Ace Combat 7: Storms of Rebellion is a fictional installement of the Ace Combat saga that takes place chronologically between Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception and Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere. It tells the story of Kirill Callahan, aka Icarus, a talented but often day-dreaming fighter pilot of the Tarbean Air Force, his role on the Tarbean Civil War, and how he became one of the most feared and respected aces in the world, known as "The White Devil".
- Main article: List of missions in Ace Combat 7: Storms of Rebellion
Twenty years have passed since the South Osean War started on 2002, between the Kingdom of Tarbean and the country of Lanslean. After Tarbean's victory on 2004, Lanslean land has been ruled by the Tarbean goverment, led by King Nicholas III of Numina. But the Lansleans didn't accept defeat and were not willing to be governed by their enemies, and so the Lanslean Liberation Front was established in secret on 2005. For 17 years, the LLF operated underground, performing minor acts of terrorism to several Tarbean sites on Lansleal soil. Although they were actively hunted down by the new law forces, their activities escalated in notoriety, reaching a critical point when they took over the Panaya Military Base on August 17th, 2022.
When the news reached the mainland, Nicholas III and his chamber declared martial law on Lansleal territory and started to assemble several squadrons from the Tarbean Army and Air Forces to march onto Panaya base before the LLF carried out an attack. The Tarbean ground forces, led by Nicholas III himself and his two eldest sons, Yuri and Vladimir of Numina, reunited on the border city of Kolove on August 20th before entering Lansleal soil. The 1st Tactical Fighter Squadron "Valkyria" escorted them in this movilization, and was led by the king's younger son, Mijail "Odin" of Numina, General of the Tarbean Air Forces. The other five members of the Valkyria Squadron were Lt. General Suou "Hela" of Burg (Valkyria 2), Brig. General Alexandr "Raven" Ivanov (Valkyria 3), Lt. Colonel Sergei "Artemis" Vasíliev (Valkyria 4) and Lt. Colonel Kirill "Icarus" Callahan (Valkyria 5).
The Rebel Conflict: First Stage of the Tarbean Civil War
The Kolove Skirmish
However, the LLF ambushed the ground forces on the narrow streets of Kolove, and despite their numerical and technological disadvantage, the rebels managed to deal serious casualties to the Tarbean forces. At the same time, a group of four Bm-335 Lindwurm bombers, escorted by two Mirage 2000-5 each, entered the combat zone, attempting to drop a load of PH-666, an chemical agent that could "vaporize" metal at an atomic level. The Valkyria Squadron managed to intercept and destroy all the bombers before they reached the Tarbean Army. Unfortunately, some of this agent touched Valkyria 3's plane after one of the bombers exploded, competely disintegrating it and rendering Ivanov unable to bail out. The remnants of his plane crashed in the ground shortly after with him inside .
The situation on the ground after the ambush was critical: King Nicholas III and his two sons Yuri and Vladimir were KIA, and the Tarbean Army effectives were reduced to a 40% before the LLF pulled out. Taking advantage of this loss of military power and political leadership, the LLF quickly marched onto the eastern Lanslean territory, and with the support of the local military and citizenship, claimed its independence from Tarbean. Mijail of Numina, the only remaining heir of Tarbean throne, was supposed to replace Nicholas as ruler of Tarbean, but he refused and signed the Endorsement of the Seven Houses, a document in which Mijail renounced temporarily to his right of government and put the Royal Council in charge. Filled with grief and anger over the loss of his family and best friend, Mijail swore to himself to take revenge on the LLF and end the rebellion by his own hands.
On the other hand, how did the LLF get its hands on the PH-666 agent remained a mystery, as Panavia Base didn't store any chemical armament. Claiming that this possession of the PH-666 was a threat to all citizens on Tarbean and Lanslean, Mijail, with the Valkyria Squadron and the remaining ground forces, invaded the now independent Lanslean territory.
Despite their inferior numbers, the Tarbean Army recaptured the cities of Desherd, Morham and Yuto, mostly thanks to the support of the Valkyria Squadron. However, although their equipment was significantly more advanced than it was expected, no traces of PH-666 were found in any of the rebel bases. Then, the Valkyria Squadron intercepted a transport plane with no ID, escorted by several LLF fighters. After dispatching the enemies, Mijail ordered the unidentified transport to land, but they didn't comply, so he and Icarus were forced to shoot at its reactors. Surprinsigly, the transport exploded shortly after from its inside, but not before AWACS Providence discovered that the plane belonged to General Resource Limited. This lead Mijail to believe that General Resource was providing the LLF with additional armament, and possibly with the PH-666 as well.
Mijail and his chamber prepared a formal sue against General Resource to the United Nations, accusing them for using chemical weaponry on a populated city. However, they didn't have any evidence to link GR to the attacks. Mijail decided to anticipate the recapture of Panaya Base, with the hope of finding proof of GR implication in the insurrection and stopping the LLF definitely.
Attack to Panaya Military Base
The Valkyria Squadron went on a recon mission to Panaya Base to obtain data of the remaining LLF war assets on their CQ, hoping they could find evidence agains General Resources. While they were in the middle of the mission, the high command ordered them to retreat, with no further explanation. This decision was made by the Royal Council, who were effectively at the head of the command after the signature of the Endorsement of the Seven Houses. Just when the Valkyria Squadron were about to abandon the airspace above Panaya, they picked up a friendly IFF tone from the Phalanx, a giant aerial fortress built and designed by Neucom Incorporated.
The Phalanx was ordered to fly over Panaya and bomb several key locations spotted earlier by the Valkyria Squadron with an experimental weapon. Mijail and Suou reluctantly complied with the retreat orders, but Sergei, foreseeing the indiscriminate massacre that the Phalanx would cause, disobeyed and turned to intercept the air fortress, ignoring several warnings from his squadmates and the command. Then, the rest of the Valkyria Squadron was ordered to shoot down the now traitor Sergei before he could damage the Phalanx. Mijail and Suou were able to catch up with Sergei, but the traitor was able to outmaneuver them both and fire missiles. Mijail's aircraft was severely damaged so he had to withdraw from combat air space, and Suou was forced to bail out right in the middle of the Phalanx's airstrike route. This forced the Phalanx to modify its current path, leaving it vulnerable to ground attacks.
The player is now given the first alignment choice of the game: either join Sergei and stop the Phalanx, betraying the Tarbean Army, or stay with the Tarbean Army and provide cover for Suou and the Phalanx while the rescue team arrives to rescue her. The former makes the player follow the Lanslean Arc, and the latter must be chosen should the player want to play the Tarbean Arc or the ISAF Arc.
If the player chooses to help Sergei, both Kirill and Sergei attack the Phalanx, but to no avail. The aerial fortress was equipped with an Electromagnetic Shield (EMS) that jammed all tracking systems -both enemy and ally- in several kilometers around, and deflected close incoming missiles. It was clear that Sergei and Kirill alone could not stop the Phalanx, so they decided to ask the LLF resistance for help. At first they did not believe them -they even opened fired at both fighters-, but as the Phalanx draw near, they eventually agreed and commenced firing AA artillery at the ship. The curtain of fire was too much for the still imperfect EMS to competely deflect, giving Kirill and Sergei an opening to fire at the Phalanx's weak point: the jammer antennas. When the EMS was out of commision, the Phalanx was ordered to retreat. Kirill and Sergei were regarded as heroes by the LLF, and they welcomed both at the Panaya Base.
If the player decides to stay with the Tarbean Forces, Mijail orders Kirill to concentrate on protecting Suou, who was stranded in emey territory, as Sergei alone could not stop the Phalanx. Kirill managed to hold off the enemy ground forcecs who were sent to capture Suou, but soon the enemy AA artillery began to fire upon the Phalanx. Kirill had to penetrate the enemy territory and destroy the AA guns that were attacking both the Phalanx and the rescue helicopter who was coming to pick Suou. Although the rescue mission was a succes at the end, the Phalanx's EMS could not sustain the heavy fire, so the Tarbean command ordered it to return to base before it was able to complete the mission.
Regardless of the path chosen by the player, after the attempted bombing on Panaya, the people of Lanslean became outraged, and a massive number of people decided to join the LLF to fight against the Tarbean occupation. Several Lanslean military forces who were absorbed by the Tarbean Army (such as the Berseker Aggresor Squadron for example) also joined the coup d'etat, thus escalating the conflict to a full war. The international community did not overlook the events, and decided to deploy several ISAF sea, ground and air squadrons in a peace mission to subdue both sides. The growth of the LLF and the presence of the ISAF forced the Tarbean Army to retreat, and the LLF forces expanded their territory, occupying now almost a half of former Lanslean soil.
Back at the Tarbean base, Suou of Burg was disgusted after hearing that the Phalanx deployment was ordered by the Royal Council and not by Mijail, who was now the king of the Country. Apparently, after the signing of the Endorsement of the Seven Houses, the Council made a deal with Neucom Incorporated and gave Neucom fiscal advantages and resources, in exchange of armament and technology. And to make the matters worse, Mijail did not disagree with their decision, knowing that doing such a thing would cause a escalation of the conflict. For all these reasons, Suou quit the Tarbean Army and decided to join the ISAF.
Suou asks Kirill to renounce as well and fight with her and the ISAF after explaining him the reasons of her demmision. If the player wants to follow the ISAF arc, he must choose the option to accompany Suou. If Kirill stays loyal to the Tarbean forces, the player will play the Tarbean Arc.
This marks the official beginning of the Tarbean Civil War and the second part of the story.