CARRIER 7: AFTERBURN By Keith Douglass

as the ideal foundation for the “New World Order.’ But for most of its

history the UN has been anything but a reliable friend to the United

States. How many times did we have to impose our veto to protect our

national interests, or our allies’?”

“That was in the Cold War, Admiral,” Heideman said. “Now that we’re the

world’s only superpower, we’re in a much better position to influence

the UN agenda.”

“And when China is powerful enough to influence the agenda, are we going

to feel the same way? Or Japan? Or Europe? If the twentieth century has

taught us anything, it’s the fleeting nature of power blocs and

alliances and national status. Before World War I, England, France, and

Germany were the world’s superpowers. Less than a hundred years have

passed, and look at the world today. Major powers have come and gone,

alliances have changed, priorities are different. The world has changed

in ways they never could have imagined a century ago. And it will keep

on changing. New World Orders may be politically fashionable now, but

don’t gamble our freedom on short-term fashions that could change


“Your fears are groundless,” Heideman said. “The UN would never

intervene against the United States.”

“That’s right,” Reed said. “We’d still have our power of veto.”

Magruder paused, his fingers drumming the tabletop. “I wonder. Does

anybody here remember when the UN passed sanctions against Australia to

force them to overrule one of their state governments when it passed

laws against sodomy?”

“It was an archaic attitude.”

“Madam Secretary, it was an internal matter that the UN blatantly

decided to get involved in. They might just as well have decided to pass

sanctions against us because of the antisodomy laws still on the books

in Mississippi or Alabama. And the time could come when a United Nations

with all this symbolic prestige and real military power you want to give

it could turn that power against us for reasons that are just as


“Admiral, I think we all take your point,” Waring said. “Certainly the

question of giving the UN control over any part of our military forces

is one we shouldn’t decide on hastily. But I think you’re overreacting

when it comes to this Crimean matter. Frankly, the President is

concerned about the buildup of tensions in this part of the world. He

wants to send a message to the warring factions that this sort of

anarchy can’t be tolerated, not when the rest of the world’s population

could be at risk if this thing turns nuclear. Anything, anything that

will defuse this unfortunate situation should be seriously considered.”

He paused, frowning, then rapped twice on the tabletop. “I will

recommend to the President that our battle group in the Black Sea be

placed under UN command and cooperate with them in receiving the

surrender of the Crimea.”

“Sir-” Admiral Scott began.

“That is all,” Waring said. “This meeting is adjurned.”

With a rustling of papers and the scraping of chairs, the men and women

in the conference room began gathering their things and getting up from

the table. Scott exchanged a long, weary look with Magruder. Neither man

said anything, however.

One long-standing tradition of America’s military remained firm and

unshaken, and that was the tradition of political control of the armed

forces. Determining policy was the job of the politicians, not of the

military; admirals and generals could advise, but when the policy

decisions were handed down, it was their duty to shut up and carry out

their orders.

Magruder just hoped that this wouldn’t turn out to be one policy

decision that the United States would end up bitterly regretting.


Tuesday, 3 November 1057 hours (Zulu +3)

cvic, U.S.S. Thomas Jefferson Jefferson’s main briefing room was part of

CVIC, the Carrier Information Center, and, like the department, was

generally known as “Civic.” It was located aft of Flag Plot, where the

admiral in command of the battle group maintained his command center

when he was aboard. Rows of folding chairs were set up facing one end of

the room, which was dominated by a podium and a rear-screen projector.

The walls were hung with artwork–a large painting of the Thomas

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