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SDF 2016

Tags: navy, japan, usa, war

The crew of JDS Azumaya must stop a rogue JMSDF vessel from inciting a war with America.

JDS Azumaya
Kongo-class Destroyer
Japanese Territorial Waters
CO: Captain Shinsui Hirayama
1500 hours

Lieutenant Commander Tadayuki Nomata looked around the CIC with pride, allowing himself a small smile at the air of efficient, purposeful activity around him. Even though the bridge was thought of as the most important part of the ship, the Combat Information Centre was the nerve centre of the Okikaze. Using data gathered through radar, sonar, radio communications and good old-fashioned visual observation, their tactical situation was constantly analysed to effectively employ the myriad offensive and defensive systems at their command. He glanced sideways at Lieutenant Commander Kazuhiko Sato, Okikaze's Tactical Action Officer who was flipping through the Intelligence Reports on his clipboard. The TAO was Captain Hirayama's representative in the CIC, authorised to take whatever defensive or offensive action was necessary without the need to contact him first. With the speed that situations could develop, such autonomy was essential to the operation of the CIC. Over the last few months, he had come to rely on Kazuhiko's composure and objectivity.

'Sensor contact!' Petty Officer Kasamatsu called from the Tracking/Detection Station, breaking the silence, his tone urgent.

'Identify,' Chief Petty Officer Hayatama ordered, moving to stand behind him.

Tadayuki glanced at Kazuhiko, who had put down his reports, but neither man said anything. Hayatama was the CIC Watch Officer and he was already doing what needed to be done. As soon as he had any information, he would share it.

'Profile suggests an ICBM,' Kasamatsu said and Hayatama turned to Tadayuki.

'Sir, we have a probable Intercontinental Ballistic Missile on our radar.

'Confirm that,' Tadayuki said, raising his voice. 'Sound General Quarters. Alert the CF Division and inform the Captain immediately,' he ordered, feeling the cold rush of adrenaline through his body. This was it.

Amid the hubbub of voices, he heard Seaman Mimasuya saying, 'General Quarters! General Quarters. All hands, General Quarters.'

'Confirmed ICBM, sir,' Hayatama called. 'Trajectory suggests that it was launched from North Korea. Estimated impact in less than five minutes.'

'Thank you, Chief,' Tadayuki said, glancing at his watch.

'All hands now at General Quarters, sir. CF Division reports AEGIS System online and standing by,' Mimasuya reported.

'Mimasuya, contact Ominato and inform them that we are tracking a North Korean ICBM.'

'Aye, sir., Mimasuya said, speaking softly and urgently into her headset microphone as Tadayuki turned to Lieutenant Masunori Inukai.

'Weapons Control Officer, inform CF Division to commence AEGIS target acquisition immediately.'

'Aye, sir,' Inukai said. 'Kasamatsu, maintain telemetry tracking on ICBM-1.'

He activated his own headset, saying, 'CF Division, this is WCO. Prepare for immediate interception of ICBM-1.'

'We need authorisation from Ominato HQ before we can fire,' Kazuhiko said mildly, so quietly that only Tadayuki could hear him.

'I know. And I know what will happen if that missile hits. If they don't respond in time, then I'll give the order to fire myself and I'll take responsibility for it. I won't let our countrymen suffer through that again. We won't have another Nagasaki or Hiroshima.'

Kazuhiko nodded, not needing to say anything else, as Tadayuki turned away, lost in his own thoughts.

I won't let that happen again. Tadayuki vowed. Not if I can prevent it.

'Commander Nomata, I have the Captain online for you,' Mimasuya said, and Tadayuki activated his headset.

'Nomata here, sir.'

'Sitrep, Commander.'

'ICBM confirmed, sir, of North Korean origin. Estimated impact in...three minutes. Calculations for AEGIS interception are under way.'

'Acknowledged, Commander. Okikaze Actual, out."

'Sir, Ominato confirms the ICBM and authorises activation of the AEGIS protocols,' Mimasuya reported and Tadayuki looked at his watch again before glancing at Kazuhiko, who nodded, and he turned to Inukai.

'Weapons Control Officer, you are authorised to fire at ICBM-1.'

'Aye, sir,' Inukai said. 'Intelligence, status of ICBM-1.'

'Telemetry suggests that ICBM-1 has entered ballistic flight.,' Seaman Sato reported.

'Confirmed, sir., Seaman Kanzaboro added. 'Estimated impact in 2 minutes.'

'CF, ICBM-1 has entered ballistic flight and will impact in less than two minutes. You are released to fire,' Inukai said, icily calm despite the pressure he must be feeling. Whatever he felt about him personally, Tadayuki had to admire his focus.

'Acknowledged. Geigeki-ki-1 launch in 3...2...1...Launch confirmed,' The CF technician reported, and Tadayuki found himself listening for the sound of the SAM launching, even though he knew that was impossible so deep inside the ship.

Inukai turned back to the Intelligence Specialists.

'Sado, maintain tracking on ICBM-1. Kanzaboro, report status of Geigeki-ki-1.'

'First stage separation successful,' Kanzaboro reported. 'Estimated impact with ICBM-1 in 85 seconds.'

'ICBM-1 will impact in 110 seconds,' Sado announced. Tadayuki glanced at Sato, who nodded, grimly; that didn't leave them enough time to fire again if they missed. It was all or nothing.

'This is it,' Tadayuki muttered, mostly to himself, feeling his pulse start to race. If they missed...well, it wasn't worth contemplating, but he did anyway.

'Estimated casualties?' he asked quietly of Sato, hoping that he was wrong, knowing that he wasn't.

'Worst case? Assuming it's nuclear? 13 million dead if it hits Tokyo.'

'Yeah,' Tadayuki said, just as Sado announced.

'Third stage separation complete. IR system has achieved a lock on ICBM-1. Impact in five...four...three...two...one...'

'ICBM-1, contact lost!' Kamon called, his eyes glued to his radar screen, and a cheer went up through the CIC.

'Quiet!' Tadayuki yelled. 'It could have still impacted. Kamon, Sado, confirm interception. Kanzaboro, check telemetry for Geigeki-ki-1. Mimasuya, contact Ominato District HQ for separate confirmation.'

A tense minute passed, until Kamon reported, 'Interception confirmed. ICBM-1 was destroyed at t-minus 25 seconds from impact.'

'Ominato HQ confirms, sir. Negative missile impact reported,' she said, her voice faltering for a moment. 'Sir, Ominato reports that this was a live drill and that ICBM-1 was a decoy launched from South Korea.'

Tadayuki felt the shock run round the CIC, a shock that he shared, but he steeled himself.

'Listen up!' he said sharply, cutting through the chatter. 'You all know the stakes here. Tensions with North Korea and Iran are still rising and these missiles are a real threat. If an attack comes, we'll only have one chance to get it right.' He let that hit the mark before softening his tone. 'Your families and friends, our countrymen, are alive. And, because of this drill, they're more likely to stay alive if this ever happens for real. Remember that. And remember that we still have a job to do.' He sensed the change in the atmosphere of the room, seeing them sit a little straighter in their seats. 'Carry on.'

They turned back to their stations, shoulders a little straighter and he allowed himself a small smile, before gesturing for Sato and Inukai to follow him.

'We'll let things settle down and then we'll have a debrief in an hour. Cancel General Quarters.'

JDS Azumaya
Officers Mess
1700 hours

'We knew that Command was running these live drills,' Tadayuki said mildly, taking a bite of his pork curry. 'If a real attack comes, we won't have any warning. And the crew handled it well.'

'Reaction time was a little slow,' Sato said. 'But it shows the AEGIS protocols work.'

'The UN's defensive strategy is flawed,' Inukai said, stabbing his fork towards Tadayuki before taking another bite of his meal. 'If we stay on the defensive, then we lose any initiative.'

'What do you mean?' Tadayuki asked, putting down his fork and turning to face him.

'You know what I mean. You've studied the tactical reports. You were there for that missile drill, you know how tight the tolerances are. Practically, we have a five minute window to prevent our whole country from being destroyed. That's an unacceptable risk.'

'The AEGIS System is state of the art,' Tadayuki countered. 'And our people are highly trained. We're doing everything that we can to protect our countrymen.'

'That's where you're wrong., Inukai countered. 'We're not doing everything we can to protect them. We know where these weapons are and who has them. Russia. Iran. North Korea. We need to take the fight to them.'

'And do what?' Tadayuki asked. 'Invade?'

'Yes! We've got the troops and ships. We go in and put those weapons out of commission. Pre-emptive defence is always the best strategy.'

'I'm sure the Americans thought the same thing about Iraq,' Tadayuki said. 'Operation Enduring Freedom was supposed to be a quick incursion and they were there for years. It'll be the same in North Korea. You know that they think Kim Jong Un is a deity, don't you? If we go in, we'll need to occupy their country. UN Forces lost nearly 4,000 troops in Iraq alone.'

'Better than sitting on our hands, waiting for them to wipe us out,' Inukai said, and Tadayuki sat back.

'Well, it's a moot point, anyway. Unless our constitution changes, waging war is out of the question for us as a Nation. Leave it to the UN's diplomats. We've got enough to worry about as...'

'General Quarters, General Quarters. All hands, report to General Quarters.'

'See what I mean?' Tadayuki said, standing up with the rest of them, leaving their meals unfinished on the tables behind them.

JDS Azumaya
1715 hours

'Captain on the line for you, Commander.' Mimasuya said and Tadayuki activated his headset.

'CIC Officer.'

'Commander, we've been ordered to rendezvous with JDS Tachikaze. She's not responding to communications and is off her assigned patrol route. At flank speed, we'll be at her position in 20 minutes.'

'Acknowledged, sir,' Tadayuki said, closing down the link and moving to the middle of the CIC.
He addressed the two Intelligence Specialists. 'Sada, Kanzaboro. Access records for JDS Tachikaze. Recent missions. Log reports for the last 24 hours. Personnel files. Look for anything that may explain why they’re not responding.'

Turning to the Surface Search Radar Officer, he asked, 'Any other vessels in the area, Shimohari?' She shook her head.

'No, sir. But, I can't be sure at this range.'

'Alright, people. Get to it. I want to have some theories in fifteen minutes.'

Tadayuki stood back, resisting the urge to pace up and down, even though he felt more anxious than he had done in as long as he could remember. JDS Tachikaze had been his previous posting, where he had trained as a CIC Officer before getting his promotion to Lieutenant Commander and had served under Captain Jojima. It was probably just a technical malfunction, but he had to be prepared for all possibilities.

'Report on the Tachikaze, sir,' Kanzaboro said. 'She's currently deployed on a RimPac exercise. However, she's off her course and moving at flank speed.'

'No recent contact with other vessels recorded in their logs. Last scheduled check in was at 1645 hours where their condition was normal. Sir, it's a possibility that they've been hijacked. With the element of surprise, it would be possible for a small crew to take control of a Destroyer.'

'Acknowledged,' he said, steeling himself to wait.

The next fifteen minutes passed slowly until Shimohari announced, 'Coming within range of the Tachikaze, sir. No other vessels on SSR.'

'Negative Sonar contact, sir,' Matokai added, from the Electronic Warfare Station.

'Mimasuya, hail them,' Tadayuki ordered, although he did not expect it to work.

'Aye, sir. JDS Tachikaze, this is JDS Azumaya, please respond, over.' She waited for a few seconds and repeated the message, again getting no response.

'Put me through to the Bridge,' Tadayuki said. 'Captain, we've tried raising the Tachikaze but received no response. Radar and Sonar detect no vessels or aircraft in the vicinity.'

'Acknowledged, Commander. We'll be sending over a boarding party. Maintain full Radar coverage and keep trying to raise them.'

'Aye, sir. Permission to accompany the boarding party.'

'You have duties in CIC, Commander,' the Captain said, sternly.

'Commander Kazuhiko and Chief Hayatama can take care of that, sir. And I know the Tachikaze's crew. I can tell if anything is wrong over there, sir.'

'...very well, Commander. Report to the Main Deck,' Captain Hirayama said.

JDS Azumaya
Port side
1720 hours

Tadayuki took his seat in the launch, checking that his pistol was still strapped to his leg as the engine roared to life and they headed towards the Tachikaze. She had come to a stop when they had approached, showing no sign of life.

On the deck of the Azumaya, Signalmen continued to try to raise the Tachikaze using handheld lights in case their radio was out.

In the launch, as well as the other two sat four Gunners Mates with rifles cradled against their chests, as well as four members of the OD crew, a DC Team and a Radioman. They came to a stop and the Gunners Mates scrambled up the access ladder, securing the area with professional precision and Tadayuki got to his feet, moving towards the ladder.

This was it.
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