I was heartened to read this morning that the U.S military is catching up to technology that appeared in my novel, Operation Jeramiah’s Jar, written in 2017 and released in 2018.
The headline declares: “US Air Force is developing remote-controlled bird-like ‘microdrones’ with flapping wings”
The subhead: “Their elite research lab is working with designers from Airion Health LLC to prototype a remote-controlled mini air vehicle that can imitate either insect or bird flight”
OK, now, did these scientists read Operation Jeremiah’s Jar back then? Or did they come up with the idea themselves and are they just catching up now?
Whatever the answer, it is a fantastic technology. I hope they use the mini-birds as well as the IDF used the “mini-fly,” nicknamed DiDiFly (for Distance Discernibility), in my novel.
Here’s part of that scene:
“How can you fly so low and not cause alarm?” Max asked.
Lt. Gen. Davidi chuckled and tugged him along by the elbow to a nearby table. Jacob and Dudi joined them. Davidipointed to a large housefly standing on the tabletop.
Max shrugged, not understanding.
Then Davidi reached and picked up the fly. It didn’t react, didn’t fly off, nothing.
Max frowned a question.
“Our drone. We call her DiDi Fly …” Davidi hesitated, turned to Dudi and chuckled, then back to Max, “as opposed to Bibi, or Dudi, or Davidi. The friendly debate has been who it is named after but, the fact is, DiDi stands for Distance Discernibility.”
Max shook his head and pointed at the monitor. “So that’s what is flying along Ramallah’s streets?”
“She,” the general corrected. “She is flying along Ramallah’s streets. Our only concern is if someone sees her and goes after her with a fly swatter.”
They looked back up at the large monitor.
DiDi Fly was weaving her way down a street, past a Fatah police vehicle which appeared to be a 1990s-vintage military Jeep painted blue. A Fatah policeman, a rifle strapped around his shoulders, stood on the sidewalk, talking with someone inside the Jeep.
The skies darkened all about with a coming storm, and Becca said, “We’ve got to get DiDi Fly inside before the rainstorm.”
She maneuvered a lever and DiDi scurried a little faster.
Seconds later, she arrived at a block-wide, one-story mosque shouldering twin minarets to the east and west that soared one hundred feet high. Green lights lit up the even in the daylight.
DiDi approached the front doorway, stopped and floated just above the doorframe. Several seconds passed before the door swung open and two men sauntered out. Without hesitation, DiDi swooped down and entered the building, then soared up into a room whose ceiling was at least twenty feet high.
Even indoors without daylight, the picture was crisp and bright.
Oriental carpets like large scatter rugs covered the floor. The walls were a medium green and the ceiling was filled with colorful designs. What appeared to be a miniature dome of a mosque with columns ran along one wall. This was a prayer hall like the one Max had seen in the Great Mosque of Kairouan, Tunisia, only smaller.
“Your soldier,” Max said, pointing to Becca, “is quite a pilot.”
“You should see her fly a fighter jet!” Davidi said.
No surprise there. Women were crucial to many sectors of the IDF.
DiDi was on the move, reaching the far wall of the large prayer room in seconds. A double-door perhaps ten feet high centered the wall. DiDi again hovered, waiting for the doors to open.
As she hung in the air, Max noticed an oddity. A tall, narrow board announced prayer times. Not unusual for a prayer room. But in this ornate old mosque, on this elaborate signage, the times lit up in red neon. 3:49 … 2:15 … 5:00 … 6:20 … 11:54 … 3:01 … 5:32 … 6:47 …
Max chuckled to himself. What would Muhammad think of neon, eh?
Jacob had just begun to ask Max the source of his humor when the large doors slowly opened, probably because they weighed a hundred pounds or so.
Max held his breath as DiDi slipped through the narrow opening—slim because the little man exiting sidled through, probably not wanting to push the heavy doors apart any farther than necessary.
The next room was small and cluttered as if the prayer hall had been filled with chairs and tables and hassocks and paintings, and everything was pushed in here. Like a bachelor had “cleaned” his apartment by stuffing all his what-notsinto a closet before his girlfriend arrived.
A handful of men sat around on sofas and chairs, listening. To whom?
DiDi backed her way up to the wall above the doors. She seemed like she was perching on the doorframe, just like a real housefly.
“… from the Jews’ settlements to the Knesset,” a burly man wearing a Palestinian kaffiyeh said in Arabic. “We will bomb the settlements from a distance and the Knesset from within.”
“The Knesset from within,” Max said in alarm. He leaned forward.
“From within,” Dudi repeated, then pointed and said, “This man, he wears a Palestinian kaffiyeh, but his accent is Saudi.”
Max frowned. “He looks familiar. I’ve seen his face somewhere.”
Dudi called to a man sitting at a computer.
“Moshe, run facial recognition on him.”
“This intifada? This is no simple ‘uprising,’” the man said, his lip curling in a snarl. “This is a war. Too many of our leaders have said, ‘Control the United Nations and watch it lead the way.’ They have said, ‘Put an iron grip on UNESCO and force a global declaration saying the Jews are interlopers on our land—our land!’ They have said, ‘Kill the Jews a few here, a few there and watch fear do its job.’