You see, our plans to sink the Iranian have been thwarted. Because someone else got there first! I found out this from my dinner companion last night. He is my uncle, Grigoriy Stepanovich Andreev. I should say Captain Andreev, of our Red Banner Fleet. It seems that his submarine Novorosslysk is based in Sochi harbor. He is the other reason for Grandmama’s concern.
Uncle Grigoriy smiled foxily when I mentioned the puzzling disappearance of the Iranian frigate over our borscht. Taking a sip of tea, he leaned back and stroked his dark beard.
“Yes, Shoura, the Iranian will no longer be troubling you and your friends. Let me tell you a story.”
Not long ago, we patrolled the coast, south in Georgian waters. We have many duties, you see. We gather intelligence for our forces. We monitor the cursed mujahids. We protect Allied shipping, and we are there, in case one of the aircraft constantly flying missions overhead is shot down. We are always near when you and your friends are in the sky. And we have other missions more secret still that you need not hear about. Our flagship, cruiser Moskva, is operating in the area and must also be protected. The Americans are operating their submarines here, but they are busy protecting American ships and so we monitor the coast. Imagine my surprise when we found something we were not looking for.
|The Kilo at Sea||Maneuvering|
Alvand is one of the frigates of the Iranian navy, as you have been told. A Vosper frigate, from Britain, with 4.5 inch guns and missiles. Built before you were born, when the American puppet, the Shah Reza Pahlavi ruled in Iran and our long knives were being sharpened to drink American blood and not that of the mujahid of the south. Is it not amazing that the Americans are now our friends again? My mother, your grandmother would say that this is a good thing, for she remembers the Americans from when they were our friends against the Nazis.
Of course, Iran is now the leading force supporting terrorists in Georgia and in Chechnya. So, the intelligence tells us that Iran is engaged in gun-running. And how, you may ask, did this warship advance through the Dardanelles? Past Istanbul, under the very noses of neutral Turkey? The same way we did. Quietly, carefully. Turkey is tired of war and they do not attempt to keep any of the belligerents out now. None of us have desires on Turkey and they know it. They prefer to let us fight, and though they tacitly support their Muslim brothers with materiel and volunteers, they no longer are in the fight personally.
At first, we did not know what we had. In the control room, all was quiet efficiency, you see. It was early in the day, and we would remain submerged. We cruised at periscope depth, at three knots quietly. Novorosslysk is as silent as a shadow on her electric motors. If need be we can raise our snorkel and use our diesel engines but they are loud and betray us to the hostile world above. We connect to the world at night, to change the foul air for fresh and send our radio mast up for orders. We were listening now. And we heard something we did not expect. A ping, cold, crystalline and loud. An active sonar ping!