They crawled through the old mine and entered a drive that brought them to the surface just 500 meters from the Coleo River, the southern border of the Eastern Province. They could see the Maxel troops training just 8 kilometres from the border.
Maxel knew they were being observed, that's why they trained so close to the border. It was an invasion force training. It did make strategic sense for Maxel to cross the Coleo here; it was the only flat part of Rubicon adjoining Maxel. They thought they could take the river flats very easily.
Alexandra Wynne, "Open channel to all Eastern Province and visitors."
alexandra wynne convenor of war at east 301 all east province and training visitors encryption level 9"Thank You, as you know part of our strategy is to keep them wondering what we are about. So we'll do some martial arts and some light horse charges in the river flats and maybe even an anti-missile test or two. Good Luck."
terminate alexandra wynne convenor of war at east 301 all east provinceShe lifted her binoculars to her eyes and scanned the Maxel war games. "Look what they're doing to that beautiful fertile land. So much testosterone!"
Leotie, "Such a waste." smirking "I know a much better use for it."
maxel scanning in progressLeotie, "Hope being scanned doesn't cause cancer or something."
Alexandra, "Let's get inside, I want to see the the 3D model."
They crawled back through the gap from the mine to the tunnel and then hopped on the transporter.
"Arcadia bunker - Alexandra Wynne"
destination approvedThe transporter carried them a kilometre inside the mountain to the command post know as Arcadia bunker. Rubicon was riddled with tunnels: for railways, water channels, communications and energy. When the refugees arrived fertile land was so scarce that it seemed insane to waste it on roads and buildings. It became the norm to build underground.
The Maxel Republic realised that there was a lot of excavation in Rubicon but they had no idea how much nor how big the population was. Most of the rock dug out was used for building material. So from the air Rubicon looked like small villages separated by large tracts of farm land; no cities were visible. The twenty percent of the land, allocated as conservation corridors criss-crossed the mountains, hills, coastal lands and deserts.
arriving arcadia bunker entry permittedLeotie, "So how quickly can we evacuate the eastern coast."
"Our modeling suggests 70 minutes - but the eastern coast has easily our best farmlands."
"And is least protected."
They enter the 3D battle bridge. It's a huge room. A live 3D holographic model of the Maxel war games is displayed in the center of the room. Around the edge of the room there were about 50 operators wearing headsets and virtual reality viewers.
"Hi Alex, Brent's ready."
"Great - Hi Brent"
"So where's the target."
"It's this shed about five hundred meters from the target area."
"Every test out and align?"
"to a 'thou!"
"Wish you'd use metric."
" ... to a - uh? Hey what's a thousandth of an inch in metric?"
"2.54 by ten to the minus 5 metres, Brent - sir."
Alexandra, "Shall we get on with the tests?"
Brent, "Sure Boss."
"The display's visual?"
"Show me Infra Red - Visual with IR highlights. Good. Call extreme alert - announce anti-aviary test."
alexandra wynne convenor of war extreme alert east coast and mountains red alert desert anti-aviary test
"Brent has the chair."
Brent, "Target co-ordinates locked in."
"On my mark the next three of their shells we'll divert to the shed."
"Understood - locked in."
"Rolling - fire on their fire."
All eyes were on the 3D model. They only had to wait a few seconds before three tanks fired three rounds. The rounds moved so fast it couldn't be seen in the 3-D model in real time - all three rounds hit the shed. And then a huge explosion. Everyone really wanted to cheer but silence was needed for concentration.
"Three direct hits - 4 meter tolerance - secondary explosion suggests munitions stored in shed."
There is absolute silence for 30 seconds while they watch to see if they are fired on.
"Chair, there is a general cease fire in the Maxel war games."
Brent, "Instigate retaliation watch!"
"Chair, Maxel weapons being targeted on Rubicon targets."
"Repeat! Retaliation watch!"
Alex, "Drop alert to severe."
alexandra wynne convenor of war severe alert east coast and mountains yellow desert green antiaviary test
Alex, "A munitions dump - what a bonus! Great test everyone! - I'd love to see their faces. I'm sure they don't know what happened. But I'm sure they think it was us."
Brent, "Confirm - alert is severe"
Alex, "Thank you everyone. Well done. Let's go and debrief. Let's see how accurate our modelling is."
Brent, "Helen to the chair - Helen has the chair - 20 minute watch."
Helen, "Alert - severe. Retaliation watch."
Alex to Brent, "It's time to send that letter."
© Copyright 1999, Julie Peters