News of the Slipgate Device came to the Submarine through COMSUBLANT, the Superior Commander of Submarines, Atlantic Fleet, out of Norfolk, Virginia. The story was thin and read like an old Orson Welles plot.

"An enemy known only as Quake has set up slip-gates and is infiltrating population centers. -stop-

Death Squads sent to cleanse the Earth run rampant, (B)Billions confirmed dead.-stop-

All necessary means authorized to stop enemy are authorized -stop-

The JCS in conjunction with the Presidential Staff have authorized the release of Nuclear Weapons at individual Commander's discretion -stop-

Launch Validation and Verification Codes follow. -stop-

Good Luck and Good Hunting, May God have Mercy on our Souls.

-Signed: Gradisnik, G.A., Admiral, USN, SUBLANT- "

The "PERSONAL FOR" message addressed to the Captain made the whole thing even worse. "John," it read "Kingsbay is a shambles. There is no radio communication with them at all. We fear the worst. Most major bases are in ruins: Norfolk is confirmed a total loss as is San Diego and Pear Harbor. The authorization is at your discretion because the President is dead. It is believed the Vice President survived but the slipgates have all but rendered HF coms useless. I pray you get this message and are able to effect the necessary level of force. Good Hunting. (Signed) Gradisnik, out"

John Danks, Captain of the USS Detroit (SSN 979), briefed the crew of the particulars of the mission. The mood was bleak, to say the least. Intelligence showed that our homeport of Kings Bay had been over run by Death Squads. Our first mission was to eliminate that stronghold with a coordinated attack with USS Atlantic City. We were to rendezvous with AC in four hours and plot our attack. The Captain went the Torpedo Room and asked his men there if the Special weapons they carried for use against other submarines could be converted to a land-attack mode. The grim faced warriors knew what he was asking of them and they knew that by now their very own families would have met their fate at the hands of Quake's Death Squads. The Torpedomen knew they could make the required modifications and told the Skipper as much. One of their ranks, the Leading Torpedoman, had an idea to throw into the mix: check the accuracy of the intelligence by putting a landing party ashore to assess the spread of the Quake horde and as a way of directing the cruise missile attack, if in fact one was necessary at all. "After all," he said thoughtfully, "It ain't like we can just pull in and reload, now is it?" "Good point," said Danks, thoughtfully. "What exactly is it you have in mind?" The young First Class looked the Old Man in the eye, took a deep breath and said "Infiltration. I mean we should KNOW that all is hopeless before we fire-bomb the only place we have to reload." His tone conveyed the real sentiment that they all felt. "No sense nuking your home port when your friends and family might have survived." They all knew exactly how he felt. "That make's good sense, I guess," said the Captain. "How many men and all the details will be worked out through with the Department Heads. I'll expect a detailed point paper from all of you in an hour. Good thinking, Mike." The Captain had chosen this man as his Leading Petty Officer of Torpedo Division for just this reason. Quick on his feet and technically competent. The only TM he ever knew that was as good was most likely dead now. He had retired six months before. A victim of Force Reduction. "Victim may just be the right word, too," said the Skipper to no one at all. The Department Heads met and drew up a plan. It allowed for two four man teams to put a ashore in the life boats about an hour before dawn. The teams would each have hand-crank VLF radios, shotguns, an M-79 grenade launcher, and rations for three days per man. Upon making the beachhead, they would test communications and signal by flashing light if radios didn't work. The primary mission was to determine the extent of damage to the pier area, assess the ability to pull the boat in to re-arm and to find the location of the local slipgate. The Captain decided to put the TM LPO in charge of one team with a radioman, an electrician and a machinist with him. All the men he chose were outstanding marksmen and all had been through the Navy's elite anti-terrorist training: they were all experts in covert penetration operations. The other team consisted of the Leading Missile Technician as Man-in-Charge and was comprised of an electronic's technician, another machinist and a navigation specialist. The NAV Tech carried coordinated charts to use if Tomahawk cruise missile support was required. All the ships weapons systems were placed on alert and made ready, all the VLS birds were warmed up and run through pre-flight self tests. The four horizontal tubes were made ready for launch, including the modification to the Special Weapons. The teams met and packed the gear they would need, all silent and grim faced, not knowing what they would find of the place they all called home.

An hour before daybreak the two inflatables were pushed off the forward deck into the misty river. They could see the outline of land before them and silently paddled toward it. They reached shore fifteen minutes later and pulled the boats up into the marshy grass. The radioman worked wordlessly to put the radio's into service and tapped out the Morse-code signal that would tell the ship they had arrived safely.

"S-U-B-R-O-C... Alert 1", he keyed. "Man Battle Stations," came the response.

"They read us five by five, " the radioman whispered hoarsely.

"Test voice," said the Torpedoman.

"MOTHER, this is SUBROC, how read? Over."

"SUBROC, this is MOTHER," whispered the radio, "We read you loud and clear. Standby...

SUBROC, be advised ESM confirms a counter-detection, we are on the side, over."

"What the hell does that mean," asked one the machinists.

The radioman looked at him in the pre dawn gloom and said "That means somebody on shore was listening." No sooner had the words left his mouth than a streak of light flashed through the sky at gentle arc. The ensuing explosion knocked all of them to the ground and lit the sky over the mouth of the river like a Fourth of July fireworks finale. The TMLPO, codename: Torpedo checked all his men. Seven were breathing, the NAV tech had his skull split and lay still on the banks of the St. Marys river, Georgia mud already seeping into his gaping mouth. The radioman was the first to talk "If they could triangulate the boat from that, they got us nailed too, Man. We gots to GO!" Torpedo grabbed the electrician by the collar and helped drag him up. "Everyone got all their fingers and toes?" Six others, devastated by what each had just witnessed, nodded that they were all right. "Let's move, we'll check-out the motor pool for wheels and scout the base out. We'll stick it out as one team, OK? No need to split up now. From now on everybody is on Code-name basis: speak only as a necessity. Leave the radios, they are obviously bad news. Bring the hand crank generator, though, it might come in handy. Let's roll, we got to make these bastards pay."

Just outside the motor-pool garage they found an old marine six wheel armored car. One of the machinists, Wolf, could tell it had been running: the engine was making cool-down clicks. He made hand signals to his brother, Skidd, that it had been hot five minutes ago. He in turn signaled to the others. Torpedo called the ET, Askanni, up and told him to set his M-79 up to take out the armored car. To the others he motioned they would take the walk in door; two low and one high, the other two would suppression fire if it turned into a shooting scenario. They assaulted the door and saw a portly man bent over a five gallon fuel can, sucking a hose full of diesel-fuel in his mouth. Seeing them bust through into the room, he dropped the hose spilling fuel over his feet. "I'll be a rat's fat ass," exclaimed Torpedo. "It's our old buddy Flamingo!" They called the rest of the team into the garage and pumped Flamingo for info. "It's as bad as they all say," he told them. "Thousands are dead and maybe hundreds have been taken through the slipgate, probably to serve as slaves in Quakes dimension. About the only good news is that these sons-a-bitches are sloppy and they leave good equipment laying all over the place. I mean, hell, you can find guns and ammo anywhere they've been. They're pretty good fighters, but they tend to die well if they are attacked by groups." He paused reflectively and then continued, "The resistance is slowly getting organized against em. We got a couple people here that go huntin' at night when Quakes minions are at their weakest. One of them is a wild woman whos husband was killed, they call her the Countess. The groups are forming and calling themselves Clans. These Clans wear uniforms they pull off dead Quake soldiers, these uniforms make it so you can withstand the gravity in Quake's dimension. Man, there were only three or four people alive here until I saw you bust through the door. We gotta get ourselves organized and join the resistance." Torpedo asked him if he knew where the slipgate was. "Right over in the weapons reload building," he exclaimed. "The bastards set it up and we've been trying to kill em off ever since. I've been to the other dimension, man, and let me tell you: we have got our work cut out for us!" Torpedo stood up, looked at his rag-tag force of military patriots and said "We go into the gate at noon. Try to get some rest, if you can. We will make these... things pay for what they've done, we will make them fear Clan SUBROC, we will chase them back to HELL!"