There's a lot of legal protection running round in Havalynd. There's a lot of things to protect. Money is only a part of the jigsaw. The gods of Hayalynd are collectors; they like to accumulate information, contacts, talent; all the major currencies. They watch WP like everybody else does, but they don't need the TV to tell them the SPPD are losing the war, and that maybe they should take out a little protection of their own. Each corporation has its own local arrangements, but the street gangs weren't just snotty kids anymore - they were organized, well-armed - it seemed only natural that the business landscape might benefit from the evolution of a unified response. The gods met, decrees were issued. Thus was born Praetorian, a bespoke urban response unit, as far from any television camera as it was possible to be.
The core of the team are jungle vets, ex-special forces operatives. It was not unusual for corporations to exploit their networks within the defense administration to service their own private security requirements. The deal worked for everyone. For the administration, it gave them the illusion of parity with the corporations. For the ex-militia, it meant access to better hardware than the military, and remuneration way beyond even the shadow-budget salaries evanescing from the public purse. And for the businesses themselves, they had field-trained and officially-sanctioned combat troops. Yes, it was expensive, but accountancy is a black art, and when the taxpayers are paying, who's counting?
Grissom met most of his crew working in Laos for Shadow Strike. They were a team of 8, search and destroy, months of insertion, barely afloat at the bottom of a deep well of danger; the percentages said they were already dead men walking. When he looked around him now, he saw the survivors. Templeton. Defries. They should be ghosts. Someone must have died out of time. They were all lucky, and Grissom had seen enough to know that lucky was a good thing to have around.
The rest of the men were from the same stock, special forces turned guns-for-hire. War, its hallucinatory horrors, had stripped them of any rags of morality. There was no slender lining of hope to be extracted from the things they had seen, no good fight to be fought. What they did was work.
These men, they could respect civilians, but they were beyond understanding those passive and disengaged consumer drones who shuffled past them on the street. Years of razorpin discipline had tuned their scanners to a different set of frequencies, the infinite complexities of the environment polarized at nerve level into threat and non-threat, a network ceaselessly pinging for response. When they moved, they moved with perfect economy, their minds and bodies shooting through the trees of possibilities, selecting and rejecting in nanotime, like chess AI constantly calculating the fewest moves to mate.
Praetorian worked out of low-key basement office up near the bus station. They didn't need much, they were used to travelling light. Grissom took Night Company while Charkov scored the deals, fielding mission briefs from upstairs or swapping kit for knowledge with some rich piece of ass from Prentiss: Akiko, was it? Monteith took Day, him and that crazy bastard Dragon. Kind of soldier Grissom didn't want on his shoulder. Too many chances, too many wild rolls of the dice. Yeah, Dragon was lucky, but he was pissing it quickly and it wouldn't last forever.
They set to tapping the networks. Fed intel was complacent about the threat, weirdly so, just about dismissed it as teen hormones. On paper it was 8Mils, handguns, nothing they hadn't face a thousand times; nothing they hadn't neutralized. So on their first incursion, a home sweep deep on Gresty, just to say hi, Grissom was surprised when he lost three men and had to pull the plug. It wasn't the takedown he was playing in his head.
The punks - what did the fuckers call themselves? The G-Kings? - they had something going on. Grissom had seen this before, fighting tree to tree in the green hells of the Yuandong Delta and Ko Han. You attack people on their own turf, you better be sure you want it, because they got nowhere else to go.
He got a better angle from the detective, Blackwood. She'd been casing these kids long enough to know the picture. And it was a simple picture. They came out of the slum estates, Gresty and Border, came from nothing, were given nothing, were going nowhere. They looked out of the filthy windows of their shitty little apartments, at the towers of glass and steel rising over Havalynd. All they could see, money, other people's money, blotting out the sky. And they were left to fight for whatever pathetic scraps were falling from the table. Lean years. They were really pissed off.
Grissom couldn't find it in his heart to hate these people. In fact, a part of him liked them, liked the way they kicked out against the world even while it was shitting in their faces. They didn't run, they didn't beg; you cornered them, they fought like fucking demons. What other choices did they have? In another life, it could have been himself. But Grissom and his men got paid to do a job, and that job was to hunt these punks, kill them. That's what he was going to do.
Grissom and his crew are special, existing outside the normal command structure of the Praetorians, bypassing Saul Linklater's authority completely and reporting directly to Danko and, on a few very special occasions, Justin Teng himself. Linklater's uniformed corporate cops and Hea Choi's progressive social and recruitment policies are the preferred public face of the Praetorians; a public service, paid for by private enterprise.
Grissom and his crew of ex-Special Forces operators are its dirty but very lucrative little secret.
Personal bodyguard details. Intel gathering. High-level corporate security. Target elimination. These are the exclusive and very confidential services that the Praetorians are able to offer to select private clients, all those services provided by Grissom's unit.
Saul Linklater pretends not to even know of their existence, and more than one Praetorian press briefing he's been holding has been abruptly ended by an unscheduled question containing the words 'Shadow Strike'. Hea Choi isn't supposed to know about them, but does anyway. Kaspar Danko brought them to San Paro in the first place, at Justin Teng's request. Danko's no innocent; he's used men like Grissom before, and knows they have a place in war. They're a weapon, best used in surgical strikes on selected targets. The key to using men like this - weapons like this - is knowing where and when they can be safely deployed under controlled circumstances.
Danko knows the limits of those controlled circumstances, and he keeps the Shadow Strike boys on a tight leash. More and more, though, he's been getting word that Grissom and his crew are running their own private ops out of that basement they're holed up in. He suspects that Justin Teng has opened up his own channels of communication with them, and that the Shadow Strike snake-eaters are running black op errands for Teng that have nothing to do with the Praetorians' stated mission.
The thought of a Teng-controlled Grissom is, to Danko, an especially troubling one.
Subject How it goes around here
Okay, so maybe I like what Ive seen so far, but youre still a long way from the real deal. Need to put you through your paces some more. Run you round the training course and see if you can take the heat.
No passengers on this ride. You want to be a Shadow Strike snake-eater, you have to do it under your own power.
Keep your comms open. When I got something for you something I think you can handle Ill be in touch.
And heres a supply re-up for you, to show were in business. Dont get any ideas, though. Its not like were picking out curtains together.
You been notched up.
Must be your lucky day. Heard enough good things about what youre doing from people who know what theyre talking about to figure you might not be the regular kind of deadbeat they send me.
Yeah, thats right. Ive moving you up a notch. You cant handle it you want to join the uniformed stiffs directing traffic or help that Choi broad give good citizenship lessons to school kids just let me know.
Dont get all moist on me, though. You and me aint sucking down beers together at the Presidium just yet.
Just seen some intercepts of enemy signals. Theyre talking about you. Shit, they really want to waste you after that last op we ran on them.
Thats a good sign. Tells me youre headed in the right direction. Shows me I wasnt making some dumbfuck move when I let you into the program.
Just dont start getting any big ideas about being the new LaRocha. Be a long time before anyone knocks that prettyboy off his throne.
You got the Shadow Strike attitude
Shit, but youve been busy, aint you? Milk and cookies keeping you up at night? Think youre such hot shit all of a sudden that youre trying to win this thing all on your own?
Hope so. Cos thats the right attitude to get you into Shadow Strike.
Damn. You keep this up, and I might even let you buy me a drink one day.
Danko + Linklater intel
Got a good news/bad news sitrep for you. Praetorian brass are starting to take an interest in you.
Good = Kaspar Danko. He's one of us and probably wants to know if you got the chops for a step up the ranks. You want that berth in the Shadow Strike team, this is where you start to grab it.
Bad = Saul Linklater. He's ex-SPPD. Way too much cop-think still there, worrying about civilian world shit like collateral casualty counts and media fallout. Guy needs a wake-up call that this is war, pure and simple.
I'll deal with the brass. You just keep on doing what you seem to be getting pretty good at.
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Subject Media: The Bankside Voice
Since the 1960s, the voice of San Paro's alternative underground and ultra-liberal fringe, based around the boho scene that once flourished in the Bankside district of Midtown. You name it, and the Voice has campaigned for it if it's in any way anti-establishment, and campaigned against it if it smacked of maintaining the status quo. The Voice has earned its battle scars, but has also grown up with its readership, moving from young angry and rebellious upstart to comfortably middle-aged rebel with a platinum credit card. Aware of the problem, and grabbing something from the shit-stirring spirit of his youth, original founding editor and now millionaire publisher Jenna Marcos kicked off the biggest controversy among the readership in the newspaper's history when she ran a publisher's open mission statement piece that turned people's perceptions of the paper on its head. When she founded the Voice, Marcos stated, her aim was to always offer an alternative to the norm. Back then, the anti-norm was rebellion and counter-culture opposition. Now, she argued, the norm in San Paro is criminality in all forms, from corporate crime in the boardrooms of Havalynd to street corner drug deals and gangbanger drive-bys in the slums of Montebank. Crime has become the ipse facto social norm in San Paro, and respect for the rule of law and the lives and property of our fellow citizens a dangerous and radical act of rebellion. Therefore, in keeping with the newspaper's founding principles, she was throwing the full weight of the Voice behind the Jane Derren and the CSA vigilante policy.
The move provoked outrage. Lifelong readers cancelled their subscriptions by the thousand. Half the staff walked out. Star columnist Terence Piper ran a piece condemning the policy, and accusing Marcos of being a sell-out and Derren's new pet poodle. Marcos, true to her belief in absolute free speech, ran the piece unedited.
And then something strange happened. Circulation figures fell dramatically, as widely predicted&&and then started picking up again. A lot of traditional Voice readers deserted it in droves, but new ones appeared to take their place. Not the squares that bought the Standard and believed every corporate-sponsored word they heard on 3N, but young ordinary San Paroites who picked up on what Marcos was saying. The 'vigilante vibe', Marcos started to call it, and she could see it spreading out into the culture of the city. Into its art, its media, its music and its fashion. It was all about people power. Ordinary citizens taking responsibility for their lives and trying to make their world a better place. Shit, wasn't that what he'd been fighting for since the 1960s? Marcos hadn't felt a buzz like this since the Voice's earliest days, and it got her excited to be running the mag again. When the establishment's as decadent as it is in san Paro, then order is the new rebellion. And you read it here first in the Voice.
Biography: Colby Security & Safety
Colby (Colby Security & Safety)
Founded in 1850, Colby Security and Safety is a company that revolutionised firearms manufacture during a period of major expansion into the American Midwest. General Randolf Carter Colby's repeating revolver became a byword of reliability and much of what people associate with the 'cowboy western' owes a lot to his compact hand guns. A range of 'buffalo rifles' soon followed along with a famous free-standing gatling gun, so advanced in its time, that Colby was forced to sell all rights to the American government lest details of this 'devastating weapon of war' found its way to foreign powers, but received in return a call to Congress and exclusive rights to manufacture. Colby went on to supply the American army with most of its weaponry and firearms for the next forty years, amassing a huge personal fortune, before branching out into foreign markets. The business prospered until the end of the Cold War in the 1990s, when a flood of black-book, ex Soviet weaponry led to a slump in the munitions markets. By 1995, Darryl Finzano, the CEO of Colby Munitions, was forced to close various Colby plants including the 'New Cross' ammunition production line in San Paro's, E Havalynd. Production delays and labour problems led to falling quality and several key contracts were re-assigned to competitors (notably Obeya). Today, Colby is fighting to regain its commercial footing, though the SPPD remains one of Colby's largest customers in San Paro.
Biography: Jane Derren (Part 2)
On her 21st birthday, she legally took control of the trust fund her father's will had established for her. Her father's lawyers also passed onto her copies of his private papers that they had been holding for her, as per the instructions in his will. The money was welcome, the legacy of the private papers wasn't. It was like too many painful memories from the past - of her father's death, of the city that killed him - reaching out to grab at her. Her mother wanted her to destroy them. Jane said she had. She lied, although didn't know why, just like she didn't know why, as a child, she had rescued that blood-stained dress from the basement incinerator, and kept it hidden away from her mother.
She left the papers in the same hiding place as the dress and took off, dropping out of law school and using her father's money to travel the world. Everyone thought she would do the globetrotting rich kid thing. Instead, she surprised even herself by ending up doing humanitarian aid work in bush war hotspots that were sprouting up all over the globe. As an ambitious young lawyer on the make, her father had surprised everyone by giving more and more of his time over to working pro bono cases in places like Montebank and Red Hill. It had been the beginning of the end of his career in private law, but the beginning of his life as a politician and social crusader. If anyone saw the beginning of the growing parallels between father and daughter, they kept it to themselves.
One Jane Derren left home to see the world, but it was another Jane Derren - one profoundly changed by the things she had experienced out there in the conflict zones - who came back again. And, when she returned, she didn't go back to college to pick up her studies again. She went home. Her real home. She went back to San Paro. She had read her father's private papers by now. She knew what she needed to do. She couldn't solve all the world's problems - she knew that now - but she was fairly sure that, with her dead father's help, she could finish what he had tried to start.
San Paro had only gotten worse in the years she had been away. Various pretenders to the Derren throne had tried to pass themselves off as his political heir, but all they had done was promised much and done very little once in office. Commissioner Thirly had hung onto power as long as he could. Too afraid to retire, afraid of any likely investigations into his mismanaged stewardship of the SPPD, he remained as some kind of relic from a bygone age. A fatal heart attack, striking just as he stood to deliver a speech to the San Paro Longshoremen's Association, saved the city the expense of both a police commissioner's pension benefits and a lengthy corruption investigation. No-one mourned his passing, not even the criminals and corrupt politicians whose activities had thrived under his policy of forever looking the other way.
She took a job in one of the charitable social programs set up in her father's name after his death. The programs were still going, but successive mayoral administrations had allowed them to mostly wither on the vine as city funds were allocated elsewhere. The Derren name still meant something in San Paro, however, and word soon got around that the daughter of John Derren was back in town. It wasn't long before the media came calling.
She started doing a few interviews - reluctantly, she claimed - if only to publicise the efforts of the charities she was working with. She gave good interview. She was smart, attractive, articulate, and - most important of all - she had the magic Derren name and, so it seemed, personal touch. She reminded people of her father, and the more that got around, the more attention she got. She told what would soon become a well-worn story about how, while doing aid work in one of the conflict zones, she had met a young international peacekeeper soldier. The peacekeeper was from San Paro. He knew the name Derren, remembered the statue of John Derren that still stands in front of City Hall, a statue that Jane Derren had still never seen with her own eyes at that point. The young soldier told her about life in San Paro, about how he worried about his parents and brothers and sisters back home in the Green Street Projects in Midtown, how he thought it was safer to be a kid growing up in a place like this than it was for him back in San Paro. The young soldier's words touched something in Jane Derren, and she decided there and then to return home to do something for the city her father had died trying to help.
It was her appearance on a talk-radio show - a heated debate between her and a spokesman for Mayor Finch on the city's run-down social programs and spiralling crime rates - that really turned the heat on her, though, after she wiped the floor with the guy. The listeners loved it. The debate was re-aired several times, and made all the local TV news bulletins.
The next morning, the first tentative offers for her to run for political office were put out to her. She turned them all down, and ran anyway, on her own independent ticket for a seat on the city council. The critics and political commentators laughed; at her age, at her inexperience. She asked them, the so-called experts, most of hem twice her age or more, what they had done for their city, for their fellow human beings, recently. She won the seat by a landslide. Suddenly, no-one was laughing at Jane Derren anymore, and once more there was a Derren looking to raise hell in the council chamber at City Hall.
Name Stages Final Stage CHINA BLUES 4 MovingTarget WORKIN' LIKE A DOGGI 3 MovingTarget DEALER BUSTS 6 MovingTarget SHOW OF FORCE 5 Escort GET THE LOOK 5 Delivery SIGNAL TO NOISE 4 AntiGraffiti ENEMY AT THE CRATES 3 Delivery CRIME DOES PAY 6 Escort CEO SHOWDOWN 5 TerritoryControl G AND G 4 TerritoryControl HIGH POWERED MICROWAVES 4 Escort THE FAST AND THE INCARCERATED 3 MovingTarget OPERATION: NO JUNKIE 5 Escort ECONOMIC RECOVERY 5 Delivery MIA VICE 6 Deathmatch GETTING ON THE BALANCE SHEET 5 TerritoryControl ORGAN GRINDER 7 MovingTarget PRAETORIAN STARTS WITH PR 3 AntiGraffiti BOGUS BURGLARY 6 Delivery EXPLOSIVE INVESTIGATION 4 MovingTarget BANKROLL COLLECTION 7 TerritoryControl PRESS ON PRAETORIAN 5 BombDisposal AVENGE THE FALLEN 5 TerritoryControl GAME COPY CRACKDOWN 6 Delivery BRUSH WITH THE LAW 6 Delivery CHEMICAL WARFARE 8 Delivery ROUGH DIAMOND 6 Delivery HEARTS AND MINDS 4 TerritoryControl TOP COP CHOP-SHOP SHOCK 7 Delivery
Level Name 10 CQB Weapons Training (10 Joker Tickets)
Variety is the spice of life. It's important to keep your options open and I wanna see what you can do when you get close enough to see their pupils dilate the moment they hear you pull the trigger. Grab a <col: Yellow>shotgun and kill 4 Criminals.</col>
Kill <col: Yellow>4<col> enemies with a shotgun.