Byeong Lee - All Points Bulletin

Byeong Lee


Ten years ago, after a lifetime of service to the city of San Paro and its people, Byeong Lee retired from his position as deputy commissioner of the SPPD. He had done all he could, he felt, and it was time to make way for a younger man. He recommended to the commissioner that August Carter be promoted to be his replacement. Carter was a good man, even if he and Byeong had had various disagreements over the years - principally over the use of lethal force by the SPPD in the discharge of their normal duties - and Byeong had a feeling that deputy commissioner would not be the last rung on the career ladder that Carter would climb to. For himself, Byeong was looking forward to his retirement in the quiet oceanside district of Prentiss. Two of his children also lived there, and he enjoyed the thought of being able to spend time with his grandchildren, a duty he had sadly neglected too often in his time the SPPD, as the city's escalating crime problem made continued demands of the attention and time of the men and women who had sworn to protect their fellow citizens.

Ten years on, Byeong's not so sure he made the right decision. In truth, his retirement wasn't entirely voluntary. At the commissioner's request, he had written a blue sky thinking report on possible solutions to the stratospheric increase in violent and armed crime in San Paro. Some of the suggestions in the report - relaxation on shoot to kill rules for SPPD officers coming up against armed felons, detention centres for suspected violent criminals, the creation of armed (but closely supervised) citizen's militia groups to ease the pressure on an under-manned police department - raised eyebrows among SPPD top brass. However, it wasn't until someone at the mayor's office - looking to score points off the Department - leaked the report to the press and put some spin on it that suggested the proposals were a lot more concrete than any of them actually were. Ironically, many of the same media commentators and op-ed writers who so viciously condemned Byeong's proposals at the time now call for many similar-sounding policies to be enacted today.

The press went wild, accusations of police state by stealth flew across San Paro's media, and the mayor's office demanded Byeong's head on a plate. His early retirement was the deal negotiated with the mayor's office by the then-commissioner, a fundamentally decent but ineffectual man. Had he stayed on, and perhaps succeeded the commissioner as head of the SPPD, Byeong always wondered if things would have turned out differently; if he would have been able to stop the rot, or if San Paro would still have slid into the anarchy and state of daily mayhem that it exists in today.

Byeong has watched the city and its police department slowly disintegrate over the last ten years. He supports the City Security Act, but thinks it probably came years too late and still doesn't go far enough. Looking ten years ahead, he foresees a San Paro divided up into a series of isolated fortress communities - good people banding together for mutual defence - surrounded by a landscape of urban lawlessness. It's not exactly the world he hoped his grandchildren would grow up to become part of, but it's a helluva lot better than the alternative; the entire city as one big free-fire zone. Prentiss could be the model for one of these fortress communities; surrounded by water on at least two sides, and easily defensible, with an affluent, motivated population and a strong shared community spirit.

What he needed, though, were footsoldiers to stand guard on its walls. He looked around, and he found the Tigers. Sure, they were kids, most of them too young to even have graduated from police academy, but they were motivated, and they had already started organising themselves. They had got lucky a few times already, but sooner or later their luck was going to run out, unless they had someone to show them the ropes and point them in the right direction.

Byeong was commander of the SPPD SWAT division for eight years. Byeong knows weapons. Byeong knows tactics and counter-insurgency measures. He slots easy into the Tigers, part team coach, part combat advisor. And he's got a personal stake in their success too now; his grand-daugher Joo-eun is one of them. Every time he plans a Tigers op, he always assumes she might be part of it, and he always does everything he can to keep all his kids alive.

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