[Short excerpt; includes active links footnotes]


“This is a Lance Network news alert.”

Midge McConnell, a member of a pool of contributing editors for the Lance Media Publications, glanced distractedly at the headlines crawling beneath the news broadcast in the upper left corner of her desk monitor.

“Dramatic rescue by Chinese special ops team off the coast of Somalia.”[1]

“Chinese special forces operating so far from home?” Midge thought. Her interest peeked, she reached for the volume control button.

“…Porter live, on board the USS Ornad”

“Yes, Sandra, The first light of dawn is just breaking here off the coast of Africa. There has been a flurry of activity all night where I am aboard the Ornad. Our captain informed the crew over the loudspeakers that the ship had received reports of actions being taken by the Chinese Frigate Honshei. As is Chinese policy, the Honshei [working name for now] cooperates with other UN military ships on patrol out here but operates under its own military command and control, especially in this case where it is a Chinese flagged ship.”

There is a high pitched whine and a loud swish just off camera. The reporter turns away then back to the camera. “That sound was the catapult launching of another camera drone. “Frank…” talking to his cameraman, “Can you catch a view of that Scan Eagle drone[2] as it departs?”

A jumbled blur of ship riggings and open sea, then a blur of tiny wings rapidly fading into the distance. “That’s the third reconnaissance drone launched in the past hour.”

The news anchor, pressing her left ear, interrupts the shipboard reporter. “We are receiving the first videos released by the navy. They were taken about two hours ago by the American drones during the final moments of this dramatic rescue.”

Midge watched with increasing interest. Like cat’s eyes, the drone’s infra-red cameras pierced the darkness and gave a remarkably clear view of the action below.

The pirates speed boat was tied up and bumping along the side of the ship. Behind it, the three smaller inflatable boats of the Chinese assault team. A half dozen boarding rope ladders, secured by grappling hooks fluttered loosely now that the troops were already aboard.

Several bright pale green bursts of light, the color of gunfire when viewed through a night vision lens, could be seen on several parts of the deck. Five, six, seven bodies could be scene lying in different locations. The drone’s camera lens began to zoom in just as what appeared to be a person raising his arms and…A greenish flash momentarily blinds the view, then the body tumbles down a narrow ship’s ladder to the deck below. A door to the ship’s bridge opens another movement of arms, another flash. The screen goes blank.

The anchor woman comes back on screen, “I understand that this is all the video feed we have for now. Lance Network News will keep viewers updated as we get more information.

In other news, a controversial vote…”

Midge muted the volume, turned back to what she had been typing, then hesitated. The news flash that had disturbed her concentration now disturbed her mind. There was something peculiar about that video from the overhead drone.

Picking up her desk phone, Midge typed in a four digit extension number. “Video,” came the curt reply.

“Jack? Midge here. Got any more video on that Chinese pirate rescue you can send me?”

“Yeah. More of it is just starting to come in…hmm. Wait. Oh, sorry. That’s strange.”

“What is it? Flip the wrong switch, did you, Jackie boy?” Midge gently teased. She could hear the tapping of keys and the clicking of switches in the background.

“No. Nothing’s wrong at this end.” More faint sounds of rustling. “Nope. No other reason for it.

“No reason for what?” Midge, as often the case, hovered on the brink of impatience.

“That video feed. It got scrambled. Sliced and diced. In a word…”

“Yes. Yes. In a word…?”

There was a pause, then a concerned tone to the video technician’s voice. “The system has just been hacked, and it happened on their end.”

“What does that mean?” pressing the phone closer to her ear.

“It means the data firewall at the pentagon has been breached. Those video files and who know what else have been snatched right out of those big thick walls there at the Pentagon.”[3]


[later, she reviews the video, frame by frame, and becomes very suspicious that all is not as it had first appeared]


[1] “For China, the deployment in the Gulf of Aden is as much about flying the flag and showing solidarity with a multinational effort as it is about making a real difference to the security of Chinese shipping in the region… The deployment of the Chinese navy in the Gulf of Aden in December, 2008, was the fleet’s first operational venture beyond the Pacific region. Coming after several years of rapid growth in the Chinese naval armoury, including the acquisition of new frigates, destroyers and submarines, the foray raised questions about whether China’s armed forces were beginning to go global.”

“The Chinese navy escort flotilla has successfully escorted 20 Greek ships in the past two years and rescued the “Apollo” on February 27 this year.[2010]”

Since the PLA navy joined the UN mission in late 2008, the Chinese fleet has so far escorted a total of 1,643 foreign and domestic ships, and rescued 23 vessels.[as of March 4, 2010]

[2] “Developed in partnership with The Boeing Company, ScanEagle stands above the competition with high stealthy levels at very low altitudes enabled by a low acoustic, visual, and infrared range signature, an advanced muffler, and a mature modular design that enables carriage of electro-optic or infrared imaging payloads.”

[3] “2008, someone managed to get into the base, and entered a flash drive into a laptop belonging to one of the intelligence officers. That laptop was connected to the wider military network, and the flash drive contained a malicious piece of software”

 Posted by at 2:29 pm