The attack indeed came, a mere two and a half hours after we lowered our defenses. It was aimed at the plant's central system controls by means of a massive logic bomb, or as is commonly known because of its vast disruptive properties, an "I-bomb." We allowed the attacker to hack in, unimpeded.
The nature of the attack suggested that the hacker logged on to the key control systems by means of a brute-force password search, most likely. Then, once online, using the identity of a plant staff member, the hacker was limited only by the usual access controls to which employees are subjected. We let him proceed until a full trace was achieved...
Delay in taking defensive steps before shutting down the attack allowed partial detonation of the I-bomb - but we did at least avoid the massive cascading effects that would have accompanied a "clean" I-blast. The net result was that the reactor went near-critical, and, because of very strong onshore winds, there was a release of lightly radiated steam over an area populated by nearly 1 million people.
Probably most of them won't die from it right away. More childhood leukemia. That's all. That's all. I'll drink to "that's all."05 August, 18:45 EDT
The ultimate user ID data obtained by the IW Command's deliberate defensive sacrifice at Diablo Canyon gave the ExComm and the president near-certain intelligence that Russia and China were not behind the cyberwar.
While the Cali cartel and the Asian triads were indeed in on the war, the attack center used on the reactor was pinpointed to be in the disputed, territorially ambiguous Abkhaz Republic. From there, electronic traffic analysis showed, most communication since the start of the war had taken place with ... North Korea. The lunatic who runs NK was playing three-card monte with us.
When the president was presented with this information at the ExComm meeting, he told us that the Spratly prisoners, on reinterrogation, admitted that they were intended for capture, and had been instructed to implicate the Russians and the Chinese. How long had NSA and the other intelligence clones known this? Did some of them want conflict with Russia and China - even though they knew, maybe, that it was sourced in N Korea? Should I even be writing this? (They wouldn't let me in to see Connie, who, it turns out, was arrested in DC.)
The overall war plan, according to the leader of the prisoners, was to cause major conflict among the great powers, to allow the triads to take advantage of a long "cool war" to consolidate their control of transpacific trade - both legal and illicit. Yes, North Korea was a willing co-conspirator - but so were a number of other small states - Vietnam, Iraq, Libya - that hated and feared all of the big powers. That is why the cyberwar was designed in the first place - to set them upon each other, in the prisoners' words, "like ravening wolves." Afterward, the world would be safer, as the shadow cast by the great states would diminish, if not disappear - and, maybe, to the victors go the spoils.
Acting on McKay's recommendation, the president called an immediate halt to the cyberattacks on Russia and China. Sent word through diplomatic channels to indirectly apologize. Very, very obliquely ... and deniably, if it came out. At the same time, he ordered a Special Forces assault on the attack center in the Abkhaz Republic. Preparations began immediately, for an attack early tomorrow. He also ordered our forces in Korea to go on war alert.