Warrior character created by Steel Fear co-author John David Mann

The warrior

The characters of Fear of steel, Part 2

John david mann

Part 1 of this seven-part series about characters from the military thriller Fear of steel Introduced you to the story’s anti-hero, Chief Finn, No Last Name. Now we meet Finn’s unlikely partner.

In most stories, the hero appears early on, if not on page 1, and then shortly thereafter. In Fear of steel, my co-author Brandon Webb and I broke that rule and opened instead with Knighthawk pilot Monica Halsey alone in her cabin looking in a mirror. It takes three full chapters before you finally meet Finn, the main character of the story. Which upsets things a bit, and that’s good. We wanted everything about Finn to shake up the reader’s expectations. Go against the grain.

But there’s another reason we broke the hero rule first. We wanted to you to spend these first chapters in Monica’s place, looking through Monica’s eyes and learning all about her past, career path and ambitions. Finn may be the hero of the story in the classic sense of the word, but Monica is just as central to the story. Finn makes it intriguing.

Monica does it staff.

“Never back down”

The event that gave birth to the idea of Fear of steel happened in 1995 when Brandon was on the USS Abraham Lincoln for a six-month WestPac as a helicopter sonar operator and lifeguard swimmer. There was a sexual predator on board. The guy would sneak into the women’s showers, turn off the lights, assault someone and run away. They never caught him. He threw a veil over the whole ship.

In Fear of steel, these assaults became serial murders, the perpetrator a serial killer. These are no longer sex crimes. The killer does not discriminate between men and women, homosexuals and straight people. He is an equal opportunity sociopath. Still, he has that sexually twisted edge of insanity in his DNA. The horrific real-life events behind the events in the book have left their mark.

That’s probably why one of our very first decisions about the story, long before we started working on the first draft, was that we had to run a woman over to this guy and help bring him down.

Monica is a fighter. It’s clear from the first page. She may be a humble helicopter pilot, but she’s looking for the admiral. Her childhood hero was Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, whom she heard of in third grade. In college, she heard about another personal hero, Kara Hultgreen. Hultgreen was the first female Navy combat aviator to serve on the deck of the Lincoln, where does the story take place.

She had also learned a few other things in college. She learned something called the “Tailhook Scandal”: Eighty-three women in the Navy sexually assaulted or harassed. That in 1994, Kara Hultgreen also became the first female Navy aviator to die, just after the by Lincoln cockpit – and that the crash that killed her was blamed on “irregularities” in qualifying her for flight status, “given her gender.”

To fly while being a woman, in other words.

What about Sally Ride? At a press conference just before her historic first flight in 83, reporters asked if space flight “will affect her reproductive organs” and if she cries when things go wrong at work.

Like Sally Ride and Kara Hultgreen, Monica won’t let anything stop her. Fuck crash investigators; fuck the journalists. In fact, this is his personal motto: never back down.

Read more : Anti-hero character creation by Steel Fear co-author John David Mann


Monica is arguably as much the hero of the story as Finn.

She’s certainly as unlikely for the role as Finn, maybe more. She has no authority here, no power. It is not his job to get involved in the investigation of this series of suspicious “suicides” taking place on the Lincoln; far from there. And when she starts to get down to it, she is unequivocally told to stop.

Nonetheless, it persists. Never back down.

Although this motto is certainly tested. Monica faces a series of obstacles as intimidating as any O class, most of which – surprise, surprise – come in the form of controlling men. There is its commander, Nikos Papadakis, “a control freak and a tyrant” and maybe something much worse. Her love interest, a JAG officer who tells her to back off when she begins investigating the unexplained deaths. His NATOPS officer who has the power to put an end to his HAC (helicopter Aircraft Command) and to sink his career ambitions. Another pilot, Rickards, who seems kind enough but turns on her when she asks too many questions.

And then there’s Finn.

Monica specifies, in Chapter 3, that she hates SEALs. Doesn’t want anything to do with them. She thinks they’re all supreme assholes. When she finally swallows her pride long enough to ask for help, here’s how she starts the conversation:

“Just so you know, from what I can see, all SEALs are cocky, self-centered assholes.” Worse than male fighter pilots.

When she tells him that she needs his help in tracking down the killer, her response is brief and immediate:

“Not my fight.”

These two are as unlikely a team as any couple in the first reel of a romantic comedy. You might even consider the end of Chapter 3 – this is the scene I mentioned in Part 1 of this series where she first sees the two men on the tarmac, the big athletic god and the skinny little geek. , and mistakenly assume that big is the SEAL, a variation on the classic “meet cute” romantic comedy. While this isn’t romance in the air, it is murder and revenge.

And of course, they’re finally working together. It’s inevitable. Each has a piece of the puzzle that the other needs. In fact, they even end up swapping their weapons.

Rubik’s Cube

Monica has more for her than her sheer persistence. Like Finn, she’s smart. In her case, it’s a mechanical intelligence: she has an exceptional talent for seeing how things go together, fit together, work together.

You see it in his work. As well as piloting her Knighthawk, she also serves as her squadron’s maintenance officer, and it’s a role she excels at.

In theory, her head of maintenance was running the show, and she was there primarily to give him high-level support when he needed it. But Monica has taken a very practical approach to her shop. For a lot of guys, a maintenance worker was seen as a tough job for a woman to handle, a point of view that would have royally pissed him off if she’d let herself be thought about. The fact that she was an O-3 in a position usually reserved for an O-4 had raised the bar even higher to gain the respect of the store. She had erased it.

This turns out to be an essential skill set for solving murders. To symbolize Monica’s ‘superpower’, we’ve given her a special artifact that takes on almost totemic significance as the book progresses:

At the back of her desk was a silver-plated Rubik’s cube, an award she won in a college math competition for conceptual modeling in calculus. Instead of the usual six colors, each of the nine subsections making up each of the six sides of the cube has been configured with a pattern of one to six small onyx dots, like dice, so that when you have solved the puzzle , one face was all one. , another both, and so on.

As a child, she had learned that you could follow certain sequences, called “algorithms”, to arrive at certain conditions. There were a lot of different possible solutions, but she mastered them all. She didn’t even have to think about it: her fingers knew the sequences.

Monica’s junior high school award and what it stands for are so important that an entire part of the book (part 6) is called “Rubik’s Cube.”

I can’t tell you how it all goes without spreading spoilers. But I can say this. Without Finn, there is no story. But without Monica, the story doesn’t work.

Photo; SOFREP file

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John david mann is the award-winning co-author of over 30 books, including 4 New York Times bestsellers and 5 national bestsellers. His best-selling classic The originator (with Bob Burg) won the Evergreen Living Now Book Award for his “contribution to positive global change”. Seven of his books are co-authored with SOFREP founder Brandon Webb, including their first thriller, Fear of steel, which Jack Reacher author Lee Child called “an instant classic, perhaps an instant legend.” You can order Fear of steel and find links to interviews with Brandon and John on SteelFear.com.

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