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Alex Vens
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"I can't and couldn't go back to a civilian life now. All I ever wanted to do was fly, all I can do is fly."
―Alex Vens

Alex Vens was a human Insurrectionist. Born on the rebel colony of Glabetov in 2530, Vens led an uneventful childhood in a fervently pro-rebel community. At the age of twenty, unsatisfied with life as a civilian, Vens applied to be a pilot for the Air Service. While he passed most of the requisite tests, several factors caused him to have to wait a year to be picked up for a class at the Glabetovan Aerial Training School. During these this year, Vens worked to learn how to fly, offering his services at local makeshift airfield, first in return for decreased rates on flying instruction and renting aircraft. As a result, when he attended GATS, he distinguished himself as an excellent pilot, which led him to be sent alongside several other pilots to Gilgamesh in late 2551 to learn how to fly the F/A-440, which the Glabetovan People's Republic was considering purchasing to help fend off a possible UNSC invasion.

Coming onto Gilgamesh, Vens, while initially a slow learner, became extremely proficient on the AT-65, his initial trainer aircraft, and the F/A-440, even seeing some combat against pro-UNSC forces during several incidents in 2553. After the fall of the GPR in 2554, he permanently became part of the 3rd Fighter Squadron at his own request. During the Battle of New Belgrade, Vens distinguished himself during an initial intercept of incoming UNSC Navy combat aircraft, before his aircraft was grievously damaged and he was forced to bail out. Eventually recovered by the GFA, Vens took part in Operation: TIDAL WAVE, but once again was shot down during the UNSC's second invasion in September of 2555. Eluding capture, he found his way to Venezia, and became a pilot for the Venezian People's Government. While he survived the Battle of New Tyne, he was forced to crash-land on the frontier. With nowhere else to go, he flew as a mercenary pilot around the galaxy under a false passport under the name of the nom de guerre Robert Black. However, in 2567, with the passage of the Commonwealth Creation Act, and the associated amnesty for all former Insurrectionists, Vens returned to Gilgamesh and began flying for the new Gilgameshan Air Force, as Glabetov had refused to become a commonwealth of the UNSC, desiring complete and full independence.


Early Life

Military Career

Glabetovan Aerial Training School

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The Glabetovan Aerial Training School, where Vens and other pilot trainees for the Glabetovan Air Service or GPR militia units trained.

Gilgamesh Free State

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Vens and the other Glabetovan pilots discuss tactics using two model airplanes picked up from a local hobby shop.

Invasion of Gilgamesh and Escape to Venezia

Invasion and Evading Capture
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Vens around the time of the Battle of New Belgrade

"May Glabetov's spirits smile upon us."
―Vens as he and a flightmate dove down as bait for the Glabetovan Gauntlet

At 0300 Hours on March 3rd, 2555, Vens and the other nineteen pilots who composed the 3rd Fighter Squadron were awoken with an air raid siren to hear that the UNSC had entered in-system and were quickly approaching Gilgamesh. Donning his flight gear, Vens and the other pilots made their way to their jets, sitting in the cockpit, ready to take off as soon as the order came to do so. At 0425 Hours local time, UNSC fighters were detected being launched, and the scramble order was sounded for Vens and the rest of the 3rd Fighter Squadron. Taking off, at 0432 the squadron made its first contact with UNSC Navy F-41 Broadswords and GA-TL1 Longswords on their way to clear the airspace for incoming D77-TCI dropships carrying UNSC troops and soften up ground units in preparation for Orbital Drop Shock Troopers dropping in behind GFS lines. Within minutes, thanks to the Multiple Independently Targeted Vehicle Pod that several other aircraft in the squadron carried, the initial assault was driven off with no casualties to the GFS fighters. However, with the MITVs expended, the proceeding engagement saw each side dogfighting in the dawn skies above New Belgrade as anti-aircraft ordnance from the Gilgamesh Free Air Force's New Belgrade Air Defense Battalion lit up the night.

As the UNSC's numbers in the skies began to climb, Vens and his flight, all composed of fellow Glabetovans, implemented what had been egotistically dubbed by them as the 'Glabetovan Gauntlet'. Two aircraft from the flight would split off, diving down and making gun runs on formations of UNSC aircraft, hoping to make them or their escorts break off and chase after them as they began to climb back up to altitude, feigning making another pass from below. As this happened, hoping that the UNSC pilots would have fallen victim to target fixation, the other two aircraft would dive down and open fire on the now-unescorted aircraft or utilize the target fixation of the escorts to get the jump on them and shoot them down. During this run, if the 'hunter' aircraft had acquired further bandits on them, the two 'bait' aircraft, accelerating back up to altitude, would use the other aircraft in their original position and shoot down the new assailants. If they had not acquired any bandits in pursuit, all four aircraft would climb to altitude again and restart the process. Above, a fifth pilot would provide overhead cover against any UNSC aircraft that might try to dive on the four.

Initially, the process worked without much trouble, and the five-ship flight continuously interfered with UNSC attacks, both on ground forces and on other GFAF aircraft. However, Vens and the others had failed to account for the appearance of more aircraft. Fifteen minutes into the battle, several new flights of F-41 Broadswords arrived to down the GFS aircraft before any other attack or transport aircraft were sent in. Caught unaware, two of the other aircraft in Vens' flight were immediately shot down by the reinforcements. Vens and the remaining two pilots, his wingman Alfred Leonov, and Captain George Zupad, tried to accelerate skyward and gain an altitude advantage over the diving F-41s. However, instead the two found themselves in a head-on engagement in which they were severely outgunned. As a result, Vens' left wing was torn off, and while he tried to keep control over his jet, eventually the damage left his jet completely uncontrollable. Shutting down his engines and pointing his jet skyward, without an ejection seat, Vens released his aircraft's canopy, and undid his harness, allowing him to fall out of the aircraft. Maintaining consciousness, he activated his parachute, and floated down to the ground, landing outside of the suburbs of New Belgrade.

After landing, Vens discovered the UNSC had not reached his position yet, and hastily buried his parachute, setting off away from New Belgrade in search of shelter. Wandering for nearly a week and a half, subsisting off of what he could find, he eventually found shelter with a Gilgameshan family, who initially caught him asleep under a tree in their backyard and were ready to drive him off their property at gunpoint. However, the mother, a former servicewoman in the Gilgamesh Free Army, recognized him as being a pilot in the GFAF, and persuaded her husband to take him in. Idolized by the family's children, Vens was rather uncomfortable with being seen as one due to the fact that he had been shot down and forced to hide, a failed mission in his mind. His time with the family was not to last however, as two weeks after finding shelter with them, a neighbor noticed the new arrival to the settlement wearing his flight jacket, and, hoping to cash in on the reward offered by the UNSC for any information leading them to capture any escaped GFS military personnel, informed on the pilot and the family.

Return to Duty

Finding out in the early hours of the morning several days later that there were UNSC Marine Corps military police in the town, Vens grabbed whatever survival equipment he could and took off into the nearby forest. Without any time to cover his tracks, UNSC troops began pursuing him. After another week and a half on the run, Vens was found by an advance scouting unit of the Gilgamesh Light Infantry, who were intermittently scouting out UNSC defenses in preparation for a counterattack, passed out in a gully from exhaustion. Carried back to the unit's base camp, the group sent a runner to the nearest airbase informing them of Vens' status, as use of radios was forbidden to maintain secrecy. Picked up by a lone Spade, Vens was brought to an airfield hidden deep within the frontier's wilderness, and nursed back to health over the next several weeks.

Brought back into the 3rd Fighter Squadron, two escadrille of which had left New Belgrade before the invasion, Vens and the other pilots continued to wait for the order to move out and spearhead the counteroffensive into UNSC-held territory. It was during this time that he learned that his wingman, Lieutenant Alfred Leonov, and another Glabetovan pilot, Lieutenant Anna Valov, had escaped the engagement at New Belgrade, and had been discovered hiding out in frontier settlements Overjoyed, the three were reunited as a flight on April 26th. In the early hours of May 6th, upon hearing a broadcast from Gilgamesh Free Radio, the 3rd Fighter Squadron was scrambled to perform combat air patrol against any UNSC aircraft that were able to get off the ground, as operators from Baal Defense Solutions and GFS commando units sowed chaos behind the lines.

By May 13th, the GFA's units had reached New Belgrade, and by May 14th, they had driven the small UNSC garrison out of the city. The next day, landing in the New Belgrade Airfield, Vens, Leonov, and Valov were personally congratulated by Marshal Garan, who presented them with an honor specifically for them, the Order of the Golden Falcon, referencing the golden falcon on a red background that made up the Glabetovan People's Republic's flag, and a promotion to Captain for all three. With the UNSC beaten back, and the GFAF's attack squadrons pressing the assault alongside BDS and the Free Army, after another week of regular patrols, the Capital Defense Brigade was brought to a peacetime footing, believing the UNSC beaten back and the Free State safe.

Peacetime and the Prelude to War
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The Sky Kid Bar, a once-favorite meeting place of the GFS's pilots, where Vens, the remaining Glabetovans, and some fellow Gilgameshan pilots and aircrew met up after New Belgrade's liberation.

"I don't think I'd partied that hard in my entire life. For some guys, it was one big pub crawl. For some of us flyers, it was night after night in the Sky Kid, remembering the fallen, telling war stories, celebrating it was finally over. Then last call would come, we'd go out and find somewhere else to continue the celebration. We never thought it'd end. We won, the war was over, they'd leave us be."
―Vens on the immediate aftermath of the GFS's victory over the UNSC

Over the next fortnight, Vens, accompanied by his fellow Glabetovan pilots and many other Free State military personnel, celebrated their victory over the UNSC. The pilots came into the Sky Kid, a bar that had become a favorite of the aircrew in the Capital Defense Brigade after its opening in the early 2540s. The owner of the bar, a former GFS pilot who had served as a pilot in the Army's aviation units before the establishment of the Air Force, treated the pilots and aircrew well, even setting up a memorial wall to fallen pilots and aircrew at the drunken request of Vens. After every night at the Sky Kid, the pilots would continue wandering New Belgrade in search of companionship or fellow soldiers or airmen to celebrate with. It was during these two weeks of celebration, described by some civilians and soldiers as a two-week bender, that Vens felt like he had finally found a home on Gilgamesh.

With the end of the fortnight of celebration, Vens, his fellow pilots, and many other servicemembers, returned back to their units, and continued living and working on a peacetime footing, believing they were finally safe from the UNSC, that they had driven them back. Patrols over New Belgrade still occurred, but they were no longer the exhausting 24-hour a day alerts or patrols that had been commonplace during the leadup to the first invasion. The largest operation was a flyover on June 11th, during a parade to commemorate the end of the state of emergency that the Free State had been in since 2529. However, on August 3rd, the squadron was unexpectedly scrambled for a patrol over New Belgrade. Several hours later, running out of fuel to continue flying, the pilots landed. Curious, Vens and the others asked around the airbase, trying to separate fact from histeria. They eventually learned that the reason for the scramble was that an unknown group had just shot down several dropships from the 1st Transport Squadron, and that not only was the entire Gilgamesh Free Armed Forces high command presumed dead, so was former Marshal of Gilgamesh Edward Garan, the former military strongman who led the Free State through the tumultuous decades, and to victory against the UNSC.

The next several weeks saw more and more terrorist attacks, with the 3rd Fighter Squadron reported to have several of the perpetrators on August 14th, when they destroyed their suspected safehouse in Brownhill, a mid-sized settlement deep within the lawless regions. However, this only led to further and more deadly attacks, including one that rendered the Free State's only spaceport for large ships useless, and bombed one of the runways at the New Belgrade Airfield. On August 22nd, the ships of Davis' Marauders abandoned the Free State, and two days later, on August 24th, Baal Defense Solutions left the planet as well. Vens, enraged by what he saw as BDS leaving the Free State to die, during the late hours of August 24th, shot down one of their dropships that had flown into restricted airpsace above New Belgrade Airfield, using the excuse that, as BDS was no longer assisting the Free State, they had no right to be in Free State airspace. While Vens' superiors admonished him for his actions, privately, they were indifferent or even positive, as many of them had feelings similar to Vens' on BDS's abandonment of the Free State. However, there was little time to dwell on the incident, as on August 26th, the Free State's military was again mobilized, with the 3rd Fighter Squadron ordered to prepare for combat.

Second Battle of Gilgamesh
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Vens and the rest of Yellow Flight scramble to prepare to take off upon hearing of the UNSC's entry in-system

On 0645 Hours on September 1st, 2555, the UNSC presence was once again detected in the vicinity of Gilgamesh. Ordered to standby, the 3rd Fighter Squadron, this time at full strength, prepared to launch. At 0701 Hours, the squadron was ordered to launch. The ensuing furball saw Vens and his fellow pilots score an initial victory against the UNSC. Armed with the Multiple Independently Targeted Vehicle Pod in his aircraft's internal bay, Vens locked on to the first wave of UNSC aircraft, and released the pod, which decimated the enemy's numbers. Other aircraft followed suit, with the UNSC sustaining horrendous casualties in the initial air raid thanks to the rebel MITVs and anti-aircraft fire, causing the UNSC to temporarily call off air attacks. At 0753, feeling safe, half of the squadron's aircraft landed at their airfield to rearm and refuel. With the rebels at half-strength, the UNSC launched their next air raid, with the squadron's remaining aircraft making contact with them at 0810.

With only their cannons and regular missiles, and severely outnumbered, the remaining rebel aircraft were hard-pressed to keep the airfield safe from UNSC attacks while their compatriots moved to take off and rejoin the fray. While they were in part successful, occupying the UNSC aircraft long enough to allow most of the other fifteen aircraft to take off, eventually, units of Longswords arrived, completely bypassing the preoccupied rebel aircraft, and bombed the airfield's runways and flightline to the point of uselessness. As the battle dragged on and more rebel fighters were downed or ran out of munitions, the order came to retreat to frontier airfields. As Yellow Flight's leader, Vens ordered the flight to break off into two two-ship formations, and make their way to Charnov Field, a backwater civilian aerodrome built on a incomplete freeway section running through Charnov Forest, one of the markers of the border of the Free State.

Taking a circuitous route around the Free State, at 200 feet AGL or below to avoid being detected or tracked to the new airfield, Vens finally landed at the field at 0931 Hours. To his great relief, by the end of an hour from his arrival, the remainder of his flight arrived. Intending to launch a nighttime air raid on the UNSC, the pilots attempted to establish radio contact with any GFS units to ascertain the position of UNSC encampments. However, as the UNSC had destroyed any radio repeaters or communications satellites in orbit above Gilgamesh in the initial hours, it was to no avail. However, later that afternoon, a stricken aircraft from the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron landed at the airfield. While the aircraft had been heavily damaged and was no longer flyable, the pilot and observer were shaken, but alive, and told the pilots of a UNSC encampment just outside of New Belgrade, before leaving to attempt to find

With the only munitions left on their aircraft being their cannons, the flight decided to make only one run on the camp, and then make a supersonic run north to one of the GFAF's airfields that had been created in preparation for the first UNSC invasion, hoping that there would still be fuel and munitions there. Launching at 2251 Hours, the flight arrived at New Belgrade shortly after midnight. Spotting the UNSC camp thanks to spotting several lighted areas that were evidently landing spaces for dropships, Vens and the flight banked in, firing long bursts from their cannons at the flightline, destroying several parked dropships and setting the area ablaze thanks to several of the craft being refueled and rearmed.

Again breaking into two-ships, as had been done during the break from the Battle of New Belgrade, the flight made its way to what had been derisively called 'World's End Field' by the personnel stationed there. Making it to the field with little fuel to spare, the pilots were amazed to find that, while there were no munitions, there was fuel. After about an hour of attempting to get their aircraft fueled, the pilots succeeded in doing so. Setting up another flight plan, this time with the destination the settlement of Peachbrook, the home of an active airbase, the pilots launched at 0314 Hours. Entering Peachbrook's airspace in the midst of an air raid, the new arrivals, while unarmed, served to divert the attention of the incoming UNSC aircraft, and allowed the area's Air Defense Battalion and the 1st Fighter Squadron to drive off the UNSC aircraft with only minimal losses.

Battle of New Tyne

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Vens preparing to scramble during the Battle of New Tyne.

'Jonathan Black'


The roundel of the Glabetovan Air Service, which became the distinctive insignia which adorned Vens' flightsuit.

"Former military pilot looking for work."
―Vens' Chatterlist classified advertisement
"After finding out what those aliens did to humanity, killing them almost felt good. As if I was doing a service for humanity, rather than killing my fellow man."
―Vens on his time with the SRA

With the fall of Venezia's rebel government, and few, if any, rebel governments for him to join with, Vens sought out work as a pilot-for-hire, putting classified ads up even on the infamous site Chatterlist, which had made a not entirely undeserved reputation of being a place where less-than-legal services were offered. Within days of placing his ad, he received a solicitation for his services. Meeting at a frontier homestead with the unknown solicitor, Vens met with him over a hearty homemade meal, the first filling one the pilot had had in several weeks. After several hours, the man made his proposition, that Vens fly for his group, known as the Sapien Restoration Army, against alien settlements on Venezia. While Vens knew little about the genocide that had occurred during the Human-Covenant War, it was a steady job, and so he accepted. Over the next several weeks, as Vens became familiar with the group, his hatred for the Covenant races grew and grew as he learned more about their atrocities during the war from members of the SRA.

Given a relatively small civilian aircraft, alongside the leader of the SRA cell, Vens planned how he would play into their operations against alien settlements. It was eventually decided that he would drop antipersonnel munitions such as flechette bombs and napalm, and that the infantry would move in afterward to mop up whoever was left. Vens flew his first mission on the night of December 31st, 2561, against an outlying Sangheili settlement. Without any air defenses, and the local human militias or UNSC forces who may have intervened distracted with the New Year's Eve celebrations, the human supremacists massacred the entire settlement, even those humans who had been living peacefully alongside the aliens.

Over the next several months, Vens became an increasingly integral part of the SRA cell's operations, extending their reach further than before with his airplane's range. However, on March 17th, 2562, during a raid on a Kig-Yar trading post, several UNSC officials sent to negotiate with them were killed as well by Vens' bombs, a fact that ended up on the evening news under the heading 'HUMAN SUPREMACISTS MURDER UNSC OFFICIALS'. Fearing what would come next, Vens deserted, flying off in the group's aircraft, packing his flightsuit and other essentials into a backpack and heading for the nearest spaceport. Landing in a farmer's field outside of the devastated New Tyne, Vens once again found himself wanting to fight against the UNSC as he saw the destruction wrought on the city. Unbeknownst to him, most of this destruction had been caused by the rebels themselves during the late stages of the battle, when a nuclear weapon was detonated in the city.

Gilgameshan Air Force

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