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Wolfgang Buchner (born 1954) was an aristocrat of the Principality of Belka, and a veteran pilot of the Belkan Air Force. During the events of the Belkan War of 1995, he was ordered by his superiors to drop a nuclear weapon, to which he refused. Branded as a traitor by his comrades, he fled to Allied territory, where he settled down after being shot down in combat.

Biography

Life in the Belkan Army

Wolfgang was born in 1954 as the oldest son of a family of the Belkan aristocracy[1]. At an unknown point in his youth, he joined the Belkan Air Force. He quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a Colonel and earning the nickname "Huckebein the Raven".

In May 29th, 1995, during the Belkan War, he was given an order by his superiors to release and detonate a nuclear weapon within his native soil, as Belka's situation became increasingly desperate. He refused to acknowledge the order, and as a result was branded a traitor. He took to the skies in his MiG-21bis Fishbed and fled towards Allied territory while being pursued by the Schwarze Squadron, who were feared among the Belkan Air Force as deserter killers.

Early that day, Operation: Battle-Axe, the largest air battle of the Belkan War was taking place at Area B7R, at the Belka-Ustio border. Fleeing from Schwarze, Buchner entered B7R, hoping to lose the escapee killers in the crossfire. In doing so, he flew by the mercenary 66th Air Force Unit. Believing that they made him lose their target, squad leader Dominic Zubov ordered his team to kill the mercenaries, leading to a heated dogfight.

As Galm and Schwarze fought, Huckebein was engaged by a Belkan ace, Ashley "Grabacr" Bernitz, and was shot down. After bailing out over B7R and landing on the ground, he encountered Jack Bartlett, an Osean Air Force pilot who also fell victim to Grabacr. The two embarked on a journey towards Allied territory, and became friends.

Upon reaching their destination, they were met by Osean Federation troops, who thought them to be Belkan pilots. Seeking to protect his identity, Wolfgang told them that he was an OADF pilot. Ultimately, the two were allowed to enter Osean soil. A post-war investigation led to the discovery of his Fishbed's charred remains in B7R, and was marked in official records as "Missing in Action". After the events at Belka, Wolfgang settled down in Osea under the name "Peter N. Beagle" and joined the 703rd Maintenance Company.

Later life and Circum-Pacific War

By 2010, Wolfgang worked as a mechanic in Sand Island Air Base, a base located west off the Osean mainland. His many years of experience made him a mentor to many rookie pilots, and was affectionately called "Pops" by the base's crew.

In September that year, the Circum-Pacific War erupted between Osea and the Union of Yuktobanian Republics thanks to the Grey Men, a group of Belkan individuals who sought to pit the once allied nations against each other to avenge their country's defeat in the 1995 war. He survived both of Yuktobania's attacks on Sand Island, and befriended the young reporter Albert Genette, who was also close friends with the 108th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Wardog".

Betrayal and rogue activities

In early December 7, the Wardog Squadron returned from Yuktobania, after narrowly surviving an ambush by Gray Men-affiliated fighter squads in the Vladimir Mountains. After landing in the runway, Genette and Buchner went to the office of base commander Orson Perrault, seeking for answers. Upon entering the room, the two were held at gunpoint by Perrault, who believed that the 108th TFS were Yuktobanian spies. As Orson prepared to pull the trigger, Wolfgang shut the room's lights, and seized the opportunity to escape with Albert as the commander fired in the confusion. After meeting up, Pops and the Wardog crew hid from the local soldiers in the hangar area for over 30 minutes.

Unable to use their planes to escape, he led the team into stealing four Hawk trainer planes, and fled from Sand Island under Osean fire. Chased by the 8492nd Squadron, the team flew into the northern Solo Islands, managing to lose Grabacr through a combination of low level flight and the local magnetic field, which jammed radar. Upon reaching the northern tip of the islands, they were intercepted by Marcus Snow. Snow, who knew of Wardog's innocence, told them to trust him and eject through light signals, to which they complied. The entire squadron safely ejected, and were officially marked as "killed in action" in official records.

Shortly after the event, the Sea Goblin helicopter squad rescued Wolfgang and his friends, bringing them to the Osean Marine Defense Force carrier OFS Kestrel. From that point, he became the team's commanding officer, providing them with mission briefings and intel from the ship's CIC (command and information center). He became a friend of Nicholas Andersen, the Kestrel's commander.

In early December 30th, Pops briefed the Razgriz Squadron on the Strategic Orbital Linear Gun, an Osean-made orbital railgun comandeered by the Gray Men, and the involvement of the company Gründer Industries in the group's activities. In the middle of the briefing, the Kestrel was hit by a missile fired from a hostile submarine. In the ensuing panic, Andersen commanded his men to prepare the launch catapults to send the Wardog (now the Razgriz Air Command Squadron) into the air.

Pops and the rest of the crew used lifeboats to escape the sinking ship. He, Genette and the others saluted as the Kestrel sunk into the ocean. After the incident, he was rescued by the Kestrel's fellow recon ship OFS Andromeda, retaking his position once more as commander as the Razgriz flew to Sudentor, in North Osea.

In-game appearances

In Ace Combat 5, Buchner appears mostly in the cut-scenes and mission briefings, except when he temporarily leads the Wardog Squadron in mission 19 ("Final Option").

In Ace Combat Zero, Buchner appears in mission 10 ("Mayhem / Operation Battle Axe") as the named Belkan pilot "MiG-21bis Huckebein" (number 077 in the Assault Records), who can be shot down to unlock the MiG-21bis Fishbed special paint scheme. Huckebein only appears if the mission is played in the Mercenary Ace Style, since he is initially pursued by the Schwarze Squadron (Mercenary Aces). After Schwarze abandons pursuit and engages Galm Squadron, the player is free to either attack Huckebein themselves, or let him escape: he doesn't attack first but will pursue Cipher if shot upon. On Ace difficulty, if the player doesn't engage Huckebein for about 20 seconds and shoots down Su-47 Nachtigal, Ashley Bernitz enters the battle as "Su-47 Grabacr" (number 083 in the Assault Records) and will shoot Huckebein down unless the player manages to destroy him first.

Quotes

"In the past I flew alone, in a battle against my own country. But look at you! You've got all your friends around, don't you think?"
― Wolfgang to Blaze, "Solitaire"
"Eclipsing power is, at times, not only the instrument of demons, but also of gods. Lost, but not forgotten."
― Special quote, unlocked after all 32 missions are S-ranked in ACE difficulty.

Trivia

  • Huckebein is the only enemy pilot in Ace Combat Zero who will remain passive to the player unless provoked.

Reference

  1. Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War Assault Records, section #077

Sources

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