Kidou Kishi Warviour
(Mobile Knight Warviour)
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters in Strike Witches, nor the initial setting.
Chapter 13: Nightmare in Destruction Part 1
Hill Air Field, United States of Liberion. May 1, 1946; 0930 hours
Two of the League of Nations' prototype Mobile Knights, the LNX-02 Wardier and the LNX-03 Wardar were on the runaway of Hill Air Field. Inside the Mobile Knights' respective cockpits, Chieko Oka and Kei Miyazaki, prepared to fly their Mobile Knights as if they're airplanes which was now possible with their respective Wing Packs.
As a contrast to Wardier and Wardar, the LNX-01 Warviour, piloted by Shinta Himemiya, stood away from the runaway despite having its Wing Pack attached. Shinta saw Wardier and Wardar through the HUD in his Mobile Knight's cockpit.
"Chi- I mean, Petty Officer Oka, Petty Officer Miyazaki, you're to fly in a circle across the entire base until I say you can stop," explained Shinta while using Warviour's communicator.
"Do we have to do this?" asked Chieko over the other end of the communicator.
"Because I've been able to fly Wing Packs before I received the new one Warviour was equipped with, I was able to outfly Flight Lieutenant Yeager. So I suggest you shut up and prepare to launch. Let your respective AIs tell you how."
"Yes, Petty Officer," replied Chieko and Kei in unison.
Because Wardier was in front of Wardar, Chieko was to launch first. With instructions provided by Wardier's AI "Shin", Chieko pressed the left pedal, making Wardier move with the wheels attached on its leg. As it got farther from Wardar, the thrusters on the very rear of Wardier's Wing Pack were activated. Chieko began to elevate Wardier up like an airplane. Beside Warviour were Minna-Dietlinde Wilcke and Mio Sakamoto.
"Miss Oka seems to have launched well," remarked Minna.
"And now we wait for Miyazaki," added Sakamoto.
What Sakamoto said comes to pass as Kei manages to move Wardar with its wheels. As the thrusters on the Mobile Knight's Wing Pack are activated, Kei manages to lift Wardar into the air.
"Now if only they can keep circling around the base until Himemiya tells them to stop," said Sakamoto.
"Are you sure Mr. Himemiya should be in charge of this?" asked Minna. "I could have asked Miss Shirley to do it."
"It's alright. Himemiya managed to beat her yesterday. He rightfully earned this. Oka and Miyazaki really need to learn how to fly as well as Himemiya if not better."
"Excuse me, ma'ams," said a Liberian soldier as he appeared behind the veteran Witches followed by salutes being made. "A truck's just arrived with equipment needed for the Mobile Knights."
"What equipment?" asked Minna to Sakamoto.
"You'll see," answered Sakamoto. "Follow us."
Sakamoto and Minna then reached the truck that had entered Hill. After the former had inspected the appropriate documents, the unloading began. To the surprise of Minna, the truck carried three guns larger than those wielded by any infantrymen, especially Witches. Afterward, wooden crates with "30x173mm" written in black were unloaded.
"These are for the Mobile Knights?" asked Minna.
"That's right," answered Sakamoto. "That way, Oka and Miyazaki can fight rather than just rely on the anti-personnel machine guns and the equipment exclusive to their respective Mobile Knights."
"Will there be any practice rounds that come with these machine guns?"
"They're not machine guns. According to this… " incompletely said Sakamoto while looking at the document again. "They're called 'assault rifles'."
"Like the Sturmgewehr?"
"That's right. Wait, I found something."
Sakamoto brought out an envelope that she and Minna assumed carried a letter. After opening it, Sakamoto found a letter and unfolded it.
"What does that letter say?" asked Minna.
"We'll get those practice rounds tomorrow," answered Sakamoto. "How about we return to the runaway to see if Oka and Miyazaki have been allowed to land by Himemiya?"
"I suppose we should check."
I.S.S. Buffalo. 1116 hours
In a room of the Stavrosian submarine I.S.S. Buffalo that lacked personal belongings, an individual sat alone in the room's bed. That man was the Imperial Intelligence Directorate agent Kenta Aoi, referred by another name – "Wan". "Wan" conversed with the shadowy figure whom he called "Director" by using a watch-esque device.
"How goes the Legionarius we sent to you?" asked the Director.
"It functions well," replied "Wan". "When I tested the Vanish Effect, I gave the men and women in the hangar a good scare… pardon my language."
"I'm glad you find your Legionarius satisfactory but I have a new mission."
"Command me, Master."
"Captain, permission to enter?" asked "Wan" as he stopped before the door to the bridge.
"Granted," replied Otto Schneider from the other end of the door.
"Wan" proceeded into the bridge. As he found Schneider, the two men saluted with the latter standing up.
"Has the Director given you a mission?" asked Schneider.
"He has," answered "Wan". "Naturally, you're to assist me."
"In what way?"
Hill Air Field, United States of Liberion. 1330 hours
In the hangar where Warviour, Wardier, and Wardar are kept in Hill Air Field, Shinta Himemiya, Chieko Oka, and Kei Miyazaki assisted in the maintenance of the Mobile Knights, each currently laying down on a giant wheelchair. Among the tasks the three teenagers were to assist in was the arming of their respective Mobile Knights with the assault rifles that came to the base earlier.
While Shinta, Chieko, and Kei were in the respective cockpits of Warviour, Wardier, and Wardar, each rifle, chambered at 30x173 millimeters, was delivered to the corresponding Mobile Knight by a machine inside the hangar that used a crane to lift the rifle by way of a magnet. The first rifle was brought to Warviour with Shinta pressing the topmost button on the right arm control to allow the Mobile Knight to grab the rifle.
"I can't believe we're finally getting rifles for our Mobile Knights," said Kei over Warviour's communicator. "And with the Wing Packs, we can finally take to the skies too!"
"What happened to leaving the military when we reach Liberion?" cheekily asked Shinta.
"We haven't heard word about that yet."
"At the least, we can help out now," added Chieko.
"Himemiya, Oka, Miyazaki, come on down here!" shouted a Liberian airman from the floor of the hangar with Charlotte Yeager and Francesca Lucchini beside him.
The three Fusoan teenagers left their respective Mobile Knights and approached the two Liberians and the Romagnan. Both parties saluted each other due to the ranks with the male Liberian serving as the sergeant for all the airmen in the hangar.
"Flight Lieutenant Yeager here has been sent to inspect your work," explained the sergeant. "Please assist the Flight Lieutenant here."
"Alright, who here's just finished attaching a rifle?" asked Shirley.
"I have, ma'am," replied Shinta. "Please follow me to Warviour. You may also follow, Pilot Officer Lucchini."
"Let's go!" shouted Lucchini.
While Chieko and Kei returned to Wardier and Wardar respectively, Shinta returned to Warviour with Shirley and Lucchini following.
"We'll have to do this one by one," warned Shinta as he, Shirley, and Lucchini reached Warviour. "I'll go first."
Shinta began to climb up toward Warviour by using the ladder nearest to the right kneepad as it contained a handlebar that helped in climbing to the cockpit. Shirley followed with Lucchini doing so next.
"Other than the controls, it looks like you can simply stick your legs into the Mobile Knight's legs… " said Shirley before coming to a realization. "… Just like a Striker Unit… "
"You can," answered Shinta. "Of course, that's only if you're walking. As you can see, you need the pedals below the controls to use the wheels or to fly."
"So we can use these?" asked Lucchini.
"But as was said before, Mobile Knights don't have Magic Engines," answered Shinta.
"And how will mass-producing these win the war?" asked Shirley.
"As I understand it, men will mostly be the ones piloting Mobile Knights."
"Enough of that. I do have to ask: was there any reason you've been piloting these up until now?"
"As Lieutenant Commander Sakamoto said, it was because I provided personal information to Xiaoying that no one else can use Warviour. The same goes for Ch- I mean, Petty Officers Oka and Miyazaki."
"And how does your personal information prevent others from piloting these Mobile Knights?"
"The Mobile Knights utilize a function that recognizes voices. Because I provided my information as I spoke, only Xiaoying will recognize my voice and my voice only. If say, you want to pilot this. Xioaying will start asking who's in the cockpit and when you speak, your voice will not be recognized."
"As I said before, these Mobile Knights are too advanced. Are they really that needed to win this war?"
"I've already heard Witch units being obliterated when they engaged with Stavrosian Mobile Knights."
"I really find that hard to believe. In any case, I've heard enough. Please return to your work."
"Will do, Flight Lieutenant."
After the salutes, Shirley and Lucchini got off Warviour. As they began to leave, Shinta watched on with concern about his discussion with Shirley about Mobile Knights being used to win the war.
I can understand where she's coming from, thought Shinta. I guess it was natural to expect skepticism when men will become more important again once the LN mass-produces these Mobile Knights.
Later, Sakamoto's unit and the 501st gathered outside, facing their respective commanding officers. In addition, Warviour, Wardier, and Wardar were brought out and they carried their rifles chambered at thirty millimeters. Separating both was Hill's runaway with a P-47 Thunderbolt fighter, brought to Hill during the Second Neuroi War and left there since as the P-51 Mustang generally became the new workhorse of the Liberian Army Air Force, placed from the two groups and the Mobile Knights.
"Today, we've just received a new weapon for our Mobile Knights – the Mobile Knight Assault Rifle," announced Sakamoto. "We have yet to receive practice rounds so what we'll be doing today is to evaluate how they actually fire. The objective of this exercise is to destroy the Thunderbolt to our left in order to test the performance of the rifle.
Everyone shifted their heads to the Thunderbolt. Afterward, they faced Sakamoto again but knew that only Shinta, Chieko, and Kei will be called one by one.
"Himemiya, Oka, Miyazaki, to your Mobile Knights," ordered Sakamoto. "However, who fires first is based on the order I just called your names with just now so Himemiya will fire first."
"Yes, ma'am," replied Shinta, Chieko, and Kei in unison before respectively rushing to their Mobile Knights.
After getting inside and turning on the Mobile Knight, Shinta walked from where Warviour once stood to the runaway. Shinta re-directed Warviour to its right as that was where the Thunderbolt was. Now seeing it in the HUD, Shinta readied the assault rifle.
"I suggest that everyone find somewhere far because I can imagine the rifle will be loud as it fires," said Minna. "Also, there's a possibility that the shell casings will bounce far enough we'll get hurt.
Everyone in the 501st, Sakamoto, and Yoshika moved elsewhere to continue watching without getting hurt by the effects Minna warned about. In Warviour's HUD, Shinta saw the 501st, Sakamoto, and Yoshika move away, allowing him to aim the rifle toward the Thunderbolt.
"Before we begin, shall I explain to you selective fire?" asked "Xiaoying".
"Selective fire?" asked Shinta.
"There are three: single-shot, three-round burst, and full burst."
"Please explain the differences."
"Single shot guarantees conservation of ammunition but it isn't advisable to use in close-quarters. Three-round burst guarantees a balance between ammunition consumption and usage in close-quarters but it doesn't provide a definite hit. Full-burst ensures a definite hit but at the cost of ammunition depletion."
"Himemiya, do you read me?" asked Sakamoto as her frequency appeared on the screen of Warviour's communicator.
"I read you, Squadron Leader," replied Shinta.
"I imagine your AI has told you the differences between one-shot, three-round burst, and full-burst. Now, you're to hit the Thunderbolt before you with all three. One with one-shot, one with three-round burst, and another with full-burst. As to how to switch, the AI will tell you. Sakamoto out."
"Switching between single-shot, three-round burst, and full-burst is done by a selector switch," explained "Xiaoying". "Please move right arm in order to find the selector switch in your assault rifle."
Shinta moved the right arm control upward then rightward. The rifle now appeared closer in the HUD.
"Next, zoom in."
Shinta found a switch among the controls near his left hand. After finding the switch, Shinta moved it clockwise, zooming in to what the HUD showed. He then found the selector switch located above the trigger. The selector switch, represented by a small stick with a line serving as a pointer, was currently at "S".
"As you can see, the selector switch is currently pointing an 'S' which means "Safety," explained "Xiaoying". "There are three other icons to place the selector switch. '1' represents single-shot, '3' represents three-round burst, and 'F' means full-burst."
"Got it," replied Shinta before moving Warviour's left arm toward the rifle. The left hand was used to move the selector switch from "S" to "1". Afterward, Shinta put the left arm to its default position then aimed the right arm and by extension, the rifle, toward the Thunderbolt.
"Before firing, I suggest you place the left arm at the rifle's side handle. Because the Mobile Knight is standing still, holding the side handle will help prevent the recoil from causing problems with the arms."
"Got it," replied Shinta before he used the arm controls.
As a result, the left hand of Warviour now touched the side handle of the Mobile Knight's assault rifle. Afterward, Shinta properly aimed toward the rifle but on the HUD, he had the wait until the crosshair was pointing at the Thunderbolt.
"He really seems to know what he's doing," commented Perrine as she, the rest of the 501st, Sakamoto, and Yoshika watched from a position where they were able to not be affected by what will come from Shinta firing the Mobile Knight's assault rifle.
"Are you sure he's an orphan from Nánguó," asked Minna toward Sakamoto.
"I honestly don't even know," answered Sakamoto. "You're better off asking Himemiya that."
"I know we're far from that Mobile Knight but don't you think we ought to make sure our ears are covered?" asked Erica Hartmann.
"Hartmann's right," replied Gertrud Barkhorn.
"Luckily, something that was also delivered yesterday can help with that," said Sakamoto as she gestured to a nearby Liberian soldier before bringing out her transceiver. "Himemiya, don't fire yet. Everyone here needs to have their ears covered when you do. Fire on my go."
"Yes, ma'am," replied Shinta on the other end of the transceiver.
The same Liberian soldier returned with a wooden crate on a metallic wagon. As the crate was opened, large headsets in black were found inside.
"What are these for?" asked Eila Ilmatar Juutilainen.
"To cover our ears," replied Sakamoto. "We need to put them on."
"Agreed," replied Minna.
The 501st members were the first ones to get their black headsets. Yoshika Miyafuji followed but Sakamoto didn't, using her transceiver again.
"Himemiya, you're good to go," ordered Sakamoto over the transceiver.
"Yes, ma'am," replied Shinta.
Sakamoto then grabbed the last headset in the crate before re-joining the 501st members and Yoshika in watching Warviour. Inside the Mobile Knight's cockpit, Shinta readied his right index finger on the corresponding finger on Warviour's right arm control. After an inhale and an exhale, Shinta pressed the button his right index finger touched. As a result, the assault rifle fired a single thirty-millimeter round. As the shell casing ejected from the rifle, the shell flew toward the rear of the Thunderbolt. Like the seven-millimeter rounds used in the anti-personnel machine guns, the rifle used the same super high-explosive rounds made of the same material as those used in the attack against the Neuroi Hive code-named "Grigori" during the Second Neuroi War. As the round hit the rear of the Thunderbolt, an explosion ensued. While their respective ears were protected, the explosion forced most of the 501st members, as well as Yoshika and Sakamoto, to cover their eyes.
As it ended, the 501st members, Sakamoto, and Yoshika now saw the Thunderbolt in half and removed their headsets. All that remained was the cockpit, the wings, and the propeller. Sakamoto then brought out her transceiver to contact Shinta.
"Good work, Himemiya," replied Sakamoto.
"Thank you, Squadron Leader," replied Shinta.
"Now then, I want you to test three-round burst."
"Roger that, ma'am."
Shinta again switched the selector switch of Warviour's assault rifle. This time, he went from "1" to "3". Again, he aimed as he finished but had to wait until the crosshair in his Mobile Knight's HUD was properly pointing at the Thunderbolt. The wait ended as the crosshair now remained on the Thunderbolt, allowing Shinta to press the button corresponding to his right index finger in his Mobile Knight's right arm control.
Unlike the last time, three shell casings came out of the rifle. When the super high-explosive shells hit the plane, three explosions ensued. As a result, not much remained of the Thunderbolt this time. As everyone, in their headsets, saw the damage that was the result of Shinta firing his rifle, Sakamoto removed her headset and began to use her transceiver again.
"Himemiya, you completely destroyed the Thunderbolt," admonished Sakamoto. "And you haven't tested out full-burst yet."
"With all due respect, Squadron Leader, the rounds must have hit at multiple locations," replied Shinta over the transceiver.
"I see… Wait right there," ordered Sakamoto before facing the 501st members, Shirley in particular.
"Flight Lieutenant Yeager, please get another plane," ordered Sakamoto to Charlotte "Shirley" Yeager.
"Please do as the Squadron Leader says," said Minna as she relayed Sakamoto's order to Shirley.
"Yes, ma'am," said Shirley before leaving to find a plane that was easy to dispose of given what Hill was for. Damn you, Himemiya. Now I have to do this!
Another plane, a P-40 Warhawk, was brought to the same place where the Thunderbolt once stood. As it was delivered, Shirley got out and re-joined the rest of the 501st, Sakamoto, and Yoshika. Sakamoto then brought out her transceiver and tapped into Shinta's frequency.
"Himemiya, you got another plane to destroy," said Sakamoto. "Switch to full-burst."
"Yes, ma'am," replied Shinta over the transceiver.
The 501st members, Sakamoto, and Yoshika watched Shinta switch Warviour's rifle from three-round. Except for Sakamoto, everyone else was confused as to why Shinta didn't fire immediately.
"Why isn't he firing yet?" asked Barkhorn. "Himemiya always does this."
"The crosshair in the HUD must be locked onto the target," explained Sakamoto. "That way, Himemiya can properly see to it that the rounds hit the target."
"Will that even be necessary in a battle?" asked Shizuka Hattori.
"It will. Now put on your ear protective equipment and watch."
Everyone kept their silence just and put on their headsets just as Shinta pressed the button on the right arm control corresponding to his right index finger. As a result, more shell casings came out of the rifle with the super high-explosive rounds hitting the Warhawk, causing more explosions and forcing the 501st members, Sakamoto, and Yoshika to cover their eyes again. After five seconds, the women saw that the Warhawk was only reduced to the cockpit and the propeller with Sakamoto bringing out the transceiver.
"Good work, Himemiya," said Sakamoto.
"Thank you, Squadron Leader," replied Shinta over the transceiver.
"Return Warviour to its original position. Oka's next."
Shinta walked back to the original position Warviour occupied. Sakamoto then switched the frequency in the transceiver to Chieko's.
"Oka, you're up," ordered Sakamoto.
"Yes, ma'am," replied Chieko.
While Chieko moved Wardier to the position Shinta occupied for almost an hour, Sakamoto faced Shirley.
"Yeager, please prepare another plane," ordered Sakamoto to Shirley.
"Yes, ma'am," replied Shirley.
While Shirley left, Chieko moved the arms of Wardier as the rest of the 501st, Sakamoto, and Yoshika saw. Like with Shinta, Chieko successfully switched the selector switch of the assault rifle wielded by her Mobile Knight from "S" to "1". She then aimed the rifle but like with Shinta, she had to wait until the crosshair in Wardier's HUD was pointed at the remains of the Warhawk Shinta destroyed earlier.
After Chieko tested Wardier's assault rifle, Kei Miyazaki had done so with Wardar's. After two planes, Kei finished and walked back to its original position beside Wardier. The 501st members, Sakamoto, and Yoshika began to return the headsets to the crate from which they came from. Sakamoto then brought out the transceiver and tapped into Kei's frequency as it allowed her to contact Shinta and Chieko in addition to Kei.
"Good work, everyone," said Sakamoto. "At least we know the rifles work really well. Please return the Mobile Knights to the hangar."
"Yes, ma'am," replied Shinta, Chieko, and Kei in unison.
"I can't believe we invented such rounds for the Mobile Knights' rifles," said Barkhorn while she, the rest of the 501st, Sakamoto, Yoshika, and Chieko dined.
"We need all we can to win this war," replied Sakamoto after she swallowed her food.
"And we have to publicly claim Dr. Himemiya invented them?" asked Shirley. "I definitely want to meet the real inventor now."
"No choice," replied Minna. "I imagine the Stavrosians will do everything in their power to prevent any more weapons to be developed by us if they knew the truth."
"I'm surprised you did well with that rifle, Miss Oka," said Pierrette-Henriette "Perrine" Clostermann toward Chieko. "It's really disappointing you're not a Witch."
"I know," replied Chieko. "But to tell the truth, I'm kind of glad I wasn't born a Witch."
"Why not?" asked Barkhorn. "We could use all the Witches we can get. It's been that way since ancient times."
"I apologize for that."
"No need to say that," replied Minna. "It's surprising that you can pilot a Mobile Knight and that you're not a Witch."
"As I heard it right, you recklessly jumped into Wardier while Miyazaki chose Wardar," added Shirley. "Why did you do that?"
"Because Shinta did it first and I… I mean, initially, we wanted to help."
"Miss Oka, what do you think of Mr. Himemiya?" asked Lynette after she swallowed her food.
"Why do you ask?"
"You seem concerned for Mr. Himemiya."
"I think of him as the bravest boy I've met In fact, Kei and I met him three years ago when he helped another classmate of ours."
"Figures you would say that," replied Perrine. "I figured a man of Mr. Himemiya's character would act that way. I assume this happens frequently?"
"What do you mean?"
"He met Miss Miyafuji that way too. I was told by my father that men who act that way tend to acquire the company of many women."
"What are you implying?"
"Oh, I know!" happily exclaimed Eila. "It means you have something for Himemiya."
"Shirley, what's Eila talking about?' asked Lucchini toward Shizuka with the latter shrugging as she couldn't answer the question of the former.
Shirley then extended her body to whisper to Lucchini. The latter listened intently, followed by a giggle and a smile from the former. The two then face Chieko and cheekily grin upon realizing the implication of what Perrine said.
"I know what everyone in here will say so please stop," ordered Minna followed by silence from everyone else at the table. "Now then, if anyone's finished, please have the dishes washed."
"I'm going," said Sakamoto as she volunteered herself but not before looking at Yoshika. "Miyafuji?"
"Yes, I'll go with you," replied Yoshika.
At one hangar of Hill Air Field, the Striker Units were kept there. This was to prevent Shinta, Chieko, and Kei from interfering with the 501st. However, Yoshika's J7W1 Shinden Striker Unit was also kept in this hangar despite being attached to Sakamoto's unit.
In this hangar, Aleksandra "Sanya" Vladimirovna Litvyak carried each half of her i-225 Striker Unit. Although a Witch, it was taxing on Sanya to carry her own Striker. In addition, the Orussian Witch went to the side door as opposed to the main hangar entrance.
"Where are you going, Sanya?" asked Eila as she entered from the hangar.
"Eila!" said Sanya as she was startled by the Suomish Witch walking up to her.
"Why were you walking to the side entrance?"
"I… I'm scared… "
"Scared of what?"
Suddenly, Sanya's familiar began to manifest. She knelt into the ground, dropping her Striker Unit, causing Eila to rush to her.
"Sanya, what's wrong!?" asked Eila.
"I… I don't know… ?" replied Sanya.
"I heard a Striker Unit fall!" announced Shinta Himemiya as he appeared.
"Himemiya, you're here," said Eila as she turned to Shinta. "Please get Sanya to the infirmary. I'll tell Wing Commander Mi- I mean, Wing Commander Wilcke what happened here."
"Roger that," replied Shinta as he rushed to Sanya.
At the main building of Hill Air Field, Shinta rushed inside carrying Sanya. However, they see Minna and stop as a result.
"What's going on here!?" asked Minna.
"Something's happened to Flying Officer Litvyak, ma'am," replied Shinta. "Flying Officer Juutilainen ordered me to get her to the infirmary."
"Then go at once!"
"Yes, ma'am," replied Shinta as he resumed rushing to the infirmary while carrying Sanya.
"There you are, Wing Commander Minna," said Eila as she appeared.
"I've just run into Petty Officer Himemiya carrying Miss Sanya," explained Minna as she turned to face Eila. "Can I please have an explanation?"
'O… Of course!"
W... Where am I? pondered Sanya as she began to open her eyes only to find a ceiling.
As her vision became clearer, Sanya got up. She turned her head and found that she was now in the infirmary of Hill's main building.
Why am I… That's right, I must have fallen unconscious but who brought me here?
The door opened. Sanya turned to see that Eila and Minna were coming inside.
"Wing Commander Minna, I… " said Sanya.
"It's alright, Miss Sanya," said Minna as she cut off Sanya. "Miss Eila told me everything. Care to tell me?"
Where am- It's that again! thought Shinta Himemiya.
You've persevered this far, I'm impressed, said a female voice.
You again? Who are you? Where are you?
A formless figure appeared before Shinta. Shinta now saw himself surrounded by white as if there was nothing else. However, he wasn't able to find anything else especially his body.
Why am I here? asked Shinta. Who are you or rather, what are you?
You and that woman, are our hope.
Who? Wait, you mean-
There awaits one more trial for you, said the female voice before silence followed and that the formless figure began to vanish.
Wait, don't go! shouted Shinta. What does Yoshika have-
However, Shinta was stopped as his vision began to darken. However, he now saw "Wan" again.
No… No… No!
May 2, 1946; 0456 hours
Shinta was now awake with his eyes opened and his entire body bent like the letter "L". However, he began to breathe heavily. Like how his dream ended, he saw nothing but darkness.
I dreamt of her again, thought Shinta. And she alluded to Yoshika. Why? Other than that, "Wan" appeared in my dream.
"Shinta, keep it down… " said Kei Miyazaki, who slept in the bunk above Shinta's.
"Is that you, Kei?" asked Shinta as he got his head out of their bunk and faced Kei. "Sorry about that. Going back to sleep."
Later, the 501st members, Sakamoto, Chieko, and Yoshika ate their breakfast. However, Sakamoto was now interrupted by the ringing of her transceiver. Sakamoto, upon getting the transceiver, saw a certain frequency with Minna looking at her as a result.
"Squadron Leader Sakamoto, what's the matter?" asked Minna.
"Something important," answered Sakamoto. "I'll do this by myself."
Sakamoto stood up and rushed out of the dining room. Everyone looked rather than continue their breakfast.
Outside the main building of Hill, Sakamoto looked at her transceiver again. She pressed a button that allowed her to respond.
"Sorry about that, Mi- I mean, Khyber," said Sakamoto. "Any reason why you're contacting me?"
"I'll be approaching Hill Air Field in an hour," explained Ichiro Miyafuji over the transceiver. "Please notify the base that if they spot an unidentifiable plane, tell them to allow that plane to land. I have additional supplies you will need."
"Can I please tell Wing Commander Wilcke later? Maybe it will help to know that Khyber is coming."
"Do what you have to do."
Later, Sakamoto and Minna reached the office of the latter. The former moved her head outside and looked in all directions before closing the door.
"So, what did you need to discuss with me in private?" asked Minna.
"Khyber's coming," answered Sakamoto.
"The same Khyber who actually built the Mobile Knights?"
"The same. He says he has important supplies to provide us."
"And what do you need my help with?"
"Think you could help me convince the base's control tower to allow him to land here."
"I'll do what I can."
"Good. We have no time to waste. By now, Khyber's entered Liberian airspace."
Fusion Wanderer; Above the State of Nevada; 8,000 meters. 0900 hours
Suddenly, the Fusion Wanderer had appeared above Nevada. However, it continued to fly as it was always flying. Like it did with the lifeboat from the Fusoan carrier Shokaku after it was attacked by the Neuroi weeks ago, the Fusion Wanderer carried three rifles similar to those wielded by Warviour, Wardier, and Wardar, albeit colored orange. In the cockpit were Or Tauber, Bagrat Zakaryan, and Ichiro Miyafuji in his "Khyber" mask.
"We'll be at Hill Air Field in fifteen minutes," announced Tauber.
"I better hope Squadron Leader Sakamoto as told the personnel we'll be arriving," said Zakaryan.
"I hope so too," added Ichiro. Mio-kun, please hurry up.
Hill Air Field. 1007 hours
Both Minna and Sakamoto arrived at Hill Air Field's control tower. Every man stationed there took notice as they assumed that the respective commanders of the two units headquartered at Hill wouldn't have come to the control tower unless it was highly urgent.
"What brings you out here, ma'ams?" asked the man in charge of the control tower after saluted Sakamoto and Minna and that they saluted in return.
"We have an incoming plane about to approach this airfield," answered Minna. "Squadron Leader Sakamoto will begin contacting the plane."
"Do we know which country it's affiliated with?"
"No," replied Sakamoto before she brought out her transceiver.
After she began to use her transceiver, Sakamoto accessed the frequency she knew belonged to Ichiro's. As she used the five numbers representing Ichiro's frequency, Sakamoto began to wait.
"Mi- I mean, Squadron Leader Sakamoto, is that you?" asked Ichiro over the transceiver.
"It is," replied Sakamoto. "We've just told Hill's control tower that you're coming. Wing Commander Wilcke is currently explaining how you're coming."
"We're already near Utah. One last request: think you could please bring a truck over to where we'll land? We have cargo that we need to drop off before we land."
"I'll see what I can do," replied Sakamoto before putting down the transceiver and faced Minna.
"That was Khyber," explained Sakamoto to Minna. "He's near Utah."
"I'll get Squadron Leader Barkhorn and Flying Officer Hartmann to escort our guest," replied Minna before she left the control tower with Sakamoto joining her.
Fusion Wanderer, Near Hill Air Field; 8,000 meters. 1011 hours
"Sir, we're picking up a transmission," said Zakaryan to Ichiro in the Fusion Wanderer's cockpit.
"Patch it through," ordered Ichiro. "It could be from Squadron Leader Sakamoto."
"This is Squadron Leader Gertrud Barkhorn, second-in-command of the 501st Joint Fighter Wing. Flying Officer Erica Hartmann and I have been ordered to escort you to Hill Air Field."
"Thank you very much, Squadron Leader Barkhorn," replied Ichiro.
Hill Air Field. 1015 hours
As the Fusion Wanderer reached Hill Air Field with Barkhorn and Hartmann as its escorts, it saw the damaged portion of the runaway from the previous day's shooting practice by the LN's prototype Mobile Knights. The same truck used to deliver the Mobile Knights was near the damaged portion of the runaway and as a result, the Fusion Wanderer began to descend above the truck only to stop and unload the three orange-colored rifles. Barkhorn and Hartmann followed, curious by the mysterious plane they escorted.
"How on Earth was that plane capable of carrying those rifles?" asked Hartmann.
"We'll find out soon enough," answered Barkhorn.
The two Karlsland Witches landed first and upon seeing the rest of the 501st and Sakamoto's unit, they joined them. After the rifles were dropped onto the truck, the Fusion Wanderer landed. The rear ramp opened and "Khyber", carrying an envelope, came out of the plane.
"Is that Khyber?" asked Minna to Sakamoto.
"Indeed," replied Sakamoto.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I assume Squadron Leader Sakamoto has spoken of me but for those wanting an explanation as to whom I am, allow me to introduce myself," said Khyber upon seeing Sakamoto's unit and the 501st. "I am Khyber. You may have heard the Koji Himemiya built the prototype Mobile Knights but in truth, I did because I had the facility and the technology capable of building them. As to who I really am, I will tell you all in due time."
"We saw that you carried three orange-colored rifles," said Barkhorn. "They're for the Mobile Knights?"
"They are. I've seen for myself how you've had them tested yesterday, hence why I brought these practice rifles. Any other questions?"
"How did you accumulate the funds you needed to build those Mobile Knights?" asked Perrine upon raising her hand.
"That's a secret, I'm sorry to say," answered Ichiro.
"Anything else you brought with you?" asked Eila.
"Practice rounds to go with the rifles," answered Ichiro as he gestured to Sakamoto's unit and the 501st the crates being unloaded from the Fusion Wanderer itself.
"What do you call that plane of yours and how fast does it go?" asked Shirley to Ichiro as he faced the 501st and Sakamoto's unit.
"The Fusion Wanderer," answered Ichiro. "The cruising speed is simply nine hundred kilometers per hour – approximately five hundred fifty-nine miles per hour in Britannic measurement. As for maximum speed, nine hundred fifty kilometers per hour or approximately five hundred ninety miles per hour."
"Sounds like it can break the sound barrier."
"It can. If you have any further questions, you can go into the plane and ask the pilots. I'll need a volunteer, though."
"I'll go," said Shinta as he raised his right hand.
"Thank you, Petty Officer Himemiya."
"Hartmann and I will remove our Strikers first, then we'll join you," added Barkhorn.
Everyone but Sakamoto and Minna followed Shinta to the Fusion Wanderer while Barkhorn and Hartmann separated to have their respective Striker Units removed. Ichiro then walked up to Minna and Sakamoto.
"I assume you wanted to talk to us in private?" asked Sakamoto.
"Yes," answered Ichiro. "Anywhere safe?"
"My office," answered Minna. "Please follow us."
"Thank you, Wing Commander."
Minna then returned to her office with Sakamoto and Ichiro following her. Sakamoto closed the door after Ichiro and moved to Minna's side, intent on knowing why "Khyber" had come to them.
"I assume you didn't just come here to deliver practice equipment, right?" asked Sakamoto.
"That's right," answered Ichiro before he gave the envelope he carried to Minna and Sakamoto.
As the veteran Witches opened the envelope they found a photograph of a Mobile Knight that resembled an airplane yet it still had the same cockpit like that of a regular fighter plane and the legs. Also brought out of the envelope was a map of South Liberion with its southernmost tip marked by a red X.
"What's this?" asked Minna.
"Information I found," answered Ichiro. "The Stavrosians have begun developing a new kind of Mobile Knight using a facility they built in Tierra del Fuego. If I were you, I'd have that information brought to your superiors."
"And you came all this way to deliver this to us?" asked Sakamoto.
"That base contains information about the Stavrosian Empire and their relationship with the Neuroi. That much I promise if you act upon this information."
"We'll have it sent," answered Minna. "Anything else you wish to do here?"
"That's about it. I should get going before your subordinates cause problems with the Fusion Wanderer."
"I'll see you out," offered Sakamoto.
Outside the main building, Sakamoto and Ichiro found the subordinates of the former and most of the 501st outside. The former two also found Shinta leading Perrine, Lynette, and Shizuka out of the Fusion Wanderer and joined the others.
"How did the tour go?" asked Sakamoto to Barkhorn.
"It went well," answered Barkhorn. "Of course the plane wasn't that long so we had to go in by groups with Himemiya guiding us in."
"Who haven't gone inside yet?" asked Ichiro.
"Same here," added Hartmann.
"Anyone else?" asked Sakamoto toward her subordinates and most of the 501st.
"We've all went inside already," answered Shirley. "Pretty impressive plane, I must say. According to your pilots, you can go a little beyond the speed of sound depending on how fast you need to be somewhere."
"Of course," answered Ichiro. "I do need to be in a hurry for certain tasks so I built boosters into the plane. Because of the fusion reactors, I don't have to worry much about depleting fuel."
"Then we'll be going inside now," announced Barkhorn. "Come on, Hartmann."
"Coming!" excitedly replying Hartmann as she followed Shinta and Barkhorn into the Fusion Wanderer.
Fusion Wanderer. 1107 hours
Shinta, Barkhorn, and Hartmann arrived at the Fusion Wanderer. Zakaryan himself came to greet the latter two as they were the last ones to tour the plane.
"Welcome to the Fusion Wanderer, ladies," said Zakaryan. "I'm Aram Zakaryan, co-pilot of the Fusion Wanderer."
"A co-pilot?" asked Barkhorn. "Why not the pilot himself?"
"He's just waiting in the cockpit. I'll introduce you to him when we go there but for now, I'll show the rest of the plane."
"Fine enough with me," replied Hartmann before facing Barkhorn. "What about you, Trude?"
"Same," answered Barkhorn.
"Then follow me," said Zakaryan as he moved back inside the Fusion Wanderer with the two Karlsland Witches and Shinta following.
"This is the hangar," explained Zakayran to Barkhorn, Hartmann, and Shinta. "We primarily use it to carry supplies but it can launch up to two Witches with Striker Units at minimum."
"Nice thinking," said Barkhorn.
"Shall we continue?" asked Zakaryan.
Zakaryan, Barkhorn, Hartmann, and Shinta then left the hangar. They found three rooms; one to their left with one door and two to door each with their own door.
"To our left is the Lifter Beam Room," said Zakaryan while gesturing to the left room. "Everything and everyone we use the Lifter Beam on will end up in that room."
"What's this 'Lifter Beam' for?" asked Hartmann.
"To get people or equipment inside this plane as soon as possible. As I told the earlier tour groups, we'll show how it works later. Any more questions?"
"None," said the Karlsland Witches in unison.
"Now then, to our right are the kitchen and the bathroom," said Zakaryan while gesturing to the rooms on the right. "Depending on how fast this plane will travel, we do need nourishment and somewhere to… put it mildly, 'unload pressure' after a meal."
Not even our Condors have these amenities, thought Barkhorn before she raised her hand. 'If you can have food prepared during flights, what about supplies?"
"They're loaded before every flight," answered Zakaryan. "Before we proceed further, any questions?"
"That was it for me," answered Barkhorn before facing Hartmann. "Hartmann?"
"Same," replied Hartmann.
Zakaryan, Barkhorn, Hartmann, and Shinta arrived at the Fusion Wanderer's crew cabin. Or Tauber turned to greet Zakaryan's guests.
"So you're the last tour group, I see?" rhetorically asked Tauber. "I'm Or Tauber, the Fusion Wanderer's pilot."
"You're the pilot!?" incredulously asked Hartmann as she saw how young Tauber is. 'How old are you!?"
"Nineteen years old. I know, Flight Lieutenant Yeager said the same thing earlier. It was by Khyber's decision that I should be the pilot."
"In any case, this is the last part of the tour?" interrupted Shinta. "I imagine Wing Commander Wilcke and Squadron Leader Sakamoto are here waiting for us."
"Right," replied Tauber before he moved out of the way. "These are the plane's controls. I will allow you to look and if you have questions, I will entertain them. Please don't touch any of the controls."
"I'll look first," said Barkhorn.
As Barkhorn moved forward, Hartmann pouted as she knew what Barkhorn said reminded her of how she couldn't be trusted with advanced technology. Despite that, Hartmann moved next. Because he watched earlier tour groups, Shinta remained where he stood. While looking, Hartmann then saw two levers.
"What are these for?" asked Hartmann as she pointed to the levers before Tauber joined her.
"The lever on the left is for the Lifter Beam and the lever on the right is for the Anti-Gravity Beam."
"Anti-Gravity Beam?" asked Barkhorn.
"We use it to lift larger objects like those practice rifles we brought."
"And what about that one?" asked Hartmann as she pointed to another lever separated from the respective levers for the Lifter Beam and the Anti-Gravity Beam.
"That is for Boosting," answered Tauber. "I've already explained it to the others but-"
"No need to say anything else," said Barkhorn. "Khyber already told us."
"Any more questions?" asked Tauber.
"I think I'm good," answered Hartmann before she turned to Barkhorn. "Trude?"
"Same," answered Barkhorn.
I.S.S. Buffalo; Near Liberian Waters. 1018 hours
In the bridge of the I.S.S. Buffalo, Otto Schneider found that the submarine now neared the western coast of the United States of Liberion. He began to press buttons that enabled him to contact his Mobile Knight pilots. "Wan" then appeared on the bridge's main screen.
"Agent Aoi, we're near the Liberian coast," announced Schneider. "Are your preparations complete?"
"They are, Captain," answered "Wan".
"As we discussed, you're to move after the attack has started. I'll be contacting Sub-Lieutenant Padolina. Please wait for my authorization to launch."
Schneider pressed another button. This time, Segismundo Padolina appeared on the main screen.
"Lieutenant Padolina, are your preparations complete?" asked Schneider.
"They are, Captain."
"Just wait for the authorization to launch. We're to be assisted by a Nezura."
Hill Air Field, United States of Liberion. 1121 hours
"Well, I best be going now," announced Ichiro Miyafuji to Sakamoto's unit and the 501st. "I wish you good luck. Before I go, I did promise you something."
"Like what?" asked Shirley.
"This," answered Ichiro before snapping his right fingers.
The Fusion Wanderer rose into the air as if it were an erupting volcano. Although such a technological feat was being demonstrated to them, Sakamoto's unit the 501st covered their eyes. As it became less intense, the former two stopped covering their eyes just in time to see the Lifter Beam being activated.
"That is so cool!" exclaimed Hartmann.
"I'll be going now!" announced Ichiro before he bowed and walked toward the Lifter Beam.
As Ichiro made it to the Lifter Beam, he was then brought inside the Fusion Wanderer. Afterward, the Fusion Wanderer flew away from Hill Air Field. Sakamoto and Minna then faced their respective subordinates.
"We eat first then gather at the briefing room," announced Sakamoto.
"Now that we have practice equipment for the Mobile Knights, we can properly begin practice," announced Sakamoto to her subordinates and the 501st members sans Minna in the briefing room. "Himemiya, Oka, Miyazaki, the exercise is to hit the opposing force with the practice rounds. Remember, hitting the shields will not be counted and as to how much you're allowed to have in finishing this exercise because it's the first day, I will be considerate and give you an hour to accomplish this exercise. In addition, failure will only be counted by all three of your Mobile Knights getting hit with practice rounds."
"Yes, ma'am," replied Shinta, Chieko, and Kei in unison.
"Now then, I'd like to call on for volunteers for this exercise," announced Minna as she stood beside Sakamoto.
"I'll do it," said Barkhorn.
"Very well then. Anyone else?"
"Me too," added Perrine.
"Then move out," ordered Sakamoto. "For those not participating, however, you need to watch."
"Yes, ma'am," replied Yoshika and the rest of the 501st.
"Then get moving. I have something else to discuss with Wing Commander Wilcke here."
After the salutes, the briefing room was now empty save for Minna and Sakamoto.
"They're gone now," said Sakamoto to Minna. "What is it that you needed to discuss with me alone?"
"It's about Mr. Himemiya," answered Minna.
Sakamoto and Minna gathered as to where their respective subordinates were located. They found contrails in the sky and walked up to Shirley as a result.
"How's the exercise going?" asked Sakamoto to Shirley.
"Well," answered Shirley. "From what we saw, Himemiya had Oka and Miyazaki deal with Barkhorn while he deals with Gla- I mean, Perrine."
Impressive, Himemiya, thought Sakamoto.
In the sky, it was a repeat of dodges and exchanges of practice rounds between Perrine and Shinta. As for Chieko and Kei, they managed to prevent Barkhorn from moving any further by firing at the same time, forcing the Karlsland Witch to use her shield. Chieko and Kei kept on firing even if they knew hitting Barkhorn's shield wasn't counted.
You better hurry up, Shinta, thought Kei.
Again Perrine evaded Shinta's shots. Shinta began to feel anxious about how to hit Perrine as he remembered Sakamoto only gave him, Chieko, and Kei one hour to defeat Perrine and Barkhorn for the exercise.
Damn it, unlike that time we had to test the Wing Packs with Flight Lieutenant Yeager, Flying Officer Clostermann has no intention of underestimating me, thought Shinta. And hitting her shield can't be co- Wait, that's it!
Getting to a suitable distance from Perrine, Shinta moved again toward Perrine and fired. Perrine then brought out her shield, unaware that was what Shinta anticipated. While continuously firing, Shinta charged toward Perrine with the Gallian Witch realizing something was about to happen.
No, he couldn't have possibly- thought Perrine before it came too late for her.
As he got close to Perrine, Shinta moved his right leg leftward. This resulted in Warviour doing the same with Perrine forcibly moved as the leg hit her shield. Shinta then moved away and in his Mobile Knight's HUD, the crosshair now appeared on Perrine.
Got you now! thought Shinta.
Perrine then faced Warviour again but it was too late as she heard Warviour's assault rifle burst out three practice rounds at her. Perrine closed her eyes as if it was the end for her but she felt that not a single practice round had hit her. She opened her eyes to find that the left half of her VG.39bis Striker Unit.
He… hit my Striker… thought Perrine. Why did he hesitate?
"I have to go now!" shouted Shinta to Perrine as he opened Warviour's cockpit. "I still need to deal with Squadron Leader Barkhorn. I suggest you get down and have your Striker Unit washed, Flying Officer."
"… Right," replied Perrine as she blushed before she did as Shinta recommended.
Shinta then saw the contrails that represented Barkhorn and Kei and flew toward them. Below, Sakamoto watched through a pair of binoculars.
Now that he's taken care of Perrine, let's see if Himemiya can-
"Understood," said Minna to a Liberian soldier, interrupting Sakamoto.
"I assume the exercise has been canceled?" asked Sakamoto as she turned to Minna.
"Unfortunately, yes," answered Minna.
"Got it," replied Sakamoto before she brought out her transceiver.
"Himemiya, do you read me?" asked Sakamoto over Warviour's communicator with Shinta accessing it to reply.
"Yes, Squadron Leader?" asked Shinta.
"The exercise is canceled for today. We have a Neuroi attacking the Liberian Pacific Coast."
"I'll tell Ke- I mean, Petty Officer Miyazaki. He'll tell Squadron Leader Barkhorn in return."
Sakamoto then put down her transceiver and faced Minna.
"Minna, mind if I borrow Squadron Leader Barkhorn, Flight Sergeant Lynette, and Pilot Officer Hattori?"
"You may," answered Minna to the bewilderment of Lynette and Shizuka while Sakamoto turned to Yoshika.
"Miyafuji, I need you there too," added Sakamoto.
"Roger that," replied Yoshika just as Shinta, Kei, and Barkhorn landed and with Chieko joining them.
"Just heard about that Neuroi," announced Barkhorn. "I'm ready to go."
"Good," said Sakamoto as she turned to Barkhorn. "You'll need to wait though. You'll be joined by Miyafuji, Hattori, and Lynette. Likewise with Himemiya, Oka, and Miyazaki."
"W… We're launching?" asked Kei after he had
"If in case that Neuroi didn't come alone," answered Sakamoto. "However, you're to help Oka clean up Wardier before launching."
"Roger that," replied Shinta, Chieko, and Kei in unison.
Near the Californian Coast. 1332 hours
A Large-Type Neuroi wandered across the Californian coast, bringing death and destruction with it. The Large-Type resembled a four-engine bomber but with icosahedrons colored red found on the "engines". Liberian Navy ships attempted to stop it but to no avail. Aviators of the Liberian Navy, using F6F Hellcats, appeared to assist. However, the Large-Type summoned Small-Type Neuroi. Elsewhere, the three Capri-colored Equites, respectively piloted by Segismundo Padolina, Loyiso Yam, and Caroline Weber, watched.
"How long do we have to wait until we're to attack?" asked Yam to Padolina as the latter watched in his Mobile Knight's main screen.
"Until those three Mobile Knights appear," answered Padolina.
"And where's Agent Aoi?"
"He'll move while we're engaged with the LN's Mobile Knights. His Legionarius can make itself invisible so Agent Aoi won't have trouble going to Liberion itself."
"I'm detecting four Witches," interrupted Weber as she appeared on the main screen of Padolina's Eques' cockpit.
"Patch it to me," ordered Padolina.
On the main screen, Gertrud Barkhorn in her Ta 152 Striker Unit, Shizuka Hattori in her N1K2-J Shiden Striker Unit, Lynette Bishop in her Spitfire Striker Unit, and Yoshika Miyafuji in her J7W1 Shinden Striker Unit appeared. The Small-Type Neuroi began to attack the four Witches.
"Do we intervene?" asked Weber.
"No," answered Padolina. "They're not our objective."
Hill Air Field. 1444 hours
Warviour, Wardier, and Wardar were now at the runaway of Hill Air Field. The three Mobile Knights were lined up in order to launch but it required using their respective wheels like airplanes. Both Mio Sakamoto and Minna-Dietlinde Wilcke watched with the former bringing out her transceiver.
"Listen to me, you three," ordered Sakamoto. "If you do encounter any Mobile Knights, go for three-round burst to conserve ammo."
"Yes, ma'am," replied Shinta Himemiya, Chieko Oka, and Kei Miyazaki over the transceiver.
"Himemiya, you're launching first."
"Roger that," replied Shinta.
In Warviour's cockpit, Shinta pressed the left foot pedal. This allowed Warviour to move using its wheels but as it acquired distance from Wardier, Shinta pressed the lever that allowed Warviour to use its Wing Pack. The thrusters on the Wing Pack were then activated with Shinta gliding the Mobile Knight into launching into the air.
Near the Californian Coast. 1415 hours
Bakrhorn, Shizuka, Lynette, and Yoshika continued assisting the Liberian Navy ships in fighting the Neuroi. However, the Large-Type Neuroi continued to summon more Small-Types, wearing down the 501st members and Yoshika.
We can't keep this up forever, anxiously thought Barkhorn. I can imagine Himemiya, Oka, and Miyazaki are on their way here but we can't wait that long. I've got it!
"Miyafuji, with me!" ordered Barkhorn. "We'll deal with the Large-Type and I'll need your help with shields."
"Roger that," replied Yoshika.
"Lynette, Hattori, continue protecting the Liberian ships," ordered Barkhorn while using her intercom.
"Roger that," replied Lynette and Shizuka over Barkhorn's intercom.
Upon joining her, Yoshika assisted Barkhorn with the attack on the Large-Type. As the Large-Type detected the Witches attacking it, it fired its red-colored energy beams. Yoshika then summoned her shield to protect herself and Barkhorn and upon getting closer, the two fired.
However, the idea of having to rely on Yoshika for her shields due to her age was slowing down the attacks against the Neuroi. Suddenly, a green-colored beam of energy hit the Neuroi. Both Barkhorn and Yoshika turned to see that it was the LNX-02 Wardier that fired on the Neuroi.
"You ladies need help?" asked a male voice over Barkhorn and Yoshika's respective intercoms.
"You made it," replied Bakrhorn as she realized Shinta Himemiya, Chieko Oka, and Kei Miyazaki had arrived.
"Petty Officer Oka will assist in dealing with that Neuroi," interjected Shinta over the intercoms. "Petty Officer Miyazaki will assist Flight Sergeant Bishop and Pilot Officer Hattori. I'll-"
"Hold on!" interrupted Kei. "I'm detecting three Mobile Knights."
"Over there!" said Yoshika as she pointed to the direction where the Mobile Knights – the PMK-03 Equites – were coming from.
"I've never heard of those Mobile Knights before," replied Barkhorn.
"Those must be the blue ones that Shi- I mean, Mr. Himemiya occasionally fought."
"I'll deal with them!" announced Shinta over the intercoms. "Continue on fighting that Neuroi!"
"Got it," replied Barkhorn before she turned to Yoshika. "Miyafuji, come on!"
"It's him again!" shouted Segismundo Padolina in his Eques' cockpit as he saw the LNX-01 Warviour charging toward Padolina and his Eques along with Caroline Weber and Loyiso Yam in their respective Equites.
"What should we do?" asked Yam as he appeared on the main screen.
"We give him multiple targets," ordered Padolina.
"Should have known it would be you," said Shinta Himemiya inside Warviour's cockpit as he saw the Equites on the HUD of his Mobile Knight.
Shinta then used Warviour's assault rifle to fire at the Equites. One three-round burst forced them to scatter.
"Xiaoying, any recommendation as to which one I should attack now?" asked Shinta.
"From my analysis from past engagements, I suggest the one built for reconnaissance," answered "Xiaoying" just as Weber's Eques appeared on the main screen of Warviour's control panel. "Unlike the other two Mobile Knights, this Mobile Knight lacks any other weapon that could make it pose a threat."
Shinta then charged toward Weber's Eques. However, Shinta began to use Warviour's Particle Sword but with the Mobile Knight's left arm.
As he neared Weber's Mobile Knight, Shinta began to swing the Particle Sword toward her. However, as the blade made of energy neared the Capri-colored Mobile Knight, Segismundo Padolina appeared between Weber and Shinta, using its Energy Saber to block the Particle Sword of the latter.
Far from the fight between Mobile Knights, the other LN forces continued to hold off the Neuroi. Chieko continued to assist Yoshika and Barkhorn but as she, nor the two Witches she was helping, would be able to locate the Core of the Large-Type Neuroi they were fighting until they heard from Kei.
Kei-kun, please hurry up! anxious thought Chieko. I'm almost out of energy.
Suddenly, Kei's frequency appeared on Wardier's communicator. Chieko used the communicator to respond.
"Kei-kun, you found it?" asked Chieko.
"I did," replied Kei over the communicator. "Please tell Barkhorn Shosa and Miyafuji-san to fire where you'll be firing."
"What's Oka doing?" asked Barkhorn as she saw Chieko move away.
"Squadron Leader Barkhorn, do you read?" asked Kei over Barkhorn's intercom.
"Miyazaki, what is it?" asked Barkhorn as she responded.
"I've found that Neuroi's Core. Petty Officer Oka will hit the designated area. You can hit the Core after Petty Officer Oka has fired."
"Got it," replied Barkhorn before she faced Yoshika. "Miyafuji, pull back. Oka's been given the location of the Neuroi Core and we're to fire after her."
"Got it," replied Yoshika before she and Barkhorn withdrew.
As the two Witches withdrew, Chieko aimed inside Wardier's cockpit. With the location of the Large-Type's Core on her control panel's main screen, the crosshair moved across the HUD in order for Chieko to aim at where she should fire. As the crosshair stopped, Chieko then pulled the topmost trigger of the right control stick in front of her, firing what little energy the Particle Cannon had left.
As the green energy beam hit the designated spot of the Neuroi, a large hole was formed, showing the Core. Yoshika and Barkhorn repeatedly fired until the bullets from their respective weapons, a Type 99-2 carried by the former and two MG42 general-purpose machine guns wielded by the latter, hit the Core. Once the bullets hit the Core, the Neuroi disintegrated, along with the Small-Types Lynette, Shizuka, and the Liberan forces were fighting.
"Lieutenant, we've received a signal from Agent Bauer!" warned Weber as she appeared on the main screen of Padolina's Eques while he crossed his Energy Saber with Warviour's Particle Sword. "We're to pull back as the Nezura's been destroyed."
"Impossi-." said Padolina before being pushed back by Shinta. "But if Agent Aoi said this, he must be near his objective. We're leaving!"
Padolina turned his back toward Shinta and withdrew. Yam and Weber in their respective Equites withdrew as well, confusing Shinta.
"Shinta, you there?" asked Kei over Warviour's communicator.
"Yes, Kei?" asked Shinta.
"I've just detected a Stavrosian Mobile Knight that managed to approach California itself. I don't know ho-"
"Save it. I'll deal with it. I imagine that Neuroi was destroyed?"
"Either way, I'm going," replied Shinta as he turned back to California itself.
As Shinta began to move, his forehead glowed red again.
Not again! thought Shinta.
Suddenly, red light began to engulf Warviour. This allowed Shinta to increase Warviour's speed with the LN forces watching. Barkhorn, Shizuka, Lynette, and Yoshika, along with Chieko and Kei in Wardier and Wardar respectively, had already gathered and saw the red light
"What's that?" asked Shizuka.
"I don't know," answered Barkhorn.
"Yoshika!" shouted Lynette, forcing Barkhorn and Shizuka to find Yoshika looking weak.
"No… Shinta, don't… " faintly said Yoshika.
"Hattori, Lynette, get Miyafuji out of here!" ordered Barkhorn.
"Roger," replied Shizuka and Lynette in unison.
"Oka, Miyazaki, pursue that red light," ordered Barkhorn to Chieko and Kei while using her intercom. "I get a feeling Himemiya's connected so I'll be following."
"Yes, ma'am," replied Chieko and Kei together over the intercom.
State of California, United States of Liberion. 1510 hours
Barkhorn, Chieko, and Kei now found that Warviour was fighting a black-colored Legionarius. However, they found that Warviour's assault rifle and the Particle Sword had been discarded.
"It's definitely Himemiya," said Barkhorn before using her intercom. "Miyazaki, please contact Squadron Leader Sakamoto."
"Roger that," replied Kei over the intercom.
What's going on? pondered Barkhorn.
Hill Air Field, State of Utah. 1613 hours
"Are you sure it's Himemiya!?" exclaimed Mio Sakamoto while using her transceiver within earshot of Minna-Dietlinde Wilcke in the office of the latter at Hill Air Field's main building.
"No doubt about it," replied Kei. "It's like what happened in Shinkyo."
"Keep watching," ordered Sakamoto before she stopped using the transceiver and faced Minna.
"Mio, what's going on?" asked a concerned Minna.
"Remember our discussion in the briefing room hours ago?" asked Sakamoto to Minna with a wary nod from the latter. "We're about to get our answers."
State of California. 1515 hours
The black Legionarius continued to fire its rifle but Warviour, engulfed in red light, continued to evade. While the latter charged without its weapons, the former managed to dodge it. Far away from the two Mobile Knights, Barkhorn, Chieko, and Kei watched.
Every day it seems that I really don't know who you are, Shinta, thought Kei as he watched Warviour viciously pursue the black Legionarius through Wardar's HUD.
Again, the Legionarius fired but Warviour evaded. Attempting to fire again, the Legionarius' pilot found that the rifle had no more ammunition. The pilot continuously dodged but it was inevitable.
That Stavrosian pilot doesn't seem to be fighting back anymore, thought Barkhorn. What's going on?
Suddenly, the Legionarius stopped and spread its arms sideways. Shinta then charged at the Legionarius and as a result, the black Mobile Knight fell into a field of Chamaenerion augustifolium; commonly known as fireweed.
Shinta then brought Warviour down. He then moved the Mobile Knight toward the damaged Legionarius. Barkhorn, Chieko, and Kei watched on with anxiety and curiosity as to what will happen next.
What are you up to now? anxiously pondered Barkhorn.
The cockpit of the latter opened with its pilot leaving while Shinta continued to move. The pilot kept his or her face shrouded by the helmet as he or she watched Shinta.
"Who are you?!" asked Shinta.
"It's me!" exclaimed the Legionarius' pilot as he removed his helmet to show that he was "Wan".
"You… " said Shinta as he saw "Wan" in Warviour's HUD.
Shinta then opened his cockpit with "Wan" facing him with a sinister grin. Barkhorn, Chieko, and Kei became more anxious with what they were seeing.
You idiot! thought Kei as he saw what was happening in Wardar's HUD. What are you doing!?
"Hello, Brother," said "Wan".
"You're not my brother!" shouted Shinta.
"But do you know where you are right now?"
"What does it matter to-" asked Shinta before he saw a piece of firewood bloom in front of him, causing him to hesitate.
"You know what this flower is, right?" rhetorically asked "Wan".
"Firewood… " said Shinta.
"It's Shiori's favorite flower."
"You shut up!"
"Why don't you try to kill me?"
Without saying anything, Shinta closed Warviour's cockpit and got as far away as he could from "Wan" and his damaged Legionarius. He began to collect energy that accumulated into a ball.
Again he does this, thought Chieko as she watched through Wardier's HUD.
As he looked on at Warviour's HUD, Shinta prepared to use the energy he gathered. However, at that instant, he now felt pain rising in his head, making him unable to concentrate against "Wan".
Despite that, the energy was now a large ball. It turned into a wave of energy, forcing Barkhorn, Chieko, and Kei to close their eyes. "Wan", whom the wave of energy was aimed at, evaded and the wave of energy quickly evaporated.
"What's the matter?" sardonically asked "Wan". 'Can't kill me, Brother?"
In Wardar's cockpit, Kei saw Sakamoto's frequency appear on his communicator and quickly responded.
"Miyazaki, what's going on?" asked Sakamoto over the communicator.
"I honestly don't know, ma'am," replied Kei. "Something seems to be wrong with Himemiya."
"Has twenty-minutes passed?"
"What do you mean?"
"I confronted Himemiya-hakase about this. From what he and his son found, Himemiya can only use the powers he used since Shinkyo for thirty minutes."
"Hold on… ," said Kei as he briefly diverted his eyes toward the time found on Wardar's HUD before returning to his communicator. "If Shinta had used those powers at say, 1450 hours since we saw Warviour engulfed in red light, then… "
"Miyazaki, please return to your HUD," ordered Barkhorn as she interrupted over the communicator. "Something's just happened."
Kei then saw "Wan" turn into his blackened form. However, he began to withdraw.
"What happened?" asked Sakamoto as she resumed talking to Kei over the communicator.
"I don't know but I think it's safe to see what happened to Shinta," answered Kei.
"Then do it."
Barkhorn, Chieko, and Kei then moved toward Warviour. The former three were unaware of what was happening to Warviour. As they got closer, Warviour was now engulfed in a red light, forcing them to stop. As it ended, Barkhorn, Chieko, and Kei were horrified to see that Warviour was now black with hexagons across.
"Shinta-kun, daijobu ka?" asked Chieko while she used Wardier's communicator as it was tuned in to Shinta's frequency. "Shinta-kun-"
"Something's not right," interjected Barkhorn over the communicator while Kei's frequency popped in on the communicator.
Barkhorn, Chieko, and Kei remained as they were just as Warviour turned to them. However, its "eyes" now glowed red.
"This is bad!" shouted Barkhorn just as Warviour accumulated red energy again.
Warviour managed to get into the air without using its Wing Pack and charged toward Barkhorn, Chieko, and Kei. However, the latter three were able to evade. Kei then aimed Wardar's anti-personnel machine gun at the blackened Warviour.
"Kei-kun, what are you doing!?" asked Chieko over the communicator.
"He's not Shinta anymore!" shouted Kei.
As Kei fired, Warviour evaded the 7.62x51mm rounds. The former charged again and while Chieko and Barkhorn evaded, Wardar was hit.
However, a loud scream was heard. Chieko, Kei, and Barkhorn knew that it was Shinta's but afterward, Warviour flew off. The former three were not only confused but even more horrified by what has happened.
What's going on? pondered Barkhorn. If that was Himemiya's scream, then…
Sturmgewehr (German) – "Assault Rifle"
Last chapter, we had our heroes Shinta, Chieko, and Kei meet the rest of the 501st Joint Fighter Wing. Now, they've finally seen combat with the 501st and while it was never fun and games, this chapter takes a turn for the worse especially with Shinta. Why is Warviour black with hexagons, why hasn't Shinta left the cockpit yet, and who's this "Shiori" that "Wan" brought up to mess with Shinta? Find out in part 2.
Much like in real-life, I had Hill Air Field store old planes. I figured I might as well make them a plot point by having them shot to test the new rifles for Warviour, Wardier, and Wardar.
In relation to the Shiori plot point, I chose firewood/Chamaenerion augustifolium because the flower is native to California. The confrontation between Shinta and "Wan"/Kenta in the field of firewood is another Space Knight Tekkaman Blade reference where in its fourteenth episode, Tekkaman Evil/Shinya Aiba manipulates D-Boy/Takaya Aiba/Tekkaman Blade into fighting in a field of Amarylis while bringing up their sister Miyuki, making the latter lose focus to make sure he exceeds the 30-minute time limit in using his Tekkaman abilities.