Crimson Jungle is a short story included as part of TSFIA.


-11 Crimson jungle

#11 Crimson Jungle

March 19, 1995. Yunnan Province, China. Mekong River Valley.
Beneath the crimson sky of the setting sun, the thick tropical jungle has already descended into darkness under its canopy. The lake formed from the Mekong River passing through this valley eerily reflected the golden light of the setting sun. Captain Li of Unified Front of China's armed forces watched this tranquil moment on his HUD. Images of a white swan and a beautiful necklace flashed in his mind for a fleeting moment. Why? he wondered... Ah, yes he remembers now; that day, years ago, when he was in Taiwan on a military exchange tour... There was that lake, and then there was that store...

"Flying Tiger 6 to Flying Tiger 1. The combat engineers are finished here, they are preparing to move to the next area."

"...Flying Tiger 1, copy that, continue to monitor your sectors."

Pushing the memories of a happier time into the back of his head, Capt. Li focused once again on to the present.
The Flying Tiger Tactical Armored Fighter squadron is currently tasked with protecting an combat engineer company while they set up a series of BETA early warning sensors to improve the entire early warning net of this whole region.

"Still, Captain, does it even make any sense to put the sensors into the water, and bury it like that?"
The brand new rookie of the squadron, Flying Tiger 14, asked on the squad net.

"Who knows? But I'm pretty sure sound and vibration travel better under water. "
"Hey sir, that's why you are the boss here and I'm just a dumb new grunt trying to figure out my way around in this big scary world."
The squadron net was filled with a couple quick chuckles among those who were paying attention.
"Still, the water level in this region has been declining sharply for a while now..."
"Can't be helped, I guess, upstream belongs to the BETA after all."

22 years ago, with the landing of the Kashagar Hive, the alien invaders have rendered the entire region into a lifeless barren wasteland. The damage they caused to the land has had catastrophic environmental side effects that would spread far outside their sphere of influence. And in recent years, those side effects have even reached the jungles of the Yunnan province.

"Judging by what Europe and most of Russia looks like now, it's only going to get worse ....."

Humanity was being suppressed. Eurasia and Europe have pretty much fallen now, and as of last year, all of India had been declared Lost. Humanity has been pushed back on all most all fronts. Having lost 2/3rds of their territory already within the last 22 years, the UFC could no longer allow the BETA to advance any further. Thus, further strengthening and expanding the Defense Line has been a top priority.

It won't be like before anymore... Now that the J-10 is here. The J-10 advanced TSF combat platform was based on the US made General Dynomics F-16 Fighting Falcon, designed jointly with the assistance from Israeli engineers associated with Israel's own US-financed Lavi Surface Fighter program. Among the various F-16 offshoot models in existence around the world, the J-10 is the most melee and CQC focused variant in existence. Designed from years of combat data gathered from China and the Middle East, the J-10 can accommodate for virtually all know scenarios when fighting the BETA in close quarters. Compared to its peers, the J-10 features a series of extensive back-ups built into most of its major components, and an innovative "reactive self defense system", all of which are proving pivotal in improving combat survival time and efficiency of the pilots on the frontlines.

Remembering the history class lessons regarding China's failures during the early days in the war against the BETA, and his own hellish experiences on the battlefield, Capt. Li grinded his teeth in anger.
What the...!??
Off in the distance, using the J-10's night optics, Capt. Li can see hundreds, if not thousands, of birds have suddenly took flight into the air.
"Ca....Captain! Look! The river... The river is...!"

Having never seen anything quite like this before, Captain Li stared shockingly at his HUD. As if going fast forward in time, the river and lake is disappearing at an alarming rate, the riverbed itself can be seen at this time.

"How is this possible?!! This...."

Immediately the sound of Code 991 blared in his ears, and his HUD flashed the same warning, confirming his worst fears.

"This is Flying Tiger 5! The BETA...! They are coming from the river!"

Looking at his map, Captain Li spots Flight 2's position. Flight 2, which is commanded by Flying Tiger 5, is currently situated 16 miles due northwest. The blue unit designators identifying Flight 2 and the friendly combat engineers in the area is quickly being surrounded by an tidal wave of red dots.

"All combat engineer assets fall back immediately. The rest of you, form up on me. We are going to help Flight 2!"
As the rest of squadron answered with an simultaneous acknowledgment, all remaining Flying Tiger Flights soared into the air. The J-10's graceful form danced through the night sky.
Suddenly one Flying Tiger callsign designator went offline. The inexperienced Tiger 14 had flown mere meters too high, and was struck down by a searing light that lit up the night sky.
The surviving Flights of the Flying Tigers descended, guns blazing with their Type-82 Assault Cannons to aid their besieged brethren. As they closed the distance, all units switched over to the preferred CIWS weapon of the UFC, the Type-77 Close Range Battle Blade. With one quick boost, Flying Tiger 1 leaped into the charging BETA lines.

Using the thrust assist from his jump unit, Captain Li effortlessly gutted 3 Grappler-class and 'disarmed' one more, with only one smooth stroke of his blade. The falling alien monstrosities sent up a spray of blood and mud that splashed onto the J-10's armor.

"All Flying Tiger units, Formation Circle One! We must buy time for the engineers to retreat! None Shall Pass!!!!"
Readying his blade, Captain Li prepared his soul.

And thus began the last battle of the Flying Tigers Squadron.

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