Editors: Cwilliams, JcqC, Tear
If we are to send our young ones calmly to their death, there has to be an adult leading them from the front.
── Anson Suez ‘Eternal Homeland’
U.E. 1924 November 4th First National Defence Ministry, Second Personnel Department Office
The man wore the type two uniform of the Federation army. He received a new rank insignia from his superior in the Army Personnel Department who had a mask-like smile on his face.
“Congratulations on your promotion, Colonel Anson.”
“To be promoted after losing battles, this is the end for our nation huh.”
Not agitation or complaints, this was just a remark he blurted out unconsciously.
Normally, this wasn’t something an officer should say. However, the dire situation the Federation army was in formed a unique atmosphere, which allowed Anson to air such terrible thoughts.
They had lost. Losing the war was certain now. However, there was still some hope.
But it was a hope that would be scoffed at in a room of people who understood the situation and could foresee how things would develop.
“Alright, this is your new rank insignia. I expect great things from you, Colonel.”
And that was why the ones who understood the situation were both physically and mentally exhausted. Anger stemmed from deep within their heart, and their emotions had already been grinded down by these intense feelings.
“Our homeland is currently experiencing a major crisis. We hope you can perform your duties to the best of your abilities. That’s all.”
“I am honoured for the chance to defend my homeland.”
They were simply mumbling the standard dialogues. In the tone akin to that of reciting scriptures, they said words of valour and glory, but they were probably looking down at such empty gestures. Despite saying they should perform their duties, the soldiers could do very little to make up for the horrendous strategical error made by their home nation.
And so, in response to the masses out in the streets walking around passionately, asking loudly for everyone to save their nation which was in great danger, Colonel Anson could only show an exhausted expression as he despondently spent his gloomy days.
Following protocol, he stepped backwards out of the room after saluting. As he watched the patriotic volunteers being mustered into units and sent off, his feet became heavier… Just what can this group of innocent young men do when they step onto the battlefield?
“... Such incompetence. It is my misfortune to be born in this nation that could only call on their young to be sent to their death.”
This would drive any patriot to tears. The homeland he should be defending committed a terrible mistake, resulting in the praiseworthy young men being shipped off to the slaughterhouse. Before he realized it, his tired tear glands became soaked again, blurring his eyes.
Colonel Anson eased the worries of the people before him as he made an oath in his heart. If they had to be sent to their death, then at the very least, he would carry out his obligation faithfully. This stemmed from the self-sacrificial feelings of a leader who felt helpless.
If the young ones were to die for their country, then he will accompany them as an adult who would fall with them. This was his solemn resolve to not let them die on their own.
Despite this resolve, mixed in the crowd who was sending the young men off were women carrying young children in their arms with a worried expression. He still couldn’t bear seeing them. Whenever he thought about those who would be left behind, his sanity would want to scream. Someone, anyone, please end this nightmare.
He even thought about what hope he could cling on too, or what if the Republic or the other Great Powers could make it in time, then perhaps the Federation could avoid destruction. But was this really possible? When his thought reached this point, he felt a sense of emptiness for failing to deceive himself. This made Colonel Anson sneer.
He felt that he was forced to the very edge.
The country he should be protecting was losing its life like the sands of an hourglass slipping away. What awaited them was inevitable destruction.
In the face of imminent destruction, even the sense of helplessness was frustrating, and he could only stand there in a daze. He remained adamant in his resolve to go down together with his country and was unfazed by any doubts. But the suffering that would be brought onto his countrymen once his nation fell made him shed tears of sadness.
Suddenly, he realized something, perhaps influenced by something akin to fate. Even if his country was destroyed, that didn’t mean the end for its citizens. If he couldn’t protect his nation─
Then at the very least, he should let the citizens escape. Nations may fall, but the people would still live on. That’s right, nations might perish, but nations were built by its people. A perished nation might be rebuilt again. At the very least, if the seeds known as its people were protected, they could dream of their country flourishing greatly in the world again. This would definitely be an arduous journey. But what awaited for them wasn’t destruction, but the hope of making the Federation great again.
They weren’t constrained by territory, as long as the country could live on in the hearts of the people living on this land, then it wasn’t over.
He had to do what he can to evacuate his countrymen, this was the greatest obligation for a soldier from a dying nation, something worth dying for. No, for soldiers who swore to defend their country, this was a glorious moment for them to serve honourably.
“I found it. That’s right, I found it!”
Colonel Anson shouted with hope and determination, making it difficult to imagine that he was wallowing in despair just moments ago. He made an oath to his country. My home nation, I won’t let you perish.
This was also his home nation he was defending for the sake of his family. He was a father that seldom spent time with his family. He reflected on this, and with a heart filled with regret, he swore to leave a future behind for his wife and daughter. Only during times like this, he would remember that he disliked the career in the military. It felt this might be obnoxious and thoughtless yet he still felt joy over this newfound hope.
At the same time, on the gloomy faces of the entirely brand new members the Council were expressions of resignation and regret, as they tried to grasp for a plan to turn back the time that was bleeding away from the hourglass.
Starting the war with the Empire was beyond everyone’s expectation. Several months ago, the people present in this room were completely stunned when they were notified that war had broken out. They wondered why their home nation did something so reckless. By pushing aside one’s ideology or the fantasy that ‘this was the right thing to do’, if one faced reality, they would see that those arrogant enough to provoke the Empire would invite ruin.
Even though the surprise attack by the Republic halted the gears of destruction temporarily, the situation didn’t improve at all. Not just that, even the good news of Dacia Grand Duchy sounding their horn of war ended a few short months later, as they were literally wiped off the map.
The overwhelming military might of the Empire and the sorrowful end of those who challenged them. For those in the know, this was a nightmare that laid out how the Federation would end.
During this process, the Council filled completely with fresh faces were deeply troubled, but still kept up the fight at the frontlines by exhausting the very limits of human intelligence.
“Good news everyone. This might be very late in the game, but we have finally started working with our allied nations.”
In the committee room where the 10 Councillors were gathered, Foreign Affairs Councillor Evansol reported the good news in an intentionally joyous tone as if he was trying to cheer everyone up. Hearing good tidings after so long made them feel a little excited.
Their diplomacy that had fallen into chaos alongside the war had finally obtained a favourable response. Ever since the Republic entered the war, the Federation finally received an answer after apologizing repeatedly to all of her allied states. After the Republic intervened in the war because their encirclement net was in danger of failing, the attitude of the other allied nations began to deteriorate drastically after the death toll started piling because of the war front turning stagnant. When Dacia joined in, they started ignoring the Federation, expressing their stance with cold contempt.
It was clear what they were thinking. ‘The situation right now is all because of your reckless actions’. What a certain Republic diplomat blurted out after having too much of a drink explained it all.
“This is indeed good news, but the real intention of the Republic is hoping for us to lessen their burden on the Rhines front, correct?”
Because they understood what the Republic really thought, the ten men Council gave the feeling of emptiness, as if they didn’t expect much from this. At the most, the Republic wishes for them to share their burden, and continue fighting as the second front against the Empire.
“Councillor Cassol, your worries are warranted, but the Republic is afraid of making the same mistake as Dacia.”
“In other words, they are worried that after we lose, the Empire will throw the weight of their entire nation against the Republic? I understand, but this is still depressing news.”
When he heard about repeating Dacia’s mistake, Army Councillor Cassol shrugged unhappily. He had higher hopes than anyone that the intervention of Dacia Grand Duchy would lessen the Federation’s burden, so his rebuttal lacked any strength behind them.
“Councillor Evansol, there should be more news correct?”
“Apologies. Not just the Republic, I heard the United Kingdom will provide us aid too. It seems that the common consensus amongst the Great Powers is that they don’t want our nation to perish.”
Urged by an elderly Councillor, Foreign Affairs Councillor Evansol who was hesitant to speak mentioned the diplomatic stance of a neutral Great Power that was sympathetic to their cause as a separate topic of discussion.
Just like the Republic, this Great Power offered a helping hand because they were unwilling to see the Empire expand their influence. Possessing exceptional naval combat capability, the United Kingdom feared the rapidly expanding Empire, and finally gave the first inkling that they would intervene in the war. Although their intentions were to maintain the strategical power balance, looking from the perspective of power politics, they could be trusted on this.
“Ohh, so we have to sign another gentle Londinium treaty, right? Although we were the ones who broke that agreement.”
This was good news. Despite that, nobody in the room was willing to accept their aid. They knew what the Great Powers thought about them breaking the Londinium treaty, so they understood that the helping hand was extended to them with contempt.
“So, what should we do?”
“After analyzing the result of the Dacian War, the Republic told us that our defense of the territories to the rear are too weak, and that could be dangerous.”
Unlike the Republic that could stand toe to toe against the Empire on the frontlines, the Federation had to rely on the advantage of their terrain to keep the Imperials at bay. In actual fact, the Imperial Army just didn’t think the Federation was a threat, and was sparing minimal effort against them. That allowed the Federation to barely maintain their battle line.
“... I envy those countries with ample national power to spare. Where can we find the numbers to defend our borders?”
The Domestic Affairs Councillor started begrudging the difference in their national power. It was literally as he stated, this problem arises from the vast gulf in national power.
The truth was, just fighting one regional army of the Empire took most of their national power to maintain the frontlines.
“For now, we are relying on the Mage units to guard against deep infiltration. We should remove the seeds of trouble before it blooms.”
They did take some measures against sneak attacks to zones behind their frontlines. So far, there were no major changes to the situation, which was one of the few things the nation’s leaders took solace in. The most serious event was a brigade of cavalry failing in their attempt to destroy their railway, or the airdrop mission conducted by a small group of mages. All these attacks were successfully repelled with haste by the Federation’s Mage unit. Hence, they were confident in stopping the enemy’s attack if the invader’s numbers were limited.
“The United Kingdom’s military expressed concern over an attack by the Empire from the sea.”
“Attacking from the sea? But… It might be strange for me to say this, but can’t we just chase them off the moment the Imperials make landfall?”
Foreign Affairs Councillor Evansol had doubts about it too. There wasn’t concrete evidence, but all the military officers from the United Kingdom gave the same warning, and were gravely concerned about the Imperial Army launching a sneak attack through an amphibious operation. Quoting their words, ‘I understand the difficulties your nation is facing, but your coastal defences are too shallow.”
“With our main forces tied up, even an invasion force that is limited in number can easily deal a lethal blow to us.”
If the landing forces couldn’t be stopped in just one of their attempts, they could literally end the Federation by sticking a knife into their backs─ Since he received such a warning, Foreign Affairs Councillor Evansol could only relay the advice to his colleagues with grave concern.
“Councillor Evansol, the navy of the Republic didn’t have the capability to stop the Empire from pulling this off. Let me say this first, we only have two war vessels!”
Despite all that, they still obtained one last hope.
“This shouldn’t be a problem. It isn’t public yet, but the United Kingdom had started surveillance on the movements of the Imperial navy. If the need arises, the Republic’s fleet will attack immediately.”
In that case…
“Gentlemen, the issue is time. We need to buy more time.”
“We need the Great Powers to intervene. This might be humiliating, but we don’t have any other choice. It has come to this, let’s do everything that we can.”
U.E. 1924 November 5th 14th Imperial Base, Auditorium.
“Welcome, Wing Commander!”
Inside the auditorium where all unit members had gathered, First Lieutenant Weiss who led the 2nd Squadron stood up and said in a booming voice, then saluted to the Wing Commander. Tanya returned the salute, then gestured for them to sit easy. She then walked slowly to the podium in the center of the auditorium, and nodded with satisfaction after glancing at the troops.
“Good work. I think everyone should have heard the news, we, the 203rd Guerilla Mage Wing received our transfer orders. We are going to Norden.”
Tanya was extremely unhappy about this posting order. Using a tone unique to military officers where one’s displeasure and emotions were concealed, she submitted a dozen reports to the higher ups through Lieutenant Colonel Lehrgen, protesting about how overworked they were. Recuperating and cooperation training would take four months, and the basic training to improve the fundamentals would require another two months. All in all, she should have half a year of leeway. So when the bigwigs considered the unit’s training complete after the battle in Dacia that was closer to a live fire drill, Tanya was shocked.
She scanned the unit briefly, and they did look the part of being hardened and confident soldiers. Their field gears were polished to a shine, and their strides were uniform, as if they were measured by rulers. I see, they really resemble elites who have gone through thorough training.
However, the 203rd Mage Wing wasn’t as invincible as the General Staff Office believes. As their commander, Tanya’s head hurts because of the numerous flaws of the unit. Firstly, during the aforementioned Dacian War, First Lieutenant Weiss committed a mistake because of his adherence to outdated doctrine. Not all of them were affected, but most of the Wing members were influenced by such bad habits. And of course, after the baptism of a real battle, the change in their thinking was as dramatic as the Copernican revolution. It wasn’t as sudden as Paul’s repentance, but she still wanted to compliment them for gradually moving onto the correct path. However, it wasn’t perfect yet.
“And naturally, the General Staff Office is expecting the same skill and competence we displayed in Dacia, so prepare yourselves.”
Tanya smiled as if she was expecting great things from her subordinates, but she was aware that her smile was a little stiff. But there was a reason for this. Before her was a unit that had yet to experience a trying and real battle. For young pups who had only tasted victory, there were countless examples throughout history of them becoming loser dogs after suffering defeat. Herself included, elites raised in a perfect environment tend to have difficulties in overcoming unfavourable situations.
“Be proud, you have finally gained the chance to undergo the trial of fire and steel.”
No army can keep winning forever. Even America who claimed they would send their enemies back to the stone age suffered nightmarish mental trauma because of guerilla warfare, which plagued them for long years. They were liberated from the mental anguish during the Gulf war, but the price they paid for becoming arrogant was Iraq. The Empire might have one of the top military amongst the Great Powers, but they didn’t have the overwhelming military superiority of the super military prowess in Tanya’s memories─ America. That was why she had to nurture subordinates that could handle unfavourable situations.
If she didn’t handle this issue well, not only would she be branded as incompetent, it might even be a matter of life and death. After all, fools who had only fought winning wars were fragile, and wouldn’t be able to recover after losing just once. An army that lost its will to fight was just a simple mob. Even with magic technology, there was no way to forge the determined souls of warriors. In a corner of her heart, Tanya felt that those maniacs would be able to do that somehow.
But for now, she had to make do with the cards on her hand. Considering her remarkable improvement in her resume and remuneration, her performance should at the very least justify her wages.
“Ladies and gentlemen, Dacia was just a live fire exercise after all. What we have here, is the real war you have been craving for.”
Speaking of good news, except for myself, the subordinates I recruited are all fellows with the scent of battle maniacs. Naturally, this isn’t news that I would be happy about, but only in this instance, right before we set off for war, I feel grateful about this wondrous fact.
“Give everything you have for the sake of the Emperor and the Fatherland. Do not forget your duties as a soldier.”
“Mdm Yes Mdm!” x4
The excellent answer temporary filled her with satisfaction.
From the perspective of human resource management, there was a need to remind them they had the obligation to put in the effort in exchange for their gains. But from their reaction, there didn’t seem to be any problems. But she couldn’t let down her guard.
Everyone had to give and sacrifice themselves for the sake of their beloved Empire and me; They had the obligation to give everything they had for the revered Emperor and Fatherland… Fortunately, my subordinates are all tough fellows, and can at least serve as human shields.
It was regrettable that they had the tendencies of battle maniacs, but they were a group of excellent mages who were a pleasure to work with.
“Excellent. Next will be the announcement of the notification from the General Staff Office. First Lieutenant Weiss.”
Alright, leave the trivial corporate communications for the deputy to do. After all, this is the reason why the Empire designated the post of deputies and adjutants.
“Yes Mdm. As the Wing Commander said, our wing would be taking on the role of a guerilla force.”
According to the message from General Staff Office, the 203rd Mage Wing was to be rostered as a guerilla wing. This meant that their deployment would be different, depending on the regional army they were posted to. After all, they were the first unit designated as a guerilla wing.
Naturally, there were many experimental elements involved, and the higher ups had great expectations to learn a lot from this. The General Staff Office didn’t need to coordinate with the regional armies and could deploy this unit freely. If they could meet the expectations of the General Staff Office, they wouldn’t face too much interference. In other words, they were an independent unit that was easy to order around, and there wouldn’t be any issues if they complete the assigned mission in a timely manner. That’s right, it wasn’t stated explicitly, but they were basically an autonomous unit.
“In other words, the wing will be rushing all over the place within the interior line.”
This was the equivalent exchange between authority and responsibility. If anything happens on the frontline, they would be committed into battle immediately in the hope of resolving the issue. And so, Tanya used one sentence to describe the situation they were in.
“Which means, the General Staff Office is working us like horses drawing carriages. Rejoice, they seemed to have prepared carrots for us.”
She didn’t know what the carrots were, but she could look forward to the best treatment during resupply and promotions. Even though she doubted these would fulfil her wishes properly.
Everyone laughed. That’s true, they could only laugh. Who would be willing to enter the battlefield for the sake of special allowances. It might be a sizeable amount for officers and generals, but they were rather limited for the rank and file. Taking into account the risk to dying, it was unbelievably cheap. But of course, if a free market system was set up for this, there might be some who would consider the tradeoff acceptable.
When she thought about that, she couldn’t help thinking that conscription was a very unreasonable policy. Just like Second Lieutenant Serbiakof who was conscripted just because she had magic potential, it seemed that the Empire couldn’t spare the effort for personal liberties… That was why Tanya had no other choice but to volunteer to enlist.
If possible, she hoped they can change the conscription policy, or allow her to resign her commission immediately. It goes without saying that letting her take her bonus and annual remuneration was the minimum condition.
After shaking her head a little to clear her head, Tanya turned towards First Lieutenant Weiss, urging him to continue.
It pleased Tanya that the unit quieted down immediately on his command. At least they were trained well enough to follow orders. But this was only natural since they were soldiers.
“Despite what the Wing Commander said, horses aren’t that pampered, and won’t get their feed for nothing.”
With a tone advising caution, First Lieutenant Weiss subtly hinted the unit to show results. Tanya watched approvingly as she added points to the evaluation score of her subordinates. She was convinced that her second in command wouldn’t be a problem for the time being.
No matter who it might be, they would prefer unnecessary expenses. In horse racing, they would want victory; for horses tending the field, they would need to do farmwork; For pedigree horses, they need to pass on their genetics; As for horse drawn carriages, they ran for the sake of feed. If her deputy could understand and explain this point, Tanya would want him as a subordinate and nurture him.
“And of course, we need to prove that we are up to standard for our jobs.”
She didn’t really want to be a horse. She had never entertained the thought of being reared by others, this was a matter of her pride as a person. But since the carrot had been stuffed into her mouth, it would be a pity not to eat it. But it would be a shame to call herself a reared horse who had to work because of this.
Not having free will was a terrible thing.
“We will be part of a mixed unit that includes forces from the eastern army and southern army, and will be despatched as a unit from central to work under the northern command.”
Political pride was extremely retarded. The inability to provide consideration in a rationalized way showed how limited politics were. However, the dictatorship of nobles or emperors had their flaws too. Democracy falling into the hands of the foolish masses probably happened due to the intrinsic flaws in the governmental system. Humans were really political animals.
From this perspective, animals that didn’t have the concept of pride might be more rational. However, this might be a misconception caused by being unable to ascertain if they had the concept of pride.
“Regarding this part, the General Staff Office is looking forward to us affirming the experimental tactics in live battles in the north.”
As she listened distractedly to First Lieutenant Weiss’ briefing, Tanya thought about the nature of this unit. It was an experiment. In summary, their unit was directly subordinate to the General Staff Office, a force that couldn’t be used by the regional army in the frontlines directly. Putting this another way, the General Staff Office didn’t need to worry about the regional army, and could dispatch this unit to missions as they pleased. Thanks to this, Tanya’s unit was obligated to follow the General Staff Office’s order, and perform live field experiments.
She felt like a monkey in a circus being ordered to perform in front of the other monkeys. This borders on being animal cruelty.
The only difference was that the animals had numerous animal protection groups working to stop any abuse. On the other hand, even if the Imperial soldiers scream abuse, no organization would stand up for them. They might be political animals, but humans are also a type of animals. She really wished the kind people saying ‘animals are not your food’ could show some concern for them.
<TL: slogan of some non-profit organization.>
It goes without saying that this would be better than being pitied by fellows that offers undue leniency.
“... Regarding this, we have to prove that we can conduct group activities on the level of an excursion.”
Hence their orders to head north, test the tactics the General Staff Office thought up, and show them the results. An order she was extremely reluctant to follow. Just like how an employee would be sent on a meaningless work trip because of company politics.
There should be a limit to wasting time and resources though. Under most circumstances, the so called revolutionary tactics only had novelty and lacked reliability. Even in the rare case it proved to be useful, how many failed tests would it take before it could be deployed in actual battle? She didn’t say it out loud, but no matter how she thought, someone must have issued such missions based on her short stint with the Technological Research, and Training departments.
But no matter what, showing an anxious face would do nothing to alleviate the situation. Tanya signalled to First Lieutenant Weiss with a look, then nodded leisurely.
“Starting at 1800 hours today, we will head for the rendezvous point via night long range flight. Squadron leaders stay behind after dismissal to discuss the flight plans.”
As she glanced at the group staying behind for the discussion, Tanya thought about what to tell them. This was the so called delivering instructions. The creature known as soldier likes to communicate in such a way.
They prioritize mental revel over wasting time, a practice she couldn’t really get used to. But as a company man, there was no reason to not follow.
And so, Tanya worked hard on delivering her instructions.
“Squadron Captains, sorry for interrupting your chat, I have a few short items that requires your attention.”
For those on the Squadron Captain level, it was fine for them to realize some facts. Although she could only hint to them subtly, the attitude of the unit would be different if they understand these facts. It wasn’t anything marked confidential anyway.
“Although the continental army has been withdrawn from the battlefield, the northern frontlines were supposed to be tidied up in the first place.”
Going by military standards, the Federation could not be considered to be on the same level as the Great Powers. Yet despite of that, for there to exist troops within the Federation military capable of standing toe to toe with the Empire, it subtlety suggested the involvement of foreign powers behind the scenes. And of course, if we were to go by with the widely proclaimed news that their allied nation, the Republic, was lending them a hand, it would be natural to assume that the majority of the foreign assistance came from them.
Yet herein lies the problem, the appearance of nations other than the Republic intervening in the war despite having declared their neutrality. Although these countries denied intervening at the national level, they quietly kept a closed lid on existence of volunteer armies. Most certainly, several nations such as the Union and the United Kingdom have already started intervening in the war.
In the end, the Federation that was vastly inferior to the Empire that utilized its national powers under the foundation of total war, there was no way they could keep up the fight with just their Mages. Their ability to fend off the impact of the continental army and the pressure from the regional army strongly suggest the scale of the foreign aid they received. That was why this unit was forced to go on an excursion after things in Dacia settled down.
“I said ‘should’, that means there is something fishy about this. In other words, the existence of a third party.”
First Lieutenant Weiss who was leaving the room turned pale. He probably had some inkling about what Tanya was going to say. The annoying thing was, everyone had things they should and shouldn’t say, so the Deputy Commander was right. Considering the situation before them, it would be better for her subordinates to understand early.
“First Lieutenant Weiss, this is just my postulation. My personal opinion.”
For now, it would be better to not mention the neutral Union. She had no intention of stirring up unnecessary troubles. This would affect her promotion prospect, and more importantly, lead to the misunderstanding that her lips were loose. On the other hand, Tanya was worried that the huge victory in Dacia would make her subordinates slacken their guard, and felt the need to increase their vigilance.
“Alright gentlemen. I don’t know whether they are the Republic, United Kingdom, or people from somewhere else, but there is definitely someone meddling with this war.”
Their intrusion was really infuriating. Action that was so true to the rationality of a nation to the point of being irritating, or in other words, a sensible response. Considering the perspective of the other Great Powers, this was on par for the course in protecting the interests of their nations. The citizens of the Republic and United Kingdom must be living a safe and secured life, since their head of states were serious about their national security.
And that was why, unlike the United Kingdom and the Republic that took action expected of a political animal, the Federation that started a war on a whim was more nefarious. Just what had the Federation found so amusing that they went out of their way to pick a fight with the Empire?
Their leaders must be intoxicated by war, and love war so much that they couldn’t help themselves. But that might be the reason why the Republic provided aid, unleashing them onto the Empire like an attack hound.
If that was true, it would be strange why the Great Powers would pay attention to a country on the outbacks. Going by common sense, the rulers of most nations won’t bother with that place which lacks resources or any benefits.
“In other words, we will be enjoying field trips under the watchful eyes of the world.”
There was important significance in being deployed into a battlefield that was the central of focus for various nations. The General Staff Office was probably craving for a speedy victory to display the might of the Empire. Tanya also noted that the intention of high command was to end the war by showcasing the prowess of the Empire.
No matter what, considering the things that were happening under the table, failure wasn’t an option. Or else, she would need to steel herself for heavy disciplinary actions. To avoid destruction, she had to act like a model Mage Officer of the Empire.
Hence, despite this not being her intention, she still had to head off into battle cheerfully. If she didn’t, she might leave the impression of lacking fighting spirit. The truth was that she didn’t, so she had to take all precaution to avoid the suspicion of others.
“What do you think? Isn’t this wonderful?”
You must have realized too right? The unit members seem to realized it after seeing Tanya’s eyes filled with such intention.
“It is wonderful. To think that the General Staff Office would prepare the stage for our public performance.”
“Ara, this feels a little like skiing. What a considerate posting.”
“I thought the General Staff Office would only hand down impossible missions. Did this really come from the General Staff Office?”
Fortunately, all the members pretended to be baited. Ara, my subordinates have better etiquette than expected.
They completely understood the request and adequately protected the pride of their superior. Seeing the situation, Tanya felt there was nothing to worry about.
“Very well, that’s how it is, gentlemen. It’s a rare chance, let’s go for an excursion to the north.”
Tanya made an expression to show she couldn’t wait for battle. With a big smile on her face, she covered up the vulgarities she was about to spill out.
C.E. 1924 November 6th Northern Military Zone Kraggana supply depot, defence base.
If the Imperial Viper wing had to describe that day, it would be ‘terrible’. After being scrambled, the situation could only be described to be ‘terrible’.
The pride of the Imperial Army, the continental forces were redeployed suddenly, which led to the ensuring scenes of chaos. After the Imperial Northern Army command restored order after much tribulations, the Federation recovered from the ashes and rebuilt their frontlines. In conclusion, the northern army spent too much time consolidating their units when they should be pursuing the routing enemy, resulting in their supply line being overextended.
As a result, the supply depots set up at various locations by the Empire suffered frequent attacks by the Federation. When the Northern forces busied themselves to fend off the assailing units formed by hunters, they were forced to split the units on hand. That’s when the Aerial Mages would strike.
The Northern army had fallen for this tactic twice. Although it barely managed to maintain the supplies at the front lines, they couldn’t afford another failure. No matter what, they had to stop the next attack. This was the gist of Viper Wing’s supply defence mission.
The higher-ups made it sound easy, but for the ones who received the order, this was mission impossible. After all, the Mages of the Federation might have inferior numbers, but they had the freedom of picking the time and place to attack; On the other hand, Viper Wing had to spread their forces to multiple bases, including the entire supply line.
The biggest headache was the improvement in the quality of the enemy. The remaining Mages of the Federation assault team were fellows who survived since the start of the war. After these troublesome people received new powerful Operation Orbs marked officially as ‘origins unknown’, but were actually provided by the Great Powers such as the Republic, United Kingdom, United States and the Union, their skills and equipment improved drastically. The Federation’s Assault Mage unit was a threat even the Imperial mages couldn’t take lightly.
On top of that, it was hard to keep calm when facing units they first encountered in the northern frontlines, which multiplied the difficulty in troop deployments. The Federation would even commit new units at times. If the unit members were mostly rookie Mages rushed through training, they would be slaughtered on the spot. But things might get difficult if the occasional ‘volunteer Mages’ of unknown nationality were mixed in.
“Damn it, it’s the Federation’s Mages from last time!”
Therefore, the numerically superior Imperial Mage units were outnumbered during local defence engagement.
In terms of capability, Viper Wing was at the average standard in the Imperial Army. They were veterans with relatively longer experience in that war zone, and underwent the standard Imperial army training. For units that had war experience of a certain level, it was fine to call them a first rate unit.
That was why engaging an enemy unit they feared while outnumbered could only mean the situation was terrible.
“That’s faster than our estimates! Damn intel department, what do you mean they are nothing much!”
According to the briefing they received on the Federation Mage’s skill and equipment, Viper wing was already prepared for the enemy to strengthen their ability, which made their tactics of volley fire a stronger threat than before. Going by the report, the enemy might have improved in combat capabilities, the Imperials should have a marked advantage in the quality of individual soldiers.
That was why Viper wing was still confident in carrying out their defensive missions despite the possibility of being outnumbered. They thought they could maintain air superiority through better individual combat capability and the guidance of air controller. Despite their inferior numbers, they didn’t think they would lose.
Hence, they absolutely loathe the intel department and their predecessors whose reports were unreliable. This could definitely be explained away as being influenced by the fog of war, but the ones to suffer were always the units at the front. If the conditions were completely different from the one given, it was natural to complain about it.
To his subordinate who wandered carelessly into the enemy's’ sight of fire, red blossoms appeared on the Wing commander.
Fortunately, only his mobility was affected momentarily, leaving trails of random evasive actions in the air. Seemed like he didn’t black out, which meant his life wasn’t in immediate danger. But looking at it superficially, the wound was rather serious.
As they moved as a team and covered each other, what flashed across their minds was that the equipment that was powerful enough to pierce the defensive shell of an Imperial mage wasn’t the standard for the Federation. Despite the doubts in their hearts, they continued engaging with their spells. A chaotic battle broke out after the Federation got into melee range, but the Wing Mages fulfilled their duties as soldiers.
“... I was too careless. Sorry 02, the rest is up to you.”
“Yes Commander! 07, 13, you can’t keep up, fall back together with the Wing Commander.”
After taking over command, 02 changed the way he was thinking. The Wing Commander was out of commission, and would need escorts in order to retreat. In that case, he had to send his injured or tired subordinates to cover the retreat. It was an unexpectedly tough battle, but the enemy’s losses was just as bad. He just needed to hold the line─ 02 encouraged himself, feeling troubled about the numbers in his Wing falling by half. About one squadron worth of Mages had retreated, and half a squadron was shot down, falling to their death. Their combat potential fell by half, and the enemy was having it hard too, but their determination to assail the supply depot was extraordinary.
“CP, do you read me? This is 01. Command of Viper Wing had been transferred to my deputy.”
<TL: CP means Command Post>
“CP acknowledge. Viper02, do you copy?”
Even the voice of CP sounded tense. The duty squadron deployed in front of them had already lost the ability to put up a coordinated fight. The anti-air weapons that were effective against enemy Mages had all been broken through. Only the hastily set up anti-air weapons near the supply depot could defend the rear lines now. They might survive a light attack, but there was no way it could handle a large scale enemy Mage attack.
“Loud and clear. This is Viper02. I will take command in lieu of the injured Wing Commander.”
What should he do? He tried to think about it calmly, but if there was a god in this way, he was definitely a sly bastard.
“CP acknowledge… Bad news. Emergency, we have visuals on two squadrons in the northeast zone. They are approaching your area of operation.”
“Reinforcements? How did those fellows have the manpower to spare?”
He couldn’t stop himself from pulling the radio away and yelling. The enemy Mages that were cutting down his comrades into pieces and shooting them down, and there was more than one squadron of them. The Federation already committed two Wings of mages. Adding the incoming squadrons, they actually committed a Group of Mages to one measly supply depot?
This wasn’t just the matter of the intelligence department being incompetent, the Federation had more troops than expected.
“Viper02 to CP, I have a proposal.”
It was difficult to continue engaging the enemy here. Their only option was to use the supply depot as a shield, and fight a defensive battle by allowing some losses to their supplies. If they were unwilling to accept limited losses, the unit might get wiped out, which would result in the supply depot being ravaged literally. With this in mind, 02 raised CP on the radio.
“Emergency, please expedite. Our Wing is taking heavy losses. Unable to continue engagement. Please permit immediate withdrawal, to the supply depot.”
If they could pull back and work together with the mage and anti-air defences behind, their heavily damaged Wing could defend to their best abilities. Although that would risk damaging the supply depot, there was no other way to keep up the fight.
With the remaining Mages he had on hand, they would just be picked off one by one. In that case, it would be better to rally with the remnants of the Wing, and engage the enemy from a defensive position. They will end up losing some of their flesh over this, but compared to having their bones crushed, it was a much better outcome.
“CP acknowledge receipt of your proposal. We will check with high command, please stand by for five minutes.”
Normally, five minutes was outstandingly efficient, evidence that the bureaucratic CP understood how dire the situation was. This was a speedy response that one should be happy about, but those on the front lines couldn’t help thinking ‘You need five minutes?’
Three hundred seconds. During this time, how many times do they need to evade the enemy’s attack, and engage how many foes?
“Please hurry, our vanguards are taking a beating!”
The vanguards who had contact with the enemy for the longest period of time during this chaotic battle were exhausted. Forget about putting up an organized resistance, they were at their limits just defending themselves. Even though their priority was to stall the enemy, they couldn’t hold on for long. Just staying airborne was a considerable burden. It might be easy to talk about evasive spells, but only those who tried it out themselves would understand how difficult it was. No matter what, they could only keep defending until they receive orders to withdraw.
… His judgement was logical, but wasn’t permitted.
“First Lieutenant, multiple crafts spotted at 2 o’clock. Bombers.”
His subordinate who was keeping a lookout reported with a tone of despair. This was the worst enemy to face at the worst time. These beings flying leisurely in the air were giant mechanical birds loaded with huge amounts of bombs too cumbersome for humans to bear. They were bombers which had yet to be spotted in the northern battleline before.
“Ugh, their altitude!?”
He asked with a glimmer of hope, but received a merciless answer. The implication behind this answer sent a chill down his spine.
Altitude of 9500 feet. This was too high for Mages, but was low for the bombers. They could even drop bombs with a certain level of accuracy from this height.
Needless to say, they had sturdy armour too. Even if the Mages pursue the bombers, they just need to raise their altitude to shake them off. Engaging a heavily armoured bomber with such a difference in altitude was too heavy a task for Mages. That was why airplanes were always the ones fighting for air superiority.
However, if the only units available was a Mage Wing, then there was nothing they could do. Engaging two Wings and bombers was an impossible task.
“Viper02 to CP! Emergency update.”
“This is CP. Viper Wing, just what…”
“Confirmed visuals on multiple bombers! Visual estimate on their altitude to be 9500 feet. Difficulty in engaging them. Please reinforce with reserved allied forces.”
Just what is the matter? Before CP could finish leisurely, 02 interjected and continued talking.
Bombers were heavy and lack agility, but they were fast. Fighter planes had a speed of around 250 mph, while bombers were between 200 - 220 mph. Mages were about 230 mph. They could increase their speed to 250 mph to match, but that meant flying in only a straight line.
The true intention of the enemy was to perform a bombing mission and take out the Mages at the same time. Worst of all, they had limited ways to respond. The enemy was wily and smart.
“Bombers? Please advise scale and direction.”
“They are to our 2 o’clock. About 20 aircrafts spotted.”
It might just be 20 aircrafts, but the losses from a bombing under such conditions would be disastrous. If the fuel in the supply depot were bombed, the front line units would have a freezing winter ahead of them.
And of course, their adversary knew this, that’s why they not only dispatched Mages, but they even committed bombers too. This was what it means by ‘things can only get worse’.
“CP acknowledged. Can you engage?”
Who the hell can!? 02 suppressed the urge to lash out.
“The altitude difference is too big, and we are still currently engaging enemy Mages. It will be difficult to proceed with long-distance sniping.”
Simply put, they couldn’t do it. Even under normal conditions, it would be difficult to take out enemy bombers that were 3500 feet away. Even if the unit was in pristine condition and fired volleys, it would only be in the realm of ‘plausible’. If they had to do so while engaging in a chaotic fight with the enemy Mages, it would be downright impossible.
“... No matter what, you must prevent Kraggana supply depot from being bombed.”
“Even if we were to fight to the last unit, it will be impossible to succeed.”
Although CP had earnestly implored for a confirmation, the task remained impossible to complete. Everyone had things they could and couldn’t do, and the Wing was doing the best that they could. The acting Viper Wing Commander replied cockily, with a hint of resignation and sarcasm in his voice. Considering the situation laid before him, he would be wiped out no matter what he did.
Alright then, so they want us to fight to the end with the resolve of being wiped out? For such ironic thoughts to have flashed across his mind, it appears that he had a surprisingly open outlook about it. Maybe it was time for him to finally prepare for his resolve.
Just when he began to contemplate this...
“Acknowledged… ... What? Really?”
He heard whispers, yelling and noises inside the command post. Something was happening there.
“CP? What happened, CP?”
“CP to Viper Wing, retreat immediately.”
CP gave the withdrawal orders he was hoping for, in a tone that didn’t allow any refute. But they actually issued such an order in this dire situation, what happened?
“We are permitted to retreat? I’m grateful, but is it really fine?”
“Rejoice, it’s our reinforcement. A Wing is rushing to scene from zone B-3. After linking up, you will be rostered under their command.”
Reinforcements? Where did such a thing came from at a time like this? If there were reserves, why were they fighting so desperately?
“This is the first time I heard about reinforcement. If you had reserves, just deploy them from the start.”
“They are an emergency dispatched unit from central. Call sign Pixie.”
His complaints were ignored, and he was given new information. Since they were reinforcement from central, that meant they were caught in this battle the instance they arrived on site. There was no doubt that the unit arrived ahead of schedule, and the relieved headquarters threw them into the battlefield immediately.
“And be glad, the commander of the reinforcing unit is a Named.”
That made him forgot his earlier protest, and gave him the urge to whistle.
Wonderful. Simply wonderful. One Wing of reinforcement and a Named. This was like the presents for Thanksgiving and Christmas coming at the same time. If possible, he would like to welcome this honoured guest with champagne.
“Viper02 acknowledged. What an extravagant reinforcement.”
With such plentiful reinforcement, no wonder the higher ups permitted his retreat. Despite his urge to cheer loudly, he still felt it was a pity that they didn’t come earlier.
He then realized that when humans receive salvation from despair, they will become rather greedy. He smiled wryly because of that. Despite knowing that such complaints were unreasonable, he still thought shamelessly: If those guys came earlier, we wouldn’t have had such a hard time.
It would be perfect if they have support from fighter planes. Their numbers were limited, but the fighter planes should be scrambling soon. The corners of his lips turned up when he thought about this. His heart became lighter after knowing the enemy was about to get rekt.
“When will the fighter planes launch?”
“... They are judged to be unnecessary.”
But the answer he got shocked him.
No need for fighter planes?
02 wanted to ask what he was talking about.
“Don’t mind it, just rendezvous with the reinforcement quickly.”
Same Time Northern Regional Command.
When the staff officers in the northern army command post staring at the battle map troublingly heard news they didn’t want to hear──
The deputy director of Operations that came all the way from the General Staff Office handed a them a notice. It was an intervention from central, but the wording was very concise.
‘Reinforcement dispatched, no need to interfere.’
“Damn you, General Staff Office, you want to meddle with the front lines too?”
What an arrogant way of putting it─ It was understandable for the high ranking officers of the northern army to complain. After all, when they just spent tremendous effort to organize the continental army that was dispatched to them, most of the forces were diverted to the west the very next instant. The sudden large scale change in deployment threw a spanner into the northern army, and they were just about to say that central command was finally willing to provide support. After causing the north to fall into chaos and go through so much unnecessary suffering, anyone would want to complain about it.
According to the observation unit, a Wing of Mages were closing in fast.
I see, they are outstanding reinforcements indeed. They are dispatched here immediately after the request, so the concept of quick reaction holds true. But telling us to not interfere when we offered support can be considered excessive interference with the frontlines.
“No, maybe they sent us an amazing elite unit?”
But from another perspective, this might be a chance for Central to redeem themselves.
Looking from the viewpoint of Central, they probably felt bad about pulling away the continental army before the war had concluded. There was no way those prideful bunch would lower their head in apology. They probably think that they couldn’t make up for their mistake, but they could call it even with this.
“... They want to put us in their debts?”
“But no need to interfere? That’s gutsy.”
Even then, they actually dare to turn down help. Even if they wanted to earn favours, the supply depots in the north were really dangerous places. One misstep and the supply line that was on the verge of breaking will collapse, and the bigwigs must have considered the risk.
“Given the danger the northern supply line is facing, that is incredible confidence. I am envious.”
An arrogant notice from central. It was only natural for those on the ground to speak sarcastically. But the next piece of news left them even more stupefied.
“An incoming call from 203rd Aerial Assault Wing. It’s Wing Pixie, that is…”
The approaching reinforcements had made contact with them. Customarily speaking, that would be limited to formal communications such as exchange of call signs. However, the signaller was hesitating this time in saying it out loud.
“Enough, get on with it.”
The baffled staff office pressed him, and the signaller finally said the content out loud.
“No need for support. Let Viper Wing withdraw immediately. That’s what it says.”
No need for support? They want the Wing that had been engaging the enemy to retreat? Rather than calling it overconfidence, this was closer to reckless bravado.
Two Mage Wing and bombers on top of that, it was hard to imagine a Mage Wing that just endured a long forced march could handle.
Leaving the enemy to a unit under a Wing Commander that couldn’t even understand this? That wasn’t possible.
“... How long before the fighter planes can take off?”
“They are standing by in the hangar. They are ready to scramble on command.”
Several staff officers started planning the intercepting course. They didn’t have much time to increase altitude, but once the fighter planes get into the air, it would keep the bombers in check to some degree.
They were grateful for the reinforcement relieving their Mage unit that got caught in a dire situation… But should they do what they can to stop the bombers in spite of the message from their reinforcement? They harboured such questions.
“Should we scramble? This doesn’t look good.”
“No, this is an order. If you scramble…”
He stopped himself from saying ‘you will be acting out of line’, but his statement embodied how troubled the Northern Army staff officers felt.
Staff officers didn’t have the authority to take action without orders. Their job was to formulate battle plans, but they were not in the position to make any calls. That was the difficult part of being a staff officer. And ironically, the one who took care of their worries was the one who caused them in the first place, Pixie.
“Airborne control has detected Pixie. 48 in number, speed 250mph, altitude…”
The Airborne control plane patrolling in the sky detected Pixie Wing approaching. The speed was the upper limit of 250mph. It was clear that the unit was well trained, since they could fly in formation at such a speed.
“That is fast. Hmm? What about their altitude?”
Perhaps they could raise their expectations a little. As hope welled out from the hearts of the staff officers who asked for the altitude...
“Altitude 7500 feet? No, they… they are still rising.”
“Are you certain? They are not fighter planes.”
The 6000 feet limit was the common sense derived from the lessons learnt from live battle. There were records of units operating at 8000 feet, but unless that they saw it themselves in live battle, that would be hard to believe.
The numbers stated by engineers that could be reached theoretically, and the numbers achieved by front line units had completely different weight. The creature known as soldiers would be completely skeptical about new machines, weapons and technology. Their job was to bet their lives on how well these things work, so such skepticism was healthy.
That was why everyone present accepted the results before them humbly. That was the weight which facts that was proven in live battle carried.
“There is no mistake. Pixie Wing is now at 8000 feet!”
“Ugh, they accelerated! Speed is 300mph!”
Most unbelievable of all was their drastic increase in speed.
The truth was, this speed could only be achieved during research experiments. However, a front line unit flying in formation was showing such numbers. If there wasn’t any mistake, this information clearly showed that the Wing possessed a capability on a completely different realm.
Was this real? If that was so, their performance was definite enough to make all other units obsolete.
“Are the observation apparatus on the Airborne control working properly?”
“No other abnormal values detected… All functions are normal.”
All the staff officers showed incredulous expressions.
“... Looks like the General Staff Office has been hiding an incredible ace in the hole.”
“There should be a limit on how incredible it can be.”
The only thing they could say was that they were glad this unit was on their side.
United Kingdom Volunteer Army Frontline Headquarters
“It’s a Named! Detected a Named to the west! According to the signatures, it is the Devil of the Rhine.”
The observation trooper shouted in alarm, and drew the attention of everyone in the headquarters. It was news about a Named designated as fictional appearing.
Said to have easily soar beyond the boundary of death.
<Altitude above 8000 feet, a height humans couldn’t survive.>
Said to have massacred a Named squadron alone.
Said to have interference spell that could twist the fabric of space.
When the Republic army official sent these intel, everyone was saying jokingly ‘It’s too early for April Fools’, ‘That official probably had too much of a drink’ and laughed it off.
It might be true that the Imperial army possess cutting edge technology and tactics, but this was too much of an exaggeration. According to the analyst of the United Kingdom, this was a myth of the battlefield. Out of respect for the Republic which was one of the Great Powers, they didn’t refute this, and just treated it as delusion caused by the chaos of war. Just the gossips between talkative officers a Named whose existence itself was suspicious.
However, since their own observers detected the Named, even intel that sounded like a joke one would dismiss with a sip of tea would need to be reviewed.
“He really exist? I thought it was just the Republic army people daydreaming.”
It wouldn’t be strange if someone got it wrong. On the battlefield, if one treated all the misinformation conveyed by the confused troops seriously, they would step from the realm of delusion into the world of the insane. Hence, they calmly judged such intel to be misinformation. The officers of the United Kingdom wondered if this was mass hallucination, but still charged towards their equipment, feeling a little skeptical.
Several of them dashed towards the radio to wake up the analysis department, and a few quick witted ones started calling for High Command.
“We have confirmed the mana signature. There’s no mistake. He is approaching at great speed.”
Multiple observers succeeded in using the mana signature to identify the target. It was the same as the records they logged skeptically in the past. Multiple observers used multiple high precision observation apparatus which led to this conclusion, there was no way it could be wrong. A single observation report might be mistake, but at this juncture, they had to acknowledge that he was a real person.
“Enemy reinforcement is one Wing in number. A unit not on our records.”
On top of that, there were multiple responses of large scale mana feedback of unknown nature. Judging by the numbers, it was undoubtedly a Wing, maybe even an overstrength Wing. The nature of the mana was unlike anything in their records, which meant a new Imperial Mage unit had been committed into battle.
It was completely different from the records in the Rhines or the Republic logs, hinting at the deep reserves the Empire had. The Empire had already engaged in multiple battles, and they still can dig up a new unit led by a Named out of nowhere.
“... How surprising, they already pushed the Federation to the brink, and they are still committing new units.”
“Could they be units from the Dacia war front? The war there has more or less concluded, they should be able to spare the manpower.”
That was true ── It wasn’t clear who said this statement, but the Named of the Imperial Army could crush the Dacian Army which was worse than boyscouts. It was reasonable to think that they had push the troops which had been freed up to deal with the Federation’s Assault unit which had been wreaking havoc on the battlefield.
“We need to log this intel. Is the recording machine working?”
“If this is really that Named, we have to observe him carefully. That is a monster that massacred a squadron alone.”
Although the intel officers made simple jokes, their eyes were still glued to the information displayed before them. This was a unit with unknown mana signature, and despite never encountering this named before, this was the rumoured Named from the west. He was an existence that cannot be ignored. They didn’t knew about this Wing led by such a monster, showing the gaps of their spy work against the Empire. And so, no matter how reluctant they were, they had to understand the importance of collating intel on this new enemy unit objectively.
“Can we tap into their comms?”
“No, it is an unknown code and communication protocol. At least it is not in our library.”
An expected answer. Even if they couldn’t decrypt it, they could still grasp the gist of the enemy movement by monitoring the radio frequency.
However, if they didn’t have any records and the protocol and code were completely unknown, they won’t be able to predict the movement of this new unit. This made them regret the fact that Dacia was dissolved so easily. As they never expect Dacia to fall so quick, it was understandable that they couldn’t gather intel in time. However, one would still crave for things that wasn’t there.
“Commander, we can confirm that this is a new Imperial unit. There are no similar records of it in their northern and western front.”
“Very well. I would love to launch a control plane but…”
All of them smiled wryly. Although they had been sent to a freezing place, their on and off dark humour still lingered. They already knew that this was a futile war. At the same time, the various political restrictions of the United Kingdom shackled their military. As the officers on the ground, they could only curse all the gods and devils that comes to mind, then reluctantly accept that the situation could not be changed and resigned themselves to following the rules.
“But we can’t bring a sentry plane in right?”
“That’s true… Instead of troubling over how to bring the planes in, we should worry about bringing the intel back.”
It was gradual, but the Federation army was slowly being suppressed. They were not breaking at all fronts yet, but considering the current situation, it was just a matter of time.
At least this much was clear to the bystander. The Empire was pushing the Federation literally to the verge of collapse just with its spare forces on hand. Like a critically ill patient in stable condition just barely able to breath, that’s how the Federation was. Any minute changes would be fatal to the patient.
“Anyways, remind the front lines to be alert.”
After they shook away such thoughts and focused on the task behind them, the CP officer picked up the radio and started barking orders. They were many elements about the enemy that was hard to gauge, but at least everyone present were experienced veterans in collating intelligence. They were personnel dispatched over after the possibility of war with the Empire was raised.
The United Kingdom wished to accumulate experience and collect learning points from a live battle. With this national defence consideration, they gave the utmost support to the unit they sent.
“But this is really shocking, I never imagined a Wing could fly at 300mph.”
“It deviates greatly from our prediction of the situation, we need to make corrections accordingly.”
And so, great things were expected from the group gathered from the various military units of the United Kingdom, with the hope that they could learn from their experience with the Imperial Army, and make it their own. After all, most of this group let live combat experience, and even depended on the projected situational development they memorized and the intel they collated to guide their pre-war actions.
However, the situation prediction they came up with based on their past experience deviated heavily from reality.
If they don’t learn from live battle now and make amendments before their home country was embroiled in war, it was very likely that they would be paying the price with the lives of their troops.
After all, although most of the staff officers refuted his existence, that name actually exist. That also meant that the nightmare on the battlefield had the annoying tendency of not being a delusion. It was no laughing matter for the projection made in an environment far away from war got proven wrong so quickly.
The successes in their foreign affairs policy had ironically resulted in the lack of live battle experience, which was a major headache for the United Kingdom’s military. After all, only experts could analyze the subtle situational changes on the battlefield. The risk of making critical errors on the battlefield made them anxious.
For intelligence work, even if you want to learn the most important part, gut feeling, there was no one who could teach that. One had to learn by experiencing it themselves. Forget about textbook specializing on this subject, it would be useless even if it existed.
“... Half the key to getting intelligence is probably the determination after all.”
That was why the officers dispatched here were all carefully handpicked. And of course, most of them weren’t told that the purpose of this posting was just to educate them. But people who couldn’t even figure this out would be seen as a waste of time and forcefully repatriated. Hence, the ones that remained felt that this was nonsensical, they still analyzed the intel objectively.
Because they were competent, that’s why they could sense the danger. These might be exaggerated information, but it was still an overstrength Imperial Wing. Looking at it objectively, an entire Wing engaging the Federation was nothing to scoff at.
“They say that Named blew up one Squadron in an instant? What about two Wings then?”
In spite of that, they still made naive judgement in a corner of their mind. Assuming there was a Named that could take on one Squadron, quantity would still overwhelm quality. There was still a way to deal with that Named. It wouldn’t be a problem if he was alone.
“Don’t overlook that Wing either. From their speed, they are very well trained.”
“On the other hand, our people have the numbers, but is a motley bunch… This will be a close fight.”
Just the numbers of the new unit alone was a serious threat. Especially for the two worn out Wings, the fresh Wing joining the fray was undoubtedly a troublesome foe. But that was the extent of their threat, just troubling. That was how they were viewed.
“You mean how the military doctrine differs for the Republic, United Kingdom and Federation?”
What the United Kingdom personnel was worried about, was that the troops were a ragtag collection of units, and wouldn’t be able to work cohesively together. The United Kingdom and Republic was working together in secret, so there was many issues they couldn’t share with each other, which caused quite a bit of damage.
The Republic who was the subject of desperate pleas by the Federation, and the United Kingdom whose main focus was on collating intel on the Imperial battles. The pacing between them would naturally be a little out of sync, but they were too bothered by this today.
“If we can’t work as a team, we might have to split our ways.”
Leaving the Republic and Federation aside, the United Kingdom who didn’t want to lose their neutral standing was very cautious when participating in battle.
This led to the Federation and Republic to criticize behind its back that the United Kingdom keep wanting to conserve their forces, or was just in the war to get live battle data for their weapons. But was this really criticism? Their self-awareness stated otherwise. After all, any nation would wish to avoid expending their resources.
“The key is that if they take too long, the Wing they were fighting earlier can regroup and rejoin the battle.”
And of course, even the ‘volunteer army’ from the United Kingdom wouldn’t want to suffer too much losses when they break through the defence line. After all, they still need to buy more time for their home nation to shift to a war-time system. Even if they had the advantage in numbers, they wouldn’t want to force a showdown in a battlefield that had a Named in it.
Taking into account that the Imperial army might send more reinforcement, they had to consider the possibility of retreating. However, they couldn’t ignore all the sacrifice they had made in harassing the enemy’s supply lines all this time.
“Worst case scenario, we will attack their base with the bombers.”
And so, in order to accomplish their baseline mission objective, they placed their hopes with the bombers.
A bombing strike on the fuel supply depot. Since they only needed a few of their bombs to land, they held anticipations to the results. And even if they fail, the planes they loaned to the Federation were outdated models to begin with. Such unspeakable thoughts were harboured in their minds.
“I object. If their intercepting fighter planes were to arrive on time, we will suffer serious losses.”
“Engaging with light and fast Mages is one thing, but can’t the high speed bomber planes shake off pursuing fighter planes?”
“Furthermore, the Republic had already attempted this and suffered for it, thus I would have to oppose.”
“If that’s the case, we would need to eliminate the enemy Mages first.”
“In addition, the potential return for it is very high. It’s decided then.”
They made a show of worrying about the safety of the bombers, but only to leave a record. They know very well that the high speed bombers provided weren’t fast at all, and it was safer to say that they were slow.
“The problem is the capability of the Named and the unknown Wing. It will be great if we can take them out.”
That was the only words they were sincere about. If the enemy could be wiped out in their fight with the bombers, that would be wonderful─ They had such nefarious intent in mind.
When he uttered these words, the goddess of fate made a joke.
This was a makeshift command center that could be used to observe and control the frontlines 20km away. They forgot one thing about using the command facilities hidden away by the Federation. For Mages, 20km wasn’t that far.
“What? Is that true? Are you certain!?”
Suddenly, the officer performing air control duties in the CP stood up, and spoke hastily into the radio with a pale face. Immediately after, several intelligence officers also stood up with a bewildered expression.
There were several of them who understood the situation before them.
“Emergency report by α Wing! This is? Evacuation warning!”
“Turn off the power! They traced us back!”
Just when everyone was shouting…
“High mana reaction from the Named! He is deploying a magic artillery spell at high speed!”
The screams from the observation soldier expanded the confusion.
Traced back? α Wing sent an evacuation warning…? High mana reaction?
“Impossible! How many kilometres away do you think we are!?”
After kicking aside the dumbass who was screaming in protest, several soldiers charged into the air shelter, and an explosion happened right after.
Altitude 9500 Battlefield in front of the Supply Depot
“Like the brilliant morning sun, let the holy light shine through the darkness. You shall be reborn, praise be to the lord.”
The artillery spell was in the midst of contracting.
After firing a shot equivalent in firepower to a 280mm shell, the seven layers of control spells faded into nothingness. The brilliant flash illuminated the battlefield, and was followed immediately with the entire space shaking after the shot landed.
“Observation wave has ceased! Enemy observation unit has been eliminated.”
At the same time, Second Lieutenant Serbiakof who was serving as an observer reported the effectiveness of the bombing, despite minor radio interference. Tanya nodded in response to her comment “Major, that was an excellent shot”, and felt it was one of her better shots too. She knew it was a direct hit without needing to hear the report. And she was certain that she had dealt a heavy blow to the enemy. No matter what, the basics of Mage battles─ the elimination of enemy observers had gone very smoothly.
It wasn’t clear if their opponents were amateurs, or they had confidence in their trenches, but constantly sending intense observation waves made them easy to track. Compared to the sneaky Republic Army that only focused on passive receipt of signals, locating them was a walk in the park.
Seemed like the Federation’s flaw in the quality of their troops had yet to improve. Normally, one would stay a great distance away when actively sending out observation waves to a space with dense amount of mana, and do so from control planes or observation trucks that could escape from the scene freely.
They must be fools to conduct their observation from a fixed position.
Tanya made this judgement based purely from her experience, and launched an artillery spell. Her luck was rather good. She clenched her small fist and basked in the joy of hitting the jackpot.
“Increase in the volume of enemy comms. Detected several Mage units sending out comms. My humble guess is that you just hit the enemy’s command center.”
Focusing on the reports from her subordinate only bolstered Tanya’s confidence. There was no mistake, the earlier attack blew up the enemy air control center. She understood what that meant, and raised her rifle into the air in high spirits.
Just by observing from afar, Tanya could feel the satisfaction of seeing the Federation’s formation wavering, showing how deep an impact she made on them.
“Good, it’s a confirmed hit huh? Let’s attack then.”
When fighting with inferior number and in the airspace of the enemy’s choosing, this was definitely a taboo. Anyone would want to object such an order instinctively. But it would be different if the enemy’s head was blown away. Even speaking conservatively, units in air battles were a mess. Managing these units and getting them to fight cohesively in an organized matter wasn’t a burden that the frontline commander could handle.
No matter how competent the commander was, once the battle became chaotic, he wouldn’t be able to grasp the situation clearly. When keeping an eye on the unit and fighting an aerial battle at the same time, one aspect would definitely reach the breaking point. Regarding this point, Tanya was thankful to the Imperial Military doctrine. The troop’s course of action was guided by the mission objective, so commanders didn’t need to issue orders for minutial details. If the subordinates were competent enough, the superiors wouldn’t need to direct every shot they were to fire.
But even the 203rd Aerial Mage Wing also needs the minimal control and navigation support from the Norden Control tower. A battle without control would just be a low standard brawl between isolated Mages.
After all, if there wasn’t any control to maintain order, there would be Mages isolated in the air. An unguided force wasn’t a threat.
“Pixie01 to all Wing members, we have successfully eliminated the enemy’s air control.”
It was a great stroke of luck that the enemy air control that was the heart of their command structure exposed itself. With the idea that she should give every chance a shot, she launched a spell at it and blew it away easily… That was how it seemed to be.
After that, the enemy would just be a bunch of isolated rioters, not a cohesive unit. Mages without support from CP were just a group of Don Quixote fighting independently.
“Pixie01 to CP. Please relay all confirmed intel on the enemy so far.”
“CP acknowledge. Remaining enemy targets are flying at an altitude of 6500, the vanguard is about the size of an Air Group, rear guard comprises of two squadrons. Multiple bombers are also detected, no signs of further enemy reinforcements.”
And the situation was clear. The only enemy they had was the confused mob spread out in front of them. Normally, the enemy Air Control would use all means possible to salvage the situation, such as pushing the rear guards in to cover the chaotic vanguards.
But they had undoubtedly fallen into a state of panic and helplessness. From past experiences, the Republic and Federation Mages had the tendency of focusing too heavily on group battles.
It wasn’t clear why, but the pride of the Imperial Army, the 203rd Aerial Mage Wing that made it through the hellish training in high spirits should have the overwhelming advantage. At the very least, they wouldn’t hold Tanya back, and would suffice as human shields.
Another joyous thing was the existence of enemy bomber planes. If she shot those bombers down, she could look forward to a raise and bountiful bonus as per air force regulations.
Ara, how wonderful. Tanya unconsciously licked her lips in an uncouth manner and smiled.
After all, this was a great environment, akin to the blue sea. Tanya was sure that she only encountered such a perfect environment because of good karma from her usual excellent conduct. Considering what happened in Dacia, fate seemed to be on her side. She had no qualms in assuming that Existence X was evil, but it wasn’t too bad to think it was good either.
“First to Third Squadron, hunt down the 2 enemy Wings vanguard. Fourth Squadron, follow me and advance.”
She didn’t need to seek the proper reason to act. She was acting in her capacity as Wing Commander.
In simpler terms she was at the level where she would ‘take part in the battle occasionally.’ She could just leave the tedious task of eliminating enemy units to her subordinates.
Or rather, that was why subordinates exist. And with more important matters in her mind, she wanted her subordinates to perform well.
The Imperial army and General Staff Office invested heavily in them. They didn’t spend any of Tanya’s money, but this was from the tax dollars of the citizens after all. Even if it wasn’t spent in the smartest manner, they should still be getting their money’s worth. Tanya wanted to avoid being seen as incompetent, and to redeem the desultory nature of the tax dollars they received by utilizing it in a meaningful way.
Hence, there was a need for the higher ups to see some clear returns on their investments. After all, Tanya wanted to avoid being criticized as a fellow─ or rather, a youjo who was just talk, and get sent to the front lines as punishment. And so, this was human resource management. Just leave the difficult tasks to her subordinates.
This wasn’t anything special, just optimally sending the right person to perform the right job. Tanya was sure that these groups that love war would be glad by her decisions. As for her, she planned to use the merits of uncovering and recommending talents to be assigned to the rear. An ideal win-win situation that was simply perfect.
“Fourth Squadron, we will be acting as their guards and take down the bombers. After that, we will attack the backs of the two Wings caught in the chaotic battle.”
She began her actions, leading the Fourth Squadron that was serving as guards to occupy the rear position. She wanted to avoid dangerous zones, so she used making a detour as a reason to delay her entry into the fray. During this time, she committed her subordinates to engage the enemy in order to determine the opponent’s skill in battle.
If the foe was stronger than she imagined, she would stop the detour attack by using the reason of reinforcing her allies. She had insurance measures for all sorts of situation.
“The above is the battle plan. But listen well, everyone.”
She made a show that she was a frontline commander filled with fighting spirit to the Northern Army that was observing,
If she did this, she would be part of the army.
If a commander was loud, brave and had an aggressive mentality, baseless criticism would be silenced too.
Just look at Tsuji who speaks so loudly. Even though he burned through hordes of talents as if they were gratis and caused a major disaster, he still received promotions and became rich.
“Your task is to stall the enemy. But don’t wait on my account, I won’t mind if you wipe them all out.”
In order to safeguard herself, Tanya decided to follow Tsuji’s policy. Fortunately or not, that man managed to avoid being named as a war criminal even after the war. She couldn’t mimic his thick skinned and shameless nerves, there was things she could still learn from him.
Tsuji definitely had the potential of becoming a corporate warrior, someone willing to forsake humanity for the sake of making it big. But as a human, Tanya didn’t want to fall to such a state. She felt that kind of world would be too much for a normal kind citizen like herself, since she still embraced the concept of conscience and shame in her heart.
“On top of that, the bill for the victory party after returning to base will be foot by the worst performing Squadron Captain. I already ordered a crate of 25 years old wine. If you don’t want to be bankrupt, then fight with all your might.”
Tanya even thought about a gracious way of avoiding paying for social expenses. Communicating with her subordinates was her duty as a supervisor. But it would be very unpleasant to be suspected for no reason during audits. For example, that man── Tsuji nagged a lot with regards to auditing for inappropriate expenses. Rumours say that was how he got a hold on other people.
One thing she learned from this was that the military wasn’t too different from a corporation. Inappropriate social expenses would affect your future. That’s why Tanya would use her subordinate’s money during times like this. Within the boundaries of not being complained about an abuse of authority.
By the way, the common sense of society wouldn’t permit young children to drink wine, but if she was forced to do so by her comrades on the battlefield, the military would probably turn a blind eye. Just the thought that she could finally drink wine made her felt like crying.
“Excellent. Gentlemen, go on and do your duty to the Emperor and our Fatherland.”
The Emperor that wasn’t beloved at all, and their home nation which could only be counted on to provide employee benefits from the collected tax dollars. At least this was a nation that would provide all sorts of stipends and bonus to their soldiers. But regrettably, its strategic position was very similar to Germany from World War One.
Ah, what a tragedy. This feels like staying in a company that would definitely go bankrupt. Or an employee who is being tormented by a black hearted corporation. This isn’t a situation where I can wait passively for victory.
She couldn’t wait to resign voluntarily and jump ship to a corporation with a conscience. Worst case scenario, she could lodge a complaint with the Ministry of Labour.
However, betrayal during times of war was a very serious problem. Why wouldn’t it be, who could trust a person that had committed treason? Despite the declaration that everyone had the freedom of religious belief, no one in their right mind would employ a passionate left leaning social activist.
Going by the same line of thought, only fools would commit betrayal if that doesn’t yield the results that merits the action. By the way, it was very difficult to surrender to save one’s life during an ongoing war.
From her position, Tanya was like a sniper. It would be great if she could retire peacefully after the war ends. But if she had to surrender on the battlefield, she might be shot on the spot. The enemy’s hatred towards her was at the very limit.
“Let’s educate the mentally challenged Federation and their friends. Those fellows who refuse to listen.”
To be honest, they tried persuading the Republic to surrender, but they couldn’t communicate at all. Worst of all, they were a bunch of people who couldn’t grasp the concept of economic’s rationality. Tanya wished they could just split into two and fight themselves if they love war so much.
It seemed that the Republic and Federation like to drag others down with them. How troublesome, how dare they ignore the simple liberty and public balance of not troubling others. She wished they could be more considerate about the problems they were causing others.
“Let them have a taste of the hammer coming from above. Let them know how powerless they are.”
If not for the fact that her side could leisurely attack from a higher altitude, this situation would be unbearable.
Despite how calm she acted, this wasn’t good for her heart.
Tanya felt thankful for her petite body, at least during the times when she was a smaller target that was harder to hit. There was a great man who once said ‘it is called a bullet because it occasionally hits!’ Even so, Tanya didn’t want to be hit by that.
“First, Second and Third Squadron proceed as planned. We will flank to the enemy’s rear and attack.”
Therefore, she would send the volunteers to the most glorious position which also had the greatest risk.
“Roger. Glory to the Fatherland and the Wing Commander!” x3
“Good luck, gentlemen.”
Ara, looks like my men are craving for a real battle after the beatdown they gave the Dacians. Her subordinates being more driven than she expected made her feel a little touched. What excellent and diligent models they were.
If not for the fact that they were engrossed in something as unproductive as war, Tanya felt they were so excellent that she would want to hire them as her own employees. What a pity. This was proof that the devil really existed.
If there really was a god, he would definitely not allow such an inadequate allocation of resources. The fundamentals of the free market was the only truth, and the only invisible hand that existed would be the one in the free market.
It was such a pity. The world was filled with difficult to understand things. It seemed that it would take a long time before economics could explain all the truths in the world.
“Fourth Squadron, increase altitude. We will go around and attack the two squadrons that appear to be reinforcement.”
But no matter what, when it was time to work, one should work. Tanya was in command of an overstrength Wing made up of four Squadrons, so it was one Wing plus one Squadron. One Wing will take on two Wings, one Squadron will take on two Squadrons. It was a simple matter of ratio. In terms of utilizing the abilities of individual units, the latter would be easier. That’s why Tanya chose that easier option.
More importantly, not only was this battle easy to take, there was another priority target. Life should be about how to spend your days easily.
The oft quote ‘purchasing experience with money’ was undoubtedly the advertising slogan of ‘hedge funds’. If it was up to Tanya, she would prefer the side that sells experience, and make a living by gifting the laborious work to others.
“Acknowledged. What about the bombers?”
“I will be taking them alone. Don’t think of me being greedy alright? I want to use this chance to be an Ace of the Air Force.”
“Hahaha, you sure like to jest, Major.”
When she heard her subordinates ask about the points of importance, so she exhorted them a little. She might sound casual, but this was her main objective. She remembered reading in a book once that it wasn’t a bad thing to show motivation that seemed rather lowly. Although being too vulgar would be annoying too. That being said, why was the kind Tanya being treated so unreasonably by Existence X, and forced to fight a war? She couldn’t help feeling sad when she thought about this.
However, when her subordinates started laughing as if they just heard a funny joke, Tanya glared at them suspiciously. She made a ‘what’s so funny’ expression with a frown.
“Don’t you know? You need to do so in a fighter plane.”
But the answer was extremely simple. It was regrettable, but Tanya misunderstood the rules. She felt deep shame for exposing her ignorance in front of her subordinates.
“Really? That’s a shame. If I knew, I would have borrowed one. I am thinking about going back to base to get one right now.”
“Why don’t we do that? To be honest, I will probably need to treat the entire Wing to a meal if I continue to stick with the Wing Commander.”
Seemed like her subordinates were really thorough in their mockings. There was no way she was returning to base just to borrow a fighter plane.
If she really did that, it would be considered desertion before the enemy, and summary execution would await her. And practically speaking, she didn’t know how to fly a fighter plane, so there was no room for excuses at all.
Even a young child like her would be sentenced to death by the bureaucracy. Be it a popular initiative organization, humanitarian group or even a vested interest group, would any of them speak up for her then?
“I can’t show my back to the enemy.”
“It can’t be helped then. I will take the initiative to gain the upper hand then.”
At this moment, the other squadrons also sent in messages. There was no better time than this.
It was wonderful to have subordinates who could read the mood. Tanya was confident that they would be a great help in her career advancement.
『Sorry, but you will be paying for the meal. Engage!』
『I will enjoy the 25 year old wine. Squadron follow my lead!』
『I am glad to have such wonderful comrades. I will be going ahead, Wing Commander!』
“Urgh, these guys! Wing Commander, I beg your leave.”
The atmosphere changed. What excellent cover.
Tanya wasn’t someone who needed to frequent parties and receive guest with unknown intentions, but she also understood immediately how excellent they were. She felt they were well suited for business dealings. They could definitely be the core member of a sales strategy team.
A pity. Such a pity. Their passion lies with war and not business management, which was regrettable. Even though Tanya deeply respected personal freedom and liberty, she couldn’t help feeling that it was a pity.
“It’s fine, don’t mind me. Go ahead.”
“My thanks. Fourth Squadron, push forward!”
The Squadron Captains under Tanya’s command seemed to be filled with fighting spirit. They were as eager as hunting dogs before their prey, and would pounce forth the moment they were unleashed.
They immediately got into a wedge formation, and pressed down onto the head of the enemy from above. They performed it smoothly, and the way they deployed into an assault formation without any missteps showed their valour and decisiveness on top of their fiery fighting spirit.
She wanted Fourth Squadron to act as her escort, but since they were so eager to fight, Tanya felt it might be safer to keep her distance. If her shields were too hungry for combat, they might draw the enemy to her instead.
“Ara, so my opponents are the slow and heavy bombers? Look like we won’t dancing.”
A solo engagement. There didn’t seem to be any need for graceful aerial manoeuvres. She just needed to be a fixed artillery piece, and simply attack one sidedly from above. She would be a laughingstock if she missed, so she couldn’t afford to be careless even if the task was safe.
“I am not very motivated, but this is work, so let’s do this steadily.”
It might be a good thing to be inconspicuous, but not performing might prove to be awkward too. Even more so for bombers, she just needed to slowly aim and shoot them down one by one.
Since she couldn’t use guide her shots by tracking mana, she had to do so through infrared or radar guidance. But Mages were not equipped with radar, and adding in infrared tracking spells would be a pain. In the end, she could only attack in a similar way to sniping. Once she thought about this, she felt this task was disportionate to the time and effort she needed to put in.
To be honest, it couldn’t be helped if her mood turned bad. But this would be counted as her kills, so she could still earn some merits from this.
『Major Degurechaff, do you read me?』
“This is Pixie01, roger. Did you forgot what call signs are?”
Tanya answered in a displeased tone to the sudden comms.
Not controlling one’s emotions would make someone a failed member of society.
But it was only natural to be unhappy if someone violates the rules while you were in the middle of an arduous task. Just what do they think rules and regulations are? People these days do things so half-heartedly.
『My… My apologies.』
“Just what do you think military confidentiality and discipline are?”
This wasn’t something that could be overlooked with an apology. Not following the rules would lead to incidences. Just what do they think Heinrich’s Law, which was derived by statistics and experiences, and used by insurance agents meant? ‘The accumulation of minor errors is the first step leading to serious accidents’. Mistakes must be corrected.
『That’s enough. This is Hotel03, Hotel03. Do you read me?』
Since the radio seemed to have been passed to a person of substantial rank, Tanya changed her attitude. Sometimes, tolerance could be a wise choice. As a member of the organization, what needed to be done was actually very simple. That was to avoid clashing with the system.
“This is Pixie01, I read you loud and clear. Any instructions for me?”
『Viper Wing and the elements that retreated have finished their reorg, they will be sent to support you.』
Instead of admonishment, the wonderful news made Tanya relaxed her face and smiled. Viper Wing which was closer to being a burden than a support seemed to have reorganized themselves after taking heavy losses. Ara, seems that the northern army is unexpectedly efficient.
“Oh, the turnaround time sure is fast. Great, I will be counting on you then.”
Tanya welcomes anything that could be used. Burdens that couldn’t even act as shields were troublesome, but she was receptive of any chess pieces that could be fielded, no matter what they were.
Ara, my luck this time is better than expected. One shouldn’t rely too much on luck, but they shouldn’t be too close-minded to reject fortune that comes either.
『What? Never mind, I understand. I will make the arrangement immediately.』
“Thank you for your help. Please enjoy the show then. Over.”
She wanted to inform her unit about this joyous news. No matter how much they love war, there was nothing more exhilarating than the number of your comrades increasing. To be honest, Tanya felt like welcoming their reinforcements immediately.
Since her side had inferior numbers, having one Wing of reinforcement was a sight for sore eyes.
“Wing Commander to all members, I have an announcement.”
Yes, the men will be happy. Because they won’t need to worry about their back when they fight now. Although my motto is safety first, I don’t hate war merits.
“Rejoice, it’s reinforcement. They appeared to have gone out of their way to send reinforcements.”
For the unit that retreated to be reorganized so speedily. Tanya could only use the word ‘awesome!’ to describe how grateful she was. It was dangerous to make judgement on the overall situation by just looking at part of the picture. Even though the radioman was incompetent, the higher ups proved they were up to the task.
Reinforcements should be arriving shortly.
“You understand what I mean?”
Let’s take it slow, don’t push yourselves and wait for reinforcement. But if Tanya said that out loud, her unit’s fighting spirit would be questioned, but it wouldn’t be a problem if she hint at it subtly. The reason why Tanya announced the news about reinforcement was to drastically change the plan for her Wing from ‘fight hard’ to ‘stay safe!’
“Yes Mdm!” x3
Their short and strong reply definitely reflect that they understood. Tanya could feel that, and nodded with satisfaction.
“Excellent, then time to earn your keep.”
C.E. 1924 November 7th Somewhere in the Federation… Hospital Operated by the United Kingdom Humanitarian Organization ‘Peaceful World’
『The bombers had been taken out! Aren’t the reinforcements here yet!?』 『Light… Light… Arrghhh!』『Did we lose radio contact with the Group Leader?』 『Spread out! Hurry! Suppressive fire! Don’t let them come close!』”Pixie02 to all Squadron members, we are charging.” 『Urghh! They broke through the vanguard! Hold your fire, prepare for close quarter combat!』
『Mayday! Mayday! Where are the reinforcements!』 『Norlan control to all units. Cease operation! Cease operation! Cease operation immediately!』 『The bombers were…!』
『Damn it! The vanguards are down! What the hell are these guys! What the fucking hell!』 『The Squadron has been wiped out! We will be surrounded if this goes on!』 『Our escort unit has been breached!』
“Viper02 to Pixie01. We are enroute to your position.” “Roger. No signs of enemy reinforcement. Proceeding with pursuit battle.” “Viper02 acknowledge.” 『Enemy reinforcement detected! The scale is one Wing.』
『Enemy reinforcements? What about our backup!』 『Norlan control to all units. Fall back to second rendezvous point immediately. Repeat, fall back to second rendezvous point immediately.』 『I can’t shake them off!』 『……Damn it damn it damn it!』 “Pixie01 to all Wing members. Begin mop up operation.” “Viper02 to Pixie Wing. We have visual on you.”
“Same here. Can your Wing assist in the pursuit battle? I want to focus on sweeping up the remnants of the enemy units.” 『Enemy reinforcements!』『God damn it! Don’t stop! We are running! Hurry!』 “Roger, thank you for your assistance.”
『Holy shit, this is hell on earth!』 『My intestines! Someone grab my intestines!』 “This is your unit’s sworn enemy. Don’t mention it. Over.”
What in the world did I drink last night?
He started with a random question.
He knew someone was shaking him, but it has been a long time since his brain refused to work like this.
First Lieutenant Guninguel was confused by the fatigue he felt in his entire body.
Someone… is calling for me?
Vague silhouettes appeared before his giddy consciousness.
… This could be trouble. He was being addressed by rank, was the other party a Military Police or a supervising officer?
His brain was still groggy, and his head was spinning.
Just what did he drink? Standing steadily after downing a bottle of Scotch Whiskey was something he was proud of. He wondered if it was vodka.
Following long years of habit, he opened his eyes by a slit.
The blinding white light filled the surroundings. Something was emitting light with a grating sound. No, was it some sort of heavy machinery?
He wanted to shift his body because of the glaring light, but his deep fatigue and the strange sensation that his body didn’t belong to him put him at a loss.
His brain finally woke up as he stared blankly at the ceiling, and started to understand the scene before his eyes. This didn’t seem to be his bedroom. So what exactly happened?
An empty room he had never seen before. A pure white empty room. No, was this an empty room? It seemed somehow familiar. Just where was he?
“... Ugh… Where am…?”
He wasn’t seeking for answers with his moan, but the person calling out at him seemed to have heard. People around him appeared to have heard his moans, and the surroundings suddenly turned noisy.
He wanted to sit himself up, but fell back immediately. His body wasn’t moving as he wanted to. He realized that someone was holding him and rendering him aid.
“Lieutenant! Great, you still awake? Medic! Bring the doctor here!”
“... What am I…?”
Just stating this question made him feel tired. Something was wrong. He couldn’t describe it, but something was wrong. What exactly happened to him?
It wasn’t because he didn’t sleep enough, his head was starting to clear, but the blurry scenes before him showed no signs of recovering. His eyes weren’t focusing, and was even starting to waver.
If it was a hangover, he should feel the urge to vomit and have another kind of headache… But there wasn’t any. As his sense of reality started to recover, his brain started to understand that he was in a strange state.
“Please calm down, how much do you remember?”
“... What… What do you mean?”
No. I mustn’t remember.
“The thing you absolutely must not recall.”
Something… I must not recall?
“It can’t be helped, Captain. They have been turned into mincemeat.”
“It’s the same here. The records had been wiped out. We recovered it, but I don’t think it is of any use.”
What about my comrades?
『Welcome to the Empire, did you bring your visa?』『Hahaha, Wing Commander, I forgot the welcoming flowers, what should I do?』 『Sigh, you troublesome fellows. Didn’t we brought fireworks as a substitute?』 『Oh right. Let’s set them off grandly then.』 『Good, I will sing a song to welcome them.』 『Oh, what song do you know, Wing Commander?』 『It’s a great song.』
“You two over there! You want me to sew your mouths shut!?”
Someone in the corner shut their mouths, but it was already too late.
Bloody red flowers bloomed, and his comrades… commander… subordinates were…
“Medic! Tranquilizer! Hurry!”
“You morons! You two will get it from me!”
Turned into mincemeat.
Transformed into bloody sakura petals.
Covering the entire sky.
Footnotes, where did they go?