Author's note: After many weeks of work, this story is finally online. I give my thanks to F14 Tomcat Lover for being my beta reader and advisor and Faust 1812 for inspiring me to write this as well as his advice for the Marines in this story. Go check their fics...they're amazing. I also thank many of my friends and family for allowing me to use them as characters in this story.
My purpose in writing this is mostly as a means of escaping my everyday life throughout the adventures of my main OC in this story. Technically, it's me... if I went into the Canadian military along with my airsoft buddies. However, I'm aiming for a good credible story where over the top moments and realism with a happy ending and great heroic deeds.
Whenever dialogue is underligned, this means it's French in front of non speakers. This is due to the fact that the Royal 22e Régiment (known as the Van Doos in English) is a French regiment from Quebec, the French speaking province and the fact that the regiment is in the largely anglophone army of Canada. Feel free to read up on them on the internet.
For those of you who speak French, I'm working on a French translation right now. I want to do this simply to pay justice to the origin of the Royal 22e Régiment and to be more authentic by having the Van Doos use the unique Quebecer way of speaking French. Trust me...it's different from the more international dialect used by the French.
Without further ado...here's the story of the men of the Canadian Forces' Royal 22e Regiment in the Special Region. Enjoy your reading my fellow GATE fans.
Disclaimer: GATE doesn't belong to me. As for the real life organisations, this is a fictional story written about them and a fictional world. This is written as a work of fiction for people to enjoy on the internet. Only the OC's are mine with the exception of Corporal Steven Grey Ryan who belongs to F14 Tomcat Lover, my beta reader who allowed me to use him in this fic. Some of my OC's are based off real people but with their consent.
GATE: Thus the Van Doos fought there!
Prologue: On the other side of the world
15 June 20XX, Yokota Airbase, 1300
Lieutenant Itami Youji had just arrived from Tokyo along with other JSDF personnel. He was currently waiting on in a USAF base for an airplane bringing in foreign soldiers. A 33 year old man that was a proud otaku, he sighed in relief as he thought about his incredible luck. He had managed to wiggle his way through the bureaucracy to get his leave in time for his beloved doujinshi convention in August.
Today however, he part of a group of JSDF officials that were meeting the first personnel arriving in Japan from the Canadian Army. They were coming to Camp Fuji for exercises with the JSDF and the US Marine Corps after a round of exercises at the Camp Gonsalves Marine Corps Jungle Training Center on Okinawa.
Itami knew of the reputation of the USMC as tough soldiers but heard very few stories about the Canadian soldiers that he would meet. Of course, he knew the (in)famous jokes about Canadians being overly nice, constantly apologizing and always finishing their sentences with ''eh'' from the Internet.
He had read very quickly that he would meet the men and women of the Royal 22e Régiment, the largest Canadian regiment also known as the Van Doos before they left for Camp Fuji. Itami recalled that they were special because of something with the language they spoke since they mostly spoke French rather than English. Alongside him stood other JSDF members of varying ranks. One female sergeant first class was particularly curious about the arriving soldiers.
''Sir, do you know anything about these Canadians?" asked Sergeant First Class Kuribayashi.
"Not really" answered Itami. "They aren't as well known as the American Marines"
"I wish we were the ones sent to meet the Americans instead. They're really badass and I heard they were tough as nails!"
Itami sighed at the short brown haired sergeant as he massaged his temples. She was just too enthusiastic for his own patience. At the same time, a grey C-130 transport plane bearing a maple leaf on its side and the Canadian flag on its tail, the first of its kind landed on the landing strip. After a few moments, soldiers began pouring out from the plane and were heading towards the terminal building. They were wearing digital green camouflage uniforms and had an aura of calm professionalism.
"I heard that Canada was a peaceful country that had the nicest people on Earth. How can the nicest people on Earth have an army sir?" asked Kuribayashi as she saw the Canadians forming up in front of an officer. Shortly afterwards, two officers, one American and one Japanese began addressing the Canadian soldiers. She also remembered the great reputation of Canadians as peacekeepers rather than superb frontline soldiers. She was clearly unimpressed at the newcomers.
"Honestly, I don't know Sergeant" groaned Itami. He was already feeling the headache coming. He saw through the window that the Canadians were being led towards the building he was in by US and JGSDF personnel.
"If only this day could end... I can't wait to get home and watch Mei Com" he thought.
Some Canadian troops entered the room and started mingling with Itami's colleagues.
"If I'm lucky, I won't be noticed by them" he mused. Unfortunately for the Otaku lieutenant, his musings were cut short when a tall Asian man wearing the Canadian Army combat uniform, beret and glasses and a group of Canadians soldiers were heading towards him and the bored sergeant. He saluted Itami before he started talking in an lightly accented English. They had not expected an Asian man like them as a Canadian officer. Every single one of the soldiers in front of Itami rose their hands to salute him. Their leader started talking as he lowered his right hand.
"Hello, I am Lieutenant Kinh-Luyên Huynh of the Royal 22nd Regiment's 4th Battalion of the Canadian Army and these are the men of 3rd Section (3SON), Alpha Company."
Tokyo airspace, 1200, Canadian Forces C130 Hercules transport plane en route to Yokota Airbase
Getting up from the not even spartan jump seat, 29 year-old Lieutenant Huynh Kinh-Luyên of the R22R was looking tiredly at his fellow CF soldiers who were waking up. He had just awoken from a nap after the two hour flight over the Pacific from Okinawa to Yokota and was starting to get really annoyed of being stuck in the same uncomfortable chair. 'How do the paratroopers do it?' he shudderedinternally.
He was part of an infantry company of the R22R sent in to train alongside the Japanese and Americans. This was part of joint exercises between the three nations. His unit had already taken part in jungle fighting exercises with the American and Japanese military on Okinawa that had finished a few days earlier. The three armies had trained together and friendships were being made between the men of the three countries. Today however, the Canadian officer was flying into mainland Japan with his men.
They were scheduled for exercises with the JGSDF and US Marines at Camp Fuji against the Japanese's OPFOR unit that simulated a Chinese ground unit. This was amidst a period of diplomatic tensions with China in the East that could trigger a war. NATO needed to ready itself for this eventuality. However few members were geographically close enough to feasibly send forces to assist Japan, Australia and New-Zealand as well as other allies except the US and Canada. Thus decisions were taken to have Canadian military personnel train in Japan to prepare in case if a war ever erupted in the Pacific against the Chinese. This would be part of a series of exercises in the Pacific between various nations.
'Calisse, I can't wait for this plane to land...I've been spending way too much fucking time in this shitty fucking plane', Kinh thought as he looked at his fellow soldiers waking up.
Around him were his friends and some of his family. Everyone of them joined for different reasons. In the case of the lieutenant, at first he joined in order to help pay his Master's in Vietnamese History and Foreign Relations but liked it so much that he stayed and pursued his career in the armed forces. He also had family tradition to account for since his father, one of his uncles and one of his grandfathers had fought in Vietnam alongside the Americans against the Communists in the North. He joined to make his ancestors proud.
"Well slept sir?"
It was Private Joël Côté, Kinh's cousin that had enlisted along with him. He was actually half-Vietnamese and half-Quebecer since his mother was a Vietnamese refugee and his father had been a Canadian paratrooper. The 26 year old young man had studied to become a Canadian border guard but the job openings were filled before he finished. After spending a year or so looking for a job, he joined the military and ended up in the same platoon as his cousin. Both men remembered the following mother of all hangovers when they celebrated the fact.
"Haha...You know how well I sleep in these things and you do remember that I hate being called lieutenant when we're off duty ehh?" sighed Kinh before ruffling his chuckling cousin's dark brown hair.
"Goddammit guys, did you have to wake me up?" groaned another annoyed voice.
It was Private Julien Leclaire. Julien and Kinh had met each other in a party when they were still in college and then finding out that they lived near each other. Both men ended developing a quick friendship afterwards over memorably hilarious sessions of role playing games gone wrong. A dark hair bulky man, Julien had joined the military as a motivation to get himself physically fit as well as a means to get away from his job as an I.T. in a dysfunctional company.
"Dammit Julien, I was whispering...not my fault if you're a light sleeper" shot back Kinh.
"What can I do if the Lieutenant has an oversized mouth that never stops Julien?" answered Joël before high fiving his fellow private.
"That's an inappropriate way of speaking to an officer!" scolded Sergeant Mathieu Gagnon-Tremblay. He was the oldest member of 3SON at 32 years old as well as its commanding NCO. He was a former reservist that had transferred to a regular army unit. He had met Kinh when Mathieu had founded an airsoft club with another common friend and his friend had invited Kinh. Both men had become friends due to the fact that both men were military enthusiasts as well being fellow nerds.
"Thank you sergeant"
"No problem sir...someone has to make sure that discipline is properly maintained here." answered Mathieu.
"Well you know sir it's a good thing that the sergeant is here...otherwise there wouldn't be any discipline around here!" quipped another man.
"Private Leveillé what are you insinuating?" asked Kinh as he glared at the offending man. He had no problems with banter with his men... just not this early in the morning.
"Nothing sir...I just like getting on your nerves" answered Private Alexandre Léveillé with his best snarky smile. The tall Quebecer man had gone to the same high school as Kinh and had been good friends. Both had lost contact after finishing high school until Kinh decided to call up Alex for a beer. The timing was coincidental since Alex was about to join the army. Little did they know that they would end up in the same unit a few years later.
"Gentlemen could you just cut it out please? It's still kind of early in the morning for getting at each other's necks." It was a groggy Private Jean-Philippe Lévesque. He didn't appreciate being awoken by the rest of 3SON's antics. He was a 26 year old man that joined the army seeking a challenge that he thought college couldn't give him. He was part of those of 3SON that didn't know each other before the military. Jean-Philippe had quickly become friends with the rest of the section since he was a fellow nerd and somewhat of an otaku. This last trait was shared by Joël, Julien and Alex as well as other members of 3SON.
"Thank you Private Lévesque". One could hear the annoyance in Kinh's voice. That was the moment when everyone knew that the good lieutenant was getting sick of being on the end of their jokes.
"Sir, are we landing soon?" asked another man.
"Very soon corporal Moore." answered Kinh.
"Aye sir" answered the corporal before going back to sleep. Corporal Andrew Moore was the radio operator of 3SON. The tall dark haired Métis had joined the army after dropping out of college out of boredom. The man was a farmer's son that took no bullshit from anyone and didn't hesitate to use sarcasm to get his point through. Most of the time, he was a quiet, unassuming man. That set of traits earned him the friendship of the rest of 3SON when he was assigned there.
The lieutenant felt someone tapping on his shoulder and turned over his right side. It was Private Malika Abdelsaleem. She was one of the new members of 3SON that had been assigned a month before the start of the joint exercises in Japan. She was still getting used to her new unit but was getting along well. She was a refugee who had fled Syria early when ISIS was starting to brew trouble when she was 13 years old. Her family had been lucky but when they first arrived, there was a wave of racism and fear towards any refugee coming from the Arab countries. However, this didn't deter her from fitting in her new country and, much to the consternation of her parents, she joined the Army. She wanted to prove to the world that Muslim refugees were not the pigs that made up ISIS and had joined wanting to help those in need during moments like natural disasters.
"Yes Private Abdelsaleem?"
"I think we're landing in a few minutes"
"Thank you private, very much appreciated info" finished Kinh. 'So much for extra sleep' he mentally groused.
"Hey gang, what do you think the Japanese will be like?" asked another female private. It the diminutive Private Alice Gagnon. The blond haired private was the shortest member of 3SON at 5'2. She had joined in order to prove to others that she was tough. She put herself under a lot of pressure during training to maintain discipline which earned the respect of her colleagues and was considered the best shooter in 3SON.
The rest of the group quickly started voicing different opinions about their Japanese counterparts. Kinh and Mathieu had kept silent, preferring to meet the JGSDF personnel before judging. After a few minutes of flight, the intercom on the C130 transport announced that they were landing at Yokota Airbase. Alex nudged another one of 3SON corporal in order to wake him up. It was Zachary Lavigne who was another friend of Alex and Kinh from their time in high school and an otaku to boot. He was a tanned skinned man who happen to be a tuba player for the Canadian Forces Orchestra.
Yokota Airbase tarmac, 1230
The men and women of the Royal 22e Régiment were pouring out of the transport plane and gathering up their equipment after it was unloaded. It was a sunny day and the troops were in good spirits.
Major Alexandre Parent called out the order to stand at attention. The company immediately fell into parade formation on the tarmac as two representatives of the JGSDF and the United States Marine Corps came into view along with Marines and JGSDF personnel. The first man to speak was a stern, blue eyed bulldog American officer. He presented himself and started a short welcoming speech at a small podium.
"I am Colonel Robert Parker, Assistant Division Commander of the 3rd Marine Division. On behalf of the Marine III Expeditionary Force, I welcome you to Camp Fuji where our forces will work together for the next month. It is an honor for us Marines to work for the first time with Canadian Forces in Japan."
The second officer was a tall, brown haired man from the JGSDF. He had a neatly trimmed mustache and an aura of professional authority.
"I am General Kōichirō Hazama of the JGSDF's 1st Division. On behalf of the JGSDF, we are looking forward to our exercises with the Royal 22nd Regiment for our first ground exercises with the Canadian Army. This is truly a historical moment for both our nations since it we will work together for the first time since the establishment of our militaries. Thus it is with great pleasure that we welcome the Canadian Army to be on Japanese soil."
Some of the Canadians soldiers remembered the stories of C-Force, the Canadian detachment that fought the Japanese at Hong Kong in 1941 and how the fighting had been terribly bitter. How the Japanese soldiers had been brutal to the Canadians soldiers and nurses.
The fact that they were standing here listening showed just how much the world changed since the Second World War and how former enemies could put away their differences and work together. It gave hope for a brighter future with no wars. Of course, the Canadians weren't deluding themselves either. They knew they were here because of a new threat: a more aggressive China. Every man and woman present hoped that there wouldn't be an open war against the Chinese.
"At ease!" shouted Major Parent.
As the soldiers of the R22R put themselves at ease, they were instructed by their hosts to head to Yokota Airbase's main building. It was a large red bricked building with large windows where the Canadians could see their Japanese counterparts inside.
'Here's hoping for a good first impression' thought Kinh as him and his men entered the complex. 3SON and him were at the back of the group. They were led to a large room by a JGSDF soldier where more Japanese troops where men from the different armies were already introducing themselves to each other.
"Sir, there's an officer that's not busy over there." said 3SON's medic, corporal Frederic Tremblay as he pointed a messy haired man standing next to a small woman.
"Thank you corporal. I think he's a second lieutenant though and that woman's a sergeant first class" answered Kinh.
'Damn, he looks kinda old to be that low ranking though' thought Kinh as he approached the two JGSDF members. He did his best to keep a serious face though. As 3SON came face to face with the second lieutenant, each member rose their right to salute the Japanese officer. When Kinh finished saluting, he lowered his hand and extended it towards the second lieutenant and presented himself using his most formal voice.
"Hello, I am lieutenant Kinh-Luyên Huynh of the Royal 22nd Regiment's 2nd Battalion of the Canadian's Army and these are the men of 3SON, Alpha Company."
"Hello, I am Second Lieutenant Itami Youji of the JGSDF and this is Sergeant First Class Shino Kuribayashi" answered Itami.
"It's a pleasure to meet you sir. I hope that we will have the pleasure of working together over the next few months."
"The pleasure is mine as well."
"I'd like you to meet some of the men and women under my command."
Kinh then started presenting the men of 3SON that had followed him. As he finished presenting his subordinates, one of them asked Itami a question.
"Excuse me Lieutenant Itami, I don't know how to ask this but do you anything about good conventions that we can visit when we're off duty?" asked Joël.
Kinh's right eye briefly twitched.
'So much for professionalism and looking good. God-fucking-damn Otaku'. He looked at Itami whose expression was slowly changing and losing its serious facade. 'Crap...' Kinh began to massage his temples, trying to figure out a comeback.
"What kind of convention Private Côté?" asked Itami. His voice slowly was losing its professional tone.
There was a wide grin that appeared on Itami's face when the Canadian private answered him that Kinh hadn't noticed.
"Well there's a Doushinji convention coming up in August around the 18th" replied Itami. At that moment, the otakus in 3SON high fived each other.
"Sir, you've made us very happy!" exclaimed Alexandre.
"Dudes, this is gonna better then the freaking Otakuthon" said Private Julien as he high fived Jean-Philippe and Zach.
"Tabarnak... I wish I had my Mei Com cosplay with me" complained Alice.
Itami didn't understand French but he did make out the words Otakuthon and Mei Com. He had to be dreaming. There was no way that he could have been lucky enough to meet so many Otakus in a foreign military.
"Excuse me but is anime popular in the Canadian Forces Lieutenant Huynh?" asked a hope filled Itami.
"Honestly I don't know Lieutenant but I think you've met just the biggest bunch of otakus of the R22R" sighed an exasperated Kinh.
'So much for looking good...the Japanese really don't like otakus...time to be a stereotypical Canadian' he thought as he straightened his back and tried to save his pride and dignity as well as the Canadian Forces' face.
"Lieutenant Itami, I'm terribly sorry about my men, they tend to get a bit too excited for their own good over anything related to manga and anime. Personally I can appreciate the occasionnal..." Before he could finish, Kinh was cut off by Itami.
"There's no need to be sorry Lieutenant Huynh... so are you guys all otakus as well?!"
There was a rather affirmative yes from the various members of 3SON with Kinh, Mathieu, Malika, Frederic and Andrew doing their best to stay professional. As Kuribayashi, she was struggling to hide a growing disdain for the Canadian troops. She was very unimpressed with how formal and overly polite the Van Doos lieutenant was...the fact that half of those that had accompanied were Otakus. How could a country have an army like that?
'I wish could have met the Marines instead of these wannabees' she thought as she watched some of the Canadians soldiers and Itami discuss about the latest anime that came out while the others decided that it would be wiser to meet other JGSDF personnel. Her wishful thinking was suddenly interrupted by a woman talking to her. It was the Arabic private, Malika Abdelsaleem.
"Excuse me Sergeant Kuribayashi?"
"How long have you been in the military? You don't look very old"
"It's been three years now"
"Three years? You must be extraordinarily good!" exclaimed Malika. She had never met someone so young that was a sergeant in the Canadian military.
"That's because our sergeants tend be older then you, like Sergeant Gagnon-Tremblay is 32 years old unless if they were exceptionally skilled" answered Malika. By now Kuribayashi was blushing and left wordless.
"I hope we get the chance to work together sergeant."
"Me too Private Abdelsaleem." replied Kuribayashi as she drew out her hand to shake the Canadian-Syrian soldier's hand. 'Maybe they're aren't so bad after all even if some of them are fucking otaku losers' she thought as she looked at the rest of the Canadians who were starting to get along with her colleagues.
The presentations between the Canadians and Japanese carried until later in the afternoon when the meeting was over. The Van Doos were carried by buses to the base at Camp Fuji. Most decided to take the time to catch some extra sleep during the hour or so of transport. Others were enjoying the sights as they saw the cityscape of Japan turn into magnificent mountains, lush green forests and rolling hills. It reminded some of them of their homes in Quebec. The Van Doos who came from the Laurentides region and the Monteregian hills could feel easily feel homesick as the land around them started looking more and more like the places where they grew up in. Even the soldiers who came from the city of Montreal and its suburbs couldn't help but remember fond memories of summer and winter vacations spent with family and friends in the countryside outside of Quebec's busiest metropolitan region as they saw the Japanese countryside unfurl itself before their eyes.
'We're a long way from home guys but thank god we'll all make it back home in September' thought Kinh as he looked out the window of his bus. A certain serenity filled him as he enjoyed the sights before him. Before long, the Canadians arrived at Camp Fuji. They crossed the front gate where they could see a Torii gate with the United States Marines Corps logo on it as well as the American and Japanese flags flying from two great flagpoles.
The base itself was very simple. The buildings were made of white brick and there were roughly a dozen of these. The Canadians could see a few helipads with helicopters on them as well as a urban combat training site. On the other side of the street, they could see a Japanese base. Both camps laid in the imposing shadow of Mount Fuji.
Shortly after crossing the main entrance of the base, the Canadians arrived in front of the building they would stay in and started unloading their luggage and equipment as the sun started going down. They were welcomed by Marines who also helped them bring their belongings to their respective quarters in the base.
For the enlisted men of 3SON, they were staying in simple military dormitories. Bunk beds for sleeping, trunks and lockers for their belongings, nothing exotic for the men of the R22R. As for the officers, they had access to individual rooms with a small bed as well as a desk and small drawers.
After settling down, the Marines invited the Van Doos to share a meal together at the base's mess hall. Officers and enlisted men headed to their respective mess halls to get their food.
At the officer's mess, Kinh got himself a rather simple meal from the cafeteria booth that consisted of steak, mashed potatoes and peas as well a bowl of soup. He quickly got himself a seat in a corner before he started eating. Kinh also started observing the Marines officers, trying to get a general feel of his counterparts. There was something particularly different between them and the Canadian Forces officers. The latter had a certain stiffness to their auras and always tried to keep a certain serious facade even when they weren't around the enlisted men. Kinh could notice that the Americans were more laid back but the way their discipline showed was different. The Marines had a form of aggressiveness that reminded the Canadian lieutenant of a bulldog but was tempered and well controlled unlike the Canadians who had a more calm presence.
'Welp, this'll be an interesting two months, these guys look like they don't fuck around' he thought. A voice snapped him out of his musings.
"This seat taken?" asked a Marine Officer. Kinh looked at the tall man. To start off, he was definitely taller and intimidating than him. The American had dark hair and light green eyes. He also noted that he was a lieutenant.
"Go ahead" he answered in his most formal voice as he straightened his back. "By the way, I'm Lieutenant Kinh-Luyên Huynh of the Royal 22nd Regiment's 4th Battalion."
The two men then shook hands.
"I'm Lieutenant Jimmy Foley, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment"
"Pleased to meet you Lieutenant Foley".
"You don't need to be formal 'round here. We're not with the enlisted you know?"
'Ok, so this guy is pretty relaxed' thought Kinh as he allowed himself to relax.
"Well old habits die hard...but when you lead men from a unit that has a royal title on it, you tend to be a bit stiffer". As he finished his explanation, Kinh couldn't help but chuckle. Foley couldn't help but laugh a bit. The two men carried on their conservation talking about their own experiences in the military as well as various topics (notably, they argued on who was the baddest sith lord?). Foley found out that the Canadians sent here were green since none of them had served in Afghanistan. The American revealed that he had never seen combat as well but some of his men did. They also bragged about their respective soldiers' s prowess and swapped tales. Very soon the two had struck the beginnings of a friendship. The officers mess was filled chatter from other tables as officers from both armies conversed and got to know each other as well as boasting and betting on their men's capabilities. It wasn't very difficult since the two armies came from neighboring countries that had good relations.
Meanwhile, the same scenario happened in the enlisted men's mess hall. There was more casualness though expected from the enlisted. Julien had gotten himself in an arm wrestling contest with a burly African-American private named Dick Johnston. Men from both sides were cheering on their friend.
"Kick that that fucking Frenchie's ass" cried out an American marine.
Upon hearing that, the Canadians got a bit more pumped and one of them shouting a colorful wave of Quebecer swear words (That are untranslatable to English).
"AWAYE TABARNAK ESTIE! CRISSES Y UNE ESTIE DE VOLÉE."
Julien left a mighty roar escape from his mouth as he slammed the Marine's arm on the table. Cheers could be heard from the Canadians while the Americans demanded a rematch. The Van Doos were about to let it go until the Marines gambled a free round of beers to the Canadians if they lost again.
Any self respecting Canadian from Quebec (Quebecer) has a part of himself or herself that simply cannot refuse any challenge if free beer or alcohol is to be rewarded to the victorious party. Two new champions were chosen to defend their army's honor and most importantly... to compete for fine ale. Unfortunately for the Canadians, after a few moments, the corporal they had chosen was soundly defeated by an American private. They swallowed their pride and accepted their defeat but promised a rematch. As for Julien and Dick, they were talking to each other after the second match.
"Bro...that was a good fight man" called out Julien as he high fived the Marine.
"Yeah man, can't wait for my free beer from you guys" answered Dick as he finished with a laugh.
"Well my good sir, you'll the finest beers that our brewers can make" answered Julien in his best fake British accent. "Good thing we lost...we would have gotten shitty American beer" he thought as the drinker in him shuddered.
"Can't argue with that dude" chuckled the American.
Very soon though, it was time for the Marines and Van Doos to retire to their respective quarters. It had a been long but very fulfilling day that marked the beginning of many friendships and everyone retired to a peaceful night in Japan.
The next upcoming month would prove to be tiring but interesting.