- "Eclipsing power is, at times, not only the instrument of demons, but also of gods."
- ― Wolfgang Buchner
Colonel Wolfgang Buchner (ウォルフガング・ブフナー Uorufugangu Bufunā), alias Peter N. Beagle and nicknamed Pops, was a former officer and pilot of the Belkan Air Force and the oldest son of an aristocratic Belkan family. During the events of the Belkan War, he was ordered by his superiors to drop a nuclear weapon on his own country, which he refused.
Branded as a traitor by his comrades, Buchner was shot down while attempting to flee through Area B7R in May 1995; he subsequently defected to the Osean Federation and later played an important role in bringing about the resolution of the Circum-Pacific War in late 2010.
Early life in Belka
Buchner, born in 1954, was the oldest son of an aristocratic Belkan family. At some point in his early adulthood, he enlisted in the Belkan Air Force and quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a Colonel and earning the nickname "Huckebein the Raven".
In May 1995, Belka was losing the Belkan War, and its situation was becoming increasingly desperate. Buchner was consequently ordered to drop a nuclear weapon within Belkan territory. He openly refused the order and, as a result, was branded a traitor. On May 29, Buchner fled in his MiG-21bis towards Allied territory while being pursued by Schwarze Squadron, which was feared among the Belkan pilots for being deserter killers.
Schwarze chased Buchner into the massive aerial battle that was taking place over Area B7R near the Belka-Ustio border. Fleeing from Schwarze, Buchner entered B7R, hoping to lose the escapee killers in the furball. When the mercenary Galm Team engaged Schwarze, Buchner seized the opportunity and slipped away. However, Huckebein was engaged and shot down by either an Ustio mercenary ace, callsign "Cipher", or Ashley Bernitz, a Belkan ace by the callsign "Grabacr". After bailing out over B7R, Buchner encountered Jack Bartlett, an Osean Air Defense Force pilot who had also fallen victim to Grabacr. The two men became friends and embarked on a long, treacherous journey back to Allied territory.
Upon reaching the frontlines, Bartlett concealed Buchner's true identity and told the Oseans that Buchner was his squadron leader. After defecting to Osea, Buchner began a new life under the assumed name Peter N. Beagle (ピーターN.ビーグル Pītā N. Bīguru) and joined the 703rd Maintenance Squadron as a 2nd Lieutenant. He was later posted to Sand Island Air Force Base and began working as an aircraft maintenance officer. A postwar investigation led to the discovery of his Fishbed's charred wreckage in B7R; Belka's official records list him as "Missing in Action".
During his time at Sand Island, Buchner shared his years of piloting experience and mentored many rookie airmen; he became affectionately referred to as "Pops" (ポップス Poppusu) by the base's crew. At some point in early or mid-2010, the Osean Coastal Defense Force shot down a Yuktobanian X-02 Wyvern that had been manufactured by Gründer Industries. The aircraft's wreckage was subsequently recovered and transported to Sand Island for examination by Pops and the 703rd Maintenance Squadron.
Shortly thereafter, on September 27, the Circum-Pacific War erupted between the Osean Federation and the Union of Yuktobanian Republics. That evening, Sand Island fell under attack by Yuktobanian bombers and fighter aircraft. During the air raid, Pops successfully escaped the island in his C-1 Trader and returned the next morning. After Alvin H. Davenport was killed in action on November 29, Pops adopted his dog, Kirk.
Betrayal and escape from Sand Island
Following Wardog Squadron's encounter with the mysterious 8492nd Squadron on October 22, Pops began to suspect that the squadron was a group of Belkan aces rumored to have been recruited after the war to bolster the Osean air force. As the war progressed, Pops became increasingly suspicious of Osea's aggressive handling of the war; he eventually shared his thoughts with reporter Albert Genette and disclosed that Yuktobania was using military hardware manufactured by Gründer, a North Osean company with ties to pre-war Belka. At the time, however, Pops did not have an explanation as to how Yuktobania had acquired Osean technology.
Sometime in late November or early December, Pops uncovered the 8492 Squadron's existence and made the startling discovery that Sand Island's adjutant commander, Major Allen C. Hamilton, was previously assigned to it. On December 7, Genette informed Pops that the Osean president, Vincent Harling, had not been seen around the capital for several weeks; Pops accurately deduced that Harling had disappeared shortly before Osea invaded Yuktobania.
When Wardog returned to Sand Island shortly afterward, Hans Grimm informed Pops and Genette that Wardog had been ambushed by the 8492nd over the Vladimir Mountains, and that Blaze and Nagase had gone to tell Hamilton. Realizing there was no time to warn them, Pops, Genette, and Grimm went to the office of Hamilton's superior, base commander Colonel Orson Perrault. Upon entering the office, Perrault, who had been misled by Hamilton to believe that Pops and the Wardog pilots were enemy spies, began interrogating Pops about his military record. When Pops could not produce any corroborating evidence, Perrault drew his sidearm and held him at gunpoint. After Blaze and Nagase shut off the building's power, Pops and the others took advantage of the situation and dashed from the darkened room, narrowly avoiding the commander's sporadic gunfire.
After meeting up, Pops, Genette, and the Wardog crew hid from the patrolling soldiers until an opportunity presented itself to escape. Pops and his fellow fugitives commandeered four Hawk training jets and fled from Sand Island under fire. The group flew north towards the remote Solo Islands, where they were intercepted and pursued by the 8492nd. Pops led the formation through the islands' rugged terrain and electromagnetic field, eventually losing the Belkan pursuers. Upon reaching the islands' northernmost tip, however, they were approached by Captain Marcus Snow of the Osean naval air force. Snow, who knew of their innocence, told Pops and the others (via his aircraft's signal light) to trust him and eject. Pops and his companions safely ejected over the Ceres Ocean and were later recovered by the Sea Goblin helicopter unit. He and the Wardog traitors were listed as "Killed in Action" in official ODF records.
Following his rescue, Pops and his comrades were taken to the OMDF aircraft carrier OFS Kestrel. There, Pops conversed with the Kestrel's captain, Nicholas A. Andersen, who shared many of his suspicions regarding the war. Andersen stated that his intelligence vessel, the OFS Andromeda, had recently intercepted a transmission in Belkan. Pops translated the message, which revealed that President Harling was being held captive in Belka by the Grey Men.
From that point onward, Pops served as Wardog's commanding officer, overseeing mission briefings and providing the pilots with intel from the Kestrel's Command and Information Center (CIC). After Wardog and the Sea Goblin team freed Harling on December 9, Pops supported the efforts of the renamed Razgriz Squadron to eliminate the nuclear weapons that the Grey Men planned to use on Osea and Yuktobania.
On December 30, at 2221hrs, Pops briefed the Razgriz on the Strategic Orbital Linear Gun (SOLG), an Osean attack satellite commandeered by the Belkans, and Gründer Industries' collusion in the Grey Men's plot. In the middle of the briefing, the Kestrel was hit by a cruise missile launched from a hostile submarine. Pops and the rest of the crew boarded lifeboats and escaped the doomed ship. He, Genette, and the others saluted the Kestrel as they watched her sink beneath the waves. After the incident, Pops was brought aboard the Andromeda and resumed his position as commander as the Razgriz flew to Sudentor to confront the Belkans.
After the war, Pops' C-1 Trader is shown flying over Sand Island's abandoned tarmac, while Kirk watches him from the ground; this could imply that Pops and Kirk still reside on the island in some capacity.
- Buchner shares his nickname, "Pops", with Ulrich Olsen.
- Buchner's Osean alias is named after American screenwriter and novelist Peter S. Beagle.
- Buchner's nickname is most likely a reference to the 1867 German illustrated story Hans Huckebein, der Unglücksrabe by Wilhelm Busch or to the Focke-Wulf Ta 183 "Huckebein" concept fighter named after the same story.
- In Ace Combat Zero, Huckebein is one of the few enemy pilots (and the only named ace) who will remain passive towards the player until provoked.
- Huckebein only appears if "Mayhem" is played under Mercenary Ace Style, since he is initially pursued by Schwarze Squadron (mercenary aces).
- If the mission is attempted on Ace difficulty, the player does not engage Huckebein for about 20 seconds, and the player shoots down Nachtigal, Ashley Bernitz (Grabacr) will enter the battle and shoot down Huckebein, unless the player manages to destroy him first.
- ↑ Dialogue during Final Option, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ MiG-21bis -Huckebein- , Ace Combat Infinity.
- ↑ Hasegawa 1/72 F-14A "Wardog" plastic model kit decal sheet.
- ↑ Special quote unlocked after all 32 Campaign missions are S-ranked under Ace difficulty, Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War.
- ↑ Closure, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ WORLD / OSEAN FED / P.N. Beagle, ACES WEB. Published February 29, 2004. Retrieved August 29, 2016.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Assault Records #077: Wolfgang Buchner, Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Final Option, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Cutscene during Mayhem, Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 Cutscene 20, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Mayhem, Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War.
- ↑ Cutscene 13, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Cutscene 18, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 Cutscene 06, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Aces At War: A History, page needed.
- ↑ Cutscene during First Flight, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Cutscene 16, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Cutscene during Final Option, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Cutscene 19, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Aces, Demons, and Ghosts: Mysterious Heroes of the Belkan Conflict. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
- ↑ Briefing, ACES, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Cutscene 26, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ ACES, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- ↑ Cutscene 29, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.