With the bankruptcy and dissolution of public government, policing and protection have fallen to the security forces of the companies that own the land on which people live. Most companies have draconian security policies: in the most important areas the security forces are ruthlessly efficient, while in the streets and regions unused by the company their security forces might never be seen. This vacuum has led to the formation of many small ad-hoc police groups to protect themselves and their communities. These ad-hoc police are often poor and badly underequipped, and may be all but helpless against the gangs that own the unpatrolled darkened stretches of every city.

In such an environment, body armor and personal weapons are popular and pricey. Light armored coats and concealable pistols are commonplace for those travelling outside the zones patrolled by corporate security, but heavier gear tends to be too costly and too obvious a draw for potential thieves and for nervous security guards.

Bodyguards are thus a highly-prized commodity, and those who are skillful and alert enough to do the job well can command terrifically lucrative contracts. The job is dangerous enough, however, that few would-be professional bodyguards last long in the profession. Most either are killed or incapacitated, or they slip and fail to protect their charge. Either way, it takes only one bad mistake to end such a career.