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"Remember, you're not bona-fide military; you're expendable."
― Colonel D. McKinsey[1]

Spare Squadron, officially the 444th Fighter Squadron, is a former penal military unit in the Osean Air Defense Force, formerly under the command of Colonel D. McKinsey. The unit is comprised of Osean military personnel who have committed some form of crime. Members of this squadron are considered expendable by the Osean Defense Forces.[2] Following Operation Flush, Spare Squadron was recognized as a legitimate Osean Air Force squadron and all members were pardoned.[3]

The squadron had no standardized aircraft, instead using a variety formerly mothballed fighter jets that were restored by Avril Mead. The tail’s of each plane was marked with "sin lines" in the form of painted on white dashes blocking out previous unit decals. The number of marks depended on the severity of the crime committed by the respective plane’s pilot.[4] Spare Squadron was first stationed at the 444th Air Base in Zapland and was later transferred to Tyler Island.[3]

History

Formation

Spare Squadron was formed sometime in May 2019[5] when a concept of the penal unit was proposed by Colonel McKinsey.[6] In May 17, the prisoners were transported to Zapland where the 444th Air Base was functioned as their base of operations.[5]

In June 2019, Erusean Air Force bombers fell for the Osean facade and began conducting bombing operations on the decoy 444th Air Base in Zapland. In order to make the base seem more legitimate, Spare Squadron was assembled for the sole purpose of deceiving the Erusean military. Unlike other squadrons, Spare Squadron had no official flight lead and instead only took orders from an AWACS operator. The squadron was deployed multiple times during this period.[7]

Deceiving Erusea

Spare Squadron shortly before taking off. Note the "sin lines" covering the planes' tail designations.

Following Operation Lighthouse Keeper, Trigger was tried and found guilty of assassinating former President Vincent Harling and transferred to Spare Squadron. Shortly after his transfer, Erusean bombers started bombing the base once again, believing the Osean Air Force was concentrated on it. Spare was sent up without access to their weaponry. During the battle, contact with Colonel McKinsey was lost, prompting AWACS Bandog to allow Spare access to their weaponry. Trigger almost singlehandedly shot down all bombers shortly afterward.[4]

After arriving back at base, all squadron members were thrown into solitary by Colonel McKinsey for using weaponry without his permission.[4]

Assault on Roca Roja

On July 4, Spare Squadron was sent to the desert region of Roca Roja in order to cripple a large Erusean base situated in the area prior to the main forces' assault. Without suitable armaments, Spare was deployed and commenced attacking the base. At the onset of the engagement, multiple Spare aircraft ran out of ammo and were unable to resupply due to Colonel McKinsey's orders. Commenting on the potential failure of the operation, Count eventually managed to convince Bandog to grant them permission to resupply. During the operation, Trigger destroyed substantial portions of the base, causing Erusea to deploy multiple MQ-99s to defend the base. As the operation continued, High Roller and squadron members were shot down, causing many of the remaining Spare aircraft to flee from combat. Undeterred, Trigger, Count, Full Band, and Tabloid managed to successfully complete the operation.[6]

Upon returning to base, Spare was thrown into solitary once again by McKinsey, this time due to members of the squadron resupplying during the operation without his permission.[6]

Rescuing the LRSSG

Mihaly engaging Champ over Yinshi Valley

Eight days after the attack on Roca Roja, Spare was tasked with securing a return route for the Long Range Strategic Strike Group squadrons, Cyclops and Strider. Shortly after the destruction of Erusean ground forces within Yinshi Valley, both Cyclops and Strider Squadrons entered the airspace while being pursued by MQ-99s. Almost singlehandedly, Trigger managed to shoot down the drones and protect the Osean aircraft. Following the destruction of the drones, Champ was suddenly engaged by Mihaly A. Shilage who, after a brief exchange of maneuvers, shot down and killed him before also downing Spare 10. With the threat of losing more friendlies, Bandog ordered Trigger and Tabloid to engage the Su-30SM. A dogfight between Trigger and Mihaly ensued, however, it was cut short as clouds were moving in, prompting Sol Squadron to withdraw.[2]

Following the successful effort of Cyclops and Strider, Spare was thrown into solitary yet again by McKinsey, due to returning without his permission and "failing as escorts".[2]

Crippling Erusea

Spare Squadron forming up on Trigger during Operation Flush

On July 22, Spare Squadron was ordered to destroy fuel facilities in Artiglio Port, with the ultimate goal of crippling Erusea's drone fuel supply. Spare succeeded in destroying the majority of the fuel supplies, however, several Erusean trucks loaded with oil manage to escape into the sandstorm Inessa 2, which had just entered the area of operations. Despite the hazardous conditions and subsequent arriving of Erusean drones, Spare managed to destroy all the escaping trucks.[1]

Five days later, Spare Squadron infiltrated the Waiapolo Mountains in order to destroy the Erusean military's communications network. As the area was guarded by satellite-guided anti-air missiles, Spare was forced to fly under cloud cover and only ascend in order to attack the radar facilities. Prior to the operation, Full Band managed to acquire more classified information, resulting in Bandog showing distaste with his actions. Following the destruction of the radar facilities, a squadron of F/A-18F Super Hornets with Osean Maritime Defense Force markings entered the airspace and attacked Spare. Unable to fire back due to their IFF, Spare formed up around Trigger, which allowed Bandog to register all blips in the formation as allies; while doing so, Bandog asked Full Band for his position. After destroying all the hostile aircraft, Bandog registers Full Band as an enemy and informs Count of the remaining hostile, causing him to unknowingly shoot down his wingman.[8]

Fate

Spare Squadron and 444th Air Base personnel on board multiple C-130 transports

Because of their accomplishments, the Spare Squadron, along with the rest of the 444 inmates were pardoned and integrated into the Osean military. Exceptionally, Trigger received more than a pardon; a court of appeal heard his case and cleared him of all charges.

On August 5, the squadron left the 444th Air Base. Of entire squadron, the Trigger and Count were separated to escort Colonel McKinsey to Bulgurdarest. Avril Mead also attempted to join them, but was rebuffed.[3] The escort mission was particularly hazardous, as Trigger and Count had to deal with Erusean camouflaged SAM sites, interceptor wings, an experimental ADFX-10 drone.[3] In the aftermath of the mission, the Osean military deployed Colonel McKinsey, who had been boastful of his own achievements, to the front lines, where the combat was at its hottest.[3] Trigger and Count, however joined the Long Range Strategic Strike Group (LRSSG), where Trigger assumed command of the Strider Squadron and Count became a member of the Cyclops Squadron.[9]

Tabloid, Mead and 444th Air Base personnel on Tyler Island

The remainder of the Spare Squadron departed for the Tyler Island. By the time they arrived, however, the global satellite communications network was lost and the radio contact with the Osean command authority was cut. The island had fallen to splintered Erusean factions who were fighting each other, as well as Oseans. The former Spare members were at the risk of attack from both Eruseans defending the island and Oseans mistaking them for a rebelling Osean penal unit. They would remain isolated on the island until October 10, when LRSSG would arrive to rescue them.[10]

Three weeks later, they helped escort refugees into the International Space Elevator. However, Tabloid was crushed by falling debris in the process.[11] Following the end of the war, they helped provide supplies for refugees at the Space Elevator.[12]

Roster

Members

Scrap Queen

After being convicted of breaking wartime aviation laws, Avril Mead was transported to the 444th Air Base where she was tasked with restoring old, mothballed aircraft to working condition. Her ability to restore aircraft and provide the pilots of Spare Squadron with refurbished aircraft eventually earned her renown and the title of "Scrap Queen".

Gallery

Trivia

  • The number 4 is considered an unlucky number in Japan and China; it can be pronounced "shi", which shares the same pronunciation for death (死).
  • Most of Spare's aircraft (Trigger excluded) were refurbished from mothballed aicraft from a junkyard, meaning that the aircraft usually did not belong to the convict prior to their conviction and imprisonment.
    • The squadron bears no unique tail code for its aircraft, so the aircraft wear the tail codes of the aircraft they were rebuilt from (or, in the aforementioned case of Trigger, the tail code of his previous squadron).
      • Trigger wears "FG" for Fort Grays.
      • Count wears "HK", possibly for Heierlark Air Force Base in North Osea.
      • Tabloid wears "MN", most likely for McNealy Air Force Base in southwestern Osea.
      • Champ wears "DN", for an unknown location.
      • High Roller wears "OR", likely meaning Oured.
      • Full Band and the rest of the squadron wear "AD" for an unknown location.

References

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