Escorts are military ships that help the Starfleet Ships so that you have more time to evacuate. Four escorts (Starsystem Garrison, Longsword Squadron, Cruiser Task Force and Sabre Regiment) are available in booster packs. Two escorts (Ionguard Defense Fleet and Vega Elite Squadron) were sold in special individual packs until shortly after the initial booster opening. How they operate during evacuation is detailed here.

The Starsystem Garrison is the most basic form of support you can get. It basically consists of some obsolete fighters the Federation stationed in the sector to scare off the occasional pirate. It is in no way fit to go head to head with an alien fleet but still, it is better than having no support at all.

Calling in the Starsystem Garrison alone will probably just see them blown to pieces in mere seconds. Your best course of action will be to call them when a larger Federation fleet is around or when you call in your other Escorts.

The Starsystem Garrison still offers an 6% increase in Intercept chance and with larger ships covering them they might be able to survive for some minutes. With their common rarity they will be readily available to anybody looking for some basic support during Evacuation. Note that they do have the Upgradable trait, so if you burn some additional copies you might be able to make them a little more reliable.

The Longsword Squadron is the next logical step from the Starsystem Garrison, when looking for an Escort. They sport better fighters, are more numerous, and have more capable pilots. While the Starsystem Garrisons pilots spend most days drinking Happy Soda in the stations pub the Longsword Squadron has actually been in real combat missions and even had some pilots come back from them alive.

The Longsword Squadron never fought the aliens either, so while they are going to be more useful together with bigger ships they would still fall quickly if you call them in alone. They are upgradable as well but at rare you will have a harder time to get them to their maximum level. If you manage to do though, you will end up with a capable squadron that just might be able to buy you the time needed to get out of Evacuation alive.

The Cruiser Task Force is made up of four Paladin class armored cruisers and they could just be your fighter squadrons best friend. While they won't provide any more intercept chance than what your fighters can do, the cruisers are a lot beefier than the Escorts we have seen before. They are upgradable as well, so with some more cards burned they can be turned into a good first line of defense that could potentially both protect you and your squishier Escorts for quite a while.

Combining the different breeds of Escort ships will be key to success in Evacuation. Only bringing the Cruiser Task force would not do much for your Intercept chance, bringing only fighters would end with them being destroyed within mere seconds. If you use the cruisers for cover and send additional fighters to deal with the alien ships you might actually be able to at least stall the battle for a while, giving you more time to finish your operations on the station.

Finally, the Sabre Regiment is made up of elite pilots operating state of the art Sabre Interceptors. They are the Federations most trusted peace keepers and are permanently seeing action across the sector. That is why you will not be able to call them in all at once. When you activate the Sabre Regiment you will receive six Sabre Interceptors to aid you immediately. The rest of the regiment will scramble to come to your assistance as well, but this is going to take them some time. Once the alarm is active, another three ships will join the action every three minutes.

These are the best fighters that can be found in Alpha Edition Booster packs and they can really make a difference in any Evacuation. When you first call them to your help they won't be any stronger than the Longsword Squadron. They really shine during prolonged encounters though. Having additional ships warp in every few minutes can potentially help to at least stabilize the conflict for a longer time. More than ever it will be very important to provide them with additional cover from bigger ships though. If there are no other ships around to aid them, the new arrivals will be destroyed before they even powered down their hyperdrive.

Both of the pre-sale escorts, the Ionguard Defense Fleet and the Vega Elite Squadron are the best of the best in their category so all other ships perform better when they are around. Battle Formation and Fighter Leader are traits which provide a synergy bonus to all your other capital ships and fighters respectively. They can each activate special events like the Starfleet Veterans and Super-Battleships can.

The Ion Guards are a defense fleet of heavy cruisers that are armed with Ionguard Frigates and Cruisers that pack a powerful punch against enemy alien forces and are sure to provide you with additional coverage as well as aid in a successful evacuation with additional resources onboard.

When the Vega Elite Squadron is called into action, they will hyperspeed to your station and defend it until the last breath.

The more and higher quality escorts that you have, the longer the time that they will be able to hold off the aliens – allowing you to load more cargo and passengers.

This entry draws heavily from the article originally published by exodenews on the Hive blog here