The Monroe Doctrine Volume I
It was called Jade Dragon…
…and it threatened to destroy the West.
Was an attack on the U.S. imminent?
In a lab deep in the heart of China, a brilliant engineer had a breakthrough. It was the most powerful AI ever created. Ma Young believed the Jade Dragon could solve the world’s most dire challenges. There was just one problem…
The president of China had other ideas.
Was this their chance to conquer?
The war began at the speed of light. The entire NATO alliance stood on the brink of destruction. Cyber-attacks, deepfakes, and a wave of social media disinformation wrought fear and desperation across the globe.
The sleeping giant was awake.
Could Ma stop his creation?
You’ll love this fast-paced techno-military-thriller because we live in a world where this fiction could be truer than we suspect. It will keep you turning the pages.
Get it now.
The Monroe Doctrine series is broken down into seven volumes. Each volume steadily reveals the complexity of Jade Dragon as humanity steadily moves towards autonomous warfare, waged by machines. This is NOT a standalone book.
Release date: January 20, 2021
Publisher: Front Line Publishing Inc.
Content advisory: No profanity or sexual content
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The Monroe Doctrine Volume I
Jack in the Box
Monday, October 25, 2024
Type 909D Merchant Raider
Roughly 300 Miles Away from US Eastern Seaboard
The calm sea masked the deadly cargo hidden in the Panamax freighter as it steadily moved closer to Norfolk, Virginia.
“I sure hope this works. If not, we’re dead,” the executive officer declared, so softly only he and the captain could hear.
“It will work,” Senior Captain Tsai whispered back. “For all intents and purposes, we are just a cargo ship on our way to port.” He paused, waiting for what he’d said to sink in. “Make sure that once we fire off our missiles, you have someone paint the new name on the ship,” he ordered. “It’s imperative that we conceal our identity for as long as we can after this attack.”
“Yes, Captain. I’ll personally see to it,” the young officer noted. He appeared a bit calmer after their short conversation.
Tsai felt proud and nervous as his merchant raider approached their launch point. After nearly two weeks, they were finally within strike range. They’d been heading toward their target along the same international shipping routes as every other cargo vessel traveling from the Port of Thessaloniki to the Norfolk International Terminals.
While outwardly this was a Panamax-sized cargo ship, it was secretly the key to the Chinese Navy’s ghost fleet that was about to wreak havoc on the West. The ship appeared to be a Greek-flagged cargo ship bringing goods from China to Europe, then from Europe to America, and then from America to China before it would repeat the process.
Tsai hoped this mission would have a real impact on the war. If we get lucky, the Americans might even decide a war with China would be too costly to pursue, he thought. Who do the Americans think they are, anyway? The US dictated what countries could operate in the Caribbean and South America, and then they had the audacity to run spy ships and planes along the coasts of China. Of course, they’d freak out if someone did the same to them.
“Captain, we are nearly at the launch point. When should we uncover the missile launchers?” asked the weapons officer.
Tsai turned to the younger officer, the glow of his computer screen illuminating his face. “When we reach ten minutes from the launch time,” he answered. “Verify your missiles have their coordinates for their specific targets.”
“Yes, Captain,” the young officer responded as he pecked away at his keyboard.
Tsai looked at the officer manning their communications terminal. He had his Toughbook open and the satellite cable from outside connected to it. They were connected to DragonLink, the indigenous satellite network China had built to provide low-cost to no-cost satellite internet to the world. Interlayered within the satellite infrastructure was the Chinese military’s newest way to covertly communicate across the globe in real time.
Tsai mused to himself about the passage of time. Somehow time seemed to be dragging on, while simultaneously they seemed to be marching into history at warp speed. Tsai didn’t quite know how to explain this feeling welling up within him.
Finally, he announced to the bridge crew, “In ten minutes, we should receive our final set of instructions—a pair of messages that will change the course of history.”
The young lieutenants manning the communications and weapon systems smiled at the announcement as they waited for the opening salvos of the war against the West.
Joint Battle Command Centre
20 Kilometers Northwest of Beijing, China
President Yao Jintao examined the ocean map of the Pacific, the Panama Canal Zone, the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean. He saw a string of red icons denoting known locations of American warships. He also spotted two groups of interest. One was the Liaoning battle group as it approached Central America. The other group consisted of three green icons denoting the merchant raiders who had steadily moved into their firing positions.
“It’s not too late to stop this, Mr. President,” Han Jinping whispered.
Han, the Foreign Minister, had opposed Project Ten from the beginning. He had argued they should stay the course and not provoke the Americans while they continued to silently build their navy and strengthen their economic grip on the rest of the world.
Yao turned to look at his longtime friend and confidant. “Han, we’ve been over this. Jade Dragon war-gamed this out. By striking the Americans first, we will cripple their military. It will be years before they rebuild and recover from this attack.”
“Mr. President, our merchant raiders are nearly in position,” announced Fleet Admiral Wei Huang, the head of the Chinese Navy.
“We are ready to initiate the first phase of the attack, Mr. President,” explained Dr. Xi Zemin, the head of Project Ten and the architect of Jade Dragon.
President Yao Jintao turned to face his chief scientist and military advisors. “October 2024 marks a historic first for mankind, and China. Today, for the first time in history, an artificial intelligence tool will be used as a first-strike weapon against an adversary.” The President paused for just a moment as he let his words sink in before giving the official order that would change the world. “Commence Operation Dragon Fire.”
Xi smiled smugly as he walked over to the computer terminal, shooing away the operator. This had been his dream for nearly thirty years. If anyone was going to unleash an AI on the world to start a war, it would be its creator.
Xi’s fingers danced across the keyboard for the briefest of moments before the final prompt appeared. It asked him to confirm he wanted to execute the plan.
Turning to look for the President, Xi saw the man had walked up behind him.
The leader of China leaned down as he said, “This had better work, Doctor. Commence the attack.”
Oh, this will work…and when it does, I will be the one who will rule China and the world when it’s over, Xi thought as he nodded and clicked on the execute button.
In the blink of an eye, a ground base’s laser communication system uploaded the command and shot the code from the bowels of the JBCC to the DragonLink satellites high above. Once the microsatellites received the message, they transmitted the kill code to a single cellular tower owned and operated by a company called American Tower.
The cell tower had been recently modified, using a Huawei router with an embedded malware code that would systematically infect a single industrial control unit in every cellular tower owned by American Tower. The code would then spread to the rest of the cellular networks across the United States in the span of minutes. Once the infection was complete, a final kill order would be given, which would corrupt the power relays—allowing more power to cross the circuits than the systems could handle, and physically burning out some of the critical components.
When that last order was received, every cell tower in America would cease to function until the burned-out components were replaced. A set of simple eighty-cent parts would cripple America’s cell networks until they were swapped out.
With the first of many Easter eggs in place, it was now time to start the first of a series of attacks that would destroy the militaries of the West and cement China’s role as the dominant world power of the twenty-first century.
Peterson Air Force Base
0100 Hours Mountain Time
“General, are you ready to head back to the mountain?” asked Colonel Conrad, or Connie to his friends and fellow fliers.
General Anita Barrett had taken the first night shift watch so her deputy commander could spend another evening with his young family, since her own kids were all grown.
Yawning, she replied, “Yeah, I’m ready. I found my go bag. You know, the SecDef thinks the Chinese may not back down. That’s why he’s having us lock the mountain fortress down later this afternoon. Personally, I think once we start gliding some fighters and bombers around Cuba, they’ll take a hint and know we aren’t joking around. They need to leave.”
Connie nodded. “I hope so. When will the fleet start sortieing from their bases? I think once the Chinese see the Navy encircle the island, they’ll really get the message. That’s what caused the Soviets to back down last time around, when they tried to place missiles on Cuba in the 1960s.”
Barrett reached for her coffee and took a long gulp. “Two days. They’re still taking on provisions and doing final maintenance checks. The Marines reinforced Guantanamo a few days ago. The rest of them will start boarding their ships in about a week to head down to Florida.”
Connie blew some air out his lips. “I sure hope the Cubans and the Chinese realize we aren’t messing around. I really don’t want a shooting war with them, but if they think we’ll let them set up military bases ninety miles from our border, they have another thing coming.”
“Right now, I think it’s all posturing,” Barrett countered. “In another day or two, an agreement will be reached to allow everyone to save face and move on. The Chinese economy is in the toilet, just like the rest of the world. They aren’t in a situation to wage a war, let alone a war with us.” Grabbing her go bag, she called out, “Come on, Connie. It’s time to head out to the flight line and catch our ride back to the mountain. The crew here has things covered.”
The two of them walked out of the command building to a waiting vehicle that would take them to a helicopter standing by to fly them to Cheyenne Mountain. Barrett didn’t like leaving the watch commander alone for more than an hour. She had come back to her office on Peterson to grab a few items before they sealed themselves in. She had no idea how long this standoff could end up lasting.
Their helicopter had been in the air for a couple of minutes when she received a message from the pilots telling her someone from the mountain was trying to reach her.
She grabbed for one of the helmets and put it on.
“This is General Barrett,” she said loudly over the noise of the helicopter.
“General Barrett, this is General Landers. We received a FLASH priority message from the NSA. They’re saying there’s a cyberattack underway against the nation’s cellular network. Less than sixty seconds later, the National Military Command Authority issued an order for all military installations to go to THREATCON Delta. I have to seal the mountain. How far out are you?”
Holy crap, this can’t be happening…
Barrett grabbed one of the pilot’s shoulders. “How far out are we?”
“You need to get there in less than a minute. Now!” she screamed.
The pilot dove the helicopter down to the deck as he increased speed. They were now racing to reach the mountain before it was sealed.
“Landers, the pilot says we’ll be there in a minute. Give me a few minutes to get inside before you seal the place up. I have no idea how long it could be before we’re able to open back up.”
Landers replied, “I’ll give you exactly three minutes, General. Then I have to seal the mountain.”
The call ended, and Barrett felt a burning anger building inside her.
This better not be the opening move of a new war…
Moments later, the pilot yanked up hard on his controls, flaring the front of the helicopter as they bled off their speed. He skipped landing on the pad and settled down right in front of the entrance. There was a vehicle waiting for them.
Barrett and Connie were out of the helicopter and in the vehicle in seconds. The driver sped them away before they even had a chance to close their doors. They raced down the tunnel at an ungodly speed for being in such a tight, narrow space.
As they approached the blast doors at the end of the tunnel, they could see they were already halfway closed and continuing to pull together. People were rushing in, being waved in by the security forces airman standing next to the door.
The driver slammed on the brakes as he approached the entrance, scaring the hell out of everyone. Barrett and Connie bailed out of the vehicle, running and stumbling their way to the blast door, which was now almost completely shut. The two of them slid inside, moments before it would have crushed their bodies.
“Thank God you made it, General Barrett. Please, come with me,” a security forces captain said.
The trio ran through the corridors until they reached the command center, where Major General Landers was on the yellow phone, the hotline directly connecting him to the National Military Command Center or NMCC—the command room in the heart of the Pentagon. This was the same room that could order a full nuclear strike if ordered by the President.
Landers pulled the receiver down to his shoulder. “They’re about to move us over to a secured video teleconference in a second if you want to take your seat.”
He pointed to a table with a very wide computer screen and three chairs sitting in front of it. One was for the North American Aerospace Defense or NORAD Commander, one for the operations officer, and one for the watch commander.
Barrett took her seat as the monitor came to life. Instantly she saw a feed from the NSA, CIA, DHS, SOUTHCOM, SOCOM, the NMCC and the PEOC. There was also a feed that suddenly appeared from Air Force One. When that last feed popped on, she knew the Secret Service must be in the process of getting President Frank Alton airborne. That meant the VP would be the one in the PEOC—that or the President’s cabinet.
Moments later, the respective directors or their deputies started appearing on the screens. There was a lot of chatter coming from the various stations until someone from the NMCC muted everyone.
“This is Brigadier General Pike. I’m the duty officer at the NMCC. I will provide a short briefing of what we know. Then the meeting will be handed over to the President and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to discuss.”
Everyone from the various outstations all nodded, paying very close attention, anticipating the critical nature of what was about to be shared. The fact that it was the middle of the night only added to the gravity of the situation.
“Twenty-eight minutes ago, we received a message from the NSA, alerting us to a concerted cyberattack on the nation’s cellular network. It cannot be confirmed that this attack originated out of China; however, it has the fingerprints of their hacker tool sets. At this point, we initiated THREATCON Delta. Seven minutes ago, a second series of cyberattacks took place against our power grid.” Murmurs could be heard from some folks on Air Force One before someone on that end muted their line.
General Pike continued, “I want to assure everyone, it wasn’t an attack on the entire grid. It was an attack on the power plants and transmission nodes that provide power to our military facilities in Hawaii, Alaska, Greenland, Virginia, Iowa, Florida, and Texas. Please note, this was not a full nationwide blackout. This was a very targeted attack on the power grid to these specific military facilities.”
Before the general could elaborate any further, the missile launch warning alarm blared and lights started flashing around Barrett and the command center.
“Sorry to interrupt, General Pike. We’re receiving a missile launch warning from Pine Gap and our CONUS early-warning systems,” Barrett announced forcefully. She turned away from the screen to start barking orders, not realizing her side of the line was still unmuted.
“Where are those missile launches coming from, and do we know what kind of missiles they are?” she demanded.
The action officer relayed, “The 20th Space Control Squadron at Eglin’s Site C-6 is reporting multiple cruise missile launches from several Chinese warships in the Gulf of Mexico.” A short pause ensued as the officer held their hand up to indicate that they were receiving more information. “Ma’am, the PAVE PAWS early-warning systems are now tracking multiple ballistic missile launches originating from previously suspected DF-15 launch sites on Cuba.”
“General, those missiles appear to be tracking toward Texas, Louisiana, and Florida,” an Air Force major called out.
Barrett sat back down, whispering to herself, “They’re going for our air bases.”
“What!” screamed the President from Air Force One.
In that moment, Barrett realized everyone on the conference call had heard the interactions in the command center. She turned to face President Alton. “Sir, I believe this is a preemptive attack on our fighter and bomber bases across the southeast. The only viable military target we have in Louisiana is Barksdale Air Force Base. It’s a B-52 base and the head of the Air Force Global Strike Command. I’ll bet the missile heading toward Texas will eventually track toward Dyess Air Force Base, a B-1B base. Both Florida and Georgia have several fighter bases and command-and-control facilities as well.”
The President shouted some obscenities before demanding to know what they should do next.
The National Security Advisor, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the Pentagon watch officer were all advising Alton to alert those bases and see if they could get any of their bombers under shelter or in the air before the cruise missiles hit.
“General Barrett,” the President finally said over the shouts of advice and information being thrown at him. “Move us from DEFCON 4 to DEFCON 2. Order our remaining bombers to get airborne with nuclear weapons, and order our silos to begin spinning themselves up for possible launch orders. If any of those missiles are nuclear, we must be ready to respond in kind. In the meantime, do we have the exact location where those Chinese missiles originated from?”
Turning to look back at the large monitor on the wall, General Barrett saw a couple dozen tracks originating from a small group of Chinese warships northwest of Cuba in the Gulf and a few locations on Cuba proper. She relayed the coordinates to the President and the Pentagon.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs advised, “Mr. President, I recommend we order our naval forces in the Gulf to engage and sink those Chinese warships before they can fire additional missiles. I also recommend we send some Tomahawks at those ground base systems on Cuba that fired on us. For all we know, they could be reloading those launch vehicles to hit us with a second wave of missiles.”
President Alton sat back in his chair for a moment, a conflicted look on his face.
“Damn it! They struck first! We need to hit them back! What’s there to think about?” shouted the President’s Chief of Staff angrily.
General Barrett cleared her throat as she pulled a phone receiver down to her shoulder. “Excuse me, Mr. President. I’m on the phone with the CO of the USS Hue City, the task force command ship in the Gulf. The CO is telling me their AEGIS systems aren’t tracking any missiles heading toward the US from those Chinese vessels or Cuba.”
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