First-In, Last-Out is a short story included as part of TSFIA.


-37 First-In, Last-Out

#37 First-In, Last-Out

The endless symphony of artillery cannon fire could be heard far from the coastline. The sky darkened under the cover of the saturated heavy metal cloud, and the damage caused by so much man made tools of destruction.

“Stinger 2 to Stinger 1. Bravo flight is in position.”
“Stinger 3 to Stinger 1. Charlie flight in position.”
“Stinger 1, acknowledged loud and clear. Hold your position and keep your eyes peeled.”

Stinger 1, Lt. Clare Agneta, took a deep breath and willed her racing heart to slow down from the combat adrenaline high that her body was still experiencing from having just successfully stormed a BETA beach head. When she remembered what is required of her and her squadron next, which could very likely be much harder than what they just been through, her body began to get the 'shakes' once more.

April, 2000.

The large imposing forms of theses metal 'Guardians' stood on guard at the docks, over looking the town of Wilhelmshaven. The rich, historical little coastal town had long since been reduced to rubble, yet even now its serves as a very critical bridging point for Europe’s current offensive push to cull BETA numbers in the region. The task to storm, secure, and hold the town fell naturally to the TSAs of this task force. And now, standing with all 8 of its 36mm and 2 120mm pointed down range. The 12 navy blue colored A-6 Intruder of the United States Marine Corp Tactical Armored Assault Squadron VMA-218 Landing Stingers, and dozens of other Squadrons like them from this task force, stood ready to act as the beachhead's first line of defense against any BETA counter attack.

Even with such a force, humanity still cannot make any serious attempt to take back the lands we have lost….

It had been 7 years since Europe’s mainland was declared lost. 15 years since the fall of West Germany. With 2 BETA Hives established in Europe alone, thinning operations to prevent another BETA Hive from being constructed was all the human defenders in the region could realistically do. Even with all the help the US was lending to the EU, it was clearly a battle of attrition that Humanity had no hope of winning.

Still, even knowing the truth about humanity’s predicament, the thoughts of such somber knowledge could do little to shake the will of a proud US Marine and their desire to fight on and overcome all obstacles.

During the last phase of this operation, when the assault units are to pull back due to damage, refueling, rearming, or as a general retreat, it would be up to the beachhead units of the A-6 Intruders to secure a path of retreat and a safe rally point, plus a combat resupply point for their allies.

Indeed, the task to storm, secure, and hold a beachhead is the sole purpose of the US Marine Corp’s A-6 squadrons, and that part of the motto and creed of any Marine A-6 pilot included the line “First-in, Last out.” To act as a bridge for their allies to cross into the frontline and to escape from danger, and be perfectly willing to make the sacrifice play for the team, is the core of how any Marine Corp beach assault unit operated.

“Jester 1 to Stinger 1, any word on when our F-18Es get here?”

Responding to another US Marine squadron leader’s inquiry.

“Probably still too busy fixing their make up. Even the Brits would probably get here first, before those fucking pampered, F-18 pussy ass pilots are even ready.

As the 2 commanders jokingly made fun of their fellow pilots in a typical military style of rivalry, a squadron of Marine Corps F-18E could be seen off in the distance, leading the charge of the main assault force to breach past the beachhead. If the A-6 are said to be the stout shield and righteous fists of the Marine Corp, then the F-18E are surely their shining sword. Both type of machines are an integral part of the 26th US Marine TSF Wing assigned to the European theater.

“Ohh…. Looks like its VMF-536 Bloody Knightmares [TL Note: Lilia(from The Day After)’s former squadron] leading the charge. With those Princes and Princesses leading the charge, things should get going real fast.”
“Yeah, those guys and gals have been on a roll recently. Lady luck must be smiling at them these days. You know what, Jester 1, if they come back again with zero casualties and damage again, I am seriously never playing poker with them again. “
“Hahaha, all Jester units listen up. Stinger 1 just gave me a great idea. Get ready to make some money tonight boys and girls!”
“Yes, sir!” Came the various cheerful replies.

With the Knightmare squadron flying by, the rest of the Task Force followed suite shortly after. The noble, knightly forms of the EF-2000 Typhoons were the most notable, and even among those, it’s the Typhoons painted in the colors of light green that caught Lt. Agneta's attention.

“Hmmph…. Back of the pack, the Brits are late again it seems.”

While her words were sharp with criticism, her heart and mind have only but the utmost respect for the RAF, and indeed the majority of the European Union front line pilots. Initially, like most Americans, Clare had doubt about the unit coherency and efficiency of the Europeans, considering they are a mixed group of defeated nations that had lost their countries. But the various operations carried out defending England, and assaulting the Europe mainland had changed her views pretty quick. Furthermore, these particular Typhoons of the Royal Air force carried a large number of the BWS-3 sword, a sign that her majesty’s finest warrior knights are among the assault force, a good indication as any of England’s commitment to this particular mission.

I will complete my mission, and survive.

Focusing her thoughts once more, Lt. Clare Agneta tightened her grip around her trigger.

Until the day that humanity is truly free from the BETA and their Hives, the USMC will never stop fighting on!
April, 2004.

The BETA thinning operation carried out on West Germany was completed. Even though the way leading to a fully liberated Europe looks far and grim, Humanity’s warriors will never truly give up, and marches on.

TSFIA Summaries
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