Readers’ Group Guide
1.Chapter One introduces some of the special talents of the S.A.T.. team. In addition to combat skills, the women have special abilities that they bring to play in their positions. Women especially have always been said to have more empathy, and ability to “pick up” on bodily cues from others. Have you ever known, or are you, someone like this? Have you ever had a “bad feeling” about someone or a situation that turned out to be an accurate perception? Trusted someone without knowing why?
2. Science has shown that there are indeed visual cues that a trained or naturally sensitive person can pick up in order to decide on trust, truth or fiction. What would be a visual cue that would indicate that a person is trustworthy or hiding something? Do you think these visual cues can be learned and manipulated to the person’s advantage?
3. The Special Abilities Team (S.A.T.) members skill largely comes from careful observation of behavior. The enemy, Thomas Kuntz, depends a great deal on substituting “doubles” or virtual clones of key people within the United States security systems. If you were to be “doubled,” what would be some of your unique mannerisms that would have to be duplicated in order to make the fake-you pass close observation? Do you have a special habit, dislike, or verbal expression that instantly identifies you to your friends? What about your family or spouse? Who do you think it would be hardest to fool – your mother, your best friend, your spouse? How about your family pet?
4.Sleep deprivation is lack of the proper amount of sleep needed to function at a normal level. If the women of the S.A.T. team lack sleep, or do not get the bare minimum of two hours sleep, they will suffer from a severe loss of their special psychic ability. Sleep deprivation has even been used as a tool for torture. If you have been losing sleep, how does it affect your performance at your job or at home? How do you think people with stressful and demanding professions such as soldiers, doctors, or firefighters cope? New mothers frequently report depression and inability to cope when learning to take care of a demanding infant that interrupts normal sleep patterns. What about politicians, who frequently spend hours in planes or meetings and then must make important decisions?
5.Jackson states that visiting a psychiatrist or counselor would be a job-killer for his brother, Bruce. Why would this be? Is this belief true or false in most jobs or only specialized ones? Would visiting a psychiatrist be perceived as a weakness in your job or family? If you need such help, would you get it, or hide the problem as best you could? Do you think real help is possible for personal problems from psychiatrists and psychologists? Would you rather depend on a chemical solution such as antidepressant, self-medicate with drugs or liquor, or meditations such as prayer?
6.Bruce and Jackson are brothers but seem to have a more parent-child relationship. Jackson protected and influenced his younger brother. This kind of relationship is often seen in a single-parent family, but not as much a family where both parents are present. Can this kind of relationship be beneficial to either child? Can it produce rivalry and discord, especially in a brother-to-brother relationship? How would such a relationship later affect either child–when they become adults? If such a relationship is noted without knowing the parents, what might be guessed about the home life of the children?
7.When Morgan’s family discovered her intuitive abilities they rebuffed and rejected her. This type reaction can occur with other talents discovered in children, such as unusual math or musical abilities. If you were Morgan’s parent, how would you advise her regarding the developing abilities she’s manifesting?
8.Much depends on DNA findings in the progress of the investigation of Bruce. Many criminal cases are decided upon DNA evidence. Old cases can be reversed and innocent prisoners freed. What do you think about this type of evidence? Is it “iron clad?” Can mistakes be made in taking evidence, or at the lab processing the DNA? Currently DNA is used as an iron-clad method of proving identity. Might this change with developments of new scientific methods? Would you be willing to accept the evidence of DNA as conclusive in a case involving you or your family?
9.While Jackson clearly loves his brother, Bruce, and his sister-in-law, Morgan suspects he might be a “commitment-phobe.” In their line of covert work, surely a close relationship with a mate would be impossible without total commitment of each partner. Considering that each partner elevates his/her personal safety risks simply by being associated, would you be able to hold up in such a marriage or relationship? What would be required? Would you be able to raise children and teach them moral values when your life is built on secrecy, danger and the ability to kill another human being with stealth and efficiency?
10. Dr. Joan Foster is about to have her baby. Do you think this pregnancy was wise? Dr. Joan admits it was unplanned. Will the child be an unwitting target for those opposed to Dr. Joan’s line of work and her allegiances? Should she tell her child about her line of work and why she does it? When would be the right time to tell a child this?
11. Morgan and Jackson form a romantic partnership. What kind of a working and family team will they make, considering that they know each other’s work and understand what is required? They both have intuitive abilities. Would this strengthen a romantic relationship or weaken it? Would you want your partner to know what you are thinking in a romantic situation?