Chapter 11

Brazil or Bust

If stoicism were ever tangible it would have been in the form of eight warriors patiently awaiting the mission of their lives. Eyes were calm and mouths showed neither grins nor frowns. On the surface they made it seem like their mission was nothing more than a walk in the park. But their silent thoughts told a much different story. Beyond the objectives and beyond the preparations, there was a wild unknown each warrior had to consider. War never played by the rules of humanity. Instead, war was comparable to Mother Nature, a violent beast that could never be tamed. To do so would be considered an act of God and the last time these warriors checked, none of them was God. They were merely flesh and blood, unable to part the seas, reign down fire, or create the heavens. Why these men decided on facing down the demon, known as war, was a question no ordinary human being would be able to answer. Maybe such a question was never meant to have an answer for maybe war was simply the result of living in such a cold world. Peace would have been nice, but as long as men hated each other, warriors such as these men would always have a role.

Hidden away somewhere on the Jimmy Carter, members of the SEAL support teams were busy preparing weapons and gear for the impending operation. Meanwhile, the shooters were carefully going through the last but most important briefing before deployment. As always, the room was dark, but this time no one was smoking. Cigarettes only made people nervous and everyone involved in the operation needed to be calm. Likewise the standard morning coffee ritual was passed up as well. Caffeine made the warriors jittery and a bad case of the jitters was the last thing these men needed. Neglecting the occasional cigarette and coffee break may have been an annoyance of professionalism. But if professionalism prevented death from doing its job, then maybe the lack of cigarettes and strong coffee was not that bad of a trade off after all.

After going through the weather conditions for last half hour, the SEALs were more than ready to hear the more important details of the day.

"Thank you for the weather report lieutenant." Moggs said from the front of the room. "Now that we've gotten that squared away time for the intel. Captain Grayson."

Grayson walked to the front of the room and began putting various pictures and pieces of information up on the giant computer screen behind him. "Thank you senior chief. Gentlemen, what you're looking at is the intelligence gained from other SEAL teams conducting coastal reconnaissance around the periphery of the insertion zone near the city of Vitória. Not much seems out of the ordinary, beach patrols are usually done by roving bands of DE S-Groups accompanied by their equivalent of the M1025, which you can see behind me." Grayson pointed to a picture of a jeep like vehicle. "We have a grainy photograph of what the vehicle looks like. No need to tell you gentlemen that it may be a wise idea to stay away from those things.

"Next up, we have intelligence taken at the insertion zone. You all will be inserting via minisubs into a cove, the one you see in the photograph behind me. Some of your fellow teams have managed to set foot on the area already, without encountering resistance. But just because they encountered no hostile action does not mean the bad guys aren't there. But preliminary analysis suspects that this area is poorly guarded partly due to the fact that this area is extremely treacherous to guard.

"Once you are out of the water, you will exit the cove and proceed along the only path that could be found, an extremely rocky slope that is constantly bombarded by crashing waves. As one of the shooters told me, the rocky slope reminded him of rock portage during his BUD/S training. It will be challenging and very dangerous to insert this way, but according to your fellow warriors this is the stealthiest way to go. DE does not guard this location particularly well because of the mist created by the waves and the highly obscured ridgeline overlooking the slope. Only a few men can guard the ridgeline at one time and getting a good enough view of what's going on below is half the battle.

"And speaking of the bad guys, the guys guarding the insertion zone area are soldiers from the S-Group. Observation from the coastal recon teams has described these men as being somewhat annoyed with their jobs. They don't move around too much and there seems to be a total of thirty men guarding the facility. Now because DE seems to have the technology to scramble our Keyhole satellite cameras, we don't know if these guard groups are part of a nearby, larger garrison of soldiers or part of a battalion that happens to be passing through the area. To put it simply, we don't know the actual numerical strength of the enemy.

"But all is not lost. Based on the info we gained from our defector, the massive invisible shield that has managed to defeat our weapon systems and satellites is basically a massive culmination of electricity that operates much like a contained EMP. It apparently takes power from various sources, such as dams, fusion plants all spread out across Brazil. Electricity from these power nodes, as we've been calling them, is transferred via a series of radio wave systems to a central location that we believe holds the shield generator. According to our source, only a select few members of DE know where the EMP shield generator is. This extreme act of secrecy seems like an effort among the DE leadership to make sure no defector, or prisoner knows where the shield generator is. As interrogators learned, this source of ours was one of those DE soldiers kept in the dark about the generator's location. However, he said there was a way to disable a part of the shield's coverage.

"Your target's gentlemen are two locations that DE appears to be harnessing power from. One is a hydroelectric dam and the other is a fusion gas electric plant. Disabling both of these power sources will open up a three hundred kilometer north to south corridor in the shield's coverage stretching from the coastal city of Vitória to the borders with Bolivia and Paraguay. That means that all the equipment and weapons we use within this corridor will be unaffected by the EMP shield.

"The men guarding the various electric power sources are the U-Groups, the best of the best of the DE fighting crop. We don't know much about these men, and as our defector friend enlightened to us, not much of the S-Group guys know too much about the U-Groups other than the equipment they wear, the drugs they take that allow their minds to be controlled, and their supposedly heightened fighting abilities. It sounds very science fiction, but its not. DE has been working on various war technologies for years so this mind control drug seems very plausible. But in terms of what we don't know of the U-Groups, we don't know their tactics, we don't know their hierarchy, and we don't know how they specifically operate. I know it sounds comforting but it's the best information we have. That's why we're sending you boys in, to report on the kind of equipment they use, so when the cavalry comes in, they'll know what they're up against.

"I really wish I could give you gentlemen more information. We usually wouldn't send you guys in for an operation such as this. Yes the intel is bad and yes our source may not be as trustworthy as we think he is. But this is what we got to work with and having something to work with is better than nothing. Going in blind is essentially what we're asking you to do. But at least we have the targets which Senior Chief Moggs will explain in his mission execution part of the brief. Gentlemen, I wish you all the best of luck." Turning to Moggs. "Senior Chief you have the floor."

"Thank you Captain." Moggs nodded towards Grayson. "Time to begin the mission execution brief." A satellite image of Brazil appeared, zooming in to a distinct location. "Gentlemen, in exactly two hours you will begin Operation Marathon, an appropriate name for what can only be described as an epic undertaking. Your platoon callsign is Wanderer 1 and you will insert via minisubs towards a cove fifteen klicks north of Vitória. The coastal recon teams have already mapped out the paths for you, already uploaded to the minisubs. Once you reach the cove you will progress out of the water, up a rocky slope, to a hill overlooking the city. Once you reach the hill, you will proceed along a northwesterly course, about 610 klicks to the northern most tip of the Paraná River. Once your platoon reaches the Paraná you will separate into two groups, callsigns being Misery 1 and Misery 2.

"Ackerson." Moggs announced as the satellite image moved. "Your team is designated as Misery 1. You all will be responsible for disabling the power source at Itumbiara Hydroelectric Dam near the city of Itumbiara. The Dam is situated along the Paraná, just a few klicks west of Itumbiara and Itumbiara will be the first biggest city you encounter along the river. Meretti, your team is designated as Misery 2 and you all are responsible for disabling power at Uberlandia fusion gas electric plant near the city of Uberlandia, roughly 210 klicks south of the northern tip of the Paraná. Once both teams successfully disable the power sources you will rendezvous at Santa Fe do Sul, just south of the Grande and Paraná River intersection. Once you join up as a platoon, your callsign changes to Jailbreak 1. You will then give the code phrase for commencement of H-Hour, which is, misery loves company. Once you say that, the whole of allied forces will move in. But during that time you will await the arrival of the Seventy-Fifth Ranger Regiment. While awaiting their arrival it is best advised you do not make contact with the enemy. But if you must engage, do so only in self-defense with expectations that the engagement will not draw out heavier follow on forces that may jeopardized the arrival of the Rangers Do not look for the Rangers, they will look for you. By the time those Airborne Rangers arrive, allied forces will have essentially established a decent foothold on Brazil.

"Gentlemen, you all will be part of a larger element of allied Special Forces groups consisting of British SAS and SBS, US Army Special Forces, Australian SASR, German KSK, and Polish GROM. Every one of these groups is working on various aspects of the operation. We are responsible for opening up the corridor in the shield's coverage. The real invasion will be also consisting of a multinational force consisting of nations from Europe and South America. For times sake I will say various elements of the US Army are waiting at Puerto Suarez, Bolivia for the your go-ahead to move in. Meanwhile, the Marines will be busy fighting their way in from the coast. But an element of airborne Rangers will jump in with a simultaneous push by various other Army Divisions. Once the Rangers have managed to link up with you all, you will officially be on lone to them. That means you will be receiving your operational tasking from the Rangers, until the rest of SEAL Team Four can establish a foothold in Brazil.

"Since I've summarized the path you gentlemen will take, I will now describe the details of this mission. Your tasks consist of reconnaissance and direct action. The recon half of this mission will have you providing updates on what you have seen. I know radio contact will be out of the question, since most everything we use via satellite is blocked by the EMP shield. But our source was so kind as to lend us some computer hardware that DE uses to break through their own little electric curtain. You all will be able to send us pictures and email of all that you have seen. We're not asking for book reports out there, just photos of anything you deem worth mentioning. Each man will be assigned a digital camera as a means of insurance. We know things can go wrong with that kind of stuff in the field, which is why each one of you is receiving one. According to our tech geniuses, all you have to do is snap a photo, take out the USB card, stick it into the USB port, load the photo to the laptop and send it off to us. You all have done this type of stuff before, in Latin America so this should be nothing new.

"Direct action or taking care of the power sources will be a somewhat different exercise, but something all of you can do. Petty Officer Rickers will explain how to disable the power sources each of you was assigned. Petty Officer."

"Thank you chief." The young man nodded. "Alright guys, what I'm holding here looks like an extremely small brick of C-4, with a small black box centered on the top. I'll ask the team demolition experts to come up here for a sec to demonstrate how to use this weapon."

Kaufman and the other demolition expert of the platoon joined the sailor at the front of the room.

"If you gentlemen could each take a brick. Okay, all you have to do is flip this small switch on the top of the small black box, before you set the brick to an object and detonate it. Turning the switch on activates the EMP. But the EMP will do its real work when the brick of C-4 explodes. Simple right?"

The two flanking sailors nodded.

"Great, thanks guys. You two can take a seat now. For the team leaders, I will explain just exactly how you will disable the power sources. Lieutenant Ackerson your team will be disabling the Itumbiara Dam. In order to do this, you must place a brick of C-4 on each of the fourteen turbines harnessing the hydroelectric power. Each turbine should have a control box, plain in sight. You will place the brick of C-4 on the control box and simply detonate it from there. The resulting EMP should permanently disable any electric components powering the Dam. Ordinarily, it simply would have been easier to just blow the whole dam. But since there is a probable civilian population in the way of the river, basic demolition is not an option.

Ackerson and Brigham took a few notes.

"Lieutenant Meretti, you all are responsible for disabling and destroying the Uberlandia Fusion Gas Electric plant. While simple explosives on tanks of gas could have done the trick, we just want to be sure all electric components are disabled as well. In order to permanently disable power at the fusion plant, you'll have to place bricks of C-4 on a total of four generators. Each generator contains enough pure electricity and gas to burn a crater in the earth and we want to create a crater big enough for the boys at DE to see.

"Each of these weapons has been tested countless times and has ninety-five percent success rate. I know you guys wish it was a hundred percent, but it's the best we could do. Any questions?"

There were none.

"Then thank you and give 'em hell fellas."

"Thanks a lot Petty Officer." Moggs said. "A final note about meeting up with any resistance. The brass at SOCOM was reluctant to do this, but they did approve of linking up with any possible Brazilian resistance you encounter. They probably have a lot more information than we do about how to beat these guys. It may be tempting to try and help them and I am not barring you gentlemen from doing so. But I will warn you to not detach from your primary objectives. I know that helping such people will help establish a functioning relationship. However, it is hard not to get attached to helping such people who are quite possibly getting destroyed trying to fight this enemy. Still if you must get involved with any form of prolonged engagement, in support of the resistance, try to not be discreet about your presence. If any of you are spotted helping any resistance, then DE may do something we previously did not anticipate. I will not be on the battlefield with you so I cannot say how difficult it would be to work with embattled resistance. Do what your gut tells and you should be alright out there.

"This concludes the briefing session gentlemen. I won't hark on a bunch of patriotic points, but I will say this. You all will be on this operation for a long, long time. For the most part you all will be alone, surrounded by a bunch of elite soldiers that will not hesitate to kill you. This operation is a big gamble and as the boys and girls in Washington think, success is not on your side. But I know you all do not pay heed to negative criticism and as a result, I expect you to rise above expectations. A lot of troops and civilians are counting on you to pull this feat off. At times your tasks will seem outright impossible, but this is the moment you've worked for all your lives. Your lives will be hell for the next few months, but no one man is in hell alone out there.

Moggs took time to regard his men with a stern gaze.

"Look out for each other out there and complete your mission. No SEAL team in history has embarked on a mission with such caliber. While in no way belittling the sacrifices and triumphs of your predecessors, you all are making history just like they made. People doubted our abilities in the past but we overcame. You all overcame during Hell Week and you overcame all the hardships associated with being active duty SEALs. Adversity is what we face all the time. But what do I have to say about that? Do to adversity what you have always done to it. Flip that muthafucka the bird and knock his scrawny ass back into next week." Moggs smiled.

"HOOYAH!" The sailors roared.

"Alright gentlemen, time to kick ass. I expect you all to be suited up and ready to go within the next half hour. Dismissed."

The warriors stood up and filed out the door.

"You ready?" Brigham stopped Ackerson.

"To knock adversity into next week? Any need to ask?" Ackerson smiled.

"That'a boy." Patting his commander on the back. "Now all you gotta do is prove it on the battlefield."

"Enough talk then, lets do it."

"Hooyah sir!"