The Aziya

By the next morning, the Mackenzie had been shadowing the Aziya all night, though she had been keeping her distance.  At precisely 0800, the Captain arrived on the bridge and sat down in his special chair that was situated on the port side of the bridge.

"Okay, we don't want to run into this son-of-a-bitch but let's get a little closer, say 200 yards.  Officer of the Watch, close the distance between us and the Russian.  I want to take a good look at these boys."

The Officer of the Watch ordered "Starboard 10" and a speed change to 21 knots in order to close the distance between the Canadian and the Russian ships.

The bridge crew watched as the Aziya steadily got larger and larger until the Mackenzie took up station only 200 yards off her port quarter.  From this distance, the Canadians could make out much greater detail of the Russian ship.  The Aziya was bulky and high.  Her main deck traversed all the way from the bow to the stern, but she had a main superstructure that was relatively large, likely to house the various operations activities that were going on inside.  Furthermore, unusual for a ship her size, she had three major masts.  One was forward; it was bristling with radar antennas of all shapes and sizes.  The other two masts, one amidships and another aft, were outfitted with her suite of electronic warfare measures.  Aside from the masts, her most predominant features were two large domes.  They looked like large grey tennis balls, and they were situated both forward and aft of the radar mast.

"Look at all the antennas," the Captain said.  "I wonder what they are hiding beneath those grey domes?"

An excerpt from Whiskey 601, a novel by Mark Nelson