THE ACE OF ACES
By: KaijuDirector 007
THIS WORK OF FICTION IS HEREBY DEDICATED TO THE THOUSANDS OF YOUNG MEN WHO LIVED AND DIED BY THE FIGHTER PLANE. MAY YOUR SOULS REST IN PEACE FOREVER AND YOUR LEGENDS CONTINUE TO FLOWER AND BLOSSOM.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Space Battleship Yamato 2199. The only things I own are the original characters, and the storyline. Special thanks to Great Aviation Quotes.com for posting the quotes for online. More special thanks to the amazingly talented dtill359 for agreeing to be my beta.
You lived and died alone, especially in fighters. Fighters. Somehow, despite everything, that word had not become sterile. You slipped into the hollow cockpit and strapped and plugged yourself into the machine. The canopy ground shut and sealed you off. Your oxygen, your very breath, you carried into the chilled vacuum, in a steel bottle.
— James Salter
I belong to a group of men who fly alone. There is only one seat in the cockpit of a fighter airplane. There is no space alotted for another pilot to tune the radios in the weather or make the calls to air traffic control centers or to help with the emergency procedures or to call off the airspeed down final approach. There is no one else to break the solitude of a long cross-country flight. There is no one else to make decisions.
I do everything myself, from engine start to engine shutdown. In a war, I will face alone the missiles and the flak and the small-arms fire over the front lines.
If I die, I will die alone.
— Richard Bach
It was war. We were defending our country. We had a strict code of honor: you didn't shoot down a cripple and you kept it a fair fight.
— Wilfred May
It was my view that no kill was worth the life of a wingman.
— Erich Hartmann
Fight on and fly on to the last drop of blood and the last drop of fuel, to the last beat of the heart.
— Manfred von Richthofen.
An red Fokker Dr.I triplane, with a black cross behind a white field on it’s fuselage and tail, buzzed it’s way through the skies above a muddy valley.
The valley, devoid of life, was littered with hundreds of thousands of sharp barbed wire installations, sandbags, shell craters, and untold numbers of broken and bloody bodies. The pilot of the plane, a young man of twenty-five, constantly checked for danger through his golden eyes. A scarlet scarf, pinned fixedly on his neck began to flutter in the morning wind. Cold air stung his exposed skin like a mosquito. Then, suddenly, a familiar shape caught his eyes. A pusher, with it’s rail-thin fuselage, bulky nose, and rear propeller barely visible in the cloudy morning sky. ‘An easy kill.’, he thought.
From his vantage point, he would have been right. The pusher was about a thousand feet below the triplane. The first pilot had the strategic advantage. Smiling, the Germanic pilot dived down, the triplane’s Oberursel Ur.II engine roaring. Though the engine – and the plane – were insufficent for such a move, the pilot knew that the pusher itself was slower and basically easy prey for men like him – the memories of the Fokker Scourge still fresh in his mind. Then, two minutes later, the triplane’s twin Spandaus began to unleash their deadly message.
The shots were dead on and in a few moments, the pusher began to spiral down to earth, spewing out black fumes like a smoker on a Romeo y Julietta. Then, a red parachute popped out not far from the wreckage. The pilot decided not to kill him. He was a pilot, not a murderer. Nothing more, nothing less. He decided to turn for home. Then, suddenly, the roars of six Clerget 9Z engines filled the sky and the air began to get punctured by the distinctive “dun-dun-dun” gunfire of .303 Vickers guns. The pilot quickly got wind of this and turned into the attack, Spandaus blazing. The six Sopwith Camels quickly broke up. The pilot got a bead on one and chased it. A quick burst then was sprayed and the British machine fell down to Earth. One down, five to go. Then, a Camel on the left dived on the Fokker. The British pilot, keen to avenge his fallen comrade, jabbed the ‘fire’ button.
The guns remained silent. Smiling, the German quickly performed a wild aerial roll and got behind his attempted assailant, keen to deliver the plane barreling down. Then, in a spilt second, everything changed. Another Camel, hidden from the German ace, attacked. The second Sopwith’s Vickers rounds slammed into the triplane. In an instant, the German’s left eye, left hand, and two fingers on his right were gone. The blood oozed across the man’s body. But, as if God had decided to give the man a second chance, the pilot stayed alive. But for how long was shortly decided when the engine began to sputter. The man was good as dead. Now, the Camels came upon him, giving him everything they got. But for some reason, the shots missed. The Fokker pilot’s luck was balanced evenly on a rapier’s edge. But as bad as things were, they were about to get worse. A whole lot worse.
Out of nowhere, a giant, drill-shaped object suddenly came from the pilot’s right and missed him by a mere 100 feet. The deadly missile continued on for a while, then exploded, killing all within range – execpt for one. The German. Bloody, dazed, and confused, the lucky pliot wondered why he was still alive. The man’s eyes got heavy, and he began to feel weaker. He was dying. His blood was dripping gallons from his face and hand. Then a gigantic, white spiral came down from the upper atmosphere just in front of the pilot. The German could barely get a good look at it, but what he saw was horrifying. Then, as if by magic, the spiral dissapeared and a dark city appeared. A massive city, atop a rocky underbelly, with a massive ring around it. It was completely alien to human eyes. But still, in the pilot’s mind, it was more mystifying than Atlantis or breathtaking than Saint Petersburg during the days of Peter The Great. The dying pilot took some time to admire this unusual city of the comet. Suddenly, a laugh more horryfing then the laughs of ten thousand demons began to fill the air. Then, before the pilot could scream, the plane hit the ground, as if it had gone down to hell.
A man woke up with a loud scream. The twenty-five year old was off his bed, on the floor of his quarters at the UNCF’s base, called Neo-Trapani on the moon. ”It’s that dream again…”, he thought to himself. He checked the time on a small desk near his bed. It read 5:30. Smiling, the man walked into an adjouring room, a sink waiting for him. The man checked himself in the mirror. A pale German-Japanese man looked back at him. Despite his Japanese look, the man’s golden eyes, six-foot-one frame, not to mention his eyebrow-and-earlobe-length blonde hair gave away his German ancestry. He smilled and said to himself “Guten tag, Ace of Aces.” This man had earned his self-given nickname for good reason. Back in the days of the war with Gamilas, where the Earth’s forces on the run almost everywhere, he was the only man seemingly immune to the fear and general panic of his homeworld. For he, as if by the hands of Fate or by Lady Luck’s good fortune, had somehow become a legend in his own time. A feared ace with 500 kills to his credit. Beyond what even Erich Hartmann or Manfred von Richvoten could scrape up at their best. He was known by many names among his enemies… The Scourge of Gamilas. The Portent of Mars. The Terron Red. To his comrades, he was known by many other names as well. GoldenEye Charlie. Hartmann’s Heir. Jack O’ Twelve Aces. But most simply recognized him by his true name. A name that that garnered respect even from commanders like Jyuzo Okita and Ryu Hijikata themselves. Erich Nishizawa.
It had been a whole year since the legendary BBY-01Yamato returned from her epic voyage to Iscandar. The world had recovered from the Gamilas War squite well since then. In fact, the Earth hadn’t felt better than any time in her history. Long gone were the days of the Kirishima and the old UNCF. Now was the time of massive, twin-Wave Motion Gun bethmoths like the newly-minted BBY-05 Andromeda and her smaller, but no less potent consorts, the deadly Leo-class fast battleships and the sleek Enterprise-class carriers. And elsewhere, the fighting force of the UNCF as whole was changed as well. No longer did the skies and cold vacuums around the blue planet were patrolled by the trapezoid-nose Cosmo Falcons, as they were replaced by the newer, faster, and deadlier Cosmo Tigers. (Erich did not have the chance to fly the older model, though. As the validictorian of his class, he aready won himself a Tiger for his own.) Many were happy with changes like these, but for some, well, not so much. Like Herr Nishizawa, these pilots were quite bored with the fact that there was not action to savour. Only the standard neutrality patrol and cargo run defence (which was completely free of anything exiting, mind you), and nothing more nor less. No more Gamilas planes to shoot. No honors to be won. Only the extended boredom of what pilots called “leave on duty”. What they would have paid for the savor the thrill and glory of the Gamilas War, without th constant losing, of course. But in a few months, they’d get what they’d bargained for, and so much more. And Herr Nishizawa will bear the brunt of it, as will fifty-nine other pilots who’d follow him to the ends of the universe and back again. And this is where their story begins.