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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
V: The Alien Swordmaster V
The Alien Swordmaster

Written by Somtow Sucharitkul

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

Thanks to the ingenious pressure skins of Commander Fieh Chan, the Visitors maintain a foothold in the Far East and a plan is hatched to convert the greatest martial arts masters in the world to serve the aliens' ends.

Story Summary

Part 1 - Liberation: Tokyo

American anthropologist Tomoko Jones is awakened from her sleep in a Visitor pod aboard the Tokyo mothership. As her consciousness slowly returns, she recalls how she was taken by the Visitors along with the Ainu villagers she and her fellow scientists had been studying on Hokkaido island since before the alien arrival. Upon full awakening, she is led down the corridors of the ship and to a chamber decorated in traditional Japanese trappings. She recalls how she left her husband, Matt, in the United States, months before to pursue the study of the Ainu. Now, the regional Commander of the Asian region, Fieh Chan, arrives in his quarters and Tomoko realizes she's been brought there for sex.

Tomoko finds the alien Commander strangely compelling and she tells him her life story. Then alarms sound throughout the ship as the Visitors find themselves under attack by high altitude balloons releasing a red is V-day! As Fieh Chan realizes that all of the motherships are fleeing Earth, he instead leads Tomoko to an escape shuttle door in his quarters and they shoot out over Tokyo. But there must be a leak in the vessel's ventilation system as Fieh Chan begins to strain to get breath. He runs to the back of the shuttle, strips off his human disguise and dons a prototype molecular shielding plastic of his own invention that bonds to his skin, allowing oxygen in, but keeping anything as large as the red dust bacteria out.

But, to make matters worse, the shuttle is low on fuel and the two are forced to eject and parachute down. They are separated in the fall and Tomoko makes her way through the city, which is caught up in the revelry of celebration at the Visitors' defeat, to the office of her anthropology program where she is reunited with her mentor, Dr. Schwabauer.

Part 2 - California: Four Months Later

In Orange County California, Tomoko's husband Matt, a martial arts expert, runs a martial arts school. In her absence, he has taken in a young boy whose father had been killed and his mother eaten by the Visitors. He and the boy, called CB, puzzle over a strange telegram received at the school:


Matt tries to call his friend Lex Nakashima in New York but gets Lex's wife instead, who says that Lex has disappeared after getting a crank telegram that reads the same as the one Matt received.

On the short walk home from the school to their home, Matt and CB are ambushed by ninjas! The two skilled martial artists dispatch the ninjas, who flee except for one who was knocked unconscious onto the pavement. Matt pulls his ninja mask off, inadvertently pulling off a membranous sheath from the Asian face; it's a Visitor wearing one of Fieh Chan's molecular pressure skins. With the seal broken, he dies from the red dust bacteria in the air.

The next day at the school, Matt receives a call from another martial arts friend, Rod Casilli. Rod has also received one of the strange telegrams, but he doesn't believe Matt's theory that Visitors still on Earth are planning to abduct the top martial artists in the world. Matt fills in his secretary, Anne, and the three of them call Kunio Yasutake, master of takodo, in Oregon. Yasutake has also received the telegram. But Matt thinks Yasutake will be safe because he's accepting an invitation to give a demonstration of takodo in Tokyo.

Later Rod Casilli calls back, saying the Visitors showed up at his isolated desert home. He has fled to the closest general store to phone Matt who tells Rod to fly out to L.A. to join him to build a force of opposition. Just then, Rod says, "They're coming into the store!" The sounds of a vicious scuffle follow, then the line goes dead.

Immediately after the call from Rod, Tomoko enters the school and re-enters Matt's life. She is pleased at the softening of personality that caring for CB has brought to him. She tells them all of what happened to her in Japan and the struggle to get home to the U.S. Japan is sealing itself off from the rest of the world, it's leaders claiming the need for cultural purity; technology is being neglected and makeshift samurai police with swords patrol the streets.

Back in Japan, the new minister of culture, Mr. Ogawa, is revealed to be a convert as he meets with Lady Murasaki, leader of a cadre of Visitors who have survived on Earth post-V-day with the help of Fieh Chan's molecular pressure skins. The plan to abduct martial artists is mentioned as is the difficulty that is being had in manufacturing more of the pressure skins without the missing Fieh Chan to advise in the production.

Matt and the rest make more phone calls to martial arts experts and find most of them have received the strange telegram and seven have already disappeared. Then they are attacked again by a pack of Visitor ninjas. Anne is killed before an old man wielding a sword and dressed as a samurai, steps in to help the humans, killing the attacking aliens. Soon Matt, Tomoko, and CB decide to accompany the old man, Kenzo Sugihara, back to Japan to stop whatever the Visitors have in mind for the abducted martial artists.

Sugihara knows there is a secret Visitor base at the abandoned John Wayne Airport in Orange County. He pretends to be a Visitor taking his human prisoners to Japan on the next skyfighter. After the fighter takes off and is soaring across the ocean, they kill the pilots.

Part 3 - Tokyo: The Chase

Ogawa meets again with Lady Murasaki and reports that the Matsuzakaya department store has been converted into a suicide center for dishonored humans to kill themselves, calling it the Institute for Inner Peace. Murasaki is using the ancient customs of Japan against the populace as a way to gather human bodies for food.

Tomoko leads the others to the anthropological institute and they find only Professor Schwabauer left. In the morning, Tomoko and Sugihara investigate the so-called Institute for Inner Peace. While there, they sneak into the back chambers and find that the local lizards have abandoned their human disguises, wearing only the life saving pressure skins over their scaly hides. They also overhear Lady Murasaki say that she is retreating to the secret hideout at Osaka castle. They believe the kidnapped martial arts masters are being held there and decide to try to get in and set them free.

Sugihara takes them to a residence where his mistress lives, who also happens to be a scientist. She has been examining the dermoplast skin and has reproduced a lesser quality version in Visitor skin form. They will use it to disguise themselves as Visitors and, with the help of voice modulators to mimic the reverberating voices, enter Osaka castle. While discussing it, they conclude the Visitors must be planning to convert the masters to train their people and thus enforce their will on the human populace by martial arts when their technology runs down without the supplies of the motherships. Most of the Japanese masters have already committed hara-kiri as the only honorable way out of fulfilling the obligation, thus the Visitors have kidnapped masters from other countries.

The next morning they drive in a limousine made up to look like an official Visitor vehicle to Osaka castle. Sugihara is able to get them past the castle's checkpoint.

Part 4 - Osaka: The Alien Swordmaster

Inside the castle, Lady Murasaki is torturing Rod Casilli as part of the conversion process. So far he has not broken, though many of the other masters have and have already begun training Visitor ninjas. When our heroes get inside the castle, they see Kunio Yasutake and his students giving a demonstration to Lady Murasaki which includes Yasutake killing a young boy in the process. They realize the masters are training an army of human converts who will do anything Lady Murasaki asks, including facing certain death. Sugihara also realizes that the Visitor head honchos in the region are all going to be at the castle for a banquet that evening.

As evening arrives, Matt and CB head to the basement dungeon to seek the captive masters while Sugihara and Tomoko attend the banquet. Their imperfect lizard skin draws some attention, but not enough that the assembled Visitors figure out they don't belong. Lady Murasaki makes an announcement that the regional leader, Fieh Chan, is dead from the red dust and presents an urn which she claims contains his ashes. She is now the leader here.

In the dungeon, Matt and CB find Rod Casilli and free him but they all get into a battle with a swarm of Visitor guards. In his own Visitor disguise, Matt is able to convince the other converts in the dungeon to battle the real Visitors, claiming they have betrayed their own kind. Now the three humans lead an army of converts into the main chamber of the castle. With this distraction, Kenzo Sugihara rips off his Visitor face...and then rips off his human face! He stands revealed as Fieh Chan; he is the Alien Swordmaster, a disciple of the ancient preta-na-ma religion and recent follower of the Zen Buddhism of the true Kenzo Sugihara who committed seppuku rather than follow the Visitors' law. And he has sided with humanity.

Fieh Chan activates a program in the Visitor computer system installed in the castle. He reveals that he has now released an enzyme into the castle atmosphere that will soon break down the bonds of the pressure skins and expose the Visitor personnel to the red dust. He also opens a secret passage that reveals three skyfighters for escape. He urges Tomoko, Matt, CB, and Rod to escape in one and he will hold off the Visitors; he has decided he will sacrifice himself so as not to allow the mutual attraction between himself and Tomoko to come between her and her husband. Tomoko reluctantly lets him go and the four of them take off in the skyfighter.

But they are pursued by the other two skyfighters. They shoot down the first one and, turning their attention to the second, realize it is piloted by Lady Murasaki herself, seeking to gun them down. But CB's video game skills come to the rescue and he blows her craft out of the sky. Looking back at the castle they see the converts escaping; they only hope those poor souls can be returned to their normal psyches.

Our heroes head for Tokyo...and a hamburger.


Didja Know?

Author Somtow Sucharitkul is now known under the pen name S.P. Somtow. In addition to writing fiction, he is also a music composer.


Didja Notice?

The master copy of this book needed to be more closely's full of typos!

On page 4, two Visitor technicians are looking through the podded humans on the Tokyo mothership. One of them says, "What about that one there?" and the other replies, "I don't think the leader wants a boy tonight." Since they eventually pick Tomoko and we learn the leader (Fieh Chan) wants her for sex, the dialog here seems to suggest he enjoys sex with both female and male humans.

Also on page 4, it is revealed that the synthetic human skin worn by the Visitors is called "dermoplast."

During the technicians' discussion, we learn that one of them also finds the humans somewhat attractive. Commenting on the other's "insatiable lusts", the second technician says, "If we stopped to couple with every alien life form we conquered, do you think we'd be ruling this quadrant of the galaxy?" This seems to imply that the Visitors have encountered and conquered a number of other species and are dominant in our quadrant of the Milky Way.

The second technician commenting above also says that Komodo dragons remind him of one of their own children back on the homeworld.

On page 6, the second technician refers to sex with humans as bestiality. Does this mean there are hominid or ape-like animals on their homeworld? The first technician then replies, "Well, they are sentient." At this point the second technician threatens to report the first to the "attitude adjustment committee." Does this suggest that members of the military might find themselves subjected to the conversion chamber for improper thoughts? Recall that in The Pursuit of Diana, Willie reveals that conversion is used to turn political prisoners into willing workers on their homeworld.

Also on page 6, the second technician makes a mocking reference to "those softhearted underground religions." Perhaps the religion of Zon (introduced later in the weekly series) is one of those of which she speaks?

On page 6, we get the Visitor word kranjosh, a type of seasoning.

When Tomoko awakens and looks around her on page 7, she sees the other podded humans. She thinks of the pods as being sacks like membranes or placentas. This suggests an organic quality to the pods, similar to the intestinal-like tubes we saw coiled around the pods in the mini-series episodes.

On page 7, a Visitor technician speaks Japanese, "Namae wa nan da?" I think this means "What is your name?"

On page 8, Tomoko says in Japanese, "Amerikajin da yo! Nihongo ga dekinai!" I think this is "I am American! I don't speak Japanese!"

Also on page 8, Tomoko mentions that she was on Hokkaido studying the Ainu, the Caucasiform aboriginal people of the north of Japan. The Ainu are a real people who lived mostly without contact with outside culture until the 13th Century. Their main island of Hokkaido was annexed by Japan in 1898 and the Ainu culture was largely assimilated into that of the Japanese.

Page 8 reveals that Commander Fieh Chan of the Tokyo mothership is the commander of the Tokyo-Seoul-Hong Kong sector.

On page 9 it says that Tomoko hadn't thought of Matt in years. But then we learn on page 34 that it's only been 1 year she left him to work in Japan!

In my study of the episode "Test Subjects", I commented on the similarities between V and the Twilight Zone episode "To Serve Man." Here, in this book, Tomoko also notes that the rumors that the Visitors want humans for food is reminiscent of that same Twilight Zone episode.

Page 15 mentions a replica of the Eiffel Tower that stands in Tokyo. This is an actual construct which is known as the Tokyo Tower. It is painted white and orange instead of the green of the Eiffel Tower.

Page 15 also mentions the Ginza, a real world upscale shopping district in Tokyo.

Page 15 also reveals that a significant portion of Tokyo is in rubble and ruins from Visitor reprisals, due to constant kamikaze attacks by the Japanese Resistance. From the sound of it, Tokyo has fared even worse under the Visitor occupation than did Chicago in The Chicago Conversion. On page 58, Tomoko describes some of Tokyo's current problems: the departure of the aliens destroyed Japan's economy and the country was also bereft of postal and telephone services; half of Tokyo was in ruins from the subjugation; converts were running the government and they had restricted travel to and from the country while also passing edicts to protect the cultural purity of Japan, wanting to push the island nation back to the 16th century, before the influence of Europeans.

On page 16, Fieh Chan tells of a myth among his people that ape-like creatures once ruled their world like dinosaurs once did Earth. Before the dawn of their civilization, there was a great war that cast the apes down and they essentially devolved into dumb brutes. This would seem to suggest that there are ape-like animals on the Visitor homeworld now.

On page 17, Fieh Chan continues his telling of the myth, relating our own myth of the serpent in the garden to theirs of a temptress ape.

At several points during their escape from the Tokyo mothership, Fieh Chan seems to act, without explanation, as if Tomoko is panicking when she is not. Were some passages cut from the novel? For example, on page 18, after they've climbed into the escape shuttle, he tells her, "Strap yourself in! Get a grip on yourself!" But there is no indication that Tomoko does not have a grip on herself.

Page 20 describes Fieh Chan and Tomoko's flight over Ginza, where Tomoko sees "the skywalk and the mannequins in the window dressed in the latest Kenzo fashions". Kenzo fashions are named for Kenzo Takada, a fashion designer in Japan. It also mentions the robot traffic police in Tokyo, which are real but it's not as cool and sci-fi as it sounds:

On page 22, Fieh Chan dons a molecular shielding "pressure skin" of his own design which allows in oxygen but nothing as large as red dust bacteria, so he is able to survive in the now contaminated atmosphere of Earth. This is where author Sucharitkul's description of the effects of the red dust bacteria seems to differ from that presented in all other V media. How can a simple pseudo-skin covering prevent the red dust from infecting a Visitor when its major ingress to the body is through breathing? Later in the book, the effects of the red dust are described as dissolving the Visitor's flesh, leaving them unrecognizable, rather than the choking and spasms seen in the episodes and described in other novels.

Also on page 22, Fieh Chan and Tomoko discover that the shuttle is almost out of fuel. But they've barely left the mothership! Wouldn't Fieh Chan be smart enough to keep a fully fueled escape shuttle, especially seeing as how this shuttle was accessible only through a secret door in his quarters?

On page 25, an old man discovers Tomoko, who has just parachuted out of the falling shuttle, and says, "Ee! Bajitaa daroo! Bajitaa da! Bajitaa!" Bajitaa=Visitor, daroo is unknown to me. Tomoko asks him, "O-misu o o-negai shimasu?" I can't find a direct translation for this either but, from the context, she is asking if they have some water. I've found the online translation engines for Japanese to English are very poor!

On page 27, a passerby says, "Kyo wa sabisu." It is Japanese for "It is free today."

On page 29, Tomoko's anthropological institute is described as being near Meguro Station. Meguro Station is a real railway station in Tokyo.

Page 33 introduces us to the small township of Haataja, CA, where Matt Jones lives, in Orange County, just a few minutes down the freeway from Disneyland. There is no such town! With the author having used so many real places in Japan for his novel it's surprising that he makes up a town for this character to live in. Maybe he's just more familiar with Japan than he is with Southern California? Still it wouldn't have been that difficult to find reference material for real towns in California.

Page 36 reveals that CB knows Sean Donovan and he noticed the change in Sean after his conversion, even in the time period after the events of The Pursuit of Diana in which Sean was seemingly deconverted. With this description and the events relating to Sean in the weekly series, perhaps the deconversion did not take as well as Julie and the others had thought.

Also on page 36, CB tells Matt that a squad of Visitors forced him to watch as they ate his mother!

On pages 38 and 39, CB demonstrates a cheat on the Galaga arcade game. The cheat he describes is real! He mentions another cheat on page 87, but I have not been able to confirm the reality of that one.

On page 40, the TV is tuned into the Orange County Evening News. There is no such news program in the real world. Orange County is adjacent to Los Angeles County and news broadcasts come from there (though, as a side note, there was a newspaper by that name in the region from 1964-1978). The reporter on the news program is named Ace Crispin; perhaps a take on the name of A. C. Crispin, author of the V novelization, co-author of East Coast Crisis, and later author of Death Tide.

On page 41, you can tell the book was written in the 1980s by Matt's observation of his secretary Anne Williams' clothing: She was wearing a headband and black leather spiked suspenders on lavender parachute pants. (Sexy, he thought.)

Page 46 mentions that a couple of Matt's young martial arts students are also appearing in a high school play of The Boys from Syracuse. This is a real play which is a musical version of Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors.

On page 54, Kunio Yasutake says, "Moshimoshi? Yasutake desu." It is Japanese for "Hello? This is Yasutake."

Page 55 reveals there were motherships over Seoul, South Korea and Hong Kong, China.

Page 55 also seems to confirm accounts in other V novels that the general public was not aware of the conversions performed by Visitors. Human collaborators are thought to be just that, collaborators.

Page 61 mentions the Ueno Line and Yamanote Line of Tokyo's subway system. These are important Tokyo railway lines in the real world as well.

On page 62, converted Minister of Culture Ogawa muses on Earth coming into the hegemony of a galactic empire. Do the Visitors really have enough power over other worlds to be considered a galactic empire? Perhaps Ogawa knows more than is revealed in the novel.

On page 63, when Ogawa first meets with Lady Murasaki, a screen of Chinese design is described as having a depiction of dragons above the sea with two humans cowering in terror in a rickety boat. This design was probably picked by the Visitors as a representation of the helplessness of humanity at the power of their reptilian overlords.

On page 63, Ogawa says to Lady Murasaki, "Hai, tono!" Hai=yes, tono is the title of a feudal lord.

Page 64 mentions i ching sticks. The I Ching is a classic Chinese book of divination, cosmology, and philosophy. I Ching sticks are usually sticks of the yarrow plant used in performing an I Ching divination.

Page 65 reveals that Visitors' tongues are rather long, like those of chameleons. Here, Lady Murasaki, in a seated position, extends her tongue all the way down to her feet to grab up a small, living crab. This is described as "its full hideous length."

On page 66, the Japanese words omae and ore mean "you" and "I" in an informal, mostly masculine, sense.

On page 66, Ogawa ponders on whether the Visitors are truly male or female or something altogether different.

On page 77, Lady Murasaki nibbles from a plate of human fingers!

Page 78 calls the Visitor homeworld a place of deserts, harsh extremes, and constant drought.

Page 79 calls the Zen philosophy close to that of the banned preta-na-ma religion of the Visitors.

Page 80 reveals that preta-na-ma is one of the most taboo words in the Visitor language.

Page 83 reveals that John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California was closed down during the Visitor occupation and is currently a secret base in use by troops of Lady Murasaki. The statue of John Wayne mentioned on page 88 actually exists at the airport. John Wayne (1907-1979) was a popular American actor, especially known for his roles as tough American cowboys and soldiers.
Statue at John Wayne Airport

On page 88, Sugihara says, "Arigato gozaimashita." It's Japanese for "Thank you very much."

Even though he is disguised as a human, Fieh Chan (Sugihara) is able to command human converts as a Visitor. Page 89 mentions him transfixing a convert with a penetrating, hypnotic stare. This may be a reference to the myth that cobras can hypnotize their prey. It may also be implying that Fieh Chan is using telepathy on the converted, as Diana did on Julie in "The Final Battle" and The Pursuit of Diana.

On page 92, Sugihara mentions Narita Airport. This is a real airport in Tokyo.

On page 95, Lady Murasaki wears what is described as a "horrifying parody of the traditional Japanese bridal garments." It is "an elaborately brocaded kimono...upon a field of deep purple silk were stitched, in gold thread and filled in with garish reds and turquoises, scenes of...lizards gnawing at the entrails of humans, lizards whose eyes were fiery yellow topazes sewn into the very lining of the robe."

On page 96, Lady Murasaki and Ogawa discuss the conversion of the Matsuzakaya department store into a suicide station for the public. The Matsuzakaya department store is a real chain of stores in Japan that has been around since 1611!

On page 97, Ogawa says to Lady Murasaki, "Hai, tono!" Hai=yes, tono is the title of a feudal lord.

On pages 97-98, Lady Murasaki discusses how she is processing and packaging the human flesh from the suicide center for future use as food. In most sources, the visitors eat only live or freshly killed meat. Yet, Lady Murasaki makes repeated references to her pre-processing of meat for future use.

On page 102, a Visitor guard is wearing samurai armor, but it is emblazoned with the Visitor symbol. He says, "Bajitaa dake!" He's speaking Japanese and I think it means "Visitors only!"

On page 103, a restaurant chef says, "Irasshai, irasshai." This is Japanese for "Come in, come in." On page 104 he says, "Eeto! Igirisu wa hanusu koto ga dekinai no! O-kyakusama wa nani o--" Eeto means "Let me see," wa=counter, koto=thing. The other words I have not been able to translate.

On page 109, Tomoko sees the human suicide victims hanging in plastic-like bags in an old supply room of the Matsuzakaya department store. Some of the bodies already have pieces missing and she also sees what appears to be a jar of pickled human eyes!

On page 121, Sugihara mentions Shibuya station. This is a real railway station in Tokyo.

On page 122 it is revealed that the Visitors have set up a base inside Osaka castle. It is a real castle which began construction in 1583 and has been added to and restored at various times ever since. Below is an image of Osaka castle and it is also featured on the cover of this edition of the novel.
Book cover with Osaka Castle Osaka Castle

On page 125, Sugihara's mistress, Setsuko, says, "Doozo sumimasen." This is Japanese for "Please excuse me."

On page 127, Sugihara says, "Hai." This Japanese for "Yes."

On page 128, Setsuko says that her research on the Visitor dermoplast has shown that it is part organic.

On page 130, Setsuko reveals that she has devices which will act as voice modulators to make the humans' voices sound like that of a Visitor. Japan seems to be the world leader in voice modulation or something...Setsuko has seemingly come up with this device on her own and in the V novelization it is revealed that the voice modulators obtained by Ham Tyler for use by the L.A. Resistance were made by a network engineer in Japan.

On page 135, after taking a long ride on a bumpy road in an Earth limousine, Lady Murasaki longs for one of the desert hoverskimmers of her home planet.

On page 139, our heroes are driving on the Shuto Expressway. This is a real network of toll roads in the greater Tokyo area.

On page 148, a guard in Osaka castle refers to Lady Murasaki as tono, the title of a Japanese feudal lord.

On page 151, our heroes see that Kunio Yasutake has been converted already. Boy, that was quick! You'd think a master of martial arts would have some endurance to torture and psychological meddling.

On page 158, Wu Piao speaks to Lady Murasaki of her wily schemes and compares it to the humans' "fairy tale of the evil fairy who wasn't invited to the castle." The fairy tale isn't named here, but I believe he is referring to Sleeping Beauty, in which an evil fairy is not invited to the castle for the christening of the new princess and so she places a foreboding enchantment on the girl.

The Visitor reception at Osaka castle featured some interesting hors d'oeuvres. Pages 158-159 describe a gelatinized broth containing swimming amphibians (sounds like Jabba the Hutt's snack bowl in Return of the Jedi!) and a chilled blood cocktail.

On page 159, Lady Murasaki reveals to her assembled Visitor cohorts that their studies have shown that the levels of red dust toxin are decreasing in parts of the planet that do not suffer harsh winters. This is a foreshadowing of the revelation in "Liberation Day" (the first episode of the weekly V series) that the red dust bacteria tend to die out in temperate climates.

On page 160, music is played by a gagaku music ensemble for the Visitor assemblage. Gagaku is a type of Japanese classical music.

On page 161, Lady Murasaki muses on the quote of an ancient Earth tyrant, "Let them hate, so long as they fear." The line is originally from the Roman poem Atreus by Lucius Accius and was later appropriated as a motto by tyrant emperor Caligula (AD 12-AD 41).

On page 170, Tomoko listens to what passes for laughter among the Visitors...a kind of raucous hooting.

On pages 175-176, Fieh Chan discusses the ancient Visitor religion of preta-na-ma, saying it pertains to a belief in peace and brotherhood of all species. He was a young novice of the underground religion when he heard of the distant planet Earth that was being opened up for exploitation by his species and which had its own religion of Zen Buddhism which shared many of the tenets and disciplines of preta-na-ma.

On page 176, Fieh Chan mentions that the Visitors' current, highly militaristic, regime took over their planet centuries ago and forged an empire throughout this sector of the galaxy. This seems to contradict the V novelization and V: East Coast Crisis which imply that the current military government supplanted a democratic one within the lifetime of many on their world.

Throughout the novel, we never get an explanation of how Fieh Chan was able to disguise his Visitor voice! I suppose a Zen master can control his vocal cords appropriately!

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