2 of 6 | Chapter 13

 

“China has attacked the Islamic Union's eastern bases,” she gasped.

“What? When?” Trenerry looked at her.

“Now! It's happening at this very moment!” She sat down on the couch, exhausted.

“What the hell is going on?” Steersman raged, while switching on a secure GlobalNet channel.

“I think it'll be quicker if we follow the news,” said Trenerry, setting the news channel on the projector.

“… at 5:10am the Republic of China intervened without a formal declaration of war, and launched an attack on military bases in the eastern region of the Islamic Union …”

“The president is unavailable. I sent him word that he can depend on us,” said Steersman, returning to them. “China's declared war …?”

He sat for a moment, processing the news.

“It seems so. I imagine that this excuse was all they needed,” said Trenerry.

“So, what's going to happen now? Someone's going to attack China, just because they now have an excuse?” asked Karen, anger in her voice.

Infernal fires glowed on the screen as images of the bombarded areas were broadcasted. Suddenly, even the emergency broadcast was interrupted and the studio returned with more horrific news.

The news has just come in. It has been confirmed that Russian fighters have attacked strategically important military bases in China … and … I'm sorry, we are continually getting reports … Japanese aircraft have invaded China from the eastern border. At this time, China is being attacked on two fronts. The two states have surprised Chinese forces with a coordinated attack …”

“That's nearly half of the world population at war,” noted Trenerry.

Karen seemed frozen in shock. She felt intense fear well up within her that could be plainly read on her face.

“What's going on, Sean?” she asked, not noticing that she had pulled her legs up under herself. Her throat was dry, and the heat of fear was eating at her from inside, burning in her chest. The pressure of it strained in her mind, poisoning her thoughts. “Have they all gone totally crazy?”

“Stay calm, Karen! We can't afford to lose our heads,” said Steersman soothingly.

“What do you want me to do?”

“Do what you have done so far and trust me.”

“Yes, but this is … this is awful.”

“Karen, listen! I'll admit that I'm not quite up with the play yet myself, and we've never experienced anything remotely like this, but I swear to you that I'm not going to let them burn everything down around us. If you feel you can't handle it now, go home and be with your family. That's the best thing for you at the moment.”

“Okay … sorry. I'm falling apart. I'll get it together, but I can't do it right now.” Karen stared intently at Steersman, the overwhelming fear of the unfolding conflict written plainly on her face.

“No problem. Karen, go.”

“Okay,” she said quietly.

After she had left, Commander Murinko appeared at the door.

“I suppose you've heard,” he said drily, not waiting for an answer and walking in.

“A chain reaction has started, and who knows where it's going to end,” said Trenerry to himself, staring at the screen.

“Can I do anything?” asked Murinko.

Steersman did not say a word. He stood fuming, like a volcano ready to erupt.

“Sir?” he repeated again.

Trenerry looked up at him as well.

“Yes, there is something you can do,” Steersman answered suddenly. “It is time for the IRD to get more involved.”

“Glad to hear it, sir,” the commander said.

“We will try to do something about this situation. If needed, we will personally visit some of these people and take hell right to their doorsteps. Your job description has just been extended. Get ready. We are going to make sure that something like this never happens again!”

“Understood! And how are we going to do it?”

“Put together a plan of an army! You well know what we are dealing with,” he said. “Assemble all units needed for us to smash a similar attack. Think globally. If needed, we'll be everywhere at the same time. We can manufacture machines in any quantity we need. Take everything into account, human and natural disasters. We'll need to be able to react to any situation: rescue, protection, threat neutralization.”

“I got it,” the commander grinned. ”So I don't have to count on human resources?”

“Only for operations management,” Steersman replied.

Trenerry didn't say anything. There was simply nothing that he could have added or deprecated.

 

Wrong decisions

The twelfth of November seemed to last an eternity. It was as if all of the world's unrestrained lunatics could hardly wait to give the command to attack. China was bathing smugly in opportunities to flex its military might, and it took up the gauntlet against the Russian Federation and the Japanese Air Force without hesitation, still having enough resources to open another battle front with North Korea.

Until that point only air warfare had taken place in the areas concerned. Jet fighters fought jet fighters at high altitudes until 2:12pm, then events took an unfortunate and deadly turn. A Russian long-range strike aircraft was able to get close enough to Beijing, where upon command it released a missile. The devastation was enormous, so enormous that even the Russian military leadership ordered a halt, in shock.

*

The Chinese leadership made the decision to take a fatal step in response to the Russian Federation's attack on Beijing. At 3:05pm, nuclear strikes devastated two Russian cities: Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg. This drastic move shocked world leaders and prompted them bluntly request that the Chinese premiere, Zhiqiang Gao account for Chinese actions. Leaders waited angrily for his explanation.

Moreover, Yekaterinburg was located half way to Moscow, which was considered very close. Panic broke out and the public began to buy up all the food they could get hold of. Because of the panic important public services became paralyzed within hours. Chaos reigned throughout the country. The Presidents of the USA and the UNE personally asked the Russian president to refrain from irreversible reprisals, and offered help at affected sites; an offer that the Russian Federation gratefully accepted.

The European public were also affected by the panic because of reports by experts that a chain reaction was imminent due to strong pressure on North African Union countries, who were asked to give instant support to the Islamic Union. As the African Union states were highly dependent on imports of energy resources, and they were not in any position to get by without them, the negative impact on the situation was unanimously affirmed by all commentators.

The European President spoke personally in a public broadcast after the 10:00pm emergency meeting and requested everyone to remain calm.

 

Back into hell

The waking nightmare went on for twenty-four hours, and every single person prayed that they would wake up and find that it had all been a dream, but the previous night's events repeated themselves.

 

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CHAPTER 1 | EXCOLOPOLIS
CHAPTER 2 | MACHINES
CHAPTER 3 | A NEW TECHNOLOGY
CHAPTER 4 | ATTACK
CHAPTER 5 | THE SOURCE
CHAPTER 6 | THE SCIENCE CENTER
CHAPTER 7 | UNIVERSITY CITY
CHAPTER 8 | GLIDECRAFT
CHAPTER 9 | SECTOR TWO
CHAPTER 10 | THEY KNOW WE ARE HERE
CHAPTER 11 | GRAVITOR
CHAPTER 12 | INSTALLATION
CHAPTER 14 | AFTERSHOCKS
CHAPTER 15 | INITIATION
CHAPTER 16 | PREPARATION
CHAPTER 17 | DEFENSE CORPS
CHAPTER 18 | TRUTH
CHAPTER 19 | BEYOND EARTH