This is a story that I had thought up while playing it's namesake. It is a work in progress, and will undoubtedly go through a few revisions before it is complete. Rather than following the aces in the skies, this will follow the brave men and women of the U.N.F., showing the side of the war that you never get to see. There will be some spoilers to the game's campaign so if you don't want it spoiled I would recommend playing through the campaign first. Comments, ideas, questions, suggestions, etc. are all welcome. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoy writing it. - Laevanhunter
Not The Best Start...
"In war the heroes always outnumber the soldiers ten to one." - H. L. Mencken
- May 1, 2019 - 07:00 U.N.F. Training Grounds, North of Tokyo
We all stood in line, facing the drill sergeant for roll. Today the air of the entire camp felt different, we had been training for months and today it was finally going to pay off for some. Word around the camp was that some of the U.N.F. brass were going to start moving us to active combat. No one was quite sure what was going on save the officers, and they weren't saying anything.
"I'm sure you have all heard the rumors spreading, as I myself have heard plenty of them." The drill sergeant started, "Well today we can finally put these rumors to rest. A convoy will be coming soon to pick up the most prepared among you to join the Pacific Fleet in an offensive against the Sons Of Troia terrorist organization. The fleet has plans to move out of Tokyo Bay at 1000 hours. You all have half an hour to prepare, those who are chosen will leave, the rest will remain here for further training. Dismissed!" We all gave a salute before running to the barracks to begin packing.
Thankfully my bunk was right next to the door, so it didn't take long to reach my stuff, which is more than can be said for some of the poor sods here. I pulled my duffel bag out from under my bunk and began to pack what all I thought I might need. Uniform, check, backpack, check, journal, check. Looking through the small dressers we were issued I began to find things I had nearly forgotten about, such as a small hand-mirror I had brought with me.
Looking into it, I realized just how long it has been since I got a good look at myself. My once long brown hair was now quite short, not nearly a buzz-cut, but the best I could do with scissors. My once pale skin was fairly tanned, making my blue eyes stand out even more than they used to. I shook my head violently, now was certainly not the time to be admiring a mirror! I threw it into the bag along with a few other things I thought I should might need. All in all I spent about five minutes packing, including when I lost myself in thought.
I stepped outside so as to be able to be out of the way, and to get some fresh air. It was rather quiet outside, at least compared to inside the barracks. A few officers walked around from barracks to barracks checking on how everyone was doing. I leaned against the wall and looked towards the sky, a slightly overcast grey obscuring the blue sky. Leftovers from Ulysses most likely. I was only four years old when the disaster hit, but I can still remember it like yesterday.
A loud commotion from the front gate pulled me out of my daydream. I looked towards the gate to see a rather large convoy being let through the gates. "Fifteen minutes early? What's going on? This must be worse than they let on." I whispered to myself. A HMMWV drove ahead of the convoy and stopped outside the officer's barracks, and two U.N.F. soldiers got out, rushing inside. I watched curiously, not quite knowing what was going on. Not even a minute passed before the soldiers came back out with the drill sergeant, the latter running towards the nearest barracks.
"You! Standing against the wall!" One of the soldiers called to me, "Are you ready to leave?" He asked.
"Yeah, I suppose I-"
"Good, you're coming with us, the convoy has to be leaving in two minutes." He said, not even letting me finish. I followed the two men to the HMMWV, and got in the back. From inside I saw the sergeant and a few other officers rounding up those who were ready from the barracks and loading them into the other trucks in the convoy. Within a minute all those who were ready were loaded up and the convoy going back out the gate, the HMMWV leading as it had when it drove inside.
"I'm is Sergeant Coleman" The driver said, looking at me in the rear view mirror. He spoke with an unmistakably American accent, or as they call it, a 'lack' of an accent. "Sitting next to you is Corporal Burk, and up next to me is Private Vahlen. Sorry for the rushed meet & greet, but as you can tell we are in a bit of a hurry." I looked aside, not sure how to respond.
"You going to introduce yourself missy?" the corporal asked in a thick Irish accent. "T'would be rather rude not to"
"My name is Ellen Daeshaert. Err, I'm Private Daeshaert." I said, still trying to figure out what was going on. "Why is the convoy so rushed?" I asked.
"Fleet's departure has been changed, 0900's the new time. Don't ask me why, I think the brass' just getting paranoid again, but you never can tell." Private Vahlen answered. It took me only a second or two to identify her German accent, the words sounding a little strange in English. "Even had the road's cleared for the convoy, that's the only reason why we can drive so fast and not get in a wreck."
I took in what the private said. If the departure time was changed that probably means something is wrong, just what I don't know. I might just be paranoid, but it doesn't sound good in the slightest. No one talked for the rest of the ride into Tokyo. It may just have been the air, or something in the mood; regardless, the silence for the remaining trip was stifling..
The Pacific Fleet
The drive through Tokyo was a swift one. The convoy kept at a constant speed of around 112 kilometers per hour. The roads were cleared and cordoned off, so there was no traffic. It also helped that it was nearly a straight shot to the bay, though the sheer silence both inside the HMMWV and out began to get on my nerves.
We weren't even in the bay when the fleet came into view. Even with the reconstruction, many of the buildings around here were shorter than the ships. I was distracted from the fleet only by the deafening silence in the HMMWV. When I looked to Corporal Burk, his facial expression showed the same lines of thought.
"So... Corporal, have you ever been on a ship before?" I asked.
"Aye, was on a carrier for a short time, put aboard by chopper. I prefer air travel m'self though."
"Got a little seasick last time didn't you Burk?" Private Vahlen said with a short chuckle.
"What ever you say German." Burk snorted.
"Everyone out, cut the chatter too, try to at least act organized. It would be good for the recruits - you included" he said, looking at me "If we showed them how things are supposed to be done." Sergeant Coleman said. He got out, with all of us following behind. We all moved in a line, being sure to look as if we were all more organized than the crowd of recruits that I had been with until today. They were unloading and forming somewhat organized mobs.
"Sergeant Coleman, U.N.F. Special Forces, is the Lt. already on board?" the sergeant asked one of the crewmen. He went from his relaxed posture to a short salute before responding.
"Sir, Lieutenant Bertz is waiting on board, you'll find him below deck." The sergeant turned to us about to speak, but was cut off by shouting.
"Everyone on board, we have unidentified aircraft in the air, possible hostiles." The loudspeakers on the ship echoed into the bay. Everyone began to run for the ship, the mobs losing any semblance of order that they had once had. The officers pushed their way through the crowd, trying to yell over the many voices that were coming through. The crewmen did their best to assist the officers in quelling the crowds, but even their help wasn't enough.
We stood aside to avoid being trampled, and in our wait we heard to explosions. There was a sudden silence before the recruits among the crowd began to scream, pushing and shoving to get aboard. Multiple aircraft flew overhead, some in formation, and others not. The officers and experienced did their best to restore order, which was easier said than done all things considered.
"Who's fighting? I can only recognize some of those aircraft." Private Vahlen yelled over the din.
"JASDF for one, and two planes with 'em I couldn't tell you." Burk called back.
"Let's go, the ships are leaving!" Sergeant Coleman called, and started to push a path for us through the crowd. A rocket from one of the hostile aircraft hit a nearby building. We broke free from the temporary paralysis that hit the crowd and ran aboard. The remaining people on the gangplank didn't take long to follow suit.
"Everyone from the convoy is aboard!" A crewman yelled, and the call was put out again and again by the crew, relaying it from ship to ship, and from there inside to the captains. I looked back at the trucks, now completely abandoned and standing alone among the empty buildings. Turning back I saw that we couldn't get inside the ship, because the crowds were trying to push their way inside in sheer panic, so we stood of to one side once again.
Suddenly a plane fell from the sky, hitting the water not far from the ship and scattering debris as it went down. I made my way to the end of the ship that it went down near, and looked over the railing trying to see it in the water. I saw the wreckage of the plane for only a few moments before I was sent flying. The entire world erupted into a cacophony of noise and a blaze of fire. Everything turned grey as I was barely able to stay conscious.
"Jesus Christ!" someone in the distance yelled, "People get them out of..." the voice trailed off into the white noise. Shouting echoed everywhere, and I felt someone lift me from under my arms. Everything moved as a delayed blur, with more explosions rattling my ears. I looked toward the sky and watched as yet another red ball of light filled the sky.
"The last one..." was the last thing I heard before slipping into darkness.
Welcome To Special Operations
I awoke feeling dazed, and not quite sure where I was. "Hurry, go get your Lieutenant, it looks like she's coming to." a distant voice said, followed by rapid footsteps leaving the room. "Stay with us, can you hear me? Nod if you can, but stay laying down. Don't move too quickly." the same voice said, only closer this time.
"I heard our recruit has finally come around." A new voice said some time later. Looking around I saw the world was becoming more clear as I waited, enough to see that I was in an infirmary. I tried to sit up, but my arms gave way and I fell back on the bed. "Careful private, take it slow, you have been unconscious for nearly a week and a half."
"A... Week and a half?" I asked groggily. "Am I alright at least?" The world began to clear enough for me to see that there were three people standing over me.
"We are unsure for the time being, but there was no damage that shouldn't heal." The man in a navy medical officer uniform said with a Japanese accent. His face betrayed worry, regardless of what he had said. Looking at his name patch I saw his name was Akira Hiroshi.
"Your name is Maria right? We'll have to get you a new uniform." I quickly looked down, alarmed for a moment. I saw I was wearing a patients robe, rather than the U.N.F. uniform I had been wearing.
"Worry not, it was one of the nurses you changed you into that, no need to worry about that." Medical Officer Hiroshi said. I breathed a sigh of relief, I would not have been a fan of a random man changing my clothes while I was unconscious. Not that a random woman is much better though.
"Any E.T.A. on her being on her feet doc?" The man who was wearing the two bars on his arm asked. His name patch said Adrian Bertz. He had an air of authority about him that held everyone's attention. He was a somewhat tall man who seemed to be around thirty, with short black hair and a clean shaven face. He also had tanned skin, speaking with a rough voice, sounding like another American.
"Perhaps a week, maybe more, maybe less." Hiroshi responded. The Lieutenant shook his head, then looked at me.
"I would like to see you try to be on your feet within a few days private, we have a mission coming up and I want you on it. There should be enough time for you to recover, but I would also like to find a place for you in the time we have as well."
"Why me?" I asked, somewhat confused as to why I would be picked."
"I want to see how you react in combat, and I try my best to bring every asset availiable on any mission, be it a weapon or a soldier. If you want you could think of it as your trial by fire." He nodded his head to me, then the doctor, turned, and left. The third person who had been at his side stepped forward after he left.
"Sorry for being so quiet, I want to tell you good luck." His name patch said Evan Collins. "As the Lt.s second in command I hate to see any of our people hurt. In his place, allow me to say - welcome to the U.N.F. Special Forces. I'd say you are more than tough enough to be with us." he reached out his hand, which I wearily grasped and shook.
"I must agree with Sergeant Collins, your shock induced coma was a better result than many had. The explosion that merely knocked you unconscious killed thirteen others." Officer Hiroshi said. "Call me superstitious, but I think you might just have a guardian angel."
With that the two left me to rest, and it was only a matter of minutes until I was sound asleep.
Finding My Place
"Each of us is a book waiting to be written, and that book, if written, is a person explained."
- Thomas M. Cirignano
May 14, 2019 - 10:00 Aboard The Pacific Fleet
I spent another three days in the ship's infirmary, with the occasional visit from the different members of the team. After spending a total of thirteen days in the infirmary, Medical Officer Hiroshi finally cleared me for duty. It took me a few minutes to get on my feet, but quickly found my balance.
"Glad to see you on your feet Private. If you feel ready I want you to report to Sergeant Rivas, he'll test your eyesight." Lieutenant Bertz said when I walked into the team's quarters. I was slightly taken aback by the suddenness of it, as if he had been waiting for me to walk in.
"My eyesight sir?" I asked confused.
"Yes, I want to know what kind of role you could be good for." That was all the response I got. He refused to elaborate any further and waved me off. I began to look for the sergeant, wandering around the ship more than I would have liked to admit. Asking around, I was finally told he was up on deck by a crewman.
After a bit more aimless wandering, I was able to find the sergeant on the front of the ship. He stood against the railing with a pair of binoculars in his hand and a smirk on his face. "It took you long enough. Vahlen already told me what the Lt. wanted." He said, offering a hearty laugh to go with his jovial tone.
"Took me long enough, what do you mean by that?" I asked.
"Vahlen found me five minutes ago, and he was sent two minutes after you. You are a rookie, so I'll cut you some slack. This time." He turned his back to me and looked off at the ships to our right. "So here's the test, I'll look through my binocs here and find a person, and then you have to find them based off how I describe 'em."
I nodded and waited for him to find someone. It didn't take him long, after about a minute he tossed the binoculars to me. "You're looking for a tall black man in a U.N.F. Air Force uniform, curly black hair, shades, standing mid-deck." He said, pointing towards the nearest one. I nodded in response, beginning my search for the man he described. It took me roughly thirty seconds to identify the man.
"Found him, he's walking across the deck in a pair of... Leopard spotted sunglasses?" I said, chuckling at the man's choice of glasses, and looking to Sergeant Rivas. He returned my nod, taking his binoculars back.
"Nice one private, I left the detail on how the sunglasses looked out to see if you could find him, good job." He gave another short laugh before continuing "Now it's your turn, find someone, describe them, and I'll see if I can find them based on your description."
I started looking for someone, trying to find a person who would be just right, without being too ambiguous. After a few minutes I found someone I thought was just perfect. "Bald white man, about five-three, U.N.F. naval uniform. Light blue eyes, he's standing slouched off the port-side bow." I said, handing Rivas the binoculars.
"Very good description private, it didn't take me long to spot your target." He said, nodding to me after a short look through his binoculars. "Could have been better, but still not bad." He put the binoculars in one of his pockets and walked back to the front railing, and looked off to the ocean again.
"So, how did I do sergeant?" I asked. The sergeant just stared off, giving no response. His dead silence chilled me a little, and left the sounds of the ship as the only noise. "Sergeant?"
"Go below deck private, I'll speak to the Lieutenant later." There was a coldness to his voice. I wasn't sure if I had said or done anything wrong, but it was unsettling. I decided that listening would be the best idea, rather than staying here and bothering him further.
"Yes sir, thank you sir." I said before turning and leaving. I was just starting to walk away when I heard his voice behind me.
"You passed again private. Perfect scores on all three tests." I turned to face him, confused again.
"Three? I only took two I can think of." I said, my voice betraying just how confused I was.
"Yes Private Daeshaert, all three. Go report to Bertz, tell him what I said, he'll understand." I nodded, thanked him again, and left the deck. As I walked back below and to the team's quarters I wondered, just what did he mean by all three? All I could do was guess he had hidden one in his questions somewhere, but I couldn't tell where.
I returned to the quarters and informed Lieutenant Bertz of what the sergeant had said. "So I judged you correctly. From now on, you are assigned to Sergeant Rivas as his spotter. Congratulations on finding your place on the team Private Daeshaert." the Lieutenant looked at me with a look of mixed interest and pride. "I'm sure that having you on the team will be a large help to our operations, welcome aboard." He reached out his hand, offering a handshake; which I took.
"Thank you sir, I won't let you down." Was all I could find the voice to say.
Live Fire Exercise
We docked in the French port at Calais the next day. It was explained that we were forced to detour further north of the Eurasian continent than expected due to bad weather. A majority of the people who had boarded the ships in Tokyo were heading to specialized training camps throughout Europe.
"Alright Private Daeshaert, we will be remaining here in Calais for a week. Everyone else already knows the drill, but I do have to explain it to you. As Rivas' spotter you will spend the week with him, get to know him, and follow any orders he gives you." Lieutenant Bertz explained as we were leaving the ship
"Sir, yes sir!" I said, giving an enthusiastic, if a bit over-played salute. "If I may ask though, why are we in France? I thought the Sons of Troia were in the areas around Iyuli?"
The Lieutenant laughed before answering "You aren't wrong, but we have business here in Calais to take care of first." He turned to Sergeant Rivas before continuing "Rivas, go to these co-ordinates to gather your equipment, make sure that the situation here is explained to the private when you reach your destination. Also make sure that she gets a suitable weapon, so she can actually use the damnable thing."
Rivas nodded his head "So, they made sure not to change anything on my gear, right LT?" Rivas asked. I didn't understand the question, but the Lt clearly did, nodding to him with a grin.
"No one touched a thing, and even if they did it's nothing you couldn't fix." Bertz replied. The two of them laughed as we continued to walk from the ships. When we reached the road Bertz wished us luck and walked away.
"So why is everyone so split up?" I asked Rivas. "In training we were told we would fight in squads of ten or more." Rivas chuckled at my question, shaking his head in an almost condescending manner.
"Well in the U.N.F. Marine Corps maybe, but when in situations like this teams of two are best." The whole time Rivas talked he looked at the buildings on either side of the street. At first glance I thought he was just looking for a specific building, but then I saw his eyes were really raised to the first floor windows and above.
"Sergeant, is the situation serious? The way you're-" Rivas clasped his hand over my mouth before I could even finish my sentence.
"Shh, just follow my lead, stay close." He whispered into my ear. "As soon as I let go you follow me into that alley, got it?" Rivas pointed to the alleyway he was talking about with his free hand. He then broke into a full sprint toward the alleyway, and I ran on his heels.
We ran all the way to the end on the far side before slowing down. I was panting lightly and Rivas was looking around intently. A few passerbys were watching us confused, but most either didn't see us or were just ignoring us.
"What was with that? What're we running from?" I demanded wanting to know what was going on. Rivas didn't answer, instead he just started walking down the road normally.
"We're almost there Private Daeshaert, you'll understand when we get there." He said before he started to whistle. In my mind he couldn't be more out of place, walking in a U.N.F. uniform and whistling, while walking unarmed down a French sidewalk. We walked for another five minutes before he stopped. "This' the place."
I looked at the building he had indicated, and was less than impressed. We stood in front of a boarded up cafe; one that only looked as if rats lived there now. How anyone could store anything here was byond me. "So what should we be looking for here?" I asked.
"Follow me and I'll show you." Rivas said before walking around the side of the building. We went around the back of the building, and apparently found what we had been looking for. A small metal crate that looked similar to a small dumpster. "This is what we came for." Rivas said. He opened up the top of the crate to reveal a bolt-action rifle without a scope, a bandolier of bolt action bullets, an M4 assault rifle, and matching magazines. "And yours is here..." he said before opening a front hatch, revealing a SAM-R rifle, and five magazines to go with it.
I picked up the SAM-R, feeling it's weight. I had used one once during basic training, but had never felt one quite like this. Even with a magazine placed in it the rifle still felt a little different. "So, this is a combat situation, that much is obvious. You said that I would understand when we are here but I haven't been able to figure out anything from this." I looked at Rivas, minorly annoyed and wanting to know why we were really here.
"You aren't wrong there, we have information that the Sons of Troia are here in Calais and we have to see if that is true. If the information proves to be valid, we are to clear out any of the terrorists that we can find." He had a look of dead seriousness on his face as he spoke. "We are hoping they are still contained in Iyuli; as far as we know, they still are. This is more or less a 'just in case', but you never can be too careful."
I nodded in response, now re-thinking the entire situation. The Sons this far west would mean that the containment that the U.N. had thought was working had been rendered obsolete, and therefore all of Europe was in danger. "We should get going then, anywhere in particular we should be looking?" I asked.
"Not to my knowledge, for now we just walk around and see what we can find." He was about to say something else when a scream cut him off. "Move!" He yelled, and we ran back out to the street. Everywhere we looked was empty, except for one doorway that was hanging open across the street.
"Sir, that looks like... Blood on the door." I said, and began walking towards the door. Sergeant Rivas followed behind me, looking around warily. We weren't even to that side of the street yet when we had seen the body laying on the ground. Looking closer it was the body of a young woman, with a single bullet put through her head.
"Someone tried hiding her, they know we are here... But why kill an innocent person?" Rivas snarled in anger. He looked around at the nearby rooftops, scanning for any hostiles. "I need to call Lieutenant Bertz, this is an issue." He said, looking at me with obvious distaste for the killing.
"Were we not expecting casualties if the Sons are here?" I asked, understanding but still confused. He shook his head violently, and threw aside the M4 and all the magazines for it.
"This was supposed to be a training exercise, rubber bullets only, no civilian injuries. An OPFOR was group standing in as the Sons of Troia. This-" he said, pointing to the body "- shows that the Sons are really here, and it's possible they have infiltrated the OPFOR team." He unholstered his bolt-action rifle, loaded it, and then pulled his radio off his belt.
I stood there thinking, this was all just a training exercise... meant to train me? This was even worse than I thought, I was expecting a straightforward fight, but now we have to make sure we are shooting the right terrorists... Sergeant Rivas called the Lt. on the radio, and parts of it made me wish I could hear both sides.
"Sir, we have an issue. No, this is serious, exercise cancelled, code Kaiser. The Sons of Troia are actually here, one confirmed civilian casualty already." His face turned grim. "Yes sir, will rendezvous with you there. Sergeant Rivas out." He put the radio away, checked the bolt on his rifle, and then looked to me again. "Private, dump the rifle, it's loaded with the rubber bullets, from here on out it's a stealth operation until we regroup and get you a weapon." His words chilled me, and my mind raced with just how many things could go wrong.
Sergeant Rivas looked around and led me to a nearby alleyway. "We will have to stick to these alleyways and any side streets as much as possible, getting caught isn't in our itinerary. Hm..." He down, bent over, and pulled a serrated knife from a small sheath in his boot. "Use this if we are caught, can't have you being unarmed. You know how to use this right?"
I nodded and took the knife. Looking down at it in my hands I hoped I wouldn't have to use it. We continued down the alley, the silence was deafening. It felt like the whole world around us was standing stil, holding it's breath, waiting for something to happen. Without any noise I got chills going down my spine left and right. "It's really just a waiting game at this point isn't it sir?" I asked in a hushed voice.
"Yeah, and I hate it. When situations like this come up I always perfer being on the other side, the one that has the element of surprise." He answered. We walked on for about five minutes before we heard a muffled voice from inside a house next to us. "You hear that?" Sergeant Rivas asked. I simply nodded. Using hand signals he told me to stand next to a window, and he took up position on the other side. There was no one inside, and it looked like a normal dining room.
Rivas slowly opened the window, and as quietly as he could, climbed inside. After clearing the room and checking the adjacent ones he motioned for me to join him. After climbing in myself I could hear the voice more clearly. It was speaking in Russian upstairs, presumably to a radio as there were pauses but no response. I slowly followed Sergeant Rivas up the stairs in the connecting hallway making sure not to creak any floorboards or the like.
There was a door at the top of the stairs, and the voice was just on the other side. Rivas signalled me to take point and open the door, so I stood next to it with my hand hovering above the handle. I swung the door open, finding myself face-to-face with a man in a Sons of Troia uniform, and a very angered look on his face. I rushed him with the knife, trying not to give him time to react, but he caught my wrist and pushed it past him.
He punched me in the side, still holding my wrist, trying to make me drop the knife. He would have broken my wrist had Rivas not stepped in and smashed the butt of his bolt-action into the man's head. The man instantly crumpled to the floor unconsious, releasing his grip on my arm. "You okay Private? That was pretty close."
"Yeah, I'm fine, just gave me a bit of a rub burn is all. Thanks for the save Sergeant." He nodded and began to check the man's body. I found a FN FAL model assault rifle on a table nearby. Checking it I found a full mag inside of it, so I took it. Rivas looked up, and seeing me with the rifle, pulled a few more magazines out of the man's pockets. The man's uniform itself was a U.N.F. uniform painted black, and the patches replaced with the symbol of the Sons of Troia. He also had a heavy bullet proof vest over the uniform.
"My my, what have we here?" Rivas asked, lifting the man's vest. Underneath he found a makeshift holster for a pressure mine, and rolling the man over he found another. "What were you planning on husing these for friend?" He asked the unconsious figure.
"Should we finish him sir? Or do we leave him unconsious?" I asked. I loooked down at the man who, only a few moments before, had been trying to kill me. Rivas looked up at me and motioned for me to hand his knife back. I handed it to him, and he cut the man's throat in one slice. The serrated edge of the blade made short work of the man, and he very quickly bled to death.
"Now that you have a weapon we are a little safer, here's hoping this is the only man we have to face before we get to the docks. The Lieutenant said this Op is no longer a training one. We are to clear the city of the Sons who have infiltrated. Do you understand Private?" Rivas asked. All I could do was nod in response. "Good, get ready to move, this is now a hunt. Gods hope we can do this without more civilian deaths." He says, looking with a glare to the body on the floor.