January 13, 1948, Tel Aviv
So far, so good. Insertion into this Shadow went like a charm.
Kimdyl should give birth before we declare Israel a nation and the
inevitable war breaks out. That will give us plenty of time to get set up
and make the needed arrangements.
This Shadow could not be better, as far as establishing ourselves
goes. The entire nation is made up of refugees. Having no papers and
hardly any possessions makes us fit in perfectly, especially since (with
the Amberite gift for languages) I speak perfect Hebrew. I've gotten a
job doing construction work. It's not that different from smithing, in
some ways, and in a land where as much is being built as this, working a
10-hour shift is a great way to win friends.
I've asked Ariadne and her murder squad to stay under cover as
much as possible. I've picked out a spot for a house where we'll be able
to enlarge the basement quite a bit, especially if Kimdyl is well enough
to do a little spellcasting. If that gets done, we'll have plenty of room
to train and Ambercize without the neighbors getting too suspicious.
February 8, 1948
Work goes well. I've already been made a foreman on one of the
building crews, and people know me by name. By virtue of hard work, I've
built a decent web of contacts who know I'm responsible and trustworthy.
Once all hell breaks loose, I should have no trouble getting to where I'm
Kimdyl continues to be unwell. Morning sickness lasting well into
the afternoon. Israel works in our favor here too, though. Malnutrition
and sickness happen to many people. The unusual cause of Kimdyl's state
can be easily concealed.
Nicholas has made an acquaintance or two. It's far too soon to
call them friends, of course, and this is still my son. He'd probably
bite his tongue off before he freely admitted he has emotions.
I think he's happy, though. We don't have a school system set up
yet, per se, so he spends a lot of time with me. I've been teaching him
some of my job, and when we're at home, Ariadne and I teach him all the
usual Amberite things. It's fortunate that he's clever. I think his
playmates would be mildly disturbed to realize that their friend Nick
knows seven different ways to kill a man with his bare hands.
If they knew what was coming, they'd be glad to know him.
March 3, 1948
Kimdyl is unwell and has lost interest in, erm, nocturnal
recreation. Usually it takes until the third trimester for that. Damn,
April 29, 1948
I finally heard the official word. We're putting together a
little militia kind of thing, to protect ourselves from angry natives.
Supposedly, it's just a volunteer police force kind of thing, but the
facts are clear. When the war starts, we'll be the army. I've made a few
allusions to the fighting I did with my father in the underground, back in
Europe, and so I'm one of the leaders in my area. I didn't like having to
lie to my friends about my past, but I don't think it would work out well
if I explained that my grasp of guerrilla tactics was picked up leading a
light infantry company on Fulson's World in the late 22nd century.
Funny how that works.
May 14, 1948
The tempo of things is stepping up. It seemed wise, recently, to
buy some extra concrete and reinforce some of that extra basement space
with it. I used a good chunk of rebar, too. I'm such a trendsetting
stud: first bomb shelter on my block.
June 2, 1948
Kimdyl continues to be ill. In fact, I think it's getting worse,
although I might just be losing my tolerance. She's losing weight, too.
I'm concerned, but she's decided that this is her against the malevolent
gods of fertility, and she's ready to kick ass and take names. I'm
betting on her, of course, but it means I can't interfere. Religion
should be a private matter, especially when it involves either homicide or
I'm starting to realize what it means for time to be running at 16
minutes Amber per Israel year. I caught myself wondering what Laughter
was up to, and realized that she was up to whatever she was up to eight
minutes ago, when I left. Woah.
That doesn't worry me, per se. I'll miss Felix, for example, but
it's not like I've never done without my friends for a while. It's just
going to be a bit odd when I get back, and all these people I haven't see
in thirty years don't even know I was gone.
July 8, 1948
We're getting better organized everyday. The sources of tension
are becoming very clear, though. We've got entire neighborhoods of Jewish
settlers and refugees, and we all feel a common sense of purpose. The
economy of it all is almost communist. We don't worry about money. If
something needs to be done to house a family or preserve our culture, it
gets done. If the person it was done for could pay, he pays. If not,
well, it was for Israel anyway.
It's an infectious spirit. It's not like I share these people's
history, it's not like I can feel the things they feel. But nobody could
ignore the emotional impact of living in this culture. After six months,
I feel like one of them, and what's more, I like it that way. These are
good people to have at your side, or at your back.
July 29, 1948
Kimdyl can't weigh 100 pounds, herself. The baby seems to be
taking all its substance from her. Kids, don't try this at home. Pattern
and shapeshifting just don't mix very well. The Abyss only knows what
might have happened if Kimdyl was still an active Logrus user.
If I could just find someone to bet against her, I could clean up.
The odds are looking awfully long, factually speaking. But as I delight
in proving, the facts ignore the emotional impact of a high level of
August 13, 1948
We're arguing some about how the Declaration should look. There
are some who figure that we should just hack it out and create the nation,
the sooner the better. A few others are convinced that we need to perfect
the rhetoric. They argue that as long as there are Jews living abroad,
there will be a need for a defining statement for the Jewish homeland,
something to let them know that we *have* built something they can be
proud of. The Jews survived the Holocaust, and that is a powerful
statement of what they're made of. But it shows only that the Jews are
hard to destroy. What remains is to show the kind of beauty they can
I see their point, but from where I sit, the important thing is to
prepare and arm. The English may let us do this, but the neighboring Arab
nations will consider it a betrayal. So be it. What happened to us in
the last 15 years was so horrible that our concern for lesser crimes has
inevitably dulled somewhat. For what it is worth, I have encouraged
people to deal kindly and fairly with all the people of the area, Jewish
or otherwise. I think most of them agree with me.
September 1, 1948
Damn them. It's any day now, and we all know it. The Arabs are
preparing to smash us the instant we break away. They have been pushing
their poor onto our border, promising them that when the day comes, they
will find wealth here. If they listened to the facts, they would know
better, but they hearts have been filled with hope and greed, and they
will not lightly settle for disappointment.
September 4, 1948
Nimue is a beautiful baby. Mother was, I think, touched. I hope
so. Oberon took so much from her, and fate has not been kind. She
deserves the recognition.
Kimdyl is already bouncing back. Nothing builds morale like
September 13, 1948
The time has come. My family is in the basement; the neighbors
and I have loaded our rifles and taken position. The Arabs have already
attacked, and we will doubtless fight in Tel Aviv. We had no right to
secure our borders until we declared Israel, and now we have no time. But
they cannot prevail against us.
I'm a little worried that I think this way, but this is going to
November 9, 1948
We won, at a lower cost than I had feared. Truly, we are almost
unstoppable now. The Arabs moved into Tel Aviv and we immediately
commenced full guerrilla maneuvers. Tanks can't be attacked by infantry,
but tank crews eating dinner outside their vehicles can be, and supply
convoys aren't hard at all. We focused on those for the first few weeks.
Eventually their fuel supplies were so low the tanks were almost immobile,
so we began fighting in the cities. Without tank support or our knowledge
of the turf, Arab infantry was almost helpless. It was a nearly textbook
Now we have to play the diplomatic game. The next time they'll be
more prepared, with more stockpiles, more trucks, and better guards.
We'll need secure borders and our own heavy ordinance.
Nimue has the oddest eyes... beautiful. It's taken a lot of
conscious thought to pay Nicholas the attention he deserves, but luckily
he doesn't seem jealous of her. He's more intrigued at this point.
Worry for the future: sooner or later he'll ask where the baby
came from, and want a straight answer. Of the three people he might ask,
I see no good candidate. Me: aaiieee. Kimdyl: destructive to male ego.
Ariadne: What makes anyone think she knows? It happened to her, but that
proves nothing where Spider is concerned.
January 1, 1949
Happy New Year. And, plus also, lechayim.
January 15, 1949
The French seem sympathetic to our cause. They're offering us
tanks and Dassault fighters. Needless to say, I've applied for flight
training in the new birds. The recruiters know me, and they told me that
I was perfect. Good physical shape, no vision problems, young, etc. They
left out the real issue, though. With sex appeal like this, if I become
anything but a fighter pilot, it will do long-term damage to the fighter
Kimdyl tells me that I'm full of it, but she sleeps with me
anyway, so who's the joke on, really?
I've made arrangements to have my friend Elijah take my place as
foreman. We're helping to build schools now. Nicholas should be enrolled
soon, although it will be longer before the classes are more than
Ariadne will NOT be teaching phys. ed.
February 4, 1949
Happy 3rd grade, big guy.
February 17, 1949
Note for future: keep airspeed up. Check airspeed before
attempting repeated Immelmann turns.
February 21, 1949
Airspeed aside, this is fun. Next month we start on jets.
February 25, 1949
Mock dogfight kill #1, of an expected 1324.
March 1, 1949
Had a minor fight with Kimdyl today. She was upset about the
amount of flying I've been doing. Not that she doesn't understand, mind
you. Just that one of us can work the same hours anyone else does and
still learn faster, perform better, do more. So why do I have to prove
something by taking as many hops as they'll let me, then stacking up
ground school and flight mechanics until 8 every night? The kids can only
stay up so late to play with me, and they have a right to do that.
She's only mostly right. It's the most fun I've had in a while,
but fun comes in all shapes and sizes. I've been motivated by the fact
that we only have six flightworthy aircraft. One idiot mistake, and that
turns to five. I won't make that mistake, and I want to help make sure
the planes are kept up well enough that there's room for as many mistakes
as possibly before we lose a bird.
All is well now, I think. I've cut back a little - I've promised
to be home by 7 more often than not, and I'm going to get Nicholas a
flight as soon as I can. He's earned it - top marks in school so far, and
no sign of his slowing down.
March 4, 1949
Happy 1/2th b-day, baby girl.
March 19, 1949
I never liked French cooking. But every once in a while, at 580
miles per hour, I wonder if I haven't judged them too harshly.
April 30, 1949
School ends soon. We have some crops that can be planted a little
late, and they want all the labor they can to help keep the food
production up. Nick's class are too young to be of much help, but there
are little things they can do, and this is good training for when they get
May 20, 1949
That's 2nd Lieutenant Barimen to you, punk.
June 2, 1949
Nicholas is a machine on the soccer field. Total intensity.
They've put him on goal a couple of times, because other kids this age
bracket get bored with it, and he doesn't. It also takes the sting out of
having a forward who outshines the rest by so far. But it is a waste. He
hasn't been playing long, and he hogs the ball a little, but his shot
placement is just amazing.
Being my son, he's also not afraid to hit the ball with his head.
July 23, 1949
1 Squadron lost a man today. A damn shame. We've tightened up
maintenance checks. No difference to me, though. All those late nights
paid off; I do pre-flight like a fiend. The better mechanics all love
working with someone who appreciates their work; the worse ones are
probably planning to kill me.
August 14, 1949
Top dog! 2 Squadron leads the IAF in uptime and dogfighting.
Those bastards in 4 took the bombing trophy, though.
September 4, 1949
Happy birthday, Nimue.
December 7, 1949
I've been offered a flight command. It's mine.
February 16, 1950
The Americans have offered us newer jet aircraft, and we're buying
them. I should get one, being both damn good and politically connected.
March 27, 1950
The F-84 is a dog, but it's a dog that carries a lot of high
April 1, 1950
Nicholas is still a maniac. He got into bit of a fight at school
today. Seems he's been avoiding this bully for a while, got cornered, and
calmly punched him firmly in the solar plexus when nobody was looking.
Sadly, he misjudged the size of his audience.
I told the teachers that while it was a damn shame, the bully had
probably learned a useful lesson, real cheap. She seemed shocked, so I
pointed out that you could do much worse to a person, and that the bully
had it coming, and that if the teachers were going to watch and not
interfere while it happened, they could butt out of the aftermath.
They seemed upset that I didn't tell him not to hit people. What
do they think the Air Force is for, dropping lollipops?
April 14, 1950
Confirmation. American F-84s in Korea do not drop lollipops, nor
do they score bomb hits as often as my flight does. 1st Lt. Ahab,
reporting for oral sex, wifie MA'AM.
March 7, 1956
God, what a fast five years. I got so enmeshed in life here...
Nicholas, at 16, is a soccer dynamo. He's also learned how to get
along with people. He has the sort of quiet charisma you get when you're
damned good and comfortable with it. It really shows in his play - he's
#3 in the league in goals right now, but #1 by a mile in assists. He can
handle a ball like nobody's business, and if a man gets open in a shooting
spot, boom! Flawless pass action. A few teams have tried to double- team
him, but he's too nasty for that. A flawless backward pass and a little
acting ability, and before long they're earnestly working to keep up with
his spins and bobs, and the ball is 10 yards away.
Nimue is a bit solitary, and a bit of a tomboy, but she's curious
and she has a little bit of a wit. In the back of my mind I fully expect
her to show in about 20 years to explain that the plan for world
domination she's been concocting by herself on the playground is ready to
be put into action.
The rest are much the same, ageless as we are. Israel prospers.
We've been getting more self-sufficient, and also getting lots of support
from American Jews. We've been able to buy a few American Sabres and some
new Mirages from France. We fly the Sabre now, and while it's not much of
a bomber, the flight performance is just dreamy. I got Nicholas a check
ride in a trainer, and I think he forgot about Beauty from takeoff to
August 9th, 1956
Nasser in Egypt has been making a lot of noise lately. We're all
a bit nervous. His military is large, and he's popular among the Arabs,
and the Western nations are getting edgy. Some of our politicians have
privately suggested we make a spoiling attack on him, but I resist that
notion. We don't have so many Jews left that we should be expending them
just to quiet down Egyptians.
August 21, 1956
It no longer matters what I think; he just nationalized the Suez
Canal for Egypt.
August 22, 1956
We are going to war, along with France and England. The UN seems
to be supporting Nasser, but no matter. Long term, if he easily defeats
their forces, he's an Arab hero, and he has to come gunning for us. Best
to slow him down now, by chopping at the Sinai while they attack the Canal
zone. If we can do a hammer-and-anvil move on the troops on our side of
the Canal, it should secure our borders for a while.
The bomb shelter still works, but I'm not too worried. To attack
my home, they have to get past my Sabre, and that's more than they're up
Maybe I should write Nasser a letter telling him to find a
August 30, 1956
Damn short war. Punks.
Worse yet, we sort of lost. The French and English got soundly
trashed by world opinion. It hurt most when the U.S. turned against them,
I think. Israel did OK - we did manage to hammer their Sinai troops, and
it will take them awhile to rebuild. Meanwhile, we blooded another
echelon of troops, some of whom will stay on to train the next few
My flight was magnificent, if I do say so myself. 13 kills for
the four of us, six of them mine. More importantly, no losses. Amberites
rule at this sport. Let's count the ways...
Superior training in war. Strategy is strategy; you just have to
learn enough tactics to apply it. Taking a turning duel vertical is the
same as a sea-earth change, if you look at it right.
Superior physical condition. People can only handle so much
high-G dogfighting before they begin to fly by reflex along. I could have
sex at nine G's. It's no problem for me. So I can sit back, fly like a
fiend, and let the other driver fuck up.
The worst, though, is the mental conditioning. To take the
Pattern, and especially the Jewel, you have to be able to hold high-order
multidimensional patterns in your head. You have to see the whole thing
at once, too, not just a specific point - at least to do the fun tricks.
Compare that to keeping track of the positions of a few plans, in a
situation where you can always look around if you lose track.
That's why we never lost anyone - I always knew where my people
were and where the bogeys were. At one point I realized I had just told
Sheol 3 to break right, even though I wasn't looking toward him and hadn't
consciously thought about him. I had seen a MiG head a certain way, and I
just *knew* he was gunning for 3. Turned out to be the right call, and 4
heard it early enough to clear 3's 6 without any trouble at all.
They're seconding me to a training command for now, but I'll have
a squadron within the year.
November 13, 1956
Remember that sea-earth change? Nick is starting to hate it.
Caught him with it three times in five matches this week. I'll move
backward, move around, basically abandon the offense and let him chase me
around. We'd cross blades only when I stopped to change directions.
Then, just so, I'd suddenly hit him with Red Leaves, and WHAM! He's built
slight, like his mom, whereas I'm lean, but layered with muscle. He's too
quick for me to just smash him, but he's never ready to meet the immovable
object, and he never sees it coming. Before he knows it I'm inside easy
sword range and going for three nerve junctions at once.
"Train, train, train. Train more than you sleep."
January 4, 1957
Perhaps I spoke too soon.
March 13, 1957
Nimue is still an amazingly quiet girl. Time has dulled my memory
of how Nicholas was when he was younger, but I think it was a little like
this, with the exception that Nimue is not plotting anyone's demise. To
my knowledge. And to whatever degree Kimdyl is willing to cover for her.
So maybe she is after all.
February 26, 1958
Nicholas joined the Air Force today. He wants to be a fighter
pilot. There go all those records I set.
September 4, 1958
Nimue turned 10 today. If she's killed anyone, she hid the body
well. More importantly, nobody killed her, and I rather like it that way.
I've discovered I'm a horrible sexist. I think about making the world
safe for Nicholas and Nimue, but I always envision Nicholas conquering the
remnants, and Nimue just enjoying the fruits of my labors. Which is a
cheap sham, since she's as good a sword as anyone her age is likely to be.
Mother will be proud.
December 19, 1958
Another new shipment of fighters is coming in, late-model Sabres
modified to carry those guided missiles the Americans are so proud of.
I'm going to be part of the workup team, so we'll see what they're really
March 9, 1959
They're not made of much. A trained pilot with his wits about him
can easily turn inside of one, and they just aren't good enough to
reacquire after a good break. I suggested in my report that we buy some,
but reserve them for use against Syrian pilots, who are, in fact, that
incompetent. Meanwhile, we're upgunning some of our existing Sabres from
the 6x12.7 to the 4x20 configuration, using our own version of the
American's 20mm cannon. We've made some modifications for desert
fighting, and lightened the weight a little. Should add quite a bit to
the dogfighting punch. Still on the eval. list is the efficiency of
replacing the engine in some of the existing planes.
April 13, 1959
Nicholas is almost certain to make it to fighter pilot. He's been
a resolute straight- arrow. They want him out of the Academy as soon as
possible, since he's messing up the soccer standings.
May 18, 1959
Negative on the new engines. They make a difference, but we just
can't afford what the Americans are charging for them. We can make do
until better airframes are available, which should be three to four years.
As a compromise, we are beginning to budget money to upgrade three
frontline squadrons at that time.
May 19, 1959
Kimdyl had to remind me not to worry about work so much. I think
that even people without my alleged love of pain could appreciate the way
I feel sore today.
July 2, 1959
We got some actual combat time in today. Some asshole Syrian
officer figured he could sneak a 4-pack of SP 155 guns close enough to our
border to shell our outlying settlements and get away with it, since he
would be well outside Israeli borders in a populated area. That area is
slightly less populated now, and the Syrians have four fewer SP guns.
November 20, 1959
Nicholas soloed today. Hoo-rah!
July 13, 1960
Nicholas is in a Sabre these days. I don't know if it wows him
the way it used to, but that is one advantage of the poverty of our
nation. Stuff you fell in love with as a kid is still around when you
grow up. Not the exact same plane, of course, but not that different. I
wouldn't worry so much if the Russians weren't threatening to send MiG-17s
to the Arabs, which would actually give them a hardware advantage.
October 9, 1960
Nicholas is a better air-to-air gunner than I am, but I'm still
way ahead as a flight leader. Shame we don't fly against other squadrons
more often; it's fun to compete on more even terms.
April 21, 1961
I'm being transferred to a more staff-oriented position. I'll
have no trouble flying often enough to collect flight pay, though, since
we're doing a lot of tac. eval. work. My group is working to test
tactical missions for new hardware, and most of us also sideline as
instructors for the Academy. I expect it to be rewarding work.
September 14, 1962
Some of the work the Soviets are doing on guided missiles worries
me. Not yet, mind you, but the direction they're heading. Their SA-2 is
a bomber interceptor, not something that we have to worry about, but the
use of radar and guided weapons to defend against air strikes has the
potential to really ream out our ground-attack arm.
Nobody else shares my faith in this, partially because they don't
know (as I do) how this line of work ends in the next few centuries. In
any case, we're going to be doing some nape-of-the-earth flight training
soon, and working on precision attack methods for flak suppression. I
*was* able to convince the other planners that better methods of
destroying air defense hardware could only be to our benefit.
December 4, 1962
We lost a bird today in NOE practice. That's about it for this
test scenario, I think. We're too short of front-line aircraft to expend
them in training for a mission we don't even have to fly yet, and won't
for several years. I can't argue with the logic, either. But the program
did do some good - we do have six younger pilots who have NOE training,
and most of them are young enough that we'll have them for a while.
Nimue is starting to get a little more aggressive, which is all to
the good. She's a lot more fun that Nicholas ever was, and it seems like
his little vive-la-difference talk with her went deep into her brain.
She's very attractive, and the boys can't get enough of her. So she
flirts like a fiend and lets them sweat it, secure in the knowledge that
her brother in the IAF will kick the shit out of anyone who bothers her.
Which is nonsense, of course, because I'd get there first. Heh heh heh.
April 19, 1963
We're going to be getting another set of new aircraft - American
F-100 Super Sabres. The French are also sending us some of their new
Mirage IIIs. We're getting lucky on a couple of fronts - we have some
money set aside for this, and the Western nations want to keep pace with
Soviet shipments to the Arabs, just to balance the odds.
The really nice thing is that we can do a lot more dissimilar
training. I'm going to be working with the 100s, since I've been
specializing in air strike tactics, and I think we can use the 100s and
the Mirages to train pilots in how to work against aircraft with totally
dissimilar performance envelopes. It also should make my pilots a lot
safer, since they'll know how to react if they get bounced en route to a
There is also the fact that Nicholas is going to be flying a
Mirage soon, of course. I wager I can sucker the boy yet.
November 2, 1963
Nicholas flies like a maniac, no question, but I'm still better at
keeping track of the dogfight. We went head-to-head at the end of the
latest exercise, and he would have had me, except that the whole time I
was flying my ass off to stay alive, I was steering the fight toward B
Flight, who were coming up off the deck after unloading their rockets on
the target. One moment he was staring up my exhaust pipe, the next he
took about 400 cannon rounds in the belly as the entire flight bounced him
He'll forgive me sometime in March, I think.
November 3, 1963
If only Kimdyl flew, I'm sure she'd have seen the humor in it.
But we both saw the humor in the way Nimue couldn't decide whether to
defend her brother, as principle required, or laugh like a madwoman, which
she clearly wanted to do. We all love Nicholas, but he just *hates* to
lose when something is important to him. To settle the score, we have a
soccer tournament between 100 and Mirage jocks scheduled, and we don't
have a prayer against that boy.
June 28, 1966
Nimue is turning into a genuine heartbreaker. Poor boys.
The bastards still ignore the risks of SAMs, but I've taken a few
things into my own hands. I'm working after hours with some of the
mechanics to see if we can't rig a weapons-ops system where the
instructor's seat in an F-100 trainer is. I know we can mount some
home-on-radar missiles on there, so if the instruments can be set right,
we can convert a flight to defense suppression within a day. It should
March 15, 1967
We're getting some American Skyhawk bombers to replace some of the
Sabres. I have my eye on those Sabres for ADS, of course. The Skyhawk is
super-agile and carries a decent load of bombs; I expect it to kick
serious ass against supply lines. The weapons systems aren't quite as
sophisticated as the F-100, but we still work mostly with iron bombs and
rocket pods, and the Skyhawk is good to go with those.
June 2, 1967
We're operational with the Skyhawks, and we love them. They're
much more survivable than the 100s against the Mirage, which means that
not only are Nick's comrades bumming, but we'll have lower casualties when
the fighting breaks out. Which it will; Nasser is starting to run his
December 23, 1967
Israel is negotiating with Egypt about peace, but Moshe Dayan is
back on the Cabinet, and Moshe is a maniac about defense. We might as
well have announced the negotiations were a sham. It will work, though.
The Egyptians have probably never seen Moshe drunk, and as long as he's
sober he seems normal enough, and he lies like a pro.
March 1, 1967
We've furloughed a lot of troops for the weekend, in honor of the
beautiful weather that they're forecasting. The Prime Minister has stated
that it's a "gesture to show our peaceful intent," but by my reckoning it
would be more convincing if my staff and I weren't pulling 65-hour weeks
planning the nastiest one-day air raid in history. Don't tell, now.
June 3, 1967
We're at ready-5, planning to hit the first line of Syrian
defensive fortifications like a very, very fast brick. I'm on paper for
six sorties today, and I'm only getting such a light load because I'll be
needed to do BDA later on.
It's going to be a blast.
June 4, 1968
Oooohhh... that had to hurt. We crushed the Syrian, Jordanian,
and Egyptian air forces in that one day. Ironically that was the easiest
part - the Mirages swept deep into their air space and shot shit up, they
had to respond, we shot most of them down. Repeat as needed, modify to
recognize that, for all our small size, we can turn a plane around and get
it back into the air faster than any air force in history.
We're now in a strictly tactical situation - anyone who fails to
run when they see our tanks gets bombed. It's a very simple rule. I like
June 7, 1968
Nicholas is an ace now. Me, I specialize in Soviet-made
radar-aimed AAA guns, of which my flight grabbed nine in one swipe during
operations on the 4th. The newest antiradiation missiles from American
outrange their guns, you see.
We're keeping a buffer zone this time - part of the Golan Heights
with Syria, most of the Sinai with Egypt. We hope it will make them more
respectful in the future.
October 31, 1968
Nicholas celebrated Halloween by retiring his active duty
commission today. Israel is putting together a World Cup team, and he's
still the best goalie who ever came near a Bar Mitzvah. I have high hopes
for him, although, sadly, the odds of a world championship are small.
We're a tiny nation, we don't have a soccer culture, and we just don't
have that many top players, especially that the military can spare.
Nicholas is a rarity in that he served his time already and he's still in
good enough shape to play - many aren't so "lucky."
February 11, 1969
I'm screwed, professionally. They're arguing that the poor
performance of the SA- 2 means that the ADS tactics I was working on just
aren't needed. The notion that anything -2 will lead to -3, -8, etc.,
just seems to have escaped them. Fuck it; I still have a top
ground-attack squadron and some authority to run my own drills. We can
practice precision low-level attacks if I damn well want to.
May 24, 1969
Nimue is out of Basic now. I think she's pissed that they don't
accept women into the commando brigades, but she's dealing with it. It
looks like she's going into intelligence work, where I imagine she'll make
a fairly evil... whatever she does. It'll be classified, anyway.
November 11, 1969
Took my first extended leave in forever, recently. The time lag
finally got to me again, and I needed to spend some time with Kimdyl. I
think it was the hair - we both decided, during the fall, to color our
hair. We were starting to look too damn young for our "age." It tends to
drive home how long we've been here, and how mortal our friends here are.
I try not to let them become too dear to me, because they're all going to
think I'm dead soon, and before I come back, they will be.
And seeing how wonderfully Nimue and Nicholas have grown up made
me wonder about the brother I'll have soon, and then I remember that he
was still about the size of a pea and not ready for prime time. And I
thought about the almost desperate look Mom had when I saw her last, over
twenty years ago, and just sat there for a moment when I realized how long
it had been. I'm very good at walling off the Amber part of my life, but
the pressure builds up, and I just needed to spend a few hours by myself,
thinking about it.
"Could have been easier on you
I couldn't change though I wanted to
Could have been easier by three
Our old friend fear, and you and me."
Sad and ironic that I had to come to a Shadow that I picked for a
war before my Mother and I could take the next step toward peace. It's a
It's good that Kimdyl caught the flavor of my mood. Kimdyl is the
only person I ever allow to see the true weakness in me, and the chance to
show weakness just then would have destroyed what control I had. I have
to be strong for Nicholas, and that meant I could control myself enough to
tell him how I feel about raising children, after my life's little
complexities. But Kimdyl would tempt me to collapse.
June 27, 1970
We've got some F-4 Phantom IIs from the Americans. Ooh, MY! Big
and fugly, but what a bird. Mach 2.3 flat out, every time, and the kind
of power-to-weight ratio that pisses off flying animals. A pig on the
deck, but with this much brute force, who gives a damn?
I think Nicholas cried when they mentioned that the reserve units
wouldn't get them for some time.
March 13, 1971
I got to playing around with some of the senior mechanics on the
F-4 flight test line, and we decided to have some fun. We loaded one up
with six 20mm gun pods, spewing 600 rounds per second between them. We
took it down the test range, just got a boresight and held the trigger
down. I've never seen so much dust in my LIFE. Hee hee hee hee.
December 2, 1971
The Soviets shipped the SA-3 to Syria today. Damn, can I call
them or what? No reaction from the brass, of course.
July 5, 1972
And the -6, and the -8. Fuck 'em. We're adding more NOE flight
work to the rotation. I'm trying to get more of the American Shrike
anti-radar missiles. Sometimes knowing the future is a real pain in the
September 30, 1972
Nicholas got an offer to emigrate from Britain today. Seems they
could use a goalie, and they're willing to make it worth his while. He
told me he almost told them he'd do it if they gave Israel a Phantom
squadron and gave him a personal sample, just to make it a baker's dozen.
I think they would have been a little surprised.
January 18, 1973
Nimue pointed out that the number of "incidents" in the Sinai has
increased by 2- 4% per month for the last 16 months.
August 8, 1973
Sadat is sounding like he's going to pull back out of it - he's
been very careful in his phrasing lately, not using the incendiary crap he
was into for a while.
October 4, 1973
Sadat is going to demobilize 20,000 troops in the Sinai.
Reassuring, I guess, but it's not clear what demobilizing means. I mean,
they're right in shooting range of our troops. How hard can it be to
October 5, 1973
The General is playing a hunch, and we're going on alert-30 for
the next three days. It's going to play hell with Yom Kippur, but hell,
I've been good this year.
October 6, 1973
We're getting flattened. The Army didn't play the same hunch, and
they're retreating headlong back into Israel proper. Shit.
October 7, 1973
We lost 42 planes yesterday. The SA-6 is murderous and the -8 is
too damn hard to spot. I managed to get the orders cut - we're going into
the Heights to kill SAMs. With any luck they'll be a little surprised to
October 8, 1973
Shit this is hard work. AAA and SA-8s make it hard to just cruise
at low level, so the back-seater has to do all the weapons work just to
keep the pilot free to fly. And he has to do it while the pilot flies
through the turbulence and flak. We've ended up using only one Shrike
carrier at a time - the other three planes strafe or fire rockets to
suppress light weapons while the Shrikes take out the heavy ones. We
cleared the corridor, though, and our Skyhawks killed a battalion of
Syrian artillery with only one casualty.
October 10, 1973
We've flown 13 missions in two days. If we live, we'll all be
heroes. I've been flying with two backseaters, since nobody else in the
IAF can fly as hard as I do for as long. Switching off seems to work,
though, and it lets me fly lead on more missions that way. Nobody strafes
like I do - I'm just plain faster.
October 11, 1973
Nicholas' flight got bounced by eight MiGs yesterday. Only he and
his #4 got out. He's got a nasty wound on his face from some glass, but
it won't scar permanently.
October 13, 1973
I can sleep now; we've ceased hostilities. The Syrians eventually
couldn't take the pressure and folded. That done, we stabilized the
frontier and then swung the whole army into the Sinai. Ooph. The nice
thing about being a small country is that we can move troops the length of
the nation real quickly.
I had forgotten what fighting for your nation's survival was like.
Now, though, I can see that we were close. The casualties were horrible -
I don't know anyone who didn't have a friend who was wounded or killed.
Nicholas will be all right, thank the Rose, but who knows how many
families aren't as lucky? For once my usual battle fury wasn't misguided.
They're going to make me a General for this - my tactics ended up
saving lives. But nobody likes it. I'm probably going to retire as soon
as I qualify in the new F-15s the American will send us. Nicholas is
coming back to full active duty just to fly them. Given that he's now a
hero in two wars, they may even let him.
December 12, 1973
We may have won for good this time. The U.S., France and Britain
have been giving us better prices on weapons lately. I think our habit of
hitting first and hitting hard spoiled them. This war proved that we need
weapons to defend ourselves, or we will indeed be pushed into the sea.
Now that they take us more seriously, we'll have better luck.
August 28, 1974
So far, so good. We're rebuilding fairly steadily, you can't even
see where Nicholas was cut, and Nimue has been looking cheerful. Given
her work, that reassures all of us.
March 9, 1975
The terrorism has started, just like I remembered it would.
Fortunately, we dealt with it the way we knew we would. They took an El
Al Airlines plane, held the passengers hostage, and demanded fuel to go to
Libya. The commandos stormed the plane and killed every hijacker. The
hostages were not unhurt, but that was never the point, anyway. Nobody
uses our people against our nation. They just die trying. When we heard
the news after dinner, Nicholas and I just looked at each other and nodded
approval. It was, after all, a successful operation.
I heard a joke in a different Shadow once, one that was mostly
Christian. A little Jewish boy runs to his Grandpa and tells him that
Babe Ruth has just set the record for the most home runs in a season. The
old man looks like he doesn't get it, so the little boy repeats himself,
getting more excited. Finally the old man speaks. "Yankele, this thing
Ruth did - is it good for the Jews?" I used to think it was amusing, that
kind of tribal thinking. Now I wonder why.
September 21, 1977
The new American president claims he's going to work for peace in
the Middle East. Be interesting to watch him try. On the other hand,
some of them have to realize that we're here to stay, and they may decide
to curry favor with the U.S.
March 18, 1978
Carter is going to Egypt. Apparently Sadat is willing to listen.
Hopefully something will come of it.
Shit, of course something will come of it; the history I remember
says they signed the treaty in '78. That's why this is the last year
here. I can feel my orientation drifting back to Amber already.
May 3, 1978
We have an agreement, folks. Sadat is coming to Jerusalem to sign
it. Which is cool, since Fiona and I figured 8 a.m. Amber = July 9, 1978
here. We'll have a little time to enjoy the fruits of out labors.
July 8, 1978
It's been fun, but we have to go. I've tracked down a local
miscreant and had a little fun with his mind; he'll go and confess
tomorrow to murdering the lot of us and torching our house. Should cover
the escape pretty well.
It's been different than I expected. I came here just to make
sure my children grew up strong rather than soft, but instead I fell in
love. I grew to love this land, for one, and I grew to love Amber more
for missing it. I know things may be a little odd when I return, but I
feel ready to. 30 years here have dulled some of the pains I used to
feel, given me the maturity to see past some of the bitterness and
stubborn pride to what needs to be done for the good of all. It's an odd
viewpoint, but Israelis know it well.
"The answers get harder and harder
And there ain't no way to bargain or to barter.
But if you got the angst or you got the ardor,
You might shrink from the fight but you're gonna find it,
For every challenge could have paradise behind it.
If you accept what you have lost and you stand tall
Well you might just get it back and you can get it all.
So know you know why it's a long way to fall."
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