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Authors: Joe Buff

Tidal Rip

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JOE BUFF

TIDAL RIP

 

 

 

 

If you won’t dare to think the
unthinkable now, then someday you might be forced
to live through it for real.

No land force can act decisively unless accompanied by a maritime superiority.

—George Washington

Battleships are cheaper than battles.

—Theodore Roosevelt

We assume that peace is the “normal” pattern of relations among states….

No idea could be more dangerous.

—Henry Kissinger,
in
Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy

CONTENTS

EPIGRAPH

PROLOGUE

In mid-2011, Boer-led reactionaries seized control of the government in…

CHAPTER 1

Commander Jeffrey Fuller let the hubbub of the cocktail reception…

CHAPTER 2

In absolute and enveloping darkness, Felix Estabo quietly went through…

CHAPTER 3

Jeffrey was still at the reception at the hotel. As…

CHAPTER 4

When Jeffrey left the president, the crowd at the reception…

CHAPTER 5

Sit tight,” Jeffrey’s driver shouted. “We’re armored all around!” A…

CHAPTER 6

A half-hour flying time south of Washington, Jeffrey’s helicopter banked…

CHAPTER 7

In the western Barents Sea, east of Norway, Ernst Beck…

CHAPTER 8

Before dawn, Felix and his lieutenant roused the sleeping members…

CHAPTER 9

To leave the Norfolk Navy Base covertly and rejoin USS…

CHAPTER 10

Two days later, nearing the Greenland-Iceland-UK Gap, Ernst Beck sat…

CHAPTER 11

Felix Estabo woke that morning in his coffin-sized sleeping rack…

CHAPTER 12

Thirty-six hours later, in the Caribbean Sea aboard Challenger, Jeffrey…

CHAPTER 13

After sneaking through the teeth of Allied defenses in the…

CHAPTER 14

Jeffrey sat in the captain’s place, at the head of…

CHAPTER 15

Beck sat at his command workstation in the Zentrale.

CHAPTER 16

Four days later, near the St. Peter and St. Paul Rocks,…

CHAPTER 17

Ernst Beck sat alone and lonely at the head of…

CHAPTER 18

Jeffrey and Milgrom and Bell were still sequestered in Jeffrey’s…

CHAPTER 19

Felix’s minisub was nestled in a sheltered area where the…

CHAPTER 20

Felix Estabo’s shouting came over the sonar speakers on Challenger.

CHAPTER 21

After another fitful, nightmare-ridden attempt at a few hours’ sleep…

CHAPTER 22

Felix fired another short burst from his MP-5, then ducked…

CHAPTER 23

Ernst Beck watched the data on his console in disbelief…

CHAPTER 24

Ilse Reebeck watched at her post in Admiral Hodgkiss’s war…

CHAPTER 25

Two days later, off the east coast of Brazil, Jeffrey…

CHAPTER 26

Jeffrey awoke refreshed from his long nap and took a…

CHAPTER 27

Twelve hours later, after a block of frequently interrupted sleep…

CHAPTER 28

Ernst Beck had the conn in the von Scheer’s hushed…

CHAPTER 29

The sea was warm and sunlight dappled the surface overhead.

CHAPTER 30

The armored personnel carrier left downtown and got on a…

CHAPTER 31

Beck was startled out of his sleep when a messenger…

CHAPTER 32

Adrenaline surged through Jeffrey’s body, and he fought hard not…

CHAPTER 33

Da Gama had left the room again to issue more…

CHAPTER 34

Felix listened as the noise of the chopper receded into…

CHAPTER 35

Jeffrey changed from his dress uniform into dirty gray overalls.

CHAPTER 36

Beneath the helo, on the surface of the sea, Jeffrey…

CHAPTER 37

Much to Ernst Beck’s distaste, but as had been planned…

CHAPTER 38

Jeffrey’s vacation at sea had come to an end. He…

CHAPTER 39

Ernst Beck’s ship was at battle stations and the Zentrale…

CHAPTER 40

Still no sign of
Challenger
or her wreckage,” Stissinger said…

CHAPTER 41

Six hours later, Jeffrey felt as if his ship had…

CHAPTER 42

Ernst Beck listened in disbelief as Werner Haffner reported a…

EPILOGUE

The relief convoy made it more or less safely to…

 

GLOSSARY

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

NOTES FROM THE AUTHOR

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

PRAISE

OTHER BOOKS BY JOE BUFF

COVER

COPYRIGHT

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER

PROLOGUE

I
n mid-2011, Boer-led reactionaries seized control of the government in South Africa in the midst of social chaos and restored apartheid. In response to a UN trade embargo, the Boer regime began sinking U.S. and British merchant ships. Coalition forces mobilized, with only Germany holding back. Troops and tanks drained from the rest of Western Europe and North America, and a joint task force set sail for Africa—into a giant, coordinated trap.

Then there was another coup, this one in Berlin, and Kaiser Wilhelm’s great-grandson was crowned, the Hohenzollern throne restored after almost a century. Ultranationalists, exploiting American unpreparedness for such all-out war, would give Germany her “place in the sun” at last. A secret military-industrial conspiracy had planned it all for years, brutal opportunists who hated the mediocrity and homogenization of the European Union as much as they resented what to them seemed like America’s smug self-infatuation. Big off-the-books loans from Swiss and German money-center banks, collateralized by booty that would be plundered from the losers, funded the stealthy buildup. The kaiser was to serve as the German shadow oligarchy’s figurehead, made to legitimize their New Order. Coercion by the noose won over citizens who had not been swayed by patriotism or the sheer onrush of events.

This Berlin-Boer Axis had covertly built small tactical atomic weapons, the great equalizers in what would otherwise have been a most uneven fight—and once again America’s CIA was clueless. South Africa, during “old” apartheid, had a successful nuclear arms program, canceled around 1990 under international pressure. Preparing for new apartheid, and working in secret with German support, the conspirators assembled many new fission devices: compact, energy-efficient, very low-signature dual-laser isotopeseparation techniques let them purify uranium ore into weapons grade in total privacy.

The new Axis, seeking a global empire all their own, used these low-yield A-bombs to ambush the Allied naval task force under way, then destroyed Warsaw and Tripoli. France, in shock, surrendered at once, and continental Europe was overrun. Germany won a strong beachhead in North Africa, while the South African army drove hard toward them to link up. The battered Allied task force put ashore near the Congo Basin, in a last-ditch attempt to hold the Germans and well-equipped Boers apart. In both Europe and Africa the fascist conquest trapped countless Allied civilians: traveling businesspeople, vacationing families, student groups on summer tours. Americans and Brits were herded into internment camps near major Axis factories and transport nodes, as hostages and human shields. It was unthinkable for the Allies to retaliate against Axis tactical nuclear weapons used primarily at sea by launching ICBMs with hydrogen bombs into the heart of Western Europe. The U.S. and UK were handcuffed, forced to fight on Axis terms on ground of Axis choosing: the midocean, using A-bomb-tipped cruise missiles and torpedoes. Information warfare hacking of the Global Positioning System satellite signals, and ingenious jamming of smart-bomb homing sensors, made the Allies’ vaunted precision-guided high-explosive munitions much less precise. Advanced radar methods in the FM radio band—pioneered by Russia—removed the invisibility of America’s finest stealth aircraft.

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