The Canadian and American navies play cat and mouse, but amid the deadly game, each is protecting a secret. The Canadian spec ops team is nearing their insertion point, but can they discover the American surprise before it’s too late?
If you’re new to this story, you can find Episode 1 here.
- Miss (USA, E-3)
- Miss (USA, B-9)
- Attack (USA, D-3)
- Attack (USA, J-1)
“We’re wading into the storm Admiral. Their aim’s getting better. They’ve been splashing all around us. It’s only a matter of time until they get lucky,” explained Captain Peart over the inter-ship comm.
“We’ve got an incoming communiqué from the Hornets, sir.”
“Patch it through, Captain. Let’s see what we can do with the info.”
The hiss of static erupted over the bridge comm. “Cap..n, we’ve penetrated the zone….ix hostiles be..ring mark……niner. The carrier…ilent, Captain. No birds on…eck, none…air.”
“I don’t like this Admiral,” Captain Peart broke in. “If the field’s dissipating, why aren’t they launching an air offensive? They have to be seeing our boys.”
“I agree, Captain. Recall the Hornets immediately,” Admiral Johnson ordered.
“Captain,” came the order from Peart, “get home on the double. Something’s up.”
“Ro..er, sir. Ret..n vector…et.”
“Admiral, radar’s going crazy! It’s like the field is intensifying!” Lifson’s alarm was indicative of the general feeling on the bridge.
“What! They’re firing it again? Captain. Those birds have to be out of there NOW!”
“We…eading you….systems….azy…….no contr………”
“Captain! Captain!” Admiral Johnson called desperately to the Hornets, but there was no reply. “Captain Peart, did your boys make it out?”
“They haven’t left the zone sir. If the American’s did fire off the EMP again, the Hornet’s would have had no chance. We have to consider them lost.”
“Blast it!” Admiral Johnson’s expletive echoed in the still air of the silent bridge. The flyboys were there first casualties in this pointless conflict and he hoped they would be their last.
* * *
“Splashdown near the Nipissing, sir.”
“Damn it! Where are they? Load forward batteries!” Somehow, the enemy seemed to have the range of the destroyers. But how could they be tracking anything through that EM field? Captain Larson wasn’t happy.
“Batteries loaded, sir.”
“Fire!” The Nipissing followed suit. Together they were sweeping the zone. They had to hit something soon.
As he scanned the sea, binoculars to his eyes, he noted a series of lightning flashes. Dropping the binoculars to get a broader view, it was clear that the area before them was clouding over. As he continued to watch, an occasional lightning strike discharged.
“That storm came up fast,” he said. “Meteorology have anything on the scope.”
“Negative, sir. We had clear sailing for days.”
Interesting. The EM field must be inducing electrical activity in the atmosphere. Captain Larson had no idea how they could benefit from this, but there must be some way.
* * *
The mood was relaxed but focused in the raft as the coast guard cutter sliced through the waves of the northern Atlantic. The six-man crew, clad in dark wetsuits, waterproof sacks at their feet, were each running through the mission parameters in their head, he was sure.
“Fifteen minutes until insertion,” said Sergeant Gary Wilks. He swept his gaze to each, confident in their training and determination. He had hand-picked each for this team. They had been together for three years and worked like a well-oiled machine. But this would be their greatest test.
“Once in, we’ll be flying blind. The fleet will cover us. We’re small, so there should be no problem with friendly fire. In the confusion, we should be able to slip in and out without trouble.” They listened intently to the mission review. “We know the generator must be on the battleship, but we don’t know where that is.
“Our first objective will be to locate it. We’ll cut a swath through the middle of the zone, until confirmation of target. Then we’ll have to go subsurface on approach. Once on board, we proceed to our targets.
“The generator should be somewhere near the power plant – a device that powerful is going to need a pretty serious feed. Hoa, Alex and Cal, it’ll be your job to take it out. With the generator down, we can be extracted by sub and the zone will be cleared for accurate targeting or communications, as the bigwigs decide.
“Bill, Xiou and I will locate the primary objective – the generator schematics. They should be in one of the officer’s quarters. With luck, there will be enough confusion to cover us.” He checked his watch. “Ten minutes, gents.”
They each rechecked their gear before turning, resolutely to the forward horizon.
- Miss (Canada, D-3)
- Hit (Canada, J-1, size 3 ship)
- Attack (Canada, G-4)
- Attack (Canada, D-8)
“What do you mean you lost the birds?” Captain Ronald Durant approached Lieutenant Rodriguez.
“The CF-18s, sir. We had eyes on them a little before the Prototype fired, but now we can’t spot them.”
Could the EM field have reached so far? thought Captain Durant. Perhaps. But if they had caused the fighters to crash, then that was one less problem they had to worry about. “Don’t worry about those fighters. If the EM field took them down, that’s just one tally mark on our scoreboard, if they managed to get out in time, it will still serve as a lesson for them not to launch any more birds.”
“Get me Admiral Stone. I want to know if we’ve been successful with any of our attacks.” The entire fleet had fallen back to Morris Code, it wasn’t as quick as a radio, but it got the job done.
The Lieutenant approached a few minutes later, “Captain Durant. The Sophia and Zarathustra both report negative impacts. They’re still hitting nothing but open ocean.”
“What! How can that be?” Durant couldn’t believe what he was hearing. All this time and Admiral Stone couldn’t manage to hit even one enemy target? How many chances did she need? “This isn’t good. Prepare for evac.”
“I’m not waiting around for Admiral Stone’s OK before I prepare to abandon this floating coffin. Those ships, Canadian or whatever, have us pinned down. You know as well as I that we’ve been lucky too many times already.”
Lieutenant Rodriguez hesitated, unsure of what to do. The Captain had been stretched thin, he knew this, but now he appeared to be losing control. He guessed that Joseph’s death had bothered him more than he’d let on – losing a close friend could do that to anyone. If only they’d found him earlier, but the chaos of that first impact had put the entire crew into such disorder. It wasn’t until nearly an hour later that they’d managed to retrieve Joe’s body. The Captain’s just grieving Rodriguez thought to himself, we all are.
“Incoming!” Captain Durant’s voice broke the relative silence. “Brace for impact!” Every man and woman onboard readied themselves for the inevitable impact, but Captain Durant stared at the oncoming missile defiantly. “Come and get me you spineless bitch,” he said to himself. His curses were answered with a shower of water. They had missed! As impossible as it had seemed, the Canadian’s had missed the Aura Mainyu for the fourth time.
“They missed! They missed!” Captain Durant could here several soldiers exclaiming to one another as cheering began to erupt among the men. Durant almost wanted to cheer himself, until he noticed the second missile heading their way. The trajectory was off, the Aura Mainyu was in no danger. “Oh no…” A loud explosion silenced all of the celebrating men. The Aura Mainyu’s sister ship, the USS Ahura Mazda, had taken a hit. “No, not another one…”
* * *
“It’s been confirmed Admiral. The Aura Mainyu is safe, but the Ahura Mazda has taken a hit. She’s not far off from the Aura Mainyu,” Captain Jackson reported with a heavy heart.
“Damn it all! Did we lose anyone in the impact?”
“That has yet to be confirmed, Admiral. Should we return fire?”
“Why are you even asking me that? Of course we’ll return fire! But enough of this shooting everywhere crap. Were close, I can feel it. Concentrate attacks near our last coordinates, there has to be something out there…”