Simon Jones was born to wealthy parents in the suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Growing up, his parents showered him with all kinds of fancy but expensive gifts. But what interested Simon most was reading the science fiction as well as stories of unusual mysterious creatures from around the world. He was always fascinated by the tale of the existence of the Loch Ness monster, called Nessie, that reputedly inhabited the water around the Scottish Highlands. Throughout his academic career Simon excelled not only in his studies but also in extra-curricular activities. He wrote for the school newspaper, eventually becoming one of the co-editors. At the same time, he took part in several athletics programs. With such an all-rounder profile, Simon’s parents expected that he would be interested in the academic program of an Ivy League institute like Harvard, Yale, or Columbia.
But to his parents’ surprise, Simon announced that upon graduation from a university, he would like to serve his country for a few years before finding his true calling in life. Accordingly, he applied to attend the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, an institution best known for its rigorous admission criteria, both in academics and extra-curricular activities. Simon successfully crossed all the hurdles to get admitted into the storied institution. In the third year of his studies, he had to decide and declare his future interest in the naval operation, whether it be a marine, a jet fighter pilot, or a surface warfare officer (SWO) in a nuclear powered aircraft carrier. Though known to his classmates as a dare-devil to be a marine or a jet fighter pilot, he surprised them selecting the option of becoming a SWO on an aircraft carrier patrolling around the world to maintain American supremacy in the global theatre. But he never explained his decision, neither to his parents nor to his fellow comrades.
On finishing the program, Simon graduated in the top ten of his class. He was assigned to the missile-carrier destroyer USS Vincent to patrol along the Mediterranean Sea as a part of the US commitment to maintain peace in Europe. During one such operation when his destroyer was heading towards the Black Sea in the north, two Russian jet fighters suddenly appeared in the sky encircling the destroyer, locking them into their firing range. Though emergency sirens began to blare within his warship for a possible confrontation, it turned out be a part of a regular harassment of the American naval forces by the Russian air force personnel in the region.
Next year, based on his commanding performance on the destroyer, Simon was promoted to a Lieutenant level and assigned to the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Lincoln. His first mission was to take part in a joint naval exercise involving other NATO countries, off the coast of Faslane, Scotland. In the dark of the night his naval vessel slowly approached the naval base there. Simon, through his night-vision goggles, felt he spotted his childhood dream creature Nessie, the Loch Ness monster, in the distance. Super excited, he burst into the vessel’s control room, announcing Nessie’s presence on the horizon. The intelligence-gathering officer in charge smiled and pronounced “That’s no Nessie, but a Russian nuclear submarine, keeping a constant watch on us from underneath the international water.”
When this mission was underway, a change in political leadership had taken place in Washington, DC. As the morning sun began to appear in eastern sky, Simon received a wire report from the central command. It detailed about the secret collusion of his country’s newly elected political leadership with arch enemy of Russian hierarchy in order to be victorious in that recently concluded national election.
By Sankar Chatterjee