On the warfront in the Pacific Ocean, the battle had come to a stalemate. The coalition forces had stalled in their advance, shocked both by the effective missile defense put up by the Edenian fleet and the broadcast of the EV Heidrek crippling the Carl Vinson carrier group.
The fleets that had come on strong and in high spirits were now at a complete loss. They had been ordered to sink all Edenian vessels and attack the mainland, disgorging thousands of troops from amphibious landers under the protection of naval missiles and coalition airstrikes. And due to the complicated situation in their chain of command, they had effectively become a complete nonissue for the time it took their leadership to discuss a countermeasure, all while under the added stress of facing the overwhelming Edenian ships.
The stalemate didn’t last long, though, as new orders came down from high command. The new order was to retreat to a rally point and launch a retaliatory missile strike against Eden’s satellites in orbit. It was political theater at its finest; nobody thought the retaliation would be effective at all, and everyone thought it would be an enormous waste of money for no gain, but the politicians that issued the orders didn’t care. They had to be seen to do something, at least, and a retaliation for the loss of their satellites was that “something”. 𝓯𝓻𝒆𝒆𝙬𝒆𝓫𝓷𝓸𝒗𝒆𝙡.𝓬𝓸𝓶
Thus, the paralyzed coalition fleet soon regained its head and reversed course, heading for a spot on the equator to the east of Esparia while keeping a close watch on the opponents they were leaving in their wake. The sailors jokingly comforted themselves with the old saw, “we aren’t retreating, we’re attacking in another direction!” It had the benefit of technically being true, as well, so the sailors’ morale rose higher the closer they came to their destination.
Soon, they reached their destination and, in high spirits, another all stop order was transmitted to the fleet.
After coming to a halt, the fleet was brought back to general quarters and an order to clear the decks was passed down. The missile-armed ships in the fleet separated themselves from the rest of the vessels, and the entire fleet spread out, so as to avoid catching other ships in the wake of their attacks.
Once the decks were clear and the fleet had scattered, alarms rang out in every ship as VLS tubes opened, preparing their space-capable munitions to be launched. The alarms cut out, leaving only the red flashing lights in every compartment of every ship of the fleet, then they were replaced by a countdown.
“Three... two... one.... Firing.”
With a loud roar, thousands of missiles began their climb to orbit, headed on intercept courses that would wreak the same level of havoc among the Edenian satellite network as the Aeolus Air Force’s alpha strike had wreaked upon the rest of the world’s modern conveniences.
It only took two minutes for the fastest missiles to reach orbit, where they were immediately met with the hundreds of thousands of pieces of what used to be a functioning satellite network. The shrapnel shredded the first three hundred missiles, creating more shrapnel that joined the swarm of metal that was already in orbit.
The shredding continued as more and more missiles were destroyed, but eventually, seven missiles, through sheer luck, found openings in the layer of destruction and passed through. Over a thousand missiles had been launched, and seven of them made it through. The ratio was incredibly low, but those seven remaining missiles somehow remained on course to impact the Edenian satellites that had earlier moved to medium earth orbit.
They were relying on the surviving satellites, like the geosynchronous GPS satellites and the higher-orbital spy satellites to find their targets. After all, they obviously couldn’t rely on the fragments that remained in low earth orbit. Even so, the amount of electronic warfare in the higher orbits was still prohibitive, so three of the seven missiles ran out of fuel for terminal maneuvering and detonated prematurely. The force of the detonation, even in vacuum, was enough to clear swathes of shrapnel from the new “shredder blanket” in low earth orbit, but alas... there were simply no more missiles to take advantage of those gaps, and they soon closed.
Then, just as the four surviving missiles began their terminal maneuvers, aiming to create large clouds of shrapnel that would begin a second domino effect in orbit, the satellites that they were targeting began rising to a higher altitude in their orbital paths. The missiles, being reliant on programming that had been done prior to launch, detected that they had reached their target and exploded, creating clouds of shrapnel as planned.
Unfortunately, the targets of those missiles simply passed above the shrapnel clouds, leaving them far behind and suffering absolutely no damage whatsoever.
Aron, now sitting in his command center in VR listening to the recorded last words of the astronauts aboard what used to be the International Space Station, paused the recording and looked at the main screen in the command center. It was showing the attempted retaliatory strike by the coalition fleet from beginning to end.
He couldn’t hold back his smirk as he said, “I wonder how much longer it’ll take them to escalate to the final phase.”
[Not much longer, I think,] Nova replied.
“Shall we encourage them?” Aron mused. He thought for a moment, plans and counterplans flashing through his thoughts, then said, “No. They’re already doing exactly what I want them to, and as they say, you should never stop an enemy when they’re intent on making a mistake.”
[True, sir. Want to listen in on their meeting? Our replacement is already in on it.]
“No. I have... more important things to listen to right now,” he replied, unpausing the recording he had been listening to earlier.
“Mom, dad... Sabrina.... I’m not going to be able to come home like we planned. Some... some things happened and I... well.... I’m sure you’ll see it on the news. I’m being brave, dad. I’m really so... so happy that I had you and mom and Sabby in this life. And if there’s a next life, I hope to be your family again....”
The recordings went on, and Aron listened to every last one of them.