CARRIER 10: ARSENAL By: Keith Douglass

CARRIER 10: ARSENAL By: Keith Douglass

CARRIER 10: ARSENAL By: Keith Douglass


Book 10 in the Carrier series.

This time, tombstone and the crew are stuck in the middle of a rapidly

worsening situation. Caught between micromanaging unscrupulous

politicians back home and a Cuban faction which is sick and tired of

being pushed around by the U.S. and thinks it can turn things around

with a blow that will break the United States’ will, can tombstone and

the crew of Jefferson pull off another miracle?

Titles by Keith Douglas

















1. Saturday,

June 0300 Local (+5 Greenwich Mean Time)

Cuban Fulcrum 101

17,000 Feet, 50 Miles South of Cuba Cuban Air Force Colonel Emilio

Santana banked his Soviet built MiG-29 Fulcrum to the left, skirting

the air defense perimeter of the American battle group. The fighter

twisted through the sultry night air as though the mechanics of

airspeed, altitude, and control surfaces were mere formalities in the

relationship between man and machine. The advanced composite struts

and fuselage were extensions of his own body, the howling jet engines

an echo of the blood rushing through his arteries and veins. The

single-seat fighter seemed to read his mind, translating the smallest

twitches of human muscle and nerve into tactical maneuvers that would

have been impossible in any other aircraft in Cuba’s inventory.

Tonight he was alone in the sky, suspended between the heavens and

black water, surrounded by hard points of light that bit into the dark

without dissipating it. Spattered overhead, the stars. To his right,

Cuba, city lights clustered into hard gems set in velvet. Directly

below him, fog seeped up from the ocean and mixed with broken cloud

cover to obscure patches of water. Water and land, night and stars the

world below him seemed remote and untouchable, changing in response to

universal rhythms that man could neither understand nor alter.

Reality isn’t that simple. First the Soviets, now the Libyans, In both

cases, the first seemingly harmless offers of technological assistance

and money had led to an ominous military presence that pervaded every

facet of daily life. The military advisors weren’t so easily ejected

once they’d established a military presence eighty miles south of the

United States.

More than just a mere presence. They are an infestation, a plague. As

long as we can control them, we benefit. But as with any parasite,

there is a danger that the host may suffer.

He nosed the fighter up, aiming directly at a star. The maneuver bled

off airspeed, slowing his rate of travel around the latest of many

American intrusions into Cuba’s sphere of influence.

Forty miles to the north, clearly visible under the full moon and

through the light haze, the USS Thomas Jefferson , and her covey of

escorts were finishing up the last phase of their workup operations

prior to deployment. The Cubans had been watching carefully for the

last two weeks as Jefferson fought a mock opposed transit through

notional landmasses charted in the middle of the Caribbean. Flight

operations had ceased at 2200, and the Cubans had had sole possession

of the airspace surrounding their island nation since then. From his

altitude, on a moonless, slightly overcast night, the only indications

of the American presence were the phosphorescent green lozenges on his

aircraft’s radar.

Santana sighed and shifted his attention away from the stars and to his

duty. As commander of the Western Air Defense Zone, he’d wanted a

personal look at the armada; assembled off his coast. American battle

group workups were a normal part of life, but this one was particularly

irking. This battle group included the first operational deployment of

an Arsenal-class cruiser, and both Cuba and her allies were desperate

for intelligence on the platform.

That the Americans had no compunction about conducting military

maneuvers so close to the coast of his nation irritated him. Had the

situation been reversed, the Americans would have strenuously objected

to a foreign power conducting war maneuvers off their coast. Why was

it that the Americans were unable to understand Cuba’s objections?

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135

Categories: Keith Douglass