tagSci-Fi & FantasyLife as a New Hire Ch. 40

Life as a New Hire Ch. 40

byFinalStand©

Editing magic performed by KJ24 and Shyqash, plus contributions by the regular gang of brigands and neer-do-wells

Loving your enemy is easy ... you know precisely where both of you stand

In case anyone cares: I do not hate China or the Chinese People. As a Global Power, the PRC is fair game to be a great antagonist in a fiction story. Not only do they have, as of 2015, the largest economy, the largest population and a truly global diaspora, they also have a rather totalitarian system of governance that allows them to devote scary levels of resources to any endeavor they set their minds to.

I do tend to paint all governments as entities capable of great good (rarely achieved) and great evil (because it makes enticing fiction); in my fiction, it often falls to the people within those institutions to make judgment calls on what is the right thing to do. In my final analysis, there are no 'Evil' governments, just evil people who use the system to get what they want. In all contexts, "I was just following orders" is a hollow excuse.

Okay ... I don't know how, but I screwed up the days associated with the dates. The dates have been correct. I have no clue how I screwed up something as simple as reading a calendar, but I did. So Monday, September 8th, remains the end of the Internship period.


*****

(Right where we left off)

*Rescue and patchwork relationships*

{6 pm, Sunday, August 17th ~ 22 Days to go}

{11 pm Sunday, Aug. 17th [Havenstone Time]}

{And just this once - 11am Monday, Aug. 18th Beijing Time}

"Oh and Happy Tibetan Independence Day; ... nice work.," the Marine congratulated me.

"What?"

"How is THAT possible?" muttered Mu.

"Yippee!! No more burning monks," Aya fist-pumped. Personally, I think she did that for the enjoyment of our guardians and to piss off Zhen and Mu just a tiny bit more.

[Mandarin] "Brother," Zhen studied her brother's pained expression. "What has gone wrong?"

[Mandarin] "The province of Tibet apparently has broken away," he groused. In English, to the Marine Lieutenant he repeated, "How is this possible?"

"I take it you didn't know Peace Talks had broken out?" he grinned. I doubted the Lt. bought my 'these are my two Taiwanese cobelligerents' story, but belief was above his pay grade, so he didn't give a shit.

"Yes," Mu mumbled, "we knew of the proposed cease-fire."

"Yes ... you mean both sides actually honored it?" I added. I really HAD been out things for a while.

"Nearly two days ago - noon, Peking Time, the People's Republic of China and the Khanate put a six month cease-fire into effect which has remained intact for forty-one ...," he looked at his watch, "forty-one and a half hours." He was being a dick to the petulant Mu. No one called Beijing 'Peking' anymore. I had even ordered Beijing Duck on several menus. Peking was the height of Western Imperialist thinking ... or so it looked to Mu.

[Mandarin] "He is yanking your chain, Mu," I explained. "You are looking pissed off at being rescued, which isn't doing my alibi for you much good."

"My apology," Mu nodded to the lieutenant. "Is there any news from the Republic of China? Are they free as well?" That was nice of Mu to call Taiwan by its pet name, the ROC.

"Not yet," he patted Mu's unwounded leg, "but with the utter shellacking the Khanate put on the People's Navy (really the People's Liberation Army Navy, but the Marine was getting his shots in) it is only a matter of time."

I had been translating in a low voice to the Vânători de munte in order for them to keep up with the conversation. They all started laughing. The Marines joined in. There was a huge joke here that we had missed out on while stranded.

[Romanian] "So, ask them if they know where their aircraft carrier is," Menner chuckled. Most Romanians had grown up knowing of only one China.

Me: [Romanian] "What!"

A Naval Corpsman who didn't know Romanian, but knew 'aircraft carrier' just fine jumped in: "Oh yeah, the missing Chinese Aircraft carrier," she chortled.

Mu: "What!"

I'd only been gone two and a half days. What the hell had been going on?

(What had transpired in my absence and the subsequent consequences)

[Notes:

PRC = People's Republic of China; PLA = People's Liberation Army;

PLAN = People's Liberation Army Navy;

PLAAF = People's Liberation Army Air Force;

ROC = the Republic of China {aka Taiwan, aka Chinese Taipei, aka the "other China"};

The First Unification War {aka what the Khanate did to China in 2014};

Truce lasts from August 16th 2014 until February 15th, 2015 = 183 days]

There are several classic blunders grownups should know to avoid: never fight a land war in Asia, never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line, and ... if you are going to cross a master thief, first make sure you have nothing of value. For the land war in Asia ~ check with my partner, the Khanate. Substituting Black Hand for Sicilian ~ check with Ajax ... use an Ouija board. So far, destiny was batting .500.

The last blunder I created entirely on my own, but I felt it was the true and right response for the circumstances. So witness the Six Families of the Ninja and the greatest theft in all of recorded history.

In the closing hours of the First Unification War, as in many wars, some serious theft was going on; mainly it was the People's Republic getting fleeced.

The most obvious and immediate blows came in the Spratlys and Parcel Islands where Khanate forces (actually, elements from all the JIKIT players) seized the key island in the Parcel chain - Woody Island - and secured the PLAN base the Chinese had created there, including the 2,700 meter runway built there in the 1990's. The 1,443 Chinese civilians and 600 military inhabitants in the area were incidental complications and the survivors were about to be 'repatriated' to the mainland anyway; the Khanate didn't want them hanging around as they prepared for the inevitable end of the six-month truce.

Yes, the Khanate had stolen the most important island airfield ~ an unsinkable carrier really ~ in the South China Sea. It was also the northern end of the potential People's Republic of China's stranglehold on the east-west sea lanes between East Asia and the rest of the World, i.e., roughly 25% of all global trade.

The southern end? That would be the Spratlys. There are few 'real' islands in that 'island group' and only two worth having: the artificial one the PLAN was building and the one the ROC has a 1200 meter airfield on. That artificial island and every other PRC/PLAN outpost in the region was also stolen by the Khanate between 4 a.m. and noon of that final day of active conflict.

Every geological feature that had been the basis for the PRC's claims to ALL of the South China Sea was now in Khanate hands. Considering how much the PLAN had bullied everyone else in that portion of the globe, the Khanate taking over their geopolitical position was incredibly awkward. It was going to get worse.

Technically, the Khanate hadn't stolen the PLAN's 'South Sea Fleet' (SSF); they'd blown the fuck out of it, including sinking the sole fully-functioning PLAN carrier Liaoning as well as five of the nine destroyers and six of the nineteen frigates in her battle group. The Liaoning and one destroyer had died in those last few hours as the SSF was racing for the relative safety of Philippine waters ~ so close, but no cigar.

So the Khanate had stolen the ability of the PLAN to project power in the South China Sea until February 15th, 2015 when the UN brokered truce ended. But that was not the epic theft, though. That distinction went to the Ninja. What did they steal? A semi-functional Chinese nuclear powered super-aircraft carrier still under construction.

The beast had no official name yet, but she was a 75,000 ton engine of Global Domination laid down in 2011 and clearly complete enough to float and to be steered under her own power. (To be on the safe side, the Ninja included stealing four tugboats to help in their getaway.) So, you may be asking yourself, how does one 'steal' a nuclear-powered, 1000 foot long, 275 foot wide and ten-story tall vessel?

For starters, you need a plan to get on board the sucker. We had begun with the Black Lotus. They wanted to sneak onboard, exit the dockyard the ship was being built in, then sink it off the coast so it couldn't be easily salvaged. That was plan A.

Enter the Khanate and their plans; they too wanted to sink this vessel ... and destroy the dry docks while they were at it. That was plan B. Actually, the Khanate desire was to contaminate that whole section of the port city with fallout from shattered reactors. They knew they would have to apply overkill when they smashed that bitch of a ship because the PLAN had hurriedly put on board its defensive weaponry ~ ensuring that the Khanate couldn't easily destroy it. For their approach, Temujin's people wanted the Black Lotus' help with the on-the-ground intelligence work. But the Black Lotus didn't want to help anyone irradiate Chinese soil.

Enter JIKIT as referee. All those islands the 'Khanate' was busy stealing were actually part of a larger JIKIT mission called Operation Prism. Another object that was a part of the overall plan was Operation Wo Fat - the sinking of the Liaoning ~ again GPS direction and distance to be courtesy of the Black Lotus.

JIKIT absolutely needed the Black Lotus. The Black Lotus wouldn't help anyone planning on poisoning any part of China for the next thousand years. Sinking the unnamed and incomplete vessel off the coast in deep waters meant no nuclear leakage and plenty of post-war time to salvage the wreck before it did start to hemorrhage. The Khanate wanted to kill this potential strategic nightmare no matter what it cost the Chinese ecology.

JIKIT went to the Ninja to help them adjudicate the issue. All the lights flared brightly in Ninja-Town when they heard of that delicate dilemma. They could make everybody happy and send a clear message to the Seven Pillars expressing how unhappy the six surviving families were about the 7P's trying to annihilate them when all of this 'unpleasantness' began.

The Khanate was already going to blast the shipyards and docks, the Black Lotus was already going to sail the ship into deep waters, so why not take it one step further ... sail the ship into Japanese waters and declare it Khanate property as a colossal FUCK YOU! to the PRC, PLAN and specifically the Seven Pillars, all at the same time?

Now normally, you can't steal a ship that big. The owners WILL notice it is missing and come looking for it. And you can't sell or hide the damn thing. So ... you steal it at the tail end of a war before the players can capture, or sink it. It just so happened the Ninja had access to a war and such a time table.

The next problem: where do you put it? The Khanate's closest safe haven was 8,000 km away at the Eastern Mediterranean Seaport of Izmir.

But wait!

The Khanate was about to steal an island airbase with its own (albeit small) harbor. The Khanate was confident that a few weeks after the truce, an alternate port, or two, would become available for the two-to-three year process it would require to prepare the vessel so it could be commissioned as the true warship it was meant to be.

So, how do you steal a well-guarded, humongous ship with its skeleton crew of 500? You need a distraction ~ a big one. Remember those Khanate airstrikes? They intended to destroy the dockyards anyway. Now all they had to do was 'miss' the carrier.

They could do that. If you recall, to dissuade the Khanate from sinking the ship in the final days of the war, the PLAN had hastily put teeth on the thing by giving it all its pre-designed defensive weaponry and added jury-rigged radar and sonar systems. The carrier could defend itself if needed. With the new plan (C), the airstrikes could avoid those teeth, thus reducing the risk of losing their precious planes and pilots.

A series of bombing runs and missile hits near the carrier would convince the PLAN admiral in charge to hurriedly put some distance between the ship and shore - Not out to sea. That would be stupid. Within the harbor, his weaponry could adequately defend his ship. And if she took serious damage, he could run her aground, so the vessel wouldn't really sink.

The only problem was that out in the harbor, with everything exploding, he was away from the only ground security support available. That was when the Amazons, Black Lotus, Ninja and JIKIT mercenaries would make their move. How could they sneak up on such a big, important ship? By using the submarines the US Navy, the British Royal Navy and Japanese Defense Force were providing, of course.

Note: As I stated earlier, Lady Fathom, Addison and Riki had wandered way off the reservation . By this time, if you were a Japanese, British, or American submarine commander in the Yellow Sea and you weren't part of this madness, you were insanely jealous of those who were.

The missions JIKIT was sending them on were:

-definitely Acts of War if they were ever discovered,

-far more dangerous than any war game exercise they'd ever been part of, and

-the ultimate test of their crews and equipment.

These people weren't suicidal. They believed they were the best sneaks under the Seven Seas and now they could prove it ~ in 50 years when this stuff was declassified (if it ever was).

For the one American, two British and four Japanese submarines inserting the assault teams, this whole mission had a surreal feel to it. They were transporting a packed assortment of women of Indian, Malaysian and Indonesian descent along with some very lithe Japanese ladies and gents - none of who talked a whole lot.

There was a third group with the spooky women and spookier Japanese teams ... and that group was scared shitless about the sudden turn their lives had taken. They were all former American and British servicewomen (to not tick off the Amazons too much) with carrier and/or nuclear reactor experience who had been RIFed (Reduction in Force, aka fired) in the past five years from their respective national navies.

Around a week ago, they had all answered an advertisement by a logistics support corporation that was going to do a 'force modernization' in an unnamed country. They all knew that mean the Khanate. The job had been laid out as 'basically your old job with the addition of training the natives' and it included the promise of no combat.

It was a guaranteed five year contract with an option for a year-to-year extensions for another five years if you desired to stick around. For that, you received your 'pay grade upon retirement + 20%', free room and board, private security, judicial protections and a € 10,000 / $10,900 signing bonus. For many struggling military families, it was manna from Heaven and thousands were signing up.

Then 72 hours ago, a different group from the same company came knocking on the women's doors. If you could come with them right then and there, they had a satchel of money - €100,000 / $109,000 - tax free - and a Non-disclosure Agreement for you to sign. Sure, the deal sounded shady, but the money was very real.

Twenty-four hours later those who accepted the money found themselves in a small fishing village on Ko Island, Japan. There some rather fiercely intense people outlined the job they were needed for. From a submarine, the assault teams would sneak aboard the carrier, neutralize the crew and then the new crew (them) would sail it to Jeju, Jeju Island, South Korea.

At that point they would be allowed to stay with the vessel (preferred), or depart for a non-war zone of their choice. Both options came with another €100,000 / $109,000 payment. Anyone who declined this particular job would remain incognito on Ko Island for another 48 hours then be allowed to leave without the need to return their initial payment.

Of the 312 job applicants, 293 volunteered for both the first and second parts of the assignment. With the technical and linguistic expertise of the Amazons and 9 Clan members that would be enough to get their prize to Jeju Island's temporary safety and then make the last leg to Woody Island and a more permanent anchorage.

Besides the airstrikes to goad the carrier away from the wharves, all the Khanate had to do with the carrier was put three or four clearly Mongolian faces onboard when the various nations of the world came calling. After all, what was the public going to believe: ... the Khanate had pulled off yet another daring (i.e., mostly JIKIT) Special Forces coup, just as they'd managed to do throughout this short war, or that 'Ninjas stole my Battleship - ummm ... carrier' stuff some PRC leaders were claiming? Forty-eight hours later the whole globe was able to watch the newly named Khanate supercarrier, the Öz Beg Khan, passing through Japanese territorial waters while being escorted by South Korean and Japanese warships.

The PRC did complain to the United Nations over the 'theft' of both the carrier and 'their' islands, but the Security Council, led by the UK, could and would do nothing about the 'latest round of injustices heaped upon the People of China'. By the time the UN got around to doing nothing, the next round of JIKIT diplomacy was causing the PRC even greater headaches.

That greatest theft, while remarkable in its own right, was really a sideshow to the reordering of the political order in Southeast Asia. The big winner wasn't the Khanate. And it certainly wasn't the mainland Chinese. No, the nations to immediately prosper were an unlikely pair - the Republic of India and the People's Republic of Vietnam (PRV). The Republic of China (ROC) was also getting its own small boost as well.

By gambling their precious navy, India had become the largest power broker in the South China Sea's resource bonanza. She went from a minimal presence to being the critical ally of the Khanate and the 'big stick' (naval-wise) of Asia's new dynamic duo. The Indians had the only two functional aircraft carriers in the region and the Khanate had Woody Island with a mega-carrier number of planes sitting on it.

Their combined naval aviation was not something any of the others powers wanted to mess with. The duo then sealed their supremacy by making the duo a trio. That third member was the PRV. Vietnam was the land-based logistical anchor of the three regional powers.

Not only did Vietnam gain the prestige denied it for over two centuries, it redressed the PLAN's humiliating treatment of their own navy for the past thirty years. The Khanate's naval aviation would shield Vietnam's economic exploitation of the Parcel Islands. The Indian Navy could counter anything the PLAN's South China fleet could come at them with.

Yes, the PLAN had two other fleets, the Northern and Eastern, but both had been put through their own 1001 levels of Hell by the Khanate's air power, plus they had to protect the Chinese heartland from Russia and North Korean ambitions. The South Koreans and Japanese were suddenly a very real threat from the East too. But for the time being, the Indians had the decisive edge.

The final location for the Öz Beg Khan was an old familiar haunt for some Americans - Da Nang, PRV. It had the facilities, courtesy of the US military from the 1960's and 70's, to be the new base for the Khanate's Eastern Fleet and logistical hub for their naval aviation forces in the Parcel Islands.

The Vietnamese were thinking with more than their testicles, as were the Indians. Sure, geopolitical clout was nice, yet that was only the icing on the economic cake that was the Parcel Island Accords. That hasty bit of JIKIT backroom dealings gave a 50% stake in the Parcels to the PRV.

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