Inimical: a story of the Hindenburg


Cover art, title Inimical, author Stephanie Foster

Inimical: A novel about process


Set in the interwar period, Inimical brings heedless English aristocrats to hobnob with German embassy staff at gatherings of the International Peace League, a front organization for the extra-governmental activities of more than one nation. Geoffrey Malcolm-Webb, reporter for the Mirror; agent trusted with disparate assignments, but limited information; Greta Freund, former actress; H. Bruce Van Nest, propaganda master; and Werner von Kneussl, WWI veteran and embassy secretary, come together to play their roles. The guiding hand works as a machine . . . but the pawn has a heart.


Excerpt! Inimical, Chapter Eleven, “The Hindenburg”:


For we cannot understand of God what He is, but only what He is not, therefore we cannot see how God is, but only much more how He is not. Thomas Aquinas

May 6, 1937. The drenching rains and thunderstorms had barely cleared by 6:00 p.m. Finally the winds fell away. The Hindenburg, advised against landing during the late afternoon’s threatening weather, approached Lakehurst for the second time, receiving her latest radio message from the station commander: “Conditions definitely improved recommend earliest possible landing.” This was at 6:08 p.m.

But while the Hindenburg‘s crew held her forward momentum in check at the mooring mast, a cold breeze from the south shot up. She had dropped ballast at intervals; she had finished valving gas—the ship was in the best possible trim, yet not the most satisfactory. She had a heaviness astern; a deviation from ordinary expectations, troubling but not alarming. At 6:10 p.m., the landing crew, a greater number of whom were civilians than naval personnel, heard the landing station signal, and stood ready.

A process took place before the bow trail ropes would be dropped to the ground crew. The engines were reduced to idling speed, thrown ahead and astern. The Hindenburg was positioned, with a final burst of power. The starboard rope came down, the port rope followed. Newsreel cameras: Paramount, Fox, Universal, Pathé, swung from the airship to record activity on the ground. The port bow trail rope was coupled, winched: a southeast gust made the rope spring taut. This was at 6:21 p.m.


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