There seems to be a running trend about the inherent evil of or need to avoid anything involving central power, authority, or location.
- Jen Heyward solves the Chapter 4 cipher. The decryption reads Avoid Grand Central. Key stolen. Assume bag gone. I failed (122).
- When “S” is trying to follow Sola through the streets of B—, he stops for a moment and notices a large building labeled CENTRAL POWER. Underneath those words is the “S” symbol. It is here that “S” sees the bomb exchange hands – the bomb that sets into motion a chain of events that determine the course of the rest of the book (100).
- The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand is mentioned several times in the book. In one particular place, it is mentioned as an opportunity for Vevoda to sell his weapon and earn more money. The faction of countries that decided to start World War I in response to the assassination was called the CENTRAL POWERS (300-301).
- Erich Husch’s steam tunnel map, which he draws for Jen, includes a warning that says AVOID —> CENTRAL FACILITY / DANGEROUS! (307 insert).
- As Maelstrom explains to S. that the ship has no captain, Eric writes in pencil “A world without CENTRALIZED POWER/AUTHORITY (33).
There are several other examples that jump out at me personally, but citing them is a bit premature since they may seem weak to others. I also have some theories as to the purpose, but they are not yet well-formed. If you have some theories, please share.