The following isn’t fiction. Prepare for a tale of underwater politics, espionage, and treachery.

It’s the early 1970s. American and Soviet leaders debate how and if they can limit their nuke arsenal.

Despite pretenses, tensions remain high. Each side is vying for the upper hand, that scrap of intelligence that will bolster their diplomatic position.

The CIA, NSA, and Navy think they’ve found it. They believe that they’ve found a potential treasure load of information: A Soviet unencrypted communication line.

Resting on the bottom of the Sea of Okhotsk, which divides the Kamchatka Peninsula and Siberia, the American intelligence and military think that the Soviet Navy has a cable linking a major Pacific Fleet naval base with its mainland headquarters.

They’re right.

The Sea of Okhotsk was considered a Soviet lake and was off-limits to NATO (

The White House receives a daring proposal. If the cable can be tapped, Capt. James Bradley Jr., Naval Intelligence Undersea Warfare chief, and a WWII submariner, argues, America might gain vital intelligence on its adversary and thus gain the upper hand in the nuclear talks; potentially even know if the Russians are about to push the red button of world destruction. The White House agrees.

Operation Ivy Bells is a go.