CARRIER 7: AFTERBURN By Keith Douglass

Sometimes Magruder, patriot that he was, felt deeply ashamed for his



Friday, 6 November 1604 hours (Zulu +3)

ACN Satellite transmission Medium shot of a large, imposing, white

building surrounded by trees. UN troops, wearing bulky flak-jackets and

blue helmets, are everywhere in evidence. Cut to medium close-up of

Boychenko, speaking earnestly with a U.S. Navy captain and an enlisted


“In the historic city of Yalta today, the chaotic disintegration of the

Russian Federation took yet another step into anarchy, as Russian naval

forces in the Crimea refused to go along with General Sergei Boychenko’s

plan to turn the region over to UN forces.”

Cut to long shot of Russian soldiers moving cautiously along a street,

using abandoned vehicles or fallen rubble for cover. Cut to blurry view

of a jet aircraft streaking overhead, then back to another long shot of

soldiers in the street. Two men drag a wounded comrade to shelter.

“The mutiny has precipitated sharp fighting between army units loyal to

Boychenko, and naval infantry and air force units under the command of

Vice-Admiral Nikolai Dmitriev. Casualties are reported to be heavy.

“Dmitriev has declared Boychenko to be a rebel in the employ of

antigovernment forces and has assumed full command of all military units

in the Crimea, this in the wake of the attempted assassination of

Boychenko during UN ceremonies here yesterday morning. Authorities

believe that attempt was probably instigated by Dmitriev, though

spokesmen for the Black Sea Fleet’s commander deny it.”

Medium shot of UN soldiers near the White Palace. Cut to a view of the

wreckage of a large helicopter on the palace grounds.

“In the meantime, some one hundred UN personnel, including a contingent

from the U.S. Navy’s Jefferson battle group, now steaming offshore, have

been trapped in Yalta by the rapidly escalating hostilities. All flights

out of the area have been canceled, and military helicopters have been

grounded. Dmitriev has threatened to shoot down any foreign aircraft in

the region, fearing, perhaps, Boychenko’s escape.”

Cut to long shot of an older Russian woman with a small child, huddled

against the side of a building. Zoom in on her age-wrinkled face as she

stares apprehensively up at the sky. Cut to medium shot of a wood-frame

house burning, then to several long shots of civilians in small,

desolate groups. Some look fearful, some angry. Most look bewildered or

simply numb. Cut to tight close-up of the first woman’s face. She is


“For the people of Yalta, and the entire Crimea, the war goes on. .. and

the killing. .. and it doesn’t really seem to matter who is fighting


“For ACN, this is Pamela Drake, reporting live from Yalta.”

2135 hours (Zulu +3)

Tomcat 216 The Black Sea Dixie held his Tomcat, his new Tomcat, steady

at five hundred feet, a sea-skimming altitude that would put him in a

vulnerable spot if the Russians jumped him but that might give him and

the seven other Tomcats flying in an extended formation with him a

critical few more minutes of evasion from Russian radar. It was fully

dark, with sunset having taken place four hours earlier, the sky partly

cloudy, and the new moon just two days away. He couldn’t see the water

flashing beneath his F-14’s belly, couldn’t see anything, really, except

the mingled cool green-yellow glows of his cockpit instrumentation

lights, his vertical and horizontal display indicator screens, and his


His pulse was pounding; he could feel it in his throat, against the

collar of his flight suit. It felt good being on a full op again,

instead of flying racecourse ovals over featureless spots of ocean on


Cat Garrity was riding backseat with him again, and that felt good as


“Coming up on the way point, Dix,” Cat told him over the ICS. “We have

unknown aircraft in the vicinity, at two-seven-oh to three-three-five.

No sign that they’ve noticed us yet.”

“Rog. Maybe they can’t see in the dark, huh?”

“Don’t count on it. Our Prowler friends can only jam them so much. When

they get close enough, they’ll see us.”

Two separate flights of EA-6 Prowler ECM aircraft had departed from the

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