Now the ship would at least be kept in one place for a time where British Intelligence could keep a watchful eye.There it sat, rusting away in the cold Arctic North while Yates watched the three others of its class suffered similar fates.A submarine was assigned to intercept and shadow the Russian battlecruiser at every moment, and a special emergency communications device was installed on that sub that would immediately signal level one critical alert should the sub ever lose contact with the ship.The Royal Navy, and the men of the Watch, wanted to know the exact moment in time that the ship was first displaced to a distant era where now legendary figures like Admiral John Tovey and men like Alan Turing of Bletchley Park had first grappled with the deep mystery of the ship's sudden appearance in the middle of World War II. On a late summer night in July the telephone was ringing in a lonesome and largely unknown office of Royal Navy Headquarters at the Maritime Warfare Centre, Whale Island, Portsmouth.
Kirov would be over 827 feet long with a generous beam of 94 feet and displace 28,000 tons fully loaded.It would be some time before the Western analysts and intelligence experts who watched from a distance would really take the measure of this awesome new ship.In its early months in the Baltic NATO planners had taken to calling it BALCOM-1 for “Baltic Combatant 1.” Once they got a look at the ship they hoped it would be the last they would ever see of this class, but Soviet Russia would not oblige.In that year, forty-four years after its original design took shape and form, the new updated battlecruiser Kirov returned to the northern seas, making a brief training cruise in the year 2020 and then taking a proud place at the head of the Soviet Northern Fleet as its new flagship. Now that the ship had returned to active duty service with new electronics, engines, and deadly new weapons, Kirov once again posed a grave threat to the sea lanes Western navies and their vast fleets of commerce ships depended on.By that time, Commodore Yates was now Admiral Yates, a man of sixty-four years, yet young for his age with just a touch of gray at each Temple and the tall sturdy frame with sharp dark eyes that seemed to notice everything when he entered a room. But it was not what Kirov might do to a present-day ship in the year 2021 that so bedeviled the Watch this time.
The phantom that had haunted the opera of British intelligence for the last forty years had finally taken shape in the real world, built by the hands of men.