The Tenth CircleBlog Posts, Normal by cosproductions | 1 Comment
“McCracken’s back! And I couldn’t be happier. Jon Land’s The Tenth Circle is a knockout thriller blending history, cutting-edge science, and nonstop action. Ancient mysteries, ghost ships, and a modern threat like no other…this is a novel that grips you by the throat and refuses to let go until the last page.”
–James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author of The Eye of God
The Negev Desert, Israel; the present
“We have incoming, General! Anti-missile batteries are responding!”
General Yitzak Berman focused his gaze on the desperate scenario unfolding in amazingly realistic animation on the huge screen before him. Eight missiles fired from Iran sped toward all major population centers of Israel in a perfect geometric pattern, about to give the nation’s Arrow anti-missile system its greatest test yet.
“Sir,” reported the head of the analysts squeezed into the underground bunker from which Israel maintained command and control, “initial specs indicate the size, weight and sourcing of the missiles…”
“Proceed,” the general said when the analyst stopped to swallow hard.
“They’re nuclear, sir, in the fifty kiloton range.”
Another young man picked up from there. “Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, the Mediterranean coast, the Sinai, our primary airfields . . .” He looked back toward Sherman. “And here, sir.”
“Anti-missile batteries are launching!” a new voice blared through the strangely dim lighting that seemed to flutter as the missiles drew closer.
And Sherman watched the animated simulation of dozens and dozens of Israeli Arrow rockets, along with larger American Patriots, shooting upward in line with the incoming missiles. Four hits were scored in the maelstrom of animated smoke bursts, more rockets launched to chase down the remaining four nukes that had survived the fist salvo.
“We have two more confirmed downed!” yet another young voice rang out.
But the bunker fell silent as the sophisticated animation continued to follow two surviving Iranian missiles as they streaked toward Tel Aviv and Haifa.
“Schmai Israel, hallileh hoseh,” one of the young voices began, reciting the prayer softly as the missiles’ arc turned downward, on a direct course to their targets with nothing left to stop their flight.
“Order our fighters holding at their failsafe positions to launch their attacks,” instructed Berman. “Destroy Iran.”
He’d barely finished when two flashes burst out from the animated screen, bright enough to force several squeezed into the bunker to shield their eyes. As those flashes faded amid the stunned silence and odor of stale perspiration hanging in the air, the bunker’s regular lighting snapped back on.
“This concludes the simulation,” a mechanical voice droned. “Repeat, this concludes the simulation.”
With that, a bevy of Israeli officials, both civilian and military, emerged from the rear-most corner of the bunker, all wearing dour expressions.
Israel’s female defense minister stepped forward ahead of the others. “Your point is made, General,” she said to Berman. “Not that we needed any further convincing.”
“I’m glad we all agree that the Iranian nuclear threat can no longer be tolerated,” Berman, the highest-ranking member of the Israeli military left alive who’d fought in the Six-Day War, told them. “We’ve been over all this before. The difference is we’re now certain our defenses cannot withstand an Iranian attack, leaving us with casualty estimates of up to a million dead and two million wounded, many of them gravely. Fifty simulations, all with results similar to the ones you have just witnessed.” He hesitated, eyes hardened through two generations of war boring into the defense minister’s. “I want your formal authorization.”
“To destroy the Iranian nuclear complex at Natanz.”
Israel’s defense minister started to smile, then simply shook her head. “We’ve been over this before, a hundred times. Our army can’t do it, our air force can’t do it, our commandos can’t do it, and the Americans are saying the very same thing from their end. You want my authorization to do the impossible? You’ve got it. Just don’t expect any backup, extraction, or political cover.”
Yitzak Berman returned his gaze to the wall-sized screen where animated versions of Tel Aviv and Haifa had turned dark. “The man I have in mind won’t need of any of that.”
“Did you say man?”