From The Ashes

“Please tell me the reports are wrong,” Leila said as she stared at the newly arrived reports in front of her.

Damage assessments, radiological samples of the surrounding areas following the naval exchange, increases in alert statuses within the US, deployments of strategic aircraft, and troops movements all indicated the preparation for a massive strike. She looked at the map displayed on the screen.

“We all wish, but the situation is what it is,” Dianna said calmly and she periodically peeked at the map. “Nuclear weapons were exchanged, there’s no doubt about that. We need to prepare accordingly for the consequences, but we need to do it right. They’re preparing as well.”

“What do you recommend?” Yessica asked anxiously, although she thought knew the answer already.

“Immediate dispersal and deployment of our strategic bombers, and complete deployment of our missile and strategic artillery divisions. Arm them all. Begin pre-launch sequences for ground-based ICBMs and give release orders to all forces with tactical nuclear capabilities. It won’t give them permission to use weapons, but they’ll have the weapons ready to use once you say the word. Last but not least...we need to evacuate.” Dianna said firmly, but also reluctantly.

The heads around the table turned to Leila and Yessica.

“Evacuate?” They both asked with uncertainty.

“Yes, evacuate. Like it or not, we are practically in a state of war that is set to turn into a strategically nuclear one at any moment. We need to evacuate High Command and the Generalissima immediately to the Sabagotá Complex so that, should the worst happen, we can continue to issue orders and continue government operations.”

The heads watched in fear, but nodded in agreeement.

Leila looked at Yessica, then shook her head.

“So you’re saying I have to issue the order to prepare for a nuclear war?” Leila asked in disbelief.

“Technically, no. We’re asking her,” Dianna motioned to Yessica, who continued to stare at the screen where US and Shirazi units were displayed.


“Correct. By Thalia’s order before she died, as Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, she also received custody and authority over the nation’s nuclear arsenal.” Dianna stated.

Yessica leaned back and shook her head, and then sat back forward and grabbed her pen and began signing a handful of papers off to her side.

“I am giving you all the orders to disperse and arm our strategic forces. I am giving full release authority. I am giving the order for the missile and strategic artillery divisions to deploy to their firing points. I am giving the order for the Ministry of Civil Defense to begin emergency preparations for imminent attacks. I am giving an order for all key political and military personnel to evacuate to their designated wartime facilities until further notice.” Yessica said shakily as she passed the paper orders to Dianna, who immediately passed them off to be disseminated accordingly.

As everyone began to stand up, Leila stopped and shot out of her seat.

“Wait!” Leila snapped loudly, and the bodies soon sank back in their chairs. “You’re not even going to discuss it with me? You’re just gonna make that call?”

“Leila, this is war. It’s a military matter now. What the fuck do you plan on doing if not this? You can’t talk American ICBMs out of the air. If you can somehow convince the President not to do anything stupid fine by me, but for now, we need to prepare for the worst. Now let’s fucking go, the car is waiting to take us to Sabagóta.”

Yessica said loudly, and ushered the others to leave.

Leila stood glaring for a moment, then hurriedly gathered her things and took off with the others to the motorcade.

“Madam President, we have Air Force One on line one.” A young lieutenant said to Leila as she sank into an officer chair in the main conference room of the deep bunker.

“Thank you Lieutenant.” She replied warmly, and pressed a button on the black phone at her side.

“Leila,” President Ravenwood said sternly, “what are you doing over there? Do you have any idea of the consequences of your actions?”

“I am acting in the best interests of my nation.” Leila said anxiously, shifting around in her chair in hopes it would ease some of the tensions built up inside her.

“You need to stop this. We’re monitoring your troop movements, your strategic deployments, everything. All my advisors are telling me is that as of right now, I should strike all your strategic targets and eliminate the possibility of an attack,” he continued, and in the background i heard the muffled commotion from those around him telling him not to say anymore, “Tell me why I shouldn’t do this.”

“We are acting in defense of our nation.” Yessica snapped angrily before Leila could answer. “Your ships entered our territorial waters first. We told them to turn back and they refused, so we engaged. It was your ship to use the first nuke, not ours.”

“We are acting on behalf of the Free World. Something you all will never understand, but one day you will .” The President snapped angrily.

“Some day we will.” Yessica chuckled before disconnecting the line.

Leila stared at Yessica in disbelief before bolting from her seat. Before she could snap at her sister, an Air Force officer burst into the room and whispered something to Dianna, whose face gave a grim look.

“Our radar is picking up several unidentified objects approaching from the sea. Preliminary detection systems indicate cruise missiles. They’re believed to be targeted for our ballistic missile warning stations. Also, the Americans are scrambling their bombers.” Dianna muttered blankly.

Leila and Yessica looked at each other, their faces pale.

“We have to attack,” Leila said to Yessica, who was still stunned by the news. “Now!”

Quickly, Yessica snapped out of her trance and nodded, and motioned for the officer carrying a black briefcase to come over. Much like their American and Russian counterparts, this case contained everything needed to authorize the release of strategic weapons.

She picked up the phone on the desk and pressed several buttons then waited for a moment.

“Generals, this is Field Marshal Velez. We are skipping standby phases. Attack orders will arrive momentarily,” She said calmly as she flipped through a book from the case. “As Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, I am giving Attack Order 74ZE. I repeat, Attack Order 74ZE has been issued. Do your duty to our nation. Goodbye.”

She set the handset back down and sank into her chair, and everyone else sat in silence. There wasn’t much to say in the last 30 minutes before history changed forever.

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