Out of Nowhere – Ed Stalker

With a nod to General Mung Beans and http:/www dot alternatehistory dot com/discussion/showthread dot php?t=115890

What if today a Little-Boy sized Atomic Bomb struck every national capital?

HQ NORAD, Cheyenne Mountain, CO.

0230 CST Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Colonel Marc Dippold, call sign "Bobo", was bored.

In the movies, being the watch officer on shift at Cheyenne Mountain was supposed to be the uber-sexy job in the Air Force. In point of fact, pulling the evening (2000-0800) shift was "maximum suxzors", as his son would put it.

This was a good thing, in his opinion. When the "Worry Pit" was busy, there was trouble in the world. No worry equaled a untroubled world.

He noticed a discussion going on at the SKYWATCH board. He took a sip of his coffee and wandered over.

" – but they're coming in from deep space, John. Right now, except for a few probes, there is nobody beyond high orbit, let alone cis-lunar space!"

"Sup, Sable?" he said, taking another sip of his coffee and looking at the board. He saw a representation of the earth, with a group of specks beyond lunar space.

Major Rebecca Shaw, call sign "Sable", looked at the evening duty officer. She liked Colonel Dippold. She had been a Viper Driver before a "Golden BB" over Afghanistan hit her canopy while in an inverted dive on a Taliban position. Losing her pancreas was the major result – but you can't be diabetic and fly the F16.

Colonel Dippold, as a former Viper pilot himself, still used her callsign down here in "The Pit"

"Johnny" she pointed to the Staff Sergeant manning the SKYWATCH board, "spotted a swarm of meteors coming in from deep space."

"So?" asked Bobo.

"Sir," said Sergeant McHale, "there's something funny here."

"Howzat?" he asked, quirking an eyebrow.

"Well, I'm trying to get some multiple scopes on this one, but I'm almost thinking it looks like 200 plus objects, almost all the same size and speed, with almost zero relative speed inside the swarm."

That pinged a switch inside Bobo's brain. "Say what?"

"Sir, the tracks – well – they kind of remind me of one time when I was at Kunsan. I was tracking a high altitude Large Force Exercise. This looks like a deep space LFE to end all LFEs."

"How big are they?"

"About 3,000 lbs, plus or minus 20% at this range, sir"

"Too small for an aircraft." Said Bobo

"They're about the right size for a bomb and a maneuvering package."

"Are they maneuvering?"

"No sir, " said SSgt McHale, "they are 380,000 kilometers out, holding steady at 4222 meters per second.

Doing some math in his head, Bobo whistled "that's something like 91 thousand MPH."

"Projected earth impact in two and a half hours, sir." Put in Sable.

"Do we know where they're going?" said Bobo.

"I've got the computers working on that, sir" said SSgt Johnson.

A cursor started flashing on the screen.

A list of projected impacts popped up.

"Ouch" said SSgt Johnson. "Sierra one is headed to Berlin. Sierra two is headed for Brussels…"

"Amsterdam, Warsaw, Rome, Copenhagen, Oslo, Helsinki, Berlin – oh my freaking gawd, that's a list of capitals!" exclaimed Bobo.

Bobo started moving toward the Red Phone on the Center Console, not running, but walking fast. The early morning quiet of the Worry Pit was shattered as he shouted "MARCHING ORDER."

He left Major Shaw to explain to the rest of the startled Pit Crew.

He picked up the phone, which connected to an identical phone at the National Military Command Center. Five stories beneath the Pentagon, Colonel Robert McClelland IV picked up the phone. He listened – if the Red Phone was ringing, somebody had CRITIC traffic – Critical Information for the security of the United States.

"MARCHING ORDER, MARCHING ORDER" said Bobo. "This is NORAD HQ with 200 plus inbound objects from deep space origination. Initial analysis indicates that many, if not all tracks will impact national capitals across the planet in approximately 2.4 hours."

Bob McClelland was astonished. "Bobo, what the freak is this?" he said, "Have you lost your mind?" he looked up as the red lights began flashing and screens began to light up. "Are you telling me that 200 fucking meteors are going to hit the planet and you're calling a National Alert?"

"Bob, I know it sounds like a bad science fiction movie," said Bobo, "but these're for real. PAVE PAWS shows Confirmed track, sir. I have 210 objects, approximately 3000 pounds each, 4 klicks per second, coming in like a bat out of hell with an origination point somewhere beyond the moon."

He blinked "estimated impact at 1200 Zulu." He blinked again, "all impacts at 1200 Zulu, plus or minus two minutes."

"That ain't meteors." Agreed Col McClelland. "Time-on target meteor barrage on world capitals." He said, wishing for a cigar. "Shit." He slapped the table, "Are you sure this isn't a sensor ghost or some kind of screwed up tape or drill?"

"Nope" said Bobo. "and we're starting to see some signs of maneuvering and separation." He looked at the wide screen projector. The screen was split to a representation of the missile tracks with projected impacts on the earth, with a list of impact zones on the left half. "Maximum swamps suck" he said, "Looks like just about every national capital on the planet is a target."

He scratched his head. "That's odd." He said. "I can see throwing a bomb or something at DC or Moscow, but Dodoma or Djibouti?"

"How big a bomb can you put in one of those packages" asked Bob.

"Dunno" said Bobo. "Depends on how much room the guidance and maneuvering packages take up." He rubbed his cheek with the telephone. "Modern earth technology, anywhere from 5 megatons to a 500 kilotons. But we don't even know that these are bombs or anything."

"Well, you don't TOT the enemy HQ with leaflet bombs." Observed Robert. "If it was me, I'd be putting some big ass bombs to get folks paralyzed prior to invasion."

"Dunno" said Bobo. "But these things track out from deep space."

"Let me guess," said Bob. "The Martians sent them."

"Actually, no." said Bobo. "Nearest thing along that track is Tau Ceti, about 8 light years away."

"I'm just an old snake eater," said Bob. "What the freak is at this Taw City place, " he said, "and why are they shooting at us?"

"Tau Ceti is a yellow sun, much like ours, but 11.9 light years away." Said Bobo. "At this rate, these things were fired about 766 Million years ago."

The vid phone connection was now up, and Bob looked out from the screen. "Wasn't anything human here back then." He said, "Must be a ship out there."

"Ya think?" drawled Bobo sarcastically. "Sorry, Bob, but that just sounds so crazy."

"Yeah," said Bob. "About as crazy as 200 freaking unidentified objects doing a time-on-target strike on every capital of every nation on Earth."

National Military Command Center, Arlington, VA.

0455 EST Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Colonel Robert McClelland looked at the Green Phone. It connected to his opposite number, five stories under the Kremlin, in the Russian Ministry of Defense Headquarters. The US government was alerted, and now McClelland was going to do something he never thought he'd ever do – warn the Russians about an incoming attack.

HQ Division of Warning of Missile Attack, Solnechnogorsk, Russia

1405 MSK Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"I tell you, Colonel, it seems impossible, but it is confirmed by Pechora and Garbela as well as Pushkino – there are over two hundred inbound –objects." Mayor (Major) Ivan Puznik exclaimed to the watch officer, Polkovnik (Colonel) Dmitri Gruzhnov. "Have we heard anything from the Americans?"

Gruzhnov grunted. "I just heard from the Ministry of Defense." He scratched his head. "They see them too. They have figured out that they are aimed at each national capital."

"What are they?" asked Puznik. "Do they know?"

"I'd say it was an Ami trick, but one of the tracks impacts Washington." Said the Colonel. " The Ami officer I talked to at NORAD says that they see 210 objects with projected tracks onto each national capital."

"Can we stop them?" asked Puznik.

"Well, we can probably stop the one aimed at Moscow." Grunted Gruzhnov. "The S-400 battalions in the Special Purpose Command should be able to protect Moscow." He shrugged. "We have no assets to stop the others."

Puznik laughed. "Well, there are SH-11s at Kiev and Minsk, so they should be alright, and if the fracking Poles lose Warsaw, so much the better."

Aboard the National Emergency Action Command Post, Call sign Air Force One

0730 EST Wednesday, February 25, 2009

President Barack Hussein Obama looked at his assembled staff. "How bad?"

"Well, they were small weapons, tactical nukes, about 15 kiloton yields, it looks like." Said Secretary Gates.

"How bad?" repeated the President.

"Well, we managed to take out the Washington missile with a Patriot, and the Canadians had an Aegis Destroyer handy – they got theirs with an SM-3." He shrugged."According to NORAD, Moscow, Kiev, and Minsk are OK. The Israelis got theirs with an Arrow, so Jerusalem is safe. Tokyo, Seoul, and Taipei all got their missiles. Beijing and Paris took shots and missed. "

"How bad?" growled the President.

"201 missiles got through." Said Gates.

There was an intake of breath, and despite the extra sound proofing, the engine noise was very loud about the heavily modified 757.

"15 Kilotons?" said President Obama.

"About the size of the Little Boy weapon we used at Hiroshima." Said Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley.

"201 new Hiroshimas today."

"Yes sir" said Secretary Gates.

HQ NORAD, Cheyenne Mountain, CO.

0630 CST Wednesday, February 25, 2010

Brigadier General Marc Dippold sipped his coffee and scanned the screens. It was a good morning. One of the good things about NORAD being a joint USAF/RCAF base was that the Base Exchange included a Tim Horton's. While Dunkin' Donuts was a pretty good, he'd had a soft spot for Tim Horton's ever since they opened the Bagram location in January 2002.

"Nothing so far, General." Said Lieutenant Colonel Shaw. "Look's like Bemmie's not giving us an anniversary present."

In the year since The Attack, the English speaking press had dusted off the old term BEM, for Bug Eyed Monster. Just like the term "911" meant the attack on the World trade Center, and "Pearl Harbor" meant the surprise attack on December 7, 1941, "The Attack" meant the mysterious single wave of tactical nuclear weapons. In the public mind, "Bemmie" was the name for the mysterious race that had attacked Earth.

"Works for me." Said Bobo. He cocked an eye at the CNN monitor. There was going to be some ceremonies today. Washington, London and Moscow were the main ones. The French were going to do it up proud – they'd managed a pretty good decon on Paris, and the stub of the new Eiffel Tower was looking pretty impressive.

The Middle East War seemed to have fizzled to a relatively peaceful armistice again. The nuking of Cairo, Damascus, Tripoli and Tehran, among others, had set off some kind of tripwire in the decapitated militaries. Incredibly, despite taking out the Bemmie MIRV over Jerusalem, the Syrian Air Force successfully nuked Jerusalem that afternoon, and the Egyptians and Iranians had liberally used chemical warfare over Israel.

That had set off a massive, multi pronged fight, with Coalition Forces striking out of Iraq and across Jordan, Naval strikes on the attackers, and, incredibly, EU peacekeepers to put a lid on everything.

Since then, the US had pretty much pulled as much of it's overseas forces home as possible. Everyone was expecting an alien invasion force to follow the initial bombardment.

But…so far…nothing.