I’ve been mulling it over, and I think the DEx comic should be part of the Soldiers timeline. I’m currently trying to find artists to work with me. This is the current version of the ‘Bible’ for the series that I’m sending out to them-
The near future. As certain aspects of criminal behaviour became more specialised and technical, it was realised that Police forces couldn’t afford to keep training officers in exotic specialisations. The answer was quite radical- forces could draft in experts to work alongside regular officers and these Deputised Experts would have limited Police powers. This system was also used to cleverly slip through plans to privatise forensic and scene of crime teams. DEx concentrates on a bunch of Manchester based Experts and their Police handlers.
DEx is a team book in the same way as TV programs such as NYPD Blue and ER are team shows- the characters work together and interact regularly but don’t ‘team up’ in the old superhero style. This allows for a flexibility of focus, multiple viewpoints and many more potential stories.
Some of the characters-
Thomas Irwin Baker– (age 32) a former MI6 intelligence analyst who was pensioned out of the secret service after being injured in the field (possibly by friendly fire, he won’t tell all at first). An expert on terrorism and international arms smuggling. Tom has a number of secrets that will be explored as the series progresses. He claims, rightly, to have spent most of his career behind a desk. However, he took every course available and was taught hand to hand combat by an ex-SAS trainer, as well as learning other tricks of traditional spycraft.
Tom�s parents died several years ago. Using his analytical skills (and very carefully avoiding acting upon any information he received in a professional capacity) he managed to turn his inheritance into a small fortune. With this and the golden parachute he got from MI6, he doesn�t really need to work any more. However, as well as his DEx work he is also writing a history of the intelligence services and some fiction based upon his experiences.
As he is still at risk of attack, possibly even from some of his former colleagues, Tom is authorised to carry a gun.
DC Kay Wood– (age 28) Seconded to Manchester’s guns task force as Tom’s handler. A bright fast track officer, Kay is fascinated by Tom but worried that her association with such an unpredictable character may not help her career development.
The Special Scientific Unit– A specialist, privately run DEx outfit providing scene of the crime and forensic analysis. There are several shifts to the SSU�s coverage, but, for the start anyway, we�ll concentrate on the crews of one shift. The mobile labs are named as Mobile 1 and Mobile 2 (not very imaginative I know).
James– (age 24) Medical school dropout who is doing �the forensic thing� to keep his hand in because he�s still in two minds about going back and becoming a doctor. James� father is a GP and, despite the fact that it�s been a couple of years, is still angry with his son for not following him into the profession.
Robert– (age 36) A jack- of- all- trades with a technical background. Robert spent a couple of years in America working for a start up during the Internet bubble. He was never worth a million, but was quite rich in stock before the company crashed and burned. After a year off, he returned to Britain and downshifted, going through a bunch of jobs before ending up with this one.
Gloria– (age 26) Graduate with a technical background. Gloria did a second degree with a forensic leaning and ended up being head hunted to the team because of her high scores. She has a troubled past, hinted at early on then drawn out as the series progresses. When she was ten Gloria was in a car with her mother when they were involved in an accident. They were trapped and, whilst they waited for help to arrive, Gloria had to watch her mother die. The trauma has stayed with her and, over the years, manifested itself in a variety of ways- for a brief period she cut herself. Her relationship with her father is strained, they love each other but don�t seem able to communicate. Gloria is a tall, skinny (as opposed to slim) black girl, physically as near as possible to the exact opposite of her partner in Mobile 2.
Tracy– (age 32) Short, blonde, nicely rounded. Tracy is a former nurse who took this job because it is far better paying. Her husband is a teacher, they have a three year old son. Tracy is the most balanced member of the shift and occasionally mothers them, even Robert, despite his being older than her.
The Special Scientific Unit�s mobile labs are well stocked with equipment which is all wirelessly networked. A team can photograph and digitally map a crime scene, using laser range finders and pointers to map the trajectories of bullets (early in the first storyline, Gloria finds a hidden arms cache by mapping the dimensions of a flat�s rooms and noticing a discrepancy.)
The mobile units can send data back to base almost as quickly as they can gather it, using a network working off low orbit satellites. The company that runs the SSUs is tied to a technology conglomerate and gets beta versions of all the best toys.
Technology has moved on for the Police as well. Patrol officers have PDAs to log details of crimes etc. and send them back to the Police station, where they can be checked against other reports for pattern recognition. This sounds a bit like America�s Total Information Awareness system, so I might run some stories that work with the similarity.
Daniel Warton– (age 24) Computer whiz kid and DEx, who also does some work for the Special Scientific Unit. Daniel lives in the ultimate geek house with a bunch of his friends from University. They are all doing contract work, but the pay is good enough to offset the lack of stability. Dan�s the only one who works for The Man. His flatmates are available for comedy interludes and counterpoints to his DEx work. His parents split up several years ago. Whilst he doesn�t talk to his father any more, his mother visits regularly to clean up after the boys.
I see a relationship developing between Gloria and Daniel, a sweet little love story to thread in and around the other action.
There are also a full complement of detectives, beat cops, criminals, reporters etc who I’ll pad out in a later draft.