I do not own the rights to "Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse", or any of the persons, places, intangibles, or concepts within. This fan fiction is a non-profit rewrite. Therefore, if requested by Age, or other interested parties, I will discontinue and remove this story immediately.
I would further like to acknowledge the following texts for reference material:
"Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War" by Robert Coram
"Every Man a Tiger" by Tom Clancy and General Chuck Horner, USAF (Retired)
"Desert Mirage: The True Story of the Gulf War" by Martin Yant
"Modern American Fighters & Attack Aircraft" by Mike Spick and Barry Wheeler
"The Battle of Britain: Five Months That Changed History" by James Holland
"Dogfights: The Last Gun Fighter" by the History Channel
"Dogfights: The Zero Killer" by the History Channel
"Dogfights: Desert Aces" by the History Channel
"Dogfights of Desert Storm" by the History Channel
"Wings: AV-8B Harrier" by the Discovery Channel
"Atlas: The Ultimate Weapon by Those Who Built It" by Chuck Walker
"The SAS Training Manual" by Chris McNab
"Combat Techniques: An Elite Forces Guide to Modern Infantry Tactics" by Chris McNab and Martin J. Dougherty
"The Gun Digest Book of COmbat Handgunnery, 5th Edition" by Massad Ayoob
"Department of the Army Field Manual FM 5-31: Boobytraps", September 1965 Edition
"The US Navy SEAL Guide to Fitness and Nutrition" Edited by Patricia A Deuster, PhD, MPH, Anita Singh, PhD, and Pierre A. Pelletier, ENS, MC, USNR
"The Berlin Wall: A World Divided, 1961-1989" by Frederick Taylor
"Charlie Wilson's War" by George Crile
Muv-Luv Alternative: Semper-Fi
United Nations Yukon Base, April 2001:
"Roger, Yukon Tower!" First Lieutenant Yuuya Bridges of the United States Marine Corps declared. "Knife Three, buster!"
The American F-18/E Super Hornet TSF jettisoned the external fuel tanks, both cylindrical protrusions slamming into the deck fifty feet below. As he screamed past Mach One in a full military climb from the edge of the tarmac, Yuuya gritted his teeth, his eyes scanning the heads-up display projected from the protective headpiece. Not even twenty seconds till touchdown in Alaska, and someone from Argos Flight was busy going toe to toe with Ivan. There, in his peripheral vision, he saw Argos Two and the bogey climbing past thirty-thousand feet. "Argos Two, come in!" Lieutenant Bridges called over the tac-net. "Knife Three to Argos Two, do you read?"
The blaring radar acquisition warning tone in the background, Bridges heard the curt reply. "Argos Two," Tarisa Manandal shot back. "Stay out of this, Knife Three! The Scarlet Twins are mine!"
On the verge of intercepting, Bridges cut back on the throttle, reeling in the Super Hornet as he rolled to the outside. Instantly, Argos Two and the pursuing Su-37 Terminator were in-line, all spiraling in a furball. "What the hell is this crap?" Bridges squawked over the radio. "Argos Two, Bogey's on your six! Break break break!" Of course, the pilot wouldn't listen, only prolonging the acquisition the Russian had on her. "Damnnit!" he cursed, selecting his 36mm gun, throwing the arming switches, and jinking as he rolled over.
At the United Nations Yukon Base, Yui Takamura burst into the control room, rapidly wiping the sweat from her brow. "Status?" she demanded. The lead controller shrank back, looking away from the lieutenant. While the other officers relayed orders to put out the smoldering remains of the external fuel tanks and clear the runway, the tower was filling with disorganized chatter.
"Sir!" one of the assistant controllers rose, saluting. "Argos Two is engaged by Idar One. Knife Three is intercepting." Before Takamura could voice her dissent, however, the tac-net burst into a hiss of static, followed by Knife Three's report.
"Yukon Tower, Knife Three," Bridges shot back. "Guns are hot! Tally ho!"
Yui snatched the lead controller's headset, and held it up to hear ear. "Knife Three, Yukon Tower, break off!" She scanned the radar display at the controller's station, clenching her free hand into a tightly balled fist. "Break off! We can't engage Idar Flight!" When there was no immediate response, Yui pressed the issue. "Knife Three, Idar One is part of the UN efforts! You cannot and will not engage! I'll have your ass if you don't break off!"
An annoyed curse muffled by the static echoed in the control tower. "Then I'll just screw with them a little, Sir!" Yuuya shot back. Before Yui could respond, however, a sudden shriek burst over the radio. Dropping the headset as if she had been slapped, Takamura snarled, watching the interplay of the three blips on the radar.
In the Terminator, a radar acquisition tone jolted Inia Sestina from pursuing the F-15 Active Eagle. "What?!" Inia screeched, turning her head side to side. "Cryska!" she screamed, seeing the Hornet at their six o'clock. Instantly, the vile, feral grin and bloodlust in her eyes drained away, the pale face growing lighter. "Cryska! Get it off! Get it off! I don't want to die!"
Cryska's face darkened into a scowl, her face draining of color. The American Super Hornet wasn't a local. Far from it, the craft had the insignia of the Marine Corps VMF-318, the Black Knives. Cryska knew their reputation. The Imperialists were irrational, passionate, and volatile. Of these, even the Imperialists thought these Marines took it a step too far. "Inia, calm down!" Cryska stressed, sending the Terminator into a savage roll. She thought the maneuver would help her get to separation. She was wrong.
In an instant, the Super Hornet rolled to the outside, suddenly snapping into an inside turn, and acquiring them again. "Guns, guns, guns!" a taunting Westerner voice chanted over the radio.
Inia sank back into her seat grimly, her hands nervously throwing the arming switches. "Cryska!" Inia squealed. "Kill him! Kill him! KILL HIM!" Nodding, the albino backseater rolled the Su-37 over as she pushed the TSF straight up. As the Terminator climbed for the edge of its service ceiling, however, the Super Hornet clung to its tail like a rabid wolf tearing at its prey.
Manandal whipped her head around, looking straight up as she was suddenly left alone. "Knife Three, they were mine!" Tarisa snapped. But as she watched the pair of black dots twist and climb, her mouth hung agape.
"If the Army and Navy ever look on Heaven's scenes," Bridges' taunting voice chanted to the famous hymn, "they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines!" Working the Super Hornet in and out of the vertical rolling scissors, Yuuya grunted in pain. He knew his history, and no acrobatic display like this had been seen since a fellow leatherneck and Crusader pilot had gone fangs out with MiGs over Vietnam. Maybe, he thought, this would be his chance to finally get noticed.
He fumed at the mocking tones from the UN types, about how he had no real combat experience against the BETA, and coming from a nation that had to yet engage the alien creatures on their home soil. While his fellow aviators at El Toro stuck with him, and he was a long way from beginning with those T-45 Goshawks back at Kingsville, he'd be damned if these Allies kept mocking him after this.
Yui studied the radar data, eyebrows twitching in frustration. As the secured phone, the hotline between Yukon and the Russian installation rang insistently, she could only stare at the display. Such high altitude flying was foolhardy, especially against the BETA. Anything that high would make them fodder for the Laser Class. Still, she considered quietly, this jarhead was at least able to keep up with the Scarlet Twins.
"Lieutenant!" the assistant controller shouted. "Sir! They've entered Russian airspace!"
In the Terminator, Cryska heaved and grunted with each twist and turn as the two TSFs scrambled for the edge of space. Both were powered by turbofans, limiting their operation to within a few thousand feet of each other, but which would yield first? The answer came soon enough. Engines flaming out, the Super Hornet rolled over first, starting to plummet down in twirling spin like a leaf falling from a tree. Grinning sadistically, Cryska pushed the Terminator over in a split-S, and twisted back towards the Earth, aiming straight down at the Super Hornet. Hearing the pleasant note as a graphical circle surrounded her picture of the American, she heard a sudden command echoed over the radio from Command.
Instinctively, and still on her high, Inia jerked the trigger, releasing a pair of Atols. "DIE!" she shrieked.
The tone and warning indicator slapped Yuuya from his pain-induced reverie. "Come on!" he shouted, firing off the chaff and flare countermeasures. Quickly going back to the engine controls, stabbing the button with his fingers, Yuuya watched as the first Atol diverted, exploding harmlessly three thousand feet above him. The second homed in on the residual heat signature. "Come on!" Bridges shouted again. "Do it! Light! Light, goddamnnit!"
Pumping the rudder controls relentlessly like a bicyclist climbing uphill, Bridges urged the Super Hornet into a straight vertical dive, ramming air into the engine. As the air deflectors and turbines slowed the airflow, the engines finally lit only eight-thousand feet to the ground. "COME ON!" he screamed one last time as the engines throttled back up, the TSF slamming him savagely into the seat.
Knife Three was climbing again, the radar in the cockpit chiming as two additional bogeys angled in from the far west. "Knife Three, Argos Two," Yui screamed. "Disengage, and get back here NOW!" But with the Terminator closing in on his six, Lieutenant Yuuya Bridges made another fateful decision. "Lieutenant Bridges?!" Takamura barked. "What are you doing?! Get back here!"
Firing another round of chaff, Yuuya Bridges disappeared off Tarisa's radar. "Yukon Tower, Argos Two," Manandal reported as she angled back to the base, the Eagle in full afterburner. "Knife Three is gone! Completely off the scope! Where did he go?" Quickly, she snapped her head back as another acquisition tone caught her ears. "Shit!" she cursed, snapping the Eagle into another roll, plummeting to the deck.
The alarms blaring and crewmen taking their battle stations, Yui stared at the screen, willing the blip that was Knife Three to appear again. Then, her attention flickered back to Argos Two and the three pursuing SU-37's in Idar Flight. "Argos Two, run for the triple-A cover, now! Hug the deck!"
Manandal urged the F-15 straight for the runway, ignoring the landing pattern as the circling C-130 tried desperately to touch down before the enemy arrived. On the intersecting Runway 29, a pairs of Eagles, the remainder of Argos Flight, scrambled for altitude at full afterburner. "Argos Two," Second Lieutenant Valerio Giacosa in the element lead, Argos Three, called out. "We're coming up! Follow us!"
Nodding, Tarisa cut the afterburner, glancing at the displays in her headset. "Better make this fast! I'm running on fumes!" It was then she picked up the missing radar blip on her main display. "Yukon Tower, you see that?"
"Impossible!" Argos Four, Stella Bremer exclaimed. Watching as the blip maneuvered between the mountain range, the ground clutter finally cleared just as a shimmering black dot appeared at the edge of her visual range. As the Idar Flight closed in, Knife Seven maneuvered behind them, below their radar coverage. "Argos Three, what's our move, Vincent?"
Slamming the emergency line down in its cradle, Yui's head jerked back to the display. "Argos Flight, intercept and escort Idar Flight back to the border! No more!" It was then she also noticed the odd blip closing on the Russians. "Argos Flight, is that-?"
The trio of Su-37 Terminators started sweeping their active radars high and low, pinpointing the flight of three Eagles closing in on their twelve o'clock. "Idar Lead, engaging!" Cryska called out evenly as she applied more throttle. It was then the radar acquisition alarm chimed again, sending Inia into another panic attack. "What?!"
Knife Three quickly slid in under the radar of Idar Three, the TSF to the right of the V-formation, and pounced. "Guns, guns, guns!" Bridges chanted again, cackling in amusement. As the Su-37 broke away in a dive, Yuuya focused once again on the original agitator. "Argos Flight, Bogey Three headed for the deck! Herd the bastard home!"
"Knife Three," Takamura screeched. "Get down here, NOW!" The lieutenant forced herself to take a calming breath, closing her eyes as she searched for some form of clarity. "Knife Three, break off, and get back to base. Argos Flight, continue escorting Idar Flight home."
Sighing, Lieutenant Bridges nodded. "Roger, dodger!" he chimed, pulling up into a gentle climb. Passing only one-thousand feet above the Idar Flight, he watched as the formation of three Eagles rose to meet Ivan head on. Sluggishly, the Terminators pulled away, banking right, and circling to the west to the border. As the Super Hornet descended into the landing pattern, a private communications channel opened up on his headset.
The darker complexion and deep brunette hair of the petite woman shocked him slightly. Most Eagle drivers were Americans, or one of the NATO operators. However, this one was different. Her lavender eyes seemed to pierce him in an accusing tone. "I… could have had them, you know!" Tarisa grumbled.
"Sure you could have," Yuuya pressed. Manandal stared back at the oddly Japanese features, and more oddly, the straight, high and tight brown hair. He looked more like one of the exaggerated state troopers lingering around the local doughnut shop in Anchorage rather than any TSF driver she had known. The unusual "chocolate chip" desert camouflage pattern of his headset didn't help matters, either. "And then you could be piloting an aircraft grade aluminum box six feet below the hard deck."
Tarisa's lips curled, one eyebrow twitching in frustration. "Fine! Fine… Thanks… for shaking them off."
Nodding, Yuuya grinned, and descended through the pattern towards Runway 29. "We'll talk shop later, Tiger!"
As the Super Hornet touched down and taxied towards the southern most hangars of the Yukon Base, a very angry Japanese Imperial Army officer started marching towards the TSF. Yuuya blinked for a moment, remembering the briefing before his flight earlier that day from El Toro. Lieutenant Yui Takamura of the Royal Guard did not wait for the Hornet to come to a stop, already scaling the steps of the catwalk two at a time. "Are you out of your mind?!" Takamura screamed as the Hornet's engines ceased. "Your first day here, and you've already started an international incident!"
Stepping out onto the catwalk, Lieutenant Yuuya Bridges gave a firm salute, standing rigidly straight. Yui twitched for a moment, eyeing the recently promoted first lieutenant. What little Japanese features existed in this soldier were clouded, hidden behind the comical desert camo headset, the olive drab green flightsuit, and the abomination of the eagle, globe, and anchor insignia adorning his left breast. She hesitantly saluted in return, keeping her knife-edged hand palm down.
"Sir!" Bridges answered. "Permission to speak freely?"
"First off, one Eagle alone against a Terminator that close to the border? Your CIC sucks ass." He watched for a moment as the cold eyes of the officer went frigid. "Secondly, really? Sending me up to intercept without permission to fire? What kind of nonsense is that? A weapon is only as useful as its intended use. What did you expect me to do? Get batted around by Ivan until he got bored with me?"
"Is that all?" Takamura grunted under her controlled breath.
"No, actually, there's one last thing," Yuuya stressed. "Japan lost to us, unless you're a believer in revisionist history. Losers salute palm facing the victor. I will not break from this post until I receive a proper salute."
Turning red, Takamura clenched her teeth as she raised her dominant hand one last time, palm open, facing the American. "Thank you, Sir. Briefing upon return of the Argos Flight?" As the woman nodded, Yuuya descended the catwalk, removing the headset.
He did not stay long enough to hear Takamura curse. "Americans!" she hissed.
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