1. jccfuture
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    jccfuture Member

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    Help with a charachter death.

    Discussion in 'Research' started by jccfuture, May 25, 2013.

    I have a character that needs to die (it is the climax of the story so it needs to be a really big death). He is trying to destroy some data, on a usb stick or something similar, but accidentally kills himself at the same time (the irony is that HE is the data and doesn’t realise) so my question is; what method of destroying data can go wrong and end up killing a man?
     
  2. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    I am confused. You say he is the data. Then won't he die when the stick is destroyed regardless of the way it is destroyed? And if not, wouldn't he just smash it to pieces and be done with it?

    You either need to give us something more to work with or you need to think more about what you are thinking about.
     
  3. jccfuture
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    jccfuture Member

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    He saw something but he does not know that what he saw is important, we know it is but he doesn't. He believes the information on the disk/stick is dangerous and wants to destroy it. He holds the information in his memory and this is the way in which he is the data so no, he wouldn't necessarily die if the stick is destroyed.

    The stick is one that is reasonably hard to destroy, something strong and secure. He doesn't want someone with a tech lab to be able to retrieve the data. If this is or is not possible is not the point, he believes he it is and this is what drives his actions. He could smash it with a hammer, but that would be hard to spin out into something fatal. I was hoping people could help me with something more dramatic.
     
  4. jccfuture
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    jccfuture Member

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    I did think of dousing it in petrol and setting fire to it, which could easily turn fatal. He believes he is being followed and does not have much time. He also has no resources. Just a man on a street who needs to destroy a small, hard object.
     
  5. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have trouble thinking of a method to destroy the USB that would also destroy him, and not feel contrived. Maybe he needs to hide the data rather than destroy it, or get somewhere to look at it to make sure it's the right thing? In that case, he could be hurrying and have a car accident.
     
  6. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    The act of destroying the usb itself need not necessarily be the cause of his death. The environment, setting and the situation of the scene could also play a role. Is he being chased? Is he in hurry? Is he in a semi-lid room? Is he in a building under construction? and so on. In which case he could easily slip and fall.

    Not necessary for a "big death" either, specially if you are going for irony. The impact of his death on the plot should be the big thing.

    Edit: Just an afterthought, may not be useful to you at all, but he could be killed by some other char who is also after the usb and also have the wrong idea that the usb contains the data.
     
  7. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    There are many ways he could die trying to destroy the USB stick, but none of them seems plausible. If he is being chased even more so.
    Wouldn't someone in a hurry just smash the USB to pieces rather than go around looking for gasoline and fire or something like that?
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    what about nuking it in a microwave oven?... that can have him writhing and so on, as the chip is bombarded with microwaves...
     
  9. zaphod
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    zaphod Member

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    Maybe I am confused about the scenario, but...

    Don't places with a lot of electronics, like a data center or power transformer room, have fire suppression systems that use gas or foam instead of water?

    By it's nature this fire extinguishing gas is suffocating(depriving the fire of air is it's job) and very dangerous if you were trapped in the room when it went off. If a factory floor has a foam system you really don't want to be in there either.

    http://cubiclebot.com/pictures/air-force-hangar-becomes-foam-flooded-wonder-world-image/

    Maybe your character was cornered by security guards and somehow locked or trapped in a room or confined space, and by "hacking into the system" triggered the fire suppression system? Maybe he had primed the fire alarm earlier to distract the guards?
     
  10. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    The MC gets chased on to a roof; held at gun point by his assailant. He threatens to throw the disk into the river, or onto the streets below, or into the fires of Mt Doom. As he is standing on the ledge, holding the disk over the edge, a pigeon scares him and he falls to his death destroying with him the data. The disk is not destroyed and the assailant recovers it from the ledge. The information on the disk contains a file on the MC and a contract for his life.
     
  11. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    Most top of the line server rooms have CO2 fire suppression systems which are the most efficient both performance-wise and cost-wise. They use CO2 to replace oxygen in the room asphyxiating the fire. Other than that and depending on the specifications there are other methods used as well like Argon/Nitrogen gas systems that use gas to displace the oxygen or synthetic chemical systems that use chemicals like NOVEC1230 to remove an element of the combustion triangle(oxygen, heat, fuel).
    Fire extinguishing gasses are usually not suffocating contrary to popular belief and neither are the chemical agents used. Only systems like CO2 that remove the oxygen from the room are lethal and even them act fast enough for the average person to survive an average fire.
    I work as a security consultant for a company that designs and installs complete safety solutions (usually for data centers) and I find that there are many people who carry misconceptions created by movies or the media.
     
  12. jccfuture
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    jccfuture Member

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    Thanks everyone, there is a lot here to think about and some great advice.

    I really like the image you linked to Zaphod!

    The idea that the scenario the character gets into whilst trying to get rid of the data being the cause of his death, rather than the actual data destruction, is going to be the way I go. I do like the imagery of the foam or gas filled data facility, accidents could happen in a locked down foamy room, or one in which the air is being sucked out. It makes for a good chaotic scenario in which a few of the other things people have suggested could happen. As a lot of the story is about data, I think locating it in a facility that deals with it would be really appropriate.
     
  13. zaphod
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    zaphod Member

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    Good to know.

    I hate to be spreading incorrect facts. The gas thing is something I "learned" from an (older) firefighter, sounds like the misconception exists for them too....
     
  14. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    What if the SD card or USB stick is a replica or mirror image of his own brain and they work together like back ups to each other. Then one day getting chased by whoever he runs off the street blindly into a restaurant, kicks open the kitchen door, sees the back door is crammed full of boxes, he's trapped, throws the external memory into a waste disposal system and his own brain gets churned up inside his skull causing the old grey matter to spew from every cranial orifice before his head finally explodes.
     
  15. Huck
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    Huck Member

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    So he wants it destroyed so even someone like the FBI couldnt recover the data, but you havn't said where he is that the time or if he is in a rush to do it.

    I like the idea above of starting a fire which causes a fire suppression system to suffocate him, but if he was just at home I guess he would just smash it up by hand then try burn/melt it with heat, so he may leave the gas stove turned on which suffocates him, but that boring also.

    If he wanted to be more secretive he might put it in acid or create acid by mixing different things - the fumes could kill him in his sleep.

    Maybe its a high end USB not made of plastic, to destroy the chip he must get it open - using power tools could be a more interesting death - a cutting disc on a grinder could explode & lodge in his throat.

    Maybe he's at a service station, getting petrol in his car to go somewhere & destroy it since everything else failed & the cutting disc in his neck didnt kill him.. the servo gets robbed & he is shot in the process lol or he is simply run over as the robber escapes...

    Ok i'm done lol
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The memory stick could be booby-trapped to detonate if read without entering a deactivation code within x seconds of connecting it.
     
  17. AgonyDrum
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    AgonyDrum Member

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    In the military we had protocols for destroying sensitive information where there is a thermite grenade kept in the vault so if someone breaches we drop it into the safe with the harddrives and it melts them into oblivion, thermite could definitely kill someone its basically lava and the grenades are violent things.

    Or you could get a bit more theatrical about it and try to destroy the thing using a fission reactor, in reality the idea is absurd but for a book it could work, fission reactors basically create miniature stars, ie; nuclear fission which is considerably more powerful than the fusion in atomic bombs and are not readily available although some labs have successfully achieved small scale fission the past, throwing a hard drive in there will definitely destroy the thing and the act of doing so could from a fictional perspective destabilize it and result in an out of control chain reaction which would result in a large explosion
     
  18. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    I have a couple of thoughts first the MC destroys the USB Drive by throwing it into a gas oven with a handgrenade and in the process he also dies in the explosion.
     
  19. Wyr
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    Wyr Active Member

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    If he was desperate to hide it, maybe because he was being followed/chased or at least thinks that he is, you could always write him trying to swallow it like they do in the movies and ending up choking on it. :p
     
  20. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    Have him give to a viscous dog that chews both of them up.
     

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