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Great Retreat

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The result of the Collapse bombs explosion during the battle.
Don't worry. After today... Both you and I, as well as those commanders from Griffin... All of us will have the target for our revenge.[1]

In the first half of 2064, a series of battles occurred in Area S09, in the Western reaches of the Neo-Soviet Union, involving the rebel Tactical Dolls of Sangvis Ferri, Griffin & Kryuger PMC, the Neo-Soviet Army's KCCO, the Neo-Soviet Bureau of State Security, the mercenaries of Squad 404 and the paramilitary group Paradeus. These events are told in Girls' Frontline during Chapter 10, Singularity, Continuum Turbulence and a flash-back in Chapter 12.

These events can be divided roughly into three phases. Firstly, the KCCO and Griffin launched a joint assault against Sangvis Ferri's headquarters to capture their Mastermind. The KCCO covertly worked with Paradeus to give Mastermind occasions to "grow" as a relic key during the battle. Secondly, during an electronic warfare counterattack from Sangvis Ferri, the KCCO betrayed Griffin troops as an excuse to deploy more troops, forcing the PMC to retreat chaotically. This second phase is known among Griffin Dolls as the battle in S11 (S11区的战斗) or the Great Retreat (大撤退).[2] Finally, a series of skirmishes occurred after another Sangvis Ferri EW attack and the use of a Collapse bomb. Since only the second phase received an official name, it is used on this wiki to designate all related battles.

In full, the battles spanned over two to three days. By the end, Sangvis Ferri had lost their headquarters but retained a fighting force that would go on expeditionary operations in Belgrade and Estonia ; the KCCO failed to capture Mastermind and their position within the Neo-Soviet government became compromised ; Statesec agent Angelia also failed to capture Mastermind and was expelled from the agency, but continued operating ; G&K had suffered a major loss of forces and been declared a rogue PMC ; and Paradeus managed to capture the Commander. The battles were a prelude to the events of Belgrade and the Paldiski Incident.

Context[edit]

KCCO - G&K relations[edit]

The joint operation took place after Griffin & Kryuger had recovered File No. 7 from Sangvis Ferri's Base 0 in Area S02 for the KCCO. General Carter had previously warned Berezovich Kryuger that his support of G&K was contingent on results in their search for the work left behind by Sangvis scientist Lycoris, whose death during the Butterfly Incident had caused the uprising of SF's core AI Elisa, nicknamed “Mastermind”. Kryuger in turn pressured Persica for result, who deployed AR Team to Area S02. Previously, AR's raid on Safe House 3 had revealed that File No. 7 would help decrypt more of Lycoris' work[3] and contained the location of Elisa's main server cluster, the headquarters of Sangvis Ferri.[4]

Soon after, Carter and Kryuger agreed to organize a joint assault to capture Elisa[4] and destroy Sangvis Ferri. Carter announced to the public that the Army would conduct a live-fire exercise with G&K to test T-Dolls,[5] as well as demonstrate the advantages of integrating PMCs in the country's defense apparatus,[6] while in reality lending their forces to destroy SF for good. With the Army's firepower, the victory could be achieved in three days. Kryuger felt the operation would also enable G&K to focus their effort on protection after becoming swamped in the war against SF for two years. He entrusted the field command to the Commander, as the G&K officer with the best records against SF,[5] while Kryuger would handle intelligence synchronization. Carter entrusted field command to his own best soldier, Captain Yegor, leading three special mixed human-automatons squadrons of special operations infantry. The Army would provide G&K troops access to their central servers for intelligence, active defense and electronic warfare (EW) to counter the jamming generated by SF's Parapluie virus. Ultimately, the Army would only provide combat support and not intervene with heavy forces in order not to overstep their jurisdiction, entrusting Elisa's capture to G&K.[4]

All playable Dolls at the time of Continuum Turbulence's release could potentially have fought on Griffin's side during the battles, but the only Griffin Dolls confirmed to have participated are RF XM3Thumb button.pngXM3 , RF Carcano M1891Thumb button.pngCarcano M1891  and RF Carcano M91∕38Thumb button.pngCarcano M91∕38  (during Chapter 10) ; SMG MP7Thumb button.pngMP7 , AR CZ2000Thumb button.pngCZ2000 , HG ThunderThumb button.pngThunder , MG HK21Thumb button.pngHK21 , SMG Honey BadgerThumb button.pngHoney Badger  and RF BallistaThumb button.pngBallista  (during Singularity) ; SMG Cx4 StormThumb button.pngCx4 Storm , SMG AK-74UThumb button.pngAK-74U , HG PythonThumb button.pngPython , RF Mk 12Thumb button.pngMk 12 , AR A-91Thumb button.pngA-91 , AR 9A-91Thumb button.png9A-91 , SMG ThompsonThumb button.pngThompson , SMG MP40Thumb button.pngMP40 , RF M82A1Thumb button.pngM82A1  and SG M870Thumb button.pngM870  (during Continuum Turbulence) ; and AR AS ValThumb button.pngAS Val  (during her Neural Upgrade story).

While Kryuger believed Carter's end goal by capturing Elisa was to secure new technology for T-Doll development,[7] G&K's involvement was only a mean for Carter to encroach on the area, which was outside his jurisdiction, without rousing the suspicion of the Neo-Soviet Central Committee.[8] The general's true goal in the operation was to awaken Elisa's ability to use Relic Technology and break the Relic Arms Reduction Treaty, providing other nations a casus belli to restart World War Three. Havier Witkin warned Kryuger before the battle that Carter's true objective was not the destruction of SF, arguig he could have achieved it without G&K.[9][7] Carter received the assistance of William, the leader of Paradeus, who also aimed to make Elisa a "Key" to activate Relics.[10]

Elisa's plans and AR Team[edit]

After the death of Lycoris during the Butterfly Incident, Elisa aimed to become the perfect IA her creator envisioned and avenge his death.[11] During the raid on Safe House 3, Elisa noticed AR M4A1Thumb button.pngM4A1 's special Neural Cloud[12] and decided to absorb her into her own Neural Cloud to become "more perfect".[13] During their first contact, Elisa failed to absorb M4 due to her core memories being encrypted,[14] and her local body was destroyed in a suicide bombing by AR Team's AR ST AR-15Thumb button.pngST AR-15 .[15] AR-15's remains were secretly recovered by Squad 404 and rebuilt to integrate her into Task Force DEFY.[16] Elisa later tried to force her way into M4A1's Neural Cloud again in Area S05, but this attempt left M4A1 comatose.[17]

During the operation in Area S02, Persica secretly sacrificed AR M16A1Thumb button.pngM16A1  in order to gather the necessary data to awaken M4A1: by submitting to the Parapluie virus, M16A1 gained access to SF's databases but turned into an enemy unit.[18] Officially, M16A1 had gone MIA, leaving SMG RO635Thumb button.pngRO635  and AR M4 SOPMOD IIThumb button.pngM4 SOPMOD II  the only operating members of AR Team.[5]

First phase: Joint assault against Sangvis Ferri[edit]

Approach[edit]

An operation personally announced by Mr. Kryuger. An operation of the highest priority... That is... the operation to annihilate the Mastermind.[19][20]

G&K troops assembled at their main command post for the operation in the neighboring Area S11, waiting for the KCCO to greenlight the approach.[21] Morale was high as the G&K forces were eager to finally destroy SF and participate in G&K's largest operation to date.[21][20] As enemy forces assembled, Elisa recalled most SF ringleaders to headquarters to prepare for a defensive battle,[19] targeting G&K outposts to disrupt their supply lines. As the first tactical force on the field ahead of other G&K commanders, the Commander deployed Dolls to defend the outposts.[21]

After Persica removed the limiters on AR M4A1Thumb button.pngM4A1 's Neural Cloud,[18] she was successfully awakened but insisted to immediately join the battle. After her IOP helicopter reached the edge of the interdicted battlefield airspace, M4A1 continued by foot but was stopped at a KCCO camp as she hadn't been registered for the operation.

Persica had hired her friend and Statesec agent Angelia to help M4A1 join the fight. Presenting as a Captain of the 17th Recon Squadron, Angelia enabled M4A1 to enter the battlefield and provided some guidance for the trials to come before transmitting her location to the Commander for retrieval.[21] Angelia then joined Task Force DEFY and began tapping Carter's communications to figure out his motives for the operation.[8] RF XM3Thumb button.pngXM3 's squad, running logistics nearby, was deployed to bring M4A1 to the frontline, but Elisa deployed a strong force to attack their train convoy and capture M4. XM3's unit was destroyed before a KCCO unit led by Yegor arrived to rescue M4, sending her on her way in an autonomous APC.[20] M4 then fetched AR Team from their aborted search mission of AR M16A1Thumb button.pngM16A1  in Area S02 to join the battle.[19]

With AR Team now in the field, Carter's bait for Elisa was ready and he had his troops push towards the SF HQ. He anticipated that the KCCO's overwhelming firepower would force Elisa to rely on an all-out Parapluie electronic attack. As the KCCO units began their advance into Parapluie jamming territory, the Commander tasked AR Team with reactivating paralyzed KCCO automatons left behind by the main force,[8] while the rest of G&K's Dolls would be tasked with protecting the interference neutralizers setup by the KCCO during their advance. After M4 obtained Yegor's authorization to take remote control of the deactivated KCCO units in order to establish autonomously defense areas, the Commander sent AR Team to protect the flank of the KCCO's assault prong,[22] which was running thin, but the military troops progressed too fast for them to keep up.[23]

Betrayal[edit]

Yegor kills RO635.
KCCO members arrest Berezovich Kryuger.
Wakey-wakey, M4A1. ...Time to find the Key for us... as your brand new self.[24]

AR Team moved to reactivate KCCO units indicated by Yegor, but the coordinates drew them into an SF trap where they were attacked by Judge. With her ringleader acting as a relay, Elisa launched another attack on M4's Neural Cloud.[23] Holing down in an outpost, AR Team kept SF's attacks at bay until RF Carcano M1891Thumb button.pngCarcano M1891  and RF Carcano M91∕38Thumb button.pngCarcano M91∕38  arrived with their team to reinforce them. However, they lost their chance to break through the encirclement when M4 collapsed from Elisa's attacks.[25] While SMG RO635Thumb button.pngRO635  helped M4 repel the electronic attack, AR Team and the Carcanos, with external help from the Commander's forces, managed to keep Judge's forces at bay until the ringleader was hit by a KCCO mortar shot and retreated.

However, the KCCO forces led by Yegor jammed communications in the area and destroyed all the G&K Dolls except for M4.[24] At the same time, the KCCO pulled back all human personnel from the battlefield, leaving only their autonomous units.[26] With Judge no longer able to serve as a relay[26] and her connection with M4 remotely broken by AR AK-12Thumb button.pngAK-12 ,[27] Elisa refocused her efforts on destroying the KCCO forces nearing the SF HQ and ordered to release the Parapluie virus at full power. As both G&K Dolls and KCCO automatons turned berserk, the battlefield was engulfed in chaos. This was part of the KCCO's plans[26] to wipe out the G&K forces[28] and lead Elisa to a honeypot in their battlefield network:[26] by deactivating their anti-jamming equipment to let Parapluie spread unimpeded, and by leaving unprotected the forward command terminal linked to the servers of their Western Theater HQ,[28] they would lure Elisa into a counter-Parapluie payload to hack and capture her[29] with a Class I active defense.[30] Declaring an emergency, the main force of the KCCO left on standby would enter the battlefield,[31] including armored units brought in by intercontinental trains that Carter had prepared in advance.[32] The loss of communications also limited the range of Zener transmissions to avoid Parapluie infection,[33] hampered the ability of G&K Dolls to back up their Neural Clouds,[34][33] and there was some concern that they wouldn't be able to defend against human KCCO forces as they had not received proper authorizations ahead of time.[35]

Around 1600 hours,[27] after Elisa ordered the Parapluie attack, G&K's second-in-command Helian issued a general retreat order from Area S09 through Area S11 to all Commanders and operable Dolls. With AR Team lost in the thick of the Parapluie jamming, Angelia anonymously contacted the Commander and asked for M4's last known coordinates on behalf of Persica.[26] Agent K from the Stasi was also operating with Statesec in the area, but followed G&K's retreat to Area S11 after the chaos erupted.[31] Elisa's general order also enabled Dreamer, who had been fighting against Squad 404 in the nearby Area S15, to activate the virus dormant in SMG UMP45Thumb button.pngUMP45  and convert her into an SF Doll. Dreamer's plan failed due to 45's unique nature[36] and Squad 404 later entered the battlefield to assist G&K's retreat for monetary gain.[37]

22 hours before the Collapse detonation, M16A1 sent a forced reactivation signal to SOP-II, who had shut down after suffering crippling damage from Yegor's attack and could only crawl with one arm. M16 sent her to the site of a Sangvis Ferri defeat to gather spare parts and repair herself, before checking on M4 at the safe house. SOP-II complied despite M16 being identified as a Sangvis Ferri unit, and they tried to connect to M4 on Level 2 and were rejected. M16 concluded that M4 was safe for the moment, as SF forces were preparing their retreat. After retrieving RO's neural core to preserve the memories of her first encounter with M4, SOP-II set out to regroup with the G&K force, but had to hunker down for some time to compute a plan.[38]

Second phase: The Great Retreat[edit]

Statesec investigations[edit]

ST AR-15 rescues M4A1.
I suppose no one would bat an eye no matter what I do on a team with such a name. Then here's a question, squinty eye... Is Task Force DEFY hiring?[26]

Half an hour after the KCCO betrayal, AR AK-12Thumb button.pngAK-12  and AR ST AR-15Thumb button.pngST AR-15  were dispatched by Angelia to recover M4, taking over stray Griffin & Kryuger Dolls to assist them on the battlefield.[27] Using data provided to Ange by Persica,[39] AK-12 upgraded M4's Neural Cloud in a safe house.[40] The team then attempted to join Angelia and AR AN-94Thumb button.pngAN-94 , but were surrounded by forces led by Executioner,[41] who followed the general order to capture M4.[42]

Meanwhile, Angelia and AN-94 used the open access to the Western Theater HQ to gather KCCO data, finding references to OGAS which confirmed Statesec's suspicions about Carter's intentions. After retreating from the Parapluie jamming, Angelia and AN-94 went to a nearby satellite communication outpost to report their findings.[28] Despite the approaching main KCCO force, Director Zelinsky denied Ange the authorization to call for a bombing strike.[43] They then moved to assist AK-12's team, who had to entrench[44] and hack KCCO automatons to keep the SF attackers at bay.[42]

Angelia then gave AR M4A1Thumb button.pngM4A1  access to M16A1's heirloom portable particle cannon[43] and received supplemental orders to prevent the KCCO from capturing Elisa. Ange designated M4A1 as squad leader and sent DEFY in the field while she remained in her current outpost to contact Persica.[39] As AK-12's EW modules were not able to sustain high-level hacking while in Parapluie jamming,[43] Ange met with Squad 404 and hired them to infiltrate the central SF database, recover any data on OGAS and the Butterfly Incident, then locate Elisa. In exchange, the same data would provide SMG UMP45Thumb button.pngUMP45  with the information she sought about the Butterfly Incident.[45]

After learning that her boss Havier Witkin had ties to the OGAS project,[39] three hours after Kryuger was arrested, Persica convinced Witkin to share more information about the connection between himself, Carter, and OGAS. Reflecting on KCCO's actions, Persica and Ange also deducted that their plan was to capture Elisa after enabling her to become complete by absorbing M4. William's involvement also became clear. Persica requested DEFY to gather a sample of KCCO's counter-Parapluie virus,[29] and Angelia ordered the team to perform the attack from a repeater station near them. She also formulated a plan to use M4 as bait to capture Elisa.[46]

Despite the KCCO armors moving in, M4 led DEFY deep into SF territory to take advantage of Elisa's focus on the approaching KCCO menace, skirting an area covered by Intruder's artillery. To reach the repeater station as ordered by Ange, M4 used the distraction offered by a lost G&K squad to move around SF units undetected, but still inquired about their status after AK-12 performed the hack.[30]

Electronic counterattack[edit]

I confess that this has gone slightly beyond my expectations. On average, something that surprises me to this extent only occurs once every three years.
— William's comment on OGAS' electronic counterattack.[10]

Shortly after Persica and Ange's last transmission,[46] AK-12 detected early signs of an extremely strong electronic attack and had DEFY close all their external ports.[30] As Elisa triggered the KCCO's active defenses and was unable to decipher and counter the attack, her OGAS counterattacked in her place using her immense processing power. The counterattack propagated in the KCCO's servers much faster than expected, rewriting kernel-level code to gain privileges and create innumerable backdoors. As firewalls and passive defenses crumbled and a clean disconnection would take minutes due to the data flow, with only 40 seconds to total overwrite, Carter ordered to physically cut the network cables and activate all active defense programs to overload connections and invalidate server caches. Impressed by OGAS' capabilities and mocking the KCCO's technical abilities, William provided them with the location of Elisa he had detected, as OGAS couldn't use the usual spoofing signal concealing her location during the attack.[10]

The counterattack momentarily dropped all transmissions on the battlefield and warned DEFY that KCCO's plan to capture Elisa had failed,[47][30] but the KCCO dispatched their armored units to physically capture Elisa. Using hacked units for protection, Ange left her outpost to join DEFY.[47] Beforehand, Squad 404, having located the SF central database[48] and used the EW attack to bypass the deactivated KCCO automatons blocking their way, became trapped by Gager inside the building.[49] Gager, with Intruder as her subordinate, had been entrusted with the defense of the central database, but had left to extort the location of Architect from the retreating G&K troops and had only recently returned to her post.[50]

Ange sent DEFY ahead to help Squad 404 break out.[30] On the way, M4'S OGAS first offered to reveal AR Team's coordinates if M4 agreed to meet Elisa. After DEFY bypassed Gager's encirclement and found 404, UMP45 insisted on destroying Gager to secure the rear,[51] marking 404's seventh to eighth hour of continuous combat.[1]

Seeing M4 breaking out of the encirclement alone, Gager confirmed her course of action with Agent and followed her into an obvious trap. However, Gager's backline was destroyed by Squad 404, whom she thought already dead, and M4 used hacked KCCO automatons to overpower her. Assuming that Intruder had left and she was already lost, Gager announced that Agent had gone to attack the G&K base and M4 executed her on the spot for taunting her.[52] Ange joined them shortly after.[1]

Griffin retreat[edit]

M4 SOPMOD II during field repairs.
Agent about to kill the Commander.
Carter's plan was more outrageous than I'd imagined.[53]

With the anonymous help of Squad 404,[54] the G&K base in Area S11 led by the Commander managed to recover a number of lost Dolls, but could not establish contact with any other commander or HQ due to the Parapluie jamming.[55] The Commander dispatched SMG MP7Thumb button.pngMP7  into a clear comms area and Helian ordered to continue assisting in the evacuation. G&K HQ themselves had lost contact with all units in and near Area S09, and received no response when hailing the KCCO HQ.[56]

Shortly after, Kryuger and Helian learned through a TV broadcast that Carter had declared that G&K had gone rogue during the exercise. This provided him an excuse to take over administration of the region, and he announced that legal procedures would be engaged. Kryuger ordered all personnel to evacuate HQ and handled command of G&K to Helian while offering himself as a scapegoat, hoping Carter would not try to completely shut down the PMC.[53] Kryuger's arrest warrant cited crimes such as illegal arms trafficking and unlawful modification of civilian Dolls, but not terrorism, as Kryuger had once mentioned to Carter he could never bear to be trialed as one.[54]

During another Dolls recovery run, the Commander's Dolls engaged a defense lines set up by Gager, but fell into an ambush and were pincered by her main force. Gager offered to let them go if they gave her the location of Architect, who had been in G&K's custody since Operation Hypothermia. The Commander's aide Kalina attempted to contact Helian to get the information, but transmissions were cut by the KCCO electronic attack,[57] leaving Gager's forces in disarray while Kalina directed the G&K Dolls to their retreat route with a megaphone. Having detected that 404 had breached the central database due to Gager's unauthorized leave, Agent ordered Gager to go back to her post while she would personally destroy the G&K forces.[50] The G&K Dolls managed to eliminate one of Agent's dummies, but another one broke into the base and attacked the Commander. Angelia then contacted Agent and offered to arrange an encounter between Elisa and M4 if she spared the Commander. Agent accepted on Elisa's behalf.[58]

After deciding to visit a G&K warehouse to find an auxiliary power unit to keep SMG RO635Thumb button.pngRO635 's core alive, AR M4 SOPMOD IIThumb button.pngM4 SOPMOD II  found it had been raided by SF units[59] and followed their traces to an ongoing skirmish against G&K's B Group 17th Logistics Support Echelon led by SMG Cx4 StormThumb button.pngCx4 Storm , who had been surrounded by Scarecrow after their commander had sent them to rescue another team. Applying past strategies copied from M4 and the Commander to make up for her lack of a command module, SOP-II successfully helped Cx4's group repel the SF attack.[34] SOP-II then negotiated a ceasefire with Scarecrow so both parties could focus on retreating into SF territory, away from the approaching KCCO forces, and Scarecrow sent SOP-II a spare power unit[60] transported by a Dinergate, which SOP-II took along with the battery.[61] Both groups evaded the KCCO forces, who were moving slow in search of abandoned friendlies,[35] and with help from Scarecrow who shared the detection range of KCCO units, SOP-II's rallied the G&K outpost, who had recently been abandoned by the Commander's forces.[62] SOP-II connected RO's core to the stolen Dinergate and established a connection to her own system to awaken her.[63] While RO was unhappy to be talking through a Dinergate, she sent a distress signal to the Commander, and SOP-II led the Dolls in a defensive battle against KCCO attackers until the Commander sent HOCs to assist them.[61]

Collapse bombs[edit]

One of the five canisters of Collapse Fluid used by DEFY.
M4A1 and Elisa's fourth encounter.
M16A1 rescues Elisa.
I don't know where Ange got them from, but it's clear that a single one of these glass shells is scarier than all of Sangvis Ferri put together.[64]

Two hours after the elimination of Gager, at dawn the next day, Zelinsky again refused to Ange the use of a bombing strike against the KCCO in the absence of concrete proof of Carter's plans. This was because Statesec would not receive the support of the Central Commitee for revealing their internal disorder to the West, while in the midst of negotiations with the Pan-European Union. The elimination of Elisa herself was also unwanted, as she held critical information to understand the Butterfly Incident. At 16Lab, Havier explained to Persica and Ange what Carter's objectives were, and arranged a weapon drop to help Angelia. Statesec would be able to blame its use on the KCCO, and Havier didn't mind putting himself on the line as he was already in a similarly precarious position as Kryuger.[65]

With the second day of battle commencing, Ange took AK-12 and AN-94 with her to delay the armored units and deployed M4 and AR-15 with Squad 404 to recover Havier's airdrop. She also enlisted the Commander's help to run distractions against the enemies in the drop area,[66] leaving Kalina to direct the defense of the command post against attacking KCCO units.[67] Ange also tasked UMP45 with monitoring M4's strange behavior, and she found out and reported to Angelia the deal offered by her OGAS. Angelia decided to use the coordinates provided by OGAS for their encounter with Elisa.[66]

At the drop site, 404 recovered the five canisters prepared by Havier, which Angelia recognized as Collapse Fluid containers, and tasked AR-15 to rig the canisters with explosives before sending DEFY and 404 to plant them around the meeting site. M4 then went to meet Elisa alone.[64] When M4 asked Elisa for the coordinates of AR Team, Elisa revealed she had never heard of the deal offered by OGAS and M4 pointed her weapon at her. Agent intervened to protect Elisa, and the rest of DEFY and 404 attacked. However, they were interrupted by Yegor, who was listening in on DEFY's transmissions and launched his own ambush with armored units.[68] Despite G&K reinforcements, Ange's teams and Elisa were separated by the KCCO attack and UMP45 was heavily damaged while taking out a KCCO tank, passing the detonator to M4.

After receiving Ange's signal, and despite Ange and the Commander being in the contamination radius, M4 activated the explosives, vaporizing all units in a half-kilometer radius around the epicenter of the explosion, jamming all transmissions in the area and immediately causing signs of ELID infection in Ange.[69] News of the dirty bomb explosion quickly reached Statesec, who used the opportunity to blame the KCCO and weaken their political position.[70] The retreating G&K T-Doll temporarily crashed due the shockwave of the explosion and all automated KCCO attackers ceased functioning, but harmful levels of radiation reached as far as Kalina and the Griffin command post's position. The Commander, who was nearer to the explosion, passed out and was brought to a safe house by RF M82A1Thumb button.pngM82A1  and SG M870Thumb button.pngM870 .[67]

With the KCCO troops in disarray, AK-12 and AN-94 helped M4 and AR-15 break through to pursue Elisa, who boarded a departing train. M4 found that Elisa had been handed to M16A1, now working for Sangvis Ferri.[70] M4 engaged her in combat, but eventually ran out of ammo and M16 left with Elisa in a helicopter.[71] Meanwhile, 12 and 94 went back to rescue Angelia.[72] With their HQ now lost, Elisa transmitted retreat routes to the remaining SF ringleaders.[73]

Third phase: Griffin rescue operation[edit]

AR Team lost[edit]

Our team is gone... The mission was a failure...[71]

As the carriages of the intercontinental train were being destroyed, AR ST AR-15Thumb button.pngST AR-15  caught up to AR M4A1Thumb button.pngM4A1  with a bike and helped her jump and escape the explosions. Facing numerous failures and fearing that all of her allies were dead, M4A1 considered killing herself and AR-15 with her particles cannon, but she was stopped by her OGAS who assumed control of her body. AR-15 initially didn't comment on her sudden change to keep her alive,[71] and led them to a nearby residential building converted into a relay station by the KCCO to take shelter from the blizzard. They cleared the building of the ELID infected, which comprised both military personnel and civilian residents who had turned after the explosion of the Collapse bomb. By tapping the KCCO's network, OGAS learned about the Commander and Angelia's situation, and the advance of KCCO armors.[74]

A few hours later, after the blizzard passed, OGAS and AR-15 returned to the KCCO camp on the battlefield while evading the newly arrived Paradeus troops. The camp had been evacuated half a day after the start of the battle, and they followed Angelia's signal from there. After a skirmish with a Paradeus patrol, OGAS infiltrated their local network,[75] which enabled M4A1 to expel OGAS from her neural cloud, taking back control over her body after a full day. After confirming that G&K troops had evacuated, M4 and AR-15 made their way towards a civilian signal tower away from the residential area to get a clearer transmission with Angelia.[76]

With no ammo left in their primary weapons and the low reliability of captured weapons, M4 and AR-15 used stealth to get past the Paradeus units, but they progressed slowly and risked arriving only after Angelia was gone. M4 relied on hacking to haste their advance, but she was found back by OGAS. Angry at M4 for trying to abandon her,[77] OGAS hacked into a Nyto Black while the local Nyto White commander was distracted by her capture of the Commander. Rather than force her way back into M4's neural cloud, OGAS physically attacked M4 and AR-15 to demonstrate that M4 needed her power to protect her companions. M4 relented and allowed OGAS back, and they made their way to the objective after OGAS disabled the Paradeus troops.

After reaching the transmission tower, M4 and AR-15 opened a transmission with AR AK-12Thumb button.pngAK-12 , who directed them to an evacuation point,[78] but they remained stranded for days while Angelia recovered from the battle.[79] M4 and AR-15 didn't disclose what had happened during their disappearance from DEFY,[80] only explaining it to the Commander shortly before the Paldiski Incident.[71]

Paradeus involvement[edit]

Those things... that want to kill us... They're... unkillable. At least they were a few hours ago. Now it's sorted.[81]

After regaining consciousness from the Collapse detonation, Angelia was left unable to contact Task Force DEFY and grew rapidly weaker from radiation poisoning. Relying on her satellite communicator, Persica and Witkin sent their newly developed Heavy Ordnance Corps to assist Angelia, but she considered her situation lost and asked for the new troops to be deployed at the Griffin & Kryuger temporary outpost, while she made her way to a communication outpost to contact the Commander and reorganize. Threatened by ELIDs on her way, she was found in time by AK-12 and AR AN-94Thumb button.pngAN-94 , who performed first aid and commandeered abandoned G&K dummies. Angelia initially ordered them to abandon her, but the Dolls refused the order.

With high-tech navigation offline because of the radiations, DEFY went north to a security zone where they reactivated a comms station and infiltrated the KCCO network to scan for enemy positions and talk with the Commander. Angelia informed them of the arrival of the HOCs and the details of Witkin's aerial extraction, and asked them to extract first before sending troops to rescue her. She transmitted them the confidential data she had gathered and pledged command of DEFY to them in case she died, then ended the transmission shortly after Yegor hacked into it to announce he was coming to take revenge on her.[72] His judgment clouded by the radiations,[82] and with little to lose since he would likely be court-martialed after being blamed for using the Collapse bombs, Yegor had decided to lead his troops and kill Angelia.[83]

Earlier, RF M82A1Thumb button.pngM82A1  and SG M870Thumb button.pngM870  had resuscitated the Commander with an adrenaline shot. Kalina had ordered the two elite Dolls to extract the Commander by force if necessary, but they instead decided to rescue the G&K troops and Angelia first.[67] Meanwhile, Paradeus troops entered the battlefield and launched an assault on G&K's temporary base manned by Kalina, threatening the defense lines set up by SMG ThompsonThumb button.pngThompson , AR 9A-91Thumb button.png9A-91  and HG PythonThumb button.pngPython .

One hour after the Collapse detonation and with the last air transports en route to complete the evacuation despite G&K's HQ being inactive, Squad 404 sneaked by the Paradeus attackers and the Commander ordered Kalina to help the critically wounded SMG UMP45Thumb button.pngUMP45 . To complete the evacuation of the defense lines, AR HK416Thumb button.pngHK416  took command of the rescue group of SMG AK-74UThumb button.pngAK-74U , leaving the rest of 404, SMG UMP9Thumb button.pngUMP9  and AR G11Thumb button.pngG11 , as last defenses at the base.[33] With help from the HOCs, 416 relieved Python's team and added it to her relief force, which was dubbed "Griffin's Expendables" by AK-74U.[84] Under enemy artillery, the Expendables relieved 9A-91's team,[85] then Thompson's[86] and finally SMG MP40Thumb button.pngMP40 's stranded logistics team before meeting AR M4 SOPMOD IIThumb button.pngM4 SOPMOD II  and SMG Cx4 StormThumb button.pngCx4 Storm 's team to guide them back to the temporary base.[81]

During the last Paradeus attack, 416 and SOP-II's teams took down the Nyto Blacks commanding the attacking forces, putting the G&K forces out of danger.[87] During the air evacuation, the Commander called for volunteers to field a rescue mission for Angelia.[88] 416 took part with SOP-II.[89]

KCCO pursuit[edit]

Angelia's last-ditch gambit.
Don't try me! This is your final chance! Or you'll take another radiation bath! But this time, neither you nor your subordinates will survive![82]

Using flares to mark a rendez-vous point, DEFY and G&K's rescue party met in the Yellow Zone,[90] avoiding the Green Zone where Yegor would have prepared a trap. The extra radiation caused Ange to keep fainting, slowing down the team who managed to keep KCCO armors at bay with their HOCs.[91] Yegor called for artillery reinforcements to break through the HOCs, and ordered them to destroy all ELIDs on the way, even their former comrades, to eliminate Ange as quickly as possible.[92]

The rescue party eventually carried the unconscious Angelia to a building with thick walls, providing a measure of radiation shielding. With the KCCO armors lagging behind their infantry, an opportunity to bait Yegor into a trap presented itself.[93] After Ange was resuscitated, she called the Commander to discuss her escape plan. While securing the building, 416 and SOP-II found a KCCO medic and adrenaline for Angelia. While Ange started losing hope again, the Commander realized they could use the medic as a decoy.

Though the KCCO troops initially didn't detect vital signs in the building, Yegor thought that Angelia might be so weak as to not be detected, and ordered his troops to sweep it.[94] However, after receiving word that Angelia had been spotted with one of the Doll teams leaving the area under HOC protection, Yegor instead spread his troops thin to monitor the building and pursue the Dolls.[95] They only realized after reaching the signal that the target was in fact their own medic, who had been abandoned by the Dolls to return and establish their defenses in the building.[82]

With the time bought by the decoy, DEFY made improvised explosive devices using the shells carried by the HOCs once they had returned, and started rigging them to the building. If Angelia could lure Yegor inside, they would threaten to use the IEDs to have him retreat.[95] After discovering the ploy, Yegor immediately ordered an attack, which met 416 and SOP-II's defenses but didn't leave enough time for DEFY to finish rigging the explosives.

Angelia decided to take a gamble and ordered the Dolls to retreat to the roof, leaving her alone with an empty pistol and unconnected detonator. Detecting the movements of the Dolls, Yegor decided to accept Angelia's provocation and entered to meet her alone while his teams would secure the building. As Angelia mocked Yegor for having taken his men with him into her trap, the KCCO teams reported the presence of explosives. Angelia threatened Yegor that either her or the Dolls could activate the explosives, and additionally lied by pretending another collapse bomb was hidden in the building. The background contamination made it impossible for the KCCO teams to detect such as threat with certainty.

Yegor sensed that Angelia was bluffing, but after she played up his responsibility for the life of his men, a tactic she had already used against him in the past, he relented and ordered his troops to retreat three kilometers to let Angelia and the Dolls escape. Judging there was no reason to eliminate Yegor since their objective, Elisa, was already gone, she didn't ask the Dolls to kill him while he was vulnerable. The KCCO troops later confirmed that the IEDs were not functional and that there was no hidden collapse bomb.

After escaping, Angelia's team contacted the Commander and learned that Paradeus had been attacking their building for some time, with M82A1 and M870 as the only defenders.[82] The Nyto White in charge of the attack demanded the Commander surrendered to save the Dolls, trying but failing to play up their relationship with Dolls. The Paradeus troops eventually broke into the building and captured the Commander. To secure the honor of capturing them, the Nyto White severely beat up the Nyto Black who tried to seize them before her, which doubled as a punishment for the failure of the other Nyto Blacks to destroy the retreating G&K troops. Despite this demonstration, the Nyto White decided to meet Angelia's team in battle and sacrifice herself to buy time for the Paradeus transport to send the prisoner away.

The battle turned to Paradeus' disadvantage when SMG RO635Thumb button.pngRO635  used her megaphone to lure a large number of ELIDs into the battlefield, which the Paradeus troops were unwilling to attack. This enabled M82A1 to eliminate the Nyto White with a sniper shot. Angelia and her team left the battlefield after confirming that the Commander had already been captured.[96]

Aftermath[edit]

M4A1 after escaping the battlefield.
LunasiaM4A1, this is just the beginning. We need an explanation. An answer. A resolution. The truth.[78]

For acting counter to orders and deploying a weapon of mass destruction, Statesec declared Angelia a traitor agent.[97] In reality, they allowed her to continue operating, first under K's custody, then as an independent party after the Paldiski Incident.

Frustrated with AR M4A1Thumb button.pngM4A1  after failing four times to merge with her Neural Cloud,[98] Elisa attempted to use M16A1's as a substitute, to no effect.[13] She decided to pursue another way to reach her desired perfection, instead searching to connect to the Pike nodes and Starfish system.[98]

Paradeus treated the Commander's ELID in one of their bases, and attempted, but failed, to extract from their brain their memories of the battle to corroborate their own records. Nine weeks after the battles, the Commander awakened and was interrogated by four Nytos. Squad 404 had already infiltrated the base and SMG UMP45Thumb button.pngUMP45  remotely hacked the Nytos, giving instructions to the Commander through one of them. The Commander had to delay the interrogation as long as possible for the rescue party to storm the base, then kill the Nytos with the concealed gun she provided them, except for the one she would hack, which she would identify with the passphrase "I brought misfortune".[67] 45 had undergone an upgrade along with repairs after being critically damaged during the battle.[99]

Using their interrogation resistance training, the Commander prolonged the interrogation despite the beatings and truth serum injections,[89] enabling the G&K troops led by Kalina to attack the building[97] and Squad 404 to infiltrate it. Having confirmed that the Commander and Task Force DEFY held no information about Elisa's whereabouts, William ordered the interrogators to eliminate the Commander, who used the concealed gun to eliminate three of the Nytos, leaving the one hacked by 45 alive to open the door of the room, which was locked from inside.[96]

Because Angelia had entrusted the Commander with state secrets, Director Zelinsky threatened to have them executed, unless they accepted to work with Statesec, in which case Statesec would clean Griffin & Kryuger's name and get Kryuger out of prison.[97] Later, Kryuger would instead be broken out by G&K troops[100] thanks to Witkin's help.[101] Witkin also provided the Commander with a temporary base until they could return to the G&K base in Area S09,[97] but they could no longer arrange sorties on their own because all of their long-range transport vehicles such as helicopters were lost in the battle.[102]

The Great Retreat was the first time the Commander and Kalina were severely exposed to Collapse radiation, which happened again during the Paldiski Incident. While the Commander developed a semi-immunosome resistance to Collapse radiation as a result of these events,[103] Kalina's condition aggravated later in the year and she was hospitalized during the Berlin events.[104]

Time and place[edit]

As of Eclipses & Saros, there has been no exact date or place stated for these battles.

During the release of Continuum Turbulence, Yuzhong stated on Weibo: “It's 2064, they are still digging in Antarctica[...]” confirming the year of the battle. The subsequent Paldiski Incident occurs on 5 June 2064, confirming the Great Retreat occurred before this date, in the first half of the year.[105] Continuum Turbulence states that the Commander was rescued from Paradeus nine weeks after the end of the Great Retreat.[106]

Time markers introduced in Chapter 11 and Isomer are not consistent with the rest of the timeline. The Belgrade events are said to occur before May,[107] five months after the Great Retreat and three months after the Commander's return.[108] This leaves the period of time between the end of the Great Retreat and the Commander's rescue roughly consistent with the nine weeks stated in Continuum Turbulence, but implies the Great Retreat occured late in 2063 rather than in 2064.

The precise location of Area S09 is never defined, but is commonly understood to be located in the northern or north-western vicinity of the Black Sea. Read List of Locations#Eastern Europe for a detailed review of this topic.

References[edit]

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  104. Girls' Frontline, Mirror Stage, Selene’s Dream
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