Wednesday, January 24, 2007

December 7, 2008 - Part 2

This is Part 2 of 3. If you missed Part 1, scroll down a bit, or just click here. Sorry I didn't post this yesterday as I had intended.

December 7th, 2008
by Raymond S. Kraft

Kim Jong Il gloated. The deception had worked. The Americans were thinking in terms of long range intercontinental ballistic missiles with huge warheads that they could shoot out of the sky with their sophisticated billion-dollar anti-missile defense systems. He was thinking in terms of small warheads carried by small, medium range cruise missiles that could be launched from many places, and infiltrated close enough to slip in under the radar and hit America 's coastal cities.

On the evening of December 6, 2008 , a junior analyst in the National Security Agency was going over routine satellite photo production of ship movements in the Atlantic and Pacific within a thousand miles of the US coasts. Late in the shift he thought he saw something through a haze of fatigue and caffeine, and called a supervisor over to talk.

"Look," he said, photos up on several computer screens, more printed out and spread across his desk. "See? These boats - not big ships - fishing boats, yachts...they've been moving in along shipping lanes for several days, across from the South Pacific toward the West coast, up from the South Atlantic toward the east. Nothing very unusual. They're all small and slow, scattered up and down the oceans, it seems, but if you look at the times and courses..." He pulled out a chart he had plotted. "They're approaching so they will all arrive at about the same time, or all be about the same distance off the coast at about the same time..." he trailed off.

The supervisor looked a bit quizzical, asking, "Coincidence? Probably. You need more sleep. Too much fun in the night, eh? Let me know if you see something we can do something with," and walked away.

At 0723 Hawaii time on the 67th Anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack three old fishing trawlers, about 100 miles apart, and each about 300 miles off the east coast, launched six small cruise missiles from launch tubes that could be dismantled and stored in the holds under ice, or fish, and set up in less than an hour. The missiles were launched at precisely one minute intervals. As soon as each boat had launched its pair, the skeleton crew began to abandon ship into a fast rubber inflatable. The captain was last off, and just before going overboard started the timer on the scuttling charges. Fifteen minutes later and ten miles away, each crew was going up the nets into a small freighter or tanker of Moroccan or Liberian registry, where each man was issued new identification as ship's crew. The rubber inflatables were shot and sunk, and just about then charges in the bilges of each of the three trawlers blew the hulls out, and they sank with no one on board and no distress signals in less than two minutes.

The missiles had been built in a joint operation by North Korea and Iran, and tested in Iran, so they would not have to over fly any other country. The small nuclear warheads had only been tested deep underground. The GPS guidance and detonating systems had worked perfectly, after a few corrections. They flew fifty feet above sea level, 500 feet above ground level on the last leg of the trip, using computers and terrain data modified from open market technology and flight directors, autopilots, adapted from commercial aviation units sold by Iran's trading partners in France and Germany. They would adjust speed to arrive on target at specific times and altitudes, and detonate upon reaching the programmed GPS coordinates. They were not as adaptable and intelligent as American cruise missiles, but they did not need to be. Not for this mission.

They were small, less than twenty feet long, and only 18 inches in diameter, powered by small, quiet, fuel-efficient, high-bypass turbofans, and painted in a mottled light blue and light gray ghost camouflage. Cruising at 450 knots, well below the speed of sound, they were nearly impossible to see or hear. They came in under the radar until they reached the coast. After that they were lost in the ground clutter.

Nobody saw it coming.

At precisely 0753, Hawaii time, 1353 in the District of Columbia, sixty-seven years to the minute after the Pearl Harbor attack began, the first of six missiles to hit the Washington area exploded in a huge white burst of nuclear fire just 500 feet above the White House, which disappeared in a mist of powdered plaster and stone, concrete and steel. President Bush and President-Elect Clinton had been meeting with Condoleezza Rice and Mrs. Clinton's national security adviser, reviewing the latest National Security Estimate, when they instantaneously turned into plasma of the atomic elements that had once been human beings. No trace remained.

Alarms immediately began going off all over Washington, and precisely one minute later the second missile exploded just as it struck the Capitol dome, instantly turning thousands of tons of granite that had one moment before been the nation's center of government into thousands of tons of granite shrapnel that shredded several square miles of Washington like a leviathan Claymore mine. At precisely one minute intervals, four more 3 kiloton nuclear weapons exploded at an altitude of 500 feet AGL above the Pentagon, the CIA headquarters, the NSA headquarters, the FBI headquarters, all of which were fully staffed in the middle of the day. In five minutes, the government of the United States of America was decapitated, and a quarter million of the people who made the place run were dead, or dying, or had simply disappeared.

Also at 1353 Eastern time, a missile had blown off just above the New York Stock Exchange, in New York City, and thousands of years of collective financial knowledge and experience evaporated in the nuclear flame. In one minute intervals, others had hit the financial centers of Boston and Baltimore, and the U.S. Naval base at Norfolk, Virginia.

Simultaneously, within the same 10-minute window of hell, nuclear tipped cruise missiles devastated the largest inter model shipping facility on the West coast at San Pedro harbor, exploded just above the Library Tower in central Los Angeles, and short circuited the computer technology ghetto of Silicon Valley in Santa Clara County, big time. One exploded ten feet away from the top of the Bank of America Building in San Francisco and set much of the east slope of the city ablaze. Another giant fireball flared among the phalanx of office towers along the Capitol Mall in Sacramento, instantly obliterating Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state government of California, the largest state economy in the US, the seventh largest economy in the world. Two ripped open the heart of Portland, Oregon; one shattered the financial district of Seattle; and the last one turned the Microsoft campus into a pillar of fire and smoke, wiping from the face of history, in a second, the IT giant that had revolutionized global communications.

It was 0803, Hawaii time. Ten minutes. Three million Americans dead. And not a trace of the assault fleet remained on the surface of any ocean.

Vice-President Elect Gavin Newsom was in his bedroom at home in Pacific Heights, his window overlooking the Golden Gate and the Marin bluffs. He thought he heard an oddly loud crack of thunder and saw a flash reflected on the hills across the inlet, but it was a clear day and nothing else seemed out of place. He continued packing for the return trip to Washington, his second since the election, to continue his transition briefings and begin organizing his staff. His nomination as Hillary's running mate had come as a huge surprise, and he was elated.

Someone rapped on the door, loudly, twice, and without waiting for a reply the senior Secret Service officer on his detail opened it and stepped quickly in. "Come with me, now," he said.

Gavin was startled. "I need to finish packing," he replied.

"No time, sir. Something has happened. Very big, I fear. No details yet. We have to get you out of here NOW! RIGHT NOW! GO! GO! GO!" He grabbed Newsom's arm, swung him around, and pushed him out the door, where two other Secret Service agents flanked him down the stairs and out to a running black Suburban waiting in the garage. They pushed him into the back seat, jumped in, and the driver gunned the engine, out the drive, down the street, tires squealing...
...To be continued. Please stop by tomorrow for the finale.

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