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"Check your front kid!"

I turned my head to the sky to see the G.50 buzz over my head. He rolled upwards, to my right, probably to loop around and back down onto my tail. I tugged my stick to the left, trying to lead my Buffalo out of his sight.

Bad mistake.

My ill conceived maneuver had put me dead centre in his gunsight as he completed the loop and dived back down towards me. Hot tipped tracer surged straight toward me from the pair of 12.7 mils in his nose. In yet another hind-sightedly stupid move I then pushed the stick forward, sending myself earthbound, making myself an even easier target for my pursuer. My Brewster shuddered as rounds sliced into my right wing.

"Is he actually having trouble with a Fiat?" I heard one voice say in an exasperated tone.

"I fuckin' told ya the new guy was gonna bite it today, Kev!" I heard another say, somewhat gleefully.

Day 1 3rd Aug, 1941

Well bollocks, I guess I'm gonna have to give some context to this, to whoever's wondering what the fuck they're actually reading. I figured I might as well start writing this diary, or memoire, or whatever the hell you wanna call it, so people can know what happened to me if my burnt corpse ends up getting dragged out of one of these flying buckets by some group of villagers.

So hi. My name's Matt. I'm 17 years old, I like tea, and I'm a pilot in a fighter wing full of guys who I'm pretty certain got kicked out of their respective militaries for good reason, in the employ of the Air Corps of some backwater-asshole country in the north of Usea. If you want the full details, I'm a Flight Sergeant of the Auroran Air Corps' 301st Mercenary Air Wing. Yep, a Mercenary Air Wing; people with piloting skills and the bravery, or, in my case, the foolishness to fly a crate for some ass-end nation usually tend to be in short supply in said ass-end nation during times of war. So, the armed forces of said ass-end nation start opening to recruitment to anyone with the qualifications. They also draw in starry eyed idealists (such as myself) with the usual spiel such as; "Do your part in the fight against Fascism, see the world, liberty n' shit, fuck yeah!"

Y'see, the ass-end country I'm fighting for, the Republic of Aurora, is at war with their southern neighbour, Schwarzland. They've always been at each others' throats for the past twenty years, but only last year or something did the proverbial defecation collide with the oscillation for some reason and- Oh bother, I'm making a ham-fisted attempt at exposition, aren't I? Y'know what, I'll just cut to the chase.

I arrived in this country about a month ago on some barely held together freighter, with a handful of cash and a case with my flying gear and a spare change of clothes. A rep from the Auroran military then picked me and a couple of others up and drove us to the nearest air base. There, I was interviewed and "relieved" of my passport. I had lied about my age and the amount of flying hours I had, of course. I can fly a plane; I'd been driving my family's old Curtiss since I was about fourteen. They didn't question further and I spent the next three weeks being instructed how to manage a fighter plane, a Brewster F2A-2 Buffalo, for me. It's a nice plane: a bit underpowered, but it's pretty sturdy and easy to handle. Well, that's what I hear, anyway. Really, it's about four or five times more powerful than anything else I've ever flown. After that I was given a posting at a base near the frontline with a bunch of other foreigners. They gave me my plane, a set of co-ordinates to follow and sent me on my merry old way by myself.

The Sky Crawlers Innocent Aces Music 0211:47

The Sky Crawlers Innocent Aces Music 02

Welcome to Kinsatskaya

The place I was being sent to was Kinsatskaya Air Base, an aerodrome close to the Ketraal mountain range that marked the border between Aurora and Schwarzland. I'd been in the air for a good three hours before I arrived in the region, my legs already growing stiff in the cockpit. I took some time to examine my surroundings; the landscape matched the description I had been given by the briefing officer. It was hardly an inspiring sight: a thick blanket of grey cloud stretched itself over the drab valleys before me. Well, uninspiring to me, anyway. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, isn't it?

Actually, I take that back. It actually looked kind of nice. Reminded me of where I grew up, a bit. I was drawn out of my slight daydream by the sight of a plume of black smoke rising from a field up ahead. Cautiously dropping myself down a bit, I peered for a better look. I could make out the twisted wreckage of a light brown biplane, with black cheetah spots dotted around it. The camouflage scheme matched that of a Schwarzland CR.42 Falco, a plane mainly used for reconnaissance. Poor guy must've found himself in the wrong neighbourhood. The plane seemed like it had been shot down fairly recently; I swivelled my head to look for who might have brought him down. Just then, I saw a light grey and forest green Hawker Hurricane, follwed by a similarily painted P-39 Airacobra, zoom past my nose. They both bore a dark blue, four-pointed star on the fuselage; the roundel of the Auroran Air Corps. My radio cracked into life.

"Nah, seems like the bugger went down with his ship, Joey," I heard a low voice say over the airwaves.

"Great, we don't have to bother callin' in the search squad," a man with a strong west Aurelian accent replied. "Hey, who's that over there?" He continued, noticing me. I identified myself.

"Ah, you must be the new guy we were told would be coming soon," the first pilot said. I couldn't quite put my finger on what accent he had. "Did'na think you'd be arrivin' so soon. Welcome aboard anyway mate."

"We were just wrapping up a patrol there," Joey directed his statement to me. "Follow us and we'll show you the way."

"Roger, thanks," I answered. Well these guys seemed nice enough so far. They both dropped their throttles back a bit and let me fall into formation with them. We then turned south-east and arrived within sight of the airbase, my new home, after about ten minutes.

"Alright newbie, I'm assuming you're low on fuel, yeah?" Joey called out to me. "You can land first, myself and Scott will follow. The ground crew will show you where to park your plane."

"Thanks again." I said, lowering my undercarriage and flaps. Kinsatskaya Base was bigger than I expected, a bit smaller than the airport in the capital where I was given my flight training, but still. I began to drop my throttle, positioned myself for a good approach, and began to glide my Buffalo down toward the main tarmac runway. The cockpit bumped and rattled as the landing gear touched the ground, and I gradually applied the brake to slowly bring the craft to a halt. A couple of ground crew members waved me in the direction of the parking area, where I saw a collection of various aircraft waiting, motionless.

I killed the engine and unharnessed myself from my seat, before sliding my canopy open and climbing out. A light drizzle sprayed down on my head as I pulled my flying helmet off my head. I reached behind the headrest of my fighter and pulled out the small duffel bag containing the little luggage that I had brought with me, slinging it over my shoulder as I proceeded towards the runway again. I watched the Hurricane gracefully descend onto the tarmac, obviously commanded by a practised pilot. I noticed from the extra red gunports on the wing that it was a Mark II. It taxied back over to the waiting area with the rest of the planes. Behind it, the P-39 made its own approach, its tricycle landing gear bringing it to a much smoother halt than my Brewster or the Hurricane. I decided to return to the parking area and meet my impromptu welcoming committee face to face. The purr of the Hurricane's Merlin engine quietly died down as the propellor gradually ceased its rotations. The canopy winded open as a heavily built man climbed out. I strode cautiously towards him, saluting him.

"Flight Sergeant Matt-"

"No need for that, laddy." He cut me off, extending his hand. I shook it semi-firmly. "The name's Scott." He had that unidentifiable accent. I took a split second to examine him. He was a big fellow, about a full foot taller than me, with a pair of relaxed, grey blue eyes looking out from a squared, roughly shaven face. Behind us, I could hear the P-39 pulling in.

"Joey's the fella in the Cobra," Scott pointed out. "Good to have you with us. Now before ya do anything else, you're gonna wanna check in with the Wing Commander, his office is over in the building that way. He'll sort out your bunk and the like."

"Alright, cheers. I'll see you around." I turned heel and proceeded in the direction that Scott pointed me in, towards a large red brick building across from the control tower.


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