Saturday, December 16, 2006

Political Reasons for a Fictional EU Incident

I'm looking for some input on the fictional political slant for a subtextual event in my Lacey/Rainey story. I want the subtext to have a basis in reality but it needn't really have happened. Well, actually, it obviously didn't really happen 'cause here we are in December, 2006 and we know it didn't happen :)

The book opens on April 2, 2006 and Rainey has just the day before completed a job in Strasbourg. In all honestly, I plucked Strasbourg off a Google map for no good reason, just wanted something easterly but close enough to Paris he'd reasonably stop off there afterwards. Francis Turner, bless him, pointed out how nicely Strasbourg works because it's one of two homes for the EU Parliament--I had *NO* friggin' idea in my head of this when I chose it off the Google map, honest, wasn't even thinking about the EU, just looking at a map and letting my Muse point the finger. But I love it. In fact, my Muse and I both love it enough that this "Strasbourg job" has taken on a weird little life of its own.

The scenario I've created thus far is that Rainey has assassinated someone (of some importance) in the EU Parliament building with a 2-stage/phase "event." I note that this absolutely, positive would NEVER ever happen in real life. The EU Parliament building has excellent security -- but this assassination happens in my story and sets up some Barflies for their "needful" demise :)

The fictional plan was for Sean Gartlan to set off a bomb brought into the building inside a little briefcase, providing a diversion for Mark Driscoll and Chris Maddox, who are to both shoot into a crowd of people AuthorConveniently containing the target. The need for two shooters (rather than one) is, again, to cause a bit of confusion (not sure why I want this much confusion but definitely wanted this much confusion in the EU building). Oh, and Rainey's "pretend" company is providing "extra security" to the particular delegation in the EU building that's getting hit. Yeah, you know, the classic plot device of working from the inside. Let's even go so far as to say Driscoll and Maddox were pretending to work for Rainey's pretend security company and therefore, that's how they got guns into the building. Let's AuthorConveniently ignore how exactly Sean got the briefcase bomb past security.

The part of the story you might know by now is that Sean screwed up the Strasbourg job -- this is the reason why, later, he simply MUST die. What's been written into the story to date is the explanation the bomb didn't go off as planned and Sean has lots of excuses. Rather, I have it now that the bomb went off but "late" (as in not a timely diversionary tactic) and it was pure luck that Driscoll and Maddox weren't nabbed for pulling and firing guns -- not to worry, Sean will screw up again later and get them killed in a good, solid explosion *grin*

Okay, so the part I'm struggling with is WHO (politically speaking) was the target? WHY (politically speaking) was this person assassinated? Why (logistically for the political goals) did Rainey need such an extravagant plan to kill one guy?

All I've got written is why he had to do it INSIDE the EU Parliament building in Strasbourg (where it's a logistics nightmare) instead of just taking the target out quietly wherever it's convenient. Answer: to make a political statement. Duh.

What freakin' political statement did it make? Arrrgggh. And please, don't suggest that it "stated" the EU needs better security. They don't; they actually have excellent security so this would never happen in real life. Really. Not going down that path here, folks.

Intuitively, I'd already written into Rainey's dialog that he "just hates these political jobs because the media always has their own slant on things" In fact, he humorously notes in a chat with Lacey that "Al Qaeda always seems to get good coverage" worded the way they want it, why can't he? Yeah, he has "press envy" (for Osama, who's pretty much assumed dead in my story) but "press envy" is so much more tasteful than *mumble mumble* envy, isn't it? Hey, at least Lacey can't go making inuendos about the size of his gun again -- she does that later *smirk*

So. I'm obviously, subconciously, thinking this job had to take place in the EU building for some political reason....no clue what *ack* Back to research mode and why I'm here asking for advice.

In looking over the news for April, 2006 regarding the EU in Strasbourg, I found the following types of stuff.

Upcoming (on April 24th) the EU talks with Japan on (1) Promoting Peace and Security, (2) Strengthening the Economic and Trade Partnership, (3) Coping with Global and Societal Challenges and (4) Bringing Together People and Cultures. Meeting occurs in TOKYO though back on April 1st, there might have been a Japanese delegate in the EU building. I could change history and make that person dead 3 weeks before this big summit. It *was* a big summit and VERY political. More on the reality-based summit here.

Then there's the far more interesting headlines from Expatica for April, 2006:

Of high interest to Americans (most of my potential Readers) is the headline "MEPs on a committee investigating allegations of illegal CIA activities in Europe" and the open-ended headline "Bulgaria, Romania await EU membership decision" - both Bulgarian and Romanian delegates could be targets for a gazillion reasons, right? And for American Readers these countries are "exotic" and somehow Other or "bad" because they are "different" from our westernized ways.

My favorite, though, is the WTO news item seen on the leftist blog War on Want where they talk of "a proposed WTO Agreement on Export Taxes, which would apply to all Non-Agricultural Goods traded between members of the WTO" Now *that* could be twisted into just about anything, couldn't it? I mean, "non-agricultural goods" is basically the backbone of world economy, isn't it?

When I look at the WTO site, itself, for April, 2006, they don't even HAVE a mention of anything to do with "non-agricultural goods" or Export Taxes. They have a very interesting little ditty titled "The US — Measures affecting the cross-Border supply of gambling and betting services" Historically in fiction, gambling and illegal crime go together well, sometimes in real life, too! :) But it's really to do with horse racing / betting in the US more than anything relevant in Europe. Can't
say as it has any appeal to my Muse.

My Muse doesn't really feel like using the copout of making the CIA some kind of Evil Organization. I know they are in some people's opinions but I don't particularly hate the CIA. In fact, the CIA does enter the story late and they are going to be sorta kinda Good Guys, so let's just leave the CIA out of it for now. Okay? Next.

My Muse also doesn't really want to go researching either Romania or Bulgaria for yet more background on why there'd be a political assassination in April, 2006 - and let me tell you, if a country applying for membership has a delegate assassinated, there would be ramifications. I'd have to do mega-mucho research into said injured applicant on several levels to determine what those ramifications would be. I could, but don't feel like it. Not for this story anyway.

My Muse seems to really like the "Export Taxes on Non-Agricultural Goods" for a likely "political issue" that could (potentially) involve some sort of subterfuge and of course, require hiring mercenaries to make said "political statement." I like the business sort of implications of the area of discussion, I guess. It's got a world-economy generality to it. Read: Sarah doesn't have to do megatons of additional research to make it believable. But I would need to know WHO (what country, what political lobbyist group, what industry magnates) has sufficient motivation to resort to illegal assassination to make a statement--and of course, what the fuck kind of statement does it make? I mean, other than some poor idiot's dead :) Yeah, I got nuthin' Well, I have Muse nibbling on my gut saying this is a good little thread to develop, please feed me. And I'm nothing if not a slave to my Muse.

Ideas? Opinions? Preferences of your own for WHY on God's Green Earth someone would "have to" be assassinated INSIDE the EU Building during a session instead of quietly taken care of in a clean and neat fashion? Oh, and there has to be a news release after, for whatever reason is fabricated to explain the first part of the question.

The reason why I'm so hot on making this trivial little detail work because around 80,000 words in, this whole Strasbourg job subtext has taken on a life of its own--in fact, as soon as I added the word "Strasbourg" to the story, it hasn't stopped cropping up again and again. The job is going to come back and bite Rainey in his wise-crackin' little arse. It's not a MAJOR plot point (all of which I have worked out until THE END) but it's a subtext that showed up and really seems to add good texture to the story. I'd like to give it a good basis in reailty if I can. Alas, as you know, huge part of writing is research Research RESEARCH, my first love and most-formidable nemesis :)

2 Comments:

Anonymous Hallvard said...

My first thought was high-level corruption.

Somebody has a chance of striking a really serious blow against it (how? blackmailing a bunch of grafters maybe?) and things get nasty.

So before you know it, somebody needs to be taught a "don't think we can't get at you" kind of lesson.

I don't know who Lacey and Rainey are, so I don't know on which side the target would be in the mess.

Mon Dec 18, 07:10:00 AM CST  
Blogger -sry said...

Hey, Hal, I can't believe you didn't read any of the snippets--geeez. But thanks for the insights.

So far, I'm only getting comments in email--instead of here on the comment thread (duh)

The "Export Taxes on Non-Ag Goods" idea is neck and neck with the Japanese trade effort. On the first one, dirtydingus is really pushing for a Russian mafia tie-in, which I'm not against. I hate the way Putin is raising cash for Russia by selling arms to Iran He's been doing that for years. I ranted about it here back in November. But... Russian mafia...been sooooo done and overdone in the Romantic Suspense genre. I wanted something fresh and new.

Then there's the Japanese trade with EU angle. Michael Sayer suggested a fabulous tie-in for Roger in Seattle but...again, between Elizabeth Lowell and Linda Howard, there must be a dozen or more Romantic Suspense novels in the last couple or three years (that I've read - dozens more I haven't read, I'm sure) that use this particular mechanism.

Still, Roger's in Seattle due to an Elizabeth Lowell influence over my subconscious, it might just work. I'm pretty sure Michael's suggestion is weighing the most heavily at this point.

-sry

Mon Dec 18, 10:01:00 AM CST  

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