Kidou Kishi Warviour
(Mobile Knight Warviour)
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters in Strike Witches, nor the initial setting.
Chapter 10: The Shokaku Nightmare
Ruins of Honolulu, State of Hawaii, United States of Liberion. April 20, 1946; 0705 hours
"You fool!" shouted a shadowed figure while being projected by a watch with the user of the latter, "Wan", kneeling into the floor of a destroyed house that stood as one among many memorials for the meteor attack launched by the Stavrosian Empire that started this war. "Thanks to your reckless actions, the LN now appear to know that we Nezura have utilized the bodies of these mortals. And all because of your obsession with killing Siks!"
"I offer no excuses, Master," replied "Wan".
"Then I have a new assignment for you."
"A… new assignment?"
"Think of this as a punishment. You'll be working with the Buffalo from here on in. In addition, we need you to observe our other experiment."
The shadowed figure, known to "Wan" as the "Director", vanished. "Wan" began to press buttons in his watch and what was now projected was the Earth itself with a red circle in the blue section of the projected Earth that represented the Pacific Ocean.
After giving a smile, "Wan" turned off his watch. A red-colored light in the form of a trapezoid glowed onto his forehead followed by light engulfing his entire body. A second later, "Wan" was in the same form he assumed a day earlier in Hawaii Island and began to leave not only Honolulu but the entire Hawaiian Islands.
I.S.S. Buffalo. 0730 hours
"Captain, I've picked up something floating directly above us," said Ishiguro as she saw a red dot approaching the blue dot that represented the I.S.S. Bufflalo in her console and faced her captain, Otto Schneider.
"We'll check it out," decided Schneider. "Andrews, order the hangar to prepare the elevator and have two guards prepared.
"But Cap-" argued Evelyn Andrews before Schneider silenced her with his right palm. "Aye aye, Captain."
The Buffalo rose from the ocean depths with the "object" it detected – Wan – floating in the air. As the Buffalo surfaced, "Wan" landed on the top deck of the submarine just as the structure used by the Buffalo to launch its Mobile Knights was raised. "Wan" reverted to his human form with two armed men in blue rushing to "Wan".
"Quite the welcoming committee we have here," noted "Wan".
"Come with us," ordered one of the men in blue. "The Captain wishes to speak with you."
"Wan" was brought into the Buffalo's bridge. Although he didn't rear his head, Schneider knew who came in as he heard the door open.
"I imagine this was your way of trying to find me?" asked Schneider without looking at "Wan".
"Correct," answered "Wan". "Allow me to introduce myself. I am Kenta Aoi of the Imperial Directorate of Intelligence."
"I honestly don't know what a mere captain like myself can offer to you at this moment?"
"That will change very soon."
"Captain, I'm picking up a transmission," said Andrews. "It's… from Vice-Admiral Alon."
"Patch it through," ordered Schneider.
Alon then appeared on the main screen of the Buffalo's bridge. Everyone but "Wan" stood up and saluted with Alon doing so in kind.
"I see Agent Aoi has just graced his presence into your ship, Schneider," said Alon as he saw "Wan". "Good. The Imperial Directorate of Intelligence needs your help in a mission of theirs?"
"I figured as such due to Agent Aoi willing to travel all the way out here. How may we help?"
U.S.S. Mayflower. April 23, 1946; 0930 hours
Three days later, Yoshika Miyafuji was at the kitchen of the U.S.S. Mayflower's wardroom cleaning the dishes. However, she began to lose consciousness. A busboy saw the unconscious Fusoan Witch and began to help Yoshika.
"What's going on here?" asked a sailor with cleaning equipment.
"We need a corpsman in here!" shouted the busboy. "Something's happened to Miss Miyafuji!"
Just near the sick bay of the Mayflower, Mio Sakamoto passed. However, she then saw a corpsman carry the unconscious Yoshika.
"W… What's going on here!?" asked Sakamoto.
"Miss Miyafuji fell unconscious minutes ago while washing the dishes in the wardroom's kitchen," replied the corpsman. "I was called in to help."
"Allow me to help," insisted Sakamoto.
Sakamoto slung Yoshika's left arm across her right arm. The former and the corpsman who slung Yoshika's right arm to his carried on to the sick bay. Sayaka Miyafuji then saw her unconscious daughter and rushed to Sakamoto and the corpsman.
"What happened!?" asked Sayaka.
"Your daughter fell unconscious minutes ago while washing dishes," repeated Sakamoto.
"Place her here," Sayaka pointed to the nearest bed.
Sakamoto and the corpsman then laid Yoshika to the floor. Afterward, Sakamoto grabbed Yoshika underneath her arms while the corpsman held her feet. Gently, they lifted Yoshika into the bed.
"Lieutenant Commander Sakamoto, please report to the bridge," ordered the voice of Nicholas Kirkman over the 1MC.
"I best get going," said Sakamoto before leaving the sick bay.
A knock was heard on the other side of the bridge with Nicholas Kirkman and Tyler Seioge hearing it. The latter had binoculars attached to his eyes.
"It's Lieutenant Commander Sakamoto," said the Fusoan officer. 'Captain, you called for me?"
"That I did," replied Kirkman without looking at the door. "Please come in."
Sakamoto opened the door and proceeded inside. After closing the door, she joined Kirkman and Seioge.
"Seioge spotted the I-402," explained Kirkman. "What took you so long?"
"Something happened to Miyafuji," answered Sakamoto. "She fell unconscious and as a result, a corpsman took her to the sick bay. I helped out in the end."
"Just have her rest. I need you to talk to Lieutenant Hijikata once we meet up."
At the flight deck of the Mayflower, the crew began retrieving supplies from the I-402. Sakamoto talked to her subordinate Keisuke Hijikata yet again.
"Would it even be wise to have that delivered next time?" asked Hijikata.
"I still think so," answered Sakamoto. "I doubt what happened to Miyafuji will affect it."
Suddenly, James Hodges interrupted Sakamoto and Hijikata's conversation.
"Excuse me, Lieutenant Commander," said Hodges. "Granger spotted that plane."
Elsewhere, Shinta Himemiya and Kei Miyazaki carried a crate full of 7.61x51mm rounds for their respective Mobile Knights' anti-personnel machine guns. However, Shinta and Kei heard the wireless transceiver of the former ring and put down the crate. Shinta then answered the transceiver.
"Shinta-kun, is that you?" asked a voice Shinta recognized over his wireless transceiver.
"Yes," asked Shinta with suspicion in his tone.
"Please tell Mio-kun I'll be approaching shortly."
"Got it," replied Shinta just as he saw Sakamoto and Hodges approach Oliver Granger while he used a pair of binoculars.
Shinta then joined Sakamoto, Hodges, and Granger. Granger continued using his binoculars as he saw the plane he mentioned, the Fusion Wanderer, approach. He continued looking as he saw what appeared to be a boat.
"Excuse me, Lieutenant Commander," said Shinta to Sakamoto.
"Himemiya, what is it?" asked Sakamoto.
Rather than answer, Shinta gave his transceiver. Seeing the frequency, Sakamoto accepted and began to use it.
"Khyber, I've only noticed it's you approaching," said Sakamoto.
"Mio-kun, could you please ask your captain to grant permission to land?" asked "Khyber".
"Permission granted," said Kirkman as he appeared and joined his subordinates.
The Fusion Wanderer was now above the Mayflower. However, as Granger saw, the Fusion Wanderer carried a boat with a gray-colored beam of light. The plane lowered itself and disabled the beam, allowing the boat to fall without being destroyed.
The crew of the Mayflower saw that the boat was full of Fusoan sailors. The former began to help the latter. Some then saw Witches arrive above the carrier, much to their surprise. Two were Fusoan, specifically Imperial Fuso Navy, with one of them wearing the same uniform as Sakamoto's and the other wearing a sailor fuku that was dark blue. Another Witch was with the two Fusoans but she was dark-skinned and wore a different uniform that involved black-colored shorts. The three Witches appeared too tired to see where they were and began to allow themselves to fall into the Mayflower's flight deck.
"Those Witches are falling," argued Chieko Oka. "We best help."
"Agreed," said one sailor.
Shinta rushed to assist. He reached the Witch in the white uniform. She had long brown hair with a white ribbon tied to the hair and light brown eyes. Her familiar's features, as they vanished, were those of a red-crowned crane's wings and tail. As Shinta prevented the Witch from injuring herself, not only had her familiar's features vanished but she had exited her Striker Unit, a N1K2-J Shiden, and dropped her Type 99-2 autocannon.
"W… where am I?" asked the barely conscious Fusoan Witch.
"Please allow yourself to rest," assured Shinta. "I'll take you to the sick bay.
"Thank you… " said the Witch before she allowed her consciousness to fade away.
In his office, Kirkman was with Sakamoto and Ichiro Miyafuji, who had taken off his "Khyber" mask. As Kirkman was seated, Sakamoto stood beside the office's bookshelf with her arms crossed while Ichiro remained standing and faced Kirkman.
"What brings you out here, Dr. Miyafuji?" asked Kirkman.
"I simply came here to drop off those sailors?" asked Ichiro.
"You do know we're incredibly busy."
"I understand that. The men and women I rescued came from the Shokaku."
"The Shokaku!?" exclaimed Sakamoto. "What happened to it?"
"I honestly don't know but I just saw that the Neuroi have somehow attacked it. It's best to wait for those Witches to recover."
"Who are they, anyway?" asked Kirkman.
"Takami Karibuchi from the 508th Joint Fighter Wing, along with Kullamas Blengkam and Miya Misumi from the 507th Joint Fighter Wing," answered Ichiro.
"The 507th and the 508th have been re-mobilized?" asked Sakamoto.
"Not yet from what I understood."
"In either case, it's as Dr. Miyafuji suggested," concluded Kirkman. "We best wait."
In the Mayflower's sick bay, Yoshika frantically moved around her bed. Her mother Sayaka and her grandmother Yoshiko Akimoto struggled to keep Yoshika calm.
"No… no… " said Yoshika. "No!"
"Yoshika, please calm down!" said Sayaka.
Shinta Himemiya watched on. Turning his attention away from the Miyafuji women, Shinta saw the rest of the sailors eating their meals. He then turned to the three Witches.
Shinta began to leave the sick bay. However, Chieko and Kei appeared in his way with a tray of food.
"Where are you going?" asked Kei.
"To see the Captain," asked Shinta. "Sakamoto Shosa is talking to him right now."
Unexpectedly, just as Shinta left the Mayflower's island, he bumped into Sakamoto. Both saluted each other in kind.
"My apologies, ma'am," said Shinta.
"Where were you going anyway?" asked Sakamoto.
"I was actually looking for you."
"Same here. How are Karibuchi, Misumi, and Blengkam?"
"Those are their names?"
"Indeed. How are they?"
"They're conscious. Last I saw them, they were eating the meals given to them."
"Good. If you can, could you find Oka and Miyazaki and get them to help you bring Karibuchi, Misumi, and Blengkam to the interrogation room. If they're well, we can ask them what happened to the Shokaku."
"That's where they came from. Now come on."
"Yes, ma'am," replied Shinta as he saluted again before leaving Sakamoto.
Takami Karibuchi, Kullamas Blengkam, and Miya Misumi were now at the interrogation room adjacent to the Mayflower's brig. Shinta Himemiya remained standing by a wall with his arms crossed while James Hodges stood on the other side.
Beside Takami was Misumi. Fifteen years old, she had lightly black hair in braids. Seated beside Misumi was Blengkam. Her jacket bore insignia from the Kingdom of Siamro and on her head was a side cap above her short black hair.
The door then opened with Kei Miyazaki standing in front of the door with his hands crossing each other at his back. Nicholas Kirkman and Mio Sakamoto proceeded inside and sat on the other side of the table, facing the three Witches. Kei then closed the door and exited the room.
"I'm sorry for this arrangement but truth be told, we're on a secret mission," said Kirkman. "Forgive me for not introducing myself. I'm Nicholas Kirkman, Captain of the U.S.S. Mayflower."
"Takami Karibuchi, Fuso Imperial Navy, Lieutenant."
"Miya Misumi, Fuso Imperial Navy, Sergeant."
"Kullamas Blengkam, Royal Siamro Air Force, Flight Sergeant."
"I assume you three know who I am?" asked Sakamoto with no answer before turning to Shinta. "Himemiya, I need you to find Khyber and bring him in here. By the time you two show up, the Captain and I ought to be done."
"Ryōkai," replied Shinta with a salute before leaving the room. Sakamoto then resumed her attention to Takami, Misumi, and Blengkam.
"If you don't mind me asking, why was the Shokaku out there?" asked Sakamoto.
"Five days ago, the Shokaku had left Sasebo for Europe," answered Takami. "I'm not sure if you've heard of this but the Joint Fighter Wings had been re-mobilized."
I should have known they would be this impatient, thought Sakamoto before turning to Takami. "Where exactly in Europe were you supposed to travel to?"
"Kauhava," answered Misumi. "Broi and I were to report to Wing Commander Sakomizu for the re-mobilization of the 507th Joint Fighter Wing."
"The Shokaku was simply to drop off Flight Sergeant Misumi and Flight Sergeant Blengkam to Kauhava," answered Takami. "I was to remain with the Shokaku until it met up with the H.M.S. Victorious and the H.M.S. Enterprise. Also, it wasn't just the Shokaku that left Sasebo. The carrier Zuikaku also left Sasebo for Europe."
"Why is that?" asked Kirkman.
"The 502nd Joint Fighter Wing was also ordered to re-mobilize. My sister Hikari, along with Flight Sergeant Sadako Shimohara and Pilot Officer Naoe Kanno were to go to Petersburg."
"Then what happened to the Shokaku?" asked Sakamoto.
"Yesterday, the Shokaku found a black-colored object," answered Misumi. "It looked like an egg-"
"I'm sorry, did you say a black-colored egg?" asked Sakamoto while interrupting Misumi.
"That's right," answered Takami. "We didn't know what it was. As a result, the Shokaku's captain Hideo Myoi contacted his counterpart in the Zuikaku Captain Tendo about dropping off the egg in Alaska. However, as the Shokaku separated from the Zuikaku, the egg hatched."
"Hatched?" asked Kirkman.
"It was a nightmare… " said Blengkam. "As that egg hatched, small insect-like creatures started crawling unto the crew. Most died but some turned into Neuroi."
"Wait, Neuroi!?" exclaimed Sakamoto.
"Those who were swarmed by those creatures turned into Neuroi," answered Misumi. "We weren't able to hold them off."
"My commanding officer, Squadron Leader Mie Shindou, ordered Misumi-san, Blengkam-san, and I to flee with those who were able to escape."
The Fusoan carrier Shokaku was now on fire. Corpses filled the flight deck and a boat full of scared sailors began to flee.
In the air were Takami Karibuchi, Miya Misumi, and Kullamas Blengkam. Takami and Misumi were in their N1K2-J Shiden Striker Units are carrying Type 99-2 autocannons whereas Blengkam rode on a Ki-43 Hayabusa Striker Unit while armed with an Ho-103 machine gun. Takami began to use her intercom as she looked at the Shokaku with distress.
"Lieutenant Karibuchi, what are you doing!?" asked Misumi.
"Wing Commander Shindou, we've evacuated?" asked Takami while she ignored Misumi. "Where are-"
"Karibuchi, I'm fine," answered a female voice over the other end of the intercom. "Get out of there now!"
Reluctantly, Takami stopped using the intercom and flew away. Misumi and Blengkam were confused as to what happened.
U.S.S. Mayflower. 1337 hours
"I'm sorry," said Sakamoto to Takami, Misumi, and Blengkam in the present.
"You don't sound that surprised, however," deduced Misumi from the way Sakamoto talked.
"Actually, we had the same experience," replied Kirkman. "However, I need you ladies to keep this a secret."
"Roger that," replied Blengkam.
Just outside the interrogation room, Shinta returned with Ichiro Miyafuji in his "Khyber" mask behind him. They stopped as they saw Takami, Blengkam, and Misumi leave with Kei escorting him.
"Good, you're back," said Chieko Oka as she saw Shinta with Ichiro. "Lieutenant Commander Sakamoto was expecting you."
"Thank you, Chieko," replied Shinta.
Chieko then opened the door for Shinta and Ichiro. As the latter proceeded, Sakamoto used her right hand to make Chieko remain where she was.
"Himemiya, I need you to join with Miyazaki in keeping an eye on Karibuchi, Misumi, and Blengkam," ordered Sakamoto.
"Ryōkai," said Shinta before saluting and leaving.
Chieko then closed the door and returned outside. Only Kirkman, Sakamoto, Ichiro, and Hodges remained in the room with Ichiro sitting down.
"Now then, from what Lieutenant Karibuchi has told us, it seems that second meteorite was like the one that crashed off Kure Atoll," announced Kirkman. "It seems that the Stavrosians were performing some sort of an experiment with the Neuroi."
"But for what end?" asked Sakamoto.
"That we don't know."
"Captain, I might have an idea but you won't like it."
"What is it?" asked Kirkman with suspicion in his tone.
"I'll need Sergeant Hodges to leave first."
"Very well," replied Kirkman before he faced Hodges.
For Hodges, a nod from Kirkman counted as an order. Hodges then saluted before leaving. Kirkman, Sakamoto, and Ichiro faced each other.
"I suggest we investigate what happened to the Shokaku," said Sakamoto.
"I can see why you assumed I wouldn't like this idea," said Kirkman. "Why?"
"Back in Midway, Himemiya appeared assuming a form similar to that humanoid Neuroi I encountered in Orussia months back when I helped Dr. Miyafuji steal a Mobile Knight. Prior to that, we heard that Miyafuji fell unconscious, which happened just hours ago. I suspect that the Neuroi egg hatching was the cause."
"Good deduction but what would investigating do us any good?"
"We can at least save those still left behind, if assuming they're alive," answered Sakamoto before facing Ichiro. "Khyber, think we can borrow the Fusion Wanderer?"
"Sure," answered Ichiro. "It'll depend on your Captain, however, if we can go or not."
"You may but at this point, you're on your own," said Kirkman. "The fleet will continue proceeding to Victoria."
"We'll catch up once we finish," added Sakamoto. "Khyber, I need you to have the Fusion Wanderer prepared."
"Got it," replied Ichiro.
"Also, there's something else I need," added Sakamoto with uncertainty in her tone.
"And what is it?" curiously asked Ichiro.
"You won't like this request… "
Kirkman then left the interrogation room. Hodges, Ichiro, and Sakamoto followed with them facing Chieko.
"Oka, I need you to find Miyazaki and Himemiya and report to the briefing room," ordered Sakamoto.
"Ryōkai," replied Chieko with a salute.
Shinta, Chieko, and Kei were now at the briefing room, seated at the left column of seats. The first row was occupied by Shinta and Chieko with Kei seated behind Shinta with Gregory Tanaka seated beside Kei. Seated at the right column of seats were Takami Karibuchi, Miya Misumi, and Kullamas Blengkam. Takami and Misumi occupied the first row whereas Blengkam sat behind Takami.
Sakamoto then came inside the briefing room with Ichiro with her. Everyone seated stood up and saluted just as Sakamoto and Ichiro stopped. Sakamoto then saluted in kind.
"At ease," said Sakamoto with everyone sitting down as they stopped saluting. "Now then, our mission right now is to scout what had happened to the Shokaku. If possible, we will find survivors then we leave."
"Lieutenant Commander, if I may?" asked Tanaka as he raised his hand.
"Do we even know where the Shokaku is?"
"Khyber here does," answered Sakamoto while gesturing to Ichiro, who then stepped forward to answer Tanaka's question.
"The Captain authorized that I participate in this mission. Sergeant Hodges and his men will assist and if we do find survivors, the Fusion Wanderer will carry them."
"Any other questions?" asked Sakamoto.
"What will we do with the Shokaku after we're done?" asked Shinta as he raised his hand.
"That will be where you come in, Himemiya," answered Sakamoto. "You'll be assisting in this mission by piloting Warviour. Now, the Captain is currently contacting nearby friendlies as to whether they can assist because depending on what happened, we might have no choice but to scuttle the carrier. If the Captain can't get help in time that will be your job."
"Karibuchi, Blengkam, I'll be needing the both of you," ordered Sakamoto to Takami and Blengkam.
"Yes, ma'am," replied Takami and Blengkam in unison.
"Oka, Miyazaki, Tanaka, Misumi, you'll remain here to protect the Mayflower."
"Yes, ma'am," replied Chieko, Kei, Tanaka, and Misumi in unison.
"To your stations," ultimately ordered Sakamoto.
"Yes, ma'am," replied those who stood up from their chairs and saluted.
Shinta, Chieko, Kei, Tanaka, Takami, Misumi, and Blengkam began to leave the briefing room. Sakamoto and Ichiro remained then they faced each other.
"Hakase, how goes talking to your wife?" asked Sakamoto to Ichiro.
Ichiro was unable to answer. He thought of what happened after their conversation in the interrogation room.
"Why take Yoshika with you?" asked Sayaka as she was talking with "Khyber", unaware that he was her husband Ichiro Miyafuji, beside the bed where Yoshika was still unwell with Yoshiko tending to her.
"I promise that we will keep her safe," said Ichiro. "You have my word.
"Can I think this over with my mother?"
"You may," ultimately answered Ichiro. "I'll come back after the briefing is over."
"She and Yoshiko-san should be done talking about it," answered Ichiro to Sakamoto in the present.
"I'll go along with you," said Sakamoto.
'I'm sorry you had to be the one to convince her."
"It's alright. I got to see that Sayaka and Yoshiko-san are doing fine."
"Then let's go."
Both Sakamoto and Ichiro began to leave the briefing room.
Both Sakamoto and Ichiro returned to the sick bay. As they entered, they found Sayaka and Yoshiko preparing a stretcher.
"I assume you've agreed to this?" asked Sakamoto.
"We have," answered Yoshiko. "However, we ask that we see you off."
"I can arrange for that."
"Could either of you please help get Yoshika to the stretcher?"
"I'll do it," said Ichiro.
Both Sayaka and Ichiro grabbed Yoshika with Ichiro holding Yoshika by her arms and Sayaka by her legs. Sakamoto then placed the stretcher to the right of the bed just as Sayaka and Ichiro laid Yoshika onto it.
"We just need someone to carry the stretcher," said Sayaka.
"I'll do it," announced Sakamoto.
"Me too," added Ichiro.
On the flight deck of the Mayflower, the LNX-01 Warviour was brought up and prepared for launch. Already inside its cockpit was Shinta Himemiya. Coming out of the carrier's island were Takami Karibuchi and Kullamas Blengkam alongside the Marines assisting in going inside the Shokaku. With Hodges in charge, his Marines included Leslie Burns and Peter la Salle. Hodges and his subordinates, as well as Takami and Blengkam, carried M1 Thompson submachine guns with them as a contingency.
Twenty-five years old, Burns had fair skin, auburn hair underneath his M1 helmet, and blue eyes. Despite his youthful appearance, Burns had the face of a trained Marine.
The Fusion Wanderer, which had landed onto the Mayflower's flight deck, had its rear ramp opened. Hodges' team, Takami, and Blengkam proceeded ahead to the plane. As they did, they were greeted by a fair-skinned man in his late teens with brown hair in a crew cut and blue eyes.
"Welcome aboard the Fusion Wanderer," announced the man. "I'm Or Tauber and I'm the Fusion Wanderer's pilot."
"You're awfully young to be piloting this thing," remarked Hodges.
"I get that a lot. Now let's get going."
Hodges' team, Takami, and Blengkam boarded the Fusion Wanderer. Coming from the Mayflower's island were Sakamoto and Ichiro carrying Yoshika onto a stretcher with Sayaka and Yoshiko behind them. As they reached the Fusion Wanderer, Sayaka and Yoshika stopped just as Sakamoto and Ichiro made it to the Fusion Wanderer.
"Please take care," requested Sayaka.
The ramp closed in front of Sayaka and Yoshiko. The latter two moved far from the Fusion Wanderer just as it began to lift into the air. As Sayaka and Yoshiko were near the island, the Fusion Wanderer left.
"Sayaka, have you noticed something about that Khyber?" asked Yoshiko.
"What do you mean, Mother?" asked Sayaka.
"The way he talked and how he volunteered to take Yoshika to that stretcher."
"Now that you mention it, he had some hesitation in talking to us about taking Yoshika with him… "
However, Yoshiko and Sayaka were interrupted by Shinta launching the Warviour. Afterward, Gregory Tanaka in his F6F Hellcat launched.
I.S.S. Buffalo. 1609 hours
"Captain, I'm spotting a mysterious plane that has just launched from the Mayflower," announced Ishiguro to Otto Schneider.
"Patch it through," ordered Schneider.
The Fusion Wanderer then appeared on the main screen of the Buffalo's bridge. "Wan", standing beside Schneider, took a keen interest at the plane that appeared.
"What kind of plane is that and how could the-"
"It's got to be them," deduced "Wan".
"Who are you talki-"
"My apologies, Captain, but I'm also picking up one of the LN's Mobile Knights launching from the Mayflower," interrupted Ishiguro. "Patching through now."
The Warviour now appeared on the main screen. As "Wan" looked on, he gave a devious grin.
I see. So that's what's going on, thought "Wan". "Captain, I suggest we follow that plane."
"I couldn't agree more," replied Schneider.
Fusion Wanderer. 1627 hours
In the Fusion Wanderer, Sakamoto and Ichiro remained as they were while seated whereas Blengkam looked at the window in awe that they're flying in such an airplane. Hodges and Takami kept an eye on Yoshika while Burns and la Salle struggled to keep Yoshika calm.
"Mr. Khyber, we're receiving a transmission from Seaman Recruit Himemiya," announced Tauber over the Fusion Wanderer's PA. "Please patch it through to my transceiver."
"Got it," replied Ichiro as he brought out his wireless transceiver.
"Khyber, I've found the Shokaku," announced Shinta on the other end of the transceiver.
"You did!?" exclaimed Sakamoto. "But from what Karibuchi said, it should be more than an hour away!"
"I don't know but it seems to be moving."
Ichiro then put down his transceiver and stood up. He approached the crew cabin and found Tauber and his co-pilot.
"Tauber, can you trace where Shinta is?" asked Ichiro.
"Zakaryan's taking care of it now," replied Tauber.
The Fusion Wanderer had reached the Warviour, and by extension, the Shokaku. The fire on the carrier had increased, damaging it further.
In Warviour's cockpit Shinta found Sakamoto's frequency on the communicator in the cockpit's control panel. Shinta responded.
"Himemiya, found anything yet?" asked Sakamoto.
"Not yet," answered Shinta. "I've asked Xiaoying to scan the carrier to see for any Neuroi or survivors."
"Nice you remembered today's lesson."
"Scanning complete," announced "Xiaoying", interrupting Shinta and Sakamoto. "Neuroi signs low. Survivors have been found in the bridge.
"Got it," said Sakamoto. "I'll tell Khyber and he'll have the plane land on the flight deck. Himemiya, please guard us."
Fusoan aircraft carrier Shokaku. 1643 hours
The Fusion Wanderer then landed on the Shokaku's bridge. First to get out were Sakamoto, Hodges, la Salle, and Takami. Burns and Blengkam followed; the latter in her Hayabusa Striker Unit.
"We'll proceed ahead to the bridge," announced Sakamoto before turning to Burns and Blengkam. "Burns, Blengkam, please stay here and guard the Fusion Wanderer."
"Roger that," replied Burns and Blengkam in unison.
Unbeknownst to those from the Mayflower, a periscope spied on them from afar.
I.S.S. Buffalo. 1645 hours
"Agent Aoi, that mysterious plane has just landed onto the Shokaku," announced Otto Schneider while using the periscope of the Buffalo.
"Good," replied "Wan".
"Shall I prepare our torpedoes?"
"Keep watching. We're to observe, remember?"
Fusoan aircraft carrier Shokaku. 1649 hours
Inside the island of the Shokaku, Sakamoto's team walked to find the bridge. They kept finding corpses and as Sakamoto suspected, it was the same as it was in Midway.
"Lieutenant Commander, if you don't me asking, was it like this in Midway?" whispered Hodges.
"Yes, and that's all I have to-" answered Sakamoto.
"We're here," announced Takami as the team reached a door, interrupting Sakamoto.
"Thanks," replied Sakamoto.
"Dare da!?" shouted a female voice from the other end of the door, surprising Takami as she knew whose voice it was.
"Sakamoto Mio Shōsa," replied the former Witch.
"W… What are you doing here?"
"We were able to pick up the survivors Lieutenant Karibuchi helped. She helped us find you."
The door opened. To the surprise of the team, especially Sakamoto and Takami, it was Mie Shindou. Shindou, close to Sakamoto's age, had short black hair and light brown eyes. She carried a Type 100 submachine gun.
"Shindou Shosa, you're alive!" exclaimed Takami.
"I told- Never mind, get in!" demanded Shindou.
Sakamoto and her team proceeded inside the bridge. Inside, sailors and officers carried various firearms. The captain was dumbfounded that Mio Sakamoto would come to help him and his crew. He was slightly tanned with black hair underneath his cap, dark brown eyes, and a moustache underneath his nose.
"You're really Sakamoto Mio!" exclaimed the officer.
"I assume you're the Captain?" asked Sakamoto.
"Myoi Hideo," answered the officer as he introduced himself.
"You said you're here to get us out?" asked a sailor.
However, a shriek was heard. The men and women in the bridge knew what it was and turned their heads toward the open door.
"Close that damn door!" shouted Sakamoto.
At the flight deck of the Shokaku, Burns and Blengkam saw two objects burst out of the flight deck, creating two holes. To Blengkam's horror, they were Witches but whose skin was now blackened with hexagons.
"Sergeant Blengkam, what's wrong!?" asked Burns.
"Those girls… are Witches… " replied Blengkam with fear in her tone.
More shrieks were heard. Coming out of the holes were deceased sailors whose skin was now black with hexagons all over their bodies. Burns then put aside his Thompson and firmly held Blengkam at her shoulders as he faced the Siamro Witch.
"Sergeant, I can imagine you know those Witches but please, for God's sake, hold them off!" shouted Burns. "I'll deal with the others."
"But-" replied Blengkam.
"… Got it," answered Blengkam.
Burns got out of Blengkam's way to allow her to launch. After she did so, Burns turned his attention and his submachine gun to the other sailors.
In Warviour's cockpit Shinta Himemiya appeared to be breathing abnormally. He saw what was happening in the Shokaku but was unable to move.
N… Not again… thought Shinta.
However, Shinta then heard a woman's scream. He knew whose voice that scream belonged to.
"Himemiya, where are you!?" shouted Sakamoto over Warviour's communicator.
"Sakamoto Shosa... " replied Shinta.
"We need you here now!"
Shinta rushed to the Shokaku. As he arrived, he saw Kullamas Blengkam fighting the Witches with blackened skin and Leslie Burns fighting off the non-Witch humans with blackened skin.
However, Shinta then saw a girl come out of the Fusion Wanderer. She was sharply dressed with long black hair going past her shoulders and light brown eyes. She carried a pair of hook swords.
That girl… thought Shinta.
The girl, Yáng Língyīn, then summoned what appeared to be the ears of a fox on her head followed by the tail, or rather, nine tails. She then charged toward the blackened humans, much to the surprise of Burns.
"Wait, what are you-" incompletely asked Burns.
Burns was unable to finish his question as he saw Yáng use her hook swords to slice through a blackened human. She continued against the rest of the blackened humans.
You haven't changed one bit, Corporal Yáng, happily thought Shinta before using Warviour's communicator to access Sakamoto's frequency. "Lieutenant Commander Sakamoto, Himemiya here."
"About time you showed up!" replied Sakamoto. "Hodges and la Salle have out of ammo here in the bridge."
"I have an idea on how to get you out."
"What is it?"
"I just need to punch the window. I don't even need to use the Shock Knuckles."
"Good idea. Just be careful."
"Thank you, ma'am."
Shinta proceeded to the Shokaku's island. As he found the bridge, he prepared his Mobile Knight's right arm, its hand clenched into a fist. Seeing Warviour, Sakamoto looked back toward the door almost destroyed while Shindou and Takami, with the features of the respective familiars, reloading their respective submachine guns.
"Everyone, get down!" shouted Sakamoto.
Seeing Warviour, everyone else in the bridge agreed and laid on the floor. In the cockpit through the main screen of the control panel, Shinta saw those inside the bridge save for Takami and Shindou. He then pressed the topmost button on the right control stick used to control the corresponding arm.
The punch destroyed the windows and created a large bump across the metallic wall. Shinta then used the hand to hold onto the broken window and push the damaged wall toward him.
"What is he doing!?" incredulously asked Hodges.
"He's getting us out," answered Myoi.
Shinta continued to pull the weakened all. He then pressed the topmost button of the left control stick to its corresponding arm to help. This allowed Shinta to use more strength. He then moved his legs backward with the legs of Warviour doing so in kind. As a result, the wall got lower.
Keep going, Himemiya, thought Sakamoto. Just keeping going.
The wall got lower. After one last movement of his right leg, Shinta stopped as he saw how slanted the wall was. He then removed his hands but moved the right arm toward the open wall with its hand open. Shinta opened the cockpit to tell those in the bridge to get on the hand.
"Please get in!" shouted Shinta.
"He pulled through," said Myoi to Sakamoto. "However, we all can't board that hand."
"I know," replied Sakamoto. "Can Sergeant Hodges board first? He and Private la Salle have exhausted their ammunition."
Sakamoto then faced Hodges and nodded. Hodges nodded in kind and tapped la Salle to follow him. As a result, the two Marines, along with two sailors jumped onto Warviour's right hand. However, at the door, Shindou found that she had finished her last magazine.
"Damn it, I'm out!" shouted Shindou. "Karibuchi, I need you to follow those Liberian Marines once they're out of the bridge. Please give me your weapon."
"Here," said Takami as she offered Shindou her Thompson.
Shinta then finished placing Hodges, la Salle, and two of Myoi's men onto the flight deck. As they rushed to the Fusion Wanderer, Shinta returned to the bridge and offered Warviour's right hand again. Sakamoto then prepared her Thompson and faced Karibuchi.
"Karibuchi, go!" ordered Sakamoto before facing Myoi.
Hai!" replied Takami as she crawled to get out of Sakamoto's way and as she was, she rose and rushed to Warviour's right hand alongside the rest of Myoi's men.
"You too, Captain," said Sakamoto as she faced Myoi.
"Take this," said Myoi as he offered a Type 1 semi-automatic pistol.
Sakamoto then grabbed the Type 1 and fired just as Myoi rushed to Warviour.
As Shinta evacuated the second batch of survivors, Shindou and Sakamoto fired at the blackened humans charging at them while two sailors who weren't able to reach Warviour waited for Shinta to come to them.
Shinta then returned to the bridge. As he offered his Mobile Knight's right hand, the two sailors boarded first. Shindou and Sakamoto saw that it was their only chance to escape.
"Sakamoto, go!" shouted Shindou.
"But what about-"
"Just go! I'll follow."
Sakamoto rushed to Warviour's right hand with Shindou moving slowly while firing at the blackened humans. To her surprise, she had killed the last one by the time Sakamoto got onto the Mobile Knight's right hand.
"I think that's the last one," said Sakamoto. "Now get in-"
However, a miniature Neuroi, the same one Sakamoto encountered in Midway, fell on top of Shindou's head. More converged across the Witch. In his cockpit Shinta saw what happened and began to move Sakamoto.
"Himemiya, what are you-" asked Sakamoto.
"Go!" shouted Shindou not to Sakamoto but Shinta.
As Shinta nodded, he moved his Mobile Knight's right arm backward. Sakamoto looked away as she what was to happen next. Shinta then landed Sakamoto on the flight deck with Takami joining her. Inside his Mobile Knight's cockpit, however, Shinta's forehead began to glow.
Not again… anxiously thought Shinta.
Fusion Wanderer. 1737 hours
Inside the Fusion Wanderer, Yoshika continued to squirm in her seat. Ichiro held her shoulders in order to calm her down. Hodges stood beside Ichiro.
"Shinta-san… yamatte," weakly said Shinta.
What does this have to do with Shinta-kun? anxiously pondered Ichiro.
"Captain, I'm seeing Warviour leave," said Tauber over the PA system.
"Please take care of her," requested Ichiro to Hodges.
"Will do," replied Hodges before Ichiro rushed to the crew cabin of the Fusion Wanderer.
Inside the crew cabin Ichiro had arrived with Tauber facing him.
"Have you contacted Shinta-kun?" asked Ichiro.
"We're just about-" answered Tauber before a red light appeared outside forcing Ichiro, Tauber, and Zakaryan the co-pilot to look.
"What's that!?" shouted Zakaryan as he pointed to something outside the Fusion Wanderer.
Both Tauber and Ichiro saw something, or rather someone. Like the Witches above, it was another blackened human being.
Not again, thought Ichiro.
I.S.S. Buffalo. 1740 hours
"Yes, yes!" exclaimed "Wan" as the blackened form of Shinta Himemiya appeared on the main screen of the Buffalo's bridge.
"Agent Aoi, what should we do?" asked Otto Schneider.
"You're recording, right?" inquired "Wan".
"Just stay there. Afterward, please give me the recording because I need to submit it to the Director."
Fusoan aircraft carrier Shokaku. 1742 hours
Shinta came forward, attracting the attention of the blackened Witches, one of whom was Mie Shindou. Near the Fusion Wanderer, Sakamoto glanced at what was happening, forcing her and Takami to stop. James Hodges joined them.
"What's going on?" asked Hodges.
"Take her," ordered Sakamoto as he pushed Takami to Hodges.
"But-" argued Hodges as he received Takami and saw Sakamoto rush back to where she came.
"Just take her!" counter-argued Sakamoto while she didn't face Hodges.
Sakamoto then reached Shinta about to fight the three blackened Witches. Kullamas Blengkam joined her.
"What's going on?" asked Blengkam.
"I don't even know myself," answered Sakamoto. "We best watch."
One blackened Witch charged at Shinta but he evaded. Another came from above but Shinta evaded as well. The blackened Witch that was once Mie Shindou threw a red-colored slash of energy toward Shinta but he blocked it with both of his forearms.
Shinta then flew into the air, forcing the blackened Witches to follow him. However, Shinta began to accumulate energy across his body. The blackened Witches stopped, either in confusion, fear, or both.
The blackened Witch who attacked Shinta first attacked again but he managed to damage her. The second blackened Witch who attacked Shinta charged again but he evaded her attack and kicked her. More energy engulfed Shinta and as a result, he charged toward the blackened Witches.
The Witches, evident that they now fear the power Shinta had accumulated, attempted to flee but it was of no use. Shinta caught up to each of them and bumped two of them twice, killing them.
The blackened Witch that was once Shindou was now scared of what was to come next. Rightfully so as the accumulated energy that surrounded Shinta gathered in front of him as a ball. As the ball was large enough, it dispersed into a wave of energy and it was propelled toward the blackened Witch. Mie Shindou was nothing more than dust as a result.
I.S.S. Buffalo. 1746 hours
On the main screen of the Buffalo's bridge was Shinta descending back into the carrier. Everyone in the bridge except for "Wan" was agape with what they had seen.
"We're done here," announced "Wan". "We should leave before we're detected."
"Captain?" asked Evelyn Andrews to Otto Schneider. "Agent Aoi is right. We best leave."
"… Right," said Schneider as he calmed himself. "Starboard."
"Aye, Captain," replied one of the two helmsmen in the bridge.
That was excellent, Brother, thought "Wan". I'll be seeing you soon.
Fusoan aircraft carrier Shokaku. 1748 hours
Shinta then landed on the Shokaku's flight deck. He then reverted back to normal with Mio Sakamoto, Peter la Salle, and Leslie Burns rushing to him.
"Get him out of him, now!" ordered Sakamoto. "We're leaving!"
"Yes, ma'am!" replied la Salle and Burns in unison before picking up the unconscious Shinta.
Fusion Wanderer. 1750 hours
Sakamoto, Burns, and la Salle returned with the unconscious Shinta. Sakamoto then saw that while still unconscious herself, Yoshika Miyafuji was calm, as if she was asleep with Takami beside.
"What happened to Miyafuji?" asked Sakamoto.
"She's fine," answered Takami before she changed the subject. "What happened to Wing Commander Shindou?"
"I'll explain later."
"Lieutenant Commander Sakamoto, we need you at the crew cabin," announced Tauber over the PA system.
"I got to go," said Sakamoto to Takami as she proceeded to the crew cabin. "Continue taking care of Miyafuji."
"Ryōkai," replied Takami.
Sakamoto then reached the crew cabin. Zakaryan gave Sakamoto a microphone.
"We've received a transmission from one Amy Tanaka," explained Tauber.
Tanaka? pondered Sakamoto. Could she be- Never mind.
Sakamoto then received the microphone.
"This is Lieutenant Commander Sakamoto. We came from the U.S.S. Mayflower to rescue the last survivors of the Shokaku. We've finished our mission and will be leaving shortly."
"This is Lieutenant Amy Tanaka," announced a female voice over the microphone. "I'm assigned to the U.S.S. Cabot, currently escorting the U.S.S. Ault as it's to scuttle the Shokaku."
Kirkman must have pulled through, thought Sakamoto before responding to Amy's explanation. "Very well, Lieutenant Tanaka. We're pulling out now."
"Much obliged, Lieutenant Commander."
"Take us out of here!" ordered Sakamoto to Tauber and Zakaryan.
"On it!" replied Tauber.
The Fusion Wanderer began to lift off from the Shokaku. At the same time, the ramp closed.
U.S.S. Ault. 1754 hours
In the bridge of the U.S.S. Ault, an officer in his mid-thirties with blond hair underneath his cap, presumably the destroyer's executive officer, saw through his binoculars the damaged Shokaku and the Fusion Wanderer taking off. He then rushed to his captain, James Wylie.
"Captain, the Fusion Wanderer is leaving," warned the executive officer. "Shall we fire the torpedoes?"
"Not yet," replied Wylie. "Give them one more minute."
As the Fusion Wanderer turned back from the Shokaku, the torpedoes from the Ault had launched. While still inside the crew cabin, Sakamoto both the Ault and the light carrier escorting it, the U.S.S. Cabot.
Arigatou, Kirkman Kanchou, thought Sakamoto.
Behind the Fusion Wanderer, the 503mm torpedoes from the Ault hit the Shokaku, ending the day with a sunrise despite a sunset coming.
Shiden – Violet Lightning
Hayabusa – Peregrine Falcon
Dare da!? – "Who's there!?"
Yamette – "Stop"
Broi (Thai) – "Gem"
Well, it has been months since I wrote the previous chapter "Brother". I apologize for that because things got busier for me in other projects and that Strike Witches: Road to Berlin aired last year and I was focused on finishing it. In relation to that, I will acknowledge Road to Berlin happened but only its first five episodes because that one canonically ended in 1946 whereas this fanfic begins in January 1946. That's all I have to acknowledge with Road to Berlin for now.
If you think I invented Miya Misumi and Kullamas Blengkam, nope. Those two are canon Witches who are part of the 507th Joint Fighter Wing, under the command of Haruka Sakomizu, a veteran of the Suomus Independent Voluntary Aerial Squadron. Their exploits were chronicled in the Suomus Misfits Squadron novels ("Misfits Squadron" being a nickname of the unit that inspired the idea behind the Joint Fighter Wings), the first Strike Witches/World Witches story produced before the Strike Witches animated series aired. Miya actually appeared in the first two episodes of Brave Witches, competing with Hikari Karibuchi over who would be the student in the Witch Academy in Sasebo as to who'll accompany Takami to Europe.
Originally, I was supposed to expand on Takami's story about what happened to the Shokaku but truth be told, I was too stumped to how to show Takami talking to her sister Hikari, Sadako, and Naoe. In addition, I was to do the same with the other two Witches in the Shokaku, Shoko Matsuda and Sadae Kobayashi but because they have yet to get canon character designs, I simply didn't name them. In canon, Shindou, Takami, Matsuda, and Kobayashi are part of the 508th Joint Fighter Wing, nicknamed "Mighty Witches" and in this chapter, it was discussed that the Joint Fighter Wings were re-mobilized for this war. More on that in future chapters.
Other than the cameos from 502nd and 508th Witches, I also intended on having Siegfried Bauer, Segismundo Padolina, Loyiso Yam, and Caroline Weber showing with the idea that they attacked the Shokaku just before the Fusoan carrier discovered the meteorite but I was also stumped as to how make that work.
I decided to make this chapter Yáng Língyīn's second appearance since "Reunion in the Snow Part 1". I stated in my liner notes that she's a Witch. Here, she shows off not only her martial arts skills but also her familiar. The familiar in question is a nine-tail fox, commonly shared by East Asian countries with the name in Chinese "Jiǔwěihú" and "Kitsune" in Japanese. As to how Shinta knows who she is, more in that in future chapters.
The U.S.S. Cabot (CVL-28) and the U.S.S. Ault (DD-698) were real as they've participated in the Battle of Okinawa. In the case of the Cabot after the war, it was used as a training vessel and re-classified AVT-3. In 1967, it was given to the Spanish Navy and re-christened "Dédalo (Spanish for "Daedalus")". In 1989, it was given back to the United States of America and made into a museum ship a year later but due to costs, the ship was auctioned off then scrapped in 2002. The Ault, by contrast, continued to serve in the US Navy, particularly in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, to the point it was modified. Only in 1973 was it decommissioned and scrapped a year later.
The Ault's captain James Wylie is based on J.C. (Joseph Caldwell) Wylie Jr., the real-life Captain of the Ault during the last days of World War II. Wylie was best known to have written Military Strategy, A Theory of Power Control while serving as the captain of the attack cargo ship U.S.S. Arneb (AKA-56/LKA-56). The book contained this notable passage: "A plan of action designed in order to achieve some end; a purpose together with a system of measures for its accomplishment."
Back in "A Change in Circumstances", Yoshika lost consciousness as a result of the miniature Neuroi being used on humans and Shinta having to access his "Neuroi Form". There will be more of that in future chapters as it affects Shinta and Yoshika's relationship throughout this fanfic. In addition, I had Ichiro Miyafuji managing to show up where his wife, mother-in-law, and daughter are. Of course, he's wearing a mask and that Yoshiko and Sayaka are now suspecting as to who "Khyber" might be adds more to the drama. More on that in future chapters.