Tuesday, January 27, 2015
The Chimera Vector by Nathan M. Farrugia
If you like: Dollhouse * fight scenes * The Manchurian Candidate
In The Chimera Vector, Sophia learns that she has been programmed from a young age to be an assassin for a collective, The Fifth Column, that has been manipulating society for decades, if not centuries. They incite wars, create terrorist attacks, and develop new technologies. They are the hand that guides everything behind the scenes. Their operatives are children who are picked for their mental and physical aptitudes. They are brainwashed and programmed using hypnosis techniques to live in a dual state of mind; one is innocent of the truth behind their actions, and one is capable of almost anything. The Fifth Column has its defectors who seek to liberate their control of the operatives, and the Fifth Column's enhancing technology.
The operatives have natural aptitudes that have been enhanced by the Fifth Column. They have developed many vectors that can be injected to imbue the recipient with new supernatural abilities, or to make them a deadly biological weapon. Sophia has a natural aptitude to break her programing and is able to discover a sliver of truth about her situation on her own. Once she has a glimpse of reality she is whisked away to become a powerful weapon against the Fifth Column. The process of unmaking and remaking her mind is remarkable. Being naturally gifted, Sophia is able to quickly grasp the process and improve it in order to help others. Unfortunately, there are so many layers of programming that it is nearly possible to ever tell when someone is fully liberated. The consistently twisting nature of the bonds between the operatives allows the story to keep you guessing. Each scene is steeped in tension as a character may have no control over where his or her loyalties currently lie. Their status as free or captive can change at the blink of an eye; a powerful asset becomes a dangerous threat in an instant.
Outside of the overarching story of world domination is the question of accountability. If you are not aware of what you are doing, are you guilty? Is someone who is brainwashed responsible for all the havoc they cause? The answer becomes even more elusive once you consider lucid moments amidst the mental fog. If you become aware of what you are doing, but feel you are in danger if you don’t continue, how much responsibility do you hold? Once you learn of all the things you did under the control of another, it becomes difficult to reconcile your own morality. If you did not intend to harm, but did so all the same, the feelings of guilt still linger. The aftermath exists no matter what the intention, and those who loved the victims cannot easily forgive the perpetrator, whether they were in control or not. The mental anguish caused by the layers of programming makes coming to terms with reality all the more difficult. If you know that you have acted outside your own will in the past, how can you ever trust yourself again? Once you know that your mind has been broken, it is nearly impossible to be confident that you are the decision maker ever again.
If you are absolutely sure you are the one in control, read The Chimera Vector.
Farrugia, Nathan M. The Chimera Vector: The Fifth Column 1. Pan Macmillan Australia, 2012. Kindle Edition.