POD: May 30, 1942
|Appearance(s):||In the Balance|
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
|Date of Birth:||1907|
|Occupation:||Baseball player, Diplomat, Author of Non-Fiction|
|Parents:||Jonathan and Paulette Yeager|
|Spouse:||Louise (divorced prior to 1942);|
Barbara (died c. 1976)
Mickey and Donald (adopted sons)
|Relatives:||Karen Yeager (daughter-in-law);|
Bruce and Richard Yeager (grandsons);
Heinrich and Johann Jäger (distant cousins)
|Military Branch:||United States Army|
(Race Invasion of Tosev 3)
|Sports Team:||Decatur Commodores|
|Political Office(s):||U.S. Ambassador to the Race|
Samuel William "Sam" Yeager (b. 1907) was an influential figure in the history of relations between the Race and the United States. A one-time minor league baseball player, Yeager's taste for science fiction stories and flexible mind positioned him to become an early expert on the Race. Yeager was commonly credited with being the one Tosevite who could readily adopt the Race's mindset.
Yeager was born on a farm in Nebraska. As a child he suffered a bout of Spanish Influenza that caused his teeth to rot in his skull. He wore a full plate of dentures throughout his life. He was married to a woman named Louise, but they had divorced prior to the Race's invasion of Earth.
On account of his dental problems, Sam received 4F draft classification (not acceptable for military service), and when the US entered World War II late in 1941, Sam was able to continue his career as a professional baseball player with the Decatur Commodores.
The Race Invasion of Earth
One night shortly after the arrival of the Race's Conquest Fleet, his team was traveling by train when it was strafed by Lizard killercraft. After bailing out of the train, Sam and a number of his teammates went to a US Army recruiting station and enlisted. (As there was now a shortage of servicemen to deal with the new problem, Sam's dentures were no longer seen as an impediment to military service.)
In an early action, Sam's unit captured half a dozen Lizard infantrymales, resulting in his promotion to Private First Class. Sam was chosen to escort them to Chicago since he had been a fan of science fiction writers such as Robert A. Heinlein before the war and therefore felt his imagination would be flexible enough to understand an extraterrestrial culture. Over time, this was seen to be something of an understatement.
Two of the Lizard POWs, Ullhass and Ristin, were assigned to the team of physicists working on the atomic bomb at the University of Chicago. The assumption, which proved correct to a point, was that, since the Race had developed the atomic bomb, its members might have some familiarity with the technology even if they were not physicists.
While at the University, Sam made the acquaintance of Barbara Larssen, whose husband, Jens Larssen, was attached to the atomic project and had been sent to Washington, DC to urge lawmakers to continue to support the project despite the serious resource depravations which the Race's invasion would impose. When Sam met Barbara, she had not heard from Jens in several months.
When the Race invaded Chicago, Sam, Barbara, Ullhass, and Ristin evacuated with the atomic researchers. They boarded a ferry to take them across Lake Michigan. The Race's killercraft strafed the ferry, and a sailor was killed in front of Barbara's eyes. Sam consoled her in her cabin, and, in the heat of the moment, they made love. Barbara was immediately consumed with guilt since she had not yet had any confirmation of Jens' death. She came to resent Sam, which led to several awkward moments as she continued to travel with him and his POW charges on the project's slow evacuation to Denver. However, she quickly forgave him, developed a relationship with him, and the two were married in a memorable ceremony in the small town of Chugwater, Wyoming. Barbara immediately became pregnant with a boy, Jonathan.
It was this pregnancy which led her to stay with Sam after she was reunited with a very much alive Jens Larssen. Larssen never forgave either Yeager, and his jealousy became the centerpiece of a bitter depression which ultimately led him to unsuccessfully attempt to defect to the Race, during which he was killed by American soldiers.
During the war, Sam was attached to both of his country's two most important projects: the project to build an atomic bomb, and a sociological project to understand the Race as a society. It was in this latter project that he excelled, and he soon established himself as his country's--and eventually all of humanity's--leading expert on the subject.
The Colonization Fleet and Indianapolis
After the war, Sam remained in the Army and attained officer's rank. He and his family relocated to Southern California, in part to be near the large expatriate community of Lizards who had immigrated to the United States. He even became the closest friend of ex-shiplord Straha, and (along with ginger) became one of the few joys in Straha's long and difficult years of exile.
When the Colonization Fleet arrived, and the Race established a permanent presence on Earth, Sam became an even more important figure. He was entrusted by President Earl Warren with two Lizard eggs the US had bought from a ginger-addicted female. His assignment was to raise the hatchlings as human children. He named them Mickey and Donald after they hatched.
However, Yeager soon ran afoul of Warren when he investigated the secret nuclear missile attack on the Colonization Fleet launched from an unknown satellite. He was delivered multiple warnings by General Curtis LeMay to cease and desist, but ignored these and uncovered evidence that Warren himself had authorized the attacks. He was arrested and detained without a warrant by federal agents, but not before entrusting Straha and a number of others with envelopes marked "To be opened in the event of my death or disappearance" and containing definitive evidence of Warren's involvement. Straha used this evidence to restore himself to Fleetlord Atvar's good graces and return to the Race's society--and Atvar used it to destroy Indianapolis as punishment for the US's actions and leading to Warren's suicide. Yeager was horrified and angered that Warren chose to sacrifice Indianapolis rather than risking reduction of the United States' military installations and its presence in outer space. But he pointed out that Warren's government brought this on themselves for killing many Race colonists.
Yeager was soon summoned to Little Rock and met with Warren's successor, Harold Stassen. This meeting dealt with the progress on raising Mickey and Donald, and the Race's own experiment with Kassquit. It also dealt with the invading alien plant and animal life brought by the Race to Earth. Finally, Yeager was questioned on how he felt for his indirect role leading to the events of Indianapolis' destruction and Warren's suicide. He answered that he felt obliged to do what he thought was right and never anticipated how it would end. For Yeager's part, he asked Stassen if he could have known what Warren had done and was aware that the United States Air and Space Force had succeeded in weaponizing asteroids. Yeager also knew that his life would be endangered.
Eventually, Yeager's fear came true as Warren's henchmen, through their operative Gordon, made an attempt on Yeager's life because of his role in the affair, but the attempt failed and the Race warned the U.S. that Yeager was under its protection.
The Trip to Home
Yeager became something of a pariah to the US government, which was only too happy to put him into a state of suspended animation with experimental cold sleep drugs in 1977 in preparation for a mission to visit Home (another reason for Yeager to enter cold sleep was the death of his wife, Barbara). The US government officially announced that he had died of natural causes.
Sam was revived in Home orbit 56 years later aboard the Admiral Peary. He was reunited with his son and daughter-in-law, Karen Yeager, who had followed him into cold sleep in 1994. Sam's orders were to assist The Doctor in the latter's capacity as US ambassador, but The Doctor failed to awake from cold sleep and the Race requested that Yeager himself be named ambassador.
Yeager became the first "wild" Tosevite to set foot on Home (Kassquit was the first Tosevite to do so), declaring "This is for everyone who dreamed of it before it was possible" as he did so--a tribute to the science fiction authors who had captured his imagination a century before. Yeager dealt primarily with two males of the Race and a female Tosevite citizen of the Empire as ambassador, befriending Atvar and renewing his earlier friendships with Ttomalss and Kassquit. He was also granted an audience with the 37th Emperor Risson, becoming the first foreign ambassador to be received by a Ssumaz emperor in a hundred thousand of Home's years. Despite his best efforts to negotiate in good faith with the Race, the mere existence of another species capable of travelling among the stars in starships of its own building was a threat with which the Race had extreme difficulty dealing, and the tone of his negotiations with Risson and his representatives steadily declined. They were interrupted when the Commodore Perry, a FTL starship, joined the Admiral Peary in Home orbit. The Perry's commanders, unaware of The Doctor's mishap, were unhappy to find Yeager, who had become something of a historical villain for his role in the Indianapolis affair, filling the ambassador's slot, and immediately relieved him. They attempted to strand him on Home, but reconsidered when the rest of Yeager's diplomatic mission refused to return to Earth without him.
Back to Earth
Yeager returned home and was immediately forbidden by the US government to deal with the Race in any official capacity. Knowing Yeager's reputation for disloyalty to the United States and preference for the Race, the Race's consul in Los Angeles attempted to convince Yeager to betray state secrets to him; Yeager refused, thus alienating both major governments with an interest to him at once.
Yeager retired and enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. He was also reunited with Mickey and Donald, and seeing how profoundly their identities had been traumatized by the experiment he'd taken part in with them, felt remorse for following such an unethical course. He signed a deal with Random House to publish Safe at Home, a memoir of his long and interesting life.
Yeager was commonly credited with being the one Tosevite who could think by adopting the Race's mindset.
- "Warren couldn't live after he had to throw Indianapolis into the fire. Okay, but what about all the Lizards he killed? He didn't lose a night's sleep over them, and they hadn't done anything to anybody, either. They couldn't have - they were in cold sleep themselves. If Lizards aren't people worth thinking about, what are they?"
- Joe Bauman, a historical baseball player with the Roswell Rockets. Harry Turtledove has acknowledged that there are parallels between Yeager and Bauman, although he stopped short of declaring a direct analogy.
- Tilting the Balance pg. 14.
- https://www.tor.com/2009/11/17/the-star-and-the-rockets/, comment 26.