The Canadian spec-ops team is almost in place, but will the cover fire orders end up destroying the Canadian fleet?
Has the American admiral figured out the Canadian ploy, and what is the American super-scientist Dr. Greer’s secret?
If you’re new to this co-written serial, you can find Episode 1 here.
- Miss (USA, G-3)
- Miss (USA, D-7)
- Attack (USA, A-4)
- Attack (USA, K-2)
- Attack (USA, B-9) *bonus attack for hit*
Captain Peart swept the horizon, binoculars to his eyes. Maybe Admiral Johnson was right. Unbelievably, the Nunavut’s luck was holding. He watched as the latest missile splashed down, spraying the Starboard deck of the Shabandawan. Someone upstairs was giving them a benevolent smile. He only hoped it wasn’t two-faced. He had the feeling that when they were finally hit, there was going to be a feeding frenzy.
* * *
A geyser erupted, not twenty meters off the port side of the Atikokan.
“Damn it! They’re getting closer. There’s no doubt they know we’re here, they’ve been dropping rocks all around us. Telemetry, I hope you’ve got some good news for me.” Captain Larson couldn’t see any change in the target visually, the tiny plume of smoke hadn’t altered, but he had to be sure.
“Appears to be a miss sir.”
“Damn it! Reload cannon and target hostile.”
“Receiving a set of vector coordinates, sir. They cut a swath through the center of the zone. Sir, the Shaboogamoo orders us to avoid firing on any points along that vector.”
“What! What are they playing at here?” Already they were only taking potshots at the zone while most of the fleet stood idle. If he was in command, they’d be pounding the area with everything they had, not sitting back playing possum. He was going to make a note of the Admiral’s unusual orders in his log. He’d like to see what Command would make of it. “Is our current target along that vector?”
“Thank Heaven for small things. Lock coordinates and…fire!”
* * *
The small raft sped through the dark waters of the hostile zone, bouncing in an irregular staccato over the white-crested waves. Mist sprayed the six crewmen with each bounce, but their eyes remained focused on the area around them.
The black storm clouds hid them well, but the waves were increasing in size with every passing minute. Sergeant Wilks realized they would have to find the battleship fast or they faced a very real danger of being swamped.
As they continued on, it was clear who was currently taking the worst of the battle. Two smouldering cruisers could be seen, one each in the distance on either side of them. Truly, it meant nothing, Wilks realized. Battles could turn faster than you could say ‘Manhattan Project’. The very fact that the hostile battleship was a non-target for the duration of the mission could sway the outcome. Of course, that assumed Admiral Johnson could distinguish the capital ship from the rest even with the impaired telemetry.
His team was quiet and focused and only the noise of the motor could be heard, faintly, above the brewing storm. With luck, their engine noise would be masked on the sonar, the only sensing device immune to the EM field. In any event, they should only need a short time more before they submerged
Lightning flashed in the distance. For a moment it illuminated the silhouette of a large ship.
“Men, I think we’ve found our target,” Wilks said, pointing in the direction of the vessel.
* * *
“She’s taken another hit, sir.”
“Great. She should be badly crippled by now.” They could afford to spare one more attack on the cruiser before they needed to add their fire-power to the cover fire of the insertion crew.
“Lock on last position and fire when ready.”
He would give the spec-ops one hour. It should be plenty of time. After that, he had to think of his crew and his fleet and the Generator be damned.
* * *
“Ambassador, nice to hear you again. How is the wife? And your son? He’s starting at Harvard this year I understand.” Liaison Thomas Mann spoke aloud as he calmly paced his ornate office, hands clasped loosely behind his back. The mahogany walls and plush oriental carpet went unnoticed, his full attention on the battle of wits, the political fencing, that lay ahead.
“Audrey’s fine, she sends her love to Clarissa,” the jovial, familiar voice filled the room from the speakerphone. “We’re very proud of Donald. He’s going the M.BA. route, a leader of tomorrow and all that.”
“Good, good, that sounds wonderful, you really must convey my sincerest congratulations to him.”
“I will, thank you. So, to what do I owe the pleasure of this call, Tom?”
“Unfortunately, nothing quite so enjoyable as family life. Today has been one of surprises, Gerry. I’ve received word from our Navy that we’ve engaged a hostile fleet within our two-hundred kilometer boundary,” Tom explained.
“Really? That’s most unfortunate. Perhaps, the fleet was simply not aware of that unofficial boundary. I hate to state the obvious, Tom, but Canada does get a bit…zealous? policing this…I hesitate to say…fictitious border.”
“Oh, I assure you, it is a real and necessary boundary enclosing the sovereign waters of the Canadian Dominion and we will and are defending it with whatever force we deem necessary.”
“Well…good for you. So who are the perpetrators?”
“Interesting you should ask. Somehow, our forces have been lead to believe that the enemy fleet is of American origin. Can you believe that?”
“You must be joking? What would lead them to that conclusion? Surely they have transponder codes that would refute such a claim.”
“That’s another surprise, Gerry. The enemy fleet is cloaked in a strong electromagnetic field. Now, I don’t pretend to understand the whole of it, but apparently, this field is strong enough to interfere with anything electrical or, for example, radar.”
“Truly, that is amazing.” There was a momentary pause over the line before the ambassador continued. “How could such a field exist?”
“That’s surprise number three. We have evidence that the fleet itself is generating the field.”
“You don’t say! But, who could possess such technology?”
“Well, obviously we don’t know for certain, but there are only a few countries with such capabilities. It is for this reason that I’m contacting you. You must realize that I’d never point the finger south of the border, but we must confirm with all parties. I’m sure you understand. If there were to be a rogue element we would want to hear of it.”
“I can assure you, Tom, that it is not one of ours. And I can’t believe there could be such a well equipped rogue element in our navy.”
“No, I can’t believe it either, Gerry. I must say, your confirmation takes a lot of weight off my mind. I would hate for this to have resulted in a misunderstanding between our two great nations. It would really mean a lot to us if you could forward any intel you may discover.”
“I will Tom… In fact, as memory serves me, there were rumours of Iran developing such a weapon.”
“So I’ve heard. I could be wrong, mind you, but I think it was supposed to be an offshoot of their nuclear program.”
“Their nuclear program. You don’t say?”
“Come to think of it, Tom, you know about the upcoming vote on general resolution 2214.”
“You mean, whether to invade Iran?”
“The liberation of Iran, yes. The vote is this afternoon. Canada’s good word could sway a lot of other countries. And with you on board it might free up some of our resources to help you track down this mysterious fleet of yours.”
“Well, that’s an interesting proposition, Gerry. Of course, I have no authority to authorize such an…agreement. I’ll have to get back to you on this one.”
“Of course, I understand, Tom. I look forward to hearing from you.”
“And I, you. As always, it’s been a pleasure, Gerry. Give my regards to the family.”
“I will, thanks. And the best to yours.” With that, the receiver went dead.
Tom stopped pacing and stared hard at the ceiling, lost in thought. There was no doubt in his mind that it was the Americans. That Gerry would even make the ludicrous suggestion that Iran was capable of such technology was almost insulting. The real questions were: What were the Americans up to? What plans did they have for the device? And why were they testing it in Canadian waters?
- Miss (Canada, A-4)
- Miss (Canada, B-9)
- Miss (Canada, K-2)
- Attack (Canada, I-1)
- Attack (Canada, C-5)
“How is the evacuation coming?” Admiral Stone asked without looking at Captain Jackson. She stared at the growing storm, it seemed to tell her of bad times to come.
“We’re almost done.”
“And enemy incoming?”
“No impacts reported. Seems God’s giving us a chance to pull our men out.”
“Yeah, if only He’d give us a hit…”
“Admiral, I know it’s not my place, but isn’t one ship enough? Shouldn’t we pull out of this battle?”
“No Captain, it’s not your place, but I understand your position completely. We can’t pull out now. I’ve been puzzling over this whole thing. Why would our enemy continue to engage us? No doubt they suspect who we might be, so why would the Canadians openly engage an American fleet?” Admiral Stone looked over to the Captain, questioningly.
“Yup. I think they’ve figured out that we’ve caused the EM field, and they are looking to nab it for themselves.”
“That’s all more the reason why we should pull out.”
“You don’t think they’ll follow us? We are in the wrong here, Captain. We’ve wandered into Canadian waters, disregarded their foolish little border, and crippled ourselves with a weapon that isn’t supposed to exist. No. We need to assess our power here.”
“But we’re losing…”
“And they’re getting cocky. Just you wait, Captain, this battle can’t stay in their favor for much longer.” Admiral Stone hoped that she was right. She couldn’t afford to loose this battle, and more importantly, her country couldn’t afford to loose control of the prototype, let alone allow its true nature to be known.
* * *
Doctor Greer sat hunched over his laptop, typing frantically as he studied the raw data of the EM generator’s output. The generator was operating at well over 100% efficiency. It was remarkable. His small team of scientist worked at their stations in the small lab as the generator slowly powered up for the third planned EM pulse. Power from the super carrier’s nuclear reactors were being diverted over to the generator base – although they weren’t the primary means of powering it. The electric energy they produced only served as a catalyst.
He gaze up at the large glass tank that stood before him, the milky waters churning slowly with little air bubbles. Inside, a pale anthropomorphic figure could be seen.
“Remarkable,” he said to himself. Very few people truly knew what went on behind the doors of this sealed lab. In fact, he, his team, and the Admiral were the only members of this mission team to have any intimate understanding of the operation. The project was so sensitive that his team, hand-picked by himself, weren’t even permitted to leave the cramped lab. Their living quarters were connected to the lab through modified corridors. Greer wondered how long it had been before any of them had seen the light of day, and felt more than grateful that he was permitted such freedom of movement.
The others simply thought of the Prototype as a weapon, but Dr. Greer knew that it was much more than that.