Between us and heaven or hell there is only life, which is the frailest thing in the world. – Blaise Pascal
Location: Glatistant, Mt. Ivrea – Hydrian Line - Belka | Date: May 17, 1995
Background Files: Pilot Journals, Declassified 4101 Reports
Less than a week had passed since Directus' liberation from the Belkan Army and less than a month since the Battle of Futuro Canal. The war is turning against Belka yet now the Allies would have to take the fight to Belka. Officially they are calling this a nuclear inspection, which is not entirely inaccurate, but Glatistant is not where the Belkans were keeping their nuclear weapons. There were rumors however that they were there or had been until recently. The Belkans had also heard rumors that the Allies were planning an assault on Glatistant so if there were nukes there, they were moved, but nobody truly knows the whole story about really went on at Glatistant.
Mount Ivrea is not all that different from the Tyrann Mountains in Ustio at least from above in the snowy clouds, but here the Allies including the Ustians are heading into unfriendly skies.
The Hydrian Line covers roughly seven hundred kilometers of terrain. However the strongest defense positions in the line are the converted fortresses. The fortresses date back a few centuries as even then Belka had designs on war, but no amount of defeats deters them from going to war. One would think the fortress ruins would have shown them the errors that their ancestors made, but as with wars past it appears Belka would again have to be shown that in the long run they were one against many. Each time they took their neighbors by surprise, but each time those same neighbors saw the advantages of banding together against a common foe.
The short lived alliances through the centuries accounts for Belka's losing streak yet defeat never appears to break their fighting spirit. They simply recede back into their borders, lick their wounds, and then they wait a time before coming back with weapons their enemies don't expect them to have in their arsenal. Each time however the alliances made against them brought the numbers. Belka could never really stand up to several nations hammering away at them at the same time. Blitzkrieg tactics remains their ace in the hole, but with the Allies gunning for them they instead have to fall back to the defensive. Belka no longer retains footholds anywhere and South Belka by degrees is abandoning North Belka's warmongers.
The truth is Belka perhaps thought each time around they would be right.
What it really is who is left to fight and what do they fight for when so many already dead?
Ivrea and the surrounding peaks are too fortified to risk going after by ground so the Allies would call upon the mercenaries to be first in line to take a whack at Glatistant.
Pixy had his own theories about the place and the rumors of its true purpose as a nuclear arms production facility and Cipher she just goes where they send her flight. As for today they were already en route to Ivrea for the purpose of demolishing Glatistant. Many don't take the nuclear arms rumors seriously, but deep down nuclear weapons is just the latest in humanity's capacity for self-destruction. The splitting of the atom remade it as a weapon of war. All the same, nuclear weapons construction requires not just the science, but the means to build said weapons. Everyone went into their birds without talking about the weapons, but it is on everyone's minds.
"Yo Buddy, you still alive in there?" radios Pixy.
"I'm here, no way am I going to freeze," replies Cipher.
"Nuclear inspection, who do they think they are fooling?" snorts Pixy.
"Just be glad you didn't say that on vox," reminds Cipher.
"Now that would be embarrassing, but I could live with it," chuckles Pixy.
"The snow up here is worse than Tyrann," notes Cipher.
"Ivrea has nothing on Heierlark," interjects Pixy.
"I guess the further north you go, the more snow there is then."
"In Belka, the seasons never make sense, but what about this country does?"
"Yuktobania is also known for climate extremes too."
"Right the JIlachi Desert."
The Galms return their attention to the forward defense positions at the southernmost ground targets, which was referred in the briefing as Area Gate. Besides the Gate, there are four other encampments that make up the bulk of Glatistant. All have artillery and antiaircraft gun emplacements, which initially suggest most of the enemies, will be below the mercenary aircraft vanguard. It becomes rather standard to push the mercenaries into the lead position, which isn't uncommon to the infantry concept of making certain individuals take point every time a unit goes into battle.
The frost is fogging up canopies so the internal heaters are working over time to improve pilot's visibility range, which even without the snow would always be less than ideal especially up here. Likewise Mount Ivrea isn't just called that for the sake of a name. As many other pilots are quick to notice this place is an aircraft graveyard specifically for fighter jets.
"Multiple ground contacts, AA guns, SAMs, and built into the mountain side as we were told are RPG launchers. Not sure if there are pillboxes, but it is a fair guess to say they are out there. This place is armed to the teeth," reports Pixy.
"Affirmative, all craft save your heavier payloads for the bigger targets this includes anyone carrying UGBs, GPBs, SODs, XMAAs or XAGMs," instructs Cipher.
"You heard her boys, don't waste specials on single targets, you find any clusters, well you get the idea, mind warning lights and try not to not get shot down, the cold is worse than the enemy," interjects Pixy.
"Way to inspire confidence buddy," snorts Cipher.
"That's what you do buddy, I am just here to remind them to not be overconfident," chuckles Pixy.
Cipher banks her fighter downward and aims for the stationary targets in the ruins at the base of the southernmost slope. The wind howls too fiercely to hear anything except the snow scrapping against the canopies, but it makes a lovely glow that glints against the snowflakes.
Burst machine gunfire is quick to rip through AA guns at the base of the slope then she pulls the bird up to fire missiles into the approach openings further up the slope. Warning lights go off indicating the presence of SAM sites in the vicinity. Random mayday messages fill the squawk, which meant they had somehow gotten themselves into cross hairs despite instructions to evade once they got lock on warnings, but then they were rookies; she couldn't fault their first mission mistake. The only problem is that it would be their last because bailing or going down with the bird is the same because even with survival gear, they have to be fast to find cover.
There's virtually no place to hide down there. What's worse is if you land inside enemy deployment positions you are getting shot because in the retreat from most of the footholds they just went on killing sprees before they left, which to Cipher is blatantly immoral because war has rules. At least it always will be to her, but not everyone shares these rules yet she had heard about a handful among the Belkan Aces who upheld these rules.
The Indigos as she found out also belong to a loose association of pilots known as the Knighthood. The other members of the Knighthood she had yet to face, but something told her she would they meet in the sky in due time because the sky is their battlefield. It is becoming hers too though she did not relish the idea unless people were reading her wrong. However she could rarely hide how much her eyes reveal about her reactions to the missions she is sent on or the pilots that she flies among. Some would call her out on why she didn't kill every single Belkan that got between the Allies and ending the war.
At first ammo shortages made for a convincing argument against kill all enemy units until they found the other Allied countries resupplying them. Next she move to the idea that make the shots that count, which did work to a point, but still she had her share of detractors both at Valais and elsewhere. She didn't dignify either with much of a response. She would fight on her own terms, the Allies want her help, the Ustians want her flying to protect their skies, and the Ustians still had to yet to rebuild their diminished military outfits, which is why they did less railing on her than most.
"For missiles to connect, you have to level with the openings in the approach crevices otherwise you are wasting the 'winders," snaps Cipher.
It didn't matter how many weapons a bird carries, the principle is how one flies and what one shoots because to survive a battle one needs both because the last thing a pilot must be ready to face is a strategic withdraw to re-arm if there's a return line. Otherwise there's whatever fuel is left in your tank and the hope that the enemy doesn't get a lucky a shot in between the pilot and the faraway runway.
AAs and SAM sites are exploding all over the fortress below the Galms, but there are multiple active firing positions inside as well as outside the walls. Some birds already bought it by straying into pillbox firing sites and pillboxes are even harder to spot in the flurries that are coming down up here. It didn't take much longer before ground based radio chatter indicates that they broken the forward defense position. Time to move onto the next fortress, which from tactical forecasts made it look even more impregnable than the one they just laid waste to.
"Anyone that needs to drop back, do so and inform CIC: Area Gate is fallen. Head north to Area Wall, we are not done yet," orders Pixy.
The burning wreckage trails smoke into the gray skies. It would light the way for a time while in the moment it would alert the rest of Glatistant to totality of what the Allies had done in less than a few hours.
So far ammo conservation appears to be working especially by forcing the other mercenaries to use their guns more often than their missiles, but even so the defense positions are said to be even more concentrated at the Wall. There is also rumored to be a central Control Tower in the keep of the fortress ahead and if taken out, it would throw enemy communications into chaos. They'd still be able to fight, just not as well without the ability to talk to each other directly. The Keep is the primary target in this section of the mountain, which is the agreed strike point.
"They can't expect us to keep up with the Galms, can they?"
"Can the chatter, focus on the targets."
Cipher banks the jet downward like before and takes out a handful of SAM sites hidden among the rubble in the lowlands between the peaks. More 'winders' are let loose into the approach bunkers to rip apart the RPG positions. The AA guns and pillboxes open fire once alerted to the mercenary strike force. They definitely were alert to Area Gate's fall and had no intention of being next. Cipher's Falcon heads straight towards the control tower aka the Keep. She mixes machine gunfire with sidewinders, which is an unexpected combination to some. Stone chunks of the Keep start breaking off and dropping to the ruins below it.
Pixy and the others turn their attention to the AA and SAM positions on the fortress walls. Cipher's jet pivots to the right and barely avoids scrapping the undercarriage along the crumbling masonry that used to be the Keep's cylindrical outer barrier. Anyone inside would have probably been killed instantly either by the bullets or the missiles. The nerve center for Glatistant's communications is now cut off as planned, but there's still plenty of entrenched enemies as well as a smattering of enemy fighters high in the clouds. The Belkans would scramble all the birds they have got even the agile VTOLs, which can easily outmaneuver fighter jets by design though by pilot is another story.
"Cooperate with all areas and take out those planes!" orders Glatistant Control.
It is the last message gotten out by the Keep before it really starts to come crashing down. All the 'winders' and machine gunfire by Cipher had really brought the house down. The tower itself was already centuries old and in one of the most inhospitable climates known to humanity. How the Belkans even built something up here is astounding, but Belkans if nothing were resourceful in frosty environments.
"Area Wall will not lose!" vow Wall RPG bunkers.
Cipher and Pixy start weaving about the remaining AA guns, RPG approach bunkers, and pillboxes to take them out.
"So they hollow out a mountain to make a base," notes Pixy.
"Apparently, mop up here, we have to move to the other sectors soon before our fuel runs dry or we run out of ammo then have to pull back to rearm if necessary," remarks Cipher.
"You sound like you are in a rush to get this over with," responds Pixy.
"Sooner they go quiet, sooner we are heading back to base," replies Cipher.
"Roger that… by the numbers."
Burst machine gunfire against AA guns, 'winders' against pillboxes and approaches. IFF blips disappear within minutes and soon first fighter contacts of the gray twilight appear in the overcast above them. Cipher heads skyward. She switches to special ammo XMMAs. The bogeys overhead are MiG-29A's, which while highly maneuverable even in this weather, still cannot outrun XMAAs at close range in theory.
"Fox three, double time," alerts Cipher.
"Those guys can dodge them, well unless you get almost too close for comfort," quips Pixy.
The lead MiG goes down in flames seconds later. The second less than a minute after that and the third manages to stay out of Cipher's firing zone except instead she hammers away at the third with machine gun bursts and a single 'winder.
"Abandon Antiaircraft bunkers in Area Wall. There's nothing left to use there now!"
It is time to move to another sector so Cipher leads the way to Area Tower. This is area is made up vertical towers that built several centuries after the ones in Area Gate and Area Wall so the walls are harder to breach giving any enemy positions better fortification. However hit the walls hard enough and they should break like all the others.
"Watch your six Buddy, they have got AAs and SAMs all over this sector. Already getting warning lights on my display target and weave okay?"
"Roger that Pixy, Cipher engaging new targets. Use the guns, save missiles for enemy fighters."
"Copy that… engaging again!"
The antiaircraft spread follows Cipher as she hammers away at the imposing tower at the center of the air defense pickets.
"Don't worry about the fires! All available forces mobilize, get out there and defend what's left of Glatistant!"
The Galms crisscross firing their guns away at the tower, but the initial assessment of the tower's durability it will require several tight passes to cripple the tower's defenses especially with emplacements targeting the Galms from the ground.
"What's happening to Section 3? Haven't communications been restored yet?!"
The gun operators below are panicking because the only thing that breaks the silence is weapons fire and they are likely to wonder how much they have left before they'll join the dead from the other areas.
"There's a fire creeping up on the explosives in that tent! Get away from it!"
Down below the radio warnings are too late as the explosives go up from the debris landing on them in tandem with the already burning fires. Heat and rupture equals massive boom. Cipher looks away not wanting to wager how many Belkans just died down there. The difference with wrecking enemy birds was either the plane blows up, crashes down, or the pilot ejects before the craft becomes their coffin or pyre.
"Guns mounted on ruins? This fortress has everything!"
Cipher attempts to ignore the constant droning of the warning alerts and the sound of the Falcon's engines. One by one the SAM sites disappear off the radar only to become torch lights atop the lower towers several dozen feet below the top of the ruined central towers.
"You expect us to get through this AA fire. You've got to be kidding!"
"Stop complaining and do the job we are being paid to do!" snaps Cipher.
Cipher turns her frustration with the Ustian pilots on the remaining SAM emplacements, which ignite like the rest of their dead friends. Sidewinder count is down to somewhere between two and three dozen. The special weapons are still aplenty and there's more than enough bullets left in the machine gun so it is time to work the gun some more just to save missiles for later. The Falcon pivots left to right and back again as machine gun bursts splatter against the AA guns, which the only emplacements left for the Tower until even they fall silent.
"Area Tower attack powers have failed! "
It is essentially a pattern hit and run strategy, which means disable as much as possible to the extent that the Belkans will retreat after the assault ends.
"How much do we have to blow up for this to end? It doesn't look like things will calm down any time soon."
"I think they expect us to kill as many Belkans as possible and then send us out again to wipe out the stragglers," snorts Pixy.
Cipher says nothing this time as if the sinking suspicion that Pixy was right about the desperation that is taking over those in charge of the board on both sides.
"80% of enemy positions are under our control. It's time to rock and roll! All planes, eliminate Glatistant!" instructs Eagle Eye.
This can't simple be revenge for the Blitzkrieg, but then the Belkans struck without warning so now the Allies with Ustio in the lead are returning the 'favor'. They don't want anyone retreating, they want them dead, but these birds are only carrying so much ammo, once empty planes have to cross the return to line to rearm and resupply, even with that down time, they would still be back to finish the job.
"Fox Three!" alerts Cipher.
The homing air-to-air missile would lock onto to select bogey then chase it down so unless the pilot is in sharp he or she will be blown up on impact unless said pilot pulls the handle though bailing out in this weather is suicidal between the weather and the wind.
A pair of MIR-2000Ds erupts in flames. The Ustians congratulate Cipher's marksmanship, her hesitation is dissipating, but she had kept her cool mostly. The Ustians and the Allies were again content to shoulder much of the killing to the Demon Lord aka Goddess of War aka Cipher. Pixy felt indescribable to witness her in action time and again yet he could see what the killing is doing to her. How could she explain what she had done in war to her son, would he ever understand, would he follow in her footsteps, on some level he suspects she would not want her little boy becoming a fighter pilot. She had her rules just as their paying superiors had theirs.
Survive to kill again or kill again to survive to kill more? Is there a difference?
It was best to put such thoughts aside until after this mission is over. Several Allied jets are pulling southward to the O.A. Return Line. They weren't precision shooters like Cipher at not least to Pixy and just maybe Cipher would mop up before they got back. He didn't like shooting at his fellow Belkans, but they chose to follow the extremists to open war on multiple fronts for the sake of resources again.
"No matter how many we shoot down, they keep coming! How many fighters did they send here?"
"Enough to burn and bury you here," murmurs Cipher sadly.
"I'm in trouble here! I can't evade all this at once!"
The Ustians were getting massacred while the Allies head back to rearm.
"Our escort planes were taken out by a chopper!"
Pixy felt glad nobody could see the disbelief when he heard an Ustian say this. The feat is not impossible, but even so, a fighter pilot should be able to avoid that kind of killing blow.
"I can't bail out! It's hell out there! I don't wanna die!"
Another pilot's panic chatter indicates his plane is too banged up to get back and his ejection handle is likely broken from the fighting. If the enemy doesn't pick him off, the weather will ice his engines, and he'll die the bird hits something either in the air or on the ground. The Allies had been shadowing them the whole way, but they didn't actively attack Glatistant, they just put the mercenaries in front, so many times in history once a civilization employs mercenaries, then you know how far it has fallen.
However Ustio was a mere republic less than a decade old with this war, but other fledging nations had been torn into wars before, the only question is would Ustio survive it or perish, only time would tell on that count.
Cipher flies among the Ramparts sniping AA guns along the walls, which are slowing up between the cold and the wind though before long even Cipher's jet would suffer the effects of the cold if she didn't keep accelerating every so often to melt off the ice.
"Send out the fire control team! A fire's closing in on the ammo bunker! Hurry!"
Ivrea is Glatistant's tomb and the once unbroken Hydrian Line would shatter before this day ends.
"One of those fighters is amazing. Who is that guy?"
The AA gunners in the Ramparts are almost sound as if they are gawking at Cipher's finesse in her bird. These men weren't afraid, they act as if they are watching something beautiful unfold before them, it is almost as if dying up here didn't bother them anymore so long as they had one truly beautiful moments before they meet their ends.
"I don't plan on getting buried in a heap of ruins."
So much for poetry it would seem thinks Pixy. They had their moment, now it is time to fall back, and everyone's reserves are almost gone except the Allies are returning with full tanks and weapons. They would do mop up, but Cipher is leaving until the battle is done, she is always doing that, he knows that about her too well.
"The walls are coming down. It's all over for us."
The Belkans were too scattered trying to suppress fires across the entire layout of Glatistant. Those stuck behind the crumbling walls have no way out. The Ramparts would just be another mass grave on Mount Ivrea. How many battles in how many wars had this mountain seen, likely too many to name and each of them saw higher Belkan fatalities with each clash or at least that's what some might suspect about these ruins.
"I'm out missiles. These walls are too tough to breach with just machine guns. Fall back, rearm," orders Cipher.
"Right, not like the Oseans are going to do anything except play raider with any left over bogeys," responds Pixy.
The fly back takes up to twenty minutes even with afterburners then the crews work quickly to reload the missile compliment figuring it of the utmost need that the Galms get back on the double. Cipher does her best to smile at them despite how many men or women like them she had probably killed in the last few hours. The maintenance crews practically worship her because they believe they owe their lives to her because she kept the Belkans from destroying their airfield and some had come along from Valais.
Pair of MiG-29s was waiting for them in the sky over the crumbling ramparts so Cipher clips them with a spread of XMAAs, which tear the MiGs apart before they can dodge. Heat source homing at its very best and then Cipher goes below to collapse the Ramparts with a couple of 'winders. There are practically no active IFFs on radar now. Cipher disconnects her helmet mike unless Pixy misunderstood the noise over the plane to plane comlink for a few moments then he hears it turn back on. It didn't take much guessing as to why she might have wanted to switch it off.
"Glatistant attack power neutralized. All planes RTB," radios Eagle Eye.
"Roger, all planes we are pulling back," orders Cipher.
There's a faint glow in the sky. It is too brief yet it does not go unseen.
"What was that light?" wonders Pixy.
"I don't know, but I don't intend to stick around here to find out," remarks Cipher.
"You really went on a rampage today buddy," chuckles Pixy.
"I just want to end this war and go home," continues Cipher.
"At the rate this is going, I wonder how many of us will get that luxury," remarks Pixy.
"So I guess you think the nuclear inspection story is still bogus?"
"Don't you? We just whittle through a mountain base just to make an in-road for the Allied Ground Forces. Nothing more, nothing less," assures Pixy.
"What about the brass' intelligence?"
"Hell, if I know, it wouldn't be the first time somebody got the wrong story, but I get the feeling nobody will win this one, and that light I just saw is just the start of our troubles up here."
There's an indescribable feeling that Pixy would subscribe to the sound of her voice as if she is demanding reassurance that the nuclear weapons production is a fabrication to scare them, but Pixy knows better than to lie to his wing-woman. She is always honest with him and he could do no less towards her. The weapons were moved, somehow he felt sure of that, but as to where, that is the problem especially if those still loyal to the Party got desperate to kick the Allies back out the door. The question beyond that is who would die for that act of desperation when such a call gets made.
Location: Birneheim, Belka | Date: September 24, 2005
There was not much to see of Glatistant from the air. The ruins are open wounds like so much else in Belka. A country split many times by war and each generation seems to inherit this legacy for warfare as if unable to find a lasting peace. There is no way to know how long it will be until they try again, but it is obvious they would have to find a different way to do it should they attempt, it seems almost certain that they would, but optimism never did much harm. Birneheim is part of a series of towns that are devoted to reclaiming lands devastated by war and turn them into something that gives life rather than takes it. One such individual living all the way out here is Dietrich Kellerman formerly the Silber Team commander.
Kellerman is a veteran in every sense of the world having previously served the Belkan Air Force thirty years prior then he went into retirement before the outbreak of the Belkan War though once his country went to war again, so did he, if only to teach his students how to survive when he felt as if their new leaders found this new generation expendable to war.
Before his first retirement he was director of a special air force academy called "Kellerman Institution". He was training the pilot cadets before he was recalled to active duty.
As a man of few words, his flying did the talking for him. He flew a F-4 E Phantom II, his fellow Silbers flew the F-16C Fighting Falcons. Pictures of the planes show them as having silver zebra paint jobs, which explains the origins of the team name perhaps. Kellerman's soft speaking voice had made it compulsively necessary to me to find time to stop over at his farm before going onto Schayne Plains and Tauberg. I was simply following her path and looking for those who had flown in the skies with her regardless of what side they on back then. It was a contradiction to see green fields after seeing nothing but city skylines or devastated earth since crossing the border. He was out in the fields when I found him. For a man his age he is in remarkable shape, but maybe becoming a farmer had gave him something flying never could though this is just an assumption on my part.
We went inside and I set up the camera. I usually don't ask many questions, he knows why I have come, I'll let him do the talking, usually I leave the words to them and then provide some kind of context from who he was during the war.
"She was good. From what I'd heard about her, I thought she was just a young mercenary. But she'd matured since then."
All the tools, the implements, and more sit in the storage shed near the ranch house. It felt like peace here, it smells like it too, but maybe its just because of him, he had become a creator as a farmer at least to me.
"She still wasn't perfect, but I could see he had come a long way towards understanding the rules of combat."
It was something few had spoken of so far, rules of combat, Larry, wrote quite clearly that she was bound by rules of some kind, and that Glatistant was the first of many behind the lines tests on her principles. I'd imagine as a mother, she might have thought how she could go back to being a mother after killing so many who might never see their kids again or for that matter have kids of their own. I was seeking the woman behind the legend and with each step I felt closer to her though she was still beyond my reach for now.
"What's important on the battlefield is to let go of your hate, to survive, and adhere to the rules you've set for yourself. These are the rules I've taught my students. And when I saw her, I could tell my time was done. A new generation had inherited the sky. There was no need for an old soldier like me."
I could tell why his students must have revered the man, he spoke of ideals and rules to be upheld, because how else could he have made it here?
Others likely had their own ways, but he seems more at ease than Rainier to me.
"What made you decide to become a farmer?"
"I already was something of a gardener for years I just took it further because it was time to stop teaching others how to survive and kill enemies they would probably never meet face to face. Simply I tired of continuing like that, farming brings me joy though my memories will always be sad. So I gather you have spoken to others who are still around."
"I am planning to meet Dmitri Heinrich in Lichtenburg. I already saw Rainier Altman in Directus less than two weeks ago. Altman is working as a writer there, he married a Ustian nurse after the war, they seem happy together, but Altman appears to remain troubled by his wingman's death after all these years."
"Unsurprising because when you fly with someone for a long time, you develop bonds with them that run deeper than you know and when they die while you survive... it stays with you forever. So where will you be staying until going to Lichtenburg?"
"I'd like to stay here for a few days if you don't mind the company."
"Well I cook what I grow so it'll give me the chance to test my home cooking on you."
"Sounds wonderful to me."
Kellerman already makes me feel at ease, I'd imagine his students felt the same way towards him. I see several photograph frames hanging off the wall.
"Who is that?"
"A woman and her son. They had come to stay with me after the war. She said her husband was shot down over B7R presumably. The place was a death trap, I don't know if he survived, she didn't seem to know either. She hid her accent pretty well, but I could tell she was Yuktobanian."
"She had the darkest hair I had ever seen plus her complexion was quite faint for someone looking to pass herself as an Osean. Plus once or twice I heard her say something in her native tongue to her son."
"She tell you her name?"
"I didn't ask and she didn't tell... I left it at that."
"What about the boy?"
"He was her kid though I think he probably took more after his father than her with his looks."
Kellerman goes to prepare for dinner and I had to wonder what if 'Cipher' had been here before, what if she had come back to these places after the war though it wouldn't surprise me if she did... so I just keep following the trail in the hopes that it would lead me to her.
A/N 1: Set mostly during Operation: Hellbound. I tried to craft it more through a cockpit point of view than with previous chapters. Essentially more dialogue with them talking about weapons used by their planes as well as what some of those weapons do to their targets. I'm learning as I go when writing for dogfights or fighter jet pilot POV.
A/N 2: Also went far to build the atmosphere of what it would be like to be flying over Mount Ivrea as well as back story to the history of Glatistant during preceding centuries in relation to the Principality of Belka's continuing fixation with war, which historically they tend to lose repeatedly yet nothing stops them from going on the offensive again.
A/N 3: Foreshadowing of upcoming missions by way of the bright light seen by Pixy and the talk about Belka having possibly built up a nuclear stockpile. What I think happen is that the Belkans got wind of this operation and moved everything northward yet left the outpost standing to generate the illusion that the weapons were still there.
A/N 4: Finally introduced this idea I was thinking of when I started this story in regards to Cipher after the war. Where did Cipher go, did she ever meet the pilots that Brett interviews, and more so in the case of this story how does the legend affect Cipher as a woman and as a mother.
A/N 5: Enter Dietrich Kellerman, he is my favorite of all the interviews in the game. I also put a further spin on why he goes on to lead Silber Team as he doesn't share the expendable view that some hold for the pilots. It is part of why I think he taught his rules about letting go of hatred in order to survive.