Their mission is simple: Find a cure. Stop the virus. Save the world. When a global pandemic wipes out eighty percent of the planet's population, the crew of a lone naval destroyer must find a way to pull humanity from the brink of extinction." --TNT website for The Last Ship, which is based on a novel by William Brinkley.
For this week's Friday Five, here are five things Pandemic and The Last Ship TV series have in common.
In The Last Ship, the main threat (other than the deadly virus itself), is the Russians, who are desperate for a cure and willing to steal to get it. With countries around the world decimated by the disease, there is a general sense of anarchy. In Pandemic, there is also the threat of the disease. The bad guys in this instance are the looters who go from house to house in the main character's neighborhood. With the police busy with riots and the rising death-toll, there is a similar sense of lawlessness but in a suburban setting.
The contagious disease in both The Last Ship and Pandemic is a deadly bird flu. The scientist on The Last Ship spends time in the Artic, looking for the "primordial strain," which is found in a specific type of bird, Artic Tern. The exact source of the bird flu in Pandemic is an unspecified water fowl that migrates up the East coast of the US. Coincidentally, I had already chosen an artic tern photo as an image for my Media page (more because of its squawking pose than a direct tie to my story.)
Dire circumstances might not necessarily seem conducive to romance, but when facing mortality. . . well, things happen. On the naval ship, there is the romantic subplot between Lt. Danny Green and Lt. Kara Foster, complicated by their enlisted status. In Pandemic, sixteen-year-old Lilianna Snyder is recovering from a traumatic incident and has difficulty trusting people. Her relationship with a neighborhood teen may help her both survive and heal.
An underlying subplot in both the show and my book is the concern for other family members and hope for their survival during a crazy, uncertain time. Various characters during multiple episodes worry for their families. Will they ever be reunited? Lilianna, after being separated early in the pandemic from both her parents, also fears for their safety when communication between them stops.
In the most recent episode of the show ("Lockdown") one of the main themes was the balance of fear and hope. The Captain tries to manage the morale of the crew by withholding information which ultimately backfires. How is information disseminated during a disaster? Fear (and panic) can certainly play a large role. In Pandemic, Lil and other surviving neighbors must consciously decide whether or not to help other people in the community and what risks they are willing to take.