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A couple things:I don't condone torture. I hate wasting my own time for pointless endeavors.
Meaning, you'll never see some kind of April Fools' stunt from me.
Also note that the next chapter will probably be a while. It's a long chapter, I have plans this week, and SS releases on Thursday as well, so yeah, expect it to not be out for at least a week.Chapter 33 - The Sunset of a Superpower (1)
j.a.pan, capital city Tokyo
In a room in the Ministry of Defense, the j.a.panese prime minister was receiving a briefing on the strategy being used for the war with the Papaldia Empire from both the Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs.
"I will now outline our strategy."
A projector was turned on, showing a map of the imperial capital Esthirant and the surrounding areas. A laser pointer was used to a.s.sist with the explanation. The Papaldia Empire was quite far from j.a.pan, but it was very close to the Kingdom of Altarus.
"This relies on the modifications to Mu's airfield in the Kingdom of Altarus being completed for us to use as a military base, but…"
The pointer circled an area a bit north of Esthirant.
"There is a very large enemy base here. Fortunately for us, the Papaldia Empire has a tendency of building their forts and bases far from their cities. The fact that they concentrate all their forces in once place leads us to believe they're completely unfamiliar with our style of modern warfare. Papaldia has three of these large military bases; the one here appears to be the cornerstone of the capital's defenses.
"This base has a fair amount of aerial combat power; we've confirmed wyverns. In addition, at Esthirant's southern port, there are a few hundred s.h.i.+ps-of-the-line anch.o.r.ed there. As expected of the famed conquerors of the Third Civilization, their fleet would probably make the nineteenth century British Empire quake in their boots.
"For the s.h.i.+ps at the port, two escort flotillas should be sufficient; for the ground bases, we'll send a large number of F-2 fighter planes and P3C patrol planes to conduct large scale bombing with unguided bombs. That should wipe them out. With regards to munitions, after the war with Rowlia, as you already know, the budget resolution for the ma.s.s production of bombs was approved, so there's need to worry about our stock."
"W… Wait, hold on a moment," the prime minister interrupted. "'Large scale bombing with unguided bombs'? Isn't that far too inefficient? These are like the B-29s in World War II, right? Aren't we in an era of precise, guided weapons?"
The official took a breath, then answered the question.
"The SDF's JDAMs rely on GPS to be considered guided weapons. Because there is no GPS in this world, they can't be precisely guided. LJDAMs require a laser for targeting purposes, but we currently have no airborne vehicles in our country capable of emitting such a laser. On that point, we have nearly a hundred P3Cs, and seventy of them will be used for the operation. Up to nine tons of bombs can be equipped on each one, including wing-mounted ones, and that many explosives are necessary to eliminate this scale of a base. Of course, they will be escorted by AWACS and F-15s."
"I… I see."
"Our primary target is far enough from the imperial capital that we believe civilian casualties will be minimal."
"All right. So what you're saying is, if there were a strategic location, say a bridge, that we wanted to destroy, we currently lack the precision to execute that via bombing?"
"We could infiltrate the enemy country to designate a target; it would be expensive, but the Type 93 ASM-2 uses infrared homing, so theoretically it could be used as a smart bomb… I believe. We have no precedent, so I cannot say for certain. Or we could deploy attack helicopters, but their firepower is much lower so we shouldn't expect much from them."
"I understand. After this battle is over, I believe we need to reevaluate the SDF's weaponry. I apologize, please continue."
"Yes. After the capital's ground bases are all eliminated, the P3C bombing squadron will quickly change course and execute another bombing run on the ground base north of the industrial city of Duro. After that base is destroyed, we'll hit the factories that support the empire's armed forces to render them unusable. Originally, we were planning to destroy the bridge to Duro as well, but, because we only have unguided bombs, that would risk causing severe damage to the city, which could cause undue stress on SDF personnel and be received poorly by civilians as well as negatively influence our foreign relations. In the end, we decided against it."
"The empire's citizens would just see it as large-scale indiscriminate bombing."
"Finally, another escort flotilla will be dispatched to deal with the s.h.i.+ps-of-the-line at Duro's port."
"That is the outline for the first stage. The second stage depends on the resulting diplomatic situation, so it will be explained at a later date."
Papaldia Empire, imperial capital Esthirant
By the emperor's order, the Papaldia Empire was aiming to recapture the Kingdom of Altarus and once again turn it into imperial territory. At Esthirant's port, people ran about in a hurry to finish the necessary preparations. South of the capital, at the largest port in the Third Civilization, hundreds of s.h.i.+ps-of-the-line were anch.o.r.ed there and having supplies loaded onto them.
Navy Admiral Balus watched the work proceed from the roof of one of the harbor facilities. Standing next to him was the strategist Matal, said to be the greatest mind in the empire.
"Matal, what are your thoughts on the upcoming battle?"
"Hmm, based on cla.s.sic theory, we'll be attacking Altarus or whatever with an overwhelming advantage in numbers. However!!! Our true opponent is j.a.pan. Based on our a.n.a.lysis, there's a very high possibility that they've imported weaponry from the superpower Mu. As we know, they routed the oversight army then annihilated our forces dispatched to the Kingdom of Fenn.
"These kinds of consecutive defeats have not happened since the Papaldia Empire was recognized as a superpower… in other words, these crus.h.i.+ng losses are a historical event. j.a.pan is powerful! We have no choice but to admit it! We don't know how many, or what variety, of Mu's weapons they have. In the air we can probably expect our wyvern overlords to come out on top, but the real question is going to be about the sea. If they have La Kasami-cla.s.s wars.h.i.+ps, then… if we use standard naval warfare tactics, we'll probably lose."
"In that case, what should we do?"
"We have an incredible number of s.h.i.+ps-of-the-line, so we could put those numbers to use somehow. Or we could try something primitive, like sending waves of wyverns to land directly on their s.h.i.+ps and set fire on deck while the dragon knights invade the insides with guns."
"We would take losses with that tactic."
"You need to adapt already; this isn't an enemy we can fight then expect to make it out unblemished. However, if we press them with the empire's technology and resources, we can definitely win. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that this war will decide the empire's fate."
Admiral Balus had a far-off look on his face.
"After this battle, j.a.pan will pay dearly for underestimating the empire. Prisoners of war will wish they had died after they taste what we have in store for them. People of j.a.pan! You'll be facing the true might of the empire's main forces now!!!"
Navy Admiral Balus's spirit blazed intensely, even though he still had never laid eyes on j.a.pan's navy.
Papaldia Empire, north of imperial capital Esthirant, military ground base
The imperial capital Esthirant was the most elegant and splendorous city in the Third Civilization, a sponge that soaked up all the wealth of other countries. There was a military base north of the capital tasked with the country's defense, known as "the s.h.i.+eld of the empire." It was manned by superior troops with the newest weapons, soldiers who did not lack in training or morale. It was home to the largest force in the Papaldia Empire, one whose total strength would undoubtedly be recognized as the strongest in the Third Civilization.
The empire, which believed j.a.pan was using weapons from Mu, finally admitted that they were a strong enemy and began fortifying the base in order to absolutely prevent the capital from being invaded. Within the base, some land dragons were hauling magic cannons into orderly lines, others were being fitted with bullet-repelling armor, and the rest were partic.i.p.ating in training. Soldiers were also running around and going through training exercises with sharp, practiced movements that reflected the ridiculous degree to which they had been polished.
Watching the preparations from a tower in the base, the Imperial Capital Defense Army Lieutenant General Mayga nodded in satisfaction before turning to the dragon knight captain.
"Look at this. There's so much military strength concentrated here. Even if we were to face the Holy Miris.h.i.+al Empire, they could not take us down so easily."
"You may be right, but general! Our squadrons have also gotten a lot of promising rookies transferred in, take a look."
The dragon knight captain pointed to the sky, where the proud imperial capital aerial defense squadron was flying in formation. The mere sight of them was so majestic, so powerful that they would strike fear into the hearts of any enemy onlookers. Behind them, there was an even larger dragon flying after them. It was very fast, effortlessly closing in on the wyvern squadron.
"Ooh! So that's the wyvern overlord I've heard about! What amazing speed! It's undeniably faster than the wyvern lords!!!"
The wyvern overlord shot past the wyvern lords, the rulers of the skies that had been part of the main core of the empire's forces for a long time.
"The imperial capital aerial defense squadron will soon be comprised of only wyvern overlords!" the dragon knight captain boasted proudly.
"Ooh, how terrifying! To produce that many of them so quickly, His Grace is serious about this. With this much power, even if they attack us with a squadron of Mu's latest Marin fighter planes, they won't be be able to beat us. Nuwahahahaa!!!"
The s.h.i.+eld of the empire carried on its war preparations and continued reinforcing the base.
Papaldia Empire, imperial capital Esthirant, 1st foreign affairs department
Department Head Elto hoped he was wrong, but, when he received the information, he was unfortunately proven right. He was now resigned to it. The Papaldia Empire was currently at war with j.a.pan, and there were some Mu citizens living in the empire. The government of the Second Civilization superpower Mu suspended travel to the empire under the pretext of "because they have entered into a full-blown war with j.a.pan" and ordered their citizens to evacuate. Upon receiving that order, those citizens living here began to leave one after another.
"So they're really… I see!!!" Elto muttered to himself in his office.
The superpower Papaldia Empire and the barbarian land of j.a.pan. The two countries may have been at war, but there was no realistic threat to a superpower's home country. Rather, he could a.s.sert that telling their people to leave the empire was simply insanity. However, that was what Mu had done. Thinking about it, there was only one reason they would do this: they were completely backing j.a.pan and trying to provoke the empire.
"They want a war between superpowers… Why would Mu go this far?!"
Remille was already aware that Mu's citizens were beginning to leave the country. Soon, Mu's amba.s.sador would be arriving as per the empire's summons. He was looking forward to seeing how Remille would act, and what excuses the amba.s.sador would give. Remille had taken charge of diplomatic issues, so Elto would be able to just sit back and watch the proceedings at his leisure. He felt like he was just working in human resources now.
Remille was waiting for Mu's amba.s.sador in a small meeting room in the 1st foreign affairs department. Based on their intelligence, Mu's government used the war between the Papaldia Empire and j.a.pan to order their citizens to evacuate from the empire, and now all of those citizens were forming long lines at the port to leave the country. They concluded that Mu issued the order because they were the ones that exported weapons to j.a.pan. Otherwise, they could think of no other reason for an evacuation order out of a superpower's country due to a war between a superpower and a barbarian country.
Aside from Remille, the department head and all of the other department officials were also in the meeting room. It was almost time for Mu's amba.s.sador to arrive.
"The amba.s.sador from the country of Mu is here."
The heavy door opened and Mu's amba.s.sador, Mugei, walked in and took a seat.
Mugei surmised that the reason he was summoned was to ask why his country had issued an evacuation order after Papaldia had declared war on j.a.pan. Mu didn't see the empire as an enemy. They weren't particularly close either, but they had a valuable relations.h.i.+p. The empire also must have realized how technologically advanced j.a.pan was, so as long as he explained properly they should understand. No matter how much it hurt the empire's pride, he stressed that even he, Mu's amba.s.sador, would have to temporarily leave the country. However…
There was one small thing that worried him. The empire had declared a genocidal war against j.a.pan. If they truly were aware of j.a.pan's strength and level of technology, he didn't think they would have ever done such a thing. He didn't want to believe it, but there was a possibility that they actually didn't realize how strong j.a.pan was. No, that's far too implausible… if they weren't aware, then there was no possible way they could reasonably explain their losses to j.a.pan.
Mu's amba.s.sador Mugei brought his mind back into focus for the meeting with the empire.
"All right, let us begin the meeting."
With those words, the imperial n.o.ble Remille led off the discussion.
"I believe you are already aware that our country has entered into a state of war with the country of j.a.pan. I would like to ask you to explain Mu's responses to that event."
"Yes, we know that the Papaldia Empire and j.a.pan are at odds. We believe that the chances of this being a fierce war are high. To ensure the safety of Mu's citizens, our government has officially issued an evacuation order from your country. This order includes those working in our emba.s.sy. This measure was taken because it was judged that your capital may suffer an attack."
At this response, Remille's expression clouded over.
"Well, your cover is good. We've looked into it. Do you mind if we simply dispense with the act?"
Mugei was perplexed, unable to make sense of Remille's words.
"While engaged in battle with j.a.pan, we have witness reports of flying machines. Please, let us speak plainly."
"……I'm afraid I have no idea what you're getting at here…"
"You have no idea? My goodness, what a sly fox Mu has sent over to us. I will repeat, we have witness reports of j.a.pan using flying machines. The only country that builds flying machines is your country of Mu. Your weapons, that you've heretofore refused to export, have been exported to j.a.pan. And now, the order to extract all Mu citizens from the capital. Even an utter moron can see what this means. Why did Mu sell their weapons to j.a.pan?! And now, why are you warring with us?!"
As he shrank from Remille's verbal a.s.sault, Mugei was further disoriented by Papaldia's distorted reasoning.
"I believe you have committed a grave misunderstanding. Mu has not exported any weapons to j.a.pan at all. Their country's machine technology severely outstrips ours."
"You're saying that an uncivilized barbarian country is more advanced than the Second Civilization's superpower?! How can I possibly believe that!!!"
"The information… about how their country was transported from another world, did you not know?"
Remille recalled reading a report where that was mentioned offhandedly. However, she was a realist, so she could not take a tall tale like that seriously.
"Transported from another world…… Your country actually believes that?"
"We do, of course. Outside of Mu, it's considered a myth, but our history states that we too were transported from another world. It was clearly recorded twelve thousand years ago by the monarchy at the time. We have conducted a thorough investigation of the matter, and the results are that j.a.pan was transported from our original world, and twelve thousand years ago they were allies of ours. At the time, we knew them as Yamuto, which became Yamato, then Yamataikoku, and now, after countless evolutions, they are now known as j.a.pan."
Mugei took out numerous photographs from his briefcase.
"These are pictures of j.a.pan's combat aircraft. And this one is a picture of our country's aircraft… Please compare them; our aircraft have propellers, machinery that generate wind, they look quite similar, but j.a.pan's aircraft do not have propellers. Their speed as well, j.a.pan's aircraft can apparently surpa.s.s the speed of sound. Our country does not have the technology to build these. We do not have anything of value to export to j.a.pan; on the contrary, our side has demand for their products, we actually want to import from them, though we are loathe to admit it."
Next, he took out pictures of skysc.r.a.pers and flouris.h.i.+ng cities the likes of which they had never dreamed of.
"Here is a picture of j.a.pan's capital, Tokyo. Before j.a.pan was transported here, they were a country p.r.o.ne to earthquakes. All of these towering buildings were built such that they won't budge even an inch in the event of an earthquake."
The faces of everyone on the Papaldia Empire's side all at once became pale. Mugei continued giving his crash-course on j.a.pan.
"Whether it's their military or their technology, j.a.pan is far stronger, far more advanced than we are. To say they're even above the Holy Miris.h.i.+al Empire wouldn't be a large stretch. This is the country that you've declared war on, that you've stated you will purge. But rather than you doing the purging, it is also entirely possible for your opponents to be the ones purging you.
"The government of Mu has a responsibility to protect our citizens; with the way things are developing, they have judged that there is a chance Esthirant will be turned into ash, and that's why they have ordered all Mu citizens to escape from the Papaldia Empire. My colleagues and I will be leaving soon as well. After the war, if there is still anything left, I will be returning. I sincerely pray that we will meet again."
They were stunned speechless… No one had any response to give. While the Papaldian side was still silent, the meeting concluded.
Afterwards, the officials all remained in the meeting room. If what Mu's amba.s.sador said was true, then they had scorned an ultrsuperpower country, provoked them, and ma.s.sacred their citizens. Furthermore, the worst part was that they started a genocidal war with them. The words of a superpower's amba.s.sador carried a lot of weight, and the shock had dazed everyone to the point of being unable to think.
"All right then, so what do we do now…" Remille mused.
"If everything Mu's amba.s.sador told us is all be true, then there's a limit to what we can do. Honestly, it would have been better for us if Mu were waging a war by proxy through j.a.pan."
"Pfffhahahahah!" Remille suddenly started laughing. "This is the worst case scenario, the single possibility we could not accept! What a masterpiece! Huhaahahahahaaahaha!!!"
Elto was worried that Remille's had broken mentally. Thinking back, there were numerous opportunities to witness j.a.pan's national power for themselves, but they wasted each and every one of them. The fact that the j.a.panese didn't flaunt their power was also frustrating. Unfortunately, they couldn't take back their actions, and they couldn't turn back the clock.
The meeting in the Papaldia Empire's foreign affairs department stretched long into the night.
Kingdom of Altarus, royal capital Le Brias, early morning
The airfield that Mu built had been overhauled for use as a military base for j.a.pan. The facility had been expanded, and there were now a large number of combat aircraft and P3C patrol planes stationed there. The P3Cs were fully loaded with unguided bombs on all hardpoints, on the fuselage and wings. The P3Cs took off one after another, circling in the skies before forming up. The planes launched from the Kingdom of Altarus and the Princ.i.p.ality of Kua Toine merged into a single fleet and set course for the empire. They were on their way to destroy their enemy.
It was a huge fleet of turboprop aircraft the likes of which hadn't been seen since World War II. The P3C bombing formation contained seventy units, all pointed at the military base north of the imperial capital of the Papaldia Empire, Esthirant. They were going to bomb it to h.e.l.l.
— — Chapter 34