Describe Mark and Trina's relationship. How did it come about? How does it influence the overall course of the story?
Mark and Trina were childhood neighbors with each other, and Mark has had a crush on Trina for a long time. However, they did not become romantically involved until after they had to band together with Alec and Lana and the others, all after the sun flares happened. Mark sometimes feels that he and Trina are only romantically involved, and that Trina is only now with him, because everyone else in their lives - in her life especially - has died from the sun flares. Despite this, their romantic feelings and friendship ties are genuine. They give each other hope. In desperate and dangerous situations, Mark thinks first of Trina. Trina is the most important figure in his life now, and the thought of protecting her and being with her gives him the energy to go on.
What is the function of Madison in the story?
Madison, Mark's younger sister, never appears in the story, but Mark thinks about her sometimes. He also compares Deedee to her, as Deedee reminds him of his younger sister. Madison died in the sun flares along with the rest of Mark's family. Madison serves as a way for Mark to identify with Deedee. Madison is a symbol of the innocence that was robbed from Mark - and from the world - when the sun flares struck. The memories of Madison and his family spur Mark on to get Deedee to a better place than where they are - to a place with hope.
What sort of relationship do Alec and Mark have, and how does it influence the course of the story?
Alec and Mark have a very interesting relationship that moves and develops fluidly. Their relationship is one of mentor and protege, older and younger brother, father and son, and even equal partners. Alec is much older than Mark, and saves him many times. Alec is the reason why Mark and Trina are able to survive even just getting out of the subtrans tunnels when the sun flares hit. However, as the story develops, under Alec's guidance, Mark grows a lot in his abilities and bravery. Mark saves Alec, too, many times. Their partnership, their staunch bravery, and embrace of a certain ideal of "masculine courage," move the story forward. The two men are the pursuers of their friends who have been captured (all of whom happen to be women.) Their collaborative relationship, while occasionally tense, only has survival and love as its concerns, and so drives them forward to save their friends.
What is the significance of the title, and the significance of those same words in the story?
'The Kill Order' is not only the name of the book, but it is also the name of the folder that Mark discovers, which contains all of the government's confidential files about the Flare. 'The Kill Order' refers to the Chancellor and McVoy's sanctioning of an unethical population control method. These words have a very stark and commanding tone, and also carry with it the sounds of statutes and government decrees. The name of the folder moves Mark to rage and sadness because of how simple it sounds, as though it does not even recognize all of the havoc and pain that such a simple political action could cause. The name of this decree is very clean and unfeeling, even as it wipes out many and drives insane many, many more.
Why is it so important that the story is from Mark's perspective?
The point of view is third-person, but it follows Mark's thoughts and actions closely. Often, Mark's thoughts are revealed to the reader through the narrator. This provides a situation in which the author and the narrator are inside the head of someone who is slowly going insane. It is important that the story is from Mark's perspective because he has memories of how the earth was before and during the sun flares, and yet he is also someone who is still young and still experiencing new things. On top of all of this, it is very interesting to receive perspective on the Flare from someone who has it, and is slowly progressing through it.
Why is the source of the Flare so important to the overall narrative?
The Flare virus is not simply a released or escaped disease that happened when the chaos of the sun flares struck: Mark and his friends discover that the government purposefully released it as a means of population control. This, along with Mark's response to it, is absolutely essential to the story. It shows the unpredictability of consequences, even given controlled human behavior. The government thought they knew what they were doing, but the virus mutated and spread insanity everywhere. Mark reacts violently to the news, angry and sad, demonstrating the very symptoms of the Flare. However, Mark, and other characters who still have love and kindness in their hearts, are able to control their behavior long enough to do some good as well.
How are Mark's flashbacks important to understanding the main characters?
Mark's flashbacks are recollections of what has happened to him and his friends. These flashbacks are not only essential to understanding the universe and history of the fictional futuristic world, but they also showcase the ways each character has developed. They show how each character has become the character they are in the present tense of the book. The scars of the past never really go away. That in itself is the very reason why Mark continues to dream every time he falls asleep. He is even told by Trina that he needs to let go of the past, but sometimes it is the past that does not let go of the person. Mark continues to reference what he has been through, and this enables him to be stronger in the face of danger, even as these memories haunt him.
Why is Lana's death and the way she dies so significant?
Lana's death is extremely violent, and she is the first one of Mark's friends to die at the hands of those who are clearly infected with the Flare. It is a demonstration of how low humans can sink in such a decrepit world. It is Alec who actually kills her via Transvice. This death is one of the many of "mercy killings" that take place in the story, where friends kill each other to end their loved ones' sufferings. Alec puts Lana out of her misery. Her death signifies that sometimes not even friendships and relationships can survive in the face of raw, human, necessary survival.
How does Deedee shape the trajectory of the story?
At first, Deedee seems like just a random chance encounter, but soon her immunity and special situation in the midst of the Flare come to play an important role in the main characters' lives. They know that they need to save Deedee. They realize that sending her to a better place where she can also be useful would be the best choice. Deedee is a small child, a status that in itself already symbolizes hope. Therefore, her departure through the Flat Trans signifies a new beginning. At the end of the story, helping Deedee has become the most important mission in Mark's life. Mark and his friends know that Deedee still has hope, while the rest of them are about to die anyways.
How does Mark find the strength to keep going on his journey, and how does he come to terms with his infection with the Flare?
Mark's motivation to continue pressing forward and surviving comes from his love for his friends, and his love for Trina in particular. He has no more family left, so his friends are his family. He knows he has to survive for them, and survive to care for them and protect them. When he realizes that he, too, is finally starting to show and feel the effects of the Flare, he responds rather calmly. It drives a haunting feeling for him, but Mark allows himself to find a purpose in his life - finding his friends, and then getting Deedee to the Flat Trans - and then calmly uses this purpose to move himself forward. This showcases Mark's true courageous character. Furthermore, Mark finds an outlet for his Flare symptoms, using the rage and the violence to defend his friends from those who want to hurt them.