Mike Maden


Anything one man can imagine, other men can make real.



This book is dedicated to you, Tom Lavin, my magnificent father-in-law, a combat-wounded, combat- decorated Marine. In 1952 you were just a kid hunting the enemy on night patrols with nothing more than a .45 in your hand and your head on a swivel, the point man on a zeroed-in path between rice paddies forward of the MLR. Overrun on the Yoke, bombarded on X-Ray, ambushed on Irene, you and your friends were outnumbered and outgunned, but you prevailed, unyielding in blood and valor. You did your job well, Pop, and so did your friends, the ones who came home from Korea and the ones who didn’t. You believed, and that made all the difference.



Troy Pearce — CEO, Pearce Systems

Udi and Tamar Stern — Husband-and-wife team; field operatives

Stella Kang — Former U.S. Army drone pilot; field operative

Judy Hopper — Pearce’s personal pilot

Johnny Paloma — Former LAPD SWAT; field operative

Ian McTavish — Director of IT operations/research specialist

Dr. Kirin Rao — Head of research and development

Dr. Kenji Yamada — UUV research and operation; oceanographer (whale researcher)

August Mann — UGV specialist; head of nuclear deconstruction division


Margaret Myers — President of the United States

Bill Donovan — Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security

Jackie West — FBI Director

Dr. Karl Strasburg — Foreign Affairs/Security Advisor

Frank Romero — U.S. Ambassador to Mexico

Faye Lancet — Attorney General

Mike Early — Special Assistant (Security) to the President

Nancy Madrigal — DEA Administrator

Pedro Molina — Director of ICE

Robert Greyhill — Vice President

Roy Jackson — Head of DEA Intelligence

Sandy Jeffers — President’s Chief of Staff

Sergio Navarro — DEA Intelligence Analyst

T. J. Ashley, Ph.D. — Head of Drone Command

Tom Eddleston — U.S. Secretary of State


Antonio Barraza — President of Mexico

Hernan Barraza — The president’s brother and chief advisor

Cesar Castillo — Head of the Castillo Syndicate

Ulises, Aquiles Castillo — Cesar’s twin sons

Colonel Israel Cruzalta — Battalion Commander, Infanteria de Marina Mexicana

Victor Bravo — Head of the Bravo Alliance

Dmitry Titov — President of the Russian Federation

Konstantin Britnev — Russian Federation Ambassador to the United States

Ali Abdi — Quds Force Commander


AMISOM — African Union Mission in Somalia

AUMF — Authorization to Use Military Force

ARGUS-IS — Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System

ARSS — Autonomous Rotorcraft Sniper System

BMI — Brain-Machine Interface

DARPA — Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

DAS — Domain Awareness System

FISA — Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act

JDAM — Joint Direct Attack Munition

JSOC — Joint Special Operations Command

LATP — Lima Army Tank Plant

RIOT — Rapid Information Overlay Technology

UAV — Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

UGV — Unmanned Ground Vehicle

USV — Unmanned Surface Vehicle

UUV — Unmanned Underwater Vehicle

WPR — War Powers Resolution


All of the drone systems described in this book are currently deployed or in development. I have taken the liberty of simplifying and, in some cases, amplifying their performance characteristics for the sake of the story. However, I am confident that the “new and improved” versions I have described will soon be widely available.



El Paso, Texas

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