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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
V: Path to Conquest V
Path to Conquest

Written by Howard Weinstein

(The page numbers come from the 1st printing, paperback edition, published September 1987)

Diana enacts a two-pronged plot to alter world weather patterns to bring an early, crushing winter and to then contaminate world petroleum supplies and make the needed heating oil unusable.

Story Summary

Diana initiates Project Icewind to alter the weather patterns of the northern hemisphere and bring about an early, crushing winter on the humans in the free, red dust protected portions of Earth. Six modified motherships are placed in different positions around the globe to begin the project, which quickly begins to bear fruit in the northern states of the U.S.

Pete Forsythe, of New York's resistance group White Christmas, is introduced to his comrade Sari's new boyfriend Neville More, an English computer and business wiz who is travelling the country helping resistance efforts shore up their computer systems. But Pete is suspicious of Neville, though he can't put his finger on why. He goes to Denise Daltry at CBS News to see if she can dig up some dirt on him. While he's there, the Visitors launch an air attack on New York. During the attack, one skyfighter peels off and lands at an oil refinery on Staten Island. There, the environment-suited Visitors meet with two men who have agreed to contaminate the refinery's oil with an additive.

Lydia brings Diana a report showing that Project Icewind is demanding 43.9% more power of the motherships than Diana's scientists had predicted, threatening to drain the ships' engines. The plan must be halted, but Diana is satisfied because she has already put phase two into action.

Soon, two buildings in New York report overwhelming and nauseating fumes, making people sick. The Brook Cove lab, through testing, determines that it was caused by an alien microbiotic substance tainting the heating oil in the buildings. Further, they learn that the microbe in its current state has limited effectiveness but they know how it could be made more potent. Meanwhile, the President's national security team informs him that the Visitors are suddenly erecting a rig in the Persian Gulf. And Brook Cove's resident computer hacker, Mitchell, catches Neville monkeying around with one of the facility's computers in the middle of the night, raising suspicions in his mind.

The following evening, Neville cooks dinner for the entire Brook Cove crew, which turns out to be a mistake on the crew's part as they all find themselves drugged and asleep through the night. In the morning they find that Neville's missing and their own matriarch, Dr. Hannah Donnenfeld, kidnapped.

Mitchell reveals he'd been checking up on Neville's past and learned that at one of the places that Neville had helped, the computers suffered a system collapse within a week of his leaving. They now suspect him of being a saboteur and discover their own system has now gone haywire as well due to a virus planted by Neville.

The President consults with Israeli Prime Minister Avram Herzog and they decide to launch an attack on the Visitor rig using fighter jets of the Israeli air force under the (correct) assumption that the aliens are planning to use it to contaminate one of the largest oil fields on Earth. But the attack fails miserably, the jets blown away by Visitor skyfighters.

Hannah awakens aboard Diana's mothership, greeted by Neville. Soon, Diana is attempting to coerce and torture her knowledge of the microbe's effectiveness from her. Neville tries to advise Diana on Hannah's stubbornness and how to break her, but he is rebuffed. Neville returns to the surface and pays another visit to Brook Cove. He tells the assembled resistance there that he will help them get Hannah back and destroy the Visitors' Persian Gulf rig; he wants revenge against Diana for rebuking him.

With Neville's expert help, White Christmas is able to rescue Hannah from Diana's mothership. Shortly after, the rebels travel with Neville to Saudi Arabia. When they arrive, Diana's mothership is also hovering over Hofuf, the beachfront city overlooking the Visitors' rig; she is planning to activate the contamination in person. That night, Pete, Neville, and the Saudi resistance member Abdul, take an inflatable launch to the Visitors' rig. Pete and Neville board the rig and take out the guards. Neville gets into the Visitors' computer system while Pete and Abdul head back to shore to avoid notice, with plans to pick up Neville when he's done. But, upon return to the rig, Diana and Lydia attack the launch from a skyfighter and they are forced to abandon Neville to his fate. To his credit, the Englishman is able to stop not only the contamination from taking place, but also to infect the aliens' computer network such as to wipe out the research information on the oil microbe so it will take them months to reformulate. He also triggers Diana's self destruct sequence on the platform due to his tampering and he and the rig go up in a rippling fireball.

The rest of the resistance members return to New York and Pete even puts in an appearance at his old third base position with the Yankees in the new semipro leagues. 

THE END

 

Notes from the V chronology

The novel suggests this story takes place about 2 months after the events of Death Tide and after the fall of Los Angeles, which would place it at a point in the timeline when either Charles or Philip were essentially in command of the Visitor fleet, with Lydia as Diana's superior officer. Yet, Diana consistently is presented as the one charge, with no mention of Charles or Philip. As witnessed by Weinstein's author's notes at the beginning of the book, it was written in 1985 when the fate of the TV show was not yet known. And so the entire twists and turns of the TV episodes were not yet known at the time of writing either. To fit it into the V timeline, I think we must assume it takes place after "The Champion" when Philip places Diana and Lydia at roughly equal command authority (though Lydia is still technically adjutant to him and, thus, Diana's superior) and before "The Littlest Dragon" when Philip starts to have some respect for the Earthlings. We must assume that at this point Diana's Project Icewind has Philip's approval, so Lydia can't directly stop it, despite her reservations.

Didja Notice? 

Page 1 reveals that when she first donned her human skin, Diana found herself ugly, wanting her own face back. But she grew accustomed to it and even learned to appreciate the beauty of the human form.

Page 4 introduces us to the U.S. supercarrier USS Nimitz. The Nimitz is a real ship, named for WWII Navy Admiral Chester W. Nimitz and the lead ship of the Nimitz class of nuclear powered carriers. It was launched in 1975 and is still in service today.

Page 4 also tells us that when the Visitors returned a year after V-Day, the fleet contained fewer motherships and skyfighters. No explanation is given as to why. We know from "Liberation Day" and the novels previous to that episode that the Visitor fleet was hiding behind Earth's moon, awaiting its chance to return. But, possibly, some of the fleet was recalled by the Leader in that year to fight his enemies elsewhere.

Page 6 mentions F-14 Tomcat and F-15 Eagle jet fighters. These are real fighter craft of the U.S. military. The F-14 was introduced to the Navy in 1974 and retired in 2006. The F-15 entered service in the Air Force in 1976, going on to become one of the most successful fighter planes in history; it is expected to remain in service until 2025.

Page 6 also mentions the Phoenix, Sidewinder, and Sparrow missiles. These are long, short, and medium range missiles respectively which have been in use by the U.S. and other nations for decades.

On page 7, Nimitz Master Helmsman Reinhold mentions being deployed to the Middle East during conflict between the nations of Iran and Iraq. This references the Iran-Iraq War which began in September 1980. In our world the war continued until August 1988. In the V universe, it's not clear whether the war continued after the Visitors' invasion of Earth. Presumably the Middle Eastern nations, being in a temperate zone where the red dust would have died off, have been largely occupied by Visitor forces and Iran and Iraq would not have the forces to waste on battling each other.

Page 7 also mentions the E-2 Hawkeye. This is an early-warning aircraft carrying radar to detect approaching enemy forces and long range communications in order to warn U.S. and Allied forces ahead of time. The plane is described as having "four-bladed Allison turboprop engines." Allison was a real engine manufacturer at the time which was bought out by Rolls Royce in 1995. The radar dome on top of the fuselage is described in the book as looking almost like "a small, flattened replica of a Visitor Mother Ship."

On page 9, Captain Felix briefly reminisces on his time at "Gonzo Station". Gonzo Station is a nickname given to the region patrolled by the U.S. Navy in the Indian Ocean during the Iranian Hostage Crisis which lasted from November 1979 to January 1981. GONZO was actually an acronym applied to the area by the Navy: Gulf of Oman Naval Zone of Operations. The Strait of Hormuz is also mentioned in this passage, which is the small opening connecting the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman.

Also mentioned on page 9 is the U.S. battleship Arizona. This is the ship sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1940 whose remains still lie at the bottom of the harbor and which became the USS Arizona Memorial in 1962 in commemoration of the lives lost in the attack.

Page 10 mentions the A-7 Corsair attack aircraft. This aircraft entered service in the U.S. Navy in 1966. The Air Force also adopted use of a modified A-7 not long after. After a relatively short period of use by the Navy and Air Force, the Corsairs were transferred to units of the Air National Guard in the mid-1970s through early '80s, who retired them completely in 1993. As presented here in the V universe, the Corsairs are being made use of once again in 1985 by the United States Navy to augment their forces against the Visitors.

On page 11, when Visitor skyfighters are detected approaching the Nimitz and the tankers under its protection, Captain Felix scrambles the F-14s and orders, "Launch when ready." This may be a reference to the 1978 TV series Battlestar Galactica, where the phrase was frequently heard before the launch of the Colonial Vipers against the Cylon Raiders, since the F-16 (though officially known as the Fighting Falcon) has been nicknamed the Viper by service personnel due to its alleged resemblance to a viper snake and after the Colonial Viper starfighter of Battlestar Galactica!

Pages 14-15 reveal that the U.S. capital has been temporarily moved to New York City as Washington D.C. is only just barely under the protection of the red dust. President Morrow's offices are now located in the UN building overlooking the East River and he has taken residence in the Grand Hyatt Hotel at 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue (called the Hyatt White House on page 56). This is a real hotel in NYC, located at this intersection just as described. Page 21 mentions that the Hyatt was built on the shell of the old Commodore Hotel (originally built in 1919 and refurbished as the Hyatt in 1980), which is also true.

Page 15 reveals that New York City is where the Freedom Network is based, as well as being the de facto capital of the World Liberation Front.

On page 15, Secretary of State Draper laces on his Nikes for a jog.

Page 17 mentions Madison Square Garden. This a large multi-purpose arena in Manhattan, best known for hosting New York professional sports teams and concerts. At this time in the V universe, it has become a refugee station for citizens fleeing the war in the temperate states. On page 19, Mayor Alison Stein refers to it as Manhattan's own little Ellis Island (the famous gateway to the United States for millions of immigrants).

Page 18 mentions Penn(sylvania) Station. This is the major railway station in NYC.

Also on page 18, Cynthia explains to Secretary of Defense Stuart Hart that New York's suburbs house many refugees at abandoned military bases or prisons, unused college dorms, and hospitals. She goes on to say that some refugee camps are just tents and Quonset huts. Quonset huts were introduced by the U.S. Navy during WWII as a lightweight, easy to ship and assemble building for housing offices, barracks, latrines, and medical facilities. Surplus huts were also sold throughout the U.S. after the war and can still be seen in many parts of the country.

Page 21 mentions the Art Deco skyscraper, the Chrysler Building in NYC. The Chrysler Building was built from 1928-1930 and was briefly the world's tallest building before the Empire State Building was completed. Art Deco was a popular artistic and design style in the western world from roughly 1910 until the start of WWII.

On page 30, President Morrow enters the Secretariat Building of the United Nations. This is the well-known, tall centerpiece building of the UN headquarters in Manhattan.

On page 35, national security advisor Livingston reveals that the Israeli government and military have managed to hold on to its land despite the Visitor takeover of much of the Middle East. We also learn that they have set aside their differences with Egypt and Saudi Arabia to build a combined defensive force to protect the Saudi oil fields. The TV episode "Breakout" contains a Freedom Network report that suggests that fighting has been fierce in Israel but that the Visitors had retaken the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. It would seem that in the intervening time, the Israelis pushed the Visitors out of the country.

On page 36, Secretary Hart suggests they are between Scylla and Charybdis (or between a rock and a hard place). Scylla and Charybdis are two Homeric sea monsters of Greek mythology.

Also on page 36, the President and his advisors discuss the Strategic Reserve of crude oil, a reserve held by the U.S. government in locations in Texas and Louisiana to be used in the event of an embargo or cut-off of oil from foreign sources. This reserve exists in the real world and has expanded since then, both in the U.S. and other countries.

Chapter 3 implies that the U.S. government is going to attempt to move the nation's strategic oil reserves from Texas and Louisiana up north into the free states under the Visitors' noses. But then it is never brought up again in the rest of the book!

Pages 38-39 reveal a bit about Diana's parents. They were a political family, her father, Tiirac, a government minister who survived under several regimes, and her mother, a highly placed scientist. Lydia believes Diana to have been highly influenced by her mother, as Mommy dearest was suspected, but never proven, to have also been a very successful assassin, eliminating many of her husband's rivals. Tiirac himself eventually died under mysterious circumstances, ending an unusually long marital union in Visitor society. It is left unrevealed to the reader whether Diana's mother still lives.

Page 39 gives some insight into Lydia's past. Her parents' coupling was solely for reproductive purposes and she entered the military academy at an early age. Lydia has learned the lesson that honor is a low priority among the upper echelons of the Leader's new army and she has been forced to adapt to this reality. This passage in the book does not explain what is meant by the Leader's "new army"; there seem to be conflicting versions throughout the V novels of how long the Leader has been in power and how long the Visitors have had a military government.

Page 40 reveals that Supreme Commander John (who died in "The Final Battle") was one of the principle architects of the Visitors initial strategy of the Earth invasion, i.e. the human syntho-skin disguises and pretenses of friendship to the Earthlings.

Page 45 mentions that with Hollywood in a real war zone, very few new entertainment TV shows and movies were being produced except for a few in New York and Canada. This agrees with the similar statement in the novel Symphony of Terror that the film industry in L.A. is essentially dead except for making Visitor propaganda movies. Televised entertainment is mostly a sea of reruns, but plays, both on and off Broadway, have, consequently, experienced a sort of renaissance in New York. The L.A.-as-a-war-zone mention here also places Path to Conquest sometime after the fall of L.A. in the V timeline.

Page 45 also mentions Robert Redford. Redford is a world-renowned American movie actor, director, and producer.

Pages 45-46 reveal that although the pro leagues shut down after the return of the Visitors, a sort of semipro baseball league has evolved in the free states and proven to be extremely popular. Games are alternately played at Yankee or Shea stadiums. The two stadiums that existed in the 1980's when the book was written, and in which the story takes place, have since been demolished and replaced with new stadiums. The new Yankee Stadium is across the street from the location of the original (now converted into park land) and Shea Stadium, formerly home of the New York Mets, was demolished to make additional parking for the new Mets home, Citi Field.

Page 46 reveals that Pete now works as a doctor at New York Hospital, presumably a reference to New York-Presbyterian Hospital, affiliated with the two Ivy League medical universities Columbia and Pete's own alma mater, Cornell.

On page 47, Sari says that Neville More founded the Magicomp company. This is, of course, a fictional company created for the story, though there are a number of businesses since then with that name in several states.

Sari also mentions on page 47 the Von Neumann bottleneck, the flaw in computers that slows down data processing. She is referring to John Von Neumann, a mathematician who made important contributions to a number of scientific fields, including computer science. The Von Neumann bottleneck is the rate of data transfer between the central processing unit and the memory of the computer (i.e. the memory is slower than the processor, so the processor has to wait for the memory to complete the transfer).

On page 50, Neville mentions the Great White Way. This is the Theater District of New York City's Broadway Avenue, given this nickname in 1902 for all the electrical lights and signs illuminating the area.

Also on page 50, Hannah asks Pete if he wants to play Trivial Pursuit. This is a board game in which players must answer questions of general knowledge and pop culture.

Page 52 mentions Bloomingdale's and Saks. These are upscale department stores in competition with each other. Saks' full name is actually Saks Fifth Avenue in reference to its original store on Fifth Avenue in New York City as mentioned here.

On page 53, Sari is said to do a Mae West impression. Mae West (1893-1980) was an American actress, writer, and sex symbol known for her double entendres and sexy behavior.

Also on page 53, Sari reminisces about her youth, describing her resistance to coming inside when called by her mother as a child. She would do a Highland fling and pas de deux with a light pole. The Highland fling is based on a traditional dance of Scotland in which warriors would dance to a hard-won victory on top of a small round shield. A pas de deux is a ballet dance performed with a partner.

On page 56, Sari compares Neville's implacably perfect attire as something worthy of G.Q. G.Q. (Gentlemen's Quarterly) is a (now monthly) magazine devoted to men's fashion and culture.

Page 62 mentions the Hudson River. This is the river that marks the border between New York City and the state of New Jersey.

Page 62 also mentions the West Side Highway. Also known as the Joe DiMaggio Highway, this route runs along the Hudson River on the west side of Manhattan.

On page 63, Pete bumps into CBS news correspondent Charles Kuralt (1934-1997). As Pete states, Kuralt was most widely known for his "On the Road" segments on the CBS Evening News. In the real world, upon his death in 1997, Kuralt was buried on the grounds of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Coincidentally, this university is featured prominently in the V novel The Crivit Experiment!

On page 64, Denise Daltrey comments that newscaster Howard K. Smith (1914-2002) was thrilled to come out of retirement to be the Freedom Network anchor. In the real world, Smith had, indeed, retired from newscasting in 1979. But in the V mini-series, he is depicted as still working and reporting on the aliens' arrival; the novelization by A.C. Cripsin, however, depicts Dan Rather in most of those scenes, probably in an attempt to ground the story a little more in the real world. So Weinstein here may have chosen to follow that path and explain Smith's presence on the Freedom Network to his coming out of retirement for the crisis.

Pete also comments on the same page that it's reassuring to have Sevareid and Cronkite reporting on the war. Eric Sevareid (1912-1992) and Walter Cronkite (1916-2009) are also CBS News journalists who had retired before 1985 but have apparently come back out of it to offer their perspective on this new war.

On page 65, Denise says that Neville made the covers of Time, Fortune, Business Week, the Wall Street Journal and People all in one month. These are all real magazines or, in the case of WSJ, a newspaper. 

On page 68, Walter Cronkite reports on the breaking news of an attack by Visitor skyfighters on New York City. He says that authorities are urging all New Yorkers to seek shelter and that all public shelters are marked with the standard Civil Defense insignia. Presumably, this would be the U.S. Civil Defense insignia as opposed to the international symbol.
U.S. Civil Defense insignia International Civil Defense insignia
(example, this can be modified per nation)

After Cronkite's news update, the television returns to the in-progress broadcast of a rerun of the Mary Tyler Moore Show. The show originally aired on CBS from 1970-1977, about a single, independent woman who is a producer in the broadcast news business.

On page 69, Denise tells Pete about having done a story at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. years ago. The Vietnam Memorial is dedicated to the U.S. military service members who died serving their country in the Vietnam conflict through most of the 1960s and early '70s.

On page 72, Visitors in environmental protection suits complete a treacherous deal with two oil factory workers on Staten Island. Staten Island is a borough of New York City, located on the southwest side, with its own southwest facing the Atlantic Ocean.

Page 75 reveals that, for the attack on New York City, the Visitors briefly moved a mothership back into the contaminated area to launch and retrieve their fighters. Presumably their air circulation system is able to filter out the red dust bacteria, at least for a while.

Page 75 also mentions EMT units caring for the wounded after the Visitor attack on NYC. EMT=Emergency Medical Technician.

On page 83, Pete says that, as a doctor in the war, he feels like he's stepped into a never-ending episode of M*A*S*H*. M*A*S*H* was a popular TV series which ran from 1972-1983 about the dedicated, but zany, doctors of an army medical unit during the Korean War.

Page 86 describes Brook Cove Lab as overlooking Long Island Sound and Oyster Bay Harbor. Long Island Sound is an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean between the state of Connecticut and Long Island. Oyster Bay is a town on the north shore of Long Island and known as the location of President Teddy Roosevelt's "summer White House".

On page 90, Sam and Denise drive on the Belt Parkway. This is a series of highways that form a complete circle around the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens on Long Island.

Page 90 also mentions Sheepshead Bay and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. Sheepshead Bay separates Brooklyn from Coney Island and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge is a double-decked bridge that connects Staten Island and Brooklyn as described in the book.

Page 94 describes Lavi and Abdul as being dressed like itinerant Bedouins. Bedouins are an Arab ethnic group of desert-dwellers.

Page 98 mentions the oil fields of Safaniya and Ras Tanura. These are actual oil fields in Saudi Arabia run by the Saudi Aramco company.

On page 100, Sari and Neville discuss both Mr. Spock and Dr. Spock. Mr. Spock is the well-known Vulcan character in the Star Trek TV and movie series. Dr. Benjamin Spock was a famous pediatrician who wrote the bestselling "baby manual" The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care which has remained in print since 1946.

On page 104, Mitchell hums the Twilight Zone theme. The Twilight Zone was an anthology TV series from 1953-1964 that featured science-fiction, fantasy, and horror elements. It was also revived in two subsequent TV series, a movie, books, comics, and other media. The famous main four-note theme music that Mitchell hums originated during the second season of the original series and has become a short-hand way in modern culture of suggesting that something strange is happening.

On page 111, Neville mentions his Oxford days. This is a reference to Oxford University, the third oldest surviving university in the world, located in Oxford, England.

On pages 121-122, Neville explains the basic concept of a computer virus to the White Christmas resistance members. It's amusing in these days to realize that an explanation of the concept was necessary in 1985 when computer viruses were not common knowledge to the layman.

On page 123, Mitchell says that his research revealed that Neville had worked on the Star Wars antimissile system. Star Wars was the (somewhat derogatory) nickname given by the press to President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative created in 1983. SDI was intended to be a space-based platform for defending the U.S. from nuclear ballistic missiles. Many experts and scientists did not believe it could ever be successfully developed and it remains unrealized to this day. Interestingly, though it was President Reagan who proposed and established the program, in the V universe Reagan seemingly was not a President, the role in that time period being filled by President Morrow as depicted in several V novels, including this one. So, seemingly, President Morrow came up with the idea in the V universe instead of Reagan!

Page 125 reveals that the President has the capability to contact Donovan and Julie in L.A. to ask for their help. They must be highly recognized resistance members!

On page 127, President Morrow is reminiscing about Presidential history and mentions that Thomas Jefferson and John Adams hated each other's guts. This is not exactly true, but is a popular myth. Adams and Jefferson were initially friendly but became bitter political rivals when they twice ran against each other for the office of President. This animosity lasted about 15 years, when they reconciled via written letters and renewed their friendship which lasted until they both died on the same day, July 4, 1826.

Morrow's musings on page 128 include that "today's world was no Dickensian dichotomy--these were simply the worst of times." This is a reference to the opening sentence of Charles Dickens' novel A Tale of Two Cities, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

Page 128 reveals that the Prime Minister of Israel in the V universe at this time is Avram Herzog. This is a fictional character. The real world Prime Minister of Israel in 1985 was Shimon Peres.

Page 129 describes an air attack on the Visitor "oil rig" off the coast of Saudi Arabia by the Israeli Air Force using K'fir (or Kfir) and F-16 fighter jets. These two fighter jets were actually used by the Israeli Air Force at this time. The Kfir was Israeli-built and entered service in 1975, retired in the late 1990s. The F-16 is a U.S. built fighter that has been in production since 1973 and is still built for foreign markets.

Page 129 also describes the above fighter jets as bearing the Star of David, a recognized symbol of Israel.

On page 132, Hannah refers to Philistines. A "Philistine" has taken on a modern meaning of someone who is uninformed or disrespectful of a particular area of knowledge.

On page 133, Neville calls Diana a doubting Thomas. "Doubting Thomas" as a phrase is a reference to the Biblical Thomas the Apostle who doubted Jesus' resurrection until he saw Jesus in the flesh.

On page 135, the Visitor doctor Stavros expresses concern to Diana that further torture of Hannah Donnenfeld could result in her death due to heart ailments she possesses, including atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a thickening of the artery walls from fatty materials.

On page 140, Julie Parrish refers to Donovan's visit to New York in Death Tide as having occurred "a couple months ago". This helps us as to where to place Path to Conquest in the V timeline.

On page 142, Julie refers to needing ammo clips for the Ingram automatics. She is referring to an Ingram MAC-10 machine gun (designed in 1964 by Gordon B. Ingram).

On page 143, Julie tells Pete that she obtained the current Visitor medical codes from a fifth columnist medical student named Howie. Presumably this is the same character who appeared in the episode "The Betrayal".

On page 147, Neville activates a Visitor computer terminal which then flashes a sequence of red, purple, blue. He says that's their equivalent of our red, yellow, green. Presumably he is referring to the international color coding of traffic lights with the red, yellow, green sequence to indicate stop, wait, and go.

As Pete and Neville rescue Hannah from the mothership on page 148, Pete tells her they're smuggling her out in a body bag, saying, "You'll look like E.T. when they carted him away from Elliot." This is a reference to the 1982 film E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.

Also on page 148, Hannah says to Pete, "Ready, Dr. Frankenstein," referring to the fact that he's a doctor and he is planning to simulate her death to smuggle her off the mothership and then bring her "back to life", like Dr. Victor Frankenstein created life from death in Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein.

Page 149 reveals that the Visitors have a Medical Experimentation Center in San Diego. Many of the experiments there are geared towards new ways of preserving humans for food.

On page 157, Diana is feeling a bit anxious and depressed over the rescue of Dr. Donnenfeld and the hitch in her oil-eating bacteria. Here, she is slouched in an overstuffed chair in her quarters with a bowl of mice in her lap, just like a depressed woman who might sit down on the couch with a container of ice cream! On page 158 she tips the bowl to her mouth devouring all the remaining mice in a series of gulps!

Page 161 refers to Hannah acting like Queen Victoria. Victoria was the queen of the United Kingdom from 1837-1901 and was known for her regal commanding presence and composure.

The description and history of Masada, overlooking the Dead Sea in the Judean Desert given in Chapter 15 is factual.

On page 167, Lavi mentions his days working on the excavations at Masada under Yagael Yadin in 1965. Yadin was the head archaeologist at the site at the time.

Gamel mentions the Israelites not liking to be ruled by the Romans, even under the historically celebrated figures of Cleopatra and Mark Antony. Cleopatra was the pharaoh of Egypt from 50-30 BC when Mark Antony, one of the triumvirate rulers of the Roman Empire at the time, became her lover. They both committed suicide after losing power and a civil war against Rome's new ruler, Augustus.

Abdul mentions that soldiers of the modern Israeli Defense Forces now graduate from basic training on top of Masada, swearing the oath, "Masada shall not fall again." This is true.

On page 173, Lavi jokes about Abdul's English accent, saying he occasionally gets the urge to call him Prince Charles instead of Abdul. He is referring to the current Prince of Wales, best known in the U.S. at the time for his marriage to Princess Diana.

Also on page 173, Abdul refers to the city of Riyadh as the capitol of Saudi Arabia. This is true.

Page 173 also reveals that the defensive force compiled by the Arabs and Israelis is known as the Arabian Defense Force.

Pete mentions Lawrence of Arabia on page 177. He is referring to British Lieutenant Colonel T.E. Lawrence, who became known as Lawrence of Arabia after his successful liaison between Britain and the Arab world during WWI.

On page 179, Abdul mentions the oasis of Al Hasa. This is a real oasis in the Saudi Arabian desert, in the Eastern Provence.

Gamel makes a joke about the Jews status as the Chosen People on page 179. This is a reference to the Old Testament of the Bible in which God claims the Hebrews as his "treasured people out of all the people on the face of the earth".

On page 180, Abdul mentions Hofuf. This is the major city of Al Hasa oasis.

Page 181 makes reference to the medina of Hofuf. A medina is the older, non-European part of an Arab city.

On page 182, Lavi makes reference to James Bond movies. Bond, of course, is the fictional British super-spy of novels and film.

On page 183, Diana has moved the L.A. mothership to Hofuf, Saudi Arabia as part of her plot to contaminate the Saudi oil fields. Pete also comments here that Diana's ship has never left the California area since the second invasion began.

On page 189, Pete, Abdul, and Neville take a Zodiac inflatable boat out to the Visitors' oil platform. Zodiac refers to the French company now known as Zodiac Aerpspace, which makes many products but is best known for their inflatable watercraft.

The address given for Yankee Stadium on page 202 is correct.

Page 205 reveals that Joey Vitale is back together with his former girlfriend who lived next door to his parents in Brooklyn. She was last seen in East Coast Crisis.

Page 207 introduces a non-Yankee rival baseball player of Pete's called Popeye Malloy (Mathew). There does not appear to have been a professional ball player with that name in the real world. On the other hand, page 208 gives us Yankee pitcher Ron Guidry, who actually did play for the team from 1975-1988. 

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