The Zerberus Bataillon and the MiG-29OVTs of the Nationale Volksarmee engage in joint combat action, and Lunateresia von Witzleben gets to fulfill one more wish of hers; to see one of the rare, savage Fulcrums up close and personal...
Roter Kreigshammer is a short story included as part of TSFiA, article #60. It numbers #13 in the Euro Front TSFiA series.
Weaving through loopholes between the squirming invaders across the withered land, the many EF-2000s were transformed into innumerable blades, dancing a well-honed dance of slaughter. For the Bundeswehr's 44th TSF Battalion Zerberus, they call the battlefield of Europe a stage of hell like they would call an old friend.
But that day, the surrounding sword dance had a completely different edge to it, as the blood of the BETA were etched all over.
(No, rather than a sword, this is more like a war hammer-)
2000 A.D., early autumn. A young pilot belonging to the Zerberus Battalion's 2nd Squadron Rot, Rot-8 2nd Lieutenant Lunateresia von Witzleben, was repeatedly captivated by the maneuvers of the four machines in the hands of the newcomers.
Of course, being a pilot who, although new, had already accumulated battle experience similar to that of a long military service, it didn’t mean that she would neglect her mission for even a moment. 2nd Lieutenant Witzleben’s position was that of a Blast Guard; in their live combat tests and in order to support as the rear guard, their existence was that of a position where a fine grasp of their movements were required.
The name of the maroon warhammer was the MiG-29OVT Fulcrum. As of now one of the masterpiece machines produced from the UN’s Project Prominence, it was currently in the phase of live combat testing, in the hands of the Eastern European Socialist Alliance, which originally deployed MiG-29s in great numbers.
(A vertical boosted jump right there…!? I see that the main machine retrofits and thruster increases aren’t just for show-)
In the eyes of Luna, the movements of the MiG-29OVT added up to a new amendment yet again, as she calculated the expected positions of those who needed support fire with her own rule of estimation.
(After all there is nothing to make light of of a machine that is equivalent to a 3rd generation unit-)
To the girl who loves all TSFs, it was a situation that could be called a pleasant betrayal. The genuine 3rd generation unit was the EF-2000, but amongst the most elite unit that was the Zerberus, there was no criticism to the MiG-29OVT spreading out into the surroundings and chewing up everything with its high maneuverability.
Compared to the EF-2000 which mowed down the enemy by way of its high aerial traits, the MiG-29OVT crushed its enemies using its high output, which led directly to its straight-line and acute angle movement.
Certainly, it was the blade and the warhammer - while it was admirable that their movements made use of each of their special frame characteristics, however, the differences in tactics from the requested specifications was not based on that, and there was a touch of sorrow in Luna’s joy as she remembered why.
Frankly speaking, the EF-2000’s high initial efficiency in its aerial characteristics, through long-term study of basic technology, was created for the first time as a completely new frame design.
Conversely, for modified frames like the MiG-29OVT, it was expected that they would be bound to the previous-generation machine that was the nucleus of their design. While it was good news for countries that could not possibly hope for basic research, new designs, and the like, it was an unchangeable fact that, in order to renew avionics and aerial characteristics, they had to use mainframe modifications and increasingly large-scale “brute-force additions”.
But - Lieutenant Lunateresia von Witzleben had definitely committed to memory the sadness of this reality, and thus had no intention to feel any pity for the resultant machine.
(Every TSF, country, person, are born to be able to take hold of everything - therefore, every TSF is worthy of respect-!)
The hands of the EF-2000 had West German, British, United Nations, and one’s own blood as payment for its cost. The MiG-29OVT as well, was a new blade towards the BETA produced by taking that sort of resolution into consideration.
The MiG-29OVT kicked off the ground and took a high acute angle; and with a maneuver that would not put to shame the name of “Eagle of the East”, dived down on the Grappler-class directly from above.
The next moment, the MiG-29OVT that had pinned down the counterattacking Grappler-class’ movements with its eagle grip, placed all all of that force and weight into the motor blades built into its legs, and drove it into its now-defenceless body.
Sparks burst from the firm flesh and skin. The crimson metal color of the machine was dyed with dark red bodily fluids; shredded and flying grotesque pieces of meat slipped futilely off the surface of the carbon-fibre composite.
That was not the flowing cut of the carbon blade, the reason for the selection of the motor blade as equipment and that show of slamming power, was none other than because of the pilot’s complete comprehension of that.
For the pilots using the TSFs, to bear the duty of being able to draw out the maximum power of the blade that was gifted to them - to have a pilot that embodied Luna’s dreams and convictions be a German just like her, she felt more than just a little pride and joy at that small connection.
The hangar of the Bundeswehr's formal carrier Typhon returning to Dover Base Group in British territory was enveloped by an always-unchanging hustle and bustle.
Despite it being the return phase of a large-scale sortie, the Zerberus, as an emergency rapid reaction force, were not just limited to adhering to the voice of the boorish UN at any moment. Without waiting to return to base, their EF-2000s were being given maintenance for a re-sortie.
For 2ndLieutenant Lunateresia von Witzleben, she craved for the small amount of time after the debriefing on the carrier to pass time in the hangar bay.
It was one way to untangle her spirits and amuse herself by chitchatting with coworkers, and from this manner of gazing out from a non-obtrusive position at the movements of the repair crews that supported their TSFs, the real feeling of completing a battle settled into her heart. In the name of Witzleben, it wasn't because she wanted to observe the TSF which currently had its fairly hard-to-see maintenance hatch opened, just because she was a pilot.
(Since, this time, there’s one more thing to enjoy.)
While muttering those inner thoughts, ahead of her was the Typhon’s guest, the EESA's MiG-29OVT.
Küper Flight, which had been carrying out live combat testing on culling operations from the Mont Saint-Michel Fortress under the support of the Zerberus Battalion up till now, and under their first expeditionary test which also served as their carrier use test, had borrowed some space on the first carrier of the Zerberus, Typhon, to sortie from.
(The Mont Saint-Michel Fortress, in which they had been completely isolated...)
They of the West German forces, under the EU, and the East German forces, the leading power of the EESA; due to the political situation, segregation measures that were above that of typical classified zones while within the same fortress base were devised. Forget the TSFs; they only met the pilots of the Nationale Volksarmee face-to-face during briefing time.
On the other hand, a carrier’s existence was a ship that was all for “eating out of the same pot”, after all. While this hangar was more or less the EESA unit berthing area that West German personnel were prohibited from entering, it was enough to be able to gaze at the machines from outside the zone.
(Perhaps, their pilots may just be like me-)
“-I see you have some interest in our forces’ upcoming units.”
From behind, German speech rose without hesitation; Luna looked back, confident that the person was of the same group as hers.
Exchanging salutes with mutual fleeting glances at each other’s rank, she smiled at the person accompanying the voice - a man with the wing symbol of the EESA forces.
“Of course; it’s a machine that has achieved magnificent scores as of the current live combat evaluation.”
On the other hand, a little caution still seeped from the voice of the East German pilot who greeted her.
“It’s a honor to receive praise from a pilot of the glorious Zerberus, fraule-”
“-Luna; just call me that. Let us speak as informally as possible.”
Sensing a ladylike playfulness within that smile, his wariness more or less came undone. In the first place, the feelings of comradeship that budded from being attached to and to stand on the same battlefield was commonplace regardless of country and era.
“Then, you can call me ‘Dolph. I seldom get the chance to be able to speak to someone from West Germany in this manner.”
“I agree. The MiG-29OVT’s design ideology - from the viewpoint of a pilot who can completely understand that, and to be so close to it as well.
At that, turning towards those expressive eyes, ‘Dolph was drawn into the conversation despite his bitter laugh. Luna’s wealth of TSF knowledge was definitely a charm point as far as most pilots were concerned.
Her colleagues would say that this wasn’t just a one-off thing.
“But this is quite interesting for an Eastern Bloc frame - and in addition that there should be someone who has favorable words for a maverick such as a Soviet unit that incorporates concepts from the US forces.”
Originally it would be a daily affair if this were a multinational force; after the relaxed conversation of fellow frontline pilots continued for a while, ‘Dolph’s heartfelt admiration seeped into his voice. Besides Lunateresia’s knowledge of TSFs, he perceived that there was something that resembled love within that.
“My, was it someone over here who said something boorish?”
“Ha ha, no, that’s not unreasonable. There’s the EF-2000s of Saint Michael and the Rafale; there are many who are familiar with the real high-performance machines.”
Dolph shrugged his shoulders, and immediately from the MiG-29OVT, quickly changed his line of sight to the EF-2000 on his right for a glimpse.
“The EF-2000... yes, it is indeed a good machine. It also fits the situation of Europe. I’m quite envious of it.”
And his head turned once more, but now, back to looking straight at his treasured unit that he was in the process of fully understanding.
“Even so - with the MiG-29OVT, we finally have in our hands a 3rd generation unit.”
Only pilots who were continuously on the frontlines could have said such a thing; at those deep, heavy words, both Luna and him turned to gaze at the hope of the EESA.
“To have to draw out everything from that machine over there right now - it may sound rude, but on this point us pilots should have no differences.”
“... I truly agree with that. Luna - forgive my rudeness, but I absolutely have to ask for your formal name.”
Showing respect to a fellow pilot, he once again faced Lunateresia.
“I am of the Eastern European Socialist Alliance’s Nationale Volksarmee, 2nd Lieutenant Randolph Bleichröder. Each time, I have accepted my responsibility for the number two unit of Küper Flight.”
And, that name caused a corner of Lunateresia’s memory to start flickering. That nobility-like family name, was certainly-
“Oh, Bleichröder! It wouldn’t happen to be von Bleichröder, would it-!?”
Setting upon the threads of memory, she spoke the name with open joy.
“I’ve also been slow with my words; I’m 2nd Lieutenant Lunateresia von Witzleben - we should be related to the Bleichröder family by way of the lineage of the male cousins on my mother’s side.”
That was the name of a family that had not been heard from since the East-West Germany split.
“... von Witzleben...; I see, while I’ve only thought of it as no more than a rumour... as expected, the Zerberus have continued with this jest even till today.”
At the sudden hardness that changed ‘Dolph’s voice, Luna’s joy momentarily changed to that of unease.
“Lieutenant von Bleichröder - ?”
What Luna had said was the term used for officers of the nobility in West Germany.
“It’s Randolph Bleichröder, Lieutenant von Witzleben. In my nation, there is no one who would use such an antiquated term.”
That was not received as a courtesy; rather, even ‘Dolph’s expression changed into that of a mask, and nothing more.
“That is - It... it was rude of me to-”
All along, Lunateresia knew of the stage of social life. The informal conversation had suddenly ended; in this situation, on top of dialogue in the name of diplomacy, what had differed in their original mutual standpoint could be keenly felt.
At the expression of perplexity that rose to Lunateresia’s face, Randolph once again remembered the friendship they had shared until just a moment ago, and averted his sight awkwardly; however, he matter-of-factly voiced what was within his heart.
“- My apologies. But in the present condition of East Germany, there is no longer a situation where family names and the like need to be said. We-”
For a brief moment, his words faltered.
The dignity as a pilot that he had shared not long ago, might have been the seconds suffered in estrangement from the current reality.
“We are pilots, and at the same time also mercenaries, to support the citizens that are left.”
Rather than protecting the citizens as a noble, they “fed” their citizens by taking out compensation from the international community. Protecting Dover and protecting the citizens were directly linked; “although imperfect, the West German government was able to formally evacuate its citizens and industry to the excellent location that was the British mainland, and draw back the Bundeswehr”, was the line of thought held by the Zerberus.
Those who have, and those who did not have. It was not all naivety that Lunateresia von Witzleben did not know of the subtleties of the link between the two of them, and not all shamelessness that she did not consider history on top of knowledge and was not being able to recognize what she did not know.
And so -
“It was a honor to be able to speak with you, 2nd Lieutenant Bleichröder. I pray that the nobility’s TSF development will be able to progress towards a successful outcome.”
Lunateresia offered a salute from where she was, but only spoke words related to formality. Randolph also understood her declaration, and his form followed with a returned salute.
“It’s been a honor for me as well, 2nd Lieutenant Witzleben - someday, I hope we can have another opportunity to speak together again.”
No, the reply that left out the title of von, was possibly be the greatest apology that Randolph could give to Luna.
In any case, the two of them left the hangar at the same time with their backs towards each other’s. East and West Germany, with the exception of returning to their respective battles, would never have a path for them both, hence...
- ↑ Formal term for the military of West Germany.
- ↑ Support fire position in a TSF formation. In Lunateresia's case, her EF-2000 would likely be armed with a Mk.57 Squad Support Gun.
- ↑ Unlike real-life history, the Muv-Luv MiG-29OVT is a multinational joint development project involving the Soviets, USA, East Germany, and the UN.
- ↑ Formal term for the military of East Germany.
- ↑ Of note is that while Graf Test Flight in Total Eclipse carries Soviet markings, Küper Flight uses EESA markings instead.
- ↑ The ship class of the Typhon is currently unknown. No real-life aircraft carrier (or warship, for that matter) has been named Typhon.
- ↑ In real life, the usage of von continues as part of a surname. However, no aristocratic privileges are afforded to such persons today. It is as of yet unclear to what extent are the differences that exist in the Muv-Luv iteration of the usage of von, if there are any.
- ↑ A phrase calling back to the title of TSFiA #31, Euro Front #7: Haves and Havenots.