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"Stick with Trigger and you'll make it."
Tabloid[1]

Trigger is a male Osean Air Defense Force pilot, a member of the Long Range Strategic Strike Group and former member of Mage Squadron. Following his alleged murder of former Osean President Vincent Harling, he was reassigned to an Osean Air Force penal unit, Spare Squadron. He later became the leader of Strider Squadron in the LRSSG.

A renowned and feared pilot, his unique aircraft marking earned him the nickname "Three Strikes" by those on both sides of the Lighthouse War. His accomplishments include playing a key role in defending Stonehenge, destroying Arsenal Bird Justice, shooting down two ADF-11F Ravens, defeating Mimic Squadron, sinking the Alicorn, and besting Mihaly A. Shilage in a dogfight while the aforementioned Erusean ace was piloting an X-02S Strike Wyvern.

He is the player character in Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown. His personal emblem is an orange-haired wolf clutching a revolver in its jaws.[2]

Biography

IUN service

By May 2019, Trigger was assigned to Mage Squadron, whose leader, Clown, needed a replacement wingman.[3] On May 15, Trigger was deployed alongside the rest of the Fort Grays Island aircraft, to shoot down Erusean bombers.[3] Two days later, the IUN deployed Mage and Golem squadrons to recapture an airfield in Scofields Plateau as part of Operation Eastern Wind.[4] During the operation, Brownie began considering Trigger as her rival.[5]

Trigger engaging Arsenal Bird Liberty over the Chopinburg Rainforest

On May 30, Mage Squadron partook in a two-pronged offensive. In concord with a second attack on Farbanti, Golem, Mage, Gargoyle and Skeleton squadrons attempted to secure air superiority in the airspace over the Chopinburg Rainforest. Erusea deployed Arsenal Bird Liberty to counter their offensive, wiping out Skeleton Squadron and forcing Osea to retreat. Mage and Golem took up the rear guard duty. Trigger shot down the majority of the pursing MQ-101s, as well as Rosie Lucas. Unbeknownst to Oseans, Trigger came very close to facing Mihaly A. Shilage, who shot down Brownie and disappeared.[6]

The failure of the two pronged offensive forced the Osean command to rethink their strategy. On June 6, Osea conducted the Operation Lighthouse Keeper to rescue and exfiltrate former Osean President Vincent Harling from the occupied International Space Elevator. Trigger infiltrated the Erusean radar coverage and conducted a wild weasel operation to suppress the enemy air defense around the Space Elevator, allowing Sea Goblin to land and conduct a rescue operation. The Eruseans, however, were ready and waiting, equipped with thermobaric rocket-propelled grenade launchers. Harling managed to escape aboard Mother Goose One, but an unknown assailant shot down the aircraft in flight. Oseans blamed Trigger for killing Harling.[7]

Transfer to the 444th

Following the failure of the Operation Lighthouse Keeper, Trigger was court martialed and convicted of murder—as opposed to accidental killing (manslaughter) of Harling. He was sentenced to serve in the penal unit of the 444th Air Base in Zapland.[8]

Trigger defending the 444th Air Base

As the Oseans expected, on July 1, Eruseans deployed a bomber wing to wipe out the 444th Air Base; they were convinced that the decoy base was an active military installation. Now a member of the Spare Squadron, Trigger was sent on a suicide mission (Operation High Card) with the mission to put up a noisy show of force and potentially get shot down. Members of Spare, as well as their warden AWACS Bandog, bet on Trigger death during the mission. Trigger shot down most of the invading Erusean bombers. After Trigger returned to base, Bandog mentioned that Trigger cost him "a lot of money".[8]

On July 4, Trigger participated in Operation One Pair, which aimed to weaken a large Erusean base situated in Roca Roja prior to an assault to be carried out by the main Osean force. During the battle, Trigger inflicted significant damage upon the enemy base, and shot down the enemy MQ-99s and Sophie André.[9] Eight days later, he participated in Operation Two Pairs, assisting both Cyclops and Strider squadrons retreat from Yinshi Valley. During the operation Mihaly A. Shilage and two wingmen arrived and engaged Trigger. The ensuing dogfight ended in stalemate because of poor weather conditions.[10]

Spare Squadron forming up around Trigger

Trigger was deployed on two more operations in late July, including Operation Three of a Kind, where he aided in crippling Erusean drone fuel supplies at Artiglio Port.[1] During Operation Flush, he assisted in crippling an Erusean radar network situated on the Waiapolo Mountains, and shot down Hans Weber, as well as AI-operated F/A-18F Super Hornets faking Osean IFF signals. The Spare Squadron formed up on Trigger, allowing them to distinguish between friend and foe, before shooting down all the drones.[11]

By this time, the Osean high command had taken notice of the Spare Squardron's performance and started appraising them for official combat duty. They reviewed Trigger's case and began to suspect he might have been convicted in error.[12] On August 5, Colonel D. McKinsey ordered Trigger and Count fly an escort mission to ensure his safe arrival to Far Eastern Usea (North Plains). He noted, however, that high command had asked for Trigger specifically and he was "not entirely happy with this arrangement." During the escort mission, near Bulgurdarest border, an ADFX-10 engaged their small wing, which Trigger shot down before the Cyclops Squadron entered the airspace.[12]

Transfer to the LRSSG

After landing at Bulgurdarest, Trigger and Count joined the Long Range Strategic Strike Group (LRSSG), per a request from LRSSG company commander, Wiseman.[12] Trigger was promoted the leader of the Strider Squadron while Count filled a wingman position in the Cyclops Squadron. They flew their first mission on August 10, a part of Operation Siren's Song which sank the Njord Fleet and demolished the Erusean Royal Navy platforms at Snider's Top.[13]

Nine days later, Trigger participated in Operation Dragon Breath, which reactivated on of the Stonehenge railguns and shot down Arsenal Bird Liberty. When Erusean commandos to sabatage the railgun's targeting system, Trigger and Wisemen attacked the Arsenal Bird's main propellers, reducing its speed enough to allow for Stonehenge to target the massive aircraft visually.[13]

On September 2, Trigger was deployed to Sierraplata, alongside the LRSSG and Osean bombers. During Operation Magic Spear, he helped to destroy Erusean IRBM silos with the use of terminal guidance.[14]

Alicorn crisis

In September, Brigadier General Howard Clemens arranged Operation Sighthound, enlisting the LRSSG to help capture an Erusean super-submarine docked at Artiglio, the Alicorn.[15]

Trigger facing off against Elke van Dalsen

On September 4, the LRSSG was deployed alongside Drake and Enchanter squadrons, to escort a fleet led by the landing ship Puffin. During the operation, Trigger was engaged by Mimic Squadron, who showed an unusual interest in shooting him down. The duo soon fled the airspace and Trigger continued the operation. After defecting, the Alicorn deployed 4 Rafale Ms piloted by 4 SACS pilots, with one plane armed with a WMD cruise missile to serve as a diversion. Trigger pursued and shot down all participating SACS aircraft, much to Captain Matias Torres' frustration.[15]

Six days later, Trigger led Strider Squadron during an air raid on the Erusean reserve fleet at Anchorhead. During the operation, it was determined by multiple high-ranking Osean officers, including Lieutenant General Shepherd, that Trigger was an extremely valuable asset to Osea, and that the nation had much need of him. After successfully crippling the fleet, Trigger and Count were once again engaged by Mimic. This time however, Trigger managed to kill both pilots, Otto and Elke van Dalsen. After returning to base, OIA analyst David North revealed that General Clemens had been receiving false information from an agent of the Alicorn, Edgar Saxon. It was also revealed over the radio during the mission that Clemens had hired Mimic to assassinate Trigger, leading Vice Chairman Edwards of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to have Clemens arrested by military police.[16]

Trigger over the Spring Sea during the final confrontation with the Alicorn

On September 14, Trigger was part of a strike force tasked with preventing the Alicorn from launching a nuclear shell at Osea's capital, Oured. As the Alicorn attempted to flee PX80443, Trigger protected Specter Squadron as they deployed sonobuoys. Trigger then used a magnetic anomaly detector to locate the the Alicorn, allowing Osean vessels to strike the submarine with ASROCs and force it to surface. After Trigger destroyed the Alicorn's ballast tanks, Captain Torres faked surrender to give him time to arm the submarine's rail cannon. Disobeying his orders to cease fire, Trigger attacked the cannon as it fired, causing the shell to miss. Torres attempted to load a second shell, but Trigger destroyed the cannon's core, resulting in an explosion that ripped the Alicorn in half.[17]

Push into Erusea

Following the destruction of the Alicorn, Trigger's next mission saw him and Strider Squadron participating in Operation Werewolf, a midnight air raid on Erusea's air base in Cape Rainy. Trigger defended Basilisk Team from Erusean anti-air fire and destroyed the base's defenses and air power, allowing Basilisk to capture the base.[18]

Trigger and Strider Squadron's presence at the battle for Farbanti would play a crucial role in securing Osean victory, with Trigger dealing extreme damage to city's defenses, while simultaneously demoralizing the Erusean troops with his mere presence. During the operation, Sol Squadron arrived and engaged the attacking forces. During the ensuing dogfight Wiseman was shot down while attempting to lure in Mihaly so that Trigger could attack. Trigger continued to engage Mihaly and the rest of Sol Squadron until the fight was ended prematurely by the destruction of both the Erusean and Osean satellite networks. The destruction of these satellites crippled both the Osean and Erusean forces, which quickly fell into disarray. Sol Squadron disengaged and retreated, followed by the remainder of the LRSSG

Cut off from the theater command

Trigger pursues Sol 3 during Operation Beehive

Strider Squadron would then assist in the efforts of Operation Gorgon, which was to escort an Erusean general - Édouard Labarthe - to Osean territory. During the operation Labarthe convinced many Erusean conservatives to fight alongside them. In the process, Strider encountered an Erusean civilian liaison, which was being escorted by F/A-18F drones. The liasion was attacked by aggressive Erusean radicals and MQ-99s, which Strider shot down. However, the operation ended in disaster by an apparent friendly fire incident. Before the death of the Erusean general, he revealed Trigger was not wholly responsible for the death of ex-President Vincent Harling, but rather by an Erusean aircraft faking an Osean IFF.[19]

Running low on supplies and having no orders, the LRSSG would attempt to join with Spare Squadron at Tyler Island in Operation Reflux only to discover that the Osean invasion of the island had been a disaster. Despite the chaos, Trigger was able to assist in providing cover for the evacuations, personally defending the position marked by Princess Rosa Cossette D'Elise before shooting down two resupply ships that were to be used to resupply and upgrade the final Arsenal Bird. While these actions themselves were successful, it did not solve the problems of the LRSSG.

In desperation, the LRSSG sent Strider Squadron to assault Shilage Castle in hopes of stealing needed supplies in Operation Beehive. Strider destroyed the anti-air defenses of the castle. This confrontation would result in one final battle with Sol Squadron. During the dogfight, Mihaly arrived at the airspace and revealed that he was quite impressed with Trigger's skill and decided to 'test' the pilot in a one-on-one engagement. Trigger shot down Mihaly, who requested that Trigger put a stop to the drone production.

Ending the war

During the final stages of the war, Trigger played a crucial role in taking down Arsenal Bird Justice and destroying the pair of ADF-11F Ravens attempting to upload the new data obtained through Mihaly fighting Trigger and perpetuate the war. One drone escaped into an undersea tunnel system, forcing Trigger to give chase. After Trigger managed to shoot it down at the base of the space elevator, Trigger escaped the elevator by flying vertically through its windbreak and rejoined the rest of Strider Squadron and the remaining Osean and Erusean aircraft.

Postwar

On June 30, 2020, Osea hosted a ceremony commemorating the 25th anniversary of the end of the Belkan War and invited multiple foreign nations to participate. Trigger's original F-22A Raptor was showcased in a formation at Redmill Air Force Base alongside the air units of participating foreign nations. While Trigger himself was not piloting his aircraft, he was present at the air base and witnessed the ceremony.[20]

Gallery

Trivia

  • Trigger's emblem is an homage to Air Combat 22, where the Aces squadron emblem features an animal holding a revolver in its mouth.
  • A reflection of Trigger can be seen during the briefing for Transfer Orders. In the briefing, McKinsey dismisses the pilots, then calls Trigger back. A figure can then be seen in the reflection of the briefing panel turning around and facing the screen as everyone else leaves, though a message appearing on the screen obscures his features. Trigger appears to be a male of average height and build.
  • Trigger is the third player character from the Strangereal continuity to be seen outside gameplay, after Blaze from Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War and Phoenix from Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy. Like Blaze and Phoenix, only his body is seen, with his face being obscured.
  • Other characters often note Trigger's aggressiveness.
  • While dueling Trigger during Operation Two Pairs, Mihaly will note that Trigger positions his plane to deflect missiles away from critical components if hit.[10] This makes him one of the few Strangereal protagonists to be given characterization outside of the player's activities.

References

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