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WFF Series 2: Ardent Sigma [IC, PRIVATE]

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Valefontaine
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WFF Series 2: Ardent Sigma [IC, PRIVATE]

Postby Valefontaine » Thu May 23, 2019 5:53 pm






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____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    A C T 1 - "M E R C E N A R I E S"
    van der Kaap Airstrip, 15km NW of Sofía, Duchy of Canguari
    JANUARY 5, 422


    __________________________________

"And that all we've bled for
is coming undone"
—President Strickland's last words following his assassination, A.C. 399


Distant she was from the revelling wastrels of Torch City, coke-powdery cigsmoke-tinged scenes of amour propre neobrutalist cocktail bars, far-removed phantasmagoric engrams lingering at the corners of Adeline's mind still, reminders of how life had been before. Long ago it'd felt — yet it was only a mere two years' bygone memory. Furthest away lay the memories of home — of Canten. Faded mind-visions resided of the small town ethos, sights and sounds of a simpler, hard-working life evoking patriotic nostalgia.

Gone now were these hypnagogic, oniric reminiscences — replaced by the stark reality of Adeline's situation. van der Kaap Airstrip's amenities left much to be desired, especially in the discomforting swelter of what was, in the southern Hemisphere, the heart of Summer. Sweating buckets was a good way of putting it. Air conditioning system forever unresponding, at least a half-century past its service life, Adeline could help little but sigh at just how much of a nuisance 'living' in this place, or as she might call it, a 'shithole', was — a story of its own. Her belief lay firmly in the supremacy of the Euphemian state - its voluntary degrees of demobilization serving only to feed her disillusionment with the great nation to which she owed her livelihood. Nations south of Red Pine were but mere distortions and imitations of the true, unfaltering model of civilization that the Federal States was built upon. They were assigned here now in Canguari, the damp armpit of the southern continent, operating on the fiscal benevolence of the Central Government. That was not to imply the 'Central Government' was the Duke of Canguari — rather the Central Government was an eldritch abomination of bureaucratic wings, annexes, and offices with metaphorical tendril-like limbs merging government, military and religion, seeping ominously into every echelon of the tropical nation's society.

For it was the Central Government's wealth that had brought them, and by extent, the McLellan-Kuron Corporation, here. Promises of gold and diamonds built upon conflict and the toiling backs of 'generation-slaves' were appealing to most in pursuit of profit. The Euphemian Dream wasn't always the easiest dream one could aspire towards. That was where the lower echelons of the civilizational strata came into play. Though the military's expeditionary prospects became narrower, there were no shortage of men and women swooned by sweet promises of adventure and money — they'd find both in places like the Contested Territory. The Contested Territory, the Valley, the Lawless Zone — there were no shortage of terms used to refer to the resource-rich stretch of territory that had been disputed by Canguari, Floriana and Velezia for centuries — perhaps even predating the Calamity itself. The natives simply called it La Zona... the Zone.

The Zone had it all: drug cartels, commie gunslingers, a few mixes thereof, the Velezian Army (angry sons-of-bitches they were), Canguarian Security Forces, Florianan Army, Sermonist shadow armies spreading the Good Word, natives — and much, much more that served to give this lawless territory an aura of venturesome mystique. Their job was as simple as it was on paper, really: shoot planes out of the sky and flatten villages. Who lived there and what armies held said places mattered little in comparison to the payout said jobs incurred.

Already Adeline was rather accoutered for their first real sortie today, dressing for the occasion accordingly. A man at the airstrip would deliver the briefing in a half-hour's time, to which Adeline was making certain her uniform and equipment were in order. Word was he was like them; a gringo from the north. Unlike them, however, he'd lived in the south Ophiric nation for decades, and had come to comprehend the language, culture and customs of the country as if it were the back of his hands. Former Central Bureau of Intelligence, shady spook types ever apparent, Adeline could wisely guess the man was a relic of a better time — a free-traveling do-what-thou-wilt hedonist, yes, but a wise one seeking liberation of one's essence through gnosis, mindful of his duties and responsibilities.

Uniform code resembled an odd, well-designed hybrid of typical kitsch businesswear attire and a flightsuit. Too fancy and intricate for mil-types, but well within the ludicrous opulence of the Corporation. Dark naval blue suitpants caressing her form as they tightened on the belt's press, soon complemented by shirt and flight-coat. Harness belts clicked as she geared up for what was to come, checking the dim fluorescent glow of her wristwatch to note the time. Soon everything would fall into motion — and Adeline liked being ready sooner.

Outside her quarters, the corridor was silent, save for the low hum of dingy fluorescent bulbs above. Unusually quiet — typically the dingy, faded features of the passageway had sporadically about them Canguarian troops, talking in their own bastard-language amongst themselves only to shoot the occasion compliment in broken Euphemian. They weren't bad compliments, but they weren't good compliments, either.

A door along the hall opening signified the end of this silence, a familiar face emerging from one of the various rooms situated along the corridor. Aviator sunglasses and beard a dead giveaway, Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers was the Squadron Manager of the unit, putting him just a notch above Adeline herself. What she hadn't learned in the training manuals, she'd learned with him. He was exceptional at what Corporate policy demanded of him — fluent in five languages, he handled most of the communication with the locals down here.

"Secretary Squadron Manager Crozier." He acknowledged her presence as they continued on to the briefing.

"Powers." Acknowledging her superior in turn, they continued on through the barracks, the other two pilots pertaining to the squadron emerging from their respective quarters. This would be the first time Adeline would work with them. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston and Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton were, from what she'd assessed in their records, an Augustan and a Westlander respectively. Homestate, race, religion and creed mattered little in the Corporation.

"So, who exactly is this Pecks guy?" Lynn questioned, eyebrow raised in fascinated curiosity at the question of the man who'd be briefing them.

"Former CBI. Second-in-Command to the Duke of Canguari, basically." Replied Ricky, leading the group of pilots out of the barracks. Immediately came the midsummer swelter, blazing sun bearing down on the pilots. Adeline was quick to shield her eyes briefly from the brightness. Walking on to the hangar in question, the squadron manager continued. "...man's said the Duke's sitting on a few centuries' worth of gold. Some of it will be ours, if we do our job."

"How do the local air forces compare?" Anthony asked, his statement immediately eliciting a hearty chuckle from their superior.

"They don't. Nothing in this place can even compare to our aircraft. We're the masters of the sky here." Leading them inside the hangar, pockets of light glimmering in through corroded holes in the iron roofing of the facility, Ricky quickly moved ahead to shake the hand of an older man as the rest of the unit seated themselves. Once introductions were through, the squadron manager stood beside the former CBI agent as he began the briefing.

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Former CBI agent Gregory Pecks, PhD. Now the second most powerful man in Canguari, he runs the tropical nation from the shadows.


A friendly smile made itself apparent on Pecks' aged features, nodding as he greeted the pilots. "Right, uh, good morning, ladies and gentlemen." He paused, adjusting his notes situated at the makeshift podium's desk before continuing. "It's been a long time since I last did a briefing, I apologize. —anyhow. As you might all have figured out, you're a few minutes' flight away from the Zone... pretty damn far from good ol' Euphemie, as you might figure. The Anahí river trails south, carrying with it the bodies of the deceased... right into the Velezian-occupied city of Sanchez. Canguari used to call it theirs 460 years ago — and it is for that reason that the Central Government has elected to utilize the resurgence of the Cortina Roja to destabilize the iron grip the Velezians hold over the city. It's well south of where our forces are, of course — but the Central Government wishes to plan ahead. We're starting by reducing the amount of aircraft the Velezians are capable of deploying... by kicking them out of the skies of the Zone's southern reaches. Most Velezian fighters can't really compete with what you're fielding — do be warned, however, that the Las Playas cell of the Army of the New End Times..." Pecks was referring to a Sermonist paramilitary organization that operated in Canguari, the Zone and neighboring countries. As one might expect, it was a wing of the Central Government — or a subtle hand controlling it... nobody really knew. "...believe the Velezians may be developing something tantamount to a fourteenth-generation fighter in the works. There is little evidence to support this claim thus far, but one can never follow too much precaution. The mission is simple: there are three Velezian flights of the 312th Squadron that frequent the skies over Sanchez: Libertad, Justicia and Independencia. Occasionally they fly north and pester Canguarian air patrols — they've scored almost thirty kills in the past five years, with not a single loss. That's where you come in. Shoot 'em down and RTB. Dismissed!"

With that, Adeline left her seat, hurrying on over to the adjacent hangar where her fighter aircraft rest. The other pilots, obviously, were up to the same. Climbing aboard her aircraft, the systems booted up on their own, recognizing her presence as she seated herself aboard the fourteenth-generation fighter. Unlike the usual military-grade equipment on the field, the CF-71 series of fighter aircraft, operated solely by the Corporation, were fitted with a so-called 'virtual assistant system', or VAS — a conversational assistant system much akin to the systems fitted aboard Euphemian carrier vessels, or Akhmanari multipurpose 'Ancilla' systems.

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MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL 12TFS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
----

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "Begin prelim checks."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "Copy."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003 | PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston:// "Understood."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046 | PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton:// "Got it."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


"VAS, run a preliminary check." Adeline said, leaning back in her seat. The response came soon enough from the digitalized assistant-screen of the cockpit on the righthand side, surrealist bluish visage of a feminine form nodding in turn. This was the Virtual Assistant System, a program that complemented the various features aboard the CF-71A by providing a greater degree of automation and accessibility on the fly. They were depicted in forms truly befitting the revival of cheesy sci-fi action flicks from the early 410s.

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"VAS, run a preliminary check."


"++Understood.++" Swiftly on cue, various systems related to the aircraft were tested in a matter of seconds — from flaps to weapon bays. The report came a mere ten seconds later, letters glowing on one of the various screens in the fighter aircraft's cockpit.

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MCK-OS v1.17
PRELIMINARY CHECK
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L WING - OK
L FLAPS - OK
R WING - OK
R FLAPS - OK
L TAILWING - OK
R TAILWING - OK
WPN BAY 1 - OK
LOADOUT - 4/4x AAM-241D Comet
WPN BAY 2
LOADOUT - 2/2x AAM-11 Brushstroke
FUSELAGE - OK
ENGINES - OK
RADAR - OK
COMPUTER TEMP - 45° CENTIGRADE

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Jet engines coming to life, Adeline allowed the fighter to run its usual processes before flight, the pilot attent to the various screens situated about the cockpit. The crackle of the comm emitted from her headset, chatter commencing from the other pilots.

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MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL CANGFOR/BA-VDK - MILITARY ENCRYPTION
----

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "12th TFS requesting clearance for takeoff."

-[ CANGFOR/ Air Traffic Control | "Luis":// "You and your squadron are clear to takeoff, gringo."

CHANNEL 12TFS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
----

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "You know the routine."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


'Ryko' took the lead, Powers taxiing the aircraft out of its respective hangar and onto the runway. It took a few more seconds for the fourteenth-generation fighter to activate its engines with considerable thrust, gliding upward as it ascended into the heavens above. The roar of her own aircraft's engines reached a crescendo as it came her turn, Adeline bringing her CF-71A fighter onto the runway. As if on cue, she raised the thrust, aircraft boosting across the tarmac as she effortlessly ascended into the sky, the jungles of Canguari below her as she joined 'Ryko' in the skies. It was a pleasant morning, even moreso hundreds of feet in the air and rising as she maneuvered her aircraft upwards.

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The skies over Canguari.


"++Expect rain in the Zone, light winds of 15mph on the ground.++" The feminine voice of the VAS notified Adeline as they continued onward through the skies of Canguari.

"I see." While most pilots with access to this kind of technology often fraternized with the conversational program, she regarded it for what it was — an asset.

The other two aircraft of the squadron — they were quite heavily undermanned until the corporate bureaucracy decided they merited a full sixteen-craft squadron — ascended to join 'Ryko' and 'Tourian' in the clouds above Canguari as they began their way south.



Image
MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL 12TFS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
----

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003 | PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston:// "So what exactly does Canguari have for an air force, besides us?"

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046 | PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton:// "If they had something useful, they wouldn't need us."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "A few old F/A-127s and turboprop COIN aircraft. Truly, nothing useful."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "They're feedin' on the scraps of the War, huh?"

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "Velezians aren't the same, though. They're building one hell of an army — and an air force, for that matter. One could say they're preparing for a war..."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


"++Fun fact: the Central Bureau of Intelligence estimated Velezian Army troopcounts of the previous year to number 295,000.++" The VAS interjected with a factoid as they approached the boundaries of the internationally-recognized southern border of Canguari on the map.

"And what might it be now?" Adeline figured she'd entertain its factoid with a question.

"++400,000.++" This seemed to play into her suspicions that the Velezian military was undergoing some kind of mobilization. The jungles only became denser in the lawless stretch of valley that comprised the Zone, the absence of civilization ever-apparent as the highways thousands of feet below slowly degraded to dirt roads hardly visible through the expanse of rainforest. They were quick to pass the city of Corona, continuing southwest. On the horizon she could already see the distant outline of structures, roads and highways that comprised Sanchez. Like a beacon of light in the uncivilized darkness, it was one of the larger — if not the largest — urban agglomeration in the lawless territory. Being occupied by Velezian forces, it had the defenses one would expect — meaning little, however, to their stealth aircraft.

Image
MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL 12TFS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
----

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "Up ahead."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003 | PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston:// "So this squadron we're after is somewhere around here?"

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "That would be correct."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "All right, we're entering the combat AO. Keep your eyes open."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


A tense silence followed as they drew nearer to the city of Sanchez, unmistakeable blips of aircraft appearing on console as the four aircraft approached. They were thousands of feet above the city now, though that mattered little — what mattered more was hunting these Velezian fighters and compromising them to permanent end.

"++Enemy aircraft ahead, 96 kilometres and closing...identified entirely as F-38s. Estimated patrol trajectory aligns best with third flight 'Independencia'.++"

Image
MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL 12TFS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
----

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "Enemy unit is in the No Escape Zone."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003 | PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston:// "And they haven't detected us?"

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// [chuckle] "They'll wish they did. Engage."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Without hesitation, all four aircraft of the squadron pivoted to engage. Coordination between aircraft was practically seamless, targeting of other CF-71A aircraft digitally depicted to ensure the most practical use of air-to-air missiles.

Locking onto one of the Velezian F-38 fighters — they were rather poor imitations of the much more brilliant, maneuverable Akhmanari N-31KM3 'Darter' fighters, what gems they were — Adeline didn't hesitate to open the internal weapons bay and fire off a missile, which promptly trailed off with impressive speed..

"++Opening the Internal Weapons Bay compromises stealth.++" The VAS reminded her.

"Yeah." She nonchalantly nodded, tapping into enemy comms as they continued forward.

Image
MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL EdC312 XXX-XXX-XXX [DECIPHERED]
----

-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 312/ F-38AE Estrella "Ángel" #399-072 | Tte. Domingo Aguinaldo:// [TRANSLATED] "We're detecting something north of us— SHIT! INCOMING!"

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Before the other aircraft of the formation could disperse, the other three fired missiles pertaining Adeline's fellow pilots sweeped in, promptly obliterating the fighters in question. With the blips disappearing from radar, their attention inevitably turned to the other aircraft in the AO.

Image
MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL 12TFS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
----

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "Enemy flight 'Justicia' is 339km to the southwest. Move in to engage."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046 | PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton:// "Pretty soon every dumb bastard in the AO is gonna be on our tail, not just these two flights."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "That's the idea!"

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


With that, the squadron set off on a southwestern course, Adeline hardly noticing the city of Sanchez below as they approached the next set of targets.

"++Those planes are going to raise alert in the city. Expect their air defense grid to be up in approximately ten minutes.++" The VAS advised as the group continued on to the next force.

"Ten minutes? I can do this in five." Activating her CF-71A's afterburners, she boosted ahead of the rest of the squadron, gaining a lock on one of the four Velezian aircraft beyond visual range. Once again, she opened the internal weapons bay, quickly being detected by the Velezian formation — promptly firing away a missile and closing the bay once more.

Image
MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL EdC312 XXX-XXX-XXX [DECIPHERED]
----

-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 312/ F-38AE Estrella "Medianoche" #402-054 | Tte. Valerie Barrios:// [TRANSLATED] "Wait— where'd they go?!— AHH—" [static]

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


The three remaining aircraft of the Velezian formation were quick to take pursuit towards Adeline's last given position. They approached the location in question as she observed the radar map carefully.

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The clouds serve to conceal the heart of darkness that is the jungle.


"++Soon you will be detected again.++" The VAS cautioned.

Adeline hesitated for a moment before replying to the program. "That's not the point."

Image
MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL EdC312 XXX-XXX-XXX [DECIPHERED]
----

-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 312/ F-38AE Estrella "Gringo" #407-022 | Tte. Francisco Illescas:// [TRANSLATED] "I've never seen an aircraft like this before..."

-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 312/ F-38AE Estrella "Aguayo" #398-013 | Cpt. Sara Botín:// [TRANSLATED] "..Euphemians?.."

-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 312/ F-38AE Estrella "Dreamer" #400-003 | Tte. Leonardo Collazo:// [TRANSLATED] "Euphemians? Over here? Impossible. This fighter matches nothing in our registries... whose side is it on?"

-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 312/ F-38AE Estrella "Gringo" #407-022 | Tte. Francisco Illescas:// [TRANSLATED] "The enemy side. I'll shoot 'em down for killing Barrios!"

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


A warning blared from her own systems, the computer alerting her to the fact the enemy was locking on.

"++Nine missiles.++" Adeline largely ignored the voice of her virtual assistant, sharply angling her supermaneuverable aircraft upward and deploying her aircraft's countermeasures — a vast ECM suite paired with a DRFM jamming system that quickly spoofed the missiles in question, sending them towards nonexistant targets to explode in the clouds.

Image
MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL EdC312 XXX-XXX-XXX [DECIPHERED]
----

-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 312/ F-38AE Estrella "Gringo" #407-022 | Tte. Francisco Illescas:// [TRANSLATED] "What the hell?! Who is this pilot?"

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Now that she'd maneuvered, she faced the assailing formation — her AESA radar serving as a jammer that quickly fried one of the aircraft as she passed them by, engines of both aircraft screeching as they crossed paths.

Image
MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL EdC312 XXX-XXX-XXX [DECIPHERED]
----

-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 312/ F-38AE Estrella "Dreamer" #400-003 | Tte. Leonardo Collazo:// [TRANSLATED] "AH FUCK! My electronics are fuckin' fried!"

-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 312/ F-38AE Estrella "Aguayo" #398-013 | Cpt. Sara Botín:// [TRANSLATED] "God damnit, keep it together! Focus on the bandit!"

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


One of the blips abruptly disappeared on the map, 'Ryko' swiftly crossing paths with the Velezian aerial formation. This was enough to further disrupt their pursuit of Adeline's aircraft — her method of baiting had seemingly played out.

Distantly behind her, she could see the burning wreckage of the fighter aircraft in question tumbling into the cloudline below, disappearing entirely as it plunged below the dense thicket of nimbostratus clouds that concealed the deeper features of the valley.

Image
MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL EdC312 XXX-XXX-XXX [DECIPHERED]
----

-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 312/ F-38AE Estrella "Aguayo" #398-013 | Cpt. Sara Botín:// [TRANSLATED] "Dreamer, respond!"

-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 312/ F-38AE Estrella "Gringo" #407-022 | Tte. Francisco Illescas:// [TRANSLATED] "—oh fuck. He's gone, ma'am!"

-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 312/ F-38AE Estrella "Aguayo" #398-013 | Cpt. Sara Botín:// [TRANSLATED] "Fuck. FUCK! REQUESTING IMMEDIATE REINFORCEMENTS!"

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


"++I believe I can infer to your intention with this tactic.++" The computerized assistant noted as Adeline persisted, gliding through the skies in elegant maneuvers. She didn't intend to utilize her aircraft's missiles for this one. Emerging from the clouds she approached another one of the fighter aircraft from behind, 20mm Fafnir cannons going live and cutting through the airframe of the F-38 aircraft as if it were paper.

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Like paper...


Metal paneling and electronics came loose as the structural integrity of the aircraft came undone, the fighter soon bursting into flames and breaking in midair before vanishing into the clouds below. Adeline could feel the adrenaline coursing through her veins as she soared past the doomed aircraft's fall.

Image
MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL EdC312 XXX-XXX-XXX [DECIPHERED]
----

-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 312/ F-38AE Estrella "Gringo" #407-022 | Tte. Francisco Illescas:// [TRANSLATED] "Oh fuck! Oh FUCK! It won't eject!" [screaming]

-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 312/ F-38AE Estrella "Aguayo" #398-013 | Cpt. Sara Botín:// [TRANSLATED] "..I'm the last one... I'm the last one. They're... they're no ordinary pilots. Send help!"

-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 312/ F-38AE Estrella "Aster" #394-047 | Col. Isaías Berrocal:// [TRANSLATED] "This is flight Libertad, we are coming in to assist."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Four more blips were approaching fast, to which the group of CF-71As regrouped just behind the last remaining F-38 of Justicia. Without effort, 'Junkie' cut the fighter in question loose, sending it diving wildly into the clouds below. Adeline could see the ejection seat of the ill-fated pilot deploy as the aircraft tumbled to its demise. Hopefully they didn't land over Cortina Roja-held territory.

"++Four more aircraft 80km and closing.++" The feminine computerized voice of the VAS served to remind Adeline of their last target in the Velezian squadron.

Image
MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL 12TFS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
----

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "Actually, I don't feel like wasting these missiles. Dive below the cloudline, we're goin' into Sanchez."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "Wait, what?"

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "It's an old trick. Just watch."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Hesitantly, Adeline followed her superior's orders, diving into the grey abyss of the cloudline only to emerge on the other end on direct approach to the city, skyscrapers and apartment blocks denoting the urban area. Warning klaxons gave fair indication that they were being, to some extent, sought after by ground radar in and around the city.

It became apparent what 'Ryko' was up to when hundreds of DRFM spoofs filled the map — enemy lock-ons quickly being lost in the process as they cruised above the urban bustle below.

Image
MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL 12TFS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
----

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "What's the purpose of this?"

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "You'll see in a second."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


The last formation of enemy aircraft emerged in pursuit, diving below to maneuver just above the busy skyline below. By the looks of it, however, there were distant blips well on their way to pursue the four Recluse fighter aircraft. If they weren't quick, they'd soon find themselves overwhelmed by the Velezian Air Force.

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MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL VELFOR XXX-XXX-XXX [DECIPHERED]
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-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 312/ F-38AE Estrella "Aster" #394-047 | Col. Isaías Berrocal:// [TRANSLATED] "Get SAMs up, they're going into the city!"

-[ 1. División "Garras de Acero"/ MV-390CV Tigre | Gen. Rigoberto Gaona:// [TRANSLATED] "Enemy aircraft in the skies! All SAMs, open fire!"

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


It quickly occurred to Adeline just what her superior's plan was.

As they effortlessly weaved their way through the city, the enemy formation in pursuit, the rocket-trails of surface-to-air missiles firing around and within the city filled the skies, trailing after the spoofs — which had by now concentrated their nonexistent presences around the Velezian fighter formation.

Image
MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL EdC312 XXX-XXX-XXX [DECIPHERED]
----

-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 312/ F-38AE Estrella "Aster" #394-047 | Col. Isaías Berrocal:// [TRANSLATED] "Wait.. what the HELL?!—" [static]

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Trailing north, she could only watch what happened next — explosions filled the sky as the missiles exploded in and around the formation of Velezian fighter aircraft, the burning trails of the wrecked aircraft descending into the city below. Adeline had to admit — it was a pretty damn clever tactic.

Leaving the reaches of Sanchez, the formation ascended upward into the cloudline once more, soon situating themselves safely above. They'd dealt a decisive blow to typical Velezian arrogance — and they'd be getting a helluva lot of money in the process.

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MCK-OS v1.17
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CHANNEL 12TFS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
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-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "I can't say I've seen something like that before."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "I learned that one while serving in Mbanza. Stuck with me ever since."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003 | PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston:// "There's been how many wars there now?"


-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "39 total. 6 in the past few decades. It's where pilots go to die — or become aces."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046 | PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton:// "How much money're we gettin' for this?"

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "A damn good amount. Cause for celebration, perhaps?"

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003 | PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston:// "Last to base buys everyone drinks."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


The flight back to base would be a pleasant one, Adeline reclining in the cockpit as they passed the mountains and clouds, approaching the border back north into Canguari. She could get used to this...

-[ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027: Piloted by SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers
  • Status: OK
  • Destroyed 6 F-38 fighters.

-[ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008: Piloted by SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier
  • Status: OK
  • Destroyed 3 F-38 fighters.

-[ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003: Piloted by PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston
  • Status: OK
  • Destroyed 1 F-38 fighter.

-[ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046: Piloted by PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton
  • Status: OK
  • Destroyed 2 F-38 fighters.

Overall: Decisive mission success.

Last edited by Valefontaine on Thu May 23, 2019 6:08 pm, edited 5 times in total.
Too many old nations to count. NS user since 2013.
"War is the continuation of politics by other means."

only difference between a negotiation and a battle are the rules of engagement
both are fundamentally based on maneuver
put that in your quote book
-The Enclave Government
-Carl von Clausewitz

User avatar
Valefontaine
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Posts: 368
Founded: Dec 18, 2017
Democratic Socialists

Postby Valefontaine » Fri May 24, 2019 5:07 am

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    A C T 1 A - "D I S R U P T I O N"
    CLANCY TOWER, MORHATTEN, TORCH CITY, FEDERAL STATES OF EUPHEMIE
    JANUARY 7, 422


    __________________________________

A cold rain descended upon the neon-lit streets of Morhatten, glowing billboards above advertising background noise to the shifting droves along the sidewalks below. The Clancy Tower had once been the headquarters to Pan Ophiric World Airways, remodeled, expanded and repurposed by the conglomerate towards a facility accommodating of their needs. Torch City land prices were, for lack of a better word, a bitch ever since the recession — to which it'd become much more convenient to simply keep building up. On television screens, news of skyrocketing murder rates and ultraviolence eerily played in the foreground. Overlooking it all on the 73rd floor of the Clancy Tower was the lofty, vast office space of Paul One-More-Kiss-Dear J. Verloc, CEO of Clancy Petrochemical. The enigmatic business magnate had ascended the hierarchy of the Clancy Petrochemical Corporation with ease.

There was a time when all this hadn't been his — when Clancy Petrochemical still struggled to manage itself in Augusta, when the Augustan Petroleum Corporation was still a genuine threat to their revenue.

The Clancy family once ran the company with an iron fist — but Verloc had deviously weaved his way to power, from cubicle 'wageslave' to manager to 'close associate' of the Clancy family.

Howard Ghostrider Take-On-Me D. Clancy had inherited the corporation from his father, who'd inherited it from his father's father. The man was an aging patriarch, too docile to seek greater ambition than their business' simple state of being. Foolish, really — it was almost too easy to ascend the company's strata and gain his trust, only to have him ousted by his own board of directors, the two parasites the man called children stripped of the small fortunes they'd have inherited.

The look on his face when it all fell apart was something Verloc often savored to reminisce upon — yet he'd portrayed himself the diligent businessman, gracefully and selflessly inheriting the corporation from the Clancies, even going as far as to keep the name. From there it'd been nothing but success after success — the merger with Augustan Petroleum, their acquisition of the majority of shares of the South Ophiric Pipeline Project, and many more corporate victories and acquisitions that'd established Clancy on the world stage. The corporation was involved in everything — from drilling oil to household products, to even the illicit. There was much more to Clancy Petrochemical than the name implied. Their subsidiaries manufactured chemical weapons for the Velezian military abroad, private armies infiltrating and toppling regimes in Kir to serve their neverending ambition towards profit and more black gold.

A knock at the door drew his attention away from the view below. "Come in," Albeit middle-aged, his voice still carried a smooth gentlemanly honeyed swoon about it. His second most trusted partner in this job was a man he'd come to know as a venerable figure. Valter Rodrigo Me-Chama-que-eu-Vou Félix had been a veteran of the Transatlantic War, a heroic pilot who carried about him the honor of serving with the man that had since become President of the Federal States: Dean Camden. As it turned out, Félix had the worldwide connections and the genius to complement Verloc's own expertise — part of the reason this petrochemical company now had private armies trawling the globe. "Valter." He affectionately noted, nodding to his advisor and dear friend as he disposed of his cigar in the Tangaliroan soldier's skull that served as an ashtray in his office. His older brother had served in the Transatlantic War, and had brought it home as a souvenir. He was gone now, but Verloc kept the skull as a reminder of his family — one of many reasons he kept going.

"Paul." Félix nodded in turn, producing an avila folder from his coat and setting it down upon the ornate mahogany desk. The desk was a fine piece from the East, intricate details of dragons and Sinican scenery, furthermore decorated with jade and glistening diamond. Scenes of battles, of great civilizations and more served to detail the desk of a man who handled business much akin to war — the two were in this day inextricably connected, anyhow. That, and he fashioned himself much akin to a Sinican emperor.

Verloc's attention was drawn to the avila folder in question, the man leaning forth in his metaphorical throne of silk and leather that comprised his office chair. Opening the folder in question, he studied its contents for a moment before looking up to his advisor. "The meaning of this, Valter?"

"There's been a disruption." Félix replied, keeping his serious composure. He paused briefly before continuing. "For the past five years, the status quo in the resource-rich Velezian border territory has been as it always should be: profitable to the company and our interests. Something changed two days ago, however. Twelve Velezian fighters were downed in the course of one hour by a formation of unknown fighter aircraft. We've already spoken with our connections in the DOD — this wasn't the Feds."

"Another corporation?" Verloc questioned, studying the documents.

Félix offered a clueless shrug. "Either the drug cartels, commies, Canguarians, Florianans or the Alvimians have hired a pretty damn big help. Either way, someone's operating fighters these Velezians have no fuckin' clue how to identify, and they're kicking Velezian ass. Word of this spreads, you'll have the conflict in the Zone reignitin' big time."

Verloc chuckled to himself. He was no hero, no, far from it. If a conflict were to ignite in the Zone once again, however, it'd be hell — for the company's profits and for the common man. Verloc remembered well when he was an unremarkable nobody, working in an office cubicle: he could sympathize with the innocents that would be harmed when weakness was inevitably seen in the stoic stiff upper lip of the Velezians. "You know the Velezians are incompetent, Valter. We're going to have to identify this aircraft ourselves."

"You insinuate...?" Félix asked. Verloc could see his advisor raise an eyebrow behind the sunglasses he wore, despite the darkness of the room.

"We need boots on the ground — and wings in the sky. The company does not pretend to specialize in aircraft, but we do specialize in the Almighty Dollar. There are no shortage of air mercenaries wasting their lives away in Mbanza. Bring them to the Valley... and see that the order of things is upheld. If this status quo is broken by this...'disruption'.. it'll be trouble for all of us."
Too many old nations to count. NS user since 2013.
"War is the continuation of politics by other means."

only difference between a negotiation and a battle are the rules of engagement
both are fundamentally based on maneuver
put that in your quote book
-The Enclave Government
-Carl von Clausewitz

User avatar
Valefontaine
Chargé d'Affaires
 
Posts: 368
Founded: Dec 18, 2017
Democratic Socialists

Postby Valefontaine » Sun May 26, 2019 1:19 pm

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    A C T 2 - "I N T E R C E P T I O N"
    Nheengatu Rainforest, the Zone
    JANUARY 25, 422


    __________________________________
For many in the Cortina Roja, war and the Journal of Villar were all they knew. Those who hadn't come from the agrarian villages and busy urban centers had been raised from birth to see that Velezia be liberated from the fascist regime. The boy hardly knew to read beyond the words of the Journal of Villar, tantamount to religion to him, and he could hardly write. That mattered little when he carried his Varennikov™ VK-69 assault rifle, his problem solver. He was a simple boy — he loved a certain Alejandrina, and he had a few good friends among his comrades. Life might've been miserable, but it always had things that kept him going.

Walking through the forest, he took pause, ancient assault rifle in his hands as he knelt down, listening in for any enemy activity. The Velezians were making an advance — or trying to — and had begun their search and destroy operations amidst the dense jungle. They had technology, but the Cortina Roja's fighters were level-headed. Above dangled buckets of a special mixture they called 'Engafe'... 'engañador de los fascistas'. The 'people sniffers' the Velezian troops carried about them were overly sensitive, and were easily deceived by stray animal droppings and other biological waste. 'Engafe' was a crude mixture of mud and urine, used to deceive the devices of the enemy. As far as the Cortina Roja were concerned, it worked like a charm.

Through the thicket of the jungle he watched, carefully anticipating the fascists. His hand trembled as he clutched the handguard. Truth be told, he didn't only fear the enemy. There lurked in these dense forests legends of the primordial, beasts that lived here long preceding the days of man. These wild tales had been passed from generation to generation, carrying with it an eerie stigma to the rainforests they fought in.

Image
The Nheengatu Rainforest holds many secrets.


The boy tried not to lose the careful, calculated pacing to his breathing as he kept his rifle steady, listening in for enemy footsteps. It was quaint, save for the constant sound of the rain descending from above. The monsoon was in full swing in the Zone, bringing with it unbearable heat and near-constant rains that served to flood the lowlands in the valley. A day's downpour could decide entire battlefields: the jungle could become flooded with murky knee-deep waters in the course of hours, though by now it was something the Cortina Roja's fighters had easily adapted to. Be what the Velezian military were, regardless of their training, they had not been raised in these jungles as the Cortina Roja had been, save for the urbanite intellectuals swayed by ideology who came to the Zone with their noble pretenses of fighting against the fascist Velezian government. Yet even those who'd come from the universities brought with them valuable technical knowledge that served to assist the Cortina Roja's adaptive doctrines.

boom

A distant explosion echoed through the trees, exotic birds hastily departing. The boy could hear nothing now, save for his own breathing and the constant downpour of the rain. It was an eerie thing they called The Silence — when all life seemingly departed from an area. Aside from the obvious explosions, animals perceived things men could not — and the boy knew well that to be in the absence of animals was to be unprotected against the maddening evils that superstition had him believe in, the evils that preyed upon the oblivious traveler. Fearfully, he cowered behind the bushes, checking his rifle as he clung just a bit tighter to the Journal of Villar, sacrosanct communist literature serving as his last ward against the superstitions of the jungle.

The cracking of leaves served only to further bring him to tense up, the boy nervously aiming his weapon about. He couldn't exactly tell where the footsteps were coming from, but they were undoubtedly getting closer.

His grip on his weapon, struggling to hold the rifle with one hand as he protectively clutched his holy communist book in the other, the boy fearfully anticipated the emergence of horrors beyond his comprehension.

Closer the steps got, as if the unknown force toyed with him. It had gotten close enough at this point that he could discern its source, rifle trained on the next row of bushes amidst the dense rainforest.

He spoke, not in Velezian, but in his native tongue. "Begone, spirit! I tread upon this forest that it may live another day, undisturbed by industrial society!"

To his complete and utter shock, the figure that emerged from the bushes had not been some horrid, unfathomable apparition, but one of his comrades. "Easy now, comrade!" It was as though life had instantly returned to the jungle, the distant call of birds and chirping of insects filling the densely-forested space.

Quickly, the boy let down his guard, lowering his rifle. The man chuckled as he stepped away from the bushes, hands harmlessly raised as he seated himself upon a felled log. "I almost shot you." The boy said, still startled by the course of events.

"You mistook me for a spirit, I take it?" The man chuckled, albeit still cautious about the jungle they were in. He was known simply as 'Sargento Piatã' amongst the fellow band of fighters in this particular sector of the jungle, a rather lighthearted early-20s campesino who had joined the Cortina Roja to exact revenge on the militares for the killing of his sister. A noble cause, perhaps more noble than the boy's.

"Y— yeah..." The boy replied, nervous. "What was that explosion? Scared practically every bird out of here for a good few minutes."

"One of the boys took down an Esparqui further out. Thing's still burning," He pointed up to the edge of the tree canopy, a thin veil of smoke billowing up, dispersed by the wind.

BOOM

The two guerrillas were practically jolted upward by the tremor that rocked the rainforest, a few trees even being upturned by the explosion, whereever it'd come from. Looking about nervously, the boy could see the dying flames of the blast dispersing above the site in question.

"Run!" Piatã exclaimed, hurrying with haste through the underbrush as the boy followed. The fighters of the Cortina Roja knew it well — a bomber.

BOOM

This time it'd been closer, shredding through more of the rainforest trees with ease. More and more patches of jungle were scorched by the bombs descending from above as the two guerrillas dashed through the woods, desperately attempting to flee the wake of the bombardment.

BOOM

Startled by the terrifying force of the blast, dangerously close to them, the boy tripped over, landing roughly in a muddied puddle. A bright flash erupted as thunder struck from above, the boy calling to his comrade for help.

"Rest easy there, hermano!" Piatã hurried over, quickly grabbing the boy's hand and pulling him up from the mud.

BOOM

It was dangerously close now — the plume of dust had almost blinded the two fighters as they continued their desperate escape from the bombs, deviating from their escape route by taking a left-hand path — hopefully it'd lead them out of the bombers' wake quicker.

"How many of them?!" He cried out to his comrade, hoping the man had some kind of insight as to how long — or how brutal — this assault would be.

"I don't know!" Their retreat through the woods, filled with despair, brought them to a rocky stream, water freely flowing further downhill. The two slowed their pace, stopping to breathe as the explosions continued to sound off further on behind them. "Just wait 'till everybody else hears about this one, comrade..." He chuckled, catching his breath as he opened a torn coat pocket to take a cigarette from his pack.

"I've never been this close to the danger before." The boy replied, nervously laughing to himself.

"You'll get used to it," Turning around, Piatã looked uphill to evaluate the stream, lowering his cigarette as he elected to drink from the free-flowing waters of the stream. "You know, I hear the comrades out east are planning something big in Las Playas. Finally put an end to this crazy fascist regime..."

"What happens when all this is over?" It was an almost funny question — this struggle had gone on for so long — far before the boy's time, or his parents', or his grandparents.

This made the man chuckle as he returned to his feet, shrugging. "Peace."

BOOM

The next explosion violently kicked Piatã into the air like a ragdoll, the man's back connecting with one of the trees in the jungle with a loud CRACK, tumbling over lifelessly to the jungle floor. As the boy hurried over, another earthshattering BOOM made him clumsily slip, falling over into the stream and being helplessly taken by the current. He briefly screamed and kicked, his instincts returning to him as he reminded himself he'd only serve to drown himself with that attitude.

The violent sight of his own comrade's presumed death had terribly impacted him — but that was beyond the point. He was fighting now nature itself, struggling amidst the rocks as the water pushed him from surface to surface, pain shooting up his right arm as the current slammed him into one of the more jagged rocks along the path. A yelp escaped him, the boy struggling to grasp onto the rock in question — hanging on for dear life as the explosions continued around him. His ears rang, and he struggled to think straight as he pushed himself up against the rock, coughing spasmatically and wheezing as he finally breathed, looking uphill at the flames and chaos that'd been created in the bombs' wake.

His fellow comrades were nearby, he'd hoped — but then again, that meant they'd be in the path of destruction the bombs were inflicting on the area. Gathering his senses, he climbed the rock, trembling as he grasped his right arm in pain. Something was out of place, he was sure of it.

BOOM

The explosion that followed served as reminder for him to keep running, the boy desperately hurrying downhill, chasing after the stream's path to wherever it'd lead. He might've been born in these lands, but the notion that he'd remember every individual stream along these densely-forested hills was delusion. Adrenaline coursed through his entire body as he sprinted through the underbrush, desperately trying to flee the terror of the bombs.

His descent along the valley had led to a clearing, the stream channeling off into a larger river. Lungs heaving, the boy slowed his run, soon falling to his knees at the water's edge. Vision adjusting, it occurred to him he could see a three of his comrades, including his beloved Alejandrina. He felt almost embarrassed at the sorry state he was in. Weakly, he got up, legs almost buckling as he heavily breathed, weakly waving to his comrades.

"What happened to you?!" She called to him, hurrying over with a concerned pallor to her light features.

"Piatã... is dead. We... need to get underground!" He weakly exclaimed, struggling between breaths to formulate words.

It was in his adrenaline-induced state that he could hardly notice the whirring, buzzing noise almost trademark of Velezian drone aircraft. Stopping at a clearing had evidently been a bad idea.

BOOM

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    Skies above the Zone
    JANUARY 25, 422


    __________________________________
Above the dense rainforests of the Zone, a lone four-fighter formation sweeped through the clouds. Adeline and her fellow pilots had a new assignment: the interception of Velezian bombers. The pressurized, comfortable space of her cockpit offered a birds-eye view of her surroundings as they continued south. Distant explosions along the rainforest gave visual reference to the bombing trajectory the Velezian bombers seemed to be undertaking.

Image
The natural beauty of the Zone is ever-apparent.


The B-77 bomber was a Velezian-made strategic bomber, the Atlantic power tightly competing with Alvimia over dominance of south Ophir. They served another purpose, too — waging a war of complete and utter terror upon the Cortina Roja. Ordnance dumping, weapons testing — there were many euphemisms and excuses the government of Velezia used to explain their terror bombings in the Zone to the public.

The bombs continued to detonate below, inflicting utter destruction upon the communist positions scattered through the rainforest. One could only be burdened to imagine the campaign of sheer scale of death and destruction that was waged here in the rainforest on a yearly basis.

"Three bombers.." Adeline noted, eyes curiously glancing over to the radar display.

"++Two more than usual.++" said the VAS, its digitalized avatar casually floating about one of the display screens.

A show of force, perhaps? Adeline thought to herself as they continued on their designated path.

Image
MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL 12TFS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
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-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "Velezian bombers up ahead. Each one's got six fighters escorting, but they're probably used to dealing with nothing up here."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "To their radar, I'm sure we're nothing either."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003 | PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston:// "They've got more fighters than we've got long-range missiles."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046 | PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton:// "We aren't here to hound all the glory, Kerouac."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "Well, Junkie's right. Pick off those bombers and call it a day."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003 | PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston:// [chuckle] "How about a little competition?"

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046 | PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton:// "Hm?"

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003 | PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston:// "Take down the most bombers and I'll buy you drinks."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "This again?"

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003 | PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston:// "No, there's a twist — I'm the one buying drinks."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046 | PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton:// "Well, I can see myself spending less."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "And I can see myself with a few more kills on my record."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// [chuckle] "Y'all do that, I'm not wasting any more ammo than I need to."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Approaching the formation, Adeline was quick to get a lock onto the Velezian B-77. 'Ryko' was faster, however, missile contrail accelerating past speedily and careening into one of the four turboprop engines of the aircraft, the Velezian bomber quickly beginning to list as its engine exploded and began to burn away, black cloud of smoke trailing after the aircraft.

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MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL 12TFS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
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-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "Sturdy bastard's still going!"

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "Tsk tsk."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Firing off a missile of her own, it careened into the next engine along the aircraft's wing, the turboprop engine being promptly ripped to shreds.





The damage spread across the frame of the B-77's left wing, the slight list of the strategic bomber quickly transforming into a full-fledged spiral, the aircraft visibly struggling to keep in control as it disappeared into the cloud layer, wings and fuselage falling apart as it spun wildly down. If they were lucky, their pilots would land outside of Cortina Roja turf.

"++The fighter escort formation is heading towards your last known position.++" The VAS reminded her as she weaved through the clouds, attempting to gain a flank on the bomber formation. The rest of the squadron was up to similar business — it was rather obvious they were outnumbered, and lacked the missiles to take all of the fighters down, but their advanced aircraft served to level the playing field.

Image
MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL VELFOR XXX-XXX-XXX [DECIPHERED]
----

-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 227/ F-38AE Estrella "BoxBox" #400-031 | Col. Jerónimo Abellán:// [TRANSLATED] "B-77 'AMATLHUACAN' is down! Find the enemy!"

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


The aircraft escorting the bomber formation dispersed in pursuit, scrambling to where she'd been a few minutes before — to which they'd assumedly run into one of her squadron mates. Maneuvering through the skies, she could only anticipate what the rest of her formation were up to — though that answer came soon thereafter as one of the blips of the bomber aircraft was indicated to be losing altitude fast — and a glance from the cockpit served only to confirm that another one of the bombers had been cut loose, left wing entirely gone as it plummeted into the cloudy abyss below them.

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MCK-OS v1.17
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CHANNEL 12TFS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
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-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046 | PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton:// "Guess this makes us about equal, Tourian."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "For the time being."

CHANNEL VELFOR XXX-XXX-XXX [DECIPHERED]
----

-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 227/ F-38AE Estrella "BoxBox" #400-031 | Col. Jerónimo Abellán:// [TRANSLATED] "B-77 'HUNAZCA' is down! Find these pilots or we're all finished!"

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Abruptly diverting northward again, Adeline was alerted by the alert klaxons of her aircraft's warning systems — twelve missiles were headed her way. In swift response, her ECM suite came to life, missiles detonating around her aircraft as she sharply evaded, maneuvering out of the way as four of the eighteen aircraft attempted to pursue the stealth fighter.

The chaotic chase cut through the clouds, Adeline maintaining a tight lead as she found herself approaching behind the last remaining B-77 bomber. The Velezians were still pursuing her fighter — if she were to do something here, it would have to be done swiftly.

"++Opening the internal weapon bay would be ill-advised.++" cautioned the VAS, the corporate pilot hardly flinching at her virtual assistant's words of advice.

"I know." Adeline curtly replied, continued forward until they were situated just below the B-77 bomber in question. A good thirty feet separated the CF-71A from the strategic bomber, the loud roar of the aircraft's massive turboprop engines audible even from within the cockpit of her aircraft.

The maneuver in question was called Lazarev's Cobra, named after an ace pilot from the 'Final War' 422 years prior. Suddenly angling her aircraft upward, Adeline let the 20mm M298 Fafnir cannon fire away at the underside of the Velezian bomber. The fuselage was cut open by the barrage of rounds that pelted the underside of the aircraft, fuel igniting violently. That wasn't all she'd decided to do in the few seconds that passed, however, opening the second internal weapons bay and firing her aircraft's two AAM-11 Brushstroke air-to-air missiles.

Adeline sharply dove to avoid what would come, bright flash of the bomber aircraft's explosion reflecting on the canopy glass, fireball spreading across the doomed aircraft's fuselage as its armament and fuel alike served to fuel the catastrophic blast that consumed the aircraft. The collapse of the devastated aircraft was enough to slow down those pursuing her, internal weapon bays closing as she quickly gained distance.

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MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL 12TFS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
----

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046 | PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton:// "..damn."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "That's the end of the Vezzie bomber group. Get away from these fighters and RTB."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003 | PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston:// "..right, you've held your end of the bargain, I'll hold up mine, Tourian."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027: Piloted by SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers
  • Status: OK
  • Destroyed 2 F-38 fighters.

-[ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008: Piloted by SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier
  • Status: OK
  • Destroyed 2 B-77 bombers.

-[ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003: Piloted by PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston
  • Status: OK
  • Destroyed 3 F-38 fighters.

-[ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046: Piloted by PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton
  • Status: OK
  • Destroyed 1 B-77 bomber.

Overall: Mission success.


____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    van der Kaap Airstrip, 15km NW of Sofía, Duchy of Canguari
    JANUARY 25, 422


    __________________________________
Through the haze of cigarette smoke in the bar, Adeline could see her fellow pilot walk over, two cans of Polimnia™ brand Red Pine lager in hand. Her comrade aside, the bar's inhabitants were largely foreign mercenaries, Canguarian soldiers and Euphemian press types. The neverending war in the valley had brought many interesting faces to Canguari, motivated only by the oldest desire in the book — the notion of profit.

Houston approached, setting down both cans upon the table as he seated himself opposite to her at the booth, sliding her a single can of Polimnia™ beer as he reclined back in the worn leather of the booth. "Secretary squadron manager." he acknowledged, keeping to formalities.

Image
The perfect place to drink away the adrenaline rush of flight.


"Houston." She nodded in turn, cracking open the can and taking a sip.

"Suppose this is the first time I talk to my superior on casual terms." He opened his own can, taking a sip. "Took down a bomber up there, Crozier."

"Two." Adeline corrected coolly.

"Yes, and we're makin' a helluva lot of money. We've also pissed off the wrong people." Agreeing, he was quick to get to the point. "Okay, the Velezian govt's not the only people out here, but you probably know that already. The status quo is.. a lot more profitable than you think. Keeps the defense industries pumping shit out ad infinitum. Keeps the people in these countries scared and jingoistic, easier to control."

"Yeah?" She raised an eyebrow, confused.

He stopped to take a sip from his can of beer, briefly closing his eyes, as if in thought, before continuing. "When we took down those bombers, we told everyone in this valley that the Velezians ain't the biggest fish around. We're gonna see the shit out here reignite... big time. Everyone is gonna smell blood. Thing is," Houston hesitated again, skittishly looking around as he spoke in a lower tone. "There's another corp at play here. Ten years ago, most oil drilling in the Zone in the Velezian-controlled areas were handled by PEV — Velezian Standard Oil, government-run SOE. Now it's all by run Clancy Petrochemical. They've got plenty to lose if the Velezians get their ass kicked, and it shows..."

"They're just a petrochemical company. What's the point?" Adeline questioned. Of course, she had a few suspicions of her own towards the draconian megacorp being somehow involved in the Zone, suspicions she kept to herself.

"Just a few hours ago, a leak hit the web. Massive amount of money wired to Clancy's CEO, straight out of Velezia."

"Compensating economic damages?" She questioned.

"That's what I thought at first, but then I did some research... Clancy's been hiring pilots fresh out of Mbanza ever since last month. For what, don't know. Now, they've operated armed private security units to protect their operations before, but they've never seen fit to really get into the air merc business 'till now."

"You're saying..?"

"That we've pissed off one of the biggest conglomerates in the FSE, and they're hiring the best pilots in Kir to find and kill us."
Last edited by Valefontaine on Sun May 26, 2019 1:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Too many old nations to count. NS user since 2013.
"War is the continuation of politics by other means."

only difference between a negotiation and a battle are the rules of engagement
both are fundamentally based on maneuver
put that in your quote book
-The Enclave Government
-Carl von Clausewitz

User avatar
Turmenista
Negotiator
 
Posts: 5729
Founded: Apr 09, 2014
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Turmenista » Sun May 26, 2019 3:56 pm

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    A C T 2 — "F A N T A S M A"
    C-26 Astro Aerial Command Center; Callsign "Lighthouse"
    SKIES ABOVE "LAS LINDAS" OR "LA ZONA" LAWLESS ZONE
    EN ROUTE TO RODRIGUEZ
    JANUARY 6, 422


    Image
    Click for music


    __________________________________

"It is the height of moral folly to enter into a war without the intent to win it."
—Generalissimo Manuel Silva, A.C. 395


The C-26 Astro really was a marvel of aerial engineering. With sufficient aerial refueling and taking the right path, an Astro could go anywhere in the world and deploy a contingent of special operatives, retrieving them equally as quickly utilizing the Mk.II Forrajeador surface-to-air recovery system. Without such a brilliant aircraft, Velezia wouldn't have the right to call itself the dominant air power over Las Lindas. Simply put, the enduring brilliance of its design was that it was as simple as a concept in some 6 year old's journal of badly-drawn airplanes shooting stick figures: it was, in essence, a combination of a high-altitude aerial command center, and a deployment area for special operatives. Of course, the Astro didn't have any onboard weapons physically attached to it, but instead carried enough firepower onboard to allow a small team of highly soldiers to wreak havoc on any comunista stronghold, while being as elusive as one would expect from an expensive, secretive, flying black site.

These last couple of days had allowed Lyra Vega to catch up on what had happened the days prior...and, most importantly, what had happened yesterday. The newly-promoted Major had been granted her own team of soldiers to lead, an also newly-made shock trooper task force, Oceans 91. Her rank gave her the authority to command other squads when larger operations were at hand, but this was just a small team for small, specialized missions—what the shock troopers specialized in. Beneath the monochrome helmets, orange visors, and gas masks, were ruthless killing machines, each given seven months of intensive training in a variety of skill sets.

They were the very best that Velezia had to offer to directly fight the comunistas; the monsters that the commies dreamed about in their nightmares, the people they told their children—which they mentally corrupted with their obsolete ideology—would come and take them at night. The people the public had both learned to respect and fear for their discipline, adaptability, valor, and aggression: The Battalion 241.

However, even monsters had weaknesses. Rather, the mastermind behind them, that is. Mercenary fighters from Ouriel knows where had downed twelve fighters in the course of one hour. Those were numbers that no pilots from Floriana or Canguari were even capable of. No one challenged Velezia's dominance in the skies..and to hear about such aircraft drop like flies really did a number to her psyche. Only one pilot had survived, parachuting somewhere into the jungles near Rodriguez...the Cortina Roja stronghold itself, and a site in which the rumored Subcomandante they were looking for had arrived. A certain Cpt. Sara Botín came up on the report—a veteran pilot of Escuadrón de Caza no. 312 who had been effortlessly shot down by one of the strange fighter aircraft. Little information existed on them, but that was far out of her league. After all, Lyra didn't train to be a pilot. Officially, their mission involved them dropping into Rodriguez to destroy a Cortina Roja Subcomandante they were looking for..but Lyra couldn't bother keeping such a valuable pilot on the ground while proper retrieval arrived.

She was joined to the side by Capitán Franco Montes, the XO of Oceans 91, a man akin to a snake due to his clever way with words and lethality, especially with the semi-automatic Kruger and Heydrich GmbH™ PS1 he toted around like a woman proud of her newborn child. The two of them silently strolled from the front of the plane towards the rear, passing through offices, lounges, and command and control rooms built into the plane to mimic a typical command center, though it was staffed by both personnel close to the Comite Nacional de Resturacion and the Generalissimo, as well as general military personnel. They'd just received their briefing and were on their way to greet their new team—of course, Lyra knew first impressions mattered, but she already wasn't having any hopeful and happy thoughts about meeting them. The men knew all about their new commanders before they even arrived, and she wasn't so certain they'd like being bossed around by a woman now, given most of them were hardened veterans from the Valdivia front.

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Capitán Franco Montes, the XO of Oceans 91. An eccentric snake of a man with a silver tongue and keen eye.


"Well, Franco, those pilots at least put up a good fight." Lyra sighed, leading the way as the halls narrowed and the two made their way towards the rear of the plane, an area specifically for the B241 contingent it carried. An onboard armory and small motor pool, personnel quarters with surprising running water, and tactical planning area would await them now, along with their team. Such a massive aircraft had space for many amenities, so it made her wonder about why they'd reserve an area like this to only six people.

"Well, 'course they did, Major. They're doing their part in fighting those bastards trying to lay a hand on Las Lindas." Franco gave her CO reassuring pat on the shoulder, which Lyra pushed away, notably discomforted by her rather physical behavior. "Yes, I know, but, I don't like how the Coronel just told us to focus on the commie Subcomandante during the briefing. We could get him later, or just bomb him to smithereens right now. That pilot could be relying on people like us to save her..like they saved me in Las Playas, and here we are leaving them to Fate, while we go kill some communist."

"Yknow.. orders are orders." Franco shrugged his shoulders, unsure of what really to say.

"Tell me. What could be more important than rescuing that downed pilot, who might have a family waiting for her back home?"

Franco smacked his lips and tilted his head to the side, a sign that he was beginning to answer this sarcastically. "Mmm.. maybe... finding the comunista sunovabitch who bombed Las Playas and evaded us for a decade? Is that important?"

Tch. Touche. Lyra remained silent as she reached the door, pressing the button to unlock it. The area they entered was large and spacious, holding one MV-390 Tigre[1] near one of the motor pools, while the rest of the team gathered by a map lit up by a table-like device, all pointing fingers to the contested zone in question. La Zona, Las Lindas, whatever you wanted to call it — everyone wanted their hands on it, but no one truly knew when this conflict started, or why. Their entrance prompted the normally white lights in the area to switch to a golden color, flashing on and off as if to alert the team to something important, while klaxons softly blared on in the background. The four men in the room turned to the two operatives that had arrived from the other section of the aircraft, whom looked down upon them from a small catwalk adjacent to the door into the main area of the plane. It soon dawned upon Lyra that this wasn't just a multipurpose "rear" section of the plane, but also an incredibly spacious cargo hold that they were looking over, if the Tigre didn't give it away immediately.

"You know the music. It's time to dance." Franco called to them.

Lyra heard one of the men immediately let out out a wolf whistle upon seeing her. "You know, when they told us our new commander was highly decorated, I didn't know they meant highly endowed."

Lyra cringed at his immature joke, which earned him a slap to the neck by the oldest and biggest B241 operative she'd seen in her life. The old man's name tag read "PASCUAL VELACRUZ," the engraving on his helmet dubbing him "ABUELO," thus confirming his age. His eyepatch and graying hair also confirmed he was old enough to be someone's grandfather, yet also old enough to have seen many things in his time. He couldn't have been more than 58 years old, yet looked as if he was still in his physical prime.

Franco and Lyra stepped down to the group of men, the youngest of which had made that immature joke. She extended her hand to the man, who reluctantly shook it. "Major Lyra Vega. You are?"

"Corporal Isaac González. I'm the medic." He said, a smile suddenly forming on his face. "You seem to have already met the XO, that fruity man Franco is. He is a hell of a shot, though."

"I know."

"Weeell, you haven't met the others." Isaac gestured to a man who was already fully suited up, his helmet decorated with menacing white markings that made it seem more like an animal skull than a protective helmet, his visor a burgundy color instead of an orange. The only thing "human" about him was his shape: everything else was covered in tactical gear and armor. "That's Corporal Rico Cabal, our CQC and explosives expert. Trust me, Cabal can get anything out of a comunista in ten minutes, guaranteed. Doesn't talk much." His hand then swept over to a man whose age was presumably 30 or so years old, the most unique thing about him being a blowtorch he had to his side, and a special covering that could flip over his visor should he feel the need to use it. He was also near a small machine with rotors: a RQ-4 Micro Air Vehicle, built by Darzi Dynamika. "That's Corporal Oliver Martín Romero. Our COMTECH. Romero once hacked into a secure database for a CR front company at 13 years old, all to just get some money for some drugs. Lead us right to them. He'll be sure to keep any online artists off your back should they hear of someone like you in the B241."

"What's that mean?" Lyra asked, curiously.

"Some horny bastards on the internet made art of some supposedly super-powered Gringo pilot during the Transatlantic War in 393, of her getting fucked by big Solaran guys. You wouldn't want that to happen to you, would you?"

"I don't even like that kind of stuff." Lyra stepped past Isaac, whose mouth was agape as he approached the old man. "And you are, mister?"

The old man stepped away from what he was working, revealed to be an under barrel grenade launcher for his M83A[2] assault rifle, which had a sound suppressor attached to it. His mere presence made Lyra seem inadequate, like an archaic car compared side to side with a modern Pontillac sedan. His face was covered in scars of past scuffles, making her wonder when he got that eyepatch of his. Again, despite seeming in his late 50s or early 60s, and with hair as white as the snow-capped tips of the Hanaq Pacha Mountains[3] in Floriana, the man seemed to be in his physical prime. "Sargento Pascual Velacruz. I used to be a fisherman from a small village. Then, the Cortina Roja came and killed my family. I have been fighting comunistas for as long as I can remember."

"And you haven't been promoted any higher for your service yet? Not even an officer commission?" She asked, curious. The old man didn't answer right away, picking up his rifle and a couple magazines, placing them into his vest. "Generalissimo Manuel Silva said it best, Major: 'It is the height of moral folly to enter into a war without the intent to win it.' To fight the Cortina Roja," he suddenly paused, raising his eyepatch and showing her the void in its place briefly. "You need to keep both eyes in the game. Why rule from behind desks and closed doors when you can do so on the battlefield? You seem to be unlike the others who fight the commies in the cities, far away from the actual fighting: here. The Cortina Roja have permeated the cities as best as they can, but it is out here, in the open, the jungles, that they number the greatest.

"Hey, Abuelo, you done talking to the missus yet?" Isaac asked, grinning wildly as Lyra gave a nod, walking away. She heard the scrawny medic chuckle once more as she and Franco went back to discuss more things about the team, watching him rubbing his neck for a moment. "Alright, alright, I'll stop. However.. I should note that I'm way more qualified to talk to miss bosslady here than you are, thank you very much. She and I are both qualified operatives, as that sign says: ONLY QUALIFIED OPERATIVES ARE ALLOWED ON THESE PREMISES. That doesn't include you, geezer."

The old man chuckled loudly. "Qualified? Hah! Tell me, Isaac, how are you possibly more qualified than me? What does the new commander bring to this team that I do not?"

"Let me start." Isaac placed a hand on his chin, grinning. "Let's see... for starters, how about depth perception?" He grinned cheekily.

Cabal pulled Pascual back before any damage could be dealt, motioning for the others to come to the table. Lyra was pointing to the map of Las Lindas and their drop site: the outskirts of the city of Rodriguez. "The Coronel suggested we loiter in the area for about another hour for other B241 units to reinforce us, before we pull off this mission to cap Subcomandante "Ocho Seis." It's not his real name, we all know, but he's evaded capture for a long time. 'Till now. The plan called for a stealth insertion via HALO jump, Franco would cap him, and we would get away before the bombers of Escuadrón de Bombarderos no. 411 arrive to turn everything in the AO into dust. That means destroying any ground-based AA, which I hear you specialize in, Romero."

The COMTECH "That's about right, but, a question, Major. The Cortina Roja have been crushing many of our troops near Rodriguez, and we're waiting for backup? They'll be backing up dead men by the time they arrive."

"That's what I was getting to." Lyra pointed to the city once more. "Objective: Kill Subcomandante Ocho Seis. Method: 7.62mm to the head, ideally. If all else fails, we'll get the bombers to do it in lieu of us. That's where you come in, Franco." She pointed to one of the weapons lockers nearby. "AMR-M90A5[4]. Good against soft targets—like heads, and also radio masts. We'll be going in before any "reinforcements" arrive, catching them by surprise, disabling his radar, et cetera. We'll also be going with another mission in mind: the recovery of a downed pilot, after those twelve jets were shot down by gringo mercenary fighters. One pilot survived, and we know where she is. I'm certain the Cortina Roja do as well, and you know what they do to prisoners."

Pascual nodded especially after hearing this, making Romero scrunch up his face. "Huh? I thought we had a dedicated retrieval unit in the military for that. What have we become now, a rescue squad?"

"We're capitalizing off the opportunity, Corporal." Lyra said in a more assertive tone. "If you're doubting our capability to do this, you could always sit this mission out."

"Uhh, nuh." He laughed awkwardly, earning glares from everyone on the team, including the faceless Cabal. "I ain't doubting anything."

Almost as if on cue, the lights in the deployment bay flushed a deep red, klaxons blaring once more as she gave a motion for everyone to grab their equipment (save for Cabal, who was already geared up.) "Then we are deploying now. If possible, I want comunistas who are alive. Otherwise, kill them all."

__________________________________




Lyra and the rest of the Oceans 91 descended above the area like silent angels of death all converging on their target, amid dark storm all around them, periodically lit up by the fighting that raged below on the outskirts of Rodriguez Their launch window had been perfect, with no storm clouds or rain to prevent or hinder their mission as they descended through the skies. The world around Lyra was flushed into a drab green as she watched her altitude drop on her altimeter. Their jump, from about 17,500 feet, or about 5334 meters, gave them about 85 seconds of free fall until they had to pull their chutes. Her arms and legs were crossed out in an X formation, as to slow her descent.

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OTC Electrónica
SECURE COMM TRANSCRIPT v.2.4
BATTALLON DEL SODADO DE CHOQUE 1. “PULSAR”
CHANNEL OCEANS 91 - MAX ENCRYPTION
----

\\\ [CO/SAW][Maj. Lyra Vega] \\\ - "1100 meters. Watch those altimeters. We're setting up on the ridge once I land.”

\\\ [CQB][Cpl. Rico Cabal] \\\ - "OK."

\\\ [XO/MRK][Cpt. Franco Montes] \\\ - "Copy. I'll find a vantage spot.”

\\\ [GRN][Sgt. Pascual Velacruz] \\\ - "Strangely quiet for a night like this.”

\\\ [MED][Cpl. Isaac González] \\\ - "I assure you, abuelo, it's not gonna be this quiet once we land..”

\\\ [CO/SAW][Maj. Lyra Vega] \\\ - "1000 meters. We pull at 600.”

\\\ [CQB][Cpl. Rico Cabal] \\\ - "Copy."

\\\ [COMTECH][Cpl. Oliver Martín Romero] \\\ - "That the first time you gonna speak today, Cabal?”

\\\ [CQB][Cpl. Rico Cabal] \\\ - "No."

\\\ [INOPS][ASTROTHUNDER] \\\ - "Not the first time I will."

\\\ [MED][Cpl. Isaac González] \\\ - "Who's that?”

\\\ [INOPS][ASTROTHUNDER] \\\ - "ASTROTHUNDER. Virtual Field Operations assistant of "Lighthouse." As far as the Coronel is concerned, you all are on your regular objective...not whatever unsanctioned mishegoss you are doing right now."

\\\ [CO/SAW][Maj. Lyra Vega] \\\ - "Make sure it's kept that way. 600 meters. Pull.”

----
OTC Electrónica ©420 All Rights Reserved


Their chutes deployed from behind them, slowing down their descent as they glided down to the earth in silence. Once they hit the ground, the team quickly discarded and buried their gear before heading east, towards the city of Rodriguez...and their first objective: Cpt. Sara Botín. True to what they had studied on the map, there was a ridge and a clearing nearby that had essentially been made into a Cortina Roja encampment, a small group five of communist gunmen aimlessly patrolling the encampment while another slept on a hammock nearby. Presumably, this was an "early warning" post or just a small outpost for Cortina Roja scouts to go further out into the jungle, but, nonetheless, it was a hostile camp. It just so happened to be the last known place where Cpt. Sara Botín was reported to be, meaning she couldn't have been far away.

Image
OTC Electrónica
SECURE COMM TRANSCRIPT v.2.4
BATTALLON DEL SODADO DE CHOQUE 1. “PULSAR”
CHANNEL OCEANS 91 - MAX ENCRYPTION
----

\\\ [INOPS][ASTROTHUNDER] \\\ - "A small Cortina Roja encampment. There is a small radio in the area, Cpl. Romero. I would disable it."

\\\ [CO/SAW][Maj. Lyra Vega] \\\ - "Pick your targets. I'm going for the one in the hammock.”

\\\ [CQB][Cpl. Rico Cabal] \\\ - "The two below me."

\\\ [XO/MRK][Cpt. Franco Montes] \\\ - "I've got the one farthest away, overlooking the valley.”

\\\ [CQB][Cpl. Rico Cabal] \\\ - "Ok."

----
OTC Electrónica ©420 All Rights Reserved


As Isaac, Pascual, and Franco set up around the area to acquire their targets, and as Lyra began moving to sneak around to the hammock, Cabal moved as silently as a cat, which frightened her by how quickly he moved. He saw her removing the bowie knife strapped to his vest, which he twirled around in his hands. Gingerly making his way down a rock formation as one of the soldiers stopped to talk to the man patrolling adjacent to him, Rico motioned with the slightest incremental movements, pointing to the hammock on the other side of the camp, then to the soldier who was speaking.

"Hello?" A voice came from nowhere in particular, its accent not matching any nationality in particular.

"You heard that, Enrique?" One of the scouts asked, nervously looking around.

"Yeah, Aaron, kinda sounded like a voice—aghk!"

"Yeah, it kinda reminded me of my friend Matías. That man.. he was some unstable and non-dependable associate of mine who was reeally stupid, you know that?"

While Aaron comrade was rambling on about some "unstable" and "non-dependable" associate of his, Enrique was busy gurgling on his own blood after Rico stood up and grabbed the solder, holding one hand over his mouth as the other plunged the knife into his throat, cutting a long gash along his neck as he pulled the knife out. As soon as he was finished, Aaron turned around to see that his friend was suddenly missing, only to feel another hand grab him from behind and drag him into the bushes, a knife soon entering the base of his neck.

What the fuck? By the time Lyra was beside the hammock, grabbing the communist and placing him into a chokehold for extraction and interrogation later on, Cabal had already taken out two communists. The others on the other side of the camp were oblivious to it all.

Image
OTC Electrónica
SECURE COMM TRANSCRIPT v.2.4
BATTALLON DEL SODADO DE CHOQUE 1. “PULSAR”
CHANNEL OCEANS 91 - MAX ENCRYPTION
----

\\\ [CO/SAW][Maj. Lyra Vega] \\\ - "Execute.”

----
OTC Electrónica ©420 All Rights Reserved


The team opened fire on the remaining soldiers, one immediately going down as Franco's sniper rifle promptly removed the man's head from his body. The other dove for cover, Lyra immediately locating him and spraying in the direction of where he ran off to. A cry of pain indicated that she'd hit something, evidently, but she couldn't wait on him to die and risk having him call backup. She and Cabal sprinted over, the two of them firing at the man that had begun to limp away. Her shots were a miss, but the CQC expert downed the man with another non-lethal shot, which surprised her given his previous lethality. Regardless, this allowed him to just step over and end him with a shot to the head, after planting a boot on his back.

"That was messy. Lots of misses." Lyra thought aloud, resting her NiBR-83 on her shoulder as she stepped back over to the camp. "That's four dead, one POW that we can extract." She turned to the others, whom had also made their way down into the camp. "Cabal."

"Hello?"

"Was that shot on accident, or on purpose?"

"Accident." He scoured their impromptu prisoner of war of anything of use, finding a smartphone that he promptly took in one hand, removing its SIM card for the Major to see. He pocketed the phone and attached a Forrajeador surface-to-air recovery system onto the man.

Perturbed by his robotic motions, she stepped on over to another tent, which had a small antenna placed adjacent to it. While Romero went to work with fiddling with the radio, Franco entered the tent, casting his weapon around as he entered a sort of "room" on the other side, used for storing equipment and ammunition. Inside, on a crudely-made cot, was a woman in a Velezian Air Force jumpsuit who definitely had seen better days. She immediately perked up as Franco entered the room, picking her up by one hand and raising her to her feet. "On your feet. We're getting you out of here."

"..What?" She shook her head. "I-I don't seem to understand. Who are you?"

"It doesn't matter who we are. We're Velezian." Ordering her outside and motioning for Cabal to attach a Forrajeador to her as well, she lowered her weapon and looked about the camp. "Looks like you had quite the fall, Capitán. What do you know about this area? Any sign of the rest of your squadron?"

"I.. I saw a larger base directly north of here when I ejected, then, when I ran south to friendly lines, I was stopped by this patrol here." Botín obviously seemed shaken—being shot down and captured by communists in the same day definitely wasn't something someone would be expecting. "It's just... those fighters.. I've never seen any aircraft like it before. They didn't match anything in our registries, we didn't know if they were Euphemian or anything, but they got all of us. I was the only one who survived. I don't know if they were Caguarian, Florianan, or Euphemian, but they weren't us."

"So it seems." Franco nodded slowly. "Major, shall I?"

Lyra gave a nod.

Image
OTC Electrónica
SECURE COMM TRANSCRIPT v.2.4
BATTALLON DEL SODADO DE CHOQUE 1. “PULSAR”
CHANNEL OCEANS 91 - MAX ENCRYPTION
----

\\\ [INOPS][ASTROTHUNDER] \\\ - "Things went as planned? Their comms have remained regular."

\\\ [COMTECH][Cpl. Oliver Martín Romero] \\\ - "Same down here. I just disabled that antenna.”

\\\ [XO/MRK][Cpt. Franco Montes] \\\ - "We'll make our way to the main encampment shortly. We need two HVTs extracted via Forrajedor on our position. We'll be sending them up now.”

\\\ [INOPS][ASTROTHUNDER] \\\ - "I'll make the arrangements."

----
OTC Electrónica ©420 All Rights Reserved


The balloons on the two HVTs inflated, causing them to rise up high into the air and into the dark skies. Soon, Lighthouse would come over to pick them up, along with anyone else who was in the area awaiting retrieval.

Image
OTC Electrónica
SECURE COMM TRANSCRIPT v.2.4
BATTALLON DEL SODADO DE CHOQUE 1. “PULSAR”
CHANNEL OCEANs 91 - MAX ENCRYPTION
----

\\\ [CMD][Cor. Lucián Saavedra \\\ - "Oceans 91, you have 20 minutes before B-61 “Gran Chico”[5], callsign “BASEPLATE” and B-61 “Gran Chico”, callsign “CFRAME” arrive to bomb that camp to shit.

----
OTC Electrónica ©420 All Rights Reserved


"20 minutes? That's it?" Isaac asked in a surprised tone, the team pulling on their night vision goggles and moving into the jungle. Lyra's MX-1 "Sabueso" personnel detector[6] scanned the trees, no anomalies appearing on the small flip-out monitor attached to the side of the machine gun. "It's not much, but it's something." Pascual said, eyes ahead.

"In 20 minutes, he'll be as good as GONE, and we'll have to make sure our asses aren't atomized by Gran Chicos."

A red blinking dot on the screen, ahead of the white dot indicating "her" position, caught Lyra's attention almost immediately. One red dot turned to 10, situated in a fan formation ahead of them, causing her heart to drop as she propped her rifle against a tree, motioning for the others to take cover as well. Older models of the MX-1 Sabueso made distinct beeps when someone was found, which increased in intensity when more people were detected. By now, they would've been found out had it not been an older model she was using.

Bipod deployed, she waited until the first flashlight-toting communist was spotted, at which point, she opened fire and cut him down. More fire came from Oceans 91's side as two more Cortina Roja fell, the others scattering to flank the group.

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\\\ [GRN][Sgt. Pascual Velacruz] \\\ - "Major, where the fuck did they go?!”

\\\ [CO/SAW][Maj. Lyra Vega] \\\ - "The Sabueso's acting up! They were in front of us, I saw some go around to the flanks!.”

\\\ [MED][Cpl. Isaac González] \\\ - "We'll be surrounded at that rate!”

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OTC Electrónica ©420 All Rights Reserved


The Cortina Roja had turned off their flashlights, but they still had night vision to their advantage. Lyra sprayed into the treeline to the right of her at the sight of movement, the rest of the group chiming in as she continued laying down fire onto the trees. Pascual fired off a grenade from his rifle, whereas Franco fired from a position well behind the group, taking out a chunk from a Cortina Roja guerrilla whom had exposed himself briefly. The group continued exchanging fire for what seemed like forever, the communist insurgents moving about just as rapidly as they fired from the bushes.

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BATTALLON DEL SODADO DE CHOQUE 1. “PULSAR”
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\\\ [GRN][Sgt. Pascual Velacruz] \\\ - "I see 'em. Those bastards are moving to the left!”

\\\ [CO/SAW][Maj. Lyra Vega] \\\ - "Open fire!”

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OTC Electrónica ©420 All Rights Reserved


What came next was nothing short of a machismo display of gunfire as the group as a collective opened fire on their left flank. A veritable pile of brass bullet casings dropped to Lyra's side as she and the rest of Oceans 91 sprayed the treeline for a full minute, up until Lyra had to reload. At that point, no gunfire was sent from the left or right flanks, indicating that the Cortina Roja ambush had been defeated.

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BATTALLON DEL SODADO DE CHOQUE 1. “PULSAR”
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\\\ [INOPS][ASTROTHUNDER] \\\ - "Update: bombers increased speed, on attack formation. I suggest evacuating.."

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CHANNEL OPFOR - {DECRYPTED}
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\\\ [Subcomandante Ocho Seis] \\\ - "Hahahaha... you fascist FOOLS! You think I am trapped in this jungle with you? No.. you are trapped in here with ME! Send your bombers if you want, knowing that I, Ocho Seis, have ALTERNATIVE BASES! You will never find me.”

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OTC Electrónica ©420 All Rights Reserved


"That means we're leaving." Franco frowned, disappointed. Already, flashes of light and rumbling off in the distance indicated that their target was under attack by the Gran Chicos. Nothing could survive their sustained bombing, and knowing the supersonic bombers' speed, they were pretty much invulnerable.

The group made their way to a clearing not too far away, each activating their own personal Forrajeadors. The white, padded helium balloons inflated and rose up high into the air, Lyra pulling on her pack and connecting a few safety hooks to her Forrajeador. They waited until they could hear the drone of not the B-61s, but a much larger, more elusive plane above, which they practically missed were it not for the faintest speck of darkness in the sky. The C-26 flew above at a lower altitude than usual, forcefully lifting each of them from the ground and high into the air, away from the destruction that raged on below.



CONTEXT NOTES


1 - MV-390 Tigre - The MV-390 Tiger is an Akhmanari-made 4x4 high-mobility multipurpose vehicle manufactured by the MAAT DEFENSE Company in 380 A.C. for use in the Akhmanar Armed Forces, Akhmanar National Police, and other security forces roles. Velezia acquired many MV-390 Tigers for its security forces, which it has dubbed the Tigre in light of the language shift. A derivative of a Tangaliroan lightly-armored infantry mobility vehicle concept that never came into fruition, the MV-390 serves security, patrol, utility, fire support, checkpoint defense, and armored reconnaissance roles in the Akhmanar Armed Forces, Akhmanar National Police, and Velezian Armed Forces.

Serving a crew of two and capable of seating up to 10 people, the Tigre is amphibious, using its wheels to propel itself in the water when afloat. It is most commonly armed with a roof-mounted turret fitted with a 14.5mm heavy machine gun and 7.62mm coaxial light machine gun, but it also comes in variants without a turret or with different weapons systems. The turret is stabilized and is capable of firing on the move, but is much more accurate when the MV-390 is stationary. It sports thermal and night vision optics for use as a reconnaissance vehicle. Additional configurations have seen the Tigre sport anything from a 30mm autocannon, to ATGM launchers, anti-tank recoilless rifles, rotary machine guns, or even the AD-31S, a short range low altitude infrared guided SAM system, for use as a mobile short range air defense vehicle. There are also six smoke grenade launchers mounted on the rear of the turret, for masking movements or concealing troop positions.

2 - M83A - The M83A is a selective-fire, 5.56x45mm assault rifle locally designed and developed for the Velezian military in 383. It was one of the first indigenously-designed assault rifles produced in South Ophir, second to the M368 and M358 seen in Alvimia, which it was designed to rival. It is very modular, featuring a folding stock and tritium sights for aiming in low-light conditions. It can also be fitted with a U1 underbarrel grenade launcher.

3 - Hanaq Pacha Mountains - The Hanaq Pacha Mountains are among the longest and tallest mountain ranges in the world. Primarily located in Floriana, the Hanaq Pacha Mountains, translated to "Everything that is above the surface of Tsion," are a mountaineer's dream to summit, though it is incredibly hard to do so. The Florianan army regularly trains its special forces on these mountains.

4 - AMR-M90A5 - The AMR-M90A5 is a Euphemian anti-materiel rifle developed by the Buckner Arms Corporation in 390. It fires a 12.7x99mm FS lead core copper jacketed round with an effective range exceeding 800 yards.

5 - B-61 “Gran Chico” - The B-61 "Gran Chico" ("big boy") is a supersonic, variable-sweep wing heavy strategic bomber and cruise missile platform designed by Asamblea de Aviación Militar (AAM) with Akhmanari assistance, entering service in the Velezian Air Force in 373. It is currently the largest and heaviest Mach 2+ supersonic military aircraft ever built, comparable in role to Euphemian B-33B Merlin supersonic strategic bombers. Like the Merlin, the B-61 is nuclear-capable, and able to be armed with both nuclear bombs and tactical cruise missiles. Its speed also grants it the title of one of the fastest bombers now in use, if not the fastest, and its combination of high speed and high altitude allowed it to remain effectively invulnerable from ground fire, save for Florianan and Canguarian interceptors. If needed, the B-61 can escape from unfavorable air-to-air or ground encounters with its Mach 2+ speed. Few aircraft are capable of sustained speeds over Mach 2, save for modern interceptor aircraft.

6 - MX-1 "Sabueso" personnel detector - The MX-1 "Sabueso" ("bloodhound"), or 'people sniffer' is a personnel detector fielded by the Velezian Army and B241. Its purpose is to detect enemy soldiers in hidden positions, namely jungle conditions. The detection method depended on effluents unique to humans, namely sweat and urine, and it was especially susceptible to detecting ammonium chloride, produced when combining sweat with hydrochloric acid. This also means the Sabueso can detect enemies based upon smoke from gunfire, especially those fitted onto helicopters. The Cortina Roja have developed counters to this, including using stray animal droppings, hanging buckets of mud and uring in the trees, and entering civilian-populated villages, to deceive the Sabueso. Tactics like these reduce the effectiveness in jungle terrain, but they still remain very useful in open areas.
Last edited by Turmenista on Mon May 27, 2019 12:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Forest State
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Postby Forest State » Sun May 26, 2019 10:16 pm

Collab post with Valefontaine
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    A C T 3 - "R E T A L I A T I O N"
    Near Santo Edén, the Zone
    JANUARY 26, 422


    __________________________________

It was good to be back in the sky.

It was something of an even playing field. It might be dangerous up here thousands of feet above the clouds, but it was also an even playing field. It wasn’t easy to see who was behind the helmet of each pilot up here, and legendary aces were known for what they did in the sky with their planes - not what they did on the ground. Most pilots would take that fact for granted but for someone such as Francis Madrazo, who had suffered plenty at the hands of her own countrymen for the life that she lived on the ground, it couldn’t be more valuable. Maybe that was the reason she was flying right now, and not looking for some programming job after her escape from Daimiel and subsequent landing in Canguari.

Flying really had saved her life. It happened to be the one thing that made it possible for her to get out of her country through illegal means - specifically, through using her Air Force training to fly an ArG-12 fighter to the place she was seeking asylum in. Perhaps flying was also the reason she had picked this place out of everywhere she could have went. While other countries such as Euphemie or Alvimia might be larger and more prosperous, this place gave her a more surefire shot of getting back into the sky. Which was what she was doing now after trading in the ArG-12 for a J-5 Flayer and joining the Canguarian Air Force as a mercenary.

How could she have stayed away from a job like this? It paid the bills but more importantly it allowed her to do what she wanted to do. What she was meant to do, seemingly.

Making it through basic training had been a breeze as she had formerly been a member of the Air Force in Daimiel and was already in the right condition to fly a fighter. The only thing left to do was get certified to fly this different model, which was a bigger challenge than it sounded on paper. While Francis was experienced by now as a pilot, the J-5 and the ArG-12 were very different beasts, with this one moving much differently than her older plane. She’d never gotten the chance to fly Talons in Daimiel before leaving, so this was the most modern plane she had been in before - and while it was more powerful, one had to know how to use that power to make any impact in battle.

She was adapting quickly with the help of the squadron she had been assigned to, the 13th Fighter Squadron, but there were still a few things she needed to get under her belt - the more advanced weapons systems and having missiles that actually did something consistently being two of those things. The Zone happened to be the perfect place to practice such things and it was the reason why they were over it right now, as the more experienced flight leader Tomas Castro told her about one of the key differences.

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-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Yamandu” | CPT. Tomas Castro:// “You don’t have to fly as conservatively as you would in the ArG-12, remember that. This thing can compete with some of the better fighters out there despite the age. But you’ve gotta be aggressive.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “Working on it. Still trying to unlearn some of the old tactics, never did get a chance to get my hands on a 13th gen in Daimiel.”

-[ 13FS/ A/F-04 “Aenaran” | CPT. Jock McLean:// “Work faster, kid. This isn’t Daimiel, we’re expecting you to actually head into combat in that thing-”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “I’m trying, alright? Not my fault if my home country couldn’t even afford simulators.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Junkie” | CPT. Ulysses Tony Fly-Me-To-The-Moon Savage:// “We get it, Aenaran. She’s new, no need to bring it up every-”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Yamandu” | CPT. Tomas Castro:// “I’m getting unknown contacts on radar. This isn’t part of the training exercise, let’s pay attention to that for now. We might’ve run into one of the ongoing conflicts around La Zona.

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


Upon the radar map, sixteen blips were converging upon Santo Edén. The small border town was adjacent to the much larger city of Corona, which was effectively the largest Canguarian urban center in the Zone. They were quickly identified to be F/P-11 'Miasma' attack fighters. Relics of the past century, the fighters in question were undoubtedly old — but that didn't mean they weren't formidable in their own right. Given their bearing, and just where they were, it was rather easy to assume what these enemy aircraft were up to.

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-[ Escuadrón de Bombardeo no. 472/ F/P-11 Miasma "Pejesapo" #389-013 | Maj. Orlando Dávalos:// "Approaching Santo Edén."

-[ Escuadrón de Bombardeo no. 472/ F/P-11 Miasma "Búho" #383-029 | Col. Esmeralda Maroto:// "Once the town is within range, drop all ordnance! The Canguarians will know not to interfere with our missions in the Zone after this..."

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


The reaction of the fighters from the 13th Fighter Squadron could be summed up in one word easily: surprise. One moment they had been headed into a training exercise to test some munitions and the next moment they were seeing not one or two but sixteen blips on the radar headed towards one location. Even if they were in older aircraft it was going to be far too much for them to all handle themselves, most likely. They’d need some kind of support but at the same time, it seemed cowardly to turn around and leave when one of their own cities was being attacked in retaliation, without concern for the civilian casualties.

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-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Junkie” | CPT. Ulysses Tony Fly-Me-To-The-Moon Savage:// “You’re saying we’re supposed to take on sixteen of those guys on our own? We can’t help anyone if they swarm us and we get shot down.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Yamandu” | CPT. Tomas Castro:// “I’ll make a request for support but someone is going to have to deal with this until that support gets there.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Junkie” | CPT. Ulysses Tony Fly-Me-To-The-Moon Savage:// “Yeah and we’re not equipped to be that someone. There’s just four of us and one of us isn’t even certified to fly the damn plane.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Yamandu” | CPT. Tomas Castro:// “She’s close enough. Franco de Torres tower, this is Captain Tomas Castro of the 13th Fighter Squadron. We’ve run into 16 Velezian fighters conducting bombing operations on Santo Edén, can you redirect any support to this area?”

-[ FRANCO DE TORRES AFB | TOWER:// “13FS, this is Franco de Torres. We can try to relay your request and get a SAM unit in your area but it’s going to take around ten to fifteen minutes. Franco de Torres.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Yamandu” | CPT. Tomas Castro:// “That’s fine. 13FS, over and out.”

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


Despite the protests of Savage, the squadron made a turn to head in the direction of the Velezian attackers. Holding their own for ten to fifteen minutes until help came wasn’t impossible - even if it was a small task because of the inexperience of one of their members and the fact that they were outnumbered big time here. The enemy fighters weren’t new but they didn’t exactly have newer fighters either. Francis, however, remained calm despite the circumstances. This was what she had been waiting for, wasn’t it? The chance to prove her skills in the air in a combat situation that actually mattered, not on some border harassment mission. If she turned away from this, she wasn’t worthy in her own mind of being a combat pilot in the first place.

The group had seemingly not noticed the approach of the Canguarian fighter group — one could easily assume this to be due to the rather aged state of the aircraft, the various electronic warfare arrays the Duchy had hastily established in the past decade to compete with rising Velezian air power, the Duchy's radar installations giving the group of fighters a decisive advantage, or some other extraneous factor or combination thereof. Either way, they didn't seem to be breaking away from their mission: the town of Santo Edén. That didn't mean they weren't dangerous — the fighter aircraft in question were known for their tactical 'terror bombings' in the Zone in decades past, and the fact they were being used now gave fair indication that the enemy was troubled by the idea of losing more large, costly strategic bombers.

The bombing of civilians wasn’t something that shook up Francis very much. Maybe she was a bad person because of it but coming from a background like hers, in one of the barrios of Daimiel, it wasn’t shocking in the slightest - when you’d seen someone bleeding out in the street after being shot, or with their head split open with a melee weapon, seeing them dying from a distant didn’t really make you feel much. However, just because it didn’t panic her didn’t mean she didn’t want to do anything to stop it. She knew it was something bad that was happening right now, even if it didn’t give her the same emotional response that might come from someone who hadn’t been exposed to as much violence before would have.

She pushed forward on the throttle and accelerated beyond the regular cruising speed along with the rest of the members of the 13th. All of their planes were interceptor types rather than pure fighters. It helped them in situations like this, when ‘interception’ would be an accurate label for what they were doing. It wasn’t slow moving bombers they were trying to take out before heading home, though. It was other fighters that could down them easily if they weren’t careful.

While Francis was still getting used to the weapons system on this thing, she knew the basics. She forced herself to take a giant deep breath and looked down at the radar screen and then back at the HUD and the indicator which showed where she was aiming. Her hand shook slightly - but it was steady enough as she slewed the indicator to focus in on one of the enemies that the radar had picked up before pulling the trigger and looking to the side as the missile hissed and the AAM-9 was sent from under her wing into the air, quickly disappearing from immediate view as it rocketed towards the Velezian group of fighters. She only had two of them, unfortunately. All of the J-5s did, which didn’t help them against these kinds of numbers. They could, however, do something and occupy the enemy until support could arrive. For every second that they occupied them, the town wasn’t being bombed.

They were about 30 nautical miles out from the Velezian group when the engagement began and Francis’ shot was followed up by two more AAM-9s being shot at the enemy, by Castro and Savage respectively. The only one not to shoot was McLean, but right now, that was impossible for him. His jet was loaded up with two AAM-11s in addition to the air to ground ordnance that was expected from that model of aircraft, but the range was too short. Until they traveled about ten nautical miles closer, McLean was a liability in air to air combat.

CANGUARIAN AIR FORCE
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-[ Escuadrón de Bombardeo no. 472/ F/P-11 Miasma "Búho" #383-029 | Col. Esmeralda Maroto:// "Shit! Deploy ECM!"

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


The group of Velezian aircraft were quick to attempt evasive maneuvers, countermeasures being deployed against the missiles. Not all had been quick enough, however, three evidently failing to escape their attackers. Three of the Velezian fighters abruptly disappeared from radar, having been torn apart by the enemy's missiles.

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-[ Escuadrón de Bombardeo no. 472/ F/P-11 Miasma "Pejesapo" #389-013 | Maj. Orlando Dávalos:// "Shit, we're going down! Bailing out!" [static]

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


Three of the enemy fighters were down but that still left them with the formidable number of thirteen. Between them, there were only five missiles left. Barring some incredible gunfighting, they wouldn’t be able to take out all of the enemy unit, all they would be able to do is hold them off and hope the SAM unit could drive the rest away from the town. It wasn’t an easy thing to do especially since almost all of their ammunition would be gone in one salvo if they attacked again right now, and it would still leave large numbers of the enemy to deal with. This kind of situation, it required inventive leadership and strategy. Just charging in was going to get them killed.

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-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Yamandu” | CPT. Tomas Castro:// “Let’s double back and enter a holding pattern. Follow my lead. We have to buy some time until the SAM shows up, let’s see if we can draw them away from their original mission and get them to chase for a bit.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “And if they shoot at us while they’re chasing?”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Yamandu” | CPT. Tomas Castro:// “We’ll engage. But it’s important that we don’t go after them too soon. We don’t want to dump our missiles on them and have too much time left before help shows up.”

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


Francis pulled back on the throttle and eased the thrust as she and the others took a sharp turn in the opposite direction to follow after Castro, climbing as they did so. It might look like they were retreating. Really, they were hoping that now that they’d taken out three of the Velezian aircraft, they would be in the mood to pick a fight and would waste time chasing them.

Six of the Velezian fighters in question suddenly broke formation, discarding their bombs on the outskirts of the town as they made way to engage the group of Canguarian fighter aircraft. With haste they drew in as the bombs began to pelt the town on the horizon, the Velezian mass-atrocity serving as background display to the dogfight about to commence. Six missiles registered on the glowing CRT screen, traveling across the heavily-forested landscape below.

The fighters of the 13th Squadron were quick to go to the ECM pods fixed to their aircraft, which were able to divert two of the missiles harmlessly off to the side. Two of them, however, would come dangerously close - one of them had been aimed at Francis and the other one had targeted McLean, Francis taking slightly more damage from the nearby explosion but not too much. She couldn’t admit she wasn’t a little shaken, however, having the explosion go off so close to her. It was a bit unnerving that the aircraft itself shook under her as she continued to follow on the tail of her leader.

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-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Yamandu” | CPT. Tomas Castro:// “New plan, everyone. These guys are going to be at a disadvantage if we slow the fight down. Let’s head close to the ground and keep them chasing, it’ll burn some time and we might be able to get behind them or get them to stall.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Junkie” | CPT. Ulysses Tony Fly-Me-To-The-Moon Savage:// “I don’t recall our fighters being great at low speeds either.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Yamandu” | CPT. Tomas Castro:// “Better than theirs. You’ve trained for stuff like this at least once or twice, complain about the difficulty later. We don’t have many options right now.”

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


And so instead of turning around right away they went into a dive and allowed the Velezian flight to continue attacking them, but this time, they were going to make them engage in a dangerous low to the ground chase where skill would be needed in low speed handling. Dexterity with the control stick would be a key. The terrain was a factor as were stall speeds here, but the smaller group was the one better suited to deal with it because of their traditional wings - compared to the delta wings of the enemy.

The older Velezian fighters attempted pursuit, climbing over the hills to pursue after the formation. Their airframes struggled as they brought themselves into visual range, climbing just above the clouds to give chase after the Canguarian fighter group.

Francis went easy on the throttle while still keeping her speeds up - trying to keep the leader of the squadron from getting too far out of her view as they rocketed through the hills and forced their opponents to chase them in a low flying battle. Things like firing off missiles, acquiring targets and the like, would be much harder in this kind of environment where just not crashing into the terrain was a challenge.

When Castro turned, that was the signal for the others to make their turns, too. They were trying to do a ninety degree turn and then turn again, and hopefully they would be able to come out behind their enemies by the time they repeated the process two more times. Being this low to the ground might also make them harder to find on radar. They couldn’t depend on it but it was a possible fringe benefit. Whatever the case, attacking them when they were moving so aggressively would be difficult. Which was a good thing given that they were outnumbered and outgunned here.

The Canguarians obviously held disadvantage in the airborne contest of maneuvers above the jungles of the Zone, their obsolete aircraft struggling to keep up with the Liangan-made interceptors. Two of them stalled in sheer attempt to keep up with the Canguarians' maneuvers, one of the aircraft in question violently careening into the jungle hills below. The other one attempted to escape their stall, fighter aircraft shaking as it began to gradually plummet down. Disappearing for a moment below the clouds, its fate was revealed to Francis as the impending dogfight brought the rainforest into view — an explosion dispersing amongst the dense cluster of trees and underbrush below.

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-[ Escuadrón de Bombardeo no. 472/ F/P-11 Miasma "Pejesapo" #371-008 | Tte. Adrián Santángel III:// "We're down two!"

-[ Escuadrón de Bombardeo no. 472/ F/P-11 Miasma "Búho" #383-029 | Col. Esmeralda Maroto:// "They.. they crashed?! What incompetence! Keep after them, we cannot allow the rest of the unit to be harmed!"

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


It was too soon to celebrate for the pilots of the 13th. They had survived the worst of the enemy pursuit and now they were on the hunt. They had two enemies in front of them and two behind them to finish off and then they’d have to get back to the town to try and do what they could to halt the bombardment, if they had any missiles left by that time. Right now, they were immediately behind two of the remaining fighters while two more of them stayed on the trail behind them. For once, they were close enough that McLean was able to use his two AAM-11s to try to finish off the ones in front of them.

There was one explosion as the first of the two enemy craft was destroyed, but the other missile went wide and didn’t hit, continuing on listlessly to detonate in the dense jungles below. Not long after the failed second attack, McLean’s A/F-04 shook as the wing was hit by a gun attack from one of the two tailing fighters. Not the worst damage in the world but it did push him a bit closer to the brink - the aircraft had already taken damage after all.

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-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “You alright, Aenaran?”

-[ 13FS/ A/F-04 “Aenaran” | CPT. Jock McLean:// “Just some light damage! Don’t need a kid like you looking out for me, worry about yourself.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Yamandu” | CPT. Tomas Castro:// “Not the time to argue. Aenaran, RTB. Amazon, Junkie, break off and try to do something about the last two while I try leading them and keeping them in place.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “Affirmative.”

-[ 13FS/ A/F-04 “Aenaran” | CPT. Jock McLean:// “I’ll see you back at base, Amazon… Assuming you don’t get yourself shot down.”

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


Castro continued flying straight and hoped the two fighters tailing them would pursue him rather than going after the two that had been assigned to go around and try to get in position for an attack. At the same time, McLean took off into a righthand climb away from the others, both allied and enemy, to head back to base. With no more air to air missiles, there wasn’t anything McLean could do other than use guns in an aircraft that very much wasn’t designed to be a dogfighter - at last not one to that extent.

Soon, a second member of the squadron was left without any missiles. Castro fired an AAM-9 at the sole fighter in front of him, the one that McLean hadn’t been able to take down using his second AAM-11. Francis, meanwhile, was feeling the effects of the G forces as she and Savage made a sharp and tight turn to get behind the trailing fighters. But having the better movement at low altitude helped them. She watched the HUD carefully and managed to get one of the two enemy fighters in her sights - two letters appeared in the middle of the HUD: LA, or Launch Authorized. With that, it meant she was in optimal position to fire. She squeezed the trigger and Savage did the same, their last two AAM-9s rocketing at the enemy from close range. Sharply the two Velezian aircraft in question attempted to swerve out of the way, one of them evidently not being quick enough as they were engulfed in a fireball, scorched wreckage spiraling madly to vanish into the clouds — their fate presumably sealed in the jungles of Canguari below.

CANGUARIAN AIR FORCE
XB-OS v1.11 [UNLICENSED]
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL 13FS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
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-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Yamandu” | CPT. Tomas Castro:// “Don’t chase. We’re not going to have a lot of luck trying to go guns here, with the kind of jets we have. We’ll return to base, I can see on the radar now that our backup is getting close.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Junkie” | CPT. Ulysses Tony Fly-Me-To-The-Moon Savage:// “That was way too close for comfort in my opinion, let’s not do that again.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Yamandu” | CPT. Tomas Castro:// “I think most things are too close for comfort for you, Junkie.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Junkie” | CPT. Ulysses Tony Fly-Me-To-The-Moon Savage:// “What can I say? I’m a mercenary. I don’t put myself in line to get hurt unless I’m being paid extra up front for it. Not trying to get any scratches on this pretty face. Have to look good for the ladies such as Francis over here.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “We’ll see about that. I’m just glad it turned out alright.”

-[ FRANCO DE TORRES AFB | TOWER:// “13th FS, this is Franco de Torres, do you read me?”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Yamandu” | CPT. Tomas Castro:// “Affirmative, 13th FS.”

-[ FRANCO DE TORRES AFB | TOWER:// “Reinforcements have arrived, you’ve been cleared to return to base. Franco de Torres, over.”

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CHANNEL EdB472 XXX-XXX-XXX [DECIPHERED]
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-[ Escuadrón de Bombardeo no. 472/ F/P-11 Miasma "Búho" #383-029 | Col. Esmeralda Maroto:// "We're in too deep in Cango territory, enemy reinforcements are en route. Pull back!"

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


As the group of Velezian aircraft pulled back in the wake of the squadron of Canguarian Air Force F/A-127s, they were quickly overtaken by the contrails of air-to-air missiles from the overwhelming power of the group, explosions dotting the sky behind the retreating 13th Fighter Squadron as they returned north. The flight home was quiet and the 13th wasn’t interfered with - a contrast from the chaos of the battle they had waged just minutes prior. They were headed back to van der Kaap Airstrip and the landing was uneventful. But that was how they wanted it to be. After the surprise of getting involved in actual combat, the last thing they needed was trouble on the way back.

Francis let out a sigh of relief that she hadn’t realized she’d been holding in, as she taxied off the runway and parked on the apron next to Castro and Savage ahead of her. She went through the checklist for shutting down the plane and finally pushed the canopy open, climbing out with shaking legs and unsteady hands. The adrenaline had helped some during the fight itself - but now she was feeling more nervousness than she had noticed even during the peak of battle, as her mind processed what had just happened.

“So what do you think about your first combat?” asked Castro as she climbed down to the ground and turned to face her squadmates. The ones that were on the apron anyway - McLean had already went inside the airbase, not waiting for the rest of them. When he did see her, she half imagined that he was going to be surprised she was still alive and hadn’t been shot down. But she didn’t plan on rubbing it in his face that she’d lived. She intended to prove herself but she didn’t hold the disrespect against him, she was new to this country after all and McLean was a rank higher than her, like the others in this flight.

“Didn’t realize how scary it would be but I survived it,” Francis shrugged. Back then, she’d assumed it would be some grand experience. Now that she had actually been in combat, she was just happy to be alive. “Hopefully next time I can do more and win some more respect.”

“We’ll see about that. Something tells me this isn’t going to be the last time we face off with those guys,” Castro stated. Maybe it was intuition, maybe it was because foreign mercenaries were showing up and had antagonized Velezia, causing the bombardment in the first place, but something just said that this small engagement was just that - a small engagement on a larger stage which would have much more important battles in the future.
Last edited by Forest State on Sun May 26, 2019 10:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
i'm the bad guy... duh.

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Confederation of the Equator
Diplomat
 
Posts: 560
Founded: Jun 13, 2016
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby Confederation of the Equator » Tue May 28, 2019 11:46 am

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    A C T 1 - "R E B I R T H"
    Nheengatu Rainforest, the Zone
    JANUARY 26, 422
    Sgt. Raul Correa


    __________________________________

The sounds from the jungle were no strangers to the ears of those who inhabited Nheengatu. The orchestra of monkeys, frogs, toads, the loud chorus of insects during the Velezian summer were all ancient to humans and a throwback to simpler times of survival. Waterfalls, rivers, and the relentless rain were even more ancient, silently shaping the land around those who constantly fought for it. It was, in fact, a beautiful species network of biodiversity, although for the factions shedding every ounce of their blood it was nothing but a piece from a map, and an opportunity for riches and prestige.

Occasionally, the foreign sound of dry twigs being crushed by human boots invaded the jungle's masterpiece, although it was mostly left undisturbed. Among the natural green of the rainforest, the artificial tone of camouflage swiftly cut its way through the maze of wood and life, a small team of men with considerable experrience from such a harsh environment. They found their way to a small clearing that had been victim of death from above, where two bodies had been seemingly quartered by the previous day's bombings.

The smell of nature reclaiming its own immediately hit the pointman.

"Ugh! Fuck!" The guerrilla immediately turned away from the bodies and the stench. "Sargento! There's somethin' pretty fucking nasty up ahead!" He called out to Raul, who was somewhere in the middle of the column as the small formation stopped in its tracks for a moment.

The stench soon hit the entire squad. Some men cringed while others, having grown too used to the horrors of war, seemed unaffected. Raul remained silent for a moment, shocked at what they'd found. "Move up, we gotta give our comrades a proper burial... Even if they're like that, hermano." Sargento Raul said as he gathered the stomach to move closer, the sight progressively becoming worse and worse for him. "Fuck..." He muttered under his breath.

The men up ahead took their entrenching tool and began to hastily dig into the organically rich soil so they could make the two a decent grave. Meanwhile, the two last men in formation, being remarkably inexperienced, seemed even more frightened at the sight. "Do you think it was El Tunchi...? Maybe they responded to his whistles." The more superstitious of the two asked, his breath shaky.

"Don't be estupido, Gabriel. This was a fascist bomb that hit them, can't you see the crater?" The other man - an AT assistant - replied, hiding his own fear in a veil of manliness. He then sighed, seemingly as nervous as the younger man he was lecturing. "Stuff happens, I suppose, but talking fairy tales ain't gonna help us, vale?"

Image
“A brave heart and a courteous tongue. They shall carry thee far in the unforgiving jungle." - Unknown author


Fifteen minutes passed as the birds and insects continued to sing and the squad finished burying the remains of their comrades, although missing a part or two that had probably ended up somewhere else. Even if such a sight was horrifying, it wasn't as uncommon as they would hope. The Velezians always had control of the sky, and had the technology to easily bomb them into submission with minimal losses from their limited anti-aircraft capabilities. For that very reason, they had had to hide like rats underground and remain in the defensive for the previous months, which was definitely terrible for morale...

Until very recently. Not everyone knew of the mysterious fighters that were taking down Velezian aircraft like flies, but the news were spreading like fire. Some said it was divine punishment or Villar's spirit striking the fascists out of the sky, others that it's the air force of the neighboring countries, some even said that their comrades were shooting them down themselves. Whatever it was, it surely improved morale and, most importantly, gave them a very precious window of opportunity.

With their work done, Raul stood up, facing the rest of his team. "We're heading back to camp." He called as they finally finished a makeshift tomb for comrades Aucaman and Alejandrina.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    Northwestern Bloc HQ, somewhere in west Rodríguez
    JANUARY 26, 422
    Lt. Armando Aguinaldo, a.k.a 'Teniente AA'


    __________________________________

An abandoned school. Such was the place where the Lieutenant General in charge of the blocof Las Lindas had decided to hold their weekly briefing, which for the past months had been marked by boring talks about how to more effectively hide from Velezian aircraft and how to minimize casualties. It had been marked by reports on skirmishes and ambushes, all of which were minor from their perspective. The classroom in which they were currently at was rather convenient for such a briefing, especially due to the readily available maps, tables, and boards, which were filled with all kinds of information regarding logistics.

In that room, Armando was but a lowly company commander surrounded by bigger fish, such as column commanders, their superiors in charge of fronts - known as subcomandantes, and even the commander of the bloc itself, host of the meeting. The Lieutenant usually didn't attend such briefings due to his relatively low rank, but thanks to his position as second-in-command of the third column of revolutionary infantry, as well as the fact that his company was the most experienced one in that same unit, he'd earned his right to be there. It wasn't a nuisance for those who were acquainted with the capabilities of 'Teniente Dos-A', but many higher ranking officers found his presence insulting.

The room was filled with chatter as the comandante went through some files and maps essential to what he was about to brief them on. He then got up from his seat and knocked on the classroom board twice, all chatter dying out in a matter of seconds.

"Camaradas, listen. I know these last months have been very harsh for you - for all of us." He began to walk around the class, making sure to keep eye contact with several of the subcomandantes and lower commanders as he spoke. "We've had to hide from the bombs, and learned to embrace the darkness to move around outside. We've engaged in a war of attrition, where we aren't losing, but not winning either. Many of your hermanos and hermanas are losing spirit in our cause, and defeatism cannot be allowed to spread through the ranks of the revolution." He finally stopped in front of the board once again, facing his men.

Then, a smirk appeared on the commander's face. "I'm sure many of you know what I am going to talk about specifically. We cannot hide anymore. We cannot allow our comrades to cower in fear as the fascists drop bombs and kill, brutalize our people. And the time has come."

The comandante took one of the files from the table. "Reports are coming from everywhere, but especially from around Sánchez. Fascist aircraft are being shot down like nothing by mysterious fighters whose origins we know about as well as anyone else. The fact is that their identity doesn't matter, but the window of opportunity that has been given us does. As their air power dwindles, so does their greatest advantage over us."

He then took a deep breath. "Camaradas, brothers and sisters of my heart in war and peace. We are going on the offensive against this fascist regime." The commander let his words sink in for a moment, internal chatter immediately erupting among the several officers, high and low-ranking alike.

Suddenly, one of the subcomandantes raised his hand. "Comrade! You can't mean us to attack Sánchez! That would be suicidal."

"We are not striking Sánchez, no. We obviously lack the position to do that." The commander then pointed to the map. "What we can do right now is effectively cut off Sánchez from the rest of fascist Velezia. Now that their air superiority is threatened, we can take control of the Anahí and cut off all riverine access to the city, while also controlling the roads. By isolating them like that, it would only be a matter of time before they fall. And when they fall, the fascists lose their stronghold in the Zone."

Suddenly, there was silence once again. The plan was bold, ambitious, and it hooked the attention of most officers in that room. Armando specifically had a faint smile on his face. It had been so long...

"But in order for that to happen, we are going to need a diversionary attack on the outskirts of the city, so that the fascists will be surrounded before they even realize what's happening." With that, the commander brought an elephant into the room, which was immediately noticed by some of the more attentive officers.

Image
DRAFT
RED ARROW: Main attack
YELLOW ARROW: Diversionary attack


Again, another officer raised his hand, this time a company commander. "Comr- Uh... Sir... We, uh... Don't we lack the numbers for that?" The young man said in a rather nervous manner. "M-maybe we could use the engafes, but I don't know if they would fall... For it..."

The comandante slowly nodded in agreement. "We'll have to take a gamble, and hope for the best." He said coldly, a sentence which once again sparked mixed reactions from the officers, which slowly began turning into an argument on how to conduct the offensive, or whether to go with it at all. The room rapidly descended into chaos as all order broke loose.

Armando suddenly stood up, hitting the table once to cease all chatter. Despite being "just" a company commander, the Lieutenant was among one of the most experienced in that room, the old man in a profession where men die young. He cleared his throat before speaking, his composure commanding respect to others in the room, even for those who did not even want him there.

"Comrades. I do believe this is an opportunity we must not waste, but I don't think gambling isn't the way we'll get there." He then looked up at the commanding officer of all fronts in La Zona, who seemed all ears. "Our comandante has a good plan, but in order to achieve success we'll need a proper diversion. The engafes are useful for tricking our enemy, but they don't shoot..." He paused. "Not yet."

That caught the attention of his fellow officers. Armando stood up, heading to the projector in the classroom where he plugged in a small flash drive, an engineering drawing showing up on the screen. It was at that moment that most officers who knew Armando remembered his actual credentials.

"I wasn't expecting to use that so soon, but what you see there is a very simple mechanism that can be attached to our engafes and to an assault rifle, even the cheap ones which we happen to have in surplus. They are easy to produce and I'm sure they will be quite effective, perfect for our diversionary plan. We could deploy two hundred men and a thousand of these, and the fascists would believe to be up against an entire column... Assuming our men don't let the enemy get a clear sight."

The officers in the room were silent. Armando wasn't one known for coming up with out-of-the-box solutions, instead relying on his own tactical prowess. No one was sure whether that meant something good or bad, but what they did know was that his idea worked better than just gambling with their forces or being passive in the wake of Velezian decay.

After what seemed like an eternity of silence, a smile emerged on the comandante's face.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    Margarita Bar, outskirts of Rodríguez
    JANUARY 26, 422
    Ybotyra, 'Ibu'


    __________________________________

The air was filled with alcohol and lies, for alien was the bar that didn't house both. The counter and tables were filled with all kinds of people: some were meeting their dates, some wanted to drown their sorrow, others were there to celebrate, either with friends or family, and many didn't even know why they were there in the first place. Perhaps it was an addiction to the bar, the people who were there, or probably the drinks themselves. No one really knew, but what mattered was that soldiers from the 1st Column made up the majority of the revenue that bar earned.

Ibu found herself on what many would consider the wrong side of the counter, working as a part-time bartender. The native girl was absolutely no expert at doing that, but she wasn't terrible either, and her good looks made up for that in her employer's perspective. The longer they could keep people in the building the better, and Ibu passively did just that, although she got way too many creepy and uncomfortable looks while at it.

All in all, she'd grown used to the whole thing, and even found it a relaxing way to take her mind off her actual full-time duty. Not only that, but the rumors that ran freely in a bar were an excellent source of information in her eternal search for the Velezians that attacked her village.

Image
A daisy bar, red as a rose


Eventually, she spotted a woman approach the counter, visibly about as old as her and wearing the unique uniform of the 1st Column, although what distinguished her from the rest was the depressed look on her face. The newcomer took a seat and Ibu immediately approached her like any other customer. "Welcome, what would you li-"

"Do you think there's a God?" The woman asked suddenly, much to Ibu's surprise. "If there's a God, why do you think bad things happen? Why do you think people suffer unjustly?" She continued.

"I... Uh, sorry, this was a bit sudden, but..." Ibu leaned in a bit closer to the newcomer. "My father always told me that either all the spirits and demons and Gods are a bunch of bastards, or we just assume that the world is meant to be good too much." The native woman took a closer look at the newcomer. "You seem down, mind tellin' me what happened?"

"My older brother, he... He was killed near El Dorado... I only heard now and... It... It's my fault, he wasn't supposed to go alo-..." The woman's voice began drowning in sobbing, which prompted the bartender to embrace her. That kind of story wasn't new, either, but it broke her heart every time it happened again due to simply how relatable it was.

"Look at me... Look at me." The native woman said softly, the newcomer finally complying. Ibu then grabbed a nearby napkin and wiped the woman's tears away. "We all eventually lose something precious in life... I've been there too..." She looked away for a brief moment. "Your brother... He gave all he had for a great cause, and even if I didn't know him... I'm sure he would've wanted you to move on and, y'know... Carry on his legacy, not forget his sacrifice." These were harsh words to tell others.

Because Ibu did not believe them herself.

She spent a few more minutes with the woman and even got her a drink on the house, and got back to work. Each day, hundreds of different stories arrived in that bar, each with their own complications and twists, but one couldn't help but eventually spot the patterns of happiness and sorrow, of life and death.

As Ibu went back inside for a break, her communication pager rang several times. She picked it up.

Playas Electrónica
SECURE COMM TRANSCRIPT v.1.7
SECUNDA COMPAÑÍA, 3C, 1F
CHANNEL RC 43 - MAX ENCRYPTION
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\\\ [CO][Ten. AA] \\\ - "CALL FOR COMPANY MOBILIZATION.” [AUTOMATIC]

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Valefontaine
Chargé d'Affaires
 
Posts: 368
Founded: Dec 18, 2017
Democratic Socialists

Postby Valefontaine » Tue May 28, 2019 2:52 pm

Partially collab with Forest State

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    A C T 3 - "R E P U L S E"
    van der Kaap Airstrip, 15km NW of Sofía, Duchy of Canguari
    FEBRUARY 2, 422


    __________________________________

Another morning over Canguari. Sunlight trailed in through the windows of Adeline's quarters — though she was already well into her day. The pilot knew well that there'd be an operation today, one aiming to decisively and strategically push the Velezians away from the city of Corona and secure Canguari's place in the northern reaches of the Zone. Word was the Velezians were pissed — more pissed than usual, given the asskicking in the skies they'd received. She'd heard more, though — that a few brave-ass pilots were ballsy enough to drive back a Velezian fallback attempt at a smaller-scale bombing of Santo Eden. Apparently they were from van der Kaap, too. If she ran into any of those daring bastards, she'd be sure to show her admiration.

At her desk she kept the documents pertaining to the operation in question — as secretary squadron manager she had the privilege of occasionally getting a look at the more planned operational paperwork — and by now she was finishing organizing the papers in question. Even as they were being driven back by Canguarian ground forces, the Velezians were bringing bigger guns today: the B-61 Gran Chico. It was sleeker, more advanced than the B-77, carrying more hardpoints, more armaments — even air-to-air missiles to defend itself from assailing interceptors. One could perceive its design philosophy as less akin to that of the conventional bomber — almost something else entirely. It had an odd designation, being newer but numerically 'lower' than the B-77: Adeline wouldn't bother trying to figure out how numerical designations worked in the Velezian military — it seemed halfway between a crude imitation of the Euphemian system and something else entirely.

Leaving her quarters, she figured she could hang around the barracks until it was time for the operation to commence proper. They'd be receiving another briefing from Dr. Pecks, which would serve to effectively and concisely deliver what she'd verified from the documents. Her exit from quarters warranted a few glances from the Canguarian troops that typically lingered about the corridor, chatting amongst themselves. Some of them were the usual - ground crews, maintenance people, and the like. The ones that were usually seen around an airbase, even if they didn’t get much attention.

More notably, however, there were a couple of the Canguarian pilots from the 13th Fighter Squadron just outside of her quarters, walking down the hallway and not paying attention to anything other than their own conversation. “I’m just saying if you can’t take some heat from your squadmates you should have stayed in Daimiel,” said the one taking the lead, the label on his uniform identifying him as ‘McLean.’ The other one, ‘Madrazo’, was trailing behind and listening silently to his animated speech. “What are you going to do? Run away again ‘cause someone said something about your piloting?”

“That’s… Not what happened in Daimiel. I left because I couldn’t focus on flying if my squadron kept beating me up every day,” Madrazo sighed, looking down and looking like she wanted to say more - but was holding her tongue. “But I’m not going to run away again. What happened back there happened. I just want to be successful after starting over here.”

“Could start by paying more attention when the veterans tell you things,” McLean continued, uninterested in her replies. “You aren’t always going to get bailed out by Castro coming up with something genius in the middle of a battle-”

Madrazo finally interjected and made a stronger statement of her own. “But wasn’t it you who had the most damage when we went back to base after that fight? Not me?”

Which resulted in Jock giving a dismissive wave. “Sure I did, but that just goes to show that I’m a team player and that I don’t care about taking some damage for the squadron’s sake.” Team coordination was, indeed, something that she'd glazed over in the small library worth of handbooks that came with the job. Not to mention the many closed-door status update meetings, problem-solving meetings and problem-solving meetings... and the spreadsheets upon spreadsheets of paperwork she had to handle after each mission.

These gentlemen — and the lady with them — seemed to be rather competent. Paired with the fact they'd be sharing this airstrip with them indefinitely, she figured there'd be no loss in interjecting. "I heard of your unit's performance last week. Pretty impressed... looking forward to working with you guys today." She began. Already she had a bit of a reputation around base for her feat in the last run — two bombers of that scale were aircraft Velezia wouldn't be able to fill the strategic void of for at least half a year — she hoped they'd at least somewhat recognize her, given the mission that would soon face both units.

“Oh, you’re one of those pilots from Euphemie,” Madrazo said, looking up from her conversation with McLean to notice Adeline. “Not hard to recognize you guys, there’s one of you in our flight. You guys are um… Kind of weird but fun to fly with!” she continued, tacking on the part about fun quickly at the end to make it clear she wasn’t saying an insult. Still, it was easy to take it the wrong way.

“Pays well to fly down here, doesn’t it?” McLean chuckled, less surprised and more used to seeing mercenary pilots. After all, McLean himself had come from Aenara, and had spent a couple of years here in Canguari at this point. Unlike Francis, the sight of Euphemians walking the halls wasn’t a strange one at all. “I have to admit, I am jealous of you guys in one area. Your planes are something else, that’s for sure.”

Adeline managed a chuckle. There was a certain degree of privilege that did come with these fourteenth-generation aircraft, after all. "...starting to pay even better. Bunch of pilots coming from Kir to fight out here. Someone must be paying them good." She wasn't necessarily an 'air mercenary' per se, though there was much in common between them — a more proper term would've been an employee of the McLellan-Kuron Corporation.

Madrazo didn’t have much to say about the talk of money. As someone who never had the luxury of moving from a national air force to the job of hired gun just because it paid more, it wasn’t relevant to her. Her reasons for making the switch were far different. “I d-don’t really care about money and all that,” she said, stuttering slightly. She wasn’t the best with strangers, and talking to people on the ground was harder than talking to them up in the sky. In combat, she at least had adrenaline helping her out. “I came to this country because of p-persecution… If you remember that news story a while back when someone landed a stolen ArG-12 in Canguari, that w-was me…”

"You're that deserter?" She noted, more to herself than anything. It'd seemed rather brash perhaps, to which she quickly continued. "—I'm the last person who'd judge, though. I gave up on joining the Air Force to become a Mc-K employee." Adeline's attention turned to the mercenary's 'friend'. "Heard your airframe took quite the beating on your last sortie. Takes a lot of skill to fight like that... skill that ain't often seen out here. Kudos to you." It was perhaps then that she'd realized she hadn't even introduced herself. "—oh, right. I'm Secretary Squadron Manager Adeline Crozier. I'm sure we'll be able to cover your asses in the coming op."

“Thanks, and I’m sure we’ll need the help. I guess there’s always a trade off but one of the few downsides about being here is, well, everything they have us flying is so old,” said McLean, offering his hand to Adeline. “The name’s Jock, by the way. Came down here from Aenara a couple of years ago, haven’t regretted it since. My stuttering colleague next to me is Francis Madrazo, and yes, she is that deserter. We’ve been trying to get her up to speed, keep her from running away again when shit hits the fan.”

Francis mostly ignored the snide remark from McLean and nodded towards Adeline. “Manager? What an interesting title! A-a-and I can’t wait to get to know you more, y-you seem like you’re n-nicer than my other squadronmates… Here or in Daimiel,” she said, stuttering a bit more since she wasn’t good with introductions. “A-a-and I can’t help but notice how pretty you are-”

“Let’s not scare any of these guys off just yet, we still need their help after all,” McLean interjected, putting a hand over Francis’ mouth to keep her from talking more.

The surprise compliment made Adeline glance down briefly, perhaps wondering if there was any deviation from her typical choice in apparel. It was at moments like these that she then reminded herself that she wore the same flightsuit she always wore for these sorties. "Yeah, of course. I think we'll do just fine out there today... and I'd be more than glad to get to know y'all a bit better." Checking her watch, Adeline noted there'd be a bit more time before they headed off to briefing — more time to get to know these pilots she'd be working with today, she figured.

McLean moved his hand from Francis’ mouth as the female pilot blushed slightly and looked away. Possibly taking Adeline’s comment about being glad to get to know them in the wrong sense. “Well, this is getting awkward, so I’m about to head out. See you two later today, don’t tire yourselves out too much,” he stated, already used to Francis’ strange behavior and having a somewhat good picture of what was happening inside her mind right now.

“So w-what kind of stuff do you do for fun around here?” asked Francis, looking back to Adeline as McLean turned and left the two. “I… Haven’t gotten to explore very much. Been focusing on learning how to fly a new plane, mainly.”

"I spend most of my time at the bar, my quarters — either or. Don't know much else about what goes on over here." Adeline replied, reclining against the wall of the corridor as the two pilots struck up conversation.

Heading to the bar was one option, which Francis considered. However, there was one thing she was curious about, and she wasn’t sure if she would be allowed this request, but she decided there was no harm in asking. “You know, I’ve o-only been around the Canguarian part of the hangars around here… If you don’t mind, maybe y-y-you could show me around and let me see your plane up close. T-the R-Recluse…”

"My fighter? Sure thing." Stepping away from the wall, she gestured the Daimielese pilot follow her around. The layout of the barracks allowed them view of a few more winding corridors of private quarters until they were outside of the barracks, overcast grey sky and nigh-unbearable humidity warranting a mental sigh from the corporate pilot — typical. The hangars occupied by McLellan-Kuron's ground crews were relatively well-guarded, private security rather well-equipped in 'tacticool' gear that would make most Aurelianet board users drool at the mouth.

Guiding the pilot in question past a few of the hangars, she paused before her own fighter. The aircraft stood there, livery a dark navy blue paired with a white nose and underbelly. Sharply-colored orange lines on both sides led back to the tails, which were fully painted orange, complemented by the McLellan-Kuron logo and a grey iteration of the Corporation's air roundel. The three-digit number below identified the aircraft as '008', along with a colored variant of the Corporation's roundel.

"My CF-71A Recluse. Might be able to see me flyin' close when we go on today's op." Adeline looked up to her fighter aircraft, subtly admiring its sleek surface.

It didn’t take that much to impress Francis. She hadn’t been around a plane like this before, the best one that she had flown was the J-5 - and before that, she’d been an ArG-12 pilot in Daimiel, using a model that was definitely dated and hoping that at some point she would be highly regarded enough to get into a Talon. Now, she was standing in front of one of the most advanced jets in the world and the aviation enthusiast inside of her was… Immediately excited.

“D-d-do you think I could see the inside of the cockpit or would that get you in trouble? I don’t want to get you in trouble or anything, just c-curious,” she said, looking back to Adeline.

"Can't. Airframe's $130-mil on the line. But, uh, you can take a look around if you'd like." Crossing her arms, Adeline continued to observe her aircraft, studying the airframe for any signs of damage or wear. It was rather redundant, but it was always a habit — ground teams did a fairly good job keeping these aircraft in peak condition. "What kinda aircraft do y'all operate again?"

Francis took a look around the plane, checking out the large engines particularly, before turning back to Adeline. “J-5s so far for most of the squadron, the other guy you met earlier - Jock - flies a A/F-04. Does the job decently enough, it’s a lot better than the ArG-12 I flew in Daimiel.”

"I've heard a good amount about the J-5. Should do just fine stopping Velezian bombers, which we'll be seeing a few of today." A thought lingered at the back of her mind — that probably wasn't going to be all they'd face here. A sixth sense of sorts in her seemed to hint towards the notion that Velezia would bring in highly-trained air mercs, her conversation with Houston a week prior coming to mind. A question at the back of her mind seemed to bother Adeline, though. "Anyway. I might be overthinking or just stickin' my nose where I shouldn't, but is your squadron really treatin' you alright?"

The question froze Francis for a moment before forcing an awkward chuckle out of her. Really, it was a deflection. Something to buy time because she herself didn’t know the answer entirely. “I meeaaaannn,” she said, stretching her words out before pausing. “They’re not that bad. It’s a lot better than getting beat up every day by my squadron in Daimiel. Some of the guys there tried to mess with my plane and make me crash. It’s a lot safer out here, at least. So I can’t complain about… Some of the more experienced guys not trusting me yet.”

"Right, right." Adeline nodded awkwardly, silently self-aware she'd asked perhaps a bit too much. Based on what Francis was saying, she seemed to often be the object of ridicule in her unit — it wasn't something Adeline had any right to interfere in. Surely someone out here in Canguari was strong enough to handle themselves. Checking her watch, she nodded to herself. "Right, you handle yourself out there. We'll be watching over y'all, to lend help if shit goes south. At least that's what the briefing docs say... anyways, they'll be calling us any second now, so we oughta be on the move."

Francis moved on quickly from the awkwardness of the question. Maybe it was because she tended to have a lot of awkward moments when she was outside the cockpit, but she was decent at recovering quickly from them. “I just want to say thank you for this, for… For caring about me,” she said, hugging Adeline and burying her face into her neck as she did so. Most would consider it overly touchy, she did it as if it was normal however. “If you want you can come by my quarters and s-smoke some BXDDY with me after things settle down. If you want, that is.”

The appeal of recreational drugs — paired with the fact it was generally harder to come across it in Canguari than the (literal) drugstores of Euphemie, seemed enticing enough to Adeline, taking her mind off how quickly this pilot had caught her off guard. "Right, uh, sure thing. Just don't get shot down — haven't had a good fix ever since I got here, so I'm lookin' forward to it." She jokingly added, beginning her way to one of the larger hangars of the airstrip — where Adeline and her fellow pilots would soon be briefed by Pecks on their next mission.


____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    Siracusa Palace, Siracusa, Duchy of Canguari
    FEBRUARY 2, 422


    __________________________________

Dom Pedro XVII ruled over Alvimia with an iron, but fair, fist. Fervently adored by the people, he had surpassed his predecessors in many ways, bringing Alvimia forward into prosperity and progress through close cooperation with the various facets of power: the corporations, the military, and most importantly of all, the people — except the poor, they were a rude bunch. Through a relatively bloodless — as bloodless as things got back home in Alvimia, anyway — he'd become master of the Fourth Alvimian Empire's destiny.

Gracefully he entered the palace grounds, well-armed security contingent following behind him. The walls were ornately decorated with gold. The grand chamber that pertained to the Duke of Canguari himself was even more extravagant, fifty gene-slaves in the grand space falling to their knees at the Alvimian emperor's godlike entrance, Pedro walking past ornate marble statues as he approached the Duke's throne. The left and right side of the chamber were essentially massive fountain-pools decorated with plants, flowing with warm water that descended from the walls. Looking down to the gene-slaves that kneeled at his presence, Pedro chuckled. His youthful features were made even more godlike by his long, flowing silken blonde hair, were ever-indicative of his status, and superiority, to the locals of Canguari. The Emperor was ready to respectfully kneel before his fellow monarch when he found the Duke leaving his throne to bow before him.

Image
The great fountain-pools of the Duke's chamber.


"My kindred brother." The man uttered, enamored by the Emperor's presence as he returned to his feet. "I am dignified by your presence." This break of typical formality took Dom Pedro XVII by surprise, the Emperor flinching at the sight before making a hesitant nod.

Pedro figured he would get to the point. "I am informed that the Velezians are soon to be repelled from Canguari's borders, brother."

"Yes... today is a day of national rebirth."

"Indeed." Pedro agreed. "Our nations share a common threat — Velezia. The uncivilized jingoist ape-government who oppress the Velezian people are a scourge upon this world. Only when they are ousted can we aspire towards peace on this continent. I do not speak of war, of course — the Alvimian people are a peace-loving people. I speak of material and logistical support to the Duchy. I will aid you as my father aided your father, to bring the continent a step closer to peace."

"Ave..." The Duke of Canguari managed, utterly baffled by Pedro XVII's generosity as he weakly bowed.


____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    Skies above the Zone
    FEBRUARY 2, 422


    __________________________________

Below, the sheer scale of destruction erupting in the fields and rainforests outside of Corona was awe-inspiring. With effortless grace the group of CF-71A fighter aircraft weaved across the clouds, Adeline looking on at the vastness of the Zone below before they ascended into the cloudline, distant lightning visible through the grey haze as they ascended to higher altitudes.

Now seemed a particularly good time for her VAS to interrupt her quiet, curious observation of her surroundings, the virtual assistant appearing and floating aimlessly in a dance-like fashion about one of the monitors, approaching the screen in a comic fashion to throw in a factoid. "++The B-61 'Gran Chico' is rather formidable, even in air-to-air. Not due to any particular maneuverability, but due to the impressive range of the missiles it carries.++"

"Then it's a glorified interceptor." She cynically quipped.

"++If it were to be classified as an 'interceptor', it would be an interceptor that could eat the interceptors of the 13th Fighter Squadron below for breakfast — in self defense.++"

"Well, what is it, if it isn't a bomber?"

"++My analysis would liken it to a 'flying cruiser', but that perspective would serve only to unease you. A few missiles will take the aircraft down, like any aircraft. Think of it simply as a heavily armed strategic bomber, because that's what it is.++" said the VAS, fading away from its respective screen as Adeline's attention returned to the skies around them.

Image
Vast white clouds lead onward into the horizon.


"Yeah." She muttered, eyes searching the various consoles and screens that comprised the cockpit. While her eyes couldn't confirm what the radar and map displayed — Corona was far on the horizon behind them — she knew they'd be running into one of the Velezian bombers and their escorts. The fact that they were rolling in the metaphorical 'big guns' was fair indication that they were preparing some sort of countermeasure against attempts at interception. The question was... just how good were these aircraft at detection?

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MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL 12TFS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
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-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "Remember, any one of those get through and Corona'll be in deep shit."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "Bombing civilians... what's international law to them?"

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "We're in the Zone. There is no international law — or law at all, for that matter."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


About a hundred miles and closing she could see two B-61s, being escorted by eight F-38 fighters in total. Again, they wouldn't need to engage the fighters unless absolutely necessary — given the stealthy nature of their aircraft, they'd easily be able to avoid confrontation.

Yet as they continued along the map, the distant blips of the Velezian formation gradually becoming closer, Adeline couldn't help but wonder to herself who was developing these many weapons for the Velezians. These things were domestic designs, after all — completely unlike anything the Euphemians had themselves used before. For a south Ophiric country, that was an impressive precedent. She had, before, naively believed that Velezia was 'just another shithole country', their air force performing accordingly. Yet in this moment, she pondered to herself... how'd they get like this?

"++Incoming.++" The VAS warned.

Alert klaxons sounded off as it occurred to her that the Velezian bomber had already fired away missiles, which were rapidly heading towards their formation. Quickly she maneuvered her aircraft, sharply turning as three of the missiles crossed the visual threshold and accelerated towards her, ECM deploying as explosions went off behind her. The rest of the formation had followed suit, narrowly avoiding the tangible danger that now beset them.

Image
MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL 12TFS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
----

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046 | PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton:// "Shit!"

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003 | PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston:// "This isn't hard... just less easy."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "Engaging!"

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "Alright. Three, on me. We'll engage the other."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Upward she raised her aircraft, locking onto one of the two B-61s. Opening the internal weapons bay had only served to make the large aircraft's defensive measures become more aggressive, four more missiles being fired in her direction from the massive craft. Adeline fired away a single AAM-241 Comet, quickly maneuvering out of the way as the Velezians' missiles detonated against nonexistent DRFM spoofs.

Her missile disappeared in the horizon, Adeline keeping close attention to the small line of her projectile journeying across the radar display. As it neared the enemy bomber, the missile abruptly veered off-course — undoubtedly this aircraft had an intricate ECM suite about it.

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MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL 12TFS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
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-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046 | PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton:// "Watch this, Tourian."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


In what could be an attempt to one-up her, Junkie promptly fired away a missile, soaring across the cloudy horizon to find the bomber — being quickly faced with a similar effect. It'd done enough to shut her up, which was sufficient for Adeline as she continued forward.

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MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL ALL
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-[ Escuadrón de Bombardeo no. 319/ B-61 Gran Chico "Tepahtihquihuacan" #381-002 | Maj. Emanuel Steiner:// "Know very well you dig your graves here today, enemy pilots."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


More missiles, dashing across the horizon. Already the escort aircraft were on approach — Adeline knew well that every missile mattered in this situation as she maintained her southbound course.

"++Three missiles incoming.++" said the VAS.

"Yeah." Deploying ECM, she quickly spiraled upward, g-forces briefly leaving her dazed as the fighter began a downward path perpendicular to the Velezian formation, the two groups having entered visual range by now. Before two of the enemy fighters could greet her on her dive, they were abruptly cut down by another aircraft — Ryko.

The afterburners sent the CF-71A accelerating forth past the flames and destruction, the B-61 coming into view. It was quite large, wing pylons and hardpoints stocked with missiles. In immediate reaction to her approach, more fired away — but she wasn't intending to test the Gran Chico's defenses again.

Image
MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL 12TFS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
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-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "Tourian, what the hell are you doing?"

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


The VAS seemed to caution against what Adeline was doing. "++This course of action is ill-advised.++"

Image
The CF-71A Recluse.


She replied with a nonchalant "Yes.", steering past the missiles as they detonated against false targets. One of the F-38s was gaining on her tail as she approached the bomber, but there was no time. Firing away the 20mm gun, Adeline felt the thrill of the maneuver fill her as she strafed the cockpit of the B-61, Comet careening into the damaged face of the aircraft as her aircraft ascended nose-first into the air. The Velezian pilot hadn't been as clever, airframe violently crashing into the B-61, the second explosion being enough to send the Velezian bomber drifting down into the thick of the clouds.

"++I could not predict such a course of events succeeding.++"

"You learn something everyday, don't you?" She sarcastically questioned her virtual assistant, looping around as the Velezian aircraft began to regroup in the skies above.

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MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL ALL
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-[ Escuadrón de Bombardeo no. 319/ B-61 Gran Chico "Tepahtihquihuacan" #381-002 | Maj. Emanuel Steiner:// "Tlexochtitla is down! Retreat!"

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


The second B-61, visibly damaged from Ryko and Kerouac's attempts to bring it down, abruptly pulled back, escorts retreating with the supersonic bomber as it began fleeing south. The shroud of countermeasures it'd deployed were enough to dissuade the pilots of 12TFS from giving chase. Relief overcame her as she sighed, watching the enemy blips escape to the map's edges.

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MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL 12TFS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
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-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "..damn. Mission complete."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003 | PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston:// "Damn! We shouldn't've let him get away."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046 | PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton:// "Guess that makes three bombers to Crozier's record."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027: Piloted by SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers
  • Status: OK
  • Destroyed 2 F-38 fighters.

-[ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008: Piloted by SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier
  • Status: OK
  • Destroyed 1 F-38 fighter.
  • Destroyed 1 B-61 bomber.

-[ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003: Piloted by PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston
  • Status: OK
  • Destroyed 1 fighter.

-[ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046: Piloted by PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton
  • Status: OK
  • Destroyed 1 fighter.

Overall: Mission success.



____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    van der Kaap Airstrip, 15km NW of Sofía, Duchy of Canguari
    FEBRUARY 2, 422


    __________________________________

Stepping off her aircraft, Adeline had been welcomed by a rather morbid sight — an F/A-127 Vampire, crashlanded on one of the two dirt runways. Evidently someone hadn't been able to make it to the nearby air force base. The fighter had been, quite visibly, horribly brutalized, and seemingly not only by the crash — the old Euphemian-made fighter horrendously marked by 20mm rounds. Curiously she approached the lines of typical base staff tending to getting the wrecked aircraft and its pilot, who had miraculously survived the crash. She'd evidently intruded upon a conversation in the process, the pilot seemingly stammering something in perfect Euphemian — another mercenary pilot, perhaps.

Image
A downed warbird and its pilot...


"...I tried to outmaneuver it..." He mustered to one of the ground crewmen, grunting and panting between labored breaths.

The men around the crashed craft seemed confused at his vague words. "It?" one of the crewmen asked, struggling to get the canopy open — it seemingly wouldn't budge past the halfway point they'd managed.

"...a...grey fighter..not Velezian...thing was impossibly fast... it was like he could predict my every move.. fuckin' hell.." Struggling, the man pulled himself out of the aircraft, his uniform visibly bloodstained at the abdomen — it was evident the crash had injured him to an extent. As he managed to pull himself out of the cabin, he abruptly collapsed, falling into the arms of one of the crewmen.

The incident had been enough for Powers to show his face, looking to the mix of Canguarian Air Force and McLellan-Kuron technicians that were understandably confused by the situation. "What the hell are you all waiting for? Get this man to a hospital!" He yelled to the crewmen, crossing his arms as he observed the grim scene beside Adeline. The airstrip lacked proper medical facilities that could handle situations like these, so it probably meant a drive out of the base.

Powers' attention turned to Adeline as the pilot was dragged out of the wrecked cockpit of the Vampire, hauled off on a stretcher as the crewmen began to disperse. "He's probably not going to live."

But then again, who does? She thought to herself. "He described a grey-colored fighter aircraft. Pilot could 'predict' his every move or something... he also said it wasn't Velezian."

This made Powers chuckle. "I've heard legends, you know. From the War of 393... I guess we'll find out if they're true." He didn't elaborate on just what these 'legends' were, sighing under his breath as he shook his head. "I'm handling paperwork today. Enjoy the off-time." He walked off, leaving Adeline to look on at the ruined aircraft.

Not Velezian... She repeated the pilot's words in her mind as she thought of the situation. Were these the corporate aces Houston had alluded towards? It'd certainly be something to think about as she spent her time off-duty.
Last edited by Valefontaine on Tue May 28, 2019 2:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Too many old nations to count. NS user since 2013.
"War is the continuation of politics by other means."

only difference between a negotiation and a battle are the rules of engagement
both are fundamentally based on maneuver
put that in your quote book
-The Enclave Government
-Carl von Clausewitz

User avatar
Forest State
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Posts: 4157
Founded: Aug 23, 2016
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Tue May 28, 2019 9:52 pm

Collab with Valefontaine

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    A C T 3 - "R E P U L S E"
    The skies over the Zone
    FEBRUARY 2, 422


    __________________________________

The hunch that Francis had about the battle in La Zona heating up turned out to be a correct one. It didn’t take long for them to end up back in the sky after her first combat in the J-5 Flayer, - which had earned her the official certification with the Canguarian Air Force to fly that jet full time in combat - and they would once again see combat. This time, against bombers. Their new Euphemian friends were going after the most dangerous and heavily armed ones, leaving the weaker B-19M3Us to the 13th Fighter Squadron.

That wasn’t to say that it was an easy task. The Velezian Air Force was no joke, as they had learned in combat with them the last time, and the bombers would surely be escorted by fighters who could handle them better than the large and slow moving targets that the aforementioned fighters would be escorting. They had a plan, though. They always did, with Tomas Castro at the head of the flight. If there was one strength that their flight leader had, it was quick thinking and coming up with ways to get them out of trouble.

In this case, they were targeting a quick attack and were going to use the clouds to cover their approach as much as possible before attacking from a dive, dealing as much damage as they could and hopefully striking the targeted bombers down in one blow, and getting out before they could have much trouble from the escorts. Of course, that was if things went their way. There was still a good chance they could end up in a protracted battle.

CANGUARIAN AIR FORCE
XB-OS v1.11 [UNLICENSED]
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-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Junkie” | CPT. Ulysses Tony Fly-Me-To-The-Moon Savage:// “Just spotted something on radar. Seven Bisons, looks like our targets.”

-[ 13FS/ A/F-04 “Aenaran” | CPT. Jock McLean:// “And looks like there’s a heavy fucking escort with ‘em too, I’m counting seven escorts for each bomber. They aren’t bunched up, either.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Yamandu” | CPT. Tomas Castro:// “Shit. Looks like we aren’t going to be able to hit them all at once. New plan, everyone. Junkie, Amazon, break off to the right and handle anything coming in that direction. Aenaran, you’re coming with me. We’ll head the other way, if anything gets through the middle hopefully someone will be able to clean it up before it hits anything.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Junkie” | CPT. Ulysses Tony Fly-Me-To-The-Moon Savage:// “Looks like you’re with me, new kid. Just don’t hold us up and we’ll do fine.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “I’ll do my best.”

----
©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


Francis shifted the stick to the right and went into a low turn with Savage, heading in the direction they had been assigned. They were still leaving the middle lane open for the bombers heading in that direction, but there were only four of them and so they could only cover so much. At least this way, they might be able to quickly hit their targets and come back around for the ones in the middle. As Francis accelerated after Savage, increasing the thrust as they grew closer and closer to the enemy formation, the traces of nervousness from earlier in the day were gone - this wasn’t the ground, this was the sky. And up here was her domain, the one that she was comfortable in.

The bombers were on a northbound trajectory, seemingly headed for various strategic positions in and around Corona — and the occasional Canguarian troop position on the ground. Regardless of where they were headed, they would be causing some damage to Canguari. The B-19M3U 'Bison' was lighter than its metaphorical siblings, the B-77 and B-61, and had seemingly been employed by the Velezian Air Force for a more strike-oriented role than the other bombers that had been deployed today — which the corporate pilots of the McLellan-Kuron 12th Tactical Fighter Squadron had been tasked with bringing down.

CANGUARIAN AIR FORCE
XB-OS v1.11 [UNLICENSED]
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CHANNEL EdB821 XXX-XXX-XXX [DECIPHERED]
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-[ Escuadrón de Bombardeo no. 821/ B-19M3U Bison "Magico" #417-009 | Maj. Sabrina Graciani:// "Keep moving. Corona should be entering the range of our cruise missiles soon— wait."

-[ Escuadrón de Bombardeo no. 821/ B-19M3U Bison "Secoya" #419-002 | Maj. Jaime Franco:// "What's the matter, Magico?"

-[ Escuadrón de Bombardeo no. 821/ B-19M3U Bison "Magico" #417-009 | Maj. Sabrina Graciani:// "We've got unidentified air targets. Presumed enemy... coming in from the north."

-[ Escuadrón de Bombardeo no. 821/ B-19M3U Bison "Clemente" #418-001 | Maj. Angélica López:// "Escort fighters, cover our asses."

----
©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


In preemptive preparation for the engagement, the fighters assigned to each bomber assumed formations situated just ahead of their respective bombers. The seven fighter groups, overall, were a fair amount of miles apart, although seeing forty-nine F-38s in total moving about the entirety of the Zone was, probably, a rather intimidating sight. Further west, there were Canguarian squadrons coming to meet this rather grand show of force, though it was fairly obvious the Duchy was in no way equipped to handle every fighter.

The alternative was not only simple, it was obvious — target what the groups of fighters were so closely protecting. The fighters of the 13th were above their targets when they burst out of the clouds and were picked up by radar. They’d have to move quickly - they knew the F-38 was a quick model, one that could keep up with them if they allowed it to. As soon as the targets came into sight, Francis and Savage locked them up as McLean and Castro did the same on the other side of the enemy formation. McLean, however, wouldn’t be able to do much until they were in a metaphorical knife fight. While his jet performed well for many things, long ranged attacks was not its specialty. The rest of the 13th, however, let their missiles fly as they continued in their dive which would put them in the middle of the enemy formation or behind it if they weren’t taken out by the escorts or forced to pull back first.

The bombers that'd been targeted deployed their respective countermeasures too late, missiles piercing the defensive formations of fighters ahead of them and crashing into the Velezian strike aircraft. Slowly the one before Francis began to list, flames overtaking one of its engines before an explosion sent the fighter sinking below the cloud layer, presumably to meet its fate on the surface.

CANGUARIAN AIR FORCE
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-[ Escuadrón de Bombardeo no. 821/ B-19M3U Bison "Clemente" #418-001 | Maj. Angélica López:// "Ah shit. AH SHIT! I'm fucking hit! That bastard... I'm going right into enemy territory!"

-[ Escuadrón de Bombardeo no. 821/ B-19M3U Bison "Secoya" #419-002 | Maj. Jaime Franco:// "We've been hit bad... we're depressurizing. No power here. We're gonna have to bail."

-[ Escuadrón de Bombardeo no. 821/ B-19M3U Bison "Magico" #417-009 | Maj. Sabrina Graciani:// "We're down three. I don't even need a SITREP. Bombers, prepare to fire upon your respective targets!"

----
©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


The fighters had begun dispersing from the formations of their downed bombers, attempting to give chase after the fighters that'd brought down the aircraft they'd been tasked with defending. The clouds had given the 13th an edge in catching the enemy by surprise, and time would tell if this advantage would last.

CANGUARIAN AIR FORCE
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-[ 13FS/ A/F-04 “Aenaran” | CPT. Jock McLean:// “Got an idea here but I’m going to need some cover. I can handle the bombers pretty well if I’m close, can you go after the fighters?”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Yamandu” | CPT. Tomas Castro:// “Only got a couple of missiles. I hope this turns out alright.”

-[ 13FS/ A/F-04 “Aenaran” | CPT. Jock McLean:// “It will… We keep hitting the target and then we hightail it out of here, just like the original plan.”

----
©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


On the other side of the battle from Francis and Savage, Castro targeted the nearest of the fighters that were now paying attention to the 13th and chasing after them, firing an AAM-9 in the hopes of allowing McLean to get through to the targets behind them. If McLean was able to get close to the bombers, he had a good chance of dealing major damage - he did have four missiles, after all, and that wasn’t even mentioning the possibility of going guns and strafing the large and easy to hit targets.

Francis also saw that the Velezian fighters were now chasing them - but didn’t care. Following after the lead of Ulysses, she calmly pushed the thrust levers forward and decided to turn this into a battle of speed. She was aiming to take the low angle and fly underneath the incoming fighters - and hopefully, her and Savage would be moving too fast for a missile to turn and it them. If everything went according to plan, they would be behind the targets and would be able to slow down, turn, and continue with their attack. The lead plane, Savage, however, didn’t wait until they were behind to attack. He fired off his second missile at the nearest bomber before they could pass it, hoping to deal a quick blow to the enemy.

The missiles in question had, however, unfortunately missed their mark, trailing off aimlessly into the clouds as the formation of Velezian aircraft continued forward. Now the Velezians took their chance — bombers firing away their cruise missiles. The missiles quickly dipped to the clouds, leaving their targets ambiguous to the mercenary aviators as their next immediate focus became evading the escort fighters that now chased after them.

As they did, however, the sheer scale of the damage that the bombers were inflicting upon the Canguarian ground forces — and civilians — became quickly apparent.

CANGUARIAN AIR FORCE
XB-OS v1.11 [UNLICENSED]
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
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-[ 3. División/ HQ | GenBrig. Édgar Mariano:// "No— shit! What the hell is going on out there?!"

-[ 3. División/ MBT-M72CV Hennessey "Esgrimidor" | Tte. Matthew Obregón:// "They've wiped out a few fucking companies of motorized up here— SHIT!"

-[ 3. División/ HQ | GenBrig. Édgar Mariano:// "That one hit the Nuevo Luxor apartments!"

-[ 3. División/ MBT-M72CV Hennessey "Chicote" | Tte. Alexandra Montes:// "...my family lives there!"

----
©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


Francis wasn’t shaken by a lot of things but it was easy for this to get to her. Not just because of the death and destruction. She had seen that before, in Daimiel. Maybe not cities being hit by missiles and the like, but she’d seen plenty of things on the street. Blood and guts, civilians caught in the middle of gang crossfired, and things like that. So not everything that she saw in this profession bothered her, but right now, she couldn’t help but feel that the blood was on her hands. It had been the job of her and her squadron to prevent this from happening and they hadn’t been able to act quickly enough. Unlike the aftermath of some gang shooting, this was something she had a direct part in. And she wasn’t sure how she felt in that.

There wasn’t time, however, to ponder whether or not she was guilty because she hadn’t done her task and taken out enough of the bombers. They were being pursued and she was forced to focus on flying her plane, until the point where they would loop back around and try to hit the bombers from behind. She still had one missile… As soon as they came out of the high G turn, she locked up the closest bomber to her, which she was now facing the back side of, and fired as soon as the launch authorization came up on her HUD. This time, she was a bit more motivated. The attack on her new country’s soldiers made this more of a personal conflict.

CANGUARIAN AIR FORCE
XB-OS v1.11 [UNLICENSED]
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-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Yamandu” | CPT. Tomas Castro:// “Those fucking bastards! All out attack from here on out! Not one of those bombers is going to get away from this alive!”

-[ 13FS/ A/F-04 “Aenaran” | CPT. Jock McLean:// “Shouldn’t we try to keep ourselves alive first instead of going all out attack? Can’t help anyone if we’re dead.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Yamandu” | CPT. Tomas Castro:// “Easy for you to say, Gringo. It isn’t YOUR country that’s being attacked here.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “I don’t want them to get away with this either, I’ll do my best to down all of them.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Yamandu” | CPT. Tomas Castro:// “I would expect you to understand, you aren’t a Norteno…

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Junkie” | CPT. Ulysses Tony Fly-Me-To-The-Moon Savage:// “Let’s do something about this instead of talking, then.”

----
©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


It was quite possible that there was an enemy fighter on his tail but McLean didn’t pay attention to that as he closed into range to fire at the Velezian formations with his missiles. He immediately locked up the closest one to come into view, firing and hoping that the infrared seeker head didn’t switch the target to one of the fighters instead.

The bombers in question had seemingly begun to turn back — either to avoid the oncoming missiles or to begin the retreat south. Either way, they'd failed in doing so, the missiles careening into their engines and setting them alight. Their airframes gradually degraded as they dipped below the clouds, though it seemed not to dissuade the fighters tailing the 13th. The klaxon of missiles locking on would alert the Daimielese pilot to the impending missiles on her tail, and Francis quickly activated her ECM pod before moving into a lefthand turn, hoping to make the missiles expend their energy chasing her. The countermeasures did the trick, as did her quick turn - but not everyone in the squadron was that lucky.

McLean and Castro were both hit on the other side of the formation but the worst of the damage went to Castro, who had serious damage to the airframe and had to deal with a brief fire before the plane’s automatic systems were able to extinguish it. Still, it wasn’t a good enough condition to seriously fly in. After alerting the others of his intentions, Castro broke away from McLean to head back in the other direction towards the airstrip they had departed from. The fighters tailing the 13th abruptly broke off in the wake of their failure to take down the squadron, escorting the remaining bombers south — and leaving opportunity for a final shot before the mercenaries themselves headed north.

CANGUARIAN AIR FORCE
XB-OS v1.11 [UNLICENSED]
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL 13FS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
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-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “This is for the forces on the ground, Velezian scum!”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Junkie” | CPT. Ulysses Tony Fly-Me-To-The-Moon Savage:// “Amazon, what are you doing? Let’s not throw the advantage away while we have it-”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “Just something I have to do.”

-[ 13FS/ A/F-04 “Aenaran” | CPT. Jock McLean:// “She may be stupid, but I’m going in after her. Still have three missiles left, I’ve got the best chance of keeping her from getting killed.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Junkie” | CPT. Ulysses Tony Fly-Me-To-The-Moon Savage:// “I don’t understand you people.”

----
©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


As the enemy formation retreated back towards their own territory, Francis once again pushed the throttle forward and fed more power to the engine, activating her afterburners to help catch up with them as McLean did the same, the airframe struggling briefly under the G forces before McLean leveled off and chased after Francis from a close distance behind. Two bombers left, and two pilots of the 13th after them. It looked like their pilots had good odds, especially with McLean still having three missiles. Francis attempted to pull up close behind the nearest bomber and strafe the engines with her gun, while McLean locked up the one opposite of her and fired off a pair of AAM-11s.

The aircraft were quick to hasten their retreat, but had proven too slow — a missile careened into one of the fleeing aircraft, fuselage practically shredded in two as the doomed bomber's debris tumbled below. The strafing run, on the other hand, had cut through the cockpit of the second bomber, sending it drifting aimlessly onward, presumably to crash in Cortina Roja territory. If the pilots had survived the strafing run that had rendered their aircraft uncontrollable, their fate at the hands of the natives and rebels below would probably be much, much worse. This had only served to further hasten the retreat of the Velezian fighters, disappearing on the horizon to recover and report losses.

Francis quickly turned away along with McLean once it was clear what the fate of the bombers was, accelerating with her afterburners and chasing after both Savage and Castro - who had already departed the immediate battlefield later. Her jet was quick, good at outrunning the enemy. However, they only had so much fuel and going to the afterburners only served to burn through it quicker. This was something she had read about, but she had never trained for this specifically - for gliding into a runway with no fuel left.

CANGUARIAN AIR FORCE
XB-OS v1.11 [UNLICENSED]
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL 13FS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
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-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “This is going to sound stupid but I’m uh… Out of fuel.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Junkie” | CPT. Ulysses Tony Fly-Me-To-The-Moon Savage:// “Should have thought about that before your stunt. But it’s fine, we’re close enough to base by now that you can glide to the runway.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Yamandu” | CPT. Tomas Castro:// “Be careful, I’m on my final approach right now and there’s a wreck on the runway right now - Looks like it’s Euphemian made, not one of ours.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “Right. I’ll be careful.”

----
©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


Letting out a long sigh, Francis waited until they were in range of the runway before starting to go through her normal checklist for this. Her flaps were extended, although not as much as she would extend them on a normal landing, and she activated the speedbrake at about twenty five percent extension. McLean managed to get past the wreck and land on the short runway just fine, taxing off of it before she came within range for her final approach.

The nerves, however, were coming back now that the adrenaline rush of combat was gone - and now that she was dangerously close to the ground instead of thousands of feet in the air. “TERRAIN, TERRAIN. PULL UP!” her cockpit warned her, but that wasn’t an option right now. Her hand was constantly making subtle movements on the stick as she tried to keep her wings level, and her other adjusted the speedbrakes while she managed the speed and tried to avoid overshooting the runway or crashing into the strip of land behind it. After all, she didn’t have a chance right now for a go-around if she came in too fast.

It was only when she was very close to the ground that she realized she had miscalculated - that she was going to overshoot the runway. Panic ran through her body, if there was one time in her life when she felt like she was going to die, it was this one. She could see it now, her plane falling like a rock out of the sky as she went for a go-around but didn’t have the energy to complete it. Or slamming into the ground as she tried to overcompensate. Or ejecting out of the plane and then coming down into the fire underneath. However, she snapped herself out of it quickly and pulled the lever to extend the flaps fully, also putting her speedbrakes up to full extension.

The plane went careening down and slammed into the ground immediately in front of the wreckage that she had narrowly avoided, the landing gear breaking under the force of the impact as the thing came to a screeching halt. It was a miracle the sparks didn’t ignite anything such as jet fuel, sending her to a possible early grave. Just because the landing hadn’t killed her, however, didn’t mean she was fine. The impact from hitting the ground knocked her unconscious, the landing being the last thing that she saw before everything around her went dark.




Greeting her when she awakened were a few more confused members of the ground crew, no doubt baffled that their airstrip had the luck — or rather lack thereof — to have a second crash-landing in the same day. Among the mix of Velezian Air Force and corporate crewmen, she could see a rather concerned Adeline amongst the crewmen, the pilot presumably curious to see what was going on.

"Another one. Doesn't look injured." She seemed to be calling to someone, presumably her superior.

Francis pulled on the lever to open the canopy and looked around, hearing the confused voices all around her. “I uh… I’m f-fine,” she called out to whoever was listening, her voice indicating that she wasn’t so confident in that herself. She started climbing out of the cockpit on unsteady legs - she was concussed but there wasn’t much serious physical damage. It definitely shook her up, however, and she herself wasn’t sure that she hadn’t been seriously hurt.

“I know that was a stupid stunt out there…” she continued, apologizing for her actions that had led to the situation in the first place. “But I couldn’t let any of them get away after what happened to our forces on the ground.”

This had gotten Adeline's attention, the pilot gesturing the other crewmen to be cautious and allow the mercenary some breathing room as she stepped off. "Easy, easy there. Almost thought you were gone for a moment there. You, uh, feeling alright?"

Francis didn’t know how to answer that. On one hand, she was still alive and she didn’t think anything was broken, on the other hand she felt dizzy as if she might fall over at any moment. “I’m surviving,” she said, offering a smile for Adeline as the other members of her flight came a bit closer to inspect the damage and see how their squadmate was doing. “Wasn’t going to die on you that easy, I did promise to… T-to smoke that BXDDY with you.”

This made the corporate pilot stifle a chuckle, nodding. "Right, then." She gestured Francis away from the airframe as her superior walked over, barking orders at the crewmen to 'clear the goddamned runway' within the next two hours. Word was still scarce as to what was going on further south, but it was fairly easy to begin making assumptions now, given the flurry of cruise missiles that had gotten through. That was enough to get the pilots in question away from the downed aircraft as logistics did what they did best in the background.

Wanting to say something more to Adeline but not quite knowing how to put it, Francis nodded and started walking back to her own squadron - which was watching the situation carefully. “Don’t know if you want to be hanging around her too much,” Savage said towards Adeline, catching Francis by surprise and making her freeze in her tracks. “At least if that guy on Aurelianet claiming to be from the Daimielese Air Force isn’t making things up.”

“Why would you say something like that?” Francis asked, narrowing her eyes at the Euphemian mercenary who she had mixed feelings about - Savage was something of a true neutral in the team dynamic. He’d defended her a time or two, and now he was doing something like this. She really had no idea what to think about him or his positions because they weren’t consistent. The only thing she thought he cared about consistently was himself.

“I don’t see it as a bad thing to give your friend some words of advice now that we’re flying together,” Savage replied, shrugging in the direction of Adeline before turning to follow after Castro back towards the main building.

"Huh?" It was fairly obvious that Adeline was clueless as to whatever he was hinting towards, the corporate pilot's attention turning away from the two compromised aircraft on the runway as she was seemingly 'filled in' on whatever was up.

“It’s just… Some stupid people from my last squadron made an Aurelianet thread to ruin my reputation, please don’t look at it, alright? They’re spreading lies,” Francis blurted out, losing all the composure she’d had in the cockpit. Of course, she was the one here that really knew whether it was truth or lies - which was maybe why she was so defensive about the subject of it.

"I'm not sure if I should ask." Adeline's attention turned away from the wreck outside, beginning the walk on over to the barracks. Either she didn't seem inclined on asking too much, or she saw fit to help the distraught pilot back to her quarters. Francis followed after her, leaning on her for support slightly - she was still dizzy from what was most likely a concussion, after all.

“Don’t like talking about the past,” Francis remarked, deciding not to go into it further. She’d already made her request not to look at the thread, she couldn't do anything about what would happen from here. Even if she did have a certain sense of dread deep down about what would happen if Adeline didn’t listen to her and her one friend around here found out about what her old squadron was saying about her. She wasn’t sure why they had made the thread now - maybe to ruin her as she got settled in with a new Air Force in a new country, where she had a practically blank slate. She considered it a shame. She hadn’t done anything to them except for being herself.

“But thanks for walking me back, it’s n-not like my own squadron is going to bother with that,” she added, noting that the others had already headed back towards the building before her.

"Just doing the right thing." Adeline nonchalantly shrugged, entering the door to the barracks and beginning along the maze of corridors. The pilot seemingly saw fit to strike up casual conversation as they went on, probably comfortable in her presence. "I was watching the runway after the first plane went down, some merc guy came out bleedin' and talking crazy about some pilot. From what he said, I think some other mercenaries shot him down."

Francis raised an eyebrow after finding out the reason behind the other wreck, the one that had messed up her landing and nearly caused a far worse situation for herself. “Other mercenaries… I hope we can keep up as things get more intense around here, I mean, I know you guys can since you have better funding but sounds like a reason for me and the 13th to be afraid,” she replied. “Doesn’t help that just the Velezians have us outnumbered and outgunned every time.”

"Way he was talking about this guy, I was a little worried too." Adeline said. "Anyways, I don't exactly know where your quarters are. Normal procedure back at the Corporation would see me getting you medical attention ASAP, even if you look alright to me... but I figure I can hang around and make sure you're alright. And smoke BXDDY, too... maybe. Might want to keep watch on you with a clear mind."

Francis smiled once they were outside of her quarters, turning to face Adeline finally and putting her hands on her shoulders. She did have a tendency to be overly touchy - whether it was just her personality or if there was something meant by it remained to be seen. “Whatever lets us hang out is fine by me… Although I do feel a bit dizzy. Wouldn’t mind smoking some BXDDY and passing out with you.”

"Well, I've got no paperwork to worry about today..." She trailed off, thinking to herself. "Yeah, I don't see why not... but should you really be doing that after what happened?"

“I dunno, I’ve survived worse. Daimiel isn’t an easy place to live after all,” said Francis, hands still on Adeline’s shoulders as she stood outside her quarters. “I think I had the most bomber kills in the 13th, might as well celebrate that a bit, right?”

"Bomber-killer? Likewise. Welcome to the club." She waited outside the door, perhaps more than a little inclined to return to drug use to unwind. Francis pushed her door open and walked inside, blushing slightly because of the mess inside. Her things were a bit disorganized - her laptop was open and in sleep mode, and there were papers about her plane lying over the keyboard. She was still learning the ins and outs of flying it, after all. A couple of books about programming rested on the nightstand next to her bed. There were some clothes on the floor, and it became apparent her casual dress style was a bit more flashy than what she wore on the job.

“There’s a bit of a mess, but I’ve had other things to focus on than keeping it clean,” Francis said, moving to the bookshelf and pushing a couple of books aside to reveal the secret drug stash that she had there, hidden mainly to prevent theft. It wasn’t like her home country had any enforced drug laws - but that didn’t mean that drugs weren’t liable to be stolen. She pulled out a bag, starting to roll two joints on the top of the bookshelf.

"No, it's fine." Adeline walked around, studying her surroundings. "I didn't really see a use in bringing a computer to this place. Not much to really do online when I've got paperwork to worry about, I figure." The corporate pilot took note of the laptop in the room, perhaps a little curious as to what the point of having one around here exactly was.

“Oh, that’s because uh… I’m a programmer. Or an amateur one in my spare time at least. It’s something to do at least, other than sorties,” Francis said, explaining the laptop in her room as she finished rolling the joints. She lit one of them and handed the other to Adeline before tossing her the lighter, easing herself back down to her bed slowly. She didn’t want to make too many sudden movements when she was pretty sure that she was concussed.

"Well, here goes." Adeline sat bedside as she took a slow drag from the joint, idling for a moment before the smoke left her lips. She seemed to have a rather remarkable tolerance for the drug, doing little beyond relaxing herself.

Francis was able to get high a bit quicker. While she had done drugs in the past, most Euphemian junkies had probably done a lot more. They weren’t the cheapest thing in Daimiel and Francis had never been well off during her entire life. “You aren’t going to lay down?” she asked curiously, as she took another drag and closed her eyes, rolling to face Adeline.

"Sure, I guess." The corporate pilot removed her boots, leaning back bedside as she took another breath of the substance. Francis just nodded lightly, pulling herself a bit closer - close enough that she could feel the warmth from Adeline next to her. She wasn’t going to stay awake that much longer, she was still suffering from the effects of the crash after all and the drug was practically putting her to sleep.

“You know, even though we haven’t known each other that long, I feel like I can talk to you,” she managed to say despite her tired tone, opening her eyes so she could look Adeline in the eye. “I trust you a hell of a lot more than my own squadron and…” she started, before her voice trailed off, Francis apparently changing her statement before she could finish it. “And thank you,” she said, the last part clearly not sounding like what she had originally intended to say.

"...right, uh," Adeline wasn't sure of what to say, though she kept a composed demeanor even as the drug began to kick in. "I see. Just, uh, doing the right thing."

“I-I’ve never really been that close to anyone before, it means more than you think… I c-c-came close in my old s-squadron but they changed their minds about me when… They found out more about the real me so... I hope the same thing doesn’t happen to me and you,” Francis said, before eventually dropping the joint in her hand as she allowed herself to succumb to sleep - resting against Adeline, the two of them finally touching.



By the time she'd come to, Francis had been greeted by the sight of Adeline waiting bedside, idly keeping watch over the mercenary. It seemed a vague protective gesture, but maybe she just felt a bit more inclined to help after the courtesy. The corporate pilot had quickly noticed the pilot in question coming to, eyes wandering over. "I see you're awake."

Francis jolted up before calming down quickly, looking down at herself for a moment before looking back to Adeline. “I er… Yeah,” she said, already feeling like she had healed a bit from the concussion earlier. “I apologize if I said anything too crazy before I passed out,” she said, trying to recall their conversation as some of the details came back to her one by one. She spoke again after she felt like she had a full picture of things. “I’m a lot more honest when I’m high.”

"Huh?" Adeline tilted her head, clueless. "No, you didn't say anything weird. Haven't had a trip this good in awhile, thanks for inviting me over."

“Ah. That’s… Good,” Francis continued, resting back slightly and avoiding the gaze of Adeline, the tension in the room a bit stronger now that she wasn’t high and she could recall more clearly the full details of their conversation and what they had talked about. “And no need to thank me, I needed that a lot more than you did.”

"Yeah. If you want someone to get high with or something, I'm always around." Getting up, Adeline glanced back to the pilot, as if almost curious about something. "...you're a good person. Try not to get yourself killed out there." She added, beginning her way to the door.

“You too,” was all Francis said before Adeline left, at which point she allowed herself to fall backwards onto the bed again. This time she was still tired but she wasn’t going to pass out at any moment - and her sober mind was filled with a lot of thoughts. Thoughts that she didn’t want to lose whatever the hell it was she had here, even if she wasn’t entirely sure what she had with this. She didn’t even know what she should call Adeline… A friend? She supposed, but she also didn’t know what to think about that. Yeah, I’ll definitely try not to get myself killed out there… Got more of a reason now than I’ve ever had.
i'm the bad guy... duh.

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Confederation of the Equator
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Posts: 560
Founded: Jun 13, 2016
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby Confederation of the Equator » Thu May 30, 2019 5:05 pm

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    A C T 1 A - "L I B E R A T I O N"
    RALLY POINT SEVERAL KM NORTH OF SÁNCHEZ, LAS LINDAS
    FEBRUARY 2, 422
    Teniente Armando Aguinaldo, a.k.a 'Teniente AA'
    3rd Column, 2nd Front a.k.a Task Force 'Coringa', tasked with diverting government forces


    Image
    Click for music


    __________________________________

"What a cruel thing war is, for it fills our heart with hatred. Hatred for our neighbors, our brothers, our sons, and eventually ourselves."
—Ancient Potus proverb


The jungle's harmonic whispers were drowned in the routine of a thousand fighters in the area around an unnamed clearing of the jungle, the atmosphere of death that engulfed the whole Zone being forgotten, at least for that moment. Most of them avoided the subject, they had been briefed and knew too well what awaited them their day. Men and women from all across the continent, most of whom had a background that dwarfed any ideological speech that the most charismatic officer could give, men and women who despite all that found themselves there. Men and women who were fighting for either themselves or their loved ones, or for no one at all. People looking for a purpose, seeking revenge, adventure, wanting to maintain a status quo.

Warriors whose individuality, hopes, and passions were concealed by a uniform and hidden behind a mask.

Amongst an atmosphere that paradoxically spoke of impending doom and salvation at the same time, there was a large tent, its access restricted. One last briefing between the officers of the 3rd Column, who had been assigned with diverting the bulk of government forces to a certain area of the city so that the operation to the south could run smoothly. For most of the higher-ups, it was only putting a small piece of their chess game on the line so that the others could win an important victory. For the enlisted, it was yet another meeting with the horrors of war.

The air that spoke of fear was no exception to the officers of the 3rd Column. Teniente Armando found himself inside the tent with several platoon and company commanders. They were no strangers to war, yet one could never get used to it, only absorb its effects into their mind and soul, living with them forever. The terrifying silence continued for a few minutes before it was finally broken by the Teniente.

"Comrades. As you know, Subcomandante Ricardo left me in charge of Coringa. Although we should be moving out within two hours, I would like stress several points once again due to the role we're playing here, because it's much bigger than ourselves." He stood up like he always did when planning or explaining. "Thanks to the espantajos we designed, the enemy will believe to be up against three columnas simultaneously, but in order for that to work we'll need to make sure they don't get anywhere near the decoys, which take some time to move. Which means..."

"...we cannot afford to retreat at any given time. We will take the bulk of the Velezian forces, and have to endure it." The lieutenant let the order sink in for a few seconds, which felt like an eternity. Unlike in the first two briefings, there wasn't much reaction beyond the subtle grunt of a pissed off sergeant. "As I was saying, I hope that you understand the true scope of our role here. If we succeed, this might bring an end to the stalemate we've faced during the previous months, so keep that in mind before making any decision on the field, or you might end up with a lot of blood on your hands... Now, there will be one change before we move out." He added, the last line catching the attention of all officers present.

"Second compañía will attack the small town of Aires instead of the village Ricardo previously talked about." The lieutenant said right as Teniente Castro, temporarily in charge of the company, nodded in agreement. He was known as a man of few words, after all.

Then, when all seemed settled, another voice came. "WHAT?! Our scouts told us that Aires has THREE companies! Do you want to send us all to fucking DIE?!" Sergeant Raul, in charge of a subunit in that same company, roared.

"Watch your tone, Raul, or I'll have you sent back to the comandante myself. Yes, your company will strike Aires, and that obviously includes your platoon. We have the element of surprise and deception, and they're also holed up in that town without having seen true war for a long time. As long as you're able to draw reinforcements from Sánchez, it'll work. These are your orders." The lieutenant said in his traditional harsh tone right as he stood up, preparing to dismiss his men before he was interrupted once again.

"We're a diversionary force, for heaven's sake! We certainly don't have to go that far, this makes no sense!" The sergeant continued.

"We certainly do, even if you do not understand why. Now, dismissed, get to your units." The lieutenant formally finished the briefing, right as the clock ticked one and a half hour before the planned beginning. Timing was of the essence, especially considering that they were cooperating with the other fronts to the southeast, and even with a front that was on the march from Floriana.

"Sir, this whole operation is a mess! I'm telling you, dozens will die!"

Right as most other officers made their way out, the lieutenant turned around for one last time, facing the stubborn sergeant.

"Hundreds."

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    IMMEDIATE OUTSKIRTS OF AIRES, SÁNCHEZ METROPOLITAN AREA
    FEBRUARY 2, 422
    Cpl. Ybotyra, a.k.a 'Ibu'
    2nd Company, 3rd Column


    __________________________________

The landscape's pattern came to a sudden change upon visualizing Aires, a town of around 100,000 people that made part of greater Sánchez. They were no strangers to the ongoing conflict - especially the one in the skies - and their city found itself in a hotspot of light skirmishes between government forces and communist rebels, which led to the establishment of a few defensive positions right outside the town.

Covered by a jungle treeline, the platoon waited for the signal that would come in a few minutes. A bit over half a kilometer from them lay a government outpost, one of the three spotted by nearby units. A couple of machine guns, and four stationary grenade launchers made it a formidable defensive position, although not invulnerable.

If they wanted to catch their attention, they would have to go much further than a skirmish.

Image
War comes for us all


Their guerrilla of approximately eighty men was the smallest unit that could function independently in the Cortina Roja ranks, granting them considerable maneuverability that they exploited during ambushes and skirmishes. In Ibu's case, her guerrilla was commanded by a man who liked to go by Carlos, and the only thing she knew about the man beyond his extremely feminine personality was something too inappropriate to share with other people. Maybe at a bar, but certainly not on the field.

The platoon came immediately after the guerrilla, and despite the fact that Ibu's platoon was made for handling the heavy weapons, they still found themselves at the vanguard most of the time. Maybe she'd eventually have to ask her commander, some guy called Raul, why the officers seemed to be actively trying to get rid of them.

Despite all of that, she couldn't complain about the stalemate finally ending. She had a search to make, and hiding from Velezian aircraft wouldn't help.

Playas Electrónica
SECURE COMM TRANSCRIPT v.1.9
SECUNDA COMPAÑÍA, 3C, 1F
CHANNEL RC 43 - MAX ENCRYPTION
----

\\\ [CO(T)][Ten. Carlos] \\\ - "Fourth Platoon, you are clear to give the signal. Other units, stay put, I have received confirmation that our section of espantajos will go off as soon as fighting commences. Give those bastards hell, out.”
\\\ [PO][Sgt. Raul] \\\ - "Understood, comrade, fourth out."

----
Playas Electrónica ©409 All Rights Reserved


All the way back in the rearguard of his platoon, Sargento Raul took a deep breath. He was confident that the entire operation was a mistake and wanted to pull back at once to preserve the lives of his men, but what could he really do against direct orders? Reluctantly, he picked up his radio and switched to the main channel - his platoon's.

Playas Electrónica
SECURE COMM TRANSCRIPT v.1.9
CUARTO PELOTÓN, 2CIA, 3C, 1F
CHANNEL CP4 - MAX ENCRYPTION
----

\\\ [PO][Sgt. Raul] \\\ - "Serpiente, your squad is clear to engage. All other units, make sure to follow what we agreed. The time has come, camaradas... You are not allowed to die until you take at least one fascist scum with you... Wait, no, you are not allowed to die at all! Understand?! Over."

\\\ [SQD][Cpl. Magallanes] \\\ - "Understood comrade, we'll engage soon, over."

----
Playas Electrónica ©409 All Rights Reserved


Ibu's squad waited. The intended effect was for each squad - and each platoon - to begin firing a small interval after the other one began, in order to strike the Velezians with the sense of scale they were hoping would bring them to call reinforcements. As gunfire began to roar across the treeline and beyond, the sound escalating like sudden, powerful rainfall, several men could be seen hit, while others were running around to reinforce the post. Not a moment after, the real soldiers of the Cortina Roja were joined by the hundreds of rigged mechanisms firing rifles on their own at trajectories that were far from deadly, but still close enough to be heard landing.

A few seconds of constant gunfire passed before bullets began to come flying back - alongside grenades.

Playas Electrónica
SECURE COMM TRANSCRIPT v.1.9
CUARTO PELOTÓN, 2CIA, 3C, 1F
CHANNEL CP4 - MAX ENCRYPTION
----

\\\ [SQD][Cpl. Magallanes] \\\ - "THEY'VE GOT FUCKING GRENADE LAUNCHERS AND FIRING AT US ONLY! FUCKING KILL TH-[STATIC]"

\\\ [PO][Sgt. Raul] \\\ - "Maga, REPEAT! How is your current situation...? Fuck..."

----
Playas Electrónica ©409 All Rights Reserved


At the rear, Raul was going nuts. He knew it, he knew that was gonna happen! He needed to retreat, but his request would never be accepted by the high command. The ink was dry, as they said, and the past couldn't be changed... What could he do to minimize damage?! Was he even fit to have the lives of so many men depending on him in the first place.

Playas Electrónica
SECURE COMM TRANSCRIPT v.1.9
CUARTO PELOTÓN, 2CIA, 3C, 1F
CHANNEL CP4 - MAX ENCRYPTION
----

\\\ [SQD][Cpl. Lucas] \\\ - "Sarge! My men are under fire too, what the hell do we do?!"

\\\ [SQD][Cpl. Ybotyra] \\\ - "Fucking spread them out or something! We have to take out those launchers!"

\\\ [SQD][Cpl. Lucas] \\\ - "WE CAN'T FUCKING SEE THEM! Someone has to move closer!"

\\\ [SQD][Cpl. Pedro] \\\ - "No visual here either and the grenades are getting closer! The fuck do we do?! Where's the Sarge?!"

\\\ [SQD][Cpl. Ybotyra] \\\ - "Screw it, Cascabel is moving towards the town to take out those launchers! Cover us while we're going, will ya'?!"

----
Playas Electrónica ©409 All Rights Reserved


The last message was a wake-up call for the Sergeant, who immediately picked up the radio again.

Playas Electrónica
SECURE COMM TRANSCRIPT v.1.9
CUARTO PELOTÓN, 2CIA, 3C, 1F
CHANNEL CP4 - MAX ENCRYPTION
----

\\\ [PO][Sgt. Raul] \\\ - "You'll do no such thing! Cascabel, head back immediately!"

\\\ [PO][Sgt. Raul] \\\ - "Fuck, did they get hit?"

\\\ [SQD][Cpl. Pedro] \\\ - "No comrade, I can see them, they're actually moving!"

\\\ [PO][Sgt. Raul] \\\ - "LA PUTA MADRE!"

----
Playas Electrónica ©409 All Rights Reserved


Meanwhile, the open field was covered by several clouds from white smoke grenades as Ibu swiftly moved with her squad in a line formation, somehow being able to stay perfectly calm despite the death that awaited her should a stray bullet find its way through the smoke. It was a strange state of flow that was shared by some, although not most of her squadmates. It was, of course, an illusion, for everyone is afraid of death.

As they approached the closest building for cover, a stray grenade hit the ground near them, her ears ringing as some of the shrapnel hit the achilles heel of one of her men, his screams giving away his position even further.

Playas Electrónica
SECURE COMM TRANSCRIPT v.1.9
TERCERA ESCUADRA, 4P, 2CIA, 3C, 1F
CHANNEL EC3 - MAX ENCRYPTION
----

\\\ [AT/AS][Pvt. Alejandro] \\\ - "AGHHHHHH! FUCK! FUCK!... Shit, this fucking hurts... Shit, I can't... I CAN'T FUCKING WALK... Ugh... Someone HELP ME OUT IN THIS SHIT!"

\\\ [GRN][Pvt. Renata] \\\ - "No, no... Fuck, hang on there!"

\\\ [SQD][Cpl. Ybotyra] \\\ - "Wait, what the hell are you doing?! Come back, it's dangerous!"

----
Playas Electrónica ©409 All Rights Reserved


The insurgent ran out in the open towards her wounded comrade - and lover - reaching him in a matter of instants. Crouching down, Renata began to drag him out of harm's way, the man still groaning from his injury. "Don't worry... I'm here for y-"

Their moment was suddenly interrupted by a barrage of machine gunfire that shot down the two rebels and tore them apart like paper, the previous smoke having already cleared and giving the government forces a clear view of the open field they had just crossed. Ibu looked away, and visually instructed her squad to do the same. The woman was furious, but she couldn't let her emotions get the best of her, otherwise there would be even more corpses.

"We have to keep on moving, their position is right around there. Don't act foolishly, and... don't die... please." She said directly to her squad, struggling to hide the tone of deep rage that had just built up within her.

Playas Electrónica
SECURE COMM TRANSCRIPT v.1.9
CUARTO PELOTÓN, 2CIA, 3C, 1F
CHANNEL CP4 - MAX ENCRYPTION
----

\\\ [SQD][Cpl. Ybotyra] \\\ - "This is Cascabel, we're moving in now, watch your fire."

\\\ [PO][Sgt. Raul] \\\ - "When did I give you the permission to-"

\\\ [SQD][Cpl. Ybotyra] \\\ - "Cascabel out."

----
Playas Electrónica ©409 All Rights Reserved


Mere seconds passed before the Velezian position, containing machine guns and grenade launchers - was stormed from the back by Ibu's squad. A brief look of shock and realization painted the face of each Velezian soldier instants before they were relentlessly gunned down by automatic fire, a couple of them futilely attempting to surrender only to receive the same fate by soldiers who were enraged at the loss of one of their own, Ibu included. Not long after, that defensive outpost was silent as a rock.

Playas Electrónica
SECURE COMM TRANSCRIPT v.1.9
CUARTO PELOTÓN, 2CIA, 3C, 1F
CHANNEL CP4 - MAX ENCRYPTION
----

\\\ [SQD][Cpl. Ybotyra] \\\ - "This is Cascabel, we've cleared this outpost, over."

\\\ [PO][Sgt. Raul] \\\ - "I... I see... Good job... Out."

\\\ [SQD][Cpl. Lucas] \\\ - "Is it safe to move now?"

\\\ [SQD][Cpl. Ybotyra] \\\ - "Yes, comrade. Also, thanks for the support. Cascabel out."

----
Playas Electrónica ©409 All Rights Reserved


"Ibu! We found one of the rats here!" One of her privates called out, bringing before the woman a Velezian officer who seemed to be high-ranking and had already gone through a considerable beating from the bruises she could see.

"Thanks, you can leave him here. Head back to the perimeter." The native woman replied, looking down on their captured enemy as she drew her sidearm. "You have family, don't you? Then keep that in mind and do what's right. I'm sure you heard about the extermination of Pontus tribes from Las Lindas..." She pointed the gun at his skull. "I'll ask you only once: who is behind that?"

Right as she was speaking, her radio received a transmission.

Playas Electrónica
SECURE COMM TRANSCRIPT v.1.9
CUARTO PELOTÓN, 2CIA, 3C, 1F
CHANNEL CP4 - MAX ENCRYPTION
----

\\\ [PO][Sgt. Raul] \\\ - "Word in the platoon channel is that several government armored columns are rapidly moving into the area to reinforce it, which means our plan seems to work, at least... Whatever you're all doing there, I suggest you head back as soon as possible, out."

----
Playas Electrónica ©409 All Rights Reserved


The man struggled to breathe, but eventually mustered enough energy to speak. "You bunch of fucking lunaticos... You... kidnap people, deal drugs, kill innocents while chasing butterflies about 'equality', and now... now you speak to me like you're the most righteous woman in the fucking world. I know fuck all about your group of tree huggers, but I know one thing... Every dirty criminal you call 'warrior' I killed, I would do it all ag-"

The man's words were cut short by a gunshot.

[Task Force Coringa (3rd Column, 2nd Front)] Commanded by Ten. Armando Aguinaldo

  • Status: Combat effective
  • Casualties suffered: 244 (134 dead, 98 wounded, 12 missing) of 1,682 men
  • Casualties inflicted: 292 (91 dead, 201 captured)

OBS: Despite disproportionally high casualties, the operation achieved considerable success at drawing Velezian forces to northeastern Sánchez and away from the main area of operations south of the city, allowing the main assault to complete its mission and cut off all access to the metropolitan area, effectively isolating Las Lindas from mainland Velezia.

Overall: Operational success.

Last edited by Confederation of the Equator on Thu May 30, 2019 5:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
In loving memory of Vanquaria, slain unfairly by a pathetic moderator team. We stand strong.

User avatar
Valefontaine
Chargé d'Affaires
 
Posts: 368
Founded: Dec 18, 2017
Democratic Socialists

Postby Valefontaine » Fri May 31, 2019 4:08 am

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    A C T 5- "C L I F F H A N G E R"
    van der Kaap Airstrip, 15km NW of Sofía, Duchy of Canguari
    FEBRUARY 9, 422


    __________________________________

The sun was setting, a new mission awaiting the 12th Tactical Fighter Squadron. Not everyone was exactly ready, though. Standing outside Easton's quarters, Adeline knocked twice before she could hear her fellow pilot walking over on the other end. Lynn mostly kept to herself in their deployment here to the zone, albeit competing occasionally with Adeline over score. The wooden door creaked open as the dark-haired pilot peered forth from her quarters, the brief eye contact between the two being sufficient to indicate it was time to head out.

"Gonna shoot down more bombers? I won't play easy this time." Easton asked jokingly.

Adeline chuckled as she led the way down the corridor. "Actually, this mission's something of a change in routine. It'll also be the last mission before we receive some new faces from the mainland. A second flight to the squadron..." She trailed off as they wandered through the barracks.

"So the Corporation's seeing our work here as successful." This seemed enough a rational explanation by Easton, but Adeline was sure that there was more to it — perhaps concern following the 'incident' on the runway with that F/A-127 pilot and what it'd revealed.

She wasn't about to cast doubt on the mission, though. "Yeah, something like that, probably."

"What was up with you and that merc pilot?" Easton changed the topic, curious.

"She almost crashed the runway. Helped her back to her quarters." said Adeline nonchalantly. "Besides, if you're getting at what I think you're getting at, that'd be a violation of company policy."

"Actually, I was gonna ask, 'cause I've been hearing rumors about this pilot." Easton replied.

"You wouldn't be the only one. What's it all about?"

"That she isn't a she. You wouldn't be able to definitively confirm that, would you?" Easton raised an eyebrow, a sly grin about her features.

"Uh, no, I didn't ask about that. Just made sure she was alright."

"Well, if it's true, how do you feel about it, Crozier?" Easton continued, still smirking.

"I'm not at liberty to say," replied Adeline. Half-jokingly, she added: "Corporate policy can 'cancel' either of us if we express opinions on sensitive topics such as these."

"Only if we hold views meriting such consequence. Do you?" Easton questioned.

"No. You?" Adeline's question was met by Easton shaking her head, the two continuing onward.

This time they would receive briefing in a proper room rather than the hangar. Already the rest of the unit was in their seats, obviously anticipating the mission to come. At a darker corner of the room was Pecks, leaning against the wall as he waited. Their arrival was indication enough for the former CBI agent to step off from the wall and approach the whiteboard, clearing his throat as Adeline and Easton situated themselves.

"Well," began Pecks, adjusting his tie as he looked to the whiteboard. "We've managed to locate one of the airbases from where Velezia's staging the short-range aspect of their terror bombings. Sánchez-27 AFB. Place is located southwest of Sánchez, Velezian side of the border..." He hesitated for a moment, choosing his words carefully. "However, getting there won't be easy. Place is crawling with SAMs, and the airbase itself's got a powerful prototype radar network that we believe is capable of detecting fourteenth-gen fighters like your own even from afar. So, going in conventionally isn't exactly... a choice."

A few confused murmurs followed as Pecks assessed the remote, projector activating and casting the image of a map onto the whiteboard. "The Tlīltiktētl Ravine. Extends from the mountains in the Zone to Velezia. If you are to have the element of surprise in hitting this facility, you're going to have to traverse the ravine. I've been told by the Corporation that your aircraft can hypothetically handle the task."

Adeline's heart sank. She'd never really trained for something this ridiculous — of course, they'd gone over 'urban engagements' on the off chance they'd see a low-altitude engagement in a city as densely packed as Torch City or Naiko. Surely flying in a similarly confined space would be at least somewhat familiar.

Image
The Tlīltiktētl Ravine has been admired for millennia by tourists and ecologists as a flourishing utopia of natural beauty. It extends from the southern mountains of the Zone to northwestern Velezia.


"...you're going to be flying with a squadron of twenty-five Velezian fighters from Sofia through the gorge. Mostly Vampires and Flayers. They'll be handling the more general aspects of the raid, while your unit focuses on targeting the radar and taking out any fighters that take off. Once the radar is down, retreat with your aircraft shouldn't be too difficult. We're putting a lot on the line for this one, so failure is not an option."

Not an option? The thought echoed through her mind. Not that I can't do that. Adeline continued listening in to the briefing, her interest only furthermore piqued by the apparent scale of this mission. There was still one unanswered question, however...

"Given the stakes of this mission, your pay for this operation is quadrupled. It's something I'd see much more fitting to tell the other squadron tasked with this operation, but... if any pilots become casualties, their payouts will be divided among the survivors." Pecks solemnly paused, to which Adeline almost suspected he'd dismiss them to their aircraft. Yet as she inched forward in her seat, he abruptly went on. "Before you all go out there tonight, I'd like to give a warning as parting regards. The Velezian government's hired some air mercs — real good types, you could even call 'em aces. Their target: you. Keep your eyes open in case they show up. Operation commences now. Dismissed!"

Quickly Adeline left her seat, the four pilots beginning their way to the hangars.

"They want us to fly through that fuckin' thing at night? This is fucking suicide!" complained Houston, grumbling under his breath as the group of pilots left the main building, finding themselves before the runway. The sky was lit in the orange-red glow of the setting sun, beautiful shades of pink accompanying the soon-to-be afterglow that would paint the sky not long from then.

"The VAS assists us in more ways than you'd think possible," Powers was quick to reassure him it wasn't as difficult as it sounded. "Just follow what you went over in training and you'll be fine." The squadron manager's words caused Houston to nervously chuckle to himself as they approached the hangars.

"Any words of wisdom, Crozier?" questioned Easton half-jokingly.

"Don't get yourself killed." Adeline replied, approaching one of the hangars, still busy with McLellan-Kuron ground crews. There her aircraft awaited, paintjob glimmering in the sunset. The rest of her unit had dispersed by now, getting to their respective hangars and aircraft. Adeline, however, had taken pause to look at her fighter for a moment. Another day — another mission. Those words in her mind had served to remind her of her duties, the corporate pilot climbing up the side of the aircraft and hopping into the canopy of the CF-71A Recluse fighter.

With Adeline handling the usual start-up procedures, the screens situated about the cockpit began to boot up as her own helmet's HUD came to life. "VAS, run a preliminary check." she demanded of the system, waiting for it to handle the usual routines.

As if on cue, it appeared on its proper monitor. "++Understood.++"

Image
MCK-OS v1.17
PRELIMINARY CHECK
----

L WING - OK
L PYLON - 1/1x AGM-786 Thunderbolt
L PYLON2 - 1/1x Drop Tank
L FLAPS - OK
R WING - OK
R PYLON - 1/1x AGM-786 Thunderbolt
R PYLON2 - 1/1x Drop Tank
R FLAPS - OK
L TAILWING - OK
R TAILWING - OK
WPN BAY 1 - OK
LOADOUT - 4/4x AAM-241D Comet
WPN BAY 2
LOADOUT - 2/2x AAM-11 Brushstroke
FUSELAGE - OK
ENGINES - OK
RADAR - OK
COMPUTER TEMP - 45° CENTIGRADE

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Leaning back in her seat, Adeline allowed the VAS to handle the usual processes, occasionally checking a few systems herself — she didn't exactly place all her faith in technology.

"++This mission seems to be higher-risk than previous tasks.++" the VAS cautiously evaluated.

She nodded in turn to the program's calculated suspicion. "It is."

"++I believe I am sufficiently designed for this task, however. Worry not.++"

The engines of the Recluse came to life, Adeline's attention turning to the comms as they prepared to leave base.

Image
MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL 12TFS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
----

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "Tower's cleared us. Taking off now... you know the order."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


It didn't take long for Ryko to lift off and Adeline herself to follow suit, her CF-71 lifting up gracefully from the airstrip below. Ascending forth into the clouds, they began setting forth south. More lights in the distance reminded her of their allies in this task — twenty-five aircraft, which the console identified to pertain to a certain '3rd Fighter Squadron'.

Adeline couldn't help but grimace at the sight — how many of these pilots would make it back home?


____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    Nheengatu Rainforest, Velezia
    FEBRUARY 9, 422


    Image


    __________________________________

Aurélio's eyes darted about as the fireteam rappelled down from the Zh-63 Antylopa, the black helicopter lifting off once they'd filed out and assumed positions around the LZ amidst the canopy. The sound of rotors quickly became distant as the helicopter departed, replaced by the ambient life of the rainforest around them. They were somewhere north of a Velezian Air Force base, but he wasn't here to watch planes.

His unit was comprised of four other men besides himself: Revenant, Whisper, Barclay and Yokai. Obviously, these weren't their real names. His code-name in the unit was Obelisk, the names of every member of the unit classified to one another. In general, everything was pretty suspicious and hushed up, but it did do well to keep trouble from happening with the locals.

Aurélio listened to the nocturnal chirping of insects and birds alike, his M358 assault rifle trained straight past the layer of bushes he'd situated himself behind. "Clear!" exclaimed Revenant, trudging through the muddy dirt of the clearing to look ahead.

Their mission today was a mission particular to them: the elimination of a Sermonist unit that would, if unstopped, reach the airbase south and sabotage Velezian Air Force operations. The Sermonist missionary-armies of the Zone answered to two men — God, and a man named Gregory Pecks. He was the silent shadow-hand guiding the actions of the Duchy, attacking Velezia from within to push Canguari's war effort to reclaiming the resource-rich valleys of the Zone.

Aurélio paused, lighting his cigarette as he evaluated his options. The Sermonists were damn good fighters. He almost lamented to himself that they were enemies. He waited patiently, dragging away at his cigarette until little more than the filter remained. Carelessly, he discarded it into the mud, gesturing the men to begin moving.

The Nheengatu Rainforest was mystifyingly beautiful, even through the monotone green of nightvision goggles. Exotic flowers flanked them at every side, bizarre insects and small underbrush-mammals crawling away at the step of the four special operators. The air was refreshingly cool — it'd undoubtedly rained recently, which was even more obvious as they trudged through fresh puddles of rainwater in their path through the jungle.

Image
The Nheengatu Rainforest is a grave for the tens of thousands of men who died claiming Velezia's borderlands.


The Canguarian special force was expected to be a mile or two east of where they walked, Aurélio having ensured their path varied from the audible arrival of the helicopter — the enemy would be expecting a force from the south if they'd witnessed or heard the passing of the helicopter... which was exactly what Aurélio depended on.

As they traversed the harsh reaches of the jungle, Aurélio thought back to his job. They weren't here just because Velezia was paying well — there was more to it. Another corporation was involving itself in the Zone, harming the interests of Clancy Petrochemical. He was sure he'd get to the bottom of that soon — he was practically aching to do so.

The group of men reached a stream, a small cascade of water descending with a convenient roar. It would serve as an effective means of concealing what he was about to do. Kneeling down, he removed the RQ-4 Fox Eye from his kitbag and set it down.

"Keep watch while I man the drone," instructed Aurélio, assessing the bulky wrist-mounted tablet that controlled the small unmanned drone in question. Quickly he guided it upwards, his focus set on the infrared displays. It wouldn't be a surefire success in the denseness of the jungle, but it would probably serve to bring them closer to finding the band of Canguarian soldiers who were headed south to attack the airbase.

With caution, he studied the canopy below, biding his time as he studied the area of operations. Minutes passed, nothing of note turning up save for the crashed wreckage of a Velezian Air Force B-19 bomber. It couldn't have been there long. Maintaining the drone in the air, he returned his focus to his firearm and returned to his feet, looking about.

"Any clue of where they are, sir?" asked Barclay, his attention still drawn to one of several paths ahead through the jungle.

"I've brought the drone into the zone of engagement. Nothing yet... let's move a few klicks north — there's a crashed bomber that can serve as a useful landmark — and an ambush point, depending on where the Sermonists show up." quietly answered Aurélio, guiding the unit once more into the dense rainforest.

Absolute silence among the men ensued as they carefully navigated past the trees, firearms trained forward. Passing the labyrinth of trees and underbrush, they'd once again happened upon a small stream just before the first fragments of wreckage from the bomber. Aurélio glanced downward to his wrist-computer, noting an alert glimmering red. Thin silhouettes, passing through the trees. Judging by their uniform and armament, the predictive algorithms had determined the enemy to be Canguarian. "..never mind, gentlemen. We've found them."

The unmanned drone had placed the enemy a good few miles east, which meant they were just by the crash site of the bomber. Their positions were already approximated as they continued on through the wood, oblivious to the fact they were being watched. Quickly, the four-man fireteam dispersed, beginning through the underbrush in careful pursuit. Ten enemies had been confirmed by the drone, though Aurélio kept mindful to the possibility there'd be more.

It wasn't long before he could see the enemy, carefully moving through the jungle. Upon a closer look, he could see there were about twenty-three of them in total, traveling in groups that approximated four each. Dispersed, but certainly vulnerable. Silently he gave the gesture to throw a flashbang into the enemy lines, Yokai aiming his six-shot grenade launcher upward and firing away six flash grenades, landing approximately near each of the enemy positions. As the deafening blast went off, Aurélio was quick to begin opening fire with his men as Yokai reloaded, this time firing high-explosive rounds into the group of Sermonist fighters. The sounds of their screams and gunfire did not last long, Aurélio and his men calmly and professionally dealing with the enemy team. Once the last round fired off from the barrel of his suppressed rifle, ending the life of one last enemy gunman who promptly fell to the muddy, puddle-ridden dirt with a moist thud, silence befell the unit — followed by the distant sound of something.

"..Whisper, confirm if there's any Velezian Air Force jets flying nearby." ordered Aurélio as he inspected the corpses of the Canguarian soldiers.


____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    Tlīltiktētl Ravine, Nheengatu Rainforest, Velezia
    FEBRUARY 9, 422


    __________________________________

The formation of Corporate CF-71s tensely glided their way through the ravine, narrowly avoiding the rocks as the formation of Canguarian fighters flew further beneath them. It was dangerous, it was probably ill-advised, but this was a much preferable alternative into flying into the enemy air defense grid. Above both sides of the flanking precipices that comprised the ravine, Adeline could see nothing more than jungle. They were traversing directly through the Nheengatu, the great primordial rainforest having served as host to countless prior unspoken conflicts, struggles and battles. Truly it was something to feel humbled by, for in this moment, the young corporate pilot was insignificant before the vastness of the tropical rainforest of the Zone.

The VAS largely remained silent as it guided her own piloting, ensuring they didn't crash as the group of fighters traveled across the rocky edges of the ravine. Below themselves and the other fighter aircraft was the abyss — Adeline was unsure of how deep it went, neither did she want to find out.

"++20km to AO.++" the VAS abruptly announced. Adeline could only hope they'd be out of this hell soon so she could breathe a sigh of relief — dogfighting was a lot less troublesome mentally than this journey through the ravine.

With the VAS handling much of the more dire aspects of this grand maneuver, she had time, momentarily, to glance below her, watching the Canguarian Air Force formation. It was obvious they were having more trouble than they in maintaining a steady course through the gorge, F/A-127 Vampires and J-5 Flayers unsteadily attempting to maintain coordination in the dangerously tight space.

Without warning, one of the Vampires had seemingly been thrown off course by only a few degrees — enough to send its right wingtip colliding with the rocks, the aircraft being ripped to shreds and exploding against the cliffside violently in a matter of seconds.

Image
MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL CANGFOR XXX-XXX-XXX [DECIPHERED]
----

-[ 3FS/ F/A-127A Vampire "Amigo" #382-035 | Maj. Matias Kirchner:// "FUCK! Vidal is down!"

-[ 3FS/ F/A-127A Vampire "Sosa" #389-016 | Tte. Charro Lombardi:// "I'M TRYING TO KEEP THIS THING STEADY!"

-[ 3FS/ J-5K Flayer "Rivas" #383-049 | Tte. Carmela Lucciano:// "Ouriel help me, god damnit!"

-[ 3FS/ F/A-127A Vampire "Botín" #389-018 | Tte. Jerrold Alvarez:// "We're almost out of the ravine!"

-[ 3FS/ F/A-127A Vampire "Amigo" #382-035 | Maj. Matias Kirchner:// "Rivas, you're moving too far to the left! Correct trajectory!"

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Adeline could see the end of the ravine now, which only further motivated her to reach the end of the narrow space. The afterburners vividly burned behind her aircraft as she pushed forward, anxiety leaving her trembling in the reins of her seat.

Ahead of her, about twenty feet below, a lone J-5 seemingly struggled to steady itself in the rocky corridor that comprised the ravine. Abruptly its left wing met the rock-face of the cliffs, the aircraft violently being thrown into the dark abyss below.

Image
MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL CANGFOR XXX-XXX-XXX [DECIPHERED]
----

-[ 3FS/ J-5K Flayer "Rivas" #383-049 | Tte. Carmela Lucciano:// "I DON'T WANT TO FUCKING DIE!"

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Cutting short Rivas' fearful, agonized cries on the radio was the distant explosion further down the abyss, revealing just how unfathomably deep the ravine was. They were getting closer to the exit now, Adeline seeing the exit just ahead of them.

"++Entering the combat AO.++" announced the virtual assistant as Adeline and her formation ascended from the ravine together with the aircraft of the third fighter squadron. The feeling of liberation, freedom — and most of all, relief, swiftly flooded her senses. Finally she was free — and so was the squadron of Canguarian pilots, who promptly went wild upon the air force base and its defenses. Bombs plunged down onto the runway, explosions rising as fuel tanks exploded, grounded aircraft being ripped to shreds as the raid reached its fiery fruition.

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MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL 12TFS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
----

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "Alright, ladies and gents. If we want those Canguarians to survive, we're gonna need to take out that radar and deny their surface-to-air systems dominance."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "Sounds like my job."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046 | PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton:// "Always stealin' the thunder, are you, Crozier?"

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "That B-61 we didn't take out last time oughta be sitting around somewhere. Go find it."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003 | PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston:// "I think it's fair time I added to my score." [chuckle]

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046 | PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton:// "Competin', are we, Kerouac?"

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003 | PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston:// "Only if you want to lose."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


As Kerouac and Junkie broke off to find and destroy the remaining B-61 that'd evaded their grasp last mission, Adeline's attention turned to the radar installation near the airbase. For lack of a better word, it was impressively large, and could effortlessly detect them. Already some of the SAM sites on the ground were attempting to lock on — but no mind. Firing off her AGM-786 Thunderbolts, Adeline watched as the two bombs descended towards their targets, submunitions obliterating the radar and the facility adjacent to it, explosions rocking the surface as their flames ascended upward, almost licking the air as they dispersed into embers. All that remained of the radar and its relevant facilities now lay burning in devastated ruin, a testament to their success. Their mission wasn't done here, however — there were plenty of threats in the air and on the ground — something that became apparent to her as she saw one of the Canguarian F/A-127s down a Velezian F-42 Talon fighter, sending it spiraling down into one of the hangars — needless to say, the result was quite explosive.

Sprinkling the night sky with tracer fire were self-propelled anti-aircraft sites, the VT-47S Lobo Slingshot an integral cornerstone of Velezian close-range air defense. Yet Adeline kept her wits about her, flying a fair distance above the ground — just below the cloudline's maternal, protective embrace.

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MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL 12TFS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
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-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "Form up on me, Tourian. I'm gonna deal with some of their SAMs."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "Got it."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Complying with her superior's orders, she came behind his CF-71 as they made for the southwestern perimeter of the facility, which seemed to house the main collective battery of AD-160 Tabuu surface-to-air missile sites. They were the only systems on the ground that could pose a real threat to them if they were detected by radar, to which eliminating them became a new priority.

Keeping close behind Ryko, she watched the battle unfold below — the HUD indicated Kerouac and Junkie desperately accelerating towards one of the larger hangars — to which she then saw the sleek figure of the elusive B-61 bomber grounded just outside the hangar, its destruction imminent. As an explosion engulfed the aircraft on the ground, both CF-71s glided upward, their job done.

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MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL 12TFS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
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-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003 | PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston:// "Looks like I get to join the bomber-killer club."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046 | PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton:// "It was grounded, it don't count."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003 | PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston:// "Yeah, right."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "Cut the chit-chat. Tourian, we're approaching the SAM battery. Keep me covered."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "Right."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Gracefully they approached the air defense site, Adeline effortlessly using her missiles to take out two Velezian F-981 Scavenger fighter aircraft that would've otherwise served to get in their way, their smoldering, wrecked airframes spiraling onward towards the ground.

"++Anomaly detected 15 kilometres above.++" the VAS gave a rather strange warning that made Adeline raise an eyebrow.

"Above?" she questioned.

"++Correct.++" it replied, offering no further details on the matter — she wasn't sure whether to be concerned or dismiss it as mere background disruption. Ryko dropped its payload upon the ground SAM sites, the missile launchers being utterly obliterated as a series of blasts engulfed the surface, the submunitions doing their job.

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MCK-OS v1.17
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CHANNEL CANGFOR XXX-XXX-XXX [DECIPHERED]
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-[ 3FS/ F/A-127A Vampire "Amigo" #382-035 | Maj. Matias Kirchner:// "WOO! Like fish in a goddamn barrel!"

-[ 3FS/ F/A-127A Vampire "Sosa" #389-016 | Tte. Charro Lombardi:// "At this rate, we'll be back to base in no time. As heroes, no less."

-[ 3FS/ F/A-127A Vampire "Botín" #389-018 | Tte. Jerrold Alvarez:// "Damn right!"

-[ 3FS/ F/A-127A Vampire "Amigo" #382-035 | Maj. Matias Kirchner:// "...hang on. We've lost contact with the second flight."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


As they circled above the airbase, Adeline was abruptly caught off-guard as a glowing orange streak crossed past her. A missile?

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MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL 12TFS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
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-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "...what the hell? Someone's engaging me, Tourian. Do you have an idea of where they are?"

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "...no, but my VAS detected an anomaly above us earlier."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "Deploying countermeasures. Go after 'em!"

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Ryko needed little effort to evade the oncoming missile, which continued on aimlessly into the greyish abyss of the clouds just feet above them. Conducting a split-S maneuver, she searched for the origin of the attack. Something didn't feel right, however...

"++Anomaly detected 200 feet south, directly ahead.++"

Before she could question what it was, the dark silhouette of a fighter aircraft soared past her, bound for Ryko. Those seconds gave her computer sufficient time to ID the mysterious aircraft, which returned a curious result...

"++Anomaly identified: Modified YF-72 Hierofalcon. Affiliation unknown.++"

Adeline wasn't sure whether she could believe it. That didn't stop her from warning her superior to what had just passed her, however.

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MCK-OS v1.17
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CHANNEL 12TFS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
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-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "Uh, boss — YF-72 Hierofalcon, headed right for you. I'm tailing after it."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027 | SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers:// "You're joking, right?"

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "I wouldn't be."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003 | PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston:// "The fuck?!"

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046 | PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton:// "After him!"

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


The rest of 12TFS soon lined up behind Tourian, the three-fighter group pursuing the unknown fighter. It continued forward, just within visual range — as if there was no awareness or fear of what lay behind it. Adeline was almost hesitant to send an AAM-241D Comet crashing into the rear of the older fourteenth-generation fighter. Before she could even commit the act, the fighter ahead of them sharply evaded, making straight for Ryko. What ensued next lasted a mere few seconds as its 20mm guns went live, ripping through the CF-71A's fuselage, tailwings ripped to shreds as the fighter was sent on a downward death spiral. A missile fired away from the internal weapons bay of the mysterious fighter, striking the underside of Ryko as it descended, ruthlessly obliterating the fighter and leaving no hope to Powers' survival as only scarce debris rained down.

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MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL 12TFS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
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-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046 | PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton:// "SHIT!"

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "...Ryko is down. I'm assuming command."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


As Adeline looked on, distraught and quite shocked by the turn of events, Kerouac and Junkie were already firing away their missiles. The missiles trailed after the YF-72, which evaded the attack with almost impossible grace, evading both Comets fired by the two CF-71s. One of the missiles now trailed aimlessly — towards Adeline's fighter aircraft.

"..shit!" She muttered to herself, still shaken by the terrible sight as she swiftly evaded the missile, the AAM-241D Comet detonating further behind her as she descended in pursuit of the fighter. It was then that it occurred to her that there were more of them in the AO — a second Hierofalcon was coming at them fast, while four unidentified aircraft were further away, seemingly picking off Canguarian fighters.

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MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL TFS-001 [DLET TH3S SH4K3S G0 0N 1] [DECRYPTED]
----

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon "Atwater" #391-001 | Col. Valter Rodrigo Me-Chama-que-eu-Vou Félix:// "Nice shot, Ghosthand."

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon MOD. PFS "Ghosthand" #392-001 | Maj. Katya "Wróżka" Galczynska:// "First fourteenth-gen downed over south Ophir. Call that a milestone."

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ F-393X "Ventura" #393-001 | Cpt. Stefan Weber:// "I suppose that's three worthy opponents remaining."

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ F-393X "Wayward Son" #393-002 | Cpt. Andrew Phantom-Pain T. Powell:// "Worthy?" [chuckle]

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ A12K6 MOD. CSJL "Stardust" #406-013 | Cpt. Lou "Val" Ferris:// "Gotta say, it feels good to be back."

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ F/A-130A Chiangshi "Telophase" #393-049 | Cpt. Nick McCalling:// "I feel you, brother!"

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ A12K6 MOD. CSJL "Stardust" #406-013 | 2Lt. Hannah Enjoy-the-Silence M. Rodgers:// "Here go the vets again..."

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ A12K6 MOD. CSJL "Stardust" #406-013 | Cpt. Lou "Val" Ferris:// "Whaddaya think Psycho would think of us?"

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ F/A-130A Chiangshi "Telophase" #393-049 | Cpt. Nick McCalling:// "What is she doing lately?"

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ A12K6 MOD. CSJL "Stardust" #406-013 | Cpt. Lou "Val" Ferris:// "Got married, had kids, got some job at Lockreed-Eden I think... haven't really talked much with her since I joined the mercs in Mbanza again."

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ F/A-130A Chiangshi "Telophase" #393-049 | Cpt. Nick McCalling:// "Lockreed-Eden? Didn't her father design MC-K's Vampire or somethin'? Why's she with L-R?"

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ A12K6 MOD. CSJL "Stardust" #406-013 | Cpt. Lou "Val" Ferris:// "Guess she didn't like the whole private air force biz going on with them now. Speaking of which..."

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon "Atwater" #391-001 | Col. Valter Rodrigo Me-Chama-que-eu-Vou Félix:// "Now, now, I know we gotta lot to catch up on, fellas. That's something for another time. A little fly-swattin' would be more than welcomed right now."

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon MOD. PFS "Ghosthand" #392-001 | Maj. Katya "Wróżka" Galczynska:// "Of course, Colonel..." [chuckle] "...this one's persistent. I'll target them first."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Without warning, the Hierofalcon ahead of Adeline suddenly turned around, guns blazing. Yet in a split second she realized it wasn't firing at her, but rather to her left — where she'd been planning on turning to evade. Instead, she sharply dived down, descending to the smoldering air force base below.

"++Enemy tailing behind.++" warned the VAS as they flew past the burning ruins of the airbase. The wrecked remains of Velezian fighters were scattered about wrecked hangars, the runway cratered by the bombardment it'd sustained by the raid. The mission was, at least technically, a success — but she knew too well what the cost had been.

Circling as the enemy aircraft followed behind her, Adeline searched for any Canguarian fighters in the skies around the airbase. Only by looking at the radar did she realize the Canguarians had already fled — desperately making their way north.

Cowards. Adeline coldly thought to herself. It was six against three, and their odds weren't about to get any better. Kerouac and Junkie loomed nearby, presumably giving chase to protect her. If she were to make a decision, it would have to be now.

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MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL 12TFS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
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-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "Junkie, Kerouac... retreat."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003 | PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston:// "Wait, what?"

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046 | PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton:// "...what about you?"

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "I'm gonna show the bastards who killed Powers what's on my mind."

-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003 | PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston:// "...don't get yourself killed, boss."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


A brief prayer escaped Adeline before she ejected the drop tanks of the aircraft, abruptly rocketing upward and narrowly evading the YF-72 behind her as she accelerated towards the nearest target: an F-393X above her, presumably giving chase after her fellow pilots. Little mattered to her now beyond revenge and the safety of those who now depended on her.

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MCK-OS v1.17
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CHANNEL TFS-001 [DLET TH3S SH4K3S G0 0N 1] [DECRYPTED]
----

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon MOD. PFS "Ghosthand" #392-001 | Maj. Katya "Wróżka" Galczynska:// "Shit! ...this one's irrational. Dare I even say 'unpredictable'?"

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ F-393X "Wayward Son" #393-002 | Cpt. Andrew Phantom-Pain T. Powell:// "Unpredictable, huh?"

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ A12K6 MOD. CSJL "Stardust" #406-013 | Cpt. Lou "Val" Ferris:// "The other two are running away. Do I pick 'em off, or do we finish off this one?"

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon "Atwater" #391-001 | Col. Valter Rodrigo Me-Chama-que-eu-Vou Félix:// "Pick off those two. I believe Ghosthand has the other one covered."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


"++This is ill advised.++" cautioned the VAS as they sharply made their ascent on an intercept trajectory against the F-393X. She ignored the program's warnings, ever mindful of the YF-72 maneuvering towards tailing her as she continued the upward flight. Without warning, she activated the afterburners of the CF-71, strafing the underside of the old prototype and firing off a single AAM-11 Brushstroke that careened into the fighter aircraft, prompting it to violently explode as she accelerated past — straight towards another aircraft: a Kogyosha Engineering Company Aviation A12K6. It was strange to see a Utsanji fighter aircraft all the way over here, but it mattered little in the moment. The aircraft tried to maneuver out of the way, but he'd played his cards too late. 20mm rounds pelted the fighter, damaging an electronic device on the underside hardpoint of the fighter that certainly wasn't recognizeable. The CF-71 had one advantage over the YF-72 tailing it — it was more maneuverable, and it had a damn good pilot in the cockpit. Rocketing past the Utsanji-made fighter aircraft, she began on a northbound course — hopefully she could outrun the Hierofalcon, too.

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MCK-OS v1.17
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CHANNEL TFS-001 [DLET TH3S SH4K3S G0 0N 1] [DECRYPTED]
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-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ A12K6 MOD. CSJL "Stardust" #406-013 | Cpt. Lou "Val" Ferris:// "Agh SHIT! Weapon damaged... guess those pilots are gettin' away."

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon "Atwater" #391-001 | Col. Valter Rodrigo Me-Chama-que-eu-Vou Félix:// "Wayward Son is also down. Engage the remaining enemy fighter and RTB."

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon MOD. PFS "Ghosthand" #392-001 | Maj. Katya "Wróżka" Galczynska:// "Oh, I will!"

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Even through the net of DRFM spoofs, countermeasures and chaff the enemy fighters persisted behind her. Panic set in as one of the missiles fired detonated nearby, Adeline struggling to keep composure as she maneuvered her aircraft just below the cloud layer, the digital blips of the enemy air mercenary group trailing behind in fervent pursuit.

"++You have defied expectations.++" noted the VAS, the rather off-hand comment catching Adeline slightly off-guard.

"I guess." She anxiously replied, her attention set on the pursuing group of blips.

By now the formation of enemy aircraft was beginning to lag behind, though one persisted — the same Hierofalcon pilot that'd killed Powers seemed insistent on finishing Adeline off, too. A primordial sense within Adeline, that of prey stalked by predator, vibed within her. In this moment, she was being hunted by a pilot whose talent she couldn't gauge — but if her inclinations were to be believed, this was a hardened pilot from Mbanza, compared to herself, a first-timer.

Shock diamonds coursed behind her aircraft as the afterburners gleamed on, the bright glow of the engines giving Adeline a sliver of hope that she'd make it through all this in one piece. She was certain she'd barely have enough fuel to make the return journey, but that bothered her little. What mattered more in this moment was surviving the hunter that menacingly pursued her.

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MCK-OS v1.17
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CHANNEL TFS-001 [DLET TH3S SH4K3S G0 0N 1] [DECRYPTED]
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-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon "Atwater" #391-001 | Col. Valter Rodrigo Me-Chama-que-eu-Vou Félix:// "They're going too fast, and we've got a damaged fighter to worry about as-is. Break pursuit and RTB."

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon MOD. PFS "Ghosthand" #392-001 | Maj. Katya "Wróżka" Galczynska:// "I'm bringing this one down myself, then."

CHANNEL ALL
----

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon MOD. PFS "Ghosthand" #392-001 | Maj. Katya "Wróżka" Galczynska:// "You have murdered one of our own, pilot, and it appears now that you've run out of moves. Unfortunate. Predictable, even... I will take delight in downing you over Cortina Roja territory, knowing full well what happens next. Death by my missile would be mercy."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


The threat was enough to send a worried chill up Adeline's spine. This enemy pilot seemed more than elated at the idea of shooting her down — almost disturbingly so. It served only to further emphasize her focus on getting the hell away from the Hierofalcon on her tail.

Image
A weapon of the last war, given new purpose.


The aircraft in question was getting close, already testing the waters with a few volleys of 20mm fire that fell just short of her Recluse. Perhaps, she thought to herself, that this pilot relied on her to be predictable — to which she'd do the opposite. Hurriedly she lowered the aircraft, her deceleration abruptly situating her just behind the tailing Hierofalcon in a matter of seconds.

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MCK-OS v1.17
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CHANNEL TFS-001 [DLET TH3S SH4K3S G0 0N 1] [DECRYPTED]
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-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon "Atwater" #391-001 | Col. Valter Rodrigo Me-Chama-que-eu-Vou Félix:// "RTB, god damnit!"

CHANNEL ALL
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-[ 12TFS/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "I don't intend to go down today, 'Ghosthand'."

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon MOD. PFS "Ghosthand" #392-001 | Maj. Katya "Wróżka" Galczynska:// "—kh! Your fighter's systems cannot compare to the masterpiece that is my own — built upon the minds that won the Transatlantic War!"

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


In a split second, she'd conducted the signature maneuver that was Lazarev's Cobra, her airframe tilting upward as she pushed the fighter's supermaneuverability to its limits and opened fire. The 20mm rounds pelted the fighter, battering the smooth grey finish of the stealth aircraft as Adeline let loose upon the enemy.

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CHANNEL TFS-001 [DLET TH3S SH4K3S G0 0N 1] [DECRYPTED]
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-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon "Atwater" #391-001 | Col. Valter Rodrigo Me-Chama-que-eu-Vou Félix:// "Fucking RETREAT, Ghosthand!"

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon MOD. PFS "Ghosthand" #392-001 | Maj. Katya "Wróżka" Galczynska:// "FUCK! ...we'll get her next time."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Complying with orders, the pilot seemed almost impossibly swift in evading the rest of the barrage, abruptly turning aside and conducting a split-S maneuver that sent the Hierofalcon trailing back on a southern course. A sigh of relief escaped Adeline as she set her focus on continuing north. Illuminated by the moonlight she could see the mountains and the almost neverending Nheengatu Rainforest below, sights to gaze upon as she followed the digital map back to Canguari. Kerouac and Junkie were further ahead of her, safely en route to van der Kaap airstrip.

"++Do not damage the aircraft during landing. You may need to do a bit of 'gliding' for this one.++" the VAS advised her as they approached the northern reaches of the Zone.

Adeline grumbled under her breath — surely it couldn't be as mortally terrifying as flying through a ravine. "..right."


-[ CF-71A Recluse "Ryko" #418-027: Piloted by SQM. Ricky New-Power-Generation J. Powers
  • Status: DESTROYED, pilot KIA
  • Destroyed 6 AD-160 Tabuu SAM sites.

-[ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008: Piloted by SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier
  • Status: OK
  • Destroyed Velezian AN/XXX-1X radar system.
  • Destroyed Velezian AN/XXX-1X radar facility.
  • Destroyed 2 F-981 fighters.
  • Destroyed 1 F-393X fighter.

-[ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003: Piloted by PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston
  • Status: OK
  • Destroyed 1 B-61 Gran Chico.

-[ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046: Piloted by PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton
  • Status: OK
  • Destroyed 0 fighters.

Overall: Mission success, casualties incurred.



____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    Reunification Test Range, Red Pine, Federal States of Euphemie
    FEBRUARY 10, 422


    __________________________________

In the three decades since the reunification of Red Pine, the once heavily militarized former border with Alvimia had become a distant memory. Where border fences and barriers once lay had been overtaken by farms and forests. The people of Red Pine couldn't be happier — couldn't be more thankful to then-President Joy Division Tearing-up-my-Heart M. Neworder, practically worshipped as a god in these parts, for the war that'd toppled the Third Alvimian Empire and reunified Red Pine.

The Reunification War had largely fallen into obscurity in the consciousness of the general public by now, largely overshadowed by the vastly more horrific and vastly more destructive Transatlantic War. Virtually no tension existed with Alvimia now, the two nations bound by the common desire to aspire towards a peaceful Ophir — no, a peaceful Atlantic.

The peace that'd followed the victory over the defunct Union State had given Euphemie time to rebuild, prosper and recover from the nuclear horrors of the conflict. The future still carried with it promises of hope and peace, promises that remained hopeful in the present day.

Reunification Air Force Base — that's what it'd been a long time ago. It'd largely outlived its use since then, being downgraded to what was effectively a test range for the Federal Armed Forces' classified military projects. Overseeing the essences of these projects was an enigmatic veteran of the Transatlantic War. The days of flying the F/A-130 Chiangshi were long gone now for Brynn Qianlong, Director of Lockreed-Eden's Phantom Works.

Despite her age, she looked markedly young. A gift that came with good genetics and proper self-care, one would assume. Silently she watched her brainchild of the past four years of work descending upon the runway before her. The F-72K Hierofalcon ESPER — the clever name meant 'Extended Service Production, Enhanced Redesign'... which was an apt way to describe an upgrade for the Hierofalcon that would keep the aircraft's avionics, supermaneuverability and air-to-air combat abilities competent, if not superior in comparison to those of the world's other great powers. Brynn oversaw many projects in the Phantom Works, though this one meant much more to her.

Image
We are slaves to our dreams and aspirations.


"Ma'am." A voice interrupted Brynn's idle thoughts, turning around to see a familiar face. Paul Verloc, CEO of Clancy Petrochemical, was a man Brynn wasn't exactly a fan of. Cut-throat corporate types — the reason this country was in such a disgusting state of decadence. She couldn't help but feel a slight disdain for her former comrade in the 447th, Dean Camden — now President of the Federal States, for permitting this slow rot of the great Atlantic empire she'd helped forge through blood and sweat. How Fate had a sense of humor.

"You don't have clearance to be here." Brynn coldly said.

"You know, that's weird... the base commander—"

"I had him replaced last week with myself. This facility and its security complement answers solely to me..." She turned around, her attention diverting away from the sleek beauty of the F-72K and to the middle-aged businessman that stood behind her, his eyes obscured by aviator sunglasses much like her own. "But go on."

"I came here to inform you of the performance of PFS." Verloc said. Indeed, her company and the man standing before her had a deal. One of Brynn's innovations, partly of her own service in the Transatlantic War, was the Predictive Fighter System. Vaguely mimicking her own unexplainable 'gift' through millions of algorithms and calculations, it could assist in air-to-air combat by predicting trajectories by assessing recorded maneuvers and using inference to make calculated assumptions, which were relayed to the pilot's heads-up display. Lockreed-Eden had given two old YF-72 Hierofalcons — markedly older models from over thirty years ago — to air mercenaries working under Clancy. One of them had been equipped with the PFS, the performance of which was being closely watched by Lockreed-Eden.

There was a reasoning behind this deal — McLellan-Kuron seemed to see south Ophir as a playing field to demonstrate the modernity and combat value of the CF-71 — a direct successor to the rejected YF-71 Recluse prototype. This threatened the Hierofalcon's continued dominance as the Federal Air Force's sole fourteenth-generation fighter.

"Speak." demanded Brynn, crossing her arms in anticipation.

"The Hierofalcon equipped with PFS managed to successfully take down one Recluse. However, it sustained light damages while engaging another of the Recluse fighters. To avoid further damage, they were ordered to retreat." explained Verloc.

Brynn scornfully looked to the CEO. "It disgusts me that the weapons of this great nation waste away in pointless corporate conflicts."

A cynical grin made itself apparent on Verloc's features. "War has changed, Qianlong. The flaws of the state were proven when the nukes flew once more twenty-nine years ago. There's no great boogeyman that threatens Euphemie now. The war's over! And Euphemie won!"

"It's disheartening to see your lack of patriotism." Her attention momentarily returned to the F-72K. She thought back for a moment to her days in the 447th — how she missed her comrades. "Some of my friends are with those air mercs, aren't they?"

"I'm sure you know Félix, McCalling and Val well." Verloc chuckled. "One F-393X was lost, some rookie died, whatever. We'll find another... None of your former comrades were harmed.

Now came the time for demands. "Now, my end of the bargain. The Hierofalcon's flight data..."

"If I say it's a company secret?" He half-jokingly asked, chuckling.

"I can't refine this system if you can't give me something to work with. You say the pilot got damaged. I say she got lucky." She coldly warned.

"Now, now. Just pullin' your leg. Of course I have the flight data. No need to get scary with all that." He produced a platinum datacassette from his suit pocket, handing it to Brynn, who curtly accepted the device. "Quite frankly, I see this as an absolute win. For you and me, that is. May business prosper between us!" He added, walking off to leave Brynn alone with her thoughts. She knew she had no choice in this affair, though the influx of data did benefit her research in electronically mimicking her gift. Silently and disdainfully she watched the man disappear into an unmarked black SUV, military Kombis escorting the vehicle out of the test range.

Once again her attention returned to the F-72K. The test pilots were busy climbing out by now, the sleek airframe of the Hierofalcon ESPER glimmering under the sun. The CFTs of the aircraft were slightly lengthened in comparison to its predecessors to expand range, two additional special underbelly hardpoints serving to house two 'parasite' drones that could be deployed and used in engagements at will. There was much more than that, however, things that Brynn's mind could only run wild in wondering how she'd conceived such brilliance.

This fighter project had a future ahead of it — a future she could help bring into being with the platinum datacasette she now grasped in her left hand.
Too many old nations to count. NS user since 2013.
"War is the continuation of politics by other means."

only difference between a negotiation and a battle are the rules of engagement
both are fundamentally based on maneuver
put that in your quote book
-The Enclave Government
-Carl von Clausewitz

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Forest State
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Founded: Aug 23, 2016
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Fri May 31, 2019 6:47 pm

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    A C T 3 — "E N G R A M S"
    Battalion 241 Unit Cavalera 27 “Skull and Bones”
    LAS PLAYAS, VELEZIA
    JANUARY 29, 422

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


“Sanchez… Have a lot of memories from here. Some of them good. Some of them bad. Many of them are just… Whatever they are, really. But if you want to know the story of me, you’ve gotta look here,” said Lucia Juarez, walking through the corridors of the base shortly after receiving the assignment that she and the team at Cavalera 27 would be embarking on soon - which involved taking a trip to aid the Velezian forces fighting a fierce battle around that specific area. It wasn’t the place she would have chosen if everything was up to her. But was she complaining too much? Not exactly.

Even if she didn’t like it in every way, Sanchez was the place that had made her, in the same way that her family’s business and the experiences she had gained in it had made her despite being one of the main sources of problems and angst in her life. There were a lot of things, people, and places that Lucia Juarez had complicated relationships with. Her hometown, the city of Sanchez, was one such place.

“Is that so?” asked Mayor Juana Terrazas, the second highest ranking member of her team and the one that seemed to stick the closest to her as a teacher. Of course, Juana was actually older than her despite being of a lower rank - but Lucia’s street knowledge more than made up for the small gap in age between them, and it was the reason why she had reached the rank of Teniente Coronel while Terrazas was still at Mayor.

“People’s hometowns tend to have an affect on them,” Lucia replied, glancing over her shoulder at her subordinate. “I would say I hate the place, but the fact of the matter is if it wasn’t for that town, I wouldn’t be here in Battalion 241 in the first place. The same traits that they recruited me for wouldn’t have existed if I had the upbringing that I wanted, so in a way, you could say that Sanchez was a good place for me. At the time, however… I never would have admitted it. Sometimes, I still wonder today if it truly did help me or if some alternate timeline me would be better off without ever growing up there.”

She looked down at the papers in her hand, about the area that they were heading into. Not that she needed to do in depth research, she had been in La Zona before, both on her own time and handling tasks for her family’s business. They weren’t a big corporation but in zone terms they were the biggest retailer around. She could have been proud of it, if it wasn’t for the fact that she hated that business for what it had done to other aspects of her life. “It’s not going to surprise anyone that I’m coming back to my hometown with a death squad, however. I think some of them would be more surprised if I didn’t.”



Her fist cracked against the face of the Canguarian boy, and Lucia made a move to grab his shirt collar and push him against the wall to prevent him from dropping to the ground just from the force of the punch. She didn’t have the most physical strength in the world - nor did she have formal training. What she did have, however, was a good sense of where to hit someone to make them feel pain. Where to hit someone to stun them. The sense of how to change the momentum of a fight quickly with a few dirty tricks. She went back to the first trick she had used - hitting the boy in the ear as hard as she could with her elbow, on the opposite side from where she had struck the first time.

Of course the blow would be painful, but she wasn’t trying to cause pain in this instance, she was trying to set the boy off balance to prevent him from defending himself as she wound up for another punch, this one with her right hand. She was able to throw it uncontested, feeling pain in her own hand but hitting with decent enough form that she didn’t break or sprain anything in it. She wasn’t a trained street fighter, but her natural intuition with these things was usually good enough to keep her from seriously hurting herself. That wasn’t to say that she could avoid all of the pain, however. Then again, Lucia Juarez was not the type of person to avoid pain.

“What the fuck do you even want, psycho?” asked the boy. Maybe she was a little psycho, she had hardly been provoked in this fight. But with the way that she was leaning recently with her own political beliefs, she felt that the very presence of this person here was an offense to her and something being done against her - if no one else was there for her, the nation of Velezia was there for her. And she saw the Canguarians in Sanchez as foreign invaders, who should get out of the country that she falsely claimed. In her mind, at least on the surface, she was just doing this in self defence. Not self defence of her own body, but of her country and neighborhood.

“You don’t belong here, damn it! Stop claiming La Zona and go back to where you came from, damn it!” she shouted, striking with another elbow to test the defenses of her opponent and then punching the boy in the nose when she was sure she wasn’t going to be opposed. The punch connected, dropping her opponent to the ground finally as someone pulled her back and kept her from going for the guy again - she had already done enough and the only blood on herself was from where she had broken the boy’s nose. She wrestled against the grasp from behind her for a moment - but there were multiple hands reaching out from the crowd that had gathered to see the fight, causing her to realize she wasn’t going to win this and to back down.

She turned to the crowd, the one that she had gathered in the first place by publicly calling attention to the one Canguarian that she happened to share classes with, once those classes were done and everyone was walking the halls. “Funny. Thought more of you would have some pride for your country and do something about the invader,” she said, ticked off at the fact that they only thing they’d done was intervene. “If you lot all cared, the Canguarian would be hanging from a tree by now.”

“Lucia, chill,” someone told her, waving their hands in a getsure for her to calm down. She just shot that person a glare and recognized them as one of her classmates. It was more and more often in recent months that they had moments like this. They weren’t zealots like she was. Most of them would probably never be patriotic enough to satisfy her, but she wasn’t like most of them. She was defensive of the country, of its ideas, and of the CNR because she felt there wasn’t much else for her out there. She still had no idea what she was going to do after high school - but she knew she wasn’t going to embrace her family’s plans for her and for their business.

If they wanted her to give her time and effort to them, maybe they could do the same thing for her for once. She knew, however, that it was never going to happen. “Gotta run. I’m going to get suspended either way but I’d rather not be around when some teacher sees this. See ya’ll later,” she said, pulling up her hood and waving to the crowd before she turned and ran off - ran off to be all alone once again. It wasn’t hard for Lucia to get eyes on her. She did things that drew attention from crowds all the time.

But forming connections with people who were often scared of her? That was much harder.




“Sounds like there’s not many good memories back in Sanchez,” said Capitan Leon Cabrera, as Lucia leaned against her SUV with him on one side of her and Juana on the other. The three of them talked a lot, at least compared to Lucia and the other soldiers in the unit. It made sense, with Juana being the second highest ranking person in the unit and Leon being the leader of a fireteam. It was easy to grow close to one another when they were constantly made to spend time with each other by their job, which required close coordination between the three.

Lucia shrugged and lit a cigarette, pressing it to her lips and closing her eyes. “Some good, some bad. Like I told Juana, I don’t know what I think about it, really. I hated growing up there but I wouldn’t say it was because of the town itself, it was more because of… The circumstances. Fuck the Juarez & Abel company, always expected me to work for them without offering anything in return. Never even asked for shit like my siblings either. Would’ve taken time or just some kind of acknowledgement but that company was always the most important thing.”

She took another drag from the cigarette and sighed, eyes open once again. “I guess you can see how much it affected me by the fact that this company is still in my head even years after the fact.”

“You sound like a person with unfinished business,” said Leon. Perhaps that was true but it wasn’t like she was going to do anything against her own family. She had felt wronged by them but… She could never fully hate them because she had still taken quite a lot from them. Many of her own ideas were from them, even indirectly. She probably wouldn’t have decided to fight for capitalism against communism if it wasn’t for capitalism being the environment she was raised in. That environment was one she could owe to her parents, even if she wasn’t their biggest fan all the time. She shuddered to think about what she would be like if she had ended up a member of Cortina Rojas instead of this.

However, that didn’t mean she forgave them for everything. Far from it. She simply didn’t hate them.

“You’re smoking more, these days. It’s not good for you, you know,” said Juana. It was so like her, bringing up some concern she had while Leon took a different approach and spoke about getting revenge. They had different ways of seeing the world - just like Lucia herself struggled with figuring out what she really believed, running through a range of different emotions at different times.

“Not going to live long enough for it to matter realistically. It’s a dangerous field we’re in,” Lucia replied, seemingly calmly. More calmly than one would normally be while talking about the subject of their own death. She didn’t seem unsettled by it, maybe because she had accepted it somewhat. “But I’ll take a smaller amount of years doing something I care about. Least this is something I give a shit about, could be worse.”

“Me and Juarez are both married to this, you wouldn’t get it,” shrugged Leon. They had similar mentalities when it came to what they wanted to do - both of them felt that this place, this death squad of all places, was the one place where they actually fit. Didn’t care about the dangers and consequences of the job because there was no safer job that either one of them would actually want to do. “She gets it, too, right?”

Lucia nodded, moving the cigarette from her lips. “Not like I have anything outside of this. I’ll be here for as long as I can stay. But I’m sure something will happen in the field before I end up getting forced out for being around too long, and I’m fine with it,” she said, casually. “I’m sure you’ll already be in politics or something by the time that happens. You seem like the type that’s always had more options.”

Juana raised an eyebrow. “I dunno, I’ve always been on the military path. Went from the Army to Battalion 241, but I can’t say I know what it’s like to work as a civilian. Maybe I just like how organized everything is. But anyway… You should take better care of yourself, future aside. And if this assignment is going to be hard on you, say something.”

There was a long silence between the three of them. “You’re not the first one to tell me that and you’re not going to be the last. I’ve survived this long, however, and I’m going to keep surviving.”



Light trickled through the window slowly at first, but quickly grew brighter - the sun shining through the blinds and onto Lucia’s face woke her up fast. She wasn’t in bed alone. She was resting there next to some girl from school who had come back with her last night - she was no stranger to one night stands, the problem for Lucia was keeping people around long term. Getting someone to stay around for one night wasn’t hard. Most people, however, tended to be scared of her or turned off by her intensity if they spent enough time around her. She’d had plenty of people grow close to her just to end up hurt by her metaphorical spikes. There was quite a popular analogy, the hedgehog's dilemma. The one that said that everyone wanted to be closer to others but that they were stopped by the fact that they were all like hedgehog’s, with sharp and pointy quills who would just injure each other. Sometimes, Lucia felt that hers were sharper than anyone’s. Not many people managed to isolate almost everyone they met, their own family included.

She just wondered how long it would take before it happened again and this person that she liked went running off because of something she said or did. It was practically an inevitability and Lucia no longer let herself get her hopes up. There had been too many times in the past when it had just resulted in her feeling hurt and angry in the end, and now, to prevent that from happening again, she came into these things with the mindset that it’d be over soon. If not immediately after making some kind of connection, in the coming weeks. If someone stuck by her for months… Well, they would eventually do the same thing. So she prepared herself for it mentally to prevent herself from getting tilted when it turned out they were just playing with her feelings, romantic or otherwise, again.

The other girl - Yoselin, she remembered her name was - was already awake and was looking through Lucia’s things. At least, the things she had left on the nightstand next to her bed. There was a knife, not one designed for utility use but specifically designed for fighting and combat. The type of knife that was known as a ‘zombie knife,’ because of its design which was designed to inflict more pain and damage once the blade had been embedded in the enemy’s body. It was more lethal - and crueler than a regular knife, which might be the reason why it fit Lucia. She’d always been brutal in her fighting. Didn’t show mercy unless she was forced to, and she tended to go out of her way to cause the enemy pain. It didn’t even have to be a personal conflict for her to do so. For her, it was another way to let off steam. A very violent and misguided way, but a way nonetheless.

“The knife’s from the Zone, in case you were wondering,” she said, before reaching over Yoselin to reach for the box of Daimielese cigars that was on the nightstand also, as well as her lighter. “Went there on a business trip for my family, the only reason I went along with it was because I knew there’d be some stuff to buy for myself. Wasn’t disappointed. If you want to see something really cool, check out the drawer.”

Yoselin reached for the nightstand drawer and opened it up, finding a military issue pistol inside. Lucia continued speaking, explaining the story of how she had acquired it. “Also bought that, on a more recent trip into the zone. Was surplus from the Army, I’ve been using it to train in my shooting since I plan on enlisting when I get out of high school. Not sure what branch but… I know I’m not staying here and working for this damned company,” Lucia said, as Yoselin held the thing in her hand and turned it over slowly. “You don’t have to be nervous. The safety is on.”

“But it’s still loaded?” Yoselin asked curiously, eyes still on the gun.

“Not going to leave it there empty, that’d defeat the point of having it next to my bed. Shit happens, I want to be able to shoot a motherfucker before they get the drop on me,” Lucia shrugged. “Besides. If I were jumpy around guns and the like, I wouldn’t be planning to go into the military in some way,” she added, pressing one of the cigars to her lips after lighting it.

“You should take better care of yourself. Those things aren’t healthy. And you’re going into the military instead of working for your parents? Isn’t their business pretty big?”

“Yeah, yeah. I’ve heard that before. It’s whatever, I’ll worry about it if I survive the military,” Lucia replied to Yoselin’s comment about her smoking. “And yeah, I’m not exactly a fan of this company even if it is decent sized. I’d rather not spend my life doing that. Everyone else has put the business over me, I don’t see why I’m obligated to do the same thing to myself just because the people running the business happen to share blood with me. As for the military, I’ve decided that killing communists is a more rewarding thing to spend my time on. The military and the CNR will at least respect and value me if I kill communists. I can’t say the same about my own family and their company.”

Yoselin set the pistol down on the nightstand and rolled to face Lucia. She didn’t seem to have too much of a problem with what Lucia was saying, even if she did look at her like she was a bit weird. Lucia knew she was weird, however. That she was out of the box. She expected Yoselin to leave but she wasn’t offended by it, or by the look. However, before Yoselin could speak once again, the door to her room swung open and Lucia sat up to see her father, Manuel Juarez. “Who are you talking to-”

“First you get yourself suspended from school for assault and now, when it’s hardly been weeks since you’ve been back, you go out and buy a gun? I didn’t think that this was the kind of daughter I raised… And having strange girls in your bed, and letting your grades slip, and not showing up for company meetings-” her father started, before she raised a hand to silence him as Yoselin pulled the covers up around herself at the same time. Lucia was a bit less exposed and didn’t have a problem with Yoselin taking the covers for herself - she had on a black tee shirt and matching shorts already.

“First off, I’ve had this thing since before I was suspended, maybe if you paid more attention to me you would’ve noticed since I haven’t exactly hidden it much since getting it. Same with bringing home girls, if you paid any attention at all you’d realize that’s not a new thing. Second, I’m not attending company meetings because I’m not interested in working for your shitty company-”

“You’re going to insult the company that put a roof over your head and food in your mouth? That lets you buy guns and knives from the Zone, or the expensive cigars you’re smoking right now? The company that-”

Lucia waved a hand dismissively. “I haven’t even taken money from the company in the last six months, and if you paid attention to me, you’d know that… I earned this money on my own which is also why I don’t think you should tell me how to spend it. And I’m an adult, I’m going to be out of high school soon, I can handle having a gun and a knife. I’m surprised you wouldn’t want me to have one, knowing how lawless the Zone is-”

Her father sighed exasperatedly, Lucia seemingly having struck a nerve. “Protecting yourself in the Zone is one thing, planning to learn shooting to go out and kill communists is another-”

“Shouldn’t you support that? Being a private business owner and all?” Lucia snapped back quickly, now standing and collecting her things. Her knife and her gun mainly. She had the feeling she was going to end up out of the house by the time this argument concluded. It wouldn’t be the first time it had happened and she didn’t know for sure if it would be the last time, either. As she stopped in front of her nightstand, she glanced at the girl she’d spent the night with. It was an apologetic look, the talk between them had been completely ruined after all.

“We didn’t raise our daughter to be violent-”

“Yeah, well, the other side are definitely raising their kids to be violent. Considering they want you dead and mom raped just for being decently well off business owners who support a free market, I’m not going to feel much when I join the Army and kill as many of ‘em as I can. I’ve been deeper into the Zone than you have. At least, recently. And I’ve tangled with those types once or twice. Unless someone does something about them, there’s going to be violence either way and it’s going to happen here in Sanchez and not in some far off part of the jungle. I plan on being that someone,” she said in a bit of a quick rant, her voice wavering with emotion as she pushed her way past her father, abandoning last night’s date and leaving Manuel to follow after her.

This… Wouldn’t be the only problem between the two.



As if this day couldn’t get any worse, it was pouring rain outside. Lucia had been wandering around for about two hours with just one bag and the things that she had on her back when it started - but it was clear that she wasn’t going to be able to wait out her troubles outdoors. Not when the only thing she had on was shorts and a tee shirt and she had no protection from the elements. It was the reason why she was standing at the door of another middle class family like her own, attempting something that was a longshot but might help her weather the storm for a few days until she fixed things at least temporarily with her family.

The door opened and she was face to face with her classmate Yoselin once again, this time with both of them fully dressed. “Um…” started Yoselin.

Lucia replied awkwardly. “Can I come inside? I ended up getting kicked out of the house, dad told me to find somewhere else to sleep because there’s no way he’s letting me back in. I’ll be out of your way soon enough, it’s just that it’s raining outside and I don’t have anywhere to stay-”

She was cut off by Yoselin who started speaking before she could finish. “I’m sorry, Lucia. Won’t be able to do that, my parents aren’t going to be happy with someone like you wandering around the house. You have something of a reputation, and you know that everyone in this area is familiar with each other. When you were suspended for what you did to that Canguarian boy, it didn’t take them long to realize that the one who did it happened to live not that far from us. I know you might be a rebel and such, and you don’t care about what your parents think… But I’ve always been more of a daddy’s girl.”

“I’m not going to get in the way of anything, I’m just asking for somewhere to sleep for a couple of days until I can talk my way back into my own house,” Lucia protested, raising her hands to gesture her innocence. “I won’t even be around when I’m not sleep-”

“Look… I don’t want to put things this harshly, but I can’t be seen around you. By my parents, by my regular social circle, by anyone really. I did what I did last night because it was fun and because no one would end up knowing about it, but I can’t be seen with you. Can’t have anyone thinking that you’re rubbing off on me and dragging me off the right path. I’m going to attend the University of Las Playas soon, and probably go into business, and I can’t have you affecting my reputation and getting in the way of that. I know it’s not the path you would choose for yourself - but it’s the one that I chose for me,” Yoselin explained apologetically, the writing on the wall being that she couldn’t see Lucia at all, even in the friendly sense.

“Oh,” Lucia said simply. It twisted her heart. There’d been plenty of times when she was avoided because of her reputation and plenty of times when spending the night with someone didn’t guarantee that they would want to talk with her the next day. This time, however, she had let her hopes get too high - that maybe, just maybe, she could remain friends with Yoselin, and she was once again having her emotions stamped on. It hurt, after all, to be told that being seen with you would result in someone’s reputation and career path being altered in a negative way. “I guess I’ll leave you be.”

She turned around in the rain, Yoselin apologizing one more time as she shut the door. She wasn’t sure what was colder. Her body after being soaked, or the conversation that she had just finished. After her rejection, she was left to wander, knocking on a couple more doors and getting similar excuses that were more expected by her. Few people wanted to have the one who was known to be a violent rebel in their house - those that did would have a tough time explaining it to their family, and she seemed to have a certain infamy. Everyone whose kid attended high school with her knew about the wayward daughter of the Juarez & Abel company, the one who acted nothing like her background would suggest.

She eventually reached the last place she could think of. This wasn’t the place that anyone lived but it was one of the places that had made her. It wasn’t in the same part of town as her house, it was in a section that was… Less well off. The place was also abandoned, and in this case, she didn’t have her key to get through the padlock. She sighed, sitting down on the porch of the abandoned trap house and waiting for someone to show up so they could let her inside. She rested her head against the wall and closed her eyes - it might be awhile so it would be best to end the discomfort here and go to sleep. If that was even possible at this point.

This was definitely not a good day for her.




    Battalion 241 Unit Cavalera 27 “Skull and Bones”
    SANCHEZ, LA ZONA
    FEBRUARY 3, 422

“I don’t care what they think, but I do wonder if by now my family has accepted my path or whether they still believe that choosing this way of life is a disappointment,” said Lucia, staring out the window of the Mi-81 ‘Hippo’ helicopter as it approached Sanchez. It was the last leg of a long trip and this was the helicopter they would be using in the field - it made it easy to fit into tight areas of the jungle that would take much longer to reach by land, and it allowed for quicker insertions and extractions than a plane would. They’d have to try to not get shot down by Cortina Rojas forces with anti air weapons, most likely ancient ones, but they considered the benefits worth the risk. “And I do wonder if they’ve changed their mind now that my words from the past came true.”

“You mean when you told them that the war was going to come to Sanchez at some point and they’d get caught in the middle of it?” Juana asked from next to Lucia, which prompted Lucia to nod.

“Looks like it came true and we’re the ones that get to play liberator in this case Funny that I might end up having to do all of this just to get a little bit of credit. But it is what it is,” shrugged Lucia. The helicopter was on the final approach and it was getting ready to land, but they were headed for a jungle clearing rather than anywhere in the city. With the city encircled, they would have to aid their allies from the outside. Not that Lucia minded landing in the jungle, trips like this were a nice change of pace from urban operations.

Out here, it was possible to focus on the struggle with the environment instead of thinking of other things. It was also naturally beautiful, something which… Set her mind at ease. They touched down and the doors opened, everyone on the inside standing up. “Another assignment begins, boys. Let’s ace this one,” Lucia remarked as she stepped outside of the helicopter, followed by the rest of her two sections. “And let’s get camp set up before doing anything else.”

Her soldiers were putting up tents, setting up the large radio they would be using to receive communications, generally laying out the infrastructure for what they were going to be doing for the next few weeks. She didn’t just stand around and watch, she moved to participate in setting up the camp too - Lucia wasn’t always the best with people but one couldn’t say that she didn’t lead by example. The next order of business was also clear, once they were finished with that: make contact with allied forces in the area, and work on freeing the city that she called her hometown from the red menace.
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Forest State
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Founded: Aug 23, 2016
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Sat Jun 01, 2019 5:50 am

Collab post with Valefontaine

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    A C T 6 - "D R E A M C H A S I N G"
    van der Kaap Airstrip, 15km NW of Sofía, Duchy of Canguari
    FEBRUARY 10, 422


    __________________________________

The mood around the 13th Fighter Squadron was tense - news had come in about the engagement between Velezian forces, corporate pilots, and some of the other members of the Canguarian Air Force. Of course, based on the news, it didn’t look like the 13th was going to have a fun time going forward. The enemy had managed to take out a Recluse, which was far more advanced than anything that Canguaria had in its arsenal. If they could take out the corporate pilots now, where did that leave the locals who were stuck with comparatively outdated hardware and didn’t have the same benefits of automation?

That question was on the minds of everyone in the squadron, but the second flight of the 13th, the Dreamchasers - named that because three out of the four members were foreign mercenaries who had come here chasing something, either a place to belong or enough cash to have a better life - had some tensions of their own to think about. After the near crash, one of their pilots had received a new plane which had been assigned based on performance. And few in the squadron were happy with the decision to award the more advanced plane to one specific pilot, Francis Madrazo - even if Francis was now the most accomplished fighter pilot to come out of Daimiel. Daimiel had air mercenaries in other places, but most of them were foreign nationals working for companies based there. Actual Daimielese fighter pilots basically never saw real combat, and Francis was an exception, with the press back home immediately reporting on the strange Canguarian fighter that was marked with both the flags of Canguari and Daimiel.

It didn’t have her name marked on it, however. Perhaps for political reasons. It would be an awkward situation if Canguari officially confirmed that the defector was flying for them, and they likely wanted to avoid making Francis a target back home. With that being said, it was still an awkward situation as everyone knew there were only so many people who could be the one behind the helmet, and based on timing, it looked very much like Francis was the mysterious Canguarian-Daimielese mercenary pilot. Despite being most accomplished from her country, she wasn’t exactly liked within the squadron, both because of her inexperience and nervous demeanor outside of the cockpit and the rumors flying around her left and right. The distaste combined with the backlash Francis had received after being awarded the squadron’s sole G/C-415 Banshee made the leader of the Dreamchasers flight worry about what might have happened recently.

It was a time at the base when they didn’t have anything to do, and yet, uncharacteristically, Tomas Castro hadn’t spotted Francis anywhere around the facilities. Not in her quarters or around them, not in the hallways, not in any of the common areas. Francis had missed lunch - which the flight tended to have in each other’s presence, even if they weren’t always necessarily eating together. The tensions could be strong even when they were unspoken. Eventually, Castro decided to ask the one person that might know something about Francis and her whereabouts.

For once, Castro was in the part of the airbase where the corporate pilots were staying rather than the native ones and their air mercenary allies. He knocked on the door of Adeline Crozier, the pilot that Francis had seemed… Noticeably close with, to say the least, to the point where the others had commented in low tones about it when they weren’t around Francis. It was a stretch, but maybe Francis was in here. Every other place had been checked by Castro already, and Francis wasn’t the type to head out to town during the day often. So where exactly was she? For some reason, Castro felt he had the best chance of finding that out here.

The door opened soon thereafter, the Euphemian pilot emerging from her quarters. It seemed an unusual change of pace for her, Adeline confusedly raising an eyebrow at the sight of him. She probably hadn't been handling the aftermath of her unit's last engagement well — the loss of one's superior was probably a lot of responsibility to cope with, especially for the much more organized corporate units.

"Yes?" questioned Adeline, evidently rather curious at the fact someone not pertaining to her unit was visiting her quarters.

It took a moment for Castro to gather his words - talking to foreigners wasn’t something he did much outside of the mercenary members of his own squadron. And the entire situation was a bit weird, too. “Sorry to interrupt if you were doing something but…” Castro started, his voice trailing off for a moment while he articulated his words in his head before speaking them. “I’m wondering if Francis is here? I think something’s up with her and the others ever since the higher ups said she’d be flying that Banshee, I haven’t seen her today and she wasn’t at lunch. The other guys have been quiet, too. A bit too quiet, if you know what I mean.”

"No, she isn't here. That would be a violation of policy." replied Adeline, still cautious.

“I see. The others don’t exactly like her right now, I guess is what I’m trying to say. They’ve been here a bit longer and they’re a rank higher and they don’t have any controversies around them so they feel cheated out of the better equipment, which I can’t entirely fault them for. But I’m worried about Francis, I guess I thought she might tell you something she hasn’t told the rest of us,” Castro continued, somewhat awkwardly. It had been an assumption to believe that Francis would be here - one that didn’t end up being accurate. Really, Castro wasn’t sure the reason he’d made the assumption in the first place. Was it because of the rumors within the squadron about the two? Or was there something more legitimate there?

"Uh, no. Maybe things are getting a little exaggerated here, but I don't know her all too well. Hell, I don't know anyone beyond my unit all too well..." She trailed off, perhaps reminded of what fate had befallen her superior. "...anyway, something seems the matter with them. Need a hand with that?"

Castro nodded. “It would be nice. I’ve already taken one look around the base but I haven’t seen her anywhere. Then again, it is possible to miss someone around here, I’m sure it would be a good idea to have another look before bringing it up to anyone higher up.”

"Better than sitting on my ass all day in quarters." She said, leaving her quarters and closing the door behind her to join Castro in the search. Though she hadn't raised the issue, it was obvious that Adeline was still dealing with the rather unfortunate outcome of the previous mission. Never before had a fourteenth-generation fighter been shot down over southern Ophir — and the revelation that there were foreign mercenaries operating equally advanced aircraft in the Zone had drastically changed the circumstances of this conflict. She kept her arms crossed as she followed behind, presumably trying to keep her problems to herself.

Castro started through the base once again - it was pretty easy to check the area around the quarters of both squadrons, and it was clear Francis wasn’t in any of the hallways. But there was still a lot of ground to cover even if… There were only so many places that Francis would realistically be. In this case, however, Castro felt responsible to check everything and make sure nothing had happened. “It’s scary out there, isn’t it? Stuff that’s never happened before is happening,” Castro remarked, in some attempt to reduce the silence and awkwardness between them as they walked. Although, bringing up the most recent mission for the corporate pilots might not have been the best icebreaker subject.

"Yeah." quietly replied Adeline. "You all should be careful in your next sortie." She warned, continuing on behind the mercenary.

“Never had to think about that kind of thing before. There’s always danger in the military but this kind of thing just didn’t happen around here. It’s a lot easier to feel good about going out there when it’s mostly an even playing field-” Castro started, eventually stopping his sentence and stopping in his tracks. “But that’s not the case right now,” he quickly finished, before turning his attention to something else. “You hear that?”

Not that far away from them, somewhere in one of the many corridors they were walking, there was the sound of banging against something wooden. Behind one of the doors they would probably find what they were looking for, and Castro moved to close in on the source of the sound before eventually seeing that it was a storage closet which had been locked from the outside. “I think this might be what we’re looking for,” Castro said, reaching to open the door but realizing that they’d need to either get through the lock or find a key. “But whoever did this actually locked it, it’s not going to be easy to get open.”

"I'm sure there's something in maintenance that can get this open." Adeline suggested. To which Castro nodded, walking off to look for something. Upon hearing the voices that were outside the closet, though, Francis - or whoever actually was inside this thing - screamed. At least, she attempted a scream. It sounded very much like she had been gagged, muffling the scream somewhat even if she was able to get out a bit of it loudly enough to be heard outside. This warranted a hesitant glance into the slits of the locker from Adeline, the corporate pilot presumably trying to get an idea of just what had taken place.

"Everything all right in there?" she hesitantly asked, peeking inside. Francis couldn’t say much. She’d had rope used as a rough gag, preventing her from speaking. Her hands were free, but from the inside, there wasn’t much she could do to get out of the closet, which didn’t have any useful items inside it. However, Castro returned not too long after wandering off.

“We’ll see if this works,” he said, attempting to pick the lock with a tool that had been taken from some of the maintenance equipment around the base. It took a couple of attempts, Castro had never picked a lock after all, but the padlock eventually came open and Castro was able to open up the doors to the closet, kneeling down to work on undoing the rope gag that had silenced Francis.

“S-Savage and McLean d-did this,” she blurted out as soon as she was able to speak once again, looking around and making eye contact with Adeline, almost as if she was surprised to see her here despite hearing her voice earlier, before Castro had went off. “I’ve been here since… S-since the morning…”

"..well, then." Adeline muttered. "Any reason why?"

“Everyone wants to keep talking about that stupid Aurelianet thread… McLean said something about how he should have the new fighter instead of me since he has the worst one in the squadron right now, Savage said I shouldn’t be here b-because he read that thread and it sounded like he b-believed it,” Francis continued, slumping down against the outside of the closet and burying her face in her hands. “They won’t leave me alone about it, everyone is treating me like I don’t deserve what I have just because of some… Some rumors.”

This had made Adeline grimace as she knelt down to console the mercenary. "Sorry about that. I've heard of it too, just— don't let it get to your head."

When Adeline mentioned that she had heard about the rumors, Francis froze. It was a reaction Adeline wouldn’t have seen from her before. She had seen Francis act nervous, yes, but she’d never seen her eyes widen like this and the look of pure terror that was on her face right now. “You… You read the thread?” she asked, her stutter suddenly gone. It had possibly been shocked out of her, allowing her to speak normally because of the quick adrenaline rush that the news brought.

On the other hand, she didn't seem off-put by the subtle revelation at all. "One of my squadron-mates showed it to me, yes."

It took Francis awhile to come up with a reply, as Castro watched from the background but didn’t say anything. “Oh,” she said simply, looking away. She’d been through this before. The process of getting close to someone - not just getting close to them, but falling for them, even - and then eventually having them find out a little too much about her. About the secret she kept. And then having someone either drift away from her or turn on her outright. It was practically the reason she had left her home country in the first place. Right now, dealing with it happening again with someone she had more complicated feelings about than anyone… Was tearing her apart.

“I guess it was fucking inevitable,” she said after a pause, standing up and turning away. Castro would have said something to comfort her, but it was hard to pick the right words here. Neither Adeline nor Castro had seen Francis this emotional before. No one in this country had.

The corporate pilot managed only a nervous glance to Castro before she tried reassuring him. "There's nothing wrong with that, you know."

Francis didn’t turn around. She seemed slightly calmer, slightly less scared than she had been before, but seemed confident in her own ideas about what was going to happen. “I already know how this is going to play out,” she remarked, voice trembling even though it didn’t crack and break like it did sometimes. Right now, she was feeling an adrenaline rush in the same way she felt when she was thousands of feet over the ground while flying. The kind that let her speak her mind clearly. “You’re… You’re just going to end up another person that I’ve fallen for that turns on me as soon as you find out about the real me,” she blurted out, before pushing past Castro and running off to… Somewhere. It wasn’t clear where she was going. Even she didn’t know where she was going. There was little reason for Adeline to follow behind, yet she did so regardless out of concern for Francis.

The two of them ended up in the 13th’s part of the pilot quarters, with Francis approaching her own door before turning and seeing Adeline chasing after her, stopping as she unlocked and opened her door and started to step inside. “Why are you following me? Do you even really care?” she asked, voice shaking more. Part of it sounded angry. Mostly, it sounded mournful. The anger was less directed at Adeline and more at the general circumstances. “It’s the same story every time… People change after they find out the truth. Not getting my hopes up again that you’re going to be different, it’s not like anything else here has been different or like I was actually able to escape anything by leaving…”

"...it's not really changed what I think of you, no." Adeline replied, still keeping her calm composure. There was a tension in the air as the corporate pilot chose her next words with caution. "I do care, Francis. It's just... the right thing to do."

Once again, Francis froze, hand moving away from the door as she turned to face Adeline, pondering her next actions. Her eyes were still wide, as she took the situation in - but they didn’t have the same fear. That didn’t mean she necessarily believed everything that was being said, and believed that it was safe to get her hopes up, but there was no longer a look of terror. She opened her mouth to speak but nothing came out as her words were suddenly… Lost. She leaned forward, though. Lunged would be more accurate. She came close to Adeline as if she was going to kiss her - but ended up throwing her arms around her, her face narrowly avoiding touching Adeline’s. Francis wasn’t brave enough at the moment to do more than that, or to reveal the true meaning behind some of the things she had said. Things such as falling for Adeline.

The turn of events had served only to confuse the corporate pilot, who was quick to back away in bewilderment. "—woah, hold on now. I've only been known you for a few weeks..." Adeline didn't seem sure what the gesture, or the attempt thereof, was supposed to mean, but it'd served only to discomfort and befuddle her. A difference in culture, perhaps? Something about the embrace was different this time, the pilot evidently picking up on whatever it'd almost been. "Corporate policy aside, I wouldn't want you to feel bad if those aces shot me outta the sky."

“I know we haven’t known each other for that long, but I also know that whatever’s between us is… Different. I’ve only been close to a few people, ever, and this doesn’t even feel like that,” Francis blurted out before forcing herself to slow down a bit, not quite letting go of Adeline yet but loosening her grip. She held on for a moment more before pulling away herself, looking away to mask the redness of her face. “Really, the only other time I’ve been this close to someone is… Well, that person is more of a brother to me and I can tell this isn’t the same thing. Can’t say what the fuck it actually is, I guess because I’ve always been an outcast. Haven’t had a chance to feel things like this.”

She paused but continued, her voice jumping up in tone once again. “But I keep thinking of you and… Even after I crashed and I had a brush with death, you were the main reason I wanted to keep going and not let it happen again! It’s not like this is my own country, and it’s not like I’m rich here or anything, and my new squadron already doesn’t like me, but…” Francis started, before her voice trailed off. She didn’t finish, once again not having the courage to speak her mind fully. “I stayed up at night messing with chemistry and named a drug after you about a week or so ago, that’s not something that friends do!”

The pilot seemed to ponder a response before backing away to the corridor wall opposite to Francis, shaking her head. "You shouldn't worry about me. I can't have that when my life's on the line in every sortie — especially now."

“Isn’t my life the one that’s on the line when I’m in an outdated jet going up against the Velezians after they took out one of your guys?” Francis asked, voice frustrated. Her emotions were up and down right now - a bit too inconsistent for her to speak calmly. She felt like she’d experienced heartbreak, relief, and heartbreak again in the span of a few moments. It showed in her voice. “At least if I’m worried about someone it means I actually have something to fight for!”

She’d practically shouted the last line, before stepping inside her room and slamming the door behind her. Shortly after, she slammed a fist against that same door, emotions overflowing. She didn’t know how to feel right now, but she did know one thing… She’d rather worry about someone and have a chance of things turning out well than shield herself from heartbreak by never taking a chance at all. If that was how she felt, they wouldn’t be having this conversation at all.

A few seconds would pass before a light knock came at the door. It caused Francis to turn around, opening it slowly. She wasn’t even sure if it was Adeline at the door or if it was someone from the 13th who had heard the noise from her outburst. Either way, she would face up to whatever was waiting for her - for better or worse.

"Look, I understand how you might feel about all this... I understand you're going through a lot. I'm sorry if you thought I wasn't, well..." Adeline seemed confused as to the nature of this outburst herself. "Look, after what happened with my superior, I'm not exactly in the best place, either. If you want to talk about it, I'd be more than willing to do so."

“I…” started Francis, her voice trailing off. “I guess I am being kind of insensitive. You know, not thinking enough about you. But…” she said, leaning in the doorway as she opened it all the way. “It just felt like the same thing was going to happen. The thing where I end up getting my hopes up about something and get my emotions trampled on again. It’s kind of the expected course at this point, coming from Daimiel which is… Conservative on most things. If you w-want to come in and talk, you c-can.”

The corporate pilot quietly stepped forth into Francis' quarters, her eyes studying the surroundings of the room briefly before situating herself bedside. Composing herself, she began. "I know it's happened to you many times before, but I'm not here to hurt you. I understand it feels lonely out here, especially when nobody trusts you or treats you fairly. But I care." There was a bit of awkwardness to it, perhaps — she was in no way obliged to do this, and she wasn't exactly the best in consolation, but she seemed to be trying her best out of selfless sympathy.

Francis stepped further inside the room, looking to her desk that had the laptop on it. She looked around like she was searching for something, until she came across a notebook which had some specific designs drawn in it - particularly, chemical designs, and notes about how they worked. Despite her current career path, Francis did know her way around drugs and how they worked. She’d been one of the ‘chefs’ for the Camilea Cartel, that had been responsible for producing some of the goods that the cartel spread around her home country. “I really did make this. At least, the composition,” she said, showing the notebook to Adeline.

It seemed to be a combination of a couple of popular drugs, BXDDY and VRXH. And Francis had come up with a formula that merged the traits of both of them. There was a name scrawled at the top for the composition - ADXLINE. “Haven’t actually cooked it up yet, but trying to do that kind of thing around here isn’t the easiest task.”

"Named after me..." She trailed off, curious at the devised chemical mixture. "Just don't put this out there. I have a reputation to uphold in the company."

Francis chuckled lightly, placing the notebook back down on the laptop before moving to lay down on the bed. “I’ll keep that in mind. I have a bit of knowledge about things like this, I used to work in the kitchen for the Camilea Cartel. Which… Actually means I used to do stuff like this full time. I came from Corona Street in Camilea, 3500 block specifically,” she said. “Dangerous place. People in the cartel didn’t really care about… About m-me, and I had one of the only good friends I’ve ever had there, but I’m sure I would have died by now if I stayed there, because of the danger of the j-job…”

“Was one of the only places I felt like I could be myself, but I ended up joining the Daimielese Air Force and getting assigned to the 1st Combat Wing when… Someone accused me of ‘trapping’ them and everyone around me turned on me. Like I said before, I had squadmates try to send me to my death on sorties, had to deal with stuff worse than getting locked up in a closet, and I thought I had escaped it by coming here so you can… You can see why I’m worried about the same thing happening here,” she continued. She moved to the same spot she’d stored her weed last time, pulling out a joint and sitting back down on the bed, lighting it to calm herself down a bit.

"I wouldn't let something like that happen. Not while I'm around, anyway." Adeline reassured her. "Reminds me, though..." It seemed she was about to reminisce on her own past, as far as contracts permitted, anyway. "I got the job at the Corporation instead of the Federal Air Force because of the state of my country. The struggle of nations and ideologies are a distant memory now. It's all just a big corporate game — and every base that the army leaves empty in Mederum becomes one housed by private contractors. I hate it... but I know I'm more useful working with McLellan-Kuron than flying routine patrols over the Atlantic. This is the first time I've seen combat, really. Anyways, my parents were from Gallia. They came to Euphemie looking for a better place, someplace they could dream and aspire towards the future — give me a good place to live and prosper. It's why seeing what's happening to the country pisses me off so damn much. But maybe... it's better than more people drafted to die in pointless wars."

Adeline stopped herself then, managing a light chuckle. "Sorry, I think I rambled on a bit there."

“No, it’s interesting hearing about it… About your country and such. Never had to think about that kind of thing while coming from Daimiel, the Air Force is mostly just for show. Not like Daimiel would ever fight someone that has a real Air Force, everyone knows it wouldn’t turn out well,” Francis stated before taking a drag from the joint in her hand. “Closest I ever came to combat before coming here was a few close calls with the Alvimian border… That changed pretty quick after coming here, though. I wasn’t even out of training with the J-5 when we first ended up fighting the Velezians.”

She let an awkward silence fall over the room, wanting to say something but staying away from the subject that they were surely both thinking about at this point, but was also very awkward to bring up. Especially when… Neither of them were in a great emotional state right now.

"...I see." Adeline paused momentarily, pondering for a moment what to say. The loss of her superior effectively meant she decided the bounds of 'corporate policy'. Reinforcements — and a replacement to her superior — were due to arrive tomorrow, from what the rumors had said. "So, what exactly is it about me that made you, uh, act that way? Unless what happened earlier was just an outburst."

“It… Was an outburst, but the reasons behind it are real,” Francis admitted, pausing a moment to think while she stared at the ceiling. “And… I think it’s easy to fall for someone when you’re in my position and you’ve never had anyone stand by you… No one that you would be… Interested in, anyway. I’ve been close with others briefly and things eventually get… Too close and someone finds out about me and pushes me away every time, and now you tell me that it doesn’t change your ideas about me? I’ve never had anyone say that before. You’re the kind of person I’d die for - because I’ve wandered through my entire life without anyone like that around me.”

The admission had obviously taken her aback, Adeline seemingly taking a few moments to process it all. "I understand now. It's just different, I guess. For me it's a job, but for you it's pretty much your life. That doesn't change the fact we're both stuck out here, though. I'm not headed back to the mainland anytime soon, and I've just recently begun seriously thinking about that fact. I've treated being out here with too businesslike a perspective — maybe I should be more open. About myself, my emotions, all that. Off-duty, of course." It was rather vague whatever she was getting at, but she leaned back, her gaze turned to the ceiling. "I'm flattered you'd feel that way, too. I didn't know someone like me could give anyone that much purpose..." Trailing off again, a silence befell the two pilots once more.

“I’ve been accused of running away but fact of the matter is I haven’t had much option but to run all my life. Where else am I supposed to go? Back to Daimiel where most people would hate me and where the only thing I have to do is work at the lower level of some cartel and die in a shootout? Find a regular job here when I’ve never worked one before? I was in the cartel, then in the Air Force, it’s not like I have any experience outside of those two things. I guess you’re right. You have options. I don’t. And I don’t know how you feel about me, and it’s selfish to say this, but if I’m going to put my life on the line out there I at least want to be able to say I took a shot at this. If… If something happens, I don’t want to be the one to never have tried,” Francis said, voice quiet.

"Reinforcements for my unit arrive tomorrow, along with a new squadron manager. The best time to violate corporate policy would be now, if that's what you imply." Answered the pilot, still keeping her composure on the matter.

Francis paled slightly at the mention of ‘corporate policy,’ exhaling smoke before speaking. “I… Was speaking more long term b-b-but I… Won’t back away from what I think you’re talking about,” she said, her voice suddenly filled with a new nervousness as she ended up in a situation that she hadn’t even imagined herself ever getting in before. This turn of events, it was one that she could hardly process mentally - and she didn’t know if she’d be adequate, per se.

"...and remember," Adeline produced a VRXH blotter from one of her suit pockets, leaning in. "You're worth much more than this war. You've got a life ahead of you, and if I've helped you realize you've got more to live for," for dramatic effect Adeline hesitated, catching Francis off-guard as she brought the blotter to the mercenary-pilot's tongue. Potent as a drug it was, it surely correlated with her intentions. "...then I can head into the next sortie a little happier."

Francis’ hands were shaking - but mixing the two drugs was enough to keep her from freaking out too much. Calmed her down a bit, gave her other things to focus on other than her fear of failing at this, which had emerged from nowhere after the sudden suggestion that she hadn’t been prepared for. “Let’s do this, then…” she said, putting her hands on Adeline even as they were still quivering from her nervousness.

She laid back - she’d let Adeline take the lead here, it wasn’t like she herself would have the experience to know what to do, based on her current situation. And as she extinguished the joint in her hand and set it aside, she was left wondering one thing before she turned her mind back to the task at hand, and how quickly things had changed: what had she ever done to deserve her sudden reversal of fates, and how long would it last before something happened again?




Francis once again stared at the ceiling, but the circumstances were completely different this time. She was ashamed to say it, but she had never… Never had someone next to her in bed like this. Not after this anyway. She had mostly handled herself well, but now that it was over… It was easy for her nervousness to take root once again, just like she was composed in the sky and often stuttered when she was on the ground. “Damn…” she muttered under her breath, more to herself than anything. Like she was reaffirming that it was indeed real, that this wasn’t the cruel kind of dream that one would wake up from finding themselves back where they had started.

“You violated corporate policy… I’m pretty sure I violated my religion somehow. But I think we’re both happier for it,” she remarked, glancing over at Adeline, heart racing ever so slightly at the sight of her.

"Yeah." Nonchalant as ever, Adeline nodded. "I sure am... hopefully you are, too. Just try not to get too distracted on your next sortie." Glancing down to her wrist, she seemingly noted the time, to which she was quick to roll out of bed and quickly get dressed once more. "Time waits for no-one. I've got to handle my usual tasks... paperwork's a bitch." Approaching the door, she hesitated for a moment, turning around.

"Don't forget your purpose. Your dreams and aspirations will guide you through this war in one piece. Hold on to 'em tight." The figure of the pilot in the dimly-lit room soon disappeared as the door opened and closed a few seconds later, the corporate pilot having taken her leave.

“Yeah, see you around, I won’t forget…” Francis said, sitting up with the covers pulled around her - only completely processing what had happened minutes after Adeline was already gone. She would also get dressed again, glancing at her uniform which was visible in the room. Maybe this squadron was hell to some extent. This wouldn’t fix her problems with the other members of her flight and it wouldn’t make them like her but… She had more of a reason to endure it than she had in the past.

“Maybe this is what it’s like…” she muttered out loud to herself as she sat on the edge of the bed, staring off towards the door. “To actually look forward to the next day.”



Camilea, Daimiel, was an example of a city where the experience was completely different depending on where your social standing was. Those who were on the top would have it good with plenty of luxury goods and access to drugs, political power, and sports cars. However, quite a few people in the city were actually in that upper class - and the middle class was also quite small, with the majority of the city being working class or living in flat out poverty. For those who lived in the lower class parts of the city, the vast majority of it, the place was known as nicknames such as Camiraya, a reference to Vajraya and its crime and caste system, and generally low standards of living. Or Camaliro - the place was said to be worse than Tangaliro for the working class and poor, even after Tangaliro had been hit with nuclear fire during the Transatlantic War many years ago.

For a certain select group of people who lived there, however, surviving this place was a point of pride for them. If you could survive in Camilea you could survive anywhere, they said. The toughest places of Camilea were some of the toughest places in the entire country, the streets of the inner city were places where there were cartel soldiers from different sets posted on most of the major street corners, where having the wrong tattoo or saying the wrong thing or throwing up the wrong sign could get someone easily ‘smoked,’ as they said on the streets. Murder wasn’t uncommon in Camilea, and based on statistics, there was about a nine out of ten chance that anyone who wasn’t ‘important’ would never have their case solved completely following their homocide. Most of the police resources went to the parts of society that were considered to matter more.

The Romero government was somewhat better in this area than the Alvarado government of many years ago had been, but it was hard to make large sweeping changes when the culture of the country had for so long helped the current system to flourish. That system remained in place, only changing very slowly, and had created an entire class of people who would do anything to escape the circumstances that they were born into - the cartels, who had been an infamous part of Daimiel for many years to the point that the current regime had been put in place partly by a renegade faction of the country’s largest cartel.

These days, it wasn’t the Soloara Clique that ran the game on the streets. They had already transitioned to more of a paramilitary organization that worked with the government junta - which they had helped put in place. These days, a number of factions battled one another for control of territory and market share in drug sales as well as other bloodier markets such as the arms market. There was La M, otherwise known as the Daimielese mafia family, but there were others such as Tuyal Mob and the everlasting homegrown cartel from the Capital, the Camilea Cartel. Each one also had a number of subfactions, or sets, within it. It was an in depth ecosystem with both predators and prey, strong sets and weak sets, cartels that would run the streets and ones that had more deaths than they did kills in wars with their opponents.

Corona Street in Camilea, which ran through some important areas in addition to being the home of a number of apartment blocks which were home to known criminals, was firmly in the hands of the Camilea Cartel. The 3500 block in particular, named using the grid system that the Daimielese capital used, was in specific one of their strongholds - and a spot where frequent battles happened between the local Camilea Cartel set known as 350 and their enemies from the local region. It had produced some of the hardest gangsters to come out of Camilea - some of whom were gathered in one room right now, staring at footage on a computer screen and analyzing it carefully.

“Pause it,” said the lead figure of the group, Romulus Suarez, better known as ‘Montezuma’. One of the top drug dealers in the city, Montezuma was feared not just because of his own fierce skills in a battle, but the fact that he could easily have goons after anyone in Camilea and the country at large with just one phone call. Few wanted to get on the wrong side of Montezuma, which was perhaps why everyone else in the room was so quick to listen to his instructions.

The video was paused and they were looking at a frozen and grainy frame displaying a jet fighter in the air, doing some aerobatic move. The fighter was pulling up quickly after leaving the runway, going into a high turn quite impressively. Montezuma clicked backwards, placing the video back to where it had been before the takeoff. It was clear now, there were indeed two flags on the airframe. One of them was the flag of Daimiel, the other one was the flag of Canguari - the country that the video had been shot in. The subject of the video was about this pilot’s first flight in this specific jet, the G/C-415.

The pilot representing Daimiel had made waves in the local media when news of the South Ophir conflict reached the TV stations back home, and those journalists had tried hard to get some more information on just who this pilot was and what they were doing in Canguari. Daimiel, after all, didn’t produce aces. The country’s Air Forces never saw combat. The closest they came was almost always near engagements with Alvimia, but they never wanted things to turn into more than that. So when this pilot showed up and started downing enemy aircraft over the Zone, it drew the attention of many people in what was assumed to be the pilot’s home country.

But even when the journalists looked into the matter, they couldn’t find the actual identity of the pilot - who wore a helmet which displayed a design of angel wings and a halo, both of which reflected some of the iconography of the Camilea Cartel. They didn’t know who was under the helmet and the protective equipment which blocked most of the face from being see, but they had the feeling that this was someone they knew. At least, the most important figure in the set did.

“Francis goes off the radar… Not much longer after that happens, someone from Daimiel defects to Canguari with an ArG-12. Now Canguari has a pilot that uses the Daimielese flag and has a helmet with our wings painted on it?” Montezuma asked, rhetorically. “I’m saying what you all think I’m saying. I believe that this pilot is someone that we’re all familiar with.”

“Francis… Madrazo?” asked one of the others.

“Madrazo the chef. Comes from this very block, used to be with us until she joined the Air Force. Well, ‘she’. Some of us in this very same room remember when Francis used to go by ‘he’, but that apparently changed by the time that… He joined the Air Force. Used to be one of the more talented ones in the kitchen, however. And now it looks like our former friend is out there killing Velezians.”

Most of the cartels in Daimiel preferred Velezia to the other regional powers around them. Alvimia was the main enemy of the country as their former colonizer, and Euphemie and Alvimia growing closer had also brought the ire of the Daimielese upon the Euphemians. The two countries had at one point been close to a certain extent, with Euphemie exerting a decent amount of influence over Daimiel, but these days, that influence had shifted to Velezia. And so the Camilea Cartel wasn’t the happiest about one of their members disappearing, cutting contact, and then turning on the nation that shared both an ethnic background with Daimiel as well as the same political friends and enemies.

“Sounds like a problem,” said one of the others in the room, someone who wasn’t known as an infamous leader but rather as a ‘hitter’, one of the ones that would enforce the will of Montezuma and other prominent officials within the Cartel. This particular shooter went by the name AR Arturo - a reference to the AR4 assault rifle which had been used for many years in Daimiel, with the latest version, the AR4M2, still being used today by the military. Like his nickname indicated, he’d taken out many people with that said weapon, getting away about every time with the crime.

“I talked to Francis a bit before she went off the radar, she didn’t have a good time in the Air Force. I’m sure she had her reasons for disappearing or whatever, and we don’t even know if this is her,” pointed out one of the others in the room, Matias ‘Cobra’ Ibarra. “There’s other air mercs from Daimiel, and I don’t think Francis would have went back to flying after things went south for her-”

“What, you’re on his side?” someone else said.

“Just saying some pilot with the Daimiel flag on their jet doesn’t mean much in a conflict with air mercs making up a good chunk of one of the sides,” Matias replied.

“Except air mercenaries based here don’t claim the country as their own, you should know this,” Montezuma stated, allowing the video to play once again and watching as the G/C-415 performed a slick maneuver - the pilot in the cockpit pulling off the fancy move during their first outing in the type. “I believe we should consider this an act of treason. Against the Daimielese race and against this cartel aside from the fact that Francis deserted his country. And because there’s not treason allowed by this organization, I’m writing out a two million peso check for anyone that takes Francis’ life. He will learn his mistakes for breaking more than one oath.”

“Isn’t that a bit extreme?” asked Matias, raising an eyebrow.

“It’s the rules, and I’m going to enforce them,” Montezuma replied, already completely decided on what he was doing. There wasn’t much anyone else could say at this point. The two million pesos would be worth about a hundred thousand Euphemian dollars - definitely enough to turn around the fate of someone poor and stuck on the streets, at least if they were smart with how they spent it. There were quite a lot of gangsters around here that could use this kind of money. The question was just how many of them would make the trip to Canguari to go after the bounty?

“Now,” continued Montezuma, reaching for his phone that had been resting on the tabletop. “I believe it’s time to inform the cartel’s top shooters about this. I’ll call up a couple of air mercenaries that I happen to know, too… This is going to happen whether we have to gun Francis down in the street or shoot him right out of the sky. Either way, the result is the same, and the country and the world will see that the Camilea Cartel does not tolerate treason,” he added, dialing a number. “May the best shooter win…”
i'm the bad guy... duh.

for: the anime right
anti: catgirls & people who step on snek

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Valefontaine
Chargé d'Affaires
 
Posts: 368
Founded: Dec 18, 2017
Democratic Socialists

Postby Valefontaine » Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:58 am

Various sections of this collab were collaboratively written with Forest State.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    A C T 6 - "R E I N F O R C E M E N T S"
    van der Kaap Airstrip, 15km NW of Sofía, Duchy of Canguari
    FEBRUARY 11, 422


    __________________________________

The signature sight of the Utsanji-made H-2K3, carrying the livery of the McLellan-Kuron corporation, caught Adeline's eye as the aircraft descended upon the runway, its figure silhouette-like in the vivid orange and pink hues of the morning sunrise in the east. Its landing gear deployed, the aircraft seamlessly touched down on the dirt of the airstrip, soon coming to a halt by one of the vacant hangars.

Image
Reinforcements at last.


"Reinforcements, huh?" Easton stood beside her, watching the scene unfold.

"More to the logistics contingent." noted Adeline, watching the doors of the aircraft open as more suits and ground crewmen stepped out. "New pilots should be..." Giving pause, she looked on into the distance. Five CF-71A Recluse aircraft were on the approach, presumably to land in succession. "Coming now."

Easton managed a nonchalant nod. "Fair enough."

Gradually the fighter aircraft made their descent, their landings and taxiings following one another in quick succession. Once all had settled down, Adeline found herself approached by one of the pilots — presumably Powers' replacement.

"Adeline... Crozier?" The man seemed older than her by a few years, probably his late twenties — as for his features, messy short blonde hair aside, his eyes were obscured by a pair of aviator sunglasses. He was slim, muscular and impressively tall — better fit to be an action hero than a corporate pilot.

"That would be me." nodded Adeline, speccing up the pilot. Judging by the card on his flightsuit, he was the new squadron manager.

"Charles Lauer Thompson-Twins G. Plissken. I'm your new squadron manager. I've already gone through the second flight, but you can get yourself acquainted with them. You all are lucky — flying from the mainland was a bitch, and we're already going on our first sortie in five days."

"Already?" Hesitantly, Adeline nodded.

"Business never rests, Crozier. I'll be settling in my new office, if you need me." He walked off, leaving Adeline and Easton idle beside the runway as the other pilots began emerging from their respective craft.

"Could've been worse." commented Easton beside her.

"Worse how?"

Easton shrugged. "I dunno. You handle this meet-and-greet, I'll be at the ba—"

"No drinking today. We're flying practice with these new bloods."


____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    Reunification Test Range, Red Pine, Federal States of Euphemie
    FEBRUARY 11, 422


    __________________________________

Brynn's eyes were aimed skyward. Two fighters engaging in the centuries-old art of dogfighting: a single unmanned QF-127 Vampire — plenty of the fighters had been converted into unmanned target drones following the Transatlantic War — and her masterpiece, the F-72K Hierofalcon ESPER. Today it would be operating on new data that'd been collected from the engagement in the Zone. She wasn't exactly proud of the fact she was working with corporate scoundrels, but there seemed to be few alternatives that would advance her research.

The upgraded Hierofalcon had a notable difference to its features than the previous models — two slight bump-like structures to its rear section that, albeit slightly increasing the fighter aircraft's RCS, were complemented by the vastly upgraded ECM and jamming systems onboard. These 'bumps' had a purpose, of course — the deployment of two small, armed UCAVs that could be tasked to anything from air-to-air engagements to air-to-ground precision strikes where swift maneuverability was needed.

Swiftly the two aircraft maneuvered above in the air, the aerospace engineer's eyes set upward as the high-stakes competition took place. The F-72 was much more maneuverable than an F/A-127, but the older aircraft was still a formidable one. The spiral of the two aircraft continued above, a faceoff between the new and the old, the autonomous system guiding the aged Vampire airframe upward, pushing it to its limits to compete with the Hierofalcon.

Abruptly the Hierofalcon dived, and for a moment Brynn worried that something might be terribly wrong — until the fourteenth-generation fighter deployed its twin UCAVs, the parasite MQ-49 Euphonia drones descending and strafing the QF-127 as the Hierofalcon's pilot opened up on the aircraft with the fighter's 20mm guns, diving past the unmanned fighter. Through her binoculars, she could see that the strafe had effectively ruined the unmanned fighter, sending the QF-127 lifelessly gliding up before it began to fall.

It was the 101st successful experimental sortie with the Hierofalcon ESPER, though Brynn hadn't seen a maneuver this incredibly swift. The PFS partly assisted in the pilot's maneuvers, and she knew this well — whatever data had been given to it, it'd significantly improved from it. She'd need more.

BOOM

The unmanned fighter crashed down, exploding as it hit the surface. Base fire staff dispersed, heading to quell the flames that now burned away on the sands.

"Impressive." A voice from behind her made her turn around — James "Jim" Veteran-of-the-Psychic-Wars "Jimmy" Tearing-up-my-Heart M. Neworder, a high figure in the Central Bureau of Intelligence. Much of his past was obscured in mystery, as came naturally with most spooks — but his reputation preceded him, as was natural with anyone who carried the honor of being the son of the Great President who'd brought Euphemie through the second most trying conflict in its history.

Image
One of many faces of the faceless Bureau, yet another ghost with a story.


"Is this a courtesy visit, or should I worry myself with more of your friends from Cornerstone?" Brynn questioned, referring to the 'intelligence city' that was Cornerstone, adjacent to the capital, Serondequot. It was a city in of itself, largely housing employees of the Bureau and their families.

"No need to be cold, Qianlong. I come with information I'm sure you'll find helpful — five CF-71s left Red Pine a day ago. They were traveling south, making a few refueling stops along the mountains. McLellan-Kuron's probably working with the Alvimians to fly all the way south without trouble." said Jim.

"You're going to ask something of me, then." She cynically noted.

Jim sighed, a solemn reminiscence escaping him. "I know well how you feel about the state of the nation — the decadence... every nation our troops withdraw from, our boots on the ground get replaced with sociopathic, money-hungry thrill-seekers; corporate lackeys devoid of faith and patriotism simply looking for money and a way to vent their craving for ultraviolence on the next insurgency or two. The war my father led this nation through twenty-nine years ago meant something — not just to him, but to the hundreds of thousands of men and women who served. You were one of them — you've made sacrifices like no other in the name of liberty. You lost friends, comrades... all to preserve and uphold a vision we shared for the future."

"Everyone lost something." grimly noted Brynn, keeping relatively quiet as she watched the unmanned fighter burn away, its battered wreck an unrecognizable heap of twisted metal. "What exactly is it you want?"

"A mutual exchange. You receive funding and facilities for your projects. In return, you help us. Alliances change on a whim, as history has shown time and time again — Dom Pedro may one day see to renegotiate the Porto Plácido Pact on a whim. To that end, we need to keep both Alvimia and Velezia in check — and the Republic of Floriana seems a perfect balance to the equation." proposed Jim, crossing his arms as he studied Brynn's response.

"I don't want my magnum opus being used for a petty corporate dispute."

"To the contrary. The 1st ASOC is being returned to active service, and they will fly your aircraft." replied Jim, chuckling to himself. Tapping Brynn on the shoulder, he offered her a cigarette. Hesitantly, she accepted, producing a lighter from her labcoat and smoking as she watched the F-72K descend upon the runway, softly landing on the asphalt and soon finding a hangar. The two pilots that crewed it stepped out once more, ground crews assessing the airframe. The man had hesitated momentarily before he continued. "but..."

There seemed to be something more to his offer, something Brynn had immediately become curious about. "Hm?"

Jim smirked, looking up to the grand expanse of the great blue sky above. "You're a veteran of a hundred fighters' score... a myth among those who live to fight in the skies. That's why having you on-site is a necessity."

"On-site?"

"The CBI controls a loaned airbase in Los Valles Province. Basilisco AFB. Two flights of F-72Ks would be sufficient. Local security comprises of CBI Special Tasks and Activities Division elements integrated into the private military unit 'ARDENT SIGMA'."

Brynn easily could infer what would be said next. "You want me to travel to Floriana and run a squadron." It wasn't a question. Brynn thought back to her own days in the 447th as a Major, handling a flight of her own — she'd lost them all once before in Operation War in Heaven, and her regret at that had never truly gone away. Yet perhaps... there was opportunity to right the wrongs of the past. She wouldn't be flying aircraft of course — those days were long behind her — but the amount of data she could collect by having her own fighter aircraft actively participating in combat would surely do miracles for her research.

Jim managed a chuckle. "It seems you can already predict where this is going. These pilots need—"

"—a Boss." The two had simultaneously uttered the word. This served to affirm Brynn's perspective on the matter. If Euphemie was to be safeguarded from regression into corporate decadence, she would have to begin small — Ophir's backwaters seemed a good start.


____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    van der Kaap Airstrip, 15km NW of Sofía, Duchy of Canguari
    FEBRUARY 18, 422


    __________________________________

Adeline had been brought to attention at exactly nine in the morning sharp by a knocking at her door — she'd been awake for some hours earlier, but this came as sufficient reminder of what was to come today. Operation Morning Oil, it was called — silly as it sounded, it would be a rather significant task in the grand scheme of things. They'd also be working with the Canguarians and their air mercenaries again this time around.

Opening the door, she was greeted by the sight of her new squadron manager, Charles Lauer Thompson-Twins G. Plissken. She'd quickly learned a few things about him — namely, he was pretty bad at poker, his father had been involved in Operation War in Heaven, and he was overall a pretty cool superior — surely there'd be little trouble between them going forward.

"Briefin' time. I'm sure you've already read through the docs on the mission, but we're in for a big one. Seeing as this is my first real combat sortie, I figure you might know a bit more about what you're doing than me."

Adeline nodded, slightly surprised at her superior's recognizing of her combat ability. "Right. Who's giving the briefing?"

"Not Pecks. One of the execs that arrived with reinforcements." replied Plissken.

The two pilots quietly began down the corridors of the barracks, soon joined by the pilots of both the 13TFS and the 12FS. Adeline had briefly spoken here and there with the pilots of the new flight, nicknamed 'Widows', getting a basic idea of each of the new pilots. The leader of the second flight was Brooke Sawyer She-Blinded-Me-With-Science J. Parrish, a rather cryptic type who, like many others, had parents who served in the Transatlantic War. Something about her put Adeline off, though — she simply suspected the woman to be hiding something. Already she was striking up conversation, which wasn't any better.

"Hm.. anything you can tell me about the thrill of fighting over these skies?"

"You'll get used to it quick. Try not to get shot down over Cortina Roja territory, either." Adeline's advice was simple, the corporate pilot not wanting too much to do with her rather suspicious peer.

To this she'd managed a slight chuckle, lowering her teashade sunglasses at the suggestion. "..not that I'd get myself shot down." Naivete — it came with every one of these pilots. Adeline remembered the feeling of quasi-invincibility she had before that run-in with Clancy's pilots — how quickly it'd gone away at the sight of Powers being shot down. These new arrivals probably figured the man had poorly evaded, or made some other kind of mistake, but Adeline knew well that these pilots would soon find out the hard way just how vulnerable they could be.

The pilots of the 13th Fighter Squadron were also involved with the current operation at hand and were making their way towards the briefing room - the squadron once again united in full strength as the first flight joined the ‘Dreamchasers’ at the van der Kaap Airstrip. Personalities had clashed enough early but it was safe to say the balance was going to be thrown off even more as they were joined by four more pilots from the first flight.

“So Francis is going to be here, eh?” asked Laurita Aquino, the one that had been fixated on the exploits of the Daimielese mercenary after the past few days.

“Don’t know why you sound excited about that,” replied Ulysses Tony Fly-Me-To-The-Moon Savage, one of the pilots who happened to share a flight with Francis. “What, haven’t realized that ‘she’ is a he by now?” he added, along with a chuckle. “That Aurelianet thread didn’t take that long to get around.”

“As if I’d care about that,” Laurita replied, waving her hand dismissively towards Savage. They weren’t each other’s type of person - while Ulysses had a more cynical tone and criticized Francis, Laurita was much more upbeat and didn’t sound like she cared about the “rumors” at all. The fact that the two of them were walking next to each other and talking to each other in the first place was… Quite interesting for neutral observers.

“What is it about Francis, exactly? Only reason ‘she’ has any fame in the first place is because her country’s shit at producing fighter pilots. Wouldn’t be considered much of an ace in Euphemie or anywhere else that matters,” Savage replied, with a shrug. “Or are you just attracted to his looks?”

“Not answering that yet!” said Laurita, before pushing past Savage to head to the door of the briefing room, while the others watched the end of that conversation from behind. They wouldn’t have been able to hear the same thing - but might have had some idea of what it had been about, depending on how well they knew the pilots that were involved. Francis herself was with the group in the rear - not really talking to anyone, the only one on her mind being Adeline, who she’d once again be flying on the same operation with. But for the first time in an important op like this since things had changed between them.

"Guess nothing really was going on between the sec squadron manager and that pilot from 12 F-S." Easton noted to herself.

"W—why do some of these people only care about what's in each others' pants?" questioned Sloane Ultravox Out-of-Touch Burnin'-for-You A. Austin. Another member of the second flight operating a CF-71F Super Recluse nicknamed 'Jade', she had apparently been a dropout from weapons design. She wasn't exactly the most socially minded, caring more towards spreadsheets of radar ranges and blueprints.

"Shouldn't matter, should it?" Operating CF-71F Super Recluse 'Predator' was Lucian Ure Quiet-Life J. Blackwell. The man was an Oesterran from what Adeline had picked up, still carrying a slight accented drawl as he spoke. He wasn't too trustworthy either, and Adeline figured him more a womanizer than an effective pilot.

"The President frowns upon this shameful behavior." Patrick Bell Sunglasses-at-Night D. Coleman was a former Federal Air Force pilot, and a hardass, given what Adeline had learned. She practically rolled her eyes at this — rumors of the President's hedonism and vanity were more than universal at this point.

Houston was last to speak before reaching the door. "Sure thing." he chuckled, clasping the knob of the door. "...you shouldn't meet him, then. Probably will crush your entire view of the world."

There were a few more mutterances as the band of pilots filed into the briefing room, dingy whiteboard illuminated by the light of the projector in anticipation for the briefing to come. Adeline seated herself by her fellow pilots of the first flight, wondering to herself if Francis had been scared off by their last encounter. It seemed, however, that Francis still had some confidence left in her. When the pilots of the 13th entered and started finding their seats, Francis was only looking for one person. Eventually her eyes settled on Adeline and, after taking a deep breath, she convinced herself to walk over and put her arms around Adeline’s shoulders.

“Don’t get shot down, okay?” she said, eyes closed. She knew there’d likely be eyes on them from both squadrons. Closing her eyes at least kept her from having to see it. This whisper had warranted a light nod from Adeline, the corporate pilot seemingly not wanting to come off as unprofessional in the presence of her coworkers. It didn’t take long for Francis to break away after that - moving back to her own squadron while avoiding making eye contact with any of them. She was going to pretend that they weren’t all watching her and most likely whispering things, too.

Francis would soon be bailed out by the fact that everyone had to pay attention soon to the reason why they were here, which was the briefing for the operation. Someone stood up and moved to the front of the room to address the others - the guy looked pretty casual and slightly young, maybe it was because of the long hair. For whatever reason, he just didn’t look that professional. Adeline was taken aback by this contrast in comparison to their usual source of briefings, Gregory Pecks. Comparisons aside, she was aware of just how important this mission would be in driving the Velezians out of the Zone, and if this man would give them the quick rundown, then surely he was of some importance.

“I see there’s a lot of whispering in this room about whatever thing, but it’s time to pay attention, as I’ve been told that this operation is a rather important one. Both the 12th Tactical Fighter Squadron and the Canguarian 13th Fighter Squadron are going to be in on this one. The former is handling the air to air part of the operation. The latter has been assigned to take out targets on the ground. The target of the operation is an oil refinery to the southeast of here in Tlexochtlitla,” the man said. “Destroying this refinery will deal major damage to the Velezian cause, but as both nations know this, the place isn’t going to be left without a strong defense. There’s an advanced SAM network consisting of AD-160 Tabuu air defence systems, which can shoot a plane out the sky from a hundred and seven nautical miles out. If you want a shot at dealing damage to the refinery and not ending up a flaming wreck before you can even see it, you’re going to have to take those out.”

The man continued. “The first flight of the 13th Fighter Squadron will take the lead and attempt to destroy the air defense network using AGM-216 Rapier missiles. The second flight will be responsible entirely for the air to ground attack on the refinery - You’ll have precision AGM-129 missiles and your goal is to make the best use of them as you can before running out. The first flight won’t entirely be able to bail you out if you fail at this task, as their own pylons will mostly be used to carry the anti radar missiles. Any attack from enemy aircraft will be dealt with by the 12th Tactical Fighter Squadron, who have a more straightforward goal of protecting the 13th while they do their job on the ground. I don’t think I need to explain anything here. You all get to do what you surely want to do… Dogfight, against whatever Velezia throws against this operation.”

After a brief pause, the man went into the final part of the briefing. “You should be able to make it there and back using drop tanks. Preferably you aren’t going to run out of fuel and you’ll return here where you started, but in the event that you do slip up on this task, you’ve been cleared to land at Corona Airstrip. With that, I believe I’ve covered everything that I need to cover for this.”

With the effective dismissal, the pilots left their seats, Adeline included. It seemed the two units would be in it together — closer than last time, too.


____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    Skies above the Zone
    FEBRUARY 18, 422


    __________________________________

The rainforest below was partly obscured by the clouds, Adeline looking on at the mountain ranges to their west as they continued along their southbound course. They were about to cross the boundary out of the Zone — beyond it lay Velezia, and there was little knowing what to expect outside of the lawless zone.

Image
The clouds and mountains of the Zone. Many battles have been fought over the forlorn snow-capped peaks...


Beside her formation, she could see the Canguarian air mercenaries, keeping further below them in anticipation of the impending air-to-ground task they would be filling. As for Adeline's own unit, they'd be keeping any Velezian Air Force threats out of the sky. It was, in essence, a rather simple task — but Adeline knew that this mission, like the last, had pretty high stakes at play. Crashing meant being stranded far behind enemy lines... the lines of an especially hostile enemy that didn't quite concern itself with honor or the rules of war. Neither did they — it was fair game.

Image
MCK-OS v1.17
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL OPERATION MORNING OIL - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
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-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Carpenter" #412-011 | SQM. Charles Lauer Thompson-Twins G. Plissken:// "Approaching the AO."

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003 | PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston:// "..so, why do you think we haven't had to worry about air defenses so far?"

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046 | PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton:// "Because we're literally flying over nothing."


-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "Still wouldn't get shot down over these rainforests, though."


-[ 12TFS/2F/ CF-71F Super Recluse "Amethyst" #421-012 | FLM. Brooke Sawyer She-Blinded-Me-With-Science J. Parrish:// "..and where might these aces of repute lurk?"

-[ 12TFS/2F/ CF-71F Super Recluse "Prurient" #421-013 | PLT. Patrick Bell Sunglasses-at-Night D. Coleman:// "Preferrably nowhere near us."

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©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Continuing along the pristine sight of the clouds below them, Adeline kept at attention. All things considered, Velezia was a pretty nice place — maybe she'd visit the place when all this was over. That was a fantasy, of course — there was probably money out for her head right now. The group of corporate fighters continued, a few dozen feet above the Canguarian group in the aspect of altitude.

Adeline could distantly see Francis' fighter somewhere further below to her right, noting the dark grey and purple colorscheme on the aircraft. It drew unnecessary attention, but then again, so too did their aircraft — although the flash white finish on the underbellies of their CF-71s were wise choices in this regard.

"++Interesting sight ahead.++" the VAS brought Adeline's attention to a mountain peak that seemingly towered above all the others — she'd studied about a few natural features in the region since her arrival, and she knew this one well. Tlaka'nexkimīlitēpetl, or 'Ghost Mountain', was the tallest mountain in the area. It'd been the sight of many a battle in history, not to mention pre-Calamity antiquity, the grand snowy peaks of the mountain hosting ancient ruins.

Word was that the Velezian Army had established a railgun of some sort on one of the peaks, with the intention of being capable of striking Canguarian and Florianan forces in the area with ease — though Adeline saw no visual confirmation of the rumor. If that were indeed the case, it was very likely hitting the oil refinery would disrupt the power supply that such a 'wunderwaffe' no doubt demanded. All imitations of the vastly superior Euphemian EIDOLON weapon of the past century, she arrogantly imagined.

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-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Junkie” | CPT. Ulysses Tony Fly-Me-To-The-Moon Savage:// “You going to handle yourself out here alright, Francis? Don’t worry… I’ll make sure to comfort your girlfriend for you if some SAM shoots you down.”

-[ 13FS/ A/F-04 “Aenaran” | CPT. Jock McLean:// “And I thought I was the one that gets accused of antagonizing Francis…”

-[ 13FS/ G/C-415 Banshee “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “Looks like I’m just going to have to do my thing again. You’ll eat your words, Junkie.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Junkie” | CPT. Ulysses Tony Fly-Me-To-The-Moon Savage:// “We’ll see who takes out more of this place, then. Worry about yourself, kid.”

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046 | PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton:// "..shit, there's two of us designated Junkie. This'll make comms confusing, to say the least."

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Junkie” | CPT. Ulysses Tony Fly-Me-To-The-Moon Savage:// “I’ll switch callsigns to Savage, then… More accurate of a name, anyway.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Cacador” | MAJ. Anselmo Castelo:// “If the second flight is done their little spat, I believe we have a mission to focus on.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Potira” | CPT. Laurita Aquino:// “Good luuuuuuuuck, Francis. I’ll be up front taking out those SAMs for you-”

-[ 13FS/ A/F-04 “Aenaran” | CPT. Jock McLean:// “She doesn’t even know who you are, save this shit for when we get on the ground.”

-[ 12TFS/2F/ CF-71F Super Recluse "Amethyst" #421-012 | FLM. Brooke Sawyer She-Blinded-Me-With-Science J. Parrish:// "We seem to traverse the threshold now..."

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©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Though her words would confuse most who weren't exactly the most well-versed in Euphemian, Parrish was right — they were crossing into the area of operations. Passing the grand mountain of Tlaka'nexkimīlitēpetl, Adeline saw fit to anticipate her superior's announcement.

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-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Carpenter" #412-011 | SQM. Charles Lauer Thompson-Twins G. Plissken:// "..right, what Amethyst said. We're entering the AO — all respective groups are to assume their trajectories in anticipation of the mission's parameters."

CHANNEL 12TFS
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-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "Four F-40 Depredador fighters spotted in the AO. Must be a patrol. I think the first flight can handle it."

-[ 12TFS/2F/ CF-71F Super Recluse "Amethyst" #421-012 | FLM. Brooke Sawyer She-Blinded-Me-With-Science J. Parrish:// "Oh?"

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©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


They were now firmly in the area of operations, and it was go-time. Francis followed the rest of the second flight, which in turn was following the first flight, as they went under the clouds, the visibility hitting zero for a moment as the pilots watched their instruments to judge the altitude and their descent rate among other things before eventually coming out on the other side, the refinery not visible quite yet. However, based on the maps they had looked at, they were all sure that they’d see the facility coming into sight quite quickly.

The Velezians were quick to respond, presumably having detected the approach of either the group of air mercenaries or the CF-71s themselves — to which they'd come into play. Allowing the air mercenaries to make it to the refinery was their task, and to that end they'd fend off the small patrol formation accordingly.

"++Enemy lock-on on friendly aircraft.++" advised the VAS. Perhaps they'd picked up on the tactic, or perhaps the air mercs had gotten past them. Either way, a battle was now unfolding in the skies above Velezia.

The missiles sped past, most of the fighters in the group seemingly managing to evade — yet there had been one who'd somehow fallen short: Jade. The CF-71F had been ripped to shreds by the blast almost instantly, a single chute deploying. Worry set in quickly — nobody had a chance down there. Maybe if the pilot was lucky, they'd land in the mountains — but what then?

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-[ 12TFS/2F/ NO AIRCRAFT | PLT. Sloane Ultravox Out-of-Touch Burnin'-for-You A. Austin:// "..shit. Shit!"

-[ 12TFS/2F/ CF-71F Super Recluse "Amethyst" #421-012 | FLM. Brooke Sawyer She-Blinded-Me-With-Science J. Parrish:// "This was most unforeseen."

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Adeline quickly returned her focus away from the doomed pilot descending into the cloudy abyss below, and focused on the dogfight at hand. Two AAM-241D Comet missiles fired away from the internal weapon bays of her aircraft, rocketing away towards the Velezian fighters. Instantly, one of the four Velezian aircraft had been obliterated, debris raining down as Adeline accelerated past.

"++Three remaining.++" the VAS seemingly pointed out the obvious as Adeline pivoted in the air, her attention set on the other aircraft as Carpenter and Kerouac engaged their target, soaring past her Recluse as they both came upon one of the enemy fighters — Kerouac managing to send it falling from the sky in a fireball, disappearing below the cloud layer.

As the destroyed remains of another F-40 plummeted down, evidently Junkie's handiwork, Adeline saw the last of the enemy fighters had broken off — now desperately fleeing to warn the others.




It hadn’t taken very long for the first flight of the 13th Fighter Squadron to detect their targets after they had entered the area of operations. They detected two batteries with two launchers each, which wasn’t anything they couldn’t handle. Each one was equipped with two HARMS which meant that the four of them had enough to take out eight batteries. However, they did have to make every shot count unless they wanted to risk being responsible for someone getting shot down - which was the number one thing they wanted to avoid here.

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The refinery at Tlexochtlitla is an important strategic target in the Anti-Velezian war effort.
As the leader of the squadron, Cacador was in the lead, with Piata acting as a wingman of sorts and Ubirata and Potira flying in a loose formation behind the two of them, the four planes sticking together for now. The news of the sighting of their targets reached the comms channel quickly, and with the second flight waiting behind them as they trailed from a safe distance, the first flight dove more and prepared to do battle with a SAM system that was quite dangerous.

Because they had to effectively get into knife fighting range before they would be able to dispatch of their enemies, and because the second flight couldn’t do anything until the SAM systems were taken out, the entire 13th Squadron went low to the ground, adjusting their trim controls carefully to make sure they didn’t crash while they flew at what was effectively their operational floor, hoping to stay under the horizon of the air defence systems which could take them out from more than one hundred nautical miles away if they revealed themselves too soon. As they grew closer, however, they would need to force the batteries to reload if they were going to safely attack them - which meant that they needed to get them to fire, before taking advantage of the long reload time to destroy the site.

Piata was the one who ascended and allowed himself to be revealed on radar, and as expected, a number of missiles were immediately fired by the entire site as they converged on the sudden attack. However, Piata had already flipped the ECM switch in the cockpit and the ECM pod had been able to warm up while they were flying into the AO. By the time the attack came, it was already in active mode, and Piata was able to streak away from the attacks without taking damage before following the others, first from the rear and then catching them up again as the group continued in their path towards their targets.

They were soon nearing the range to fire, while the batteries were still reloading - it was one of the major weaknesses of air defense systems like this. They were highly effective at taking the enemy out but if they happened to miss when they took their shot, the massive tubes weren’t quick to load once again. Which right now, could be the demise of the entire site. It was quite the hard task to load a tube as large as a telephone pole while under all out attack from a squadron of fighters. Cacador and Potira missed their first shots but the low flying fighters managed to score a couple of kills on the launchers regardless, with the HARMs of Piata and Ubirata slamming into the last known position where the radar emissions had come from - something which the air defense site had also given away when they used active radar to fire their last shots.

They still had enough space to take another round of shots before they passed over the site, however. This time, the leader of the 13th Fighter Squadron did hit the mark with the HARM, which exploded and caused a large fireball on the ground as one of the two remaining launchers was taken out. There was still one left after the others managed to miss their shots despite having ample chances to finish off the site entirely. However, the second flight in the squadron wasn’t far behind them, and Savage gained altitude before going into a dive and targeting the final launcher, strafing it with the cannon and causing a visible fire before there was a smaller, less grand but still somewhat impressive, fireball as something within the launcher combusted seconds later.

CANGUARIAN AIR FORCE
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-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Savage” | CPT. Ulysses Tony Fly-Me-To-The-Moon Savage:// “I’d like to see Francis do that one.”

-[ 13FS/ G/C-415 Banshee “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “Don’t tempt me, you know my airframe can pull off things like that better than yours…”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Savage” | CPT. Ulysses Tony Fly-Me-To-The-Moon Savage:// “Bragging about things you don’t deserve again? Pathetic.

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Cacador” | MAJ. Anselmo Castelo:// “Let’s settle these differences by seeing who actually does better… Not by talking.”

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.





The 12th Tactical Fighter Squadron was skimming just above the cloudline now, keeping above the formation of Canguarian mercenary aircraft below as they continued forward on approach towards the refinery. The blips on the map were indicative enough that a rather large engagement awaited them — one Adeline wasn't feeling entirely certain about. There were twenty Velezian F-42s on approach, likely responding to the distress call of the craft that had fled earlier.

On the other hand, there were seven of them — if the Velezians were throwing this many at them now, dealing with them quick would probably buy enough time for the mercenaries below to deal with the refinery.

"++Entering range.++" Adeline's craft had largely been ignored by the fact the two conflicting groups of fighters were entering range of one another, the pilot maneuvering her aircraft on a perpendicular intercepting course to strike one of the Velezian aircraft. The small RCS of the aircraft paired with its supermaneuverability made it ideal for an engagement like this, and Adeline was more than aware of that.

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-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Carpenter" #412-011 | SQM. Charles Lauer Thompson-Twins G. Plissken:// "Tourian, what are you doing?"

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046 | PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton:// "She can be a little... out of her goddamn mind, you'll get used to it."

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©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Effortlessly she angled her aircraft upward as 20mm rounds shredded through one of the Velezian light fighters, fuel igniting and cockpit being reduced to bloodied, shattered glass as she soared past. The thrill of the fight coursed through her veins — it was unlike any drug, even recreational coke couldn't compare.

Even as she maneuvered upward, she could see the battle unfold around her — 'Carpenter' cutting down one of the Velezian aircraft down with its missiles, sending the doomed airframe spiraling down into the cloudy abyss below. Numerical disparity aside, it seemed the group of corporate aircraft had made quick work of quite a few of the formation's aircraft, Adeline's squadron-mates managing to send four more of the fighters to their deaths in the skies above Velezia.

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Velezia's bountiful western mountain ranges tower above the clouds themselves.


A flurry of missiles trailed the skies as the F-42s struggled to keep up with the Recluse fighters, 'Carpenter' boosting past Adeline's own aircraft once more as it almost impossibly maneuvered in the skies, evading a cluster of the air-to-air missiles — the disarrayed Velezians not relenting in their attempt to stop 12TFS.

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-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 111/ F-42B Talon "Teyaochiwāni" #402-031 | Tte. Luella Vazquez:// [TRANSLATED] "They're going too damn fast! I can't keep up!"

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©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


"++Are you 'enjoying' this, Adeline?++" the VAS questioned, perhaps inferring from how excitedly Adeline maneuvered the craft that she was feeling the thrill of the dogfight.

She took a moment as she brought her aircraft behind one of the Velezian fighter aircraft, quickly dispatching it by firing away her aircraft's M298 Fafnir 20mm cannons, the single-engine light fighter's small airframe being practically cut in two by the strafing run as she rocketed past. If the pilot had survived the strafing run, they were on a one-way trip to the ground, regardless of whether or not their parachute worked. "Yeah." she finally replied to the program, managing a light chuckle at the pseudo-sense of humor the programmers had given the VAS.

Once again the two groups of aircraft crossed paths, more of the Velezian fighters plummeting down to the abyss as the CF-71s made swift work of the lighter aircraft. Either they had explicit orders to defend the refinery, or they were operating against reasonable notions of retreat. Regardless of what their orders were, she knew now that the enemy's fate was rapidly unfolding before them. Attempting to fire away missiles at their fighters had proven practically useless, much unlike the time they'd been caught off-guard before — Adeline almost wondered to herself if Sloane had simply been incompetent in getting herself shot down.

Once again she'd brought her aircraft behind one of the Velezians, the spray of 20mm rounds connecting with the fighter aircraft's left wing and sending it on a spinning death spiral to the surface. The swift ascension gave her a near birds-eye view of the next phase of the dogfight as it unfolded before her, a grand spectacle of pilot against pilot. The brutal face-off had reduced the enemy's numbers down to six fighters — a number Adeline was sure was about to get lower.

One of the aircraft being sent spiraling down to the abyss seemed to give the enemy aircraft pause — before they abruptly turned back.
Too many old nations to count. NS user since 2013.
"War is the continuation of politics by other means."

only difference between a negotiation and a battle are the rules of engagement
both are fundamentally based on maneuver
put that in your quote book
-The Enclave Government
-Carl von Clausewitz

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Valefontaine
Chargé d'Affaires
 
Posts: 368
Founded: Dec 18, 2017
Democratic Socialists

Postby Valefontaine » Mon Jun 03, 2019 6:00 am

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-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 111/ F-42B Talon "Bullrich" #409-080 | Maj. Victoriano Ponce:// [TRANSLATED] "Those gringos took down the fucking Colonel! Retreat!"

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©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


With the fighter aircraft dispersing, the corporate squadron could once again focus on the task at hand — or rather continue doing so: ensuring that the mercenaries working below the clouds would face no aerial resistance.




With the air defense system down and the oil refinery effectively defenseless as the corporate pilots won their side of the battle, it was time for the second half of the 13th Fighter Squadron to do what they had been sent to do: take out the refinery. The J-5s each had one 500 kg bomb while the G/C-415 that Francis was flying as well as the A/F-04s of the squadron had cluster bombs - and each of them had a number of anti ground weapons too, mounted on their pylons. In other words, it looked like the workers of the refinery on the ground were going to have a bad time, and the Velezian government would take quite the loss here.

Francis, however, didn’t let the certain odds make her overconfident. Especially as it… Just felt like this was a little too easy. The second flight hadn’t had to do anything, and now they were walking into an unguarded facility where they would be able to run rampant in destroying it? She felt there had to be a catch somewhere, but she buried those fears and followed after the others, all four of them firing using their missiles at various targets spread out across the ground. The explosion that happened, however, was larger than anything that they could have predicted from their first salvo. There hadn’t been a fire first, or anything, just a couple of explosions that then set off a chain reaction and engulfed the entire place into one larger explosion which quickly came dangerously close to everyone in the flight except for Francis, who was higher up and managed to stay out the danger zone.

CANGUARIAN AIR FORCE
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-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Savage” | CPT. Ulysses Tony Fly-Me-To-The-Moon Savage:// “Fucking hell, of course Francis is the only one not to get hit…”

-[ 13FS/ A/F-04 “Aenaran” | CPT. Jock McLean:// “She does seem to have luck on her side, yes.”

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ F-19 Cicada "Highroller" #385-010 | Cpt. Xiomara Romero:// “The Angels are coming for you, traitor…”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Savage” | CPT. Ulysses Tony Fly-Me-To-The-Moon Savage:// “And who the fuck would you be, bitch?”

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ F-19 Cicada "Highroller" #385-010 | Cpt. Xiomara Romero:// “Doesn’t concern you, I believe the person in question is very familiar with what I’m talking about.”

-[ 13FS/ G/C-415 Banshee “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “What the hell? When did I ever do anything but help the Angels? It’s damn well the only place I’ve ever fit in, and now you’re coming for me?

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ F-19 Cicada "Highroller" #385-010 | Cpt. Xiomara Romero:// “If you think you can get away with deserting and killing Velezians, you’re wrong. And I’m going to be the one to set things right.”

-[ 13FS/ G/C-415 Banshee “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “Just who the hell are you?”

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ F-19 Cicada "Highroller" #385-010 | Cpt. Xiomara Romero:// “Just someone that the 3500 block sent to handle this business. Montezuma and AR Arturo send their regards. Cobra, too.”

-[ 13FS/ G/C-415 Banshee “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “Cobra… No…”

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


They picked up another contact on radar. The lone contact that had managed to get on their channel and speak to someone, apparently Francis. The radar indicated that it was an F-19 Cicada, which was unusual for this area - unless the pilot wasn’t Velezian but one of the mercenaries that they had heard stories about. The ones that, supposedly, were equipped just as well as the corporate pilots working alongisde the Canguarian Air Force. This pilot, only Francis knew what they were after. And yet, Francis drowned out the sound of the communications channel as they asked for clarification, focusing on just the target that was showing up on radar. This was her fight. She was too wrapped up in it to talk to anyone else.

Suddenly, the missile tone sounded and Francis panicked slightly. She watched as Castro pulled away from the rest of them, going evasive. Both of them had been targeted with AAM-176 missiles, Francis because she was the main target and Castro because he was close enough to her to be a problem for the attacker.

CANGUARIAN AIR FORCE
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-[ 13FS/ G/C-415 Banshee “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “Get out of here, everyone… This has to do with me, you guys can return to base and I’ll cover you. I’ll keep this mercenary at bay.”

-[ 13FS/ A/F-04 “Aenaran” | CPT. Jock McLean:// “And what about you?”

-[ 13FS/ G/C-415 Banshee “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “I try my best to get out of here after you guys.”

-[ 13FS/ A/F-04 “Aenaran” | CPT. Jock McLean:// “I still believe that you’re fucking insane, Francis. But it was an entertaining time knowing you. Would be a shame to have a nice airframe like that go down with you, however.”

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


Both of the missiles fired by the enemy mercenary were evaded as Francis and Castro went evasive - but Francis was the only one to continue on towards the enemy, as Castro reluctantly pulled back with the others that had already turned to leave now that they had completed their mission. With the first flight already having left now that they were out of ammo also… Francis practically found herself alone with the mysterious ace. Well, she didn’t know if the person was an ace. Didn’t even know the name of the person. She did, however, know that they were both connected to the secret world that was Daimielese cartels, which somehow had a way of popping back up even here. She knew the ace was after her because of her decision to leave Daimiel - and the cartel by extension, and to turn on Velezia, the country that many in her own considered a rough homeland of sorts.

She had gotten herself into this mess, in other words. So she was going to get herself out of it and not rely on anyone else. As they came closer to visual range, she fired a pair of AAM-176s of her own, dropping the cluster bombs that she was carrying as well as her drop tanks as a way of reducing her weight and making her plane more agile for dogfighting. But as pretty as it was, she wasn’t trying to turn and look at the explosion on the ground from the cluster bombs - she was entirely focused on the enemy in front of her, which would merge soon.

Only one of her missiles came near the target and the one that did was pushed away harmlessly because of the other pilot’s ECM. She didn’t have space to fire another shot before the merge - the other pilot was flying at a slightly higher altitude than her and suddenly turned, flying upside down over her. The gesture confused her for a moment until she thought to what she had seen on the wings. This plane, it wasn’t a regular plane. The color scheme was a bit unique with the top of the wings being black and white with a specific design… One that was meant to mimic the wings of an angel. This was indeed someone from her country. She didn’t know who, but this person was familiar with the Camilea Cartel, or the ‘Angels’ that had been referred to earlier. The ‘Angels’ that she had left, forced to abandon one of the few places she felt she belonged as her circumstances left her with little choice but to leave the country entirely.

It wasn’t that she hated the Camilea Cartel, it wasn’t that she had even wanted to leave them, but she had been left with little options by other circumstances and her connections there had just been something she’d needed to sacrifice if she wanted to get away from her torment - never in a million years did she imagine that they would send someone, not just anyone but a mercenary pilot, after her to get revenge on her for it. Hell, she wasn’t even aware that they knew of her current location and career path.

She went into a high G turn back towards the fires burning on the ground, hoping to shake the pilot which would be gaining on her rear by now. The missile tone sounded again and she pushed the plane - but unless she wanted to black out she couldn’t push it further than this, and she couldn’t push it far enough to avoid the missile. In hindsight, she should have turned in the opposite direction, forced it to expend more energy, but upon hearing that her former friends were after her, her mental state was in the gutter.

This wasn’t the kind of fight where she would come up with the right thing to do at the right time. This was the kind of fight where she was just trying to survive, as evidenced by the damage that she took from coming a bit too close with the explosion of the missile. By her count, her enemy had… Maybe five or six left, but she couldn’t be certain. She had brought four to the engagement, spending two of them on the first attacks which had missed. The odds were not in her favor.

CANGUARIAN AIR FORCE
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-[ 13FS/ G/C-415 Banshee “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “Adeline! I don’t know where you are but… Looks like my old friends turned on me. You’re the only one now.”

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "Woah— huh— wait!"

-[ 13FS/ G/C-415 Banshee “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “Look, it’s a long fucking story, b-but I have an enemy mercenary on my tail right now, I don’t know if I’m getting out of this one but... I love you, okay?”

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Carpenter" #412-011 | SQM. Charles Lauer Thompson-Twins G. Plissken:// "Crozier— you know what, I'm not even gonna ask."

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046 | PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton:// "—well then—"

-[ 12TFS/2F/ CF-71F Super Recluse "Amethyst" #421-012 | FLM. Brooke Sawyer She-Blinded-Me-With-Science J. Parrish:// "I believe there is a more pertinent aspect to this, however. Pertinent to the mission, that is..."

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "What Parrish said. 12TFS, get 'em off her tail."

-[ 12TFS/2F/ CF-71F Super Recluse "Predator" #421-014 | PLT. Lucian Ure Quiet-Life J. Blackwell:// "Aww, how selfless of you, Tourian."

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "Follow the order."

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


It wasn't long before seven of the aircraft had made their presences known, gliding past the smoldering blaze that had engulfed the oil refinery to intervene in the engagement. The engagement, however, was heading deeper into Velezian territory. Francis had never made an evasive move of her own during the fight - she had shot, the merge had happened, and she had went into a turn to avoid the missile which only narrowly worked, putting them back on their original trajectory with the enemy mercenary behind Francis, chasing after her. She… Had to do something of her own, rather than expecting the corporate pilots to bail her out. She pushed the throttle all the way forward to trigger her afterburners and went into a high, climbing turn that would hopefully keep her from heading too far into Velezia and getting caught in some air defense site’s radar - but her missile tone sounded immediately as she did so.

Four more missiles roared after her, but two of them didn’t have enough energy to keep up with her in her high turn and two of them were caught by her ECM pod, and ended up redirected. It left the enemy ace somewhat astonished - not that Francis was able to see the reactions of the enemy. Her angle was high enough that she couldn’t even see the ground. She was left entirely relying on her instruments to get to safety, but even with help coming in, the other mercenary was gunning for her hard, staying on her trail and not letting up. There was one more missile to be fired, after all.

Adeline's aircraft seemingly spearheaded the loose formation of Recluse fighters, 20mm rounds flying past — perhaps even lightly scathing — the mercenary's fighter aircraft. The ace in question seemed a damn good pilot, managing to avoid a good amount of the run with cautious pivoting. Yet it was obvious now that reality was beginning to set in for the — for the corporate pilots — anonymous ace.

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-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon "Atwater" #391-001 | Col. Valter Rodrigo Me-Chama-que-eu-Vou Félix:// "You're outgunned, Highroller. That fighter of yours can't stand a chance on its own. RTB!"

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ F-19 Cicada "Highroller" #385-010 | Cpt. Xiomara Romero:// “Before you ruin my fun, could you just answer one question for me, Atwater?”

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon "Atwater" #391-001 | Col. Valter Rodrigo Me-Chama-que-eu-Vou Félix:// "Try not to get shot down by those McLellan-Kuron pilots while you ask away."

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ F-19 Cicada "Highroller" #385-010 | Cpt. Xiomara Romero:// “I’m not concerned by white dogs. As for my question, why hasn’t this squadron trusted me with a Hierofalcon? My target would be dead already if I had the best technology…”

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon "Atwater" #391-001 | Col. Valter Rodrigo Me-Chama-que-eu-Vou Félix:// [chuckle] "That isn't my decision to make. That's the Corporation's... maybe if you ask the Velezians nicely, they'll give you one of their fancy prototypes. I'm not saying I saw the Cuervo in hangar before, but..."

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ F-19 Cicada "Highroller" #385-010 | Cpt. Xiomara Romero:// “Right. I’m muting this. I’ll catch up with the rest of you later.”

----
©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


The enemy ace wasn’t making a joke or being hyperbolic. She still had one missile left and she intended to use it, not moving because of the damage to her jet and angling herself for one more shot… Which didn’t come anywhere close to the target because of the tight angle at which it would have had to travel to keep up with the Banshee what Francis was flying ahead of them. Still, the ace wasn’t out of options completely. She switched to guns and took a shot… The gunfire cutting into the plane ahead and doing some real damage to the airframe. It was now that she was left to contemplate her next moves - whether she would listen to the orders and flee, or whether she would stay. “Mother always wanted me to do this, didn’t she?” she muttered from the cockpit, her voice inaudible over the roar of her engines behind her. “I may not get another chance in my life… So I may as well finish this.”

The Recluse fighters as a group were closing in by now, the pursuit bringing the group of fighters closer to the mountain range that overlooked the burning refinery. The Cicada was shaking off the attempts from the group of fighters at striking it, Carpenter's missiles being dissuaded by the dated Euphemian aircraft's flares.

The pilot behind the stick in the Cicada was obviously good - avoiding one strafe while continuing in the high turn, chasing after Francis, who was in survival mode and was hardly pulling any new moves of her own for fear that the G forces were going to rip something off her damaged jet if she did anything too crazy. The ace remained in pursuit even as she was hit by a strafing run that actually did damage this time, making her own airframe look more like Francis’. But either because of extreme confidence or insanity, she didn’t break off from this fight to the death. Because to her, it was a matter of countries, and when countries were involved as well as oaths, it was better to risk death than leave the fight without doing everything. She missed her first guns attack wide, after she had taken the shots just before her jet was rattled by the successful strafe, and she angled for another one.

CANGUARIAN AIR FORCE
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-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon "Atwater" #391-001 | Col. Valter Rodrigo Me-Chama-que-eu-Vou Félix:// "Can't believe I fought in the War to deal with these kids in their incompetent fourteenth-gen fighters... do I need to come over there, Highroller?"

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ F-19 Cicada "Highroller" #385-010 | Cpt. Xiomara Romero:// “By my logic, if this airframe gets destroyed, then it wasn’t good enough. I don’t need anyone’s help…”

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon "Atwater" #391-001 | Col. Valter Rodrigo Me-Chama-que-eu-Vou Félix:// "I'll make sure Velezian Army's on standby on the ground."

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


She took one more shot with her guns and shredded part of the enemy’s engine. She was sure that she had downed the target by now, the massive engine fire surely indicating that Francis was done for… And with that, she sharply turned in the opposite direction from her previous trajectory and turned on her afterburners, heading deeper into Velezian territory with the hopes that the pursuing fighters would either turn back or run into Velezian air defense sites and get interrupted by a rude awakening.

CANGUARIAN AIR FORCE
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-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "Last enemy fighter is exiting the AO."

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Carpenter" #412-011 | SQM. Charles Lauer Thompson-Twins G. Plissken:// "It's mission accomplished, then."

-[ 13FS/ G/C-415 Banshee “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “I’m… I mean… My engines… Are on fire but I should… Make it back in one piece… I’m sorry if I uh… Got you in trouble…”

----
©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


With that, the group of fighters began north, the black pillar of smoke that'd become the oil refinery serving as testament to the swift change in Velezia's logistical situation.

CANGUARIAN AIR FORCE
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-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ F-19 Cicada "Highroller" #385-010 | Cpt. Xiomara Romero:// “She’s not fucking dead, is she…? FUCK THIS FUCKING COMPANY, MAYBE IF SOMEONE GAVE ME THE BEST EQUIPMENT I’D BE ABLE TO DO THE DAMN JOB!”

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


-[ CF-71A Recluse "Carpenter" #421-012: Piloted by SQM. Charles Lauer Thompson-Twins G. Plissken
  • Status: OK
  • Destroyed 3 F-42 fighters.

-[ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008: Piloted by SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier
  • Status: OK
  • Destroyed 1 F-40 fighter.
  • Destroyed 3 F-42 fighters.

-[ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003: Piloted by PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston
  • Status: OK
  • Destroyed 1 F-40 fighter.
  • Destroyed 3 F-42 fighters.

-[ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046: Piloted by PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton
  • Status: OK
  • Destroyed 1 F-40 fighter.
  • Destroyed 3 F-42 fighters.

-[ CF-71F Super Recluse "Amethyst" #421-012: Piloted by FLM. Brooke Sawyer She-Blinded-Me-With-Science J. Parrish
  • Status: OK
  • Destroyed 1 F-42 fighter.

-[ CF-71F Super Recluse "Prurient" #421-013: Piloted by PLT. Patrick Bell Sunglasses-at-Night D. Coleman
  • Status: OK
  • Destroyed 2 F-42 fighters.

-[ CF-71F Super Recluse "Predator" #421-014: Piloted by PLT. Lucian Ure Quiet-Life J. Blackwell
  • Status: OK
  • Destroyed 0 fighters.

-[ CF-71A Recluse "Jade" #421-016: Piloted by PLT. Sloane Ultravox Out-of-Touch Burnin'-for-You A. Austin
  • Status: Airframe destroyed, pilot MIA
  • Destroyed 0 fighters.


Overall: Mission success, oil refinery destroyed



____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    van der Kaap Airstrip, 15km NW of Sofía, Duchy of Canguari
    FEBRUARY 18, 422


    __________________________________

It'd been one of the more tense mornings Adeline had gone through, the aerial engagement aside. Once again, it seemed that a certain pilot from a certain Canguarian air mercenary squadron had once again managed to defy the odds and land the wrecked remains of her fighter in Corona. That'd been a few hours ago — Adeline had spent the past few hours being rather cautiously questioned by her superior as to the context of the apparent confession that'd been levied her way on comms — evidently, it'd occurred to Plissken that it'd all just been an abrupt, heat of the moment decision on the other pilot's part. This worked well for Adeline somewhat, though she remained mildly concerned as to what'd happened after Francis' landing.

It was for this reason that she was waiting for the pilot's return to the airstrip. She couldn't help but feel slighted by the consequences of their confession. It'd certainly cast a good amount of suspicion on her, suspicion that she didn't exactly like dealing with. Still, she was worried — and hopeful that Francis hadn't been roughed up all too bad by the crash.

Francis was mostly silent arriving back at the base, looking… Unlike her usual self. It wasn’t clear just what was wrong with her exactly, but it seemed like she was lacking in energy. Not physically injured. But that wasn’t to say that every injury was physical. The encounter with someone else from her home country had clearly roughed her up - on a number of different levels.

"I'm relieved to see you're okay, Francis." Adeline began, noting her approach. She couldn't help but tense up a bit at the sight of her — clearly she'd been through a lot.

Francis was… Different as she spoke, just like she seemed different from her visible appearance. “In what universe… Would I be okay?” she asked, her voice almost a low growl, the frustration not directed at Adeline but at her circumstances and life in general - and at the apparent betrayal she had just suffered from what she had described as old friends.

"—right." For a brief moment Adeline had been taken aback, though she was quick to compose herself once more. "I'm sorry. I should probably give you some time. I tried what I could back there. She wasn't like the others — she's with the unit that killed my superior."

“Oh,” was all Francis said, stopping and pausing. “She’s… I don’t know who she is, but the things she said on the radio, the markings on her jet… She’s someone from my home country and those things confirmed it. Wants me dead for leaving, since apparently, everything that happened to me wasn’t good enough for them to just let me go. You don’t just leave the Angels and I’m paying the price for doing so. Nearly paid it with my life… But I guess at some point, I did swear that I’d put my life on the line for that cartel, so I can’t say I don’t deserve it.”

Adeline knew well it was a fight she had little say in, but Francis was her friend — and surely that had to mean something. "I just hope you don't think we were just leaving you to die back there. I'd have chased after her, but I wasn't even sure if I had fuel for the return journey."

“I know. I know you want to look out for me, but since I know that I’m only going to cause problems for you like I did earlier… Maybe it would be a good idea to give me some time alone. Even if it’s not what I would want. Don’t let someone like me fuck over your career. Especially when I don’t even know if I’ll be able to get in the cockpit again after something like this,” Francis sighed, moving to walk past, head lowered in defeat as she avoided Adeline’s eyes.

"Wait," She called. "Don't take it that way. I'm not in trouble over anything, just..." It was rare for her to get emotional. "Just know you can't let this bring you down. If you stop here, you'll spend the rest of your life thinking about how you gave up, ran away ... you can't let this define you. Your future's in front of you... life won't move forward if you don't take that next step." By the President's name, she could've been a motivational speaker in another life. Adeline never figured she'd find herself acting like this.

Francis stopped again, still looking away but listening closely to everything Adeline said. “I… I know the writing on the wall. I heard your squadron reacting after I said too much because I thought I was going to die back there. I know that you said that what we did before was against regulations. I… I’m not stupid. So I won’t run away but… What are you going to do next time whatever this is goes against whatever your corporate rules are? Because I don’t want to get my hopes up. And it kills me to not even know what we are and that I probably never will know for sure what this all was.”

Adeline shook her head, sighing. "Just don't put my ass on the line on comms again. 'least I could chalk up what you said up to a random heat of the moment outburst when I was explaining myself to my superiors. That won't work every time, though. Just relax, alright?"

“I’ll do my best,” Francis replied, unsure. She finally turned to look at Adeline, her face slightly better than it had been before. She was still dejected… But she at least looked like she had some hope. “And I meant what I said back there. Being near death made me more honest, and I guess… More brave. I hope you feel the same way about me but if you don’t, then well, I’m glad that I was at least able to say it for once.”

"I think you know me." Adeline chuckled, looking away. "Even if I don't really say it all too much. That's just how I am."

Francis was silent but she nodded, hanging there for one more moment like she might have something else to say before running off, almost in a scared way, to head back to her quarters. She definitely wasn’t physically injured but the mental scars were… Well, it was safe to say they were already taking their toll, after a battle which had both made her doubt herself and reopened old wounds.


____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    Santísimo Redentor, 73km out of Valle del Sol, Los Valles Province, Republic of Floriana
    FEBRUARY 26, 422


    __________________________________

Santísimo Redentor was a small town two hours out of Valle del Sol, home to little more than simple locals and the usual amenities anyone could expect from such a place. It was too small and insignificant to have the usual clueless foreign tourists walking around, which made it all the better. The local police had been placated by the Bureau, locals serving as the eyes and ears of the intelligence operation in the Florianan backwater. All this took place with the consent of the local military and government, of course — any less responsibility the bloated bureaucratic government had to deal with meant more assets dealt to keeping the Sincelín Cartel in the west in check — a group that actively had the capacity of turning Floriana into a narcostate, much like Daimiel.

Jim was sitting across from Brynn, empty shotglass of tequila before him as he nonchalantly leaned back in his cheap plastic chair. "Our associates in Velezia busted some POW convoy in the mountains just a few days back, after that refinery got FUBAR. A pilot from the McLellan-Kuron Corporation. Apparently it was her first sortie..."

"Anything useful come of it?" Brynn questioned, looking to Jim. She was almost half-curious at the insinuation that they'd managed to secure someone affiliated with one of their 'rivals' in the region.

"Not yet, we haven't gotten to that. She's being held at the brig back at Bas-ko." replied Jim.

"Let's get a look, then." Brynn paused for a moment, noting one of the men sitting alone at an adjacent table. In a hypnagogic vision she'd witnessed the suspicious man hushedly reporting his findings to his handlers in Velezian dialect — a spy for the fascists. Without hesitation, she'd drawn her Executor .50 sidearm, almost nonchalantly aiming the gun and decorating the walls of the bar with the man's brain matter. As the man collapsed, so too came the loud clang of his radio communicator and sidearm hitting the floor with him.

Her quick reaction had caught Jim incredibly off guard, the CBI agent gasping before stepping back and chuckling at the sight. "...Holy shit..."

"Spy. Velezian. If I were to guess, he came from Valle del Sol. Anyways..."

"Right. I believe you and our prisoner have a talk scheduled." Nervous, Jim gestured their 'friend' at the bar to handle the removal of the body.
Too many old nations to count. NS user since 2013.
"War is the continuation of politics by other means."

only difference between a negotiation and a battle are the rules of engagement
both are fundamentally based on maneuver
put that in your quote book
-The Enclave Government
-Carl von Clausewitz

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Valefontaine
Chargé d'Affaires
 
Posts: 368
Founded: Dec 18, 2017
Democratic Socialists

Postby Valefontaine » Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:30 pm

Collaborative post with Turmenista.


____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    A C T 7 - "B R I E F I N G"
    Basilisco AFB, Los Valles Province, Republic of Floriana
    FEBRUARY 27, 422


    __________________________________

It was another evening in south Ophir, the sun cresting the western mountains as it gradually descended. Brynn and her CBI spook 'friend', Jim, were waiting for something — arms crossed, she looked on at the approaching H-68 Typhon utility helicopter. Apparently their friends back in Serondequot were bringing in men to help manage operations, not to mention the facility itself — the best of the best, she'd been told.

"So, what happened with that prisoner?" questioned Jim, curiously anticipating the arrival of their new counterparts.

"She doesn't have a damn clue what's going on. She does know where those corporate pilots are hiding, though — and I intend to get that out of her, given a few more days."

"And after?"

"Some people just end up fighting on the wrong side. I intend to release her." replied Brynn, watching the approach of the matte black helicopter. It was almost entirely unmarked, save for a small Ardent Sigma logo on the passenger door. The helicopter continued its descent until it was just above the tarmac, touching down softly on the asphalt.

The doors were slid open by the helicopter’s crew, allowing two men to step out, side by side, the helicopter soon taking its leave. Jim could certainly recognize one of them by his flowing blonde, almost white hair, as well as the rapier carried to his side. To someone like Brynn, he seemed as if he was any regular “spook” or “merc”, though his choice of weaponry and attire was questionable for the job. The other man...well, they called people ghosts for no reason. He was a giant, well over 7 feet tall, with hands big enough to crush (thing) and a physique akin to an ancient Solaran sculpture. The only thing “human” about him was his overall body profile, as everything on his person had been covered up by either a shemagh, a BDU, or heavy armor.

"That would be The Bull," quietly explained Jim, noting Brynn's visible surprise at the sight of the legendary mercenary. "For over thirty years, he's fought in every corner of the globe. Kir, Vajraya... I'm sure you've heard the stories."

In response, Brynn nodded, anticipating now the introduction about to take place. Knowing well already who'd speak first, she decided to instead take initiative. "Welcome to AFB Bas-ko," She began, looking to the gentlemen present. "Lot of money to be made in the damp armpit of Ophir... but we all know we aren't here for the money. Administrator Brynn Qianlong — I handle most things here at base."

“I know who you are.” The blonde-haired man said, his accent highlighted by a hint of Gallia in it.”

As if predicting what he'd say next, she nodded. "Dominique Costello. The Impala ..." Naturally, the demonstration of her gift caused Jim to nervously glance around, stifling a slight chuckle. Dominique didn’t seem too fazed by this, a simple nod showing that he had at least a modicum of respect for their new boss.

"Right, uh..." Jim nodded, returning his attention to the two new arrivals. "James "Jim" Veteran-of-the-Psychic-Wars "Jimmy" Tearing-up-my-Heart M. Neworder. I handle the intel here... just call me Jim."

“Hello, Jim.” The Bull held out a hand to shake Jim’s. Such an action was kind of out of character for someone so famed, and so feared. The gesture had slightly taken Brynn aback as the two gentlemen shook hands — it occurred to her then that it wouldn't have been too outlandish for a spook like Jim to have known of the men in the past.

"Right, then, I suppose that'll do for introductions." Looking about the other three men, she nodded. "And the two special agents Cornerstone sent us?.."

"Shouldn't take long." Jim turned around, nodding as he lowered his aviator sunglasses. Gracefully gliding on approach to the runway, an unmarked Asamblea de Aviación Militar (AAM) AE-14 descended, its fuselage illuminated by the bright orange and pink hues of the sunset, making for a rather beautiful sight as it approached the runway.

Finally the landing gear of the small aircraft met the tarmac, the small passenger plane skimming across the asphalt as it reduced speed and taxiied to one of the hangars. The Velezian-made aircraft was the ideal craft for discreetly bringing men in and out of Bas-ko AFB, and understandably so. The passenger door of the aircraft opened, two gentlemen stepping out to greet the group. There was an aura of mystery about the two that immediately caught Brynn's attention as they approached. One of them approached, sunglasses glimmering in the afterglow of the sunset, tiger-stripe uniform carrying no identification of national loyalties. Half the man's face was replaced with cybernetics, a feature that seemed to only make him a more intimidating sight.

Image
Just who is this man?


The other, too, was something of an enigma. The armored shoulder pauldrons he wore over his BDU had no distinguishing features showing they had been made by any nation—or corporation, for that matter. The large gun he rested along one of his shoulders also seemed to be built privately, as it seemed to be something of an original design altogether. Facially, he seemed rather unremarkable, but it was difficult to determine his ethnicity. Victorian? Euphemian? Aenaran? Who knew?

"Gentlemen." Jim nodded at their approach. "I'm sure you're well-informed of the matter at hand, so I'll allow the Boss to speak for me."

Pausing, Brynn allowed her gift to aid in her brief speech as she began leading the group through the base. "All of us gathered here today are 'living legends', myths even, among those who live on the battlefield. The balance of power on Tsion is shifting — from the righteous rule of law to cut-throat corporate savagery. Every day, men and women die in pointless corporate wars in the name of competition and profit. Even as I speak, a war rages on in the 'Lawless Zone' — one of the most resource-rich regions of Ophir. Names we know well — McLellan-Kuron, Clancy Petrochemical, SOSEC — all have some hand in the conflict at present... and as it stands, there is an imbalance arising. We are here on behalf of the Central Bureau of Intelligence and the Federal Air Force with the goal of combating these corporate entities and putting them in their place — and reintroducing balance and peace to the Zone. A man I held to high esteem many years ago — I'm sure some of us know him well — President Neworder — once warned of the power of an unchecked military-industrial complex. That 'for-profit' wars would define the next century... he'd entrusted his successor, Strickland, with preserving the nation many of us here fought for twenty-nine years ago. To no surprise, he was assassinated. Regardless: we stand here today so that the soldiers of tomorrow will not be thrown to the dust by the soulless corporations that hire them."

Passing the various busy facilities of the airbase, Brynn led them on to the 'command center' — the beating heart of the base — as she continued. "Mercenaries, soldiers— all those who live in the warzone will know Ardent Sigma to be their salvation. And our great nation back home... will once again be restored to greatness."

The group finally reached a door to the command center, Brynn leading the way in. Vast arrays of computers lined the walls, calculating equations and predicting movements in the Zone based on the behavioral patterns of the men who led ground forces in the valleys. It'd occurred to Brynn long ago that people were incredibly predictable — and not due to the gift she possessed. Passing by two pillar-like inference engines, the enigmatic engineer-scientist led the group past busy staff members working the machines, stopping before a door labeled 'BRIEFING'.

"We're already starting strong tonight — a quick rundown about today's tasks inside." She explained, opening the door. It'd taken a few moments for everyone to get inside, the scientist walking past the metal folding chairs to reach the projector. With the click of a remote, she'd activated the projector, a map of the Zone coming into view.

"Alright, gentlemen," began Brynn, gesturing to the projection behind her. "As it stands, the Zone is no stranger to activity. To keep up, both of you are being deployed. I'll begin my briefing with Huron: your objective is to infiltrate the Canguarian forward base 'El Crisol', which is situated adjacent to the Anahí River. An arms deal we suspect to be nuclear in nature is to take place there tonight — between a Canguarian officer and a private seller. Make sure the deal falls through by eliminating both gentlemen and hauling the warhead out of the facility — a recovery team will haul the nuke out of there after you're done. Additionally, important Clancy employees are being held prisoner at the facility: eliminate them before they can disclose intel to their captors. You are to be inserted a few miles south by helicopter at 2100 hours — the helicopter will also serve as your exfil."

Her quick rundown was met by a nod from Huron, her attention turning to the other man as she clicked the remote. "As for you, Vonnegut — you're being sent near the center of the Valley. It's mostly under the control of La Zona Cartel — who you're working to stop. A mechanized convoy working for the Cartel is delivering captured child soldiers and a local Velezian congressman, Héctor Ramirez — probably because he was combatting corruption in Sanchez. Your objective is simple: the helicopter will situate you just north of the convoy's path... set up your ambush and act accordingly. Extraction is as you'd expect — helicopter will take you, the rescued prisoners, and the congressman out of the area and back to Bas-ko."

“Sounds simple enough.” Vonnegut commented.

"The both of you will learn to know the lands of the Zone like the back of your hand — I'm certain, having heard of your records, that you'll have no issue doing so. The Zone... is a big place, an abyss that will glare back at you. But once you tame it, you will find yourselves to be an unparalleled fighting force in the Nheengatu Rainforest."

How true her words would be...
Too many old nations to count. NS user since 2013.
"War is the continuation of politics by other means."

only difference between a negotiation and a battle are the rules of engagement
both are fundamentally based on maneuver
put that in your quote book
-The Enclave Government
-Carl von Clausewitz

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Confederation of the Equator
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Posts: 560
Founded: Jun 13, 2016
Compulsory Consumerist State

Postby Confederation of the Equator » Mon Jun 03, 2019 7:52 pm

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    A C T 2 - "F A L L O U T"
    SOMEWHERE IN THE UNDERGROUND NETWORK OF LAS LINDAS
    FEBRUARY 7, 422
    Teniente Armando Aguinaldo and Sargento Raul Correa
    PRISONER DUTY


    Image


    __________________________________

"Humanity is inhumane."

—Juan Pablo Montenegro, villarista writer and activist (375 - 421)


Their footsteps echoed across the concrete-reinforced halls of the Cortina Roja underground network, a series of tunnels initially designed to prevent major losses during the Velezian air raids. Growing from a few holes and underground HQs into a web that sprawled across many areas of Las Lindas, its purpose became as diverse as the people who walked in them, such as civilian shelters, weapons storage, several kinds of laboratories, and also P.O.W cells, the last of which were growing increasingly crowded as the Comando Mayor was trying to figure out a way of keeping them away from Velezian special forces. Many didn't even agree with the idea of holding prisoners at all, given they were either considered fellow Velezians or fascist scum, such groups of interest proposing to either recruit or execute them respectively. Neither one was the best option, as recruitment of prisoners turned out to have mixed results and execution en masse only hurt their public support and gave the government a chance to do the same with their own.

The tunnels were mostly improvised paths meant to yield mobility in exchange for not as much effort, but some areas of the network, such as the one where prisoners were held in cells, were reinforced with concrete. Teniente Armando marched through a couple of rows, briefly greeting their guards in his usual, effective manner. He was not friendly, but down-to-earth. The man had no time to waste, even when the more charistmatic albeit inexperienced Sargento Raul followed closely behind him. For reasons he still hadn't figured out, Armando had requested him to accompany him in his alleged "task" into the underground prison. Granted, the smell in that place was mostly awful - a combination of stray fumes from laboratories not helping in the slightest - and he obviously did not want to be there, but orders were orders.

Eventually, they arrived in the most recent row, which found itself mostly empty. Walking right past it, they arrived in front of what looked like an isolated room among a sea of cells, and it didn't seem like solitary confinement either. Raul seemed a bit uncomfortable, but Armando opened the door nonetheless. It was a small room with a table at the center and chairs on either side of it, one of which was already occupied by a tired-looking individual.

The two entered the interrogation room and took their seats, closing the door behind them as the captured, handcuffed Velezian officer looked at them in distress, but didn't say a word. The same could be said of Raul, who now knew why he was called, but still didn't really see the point of him being in an interrogation. After a few seconds of awkward silence, Armando began.

"Teniente Coronel Matias... Is that right?" Armando asked in his usual tone and going straight to the point, his voice channeling the aura of a man who was... unpredictable, although rational.

The man only got a nod in response. It was more than enough.

"I want to do this the easy way, and if you're sane you probably wanna do that too. So, let's get down to it." The teniente didn't waste a second, reaching into a worn-out leather briefcase and taking a couple of papers that looked like military documents, which seemed a bit too formal for a rebel force. "Our comrades and other sources report that the fascists plan to reinforce Las Lindas. Our cause is most generous, so... I'm going to give you this one chance. Details, everything you know." The gaze of a man who inspired fear and respect appeared unchallenged.

The captured officer than appared to stare back, defiant. "What's the point, huh, you fucking traitor? You're gonna hear what I have to say then you'll just throw my body in a river somewhere! Get it done with, old man."

Right as the Teniente was about to lash back in a more destructive manner, Raul stepped in. "Tell us what you know, and no harm will come to you, you have my word. The sooner we get this over with, the sooner you'll be back home." These words and their promise were about as empty they seemed, but the charisma of Raul made up for it and more. The captured officer reflected for a few moments before letting out a sigh.

"Yes, yes, that's all facts. A divison, maybe more, that's all I know. They've been really cryptic about it, so they're probably hiding something... Not that I'll ever know, apparently." Matias said, seemingly unfazed. "That's all I know, can I go back to the cell now?"

Raul glanced at Armando for a moment, shrugging before looking back at the prisoner. "I suppose we-"

POW

The prisoner fell from his chair, a rapidly expanding red spot on his forehead as thick blood spread all over the floor. Raul looked in shock as Armando stood up, as calm as the wind. "The other two said the same thing... So it's probably not just a rumor."

"What the FUCK?! I gave him my fucking word and you... just do THAT! And... TWO OTHERS?! TWO OTHERS??! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING YOU FUCKING PSYC-"

"Watch your tone, Sargento. What did you expect me to do? Feed them, assign men to take care of their every need? They're PILING up by the dozens, hundreds! We cannot spare men, supplies, or morale." The Teniente then called for the two men guarding the entrance to the room. "Clean this up."

"Morale? So now we murder prisoners for the MORALE? Are we trying to... Are you trying to make everyone scared of their own comrades?!"

"As a matter of fact, yes." Armando retorted. "You could learn a thing or two from this... Or do you think I haven't heard of your fiasco during the offensive?! Huh?! All because you don't have the will to do what it takes. You want your men to love you. I've been in this long enough, Sargento, and you'll take them all with you to the grave if you keep acting like that."

"I think power comes with respect from your men, not by making them terrified of you." Raul replied, a defiant expression on his face.

"Respect?" The Teniente laughed right as his two men took the dead prisoner out of the room. "Look around, Raul. This is a shadow, an illusion. Hierarchy, power, government, central rule... They're all just illusions, the wrong idea of what power is, meant to keep families, nations, armies in line, and men away from their savage nature. True power..." He gestured to his sidearm. "...is here. Learn this now, before you meet it the hard way."

The halls were busy once again as the Teniente exited.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    Margarita Bar, outskirts of Rodríguez
    FEBRUARY 7, 422
    Ybotyra, a.k.a 'Ibu'


    __________________________________

Again. The same environment, the same bartender work, mostly the same faces she saw that day of the week... Why did it feel different? The drinks were the same, the terrible lines, obvious disappointments were all there. It was just another day at the Margarita, yet she felt zoned out of herself, almost as if she'd been on drugs.

Ibu.

The world spinned around her yet it remained perfectly static. Her interesting conversation with sometimes disproportionally mundane costumers were nowhere to be found, only a scream that played on repeat in her head... That awful scream she'd heard through the radio... No song could take it out there, no activity could distract her from reliving that moment again and again. She continued to serve drinks, yet couldn't change lives like usual, not even her own.

Ibu...

Why? Why did the two of them have to die so horribly... Why did she sugarcoat their terrible fate with sweet words when in reality it was all about a selfish, pointless search from something that happened years before? Chasing butterflies, he said... Fuck, that guy was a cunt wasn't he? But at what point does it stop being a way to kill motivation and it becomes reality? Had she just assumed her entire life that she was the one meant to find the perpetrators of that fateful day, that she was the one destined to rebuild everything? The chosen one of anything at all...?

A familiar voice slowly grew from etheral and distant to real and close.

"Ibu." One of her coworkers shook her lightly by the shoulder, waking the native woman from her daydreaming. "You're still with us?" She asked while giggling.

"Oh... Sorry, y'know... Haven't slept well." The native woman replied, immediately getting back to work.

"Take it easy, we can always cover up if ya' need." She received a nod back from Ibu in appreciation as the latter resumed her routine of mixing drinks. The bar was way more crowded than usual, apparently due to some officers bringing their entire staff with them to do... stuff. Stuff which definitely didn't involve military manners, that is, although many of them still kept their uniforms while inside the bar. The jukebox played something different from the norm as celebration overran mourning.

Image
There and back again...


The native woman suddenly felt a hand grab her bottom from over the counter in a daring manner... That wasn't unusual for her bartender job, sure, and those who were stupid enough to harass the person who poured their drinks would usually spend a few minutes talking to security outside of the bar. She'd been there before... But the man's timing couldn't have been worse. The woman put the empty glass she was wiping on the counter, throwing a glance at the man who was now laughing alongside two others.

All rationality was gone. One of her coworkers saw the writing on the wall a bit too late as Ibu turned around in a quick motion, watching the smile on the man's face disappear as she threw a right hook right at his septum, the hit charged with all the stress she'd been building up since the previous week. Within a fraction of a second, all attention was shifted to the man and his broken nose, groaning in agony as the seemingly feral woman was voluntarily held back by one of her coworkers, who quickly took her back inside for a break...

Which could end up being permanent depending on the man she'd just hit in a fit of rage.
In loving memory of Vanquaria, slain unfairly by a pathetic moderator team. We stand strong.

User avatar
Turmenista
Negotiator
 
Posts: 5729
Founded: Apr 09, 2014
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Turmenista » Mon Jun 03, 2019 9:21 pm

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    A C T 7 — "R E S U R G E N S"
    CASA BLANCA
    LAS PLAYAS, LAS PLAYAS AUTONOMOUS CITY, VELEZIA
    FEBRUARY 28, 422


    __________________________________



She'd seen the vision before in her dreams: a vision of fire, shadows, and death. The glint of a sniper rifle's scope atop the Obelisco[1], overlooking her overturned car—the sudden flush of crimson into her face, and the ensuing paranoia. The 15th of August, 393, was a date that President Isabela Silva of Velezia would never forget: It was the day when the Cortina Roja nearly took her life—when Velezia itself changed. It was a day that the world saw that the so-called "arrogant" and "impenetrable" South Ophiric republic had weaknesses. That the Comite Nacional de Resturacion, the junta leading the country, had a weakness. Even one of its fearless leaders, her father, Generalissimo Manuel Silva, had a weakness: her.

To say the least, Velezia had underwent a massive facelift following the 15th of August attacks and kidnapping attempt. Thorough purges by the Battalion 241 had led to thousands of communists embedded in the cities and military to be sent to their deaths, as the military took control of the country for what seemed like forever. Better training of soldiers and police, and the issuing of upgraded equipment followed, as the military's doctrine was given an addendum almost immediately: Destroy the Cortina Roja as soon as possible.

And, with the help of countries like Akhmanar and fledgling corporations like SOSEC, and a relentless combined arms "Fireforce" campaign, that goal had almost been achieved. The Cortina Roja, Floriana, and Canguari were all on the brink of surrender or withdrawal at the time of her father and then-president Guillermo Reyes's apexes. Everything seemed to be going so perfectly—almost falling into place of her father's grand plan like a puzzle...until his successors had to screw things up. The Cortina Roja in Valdivia endured the Fireforce campaigns and turned into something entirely different: a secessionist state bent on becoming independent from what they called a "fascist regime." The other Cortina Roja in Rodriguez had become an amalgamation of a communist organization and a cartel, evolving with each weapons innovation Velezia adopted or upgraded.

The worst part about it all was the civilian casualties. While the world liked to see Velezia as a so-called "fascist" pariah state, they were oblivious to the sheer destruction that was going on in Las Lindas, and the rest of Velezia, for that matter. Cities like Sanchez and Rodriguez endured the worst of Communist, Florianan and Canguarian operations alike, all while fascists were allowed to grow uncontrolled to become a sort of unconventional superpower in the lawless zone. Terrorist bombings in Velezia persisted into the next century, making her wonder if all the work that her father and Guillermo Reyes tried to do in the 380s and 390s was all in vain...

Luckily, Isabela still had friends in high places—one of them being her right hand man and second in command of the country: Generalissimo Alejandro Reyes. True to typical nepotism, he was the son of former president Guillermo Reyes, but seemed to be the most entitled man for the position by his service record alone. He was currently sitting inside of the meeting room, before a massive table and even larger screen on the opposite end of the room. The room was chock full of the other members of the Comite Nacional de Resturacion, from the bureaucratic cabinet members of the president to the top generals of Generalissimo Alejandro. Security had occupied nearly every conceivable way into and out of the Casa Blanca, which had saw itself repurposed from just a place of residence for the executive, to an actual workplace that was often used in lieu of the Palacio de Congreso, the former seat of the Velezian Legislature, which saw more use as a seat for the legislature. No Cortina Roja attack would definitely be getting anywhere far with how much security was occupying the area.

This mattered little in hindsight — everyone in the room was ready to kill someone else if it meant getting a higher spot. Not to mention, there were those who were paranoid enough to think even the president was a Cortina Roja agent.

Isabela strolled into the room once the large doors opened, revealing her in all of her glory to the rest of the CNR. Most would say she had certainly aged well, but no one dared to give her any odd or weird looks due to how much power she held. The ambient talking in the room immediately ceased as she sat down into her seat, clasping her hands together.

"I'll get to the point." Isabela began rather bluntly. "We are losing. We are now on the defensive. This should not be this way."

One of Reyes's top generals—Gen. Rigoberto Gaona, to be exact—began to spoke up in a tone much unlike his usual stern, collected voice. "M-madam Preside, we a-"

"No." She cut him off abruptly, raising a finger as if to emphasize her point. Then, she slowly lowered her arm. "I already know what you are going to say, General. The corporate squadron." She said the words with a hint of venom in her voice, balling one fist for a moment. "I'm getting to that. This does not mean we have lost, gentlemen, no. As we speak, 1. División Garras de Acero will be reinforced by 2. División Controladores de Zona, another veteran division from the Valdivia front, and additional B241 squads and teams. Generalissimo Reyes can fill you in with further details."

As if to pass on the metaphorical "speaking stick" to her partner, she looked to the right, to the highly-decorated man sitting adjacent to her. "Thank you, Madam President. As the second in command of this Comite, I have ordered for the 2 División Controladores de Zona to be moved to help un-pocket 1 División immediately. I have also requisitioned several bomber squadrons elsewhere in the country and re-tasked them with Fireforce and napalm campaigns on the Cortina Roja encirclement, effective immediately. We have seen time and time again that the Canguaris and Florianans cannot match us in the air, especially in regards to bomber power, and nothing will survive sustained bombing campaigns. Combined with their cruising altitude and escorts, they are effectively immune from any ground fire. Whatever does come up from the ground or in the air at them cannot match it's speed." He seemed to pause, as if for dramatic effect. "They don't call the Gran Chicos "flying cruisers" for no reason, gentlemen."

"But what about the Corporate squadron, you ask?" Isabela continued. "I've taken the liberty to addressing this firsthand. The Akhmanar Empire has graciously sent instructors to train our pilots in combat against what are otherwise technologically advanced fighters. While I was unable to negotiate with the Emperor of...actually sending Akhmanari fighters over—fighters which actually pose a threat to these undoubtedly Euphemian-made aircraft—I was able to secure a deal with these trainers. On the corporate end, Clancy Petrochemicals has graciously assembled a team of aces that intend to eliminate this air threat, if our own innovations do not."

"I'm sorry, Madam President, but innovations?"

Image
For a brick, it flies pretty good...


The screen behind her flicked on to reveal a portrait of a thing—undoubtedly a flying machine, but none of the men in the room had certainly seen anything like it. To call it a "bomber" was an understatement alone, as it certainly looked big enough to carry ordinance more akin to a battleship than a bomber, much like how the feared B-61 was a beast that was too versatile to be solely considered a bomber or interceptor.

"As you know, Asamblea de Aviación Militar (AAM) has been working with Imhotep Assemblies to bring our air power back into the forefront in South Ophir, like it has been for the past century." Isabela pointed to the image behind her momentarily. "Innovations, like this creation, which we are calling the BX-16 Thunderbird, will allow us to achieve this goal. While we have only four working BX-16s, their presence surely will make a difference, if a couple of corporate fighters—prototypes, nonetheless, from what we have learned from some of our downed pilots—are able to do the same to us."

"And what of the war on the ground?" Another general inquired. "Surely, not all of our resources will go towards this "aerial dominance" doctrine, will it? We have always maintained a powerful ground force that even the Florianans fear. Madam President. Generalissimo, what will we do on the ground?"

"We have also hired another corporation to assist in the ground campaign. While the regular military shall deal with the Florianans and Canguarians, SOSEC will provide its services to us as combat advisors and direct combatants, specifically against the commies and cartels. And while the Air Force bombs the pitiful Cortina Roja vermin into submission, the B241 shall continue their operations in Las Lindas."

The Generalissimo seemed to grin for a moment. "Before I entered this meeting, I have tasked two teams with such an operation: Oceans 91, and Cavalera 27, to be exact. More teams will be tasked following this meeting. Their objective is simple: find Cortina Roja public enemy number one: Subcomandante Ocho Seis. Capture him, kill him, if necessary. I wish to make a statement with him. When he is finally destroyed, the Cortina Roja will have lost a head—a very important head: that of a tactician who endured the 1. División's rampage in Valdivia and knows his way around Las Lindas. But, as with all chickens that are decapitated, such an organization cannot function for long without it's little chicken-brain. It will flail and kick around, but, eventually, it shall die."

Once more, he paused as the others in the room seemed to nod in agreement. "It's a simple equation, really." He folded his arms. "Destroy their head, like the B241 are currently doing, and the Cortina Roja will not be able to think. Disable their arms, like the air force and 2. División will soon do, and the enemy will not be able to shoot. If we are quick, the Cortina Roja will be pushed back to their lowest extent in years."

"With that, I think it is appropriate to call this quick little meeting over. For now. While the Generalissimo and I discuss some things... If you will." Once Isabela gave the order with a motion of her hand, the other bureaucrats, politicians, generals, and admirals left the room, soon leaving the two of them in the room once the doors closed.

The screen turned on once more, to reveal not the geriatric face of Akhmanar's "leader", Triarch Tomb-Regent Akhen-re...but a youthful and androgynous face, clear of any blemishes of age and scars, save for facial tattoos, mascara, and markings that corresponded with the Akhmanari god, Sebek.[2] The regal regalia and overall appearance on this person confirmed they were high up in society. The Generalissimo made the first move, nodding upwards in respect. "Pharaoh Tabuu-ankh-ka. Your highness."

"Madam President. Generalissimo. I take it all options are on the table now?" The person on the other end inquired, crossing one leg over the other as while looking down upon the two, akin to a teacher about to discipline two students. Despite having an Akhmanari accent, their Velezian was surprisingly immaculate—almost free of any errors. Isabela's mind briefly returned to her own office in the Casa Blanca upon hearing those words. A red telephone directly to Yevosh caught her attention, a secure line on which she was instantly able to authorize any form of military retaliation against Velezia to anywhere she saw fit within the agreements of the Las Lindas Deal, be it strikes on their northern rival Alvimia or Floriana ...or nuclear retaliation against any enemy of Velezia.

Isabela toned her thoughts out and closed her eyes for a moment, saying a silent prayer as she returned to the Akhmanari on the screen. "Yes, your highness." She turned to Alejandro for a moment, who looked at her as if he knew what this meant. "
All options are on the table."

The Akhmanari nodded, maintaining their poker face. "Right. In that case, let's get to business in ending this fight quickly."



CONTEXT NOTES


1 - Obelisco - The Obelisco de Las Playas (Obelisk of Las Playas) is a national historic monument and icon of Las Playas, and one of the most famous in the city, if not the oldest. The concrete monument is located in the Plaza de la República, the city's busiest and most famous plaza, and was erected in 1936 C.E. (Old Calendar) to commemorate the quadricentennial of the first foundation of the city. It is also notable for being the site in which a sniper tried to assassinate the daughter of then-Generalissimo, Manuel Silva.

2 - Sebek - In the Pharaistic pantheon, Sebek is the Akhmanari god of the afterlife, death, and, on occasion, diseases and medicine. He is represented in ancient art and hieroglyphs as a man or humanoid with a crocodile head or crocodilian features, and his religious glyph takes on a similar appearance, albeit smaller and more minimalistic. Like his brother Horet, who is commonly represented as a humanoid or man with eagle features or an eagle head, Sebek too is a tutelary god of Akhmanar, though Horet has historically taken a larger prominence in Pharaism in this role as the guardian of Akhmanar. Many mythological stories would see Sebek often quarreling with his brother over conflicts of interest regarding humanity in ancient stories, but he would always set aside his differences and come to protect humanity alongside his brother when danger befell the world, especially during the awakenings of Necromunda, a chaotic god of death. The modern city of Sebek in Akhmanar, named after the god himself, possesses the largest temples dedicated to the god of the afterlife in Akhmanar, and one of the largest temples in Akhmanar itself, second to the Temple of The Sun in Yevosh, a monolithic pyramid dedicated to Atum, the supreme god and Sun God.
Last edited by Turmenista on Tue Jul 09, 2019 12:50 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Forest State
Senator
 
Posts: 4157
Founded: Aug 23, 2016
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Tue Jun 04, 2019 3:24 am

Various sections of this collab were collaboratively written with Valefontaine.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    A C T 7 - "S O L A C E"
    van der Kaap Airstrip, 15km NW of Sofía, Duchy of Canguari
    FEBRUARY 12, 422


    __________________________________

How am I ever supposed to get in the cockpit again after something like that? I said I wouldn’t give up… I meant what I said… But how am I supposed to just move past that? How am I supposed to forget it, head back up there when I know it could happen again at any time? How am I supposed to get in the cockpit feeling this scared? How am I supposed to get in the cockpit feeling guilty for what I’m doing? How am I supposed to get in the cockpit when I can’t forget…? How am I supposed to get in the cockpit again after everything…?

Mountains flashed by, burning buildings visible below. The oil refinery that Francis had played a large part in destroying that past day along with the entire 13th Fighter Squadron and the 12th Tactical Fighter Squadron. It was here. But it was there, at the same time. She didn’t know where it was as she stood in the hangar, either here or there or… Somewhere else. It was there in reality but it was still here in the realm of her own mind. She was in the cockpit, zooming past the mountains, heading deeper into Velezian territory as she had an ace on her tail from her home country. She might technically be the most accomplished pilot from her country, but that ace, if the pilot even was an ace, was something else. No, whether or not that pilot had enough kills to count as one, he or she was definitely an ace just from the way they flew the plane.

Nothing in her career before had made Francis feel so much like she was going to die, and she had never even felt that way when she worked what was arguably a more dangerous job: cartel chef, one of the people who helped to produce the drugs that the cartels exported both domestically and abroad in her home country. And yet it wasn’t some shootout in the past that had scared her more than anything, it was that ace, the one with the angel wings painted on their plane, the one that… The one that was pursuing her. The one that had pursued her. Francis still wasn’t sure where she was.

Was she there? Was she here? Was she in both places? Or was she nowhere and this was some dream and she was sleeping again like she had for much of the time after coming back from the operation?

She opened her eyes again and she was ‘here’, never having left. She went over it in her head again, forcing herself to not relive it once more. It was a day after the operation. She was safe. She was standing there in the hangar and while she had her hand on the outside of the wrecked airframe, which she had hunted down at one of the maintenance hangars, she wasn’t inside the cockpit even if she had seen herself there for some moments. She was having a hard time not reliving it and yet there was no way in hell that she was going to look for help for something like this and risk getting grounded permanently.

Right now this flying job was the one thing that she had - it was something that fit her skillset and that couldn’t be said for everything. More importantly, it also connected her with the one person she had left that she knew cared about her… Even if she didn’t quite know what they were. She had no idea what would happen to them if she ended up grounded and out of her mercenary job, but something told her that they definitely wouldn’t be able to keep things up if it wasn’t for Francis being so close to her already by living on the same base. And so, she absolutely wasn't going to risk losing her job by telling anyone that she was dealing with what suspiciously seemed like-

“PTSD?”

She turned to face the voice that had spoken to her. Jock McLean was standing in the doorway and looking at her as she withdrew her shaking hand from the plane. “Just looks like you’re having some troubles,” he stated, his voice not combatant as it was sometimes. “And I can’t say I didn’t expect that you would have something like this, it’s actually why I came here to look for you after checking some other places. You might be insane but I find you somewhat entertaining and interesting, so there’s that.”

Francis stared at McLean, surprised at his words. “But tell anyone that and I’ll shove you in a closet again, eh?” he added, chuckling. “What are you going to do, Amazon? Get back in the jet when the time comes? Head home and start a new career after realizing just how damn dangerous this one is? I suppose there’s not a lot of shame in it, I’m sure you wouldn’t be the first fighter pilot to hang it up after coming that close to getting shot out the sky. Just from hearing how scared you were back there, I was sure you weren’t going to make it, actually-”

“I’m not leaving. I can’t leave. Too many things that I care about here,” said Francis without giving the specific reason, calming down somewhat as she turned her attention away from the plane and towards McLean. “Maybe this shook me up too much and I won’t be able to fly well anymore, but if I’m taken out of the skies, it’s going to be from someone else’s decision and not mine. I… Don’t know how I’ll do it but I said I wouldn’t quit.”

“Things you care about? Ah. The corporate girl. You surprised me once again, Francis, when you ended up with her. Well, I can’t say for sure what’s going on between you. But that confession didn’t come out of nowhere, I’m sure. Love has to have something behind it, doesn’t it? So I don’t believe any narrative that what happened was in the heat of the moment. Maybe you could have blurted out in the heat of the moment that you had a crush. But love? I feel as if you would at least believe that love is mutual before you declare it where everyone can hear,” McLean continued. “The way you said it, I would’ve thought you two were together for a long time.”

“It wasn’t a random outburst or anything, I just went with that story when Cacador asked me about it because I didn’t want to risk getting Adeline in trouble. But… I don’t actually know what we are and I’m telling the truth. I… I think she feels something but I don’t know, and I don’t know if I’ll ever know because… We couldn’t just meet each other as normal people. We just had to do it in the middle of a fucking war where rules and regulations get in the way of everything. How… How am I supposed to be with someone if they won’t even accept me in public… How am I supposed to know that she doesn’t just pity me if she doesn’t care enough to accept me in public...”

The Aenaran mercenary shrugged, interested in the conversation. “But rules and regulations are at play, you said, so you don’t know where that begins and where feelings end. What I’m trying to say is, you don’t know if she feels the same way but is tied down by the rules… Which breaking, as far as I know, would have bad consequences for both of you. You can’t stand around a jet without your hands trembling and you’re going to fly anyway. Why? Because you don’t want to let go of what you have. She may very well feel something and suppress it around most people… Why? Because going against the grain could mean giving up what she has, and that includes you.”

“Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t flown for McLK,” he added, pausing. “But, coming from up north and having limited experience with Euphemie compared to the almost none that you would have, I can say that they… Don’t quite have the same culture as where you’re from, or even this place. I’m sure you can see just by comparing the two squadrons that the 12th is the more professional compared to the 13th. She’s coming from a place where the wrong words can get one ‘Canceled’. I wouldn’t expect her to have the same openness, the same… Open passion as someone who believes that every day might be their last.”

“How do you know that I feel that way?” Francis replied, starting away from the plane and towards the hangar exit where McLean was.

“I don’t. Simply a guess based on your home country and the current state of it. Third world countries have higher birth rates for a reason. You act the way that you act for a reason. Don’t let that desperation blow things up for you, Francis. None of us know what the future will hold… But assuming that both of you reach the end of this conflict, you just might find that some new doors have opened.”

“Thanks, I guess,” Francis said simply, unsure of what to think of the advice. But once again, she was running away. The talk made her uncomfortable for some reason she didn’t know, and because of that, she was getting out of here and heading back to her quarters. She had a feeling there was at least some truth in what her… Enemy was saying to her. But not all of the truths were ones that she exactly wanted to hear, as they didn’t all make her feel better. Some of them, in fact, just made her feel worse. “Wait for the end of the war, eh…? Based on the last encounter, I don’t even know if the both of us are going to be alive by then.”



As Francis made her way back to her quarters, the thing on her mind was the fact that her former group, the Camilea Cartel, now seemingly had a problem with the fact that one of their members had left the country, leaving the cartel in the process, and then joined the war effort against Velezia. She supposed it was understandable. There were two crimes to be had, the first being deserting the country and also deserting her duties with the cartel, which had lasted even after she went into the military in Daimiel, and the second being the fact that she was fighting a country many people in Daimiel, particularly the nationalists in the cartels, believed to be a motherland.

Just because she understood the reasoning, though, didn’t mean that it didn’t hurt to know that one of the few groups to ever accept her despite knowing about who she really was now hated her. Especially when one of the people that had been named as being after her was someone that she had considered a brother in the past. No, closer than a brother. It wasn’t like anyone in her own family would bother to defend her and her decisions. Matias ‘Cobra’ Ibarra had always been there for her… Until now. But personally she couldn’t entirely blame him, she had been the one to end the friendship by leaving abruptly.

She moved to her desk after reaching her room and went to her laptop, opening the chat application where she might be able to get some hint of the truth behind this. She could believe that the others would turn on her but Cobra had always been closer. There’d been legit reasons why she had compared him to a brother, so him turning on her over politics and her leaving - which she had only done to protect her life - just seemed out of character. However, she had lost basically all of her old contacts when she left Daimiel. She had to do a bit of searching online, but eventually, she found what she believed was the right username to add in the chat application to talk to one of the others she had known in the past. Hopefully, she would be able to seek clarification.

Image


The talk between her and her former contact - well, coworker was the right word, she had worked in the same kitchen as Gervaso when she was in Daimiel and still with the cartel, didn’t go as well as she had hoped. She still didn’t have a way to contact Cobra. Still didn’t know the truth behind the matter. But this was the second person to tell her that her friend had turned on her. The ace from before had clearly mentioned him, one of only three names that she did mention. And now, someone who was likely in contact with Cobra every day was saying that he was out to get her. Francis didn’t believe it one hundred percent right now, but she still had a sinking feeling like maybe this was the truth and she would eventually have to face off against her ‘brother.’

She went to bed after that with a lot on her mind, or at least she tried to. It was still early in the day comparatively - only about six in the evening. She ended up getting back up, seeing that it was dark outside but not having enough need for sleep to fall asleep once again. After all, she wasn’t actually tired right now. She simply hoped that if she went to sleep, she would be able to skip past everything that was on her mind and take less time getting to something that would distract her - like some kind of unit activities, of which there were none today. She didn’t know how she was going to get back in the cockpit after what had happened. However, even worrying about that issue because she had a sortie coming up would be better than… This. Than being left without any certainty in her life, not knowing where anyone stood in relation to her.

After getting back up in the night, she made her way to her computer once again. She didn’t do any of the things she would usually do, however. Didn’t open her programming application, she was a bit too dejected for that. Her mind wasn’t straight enough for it right now. She wanted to tell someone about what she was feeling, but considering that she was working on hiding the extent of her problems, telling anyone in the squadron didn’t seem like a good idea, even though she was in their chat group and there was a chance that at least one of them was up right now since they didn’t have anything to do for the next day or two. Still, talking to them wouldn’t be a good idea, even if someone was up. And so she ended up going to a place where she could speak anonymously. Browsing through the different threads for a bit, spending maybe twenty to thirty minutes on this before finally deciding that she would make her own thread.

Wasn’t like they could definitively trace it back to her. Probably. She’d make sure to clear her history after this, to log out of the site, to hide that it had been her. And she wasn’t giving specific details. The only way she would be found out would be if someone who was in one of the squadrons happened to see it… And out of all the posters on this site, she doubted that she would get noticed in particular by anyone that she knew. With her mind cleared of worry because of those facts, she started typing and looked the post over before eventually clicking the send button.

Image


Now that the post was up, she clicked away from that tab and went to other things. She would wait and see what the replies were like… She didn’t expect much, but it helped to just get her frustrations out, and she hoped that maybe, just maybe, someone would make sense of it all and give her some magic words of advice that she knew in the back of her mind probably weren’t coming. Didn’t stop her from seeking them out, however. Especially when she knew that she had few other people to turn to and few other options to figure this out.

Yet as she dwelled in her thoughts, something had interrupted — distant gunfire. It seemed to be coming from the western perimeter of the barracks... where McLellan-Kuron personnel were housed. The sound jolted Francis from her computer, causing her to stand up immediately. It had been awhile since she had been exposed to gunfire directly but she knew what gunfire sounded like, small arms fire specifically. She’d been around it plenty of times and hearing it practically brought her back to the cartel days. Was this because of her? Because if it was, she wasn’t planning on going down without a fight. Her pistol had been near her for other reasons, but she picked it up and checked to make sure it was loaded with the intent of getting ready for a fight… Especially if Adeline was somehow in trouble. She opened her door, slipped into the hallway with the pistol, and slowly moved towards the sound of the gunfire.




It was a rather mundane evening — Adeline mostly keeping to herself in the smoke-filled corridor, faintly lit by the failing fluorescent bulbs above. Cigarette in hand, her mind was still fresh with the memories of the thrilling refinery raid of two days prior — it hadn't been hard for her to connect the dots shortly thereafter and correlate that they'd bombed a Clancy Petrochemical plant. One could only make educated guesses on how 'pissed-off' their corporate opponents would be as a result... but they didn't know where they were operating from, did they?

A few other members of corporate staff were in the corridor, chatting amongst themselves... a few Canguarian and corporate soldiers exchanging words on the state of the war. Things seemed to be boding well for Canguari thus far, which was almost baffling to come to terms with — how successful they'd been in such a short amount of time. Of course, that wasn't to say they were anywhere near winning. It'd be a long way until then...

RATATATATATATAT

One of the McLellan-Kuron ground crewmen had abruptly raised an Alvimian-made MP56 and fired upward into the ceiling, before taking aim at the men in the hallway. The confrontation had been instant, bullets flying past as Adeline panickedly tried to get the door to her quarters open.

Whoever it was, they were here to enact revenge upon the Corporation — haphazard attempts to get the keys led to the keys in question falling to the floor. She could hear screams in the background — a quick glance afforded the realization that a few of the soldiers were dead and the gunman had assumed cover behind an overturned vending machine. Still, there were a few more contractors — armed, of course — who were ready to return fire.

"..shit. Shit!" She muttered under her breath, picking up the keys again and struggling to get the door open.

click

With a brief sigh of relief she barged into her room as the door opened, reaching for the sidearm she kept at her desk — an Executor .50. It was any Euphemian badass' answer to the question of an eternal 'problem solver' — a pistol that could turn any living thing into mincemeat.

RATATATATATAT

More gunfire — closer now. Had those incompetent security personnel gotten themselves killed? As she carefully approached the door, something had forced her to lunge into a prone position by the doorway: the gunman was firing into the walls as he continued down the hall. He had stopped by her open doorway, judging by the footsteps: perhaps he was pondering whether it was worthwhile to follow inside... or he was reading the room number.

Adeline steadied her breathing, hand still lightly trembling as she clutched the Executor. She'd never really been forced to use a firearm before — this was something entirely new to her.

thump.

He'd taken one cautious step forward into her room. Time itself seemed to slow as Adeline kept just behind the door, the standoff more than apparent to her.

thump.

Adeline didn't hesitate any further now — quickly she took aim and fired: missing entirely the silhouette of the man and bringing him to turn around. With little recourse left, she lunged forward at the door, her body hitting the door and sending it slamming back — knocking back the gunman and sending him tripping backwards in the dark space of her room, his submachine gun firing away wildly into the ceiling as he clumsily knocked over shelves and drawers.

BANG

Again Adeline had fired — and done more to destroy one of the lamps in her quarters than actually strike the man. Perhaps it was the panic, or the sheer power of the weapon, but she'd once again missed — quickly fleeing her room as the gunman slowly got up once again, the distant sound of him reloading his firearm motivating her to sprint quicker — already the eerie klaxons of the base alarm were echoing through the halls. She sought cover somewhere safe — the overturned vending machine where the man had started his shootout.

He'd been quick to leave her quarters, his plans towards attacking the facility evidently having been terribly interrupted by the brief scuffle. In what was either frustration or an attempt to increase the body-count, he fired into the walls of the various rooms adjacent to Adeline's, reloading once again. Adeline took this opportunity to peer from cover and take another chance...

BANG

The submachine gun had practically shattered in the man's hands, the round evidently missing the more pertinent target as he turned around and charged Adeline's position with a beastly roar. It'd all happened in a flash — the assailant's fist connecting with her chest and forcing the air out of her lungs as she tumbled backwards into the wall.

"The Boss will reward me for this," He mused, producing a butterfly knife from his McLellan-Kuron jumpsuit and raising it to strike — being only interrupted as Adeline viciously fought for her life, headbutting him in the leg and rolling over to flee. The knife had been thrown to the wall with such force that she'd practically heard it whistling by as she hurried down the corridor, trying desperately to run from the man. Overturning vending machines, water dispensers and pretty much anything ahead of her as she tried to escape, Adeline could only hope help from the rest of the facility would arrive soon.

Yet she could hear — and briefly see — that the man was producing something from his jumpsuit: a sidearm. This was enough for her to turn a corner and assume cover, her Executor drawn and at the ready.

BANG

His shot had practically torn a section of wall beside her, Adeline yelping in terror as she tripped over herself, gun still in hand. The man once again emerged, gun drawn as he loomed above.

"You put up a pretty good fight... for a pilot."

Was this the end? Adeline couldn't help but feel tears welling up: she was still so young, had so much ahead of her... was this really the end? Would she die in some corporate conflict of vague purposes and ambitions? In that moment, she prayed to the 99th President of the Federal States, his sacred term lasting from 391 to 395: Joy Division Tearing-up-my-Heart M. Neworder, that she would see her family again.

The man seemed to be similarly patriotic, as he uttered the words 'God Bless the Federal States of Euphemie' as his finger ran along the trigger.

Except, the man didn’t account for the fact that someone else might show up and that ‘someone else’ might be armed and dangerous, too. Before he could move, there was the sound of rapid, erratic footsteps. Which stopped suddenly, for a split second, before gunfire came from the end of the hallway, missing wide and high in two shots respectively, and then the sound of footsteps once again - the person that had fired the shots still had their gun raised, and was moving into what was practically knife fight range. Bad aim mattered a lot less from point blank range, after all.

He'd flinched and turned — and that was enough for Adeline to weakly raise her Executor and take two shots — the assailant abruptly recoiling and being thrown backwards as the Executor's rounds shredded through his lower body, blood quickly beginning to stain his uniform blood red as he collapsed. Even if he did have something witty to say, he probably wouldn't be able to amidst the advanced state of shock Adeline had inflicted.

Yet, seeing her own work, Adeline dropped the weapon, nervously backing away from the scene. Getting up, her attention turned to Francis amidst the ever-pervasive blare of the alarms. Base security had surely avoided going in themselves yet — maybe they feared the attacker had taken hostages. With everyone else presumably standing down in their respective quarters, they were the only people in the corridors.

She could hardly muster words as she looked down at the limp corpse of the attacker, then back to Francis. "You.. you saved my fucking life." was all she could really say, still in awe at the events that'd unfolded in what'd probably been no more than ten minutes — yet it'd been a small eternity for the corporate pilot.

“One second,” said Francis, before aiming her pistol at the corpse and dumping three rounds into it to make sure that their attacker was down permanently, and wouldn’t raise some weapon and attack in his dying moments. When that was done, she looked back to Adeline, breathing heavily from the intense adrenaline rush of the situation. “Never… Thought I’d end up using these skills for something here but… I was in a cartel. Looks like that helped. Don’t… Don’t worry about it, just means we’re even for you saving me back at the refinery.”

Adeline couldn't help but think to her own efforts at saving her life in the last sortie. "Guess we're even now. I..." The pilot didn't hesitate then, bringing her lips to meet the mercenary's as she pushed her against the wall. It was a move that made Francis widen her eyes in surprise - but she adapted to the change in the situation quickly, placing her hands on Adeline. A good few minutes would pass before Adeline pulled away at the increasingly loud thump of footsteps — revealed only moments later to have been Canguarian troops and private security, who promptly dispersed to secure the scene. "The gunman's down," assured Adeline to the armed soldiers. Still adrenaline coursed through her veins, a thrilling high that wouldn't soon leave her.




This was about the last situation Francis had imagined herself in - in the background, her laptop was sleeping and if it was woken up, someone would see that the Aurelianet screen was still up, complaining about her circumstances - but it just went to show how quickly things could change. She glanced in that direction, making sure that the laptop wasn’t displaying that page right now, but when she saw that it had went into sleep mode, she turned all her attention to Adeline, reaching somewhat awkwardly to put her hands on her shoulders.

"Never thought I'd say something like this to someone else..." Adeline paused, leaning a little closer. "but I'm glad I have someone like you. You make me feel safe, and... whatever, you get the idea. I'm not good with this touchy-feely emotional stuff."

Things had ended up as they were for a second time — in Francis' quarters. Much of the shock that'd come from the shootout was gone now, Adeline being hailed for the usual buzzwords of 'bravery' and 'selflessness' that came with these things. Needless to say, it'd landed her much more breathing room and liberties within the base, though comprehending the ebbing, breathing corporate bureaucracy was more akin to trying to grasp an unfathomable eldritch being.

“I… Just have one question…” asked Francis, her voice shaking once again now that the adrenaline rush of the past situation was gone, and she settled into the one that she was in now. “And that’s… Are you doing this because of me or doing it because I saved you…?”

Adeline seemingly took a moment to think at her words. "Because I...?—no, of course not. I like you — did you think I didn't or something?"

“Just uh… Unsure about everything. Past few weeks have been pretty confusing for me. Don’t let me ruin the mood though, it’s nothing… My uh… My mind tends to race when I’m in spots like this,” said Francis, before moving to pull Adeline slightly closer to her, cautiously.

"If it was something I might've said, uh.." Adeline trailed off as she got closer, leaning on her comrade's shoulder.

“It’s not you, it’s uh… I guess it’s just not the best situation for us to have met with, you know, the war going on and all, makes it hard to tell… Hard to tell how everyone really feels. I know you can’t exactly speak freely,” Francis muttered, picking her words carefully.

"I... really thought I was gonna die. Thanks, again..." She paused for a moment, changing the subject entirely — maybe she didn't like getting too emotional. "..anyways. Maybe when this is all over, I can find you a home. Someplace to go back to, I don't know..."

“Yeah… That’d be great,” Francis was able to say without her voice shaking too much, before she moved to distract herself from the talking entirely, pressing her lips against Adeline’s once again - and doing it of her own accord for the first time. It was the little things in life, truly — even with the neverending conflict over the Zone, there were always some things to find solace in.
Last edited by Forest State on Tue Jun 04, 2019 4:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
i'm the bad guy... duh.

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Valefontaine
Chargé d'Affaires
 
Posts: 368
Founded: Dec 18, 2017
Democratic Socialists

Postby Valefontaine » Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:56 pm

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    A C T 8 - "I N F I L T R A T I O N"
    Canguarian Army-controlled territory, the Zone
    FEBRUARY 27, 422
    2100 HOURS


    Image


    __________________________________

Huron leaned back in the passenger cabin of the H-68 Typhon, his features vaguely illuminated by the dim red lights within. The Canguarian Army base known as El Crisol was a few miles north, the operative knowing full well what the task before him was. Flying past hills and small valleys below, the helicopter soon slowed its pace as it neared the LZ, shaking as it began its descent to the ground. Huron could already tell this warzone was markedly similar to those he'd witnessed before in Kir — war was all this place had known for centuries, and perhaps it would be centuries more before this conflict saw its resolution. While most conflicts had clear motives and goals, that had been forgotten by most locals by now. Most couldn't tell you why they were fighting — only that they had come to kill the 'enemy'.

Music sounded off the speakers of the boombox situated in the cabin, complemented by the constant droning of the helicopter rotors. He could faintly see the hills, mountaintops and flowing streams below as the helicopter continued on through the Nheengatu Rainforest. The place was teeming with life — and death. These dark rainforests were haunted by the memories of countless conflicts, carrying with it the legacy of a neverending conflict.

"But once you tame it, you will find yourselves to be an unparalleled fighting force in the Nheengatu Rainforest..."

Brynn's words remained with Huron as the Typhon pivoted in the air, an electronic 'ping' from the cockpit alerting him to the fact they were reaching the LZ. Slipping on his nightvision goggles, he stood up as the red lights in the cabin died down, bringing him to swing open the passenger door as they descended. It was a clearing like many others — a byproduct of Velezian terror-bombing that had so terribly scarred the land. Stepping off as the helicopter touched down, his boots met the muddy puddles that filled the crater, his senses briefly overcome by the petrichor that naturally came with every downpour. Even as he gathered himself, it occurred to him that it was lightly raining still — typical, one would assume.

Image
It was difficult for one to respect the dead when every bomb dropped disrupted hundreds of graves and ancient battlefields.


It hadn't taken long for the helicopter behind him to lift back up, setting off on a westbound course as Huron gathered his bearings. It hadn't taken long for the drone of the rotors to diminish entirely, replaced now by the nocturnal hum of the jungle. Almost immediately, he was greeted by the ancient bodies of soldiers amidst the dense thicket of the trees and underbrush around him — presumably this place had played host to a battle many years ago, only the bodies of infantrymen serving as testament to engagements long past. Given the design of the uniforms, he could suspect to himself that these men had been Velezian — their camouflage patterns indicating they were a few decades dead.

Many places in the Zone were like this, he'd heard — much akin to the rainforests of the Gonko. It was difficult for one to respect the dead when every bomb dropped disrupted hundreds of graves and ancient battlefields — Huron trudged carefully through the rainforest, mindful of superstition — he carried about him a variety of protective wards he'd collected from various cultures and faiths: a Pharaist jade scarab, an Ourielist cross, and a Euphemianist forty-five star pendant to name a few. He'd gained them all in his travels across the world, fighting in war after war — and he'd carry them with him to the ends of Tsion.

Further into the reaches of the primordial rainforest he was greeted by the remains of a crashed Velezian Air Force F-38. Evidently, it had ended up here not long ago: the toppled trees and overturned dirt were still fresh, although nature had already begun to reclaim the crash site. The livery, too, seemed relatively new — but already corrosion and decay had set in. Dangling lifelessly from the smashed cockpit of the aircraft were the remains of the pilot, already in an advanced state of decay. Huron took a moment, stopping to briefly study the corpse.

"Must've been out for at least a month." He noted, continuing past the grim crashsite. Carefully he made his way further north to the jungle, stopping at the edge of the treeline as he noted a road ahead. A group of vehicles were passing, the most notable among them a heavily-armored truck. Armored fighting vehicles tightly guarded the vehicle, and Huron didn't need to think too much to come to the realization of what was at play here: the nuclear warhead. Assuming position behind one of the bushes, he watched the scene before him as his comm crackled to life.

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FEDERAL ATOMICS uOS 19 v1.37
COMMLOG v2.11.1


Image

[EUPHFOR]
[Administrator]
[Brynn Gamma-Ray Antineutrino L'amour Toujours M. Qianlong]
"That's the nuclear warhead convoy, Huron. Keep in mind the covert nature of this operation. Follow it into the base."



Image

[EUPHFOR]
[Special Agent]
[Huron]
"Of course."






©422-423 Federal Atomics Computing Division.
All Rights Reserved.


The vehicles passed him by, Huron allowing a few moments to pass before he crossed the now-empty jungle road, rolling into the bushes across from him as he continued. El Crisol was nearby — and it would be Huron's task to infiltrate the Canguarian military compound. It hadn't taken long for him to reach the edge of the jungle, allowing him a glimpse of the military complex below. Cut into the wilderness it was impressive in scale, military vehicles busy filing in and out of its four main entrances. He could also see the convoy at a particularly well-defended sector of the compound.

Yet, as he carefully closed in, he noted the presence of a sharpshooter protectively watching over the complex below. Cautiously, he closed in on the sniper's nest, assuming a fighting posture that would best put his 气 to use. Whistling, he brought the sniper to turn around — before his hand met the space behind the Canguarian soldier's jaw. With ease he'd brought the man to keel over and collapse, having experienced a neurological overload from the swift maneuver that'd stricken him so. Huron was quick to recoil his hand as he stepped forward to get a view of the situation below from the vantage point.

It seemed the dealer and his men were busy beginning the tedious procedure of offloading the warhead carried aboard the truck — meanwhile, he studied the small prison camp the Canguarian soldiers had established in the southern annex of the facility. Employees of Clancy Petrochemical were being held there, along with some Velezian officers. His task in that regard was simple: eliminate the prisoners to ensure they wouldn't disclose information to their Canguarian captors. With that, he'd lowered the marksman rifle he'd used to observe the situation below and got up, leaving the nest and beginning down towards the facility.


____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    Basilisco AFB, Los Valles Province, Republic of Floriana
    FEBRUARY 27, 422
    2200 HOURS


    Image


    __________________________________

That was not the only mission being handled in the confines of the high-tech command center that served as the nerve center of Bas-ko, and by extension Ardent Sigma's own operations in southern Ophir. Indeed, something else was at play, all under the careful oversight of the new 'Gang of Four' that oversaw operations from Valdivia to the Zone. Brynn Gamma-Ray Antineutrino L'amour Toujours M. Qianlong observed the various glowing cathode ray tube monitors around her, returning her attention to a flat display map of the Zone. Upon it, glimmering arrows navigated south — their trajectory thus far would deceptively resemble a Canguarian attack route. If they were even detected by Velezian radar, that is: one flight of F-72K Hierofalcon ESPER 14.5 generation fighters were on their way to cause a little disruption for the Velezians.

Indeed, they were here to intercept a very important target: a Lo-141C3ISTAR Mobile Command Center 'Condor' and an accompanying AWC-11 Imset-B. The ensuing disruption of Velezian command logistics would raise hell (an understatement) and would, more likely than not, be pinned on the antics of the Canguarians to the north. Two birds with one stone — the fact it'd make their current ground operations tenfold easier was even more of a plus.

"How's Huron faring?" Jim questioned, leaning across from her at the display map, cigar in hand as he observed the situation. It was a form of omnipotence, almost — from here Brynn felt they were completely in control.

"He's entered the compound. Vonnegut's also doing well — I believe it was a wise investment." noted Brynn as she continued watching the situation unfold.

Image
FEDERAL ATOMICS uOS 19 v1.37
COMM TRANSCRIPT READER v7.8.4
CHANNEL 1ASOC - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION



/// [EUPHFOR] [AΣ/HQ | Administrator Brynn Gamma-Ray Antineutrino L'amour Toujours M. Qianlong] /// "Sitrep?"

/// [EUPHFOR] [1ASOC/ F-72K Hierofalcon ESPER "Jackpot" #421-001 | Col. Mark Out-of-Time McFly J. Hall] /// "Passing Corona. Cango haven't detected us."

/// [EUPHFOR] [1ASOC/ F-72K Hierofalcon ESPER "Highroller" #421-002 | Cpt. Mac Emmett Modern-Love J. Brown] /// "Plenty of ground activity though. Must be preparin' for something."

/// [EUPHFOR] [AΣ/HQ | Administrator Brynn Gamma-Ray Antineutrino L'amour Toujours M. Qianlong] /// "It's possible they're aware of Velezia's plans. Dealing with these command aircraft will severely hamper Velezia's strike capacities if they choose to proceed with their more critical options."

/// [EUPHFOR] [1ASOC/ F-72K Hierofalcon ESPER "Chip" #421-004 | Cpt. Edeko Power-of-Love A. Harrigan] /// "But if something like that happened, the Federal States would intervene, right...?"

/// [EUPHFOR] [AΣ/HQ | Administrator Brynn Gamma-Ray Antineutrino L'amour Toujours M. Qianlong] /// "We are working to prevent tragedy, not exploit it."



©422-423 Federal Atomics Computing Division.
All Rights Reserved.


A tense silence in the command room followed as Brynn carefully followed the group of Hierofalcons navigating south on the map. The silence would be broken a minute later as the blips of the two Velezian aircraft and their sixteen escort fighters — F-38s. She waited in anticipation as she watched the scene unfold on the map, her imagination running wild as everything came together.

Missiles were fired as the group swiftly retreated, countermeasures paired with stealth practically shrouding their exit. The Velezian aerial formation reacted by sharply dispersing in attempt to evade — yet they had little luck in outmaneuvering the AAM-241E Comet missiles that'd been fired their way.

Of the sixteen-fighter Velezian escort group, only two had survived the utter annihilation, and were quickly fleeing south now. Hopefully they'd bring news to their superiors of the encounter, or rather the lack thereof — it was quite obvious either the Canguarians or their corporate sponsors would take the blame.

So the first of many pieces had been moved on the metaphorical chessboard that was the Zone...


____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    El Crisol, Canguarian Army-controlled territory, the Zone
    FEBRUARY 27, 422
    2230 HOURS


    Image


    __________________________________

Quietly Huron watched the deal unfold, his identity now masked by the Canguarian Army uniform and balaclava he'd taken along the way. Like a good amount of Canguarian military officers, the man silently waiting for the dealer across from him was a relative of the Duke. Passing by Huron were a group of men and women in jumpsuits, their necks branded with a royal cypher — one could assume it pertained to the officer he'd come here to kill.

Image
FEDERAL ATOMICS uOS 19 v1.37
COMMLOG v2.11.1


Image

[EUPHFOR]
[Administrator]
[Brynn Gamma-Ray Antineutrino L'amour Toujours M. Qianlong]
"Huron, those are 'gene-slaves', or generation-slaves. Their bloodlines have been enslaved for decades — centuries even, and their children are sure to carry this curse. Grant them the freedom their forefathers never saw."



Image

[EUPHFOR]
[Special Agent]
[Huron]
"I see..."






©422-423 Federal Atomics Computing Division.
All Rights Reserved.


Hastily, they opened the rear door of the armored truck, revealing the warhead housed within. The weapon had been tediously kept in a temperature-controlled chamber within the vehicle, presumably to shield it from any external factors.

"And my money?" asked the dealer, coming to the small table at the centre of this improptu 'meeting space'. His eyes suspiciously shifted about, as if studying the five-man guard contingent overseeing matters in this sector of the facility.

"..of course, of course." nodded the Canguarian officer. With a gesture, he'd made a group of the gene-slaves deliver to him a black briefcase, and then two, and then twelve — setting them all down on the table, he opened them to reveal stacks upon stacks of gold bars.

The arms dealer studied the small fortune worth of gold set before him, whistling to a man who was presumably to measure the fineness of the gold. The man, indeed, did approach, ready to evaluate what had been set before them.

Huron continued carefully evaluating the scene, biding his time. There was a particular blindspot that kept him out of view of three of the men — and he was sure he could exploit it. He could feel the clock silently ticking in his head as he pondered what to do next...

The man looked to the dealer and nodded — the gold was seemingly of satisfactory fineness.

click

Huron set off the detonator, an explosive boom echoing across the facility as the prison ward of the base had been effortlessly demolished, a fireball rising in the distance past the layers of chain-link fences. Before the guards could draw their weapons and assess the meaning of the attack, Huron drew his IS-M301, gunning down the officer and the arms dealer before charging the sole guard in the blindspot, his cry cut short by Huron promptly choking him out. Immediately the geneslaves began to flee amidst the chaos, leaving just Huron and his enemies to fight.

The distraction had served him well enough however, the operative hurrying over to the table as gunfire began his way once they'd noticed him. Taking a grenade from the deceased officer, he lobbed it over before holstering his pistol and switching to his assault rifle. By the time the blast had stunned the enemy soldiers, Huron had emerged from cover, firing away as he began walking to the truck proper. Beyond his intended targets, Huron preferred a non-lethal approach to the enemy — injuring them put much greater a logistical drain on the enemy than killing them. As such, he targeted limbs, leaving the Canguarians keeling over in pain bleeding as he reached the truck, slamming the rear doors shut and locking it before hurrying over to the driver's cabin. The warhead was safely within, and he needed now only get it out of the facility... and when the truck was more akin to a tank than anything else, he wasn't all too worried about that.


____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    Basilisco AFB, Los Valles Province, Republic of Floriana
    FEBRUARY 28, 422
    0100 HOURS


    Image


    __________________________________

Music

Brynn and Jim were on their way to the brig to interrogate their facility's sole prisoner, a certain 'Sloane Ultravox Out-of-Touch Burnin'-for-You A. Austin' who'd been downed by the Velezian Air Force and subsequently been captured by Ardent Sigma forces in the raid that followed. She was an employee of the McLellan-Kuron Corporation, and seemed to possess an above-average intelligence about her that made her of particular interest to Brynn. Sleep deprivation was just one of many ways prisoners could be broken down, and while Brynn knew there was little to be gained from needless cruelty, she was also well aware of the fact that, at least in the practical sense, this person was their enemy, even if they were just deluded, misled puppets of something far incomprehensibly grand and malevolent. So far Brynn had been working to erode at the prisoner's natural defenses by depriving her of sleep — she herself was tired from the long day's work, but at least she had coffee.

"We've made the right choice in working with those two gentlemen." noted Brynn as they wandered past the empty (for now) quarters.

"Indeed." Jim chuckled. "But we've still a long ways in the business of peace."

Reaching the door to the interrogation room, Brynn paused briefly before unlocking the door and heading inside, setting the mug of coffee on shelf behind her as she seated herself opposite to the prisoner. The door let off an ominous clang as Jim closed it behind her, allowing the interrogation to begin. In accordance with her orders, no harm had been done to the prisoner, but it was fairly obvious she'd been worn down from being captured by the Velezian Army and her subsequent rescue and detention by Ardent Sigma.

"I see you're doing well." Brynn was more than well aware of the irony to her statement, the prisoner acknowledging her with a weak nod. There was no need for torture — the prisoner had already been deprived of will and resistance. Loyalty to one's nation was much more tangible to loyalty to a brand or a corporation, which was something Brynn was more than aware of. This prisoner would sooner abandon loyalties to her corporation than to Euphemie. If that wasn't the case, she could've easily gone to Sinica, North Ophir or Utsan for a marginally higher-paying job... but she hadn't. That was patriotism, Brynn was sure.

"...doesn't the Constitution ban holding me hostage like this?" mustered Sloane.

"We're not in Euphemie, are we?" Brynn smirked — an incredibly predictable question. "I read your record. You were with weapon design in the Corporation before... but that didn't exactly work out." She paused, calculating her next response. Over the years it'd occurred to her that the gift she possessed was rather helpful in this regard. "..you're looking for a purpose. The Corporation's devoid of that. You're fighting, risking your life... all for a PR stunt to compete with the Hierofalcon program... to what end, Austin?"

She received no response from the prisoner.

"We, on the other hand, work towards peace. Peace and stability... aren't profitable to conglomerates like your own. It is only natural that warzones like are preyed upon by these predatory enterprises that thrive on the business of war. Our purpose — the purpose of the Federal States of Euphemie abroad — is that the rule of law is pursued... not the rule of the jungle."

"...I joined McLellan-Kuron because Euphemie's withdrawn— no, betrayed her global commitments... I'm not a traitor, even if you think I am... I'm a patriot—"

Brynn was quick to interrupt, putting forth her demands. "Then provide us the location of that airstrip."

"..but my coworkers.."

Image
Preserving a just peace.


"To the Corporation, you're expendable. I... want to give you purpose, Austin. Take you under my wing. We bring in the most determined patriots in the country, getting our hands dirty in the blood of the battlefield, all in the name of peace... a just peace our great President Neworder once fought to the ends of Tsion for. You.. can help me." Brynn said, studying the prisoner's body language as she awaited a response.

It took a few seconds for the prisoner to process the offer, weakly nodding. "..it's... an airstrip a few kilometres northwest of Sofía. van de... uh..."

"van der Kaap." Brynn finished the prisoner's sentence, getting up to take a sip from her cup of coffee as she made for the door. "Good. Thank you. I'll evaluate your intel and let you consider your options." As her hand clasped the doorknob, she could hear the rattling of the prisoner's restraints behind her.

"Wait!" The prisoner reached out, hands still bound by chain to the metal table. "I'll... I'll work with you."

It was as if she'd already seen it play out. "I know."




"She talked?" questioned Jim as the metallic door shut behind the Administrator.

Brynn nodded, as if to confirm her question. "van der Kaap Airstrip. She'll be workiIng for us now."

"I won't question your methods. So long as it gets the job done."

"Of course," Brynn nodded as they took their leave from the prison compound in the facility, making it outside to be greeted by the night sky as they stood alone, almost insignificant in comparison to the unfathomably grand expanse of nature before them. A light cool breeze graced them both as Brynn looked up to the mountains, sighing. "Tell me, Jim, do you believe what we're doing is right?"

"Of course." he nodded. "No cause more noble than one that fights tirelessly in the name of peace. We're here to preserve the rightful vision of civilization that once was — holding onto a dream of the pre-Calamity world to uphold aspirations towards liberty, democracy and the pursuit of happiness."

"The 'business' the these corporations involve themselves in is not the pursuit of peace through helping any particular side, but the persistence of war. It is inevitable that their interests and ambitions will shift if any one side becomes too close to victory. Where civilized nations would otherwise pursue treaties and compromise, these predatory enterprises see only profits to be made. Peace in the Zone..." She paused again briefly, collecting her thoughts. "..means the termination of another source of profit. We have peace at home, but it comes at a cost that ultimately weakens the state: our corporations wage our wars for us, private shadow armies bound to no codes of honor or mutuality, operating only in the name of financial gain. They do not carry the honorable moral pretenses of national militaries. If we are to bring Euphemie back to greatness... if we are to make Euphemie great again, then we must put an end to the rampant presence of for-profit wars, starting with the Zone. Ophir's a big place — but it's closest to home. If we want to rebuild the world your father envisioned, we have to start small."

Jim chuckled. "Never thought you'd so fervently join the cause."

"I should've done this years ago." replied Brynn, crossing her arms as a cold breeze gusted by.

"You'll be going somewhere you're quite familiar with. Serondequot... the beating heart of Euphemie. I've arranged a meeting with the President on this matter." Jim explained. Brynn couldn't help but grumble at the mention of her estranged comrade she so often blamed for the decadence of the Federal States.

"...I see."

"I'm aware you don't exactly like him for.. personal reasons. Just try to keep your cool. Securing funding and favor is essential to the continued success of our operations here. We require logistics, money, troops and more aircraft to keep the Hierofalcons and this base safe."

"The second flight of Hierofalcons also hasn't been organized yet." Brynn thought aloud to herself.

Jim nodded. "We need a few more experienced pilots... that aren't mercenaries."

"..I'm well aware of who we could find.." Trailing off, a smirk made itself apparent on Brynn's features. Indeed, she did have an idea of who to find.
Too many old nations to count. NS user since 2013.
"War is the continuation of politics by other means."

only difference between a negotiation and a battle are the rules of engagement
both are fundamentally based on maneuver
put that in your quote book
-The Enclave Government
-Carl von Clausewitz

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Forest State
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Founded: Aug 23, 2016
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Thu Jun 06, 2019 6:46 am

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    A C T 7 - "F A I L U R E"
    Cascada del Paraiso AFB, Velezia
    FEBRUARY 15, 422


    __________________________________

Ever since the fight over the skies above the oil refinery, the mercenary pilot had a lot to think about. About her own status, about her position in all of this, about what exactly her goals were and what path she was on right now. Her entire life had led her to believe that she was special. Anyone would believe they were special when they were the only child of someone as high up as her mother, who happened to be the sole sibling of Daimiel’s leader. The Romero regime had established itself firmly in the country following a chaotic first few years - and while Esteban Romero, her uncle, was the face of the country and the one that was responsible mostly for keeping the regime in power, her mother Rose had played a huge role in the actual day to day running of the country behind the scenes. She wasn’t in the spotlight as much but it didn’t mean she didn’t have far more power than most within this country, even including those from the ‘higher’ parts of Daimielese society.

Her mother had enough wealth that she hadn’t even spent much of her childhood in Daimiel, as it was believed that such a place would only slow her development. Not that they had even known back then what she was developing towards, but they knew that she was supposed to be something great. And how was she supposed to be something great when everyone around her was just struggling to survive? Even if she grew up in the gated communities of the country’s small affluent section, the suffering would still be at the gates. According to Rose Romero, if her daughter was going to find success in this world, it would help her to be around other successful people from a young age. So that was how Xiomara Romero ended up living in the FRNO, particularly Aenara. They said that Aenarans were arrogant but she hadn’t gotten her arrogance from Aenara - the silent arrogance she exuded came from the weight that had been put on her shoulders all her life.

Being a pilot had only seemed natural. Most of what she had done was because of the wishes of her mother. She had went to Aenara, she had attended one of the most prestigious schools and gotten good grades, all because it was what had been asked of her - being a pilot had at one point been the dream of her mother, who had been in the 1st Combat Wing back home for a time but hadn’t flown planes herself, instead servicing them as a mechanic before her discharge following trouble related to cartel activities. Her mother had never reached the cockpit. Xiomara had been tasked, even though it had never been said officially, with reaching it for her. She’d had private flight lessons while she was still in high school. Private lessons in small prop planes turned to lessons in trainers. Lessons in trainers turned to lessons in real jets. Eventually, she was flying the F-19 Cicada that she had used in the fight against the Canguarians and McLellan-Kuron.

She clenched her fists at the thought of it. She hated them with all her heart, the McLellan-Kuron pilots that had jumped into her fight and interrupted her to prevent her from getting the kill. Why couldn’t they have just stayed in their own lane and allowed the one versus one duel to happen? Why couldn’t they honor the wishes of the enemy pilot who she was after, who had approached her for that duel even as the rest of her squadron left? She knew deep down that her enemy, Francis, had been fine with that duel. And yet, the corporate pilots just had to converge on her and drive her away before they could finish it. Not just one of them but a bunch of them, it hadn’t even been close to fair odds.

Xiomara briefly wondered why. The 13th Fighter Squadron wasn’t even from the same formation as the corporate pilots, so why had they doubled back to help even when their own task was essentially done at that point? Why had they bothered to interrupt and take her victory away from her? She wondered for a moment but then she remembered the intercepted communications from that sortie. The confession that had happened when she was nearing her target, and she had caused her target to panic and blurt something out. ”I love you,” had been the words. Right. So that was the reason why they had been so quick to protect someone that wasn’t even one of their own. Something was going on between someone from the 12th and Xiomara’s target from the 13th, who she had been tasked with eliminating.

It was something of a funny story, how she had ended up in this role. She’d been looking for work, but it just so happened that because of her family’s deep connections with the cartel scene in Daimiel, she knew a number of people directly or indirectly in the Camilea Cartel. And one of the people that she had considered a good friend of hers, the infamous 350 set boss and drug dealer Montezuma, happened to be one of the people after Francis. Sure, she was getting paid to be here. But money had never been an issue for her. For her, this was a matter of proving herself, of chasing a dream that wasn’t her own, and of honor on the national scale. Because if the best pilot from Daimiel was a deserter who had left cartel and country after experiencing adversity, only to join up with a country which many nationalists would consider to be on the other end of the geopolitical spectrum, what did that say about Daimiel?

For the sake of her country’s honor, and for her cartel’s honor, she needed to kill Francis Madrazo by any means necessary. And while it happened that most of Montezuma’s men were experts in another kind of fighting, the kind that would have guns and shells, her skillset was different. Piloting hadn’t been her life goal when she first started but that didn’t mean she wasn’t damn good enough at it, and in her opinion, good enough to hold her own with anyone in the squadron should she have the same equipment as them. She would take it a step further and say if they stepped down to her level and flew something like a Cicada, as she did, she would shred any one of them in combat. Some would call it overconfidence. Xiomara simply believed that, while a few of them might have fought in the Transatlantic War, she was the next generation. They had fought for nations. If some major conflict broke out in the future, there was a chance she’d be an ace in it and write her own story… As a mercenary fighting for the highest bidder or whichever side she desired.

What good had a nation ever done for someone? She couldn’t answer that question, she imagined there were plenty of people around the world that would take corporations over governments when asked what they thought of either. Government, even the one that was run by her family, had never done anything for her nation. Not every nation had an illustrious past behind it and plenty of stories about wartime heroes fighting for the idea of a nation rather than a company. And so if this was going to be the generation that fought conflicts not for national banners but for corporations, she would welcome it. That shift was the only reason she was even able to fly in combat now, it wasn’t as if her home country had a proper Air Force.

But that didn’t stop her from fighting for the honor of her country, even if she wasn’t fighting for said country. Francis Madrazo had to die for shaming Daimiel and shaming the Camilea Cartel with her desertion and betrayal. It was only a matter of whether it would happen by her own hands or someone else, as she knew there were others heading to Canguarian territory at this very moment. It wouldn’t be long before they were preparing for attack - and before they were carrying the said attack out. That, however, was getting off the topic.

The fact of the matter was that she had failed when she had Francis’ plane in front of her. And that perhaps cut her deeper than anything had before. She had been called every mean name in the book. An ice queen, a bitch, arrogant, even been called insane a few times. The words, however, rolled right off of her with no impact. She had suffered pain before - her high class background didn’t mean she didn’t have a tendency to run the streets and end up places she shouldn’t, both back home and in the FRNO. It barely fazed her. It would take more than that to stop her. This, however… Took the wind out of her sails in a way that nothing else quite did.

Failure. Against an enemy that she knew she was superior to. Against an enemy that had very publicly deserted from her country and from the clique that she claimed. Against an enemy that had needed to be bailed out by a number of others rather than holding her own in the fight. By all means, Xiomara should have won that battle. And now that she hadn’t, she didn’t quite know how to deal with it. It had been in her dreams, even, from the amount that she had been thinking about it. And in the dreams, it wasn’t any better than it was in real life. One could say that she was obsessed.

And she would admit that.

It didn’t matter that she was making money here or that she was wearing thousand dollar clothes or that she had a high social standing. Until she righted that loss, she knew she wouldn’t find happiness like she was looking for. Being bested by most people would have hurt her. Being bested by Francis after having victory in her hands was like having a sword driven through her middle. No… If it was a physical injury, the pain would probably go away after some time. Wounded pride could be harder to heal, even if the ‘injury’ didn’t really exist. It wasn’t just enough to kill Francis, either. She wanted the one that was responsible for the interruption in their duel. The one that had strafed her and forced her to back off eventually. The one that… Francis apparently loved. She had heard the name on the intercepted comms. Adeline.

Xiomara lit a weed cigar as she sat down in front of her computer in her quarters, opening a chat application and starting a video call with the person that had put her up to the task of taking out Franics in the first place: Romulus Suarez, better known as Montezuma. She waited a few moments as a waiting screen displayed, before Montezuma eventually picked up with an answer and ended her waiting. “Romulus, I have something to ask of you,” she said immediately, exhaling smoke from the cigar after speaking. “I’m aware that I failed in my task and as such I have little room to ask for favors… But there’s something your shooters should be aware of.”

The cartel member raised an eyebrow, not used to the insistent behavior of Xiomara rather than the more relaxed and quiet tone she typically had when talking to him and the others back home. “Eh? Tell, I guess.”

“From what I could hear from enemy communications, Francis managed to fall in love with someone while in Canguari. Adeline, this person is called. I don’t have more information than that. But I’m sure you can gather more when you put your people on the ground. I would like to ask that this Adeline is also eliminated. Consider this to be a hit. One for 10K if your hitters pull it off. Of course… The main objective is Francis, but I would rather have Adeline dead at the hands of your men and handle Francis myself. Whoever she is, anyway. Like I said, I don’t have a description for you. But given that she’s apparently one of the corporate pilots flying with the Canguarians, there’s not a huge amount of people that it could be.”

The man on the other side of the screen paused. “I’ll see what I can do. Arturo and Cobra should be in the country by now, it’s just a matter of finding where Francis is based specifically and taking action… Francis is a dead boy walking. I’m sure that this… Adeline won’t be much of a problem. I doubt that most pilots are. No offense, Xiomara. Most pilots haven’t hung out with cartels, after all.”

“Right. Actually, let me up the price… I’ll get your guys 50K if they can pull this one off and leave Francis for me. I’m not going to be happy unless I’m the one to finish Francis, got it? Now… I have to go. Got some stuff to do, we’ll talk more in a bit,” she said, waving and ending the call before standing up and exhaling smoke once again.

She moved to walk out of the room, she had something else to do. Well, more accurately, she had something to do to advance her own interests. Despite her preference for Velezian engineering rather than Euphemian engineering, she couldn’t pretend she didn’t have her eyes on the Hierofalcon - which the company hadn’t selected her to fly, despite her talent. That, to her, wasn’t just an insult but prevented her from accomplishing the job she was here to do.

The one she was really here to do, not the one she was officially doing. She did have some mixed feelings about this unit… Felt like most of them underestimated her just because she didn’t have years of experience in combat and hadn’t fought in the Transatlantic War or whatever, but it was in her interests at the moment to get along with them. And well, her commanding officer was hot, she couldn’t deny that either even if she would never go on the record saying it. Maybe if she worked on getting him wrapped around her finger, he would be able to put in a word with the company that it should be her behind the stick in one of the Hierofalcons, which she’d had her eyes on since she first showed up here...
i'm the bad guy... duh.

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Forest State
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Founded: Aug 23, 2016
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:40 pm

Collaborative post with Valefontaine and Turmenista.


____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    A C T 8 - "B R E A K I N G P O I N T"
    Cascada del Paraiso AFB, Velezia
    MARCH 9th, 422


    __________________________________

Eventually, Francis would have to get in the cockpit again. She knew this fact, ever since the refinery mission that had shook her up and made her wonder if she would ever fly again. And now, the 13th Fighter Squadron was again being deployed into the Zone for another mission, one that she was assigned to as well as the others. It… Made her nervous to say the least, knowing that she had hardly been able to touch a plane without panicking until a few days ago, and now she was expected to head into combat again. However, she wasn’t about to turn back because of this. She was still fighting for something, or someone rather, and she knew that giving up would result in her losing that in addition to her career as a pilot.

Quitting wasn’t an option here. They would all see soon enough whether she had gotten over the refinery mission enough to fly. And if she couldn’t get over it and she had to be grounded, that would be that. However, she wasn’t going to run away from the mission and take herself out of the picture without anyone else forcing her out of it.

When she approached the briefing room she was walking with the one member of her squadron that had actually given her advice on these matters. She had an uneasy relationship with Jock McLean but she knew that his opinions on these things were somewhat helpful at times and he found her interesting. Didn’t mean they liked each other. But they did talk to each other a decent amount these days, and the insults from McLean had mostly cooled down - strangely enough, the more neutral Savage had shifted to take the role of the aggressor more often in Francis’ interactions with the rest of the squadron.

“Whatever happens out there happens… For all you know, you could freeze up and die,” McLean said, pausing. “But, I think this is worth the risk for you. I don’t believe you have anywhere else to go if this falls through. You may be risking your life going out there, but this is your life, yes?”

“I guess that’s true. Not like I even have other skills,” shrugged Francis, knowing that she had only become an air mercenary in the first place because it was something that she had already been trained to do, and it paid the bills. The other reasons she was here were things that had been added later, going further beyond that rather basic reason of trying to survive.

“I would make a prediction on what’s going to happen, but you’ve proven me wrong enough times at this point that I’m just going to watch. I’m sure that if I predicted you to do well, you’d somehow end up crashing and burning,” McLean said with a chuckle. “But if you feel fear… Just remember that you don’t have anywhere else to go. If that doesn’t push you past it, I’m not sure what will.”

“Thanks for the advice, I suppose,” said Francis, pausing momentarily before moving to break away from the rest of her squadron that was heading for the briefing room. “Be right back. Have to find someone real quick, I’ll see you guys when the briefing starts,” she added, which caused Castro and Savage to raise an eyebrow ahead of the pair, who had been walking behind them.

As Francis' group continued on through the corridors, they ran into the corporate squadron's pilots — numbering seven instead of the usual eight. It was then that it occurred to her that one of them had been shot down in the skies over Velezia. Judging by the fact the recovery teams had failed to find her, one could only assume the fate of the eighth pilot was one worse than death in capture by the Velezian Army, or a slow death in the frigid peaks of the mountain ranges near the Zone. Either way, a tense air hung among the McLellan-Kuron pilots, their minds either fresh with the memory of the lost pilot... or the shootout that'd happened at their barracks just a few weeks prior. Adeline was among those pilots quietly walking over to the briefing room. The prospects of her near-death experience had been enough to keep the otherwise stoic pilot in a serious mood today.

Francis caught a glance of the group of corporate pilots but didn’t approach immediately - last thing she wanted was to make things awkward by approaching Adeline directly when she was with her squadron. She stood near the wall, watching as she stood still, but she did offer a wave, looking up and hoping to meet Adeline’s eye. There was… Something she wanted to do, but unless she had a good enough chance to do it without causing trouble, she wasn’t going to try. This had been met by a slight nod in acknowledgment from the pilot, the group soon reaching the briefing room.

With the pilots seating themselves, it became apparent the 'setup' was much more intricate today. Where typically a single projector would relay relevant images to the whiteboard behind the individual in charge of the briefing, there were various diagrams, projections and other pieces of relevant information in regards to the mission they'd be doing today.

Standing by the board was the familiar figure of the Duke's second-in-command, Gregory Pecks. The aged former CBI agent nodded as it occurred to him that the pilots were here. "Right then, ladies and gentlemen, I believe the premise of this operation is of rather significant concern to everyone present here today. We are preventing a Velezian strike that could..." He seemingly hesitated with his words, as if carefully choosing what he would say next. "...utterly cripple the Duchy, to say the least. It has come to my attention that the Velezians possess what is called a 'supergun'... an immense long-range artillery gun capable of striking anywhere in the Zone — and if our suspicions are true, Canguari itself. CANRIEL/LA, or CAÑón de RIEL de Largo Alcance ... it's an emulation of the Euphemian 'EIDOLON' supergun system of the past century. Given Velezia's raising of their nuclear alert level, we have reason to believe they could easily arm this system with a warhead and inflict unfathomable destruction in the Zone. Destroying this weapon is essential to the war effort — and will deal a serious blow to the enemy's morale. Normally I would just say, 'send the corporate squadron in with an electronic warfare package'... but it appears the system we're dealing with is incredibly advanced — perhaps developed with Akhmanari assistance. Regardless, this is now our nation's priority number one — and the Duke has entrusted each one of you with compromising this system to a permanent end. The mercenary squadron will be equipped with air-to-ground loadouts to bypass the defensive layers of the facility and strike the gun, while the corporate squadron will protect the mercenary squadron from any aerial threats. Dismissed!"

Francis stood up along with the rest of the squadron as they were dismissed, hands shaking subtly now that she realized what they were doing. She’d hoped that things would be… Simple now that she was returning to flying. However, life around here was rarely simple. It wasn’t surprising at all that the mission they were being given was… A matter of life and death for plenty of people around the country. That seemed to be her luck. “You going to be able to handle this one, Francis?” asked someone approaching her from the side. Laurita Aquino, the one that had taken a strange interest in her recently that Francis herself didn’t quite understand.

“I guess we’ll see. Don’t have any options but to head out there and do my best,” said Francis, sighing as her eyes scanned the room again, mostly ignoring Laurita as she looked for the person that she actually wanted to talk to, Adeline. By then, she was leaving her seat, quietly walking over.

"Good luck." Adeline reassuringly offered, though it was quite obvious there was a very visible look of concern about her features. The stakes now were certainly a bit higher than before.

“Hey, I should be wishing you good luck. At least… If those enemy mercenaries show up again. Me and the 13th had it easy last time compared to that,” said Francis, before leaning in a bit closer and lowering her voice to prevent those around her from hearing. “Can we step outside for a minute?”

She nodded. "Yeah."

Francis led the way out - Laurita staring on awkwardly from the background, a bit surprised that her attempt at conversation had largely been blown off by the pilot from the second flight. When they did reach the outside, Francis pondered her actions for a moment or two before deciding that it was worth giving it a shot - especially heading into a dangerous situation she didn’t know if she would come out of in the end. She moved swiftly, aiming to push Adeline against the wall similarly to the way Adeline had done to her on that one day in the past when Francis had saved her, and her lips immediately moved to Adeline’s neck… Uncharacteristic for her, but she was working on being more confident. Both in general, and in things such as this.

"Hey—" Adeline's reply was cut short by the emergence of her squadron manager, another Euphemian gringo from the state of Heartland.

"Give me your pay for this mission and maybe I won't report your ass to HR. Get in your plane." He nonchalantly said, walking off.

Adeline was quick to slightly push her partner away from her neck, a flustered — perhaps even slightly annoyed — expression about her. "Just don't get yourself killed out there." She managed, storming off to her hangar as the rest of the pilots began to slowly emerge from the briefing room.

Francis herself was rather surprised and flustered by the interruption, freezing up before eventually calling out to Adeline. “Just uh… Give me some time and I’ll pay you back for this! I’ll figure something out…” she said, awkwardly. But she didn’t even know if Adeline heard her, she hadn’t found the right words until Adeline was already storming off. Shouldn’t have been brave right there… Didn’t help anything. Damn it.

As the rest of her own squadron left the briefing room, she followed after them towards the hangar - although none of them would know the actual reason why she looked slightly panicked, aside from the nerves of being on such an important mission.




It was safe to say the mood around the 13th Fighter Squadron was somewhat different during this specific mission - for the members of the squadron who were not air mercenaries, this could be a matter of their country’s survival. It was a bigger deal than simply taking out a few enemy bombers or attacking a strategic target. No, this had the feeling of a mission where they had their backs against the wall. Failure would have consequences beyond themselves. And the members of the squadron that were mercenaries would feel the effects of that pressure too.

Protectively looming overhead and gaining in altitude were the seven aircraft of the corporate squadron. They weren't operating at full strength since their single loss in the last mission, something that had evidently left many of the pilots of the unit in question troubled. Either way, it was perhaps the slightest bit reassuring that they'd have such advanced aircraft watching over them.

CANGUARIAN AIR FORCE
XB-OS v1.11 [UNLICENSED]
COMMUNICATION TRANSCRIPT
CHANNEL 13FS - MAXIMUM ENCRYPTION
----

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Yamandu” | CPT. Tomas Castro:// “Remember what’s at stake, everyone… This might not be your own country, at least for some of you, but you mercenaries aren’t going to have a base to return to if this mission isn’t a success.”

-[ 13FS/ G/C-415 Banshee “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “It will be… We could take the refinery out, we can handle this, too.”

-[ 13FS/ A/F-04 “Aenaran” | CPT. Jock McLean:// “Never underestimate the ability of a mercenary to protect their source of profits.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Junkie” | CPT. Ulysses Tony Fly-Me-To-The-Moon Savage:// “Aye. This may not be my country, but it is my income, and I look out for my income.”

-[ 13FS/ A/F-04 “Ubirata” | CPT. Joaquin Asis:// “I suppose us southerners and gringos have something to agree on today.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Cacador” | MAJ. Anselmo Castelo:// “Indeed.”

CHANNEL OPERATION MIDNIGHT THUNDER
----

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Carpenter" #412-011 | SQM. Charles Lauer Thompson-Twins G. Plissken:// "Escort the mercs and we'll do fine."

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "Right."

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Carpenter" #412-011 | SQM. Charles Lauer Thompson-Twins G. Plissken:// [chuckle]

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "What?"

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Carpenter" #412-011 | SQM. Charles Lauer Thompson-Twins G. Plissken:// "Oh, nothing. Just thinkin' about the designer clothes I'll be spending my doubled pay on."

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Junkie" #415-046 | PLT. Lynn Newton Sad! Air-Supply C. Easton:// "Whaddaya mean, 'doubled pay'?"

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Carpenter" #412-011 | SQM. Charles Lauer Thompson-Twins G. Plissken:// "You're not at liberty to know."

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


As they approached the area of operations, Francis found her heart rate and breathing picking up but focused on the scenery going by rather than the pressure of the situation. The jungles which looked so distant from up here, the mountains that were a bit further off in the distance… It was a distraction, at least. Both from the mission’s pressure and from the fact that she was, deep down, afraid that there could be a repeat of the previous duel with the enemy ace at any moment. Or it felt like it could happen at any moment, anyway. Even if the concern might be sourced in… Paranoia. Francis knew she was still being affected by nearly being shot out of the sky over the refinery. However, she didn’t have the option here to turn back. Even if she hadn’t fully recovered, she had to fight.

The tall mountain peaks of the range were coming into view, all flanking a much greater mountaintop — Tlaka'nexkimīlitēpetl. Towering above all the others, it was a sight to behold, even from the horizon's edge. It would also be here where the so-called 'railgun' they had come to destroy lay, concealed behind the rock-face...

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-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 141/ F-40 Depredador "Rancho" #411-311 | Maj. Vincente Juarez :// [TRANSLATED] "Rancho to command—we’re moving to the outer layer now. I think I just saw something.."

-[ 2. División Controladores de Zona / MP-50 Guerrero CMDUNIT | Cor. Roberto Bardem ]- [TRANSLATED] :// "What do you see?"

-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 141/ F-40 Depredador "Rancho" #411-311 | Maj. Vincente Juarez :// [TRANSLATED] "Times 8 contacts on the radar. Looks to be fighters in attack formation—mercenaries, nonetheless."

-[ 2. División Controladores de Zona / MP-50 Guerrero CMDUNIT | Cor. Roberto Bardem ]- [TRANSLATED] :// "I’m not taking any chances. Scramble second squadron and defend the gun! Your F-40s will easily deal with these vermin. KAMI, a word!"

-[ CANRIEL ADMIN/LA CAÑón de RIEL de Largo Alcance | KAMI 053 ]- [TRANSLATED] :// "Online."

-[ 2. División Controladores de Zona / MP-50 Guerrero CMDUNIT | Cor. Roberto Bardem ]- [TRANSLATED] :// "Warm up the gun! It seems the Canguarians have caught wind of the gun. The guard shall not falter! Once you’re ready to fire, let them have it!"

-[ CANRIEL ADMIN/LA CAÑón de RIEL de Largo Alcance | KAMI 053 ]- [TRANSLATED] :// "Commencing preliminary checks."

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


One could see, off in the distance, the approaching fighters. The F-40s were a much more formidable threat than the F-38s—and something that wasn’t a Velezian derivative of a much more elegant Akhmanari jet. Their thrust vectoring capability meant that they were incredibly mobile in the air—an agile threat that could not only evade, but attack at strange angles.

To this threat the corporate fighters immediately assumed formation, setting off to engage them as a much more pertinent threat befell the Canguarian-hired mercenaries, Francis included: the air defense sites on the ground.

]
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-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 141/ F-40 Depredador "Rancho" #411-311 | Maj. Vincente Juarez :// [TRANSLATED] "WHAT IN OURIEL IS THAT?"

-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 141/ F-40 Depredador "Blacklight" #411-311 | Cpt. Jet Mendoza :// [TRANSLATED] "Corporate fighters?"

-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 141/ F-40 Depredador "Rancho" #411-311 | Maj. Vincente Juarez :// [TRANSLATED] "It’s them. They’re going for the first AA layer. First squadron, intercept the corporate jets! Second squadron, keep the gun safe from those other fighters!"

-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 141/ F-40 Depredador "Blacklight" #411-311 | Cpt. Jet Mendoza :// [TRANSLATED] "Let’s get these gringos!"

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-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Carpenter" #412-011 | SQM. Charles Lauer Thompson-Twins G. Plissken:// "Keep going, mercenaries. We'll keep them distracted!"

-[ 13FS/ A/F-04 “Aenaran” | CPT. Jock McLean:// “Say no more.”

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


The two A/F-04s in the squadron were equipped with four AGM-216s each, for the specific purpose of taking out the air defense network around their target. Both of the pilots - Asis and McLean - worked together to concentrate their fire on the four launchers of the first battery. Two missiles were fired from each of the pair, and once that one was down, they would turn their attention to the other battery… Both of the shots from Asis, however, missed their mark while the two that McLean had fired hit their targets and took out half of the battery. Francis, however, also had six air to ground missiles, even if they weren’t the specific type that was optimal for targeting defenses like these. Immediately following the misses, she took a pair of shots of her own at the remaining launchers in the hopes of taking out the remainder of the battery - but neither missile was able to properly lock on and find the target, wasting two and leaving her with four left. She cursed under her breath. Maybe this was just part of her nerves.

The ground lit up like a Yuletide tree temporarily as T-92S[1] batteries on the ground began firing at the mercenary squadron. White trails from short-range VT-47S SLAM launchers[2] stretched off into the sky like ropes, missing each of the mercenary fighters...though the tracers from the SPAAGS stretched off dangerously close to the jets.

As the lead plane of the group, McLean seemed to take the most damage from the attacks. It wasn’t enough to down the attack plane, however, and McLean and Asis continued approaching the site and fired two more Rapiers to try and finish the first battery off - the last two that each of them had. Both of them were hits, massive fireballs erupting as the first battery was taken out completely.

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-[ 13FS/ A/F-04 “Aenaran” | CPT. Jock McLean:// “Let’s try to save our missiles… We may need them more for the bigger task. How do you guys consider your gunfighting skills?”

-[ 13FS/ A/F-04 “Ubirata” | CPT. Joaquin Asis:// “Daring. I don’t hate this idea…”

-[ 13FS/ G/C-415 Banshee “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “Let’s try it.”

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


While the large launchers were reloading, McLean, Asis, Francis, Castro, and Savage went into dives and aimed to target the remaining four launchers with their guns, in the aims of taking them out without potentially wasting missiles that they would need on their main target, or on the next layer of air defenses. They only managed to take out one - with Asis scoring the kill. It was at this point that Aquino and Castelo, trailing somewhat behind the fighters that had charged ahead for the dive, fired one of their two missiles each in hopes of making an impact, both of them missing… Which left them to dive low as they passed over the targets and attempt the same thing, switching to guns mode to try and attack one more time before they’d have to pass again. Aquino scored a guns kill, leaving two launchers left.

The formation of fighters was forced to turn again, to make another pass at the enemy. The two attack planes in the front, particularly, went low again, attempting to line the targets up in their gunsights - neither one able to score the kill. This engagement was taking longer than what was preferable. Trailing behind the attack planes, Francis fired two more of her air to ground missiles, desperately hoping it wasn’t a pure waste again. One of them hit and caused a fireball that she pulled up from, the other one missed and left one more target for the other fighters. Both Castro and Savage took aim at it with their guns while approaching from slightly different angles, neither of them hitting the mark. Aquino fired her second missile, finally destroying the thing but making her effectively useless for the rest of the engagement as she now had no weapons other than guns.




Adeline, on the other hand, was off to a good start — her aircraft cutting down one of the supermaneuverable F-40 fighters out of the sky in a swift, abrupt maneuver that sent the fighter aircraft in question violently spiraling down to the earthly abyss below. Alert klaxons blared as she maneuvered her aircraft upward, cutting through the clouds. A thin veil of frost began to form at the edges of the cockpit glass outside, an indication of just how cold it was beyond the safe, climate-controlled confines of the advanced fighter.

"++You seem to be getting better at this.++" noted the VAS, seemingly congratulating Adeline's efforts. Ascending through the clouds, she finally got a glimpse of the dogfight unfolding before them. Getting heat off the mercenaries was their main priority, to which Adeline sought to fulfill that end by activating the aircraft's ECM suite — hundreds of nonexistent DRFM spoofs appearing in the vicinity of her aircraft to gather the attention of the Velezian squadrons.

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-[ 2. División Controladores de Zona / MP-50 Guerrero CMDUNIT | Cor. Roberto Bardem ]- [TRANSLATED] :// “Take out those corporate fighters NOW! Destroy them ALL!!!”

-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 141/ F-40 Depredador "Blacklight" #411-311 | Cpt. Jet Mendoza :// [TRANSLATED] "What the hell? Why are there more?"

-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 141/ F-40 Depredador "Rancho" #411-311 | Maj. Vincente Juarez :// [TRANSLATED] "You’ve got a lock, Blacklight!”

-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 141/ F-40 Depredador "Blacklight" #411-311 | Cpt. Jet Mendoza :// [TRANSLATED] "Fuck! I can’t-"

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©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


An explosion erupted in the sky as Junkie swiftly intercepted one of the Velezian fighters, sending its flaming wreckage plummeting down into the clouds below. There were eighteen of them left, and only seven of them — yet Adeline had in her a confidence that assured them of their success today.

11 of the supermaneuverable fighters broke off from the formation to strafe the squadron as the rest kept moving to attack the others. Three were lucky in the ensuing strafing run, aligning themselves with one fighter in particular—Prurient. Like a metaphorical pinata, their autocannons ripped through the fighter...and then some. A lone parachute descended into the clouds below, leaving the pilot's fate ambiguous as the fight in the skies continued on.

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-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "Shit!"

-[ 12TFS/2F/ CF-71F Super Recluse "Amethyst" #421-012 | FLM. Brooke Sawyer She-Blinded-Me-With-Science J. Parrish:// "..he makes the error of ejecting."

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Carpenter" #412-011 | SQM. Charles Lauer Thompson-Twins G. Plissken:// "We can't let those mercenaries down. Keep fighting!"

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-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 141/ F-40 Depredador "Rancho" #411-311 | Maj. Vincente Juarez :// [TRANSLATED] "I got the bastard. That one’s for you, Blacklight!”

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©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Adrenaline coursing through her, Adeline pivoted her aircraft behind one of the Velezian fighters, letting loose her fighter aircraft's 20mm Fafnir cannons on the fuselage of the craft. Like wet paper it came undone, metal paneling breaking away as flying sparks became blazing flames... until the fighter was descending down into the abyss, a grim fireball burning brightly in the night sky.

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-[ 2. División Controladores de Zona / CM-13 Loadmaster CMDUNIT | Ten. Joaquin G. ]- [TRANSLATED] :// “The first AA layer is down! Second layer is activating now!”

-[ 2. División Controladores de Zona / MP-50 Guerrero CMDUNIT | Cor. Roberto Bardem ]- [TRANSLATED] :// “Damn it! Get that second battery online NOW! KAMI, A word!”

-[ CANRIEL ADMIN/LA CAÑón de RIEL de Largo Alcance | KAMI 053 ]- [TRANSLATED] :// "Coils at 50%. van der Kaap Airstrip targeted."

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©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Carpenter, Kerouac, Junkie and Amethyst had seemingly upped the ante in almost a moment's notice, sweeping the Velezian fighters — several explosions dotted the sky noting the downing of a few of the enemy aircraft.

"++Thirteen enemy aircraft remain. Twenty more are approaching.++"

The stakes were high, and there was tension in the air — Adeline wasn't exactly sure how far her aircraft would get her in this aerial duel.




The fighters of the 13th continued over the combat zone as the second layer of air defenses fired on their position. However, they couldn’t stop. If they spent as much of their munitions on these batteries as they had the past ones, they wouldn’t have what they needed to handle their primary target. Francis was the only one in the formation to take damage - but the nearby explosion rattled her plane physically and rattled her plane mentally, as she kept going along with the others and accelerated out of the immediate area before the air defenses could reload and fire once more.

They proceeded towards the railgun, Francis able to calm down a bit once the storm of shots around them had died down and they were now flying relatively peacefully. Relatively because there was still a battle around them, but compared to what they had just came from, it was decidedly peaceful. They had no idea how long it would be like that - the corporate pilots were covering them but it was impossible to tell if they would be able to handle the air cover here in its entirety - and that fact put pressure on Francis as the one with the air to air missiles in case they ended up in that kind of engagement. Even then, however, she only had two of them. Which could be a problem depending on how the circumstances developed.

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-[ 13FS/ G/C-415 Banshee “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “How are we taking this thing out? Doesn’t look like it’s a normal weapon at all.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Cacador” | MAJ. Anselmo Castelo:// “We’ll see how well the fucker works if someone jams a missile down the barrel. I was told that would be the proper way to disable it.”

-[ 13FS/ G/C-415 Banshee “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “That’s a tall ask, Major.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Cacador” | MAJ. Anselmo Castelo:// “Then I’d say it’s perfect for you, Francis.”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Junkie” | CPT. Ulysses Tony Fly-Me-To-The-Moon Savage:// “Why are you so quick to assume she’s going to be the one to take it out? I can do it… Let Francis focus on not losing an airframe after the target is destroyed again.”

-[ 13FS/ A/F-04 “Ubirata” | CPT. Joaquin Asis:// “Yeah, Amazon, let someone a bit less unstable handle this one…”

-[ 13FS/ G/C-415 Banshee “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “Fuck you! How many times do I have to prove myself for it to count?”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Cacador” | MAJ. Anselmo Castelo:// “This dispute will be settled later. Squadron, focus on the objective!”

-[ 13FS/ A/F-04 “Ubirata” | CPT. Joaquin Asis:// “Of course you’d shut us up when it’s Francis we’re complaining about…”

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Cacador” | MAJ. Anselmo Castelo:// “SILENCE! Unless you want to find yourself grounded when we get back.”

-[ 13FS/ A/F-04 “Ubirata” | CPT. Joaquin Asis:// [Sigh]

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.





Once again, 12TFS had found itself in a rather tight spot. Missiles hadn't done the job, but strafing runs had: Carpenter and Amethyst had been damaged by the Velezian attacks, the enemy unrelenting in their resolve. Adeline had sent another aircraft falling out of the sky, conserving her missiles for the approaching challenge that would be the next Velezian squadron. Likewise, her squadron-mates were fighting brutally in the skies over Velezia, only nine of the enemy aircraft remaining. The burning fireballs that had become of the enemy fighters were descending grimly down into the clouds below, soon to meet their warriors' graves on the surface.

The Velezians’ voices were getting frantic over the comms—evidently, the whole mentality of “the guard shall never break” had gone a little too high to their heads. Were they really this desperate to defend the gun?

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-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 141/ F-40 Depredador "Rancho" #411-311 | Maj. Vincente Juarez :// [TRANSLATED] "Fall back to the gun! First squadron, fall back! Where the fuck is second squadron!”

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-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Carpenter" #412-011 | SQM. Charles Lauer Thompson-Twins G. Plissken:// "Well, shit... we're alive. Crozier, your payout for this mission and the next is mine."

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "U—understood."

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©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Abruptly the Velezian aircraft departed, leaving the corporate squadron clear to continue their course forward towards the objective. They were down to six aircraft, but they had proven their mettle in combat against the Velezian fighters. The fighter group was quick to reorganize, continuing on a southeast-bound course whilst protecting the Canguarian mercenary aircraft below.




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-[ CANRIEL ADMIN/LA CAÑón de RIEL de Largo Alcance | KAMI 053 ]- [TRANSLATED] :// “All personnel, please proceed to your designated evacuation zones. CANRIEL is now active. Repeat, CANRIEL is now active. Firing sequence has been initiated."

-[ 2. División Controladores de Zona / Sgt. Garcia ]- [TRANSLATED] :// “Holy fuck—look at that! The gun is moving! Where’s it aiming to?”

-[ 2. División Controladores de Zona / Ten. Lucas ]- [TRANSLATED] :// “Men, cover your ears!”

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


The 13th barreled towards their target at speed, going faster than their normal cruise speed to help them get in and out quickly before any surprises came up. Last thing they wanted was for a group of fighters to break away from the engagement with the corporate pilots and attack them, or for some extra ground based air defenses to show up, or anything of that sort. Closing in, they could see the shape of the railgun growing larger and larger, and they were able to observe more details of it. Intimidating, to say the least. This was a big step up from anything they had attacked before - both for the native pilots and the mercenaries who bolstered their ranks.

Francis and Savage both took the lead in the formation as they zoomed towards the target, engaged in a personal competition with each other that was anything but friendly. Both of them wanted to be the one to get their missile down the barrel and destroy it. Savage to one up Francis, Francis to prove that she belonged here and that she was a worthy member of the squadron regardless of what anyone thought of her personal choices. She pushed the throttle forward - to the spot just before the afterburner setting, and took the lead ahead of Savage, both of them leaving the rest of the group largely and going off on their own. However, neither one would manage to get off the attack before something unexpected happened.

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-[ CANRIEL ADMIN/LA CAÑón de RIEL de Largo Alcance | KAMI 053 ]- [TRANSLATED] :// “Target acquired. Firing."

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


The sky seemed to light up a bright white for a moment as an earth-shattering KABOOM echoed through the air. The CANRIEL had seemingly fired off something in that split second, its accelerator coils lit up a bright red color as the entire gun began venting heat excessively. All that remained of the projectile that fired off was a bright white trail, stretching far off towards the horizon...and it’s intended target.

On the horizon, the various cities neighboring the mountain range had gone dark — obviously a significant amount of power had been rerouted to the gun for this massive undertaking.

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-[ 2. División Controladores de Zona / Sgt. Garcia ]- [TRANSLATED] :// “My ears! Holy FUCK!”

-[ 2. División Controladores de Zona / Ten. Lucas ]- [TRANSLATED] :// “Haha! That should show those bastards not to mess with Velezia!”

-[ 2. División Controladores de Zona / MP-50 Guerrero CMDUNIT | Cor. Roberto Bardem ]- [TRANSLATED] :// "KAMI, how long until we can fire again?"

-[ CANRIEL ADMIN/LA CAÑón de RIEL de Largo Alcance | KAMI 053 ]- [TRANSLATED] :// “CANRIEL is currently venting heat to prepare for another firing solution. Readjusting to mark zero two one."

-[ 2. División Controladores de Zona / MP-50 Guerrero CMDUNIT | Cor. Roberto Bardem ]- [TRANSLATED] :// "Fire another as soon as you can!"


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-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Carpenter" #412-011 | SQM. Charles Lauer Thompson-Twins G. Plissken:// "SHIT! Take that thing down before it fires again, goddamnit!"

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "..where did it hit?"

-[ Central Government | Dr. Gregory Pecks, PhD:// "van der Kaap Airstrip has been hit... expecting few survivors. Use Sofia AFB instead."

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-[ CANRIEL ADMIN/LA CAÑón de RIEL de Largo Alcance | KAMI 053 ]- [TRANSLATED] :// “CANRIEL is at 90%. We have aligned to mark zero two one."

-[ 2. División Controladores de Zona / MP-50 Guerrero CMDUNIT | Cor. Roberto Bardem ]- [TRANSLATED] :// "Get on with it! I want Sofia AFB erased!!"

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


Francis was silent as she gripped the stick, white knuckled. Her home for the last months had just been destroyed in a moment… And she didn’t quite know how to feel about it. The place where she had stayed… Gone. The ground crews she had seen before and after sorties, gone. And the thing that was responsible for it? Right in front of her. She hadn’t had much of a personal motivation to destroy this target specifically, before. Just a general motivation to not give up and to stay in this job because she didn’t have anything other than that waiting for her if she quit. Now…? It was a bit more personal. Decelerating slightly so she would have better agility, she beat Savage to the punch in getting to the railgun first and switched the firing mode so she was manually aiming the missile.

It wasn’t enough to fire randomly, they needed to take out a specific part of the railgun to make sure it couldn’t fire once again. And, as Savage watched, Francis accelerated in a hard climbing turn at an odd angle, setting herself up to make another equally high G turn which would have her staring down the barrel. It was something Savage couldn’t do in the older airframe, much to his chagrin, even if he went into a similar move behind her… If she missed, he would attempt the second shot. “This is for… My home,” she muttered under her breath. Van der Kaap had been more of a home to her than Daimiel had, after all, and was a place where she had better memories, even if things hadn’t always gone well there.

She slewed the indicator over the barrel and pressed down on the trigger, aggressively pulling up as soon as the single Viper missile was fired - she didn’t want to get caught in the explosion, if there was a large one. It was something she had learned over the refinery when she had very nearly been hit with the effects of her own attack, like some of the other members of her squadron had. She saw Savage turning away in the distance when she turned her head to the side and looked for him beyond her right wing… Which told her that the missile had probably done what she wanted it to. The barrel of the weapon was abruptly illuminated in an explosion, its massive frame abruptly tumbling down — causing an explosive power surge across the facility that ultimately culminated in a spectacular blast as the weapon's colossal rounds of ammunition ignited in the resounding series of blasts. The catastrophic spectacle soon brought the rock-face of the mountain surrounding itself to collapse, thousands of metric tonnes worth of rock and snow cascading upon the doomed facility... and then there was silence.

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-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Carpenter" #412-011 | SQM. Charles Lauer Thompson-Twins G. Plissken:// "It's finally over. Get the hell out of there, mercs. We'll keep any remaining aircraft off your tail."

-[ 13FS/ J-5 Flayer “Cacador” | MAJ. Anselmo Castelo:// “Affirmative. Squadron, you heard those orders… Let’s get out of here.”

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


Francis and Savage accelerated and joined the rest of the squadron which had already turned away to retreat as soon as it was clear that the missile had done the job and destroyed the railgun. Her heart was still racing, her grip on the stick still tight enough that her knuckles were white… And it didn’t seem like it was going to go away anytime soon. She knew that they couldn’t be sure the fight was completely over just yet. Last time, they had destroyed the target easily and she had nearly been killed on the way back. This time, something like that was in the forefront of her mind, which flashed back to her duel over the mountains with the mysterious mercenary ace from her own country.

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-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon "Atwater" #391-001 | Col. Valter Rodrigo Me-Chama-que-eu-Vou Félix:// "Any remaining squadrons in the AO, pull out. We've got this."

-[ Escuadrón de Caza no. 142/ F-40 Depredador "Rancho" #433-322 | Maj. Sandoval :// [TRANSLATED] "What? Are these the reinforcements we—oh my god."

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ F-19 Cicada "Highroller" #385-010 | Cpt. Xiomara Romero:// “Let me show you how it’s done… I’ve got this.”

-[ Escuadrón Especial no. 001 / BX-16 Thunderbird "Papa Silva" Unit #001 | Comodoro Lorenzo Obrador "El Bruto" :// [TRANSLATED] "I hope you mercs are really bang for your buck. To the gringo bastards that may be listening in… you’re going to regret this. You’ll regret taking out that railgun. You’ll regret crossing with us today, and you’re most definitely going to regret pissing ME off! Gringos… prepare to get fucked. I won’t play nice."

-[ Escuadrón Especial no. 001 / BX-16 Thunderbird "Papa Silva" Unit #001 | Ancilla Helon 088 :// [TRANSLATED] "Let's get them, Comodoro."

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


Abruptly the remaining fighter aircraft of the Velezian squadrons pulled back to retreat as well, though Francis could see on her radar that another group was approaching...

Escorted by six fighter aircraft showing no national allegiance, a massive, dark aircraft entered the area, its presence alone casting a great shadow onto the land below. By its shape and size, it was obviously a subsonic strategic bomber—and a very heavy one—its massive wingspan bristling with various weapons pylons, from air to air and air to ground missiles, jamming pods, to even a strange glassy device on its nose—undoubtedly, a solid state laser.

Whatever this thing was, its sheer presence alone was to instill fear among those who saw it. The enemy had returned in the form of a machismo show of experimental firepower and force. Right now, they had to make a choice: would they fight, or would they fly away?

CANGUARIAN AIR FORCE
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-[ Central Government | Dr. Gregory Pecks, PhD:// "Looks like you've run into one of the most advanced weapons in the Velezian arsenal... the BX-16 Thunderbird. We've long suspected it to be a hoax, but... God damn. Fire whatever you've got at that thing, and get the hell out of there!"

CHANNEL VELFOR XXX-XXX-XXX [DECIPHERED]
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-[ Escuadrón Especial no. 001 / BX-16 Thunderbird "Papa Silva" Unit #001 | Ancilla Helon 088 :// [TRANSLATED] "Try us! They’re not going to get past this bird."

-[ Escuadrón Especial no. 001 / BX-16 Thunderbird "Papa Silva" Unit #001 | Comodoro Lorenzo Obrador "El Bruto" :// [TRANSLATED] "Keep those corporate fighters off us, Atwater."

----
©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


Most of the 13th Fighter Squadron went into a retreat. Well, continued retreating, with more urgency than they had before. They would have stayed and helped with the fight but the fact of the matter was that Francis was the only one who had air to air missiles at all, even if she only had two of them - and she was too committed to this fight right now to leave. She remained, turning back away from the retreat and telling her allies that she would see them back at the base. Once again, she was going off on her own, approaching the corporate squadron to join their formation even if she didn’t have the same advanced tech as them… For once, her and Adeline would have a chance to fight side by side, against the enemy that Francis now had a personal vendetta against, following the destruction of her home airbase. She was out for revenge. Whether or not it was actually a wise idea remained to be seen.

Without warning, golden orbs began to drop from the wing pylons of the BX-16 as it—and its PMC escorts—opened fire upon their corporate and mercenary counterparts. Missiles twisted and twirled towards their targets, forming a sort of “web” like pattern in the sky as the Recluses wove and dove out of the way of the incoming missiles.

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-[ 12TFS/2F/ CF-71F Super Recluse "Amethyst" #421-012 | FLM. Brooke Sawyer She-Blinded-Me-With-Science J. Parrish:// "This thrill... is not like the others."

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003 | PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston:// "Fuckers almost got me!"

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "Keep it steady! I've conserved my missiles for something like this."

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-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon "Atwater" #391-001 | Col. Valter Rodrigo Me-Chama-que-eu-Vou Félix:// "Ghosthand, retreat into the cloudline. Your surprise will come later."

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon MOD. PFS "Ghosthand" #392-001 | Maj. Katya "Wróżka" Galczynska:// "Of course."

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ F-393X "Ventura" #393-001 | Cpt. Stefan Weber:// "Numerically we are about equally matched. I would consider this a fair fight."

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ A12K6 MOD. CSJL "Stardust" #406-013 | Cpt. Lou "Val" Ferris:// "Fancy tech won't help 'em. They all fall the same... just like in Mbanza."

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ F/A-130A Chiangshi "Telophase" #393-049 | Cpt. Nick McCalling:// "Damn right, brother."

-[ Escuadrón Especial no. 001 / BX-16 Thunderbird "Papa Silva" Unit #001 | Comodoro Lorenzo Obrador "El Bruto" :// [TRANSLATED] "Helon, take command of the other weapons systems. We gotta move this big bastard this way.."

----
©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


Francis heard the missile tone sound and she yanked on the stick sharply in the opposite direction, leading the missile off before turning once again back towards her original direction and forcing it to waste energy following her, dumping flares at the same time and following to catch up with the corporate pilots. She fired one of her two missiles immediately after, targeting the plane that the corporate fighters were escorting… But she hadn’t aimed conservatively enough. It didn’t hit, leaving her with just one. She cursed under her breath. Maybe following after the others while her own squadron retreated hadn’t been the best idea in the world.




Already the fighters of the squadron had dispersed, pursuing targets amidst the enemy aces. Adeline herself was behind one of the fighters in question, an A12K6 that appeared to be bizarrely modified. Either way, she'd let one of the AAM-241D Comet missiles fire away at the fighter in question, an explosion detonating dangerously close to its airframe as it promptly evaded the shot.

The rest of the squadron, seemed to be similarly targeting the various aces that protectively loomed beside the BX-16. Three of her fellow pilots had set off in pursuit after Ghosthand, disappearing into the clouds below. Adeline was more than aware of this being bait, however. The fight in the skies continued, though Adeline's focus was gradually shifting from the damaged Utsanji-made fighter in front of her, and the hulking figure of the BX-16 not far from her current position. Breaking her pursuit of the A12, she set off after the grand bomber in the distance.




Xiomara Romero was engaged in combat too as her colleagues fought with the pilots of the 12th Tactical Fighter Squadron, and found herself locked in a battle with ‘Predator.’ The first attack against her had been with a missile - which she had evaded with a combination of her ECM pod and her own skills behind the stick, leading to her moving in from a dive to attack with an AAM-176 missile of her own.

Narrowly the CF-71F Super Recluse before her banked to the left, proceeding to sharply evade the missile as its own ECM suite activated — though as the far more maneuverable fourteenth-generation aircraft attempted to regain pursuit after her, they broke through the clouds once more — Francis' aircraft coming into view. Near it too was a CF-71A the Daimielese pilot had come to recognize as pertaining to a certain 'Adeline'... from the looks of it, she was of dear value to Francis.

Xiomara set her eyes on the targets and she intended to take both of them down. But there was a specific order for these things to happen. She wanted Adeline down first, so Francis would be able to see it, and then she intended to use the one missile she’d have left as well as her guns to finish the duel that had been started over the refinery. And so, in a bold move, she fired six of her seven remaining missiles all at Adeline’s plane, hoping the salvo would be enough to overwhelm even the more advanced fighter’s defenses and would allow her to finish off the one versus one she had begun earlier.
Last edited by Forest State on Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
i'm the bad guy... duh.

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User avatar
Forest State
Senator
 
Posts: 4157
Founded: Aug 23, 2016
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:40 pm




Panic quickly kicked in for Adeline as six missiles abruptly spiraled onto her tail as she approached the BX-16 — to which she sharply conducted an upward maneuver to evade. ECM activating, a sigh of relief escaped her as the missiles were sent trailing off aimlessly into the abyss. Her relief, however, didn't last long: sharply one of the YF-72 Hierofalcons pertaining to the aces maneuvered below, obliterating one of the CF-71s — Lynn's.

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-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Carpenter" #412-011 | SQM. Charles Lauer Thompson-Twins G. Plissken:// "SHIT! Junkie is down!"

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "I'm not going to let them get away with this..."

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003 | PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston:// "..fuck!"

-[ 12TFS/2F/ CF-71F Super Recluse "Amethyst" #421-012 | FLM. Brooke Sawyer She-Blinded-Me-With-Science J. Parrish:// "There remain still five of us. Focus on the BX-16 and retreat."

-[ 12TFS/2F/ CF-71F Super Recluse "Prurient" #421-013 | PLT. Patrick Bell Sunglasses-at-Night D. Coleman:// "Wow.. the first rational thing that's been said all day here."

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "What the hell are you doing here, Amazon? Retreat!"

-[ 12TFS/2F/ CF-71F Super Recluse "Amethyst" #421-012 | FLM. Brooke Sawyer She-Blinded-Me-With-Science J. Parrish:// "Do you not find it ironic we are the meatshields here?" [chuckle]

-[ 13FS/ G/C-415 Banshee “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “What are you talking about? I said I’d die for you, didn’t I?”

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "They'll.. they'll come for you next..."

-[ 13FS/ G/C-415 Banshee “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “Don’t worry about me. They’re going to come for me regardless, might as well face them… Well, face her.

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-[ Escuadrón Especial no. 001 / BX-16 Thunderbird "Papa Silva" Unit #001 | Ancilla Helon 088 :// [TRANSLATED] "Hmm. What are they planning?"

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon "Atwater" #391-001 | Col. Valter Rodrigo Me-Chama-que-eu-Vou Félix:// "I must say, they do worse in fourteenth-generation aircraft than I did in my Chiangshi back in the war."

-[ Escuadrón Especial no. 001 / BX-16 Thunderbird "Papa Silva" Unit #001 | Comodoro Lorenzo Obrador "El Bruto" :// [TRANSLATED] "They used to say ‘peace through superior firepower' back in my days of flying the B-61. Nothing could hit us then, nothing can hit us now.."

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon MOD. PFS "Ghosthand" #392-001 | Maj. Katya "Wróżka" Galczynska:// "The enemy has abruptly broken pursuit of me... perhaps they're going somewhere else?"

-[ Escuadrón Especial no. 001 / BX-16 Thunderbird "Papa Silva" Unit #001 | Ancilla Helon 088 :// [TRANSLATED] "Hostiles are heading towards… us."

-[ Escuadrón Especial no. 001 / BX-16 Thunderbird "Papa Silva" Unit #001 | Comodoro Lorenzo Obrador "El Bruto" :// [TRANSLATED] "Get those weapons active. Keep whatever they send us off us!"

----
©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


Activating the afterburners on her CF-71, Adeline boosted ahead of her formation and towards the Velezian prototype bomber. Xiomara had pursued her, but decided not to waste fuel triggering her own afterburners - and had been left behind with Francis. Letting the guns go free, she strafed the bomber's right wing, paneling coming loose as she rocketed past with impressive speed and angled upward to perform the next dive. A blinding green beam of light suddenly sliced the air, cutting off abruptly as it narrowly missed the CF-71.

Carpenter followed close behind, guns blazing as he strafed the bomber while keeping behind Adeline. The cockpit went ablaze under the 20mm barrage as the fighter soared past, angling upward as it came behind Adeline's own Recluse.

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-[ Escuadrón Especial no. 001 / BX-16 Thunderbird "Papa Silva" Unit #001 | Comodoro Lorenzo Obrador "El Bruto" :// [TRANSLATED] "AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!! YOU MOTHER FUCKERS. Helon, get the laser operational NOW!"

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©422-423 McLellan-Kuron Corporation. All Rights Reserved.



Carpenter abruptly trembled as it struggled to evade the bomber's directed energy weapon, Adeline increasing her pace as she continued forward. They were in danger — the bomber was more than capable of defending itself against strafing runs.

Kerouac followed, opening up on the side of the aircraft — explosions erupting as the pylon came undone by the strafing run, the corporate fighter ascending into the air as it was abruptly grazed by the bomber's laser. It struggled to keep up, gradually getting into formation. With that, Amethyst and Predator followed, the former strafing the aircraft as they passed it by and joined the formation, now retreating northward.




Francis accelerated - both to head towards the bomber and to avoid the pursuing pilot behind her, Xiomara, who had been left alone with her when Adeline went towards the bomber herself. She had one more air to air missile to use, and… If she used it on the bomber, it would mean she couldn’t use it on Xiomara. She would only have her guns to protect herself and she would have to rely on the other pilots, but this was the biggest target, wasn’t it? So she locked it up and fired, the missile streaking from under her wing and striking one of the engines - causing a bright flash before a massive plume of black smoke began trailing from it. It didn’t look like the bomber was going to fly away from this one, for sure.

CANGUARIAN AIR FORCE
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-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Carpenter" #412-011 | SQM. Charles Lauer Thompson-Twins G. Plissken:// "WOO! You sure ain't one of us, but you've got the spirit. Nice killshot!"

-[ 13FS/ G/C-415 Banshee “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “Guess I just have that touch today…”

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "We're... alive."

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003 | PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston:// "But at what cost?"

-[ 12TFS/2F/ CF-71F Super Recluse "Amethyst" #421-012 | FLM. Brooke Sawyer She-Blinded-Me-With-Science J. Parrish:// "Two down in a single sortie... quite an unfortunate performance, indeed."

-[ 12TFS/2F/ CF-71F Super Recluse "Predator" #421-014 | PLT. Lucian Ure Quiet-Life J. Blackwell:// "At this rate, the Corporation will have better luck selling this fighter to the Alvimians." [chuckle]

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.



The aircraft began to list to the side, flames billowing from across its airframe. Whatever damage had been inflicted on the Velezian prototype aircraft, it wouldn't be recovering from this. Aimlessly it began to descend, eventually being consumed by the clouds.

CANGUARIAN AIR FORCE
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-[ Escuadrón Especial no. 001 / BX-16 Thunderbird "Papa Silva" Unit #001 | Comodoro Lorenzo Obrador "El Bruto" :// [TRANSLATED] "Fuck! God damn it. We’re falling back now. This won’t be the last time we’ll see them. You damn gringos—if you can hear this, this won’t be the last time you see ME! BX-16, B-61, or otherwise, I will come to you and DESTROY YOU! So, run! Run as fast as you can, for now, but know that I will come to destroy you. Helon, land at the nearest friendly airbase. Make sure ground crews are ready. I need to tend to my arm..”

-[ Escuadrón Especial no. 001 / BX-16 Thunderbird "Papa Silva" Unit #001 | Ancilla Helon 088 :// [TRANSLATED] "On it.”

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ F-19 Cicada "Highroller" #385-010 | Cpt. Xiomara Romero:// [TRANSLATED] “I’m sorry I couldn’t save you…”

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon "Atwater" #391-001 | Col. Valter Rodrigo Me-Chama-que-eu-Vou Félix:// "We're finished if we come back empty-handed. After them!"

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon MOD. PFS "Ghosthand" #392-001 | Maj. Katya "Wróżka" Galczynska:// "An understatement."

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ A12K6 MOD. CSJL "Stardust" #406-013 | Cpt. Lou "Val" Ferris:// "..without issue. Fire!"

----
©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


Behind them, the aces were already attempting to engage — a faint beam crossed the horizon as the aces pursued them on their northbound retreat. This had only motivated the corporate pilots flying with Francis to go faster, ever the more desperate to get out of Velezia. Francis herself pushed the throttle to afterburners - knowing that she was most likely dead if the others ended up too far ahead of her and she was caught out on her own by the enemy pilots.

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-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "..our aircraft were supposed to be better. I can't take this anymore!"

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Carpenter" #412-011 | SQM. Charles Lauer Thompson-Twins G. Plissken:// "Ease up, Tourian!"

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Kerouac" #415-003 | PLT. Anthony Jarvis I-Want-it-That-Way R. Houston:// "Just keep going, we'll outrun them soon enough!"

-[ 13FS/ G/C-415 Banshee “Amazon” | LT. Francis Madrazo:// “Don’t tell her to ease up when her life is on the line here… And mine and yours, too.”

-[ 12TFS/2F/ CF-71F Super Recluse "Amethyst" #421-012 | FLM. Brooke Sawyer She-Blinded-Me-With-Science J. Parrish:// "We seem to all be equally as likely to perish as one another..."

-[ 12TFS/2F/ CF-71F Super Recluse "Predator" #421-014 | PLT. Lucian Ure Quiet-Life J. Blackwell:// "Come on!"

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©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


With impossibly swift maneuvers, one of the YF-72s briefly came behind the corporate fighters and fired its 20mm guns — effortlessly sending one plummeting into the unfathomable expanse of jungle below before quickly retreating.



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-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Tourian" #414-008 | SSQM. Adeline Lionelle Aerosmith Le-Temps-de-la-Rentrée Tropez C. Crozier:// "—SHIT! K—Kerouac is down! H—..." [incoherency]

-[ 12TFS/1F/ CF-71A Recluse "Carpenter" #412-011 | SQM. Charles Lauer Thompson-Twins G. Plissken:// "Keep it together, we've just got to cross over this Zone and we'll get back to—... oh, right."

-[ 12TFS/2F/ CF-71F Super Recluse "Amethyst" #421-012 | FLM. Brooke Sawyer She-Blinded-Me-With-Science J. Parrish:// "Our only alternative is Sofia AFB, is it not?"

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-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon "Atwater" #391-001 | Col. Valter Rodrigo Me-Chama-que-eu-Vou Félix:// "We'll tell them we did everything we could. They still think these Recluse fighters are cutting-edge... they'll believe us."

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon MOD. PFS "Ghosthand" #392-001 | Maj. Katya "Wróżka" Galczynska:// "He was almost too easy."

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ F-19 Cicada "Highroller" #385-010 | Cpt. Xiomara Romero:// “I still haven’t taken out my target…”

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon "Atwater" #391-001 | Col. Valter Rodrigo Me-Chama-que-eu-Vou Félix:// "We've also killed what, three of them? I'm sure we'll have enough money to get you a better fighter, Highroller." [chuckle]

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ F-19 Cicada "Highroller" #385-010 | Cpt. Xiomara Romero:// [sigh] “I’m gonna need someone to comfort me after this one…”

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon "Atwater" #391-001 | Col. Valter Rodrigo Me-Chama-que-eu-Vou Félix:// "Oh, I'm sure. Is that an invitation?"

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ F-19 Cicada "Highroller" #385-010 | Cpt. Xiomara Romero:// “Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t… Gringo.”

-[ TFS-001 "CANNIBALS"/ YF-72 Hierofalcon MOD. PFS "Ghosthand" #392-001 | Maj. Katya "Wróżka" Galczynska:// "Please, not on this channel."

-[ Escuadrón Especial no. 001 / BX-16 Thunderbird "Papa Silva" Unit #001 | Comodoro Lorenzo Obrador "El Bruto" :// [TRANSLATED] "SHUT UP AND GET BACK TO BASE!”

----
©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


Entering the Zone, it became readily apparent that the clearing of the clouds had revealed even more devastation. Smoke billowed, flames burned... from Sanchez to the northern horizon's edge, all they could witness was destruction. Yet who had begun a campaign of this scale? Explosions still dotted the surface, distant radar contacts indicating they were Florianan Air Force B-71 Segador bombers. In the time of their absence, it appeared the third contender had finally entered the Zone conflict in full.

CANGUARIAN AIR FORCE
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-[ 3FS/ F/A-127A Vampire "Amigo" #382-035 | Maj. Matias Kirchner:// "What the fuck are these aircraft? There's only four of them, yet—" [static]

----
©422-423 Canguarian Logistical Services. All Rights Reserved.


The scene of utter devastation stretched on for miles, the Canguarian-held city of Corona burning away as they passed it by, another victim of the new contender in this conflict: Floriana. The terror-bombings had commenced anew, and with a furor that put Velezia's own to shame. In the distance, Sofia had been seemingly unscathed, the much larger airbase of Franco de Torres AFB, more commonly called Sofia AFB, awaiting them. Today would live in infamy for all the pilots who'd flown today — for more reasons than one.

For once, Francis was able to land regularly rather than landing with no gear - or breaking the gear when she did come down with it lowered. Which was something that most pilots would take for granted but she couldn’t. Not when she’d already had a few bad landings… Still, that wasn’t what was on the forefront of her mind. No, she was thinking of the way the mission had went, how she had destroyed the railgun and downed the bomber, but also came close to death, facing off with an enemy once again that she had no idea how to deal with… A superior enemy that had once again only allowed her to leave because she was with too many allies.

Eventually, as she climbed out of the jet, her mind shifted to what had happened before the mission. How she had gotten Adeline in a little bit of trouble, how she had promised to pay her back so she could pay her squadron manager… That wasn’t possible now, unless she went to her own funds, of which she didn’t really have much. She had planned on using drugs, but well, those had been destroyed. Just like all her other things. And everything else at the airbase where she had lived. Personally, she didn’t lose too much, she hadn’t had a ton of things. But the place that had been her home for the past months getting wiped off the map… That wasn’t something she could just forget about quickly, even if she had been one of the top performers on the sortie.

Somehow, it didn’t actually feel like she had done a good job. If she had some flashy kills but didn’t protect what she was trying to protect, did it even matter in the end?

By the time she'd touched down, she could already see the corporate pilot she so dearly esteemed walking off in silence, ground crews hurrying over to attend to the landed aircraft. There was much they couldn't do, or rather weren't allowed to do with these airframes, given their advanced nature — and the massacre of the Corporation's logistical elements at the airstrip meant many of the damaged CF-71s that had landed were effectively out of commission until more corporate reinforcements arrived from the mainland.

Francis was quick to chase after Adeline - although she was more cautious than she had been earlier, and she was also quick to notice that the pilot was more shaken up than she had seen her before. Which wasn’t something Francis really knew how to deal with, as she was used to being the one shaken up rather than the one comforting someone in that state. She could only… Give it her best shot and hope for the best. “H-hey… Adeline?” she asked tentatively, approaching. “I know shit happened back there but are you… Okay?”

"Leave me alone." Adeline mustered, her voice audibly shaken by what'd taken place over Velezia. Her pace quickened, as if to get to her own quarters alone as quickly as possible.

“It’s… Not good to dwell on those things by yourself. I know it sounds stupid coming from me but you helped me realize that so… It only seems fair for me to remind you,” Francis said, following at a slightly slower pace behind Adeline but not coming too close.

"When was the lost time you lost someone in your unit? You don't understand. We're not the escorts — we're the meatshields." With that, Adeline had stormed off to the barracks, presumably to lock herself in whatever quarters would now constitute her own.

“My best friend is on his way to South Ophir to kill me, you don’t think I know what it’s like to lose someone? I… I’ll stop talking,” Francis called out after Adeline, following her towards the barracks.

Adeline paused. "That one they sent after you... fired six missiles at me. They know who I am... because of you. Maybe they'll threaten my family back home, too. I'm FUCKED, don't you fucking understand?!" She screamed, turning around. "If not my job, then my fucking LIFE is screwed. Just... leave me the fuck alone." She was ever closer to the entrance of the barracks, her temper as close to an outburst as she was to the door.

Francis stood silently for a moment, before shouting out one last thing towards Adeline. “Well, if you want to be like that… I can turn myself in to the Angels today and I can be out of your life… Forever. So just tell me if that’s what you want me to do!” she shouted, her voice shaking with emotion and pain.

This had elicited a final response. "NO! Don't get yourself fucking killed over this shit. Just FUCK OFF!"

There was no response from Francis. She ran off, not knowing where the hell she was going but knowing that… It was better to listen. Not because she agreed with the order but because she didn’t know what to say. She’d never gotten this far with someone before. So having it all torn down in a few moments for whatever reason left her not knowing what to do, except for what she now believed was her natural response for major troubles like this… Running away.
i'm the bad guy... duh.

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Turmenista
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Posts: 5729
Founded: Apr 09, 2014
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Turmenista » Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:27 pm

    M E A N W H I L E
    CASA BLANCA
    LAS PLAYAS, LAS PLAYAS AUTONOMOUS CITY, VELEZIA
    MARCH 9, 422


    __________________________________

“And how many corporate fighters were shot down that day?”

Valter froze up as President Silva asked him this, holding her hands on her hips and frowning. The look on her face made it seem as if she was expecting better from the Clancy Petrochemical aces. To be fair, she was. All that money had been put forth for a good cause...

"We did down three next-generation fourteenth-generation fighter aircraft with sub-par aircraft out of date by decades, ma'am. It's unfortunate the bomber couldn't hold its own, but all due respect... it'd work better against ground targets, not next-generation fighters." Once again, he was obligated to explain the complexities of air-to-air warfare to someone who was in power, quite frankly, because of nepotism. Not that he cared all too much about that.

“You doubt the capability of our bombers, pilot?” the president arrogantly snapped, glaring at the pilot.

"I fought in the war, ma'am. I've learned to doubt notions of technological superiority... my aircraft back then being one such example." Valter kept his cool as he replied to the woman, respectfully nodding. She only scoffed, turning away from him for a moment. “Oh, Valter. You’ve never heard of the mantra of ‘peace through superior firepower?’ This is how Velezia has maintained aerial dominance in Las Lindas for centuries. A strong air force and a strong navy—no, the strongest—that’s how we’ll win. It’s how we’ve always won.”

He nodded. "No amount of superior firepower can change reality, ma'am. We've learned the cost of fighting an enemy we don't completely understand twenty-nine years ago."

She gestured to the side, towards Comodoro Lorenzo Obrador, the aptly-named "El Bruto". The giant of a man sat down on a seat near the two, his arm wrapped up in fresh bandages. What appeared to be cybernetics were under his right eye—evidently, they had been put in a while ago, given their appearance.

Image
A man who’s seen many people—been around many places, fought many things...


“You have to blend modernity with old tactics, you see. Our bombers—our military, are the perfect example of this.” Isabela folded her arms behind her back and paced back and forth in front of the two pilots. “The B-61 was the baseplate for the BX-16. Pilots like Comodoro Obrador made for the perfect candidates for this program. However..” She gave a dramatic pause. “You may be right, but the Canguarians and Florianans… they never change. They will never change their simpleton ways, nor have they ever for much of their lives. Our real enemy lies in the corporate fighters. War has changed, as you know. Private warfighters from McLellan-Kuron threaten this monopoly on power and order we have had over this lawless zone. When you get to the bottom of these companies, however, you find that they’re not too different than the Canguari or Floriana you fight day by day. It’s all the same: ‘peace through superior firepower.’ These companies? They never learn.”

She turned her back to the two pilots. “These companies only learn from fire and blood. Whatever the case, I do not expect an outcome like the one earlier next time. This corporate squadron needs to be completely eliminated if we want to reassert out aerial dominance with the BX-16. I do not know why they are here, but what I do know is that their existence threatens this monopoly that we have over power in Las Lindas. I want that squadron eliminated, so that the new BX-16s can be deployed without fear of being shot down by anything.”

Pausing, as if for dramatic effect, she looked down at the two pilots and continued in a motherly tone, El Bruto only folding his arms and shaking his head. “Well, gentlemen, you wouldn’t want your paygrade to be shifted towards the Akhmanaris, do you? I’d rather not have our ally in this fight.. mercenaries or not. I’ll have you know I’m willing to put all options on the table for ending the fight in La Zona and bringing it under our control..”

"Right, of course — though I believe there's a more pertinent threat at present..." Valter briefly alluded to the Florianans and their abrupt terror-bombing of the Zone, before shifting the topic to a curious matter. "There's also a rather.. persistent one in our ranks. She wants to fly something markedly more advanced than her current airframe. Given the money we've made shooting these corporate goons out of the sky, I don't think it'd be too unreasonable to ask for an... upgrade. Given the advanced aircraft we're often up against, I don't believe it to be too unreasonable a request."

“So you’ve finally caught on to the mantra, yes?” A smile crept up onto the face of Isabela. “And.. don’t worry about the Florianans. There is a reason they remained so quiet for all those years in Las Lindas. Now, what sort of request are you talking about?”

"I see." Nodding, Valter composed himself. "The last engagement left our fighters damaged. We need upgrades, refits... and we don't have much time. As for this particular pilot... she wants something advanced. The rumored 'Cuervo' is no 'rumor' to military men like me. I know a real military program when I hear of one."

Her deepened stare only served to confirm that she was, evidently, onboard with the plan. She gave a nod, clasping her hands together as if she knew the plan. “Once they have been tested and cleared for combat—which should be fairly soon—I shall inform you...and you may “take them on a spin,” if you will.” She then turned to El Bruto. “And you will be flying soon once more in another BX-61. I’m sure the boys at the lab will ensure to improve the BX-16’s already impressive air-to-air capabilities, as you have requested.

“So, what does this mean for me, Madam President?”

She paused. “It means your services have been rewarded accordingly…Comodoro Mayor.”

"... then we have a deal." Valter smirked while El Bruto’s jaw dropped. Surely they'd return to the field of battle, this time much more prepared.


CONTEXT NOTES


1 - T-92S - The T-92 Jaguar is a main battle tank developed by Velezian-Euphemian arms company Sanchez-Steiner in 391 for the Velezian Military. It is armed with a 120mm smoothbore cannon and is powered by a V-12 twin-turbo diesel engine. Most of its systems are rather unremarkable for a tank of its caliber, though newer versions have implemented arrow-shaped turret armor and other improvements, along with greatly improved optics and a fully stabilized gun for engaging moving targets while on the move.

The T-92S Jaguar Skirmisher is a conversion of the Jaguar made in 393, implementing the Skirmisher anti-aircraft system to turn the Jaguar into a self-propelled anti air gun. It implements two radar-guided 35mm anti-aircraft autocannons and a short range anti-aircraft missile system to provide short-range point defense and fire support.

2 - VT-47S Lobo SLAM - The VT-47 Lobo is a highly-mobile armored reconnaissance vehicle developed by Arms Manufacturers of Avalon (ARMA) in 380, which has seen itself exported to countries like the Vryystat Reinersland and Velezia. It comes equipped with a stabilized 76mm high velocity gun for fire support and anti-tank purposes.

The VT-47S Surface Launched Antiaircraft Missile system, or SLAM, is a variant of the VT-47 that utilizes a short-range SAM system to provide short-range air defense, effective against helicopters and low flying aircraft.

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Forest State
Senator
 
Posts: 4157
Founded: Aug 23, 2016
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Forest State » Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:33 am

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    A C T 9 — "P U R G A T O R Y"
    Cpt. Francis Madrazo, 13th Fighter Squadron, Canguarian Air Force
    SOFIA, DUCHY OF CANGUARI
    MARCH 12th, 422

It was the dark of night. Francis was standing near a street corner in Sofia - the one that she had told the members of the Camilea Cartel to meet her at, since she was giving herself up to them and letting them take what they so were after: her life. She’d sacrifice herself if it meant the safety of the people that she cared about, she had told them. She was expecting the two names she had heard about earlier to show up soon… Cobra Ibarra and the one known as AR Arturo, the one formerly being her best friend and the other one being one of the most terrifying killers she had ever known. Apparently, both of them, even Cobra, wanted her dead.

And yet she was standing here anyway, a bag on her back that had something they wouldn’t expect. She’d bought a gun of her own, one that was different from her pistol. This one was decidedly a bit higher caliber, a Velezian made M82 that she had been able to buy from within the Zone. Wasn’t hard, the place was lawless after all. She wasn’t going to bring it out until it was time, but time was counting down until she would need it. In the meantime, she moved to the nearest payphone and she decided to make one more call to the person that she was doing this for in the first place, other than for herself.

“Adeline… This might be the last time I speak to you. Well, it will be the last time. Because I know you wanted me to fuck off, and I did. But that’s not enough. I know that I brought these problems on you because of my own past, and if I don’t face them down, they’re going to keep following the both of us. I decided to do it now instead of waiting until later, until something happens to you or your family because of me,” Francis said, hand trembling as she gripped the payphone while she left a voicemail. She hadn’t expected an answer at this time. It was late, after all. And maybe that was for the better. She didn’t know what she would say if she was talking to Adeline in real time. At least now, she could say what she thought without worrying about a reply. “I’m probably going to die fighting. But… I’m comfortable with it. I don’t have anything keeping me going anymore...”

She paused, heart pounding as her voice trailed off. “So I’m sorry for ever dragging you into my life in the first place since I’ve clearly only hurt you! I know you probably don’t want to hear anything more from me but… Know that I’m doing my best to fix it,” she finished, ending the call and stepping away from the phone, moving back towards the place where she was expected to meet her foe. Or foes, more accurately. The cartel didn’t travel with just one person after all. She reached down and dropped her bag, opening up to take out the ‘chopper’ inside and walking back down the street towards an alley, looking for a hiding place. They weren’t going to get the jump on her before they even saw them coming, that was for sure. Hopefully, it would be the other way around.



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Daimielese cartel members are known to drive large trucks.
The two shooters from Daimiel cruised through the streets slowly, looking for their target. This was the right street, they had double checked… They had been told by Francis herself that she would be in front of the bar on the street corner, which was closed right now and was a perfect location for this kind of thing. Wasn’t like anyone was going to be out at this hour to deal with what should be a quick fight. Well, if there even was a fight. From the sound of the message, they didn’t even expect that there would be one. “This is the place,” said the one called AR Arturo, parking on the street across from the bar and stepping out of the SUV. In his hand when he climbed out of the vehicle was the thing that his nickname came from, the Daimielese made AR4M2 assault rifle.

“I don’t see shit” said the person in the back, the one known by ‘Gervaso’ or ‘Number Nine’. The same weapon was in his hand… While the one in the passenger seat, Cobra, had a smaller military model pistol. Still packed quite the punch against a target without body armor, however, and they weren’t expecting Francis to be wearing body armor.

“Bitch boy must’ve pussied out,” Arturo said, waving for Cobra and Gervaso to follow after him as they walked towards the bar. “But if this is some kind of ambush, there's going to be hell to pay for him.”

“Yeah, let’s see him get the drop on us like this. Doubt he’s got more than a pistol,” said Gervaso, creeping forward. Arturo did have body armor on, as did Gervaso, while Cobra - who had been less enthusiastic about the mission overall - didn’t bother wearing it. “And knowing he’s a pilot, I’ll be surprised if he knows how to shoot the thing.”

“You were in the kitchen with Francis, Nine,” remarked Cobra. “You know that Francis isn’t just a pilot again.”

“Here you go again!” said Arturo, spinning around to face Cobra, who simply stared him down, only slightly shorter than the towering cartel member. “Quit. White knighting. Francis! What, are you gay? You got a crush on him or something?”

“Just don’t know why you guys expect me to be happy and enthusiastic about coming to kill my best friend,” Cobra sighed, offering a shrug to say that he didn’t have much more than that on the issue. “I don’t have a crush but it doesn’t mean Francis wasn’t my best friend for a few years. Gimme a break, at least I’m out here. Unlike Montezuma, who ordered this from the comfort of his apartment…”

“Speaking ill of the one that financed this trip?”

“Personally I wouldn’t have done that in the first place if I were him,” Cobra retorted, before the group eventually turned back towards the bar and started walking again- Before Cobra could say anything else, bullets cut through the air and ripped into the chest of Arturo, sending the tall gang member onto the asphalt. He’d be dead if it wasn’t for the fact that he was wearing a ballistics vest under the hoodie, which had managed to catch the three round burst in just the right way that Arturo would be left with bruises rather than a number of holes in his chest.

“Motherfucker!” His shout of surprise came as Francis ducked back into the alley she had shot from, taking off and running. He waved for the others to go forward as he pushed himself up off the ground and charged after her - Gervaso following quickly and Cobra following last, taking a bit of a slower pace. So Francis had brought a real weapon. Things were getting interesting. She hadn’t scored a kill but she did show that she was here and she wasn’t going to go down without a fight, contrary to what they expected from her. “Faster! Don’t just let her run off!”



The pace of the footsteps picked up. Francis popped out from the corner she was hiding at once more and pulled the trigger once again, but surprisingly, her weapon jammed right when she needed it the most… And she pulled back just before the bullets tore into the entrance of the alley, hitting all around it but none of them hitting her because she had the superior angle. She needed somewhere else to go if she was going to survive this… This alley wasn’t a good enough spot, once they reached her they’d be able to shoot her straight in the back as she fled. And so she reached in her coat for her sidearm and fired a shot into the locked back door of the bar, causing it to swing open and allowing her to run inside and slam the door behind her. It’d buy her an extra second or two, that last move would. It was a two story bar and she arrived on the inside near the staircase, climbing quickly as she could and hoping to catch her enemies in a situation where she could shoot down on them when they entered.

Didn’t take them long to burst through the same back entrance that she had quite obviously used. The door, after all, had been hanging wide open and it wasn’t hard to tell what the gunshot had been. She heard the footsteps getting closer. And closer. And closer. Her heart was pounding under her clothes. Her hands shook and she worked on clearing the jam for the M82 as the footsteps kept getting closer, and closer, and closer, but she didn’t know for sure whether it would still be jammed or not by the time they showed up-

The footsteps grew close enough that Francis took the risk and popped out from the corner, finger pulling down on the trigger and- The only sound that came from the gun was a click as Francis felt a shot hit the body armor that she herself had on underneath her clothes. It still injured her, though, even if the body armor had slowed the bullet down enough that it didn’t kill her outright. It had hit her in the abdomen and she found herself laid out at the top of the stairwell, but even in that state, it didn’t prevent her from moving her hand enough to pull the pistol back out, roughly aiming it down the stairwell and firing at random.

None of the shots hit, but they seemed to deter whoever was down there from advancing, and she was able to force herself to sit up- when she looked down the stairwell, there was no one there. Whoever had tried to come up and get her had been deterred by the gunshots. She took this as a chance to try crawling through the open doorway to the next room, which she supposed was a dining hall of sorts from the looks of it. They wouldn’t be happy with the fact that she was leaking blood on the ground, but she supposed that didn’t matter. This probably wouldn’t be the first time something like this had happened, they were in the volatile Zone after all.

“What the fuck?”

She heard a panicked shout from the outside and didn’t know what was happening. There was something going on out there but it wasn’t her that had done anything, even though it seemed to occupy the attention of her attackers. Shots had been fired. Was it the police? The military? Some third party that she had somehow completely unaccounted for, such as the owners of this place? Whatever it was, she used the distraction as a chance to painfully pull herself to her feet and walk into the next room, crouching low behind a bar counter in hopes that she’d get the jump on her enemy when they came back.

More gunshots. Shouting and yelling. It sounded like someone had been shot. “Get him!” she’d heard someone shout. It sounded like Arturo. But she didn’t know who exactly he had been referring to. The footsteps weren’t coming close to her from what she could hear. They were moving… Away from her. But she wasn’t about to run away from the fight just because she had the chance. She would have to face up with this eventually, she was going to finish the fight now, even if she had to die in the process. If she died, Adeline wouldn’t be in danger anymore because of her.

So, gritting her teeth in pain as she did so, she forced herself up once again with the pistol in her hand, eventually tucking it in her jacket and replacing it with the M82, reloading the cartridge and firing off one shot to make sure the jam was clear - which it was. Great. She moved back to the back door that she had entered through just in time to see someone hurriedly moving into the alley - Arturo. She raised the M82 at the hitman while he was focused on whatever the other target was, gunning him down ruthlessly. She hadn’t been in the cartel for awhile, but that didn’t mean she didn’t know how to shoot and kill.

The other person in the alley was too busy running to notice that Arturo had went down. She would’ve taken a shot at him too but by the time she processed that there was someone else in the alley that person had already turned the corner and was gone. She chased, despite the pain she was putting herself in to do so. Getting shot wasn’t fun. Getting shot and continuing to run around afterwards was even less fun. Still, she was going to do what she had to do.



Cobra’s plan had gone south. Originally he’d planned to rescue Francis by gunning down Gervaso outside and then heading inside to take out Arturo from the back while he was focused on trying to find Francis. However, Gervaso had evaded his shots and as Cobra himself turned to run, Gervaso had managed to shoot him and leave him bleeding pretty bad… And now was pursuing him down the alley. He turned, Gervaso turned with him, and they both ended up coming out on one of the streets on the other side of the bar. Cobra turned quickly and fired with his pistol before charging across the road, forcing Gervaso to consider advancing, but none of the shots managed to hit.

But… What Gervaso didn’t expect was something coming from behind him. Bullets hit him in the back and dropped him in one burst, and someone emerged from behind and aimed the rifle downwards, putting one more bullet in his head while he was on the ground and unable to reach for a weapon or recover so quickly. And that person was, unexpectedly, Francis. “You… Helped me,” she told Cobra, eyes widening as she saw that he was the one that Gervaso had been chasing and the one that had fired the shots initially.

“Family before gangs… And you’re like family to me,” Cobra said, leaning on a car as Francis ran across the street to check on him, immediately placing a hand on her shoulder. “Of course I helped you…”

“You’re not going to be able to go back after doing this… Word is going to spread… The cartel is going to be after you instead of me… You shouldn’t have done this, you should have… I don’t know. Anything but this,” she said, helping Cobra to flee the scene. It wouldn’t be a good idea to hang around here for too long, not when there had been plenty of gunshots and people would investigate the source of them soon enough.

“Not the entire cartel. Montezuma’s set. But I plan on taking Montezuma out as soon as I’m back in Daimiel, I don’t have another option but… It’s worth it in the end. At least you’re alive this way,” Cobra replied. They ended up in another alley, picking up their pace. They were in the lawless zone, but that didn’t mean they wanted to let their guard down completely. Furthermore, leaving the crime scene was something that had practically been embedded in their DNA by the cartel training.

“I’m not out the woods yet, there’s an enemy ace that’s from Daimiel who’s after me-”

“Xiomara Romero. And yes, she’s from that Romero family. She’s affiliated loosely with Montezuma, it’s the reason why she’s after you specifically. I imagine she won’t be happy about this happening but well… That’s a bridge to cross when we get there. She might back off if I can.. Ugh…” started Cobra, before groaning. “Finish the job against Montezuma. But that’s not important right now, it’s… Going to be a lot harder for her to get you in the skies than it would be for Arturo and Gervaso to pull up and gun you down by surprise when you’re off duty.”

Francis paused, looking her friend in the eye. “Why do they even care in the first place?”

“Because they say you shamed the country by deserting to Canguari… Shamed the Cartel too… Let me… Tell you everything from the beginning…”



The night would be spent at a hotel in Sofia where Cobra had insisted that Francis come to. According to him, he needed to help her get rid of the evidence in case her government tried to get her in trouble for this for whatever reason. He’d taken the gun, replaced her clothes, and some other things. Said that it was better that he had them than if she did, as he was a known criminal anyway and having more charges on his record wouldn’t affect him. He wouldn’t have been able to legally get into the country even before the recent homicides. Francis, on the other hand, was working for the government via the military and so she needed to keep her record clean.

She could return to the airbase the next day, he had told her. And yet… She didn’t know if she could really return to it. What was even there for her? The chance to fly for a country that wasn’t even hers? Risking her life when many times she would fail anyway and it wouldn’t make much of a difference? Her flying skills and her destroying the railgun hadn’t saved van der Kaap and everyone that was there when the railgun hit. Nor had they saved her relationship with Adeline, even when she risked her own life fighting alongside Adeline rather than leaving her to take on the foreign mercenary pilots herself.

It had been something she had done with the full knowledge that it could kill her. And she didn’t get anything in return except for a ‘fuck off’. No, not just one, she had been told repeatedly that she should fuck off. She had been told that Adeline’s problems were because of her and that she should just leave her alone and go away. Well, she had done her best to solve those problems and make sure that no one would be coming for Adeline because of her. However, she didn’t know what the point of continuing in all this was when the only person she had ever loved had discarded her like it was nothing.

“Matias?” she asked, staring out the window with a lit joint in her hand. But it was doing nothing to calm her down. If anything, her current mental state made it have a different effect on her, making her slightly more paranoid and prone to… What could only be described as depression. Something she had staved off for the past weeks, but that had been before she was cruelly discarded. Now, she saw no reason to bother keeping it at bay. “Do you think that life is just suffering? I… Never thought I would know happiness and… I finally managed to find it and it hardly lasts weeks before it gets taken away because of things that are out of my hands.. Do you think that some people like me are just meant to never be happy?”

She paused, a couple of tears running down her face. “Do you think life is always going to be this painful?” she added, pounding a hand against the glass angrily as she leaned her head against it, looking down while the tears flowed. “I don’t fucking have something to go back to! Half my squadron has something against me and doesn’t care how many times I prove myself. The one person I loved was fine with throwing me away like garbage because her squadmates died trying to protect my squadron, even though I stayed and fought with them instead of retreating like the others. What the fuck am I meant to go back to? Flying and risking my life just for a job with people that don’t care about me, who I don’t care about myself?”

“I dunno, Francis. I don’t know. I can only say that you’ve survived this much, I’m sure that in the long run… One breakup isn’t going to stand out that much. Not comparatively, anyway.”

“But what if the person that I broke up with is what made all the other stuff bearable? Matias, I don’t… I don’t want to keep going after this… Don’t even have any goals to chase now that Arturo and Gervaso are gone…?”

“Do you want to die? Because you could always come back to Daimiel with me where I suspect my fight with Montezuma is going to be… Quite dangerous. I’m not saying you should go out. I’m just saying that it’s a chance to, you know, go out doing something to make a difference,” Cobra asked, watching her from a distance as she turned and went to walk towards her bed.

“I don’t know. I don’t… I don’t want to die, Matias…” she said eventually, flopping down on the bed and exhaling smoke. “But right now, the last thing I want to do is live.”
Last edited by Forest State on Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
i'm the bad guy... duh.

for: the anime right
anti: catgirls & people who step on snek

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Valefontaine
Chargé d'Affaires
 
Posts: 368
Founded: Dec 18, 2017
Democratic Socialists

Postby Valefontaine » Fri Jun 07, 2019 3:02 am

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    A C T 8 - "O L D F R I E N D S"
    Collis Palatium, Serondequot, Federal States of Euphemie
    MARCH 12, 422
    0800 HOURS


    Image


    __________________________________

It was clever — almost comically so. Her absence during the timespan of the attack created a pretty good alibi, all things considered. Verloc, still clueless to her own operations, had lent even more data pertaining to their engagements with the Recluse. At this rate, Brynn figured, her new Hierofalcons would be capable of easily dispatching McLellan-Kuron's attempt at competition. Biding her time was doing her well thus far, as it seemed the enemy was doing half her job... and making the coming inevitability with the corporate aces much easier.

Serondequot — the sacred heart of the Euphemian state, it was a marvel of neoclassicist architecture that starkly contrasted with the rest of Torch City's massive mega-skylines and crowded, smoggy inner city highways and massive labyrinths of public transit. It was a serene change from the metropolitan bustle — and for Brynn, it was a humbling, welcome sight she'd longed for in the absence of civilization in the southern hemisphere. Praise the President, praise the Atom...

Upon the holy thoroughfare she observed the adjacent museums and Presidential mausoleums (much akin to the pyramids of Akhmanar, every deceased Euphemian president was entombed within sanctified personal mausoleums bearing semblance to the capitol building) as the taxi made its way through the Valley of the Presidents, one of many centerpieces of not just Euphemie, but Civilization as a whole. It was much more than business to her — it was a pilgrimage. She intended to demonstrate her patriotism tonight by visiting one of the more opulent Presidential tombs, situated just beside Neworder's own. Strickland — the man who would have carried Neworder's legacy, her former governor— his life cut short by an assassination that had solidified him in history as a martyr for a better tomorrow.

The Valley of the Presidents soon became distant as the taxi departed from the holy tomb-district. In the distance she could see the towering sight of the Fern Obelisk, the light atop its structure a nighttime beacon towards all the divine values of democracy, liberty and prosperity that the Federal States embodied. She wasn't to visit President Camden just yet. Rather, she was to meet with someone important to her — someone she could trust with operating the next generation of Hierofalcon fighters.

Image
A beacon of democracy.


The taxi stopped before the National Defense Pyramid as Brynn paid the taxi fare and stepped off. The Pyramid's black structure was tipped by a lamp chamber that would, at night, cast a beam that could be seen from space. Two statues flanked the entrance, President George Charles Fern standing proudly to the left while the embodiment of the Federal States of Euphemie, the Nine-Tailed Fox (albeit portrayed in human figure), stood opposite on the right, carrying about her hands a scale measuring the notions of Liberty and Justice. "Hail Neworder," Brynn paid tribute to the late President whose term she held so dearly as she approached the entrance of the complex. It was teeming with defense, national security and intelligence types. She herself hadn't taken to what was practically traditional garb in the holy city — the business suit — and rather wore her usual lab coat with Lockreed credentials to effectively grant herself the ability to go anywhere in the sacred capital.

Still occasionally her mind was plagued not by visions of the future, but of the past. Dreams of Fuxia lit aflame by nuclear hellfire, the Tangaliroan fleet torn asunder by the power of nuclear arms. It was in these horrid dreams that she almost found solace — through the memories of President Neworder's speeches during that struggle. In Serondequot she found this solace, the statues of Presidents past serving as protection from the curse of the Siedunlander's Gaze. Indeed, she'd grown old, carrying the mental scars of the past, a veteran of the psychic wars aspiring to bring forth a better future for the generations of tomorrow through helping raise Euphemie back into the post-war dominance it once enjoyed, and the global peace that it'd created. Even if it meant operating from the shadows, she was determined to stop at nothing to uphold the greatness of the nation she'd fought for. Her comrades in the 447th surely hadn't died in vain, she assured herself.

Approaching the building, one of the rotating glass doors abruptly opened, as if her arrival had been predicted — of course it had. Stepping before her, shadowed by the art deco mural depictions of space launches, successful military campaigns and godlike generals and presidents above the doors, she was greeted by a familiar face.

"Mom?! It's been two years and you look like SHIT! How the FUCK you been?" Brynn was greeted by the sight of the second-eldest of her children, Leland. She was a bit crass, to say the least, and she didn't recall raising her that way, but this was her daughter for sure. Her attitude aside, Leland was a damn good pilot, assigned to a Hierofalcon squadron that was currently doing nothing in the Torch City area. Leland didn't carry any sort of gift, but had a keen talent for aircraft. Since her childhood, really. Maybe Brynn's weird fixations rubbed off on her a bit too much.

"No better than you, bitch. How's sitting with your thumb up your ass been?"

"Fucking horrible. I assume you're here for a reason?"

"Talking with the goddamn President! I stopped here to give you a job offer.."

"A job offer?"

"Means you're going to have to fly on over to a shithole country in the ass-end of Ophir," Brynn began.

"Nice."

"And fly your mother's aircraft designs,"

"Great."

"Shoot some mercenaries outta the sky,"

"Simply epic!"

"Stop the Velezians from going oo-aa with the nuclear football,"

"Awesome!"

"Dogfight some wild-ass aces,"

"Great!"

"And you get to drag a few of your fellow pilots over with you—"

"Sign me the fuck up, bitch!" Evidently it'd done nothing to dissuade her daughter from the prospect of the job. Brynn was sure there'd be few conflicts of interest from putting her daughter's life on the line.

She couldn't help but chuckle at her daughter's enthusiasm, though. "I was hoping your dumbass would pussy out at some point. Alright. Sign this stupid-ass paperwork and don't read the fine print. I gotta go."

"Where?"

"To talk with the President, dumbass."




Collis Palatium had been renovated under the Neworder administration into a palace befitting a God — accurate for a man who was regarded as a living incarnation of God by the electorate. To the Euphemianist Church and the various syncretic religions, now deemed sects, connected to it, the President carried upon himself the divine will of democracy, entrusted by the people, the military, the silo-computers, the media and the professors to rule the nation. Democracy was sacred, second only to God. The President was somewhere in between, each President's divinity being decided by the council of the Euphemianist Church at the end of every president's tenure. Neworder had been different, however — he had led Euphemie through the chaos of the Transatlantic War into a brave new world, and had been declared an Aspect of God during his presidential term. The fervent, zealous legacy of his presidency was seen even today — marble statues depicting the great President situated all over the interior of the palace.

The faith posited that God was genderless, embodying the pure effeminate and perfected aspects of man and woman alike, divine in its hermaphroditic, alluring grace. Yet it could be represented only by a man worthy of carrying the mantle of the sun around which all civilization girated — the President of the Federal States. Much like the Sinican Emperors of old, the President had access to many amenities of the state — executive powers aside, he could have an undefined amount of First Ladies, drugs, alcohol and carried with him access to the Presidential Fund, an unfathomably vast financial reserve which he used to generously fund projects worthy of his attention.

It worked to Brynn's advantage that the man who now was the most powerful politician in the world had served with her in the 447th Tactical Fighter Squadron 29 years ago. Dean Camden — President Dean Camden. It was still pretty surreal. She disliked the decadence that prospered under his administration, but she had now the opportunity to change the course of Euphemian history by combatting the concept of the 'private army', upholding national tradition in stark reaction to the increasingly borderless, nationless future.

Two Secret Service agents led the way to the Presidential Office, Brynn moderately taken aback by the divine simplicity of it all in comparison to the rest of the palace. There he waited, leaning back in his seat in anticipation. The door closing behind Brynn, the man before her she'd once known spoke.

"Major. How many years has it been since we last spoke..?"

"F—fifteen, I think."

"That's right. Now, you might imagine how emotional someone like me would get." Camden paused for a moment, chuckling. "Fifteen years. Country's changed a whole lot since then. You and I, changed a lot, too. You're older. I'm older. The woman beneath my desk is older. We're all aging at an incredible rate... and honestly, I just want to snort powder, drink Augustan whiskey and take my mind off it all. But you're not here to snort powder or drink Augustan whiskey, are you?"

"I wouldn't mind a glass." Brynn replied. To that, Camden fetched a bottle and poured an empty glass on the desk, gesturing Brynn over.

"I'm well aware of your projects. Lockreed-Eden. Nice. The future of our Air Force, God willing."

"Not if that attempt to revive the Recluse goes through." interjected Brynn. "Euphemian corporations are not working towards peace or civilization — they're working against it. When there's no chance of a probe into these rampant corporations, I have to do things the dirty way. I've come here to ask you a favor."

"Anything for my old superior." He offered a toast to Brynn, the two old comrades clinking their glasses as they drank to old times. Once he'd set the glass down, exhaling with refreshment, he returned to the topic at hand. "Go ahead and name it. Can't remember how many times you saved my ass back in the day. Figure it's due time I pay you back. Sorry for teasing you back in the days before the war, by the way. Still eats at me."

"R—relax. It's been twenty-nine years. I was going to ask you a favor... I need a few squadrons sent south."

"This the Bas-ko AFB I keep hearing about?" Camden chuckled. "Money, troops... anything, I'm all ears."

"Oh, uh—" Brynn was surprised it'd been this easy. All this spite for a man she could've simply spoken to. "—a few Chiangshi squadrons, like two I guess."

"They're tough ones, I'll tell you that. Us old-school Chiangshi pilots would know," Camden smirked. "I'm well aware of the... problem down south. Big problem. Terrible, truly. And the issue with big business gettin' too big is an issue as old as time, but... yeah, I see your ambitions. Read a bit about it, even. I'm willing to get you the resources necessary to sustain your operations. Two fighter squadrons will head on south, a bit of money, yadda yadda. If you need someone to talk to, I'm always here for you, alright? And I'd really make this reunion a lot better, but, well..." Camden allowed the silence to speak measures about how truly preoccupied he was. "It's not easy being President, Brynn. I'll talk to you some other time, I'm sure of it. Gotta make up all those lost years somehow."

Brynn nodded, having secured the backing she'd sought. "It's good to see you again, Camden."

Returning to south Ophir would be child's play now — and it'd bring her a step closer to fulfilling her ambitious goals for the continent: civilized peace.
Last edited by Valefontaine on Fri Jun 07, 2019 3:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
Too many old nations to count. NS user since 2013.
"War is the continuation of politics by other means."

only difference between a negotiation and a battle are the rules of engagement
both are fundamentally based on maneuver
put that in your quote book
-The Enclave Government
-Carl von Clausewitz

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