Kidou Kishi Warviour
(Mobile Knight Warviour)
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters in Strike Witches, nor the initial setting.
Chapter 11: Return of the Flying Shield
U.S.S. Mayflower. April 25, 1946; 1105 hours
"Captain, I'm receiving a call from I-402," said the radio operator in the U.S.S. Mayflower's bridge to his captain, Nicholas Kirkman.
"Stay right there," ordered Kirkman as he approached the radio.
"I-402, I have Captain Kirkman ready to receive you," said the radio operator before handing over his headset and microphone to Kirkman.
"This is Captain Kirkman," announced Kirkman.
"Captain, this is Lieutenant Hijikata," said another male voice over the other end of the radio. "I regret to inform you of this but we will be delayed in our next re-supply. The submarine has been given additional orders but much like you, we're bound for Victoria."
"Might I inquire as to why we will not meet up with you tomorrow?"
"I'm sorry to say this as well but Lieutenant Commando Sakamoto needs to hear this as well."
"Very well. I'll summon her up this instant."
In the Mayflower's brig, Shinta Himemiya had been released. After he had finished packing up his belongings, he begins to leave. However, he sees Mio Sakamoto with her arms crossed. Shinta stopped and saluted with Sakamoto saluting in kind.
"I hope this doesn't happen again," warned Sakamoto. "In any case. Rep-"
"Lieutenant Commander Sakamoto, please report to the bridge," ordered Nicholas Kirkman over the Mayflower's 1MC circuit.
"It seems I'm needed at the bridge," said Sakamoto. "Himemiya, return your belongings to your bunk then report to the hangar deck."
"Ryōkai," replied Shinta.
Sakamoto then entered the bridge. As Kirkman faced her, both saluted each other.
"Lieutenant Hijikata contacted us minutes ago," said Kirkman. "He's still holding up."
"Thank you, Captain," replied Sakamoto before going to the radio.
As Sakamoto reached the radio, the radio operator stepped back. Sakamoto then took over the headset and the microphones.
"Yes, Hijikata?" asked Sakamoto.
"I'm sorry to say this, Lieutenant Commander Sakamoto, but there will be a delay as to our next rendezvous," announced Hijikata over the radio.
"The I-402 has been given an additional order. We will still make it to Victoria what you need to know for now is that you will need to take in someone once you've dropped off the refugees."
I.S.S. Buffalo. 1154 hours
In the I.S.S. Buffalo's bridge, the Stavrosian Imperial Directorate of Intelligence agent Kenta Aoi, secretly known as "Wan", entered. As he faced the Buffalo's captain Otto Schneider, both men saluted each other.
"I assume the Director has given you an order that we're to assist in following?" asked Schneider.
"You're correct," answered "Wan". "The Director has told me that we're to simply observe what that Liberian carrier will do once it reaches its destination."
"Further orders will be given tomorrow. You will, on the other hand, be allowed to prepare Lieutenant Bauer and his team."
"Very well. I'll call them up here this instant."
"That will be all," concluded Schneider to Siegfried Bauer, Segismundo Padolina, Loyiso Yam, and Caroline Weber, who were now in the Buffalo's bridge.
"We will now entertain questions," added "Wan", standing beside Schneider.
"Why simply observe?" asked Bauer.
"We don't know what the Mayflower will do once it reaches Victoria. The Director would rather that we conserve ammunition. Don't get any ideas, even if you respect the white Mobile Knight's pilot."
"Wan's" warning had struck a nerve for Bauer. He hadn't expected that anyone would have seen his attempt in honorably fighting Shinta Himemiya during the Buffalo's attack against Naval Air Station Midway Islands.
"… Yes, Agent Aoi," complied Bauer.
"Any more questions?"
"So further orders will come from the Director?" asked Weber.
"Yes. Sub-Lieutenant Padolina, Sub-Lieutenant Yam, anything to inquire?"
"Yes," answered Padolina. "Will we be on standby?"
"Of course," answered "Wan" before facing Yam. "Sub-Lieutenant Yam?"
"I have nothing to ask, Agent Aoi," answered Yam.
"Then you four are dismissed," ultimately ordered Schneider.
"Aye aye, Captain," said Bauer and his subordinates in unison while saluting.
U.S.S. Mayflower. 1217 hours
On the Mayflower's flight deck, Chieko Oka, Takami Karibuchi, Miya Misumi, and Kullamas Blengkam watched as the LNX-01 Warviour, being piloted by Shinta Himemiya, was engaged with Gregory Tanaka in his F6F Hellcat. A target was attached on the Hellcat for Shinta to hit as an exercise. Mio Sakamoto then joined the three Witches from the Shokaku.
"What do you ladies think of the Mobile Knight?" asked Mio Sakamoto as she joined the three Witches.
"I'm impressed the LN Armed Forces managed to build three of them," answered Takami. "And they're to be mass-produced once they're taken to Liberion?"
"That's right. That'll turn the tide in our favor."
"But will Witches like us have to pilot those things?" asked Misumi.
"No. They weren't built with Magic Engines like Striker Units are. Though if push comes to shove… "
"Will it matter?" asked Blengkam. "It'll probably be an order should it come to that."
"That's correct," added Chieko.
"Shin- I mean, Seaman Recruit Himemiya did it again!" joyfully announced Kei Miyazaki as he saw Shinta hit the target on Tanaka's Hellcat with one paintball round fired from the anti-personnel machine gun in Warviour's right arm while carrying a clipboard with his left arm and a pen with his right hand.
Himemiya managed to remember that the machine gun can be switched to semi-auto, thought Sakamoto.
Tanaka then landed his Hellcat. After he got off the Hellcat, the flight deck personnel then rushed to the Hellcat to move it further as space was needed for Shinta to land Warviour. As he finished landing the Mobile Knight, Shinta got off the cockpit with Kei rushing to him while carrying his clipboard.
"How did I do, Seaman Recruit Miyazaki?" asked Shinta.
"Passed with flying colors!" announced Kei as he showed what he had written on the paper attached to the clipboard. "I just realized I forgot I could switch the machine gun to semi-auto. Please tell me how to do-"
"That's enough, people!" interrupted Sakamoto. "I suggest that all of you rush to your respective mess halls. Except for you, Himemiya. I need you to go back inside Warviour and take it back to the hangar deck."
"Ryōkai," replied Shinta as he faced Sakamoto and saluted.
At the Mayflower's mess hall for enlisted personnel, Shinta Himemiya had arrived after returning Warviour to the hangar deck. After getting his tray, he lined up for the counter as to where the food was being distributed. For Shinta, the line wasn't short so it wasn't a problem. Chieko and Kei, seated together on the same table with two more vacant chairs, saw Shinta as he was now getting his food.
As Shinta finished acquiring his food, Chieko stood up and waved to Shinta in order for him to join her and Kei. Shinta moved to the table and sat down beside Kei.
"Itadakimasu!" announced Shinta, Chieko, and Kei in unison while bowing their heads and pairing their respective hands together before eating.
"So, Shinta, how did you switch to semi-auto that fast?" asked Kei after swallowing his food, making Shinta stop chewing his food and necessitated rapid swallowing.
"I order Xiaoying to switch at my command by using a certain word," answered Shinta. "Had I done so not soon enough, I wouldn't have finished the exercise in time."
"I see. I'll get Kaguya to do that the next time I have to practice hitting Tanaka-san. More importantly… "
"What now?" asked Chieko after she swallowed the food in her mouth.
"I'm impressed we met those Witches that escaped the Shokaku!"
"I mean, the Hero of Sasebo, in this carrier!" excitedly emphasized Kei before turning to Shinta. "Shinta, please help me out here."
"I agree with Chieko," said Shinta. "We just helped them out. Though if they're here, the LN Forces as a whole must be desperate that the Joint Fighter Wings are being re-mobilized."
"You're right about that-"
"What are you talking about?" asked a female voice Shinta, Chieko, and Kei recognized, subsequently turning to see Yoshika Miyafuji with a tray.
"Miyafuji-san, are you sure you should up by now?" asked Kei.
"Mom told me I should start eating with others," answered Yoshika. "Your table just happened to have a vacant seat."
"Then please join us," offered Chieko.
"Arigatou," replied Yoshika before sitting down. "You seem to be excited every time you talk."
"He's always like this with Witches," said Chieko.
"Were you referring to Karibuchi Chui-i earlier?"
"We were," answered Shinta.
"You met her before?" asked Chieko to Yoshika.
"I was assigned to Maizuru two years ago. Karibuchi Chu-i was injured when she was brought and I helped her recover."
'"I remember that," interjected Kei. "Karibuchi Chu-i was wounded while going to Petersburg to assist the 502nd Joint Fighter Wing. It was then revealed her sister Karibuchi Hikari, who was supposed to be stationed in Kauhava, ended up recruited into the 502nd as a result."
"Now that you mention it, Karibuchi Chui-i mentioned she had a sister named Hikari. She asked me where she was and it was a surprise for her that she was unconscious for three months."
"Speaking of which," interjected Chieko. "Miyafuji-san, I hear we'll drop off the refugees from Shinkyo at Victoria."
"We're that near to Victoria already?"
"I asked the men in the hangar bay," answered Shinta. "They said we'll reach Faraway Land waters tomorrow."
"What about you three? Aren't you from Shinkyo?"
"We are," answered Kei. "However, we have to remain with the Mayflower until it reaches Liberion."
"Is it because of those Mobile Knights?"
"It is," answered Shinta.
"About that…" said Kei before facing Shinta. "Shinta, what will you do once we reach Liberion?"
"Why are you asking that now?" asked Chieko.
"It's as Sakamoto Shosa says. Once the Mobile Knights are brought over to Liberion, the LN Forces will review our situation and hopefully, we'll be discharged."
"Not me," answered Shinta. "I intend on staying."
"Wait, what!?" exclaimed Kei.
"As I told my father, Warviour is my ticket to enlisting in the military."
I never met someone this determined to fight, thought Yoshika. "I'm already finished."
"Really?" asked Kei.
"Hai. I'll be going now. Thanks for inviting me."
"Now that you mention it, we have to finish up soon," added Shinta. "We're needed at the Lecture Room for our afternoon classes."
"Do you have to remind us?" asked Chieko.
"Then I suggest we finish our meals."
"Fine," replied Kei with defeat in his tone, hoping that they do make it to Liberion.
That night, Mio Sakamoto climbed up the Mayflower's bridge. Reaching the flight deck, she found Shinta Himemiya by himself practicing his martial arts.
I didn't think Chinese martial arts required practicing such movements, thought Sakamoto as she saw the way Shinta move. There's no way he's telling the truth about his past.
April 24, 1946; 0849 hours
"You're lying again!" shouted Sakamoto toward Shinta, who was handcuffed and sitting at one end of the Mayflower's interrogation room with Sakamoto leaning toward him from the other end. "You seem to know how to access that power."
"I'm telling you, I don't know anything!" loudly replied Shinta.
"I know you're lying. What are you not telling us?"
"I have nothing to say."
"Fine," ultimately said Sakamoto before facing Leslie Burns and Peter la Salle. "Take him away!"
"Yes, ma'am," replied la Salle.
Shinta, however, stood up and walked toward Burns and la Salle. The latter two then left the interrogation room with the former. Sakamoto remained as Burns closed the door.
You must be lying! thought Sakamoto. Not only that, Miyafuji reacts whenever these things happen.
A knock was heard. Sakamoto diverted her attention to the door.
"Sakamoto Shosa, permission to come in?" asked a female voice Sakamoto knew.
"Granted," replied Sakamoto.
Opening the door was Takami Karibuchi. After she closed the door, Takami and Sakamoto saluted each other.
"What are you doing here?" asked Sakamoto.
"I want to ask about that boy," answered Takami.
"He killed Shindou Shosa, didn't he?"
"He might as well have. It's the same like in Midway. Those miniature Neuroi touch a Witch, the poor girl is an enemy and Himemiya killed her. I can imagine that's mercy compared to being controlled by the Neuroi."
"What will we do with him?"
April 25, 1946; 2055 hours
I don't even know, thought Sakamoto in the present.
"You needed something, Sakamoto Shosa?" asked Shinta, forcing Sakamoto to face him.
"Nothing, really," answered Sakamoto. "Just shower up."
"Ryōkai," replied Shinta with a salute.
After Sakamoto saluted in return, she got out of Shinta's way. Sakamoto resumed looking at her subordinate.
Damn you, Himemiya, cursed Sakamoto in her mind. He must know something!
Wait, who are you? Where are you going?
Long, reddish brown hair was what Siegfried Bauer saw walking away. He knew it was a woman he saw.
Please wait? asked Bauer. Who are-
However, fire separated Bauer from the woman. It didn't take long for the fire to engulf Bauer.
I.S.S. Buffalo. April 26, 1946; 0809 hours
Siegfried Bauer rose from his sleep as if he was a catapult firing its projectiles toward a fortified structure. He breathed heavily as if he had faced a situation that could have ended in his death.
"It's that dream again," said Bauer. "For six years, I've had that dream. Why?"
Near Faraway Land. 0937 hours
"Lieutenant, which navy do those ships belong to?" asked a male voice over the radio of a Seafire fighter plane as they were above a fleet of military and civilian vessels.
"Keep flying around them," replied the male pilot of the Seafire's. "I'll handle this."
U.S.S. Mayflower. 0939 hours
"Unidentified fleet, please identify yourselves," demanded the Seafire pilot over the radio of the Mayflower's bridge.
Nothing else was said as Nicholas Kirkman rushed to the radio. As the radio operator moved out of his captain's way, the latter picked up the headset and microphone.
"This is Captain Nicholas Kirkman of the U.S.S. Mayflower," replied Kirkman. "We came from Fuso's South Seas Island with a fleet filled with refugees after the Stavrosian attack there. We're on our way to Victoria to drop off the refugees there."
"Lieutenant James Mann, Flight Commander from the HMFLS Puncher," replied the Seafire pilot over the radio. "I'll notify my ship that you'll need safe passage."
"Much obliged, Lieutenant."
H.M.F.L.S. Puncher. 0942 hours
"Captain, permission to enter?" asked a male voice from the other side of the door of the bridge of the H.M.F.L.S. Puncher.
"Granted," replied a man in his late forties with fair skin, blond hair underneath his white cap, and blue eyes.
A male sailor entered the bridge and faced the man with the white cap, who was the Puncher's captain. Both men saluted each other.
"Lieutenant Mann has just notified us of a fleet of military and civilian vessels proceeding to Victoria," said the sailor.
"Where are they from?" asked the captain.
"Fuso's South Seas Island. Among those ships is a Liberian carrier calling itself the Mayflower, captained by one Nicholas Kirkman."
"What are you doing out here?'
"They plan on dropping off refugees from South Seas Island in Victoria."
"Please prepare the radio," ordered the captain to the bridge's radio operator.
U.S.S. Mayflower. 0947 hours
"This is Captain Raymond Bidwell of the H.M.F.L.S. Puncher," said the captain of the Puncher over the Mayflower's radio. "Mayflower, please respond."
"I'm Captain Nicholas Kirkman," responded Kirkman. "I assume Lieutenant Mann has told you why we're going to Victoria?"
"I understand. You may proceed forward. I just need to notify Rear Admiral Kingsley."
"While you do that, there's a favor I wish to ask of you."
"What else can we do to help?"
"Attention all hands, this is your Captain speaking," announced Kirkman over the Mayflower's 1MC. "We're nearing the city of Victoria. However, we will not disembark until I've discussed the matter with Rear Admiral Kingsley of the Royal Faraway Land Navy in Esquimalt."
So it's come to this, thought Mio Sakamoto as she listened to Kirkman's announcement while Shinta Himemiya, Chieko Oka, and Kei Miyazaki stood behind her.
"During this time, I ask every civilian on board to prepare to disembark. I thank every one of you for bearing with us on this journey. Again, I apologize for your tragic departure from your homes in Shinkyo but rest assured that one day, you will call it home again."
I.S.S. Buffalo. 1015 hours
"We're approaching Faraway Land waters," announced Evelyn Andrews to Otto Schneider in the Buffalo's bridge.
A beep was heard across the bridge. Everyone saw that it came from "Wan".
"I apologize for this," said "Wan". "It must be from the Director. I'll get out for now."
No one said anything else. "Wan" then left the bridge and upon doing so, turned on his watch. A projection of the shadowed figure he called the "Director" appeared.
"Master, we're near Faraway Land," announced "Wan".
"Good," replied the "Director". "Now it's time."
"Agreed," replied "Wan" before the "Director" faded from the watch.
"Wan" then returned to the bridge. Schneider reared his head to face "Wan".
"What has the Director need of us?" asked Schneider.
"He says you may attack," answered "Wan".
"Are you serious?"
"It's an order."
Near Vancouver Island, Faraway Land. 1105 hours
The refugee fleet that had left the Empire of Fuso's South Seas Island, which included the Liberian Navy ships U.S.S. Mayflower and the U.S.S. Izard, as well as the Fuso Imperial Navy ships Yahagi and Fuyutsuki, had stopped just before Vancouver Island, where Victoria was located at. Above, the flight of Seafires led by James Mann left the refugee fleet to return to the H.M.F.L.S. Puncher.
The civilian vessels were the first to proceed ahead to Victoria. Royal Faraway Land Navy motor launches moved toward the Liberian and Fusoan vessels. Most went to the small boats also filled with refugees whereas one moved to the gangway of the Mayflower with Mio Sakamoto and Nicholas Kirkman watching. As the motor launch stopped, its commanding officer, a man with less-than-fair skin, light brown eyes, and short black hair saluted the Liberian captain and the Fusoan officer with the latter two saluting in return.
"Captain Kirkman, Lieutenant Commander Sakamoto, I'm Lieutenant Abel Stokes," said the commanding officer of ML 124. I've been ordered to take you to Esquimalt."
"Thank you, Lieutenant," replied Kirkman.
Kirkman and Sakamoto then boarded ML 124. Afterward, the motor launch left for Victoria.
Esquimalt Royal Navy Dockyard. 1234 hours
Both Sakamoto and Kirkman arrive at the office of Rear Admiral Leonard Kingsley, the commander of the Pacific Fleet of the Royal Faraway Land Navy. In his early fifties, Kingsley wore a cap underneath his bald head with remnants of his graying black hair separating the scalp from the forehead and neck, light brown eyes, and a moustache beneath his nose. The former two and the latter saluted each other.
"Thank you for having the time for us, Admiral," said Kirkman.
"Hearing that you had refugees, especially those from South Seas Island, it would be beneath me to refuse," replied Kingsley. "When I heard from Captain Bidwell you needed the motor launches, it sounds like there's more to your visit than just dropping off refugees."
"There is, I'm afraid," replied Sakamoto.
U.S.S. Mayflower. 1357 hours
A knock was heard from the other side of the Mayflower's bridge. Tyler Seioge, currently in charge of the ship due to Kirkman's absence, turned his head toward the door.
"Who is it?" asked Seioge.
"It's me," answered Nicholas Kirkman from the other side of the door.
"Captain?... On my way."
Seioge rushed to the door and opened it to find that Kirkman and Sakamoto had returned from Esquimalt. After the salutes, Seioge turned back to the bridge.
"Captain on deck!" announced Seioge before stepping out of Kirkman and Sakamoto's way.
"Seioge, there's an announcement I wish to make," said Kirkman to his executive officer. "Please prepare the 1MC."
"Aye, Captain," replied Seioge.
Many civilians, as well as the survivors from the Shokaku, had gathered to the mess hall for enlisted. Some of the Marines stood guard in order to keep order. Among those called were the Miyafuji women.
The door opened with Nicholas Kirkman proceeding inside to face the civilians. Mio Sakamoto stood beside Kirkman with her attention focused on the Miyafuji women.
"Thank you for gathering here," said Kirkman. "As you know, we are now in Faraway Land. We've stopped this ship because Lieutenant Commander Sakamoto and I needed to arrange for transport for you to disembark from here to Victoria. A motor launch is available for those who wish to leave now. However, it can only take in one family. I'm sorry but this was the best that could be arranged."
"We wish to go," announced Yoshiko Akimoto. "We've had enough with how long we've been in this ship."
"I wouldn't want to leave on such short notice but I fear we'll be attacked again," added Yoshiko's daughter Sayaka Miyafuji.
Should have known it would be Miyafuji's mother and grandmother who would be the ones who wish to leave first, thought Sakamoto. What will Miyafuji think?
However, Yoshika Miyafuji remained silent. Her mother and grandmother, even Nicholas Kirkman, see her barely-hidden hesitation.
"Yoshika, don't you wish to leave?" asked Sayaka.
"I honestly don't know," answered Yoshika. "But… If Mr. Kirkman and Miss Sakamoto did this much, I shouldn't refuse."
"Then the Miyafuji family, along with the Morizumi family, are to leave in three hours," announced Sakamoto. "I suggest you ladies use that time to pack up your belongings."
In the Mayflower's sick bay, Yoshiko, Sayaka, and Yoshika were gathered. Unbeknownst to them, Sakamoto walked in and hugged the wall outside to listen while making sure she wasn't spotted.
"Yoshika, why did you hesitate back there?" asked Yoshiko. "Surely you can't mean to-"
"I really don't know why," answered Yoshika. "I guess I really want to help here in this ship but I wouldn't want to disrespect Kirkman-san and Sakamoto-san had I refused."
"You're thinking about Himemiya-kun, aren't you?" asked Sayaka.
"I'm not really sure. He's been in my mind ever since what happened in Midway. I always end up unconscious and then I hear Shinta-san in the brig. I don't understand why that happens."
"That's exactly why staying here will not do you any good," objected Yoshiko. "What will you do if that happens again?'
"You might be right but… "
So that's why, thought Sakamoto. Maybe it's time to go.
Sakamoto then entered the hangar bay. Sounds of machinery were heard. She found the chief engineer, Bradley Gladys, with a clipboard. In his late forties, Gladys has blond hair underneath his garrison cap and blue eyes. As Sakamoto approached him, Gladys turned his head only to see Sakamoto, incidentally causing him to drop his clipboard to salute her with the Fusoan doing so in kind.
"Lieutenant Commander, you're back!" said Gladys.
"How are Himemiya, Oka, and Miyazaki doing?" asked Sakamoto.
"Fine. They've gotten used to working here."
"I need Himemiya."
"Alright," replied Gladys as he saw that arguing with Sakamoto would end in defeat and faced a certain direction. "Himemiya, Lieutenant Commander Sakamoto's here and she needs you now!"
"Coming!" replied Shinta Himemiya while assisting his father Koji Himemiya with the LNX-01 Warviour.
After separating from Koji, Shinta miraculously jumped from Warviour and landed on the hangar deck with his two feet. Both Sakamoto and Gladys were stunned by this stunt.
"You needed anything, ma'am?" nonchalantly asked Shinta, ignorant of the jump he did.
"… Yes," replied Sakamoto upon regaining his composure. "I need to talk to you at the interrogation room."
Both Shinta and Sakamoto reached the interrogation room. After Sakamoto turned on the light, Shinta closed the door.
"With all due respect, ma'am, what's this about?" asked Shinta.
"The Miyafuji women will be leaving for Victoria soon," answered Sakamoto.
"That's all you have to say?"
Shinta was taken aback by Sakamoto's question. He immediately knew what Sakamoto implied but remained surprised to say anything else. Sakamoto took a good look at Shinta again and figured out what to say next.
"Surprised, aren't you?" asked Sakamoto. "I know, a veteran Witch like me telling you about a Witch you've met about to leave, is not something you see every day. I guess having to live with watching a man die alongside the Witch he fell in love with makes me remember that I'm not just a Witch but also a human being. I'll leave you here to think but I suggest you think quickly."
Sakamoto began to leave Shinta alone in the interrogation room.
I.S.S. Buffalo. 1511 hours
"Captain, I've spotted an incoming submarine!" exclaimed Evelyn Andrews in the Buffalo's bridge to Otto Schneider.
"Has it spotted us?" asked Schneider.
"I don't think so. Let me patch it to the main screen.
The main screen of the bridge now showed a red dot and a blue dot. The red dot was above the blue dot, which represented the Buffalo.
"From the look of things, it seems to be heading for Victoria."
"I've heard everything," announced "Wan" as he came inside the bridge. "What is that sub?"
"Hold on," answered Andrews while pressing more buttons on her console.
The main screen now showed a Fusoan I-400-class submarine. Everyone now looked at it, knowing that Schneider will make a decision.
"What's a Fusoan submarine going to Victoria for?" asked Schneider.
"Most likely to re-supply that Liberian carrier," answered "Wan" before facing Schneider. "Captain, we best attack now."
"I suggest we fire a torpedo. It doesn't have to hit but it will force that submarine to surface. We can order Lieutenant Bauer and his men to attack it. That way, the white Mobile Knight will appear."
"Captain, you can't be serious?"
"We've come this far… " retorted Schneider before pressing buttons beside him.
"Captain?" asked Siegfried Bauer as his face appeared on the main screen.
"Lieutenant Bauer, prepare to attack on my command," ordered Schneider.
"What's the target?"
Fusoan submarine I-402. 1515 hours
"Captain, I've picked up something on our hydrophones," said one sailor in I-402's bridge to his captain; the latter having less-than-fair skin, black hair underneath his cap, and light brown eye.
"Port!" ordered the captain.
"Ryōkai," replied the sailor serving as the helmsman.
As the helmsman spun the wheel to port, the I-402 spun to its left. This allowed the submarine to avoid being hit.
I.S.S. Buffalo. 1517 hours
I haven't had this much fun since the invasion started, thought Otto Schneider as he saw that the torpedo the Buffalo launched against I-402 evaded the projectile on the main screen of the Buffalo's bridge. However, you underestimated our torpedoes.
On Schenider's left palm was a stick made of metal with a red-colored ball. He then moved the stick leftward.
Fusoan submarine I-402. 1519 hours
"Captain, that torpedo's moving toward us again!" shouted the sailor in I-402's bridge to his captain. "It managed to follow us!"
"Bakana!" shouted I-402's captain. "Port a-"
"It's getting close-"
The torpedo that followed I-402 exploded. However, it was too far for it to have seriously damaged the Fusoan submarine. Despite the hit, Keisuke Hijikata came inside the bridge.
"Captain, what happened!?" asked Hijikata.
"We spotted a torpedo but it followed us despite our evasive maneuver," answered I-402's captain. "That explosion was far but-"
"Captain!" shouted a sailor as he pushed Hijikata out of his way and appeared in front of the Captain, followed by a salute. "There's a hole in the wall directly behind our island?'
"Nani!?" asked the captain. "Port or Starboard?"
"Chikusho!" cursed the captain. "We need to surface. That way, we can still make it to Victoria and meet up with the Mayflower."
I.S.S. Buffalo. 1524 hours
"Good," said "Wan" as he and Schneider saw the I-402 rise from the ocean through the main screen of the Buffalo's bridge.
"Then we best surface as well," added Schneider.
U.S.S. Mayflower. 1532 hours
"Captain, I've picked up a distress call from I-402!" warned the radio operator of the Mayflower.
"What!?" exclaimed Kirkman just before rushing to the radio and receiving its headset and microphone.
"This is the I-402, we request reinforcements!" shouted the I-402's captain over the radio. "I say again, we request reinforcements. We're under attack!"
Shinta Himemiya had arrived just the sick bay. He saw that the Miyafuji women had finished packing up but hid from them,
Why am I even here? anxiously pondered Shinta. I know it's the right thing to do by seeing Yoshika-san and her family off but… I feel as if it will be tempting for Yoshika to continue hesitating. She really shouldn't-
"Shinta-san, is that you?" asked Yoshika as she saw Shinta's shoes.
Damn it! silently cursed Shinta, forcing him to come out and follow the Miyafuji women. "Sorry. Didn't mean to do that. I was just thinking about something before seeing you off."
"And what would that be?" asked Sayaka.
"That… you were of great help throughout this voyage. I don't mean to discriminate between soldiers and civilians at this point but your help was most valuable."
"Thank you," replied Yoshiko.
"All I can say is-"
"Himemiya, we need you at the hangar, now!" shouted Gregory Tanaka from behind.
"I… I apologize for this," replied Shinta to the Miyafuji women.
"Go on," said Yoshika. "I wish you luck as well."
"Thank you," replied Shinta with a bow before joining Tanaka.
Shinta had made it to the Mayflower's hangar. Koji, who was beside Warviour, saw his adopted son.
"Dad, what's going on!?" asked Shinta.
"From what I've heard, I-402's under attack!" shouted Koji.
"Wakatta!" said Shinta before rushing to Warviour.
Warviour was now brought to the flight deck of the Mayflower. Behind the carrier's island was the LNX-03 Wardar with Kei Miyazaki already in his Mobile Knight's cockpit. Kei used the communicator in Wardar's control panel and patched into Shinta's frequency.
"Kei, what is it?" asked Shinta before he launched out of the Mayflower.
"Shinta, you better haul ass because the only one defending that sub is a Witch," warned Kei. "And she's fighting four Mobile Knights."
"Not good… Thanks for the heads-up."
Both Shinta and Kei stopped talking. The former proceeded to leave by using Warviour's Wing Pack.
Already flying, Shinta again received a transmission from Kei's frequency in the communicator and patched through it.
"What is it now, Kei?" asked Shinta. "I'm already-"
"I already told you to haul ass because that Witch doesn't seem to be able to outfly those Mobile Knights any longer," warned Kei again. "I can patch you to her intercom."
"Much obliged," replied Shinta.
Shinta then heard the sound of machine gun fire. He also heard the panting voice of a girl in which Shinta realized that he can contact the Witch Kei told him about.
"Come in, this is Himemiya Shinta Nitosuihei. I'm on my way to help!"
"Hattori Shizuka. Shoi."
Wait, you're Hattori Shizuka? pondered Shinta before returning to the task at hand. "Hattori Shoi, please hold on. I can see the I-402 and- It's them!"
"What do you-" asked Shizuka before an explosion was heard.
Shinta saw through the monitor of Warviour's cockpit the four Mobile Knights. He recognized them as the Legionarious and the three Capri-colored Mobile Knights – the PMK-03 Equites – whom he fought in Midway; the only difference being that the Legionarius didn't carry the rectangles that carried the missiles used to destroy the Marine Aviators. As a result, Shinta brought out Warviour's Particle Sword and charged toward the Stavrosian Mobile Knights.
"Lieutenant, we have incoming!" warned Caroline Weber as she appeared on the main screen of Siegfried Bauer's Legionarius.
"Lieutenant, watch out!" shouted Segismundo Padolina as he now appeared on the screen, dividing it between him and Weber.
Outside, Shinta Himemiya and the LNX-01 Warviour neared the Stavrosian Mobile Knights. Shinta aimed for Bauer and his golden Legionarius but as he swung his Particle Sword, Segismundo Padolina and his Eques got in his way, blocking the Particle Sword with his Energy Saber.
"Jama wo suru na!" shouted Shinta before using his left leg to make Warviour use its left leg to kick Padolina's Eques.
"Spread out and give him multiple targets!" ordered Bauer in his Legionarius' cockpit.
Bauer, Weber, and Loyiso Yam dispersed and aimed the assault rifles wielded by their respective Mobile Knights. Shinta flew away to evade their fire but this forced Bauer, Yam, and Weber to pursue and continue firing at Warviour.
However, bullets hit the rear of the right shoulder of Yam's Eques. In his cockpit's monitor, Yam saw that it was an F6F Hellcat.
"I know that plane," said Yam before he turned to the Hellcat and fired the assault rifle.
In Warviour's cockpit, Shinta now saw that he was being contacted by a frequency he recognized.
"Hope I'm not too late?" excitedly asked Gregory Tanaka.
"Not at all, Tanaka Dai-i," replied Shinta. "Thanks. I'll deal with the rest."
"I'll deal with the blue ones. Golden boy's yours."
Shinta then put aside his Particle Sword and charged toward Bauer's Legionarius. The former prepared Warviour's Shock Knuckles, intent on finishing what Bauer started back in Midway.
I.S.S. Buffalo. 1526 hours
The main screen of the Buffalo's bridge now showed the battle between its Mobile Team and Warviour and Tanaka's Hellcat. "Wan" was outside the bridge talking to the Director yet again.
"The preparations are complete," said the Director. "You know what should be done."
"Yes, Fa- I mean, Master," replied "Wan".
"Good," said the Director before vanishing.
"Wan" then returned to the bridge. He now saw that Padolina's Eques was continuously fighting Warviour but he was focused to telling Otto Schneider the new order from the Director.
"Captain, the Director just gave me new orders," warned "Wan".
"What might they be?" asked Schneider.
"We have to order Bauer's team back."
"You're going to disobey orders?"
Schneider gritted his teeth and closed his eyes. He knew what "Wan" said was a threat but he feared arguing with Bauer and his team. Regardless, he began to contact Bauer and his team but without using the monitor.
"Lieutenant Bauer, can you hear me?" asked Schneider with defeat in his tone.
"Captain, what is it?" asked Bauer. "I apologize if we're-"
"Pull back, now."
"It's an order!"
Due to his argument, Bauer was now struck with a punch from one of Warviour's Shock Knuckles. Weber and Yam saw what happened but Tanaka made sure they didn't help. Seeing what was happening in his Eques' cockpit, Padolina charged toward Warviour while using his Mobile Knight's Energy Saber again,
"Incoming at 5'o clock," warned "Xiaoying" to Shinta across Warviour's cockpit.
Shinta moved away to evade Padolina's strike. Shinta then brought out the Particle Sword again, picking up where they left off. Bauer saw what was happening in his Mobile Knight's cockpit.
"Padolina, stop!" ordered Bauer. "We need to wit-"
"We lost many thanks to this Mobile Knight!" screamed Padolina. "This ends now
However, Padolina's screaming allowed Shinta to evade his strikes. Shinta had finally seen an opportunity to seize as Padolina's latest swing left his head open for attack.
Remembering his practice duel with Sakamoto weeks before, Shinta began to drop the Energy Sword toward the head of Padolina's Eques. In the monitor of her Eques, Weber saw what was about to happen and began to contact Padolina.
"Sub-Lieutenant Padolina, watch out!" shouted Weber.
"What?" asked Padolina just before seeing Shinta about to swing his Particle Sword.
Padolina slightly moved but it was to be in vain. Warviour's Particle Sword still caught up to Padolina's Eques and reached its head. However, Shinta's slash didn't just tear off the head as it tore across the chest before stopping at the left hip.
"Damn it!" shouted Bauer in his Legionarius as he saw it unfold. "Weber, get Padolina out of here! I'll cover you. Yam, assist me."
"Roger that," replied Weber and Yam in unison.
Both Bauer and Yam fired their respective Mobile Knights' rifles, forcing Shinta back. This allowed Weber to use her Eques to grab Padolina's damaged Eques and withdraw. Bauer and Yam followed.
"They're finally moving," said Tanaka in his Hellcat's cockpit as he saw the I-402 move again.
"Tanaka Dai-i, Kei has just told me Victoria is under attack," said Shinta as he contacted Tanaka through the transceiver Tanaka received from Koji before Midway.
"That was dirty of them to trick us into coming here. No wonder they weren't fighting us that seriously. We have to go back!"
Near Victoria. 1605 hours
Both Shinta and Tanaka returned. However, they now saw that Victoria was now a battlefield as the Neuroi filled the sky. The largest one was a black-colored diamond with both halves divided by a red line.
"Himemiya, I can see you returned," said Mio Sakamoto over the communicator in Warviour's cockpit.
"Sakamoto Shosa, what happened?" asked Shinta.
"The Neuroi appeared while you and Tanaka Dai-i were gone. Please take me to Ogden Point."
"With all due respect, ma'am, I don't think that's a wise idea."
"Doesn't matter! This is an order!"
"Himemiya, go," interjected Tanaka. "I'll keep those Neuroi busy.
"Arigatou, Tanaka Dai-," replied Shinta before rushing to the Mayflower.
Ogden Point, Victoria, Faraway Land. 1613 hours
In Ogden Point, located at the southwest of Victoria, the Miayfuji women and the Morizumi family hid as the city they arrived to became a battlefield. Nearby was a Universal Carrier with two Bren machine guns, one at the front left and another at the back; the latter firing against many Small-Type Neuroi in the air.
"Why did this have to happen?" lamented Yoshiko Akimoto. "Just as when we've-"
However, Yoshiko was interrupted as a red-colored energy beam hit the Universal Carrier, toppling it over. Yoshika, seeing that driver is badly hurt, stands up, much to the distress of her mother and grandmother.
"Yoshika, what are you doing!?" asked Sayaka Miyafuji.
"There's someone injured," replied Yoshika before rushing to the injured Faraway Land soldier.
Yoshika then made it to the damaged Universal Carrier. She then saw the Bren, undamaged and disconnected from the Universal Carrier. Sayaka then arrived.
"Yoshika, we better hu-" said Sayaka before Yoshika stopped paying attention to her and focused on the Bren.
"Mom, please go," asked Yoshika. "I'll buy us time."
"Yoshika!" shouted Sayaka in vain.
Using her magic, Yoshika succeeded in acquiring the Bren. However, this drew the Small-Types to her.
I may not have a Striker Unit but I can still fight, though Yoshika as she saw the Small-Types charging toward her.
As Sayaka took the injured Faraway Land soldier with her, Yoshika followed while firing; the tail and ears of her familiar appeared, indicating that she was using her magic. At the same time, Shinta Himemiya spotted the Miyafuji women while Mio Sakamoto, with an M1 Thompson submachine gun slung across her back, rode on Warviour's right hand.
"Looks like we've made it," said Sakamoto.
Shinta then rushed to Ogden Point. As more Small-Type Neuroi reached Yoshika, Shinta used Warviour's machine gun and destroyed the rest of the Small-Types, saving Yoshika. Sakamoto then jumped off Warviour's right hand and joined her former subordinate.
"Sakamoto-san, you here?" asked Yoshika before facing Warviour. "And I guess it's Shinta-san inside that thing?"
"We figured you were in trouble," replied Sakamoto before facing Yoshiko and Sayaka. "Mind if I borrow your daughter?"
"What now?" asked Yoshiko.
"I have an idea but I'll need Miyafuji's help."
"I'll go!" suddenly announced Yoshika.
I.S.S. Buffalo. 1621 hours
Siegfried Bauer walked into the Buffalo's hangar deck. One foreman approached Bauer, knowing what his presence entailed.
"Lieutenant, what are you doing here?" asked the foreman. "We haven't-"
"I don't care," replied Bauer before the foreman finished his sentence. "I need to launch now!"
Bauer then pushed the foreman out of his way and reached the Legionarius. Both Otto Schneider and "Wan" appeared with every foreman saluting the former. Bauer turned to his captain, expecting what Schneider will say next.
"I assume you know what will happen if you go?" asked Schneider.
"Yes," answered Bauer.
"We will not stop you," added "Wan". "However, be prepared for your punishment later."
Bauer continued to climb into the Legionarius. Schneider and "Wan" began to leave, with every foreman resuming their work as they knew what was to come next.
Near Royal Navy Dockyard Esquimalt. 1623 hours
Warviour continued moving toward the Royal Faraway Land base in Esquimalt. Both Yoshika and Sakamoto rode on Warviour's left hand.
"Shinta, are you there?" asked Kei Miyazaki over Warviour's communicator. "Please respond."
"I read you, Kei," replied Shinta.
"Where are you now?"
"Sakamoto Shosa and I picked up Yoshika-san. Sakamoto Shosa needed me to take her and Yoshika-san to Esquimalt."
"Good. The captain of I-402 wishes to speak to you. I'll patch you in."
"Mobile Knight pilot, this is Nakamura Osamu, Captain of I-402," said a male voice over Warviour's communicator. "On behalf of my crew, thank you for saving us."
"Thank you for the praise," replied Shinta. "Himemiya Shinta, Nitosuihei desu."
"You're… only a Seaman Recruit?"
"It's a long story. You're on your way to Esquimalt?"
"I'll see you there."
Royal Navy Dockyard Esquimalt. 1634 hours
Shinta then landed Warviour. However, Royal Faraway Land Navy personnel appeared with Lee-Enfield rifles and Sten submachine guns as they assumed Warviour was another Stavrosian Mobile Knight. Sakamoto was the first to jump off.
"Put down your weapons!" ordered Sakamoto. "The pilot's with us."
"Lieutenant Commander, you're here," said Kingsley as he forced his men out of his way to join Sakamoto.
"Admiral. Is I-402 here yet?'
"It's about to dock," answered Kingsley before seeing Yoshika still on Warviour's right hand. "Is that her?"
"That's right," answered Sakamoto while looking at Yoshika. "She's agreed to help."
In his cockpit, Shinta saw Sakamoto use a gesture. Remembering that Yoshika is with them, Shinta knelt in order to put down Warviour's right hand. This allowed Yoshika to leave Warviour.
"Miyafuji, the I-402's here," announced Sakamoto. "Let's move."
"Hai," replied Yoshika.
"And what about me?" asked Shinta as he opened his Mobile Knight's cockpit.
"Himemiya, go back to Victoria and help," ordered Victoria. "This part of the plan is up to Miyafuji from here on in."
"Ryōkai," replied Shinta before closing Warviour's cockpit.
After making it stand again, Warviour jumped just before using its Wing Pack to go back into the air. Sakamoto and Yoshika followed a sailor ready to take them to I-402.
Yoshika and Sakamoto arrived at I-402. Both Keisuke Hijikata and Osamu Nakamura faced Sakamoto with the two parties saluting each other.
"You made it," said Nakamura to Sakamoto.
"We did," replied Sakamoto with Nakamura facing Yoshika. "And you must be Miyafuji Yoshika."
"Hajimemashite," replied Yoshika before bowing.
"In any case, we've delivered it as promised," added Hijikata.
"Miyafuji, please go with Hijitaka," instructed Sakamoto to Yoshika.
"Miyafuji-san, is that you?" exclaimed a voice both Yoshika and Sakamoto recognized.
Both Yoshika and Sakamoto turned to see that it was none other than Shizuka Hattori. The former two were surprised that the latter was with the I-402.
"Shizuka-chan?" asked Yoshika. "You were with the I-402?"
"Hattori, what are you doing here?" asked Sakamoto.
"That can wait," interjected Nakamura while facing his submarine. "It's here."
The I-402's crane brought out a Launch Unit with the Striker Unit it carried hidden in a sheet. As it landed into the ground, Sakamoto, Yoshika, Hijikata, and Shizuka proceeded to the Launch Unit. When they stopped, Hijikata removed the sheet and to the surprise of Yoshika and Shizuka, the Striker Unit's green color and its design was something they remember.
"This is… the Shinden," said Yoshika.
"We were bringing this to Esquimalt the whole time?" asked Shizuka.
"It was a contingency," answered Sakamoto. "The rest is up to you now, Miyafuji."
"Hai," replied Yoshika with resolution in her tone.
Yoshika began to go to the J7W1 Shinden, a Striker Unit that was developed with covert assistance by her father Ichiro Miyafuji which she used without prior testing during the liberation of Venezia in the Second Neuroi War. After removing her shoes, Yoshika's legs began to sink into the Shinden and as a result, she began to manifest her familiar again. However, the Shinden wasn't able to leave the Launch Unit, horrifying Sakamoto and Shizuka.
"Miyafuji, come on!" shouted Sakamoto.
This is bad, anxiously thought Shizuka. Miyafuji-san's powers haven't improved since last year.
"No… no, not a time like this," said Yoshika as she felt her inability to use her powers.
Suddenly, Yoshika began to hear the beat of her heart. She began to hear in her head a scream but it wasn't just anyone's scream, it was that of Shinta Himemiya's.
Wait, why am I hearing Shinta-san? pondered Yoshika. Will he go through that again?
Yoshika heard her heart beat again. To her, the heart beat was louder, forcing her to press her right hand against her chest.
"Miyafuji-san are you alright?" asked Shizuka.
"I'm fine… " replied Yoshika.
Yoshika felt the sound of her beating heart increase again. She began to lose balance while remaining in her Striker Unit. Suddenly, a large blue-colored circle appeared on the ground and reached as a far as the water, going past the I-402.
"What's going on here!?" demanded Nakamura as he joined Sakamoto, Hijikata, and Shizuka.
"I honestly don't-" answered Sakamoto.
"Mitte!" shouted Shizuka, interrupting Sakamoto.
The blue light got brighter. Suddenly, a large pillar of light grew. The other Fusoans covered their eyes but it wasn't long. They opened their eyes and found Yoshika still on her Striker Unit, yet with her eyes closed.
"Miyafuji, are you alright?" asked Sakamoto as she walked closer to Yoshika.
"… Sakamoto-san?" asked Yoshika as she opened her eyes.
"Good, you're fine. How do you feel?"
"I feel like flying… There are people who need me."
"That's right," added Sakamoto while briefly closing her eyes and smiling before opening the former and giving Yoshika her Thompson. "Take these."
After giving her Thompson, Sakamoto began giving the spare magazines she carried with her. After that, she got out of Yoshika's way. Nakamura, Hijikata, and Shizuka did so in kind.
"Hasshin!" shouted Yoshika as the Launch Unit opened.
Victoria. 1705 hours
Above the city of Victoria, Shinta struggled to destroy the Small-Type Neuroi guarding the larger one shaped like a diamond. He saw one Small-Type and swung the Particle Sword but the Neuroi evaded him. Shinta began to press his heart again.
Even now, I still don't know what's happening to me, thought Shinta. I feel like using that power but I'd rather not make Sakamoto Shosa suspicious of me.
"Neuroi outside have been eliminated," said "Xiaoying".
"Nani?" asked Shinta as he saw white-colored pieces, which were those of Neuroi that have been destroyed, fill the sky.
"Himemiya, are you there?" asked Sakamoto over Warviour's communicator.
"Sakamoto Shosa?" asked Shinta.
"That was Miyafuji."
"Yoshika-san? Wait, don't tell me-"
"That's right, she's in a Striker Unit. Just help her. Miyazaki's attempting to make sure you can contact her intercom."
"Shinta, you there?" asked Kei over the communicator. "I've just about finished patching you to Miyafuji-san's intercom."
"Wakatta," replied Shinta. "Arigatou, Kei."
"Just tell me all about it tonight," added Kei before he stopped talking.
"Yoshika-san, do you read me?" asked Shinta.
"Shinta-san, you're okay," replied Yoshika.
"I am," replied Shinta before seeing Yoshika in the Shinden. "I assume this was what Sakamoto Shosa had in mind?"
"She managed to get me the Shinden. In any case, we have to destroy the large Neuroi."
Both Shinta and Yoshika turned their attention to the Large-Type Neuroi. The latter summoned more Small-Types toward the former two.
"Please follow my lead," requested Yoshika. "I'll draw their fire."
"Ryōkai," replied Shinta. She really sounds like a veteran of the last war.
Both Yoshika and Shinta charged toward the Neuroi. As the Small-Type Neuroi fired their energy beams, Yoshika summoned a large shield with her Magic to proceed, destroying many Small-Types in the process with Shinta following. At the U.S.S. Mayflower's flight deck, Kei Miyazaki and Chieko Oka, in their respective Mobile Knights, saw the spectacle.
"I can see Shinta but who's the Witch summoning such a powerful shield?" asked Chieko.
"I… don't believe it," said Kei without paying attention to Chieko.
"Kei, are you even-"
"It's her! It's Miyafuji Yoshika! She must have gotten a Striker Unit and decided to help Shinta!"
Impossible, thought Chieko with disbelief.
Shinta and Yoshika continued charging toward the Large-Type. However, more Small-Types kept appearing. Suddenly, these Small-Types began to be destroyed.
"Who's-" asked Yoshika until she hears a sound coming to her intercom.
"Go on ahead," said a female voice Yoshika is familiar with. "We'll deal with these small-fries!"
Appearing behind Shinta and Yoshika were Takami Karibuchi, Kullamas Blengkam, and Miya Misumi. The latter three continued firing to prove to the former two they can proceed further.
"Shinta-san, we're near the Neuroi," warned Yoshika with Shinta listening through Warviour's communicator. "Please stay close to me."
"Hai!" replied Shinta.
The Large-Type, seeing Yoshika and Shinta charging at it, fired its energy beams. It was futile due to Yoshika's shield. Yoshika then reached the Neuroi and as a result, she pushed forward, turning her shield into a battering ram and creating a hole through the Neuroi's armor.
Despite the thickness of the Neuroi, Yoshika continued pushing through. Shinta then stopped, just before Yoshika reached the other side of the Neuroi. Another second later, the Neuroi disintegrated with white shards falling in the sky.
"We… we did it!" exclaimed Yoshika.
"Nice work, Yoshika-san," replied Shinta.
"Sugoi na!" shouted Kei over Warviour's communicator. "I can't believe you teamed up with Miyafuji-san! I'm so glad to be-"
"SHUT UP, KEI!" shouted Chieko. "Good work."
"Thanks, you two," replied Shinta.
"Hold on, I got incoming!" warned Kei.
"What's going on?" asked Yoshika.
"Yoshika-san, please stay back," requested Shinta. "It seems I'll be challenged soon."
Suddenly, Siegfried Bauer in his gold-colored Legionarius appeared. Yoshika aimed her Thompson but Shinta stopped her with Warviour's right palm. Bauer then opened his Mobile Knight's cockpit.
"Pilot of the White Mobile Knight, I challenge you!" shouted Bauer. "Open your cockpit!"
Far from me to turn down this challenge, thought Shinta before doing the same.
The cockpit of Warviour opened. Shinta showed himself to his Stavrosian counterpart.
"And who are you!?" loudly asked Shinta.
"Shinta Himemiya. Why did you open your cockpit."
"I wish to challenge you. I have borrowed the Energy Saber of my subordinate's Mobile Knight. Draw out yours."
"A man who'll risk being punished for such a challenge… I like that!"
"Then do you agree to this?"
"I do," replied Shinta before pointing to Yoshika. "And she'll be our judge."
"M… Me?" asked Yoshika.
"I leave the rules to you," said Bauer in agreement.
"… Alright," said Yoshika. "Could you please end this duel without anyone dying?"
"Fine with me," replied Shinta in agreement. "An arm chopped off means the end of the duel."
"Very well," said Bauer. "Back to your Mobile Knight!"
Shinta closed Warviour's cockpit. Bauer followed with his Legionarius. Both brought out their respective Mobile Knight's swords. Yoshika then flew as far away as she could to avoid being caught in the duel.
The duel began with Shinta and Bauer charging toward each other. They swung their swords as if it was a dance, therefore neither were they able to hit each other. Warviour's Particle Sword then crossed with the Energy Saber of Segismundo Padolina's Eques, wielded by Bauer's Legionarius.
At least this man wanted this to be fair, thought Shinta. Still, I find it strange a Stavrosian would challenge like this. This shouldn't be right.
Why do you fight us? pondered Bauer while thinking about Shinta. Are you that desperate to survive?
Shinta managed to push away Bauer's Energy Saber. The former attempted another swing with Warviour's Particle Sword only for Bauer to block it.
"Miyafuji, what's going on?" asked Sakamoto over Yoshika's intercom.
"Sakamoto-san?" asked Yoshika before understanding her former superior's question. "A Stavrosian soldier named Siegfried Bauer appeared to challenge Shinta-san."
"Just keeping watching."
For Yoshika, however, there wasn't a need to rigorously watch as it was the same for Shinta and Bauer. Across Victoria, the surviving LN forces from Victoria's defenders to those in the Mayflower watched.
"I didn't think Shinta would know how to use a sword as if he were a Kendo practitioner," said Kei Miyazaki as he saw the fight through the monitor in Wardar's cockpit.
However, Shinta saw through the monitor in Warviour's cockpit a possible way to end the duel while crossing blades with Bauer. He focused his attention to the left leg of Bauer's Legionarius. As a result, Shinta moved his right leg to the left, making Warviour do the same with its right leg.
This resulted in a kick which pushed Bauer away. Shinta then dropped the Particle Sword against Bauer. Bauer attempted another swing but it was too late – his Legionarius' left hand was sliced off by the Particle Sword. Yoshika saw what had happened and appeared between the two Mobile Knights.
"This match is over!" announced Yoshika. "Shinta-san wins."
Through his cockpit's main screen, Bauer saw Yoshika. However, he began to shout as he felt pain in his head. He gritted his teeth, struggling to maintain composure to acknowledge that his duel with Shinta was over.
No, not now! painfully thought Bauer before looking at Yoshika.
Bauer again had in mind the woman with red hair who he kept seeing in his dreams. He then struggled to open his cockpit's door.
In his cockpit, Shinta saw Bauer open his cockpit. Therefore, Shinta did the same.
"What's the matter?" asked Shinta.
"You… win… " said Bauer before closing his Mobile Knight's cockpit and withdrawing.
Ogden Point. 1756 hours
"Are you sure about this?" asked Sayaka Miyafuji, with her mother Yoshiko Akimoto, to her daughter.
"I'm sure," answered Yoshika. "If I can help Shinta-san in any way, rejoining the military might be a start."
"Go on," said Yoshiko. "You're young so you can make such decisions."
"In any case, I'll be going," said Yoshika before bowing.
After bowing, Yoshika took her bag to the motor launch waiting for her. For the third time, Yoshika will fight, uncertain of what will come next.
U.S.S. Mayflower. 1810 hours
"Are you sure about this?" asked Nicholas Kirkman while he received Mio Sakamoto in his office in the Mayflower.
"I'm sure," answered Sakamoto. "We could use Miyafuji right about now. Her relationship with Himemiya might yield useful results."
"Now what about Hattori?"
"She can earn her keep. In fact, I have a particular reason for her to come with us."
Sakamoto then gave Kirkman a particular document. As he read it, Kirkman rolled his eyes as to what was in the document. Sakamoto gave a hidden grin as to what surprised Kirkman. For now, she knew what might come next.
Houston, United States of Liberion. April 27, 1946; 0711 hours
In the Liberian city of Houston, located in the southeastern coast of the State of Texas, an aircraft carrier approached. Liberian Army trucks were prepared across the city's port as if there was a reason for the carrier to come to Houston.
For the men who prepared trucks across the Port of Houston, there was a reason. The carrier approaching Houston was the S.M.S. Graf Zeppelin II, a carrier from the Empire of Karlsland's Kaiserliche Marine. While construction of the carrier started in 1938, the Neuroi's invasion of Karlsland two years later delayed the project with construction only having resumed to assist in the liberation of Karlsland. Despite the end of the Second Neuroi War in 1945, the Graf Zeppelin II was finished. However, it had yet to see action until the beginning of the Stavrosian-Neuroi invasion since January.
The Graf Zeppelin II had finally reached Houston. After the gangway was connected, the men prepared the equipment for transporting the cargo that they knew would come out of the Graf Zeppelin II. Among the cargo that came from the carrier were Striker Units. The first one to be unloaded was a Bf109K-4 Striker Unit.
A Liberian Army officer in his mid-forties with brown hair underneath his garrison cap and blue eyes approached the Graf Zeppelin II. Coming out of the Graf Zeppelin II was none other than Minna-Dietlinde Wilcke, commander of the 501st Joint Fighter Wing. Both officers saluted each other.
"Welcome to the United States of Liberion," announced the Liberian officer. "Major Miles Weston. I've been ordered to take you to the train for Ogdenville."
"Thank you, Major," replied Minna. We're here at last. I hope you two are alright, Fräulein Miyafuji, Fräulein Hattori.
Itadakimasu! – "Let's Eat!"; said by Japanese before eating a meal.
Bakana! – "Impossible!'
Chikusho! – a Japanese phrase that works like a curse, an equivalent would roughly be "Damn it!"
Shoi – Pilot Officer
Jama wo suru na! – "Don't get in my way!"
Desu – a Japanese copula used to link a subject and a predicate and to end a sentence much more formally. In "War Without Restraint", I had Kei shout "Sou da" ("That's right"). "Desu" in this case would replace "da" so it becomes 'Sou desu".
Hajimemashite – "Pleased to meet you"
Shinden – Magnificent Lightning
Mitte! – "Look!"
Hasshin – another way of saying "Launching" as a contrast to Shinta using "Ikimasu" in "The Hunchback Hunt".
Sugoi na! – "That's cool" or "That's awesome!"
Graf (German) – "Count". See below for an explanation.
Kaiserliche Marine (German) – "Imperial Navy". Like with "Graf", an explanation for this is found below.
Fräulein (German) – "Miss", specifically for single women while "Fräu" is for married women. Rarely used these days due to feminism having a strong following in post-World War II Germany that "Fräu" is used for both single and married women.
And now this chapter brings an end to the U.S.S. Mayflower's voyage that started from Fuso's South Seas Island. Naturally, the carrier will be going to the United States of Liberion but that will be for the next chapter. Other than that, Yoshika's back in the fray. Of course, Sakamoto seems to have something in mind as to why she had the Shinden delivered to Victoria for Yoshika to use and her comment about "her relationship with Himemiya might yield useful results".
I can imagine if the title "Return of the Flying Shield" spoiled Yoshika getting the Shinden and assisting Shinta. I apologize for not coming up with a title that didn't spoil anything.
Yoshika claiming she met Takami before is a reference to the after-credits scene of "Break Witches", episode 9 of Brave Witches.
The H.M.F.L.S. Puncher is a real-life escort carrier (a lighter carrier that was built cheaply using the hull of commercial vessels). Originally a part of the United States Navy as the U.S.S. Willapa, it was launched on June 10, 1943 and provided to the British Royal Navy as a part of the Lend-Lease Program, where it was re-christened "H.M.S. Puncher" with the pennant number "D79" and given to the Royal Canadian Navy. Long after World War II ended, the Puncher was given back to the United States, struck from the Navy Registry on March 12, 1946, sold across 1947 and turned into a mercantile vessel, bearing the names Munchaster Castle until 1954 when it was renamed to the Bardic in 1954, then sold to Ben Lines Streamers and named Ben Nevis. Only in 1973 was it sold for scrap in Taiwan.
Other than Yoshika, we have Shizuka Hattori appearing. In addition, we have the 501st Joint Fighter Wing appearing in Liberion. You can guess that means the merry band Sakamoto's in charge of from the Mayflower and the 501st will meet.
As you know, Karlsland is the Strike Witches/World Witches' equivalent to Germany, specifically Nazi Germany. However, because this franchise works as an alternate history where the Neuroi had attacked mankind for centuries and the mention in a much-cited timeline found in the artbook Strikes: Strike Witches Official Artworks that was fan-translated. In that timeline, it was mentioned the Judea region was "wiped out" in 0029, leading many fans to assume the Jews have been exterminated and that, there's no reason for the Nazi Party to exist. Regardless, Karlsland's government would be based on the 1871-1918 monarchical German Empire with their navy is referred to as "Kaiserliche Marine" instead of "Kriegsmarine" ("War Navy"). In addition, the ship prefix used for Karlsland's aircraft carrier is S.M.S., short for "Seiner Majerstät Schiff" (German for "His Majesty's Ship" as it was the ship prefix for the British Royal Navy).
The Graf Zeppelin is an actual aircraft carrier Nazi Germany attempted to build before and during World War II. While construction started in 1936, it was halted in 1940 as resources meant for the carrier were needed to fortify Norway after it fell to the Werhmacht. The British attack on the Italian city of Taranto, the attacks against the battleships Bismarck and Tirpitz, and the Japanese attack against Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 allowed construction of the Graf Zeppelin to resume in 1942. However, a year later, Fuhrer Adolf Hitler ordered that the remaining surface ships of the Kriegsmarine be scrapped after their repeated failures. The Graf Zeppelin, as a result, was taken to various ports from Gotenhafen until Stettin. In 1945, as Soviet Red Army forces neared Stettin, the men in charge of the Graf Zeppelin made sure the Soviets didn't make use of the carrier; her fate unknown due to the Soviets not disclosing its fate. Only after the Cold War was its ultimate fate was disclosed – sunk off Swinemünde. In 2006, the Graf Zeppelin was discovered by the research vessel RV St. Barbara and the shipwreck confirmed later by the Polish Navy.
The namesake of the Graf Zeppelin, Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin ("Graf" meaning "Count" in German) was an officer in the Army of Wuttermberg, especially as it was a part of the collective armed forces of the Confederation of the Rhine, the German Confederation, and later, the German Empire. Zeppelin helped pioneer the modern-day airship that is named "Zeppelin" after riding on a balloon while serving as an observer for the Union Forces during the American Civil War.
Now, you're wondering what's with Siegfried Bauer's dream about "a woman with long red hair" and being engulfed with fire, as well as seeing Yoshika triggered the former? You'll have to wait for that to be answered in future chapters.
Update: I made a mistake that I just fixed. In canon, the Graf Zeppelin was finished and used as a contrast to real life but per the Complete Record of the 501st Joint Fighter Wing supplementary booklets, the carrier was sunk. Therefore, I decided to call the Karlsland carrier the 501st rode on from Europe to Liberion in this fic the "Graf Zeppelin II". I know this fic isn't meant to be canon but I enjoy the challenge of trying to tie it to canon as much as possible.