There are two sides to law enforcement on the Waterfront. Officially, the area is under the jurisdiction of the Port Authorities, a branch of the SPPD based in a low-building at the west end of Yard Stretch. There Sergeant Kerry Dowling tries to hold together the only operation in San Paro that is regularly under attack from the sea. He's running the thinnest of blue lines, with well-armed gangs punching holes through his defences virtually at will. Then there's the Tigers.
Rich kids with guns. It's easy to dismiss them that way. God knows, that's what they are.
In the great derailing social experiment that is San Paro, the rule is: people pay to get away from trouble. And the Tigers, they all come from out of Prentiss. That's a nice part of town; and there's plenty private security paid to make sure it stays that way. Most times the sea views and sun-baked marinas are enough to take your eye away from the razor-wire fences and the CCTV. Your common gang trash can't survive in the illuminating beam of such rarefied circumstance. No, if those kids want enemies, they have to go out and make them. So that's what they did.
When you've been jet-skiing since you could swim, maybe you were paragliding at age nine, your palette can get a little jaded. When everything you ever asked for simply appeared almost simultaneously before you, where else is there to go? That's why when Orlenz' daddy took him shooting for the first time up in the woods south of Belleta, that gun in his hand left him with all sorts of questions. Questions he'd share with Darryl and Chiza when he got back home. Still, they were too young for guns. He was a smart kid; he knew there'd come a time.
High school rolled in and over. They were expected to just sit around poolside, waiting for college, the moment when each of them would be shot from a cannon into a future full of money and success. Their parents, most of them trapped in fractious marriages of inviolable dynastic significance, channelled vicariously through the children, nudged them in the way of one another, radars scoping for appropriate matches. The kids played along, petting obligingly in coat rooms and the backs of cars, giving themselves up for the cause and their own curiosities.
But for some that just wasn't enough. Darryl and Nora, Akiko X and Kenny, they took off wherever they could get. They'd race each other on the clifftop drives, tear back through the Needles, occasionally cut up some Roller zoned in on a street race. More than once Orlenz' Moretti got winged by a stray. They bought guns. Pistols at first, then a couple of subbies from a guy they bumped down at NCS. But it wasn't until Kenny got an in on the Agent program, found a contact they could buy, that they started to see the serious shit.
They put the crew on alert, waited for the balloon to go up. And there it was, BOOM, from out on Armory, one night before ten, with the sun fizzing into the water. They headed down, weighed with new weapons, thinking they were kings of the world. The Blood Roses were in the house, blowing two SPPD patrols all the way to Valhalla, and when the Tigers caught their attention with a herald of whoops and stray bullets, there returned a volley that scared the shit out of the young adventurers and sent them scuttling back up the hill behind the safety of the gates.
Here was a new experience for all of them: circumspection. After that they got angry, and the future was drawn in the set of Nora's jaw; it was the first and last occasion they'd be so effortlessly exposed. The Roses were full of fire, and all over cool with it, but they were going to pick up more of a scrap the next time.
Armed to the teeth with every shade of heavy conventional ordnance, reckless to the point of stupidity, the Tigers are a mutant force on the Waterfront. Lacking any kind of moral compass, they accidentally point in the right direction, and the Port Authorities let them rip, for fear of the wind changing. The SPPD have no idea what to do with what they perceive as a bunch of spoilt, mixed-up kids; but there's no confusion in Nora's mind, or Orlenz', or any of the others. They do what they do for one reason, one reason only: because they like it.