People, Places, and Planes (and Book Club questions)

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Miranda Chase Series

Miranda Chase thriller Buchman offices

Miranda Chase thriller Buchman Home Island

Miranda Chase thriller action adventure BuchmanM20V Acclaim Ultra © Mike Burdett (Miranda's father's plane) Buchman Miranda Chase Action adventure thrillerF86 Sabrejet © USAF (gift to Miranda in short story "Honor Flight")
Buchman Miranda Chase action-adventure thrillerCessna Citation M2 © YSSY Guy (Long-term loan from Cessna for testing) Buchman Miranda Chase action-adventure thrillerMD-902 Explorer © Fae (purchased for use by Andi Wu)
Miranda chase buchman thriller airplaneTWA 747 N993119 during better times © Fae Miranda chase buchman thriller airplaneReconstructed TWA 800 fuselage © NTSB

Miranda Chase Autistic IIC, Investigator-in-Charge, for the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board).
Sam and Olivia Chase Miranda's parents
Tanya "Tante" Daniels Miranda's therapist, turned governess after the death of her parents
Holly Harper Former Australian SASR operator. Specialist in structures and explosives.
Mike Munroe Former con-man and FBI stooge. Specialist in human factors.
Jeremy Trahn All around investigator. A young Miranda without the autism
Vicki "Taz the Taser" Cortez US Air Force colonel. Specialist in operations and military planning.
Andrea "Andi" Wu Former US Army 160th "Night Stalkers" helicopter pilot. Specialist in rotorcraft.
General Drake Nason Former US Army 75th Rangers. Now 4-star general Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
President Roy Cole President of the USA.
General Elizabeth "Lizzy" Grey Former US Air Force combat pilot. Director of the NRO, National Reconnaissance Office. Wife of General Drake Nason.
Clarissa Reese Director of the CIA.

Major Charcters (by Last Name)

Chang Mui Zuocheng's granddaughter
Chen Mei-Li high-end Chinese sex worker
Terence Graham NTSB Investigator-in-Charge, head of training
General Oswald Harrington commander of Groom Lake, NV
Cal Jefferson drone pilot and Remotes baseball player
Sergeant Oscar Lamont driver for General Nason
General Liú Zuocheng vice chairman of CMC, Central Military Commission
Major Carl Maxwellton drone pilot, Remotes baseball player
General Fitzgerald Patrick director of NRO, National Reconnaissance Office
General Peng Yan Chinese, head of Equipment Development Department
Colonel Helen Thomas Number Two in command, Groom Lake, NV
Major Wang Fan Chinses J-31 pilot
Lt. Colonel Harvey Whitmore drone pilot
Clark Winston Director of CIA
General Zhang Ru Wang Fan's wife's uncle

Places

Aircraft

Model of canceled Sukhoi Gulfstream S-21 supersonic bizjet © Pjedavj (inspiration for the Casper drone) Shenyang J-31© wc
Buchman Miranda Chase action-adventure thrillerC-130 Hercules © USAF Buchman Miranda Chase action-adventure thrillerF-35 Lightning II © USAF
Buchman Miranda Chase action-adventure thrillerTH-1H Huey © USAF Kiowa OH-58 © Robert Frola (the "small helo")

Reader's Group Questions (may include spoilers)

  1. Miranda has a new team foisted upon her. Have you ever had a similar experience? How did you make it work? What would you do the same and what do you wish you'd done differently?
  2. A common theme in Buchman's work are the circles of trust. How do you think of trust at the family, individual, team, friends, work, country, or societal level?
  3. Miranda is a very one-focus gal. If you were an autistic with a single, overarching Special Interest, what would it be? What would it be if time and money weren't an object?
  4. The pilots in Drone give their all for one great passion. What is there that you would give anything to have or do? Is there a way to start doing even a little of it now?
  5. What about the reading experience most matched your expectations? What matched the least?
  6. What about the characters most matched your expectations? When did they surprise you?
  7. If you were to cast these characters in a movie, who would play what parts? Use the form below to send your cast to M. L. and he'll send you his.

Ask M. L. any question about the book:

Miranda Chase Autistic IIC, Investigator-in-Charge, for the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board).
Sam and Olivia Chase Miranda's parents
Tanya "Tante" Daniels Miranda's therapist, turned governess after the death of her parents
Holly Harper Former Australian SASR operator. Specialist in structures and explosives.
Mike Munroe Former con-man and FBI stooge. Specialist in human factors.
Jeremy Trahn All around investigator. A young Miranda without the autism
Vicki "Taz the Taser" Cortez US Air Force colonel. Specialist in operations and military planning.
Andrea "Andi" Wu Former US Army 160th "Night Stalkers" helicopter pilot. Specialist in rotorcraft.
General Drake Nason Former US Army 75th Rangers. Now 4-star general Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
President Roy Cole President of the USA.
General Elizabeth "Lizzy" Grey Former US Air Force combat pilot. Director of the NRO, National Reconnaissance Office. Wife of General Drake Nason.
Clarissa Reese Director of the CIA.

Major Charcters (by Last Name)

Lieutenant William 'Billy / Poet' Blake Eglin AFB pilot (A-10)
Colonel Arturo Campos Commander of the 355th Wing at Davis-Monthan AFB
Jenny 'Daemon' Curtiss Rouge hacker for hire
Heidi 'Witchy Lady' Geller Head of CIA Cyber Security department
Sergeant Oscar Lamont Nason's driver
Senator Hunter Ramson Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee
Rose Ramson Wife of Senator Ramson
Harry 'Wizard Boy' Tallman Head of CIA's Cyber Attack Division

Places

Aircraft

A-10 Warthog face on (Robert Sullivan) MH-47 in flight
MQ-9 Reaper (USAF Staff Sgt Brian Ferguson) RQ-170 Drone - captured and displayed in Iran (FARS News)
MiG-29 Fulcrum Bundeswehr-Fotos Sukhoi Su-57 Felon (Anna Zvereva)
F-15E Strike Eagle (USAF Staff Sgt Sean Carnes) SyberJet SJ-30 (Bernal Saborio)

Reader's Group Questions (may include spoilers)

  1. Hacking has become a fixture in our society. Where would you rate it on the spectrum of crimes?
  2. Are the final actions of "White Hat" hackers (Heidi and Harry) against a "Black Hat" hacker (Daemon) justified?
  3. What is the role of justice vs. vigilantism in our society? Is the latter ever justified?
  4. Jeremy feels terrible guilt (Buddhism's "Second Arrow") over something he almost did. Have you ever done anything that caused you to plunge in your own Second Arrow of guilt? If so, what have you found helps you remove that self-inflicted emotional pain?

Ask M. L. any question about the book:

Miranda Chase Autistic IIC, Investigator-in-Charge, for the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board).
Sam and Olivia Chase Miranda's parents
Tanya "Tante" Daniels Miranda's therapist, turned governess after the death of her parents
Holly Harper Former Australian SASR operator. Specialist in structures and explosives.
Mike Munroe Former con-man and FBI stooge. Specialist in human factors.
Jeremy Trahn All around investigator. A young Miranda without the autism
Vicki "Taz the Taser" Cortez US Air Force colonel. Specialist in operations and military planning.
Andrea "Andi" Wu Former US Army 160th "Night Stalkers" helicopter pilot. Specialist in rotorcraft.
General Drake Nason Former US Army 75th Rangers. Now 4-star general Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
President Roy Cole President of the USA.
General Elizabeth "Lizzy" Grey Former US Air Force combat pilot. Director of the NRO, National Reconnaissance Office. Wife of General Drake Nason.
Clarissa Reese Director of the CIA.

Major Charcters (by Last Name)

Gregor 'Monster' Federov Senior designer at the Progress Rocket Space Center
Major Elayne Kasprak Russian SVR / Zaslon agent-saboteur
Diayu General Zhang Ru's receptionist
Tim & Tom USAF 24 STS Air Combat Controllers
Vesna Waitress at Tantsy Bobor Club, companion of Grego Federov

Places

Aircraft

AN-124 Condor (Greg Goebel) AN-124 Condor loading DSRV (US Navy)
C-5 Galaxy (Roland Balik) C-5 Galaxy loading helo (USAF)
Su-25UT (Su-28 trainer) (MSgt Dave Casey)

Reader's Group Questions (may include spoilers)

  1. Our nations spend billions, hundred of billions, on weapons of war (ships, jets, spy satellites, etc). Is it justified? Discuss how this massive escalation cycle might be mitigated.
  2. Elayne Kasprak takes drastic actions to protect Russian assets (the helicopter transport plane she destroys). Holly Harper takes equally drastic action to steal the Russian Persona satellite. Are both of them justified? Are either of them justified?
  3. Imagine that you are the Wright Brothers, who have just achieved the first airplane flight. Now imagine you are standing in this story's C-5 Galaxy transport jet, whose cargo bay is as long as your entire first flight. How do you think they would react? Awe, horror...
  4. What is something in your life that has affected you that way?
  5. Holly fights a physical battle. Have you ever been in one? What was most surprising about it?

Ask M. L. any question about the book:

Miranda Chase Autistic IIC, Investigator-in-Charge, for the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board).
Sam and Olivia Chase Miranda's parents
Tanya "Tante" Daniels Miranda's therapist, turned governess after the death of her parents
Holly Harper Former Australian SASR operator. Specialist in structures and explosives.
Mike Munroe Former con-man and FBI stooge. Specialist in human factors.
Jeremy Trahn All around investigator. A young Miranda without the autism
Vicki "Taz the Taser" Cortez US Air Force colonel. Specialist in operations and military planning.
Andrea "Andi" Wu Former US Army 160th "Night Stalkers" helicopter pilot. Specialist in rotorcraft.
General Drake Nason Former US Army 75th Rangers. Now 4-star general Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
President Roy Cole President of the USA.
General Elizabeth "Lizzy" Grey Former US Air Force combat pilot. Director of the NRO, National Reconnaissance Office. Wife of General Drake Nason.
Clarissa Reese Director of the CIA.

Major Charcters (by Last Name)

Technical Sergeant Rosa Cruz Ghostrider laser operator
Captain Ronny 'Gutz' Gutierrez Copilot of AC-130J Ghostrider
Master Sergeant Pierre 'Frenchie' Jones Crew of AC-130J Ghostrider
General Jorge Jesus 'JJ' Martinez USAF Pentagon - Aircraft acquisitions
Major Mark 'Tango' Torres AC-130J Ghostrider pilot
Jeffrey Vance Brett's 9-year-old son

Places

Aircraft

AC-130J Ghostrider, note side-pointing weapon barrels (USAF) AC-130U Spooky interior guns (USAF)

Reader's Group Questions (may include spoilers)

  1. General Martinez and Taz declare a direct and personal war on drug lords. Is this the answer? If it was completely up to you, how would you run the "War on Drugs"? Militarize everything? Legalize everything? Unleash Special Operations in foreign countries?
  2. For Taz, all life is a battle to be fought. To Jeremy, it is all about cooperation and collaboration. What is your own place on that spectrum and how does it help/hurt you?
  3. Following orders of a superior officer can mean life or death in the military. General Elizabeth Gray chooses to forgive Rosa for actions Rosa knew were illegal but performed at the order of her commanding officer. Was this right?
  4. Jeremy draws a very specific moral line at what he will and will not do, even at the risk of his and Mike's life. What choice would you have made? What was a moral-based choice you made in your life and how did that change you?

Ask M. L. any question about the book:

Miranda Chase Autistic IIC, Investigator-in-Charge, for the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board).
Sam and Olivia Chase Miranda's parents
Tanya "Tante" Daniels Miranda's therapist, turned governess after the death of her parents
Holly Harper Former Australian SASR operator. Specialist in structures and explosives.
Mike Munroe Former con-man and FBI stooge. Specialist in human factors.
Jeremy Trahn All around investigator. A young Miranda without the autism
Vicki "Taz the Taser" Cortez US Air Force colonel. Specialist in operations and military planning.
Andrea "Andi" Wu Former US Army 160th "Night Stalkers" helicopter pilot. Specialist in rotorcraft.
General Drake Nason Former US Army 75th Rangers. Now 4-star general Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
President Roy Cole President of the USA.
General Elizabeth "Lizzy" Grey Former US Air Force combat pilot. Director of the NRO, National Reconnaissance Office. Wife of General Drake Nason.
Clarissa Reese Director of the CIA.

Major Charcters (by Last Name)

Colonel Josh Abrams Air Force Two commander
General Ersin Firat Turkish commander of hacker team
General Arkin Kavanaugh USAF weapons systems acquisition
General Barry Sizemore USAF weapons systems acquisition
Colonel Stimson Commander of the Night Stalkers 160th SOAR
Major Jon Swift USAF Accident Investigation Board investigator
General Helen Thomas Commander of NTTR
Asli Onur's sister, Metin's love interest
Metin Turkish Hacker
Onur Turkish Hacker, Metin's best friend

Places

Aircraft

USAF Janet Airlines C-12A Huron (Tomas Del Coro) S-97 Raider (Robert Sullivan)
SB-1 Defiant (Sgt Dana Clarke) C-32A Air Force Two (Sam Meyer)
F-16 Fighting Falcon (USAF) F-18E Strike Eagle (USN)

Reader's Group Questions (may include spoilers)

  1. Have you ever met someone with PTSD? Discuss what they were like, how they reacted? Were they changed if you knew them before and after?
  2. Do you have something that you react to, that you simply can't help? (Ex. When I was a kid, some "friends" sicced the Doberman on my. I love dogs, but I've been afraid of Dobbies ever since.) What are you doing to change that reaction? (I force myself to pet each Dobbie I meet, because it wasn't the dogs fault.)
  3. Holly completely mistakes Mike and Andi's relationship in the beginning, with amusing results. Have you ever been in a similar situation and were you able to laugh afterward?
  4. Asli gives Metin a simple guide that changes his life, "Would you be willing to tell me what you did if you were allowed to?" Another version of this is: "If was in the newspaper, would you be okay with that?" What guideposts do you use when weighing a questionable action in your mind?

Ask M. L. any question about the book:

Miranda Chase Autistic IIC, Investigator-in-Charge, for the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board).
Sam and Olivia Chase Miranda's parents
Tanya "Tante" Daniels Miranda's therapist, turned governess after the death of her parents
Holly Harper Former Australian SASR operator. Specialist in structures and explosives.
Mike Munroe Former con-man and FBI stooge. Specialist in human factors.
Jeremy Trahn All around investigator. A young Miranda without the autism
Vicki "Taz the Taser" Cortez US Air Force colonel. Specialist in operations and military planning.
Andrea "Andi" Wu Former US Army 160th "Night Stalkers" helicopter pilot. Specialist in rotorcraft.
General Drake Nason Former US Army 75th Rangers. Now 4-star general Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
President Roy Cole President of the USA.
General Elizabeth "Lizzy" Grey Former US Air Force combat pilot. Director of the NRO, National Reconnaissance Office. Wife of General Drake Nason.
Clarissa Reese Director of the CIA.

Major Charcters (by Last Name)

Chang Mui Daughter of General Liu Zuocheng
Mei-Li Chen Former sex slave of General Zhang Ru
General Liú Zuocheng Co-vice-chairman CMC
Captain Debbie Smithey MH-47G Chinook pilot
Staff Sergeant Bob Wang Night Stalkers helicopter mechanic
Wang Daiyu General Zhang Ru's wife
General Zhang Ru Member of CMC
Max Wildfire hotshot sawyer, friend of Taz Cortez

Places

Aircraft

AC-130J Ghostrider, note side-pointing weapon barrels (USAF) MH-47G Chinook (DoD)
UH-60L Blackhawk over Iraq (USAF) Osh Kosh Striker (John Murphy)
J-20 Mighty Dragon (N509FZ)

Reader's Group Questions (may include spoilers)

  1. China and the US are in a battle of wills (and hopefully that's all they're still in when you're reading this). How do you think Taiwan specifically  and US-China relations will play out? How do you think they should play out?
  2. Have you ever served or even been to a military airshow? If so, tell others about it. What you saw, your impressions, how it altered your view of the military.
  3. General Zhang Ru is a heinously entitled and abusive man. If you were creating a justice system from scratch, how would you punish him and those like him?
  4. Spoiler: Taz returns from the dead. She is the ultimate survivor but is forced by her resurrection to consider her past deeds. She remains convinced that she only deserved the worst future. What assumptions do you make about your own future? How might you change them?

Ask M. L. any question about the book:

Miranda Chase Autistic IIC, Investigator-in-Charge, for the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board).
Sam and Olivia Chase Miranda's parents
Tanya "Tante" Daniels Miranda's therapist, turned governess after the death of her parents
Holly Harper Former Australian SASR operator. Specialist in structures and explosives.
Mike Munroe Former con-man and FBI stooge. Specialist in human factors.
Jeremy Trahn All around investigator. A young Miranda without the autism
Vicki "Taz the Taser" Cortez US Air Force colonel. Specialist in operations and military planning.
Andrea "Andi" Wu Former US Army 160th "Night Stalkers" helicopter pilot. Specialist in rotorcraft.
General Drake Nason Former US Army 75th Rangers. Now 4-star general Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
President Roy Cole President of the USA.
General Elizabeth "Lizzy" Grey Former US Air Force combat pilot. Director of the NRO, National Reconnaissance Office. Wife of General Drake Nason.
Clarissa Reese Director of the CIA.

Major Charcters (by Last Name)

Director Gavin Chalmers CIA Middle East desk
Captain Quint Dermott Airbus copilot
Captain Dani Evers Airbus pilot
Kurt Grice Head of CIA Special Operations Group
Eli Jackson President of Australian airline
Ernie Maxwell CIA agent in charge of Diego Garcia black site
Paola Ortiz South American coup leader, escape from Diego Garcia black site

Places

Aircraft

Airbus A330-300 in Quantas livery (Masakatsu Ukon, Quantas) Airbus A330-300 in Quantas livery (Masakatsu Ukon, Quantas) KC-135 Stratotanker refueling F-16 (USAF)
C-21A Learjet (USAF) C-37B Gulfstream USCG (Maarten Visser)
MC07-C-17 USAF (Namret) C-40B (Jeff Gilbert)
HC-130J Hercules (Silva-USCG) Dassault Falcon 7X (Steven Byles)

Reader's Group Questions (may include spoilers)

  1. Holly acts before she thinks. Mike thinks before he acts. Jermy feels before he thinks. Taz acts and struggles not to think. Andi feels before she acts. And Miranda...is Miranda. Which one are you? And why? How does it affect your life?
  2. What's the most exotic place you've ever been? How did it affect the way you look at where you live?
  3. Have you ever stood at the grave of someone you knew, loved, or were related to? How did it change your view of your own life?
  4. Everyone Miranda comes in contact with rises to their best self through no conscious effort of her own (well, except Elayne Kasprak). How do you think meeting Miranda would influence you?

Ask M. L. any question about the book:

Miranda Chase Autistic IIC, Investigator-in-Charge, for the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board).
Sam and Olivia Chase Miranda's parents
Tanya "Tante" Daniels Miranda's therapist, turned governess after the death of her parents
Holly Harper Former Australian SASR operator. Specialist in structures and explosives.
Mike Munroe Former con-man and FBI stooge. Specialist in human factors.
Jeremy Trahn All around investigator. A young Miranda without the autism
Vicki "Taz the Taser" Cortez US Air Force colonel. Specialist in operations and military planning.
Andrea "Andi" Wu Former US Army 160th "Night Stalkers" helicopter pilot. Specialist in rotorcraft.
General Drake Nason Former US Army 75th Rangers. Now 4-star general Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
President Roy Cole President of the USA.
General Elizabeth "Lizzy" Grey Former US Air Force combat pilot. Director of the NRO, National Reconnaissance Office. Wife of General Drake Nason.
Clarissa Reese Director of the CIA.

Major Charcters (by Last Name)

Rick Danziger Head of President Cole's Secret Service team
Sarah Feldman National Security Adviser
Heidi Geller Head of CIA Cyber Security Division
Major Tamantha Jones Marine One pilot
Colonel Blake McGrady Commander HMX-1
Harry Tallman Head of CIA's Cyber Attack Division

Places

Aircraft

VH-92A 'Marine One' (USMC) Cessna C208 Grand Caravan (Markus Eigenheer)
De Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter Float Plane (Leonard G) E-4B Nightwatch (SSgt Michael Haggerty)
UH-60L Blackhawk over Iraq (USAF) AH-1Z Viper (US Marines)

Reader's Group Questions (may include spoilers)

  1. In 2010 the US Supreme Court declared that corporations were people. They've gained a lot of rights since, including in 2023 the right to vote in a municipal election in Delaware. Many near-future stories in speculative fiction discuss corporations becoming a law unto themselves. Is that tipping point already here?
  2. It has been a long time as of this writing (thankfully) since the US has lost a President or Vice President while in office. Think about the recent administrations. How do you think the country would be different if one or the other was killed?
  3. The innocent victims on the ground killed by the White Top crash, had no warning. One moment they were going about their lives and the next they were dead. If you had a moment's warning, what last choice, act, thought would you have?
  4. Would there be any regrets? If so, are they something you could find a way to fix now?
  5. Which is a worse crime, foreign or domestic terrorism? Or a US drone attack on a foreign actor? Discuss this from all the various points of view.

Ask M. L. any question about the book:

Miranda Chase Autistic IIC, Investigator-in-Charge, for the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board).
Sam and Olivia Chase Miranda's parents
Tanya "Tante" Daniels Miranda's therapist, turned governess after the death of her parents
Holly Harper Former Australian SASR operator. Specialist in structures and explosives.
Mike Munroe Former con-man and FBI stooge. Specialist in human factors.
Jeremy Trahn All around investigator. A young Miranda without the autism
Vicki "Taz the Taser" Cortez US Air Force colonel. Specialist in operations and military planning.
Andrea "Andi" Wu Former US Army 160th "Night Stalkers" helicopter pilot. Specialist in rotorcraft.
General Drake Nason Former US Army 75th Rangers. Now 4-star general Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
President Roy Cole President of the USA.
General Elizabeth "Lizzy" Grey Former US Air Force combat pilot. Director of the NRO, National Reconnaissance Office. Wife of General Drake Nason.
Clarissa Reese Director of the CIA.

Places

Aircraft

Mike's Beech Bonanza (Arpingtone) Andi's Bell 429WLG (Eric Salard)

Reader's Group Questions (may include spoilers)

  1. Each of these origin stories focus on a seminal moment in the characters' lives. And how they interpreted those changes to move forward in their lives. Discuss each of them: Miranda, Holly, Mike, Jeremy, Andi, and Taz. Who might have they become if they'd made different choices?
  2. Was there a seminal moment that shaped/changed the course of your own life? Using the form below, send in a sentence each about that person and the change they wrought, and M. L. will send you his.

Ask M. L. any question about the book:

Miranda Chase Autistic IIC, Investigator-in-Charge, for the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board).
Sam and Olivia Chase Miranda's parents
Tanya "Tante" Daniels Miranda's therapist, turned governess after the death of her parents
Holly Harper Former Australian SASR operator. Specialist in structures and explosives.
Mike Munroe Former con-man and FBI stooge. Specialist in human factors.
Jeremy Trahn All around investigator. A young Miranda without the autism
Vicki "Taz the Taser" Cortez US Air Force colonel. Specialist in operations and military planning.
Andrea "Andi" Wu Former US Army 160th "Night Stalkers" helicopter pilot. Specialist in rotorcraft.
General Drake Nason Former US Army 75th Rangers. Now 4-star general Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
President Roy Cole President of the USA.
General Elizabeth "Lizzy" Grey Former US Air Force combat pilot. Director of the NRO, National Reconnaissance Office. Wife of General Drake Nason.
Clarissa Reese Director of the CIA.

Major Charcters (by Last Name)

Lieutenant Commander Penny 'Copper' Brightman Acting Captain of USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier
General Liú Zuocheng Co-vice-chairman CMC
Commander Susan 'Sam' Piazza Navy liaison / troubleshooter
Rose Ramson Wife of Senator Ramson
Colonel Wang Daiyu General Zhang Ru's wife
General Zhang Ru Member of CMC
Sadie Commander Susan Piazza's Shih Tzu

Places

Aircraft

KC-46 refuels B-2 Bomber (USAF) F-35C Lightning IIs (US Navy)
Citation 500 I-SP (Davis Osborn) Thruman Muson's Citation 500 after crash (BAAA)
USAF C-20B Gulfstream (Pedro Aragao) C-37B Gulfstream USCG (Maarten Visser)
C-2 Greyhound (US Navy) Boeing 737-800s in Air China livery (Allen Zhao)

CVN-71 USS Theodore Roosevelt (US Navy)

Reader's Group Questions (may include spoilers)

  1. China has taken over and militarized much of the South China Sea, ignoring the rights of Vietnam, the Philippines, and others in the region. China sees this as justified by manifest destiny, self-protection, and shortening the route for their access to Middle East oil tankers. All despite the condemnation of the rest of the world, including the UN. How do you think this might shape future trade and conflict?
  2. Ultra-high-power laser satellites are (probably) still a thing of the future. Someday that technological hurdle will be crossed as well. Once they're operational, how do you think that might change the nature of conflict? More peaceful, like the anomalous side effect of MAD, Mutually Assured Destruction, that made everyone unwilling to use nukes even at the height of the Cold War? Or more dangerous?
  3. Lieutenant Commander Penny Brightman must take over an entire aircraft carrier's operation on no notice. Have you ever had to take on a job or project that was way out of your normal comfort zone? What did you learn by stretching to achieve that goal? Did you succeed, do okay, or not so much? How did that change what you did going forward?
  4. Miranda is constantly jerked from one task to the next. To an autistic, this is a personal disaster in the making. Have you experimented with longer focus on a single task vs. attempting to multi-task your life? What did you learn? (How did that change if you were the parent of an infant/toddler?)
  5. Send M. L. your favorite dog breeds and why. He'll send you back his.

Ask M. L. any question about the book:

Miranda Chase Autistic IIC, Investigator-in-Charge, for the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board).
Sam and Olivia Chase Miranda's parents
Tanya "Tante" Daniels Miranda's therapist, turned governess after the death of her parents
Holly Harper Former Australian SASR operator. Specialist in structures and explosives.
Mike Munroe Former con-man and FBI stooge. Specialist in human factors.
Jeremy Trahn All around investigator. A young Miranda without the autism
Vicki "Taz the Taser" Cortez US Air Force colonel. Specialist in operations and military planning.
Andrea "Andi" Wu Former US Army 160th "Night Stalkers" helicopter pilot. Specialist in rotorcraft.
General Drake Nason Former US Army 75th Rangers. Now 4-star general Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
President Roy Cole President of the USA.
General Elizabeth "Lizzy" Grey Former US Air Force combat pilot. Director of the NRO, National Reconnaissance Office. Wife of General Drake Nason.
Clarissa Reese Director of the CIA.

Major Charcters (by Last Name)

Bridgette 'Bridg' Cane Davis Station manager
Captain Antony Capra Skibird pilot
Lieutenant Colonel Kurchenko Major Novikov's boss
General Liú Zuocheng Co-vice-chairman CMC
General Mikhail Murov Head of Russian FSB
Captain Fyodor Novikov Transport pilot for AARI, married to Aloysha
Viktor Petrov Progress Station Manager
Colonel Nikolas Romanoff Commander Russian AARI for Antarctica
Oleg 'Ollie' Sidirov Vostok station manager
Colonel Artemy Turgenev Fyodor's commander, works for Romanoff
Freddie Vaughan US Marshal
Colonel Wang Daiyu General Liú Zuocheng's assistant
Aloysha Fyodor Novikov's wife
Barty Head of ATSB (Australian Transportation Safety Board)

Places

Aircraft

Ukrainian AF Ilyushin Il-76 (Ronnie Macdonald) USAF C-17 US Antarctic Program (Jack Green)
Basler BT-65 Kenn Borek Air (D V Wiebe) Kamov KA-32s helicopter (M Radzi Desa)
LC-130 Skibird (Sr. Ariman Ben German)

Reader's Group Questions (may include spoilers)

  1. Russia and China are threatening to walk away from the Antarctic Treaty System that says the continent may not be militarized or use for commercial resources (mining)--only science. Many of the world's past (and future) battles have been over resources, oil being the obvious one (but now also, among many others, the elements needed to make solar panels and long-life high-capacity batteries). Nature has concentrated some of these in a very few countries. Many are under the control of corporate raiders, keeping the governments unstable to take advantage. If the world was yours to order, how would you address this? A globalized version of the ATS?
  2. Have you ever been somewhere beyond immediate help? Hiking in the deep woods, driving across the Outback, out on a boat far from land, trapped on the Antarctic ice cap in a missile-damaged airplane? In the moments after a car crash or other accident? How did that experience make you feel? Invigorated to be alive? Terrified? Focused?
  3. When Holly gets the call from the Australian Transportation Safety Board, the rest of the team assumes they're going along when she asks. It doesn't occur to her that they might be going for her rather than for the crash. Thinking about your friends, how many would simply assume they were included or could help if you really needed it? Have you thanks them for that recently?
  4. Antarctica is very high on M. L.'s bucket list. Not a tourist visit, but living there through at least a season, perhaps a year. (It's an unlikely one now but it's still there on the list.) What's the craziest thing on your bucket list? Have you done anything to make it happen? (Send your bucket list to M. L. and he'll send back his.)

Ask M. L. any question about the book:

Miranda Chase Autistic IIC, Investigator-in-Charge, for the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board).
Sam and Olivia Chase Miranda's parents
Tanya "Tante" Daniels Miranda's therapist, turned governess after the death of her parents
Holly Harper Former Australian SASR operator. Specialist in structures and explosives.
Mike Munroe Former con-man and FBI stooge. Specialist in human factors.
Jeremy Trahn All around investigator. A young Miranda without the autism
Vicki "Taz the Taser" Cortez US Air Force colonel. Specialist in operations and military planning.
Andrea "Andi" Wu Former US Army 160th "Night Stalkers" helicopter pilot. Specialist in rotorcraft.
General Drake Nason Former US Army 75th Rangers. Now 4-star general Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
President Roy Cole President of the USA.
General Elizabeth "Lizzy" Grey Former US Air Force combat pilot. Director of the NRO, National Reconnaissance Office. Wife of General Drake Nason.
Clarissa Reese Director of the CIA.

Major Charcters (by Last Name)

Technical Sergeant Doyle Cowell Nightwatch onboard analyst
Kurt Grice Head of CIA Special Operations Group
Director Ernie Maxwell CIA Middle East desk
Captain Romaldo Sanchez Captain of submarine
Sergeant Tamisha Ward Nightwatch onboard analyst
Ching Hui Wu Andi Wu's mother, Head of Wu and Wu Law

Places

Aircraft

CASC Rainbow CH-5 (Infinity 0) Cessna 172 Skyhawk (Alan Wilson)
UH-60 Black Hawk with firefighting bucket (US Army) E-4B Nightwatch (SSgt Michael Haggerty)

Reader's Group Questions (may include spoilers)

  1. There are currently about 50,000 cargo ships crisscrossing the oceans. Estimates place 5-8,000 commercial planes aloft at all times. What other "systems" can you think of that are all overlapping on our planet? Trucks, power transmission, radio...
  2. The melting of the Arctic ice cap has numerous implications, climate and shipping being only two of them. What others can you come up with?
  3. Tech Sergeant Doyle sells out secrets for $50,000. Think up different scenarios: puncture someone's tire, send anonymous flowers to someone else's spouse to make them jealous, sell a state secret (if you had one), etc. Write down from least to most you'd have to be paid to do it. Compare the order you chose with others; discuss the different orders.
  4. The reach of drones is now global and their capabilities expand every day (dropping individual grenades in the Ukraine War was revealed just the week before this writing). How have they changed the world, how do you think they'll change it in the next 5-10 years? Send in your ideas and M. L. will send you a brief idea of his own.

Ask M. L. any question about the book:

Miranda Chase Autistic IIC, Investigator-in-Charge, for the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board).
Sam and Olivia Chase Miranda's parents
Tanya "Tante" Daniels Miranda's therapist, turned governess after the death of her parents
Holly Harper Former Australian SASR operator. Specialist in structures and explosives.
Mike Munroe Former con-man and FBI stooge. Specialist in human factors.
Jeremy Trahn All around investigator. A young Miranda without the autism
Vicki "Taz the Taser" Cortez US Air Force colonel. Specialist in operations and military planning.
Andrea "Andi" Wu Former US Army 160th "Night Stalkers" helicopter pilot. Specialist in rotorcraft.
General Drake Nason Former US Army 75th Rangers. Now 4-star general Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
President Roy Cole President of the USA.
General Elizabeth "Lizzy" Grey Former US Air Force combat pilot. Director of the NRO, National Reconnaissance Office. Wife of General Drake Nason.
Clarissa Reese Director of the CIA.

Major Charcters (by Last Name)

Lieutenant Sergei Balakin Copilot of AN-74MP transport plane for AARI
Vice Admiral Burkhart Commanding officer of USS Gerald R. Ford strike group
Ian Faulkner Menwith Hill image analyst (IMINT)
Group Captain Raymond Fielding Co-director Menwith Hill
General Garin Daughter is Russian President's mistress
Garina Russian President's mistress
Captain Natalia Ivanovna Pilot of AN-74MP transport plane for AARI
Samuil and Olya Mironova Miranda's parents names in Russia (Samuel and Olivia Chase)
General Mikhail Murov Head of Russian FSB
Commander Josh 'Viking' Osborne RAF helicopter pilot
Major Alexej Pronichev Commander of Gromovo Air Base
Lieutenant Colonel Shirinov General Turgenev's assistant
Major General Artemy Turgenev Artic and Antartic operations, ARRI
Inessa Turgeneva Wife of Artemy Turgenev
Astrid Underwood Menwith Hill Director of Operations
Captain Dave Walsh Pilot CMV-22

Places

Aircraft

MV-22 Osprey titlrotor (US Navy) Royal Navy AW101 Merlin (Arpingstone)
AgustaWestland AW109SP Grand New (Robert Frola) Russian Border Guard Antonov An-72P at Vladivostok Airport (Fedor Leukhin)
Cheburashka and Gena the Crocodile - 25 ruble coin Antonov An-72 Cheburashka looking like the character (Kirill Naumenko)
Embraer Phenom 100 (JBabinski380) Sukhoi Su-57 Felon (Anna Zvereva)
Citation 700 (ZLEA) Citation 700 security drill - note the emergency exit door - last window ahead of the engine (DanieB52)

USS Mason DDG-87 (US Navy)

Reader's Group Questions (may include spoilers)

  1. Has a friend, relative, or co-worker ever betrayed you? How did that betrayal affect your future trust of others? Or if it didn't, why not? How, if you managed to, did you get past that betrayal?
  2. Discuss circles of loyalty: family, friends, community, state, country, global, humankind...
  3. The American NSA, UK's GCHQ, and others gather massive amounts of intelligence, including images, phone calls, messaging, etc. They do this to identify terrorist targets and to promote the security of their respective countries. Is this a "necessary evil" or an invasion of privacy?
  4. What's your favorite vacation spot? Share and discuss. Maybe trade for next year? Send your answers to M. L. using the form below and he'll send you back his.

Ask M. L. any question about the book:

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