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Ustio Air Force, 6th Air Division, 66th Air Force Unit "Galm"Initially, two mercenary pilots who fly on behalf of Ustio. A third later transfers in from another mercenary unit after Pixy's defection to A World with No Boundaries.
Tropes that apply to Galm Team as a whole:
- Ace Pilot: All three, but especially Cipher and Pixy.
- Adventure Duo: Cipher and Pixy. Especially implied with Knight Cipher, where Pixy calls him a constant, cold professional, while Pixy himself constantly cracks wise when he's not being a cynic.
- Badass Crew: Cipher and Pixy basically turn the tide of the war for the Allied Forces.
- Big Damn Heroes: To the Osean Air Defense Force in mission 10.
- Hellhound: The squadron is named for Garmr, the hound in Norse mythology which guards Nifleheim, the realm of the dead.
- The Legions of Hell: Probably not literally (Epileptic Trees aside), but everything about this unit is rife with symbolic motifs.
- Number of the Beast: They're the 6th Air Division, 66th Air Force Unit of the Ustian Air Force.
- Private Military Contractors: Did missions before the game, were hired at the last minute for the government of Ustio.
- Red Baron: Schwarze Team calls them the "Mercenary Dream Team". They aren't wrong.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Pixy and Cipher. Their F-15C fighters are colored this way; though both are ace pilots, their personalities are contrasting enough. Lampshaded later by Pixy himself as he is dueling against Cipher in his ADFX-02 Morgan when he says that both of them are "opposite sides of the same coin".
- Rule of Symbolism: Most of the symbolism in the game is centered around them.
- Spell My Name with an "S": "Galm" is actually supposed to be "Garm(r)," of Norse mythology. See Hellhound above.
Cipher, Galm 1
"Did you know there are three kinds of aces? Those who seek strength, those who live for pride, and those who can read the tide of battle. Those are the three. And him... he was a true ace."A mercenary pilot hired by Ustio to defend their last remaining air base from a Belkan bomber attack. He goes on to become the single most successful and infamous ace of the entire Belkan War.
"Cipher, I've heard about you. They say you never let your prey escapenote / They say you have what it takes to winnote / That pride's gonna get you killed, you know.note "
"Cipher, I've heard about you. They say you never let your prey escapenote / They say you have what it takes to winnote / That pride's gonna get you killed, you know.note "
—Larry Foulke ("Pixy"), on Cipher
- Admiring the Abomination: He's the focus of this as a Mercenary Ace. Even those who loathe his methods have a grudging respect for his skills.
- Animal Motifs: The Hellhound (as seen on the Galm symbol) and the Eagle (promotional art shows him flying the F-15C Eagle, and in some cutscenes he's represented by said bird as well as falling feathers) are both associated with Cipher.
- Anti-Hero: The Mercenary Ace path characterizes him as some version of one of these — someone who's fighting for the right cause, but the wrong reasons, whether it's the paycheck, for the fame or infamy, as revenge against Belka, Just Following Orders (no matter how abhorrent), for the opportunity to have "fun", the opportunity to kill people legally or just the opportunity to cause mayhem. Now, what type of anti-hero Cipher is, be it a Nominal Hero, an Unscrupulous Hero, or a Sociopathic Hero, is completely up to the player's interpretation.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: The Soldier Path emphasizes this part of him, able to outmaneuver and outlast enemies by reading the situation perfectly.
- Badass Normal: Canonically, Cipher only flies an F-15C Eagle. He takes down entire bases, renowned ace squadrons, giant superweapons, and even a superfighter piloted by his former wingman Pixy.
- Justified, in a meta way. F-15Cs were the Western air superiority fighter back in the day, to the point that the only recorded losses in air engagements were training accidents involving other F-15s.
- Blood Knight: On the "Mercenary" path. Mercilessly guns down everything in his way, be they civvie or fighter, and he won't rest until you're dead.
- Blue Is Heroic: His signature F-15C is colored in standard "ghost gray" with blue accents on its flight control surfaces.
- Combat Pragmatist: On the "Soldier" path. His goal is winning the battle - whether that means his hands are clean or dirty by the end doesn't matter.
- Consummate Professional: The Knight Path emphasizes this part of him, being cold and professional to the point of being inhuman, yet still having a sense of pride.
- Famed In-Story: The story specifically being the documentary that serves as the game's Framing Device.
- Even from the first mission, its made clear that Cipher is, while not at the level of Pixy, already a well-respected mercenary by the time of the war, though this opening dialogue changes depending on what type of ace he is at the game's start.
- Featureless Protagonist: A case of Gameplay and Story Integration. Pretty much the only thing anyone, both in-universe and out, knows about him is his gender. With the entire game being a documentary about his feats, not knowing anything about him actually adds more to the experience.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: He starts out as just another mercenary pilot, though Pixy notes on their first mission together that "he had potential." He ends up as, well, "The Demon Lord of the Round Table."
- Glory Seeker: On the "Knight" path. Pride and honor are the defining aspects of the Knight.
- Good Is Not Nice: When talking about Cipher, the Indigo Squadron leader compares him to the old knights of Belka, and states this about them, assuming Cipher acts the same way. Cipher is definitely not nice no matter what you do, but whether he's soft or even good is all up to you.
- The Hero: Definitely is the main character, and a hero of some kind. What kind he is is up to you.
- Heroic Mime: You don't hear a single word out of his mouth, even though he can give orders to his wingman.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: To the extent that he's never interviewed in person himself. Everything we know about him comes from other sources.
- Hope Bringer: By the latter half of the war, everyone in the Allied Forces believes they have a chance just because Cipher's there.Pixy: Yo buddy, you've got everyone fired up and believing in miracles!
- Ideal Hero: The Knight Ace path characterizes him as this — someone who spares civilians, non-combatants, and those who drop out of the fight due to battle damage.
- Implacable Man: Mercenary Cipher will chase you down until he shoots you down, no questions asked.
- Leave No Survivors: Can be played like this.
- Louis Cypher: Sort of. "Cipher" name-checks the second element, he's nicknamed "Demon Lord of the Round Table," and he leads a squadron that flies under the Number of the Beast and is named for a mythological Hellhound. Becomes even more appropriate as a bloodthirsty Mercenary.
- Genius bonus also kicks in, when one realizes that the team's symbol is a hell hound, and one common appellation for mercenaries in real life is "Dogs of War"—which may also be a reference to the Wardog Squadron, one of Zero's countless allusions to Ace Combat 5.
- One-Man Army: To the extent that it is noted in-game that he is literally the reason that the war turned around and is going so well.
- Player Character: He's the main character of the game.
- Pragmatic Hero: The Soldier Ace path characterizes him as this — his main goal is to defeat the enemy, and while he doesn't go out of his way to cause collateral damage like a Mercenary Ace, he's willing to Shoot the Dog if it gives him the advantage over his opponent.
- Professional Killer: Is a mercenary, comes with the territory. How much this is played up is up to you.
- Punch-Clock Hero: Being a mercenary, it isn't hard to see Cipher as this. Once again, whether he is one is up to you.
- Red Baron: He's "The Demon Lord of the Round Table."
- Shout-Out: To the Wardog Squadron and the Razgriz myth of Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- The last game had the squadron named after wardogs and then a mythical demon. Cipher combines both by being having his squad (Galm) named after a mythical demon dog.
- Cipher starts out as a mercenary raining death upon his foes, especially since he's helping his allies bomb the hell out of a civilian city then after the Belkan War he takes a break. Afterwards, he ends up saving the world. This perfectly matches up with the Razgriz myth. For bonus points, start out playing as a mercenary and then end the game as a Knight.
- There's also a few references to Mobius One. In particular is the default paint scheme for the F-15C he's associated with, which, save for missing the ring of blue around the nose, is identical to the paint scheme of the F-15C from 04.
- Shrouded in Myth: Cipher disappeared after the end of the war. People don't even know if he's real. Finding out everything about him is the purpose of the documentary.
- Skilled, but Na´ve: More than one enemy Ace characterizes Cipher as young and inexperienced, but Cipher's natural skill allows him to triumph over veteran pilots.
- Sociopathic Soldier: Playing Cipher as particularly bloodthirsty can make him really earn the appellation "Demon Lord," so much so that at one point the game calls him out on it by having him get jumped for hitting a neutral, defenseless target in a later mission."Damn mercenaries, haven't you already earned enough!"
- Terror Hero: By virtue of becoming The Dreaded. No matter how you play Cipher, this is ultimately what he will always become. Playing more like a mercenary just pushes him slightly closer to this. Alongside Ace Combat 5, this is probably the most triumphant example of this trope in the series.
- Weapon of Choice: Always depicted in promotional material in the F-15C Eagle.
- Worthy Opponent: No matter who talks about Cipher or what they think of him, they always have a small smile on their face by the end.
Larry "Pixy" Foulke, Galm 2
"While you're up here 'fighting for peace', tons of blood is being shed on the ground. Some 'peace' kid."
—Pixy, getting fed up with what he sees as PJ's self-righteous attitude
The second member of Galm Team, a mercenary pilot like Cipher, and the best Ustian aerial ace until his arrival. He seems to have a profound respect for Cipher's skill, regardless of which Ace path he takes. He defects to A World with No Boundaries after losing faith in the Allies' cause and also serves as the game's final boss. Being defeated by Cipher causes him to reevaluate his beliefs, and in the game's present day he's still fighting other people's wars.
- The Atoner: Most likely the reason he's still out there fighting for seemingly lost causes.
- Broken Ace: While he was never exactly an idealist, the destruction of Hoffnung and Belka subsequently nuking its own cities to stop the Allied advance seem to utterly crush what little faith he had in the way the world works. He eventually gets better, but he has to go through another whole different ringer first.
- Catch-Phrase: "Yo, buddy! Still alive?". Always said towards Cipher, with a variation later in the game:"Yo buddy, still alive? And thanks, friend. I'll see you around."
- Char Clone: Interestingly, Pixy has some traits of this. Sure, he doesn't wear a Cool Mask or Cool Shades, but he's a blonde Ace Pilot associated with an aircraft that's at least partly red (implied to have had a bit of Red Baron fame before becoming Cipher's wingman and seeing the "Demon Lord" overshadow him), who's a close ally to the main character (like Quattro in Zeta), and then becomes an enemy of his, trying to bring about The End of the World as We Know It (like Char in CCA). Not in a Colony Drop fashion, but close enough.
- Hell, his main paint scheme is a red streak on one wing.
- Continuity Nod: Clues in the epilogue indicate that after the Belkan War, he ended up on the Usean continent, fighting for ISAF against Erusea in the same conflict as Mobius One.
- Crutch Character: Unlike Cipher, who starts the game (not New Game+) with just the weaksauce starter planes, Pixy begins outfitted with an F-15 (one of the more powerful planes in the game, if not top-tier) with all of its special munitions unlocked. In your last missions with him, however, Cipher is likely to have an even more advanced plane, while Pixy is still saddled with his F-15.
- Deadpan Snarker: Constantly cracks wise, mostly in response to PJ's more saccharine moments.
- Deuteragonist: While Cipher's undoubtedly the main focus of the story, Pixy has a major role as his first wingman and his final opponent. A good chunk of what we know about Cipher comes from what he tells us, and Pixy's own actions help drive the plot, especially towards the end.
- Dirty Business: His attitude towards war in general and his job specifically, at least at first.
- Evil All Along: Dialogue between Wizard and Pixy early in the game indicates both are already members of A World With No Boundaries long before Pixy makes his defection apparent.
- FaceľHeel Turn: His defection to A World with No Boundaries.
- Fallen Hero: He goes from one half of the greatest Ace Pilot team of the war to an utterly disillusioned extremist willing to plunge the world into chaos by the end of the story. He does eventually recover, though.
- Fluffy the Terrible: He's a famous ace who's only second to Cipher and nearly ends up destroying the world. His callsign is Pixy.
- Famed In-Story: Is already famous as "Solo-Wing Pixy" by the time the story starts, among both enemies and allies alike. As the story continues, however, his fame is overshadowed by Cipher's infamy.
- Fashionable Asymmetry: As applied to a Cool Plane's custom paint job. The right wing of his F-15 is painted red, in reference to the same incident that gave him his nickname. This is also carried over to the prototype Morgan he hijacks after joining A World with No Boundaries.
- Foil: To Cipher; he even states that they're "opposite sides of the same coin" at one point. Also a bit towards PJ, as the two of them tend towards opposite ends of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism.
- This applies to all personalities of Cipher. Mercenary Cipher doesn't need a reason to fight, other than the pay or a chance to kill. Knight Cipher took pride in what he did, while Pixy did not. Soldier Cipher is also willing to use any means to achieve victory, but they fight for different sides.
- Heel Realization: After being shot down by Cipher, he comes to the conclusion that while "a world with no boundaries" might be an admirable goal in itself, bringing down the world's governments isn't going to change human nature overnight.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Essentially what he ends up as after the Belkan War. He knows from painful experience that humans are capable of being complete and utter bastards, but most people just want to get on with their lives, and humanity as a whole is something worth fighting for.
- Not So Different: He says this about him and Cipher in his final battle with him. HOW that works is up to your Ace Style and what you think.You and I are two sides of the same coin. There may be a resemblance, but we will never face each other...
- Overshadowed by Awesome: He starts the war as Ustio's best fighter ace, but Cipher ends up outclassing him by at least an order of magnitude. Conclusively hammered home in the final battle, when Cipher shoots him down while he's in the most advanced aircraft of the era.
- Punch-Clock Hero: For the first part of the game. He honestly doesn't believe that what they're doing is "good", but he at least believes they're fighting for the good side. That gets pounded out after the allied destruction of Hoffnung.
- Red Baron: "Solo Wing" Pixy, in reference to an incident before the start of the game where he landed his F-15 on only "a wing and a prayer," so to speak.
- Red Is Heroic: His F-15C's right wing is colored in red, and works as foil for Cipher's blue. Later averted as he becomes Cipher's enemy.
- Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: His attitude towards PJ.
- True Companions: Views Cipher as a close friend throughout their battles together. After he realizes the fault in his methods he reveals that, many years later, he still thinks of him that way.
- Turncoat: Belkan by birth, fighting against Belka as mercenary. And then flipping sides to A World With No Boundaries, possibly masterminded by Belkan political leadership.
- Walking the Earth: The path he chooses after the Belkan War.
- Pixy: "I want to see for myself what borders really mean."
- Weapon of Choice: Like Cipher, he is always seen using the F-15C Eagle, the only exception being as the Final Boss in the ADFX-02 Morgan.
- Wingman: For Cipher, at first.
Patrick James "PJ" Beckett, Crow 3/Galm 2Crow Team's Number Three, he is an idealistic fighter pilot who believes himself to be fighting to end the war. After Pixy's disappearance following the seven nuclear attacks, he becomes Cipher's wingman until the end of the game, being shot down by Pixy just before the final battle.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: His last words before he gets shot down by Pixy? "DANG IT!" Notable for being the only time PJ loses his cool; he also sounds genuinely furious, not like he's toning down his language.
- Motor Mouth: Subverted on your first mission together. He gets a bit chatty at the start, rambling about how he likes to play polo and such, but then catches himself with a sheepish "maybe we should get going now" and focuses on the mission.
- Retirony: After helping avert the launch of V2 at Avalon Dam and moments before Pixy sends him to the great junkyard in the sky, PJ says he has a girlfriend back at the base he plans to propose to, ecstatically mentioning that he even bought her flowers.
- Skilled, but Na´ve: PJ's good enough to be a member of Galm Team, but unlike either of them (Shrouded in Myth Cipher and Knight in Sour Armor Pixy), he's decidedly idealistic.
- Sixth Ranger: Becomes a regular part of Galm Team, eventually becoming Cipher's wingman, because Pixy abandoned them.
- Surprisingly Sudden Death: At the hands of Pixy, right before the final mission.
- Taking the Bullet: It looks like PJ does this for the player, but wasn't intentional. He was actually just trying to shift into the proper wingman position after hearing that another enemy is coming and by pure chance took the blast aimed at that very moment at you.
- Walking the Earth: It is established in the fluff that he had taken off in a motorcycle across the Osean Continent before the war, similar to Che Guevara.
- Weapon of Choice: F-16C Fighting Falcon.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Much to the annoyance of Pixy.
The Allied Forces
Allied ForcesThe good guys (supposedly, it can be hard to tell), made up of the Osean Federation, Yuktobania, Sapin, Ustio, and several other minor nations. Were attacked by Belka in a war of aggression and all took the time to gang up on the rogue nation and make them pay for centuries of bad blood. Were shocked by Belka nuking itself, turning Osea in particular into the pacifistic nation it was during Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- The Alliance
- Curb-Stomp Battle: After the initial invasion is turned around, the Allies' counteroffensive seemingly trivially steamrolls its way towards the Belkan capital of Dinsmark thanks to bringing the military might of both of the superpowers of Strangereal and several minor powers plus mercenary forces to bear against the lone aggressor, Belka. Belka loses all of its conquests and South Belka in a scant three months from the beginning of hostilities on March 25th, 1995 to the cessation thereof on June 20th of the same year. It would likely have gone longer, but worse for Belka, had Belka not used nuclear weapons on their own soil to close off North Belka and reduce the amount of concessions the Allies could extract from them.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: As a whole, they are Strangereal's version of the real world's World War II Allies.
- The Federation: The Osean Federation of course. They are a much more morally gray example than most. Also, Yuktobania may count.
- He Who Fights Monsters: The Allies quickly resort to war crimes, such as the indiscriminate firebombing of Hoffnung to try to bring the war to as swift of a conclusion as possible.
- Multinational Team: An Alliance of multiple nations, united for the sole purpose of destroying Belka in retribution for their attempts to conquer their neighbors.
- My God, What Have I Done?: All the nations are collectively traumatized by what they did and the horrors of the Belkan nukes. This causes them to become pacifistic in the coming years, and sets up the events of Ace Combat 5.
- The Republic: The Republic of Ustio.
- Take That!: Their actions can be seen as a possible one to the some of the actions of the real world Allied Forces during World War II.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Get one from the main characters, except Cipher, for their actions, especially the firebombing of Hoffnung.
Ustio Air Force, 4th Air Force Unit "Crow"The other members of the Crow Squadron
- Weapon of Choice: F-16C Fighting Falcon
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Neither member of Crow Team had been seen again after Mission 12. Their fate has been left ambiguous as of yet.
AWACS Eagle EyeThe Galm Team's AWACS.
Belkan Air Force
The proud Belkan Air Force, based on the German Luftwaffe from World War II. Characterized as honorable, consummate professionals, who just so happen to be fighting for the wrong side.
- Ace Pilot: The best pilots in the entire world, being undefeated... Until they meet you.
- Big Bad: Though this could be attached to Belka as a whole, this really can be best attributed to Waldemarr Rald, the man who ran the fascist Fatherland and Workers Party that ran Belka at the time of the war and thus gave its air force their marching orders, and he was a behind the scenes backer of A World With No Boundaries. Also counts as The Unfought.
- Blue Blood: There were many members of the Belkan Air Force who hailed from the old nobility, who still held some sway over Belkan society. These families included the family of Wolfgang Buchner, aka Huckebein the Raven, aka Pops and The House of Ludwig, who are also of Royal Blood. House Ludwig collapsed after the war went south and the government collapsed.
- Colorful Theme Naming: They're all named after different colors (Except for Schnee, but it's similar enough).
- Consummate Professional: The Belkan air force as a whole is seen as being this, similar to how the German Luftwaffe in World War II was viewed. This contributes to the Belkan Air Force's disdain towards mercenaries.
- Fantastic Racism: Not by the pilots themselves but by their high command. It is heavily implied that the ultranationalistic government of Belka kept foreign-born Belkan aces under-promoted.
- Former Regime Personnel: Some of the lesser Belkan aces become this after the war, fleeing to other countries for military work, bringing advanced Belkan tech with them. The most famous of these are The Gray Men, who orchestrate the entirety of Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War and Lorenz Riedel, a former member of Gault team, helping the Estovakians produce the P-1112 Aigaion.
- Glory Days: Detlef Fleicher (Rot One) especially, but they all to some extent regard their military careers like this, some just hide it better than others. It's shown that Belka as a whole was pining for this, starting the war in the first place to revive these.
- Graceful Loser: Zig-Zagged. Many have regrets or disappointments with losing to Cipher, seemingly averting it, others are completely fine and want to fight him again, definitely playing it straight, but by the end, they always smile when they talk about him.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: Generally characterized this way (with the exception of Schwarze Team), fighting for their nation out of pride for its heritage and past greatness, even if the war is one of aggression. None of them speak about the nuclear attacks, possibly out of shame, but up till that point, they had no problems fighting for their country.
- Officer and a Gentleman: All of the Belkan aces (except Dominic Zubov) carry themselves like this, but Rot One and Indigo One especially. Truth in television, as the German air force in both world wars held themselves to a pretty high standard, and during WWI, even upheld chivalry.
- Retired Badass: All of the Belkan Air Force members post-war, even those with great pre-war military careers, with the implication that the Belkan Air Force was disbanded, similar to what happened to post-both World Wars Germany. Assault records indicated that the air force was reformed after the war, but no doubt in much diminished capacity.
2nd Air Division, 52nd Tactical Fighter Squadron "Rot"
"[...]Mercenaries who cross lines and allegiance for money have no country to protect. They only fight for their own power and fame."
—Detlef "Red Swallow" Fleisher, Rot 1One of the most famous squadrons within the Belkan Air Force. They commonly fought with a high sense of pride for their homeland. Their flight leader, Detlef Fleisher, nicknamed the "Red Swallow" is commonly seen as the poster boy for the Belkan Air Force. After the war, he became a university teacher in Dinsmark. Faced in the Mercenary Path.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Proud of his country and having no qualms of showing it. He talks down to Cipher because he's a mercenary.
- Broken Ace: Literally in his case. Losing to Cipher destroyed him.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: Was this in the very beginning, believing that fighting for his country made him stronger. After losing to Cipher, he wondered if that really was true, or if flying without a country made Cipher better.
- Meaningful Name: "Rot" is German for "Red".
- My Greatest Failure: He never got over losing to Cipher, and he doesn't know why.
- Pride Before a Fall: His squadron is the first you face if you choose the mercenary path, in the third mission.
- Weapon of Choice: Rot Squadron flies Eurofighter Typhoons.
10th Air Division, 8th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Grun"
"[...]For us, it's a matter of survival. In order to survive, you need to analyze the situation in an instant."
—Bernhard "Night Owl" Schmidt, Grun 1A squadron known for their daredevil and "rule breaker" attitude and their focus on surviving their mission instead of trying to accomplish it at all costs. Their leader, Brenhard Schmidt, earned the nickname "Night Owl" due to his ability to analyze in a heartbeat the tide of battle and act accordingly. He went back to his hometown of Sudentor after the war. Faced in the Soldier path.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: Grun One could apparently tell a laundry list of things including your fuel state and remaining ammo just by looking at your aircraft. Too bad it doesn't do him good for too long.
- Combat Pragmatist: Grun One believes firmly in doing whatever you need to do to survive, in or out of the sky. This even extends to gameplay, where Grun Team are some of the few enemies in the series to use flares in addition to simply evading missiles, often saving themselves from what would normally be a surefire kill.
- Hobos: Judging about his scraggly clothing and how he compares flying as living in the streets, it's implied he is now homeless or at least poor.
- Meaningful Name: "Grun" is German for "Green".
- Weapon of Choice: Grun uses the F/A-18C Hornet. Thus, they're a group of Green Hornets.
7th Air Division, 51st Tactical Fighter Squadron "Indigo"
"I fly under the code of knighthood. It's no surprise since we soldiers are the descendants of the Belkan Knights."
—Dimitri "Indigo Heron" Heinreich, Indigo 1A proud and elegant squadron with the reputation of racking kills en masse and able to win even greatly outnumbered. Led by the "Indigo Heron" Dimitri Heinreich, the descendant of a Belkan knight who could push any aircraft he piloted to it's limits. He was wounded during his battle with Cipher and fell into a coma until the end of the war, where he took the helm of his family's company. Faced in the Knight path.
- Good Is Not Nice: Characterizes the old Belkan knighthood as this, and believes that Cipher is like this as well. He also characterizes himself as this.
- Honor Before Reason: Subverted, as Indigo One notes that being a modern knight means not being overly generous to one's enemies, as that could lead to death.
- Knight in Shining Armor: As members of the Belkan nobility, they see themselves as modern-day knights of the skies. Fittingly, their insigna is a purple knight's helmet.
- Old-School Chivalry: Among all the Belkan pilots, they hold themselves to knightly chivalry the most.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Indigo One realizes that Cipher can kick ass and knew the situation would be bad for him, but believed that his experience would give him an edge. He was wrong.
- Weapon of Choice: Indigo uses the JAS-39 Gripen C.
- Worthy Opponent: He claims that the Belkan soldiers saw themselves as the heirs of their medieval knights upholding the ideals of chivalry, but that among all of them, only Cipher can really hold the title.
5th Air Division, 23rd Tactical Fighter Squadron "Gelb"
"I met him above this very sky. I can still hear the sound of the missile alerts from that day."
—Rainer "The Cormorant" Altman, Gelb 2A two-man squadron reputed for their high-end planes, ability to engage enemies even in their back and spotless teamwork. The only survivor is Rainer Altman, "The Cormorant". With his squadron leader killed and him shot down during the liberation of Ustio, Altman settled down in Directus after being saved by the local citizens, where he became a writer.
- Meaningful Name: "Gelb" is German for "Yellow".
- Power of Trust: Gelb 1 and 2 have complete confidence in each other, allowing them to fly in nigh-perfect synchronization.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Of all of the enemy aces, he is the most visibly traumatized by the events that took place on the day he was shot down. In particular, the memories of Cipher's nightmarish piloting and the death of his Captain haunt him to the present day. When the bells of Directus start ringing at the end of his interview, he states that the inhabitants ring the bells at dusk to celebrate the liberation of the city, but for him, the bells only remind him of death.
- Weapon of Choice: Su-37 Terminator.
- Worf Had the Flu: Gelb 2 mentions in his interview that his squad would often be sent from one mission to another without even any basic maintenance on their planes. Combined with being one of only two ace squadrons that don't outnumber you, this is why the player can easily take them out despite them flying Su-37 Terminators, a late-game plane for the player, just a third of the way into the game. note
13th Night Fighter Air Division, 6th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Schwarze"
"Though I guess it's hard for bad guys like us to die. The real heroes always manage to die first. But guys like him, Solo Wing, and me, we live the rest of our lives in hell."
—Dominic "Vulture" Zubov, Schwarze 1A black-ops mercenary squadron whose main job, among other classified ops, was to pursue and kill defecting pilots to stop any ideas of desertion. While deemed important by the top brass, they were scorned by the Belkan rank and file who saw them as honorless killers. Their leader, Dominic Zubov, is a mercenary veteran of several wars, but was christened "Vulture" in the process. He fled after the war and is now hunted down as a war criminal. Faced in the Mercenary Path.
- A Fate Worse Than Death: Dominic seems to indicate that, for soldiers like him and Galm Team, surviving and having to live in the world after the war is the worst fate possible for them, and one they fully deserve.
- Affably Evil: Despite being the member of a mercenary black ops unit who does really awful dirty work, he doesn't angst or take pride about his work, is quite polite and chill towards Brett and doesn't hate Cipher at all.
- Covert Group: Subverted. Schwarze is well known to friend and foe as "those mercenaries working for Belka", but killing traitors and cowards was only their public mission. They had "other" duties as well that they carried out in secret of unknown parameters, but it's implied they were something like this.
- Dangerous Deserter: Inverted: they are Dangerous Deserter Killers. That said, it's subverted after the war, in that they desert and flee the country, becoming war criminals.
- Faking the Dead: Unfortunately, because of the falsification, then destruction, of records regarding the squadron, with exception of Zubov, it has thus far been impossible to confirm if any of them are dead or alive. Thus its possible that any number of the KIA members are actually faking their deaths. Considering that they are possibly war criminals, and considering Lorenz Riedel's example this presents a definite risk to everyone else.
- Hide the Evidence: What Belka did regarding information about the missions Schwarze carried out, once Belka's loss became certain.
- Legion of Lost Souls: Dominic Zubov pretty much founded Schwarze to be the Belkan Air Force's version of this.
- Meaningful Name: "Schwarze" is German for "Black".
- Not So Different: Dominic Zubov sees this as the case between him, Cipher, and Pixy. Since you face him in the Mercenary Path, he's not exactly lying.
- The Political Officer: Is an air force take on this. Their job is (usually) to execute deserters, defectors, and cowards and maintain air force discipline.
- Plausible Deniability: Seemed to have been employed so Belka could claim this about their actions.
- Professional Killer: They are the only mercenaries flying for Belka, and are essentially seen as this.
- Red Baron: Schwarze Squadron was called "The Vultures" for being glorified hitmen for Belka and "Escapee Killers" for their official role of enforcing battlefield discipline.
- Red and Black and Evil All Over: They fly black MiG-31s with red highlights, and are portrayed the most negatively of any squadron in the game.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Averted. Despite surviving a battle that drove every other survivor insane because of its suicidal and genocidal nature, Dominic Zubov not only retained his sanity, but later went to work for Belka as a mercenary. Even today, he seems perfectly sane, if a little dark.
- Shrouded in Myth: Absolutely nothing is known about much of the squadron, including its members, because of the destruction of public records regarding them.
- Sociopathic Soldier: All of them, but especially Dominic Zubov, who, in the fluff, survived a war that devolved into genocide and suicidal battles.
- Token Evil Teammate: The most antagonistic Belkan pilots in the game, and some of them aren't even Belkan.
- Weapon of Choice: They fly MiG-31s.
22nd Air Division, 4th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Schnee"
"When a fighter plane goes down, that's the end. It disintegrates into pieces, incinerated beyond recognition. It's a scary thought. But it also makes you feel alive."
—Erich "Eternal 2nd Lieutenant" Hillenberand, Schnee 1The only squadron known to use electronic warfare alongside fighters, Schnee hides behind a jamming aircraft to snipe their enemies with long-range missiles. Erich Hillenberand, their leader, was a modest man not interested in awards and promotions, being nicknamed the "Eternal 2nd lieutenant". When the war ended, denying him a chance to fight again, he gave up fighting and got hired as a civilian flying instructor. Faced in the Soldier path.
- Affably Evil: If you could even call them evil. Schnee One has no regrets about being shot down, and he jovially recounts his story to Brett as he lives his new life as a plane pilot.
- Combat Pragmatist: Fitting the Soldier Path. Most Aces come in by introducing themselves. These guys start the battle by firing missiles at you from beyond visual range, and then using an EA-6B Prowler to jam your radar.
- Graceful Loser: Not only does Schnee One not hold a grudge against Cipher, he actually wishes he could have another chance to fly in the same sky as him.
- The Last DJ: Schnee One is an enemy version of this. He was known behind the scenes as "The Eternal 2nd Lieutenant."
- Macross Missile Massacre: Comes with their aircraft.
- Meaningful Name: "Schnee" is German for "Snow", reflecting their strategy of hiding behind jammers, akin to hunters using a snowstorm to ambush prey.
- Weapon of Choice: Schnee 1 through 4 use F-14D's and typically use Sniper tactics with Schnee Five (who uses the EA-6B) to blind you so you would not see the missiles coming.
- Worthy Opponent: Sees Cipher as this, so much so he couldn't wait to get back in the air and spent days walking to the nearest airfield instead of waiting for any search and rescue team to find him. He still never got to fight him again.
51st Air Division, 126th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Silber"
"What's important on the battlefield is to let go of hate, to survive, and to adhere to the rules you've set for yourself."
—Dietrich "Boss" Kellerman, Silber 1Active since the 70s, Silber Squadron saw several generations of Belkan aces come and go, each as good as their predecessors. Led by Dietrich "Boss" Kellerman, one of the first Silber pilots, who was pulled out of retirement to train and later lead the squadron and his students into battle. He gave up fighting for good and settled down as a farmer when the war ended. Faced in the Knight path.
- A Father to His Men: Silber One to his squad. He even calls his students his children, flesh and blood.
- Call to Agriculture: Dietrich Kellerman with his farm after the war.
- Mandatory Unretirement: Team leader Dietrich Kellerman's career actually ended in the 80s and he was retired before the war. He was brought out of retirement to bolster troop morale.
- Meaningful Name: "Silber" is German for "Silver", pointing towards Kellerman's age and experience.
- Old Master: A rare ace pilot example of this trope. Kellerman was still able to put up a good fight despite his age being well above fighter pilot norm (most pilots range between their early twenties to mid-thirties ; Kellerman is forty-five). He was also founder of the Kellerman Institution, which trained some of Belka's best pilots. Among who Michael Heinroth and Ashley Bernitz, aka Ofnir and Grabacr 1.
- Old Soldier: Was already this by the time the Belkan War started. The war's conclusion seems to have put him out to pasture for good.
- Passing the Torch: Kellerman sees Cipher's appearance, and his shooting down him and his entire squad, as his cue to do this.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: To a lesser extent than Gelb, but the loss of his students broke him.
- Weak, but Skilled: Silber One, who uses an F-4E Phantom II and is much more skilled than everyone else in his squadron, despite them using F-16C's.
A World with No Boundaries
A World with No BoundariesA terrorist organization, formed from the members of the militaries of all the involved belligerent nations. They are striving for a world without borders, believing they cause conflict.
- Multinational Team: Has members from Belka, Osea, Ustio, Sapin, Yuktobania, and possibly other nations as well. All are unified behind a common goal.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: Inverted. They seem to see this attitude as the root of all war.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: If Pixy is any indication, they are made up of a lot of these. In the end, they are just soldiers who have grown disillusioned with war.
- The Man Behind the Man: The organization was secretly backed by the Belkan Far Right Fatherland and Workers Party, putting some doubt on just what the group's true purpose was and what connection it had to the old Belkan government.
- Villain Has a Point: Among their many complaints is that, even after the Belkan War's end, politicians will still squabble over territory and lead the way for future wars that they will never personally fight in. As noted by the documentary framing the storyline, this is exactly what happens after Belka's defeat.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: They desired a world without war... but were willing to kill billions to achieve it.
Sapin Air Force, 9th Air and Land Division, 11th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Espada"
"For me, it wasn't about flying or ideals. Most of all, it was about him, my flight lead."
—Marcela "Macarena" Vasquez, Espada 2Not much is known about this Sapin squadron save for their involvment with A World With No Boundaries and the romantic relationship between it's two members, leader Alberto Lopez and wingman Marcela Vasquez. Lopez did not finish the war alive (he dies in the air in the Mercenary path, succumbs to his wounds in the Soldier path and survives but disappears in mission in the Knight path) while Vasquez, still mourning him, became a dancer.
- Battle Couple
- Dashing Hispanic
- Star-Crossed Lovers: No matter what ace path you fly or whether on not you let Espada One escape, he is always destined to die and leave his lover alone.
- Weak, but Skilled: Espada One flies a freaking J35J Draken, one of the starting planes. You probably have something much better, but he can often still kick your ass.
- Weapon of Choice: Espada One's J-35J Draken and Espada Two's Rafale M.
Osean Air Force, 8th Air Division, 32nd Tactical Fighter Squadron 1st Flight "Wizard" and 2nd Flight "Sorcerer"
"We will carry out the new creation of destruction through the power of righteousness. Territories... peoples... authorities... all will be liberated. This is the new state 'A World With No Boundaries' will create. Neither nations nor nationalities have meaning. We will erase these unnecessary borders. The World With No Boundaries will pen a new story. The world will change."
—Joshua "Lucan" Bristow, Wizard 1
"The battle to realign the borders has moved to the meeting boardroom. Those lines will give birth to new conflict. Rising above countries and armies, our 'World With No Boundaries' will become one. For the ideal. For the people. It's time for a perfect world without restrictions or wars. V2 will erase the old one."
—Anthony "Bedivere" Palmer, Sorcerer 1Wizard and Sorcerer were among the most experienced squadrons of the Osean Air Force who fought on all the fronts of the Belkan war, including the Round Table. They ended up more and more disillusioned with the conflict and joined A World With No Boundaries. Their respective leaders, Joshua Bristow and Anthony Palmer, called "Lucan" and "Bedivere", were the best of the whole Osean air force. Bristow kept fighting for various terrorist groups until his arrestation and imprisonment ; Palmer ended up leaving the army and now works as an insurance salesman in Osea. Sorcerer is faced in the Mercenary path, Wizard in the Knight path.
- Bald Black Leader Guy: Palmer, though he is only a commander under both Anton and Bristow.
- Co-Dragons: Both fighter captains Palmer and Bristow can be seen as this to Anton Kupchenko, acting as the face of their organization.
- Dirty Coward: Bristow will only attack Cipher and PJ after they have wiped out his whole squadron, sacrificing his teammates so he could use his stealth fighter to get the drop on them.
- "Get out of Jail Free" Card: In an interesting turn of events Anthony Palmer gets this, but not Marcus Bristow, who ends up in prison. Palmer somehow avoids jail time and becomes an insurance salesman.
- Graceful Loser: Bristow honestly doesn't mind his stint in prison, and in fact realizes that their approach was flawed in trying to change the world.
- Jerk Ass: Bristow is much more openly antagonistic and ten times more insufferable than even Dominic Zubov, actively seeking to sacrifice himself even if it meant denying PJ and Cipher victory, after sacrificing his team to them.
- Long-Range Fighter: Each pair of planes in Sorcerer squadron announces their entrance with a volley of XMAAs.
- Meaningful Name: Wizard and Sorcerer evoke both Merlin and Morgan le Fay while Lucan and Bedivere were both Knights of the Round Table, as another nod towards the Arthurian motifs of the game. Although it's Pixy who ends up being Morgan.
- Mook Chivalry: Unlike the other ace squadrons, Sorcerer attacks in pairs, allowing Galm Team to never be outnumbered if they can take down each pair of planes fast enough.
- New Era Speech: Either Palmer or Bristow will voice a speech summing up a World With No Boundaries' ideals during the Allied attack on Avalon Dam, depending on who Cipher battles in the prior mission.
- Scary Black Man: Anthony Palmer. Inverted, in that it's Palmer who ends up scared.
- Tempting Fate: "Don't even think about heading back." Indeed, Palmer.
- Weapon of Choice: When you fight alongside then in Mission 10, they use the F/A-18C. When you fight them as opponents however, Sorcerer uses the F-15 S/MTD Eagle, while Wizard has half his team use F-16XL's while the other half, include the flight leader Bristow, uses the YF-23A Stealth Fighter.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Bristow sees himself as this, and doesn't seem to have any regrets about his actions. In an interesting twist, he doesn't mind his time in jail or losing, because he sees it as a sign that the world didn't want to change that way yet.
- What Is This Feeling?: Palmer almost says this word for word when fighting Cipher, as the young mercenary engenders a strange reaction from him. He soon realizes exactly what it is he is feeling: fear.
Belkan Air Force, 18th Air Division, 5th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Gault"
"The table is surrounded by politicians who have never placed a foot on the battlefield. It's a disgusting squabble over who gets the largest piece of the pie, and that's why it needs to end. It is for that duty we raised the King. That's why we're fighting."
—Anton "Dr." Kupchenko, Gault 1The "head" of A World With No Boundaries, Gault squadron is an 8-man team made of pilots who also excelled in engineering and science. Their leader, Anton Kupchenko, is both an excellent pilot and a certified engineer, having a hand in the development of all the Belkan superweapons, hence his nickname "Dr.". He was killed in battle by Cipher above the Round Table and buried in his native soil. Faced in the Soldier path.
- Anti-Villain: Ultimately, Anton's heart is in the right place, but his methods of getting his results are abhorrent.
- Badass Bookworm: Kupchenko and his men are pilots who graduated as scientists or engineers, or vice-versa.
- Big Bad: Originally, Anton founded A World With No Boundaries with the support of Waldemarr Rald. Just how much influence Rald had with the organization is unknown, but Kupchenko, in the end rises to become the game's Final Big Bad, while Rald, remains an unseen force in the story and fades into the background.
- Clock King: Anton Kupchenko runs his squadron like one, as the Enemy Chatter during the fight with Gault demonstrates that his pilots have been trained to fly in specific patterns to exploit enemy weaknesses.
- Continuity Nod: Lorenz Riedel, one of the surviving members, brings research on the Hraesvelgr to Estovakia, which helps them build the Aigaion. Lorenz himself appears in Mission 7 when you face said weapon.
- Danger Deadpan: Halfway between this and the squadron version of Major Injury Underreaction. Destroy enough of his squadron and he'll be merely impressed, saying this:"He's flying in unpredictable patterns."
- Greater-Scope Villain: Lorenz Riedel, for the Anean Continental War in 6, with his delivering Hraesvelgr specs to Estovakia being a major point for the militaristic "generals" to win the Civil War and start the Continental War, but while he does appear in-game under the right circumstances as a named ace (Feniks) in Mission 7 (where you get to destroy the Aigaion he helped create), he has no real appearance or mention in the main story.
- Mad Scientist: Well, almost. He was instrumental in starting Project Pendragon, the Belkan weapons research initiative that churned out Excalibur, Hresvelgr, and the V2. Further, his callsign is "Dr." Furthermore,half of his team are educated as engineers or worked as engineers and researchers either before or after the war, making his team collectively this. Lorenz Riedel would take his tech and research on the road.
- The Man Behind the Man: Founded and was the leader of A World with No Boundaries.
- Old Master: Blink and you miss it, but Kupchenko's file show that is the oldest enemy ace (older than Kellerman) in the game, being able to shoot you down at the ripe old age (for pilots standards) of forty-eight. Not only that, but he was a veteran before graduating as an engineer, meaning the Kupchenko you face sat in a cockpit for longer than some enemy aces have lived.
- Old Soldier: Downplayed in regards to Silber 1, but Kupchenko is well past the retirement age for fighter pilots, still kicking ass in his late forties.
- Posthumous Character: Not in the game per se, but in the Framing Device of the documentary about Cipher, Kupchenko is the one ace who isn't interviewed because he died at B7R. The "interview" section for him consists of camera shots of his tombstone's epitaph.
- The Stoic: Even as his plane is disintegrating and burning, Kupchenko keeps his cold and confident attitude.
- Weapon of Choice: He and his squad uses Su-47's.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist:"The table is surrounded by politicians who have never placed a foot on the battlefield. It's a disgusting squabble over who gets the largest piece of the pie, and that's why it needs to end. It is for that duty we raised the King. That's why we're fighting."
Brett ThompsonA man investigating the Belkan War and, more specifically, the legendary mercenary pilot known as "The Demon Lord of the Round Table", and is implied to be doing so out of sheer fascination. To get a first hand account of the more significant events of the war and of this so-called Demon Lord, Brett Thompson manages to track down and interview Larry Foulke, the infamous pilot's friend and wingman once-upon-a-time, alongside a handful of former Belkan aces who had met and fought the Demon Lord in the skies of battle long ago...
- Intrepid Reporter: A reporter willing to meet bloodthirsty mercenaries and go on dangerous battlefields for the sake of satisfying his own curiosity definitely gets this moniker.
- The Faceless: As befitting a narrator. Even though his voice is present in almost all of the game's cutscenes and we learn his name at the end of his documentary via being credited as the interviewer, we never actually get to see him.
- The Narrator: The OBC documentary he ends up making acts as the Framing Device for the game as a whole.
- Workaholic: Actually inverted: Brett becomes so embroiled in his researching of the Belkan War, he mentions that he completely forgot about his job, which can only mean that it wasn't his job to make the documentary at all and really helps emphasize his obsession.