Vector: Tradecraft: Phase Zero : Michael Shusko
Creating fear within the United States is nothing new to those in Homeland Security or anyone in counterintelligence. There are many sleeper cells in our country and some members of different terrorist groups manage to infiltrate our companies, are educated in our schools and then take orders from those they are affiliated with in order to take us down. But, what happens when biomedical researcher Jawad Khattib is on to something that would radically impact our safety and kill millions of Americans? His research is so outlandish and dangerous that before he realizes the impact it has had on his own body, the illnesses he felt and the fact that he could barely breathe, this researcher enters the ER of Massachusetts General Hospital, and dies right there on the spot. Speculation has it that he died from radiation poisoning according the preliminary autopsy report. But, when working the DHS Agent
Lee Jansen and toxicologist Dr. Emma Hess both realizing that there is more to this case and his death than they are aware of. Test, cultures, scans, x-rays, blood work and a thorough autopsy and there are many anomalies and nuances that do not add up drawing their attention to the fact that perhaps he was creating a dirty bomb. In that case DHS and other counterterrorist organizations will become involved. Leaving Boston and rushed to help Emma Hess both soon realize the bond between them both intellectually and professionally. As resident Manny Ortiz in the ER is well versed in radiation poisoning due to his time in Iraq, a horrible fact might just be discovered as he and Emma are inclined to believe that there is much more here than just a dirty bomb and radiation poisoning. Things take on an unusual turn when Emma and Lee learn more about radiation poisoning, meet with a researcher named Sue Chen and find out what is there and what might be missing as the man who created this research is supposedly in the morgue so who was in his apartment when they came there?
Meet the Architect who works for the Order who is in charge of this project to create a dangerous weapon to help his people but destroy ours. As you hear him speaking to his assistant and he explains the components of the weapon and the need for them to create a prototype to test the vector or an insect or other organism that transmits a pathogenic fungus, virus, bacterium or any agent that acts as a carrier or transporter, as a virus or plasmid that conveys a genetically engineered DNA segment into a host cell.”( dictionary.com). As you get to understand the science behind the vector, the hosts and how it relates to genetics and links to different cells the fact that the Order and this madman running it along with 9 other people from different walks of life are hoping to create something that would destroy entire populations and would target specific races, creeds and religions. People that were or are inferior, those that are against what each of these 10 people are trying to do and anyone or any group of people that stands in their way. A weapon that can be spread through an aerosol spray can and would destroy thousands if not millions of people. These people are ruthless and when Lee Jensen comes face to face with the Architect and gets injected with a virus that is eating away at his cells can Sue Chen, Emma Hess and Manny Ortiz find a way to save him or will he be the next one to die? As Emma confronts the man in charge she is duped and conned into thinking he gave her the antidote when in reality he gave her Kerolac used as a pain reliever like Motrin. But, there is much more as Lee is still dealing with how and why his partner T Bone was killed and just what role Daif Ajeel and his brother Wahab played. Both trying to buy weapons from someone named Abdullah al-Harbi’s terror network and this is just the tip of the iceberg. What the Order and the Architect plan is to create as the author relates: “A biogenetic weapon, not a radioactive one.” As they investigate Dr. Singh or CIGR they learn more and just who is involved will take you inside many governments, agencies and countries high in corruption and some like Lebanon have moles, traitors and terrorist on their payroll allowing them to survive. Their goal once they uncovered what they think is happening is first to define Vectors which by definition is a Host and in this case they used Jawad Kattib. And an agent that the vector was carrying, presumably as the author relates a bioweapon. But, what effect was it supposed to have or what genes if any was it going to target has yet to be revealed?
Project Astrea is at the helm of what is happening and those behind this project are more than evil or dangerous. The targeted population is this binding of the “target mechanism to the DNA triggers and the release of the bioweapon. The viral RNA from the vector will incorporate the weapon-producing genetic sequence into the host DNA. This would prevent as the Architect continues an effective treatment since the victim’s now –modified DNA will continue to produce the weapon and next and quite vital it will allow them to create vectors with linking proteins specific to the ethnic groups with unique DNA sequences that they want to target. Chapter 54 elaborates even more and the ramifications are astounding and frightening.
Eric Kaiser is a DHS agent, young yet quite astute as he, Lee, Emma and Manny make their way through a maze of deceit and corruption Sue Chen unravels the secret behind the weapon. As Lee is lying at death’s door and Emma thinking that the anti-inflammatory would cure him little does she know that what Sue Chen discovered was just a piece of the puzzle but will what she learns finally and creates save his life?
Just when things start to go in their favor someone close to them is revealed as a traitor. This mission of the Order is widespread and the fear and deaths will be insurmountable and the end result would you might say create as Hitler thought he did a Master Race or Master Population that was superior and would be allowed to live.
When confronting those that created this bioweapon and thinking they were home free they were not as the killers would strike in another way, their prisoners Emma, Manny, Sue and Lee and as the end they think is near will someone save them all? An ending that is explosive, dynamic and creates shockwaves that are not only powerful but will hopefully take down the Order. Just how does this link to what happened to Lee’s partner and will he finally close that case and take those involved down? When Emma figures out a way to save them all will she survive? The Epilogue allows readers to know that there is much more and the end is far from near because someone has yet to be caught, lives are still in danger from this secret weapon and terrorism is so widespread that you never know even walking down the street who might create a way to infiltrate our society, create bioweapons to destroy us and in this case not just Israel and the Jewish population but a VECTOR that might destroy us all. Characters that are vividly depicted and a story written as if it were ripped right out of the headlines Vector: Tradecraft: Phase Zero: there is much more to come.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine