As with the “Piercing the Veil” trilogy, I’ve done a lot of research for “The Liberty Box” series. Some of it made it into the book, and quite a lot of it did not (in fact a good bit fell by the wayside a few versions of the book ago). From May 2014 through about December 2014, I did a lot of research into the structure of modern royal families (obsolete), the structure of the mafia (obsolete), the way a farm works (obsolete), and the culture of modern Estonia (obsolete).
Microbes vs Us
In fact, one of the only things I’ve used from those early months of research and writing was what I learned from “The Coming Plague,” by Laurie Garrett. It’s a huge book, about 600+ pages, and it goes through a number of historical plagues, how their vectors were discovered, and how they were contained… as well as some frightening warnings of what may happen in the future when we start to lose our war against microbes. After all, it’s only been in the last century or so that we’ve been able to turn the tide in our own favor, and those interventions will not work forever.
If you’ve read “The Liberty Box,” you will recall that in the prologue, my antagonist, Ben Voltolini (who was originally going to be named Viktor Voltolini, but I thought that was just a little too “James Bond” villain-esque), discusses his idea of how to render the masses docile with what remains of the United States Congress just after the economic collapse of the United States. He had a two part plan, with a critical first step: due to their desperation, people were rioting in the streets. He needed to render them docile before he could do anything else. He proposes to do that using a vaccinia vector.
The Vaccinia Vector
A vector is a carrier for something. Without the vector, the virus couldn’t get where it needed to go. Vaccinia is smallpox, and in this case, it’s a version of smallpox that was stripped of all the DNA that makes it act like smallpox, so it’s just a shell… and then genetically modified so that it could be airborne for large distances at a time. So in my story, it’s become a carrier that can infect a huge number of people with whatever the creator decides to put in there.
But Voltolini didn’t want to kill everybody in a pandemic — he just wanted to render them easy to control. So he stuck a virus in there called Epstein Barr.
Epstein Barr: Mono Inside of Smallpox
In today’s world, EBV is quite ubiquitous. It’s responsible for mononucleosis (the kissing disease), it’s been implicated in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and in general its spectrum of symptoms has quite a wide range. Anemia is one of the symptoms it can cause, though rarely. Most people who have EBV don’t have any symptoms at all, though, because as long as your immune system is strong enough to keep it in check, EBV isn’t much of a problem. That’s why in “The Liberty Box,” I said that this was a particularly virulent strain: i.e. one that would cause infection in its host, no matter how robust their immune systems might be. In this world, I’m also claiming that this strain of EBV primarily causes anemia. (And of course, if you’re anemic, you’re fatigued… and if you’re fatigued, you’re not likely to have the energy to fight).
But the infection of this particular strain that I made up only lasts for about 6 months or so—after that, the immune system fights it off again, and the person returns to health.
That 6 month window was also important for Voltolini’s plan: he needed the people to stay docile long enough for him to 1) convince them to present themselves in the Liberty Boxes, so their individual brainwaves can be recorded for tracking purposes, and 2) build the control centers and begin subliminally reprogramming the people to not only obey, but to adore the government. (More on how this works—in my world—in a future post!)
Sneak Preview on Book 2 (Title TBD):
I’m still researching as I write, and the outline keeps morphing accordingly… but because I used the brainwave technology, now my rebels have to figure out how to get around it. So I’m having to look into yet more topics I know NOTHING about, like electromagnetic principles, circuitry, computer hacking and computer viruses. It’s actually really fun! 🙂