(Phuku Lagolla Air Base, southwest of Griswall, Federal Republic of Aurelia - March 15, 2022, 0638 hrs.)
Shido, Tohka and Origami were following a pilot who looked and sounded exactly like their friend Hiroto Tonomachi back home. He was known to exhibit calmness in times of trouble and wasn't afraid to speak out on what he likes. The 'Tonomachi' in another world seemed to contain many of those qualities. When they approached a conference room, Tonomachi began to give them some reminders.
"Listen guys, they are very tense since the day something happened here." He explained.
"I get it." Shido replied. "We might tell them what we know."
"That's works too. We'll be going in now."
They opened the door and as expected, the officers of the Aurelian Armed Forces were there. But there is also a few officers from the Osean Federation, Independent State Allied Forces, Republic of Ustio, Republic of Emmeria and the Union of Yuktobanian Republics. Tonomachi didn't hesitate to salute and the trio did the same as well.
"Please, sit down." An officer told them. "Captain Tonomachi, you also."
"Yes, sir." Tonimachi replied.
"We will." Origami followed.
They sat down to discuss the situation in this world.
"So, you may be wondering why you are here?" An Aurelian officer asked.
"We didn't came here intentionally." Tohka replied. "We only tried to persuade a girl to stop running and get help. We thought it was just a runaway Spirit until she brought us here."
"I see." An Osean agreed with their view. "So this "Spirit" is the reason why you are here?"
"In terms of what you know, you three are probably our only hope in solving the problem of these destructive spheres popping around unusually." The ISAF officer said.
"Wait!" Shido shouted. "'Destructive spheres'?"
"Yes." An Ustian officer responded. "It plagued us recently. So far, no one is killed because of it, but we have to stay on guard since it could attack us at any time."
They then showed the map of the world they are in right now.
"Yup, definitely not in our world anymore." Origami confirmed quietly. The map then zoomed in to an area known as 'Belkan Priority One Strategic Airspace B7R', otherwise known as 'The Round Table'.
"Two months ago, this area was hit by the spheres we mentioned earlier." The Aurelian explained as the screen began to show the photo of the incident, which shocked the trio even more. "The purple sphere made an almost clean crater when it touched the ground. There is also someone in ground zero at that time."
"We know these." Shido said. "Those are what we called 'spacequakes'."
"Yes, it is a phenomenon when the walls bewteen dimensions are hugely bent, causing a spacequake to occur." Origami explained. "It also signals the arrival of a 'Spirit'."
"Okay then." The officer responded. "Then, there is this."
He showed a picture of a girl which bore an exact resemblence to the Spirit the trio chased earlier. This shocked them.
"Wait." Shido said. "We know her."
"You do?" The Aurelian asked.
"Yeah. Just this recently."
"Now that we found out what caused those spacequakes to occur, we would like to offer you a proposal." He continued.
"Come again?" Shido asked.
"If you help us in dealing with these 'Spirits', in exchange, we would help you get you home." The Aurelian continued. "Our top scientists are checking it out as we speak. Plus, we'll tell the governments that you are no threat to this world, unless you do something fishy."
"Thanks." Shido agreed. "On one condition. We will only deal with these 'Spirits' peacefully."
"Interesting." An Emmerian said. "Whatever they are, they are determined to deal with threats in that manner."
"That's settled then." The Yuktobanian officer agreed. "I will inform Cinigrad about this."
"We'll also inform the other governments about it also." The Osean followed. "Welcome aboard, you three."
"It's an honor working with you, everyone." Shido replied and the trio then saluted.
Few minutes later, the trio and Tonomachi left the room walking.
"So, how does it feel working with a world that suddenly finds itself at a tense time?" The captain asked.
"Well, not surprising." Shido replied. "We dealt with that before."
"Yes, captain." Tohka followed. "If he saw a Spirit like the two of us right now, what Shido did was take her on a date."
"Huh? Really? That was unexpected."
"What?!" Shido shouted. "Why did you had to say that?! It's embarrasing for me when you tell them."
"Don't worry." Tonomachi assured. "I won't tell anyone."
"Speaking of which, I think Shido needs something else aside from a date." Origami said.
"Yeah." The captain continued. "I'm thinking that Shido here needs some wings."
"What?" Shido felt surprised again.
"That's right. Later on, I'm training him to pilot a fighter jet."
"Oh, okay then. I just got a job as a commercial airline pilot just recently."
"Good." Tonomachi said. "Basic knowledge is key."
He then asked them about their names.
"Since I introuduced myself earlier, why not you too. At least we can know each other more."
"That's right. My name is Shido Itsuka." He introduced himself.
"I am Tohka Yatogami, a friend to Shido." Tohka followed.
"And I'm Origami Tobiichi, former soldier and also a friend of Shido." Origami followed last.
"Now that settles it." Tonomachi replied. "Let's go to the briefing room. We need to give you some introductions and a briefing."
Soon, they left for the briefing room.
(Briefing room - 0707 hrs.)
The Spirits and the boys were sitting down when an officer came inside. He then began the briefing.
"Alright, let's start the briefing. My name is Eugene Solano and I'll keep you up with current events. This operation will be a training exercise aimed to get Shido Itsuka and the Spirits be prepared for combat. You'll be training at Area Z2K, a controlled Aurelian airspace. There are drones that will be taken out by different means, so be familiar with the weapons that you will use. During the mission, my callsign is 'Crux'. There will be updates if any, so pay attention to your radio. Dismissed."
After that, they prepared for a discussion regarding some guidelines.
(Flight apron - 0750 hrs.)
At the flight apron, Shido went to the plane in full combat gear with the two Spirits following him. The plane he will be flying is an F-4E Phantom II, an old-but-capable plane featuring a gray paint scheme similar to the ones used by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. Just then, Tonomachi came.
"You're here, captain." Origami said. "Shido is ready."
"Captain, what are you going to do?" Shido asked.
"I'll be acting as your WSO, weapon systems officer." Tonomachi replied. "I was trained to do that so that I can teach rookie pilots."
"That's great. Thanks to giving me some help."
"My pleasure." The two boys then entered the cockpit and Tohka came to the access ladder to say something to Shido.
"Be careful." Tohka said to him.
"I will." He replied and he gave her a gentle pat on the head, which made her smile.
Shortly after, she left to join with Origami and the canopy closes. The plane then taxied to the runway. It then plowed through and it lifted off to the skies to the training area. The Spirits then followed closely.
(Area Z2K - 0835 hrs.)
They approached the controlled airspace where Shido's training will take place.
"Crux to Gryphus Squadron." Eugene radioed them. "You are approaching Area Z2K. Maintain current course."
"Roger, Crux." Tonomachi replied. "Approaching Area Z2K. Shido, you're good there?"
"Yeah." Shido said. "Nothing's wrong, captain."
"Looks like you got the hang of flying a fighter jet, at least. Don't screw this up."
"Captain, Shido is fine." Tohka told him. "He wouldn't do anything wrong."
"Don't worry. He wouldn't."
"Shido, good luck." Origami cheered him.
Then, they noticed some radar blips.
"Tally ho on the drones." Shido reported.
"All right, then." Tonomachi agreed. "Let's go hunting."
The UAVs that Shido and the Spirits will encounter are converted old F-16 Fighting Falcons. They were chosen because of their maneuverability, thereby giving the trainees an almost realistic feel of combat. Both sides began to break off formation to engage each other.
"Shido, let's practice using your missiles." Tonomachi suggested. "Those drones have manuverability that can shake the missiles off. So watch your enemy closely."
He got within firing distance of a drone and begins to arm his AIM-9 Sidewinders. As soo as he got a tone, he pressed the trigger.
"Fox 2!" He shouted and the missile flies to the target. The drone turned and the missile missed.
"No hit, Itsuka." Tonomachi said. "Try using what I said."
"I got it."
He then followed the drone closely and examined its movements. When the drone began to ease up, he fired the missile.
"Fox 2!" The missile, this time, hit the drone and shot it down.
"I got it!" Shido shouted with joy. "I got it!"
"Wooohooo!" Tohka followed.
"Nice work, Shido." Origami congratulated him.
"One UAV down." Eugene confirmed. "Continue with the exercise."
"Good." Tonomachi said to Shido. "Now we move on to the gun. It is essential to have it with you at all times. Running out of missiles doesn't mean that you can no longer fight."
"I'm on it." Shido said and proceeded to arm the cannon.
"Now remember, it is an unguided weapon." Tonomachi explained. "It doesn't lock on to the target. You have to manually aim it."
"Got it." Shido replied.
Once the cannon is armed, he began to aim for another drone.
"Firing guns!" Shido shouted as he pulled the trigger. The drone was riddled with bullets and it exploded. Another drone showed up shortly after, then Shido took care of that as well.
"Two drones down." Tonomachi confirmed. "You're getting good at this."
"Thank you, captain." Shido replied.
"Now. For Tohka and Origami." Tonomachi then turned his attention to the two girls. "You two."
"Yes, cap?" Tohka asked.
"We reserved a number of drones for you to take out. Show me what you got."
"On it." She complied.
"Will do." Origami followed.
The drones then appeared and the Spirits began to engage them while Shido and Tonomachi stayed put. As Origami closes in on two of the drones, her angel , Metatron, began to transform into one of its formations.
The pillars then pointed towards the drones and a beam of light was released. The drones were vaporized in an instant.
"What the hell?!" Tonomachi shouted. "That thing is too powerful!"
"I apologize, captain." Origami said. "It is a safer to do that since two of the other formations are too risky.
"Alright." He said while beginning to calm down. "Just continue for now. Don't use that while in a populated area. Got it?"
Tohka then proceeded to chase on two more drones. She then proceeded to launch an energy blast using her hands to take them out.
"Now that is much safer than THAT beam Origami shot out." Tonomachi said. "Tohka, nice work."
"Thank you very much, cap." Tohka replied with joy.
"Now it's our turn, Shido."
"Copy." Shido complied.
They boys then joined the fray as they continued to shoot down more drones. Once there are no more, they felt relieved.
"All UAVs destroyed." Crux confirmed.
"Whew!" Tohka said. "That was fun!"
"Indeed it is." Tonomachi followed. "Let's go home."
Just then, unknowns showed up on the radar.
"Hold on, cap." Shido told them. "Crux, do we any other flights on the radar."
"Negative, Itsuka." Crux replied. "No flights at this time."
"Then it must be..."
Suddenly, a missile alarm was sounded off.
"Shido, evade!" Tonomachi ordered. "Evade!"
The plane evaded the missiles and then, the girls noticed something. A flight of 11 F-35C Lightning IIs was flying below the radar coverage.
"Captain, multiple bandits in the air!" Origami reported. "Requesting permission to engage!"
"Affirmative! Get those guys!"
"What's going on?!" Shido asked.
"The bandits are shooting us! Welcome to actual air combat, Shido!"
Tonomachi then contacted Crux.
"Tonomachi to Crux, we have multiple bandits attacking!"
"Take them down!" Crux gave the O.K. "You are cleared to engage!"
"You heard him! Engage!"
"Copy!" Shido and the Spirits then broke off to engage the stealth fighters.
"One Phantom and two Spirits in my sights." The enemy pilot reported.
"Watch it!" Another warned. "That's Nemesis."
"His flight patterns are different." The third reported. "Is he a rookie again?"
"Not like the ace we knew. Be careful."
Shido then proceeded to engage one of the Lightnings in a dogfight. Shido armed his missiles at the plane and fired it.
"Fox 2! Fox 2!" The missile missed.
"Dangit!" He said in disgust.
"Those flight patterns are different." Tonomachi observed. "Could they be..."
Shido then resorted to his cannon and fired it. He shot down the plane.
"My plane's been Swiss-cheesed!" The enemy pilot panicked.
"I got him, cap!" Shido confirmed.
"Nice work, but we got more bandits in the air!" Shido then turned to find another target.
Tohka and Origami then used their angels to take out more fighters. It was quite difficult for them to shoot down due to their enemy's skill and they managed to evade their attacks.
"Fox 2!" The missile missed.
"Dammit! Who are they?!"
"Those are the Spirits! Be careful!"
The enemies then used a combination of cannon fire and missile barrages to try to take out the Aurelian adversaries while evading their fire as well. The latter, however, became defiant.
"Whatever you do, keep fighting!" Tonomachi reminded them.
Just then, a Lightning showed up on the Phantom's rear. He fired the cannon, but Shido dived to evade. A chase then ensued and the enemy tried to shoot the boys down.
Shido then decided to let Tohka case the pilot so that he can have a shot at him.
"Tohka, need help!" Shido pleaded.
"Don't worry, Shido!" Tohka came to his aid and managed to get the plane to back off. When Shido got a lock, he pulled the trigger.
"Seirei, Fox 2!"
The missile flew towards the plane and it hit it hard. The plane then dived to its desrtruction.
"All stealth fighters down." Crux said. "Looks like we got them."
"Whew!" Shido said in relief. "That was close."
"No kidding." Origami responded. "Those guys are serious."
"I'm glad that we are okay." Tohka radioed. "I wonder what would happen have we let our guard down."
"Yeah, and I think I have the answer."
"Who do you think is responsible?" Shido asked. Tonomachi took a moment of silence before giving out the answer.
(Briefing room, Phuku Lagolla Air Base - 1001 hrs.)
When the team returned, Eugene began the debriefing.
"This is believed to be an ambush carried out by unknown operatives from the Principality of Belka. We still have to determine why they attacked you and what motives they have. Currently, Belka denied any wrongdoing. For now, get some rest."
(Hangar A - 1020 hrs.)
Shido and Tonomachi were sitting in a bench wondering about the day's events. The Spirits were talking about another topic.
"This happened before." Shido told Tonomachi.
"What?" He asked. "You mean something happened like this in your world?"
"Yeah. Years ago, I met Tohka in the city center when she was wary of any human that could attack her. Thanks to my little sister, I managed to get her out of this situation and she lived a normal life ever since."
"Why not you tell me and who exactly are the Belkans?"
"Alright, I'll tell you."
Tonomachi then begins his explanation on Belka.
"Belka is a nation found on the northeast of the Osean Federation. They were renowned for their air force, which produces many fine pilots and ace squadrons thanks to their training and strategy. Years ago, the nation invaded its neightbors in the Belkan War, after years of economic downturn, which saw many of their lands seceded to become independent nations. And in one of them is a pilot who spread fear and admiration."
"Who do you think the pilot is?" Shido asked.
"They called him 'The Demon Lord of the Round Table' since he shot down many ace squadrons in Area B7R."
"Whoa. No wonder."
Just then, Tohka called Shido.
"Shido? Let's go! I'm hungry!"
"If she doesn't eat, she may scare people!" Origami said jokingly.
"Alright, I'm coming!" Shido replied and turned his attention to Tonomachi. "We'll talk later sometime, okay?"
"Okay." Tonomachi agreed. "I will."
"See ya, captain." Shido said and he ran to meet with Tohka and Origami.
Miku Izayoi was heading for Itsuka's home to drop a love letter.
"I wonder how would Darling react when I gave this love letter to him." She said in her mind using the nickname she called to Shido. "This is gonna be great!"
When she reached the door of the house, she knocked.
"Hello, Darling? Are you home?"
When she received no response, she banged it harder.
"Itsuka! It's me, Miku!"
She then wondered where is Shido.
"Hmmm...maybe he went somewhere but what was he doing?"
She then left after leaving the letter inside a mailbox.