May 25th 2016
If you’re looking for merc news from an independent perspective, then you, my friend, have come to the right place. My name is Conva Maynard and this is OP.NET, the best non-guild show on the spectrum, as officially declared by Hot Swap in their 2946 reader poll that was released this month. It is a great honor, so thanks to all of you who supported us and who have continued to support the work we’ve done over the years. All of us on the show really believe in what we’re doing, so it’s nice to see that you all appreciate it too. By keeping OP.NET one hundred percent unaffiliated with the Mercenary Guild, we have always been able to bring you one hundred percent unbiased insights into what I consider to be one of the most difficult professions out there.
Don’t let me saying that scare you too much. I know there are some of you right now who aren’t on the chit yet, but might be checking this show out to help you decide whether this career is for you or not. That was one of the surprising things I learned when I took over – geez, must be close to two years going by now – that our audience isn’t only grizzled vets looking for the dig on the latest splatter or how this tac-display performs against that one, it’s people who are trying to get a glimpse at what it means to be a professional soldier for hire.
So to all you hopefuls, I say, yeah, it’s a hard job, but I wouldn’t even think for a second about doing anything else. Mercenaries make a difference, plain and simple. Our guest today, Karri Piñero, is a great example of that.
Now, I was supposed to dive into some gear reviews first, but that transition is too good to pass up. What do you say, Skiv? Can we save your scatterguns till the end of the show and bring out Karri instead? Skiv’s giving me the big go ahead, so let’s do it. Being a merc’s about being able to adjust on the fly, right?
Karri, welcome to OP.NET.
KARRI PIÑERO: Thanks for inviting me, Conva. I have to let you know that I was actually one of those people who used to follow OP.NET long before I joined the guild. It’s pretty exciting to finally be on this end of things.
Exciting for us as well. I’m sure a lot of you probably know her already, but Karri is one of – if not the top personal security expert working today. She’s handled all sorts of jobs, ranging from protecting research scientists in red zones to helping homesteaders in less than hospitable systems. Most recently, Karri was head of security for freshman Senator-elect Sean Debinavi during this last election cycle. Before we get into that, Karri, I was hoping you could tell us a bit about how you ended up specializing in personal security?
KARRI PIÑERO: I’m not sure it was ever a conscious choice. I started off grabbing whatever jobs I could; personal security just wound up being what I was good at.
Well then, different question. Why do you think you’re so good at it?
KARRI PIÑERO: There’s a lot of similarities with other protection contracts, but it’s really the amount of on-the-job waiting that makes it a different sort of beast. I’ve always had a knack for being able to keep my brain focused. Probably thanks to my grandma passing on her love of fishing.
I can see that coming in handy. Long stretches of quiet followed by a few moments of excitement.
KARRI PIÑERO: And a lot of times they both end with something flopping around on the ground. But yeah, with a lot of the jobs you get on the boards, you know you’re getting hired to see some action. On one hand, while there’s a lot more risk, when you know you’re going to hit the ground running, you can take that energy and use it. Actually, a lot of people think that because in personal security you might not actually have to do any fighting, that it’s a cushier job. It’s often the opposite, though. Missions where you go weeks without any sign of hostiles give you more time to relax, and relaxed means sloppy. At the end of the day, that lower rate of running into trouble is what can make it so much more dangerous.
Makes sense. I remember a job I had escorting a cargo ship. Job wasn’t over till it was unloaded, but a worker strike meant the damn thing was stuck on a pad for three days with us twiddling our thumbs. First day, we were pulling patrols every hour, but I’ll admit by the third we might have been a little too wrapped up in that game of trigger. Caught us completely off guard when the shooting finally did start. Definitely thought twice about playing cards on a job after that.
KARRI PIÑERO: When you’re guarding someone, the best possible situation is that nothing happens, and that can be hard for some in our line of work to take. It’s a big win though if I can get to the end of a contract without firing a single shot. For example, that was thankfully the case with my last assignment guarding Senator-elect Debinavi.
Glad you brought it up, I’ve been wanting to hear more about this. I’ve never had a chance to guard a VIP personally.
KARRI PIÑERO: Because you are one now?
Exactly! So with guarding Debinavi, aside from staying focused, what would you say was the most difficult part of that assignment?
KARRI PIÑERO: In all honestly it was probably having to interface with the Advocacy who were guarding Senator Polo … or former Senator, I should say.
Oh yeah, dealing with law enforcement brings its own host of problems doesn’t it?
KARRI PIÑERO: It can vary a lot depending on the Agents you interface with. Most of them understand that we’re all on the same side, but sometimes it can be like trying to dance with someone who’s listening to different music. Everytime Polo and Debinavi had an appearance together, the Advocacy team assigned to Polo wanted a plan from us showing which route we’d be taking. I get why that would be helpful for them to have, but declaring a route like that and then distributing it, even to law officials, is a big safety no-no. I’d say about a third of the time we deal with trouble it’s en route to or from a location that the client is known to be visiting. We eventually were able to come to a compromise that ensured Debinavi’s safety.
Actually, why don’t you hold on to that solution for just a minute. We can use it as a little bit of a cliffhanger to bring everyone back after this break.
KARRI PIÑERO: All right.
We’ve got take a brief moment to hear from our sponsor CDS, but when we come back, more insights from Karri Piñero on interfacing with the Advocacy and our latest scattergun review where Skiv gets hands on with the Pyroblast. All that and more coming up on OP.NET.