Brandt applied the Page 69 Test to The Operative and reported the following:
From page 69:Visit Gerald Brandt's website.
San Angeles was a big city. Big enough to get lost in. The second was the smell of shuttle fuel with a faint hint of the ocean underneath it. It had been a long time since he had smelled the ocean, and even the faint scent of it brought back memories of the last time he’d landed here. He’d just finished defending his thesis and was coming back from a celebratory holiday. That time, he had been on a stretcher with a straw sticking out of his throat, breathing through the tiny hole. He’d been eating in the mess on a transport coming back from Mars and choked on his food. Bryson was told that a complete stranger had cut into his throat and inserted the straw, saving his life. His only really clear memory had been how it had whistled at each breath. Back then, he had believed he was going to die. Looking back, Bryson realized it sounded pretty stupid. He didn’t even have a scar to show for it.It looks like we've hit a page that builds on the backstory of a secondary character and starts another plotline that feeds into the next novel in the series (The Rebel).
This arrival scared him more.
Bryson glanced around the door, trying to get a glimpse of what was happening outside. In the distance, a truck with a conveyor belt was driving across the tarmac with some ground crew. They were busy chatting and didn’t look toward him at all. This could be his only window for getting off the shuttle. He looked toward the nose of the shuttle and saw a stairwell leading up to the passenger ramp. Bryson jumped down, running to the door. It opened with no alarms. Maybe all the security was geared to keep people from getting to the tarmac, rather than keeping them away from the passenger areas.
The door opened to a short staircase. He climbed them to the top and exited onto carpeted floor. The shuttle’s passengers walked past him, carrying whatever they’d brought on board, not even giving him a second glance. The stored luggage would be picked up on a carousel on the main floor. He blended in with the moving line and entered the shuttle port. As soon as he merged with the general traffic heading for the moving walkways, he felt more relaxed.
The first half of the page ties Bryson Searls back to the first book in the series (The Courier) where the same scene is described from a different characters point of view. Bryson is the creator of the quantum jump drive, a new technology that allows space craft to cross vast distances in space very quickly.
He has essentially been held captive by a corporation and forced to work on the quantum drive and make it safe for human use. Here, he has managed to escape from the Sat City, and the shuttle has landed in San Angeles. He hid in the luggage/storage area of the shuttle and is getting into the passenger area of the shuttle port.
This page doesn't have the same level of tension that is layered throughout the novel.