Colors of Duty is a short story included as part of TSFIA.
SummaryEditAugust 14, 1998. Kyoto, Japan. In the vicinity of the Yasaka shrine.
The imperial capital is burning.
Every corner of the sky felt heavy with burden, every corner of the earth burned of a deep crimson red. In the dark of night, the skies are filled with anti-laser metal clouds that reflected the light of the dying city, causing the illusion that the very heavens are burning, as if the end time have finally arrived. More and more buildings erupted into flames, making the blood drenched, red Type-82/F-4J Kai Zuikaku even more of a sight to behold, with the burning city and crimson heaven as its back drop.
"Suppressive fire, we will not allow them to pass beyond this point!"
While barking orders at her subordinates, she simultaneously aimed and fired her own 36mm assault cannon, further depleting what little remained of her ammunition reserves.
Looking at what is left of Kyoto, she is well aware that most of the destruction to the city are done by human hands. The orders were clear, Kyoto will be turned to ash along with the Alien invaders.
Forgive me Kyoto,--- even as such, we must protect the people.
During mid July, when the BETA broke through Kyushu, it only took less than a month before the unstoppable horde arrived at the doorsteps of Kyoto. As of last night the defenses at Port Maizuru have fallen, and with it the BETA have found a breach in the city defenses. They came like a flood, it was then only a matter of time before the BETA broke through and crushed Kyoto's defense lines at the eastern mountains, and the artillery units at the west have also been silenced since then.
As this point, the central Government had no choice but to declare Kyoto lost, and the city districts to be leveled with naval bombardment at the same pace as the BETA advance. Over 100 thousand tons of ammunition left behind in the city armories were rigged to blow when the BETA arrive.
No matter what happens now, Kyoto will never be the same. The BETA will not leave it standing and the Japanese government will not see it fall intact to the BETA.
Faced with such harsh truth, she can only but smile sadly.
Truly, I wish for this day to be over but our work is not done. We must salvage victory even in defeat.
Ejecting her spent 120mm mag, She, 1st Lt Tsukuyomi Maya, prepared herself for what is to come.
Ammo is running scarce, there will be no more resupplies coming. All supply depots and drop points are now compromised. Nowhere is safe in Kyoto. Even now she could make out using the sights on her TSF the burning outlines of the Shogun's own, once proud castle. Even if they can retake Kyoto one day, only a barren wasteland would await them.
She was shaken out of her thoughts when a new presences registered on her radar. A streak of fire cut across the night sky followed by thunderous noises left behind in its supersonic wake. Shortly after, pockets of the advancing BETA wave erupted in an explosive waves of man-made destruction.
"AIM-54 Phoenix missiles?....The Americans have done well."
A flight of 6 F-14D Tomcats launched the missiles. To increase accuracy and be able to target the most dense pockets of the BETA advance to slow them down, the American pilots are pushing the limits of their laser safety altitude to get their missile off, before descending down and carrying out their strafing gun runs on the now disarrayed BETA lines. Finally the flight of F-14Ds accelerated to maximum NOE speed on full afterburner, and plotted a course back to their carriers. Quick and clean, the Americans have performed the "Mobile ranged warfare" aspect of their combat doctrines flawlessly.
"This is Tactical Strike Squadron 103, flight leader Jolly Roger 1, to the Imperial Royal Guards, this is our last gift to you, it's all we have left. Good luck!"
Hearing the open channel message, Tsukuyomi's commanding officer turned the head of his Zuikaku, painted in the color of noble blue, towards the F-14Ds off in the distance, and a crisp salute was given.
"This is the 16th Imperial Royal Guard Battalion Leader to the Jolly Rogers, I sincerely offer my thanks for all that you and your brethrens have done for my country today."
Ever since WW2, it's true that the Japanese dislike the Americans on a cultural level, and America has more than once belittled or humiliated Japan through political pressure. But nevertheless, from experience, the American pilots who would fight alongside the Japanese on the frontlines like today are people who deserve her respect.
The Americans have shown us their skill, it is time to repay them with a demonstration of our 'specialty'.
Once again, Lt Tsukuyomi felt the weight and power carried on her "back" in the form of the Type-74 close combat sword. Taking a quick look at her sensors to reconfirm the battle-space situation:
"My lord, the 96th artillery battalion has evacuated. .....It is time, Give the order my lord."
She gazed towards the Blue Zuikaku, now standing beside her. As one of the 5 ruling regents, the head of the Ikagura clan is someone who is well aware of the responsibility fate has thrust upon him.
".....Tsukiyomi, have you reached a conclusion?"
"Yes, my lord. For the people of this country, we of the Imperial Royal Guard are the shield, and the Zuikaku, the sword. Even if the people we are sworn to protect would spit at our names for what we did and are about to do today. We must fulfill our duty to the empire, to accept the consequences and carry on."
The response was spoken out loud on open channel for all surviving members of the 16th to hear. She knew that many of the Royal Guard here fought today with the intentions of death before dishonor. It would not help the unit cohesion if people thought she does not agree with what their leader is about to say. The last thing they need right now is dissension among the ranks.
"Indeed... We of the ruling Regents are partially responsible for the predicament we find ourselves in today... Sooner or later, we all must pay for our sins. Tsukuyomi, order the battalion, Formation Scale Strike 3. We will clear the laser class in around Kamikyo, then we shall egress towards Yamashina, and from there we will fall back towards Ōtsu."
Maya allow herself a creeping smile as she turned to issue orders to the battalion.
What was once a full sized TSF battalion, there now stood only 14 ready to carry out her orders. What remained of their ammo are consolidated and divided apart but it would not last long. She already knows what Ikagura would order next.
Her body shook with anticipation, and her blood boiled with excitement. Indeed, her very soul yearned for this very moment.
"....16th Imperial Royal Guard battalion..... Draw your blades!!"
The order was obeyed with the near simultaneous deployment of 15 Type-74 swords.
Drawing his own blade , Lord Ikagura continued:
"My brethren, our orders from above is to retreat and abandon our capital to its destruction, by our very own hands. I know that our very blood and soul are disgusted by the mere concept of such a dishonorable course of action. However, we have sworn our lives to serve Japan, its people, the Emperor, and the Shogun. Thus we will obey, but we will not scurry off quietly into the night. The Lasers-class in Kamikyo will prove a nuisance for our artillery once this area is targeted for bombardment. We shall rectify this problem before we retreat. Tonight, we shall carve the names and image of the Imperial Royal Guards into the very soul of this thousand year old capital. It is time... All units... CHARGE!!!!!!"
The 16th Guard battalion lost 6 more TSFs before accomplishing their goal and finally arriving at the rally point at the Lake Biwa canal. That night, the evacuation of Kyoto was completed and the 1,200 year old capital was no more. The BETA would continue to decimate western Japan for one more year before being completely driven off following the Hive 22 Assault.
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