Kidou Kishi Warviour
(Mobile Knight Warviour)
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters in Strike Witches, nor the initial setting.
Chapter 8: A Change in Circumstances
Unknown Location. April 14, 1946; 1104 hours
"How are you, Wan?" asked a voice in darkness to a figure shrouded in the latter. "Have you recovered well?"
"I recovered well, Fa- I mean, Master," replied the figure other shrouded in darkness.
"Good. Have you talked to Alon about the 'experiment' we'll be conducting?"
"I have. He's having the Mass Catapult loaded as we speak."
"Good. I also need you to go to Midway to oversee the experiment."
"Of course, Master."
"I wish you luck then."
U.S.S. Mayflower. April 15, 1946; 0947 hours
"How did today's mock battle go?" asked Nicholas Kirkman to Mio Sakamoto.
"Himemiya successfully hit one of the targets on Tanaka's plane like he did yesterday," answered Sakamoto. "He even did so while conserving ammunition."
"What of Seaman Recruit Oka and Seaman Recruit Miyazaki?"
"They have to improve but the practice rounds from their respective-"
"Captain, I'm picking up something," announced the radio operator on the Mayflower's bridge.
"From where?" asked Kirkman as he turned his attention to the radio operator.
"It's from Midway."
"Tune in now."
"This is Naval Air Station Midway Island," said a male voice on the other end of the radio. "A meteor has appeared from the sky and it's-"
"Captain, look!" shouted Sakamoto as she looked at the window of the bridge with Kirkman stepping out of his chair to look outside.
On the flight deck, the personnel also gathered to see what was in the sky and they hadn't heard the message the radio operator in the bridge picked up. What the crew of the Mayflower and the men and women in the refugee fleet the Mayflower accompanied was a meteor traveling to the same destination.
This is just like what happened at Pearl, anxiously thought Gregory Tanaka as he was among those who rushed to the flight deck.
The meteor continued to rapidly descend. Everyone in the refugee fleet feared what would happen should it hit.
It's headed straight for Midway, thought Kirkman. I hope the evacuation there is finished by now.
However, the meteor appeared to be far smaller than what the people in the refugee fleet remembered from the Stavrosian's attempt to use a meteor at them in South Seas Island. The fleet traveled slowly but the initial fear from where the meteor would hit, which the fleet imagined was to affect them, changed into confusion.
Why would such a small meteor appear? wondered Sakamoto.
A small explosion had occurred and it was only slightly seen, surprising the refugee fleet. Kirkman in the bridge pretended as if there was sweat in his forehead to wipe away with his right arm.
I hope that's it, anxiously thought Kirkman.
"There's another one!" shouted Sakamoto as she looked outside.
The refugee fleet saw another meteor using the same direction the former was using. The people in the fleet were conflicted as to whether they should be scared or curious. However, the latter dominated their thoughts as the meteor appeared to be small again and as the fleet kept on moving, the meteor traveled fast again but the direction it was going confused the people in the fleet further – it went in the opposite direction.
"What are those Stavrosians doing?" asked Kei Miyazaki as he, Shinta Himemiya, and Chieko Oka were also on the flight deck.
The meteor not only vanished as it fully descended but there wasn't an explosion like the previous one. Everyone in the fleet was dumbfounded that the meteor hit elsewhere.
"… That's it?" asked a confused Kirkman.
"Captain, think we should signal the fleet to stop?" asked Tyler Seioge as he joined Kirkman and Sakamoto. "Another meteor could come."
"I think we should just keep on moving for one minute and if another meteor doesn't appear, we keep on going."
"Aye aye, Captain."
Despite Kirkman listening to Seioge's warning, most of the personnel on the Mayflower's flight deck began to leave as they assume there was nothing else to wait for. Shinta, by contrast to Chieko and Kei, began to leave.
"And where are you going?" asked Kei as he faced backward to Shinta.
"I doubt there's nothing else to wait for," answered Shinta. "Besides, we best get back to the Lecture Room before Sakamoto Shosa does."
"Fine," replied Kei as he decides to join Shinta.
"Do you really think that's it?" asked Chieko as she faced her entire body toward Shinta and Kei.
"We don't even know why the Stavrosians would send small meteors," replied Shinta. "If you wish to be punished by Sakamoto Shosa, you can stay."
"… Fine," said Chieko as an admittance that Shinta was right while joining him and Kei.
What were the Stavrosians and the Neuroi up to with that? cautiously wondered Shinta.
"Captain, after what happened this morning, what should we do?" asked Seioge to Kirkman as he, Sakamoto, Koji Himemiya, Marvin Grayson, and James Hodges were in the bridge.
"Captain, with all due respect, we'll delay our mission further if we concern ourselves with this meteor," said Sakamoto as she opened her mouth immediately after Seioge.
"I know," replied Kirkman. "However, those meteors were directed at Midway and Kure Atolls. We'll pass by them anyway."
"But we could bypass those atolls and continue to Faraway Land," suggested Koji. "I thank you for helping with getting the refugees to Faraway Land but I fear we could be walking into a trap."
"Fair point. Shall we vote on either continuing through the atolls or bypass them? I'll vote for the former."
"I'm with you, Captain," answered Seioge.
"I vote for bypassing the atolls," answered Sakamoto. "Dealing with what happened will just delay us further."
"What about you, Dr. Himemiya?" asked Kirkman to Koji.
"I vote for bypassing," answered Koji.
"I say we investigate that meteorite," voted Grayson. "We could use it to analyze how these meteors work."
"Sergeant?" asked Kirkman to Hodges.
"I vote for continuing on," ultimately answered Hodges. "Maybe we could get additional supplies for the rest of the trip.
"… Very well," replied Kirkman with a slight smile. "Majority voted 'going on ahead'."
"Aye aye, Captain," replied Seioge.
Sakamoto, along with Shinta, Chieko, Kei, and Tanaka, gathered at the Mayflower's ready room. Sakamoto stood before the latter four, who were seated. The looks on Shinta, Chieko, and Kei's faces hid their surprise as they didn't expect that they would be needed at the ready room.
"I can imagine that all of you are wondering why I've called you here," stated Sakamoto. "After those two meteors that we saw hours ago, the Captain has decided to continue forward, specifically to Midway Atoll. He wishes to inquire what happened with the Liberian forces there and our job is to guard the carrier until the Captain gets his information."
Sakamoto turned to Shinta. The latter, who was almost about to open his mouth, remained silent as he assumed Sakamoto will give him an order that will be related to what he wished to say.
"Himemiya, I need you and Warviour on patrol," ordered Sakamoto.
"Ryōkai," replied Shinta with Sakamoto turning to Chieko and Kei.
"Oka, Miyazaki, I need the both of you to remain in the carrier."
"Ryōkai," replied Chieko and Kei in unison with Sakamoto turning to Tanaka.
"Tanaka, you'll have to stay while the Captain and I go to Midway," said Sakamoto. "If push comes to shove, I imagine the Captain will need to talk to the commanding officer in Midway about those meteors, therefore, one of us has to stay with Seioge as executive officer while I accompany the Captain because the commanding officer in Midway will need to know the real purpose as to why we're here."
"Ryōkai," replied Tanaka. Why me?
"Attention, all hands, this is the Captain speaking," announced Kirkman over the Mayflower's PA system, the 1 Main Circuit (1MC). "We'll be approaching the Leeward Islands in an hour. We'll stop there and discuss what we witnessed with the forces at Midway Island. Prepare for turning."
"There you have it," said Sakamoto to Shinta, Chieko, Kei, and Tanaka. "We'll wait here until the turning has stopped."
Above the Leeward Islands, United States of Liberion; 5,000 meters. 1449 hours
One PBY-5 Catalina seaplane flew above the Leeward Islands on a patrol. Its pilot and commanding officer, 1st Lieutenant Cole Martin, was a man in his early thirties with a physically lean build, a youthful face that betrayed his age, short blond hair and green eyes.
During the Second Neuroi War, the cruiser U.S.S. Indianapolis was attacked by a Neuroi. Most of the crew died before the Catalina Martin served in as its co-pilot found the survivors and rescued fifty-six out of the cruiser's three hundred and sixteen survivors. Unlike his commanding officer that day, Martin stayed in the Liberian Navy and became a Catalina pilot himself.
"Sir, I'm seeing what appear to be a fleet of ships," said the Catalina's co-pilot.
"What kind of ships?" asked Martin.
"One carrier, a few destroyers, and numerous civilian vessels."
"Get me to Midway!" shouted Martin to his Catalina's radio operators behind him.
U.S.S. Mayflower. 1509 hours
"Captain, we're being contacted?" asked the Mayflower's radio operator to Kirkman.
"By whom?" asked Kirkman.
"A nearby Catalina seaplane."
"Hold on," said Kirkman as he approached the radio.
"… This is Petty Officer 2nd Class Mancuso of VP-53, PBY callsign is "Blimp"," said a male voice over the radio. "Please identify yourselves."
"This is Captain Nicholas Kirkman of the carrier U.S.S. Mayflower. We're escorting a fleet of ships full of refugees to Faraway Land but saw the meteor that hit Kure Atoll and we wish to investigate."
PBY-5 "Blimp". 1511 hours
"Sir, our respondent claims to be Captain Nicholas Kirkman of the U.S.S. Mayflower," said one of the two radio operators of Martin's Catalina.
"Mayflower?" incredulously asked Martin. "I thought it was on a shakedown cruise. What's it doing escorting a refugee fleet?"
"What do we tell them now?"
"Our orders are to inquire the purpose of the fleet's presence. Keep asking."
"Aye aye, sir."
U.S.S. Mayflower. 1513 hours
"If you are Captain Kirkman, why are you with civilian vessels?" asked the Catalina's radio operator.
"We were in South Seas Island and when Shinkyo was attacked, we assisted the Fuso Imperial Navy in evacuating civilians," answered Kirkman. "We imagined you would spot us and contact us. We wish to ask your commanding officer about that meteorite and in exchange, we'll tell him about the real mission of this ship."
Silence followed, confusing the men inside the Mayflower's bridge. A sound followed next, indicating that the silence had ended.
"Continue proceeding to Midway," continued the radio operator. "We'll keep watch over your fleet but in thirty minutes, a PT boat will come to you and pick you up and take you to Midway."
"Much obliged, son."
The refugee fleet then neared the Leeward Islands, which were a part of the entire Hawaiian archipelago. The Catalina "Blimp" continued overseeing the fleet until a patrol torpedo (PT) boat began to approach the fleet. From the bridge of the Mayflower, Nicholas Kirkman saw the approaching the PT boat through a pair of binoculars. Tyler Seioge, Mio Sakamoto, Gregory Tanaka, and James Hodges were also at the bridge.
"Looks like our ride is here," said Tanaka before he put down the binoculars and turned to Seioge, Sakamoto, and Tanaka. "As we discussed earlier, Lieutenant Commander Sakamoto and I will go to Midway to talk about our presence here. Seioge, you and Lieutenant Tanaka are in charge for the time being."
"Aye aye, Captain," replied Seioge. "Lieutenant Tanaka, please assist in signaling the rest of the fleet to stop."
"Aye aye," replied Tanaka with a salute before he left the bridge.
"Captain, before you and Lieutenant Commander Sakamoto leave, might I suggest you have a Marine with you?" asked Hodges.
"Who do you have in mind?" asked Kirkman.
As the refugee fleet stopped, the PT boat approached the gangway of the Mayflower. As the latter stopped and attached itself to the gangway of the Mayflower, Nicholas Kirkman and Mio Sakamoto began to approach it. Following the two was one Marine named Oliver Granger. He was a man in his early twenties with short blond hair underneath his M1 helmet, blue eyes, and carrier with him an M1 Thompson submachine gun. Sakamoto carried a suitcase with her as she boarded the PT boat after Kirkman. As Kirkman, Sakamoto, and Granger boarded the PT boat, a man in his mid-twenties with a lean physique, youthful face, and short hair and eyes that were both colored brown approached the two officers and saluted with Kirkman, Sakamoto, and Granger doing the same.
"Welcome to PT-109, sir and ma'am," said the man as he saluted Kirkman and Sakamoto. "Horst Braun, Lieutenant Junior Grade. I'm the commander of this PT boat."
"How long have you been in the Navy?" asked Kirkman.
"Since last year, sir. The war ended by the time I joined but I hoped to make a career regardless so I opted to be an officer. I'm now the commander of the PT boat."
"I hope you know you're doing," added Granger. "This boat should have been decommissioned when the war ended."
"I heard that too when I was assigned here," replied Horst. "I've only been a lieutenant for a month."
"In any case, you'll take us to Midway?" asked Kirkman.
"Best make ourselves comfortable," added Sakamoto.
Kirkman, Sakamoto, and Granger began to find somewhere to sit. As they did, Braun had the PT boat move away from the Mayflower to Midway.
Naval Air Station Midway Islands, Leeward Islands, United States of Liberion. 1612 hours
After it had passed another PT boat, PT-109 began to approach Midway Atoll, where the Liberian Navy had an air station installed. During the Second Neuroi War, the naval station was a focal point of defense and it fallen to the Neuroi, it would have been easier for them to use Midway as a staging point for attacks toward North Liberion. For the defenders, it was a miracle that the Neuroi kept to Gallian Indochina and the islands of Java and Borneo. Despite that, the atoll kept the air station should another Neuroi invasion occur. When the Stavrosian Empire began its invasion and conquered most of Southeast Asia, a plan was launched to fortify Midway whose fruits were seen by Sakamoto and Kirkman as PT boats patrolled the outermost waters of the atoll, planes and Witches patrolled the skies.
Seeing a dock, PT-109 approached it. As it arrived, the PT boat stopped with Sakamoto and Kirkman leaving only to see three Marines in their way. Two of the men wore M1 helmets and carried M1 Garand rifles. One wore a different uniform and had only a garrison cap.
"Captain Kirkman and Lieutenant Commander Sakamoto, I presume?" asked the man in a garrison cap.
"That's us," replied Kirkman with a salute along with Sakamoto.
"Colonel Liam Griffin," replied the Marine with the garrison cap. "We've been expecting you. Follow us."
I.S.S. Buffalo. 1615 hours
Far from the Leeward Islands was the Stavrosian submarine Buffalo. Only its antenna was visible and it glowed green again.
"Captain, I'm receiving a transmission," said Evelyn Andrews to Otto Schneider.
"Patch it through the main screen," ordered Schneider.
Andrews did as she was ordered to. As a result, the main screen was turned on but at an instant, Rear Admiral Huang appeared on the screen.
"Rear Admiral Huang," said Schneider as he stood up and saluted. "We were just about near the-"
"Don't tell me," ordered Huang as he cut off Schneider. "I'm to relay another transmission. It's from Vice Admiral Alon.
Why would Vice Admiral Alon from the Moon contact us? wondered Schneider. "By all means, sir."
Another individual appeared on the main screen of the Buffalo's bridge. He was a fair-skinned man in his late fifties with no hair. The man was Vice Admiral Alon.
"Schneider, right?" asked the bald man.
"Yes, Vice Admiral," replied Schneider. "To whom do we owe the honor of this call?"
"I imagine you were going to tell Rear Admiral Huang that you've caught up to that Liberian carrier with the LN's prototype Mobile Knights?"
"I can imagine you wish to attack it?"
"However, I have a new mission for you at the moment."
"What might that be?"
Naval Air Station Midway Islands. 1617 hours
In a room in the command center of Naval Air Station Midway Islands, Nicholas Kirkman and Mio Sakamoto were brought by Liam Griffin to two other officers. One, in his mid-thirties, was in the uniform of the Liberian Marine Corps like Griffin and the other officer, in his late forties, in a Liberian Navy uniform.
"Colonel Parks and Captain Wilkins," said Griffin as he introduced the other two officers.
"So you're Captain Kirkman," said Wilkins, a man in his early fifties with brown hair and green eyes, as he faced Kirkman and Sakamoto. "And you have Mio Sakamoto with you."
"I hear you brought with you a fleet full of refugees," added Parks, a dark-haired man. "I hope you two have a good explanation for this?"
"We do," answered Sakamoto.
I.S.S. Buffalo. 1618 hours
"Why would the Imperial Directorate of Intelligence need us for this operation?!" incredulously asked Schneider to Alon. "They can figure it out without us!"
"It's because you've been pursuing that carrier that they chose you to assist in this operation," answered Alon. "Their agent just needs to infiltrate the island and do what he needs to do. All they ask is for you to attack Midway."
"But we're too outnumbered. We're near Hawaii and the Liberian Navy will realize that we launched Bauer's team once the attack. Not only that, those Mobile Knights will be launched."
"And that is what the Directorate is counting on. The Mobile Knights will interrupt your attack but that will allow the agent to continue his task. From what I heard, he's their best agent and I can assume he'll accomplish his objective fast enough that you can have your Mobile Knights withdraw before the Liberian Navy reinforces Midway."
"… Very well, Admiral," reluctantly replied Schenider.
"Good," replied Alon. "I leave it to you as to how you'll attack Midway."
Alon then disappeared from the main screen. Schneider sat down again as if standing up was agony.
"… Captain?" asked Andrews.
"I'm fine," replied Schneider to Andrews. "I'll contact Bauer and his team now."
Naval Air Station Midway Islands. 1635 hours
"I can see why it was kept a secret," said Parks as he was with Wilkins, Griffin, Sakamoto, and Kirkman.
"That doesn't matter now," interjected Wilkins. "It's thanks to that refugee fleet Stavrosian forces will be here."
"We'll leave as soon as you want us to," replied Kirkman. "We're just here to know about that meteorite."
"We sent a team to investigate," replied Griffin. "Nothing but a black-colored egg. We'll send a team to extract it tomorrow."
"Can we at least stay until tomorrow?" asked Sakamoto. "We can talk it over with everyone else in the Mayflower."
"And will the rest of the Mayflower, along with that refugee fleet, agree on that?" asked Parks.
I.S.S. Buffalo. 1644 hours
"What do you want to do, Captain?" asked Siegfried Bauer with Segismundo Padolina, Loyiso Yam, and Caroline Weber behind him at the Buffalo's bridge talking to Otto Schneider.
"… No choice, we do as the Vice Admiral ordered," replied Schneider. "However, you four aren't to launch until we've launched the Reaper."
"It'll thin out the Liberians' defenses."
"When do we go to our Mobile Knights?"
"Aye, aye, Captain," replied Bauer, Padolina, Yam, and Weber as they saluted before leaving.
"Andrews, have those Liberian seaplanes detected us yet?" asked Schneider as he turned to Andrews.
"No, Captain," replied Andrews.
"Ishiguro, prepare the Reaper Targeting System," ordered Schneider to Ishiguro.
"Aye aye, Captain," replied Ishiguro.
An image of Naval Air Station Midway Islands appeared on the main screen of the bridge.
"Please pick your targets."
Naval Air Station Midway Islands. 1658 hours
Both Sakamoto and Kirkman left the command center. Oliver Granger joined them after saluting.
"How do we tell Dr. Himemiya, Commander Seioge, and Tanaka about this?" asked Sakamoto.
"I honestly don't know," answered Kirkman. "I guess we should have just ignored Midway."
"Sir, hold on!" interjected Granger. "Some Marines are passing through."
Kirkman and Sakamoto stopped as Granger warned. Three Marines, Afro-Liberians, began to pass; two carried a wooden crate but one, who wasn't carrying anything, saw the three from the Mayflower and urged the two to stop. The latter saluted Kirkman and Sakamoto with them saluting in kind.
"Please carry on," ordered Kirkman.
"Thank you, sir," said the Marine as he urged the two other Marines to continue.
"What are Afro-Liberians doing here?" asked Sakamoto.
"I heard from a guard here that the 16th Field Depot was just reassigned here to assist in building defenses here," answered Granger.
Granger, Sakamoto, and Kirkman then turned to see the rest of the 16th Field Depot across Midway. Although they were proof that the United States of Liberion was ready to move past the driving cause of its civil war in the 1860s – slavery – the Liberian Armed Forces were still segregated amongst men of various colors.
"… How long should Liberion be segregated because of color?" asked Sakamoto.
"I honestly don't know," answered Kirkman. "We best find Lieutenant Braun."
I.S.S. Buffalo. 1704 hours
A square-shaped door began to open at the top deck of the Buffalo. In the bridge, the image of Naval Air Station Midway Islands on the bridge's main screen was now marked with red-colored dots.
"Targets locked in," said Ishiguro. "Missile is ready to launch at your command."
At his chair, Otto Schneider began to use the Buffalo's PA system. He pressed the button needed to activate it and began to place the receiver before his mouth.
"Attention all hands, this is your Captain speaking," announced Schneider. "We will be launching our Reaper in one minute. I suggest we must be at General Quarters should we be detected. Prepare yourselves and good day."
Schneider ended his announcement and looked at the main screen. He began to wait until the Reaper launched.
Naval Air Station Midway Islands. 1705 hours
Nicholas Kirkman, Mio Sakamoto, and Oliver Granger then reached the dock where PT-109 was anchored at. Seeing the three, Horst Braun left his PT boat and rushed to them.
"Good day, sir and ma'am," said Braun with a salute. "Are you done with your business here in the base?"
"Not yet," replied Sakamoto. "We have to talk to a few other people in the Mayflower before we-"
Suddenly, explosions erupted behind the four. As one finished, another started. Some had hit the hangars as to where the planes of the Marine air unit defending the atoll.
U.S.S. Mayflower. 1706 hours
"My… God," said Tyler Seioge as he saw fire come from Midway Atoll.
"Commander, I suggest we launch now!" warned Gregory Tanaka.
"Agreed! Get Himemiya to launch first then follow."
"Aye aye," replied Tanaka with a salute before rushing out of the bridge.
I.S.S. Buffalo. 1709 hours
The Buffalo began to elevate from the ocean. As it was still far from the Leeward Islands, it still had the element of surprise. The rectangular structure that was used to launch Mobile Knights rose from the top deck.
Inside the structure, a golden MK-02 Legionarius stepped into a square platform. In addition to the rifle on its right hand, it had two rectangular objects above its shoulders connected to the Flight Pack. Each rectangle had nine holes that each contained a rocket.
"Lieutenant, the Reaper bombardments have finished," said Ishiguro as she appeared on the main screen of the Legionarius' control panel. "Are you ready to launch?"
"I am," replied Siegfried Bauer.
"Sub-Lieutenants Padolina, Yam, and Weber will remain here on the Captain's orders because we launched our Reapers and that could've attracted the attention of their seaplanes."
"Acknowledged. I can hold here on my own."
As Ishiguro vanished from the main screen, the square platform began to move. As it was now outside with the Legionarius on top of it, the boosters on the Legionarius' Flight Pack were ignited. The platform then stopped with the Legionarius launching into the air.
PBY-5 "Blimp". 1711 hours
"Sir, that could be the Stavrosian submarine that launched that rocket that hit Midway," said the co-pilot of "Blimp" to Cole Martin.
"Got you now, bastard," said Martin as he saw the I.S.S. Buffalo.
"We have incoming!" shouted the Catalina's co-pilot.
Martin and the two radio operators saw a golden MK-02 Legionarius approaching them. The Mobile Knight then aimed its rifle at the Catalina. The gunner at the bow attempted to fire its M1919 machine gun but the Legionarius evaded the shots.
"That was fa-" said Martin before being engulfed in fire along with everyone around him.
U.S.S. Mayflower. 1712 hours
Gregory Tanaka ran across the entire Mayflower. In the midst of this, "General Quarters" was heard across the 1MC, also forcing men across the carrier into a frenzy.
Tanaka then found the ready room. However, he found one Marine guarding the entrance and went to him.
"Are Himemiya, Oka, and Tanaka inside?" asked Tanaka to the Marine.
"No, sir," answered the Marine. "They just left as soon as General Quarters was given."
"Good," said Tanaka before he left.
Now at the hangar, Tanaka looked around to find Shinta, Chieko, and Kei. He then saw the three about to board their respective Mobile Knights. As he rushed to them, they heard him and turned their heads to him.
"Good, you're here!" shouted Tanaka.
"Anything you need, Tanaka Dai-i?" asked Shinta as he, Chieko, and Kei saluted.
"No. Himemiya-kun, I need you to launch first."
"Ryōkai," replied Shinta before he resumed boarding Warviour.
Near Naval Air Station Midway Islands; 8000 meters. 1716 hours
In his Legionarius, Siegfried Bauer almost reached Midway Atoll. However, he sees warplanes just before him.
"That's quite the welcome wagon," said Bauer as he saw the airplanes.
"Targets to your left, right, and rear," said a female voice across the Legionarius' cockpit.
The targets as the voice told Bauer were the PT boats that patrolled the waters surrounding Midway. As a result, Bauer increased his altitude with the Liberian planes approaching it – twelve F4U Corsairs – seeing and following. However, the Legionarius was too fast for the Hellcats to follow.
"We're now at 8,200 meters," said the voice.
"I know, I know," replied Bauer.
One Corsair fired its M2 machine guns but Bauer evaded it. He then flew as if he did a summersault, much to the amazement and bafflement of the Liberian pilots. As Bauer finished his summersault with the Legionarius, red screens appeared on the main monitor of his Mobile Knight's control panel, which represented the Liberian planes.
Bauer then pressed the third button at the front of each of his arm control sticks and as he did, yellow reticles appeared on each red dot. Bauer pressed the buttons again and as a result, all rockets left the rectangular structures above the Legionarius' shoulders.
The Liberian planes began to turn to not only face the Legionarius again but to evade the rockets as they knew the rockets couldn't follow them. However, they were proven wrong as the rockets followed and hit every last plane. The sky was now filled with balls of fire and no parachute. Bauer then resumed going to Midway.
As he descended, Bauer saw more explosions in the sky. Through the main monitor of his control panel, Bauer saw that it was Segismundo Padolina, Loyiso Yam, and Caroline Weber in their respective PMK-03 Equites fighting more Corsairs along with Witches as blue-colored circles were disappearing as fast they appeared.
I can imagine Padolina, Yam, and Weber finished off those seaplanes as they're here now, thought Bauer. "Best assist them."
However, Bauer also saw the PT boats firing at the Equites and rushed to them. As he was low enough, Bauer began to use his Legionarius' rifle to destroy the PT boats.
Shinta Himemiya, now in his LNX-01 Warviour, rushed to Midway. The smoke that came from the attack caused by the Reaper helped Shinta find Midway. As he got closer, he saw a glimpse of one of the Eques.
It's those blue-colored Mobile Knights, thought Shinta. I best hurry.
Shinta continued to rush to Midway. As he got closer, he saw more of the Equites fighting the surviving defenders of Midway.
However, as the Eques piloted by Segismundo Padolina destroyed a Corsair, he saw the Warviour through the main monitor of his cockpit's control panel.
"That's the white Mobile Knight that helped destroy the Hunchback," said Padolina.
As a result, Padolina began to rush to the Warviour. Shinta now saw the Capri-colored Mobile Knight charging at him through his cockpit's main monitor.
"I definitely remember you," said Shinta as he continued to move to Midway and prepared Warviour's machine gun underneath its left arm and aimed toward Padolina's Eques.
Naval Air Station Midway Islands. 1719 hours
Meanwhile, in Midway, as the surviving defenders rushed to prepare whatever could be prepared, a man began to sneak around the atoll. He appeared to be in his twenties with fair skin, red eyes, and shoulder-length black hair but no clothes on. He then hugged a nearby rock to not only hide but to watch the Liberian troops run across the entire atoll.
A Marine armed with a Thompson began to near the rock, forcing the naked man to crawl. As the former continued to walk feeling as if there was someone there, he walked slowly. While he was correct to suspect that there was someone nearby, it was a mistake to walk slowly.
The Marine then stopped. He moved his head left and right, then upward. He then looked down but that was a fatal mistake as the naked man jumped onto him and knocked him unconscious.
Near Naval Air Station Midway Islands. 1722 hours
"I have no time for this!" shouted Shinta as he fired Warviour's machine gun against Padolina's Eques to no avail.
Shinta attempted to press the left top button on the left arm control stick but as he did, nothing had happened. He repeatedly pressed but again, nothing happened.
"Machine gun ammunition depleted," said "Xiaoying".
"Damn it!" shouted Shinta. "I'll have to go at it with the Particle Sword."
Shinta then pressed the first front button on the right arm control stick. As a result, the right arm summoned the Particle Sword. In his Eques' cockpit, Padolina saw through the main monitor and grinned.
"Now I can avenge Captain Volkov," said Padolina.
As Shinta did, Padolina pressed the first front button of his right arm control stick, allowing the Eques to use its Energy Saber. Both Mobile Knights charged at each other and a clash of energy ensued.
Naval Air Station Midway Islands. 1725 hours
The long-haired man, no longer naked, now wore the uniform and M1 helmet of the Marine he attacked. With the Thompson slung across his back, the man carried the Marine, now unconscious and reduced to his shorts.
Going to a burning hangar that was caused by the Buffalo launching its Reaper, the long-haired man threw the unconscious Marine into the burning hangar. As he finished, the long-haired man left and hugged the wall just as two other Marines behind him were rushing toward the hangar.
Now that I got a disguise, let's wait until the Buffalo orders its Mobile Knights to withdraw, thought the long-haired man with a grin. After that, let's show how weak these mortals are.
Near Naval Air Station Midway Islands. 1729 hours
Shinta Himemiya and Segismundo Padolina, respectively in their LNX-01 Warviour and PMK-03 Eques, continued their sword fight in the air. Neither had been able to hit each other even for four minutes.
"I really have no time for this!" shouted Shinta as the Warviour's Particle Sword clashed with the Eques' Energy Saber.
Suddenly, bullets began to hit Padolina's Eques in its legs, damaging it. As a result, Shinta began to slice off the Eques' right arm and its Energy Saber.
"Himemiya, you good?" asked a voice Shinta recognized.
"Tanaka Dai-i!" shouted Shinta.
"Get out of here now! Midway's not going to last any longer with three Mobile Knights attacking it."
"Wakatta!" shouted Shinta before he resumed rushing toward Midway.
"You ba-" shouted Padolina before being cut off.
"Sub-Lieutenant Padolina, please withdraw," said Ishiguro as she contacted Padolina. "Your Mobile Knight is too damaged to continue fighting."
"… Roger that," reluctantly replied Padolina.
The Eques began to leave. While he continued flying, Gregory Tanaka in his F6F Hellcat was confused to what happened.
"That was anti-climatic," mused Tanaka. "I guess I can go with Himemiya now."
Naval Air Station Midway Islands. 1733 hours
Across Midway Atoll, Siegfried Bauer's Legionarius and the Equites respectively piloted by Loyiso Yam and Caroline Weber remain undamaged. As a result, Midway was becoming more and more defenseless.
In the Naval Air Station, the remaining defenders fought as hard as they could but before a highly advanced weapon like the Mobile Knight, their efforts ended in vain. Weber used her Eques' anti-personnel machine guns, on its hips, to kill the Marines. It hardly took effort as the Eques's armor was capable of surviving rounds from M1 Garand rifles and M1 Thompson submachine guns.
A Marine attempted to use an M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) but Weber saw the attempt and fired her Eques' machine guns before the Marine did, reducing him to pieces of meat and a puddle of blood. She then saw the command center and three individuals – Oliver Granger, Mio Sakamoto, and Nicholas Kirkman – attempted to flee there for shelter.
Two Afro-Liberian Marines saw the three individuals running to the command center and the Eques. They were in fear as to what a Mobile Knight can do but they were also conflicted with what it will do to the three.
Neither spoke but rushed toward the Eques. One Marine grabbed the M1918 BAR of the Marine the Eques killed earlier and fired it. The shots hit the left arm but all it did was scratch it. The Eques now turned to the Afro-Liberian Marine while the other Afro-Liberian Marine rushed to Granger, Sakamoto, and Kirkman.
"Go!" shouted the Afro-Liberian. "We'll hold it off!"
"Thanks," replied Kirkman as he, Granger, and Sakamoto resumed rushing to the command center.
With its attention now focused on the Afro-Liberian wielding the M1918 BAR, the Eques fired its machine guns but the Marine was quick enough to evade. The other Afro-Liberian who helped Granger, Sakamoto, and Kirkman found an M1 Thompson from another dead Marine and used it to attack the Eques. He fired at the rear of the Eques' right leg, managing to damage it. Then, to the amazement of the Afro-Liberian Marines, the Warviour appeared and tackled the Eques into the ground. The Warviour stopped and opened its cockpit with Shinta Himemiya coming out.
"You alright!?" shouted Shinta to the Afro-Liberians.
"We are!" shouted the Afro-Liberian with the Thompson.
"Get out of here now!"
Without a voiced reply, the two Marines nodded. They began to run to find somewhere else to hide while Shinta closed his Mobile Knights' cockpit and saw Loyiso Yam's Eques aiming its Energy Cannons at him. Miraculously, Shinta evaded just before the Energy Cannons were fired.
Shinta then made the Warviour jump toward the Eques while gripping the Particle Sword with both hands. However, just as Shinta almost reached Yam's Eques, he is stopped.
Through the main monitor of his cockpit, Shinta saw that it was Siegfried Bauer's golden Legionarius stopping him.
"Are you alright?" asked Bauer he contacted Yam.
"I am," replied Yam.
"Get Weber and withdraw now! I'll hold off this one."
"Get going! I'll buy enough time for you to escape because I doubt we no longer have any time to stay here. You don't have much time!"
"… Yes, sir!" replied Yam before ending contact.
Yam began to use his Eques' wheels to rush to Weber's damaged Eques. The Warviour still gripped its Particle Sword just as Shinta faced Bauer's Legionarius while Yam lifted into the air while he Eques carried Weber's Eques.
Unbeknownst to all Mobile Knights across Midway, the long-haired man looked on with interest. He gave yet another grin.
That golden Legionarius must be Bauer, though the long-haired man. It was worth finding him at Pas-de-Calais and resuscitating him after all. Let's see how this plays out.
The Legionarius made the first move by using its wheels and charging at Warviour while about to use the Shock Knuckle in its right arm. However, the latter lifted itself up just before the former finished swinging its right arm and as it was now in the air, it charged next while about to swing the Particle Sword at the former but as it landed and finished swinging the Particle Sword, it missed again.
"You're wide open!" shouted Bauer just as he instantly used the Shock Knuckle of his left arm to hit Warviour with an uppercut.
"The white one's one of the Mobile Knights you talked about?" asked Parks to Kirkman just as they, Sakamoto, Granger, Wilkins, and Griffin came out of the command center.
"Yes," replied Kirkman.
"I wish I brought my money so that I could bet on who wins," said Granger.
"I don't think that's a good idea," replied Wilkins.
"I'd agree with Granger," added Sakamoto.
After Shinta regains consciousness following the uppercut Warviour received, he put aside his Particle Sword and began to use the Shock Knuckle on Warviour's right arm. He then charged toward Bauer's Legionarius but it evaded the punch.
"That was slow!" shouted Bauer.
He then used the Legionarius' arms to grab Warviour. Bauer then moved his left leg and as he did, the Mobile Knight move its left leg. The left leg's knee then hit Warviour, disorienting it. In the midst of this, the surviving Marines and the Witches that the Equites fought earlier gathered to see the two Mobile Knights.
Bauer then faced Warviour again. He prepared his Mobile Knight's Shock Knuckles for another attack but Gregory Tanaka's Hellcat appeared on his main monitor and avoided its machine gun rounds.
"Bauer, are you there?" asked Otto Schneider over the Legionarius' communicator.
"Captain?" asked Bauer. "I-"
"Get out of there now! Ishiguro picked up two Liberian destroyers nearing Midway. The mission's over!"
"… Aye aye, Captain," replied Bauer.
Bauer stopped facing Warviour and began to flee. As he was in the air, two Corsairs – what was left of the Marine air unit stationed in Midway – spotted it.
"Should we pursue?" asked one voice over the radio of a Corsair's cockpit.
"No," replied the Corsair's pilot. "We need our planes repaired first."
In Warviour's cockpit, Shinta began to come about. He heard the sound of electronics turning on just now.
W… What happened? wondered Shinta as he regaining consciousness. … Right, I was fighting that Mobile Knight. I didn't think its pilot would use its left leg's knee on me as if it were a nak muay.
"Xiaoying, are you there?" asked Shinta as he was now conscious. "Xiaoying?"
"I am operational, Himemiya Shinta," replied "Xiaoying".
"Thank the gods. Am I still in Midway?"
"Good. We best leave."
Shinta began to start up Warviour's Wing Pack again. He then lifted off and left Midway Atoll. Wilkins, Parks, and Griffin turned to Sakamoto, Kirkman, and Granger.
"That was some impressive fighting," said Parks.
"Don't thank us," replied Kirkman. "Thank the pilot – Shinta Himemiya."
"Anything else you need, you got it," said Griffin.
Elsewhere, the long-haired man hugged the rear wall of the command center. He began to emit a faint, red-colored light on his forehead and brought out his right hand, followed by clenching it into a fist.
U.S.S. Mayflower. 1745 hours
Just as Tanaka's Hellcat was being brought to the Mayflower's hangar deck, Shinta and the Warviour arrived to see both Chieko Oka and Kei Miyazaki, respectively in the LNX-02 Wardier and LNX-03 Wardar, on the flight deck. As Shinta landed the Warviour, he began to get out of the cockpit but as he did, he not only saw Chieko and Kei get off their respective Mobile Knights but Yoshika Miyafuji rushing to him.
"Shinta-san, okaeri!" shouted Yoshika as she rushed to Shinta.
"Well, someone must have done a great job there," mused Kei as he saw Yoshika reach Shinta.
"What are you doing here, Yoshika-san?" asked Shinta.
"I was cleaning up the flight deck while you were at Midway," replied Yoshika. "How's Sakamoto-san?"
"She should be fine."
However, Yoshika began to kneel into the ground. Kei and Chieko began to rush upon seeing what happened.
"Yoshika-san, what's wrong?" asked Shinta.
Naval Air Station Midway Islands. 1747 hours
"What is that!?" shouted one Marine as he pointed at something.
Everyone then saw what appeared to be bugs flying toward them. However, some knew it was strange that a horde of bugs would appear.
"... Wait, this smell," said a fair-skinned Liberian Witch with shoulder-length blonde hair, blue eyes, and with the ears and tail of a Bloodhound dog. "Neuroi!"
"What!?" exclaimed Parks.
"Attack!" shouted another Marine.
The surviving Marines picked up their weapons. The Witches were first to get their weapons and aim at the Neuroi. All fired and while many dissipating into white-colored dust, some evaded the shots. The Witches pursued the Neuroi but as they did, the Neuroi continuously evaded their shots and one Neuroi reached a Witch with red hair and green eyes by landing on her forehead.
The Witch struggled to remove the Neuroi but it was to be in vain. Her skin began to turn black with hexagons appearing. This didn't take long and as a result, a red flash of light engulfed the Witch with her weapon, an M1918 BAR modified to carry a forty-round magazine.
"Tabitha!" shouted the blonde Witch.
However, the other Witches would also be touched by the miniature Neuroi, making them suffer as the Witch called Tabitha did. The Marines also fought but it was to be in vain as the Neuroi aimed for their respective foreheads. Kirkman, Wilkins, Griffin, and Parks began to run back to the command center with Granger providing them with covering fire. However, they saw Sakamoto rushing to three Afro-Liberian Marines.
"Lieutenant Commander, what are you doing!?" asked Granger.
"They saved us, it's the least I can do!" shouted Sakamoto.
U.S.S. Mayflower. 1750 hours
In the Mayflower, two Marines brought Yoshika on a stretcher with Shinta, Chieko, and Kei watching. However, Shinta began to collapse to his knees.
"You too!?" exclaimed Kei.
Shinta began to stand up but he turned his back on Chieko, Kei, Yoshika, and the two Marines. He slowly walked away from the latter.
"Shinta-kun, what's the matter with you?" asked Chieko.
"S… Stay back," warned Shinta.
"What? Shinta-kun, I don't think you're w-"
"… R… Run."
Red light began to engulf Shinta as he knelt on the flight deck again. He began to press his heart with his right hand.
"… D… Dame… Shinta-san… " weakly said Yoshika as she saw the red light.
"Miss Miyafuji, calm down," said one Marine.
"Yoshika-san, what are you talking ab-" asked Chieko.
However, the red light intensified, disrupting Chieko. A loud scream that everyone knew was from Shinta followed.
Naval Air Station Midway Islands. 1757 hours
Granger and three Afro-Liberian Marines, two of whom saved him, Sakamoto, and Kirkman, were the only ones who weren't attacked by the miniature Neuroi as most of the Marines were dead. Some, however, were also blackened with hexagons like the Witches were.
The former four continued to fire but they were running low on ammunition. While these humans affected by the miniature Neuroi died easily as a contrast to most Neuroi, it took a lot of ammunition to do that. The Marine who picked up the Thompson found that he had depleted his last magazine.
"Shit, I'm out!" shouted the Afro-Liberian Marine. "la Salle, how much ammo do you got left?"
"Not much," replied the Afro-Liberian Marine wielding another Thompson named la Salle.
Suddenly, one blackened Witch was engulfed in a red light but there was nothing left of her. The red light landed on the ground and vanished. In its place was another blackened human with hexagons and a red-colored icosahedron on its forehead. The hexagons on the shoulders were colored red and Sakamoto, who was with the Marines as she wielded an M1 Garand, saw the human and widened her eyes in both surprise and horror.
"Lieutenant Commander, what's wrong?" asked Granger.
… It's another one, thought Sakamoto. But why is it here!?
The other blackened humans converged on the one blackened human that arrived. However, to the surprise of the Fusoan and the surviving Liberians, the one blackened human began killing the others.
One blackened human had his head punched off the body with another getting a hole across its body after a kick. The blackened human responsible then flew into the air and charged at the last one, kicking its head off the body.
The blackened Witches then charged at the blackened human but it evaded. One charged again but the blackened human did a roundhouse kick at its head, slicing it off. Another fired red-colored energy beams through its palms but the blackened human evaded them. It then flew into the air again and spun around, followed by a kick that sliced off the blackened Witch's entire body.
The last blackened Witch stopped as if it was scared. The blackened human then faced the blackened Witch and red light began to come from the shoulders. Both converged into a single ball of energy and after ten seconds, the ball turned into a wave of energy directed at the blackened Witch, killing it.
"… W… What just happened?" asked the Afro-Liberian Marine carrying the M1918 BAR.
"Beats me," answered la Salle. "I just know that we're saved.
The blackened human knelt into the ground again. It screamed and a red light engulfed it again. Sakamoto and Kirkman recognized the scream and as the red light vanished, it was none other than Shinta Himemiya, who was now in the ground.
"… That… was a human… like us?" asked la Salle.
"Himemiya!" shouted Sakamoto as she rushed to Shinta and grabbed his unconscious body. "Get up! Please, get up!"
The three Afro-Liberians, Kirkman, Granger, Wilkins, Parks, and Griffin saw Sakamoto desperately trying to get Shinta awake. All had the same questions but no answer for each one.
I.S.S. Buffalo. 1809 hours
In the Buffalo, Otto Schneider was at his chair, pressing his crossed fingers against his face. Siegfried Bauer, Segismundo Padolina, Loyiso Yam, and Caroline Weber came inside.
"Lieutenant Bauer, is that you?" asked Schneider without looking at Bauer and his team.
"Yes, Captain," replied Bauer. "You called for us."
"I have one question: what was your opinion on this mission?"
All four were surprised by Schneider's question. For them, it was a rarity that the commanding officer questioned the order he gave to his subordinates.
"Do you want my honest opinion?" asked Bauer.
"Yes," replied Schneider.
"I thought that the mission was stupid. We almost took Midway and I almost defeated that white Mobile Knight. I think it was a mistake obeying this order given by Vice Admiral Alon."
"Speak for yourselves, I have an incoming transmission from Vice Admiral Alon," interjected Andrews.
"Patch it through the main screen," ordered Schneider.
Alon's face then appeared on the main screen of the bridge. Schneider, Bauer, Padolina, Yam, and Weber saluted.
"Excellent work," said Alon. "I've just heard from the Directorate that you did a splendid job. Their mission also succeeded."
"I've just heard that our miniature Nezura had all been destroyed by an interloper!" screamed Schneider. "Pardon my disrespect but how is that a success!?"
"I'm not fond of your insolence, Schneider. However, all I can say that this mission was to the Directorate's liking. I'll leave it at that."
"Vice Admiral, can we at least know the operative's name!?" angrily asked Schneider. "I mean no disrespect but if that operative did his or her job well, we can at least rest easy knowing that."
"You're as insolent as your Captain. But, due to the fine work you did, I owe you that at least. Very well, the operative's name is Kenta Aoi."
Dame – "Don't" (a plea to someone to stop doing something dangerous)
Pas-de-Calais (French) – "Strait of Calais"
The mention of a U.S.S. Indianapolis being sunk during the Second Neuroi War was based on a real-life incident where near the end of World War II, the real U.S.S. Indianapolis, whose hull classification was CA-35 ("CA" being used for heavy cruisers; initially the Indianapolis was a light cruiser with the hull classification CL-35), was sunk on June 30, 1945. The story was that, after being attacked by a lone Japanese fighter during the Battle of Okinawa, the Indianapolis was sent back to Mare Island Navy Yard in California for repairs. Afterward, it was given a secret mission – delivering the uranium needed for the "Little Boy" atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima weeks later. By June 26, the Indianapolis reached Tinian, where the uranium was destined for. For two days, the ship was in Guam until it was needed at the Philippines. It was only on June 30 that the Japanese submarine I-95, commanded by one Mochitsura Hashimoto, spotted the Indianapolis thinking it was the battleship U.S.S. Idaho and attacked it. It was only on August 2 when the first rescue attempt was accomplished by one PBY-5A Catalina commanded by one Robert Adrian Marks. The United States Navy as a whole did not know of the attack sooner, which contributed to most of the survivors dying from causes from dehydration to shark attacks. The captain of the Indianapolis, Charles McVay III, was one of those rescued last but was court-martialed until it was discovered that it was faulty intelligence that led to the Indianapolis' sinking, allowing McVay to remain in the Navy until he retired in 1949 as a rear admiral.
As for Cole Martin's backstory, I made it that he was Marks' co-pilot when they rescued the Indianapolis' survivors. I didn't mention Marks by name but regardless, it's Robert Adrian Marks who conducted the first rescue for the cruiser's survivors like in real life. For his radioman, Mancuso, I got his surname from Bartolomeo Vito "Bart" Mancuso from the Tom Clancy novel The Hunt for Red October.
PT-109 was a real-life patrol torpedo boat I inserted because of its story. On April 23, 1943, John Fitzgerald Kennedy became its commander and led it during the New Georgia Campaign. However, on August 2, the PT boat was run over by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri. Those who survived, including Kennedy, made it to nearby Plum Pudding Island but they weren't rescued until August 8.
Colonel Parks is actually a real person – Floyd Bruce Parks. Parks, a United States Marine Corps aviator, was killed in action during the first day of the real-life Battle of Midway, specifically June 4, 1942. Here, Parks survived the Second Neuroi War and became commander of the Liberian Marine Corps' air unit in Midway at the rank of Colonel.
For the Buffalo using the Reaper, I didn't explicitly show it because I had trouble dividing the POV at that part. The part where Schneider had to select eight targets through the image shown at the main monitor of the Buffalo's bridge indicates that the Reaper is a MIRV (Multiply Independent Recovery Vehicle) carrier. I had in mind the Tomahawk subsonic cruise in mind for the Reaper but as a MIRV carrier, also bringing to mind the Jericho missile from Iron Man.
Shinta calling Bauer a "nak muay" indicates that the latter practices Muay Thai as he used his Legionarius to grab Warviour and used its left knee. How a soldier from an unknown empire can practice such a martial art, along with plenty of things shown about the Stavrosian Empire, will be known in future chapters. Likewise with the long-haired spy who infiltrated Midway during the attack.
For the miniature Neuroi that appeared in the end, remember Strike Witches Season 02 Episode 07: "Creeping About" where the 501st Joint Fighter Wing were facing power problems with a Neuroi attacking making things worse and that a "bug" Francesca Lucchini found turned out to be a miniature Neuroi responsible for the power outages as it was gathering power from the 501st's base for its larger partner? Well, the miniature Neuroi at the end of this chapter are the same ones but they're used for more villainous reasons. No "Minna's buns of steel" to save the day this time. It ends with blood and screaming. As to how I got the idea of humans being turned into Neuroi because of those miniature Neuroi? I figured that's the closest I could do for zombies in a World Witches story.
As to how that one blackened human turned out to be Shinta Himemiya per the ending of this chapter that will also be answered in later chapters. How he took down most of the humans forcibly turned into Neuroi is based on how the protagonist of Neo Human Casshern fights.
If the title didn't make it clear enough, yes, I decided to bring up how racism towards black people worked in the 1940s, even if this is a World Witches story. Of course, in real life, the bravery demonstrated by African-Americans in the United States military during World War II demonstrated the problems with how racist was the society of the United States of America at that time, helping pave the way for the Civil Rights Movement a decade later. The unit I used full of Afro-Liberians, the 16th Service Field Depot, was a real-life segregated unit of African-Americans in the United States Marine Corps known for their brave efforts in repelling a Japanese attack against the 7th Marine Regiment during the Battle of Peleliu.
Yoshika collapsing was what I used to foreshadow the miniature Neuroi. Now, as to why I had her beg Shinta "not to go", that was related to him turning into that blackened human. More on that in future chapters.