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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
V: The Texas Run The Texas Run
Written by Geo W. Proctor

(The page numbers come from the 1st printing, paperback edition, published September 1985)

An L.A. resistance member risks his life to help run much-needed medical supplies through the state of Texas.

Story Summary

At John Wayne International Airport in Orange County, CA, Donovan and other resistance members wait to ambush a Visitor vehicle set to spirit away a member of the L.A. provisional government for conversion. The whole thing turns out to be a trap set by the Visitors and Donovan and several other resistance fighters are seemingly captured. One resistor, Rick Hurley, manages to flee but is injured during pursuit and passes out while hiding in a cargo plane.

When Rick awakens, he finds the plane in flight and meets the pilot, Joe Bob Wills and Sheryl Lee Darcy, both Texas resistance members who came to L.A. to steal medical supplies for their war effort. The fight that Rick escaped from at the airport gave them the distraction they needed to escape themselves with their badly needed cargo.

On the Houston mothership, Commander Garth and his scientific officer Yvonne, have managed to recreate Diana's experiment that resulted in Robin's pregnancy. They have impregnated a human female with a hybrid embryo that has formed into two fetuses, one human gene-dominant and one Visitor gene-dominant, just like Robin's pregnancy. But Garth orders the woman and her unborn twins killed and destroyed. He just wanted to prove it could be done so he can father his own hybrid star child soon.

Reaching Texas airspace, the ancient C-47 transport plane carrying Rick and his new friends finds itself under attack by a Visitor skyfighter. The plane is shot down and Joe Bob is killed in the crash. Rick and Sheryl Lee survive but almost immediately are strafed by the skyfighter. Then an old WWII-era P-51 Mustang fighter plane engages the superior vessel and after an intricate dogfight successfully shoots it down, then disappears over the horizon. Rick and Sheryl Lee investigate the crashed skyfighter and take the two dead crewmen's weapons. But one of the bodies turns out to be alive and wrestles with Rick in the dirt of the Llano Escatado. Sheryl Lee shoots the alien with his own weapon. Taking a flight chart and the small amount of water available from the plane crash, the two head across the mesa in search of a road or town. While walking they encounter a two-headed rattlesnake, a result of the red dust mutations now effecting wildlife.

Commander Garth pays a visit to a human processing center in Dallas to retrieve a captured woman who had cost him his left hand during the first Visitor invasion. But when he arrives, he is enraged to find that the woman has died of injuries sustained during capture, robbing him of his revenge.

A Jeep drives up to Rick and Sheryl, driven by Charlie Scoggin, the pilot of the Mustang that saved them earlier. He takes them to his house in the desert and after some rest, they manage to recruit some other neighbors in their pick-ups to return to the crash site to retrieve the medical supplies for delivery to Fort Worth, driving only at night to limit detection.

Later, Garth's troops discover the crash site and find Sheryl Lee's purse with her driver's license. She looks much like the woman who took Garth's hand and he realizes she is the woman's daughter. Perhaps revenge can still be had.

When the resistance convoy stops to hide and rest for the day in the cedar woods, Visitor patrol craft catch up to them and a firefight ensues. Though taking losses, the humans win out and now have two captured skyfighters to show for it. Charlie quickly learns to fly one. Acting on a plan of Sheryl Lee's they fly to Dallas to meet with her resistance friends and concoct a scheme to get the supplies into the city: a series of diversions throughout the area while the rag-tag convoy runs the Visitor road blocks into the city. It works, but Sheryl Lee is captured in the process. Realizing that she must be taken to the Fort Worth processing center, her friends plan an infiltration and attack to free her.

After some close calls, the plan is successful, with Commander Garth killed in the fight. Rick and Sheryl Lee realize they've fallen in love, but there is no time for two people when the whole world is at war. Rick must return to L.A. while Sheryl Lee will stay in Texas to continue their respective roles in the war.

THE END

 

Notes from the V chronology

Some references in the novel suggest it takes place shortly before "Visitors' Choice". But other references place it during an extended summer in Texas, which would place it a bit later than that episode. Since The New England Resistance also references an Indian Summer in New York, I have chosen to place The Texas Run shortly before that story.

Didja Know?

You can tell from the characters and narrative of this novel that author Geo. W. Proctor was a prime example of the proverbial proud Texas native!

Didja Notice? 

The airplane on the cover is a WWII-era P-51 Mustang, the same as described on pages 39-40 of the novel.

The book opens at John Wayne International Airport, where part of the action of The Alien Swordmaster also took place.

Page 3 makes the same connection between Lisbon, Portugal in WWII and Los Angeles in the Visitor war that Howard K. Smith made in his Freedom Network report in "Breakout".

Page 3 mentions that the Visitors have polluted the meager waters of their own world. I think this is the first we've heard that their waters were necessarily polluted; I'd thought it was more a matter of there not being enough of it on the homeworld.

This book seems to be steeped in WWII errata! On page 3, Rick Hurley refers to the members of L.A.'s provisional government as quislings, a term that came into use during WWII to describe traitors who served in the puppet governments set up by the Nazis in the nations that had capitulated. The word comes from Vidkun Quisling, the Norwegian head of government during that nation's occupation by the Nazis.

Page 3 also mentions that L.A.'s provisional government has served as a liaison between the aliens and the human heads of world governments.

On page 8, a Lincoln Continental approaches the Visitor squad vehicle in the night fog and Rick thinks how its "decorative exhaust slots on each side just behind the front wheels, and its silver-gray body aglisten with the mist's moisture all gave the vehicle the appearance of a blunt-nosed shark slicing through the fog." This would seem to describe the 1980-1983 models of the Continental.

Rick carries an Uzi machine pistol. The general Uzi line of weapons was designed by Israeli Captain Uziel Gal in the late 1940s and named after him.

Page 14 reveals that the commander of the Houston mothership is called Garth. However, the novel The Chicago Conversion (by the same author!) states that Lewis is the commander of the Houston ship. I suppose at some point Lewis was either killed or promoted/demoted to another position and Garth took over.

Page 14 also reveals that Garth and his scientific officer Yvonne, have managed to recreate Diana's experiment that resulted in Robin's pregnancy. They have impregnated a human female with a hybrid embryo that has formed into two fetuses, one human gene-dominant and one Visitor gene-dominant, just like Robin's pregnancy. But Garth orders the woman and her unborn twins killed and destroyed. He just wanted to prove it could be done so he can father his own hybrid star child soon.

On page 14, Yvonne refers to the reptilian twin as "Visitor-dominant". Within their own company, wouldn't the aliens use a term other than "Visitor"? Sirian perhaps?

On page 21, Joe Bob Wills says his mother named him after the King of Western Swing, Bob Wills. Bob Wills (1905-1975) was an American Western Swing musician.

The details given of a C-47 transport plane on pages 21-22 are accurate.

On page 22, Rick thinks of Joe Bob as being dressed like the Red Baron. This refers to the famous WWI German flying ace, Baron Manfred Albrecht von Richtofen, nicknamed the Red Baron for the color of his plane.

Also on page 22, Rick asks Joe Bob if he is carrying Panama Red in the cargo compartment. Panama Red is a strain of cannabis.

On page 23, Joe Bob admits to having carried Mary Jane as a passenger across the Mexican border in the past. Mary Jane is a slang term for marijuana.

Page 23 mentions that Visitor-occupied Texas gets news from the rest of the world from the World Liberation Front and the Freedom Network, both of which are seen in the weekly TV episodes.

Page 24 reveals that Lubbock, TX has been decimated by the Visitors due to the Air Force base there (and to send a message to other cities in the state). It was Reese Air Force Base that existed there. In the real world, the base was closed in 1997.

Page 25 describes Amarillo, TX as having the only nuclear warhead assembly facility in the U.S. This is true.

Page 25 also mentions Chuck Berry's rock and roll classic "Route 66". Berry performed the most well-known version of the song, but it has been covered by other bands as well. It was written by Bobby Troup, who was also an actor best known as Dr. Joe Early on the 1970's TV series Emergency!

Page 26 reveals that the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex area is at the edge of the "free zone" where red dust effective areas meet the more temperate climates that have killed off the red dust. The map of the red dust effective areas presented in "Dreadnought" seems to bear this out as well.



On page 28, Joe Bob mentions flying to the edge of the Caprock to seek cover in the canyons. The Caprock is a region of the Texas Panhandle, west of the Caprock Escarpment.

On page 29, Commander Garth reflects on how once Earth is conquered, the Leader will come from the homeworld to reign over his new domain. The Leader (revealed as a female) does finally arrive in The Second Generation, over 20 years later.

Page 29 reveals that the Cotton Bowl stadium in Dallas, TX was the site of Processing Center One, where the Visitors processed humans for storage as food. The center had been destroyed the night before Garth flies over it in inspection, presumably by resistance forces. The Cotton Bowl may have been the site of the new processing center in Dallas mentioned in the Freedom Network broadcast in "Visitors' Choice".

Page 30 mentions the destruction of the Alamo in San Antonio by human resistance during the Visitor assault there. This was also mentioned in the Freedom Network report in "Visitors' Choice".

Page 31 mentions that the commander of Dallas Processing Center Two is called Lisa. This is obviously not the same Lisa as the human-sympathizer in East Coast Crisis.

Page 32 repeats the description of the Visitors as having a dual set of reptilian teeth, first mentioned in Proctor's earlier novel The Chicago Conversion.

Page 33 reveals that the Visitor forces are under strict orders only to capture and process humans for future use, not to prepare them as meals at this time. However, field officers often bend the rules for each other and eyes look the other way.

As Joe Bob pilots his damaged C-47 through the air, on page 35 he says, "Hang on! One of these babies once flew the hump with half a wing missing!" The term "flew the hump" refers to air transports flying over the eastern end of the Himalayan mountains from India into China to bring supplies to Chinese and U.S. forces in China during WWII. The eastern end of the Himalayas was given the name the Hump by Allied pilots.

Page 40 reaffirms that the Visitors are from the 4th planet of Sirius as originally stated in The Chicago Conversion.

On page 45, Rick recalls that his first exposure to the Uzi machine gun was in the hands of Secret Service agents in television newscasts of the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. The attempt occurred on March 30, 1981 and the Secret Service agents were indeed carrying Uzis as seen in the photo below. However, in the V universe, William Morrow has been depicted as the President at this time in the novel East Coast Crisis, so it is difficult to reconcile Rick's remembrance of Reagan.

Page 47 seems to confirm The Alien Swordmaster's contention that the Visitors have very long, chameleon-like tongues. Here, a Visitor wrestles with Rick and uses his tongue in an attempt to throttle him, the tongue wrapping around his throat and constricting!

Page 48 indicates there may be a delayed reaction by Visitor physiology to the red dust in areas near, but not in, the dead zones.

Page 50 mentions the Llano Estacado, or Staked Plains of Texas. This is a real area of eastern New Mexico and northwestern Texas. It is one of the largest mesas in North America.

On page 52, Sheryl Lee asks the question that has been asked elsewhere on PopApostle, that is, why do the Visitors continue to wear the human disguises when the world now knows what they really are? Rick ventures the same guess that I have: the Visitors think it will be easier to deal with humans and harder for humans to kill them, if they look like us, even though we know it to be a ruse.

Page 55 presents an example of the mutations that Science Frontiers has discovered are caused by the red dust. Rick and Sheryl Lee run across a two-headed, two-rattled rattlesnake. Sheryl Lee goes on to say that mutations like this have become more frequent on the area's wildlife ever since the release of the red dust over a year ago. Since the red dust was supposed to be harmless to Earth life, she speculates that the red dust bacteria may itself have mutated after release and likens it to the movie Andromeda Strain, based on the Michael Crichton novel about a microbe from space that mutates with each growth cycle.

On page 56, Sheryl Lee mentions that the Comanche used to use the hidden gullies of the Texas flatlands as a means of hiding from pursuers. The Comanche ethnic group of Native Americans did, indeed, historically live in Texas and still do (as well as in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Arizona and California).

On page 59, Garth allows a canary to fly from its cage, only to snatch it out the air with his tongue and swallow it!

Page 60 mentions another processing center in Abilene, TX.

Page 63 describes Charlie Scoggin as wearing a gimme cap. A gimme cap is a free hat given away by businesses, organizations, and baseball teams, usually with a logo on the front. Charlie's says Wayne Feeds. Wayne Feeds is a real company.

Page 64 reveals that Charlie carries a genuine Colt 45 Peacemaker. This is the type of gun most closely associated with stories of the old American West. He calls it a hogleg, a term for an old western 6-shot revolver because of its resemblance to a part of a hog's leg.

On page 66, Charlie says he used to fly Mustangs in the 18th Fighter-Bomber Group during the Korean War. The 18th Fighter-Bomber Group is a real part of the U.S. Air Force out of Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. The group really did fly Mustangs during the Korean War.

On page 69, Charlie mentions that his fighter plane is a P-51 Mustang, modified into a Cavalier Mustang III which he purchased in 1965. My research suggests that the Cavalier Mustang III modified P-51s weren't made until 1968 though.

On page 70, Charlie mentions the Confederate Air Force, a group of Texas business- and sportsmen who restore and maintain WWII war-birds. This is a real organization, though it changed its name to the Commemorative Air Force in 2002.

Also on page 70, Charlie uses the term "Uncle Sugar". Uncle Sugar is another, more cynical, name for Uncle Sam, the U.S. government.

Page 77 mentions the former Commander of the Dallas-Fort Worth processing centers, Mary, aka the Dark Death of Dallas, who was killed in a bombing by resistance fighters at a party held by Diana in the California town of Playa. This is a reference to events in the episode "Visitors' Choice", though there are some minor differences in the details (probably due to Proctor working off an early script of the episode): Mary's full name was given as Mary Krueger, her nickname was the Dark Angel of Dallas and the full name of the town was Playa del Mar.

On page 78, Garth thinks of the "Others", and the Great Leader's never-ending battle against "that malignant race who opposed the Visitors' right to rule the stars." With the publication of The Second Generation in 2008, we may be able to assume this is a reference to the Zedti.

On page 82, one of Charlie's neighbors says that her daughter was a student at Texas Tech when the Visitors hit Lubbock. Texas Tech is a real university in Lubbock, TX.

On page 92, Charlie says, "We're in for a frog strangler." A frog strangler is a torrential downpour of rain, similar to the phrase "raining cats and dogs".

On page 97, Rick thinks of the ludicrous situation he's in as being a perfect plot for a Cary Grant adventure-comedy. Cary Grant (1904-1986) was a popular film actor and leading man from the 1930s-1960s. The author also mentions Cary Grant in his earlier V novel The Chicago Conversion, so he must have been a fan.

Page 104 mentions the Brazos River. This is the longest river in Texas.

Page 104 also mentions Palo Pinto and Parker counties, both actual counties in Texas.

Page 105 mentions television's prime-time soap opera Dallas. Dallas was a very popular TV show which ran from 1978-1991, so it was about at its peak while V was in production. It has been said by some that the more soap opera-ish elements of V were an attempt to draw a Dallas-type audience.

Page 108 states that the Visitors have their Fort Worth processing center in the blasted remains of Carswell Air Force Base. This was a real Air Force base at the time. It closed in 1994, while maintaining its status as an Air Reserve (as well as Navy Reserve, Marine Reserve and Air National Guard) base. Today it is known as Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth/Carswell Field.

On page 125, Charlie comments about the skyfighter, "One of these things practically flies itself." This mimics Martin's words when he advises Donovan on flying one in "Plan for Resistance" and also Sam Walker's words in The Chicago Conversion.

Page 127 mentions the town of Mineral Wells, TX..."a black dot and a name on a map." This is a real town.

Page 128 refers to Interstate 20. This is a real interstate running from Kent, TX to Florence, SC.

On page 129, one of the ruined storefronts is that of Fantastic Worlds. It was a real comic book store in Fort Worth that grew into a chain of stores. It was founded by Bob Wayne, who went on to become an executive at DC Comics. Unfortunately, the chain of stores no longer exists.

Page 134 mentions the towns of Stephenville and Midlothian, TX. These are real towns.

Page 134 also mentions several Texas highways. U.S. 281 runs all the way from the Mexican border north to the Canadian border. U.S. 67, Highway 287, and Interstate 35E all exist cross-country through portions of Texas.

Page 135 says that resistance member Jace used to pilot B-52's out of Carswell Air Force Base. The B-52 Stratofortress is a U.S. Air Force bomber that has been in active use since 1955 and still going strong...in fact plans are to keep it in service until 2040 if not beyond!

Page 135 reveals that Texas has had a long summer the year this story takes place (1984), so portions of the state that would normally be cold enough to allow the red dust bacteria to continue to thrive has, instead, caused it to go dormant (or something!) and the Visitors have an extended range in the state from what they might normally have. This scenario will be seen again in New York in the novel The New England Resistance.

Clocking the resistance convoy in his head on page 144, Rick estimates it has managed "the once-legal speed limit of fifty-five miles an hour." This refers to the National Maximum Speed Law of 1974-1995, which limited the speed of motor vehicles in the U.S. to 55 mph in an effort to conserve fuel. Before and after this period, states could set their own speed laws.

Page 145 mentions the cities of Arlington and Irving, TX. Both are real cities, Arlington being the home of the Texas Rangers Ballpark.

Page 146 mentions the city of Waxahachie, TX, another real city.

Page 153 mentions the Trinity River. This is a real river in Texas.

On page 154, Jace calls the Dallas resistance's aircraft hangar/warehouse Little Love, named after Dallas' Love Field. Love Field is a Dallas public airport, secondary to the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Page 180 reveals that, with the death of Commander Garth, science officer Yvonne has been promoted to Commander of the Houston mothership by Diana.

Throughout the book, it is never revealed what happened to Donovan and the other resistance members caught in the Visitors' trap at John Wayne International Airport in Chapter 1! Obviously Donovan, at least, somehow escaped! 

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