Chapter 29 of Silent Vector

Chapter 29 of Silent Vector, in which the Soviet's insertion plan nears completion

CHAPTER 29

THE BEST LAID PLANS     

Yevgeny Kasparanov hasn’t been home in three days. Cloistered like a monk in his small office, two armed guards posted at his door, he pores over volume after volume of the Soviet Union’s most closely guarded secrets as well as its most mundane infrastructure details: total throw-weights of all of its deployed nuclear ballistic missiles; precise ranges for each of its medium and intermediate range ballistic missiles; fuel requirements for each type of missile and launcher; optimum activation timelines; gross weights for all launching equipment, including communication, rear echelon, and support systems; average monthly available merchant marine tonnage; average delivery times from Sevastopol and Vladivostok to Havana by week, month, and season; rail connections to Sevastopol and Vladivostok from every conceivable point in the Soviet Union together with available rolling stock at each connecting point; current billeting of all fully-trained missile crews; topographical maps of a variety of potentially suitable launch sites on Cuba; existing communication, road, and rail infrastructure in Cuba; in short, any bit of information needed to plan the insertion into Cuba of a frightening array of nuclear weapons aimed at the heart of the United States.    

The information now at his fingertips is being carefully translated by him into a detailed plan of execution. As he works through the logistics of deployment from harbor to launch site in Cuba, he knows he is no more than 24 hours away from the first complete draft of such a plan.

A gentle knock on his door startles him.

“Enter!” he commands with some irritation.

The door opens briskly as the General Secretary enters, his considerable body taking up the last square inches of free space in the cramped room. Kasparanov immediately stands to greet him.

“Forgive me. I had no idea it was you.”

“It’s of no matter. Please, sit down, Yevgeny Nikolaievitch. I came to see how you’re progressing.”

Kasparanov sits as ordered.

“Yes. Well, let me see.”

Kasparanov pauses and gathers his thoughts and breath before launching into an abrupt overview of his plan.

“It is my recommendation that we immediately insert an advanced team into Cuba to confirm the suitability of the launch sites I have identified. At the same time, given the challenges of infrastructure and current location, we should begin immediate deployment of the necessary personnel and materiel from their current locations. My report, which will be complete by this time tomorrow, details locations, transportation routes and methods, and ports for embarkation to Havana.”

“And what will all of this activity achieve?”

“At a minimum, we can complete the delivery of an allocation of R-12 Dvina missiles armed with nuclear warheads by the third week in September, to be fully operational within three weeks of delivery.”

“And what of our true objective?”

“All indications are that bulk manufacture is the final component to be completed, ironically, in the so-called American Paradise.”

The General Secretary laughs slightly.

“Well then, you will finish your report tomorrow?”

“Yes, sir.”

“When you’re done, take a day or two off to tend to that beautiful wife of yours. It’s not good to leave such a woman sitting at home alone.”

“Of course.”

“And now I’ll leave you to your work.”

The General Secretary turns to leave. He opens the door, stops, and turns.

“Is there anything I can get you, my young friend?”

Kasparanov is stunned by the offer. The General Secretary offering to fetch a snack for him! The General Secretary calling him “my young friend!” What a moment! He is almost speechless.

“No, Comrade General Secretary. No, I am fine. I assure you.”

“I will have some tea sent up. I’m sure you could use it.”

“Thank you so much. I certainly could.”

The General Secretary leaves Kasparanov’s office and closes the door behind him. He leaves behind a young man almost dizzy with pride, a young man who will now redouble his efforts to rain destruction down on the enemies of the Soviet Union, a young man who harbors no doubts about the rectitude of unleashing a horrific agent of terror on unsuspecting innocent populations across the American landscape.