Archive for September, 2009


“The Righteous Stuff” – Chapter 8

September 30, 2009

The Righteous Stuff

by Jeffrey D. Waggoner

based on characters and situations in the

“Domination of the Draka” novels written by S.M. Stirling






Jaeger had been briefed, to an extent, on how the plane’s rocket motor actually worked. The oxidizer was a highly concentrated form of hydrogen peroxide; the fuel was a combination of methyl alcohol and an agent that helped to promote the combustion between the fuel and the oxygen produced when the hydrogen peroxide was catalyzed.  As the hydrogen peroxide came in contact with the catalyst, it was converted to superheated steam and oxygen. The methyl alcohol was ignited in the oxygen rich atmosphere. The engine ran extremely hot – about 1300 degrees centigrade. Jaeger was more than a little concerned about having this flame sitting at his back, but he was somewhat fascinated by the idea of riding a rocket, even a small one.

He knew that the small craft was extremely maneuverable. He’d seen what it could do in combat when it had shot down his own plane and those of several of his friends. Still, it was somewhat disconcerting that it had no horizontal stabilizer. There was a rudder and there was the triangular wing; but it seemed as if the plane would be more than a little unstable. Jaeger knew that it wasn’t, thought, when in the hands of a skilled pilot – like the girl who had shot him down in Austria.

It didn’t even have any landing gear! It sat on a small cradle with two wheels, its tail supported only by a short skid. It was expected that it would land on its belly, on soft grass. The Odenathus test facility had no grass of any kind, unless you counted the stiff scrub that pushed its way up through the desert floor around a few of the buildings. Jaeger wasn’t quite sure while the plane was going the land. It certainly wasn’t going the land on the runway.

This particular model was painted in various shades of green, gray, and tan. The one that had shot him down in Austria had been painted mottled white and light gray in a winter camouflage pattern. He knew they were only a few that had been built as production models, before the factories were bombed; this one looked like it was in relatively good repair. There were only a few small dings, scratches, and dents – the kind of usual scrapes found find when transporting aircraft from place to place. Jaeger was certainly unsure at this point what he was going to be expected to do with this plane, but he assumed that if he wanted to keep his skin he should find out everything he could about it. He unlocked the canopy and slid it back, peering into the very small cockpit.

It was easy to see why the pilot who shot him down had been a petite female. He wasn’t sure if there was really room inside for him. Instrumentation was minimal. There was some sort of artificial horizon, an altimeter, a couple of fuel gauges marked in German that didn’t look very accurate, an air speed indicator, and controls for the radio. There was no throttle because the engine was either on or off, and generally it was always left on. Apparently the Germans had not been quite sure if it could be restarted in flight. On the nose of the plane there was a tiny propeller, no more than twenty centimeters across, that drove the generator for the electrical system. Since there was no landing gear there was no need for controls for wheels up or wheels down, and there were no navigational aids since the plane could venture only a few kilometers from its airfield. It was controlled with a stick and rudder pedals like planes from fifty years before. There was a control that seemed to be for some sort of flap arrangement on the wings. There was also a red button on top of the control stick for the gun. Jaeger had never learned enough German to really read any of the markings on the controls, but he expected that before he would be asked fly it those markings would be repainted. All in all, it was a very simple aircraft – just one that could fly at a thousand kilometers an hour.

Not that Jaeger expected that he would be asked to flight this plane in anything that simulated a combat situation. He expected that it was to be used more to test the rocket engine than to test the aircraft itself. He hadn’t ever concerned himself very much with propulsion; he knew as much as he needed to about most kinds of aircraft engines and what they could be expected to do, but he never found himself terribly devoted to the concept of exotic new power plants. Some pilots tried to learn everything they could about new aircraft design, and over the past few years found themselves increasingly frustrated by the inability to keep up. Jaeger was smart enough to learn everything he needed to learn, but he knew he often had gaps in his background. But this was different – a rocket engine required no air to run, and therefore it could be used at a much higher altitude than conventional jet airplane engines. He wanted to learn everything he could!

One of the things that Jaeger and his friends had discussed from time to time was how to achieve higher altitudes. They quickly came to the conclusion that if you didn’t have to drag of all of the fuel and all the airframe with you the whole way, you could achieve much higher speeds and, therefore, much higher altitudes. If this plane was carried, perhaps, under the wing of heavy bomber, it could be carried to a reasonably high altitude and released. Assuming it was possible the start the rocket motor in the air, while flying at maybe five hundred kilometers per hour, it might be possible to break the sound barrier with a tiny plane like this!

Jaeger shook his head slowly. The plane certainly didn’t look like it could withstand the “wall of air” that was to be found at supersonic speeds. If it was possible for this plane to break the speed of sound, it was just as likely that it would disintegrate around him. No, he would really need to be convinced by the engineers and the scientists that this was possible before he put his life on the line – especially just for the cause of science!

Jaeger slid the canopy back and locked it once again and hunched down to look underneath the plane, but there wasn’t much more to see. It seemed to be primarily built of aluminum, hopefully with a steel structure inside, and fortunately it wasn’t built partially out of wood, as many German aircraft were at this time. Many production German aircraft had plywood in the fuselage or on the wings because there was too little steel and aluminum available in wartime. Apparently the German engineers were just as nervous as he was about the effects of high speeds on their new invention. Jaeger stood up and tapped lightly on the wing with his knuckles. He was rewarded with sort of hollow ringing thud which, will not feeling exactly substantial, at least didn’t sound like there was plywood underneath.

Jaeger watched the sky with binoculars as the German rocket plane climbed. It was being flown by Sam Forsythe, a friend of Gus’ who was one of the smallest pilots. At just over 165 centimeters, Sam was barely tall enough to have qualified for pilot training. It had always been assumed for ages that brute strength was necessary for a pilot. In other wars that might have been true, but hydraulic control systems had changed all that. At that point, it came down to reflexes, eyesight and keeping a cool head. Samantha Forsythe was one of the best. She also weighed under under forty-five kilos and right now was drilling a hole in the sky at about 650 kilometers an hour.

“By the White Christ that thing is fast,” Jaeger remarked to the other pilots watching. Casey Witherspoon, a big, redheaded, bony man who would never fit in the rocket’s cockpit looked downcast.

“Ah sho’ly would like to feel that,” Casey whispered. There were a couple of snickers. He glared at the other pilots. “The plane, you assholes, the plane!”

Jaeger patted him on the shoulder. “We know, Casey.” Forsythe had been completely uninterested in the other pilots, socially, since arriving in Syria in the previous March. It wasn’t long before the rumor circulated that she was not terribly interested in men at all. No one had gotten far enough with her to confirm or deny the rumor. She was extremely professional, to a fault, actually, and never became “one of the boys,” even for a moment.

Suddenly there was a pop from the sky. All the pilots looked up again, and saw white smoke pouring from the left side of the aircraft. There was no longer any exhaust from the rocket engine visible, and as they watched Forsythe banked to the left. It was obvious she was trying to glide back to the desert runway for a landing. She was only about three hundred meters high, and sliding down the left wing as she banked. She was running out of altitude quickly.

“Pull up, dammit, pull up!” Casey muttered as the plane continued the turn. “Ah think she’s havin’control problems, not just the engine flameout.”

The plane continued in the bank, turning through the point where the nose would have been pointed at the runway. It was still nose-down and diving, probably at over 600 KPH. In a few seconds it was over. The plane spiraled into the low hills just past the runway and was lost from sight. There was no explosion, but a whump could be heard by all the pilots standing on the taxiway.

“Shee-it,” said Jaeger. “Shee-it.”

An engineer from the Technical Directorate was running the briefing for the pilots and flight crews in one of the hangars. The doors were open behind the folding wooden chairs to bring in what little cool air the desert allowed.

“We are reasonably sure we know what caused Centurion Forsythe’s problems. We can blame it on poor materials used by the Germans in fabricating the fuel tanks. The tanks are steel with a plastic lining. Without the lining the steel would catalyze the hydrogen peroxide, turning it into steam and oxygen.”

“In the case of this flight, the fuel tank developed a hairline crack. The crack literally was no wider than that, but since the plane was accelerating at a high angle of attack the fuel was forced down toward the crack. The fuel was already under pressure as it was being fed to the engine, of course. The fuel forced through the crack began to catalyze, which then allowed the oxygen and alcohol to mix in the interior of the airframe. Apparently the water that was a byproduct of the reaction was insufficient to stop the fire that subsequently started in the electrical wiring channel, and that was what you saw. The Germans did not use fireproof wiring or conduit, and there were other flammable materials in the space. With the oxygen being poured in through the crack the fire spread rapidly, and the crack increased in size. Smoke filled the cockpit in a very short period of time. The Germans also did not pressurize the cockpit, as you know, or the smoke could have been forced out. They were short on materials and time, and knew the plane had a relatively low operational ceiling. We believe Centurion Forsythe was dead before she hit the ground.”

He cleared his throat, then gestured behind him. “We still have one more aircraft. We will make closer inspections of the tanks, and will attempt to replace wiring where we can. However, all of you must understand that this vehicle was not built by the standards of our own people, and therefore, despite the design and technology present in it, it is a dangerous and primitive thing. Good luck!”


“Righteous Stuff” update

September 29, 2009

I’ve been pounding away at the book, and should have cracked 80K words today but then had other things to do so I couldn’t finish the chapter I was writing. It involves the Nazca Lines in Peru, of all things. There’s a lot of little incidental research like that I’ve had to do, which slows down the word production but makes the story better – which I think is the idea.

Besides, it keeps my mind off of Obama going to pitch the Chicago 2016 Olympics. Sheesh.

Anyway, I’m closing in on it. I’m still planning on it being just about 100K words when I’m finished. We’ll see. There’s still a lot to write!

More chapters in a day or so, when I get the chance.


“Righteous Stuff” update

September 27, 2009

51YEGDRGFCL._SS500_I had some free time in a motel room in Dayton, Ohio, while traveling to judge a marching band show, and wrote about 2000 words of “Righteous Stuff.” A lot of description of a suborbital test flight of a Draka orbital prototype. I had no internet connection – it wasn’t that good a motel – so I have to look up some map details before it’s finished. I also have to find a place in South America to land the poor guy! I’ve spent some time rereading “On The Edge Of Space,” Milt Thompson’s great description of the X-15 program, and a lot of real-world X-15 flight profile data ends up in the story. (I also noticed that the hardcover is going for almost $ 70 used – maybe I should sell it and buy the paperback version!)

The other book that has been extremely useful is the Apogee Books’ “X-20 Dyna Soar.” Apogee publishes some excellent books on the history of space flight, many with CDs or DVDs included.

Almost time for my flight back to Chicago. Hopefully I can land my pilot safely tonight or tomorrow!


Transnational Progressivism and Obama

September 27, 2009

caliphatePresident Obama has tried to have have his cake and eat it too, as shown in his speeches to the UN and then the G20 this week. On the one hand, he is the perfect transnational – far more concerned about how the people of Europe view him – as well as currying favor from well-known kleptocrats and dictators – than he is about how the American people feel. I really do believe he does not have a traditional view of American, why it has been the most successful nation in the history of the world, or why people here are able to do so much. As Limbaugh says, this is a man who is ashamed of his country, who feels he must apologize for it at every turn. While we have had weak presidents before (like the increasingly crazed Mr. Carter), I can’t recall a president who actually felt the direction his country has taken since its founding was wrong.

Wikipedia defines transnational progressivism thus:

Transnational progressivism is a term coined by Hudson Institute Fellow John Fonte in 2001 to describe a movement and political view that endorses a concept of postnational global citizenship and promotes the authority of international institutions over the sovereignty of individual nation-states.

It is worth reading the full definition. Col. Tom Kratman calls such folks “tranzis” and describes the logical extension of their beliefs put into worldwide practice in some of his books, especially “Caliphate,” “Carnifex,” and “A Desert Called Peace.” I recommend them all.

I never thought one man could move the country in such a dangerous direction so quickly. Fueled by the promotion of a “historic” presidency and using the specter of racism as a way to quiet critics, President Obama has made it possible to do harm to our freedoms in less than a year that could take decades to repair.

Then, after showing the Iranians, the North Koreans, Hugo Chavez, and all the petty despots that the US is now a very tissue-paper tiger, he tries to talk tough – for him – about nuclear weapons production in Iran. Is there anyone out there with an IQ above the freezing point of water than believes the diplomatic approach will work this time, when it never has in the past?

Theodore Roosevelt has been beat up by conservatives lately for his goals of making the federal government bigger, and I’m not going to defend him for that. However, his adage “Speak softly and carry a big stick” is still the way to handle diplomatic issues – from a position of overwhelming strength. We can be strong and be moral, and we should. If we are strong and do not act in a moral fashion, we should be criticized by other countries. However, if we are strong and we work to helping the nations of the world live peacefully together, and with the maximum amount of freedom for everyone, it seems to me we are operating in a very moral way.

Obama wants the first just by wishing. That never works, and he is either incredibly naive or has another agenda. I rather hope it’s the former, since the latter is even more frightening. I don’t think he is interested in maximizing freedom for anyone, except maybe Hugo Chavez. The much-maligned Bush doctrine was an attempt at helping countries achieve freedom, with the idea that free nations do not make war on their neighbors. (See “The Case For Democracy,” by Natan Sharansky. It provided the important beginning of Bush and C0ndi Rice’s policy.)

So we come back to the subject of freedom, here and abroad. America has always been about freedom. We have had to restrict some of our freedoms over the years, and more and more have been taken from us by the government. We can’t drive a car without a seat belt, even though no one is harmed except ourselves. (I have a personal story about how I was saved in an accident because I was NOT wearing a seat belt, but today no one would even believe it.) Smokers have become second class citizens, discriminated against almost as minorities were a hundred years ago. And those who are overweight are the next targets of the Nanny State – enough so that I am looking for ways to save myself the hassles that I know are coming.

More and more of our wealth is taken from us, not just by our elected leaders, but through regulations and fees that we have no representation in changing. That’s why I am swinging more and more libertarian, and I suspect others are as well, if the September 12 march tells us anything.

More on taxes later. For now, I wanted to get across that I do not believe in transnational progressivism and to urge you to learn more about it. It is the road to ruin for our nation, and for the world as well. Be afraid for our nation, my friends, but do not be afraid to learn all you can – while you still can. Knowledge is power.


I Don’t Get It!

September 24, 2009

According to the stats feature on WordPress, the post of mine that has consistently been viewed more than any other was my New Year’s post.

Yeah. It was a bad pun, beats me why people search for “mule deer.” (By the way, does anybody remember the SNL character Edward Muledeer? Played by Al Franken, no less. You couldn’t get less than Al Franken, in my opinion.)

Makes me cry for teh intertubes…


“The Righteous Stuff” – Chapter 7

September 24, 2009

The Righteous Stuff

by Jeffrey D. Waggoner

based on characters and situations in the

“Domination of the Draka” novels written by S.M. Stirling





“Come on, Al, you have to ask her!” Jerry Meyer was badgering Allan Northfield again, for the hundredth time, as they walked home after school.

“I don’t have to do anything, and I don’t think she likes me, anyway! Forget about it, Jerry!” Northfield was thinking about “her” despite his protests. Esther Landry, daughter of a prominent real estate man, one who had made a killing in the market since the Army came to town, wouldn’t be interested in the likes of him.

“Umm, Al…what if I told you that Lois already talked to her.” Meyer was looking up at the sky, at nothing.

“Jerry! She didn’t! Tell me she didn’t!” Northfield stopped short, a real look of panic on his face. “She wouldn’t do that on her own…did you put her up to it!”

“Maybe, a little. But you’d have a great time! And you could double with us, so there’s no real reason for you to be upset…”

“What if she says no…”

“She won’t. Look, Lois told me. The fix is in. She likes you, and she’ll go to the dance with you. All you have to do is ask.”

“ ‘All I have to do is ask.’ Right. Sure. It’d be easier to enlist in the Army than call Esther Landry!” He snorted, put his hands in his pockets and started walking again. “And besides…I don’t have the money to go, and I don’t even have a decent coat to wear. I can’t ask my dad. You know what the government price controls have done to the price of tomatoes. He said his crop was bigger than last year, and he only got about seventy-five cents on the dollar from last year’s prices. It’s probably good that I’m staying with Myron…one less mouth to feed.”

“Umm, Al…what does my dad do for a living?”

“He’s just about the biggest lawyer in town. All the military guys come to him for everything.”

“He’s also about your size, and wears a suit every day to work. You should see ’em, Al. Lined up in his closet like soldiers. He must have twenty black suits. I’m sure he’d loan you one. It’s only two dollars to get into the dance. And we could all eat dinner at my place.”

Al had to admit that Jerry’s “place” was more impressive than the restaurant of the Island Lodge, the biggest hotel in town. The mansion sat right across the road from the municipal beach, with beautifully-sculpted grounds and huge white pillars on the front porch. In a town full of dour German and Eastern European immigrant families, who believed in doing everything themselves, it was probably the only home that had a real live gardener to tend the flowers. The house was a three-story Colonial, with at least a dozen bedrooms and a foyer like something out of a movie. The dining room table probably seated twenty around its impeccably polished surface. Jerry’s family was the only one in town to have a full-time cook, as well.  The ritual that was the Homecoming dance wasn’t as big a deal to those who defined the social institutions in DeLery’s Landing. Maybe this will work…but she’ll say no, anyway.






Jaeger sat on the front porch of the mansion, on the top step, to one side of the ornate double doors. He looked out at the grounds, at the scores of serfs working the fields, the grounds, the long drive leading to the house. He was less intimidated than that first night a year ago, but still couldn’t get used to the sheer number of people it took to maintain the plantation. It took half that number of serfs to maintain his whole airbase, most likely, but then, the base was not built for entertaining or impressing the highest levels of Draka society.

Then again, maybe McPherson just likes big things, Jaeger thought. The scale of the estate was huge in every respect, from the high ceilings on each floor in the mansion to the oversized barns and outbuildings. But McPherson was a large man, who knew that many of the people in his circle were intimidated by size, if little else. His family had been Draka practically since the Founding, but instead of settling in Archona or Diskrapur, or even Cape Town, with the “old money,” he was out here, in Syria, which had been a significant part of Draka civilization for only about fifty years. He wasn’t the second son; he had plenty of reason to stay in the south.

But here he was, and here was Lillybeth as well. She could have been bitter, particularly with her household duties. Her mother had been dead for five years, and she had grown into the role of hostess of the McPherson plantation much more easily than Jaeger would have expected. He had seen her dozens of times since, and she never gave any indication she was unhappy in her life in Syria.

Of course, she had friends, from school and from her father’s friends’ families, and they had all reached an age where they could move about with some degree of freedom. She was never lonely, and certainly didn’t lack for male companionship, either.

For some reason, though, she really had taken to Jaeger. Maybe it was the wildness of the test pilot image, although nothing could be further from his real life; maybe it was his somewhat harsh and uncultured speech from growing up on a backwoods plantation in Kenia Province. Maybe it was simply his lack of pretentiousness.

Now there was a thought! There was no doubt that Jaeger wasn’t nearly as polished as Lillybeth’s elite group. He didn’t see much reason to affect such airs, either. He really liked her, but he wasn’t head-over-heels in love with her. While he would miss her if he didn’t see her any more, he knew he would eventually be transferred out of the program, back into combat. There were pilots being lost every day in the meat grinder that was Eastern Europe, and he expected to be recalled any time now.

Jaeger had completed test programs on eight aircraft in the last year, and fortunately had not had to eject from any more planes. He was truly a machine himself in the air, flying the exacting test programs with such precision as to astound the engineers. He assumed that some of the other pilots were jealous, but cared very little about that. He was always somewhat of a loner, and had few friends among his fellow pilots. He got along with them well enough, joking with them before flights and so forth, but didn’t see much reason to develop strong friendships there, either. He was there to fly, to experience the true joy only being in the air could give him. He’d tried to explain that feeling to Lillybeth, but she just laughed lightly at his stumbling for the words.

He expected to be recalled to the Front at any time. The news was only somewhat favorable, even by Draka standards. The Nazi war machine was as formidable a foe as the Draka had ever faced; and the Draka were drawn into the conflict late, with little preparation. Archona had hoped to sit this one out and pick up the leftovers, or attack the weakened winners in Europe. The occupation of Europe was always in the Draka plan; it was never planned that it should be attempted so soon. Perhaps in the mid-Fifties or so, chunks of Eastern Europe could have been carved off, piece-by-piece. By 1960 France could join the Domination, Britain a bit later.

The Draka had overrun the remains of the Ottoman Empire and raced through Greece and Poland. Hungary and most of Austria were now under their control as well. Russia had been a mess before the Draka entered the conflict and the reports coming through were few and conflicting. It sounded as if civilization had completely broken down. Once the Nazis were dealt with, Jaeger expected the Russian occupation to be relatively conflict-free. They’d be chasing down bushmen for a long while, though.

“Yo jus’ sittin’ heah wool-gatherin’?” Lillybeth asked playfully as she came out the front doors and skipped down the steps. She was dressed in riding clothes today, chamois jodhpurs and a thick flannel shirt, and polished high riding boots.

“Just thinkin’, is all.” Jaeger replied as he stood up. She put her face up for a kiss and he did, but lightly, and quickly, so the serfs working in the front yard wouldn’t see.

She pouted. “Is that all I get, after all this time?” Then she smiled. “Ah guess Ah’m still kinda intimidatin’ to the big, tough, flyer boy!” Come on, let’s go ridin’!”

Jaeger had learned to ride as a boy – living on a plantation, you practically had to – but he was never a big fan of horses. They seemed to have minds of their own, and he liked his transportation to do his bidding. Still, he had to admit that the estate was beautiful. The gardens were carefully kept, the fields painstakingly tended and irrigated. He found he was very interested in the irrigation system, which had turned this area into such an Eden.

He sort of remembered his father talking about the desalinization plants on the Mediterranean when he was a boy. They were similar to those used to provide water for his father’s fields in Africa. But the sheer size of the pipes, valves and pumps was incredible. The main feeder water line that came from the coast was over three meters in diameter. Even once it arrived at the plantation and split, the smaller pipes were at least two meters in diameter. It was a measure of McPherson’s status that a single line had been installed all the way to the plantation just for his use. Jaeger did wonder about a backup pipeline, but then decided it was so carefully tended that it probably didn’t require one.

“You’re a chatterbox today, for sure,” Lillybeth chided him.

“Sorry, Lilly, Ah was jus’ admirin’ the fields an’ infrastructure. It’s pretty impressive, no mattah how many times Ah see it.” The horses walked on down the broad service path between fields of winter wheat.

“Well, some day it might all be mine, and what in the world would a girl like me do with it?” she replied, but with amusement in her voice. She never seemed to take her status very seriously.

“Jus’ what do you want to do?” Jaeger asked.

“You mean when Ah grows up?” She laughed, a light, musical sound.  “Ah don’t know. Ah’s spent most of mah time takin’ care of Daddy and his social activities. Ah don’t think much about the future, Ah really don’t.” She frowned a little. “Next year Ah have to do mah Service. They’ve let me put it off as long as possible, since Daddy needed the help so much. Ah don’t even know where Ah belongs there, but I expect someone will tell me.”

“That they will,” Jaeger agreed. “But you really have no plans beyond that?”

“Well, Daddy will have to manage without me for at least two years. That’s been taking up a lot of mah time – teaching the staff what he needs and wants. They try, they do – but they don’t know him like Ah do. One more season of balls and dinners and such, and Ah can go to the Service with a clearer conscience.”

Jaeger looked at her with new respect. He knew she took her duties as the woman of the household seriously, and seemed perfect for the role, far beyond her years. He was a little surprised he was allowed out with her unchaperoned, though, with her being barely twenty and he being almost ten years older.

“What?” she asked, as she noticed his expression.

“Ah was jus’ thinkin’ how you seem to be the older of the two of us,” he said. “Ah never have to think about more than mahself and maybe the plane Ah’m in. You have – ” he waved his arm, encompassing the fields and the main house beyond – “all this.”

“Freya’s sake, Gus, don’ get so deep-thinkin’, hey? It works out, it does. Come on – race you to the house!” She snapped the reins lightly and her horse took off at once, and Jaeger managed to get his to try at least to keep up. She always won these races. He was beginning to thing she won everything, every time.


The Apology to the UN

September 24, 2009

I’ve heard enough of Obama’s speech to say this: he is rapidly rolling from incompetent boob to dangerous imbecile. Does he really live in a world where no one wants to harm us? He doesn’t get it: they don’t want to harm us because of what the President does, says, or stands for – they do be cause of what THE AMERICAN PEOPLE do, say, and stand for. And Mr. President, that is NOT going to change, no matter what you say.


The Axelrod – Soros Connection

September 24, 2009

The American Thinker has a piece about this that can be found here. I still think George Soros was behind the financial market craziness in September 2008, which prompted the financial “crisis” of October 2008. I wouldn’t be surprised if he and his minions were behind the oil price hikes of the summer of 2008. All these set the stage for the Obama Presidency. I can’t find the data on this, but I’ve not had the time to wade through all the nuttiness that surrounds Soros on practically every web page that mentions him.

On the other hand, I don’t think Axelrod is as smart and devious as he gets credit for. Someone would have led him into this…and Soros is perfect.

Scary stuff. It’s like a James Bond movie, or Dr. Evil…but he’s real, he has money, he hates Republicans (especially the Bush family) and he really hates Israel.


“The Righteous Stuff” – Chapter 6

September 18, 2009

The Righteous Stuff

by Jeffrey D. Waggoner

based on characters and situations in the

“Domination of the Draka” novels written by S.M. Stirling







Newly-minted Centurion Augustus Jaeger strode up to the glossy mahogany main doors to Robert McPherson’s main house as the sun touched the horizon. At least, they called it the “main house,” probably to distinguish it from the three guest houses on the plantation grounds. Any one of the three was larger than Jaeger’s father’s home in East Africa, and the mansion was large even by Draka standards.

Jaeger stopped for a moment before entering the house, turning and looking back over the grounds. There were at least fifty autosteamers on the grass or on the brick driveway; another twenty or so had been parked further down the drive as Jaeger walked up to the house. It was most likely a very large party, and everyone who was important in Syria province would be there.

Jaeger tugged self-consciously at the collar of his dress blacks, took  a deep breath, and walked past the stiff-backed doorserf into the foyer. In keeping with the oversized dimensions of the house, the entrance seemed large enough to play polo in. It was also completely empty, both of people and of furnishings.

“Hello? Is anyone theah?” Jaeger took a few steps inside onto the marble floor, looking around.

“Down on the far end, suh,” said the serf who manned the door, almost causing Jaeger to jump. “They-all be waitin’ for you there.”

I guess I’m just a little nervous, thought Jaeger. It is my first formal party, after all.

Robert McPherson stood just inside an ornate pair of hand-carved wooden doors, greeting his guests as they entered. He was a big, florid-faced man, in his mid-fifties, with thinning sandy hair and light blue eyes. He was dressed in a very conservative tuxedo, with a minimum of lace on the cuffs and with only a single ruby earring in his left ear – but the ruby was about a centimeter and a half in diameter.

Jaeger was always less confident around big men. While he was strong, and wiry, he hated looking up at someone. McPherson seemed to be an extremely confident man, and he had every reason to be; he was fabulously wealthy, even by Draka landowner status; he was a decorated war hero, and he seemed to move in circles most Draka citizenry could only dream about. It had been said that Robert Angus McPherson was one of a handful of men who could tell the Archon what to do, and Jaeger could believe it. While McPherson was smiling, shaking hands, patting friends on the shoulder, all the while talking in a low, sincere voice, he simply radiated power and privilege. Jaeger found himself drawn toward the man in spite of himself.

The light blue eyes turned on Jaeger and seemed to search though to the back of his head.

“Centurion Jaeger, isn’t it?” McPherson said in a remarkably soft voice, oddly free of the usual Draka drawl. He had very little need to speak louder; the room, while floored in marble, only contained about fifty people when it could easily hold three times that many with comfort.

“That’s correct, suh, Augustus Jaeger, Air Forces, currently attached to the Research Division at Odenathus, suh,” said Jaeger, with as little tremor in his voice as he could muster. “Ah really appreciate havin’ the opportunity to attend, suh.”

“We’re glad to have you, Centurion. I’ve watched your progress with the Inkanyamba project. It’s a stone bitch to fly, I assume.”

Jaeger’s eyes narrowed. How to set this up, so I don’t step on myself. “Well, suh, it’s a high performance aircraft. Mebbe the highest-performance we have. When y’all fly somethin’ that fast, and that maneuverable, bad things can happen when the slightest thing goes wrong. It’s mah job ta see what those slightest thing are, and if ah can stay alive in the process, so much the better.”

McPherson chuckled. “Well said, young man. I see why your superiors are so happy with your work, even if you rarely bring a prototype back in one piece!” Before Jaeger could respond, he turned him by a light touch on the shoulder, and pointed at a cluster of low couches in a far corner of the room. “Why don’t you stop over there first, this evenin’. There are a number of younger people like yourself over there, including my daughter, Lillybeth. I’m sure you will enjoy yourself more with them than with the old gray-headed folks like me!”

“Suh, as ah said, ah’m just delighted to be heah. Ah certainly will go seek out your daughter an’ present mah respects.”

McPherson clapped him on the shoulder. “Do more than that, young man! They ah extremely bored here, ah’m sure, and would love to hear of your exploits! You would be doin’ me a great favor!” He turned away, greeting another guest, leaving Jaeger with no recourse except to continue moving in that direction.

The young people were sitting on three overstuffed couches upholstered in muted greens and golds. The couches were arranged in a U shape with the open side away from Jaeger as he approached. Three young women sat on one, two young men on another, and a couple sat close together on the center couch, facing away. Jaeger walked around to the open side just as they burst out in laughter.

“An’ then he ran away, the sissy,” a thin blond woman hooted, clapping her hands. She looked to be about twenty, with her long, straight hair done up on the top of her head. She was wearing a dress that seemed to be all ruffles; a frilly, frothy thing in light blue. She had a straight nose and chin, with a profile that could be called sharp. Jaeger thought she would age into a fierce, haughty woman much like his mother’s friends from the African plantations.

The others laughed with her. The blond girl stopped laughing and turned toward Jaeger with a somewhat predatory look. “Excuse me! And who do we have heah?”

“Augustus Jaeger, Centurion, Domination Air Forces.” Not knowing the real age or marital status of the young woman made it hard for Jaeger to be as gallant as he wanted to. How to refer to her? Or to the rest? He had too little experience with people close to his age who were not wearing a uniform. “Ah’m lookin’ for Miz Lillybeth, if y’all can point her out to me.”

The girl on the center couch spoke up. “That would be me, Centurion. I am Lillybeth McPherson.”

She was sitting back on the couch, ankles crossed demurely. The man next to her had his right arm around her shoulders, somewhat possessively, Jaeger thought. He was tall, definitely over Jaeger’s height by centimeters; he was dark-haired with heavy brows. He seems broad-shouldered and muscular, but not fat. Jaeger wondered briefly if he could handle himself in a fight, then turned to the girl who had spoken.

Lillybeth McPherson was not a short woman herself. Even seated, Jaeger assumed she was at least as tall as he was, if not taller. She, too, seemed about nineteen or twenty. Her auburn hair was pulled back with a blue ribbon, and she was wearing a floral print party dress. She smiled up at him, but made no effort to stand or even offer her hand.

Maybe the customs really are different here, or maybe they’re all testing me, Jaeger thought. Jaeger looked directly at her, focusing on her dark green eyes, and, trying to keep his voice level, said, “I’m delighted to make your acquaintance, mistis. Your father thought I might be entertainin’ to you and your friends.”

“And you might jus’ be, Centurion Jaeger.” She gestured at the others. “This bunch of deadbeats are all tellin’ me the same stories ah’ve heard over and over anyways. By the way, that brayin’ donkey ovah theah is Lucy Winters. Next to her is her ‘friend’-  though we all know what she means by that – Francis Mackenzie. The man-killah is Frannie’s sister, Sarah. An’ that-there is Jack Steuben and Billy Winters, he havin’ the misfortune of bein’ Lucy’s baby brothah. And this…” she leaned her head onto the man’s shoulder “…is Thomas Allen Baird.”

“Nice to meet y’all. You from around heah?” Jaeger directed his question at Baird, but he knew the answer from hearing his name.

“No, ’course not. My family’s from Archona,” he said calmly.

Yeah, and you don’t have to say your father is head of the Tesla Electrical Combine, Jaeger thought. One of the three or four most influential men in the Domination, assuming your thought the current Archon was influential. He wasn’t, always – not as influential as John Allen Baird. As the Domination increased in size and population, the need for radio and televisor communication was increasing dramatically. Baird’s factories were turning out thousands of family radio systems that were often the only lifeline new plantations had with the outside world. They also manufactured hundreds of models of military radios, from the handheld models used by Draka infantry to the versions installed in almost every plane Jaeger tested. They were also manufacturing televisors, but they were too expensive for most plantations to own, as yet. Jaeger didn’t doubt that there were likely several such sets in this plantation house, however.

“Sit down, Centurion, please,” purred the younger Mackenzie. She slid up onto the arm of the couch and patted the spot she had just vacated. She had a clear, pink complexion and raven-dark hair, arrayed in curls that could have been natural, or just very skillful and expensive artifice. She looked to be in her late teens, with minimal makeup, tastefully applied. “Tell us some stories. It’s jus’ soo borin’ here lately. Ya’ll been in combat, hey?”

“I’ve seen some combat, yeah, but Ah’s test-pilotin’ now, workin’ out at Odenathus. In a bit of trouble, lately, that’s for certain-sure. Kinda broke a pretty expensive airplane the othah day.”

“A test pilot!” Sarah Mackenzie clapped her hands. “Why, you must be much braver than these layabouts!” She waved at the other young men seated on the couches, all of whom glared at her. “Billy, he did his two years on a coastal monitor ship, off Angola. Never even saw a submarine! And Jack, he…”

“…was injured in trainin’ and just got out of a support job, here in Syria,” Steuben interrupted. He frowned out from under heavy brows at the young girl, who ignored him completely.

“So what’s it like, flyin’ such dangerous planes?” She almost batted her eyes at Jaeger, leaning over at him, making sure he knew of her obvious interest in him.

Just ’cause she’s a bored rich girl, and I might be amusin’ for a bit, he thought. Well, we’ll just see. “Well, y’all know that experimental planes crash about half the time…”

“Thanks for comin’ to our little party,” Lillybeth said at the door, as other partygoers passed them going out, paying their respects to her father. She was free of Baird for a few moments for the first time all evening. He seemed bored by the formalities of the goodbyes, and had wandered off for another drink as the party began breaking up. He had had little to say, all the way through the evening; he mostly just glared at Jaeger as he entertained the others with stories of his exploits on the Front and as a test pilot. Clearly Baird was concerned that Jaeger would be some sort of competition, thought Jaeger thought that was simple paranoia. Perhaps he thought Lillybeth was only interested in him because of his father’s position. From what Jaeger had seen of him this evening, there was little other reason to be seen with him. He was rich, young, and good-looking, but as a MacPherson surely the young lady had no problem finding appropriate suitors, even in a relatively unsophisticated place like Syria Province.

“Ah’m very glad Ah was invited, and thanks for all the hospitality,” Jaeger responded, looking appreciatively down at her. She still looked as fresh as she did hours ago. Easy, boyo, y’all know ya have a better chance of flyin’ back to the barracks from here than gettin’ that one interested in ya, he thought.

She took both his hands for a moment and smiled. “Perhaps y’all could come back sometime, when it’s quieter, and we could really talk.”

Hmm. Y’all playin’ with fire, boy. “Why, certain-sure, Miss Lillybeth, if your father approves.”

She laughed, a light, musical sound. “Ah don’t think he would be too happy, ’cause he wants me to be some kinda business merger, but he knows Ah have mah own mind!”

Jaeger felt his heart suddenly pounding in his chest, something that didn’t even happen that much when flying untested aircraft or being shot at. “Ah will call on you next weekend, if it’s all right. Ah will certainly call first.”

“Oh, Gus, don’t be so damnably formal!” she lightly swatted at his chest in mock-seriousness, then chuckled. “It’ll be fine. Don’t worry. Ah just really enjoy talkin’ to someone who isn’t mostly concerned with parties and mergers and government all the time.”

“Goodnight, Lillybeth. Ah really enjoyed this evening.” Jaeger knew he had to pull away from her quickly, now, before things got completely out of hand. He walked out the huge main entryway doors and down the marble steps, then turned around on the drive and looked up. She was standing in the driveway, waving, just like it was a motion picture scene. “Next Sunday,” he said to himself. “Fly the planes all week that could kill you, then walk into a house where people could kill you faster on your day off. You’re just a little centurion, and these folks—they can make the Archon sit up and beg.” He returned the wave, then walked down the drive to his motor-pool-issue steamer.


“The Righteous Stuff” – Chapter 5

September 16, 2009

The Righteous Stuff

by Jeffrey D. Waggoner

based on characters and situations in the

“Domination of the Draka” novels written by S.M. Stirling





MAY, 1943

The runway stretched out on the flat desert ahead of Jaeger for as far as he could see. The sun beat down on the plain, northeast of Damascus, and the temperature was over thirty-five degrees already, at only 0800 hours. He went through the checklist carefully, speaking slowly and carefully to the control tower as he read off fuel and engine information for the engineers listening in to the transmission.

The Inkanyamba was a twin-engine jet interceptor, one of the first in the Domination, and Jaeger was testing one of three prototypes. The plane was almost ready to go into production, and if this round of tests were successful, the first planes should be rolling off the lines by early fall. The interceptor had been tested in a variety of intercept and attack situations, and had shown itself to be stable and durable. Jaeger was happy with the plane, and thought the pilots who would fly it over Germany would have such an advantage over even the Me-165 jets the Nazis were flying that they would have almost complete air superiority. Now it was a matter of seeing where the edge of the design envelope really was.

“Checklist completed. Ready to roll.” Jaeger fastened his oxygen mask, adjusted the straps of his harness, and doublechecked the handle of his ejection seat. It was a new model, designed specifically for the Inkanyamba. It was thought that the plane would be so fast that the solid-fuel rocket on the Hawk or Shark II fighter seats would not be powerful enough. Jaeger thought that might be true, but this Freya-forsaken thing might take his head off, too.

The tower controller’s voice crackled in his headset. “Commence takeoff. All runways are cleah.”

Jaeger eased the throttles forward and released the brakes. He was able to control the plane on the ground with slight taps of the rudder pedals. The jet engines were far back on the fuselage, as were the main wings. Small canard winglets were just visible from his cockpit on either side of the nose of the plane, part of the design stolen from a Yankee design called the Curtis Ascender. Of course, that had been a pusher-prop propeller plane, but the aerodynamics of the design, marginal as a propeller-powered aircraft, were thought by Draka engineers to be so sound that they could use them for a powerful jet interceptor.

Apparently they were right. The plane popped off the runway like the high-performance, overpowered vehicle it was, and Jaeger banked north as he climbed. The flight plan called for a series of speed runs from north to south, first at an altitude of seven thousand meters, then at three, then at fifteen hundred. None of the runs were long – fifty to seventy-five kilometers at the most – because what was gained in speed was lost in range.

At seven thousand meters Jaeger announced to the tower that he was banking back to the south and beginning his speed run. He pushed the throttles forward to fifty per cent power. Mach 0.6. He made few comments on the radio. The Draka were very careful to maintain security in communications, even this far away from any Yankee listeners. Most of the telemetry from the plane was encoded, anyway, and was sent continually to the engineers’ readouts in the tower.

He increased power to sixty per cent. The pitch of the engines’ roar slid upward easily. Seventy per cent. Mach 0.8. Still no real turbulence. The plane was now traveling as fast as any aircraft the Draka might encounter in Europe. Seventy-five per cent. Jaeger keyed the microphone, thinking, Couldn’t we get some voice-activated microphones into test planes sometime soon?

“Gettin’ a little bumpy now.” The mach meter indicated 0.86, and other pilots flying at transonic speeds had encountered the same phenomenon. He pushed the throttles forward to just over eighty per cent.

“Mach zero point nine three.” The nose of the plane wanted to rise. It was taking both hands on the stick to hold it steady. How could he handle the throttles if he had to hold on to the stick? He knew the pilots who had gone supersonic in dives always said that close to Mach one was where it smoothed out again. Could he get it there?

Jaeger pressed his right elbow firmly to the cockpit wall and leaned forward as much as the harness would allow. He could barely brace his right arm against his body enough to quickly slide his left hand to the throttles.

The nose of the plane suddenly shot upward – not far, just enough that Jaeger pushed the throttles forward and then grabbed the stick again with both hands, just before he lost control. When he looked down he saw that he had pushed the throttle levels all the way forward.

The pitch of the engines changed again, and the turbulence disappeared. Mach one point oh-five! In level flight! The mach meter was still climbing, and Jaeger keyed the microphone to tell the controller. Before he had a chance to say anything there was a loud ping! from  behind him and the pitch of the engines dropped suddenly.

Jaeger was slammed violently to the left, the microphone thrown from his hand. There was a sharp crack and he was slammed even harder to the left. He grunted and pulled the stick, pushing on the rudder pedal. The plane went into a spin anyway, and he pushed the stick forward.

Jaeger had had the rules for coming out of a spin drilled into him for years. He knew there was no chance with this plane, still close to supersonic, diving and starting from so low an altitude. He grabbed the latches on both sides of the canopy and pulled with all his strength.

The handles were ripped out of his gloved hands by a combination of centrifugal force and near-supersonic slipstream.  He reached down to the ejection seat handle between his legs and pulled.

With a roar, the solid-fuel rocket motor in the base of the ejection seat fired. Jaeger was frozen in a head-down position by the sudden acceleration, with his hands between his legs. They were pinned in place while the rocket was firing. He never even saw the plane flash past him.

The rocket motor cut off as quickly as it had started. The seat was now floating, and Jaeger could move his head, though painfully. The helmet and faceplate was all that had saved him from breaking his neck, and his neck and shoulder muscles screamed at him as he looked around him. He guessed he was about five thousand meters up, still attached to the seat.

His muscles in agony, he raised his right hand and pressed the harness quick-release button.  Then he kicked backward with his heels at the brace on the bottom of the seat. He fell away from the seat, head down.

Finally, Jaeger was able to spread his arms and legs as he had been taught, then pulled the cord. With a loud snap and a jerk, the parachute opened and he passed out.