by Max Barry

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Montealba 1994

And where are they? And where art thou?
My home? On thy voiceless shore
The heroic lay is tuneless now--
The heroic bosom beats no more!
And must thy lyre, so long divine,
Degenerate into hands like mine?

Excerpt from "The Home of Vínfalov" by Aegis Stojansa

Luka Kontolis, sat in the cockpit of an F-104C. "HQ this is Blue Leader we are go for take-off"

"Roger that Blue Leader. You are clear for takeoff. ETA to SV. Marisa, 7 minutes."

Luka nodded to himself as he turned on the plane. On his radio, he heard his 3 co-pilots in the other 3 F-104Cs confirming their readiness. A minute after that all 4 planes were in the sky. Luka Kontolis was a veteran serving in the Soviet Air Force. He didn't see action in Afghanistan but still got dozens of hours of flight experience and was slated to become a pilot trainer before the fall of the Soviet Union. Up in the air he was still getting used to the sensitivity of the F-104Cs. Their maneuverability seemed nigh unmatched for their time but for their designed role it was almost a hindrance. Nonetheless, he would make the best use of them.

The trip to SV. Marisa would take less than 10 minutes. The Blankytnans have no aircraft of their own bar a few helicopters on both sides so the air superiority achieved by Vínfalov-Meyle should hopefully regain the initiative in the fight.

He could see the signs of battle from up in the sky, it almost looked like something from a movie. "Pilots! Dive! Begin operation!" The 4 planes each had 2 missiles strapped to their wings for bombing operations. The small squad dived down and fired their missiles. At the Blankytnan ground targets. Focusing on the artillery emplacements and forward positions. Once all 8 missiles were fired the 4 planes made another pass on the enemy lines and strafed them with their machine guns. Focusing on grounded hinds and other helicopters. After a few strafes, they flew back to Rybica to be reloaded with Missiles and ammunition to make another run. The other planes will be kept in reserve and their pilots grounded.

With fighter support the defending forces at SV. Marisa decides to conduct a limited counterattack. Under the cover of artillery, it is decided to advance aggressively with the AT-guns and infantry to take a more aggressive stance against the tanks and APCs at the battle. If Blankytnan forward positions can be taken it can more safely secure SV. Marisa from stray artillery rounds.

On the subject of SV. Marisa. Tensions between the native Meyleans and Eldurogthic minority due to the battle have led to multiple deaths on both sides. The Mayor of the city, a Meylean man has called for assistance in ending the violence. A request Juliet company has decided to answer. All 3 parties, Juliet Company, the Meylean civilians, and the local government all blame the Cola Eldurogthics for inciting violence and in the middle of the night, multiple arrests are carried out by Juliet Company within the Eldurogthic ward of the city. All most people hear of it is the occasional breaking of windows and a few screams as men, women, and children are dragged from their homes into unmarked vans. Suspicions start growing as suddenly a few gunshots are heard ringing out across town. But they last for only a few seconds before it goes back to silence.

The next morning houses lay empty and people remain missing. Eldurogthic police officers and constables are ordered to disarm themselves and return to their barracks until further notice. Juliet Company sends some volunteers to guard said barracks.

In other news:

-The Parsheni volunteers are quickly sent to Kopa for infantry reinforcements and provide the final strike to retake the village and secure the western approaches of Vínfalov-Meyle.

-The Spezians are thanked for their assistance the fresh soldiers from Spezia work with the Security Force to plan out an infiltration behind enemy lines in Zlate Pole and conduct a raid on Blankytnan convoys.

-Goldwell is seen by many as a necessary evil. Many of the natives detest the fact that they would so nacently chop down the natural forests of Vínfalov-Meyle but as they aren't the cherry fields are willing to do nothing more than grumble about it. The fact that their factory also helps provides jobs to indirectly assist the Vínfalov-Meylean economy allows the businessmen to remain in Vínfalov-Meyle with tolerance. But they are not accepted and even the government keeps them at an arms reach.

-At Svit, with evacuations complete Juliet Company proceeds to withdraw from the town back to Husinec. Considering their mission done.

-At Čečensko Juliet Company continues its day-to-day business in continuing the siege. Offers for surrender are not handed out as the commanders demand only the complete destruction of the Cola fortress that continues to stain and antagonize the interior of their homeland. The small Vínfalov-Meylean "Navy" makes a sortie out of the Anise harbour to conduct reconnaissance. and shell the rear of the Čečensko garrison.