Here we finally get Kay and Simons in a room together when they’re not attacking each other, and it becomes clear that they’re natural allies. Simons is a man in the wrong place, having forgotten what he grew up wanting to do. Kay is barely an adult, but has been forced to confront unpleasant truths and figure out what she’s going to do with them. Together, they’ve got a chance to find proper purpose.

Once again, this is a chapter that could very easily sink into exposition, so I tried to use the characters to skewer that: in particular, Marv’s refusal to be normal in any social situation.

This is also when we first get details of Kay’s plan. If it sounds flimsy and naive, then that’s as it should be. Kay is young and optimistic and holds great hope for the future, despite everything she’s seen. She’s also the voice of the book, trying to get out.

Crucially, she doesn’t ask for anybody’s permission. She’s putting this plan into action regardless, it’s just a matter of who is going to come along for the ride.

There’s a great scene in Mad Max: Fury Road where Max proposes a risky plan. It’s Max’s idea, but it’s Furiosa’s decision as to whether they follow it or not. Giving agency to a female character in a film series traditionally dominated by grumpy men is one of the things that made the film fresh and exciting, and I wanted Kay to always have that final decision in ADoF – especially as for much of the book so far she’s essentially been along for the ride.

Arc 3 is about her finding her own voice and confidence, while being at her most vulnerable, and that’s what’s then going to drive arc 4.

The title of the chapter relates to an episode of Dan Carlin’s astonishing Hardcore History series on World War 1, Blueprint for Armageddon, which related the communist revolution in Russia to biological warfare – except rather than a chemical or biological agent that was unleashed on the population, it was an idea, in the combined form of Marx and Lenin. That concept has always fascinated me.

As Alan Moore wrote in V For Vendetta: ideas are bulletproof.

Soundtrack: Blackstar. Also Google’s Provocative Contemporary Film Scores playlist.

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