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Ace Combat 6: Brother against Brother


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#1
Battlehawk One

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Prologue: Fire

 

Serdce, Federal Republic of Estovakia

July 3rd, 1999

0345 USEA Eastern Standard Time

 

Serdce was burning. It was an old city, dating back to when men fought with swords and arrows rather than guns and missiles. It had been remade several times over the centuries, and its latest incarnation was that of stone and concrete, but still it all burned. In the sky streaked fire, long tears of orange and red. The light they gave off as they slowly careened earthward was blinding, like a thousand suns all at once. For the first time since he was a child, Lieutenant Victor Voychek was afraid.

 

The streets teemed with people panicking as their capital burned around them, the fires sparing none. They screamed for anyone, anything to save them from what was happening, but the skies only responded with more fire. Voychek moved with the crowd, trying desperately to get clear of the burning old district. If he could leave the city limits, he would be safe from what was happening. Glass shattered as the immense pressure waves of the meteorites resounded against them, sprinkling the masses below with serrated barbs. Cuts ran down the faces of living and dead, blood flowing against the ancient cobblestone roads. Explosions boomed throughout the city as pieces of the asteroid above smashed into the ancient city. Voychek watched helplessly as a section of the crowd vanished in a heartbeat when a fragment hurtled into a nearby street-store, the fires claiming dozens. The crowd flowed past the still-screaming people as the fires reclaimed them all. An ancient clock tower lay before them, maybe half a mile ahead. It was as old as the modern version of Estovakia, a testimony to the longevity of the people that resided on this steppe. It marked the edge of the city, and beyond that lay safety in the open fields and many valleys that lay outside the city limits. It marked life.

 

Voychek stumbled over debris in the streets, not daring to stop lest he be trampled to death like countless bodies on the road already. The government warned us, Voychek thought numbly as he flowed with the teeming masses. Warned us, and tried to stop them. Damn them, why didn't it work? All across the globe, the nations of the world had worked to stop the incoming apocalypse; Erusea had its "Stonehenge", and Estovakia had its "Chandelier", both of them designed to stop the incoming asteroid named Ulysses. None of them seemed to have worked, because death was still raining from the sky. It was the first time in Lieutenant Voychek's life that he did not want to fly, because he knew it would only bring him closer to the falling star. Someone in the crowd, some eternal optimist, said that at least they were being rained on only by small fragments. Voychek didn't want to see what the larger ones could do.

 

There was a sudden crack in the sky, and suddenly all eyes were again skywards towards the incoming threat. Horrifically slow in motion, a burning streak began to curve its way towards the crowd. Screams were raised up to heaven, and suddenly it was an all out sprint as everyone ran for the clock-tower and beyond. Some dim part of Voychek's mind knew that they would never make it, not all of them. The air began to grow sickly hot as the meteor got closer and closer to earth. Paper began to burn, and not long after some cloth did, turning their wearer into screaming pyres. The acrid smell of fire mixed with the sickly meat smell of burning flesh was mixed with human sweat, blood, and panic as on they run. A second later, Voychek stopped dead, knowing in his head that the time to impact was nigh. He lifted his eyes skywards, as did a thousand thousand others, as the meteor came. The clock-tower, so proud and defiant, stared the burning star down to the last, but in the end it had to break. The piece of space debris smashed into it at an incredible speed, shattering masonry that had taken decades to build in a heartbeat, and sending it all downwards. Mercifully, the rock seemed to have bounced off, and crashed into a building not far from the spire. It was a small miracle, as more and more of the crumbling building began to fall. The east face of the tower began to slide down in a cloud of dust and fire, hurtling towards the ground. A second later, all turned grey as the smoke took them all.


Edited by Battlehawk One, 19 June 2013 - 12:49 PM.

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#2
Battlehawk One

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Chapter One: Visit

 

Thirteen Years Later

 

Pusta AFB

Granitsa, Federal Republic of Estovakia

April 1st, 2007

1200 USEA EST

 

Lieutenant Victor Voychek looked out on the yellow grass that made up the endless steppes of Estovakia. There were areas where the grass had healed over the pockmarks where meteors had fallen, but much of the land was still laid bare, the blackened craters like bruises on the soil. Voychek grimaced, remembering the hard times that had come after leaving Serdce, and the years of meteor after meteor falling even though the asteroid itself had been long destroyed. The nation had been crippled the day Ulysses came, and the long thirteen years that had come after it showed not healing, but infection. Estovakia was once a nation of many smaller republics; now there was talk of there being many republics readying for a winner-take-all conflict. Granitsa was no different; it seemed that the eastern republic that the city belonged to was going to break away under the command of one General Dvornik.

 

To Voychek, he did not care what happened. He was a pilot, and with that came a simple reality; do what the higher-ups said. Unfortunately, today the brass had decided that the General himself was coming to visit. Probably coming to see who will stand with him, Voychek thought bitterly. My question is what will happen to those who say "no". "Lieutenant!" Someone said behind Victor in a gruff tone. He turned to face a Staff Sergeant, his face red from running.

 

"Yes, Sergeant?" Victor asked, somewhat surprised. I would imagine they would call over the PA if they wanted all the pilots to meet somewhere. The Sergeant caught his breath, and Voychek dimly wondered why the man hadn't just driven a car over rather than sprinted.

 

"Sir, I was called to tell you that the Major wishes to see you." The Sergeant replied in-between rasping breaths. Victor's mood darkened even further. Damn, now what? He thought, sourly. Instead, he nodded and began walking towards the base and away from the fence he had been leaning on only moments before. The Sergeant harrumphed, and Victor turned. "He wants to see you on the double, sir." Grimacing, the Lieutenant began to run.

 

-

It took about five minutes, but he reached the commander's office, home to many officers who ran things behind the scenes or in the limelight, including one Major Yridesh. He felt slightly winded, but the endless amounts of PT the pilot's academy had given to him had done its job; he could run for a while longer without too much hassle. Grimacing, he opened the door and walked into the open hallway. The concrete squeaked as the Lieutenant's shoes scraped over them as he slipped through the stubborn door. Straightening his clothing, he walked patiently down the hall until he reached a brown door with a brass label that read "Major A. Yridesh, 4/370 Air CO". Cautiously, Victor knocked on the door. "Come in." Came the smooth voice on the other side. Damn bureaucrat, Victor thought as he pushed the door open. Voice as soft as silk but can do more damage than a thousand missiles if he speaks to the right man. Yet still he flies with us and pretends he leads. In the Lieutenant walked.

 

Major Yridesh looked almost like a dirty mirror's version of Voychek. Victor was relatively young for a pilot, at the age of 33, yet still cursed with the rank of Lieutenant. Yridesh, however, was 36, and he looked somewhat the part, dark circles under his green eyes from endless typing of reports and managing of what scant supplies there was. Voychek on the other hand had no circles under his deep brown eyes that had already seen too damned much. They both had dark brown hair and stern faces, though they still had some inkling of youthful vigor on them. "You sent for me, Major?" Yridesh didn't even look up from his papers.

 

"Yes, I did." Yridesh muttered, absentmindedly. He finally looked up and stared up at Victor. "I'm afraid that we are living in interesting times, Lieutenant Voychek. The General is arriving any minute, and it seems that he has some form of special interest in you." Voychek raised an eyebrow, surprised.

 

"In me, sir?" He repeated.

 

"Yes, in you." Yridesh said, scowling. "I can't imagine why. We've only had you in the air a few times, and you've been a decent enough pilot at best." Voychek tried to hide a grimace in return; the man was lying, and he knew it. All the times Victor had flown, he had been lauded on his command talents and flying skill. The Major had been jealous for a long time, and it felt good to see him taken down a notch. "It seems that the General wants to see a display of our pilots when he comes. I am to lead one group, and you are to lead another. Then we shoot at each other, the General has his fun, and things go back to normal." Or as normal as it can get around here, Voychek thought. Doubt it'll be normal anytime soon. "Get to your plane, and be ready for take-off in the next fifteen minutes." Victor saluted, but the Major did not return it. Screw you too, Victor thought as he walked out of the office. Doubtless, the Major was thinking the same.

 

-

Voychek stood by his Su-33 Flanker-D in a stiff stance, waiting for the General to reach his jet. The man walked with a certain confidence; it was not hard to see why people had flocked to him. In this time of constant crisis, it was nice to have someone talking charge for once rather than relegating it to whatever was left of the Estovakian government. General Dvornik wore a thick leather command jacket that made him look more pilot than commander; doubtless the man had flown at one point or another. Slowly, the man passed by Voychek. Then, the man stopped suddenly and turned to face Victor. "You are Lieutenant Voychek, no?" The General asked.

 

"Yes sir, I am." Victor replied, his face placid and his eyes pointing straight ahead. The General nodded.

 

"I have heard good things about you, Lieutenant. Do not disappoint me." Dvornik said, then walked on. After he reached the end of the row, he turned to face the 13 Flankers and their pilots next to them. Then, he raised his arm to the sky. "Fly." His voice boomed, echoing across the empty space. Voychek turned and began to clamber up the steps and into the cockpit of the Su-33.

 

Inside, the cockpit was as familiar as his home had once been. Strapping himself in, the Lieutenant slid his helmet over his head. With a clock, he started the jet's engine and computer, the helmet's display beginning to sync with the jet. Erusean technology, but I'll be damned if it doesn't work with Estovakian jets. The cockpit slid over Voychek's head as he did the start-up checks. Fifteen minutes later, he was taxiing onto the runway in preparation for take-off. He was "Yastreb 6", and was leading up red team versus the Major, "Yastreb 1", and his blue team. Jet after jet began to burn down the runway until finally it was him and his jets behind him.

 

"Yastreb Six to tower, taking off." Voychek said over the radio before slamming the jet's engine to full burn. The Su-33 began to roar forwards, the wash of the jet's twin engines creating a steady roar behind and beneath the Lieutenant. At about 250 kilometers per hour, Voychek pulled the stick towards him, and the jet began to fly. Up into the air it went, the air whipping against the canopy with a whoosh. Up he went for fifteen seconds until the jet reached 5,000 meters above sea level. Leveling the jet off, he put the jet into a lazy circle while waiting for the rest of his team to form up on him. It took about three minutes, but finally they were all racing behind him. Three kilometers away flew Yastreb and blue team. Both teams watched each other and circled tighter and tighter as they waited for the go order to fight. Voychek's heart pounded in his chest as a cold sweat began to run down his chest and spine.

 

"This is Korol to all Yastreb pilots." The General suddenly said over the radio. "Show me what you are made of." Victor grinned under his helmet, and pulled the Su-33 even tighter into the turn as the dance began.


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#3
Battlehawk One

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Chapter Two: Test

 

The Su-33 jostled like it had a will of its own as Voychek jockeyed it into a tighter, more aggressive turn. His "red team" followed with him doggedly, positioning themselves as much into formation as they could as they followed the Lieutenant. We're evenly matched, Voychek thought as his mind processed everything that was happening around him. Any turn I can make, they can make. His brain began rapidly thinking of ways to out-maneuver Yridesh's squadron as his body continued the same path, the thirteen fighters circling each other as their leaders thought of what to do. Before Victor could think of anything, suddenly blue team split off into every direction. "Get them, reds!" Voychek shouted into comms as he pulled his Flanker out of the turn and up to follow Yridesh's fighter. The dogfight had truly begun.

 

Yridesh flew his plane like what anyone would expect of a veteran pilot. He was years Victor's senior, and commanded the jet with cool confidence. Every jinking turn had been practiced half a thousand times, and it was more than difficult for Voychek to stay on his commander's tail as his foe bounced the fighter around in ways Victor wasn't quite sure was safe, or possible. Suddenly, Yridesh flipped his plane on its back and dived for the earth. Doggedly, Victor followed, tailing behind safely to avoid being damaged by his quarry's engine wash. It would have been a beginner's mistake to be forced from the fight because he followed too closely, and as such he ducked behind, trying to line the fighter up with the HMD's gun pip. The solid tone of missile lock resounded in Voychek's ears, but he didn't trust it to fire one of the dummy rockets. Ammo was a unique concern in a training exercise: while normally the 3D printers attached to the missile mounts could create a supply of missiles, limited only by the amount of warheads, avionics, and propulsion systems capable of being dropped into the "clones", they did not function too well in creating training missiles that were coloured in a certain pattern to ensure that no one mistook them for a real one. As such, Voychek only had two dummy heat-seekers and four dummy QAAMs and only those six missiles. A miss was not something Voychek could afford.

 

The two Su-33s raced above the earth, only one hundred meters above the yellow plains of Estovakia. The meteorite scars that crossed the land only looked like little brown blurs as the fighters blew past them at fifteen hundred kilometers per hour. Suddenly, Victor realized the mistake Yridesh had made. In dropping altitude so low, the Major had lost a great majority of his maneuverability; he was now a sitting duck, or at least a duck moving at fifteen hundred kmph. Lining his fighter up carefully, Victor waited until a green "shoot" marker appeared in the center of his vision. But before could fire, flashes of light appeared before him, flashes that belonged to one thing only: tracers. Another jet was streaking behind him, trying to get a "kill" while Victor was so absorbed in his. Firing off the missile, Voychek cut the throttle and let the third Su-33 blow past him. Ignoring the missile, the Lieutenant turned his attention to this new fighter. In the corner of his eye, a kill marker appeared, showing that he had shot down the Major. Gotcha, you bastard. "I got the Major!" He shouted into his team's comms. The others gave whoops and cheers, and at that moment Victor knew the other team was almost beaten. "Let's finish the lot!" The other blue team Su-33 pulled away from his team leader, and Voychek gave chase.

 

The pilot of Voychek's quarry seemed to be capable enough, but much more timid than his commander. The turns were tight, but never long for fear of stalling out his jet. Keeping with him was tricky, but not terribly difficult as the other leveled out and kicked in full 'burner every five to seven seconds of a turn. Victor pulled, trying to out-turn the younger pilot, but an idea struck him. So, they want me to show off, huh? He thought, grinning under his heavy helmet. Pulling the jet up, he flipped it upside-down and watched his foe slowly realize that he was not being tailed from behind, then leveled out. Pulling the stick towards him, the Su-33 screamed downwards. A single burst of his cannon's dummy rounds were enough for the kill to be tallied, and Voychek passed safely beneath and behind his opponent. I've still got five missiles left, he thought, swelling with confidence and adrenaline. "Give me a report, reds."

 

"Yastreb Seven reports no kills." Came a flat reply.

 

"Yastreb Eight, one kill!" The voice reported, eagerly.

 

"Yastreb Nine, no kills." The pilot muttered, sorely. "Dammit, they got me."

 

"Yastreb Ten, one kill." Unlike Eight, Ten said it with no enthusiasm in his voice. "Idiot was flying straight and level. Did all of our crap pilots go blue?"

 

"Yastreb Eleven, no luck on my end." Again, poor luck befell another pilot. At least he didn't get shot down, Voychek thought.

 

"Yastreb Twelve, I've got nothing." Came a somewhat disappointed reply.

 

"Yastreb Thirteen, I got one!" Another eager voice. The comms fell silent as they waited to hear what their commander had tallied.

 

"Yastreb Six, I got two of them!" He said through the mike. "Including the good Major himself!" The sudden massive burst of chatter on the other ends made Voychek cringe and try vainly to pull the helmet away from him. He banged the side of his head, and winced. There goes some of my hearing, he thought with a sigh. "All Yastreb pilots, that's the lot of them. Let's go home." Pulling his Su-33 into a lazy turn, he began to bank towards the approach to Pusta AFB.

 

-

An hour later, Voychek found himself in the Major's office, an energy high still flush in his veins. I must be smiling like a goddamn idiot right now, he thought. A quick check at a mirror told him that he was, but for some reason he didn't care. The room was empty, but he had been told to wait inside while the Major talked to the visiting General. A sudden angry shout came from the other side of the door, and with a whoosh it opened to reveal Major Yridesh, his face red, and General Dvornik. Whether or not Yridesh was embarrassed or angry, Victor could not say. The Major moved to take his seat, but the General cut him off and sat in his place. Victor tried his best not to keep smiling at that. "Well, Lieutenant Voychek, you certainly are an impressive one." General Dvornik said after a silent moment. Dvornik was tall, with blonde hair and deep blue eyes that were fixated on Victor's young face. "You were the one who shot down the Major himself and his would-be rescuer, no?"

 

"Yes sir, that was me." Voychek replied, trying his best to sound humble. Dvornik nodded, before a grin spill across his face.

 

"I saw the whole thing from the control tower." The General continued, his voice light. "I can't imagine what you were thinking, Major; you barely even tried to avoid the Lieutenant here." Yridesh went red.

 

"I had hoped that Lieutenant Voychek-" the name came out as a spat, "-would have been so fixated on me he would have missed my wingman coming in to strafe him."

 

"Well, we saw how that ended, didn't we?" The General replied, chuckling. "Instead of just you being shot down, or the Lieutenant, you got you and your wingman downed instead. You should teach your pilots to shoot better." The Major knew better than to form a defense, and he bowed his head. Told you, Voychek thought. The General nodded at Victor. "You have impressed me, Lieutenant Voychek. Pack your bags, and be ready to leave by tomorrow evening; I have a job for you that I think you will appreciate." Suddenly the mood darkened. "Unfortunately, I am afraid that this is to be the last time in a long while that we shall have such a brevity to events."

 

"Sir?" Voychek asked, confusedSome part of him already knew what the General was going to say, though.

 

"It seems that our Federal Republic is doomed to fragmentation, gentlemen." Dvornik said, darkly. "I have already spoken to several other military leaders in this region, and they agree: The Estovakian military is going to break into several states, and soon there will be a civil war. The winner leads the new government." Voychek didn't want to ask who the losers were. You win or you die. "I am going to need the best from everyone in this coming crisis, and that means I need the best from you, Captain Voychek." Victor's eyes widened.

 

"Captain?" He repeated, a cold ripple working its way down his spine.

 

"Yes, you need to be at least that in order to lead a squadron, or so I have been led to believe." General Dvornik said. "I will have a car here for you tomorrow to take you to your new home. You will have at least a day in order to get acquainted to your new position."

 

"A day?" Voychek said, his mind spinning. First a promotion, then squadron command?

 

"Yes, a day." Dvornik replied, his voice dark. "On April Third, it all begins. On April Third, our eastern faction shall go to war for the fate of our nation."


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#4
ZerstorungBiscuit

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How very....blunt.  This is certainly well written, and I kinda like it, but all of your descriptive action is so blunt and to the point.  Especially with the General so nonchalantly explaining that "Oh right, in a few days the whole country is gonna split apart and we're going to war."

 

That made me lose some interest there.

 

However, I am very interested in what will happen next.  It's a neat concept.  Keep on writing.

 

Also, you should get someone to proof your work, they could give insight to an idea you yourself couldn't have thought of.


Edited by A Dozen Biscuits, 20 June 2013 - 04:16 PM.

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#5
Battlehawk One

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How very....blunt.  This is certainly well written, and I kinda like it, but all of your descriptive action is so blunt and to the point.  Especially with the General so nonchalantly explaining that "Oh right, in a few days the whole country is gonna split apart and we're going to war."

 

Yeah, there was some concern in my mind after writing it, but I had some trouble trying to think of a subtle way of getting it across. By this point, any higher up should know "hey, it's coming". The idea is that on April Third the Eastern Faction that Voychek, Yridesh, and Dvornik are a part of is going to attack rather than sit defensively (which I thought would be a change from other Ace Combats, as you are always on the defensive for the first few missions) and let them take the hits.

 

I'll try to make them a bit more... diplomatic, but it's a work in progress, mind you.


Edited by Battlehawk One, 20 June 2013 - 05:05 PM.

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