbit right away, and you should quickly bomb and neut/take.
Once you pickup/neut/take, uncloak and your JS will pick you up. Apparently if you go impulse 2 and you are locked on to the JS all he has to do is pass over you and autodock will be initiated. If under ogg, follow step 2.
Since JS phasors and torps are useless, if he's firing them he is trying to alert you that an ogger is coming and that you should hurry. Typically he'll fire in the direction the threat is coming from. If the threat is close, AB in a direction perpendicular to the direction your JS is firing so that both you and your JS will be out of the path of the incoming ogger.
Use shift-f liberally to tell your JS how many armies you have, or shift-e if you are hurt and need to repair. Also, send an occasional message telling what your max army capacity is -- something like X/Y to say you have X armies and can carry Y. Otherwise, he'll assume you enjoy running around putting 1 army at a time on that AGRI. Don't forget that you should be using an AS, and that you can refit on the JS.
The JS is a ship of opportunity. If he suddenly breaks for the enemy SY it is likely clear and he wants you to die trying to take the SY if you have to. Once taken, you should repair the little damage you have and refit to a battleship immediately. Don't worry about your kills -- your JS can always find another taker. Begin defending the SY against the retake. Typically the enemy base will return to assist the retake -- expend all efforts to crush it. By this time more friendlies should be popping at the SY and will help you kill retakers and the base.
If you have just escaped an ogg attempt and have remained docked onto your JS while it ABed out of the line of fire, if he appears to be hovering around like he is looking for something, he is probably searching for you. Quickly uncloak and recloak so that he knows you are still docked on and safe. Your JS will then likely go into warp prep and speed off. If he remains stationary even after you have shown him that you are safe, he's probably ETEMPed himself while ABing away -- begin praying that no one comes.
On a similar note to step 3, watch the galactic at all times to see if there are any incoming threats -- your JS pilot may be too busy with some other concern to notice cloaked oggers coming. If the time constraints won't allow you to take the planet safely, simply don't lock onto the planet! Stay docked onto the JS and when the JS ABs out of the danger zone follow step 9. Your JS will be happy that you made his life easier by not forcing him to come back to save you.
In general, it is not advisable to dock onto your JS while cloaked -- this is because he might not notice and will continue hovering around looking for you. The exception is when you are in a hot zone and someone might pull you off your JS the moment you dock. If your JS is good he will have uncloaked and is pressor-harrassing the oggers. Lock onto him and dock while cloaked. When you gauge yourself to be out of any tractor range or your JS has ABed out of the path of torps, this is the time to follow step 9.
Sometimes it is useful to garner the skills of a BB buddy. Convince a BB to escort you around by docking onto the JS too. When you reach the target planet, your BB will deploy and begin smacking anything that dares touch you. If you are in trouble, he may even cloak as a decoy 'taker' and draw fire away from you. BB buddies rewl. Don't ask for one however, if you think you can handle the situation alone or your man can be better employed elsewhere. An example of an appropriate situation in which to call for an escort is when you are finished neuting/taking enemy periphery planets and are now trying to sneak core planets away. By this time of the game your team is typically winning and most of the enemy is patrolling their remaining planets. Why bother calling for a clear/escort that won't usually come at the proper time (if at all) when you can bring fresh, fully fuelled escort BBs with you? By the time you are trying to go for the enemy core planets, all that most of your team is doing is killing off scum bombers, bombing the enemy core, or ogging the defending base -- since these people are usually doing these jobs in heavy ships, why not give them a ride as well as getting some protection for yourself?
If you don't have a kill yet want to ride with a trusted JS, talk to him and tell him you want to go 'hunting'. This involves you refitting into a BB on him and going out to find someone to paste, which may or may not include the enemy JS. More typically you should try to find an enemy player with a good number of kills, especially if they are in an AS, since he's likely carrying armies. By killing this player you gain more kills than you would by killing a 'fresh' ship, and hence you can carry more armies, and you save at least one of your planets. Unlike when you are neuting/taking planets, you should not cloak. This is so your JS can zip past the intended victim and pressor you off on top or next to him -- it's much quicker than slowing down and letting you off, and the scare is usually enough to cause the guy to simply freeze and die quickly. Once pressored off, go smash the poor guy -- he'll never know what hit him. After the dust has settled, get back onto the JS and either go smack someone else or refit to an AS for taking.
Your JS is extremely fragile. If he has to go into or is escaping from an area with torps flying all around, DET for the JS since he obviously cannot. If the torp density is so high that you die DETting, then likely neither of you would have survived anyways. If you don't DET and your JS dies, he will probably explode on you and take most of your shields and hull with him, and then you are dead meat in any case.
These then, are the more important hints I have to offer from off the top of my head. One more reminder is that if you are forced to defend your hurt or ETEMPed JS, get in between him and the threat(s) and DET. Just as in defending a base, you are in a better position to DET this way and any torps that you fire which your enemy DETs cannot cause damage to the guy you are trying to protect. This does not apply if the situation is hopeless and you are carrying a substantial number of armies -- if the JS dies he will just jump into a regular ship and come back to help you out.
Grand Wesley BioHazard
Peng F. Mok
This document was last updated September 24, 1995.