> Guardians

Written by D^Knight

      In the 25th century, humankind has spread into space. Not the stars, though; the final frontier for humankind this time is cyberspace. What followed after has been chronicled by hands more skilled than mine, so I will not dwell on that. As with all colonization efforts, we needed a law enforcement agency, empowered to protect the innocent and keep the peace. This was provided by a sprite agency, then already in existence: The Guardians.
      The Guardians were an elite group of sprites, trained in the Guardian Academy, located in the Supercomputer, or what we now know as the former Microsoft Building. After their training was complete, they were each assigned to a system, where their job was to protect the system from viruses or other threats to the citizens' safety.
      The best were given a device known as a Keytool, which is a predecessor of our own modern keytools. The keytools of those bygone Guardians had much more functions than ours, though, as well as being partly sentient, and thus they consumed much more power.
      By the time the humans and the Anthros joined the ranks of the sprite Guardians, however, the organization had fallen into obscurity. The World Council planned to revive the flagging morale of the Guardians by introducing a new structure for the Guardian organization.
      Every new recruit, as well as the old Guardians, were given a keytool. This is the scaled-down version which we have today, and it essentially serves as a mini-utility belt of sorts. The one-Guardian-per-system practice was abolished, and in its place was a sort of patrolling corps, which bore a resemblance to the police officers of Old Earth. The duties of the Guardians were also much the same as Earth police officers, with the Guardian Academy being the "central police station".
      The heirarchy of the Guardians is as follows: The average Guardian answers mainly to his or her squad leader. The number of individuals in a squad can vary greatly, ranging from two or three to more than a hundred. The squad leader is chosen by the Guardians in a squad, and the squad leader is the one who names the squad; be it "Rasagun's Guard", or simply "105th Squad". At any time, members from one squad can break off to form another squad, provided one of the new squad members is at least a lieutenant.
      The squad leader, in turn, answers to the Coordinator of the squad's area of operations. The Coordinator usually controls several hundred individuals, and at least five squads. The size of the area of operations may vary, though, depending on the size of the squads. To be a Coordinator, the Guardian must first go through a trial period of five months. If the Guardian manages to prove that he or she can make it, the Guardian is immediately given a promotion to Captain.
      Next up in the heirarchy is the Operations Manager. The OM takes care of any and all situations which may arise, and is also the one who gives orders to the various Coordinators under his or her command. There are currently twelve Operations Managers at present, and a Guardian must have at least ten recommendations by his or her commanding officers before the Guardian is even taken into consideration. The applicant must also be free of any black marks on his or her record, and constant surveillance is performed during the trial period of three months. The newly appointed Operations Manager can enjoy the rank of Major.
      Last, but certainly not least, is the Prime Guardian. The Prime Guardian is elected by a vote of all the Guardians, and a vote is taken whenever the present Prime Guardian wishes to resign. The Prime Guardian is in charge of everything pertaining to the Guardians, and is required to sit in at Council meetings as the Guardians' representative. The Prime Guardian himself answers to the World Council, and looks after the interests of the Guardians. There is no trial period for the post of Prime Guardian, and the Prime Guardian is simply referred to as Prime. The current Prime Guardian is Prime Maximillian Jennings, a human.
      The Guardian Academy accepts all races, and racism is not tolerated in the Academy. Each cadet goes through a three year training program, and at the end of the program, the cadets are tested in a virtual reality simulator.* Those who pass become fully-fledged Guardians, and are assigned to a squad; the rest are either assigned to other posts, or can ask for a retest.
      Other posts in the Guardian include Archivist, who keeps track of all the various squad insignia and suchlike, and the administrative staff, who assign the cadets to their squads and take care of everyday business.
      The Guardians are the law enforcement officers of the present day; they are empowered in the same way as those bygone police officers of Old Earth. Although they may not be as glorified as the old sprite Guardians, they can at least get the job done, and they do it well.

Also see V.E.C.

- Excerpt from "Information about the Guardians and the Guardian Academy", by Archivist John Connelly (Net Times magazine, November 2584)

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