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.
Muv-Luv Alternative: Semper-Fi
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.
USS Arizona, Pearl Harbor Memorial, December 1980:
Yuuya stared in awed silence as he stood in line to the giant, white bridge that spanned the hull of the USS Arizona. His mother gently squeezing his hand, his grandfather stood behind the pair, stoic as he lurched forward in slow, respectful steps. As the line advanced, the guides checking guests for bags, cameras, any carry-on items that needed to be stowed, Yuuya looked up at his grandfather. The man had not spoken since the two shared adjacent seats on the passenger liner from Los Angeles. He would occasionally glance down at the boy, and scowl, if only for a moment.
This was not the first time the young Bridges felt unnerved around the older man, and he knew from time to time, the man would argue with his mother. Usually, that only happened when they thought Yuuya was out of earshot. Yuuya didn't know his father, but the arguments always involved him at some point.
As the pair and the elderly man neared the entrance, Yuuya paused. Looking to his left, he watched as a large American ship loaded down with helicopters and TSFs strapped to the deck sailed past. The men and women on the ship stood rigidly at attention, facing the memorial. Some wore white uniforms, but others wore black coats with navy blue pants. Yuuya recognized this uniform, as he had seen men like that escort the president while on television.
His grandfather walking slowly behind the pair, Yuuya squeezed his mother's hand tighter. Many of the older men in the memorial were sad, some slumped over against their relatives, others standing silently, tears dampening their faces. The American families looked at them with an odd sort of smile, a proud reverence. He could not explain it, but those he encountered there, the other American families, all seemed to smile and nod politely. He was told bad things happened here, to other Americans, like themselves, by the Japanese. But still, even though he was different, the other American children and parents seemed to smile at him. There was a sense of ease about them, as though a long argument had finally come to rest. After nearly a half hour in the memorial, Yuuya walked outside, and back to the pontoon boat delivering the tourists to shore. He couldn't help but feel a swelling in his chest.
"Never forget," his grandfather finally said, staring out towards the USS Missouri, bow facing the Arizona's wreckage. The man set a firm hand down on the boy's shoulder. Yuuya nodded, looking up at his grandfather. The man was… crying? This wasn't the way he'd usually see the hotheaded Southern gentleman and Navy veteran.
"Grandpa?" Yuuya asked, squeezing the man's firm hand in his gentle fingers. The boy looked up at the old man, his mother watching from a distance. As the elder Bridges looked back down at the boy, trying to hide his tears, he felt the pressure of the child's grip. Nodding, the man knelt beside his grandson; yes… his grandson.
"Hey, is he one of us, or one of them, mommy?" a whining voice chirped out in the distance. Turning, the boy stared at the small girl in the simple jean skirt and blouse. She was roughly his age, raven-haired, and staring at him in confusion. She was Japanese. Reflexively, his grandfather turned to face the family of four, and twitched in annoyance.
"He's a gaijin, a freak," the mother chanted back in Japanese, pulling her daughter back by the shoulders. The father walked up beside his family, staring at Yuuya, then at the grizzled old man, and the brunette woman quickly kneeling beside him. As his mother cringed at the words, she hoped her son could not understand. She had tried to teach him the language, but now, she wished she had not.
The eldest son, somewhere between the ages of ten and eleven, stood in khaki pants and a simple, striped polo shirt. Frowning, the boy clenched his jaw, and let a cruel smirk form over his face.
Yuuya couldn't remember when the attack came, but it had come from behind, after leaving the memorial. His grandfather had walked just a short distance away for some air when the barrage of aluminum cans came. It was the boy from before in the striped polo shirt, followed by two others, close to the same height and weight. All of them seemed to snicker as they threw the projectiles, smacking Yuuya across the nose and top of the head. Then they closed in, surrounding him as they reached out with their fists.
Grandpa was running now, clutching his chest as he heaved with each stride. Reaching for the boys, he was still out of range. Yuuya held up his arms defensively as the cursing and spitting came, followed by a kick from the leader. The foot struck his shin, stinging as the pain shot up his leg. Another blow, this time from the back of the head, followed by a quick jab to the chest. "Grandpa!" he shouted.
The man was struggling, lying on the ground now as he gripped his chest, left arm flexing uncontrollably. The boys continued, leaving cuts and bruises as Yuuya fell to the ground. "Grandpa!" Bridges shouted, reaching out with his left hand. But instantly, a foot made contact with the wrist, and a sickening snap jolted up the boy's arm.
Yuuya couldn't remember screaming, couldn't remember the footsteps, or even the scuffle as the boys were wrangled to the ground. However, he did remember the shadow of the man that stood over him, and helped him up. It was one of those men in the black and navy blue uniforms, followed by another who sent the boys running. His head cleanly shaved, he still wore the white cap as he scooped Yuuya into his arms, and quickly made his way with his comrade to the old man.
"Shit, coronary!" the other man barked out. Kneeling beside his grandfather, the soldier started chest compressions, and removed his cap as he gave resuscitating breaths. Yuuya's tears started to wane as the other one, the man holding him, slowly tested his wrist. The boy flinched and jolted in his arms until he released his grip. "Kid's wrist is sprained," he snapped. "Stupid punks. How's the old man doing?"
"Not good!" the other Marine shot back. "He needs a doc fast."
Nodding, the Marine knelt beside the boy. "What's your name, son?"
"Y-Yuuya," he answered, stuttering in a sob.
"Yuuya, that's a cool name," the man answered. "I'm John. This is Bill. Who's the old man?"
Corporal John Hendricks nodded, and gestured to Lance Corporal William Matthews. "Bill, stay with him. I'm getting help!"
Less than a half hour later, an ambulance parked along the curbside of the Pearl Harbor Memorial, Yuuya sat on the path next to the man he'd come to know as John. Bill had consoled Mrs. Bridges as her father was hauled along in the gurney to the ambulance. Yuuya looked up as a shadow crossed over him, and staring into the Marine's eyes, felt the white cap engulf his scalp.
"It'll be okay," John said, patting the boy's shoulder, and adjusting the cap. But Yuuya didn't know if it ever would be okay. Looking at the Army MP dictating the statements from the Japanese parents, their son held restrictively in their grasp, Bridges frowned. His grandfather was hurt for what he was, for being a freak… something that didn't fit in one place or another. He looked back to the bridge, then to John.
As wild, accusatory shouts came from the parents as the boy's mother and grandfather went along with Bill to the hospital, Corporal John Hendricks pressed more firmly on the boy's spine, guiding him to sit straight. The child could feel it, the dress white gloved hand infusing him with strength. As he straightened, the cap fell over Yuuya's eyes, shrouding him in darkness.
Quantico, Virginia, May 1998:
Yuuya grunted, tilting his head up to look beyond the shrouded edge of his Kevlar infantry helmet. The chilling rain poured down remorselessly, the droplets splashing the murky, mud-filled ditch of the course Marines at Quantico knew as the Quigly. Tucking his elbows into the edges of the ditch, Bridges cradled the M16A2, keeping it propped out of the water as he squirmed, crawling through the Earth. In front of him, a fellow officer candidate struggled past the carcass of a copperhead, the venomous pit viper staring at the men awaiting the forge.
He would make it, Yuuya thought, as he struggled through the outlet of the ditch, and into the frigid creek working his way down towards the range. His mother gone, his grandfather gone, there was no one left to appease, no one left to hide behind. He would be the master of his own life, and no racists on either side of the Pacific would get under his toughened hide. Clutching his rifle protectively, he wormed through the rocky creek bed, a dense fog settling in over the obstacle course ahead.
He slid through the slick reek of the trampled mud, the barbed wire scratching along his Kevlar helmet as the bursts of RPK and Kalashnikov blanks shot into his nerves, causing him to cringe with each cacophony. Someone ahead had thrown a smoke grenade for effect, clouding his way. He came across the man ahead of him half-buried in the tainted soil, shivering. "Roland?" Bridges snapped. "Roland, you okay?"
Shaking his head, Chester Roland pulled his rifle close like a security blanket, curling into a fetal position. "N-no, get me out of here!" he wheezed. Roland was a skinny kid, a computer nerd from the sticks with an affinity for flight simulators that didn't seem to fit in anywhere. Oddly enough, he and Yuuya met the first day at the recruiter outside the university campus. While Yuuya kept falling back to infantry as his MOS, somehow, Chester's obscure dream of driving Hornets or Prowlers led them both towards the same path. "I don't want this anymore!"
"Don't quit!" Yuuya snapped, jerking at the scrawny man's collar. "You want to be a Hornet driver so bad, come on! You gotta earn it!" Bridges still held in place, watching his friend tremble. "You want to go back to that shithole in Nebraska, and drive a crop duster, or get your ass out there and make a difference?"
Bridges knew it was a low blow. Roland hated that tiny farm town, and all those punks from his childhood making fun of him. Here in the mud, he was just another recruit, trying to make something out his life. Others had picked infantry, some supply, and a few bizarre ones intelligence. But Roland had wanted to be an aviator, to be strapped into a TSF, and know he had value, both to himself, and his fellow Marines on the ground he would support from the air.
The BETA were coming, and it was just a matter of time before America and its interests were the victims of the alien plague. Japan was close to falling, and while none of the creatures had spread across the ocean, there was no doubt in anyone's mind the BETA would find some way to get across the expanse that was the sea.
"Hell, no!" Chester shouted, stretching back out to his full length, and wriggling again through the murky soup towards the bursts of automatic fire. Yuuya grunted, taking in a deep breath as he followed along to Roland's right, their rifles cradled like sacred relics in their grasp.
Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Japan, May 2000:
Second Lieutenants Yuuya Bridges and Chester Roland sprinted to their TF-4 Phantom TSF trainers. Captains Jackson and Flores were already deployed forward in their F/A-18E Super Hornets, the back seats of the Phantoms hauntingly empty. As the air raid sirens blared, Yuuya looked over his shoulder to Chester, nodding in frustration.
Air Station Futenma was on full alert. As the Japanese struggled north to retake Kyoto, the fleeing BETA were coming out of the woodwork, making trouble for the surrounding prefectures still trying to hold on. The MAGTF, or Marine Air-Ground Task Force, centered about the USS Tarawa and an accompanying carrier group for additional air support were steaming for Kyoto. While heavily armed and normally capable of supporting MEU(SOC) operations, fighting the BETA harkened back to an age of Napoleonic warfare not taken seriously since Clausewitz. The Navy and Marines attached to the MAGTF could fly their CAP and CAS missions all they wanted, but they were shorthanded when it came to bolstering the Japanese infantry and armored cave units. Somehow, the Shognate had it in their heads a handful of TSF squadrons advancing beyond the infantry and armored cav units of the Imperial Army would win the day, while the M1A2 Abrams and Bradleys would provide mobile artillery support.
The manpower from Subic Bay and Hawaii wouldn't make it in time, so the trainees were called up. The American F-4's weren't that far technologically speaking from their Japanese counterparts used by the younger Royal Guards, making fire control and slaving laser ranging weapons to their infantry units rather easy. Furthermore, their forward logistics units could service the TF-4's without stripping the manpower from Tarawa.
Yuuya and Roland were still fresh from Yuma, Arizona, and Training Squadron 401. They had been sent forward only a month before for final qualifications, but both knew they were ready. They were riflemen first and foremost, after all, and would not hesitate to get in the minds of those on the ground, and what they needed for Close Air Support. The Phantoms loaded out with Rockeyes, LAU rocket pods, and Mk 82 slicks, Bridges thumbed the tacnet, raising Roland on the channel.
"Roland, you ready?" he asked.
"Let's do it!" Chester answered, throttling up the Phantom, taxiing down the runway. Rising with the remaining training squadrons, the TF-4's formed up on their flight and element leads, going to full afterburner to catch up with an orbiting KC-10A from the Air Force.
Not three hours later, and they were jinking just a few hundred feet above the sea as the flight and element leads of Papa Flight. Laser Class BETA weren't sighted yet, but both Phantoms and their tailing wingmen went to EMCON, shutting down their fire control radars and going to radio silence just in case. As they neared the coastline, the first of the bursts of Laser Class came out of nowhere.
Chester's Phantom shook, the master alarm blaring as the streak of plasma grazed the starboard engine intake. Cursing, he shut down the engine, and dropped down only fifty feet above the scorched soil. Yuuya quickly rolled over and followed suit, firing off chaff countermeasures as he was trained to do, disguising his approach to the coast. "Flight lead… Roland, you okay?"
"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine," Roland answered. "Starboard engine's down, and I've lost mobility all through that side. Trying to get control." Over the radio, Bridges could hear the blaring klaxon alarm from Chester's wounded Phantom. He knew the TSF was too sick to make it to the waypoint, but Roland kept pushing. "I'll be right with you!"
Chester could have made it, too, Yuuya thought, until the burst of plasma from the BETA came again, and the Phantom wasn't responsive to Roland's inputs. His friend took it straight through the cockpit, the F-4 blowing apart in a brilliant fireball. "Shit, Chester!" Yuuya screamed. "Papa Flight, break, break, break!"
Bridges could only watch the FLIR images on his headset as the Phantom wreckage burned. Clenching his teeth, Yuuya worked his left wrist, popping the stiff joints from the long-healed sprain of his childhood, throttling up the Phantom. Just in the distance, a blur of light caught his attention. Switching on the FLIR and multi-mode radar, Bridges swallowed hard. "Papa Flight, Element lead. Flight lead is down. Form up on me!"
"Roger," Papa Two and Four chimed back, taking positions behind Yuuya's port and starboard. Another burst of plasma blinded Bridges through his FLIR package, and illuminated the hillside as they cut like dark shadows across the thinning, dying vegetation below. All three Phantoms clung to the rough edge of the Earth, now only a handful of feet above the ground. Their TSF's feet hovering over the surface, all three accelerated, swerving through the debris of the ruined villages towards Kyoto when the first sign of retreating Abrams and Bradleys came into view.
Crossing the ledge of the battered hillside, Yuuya signaled for the others to break formation, and head in. "Papa Flight, weapons free!"
"Roger, let's get some!" Papa Four called out, switching to the Zuni rockets in his LAU pods. Skirting just above the tankers and infantry, each Phantom took position to dive on the Fortress and Grappler BETA, when their encrypted radios burst into static.
"Papa Flight, this is White Fang Flight," a Japanese voice churned in accented English. "Break off!"
Yuuya's eyes gaped as a pair of Japanese Type-82's, really modified F-4J's, pulled up alongside, and locked on with their fire control radars. The hauntingly calm warning tone jolted Bridges in his seat, his hands working to twist and climb, bringing his trainer's guns to bear on his supposed allies. "White Fang Flight, this is Papa Lead," Bridges called out. "Wave off! Identify friendlies! Say again, we're friendlies, copy?"
"This is our fight, Papa Lead," the same voice cut in. It was a woman's voice, Yuuya noted, not that much older than him. Seeing the gold paint of the Eishi Type-82 Zuikakus, he fumed in anger. "Know your place! Let the Japanese fight for Japan!"
Snarling as he switched on his visual comm-link, hoping his Asian features would somehow drive the point home about the unified front the commanders at FMFPAC and the Shogunate were supposed to be taking. The other pilot stayed switched to audio only, however, and apparently ignored the gesture. Banking left, Bridges cursed. "We're here to support your ground forces, White Fang!" Yuuya insisted. "They're dying down there!"
"Break off and return to Okinawa, or we'll be forced to shoot you down!" The radar tones sounded again.
Swearing to himself, hoping he wasn't transmitting, he switched frequencies, and addressed his fellow Marines. "Papa Lead to Papa Flight, break off! The locals are restless. I say again, break off, and head for home!"
As Papa Two and Four looped back in a wide, horizontal arc to make a run for the coast, Yuuya could see the Imperial Army units shouting at them, cheering as they waved their rifles in joy. Bridges frowned for a moment, before scanning the second screen of enemy forces. He released the Mk 82 slicks and Rockeyes, the unguided bombs and cluster munitions smashing into the ground, tearing yet another layer of BETA apart.
"Papa Lead, I said break off!" White Fang Lead shouted back.
"Sorry, White Fang," Yuuya snapped. "Got a long flight ahead, and we can't be weighed down!" But the conversation was cut short, as another burst of Laser Class fire cut through the two squadrons, forcing Papa Flight to separate and go for the deck. Landing in an ungraceful thud, Yuuya dropped the remaining munitions, trading armament for agility. On the ground, he turned, seeing the remnants of a Phantom burning, the exoskeletal figure still trying to walk as ammo cooked off its carcass. Another Phantom smashed into two halves, the upper torso pulverized as its twin engines burned.
"Papa Flight, sound off!" Bridges shouted.
Then he watched as an Imperial Phantom, standing only half a klick from him, waded through the smoke trail of a 120mm grenade round that trailed back to the wreckage of his fellow Marines. Raising his WS-16 assault cannon, switching to the 36mm cannon, two radar contacts approached as he and the Zuikaku pilot had their stand-off. "You little fuck!" Yuuya cursed, firing into the Type-82, watching the pilot pivot side to side. "You killed my Marines!"
"Papa Lead, get out of there!" the voice of Captain Jackson shouted, his Super Hornet landing as he fired off a 120mm smoke grenade. The armored and infantry units were running now, staring wide-eyed in shock as the two squadrons of coalition forces regarded each other in their crosshairs. The BETA were closing in, only two klicks away. "Bridges, get the hell out! Orders from Tarawa! Japan doesn't want us here anymore!"
Letting out a guttural cry, Bridges slammed the throttle down and kicked in full afterburner, sending his TF-4 screaming in a curving arc and out towards the shore just feet from the ground, his eyes and weapon still trained on the Zuikaku.
LHA-1 USS Tarawa, Sea of Japan, May 2000:
Yuuya Bridges stood in his officer's uniform, rigidly saluting as both Captain Jackson and Colonel DeMartino returned the gesture. They were in the spartan confines of DeMartino's cabin, the commanding officer's cabin of the Tarawa. "The Japanese are going ape," DeMartino started, taking a seat behind his desk. Working his gnarled hands over his graying hair, the old man stared at the rookie. "Now they're denying any request for assistance from us, saying we took illegal action to fire upon their own people and secure the beachhead as an intelligence coup."
"Intelligence coup?" Jackson shot back. "Of what?"
"Their Takemikazuchi," the colonel replied. "They think we're after their unit specs to help advance the Raptor's development."
"That's the most ridiculous load of bullshit I've ever heard, Sir!" Jackson answered. "The Type-00 is a close-quarters fighter, and all intelligence on it says it's a piece of junk! It falls apart faster than it can sortie! As for the Raptor, it's an air superiority bird. It's like comparing the MiG-25 to the F-15."
"Which we did once," DeMartino added, "and what drove us to overestimating the Russians' capabilities." The colonel paused, rubbing the bridge of his nose. "As it is, Lieutenant Bridges, the president's gotten wind of this, and he's already made the call. We can't acknowledge this little 'incident' as an actual shooting war, or heads will roll on both sides. So, unfortunately, Bridges, I have to wipe your dossier of this."
"Sir?" Bridges asked, eyebrows raising in confusion.
"According to your record, you'll be transferred before any flight time back to the States as part of a strategic withdrawal from Okinawa. The public got sick of us being there, anyway, with the training operations, and the constant Marine presence in town. In effect, anyone looking into your records will simply note you were completing training, and you finished additional carrier quals with me. I'll personally sign off on your ER's with recommendation for promotion below the zone."
"But Sir," Yuuya insisted, "I'm a Marine. I belong defending my brothers and sisters in the field. I worked hard to try for an Expeditionary Unit. If I lose the flight time so far, I have to start from scratch."
"There's more you can do for the Corps than getting into furballs with Jap pilots," Jackson stressed. He was personally offended, losing three trainees, and having to sacrifice a fourth all for the political game. But then, Yuuya was a natural stick and rudder man, and with the Corps, there was always something one could contribute. "El Toro has some openings, and we'll need to strengthen our Pacific forces sooner or later. Take what you can, hone your skills, and do what you can for the Corps there. You're too natural an aviator to ditch because someone in Tokyo wants to whine."
Bridges clenched his left fist, rolling his hand in a circular motion to loosen the tension in the sore joints. "Yes, Sir!" he answered, saluting.
United Nations Yukon Base, April 2001:
Takamura stared at Bridges in the darkened conference room during the entire debriefing as the Marine flexed and clenched his left hand. The wrist oddly groaned and creaked as he tensed and flexed the forearm, wrist twisting first up and down, then left and right. Looking back at the large flat screen displays along the walls, Yuuya slouched slightly, but did not let his eyes drift from the screen. He studied every detail, every graphical representation of the blue and red vectors as they twisted and danced across the green backdrop of the simulated mountain range. It was then, as the labeled shapes formed two obvious delta formations, both heading for the red-tinted territory on the map, the tall, stocky figure of Ibrahim Dogulu, the leader of the Argos Flight, paused playback of the simulation.
Staring at Lieutenant Bridges, Dogulu gestured with a laser pointer at the second screen, showing a split between the simulation in three-dimensional rendered space, and the gun camera of the Super Hornet. "A vertical rolling scissors with a Terminator?" he asked. "You know the Su-37 reports from intelligence say it has a higher service ceiling than the Hornet, and can outmaneuver it in post-stall conditions." He paused to let the information sink in. "What were you thinking?"
Bridges rose to attention. He had known this question was coming, and furrowing his eyebrows, he took a deep breath. "Sir," he began. "It was a mistake to challenge Idar One in this manner. If I had another chance to engage them, I would not challenge them in this way."
Ibrahim nodded. "But that doesn't answer the question. Why did you climb? You trying to be some kind of hero?"
Tarisa started to snicker for a moment, sitting beside the Marine. Quickly, Valerio softly jabbed her in the side with an elbow. Manandal frowned, looking back down at her feet, then glanced back at the primary screen. The simulation frozen in place, her TSF simply lingered at thirty-thousand feet, waiting for someone to pounce and hose her. She had no room to speak.
"Negative, Sir!" Bridges answered. "If I descended and tried to regroup with Lieutenant Manandal, Idar One would have had more time to gain a tactical advantage for an immediate kill. By engaging in a rolling scissors, I hoped to confuse the Terminator pilot long enough for him to make a mistake. While the Terminator does have better maneuverability, the pilot was not using it." Yuuya glanced towards Lieutenant Takamura, watching the frowning visage studying him as if flinching from a foul-tasting soup. "He was holding back, and I would be an idiot not to press the advantage."
"That's a rather risky gamble to take with our Super Hornet," Lieutenant Takamura interrupted. Ibrahim paused, only his eyes moving to study the Royal Guard officer in his peripheral vision. Letting her continue, Dogulu retreated a step as the woman strode to the front row of the lecture hall, directly in front of Bridges. "Why didn't you operate with your team?"
"Because I am a Marine, Sir," Yuuya answered simply, as if that was all he needed to say. He had taken enough of this grilling from this Lieutenant Takamura. She was his equal in rank, if not experience. Besides the respect he had to show her as the officer in charge of this supposed XFJ Project, they should be able to work effectively together. She sure as hell didn't need to respect him as a person, but she damn well had to respect the rank and uniform. "We are the first to fight, and don't wait for the other branches to gather the intelligence to make a decision. Marines are hard chargers, and when we see an opportunity, we go for it. If we wait for our allies to get their heads screwed on straight, people get dead." He paused, watching Takamura turn pale in rage. "Besides, it is not your Super Hornet. It is the Marine Corps' Hornet, the Black Knives' element lead Hornet. In short, it is my Super Hornet."
"Your Super Hornet is part of the base's inventory, now," Yui insisted. "If you operate it, it is because I say it's in the best interest of Project Prominence." She waited for the stiff-necked Marine to come to the understanding she was in charge. "Understood?"
Bridges nodded slightly. "Yes, Sir!"
Ibrahim frowned, then turned back to the main display. "Regardless of your motivations, you managed somehow to throw off the Scarlet Twins, and even with a flameout at that altitude, still regained tactical advantage… here." Pointing at the display as the red and blue dots converged, and the single blue dot in the distance rose to meet the triangle of red. "This isn't that dissimilar from the Soviet tactics for breaking radar lock on the Eagle and Tomcat," Dogulu mentioned. "Rather ingenious."
Takamura tried to restrain her emotions. She was a proud member of the Royal Guard, one of the last surviving families responsible for guarding the Shogunate. She couldn't let such an idiot get the better of her, regardless of his breeding. Stepping towards Ibrahim, she caught his eyes in a cold glare, at which he paused, nodding slightly. While still outranked by Dogulu, he was open to her suggestions. "Yes, Lieutenant?"
"Sir, I presume Argos Flight is clear until duty tomorrow?" she asked. Nodding, Ibrahim frowned slightly. Sending the Argos Flight out this soon after a close call wasn't the best for morale. Still, he reminded himself, Yui was in charge of the project, and he had insisted on giving her a bit of leeway. "In that case, given the results of this debriefing, it would only make sense to test the capabilities of Lieutenant Bridges, now that he's joining Argos Flight."
Looking over the group, Ibrahim nodded slightly. It was a reasonable request, seeing where Lieutenant Bridges stood amongst the others. He was, after all, the only one with no combat experience, but according to his latest ER from his commander in El Toro, and the day's earlier air show, good Argos Lead material. It was either him, or Bremer, since Giacosa and Manandal both seemed too headstrong. "Perhaps a two-on-two? Argos Two and Three against Argos Four and Knife Three?"
Tarisa hissed for a moment, but only temporarily. She had to admit, studying the frozen display, how expertly the underpowered Hornet performed against Idar Flight, and how dangerous an opponent he could be. But then again, she considered, he was just a Marine. What could a Marine really accomplish? Weren't they all high school dropouts given second-hand equipment?
Yui nodded. Secretly, however, she had her own ideas.
"Okay, you heard the lieutenant," Dogulu shouted. "Saddle up!"
Tarisa fumed, rising to her feet as Yuuya stood beside her. She turned to the arrogant grunt, crossing her arms. "You think you can keep up with me? I'm not going easy on you this time!"
Nodding, Yuuya grinned. "Outstanding!"
I must thank Tom Clancy's book "Marine: A Guided Tour of a Marine Expeditionary Unit" for the help in working out a few details, and getting the mentality down for Yuuya's character development. As you can tell so far, this will take a far different angle than the anime or manga, opening up a wide variety of possibilities.
You may also have noticed my extensive criticism of the tactics and revisionist history of "Imperial Japan" in Muv-Luv Alternative." Simply put, anyone worth their salt in military history and fighter aircraft development who winds up watching Muv-Luv would be waving their hands in the air in outright frustration.
However, for those who think I'm being unfair, we will see the flip side of the coin in the next chapter, the conclusion of "Origins."