Unbeknownst to all, techno-thriller blockbuster novelist, Tom Clancy, was in
It is the USS Kitty Hawk's third visit to the Changi Naval Base, expressly built to accommodate US carriers and battle groups as the RSN's biggest warships are only frigates. The carrier's first visit was in March 2001. The 5,500 sailors aboard left only a skeleton crew to man the carrier while the rest went on shore leave to shake off their sealegs, take in the sights, get drunk in the bars and night spots and finally spend their two hours in the budget hotels in Geylang with their pick ups for the night.
Back at the Pentagon, Admiral Zumwalt was perusing a CIA report on Osama bin Laden's latest terrorist plan. The CIA's electronic eavesdropping report warned of a possible terrorist strike across the Straits of Malacca at the
He decided to issue a Class 3 Alert to the
His electronic communication to the Kitty Hawk Commander was intercepted by, of all people, the Chinese. Now, the Chinese had been angered by the
This was ridiculously easy. It was literally easier done than said. There were lots of Chinese in
Meanwhile, the efficiency and the tight security of the Changi Naval Base led to a complacency on the part of the
Unknown to even the dreaded
So, on a Sunday night, when most of the 5,500 sailors were still out painting the town red, the
It was not a nuclear explosion but radioactive gases and radiation were released, enough to make the Geiger counters click nonstop in a blur of sound. Radiation badges left on the coats of engine room workers turned black instantly.
The aftermath was, curiously, not chaos as might have been expected.
For a start, the Singapore Government defused the situation by regular, if heavily doctored (as usual) reports. The people were assured that very few would die from the radioactivity. In fact, the number of cancer deaths would only increase threefold in the next few years, well within manageability. Parallels were drawn with the
The end was ironically, political.
All the Singapore Malays left for
Back at the Pentagon, Admiral Zumwalt was concerned. He asked for daily briefings on the situation but began making alternative plans. He would transfer a Sixth Fleet battle group to cover the loss of the
As for Lee Kuan Yew, who had invited the USN to
Only the ordinary Singaporeans who did not have the money or the qualifications or the youth to emigrate, were left behind to an unknown fate.Note: The