BOOK ONE RECAP
Forgot a 7th Son, Book One plot point? Need a quick reference guide for the story so far? Feast your peepers on this Descent synopsis. Warning: Spoilers abound.
Three weeks ago, President Hank “Gator” Griffin was assassinated at a political rally by a four year old boy. The child, Jesse Fowler, said only one sentence during his week-long confinement in a psychiatric facility. It was an obscenity-filled phrase no four-year-old should know.
Jesse Fowler’s abrupt death while in custody was equally inexplicable. A nosebleed — and eyes so bloodshot the whites were completely red — were the only clues to the boy’s demise.
Two days ago, seven men living in different regions of the United States were kidnapped and brought to a “beyond Top Secret” government facility in rural Virginia. What they saw there was unbelievable, yet undeniable.
Despite slight physical differences, these seven strangers appeared to be the same man, the same age. Each man remembered growing up as an only child in Indiana, and each recalled a tragedy from their past: The death of their parents in a car accident sixteen years ago.
It was clear these seven “John Michael Smiths” had identical childhood memories.
Unwitting participants in an experiment called “Project 7th Son,” the men learned from two project staffers — Dr. Kleinman and Gen. Hill — that they were assembled to stop the man behind the President’s murder. Their target: A man code-named “John Alpha.” He was the man they were cloned from; the man whose childhood memories they share.
While the clones were genetically and — to a degree — emotionally identical, their personalities and professions were very different.
John: college dropout and no-nonsense musician and carpenter. Michael: a captain in the Marine Corps’ elite Force Recon division. Jack: a pudgy, bespectacled, genetics expert … and father of twin daughters. Thomas: a devout Catholic priest. Jonathan: a timid U.N. employee; Dr. Mike: a cocky criminal profiler. Kilroy2.0: an infamous computer hacker with a messiah complex who claims the walls speak to him.
The next morning, Dr. Kleinman and Gen. Hill gave the clones a tour of the 7th Son facility. The clones stared in horror at their birthplace, a monstrous cloning machine. They also learned about “MemR/I” (Memory Retrieval/Installation) technology, which allowed the 7th Son scientists to record John Alpha’s childhood memories, store those memories as digital data, and download them into the clones’ vacant brains.
Kleinman tells John, Kilroy2.0, Dr. Mike and the others that the 7th Son project began six decades ago as a grand “nature versus nurture” experiment. The men’s most vivid childhood memory — the car accident in which their parents were killed — was a ruse. Hugh and Dania Sheridan, the people the clones remember as their father and mother, were actually still alive.
It was then revealed that the Sheridans were actually scientists working for Project 7th Son, paid to raise and observe John Alpha.
After the car accident sixteen years ago — and after John Alpha’s memories were recorded — the boy became a willing participant in the 7th Son project. He learned all he could about the experiment. But four years ago, John Alpha mysteriously vanished from the 7th Son facility … and turned up dead not long after.
But evidence found during the autopsy of Jesse Fowler, the child Presidential assassin, indicated that John Alpha was alive, and apparently armed with a dangerous technology that was accidentally created at the 7th Son facility. Called “NEPTH-charge,” this technology erases a person’s memories completely. When combined with “MemR/I” technology, another recorded psyche can be downloaded into the damaged brain. This explained the four-year-old’s murderous behavior; a killer’s mind was lurking behind the child’s eyes.
Worse still, John Alpha kidnapped a former 7th Son staffer two weeks ago: Dania Sheridan, the clones’ “mother.” Hugh Sheridan, their “father,” was brought to the 7th Son facility for his protection.
John Alpha left a clue for the clones to decipher at the scene of Dania Sheridan’s kidnapping. With their combined expertise, Fr. Thomas, Jonathan, Michael and the others decrypted the Morse Code clue, and deduced that Alpha was probably laying low at an abandoned night club in Los Angeles.
Michael, Dr. Mike and Fr. Thomas volunteered to lead a cadre of 7th Son security personnel on a mission to rescue Dania Sheridan. John, Jack, Kilroy2.0 and Jonathan chose to remain at the 7th Son complex, vowing to learn more about Alpha’s conspiracy.
During this, each clone coped with the recent revelations in his own way. While Jack the geneticist raged against the experiment’s ethical violations, a terrified Fr. Thomas became convinced that he was a manufactured thing, a soulless being. Jonathan wondered about the childhood he never had, and realized he never actually experienced the awkward courtship of his high-school sweetheart (who would, many years later, become his wife).
Meanwhile, it became clear that John Alpha’s conspiracy was much larger than the clones knew. The U.S. Vice President fell victim to the villainous plot when he unwittingly received a download of Alpha’s psyche into his mind. Alpha was now riding shotgun in the VP’s brain.
John Alpha also contacted billionaire oil tycoon A.U. Rookman, whose reputation for political prowess, ruthlessness and greed was legendary. While no clear details of their relationship were revealed, Alpha promised the elderly Rookman that he would soon be cured of his cancer and Alzheimer’s.
Additionally, more than forty men at a Russian military post were recently NEPTH-charged. The psyche that was downloaded into these victims’ minds was that of Doug Devlin, a remorseless government-trained contract killer, now in the employ of John Alpha. The Devlins controlled nine intercontinental nuclear missiles, and would soon prep them for launch.
Back at the 7th Son facility, John, Jack, Jonathan and Kilroy2.0 recalled the peculiar physical side-effects of the NEPTH-charge procedure, as seen in the four-year-old assassin’s autopsy. Convinced John Alpha may have created more NEPTH-charge killers, they hacked into the Centers for Disease Control’s website. Surely the CDC would have recorded such strange deaths, they reasoned.
In Los Angeles, Michael, Dr. Mike, Fr. Thomas and the other 7th Son soldiers infiltrated the abandoned night club — only to discover that it wasn’t abandoned at all. Enemy soldiers wearing ultra-high tech “Vaporwear” invisibility camouflage began to slaughter the team.
Meanwhile at the 7th Son facility, John searched for his father, Hugh Sheridan. As he chatted with the bitter man, John learned the true purpose of the cloning project. It was not a “nature versus nurture” experiment, as Dr. Kleinman had said. 7th Son was created to grow special teams of experts, all linked by common childhood and biology. These well-oiled teams of clones would be brought together to apply their respective, yet complementary, expertise in times of crises. John and his fellow clones were the “dry run,” the first steps toward the this new breed of team creation.
Hugh Sheridan also revealed that Project 7th Son’s roots could be traced back to World War II, and the horrific experiments perpetrated by Nazi doctors. One of these doctors, a geneticist named Klaus Bregner, was brought to the U.S. after the war, and — in exchange for his life — was ordered to head the then-new 7th Son project.
Meanwhile, Kilroy2.0, Jack and Jonathan’s hacking into the Center for Disease Control’s website revealed successful … and terrifying … results. Dozens of deaths were recorded in the CDC database, all matching the symptoms of NEPTH-charge. One such report chronicled the deaths of ten men in Arkansas. These men had left behind more mysterious encrypted messages for the clones.
In Los Angeles, the battle against John Alpha’s invisible soldiers became a bloodbath. Nearly all of the 7th Son soldiers were killed in the firefight, and Dr. Mike and Father Thomas were captured. As they were held at gunpoint, the “Vaporwear” soldiers taunted Michael and the surviving soldiers. Finally, John Alpha emerged from the shadows, clearly taking pleasure in the clones’ misery and recent revelations.
Fr. Thomas was able to create a distraction, with explosively successful results. The tide turned, and Alpha fled to the basement level of the night club. Michael pursued the villain while Thomas rescued Dania Sheridan. She had been severely beaten. Alpha had cut off two of her fingers.
Although Fr. Thomas, Dr. Mike and Dania Sheridan escaped the nightclub, Michael was killed when John Alpha activated a large bomb beneath the building. Alpha also died in the explosion.
As the battered rescue team traveled back to Virginia … and as the clones at the 7th Son facility mourned Michael’s death … Hugh Sheridan revealed to John one final, critical piece of 7th Son history. It involved the dangerous brain-erasing NEPTH-charge technology. It had connections to the Department of Defense. It explained why John Alpha kidnapped Dania Sheridan two weeks ago.
It was a mysterious technology called Psyjack.