Ghost F4F Wildcat Fighter:
Commander Michelle Burke flew the lead in her two fighter flight of Manta-Ray sea and air fighters. They were on patrol in the middle of the pacific and there was little to see but more and more ocean. Her wing man was new, a Lieutenant Junior Grade. There had been reports of some strange aircraft near the Midway islands from patrols out of Hawaii. Commander Burke and her wing man had been assigned to search for whatever had been seen. Somebody had to look and Commander Burke had been selected.
The two aircraft were off the Triton, a Trident class Trident class submersible carrier. As much as she enjoyed flying, this was getting extremely frustrating. Michelle would periodically take her fighter off automatic pilot to create some variation. Still, it did not do much to alleviate her boredom. It did not help that they were patrolling at below three hundred knots.
While flying, Michelle though back on the history of this area of the vast ocean. Part of history taught to all children of the New Navy was the ancient history of the United States Navy. It had been the greatest navy in the history of the world. This was self evident due to it being the only navy which survived the coming of the Rifts. Someday, the United States would be reborn and the New Navy would take the lead in the restoration of that great nation.
The Battle of Midway was fought in the area where Michelle was presently patrolling. It had been near the beginning of the United States entry into the Second World War and they had suffered a string of defeats. The Japanese were attempting to capture the island as a base to use against Hawaii. In a desperate roll of the dice, three United States carriers ambushed four Japanese carriers. All four Japanese carriers were sunk while only a single carrier, the USS Yorktown, was sunk in the battle. In many ways, it was the turning point of the war.
Reminiscing, Commander Burke almost missed the contact. It was not there one moment and in the next, it appeared. First there was one contact, then six more appeared. They were close, only about eighty nautical miles out. She should have been able to detect them much further out that this and they should not have just appeared like this.
Michelle tight beamed to her wing man, "Barry, I want you to stay close. I don't know what these contacts are but there are seven of them."
He responded with, "Whatever they are, they sure are slow." From her own fire control radar, she could see that the contacts were traveling at only around one hundred and fifty knots. That was too fast for any flying creature in their data base and nothing but a helicopter would generally fly that slow as far as aircraft.
Michelle engaged the thrusters on her fighter and accelerated past Mach One in seconds. Her wing man stayed beside her fighter. It would take about ten minutes for her to intercept the contacts but she should be able to get a visual a lot further out. The Manta-Ray was extremely flexible but its maximum speed was only around Mach One and a Half. She did not take the fighter to maximum, hovering just a bit above Mach One.
Her fighter slowly closed with the targets. Even at this speed, they seemed to creep slowly closer. At first they were just dots even with magnification but they slowly resolved themselves. They appeared to be some sort of single engine propeller driven. Some appeared solid while others appeared ghost like where she could see partially through them. The aircraft continued to grow larger and she could see a star on the side of the aircraft. The old United States insignia which she had seen in history files. As well, the plane looked like an aircraft from her school lessons. Names floated around her head including Hellcat and Wildcat although she could not remember which was which at the moment. The question of how could such an aircraft get so far from land drifted through her mind.
Michelle and her wing man buzzed the seven fighters, still recording data. She looked into the cockpiy of the fighter which was closest to her and she could see no one in the pilot. Suddenly, all seven aircraft disappeared. They did not just disappear off her radar but off visual as well. Her wing man exclaimed. "What are these things, Ghosts?"
Commander Burke did not know what these things were either but she knew her report would be extremely interesting.
Much maligned in some circles, the F4F Wildcat was the fighter which had to hold the line in the early days when the United States entered World War Two. It was slower and had a slower rate of climb than the Zero fighter of Japan. Still, its more rugged construction and heavier weaponry allowed it to hold its own. It had had a rate of almost seven to one against the Japanese aircraft if fought. At the end of the war, these proud aircraft were virtually all discarded, many being dumped into the ocean.
These aircraft slept in their watery graves for over a century and a half. With the coming of the Rifts, magical energies swirled around the world and even invaded the deep waters of the oceans. Ships long sunk were reborn. Much was lost with the coming of the Rifts but much has been reborn as well. There have long been reports of ghost aircraft in the skies. Even before the coming of the Rifts, there were tales of Ghost aircraft but few on Rifts Earth would doubt the truth of these stories. There have been reports by New Navy pilots of encounters with aircraft in the middle of the ocean. As of yet, there have been no engagements between these two American forces. The Coalition has not had the same luck from rumors. There have been several encounters between Coalition aircraft with the Coalition Pilots engaging these ghost aircraft. There appears to have been variable success with several Coalition aircraft having been shot down. Of course the Coalition has kept such reports extremely quiet. One has to wonder if even if shot down, these aircraft simply won't rise again.
Who knows why so many Wildcats survived but its seems like a surprising number of these aircraft seem to fly again. Some speculation is that more may have been downed than other fighters. Another possibility is that more Wildcats were dumped into the sea than other planes. A final possibility is that all but one United States carrier was sunk early in the war and had Wildcats as their main fighter complement. Several New Navy sighting have been in areas where American carriers were sunk. In the area where the Battle of Midway was fought, there have been sightings as well of what appears to be an ancient aircraft carrier. Some think that it was the carrier USS Yorktown which was sunk in the engagement. Still, Wildcats have been spotted in several other oceans including the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. They are virtually never seen over land.
Other aircraft which apparently are ghosts as well including the Avenger Torpedo Bomber. There have been several documented reports on encounters with these bombers.
While in some cases, these aircraft appear solid, in other cases they appear to be almost transparent. The aircraft have been seen in a variety of color schemes. From Old United States Navy records kept by the New Navy, the schemes seem to include virtually all color schemes used during the Second World War. While having been seen about to land, there has never been a sighting of these aircraft on the ground or on deck. In general, they seem to simply fly forever. Still, some New Navy pilots have managed to get close to the ghost aircraft and look into the cockpit. In some cases, there is a figure in a flight suit, completely covered so the pilot cannot be seen at all, while in other cases the cockpit appears empty. There have been a handful of cases where pilots have reported seeing skeletons in the cockpits and a handful as well where the pilot appears partially transparent but still visible.
One common thread can be found in many of the reports, both from the New Navy and secret Coalition files. The old aircraft will often just disappear both visually and from sensors. One moment they are right there and the next moment, they simply are gone. As well, there are rumors about incidents where Coalition fighters lock onto these ghost craft and when they fire, the rounds or missiles go right through the ancient aircraft without effect. Usually when this occurs, the old aircraft have an almost transparent appearance.
While there have been reports of ancient flying aircraft since the coming of the Rifts but at first New Navy command did not take such reports seriously. Recently, with a vast accumulation of data on these World War Two fighters, they have decided to take the reports more seriously. The official New Navy policy towards these aircraft is to observe but absolutely not engage them unless they engage the New Navy forces first. So far there have been no incidents between New Navy forces and these ghost aircraft. There is speculation that these aircraft will engage anything carrying what appears to be the markings for the United States.
The Coalition forces have not been as lucky and there have been several attacks against Coalition forces by these ghost forces. There is some speculation on why this might be. Some consider that the Coalition skull design looks like a Nazi symbol. Other consider that Coalition aircraft have attack these ghost craft and they might be perceived as a threat. Some New Navy 'experts' wonder what would happen if these ghost planes were to meet aircraft with "Meatball" or the Japanese Rising Sun on their fuselage. Some of these experts also wonder if there have not been battles between Japanese ghost fighters and these aircraft since the coming of the Rifts.
Unfortunately for the Coalition pilots who have engaged these ghost fighters, the weapon of these fighters is not ghost like. The guns of these fighters, which the Wildcat mounted either four or six fifty caliber machine guns, are quite lethal and fire streams of crackling blue energy. They are able to even damage modern military alloys and composites. Luckily, the fighters are still slow and in most cases the Coalition aircraft have been able to escape from the ghost fighters. There are no cases where the ghost aircraft have carried bombs or rockets. As well, while the aircraft were built from aluminum, they are able to take damage as if they were made from those same alloys and composites. These planes have been known to take an incredible beating and survive. It also appears that the planes can regenerate damage which is done to them.
Model Number: F4F
Vehicle Type: Air, Single Engine Ghost Fighter
Crew: Zero or One (Supernatural)
Horror Factor: 12
M.D.C. by Location:
| Wings (2):||150 each|
| Elevators (2):||70 each|
| Rudder (1):||70|
|Landing Gear (2):||10 each|
| Main Body:||320|
 Destroying a wing will cause the plane to crash.
 Destruction of the elevators or rudder will leave the plane uncontrollable and pilot must eject to survive.
 Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body will shut the aircraft down completely, rendering it useless and causing it to crash if in flight.
Note: The Wildcat will regenerate at 20% of the hit locations M.D.C. per day, meaning all damage will be restored within 5 days of being damaged. Even if a hit location is completely destroyed, it will slowly regenerate until completely restored.
Driving on Ground (Taxiing): Only possible for take offs and landings as well as for parking and storage. Speed is 40 mph (64 kph) when traveling and not on take off or landing.
Flying: 320 mph (515 kph) with an altitude of 34,000 feet (10,370 meters). When intangible, fighter’s top speed is increased to 480 mph (772.5 kph.) The aircraft must slow down to 320 mph (515 kph) before becoming solid or piloting is at -20% while above that speed.
Maximum Effective Range: Effectively Unlimited, the fighter appears to need no refueling and seems to run on magical energy.
Height: 11 feet 4 inches. (3.44 meters)
Wingspan: 38 feet 0 inches. (11.59 meters) with wings extended and 14 feet 4 inches (4.35 meters) with wings folded
Length: 29 feet 0 inches. (8.85 meters)
Weight: F4F weighed 5,895 pounds (2,676 kilograms) empty and 7,975 pounds (3,621 kilograms) normal load.
Power System: Magic, systems seem to work as if run by magic (Originally powered by a Prattt & Whitney R-1830 radial engine
Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment), does not include hard points
Black Market Cost: Not for Sale, due to the haunted nature of these aircraft it is doubtful anyone would want the fighters and the planes are completely independent.
- Four (4) or Six (6) “Balefire” .50 M2 Machine-Guns: These
weapons are mounted in the wings of the of the fighter with some versions
carrying for guns while others carry six. These weapons fire “Balefire”
rounds although the rounds do not have the secondary havoc effects although
payload appears to be virtually infinite.
Maximum Effective Range: 3,000 feet (914.4 meters)
Mega Damage: One Gun: Short Burst 5D6 and Long Burst 1D6x10+10, Four Guns: Short Burst 2D6x10 and Long Burst 4D6x10+40, and Six Guns (If carried): Short Burst 3D6x10 and Long Burst 6D6x10+60,
Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of the pilot (Usually four or five)
Payload: Effectively Unlimited.
Special Abilities as a Haunted Vehicle:
- Will of Its Own: These fighters appear to be completely independent
and/or in control of the ghost pilots in the plane. The personalities of
these aircraft appear to vary although it appears that all have certain
aspects in common such as that they will not engage aircraft which have
United States symbols on them and certain types of targets such as Coalition
(with their Nazi like symbols) are commonly targeted. If not classified
automatically an enemy or a friend, the aircraft's personality will decide
to engage the enemy or not. Some will leave virtually everything alone
while others will attack virtually everything.
Some ghost pilots seem to be rookie pilots while others are expert. Rookie fighters / pilots have a 70% piloting skill, has 4 attacks per melee, have +1 to strike, +5 to dodge. More experienced fighters / pilots will have an 80% piloting skill, have 6 attacks per melee, have +3 to strike, +6 to dodge, and +1 to initiative. Highly Experienced fighters / pilots have a 90% piloting skill, have 7 attacks per melee, have +5 to strike, +8 to dodge, and +2 to initiative.
- Inexhaustible Propulsive Force: Range and fuel are not a problem; the fighter seems able to go on forever, powered by a magical power source.
- Regenerates Damage: The Fighter will regenerate at 20% of the hit locations M.D.C. per day, meaning all damage will be restored within 5 days of being damaged. Even if a hit location is completely destroyed, it will slowly regenerate until completely restored.
- Rejects Modern Components: The fighter will not accept the addition of modern components and components will seem to fail within a few days.
- Natural Invisibility: The fighter is capable of assuming an invisible (Both Visually and on Radar) and perfectly silent state, even when running full out! The vehicle cannot engage in any sort of offensive action (such as firing a weapon) without dropping its invisibility. Can engage this ability 4 times per day with a duration of up to 60 minutes at a time.
- Natural Intangibility: The vehicle has the ability to become immaterial and intangible, and ghost through solid objects. The aircraft can drive or fly right through solid objects and can drive over or through water when the enchantment is activated. The fighter cannot be harmed by normal weapons while intangible but can be effected by magic weapons and psionics. Weapons cannot be used while the Wildcats intangible. Speed is increased to 621 mph (999.4 kph) while intangible but must slow down before becoming solid again. The fighter appears to be ghostlike when it goes intangible and cannot be detected on radar. Can engage this ability 4 times per day for up to 30 minutes at a time.
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Special Credit to Talis D. Merrill (firstname.lastname@example.org) for many of the concepts and enchantments / powers for Ghost / Haunted vehicles.
Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).
Copyright © 2007, Kitsune. All rights reserved.