【Opening Theme: youtube[[dot]]com[[slash]]watch?v=8cYbuk0qdFk】
Tatsu: "Why humankind always wants to break free from gravity?"
Ryuji: "Because human are born with wings, son."
Makoto: "And for we human, gravity is nothing."
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—Talon of Ruin—
Location: Valais Air Force Base, Tyrann Mountains, Republic of Ustio, Planet Strangereal
Longitude: 239 Degree 31 Minute 24 Second East
Latitude: 20 Degree 04 Minute 08 Second North
Local Time & Date: 14:30, December 25th, 1995
Local Weather Condition: Clear
Mission briefing room is located beneath ground, B6 Floor. Only one pilot sits lonely inside this dimension, seems he is waiting for someone.
Entrance opens, a man in military officer's suit walks in with hurry, pilot stands up, facing the incomer. The two salute to each other then shake hands.
(speaking in Ukrainian) "Merry Christmas, Mr. Makoto Ito. Maybe you prefer I address you by your callsign during the Belkan War 'Galm One' or 'Cipher'." This military officer is the representative of Makoto's former employer, Ustian Air Force, before he went to defeat coup d'etat terrorists in Republic of Kaluga with another callsign "Phoenix One". "We appreciate you come back to assist us at this tough, if not toughest, hour."
Makoto (speaking in Ukrainian): "Merry Christmas, major general, just call me 'Galm One' or 'Cipher' is fine. Please brief the situation."
Major General: "Right away, Cipher." He moves to control console, logs in, inserts a small, cassette-shaped storage device into a slot, a gigantic video-screen build in the wall is lit. "As you know, on June 20th, the armistice treaty had been signed at City of Lumen, officially ended Belkan War as allied victory." Video-screen flashes footage of negotiation between allied countries and Principality of Belka, ceremony of armistice treaty's establishment in a manner of documentary.
"But a few extreme left-wing and right-wing Belkan military remnants refused to admit the treaty and refused to be disarmed, they rallied together in coastal city Anfang, in an attempt to foil the treaty signing and overthrow interim government of Belka at the same day. That was why allied force initiated 'Operation Broom' to defeat them, this operation was completely carried out by mercenary assets, and was the last operation you participated in the war." Video-screen flashes footage of the intense air, land, sea battle of aforementioned military operation.
"In your report, you indicated those extreme dissidents are too numerous to be recognized as 'a few', and they were also too well-equipped to be recognized as 'remnants'. Actually after months of intelligence development, we found those Belkan militants are not merely some factions unwilling to admit principality's defeat, but had formed a militarized terrorist group 'A World with No Boundaries'. During the past months, they went well-hiding from our search and destroy efforts, but their influence had been already spread to entire region once covered by the war. It is assumed they get a hold on many advanced military assets owned by former Belkan government, including some experimental technologies and non-conventional armaments like BC weapons." Video-screen flashes footage of some sneak actions of A World with No Boundaries.
Makoto: "Is there any possibilities for them to access nuclear arsenal, general?"
Major General: "Highly possible. And once they emerge and attack, one can only image the devastation they can inflict. That's why we need you here, judging from your combat records throughout Belkan War's course, Allied Central Command cited you as 'an indispensable component in this war' despite your mercenary identification, so we probably only can rely on you should anything unfavorable happens." Video-screen flashes Makoto's combat records in Belkan War, then images of medals awarded by Allied Central Command so far, 13 in total. Including an Order of Deliverance Bell, an Order of Guardian, an Order of Broken Sword, an Order of Bronze Ace, an Order of Silver Ace, an Order of Golden Ace, an Order of Platinum Ace, an Order of Diamond Ace, an Order of Marksman, an Order of Sharpshooter, an Order of Expert Marksman, an Order of Sniper, an Order of Master Sniper.
Makoto: "I'm honored and definitely to give you both hands."
Major General: "I hereby to represent government of Ustian Republic and Allied Central Command to express our gratitude, and we're expecting your constant exceptional performance on battlefield. One more thing, since your friend Larry Foulke 'Solo Wing Pixy' went MIA during Operation Ravage, you had no wingman till now, although it is not against discipline to be a lonely Simo Häyhä, but I still suggest getting someone flies by your wing. So I have some candidates for selection, how about Patrick James Beckett 'PJ' from 6th Air Division 4th Air Force Unit 'Crow Squadron'? You two are not very unfamiliar to each other." Video-screen flashes profiles and combat records of some pilots of allied force, mostly Ustian Air Force pilots.
Makoto: "Ні (lit. No in Ukrainian), I prefer sortie alone for the time being. Still, thank you general."
Major General: "Since you say so…" He logs off system, turns off screen and pulls out cassette storage device. "That's all I need to say for now, dism…" Before "dismiss" is completely pronounced, a tremendous external oscillation runs through briefing room with deafening blare, although both of them are not generated by a magnitude 10 earthquake like the one struck Japan on March 11th 2011, but feel similar. All lights go off with the shockwave and air-raid alarm begins.
Makoto immediately takes out two flashlights, turns them on, handles one to major general. They rushes out from briefing room—luckily the door has its own independent power source. Corridor is lit by emergency lighting, personnel in different uniforms are running back and forth with or without a purpose. Some of them are with fire extinguishers or first-aid kits.
Makoto stops one who seems running without a purpose: "What happened?"
Utility Man A: "We're being bombarded!"
Makoto: "By whom?"
Utility Man A: "Don't know! Just a howl in sky, then everything goes white. Now if you excuse me, I have some fires to put out."
Makoto: "Sorry, you go on." Major general had already gone to assume his emergency post with running, Makoto, in contrary, walks composedly to another direction: "Burst weaponry technology, Belka-originated."
Emergency broadcast is sounded: "This is acting base commander to all personnel, broadcasting from second control tower. We are under long-range artillery cannonade from unknown, large-sized enemy craft, it has strong ECM and ECCM capabilities, we can't retaliate by SAM and AA gun. Ground facilities suffered serious damage, first control tower is knocked out…"
Whispers emerge from background: "Unknown, large-sized craft?" "Is that a UFO?" etc.
Emergency broadcast: "We got visual confirmation of enemy craft by optical telescope…it is huge…flat…black-colored…looks like a boomerang but the size is expanded to thousands of times…what's that flash? Oh no! Brace for impact!" Broadcast ends in static noise as another tremendous external oscillation comes with loud bang.
Makoto reaches an electronically locked door, although most of the base's power is gone, but thanks to military-level design, many doors and elevators are self-powered. He swings access card and inputs password to the lock panel beside doorframe.
It is a hangar build underground, although its size is more than sufficient for a tactical fighter squadron, but the reality is only one aircraft is parked inside. A modified MiG-21bis Балала́йка (lit. Balalaika in Ukrainian), specially crafted and customized by Makoto himself and he nicknamed it as "Спис Лонгина (lit. Spear of Destiny in Ukrainian)", although being an antitheist, it never hampers him from using religious and mythological vocabularies for naming and metaphor. Makoto had piloted this aircraft throughout entire Belkan War and Kaluga Coup D'etat Crisis, defeated more than one hundred hostile ace pilots and never got a scratch. Now it had already been painted back to old scheme of the leader of Ustian Air Force 6th Air Division, 66th Air Force Unit "Galm Squadron"—majority of surface is pure-white, only outboard halves of main wings and empennages are blue with Ustian Air Force's emblem. On the vertical tail there is the insignia of Galm Squadron—an orange ring with a scarlet-skin, flame-shaped-tailed, chained hell hound with a spiky nuchal-ring, as well as two pentagrams, typefaces of "Ґарм" and "66 ПС Авіакрило" can be found on orange ring and an extended part under it, all in capital letters. This insignia is quite self-explanatory, since "Ґарм" is Ukrainian for "Galm" or "Garmr", a blood-stained hound guards inferno's gate in Norse mythology.
"My first prom after returning to UAF begins." Makoto enters cockpit, buckles up and puts on helmet, runs through self-diagnose sequence in a few seconds. "Girl, care for a dance? Maybe we'll tango today instead of waltz." He clicks on instrument panel, activates the holographic HUD, the music player, as well as communicator to inform remaining base command personnel to open blast gate of tunnel-runway.
Valais Air Force Base is constructed on highland among several mountains, so the "underground structure" is actually hundreds, if not over one thousand, meters above sea level, so a tunnel opens on side of the mountain, functions like a hidden runway is built, which Makoto can take off from even entire surface complex is reduced to rubble. In fact, all base structures above ground had been reduced to heaps of smoking ruins and the two runways for daily taking off and landing are not usable.
Valais Air Force Base (major general's voice): "Galm One, Cipher, can you hear me? This is Valais Base, all systems, except communications are offline, what we can do is telling you an flying battleship of unknown hostile affiliation flew by our airspace to southwest with high speed, bearing 235. During the progress, it launched an airstrike on the base and inflicted severe damage, destroyed anything on the ground, so the rest is on your own, you're our only hope to destroy that monster, out."
Makoto: "Affirmative. May the Force be with us." Hits on afterburner.
After a few minutes of pursuit, over the snowy and glacier-covered Waldreich Mountains, Makoto is catching up to the primary target: "Cipher to Valais Air Base, visual confirmation on target via binocular, distance 100 kilometers and closing."
Valais Air Base: "Good. We had requested Osean Heierlark Air Force Base to take over the in-flight briefing and ground commanding role, I'm patching them in."
Heierlark Air Force Base: "This is Heierlark Air Force Base of Osean Federation, leader of UAF 6th Air Division 66th Air Force Unit, personal callsign 'Cipher', can you hear me?"
Makoto (speaking in English): "Loud and clear. You can communicate me in English, Heierlark Base."
Heierlark Air Force Base (speaking in English): "Good. Now listen carefully, the gigantic aircraft you're after is a prototype miniature-fission-reactor-powered airborne stronghold secretly built by Belkan Air Force during the war, codenamed 'XB-0 Hresvelgr (lit. Corpse Swallower in Swedish)'. Now it is commanded by A World with No Boundaries' operatives, according to our detection and evaluation, it is heading to Lumen, so you must stop it at all costs, after its destructive power is demonstrated over Valais Air Force Base. Hresvelgr has a high-output ECM and ECCM system onboard, armed with batteries of missile launchers, AA guns and bomb bays, plus a single-barrel main cannon with caliber of warship-artillery, capable of firing large-sized shells based on Burst weaponry technology. Its internal hangar can contain up to fifty air superiority fighters. I know even for you it can be challenging, but if you can't stop it, no others can, happy hunting sonny." A detailed holographic outside view of XB-0 Hresvelgr is transmitted to on-board computer and is project in cockpit.
Makoto: "Call me 'Cipher' or 'Galm One' is just fine." His radar screen is covered by an opaque blur of interference, indicates he has entered strong hostile ECM range, namely from Hresvelgr.
In Hresvelgr's bridge, a sensor operator reports to captain (speaking in German): "Captain, long-range sensor detects a fast-approaching Ustian fighter at bearing 60, speed 2480, altitude 2883, distance 90 kilometers and closing. It is a fossilized MiG-21bis, but the configuration is somehow strange." As he says one of the big screens hanging above is displaying such information.
Hresvelgr Captain: "Give me an optical visual."
Hresvelgr Crew: "Aye, sir."
One of the rear-oriented camera installed on Hresvelgr is activated, points to the appropriate direction. High-res footages are transmitted back to bridge.
Hresvelgr Captain: "Magnify, magnify, magnify…that insignia…it's him!" He issues emergency commands: "Red alert! Full speed ahead! Increase jamming output and activate every defense emplacement! Scramble all escort fighters in hangar bay, take off ASAP!"
Adjutant Captain of Hresvelgr: "Send them all out? Sir, with due respect, that will be too overkill to deal with a single, old-fossil tactical fighter of 3rd generation."
Hresvelgr Captain: "Because that one is special. He pulled out the mighty Excalibur in Tauberg and destroyed four ace squadrons in a single skirmish over B7R! In a single, old-fossil tactical fighter of 3rd generation."
Adjutant Captain: "Sir, you can't be serious, so he is the…"
Hresvelgr Captain: "The White Azrael above Directus, The Demon Lord of the Round Table. We're definitely screwed this time. Send reinforcement request to our comrades, are the escorts ready to launch now?"
Makoto: "Here comes the welcome committee. Multiple MiG-29A Type-III." Although radar and infrared sensors are under powerful jamming, but as a pilot, "eyes like an eagle" is one of fundamental skills, not to mention being a flying ace. He pushes a button labeled "Озброєння Вимикач (lit. Armament Switch in Ukrainian)", immediately, a scheme of his aircraft is shown on main screen and on HUD as a hologram, highlighting all available weapons, information regarding those weaponry and ammunitions' natures and states are also displayed. This personally crafted and modified MiG-21bis is armed with three 30mm Nudelman-Rikhter NR-30 single-barrel autocannons with 1500 rounds of steel-core armor-piercing slugs for each, one is integrated into main structure, right under the rear of nose, the other two are in form of gunpods, hanging under larboard wing and starboard wing respectively, there is also an external large-caliber single-barrel gunpod under belly with 1500 rounds of exceptional powerful kinetic energy penetration-burst shells, plus a load of 60 rounds of R-60M missiles, much more than enough for Makoto to exterminate all hostiles in mission area. "First dance." He selects another album from music player's databank as entering the confrontation, maybe he's the only pilot who can enjoy classical music simultaneously while participating in a dogfight.
【BGM Starts: Sonata No. 7 in C major, K309 (284b), composed by W.A. Mozart】
MiG-29A formation launches a barrage of R-33Es, then a barrage of R-60M when they're close enough. Makoto takes quick evasive counter-maneuvers, using a series of swift leftward and rightward barrel rolls, dodges all incoming fires. Both sides overfly through each other, and a couple of seconds later, one MiG-29A, which happened overflew right beside Makoto's MiG-21bis, explodes, apparently he nailed a slug precisely into its canopy at the blink second when they flyby each other. In the twinkling, Makoto rolls inverse and executes a fast Split S Maneuver, grasps another bandit's tail.
In Hresvelgr's bridge, bad news keeps coming: "We lost the second escort fighter!" "Two more are shot down!" "At this rate, all escorts will be annihilated soon!"
Hresvelgr Captain: "Where are reinforcements?"
Adjutant Captain: "Espada Squadron is on the way at maximum speed, they're coming with best air-superiority fighters so far, an S-32 Type-0 and a Su-47 Type-0, ETA twenty minutes."
Hresvelgr Captain: "Only one squadron responded? Far less to face demon lord even with hardware of that tier."
Adjutant Captain: "They are the nearest comrades can arrive in time. Besides most of our organization's assets had been relocated to Avalon Dam for the final act."
Hresvelgr Captain: "So we are on our own. We should never slingshot that Ustio hornet nest, now the most poisonous hornet is coming to us."
Makoto compels several MiG-29As to low altitude, into valleys among snowy mountains. A suicidal cat-and-mouse in such a constrained and twisty space—yet way insufficient suicidal for someone. One MiG-29A which happens right being chased by him falls victim to his skill, one of two engines is blown open, the aircraft itself plunged into mountain side due to sudden, unintended dynamic unbalance. Another MiG-29A, which happens to be positioned right in front of previous one, hurries to pull out to higher altitude, this becomes its ultimate undoing, since Makoto pitches up simultaneously for an appropriate angle and punctures through its back and belly with a large-caliber powerful shell.
As Makoto proceeds to get the third prey in the valley, flies through continuous deadly bends. A group MiG-29As appears behind him in high, above mountains, and launch missile barrages, but all overshoot or impact on ground harmlessly as he decelerates to perform a high-g Immelmann turn upwards — not before disposes intended target — and follows with an immediate sideward canopy roll. Makoto charges directly to enemy group with maximum afterburner, MiG-29As launch more salvos of missiles and gunfire, all but missed by his consecutive quick maneuvers, much to their horror. They breaks off to different directions for none of them wants to be used as an exhibition of high-speed, high-g target practice, but they're doomed anyways, Makoto begins to chase and eradicate them one after another, entire sector of mountain range is scattered with shredded wreckage and debris which are still smoking, quite contrary to layers of snow and ice. Communication is filled with chaotic, desperate yelling:
"He is on my tail! Ouch! He's biting my… (communication lost)"
"You killed my friend! I'm gonna kill you for… (communication lost simultaneously with an explosion noise)"
"(crying tone) Damn it! Damn it! That mercenary bastard! (noises of aircraft taking damage then communication lost)"
"We're totally no match for him! Run for it! (screams and communication lost)"
Makoto is in close pursuit after the last remaining bandit, enemy pilot controls his MiG-29A flies as fast as he can, while breaks hard to every direction where he thinks possible to avoid the life-hunter who is only dozens of meters behind him. However his fate had already been fixed, feels had enough fun of chasing, Makoto fires a shot.
Slow-Motion: A large-caliber slug is launched from muzzle of the gunpod under MiG-21bis' belly with a thin smoke trail, dashes point-blank to MiG-29A's fuselage's back, crushes armor-plate, digs right into the center of structure, explodes. MiG-29A's fragments disintegrate one by one, wings, nose, vertical tails…drift into atmosphere and reduce to nothingness.
Less than timespan of a three-movement piano sonata, all escorts are decimated. Makoto now moves to deliver destructive blows to the monstrous bird…or bat or moth or something else.
Voice with severe interference comes through radio: "… (static) …Cipher… (static) …this is Heierlark Base, please respond…"
Makoto: "This is Cipher, Heierlark Base. Both visual and audio have break-ups, but I can still pick you up, please go ahead."
Heierlark Air Force Base: "… (static) …we increased power output to break into jamming field... (static) …according to the blueprint we acquired… (static) …Hresvelgr's mega-structure is super-heavily armored… (static) …your conventional weaponry is ineffective… (static) …we are trying to pinpoint it then use a ballistic missile…(static) …but the jammer… (static) …" Onboard projector is showing a blurred hologram, that's Heierlark Air Force Base attempting to transmit detailed schematic of Hresvelgr.
Makoto: "Understood. I'll find another way to dismantle it."
Heierlark Air Force Base: "… (static) …sorry for cannot help you… (static) …"
Makoto: "Interference too strong, I'll contact you later." As he is getting closer to primary target, two more flying objects enter this airspace from south, with maximum afterburner. An S-32 Type-0 and a Su-47 Berkut Type-0, their insignia generally resembles a shield, has a cyan edge, blood-red basic color with tilted yellow cross, in front of the shield there is a scarlet bull with two swords stabbed in its back, above and under the picture are typefaces of "Espada (lit. Sword in Spanish)" and "Real Fuerza Aérea Noveno Aire y Tierra División Undécimo Escuadrón de Combate Táctico (lit. Royal Air Force 9th Air & Land Division 11th Tactical Fighter Squadron in Spanish)" respectively. It's oblivious many military personal from allied countries also share the ideal of A World with No Boundaries and had joined them.
In the S-32's cockpit is the leader of Espada Squadron, Espada One, the name is Warren Smith, ace pilot of Kingdom of Sapin Royal Air Force, the rank is captain. His brief kill records during Belkan War include 86 fixed-wing aircrafts, 20 helicopters and tiltrotor aircrafts, 45 ground vehicles, 63 ground facilities, 12 vessels.
Warren (speaking in Spanish): "I can't believe they're even incapable to get rid of a single, outdated tactical fighter which should be concealed in an aviation museum, and ask us to reinforce with best hardware. This is too ridicules."
Espada Two, another ace pilot of Sapin Royal Air Force, Captain Rachel, who is piloting the Su-47: "Believe it, Espada One. They bumped into The Demon Lord of the Round Table. I thought that ace had left Ustian Air Force after Belka surrendered, never expect he is still active somewhere around." Her brief kill records during Belkan War include 77 fixed-wing aircrafts, 21 helicopters and tiltrotor aircrafts, 36 ground vehicles, 24 ground facilities, 10 vessels.
Warren: "C'mon, you also get brainwashed by those concocted stories? There is no such 'demon lord' thingy, just another made-up battlefield legend."
Rachel: "So how do you explain a mysteries soviet Balalaika vanquished four Belkan ace squadrons single-handedly in airspace of Area B7R during Operation Battle-Axe, and the same mysteries Balalaika smashed that colossal chemical gas laser tower in Operation Judgement alone? There were witnesses, dozens of them."
Warren: "Then we will confirm the true or false of that so-called demon lord's existence with our own eyes, and end his existence for good with our own hands."
Rachel (murmuring): "Why I sense this will be our last sortie in our lifetime?"
Warren: "What did you say?"
Rachel: "No…nothing...hey, there he is."
Warren: "I'll feel guilty to take him out in an S-32. All right, since we are electronic low observable, let's sneak up from six o'clock, assassinate him by R-73M. End of the story, end of so-called demon lord."
Rachel: "That's not a knight's routine."
Warren: "Never use knight's routine on mercenaries, they know no honor."
Makoto is still pushing forward to catch up Hresvelgr, Espada Squadron is approaching silently from dead behind. When the distance is shortened to less than three kilometers, they fire four R-73Ms, which will result an instant kill.
But that expected instant kill never happens, to Espada Squadron's astonishment, MiG-21bis takes a super-fast upward canopy roll promptly followed by a loose, quick upward loop maneuver, repositions itself behind the formation in less than seven seconds, not to mention safely dodged all incoming firepower. Warren and Rachel break into dogfight, trying to regain an angle suitable for further attack. With confirmation of their Sapin Royal Air Force identification, Makoto doesn't return fire, only evades again and again, meanwhile communicates them via shared channel used by allied force to tell them to stand down.
Makoto (speaking in Spanish): "Ustian Air Force 6th Air Division, 66th Air Force Unit to Sapin squadron, please disengage immediately. You're attacking friendly force." As he dodges their cross-gunfire.
No response, it is for sure that both of Espada Squadron's pilots are receiving Makoto's transmission perfectly, but they will not reply and comply, for they're with A World with No Boundaries and they don't want to expose their voice patterns.
Makoto: "Ustian Air Force 6th Air Division, 66th Air Force Unit to Sapin squadron, you're impeding an essential mission of allied force, please disengage immediately." As he executes a barrel roll, makes two aggressors overshoot him.
Warren: "He can predict every movement I'm going to use! Is he a Jedi Knight or something?" That pesky MiG-21bis Balalaika is performing various and continuous counter-maneuvers accurately and inexhaustibly. All his missiles and bullets end up in waste.
Rachel is also wasting ammunition on the target that she can never hit: "Get your self-esteem insulted Espada One? I told you The Demon Lord of the Round Table exists, it's time to believe it."
Warren: "Not before I get shot down, and I'll shoot him down first to prove his inexistence!" He attempts another strike by struggles to grip an appropriate angle, but the target jumps off from his attack scope in a lightning speed. "Why you little…" He can't help to curse someone.
Makoto: "Ustian Air Force 6th Air Division, 66th Air Force Unit to Sapin squadron, this is the last warning to you, please disengage immediately or I will resort in violent solution." After an appropriate duration of waiting, he says: "Ustian Air Force 6th Air Division, 66th Air Force Unit to Sapin squadron, please pardon my following actions, I must do what must be done."
Makoto executes a "deceleration burst" and rolls his aircraft for 90 degrees simultaneously, right slips through the narrow gap between Espada One and Espada Two, and immediately levels back to horizontal. Taken by surprise, Espada Squadron splits again, turn hard to prevent being attacked from rear. Makoto takes a high yo-yo maneuver, grips the position behind Su-47. Su-47 attempts a cobra maneuver, but Makoto simultaneously acts an appropriately oriented and timed loop maneuver, makes Su-47's underside completely exposed to his firepower, then he precisely fires a shot into bandit's belly.
Rachel: "I'm hit!"
Warren: "Report your damage situation, Espada Two!"
Rachel: "Why don't you come here and look by yourself? Fuel cell units are out...losing power...I'm bailing out!" She ejects, as her cease-functioning fighter goes down with a trail of smoke. "It's a pleasure to engage you in a dogfight, demon lord, even I'm defeated." She says to herself as parachute deploys.
An enraged Warren continues to fight that incredibly dexterous MiG-21bis which have just shot down his wingman. But the battle ends in seconds, Makoto deliberately lets Warren occupies attack position behind him, then takes a swift, tight, upward loop maneuver, aims on will-be-scrapped S-32 during the process. "What the…" Warren looks blank-minded to the overturning MiG-21bis, nothing he can do but wait for a flash on its muzzles that will declare his certain perishment.
Although holds the perfect line of fire, but Makoto doesn't slug a round into S-32's cockpit, after all, they were once fight together against Principality of Belka (even they never meet each other before). Instead, he delays the attack for less than one second, fires one shot simultaneity from each of the couple of gunpods hanging under his wings, direct hit on bandit's two engines respectively.
Oscillation generated by both engines' explosions wakes Warren up, the first thing he do is checking on his aircraft's status: "Engines…dead…controls…almost not responding…speed…decreasing…altitude…dropping…" Actually the engines' explosions had taken entire rear half of S-32's airframe.
Rachel is mocking Warren via her com-link: "Shot down dishonorably by a mercenary lowlife in outdated tactical fighter which should be concealed in an aviation museum? Now you had paid the price of disrespect The Demon Lord of the Round Table. I don't think you want to record it and tell about it to your children as bedtime story—if you'll have children in future, that is."
Warren: "Shut up! I'm bailing out." He pulls ejection lever, nothing happens: "Damn it…"
Rachel: "What's wrong? Still want to look around in the cockpit for one more eye? Bail out Espada One!"
Warren: "I can't…the canopy doesn't blow off!"
Rachel (horrified tone): "Keep trying!"
Warren (frustrated tone): "I'm pulling with all strength by both hands, nothing."
Rachel: "Use your sidearm to shoot it out!" Actually both of them know common military pistols and sub-machineguns cannot leave a scratch on canopy even fire at zero-distance, well, at least they can try.
Warren seems composed to his imminent fate: "Listen Espada Two, here is something very important I want to tell you…if there's some miracle to enable me survive this, I'll immediately take you to marriage…"
Rachel (sobbing tone): "I know…please, do everything you can to…oh no! He's coming at you!"
"That damn Soviet Balalaika…" From Warren's angle, a MiG-21bis charges straight to him in high velocity, and fires while breaking away, an absolutely accurate shot, blows off canopy, his seat ejects out.
Rachel: "Don't forget what you just said, Espada One."
Warren: "Why I don't feel happy about surviving this?" As his parachute deploys.
"May the Force be with you pal—even you tried to drag my mission." Now Makoto had knocked all spoilers out of game, so he can concentrate to dismantle that gigantic flying battleship with the name Hresvelgr. He chooses another album from databank.
【BGM Starts: Movement III of Piano Concerto No. 17 in G Major, composed by W.A. Mozart】
"Impressive machinery, but not impressive enough." After another fast-forward pursuit, Makoto can observe this giant airborne vehicle, which is flying, or fleeing with supersonic speed, in details by his naked eyes. It has a pair of wide-span wings, resemble shape of boomerang, huge main engine groups, each of them contains three units and arranged horizontally, is installed on sectors close to Hresvelgr's main body respectively. The middle sector of Hresvelgr, or the main airframe, is over three times thicker than its wings and is extensively long, for containing bridge, reactor, hangar, and other important compartments. The tail of main airframe is extended even longer, and is divided into three sub-sectors horizontally, the middle sub-sector is wide and swelling—can be assumed it is where hangar is located, both side sub-sectors are very thin, and installed with empennage.
A dozen of missiles are launched from Hresvelgr, Makoto dodges them by a downward canopy roll. How long will it take for them to understand if a pilot can weave through laser beams and knock out Excalibur with complete impunity, then he/she is definitely immune to just a handful of missiles. Or maybe they know this very well, just cast off weights as well as press some luck. Makoto passes by Hresvelgr from below, avoids its gun turrets installed on sides of belly. Then a sharp Immelmann turn in front of its bridge, flies past its upside, almost grazes its hull, at such a close distance, all guns and missiles are useless, the turrets on end of wings attempt to turn inside and fire, only hit on Hresvelgr itself, which should be protected by them. In the following moment, Makoto flies around this bulky piece of military hardware, in a generally erratic and circling path, prevent himself from getting hit and in turn, takes out Hresvelgr's defense emplacements one by one with pinpoint shots. Soon all defenses in sight are destroyed, good for him, bad for enemies.
Hresvelgr Crew: "Level One of defense is down, engaging Level Two, shut down sector C1, D4…"
"Fire starts from Vault 3! Pressure is dropping…"
"Send in damage control teams! Switch hydraulic system to line B!"
Level Two of defense, in fact is consisted by more emplacements of AA guns and missile launchers—won't make any differences at all. Makoto had some experience related to how to blow an aerial vehicle of this magnitude out of sky, back to the days he fought in Republic of Kaluga against coup d'etat terrorists with the callsign "Pheonix One", the terrorists launched a large-sized airborne stronghold as the last-ditch to turn the tide of war to their favor, and he took the fight to that flying behemoth alone, knocked it down into ocean, proved that a flying ace, with sufficient skill and confidence, can easily overpower an opponent with oversized dimensions and oversized firepower. A sharp twist of flight course, over the starboard shoulder line of Hresvelgr, six emplacements are taken out, leaving only smoking hatches, Makoto doesn't grant his primary target a break, immediately turns to next group of victims.
The second level of defense is compromised, Makoto proceeds to take out main engine units. Of course Hresvelgr's armor-plates are super-heavy, but it doesn't mean itself is completely invulnerable, and for every large-sized, heavy-weighted flying objects, engines are always "stock weak points". Even those engines have durable armor, there is one place that can never be protected, at least for now, always exposed—that is, the nozzles. Shoot directly into nozzles, especially large nozzles is too easy for Makoto, since he usually defeats his enemies with a single, accurate-placed shot, he is considerably environmental protective and recourse conservative during heat of battle.
Hresvelgr now is in a dire shape, with all conventional defenses stripped off and all main engines trailing heavy smoke, if these are not enough, small-scaled explosions are occurring every a few seconds inside its megastructure.
Makoto: "No wonder Mr. Kazutoki Kono announced there will unlikely to be more flying battleships after ACE Combat X2: Joint Assault. What's the point of making more flying battleships if they get constantly decimated by a single, fossilized tactical fighter without an exception? Say, too much greenhouse gases, they never consider environmental protection factors while building military hardware, do they?" A very important lesson to ladies and gentlemen who are brainwashed by so-called "Battlashipism", that is, under many circumstances, the larger you are, the quicker you die. If anyone has objections, the destruction of Battleship Yamato of Old Japanese Imperial Navy is solid enough to be an ironclad supporting proof, just witness the pride of a crumbling empire was merely worthy for eleven torpedoes and six bombs, compare with its 71659 tons of displacement and thirty-three months of construction. Even something like the Death Star is only worthy for two photon torpedoes.
Dire shape of Hresvelgr also means its crew is in tough conditions. Flame, smoke, blasts, hazardous substance leakage…this airborne stronghold is undoubtedly among the most unsuitable habitat for any living organism. But even all red lights are flashing, every alarm is kyoodling, the crew is still struggling to stabilize and reverse the damage their battleship had sustained, their persistence is to be commended, yet that doesn't mean situation will be placed under control. Actually, sometimes giving up is an act of courage and intelligence. For example after the two comedic atomic exhibitions over Hiroshima and Nagasaki (the occurrences of such events are still under debate for Japan still cannot present any remains of nuclear warheads dropped by USAF as evidences, maybe so-called "nuclear bombardments" are merely cover-ups), Mikado Hirohito chose to accept the pathetic defeat of Old Japanese Empire and surrender unconditionally to General MacArthur, that was proved to be the only smart and brave decision Mikado Hirohito had ever made during his career as an emperor, for it granted Japan a chance to survive, spared it from being completely purged from Planet Earth by Global Anti-Fascist Alliance, as a nation and an ethnic group.
In Hresvelgr's bridge, a colossal-sized holographic schematic is being projected, and is rapidly being occupied by crimson, sector by sector.
Hresvelgr Crew: "Damn! Smoke is pouring in bridge!" As everyone had put on breath mask or NBC protection suit.
"Cannot continue with damage control! Fires are exceeding our extinguishing capability!" An internal explosion shakes entire fuselage.
"All main engine units are heavily damaged and functionality had dropped to below twenty percent! We can barely maintain altitude!"
"Fires are spreading into entire central sector! We can't prevent them reach reactor compartment!"
Hresvelgr Captain: "Can we shut it down and switch power to fuel cells?"
Hresvelgr Crew: "Can't! Damage is too extensive! Control had been overloaded!"
Hresvelgr Captain issues order to Adjutant Captain: "Send a Priority One encrypted message to HQ, content as follows: 'Comrades, we regret to inform that we're not able to complete the mission, the rest is up to you'." He turns to crew: "We will not going down in flames without a fight, prepare main cannon, everyone except necessary personnel proceeds to escape pods!"
As the escape pods being jettisoned from Hresvelgr, a large hatch on front of it opens, reveals a carronade-caliber gun with an extended barrel. This weapon is designed to fire special-designed ammunition, which automatically detonates into a huge, super-heat marshmallow-like fireball when descends to a low-enough altitude at terminal trajectory, destroys everything within radius. But such a destructive weapon is not for taking out aircrafts at high altitude for it's incapable to track down something with an aircraft's speed, also for its ammunition only detonates at certain low altitude as well as due to the size and weight of shells, the trajectory is too parabolic and range is limited under thirty kilometers even fires from service ceiling, not to mention the constrained angle of turning. Still, one blind lucky shot, even only grazes Makoto's MiG-21, is enough to pulverize him along with it by momentum—that is exactly what Hresvelgr intends, one, blind lucky shot, however luck seems never on their side though.
Makoto deliberately positions his aircraft inside Hresvelgr's main artillery's attack scope, doing this is not because he has a preference of suicide or seeking for a challenge, since being an antitheist, he never believes in heavens or hells of some sort and sticks on an concept "You're nothing if you're dead", therefore, he never makes sacrificing unless it is absolutely, definitely, exactly necessary, actually he never finds a circumstance that absolutely, definitely, exactly necessary for him to make sacrificing, this current situation, is not an exception too. After enabling Hresvelgr wastes a stockpile of munitions, Makoto's plan is clear to see: Because Hresvelgr is powered by a nuclear fission reactor, the best place to entomb it is the center of an remote unpopulated zone, for example, somewhere deep in Waldreich Mountains. Minutes earlier, based on an evaluation from map, Makoto chose a place that he thinks most suitable to dispose Hresvelgr, a place with a distance should reduce nuclear hazard to minimum and had successfully lured it to this position, now he can move to deliver the killing blow.
Dodges another shot from Hresvelgr's main cannon by a canopy roll, Makoto immediately executes an Immelmann turn without pause, fires an extremely powerful penetration-burst shell directly into its barrel head-on—right nail into the next shell which is just loaded into bore, triggers it to explode inside. Entire front sector of Hresvelgr is engulfed in a huge, bright-white patch of light, then here comes sound and tremor of explosion which even can rival a nuclear blast, feels like the last, frustrating snarl from a giant who is dying by get stung by a poisonous hornet. Hresvelgr, now is engulfed by thick, black smoke, falls forward with inertia, to the bottom of a ravine. Seconds after impact, a nuclear fireball rises above mountain range, with EMP shockwave followed by atmospheric shockwave. Luckily Makoto is far enough for himself to manually counter the dramatic airstream surge and his Balalaika is constructed to have considerable level of NBC and EMP protection — if not, it could already been fried when Principality of Belka detonated fourteen V-1 tactical nuclear warheads on their own soil, back to June 6th of 1995.
After mushroom cloud dissipates, Makoto circles crash site several times at high altitude to record some high-res footage, then contact Heierlark Air Force Base: "Cipher to Heierlark Base, confirm Hresvelgr destroyed and exploded as a nuke, send in a nuclear fallout evaluation team, and S&R teams to arrest some bailed out terrorist operatives."
Heierlark Base: "Acknowledged. Great job Cipher, you successfully prevented Lumen from being bombarded by that monstrosity. Valais Air Force Base needs a few hours to clean up, so we will temperately serve as base of operations for you, if you don't know the coordinate, we can transmit it. And don't forget to make room for a new medal."
Makoto: "Cipher copy. I have your position in databank, heading to there now. After landing, I'd like to report directly to Allied Central Command, situation is more complicated than we thought."
Heierlark Base: "No problem. One more thing, we have a crate of the best vodka here waiting for you, I know alcohol is absolutely evil, but at least you can keep them as collection and sell them another day."
Makoto: "I'm honored. Say, can you find me a piano down there? I'm really thirsty to finger on some musical instruments tonight."
Heierlark Base: "We just purchased a pipe organ for the chapel."
Makoto: "Even better."
As he proceeding to Heierlark Air Force Base, an unencrypted text message of unknown origin is beamed to him, the content is in Ukrainian and is very simple: "Привіт друг. Ти ще живий?" Translate in English it is: "Yo buddy. You still alive?"
Makoto is not surprised after reading this: "Solo Wing Pixy."
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
Thirty-eight years later.
Location: New Town Sector of Griswall, Federal Republic of Aurelia, Planet Strangereal
Longitude: 194 Degree 44 Minute 02 Second East
Latitude: 37 Degree 36 Minute 27 Second South
Local Time & Date: 13:10, March 9th, 2033
Local Weather Condition: 20% Cloud Coverage
【BGM Starts: Movement III of Piano Concerto No. 14 in Flat-E Major, composed by W.A. Mozart】
A young handsome boy in trim, azure uniform is choosing products in a shop: "This one, Star Wars Complete Video Collection; that one, yes, Star Trek Complete Video Collection; and the complete collection of 'Starship Troopers: Uchū no Senshi' and 'Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles'. All wrapped as gifts, thank you."
Shopkeeper: "You have a keen sight, these are all special limited platinum editions. So who's the one you send them to?"
Boy: "Girl, 'The Girl'."
Shopkeeper: "With all respect young officer, I think those presents may not suitable for a girl."
Boy: "No worries, both her and I are addicted to science fiction." He points at his uniform: "Air force personnel."
Shopkeeper: "I can understand, may the Force be with you, officer." Hands over the wrapped objects.
Boy smiles with the famous hand gesture of Vulcan Salute: "Live long and prosper, commander."
"Life is filled with honey and caster sugar, not perfect though, but still way too excellent." As he leaves the shop and opens his parking Lamborghini, a specially built and customized model, some stranger's voice comes from back: "Colonel Tatsu Katsura?" The boy turns around and sees an elder man in waistcoat and loose jacket, also with a satchel hangs on shoulder: "Yes I am, and you are…"
"Pardon my rudeness." The man shakes hand with the boy: "Albert Genette, freelance journalist."
Tatsu: "Nice to meet you Mr. Genette. I had read your book 'The Unsung War: Demons of Razgriz', impressive, very impressive."
Albert Genette: "Glad to acknowledge a reader of mine here. And by the way, I'm one of the loyal listeners of your radio programme 'TK-421'." Aside from being a military officer and a pilot, as well as doing covert commando missions from time to time (e.g. being airdropped into someplace cannot be found on Google Earth® and lurks for a couple of days then assassinates heavy-weights of terrorist or criminal groups kilometers away with a precise shot), Tatsu also hosts a free-style talkshow programme on radio, titled as "TK-421", broadcasts on every Tuesday and Thursday's night, from twenty-two o'clock to one o'clock. This sound-only programme basically comments on many current and historical events and figures, as well as telling about various stories, also sharing the host's opinions on a diversity of topics and issues, sometimes it mocks bad guys mercilessly. For example, Tatsu once humiliated the notorious Sauron the Dark Lord, said she "must be fed up by Sanlu Milk Powder in an unlicensed orphanage since infancy, thus her stupidities have no boundaries", it is rumored Sauron, who was serving her labour reformation sentences in a prison owned by Union of Yuktobanian Republics, got a cerebral hemorrhage when hearing this, what a sucker! Although generally solo-host, guests are joined from time to time, for instance, Makoto Ito is one of the most frequently invited guests.
Tatsu: "Wow, I'm honored! That's what we call 'positive feedback' and is way beyond coincidence."
Albert Genette: "So Colonel Katsura, if you're not occupied, I hope that I can have the privilege to interview you about some stories of Leasath-Aurelia War of thirteen years ago."
Tatsu: "I don't see any problem since I still have six hours to allocate." He hints the reporter to hop in the car: "However, I propose we find an appropriate environment for later discussion."
Location: Gaiuss Tower, Griswall
It is a high-class café located in the top sector of this skyscraper of twin towers, Tatsu and Albert Genette are sitting next to a round table beside the gigantic curtain wall of thick reinforced glass.
Tatsu: "That's affirmative. I was their radio operator for years, including the wartime. Great Conqueror Napoleon Bonaparte once said that three-quarter of the factors which can decide the result of a war can be attributed to morale. And for them, they were center pillar of Aurelian's morale, both military and civilian. Thanks for their existence, people of my fatherland found direction and hope in the midst of darkness and despair, and came out on top to be victorious. Even the war had been concluded over a decade, entire country still proud of them and hails them as national heroes, especially me, not only for being their close companion, more importantly, we are a family."
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
Thirteen Years Earlier.
Location: Sachana Air Force Base, Raven Woods, Federal Republic of Aurelia
Longitude: 191 Degree 48 Minute 52 Second East
Latitude: 46 Degree 06 Minute 33 Second South
Local Time & Date: 09:15, October 22nd, 2020
Local Weather Condition: 10% Cloud Coverage
【BGM Starts: youtube.com[[slash]]watch?v=s0rYnhc9tmo】
Base Commander is broadcasting to entire complex: "Attention all base personnel! This is an emergency broadcast! Numerous enemy air force squadrons are approaching from north, northwest and northeast. Enemy forces are consisted by fighters and transports, it's clear they intend to capture this base and use it as springboard for the next phase of invasion. As one of the major air force bases and strategic points, once taken, the passage to our second-largest city, namely Santa Elva, will be wide open, which we cannot afford as our pride capital Griswall had already fallen into enemies' paws. Now I hereby order to send all available pilots into sky to fight off enemies, trainees included, for you all trained for this, you ready for this! All non-combatants are armed too, we'll defend this place to a bitter end! Over and out."
【BGM Starts: youtube.com[[slash]]watch?v=9oVZANpp3U4】
For the first time since its construction, the base complex is busy as a major international civilian airport — for war purpose of courses. Aircrafts of different shapes but share similar purposes are dragged out from hangars, fully charged and armed, some of them launch directly rocket-like via emergency launching shafts from their underground hideouts, others queue up on different runways and take off in order. The air above is busy too, flooded with radio transmissions:
"Orion Squadron takes off from runway one."
"Tucana Squadron, you're clear to use runway one."
"Vela Squadron takes off successful from runway two."
"Volans Squadron launched from shaft group one, Dorado Squadron pending."
"Columba Squadron, runway two clearance granted, takes off as soon as ready."
"Corvus Squadron at runway three, taking off. Lupus Squadron, proceed to take off zone and get prepared."
"All airborne planes, meet up at rendezvous area for regroup."
"Piscis Austrinus Squadron launched from shaft group two."
"Antlia Squadron taking off from runway one."
A squadron of FFR-31 MR/D Type-III "Super Sylph" soaring at the altitude of 50 kilometers, with their TARPS (Tactical Air Reconnaissance Pod System) deployed, overseeing the vast airspace below with advanced sensors. Squadron leader Colonel Warren: "This is Telescopium One, to all friendly fighters, we'll provide AWACS, ECM and ECCM support to you in the imminent battle."
A voice from channel with a face on a small holo-projected screen: "Actually, we will be very grateful if you just come down and give us some hands."
Warren: "You look good today, Loki."
Loki (piloting a FA-7 Fand VII Type-III General-Purpose Fighter): "Telescopium One, please use my callsign, Betelgeuse."
Warren: "You are not a rookie, needn't do everything by the book, Orion Leader."
Loki: "Whatever. And how do you say that? Don't you mind join us in the straight-up fight instead of hanging above?"
Warren: "Then who will do AWACS and other electronic supports? Those stars thousands of lightyears away?"
Loki: "I don't think we'll need any of them if enemies are so many. You can always hit something even you fire in blind."
Warren: "So we're here to make sure you won't get too excited and result in any blue on blues…chatter is over, to all friendly fighters, bandits entered mission area, covering from bearing 330 to 30, moving directly dead ahead…distance…60 kilometers…models…mainly PAK-FA III Sharkopath Type-III. All wings report in."
Loki: "Orion Squadron standing by."
Eros: "Piscis Austrinus Squadron standing by."
Athena: "Scutum Squadron standing by."
"Columba Squadron standing by."
"Vela Squadron standing by."
"Carina Squadron standing by."
"Volans Squadron standing by."
"Dorado Squadron standing by."
"Tucana Squadron standing by."
"Lupus Squadron standing by."
"Chamaeleon Squadron standing by."
"Corvus Squadron standing by." That's Sekai Saionji's voice.
Warren: "Remember your training, you're going to make it!" As the distance of the icons indicate friendlies and hostiles gets shorter and shorter on the main screen of instrument panel, his co-pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Rachel who sits in back cockpit and monitors friendly pilots' physical and psychological conditions, renders her statements: "Those trainees are too nervous, even the formal pilots are picking up cardiac rate and respiration rate. It's a bad idea to send those kids into battle, Sauron's minions will eat them alive!"
Warren: "I know, but we don't have other choices. Once Sachana Base is fallen, the outcome will be a catastrophe. Now we only can pray they can survive as many as possible." Main screen shows the first air-to-air missile is launched: "Here goes the war, I signed up in air force for so many years, but I never participate a furball this large, even Operation Battle-Axe of Belkan War is no match to this."
The sky is filled with chaotically writhen contrails, fighters of both sides are locked into crazy waltzes. A vicious battle ranges from near-surface altitude to service ceiling, everyone is a hunter, yet being hunted at same time. Frequently, those who don't past the trial fall from air with their metallic wings crippled, end up in flames by hitting ground or in the process of hitting ground. Obviously, the casualties of friendly forces are comparatively larger than those sustained by enemies, especially the trainees, some of them even get so flurried as to use chaff counter infrared guided missiles, luckily on-board computers automatically release correct decoys when detect incoming missiles, but this won't increase their survivability much.
"Tucana Nineteen, you've got a bandit on six, break!"
"Missile defeated. Now move to counterattack."
"Another bandit on six, shake it!"
"I can't! It sticks on me!"
"Bandit launching missiles! Dodge!"
"Dodge to where… (communication lost)"
"Columba Seven lock on four bandits, AAM-21 × 4 launched! Two good kills, two misses. Switch to AAM-19."
"Volans Twenty-One is hit! Damn it! We lost him!"
"Enemy in gun range, gotcha!"
"AAM-19 fired! Missed! Break pursuit."
"Scutum One to all trainees, avoid close-quarter dogfight, keep a distance from enemies!"
"Too late, Scutum Leader… (communication lost)"
"Dorado Seventeen, you have a Sharkopath on tail, turn right hard!"
"Right? Which direction is right?"
"Enemy launching missiles! Eject!"
"… (communication lost)"
"AAM-19 × 2 launch!"
"Good shot Lupus Ten, now next."
"Enemy locked on, firing, good kill!"
"Behind you! Break break!"
"Locked! AAM-19 × 4!"
"Target hit! Destroyed!"
"Corvus Eight is down. All trainees assigned to my squadron are spent."
"I got two on my tail! Someone help me out!"
Threading through the baptism of heat and shockwaves, Loki is abnormally composed, three bandits dead ahead, lock on, AAM-21 × 3 launch, two kills and one miss, advance to pursuit, switch to AAM-19, in range, launch two missiles, good kill, more bandits detected, issue orders to subordinate pilots, switch to AAM-23 and launch six rounds, all missed, speed up after one bandit, in range, AAM-21 launch, kill confirmed, bandit at six, incoming infrared-guided missiles, flare released and break hard, missile defeated, occupy attack position, fire and destroy…he doesn't know when it will be over, nor how long he will hold, however one thing is for sure, that is, he will down enemies as many as he can before he is downed by them. Other friendly pilots must think the same, although inferior on number and experience, they fight tenaciously to keep invaders at bay. Incredibly, the situation becomes a stalemate, for enemies, opponents this tough are beyond their expectations, but it doesn't mean they're not prepared to deal with this obstacle.
"Stay still you ugly…" Sekai Saionji is struggling to align an evading PAK-FA III Sharkopath Type-III with her gun, as she detonates the target into a ball of orange flame and black smoke, suddenly a mysterious voice comes through radio: "So you are the Corvus Squadron of Aurelian Air Force right?"
Sekai Saionji: "Who…who are you? How can you use our communication bandwidth? It's encrypted!"
Mysterious Voice: "Since I can initiate an all-out invasion, deciphering some military encryptions are not too difficult, do you agree? Let's get to the point, you do have some tricks in sleeves, how about change your allegiance to our side? I may use someone like you and your fellow pilots."
Warren: "Who the…Rachel, track that unknown transmission! I want its source's geographic coordinate ASAP!"
Rachel: "I'm on it…it must have some sort of advanced ECM, all I can get is the rough direction, between bearing 30 to 60."
Mysterious Voice: "See the tendency wisely, this country will be mine sooner or later, why waste your time on a crumbling nation? I will guarantee you money and status in my legion, decide now."
Sekai Saionji: "Sounds persuasive, the most valuable thing is money, you got money, you got everything. Guys, I'm in, how about you?"
Nanami Kanroji: "No one will think the money in pockets is too much, I take that."
Otome Kato: "This is why I sign up."
Minami Obuchi: "Exactly good for me."
Natsumi Koizumi: "Same here."
Kumi Mori: "What are we waiting for?"
Setsuna Kiyoura: "You make decision, you take responsibility."
Mysterious Voice: "So we have the deal. I have IDed all of you as friendlies, change your courses to 0 and fly with maximum speed, I'm going to purge entire airspace in minutes, it will be foolish to be shot down at this point. After that, I will give you the landing coordinate and meet you in person."
Warren: "Corvus Squadron what are you doing?! Come back! COME BACK!"
Rachel: "Corvus Squadron disengaged from battle and heading north at full speed, they cut the data chain, I can no longer monitor their conditions."
Warren: "Telescopium One to all remaining aircrafts, Corvus Squadron had defected to enemies! Shoot them down!"
Loki locks on six out of the seven fleeing defectors and launched six AAM-21, but they dodged by maneuverings and chaffs: "This is Betelgeuse, they got away." He switches to AAM-23, fires again, missed as well.
Rachel: "Corvus Squadron just entered strong hostile ECM-covered zone, tracking waning…lost."
Warren: "Damn it!" He wants to throw one of his fists on instrument panel — if it's not bad for his hands.
【BGM Starts: youtube.com [[slash]]watch?v=fknb3mgZYTY】
A strange phenomenon occurs at this time. All hostiles stop fighting, retreat to the directions they come from.
Loki: "They're retreating! Did we do it? Did we stop them?"
Eros: "Not likely. They have already had us, even they don't, Sauron won't give up that easy, she must up to her usual dirty tricks again."
Far far away, a place looks like a bridge, Grimm, in air force general's uniform, asks humbly to someone sits in a throne-like seat in middle: "Your orders? Your highness."
The one who sits in the throne, apparently to be the notorious Sauron the Dark Lord, speaks: "Launch the weapon."
Grimm: "As you wish my lord." He turns to crew: "Activate Ballistic Missile Launching Port One, launch on my mark…now!"
A jingle is released from on-board computer of Warren and Rachel's Super Sylph, the main screen of Warren's instrument panel automatically switches to long-range sensors, showing a fast-moving icon on top-right corner, labeled as "unknown".
Warren: "Attention all friendlies, unknown heat signature detected at bearing 45…altitude…21000 meters…it's travelling too fast for an aircraft…" As he speaks, computer lets out another jingle, the unknown icon is replaced by ballistic missile icon, its trajectory is also predicted and is shown by line of dashes: "…it's confirmed to be a ballistic missile, and it will come cross the mission area's center in one minute."
Loki: "A ballistic missile from enemy? What's the point of it? It's not designed for fighter-class targets."
Athena: "I have a bad feeling about this…Scutum One here, Telescopium One, I think we should withdraw."
Warren: "You're probably right Scutum One, scan shows there's a sharply increasing high-energy reading inside the missile's warhead. To all aircrafts, change courses to 180, fly cross southern border of mission area and wait for further orders."
Rachel: "Reading is still climbing fast, whatever it is, it can't be good…" Before she finishes the sentence, all lights and screens, as well as HUDs and holo-projections suddenly wink madly for a few seconds, then go out simultaneously, all communications are out too.
Rachel: "What happened? All systems are down! Warren! Can you hear me? Respond!"
Warren, who experiences same thing as his co-pilot does, is also confused and astonished: "What…engines are still running…flight control is still on…all others are dead! Including weapons and communications! Rachel! What's your situation? Answer me!" At this point, the main screen jingles and shows a message "System Reboot" with a progress bar, audio and visual communications of short-range is online again—with a much poorer quality, however medium-range and long-range communications are still out, means they can't contact anyone but their own squadron members.
For all planes in the mission area things go much worse. At the same blink when the ballistic missile detonates mid-air in the region's center, just like someone turns off all the switches in an instant, all systems, including engines, stop functioning. Some of them who happen to be too close to the ground zero, exploded directly since their ordnances are set off on hardpoints and/or inside weapon bays. Those planes don't explode, for their engines no longer run, begin to fall like stones. In cockpits those freaked out pilots are struggling to do anything their think necessary to survive, as well as screaming.
"All systems are down! Losing altitude!"
"I can't bail out! Ejection does not respond!"
"I don't wanna die! I DON'T WANNA DIE! "
System reboot progress bar is full, main screen displays tac-map again—with severe interference. Warren: "Three-quarter of them…disappeared…it must be the ballistic missile's doing. What is that?!"
Rachel: "Second missile incoming! Following same trajectory! It jumps out from nowhere..."
Warren: "To all of you! Enemies have some sort of superweapon! Retreat to south as fast as you can and as far as you can! I repeat…" It's no use, since the medium-range and long-range communications are still offline: "No…no…NOOO!"
Main screen goes off again, when it comes back, it's clear almost all friendlies are wiped out.
Warren: "There's nothing more we can do. Telescopium Squadron, reset courses to 180, we're outta here to Santa Elva."
Rachel: "How about Sachana Base? Are we just leaving it to enemies?"
Warren: "The base is fallen anyways, we only can retreat to Santa Elva to band everyone there to set up defenses within urban area."
Jingle, followed by alert.
Warren: "The third one! Coming straight to us! Everyone dive! DIVE!"
Rachel: "Too late! Bail out!"
Ballistic missile detonates proximal to Telescopium Squadron's position, their disintegrated parts fall like a tiny meteor shower.
Meanwhile, a lonely FFR-31 "Sylphid" Type-III Heavy-Duty Air Superiority Fighter (which had been considered as "outdated" by year of 2020) is flying helplessly on the far northeast, and keeps flying farther. Inside cockpit is the pilot Athena, she's still sending out distress call via the dead communication system: "Scutum One here! My flight control is out, navigation is out, judging from direction of the sun, it seems I'm flying to northeast. I can't bail out because the canopy won't open! Is there anyone can hear me?! Scutum One here…"
In the front of Athena's fighter, a gigantic gloom merges out from nothingness. "WHAT IS THIS?!" Her eyes widen.
Immediately, a green-colored high-energy particle stream slices through the hapless FFR-31.
【BGM Starts: youtube.com [[slash]]watch?v=Tb-gI_pFog0】
Tatsu's Narratage: "This is the beginning of the story. Enemies' iron heels treaded on our soil, we fought back, but were quickly defeated one after another. The free land and people of Aurelia fell under Dark Lord Sauron's control. Well, not everything and everyone had fallen into her hands, but at that rate, it would be only a matter of time." As he speaks, scene is shifted to Sachana Base: Enemy fighter squadrons are circling above while helicopters hovering below. Dozens of heavy-duty transports had touchdown on runways, different models of tanks and armored vehicles drive out from payload compartments, firing to every direction. Inside base structures, enemy troopers are clearing out every room by RPGs and flamethrowers.
【BGM Continues as ending theme】