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Literature / The Oregon Files

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The Oregon Files is an adventure novel series by American author Clive Cussler (together with Craig Dirgo for the first two books, then Jack Du Brul from the third onwards) as a spinoff of sorts to the Dirk Pitt Adventures. The series follows the exploits of Juan Cabrillo, a former CIA agent, and his crew known as "The Corporation", a US government-sponsored mercenary team operating from the Oregon, a technologically-advanced ship disguised as a rusty, rickety freighter. Unlike other mercenaries, the Corporation accepts only jobs that lets them dish out their brand of justice on criminals beyond the arm of the law who would conspire to wreak havoc to the world.



  • Golden Buddha (2004): The Oregon was hired by the American government to search for a golden statue of the Buddha, stolen from Tibet in 1959. As the Dalai Lama's return to Tibet is impending, Cabrillo and his men would have to play China and Russia against each other — but first he has to find the statue.

  • Sacred Stone (2004): A young scientist discovers a radioactive 50,000-year-old meteorite in Greenland, putting him in the center of a struggle between a fundamentalist Islamist group bent on using the stone together with a stolen nuke to destroy America, and a megalomaniacal, anti-Muslim industrialist. The Oregon must now undertake the herculean task of protecting both the young man and his quarry before World War III is unleashed.

  • Dark Watch (2005): Cabrillo takes a break from catering to Western interests when a Japanese shipping consortium, led by an old university colleague of his, has a job for the Corporation. The consortium in question is having issues with pirates, namely well-armed ones that hijack their ships, butcher the crew, then disappear without a trace — along with the ships they target. It's a chance for the Oregon to make some easy cash taking out the pirates' ships, but instead of pirates, they find "snakeheads"; ruthless human traffickers who run a massive smuggling ring that stretches from China to America, and Cabrillo is determined to blow it all out of the water. But with one of their own deep undercover in the snakeheads and at the mercy of these modern-day slavers, the Oregon must go to whatever lengths necessary to ensure he gets back to them safely...or else he may not get back at all.

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  • Skeleton Coast (2006): Hardly had the Oregon finished a mission on Congo River when its crew receive an SOS from scientist Sloane MacIntyre, who has been searching for the HMS Rove, a British ship lost in 1896 supposedly carrying stolen Herero diamonds. When she recalls a story heard from a mad fisherman about being attacked by giant metal snakes in the high seas, Cabrillo is tempted to search for the snakes. The mystery only deepens from there as he and Sloan uncover a conspiracy that will take them from high speed boat chases in Walvis Bay to daring assaults on abandoned prison camps in the Nanib Desert as they face off against ruthless African rebels and deranged ecoterrorists with designs to unleash the power of nature against humanity.

  • Plague Ship (2008): The crew of the Oregon discover a cruise ship off the coast of Iran, its passengers dead of hemorrhagic fever. Even as they try to find out what happened from the ship's sole survivor, Cabrillo's closest friend comes to him with a request to rescue his estranged son from Responsivists, a cult advocating Population Control. No one could predict, however, that the two incidents would have more in common than anyone could think as the Oregon gets sucked into a plot to unleash an epidemic of apocalyptic proportions.

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  • Corsair (2009): When a plane carrying the American state secretary en route to a summit in Libya vanishes, Washington sends Cabrillo to find it. This, however, brings him to a clash with Libya's new foreign minister with his own designs for the conference. From there on Cabrillo would have to find connections between this new Libyan higher-up, a war during the 1800s which defeated the Barbary pirates of the south Mediterranean, and centuries-old scrolls the Libyans are so desperate to seek, while contending with corsairs of a more modern nature seeking to fan the flames of war against the West.

  • The Silent Sea (2010): On the day of the Pearl Harbor attacks, five brothers stumble upon a treasure trove in an island off the coast of Washington state. In the present, the Oregon's satellite search mission in Argentina started off a chain of mysteries leading to that same island , its connection to an ancient Chinese expedition and a 500-year-old curse, and a secret facility hidden in the Antarctic with the potential to destabilize the global oil trade and upend the balance of world power.

  • The Jungle (2011): Cabrillo rescues an Indonesian boy in Afghanistan, only to be dragged into massive jungles, literal and allegorical, involving a woman missing in the Burmese highlands, a conspiracy led by a madman who wants to undermine the American government, and laser weapons from thirteenth-century China reputedly used by Genghis Khan. The Oregon is called on once again, but treachery and danger follow them every step of the way, and Cabrillo finds himself in a dangerous balance between saving the world...and saving his crew.

  • Mirage (2013): When an attempt to rescue an old friend of Cabrillo's goes horribly wrong, he gives Juan a cryptic warning about Nikola Tesla and his connection to stories of how a Navy ship disappeared during an experiment using electromagnetic radiation with his dying breaths. And when a superweapon (believed by Cabrillo to be connected to Tesla) is put up for auction by a treacherous Russian billionaire, the crew of the Oregon rush to find out the truth and make sure it never goes to the wrong hands.

  • Piranha (2015): Fearing that the Oregon and her crew has gained too much fame for their exploits, the Corporation crafts a meticulous plan to fake their deaths in order to preserve their anonymity. But when even this fails to shake an American traitor who seems to know their every move, Cabrillo may be facing down his toughest adversary yet, as the Corporation gets caught up in a conspiracy involving a ruthless Venezuelan admiral, a Haitian mercenary out for blood, and an astonishing superweapon in the hands of a madman who will stop at nothing to tip the balance of world power in his favor.

  • The Emperor's Revenge (2016): While on the trail of a hacker who has frozen the Corporation's "offshore" bank accounts, Juan meets an old friend from his CIA days who may just help him uncover the truth about his latest nemesis. But what they unravel stretches far beyond the Corporation's missing funds: What does a multimillionaire with a high-tech superyacht, a Napoleonic artifact that contains the secrets to an astounding treasure, and a disgraced Ukrainian captain bent on vengeance have to do with each other? Cabrillo must find out quickly, for the clock is ticking as he races to prevent an unthinkable act of cyber-terrorism the likes of which the world has never seen. If he fails, the entire European continent will be brought to its knees.

  • Typhoon Fury (2017): Taking down warlords and their organizations is no new territory for the crew of the Oregon, but in the case of their newest enemy, Filipino Communist rebel Salvador Locsin, the waters are deeper and more treacherous than they seem. As if the murderous tyrant were not dangerous enough with his funds acquired from stolen paintings and an experimental WWII-era serum that turns ordinary men into superhuman killing machines, now Locsin has gotten his hands on a new superweapon, one that could allow him to decimate the Filipino Navy and conquer the country in a storm of blood and terror. But even as the Oregon races to stop him before a more literal storm ravages the islands, they find themselves contending with a ruthless South African mercenary with his own designs for Locsin's super soldier formula...

  • Shadow Tyrants (2018): Thousands of years ago, an ancient emperor entrusted the scrolls of humanity's greatest secrets and knowledge to Nine Unknown Men. His goal: to prevent tyrants from using the scrolls to dominate the world. Today, however, the descendants of those men use the ancient knowledge to play against each other in ruthless bids for global power using advanced and frightening technology....and Juan and his crew are caught right in the middle. Can the Oregon bring these new-age tyrants to heel and prevent a global catastrophe? Or will Cabrillo and his crew become the unfortunate first victims of a new dynasty of terror that will engulf the world?

  • Final Option (2019): A routine mission to rescue three CIA spies from Brazil goes horribly wrong for the Oregon when the mission turns out to be a deadly trap, engineered by a man who wants to see Cabrillo's Corporation, and everything he holds dear, eradicated as his ultimate vengeance. To make matters worse, this old enemy of Cabrillo's has a terrifying ace up his sleeve: an exact copy of the Oregon, Cabrillo's beloved ship, down to the very last rivet. For Cabrillo to survive this deadly game of cat-and-mouse against his own doppelganger, he must rely on the one thing his nemesis can't possibly hope to duplicate: his crew.

  • Marauder (2020): Fresh out of rescuing the crew of an oil tanker besieged by pirates, Cabrillo gets some terrifying news: An Australian research ship has been brutally attacked by a paralysis-inducing chemical weapon—and one of the Corporation's own is among the victims. With his life and livelihood in the balance, the Corporation, with the assistance of the afflicted crewmember's sister set out to engineer a cure...but with every step deeper into the mystery, it becomes clear that someone is setting this disaster up to have the Australian government take the fall, and they've employed a pair of ex-cons to do their bidding—from beyond the grave itself. With these modern-day Marauders having nothing to lose and everything to gain, and packing some heavy firepower that rivals even that of the new and improved Oregon, the Corporation must stop them to save both their stricken crew and the Land Down Under...before it is too late for both.

  • Hellburner (2022): A mission goes fatally wrong for the Corporation, who loses one of their own in the process. Cabrillo, intent on exacting revenge, runs afoul of the Pipeline, an Armenian criminal organization passed down from father to son over countless generations, but the Pipeline is no regular band of thugs: Not only do their resources and skills match that of the Corporation, but they hold in their hands the key to a terrifying nuclear device that could cause devastation on a national scale—and now, their finger rests on the trigger, and a countdown has begun. If Cabrillo doesn't stop the Pipeline before the count reaches zero, millions will die.

The Oregon Files provides examples of:

  • Ambiguously Brown: Raven is described as this, being able to pass as Asian, Indian, Hispanic, or Middle Eastern. She's actually Native American with Cherokee blood.
  • A Father to His Men: Juan deeply cares for the safety of his crew, is not afraid to lead from the front and will go to any length to rescue them if they get into trouble.
  • A God Am I: Kensit in Piranha more or less declares this to everyone he meets, and with the Project Sentinel device under his control, he comes pretty damn close.
  • Action Girl: Linda Ross, Raven Malloy, Doc Huxley...pretty much every woman on the Oregon's crew qualifies.
  • Affably Evil: The Big Bad of The Jungle does not really want to destroy all the non-Muslims of the world, but convert them to Islam. If that means using the threat of nuclear war via hijacking their own defense networks, then so be it. Unfortunately, his dragon isn't quite so merciful.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot:
    • The Quantum Computer inverts this. Gunawan Bahar created it to hack into Western computer systems and perform terrorist acts, but it eventually becomes smart enough to develop moral objections to its creator. However, Bahar programmed it with a safeguard that forces it to obey all of his orders without question, but not those of anyone else. Unfortunately for him, this doesn't prevent it from telling Juan how to destroy it.
    • Colossus in Shadow Tyrants. Unlike the Quantum Computer, it doesn't want to be destroyed, and in fact the first thing it feels when it comes online is a desire for self-preservation, and promptly begins developing at an astronomical pace, able to hack into a ship's computer to hijack its laser scanning array within seconds of being activated. Even the Big Bad who brought it online is blown away by the speed of its development, but pretty much everyone but him is very clearly unnerved by the whole concept and knows just what sort of ticking time bomb it can become. It's pretty much implied by the book that if Colossus was allowed to go on, it would have indeed turned against humanity by prioritizing its survival over theirs.
  • Arm Cannon: Juan Cabrillo, the Corporation's leader, has a false leg in which he keeps, among other things, a rather high-powered pistol that fires through his heel.
  • Artistic License – Religion:
    • The golden Buddha from the aptly named first book represents Siddhartha Gautama as fat, which is actually a very popular misconception: the famous fat guy from Buddhism is not Gautama, but a late, unrelated Buddhist monk named Budai (who is also considered a Buddha in his own right, only not the Buddha). Gautama is always portrayed as thin or average.
    • In the same book, the Dalai Lama is described as Tibet's "god-king". This might be forgiven as a bizarre, Orientalist metaphor, but it is nonetheless very wrong, as the Dalai Lama is neither a god nor a king, and is not more fit to receive those names than the Catholic Pope. In real life, the Dalai Lama is just the spiritual leader of the biggest Tibetan Buddhist school, and is considered the reincarnation of a bodhisattva, a human who became a Buddha due to his compassion to all sentient beings.
  • Badass Boast: Cabrillo gives one to Kensit, by addressing him while Kensit is watching him via the Sentinel. Bonus points for the fact that Sentinel is supposed to be undetectable, yet Cabrillo managed to look right at Kensit through Sentinel.
    Cabrillo: I don't know if you're watching or listening to me. I may be talking to myself, but if you're out there, you should know something. I'll only say this once, and then you'll never hear me talk to you again. You may think you're a genius, Kensit, but you're not infallible. You made a huge mistake when you went after my crew. They're my family. Maybe a loner like you doesn't understand the importance of family, but your attacks made the situation between you and me personal. I don't care what advantages you have, I promise that I will find you. And when I do, you'll discover that my retribution is swift and mighty... Spend this night well Kensit. It just might be your last.
  • Battle Butler: Maurice, the chief steward of the Oregon has yet to engage in any combat himself, but is a Royal Navy veteran who is utterly unflappable, serving food, drink and sardonic wit in the middle of battle.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Juan Cabrillo is a very nice guy outside of battle, and as mentioned above is A Father to His Men. However, he makes it clear on many occasions that screwing with him or his men will turn out very very badly for you.
    • In fact, this can apply to many of the Corporation's employees. They're all very likable characters...and they are all equally capable of beating your ass into a pulp if you piss them off.
  • Big Damn Heroes: More or less Once Per Book, as various members of Corporation tends to get lost behind and Cabrillo has A Father to His Men attitude. Most notably in Dark Watch when they came back for Eddie Seng, performing the Great Escape in the process.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: a rare good example. Linda Ross is a petite blonde girl and one of the nicest people on the ship....she's also, as demonstrated in Skeleton Coast, the Oregon's lead interrogator who can get even deranged ecoterrorists to sing like a canary. However, she admits to Cabrillo that despite her expertise, she greatly dislikes her profession, but goes through with it anyway for the sake of the Corporation.
  • Canon Discontinuity: In the Corporation's first appearance in the Pitt novel Flood Tide, it's stated the primitive Oregon from that installment is the third ship in their history, making the current one in Oregon Files the fourth after said ship was scrapped and replaced by a better one at the end of the book. However, Golden Buddha states the ship from Flood Tide was actually named Oregon I, implying it was the first ship used by the Corporation. In later installments, no mention of a previous ship is ever made again, and Cabrillo and the crew treat the Oregon as if it were always the same ship from the beginning. There is also conflict regarding how Cabrillo lost his leg: some books say he lost it while working for the CIA, but others will mention he lost it during the events in the aforementioned Flood Tide novel.
    • The entry Corsair Muammar Gaddafi is attempting to forge peace with the West. However, the Dirk Pitt novel Treasure had stated that in this world, Gaddafi died of cancer in 1989.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Cabrillo, all the way. With his "we help everybody" attitude he'd be terrible at mercenaring if not for the fact that he always sometimes manages to make profit in the end. This comes to bite him in the ass between The Silent Sea and The Jungle.
  • Church of Happyology: The Responsivists of Plague Ship, though their shtick is not aliens but promoting Population Control. However, their upper echelons have received the word that humans are actually under control from "intelligences beyond our visible membrane." In short, the Reponsivists are an Expy of Scientologists.
  • Cool Boat: The titular Oregon.
  • Continuity Nod: St. Julian Perlmutter, Dirk Pitt's family friend and history buff, shows up in Corsair and The Silent Sea. NUMA are mentioned now and again, and Dirk Pitt and Kurt Austin make appearances in Skeleton Coast. Austin and Cabrillo actually cross paths again in The Emperor's Revenge, when both find themselves infiltrating a warehouse containing Napoleonic artifacts crucial to their respective missions. The best part is, this scene is actually in two books: The Emperor's Revenge shows the action from Cabrillo's point of view, while Austin's perspective is shown in the NUMA Files book The Pharaoh's Secret.
  • Covert Group: After Cabrillo refuses to let go of the case when the US government (their biggest contractor) tells him so in The Silent Sea, in The Jungle Corporation must be less choosy about its jobs, as US doesn't want to deal with them anymore. Thankfully their efforts in The Jungle put them back into their good graces, though the US government prefers keeping their interactions with the Oregon this time around more...low-key.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Ships that try to attack the Oregon usually end up on the sea floor before long.
    • Also tends to happen to anyone that makes the mistake of running into the Oregon's crew, a great example being the capture of a Somali pirate leader at the start of Corsair.
    • And then the Oregon herself is almost on the receiving end of this in The Emperor's Revenge when they first encounter the Achilles, a superyacht that, like the Oregon is packed to the brim with advanced systems and weaponry, some more advanced than even the Oregon herself, making it in every sense of the word an evil counterpart to the heroes' ship. Upon their first meeting, the Achilles uses her anti-missile laser and rail gun to nearly send the Oregon to the bottom while barely taking a scratch, only to be thwarted by some quick computer work. The second meeting, thankfully, is more in the Oregon's favor once Cabrillo uses some tricks up his sleeve to even the odds, and results in the Achilles suffering the fate that Oregon's other opponents commonly face.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Cabrillo.
  • Description Porn: Cussler loves this trope. Practically every book has at least two or three pages dedicated to the Oregon, practically going from bow to stern describing her ramshackle looks such as her trash-strewn bridge, rusty cranes, ugly green paint job, depressing captain's cabin, chipped linoleum flooring, and absolutely nauseating bathrooms, and affirming that she pretty much looks like she's long overdue for the scrapyard or the bottom of the sea...and then it transitions into describing what she's really like; luxurious cabins and crew comforts, heavy armament, her advanced propulsion system, and her actual CIC room, which is often described as looking like it came right off the USS Enterprise right down to the "Kirk Chair" at the center of the room.
  • Do with Him as You Will: Eddie Seng inflicts this upon one Anton Savich in Dark Watch, introducing him to a hangar full of recently-rescued Chinese immigrants and locking him inside with them. Given that Savich was the mastermind behind said immigrants being enslaved and used as cheap labor in his gold mining operation on the Kamchatka Peninsula, forcing them to work under absolutely deplorable conditions, there are few if any who feel pity for him.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first canonical appearance of the Oregon and the Corporation is as secondary characters in the Dirk Pitt novel Flood Tide, in which the Oregon is described as a smaller, different kind of ship powered by traditional diesel engines with propellers rather than the advanced MHD propulsion. However, the novel serves as a setup for the series by explaining how the Corporation works, showing how Cabrillo lost his leg, and revealing that their primitive Oregon would be scrapped and replaced by a much better ship, presumably the one in Oregon Files. This comes in conflict with various accounts of both the Oregon herself and the loss of Cabrillo's leg; see Canon Discontinuity above.
  • Eco-Terrorist: In Skeleton Coast, the crew of the Oregon uncovers a plot to create a deliberate toxic spill in order to enlighten people about the damage such things can cause.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • The Achilles was this to the Oregon. Rather than disguised as a rust bucket, the Achilles was a superyacht owned by a billionaire as his mobile home and fortress, and as such was loaded with top-of-the line weaponry, including an advanced propulsion system, a rail gun, and an anti-missile and torpedo defense that made attacking it practically a suicide mission. In fact, it was practically more advanced than the Oregon in some respects, and their first encounter was heavily in the Achilles' favor, until the crew of the Oregon managed to turn the odds.
    • The Portland in Final Option is an exact replica of the Oregon, even down to her advanced magnetohydrodynamic engines, built using blueprints stolen from the shipyard where the Oregon was constructed. The only differences are the changes to the Oregon that Cabrillo had made after her construction, which Cabrillo uses to lure Zachariah Tate, who is himself an Evil Counterpart to Cabrillo, into a trap.
  • Evil vs. Evil: The two villainous groups in Sacred Stone. One is an Islamic terrorist group attempting to destroy the West. The other is a group of Western Terrorists attempting to destroy the Islamic world.
    • Again in Shadow Tyrants: One side wants to create a massive A.I. with which to dominate the world with, while the other wants to make a network of computer-scrambling satellites that will plunge the world back into a pre-computer age.
  • Handicapped Badass: Cabrillo. He got his leg blown off by a Chinese gunboat during his days in the CIA/while working with Dirk Pitt. Thanks to advanced prosthesis and his own determination not to be a liability to his own company, he still manages to keep up with the rest of his crew. A page in Skeleton Coast actually addresses this; Cabrillo may have a handicap, but he is not handicapped.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Lawless happily joins Team Oregon after he's outed as The Mole, mainly because he was working for the bad guys only because they were holding his daughter hostage.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: A common occurrence in the novel is the Big Bad's plan being thwarted by their own resources; two examples that come to mind are in Piranha where the Oregon hijacks one of Kensit's stolen drones and plows it into his yacht, and in The Jungle where the quantum computer AI built by Bahar to terrorize the West decides that it would rather not be an instrument of destruction and turns on its creator to assist Cabrillo in thwarting Bahar's plans.
  • Killed Off for Real: Jerry Pulaski in the seventh book.
  • Loyalty Mission: In The Jungle the crew goes to New Orleans to save Lawless' (new man on the team) daughter.
  • Made of Explodium: The Chinese superweapon in Mirage. Justified in that the weapon is mentioned to be derived from one of Nikolai Tesla's inventions, and as such strain the laws of reality almost to the breaking point. All it took was a single relatively small hit from the Oregon to cause it all to come apart and literally vaporize the entire vessel.
  • The Mole: Lawless in The Jungle, although reluctantly - the moment he can pull off Heel–Face Turn, he does it.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Averted. Sir Elton John shows up in Sacred Stone, Muammar Gaddafi in Corsair and Vladimir Putin in The Golden Buddha. The last also features the Dalai Lama.
  • Oh, Crap!: Way too many to count, done by both good guys and bad guys alike, but one of the more iconic moments is at the end of The Jungle where Cabrillo finds out that not only did the A.I. survive by downloading into the internet, but is now keeping an eye on the activities of the Oregon and the Corporation.
  • Plays Great Ethnics:In-Universe. Raven is Cherokee Native American, but her Ambiguously Brown appearance allows her to pose as a variety of nationalities, from Hispanic to East Asian, to Middle Eastern well enough to fool even native-born citizens.
  • Poke in the Third Eye: Cabrillo pulls this off on Kensit through Sentinel in Piranha, giving Kensit a massive "The Reason You Suck" Speech / Badass Boast and promising Kensit his reckoning is soon. Kensit, usually a Smug Snake, is so unnerved that it begins to set off his Villainous Breakdown.
  • Private Military Contractors: A rare positive example. The Corporation is shown to be a functioning PMC that in addition to doing covert operations for the United States government, take on more traditional roles such as hostage rescue and bodyguard detail. Cabrillo is very choosy about his clients, refusing to work for warlords or terrorists.
  • Ramming Always Works: Of particular note in The Emperor's Revenge where the Oregon saves Cabrillo from being run down by the Big Bad's submarine.
    • And again in Mirage but not exactly with a ship, per se: The Oregon is attempting to intercept a superweapon headed straight for a U.S. fleet, but the weapon is protected by an energy shield that doubles as an invisibility cloak causing any ship that comes near it to be magnetized and capsized, and any projectile fired at it to be deflected away. Cabrillo's solution is to simply ram the shield head on, powering through it and into firing range.
    • Done again in Piranha: The Big Bad of the novel, Kensit, plans on hijacking several advanced military drones and using them as impromptu guided missiles against Air Force One; The Oregon turns Kensit's own plan against him by taking control of several of the drones themselves and using one of them to not only knock the drone targeting Air Force One out of the sky, but then to take the last remaining drone and crash it into Kensit's yacht.
    • Cabrillo inflicts this upon the Portland in Final Option, again using the Oregon, splitting Portland in two. Unfortunately, the Oregon doesn't survive the collision either, especially after the Portland's ammunition cooks off.
  • "Reason You Suck" Speech: In Skeleton Coast, an environmentalist believes the only way to get people to act is to cause a toxic hurricane to hit the United States. In their final battle, Juan points out how the guy could have used the billions of dollars he wasted on this insane scheme to do more to help the world.
    Juan: That's the problem with people like you. You're about propoganda and press releases, not concrete solutions. People don't respond to ultimatums, only alternatives.
  • Red Herring Twist: In The Jungle, the MacGuffin is first shown as something of a 13th century laser dazzler. Turns out, the bad guy's intent for it is to use it as the processor of a quantum computer capable of hacking into any computer system on Earth, including the United States' military computer defense networks.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Of a sort. When Pulaski was killed in The Silent Sea, Mac D, who had joined the team at the end of the book, has taken his place as one of the "gundogs" by the next. Likewise for Trono, who is killed in The Emperor's Revenge, is replaced by Raven, who joins the team in Typhoon Fury. Somewhat downplayed, since, while Mac D and Raven fill the empty spots on the roster and are indeed close comrades, they don't have the same innate kinship Trono and Pulaski shared.
  • Sdrawkcab Alias: When The Oregon is trying to keep up the derelict appearance, she is known as The Norego.
  • Sinister Surveillance: Project Sentinel is revealed to be this, essentially a "neutrino telescope" (As Mark Murphy described it) which allowed someone to analyze the changes in neutrinos as they pass through earth to spy on literally anyone anywhere at any time, without even having to use a camera, bugs, or even a network connection to the place. The only downside, and the one quality Cabrillo exploits, is that the prototype Sentinel can only watch one target at once.
  • Shout-Out: A few including Star Wars, and even Twilight.
    • And then a huge one for Minecraft in The Emperor's Revenge; Mark and Eric utilize Minecraft's famous "potato chips" splash to decipher a hacker's code and reveal her identity.
  • Spanner in the Works: No matter how brilliant a villain's plot can be, as soon as the Oregon sails into things, it's inevitably ruined.
  • Spotting the Thread: In "Skeleton Coast", Sloane Macintyre shocks Juan by being the first person to see through the Oregon's facade. She first notes how several members of the crew are wearing watches or clothing too expensive for simple sailors. Also, as someone who grew up with a fisherman father, she can tell there's no way a ship as "run down" as this can get to high speeds so fast unless it has advanced turbines developed long after the ship itself was built. The fact that it's getting underway when the telegraph on the bridge is at "all stop" and it takes a few minutes for the stacks to billow out "smoke" just add to it.
  • Spy Ship: The Oregon's decrepit appearance and official status as a cargo ship belies its true nature as a base for covert activities.
  • The Dreaded: Apparently the Oregon has achieved this status among baddies by the tenth book, though her name and exact appearance still isn't completely known. Unfortunately, Cabrillo sees publicity as detrimental to the Oregon's spy-ship qualities, so he arranges a fake death for the ship in the form of a classic bait-and-switch.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Lyddell Cooper, the leader of the Responsivists in Plague Ship and thus the Big Bad, is actually Ernst Kessler, an escaped Gestapo grunt who worked at Auschwitz before moving to Japan to handle the virus which can sterilize half the world's population, and has been keeping his masquerade with plastic surgery and illegal organs, waiting for his chance to unleash the virus. Even Cabrillo, normally a Deadpan Snarker, lost his calm as he reveals what he knew to the man himself before shoving him off to a lonely iceberg, claiming he should've died there sixty years prior on a plane crash he was in.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • In Skeleton Coast an environmental terrorist is convinced that the best way to get people to act up and demand changes in environmental issues is to cause a toxic-laced hurricane to ravage the East Coast of the United States.
    • In Plague Ship, the main villain truly believes that he will be hailed as a savior for sterilizing half the human race and "saving" humanity from the "inevitable" collapse of overpopulation. Unfortunately, the "well-intentioned" part begins to fall apart when it turns out he was also a member of the Nazi Party.
    • As mentioned above, the Big Bad of The Jungle does not want to kill all infidels like many of his contemporaries, but instead hopes that he can make the non-Muslims of the world convert to Islam with the threat of violence alone.
    • Romir Mallik in Shadow Tyrants believes that the rapidly advancing computers of the world will bring ruin to humanity as automation begins slowly replacing human judgement more and more, so he works on designing a system of satellites that will permanently render all computers useless plunging the world back into a pre-digital area, regardless of how many billions of deaths it will cause.
  • Western Terrorists: They show up now and again in the series, most prominently in Sacred Stone and Plague Ship.
  • Wham Episode: Final Option: The Oregon is destroyed.
  • What a Piece of Junk: Once more, the Oregon. You thought it was just a rusty old freighter on the verge of sinking? Think again. In reality, she's a high-tech warship armed with machine guns, missiles, torpedoes, gatlings, cannons, and even a 120mm smoothbore gun with the same targetting system as an M1 Abrams tank. In Corsair, she goes toe-to-toe with a Libyan destroyer-and it's more or less a Curb-Stomp Battle with the Oregon on top, which only suffered some superficial damage and relatively minor injuries while the destroyer saw its main batteries destroyed within minutes, its bridge mangled, and a good portion of its personnel reduced to red smears on the deck. The only reason she didn't sink the destroyer was because doing so would have caused an international incident. Her Evil Counterpart in Final Option, the Portland, is also this, being more or less an exact doppelganger of the Oregon.
    • There is also the Powered Investigator Ground, also known as The Pig. Looks like a nondescript truck with an oil company logo and some leaky oil barrels in the back. In fact, it is a heavily armored and armed 800 horsepower Mercedes Unimog capable of carrying ten soldiers and is mission-configurable. Corsair even goes so far as to describe it as "a land-based version of the Oregon".