@@ Daemon@@

@@ A computer program that runs continuously in the@@
@@ background and performs specified operations at@@
@@ predefined times or in response to certain events.@@

Matthew Sobol is the young, genius programmer head of [=CyberStorm=], one of the world's most successful computer gaming companies. At least until he dies from cancer. However, before dying, he spent a good portion of his prodigious talent and vast fortune designing and building custom hardware and writing a collection of sophisticated computer programs that have been left sitting passive on machines scatted around the Internet. Passive, that is, until one of them reads Sobol's obituary. This program sends triggers to other systems which activate a number of other distributed processes; the Daemon awakes.

Among its first actions are to kill two of Sobol's coworkers. When they try to forcibly enter his mansion after connecting Sobol with the aforementioned murders, a number of police and FBI agents are maimed or killed by an impressive set of boobytraps, including an autonomous, murderous Humvee that is nearly impervious to everything they can throw at it. The Daemon then frames its actions on a handful of people to cast doubt on its very existence and withdraws from the public eye. It quietly offers certain people in key positions fame and success if they make a deal with the devil, or more accurately, the Daemon. Then, ominously, it goes silent. When it resurfaces, things go downhill. Fast.

This 2009 book is unusual for the standard technothriller in that Daniel Suarez is OneOfUs. It becomes clear from the very beginning of the book that he is ''very'' familiar with computer systems, networking and security. (He is, in fact, a successful systems & networking security consultant.) It starts off a little jargon-heavy -- clearly to set up the book as tech-heavy for the uninitiated, and to indicate to those of us on the inside that ''[[ShownTheirWork he actually knows this stuff]].'' He never skimps on the explanations for those who don't already know these things, while not going overboard for those of us who do.

The 2010 sequel, ''Freedom™'' (yes, the trademark symbol is part of the title), picks up shortly after where ''Daemon'' leaves off and focuses further on the motives and goals of the Daemon's actions. Through the main viewpoint character, whose identity is a LateArrivalSpoiler for the previous book, we learn that the Daemon has moved beyond merely attacking the old system to building a new one and making itself more appealing to the masses, who it needs in order to truly upset the status quo. We also get multiple looks through the viewpoints of the powerful parties both corporate and governmental who oppose it for their own reasons and are slowly but surely putting together plans to get rid of it for good. A storm is coming, and only one of the sides will be walking away after it erupts.

You thought spammers were bad? ''Pray'' you never face the Daemon.

Because of the number of plot twists and the way many tropes are stretched in various directions throughout the story, while many things are hidden below, you might still encounter spoilers. '''You have been warned.'''

There is a [[{{Characters/Daemon}} character sheet]] that needs a lot more love. See also ''Literature/KillDecision'', his next book.

[[IThoughtItMeant Not to be confused]] with [[Anime/DigimonAdventure02 Dae]][[Manga/DigimonVTamer01 mon]], [[Literature/HisDarkMaterials Daemons]] or the MailerDaemon trope.


!! @@TVTROPES:/Daniel Suarez/Daemon/Tropes$ cat tropes.txt_@@

* AdventureFriendlyWorld: Daemon's darknet starts out as one, with "Logistics Defense sorcerers" like Loki having the time of their lives infiltrating {{Predatory Business}}es, clashing with {{Private Military Contractor}}s, and [[spoiler:killing spammers.]] However, as the story moves into ''Freedom™'', over time those threats are all but eliminated, shifting the darknet's focus from eliminating threats to streamlining the PlayerGeneratedEconomy, leaving them with little to do and way too much power to do it with. Luckily, Sobol anticipated this, and designed the darknet to adapt to its citizens' wishes. In this case, [[spoiler:a player-generated avatar of Roy "Tripwire" Merrit which depowers Loki when he goes too far.]]
* AIIsACrapshoot: Explicitly subverted. The Daemon is in no way an AI, nor is it ever claimed to be one. Experts repeatedly have to correct people who do refer to it as an "AI" by explaining that at best it is a distributed network of expert systems with a predefined set of actions, and in no way intelligent. Although its actions can be construed as evil, the Daemon itself is just a program and no more evil than a spreadsheet or word processor. However, it is very, ''very'' sophisticated and comprehensive.
* [[spoiler:ANaziByAnyOtherName]]: During the final stages of Daemon's takeover, the "Operation Exorcist" anti-Daemon taskforce [[spoiler:makes an AlphaStrike on a major North American darknet community. Their objectives(stated in order of rising importance); destroy all vehicles, destroy all computer equipment, and ''execute every man, woman and child.'' Pre-Daemon, that last one would be called an '''ethnic cleansing.''']]
-->'''The Major''': [[spoiler:''Rules of Engagement for darknet communities are as follows: kill everyone you find, burn every structure, and destroy every vehicle. Without exception. The knowledge and equipment that makes these communities work must be eradicated. '''[[{{Unperson}} The cultural memory that they ever existed must be erased.]]''' Is that understood?'']]
* AnOfferYouCantRefuse: A favored tactic of the Daemon in recruiting its agents. As an example, when it springs Charles Mozely from prison by cleaning his record, it warns him when he starts getting cold feet that it could easily put him back. Say, as a child molester.
* AugmentedReality: Members of the Daemon's "darknet" use CoolShades as a HeadsUpDisplay and haptic gloves. The shades are keyed to their retinas, and the gloves to their fingerprints. These turn RealLife into an [[AbsurdlyHighStakesGame Absurdly High Stakes]] [[MassivelyMultiplayerOnlineRolePlayingGame Massively Multiplayer]] AlternateRealityGame, initially in a figurative sense and eventually ''[[TheGameComeToLife literally]]'' - by carrying out "quests" to increase the Daemon's influence on the world, operatives are awarded with "{{Character Level}}s" that grant them access to increasingly powerful devices and abilities such as remote controlled weapons like [=AutoM8s=] and Razorbacks, ShockAndAwe gloves and {{Invisibility}}(at least to cameras) rings, "curses" that ruin people's credit ratings, etc. As "quests" are completed, the devices and abilities the Daemon awards become more numerous and powerful. [[spoiler:Eventually, the darknet becomes an entire ''civilization'' that is InvisibleToNormals - one superior to the current one.]]
* {{BFG}}: Nothing less than 50-cal will damage a Razorback or the first [=AutoM8=].
* BatmanGambit [[GambitRoulette Roulette]]: Matthew Sobol programmed the Daemon to anticipate every circumstance he could think of and take advantage of it. However you can only anticipate so much before you have to guess. Of course, the [[JustifiedTrope essential component]] of a Batman Gambit is [[HumansAreBastards Bastard Humans]] [[ShapedLikeItself acting like Bastards]] = people who ''don't'' act like Bastards trigger positive Daemon events instead of negative ones. And Sobol, as a game [[DevelopersForesight developer]], had been technically running Gambit Roulettes for a living for ''his entire adult life''.
** Rule #1: Matthew Sobol is SMARTER THAN YOU.
** Rule #2: No plan, no matter how well thought out, no matter how well made, no matter how many variables have been taken into account, survives first contact with the enemy.
** Rule #3: [[FinaglesLaw Murphy's/Finagle's Law]] - Anything that can go wrong will.
** Rule #4: [[http://www.murphys-laws.com/murphy/murphy-technology.html Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable.]]
** Rule #5: [[http://www.murphys-laws.com/murphy/murphy-computer.html Debugging is at least twice as hard as writing the program in the first place. If your code is as clever as you can possibly make it, then by definition you're not smart enough to debug it.]]
** Rule #6: Sometimes a GambitRoulette works.
** As pointed out in ''Daemon'', Sobol's game AI's true strength isn't anticipation, it's manipulation - and this is reflected in both Sobol's plans and the Daemon's tasks.
*** This is first [[JustForPun daemonstrated]] in the FBI's early siege of Sobol's mansion: while the preparations for an assault are rather crude, the actual goal is manipulation of attention. Sobol is very aware of his limitations and as such, an integral part of the Daemon's lifetime cycle is the recruitment of human agents which can adapt to the details of a situation while the Daemon sets broader goals and handles automated tasks.
*** In ''Freedom™'', the active part of Sobol's masterplan is [[spoiler:luring his enemies into revealing themselves through a faked backdoor into his Daemon.]]
* BlackAndGrayMorality: [[spoiler: As the story progresses, you learn that the Daemon is by far the least evil faction at work. Especially in the sequel. After all, the Daemon only murdered less than a dozen people at its inception and went on to improve the lives of billions, while by the climax of ''Freedom™'' the anti-Daemon forces have re-created Nazi Germany in all but name.]]
* BoringInvincibleHero: Total surveillance capabilities. Penetration of all corporate, government and personal databases. Ultra-tech autonomous vehicles and an army of networked minions with superhuman abilities. After a while you have to admit that it is somewhat ridiculous. Let the Daemon itself explain this, it will certainly be unbiased *sarcasm*.
-->@@$ cat spannerintheworks.txt_@@
-->[[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt There are many potential biological, geological and astrophysical events]] ([[ThePlague a theoretical Level 4+ pathogen such as an airborne, multispecies variant of Ebola or Marburg virus]], [[ChekhovsVolcano activation of the Yellowstone supervolcano]], [[ColonyDrop a "dinosaur killer" asteroid or comet (>= 5 km) found on an Earth-impacting trajectory with less than 30 days lead time]], etc.) that are not addressable with current or near-term future technology and would render Daemon unexecutable. These are all low probability events. [[GoodOldWays Discontinuation by humanity of any data technology]] with more capacity than the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabulating_machine Hollereith Tabulator]] would also render Daemon unexecutable. [[HumansAreFlawed This is a VERY low probability event.]] Analysis indicates that a comprehensive campaign of [[KillEmAll removal of all human agents from the network]] as effective strategy, but highly risky, in terms of [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking resources, logistics and public relations.]] [[BringIt Nevertheless, Daemon is not invincible]], and certainly not boring.
* [[spoiler:BorrowedBiometricBypass]]: A favored technique of the anti-Daemon forces in general, and the Major in particular; he regularly [[spoiler:"rescues" teenage girls from brothels so that he can get them darknet accounts and then behead them to steal their darknet identities, keeping their heads chemically alive to spoof the biometrics. He actually has Loki's [[AndIMustScream eyes torn out and his fingertips and tongue chopped off]], but needs to keep him alive to pass the [=fMRI=] scans... and all of this is is insufficient to fool the Oberstleutnant Boerner bot, who not only rescues him and has him fitted with cybernetics, but kills the Major when he attempts to assume Loki's identity with the borrowed biometrics.]]
--> '''Oberstleutnant Boerner''': I do so ''love'' my verk![[labelnote:explanation]]This line is said as Razorbacks begin to slowly take the Major apart.[[/labelnote]]
* ChekhovsBoomerang: The Oberstleutnant Boerner bot, purpose seemingly accomplished in ''Daemon'', returns in ''Freedom™''.
* TheChessmaster: Sobol is a unique case since he's ''dead'' for the entirety of both novels.
* [[ChooseYourOwnAdventure Choose Your Own Death]]: If you want to make a deal with the Daemon, it will test you. You have no idea what answers will lead to fame and fortune and which will lead to a quick, emotionless death. If you are in doubt, do nothing, and it will kill you anyway.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: Several, intentional or otherwise. One of the Daemon's ploys is to [[spoiler: completely infiltrate a company's [=IT=] department and then demand cooperation or face destruction of all their corporate data.]]
** In the sequel it becomes clear that [[spoiler: PrivateMilitaryContractors involved at the highest levels of government are taking every advantage they can of the worldwide economic chaos caused by the continued progression of Sobol's goals to gain private power for themselves and make a quick buck at the expense of the American public.]]
* [[DealWithTheDevil Deal With The Daemon]]: Fame and fortune, or quick death. Your choice. The Daemon may also ''choose you'' -- with the same rules.
* DecoyProtagonist: Oh, sorry, were you thinking this detective story would have the obvious hard-bitten DefectiveDetective (who knows very little about computers, yet the Daemon seems to be intently interested in) running the case? [[spoiler: [[SubvertedTrope Actually, yes, he comes back and does end up a major character.]]]]
* DefectiveDetective: Sebeck is cheating on his wife, [[ShotgunWedding whom he felt obligated to marry because he got her pregnant.]] His son is none too happy with him. And he's got an appetite for danger that borders on self-destructive. Then his mistress turns out not to be what she seems...
* DeathByOriginStory: The second type applies to both Matthew Sobol and, later, [[spoiler:Pete Sebeck. Except that the latter gets better]].
* DeathByPragmatism: [[spoiler:The Major, and by proxy the entire anti-Daemon movement. [[KickTheMoralityPet Shooting Merritt]] to [[KilledToUpholdTheMasquerade Uphold the Masquerade]] hurts him in numerous ways that lead to the end of pre-Daemon civilization; obviously it costs him a skilled and determined operative, but not only does it also lead to the {{Heel Face Turn}}s of first Ross and ultimately Phillips, and martyr Merrit in the eyes of the darknet, but it pisses off Loki so badly that he vows to kill the Major at any cost. In short, the entire plot of ''Freedom™'' occurs because he decided preserving the Masquerade was more important than capturing a OneManArmy so deranged even the darknet eventually censures him.]]
* {{Determinator}}: FBI Agent Roy "Tripwire" Merritt, of the hostage retrieval team that tries to get in Sobol's booby-trapped mansion is ''set on fire'' and ''still'' manages to breach the interior of the mansion. His run becomes the stuff of legend, the video passed around the darknet as recruitment material, members of which christen him "The Burning Man" as a measure of respect. [[spoiler: And he ''survives'', somehow, to later pursue Gragg/Loki and the [=AutoM8s=] in an epic chase through the streets of San Francisco.]]
* DevelopersForesight: Above all else, the Daemon is just an ''[[MassivelyMultiplayerOnlineRolePlayingGame online video game]]'' - just one with [[TheGameComeToLife real-life]] [[AbsurdlyHighStakesGame consequences]] - and Sobol is just the developer. As it doesn't begin until [[MyDeathIsJustTheBeginning after he dies]], there's no way to make him turn it off, and he had to anticipate every action his enemy could possibly take without patching it. Thus, the entire plot is the establishment trying to [[GameBreaker break the game]] before it breaks '''them.''' [[spoiler:They fail]].
* DisproportionateRetribution:
** In ''Freedom™'', Loki ruins a queue-cutter's credit rating.
** The Daemon arranges for darknet operatives to carry out vigilante executions on the people responsible for ''email spam.''
* [[spoiler:DystopiaJustifiesTheMeans]]: The Major and by extension all the anti-Daemon forces. The Major actually tells [[spoiler: Peter Sebeck, JustBetweenYouAndMe, exactly how he believes modern civilization needs direction and control.]]
-->'''The Major''': [[spoiler:''[[NecessarilyEvil ‘Bastards like me’ serve a purpose.]] People need order, Sergeant. [[TheEvilsOfFreeWill They need to be told what to think, what to do, what to believe, or everything will fall apart.]] This miracle of modern civilization doesn’t just happen. [[DystopiaIsHard It requires careful management by professionals willing to do whatever is necessary to keep things running smoothly...]]'']]
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: The Major.
* EvilGenius: Matthew Sobol.
* TheExtremistWasRight: [[spoiler:In the end it appears that Sobol's new society not only reaches the point of self-sustaining growth, but proves itself superior to what preceded it by censuring Loki where the old world continued to empower the Major.]]
* EyeScream: The Major [[spoiler:has Loki's eyes torn out - along with having his fingertips and tongue chopped off as part of an attempt to [[BorrowedBiometricBypass steal his biometrics]] and assume his high-profile darknet identity.]]
* FlechetteStorm: One of the most potent weapons in the Daemon's arsenal are "Angel Teeth"; balloon-dropped smart flechettes [[ImprobableAimingSkills precise enough]] to ''[[SplittingTheArrow hit previously launched ones]]''. And are usually dropped in packs of a hundred; dozens of Daemon operatives show up at [[spoiler:Merrit's funeral]], only for PrivateMilitaryContractors to fire into the crowds to kill them - and for every PMC present to [[CurbStompBattle die from a single drop]].
* FormerRegimePersonnel: One small part of ''Freedom™'' gives us the viewpoint of a mercenary who used to serve in the regime of Romanian Communist leader Nicolae Ceaușescu.
* TheGameComeToLife: [[spoiler:The entire plot.]] Early on, the autonomous Hummer is believed to have been programed with videogame-style logic and [=CyberStorm's=] games are used to recruit talent for Sobol's cause. Once recruited, operatives use AugmentedReality glasses to carry out "quests" in the style of a {{MMORPG}}; agents gain levels and earn "network credits" for completing tasks such as building tools and weapons, infiltrating and suborning governments and corporations, recruiting and training new operatives. As the Daemon network becomes more sophisticated and populated by warm bodies, [[spoiler:the combat and infiltration operations become less important(which annoys Loki to no end) and focus shifts to building a new ''civilization'' based on sustainable communities and acceptance of technological and social change. This was Sobol's plan all along; comparing the shortcomings of modern society to the strong, stable {{Player Generated Econom|y}}ies of [=CyberStorm's=] virtual worlds inspired him to use his decades of development experience to create a Player Generated ''Civilization''.]]
* GreenAesop: [[spoiler:The Daemon guides its operatives into building sustainable communities based on local manufacture and renewable energy, while striking at Big Business and its long supply chains.]]
* HiddenElfVillage: [[spoiler:Sebeck visits a modern version as a part of his quest. This one is located in the desert of New Mexico on tribal lands, where they are building a massive complex out of an impact crater to generate energy and water perpetually. The project is so efficient, it is actually carbon-negative!]]
* HiddenInPlainSight: One of Sobol's (and thus, the Daemon's) favorite tricks is encoding messages into video game scenes. Individually, the assets in a scene [[PropRecycling could be loaded thousands of times in numerous different contexts,]] making them nearly impossible to trace and meaningless if you only look at them one at a time. Only by being in the right place and seeing the whole scene in context, as a player, does the information reveal itself.
* HighClassGlass: The Oberstleutnant Boerner bot wears one.
* IDidWhatIHadToDo: [[spoiler:Sobol consciously chose to become the villain to achieve his goals.]]
* IdiotBall: Despite having the resources of an entire planet to work with, the governments and corporations constantly drag their heels and use narrowminded, outdated thinking to try and tackle the Daemon, which culminates in the climax of the first book, where the headquarters of a top-secret joint task force is infiltrated by a high-ranking Daemon operative, because the people running it OUTSOURCED THE SECURITY BACKGROUND CHECKS TO A DIFFERENT COMPANY.
** The second book reveals that The Major screwed up the anti-Daemon task force even more by secretly planting bugs all over the base to spy on his own colleagues, bugs that Loki subsequently hacked to gain access.
* IfIWantedYouDead: Loki/Gragg tells Dr. Philips this when they first meet in ''Freedom™''.
** Loki/Gragg was also on the receiving end from Boerner in ''Daemon''.
* ImmuneToBullets: Razorbacks and the first [=AutoM8=]. So you need a {{BFG}}.
* ImprobablyHighIQ: Sobol's IQ is 220. Based on statistics, there is a chance of less than one person in 6 billion having this result.
* InvisibilityCloak: a primitive version shows up in ''Freedom™'' worn by darknet operatives.
* {{Jerkass}}: Gragg/Loki. His character is introduced by describing how he orchestrates the gang-date-rape of a teenage girl at a rave so he can put the video on the Internet for money. Right afterwards, [[spoiler: he lets a acquaintance of his take the well-deserved bullets (for Loki anyway) from a pissed off group of drug-runners after Gragg/Loki stiffed them. He mentioned not liking the guy, but still quite the {{Jerkass}} move.]] He doesn't get any better, although... see JerkassWoobie.
* LightningGun: The LIP-C weapon (Laser Induced Plasma Channel) used by Gragg/Loki.
* LookOnMyWorksYeMightyAndDespair: How Sobol sees the modern world;
-->When the survival strategy of a civilization is invalidated, in all of human history none have ever turned back from the brink. When presented with disruptive change, without exception they perish. I expect our own civilization will do likewise. The people behind the modern global economy will prevent any meaningful change until it’s too late.
* LudicrousGibs: What happens to anyone hunted by a Razorback.
* MalevolentArchitecture: Take the dangerous features of your average MMORPG or First Person Shooter and put them in the hands of a crazy-smart game designer. Apply the result to a real building. You have Sobol's [[strike:death trap]] Mansion, where EverythingTryingToKillYou gets serious.
* MoralityKitchenSink: Apart from Merritt, the reader will find his conceptions of who's "good" and who's "evil" near-constantly questioned.
* {{Muggles}}: Everyone who doesn't - or perhaps ''refuses'' to - admit that the Daemon exists.
-->'''Price''': Well, the public doesn’t really decide anything now—they just select from the options they’re given. Factions have a slang term for the general public. They call them [=NPCs=]—as in ‘[[NonPlayerCharacter Non-Player Characters]]’—scripted bots with limited responses.\\
'''Sebeck''': That’s just obnoxious.\\
'''Price''': Is it? These people have only limited decision-making ability.
* MyDeathIsJustTheBeginning: Matthew Sobol's obituary is the trigger to start the Daemon.
** In the sequel, ''Freedom™'', [[spoiler: Merritt's death at the end of ''Daemon'' has turned him into a martyr and folk hero to the people of the darknet. The situation avoids any irony by the fact that based on everything the darknet learns about his life, he truly was a man of honor and integrity. Ultimately, "The Burning Man" project is the key to maintaining equality in the new darknet society.]]
* NGOSuperpower: Implicit. The corporations leading the charge against the Daemon have such power that at one point [[spoiler: they have the NSA director put away on trumped-up charges.]]
* NecessarilyEvil: Sobol. [[spoiler: He firmly believes that UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans and was willing to pay the price for it. In the end, it appears his actions are vindicated by the new society he helped create, although being dead, he'll never know it.]]
** The Major insists that he is the same, but given how [[spoiler:he causes exponentially more terror, pain and death than Sobol(deception, torture, murder, ethnic cleansing) with no positive results whatsoever, he comes off as a self-justifying sadist.]]
* NoPlaceForMeThere: Deconstructed somewhat. Sobol knows he is dying from cancer and will never survive to see whether his goals succeed or whether it will have been worth the price. [[spoiler: In the end we see a recording he made near his death where he agonizes over his decisions and nearly begs Sebeck to tell him whether it was worth it. Made even more tragic since it's only a recording and the real Sobol would never get his answer.]]
* NotSoOmniscientCouncilOfBickering: Played with. Both books regularly cut back to secret meetings of the directors of the major intelligence agencies as they discuss reports of what is going on with the Daemon and how to effectively combat it, with each branch having very different opinions on what to do. Near the end of the first book, corporate interests are included on the talks[[spoiler: at which point things take a turn for the worse over the course of the second book as the corporations begin to exert more and more control over the meetings, resulting in the imprisonment of the head of the NSA]].
* OneSteveLimit: Apparently, there are no other Matthew Sobols in the world for their obituaries to trigger the Daemon. For the Daemon to be able to differentiate between obituaries would almost certainly make it sentient, which it's not.
** How many other Matthew Sobols are there that worked at [=CyberStorm=] and died of brain cancer? Finding the right obituary really wouldn't be very difficult.
** Please note - The keywords used in each search are pointed out (bolded at the start of each chapter). The algorithm used to determine that this was the right one had a lot of ammo.
* OutGambitted: [[spoiler: The villains thought they had Sobol and the Daemon beat. They thought wrong.]]
* PerceptionFilter: the "Ring of Aggys" that rendered Ross invisible to digital cameras.
* PostCyberPunk: Especially in ''Freedom™'', where the Daemon has progressed beyond destructive class warfare and subversion of the old system to guiding the formation of a new society.
* PoweredArmor: Some darknet operatives show up in ''Freedom™'' wearing the primitive [[TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture five-seconds-into-the-future]] "artificial musculature" suits.
* PredatoryBusiness: [[spoiler:The Daemon's primary blackmail target. A major setting in ''Freedom™'' is an agricultural darknet community battling "Halperin Organix", a FictionalCounterpart of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsanto Monsanto]].]]
* PrivateMilitaryContractors: Korr Military Solutions, Inc. is just one of many used to fight the Daemon.
* PropRecycling: Used InUniverse as [[ExploitedTrope an encryption strategy]] by the Daemon. See HiddenInPlainSight above.
* RagnarokProofing: [[spoiler:Ultimately what Sobol and his Daemon are trying to do for the entire PLANET. By distributing civilization into darknet nodes that are self-sustaining and self-sufficient, instead of having a global civilization completely dependent on imports and exports with very little wiggle room, the potential for human civilization to completely collapse decreases significantly. These communities are even establishing archives across the globe to help get humanity back on its feet within a couple generations after a collapse.]]
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: The head of the NSA during the secret meetings with the other heads of the American intelligence services. He seems the most level-headed and calm of them all, and the most committed to combating the Daemon while also minimizing the casualties.[[spoiler: Good lot it does for him when he is arrested by the very corporations he is trying to protect.]]
** By extension, Natalie Phillips[[spoiler:, who by the start of the second book is the only named government authority figure alive,]] also serves this role. As a premiere analyst for the NSA, she is pretty much the only person in the government who even has a hope of fighting Sobol's Daemon.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: Loki uses every one of his considerable assets to track down and ''destroy'' the person responsible for [[spoiler: Merritt's death]]. ''Nothing and nobody'' gets in his way, civilian or not.
** The Daemon sends [[spoiler: heavily-armed strike teams to surgically eliminate spammer groups around the world simultaneously; it considers them parasites on the system and need to be excised, but you can't help but think it's a bit personal on the part of Sobol as well..and the author. Jeez, we all hate spammers but, Lord Almighty, this is just 'Greek Tragedy' levels of downright absurd vitriolic malice.]]
*** This last is noted in the book: [[spoiler:Internet traffic is much lighter and more efficient without zombie [=PCs=] and spam stealing bandwidth, which is to the Daemon's benefit. Also, because, hey spammers suck.]]
--> [[spoiler: ALL SPAMMERS WILL DIE]]
* ScrewThisImOuttaHere: At the end of ''Freedom™'', [[spoiler:Sobol wipes out the finances of the moguls behind TheConspiracy, then points out to their {{Mooks}} that their employers no longer have the money to pay them. The remnants of their mercenary army immediately surrender and the technicians in their control room grab their coats and head for the exits.]]
* SelfDestructMechanism: [[spoiler: Sobol's Mansion]], subverting the normal sequence:
--> "Primary data center penetrated. Commencing self destruct sequence." There was a pause. "And there is no countdown."
--> "[[OhCrap Shit!]]"
* SequelHook: ''Daemon'' ends with [[spoiler:Sebeck and companion setting off on a road trip across America, leading into their part of ''Freedom™''.]]
* ShoutOut: Not an obvious or confirmed case, but you have remote control cars running amok as well as gunfire and explosions at the abandoned Alameda Naval base near San Francisco. [[Series/{{Mythbusters}} Sound familiar?]]
** Gragg/Loki's moniker is [[Literature/TheElricSaga Stormbringer]].
** The Major is a key player in an faction not quite under governmental control. It's a bit of a stretch, but given that this is a cyberpunk work and the author has shown clear knowledge of anime/manga culture, [[Franchise/GhostInTheShell a certain other Major]] comes to mind.
* ShownTheirWork: Daniel Suarez is a successful systems and networking security consultant, and it shows. The few times he varies from actual, implemented technology are for story reasons, and even then he still keeps it within the realm of possibility. See also [[TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture Five Minutes Into The Future]].
* TheSiege: Late in ''Freedom™'' anti-Daemon mercenaries carry out one against a Daemon community.
* SinisterSurveillance: During a meeting of top government [=TLA=]s, one of them orders the UsefulNotes/{{NSA}} to track down the Daemon and everyone associated using Echelon. In a realistic subversion of this trope, the NSA explains that the Daemon is using a sophisticated [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darknet_%28file_sharing%29 darknet]] for all its communications, and anyway, Echelon doesn't really work like that.
** Played straight when it's discovered that [[spoiler: ''the Daemon itself'' has infiltrated most of the accessible surveillance systems worldwide, either directly or through SocialEngineering.]] However it's again played in a reasonably realistic fashion.
* StormingTheCastle: BookEnds. The FBI "attempts" one against Sobol's mansion early in ''Daemon'', which [[TotalPartyKill doesn't go well]]. Near the end of ''Daemon'', [[spoiler:[[SociopathicHero Loki]]]] returns the favor against the headquarters of an anti-Daemon task force [[spoiler:'''[[OneManArmy singlehandedly]]''']]. [[spoiler:Near the end of ''Freedom™'', he '''''[[CurbStompBattle annihilates]]''''' the anti-Daemon forces.]]
* SuperPrototype: The first [=AutoM8=] is an ImmuneToBullets solid-tired Hummer. Later ones use normal cars as a base and aren't so survivable.
* TheTapeKnewYouWouldSayThat: Played with. At several points, people have complete, flowing conversations with tapes Sobol made of himself before he died, but just as often they say something that he couldn't have anticipated and the tape defaults to a message reminding them that he's not ''really'' talking with them.
* TechnicolorEyes: Invoked by Loki/Gragg's special darknet-accessing contacts.
* ThanatosGambit: The event that kicks off the whole plot, of course.
* TortureAlwaysWorks: The Major certainly thinks so...
-->'''The Major''': ''But not at producing information. Torture isn’t '''about''' extracting information.'' (waves wire cutters in [[spoiler:Loki's]] face) ''Torture is about control. You let me torture a thousand people, and I can keep five million [[TheEvilsOfFreeWill working obediently with their heads down]]. The more innocent the victims, the better. And after they’re broken and maimed, you release them so that [[SwordOfDamocles everyone can see]] what awaits [[YouRebelScum those who resist]].''
* TragicVillain: Sobol.
* [[TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture Five Minutes Into The Future]]: Believe it or not, ''all'' of the tech in the story has been demonstrated in some way. Most of it has never gone beyond the prototype stage, or is currently too bulky or impractical. By the time the story takes place, most of it is now at least viable, if not perfected and being mass produced. Given the continued speed of the advance in technology (i.e. Moore's Law), most of this stuff is probably not that far off from actually working. Also probably [[JustifiedTrope justified]] since Sobol spent hundreds of millions of his own fortune on R&D to make it all work.
* UnspokenPlanGuarantee: We don't get to know what Loki/Gragg tells Oberstleutnant Boerner to get what he needs done and it works. Most of the villains' detailed plans don't fare so well.
* UnwittingPawn: [[spoiler: Pete Sebeck]].
* [[spoiler: UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans:]] As the story develops, you discover this is Sobol's plan.
* VideoWills: Sobol apparently recorded a ''lot'' of tapes before he died. So many, in fact, that it begins to make you wonder if he really died because he was too busy preparing his master plan to participate in proper medical treatment.
* VideogameCrueltyPotential: It's outside of a videogame, but clearly the same trope - Loki sees people not part of the Darknet as [=NPCs=], and treats them as such. When he is permitted to kill them, he does so eagerly and cruelly. Even when he isn't, he torments them in any way he can.
* VirtualGhost: [[spoiler: The Burning Man is a simulation of Merritt, visible only in the augmented reality of the darknet, and as accurate a recreation of the actual Merritt as the darknet was able to create. His vast power is only possible from "donations" from individuals in the darknet as a means of preventing any single person from becoming too powerful. i.e. he is the embodiment of justice, as the darknet saw Merritt to be in real life.]]
** The Burning Man censures Loki by [[spoiler:pulling him from level 60 down to level 10, which requires it to give up the number of levels he removes from Loki. He is almost instantly recouped up to level Overly High by donations from the audience.]]
** Loki uses his power to [[spoiler: release pseudo-AI Oberstleutnant Heinrich Boerner from the game "Over the Rhine"]] and give him full access to the darknet.
* WeAreEverywhere: The Daemon has recruits everywhere. If you are not part of the Daemon's plans it's because it either hasn't picked you yet, or you are dead.
* WeCanRebuildHim: In ''Freedom™'', the Daemon gives cybernetics to [[spoiler:Loki after the Major performs a BorrowedBiometricBypass on him - AKA ''cuts out his fingertips, eyes and tongue''.]]
* WellIntentionedExtremist: [[spoiler:Sobol]] again.
* WholePlotReference: A three-way war between {{Playful Hacker}}s, {{Government Conspirac|y}}ies and {{Predatory Business}}es where EverythingIsOnline and the Establishment's trump card boils down to, "destroy the Internet." And LaResistance's ultimate goal is [[spoiler:to turn civilization over to a BenevolentAI which recognizes only a person's ability and [[RousseauWasRight intention]] instead of their [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney wealth]], [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections influence]] or [[AppealToForce capacity for violence]].]] Gee, this sounds a lot like Creator/JohnBrunner's ''Literature/TheShockwaveRider.'' But Suarez is a ''lot'' better at [[ShownTheirWork Showing His Work]] - and the Daemon has ''much'' cooler toys.
* WorthyOpponent: Gragg and the rest of the darknet see Merritt this way. (The feelings are ''not'' reciprocated.)

->Good luck to you all. And don’t be afraid of change. It’s the only thing that can save us.\\
--'''Matthew Sobol'''