Haikasoru

 

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YUKIKAZE — KAMBAYASHI

by Haikasoru

Yukikaze flew towards Faery Base, cruising at an altitude of 98,000 feet at supersonic speed. It flew alone.

Second Lieutenant Rei Fukai looked out of the cockpit at the dark blue sky spread out around him. Night was coming on and he could see the first stars. Below him, the planet Faery was ablaze with twilight colors. Soon it would match the color of the sky. Faery’s binary suns glowed crimson above the horizon, their mutual gravitational attraction pulling them into flattened elliptical shapes. A jet of dark red gas could clearly be seen spouting out of one of them. It arced up to the sky’s zenith, looking for all the world like the Milky Way, but instead of a pearly white it was a red suggestive of the color of blood. This enormous whirlpool of erupting gas formed what looked like a bloodstained path, and so it had been named the “Bloody Road.”

Rei set the cockpit illumination to its lowest level and lifted his gaze from the instrumentation. Nothing was out of the ordinary. It was quiet. He thought back to the battle just fought by the 666th TFS.

“Delta 4, engage. Break right. Right. Starboard.”

“This is Delta 4, I can’t see them.”

“They’ve spiked you! Look out!”

“Where’s the JAM?! I can’t see it on my radar!”

Delta 4 had broken into a hard-right diving turn but couldn’t shake the JAM fighter.

A pilot who couldn’t control his plane perfectly was a dead man. To Rei, that was the natural order of things. Emotions had no place in battle. A fighter plane feels nothing, and a pilot is a part of the plane. Therefore, a pilot who couldn’t set aside his emotions and become one with his plane was no warrior. And with someone like that piloting it, even a high-performance fighter would be no match for the enemy. And then that fighter would be–

Yukikaze’s wide-area radar warning receiver chimed an alert.

“What’s up?” Rei asked his backseater, the electronic warfare officer. “Verify that.”

“Not sure,” the other man replied. “The passive warning system’s activated, but I can’t track the location. It could be a bogey.”

“A bogey?” asked Rei. “Then… It’s gotta be a JAM. Find it.” Saying that, he switched on the fire control system and set the radar to long-range, moving target auto-search mode. The target was entering radar range.

“Target sighted,” the EWO called out. “It’s small. A fighter. Pretty fast. Speed is two-point-nine and he’s nose-on. We should merge in approximately two minutes.” Rei checked the moving target indicator. Was the other craft a hostile? A friendly? But the MTI’s display simply showed it as “unknown.”

“What is it?” Rei asked.

“Negative on the IFF.” If there was no response on the Identification, Friend or Foe system, then…

“It’s a hostile,” said Rei.

He entered the unknown craft into his tactical computer as an enemy. The system automatically adjusted the radar search pattern, frequency, power output, and pulse width to their optimal efficiency and tracked the target.

“Hey, Boss?” said the EWO. “We should confirm this first. It might be a friendly. Maybe their IFF’s off-line. I doubt any JAM would be flying around here.” The unknown plane was closing fast, its course unwavering, on a straight line for Yukikaze. Like a giant bullet, thought Rei.

“Lieutenant, take evasive action.”

In response to the rapidly approaching target, the tactical computer switched the radar mode to super search and automatically locked on to the target.

“Okay, let’s reconfirm this. What is that thing? Contact them on the emergency channel.”

“I’m trying, but there’s no response. Looks like their communications equipment is out.”

Yukikaze turned ninety degrees and dived. The unknown plane climbed rapidly, opening from them. However, Rei could still easily track it: Yukikaze was equipped with a powerful, omni-directional pulse Doppler radar that could accurately detect the target and display its location, velocity, and acceleration data on the MTI.

The target banked steeply and began to dive toward Yukikaze at high speed.

“He’s a hostile,” said Rei. “I’m engaging.”

“It’s not a JAM!”

“How do you know that?”

As Yukikaze pulled a sudden high-G evasive turn, from his seat in the rear the EWO caught sight of the unknown craft nipping at their heels. It was about half a mile away, a large fighter plane glittering in the light of the setting suns. Via the digital camera in their tactical reconnaissance pod he could make out the distinctive sharply pointed, twin vertical stabilizers on its back.

“You see that, Lt. Fukai?” he called out over the com. “That’s a Sylph. A Sylphid.”

“A Sylph? Who’s it attached to?”

“Unknown.”

Rei loosened his turn radius and craned his neck back to look in the direction his partner indicated. The other craft was closing on them. It was definitely the same model of plane as Yukikaze. It was now initiating a high-G turn to try and come around to their twelve o’clock. Rei rechecked the IFF. “Unknown” was Yukikaze’s reply. Then, detecting the waves of enemy targeting radar, it signaled that the unknown plane was preparing to attack. Rei set the master arm switch to ARM. The stores control panel displayed his onboard armaments. RDY GUN, RDY AAM III-4. Their antiaircraft gun and four short-range air-to-air missiles. He had no long-range missiles to fire.

“I’m shooting it down,” said Rei as he hit the dogfight switch.

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4 Responses to “YUKIKAZE — KAMBAYASHI”

  1. Marc McKenzie says:

    Wow…thank you so much for bringing the YUKIKAZE novel to the States. I’ve been a fan of the anime and was wondering if the book would ever be translated into English.

    January cannot get here fast enough!

    But, is this both YUKIKAZE and its sequel, GOOD LUCK, BATTLE FAIRY YUKIKAZE that was published in Japan in 1999?

  2. nickmamatas says:

    This is just the first one. So be sure to tell your friends!

  3. Marc McKenzie says:

    I got the book via Amazon, and now I’m about 2/3rds of the way through…excellent book, very, very good. Granted, a lot of things were not in the anime, but that is to be expected of most adaptations.

    Neil Nadelman has done a top-notch job with the translation, but of course it’s Kambayashi-sama’s ideas and writing that shine through.

    Thank you again for bringing this to the US. Are there plans to publish English translations of GOOD LUCK and UNBROKEN ARROW?

  4. Wild Goose says:

    Ah, the first encounter with the Copy Super Sylph. Great plug, and definately an excellent teaser that gets the reader hungering for more.

    Poor EWO. Unnamed, unknown… all that’s given of his name is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment in the OVA, where we see his name on the cockpit canopy – Richard Burgadish.

    I’m definately buying this, though finding it’s going to be a bit hard in Malaysia!


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