Disclaimer - The Muv Luv and the Macross Franchises are the respective copyright of their creators, Kouki Uchiyama and Shouji Kawamori, and I do not own the characters, storyline or respective settings of either franchise in any shape or form. All other references to pop culture likewise belong to their respective copyright holders.
Special thanks to Wild Goose again for helping me out!
Muv Luv: Do You Remember Luv
Short Story Collection
"The Soviets are our adversary. Our enemy is the Navy".
- General Curtis LeMay, United States Air Force
Yui had been apprehensive when she originally learned that her old unit, the White Fang Test Squadron, would be representing Japan in Blue Flag '02. Yui had remembered their ultra-nationalistic views about the Empire, the very same ones she used to have, and was more a little concerned about how they'd portray themselves in the multinational exercise.
The recent coup in her homeland probably didn't help their views any.
In fact, Yui had been so concerned she had flown back to Yukon Base herself at the very last minute, with only Nastassja accompanying her, to see them in person. As one of the foremost advocates of multi-national cooperation and international unity, Yui realized that if the White Fangs went and caused an international incident, it could undermine her work.
Thankfully, her fears were unfounded.
"Remember, we are here representing the Empire on the global stage," First Lieutenant Amamiya, Yui's old subordinate and now the successor as the commanding officer of White Fang, addressed the other members of the squadron. "The eyes of the world will be on us as representatives of Japan, and we must show ourselves to be honorable, just and willing to work for the betterment of all mankind."
Yui nodded her head approvingly from the dark corner of the room, unnoticed by the White Fangs. She really should have gone out there to make her presence known to her former unit, but Yui had decided against it. Project Valkyrie was a UN program at its heart, and had no bearing on an IRG test squadron using equipment developed and built solely in Japan.
"I'm quite surprised, Captain. Your friend seems like one of the more reasonable IRG officers I've seen in a while." Nastassja Ivanova whispered quietly from where she stood beside Yui. "With the way the IRG has been behaving lately, even Makabe's Wolves have been complaining about them."
"Yes, it is quite a relief." Yui agreed, now satisfied that the White Fangs weren't about to turn Blue Flag into another public relations fiasco for her battered nation. "Now, let's hop over to the briefing room next door shall we? I want to see how Focker's briefing his men."
The Jolly Rodger's were the other team that had Yui worried, but for a very different reason. The US Navy's VF-103 Jolly Rodgers Squadron and the US Marine Corps VFMA-232 Red Devils would be participating in Blue Flag. Despite being combat squadrons who had actual frontline experience, they had been pulled from their deployments and ordered to send a flight each to take part in the war-games for one reason: testing the VF-8 Crusader II Variable Tactical Fighter in the exercises.
As Project Valkyrie's pride and joy, Yui was very concerned about how the Crusader would be received by the public. Yui already knew from past experience it was a given that the Crusader would flatten any TSF in a straight out fight. Germany's EF-2002 Dragoon, the only other VTF participating in the exercise, was the only machine that stood a chance at matching the Crusader. Unfortunately, she was also aware from her past experiences that the public eye had a habit of misconstruing the facts into something that was, shall we say, 'less than favorable'. It would only take one incident at Blue Flag to completely ruin the Crusader's image in the public eye, and that was what caused Yui to come here in such a hurry.
Despite the rugged image of hard-drinking, hard-fighting, mean devil dogs that Marines liked to portray themselves as, Collins had a humble air about him and never pretended to be anything other than a gentleman as far as Yui knew. No PR debacle would come from the Red Devils, of that she was certain. If there was going to be any kind of mess that would result in mountains of paperwork on Yui's desk and her reaching for a bottle of sake, it would be from the squadron that shamelessly painted the mark of a beer swilling buccaneer on their fighters and proudly flew under the name 'Jolly Rodgers'.
"This is the room." Nastassja announced, discretely opening the door to the briefing room just enough for the pair to enter. The layout of the room was much the same as the one the White Fangs were using. And once again, Yui and Nastassja's observation was unnoticed since the attention of the mixed group of VTF pilots and their Radar Intercept officers had been drawn to the charismatic man at the head of the room.
"Remember ladies, we aren't only representing the interests of the Navy in this exercise, but also the UN's Project Valkyrie," Lieutenant Commander Roy Focker, CO of the Jolly Rodgers and lead pilot of its VTF detachment ,'Skull Squadron', spoke clearly to his men. "I don't want to see any foul play against these guys. Japanese, Germans, French, Chinese, Arabs… they are our adversaries in this exercise, and our allies out of it. At the end of day, don't forget that we're all on the same team."
A soft murmur of ascent from his pilots was his response.
"Focker's being responsible… for once." Nastassja said approvingly.
"Looks like I was worried for nothing." Yui agreed.
Well it seems like the world was on the right track after al-
"Our real enemy is the Army."
"Those landlubbers have been hogging all the good stuff and lording that god-forsaken Raptor of theirs over us for years! We didn't have enough cash for Raptors and carriers, so we built carriers and they had the nerve to laugh at us for being their 'bus drivers'!" Focker said, with the largest grin Yui had ever seen on him. "Now that we have the Crusader and the Over-Hornet, that's going to change. Everyone else, we play fair and square, but it's open season on the Infinites! We will annihilate them!"
"Finally, the chance to avenge all those fucking gay sailor jokes!" One of the VTF pilots whooped happily.
"I'm going to hunt down those Infinities and nail their heads onto a pike!"
"Hear, hear!" Another pilot agreed heartily. "I'm sick and tired of getting my ass bounced by a bunch of no talent hicks who think that landing on a kilometer long runway makes them hot shit!"
"Let's see that low radar profile save them now!"
"That's the spirit!" Focker grinned. "By hook or by crook, we are going to make those Army boys pay through the nose! The next time the budget review comes up I want the Joint Chiefs to think that the Army are a bunch of has-beens with no balls to speak of and give them scraps!"
"Remember ladies! We have one objective and one objective only: it's CRUSHING THE ARMY!"
Focker pumped a fist into the air, earning a loud cheer from the entire room and a befuddled stare from Yui and Nastassja.
"Anchors Aweigh, my boys!
"Farewell to foreign shores,
We sail at break of day 'ay 'ay 'ay!"
"O'er our last night ashore,
Hail to the foam,"
"Until we meet once more,
Here's wishing you a happy voyage home!"
Lieutenant Commander Roy Focker sat side by side next to 1st Lieutenant Keith Blazer at the bar counter, both men looking quite tipsy. All around them were various members of their respective flights, all doing their level best to drown their sorrows together. In fact, Sharon Heim was so currently so drunk she was snuggling up to a similarly passed out Navy pilot, one Lieutenant Shin Kudo, making cooing sounds that would sound suspiciously like 'Yuuya', 'Leon' and 'threesome' to a sober person.
Her boyfriend, Leon Kuze, was bent over one of the tables out cold and was in no way able to complain.
Normally, two groups from different branches of the United States Military ending up in the same bar would be cause for a bar fight of epic proportions, but today was a special day where the Army and Navy had put forward a truce so they could wallow in each other's shared misery.
Finally, this uncomfortable silence was broken when Roy tried drinking from his shot glass and found it empty. "Blast, empty. And I'm still sober. Figures."
"Here, on me." Keith said, then handed Roy what was left of his bottle of whiskey. Roy promptly poured what was left of the bottle to the old fashioned glass he was drinking from while Kieth signaled the bartender for another bottle. The bartender, who really should have thrown the lot of them out of for their unsightly behavior by now, only gave the rabble sympathetic looks as he went and complied.
"Don't mention it, Navy."
As if fate was mocking them, the radio decided to start up a news report describing their woes.
"And in a startling upset in the Blue Flag exercises the, the US Marine Corps VFMA-232 Red Devils emerged triumphant, beating out every other team in the competition. This included their Navy and Army compatriots, the VF-103 Jolly Rodgers and the 65th Combat Training Battalion's Infinities, both of whom are highly decorated units. Using America's new Crusader II Variable Tactical Fighter, the Red Devils proved the lethality of the VTF platform in all forms of combat. At their celebration dinner their commanding officer, the newly promoted Captain Wilbert D. Collins, had this to say…"
"Here's an Oorah for Uncle Sam's Misguided Children!" The unmistakable voice of Captain Wilbert D. Collins hollered jubilantly through the radio. "Suck it, Navy! Who are the Top Guns now?"
"Fucking devil dogs. Where did they learn to dogfight like that?" Keith grumbled.
Roy, being privy to the fact that Wilbert was a close friend of one ex-NUNS Marine pilot, had a few suspicions. However the point was moot since he had a bigger worry.
"Blazer, shoot me now. Collins and I serve on the same boat. He's going to make my life hell when we both get back to the Kennedy." Roy moaned despondently.
"No. I ain't dealing with this shit alone," Keith grumbled. "Accept your defeat like a man like the rest of us, you stupid pansy."
"And now I've been lectured by an Army grunt. This is officially the worst day of my life!" Roy groaned. "On the bright side, at least we didn't lose to the Chairforce. God almighty, if that happened…"
Keith considered Roy's words, envisioning himself being defeated by the USAF, than gave an involuntary shiver at the nightmarish thought. "Amen to that, Focker. Amen to that."
"Any space for a UN Army Captain who needs a drink, badly?" asked a young woman's voice, with a mild Japanese accent. Keith and Roy turned to the newcomer, then motioned to an empty seat beside them. The attractive young woman plopped herself down and quickly ordered the most expensive bottle of sake she could find.
"So what happened to you?" Roy asked, just as the woman's drink arrived.
And then the bloody radio came on again.
"Breaking news! According to reports from the Atlantic Fleet, there has been an assassination attempt on the President! Details are scarce at this point, it is clear the President and his staff survived the attempt…"
"…Kuso." Yui swore.
Keith and Roy stared at her. Roy, being one of the people who worked closely with Project Valkyrie had a few ideas on what just went wrong.
"Let me guess. Some idiot on the Willie Dee used the new cannon you installed on it recently?" asked Roy. He winced sympathetically when Yui's reply was to drop her forehead on the bar counter.
"The William D. Porter accidentally fired a live round at Air Force One while your President was passing through the Atlantic. Something to do with redeeming themselves for launching torpedoes at the Enterprise," Yui informed them once she had stopped punishing herself. "Nobody died because his fighter escort had Crusaders with PPBs, but now every news network in this country is all over the story. I was so busy making sure you jokers didn't do anything stupid for the last week that I forgot to keep an eye on that trice damned ship and its trice damned crew!"
"Ah, figures. It's a Democrat in the White House right now."
By this point, Yui was so agitated she wasn't even speaking English anymore.
"I should have put it on the Iowa. Why didn't I put it on the Iowa? What madness possessed me to think that the great and majestic USS William D. Porter was a good idea? That name has a history of calamities as long as it's service history! Just because it's the newest Arleigh-Burke class destroyer… I am an idiot!"
Kieth and Roy looked each other and decided that they felt much, much better now, and were filled with compassion and understanding. Wordlessly, they communicated their understanding: that as officers and gentlemen, they ought to render aid and comfort to a beautiful young woman in distress...
"Sucks to be you."
"Better you than us."
Yui gave the two of them a long, hard stare before shrugging, taking her bottle of sake and drinking with full intent to get completely smashed by dawn.
"Hoorah, and up she rises…" Focker chuckled.
And the night wore on.
Stonewell/Bellcom VF-8 Crusader II
The most abundant VTF model seen during the BETA war, the VF-8 Crusader II (hereforth 'Crusader') is the backbone of the US Navy, USMC and the ISAF's VTF fleet. The VF-8 would eventually earn a legendary reputation as the iconic VTF of the war, gaining the moniker 'the last dogfighter' after repeated clashes with the Soviet Su-51s Feniks in the Pacific.
While the Crusader wasn't the first production VTF seen by mankind's armies (that honor would go to the EF-2002 Dragoon, first fielded by the Germany Army and RAF), it is the first VTF to be used like an actual Valkyrie. Whereas the EU used their first Dragoons as 'mobile TSFs' that would proceed to a combat area using Fighter mode and execute their mission in Gerwalk and/or Battroid modes as the situation warranted (hence the name), the US Navy viewed the VF-8 as an entirely new weapons platform and treated it as such, developing new tactics and strategies to accommodate it.
During the Battle of Lyons in January 2002, the German Army's JA44 Cerberus Battalion and Project Valkyire's Argos Flight used 12 VTF-0(2) to devastating effect when they laid siege to the Lyon Hive. Onlookers from the USS America and USS Enterprise participating in the operation were awed by the effectiveness of the VTFs in annihilating scores of Lux and Magnus Lux BETA in short periods of time. Combined with the ease of which the original two VTF-0(2)s disposed of the RLF F-16 and MiG29 TSFs during the Red Shift incident, US came to a realization that they needed their own VTF forces to remain relevant in the changing landscape of warfare.
It was the US Navy who decided to take the first step by approaching Project Valkyrie, and thus the Crusader was born.
For morale purposes, the Stonewell-Bellcom VF-8 Crusader II was named after the Vaughn F-8 Crusader jet-fighter plane, the last carrier based fighter that was used by the US Navy before aircraft were supplanted by TSFs. Due to the fact that the US Navy wanted to keep up with the EU, who had by started introducing the EF-2002 Dragoon into their armed forces, the first Crusaders were almost carbon copies of the VTF-0(3) developmental machines from Project Valkyrie. Using parts from retiring F-14D and spare F-16C TSFs to cut down on build times, the success of the initial VF-8A/B models eventually lead to a dedicated production line using specifically fabricated parts. Production never really did meet the high demand from the US Navy and US Marine Corp due to military and corporate planners severely underestimating it's usefulness. Demand was so high that Stonewell and its parent company Boening outscored Crusader production to Lockweed and Northrock in an unsuccessful attempt to meet the order placements from their customers.
Indeed, the Crusader was a legend in its own time, and many die hard Crusader pilots opted to upgrade their Crusaders to the E/F models instead of transitioning to the superior and more cost effective VF-12A Valkyrja when it was introduced in early 2004.
One curious thing about the VF-8 line is their non-stealthy radar profile, an oddity considering most VTFs, including the VF-0(3) which it was derived from, were designed with a low radar profile. This was actually a deliberate choice that came about due to a request to Project Valkyrie from the US Navy. After the recent public relations debacles arising from the US Army's F-22A Raptor and the Red Shift Incident, the US Navy wanted to show the world it was dedicated to fighting the BETA instead of putting America's interests first. They requested Project Valkyrie's lead engineer, Vincent Lowell, to increase the VF-8's radar profile to make it very clear to the international stage that the US Navy's line VTF wasn't a weapon designed to battle other humans. Unfortunately, the VF-8's performance during Blue Flag '02 still garnered the reputation the US Navy was trying so hard to avoid from some nations, notably COSEAN and certain elements in Imperial Japan (namely the IRG). Fortunately, many other nations and power players found this unwarranted criticism ridiculous (including the IJN, MEC and the EU), and the VF-8's effectiveness against the BETA eventually silenced its naysers.
VF-8A/B: Single-seat (VF-8A) and Dual-seat (VF-8B) variants built using components from retiring F-14Ds. The VF-8A, intended as a multi-role quick response fighter, used a variable sweep wings while the VF-8B, a fighter-bomber used delta wings for additional stability. Typical armament as of introduction consists of a 36mm tri-barreled gun-pod with adjustable ROF with internal feed of 600 rounds, two internal missile bays capable of holding mixed load-outs of missiles, four hard points on the wings for additional weapons and two head mounted chemical laser cannons for short ranged defense. Defensive systems include PPB and ECA systems. Maximum speed for the VF-8A is Mach 2.72 at 30,000ft. Service ceiling 85,000 ft. Only 36 of these were constructed (24 VF-8As and 12 VF-8Bs) as they were intended as a 'test' to see how well a VTF would function by US Navy and US Marine Corp before they committed themselves to the VTF program.
VF-8C/D: Using components from F-15Es instead of F-14D to save on factory production lines, the VF-8C (single seat, variable sweep) and VF-8D (dual seat, delta wing) were simply upgraded versions of the A/B series. Improvements included the addition of a 'bullet-proof buckler' on the left forearm that also stored additional magazines for the gunpod, and improved engines that allowed for super-cruise. Typical armament consisted of a 36mm tri-barreled gun-pod with adjustable ROF fed through a removable box magazine with 800 rounds (two additional magazines stored in buckler), two internal missile bays capable of holding mixed load-out of missiles, four hard points on the wings for additional weapons and two head mounted chemical laser cannons for short ranged defense. The VF-8D, now moving more into its role as fighter-bomber, also had two over wing hard points and two fuselage hard points, giving it significantly more armament than its single seat counterpart. Defensive systems include a significantly strengthened PPB and ECA systems. Maximum speed for the VF-8C is Mach 2.98 at 30,000ft. Service ceiling 85,000 ft. Over 150 VF-8C/Ds were produced by Stonewell and Boening during the year 2003. The exactly number cannot be determined because of the rampant outsourcing of Crusader production by Stonewell during this period
VF-8E/F Super Crusader: Introduced late into the war, this final variant was made using nothing but specifically fabricated parts as opposed to components from TSFs. The VF-8E (single seat, variable sweep) and VF-8F (dual seat, delta wing) were the most powerful variants of the Crusader. Performance showed a significant improvement over the VF-8C/D, and the E/F also introduced the Howard EMR-03 'Beowulf' Coilgun to the VF-8 series. This was significant as the EMR-03 was a weapon that allowed the VF-8 to have a primary gun-pod that could have ammunition counts similar to a TSF's assault cannon (2000 12.7x99 NATO rounds and two spare magazines). The VF-8E/F could also mount the 'Paladin' Supplementary Armament Package that gave the VF-8E/F additional armor and weapons but sacrificed speed and agility. Maximum speed for the VF-8E is Mach 3.1 at 30,000ft. Service ceiling 85,000 ft. In addition to the surviving VF-8C/Ds that were upgraded to E/Fs, around 24 more of these were built before Operation Babylon.
The single seat VF-8A/C/E are normally employed as fast hunter killers and quick response units. Multiple Crusaders would operate together in teams of four to achieve this, relying more on speed and flexibility in battle. These Crusaders flights were typically used to pick apart large Destroyer charges from their unarmored backs, taking out isolated and vulnerable pockets of BETA and other targets of opportunity, jumping into situations as emergency reinforcements and, most importantly, elimination of Laser Class BETA.
The two seat VF-8B/D/F were dedicated bombers and interceptors, carrying large amounts of explosive ordinance to execute their missions. Fewer in number to the single seat crusaders due to cost and space issues, these Crusaders operated in pairs, sometimes with escort from accompanying VF-8A/C/Es when the situation warranted it. The VF-8B/D/F fulfilled a number of important roles including close air support for TSF forces, taking out Fort Class BETA quickly and long range elimination of Laser Class BETA. It should be noted that the VF-8B/D/F is almost as agile as its single seat counterpart, especially once it has dropped its air-ground weaponry.
A typical Crusader squadron typically consists of twelve VTFs. Unlike a TSF unit, their combat doctrine emphasizes on flexibility and speed instead of structured formations for defense. As such, they employ loose formations that can quickly break up into individual elements and rely on aggressive moves to control the flow of battle. The finger four is a common formation Crusader squadrons employ. Crusaders never fly alone though, and they always travel in pairs at minimum.
The Crusader also was famous for routinely engaging rouge/hostile VTFs in old-school dogfights. Crusader pilots had many clashes with other VTF and TSFs from various terrorist groups and other hostile clandestine units from other nations. In particular, the VF-8 had something of a 'rivalry' with the Soviet made Su-51 Feniks, and the battles between the USS John F Kennedy's air wing with an unidentified Soviet Black ops group are the stuff of legend. It was these incidents that eventually gave the Crusader the nickname 'The last dogfighter', and made it so loved throughout the US Navy and beyond.
The Cursader is a mix between the latest generation VF concepts from 2061 and technologies available in 2001. Technologies such as the PPB and design concepts such as internal missile bays were integrated into that appeared outwardly to be a VF-0 Phoenix air-frame. This odd mishmash of design concepts has resulted in a machine that has atmospheric performance comparable to the VF-5000 Star Mirage, well above what Valkyrie of its generation and limitations should be capable of. This proved to be the key to its success, and the success of the VTF platform in general.
While the Crusader is mostly associated with the US Navy, it also used extensively by the USMC. Later, when the ISAF was established in mid 2003, the Crusader, along with the F-35B Lightning II, became associated with the multi-national peacekeeping force as well.
Although the Crusader did not see much export trade, understandable since Stonewell was having trouble supplying the US military, let alone other buyers, a variant of the VF-8E Super Crusader was also manufactured on license by Mitsuhishi Heavy Industries under the name 'Type-03 Hayabusa', and was used as the primary VTF of the JSDF.
While the Crusader was eventually succeeded by the VF-12A Valkyrja, the large numbers of Crusaders produced during 2003 as well as its popularity among the rank and file the allowed the Crusader to remain relevant throughout the war even though it was inferior to the Valkyrja.
As suggested by Person With Many Aliases, I decided to go and repost the snippets I had posted on the animesuki Muv Luv fanfiction thread here. Most of them are for flavor and humor purposes and serve to support the main story. Although they are pretty short, I hope some of you readers got a laugh or two out of these short works.
EDIT: BTW, Goose has a sequel to this snippet called 'Garuda Wings, Evaluation' in case you want to read it.
Thanks for reading!