Admiral Johnson finally gets through to Canadian Naval Command only to learn of a covert operation in progress that he’s now become part of.
Meanwhile, Admiral Stone determines the EM field is the only thing keeping the American fleet alive and as it begins to dissipate, they prepare to fire the generator again.
If you’re new to this story, you can find Episode 1 here.
- Miss (USA, F-2)
- Miss (USA, A-7)
- Attack (USA, C-3)
- Attack (USA, J-9)
“They’re still firing wide Admiral,” reported Lieutenant Lifson. It wasn’t going to last forever, but for now, their luck was holding.
“Lee, do you have Command on the line yet?” It had been ten minutes since the hail. Admiral Johnson knew command had many plates on their table, but this was a priority one alert.
“I’ve got him now, sir. Fleet Admiral Jackobson.”
“Ben, what can we do for you?” The strong voice filled the bridge like a warm bonfire.
“Tom, nice to hear you again. We have a situation here so I’ll cut right to the chase. We’re currently engaged with a rogue fleet. They’re in the midst of an EM dense zone and their configuration and colours are unknown. I want to know if Command has any intel that could be useful.”
“I’ve just come from a meeting about that very subject and I may have something for you. We believe there is a good chance they are American, Ben.”
“I had my hunches Tom, but why haven’t they answered our hails?”
There was a long pause over the line.
“Tom, you still there?”
“Ben, I’m going to need you to take this at a secure station.”
“…alright, just a minute. Lee, patch this through to my cabin. And notify me if there’s any change in our situation.”
Admiral Johnson left the bridge climbing down the metal rungs one floor and stepped quickly along the narrow corridor to his personal quarters. Upon entering, he closed the door and quickly picked up the headset.
“Okay Tom, I’m clear.”
“Ben, there’s something more you should know,” Tom began quietly. “In the last quarter hour I’ve been contacted directly by CSIS on this issue.”
“The Canadian Security and Intelligence Service? What could the spooks possibly want?”
“This must stay between us Ben, I know you understand. CSIS moles in the Pentagon have gotten wind of an ‘unofficial’ weapons test that was scheduled for somewhere in the northern Atlantic. Ben, they believe that’s what you’ve stumbled upon.”
“If they’re certain, then why hasn’t Washington been notified. We should cease fire and withdraw from the region.”
“Ben, they want you to stay where you are.” Fleet Admiral Tom Jackobson gave a great tired sigh before continuing. “Washington’s been very secretive about this test, the kind of secrecy reserved only for Black- or White-tech.”
“I’m saying, remember the Aurora project? It’s still not official after over a decade and it’s given the U.S. almost unopposed aerial dominance. This new device is a tech that can give them an even more decisive advantage on the global playing field, Ben, ground, air or sea .” He paused again before continuing quietly, “It’s tech that CSIS wants your help in acquiring.”
“They’ve already launched,” the Fleet Admiral said.
“There’s a coast guard patrol due to reach your location within the half hour. They’ll do a casual pass, leaving a special package. A spec-ops team. The team will insert under your covering fire. It’s strictly covert, Ben. Your only part is to provide the cover. The ops are unmarked and unidentifiable. Complete deniability. If successful, their extraction will be aqueous, via the HMCS Shabandawan.”
“They’re sending a sub into the area?”
“There should be no trouble if the boys secure the schematics and sabotage the generator.”
“EMP. Electromagnetic pulse field generator, Ben. Can you imagine what power America would wield as sole possessor of such a device?”
It wasn’t very hard to imagine. An EMP was principally a weapon for use against developed nations. It wouldn’t find much use against low-tech countries.
“I understand, Tom. We’ll keep them clear and give them the best chance we can.”
“I knew I could count on you, Ben.”
* * *
It looked like a miss. Damn!
“They’re returning fire, Captain! Incoming!”
“All hands, brace for impact!” Captain Larson yelled the order into the intercom. Klaxons sounded and the red emergency lighting strobed desperately.
His adversary was more cunning than he believed. Or more lucky.
A plume of water exploded into the air off the portside bow of the Atikokan, raining back onto the deck.
That was close, too close.
“Prepare next salvo,” he ordered. Now that they had the range on him, he had to find them before their next shot hit home.
“Fire when ready.” He could see the Nipissing following suit.”
* * *
“Yes, Lifson? What is it?” Subordinates had an amazing ability to note the second a superior officer stepped onto the bridge.
“The EM field seems to be dispersing, sir. Our radar signal is sharpening substantially.”
“Great!” Finally, a turn in their favour.
“I want a recon sweep of the zone by the Hornets. Let the cruiser be for the moment.” I need to know the positions of those ships before the package arrives!
“Aye, sir. Relaying orders to the Nunavut.”
With their fighters already in the air, they should have a decisive advantage over the American fleet, thought Admiral Johnson.
- Miss (Canada, C-3)
- Miss (Canada, J-9)
- Attack (Canada, E-3)
- Attack (Canada, B-9)
“Admiral, we’ve got a faint signal from the Aura Mainyu.”
“Patch them through. Captain Durant. Good to hear from you.”
“Admiral.” the connection was weak and full of static, but it was better than nothing. Durant continued, “We’ve been trying to get you ever since the first impact. What’s going on? Coms are all screwy. We can’t lock on to whoever’s firing on us.”
“It’s the generator, Captain. Worked a little too well, I’m afraid. We’re going to fire it off again, but it’s gonna take communication with it. Fall back to lo-tech communications.”
“Again? We just got you back. Admiral, I don’t think I have to remind you that we’re sitting ducks over here. We’ve lost manoeuvring capabilities-“
“I’m aware of that Captain Durant, but the EM field is our only cover. They’ve got birds in the air and all their ships are 100%. We can’t afford to lose the field.”
There was a long pause on the other end, “Alright. Admiral, do you at least know who we are facing?”
“Intel’s crap, but best we can figure they’re Canadian.”
“We can’t get through to them because of the field, and I can’t risk waiting any longer to get the signal out. Besides, we’re not supposed to be out here.”
“Captain Durant, hold your position. I’m sure you’ve noticed that they keep missing you. The EM has probably fried their systems as well. We’re trying to draw fire, but if you take any more hits before we get them off your back, I want you to evacuate. The Zarathustra’s agreed to stay nearby and give you a hand.”
Their conversation was cut short, “Admiral, incoming!”
An underwater detonation exploded in the distance. Their enemy truly was blind.
“Captain Durant!” Static filled the airwaves. “Captain Durant, respond!”
“That was close…”
“Captain.” Relief didn’t begin to describe how Admiral Stone felt. This was a miracle. Even pinned down, the Aura Mainyu had been missed yet again.
“Goddamn, that was close. You think they’ll get the hint and just give up? Someone’s definitely watching over us.”
“As much as I’d like that idea, I don’t think its gonna happen.” the signal was getting stronger. That wasn’t good. It meant that the EM field was fading fast. “Durant. I’ve got to cut this short. We’ve gotta use the EM generator ASAP.”
“Yeah, and Admiral, could you not miss this time?”
“Ron, you can suck my-“
“Admiral, Dr Greer says the generator is fully powered. Would you like us to fire it now?”
“Yes. Full power, and plot the coordinates for our next attack.”
* * *
The line went dead as the EM generator fired off for the second time. Captain Ronald Durant figured that the Admiral was right, and the EM field was the only thing keeping the enemy fighters at bay. He wasn’t so sure that they’d be able to draw enemy fire though. How many times had they fired Tomahawk cruise missiles at their unidentified enemy? How many times had they missed? It wasn’t really a surprise that the enemy had missed them so many times, but he knew that he wouldn’t have any more chances. Even if the USS Sophia managed to land a hit, there was no way that the attacking warships were going to let up on their attack of the Aura Mainyu.