Side Story Narrator

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"The Allies retreated across the ocean before the onslaught of the enemy. Our little town in the heart of the mainland, fell into deep isolation."
― Side Story Narrator[1]

The anonymous "Side Story Narrator"[2], also referred to as the "Storyteller Boy" in the community, is the narrator of Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies. An average boy who knew nothing of war, the unnamed child's life in San Salvacion was forever changed during the Continental War.


At the end of summer, the Side Story Narrator was riding his bike to school when he observed an air battle between two fighter squadrons. He identified the "yellow" squadron leader as the plane which made the sharpest contrails. The lead plane then shot down its target, which fell onto the boy's house, killing his family. The Side Story Narrator observed the number "13" emblazoned in yellow on the fighter's tail.[1] From that day on, the boy scanned the skies, trying to catch another glimpse of the infamous yellow fighter.[3]

Following the loss of his parents, he then moved in with his uncle, a taxi driver, in San Salvacion. Sometime after, the Erusean military occupied the city and introduced numerous changes, including fuel rationing and a nightly curfew. The fuel rationing hurt the city's taxi industry, costing the boy's uncle his job—the man soon began to drink heavily. The Side Story Narrator sustained himself and his uncle by playing his harmonica at a local bar, the Sky Kid, for small change. There, he developed a crush on the barkeep's daughter, who was a little older than him.[3]

One evening, the boy witnessed a number of Erusean air force personnel commandeering the bar from the usual enlisted-men. The boy soon discovered that among them was the pilot who shot down the plane that killed his parents: Yellow 13. Thirteen began playing a guitar, and the young boy began accompanying him on his harmonica. By some strange coincidence, Thirteen played the same song that the boy's father had played at the end of each day.[4] The boy tried to confront Thirteen, but Yellow 4's constant presence by his side made it impossible. Eventually, they became friends, and the boy got to know the air force pilots by spending hours at their improvised airstrip outside the city.[5]

The boy's uncle disappeared soon afterwards; whether he was arrested for making a drunken comment to the wrong person, or left of his own volition, is unknown. With nowhere else to go, the boy was allowed to stay at the bar. One night, the boy was sleeping in the bar after closing, when a noise woke him. He walked upstairs and stumbled into a meeting of the Resistance. He was roughly but quickly interrogated before the Barkeep's daughter took pity on the young child and made the Resistance release him. Like with Thirteen, the boy and girl also became friends.[6]

After the Resistance bombed Yellow Squadron's runway, the boy learned from the squadron crew chief of the squadron's lost supply reserves and infrequent logistics support. He noticed that although Yellow 4 had suffered light shrapnel wounds, her plane was significantly damaged, most urgently needing an engine replacement. When air raid sirens sounded an attack on Stonehenge, the boy witnessed Yellow 4 scramble with the other Yellow fighters.[7]

After Four was killed in action over Stonehenge, Thirteen began drifting away, but told the boy of how he and Four met years before. Thirteen held a small handkerchief Four had left behind in her quarters, and the boy realized that the story was not so much directed at him as it was meant to keep the memory of Four alive. The boy was later present when Thirteen addressed the bar patrons and commended the pilot who single-handedly destroyed Stonehenge, as opposed to the "despicable bastards" of the Resistance. The boy noticed the barkeep's daughter wincing out of guilt.[8]

As the ISAF forces advanced towards San Salvacion, the boy saw the city inundated with retreating Erusean soldiers from the east. One night, the barkeep's daughter tried to plant laser transmitters for detonating explosives, but was discovered and chased by Erusean troops. When the boy caught up with her, he discovered that Yellow 13 had stopped her and angrily confronted him, calling him a "fascist pig". (In the Japanese release of AC04, the boy is seen holding a gun in the direction of Thirteen.) Pained by the boy's words, Thirteen dismissed the two children, allowing them to safely get away. The following day would be the last time the Side Story Narrator saw Thirteen alive.[9]

After the city's liberation in July 2005, the boy tried to identify the renowned "Ribbon Fighter" among the ISAF planes, but to no avail. As Erusea withdrew from the area, both the boy and the barkeep's daughter followed a group of fleeing Erusean troops in an attempt to locate Thirteen.[10]

By mid-September 2005, the boy and girl had followed Thirteen all the way to Farbanti, the capital of Erusea, and witnessed his final skirmish with his "worthy opponent". After Thirteen was shot down, the boy noticed Yellow 4's handkerchief fluttering toward him and the girl. The boy buried the handkerchief, and reflected that Thirteen died happy having fought his equal.[11]

Nothing is known about what happened to the boy after the Siege of Farbanti, though at some point, the Side Story Narrator learned that a pilot known as "Mobius 1" was responsible for shooting down Thirteen. The last cutscene shows him (as an adult) writing a letter to Mobius 1, explaining who Thirteen was and why he was important to him.[12]