Counting loading customers with heavy lumber, bags of mulch and concrete, walking, etc. How many calories do you think you could burn in an hour?
NEXT Winola Naval Yard, Earth β. Local Date: July 21st, 2136 Alex Baker
Surrounded by men and material, I took in the view of what had been cordially referred to as “The Fuzzball.”
Having been disabled by a particularly lucky Pistol
battery, the sleek, edgeless craft had been towed by means of a jery-rigged shuttle down to the confines of Earth - and into the prying hands of a litany of scientific, military, and intelligence agencies.
Despite the best efforts of two dimensions, though, the craft had yielded very little in the way of hard data; weight and measurement had been taken, of course, as well as anything inside the ship that hadn’t been bolted down.
This, of course, also included the corpse that was found on board, from which a considerable
amount of information had been accrued.
While preventing the dissection of the corpse - identified through various means as a Venlil
named “Takri” - the autopsy and subsequent scans had revealed a great deal of that species’ biology. While shorter than an average human, their muscle mass was considerably denser, implying that they originated from a high-gravity world. Side-facing eyes and large, flat teeth suggested that they were obligate herbivores; the food stores on board corroborated this theory, as they were completely made of plant matter.
While their biology would certainly prove helpful, especially in the fields of first aid and other medical care, it did not
contribute to uncovering the secrets of their technology
Which led me to ask a question that had been answered a dozen times previously to the man standing next to me.
“Any new developments, Mr. Miller?”
The director of the IAS shot me a look that somehow managed to convey more exhaustion than it had only minutes before.
“Nothing from our assignments, Alex. But I did
hear that we found their water tank!” He managed to give a coy smile, in spite of his growing fatigue.
“Nothing from our assignments,” in this case, wasn’t a very large surprise. While the entire purpose of the Institute for Anomalous Studies was, in fact, to study anomalies
, the team the agency had assembled was still struggling to make heads or tails of what has been surmised to be the Federation’s FTL propulsion.
“I’m still baffled by how they could’ve found an alternative method,” I admitted. “How could they have found something different? To my knowledge, there’s nothing else besides a Warp Drive that has been proven as practical.”
“This is an entirely different civilization, you know - one that we’ve had precious little time to study. Maybe they went down an entirely different field of study. It would explain why we’re having so much trouble,” the Director tried to reassure me. “Well, that and we’ve only had access to the ship for two days.”
“You have to admit that it is
concerning, though,” I started back up. “You saw the combat footage yourself. The ship that escaped - there was no identifiable warp bubble. Surely that poses some
sort of risk, right?”
I felt that my concern was well-justified. If we were going into this war unable to detect the movements of our enemy, it would prove to be a large - possibly fatal - detriment.
“I didn’t say it wasn’t a hazard, Alex,” came the response from Director Miller. “The lack of a bubble can mean so many different things. Heck, it could even imply…” His face suddenly went pale.
“What could it imply?”
He cut me off before I could get another word in. “I need to have a word with the drive team. Why don’t you check on the other groups in the meantime?” He quickly scurried off, leaving me confused as to what could’ve worked him up so quickly.
Deciding to take on his advice, though, I started making rounds on the other research groups present. Groups that included a mix of Alpha and Beta personnel - a move that I had helped to push for as Military Liason.
Starting at the front and moving towards the back, I met with the researchers dissecting the sole weapon system on the ship.
“Any new developments, gentlemen?”
“No, sir,” came a quick response from a man in Beta American fatigues. “All we have left to do now is repeat previous tests for authenticity; these guns are weaker than their UN counterparts.”
That much hadn’t been a question. The USS Constitution
, being a corvette not designed to take high-yield hits, combined with the admittedly inferior local materials, had still taken several direct hits from the Federation flotilla before its hull was breached. There were some figures in the Brass who had been concerned with the threat that weapon scalability posed, but their fears were offset by the information that a hypothetical upsized version of these “Plasma cannons” would still be underpowered when compared to UN weapons of similar make and model.
Giving the officer a brief nod, I continued on towards an open hatch on the other face of the ship. Where pilots once would’ve presumably entered for missions, a large, tangled mess of wires now flowed through, connected to whatever equipment had been found within the ship itself. The garbled mass of black, red, and blue all fed into a hastily-procured console, currently being manned by an Electronics Warfare team on loan from the LREF. Getting closer, I was briefly startled as a cheer rang out from the station.
“...got in! Finally!” I caught the tail-end of a jubilant proclamation as I finally reached the team.
“What did you find?” I asked, the team’s infectious enthusiasm worming its way into my voice.
“See for yourself, sir! It’s a star chart! A star chart of every Federation system!” This claim, half-shouted to me, was enough prompting to cause almost every intelligence officer within earshot to immediately make a beeline to the console.
Sneaking a glance at the console’s holo-screen, I was expecting to see a completely unknown system, out of the knowledge of UN databases. Yet, looking at the three-dimensional display in front of me, I was bugged by the familiarity
of what I saw.
“Can you superimpose a map of our own on there? I’m getting the feeling that some of the systems on here may be ours
“Ours, sir? How could that be possible?” The soldier manning the console looked confused, but duly pulled up a UN star chart. Mere seconds of manipulating the display later, my suspicions were confirmed. In front of a small crowd of officers and researchers, the UN and Federation star charts were proven to be a near-perfect match, only off on account of a millennia’s worth of drift. Hitched gasps and grumbles could be heard from the entire group.
“A third of those systems are in UN space,” a voice piped up.
“Wait, there’s more.” The LREF soldier quickly shushed the crowd. “The translation software just kicked in; we’ve got system names now, too.”
The eyes of myself and everyone else immediately scoured the display once more. Let’s see… Nishtal? Aafa? And
that one looks like-
“Soldier, get a focus on the system labeled ‘Venlil Prime.’ Keep Sol in the frame, as well.” The cogs in my brain were turning rapidly now, as I asked for the display.
I managed to hear a very hushed “I have a name, you know”
as he swiftly executed my request.
“Hey, I recognize that system!” An intelligence officer made his voice known. “That’s Tempest Resolve!”
I took a brief moment to compose myself. “How did they evolve on a planet like that
?” I said to nobody in particular.
While an important extrasolar mining world, Tempest Resolve hosted its entire 200 million-person population in vast space stations; the surface itself had only been visited by humans a handful of times. While violent weather owing to its tidally-locked nature was one factor, the main limiter was the simple fact that the planet had a gravitational pull twice as strong as Earth’s; with the UN’s stringent colonization policies, human habitation on the surface under those conditions had been long-forbidden.
Suffice it to say, the entire crowd was about as stumped as I was.
“How did the fucking Sheep achieve flight on a 2-G world, let alone get to space?” One Beta officer uttered in disbelief.
“Maybe that’s not their homeworld?” A researcher tentatively offered.
“Oh, can it, woman! Who the heck uses ‘Prime’ for a colony
As the assortment of personnel either ran off to make hurried reports or devolved into bickering, I walked off in a slight stupor. Thankfully, the last spot to hit was the drive team itself - manned by my colleagues in the IAS.
Coming into sight of the aft section of the craft, there was a litany of scientists hooking up devices of unknown function to the rear of the craft. In the distance, I could already see Director Miller gesturing wildly at another person in front of him. Continuing to approach, I heard the throes of a heated argument.
to be wormholes, Mark! There’s no other feasible way!” Miller gesticulated.
“The translator software is calling this thing a subspace
drive, sir. I believe that we’re looking at an entirely new method of travel.”
I gave a pointed cough, and the two broke off their debate to look at me.
“Ah, Alex. Welcome back,” said Miller, slightly harried. “What news did you get from the other stations?”
“Nothing new from the weapons section, but navigation managed to get a full star chart of the Federation.”
“Oh?” Miller’s brow raised with interest. “Tell me more.”
“There seems to be a large amount of overlap between Federation territories in this reality and UN territory in our reality, Director. For instance, the Venlil homeworld has been confirmed to be our own Tempest Resolve.”
“Tempest Resolve?” Miller parroted. “I’ll have to ask Slanek how he managed to walk upright with that amount of gravity.”
“Slanek, sir?” I gave a raised eyebrow.
“The Venlil we captured. Did I not tell you his name?”
“No, sir, you did not,” I said flatly.
“My apologies, then,” Miller said earnestly. “Still, that is definitely a question that I am going to have the interrogation officers put on the roster.”
“I was actually meaning you ask you about that, Mr. Miller.” I started my own line of questioning. “Why did we have to put him on our side of the portal? It seems inefficient to have to go all the way back for any in-person appointments.”
Miller pursed his lips. “You really
don’t see the problem with keeping him here? In this facility?”
“I can’t say that I do, sir.”
“Alex, keeping him here would represent a palpable threat to his life.”
My entire train of thought collapsed, as I looked at the Director with no small amount of confusion. “A direct threat to his life? Sir, this is already one of the most heavily guarded areas on the planet! Even by UN standards, the security is airtight. What threat could there possibly be?”
Miller paused for a moment before answering. “While I have no shortage of respect for our allies here, Alex, you need to remember that it was the Venlil and Federation at large that nearly drove the humanity of this timeline extinct. That’s the first point. The second point is that this timeline hasn’t progressed societally beyond the twentieth century.”
“...So?” I failed to see where Mr. Miller was taking this line of reasoning.
“...Alex.” Miller was starting to look exacerbated. “You want to put an alien POW, one whose ancestors glassed this planet, into a facility guarded by people with a mindset over a millennium behind our own. Do you see the problem, now
“...Oh.” The realization hit me like a brick wall. “Oh.
Living in a society that had long since grown free of the shackles of the past, it had never occurred to me until now that any living person - even in another timeline - would have the temperament or capacity for xenophobia. The United Nations had ensured equal treatment of all persons since its foundation as a world government, and people in modern times simply took it as a given that those standards would be upheld. I internally berated myself for my complacency as Miller continued his tirade.
Miller honed in, now in a hushed tone. “If we dropped Slanek in here, Alex, he would be murdered
within a day. There’d be nothing we could do to prevent it.”
Silence reigned over the both of us as I took in this extreme revelation. If I was remembering my history correctly, then Beta’s America would’ve never even gone through the Civil Rights era
as we understood it, as the Federation bombings stunted societal development. There may have still been a time of reflection and dialogue about race, gender, and sexual preferences, but given the circumstances, I found that hard to believe. If discussions had
happened to dampen the racism, sexism, and homophobia of the past, they would have been rather muted. There was a large chance, then, that the toxic mindset still lingered within a decent chunk of this timeline’s Americans. They wouldn’t
actually do that, would they? They’ve been around us for months, now. Surely they realize that such a mindset is unproductive.
Deciding that I had had enough time to mull the information over, Miller brought me back into the present to move forward with our job. “I think it’s time that I let you in on what you’ve missed over here, so far. What do you say?”
“That would be welcome, sir.”
Moving back towards the drive, the Director re-connected with the colleague with whom he had been speaking before my arrival. “Mark, can you give Alex a run-down on what we were just talking about?”
“Certainly,” the bespeckled researcher replied. “So, I believe you already know that this drive generates no discernable warp bubble, yes?”
“I am aware of that.”
“Of course,” he nodded. “This leads me to believe that this craft uses an entirely different - an entirely novel
method of propulsion.”
“And I still can’t believe you think it’s hyperspace travel
,” hissed the Director. “You should know better than to pull directly from Science Fiction, Mark. It’s clearly
a wormhole generator; there’s no other feasible way!”
“The nomenclature suggests otherwise, Director. Subspace
is not a name anyone I know would give to a wormhole generator.”
“You’d turn your back over a millennium of scientific research over a name
? We don’t even know if the software translated it right!”
“I helped code
the software, you…!”
I allowed myself a small sigh, as the two devolved back into their argument. Today is gonna be one of
those days, isn’t it?
Sir Anthony Absolute (The Rivals) Nick Adams (In Our Time and others) Parson Adams (Joseph Andrews) Frankie Addams (The Member of the Wedding) Anthony Adverse (Anthony Adverse) Captain Ahab (Moby Dick) Albertine (Remembrance of Things Past; or, In Search of Lost Time) Alceste (La Misanthrope) Algernon (The Importance of Being Earnest) Ali Baba (“Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” from The Thousand and One Nights) Squire Allworthy (Tom Jones) Count Almaviva (The Barber of Seville; The Marriage of Figaro) The Alvings (Ghosts) Amaryllis (“I Care Not for These Ladies”; “Lycidas”) Ananse (African folklore) Pamela Andrews (Pamela) Angelica (Orlando innamorato; Orlando furioso) Harry Angstrom (Rabbit, Run and others) Mr. and Mrs. Antrobus (The Skin of Our Teeth) Aramis (The Three Musketeers) Isabel Archer (The Portrait of a Lady) Enoch Arden (Enoch Arden) The Artful Dodger (Oliver Twist) Gustave von Aschenbach (Death in Venice) Lady Brett Ashley (The Sun Also Rises) Athos (The Three Musketeers) Ayesha (She) Dr. Aziz (A Passage to India) B Baba-Yaga (Russian folklore) Babar (The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant and others) Bilbo Baggins (The Hobbitt; 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Auguste Dupin (“The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and others) E Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker (Finnegans Wake) Eeyore (Winnie-the-Pooh) Elliot family (Persuasion) Lord Emsworth (Something Fresh and others) Enmerkar (Lugalbanda and Enmerkar and others) Henry Esmond (The History of Henry Esmond, Esq.) 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(The Trial) Juliet (Romeo and Juliet) K Karamazov brothers (The Brothers Karamazov) Anna Karenina (Anna Karenina) Katharina (The Taming of the Shrew) Carol Kennicott (Main Street) Diedrich Knickerbocker (A History of New York) George Knightley (Emma) Stanley Kowalski (A Streetcar Named Desire) Tonio Kröger (Tonio Kröger) Mr. Kurtz (Heart of Darkness) L Will Ladislaw (Middlemarch) Lydia Languish (The Rivals) Silas Lapham (The Rise of Silas Lapham) Wolf Larsen (The Sea Wolf) Lazarillo de Tormes (The Life of Lazarillo of Tormes) Lear (King Lear) Simon Legree (Uncle Tom’s Cabin) Lemminkäinen (Finnish folklore) Inspector Lestrade (Sherlock Holmes series) Konstantine Levin (Anna Karenina) Linton family (Wuthering Heights) Little Em’ly (David Copperfield) Little Eva (Uncle Tom’s Cabin) Little Nell (The Old Curiosity Shop) Lochinvar (“Marmion”) Lohengrin (Parzival) Willy Loman (Death of a Salesman) Studs Lonigan (Studs Lonigan trilogy) Lothario (The Fair Penitent) Robert Lovelace (Clarissa) Sut Lovingood ( Sut Lovingood: Yarns Spun by a “Natural Born Durn’d Fool”) Lugalbanda (Lugalbanda and Enmerkar) Lulu (Earth Spirit; Pandora’s Box) Arsène Lupin (Arsène Lupin detective stories) Tertius Lydgate (Middlemarch) Barry Lyndon (Barry Lyndon) M Macbeth (Macbeth) Lady Macbeth (Macbeth) Macheath (The Beggar’s Opera; The Threepenny Opera) Mad Hatter (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) Madog ab Owain Gwynedd (Welsh folklore) Maeldúin (Irish folklore) Abel Magwitch (Great Expectations) Jules Maigret (The Case of Peter the Lett and others) Major Major (Catch-22) Malcolm (Macbeth) Alexander and Lucie Manette (A Tale of Two Cities) Marcel (Remembrance of Things Past; or, In Search of Lost Time) March Hare (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) March family (Little Women) Augie March (The Adventures of Augie March) Marchmain family (Brideshead Revisited) Jacob Marley (A Christmas Carol) Philip Marlowe (The Big Sleep and others) Miss Marple (Murder at the Vicarage and others) Bertha Mason (Jane Eyre) Perry Mason (The Case of the Velvet Claws and others) Travis McGee (The Deep Blue Good-By and others) Wilhelm Meister (Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship) Oliver Mellors (Lady Chatterly’s Lover) Mr. Merdle (Little Dorrit) Wilkins Micawber (David Copperfield) Daisy Miller (Daisy Miller) Miranda (The Tempest) Walter Mitty (“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”) Mock Turtle (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) Sara Monday (Herself Surprised) Moomintroll (The Moomins and the Great Flood and others) Hank Morgan (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court) Professor Moriarty (Sherlock Holmes series) Catherine Morland (Northanger Abbey) Hazel Motes (Wise Blood) Mr. Moto (No Hero and others) Mowgli (The Jungle Book) Mugridge (The Sea Wolf) Baron Munchausen (The Adventures of Baron Munchausen) Edward Murdstone (David Copperfield) N Captain Nemo (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea; The Mysterious Island) Nicholas Nickleby (Nicholas Nickleby) O Scarlett O’Hara (Gone with the Wind) Gabriel Oak (Far from the Madding Crowd) Oberon (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) Odette (Remembrance of Things Past; or, In Search of Lost Time) Duke of Omnium (Palliser novels by Anthony Trollope) Eugene Onegin (Eugene Onegin) Ophelia (Hamlet) Orlando (As You Like It) Orlando (Orlando innamorato; Orlando furioso) Gilbert Osmond (The Portrait of a Lady) Othello (Othello) P Palliser family (Palliser novels by Anthony Trollope) Pancks (Little Dorrit) Pangloss (Candide) Pantaloon (stock character, commedia dell’arte) Panurge (Gargantua and Pantagruel and others) Peachum family (The Beggar’s Opera; The Threepenny Opera) Pearl (The Scarlet Letter) Seth Pecksniff (Martin Chuzzlewit) Pedrolino (stock character, commedia dell’arte) Peer Gynt (Peer Gynt) Clara Peggotty (David Copperfield) Peter Pan (Peter Pan) Petruchio (The Taming of the Shrew) Samuel Pickwick (The Pickwick Papers) Piglet (Winnie-the-Pooh) Billy Pilgrim (Slaughterhouse-Five) Pinocchio (“The Adventures of Pinocchio: The Story of a Puppet”) Pip (Great Expectations) Sir Fretful Plagiary (The Critic) Anna Livia Plurabelle (Finnegans Wake) Hercule Poirot (The Mysterious Affair at Styles and others) Ross Poldark (Ross Poldark and others) Aunt Polly (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer) Pollyanna (Pollyanna) Polonius (Hamlet) Pontifex family (The Way of All Flesh) Mary Poppins (Mary Poppins and others) Porthos (The Three Musketeers) Portia (The Merchant of Venice) Harry Potter (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and others) Fanny Price (Mansfield Park) Miss Prism (The Importance of Being Earnest) Prospero (The Tempest) J. Alfred Prufrock (“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”) Hester Prynne (The Scarlet Letter) Puck (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) Puss in Boots (Puss in Boots) Q Quasimodo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame) Allan Quatermain (King Solomon’s Mines) Captain Queeg (The Caine Mutiny) Queen of Hearts (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) Queequeg (Moby Dick) Adela Quested (A Passage to India) Daniel Quilp (The Old Curiosity Shop) R A.J. Raffles (Raffles stories by E.W. Hornung) Ramsay family (To the Lighthouse) Basil Ransom (The Bostonians) Rodion Raskolnikov (Crime and Punishment) Red Cross Knight (The Faerie Queene) Regan (King Lear) Reynard the Fox (character from medieval literature) Richard III (Henry VI, Part 2; Henry VI, Part 3; Richard III) Tom Ripley (The Talented Mr. Ripley and others) Howard Roark (The Fountainhead) Robin Hood (series of English ballads) Christopher Robin (Winnie-the-Pooh) Mr. Rochester (Jane Eyre) Rocinante (Don Quixote) Romeo (Romeo and Juliet) Rosalind (As You Like It) Rosencrantz (Hamlet) Rostov family (War and Peace) Roxane (Cyrano de Bergerac) Barnaby Rudge (Barnaby Rudge) Ruggiero (Orlando furioso) Marmaduke Ruggles (Ruggles of Red Gap) Horace Rumpole (Rumpole of the Bailey and others) Charles Ryder (Brideshead Revisited) S The Saint (Meet the Tiger and others) Gregor Samsa (The Metamorphosis) Sancho Panza (Don Quixote) Tom Sawyer (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer) Scapin (stock character, commedia dell’arte) Scaramouche (stock character, commedia dell’arte) Ebenezer Scrooge (A Christmas Carol) Amelia Sedley (Vanity Fair) The Shadow (The Living Shadow and others) Shakuntala (The Recognition of Shakuntala) Becky Sharp (Vanity Fair) Ántonia Shimerda (My Ántonia) Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables) Shrek (Shrek! by William Steig) Shylock (The Merchant of Venice) Bill Sikes (Oliver Twist) Long John Silver (Treasure Island) Tyrone Slothrop (Gravity’s Rainbow) Smike (Nicholas Nickleby) George Smiley (Call for the Dead and others) Winston Smith (Nineteen Eighty-four) Snark (“The Hunting of the Snark”) Snopes family (The Hamlet and others) Snowball (Animal Farm) Lucy Snowe (Villette) Halvard Solness (The Master Builder) Hetty Sorrel (Adam Bede) Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon) Dora Spenlow (David Copperfield) Wackford Squeers (Nicholas Nickleby) Stage Manager (Our Town) Monroe Stahr (The Last Tycoon) Starbuck (Moby Dick) Willie Stark (All the King’s Men) James Steerforth (David Copperfield) Lambert Strether (The Ambassadors) Esther Summerson (Bleak House) Charles and Joseph Surface (The School for Scandal) Sutpen family (Absalom, Absalom!) Svengali (Trilby) Charles Swann (Remembrance of Things Past; or, In Search of Lost Time) T Verena Tarrant (The Bostonians) Tarzan (Tarzan of the Apes) Tattycoram (Little Dorrit) Suky Tawdry (The Threepenny Opera) Lady Teazle (The School for Scandal) William Tell (Swiss folklore) Becky Thatcher (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer) Thomas Bigger (Native Son) Thomas the Tank Engine (The Three Railway Engines and others) Sadie Thompson (“Rain”) Christopher Tietjens (Parade’s End) Tinker Bell (Peter Pan) Titania (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) Tituba (The Crucible) Topsy (Uncle Tom’s Cabin) Tristan (Celtic folklore) Betsey Trotwood (David Copperfield) Sergeant Francis Troy (Far from the Madding Crowd) Tweedledum and Tweedledee (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) Oliver Twist (Oliver Twist) Uncle Tom (Uncle Tom’s Cabin) U Urizen (America, a Prophecy and others) V Jean Valjean (Les Misérables) Valmont (Dangerous Liaisons) Philo Vance (The Benson Murder Case and others) Dolly Varden (Barnaby Rudge) Varner family (The Hamlet) Diggory Venn (The Return of the Native) Captain Vere (Billy Budd, Foretopman) Rosamond Vincy (Middlemarch) Viola (Twelfth Night) Count Aleksey Vronsky (Anna Karenina) Eustacia Vye (The Return of the Native) W Dr. Watson (Sherlock Holmes series) Weird Sisters (Macbeth) Sam Weller (The Pickwick Papers) Frederick Wentworth (Persuasion) Werther (The Sorrows of Young Werther) Sophia Western (Tom Jones) Simon Wheeler (“The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”; “Jim Wolfe and the Tom-cats”) White Rabbit (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) Agnes Wickfield (David Copperfield) Tom Wilcher (To Be a Pilgrim) Damon Wildeve (The Return of the Native) Pudd’nhead Wilson (Pudd’nhead Wilson) Lord Peter Wimsey (Whose Body? and others) Wingfield family (The Glass Menagerie) Wise Men of Gotham (English legend) Wolfdietrich (Ortnit; Wolfdietrich) Nero Wolfe (Fer-de-Lance and others) Emma Woodhouse (Emma) Bertie Wooster (“Extricating Young Gussie” and others) Y Clym Yeobright (The Return of the Native) Captain John Yossarian (Catch-22) Z Zorro (“The Curse of Capistrano” and other stories by Johnston McCulley)
I am just getting anihilated in Berlin Air fights, i saw that this fighter has lots of guns and is faster than most planes, is it worth it for air fight and ground attack runs? (I know it has no bombs)