Alarms blare silos as heavy blast doors close and crew run about. Missile trains depart bases across the country and begin to travel on freight lines. DEFCON 2 is set throughout the military. SSG Thompson rushes into his launch room and dials into the tactical net of the base.
“Nogovastani irregular forces have seized control of a missile base and opened silo doors. We do not have forces close enough to preemptively strike the base before they can launch. All call signs standby to receive launch orders.” The base commander says. “A sub launch will be used first but if we don’t see the launch in five minutes on satellite we are next up. Silos one, four and six, prepare payloads to strike the north eastern sector of Nogovastan with maximum payload. Set warheads to medium circular spread.”
Thompson looks at his officer with concern. “Sir, we’re going to nuclear strike the entire north eastern corner of the country because one base was taken?”
“I don’t make the orders here I just execute them. But, from our intelligence on the situation, that base isn’t the only one that was assumed captured. It’s just the only one with open doors that we can see. Clouds cover the others so it has to be assumed they are preparing to launch.” 1st Lieutenant Williams
“But why would we have to strike them? We haven’t been involved. We aren’t a threat to them at the moment.”
“It’s part of the doctrine. Any nuclear weapons release will almost certainly trigger all other nuclear parties to release their nuclear weapons. This requires us to retaliate or preemptively strike and here we are.”
“I can’t believe this. We’re about to possibly end the world because of a doctrine? Can’t the president stop this?”
“He can. But he has the same information and might follow through with a strike if we can’t get conventional assets nearby. Normally we’d have a carrier or base near but the other regional powers have forced us to pull back out international reach. This is our only way to protect ourselves now.”
“Why can’t we rely on our missile defense? Doesn’t that protect the nation?”
“Only strategic assets have ABM sites. It’s too expensive and logistically difficult to get sites built at every city or town.”
“My God. So this is really going to happen.”
“I’m afraid so.” They both turn to their consoles and prepare for the inevitable.”
The radio comes to life again. This time a monotone General comes over the radio. “Sierra one, Sierra four, Sierra six. You are ordered to execute strike package Charlie on the north eastern sector of Nogovastan. Target is ICBM launch facilities. Prepare to receive launch authentication. November, echo, sixer, oscar, tree, fife, mike. I repeat, november, echo, sixer, oscar, tree, fife, mike.
SSG Thompson and LT Williams both open their safes and crack open the authentication packets. “I confirm this is an authentic message.” Williams says
“I concur. The message is authentic.” Thompson replies.
“Sierra one, four, and six, report status.”
LT Williams switches on his mic. “Sierra one reports message is authentic. Starting launch sequence now.”
Williams grabs the keys from his safe and inserts them into the key slots in his console. “Staff Sergeant Thompson. Insert your keys and turn them to the open position on my mark. 3, 2, 1, Mark.” They turn the keys to the open position and the silo doors slam open, exposing the tip of the LGM-104 Peacekeeper missile. “Staff Sergeant Thompson, on my mark, turn your key to the launch position. 3, 2, 1, mark.” They both turn their keys. The solid rocket engine of the missile roars to life in its silo. Thompson and Williams feel the missiles shaking the facility. On their consoles, camera feeds show their missile streaking into the sky carrying thirteen, five megaton, thermonuclear warheads.
“I’m, I’m gonna step outside for some air. Is that ok?” Thompson says as he stands up.
“That’s fine. But you know all cell signals are being jammed. So you can’t call your wife or family.”
Thompson sighs. “I know, I know.” He says as he hangs his head and slowly walks out of the launch complex to the small vending machine area outside. From his seat outside, he watches squadrons of B-24s and F-32s take off with full ordinance loads.