Hey folks. It’s Monday, and there are only four days till the launch of my new novel, BONE WIRES. The book deals heavily with Civil Protection, which as readers of Shadow of a Dead Star will know is the monolithic, privatized police outfit that looks out for the citizens of Seattle. I thought I might start out the week by giving you folks a peek at the history behind the organization as it applies to the Wonderland universe, written in the form of an article, just to give you a taste of what to expect.
The Moon and Star: A Brief History of Civil Protection
Editorial by Stephanie Moyer
Originally published in The Seattle Times, January 3, 2076
This year is a big one for anniversaries. Most prevalent of all is the American Tricentennial, marking three hundred years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the formation of this great nation. The founding fathers were all about personal freedoms, after all, and in the course of its progress this nation has done everything possible to spread freedom and democracy across the world. It’s also the eighth anniversary of the closing of the European War, when the disparate economic blocs of the fragmented European Union showed the world that a devastating war wouldn’t stop a corporate state from rising from the ashes.
Closer to home, it was twenty years ago since the SPD was dissolved, ending nearly a hundred and seventy years of civil law enforcement in the city of Seattle. We all know the history: in the wake of the funding and graft scandal that led to the ouster of Mayor Sandra Temple, Police Commissioner Harold Woodruff and a string of arrests within the police department itself, the corruption that had long been decried within the orgniazation had led to its eventual demise. Searching for an alternative, the city council and the newly-emplaced Mayor Avilla searched for an alternative, and found it in the privatized police force which we know as Civil Protection, or simply as CivPro. The moon-and-star logo of corporation has become a watchword of law and order in the Emerald City since 2056, but very few citizens know about the history of the corporation itself – a history which, as it turns out, is as interesting and colorful as the officers which staff it. It’s the boys in white and blue (and if you’re very unfortunate, armor gray) that this piece is about, a little primer for those of you newcomers who have made heir way out to our fair city and may find yourself unsure about the history of your local constabulary.
Civil Protection Solutions, as the company is called on the Global Exchange, was founded in August of 2056. Company founders Carl Ostrung and Damien Weiss were both officers in the employ of Independent Military Initiatives, one of the many private military companies (PMCs) which were so prevalent during the European War. IMI, which had been hired by the Atlantic Bloc, had just finished its resounding victory against the forces of the Teuton Bloc during the Battle of Bonn; Ostrung and Weiss had been instrumental in the taking of the city, and afterward had helped deal with the extreme problems of keeping the liberated city peaceable while dealing with a wildly corrupted police force. In the end, they had enough. Though both men were had been given enormous bonuses men agreed that their future lay not in the military but elsewhere, as their experience with the Bonn police had demonstrated to them that civil security could not be left in the hands of civil authorities. Pooling their fortunes, they resigned their commissions and moved to Los Angeles in 2055; a year later, the two men formed Civil Protection Services.
Civil Protection Services – shortened to CivPro more out of the military tradition for abbreviation than marketing sense – started as a small body of security personnel, hired from the ranks of the American federal militaries as well as veteran employees of PMCs. Though the rank structure was shifted into one belonging to more traditional civil authorities for purposes of public relations, Civil Protection very much followed the general structure of a militarized police organization. The company’s first contracts involved training police in suburban communities, where it gained a reputation as being extremely disciplined and effective for a corporation of its size. Civil Protection’s first real brush with fame was in its support role during the Compton Riot of 2056, when the anti-finance riots exploded into violence. The now-famous images of armored carriers belonging to Civil Protection’s Special Tactics unit shielding injured LAPD officers from gunfire gave the company into worldwide media attention. From there, Civil Protection found itself awash in recruitment requests from all over the world, and soon took up important police contracts in Detroit, Chicago, Buenos Aires, and Brasilia.
It was not until the end of 2056, when the Temple scandal broke and the city council voted to dissolve the SPD, that Civil Protection got its first all-inclusive metropolitan police contract. Police forces were first based out of a series of converted warehouses and former SPD precinct facilities until the city headquarters, Civil Protection Center, could be constructed. The massive tower, located at One Wilson Plaza, was not completed until 2057 – by that time, Civil Protection had taken hold of civil security issues in the metropolitan area, cut encroachments from the Decommissioned Suburban Zone by 90 percent, and had begun erecting the barrier wall that now separates the DSZ from the remainder of the city. The amount of progress that the corporation had done in under a year was quite a transformation for this long-troubled city, but not everybody liked the regimented, paramilitary feel that Civil Protection brought with it. With safety came criticism, and after a few high-profile incidents in which certain citizens of influence ran afoul of the largely universal justice that the company provided, and in the ensuing uproar Ostrung announced his retirement, leaving his old comrade and co-founder in sole command of the company. It seemed that Civil Protection may well get pushed out of the contract it so neatly secured by a beleaguered and favor-indebted city council.
This all changed in 2059 when Civil Protection, helmed by Weiss, suddenly changed tack and reformed into a conglomerate. Every branch of the company was encapsulated into a specific subsidiary. Recruitment policies were relaxed, meaning that for the first time military or paramilitary experience was no longer required in field employees. The primary subsidiaries – Administrative Concepts, Pacification Services, Homicide Solutions, Property Safety Management and Civil Relations Services – are all technically united, and yet each one works hard to ensure that budgetary dollars and resources are shunted their way from the corporate pool. This diversification transformed Civil Protection into a new corporation, one that was no longer the hard-bitten, exclusively paramilitary organization that had won the Seattle contract. New public relations campaigns were draw up to give the company a friendlier face, the one which we in the Emerald City know today.
Since then, many things have happened. In 2060 the Black Talon Killer butchered his way through 22 victims in a single summer of violence before being cornered and killed by officers of Pacification Services in a lethal chase across the city. 2062 saw the rise of anti-finance riots in Belltown. In 2067 terrorist attacks committed by the Gelong Fung neo-Communist group threatened to destroy transportation systems across the city before dying in a shootout in what is now known as the Scrap Field. 2072 saw them heroically push back an unprecedented force of armed psychotics from the depths of the DSZ in what the media would call the ‘Night of Fury’. And always in the background, the forces of organized crime that are the Korean jopoks, the Duwamish Sons, the Yakuza and the Familia Noctis. Against all of these threats Civil Protection has deployed the most efficient and effective violence, ensuring that they are scoured from the streets. Yes, it has been only twenty years since Seattle got rid of its civil police. A whole generation has been born not knowing what it was not to carry a police service card, or a panic buzzer, or any of the other methods by which subscribers – that is, legal citizens – can demonstrate their status and guarantee police care. For those of us who grew up expecting the police department to help anyone, whether they have a subscription card or not, Civil Protection has been something that we have had to get used to. What was once a guaranteed benefit of citizenship is now a corporate commodity. On the other hand, consider the benefits! What they can’t arrest their suspect within budget constrictions, Civil Protection has proven that it is guaranteed to shoot. Imagine how much time and taxpayer money it saves – and really, how else is best to deal with those who disrupt public order? A bullet is cheaper than a trial, after all.
And what can get more American than that?
EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece is the final work that Stephanie will do for the Times; she is moving on to bigger and better things. We thank her for the five years that she has spent as part of our happy family, and though we are sad that she is leaving us we wish her all the best.