Synopsis: this is a Bad Company/Endwar cross over fiction with a little bit of real world politics and my own imagination thrown in; it is also my first cross over fiction, however the two games coincide very well, and I believe that the dual references will be quite subtle. The story is driven by the Endwar concept, but takes place primarily in the Bad Company universe. Since Endwar in particular is a game open to interpretation, the story will be told from a number of different angles, and the plot may surprise you.

Also, unlike the last story I submitted (Operation Devildog, which, consequently I am EXTREMELY ashamed of) this one is 100% original, from my mind. Although it is based in a universe that is not my own, I have not taken the following scenes from any movie, or game, nor have I borrowed the names of any characters I am familiar with. I hope that, for some of my critics, this story will at least make up for my previous one.

On that note, let's begin.

September 11th, 2001: two hijacked commercial airliners crash into the World Trade Center, killing nearly three thousand people in the worst attack on US soil in history. The official explanation was that terrorists from a rouge organization known as al-Qaeda had planned the attack over the course of several years, although a proper investigation is never launched. The United States then begins its "War on Terror" and invades Afghanistan. The PATRIOT Act is signed, allowing the government to spy on American citizens and implement martial law at any given time as a means of "security".

March 20th, 2003: the United States launches Operation Iraqi Freedom, and masses a coalition force of three hundred thousand soldiers from multiple countries. President George W. Bush authorizes the invasion without a declaration of war from Congress. The rationale for the invasion was to remove "a regime that developed and used weapons of mass destruction that harbored and supported terrorists, committed outrageous human rights abuses, and defied the just demands of the United Nations and the world".

August 17th, 2007: Vladimir Putin issues a statement, revealing that Russia was to resume the flight exercises of its strategic bombers in remote areas. That same year, the United States is hit with a massive financial crisis, the worst since the Great Depression of 1933, triggered by a liquidity shortfall in the United States banking system. Many people suspect the event was an inside job by bankers from multiple nations, and anti-federal protests begin.

January 20th, 2009: Barack Hussein Obama is sworn into office. In the wake of Social Reform, along with his "unconstitutional policies" nearly two hundred new militia groups are created in the US. These groups arise for a number of different reasons, fearing that their civil liberties are at risk. The Tea Party movement also gains massive support from American citizens. As such, the Army begins evaluating strategies to combat the increasingly aggressive population, and begins preparing for civil unrest and martial law.

April 21st, 2012: The United States Joint Strike Forces are created. The JSF are a new branch of the military capable of mobilizing in less than twenty four hours to deploy anywhere in the world at any time, utilizing state-of-the-art technology and weaponry. This aggressive military action is condemned by the United Nations as many believe that the US has over-stepped their boundaries in the world-political arena.

May 9th, 2014: The Libertarian Party of the Russian Federation moves to the forefront of Russian politics. This new party calls for smaller government, increased civil liberties, and a tight grip on national banks. Protests and public demonstrations are held throughout the whole country. NATO demands that the Russian military take steps to put an end to the "extremist movement by implementing strict security policies nationwide, to ensure the peace and stability of the world."

June 5th, 2015: Ukraine and Kazakhstan join the Union State, along with South Ossetia, Moldova, and others. The Libertarian Party takes control of Russia, and the nations of the Union State adopt their new Constitution as well, effectively merging the many nations into one, the New Russian Republic. By the end of the year, more than twelve countries voluntarily merge with Russia.

September 11th, 2016: Fifteen years after the 2001 al-Qaeda attacks, a nuclear exchange between Saudi Arabia and Iran kills six million people, effectively crippling the world's oil supply. Fearing a massive economic crisis, as well as further nuclear attacks, the Middle East Coalition is formed as a means to counteract the growing threat of "domestic terrorism caused by the recent exchange, by ensuring security and tranquility through a common army and government."

January 7th, 2017: the Joint American-European missile shield goes live, making Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles obsolete; the threat of nuclear war is destroyed, and nations world-wide celebrate this spectacular victory. However, the global oil crisis is still in full swing, as gas and oil prices get higher and higher. Russia, now the leading supplier of oil and natural gas, uses its new-found riches to increase its military strength, fearing that the US and Europe will use the new missile shield as a tool to force their will upon the Motherland, and responds by creating the Spetsnaz Guard Brigade to strengthen homeland defense.

October 27th, 2018: the European Federation is created. Comprised of the European Union member states, the European Federation has a higher population, GNP, and standard of living than both America and Russia. This forced unification causes massive rioting and public demonstration throughout the country. The European Federation Enforcer Corps is created to subdue and control the enraged populace, causing militant groups to form, using the failed states in the Balkans as a staging area.

November 17th, 2020: the United States and the European Federation begin joint military exercises designed to simulate a world-wide armed conflict. These exercises include massive deployments of troops around the Russian border, the Middle East, South America, Asia and Africa and implementation of martial law on both countries domestic populations. These exercises spark massive protests throughout the west, and Russia responds by sending troops to the boarder. Russian Generals issue strict orders to their men not to fire unless fired upon, fearing that this peak in tensions will spark a massive war…and it did.

Atacama Desert, South America,
01400 hours, July 28th, 2022

Blazing heat and vicious winds made conditions in the desert a nightmare. The wind blew coarse sand in their faces, and coupled with the hundred and seventeen degree weather, Nathan Martin and his troops were in hell. Of course, over the last two years, they had been to hell and back many times before. No one knew who fired the first shots of the war, but it was widely accepted that European artillery had fired the first volley, effectively igniting the powder keg. The first battle took place on the border of what used to be Moldova, and became known as the Battle of Ungeny. A hundred fifty thousand Russian troops squared off against three hundred thousand European troops.

The battle lasted two hours and almost two hundred thousand men died in the first hour alone. Watching the fight being covered on every news station in the world was truly horrifying to say the least; it was massive and frantic. The night sky was covered with a thick blanket of dark grey clouds, and the only things visible were the tracer rounds and the various explosions that surged throughout the night. One reporter described it as if "the forces of heaven and hell themselves were doing battle on that field." After two hours the Euros crossed onto Russian lines and began their ultimately futile advance into the Motherland.

The Battle of Ungeny was the first of many awe-inspiring fights that would take place over the next two years. During those years, Nathan Martin and his men had seen combat on every corner of the globe, including Northern Europe, Africa, and now, South America. Martin and his troops were soldiers of the Joint Strike Force 15th Special Operations Battalion, one of the most well-known units in the world at that point. Martin was a veteran of several wars, including Iraq and Afghanistan as both an Army regular, and a Ranger. He also did two tours in Venezuela in 2013 and two more in Algeria in 2015. In 2018 Martin qualified for the Joint Strike Forces and quickly rose to the rank of Captain within the force. His scores were so good in fact, that General Nathaniel Goudie himself personally requested that Martin be transferred to his battalion.

Now they were in Chile, preparing an ambush for a force of Russian reinforcements coming ashore. Six hours ago U.S. and Russian army forces clashed for control of this small town's offshore missile batteries. US forces had fled the area after a formation of TU-160s bombed the hell out of place. Martin and his handpicked group of fifteen troops dropped in, prepared a defense, and were awaiting the arrival of the enemy.

The Captain's second-in-command, Lieutenant Jack Hayder, approached Martin, who was planting the last of the remote det charges on the missile batteries.

"UAVs' picking up multiple landing craft leaving the main ships," Jack told him.

"I'm aware of that," Nathan simply replied as he primed the last charge.

"What's this for?"

"Just in case we need to get out of here in a hurry; the Russians ain't gettin' these missiles back in one piece."

"Speaking of which, we got about two minutes before the first of their infantry hit the beach." Nathan looked over the sandbags at the Russian fleet that had anchored off shore. From this distance they were close, but not close enough, which was just fine by any standard. The Russians couldn't risk bombarding the beach again, lest the missile batteries be destroyed; however, they were more than prepared to take the town. Opening the UAV's camera on his head's up display, Martin was able to get a clear look at what the enemy had coming. There had to be at least a hundred infantry escorted by BTR-90s. Luckily, Martin's engineers had rigged the beach with high-explosive anti-vehicle mines and claymores for the infantry. Needless to say, the Russians were in for a hell of a treat.

"Alright, that's the last one," the Captain said as he placed the charge on the missile battery. "I trust everyone's in position?"

"Affirmative," Jack replied. "Garner's on the roof with the fifty-cal and the men are dug in to defend; the drones are in position on our flanks."

"Excellent." Nathan picked up his XMX rifle and took aim over the sandbags. Jack leveled his MRC as well. "Squad, this is Captain Martin, you have a green light to engage; fire as soon as the bastards come in range; Ramirez, Locke, prioritize targets and fire at will."

"Depend on it," his engineer, Locke, replied. He could see clearly now; the first boats were almost there. Looking through his rifle's scope, Martin quickly identified an enemy support gunner carrying a PKM. Quick and lethal, his XMX could reach out and hit targets out to a thousand yards; using that capability, he fired, nailing the gunner in his head, his body dropping into the water as his comrades hit the deck. A missile from one of Nathan's engineers arced over the water and slammed into one of the boats, sending the men on board flying high.

"Man, what a shot!" Ramirez complimented Locke's kill. Another missile sped towards one of the Russian boats, this time hitting its stern, killing all the soldiers on board. Now the first of the boats made it to shore, the Russian troops jumping from their craft and moving up the beach. Fifty cal machine guns opened up, and Martin picked his targets and fired, nailing each of his victims with head shots. His men complied, and the helpless Russians began dropping like flies.

"Yeah, make em' eat it!" one of his men called. Sergeant Sophie Duvall pumped out a heavy volume of lead from her M250, pinning down any enemies that attempted to move up. One of them tried to run for cover and was peppered by Duvall's hail of 6.8mm rounds. Nathan spotted two targets, fired, and dropped the Russians in less than three seconds. He and his men were nailing targets with pinpoint accuracy; there would be no wounded on the beach today. Not even vehicles were safe, as the first of the BTRs made it ashore and subsequently exploded, the shrapnel cutting through Russian flesh like tissue paper. Some men were set aflame when a BTR's gas line exploded; Nathan could faintly hear their screams over the sounds of battle. He ignored it and kept dropping targets. After successfully killing three more tangos, Nathan dropped for cover and took a minute to analyze the situation. Looking over the sandbag he could see multiple corpses, perhaps as many as sixty by now. He opened up his squad's health monitors; zero casualties so far. He grinned and took a quick glimpse at his second-in-command.

Hayder was an artist with his MRC; truly he had mastered it. Most JSF troops avoided the rifle because it hadn't been as battle-proven as the XMX and the SCAR-A1, and its caseless ammunition was still in the developmental stage, not to mention its bullpup design was alien to most US military troops; but Hayder had stumbled upon it in the armory once upon a time and described it as "the coolest fucking rifle I've ever seen." Having used it extensively for more than five years, he was the de-facto poster boy for its development. Now he was picking off targets left and right, utilizing the immense advantages of its extreme light-weight fifty round magazines.

But soon it occurred to Nathan that no more enemies were standing. He looked over his cover to see nothing on the beach but bodies drenched in blood, BTRs engulfed in flames. The water had turned from its transparent blue to morbid red, and all of the Russians that had come ashore were dead, on the beach, soaked in their own blood.

"Very nice," he complimented his men over the COMM. "They'll be sending in a new wave soon, probably with more armor support; all units, swap mags and take aim; this ain't over yet." Martin took out a fresh forty-five round mag from his vest, tapped it on his modular helmet, and smacked it into place, pulling the charging handle and taking aim. He could see very clearly more boats packed with soldiers, as well as armed LCAC units. The second wave was going to be much more vicious, and Nathan suspected that several of his men would die in the next assault.

The first LCAC hit the beach, and out came fifty Russian troops, including combat engineers, all accompanied by six BTR-90s. Nathan and his men opened up on them with a barrage of hot lead, nearly sixteen of them dropping as soon as their feet hit the sand. Their startled brethren stumbled and fell over their bodies, but Martin's men had no mercy. The ones that fell were picked off, and the others who attempted to make for cover were gunned down by a combination of Sergeant Duvall's machinegun fire, and Garner's fifty-cal sniper rifle.

The second LCAC hit the beach, and inside it were three T-90 MBTs, the first of which opened fire almost instantly. The shell flew over cover and slammed into one of Martin's positions. The two other tanks dropped from the landing craft and spread out, one tripping an anti-vehicle mine, destroying the beast instantly. The two remaining tanks charged for Martin's position.

"Captain," Locke reported. "Five guys are dead, and three are wounded."

"Captain," one of his men spoke. "What do we do about those tanks?"

"Locke, Ramirez," Nathan spoke. "Put some fire on those MBTs or we're not getting out of here; Jackson, Garner, Duvall, cover them; everyone else, keeping picking targets and thin 'em out." The wall of fire from the JSF position only intensified as the fight got heavier. Russian troops that attempted to flank their position were slaughtered by the JSF drones, and their armor was faltering under the rain of rockets from Ramirez and Locke's combined fire. The Russians were prepared to fight a massive defense force, not a few dug in Joint Strike Force operatives.

"Haha, we're killin' 'em!" one of his men laughed over the COMM. "I can do this all day!"

"Davenport, cut the chatter," Hayder ordered.

Martin looked through his binoculars and zoomed in. As he viewed the oncoming third wave, he spotted two aircraft descending from above. The two planes were PAK FAs; Russian stealth fighters. By his guess they were the carrier-based variants, more than likely launched from an Ulyanovsk-class Supercarrier. The two fighters screamed overhead, but Martin didn't even flinch, he simply tracked them as they pulled up and away.

"Shit," he spoke as two five hundred pound bombs slammed into the town. The shockwave knocked him down and all he could see was dust. "Status!" he ordered. "Is everyone alright?"

"Sir," Ramirez cried over the COMM. He coughed heavily and continued, "Lockes' dead, and we lost two of our drones! The guys who were wounded are dead, too!"

"Regroup on my position," he ordered. "Have the drones form up and fall back; all units, maintain a high rate of fire, I want one shot kills." Nathan checked the UAV's camera again; more boats carrying light infantry were headed in their direction.

"What the fuck I thought they weren't gonna' bomb the beach!" Hayder screamed over the noise. "What's our new directive, sir?"

"Getting out of here alive," the Captain replied. "Have any remaining drones cover our retreat, I'm gonna' see if we can't get some air support on station." While crouching, Martin moved further back, and opened a channel to Force Command. "Watch Tower, this is Phantom-Actual, how copy, over?"

"Phantom-Actual this is Watch Tower, I read you, five by five," a woman's voice replied.

"Watch Tower, our Intel was off; the Russians have deployed heavy armor on the beach and air support has been used against us; looks like these batteries aren't what they're after, over."

"Solid copy, Phantom-Actual; what do you need?"

"Is there any air support on station? Preferably a few Strike Fighters over." There was a short pause. During that pause, another tank shell smashed into the building where Garner had been sniping from. The building creaked, buckled and caved in, taking Garner down with it, the structure being replaced by a plume of dust and smoke. "Son of a bitch!"

"Phantom-Actual, I've got a pair of Raptors on station at this time, and the entire Third Armored Battalion is closing in on your position; you stay alive for ten minutes, you'll get your reinforcements, over."

"I wasn't aware were receiving backup, over."

"Count your blessings, Phantom-Actual; Watch Tower, out."

"Squad, listen close," Martin's voice boomed over the COMM. "The Third Armored is heading here to reinforce us; they'll be on station is ten mikes, we need to hold these bastards off until then."

"What the hell are we here for!" Ramirez asked, enraged by the death of his friend.

"Forget it, Ramirez," the Captain told him. "We're here now, and if we don't fall back we're gonna' fucking die!" Nathan swapped mags and got up from cover. "Fall back! Everyone fall back! Go, go; go!"

Nathan and his remaining men raced for safety. Behind them, beyond the town, where a portion of the last battle had taken place, there were wrecked vehicles and fox holes created by artillery and mortar fire. Using those as cover, the squad would dig in for its last line of defense, allowing the drones to cover their retreat. Behind them more enemy armor had landed, and a hundred Russian troops were storming the beach. For the first time in a long time, Nathan wasn't sure he'd make it out alive. All he could hear was the whine of heavy engines and the various shouts of Russian officers ordering their men to get after Martin and his troops.

After running and sliding into a foxhole, Martin looked over his shoulder and took aim. The six men that had survived were spread out awaiting the horde of Russians that would be heading over the hill at any moment. Hayder was in a hole about fifteen feet from where Martin had taken cover, with Duvall taking up the center of the formation, and the three other men forming a loose perimeter.

Now all of the drones had been destroyed, leaving nothing between them and the Russians. But then something suspicious happened. No infantry were swarming over the hill as Nate had suspected they would. He went to check the UAV camera, only to find nothing but static. Fuck, he thought. They shot down the UAV. Closing the feed, he looked over his cover and heard nothing but the sound of tank treads and engines. No one said a word. The tense anxiety was quickly broken by the sight of a massive hundred fifty-two millimeter main gun rising over the hill. Nate's heart rose to his throat.

"Ogres!" he screamed as the mammoth T-100s leveled and fired. The Ogre was a leviathan of a Russian tank, equipped with a hundred fifty-two millimeter main gun, twin anti-aircraft cannons, incendiary rockets and flame throwers, two massive claws on the front, and a whole lot of explosive reactive armor plating. Now two of these monsters had their cannons aimed and Martin and his men, and they didn't have the firepower to even scratch the armor.

"Jesus Christ!" Ramirez cried. "What the hell do we do now, sir?"

"Ramirez, use whatever you've got left on those tanks!" Nathan ordered.

"Are you out of your mind? I wouldn't even be able to scathe those things!"

"Aim for the cannons; maybe we can disable those and make a run for the compound to the east!" One of the men suggested.

"You heard him, Ramirez!" Nate agreed. "Get to it! Everyone else, pop smoke and lay down a base of fire; I'll distract them!" Martin got up from cover and ran for the nearest vehicle carcass, firing on full-auto at the tanks, one of which tracked him and fired. The shot missed Martin by mere inches, and by the time he got back to cover, he had fallen into a state of shock and awe. "Fuck that was close." He dared a look from cover; one of the T-100s was moving around the right, attempting to intercept him. Putting his back to the destroyed vehicle, he reached into one of his patches and pulled out an E.V.S.D., or Electronic Vehicle System Disruptor. These nasty little bastards were highly experimental, but extremely effective in the field. They were designed to completely knock out radar, targeting, and navigational systems on everything from cars to small submarines.

He primed the device, and awaited the opportune moment. He licked his upper lip, took a deep breath, and sprung from cover just as the Ogre came about, its main gun pointing directly in his direction. Martin hurled the device. It arced and landed right in between the gun and the hull; when it activated, every electronic mechanism on the beast went dead, including its target acquisition and firing solution. However, this would only last for a few minutes at best, which was plenty time enough. Looking back to the second tank, he saw that it was surrounded by white smoke.

At that moment a deafening roar enveloped the battlefield as the two F-22A Raptors swopped overhead, circling west. "Phantom Actual this is Strike Leader, callsign Badger; we're ready to receive target coordinates, over."

"Roger that, Badger; designating targets now. You have a green light on two T-100 Ogre tanks, targets will be marked."

"Solid copy; paint the target." Nathan aimed his rifle at the disabled T-100. On the right side of the XMX was a laser pointer that doubled as a target designator. He flipped a switch on the device and in mere seconds the coordinates of the steel coffin were transmitted to the vectoring Raptors. One of his men followed suit and painted the second target.

"Okay, we have a positive ID on the targets. Best clear out of there on the double, Captain."

"Wilco, we're getting moving," Martin replied. "Everyone haul ass to the compound!" he ordered them. The five JSF hoped up from cover and ran as fast as they could. Martin checked their flank periodically to make sure the Ogre he had EMP'd hadn't recovered and given chase. It would all be over if the bastard fired from behind and took out the whole squad at once.

"Spread out!" Nathan ordered his men. "Don't give 'em an easy target." At that moment the thunder from the F-22's seemed to reach out and touch Nate and his men. The thunder became a screech as the Raptors soared overhead, both of them releasing a single JDAM on their respective targets. The boom from the explosions left a ringing in their ears, but Martin knew that both of the enemy tanks were history.

They reached the fallback point and Hayder took a moment to observe what was behind them. Several BTR-90s were in hot pursuit, as well as two Mi-28 Havoc gunships. Lucky for them, there was still one anti-aircraft gun operational near the hangar. "Pedersen," He barked. "Get on that AA gun and drop those Havocs before they rip us to pieces."

"Oh, I almost forgot," Nathan said and pulled out the detonator for the explosives attached to the missile batteries. He pulled the trigger, taking out the missiles and ensuring that the Russians wouldn't be able to use them when the reinforcements arrived. "Alright," he said. "Everyone find some cover; we need to hold this position."

"No disrespect," one of them said. "Shouldn't we call the dropship and get the hell out of here? We've done our job; let the army guys handle the rest!"

"Our orders are to hold this position down; we don't leave until the jobs' finished, trooper," Hayder reprimanded the young man. "Although he's probably right," he said to Martin as he walked passed him.

Pedersen manned the AA gun and opened fire on the Havoc gunships. The two helis split formation. As they did, the BTRs rolled up into the compound. Ramirez fired off a rocket which slammed into the front of the lead BTR. The vehicle's front right wheel was blown clean off and the IFV screeched to a halt. The other two BTRs stopped and unloaded eight troops each and laid down suppression fire. Martin upped from cover and fired four times, killing two enemies. The remaining Russians had spread out and found cover, and were taking potshots at Martin and his men while the BTRs provided covering fire.

"Watch Tower what's the status on those reinforcements?" Nate screamed into his helmet mic. There was a pause. A rocket slammed into one of the BTRs, but it was still operational, and therefore, still able to kill.

"Captain I'm out of rockets!" Ramirez said and switched to his silenced Kriss Super V.

"Watch Tower where the FUCK is that armor!" Mere seconds later, one of the Havoc gunships fell out of the sky, slammed into two BTRs, and killed the infantry surrounding them. Nathan had ducked low and covered his head. When he realized that the sound of automatic weapons had subsided, he opened his eyes and looked up. All he could see was a crumbled heap of messed up vehicles, fire and smoke.

"Captain, enemy gunships neutralized," Pedersen reported. The sheer amazement on Ramirez's face turned to a five-mile smile as he began chuckling to himself. "Fuck yeah!" he screamed, now in a state of pure ecstasy. "Holy shit did you see that! Man we kicked their asses! That's why you don't fuck with the JSF, baby!"

"Hey, Captain!" Sophie yelled and pointed west. "Look who decided to show up!" Nathan looked; a thundering horde of Abrams tanks and Humvees rolled into town. The large group pulled up to where Martin and his men had first dug in and opened up on the Russian armor. The Humvees unloaded troops that spread out in every direction. Before long, the Army had secured the town, and was clashing with the Russian fleet offshore.

The two F-22As screamed over the town and went after the enemy ships. They both dropped two bombs each on the Kirov-class Cruiser in the center of the fleet formation, crippling a number of its weapons and speeding off into the sky. At that moment, six Humvees and a pair of tanks rolled up to the compound to meet Captain Martin and his remaining men. Troopers with M416 assault rifles and MK 48 machine guns piled out and began performing various tasks. One of the men approached Captain Martin and saluted him.

"Captain, Lieutenant Volker, Third Armored," the young man introduced himself. "We'll take it from here, sir."

"Very well, Lieutenant," Nathan replied. "She's all yours." The Lieutenant saluted, twisted on his heel and walked away. Captain Martin opened up a new channel to the V-25 Goshawk that had dropped off the squad two hours prior. "Tango X-ray this is Phantom-Actual; mission is complete and we are ready for dust off; approach when ready."

"Wilco, Captain; we're on route to your location. Be ready to go, out." Nathan sat down and rested his rifle on its butt. He sighed. Nine of his men died today; nine families would never see their sons, fathers, or daughters again; daughters because the only other woman in the squad at the time of deployment was Private First-class Julia Ramos, a girl who joined the Marines shortly after her high-school graduation. She was barely twenty one and Martin had to write a letter to her loved ones, telling them how she had died under his command.

"Son of a bitch," he said to himself.

"Is everything okay, Captain?" Hayder approached and asked. He didn't respond. Seconds later, the Goshawk set down on the landing pad and opened its rear bay door. The survivors piled in, the door closed, and the helo took off.

"This is Tango X-ray; we are outbound. Welcome back, gentlemen."

Moscow, New Russian Republic
1500 hours

"General," Colonel Fyodor Savilov spoke. "We lost Colonel Kirelenko, sir." General Sergei Izotov looked up from his desk.

"How did this happen?" he asked.

"His plane was brought down by American Special Forces that had boarded just before takeoff." Izotov shook his head and rubbed his temple.

"And I'm going to assume the weapon was lost with him?"

"The Americans destroyed it before they brought the plane down, sir."

The General sighed. "And so goes our hope of ending the war any time soon," he said and rose from his chair. Looking out of the window in his office, he said "Colonel Kirelenko was a good man; writing the letter to his family will be difficult." It was true. In fact, Izotov was able to recall meeting the idealistic young man several years prior. Kirelenko was one of Izotov's greatest achievements, and one of his favorite subordinates. As a Colonel in the Army, Kirelenko was largely responsible for the success of the South American campaign. Over the course of eight years he supplied and trained the militias of Argentina, Bolivia, Chili, and Venezuela, who played an essential role in fighting the imperialist invaders.

Before the war, the United States occupied a good portion of the continent, after a brief and violent invasion of Venezuela that brought the country to its knees because then-president Hugo Chavez had the courage to resist American influence. He was imprisoned, put on trial, and formally executed for "endangering world peace by destabilizing the South American continent with a grossly inappropriate arms race with Columbia." When the World War Three began, massive uprisings ensued throughout the Latin-American nations, as over the years opposition to American imperialism grew larger and louder.

Kirelenko was also responsible for the reconstruction of the Scalar weapon that was built by Imperial Japan during the Second World War. The "black weapon" used scalar technology to create an immense electromagnetic field that would cripple all electronic devices for nearly five hundred miles. This weapon was only fired once, and the results were so devastating that after the war, the Allies took it upon themselves to dismantle it and scatter the essential mechanisms across the globe. Kirelenko tracked down, reconstructed, and perfected the weapon. His plan was simple; while the United States was busy fighting a war across the globe, Kirelenko would fly his AN-225 over the American mainland, fire the weapon, and bring the United States to its knees. Without their greatest ally, the European Federation would fall soon after, ending the war, and the globalist dream of the New World Order; but now that man was dead, the weapon destroyed, and once again the end of the war was nowhere in sight.

"There is some good news, though," Savilov told him. "Our spy satellites are showing American forces retreating across South America. One more push should kick them out for good."

"Indeed," Izotov replied. "While this will surely be a major victory for us, we have still lost our trump card."

"It is still possible to win the war, General."

"Yes, but at the cost of millions of more lives and many years of fighting. Without the weapon, the balance of this conflict has tipped in favor of the New World Order…but perhaps there is another way."

"Sir?" the Colonel asked. General Izotov remembered all of the super weapon designs he and his officers had discussed during the pre-war period. He remembered them talking about designs for an antimatter weapon; one of vast, horrifying power. The lack of research and funding doomed the project, but Izotov had kept the details on file…just incase.

"What are your plans this afternoon, Colonel?"

"I was going to visit my men fighting in West Poland. Why, sir?"

"Perhaps you would join me for lunch with Major General Tatarev at Vogue Café this afternoon?"

"I'd be honored, sir," Savilov correctly replied.

"Then I will see you in one hour, Colonel. And thank you for the news."

"Absolutely, General; I thank you for your time." The two men saluted, and Savilov left the General's office. As he left, he played the whole conversation again and again in his head. He had never been particularly close with General Izotov, but now he was going to meet up with him for lunch, something the General rarely offered save for his highest-ranking and most trusted officers. Perhaps this would be a new beginning for the Colonel; maybe if he did well enough he would get that promotion that had evaded him for so many years. Either way, this opportunity could only further Savilov's already distinguished career…he just hoped he wouldn't screw it up.

Paris, European Federation

1550 hours

The Kommandos lined the streets around the Élysée Palace, riot shields up and weapons at the ready. In front of them, a massive crowd of enraged citizens gathered to protest their government's war against Russia. The sounds of the growing crowd had become deafening. They waved signs that read like "Our men and women know the definition of unity…in death." Or "My son died for your cause." These, however, didn't faze the Enforcers at all. They stood, cold as stone, ready to do what was expected of them at a moment's notice. At their sides were multiple-grenade launchers, E3000 bullpup assault rifles chambered with rubber bullets, and advanced taser systems. The local police forces had donated sound cannons and active denial systems to disperse the crowd, but to no effect. The citizens of Europe were furious, and they were determined to get their point across.

They saw passed the façade, the curtain that the government had tried to pull over their eyes for so long. The Feds instigated a war with Russia, spied on European citizens, shut down anti-government websites, incarcerated the innocent, and this was the consequence; almost a million Europeans peacefully protesting for the same cause; freedom from a tyrannical government.

This was not the only place that protests occurred. On this day citizens were protesting in Essen, Germany; Barcelona, Spain; and Lublin, Poland, just to name a few. In the past two years, the Enforcer Corps had subdued every major protest and riot small and large. Some people had died along the way, and many more severely injured, and while that didn't stop people from expressing their anger and disapproval, the responses grew increasingly harsh, sometimes even violating human rights laws. Any viral videos or images showcasing police and Enforcer brutality were destroyed by the European government. The media did everything they could to guise the protests as isolated incidents, and for a time, it worked. However, too many people had grown tired of their government interfering with their personal lives; all of the ridiculous security at every road block and airport; being under constant government surveillance and having agents come to their homes to question them; being afraid to speak their minds for fear of incarceration or being put on a government watch list…all from a regime designed to better protect the peoples of Europe.

As the thundering roar of the crowd echoed through the streets, the men and women of the Enforcer Corps 20th Assault battalion stood ever vigilant. The protestors had bats, lead pipes, and other improvised weapons. Still, the Enforcers were unfazed. They came from elite terrorist fighting organizations and Special Forces from across Europe; all of them had seen their fair share of brutal street fighting; a protest, even one as large as this, was no challenge.

Colonel Hans Jaeger observed the protest from the safety of his LV-20 Charlemagne command-support vehicle. At that moment he decided that this protest needed to end. He opened a COMM and issued the order. "Captain this is Hardwire; you have permission to suppress the crowd, non-lethal weaponry only; I want zero penetrations, is that understood?"

"Understood, Colonel," Captain Jun Gaudet replied; his French accent enveloped every word. "This won't take long." The Captain moved to the front of the line of his men. "Make ready!" he barked. The Enforcers primed their MGLs and positioned their riot shields to the front. They stomped their left foot to signal the crowd that things were about to get ugly.

"Take aim!" The protestors grew anxious and panicky as some of them braced for what was about to happen. Some of them held their ground with their improvised weapons in hand and a look of fierce opposition in their eyes. Others shook nervously and moved about, some of them getting the hell out of dodge and trying to flee in their panic.

"Fire!" the Captain ordered. A barrage of smoke grenades arced and detonated at the front of the mob. Through their heat-vision goggles the Enforcers could see the crowd beginning to disperse, but a great majority was still present. They fired another salvo, and this time the grenades exploded inside the crowd. The Enforcers swapped their MGLs and swung their E3000 rifles to bear, and opened fire. A hail of rubber bullets impacted flesh and fractured bone. Using the surgical precision they had been known for, when utilizing rubber bullets, the Enforcers never aimed for the head. The crowd was on the run, but still, nearly two thirds of them remained.

"Move in!" Gaudet ordered. The menacing line of Enforcers grabbed their batons and charged at those foolish enough to stand and fight. At that moment, a medieval-style brawl broke out in the streets of the nation's capitol. Hundreds of protestors clashed with Enforcers, bats flying, bones breaking and blood spilling. The sound cannons blared and active denial systems split the crowds in two. Enforcers clad in their blue urban camouflage and gear surrounded and isolated individual groups, using tasers, batons, or their fists to break the crowd. All Enforcers were experts in hand-to-hand fighting; any attempt to fight them head-on faltered immediately.

Colonel Jaeger viewed the brawl through a drone camera. His men had policed more than a hundred people. They dragged the protestors off by their necks and threw them into Badger IFVs. He typed in a few keys and on his monitor, another camera opened, this one being broadcast from one of his men's helmets. A line of Enforcers pumped gas grenades into their rifles under slung launchers and fired. They moved in and beat the protestors into submission, policing them in mere seconds.

"Congratulations, Colonel," one of the operators inside the command vehicle said. "That's one for the books."

"Colonel, General Matz is hailing us; patching him through now." On the main view screen, General Alexis Matz appeared. One of the greatest, most intelligent Generals in the European Military, Matz was well known for his stern, cold conviction. His eyes showed no emotion; when he spoke the air became frigid and uncomfortable; even seasoned veterans felt a chill when Matz spoke. He showed no remorse for the enemies he slaughtered in every engagement; he had never lost a battle. His victories at the battles of Bergen, Katowice and Rovaniemi were considered "extreme decisive victories"—in other words, perfect; and he knew it as well; they didn't call his battalion of hand-picked veterans "the Edge of Europa's Sword" for nothing.

"General Matz," Jaeger spoke. "To what do I owe such an honor?"

"Colonel, I came to congratulate you on your excellent job putting down this protest," he said to the extreme surprise of everyone in the vehicle. "Riot control is an ugly business, and I believe you are not receiving the recognition you deserve."

Colonel Jaeger was speechless. Was this really happening? Was he dreaming? This was General Alexis Matz, and he was griping…and to a Colonel no less!

"I don't know what to say sir," Hans told the truth. "But I'm honored."

"I've been reviewing the reports of your previous missions; a commander of such caliber is far too overqualified to be containing protests for the rest of the war…how would you like a change of scenery?"

"I'm all ears."

"Command is planning a massive operation; General De Bankole is working with Grégoire DeLacour of the Army on a plan to reclaim lost territory from the Russians. I and other high-ranking officials will be meeting in three days in Copenhagen to flesh out and finalize our strategy; I'd like you to be there, Colonel." Jaeger was stunned. He was barely able to speak.

"Me, sir?" he asked.

"You're the best choice by far," Matz replied. "Are you up for it, Colonel Jaeger? Are you willing to do what is necessary to win this war?"

"Always, sir…no matter what it takes."

"Very well; then I will see you in three days; a chopper will fly you from your headquarters to Denmark in two days time. I look forward to seeing you, Colonel." The screen went black, and Colonel Jaeger could barely contemplate what had just happened. He was paralyzed…and he couldn't help but recoil at some of his words…had he known General Matz's intentions, he would have chosen them more carefully. Still, he was going to be part of an elite circle of men and women who would decide the outcome of the war, and that meant lots of time in front of the camera…and the higher-ups! Now was his chance to make a real name for himself.

He leaned back in the chair with his hands behind his head. He looked through the various helmet feeds to see that the protest had been put to an end. The last of the protestors were handcuffed, sitting against a wall awaiting the arrival of APCs that would take them to jail. In a way, Hans felt a bit sorry for those young men and women; those who so bravely stood up despite odds being heavily against them; not to mention the corporate-controlled media demonizing them as terrorists, criminals, extremists and, on one occasion, undesirables. But that was the price the people paid for the increased security they had asked for. They wanted a common currency, they got it; they wanted a unified European government, they got it; they wanted a common military composed of the armies of the EU's old member states, and they got it. Hell, they got a whole damn country out of the deal. They wanted it, and the governments of Europe were happy to deliver.

Colonel Jaeger closed the monitor. "Lieutenant; radio all units and tell them to start packing up. The police can take it from here."

"Roger that, sir," Lieutenant Carmela Vasquez replied. "And may I say, sir; congratulations." Jaeger allowed himself a humble smile. Things were making a turn for the better…for him at least. On the larger scale, the war was escalating, and fighting was going to become vicious over the next six weeks as both sides were about to clash for vital territories; capital cities were going to be sacked, millions of lives lost, and little did anyone know, the fate of mankind would be decided. It was all a matter of who made the first move.

This marks my triumphant return! At the time I posted this, chapter two is already being written, and as we speak I'm working on ideas for chapter three! On a note to my more recent readers; don't give up hope for my Ace Combat fictions; a recent revival in my love for the series has spawned some new ideas and possibly (but far far FAR from definatley) a REMAKE of Paradox Crisis! As always, reviews and constructive criticism are highly appreciated.

Sincerely- Thomas John.