Just 6 hours earlier, the USS Thadaeus Morton, DDG 1001, was engaging in her first patrol after her initial shakedown cruise. A brand new, highly modified, Zumwalt class Destroyer completed after the Gomer war, she was named for Admiral Thadaeus Morton, who was the Former Chief of Naval Operations and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Admiral had died fighting as the Chief of Allied Naval Operations onboard the USS Iowa, during the Gomer war. Now this brand new ship was his legacy. The USS Morton, aside from being almost brand new, displaced roughly 15,000 tons full loaded, with a hull of 610 feet. Her 2 Rolls Royce gas turbines, plus 2 Rolls Royce gas turbine generator sets, could turn about 30+ knots, and her sonar and radar equipment, and the Kingfisher mine detection system were as advanced as possible. What separated her from the earlier ships of the class, and was even argued by some to justify calling this the new “Morton” class destroyer, was that she was fitted out with a greatly different armament system. She was sporting three 6” or 155mm main guns with a range of over 100 miles, along with two 20mm Phalanx mounts, and a number of other “Gomer” killing weapon systems, to include a highly classified and somewhat experimental weapon that was forged from the lessons learned from the Gomers themselves. Each of these systems was designed to kill as many Gomer-type smaller objects as possible and maybe even make a dent in the big ones, should they show up again.
The military always learns from the last war and, more often than not, it is doomed to fight the last one instead of the next one. Still, in this instance, it seemed quite prudent to create a new class of “Gomer”-ready combat ships, in the hope that it just might be a counter to any threat, even the extra-terrestrial ones. This philosophy even carried over into the latest in Battleship design, and the modified Montana Class was well underway, with the first such ship of the class expected to be operational within the next few months. Scrapped at the end of World War II, this particular class of Battleship would carry an extra main battery aft, and was about a third larger than the Iowa Class Battleships used to fight the Gomers. These huge battleships were going to be eventual replacements for the sunken USS Iowa, as well as for the USS North Carolina, USS Massachusetts, and USS Alabama, that had all been pulled out of their museum status to be returned to active service. The second of the class, the new USS Iowa, was to be commissioned in about 6 months, with the follow-on ships to be commissioned one a year for the next four years thereafter. As with the USS Morton, they were incorporating the lessons learned from the Gomer Wars and were the brain child of Admirals Steadman and Lynch, with tweaks from the great Drs. Abramson and Clarkson, all heroes in their respective fields from that earlier war.
The USS Morton was just making a high speed turn back towards Puerto Rico as part of her patrol pattern, when her Captain, Commander Joshua Bennett, received an URGENT FLASH message via ELF.
TO: Commander, USS Morton
FROM: Commander, Supreme Allied Headquarters
1. Large object from direction of the Moon, with anticipated track taking it to position at or near the Puerto Rico Trench;
2. Object appears to be Gomer Mountain Ship; however, travel signature appears different, behavior pattern is altered, and general tracking information is also confusing;
3. Object struck mine, but is still slowing as it approaches Earth, and may enter low Earth orbit, or may continue descent to impact at or near your position;
4. All allied forces on alert for defense as required;
5. Suggested you utilize passive surveillance systems only, but you are authorized to take whatever action you deem necessary to maintain contact and to protect your ship from attack;
6. Report via ELF all movements of the object directly to this headquarters;
7. Priority is for you to maintain contact with the object until relieved, and NOT, say again NOT, take any offensive action;
8. USS Virginia en route to your position and will relieve you of surveillance mission, anticipate arrival within 23 hours of this message.
Signed: s// Patrick,
General of the Army,
Supreme Allied Commander
Captain Bennett finished reading the message, and immediately remembered his experience as the gunnery officer onboard the USS New Jersey during the Gomer battles near South America. He was forced to sit in an ancient Gun Director position as the big Gomer passed overhead and reading this message, just like that night three years earlier, made him feel as though his blood was running about 10 degrees cooler. Nodding to his Executive Officer, or XO, he waved him over next to his chair on the bridge. “Okay, Doug, we’ve got a little problem.” Passing the message to the senior Lieutenant Commander, the XO read it and immediately looked up and aft of the bridge. “Sir, how can they be sure that it is coming this way?”
“Commander, I have no idea, but if memory serves me, they did a pretty righteous job of tracking them the last time. Sound General Quarters, and make it ‘no drill.’ If we have the Gomers coming back, then we had damn well better be on our highest alert!”
“Aye, Aye, Sir!”
“Oh, and Commander, you might want to make sure we’re completely in the passive mode. I think the expression is to make us into a hole in the water! I have seen what happens when they know we are here, and I have no intentions of letting them know shit! Got it?”
“Aye, Aye, Sir!” The XO stepped away and told the officer of the deck to sound General Quarters, and to advise the CIC or Combat Control Center to go to passive systems only. With that command, the USS Morton entered a state of quiet readiness.