So, I've started on a fic that actually takes place more in the middle of my timeline. Been slowly writing it and now I've got three chapters, plus a prologue. I'll put in the prologue and first chapter below. First couple of chapters aren't as good, in my own opinion, but I'll let ACS decide that. I promise, chapter three won't suck as badly as these first couple.
Spangdahlem Atomic Facility
February 11, 1996
Commandant Emmerich Biermann surveyed the skeletal remains of his factory floor. The Belkan War was over, and the Allies were closing on his facility. "Soon," he said, turning to a subordinate standing next to him, "our dreams of victory will be smashed."
Biermann stood on the catwalk, looking out over the remains of the machinery that had been assembling V2 rockets. He chuckled impotently. "You know, Klaus, we only made twenty-four of these. Twenty-four. Now they are useless. We cannot defeat these imperialist bastards with only twenty-four missiles."
Klaus had no apparent reaction. Behind him, Commandant Biermann heard the tap of footsteps on the concrete floor. "Emmerich," a voice said, approaching him, "Our time has simply not yet come to pass. The real victory will come with dedication and perseverance. Their work will ensure that true victory."
The voice picked up the intercom mouthpiece and called out at the factory workers below. "This is Colonel Hanke Dreher of the Belkan Army. Commence Operation Black Eagle. Begin packing up the vehicles. They will have a better use for us in the shield."
He patted Emmerich's shoulder reassuringly. "Schenze and I will take care of it, commandant." Looking down at the floor, Emmerich saw the workers scurrying to move all of the key parts out of the vehicles and into crates marked for the scrapyards. Perhaps there was hope after all.
Somewhere in the Vedian Strait
On board the VNS Abarimon (Vedian Jīnlóng-class)
January 16, 2028
The Abarimon had been tracking an Indian carrier for at least two days now. Captain Jibril Lin was hardly concerned. The carrier was within striking range of his cruiser, but Captain Lin had utmost confidence in his anti-air and anti-missile crews. These were trained by the Verusan Navy and already had some marginal combat experience. Captain Lin went back below and began patrolling the radar stations, waiting for the first sign of enemy movement. The cargo below decks was of great importance to his handlers in Panyu.
In the primary radar station, a voice called out. "Captain, aircraft inbound, bearing two-niner-zero to one-one-zero!" Lin stood stock still, trying to collect himself while looking properly dignified. Then he got on the intercom, barking orders to the anti-air crews. "Anti-air, prepare for attacks. Bastard fighters bearing one-one-zero are vectoring to our location. Situation compromise, repeat, situation compromise." Lin glanced at the radar screens and saw the blips. Based on the size, they were probably Aurelian-built Rafales. Dangerous at long range and capable of destroying his ship from such range. At this point, he had to pray that the firing pattern of the Rafales was too poor, or that his blip recognition skills were bad. After all, they had to be from the Indus Air Force, unless some foreign naval force was operating here.
Watching the blips approach, however, it became clear that they did not have friendly aspirations for Captain Lin's ship. He got on the radio with Vedian command.
"This is the Abarimon. We are under attack by Indian jets. This is a distress call. We request any assistance available."
That was the last anyone heard of the Abarimon.
Threat Level Critical
Fort Eustis, CD
January 15, 2028
Avery was consulting an issue of Osea Defense Monthly when Gabe Losa, his news monitor, burst into the office.
"Avery, there's a big story about to hit the air for the morning news in Indus and Vedia," he said, breathlessly. "Indus sank a fuckin' flagship." Avery sat up straight at the news. "How?" Losa sighed. "We don't know yet. The distress calls didn't include that." Avery shook his head. "That's bad news," he said. "Keep me up to date." Losa nodded and ducked out of the room.
Avery whipped over to his phone and dialed for Brighthill. "Theresa, I need a briefing with the President at the first possible appointment time." Theresa Hamilton, President Donilon's appointment secretary, was always quick with a time. "How does three sound?" Avery smiled. "Three sounds great. I'll be there early, as usual."
January 15, 2028
"Doctor Danielson," the President called from his office. "Come on in. I've heard you've got news for me." Entering the office, Avery nodded. "Yeah. Big news. Mind if I set up the board here?" President Donilon shook his head. "No, not at all, do whatever you need to."
Avery set up his board and pointed to the first sheet, which had the picture of a cruiser on it. "This," he said, "is the VNS Abarimon. About an hour ago, SIGINT of the Vedian military picked up word that it had been sunk by unknown forces, though we all know who they were loyal to." Heads around the room nodded in assent. "The thing is, sinking this ship makes no sense as a purely political move. It's way too dangerous. The Indians must have thought, or had reason to believe that there was something a lot more important about this boat than its standing in its own navy."
Avery turned a page and continued. "Now, overflight VISINT over East Clavis from a few days ago may help us out. The Abarimon, or a ship like it, was seen docking at Verusa's Naval Site Three-Seven-Five. This site is a particularly unusual choice. All of Verusa's naval sites in East Clavis are extraordinarily well-defended. As far as we know, Three-Seven-Five is used almost exclusively for the loading and unloading of special forces units." At this point, Avery was cut off by the Secretary of Defense, Kevin Anderson.
"So you're saying there's a Vedian Jinlong that we can place at this Naval Site Three-Seven-Five, and it was loading something in secret?" SecDef Anderson asked. "Exactly," Avery replied, "we can place a Vedian vessel there. The only thing we don't know is which one. I choose the Abarimon because strategically it makes sense. The cargo would have to pass close to Indian waters because it's heavy, forcing the ship into the deeper parts of the strait. The Vedians would have figured on Indus being run by pussies who don't want to risk a war even though their rivals' biggest ship is in striking distance. What we assume at this time, however, is that Indian intelligence got wind of what this boat was carrying. That would explain the sudden, at-present unknown attack."
President Donilon smiled weakly. "With all due respect, Doctor Danielson, I'd like to hear you kick around some theories here. What are some potential cargoes you might expect to find? Surely it's not just a shipment of Type 56 rifles. There's got to be something of greater value sitting at the bottom of the Vedian Straits." Avery nodded and turned the page on his board. "I've got just the thing for you," he said. "Now, of course, we can't confirm these ideas, but these all have some legs. First up is a tantalizing idea. There may be parts to a new indigenous aircraft design on board. Vedia has been upgrading Verusan types constantly for decades. Perhaps they had components engineered in Verusa and moved to Vedia for final assembly?" Before he could finish his thought, Secretary of State Keith Welsh cut in. "Unlikely," he said, quite authoritatively, "potential for damage is too high." Avery pointed at the secretary. "Good catch," he replied. "That's the reason we've pretty much ditched that theory."
Avery pointed to another image, this one of a collection of weapons. "Now, it may not have been rifles, but it could have been some kind of explosive ordnance." SecDef Anderson cut in again. "How do we know it wasn't Verusan spec ops or something?" Anderson asked. "Good question," Avery replied, "we know it wasn't troops because the infrared VISINT showed us that the cargo is metallic and that a small part of it was of a greater temperature than the background, but not its entirety."
Finally, Avery turned to his last page. "Here's what we really don't hope it was," he said, pointing to the menacing image on the page. "But it could have been a nuke." The President shook his head. "Come on, Danielson," he said, "we need something more than could-haves." Avery shook his head. "Well…here's the thing. The shape of the higher temperature matches that of a nuke. The heat emitted by the object, though, indicates that the nuke is way bigger than it should be, assuming, of course, that it is in fact a nuke. We'd be looking at a decrepit device, or a MIRV. I'm not really sure which is worse."
National Security Advisor Meredith Maier had her own questions. "So if this is a MIRV, what are we looking at in terms of national security threat?" All Avery could do was to shake his head. "Meredith," he said, "if this is a MIRV, it's a goddamn V2. If it's a goddamn V2, God help us all."
Indian Defence Intelligence Agency Office
February 2, 2028
Intelligence Colonel Suresh Misra was to complete his report for the Director General. The DG needed to know the exacting contents of the Vedian ship sunk almost three weeks ago that started this damn war. Misra was completing his report on the Rafale strike that destroyed the Abarimon, which the Intelligence Bureau knew had a nuclear weapon on board. According to further intelligence conducted by the Joint Cipher Bureau, it appeared to be a highly-prized Belkan missile, but beyond that, details were unclear.
Misra was done. His conclusion had been prepared. With utmost confidence, he instructed his computer to remotely print the report down in the archives. With his top-level clearance, Colonel Misra could collect his huge report in secret, away from the prying eyes of Intelligence Operatives—or worse, Intelligence Sergeants. Sneaky kamīnē, he thought to himself, always trying to get in on the big boy action.
Misra collected and collated his report. It was late in the day, already dark outside. Misra walked up to the DG's door and knocked. The DG told him to come in. When Misra opened the door, a rifle butt came down on his head, and knocked him out cold.
"Good work, old fiesling. Maybe we'll even let you live for letting us go about our work on our own," the tallest man, probably their leader, said. "Annika," he said, "take our friend Mister Misra down to the vehicle." The female commando complied with his order, tying up Misra before absconding with him through the broken window. The leader then produced the briefcase that had been cuffed to his wrist the whole time. "Now, we're going to send a message," he said, opening the case. Inside was a bomb. "Apaśabda," the DG muttered, "what will become of me?"
The leader must have smiled under his balaclava. He pulled some keys from his pocket and laid them on the table. "If you hurry, there's a car in parking lot B2. It's a black Soldat. These keys will turn it on. Maybe you can get away in time. Maybe not. Who knows? Ich habe keine Zeit, um mit Ihrem genetisch minderwertig Art umzugehen," the last part spoken in a tone of disdain.
The leader waved at his comrades. "Lassen Sie uns zum Teufel hier raus, Gruppe," he shouted. The commandos quickly roped out of the DG's office. DG Isha Chowdhury collected the keys and scurried for the parking lot. He prayed to Brahma that he would make it in time.
Edited by Inverter, 01 August 2013 - 01:56 AM.