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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr
enik1138 at popapostle dot com
V: The Three Brave Men "The Three Brave Men"
Author Unknown
V Annual 1986 (World International Publishing Ltd.)

The resistance gains some unexpected help in an attack against a Visitor bigwig.

Story Summary

Donovan and Julie pull up to a line of cars at a police roadblock as they head north out of Los Angeles. A fracas ensues up at the front of the line and a man jumps out of his car and begs Donovan and Julie to let him in. Despite trepidations they do, as the man's car suddenly blows up, taking out the roadblock. The resistance truck continues on its mission to an air base in the desert.

The man identifies himself as Walt McBain, seeking revenge on the Visitors for killing his family back east. He joins Donovan and Julie and their other two resistance companions, Jim and Max, on their mission. The plan is to attack the air base, now controlled by the Visitors, and steal some fighter jets in order to attack the convoy of a Visitor bigwig who is on walkabout, seeing the conquered territory.

Two other groups of resistance fighters are already in place around the perimeter of the base and with the three prongs of attack, the group is successful is taking two F-111s and a Harrier jump-jet. But during the fight, McBain is slightly injured and discovers, to his own shock, that he has lizard skin underneath his human covering...he's a Visitor! He manages to hide the damage from the others and as he goes up in one of the F-111s with Donovan, he gradually remembers his true past; brainwashed to believe he was human in order to more easily infiltrate the resistance and sacrifice himself by blowing up a large gathering of resistance leaders with a micro-bomb planted in his skull.

As the resistance fighter jets move toward the Visitor ground convoy, they must engage in a dogfight with Visitor skyfighters. Jim's and Max's planes are destroyed, leaving just Donovan and McBain's fighter. McBain decides to side with the resistance for real and ejects himself from the jet as the convoy is crossing a bridge, using the micro-bomb in his skull to destroy it, killing the Visitor bigshot.

Donovan, never even knowing of McBain's true nature, reflects that Jim, Max, and McBain were three of the bravest men he'd ever known.



Didja Know?

This story appeared in the British V Annual 1986, a book of short stories, articles and games all about V, geared towards kids.

Didja Notice? 

The men maintaining the roadblock at the beginning of the story are described as cops, yet at least one of them turns out to be a Visitor in the fracas with McBain. Were these Visitor agents disguised as human cops in order to stage the fight that allows McBain to gain sympathy with Donovan and Julie? If so, how did the Visitors know the two resistance leaders would be there?

Page 34 refers to the aliens' false human skin as plastiflex. In another story in this same volume, "Hero", a transparent cage holding an experimental rat in Diana's lab is also referred to as being made of plastiflex...two rather different forms of the plastic, I guess. In the V novels, the pseudo-skin is often referred to as dermoplast instead.

Why does McBain act as if there is heavy fighting in New York? It's supposed to be protected by the red dust still. It could be argued that the fighting he mentions is due to the Indian Summer experienced this year as depicted in The New England Resistance.

How did the resistance van make it past the road block? Even if McBain's gunshot and exploding car killed the two cops (which isn't clear), there was no other backup to stop or chase down the van?

On page 36, the resistance squad steals two F-111 fighter bombers and one AV-8A Harrier jump-jet, armed with Sidewinder missiles. Both models are real planes built for the U.S. military and used by them from the late 1960s through 1990s. Some allied countries still use them. The illustrations of the planes in the story are pretty accurate. The Sidewinder is a short range missile which has been in use by the U.S. and other nations for decades.

Page 38 describes the Harrier as using a Pegasus engine. This is also accurate, the Pegasus being an engine series made by Rolls-Royce.

Also on page 38, Jim, piloting the Harrier during the dogfight with the skyfighters, says grimly, "V for VIFFing." VIFF stands for Vectoring In Forward Flight, a rapid braking by a fighter jet with its vectoring nozzles. This type of maneuvering was used extensively by English pilots during the Falkland Islands war against Argentina in 1982 and Jim must have used it against the skyfighters here.

Page 38 also describes the F-111 as being powered by a Pratt and Whitney TF30 turboshaft engine. This is true.

Why did the resistance have to steal fighter jets to attack the Visitor ground convoy? They have captured a number of skyfighters over the course of the war.

Page 39 reveals that the Visitors have a special heating unit designed to heat up McBain's dermoplast skin so he can more easily pass for human. Did John Langley have something like this during his infiltration of the resistance in "The Hero" and "The Betrayal" and also Lewis in "Printer's Devil"? Otherwise, Robin would have recognized that they had colder skin like Visitors.

Page 39 also reveals that McBain is a brainwashed Visitor infiltrator who has a micro-bomb planted in his skull, with a programmed mission to gain access to a meeting of resistance leaders and blow them all up and himself in the process. This is similar to the case of Dr. Earl Meaghan, a human who had a micro-bomb planted in his own skull in order sacrifice himself in blowing up the L.A. mothership in "Shatterday" (his plan was thwarted).

Who was the Visitor bigwig the resistance assassinated with their attack?

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