I'm still a little unsure of Hemelshot. In the 10 years after story Reflections I wrote at the end of Shadows Angelus, things were reasonably bright—the city was doing well, industry was on the rise, it didn't rain as often and there were chirping birds in the park. The more Blade Runner feel I've been picking up from the histories & essays make me think that Hemelshot would be a bit darker as well. He's already proven he'll compromise his morals to get the job done—let's run with that.

I really don't want to give Ross the opportunity to dump on Hemelshot yet again, but I can see Hemelshot's rise in the business world be aided by contacts & favors about which he'd rather not talk to Carpenter.

I still see Hemelshot as taking his time in jail to get his MBA & law degrees. After that, in the turbulent political & economic world of post-Gurzie Angelus, his 'moment of perfection' in the emergency efforts would have given him an incredible number of contacts, and you can bet he'd use those to his benefit. Unfortunately, he'd need a lot more capital than just a few real-estate plots to fund his rise in the business world.

So let's give him a little less heart-to-hear contact with Carpenter and a few more shady deals. He's had contacts & offers from the Yaks before—so why not again? I can't see him becoming a Yak stooge and he's far too careful & paranoid to let them get serious blackmail material on him, so let's make him a fixer. A high-class fixer—he knows everyone, knows who needs what and who's got it available. He himself never quite breaks the law, but what the two of you do after the introduction is none of his business.

His public face is much as I wrote before—he's a successful businessman and is integral to the economic progress of the esper and Clade organizations. He's a proud father and upstanding citizen, and can meet his eyes in the mirror. His daughter has an 18 INT and knows a lot of what he does, and respects him enough such that she still wants to be kinda like him (only perhaps without the murdering people part).

He's also worked with and become known to most businesses, politios and criminal organization in the city. He's got morals—never burned a client, has turned in some crooks to the cops (partly to get 'em out of the way, partly to improve his image, and partly because they were into nasty shit like slavery), and is known to be able to get what you need.

He's a great believe in personal responsibility—a person should be free to do as they please, an it harm none, but be prepared to accept the consequences of their actions. While he doesn't do or deal drugs, he has few problems with soft, less addictive drugs (e.g. he'd deal marijuana, but not Meth). This costs him some business, but he maintains enough contact with Carpenter that he's not willing to cross certain lines. He's involved in the construction industry, though more on the side of the unions than for the big business—the union folks are local and benefitting them means they're willing to help him later, while helping the corp just gets cash.

As for his old teammates, he sees Carpenter on a regular basis, though in recent years for shorter and more inconsequential conversations. Brogan is a good friend that sometimes drops by, though their worlds have little common ground anymore. They go to the firing range then a beer joint, mostly.

Hemelshot and Karuk worked together quite a bit in the establishment of IOTA, then less once the school was formed, Hemelshot had his connections and Lorraine's future was secured. Hemelshot is a significant player in exporting esper technology to the world, and maintaining their intellectual property rights. It's rumored, very quietly, that Hemelshot has lead raids against overseas factories that impinge upon Angelus companies. True or not, there's a lot of respect for his work.

Similarly, Hemelshot has been instrumental in trying to establish law & order in the Clade nation. He's been much less successful, but has maintained connections with both Angelus and Clade law enforcement personnel. His rapport with Tyger is mostly professional, though he does join in with Brogan at the range & beer joints.

Renuka sees him on a semi-regular basis at political and law-enforcement events, and they're cordial—she knows a good deal of what he's up to. While it's never enough to bring him in, and he's helped her more than once, she knows he's not entirely on the right side of the law anymore. Still, they remain friends and occasional allies.

Hemelshot has 10 points of money and could go to 15 if he had fewer morals, contacts & favors out the yin-yang, and heavy bioware (he's paranoid and maintains his combat capabilities). He's probably got henchmen and a brute squad to call upon, too—probably retired cops & paramilitary troopers. Like I said—law-abiding folks, but not too law-abiding.

He's also still running for coordinator. He lost this time, and if he was willing to commit himself to certain deal he could well win next time—but he's still got a hold of those pesky ethics. He'll probably lose, then, but at least the time after that when he does win, he won't have special interests around his neck.

He knows he's walking a fine line here, with quasi-legal business deals and his interaction with the criminal world. He's still very moral—to a certain definition of morality, one that doesn't always stay within the law. I don't see him as an evil criminal who'll evict orphans and old ladies, but he might have them forcibly moved to better housing to make way for an industrial complex. I figure he was Lawful Good moving to Neutral Good in the campaign, and over the years he's moved into True Neutral with Neutral Evil tendencies.

Ross, I'm giving you the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, here. Carpenter is very much Hemelshot's moral compass, and if something happens to Carpenter, then Hemelshot could well sink further into organized crime and move from being a fixer to an active player. heh Can anyone else foresee a father-daughter confrontation?

I figure if Hemelshot's going to be a successful businessman, he should own a couple of successful businesses. Let's have him own:

1) Atlas Shrugged (It Off): a biotech company that specializes in subdermal armor and nanotech skinweave procedures. Relatively small but contracted to both APD and Clade nation to provide protection to law-enforcement agencies at a hefty discount.

Note: Their skinweave and nano-machine reconstruction techniques have medical applications , mainly reconstructive surgery. It's too slow for trauma applications (e.g. damage reduction), but it's fine for giving folks a new face. Which is of dubious legality. If they admitted they did it, that is. Which they don't.

2) The Mind's Eye: an information brokerage—corporate counterespionage, data management, archive security and the like. While other firms may have better programmers, TME is perhaps the best in data protection—hardware cutouts, physical access security, firewall & software protections, etc. Part of TME's security is the destruction of the data if they can't prevent it's loss. This is done by micro-explosives in the computers (if the disk drive spins up during off-peak hours, it implodes) or data disks (triggered by proximity sensors—if the disk leaves the building or courier, it melts). An R&D branch is working on military applications of injectable nano-explosives.

Note: Hemelshot and Hal are partners in this. Hemelshot benefits from Hal's capabilities, and in return provides security for Hal's body as well as presses forward that AIs-are-citizens legislation. It might be another decade to pass into law, but Hal's patient. It's not like he's in a ticking time-bomb of a meatbag, after all.

3) Shield & Sword: a security and bodyguard company. Building on Hemelshot's reputation as never burning a client, the S&S personnel take oaths to their clients, actively forswearing loyalty to the company. A bit dramatic and over-the-top, perhaps, but a highly selective hiring, training & physiological profiling procedures guarantee that they're among the best in the city. Virtually everyone is ex-law enforcement or ex military (immigrants), and while they don't have a perfect record (nobody does), it's very impressive.

Note: While very good at maintaining security, they're also very good at breaking it. They're rumored to have done preemptive counterespionage ("Hit them back first."), involuntary job relocation (aka corporate headhunting), destruction of property (e.g. blowing up that overseas factory that was stealing Angelus' intellectual property) and other Robin Hood-esque jobs.

They do not do assassinations (and have turned on clients who request it), they never leave men behind (there are no "expendable assets"), and they make a serious effort to keep collateral damage to a minimum.

Note: Hemelshot is an active participant in the training program. He maintains his personal capabilities, still carries a plasma lance and has been known to go on some of the overseas operations.

While maintaining their corporate separation, Hemelshot's companies (these and others) work together on a regular basis—for example, Atlas Shrugged provides much of the S&S bio-armor, S&S takes contracts from TME for site security, and so on. Hemelshot's big on not trusting outsiders to get the job done right, and he treats his people well—partly in order to increase productivity and party to insure the don't betray him or leave for a rival.