CARRIER 7: AFTERBURN By Keith Douglass

in Washington and had advised two presidents, but Thomas Magruder had

also made a lot of enemies, people who would be looking for an excuse to

keep his nephew from rising any higher.

Well, that was the way it worked in the Navy sometimes.

He looked at Pamela’s picture again. Marriage and career. .. neither one

looked very solid right now. If he got stuck in some safe but dull staff

position, Pamela would be happy, but Magruder knew he’d go crazy if he

didn’t feel like he was doing something. But if he got a ship of his

own, another tour of sea duty policing some hot spot at the ends of the

earth, could Pamela put up with it?

If Coyote couldn’t hold onto his marriage with Julie, was there any real

hope for him and Pamela? Julie had started with a lot more in common

with Will Grant than Tombstone and Pamela had ever had.

Tombstone found himself thinking about Joyce Flynn, about the shared

danger that day on the Kola Peninsula. Tomboy was no on-camera beauty

like Pamela, but there had been a real connection there. She understood

what Magruder felt when he was in the cockpit of a Tomcat, what it was

like for him to really put his life on the line for his country. Things

Pamela Drake would never really understand.

He loved Pamela, maybe more now than he had in the early days of their

relationship. But the women he’d come to know in the Air Wing, Flynn and

Brewer Conway and the others, were something special. They shared his

world, his dreams and his hopes and his fears. Sometimes Magruder

wondered if love was enough.


Monday, 2 November 1047 hours (Zulu -5)

Cabinet Room, The White House Washington, D.C.

“Mr. Waring, this could be the most important opportunity we’ve seen

since the fall of the Berlin Wall. We’d be fools not to take advantage

of it.”

Admiral Thomas Magruder looked from the speaker, Secretary of State

Robert Heideman, to the President’s National Security Adviser, Herb

Waring. He was used to the Secretary’s stance on foreign affairs

questions but found it hard to believe that even a dedicated liberal

globalist like Heideman could be urging a policy at odds with everything

the United States had stood for since the days of the Founding Fathers.

He was even more surprised at Waring’s evident interest. The President

had been taking a real beating lately in foreign policy, and the smart

money said he should stick with domestic problems rather than getting

involved in yet another ill-advised adventure abroad. Magruder would

have expected Waring–who always had an eye for the main chance–to back

off from another round of foreign intervention, if only to appease the

growing numbers of isolationists among the President’s noisier critics.

Clearly, though, Heideman’s presentation had struck a chord with Waring.

“Let me see if I understand what you’re saying, Bob,” Waring said. “This

Russian general, Boychenko, will surrender to the United Nations, but

the UN will only go along if our carrier battle group is part of the


“That’s essentially it, Mr. Waring-” Heideman began. His measured,

precise voice was overridden by another, louder and less cultivated.

“Mr. Waring, I want to go on record as having disagreed with this entire

idea. It is a mistake from first to last, and it flies in the face of

everything this country has ever stood for.”

Magruder found himself nodding in agreement. The Chairman of the Joint

Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Brandon Scott, leaned back in his chair. With

his mane of white hair and his flashing eyes, Scott looked like a

biblical prophet. His angry words seemed to hang in the room.

“I’m sorry you feel that way, Brandon,” Waring said slowly. .. and with

an oiliness that warned of masked feelings. “But I think Secretary

Heideman may be right, here. This situation offers some interesting

possibilities we really should explore.”

“Going along with this is tantamount to giving up our sovereignty,”

Scott maintained harshly. “A U.S. carrier battle group cannot simply be

loaned out to the United Nations this way, any more than we would

consider loaning out part of our nuclear arsenal! It violates two

Pages: 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 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145

Leave a Reply 0

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *