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Covert-81


Silent Hunter UK
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Monday, June 8, 1981- 0600 Local Time, just outside Sverdlovsk, USSR

 

As the clock ticked over to 0000 GMT, the sleek, deadly bomber flew at about 540 knots due west of the city of Yekaterinburg, then known as Sverdlovsk, which looked rather pretty in the dawn light. It was skimming barely 350 feet above the ground.

 

The bomber was long and thin, painted grey on the top and white on the bottom. Behind the upturned nose and the four-man, two-compartment cockpit, were two swinging wings, currently in the un-swept position. Behind them were the twin tail cannon and the single tail.

 

Nestled in the bomb bay- which was currently open because the thing didn’t fit inside, was a stand-off missile packed with high explosive.

 

On each side of the tail were the number 74 in green and a single red star, the latter replicated on each side of the two wings.

 

The red star was the symbol of the air force of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics- and this was a Backfire bomber.

 

 

Covert-81

 

In the co-pilot’s seat, Lieutenant General of Aviation Arkady Arkhipovich Markov, Air Force commander of the Kiev Military District, was grinning like a schoolboy who’d just got full marks on a hard test, although you couldn’t see this under his oxygen mask. He glanced over at the test pilot, joy in his voice.

 

“My compliments to OKB Tupolev, Pasha”, he said, speaking with a hint of a Ukrainian accent.

 

The test pilot smiled too.

 

“It is a great aircraft, isn’t it, Comrade Lieutenant General?” he commented.

 

“Indeed, Comrade Major”, Markov replied, “The current Tu-22M versions scare the imperialists already. This will give them even more sleepless nights”.

 

Since the Tupolev Tu-22M medium-range bomber, designated Backfire by NATO, had entered service seven years earlier, the Western military community had undergone one of those collective panics that it had done with other Soviet systems, such as the Tu-16 Badger, the aircraft Markov had originally flown and the M-4 Bison, the heavy bomber now largely relegated to tanker duties.

 

The imperialists were so scared of this “strategic aircraft” (partly because they’d considerably over-estimated the already considerable range of the aircraft) that they had got his government to remove its capability for in-flight refuelling.

 

This was the Tu-22M3, the newest version of this brilliant aircraft. Markov’s command would soon receive them, but he’d been offered this ride for the time being.

The test pilot was flying the aircraft from Poltava, in the Ukrainian SSR on a mission to. He was waiting to hear from the range officer at the weapons range outside Tyumen to give him clearance to launch the single Kh-22 cruise missile he was carrying. The Kh-22, called the AS-4 Kitchen by NATO, could carry (depending on the version) a 1000 kg high-explosive warhead or a nuclear device with 350 kilotons worth of yield a distance over 200 miles against a ship or a land target.

 

This would be another two minutes before he got the go-ahead to fire the missile for a test launch.

 

Markov looked at the mountains, as the pilot pulled back the stick to start climbing to optimum launch altitude.

 

“So, Pasha”, he asked the pilot, whose name was Pavel Kryakov, “Where are you from?”

 

“Kazan”, the pilot replied, the previous confidence having disappeared, “Comrade Lieutenant General, there’s something concerning me”.

 

“What, Pasha?” Markov asked.

 

“It’s the military situation in Europe. I’m concerned that we’re losing our advantage in the conventional front- that we will not be able to defeat the imperialist forces in a war”.

 

Markov thought about this. This was definitely contrary to the official line on things, but the pilot seemed really concerned.

 

“Explain your reasoning”.

 

“Right now, Comrade, we outnumber the NATO forces in Europe considerably, in most areas. We could probably force them to sue for peace or choose to use atomic weapons, with all the implications that entails. That alone is sufficient to deter the West starting a war”.

 

“Indeed, that is the case”.

 

“However, there are new weapon systems entering or soon to enter NATO service that we currently don’t have equals to”.

 

“Like?”

 

The F-15, which the Syrians have been having problems with- and is known to be a brilliant fighter. The F-16 fighter-bomber. The Tornado bomber, the new Mirage 2000, the new US attack submarines and cruisers, the new US super carriers and their aircraft. The list goes on. There’s a bigger concern too- this new ‘stealth fighter’”.

 

“Surely we have far superior numbers for our defensive forces, Pasha and the new air-to-air missiles are apparently excellent”.

 

“We do, but that won’t be enough. If we went to war now, we’d have a good chance of winning. If it happened in two years time, it would be about evens. Two years beyond that. I think the Americans know that and I worry about their new President. He seems a bit of a cowboy”.

 

Pasha got the range confirmation and nodded to the offensive systems operator, who did the final checks on the missile.

 

“Missile ready”, came the reply, “Ready to launch”.

 

“Here we go, sir”, Pasha said as he opened the safety guard and pressed the launch switch.

 

Markov did not respond as the Kitchen fell away from the aircraft, fired up its engine and flew towards its target at twice the speed of sound. The pilot pulled the Backfire into a sharp turn.

 

You’ll get your good chance soon enough, Pasha, Markov thought, if I have anything to do with it. Whether Moscow approves or not...

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  • 1 month later...

Well, one of the characters in this is now attending a meeting in Brno, where Section 91 are trying to rescue a defector. Who has just been shot by a KGB agent.

 

This is just the first post of the RP, which I put here as an example of related fiction. If you want to see more, you could sign up to the site at AJJE Games.

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The Brno Extraction

 

0414 Central European Summer Time, Gdynia, Poland

 

In January 1918, the then US President Woodrow Wilson made a speech in which he laid the key points that should be a part of any treaty that ended the then in-progress First World War. One of those points was that Poland should be recreated as an independent state, it then being partitioned among Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary, with- this is the key part- access to the sea.

 

Part of the Baltic coast of what was then Germany was given to Poland- the “Polish corridor” that separated East Prussia from the rest of Germany, but there was no port there. The one-time Hanseatic League port of Danzig was the nearest suitable port, but its majority German population meant it was placed under the control of the League of Nations rather than given to Poland.

 

The new state wanted a port it fully controlled and so built one at Gdynia, which became the main base of the Polish navy.

 

The Yalta Accords of 1945 handed half of East Prussia to Poland (the USSR getting the rest), along with Danzig, which was renamed Gdansk, a process which involved a large, not exactly voluntary, population shift of Germans to the much smaller Germany and Poles from the half of Poland incorporated into the USSR.

 

Both ports began to thrive. Gdansk would play its role in history with the Solidarity movement, but that is not our concern at the present time.

Our story continues in Gdynia, where one man’s espionage career was about to come to an end...

***

When your front door goes flying across the living room, it is generally not a good thing.

 

The fact that made it worse was the presence of six soldiers armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles and a man in a trench coat who looked severely annoyed.

 

The soldiers fanned out and quickly found their target. He was lying in his bed, with an air of resignation in his eyes.

 

The trench coat wearing man walked over to him.

 

“Karol Czartoryski?”

 

“You’re SB?” the man responded in Polish, refering to the Polish secret police organisation, “It was inevitable. My actions would have got your attention sooner or later”.

 

“Quite”, the man responded, “We have evidence that you passed information vital to the Polish national security to a capitalist power. You are under arrest for treason against the People’s Republic of Poland”.

 

“Surely that should be Polish Soviet Socialist Republic, comrade? For all our supposed independence, we’re really just a puppet state of Russia” Karol replied, “Yes; I passed on information about the new corvette class to the Americans. No, I don’t deny it. No, I’m not giving up the rest of my network. Not even if you torture me”.

 

“We shall see about that, citizen”, the secret policeman replied, “We will round up your network”.

 

“No, you won’t. I sent the burn code two hours ago, when I saw your agents outside. Even I don’t know their locations now”.

 

“Get up, traitor”.

 

The man did so. He was not going to resist this guy- he did not want him to have a clear conscience on this matter.

 

“I have one thing to say to you- Poland lives”.

 

The use of the slogan of the Polish Home Army, which had resisted the Germans very well during World War Two and been let down by their supposed allies in Moscow during the Warsaw Uprising of 1994, infuriated the officer, but he did not show it.

 

Instead, he called his headquarters and notified them of the arrest- as well as the use of the burn code, the warning that Karol had sent to his network to warn them that they’d been blown.

 

The message was noted at KGB Headquarters in Moscow- a place that had no scruples about tapping internal communications among its “allies”- being logged at 0615 Moscow Summer Time.

 

The duty officer passed it up to his section chief. The section chief passed it up to the Director of the Eighth Chief Directorate, responsible for communications tapping.

 

The Director decided that this was a matter important enough to pass directly to Yuri Andropov, head of the KGB himself.

 

Andropov contacted one of his Deputy Chairmen, Nikolai Arkanov at 0744 Moscow Time, telling him that he needed Chameleon.

 

Arkanov called a woman named Yekaterina Ivanovna Kuznetsova, told her to gather her team and send them to Brno, a town in Czechoslovakia.

 

For Anna Zamoyska, the next few days were not exactly going to be pleasant.

 

0004 Eastern Daylight Time, Langley, Virginia, USA

 

When a Polish naval officer had walked into the flat of the CIA station chief in Warsaw, the man realised that the ARTICHOKE network had just ceased to exist.

 

He called Langley on a secure line. The duty officer deemed it important enough to ring Mark Gerard, Deputy Director of Operations, at his home address. He’d been up playing the Mattel Intellvision he’d bought recently for his son’s birthday.

 

“Sir”, the officer said, “ARTICHOKE has been blown. We need to get OMELETTE out of the frying pan before she ends up black and crispy. Unfortunately, she’s not at her usual location”.

 

Gerard inwardly groaned at the use of a bad metaphor.

 

“Where is she?” he asked.

 

“Brno. City in Czechoslovakia. Conference of top Eastern Bloc generals”.

 

“Got it. I know just the person to do that”.

 

Gerard made a telephone call to a woman named Dr. Anna Hamilton-Smith. He told her what needed doing.

 

One by one, the members of her team were telephoned and told to report to their headquarters in Brightwood, Washington DC, ASAP, with an overnight bag, as they would be travelling.

 

Section 91 was on a mission into hostile territory.

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0043 EDST (0443 GMT)

 

Euan walked into the lobby, a small rucksack slung over one shoulder. Inside the pack were a change of clothes, a toothbrush, and a passport. He had taken a taxi straight from the airport, and his body clock had yet to adjust. It was around 7am GMT when he'd taken the phone call from his superiors at the SIS, and he'd already been up for an hour, showered, breakfasted, and gone for a two mile jog. He smiled. Something had gone right for once.

 

He was still at Oxford when it was first mentioned. They tended to recruit there. A few years down the line, they'd wanted to shift him to behind a desk, rather than out having fun. He was having none of it. When this group had started, it had seemed like a solution to a problem. Now they'd finally finished the red tape, and he had arrived just in time. He headed to the front desk.

 

"Good morning. New transfer, where do I go?"

 

The receptionist, a bored-looking black man with a cap designating his service on USS Hornet during World War Two, gestured to the woman who had just entered.

 

She was a tall, slim woman, with bleached blonde hair that hung over her shoulders. Her skin was slightly tanned and well made up. She wore a pair of large horn-rimmed glasses with black rims. She was also wearing a black suit with long, reasonably tight trousers, a white blouse with a long black tie. The jacket was open and she was holding a black fedora in her hand. You could clearly see she was attractive and didn't mind who knew it.

 

She smiled at him.

 

"Morning, I guess you're Mr. Reid", she said in an accent that resembled that of Scarlett O'Hara from Gone with the Wind, but was distinctly more from Tennessee.

 

She walked over, her hips shaking slightly as she did so.

 

"Hello, my name is Dr. Anna Hamilton-Smith. My code name is Memphis. Follow me to the Briefing Room".

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