In critiquing my WIP, Angel of Mortality, several reviewers asked me if I would include a scene showing how the plague worked.
Normally, I suppose, they would expect a scene where crowded hospitals took in moaning patients while heroic doctors worked desperately to save a coughing child. I created many such clips on my way to my current version, including a scene in Manila in my last version. In true Batman style, Kassar would be a giggling maniac watching cadaverous women beg in the streets while gagging passers-by stumbled to their cars to escape quarantine.
The opening scene in Mombasa in this version is after the plague has passed. the dead are dead and the living are no longer threatened. The cleanup after the plague is gruesome enough–the sight of the bloated baby being thrown into the incineration pit is evidence of that.
I’m putting in a scene that will show the plague at work when Cholpon and Raisa are watching the TV reports. Other than giving the reader some insight into the potency of the nanobot plague it serves little purpose in the story, but readers deserve to know.
.This plague kills quickly and quietly. No sores, no gagging, just a swift loss of the nervous tissue that causes dementia or loss of muscular control and then a painless death. Of course, witnesses appalled by the catastrophe, create social upheaval that is immediate, but short-lived, as they too succumb.
The real showdown is not between the two human opponents, Raisa and Kassar, or even between the two social components, the ICC, and Ruby Spider, but between the two nanobot entities, EVE and Madan, who are the robotic alter egos for Raisa and Kassar. To make this work, I have to create a reader emotional attachment to non-human entities, which means they need personalities–similar to 3-CPO and R2D2 in Star Wars–but deeper, more human.
Eventually, I’ll have to figure out a neat way to dispose of Kassar and Ai-mei in some dramatic fashion, which may involve heroics by my gal Cholpon, but I haven’t worked that out yet