Initial Vector cover
Perfect Dark: Initial Vector
Author(s)Greg Rucka
PublisherTor Books
PublishedMay 30, 2006

Perfect Dark: Initial Vector is the first licensed Perfect Dark novel. It was authored by Greg Rucka.

Back of Book Description

Continuing the epic storyline featured in the Xbox 360 game Perfect Dark Zero.

The year is 2020: Corporations control everything. In the name of domination, these sprawling organizations have recruited their own military forces to fight clandestine battles against one another---a war fought in the boardrooms and won in the shadows, with the public none the wiser.

Ex--bounty hunter Joanna Dark has unwillingly seen the front lines of this war. Her run-in with dataDyne, the world’s most powerful hypercorporation, has left her with a wound that only vengeance can heal. Daniel Carrington, the charismatic founder of the Carrington Institute, has been locked in an ongoing war with dataDyne for years and sees Joanna’s deadly skills as the key to victory over their mutual enemy. But Joanna is young and lost, unable to accept her abilities as virtues or fully trust Carrington’s intentions.

But when an explosive secret is unearthed---one that could finally bring down the threat of dataDyne once and for all---Joanna finds herself thrust back into the fight, one that brings her face to face with her past... and the forces shaping her future.

Plot Summary

In the year 2016, a deadly strain of flu has broken out in Canada. The flu is initially identified as "influenza A subtype H7N10," due to the fact that it is a prominent flu at that time of year. Eventually, the flu seemingly gets out of control, and nobody who was paying attention to the situation thought that this was the influenza A subtype H7N10 any longer. The situation gets to the point where Canada is cut off from the rest of the world — all traffic to and from Canada is closed. Anyone trying to cross the border is shot on sight. The virus is eventually known simply as "The Flu," though the media refer to it as "the Canadian superflu," and its scientific name is "influenza A subtype H22N17." In a Canadian prison, a 16-year-old teenager named Laurent Hayes is found to be immune to the superflu. He tries to take advantage of the situation, demanding money for his blood, but he is tranquilized, and pharmaDyne use his blood for a vaccine.

In 2015 a poli-sci student at the University of British Columbia named Benjamin Able is tracked down by Jonathan Steinberg through Able's blog, which cited criticism over the corrupt authorities of dataDyne. Able is then offered a job to collect intelligence on dataDyne in order to help the situation, on the condition that he change his major to Law. Able graduates, applies at dataDyne, and excels at his job: being both a rising star in the legal offices of pharmaDyne and a successful spy for the Carrington Institute. He meets and falls for a high-profile employee by the name of Kimiko Wu. Wu is popular — all employees both five levels up and down the corporate ladder at pharmaDyne admire her. Eventually, he starts dating her and they become a couple. He regularly places flowers at her desk as a surprise, with an electronic bug hidden in them so that he can access her files. Her popularity affords her a lot of attention, and she is therefore a great source of intel at pharmaDyne.

His method of gathering intelligence is simple: his ID card's magnetic strip has capacity for a lot of data, but around only 1% of that space is used up by the actual identification info. By using the extra space to store intel, Able avoided any troubles that may arise from sensors, bag checks or other dataDyne security measures. At the end of the day, Able would send off the intel to the Carrington Institute and wipe the magnetic strip free of data, careful not to harm his identification. However, the simplicity and brilliance in his work is also his downfall: his card is replaced every few months, and dataDyne noticed that the magnetic strips on his cards are always burnt out.

Eventually, Able hacks into pharmaDyne CEO Friedrich Murray's computer through his connection to Wu's terminal, and finds a file interestingly named "Rose." His gut instinct tells him that something like this is too good to be true, and thus probably isn't a good thing to find, but he places it on his ID card all the same, concluding that the Carrington Institute can decide the worth of the intel. However, he is unable to send off the intel right away, as he has a date with Wu immediately after work that day. He window shops with her for a while, then they make their way to the restaurant they will be dining at. Halfway through the meal, he notices several security teams at the restaurant and decides that it is time to leave. However, it turns out the date was a setup, and Wu actually works for pharmaDyne security. Holding him at gunpoint, she motions him out of the restaurant, taking his briefcase and motioning for the backup teams to follow. Able manages to escape for a short while, detonating a flash bomb in his briefcase, and he sends a panic burst to Carrington Institute with his pharmaDyne ID card. pharmaDyne operatives stop the panic burst, but not before over half of the Rose file was sent to the Institute. Able is captured and tortured.

In the year 2020, following the events of Perfect Dark Zero, Joanna Dark is staying in the company of Carrington Institute. Still questioning whether she should trust Carrington (her father, Jack, advised her that Carrington was not a man to trust), she continues to stay with him until she can figure out what to do with herself. One day she overhears Steinberg arguing with Carrington about Able's situation, and trying to persuade Carrington to let him go on a rescue mission. Dark then bursts open the door, and puts forward the idea for her to extract him by posing as a temporary worker at pharmaDyne. Steinberg (a former U.S. Army Ranger) is unwilling to send a "kid" to do covert missions, but agrees to let her find Able. Dark finds the spy, and begins to extract him. On her way to the roof, however, a grenade is detonated and both Able and Dark are badly injured. Due to Dark's unique capability for her body to heal itself extremely fast, she survives, but Able is unable to survive before the elevator they are in even reaches the roof. However, Dark is able to find out when the "year of the rose," a phrase referenced in the partial file Able sent to the Institute, is. On the rooftop, Dark meets Hayes for the first time, who was adopted by Murray. Dark kills Hayes' bodyguards, but is unable to kill the man himself, narrowly escaping the battle via an Institute jumpship.

Frightened by the result of the mission, Dark runs away from the Institute. Wanting to put as much distance as possible between herself and the place which reminds her of her past so much, she plans to renew her life as a bounty hunter. Dark takes up a bounty with Beck-Yama, a man by the name of Leung Cha-Wei. Carrington enlists the services of dataDyne through his secret affair with DataFlow CEO Cassandra DeVries. Carrington cites Dark's involvement with the disappearance of Zhang Li, but does not reveal her real name, instead calling her Phoebe Charlotte. In the same conversation, Carrington requests of DeVries a list of dataDyne employees with "rose" in their name, eventually picking out the name Thaddeus K. Rose, the only person on the list that didn't have a job attributed to themself.

Eventually, dataDyne shock troopers track Dark to China and catch up with her just as she takes her bounty hostage. In a quick succession of events, Leung is shot by the troopers and Dark tries to escape, but is bound to the ground by several troopers. Before they can take her away, however, Steinberg shows up and attempts to kill the troopers. However, the best he could manage was a few of them, and he can barely lay down enough covering fire to keep himself alive. Ultimately, Dark kills off the other troopers while they are distracted by Steinberg, and she accompanies him back to the Institute, where she meets with Carrington on the beach. They discuss matters, and Dark asks why she is so adept at what she is able to do. She ran away because she thought in Institute had turned her into a murderer. Dark discovers that she not only has the skills of both Carrington's troops and spies, but she is also better in both areas of the war. Ultimately, Dark ends up joining the war with Carrington, and is tasked with finding and capturing Rose.

Meanwhile, Hayes is also tasked with finding Rose, but in this case to kill him. His search leads him to Gustav Weiss, who opened Rose's current bank account. Hayes persuades Weiss to dig up information on Rose, but hits a snag. Weiss finds a transcript of a message accompanied by an evaluation that was sent to Carrington, indicating an Initial Vector project. Weiss attempts to shut off the terminal to prevent Hayes from reading it. He is silenced, however, and Hayes reads the script. The evaluation concludes that Rose is currently in the employ of Core-Mantis OmniGlobal, but it also concludes that Carrington knows that Hayes is searching for Rose. Following this, Murray and Hayes meet with R-C/Bowman CEO Paul Sexton, ultimately convincing him to send a strike force to the Core-Mantis Hovoro facility, in order to steal research on a cure for cancer. Though Sexton doesn't know it, Hayes will use the attack as cover for his own attack on Hovoro, where he plans on killing Rose.

Dark is sent to confirm that Murray did indeed meet with Sexton, which she does. She then tracks Hayes, who meets with a Core-Mantis employee by the name of Portia de Carcareas. It is here that Hayes discovers that he is being tracked. He destroys Dark's CamSpy and Carcareas' bodyguards capture Dark. However, before Hayes and Carcareas can get to Dark, she knocks out the bodyguards and hides. Carcareas leaves Hayes alone, and Dark reveals herself and immobilizes him. Hayes' goal in meeting with Carcareas was to tell her that R-C/Bowman was planning an attack on Core-Mantis Hovoro, in order to sabotage what would otherwise be a clandestine attack. While Core-Mantis publicly deny that there is any possibility R-C/Bowman would attack Core Mantis, NSA CEO Trent Easton reads into the situation and recognises that the company will indeed attack, but their attempt would fail. Easton informs dataDyne security chief Anita Velez, who informs DeVries, who in turn enlists the services of Hawk Team, a mercenary force, to extract Rose before any harm can come to him. At the same time, Carrington sends Steinberg and Dark to extract Rose for their own purposes. The forces of R-C/Bowman, DataFlow, the Institute and Core-Mantis all do battle at the Core-Mantis Hovoro facility at the same time. Dark kills the Hawks before they can extract Rose, claiming their prize. She is extracted with Steinberg, Rose held captive.

Carrington takes Rose to a secret hideout, claiming it to be "one of the only places in the world where nobody can hear what you're saying." He organises a meeting with DeVries and Murray, on the condition that no weapons are present and only one bodyguard is allowed. Carrington picks Dark; DeVries picks Velez and Murray picks Hayes. Ultimately, Rose created the superflu, and will be forced to admit it in a public announcement. Murray, who was Rose's boss at the time, will have an opportunity to defend himself following the statement. DeVries will be the one held responsible for discovering all this, and will consequently succeed Zhang Li as dataDyne CEO. At least, that was the plan. Not wanting to let dataDyne go down the drain because of the public announcement, she enters the cell where Rose is held. Velez knocks out Steinberg, who was guarding Rose, and DeVries gives the gun to Rose under the pretence of letting him defend himself. She comments that whether Rose makes a public announcement or not, the world will know that Rose created the flu that killed millions of people, and that the world will forget the name of Hitler before they forget the name of Thadeus Killington Rose. Rose kills himself with Steinberg's gun.

Still in the negotiation room, Carrington, Murray, Dark and Hayes witness Rose dead via security camera. Murray orders Hayes to kill Carrington. Dark defends Carrington long enough for DeVries and Velez to arrive. Velez gives Steinberg's gun to Dark, who shoots Hayes just as he is strangling Carrington, while DeVries takes Dark's Falcon and kills Murray. Carrington is disappointed at DeVries' betrayal, but accepts it. DeVries goes on to be dataDyne's next CEO and Dark permanently joins the Institute. No longer in a relationship with DeVries, Carrington is now completely against dataDyne, and Dark claims that she cannot leave the Institute while DeVries is the leader of dataDyne. A newspaper article was later published stating that Murray and Hayes were killed in a boating accident, which like most of the media in the book, twisted the truth.

Comparisons to Perfect Dark

Cassandra DeVries is portrayed as a much older woman when actually she is thirty-seven and rather young looking for her age. She is also portrayed in Perfect Dark as being more than willing to commit methods unethical to help dataDyne succeed. In Initial Vector she is actually the most honest of any dataDyne CEO, committed to making dataDyne succeed through just and honorable methods. It can be assumed that either through her breaking up with Daniel Carrington or through future events that take place she will be hardened to her more malicious personality. The character known as Jonathan Dark is barely recognized by Joanna in the Perfect Dark Area 51 level. In Initial Vector the only character that best describes Jonathan Dark is Jonathan Steinberg, who Joanna would recognize. It has been confirmed on the Perfect Dark Zero website that Jonathan Steinberg is indeed Jonathan Dark. dataDyne is portrayed as the world's leading weapons manufacturer in Perfect Dark. dataDyne does produce weapons but is also involved in other fields of production. The alien existence that played a huge role in Perfect Dark is never once speculated upon in Initial Vector.

External Links

Perfect Dark Series
Games Official Perfect DarkPerfect Dark ZeroPerfect Dark (GBC)
Cancelled Perfect Dark CoreVelvet Dark
Books Initial VectorSecond FrontJanus' TearsHonk Kong Sunrise