In the world of families, there are siblings who love and take care of one another. There are sibling rivalries and on occasion, out right wars. Some relationships start one way and end another, often even swinging from one extreme to the other before it’s all said and done.
In exploring the characters of Not Her Father’s Son, we’ve talked about Alex, Jack, the Colonel (Jimbo), Rafe, Elaine, and Katherine. Two characters remain. I’m going to leave the doctor for last for no reason then I feel like it.
Lyle James Secaku is a minor character who plays a major pivotal role. He is reffered to throughout the story, but only shows in a few chapters near the apex. In truth he is the reason for the story, the entire plot revolves around him, so exploring what makes him who he is seems important.
As a kid everyone called him Lyle, referred to as the colonel’s son and often compared to his fraternal twin while wondering around the various military bases his father was stationed at. After graduating high school as valedictorian, he joined the military because its what the colonel expected, but nearing the end of his first commission, he was recruited to ATF. The move from beneath the colonel’s steel wing is an emancipation and James, no longer calling himself Lyle, feels as if he’s finally able to be his own man.
But who is James. He’s the kind of guy you want to partner with. The guy you want covering your back because you know he’ll stick. The guy you know will take the time to cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s in the report. It was beat into him as a kid, details matter, as does winning, and though the eagle no longer looms, this is one habit he continues to carry.
But what would you find if you looked in his condo? Besides days old fast food wrappers in the trash? In the fridge a six pack of Yoohoo’s and maybe a beer or two. You’d find socks on the floor by his lazy boy chair that faces the thirty two inch plasma screen television hooked up to every sports channel offered to man kind. His Xbox is permanently connected to the Black Ops multi player gaming site. Plugged into the wall near the lazy boy is a supply of rechargeable AA batteries for his controllers. Several computers sit around the space connected by wireless router and more than a few books on networking, and computer languages. James doesn’t see himself as a loner or a geek, he has a girlfriend who keeps a toothbrush in his bathroom. There’s also an occasional stop at a bar with co-workers and an on-line group of friends who have similar interest. He’s an average guy trying to make a difference in the world in which he revolves.
Happy and content in what he’s got, James is unaware that the colonel continues to manipulate his life with a tug on political strings.
His first inclination that things were never in his control is an unexpected undercover assignment. They need a computer networking man and James isn’t surprised they choose him, but the operation had been going on for some time and the initial contact with the perp made by another agency’s man. Certain particulars are kept from him and it’s not until he’s face to face with his twin, does he fully understand the implications and vicarious nature of the operation. It’s another competition set by the colonel.
During his childhood, James’ mother spent years in and out of psychiatric hospitals being treated for Schizophrenia. It’s a family curse. One he’s convinced himself he’ll never suffer, but the operation takes a turn for the worse; one minute he’s arguing with his sister, the next he’s watching himself as if he were a stranger.
So who is James now? In many ways James is dead taken over by the personality of the man he kills in response to a situation he can’t handle. There are times when he is himself, moments of lucidity, but those are fleeting as the other personality takes more and more control. He is driven and stringent in his need to instill a justice he knows the law never will or can. With the wealth and resources of his victim at his disposal, a keen knowledge of computers and the government network, he turns what was a profitable criminal organization into one of vigilante justice. Going from guns for profit to mercenary in an attempt to make atonement for an egregious offense he feels fully guilty of.
Sleeping is a luxury he feels he doesn’t deserve or more, he’s afraid to sleep, never sure where he’ll be when he wakes or what atrocities he will have committed. One day finding himself covered in blood in another country unsure of how he arrived. The next lying naked in the arms of a woman he can’t remember. He is focused on minimalistic avenues of attention, forming plans and executions with the precision of a carnivore. One minute manic in his desire for revenge, the next, a little boy who finds himself once again inside a closet with his hands firmly covering his ears. Unsure of which reality is truth and knowing only that moving forward keeps the demons in their cages, for now.
What James wants most, is his life and his sanity back.