The players are in place and the battle is now joined. The first shot is fired by Canada against an unknown, potentially invading, enemy surrounded by an EMP cloud that makes accurate targeting all but impossible.

The game rules were designed for more than two players in a game. Thus, on their turn, the player announces who they attack, then which location. An extra attack is given if they managed a hit on their previous attack.

If you’re new to this story, you can find Episode 1 here.

Turn: Canada

Attack (USA, C2)
Attack (USA, I4)

“Transponder signals are garbled, sir, it’s impossible to say who they are.”

Admiral Ben Johnson continued pacing the bridge. Occasionally, he would stop, putting the binoculars that he gripped tightly in his left hand to his eyes, but the other fleet was too far away. He had called full stop well outside the strange zone, but caution didn’t allow for clear visuals of the distant ships.

“Have they answered our hail?”

“Still nothing, sir.”

“Damn it! Do we know anything about them?” he said to the bridge at large.

“Sir,” came a reply from telemetry.

“What is it Lieutenant Lifson?”

“Sir, we know they’ve crossed the two-hundred mile boundary.”

That was something. It now put – whoever they were – within sovereign Canadian waters. But it wasn’t enough to intervene aggressively.

“Anything else?”

“Radar is amorphous, sir, and we can’t tell ship configurations, but we have a rough idea of number and size.”

“Well, that’s something. Enlighten me please, Lieutenant Lifson.”

“We read five…no six amorphous, radar dense silhouettes, including two monsters, sir.”

That wasn’t good. It definitely ruled out illegal Spanish fishing boats, not that that had been a serious consideration. But, it likely meant battleships or carriers. Or both. Who would have reason to sail such a fleet this far north? Only the top dogs might be able to answer that question.

“Any word from the big boys in Ottawa, yet?”

“Just coming through now, sir. One moment.”

St. John’s had relayed his intel request to Ottawa. It wasn’t unusual for other countries to disregard the two-hundred mile zone without notifying the Canadian navy, but at least the government should be able to track down the culprit, if they had any legitimate reason for being there.

“Well?”

One moment, sir,” came the reply as Lieutenant Lee scanned the printout. “Ottawa’s got nothing, sir.”

“Nothing?”

“No, sir. A negative from the EU, and Washington says they have nothing in the area.”

The EU wasn’t surprising, but he was sure the fleet would be American. Of course, all Washington’s answer meant was that the US didn’t want to tell them anything. Still, better to operate on the side of caution. After all, there weren’t too many groups that could put together such a fleet.

“There’s something else, sir,” came the call from Lifson.

“What’s that?”

“Their current heading puts them on a direct bearing for the gulf of the St. Lawrence.”

“What?” This changed everything. Whoever they were, they had entered Canadian waters, had garbled transponder signals, and did not respond to hails. Now they were heading to the main route that would take them straight into the heart of Canada.

“Load forward guns,” Johnson ordered. As the order was relayed, he only hoped his actions would not precipitate an international incident. But, under these conditions, what choice did he have?

“Sir, with the EM field so strong, we can’t lock on any targets.”

“Then make your best guess and FIRE!”

Moments later the first salvo was away.

“Second mark set, sir.”

“FIRE!”

The guns sounded again before echoing to silence. That should get their attention, thought Admiral Johnson. Whether that was a good thing or not, remained to be seen.


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