Metro Parks Commissioner Robert Krieger
A gaunt, intense, meticulously dressed man, Krieger believes that Something is trying to enter Tacoma through its green spaces.
Back in the good old days, Tacoma’s Metro Parks Commissioner worked to ensure that Tacoma’s public parks were clean, beautiful, well-maintained places where citizens could enjoy nature in the midst of the city, and the community could gather for festive events.
Robert Krieger does not see his role in this way. To Krieger, bringing “nature” into the city means allowing in something fundamentally wild and uncontrollable, except through constant effort and vigilance. In another era, that just meant policing the rodent population and dealing with overgrown blackberry bushes. In the Aeon War, maybe that means ensuring that Wright Park doesn’t become a nexus for the cult of the Black Goat of the Woods, or that the Deep Ones aren’t planning to use Point Defiance as a beachhead for an invasion.
Krieger is frustrated that other city officials don’t take his concerns as seriously as he thinks they should, and that his department is stretched so thin trying to cover that many locations. He brings up the War at every meeting of city officials and asks for more personnel and equipment. When the Mayor explains yet again that there isn’t room in the budget for hiring and purchases, he bluntly says they should be transferred from other, less essential departments — meaning every other department.
Krieger’s obsession with the War and his perceived role in it makes other city officials nervous. But they have to deal with him for now.
His staff is divided between those who are as grimly committed to his mission as he is, and those who think he’s a crank and find it sort of ridiculous that they’re on armed patrol instead of trimming hedges. But his competence and dedication inspire loyalty in nearly all of them.
Few outside Metro Parks Tacoma know that Krieger has his own intelligence network consisting of homeless men and women who keep him informed on what happens in and around the parks, and anarchist hermits who report in from the woods surrounding the city.
Krieger’s wife Sally, to whom he is intensely devoted, suffers from lupus and is rarely able to attend public events. Their son Robert Jr. (“R.J.”) attends the University of Washington where he studies oceanography.
Is Krieger the one man in Tacoma’s government who sees the situation clearly? Or is he genuinely nuts?