This week in The Lightstream Chronicles online graphic novel and web comic, we meet Detective James John (Jack) Guren. Yeah, he looks a little like Jason Statham. The best description for Jack is hard ass. He is smart, rugged, capable, and full of attitude. From Australian New Asia, Jack was born into a military family. His father Frank was a professional soldier who worked for Backbone Corporation, a New Asian government-funded military contractor. He and his fraternal twin Jake spent their childhood adjusting to their parent’s frequent relocations around the world. At age 15, the brothers asked to be enrolled in the New Asia Military Academy in Brisbane where they graduated with honors. Jack went on to National Taipei University to study synthetic criminology and Jake joined the New Asia Military special ops. After two tours, Jake took an honorable discharge but had trouble adjusting to civilian life. A couple of years later he just dropped off the grid. Jack has not seen or heard from him in almost 20 years.
After an advanced degree in synth crime, Jack joined the New Asia Police Academy and then the Hong Kong 2 Police. He was instrumental in busting a synth ring known as The Ranch, the largest bust of its kind. Jack uncovered nearly 150 reprogrammed (twisted) synths, and more than 30 human hostages who were used to record deviant experiences (headjackings). The experiences were sold on the black market. For his work on the case and wounds received during the bust, Jack received the Chancellor’s Medal of Valor. The following year, he was appointed to the Chancellor’s Task Force on Synth Crime.
Hopeful that his new appointment would enable him to cut through the oppressive government bureaucracy and make a significant dent in synth crime, Guren began challenging many of the government officials that he saw turning a blind eye to the lucrative black market in experience trading. His efforts, however, met with repeated obstructions, including magisterial reprimands. Multiple investigations turned into dead ends. As a result, Detective Guren has become increasingly embittered and cynical. His frustration is multiplied by his latest investigation: a series of rape/headjackings in DownTown, all of which conveniently occurred during strategic mesh outages, free of any surveillance. Guren’s investigation has remained unsolved for more than 200 days, making it the longest unsolved crime spree in recent memory.
The victims were males between the ages of 16 and 20 and all were fatally headjacked. More on headjackings here. While the rape death of a DownTown street-teen is not unusual, these seem more insidious and devised. Sean Colbert’s attack, which bears many of the same characteristics, marks the twelfth unsolved incident. Detective Guren is at the crossroads of apathy and rage.
Another unique attribute to Detective Guren is the fact that he is an ager. This is the term given to people who opt out of genetic manipulation to prolong their life indefinitely. In other words, at 38, Detective Jack Guren is aging and on track to die in what might be considered a blink of an eye in a society where most people opt to live indefinitely.