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Fanfic / Strikers 89

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A now completed spinoff of 'planefags' successful Strike Witches Quest and Ogitsune's genderflipped drawings of the Top Gun cast, written by Ghostdivision, based in the same universe about forty years in the future, in 1989. It features similar themes, but has more Ace Combat references and lacks the complete craziness inherent in SWQ.

You are Lieutenant Frank "Fronk" Bishop, callsign "Warhound", a Naval Aviator flying the F-14B Tomcat off the USS Saratoga. You are the only traditional aircraft ("Steelwing") in VF-03 Spellcaster, a squadron otherwise composed entirely of Witches. After starting out by having a Japanese Witch crash into your 'Cat during a friendly dogfight, and successfully landing the stricken bird, you and your squadron are sent to TOPGUN, the top school for Naval Aviators.


After a brief stint at the famous school, you and your squadron are picked by Admiral Richard "Tricky Dick" Nixon, for a special mission which eventually expands into WWIII.

Strikers 89 contains examples of:

  • Ace Pilot: Frank and Ice both become one after your first engagement. The rest of Spellcaster quickly become aces once the war begins in earnest.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: The Soviets owned one. Frank destroyed it and lost the Kitty Hawk in the process.
  • Alternate History: Based upon the original Strike Witches Quest timeline and with some other twists.
    • For example, Richard Nixon is a USN Admiral, having never left the Navy for politics, and in John Kazinski's spinoff quest, he's old friends with Colonel Quentin Roosevelt, who in this verse wasn't shot down and KIA during World War I.
    • Chance-Vought remains in business because of the X-02 Wyvern, which is being offered as a contender for the Naval Advanced Tactical Fighter program. The existence of NATF itself counts; OTL US Navy did not seriously pursue NATF after realising that they could either develop a 5th generation fighter, or buy more Nimitz-class carriers, but not do both.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The POV occasionally shifts to other characters:
    • Icequest follows Ice as she takes care of her squadron, treating their Heroic BSoD with liberal application of Cooldown Hug, after Frank is MIA.
    • Deadliest Catch follows Soviet witch Cyril Roskova, as she flies, fails to shoot down Frank, is shot down by Katya, and rescued by an Alaskan crab fishing boat.
    • Birgitte Quest follows a Navy SEAL witch on an infiltration mission to a secret Soviet base.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Subverted. During one of Frank's engagements over Alaska, some Soviet Witches get surrounded and become visibly shaken, their guns moving visibly from his fighter, which is several hundred yards away at minimum.
  • Badass Crew: VF-03, Frank's squadron.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Frank and Merlin pull one for Colonel MacLeod.
  • Body-Count Competition: There is an official one at TOPGUN for the best pilot.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted. Both Frank and the Witches run out of ammo at several points in the story.
    • Merlin's ability to create a Hyperspace Arsenal is likely to change this.
  • Cargo Ship: It's often joked that Frank's real love is his Tomcat, and later his Wyvern.
  • The Captain: Ice leads the squadron but her technical rank is Commander, which is one step below Captain in the Navy and makes her a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army or Air Force.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Matron Longstreet makes mention of a sealed chest belonging to Ice's grandparents, being kept by American matrons, which would let Ice know who she really is. The chest contains proof that Ice's grandmother, Ilyeena Nikolayev, is really Grand Duchess Anastasia, daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, meaning that Ice has the last legitimate claim to the Russian throne.
  • Child Soldiers: Merlin and Goose are both stated to be 15, Katya is in her twenties and fought in Afghanistan, Slider and Maverick are 17, and Ice is 18.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Both Katya and Merlin display obvious signs of this.
    • Merlin later goes into a panic attack after because Frank was out of her sight for five minutes after his near death. This however is due to PTSD, not jealousy.
  • Colonel Badass: Colonel MacLeod is a Witch and badass is part of the package.
  • Coming in Hot: The first thread has Frank land his damaged 'Cat on the Saratoga. A later one has him land on it again with low fuel and terrible weather.
  • Commanding Coolness: Ice's rank is a 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.
    • Frank is also promoted to Lieutenant Commander partway through the story.
  • Continuity Nod: There are several towards the various Strike Witches Quest spinoffs:
    • Mack and Georgette from Prune Barge Shuffle appear, with Georgette healing Frank after getting shot up. Turns out, Captain Emile Blackwell, the CO of the USS Saratoga, is also their daughter.
    • Another to Prune Barge Shuffle; Richard Nixon served in WW2 as a spotter plane pilot off the USS California, getting at least one kill. When he appears in-story, he's a Four-star Admiral and Commander-in-Chief Pacific, having never left the Navy for politics.
    • Katya Litvyak is Sanya's granddaughter, and mentions that Sanya told her stories about Young and the crazy shit he pulled in SWQ.
    • Spellcaster later gets a Rafale striker witch from the French Navy, one Rosalie Kent, the granddaughter of Perrine and Ian Kent from SWQ.
    • A German Witch shows up during Thread 60 as a POW held by the Soviets. Her name is Katherine Young, and she's the daughter of Minna and Lt. Young from SWQ. She even opens up with "You are smalltime", just like her old man.
    • Merlin's boyfriend is revealed to be a red-haired IJAF officer by the name of Kenji Sakamoto, who practices a family sword style that's derived from blending traditional kenjutsu with Irish basket-hilted broadswords. It's pretty clear that Sean and Mio got married after SWQ and went back to live in Japan. His sister Kimiko later appears as an augment for Spellcaster.
  • Cool Plane: Many including F-15s and F-16s, as well as various Soviet planes, and the ASF-X Shinden II. But the main one is of course Frank's various F-14s.
    • The Chance-Vought XF-02B Wyvern Frank later get tops them all.
  • Cool Ship: Several. The Soviets have a couple of Giant Submarines One of which Frank blows up. There's also the USS Saratoga and the USS Kitty Hawk, before the Kitty Hawk is blown up.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Merlin. 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.
  • 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 (they met in combat while in 'Nam). Ice's dad was also in the Navy, flying off the USS Oriskany with Frank's mom. This also applies for Captain Blackwell, given her parents are Mack and Georgette.
    • Given the descendants of Strike Witches Quest characters, this is pretty much a given for a great many military characters, who followed their ancestors into the service (for example, Katherine Young, daughter of Minna and Young; Kimiko and Kenji Sakamoto, Mio and Ian's grandchildren; Rosalie Kent, Ian and Perrine's granddaughter...)
  • Deflector Shields: Witches come with one standard. Frank gets one thanks to Merlin being in the plane. Viper can make two, which is extremely rare.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Ice was initially cold towards Frank but has since started to melt after he became more professional. She has also started to loosen up herself, especially after she has to help the rest of the girls deal with their HeroicBSODs when Frank is MIA.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Ice, Merlin, Slider, Maverick, Goose and Viper are all counterparts of the characters in Top Gun.
  • Dodge by Braking: Frank does this at least twice. The first time gets him a Witch through his Tomcat, the second time it works.
    • The third time the opportunity for this comes up, Frank wisely decides to pass and try something else.
    • And then Frank does it again in a mock dogfight with Ice. This time, it works as advertised.
  • The Dreaded: Viper remains so at TOPGUN in this world. Spellcaster squadron in its entirety is heading this way for the Soviets, with Frank in the lead.
    • Frank has apparently crossed this line as of thread 31 when he learns his new Soviet Nickname: The Butcher of the Bering Sea.
    • Tarin, one of Pierce's witches in PJ Quest, is this to the Umibozu (basically IJN SEALs).
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Zig-zagged. On one hand, Frank (and Spellcaster's) exploits have earned them fame and recognition, with both Frank and Ice being awarded the Navy Cross and invited to the White House Christmas Ball. (There are also hints that Frank's Heroic Sacrifice resulted in him being put in for the Medal of Honor). At the same time, however, Interservice Rivalry means that other officers are dismissive of them.
  • Dynamic Entry: This seems to be the SOP of Frank's younger sister Jessica.
  • Fighter-Launching Sequence: A few.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Ice and Frank's relationship noticeably improves after they see combat together.
  • For Want of a Nail: Nixon's WW2 service was as a spotter plane pilot, and he scored at least one killnote . He never left the Navy for politics, and ended up as Commander-in-Chief US Pacific Forces.
    • As a result of the X-02 Wyvern flying and being offered as an NATF contender, Chance-Vought is still in business.
  • Four-Star Badass: Admiral Nixon qualifies.
  • Friendly Rivalry: By the end of Season 1, Ice, Slider and Katya are all aware of their feelings for Frank, but remain on good personal terms, despite their romantic rivalry.
  • The Gadfly: Slider; if she's not tossing a flash grenade into the shower, she's engaging in large scale pranks to retaliate for someone picking on Goose.
    • Maverick has shades of this too.
  • Gatling Good: Frank's planes are all equipped with various rotary cannons that he uses frequently. Rand and Rudel, being A-10 Witches also carry M134 miniguns. Goose is also getting one soon.
    • Frank then takes this to another level, when in a recent thread, he has two GPU-5 gunpods mounted to his fighter. That's right, he mounted baby Avenger gunpods to his fighter.note 
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Ice ends up having to do this for most of Spellcaster at one point, though with hugs instead of slaps. The Ice Hug is very effective.
  • Girl in Back: Merlin is Frank's and a good one too. Having magic is just a bonus.
  • Guns Akimbo: Slider uses dual shotguns.
  • The Heart: It becomes very clear, midway through the story, that Frank is the emotional center of the squadron. This is not always a good thing, as the entire squadron is rendered combat ineffective after his Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Heroic BSoD: The entire squadron is rendered combat ineffective after Frank's possible death. They get better.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Frank pulls one covering Rand, Rudel and the ground attack aircraft during their retreat from battle for Galena. He lasts long enough to eject Merlin and have Slider pick her up, lure enemy fighters into SAM range, and crash lands his Tomcat, which US troops destroy to prevent it from falling into Soviet hands. Fortunately, he gets better.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Thanks to Merlin's magic, Frank can pull off otherwise impossible missile shots.
    • To put this into perspective, air-to-air missiles generally have hit probabilities of below 50%. Missiles guided by Merlin have hit probabilities in excess of 80%.
  • 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 Frank was doing was impossible.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Despite all the changes that occured during the martian war, history has managed to otherwise stay on track... besides from RoboStalin and a little thing called World War III, luckily nuke-free.
  • Interservice Rivalry: Some exists between Frank's squadron and the Air Force witches they encounter.
    • Colonel Bitchtits has this with the rest of the US Air Force.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Colonel Bitchtits' opposition to joint units and Steelwings has a point; Spellcaster was rendered combat ineffective after Frank's Heroic Sacrifice (at least until Ice hugged the shit out of everyone and Frank came back, and she's read a great many reports that indicate that witches and pilots grow too attached, and witches end up in in Heroic BSODs after their pilots get killed, being less survivable than witches. At the same time, one of her friends points out that she's also taking things too far in her opposition to Steelwings.
  • The Lady's Favour: Before the final mission of Season 1, Frank finds Ice, Slider & Katya's favours in his cockpit.
  • Luminescent Blush: Thread 36. Ice - by the book cold stoic frost witch Ice - blushes so hard, Merlin can see it. On the Wyvern's infrared sensors.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Nobody is quite sure as to whether Frank is a gnome, or just a really talented pilot. Towards the final battle at Berlin, an American Matron shows up, wanting to drag Frank back stateside for testing. By the time the main story wraps up, even Frank is pretty sure he's a gnome of some kind.
  • Mood Whiplash: It occurs time to time.
  • Oh, Crap!: A big one when Merlin tells Frank that there are 24 Su-27 Flankers inbound and only Frank and Katya can protect Rand, Rudel and a number of planes loaded for close air support.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Ice, Slider, Maverick, Goose and Merlin are all their respective callsigns. Frank rarely calls them anything else.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Slider and Ice respectively.
  • Reporting Names: Used here and there.
  • Rescue Romance: Katya is immediately infatuated with Frank after he saves her from Soviet fighters trying to prevent her defection. Whether or not Frank reciprocates is still up in the air.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Princess Kasumi of the IJN.
    • Now that it is revealed Ice is also a Royal, Spellcaster is getting in on the action as well.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Many witch matrons in Season 2 try to pull this on Ice, among them Matron Longstreet. Unfortunately for them, Ice has better connections thanks to Captain Blackwell giving a heads up to her mother, Georgette Lemare, who pretty much owns all the other matrons.
  • Shipper on Deck: Pretty much all of Spellcaster to Merlin and Kenji. Kimiko, Kenji's sister is so enthusiastic about the pairing, she's calling Merlin "little sister."
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shower of Angst: Ice starts her miniquest going through one, due to Frank's Heroic Sacrifice. Slider comes to kick her out so she can have her own angst shower.
  • Super Prototype: Frank gets several upgraded models of the F-14 but the real one is The Chance-Vought XF-02B Wyvern he gets after nearly dying.
    • The Soviets deploy the Nosferatu fighter, though at least it doesn't have the All Direction Micro Missiles.
    • And now Ice is getting the Wyvern Striker. Possibly the whole squadron.
    • In Rescue Witches, Ugly gets to put the RAH-66 Comanche through its paces (with a witch interface in the front seat, manned by his sister), while Pierce, Red and their crew get the new Ghost Hawk (aka the stealth Blackhawk used by the Navy SEALs to raid Osama's compound.)
  • The 'Verse: In the year since Strikers '89 kicked off, a number of sidestories have sprung up to complement and flesh out the verse:
    • Tankers '89, which follows Frank's brother Jake and his combat team, first through Europe, then Saudi Arabia, before being rolled into the new 1st ARSOF, working with US Army Special Forces and SF witches.
    • Deadliest Catch, which follows Soviet witch Cyril Roskova as she tries to stay alive, and then is shot down and captured.
    • Pararescue Witches, which follows Captain William Pierce and healwitch Rachel "Red" Kelsey on SAR ops around the Bering Sea, before shifting to Germany, and then the Far Eastern front.
    • Strikers '89-1945 miniseries, which follows John Kazinski, Ice's grandfather, during his assignment to a combined unit during World War II, and his meeting with Ilyeena Nikolaeva, the woman who'll be his wife.
    • There's also Feelthy Hornet's miniseries which basically follows Colonel Holly "Bitchtits" MacLeod.
    • Following the completion of Strikers 89, Ghostdivision has started a sequel, Strikers 2016.
  • Wing Woman: Katya is Frank's normal one. He's also been Admiral Nixon's wing a few times.
    • As of thread 27 Frank appears to have gotten a new Steelwing Wing Woman/Women in the form of the Styles twins and their Wyvern.
  • Yandere: A Soviet Witch has started crushing on Frank, and seeks to "prove" her love and worth by defeating him and possibly murdering any squadron mates he's close to.