We’re sat in a warm, comfortable room in a small hotel. I’ve no idea whether we’re close to The Manse, the Headquarters of the Guardians, or not, and there’d be no point asking my reluctant guest. And yes, he really is reluctant. If the Director hadn’t ordered him to co-operate, he wouldn’t be here and none of the following would ever be known. Fortunately, the Director recognises the value of creating a biographical record of his people, though none of the most sensitive information will be known for a very long time.
So, let me introduce you to Matt Carter, Co-leader of G1, the elite team of the Guardians. He doesn’t strike you as a particularly imposing individual, and he has a way of sitting that shuts people out, but I have a job to do. So I’ll ignore the scowls and growls and simply set down the conversation…
*[EDITED FOR GENERAL DISSEMINATION – ALL CLASSIFIED MATERIAL REMOVED BY ORDER OF THE MINISTRY]*
Thank you for meeting me here, Mr Carter. Let’s begin with your earliest years, shall we?
Sure, I guess that’s obvious. I was born Matthew Thomas Carter, back in 1930. That meant growing up during the Second World War. My family lived in Aldershot, my father being a career soldier. He was an NCO, training officers. Well, he was until he was killed in an accident. I’ll admit that I was a bruiser at school – no, not a bully! I just didn’t let other kids walk over me. I was good at sports, the more physical the better. I wasn’t so hot on the academic stuff. Truth be told, my mother and an uncle taught me so much, the school was behind me on that score. And I’m not bragging or claiming to be some intellectual giant. I just took to teaching outside school better than the rigid stuff in school. When I left school, I caught a peek at my leaving report. It said I ‘owned a wasted intelligence’. That shows how useless they were.
What did you do when you left school, then?
There was only one thing I wanted to do. You could, back then, too. No nonsense about having paper qualifications. I enlisted in the Army. I loved it! Ended up serving the maximum, like my father had planned on doing. I made Sergeant, but got stuck there. A couple of brief periods as CSM, but I didn’t always do well with the officers.
You’re known to enjoy significant longevity. How did that impact on you at that time?
Well, there are ways to disappear from the System. Always have been. I was retired out but changed my name, moved to another part of the country, and enlisted again. Things were a bit slack then. That’s how I ended up getting married. Then a dirty little war kicked off, I was posted, and off I went. When I got back, my wife had run off with some salesman. Good riddance. We didn’t have any kids or it might have been different. There were a few more of the brushfire wars. Barely deserved the name ‘wars’, really. Good times, though, with some damn good men. Lost a few. Eventually, of course, I got to too many years and had to retire again.
Can you give us a ‘potted’ view of the years that followed?
I guess so. I moved on and ended up joining the Royal Marines. I married again, then the Falklands War erupted. (His eyes cloud over and he says nothing for a long time.) When that was over, so was my second marriage. My fault this time. I didn’t take Civvy Street so well. Still no kids, and that was an issue for her, too. I pressured my way into the Royal Marine Commandos. I was running a bit of a death wish, really. That was until I met Ellen. God, she was something! Ellen Margaret MacDonald. Well, we married and it really clicked this time. We ended up with five kids – three boys and a couple of girls. Lucky little blighters, all took after their mother. As the years ticked over, I found ways of looking as if I was getting older, just like Ellen was. When she died, it almost broke me. But that was just before the Second Korean War. That was a filthy war, and too many died in it, mostly from dirty bombs and such. I hated that one, but it kept losing Ellen out of my head. I lost myself for a long time, and lost the kids in the process. I never saw them again.
You mentioned, when you joined the Guardians, that the European Experiment was involved. How so?
Well, you’re too young to know, of course. After KW2, the USA got heavy, worrying about their security. They basically took everything in and around the Pacific. The Act of Union between the US and Canada came at about the same time, and then Central America was absorbed, and the Caribbean islands. One almighty empire. Europe got scared. With all that weight, the Americans could rule the whole world. So they decided to try and copy the idea. Idiots! Western Europe was just creeping out of a bad run, economically. Now they added all the Eastern states, including Russia and half of the old Soviet Union. They even snapped up states bordering Turkey, and some along the North African coast. They consolidated all the armed forces and then tore them apart by dumping thousands – mostly those with high salaries, of course. We were just kicked out. Of course, the whole thing fell apart, because there wasn’t enough money or resources. A few conflicts in the Middle East, when Europe tried to grab the oil fields, saw the European forces soundly beaten. The whole thing just collapsed, leaving nothing but a mess. I, and most people like me, was as bitter as you could get. It was about then that I was contacted on the quiet about the Guardians.
*[ALL DETAILS ON MISSIONS FOR OR OTHER ACTIVITIES WITHIN THE GUARDIANS ARE CLASSIFIED. TEXT TERMINATED.]*
The books: Shade of Evil, Evil Under The Circle and The Sigil of Ahriman.