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VF- 03 "Spellcaster"
Tropes for the whole Squadron.
- Ace Pilot: After the war starts in earnest, they all quickly reach this.
- Action Girl: The entire squadron, except for Frank.
- Amazon Brigade: Except for Frank, there are no other men in the squadron.
- Badass Crew
- Band of Sisters + Frank
- The Dreaded: For the Soviets, especially Frank, whose nickname is The Butcher of the Bering Sea.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Before the war started they were mostly friendly, but had their issues with each other. Now any one of them would die for the others.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: The entire squadron after Frank's Heroic Sacrifice.
Lieutenant, later Lieutenant Commander Frank "Fronk" BishopCallsigns Warhound and Revenant: The Main Character. This is the "you" that the second person narrative refers to. Estimates put him at 24-26 years of age. Initially flies the F-14B Tomcat and the modified F-14D+. After being shot down over Alaska and being MIA for a time, has been given command of the Chance-Vought XF-02B Wyvern/Corsair IV for combat testing. His father is a Marine, his mother was a Navy Witch, and he has three siblings: Rex, an Air Force Pararescue Jumper; Jake, an Army tank commander; and Jessica, a witch-in-training at the Academy, currently leaning towards flying Hornets for the Navy or Marines. Jessica is now officially serving in the Marine Corps in Japan. Fronk is relatively level-headed, but not above any tomfoolery. He seems to have managed to avoid the "live fast, die young" mentality common among combat pilots- or at least outgrown it. He has close ties to most of Spellcaster. He is now known, much to his chagrin, as the "Eagle of Tanana" and the "Butcher of the Bering Sea", among other titles.
- Ace Pilot: After his first engagement.
- Berserk Button: Do not insult Merlin, or talk down to her, or hint that she's inadequate in any way because she's not a real witch. This is guaranteed surefire way of making Frank your mortal enemy.
- Big Brother Mentor: He acts like this towards Merlin. That said, while he loves her dearly, he's not above the occasional teasing.
- Commanding Coolness: Is promoted to Lieutenant Commander after becoming an Ace Pilot.
- Cast from Hit Points: It seems that his gnome powers are directly tied to his constitution. To wit: the only time he has come closest to dying — notwithstanding his crash in Tanana — was after the Battle for Berlin, where he singlehandedly engaged sixty fighters and three dreadnoughts. The only damage he took was falling into a coma for two weeks.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Ice. When the story began, he and Ice disliked each other intensely, and had trouble working together. After their rescue of Katya, and seeing combat together, their relationship is noticeably warmer, and they begin to treat each other as equals.
- The Heart: Surprising everyone, even himself, it turns out that Frank is the emotional center of Spellcaster.
- Improbable Piloting Skills: Frank has these. Merlin's magic allows her to talk to machines and she said that several times the planes themselves thought that what he was doing was impossible.
- Memetic Badass: In-Universe: To the point where Spetsnaz kill teams have been dispatched to assassinate him and fighter wings were dedicated solely to shoot him down.
- Not So Above It All: Is generally a sane man, and generally abides by military discipline, hence why he's polite to Ice while hating her guts (at the start). He's also the voice of reason keeping most of the pranks in line. That said, when an opportunity comes to dunk Ice into a pool, he doesn't hesitate to seize it.
- Rank Up: Starts the story as a Lieutenant before being promoted.
- Significant Name: Despite not being related to those Bishops in universe, he is still named after a World War One fighter ace.
Lieutenant Junior Grade Samantha "Merlin" WellsFamiliar: Seagull. Frank's backseater. Merlin is a Witch who is unable to fly, but is an instinctive genius with electronic devices, and she can talk to fighters and Striker units. She has some hangups over being a Witch who can't use strikers, and she's still very much a kid, but she's dependable and totally the best RIO in the entire fleet.
- Adorkable: Just see what happens when the girl eats chocolate cake!
- Break the Cutie: Is hit with this hard after Frank's Heroic Sacrifice.
- Big Brother Worship: While not actually being her older brother, Merlin still really looks up to Frank.All because he was the first person who really made her feel useful.
- Child Soldiers: Merlin's 15, and while she's the best RIO in the fleet, she's still a young girl.
- Cursed with Awesome: She can't fly Strikers like a normal Witch, but she can generate shields, guide missiles, and power up the gun of the plane she's in. She can also talk to machines.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: After Frank is declared MIA following the fight over Tanana, she develops a heavy case of PTSD. She is gradually getting better though.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Thanks to magical guidance and her own skills, Merlin has been able to consistently guide missiles to targets, beyond standard ranges, and with greater success rates. On average, normal missiles have an accuracy of below 50%. Merlin's missiles have an accuracy of above 80%.
- Guy in Back: To Frank. Merlin runs the Tomcat and later, the Wyvern's radars.
- Gadgeteer Genius: She pioneered Magic-Seeking Sensors and practical Conventional-Magic hybrid jet engines. It's to the point where some refer to her as the next Tony Stark.
Lieutenant Commander, later Commander Tabitha "Ice" KazanskiCommanding Officer of VF-03, the US Navy's experiment in having Witches and pilots flying together. Ice is the cold no-nonsense By The Book CO, and has a reputation for being a cold bitch. Her relationship with Frank starts out as coldly professional: they don't like each other, but they can work together. This changes as the story goes on.
- Ancestral Weapon: Eventually switches to an M1 Garand that was her grandmother's rifle in the Martian war.
- Commanding Coolness: Ice's rank is Commander. It's doubly indicative whenever she uses her powers, such as in thread eleven when she angrily storms into the room and you note the ambient temperature dropping about thirty degrees.
- Covert Pervert: Who would have thought that the utterly professional commander of VF-03 would be into trashy romance novels (of the erotic variety) as well as bondage?
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Over the course of the story, Ice warms up through the power of friendship and enemy fire, so much so that when Frank is shot down and MIA, it's Ice who's helping the girls deal with it.
- By The Book Commanding Officer: Ice became this, after a bad crash as a young Witch. Part of her character development is loosening up on the non-essentials, while remaining tight on what's important.
- Not So Above It All: Likewise, when arriving after a sortie in Alaska and finding Slider and Maverick engaged in a water gun fight, she quickly joins the fray.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Frank. After their rescue of Katya, and seeing combat together, their relationship is noticeably warmer, and they begin to treat each other as equals.
- Gun Nut: A mild case by, what we've seen. (She considered the XM 14 EBR prototype to be a heretical desecration of the classic M14.)
- Rank Up: Starts as a Lieutenant Commander, before being promoted after covering Katya's defection.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: She is the Blue Oni to Slider's Red.
- Shipper on Deck: She ships Frank with Slider.
- When She Smiles: Ice is almost always seen with a serious expression on her face. Whenever she smiles, it's truly a thing of beauty.
Lieutenant Rachel "Slider" KernerFamiliar: Boa Constrictor. XO of Spellcaster, 19 years of age. Flies F-14D and F/A-18 strikers, wields twin combat shotguns (Remingtons or Mossbergs, not sure). Slider is a bro-tier troll and a prankmeister supreme. She's also Ice's best friend and an ally to any member of Spellcaster. She's also got... something, going on with Frank. She's the most physically affectionate member of Spellcaster and the only one who has so far kissed Frank, though it was an "I'm glad your alive" kiss after being shot down. Time will tell if anything happens.
- Berserk Button: Hurt any member of Spellcaster, especially the little sisters, and Slider will have no mercy for you.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Slider may seem like a fun loving slacker, but she actually does the paperwork that keeps Spellcaster running, and approved for their reinforcements.
- Bear Hug: Tends to do this with the other members of Spellcaster Squadron, male or female.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Red to Ice's blue.
- Shipper on Deck: She ships Frank and Ice.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: Her weapon of choice. Later receives a pair of automatic shotguns care of Ice.
- The Gadfly: Early on in the story. She seems to have calmed down. Somewhat.
Lieutenant Patricia "Maverick" MitchellFamiliar: Cat. 17 years of age. Flies F-14D strikers, wields an M-16. Before her new wingwitch Goose joined the squadron, she and Frank were wingmen.
- Bi the Way: There have been hints of this. It's all but confirmed that Mav was sleeping with Orion, Frank's former RIO. At the same time, she also failed to pick up a hot blonde at a bar by the name of Charlie. Not to mention the ship tease between herself and Kat.
- Childhood Friends: Was retconned into being one with Frank.
- Wingwitch: Was formerly Frank's wingman on the U.S.S. Saratoga. After Goose arrived, she was reassigned as one to her instead.
Lieutenant Junior Grade Nicole "Goose" BradshawFamiliar: Cat. 15 years of age. Flies F-14D strikers, wields an M60 GPMG. Maverick's Wing Witch. Goose is the most junior of Spellcaster's witches, and pretty much the other squadron little sister after Merlin. Mess with her and face Slider's wrath.
- Child Soldiers: As with Merlin.
- Combat Medic: Kinda. Goose is technically a Heal Witch but she's a fighter first and hasn't been seen healing in combat.
Katya LitvyakNo official rank, seeing as how she defected from the USSR. Familiar: White Bengal Tiger. Somewhere in her 20s, no exact age confirmed. Flew Soviet Strikers before defecting, currently uses F-14D strikers and wields an M240, later a modified BAR. Was Frank's Wing Witch before the Styles twins showed up. Sanya Litvyak is her grandmother.
- Broken Base: After a catastrophic training flight with Frank that resulted in her leg being broken, her perception of Frank as a Knight in Shining Armor was shattered. As a result, she began to distance herself from Frank. [[Rebuilt Pedestal: Thankfully, the two reconciled.
- Defector from Commie Land: She is rescued by Ice and Frank as their first real combat.
- Fire-Forged Friends: With Ice. She and Ice may not particularly like each other very much, but she has Ice's back.
- Heroic R.R.O.D.: Nearly has one after she does around the clock missions when Frank is shot down and MIA.
- Rescue Romance: Was immediately infatuated with Frank after his part in helping her defect.
Lieutenant de vaisseau/Lieutenant Junior Grade Rosalie KentFamiliar: Black Cat. Granddaughter of Martian War veterans Ian Kent and Perrine Clostermann of the famed 501st Joint Fighter Wing. French naval witch who requested a transfer into Spellcaster. Flies with Rafale A Strikers. Currently no official Callsign, the Styles twins have used "Rose", though she hates this.
- Continuity Nod: Her name is a reference to Strike Witches Quest having Ian and Perrine get together.
Lieutenants Alyssa and Clarissa StylesFamiliars: Sharks of some sort. Twin witches who fly steelwings. Currently, they fly a XF-02B Wyvern. Clarissa is the RIO, Alyssa is the Pilot and has an artificial leg.
- Cute Little Fangs: Is depicted as having these in artwork.
- The Gadfly: They try to enter Slider's league. Emphasis on try.
- Twin Banter: Mandatory and rather funny.
- Wingwitches: Together, they are Frank's wingwitches after they join Spellcaster Squadron.
Lieutenant Kimiko SakamotoAn IJN witch on assignment to Spellcaster, and Kenji's older sister. So far, little has been seen of her in combat. Callsign and Familiar unknown.
- Identical Grandson: She's basically a red-haired version of Mio.
- Shipper on Deck: Quite enthusiastic about Merlin and Kenji. So much so that she's been giving Merlin lessons in things Japanese, like wearing a kimono, the tea ceremony, and addressing her as "little sister".
Related Military Personnel
Colonel Holly MacLeodCommander of the Air Force contingent at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. Flies F-15C strikers. Callsign Eagle; Familiar: Eagle. Age unconfirmed.
- Adorkable: Her interactions with Sergeant Will Wilkins and their budding relationship are so this.
- Character Development: Goes from being a bitch with a stick up her ass who hates steelwings to a much nicer person who's supportive of them. Falling in love with and marrying a Striker maintainer probably had something to do with that.
- Colonel Badass: She's a Witch and it's part of the package.
- Fan Nickname: "Colonel Bitchtits". Originally because she was one. Now more affectionate than anything.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Her XO claims she's this; she cares a lot, perhaps too much, but she isn't good at expressing it, and so comes off as a bitch. After she begins to soften up, she loses much of her jerk-ness.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Softens considerably over the course of her miniseries.
- They Do: Eventually marries Will Wilkins and takes his name.
Admiral Richard "Tricky Dick" NixonCallsign: Poseidon. Commander-in-Chief U.S. Pacific Command. World War II and Martian War veteran, flew a seaplane off the USS California in World War 2, currently flies an F-14D when he can get away from his desk.
- Amoral Attorney: Used to be this, until he decided he liked being in the Navy better.
- Badass Grandpa: He's in his sixties, but he can still handle a Tomcat.
- Casual Danger Dialogue: Calmly tells Frank that he's landing due to "some engine trouble." The engine is a shattered wreck - the only way it could be more damaged would be if someone shot it. Frank is understandably shocked. Nixon just shrugs it off.
- Crazy Awesome: He has shades of this.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: His general role and behaviour towards VF-03, who he seems to have taken under his wing.
- Soldiers at the Rear: For the most part, given that as CINCPAC he's responsible for all US forces in the Pacific, and can't really drop that to regularly play fighter pilot. He'd love to be getting in the thick of things, but he has to stay where he can see the bigger picture.
1st Lieutenant, later Captain, Dominica RandCallsign Hog; Familiar: Prairie dog. Age unconfirmed. Marine Corps Pilot. Flies A-10 strikers, wields a modified 7.62mm minigun.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Engages in this after Frank saves her and Rudel after Galena.
- Semper Fi: Is a Marine Corps witch.
- Trying Not to Cry: Goes through this after getting a dressing down from Frank when she arrives in Japan.
2nd Lieutenant/Leutnant Judith RudelCallsign Reaper; Familiar: Weasel. Age unconfirmed, younger than Rand. Rudel is an A-10 Witch for the Luftwaffe, currently serving with the USMC in an exchange program.
- Child Soldiers: She's younger than Rand, who is likely 16-18 years old.
- Cute Bruiser: She's probably 15, is adorable and flies A-10 Strikers while carrying a minigun.
Her Imperial Highness Princess KatsumiFamiliar: TBA. Imperial Japanese Princess and Witch for the Imperial Japanese Naval Air Force. Flies F-14 strikers, wields the Type 89 assault rifle.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: She's on the front lines of WWIII, what more do you want?
First Lieutenant Ayumi OgawaFamiliar: TBA. Imperial Japanese Naval Air Force Witch, Wing Witch and bodyguard to the Princess Katsumi. Flies F-14 strikers, presumably wields the Type 89 as well.
Second Lieutenant Jessica BishopCallsign Octane; Familiar: Corgi. Frank's little sister has officially joined the US Marine Corps. Flies either the F/A-18 or A-10. Recently turned up in Japan with Rand and Rudel.
- Dynamic Entry: Every time she's run into Frank it has been literal. Flying tackles seem to be her standard greeting.
- Genki Girl
- Must Have Caffeine: Her overriding goal in life. It becomes excessive enough that her CO has to order her to stop consuming too much.
- Semper Fi: She joined the Marines, the only member of the family to do so. This made dad very happy.
- The Glomp: What she does to everyone when she greets them.
Captain Emile BlackwellThe Captain of the USS Saratoga, the aircraft carrier Spellcaster belong to. Captain Blackwell is a no-nonsense officer who tries her best to be a Straight Man and stay above the chaos, focusing on fighting her ship. One of Mack and Georgette's five daughters.
- A Mother To Her Men: Do not attempt to fuck with her pilots or witches, even if you are a Matron. She is the Captain of the USS Saratoga first and a Witch second. The kindest thing that will happen is you being escorted off her ship.
- The Captain: Hells yes.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: In contrast to Colonel Bitchtits, and the American Matron who tries to strongarm Merlin and Frank into coming back to Annapolis.
Commander Birgitte LaRouxA Navy SEAL withch first met providing security for Spellcaster and Merlin's shop while at Castle Barin, and who later pops up in Europe. Her familiar is a cat, which is ironic given that she's a Navy SEAL.
- Commanding Coolness: A full Commander in the US Navy.
- Cool Big Sis: To her SEAL witches and to Frank and Merlin at times.
- The Dreaded: Nobody crosses Maman Birgitte.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: She's a SEAL on top of being a Witch.
- Famed In-Story: Within the special operations community, anyhow. There are very few people who don't own Maman Brigitte a favor or two.
- Funetik Aksent: Speaks with a Louisiana accent.
- White-Haired Pretty Girl: When her familiar manifests.
Frank's Mom and Dad.A Navy Witch and a Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant respectively. Seen occasionally and called as often as possible.
- Happily Married: Oh, yes.
- Mom and Dad the Veterans: Both of Frank's parents were in the military, Mom as a Navy Witch and his Dad as a Marine, and both of them saw action in Vietam. In fact, they met in Nam. In combat.
- Retired Badass: When the story starts, Mom and Dad have been retired for a while now.
Rear Admiral Nicholas "Mack" MackintoshRetired: World War II and Martian War veteran and recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, eventual captain of the USS California. Happily married to Georgette Lemare Mackintosh, old friends with Nixon.
- Happily Married: To Georgette.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: Apparently developed PTSD after the war, but he doesn't show it. He was helping Merlin out with hers.
- Rescue Romance: Kicked off his relationship with Georgette by fishing her outta the Atlantic.
- Retired Badass: He's got the CMOH.
Capitaine de Corvette Georgette Lemare MackintoshRetired: World War II and Martian War veteran, former naval spotter witch for the French Navy who joined the 502nd Joint Strike Wing in Leningrad. Expert heal witch. Rather dedicated to her husband, old friends with Tricky Dick.
Constantina StalinkaSoviet Air Force; Familiar: Tundra wolf. Recently introduced Soviet Witch who also happens to have a crush on Frank. She is apparently exceptionally powerful and her powers include stealth good enough to hide from Merlin. However, she is now able to be found when Merlin is concentrating all her powers.
- Ax-Crazy: Very much so. Other Witches seem to have a worsening effect though.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: She's a Soviet Witch and the trusted ones are brainwashed. The crazy comes as an extra.
- Combat Sadomasochist: She tends to get excited when Frank manages to land hits on her shield. With the weapons involved if she actually got hit she'd be a red smear.
- Post Head-Pat Catatonia: Thread 61, Frank Ruffles her hair to stop her and Katherine Young from getting into a fight. The second he touches her, her brain melts down and she stumbles off in a happy daze.
- Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: Originally only fan theory, but recent events have made it seem more likely that Stalinka has absolutely no idea what she's really implying when she says she and Frank will "Make Babies". She's also mentioned "Comrade Stork" and seems to have a general lack of understanding regarding anything that isn't killing capitalists or insulting other witches.
- Shrinking Violet: As of thread 60 we get to see Stalinka on the ground, where she blushes if Frank so much as looks at her.
- Super Soldier: Katya said she's likely a product of a "Super Witch" experiment.
- Stalker With a Crush: She appeared out of nowhere and declared Frank her "Love" and that she wanted to have children with him. She also managed to somehow send mail to him despite being on the opposite side in WWIII.
- Yandere: Has threatened to kill Merlin repeatedly for being a "Harlot" and taking her man. She seems to have let go much of her Yandere tendencies though. Seems.