In preparation for the coming invasion, the nations of the world joined together in common purpose for the first time in human history, the reporter typed. To the front line of this global battlefield — the now-fabled coordinates of 39o 25′ North, 141o 47′ West — every navy in the Pacific, including the mystery-shrouded Soviet Union, rushed hundreds of its most powerful ships: proud aircraft carriers large and small, hulking battleships, nimble cruisers, and sleek submarines, all guarded by an umbrella of hundreds of jets of every kind.
Patiently, eagerly, menacingly, they circled the barren patch of ocean unified in purpose and determined to throw their combined might against the expected flying saucer invasion. Here was where humanity prepared to fight the opening skirmish of the Battle for Earth.
* * *
“The rest of the fleet is in place, Admiral.”
Admiral Crane took the proffered clipboard from his yeoman and scanned the list with a nod of approval. “The largest naval force since Leyte Gulf. We might not be able to stop the flying saucers, but we sure can give them a bloody nose.” A formation of jet fighters roared low overhead, adding emphasis to his assessment. “How far out are we, Captain?”
Captain Richardson of the aircraft carrier Iwo Jima lowered his binoculars and leaned over the shielded radar display. “We’ll arrive at the designated coordinates in less than fifteen minutes, sir. We’re still steaming at full speed.”
“Very well. And we’re sure that those coordinates mark the location of the dimensional portal?”
“Yes, sir. The Peregrine confirmed it before we lost contact with her.”
Admiral Crane shook his head, handing the clipboard back to his aide. “Poor devils. At least we can avenge their deaths.” His voice betrayed a hint of uncertainty that undercut the bravado of his words.
“Yes indeed, Admiral. It’s going to be one for the history books.” Captain Richardson replied, sounding equally unconvinced. He raised his binoculars. “There’s the fleet now, Admiral.”
Admiral Crane hurried to the window. “Incredible.” Arrayed before them, the multi-national armada stretched from horizon to horizon.
“Radar contact!” the radar officer shouted, breaking the awed silence. Admiral Crane and Captain Richardson rushed to the display scope to watch the green sweeping arc of the radar signal. The screen displayed a large, amorphous blob in the sky, growing larger with each sweep. “Anomaly detected sir! I think it’s the portal.”
Admiral Crane looked up, and watched as a point of bright light appeared in the sky and began to expand. “Signal the fleet to stand by for action.”
“Aye aye, sir.” Captain Richardson hurried from the bridge to the combat command center.
Admiral Crane raised his binoculars slowly to his eyes. “Here we go,” he said quietly.