|Prerequisite||Grayson Fell||Bonita Benjamin|
Arlon Benjamin is the Tier 4 contact and considered leader of the G-Kings. Arlon made his fortune through garbage reclamation within the city, and he is now providing a lot of funds to the G-Kings. Considered a philanthropist, he has plans for his own change within the city.
Arlon Benjamin was a self-made man. No-one could scratch that from the record. He made his money in recycling, one of the first to spot the gap. It was a simple idea; right place, right time. The city did his marketing for him, with its summer smogs and its streets clogged with drifting dunes of garbage.
He grew up in an orphanage. Everything was temporary. He would make friends there, and they'd get older, be taken away to new homes. The feeling of helplessness was like a stone in his gut. He wondered what happened to the kids he had known. Mostly he wondered what would happen to him. For the lack of a compelling present, he started inventing futures for himself. In his fantasies, garish collages pasted up from TV images and tatty magazines, he was a successful man.
On his sixteenth birthday they cast him out into the world. Brady's populist welfare cuts had excluded precisely his kind. He had no money, and no place to go, ended up sleeping rough, wandering from district to district looking for dry shelter, begging for food. And he wasn't alone; he found he had become part of a shambling community of homeless and misfits who were abandoned by the system, just as he had been. It was during these dog days that he learned how society treated the ones who didn't fit. He also learned about the things that people throw away.
He started collecting, pulling back deposits from glass bottles, turning tin cans into nickels and dimes. Pretty soon, he was scaling up, starting his own operation. He turned nothing into something, and the more nothing he could get, the more something he could make. By the time he opened his first plant, out in Red Hill, courtesy of a grant from the municipal office, he was pulling in a whole lot of nothing. Within 10 years, his company, Green Planet, had set up in the Dempler, listed on the exchange. They introduced progressive labour policies, set up training programs for the underprivileged. They went global. It was simple; everywhere you went, people produced junk; with the goodwill of governments and citizens, Green Planet ate it all up.In the big league, that kind of business wasn't making any friends. Up in the Needles, it was sell, sell, sell. No-one wanted to know about ways to rein in consumption, they were hostile to notions of environmental protection, labour rights, anything that could hit on short-term yields. He hated these men he saw stalking the corporate corridors, young bucks, born into money; he hated their arrogance, their sense of entitlement. The antipathy was mutual. He'd already made his pile; they couldn't touch him like that. But they cut him out, cut him off; the media, the political channels, the novelty gone and the status quo re-established, one by one his connections cooled, dried up, blew away.
He was outraged when a self-appointed council of corporate representatives hired in their own special forces troops; it signalled to him a break in something, a weirdness. Society was changing, he could see that. The old order didn't apply anymore. The corporations were setting themselves up as states within states, beyond the rule of law. But they weren't the law, they were acting out an orgy of self-interest, and the authorities were just retreating, ceding power to the new rulers of the world.
One long September night, at the opening of a new Whistler exhibition in ParKunst, Benjamin had a conversation that would change the course of his life. He met a man there; tall, earnest, with a vision. The man was talking wild, about the imbalance of wealth, rapacious capitalism, the powershifts underpinning the corporate dominance. There was a solution; it sounded far-fetched, but it had already started. He wanted to destabilize the whole corporate-military complex, break open the cartels, turn the businesses on each other instead of on the people. He wanted to shock the elected representatives into a rational response.
Benjamin was intrigued, it hit on his instincts, and there was more. The man told him about the kids on the streets already trying to change things. Kids like the G-Kings, a bunch of street punks from out of Gresty who were young and hard and ready to fight for a new future, out of the shadow of poverty and corporate hegemony, a future that was about the people.
Benjamin was seduced by this strange man with his wild eyes. He liked that map of the future. He had money, what the hell? Sure, keep talking Mister, sorry, what was your name again? Yeah, carry on, Mr. Waskawi.