In Confidence Game, CSV Zanshin’s shuttle is a replacement shuttle with the tail number of N6011T. Although the shuttle plays a minor role in the story, its identification is significant to me. Over 25 years ago, when I attended the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, I also graduated from the school’s Institute of Aviation. My first year learning to fly, I was assigned a Beechcraft Sundowner, tail number 6011T.
The Sundowner is a very sturdy air frame and 11T was loaded with so much avionics that it was essentially a tank. She was nose heavy and slow but she had nearly every instrument a student pilot could want (at the time). Once I got used to how heavy she was, I learned to love that plane. Below is a picture of the closest plane I could find to my 11T, the 12R painted in the same, awful orange and blue of the U of I’s colors. At least they were easy to see!
There is a bit more detail about how space traffic is controlled in Confidence Game. The book, overall, is much more focused on the small scale of things rather than the immensity of large fleet combat. Confidence Game is what I call a “low stakes” story, covering just a single crew rather than the fate of entire governments. It was a great break from Hero of the Republic in which the stakes could hardly get any higher. It’s a lot like the difference between an F-15E Strike Eagle and a Beechcraft Sundowner.
Confidence Game is much more cozy than what I’ve written in the TCOTU universe to date. It’s a great story, and you’ll enjoy the more relaxed pace and extra character development. As a reminder the pre-order page is up on Amazon already, and keep an eye out on other platforms… we’re almost there!