Ace Combat 4: Shattered Skies

Protector's Wing

By Eric Tsai

First Mission

0535/0302/2004 Rigley AFB, Office

It was a sunny day in Northpoint like all other days. But it was unlike any day other before it; just hours before the sun dawned, the ISAF GHQ had ordered all units to abandon operations in the Usea continent's mainland and its relocation to Northpoint.

For many people, it was a lost of hope, since when the Continental War had begun, the Independent State Allied Forces had always symbolized the freedom and liberty.

But now the protectors were now in retreat.

However in trouble times like these, heroes rose in the darkest time, protecting the light from going out.

This was the story of the 107th "Double Cross" Fighter Squadron, who flew in the war along with other many other squadrons and one of them, was the 118th Mobius.

"Captain David H. Wang." A voice sounded across the windowless concrete room, originating from an officer and the only man in the room, an Asian in flight suit with the badges of the Arrowheads on his left arm and the double cross on the right, looked up from his book, sitting in the only chair that was in the room

"Good afternoon sir." The young captain said after standing up and saluting to the officer.

After studying the pilot more carefully, the officer asked, "What are you reading, pilot?"

"The Bible, sir." The pilot answered as he flipped the page.

"Do you believe in God, son?" The officer asked after hearing his answer.

"Yes, I do, sir." David said as he put the red line marker onto where he stopped.

For a moment there was silence, then the officer spoke again.

"The colonel wants to speak to you, captain." Hearing that, David stood up and left after the officer had exited from the windowless room.

After exiting the room he was in, David walked into the long corridor of the Rigley Air Force Base's office, which in the end was the office of Colonel James Y. Usher, the wing commander of 28th Tactical Fighter Wing under.

Upon arrival, David knocked on the door and a few seconds later, an reply came.

"Enter." Immediately, David slowly opened the door.

Inside the little room was a Caucasian man in his mid-thirties, in Kaki colored uniform, who was busying packing up documents from the file cabinet.

"Captain David H. Wang reporting, sir." David said as he saluted after entering the office.

"Well, captain, take a seat and I will be right with you." The colonel said while he opened the drawer on the lowest level of the cabinet.

About ten seconds later, the drawer was closed and the colonel turned his attention to the already sitting Asian pilot.

"Captain, there are certain things you will need to know before I tell you what my purpose of calling you in from your off-duty time." The colonel said as he sat down in his chair behind his steel office desk.

"What is it, sir?" David asked after a few seconds of silence.

The colonel seemed hesitant to answer, but he gave an answer anyhow.

"With our forces pulling back, the ISAF command has decided to evacuate all of its forces from the mainland." The colonel's face was dead serious as he informed David of the situation.

"And after deep consideration, the base commander, Brigadier General Young, has decided to put our wing to be in charge of the security for the evacuation." Colonel Usher continued as he set his hands onto the desk.

"But after the raid last night, most of the aircraft of our wing was destroyed, except your squadron." At that moment, David could sense that it meant big trouble for him.

"I need the 107 to stay behind to protect the evacuation." It was then when David knew what the trouble was.

"Sir, permission to speak freely?" David asked after Colonel Usher was finshed.

"Granted." Upon gaining the permission, David begun to speak of his concern.

"Sir, the 107 is a squadron formed with fresh recruits, are you sure about giving them such an important task?" David asked worriedly.

"It is too late now already and the 91st is also helping you, so you are not alone." The colonel replied after David finished, while he set his chin on the small platform formed by his hand.

"But sir, they are all raw recruits and I haven't even met them yet." David paused for a few seconds and said after remembering that the pilots had not even arrived yet

"Well, then go and meet them." The colonel then stood up and opened the door to let David leave.

"Plus, those kids are the best from the academy." Colonel Usher countered while he put up a slight smile as he stood by the door.

"So captain, don't worry too much." The colonel said before he dismissed David.

"The best, huh?" With that thought, David left the office.

0535/0302/2004 Rigley AFB, Hangar 4

"The best, huh?" David said sarcastically as he carefully inspected each one of the pilots under his command.

The first one was still a boy with complete innocence, the second was a innocent girl, the third pilot was a still having problems with his flight suit, the fifth one was trying to fix his hair all the time, the sixth one was a girl who was paying more attention to herself than to the things around her, and the seventh, well, she was more like a pop star than a pilot.

"How am I going to lead this group of kids into combat?" David asked himself while he paced back and forth before the newly arrived recruits, studying them carefully.

"Welcome to Rigley, kids. I am Captain David H. Wang, the commander of the 107th "Double Cross" Fighter Squadron and your superior." David then begun the speech after he was done looking through the bunch of kids he was about to train in a few weeks time and lead into combat, who still were talking to each other.

"However, very unluckily, the ISAF command had ordered that the Rigley AFB to be evacuated." David then continued onto the situation.

"That means we get to leave this place?" One of the male pilots asked, while David tried to go on.

"Lieutenant, if you don't want to get court martial for being disrespectful, then pay attention." David shouted at the pilots while they all became quiet for a moment.

"They don't even know about discipline; seems like the ISAF has reached its worst state." David thought as he continued to address the pilots while they still whispered to each other.

Then as he finished, he stepped in front of the girl who seemed more like a modernized teen and noticed her name tag.

"Lieutenant Young, you don't any relationship with General Young would you?" David said as he turned his attention from the nametag to the female pilot's face.

After a few moments of startling, the pilot answered.

"Sir, General Calvin Young is my father." David was surprised by this, but he retained the calm expression on his face, while the other pilots were now in complete chaos.

Then for the next few moments as David calmed the chaos, the girl looked at him in a pair of curious eyes, wondering why the captain remained calm while the others did the opposite.

Finally after pilots were quiet again, David then briefed the entire squadron on their upcoming and first mission.

"Therefore we will be the last ones to leave this area. Any questions?" The squadron leader finished as he studied their face and as he did so, David saw a hand raised.

"Lieutenant Young, go ahead." And again David found himself facing with the beautiful daughter of the base commander.

"Sir, why did they choose us, but not the other squadrons?" The lieutenant asked with straight forwardness, which made David surprised.

"Most of the other squadrons have already pulled out except the 91st and us, who will also be in charge in protecting the evacuation. So lieutenant, we are not the only one." David answered with sharp determined smile while the female Young looked at him with a troubled look.

"Any other question?" Then there was silence.

"Very well, dismissed." As soon as David said that, everyone except David and the female pilot, who had asked him question earlier, left the hangar.

"So Lieutenant Young, what is it that you want to talk about?" David asked after the last one left and closed the door, leaving them alone to talk.

"Sir, permission to speak freely." Then at that moment David knew this was going to long discussion.

"Permission granted." Saying that David then turned his attention from his thought to the young woman before him.

"Sir, I wish to be treated equally." The female pilot said to her superior after several seconds of complete silence, while her superior remained where he was expecting her to say similar things.

"I know that you are going easy on me, sir." The female pilot's word surprised David, but he kept it completely to himself.

"I see." David said silently to himself while his hands were under his chin, scratching it.

"Very well." That was David's answer and the problem was solved.

Then the younger pilot was dismissed, but before she left, she heard a sentence that changed her life.

"Oh and lieutenant, please don't call me sir when we are in private, call me David." That caught female pilot off guard.

"And please call me Ruth, sir." Then at that moment Ruth Young gave the most beautiful smile that one would ever see from her before she walked out.

While unknown to both of them that their fates were tied to each other for the rest of their lives.

1207/0410/2004 Rigley AFB, Runway 1

It had been about a week since the evacuations had started and by now most of the equipments, armaments, personnel, and other necessary supplies, which were needed to maintain a base had been airlifted, while the frontline had became closer to the base each passing second.

"Hey Ruth." David said to his subordinate who had just walked to his side on the grass field.

"Hello David." The female pilot replied with a friendly voice as she looked at the blue sky.

Over the past week, the two of them had grown close to each other as they performed exercises together on possible ways that the Erusean might attack. But still, the general's daughter and the captain had kept each other at a safe distance, though many others said that it was inevitable that they would go beyond partner and friend relationship.

However no one knew that the young girl did so on purpose, while the captain didn't seek to pursue anything beyond that of a friend and colleague because of the regulations.

"So what are you doing here, lieutenant?" David said with a gentle playful voice.

"Just wondering around." Ruth replied while a smile appeared on her face as she took a seat beside her superior.

Then for the next few seconds, they sat their watching sky before turning their attention to each other and their gazes were eventually locked in each other's eyes while they drew closer to each other, but before anything could happen, the air raid sirens sounded.

"Enemy attack." As fast as that word came out of David's mouth, both stood up and ran towards the hangar.

"Charles, get the fighters loaded with anti-air weaponry." David shouted while he and Ruth came running into the busy hangar of the 107th squadron.

The ground crew chief, Charles Finn silently complied with a nod as he pushed a cart carrying an AIM – 120 AMRAAM A towards an F-16. Seconds later after reaching the wing of the aircraft, the ground crew carefully loaded the missile while a few others unplugged the fuel pipe line that was transferring the fuel into the aircraft,. After removing the pipeline, the ground crew in charged of the fueling closed the cap to the fuel tank and secured it before he left.

Then moments later, the arming of the aircraft ended, as the ground crew secured the last missile onto the pylon.

"Thanks." David, who was in a flight suit and helmet in his right hand, said before he climbed up the ladder into the cockpit.

"Be sure to shoot down the bombers first." David instructed his pilots while he started the computer on the aircraft.

Then the aircraft were slowly pulled out of the hangar and as they left, Ruth, call sign, "Hawk", eyed her superior, call sign "Eagle", with a caring smile.

"May God bless you all and good hunting." After giving Ruth a nod as a reply, David blessed his squad mates confidently before being towed onto the runway.

Moments later, all of the combat capable aircrafts which remained at Rigley were launched into the sky, ready to fend off invaders.

1207/0510/2004 Rigley AFB Airspace

"DC One to all DC aircraft, once in the air, break and engage." David ordered through the radio as his aircraft flew into the blue sky, while the landing gear was taken into the body of his aircraft.

Moments later, the sky was turned into a battlefield, where pilots fought each other for the nations, which they pled their allegiance to.

"A bit messy." David said as he pulled his control stick right and simultaneously, the aircraft turned left.

Seconds later, David checked through his radar scanning for the closest target and very soon he found a group of them, a flight of F-14's. As soon as he had them marked by the F-16 on flight computer, David quickly pressed the keys as he programmed the missiles to hit the targets.

"DC One Fox Two." Those were David's words as he pressed onto the trigger, thus releasing the missiles into the air.

Seconds later, the missiles approached its target while they tried to evade it by releasing counter-measures and pulling some basic evasive maneuvers. But it was no use and within one minutes, the F-14's turned into fireballs and fell from the sky.

"Got four." David shouted over the radio while his senses told him to turn sharply towards the left and with great haste he did so and seconds later bullets went hissing pass where David's F-16 was.

"Eagle, you have a boggy on your tail." A female voice said over the radio, which he instantly recognized as Hawk's.

"Roger that." Then for the next few minutes it was an intensive dogfight as the fighter on David's F-16 D's tail, which was an F/A-18 E, tried to bring the Eagle off its wings.

Then as the F/A 18 was about to gain the upper hand, David suddenly decrease throttle, causing the F-16 to drop behind the Super Hornet and as if timed, David pressed the trigger unloading several rounds onto the Hornet as his ridicule passed it. Seconds later, the Super Hornet exploded as the bullet somehow hit the fuel tanks and exploded taking the life of the pilot along with it.

Seeing the enemy fighter went down, David sighed as he heard Ruth over the radio, asking if he was okay.

"I am okay." David said as he searched for another to bring down. "At least so far."

2049/0510/2004 Rigley AFB, Office

The sortie ended with two downed aircraft from the 107 Double Cross, but luckily both pilots bailed and were unharmed. The total lost for Erusean was twenty aircrafts, sixteen bombers and four fighters, and five for ISAF. This seemed good, but it was frustrating for the officers at Rigley since they had very little aircrafts left that were combat capable.

As David read the report in his little office, he sighed and shook his head in frustration as he read through the report, but just in his most frustrated moment, someone who cared for him knocked on the door.

"Enter." Seconds later, Ruth stood before him in normal clothes, looking at him with a pair of sad and confusing eyes.

"Did I come at a bad time?" She asked worriedly.

"No." David immediately replied trying to make the frown which had appeared on her expression to disappear.

Then a moment later, the frown vanished and she took interest in the report David was reading and asked, "What is it that you are reading?"

"The report on the last engagement." David said as Ruth walked towards him from the door.

"So did we meet your standards?" Ruth asked with both playfulness and gentleness in her voice, trying her best to make her superior happy.

"Yes." David replied with a smile while he put down the report.

Then for a moment they looked at each other. Seconds later, their eyes met, causing them to be locked in each other's gaze.

Then David broke off the trance and after that, he stood up from he sat as he read the report.

"Want anything to drink?" David asked while walking to the boiler, which sits on top of a shelf, in the left corner of his little office.

"No thanks." Ruth then said as she walked to the only window in the room.

"David, can you do a favor?" Ruth asked suddenly as David poured coffee into a paper cup.

"I will try my best." David said after finished with the drinks and walked towards the window to Ruth.

Then there, was a silence between them, then Ruth spoke.

"Can you look for a pilot with the name of Jason Grant?" At that time, there was aura around Ruth that isolated David from her.

"Your boyfriend?" David asked jokingly and the answer which Ruth gave, surprised him, a shy nod.

"That name sounds familiar." David thought as soon as he heard that name, suddenly he remembered.

Two years ago...

0218/0917/2002 Los Canas Airport

It was still pitch dark as two ISAF soldiers patrolled the street of the city, which soon they would evacuate from. While Second Lieutenant David H. Wang at the same watched them within the fence of the airport, which was converted into a military airport after the war had begun.

"The strike group was decimated, none came back." Another pilot said while David walked towards the hangar.

"I know, sir, Thomas and Andrew were in that group." David said to the man, whose face was already unclear, but he could still remember a few features, Major Jason Grant handsomeness and his blue eyes.

"I told them by the time they return, they will be invited to the wedding." Jason said while he approached his aircraft, an F-16 D.

"And how many times have told you not to address me as sir during off duty hours?" Jason playfully punched, David, who was just a new pilot then.

And suddenly the air raid sirens sounded, bring them to attention.

"At this hour?" Grant said as he ran towards the locker room with David by his side.

"Chief, wake up." Grant shouted down the corridor of the office of the hangar waking the ground crew chief.

"I will get the things ready." Charlie said as he pulled up his pants in a hurry, while Grant and David changed into their flight suit.

"David, if anything happened to please take care of my fiancé for me, alright?" Jason Grant told his subordinate as he picked up his flight helmet. At that moment, David felt that it would be the last time he would see Grant, and so he agreed with a nod, while David handed him an envelope.

Moments later, the aircrafts were ready to launch as their pilots waited for permission to take off. Very soon they came and the protectors were then in the dark sky after they came.

0230/0917/2002 Sky over Los Canas

"Hammer One to all Hammer aircraft break and engage." Grant's voice was extremely clear that night as David held onto the control stick calmly; it was already his fifth mission.

Then the engagement begun as both sides launched their long range air-to-air missiles, and the explosions turned the night sky into day.

"All Hammer Squadron fighter, report in." David remembered that was when it all happened, he was dog fighting with an enemy Mig-29 at that exact moment as he brought down with the machine gun fire.

"Hammer Two, reporting in." He could remember what he felt each second as everyone reported in, and in the very end, he reported in. "Hammer Eight reporting in."

Then suddenly, the terror came.

"Watch Eye to all aircraft we have eight incoming fighters." David at that moment switched to his radar, trying to target the incoming enemies. Then it all happened.

"All Hammer fighters engage the incoming fighters." Then it happened.

One by one the Hammer squadron's, which was a well known squadron for their decorations, but all ended that day.

"Hammer Five shot down." A voice said while David tried his best to lock onto one of the enemy fighters and he was successful.

"Hammer Eight, fox one." The Sidewinder missile then flew from the wing of David's F-16 D towards one of the mysterious fighters and many seconds later, it became a fireball and fell from the sky, but unluckily for David, he was now tailed by several enemy fighters.

"Darn it." David murmured to himself as the missile warning sounded.

At that moment, he prayed with all of his heart and his prayer was heard and answered, but not in a way he wanted it to be.

"Hammer One shot down." The missile alarm ceased, but that was what came in instead.

Then David was shocked, but he flew away nonetheless from the area of operation when the AWACS ordered the retreat from the area.

A few days later...

0957/0919/2002 Rigley AFB, Runway 4

David nearly crash when landed his fighter, due to the exhaustion and all the injuries he received. He was chased by enemy fighters all the way, until the enemy fighters were shot down by patrolling ISAF aircrafts.

"Are you okay?" David could barely hear the voice as he was carried out of his damaged aircraft by the medics.

David managed to nod while they carried on a stretcher, soon he passed out.

1603/0921/2002 Rigley AFB, Infirmary

When David woke up, it was already several days later.

1822/0921/2002 Rigley AFB

That day after leaving the infirmary, he went directly to debriefing, wanting to know what happened, especially about the last part of that engagement.

"After shooting down one of the unidentified fighters, you were surrounded by six other fighters." The AWACS officer said as TV screen displayed the path of David's fighter.

"Strangely, they only launched one missile, but just moments before hit you, Hammer One took the missile for you." That completely took David by surprise.

"He did it so that you can get away." The officer said while David dropped his face as his heart was completely filled with sadness.

Present time...

2055/0510/2004 Rigley AFB, Office

Then David returned to reality, and looked at Ruth. Right at that instance, he knew that she was the person Grant was going to get married to.

"Seems like General Young did not tell her." David realized as she showed no sign of sadness.

But then this question struck him, "Should I tell her? Or keep it away from her?"

He didn't want to hurt her, but if she never learned the truth, she would keep waiting for someone that would return to her.

"I just want to take her for myself am I?" Realizing that to himself mentally, David smacked himself mentally.

"But she might learn it from others as well." Then he reminded himself about other possibilities as well, which would hurt even more, if she didn't learn of it now.

"Ruth, Colonel Jason Grant died two years ago, in the Battle of Los Canas." David them gather all of his courage and spoke.

"How could it be? You are lying." Ruth then shouted at him, not believing the truth.

"It's the truth, I was there. He died protecting me from being shot down." Then everything seemed to stop at that moment when everything became silent.

"You..." At that moment, Ruth threw a punch at David, which was something he did not expect, thus knocking him down, and she ran out afterwards.

"Well, a little different from what I expected on how she would react." David then stood up and touched where her fist hit, the left cheek.

There was pain, but it meant little to him, for he was once shot down and had to survive behind enemy lines for a few days. In those few days, he went through starvation and fighting for his own life, when he had only have a pistol while the enemies were a squadron of well trained soldiers with automatic rifles, machine gun, and heavier equipments.

But the emotional pain, which came into his mind as he saw the angry expression on Ruth's face as he was hit and her running away crying silently, hurted David deeply.

"Jason didn't have to take that hit for me." David said to himself sadly as he looked down at the floor depressed.

"But he did it anyway." David then looked up, with the depression gone.

"Maybe Ruth will forgive me." That was David's thought as he ended that day of office work.

0530/1224/2004 Rigley AFB, Runway Three

For the next few weeks, the Double Cross Squadron was called up in many sorties as the enemy continued to launch strikes at the base, wishing eventually to mole them down, before they complete the evacuation.

While for David and Ruth it had been a bad week. Every time they talked, the conversations all ended in a fight. Other than that, Ruth had personally attacked David, not giving him the chance to explain anything or allowing him to give her what Jason wanted her to have, even though he still had no idea of what it was.

"This is the fourth time they've hit us today." David said as he climbed out of the cockpit of his fighter and as he climbed down the stairs, he noticed someone.

"Hey Ruth, can I talk to you?" David asked as Ruth walked passed his fighter.

Then she stopped while on her expression was an expression mixed with many emotions.

"About last time..." David said after he was close enough to Ruth, but he was cut off by her when he just started.

"You killed him." She said it in an emotionless tone, which struck David silent and speechless for a moment, but then he opened his mouth again.

"Ruth, if you want to think that way, it is okay." He paused for a few seconds. "And if you hate me, that's okay as well."

"I should have died right there in his place." Then a wind blew passed them as there was again several seconds of silence. "But for some reason, he chose to save me."

"Oh and this, he gave it to me on that night before we were launched." He said as he pulled out the same envelope which Jason gave him.

"He wants you to have it if anything happens to him." Then David handed it to her.

At that moment, Ruth looked up at him with a very surprised expression, but she said nothing, since she was too surprised to say any, as she took the envelope into her own hands.

But before she could respond, David left the runway and she was left alone standing right next to his F-16.

Then after looking at the envelope, she opened it and after removing the letter from the envelop, she begun to read it.

Then after finishing the letter, Ruth felt the urge to cry, for she had been for the past few weeks, being harsh and crude to the person, whom Jason had chosen to take care of her. In the letter, it said that she should move on and be happy and it also stated that he would wish for Ruth to choose David, whom he trust.

"David." Then she begun to look for him, but was unable to find him anywhere that day.

"David, are you sure this is the right thing to do?" Colonel James Y. Usher said as he looked out the window of the lounge, which David was also in.

"What else can be done?" David replied, drinking his coffee while his superior and friend, who had also flown with Jason Grant before being transferred to Rigley, walked towards where David was sitting.

"She is now looking for you." Usher said before sitting down beside David.

"So?" David still showed no signs of concern.

"She likes you, but she only kept away from you because of the shadow from the past, which is her relationship with Jason." Then Usher drank from his cup as David still looked down at the table he was leaning against. "But that is no more."

"Anyway what is inside that envelope that you have from Jason?" David shook his head showing his friend that he knew nothing concerning that.

Then there was a moment as David thought of the times he had spent with Ruth; they were very sweet and yet they had turned bitter for him when she learned of what had happened to Jason.

"I will talk to her." David finally gave in to the urge in himself, but he still kept on restraints on himself. "But it will have to after the evacuation though."

Seeing that his friend instead of holding onto bitterness and had moved on, made Usher happy, since he truly showed the characteristics of the protector, kind hearted and yet strong.

Yet, who he would become was his own choice.

"Well, I have other duties to attend to, so I will take my leave now." Then Colonel Usher stood up and left the room, leaving Captain David H. Wang alone.

"I should get back to work now." Then David left as well, leaving all the thoughts he had behind his head and concentrated on the issues that's more important.

0943/0614/2004 Rigley AFB, Runway Three

The next few weeks were better than the previous ones, as Ruth tried to be nice to him and getting close to him. However, David was not into it, since in his heart, he was still not ready.

But then, it changed in their last day at Rigley.

"David?" David heard his name being called and saw Ruth there standing waiting for him, while anxiousness was on her face.

"Yes, Ruth?" David asked friendly, not wanting to make their relationship worse.

"About what I did to you last month, I am sorry about that." Ruth apologized while her heart was pumping faster than usual.

"Don't worry about it. I know what it feels like." David then walked up to her, facing her a few feet away.

"And about our relationship," Ruth's face was then beet red as she told him about her true feelings. "I really like you a lot David."

Then there was a pause.

"If you don't mind, I would like to know you better and if possible would you be my ..." She couldn't go on, but it was already clear enough for anyone to understand what she meant.

"So, it is as Usher said" David thought about what his superior said, then he made up his mind.

"I ...." Then before he could finish, the air raid sirens sounded again.

"Oh, great." David and Ruth both murmured under their breath as they ran towards the hangar where their fighters were.

"Charlie, ready the aircraft, standard anti-air weaponry." David shouted to his ground crew chief, who had been with him since Los Canas and without saying anything, he worked on his job as fast as possible.

"Where is everyone?" David shouted, anxiously and irritated as time went by only a few pilots came into the hangar.

"Sir, everyone else is heading here as fast as possible already." A pilot reported as several more came running into the hangar.

Minutes later, everyone came and as they suit up, David spoke.

"Fellow pilots, today is the last day that we will be at Rigley and as we speak, the last evacuation transport is being loaded. From here on, all ISAF operations in the Usea continents will be ceased, however the spirit of freedom and liberty will not leave this land. For we are the sons and daughters of liberty and as long as we stand, freedom, liberty, and justice will exist. So let us fight, for our future and our children, so that all of us will live freely and so that freedom and liberty will one day return to this land. Long live liberty. Long live freedom." At the end, everyone cheered, while David stepped down from the ladder and went into the aircraft.

The moments later, all the remaining combat aircrafts were launched from Rigley as one after another took off from the runaway, while the evacuation had gone to its last phase.

"This Air Command to all fighters, hold the enemy forces at bay until evacuation is over." Then it begun as Usher finished his order, while long range missiles "Maverick" were fired from the ISAF fighters and Erusians used similar products. Then the rock became a grave for many fighters as the missiles exploded, either hitting the decoy or their original target.

"DC One to all DC aircrafts, break and engage at will." David ordered through the radio after all of the DC aircrafts reported after the missile salvo. Then before the fighters broke to engage, he turned to the left to see Hawk, looking at him. Even though it was behind the black glasses of the helmet, he could still see the expression, which was smile telling him to come back alive.

"I will and be sure to do the same, Hawk." Then he turned the control stick right turning the aircraft towards a distant battlefield, while unknown to him, Ruth blushed as she heard those words. Then she went on her way, praying for the safe return of her love and herself.

The battle went on as the ISAF successfully stopped the bombers. Seeing that there was nothing else they could do, the Erusian Air Force turned their attention on wiping the ISAF fighters, which was going well.

"Raptor Four was shot down." Double Cross Squadron had been miraculously as they shot down more Erusian fighters while the others ISAF squadron were not that lucky.

"DC One, Fox One." Then a Sidewinder was fired off the wingtip pylon and within several seconds later, the target turned into a fireball, but there was no time for Eagle to celebrate, for now the enemy was now onto his tail.

"Get off of me." David murmured under his breath as he made several hard turns, trying to make the fighter on his tail to loose him, but the pilot was very skilled.

But after several tries, the situation was reversed, but it would reverse in matter of a few minutes since they were equally skilled.

On the fifth time, David knew that would be no chance for him to get out of it while several bullets shot through the body of the aircraft.

That moment, he prayed.

"God is this it? If so, Thy will be done. But if not, save me, for I still want to see her to not make her cry." He was heard.

Then the enemy aircraft broke down into pieces as it was splashed by a Sidewinder.

"David, are you okay?" It was Ruth.

Hearing her voice made him smile. "Yeah, I am okay."

Ruth smiled as well as she heard his reply.

Seconds later, the battle ended as a transmission came through.

"This is Air Command to all ISAF fighters, break off the engagement, the evacuation is complete." Then it was over as the Erusians realized that the battle was over, while ISAF fighters all turned left the air above Rigley.

1103/0615/2004 Allenfront AFB, Newfield Island, Northpoint

The F-16's of the Double Cross Squadron landed at Allenfront AFB. There weren't any casualties.

All of them survived.

While as DC One climbed out of the cockpit of his slightly damaged aircraft, he inhaled then breathed out, enjoying the fresh air.

Then, he climbed down the stairs, to be greeted by his happiness, his love.

He knew that one day, as he said, they would return to the Usea continent. To him now, he would love his other half as much as he could and to keep themselves pure and holy until the day.

But their story did not end there...

This is the prequel, the next part will be story about the squadron during the war.