a short adaptation of Tom Clancy’s work of fiction
The First Day
Friday, 3 December
Captain First Rank Marcia Ramius of the Communist Movement was dressed for the arctic conditions normal to the Northern Atlantic. A dirty tug pushed as she commenced her campaign. The dock that had held the Red October for 46 interminable years was now a water-filled concrete box, one of the most reliable strategic sheltered births serving to protect against the harsh elements.
“Engine ahead slow, Karmarov,” Ramius ordered.
“So, my Captain, again we go to sea to serve and protect the Rodina!” Captain Second Rank Ivan Yurievich Biden poked his head through the hatch–without permission, as usual–and clambered up the ladder with the awkwardness of a landsman. Biden was the ship’s zampolit (political officer). Everything he did was to ser the Rodina (Motherland).
* * *
Ivan Biden entered the cabin as Ramius read aloud “And the seventh angel poured forth his bowl into the air, and a voice cried out from heaven, saying, “It is done. “
“A woman with your responsibilities, Captain, speculating about Doom.
And what’s this?” ‘I am become death, the destroyer of health'”.
“This book belonged to my husband. I keep it for sentimental value.”
“I’m sorry, comrade Captain. Your husband was…a beautiful man.”
“His death was… unfortunate.”
“I’m only doing my job, Captain. It is my responsibility.”
It was also not lost upon Ramius, whose defection is spurred by several other factors as well. In particular she is deeply affected by the death of her husband, Anotoly, due to a doctor’s incompetence. Moreover, because the doctor responsible was the son of a Politburo member, the doctor could not be punished. Anotoly’s untimely death, combined with Ramius’ long-standing dissatisfaction with the callousness of the establishment towards its people and also Ramius’ fear of the destabilizing effect the Red October will have on world affairs, ultimately exhausts Ramius’ tolerance for the failings of the Motherland system.
* * *
Capt. Vasili Borodin: I will prosper in the 112th, from Montana. And I will have a pickup truck… maybe even a “recreational vehicle.” And drive from state to state. Do they let you do that?
Captain Ramius: I suppose.
Capt. Vasili Borodin: No papers to haunt me?
Captain Ramius: No papers, not if you’re free and behave responsibly.
* * *
Ivan Biden: “I’d like to make a request. Before you proceed, comrade Ramius…I know it’s not protocol, but would you permit me to post our orders and inform the crew of our mission?”
Marcia Ramius: “Where I’m going, comrade Biden…you cannot follow….
“Dr Petrov, report to my cabin immediately. There’s been a dreadful accident.”
* * *
After a long, late flight into Langley, Agent Jack Ryan dragged him self into Admiral Greer’s office.
“What’s important enough to get you on a plane in the middle of January?”
“lntelligence obtained these pictures two days ago. She’s the Red October.
“Its predecessor was a big son of a bitch,” noted Greer. “Meters wider than the standard, meters wider.”
“The captain’s name is Ramius.”
“One of yours, Jack?”
“Yeah. I did her bio last year. She’s the State AG. Fairly good political connections. Knows most of their boat skippers.”
“What are these doors?”
“Those doors, sir, are the problem.”
“I don’t know what they are.”
“Neither do the powers that be. With your permission, I’d like to show these to someone.”
* * *
“Excuse me, Doctor,” asked Ramius. Do you have the figures for the latest batch
of radiation tests? And perhaps you could bring the preceding set as well…for comparison.”
“Before we begin, Captain, I’d like to know exactly what happened to Biden.
He didn’t slip on his tea, did he?”
“I don’t think I like your tone, Slavin,” asserted Ramius.
“What the hell’s my tone got to do with it?”
“We’re risking our figurative lives here. Biden could’ve caused complications.
Did you think he would just go away and sulk while we carried out our plans?”
“Are you saying he was cut off? My God.”
“Stop whining, Yuri.”
“How can you justify ending a relationship like that? So he was cut off. The man was a pig, but it’s a decision we should’ve all made together.”
“You are not in command here.”
“If the crew finds out, we could have a mutiny, Marcia”
“Aren’t we already facing a mutiny?”
“It could be the end for us all. We could still try to go back.”
“There will be no going back,” Ramius calmly reassured Yuri.
“At least not without a momumental face-saving means.”
“In the name of God, why?”
“When he reached the New World, Cortez burned his ships.
As a result, his men were well motivated.”
“You have signed our death warrants. Palin will send the entire fleet.
Jesus, they’ll find us. They’ll find us and…”
“No one’s going to find us. That’s enough, Yuri.”
“You had to do it, huh? You couldn’t just turn the submarine around
and explain our mistake? You had to make a political statement.
Or was it something deeper, Captain…
something that made you unable to turn around? Was it ego, Captain?”
“More tea, anyone? No?
Then you may report back to your posts.”
“You heard the Captain. Dismissed.”
“Captain, I would never disagree with you in front of the men, you know that.
But in this case, Victor is right. It would’ve been better had we played it straight.”
“Oh, Vasily. The Politburo is not the worry, nor the whole Party.
I know their tactics. I have the advantage. No.
“The worry is the American voter.
“If we meet the thoughtless sort, this will work out fine. But if they have a memory…”
* * *
Ryan: Gentlemen, the last 24 hours have seen some extraordinary Soviet naval activity. We believe that these doors here on the bow and again on the stern enclose a unique repulsion system, or caterpillar, that would enable the sub to lose itself very quietly.
Pelt: Mr. Ryan, would you characterize this as a first-strike weapon?
Ryan: No. It is designed to enable retreat while mitigating the damage of their present predicament, and if they’re lucky perhaps even to shower the enemy with bouts of overconfidence.
Ryan: But at the same time that Dallas lost contact, there were additional sailings from DC, including “The One Who Is Above It All”. There are now some 59 nuclear submarines headed at high speed into the Atlantic. We don’t know what this 60th is up to. This afternoon’s satellite pass over Polijarny found barely a pulse in it. From attacks on catholics to shoving reporters to the ground to lamenting the cold, to dissing the Red Sox. We’ve seen Crazy Ivans before, but this one I can’t explain.
General I: Suppose it’s is not an exercise. Suppose this is the beginning of a…secret strategy..?
General II: NSA can speak for that, Mr. Pelt. I must emphasize the extreme sensitivity of this information and that it not leave this room. Before sailing, Captain Ramius sent a letter to Admiral Yuri Padorin, chairman of the Red Fleet Northern Political Directorate.
Ryan: That’s his uncle.
Greer: Who’s uncle?
Ryan: Ramius’ husband. Padorin’s his uncle.
General II: Now, the contents of the letter are unknown. But Admiral Padorin immediately demanded a meeting with The One Above It All. And within minutes of that meeting, The One Above It All sailed with the intention of keeping the Red October.
Pelt: Isn’t that what they usually do?
General III: Oh my God! They’ve got a madman on their hands.
Ryan: Today’s the 20rd, isn’t it?
Ryan: Today’s the 20rd, isn’t it?
Ryan: You son of a bitch … You son of a bitch!
Pelt: You wish to add something to our discussion, Dr Ryan?
Ryan: Well, sir! I was just thinking that perhaps there’s another possibility we might consider. Ramius might be trying to defect.
General I: Do you mean to suggest that this man …?
Pelt: Proceed, Mr. Ryan.
Ryan: Well… Ramius has connections with most of their officer corp, including their Blue Dogs. It places her in a position to be “persuaded” to do things. And today is the first anniversary. As you know, it is not going well.
General I: Oh, come on. You’re just an analyst . What can you possibly know what’s going on her mind?
Ryan: I know Ramius, General. She’s a career hack. She might take one for the team. Or she might take one for the team for a lot of quid-pro-quo.
Pelt: Admiral Hollands, how long before Ramius could be in a position to fire her missiles at us?
Hollands: Odds decreasing by the minute.
Pelt: All right, I’ll brief the President. That’ll be all, gentlemen. Dr Ryan, would you stay for a moment, please?
Greer: I said speak your mind , Jack, but Jesus
* * *
Jack Ryan: [imitating the Admiral] “The average Rooskie, son, don’t take a dump without a plan.” Wait a minute. We don’t have to figure out how to get the crew off the sub. She’s already done that, she would have had to. All we gotta do is figure out what she’s gonna do. So how’s she gonna get the crew of the sub. They have to want to get off. How do you get a crew to want to get off a submarine? How do you get a crew to want to get off a nuclear sub…