The New Sheriff in Town
By Star Loner
Lone Star is out and Knight Errant is in. So far as most people can tell, the only difference is the uniform that the cops wear, and the commercials that they spam you with. I mean, cops are cops, right?
Wrong. Possibly dead wrong, if you don’t think it through. I’ll get this out of the way up front: Yes, I worked for Lone Star some years ago. I walked away from them long before they were on the outs with Seattle, and I don’t owe them any loyalty, nor do I really carry a grudge. I don’t have an axe to grind with Knight Errant, either, except in as much as I’ve seen how all of these private security companies are rotten to the core. Still, if you give them badges and tell people they’re cops, they’re still willing to accept the idea of these brutal and corrupt thugs as guardians of public welfare and justice. Okay, so I’ve got a bias, but it’s out where you can see it.
- Don’t think you’re going to find a lot of fans of private corporate security contractors ‘round here, Star.
- Hard Exit
- It’s not a matter of “fandom,” it’s about professionalism. The rent-a-cops do a job. Corporate security does a job. We do jobs. Our job is just to find ways around what they do. That’s all.
- Danger Sensei
So, every law-breaker in the Seattle Metroplex has to ask: “What does Knight Errant taking over the security services contract mean for me?” Several things, depending on your areas of interest.
First, there’s the transition from long-time Lone Star services to Knight Errant. You can’t switch from one security provider to another in a metroplex of millions of people overnight. Lone Star has to vacate existing facilities owned by the metroplex, letting Knight Errant move in. They have to turn over metroplex owned and required records and documentation, which KE needs to review, once the government has approved all of it. There are case-files, personnel records, and intelligence reports … gigapulses of documentation going back for years. It’s all cataloged and tagged (at least, it’s supposed to be) but somebody needs to go through it all.
- Stories are making the rounds of various pranks being pulled on the incoming KE personnel by the outgoing Lone Star employees, ranging from the harmless desk drawers glued shut kind of kid’s stuff to more serious doctoring of records, planting of false leads, and so forth. Lone Star’s ouster triggered a flurry of deletions, file shredding, and ass-covering of epic proportions. One of KE’s first major projects may be investigating Lone Star for derelictions of duty, misuse of metroplex resources, and corruption. No doubt there’s still a lot of evidence out there various parties would like buried or uncovered.
- Hard Exit
Then there’s the personnel transition. Knight Errant started a hiring blitz in Seattle as soon as the contract went through, bringing in a lot of out-of-town officers on temporary assignment to cover things until the Seattle operation is completely up to speed. At the same time, Lone Star went through massive lay-offs. Some of the higher-ups got transferred to other districts and jurisdictions, and some officers and lower-ranking personnel stayed-on to cover the company’s existing private contracts, including the metroplex prisons, but everyone expects more layoffs after the transition is complete. Knight Errant has hired some experienced Lone Star officers, but they are not taking Lone Star rank, position, or salary into account, and are requiring recertification and training to KE standards, which means going back to school for a lot of veteran street cops.
- Who are none too happy about it, let me tell you. Knight Errant has already had disciplinary incidents at their Academy with former Lone Star officers getting into fights with KE “regulars” and recruits. The ex-Stars have a serious grudge, but they’re also razzed by the regulars as “losers” and baited to try and start something.
- The for-hire muscle-market in Seattle is being glutted with ex-Lone Star personnel, the ones who can’t or won’t move on to other jobs, refuse to work for KE, or just can’t get hired elsewhere. Now after years of busting shadowrunners, they’re on the other side looking for work. It can get pretty ugly, too. I know of at least one case of former Lone Stars hired essentially as cannon fodder for a run against Mitsuhama. Stories like that making the rounds have made everyone more cautious, but desperate times breed desperate people.
Then there’s the reason for the transition in the first place, or reasons, technically. First off, so far as the public is concerned, Knight Errant is around because Lone Star wasn’t getting the job done, but the governor’s office thinks Knight Errant can. That means the Knights are starting out with something to prove, so they are hitting the streets hard, putting on a show so the citizens of Seattle know they are getting their money’s worth when it comes to security. As Knight Errant gets up to speed, expect to see more displays of law and order in the metroplex, along with vigorous pursuit of high-profile cases that demonstrate Knight Errant is on the job and lawbreakers have reason to be worried.
- Note that “high-profile” thing. KE wants the public to see they are doing a good job, so they get no real points for subtlety. The truth of the matter is the best security is invisible—you don’t even know about 90% of the threats that it prevents—but that kind of security makes for lousy PR, especially for a new client looking to see what kind of job you’re doing. The lesson for those of us in the shadows is that dirty word “subtlety” the less noise you make, the less
likely you are to rise to the top of Knight Errant’s to-do list. Make yourselves a public spectacle and you can bet the Knights will throw everything they’ve got at you to make a show out of bringing down the big, bad shadowrunners and keeping the public safe.
- Danger Sensei
Lastly, there are plans for the future: Knight Errant’s and Governor Brackhaven’s, along with Lone Star’s. While KE will have their hands full for a while settling in to their new job as Seattle’s top cops, don’t think it ends with this milestone. Knight Errant is an ambitious arm of an even more ambitious megacorp. They’ve gone from holding the majority of private and corporate security contracts in Seattle to also holding the public security contract, making them the Numero Uno security corp in nearly every field in the metroplex.
Knight Errant owes this success largely to Governor Brackhaven. The question is: why did Brackhaven go to bat for KE in the first place? What does he want that Knight Errant can provide, but that Lone Star didn’t (or wouldn’t)? I think it’s several things.
First, Knight Errant provides the Governor with a clean slate, a way of offloading a lot of past problems on Lone Star, and a lot of leverage with KE who, like I said, want to impress their new client. If the Knights actually do bring more law and order to the metroplex, Brackhaven gets to claim some of the credit. If they don’t, then he gets to shift the blame to them, saying how sadly disappointed he is, and threatening the play hardball when contract negotiations roll around.
Second, he gets a security force that owes him something and is seen as more answerable to him. Lone Star had been in place long enough that people just took for granted they would always be there, including Lone Star itself. The shake-up has everyone on their toes, and KE owes the administration some quid pro quo, credits Brackhaven can cash in when he needs them.
The last item is just speculation, but hear me out: The other thing Knight Errant buys Governor Brackhaven is a metroplex security force backed by the power of a AAA megacorp with military capabilities equal to any nation in the world, including those of the UCAS, contracted not to the UCAS federal government, but to the Seattle Metroplex itself. Should Seattle face any military threat—from without or within—Brackhaven has a hired private army able to bring some serious firepower to bear on the enforcement of “the rule of law” in the metroplex.
- Think Ares would support the idea of an independent Seattle?
- Traveler Jones
- They would if it gained them something. Still, although Ares’ honeymoon with the UCAS government seems to have cooled off a lot in recent years, I question their willingness to flip one of their biggest customers off just to support some crazy independence movement. Besides, Brackhaven ran against the secession candidate in the last election. He’s all about UCAS unity and only makes noises about the metroplex’s independence when it comes to Seattle’s “special status” as a UCAS territory, meaning he wants something from the feds like more money or more ambassadors or whatever.
- Kay St. Irregular
- I think Brackhaven is more concerned about the NAN and Tir Tairngire than looking to secede. The Metroplex Guard is totally inadequate, and he doesn’t trust the UCAS regulars in JTFS to look after Seattle first and UCAS interests second if it comes down to a military conflict. Knight Errant is extra insurance and tells the nearby foreign powers: “Don’t mess with us” the same as having a vicious attack dog in your yard.
- Hard Exit
One thing’s for certain: Knight Errant is the new sheriff in town, and plans to stick around for a good, long time. So those of us on the other side of the law had better get used to it, and quick.
- Don’t completely count Lone Star out in Seattle yet. Keep in mind that they did retain one significant chunk of their old law enforcement contract: they still manage the metroplex prisons. The ‘Star has always had a more stronger division of corrections than Knight Errant, which has always relied on sub-contractors or partnerships to deal with prison administration. Some see leaving Lone Star with prison-duty as a kind of punishment, but prisons are where a lot of the money is in law enforcement, and Knight Errant’s new law and order crusade promises to fill them up and bring in even more prisoner stipends, a cut of which goes right into Lone Star’s account.
- Danger Sensei