Note: I thought I'd stick to how I would play the game and use specific planes. I not a master of aerial combat maneuvers or military ranks but I want to make it as close as possible. Anything in italics (or slanted) is a thought. It will have the character name and then the thought on a separate line. This is my first attempt at a fanfic. I love the story of the Razgriz squad and I love Ace Combat 5. Well, here goes! The story title repeats before the start of ever chapter. i fixed this in later parts. My first, by nice!
Prologue : Garret "Blaze" Lawson
Heierlark Air Force Base, aka The Freezer. Fall '09. Final flight exams.
"This is Capt. Artt Neilson to tower. Cleared for takeoff?" radioed Neilson, to get in the air and test on his best pilots to date, Garret Lawson, who prefers to be called Blaze.
"This is tower. You are cleared for takeoff Capt. Neilson."
"See you in the sky Blaze" as he roared off in his F-5e Tiger "Bandit".
"Right behind you, Capt'n. Tower, cleared?" chimed Blaze into the radio.
"Blaze, this is tower, good luck!"
Blaze and his F-5E climb into the blue sky. It's peaceful, like a second home to Garret. Up here he's free, up here he's alive.
"Ready Blaze?" radio's Capt. Neilson, "I'm itching for a good one."
"As I'll ever be Capt. Neilson."
As Blaze checks his radar he formulates a plan and heads up in the clouds.
Blaze: Pounce him from the sun. Use his technique against him.
"Gotcha!" remarked Neilson as he sees Blaze climb to 6000 feet.
"Come find me, old man!"
As Neilson climbs out the cloud bank, he loses visual on Blaze when he gets a tone over his headpiece.
Blaze: Closing on the Captain.
"Do you like Swiss cheese Cap?" asked Blaze.
"No, and you won't either" says Neilson as he banks his plane and heads south flying into the grey clouds. Blaze hangs out over the clouds knowing his instructor will wait until the last minute before climbing out again
Blaze: As long as I am in the sun, should be alright, but just in case….
Blaze follows his instructor into the clouds and emerges underneath it. Scanning the visible area for a hint of glint or faint exhaust fumes he punches the engines alive just as he hears the familiar rush of a F-5.
"Done playing hide and seek Blaze?" asks Neison
"Just waiting for you to stretch your legs Bandit. Let's get this test started!"
Blaze kicks in the afterburners and zooms off for a mile with the captain behind closely. Cleverly evading "missile" lock and staying out of "gun" range.
Nielson: These lasers better get a lock on him quick. Ah got it!
Blaze hears the familiar tone of a lock, rolls left and banks into horizontal Immelmann Turn. Right before straightening out, he cuts the throttle, hits the brakes and almost does a power slide in mid-air, cutting into the trailing F-5 while keeping it in "gun" range. Neilson is astounded by what he saw and it takes a while to realize that he is "gun" range of Blaze and he is no being hunted.
"Guns away!" cries out Blaze as his fake bullets hit the captain's right wing. Neilson up and to the right but Blaze was already hot on his trail.
"ONE MINUTE" the tower controller says over the radio. The crowd watching below has never seen anyone go past 1:10 and it's about to happen, with captain being hunted much less.
Neilson: Further into the clouds, just a bit longer.
The test has now gone into a very dark wet cloud and Blaze has now lost his instructor who has managed to find himself behind Blaze.
"Blaze, it's been fun but it's time to end this test."
"Yes sir it has been, but tell me something", he says as the tone in his ear starts up, "have you seen a Cobra loop done in an F-5?" as Blaze yanks his plane up, hits the brakes and does a vertical corkscrew into a loop right over the captain. The captain, stunned, doesn't hear the tone and only sees his dashboard light up. He has lost. His student has bested him with a maneuver that most advanced pilots have trouble completing in newer jets.
On the ground, the crowd is going crazy. The clouds parted just long enough for on looking trainees to see the Cobra loop and Blaze to get behind his instructor, all while being nearly vertical and gun him down.
Looking on among the trainees were Lars Clarkson, the self professed "best pilot to ever grace the skies" even more so than the aces from the war with Belka 15 years ago including Cipher and Solo Wing Pixy. Kei Nagase was also looking with amazement. She was 23 of Japanese descent. She is from south Osea. She too passed her test two days ago but it was no way compared to what Blaze did.
After getting pats on the back and great praises from his fellow flyers, Blaze came face to face with a disgruntled Lars and his posse.
"You will never fly in my skies" sneered Lars as he walks off with his group and one of the newer female pilots under his arm.
Blaze: Not sure what he as against me but he has got to let it go. And I feel bad for her too.
Later that night in his room, there's a knock on his door.
"Come in." It's Captain Neilson and Base Commander Arnold Thompson. Thompson, a 6'5 50 year old man ran this base like a small town. He fought in the Belkan War. He saw the Belkans drop the nuclear weapons on their own soil and vowed to never kill again. But he knew that pilots would need to be trained and he was satisfied with being an instructor and then Base Commander.
"Oh Captain Neilson, Commander Thompson" as Blaze saluted his superiors. They returned his salute.
"At ease Lawson" said Thompson, "I saw your test today, excellent flying."
"Thank you sir."
Then Neilson spoke. "But we have some bad news."
"Bad news, how?" Blaze was starting to feel uneasy.
"It's your uncle, Garret," said Neilson gently. "His cancer has progressed. He's in the hospital."
Garret's heart sank. Ever since he lost his parents at the start of Belkan War, he only knew one family member, Uncle Michael Smith. Or as history calls him, Cipher. After the war he and his wife Cynthia took him in at the age of 10. Cipher taught him to fly. To love the sky like it was second home. They traveled in the summers in-between school and saw different people and cultures. Cipher, like his dad, Charlie, was Osean of a dark complexion, but his mom, Angelica, was Belkan. The three were visiting family in Ustio when troops stormed the home and killed everyone except a scared Garret who then barely escaped a burning building. After the war, Cipher searched for him, eventually finding him in an orphanage in Osea.
For the last few years Cipher has been battling pancreatic cancer. But this time it took control of Cipher's body. He was dying, and fast.
"When can I go home to see my Uncle?"
"We can get you a transport to get you home by tomorrow afternoon to the mainland."
"Thank you both, very much."
Thompson spoke up, "Are u going to be alright?"
"I hope so sir. He's my last family." After a pause, "I think I'll go the party to clear my head."
"We understand. Catch up with your peers and have some fun." And with that, the older men left a silent Blaze.
At the party, Kei Nagase was looking for Blaze when she was approached by Lars.
"Hey there sweetness. Want to dance?"
"No, I rather drink my own vomit and swim in arsenic than spend another minute talking to you."
Then Lars, never having any girl refuse him, grabbed her and his drunken state, tried to molest her in a dark corner when she kneed him the 'nads and took off down a hall way with Lars in tow. She ran into Blaze who realized that something was up. That's when Lars stumbled into the hallway. He was so focused on Kei that he didn't see Blaze standing there.
Lars finally recognized Blaze and growled.
"I WANT THE GIRL!"
"Don't think so. You've been a pain here at the base since you showed up. Talking down to the trainees like they are beneath you. Acting like a tough guy because you can't fly. Your ego may have your crew fooled but not me or Kei."
With that Lars lunged his 6'2 frame at the smaller Blaze and found himself into an Attitude Adjustment1 and on to his back cringing in pain and then went out cold.
"And another bites the dust." Turning to Kei, "You ok?"
"I'm fine. Thank you. How come you're not at the party?"
With a long stare, Blaze said, "It's a long story." And then Blaze leaned against the wall and sank down to the floor.
"My uncle is dying. I leave tomorrow." It was an hour ago that the captain and base commander saw him and he just let it all out.
"I'm sorry to hear that," as she sat down next to him and hugged him. The amazing pilot from earlier today, one that the younger trainees looked up to, yet always alone, needed a friend.
"He was my only older blood family and I know he needs me."
"Was he married?"
"Still is. Coming up on 16 years and 2 daughters." After a few more minutes of shed tears Blaze thanked Kei for being there, got up and left for his room.
The next day, Blaze boarded a C-130 and returned home to Central Osea to Cipher's house where he was greeted by Cynthia at the airport.
July, 15th of 2010
A weak Cipher laid him room overlooking the lake. It was peaceful and serene as he listened to light breeze, the birds singing, and his wife reading to him.
Cipher: The time has come.
"Honey," coughed Cipher, "get everyone here." Cynthia called the twins, Mycelia and Tanya, and Garret from the backyard to the bedroom.
It was a somber moment as the family sat together in the room and looked back over the years. Cipher to Blaze that his parents would love to see him now and that they would be very proud of him and that he should never give up flying. He asked to be alone with his and Blaze and the girls left the room and went to his room where they sat together. Being the brother-figure to them, he never let them see him cry. He held them close as was the custom when the girls were upset and cried with them. A few minutes later they heard Cynthia weep.
August 10, 2010.
"And may the flight angels carry thee to thy rest. Amen," whispered a somber minister to the crowd of 60 or so guests. Mutual friends and some extended family of Cynthia and Cipher were there including a few from their younger days. Even the twins invited some friends. Blaze was alone in the corner when he was approached by Captain Neilson and Commander Thompson.
Neilson asked Thompson as they approached him,"Too upset for an old friend?"
"You know I think so."
Blaze looked up and ran to the gentlemen when he remembered to salute.
Thompson replied, "A salute is nice but so is a man hug." And the three group hugged.
When Blaze asked how they knew his uncle, they said they flew with him on a number of missions including the fateful Battle of the Round Table. They took Blaze to meet a laughing Captain Jack Bartlett of the 108th Tactical Fighter Squadron of the Osean Air Force located at Sand Island Air Base. Bartlett was good man, a bit harsh with his rookies but cared for them nonetheless like a father.
"So this is the young pilot you are telling me about Artt," asked Bartlett.
"Yes he is. He pulled a Cobra in an F-5 while nearly vertical."
"Wow," Bartlett was amazed. "I can use a pilot like you in my squad. Especially since that punk Clarkson was sent home for trying to molest a girl who would become a rook under me."
"Wait, Clarkson? Lars Clarkson," asked Blaze.
"Yep. You know him," responded Bartlett.
"I, uh, body slammed him my last night at Heierlark. He was trying to get to a fellow pilot…uh…Kiki, Kim?"
Thompson cut in, "Kei Nagase."
"Yeah, her. Wait, she's at Sand Island," asked Blaze.
"Yes," spoke Neilson, "and quite the stronger person now because of that moment. Would you like to go to Sand Island in September Blaze?"
"I haven't been in a plane in a while. It's been months. If I could back to Heierlark, to get my wings and then go to Sand Island… But I can't leave Aunt Cynthia…"
"You should go. Go fly. You can leave in a week," smiled Cynthia who has glad to hear Blaze speak of flying again. "You have to say a proper goodbye to the girls first and you know it takes a week."
Bartlett spoke up, "Your uncle made a request that I take you if you passed your test and since you did pass, I will honor it. It won't be easy kid. Can you handle it?"
Blaze asked Thompson if it can be done and Thompson smiled. Blaze looked at Bartlett and replied with a resounding yes sir.