Make your own free website on Tripod.com
IN THE SHADOW OF ARMAGEDDON

PART I



"If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide."

Abraham Lincoln-Saturday, January 27, 1838


PROLOGUE-THE MESSAGE

Time-The Near Future

Friday, March 5 3:00AM EST
Fairfax, Virginia

The air was very still. it was another bright sunny day in Orlando. The sky

was deep blue, but the streets were deserted. Why? James wondered.

Engrossed in his mission-trying to find the correct address he was looking

for-he quickly forgot the fact that it was close to 2:45PM and yet the city

seamed like a ghost town. Why? Where were all the people? Driving along

Route 439 he quickly realized that he was utterly lost. Feelings of both

anger as well as frustration soon welled up from within him. As he

continued he noticed several military personal trucks pass him by. While

it seemed odd that these trucks were on the road, the urgency he felt to

find the address was the most pressing matter. It soon wouldn't be.

Looking down the boulevard, he couldn't quite make out what he was

seeing. It looked as if one of the trucks had broke down, and was blocking

the road. As his car approached the trucks, he soon realized that they were

deliberately blocking the road.

It was a military roadblock. But why? As he got closer, he noticed several

officers, all armed with what looked like M-16s' flagging him down. His car

stopped just a few feet from the trucks.

"What the hell is going on?" James demanded.

With a obvious sense of panic, one of the officers' approached him.

With his gun drawn the officer answered him. "Sir, You've got to park your

car and proceed to the shelter across the street. Immediately!! The shelter

director can answer your questions, but you must hurry! There isn't any

time!" The soldier responded with both fear and exasperation.

"But what the hell is going on!? Where is everybody?!" James demanded.

Just then an incredible sound from above could be heard. As he looked

up he tried to place the sound. Seconds later what looked like five brown

commercial jets cleared the horizon, and gained altitude quickly.

The soldiers knew all to well what they were. The B-52s' were on their

way to Alaska for refueling and then on to their targets.

"What the hell were those?" James demanded, as the sound receded.

"Just get to the god damn shelter now before I have to shoot you!"

This time the seriousness of his voice finally persuaded him to go.

The shelter, which looked like a new unfinished hospital, was just across

the street. As he pulled into the parking lot, several buses pulled in.

People were being unloaded, and making their way to a side stairwell

that descended below the ground floor. All looked dazed and in shock.


Everyone was distinctively quiet. James left his car and proceeded towards

the stairwell. As he took his first step down, he glanced behind him at his

surroundings. A K-Mart and a Chevron gas station were directly across

the street. Nearby a street sign read Turkey Lake Road.He felt a hand on

his back. "Come on man! Move it!!" Someone yelled.

After descending down two flights of stairs he made his way into the

shelter. Immediately he estimated 50-60 people were inside, with another

10 or so behind him. A main room was in the center, with several smaller

rooms on the sides. There were pipes along the walls everywhere. Several

televisions were on. Curiously he made his way to one of them. He walked

up behind someone and stood on his toes to make out what was going on.

CNN was on in the background. While he was unable to hear what was

going on, he could see what looked like images of riots with military police

shooting on people. But where was this? "Hey does anybody here know

what the hell is going on?!" He demanded.

"It's just awful. I can't believe this is happening." Someone next to him

answered. His face filled with anguish. "Will someone tell me what in Gods'

name is going on!!" James shouted in exasperation.

The room fell silent. The chatter stopped. Everyone was looking at him like

he was afflicted with some disease. The television broke the silence.

Everyone directed their attention to the screen.

"We are now going live to Secretary Of Defense William Christopher,

reporting live from the Pentagon Bomb Shelter." The reporter responded,

with sweet running down her face. The image then switched to the

Secretary.

Let me be brief and to the point. I'll be commenting on the military aspect

on the situation only. The Director of FEMA will handle questions about

the civilian evacuations. I will be taking no questions afterward. At

approximately 5:00AM EST this morning, under the direction of the

President Of the United States, the USS Baltimore launched 12 nuclear

armed tactical cruise missiles at military forces in Chinese occupied North

Korea. Each missile carried a 1 kiloton tactical nuclear warhead, and was

directed at the military and industrial centers of North Korea. One of

these missiles was targeted at Seoul, South Korea, due to the large number

of Chinese forces that had moved into the city. While it is our opinion that

the mission directives have been achieved. Namely stopping Zarains'

advance into the South Korea, as well as hampering his retreat, and killing

an estimated 400,000 of his best armed troops. Zarain however responded

in a manner which was unanticipated, but nevertheless will result in a

response which he finds undesirable. Approximately 8 minutes ago, Zarain

launched a single ICBM from the Datong Missile Base, in Datong, China. It is

believed that this is in response to our attack on his forces in North Korea.

It is also believed that the intended target is Munich, Germany, and that

it will impact in 22 minutes."

James and the others stood staring at the television in disbelieve. This was

it-the end of the world! Why? How did this happen? The Secretary

continued. "Shortly after that a Los Angeles Class Attack submarine-the

USS Richmond detected the launch of an SLBM from a Viper Class Chinese

Ballistic submarine about 300 miles east of the Falklan Islands.

Shortly after the missile cleared the water, the Richmond engaged the

Chinese Submarine and destroyed it with three nuclear armed SUBROCK

torpedoes. However the missile is on its; way and our best estimates are

that the target is Orlando, Florida. It should impact in 23 minutes. It is

unknown whether the missiles are MIRVed. The US has not yet responded

to this attack. If no other missiles are launched, we intend to ride out the

attack for now. However we wish to inform Zarain that when we feel the

time is right we will respond. The President wishes to inform the American

people that Zarains' attack will not go unanswered. He also wished in

inform Zarain that NATO forces have a total of 35 nuclear ballistic

submarines off the coast of China right now, cocked and awaiting orders. It

is up to Zarain to determine what those orders will be. That is all." The

Secretary explained as he walked off the stage.

In the shelter everyone was quiet. It was all true, the four horsemen of the

Apocalypse had been unleashed. It was now just a matter of time. What

do you say when your going to be vaporized in 20 minutes?

"How did this happen?" James questioned as he broke the silence.

"I don't know. I just don't know?" someone answered.

"I was watching the basketball game on Sunday, and the next thing I know

they're evacuating the cities, saying the Chinese are threatening nuclear

war. For no reason, just out of the blue." Another answered.

"Everyone needs to begin bolting the bunk beds to the wall. We need to be

moving some of the televisions into the shielding room. We only have 19

minutes left!" The shelter director shouted. Some of the people began to

help him, but most were just standing around in a daze. Many were

resigned to the fact that in 15 minutes the world as they knew it would

end, so there was no reason to parade around pretending that it was going

to be Al right.

James was sitting on his bunk bed, contemplating the future, or lack there

of. "How did this happen? Why is this happening? Who started this? Why

wasn't there any warning?' The questions ran through his mind. The

answers no where to be found.

In the background the television news coverage switched to a local station

out of Orlando.

The final grains of sand were slipping away. Everything that could be done,

had been. James, along with the rest of the shelter residents were now

huddled around four televisions. Watching their executions.

"This is Ronald Mavern filing my last report for CNN. We are just under

four minutes to go here in Orlando. I am here reporting from a very

deserted Orlando International Airport, where just three days ago this city,

as well as the nation and the world, were busy carrying out the day to day

functions of modern society. Now, one can only wonder if a few hours from

now there will be a world that remotely resembles that of three days ago.

There is not much else to say. I'm unsure what else could be said here

today. For my final thoughts, I can only hope and pray that the cities of

Munich and Orlando will go down in history as the last cities to suffer a

nuclear attack, of any size.

Oh my God, Tom, this is Ronald, we are now at 25 seconds and I'm able to

see a faint whitish vapor trail. It's very high up, but it is getting closer.

I'm certain that this is it. There is a bright red glow, behind the missile,

it's beginning to plunge now, it's headed straight for us. Looks as if it's

going to hit just outside the city limits. It's......"A brief and

undistinguishable cry for help followed.

In an instant more American lives vanished then died in Vietnam.

In the shelter the lights went out instantly. Shelves and bunk beds came

crashing down when the shock-wave hit. Dozens were killed in the

darkness from falling debris. Several people that were still standing

watching the television were instantly killed as their bodies were thrown

against the wall. James was holding onto the legs of a bunk-bed, which was

bolted to the wall. It was shaking like a violent earthquake. Cries of fear

and pain filled the blackened room. James tried to concentrate on surviving

as the entire building started to sway. The walls were starting to buckle. A

horrifying sound could now be heard. Like a hundred hurricanes, it

shouted just above. Seconds later, the building, already about to cave in,

began to sway and buckle in the opposite direction, as the lap-back from

the main shock wave floated back towards ground-zero.

Several water-pipes busted. Water was now spraying everywhere, in the

pitch black darkness.

When the building stopped shaking after the secondary shockwave, James

knew they had survived. But, survived to live in what kind of world? he

laid there in the debris, the water, and the dead bodies, clutching the

bedpost.

CNN HeadQuarters
Atlanta, Georgia 3:15PM EST

Back-up generators were now running. The lights were on, but very dim.

"This is Tom Donalds, here at CNN headquarters in Atlanta. We are running

on back-up power. We are starting to get reports in, and we can tell you

that a wide portion of the southeast power grid has been taken off-line.

We are being told that a four state area is now without power. Those states

are Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina.

With sporadic reports of lost power in a few other states. Reaching as far

north as Virginia, and as far west as Louisiana. The National Guard has

sealed of entrance into Florida, except for emergency personal. Our first

report from the Pentagon is saying that the missile went off-course, and

that ground-zero was the town of Bithlo, about 17 miles from downtown

Orlando. The Pentagon is estimating that the effective yield was 5 1/2

megatons. Also, the reports from Germany are nearly identical. The yield

there is estimated to be 5 megatons. With total disruption of

communications and basic infrastructure. Defense Department sources are

telling us that the was likely 65,000 people killed in each attack. With

another 5,000-8,000 expected to die within the next 5 days, in each bomb

site, sue to secondary effects from radiation. The only news we have on the

effort to locate the Chinese submarines is that there has been one kill. It

has been confirmed that a short while ago, the U.S.S. Richmond destroyed a

Chinese submarine, about 300 miles east of the Falklen Islands. That

leaves two more subs left, that are out there, somewhere, hidden in the

oceans.

We are also hearing rumors that the US & NATO have not yet responded to

these attacks. Perhaps some type of deal has been reached that we do not

yet know about, that would end the war. We can only pray.

The only positive news to report, if it can be called that is that the wind

patterns in Florida are carrying the fall-out east over the Atlantic ocean.

The only land areas that are expected to receive any fall-out are those

areas directly east of Orlando. The most notable of which is Cape Canaveral

and the surrounding communities.

However is Germany, it is expected that fall-out could reach as far west as

Vienna, Austria. People are being urged to remain inside, until they can

be flown or driven out of the fall-out zones. Reports from Europe are

saying that almost eight million people are without power. Power is

blacked out as far south as Milan, Italy and as far north as Frankfurt.

We are trying to make contact with our bureau in Frankfurt, for more

information, until then we will have to deal with the sporadic reports that

we're receiving."

After a few minutes back-up lights came on. James finally stood up to

survey the damage. Bodies were spread everywhere. Water was up to his

angles as several water pipes had broke. The shelter director and a few

other people were desperately trying to shut the water off. The ceiling

above had multiple fractures in it, and while some pieces did break off,

for the most part the ceiling was holding.

As he stood in shock watching his surroundings, time seamed to freeze,

and the questions, which still had not yet been answered, began to swirl

around in his mind. The most important-"Why?" What did he miss that

transpired to initiate the chain-reaction of events that led to the Chinese

hitting to US with nuclear weapons?' While his mind continued to ponder

the days events his body was suddenly yanked from the shelter. He was

suddenly transported above the building, he was now above the

devastation. The horrific mushroom shaped cloud had not yet dispersed.

His body continued to rise above the area, picking up speed, he could now

see the entire state of Florida. Suddenly with a violent thrust, he awoke.

The sweat was pouring down his face. His mind still confused as to what

had happened, James quickly turned on the radio, hoping to here reports

as to what was going on. As he quickly clicked the on button, Metalica

came on. Infuriated he quickly changed the channel, to no avail, the

morning traffic reports were on. 'What is Gods' name is happening! Don't

these people know what the hell is going on.' He shouted aloud in his mind.

He staggered out of his bed and made his way to the living room, he

quickly turned on the television, he thought to himself 'Surely CNN will

have reports as to what is going on' When the picture filled the screen it

was the morning sports report. "Why? What the hell is going on?!" He

shouted aloud.

Then suddenly as if he had a religious experience, he snapped out of his

sleep walking. He glanced around the living room. It was intact, he was

intact. He looked at his clock-5:20AM. The clock in his bedroom read

5:20AM also. He checked the date on his watch-March 5. He was back in

his own home. Nothing happened. It was just a dream.

Chapter One-The Confirmation

It was now close to 5:30AM, James had struggled several times to get back

to sleep, but the dream was just to real, to vivid. With his clock set for

6:00AM, he just decided to stay up. As he paced around his living room,

the images of the shelter continued to replay over and over in his mind.

'Get a grip on yourself James, it was just a dream.' he thought to himself.

He struggled to concentrate to fix the coffee for the morning. As he pushed

the on switch, he suddenly remembered-'I've got a Florida map!' I'll prove

it was just a dream!!' With a sense of urgency he flipped through dozens of

state maps that he had collected over the years, until finally he found it, a

1995 map of Florida. Like a mad-man he opened it up, immediately going

to the smaller inlet city maps. He quickly founnd one of Orlando. Franticly

he scanned the yellow, black, and red lines. It was the first time he could

remember looking at a map and hoping what he was looking for would not

be there.

His finger slowly stopped on a yellow road numbered Route 439. Then

began to tremble with fear. "No! It can't be!" He whispered under his

breath. The shock was to great for him to say anything else. He dropped

the map. With a violent panic he grabbed his t.v. remote, hoping the worst

was not happening. The picture filled the screen with CNN discusing

another mass-suicide in California. Morbidly, he was glad that was all they

were talking about.

He quickly muted the sound-and then slowly absorb the shock, and try to

figure out how he got the street right. There had to be a logical

explanation. Yet he had never been to Orlando. Maybe his subconscious

had seen the name in a television commercial, or a movie?

The coffee pot broke his train-of thought with the beeping letting him

know that the coffee was finished brewing. The aroma brought him back

to reality. He poured a cup, and started to sip. He sat down on his couch

desperately trying to make sense of what had happened. He was not one to

have psychic premonitions. In fact he tended to disbelieve most of what he

heard about that stuff. Yet he could not deny the fact that he just got an

address right in a city that he had never been in, and if that was in

indication of what else might be right-the world might be just two months

away from Armageddon. The dream kept swirling around in his mind. just

than a beam of light from the rising sun hit his eye. Like a detective

searching for clues, he suddenly had aother idea. He glanced back at the

map and noticed the Route 482 intersected Turkey Lake Road. He then

reached for his phine and proceeded to dial directory assistance in Orlando.

The phone rang twice before an operator picked up.

"Good morning-What city please?"

James quickly answered. "Orlando"

"Go ahead." The operator answered-not knowing the small part she was

playing in World War III.

"Yes, can I have the phone number for the K-Mart at the corner of Turkey

Lake Road and Route 482." James answered-confident that she would not

have the number.

"One second please." A brief pause followed. "Yes-the number is 407-982-

7882. Do you have any further request?" The operator answered-unaware

of what she had done to James' blood pressure. After several seconds

James stuttered a response-"Uh, um-Is there a number for the Chevron

Gas station right next to that K-Mart. It would probably have the same

address."

"One second please. "Yes-here's the number-407-982-..." James dropped

the phone, the receiver hit the floor hanging up on the operator. "God

Almighty!" He whispered to himself. His worst fears had been confirmed.

Chapter Two-Decisions

James' hands trembled with. Yesterday he was a reporter for the

Washington-Post Dispatch, now he had to prevent Armageddon.

'Something has to be done, but what? James thought to himself, as he

slowly calmed down. Surely I can't just call the Pentagon up and say "Hey,

I just had this dream about a nuclear attack on Orlando by the Chinese.

They would think I'm some lunitic and hang up. I need proof. But how?

How in the name of God do you prove that World War III is just two

months away? I've got to tell somebody. I can't keep this to myself. He

glanced at the clock-6:15AM. It's to early he thought-'ah fuck it, this is to

damn big. He picked up the phone and dialed his best friend, who also

happened to work for security at the Naval Atlantic Command

Headquarters-in Norfolk Virginia. He was probably still asleep since he

worked the evening shift-but this was to important. His phone rang four

times-just as he expected-Len's answering machine picked up-"Hello this is

Len-Yea Yea you know the drill-leave a message and I'll call you back

ASAP. Thanks."

Beep. "Len this is James-I know you are there-and I know your asleep,

because you worked a double shift ;ast night-just listen-It's 6:20AM-

something big is going down. I can't talk about it on the phone, just call me

back ASAP! we have to meet for lunch-today! Call my Pager!"

He hung up the phone knowing that Len was still asleep and wouldn't hear

the message for a couple of hours. Nevertheless he would continue calling.

'Alright what's next?-Call the paper."

"Good morning-Washington Post-Dispatch" the operator answered.

"Hello, Lisa-this is James. Let Chris know that I'll be a couple of hours late

today-In fact I might not be there fo r a couple of days" James answered

nervously.

"Surely, James, I'll tell him. Is everything alright?" Lisa answered-

detecting the worried tone in his voice.

"Yes everything is fine-I just need some time to think." James responded

trying to end the conversation as quickly as possible.

"Think about what?" Lisa asked-her suspicisions rasied by the tone of his

voice.

The paranoia beginning-James couldn't take the interrogation any longer.
"Look I don't have time for this!!" He shouted as he slammed the phone

down.

Lisa was in dismay. 'James never acted like this-What the hell is going

on?' She thought to herself.

James needed to cool off. He couldn't believe the way he had just treated

his co-worker. 'No time for apologies' he thought. Just as he was walking

back to the coffee pot the phone rang.

"shit, I didn't think Len would call back this soon.'

"That was quick." He answered.

"Is John there?" The voice on the other end answered.

"What was that? What did you say?" James questioned.

"Is John there? This is Mathew, from Orlando." He answered.

""What! W-What did you say?" James responded-as his mouth hit the floor.

"Tell John that-Wait a minute, I must have the wrong number. Is this 202-

536-1069." Mathew answered-embarrassed that he may have work

someone up this early in the morning dialing the wrong number.

"N-N-No you do have the wrong number. This is 202-536-1060."

James replied-as he almost dropped the phone because of the sweet in his

palm.

"I'm sorry to have bothered you." Mathew answered hanging up.

James slowly set the phone down. "Jesus Christ! What the hell is going on!'

He shouted in his mind.

With the phone still in his hand-it rang again.

"Who the fuck is it!" James yelled.

"Hey is that any way to greet someone this early in the morning?" Len

answered.

"Oh God, I'm sorry. It's you. Listen we have to talk, but not on the phone.

We have to meet somewhere, we can talk in the car" James demanded.

"Oh, 007 are we? Shut the hell up! your one of the few people I can trust'

James interrupted.

"Sure-I'll meet you at your place at 8:00." Len answered-wondering what

could be going on.

"Thanks. I'll see you then." James said as he hung up the phone.

'Alrigh, get a grip. I'll go get the paper and try to relax for an hour' He

thought.

Half a world away-another would be haunted by the same terrifying

vision.
Friday, March 5 7:30PM
Ministry Of Defense-Bejing, China

General Ping-Chang was standing on the balcony of his 10th story office.

Before him the evening sun had just set on another hazy spring day in

Bejing.

The city was now lit with tens of thousands of street lights, as well as miles

of headlights, spreading put in all directions. It's sprawl now consumed

hundreds of square miles, earning it the nickname-L.A. of Asia, among

others.

The events of the next week, as well as their consequences preoccupied

his mind. The history of China, as well as the world had reached a turning

point. The direction of which would be decided very soon.

A horrific dream had stalked him for the last month and a half. However

he was not one to change the plans and directives of a nation of 2 billion

people simply because he was having bad dreams, at least not yet.

If he managed to play his cards right he would soon be the Vice-President

of China, and would stare down the United States, and the world in a final

battle in which the world would come crawling to him to stop.

A knock at the door broke the silence

"enter" The General responded.

"General, excuse me for interrupting." The Navy Chief of Staff answered.

"Continue." General Ping-Chang answered.

"Our forces have commenced Operation "Wake-Up Call" The island will be

voting in just two days. Our targets will be just 200 feet from the East &

West sides of the islands. Both of their major ports will have to shut down.

We will have a vitural navel blockade. The island has already reported a

major run on their banks & their currency has dropped 15% in the first

five hours-"Yes Yes" The General interrupted "How has the United States

responded?" The General demanded to know, as right now it was the only

answer that really mattered.

"As of five minutes ago they had done nothing-they have not even filled a

formal diplomatic protest. Of course-"Where is the nearest Aircraft

Carrier?"The Generla again interrupted.

"The Americans have a full Carrier Battle group stationed just off the coast

of Japan. The next nearest one is in the Indian Ocean-supposedly on its'

way to Sydney, Australia." The Admiral answered.

"Very well, continue to moniter the situation and I want updated hourly.

That is all" General Ping-Chang answered.

"Yes Sir!" The Admiral answered while saluting, then proceeded to leave

the Generals' office.

Friday, March 5 7:40AM EST
Washington D.C.

With twenty minutes left before he had to meet with Len, James made his

way to a local 7-eleven to pick up the morning paper.

Nothing unusual greeted his journey. In fact, much to his delight-it was

quiet routine. The traffic on I-95 was moving about two miles-per-hour,

and the morning news reports were filled with useless information such as

'Don't drive on the east coast before 10:00AM.'

As he pulled into the 7-Eleven he decided to fill up with gas, since he

was thinking about it.

A repeating voice in the background broke his concentration.

"Excuse me, Sir."

"Yes, can I help you with something?" James answered.

"Yes, I'm tring to get back to Washington national Airport." The stranger

answered.

"Oh yea, that's no problem." James answered, as he pointed at the mans'

map.

"See, all you have to do is take Route 7 about 10 miles to US 1 which will

also say Henry street. Then that will take you right to the airport. James

explained.

"Well, I want to thank you for your help. I've got a 10:00AM flight back to

Orlando, and I didn't want to keep going around in circles." The man replied.

"Did you say Orlando? As in Orlando, Florida?" James questioned, after

nearly dropping a cup of coffee on the mans' leg.

"Yea, I'm on my way back to Orlando. I have to say it's a little warmer

down

there. Actually, I live in Shingle Creek, which is about five miles from the

Orlando city limits." The man answered.
James took a deep breath before asking the next question. "You wouldn't
happen to live on Turkey Lake Road? Would you??"

"Why yes! How did you know that?"

"Lucky guess?" James answered in sarcastic disbelieve. "Well I guess you

better be cathching your flight."

"Yea, I guess I better. Well hey, heres' my business card. The name is Jim,

if your ever down that way, I have a foral shop on Turkey Lake Road. Thanks' for your help." Jim answered getting into his car.

"Yea sure." James mumbled under his breath.

He watched the car drive off into the unknown. He wondered had he just

seen a ghost?

After paying for the gas and the paper he headed back home.

Pulling into his driveway, something glowing in his front yard maple tree

caught his attention. It was a balloon that was caught on one of the

branches. Its' sliver reflected the bright morning sun nearly blinding him.

Thinking nothing of it he reached up to pull it down. Then with paper in

one hand and a balloon in the other, made his way inside.

After locking the door behind him, he quickly tossed the balloon into the garbage

can. Checking his watch, he realized that Len would be here any

minute. Sitting down to scan th e paper, he realized that he could not

concentrate on the words. His mind continued to replay the events of the

last four hours over and over again, like a ong that you just couldn't get

out of your mind. His mind was being consumed by the whole event. All

at once, he was driving down that fatefull road, feeling the building sway

as the shock wave hit, and talking to Tom at the 7-Eleven. More and more,

his logical mind was finding it indisputable that these events were not

unrelated to each other. This also rocked the foundation of his believes.

James was not one to go thru life thinking that there was any kind of force

directing the situation, or even observing it. Up until four hours ago, the

only thing James believed was controlling the situation was chaos. Now he

did not know what to think. Yet he could not deny the fact that at a bare

minimum a series of unusual coincidences had taken place, shortly after

his dream.

As he was tryingto make sence of the situation, his train of thought was

broken by the phone ringing.

"Great!? Now who is it, God himself' James thought.

"Hello?" He answered.

"Hey it's me" Len answered. "I'm pulling off the interstate now I'll be there

in three minutes.

"Alright, I'll be here." James answered.

While setting down the phone, a bright bllue sticker on the balloon caught

his attention. He quickly reached into the trash to get the balloon for closer

examation. Immediately he realized that it was a price tag. He glanced at

the writing at the top whispering aloud-"Orlando Floral & Gifts-1535

Turkey Lake Road" 'Jesus Christ!!!' He shouted aloud in his mind.

He scambled thru his wallet to find Jims' business card. After a search

that seamed to last for hours he finally found it. He franticly compared it

to the price tag on the balloon-Orlando Floral & Gifts-1535 Turkey Lake

Road'

He was devoid of comment. He couldn't handle the shock that

overwhelmed him.

'PROOF!!!!' A voice shouted so loid in his mind that he grabbed his ear as

an involuntary reaction.

He then realized what he had to do. "Alright, if these suckers want to keep

doing this, I'm keepinfg a record if this shit." The ringing of the doorbell

ruined his plans-at least momentarily. He rushed to the door, after peering

thru the peep hole to verify that it was Len he quickly unlocked it.

"Hey, Len come on in. I'll be with you in a second. Grab some coffee or

something from the fridge." James greeted Len as he rushed of to his living

room phone.

"What the hell are you doing? What's going on?!" Len demanded.

"I'll explain in a minute. I need to check something." James responded,

while he franticly checked thru his caller I.D. numbers-praying that

whoever or whatever was turning his life upside down would cooperate

and let the one number that he wanted still be there.

"YES! I got you now sucker!" James shouted euphorically. Now, where the

hell is my camera?" James mumbled to himself. While James was scanning

his living room for his camera,Len spotted it laying on a top shelf in the

kitchen.

"Hey, it's right here." He answered, still not sure why he had fought the D.C.

rush hour to get here for.

James quickly grabbed it. Then proceeded to take a picture of the phone

number of Mathew from Orlando. He would now have a record of the

number, name, date and time of his call.
"Pardon me for intruding, but may I ask what your doing and what the

hell am I doing here?!" Len asked sarcastically.

James looked at Len, with a smile on his face, as the photo emerged from

the camera. His logical mind was feeling at ease. He had a sence that

whatever was going on, he now had some control over it.

"Come on we're leaving." James answered.

"Leaving, I Just got here?!" Len responded.

"Let's go, your driving ." James answered as headed out the door oblivious

to Len's frustration.

"This had better be good!" Len answered grabbing a Coke on the way out.

They pulled out of the well manicured driveway-suddenly Len stopped.

"Where to?" Len asked with both curiosity and resignation.

"Just head for the bealtway, and we'llgo in circles until I have an idea of

what is going on here." James answered, his mind distracted by trying to

figure out how he was going to get hard evidence instead of just some

phone calls and a balloon.

"Well, you want to tell me why we're taking this little jaunt? Len

questioned as they pulled onto the freeway.

"Have you noticed anything unusual at Norfolk?" James responded.

"Define unusual?" Len answered, wondering where this line of questioning

was headed.

"Unusual, out-of the ordinary. More flights, tighter security, a carrier or

sumbarine leaving for an unsecheduled patrol? Shit like that?" James

answered, noticing Lens' mood quickly turned from saccasm to concern.
Len hesitated before answering. He had noticied that in the last couple of

weeks there had been double the training flights for everything from the

Stealth to F-14s', and the reason for his double shift last night was because

a ballistic submarine and a fast attack sub, the Georgia and the Richmond

left to go on patrol nearly three weeks early.

Of course he couldn't tell James that, and even if he could, he had no idea

of where they were going or, why they left so early.

"No. Why do you ask?" Len answered, hoping to pry more data out of

James. He wanted a really good reason before showing his hand.

James could tell Len was lying, just by the tone of his voice. They now

engaged in a type of verbal poker. Each one trying to pry more info out of

the other one without tipping their hands.

"You are absolutely sure that you haven't noticed anything? this is really

important-your life could depend on it. Think hard! I know what is

stationed there,and I can find out one way or another. I'd much rather

you help me out. It's easier for you-it's easer for me." James answerd,

hoping that he wasn't acting in futility.

"What, what are you planning? Len questioned-as his interrogation headed

off in a completely wrong direction.

James had already grown tired of this-and soon decided to take the direct

approach.

"Look man, I don't want to do this all day. If there was more time, maybe,

but not now. Let's just say that it's not what I'm planning.' James paused to

let what he had just said sink in. What would you say if I told you that I

had strong suspicions, no evidence-'James paused again as he rehearsed

his next line in his mind, then blurted it out. 'that there is going to be a

nuclear attack by the Chinese on Orlando, Florida in just two months."
Lens' foot uncontrollably slammed on the brakes. The odometer quickly

went from 70 to 0. They both flew forward in their seats. Five lanes of car

horns honked incessantly. Dozens of drivers flipped him off. Realizing that

he had almost killed themselves Len quickly turned the car and went

across three lanes of traffic to get to the emergency lane. Upon safely

getting there, he turned the emergency lights on.

"What the fuck is going on!! And don't bullshit me!!" Len shouted. "Look, I

know that your going to think I'm losing it. But I do have proof, and I

think I can get more. " James answered in exasperation.

"Try me!" Len replied-unaware of how drasticly the path he was on in life

had changed in the last two minutes. "Alright, here goes." James paused-'Shit either he won't believe me, and

refer me to a shrink, or he he believe me and turn me over to the

Pentagon.' "Do you think your dreams can mean something, or have you

ever had a dream that came true?" James asked.
"Well, I suppose I've never really given it much thougth. I guess they

could mean something, but I can't think of one that I'vre had that came

true." Len responded, now haveing a vague idea of where the discussion

would be headed.

"Well, up until 5:00 this morning, I never gave it much thought either.

And no I can't remember a dream that I had that came true. But last night

I had a dream that I was in Orlando, Florida, in a bomb shelter. And we

were at war with China-and they hit Orlando with a nuclear weapon."

James explained feeling that the weight of the world had been lifted off

his shoulders.

"Well, if you were in Orlando, and they hit it with a nuclear weapon, why

were you still live." Len quipped back trying to disprove what James had

just said.

"Because they missed by 17 miles. That isn't the point!" James replied

angrily. "Just listen, right after I called you this morning someone from

Orlando, called my number trying to get someone but they missed dialed.

Then when I was getting gas this morning I helped someone with

directions-he was from Orlando!!! Not only that he gave me his business

card for Orlando Floral & Gifts-well when I got home a balloon was stuck in

my Maple tree-it ws from the mans' store!!!" James rambled on souding

like a later presenting his closing arguments summarizing all his evidence

from the trial. Len was speachless. his initial reaction was to belittle what

he had just heard. However, given the seriousness of what James had said,

little would be lost if he went along with the story, at least until he had a

good reason not to. After a few moments to digust what he had heard, he

decided on a middle path.

"Alright, calm down and take a deep breath. Start from the beginning. Why

would we be at war with China, especially a nuclear war. Every one knows

that President Zeman is having a big summit next month with President

Wilson. One of the big issues will be nuclear weapons reductions! I mean

come on, relations between the US & China couldnt be better" Len

responded, not yet convinced one way or the other of the story.

James was exasperated, but hae had calmed down, now that he had

someone to discuss everything with.

"Look, all I know is that for some reason I was in Orlando, and the city had

been evacuated, making it look like we had a warning ahead of time. I was

sent to a shelter on Turkey Lake road which looked like a hospital. I must

have been there for five, maybe ten minutes when the Secretary Of

Defense came on television, saying that the Chinese had launched a missile

against Orlando & Munich, Germany. He said something about a deadline,

that if the Chinese didn't comply with our demands we had submarines in

position to fire."

"Well, wait a minute, do you remember who the Secretary Of Defense

was?" Len interrupted.

"Yea, that's the one thing that dosen't make sence. It was Senator

Christopher." James answered, wondering why that piece of the puzzle was

amiss.

"Well, see, there you go, that can't be right because everyone knows that

Thomas Maxell is the Secretary Of Defense." Len again interrupted.

James agreed, not saying a word, as he could not deny that fact.

Awaiting James' response, and not wnating to rub it in, Len turned the

radio on. A commercial for an upcoming Metallica concert broke the

silence. "Your listening to the CNN Radio Network." The announcer said.
James was still thinking, contemplating the future as the voice of the

announcer continued. "We had hoped to bring you our sports report,

however we have several breaking news stories coming over the wire that

we want to bring to you. Both are somewhat related, one out of southeast

Asia. Early this morning east coast, late evening Chinese time, elements of

the Chinese Navy, Air Force & Army-'Len turned the volume up. 'Began a

massive war game-that they say is designed to intimidate the Taiwanese

voters who are voting in third direct election for President. Specifically the

Chinese Military will be conducting short range missile tests at targets just

200 feet from the Taiwanese Coast, in water that China claims s theirs, yet

it should be noted that the rest of the world agrees that the Taiwan Strait

is international waters. The effect of this is a virtual naval blockade. All

cargo ships approaching Taiwan have been notified by the Chinese

Government not to interfere with the exercise. The Taiwan Military all of

which it should be noted has been supplied by the United States is on its'

highest alert since Shang-Ki-Check formed the island nation, after fleeing

the Communists of on the mainland over fifty years ago. It is being

reported that 90% of the Taiwan Air Force' Len was speechless. James felt

at first vindicated, then frightened as to what this meant. The report

continued. 'has been launched and is airborne over the island for fear of

being left on the ground if the Chinese were to attack. Over half of the

islands' Army has been redceployed to the west side of the island in

anticipation of a potential Chinese landing, and the Taiwan President has

activated their military reserve components. Amid all of this President

Wilson, citing the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, has ordered two aircraft

carrier battle groups to the area, obstincebly to observe the situation. The

U.S.S. Nimitz & it's support ships were docked in Tokyo, Bay but left an

hour ago and is on its' way to the area. The Navy is also reporting that

several attack & ballistic submarines left Norfolk, Virginia last night-

approximately 18 hours ago, and are enroute to the area." Len could not

believe what he had just heard. 'That's where they were headed.' He

thought to himself.

Fear was now gripping James. The events seamed to be spiraling out of

control-and were moving way to fast for him to comprehend the

ramifications of it all. The news continued while both sat speechless in

their seats, while the rest of Washington sped by them unconcerned at the

days events. For the rest of the nation it was just another day. Another day

of the never-ending rat race. "The U.S.S. America is in the indian Ocean,

and was supposed to make a port call in Sydney, Australia. But that has

now been cancelled. It is now on it's way to a position just north of the

Philippines. A final item, which may be related to this is comming over the

wires." The announcer paused as he read the report. James & Len glanced

at each other wondering what it was. "The Navy is now also reporting the

the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan and it's support shipshave left Pearl Harbor thirty

minutes ago, however they are saying that this is not related to the

situation in the Taiwan Straits, that the carrier was already scheduled to go

on training maneuvers, however they are not disclosing where the carrier

is headed, except to say that it is moving in an easterly direction." James &

Len both looked at each other, nither saying a word, both knowing what

the other one was thinking.-That was the most bogus cover story they had

ever heard.

"Amid the rising tensions in Asia, the news from Washington is that

President Wilson is having to make key strategic military decisions

without one of his key advisors. The Associated Press is reporting and the

Miami International Airport has just confirmed the Secretary Of Defense-

Thimas Maxell and several of his advisors, as well as two US Marine

Guards were killed in a horrific plan crash 10 minutes ago as they were

leaving Miami for Washington for a meeting with President Wilson on the

crisis in the Taiwan Straits. The timing if this accient has rasied the

eyebrows of the FBI & the National Security Council both of which will

jointly be investigating the accident, instead of the NTSB which would,

under normal situations handle the investigation. many political insiders

believe that Senator Christopher will be chosen as the new Secretary Of

Defense, as he was the Presidents' second-choice when he nominated his

long time friend Thomas Maxell."

That was all Len needed. Any last vestige of doubt had just been erased.

James had past the point of having doubt to erase a long time ago. He was

now consumed with fear. A decision had to be made. Althought he now

had enought proof for Len, it was all circumstatial. He then began to

wonder if he should even try to warn anyone else, perhaps that was the

cause of it. Maybe their attack was preemptive because they thought we

were going to attack first. There were still to many pieces of the puzzle

missing. The general outline could be recognized, but the middle needed to

be filled in .

"What do we do now?" Len asked, now completely behind James.

"I'm not sure. Head back to my house. I'll think of something on the way."

James answered, as Len pulled back onto the freeway, that just fifteen

minutes ago they nearly died on. The future would be waiting for them.

Chapter Three-
Standoff In the Pacific/Suspicions at home & abroad

Washington D.C -9:15 AM

President Wilson stood in the Oval Office starring out the window in

silence, mourning the loss of his long time friend in his own private way.

Just two hours ago he spoke to him on the phone about the rising tensions

in the Taiwan Strait. The Secretary had been known publicly for his long

held believe that the second Cold War was already underway, and that the

United States was quickly letting its' position as the worlds' last remaining

superpower slip away. President Wilson, while not know for being "soft"

on defense had always hoped that diplomatic & economic engagement with

China would bring about the same change the swept the Soviet Union in

the early 1990s'. He had resisted earlier political pressure to drastically

reduce US military forces in Japan & South Korea, and his latest proposal-

The "SkyShield Initiative" could not be called "Giving into China." But a part

of him was deeply saddened by the recent turn of events. He truly hoped

that the Chinese leadership would understand that they could not act in

this manner. That in would only turn the world against them. So it was

with deep regret and maybe resignation, that after a pre-dawn

teleconference with the Secretary Of Defense that he ordered the two

aircraft carrier battle groups to the area, and the third to move into a more

defensive posture if, god forbid, it was needed. As it turned out it would be

the last time he spoke with and took the advice of his long time friend.

The ringing of the telephone disrupted his mourning. "The world waits for

no one' he thought to himself before answering it.

"This is Wilson." "Sorry to bother you Mr. President, but national Security Adviser Shawn

Wilken requests a meeting with you immediately. Shall I send him in?"

The White House Secretary answered.

"Yes, tell him to come in, and have the Secret Service locate Senator

Christopher. I'm activating Executive War Powers Act 1035. I'll be ordering

the Senate to hold an Emergency Confirmation Hearing this week to

confirm him as the new Secretary of Defense. In the meantime, issue a

press-release saying that I will be having Shawn Wilken acting as joint

National Security Advisor & Secretary Of Defense until Senator Christopher

has been sworn in." The President answered, knowing that the period of

mourning was now over. Time marched on, whether he liked it or not.

"Yes, Mr. President. I'll contact the Secret Service & then issue the press

statement after he is located. The aide answered, in a sympathetic voice.

"Thank-You Maggie" The President replied.

Within seconds after he had put the phone down, Shawn Wilkens entered

the room. His hands were filled with the lastest satellite photos and

statistical analysis of the troop movements in China. He also carried the

aura of confidence with him. He was quite certain that the whole situation

was nothing more than Chinese saber rattling. He knew of the Presidents'

ordering the carriers to the area, by now the whole world did. He agreed

with the decision and felt that the Chinese leadership would understand

the meaning of it.

He quickly set a batch of paper down, so that his hand would be free to

greet the President. "Will, he paused. "I'm sorry to have to meet you under such tragic

circumstances." He spoke, while shaking his hand. The look and his expression were

genuine. The President knew that he was truly upset over the recent

death, and that he was not engaging in mere formalities.

"I know Shawn. Thank-you. What's the situation?" He asked trying to get

onto the task at hand as quickly as possible. While not wanting to belittle

the memory of his friend, he knew that present matters demanded his

attention.

"Sir, this is what we're looking at." He explained while unrolling a map of

the Taiwan Straits.

"This photo was taken just ten minutes ago. The Chinese have moved

approximately 75 short-range guided missile cursiers into an area just 20

miles from the Taiwan coast. Additionally 350 Mig-21s have been moved

to bases about ten miles inland. At last count, 200 were airborne and

participating in the exercise." The President listened to his advisor explain

the details of the situation-then interrupted-"Shawn, what is the bottom

line?"

"Sir the bottom line is this. We the United States are obligated by the 1979

Taiwan Relations Act to "Provide all necessary means for Taiwans Defense"

should the Chinese initiate an unprovoked attack against the island. That is

the stick part. The word unprovoked-was leftdeliberately open to

different interpretations by both sides. Mainly, to allow us the option of

not helping if we feel the Chinese are justified in their actions"

"Do we?" The President asked as he interrupted again.

"Well, Sir. At this point they have not attacked the island. They are only

causing economic disruption. At this point we have gone as far as we can

go by sending the carriers in to "observe". It is up to the Chinese to

determine what our next move will be. In my opinion, Sir we should do

know more if and until a hostile engagement takes place." The advisor

answered, hoping the President would not ask the next question.

"And if an act of aggression takes place?" The President pondered aloud.

Shawn paused before answering. "Well, Sir it will have to depend on the

situation and circumstances of the incident. Right now for instance our

pilots have been ordered not to fire until fired upon. If they are fired

upon, it is up to the local commander to respond how he sees fit. Most

likely, they would have our boys engage the enemy on a limited basis.

After all, at this point I think we should be doing everything in our power

to prevent this from escalating into World War III.

"Agreed." The President replied nodding his head as he looked out the

window on another sunny spring day in Washington.

Sir, I think you should contact President Zemen on the hotline, & let him

know that it is our position that the Taiwan Straits are international waters

and that we reserve the right to sail our carriers through those waters." The advisor answered, seeing the obvious concern that the President had about going ahead with a decision like that.
"Do you really think that is necessary? I mean, I thought we were trying to keep the situation from escalating?" The President asked. "Sir, I don't think that would be an escalation on our part. It would be a mere statement of facts. After all, we have the assurances from Britain & France, as well as Russia that they would back our resolution in the UN Security Council stating that they hav eno right to interfer with the shipping lanes to Japan & South Korea, as well as Russia & the far east. They are isolated in the world." Shawn responded, Confident that he had persuaded the President to his opinion. The President now had a minor idea of how President Kennedy must have felt during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Although this was not a nuclear standoff, at least not yet, it did have the potential to spiral out of control if there was the slightest misunderstanding of either sides intentions. After a brief pause to contemplate the future of humanity the President gave his answer, hoping it was the right one.
"It is my opinion that the Chinese regime believes that this is an internal matter, to be resolved by themselves. However, it does involve more then themselves. They are disrupting the economy of the whole region. I will
not discuss our policy with the Chinese President behind the scenes, at least not yet. I don't want to hamstring my decision making. I will however go ahead with our resolution in the UN Security Council, but right now I see no reason to send the carriers through the strait. Everyone knows that we can do it, whenever we want, therefore I think that at this point it would be an unnecessary escalation. Inform the Pacific Command to have the carriers monitor the situation for a potential attack, and I want the State Department to inform our representatives in Taiwan that we will standby our treaty obligations, however we expect and demand that the Taiwan Military remain in a strictly defensive posture for now. Is that understood?
"Yes Sir! I'll get on the phone immediately." Shawn answered, knowing that once the President had made up his mind there was no need for further discussion of the situation, at least for now.
The South Pacific-Approximately 200 Miles East Of Taiwan
Aboard the USS Nimitz the US Navys' largest aircraft carrier, the activity as
well as the tension had picked up considerably in the last ten minutes. The
Captain & Crew of the Nimitz had been informed that they would be monitoring the situation in the Taiwan Strait for any deviation of the Chinese Militarys' publicly announced war game plans. This would be done in several ways, AWACS had already been launched to observe, both visually & electronically, the area from a safe altitude. Attack submarines would be sent directly into the straitfor underwater recon. If the Chinese were planning to attack in the near future they would be laying ocean mines, and it would be of great strategic importance if US forces knew their exact location, and that the Chinese did not know that we knew.
Additionally, P-3s would be lacing the area with a network of Sonar bouys to monitor for any Chinese submarines that might be in the area. If they passed the network, an attack submarine would be directed to follow at a safe distance. The full force of over 8,000 US sailors were now directed against China, just one step away from a full scale, armed conflict. In the
next 24 ours they would be joined by an additional 8,000 sailors from the USS America Battle Group. Not since the Vietnam war had the United States deployed such a large number of troops in the Asian region, and like Vietnam, they too would start their deployment, in an observer status.
Bejing, China-11:00PM CST
Confident, at least for now, in the ability of his Captains' & Commanders below him to handle the situation General Ping-Chang had left his office in the Chinese Ministry Of Defense to meet with his Commanding officer, President Zemen.
The President was alone in his private quarters thinking and contemplating the future. It was his decision to go ahead with the military actions in the strait, however it was never his desire to confront the United States. His soul desire was merely to frighten Taiwan into compliance with the mainland wishes. He knew that China did not yet have the ability to occupy the island. Only the ability to destroy it.
The Generals' knock at the door broke his train of through.
"Enter." The President answered.
"My Lord," the General paused. "You have been given a chance to show the world the true glory of China."
"Explain." President Zemen answered, wondering what specificly the General could be refering to.
"The United States had responded to your actions against Taiwan. They have ordered at least two, maybe three aircraft carriers battle groups to
"observe" the situation. You have now the opportunity to test their resolve." The General answered, giving his opinion, rather than obbjective information, so President Zemen could make up his own mind.
"Or plunge our nation into world war III!" THe President responded angrily. This was not what the General expected.
"My Lord, this is our chance. If you do not take it, I will no longer be able to guarantee your future safety." The General answered knowing that political forces in China were rasing the stakes in the confrontation with the United States.
"Did I hear you right?" The President asked, the paranoia now beginning. Dozens of questions begin to swirl in his mind. 'Was the General planning a coup? Who was in on it? Was it just a bluff to pressure him into carrying out the Generals' own wishes?'
"My Lord, It is my opinion that your hearing is in excellent condition."
The President face turned blood red. He felt a sence of betrayal like never before, for it was he who appointed the General. He knew that he had enemies, everyone within the Chinese political hierarchy did, but not General Ping-Chang. He had know him for to long.
Before the anger had a chance to subside President Zemen responded to the Generals' threats.
"General Ping-Chang, as head of the Communist Party Of China-I am the Supreme Commander of all Chinese Military Forces. As my Chief-Of-Staff you relay my orders to all lower level feild Commanders. Is that part of our relationship understood?" The President questioned the General with a look that could kill, and in fact would if the wrong answer was given.
"Yes My Lord! I understand completely! I merely felt that it was my duty to inform you of the pressure in the establishment that is building to deal once and for all with the United States, they are after all, our only impediment to world conquest, the NATO alliance would colapse, if we engaged the United States!" The General answered, again injecting his own opinion into the argument. At this point in the situation his was, however,
still trying to play both sides against each other.
"I am well aware of the situation in the polit bureau. Councilman Zarain shall not have his wishes carried out!! Not while I'm in command!!!" The President shouted not knowing that he would soon regret those words.
"Now General, my orders are as follows. Our forces will not initiate an engagement of US Military forces. Is that understood!!" The President again sohuted. it was his hope merely to intimidate the Taiwanese, not start the third world war. He wanted his country to be ably to express its' greatness in the next century. One of the ways that would be accomplished was by first making it to the next century.
The General now could tell that his long time friend, the very President who appointed him, did not have the courage to lead China any longer. He had grow to content with the status quo. His retirement would have to be arranged immediately.
"My Lord. I will carry out your command as you wish. But I must ask, what shall our forces do if the United States engages us?" The General asked, searching for a fleeting glimpse of the Presidents' nerve.
"You fool!! The Americans' will not engage us!!" The President replied with a confidence that he had not yet displayed to the Generals' satisfaction.
"Now you listen to me and you listen good General! You make damn sure that our forces stay within the designated permiters of the war game! They are not to exceed those boundaries-If they do I'm holding you personally responsible for the consequences!! YOu are dismissed!!" The General saluted the President then made his way out the door after swallowing his pride-for now.
Chapter Four-The Missing Link
Washington D.C. 10:05AM EST
"Can you stand to eat anything?" Len asked James he could see that he was visibly shaken from the events of the last hour. The questions continued to swirl in James' mind. Lens' voice was just echo in the background. "James! Get with it!" Len shouted, as he tried to bring James back to earth.
"What?" James answered in an exaspered voice.
"You might not be hungry, but I am! I'm pulling off at the next exit to find something to eat, and then we've got to tell someone about this." Len answered in an authoritative voice.
"Who? Who the hell can we tell, without them reporting us to the funny farm, or the FBI? And maybe we shouldn't tell someone, maybe that causes it somehow?!" James responded franticly.
"Look, you said yourself that we the United States-that is, were evacuating the cities, including Orlando. Now the President is not going to order evac. unless and until one of two things take place-1.We have a warning of at least 36 hours & 2.That a major and dramatic event takes place that would give us a warning that it's going to happen. Now from what you said in your dream-we knew meaning somehow they were warned, & that an event had to have taken place giving rise to the evacs. Now I say we take our chances and tell someone-if nothing happens GREAT!! But if we can prevent this somehow or limit the damage I say we take the chance." Len answered, hoping that he had persuaded James to go public even if just in a limited way.
"Alright, but who the hell can we tell?" James questioned. "Look, if you want to remain anonymous for now, I know some people at
Langley, that would be open to at least listening to your story. They could do a cross reference to see if one of their own has had the same type of dream. If they had then we'll have to get a message to the Director Of Central Intelligence, somehow." Len paused the thought had just crossed his mind that a message would not be sent up the chain-of-command even
if a million people had the same dream. hard proof was going to be needed.
I can't think straight, let's stop at the McDonalds up ahead, and figure out our next move.
"Agreed." James answered.
Central Intelligence Agency HeadQuarters
Remote Viewing Division
Langley, Virginia 10:10AM EST
The wall were dark black. The room was empty except for a single desk & two chairs. Tom Santos was interviewing one of the people that until just recently the CIA denied existed-Impaths that worked exclusively for the CIA. Gathering information on everything from the location of Russian ICBMs tothe location of IRA Terrorists. While they were not perfect, they did make the process of eliminating options much quicker. They did not replace the on-the-ground human spy, but did make an excellent complement. The impath whose name was classified had gone into a deep trance, and began to repeat a vision for the third time that had first come through just two days ago.
"One has betrayed another. Zarain-the third anti-christ, has taken control of China. Hitler with nuclear weapons. The nations of southeast asia soon after are consumed by fire. Nuclear weapons will be used against Laos, Thailand, & India. Zarain he is Satan in the flesh. He desires nothing less than the control and desrtuction of the world-the United States & Europe
will not be sparred-he must be stopped! Agh!" The impath collapsed onto the table. Tom was reviewing the transcript. It was the sam, word for word each time. "It definitely sounds like a coup, but no date. I mean this could be tomorrow or ten years from now." Tom turned to his Secretary. "Run a cross-reference on this. Search for anything with key phrases of nuclear war-china-or Zarain. I want to see what ever you have compiled by this time tomorrow. We've got to keep a lid on this!" Tom ordered."President Zemen is coming to Washington in less than a month for an arms reduction treay, only you and I know of this-understood." Tom replied with a look of concern.
"Yes Sir." The secretary answered. "One thing Sir."
"What is it Cathy?" Tom answered.
"Shouldn't we inform President Wilson about this, what with the tensions in Taiwan?" Cathy questioned out of concern that if the wrong move was made in the next few days that the world would pay the price with the apocalypse.
"Cathy, I understand your concern, indeed I share it. But I'm not going to brief the President until I have something to brief him on. I don't want to be responsibile for us increasing our alert status more than we already have. For all we know we might be responsibile for this thing if it does happen. Just find out whatever you can. in the meantime, I'm going to find out if there is anyone within the Chinese government named Zarain, andif there is-is there anything that happened that would give him a grudge against President Zemen.
Central Intelligence Agency HeadQuarters
Visitor Area Front Desk-10:35AM
James & Len made there way into the forboding building. After passing through three seperate metal detectors, a tour guide greeted them. "Hello, can I help you? Our next tour is in ten minutes."
"Actually, we aren't here for a tour. We would like to file a report with your Remote Viewing Division." Len answered. The mear fact that there was even limited tours, was something new to the agency, which in the past forbid the public from entering it's massive complex. However the end
of the Cold War, brought change, however limited even to the CIA. "Well, I see." The woman paused as she searched for the proper form. "Well, I've got a form here that you can fill out. it is pretty basic, was it a dream, did you have a vision thru something else, such as a television, ect.
What was it about, were there any dates mentioned, things like that. You
do not have to sign your name or give your address, unless you want to be contacted for further interviews, if necessary. Just mail it back to the address listed." The woman answered.
"Well, thank you for your help." James replied.
"See, I told you that it wasn't going to be that big of a deal." Len whispered to James.
With that they headed out of the building, under the watchful eye of more then a dozen cameras. Regardless of the public line the CIA took dreams and remote viewing as it was referred to quite seriously.
"I'm going to fill it out here. We can mail it across the street." James said with resignation as they headed for the car.
"Are you going to put your address?" Len answered.
"I mine as well. If I'm going to do it, better to go all the way." James answered. James filled everything out, the dream the coincidences, even a copy of the
business card from the floral shop in Orlando. With that they dropped it in
the mailbox in the parking lot.
Chapter Five-Consequences Unforseen
Saturday, March 6 1:30 AM CST
Under the South China Sea-
Approx. 210 Nautical Miles S. SE of Taiwan
Aboard the USS Baltimore the tension was reaching oppressive levels. But it was nothing compared to what the future would hold. In but a few weeks the crews' training would be put to the test like never before. The Baltimore was a nuclear powered fast attack submarine. Its' main mission was to defend the aircraft carriers outer perimeter from other submarines
as well as surface ships. Its' secondary mission was a medium-range offensive weapons delivery system. It carried both tactical nuclear & conventional Tomahawk Cruise Missiles. One of the Navys' most accurate weapons. The latest version had a range of 3,100 miles. Which out anything in Asia well within its' reach. Below the bridge the sonar officer broke the silence. "Con-this is sonar, we have an unidentified possible hostile contact bearing 2 degress north, approx. 12 miles.
It is motionless now but its' last movement put it within 30 miles of the Nimitz."
'Jesus Christ', that is well within range' the Captain though-"Sonar, this is Con, you find out who that is! Report back ASAP!"
The Captain turned to the X.O. "Get me the Nimitz & Pacific Command on secure channels immediately. I'm convening a Threat Assessment Conference." "Yes Sir. The X.O. responded.
But before the X.O. could turn around Sonar was back on the intercom.
"Con, this is Sonar, we haveen't identifed the hostile contact yet, however
we have confirmed that they are actively pinging the Nimitz! They have begun movement again and are turning towards her!!" Sonar shouted.
The Captain was furious. 'How the hell did this happen!!' he though.
"Shit!! Weapons-this is Con! You lock onto that target right now and prepare a firing solution!"
"Con, this is communications, we have the Nimitz & Pacific Command on secure channels.
"Communications, this is Con put it on the speaker."
"This is the Nimitz, -authorization Beta-Cahrlie-Delta-Baker 45. Report."
"This is the Baltimore we have what we believe to be a Chinese attack submarine approx. 30 miles due north of you. They are closing in on your position as we speak. They have also begun an active sonar search in an attempt to lock onto your position. Request orders-over.." The Captain explanied, knowing that time was running out.
Before the Nimitz could answer-Pacific Command broke in. "This is the Commander-In-Chief of Pacific Command-authorization Zulu-Delta-98-24-32. To the USS Baltimore you are ordered to engage contact and sanction with extreme predjudice. Over." The communication officer interrupted. "Con-this is communincations-the transmission has ended."
"Con-this is weapons we have a lock on the contact." "Understood-standby to fire on my command." The Captain responded now fully aware the a world war might start in the next few minutes. But the thought had to be placed aside for now. He had orders in hand. Orders that he would follow to the best of his ability. For it would be the political leaders that would bear the responsability of what the future might hold.
"Con-sonar we have identified the contact as a Viper-Class Chinese attack submarine. They do carry the exoset-torpedo. Several of which do carry a 400 ton tactical nuclear warhead."
'God in heaven, you can always count on the French.' the Captain thought to
himself.
"Shit, Con-Sonar; She's opening her torpedo doors."
"Damn-it-Weapons this is Con-fire torpedos 1-5 now!"
"Aye-Sir!"
Seconds later the torpeods left he Baltimore racing towards the Chinese submarine.
"Con-this is weapons-the first five torpeodos fired successfully. Impact in 35 seconds."
It would be over in less than a minute. A judgement call, made amid tension that could not be described.
"Con-this is Sonar-Jesus Christ!! The hostile has fired three torpedos at the Nimitz!! Impact in 65 seconds."
"Damn-it to hell!! Get me the Nimitz now!!" The Captain shouted. he knew all to well that the events of the last three minutes may have started world war III. If those torpeodos hit there would be no turning back.
"This is the Baltimore you have three torpedos heading your way-impact
in 50 secconds!! get as much of your people airborn as you can!!"
Aboard the Nimitz the alarms were blaring. The Captain reached for the speaker to inform the crew of the impending disaster. "This is the Captain-
all hands brace for impact in 45 seconds!! All ahead full reverse!! Launch all aircraft immediately. On the flight deck confusion reined. F-14s with only one pilot were taking off. F-18s with only have of their ordnance were right behind them. Helicopters with only half of their fuel lifting off.
Back aboard the Baltimore all were waiting for the inevitable.
"Con-this is Sonar, we have five direct hits! The hostile has been destroyed.
However, impact to the Nimitz is in ten seconds. Nine-Eight-Seven-Six-"
Aboard the Nimitz the Captain was looking out onto the flight deck-suddenly he was thrown to the floor in a violent explosion. Seconds later two more explosions rocked the ship. Alarms were going off everywhere. An aide came over to help the Captain up. "Report!!" He shouted as smoke began to fill the room. "Captain-we've sustained three direct hits!!" Two hit personal living quarters-third hit engineering-and we have a reactor melt down in progress. Engineering is attempting to shut it down."
"How much time?" The Captain answered while looking out onto the flight deck to see how many aircraft were left.
"I'm estimating 7-8 minutes left before we have a cotainment breach."
"Very well, do what you can." The Captain responded with resignation. The Captain then looked to his X.O-Mike you've got 7-8 minutes max. Began evacuations. Get as many people off as you can. I see we've got a few
C-130s left, cram as many people as you can into them.
"Aye Sir!" The X.O. responded, himself expecting to go down with the Captain, who was already on the phone with the CIN Pacific Command.
Friday, March 5 2:35PM
Washington D.C.-White House Situation Room
President Wilson had been summoned into the same room that President
Kennedy stood in as a Russian Frigate attempted to cross the blockade line
during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The events of today were very similar,
except for the fact that shots had now been fired. President Wilson entered
the room, perplexed, wondering what could have happened.
"What's going on?" The President asked, with concern.
His National Security advisor was standing by a map with a phone in his hand. "Sir, we have CNC-Pacific Command on a secure line for you-He says that it is urgent." The aide answered as he handed him the phone.
"This is Wilson."
"Sir, I'm afraid a situation with China." The General answered, with a seriousness that shocked even the President.
"Explain." The President answered. Still unsure of the severity of the crisis.
"Sir, approx. eight minutes ago, a Viper Class Chinese attack submarine, fired three tactical nuclear torpeodos at the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz." The General paused briefly to let the words sink in.
"They did what?!" The President shouted into the phone.
"Yes Sir. I'm afraid they have. The USS Baltimore destroyed the sub, however, it was after the torpedos had been fired. The Nimitz is on fire,
and is approx. three minutes away from a reactor melt-down."
"Jesus Christ!" The President mumbled under his breath. His worst nightmares were coming true. Events were now spiraling out of control. A
war with China, however limited now seemed inevitable.
"Sir we need your authorization to go after the Chinese fleet in the Taiwan
Strait. The USS America is within to launch fighters as well as cruise missile strikes against the mainland. Our B-52s' in Diego Garcia, are also on stand-by and are equiped with ACLMs'." The General explained knowing full well that any minutes the nuclear reactor aboard the Nimitz would burn through its' hull, plunging the ship into the deep forever.
"Is there anyway this could have been a mistake?" The President asked, grasping for any way to turn the situation down before it exploded out of control.
"Sir, we have to assume that this was an authorized attack. The explosions apparently have scared the shit out of Taiwans' Air Force. They think that it was the opening round of a full-scale invasion. Personally I can't say that I blame them. With the nimitz down, we lost 110 out of 145 jets. That is a substantial reduction of our air cover, and with the Chinese having moved
60% of their armed forces into position for the so-called exercise-they have a window of opportunity like never before. Sir, hold on for a minute, I'm getting a report over the teletype."
President Wilson, covered the phone while the General gathered the papers. He then motioned to his National Security Advisor to get another phone. "You get me President Zemen, and you get him now! I don't care what he's doing, you get him on the line."
The General voice returned to the Presidents ear, "Sir, are you there?"
"Yes, I'm here."
"Sir, I'm now getting confirmed reports that the Taiwan Air Force has
already engaged the Chinese Air Force over the Strait, at least seven Chinese F-4 have already been shot down as well as three Taiwanese F-15s'. A Taiwan frigate has also been hit and is ablaze. Sir, I know that this is coming at you very fast. But the bottom line is this-If this was the opening shots of a Chinese invasion into the island, we have very little time to take out the Chinese fleet. If we alow them to land and form a beachead, to bring in supplies this war is going to drag on for years. The time to act is now."
The President looked at Shawn, who knew what he was asking. Shawn simply nodded his head in agreement.
"Very well. Under the War Powers Act Of 1979, I'm signing executive order 2345 authorizing a 90 day use of US military forces to retaliate against the naval assets only of the Peoples' Republic Of China. Regardless
of whether this attack was deliberate or not, will be decided later, however the Chinese must pay a price. That price will be the destruction of their naval assets across the spectrum. Destroyers, Frigates, Carriers, even their subs. It must be complete. However, under no circumstances is the mainland to be hit. We do not have the ability to occupy China, and the American people are not going to want another generational war. General,
are the goals of this military operation understood?"
"Yes, Sir. Quite clear."
"Good, then as CNC Pacific Command, you will oversee this operation. If additonal forces are needed you draw up your plans and let me know. But for now you have the 6th fleet, what's left of the 7th fleet and our Air Force assets in the Pacific, including Japan & South Korea. Good hunting Sir. I'll be addessing the nation shortly." The President answered, knowing that all efforts must be put into meeting the goals that he had set out as quickly as possible. It would be the only way to limit the death.
Joint-US British Air Force Base
Diego Garcia 3:45AM IST
The base commander had been summoned to his office to read an incoming fax. The heading carried a special emergency war order code-
"ZULU-DIAMONDS-EAGLE-ECHO-ZULU-DIAMONDS-EAGLE-ECHO"
"To all US Military Forces in Pacific Command-From National Military Command-Washington D.C.-Set Defcon 2. Emergency War Order 2345 has been signed in response to the Chinese destruction of USS Nimitz. B-52s' from 366th & 367th Air Wings are instructed to engage & destroy all Chinese naval assets in the Taiwan Strait. F-15s' from the 356th Air Wing are instructed to provide air cover as well as engage the Chinese Air Force.
President to address the nation in less than one hour.
"I want absolute confirmation." The Commander answered.
"Sir, the message is authentic. It's already on CNN." The officer answered.
"Then get those boys out of bed and those planes off the ground!" The Commander shouted.
All over the US section of the base alarms went off. Before the pilots were awake bombs were already being loaded onto the aircraft. Within minutes
the sky would be lit up with afterburners.
Fairfax, Virginia-Friday, March 5-3:10PM EST
Len and James had returned to James' house. To wait and ponder the future.
"Well they didn't call." James said as he checked the answering machine. A
part of him hoping that the CIA may have called-wanting the whole story.
"I doubt they will, but at least we can say we did something. I think it would be best for both of us to put this out of our minds. We've done our bit for king and country." Len answered.
"Yea, well, that's easy for you to say." James answered as he sat down on the couch turning the t.v. on with the remote. It clicked to NBC.
"Can, you believe people watch these soaps. James said, in disgust.
"Yea, I know. I can't believe we made it out of the caves with idiots like this all over the place." Len answered in agreement.
'We interrupt our regularly scheduled programing for an NBC SPECIAL REPORT-Tom Brokaw here in New York, with dramatic news out of the Pacific.' James & Len glanced at each other wondering what the hell was going on. James turned the volume up. "NBC News has learned that just forty minutes ago the aircrat carrier USS Nimitz on partol near the Taiwan Strait to moniter the chinese wargames, was without provocation, attacked and destroyed by a chinese submarine.' James went pale. It was happening much faster than his mind could absorb. Seconds later Lens' pager went off. He glanced down to see a coded number coming up. it was the security code for additional nuclear warhead transfers. "Shit!" Len mumbled in exasperation. "James, I'd like to stay and listen-but I've got to get back to Norfolk." Len said now knowing that it was real, and he would play his part, however small in armageddon.
"What the hell is going on!" James demanded.
"I can't tell you-its' classified. Just take some time off-and go visit your parents in West Virginia. If I can get there-I'll be there as soon as I can."
Len answered as he headed out the door.
James leaned forward as he turned up the volume to hear the report continue.
'NBC news has learned that the attack came from a Chinese nuclear submarine which fired what is believed to be three nuclear armed torpedos. A US submarine, was able to destroy the chinese sub, however it was after the torpedos had been fired. We're now being told that President Wilson is to address the country in 30 seconds."
The image on the screen switched to the Presidential Seal, and a brief silence. Throughout the nation al in some cases around the world normal programing had been interrupted. Radio, HBO, even hundreds of internet web sites carried the address live. Even on Wall Street , trading on the New york Stock Exchange came to a halt. With no one yet knowing just what was going on, the event was already being compared to Kennedys' address
about the Cuban Quarantine.
'Ladies and Gentlemen, the President Of the United States..."
"My fellow Americans. I come to you this afternoon as the bearer of tragic news. Earlier today, a horrific and cowardly act of aggression took place against the United States. Just over an our ago, the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, home to over 6,500 US saliors was destroyed by a chinese nuclear attack submarine. Reports are that only 200-300 made it to safetly, before
the ship was destroyed by a reactor core meltdown. This attack was unprovoked and will not go unpunished!! Make no mistake about it, this was an attack on each and every one of us. In response to this, under the Authority Of the War Powers Act of 1979.. I have signed an executive order instructing US military forces in the Pacific Command to retaliate in such a way that will eliminate the chinese navys' ability to project power
beyond the shoreline of mainland china. This will also serve to inhibit what I believe is a potential chinese invasion of Taiwan. I am also ordering a special secession of Congress to be held for later this week, in which I
will formally request that a Declaration Of War against the Peoples' Republic Of China be drafted, with the express purpose of that war, not to be to occupy that vast country, but to simply insure that the chinese government no longer has the ability naval ability to threaten Taiwan, or any other naval ability to destablise the pacific region. Above all we must
remain united against this threat. Together we will reach a just conclusion to this cowardice act. Thank You and God Bless America.
Chinese Presidential Palace-
Saturday, March 6, 4:15PM CST
President Zemen gazed out into the streets of Beijing. The people were going about there business as if nothing had happened. The public would soon learn the truth. That China was at war with the US. A war that he did not want and that he knew he could not win. However symbolic the destruction of the Nimitz was, he knew that it would only buy a small amount of time, for once the americans were committed to a cause it would be over. Then lessons of the Japanese were not learned, if your going to hit the US, make sure it is a destablizing hit, not one that mearly pisses them off.
But what he was most furious about was not the war, but who authorized the attack on the Nimitz it the first place. He had his suspicions. General Ping-Chang had been meeting with opposing forces in the party, namely
Councilman Zarain. It was well known that they wanted him to take a more
aggressive stance with the United States. He wanted to do that, but only when the time was right, not now.
Among all the concerns that occupied his mind, the most pressing to deal with, was how to respond to the US counterattack. As leader of his nation he could not simply allow his navy to be destroyed. Yet if he aggressively
resisted the attacks, it would most surely provoke the US into further war objectives, namely eliminating all of his military assets.
After a few minutes of collecting his thoughts for a few minutes, he picked up the phone to contact his secretary.
"Yes, my Lord." The voice answered.
"I wish to speak with General Ping-Chang send him in." The President answered while rehearsing his interrogation in his mind.
"My Load, the General is not present at this time. He left his office almost
twenty minutes ago. He did not say where he was going." The Secretary answered, unaware of the rage that was building on the other end of the line.
"Well, you find him. Contact the Secrect Services Offices, and," The President paused as the paranoia began to build. "No wait," he continued
"Put me throught directly, I'll contact them myself."
"Yes Sir, please standby."
After several seconds of silence, another voice could be heard. "This is Commander Jang, with whom am I speaking?"
"This is the President. Report to my office imediately. We may have a situation of utmost national security developing, far worse then can be explained on the phone. Report alone to my quarters asap!" He ordered, hoping that the Commander hand not yet defected. But at this point someone had to be trusted.
Holiday Inn-Beijing Harbor
Alone on the waterfront, without his security detail the General waited quietly in plain cloths for a rendezvous with Councilman Zarain. He knew
from the news reports that the war had started. The only concern he had now, was to see that it would be persecuted to the fullest extent possible.
If the US was allowed to attain their stated objectives, China would be set back fifty years. He could not allow that to happen. As the days events
swirled in his mind, a stranger sat behind him on the park bench. Not knowing who it was, he continued to stair aimlessly into the harbor.
"Looks like the eagle got its' wings clipped today, doesn' it?" The voice next to him said.
"Yes, and lets' hope it gets its' neck clipped also." The General replied as he turned around knowing that it was Zarain himself who was behind him.
"What a splended idea." Zarain replied.
"I agree." The General answered.
"Did you contact the subs?" Zarain asked.
"It's already been done before I left. Even if we are exposed Zemen won't be able to change the orders. The ballistic subs are now on at stationary war footing status for the next three months. They will not be detected until they launch. If our mission fails they will launch on May 14." The words sent chills through both men. There was no turning back now. The shadow of armageddon would soon desend on the world.
"Very well, then it is done. Our objective now must be to elicit the support of Zemen." Zarain demanded.
"How, he does not want to engage the US." The General answered trying to
put the thought of nuclear war out of his mind for now.
"Look, I have enough support in the assembly now, if Zemen does not respond to the US aggression, his support will collapse! It fact that would
make our job that much easier, we would have the support of the people."
Zarain exclaimed with. He was much more commited to the cause then even the General, for regardless of how Zemen left, Zarain would be appointed the new President of a new China.
The sound of the Generals' pager broke the conversation.
"My time is limited, they we be coming for me soon. What do I tell Zemen."
The General asked with a sence of urgency. He new that every minute that he waited to respond, the greater the suspicions would be.
"You advise your President that you gave orders not to fire, and that there
is no evidence that we fired first. You will explain that it is an american propaganda story to justify an attack on our country." Zarain explained
oblivious to the Generals' pager that continued to beep.
Zarains' voice faded in the background as the General turned his attention to his cell phone. Dialing the emergency war operations number at the Ministry Of Defense, he awaited the angry voice on the other end. When the voice did pick up, he motioned to Zarain to stop talking.
"This is General Ping-Chang. I received an emergency page several minutes
ago, what is going on?"
"General, a severe nation crisis has developed, the President himself needs to meet with you imediately!" The voice responded with an unusual sence of panic for a low level secretary.
"I'm on my way, I'll be there in five minutes." The General answered then
hung up.
"I must go." The General said to Zarain, as he headed for his car.
"You must have your forces ready at a moments notice, do you understand?" Zarain answered, himself knowing that at this point he needed the support of the Generals elite troops to carry out his plans.
"They'll be ready." He answered as he he drove off.
Over the Taiwan Strait-4:25PM CST
The sound of dozens surface to air missiles being launched drowned out
all other noises aboard the Chinese warship Yangtize.
"Captain, what are our orders?" The Exective Officer asked his Captain, who was unaware of the sinking of the USS Nimitz and therefore could not understand why his ship was being attacked by Taiwanese fighter planes.
"We are to defend ourselves at all costs, I have been in contact with fleet Admiral Chen who does not know why the americas are attacking. To his
knowledge none of our missiles in the exercise have gone of target. The Admiral advised that until furhter orders are given we are to defend ourselves at all costs consistant with a defensive posture. Taiwan is not to
be attacked except to defend ourselves." The Captain ordered. Unaware of what the future would hold for himself and the rest of China.
Fifty miles to the east several B-52s' armed with dozens of air launched cruise missiles were acquiring the Yantize as one of the many targets.
The voice of the squadran commander, aboard an AWACS aircraft some seventy miles to the east of the B-52s, could now be heard in the cockpits of all twenty of the bombers. This is Commander Ronald Joseph to all available bombers of 366th Air Wing you have permision for weapons release, against all selected targets. Repeat-you have permission for weapons release against all selected targets."
The voice was chilling to many of the pilots, for many it would be their first weapons released in combat. One by one the bombers acknowledged.
Within ninety seconds the air was filled with the fire & smoke trails of nearly 250 cruise missiles. In ten minutes the Yantize and nearly two dozen other ships would be gone. A dozen more would be severly damaged beyond repair. They we be finished off by fighter jets from the USS America.
One by one the giant bombers which had served the nation for some four decades released the messagers of death. Then began to make the gentle turn back to Diego-Garcia. They had not have to face a single enemy bullet.
Aboard The USS America 200-Miles East Of Taiwan
The Captain stood looking out onto the flight deck. The entire complement was now on a war footing and on ground-alert. Crews hurried about filling the jets with fuel, and bombs as quickly as possibile. The Captain was well aware of what happened to the Nimitz, the few survivors had been rescued by his crew.
The executive officer interupted his thoughts. "Sir, the Air Force has informed us that the cruise missiles have been launched, and are inbound to targets. ETA-8 minutes. No resistance was encountered."
"Two-hundred and fifty missiles?" The Captain whispered to himself, unaware that his X.O. overheard him.
"Yes, Sir." He responded, with agreement.
"Scramble all fighters for launch in three minutes." The Captain ordered without hesitation.
The airpower of the America would be used for a mob up mission. The Chinese fleet had almost a half-megaton airstrike targeted against them.
Any vessel that was not incinerated would be damaged and burning out of control by the time his fighter jets made it to the combat zone
"Yes Sir" The X.O. answered as he reached for the microphone. "This is the Executive Officer, all jets to be launched in three minutes.
Orders are to destroy all remaining Chinese naval units, in the Taiwan Strait. Elements of the Taiwan Air Force will provide air cover during operation. Engage any unit which threatens your safety. That is all."
The Captain nodded his head in agreement. Then took the microphone.
"This is the Captain. Earlier today nearly 6,500 of our shipmates were without provocation, sent to the bottom of the sea. Remember them when you send the enemy to the sea today. Remember the Nimitz. Today we will
serve justice. This attack will not be forgotten as long as there is a United
States Navy. That is all."
Throughout dozens of F-14 & F-18s as well as other support helicopters
everyone was nodding in agreement. A sailor never forgets when a fellow sailor is sent to the sea.
Presidential Palance-Beijing, China 4:35PM CST
President Zemen eagerly awaited the arrival of the General, with deep doubts as to his lack of involvement in the current crisis. The telephone ringing singled his arrival.
"Sir, The General is here to see you." The Secretary answered, unaware of the games that were being played around here.
"Send him in."
"My, Lord. I was informed of an emergency. What has happened?" The General asked trying his best to conceil the truth for now.
The President was enraged. He had appointed this man. Nutured his career,
opened doors for him. And this is how he repaid him. Forcing him into a position that he knew would force his hands.
"The games end now!" He shouted while looking directly at the General.
Directly into his soul. He knew then that he had been sold out.
"Sir, I don't know what you are talking about? I was told of a national emergency? I came as quickly as I could." The General answered trying to hold the line, but knowing full well that the mask was off.
The President walked slowly towards his former friend and confidant.
The anger building as if a chain reaction had been stared that he could not control. He edged closer.
Sweat began to pour down the Generals' face, nether said a word. Was he going to shoot him right there. Many nameless soliders had met the same fate being under the communist system. The General slowly reached for his sidearm, while both had their eyes locked on each other. Should he warn him about the subs? No that was his trump card. Besides he knew the President was unarmed, he wouldn't be able to kill him right now.
The President stopped now less than a foot away from him, both remained locked on each others eyes.
After several more seconds of motionless silence, the President made his move, and directing the energy of all his anger he funneled it towards the
end of his arm, allowing it to be transfered to the General stomach.
The General shouted in pain before falling to the floor gasping for air.
President Zemen was expended, and satisfied. For that one instant all the worries of the impending war disapeared.
"Get Up!" The President demanded.
Attempting to gather his strength, the General was unable to respond. He
was still on the floor.
"I said get on your feet soldier!" The President shouted as he reached down to grap the General by his shoulders. Lifting him to his feet he straightened his shirt out with a satisfactory smugness. As he walked behind him, he quickly removed his gun from its' holster.
"Now, that is more like it." He continued, with the Generals' own sidearm pointed at him.
"Now you will tell me everything about todays' attack on the Nimitz that you know. I want names, times, everything. This coup stops now!" He shouted directly into the General face, as if he was back in boot camp.
"Sir, I do not know what you are talking about. I don't know..."
"You will stop this lying now or you will die by my hands!" The President shouted as he fired the gun towards the Generals' feet. The echo rang through the halls of the palace. Imediately guards collected on the outside of the door, preparing to storm their way into the Presidents' quarters.
A smugness of his own soon came over the Generals' face. "If you really do believe there is a coup in progress, you will not kill me.
I'm to valuable."
"Perhaps your are right. But I can certainly cause a signifigant amout of pain to be inflected on you." The President replied as he fired the gun again, this time aiming directly for the Generals arm.
Just then as the second shot rang out the door came crashing down, imediately followed by a dozen palace guards.
"My Lord, we heard weapons fire!" The leader of the unit exclaimed.
"That you did soldier. Private as President of the Peoples' Republic Of China
I'm ordering you to place General Ping-Chang under arrest, for the charge of treason!" President Zemen ordered. As he stood just two feet from the Generals' bleeding arm.
The words were to real. But yet they were spoken, by the President himself. The leader of the security detail walked slowly towards the General. Slowly he grabbed his arm. As the others with weapons drawn locked them onto the General. "What I do, I do for the betterment of our nation. He does for the betterment of himself. He is the one how is guilty of treason. He is selling us out to the Americans' and they are laughing all the way to the bank!"
The General shouted while grapping his arm to surpress the pain.
"Take him away. See to it that he doesn't die until after he is interrogated."
The President ordered as he walked away from the General in disgust.
The decsion that would alter the future of China awaited his answer. Should he tell the americans' that it was all an accidentor go all out and try to take advantage of the situation.
He reached for the phone, "Put me through directly to Admiral Chen." He ordered the voice at the other end. In normal times he would have had General Ping-Chang contact the the Admiral to get a status report, but these were not normal times. President Zemen wanted first hand intel on the situation in the strait, and Admiral Chen, if he was still alive was the only one who could give him that.
"The is Admiral Chen, with whom am I speaking?" "Admiral, this is President Zemen. Authorization Delta-98ST."
The Admiral nodded in agreement as the security code was valid. The sounds of shells exploding nearby drowned the Presidents' voice out.
"I say again repeat yourself, we are under attack, and your breaking up!"
The Admiral shouted over the background noise.
"Admiral Chen, I need as assesment as to how bad we've been hit? What intel do you have?" The President asked, as a greater part of himself began to realize the extent of the damage, even before the Admiral finished.
"Sir, we have lost at least 20% of our assets in the strait. Five destroyers have been sunk. Two are burning out of control. Unknown how many fighter jets have gone down, dozens would be a conservative guess.
Two of our carriers have gone down. Many of the pilots had to land in the water once they ran out of fuel. Some did attempt to crash into the island, but were destroyed on the way down. My own ship has sustained two direct hits to non-vital areas. And.."
President Zemen had heard enough, as he interrupted the Admiral. The carnage was to great and the war had just begun.
"Admiral Chen, issue recall orders to the fleet, redirect all assets to our port facility at Macau. The Americans will not attack you there. You must hurry."
The Admiral was perplexed, it was not in the chinese code to retreat so soon into a battle especially one so close to the mainland. "Sir, how can you be so sure. They are hunting us down as we speak."
"I will be notifying the American President that I wish to offer a cease fire, this was all a terriable mistake. You must hurry as it will take some time for them to issue the recall orders for their forces." The President replied, knowing that the americas would still want retribution even if they accepted the cease fire. He also knew that he was not in much of a position to negotiate. He would have to abide by their terms.
"Yes, Sir." The Admiral answered, as he hung the phone up.
He then turned to the communications officer just two feet away.
"Ensign, issue general recall orders to what is left of the fleet. They are to head for Macau Naval Base. A full scale retreat has been ordered by the President. And open a channel to any and all american ships in the area that we are halting all offensive operations imediately, and in the interest
of peace, we ask that they do the same. End Message. REpeat brodcast as long as you can."
"Yes Sir." The ensign answered, clearly in shock that they had been defeated so quick. Everything he had been brought up to believe about the
might of Chinas' military seamed to just fade into the darkness. The shock overshadowed the reality that his life was in emanate danger.
Washington D.C.-White House Situation Room
Saturday, March 6-5:45AM EST
President Wilson sat at his desk attempting to get some sleep. The days events weighted heavelly on his mind. The nation was fast asleep, assured in their malase that everything would be all right. He did not have that
advantage. Perhaps it was for the best that the man on the street did not know all the threats the america faced. Perhaps it was a positive sign that the economy was doing so good, that people did not feel the need to pay attention to the world around them. Saddly, the rest of the world did pay attention to what we were at least perceived to be paying attention to.
The sound of the red hotline phone ringing brought the President out of his sleep. The implecations ran the gamot, had the chinese lauched out of desperation? The scenario had been talked about. He sat looking at the flashing red light calling out to him. He reached slowly picking up the receiver. He motioned to his secretary to begin the trace.
"This is President Wilson. Who is this?" "Mr. Wilson, This is President Zemen of the Peoples' Republic Of China." Horror ran through his mind, in seconds his worst fears may turn into reality, would they really have launched? Surely they know we would retailiate. "Continue." The American President replied, while giving hand signals to his secretary to wake up the Secretary Of Defense & the National Secruity
Advisor.
"Mr. President, yesterday I terribile and unfortunate mistake happened.
A renagade attack submarine destroyed your aircraft carrier Nimitz. For this I am truly sorry. Both our nations shall pay the price for years to come. The leader of the rebel forces, my own Chief-Of-Staff General Ping-Chang has been arrested for treason."
President Wilson sat listening in shock. Was it all an accident. How many lives had he killed in response to this. President Zemen continued. "However, it is appearent that he controlled the submarine that attacked your vessel. The General was planning to use the attack as an excuse for a coup, because he knew that I had know desire to fight the United States. He knew that you would respond the way you have, and that if I did not retailiate, massively that it would serve to legitimate the coup. However the attack against you was not authorized by me, thereby making his calls
for retailation illegitimate." "What do you propose?" President Wilson interrupted, knowing that while they talked US forces were inflicting unnecessary casualties on the Chinese
forces. Before President Zemen could answer, he was again interrupted.
"President Zemen, I'm putting you on the speaker phone so that my National Security advisor may listen to your proposal.
Before he turned the speaker phone on his secretary entered the room.
"Sir, the call is originating from the second floor of the Chinese Presidental Palace in Beijing, China."
That was proof enough for him, as he turned the speaker phone on.
"Go ahead, Mr. President."
"Mr. Wilson, if you check you recon sattelities you will notice that our forces are in retreat. I have ordered our naval units to regroup at the Macau Naval Base." Just then the Secretary Of Defense walked in nodding his head in agreement with what he had just heard.
"I am offering a full cease-fire. As of now. I am aware that you are under great political pressure to continue the bombardment. I am under similar
pressure here, perhaps even more then you, as I do not know how much longer my safety can be guaranteed after making then decision that I have made tonight. My offer is this-" President Wilson and his military advisors sat eagerly awaiting the Chinese Presidents' proposal. Contrary to popular opinion, the US general did not relish war, and if there was a quick way to end it, they would go for it.
"I propose that we hold our sumit next week, at which time I will offer to accept a fifty percent reduction in our naval forces as compensation for the unprovoked attack on your nation. The US may supervise this as part of the cease-fire. I offer this knowing that one way or another you will destroy our navy. I offer to do it for you to save the lives of both our people. Do you accept this?"
There was silence as President Wilson turned to look at his advisors. Nether of which were saying anything. He then picked up the phone.
"I will of course have to discuss this with my own advisors. But for now
you have my word that there will be a temporary cease-fire, until a more permenant one can be reached. However it my take up to an hour to recall all of our forces, but we will try to be as quick as possibile."
"I understand the logistics. Thank-You Mr. President. It is my hope that our two nations can quickly put this incident behind us. I will contact you in one hour. Good bye for now."
The President set the phone down slowly, while glancing to his National
Security Advisor Shawn Wilken.
"It did sould believeable Sir. Our intel does report that the Chinese fleet
has turned aand is heading for the mainland, without putting up much resistaince."
"Sir, you realize that if you go for this agreement, that you'll be letting them keep half of their naval assets, including their ballistic subs. Which I should note have note been located, during the entire crisis. We do have
the means to finish the job Sir." The Secretary Of Defense-Elect replied, with hesitation in his voice.
"Sir, politicaly speaking this would be a very effecient way to end the conflict. You could confidently say that you won a major concession from the Chinese, and sparred the further deaths on both sides." The Secretary continued.
"Yes, I agree. If it was an accident, I don't see a reason to further the killing. I could explain that the reason that our stated goal of complete
reduction will not be met is because it was an accident. If we were to further the killing now it would serve no pupose other then to make us look like rabid killers." The President paused for a few seconds while he formulated his next order.
"Mr. Secretary-You are to issue stand-down orders to all US Military forces
in Pacific Command. All offensive combat operations are to cease as of 6:00AM EST. I want the Reagan & America battle groups to remain on stand-by ground-alert, for the next two weeks, unless circumstances warrant. That is all. Your dismissed." The President replied confident in his
orders, confident that a new era of peace could be forged from this tragic
incident, utterly unaware of the seeds of destruction that would be planted in the coming days. He then reached for a blue phone, with which he contacted his Secretary.
"Maggie, I want you to contact the Secretary Of State, tell him that the Summit has been moved up to next week. Have him formalize the date, and make arrangements to formally receive a military ceasefire and naval
reductions treaty from the Chinese President, and alert the networks that I'll be addressing the nation at 7:00AM on the situation in the Taiwan Strait.
"Yes, Sir." Maggie answered. As she played her own small part in the opera
of armageddon.
Fairfax, Virginia-
Saturday, March 6-6:50AM
Just over twentyfour hours ago, James had seen the future. A nuclear war
between the United States & China, in May. Yet it was only March and the war had already begun. Again unable to sleep like yesterday, James stood on his balcony overlooking Washington. Would it be here in two months?
The beauty of the rising sun on another crisp spring day, concelled the
horror that awaited the world.
The voice of the television anouncing an address by the President caught his attention.
He made his way back inside, his coffee never leaving his side.
"CNN, has learned just learned the President Wilson will be making a nationwide address about the situation in the Taiwan Strait in just one minute. We're unsure as to what it could be about. Our sources have not been given any advance notice, so we will find out when everyone else does." The announcer interrupted her-"Ladies & Gentlemen the President Of the United States."
Looking a little tired, but calm and confident President Wilson, began.
"My fellow Americans. Just over twentyfore hours ago a spoke to you about a horrific attack that took place against the aircraft carrier
USS Nimitz, which was on patrol in the Taiwan Strait. This attack killed at least 6,100 saliors. It was unprovoked, and it was barbaric. Following this attack I ordered our remain Air Force & Naval forces in the Pacific region
to began a counterattack against Chinese naval assets in the Taiwan Strait.
Twenty hours later, it was learned that the initial Chinese attack, was launched by rebel forces in the Chinese Military who were trying to force a coup against the current Chinese President Zemen. We have learned the the plotters in the coup have been detained, and it has been put down.
Following this information, the Chinese President ordered his forces to cease-fire. I too have issued similar orders to all US Forces in the Pacific
Command. I am here to annouce that this Tuesday, here at the White House, I will receive and accept a formal ceasefire as well as an agreed upon 50% reduction in Chinese naval assets, from the Chinese President Zemen. It is my belief that this is a just punishment for the Chinese Presidents' inability to control his military forces, and allowing an event like this to take place. Make no mistake the nation of China will pay a price. Not in lives, but in stature and respect throughtout the world.
It is my hope that in time, a new and stronger partnership between our two countries can be forged. Let us not allow a single mistake to poison the
well of relations between our nations for all of time. I ask for your prayers
as we work through this difficult time in our nations history. Thank-You
and God Bless America."

Part II

"After the Great Destructions,
Everone will prove that he was innocent."

Gunter Eich-Think Of This 1955

Chapter Six-Seeds Of Armageddon
FairFax, Virginia
Saturday, March 6, 7:10AM EST
James sat speachless. Wondering was it over before it had begun? All indications would now say so. An adverted coup, a halt in hostilites. It had happened all to fast for any man to absorb, but yet it was over. His mind paused, clinging to that small hope, he continued to sip his coffee.
Central Intelligence Agency HeadQuarters-Saturday 9:05AM EST
The art of spying did not stop on the weekends. '24-7-365' was the moto.
Tom Santos made his way into the office, with a little more casual walk in his step, then yesterday. For it was only he and Cathy who, just thirty hours ago knew of the attempted coup. Fortunately it, unlike what the remote viewer saw did not come to pass. The coup was adverted. It was validation again in his mind that in this business, the President should not be burdened with unsubstaintiated information, from wherever it came from. The system had worked just as it should.
After identifing himself with a retina scan, he made his way into the cold almost morbid like offices of the Remote Viewing Division. Cathy as usual
had already arrived and greeted him, not with the expected look of relief, but one of almost panic.
"Cathy, are you alright, you look almost ill?" Tom questioned wondering
what possibly could go wrong on a day like today.
"Tom, we've got problems." Cathy whispered. The tone of her voice burried the good mood, that Tom was in, just seconds ago. He had never seen her so worried.
"Alright, calm down what's going on?" Tom questioned while in the time honored tradition of sitting down before bad news.
"You remember yesterday, the coup, Zarain, and world war III?" Cathy asked even though she knew full well that he remembered.
"Yea, I know. The coup was adverted. It's alright. Didn't you see the address this morning?" Tom replied. Still clinging to the fantasy of peace.
"Well, it wasn't" Cathy replied, with a confidence that anyone would take seriously, regardless of what it was about.
"What the hell, are you talking about? Zemen will be here Tuesday!"
"Here, just read this report that was filed yesterday." Cathy replied as she handed him the three page report th at James had filled yesterday.
His eyes quickly scanned for the key words, Zarain, coup, nuclear war.
They were everywhere. Even more important was the missing link that none of their paid remote viewers could come up with-May.
"Jesus Christ" Tom whispered. The full gravity of the situation now understood.
"I want him put under surveillance. Today, around the clock. I want independent verification of this before we question him. Do you have anything on this Zarain?"
Yes, infact we do." Cathy answered while handing him some more papers of reports faxed in directly from China.
"Our sources in the Ministry Of Defense say that the General Ping-Chang, who was arrested yesterday, has been actively meeting with Zarain for months. In fact he met with Zarain, just twenty minutes before President Zemen put him under arrest." Tom continued to scan the additional papers while Cathy continued her summary "It was General Ping-Chang who gave the orders to the Chinese attack submarine to hit the Nimitz. It is our belief that the submarine captains, are unaware of the coup, and that they very well could have been issued a fail-safe order by the General before he was detained by the President. He knew he was about to be cought. So he played his trump card. Regardless of what happens to him, the Chinese President is no longer in control of the subs." The look of concern on Tom face grew more intense. Cathy continued. "Naval intelligence also informs
us that all three of the Chinese ballistic subs, left their pens ten days ago.
Not only is it unusal that they all left at once, they also did not follow their normal patrol routes. They instead went to deep sea slience, and have'nt been heard from since." "Son-of-a-bitch, there're on the way here now. They've got two months to get here, they'll move a mile an hour and never be found. Damn it" Tom replied as he played the scenario over in his mind.
"What do we do about Zemen?" Cathy asked, as the game of spy verses spy went into full swing.
Tom contniued to play the motions to their fullest.
"Shit, we can't tell him right now. It seams that the coup, on the outside has been stopped, but Zemen doesn't have control of the subs, and therefore may not even know that they were sent to sea. If he does, he may just think that it was part of the war game. If we do tell him and he tries to issue recall orders, they might launch then."
"What if we tell him but and force him to confront the General to get the codes. We do know that he hasn't been killed yet. The General looks like our only chance." Cathy interjected.
"Agreed." Tom replied. "However we should attempt to locate this Zarain before we confront the General, because he may have been given the codes also." Tom paused to contemplate the gravity of his next decision. "Our course of action will be as follows-Locate Zarain. Then inform Zemen to jointly interrgate them both at the same time to insure that neither can contact the submarines."
"Sir, do we inform President Wilson?" Cathy responded. "I will directly inform the Director Of Central Intelligence to inform the Secretary Of Defense, that regardless of the appearent cease-fire it is imperative the US & NATO locate the Chinese ballistic subsmarines asap."
The forces of the most secretive organization in the world would for the next two months would have one goal & one goal alone-prevent world war three.
Datong Air Force Base-Datong, China
Saturday, March 6 11:50PM
The Base Commander sat in his office. Glancing out of his window, he sat in reflection over the events that would transpire over the next sixty days. He had in his power to forever change the history of the world. As head of the Datong Air Force Base he had untold amounts of destructive power at his command. The base had some 350 ICBMs' as well as five squadrons of Mig-29 attack jets. He was aware that General Ping-Chang had been arrested, and by that extension Zarain would be on the run by now. Commander WuShan knew that if Zarain was detained he too my also be exposed.
The ringing of the phone broke his meditation.
"WuShan here." He answered while a slight fear crept into his voice.
"The time is nearing, Commander." The voice on the other end answered.
WuShan new that voice from a mile away.
"I understand. Sir, when shall I expect the call." WuShan answered.
The voice slightly garbled on the other end answered quickly.
"Same time. Same signal." With that the line went silent. WuShan slowly put the phone down.
The plan despite the Generals' exposure was still on schedule. The upcoming weapons reduction agreement with the US would be the cover story. It was now just a matter of time.
Pyongyang, North Korea-Sunday, March 7 2:00AM KST
The incessant knocking at the doors awoke the North Korean President.
"Yes, What is it?" He demanded.
""My Lord, Sun-Shoto. Forgive my interruption, but I have an urgent call
on priority channels for you. The caller is in China, but it is not the Chinese
President. We have no idea how they were able to compromise our communications. They is demanding to talk to you." Sun-Shoto jumped quickly out of bed.
"Put the call through to my room. I'll talk with him now."
The aide saluted, then contacted the communications center with a hallway phone. After informing the President that the call was being placed through he proceeded back to his post, perplexed as to how the President knew it was a male on the other end, when he was sure that he hadn't mentioned it to him. After a few seconds, he shrugged it off as coincidence.
Sun-Shoto quickly pick the phone up in his private quarters.
"Speak." He answered.
The same mysterious garbled voice that had greeted Commander WuShan
greeted the North Korean President.
"No change." The voice said, as the line went silent again.
Sun-Shoto sat quietly onto his bed. It was the only phrase he needed to hear. He had sold his soul long ago, as well as his nation. This time he was
mearly transfering ownership.
FairFax, Virginia-Monday, March 8 6:45AM EST
James was finishing the last of his breakfast. He would be heading back to work for the first time since the dream, and he was glad things were back to normal. The Chinese President had arrived a few hours ago, and the historic meeting would take place around noon tomorrow. All indications were that the coup was adverted, and Zemen was still in charge. The were limited reports from Beijing that some in the Chinese political establishment were not satisfied with Zemens' concessions, but that all agreed that they had to pay a price for their sinking of the Zimitz.
Zemen could deal with them after he got back, for now he would stress that he had saved lives by ending the conflict so soon.
James reached for the remote to turn the television off, then headed out the door.
Making his way to his car, he couldn't help but notice that a local carpet cleaning van was across the street. 'That's odd' He tought to himself. 'Why in the world would they be out this early in the morning' Concentrating on getting back to work he put it out of his mind, and pulled out of his driveway. Shortly after turning around the corner a block down the street, the van pulled out to follow.
James soon entered the nightmare known as I-66. The freeway long ago had turned into a parking lot, and while the speed limit posted was 65, you would be lucky if you made it to 30 at this time in the morning. Several car lengths behind him the carpet cleaning van entered the freeway.
James paid no attention. Even at this slow of a speed, if you took your eyes off the car in front of you, you'd be dead.
Slowly he made his way to the Washington Post-Dispatch main office. After paying the parking fee, he headed for the second floor of the parking garage. Two minutes later the familar van followed, purchasing a visitor ticket and making their way to the same level.
Making his way across the causeway and into the main office, he again caught a glimpse of the van. However unlike before he only saw the top, and like before he paid no attention to it.
Lisa greeted him at the front desk, "Good morning James. Everything alright now?" Lisa asked having absolutely no idea of what had transpired in the last three days.
"Sure, Lisa everything is just great." James answered sarcasticly.
He made his way to his office, a small desk amid a sea of identical
cubicles. In the distance he saw his supervisor making his way towards him. "How's it going James?" He asked. It was one of those leading questions that you knew would have something bad to follow it.
"It's been better." James replied.
"I want to see you in my office." Chris responded as he steped out of the way to allow James to lead.
James took his cue and lead the way. 'That sure didn't take long' He thought to himself. The other reporters watched, knowing that whenever the boss follows something is up.
Chris closed the door behind him, then pulled the blinds down.
'This is it' James thought 'Save the world, lose my job'
"You want to tell me what the hell is going on, James?!" Chris demanded.
"Well Sir. I was having some difficult personal problems last week, which, um, required my full and undistracted attention, Sir." James replied, hoping the answer was sufficient.
"Well, that just fine and dandy! You decided to just take off with no warning, no excuise, during potentially the biggest military confrontation since the Gulf War!" Chris shouted. James was silent. Chris continued.
"I'd like to suspend your ass, but, I've got bigger problems!" James was intrigued. What could be going on. "May, I Sir, ask what is the problem?" James questioned out of curiosity, but also trying to change the subject.
Chris paused his rant, to pace for a moment. Then continued.
"You want to tell me why three FBI agents were here this morning looking for you?"
James slowly sat down, in shock. Questions spun around his mind. 'Did they think he was involved with the coup somehow? ' None were answered.
After minute of contemplation, he answered. "Sir, I don't think it would be appropriate for me to discuss that?"
"Damn it James!" Chris shouted. "I'm supposed to turn you over as soon as you showed up today. They are after you for something."
James stood up glancing around the room, the out the window to the parking lot. The look of panic soon set in. He started to head for the door, Chris reached for his arm. The look of his eyes told Chris that he was innocent.
"Wait, I can't help you if you don't tell me what the hell is going on."
"How do I know your not just trying to stall until they get here?" James demanded.
"Think about it. If I really wanted to stall you, would I have brought you
in here to tell you about it. No! I would have given you some silly assignment at your desk!" Chris replied while releasing the hold of James'
arm.
It did make sence. He could have just had him run some copies off for awhile. Trying rapidly to think of a reason why they would be looking for him after the fact, one rational answer did come to mind, and his face froze with the thought. 'What's going on?" Chris again asked.
"Look, all I can tell you with any certainty is that I am inocent, and that the coup in China, may yet take place. This may very well be a false peace." James replied.
The imediate thought ran through both their minds at the same time.
"I know. He already here." James answered, agreeing with Chris before he could say anything. James paced around the room frequently glancing out
the window.
"Do you think someting is going to happen tomorrow, at the summit?" Chris wondered aloud.
"I don't know, just out your best reporter on it. It may be...." James paused while glancing outside. Two figures in the skyway elevator caught his attention. "What is it?" Chris asked, fearful of the answer.
"Son of a bitch! I've got to go!" James replied. "Wait!" Chris shouted while reaching into his pocket.
He pulled out two one hundred dollar bills, and slapped them in James' hand. He quickly put them in his pants pocket.
"Take the back stairway" "Thanks." James replied as he headed out the door.
Seconds later two FBI agents raced into the main office.
"There he is!" One shouted pointing down the hallway, with weapons drawn. Shouts rang out, and everyone ducked.
"He's heading for the stairwell, you go around the side and cut him off!" The other agent ordered.
Having made eye contact with the agents before entering the stairwell the race was on, as James leaped down the two flights in seconds. He then paused for a second to look up the well, to judge how far behind him they were. They had not yet entered the well. Franticly he threw his jacket and briefcase down the last level, to sidetrack them. He then darted into a side door on the second level, which lead to the cafeteria.
Moments later two floors above the door slammed open, as the first agents ran down the step, his gun still drawn. After noticing the items on the steps, he followed them down to the first floor unaware that James was on
the second. He reached for his radio, "I'm heading down the last level, suspect should be in visual on your end by now. Do you have visual?"
The other agent, who was already on the street watching the doors, quickly responded. "Negative. The suspect has not left the building."
"Shit! Have agents three & four cordin off the parking garage! No one in or out without identification! Now! I'm heading up a level you check the perimeter of the building. Out." The agent answered in exasperation. A simple apprehension had now gone awry.
James knew better then to try to make it to his car, instead he headed for the second causeway, which to his luck had not yet been block off. Running
across the span to the New York Avenue shopping mall, he noticed the agent on the street, as well as the carpit cleaning van, which was now blocking entrance into the parking garage. He imediately blended into the crowd of shoppers. 'I've go to get out of the city somehow' He thought to himself. He had to get to a cab somehow without being spotted. Knowing that a full quarintine of the area was not yet in place, he figured that now was the best time as any to do it.
He casually walked out the doors of the mall, a block down the street from his office, and proceeded to flag down a cab. He could see down the street more agents & officers pulling up to the building, as well as local D.C. police.
"Come on damn it!" He mumbled to himself, as cab after cab drove by.
Finally he stepped out directly in front of one. Closing his eyes as the driver slammed on the brakes, stopping just inches from his feet. The loud noise drew the attention of the police down the street.
James quickly jumped into the car.
"Jesus man you really need a ride?" The driver answered sarcasticlly.
"No shit!" James replied seeing the police cars turn and head down the street with lights flashing. James desperately flashed the hundred dollar bills in front of the driver.
"There's more where that came from if you lose them! Now step on it!" He shouted, noticing the FBI cars now following the police.
"Shit!" The driver exclaimed while doing a 180 while excellerating in the middle of the avenue. The smell of rubber filled the air as the wheels spun, leaving their marks everywhere. After what seamed like an eternity the cab now faced the opposite direction. "GO!" James shouted looking behind
him, as the police were now in full pursuit mode.
The cab raced thru a green light, now doing sixty in in twentyfive mile
zone. The blarring sirens rang out. Up ahead the next light changed from green to yellow.
"Speed up!" James shouted.
The driver now completely into the part, paid no attention to the life threatening nature of his driving, and slammed the pedal to the floor.
"Hang On!!" He shouted.
They flew through the intersection seconds after the light changed to red.
The cab swirved to the left to miss another car passing thru.
Barely they made it. Car horns blarring everywhere. The first police car made it thru, to continue the chase. The second careened into a car coming from the left, and erupted into flames.
The FBI cars that were behind them slammed on the brakes. Slowing down
to a manageable speed they proceeded past the accident. The heat from the raging flames poured into the open windows.
"Head for Route 50 East-get to I-95 north. When you get to 50 put it down to five above the speed limit, unless we run into a road block." James ordered as the cab continued to barrel down New York Avenue at now 65 miles an hour. The lone police car could not be seen.