Attack of the Seawolf
- CHAPTER 1
- CHAPTER 2
- CHAPTER 3
- CHAPTER 4
- CHAPTER 5
- CHAPTER 6
- CHAPTER 7
- CHAPTER 8
- CHAPTER 9
- CHAPTER 10
- CHAPTER 12
- CHAPTER 13
- CHAPTER 15
- CHAPTER 17
- CHAPTER 18
- CHAPTER 19
- CHAPTER 20
- CHAPTER 21
- CHAPTER 22
- CHAPTER 23
- CHAPTER 24
- CHAPTER 25
- CHAPTER 26
- CHAPTER 27
- CHAPTER 28
- CHAPTER 29
- CHAPTER 30
- CHAPTER 31
- CHAPTER 32
- CHAPTER 33
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“Are we going to spill American blood again interfering in Asian self determination. We made that mistake in Vietnam. Iraq was not exactly a great victory. The new Kuomintang, the NKMT, look like they’re pro-democracy, but after they seize power they could become a dictatorship too. And as for making China a trading partner-are you sure you’re not more worried about money than, say, morality. Napoleon? Mr. President, I say don’t get dragged into a war in China just to change the name of the government. Reestablishing our relations with the government should be the main item on this agenda, not going to war against it.”
President Dawson looked from Ferguson to Trachea, as if they were trial attorneys approaching the bench.
“As far as committing U.S. troops to a ground battle in China, I have to go with Eve on this one, Fergy,” he said.
“When it’s clear who the NKMT are, and that they truly are the good guys, then things might be different. Until I get a different picture from Bob Kent we should stay out of this thing. I also don’t want to do anything now that would say to the world that we’re tilting in the direction of the Communists. I say we stay neutral, or at least look that way. For now let’s just stay focused on the immediate problem, which, if I read Bobby right, is that there’s no proper intelligence coming out of China. It seems like a powder keg behind a locked door, and, Bobby, I have to tell you, that’s just unacceptable. We can’t run foreign policy in a vacuum. We have to do something to get reliable information out of the area.”
“Sir, there are some additional things we can be doing to get intelligence out—” Kent began. Dawson cut him off.
“Wait a second, Bobby. I have a few questions for you. First, the Japanese are bankrolling the Kuomintang, presumably to eliminate a Communist presence on the continent and free up future markets for goods and a supply for raw materials. Right? Okay, so if the White Army is the agent of Japan, why don’t the Japanese just tell us what’s going down in this war?”
“Because they don’t know, sir. They’re supporting the White Army, but the NKMT generals are an independent lot. They take yen but not orders. There’s no real-time communication between Shanghai and Tokyo. I’d guess that most of Tokyo’s intelligence came from us in the first place.”
“So what about the U.N.? Why can’t a U.N. peacekeeping force be mounted, and the western contingent can get out eyewitness accounts?”
“That would never happen with the Communists on the Security Council, sir. They don’t want ‘peacekeeping,” they want to fight for their sovereignty. They’d veto a peacekeeping force immediately.”
“Bob’s right. The Chinese have veto power over any resolution brought before the Security Council. And I agree they want to win the war, not stop it.”
“Bobby, any chance of this thing, you know, going nuclear? Where are the nuclear warheads the Chinese were destroying for the treaty? And do the White Army forces have any nukes?”
Kent turned to the chart.
“Here in the northern provinces of Kansu, Sinkiang and Heilungkiang are the principal locations of the ICBMs China used to have aimed at Soviet Russia. These were partially dismantled after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rest were supposedly being disassembled per the provisions of the nuclear arms-reductions treaty. Unfortunately the process was not complete before the White Army’s arrival on the continent. There could be some remaining stockpiled warheads, but we are fairly certain that the delivery missiles are destroyed. We were hoping one of our penetration agents could tell us if there was any truth to the report that a Communist weapons depot had been sabotaged. That would have shown us whether the White Army is targeting any residual nuclear capability of the Communists. That’s the long answer, sir. The short answer is, again, we really don’t know.”
“What about the Kuomintang? Any nukes there?”
“The NKMT has publicly forsworn any use, first or retaliatory, of any kind of nuclear weapon, sir. This may be more than a play for world opinion — they expect to gain the support of the people in the countryside, and that promise will earn them the loyalty of both the peasants and the urbanites. Besides, nuking territory they hope to occupy makes no sense. But I can’t confirm any of this.”
“So what about all our KH-17 spy satellites, Bobby? Half a billion dollars a copy. What do they show?”
“Mr. President, we’ve used the KH-17s to the limit of their abilities, and all they’ve revealed are battlefields and ruins where the People’s Liberation Army, the Communist troops, have clashed with the White Army. The images don’t show who won. They don’t show troop strength. They give us enough data to be able to show you this,” Kent said, pointing to the slide showing NKMT occupation of roughly half of China, “but they can’t read the minds of the leaders of both sides.”
“What about the NSA outposts in Korea? Aren’t they intercepting radio transmissions?” The President was referring to the National Security Agency’s eavesdropping stations on the west coast of South Korea, Donchez knew. He himself had visited one of the complexes the year before; it was impressive, but Korea was too far away from China to receive the critical communications.
“Sir, not to go into the physics of radio transmissions, but if you’ll bear with me … most tactical transmissions are made on UHF. It’s for short-range secure communications, because it’s line-of-sight just like light waves. The radio waves go in straight lines. If you’re trying to listen over the horizon you don’t get it.”
“But the satellites would,” President Dawson said.
“Yes sir, but only for the few minutes the spacecraft is over the territory, which means we can’t intercept Chinese communications without using the military.”
“What about flying reconnaissance planes outside of China’s borders?” Dawson asked.
Kent seemed ready for the question.
“The P.L.A air alert radars would detect the planes and they’d deduce the reason for them. The result would be only that they’d get careful about their communications security. We’d gain nothing.”
“What about the recon Stealth fighters?”
“We only have one outfitted for eavesdropping and it has been having mechanical problems. We can get it up but we can’t keep it up, and that risks losing it over Communist territory. That leaves us the Navy.”
Donchez sat up straight in his chair, suddenly realizing why he had been asked to attend a top secret National Security Council meeting. What Kent wants is a submarine, he thought. A nuclear sub could hide in the Go Hai Bay just outside Beijing and intercept UHF radio transmissions from anywhere on the northeastern mainland while sitting there invisible underwater.
“Admiral Donchez can explain this next slide, Mr. President.” Kent looked at Donchez, who rose and walked to the front of the room. Kent clicked the slide to a close-up view of the northern Yellow Sea and the Korea Bay, the sea between the peninsula of Korea and mainland China. At the northern end of the Yellow Sea a finger of land pointing south and one pointing north enclosed the Go Hai Bay. The Go Hai was a triangle of water three hundred miles tall and two hundred miles wide at its base to the south.
At the western point of the triangle’s base was the port of Tianjin, which was a mere seventy miles from Beijing. Donchez looked at the slide, the geography familiar to him from the hours of briefings he had given.
“Mr. President, I believe the director is proposing putting a nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine in the territorial waters of Communist China about right here, a few miles off Tianjin. A patrolling sub here is ideally positioned to perform multi frequency surveillance — eavesdropping, in a word — on Beijing, which from the sea side is less than a hundred miles to the northwest. From this point our submarine will be able to intercept UHF, VHF, HF and other frequencies of radio transmissions from the Red Chinese as well as the White Army. It will know as soon as there is an imminent attack. It will know if Beijing is going to fold. All in real time.”
Dawson looked at Donchez.
“Real time? Don’t you need to decode the transmissions?”
“We use spooks, sir. NSA intelligence specialists. They ride the sub and translate the Chinese transmissions. Decoding may or may not be required. Most of the time they transmit UHF battle comms in the clear without any encryption. The spooks just pick it up and write it all down.”
“But how does the sub do that without surfacing?”
“Sticks the periscope up, sir. All the antennae are in the periscope.”
“Couldn’t it be seen?”
“We stay away from traffic and watch the length of time the scope’s up, sir. Generally it’s not a problem. We do this a lot, sir.”
“What about radar? Wouldn’t a radar see a periscope?”
Donchez was impressed. Not many laymen could come up with that question.
“Sir, ninety-five percent of all radars are trying to find surface ships or aircraft or missiles. A periscope is usually too small. Any return from a periscope would look like a return from a wave. Besides, the new type-20 periscope is packed with RAM, radar absorptive material, the same stuff in the Stealth bombers and fighters. It’s practically invisible.” Unless the Chinese were operating orthogonal-polarization radars, Donchez thought, radars built to find periscopes. They usually found them quickly, too, but certainly that technology wasn’t in Chinese hands … “Well, then,” Dawson said, “it sounds like a no brainer. We need intelligence, and our allies and spies and satellites aren’t getting it. Time to send in the submarine. All right, let’s do it.”
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