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
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