Eagle Wing (2009)
On November 4th, 2009, Istcov was flying his gunship through the valleys of the eastern shoreline on routine patrol. In light of the pending amphibious assault by the Americans, air patrols in the area were stepped up to deter any possible infiltrations by enemy aircraft.
What Istcov didn't expect was for one of the American helicopters - specially modified with stealth capabilities, to completely bypass detection. The helicopter slipped past his patrol route and managed to shoot down all of the allied attack jets before they could take off.
If that wasn't enough, Istcov himself was shot down by the stealth helicopter when he attempted to intercept the enemy gunship. His Mi-24 was quickly brought crashing down into the nearby forest.
But that wasn't even the start of his troubles. Minutes after his crash, a nuclear cloud rose from the coast - to his horror, a tactical nuclear missile had been dropped on the approaching American naval fleet.
They also had no idea as to why a nuclear missile had been launched at the fleet but regardless of who had fired first, their main priority was to find shelter. Lucin knew of a fallout shelter somewhere on the island of Utes just off the South Zagorian coast. If they could reach it in time, they might be able to escape the brunt of the brewing global thermonuclear war.
They fought their way through the South Zagorian wasteland, now littered with crazed ChDKZ insurgent fighters and CDF government soldiers opening fire on anyone in their sights. They had also managed to lure and ambush an American pilot by the name of Lieutenant Ed Winter. After a brief moment of tense "negotiations", the American agreed to join them on their journey towards Balota.
Shortly after, the team managed to find an old truck that was still working even after the nuclear strike's EMP blast. Better yet, it had some fuel left and could probably get them quickly to Balota before darkness fell.
On the back of the truck, Istcov questioned the American about his role in the initial attacks before the nuclear bombs were dropped. The latter answered that he had been flying an attack helicopter prior to the attacks.
Istcov drew things together and came to the (rightful) conclusion that the one responsible for his crash was none other than Winter himself. Bitter over his close brush with death, he verbally threatened the American before the duo resumed their awkward silence.
|«||Istcov: American, what machine you are piloting before explosion? I'm Mikhail, gunner of helicopter.
Winter: A chopper. A modern one.
Istcov: So it is you who shoot me down. I was in the Mi-24 which flying from there. Look bad at me and I'll shove your balls in your mouth.
Istcov is less-than-pleased to find out about Winter's role in his helicopter's destruction
A few minutes later, Istcov and the rest of the survivors arrived on the outskirts of Balota. They dismounted and made their way through the village, which was still filled with hostile ChDKZ fighters and crazed CDF soldiers locked in skirmishes against one another.
After fighting their way through the wayward factions, they finally reached the harbour and found a boat occupied by an American Marine. The Marine urged Winter to board the boat alongside him, but Zotkin flatly ordered him to kill the Marine; he had no idea on where to go and would only serve as a liability to the rest of the survivors. Istcov watched on as Winter (reluctantly) killed the Marine.
However, the boat was already damaged prior to their arrival and was leaking fuel. Lucin informed Istcov's team that it wouldn't be able to carry all of them at once, and that one person would have to stay behind.
|«||Looks like you're staying, American. Shit happens.
Istcov immediately "volunteered" Winter to be the sacrifice (with the latter offering a dry response). However, Zotkin overrides his suggestion and remains adamant that they were all equals when it came to it. They would be drawing matches to decide on who would have to stay behind to cover their escape.
If Winter draws the shortest match, Istcov gleefully rejoices in the American's misfortune and joins the other Spetsnaz team members bound for Utes while Winter is left behind.
|«||No fucking way! I'm not staying here! DIE, AMERICAN!
Istcov draws the shortest matchstick
But should Istcov draw the shortest match, the outraged pilot attempts to exact his revenge on Winter and raises his weapon in an attempt to kill the American. Should he and Winter be one of the "lucky" ones, Istcov joins the other members on the boat as they watch the one person left behind fend off the ChDKZ in futility.
Personality and Appearance
Istcov appears as a middle-aged Slavic male with light brown-coloured hair and a faint moustache. He dons the standard apparel of Russian military pilots, consisting of a Flora-camouflaged flight suit and white ZSH-5 flight helmet with its visor raised.
- Because the ending cutscene where Istcov is chosen to stay behind isn't scripted properly, the game may be forced into a soft lock. It will permanently remain in cinematic mode with Istcov pointing his gun at Winter (but not firing).
- Along with the campaign itself, Istcov's existence is most likely non-canonical given that its events do not occur in the Armaverse's canon timeline.