One of the first tier contacts for Praetorians.
"Too many jarheads and cops was the end conclusion of the extensive (and expensive) focus group report that Justin Teng commissioned into public perceptions of the Praetorians. The report had a point: professionals like Saul Linklater, Miguel Estebano, Grissom and Kaspar Danko might get the job done, but they didn't exactly fit the San Paro citizens' militia image that Teng's marketing people were keen to project for the organisation. Hea Choi's presence in the senior command structure did a lot to allay people's concerns about having a private vigilante army on the city streets, but wasn't as if anyone was going to be spotting her riding shotgun in a patrol car cruising down Heston Boulevard or standing guard with an assault rifle outside San Paro Cathedral's evening service anytime soon.
What was needed, the marketing people decided, were less police and military regulation crewcuts, and more regular cits. What they got surprised everyone.
San Paro's rich college kid class are used to taking gap years from their courses, or taking time out for a year or two between graduation and the terms of their trust funds finally coming to an end. Traditionally, they spent this time bumming round Europe, finding themselves in an ashram in Goa (all major credit cards accepted) or headed off to some corner of the developing world to teach the locals how to dig a well or do HTML. International travel's not so popular right now, and most of the developing world is trying to kill each other - or anyone else that comes within range - so do-gooder college kids looking to fill those blank spots on their CVs have to find something else to do.
Much to everyone's surprise, it became fashionable for them to join up with the Praetorians. Makes sense when you think about it, though. These kids are going to be running San Paro in a generation or two's time, so all they're really doing is protecting their own future investment. Plus, with most of the major Havalynd corporations bankrolling Justin Teng's big idea, a CV showing a semester or two's tour of duty with the Praetorians isn't going to hurt any when it comes to job interviews with those same big corporations.
And, hey, when your shift's over at the end of the day you can still go partying at the latest hotspot club at the Needles. Sure can't do that in the Peace Corps.
Eva Orlandez is typical of this new wave of regular cits joining the Praetorians. Well, 'regular', if regular means growing up in a $5 million duplex apartment overlooking Central Park, and having a father who's chief legal attorney for Wilk-Pastor Media. Ask her why she joined the Praetorians and she'll give you the yearbook answer about wanting to give something back to the community, and how it's important for all San Parons to pull together and see out the current crisis. Mostly, though, she did it because it sounded like fun (and the cute guy at the recruitment office promised her that nice college girls like her don't have to do any of the actual dangerous stuff...) and because she knew it would really annoy her parents.
She likes it, though. The training was cool - the recruitment guy kinda lied; you do get shot at, but now she knows how to shoot back - and she gets to hang out with a whole bunch of people that she never would have met before ('Waitress class' people, as her mother would sneeringly call them) and see parts of the city that she barely even knew existed before. And, she has a whole collection of really cool stories to tell her friends when she meets up with them in those hotspot clubs at the Needles.
Plus - and she knows it's corny, but she thinks it anyway - you really do get to feel that you're doing something good for people, and for the city. Her tour's up the end of next month, when the college year starts again, but she's seriously thinking about re-upping for at least another semester, or dropping out and going full-time with the Praetorians, at least for a year or two.
Her parents are going to freak, but she's pretty sure that's what she wants to do.