The Grey Men (灰色の男たち Haiiro no otoko-tachi) was a faction of hard-line Belkan supremacists that arose sometime in the late 20th century. The group was responsible for orchestrating the 2010 Circum-Pacific War.
The Grey Men was a closed group of Belkan nationalists, who are presumed to have been well-connected businessmen, politicians, and military personnel. Specifics regarding the Grey Men's membership are scarce due to the organization's secretive nature, and its full roster remains unknown.
Planning and execution
Between 1995 and 2010, the Grey Men plotted to reignite tensions between the Osean Federation and the Union of Yuktobanian Republics in reprisal for Belka's defeat in 1995. Using their considerable political and monetary power, they acquired several strategic facilities along the Belka-Osea border and inserted sleeper agents into the Osean and Yuktobanian military.
By September 2010, the Grey Men's plans were in motion. It is unknown what exactly they did to prompt the following chain of events, but Yuktobania began spying on Osean activity late that month, sending an SR-71 over Osean territory on September 24 and a spy vessel to Sand Island Air Force Base on September 27. Osean fighters from the Wardog Squadron were scrambled to intercept both scenarios, prompting backup Yuktobanian Air Force squadrons to engage Wardog. All Yuktobanian fighters were shot down, prompting the country to formally declare war on Osea.
After Osea's deployment of the Arkbird and its orbital laser against Yuktobania's Scinfaxi submersible carrier, the scale of war tipped in Osea's favor. To offset this, the Grey Men sabotaged the Arkbird by planting an explosive device aboard a supply shipment from the surface. With the Arkbird out of commission, the Grey Men removed Osea's advantage and ensured that the war would be prolonged.
In early October, the Grey Men learned that the Osean president, Vincent Harling, was traveling to North Point to hold peace talks with Yuktobanian Prime Minister Seryozha Viktrovich Nikanor. To prevent the war from ending too soon, the Grey Men dispatched Grabacr Squadron, under the guise of Osea's "8492nd Squadron", to intercept and apprehend President Harling. Harling was taken into custody and held in Stier Castle, near the southern border of Belka. The Grey Men's intervention was not required in Yuktobania, as Nikanor was quietly removed from office and replaced in a coup of right-wing extremists. The resulting power-vacuums generated in both countries allowed hardliners to assume control of their nations' military forces and proceed into large-scale war.
As the war progressed, Osea gained the upper hand and successfully invaded the Yuktobanian mainland. The Grey Men decided to intensify Yuktobania's hatred of Osea and ordered Grabacr Squadron to attack an engineering college in Dresdene. This despicable act prompted Yuktobania to launch retaliatory terrorist attacks on Osean soil, which further intensified the animosity between both nations.
Attempt to eliminate the Razgriz
By early December, the Osean military—supported by the fearsome "Demons of Razgriz" (Wardog Squadron)—had captured Cruik Fortress and were within striking distance of the Yuktobanian capital, Cinigrad. The Grey Men could not afford to allow the Razgriz to end the war; in order to extend the war's duration, Grabacr Squadron was dispatched to ambush and eliminate the Wardog pilots.
When the ambush failed, and Wardog managed to escape, the Grey Men contacted Allen C. Hamilton, a former member of the 8492nd now working as the second-in-command of Sand Island AFB. Hamilton convinced the base commander that the Wardog pilots were traitors with ties to the Yuktobanian military. After Wardog escaped Sand Island, Grabacr (once again masquerading as the 8492nd) pursued Wardog. When the Osean aces were shot down over the Ceres Ocean and listed as killed in action, the Grey Men believed the threat of the Razgriz had been eliminated.
Harling's escape; nuclear threats
On December 9, a group of Osean fighters and marines attacked Stier Castle and freed President Harling. The loss of Harling was cause for concern among the Grey Men, but it did not impede their overall plans: the hardliners who had assumed control of Osea in the wake of Harling's disappearance now refused to relinquish power to the president, and the Osean war-effort continued unabated.
The Grey Men proceeded to intensify the situation by arranging nuclear attacks in both Osea and Yuktobania, in an effort to initiate nuclear war between the two nations. As the Grey Men prepared to move the warheads from storage in southern Belka, a single Osean aircraft penetrated the early-warning radar network and obtained photographic intelligence on the Grey Men's activities. Grabacr Squadron failed to intercept the Osean fighter before it could escape, and the Grey Men were forced to accelerate the relocation of the warheads. By the time more Osean aircraft attacked the storage facility the following day, the Grey Men had already removed three warheads from the area.
At some point, the nuclear warhead sent to Belkan agents in Yuktobania was obtained by the Yuktobanian resistance. The Grey Men consequently dispatched Ofnir Squadron (Belkan operatives within the Yuktobanian Air Force) to help recover the warhead. However, the same unknown Osean aircraft shot down Ofnir, which identified them as the "ghosts" of the Demons of Razgriz, and the resistance disabled the bomb.
Despite the loss of the first nuclear weapon, the Grey Men had a contingency plan: the second warhead was loaded onto the Arkbird, which had been secretly repaired and was now under the control of a Belkan agent known as "Adler". On December 19, the Grey Men ordered Adler to execute a nuclear attack on the city of Okchabursk, Yuktobania. The Grey Men's plans were foiled, however, when the Arkbird was shot down by the Razgriz.
A few days later, on December 22, Yuktobanian Prime Minister Nikanor was freed from imprisonment; with both Osea's and Yuktobania's rightful leaders once again at large, the Grey Men put into motion their final, ultimate act of revenge.
Defeat and disbandment
After the Grey Men's acquisition of Basset Space Center's mass driver, the Belkans completed Osea's long-abandoned Strategic Orbital Linear Gun (SOLG) and equipped it with V2 warheads, which had been developed by the South Belkan Munitions Factory towards the end of the Belkan War.
On December 30, President Harling and Prime Minister Nikanor revealed the treachery behind the war's outbreak in a press conference broadcast around the world. Working quickly, the Grey Men planned to bring the SOLG online and rain destructive V2 warheads on both Osea and Yuktobania before the two superpowers could retaliate. A joint Osean and Yuktobanian strike force approached the SOLG control center, which the Belkans had strategically constructed beneath the Waldreich Mountains. Despite the Belkan defense forces and the tunnel's narrow confines and shutter doors, the Ghosts of Razgriz destroyed the control center, removing the Grey Men's ability to operate the SOLG from the surface.
However, the Grey Men had one more trump card to play: the SOLG began descending into the Earth's atmosphere, putting it on a collision course with Oured, the capital of Osea. Belkan ace squadrons Ofnir and Grabacr were sent to escort the satellite during its descent. The Grey Men were ultimately defeated when the Ghosts of Razgriz shot down all of the Belkan aces and destroyed the SOLG before it could hit Oured.
The Grey Men is presumed to have disbanded shortly after its defeat at the conclusion of the Circum-Pacific War. Information regarding the fates of its members and whether or not they faced international prosecution for their war crimes is unknown.
- As with the alias of Wolfgang Buchner, the Grey Men's name is a reference to the 1973 German novel Momo, which features antagonists of an alien faction known as the "Men in Gray".
- The cutscene subtitles in the North American release of AC5 use the American spelling, "Gray" Men.
- ↑ Aces At War: A History 2019, page 039.
- ↑ Ending cutscene, Heartbreak One, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War (Japanese)
- ↑ Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War Perfect Guide, page 249.
- ↑ Cutscene 20, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 8492, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Shorebirds, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Open War, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Cutscene 10, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Handful of Hope, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Cutscene 23, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Cutscene 18, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Blind Spot, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Chain Reaction, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Reprisal, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 Cutscene 29, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Final Option, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Ancient Walls, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Cutscene 22, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Solitaire, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Closure, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Ghosts of Razgriz, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ White Bird (Part II), Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Heartbreak One, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Cutscene 26, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ ACES, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ The Unsung War, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.