The Liberation of Maggie Weintraub

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The Spanish newscaster came back on the screen. Antonio turned to the tall man.

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Cyrus V. Miller had not been born to his present riches. Resolving that if one could not beat them one ought to join them, the youth had worked his way through the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, emerging in with a degree and the clothes he wore. During his studies he had become fascinated more by oil than by rocks and headed south for Texas. It was still the days of the wildcatters, when leases were unfettered by environmental impact statements and ecological worries. In he had spotted a cheap lease relinquished by Texaco, and calculated they had been digging in the wrong place.

He persuaded a tool pusher with his own rig to join him, and sweet-talked a bank into taking the farm-in rights against a loan. The oil field supply house took more rights for the rest of the equipment he needed, and three months later the well came in-big.

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He bought out the tool pusher, leased his own rigs, and acquired other leases. With the outbreak of war in they all went on stream with maximum production and he was rich. But he wanted more, and just as he had seen the coming war in , he spotted something in that aroused his interest. A Britisher called Frank Whittle had invented an airplane engine with no propeller and potentially enormous power. He wondered what fuel it used. With the Sabre jet fighters taking on the Chinese MiGs, the jet age had arrived. Pan-Global went into orbit and Miller returned to Texas.

He also married. Maybelle was tiny compared to her husband, but it was she who ruled his home and him through thirty years of marriage, and he doted on her.

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There were no children-she deemed she was too small and delicate to bear children-and he accepted this, happy to grant her any wish she could devise. When she died in he was totally inconsolable. Then he discovered God. He did not take to organized religion, just God. He began to talk to the Almighty and discovered that the Lord talked back to him, advising him personally on how best he might increase his wealth and serve Texas and the United States.

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  7. It escaped his attention that the divine advice was always what he wished to hear, and that the Creator happily shared all his own chauvinism, prejudices, and bigotries. IBM confirms it must be the same man. He quit them and is now a free-lance consultant. His name is Easterhouse-Colonel Robert Easterhouse. Marshal Kozlov sat impassively behind his desk and studied the four men who flanked the stem of the T-shaped conference table. All four were reading the Top Secret folders in front of them; all four were men he knew he could trust-had to trust, for his career, and maybe more, was on the line.

    To his immediate left was the Deputy Chief of Staff South , who worked with him here in Moscow but had overall charge of the southern quarter of the U. Beyond him was the chief of High Command South at Baku, who had flown to Moscow believing he was coming for routine staff conferences. But there was nothing routine about this one. Across from these two sat the other pair, also engrossed. Constantly at loggerheads with its bigger rival, the KGB, the GRU was responsible for all military intelligence at home and abroad, counterintelligence, and internal security within the armed forces.

    Kozlov had chosen the Deputy because the head of the GRU was an old KGB man foisted on the General Staff, and no one had any doubt that he constantly scuttled back to his pals in the KGB with any tidbit he could gather to the detriment of the High Command. Beyond the GRU man sat another, who had come from his headquarters in the northern suburbs and whose men would be vital for Suvorov-the Deputy Commander of the Vozdyshna-Desantnye Voiska or Air Assault Force, the paratroopers of the VDV who would have to drop onto a dozen cities named in Suvorov and secure them for the following air bridge.

    The GRU man finished the file and looked up. He seemed about to speak but the marshal raised a hand and they both sat silent until the other three had finished. The grimness with which they had noted its conclusions and forecasts was underscored by the fact that in the intervening-twelve months several of those forecasts had come true. The promised nuclear power plants had not reopened, the Siberian fields were still producing little more than usual, and the Arctic exploration was still a shambles for lack of technology, skilled manpower, and funds.

    Glasnost and perestroika and press conferences and exhortations from the Politburo were all very well, but making Russia efficient was going to take a lot more than that. After a brief discussion of the oil report, Kozlov had handed out four files, one to each. The marshal had sat on Suvorov for a further three months, until he estimated the situation south of their borders had reached a point likely to make his subordinate officers more susceptible to the boldness of the plan.

    Now they had finished and looked up expectantly. None wanted to be the first to speak.

    Initial resistance could be crushed easily enough. Which is another reason I like Plan Suvorov. It would enable us to stop the spread of Islamic Fundamentalism seeping into our southern republics. Wipe out the source. My people in the South report that in the event of war we should probably not rely on our Moslem divisions to fight at all.

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    7. Anything against…? All four men knew the recent history of Iran well enough. After the death of the Ayatollah Khomeini and an interregnum of bitter political infighting in Teheran, the succession had passed to the bloodstained Islamic judge Khalkhali, last seen gloating over American bodies recovered from the desert after the abortive attempt to rescue the hostages of the U.

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      Khalkhali had sought to protect his fragile ascendancy by instigating another reign of terror inside Iran, using the dreaded Patrols of Blood, the Gasht-e-Sarallah. Finally, as the most violent of these Revolutionary Guards threatened to go out of his control, he exported them abroad to conduct a series of terrorist atrocities against American citizens and assets across the Middle East and Europe, a campaign that had occupied most of the previous six months.

      By the time the five Soviet soldiers were meeting to consider the invasion and occupation of Iran, Khalkhali was hated by the population of Iran, who had finally had enough of Holy Terror, and by the West.

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      Washington might be outraged if we went in, but the congressmen and senators would hear the word from back home and advise the President to back off. But I think it will come from Novaya Ploshchad; the man from Stavropol will turn it down flat.

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      Novaya Ploshchad, or New Square, is the Moscow home of the Central Committee building, and the mention of Stavropol was a not-too-flattering reference to the General Secretary, Mikhail Gorbachev, who came from there. Gorbachev flies to America in two weeks to try and clinch it, so he can liberate enough resources to develop our domestic oil industry. So long as he believes he can get our oil by that route, why should he shaft his beloved treaty with Cormack by giving us the green light to invade Iran?

      It was on that pessimistic but resigned note that the conference ended.

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      Two weeks later Cyrus Miller also found himself in conference, although with a single man, a friend and colleague of many years. He and Melville Scanlon went back to the Korean War, when the young Scanlon was a feisty entrepreneur out of Galveston with his meager assets sunk in a few small tankers.

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      Miller had had a contract to supply and deliver his new jet fuel to the U. Air Force, delivery to be effected to the dockside in Japan where the Navy tankers would take it over and run it to beleaguered South Korea. He gave Scanlon the contract and the man had done wonders, running his rust-buckets around through the Panama Canal, picking up the AVTUR in California, and shipping it across the Pacific.

      By using the same ships to bring in crude and feedstock from Texas before changing cargoes and heading for Japan, Scanlon had kept his ships in freight all the way and Miller had got ample feedstock to convert into AVTUR. Three tanker crews had gone down in the Pacific but no questions were asked, and both men had made a great deal of money before Miller was eventually obliged to license his know-how to the majors. Scanlon had gone on to become a bulk petroleum commodity broker and shipper, buying and transporting consignments of crude all over the world, mainly out of the Persian Gulf to America.

      After , Scanlon had taken a pasting when the Saudis insisted that all their cargoes out of the Gulf should be carried in Arab-flag ships, a policy they were really able to enforce only in the movement of participation crude-i. But it had been precisely the participation crude that Scanlon had been carrying across to America for the Saudis, and he had been squeezed out, forced to sell or lease his tankers to the Saudis and Kuwaitis at unattractive prices.

      He had survived, but he had no love for Saudi Arabia. Still, he had some tankers left which plied the route from the Gulf to the United States, mainly carrying Aramco crude, which managed to escape the Arab-flag-only demand. Miller was standing at his favorite window staring down at the sprawl of Houston beneath him. It gave him a godlike feeling to be so high above the rest of humanity. On the other side of the room Scanlon leaned back in his leather club chair and tapped the Dixon oil report, which he had just finished. There is no way the U.