Dramatis Personae IV: SPARK Security

At the top of the SPARK Security food chain sits Jeffrey Hodgins. He’s most commonly called “Hodge” by those close to him. HVH needed personal protection, so he went headhunting at the US Secret Service – those charged with protecting the President. He found Hodgins and managed to lure him away. Hodgins originally was the bodyguard for HVH and eventually became head of Security and Hecker Van Horne’s most trusted colleague.

He’s big and just starting to look like he’s carrying some extra weight around the middle. After watching a bald patch on the top of his head expand to the point that he thought he looked like a monk, he started shaving his scalp and grew a goatee. Some white has started creeping into his beard to the point that it’s as much salt as pepper now. Hodge has a deep, booming voice and tends to speak louder than necessary.

Think of Dennis Haysbert – but bald – for Hodgins

Earl Eugene Bullard is a US Marine Staff Sergeant who was medically retired after a landmine shredded his legs in Korea II. He mostly recovered but carries significant scars and a permanent limp. Here’s a bit of his back story from Draft 3 that ended up being cut:

With a last name like Bullard, the nickname come automatically. In third grade it had been teasing, “Bull Head,” the bigger kids had called him. By fourth grade, the teasing had stopped. Calling him Bull was fine. Calling him Bull Head to his face began a process that ended unpleasantly for the name caller. Often it ended with Bull pushing their face into the nearest toilet. Teachers affectionately called him Ferdinand when they were in the Teacher’s Lounge, or away from work. He was peaceful until provoked, just like Ferdinand the Bull from the kid’s story. You didn’t want to be the one that stung him. 

When they heard he was involved in a fight, they reacted more slowly than they would for other kids. If Bull was fighting, they reasoned, the other kid deserved it. Bull was not the brightest kid in the grade, but he was always respectful of the teachers. Having Bull in your class meant fewer disciplinary problems overall. Somehow his presence and attitude helped other kids “get their minds right.” They were sorry to see him move on to middle school. When they heard that he had enlisted in the Marine Corps immediately after graduating from high school, no one was surprised. They just smiled and nodded. It was a good fit. When people thought fondly of Marines, they were thinking of Marines like Bull.

When I wrote his character, I thought of J.J. Watt, former Defensive End for the Houston Texans. A guy with an easy smile who can turn serious in a second. He’s a good friend of Taggert.

J.J. Watt

Taggert runs the Security monitoring hub inside SPARK. He lost both his legs just above the knee to the same land mine that got Bull. He rejected prosthetics, or they might have rejected him, and insists on propelling himself through life in a manual wheelchair. He’s a serious, prickly guy that is hard to get close to. He probably has a first and middle name, it’s just that no one knows it. When he’s not at SPARK, you can find him playing wheelchair rugby.

Wheelchair rugby is not for wimps

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