Some of the tech Matt Danner uses only exists in the author's imagination. But some tech, like the tourist submarine in The Pearl Harbor Pictures or the bulk cargo ship in The Petrograd Pictures is real.
The fictional Petrograd is based on a typical bulk cargo carrier. These ships carry unpackaged cargo, like grain, coal, or iron ore. The cargo is carefully poured into a hold at the dock, taking care to maintain the ship's balance. At the destination, special equipment is used to unload the cargo holds.
In the book, the Petrograd carries an entirely different—and deadly—cargo; Matt Danner will help discover her secret.
Although Deep Bleu See is a fictional company, the images in The Pearl Harbor Pictures are pictures I took on a real tourist sub. I created the DBS "employee orientation slides" to help the reader understand the sub's layout and operation.
My own submarine adventure wasn't nearly as exciting as Matt's, but it did start me thinking about what a great "location" the sub would make for a Danner book. After much research and head scratching, I developed the complex plot for The Pearl Harbor Pictures.
The Dental Camera 1 may be fictional—the CIA isn't talking. Matt Danner is fitted with a DC-1 for his operation in North Korea. The DC-1 is a realistic-looking front tooth with a built-in camera. To take a picture, Mat grins broadly and presses his tongue against the back of the fake tooth. No noise, no flash.
Matt learns to fly a ram air parachute at the CIA training facility known as The Farm. His mission: jump from a plane on the Norwegian border with Russia, fly to the Petrograd's secret base a few miles away, photograph the ship and the base, and land back in Norway. The operation has been devised by a planner the techs call Mr. Looks Good on Paper.
Danner's chute is not as colorful as the one shown in the briefing photo. It uses a special plastic material, PC-29, which is supposed to be nearly transparent. PC-29 is also supposed to stay strong and flexible in bitterly cold Arctic air. Uh-huh.
By looking at maps and performance data for a typical chute, I was able to create a realistic and feasible drop plan. PC-29 is a fictional canopy material, designed to make Danner's flight...interesting.
For the North Korea operation, Matt’s video camera has special circuitry that allows it to scan an area and construct a 3D model that includes security measures and hidden defenses.
During the concert for Kim Jong-Un, Matt records a totally unexpected event, one that marks him as an enemy of the state and turns him into a desperate fugitive.
At the Farm, Matt trains on the Escape Device 6R—R for rocket—hoping he won't have to use the flimsy-looking device to escape North Korea. The ED-6R is part rocket, part parachute, and all death trap.
The Musudan series of intercontinental missiles are designed to drop a warhead on U.S. bases in the Pacific, and the Hawaiian islands. The fictional Musudan 2 is equipped with a nuclear warhead that could destroy Los Angeles.