Friday, June 20, 2014
Warning: this post may contain spoilers for Millennium Crash (though hopefully not for future books in the series) and I recommend reading the book first.
Also be warned that this shows the ‘sausage-making’ aspect of writing the book, which some of you may not want to know about.
Three different stories weave together to make Millennium Crash. There’s the tale of Anya and her little flock, the adventures of Matt and Page – and then there’s Samantha’s story.
Of all the characters, Sam’s the youngest and least experienced. With no special skills or training, her part in the research expedition from the future is basically just to help the others. She has no position or authority, and no ambition to take charge of anything.
And yet, she assumes a mantle of authority almost unconsciously – even bringing Bailey to heel, despite the fact that he’s older and much more experienced than her. (Sam is naïve in many ways.) How that happens is her story.
It starts with that first electrifying moment as she watches Kirin and Harold in the alley from across the street and realizes something is horribly wrong. Even before she understands what, she’s prompted into action. Once she knows that one of her colleagues is a murderer and she’s the only one who does know, she’s compelled to seek justice.
That one event rouses something within her. Immediately she becomes intensely focused and driven, more so than any of the others. She has no authority over Bailey, but she’s determined to do what she can, with or without his help, and pulls him along in her wake.
Unlike Anya, who views her role as leader primarily in terms of taking care of her charges, or Page, who relies on her assistants to take care of her, Sam simply concentrates on what needs to be done. If someone’s going to help her do that, she’ll accept and appreciate the support, but she doesn’t demand it. And unlike Matt, she’s not looking for adventure – it just happens.
What Sam has witnessed, and how circumstances have put her in the position to be the only one who can and will do something to try and stop Kirin – it galvanizes her essential nature. She feels a responsibility to do what needs to be done, even if she doesn’t know precisely what that will be at first.
That sense of conviction gives her a moral authority, which she exercises to appropriate Bailey’s assistance and which guides her decisions all along the way. By the time she catches up with Kirin, she knows what she has to do. (We haven’t yet seen Sam have to make a decision where she lacked that certainty.)
In the end, because of Harold and Kirin’s deaths, she has a technical position of leadership by default. But that’s not why Bailey chooses to follow her – it’s because as former Enforcement, he perceives her moral authority. Even if she’s unaware of it herself.
Next: Part 8 – Falling into Place