Background to”G1: The Guardians” #6

Sub-Continental Nations Defence Union (SCNDU)

The negotiations which ultimately led to the establishment of SCNDU were extremely protracted, with the plenipotentiaries* involved being changed several times, especially by India and Pakistan, whose long history of enmity almost proved too great a stumbling block.  However, the invasion of Tajikistan two years into the process focussed minds on reaching a Treaty with minimal further delay.  In fact, the announcement that the Treaty of Lalitpur had been signed and ratified by all concerned nations shocked the world, who had been convinced that no agreement could ever be reached.

SCNDU comprises India and Pakistan (the ‘superpowers’), together with Bangladesh, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and several other small countries.  Each contributes a single Delegate to the Great Council, a  top ranking military officer to the Defence Committee, and a top ranking police officer to the Internal Security Committee.  In the event of an external threat, the Great Council consults with the Defence Committee until such time as military operations become unavoidable.  If such military action becomes necessary, the Internal Security Committee becomes an active adjunct to the Defence Committee.  Since creation, no such emergencies have occurred, which is seen as validation of SCNDU.

* Plenipotentiaries were used due to lack of genuinely secure communications.  The Delegates to the Great Council also hold plenipotentiary status.

Global Council of Nations (GCN)

The successor to the United Nations, which proved ever more ineffective in a rapidly changing world, particularly with the bias towards countries no longer of great significance politically or militarily.  The power of veto enjoyed by such powers led to a mass resignation of members, who established the GCN instead.  With no other option open to them, the veto holders terminated the United Nations and eventually applied for membership of the GCN.

The structure of the GCN is less convoluted and relies far less on administration than on action.  While the GCN will act as arbitrators in international disputes, they refuse to maintain military or paramilitary policing rights or duties.  They do, however, have extensive powers in dealing with criminal activities, including the power to either work with or supersede national police forces when dealing with international crimes and criminals.  The concept of extradition treaties between nations has been largely eliminated as the GCN has immediate global jurisdiction when a crime or criminal crosses national borders.  This role was a fortunate inclusion when Interpol was wrecked in the collapse of Europe some six years later.  The GCN Criminal Division consists of the Investigations Bureau and the Global Courts.  The Investigations Bureau maintains a network of offices worldwide, overt agents and covert operatives.  The Guardians maintain a close relationship with the Criminal Division, in a policy designed to minimise the risk of international difficulties, thanks to aides attached to the Ministry and the reputation of the Director.  Terrorism, drugs, and other major criminal endeavours have been severely damaged thanks to the Criminal Division.

Several international disputes which could have led to war have been successfully arbitrated by the GCN.  This success is thanks to the fact that the Arbitration Bureau is trusted by all nations.  The fact that no nation has more than a single voice in the General Council, and the GCN enjoys full financial and political autonomy has made it far more honest, with the historic excessive influence exercised by the superpowers eliminated.  Its headquartering in Switzerland has also eliminated distrust of American influence.  Committees are formed by a strictly secret ballot for membership, held within just two hours of the ballot announcement, which diminishes the risk of secret deals being made prior to voting.  Members found to be in contravention of any anti-corruption regulations are subject to exclusion from all but the obligations to the Criminal Division and to emergency relief operations.  They may reapply for membership after five years.

Global Sports Protection Federation (GSPF)

Replacing the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and numerous other international sports governing bodies, in the face of ever increasing allegations of corruption, and an increase in politically (and even partisan) motivated terror attacks on sports teams and individuals, the GSPF has proven a far more effective body.  Coordinating with the GCN’s Criminal Division has seen most terror attacks eliminated and corruption, especially involving global gambling consortia, has been almost completely crushed.  Athletes in all sports are now free to participate in their sports without fear.  That said, athletes found to be in violation of regulations governing drug use and other forms of cheating can expect to be treated extremely harshly.  The growth of enhancement technology (mostly implants created to help persons suffering disabilities) saw a brief flurry of ‘tech cheats’ but these were quickly identified and banned for life from all sports.  In addition to governing sports (including rules oversight), promotion of sports individually and collectively (such as the continuation of the Olympic Games),  and protecting athletes and sports, the GSPF also guarantees a fair income for all athletes, by subsidy where necessary.

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An Interview With Jack Pellari, Member of G1 (Dept G)

This has to be regarded as the greatest privilege barring actually obtaining an interview with the Director of the Guardians himself.  Jack Pellari alone almost equals the phenomenal powers of that great man, but the likelihood of ever obtaining an interview with Siribahta Dhal equates with becoming genuinely immortal!

I tried to persuade Jack to meet me in the same hotel setting as when I interviewed Matt Carter but he refused, being acutely shy of public places.  Instead, by special permission, we’re in a small but comfortable sitting room of a cottage.  Due to the security methods employed, I have no idea where the cottage is located.  I’m not even sure of how long it took to arrive here!

Jack is nervous, wary.  I suspect that this will prove to be a difficult interview, despite all my special training…


*[EDITED FOR GENERAL DISSEMINATION – ALL CLASSIFIED MATERIAL REMOVED BY ORDER OF THE MINISTRY]*


Thanks for agreeing to this interview, Mr Pellari.

No thanks are needed.  I’m under orders.

I see.  I apologise if that makes you uncomfortable…  Can I begin by asking when and where you were born?

‘When’, I’ll keep to myself, but it was a long time ago.  ‘Where’?  In London, in a small cluster of homes surrounded by the expanding Docklands.  It was an ugly place to live, especially if you showed any hint of difference, or strangeness.  I only had to suffer it for two years, though, as we moved away as soon as my parents could manage it.

So your talents were revealed when you were very young?

Yes.  I’m what’s referred to as a ‘Brumby’, after the wild horses of Australia, meaning a wild talent.  Most Psychs learn to hide their powers but Brumbies can’t, with their powers best described as ‘volcanic’ – erupting unbidden and often at highly inappropriate times.  I have three brothers and two sisters who  are all Psychs, but I’m the only Brumby.  I ruined all their lives.

That’s a large family.  Where do you come in the order?

I was the youngest.  Things were really hard and my mother was badly malnourished while she was pregnant with me.  In fact, I spent two weeks being cared for by a nurse and my mother was in bedridden for nearly as long, after I was born.  They thought I was unlikely to survive.

If you were a ‘Brumby’, I suppose you had to move often?

Yes, almost every year.  The last time was to a house in the middle of nowhere, up in County Durham, Healdy House.  We had hopes of being able to finally settle down there.  My siblings would go to the local school but I was registered as being what’s called ‘special needs’ now, requiring home care and unable to learn.  I was about ten.  We were there for six years when there was another incident.  I’d wandered too close to the village, about seven miles from home.  A bunch of local youths knew me from rare glimpses.  They started throwing insults, and when they didn’t work, they got physical.  I left them rolling on the ground, blubbing and clutching their heads, and ran for home.

So another move was likely?

No.  My family decided to tough it out this time.  Four of my siblings had married and gotten homes of their own, and good jobs.  My father had been hurt in an accident and couldn’t get work, so finding the money for a move would be almost impossible.  The rest of us unmarried kids were supporting the family as best we could, and my mother had established a good seamstress business locally.  When this incident happened, though, there was real fear of what would happen, especially after the village policeman visited and warned of dark consequences – especially for me.

What happened?

Well, it seems that, even way back then, Siribahta had Psychs who were constantly scanning for psychic events.  They detected the spike when I lost control.  Two days later, Siribahta himself arrived at the house!  He offered to help.  He had an academy, far away in St Osyth, down in Essex.  He said that he could sort out things with the local policeman, mollify the families of the youths, and help me learn to control my powers.  Of course, it meant I’d have to go away with him and live in St Osyth Academy.  My parents, especially my mother, were arguing against it, my siblings were less defensive.  In the end, though,I begged to be allowed to go.  I couldn’t stand the harm I was causing them all!  After half a day of it, my parents finally gave in and consented.  Siribahta  went to the village and returned the next morning.  He’d sorted it all out, but we had to be away before noon.  It was a terrible wrench, and I saw my father cry for the first time in my life.  The excitement of the adventure, though, was growing inside me.  We left a few minutes before noon.

What was the Academy like?

St Osyth Priory It was a rambling old building, full of peculiar nooks and crannies.  If I’d been younger, I would have had a wonderful time exploring it!  It wasn’t far from the ancient Priory that St Osyth is apparently famous for.  And St Osyth is close to the coast, with the option of going to the seaside (at Seawick, Jaywick or Clacton-on-Sea) or to the broad reach of the River Colne, or even down to Flag Creek or Brightlingsea Creek.  There were regular unauthorised jaunts but I only went on supervised trips to populous places, fearing an incident.  St Osyth itself was a beautiful place back then, but I’ve heard that even there has suffered over the last sixty odd years, with blockhouses being built and even some of the historic buildings being bulldozed to make way for those vile places.  I understand that there’s a District Internment Facility at Jaywick, too.  And is it true that the pier at Clacton has collapsed into the sea?  [I nod and he looks very sad.]  I hate to think what has been done to St Osyth…

Anyway, the Academy had Psych ‘Coaches’, who trained us in handling our powers, from helping to bring out borderline latencies to teaching control to us Brumbies.  It was damned hard work, too!  I remember four of the students losing it and rebelling.  They caused total havoc and three of them ran off.  That is, two ran off and one just vanished- teleported away right in front of us!  The fourth was still hurling stuff with telekinesis and was about to do some serious damage to the Coach when Siribahta appeared, though none of us noticed his arrival until he was stood right in front of the kid.  In seconds, he’d calmed her down and she was sat sobbing on the floor, with Siribahta crouched beside her, soothing her gently.  She stayed to complete not only the General Course but  graduated with honours from the Advanced Course.  She was younger than me by at least two years, but she was well ahead of me in the Academy teachings.

What happened to the ones that ran away?

One just disappeared, never to be heard of again.  Another was shot down by police about twenty years later, when he was involved in a bank robbery.  The other one had to be dealt with by G5, some twelve years ago, when he *[TEXT REMOVED FOR SECURITY REASONS]*

How long were you at the Academy?

Oh, about nine years as a student, for both General and Advanced Courses.  I then remained there as an Assistant Coach, until I was appointed as one of Siribahta’s Aides.  With more contact with the Master, I learnt much, much more.  I had been fond of him, for his rescue of me and for his unshakeable gentility and calm.  Now, I came to think of him more as my grandfather.  I confessed as much to him and it’s become a kind of standing joke for me to call him ‘Grandfather’.

When did the Academy close?

Who says it has?  During the decades of internal strife in Britain, we had to go into hiding.  The old Academy was attacked and ransacked but we had already gone.  The Academy is still active today, but I’m not about to reveal where.  Just accept that we found a safe sanctuary.

So how did you come to be a member of the Guardians?  I would have thought that you would have made an excellent teacher.

I did, too. [A flash of deep grief crosses his visage.]  I was very close to accepting a position on the Academy faculty.  Word reached me that my eldest sister, Hannah, had been killed.  I assumed it was in a riot or something.  I was very wrong.  I had my bags packed and everything when I was summoned by Siribahta.  It was then that I discovered why he was in the habit of being absent for odd periods, without explanation.  By some fluke of circumstance, Hannah and her family had moved to a small hamlet in Scotland just as a local coven of Dark Witches raised an ancient entity.  The moment the thing appeared, it detected Hannah and commanded the coven to destroy her and her children!  Hannah fought, and even tried to call for help, but she had been isolated and she wasn’t strong enough alone.  Her husband, Douglas, also fought, with mundane weapons, and even killed three of the coven, but it wasn’t enough.  The police found what was left of the family in a burnt out ruin.  I lost it then.  I started hunting for any hint of evil.  Twice, I was nearly killed.  The fact that Siribahta and his people had reacted as quickly as possible to the rise of the thing that had ordered Hannah killed, and had sent it, and the dark coven, into oblivion meant nothing.  But the rage couldn’t last forever.  I suffered a complete breakdown.  Later, I heard that Siribahta and the finest Psych healers worked on me then, healing me of the grief, the rage, everything.

Well, anyway, when Siribahta was made Director of the Guardians, it was just natural that I go with him.  The madness was gone, but some debts can never be repaid.  Besides, I opted to be a soldier rather than a teacher.

Have you ever regretted that choice?

Regretted it?  Of course, but I wouldn’t change anything.

I understand that you underwent some very special training with an unusual teacher.  Can you tell us more?

 *[ALL DETAILS ON MISSIONS FOR OR OTHER ACTIVITIES WITHIN THE GUARDIANS ARE CLASSIFIED.  TEXT TERMINATED.]*

Background to “G1: The Guardians” #5

The Life of Siribahta Dhal, Director, Dept G

Director of Department ‘G’, aka “The Guardians”

Born: Nepal, 1736

Parents: Pradhan Dhal (father) and Sirima Dhal nee Thom (mother)

Fifth son and ninth child of twelve.

In early adulthood (1752), Siribahta Dhal began training as an archer. He became a warrior for the local warlord in 1761, remaining with him until his death in 1798. Refusing the role for himself, Siribahta left Nepal and made his way south, entering Calcutta in 1803. He became a sepoy (native soldier) in the British Army almost immediately. He married Nasira Jairana in June 1815 (on the very day that the Battle of Waterloo was fought). They were to have seven children. Tragically, he lost his wife and all his children during a cholera outbreak, while he was away with an army column, suppressing unrest in northern Punjab. Grief stricken, he didn’t renew his enlistment. Also, it had become necessary for him to leave Calcutta, as his extreme longevity would soon be noticed. Continue reading

Alternate Worlds

The Voice I came across a rather odd question, recently.  I will admit that I couldn’t quite understand why it was being asked.  On reflection, perhaps I was being unfair – making assumptions based on my own ways of thinking.  The question was, in essence: how do you write alternate histories/futures?  I hope that I can put right any fault my initial reaction might have revealed.

Continue reading

Background to “G1: The Guardians” #4

AFAS: Alliance of Free Arab States

A politico-military union of Arab states with little or no (known) oil reserves.  The first reasonably harmonious alliance of such nations, established originally by Egypt, Jordan and the North African Arab states.  While supporting CANE (q.v.), they are wary of them, due to frequent eruptions of fundamentalist extremists.  An Egyptian initiative, supported by Jordan, saw the embracing of Israel as an Hamito-Semitic state.  A liberal Israeli Government made certain minor concessions with regard to the ‘Palestinian Question’, and in return received a non-aggression guarantee.  It was a master stroke, effectively removing Israel from the influence of the USNA (q.v.).  Part of the agreement has seen Israeli specialists Continue reading

Background to “G1: The Guardians” #3

G1 The Guardians Reference GuideMutual Defence Pact of Oceania (MDPO)

Beginning as a political solution to increased South Seas piracy and American expansionism in the Pacific, the MDPO has since become a military organisation.  Originally led by Australia and New Zealand, the severing of political ties has led to

a broader spectrum of staff from across Oceania, including some island nations previously outside the protection of the MDPO.  Because the military structure is no longer subject to political interference,which was often damaging to operations, income is subject to a pro rata ‘tithe’ on member nations, plus the retention of any funds seized in operations.  Additionally, prosecutions and other lawsuits brought by the MDPO Attorney General’s Department (AGD) renders funds to the organisation by the seizure of assets belonging to those found guilty in court.  it has, therefore, become an economic power capable of wielding its military arm with great effect.

One of the most critical moments in the MDPO’s existence came soon after the severance of political ties.  Following the discovery of a large oil reserve  some three hundred miles from the eastern coast of New Zealand.  The United States of North America (USNA) attempted to seize the area, but as a group of three small islands of Oceania were situated on top of the area, the MDPO acted swiftly.

Continue reading

Background to “G1: The Guardians” #2

The State of Britain: The End Of It All

Immediately following the total collapse of the fledgling Confederation of Europe (CE), many individual nations were thrown into dreadful turmoil.In Britain’s case, Scotland and Wales immediately declared themselves fully independent.  The Republic of Ireland, which had somehow come off very lightly, moved forces of army and  police into the old British Province of Northern Ireland, which had plunged into a bloody chaos.  The Irish Union (IU) was born.  On the British mainland, the sitting government was swept away, along with the system which had survived for centuries.  A new, more compact, and more accountable, Government was established.  Unfortunately, the snowball effect was in full flow and even this did nothing to stop the chaos which gripped the nation.

As violence spread unchecked, the vast Irish population of Liverpool came together and seceded from Britain, applying to join with the IU.  The request was granted, even as the ‘British’ Government met with a total lack of co-operation by its armed forces.  Decades of cuts and then the final betrayal (as the armed forces saw it) of the Nation and of themselves to the ‘European Experiment’, left, for example, just a single Army Division.  Not only were they inadequate to deal with the growing emergency, previous Governments had eroded the civil police to a pale shadow of itself.  The Government simply didn’t have enough armed resources to respond to the endemic rioting, let alone Liverpool’s secession.  When nothing happened to Liverpool, the Isle of Man also moved into a close association with the IU.

Restoration

Perhaps the unhappiest aspect of Liverpool’s secession was the forcing of those opposed to the act into what became known as the Everton Enclave.  This was, in effect, a ghetto filled with all those unwanted by the new Irish County Liverpool.  It was to be nearly seven full years before negotiations were finally concluded to permit the newly established Realm of England access via the Everton Corridor.  This corridor was achieved only by the surrender of three other towns with an Irish majority citizenry.  The political  fallout resulted in not only the sitting Government falling, but the Chief Minister (CM), Sir Arthur Pangbourne, was assassinated.  The new CM was no surprise.  Roberta Harcourt Churchill had been working on both the restoration of public order and the establishment of a strong Government.  She won a landslide victory, gaining some eighty-two per cent of the vote in an Emergency General Election.  Churchill immediately acted upon her declared manifesto.  The existing governmental services were swept away and replaced by a new structure that made oversight far easier and put an end to the endemic corruption which had plagued the services.  At the same time, recruits from around the world, all British expatriates, flooded into the Armed Forces.  Churchill’s agents had assembled these men and women during the preceding five years, promising them a far better future than the primary employment most had entered: mercenaries.  A Royal Charter was also issued, signed by Queen Margaret, which guaranteed the preservation of all the Armed Forces, with no right of Government to dictate to them on any issue.  The Armed Forces were also renamed, becoming: the Royal Guard (Land), the Royal Shield (Air) and the Royal Maritime (Navy).  Field Marshall Lord Aiden Eustace Linton was appointed as Royal Chief Martial, effectively the supreme commander with only the reigning monarch (theoretically) able to overrule or pass orders to him, and his successors.

The Churchill regime proved very effective, if often almost brutally so.  The numbers of civil police were swollen by a combination of new recruitment campaigns and the introduction of many ex-police and ex-military.  It would be a crime against Truth to say that the people were happy, but they were ready to accept the almost tyrannical Government if it meant the ending of chaos.  It also became a matter of pride when another Region (rural areas) or Municipality (urban areas) succeeded in earning the right to be placed on the Roll of Honour, held in the throne room of Windsor Palace.  Each such entry was given a symbol, which was then added to all official Royal Standards.   To achieve such honour, violence and rebel activity had to fall to below five per cent in the whole Region or Municipality.

There have been five other CMs since R H Churchill.  Her descendant, William Hartwell Churchill is the current CM.  He has begun to relax some of the draconian measures and methods employed prior to his taking office.

Throughout all of this upheaval, the Guardians have pursued their mission without hindrance, thanks to the protection afforded by an unnamed individual in government, who appears to have a talent for retaining a position of considerable influence and power whatever the political situation.

Copyright © Steve K Smy, 2013.  All rights reserved.

G1: Background Information #1

G1-1

Introduction

With the continuing growth of the G1: The Guardians series, I thought it might be fun, and of some potential interest to readers, if I gave little looks into the world as it is in that future time, and perhaps to offer an occasional potted history of some of the characters and events.  These will appear as ordinary posts but will be linked to elsewhere, so that they can be read at any time you may desire.  This will, I hope, be of some value to anybody who enjoys the books.  Every post will carry the same title with (naturally) an incrementally ascending number.

This, then, is the first such post…

==0==

Some of the Political Features of the World: The USNA

With the economic collapse of the West, or ‘First World’, looming, nations reacted in different ways.  Many, like Canada, became more insular and attempted to sever ties with the international community, in an effort to seize control of their own destinies.  Europe attempted to strengthen itself by formalising the union of the nations, in the form of the Confederation of Europe (CE), and abolishing national sovereignty in member nations.  The United States of America (US/USA) took a more aggressive approach, using their position as the sole remaining ‘superpower’ to pursue an expansionist policy, which was claimed to be a ‘necessary policy for the protection of the nation’ with the advent of the Second Korean War.

The US, following the defeat of North Korea, took power in the whole of the Korean Peninsula, excusing the act as being no different to the process applied to Japan at the end of the Second World War.  Shortly after the victory in Korea, Canada finally suffered complete economic collapse.  A bloody civil war commenced as different groups vied to seize power and establish a ‘new’ Canada.  On the grounds that the US couldn’t have such an unstable situation in their northern (and largest) neighbour, Washington sent ‘negotiators’ to Canada (more than adequately protected by US military forces).  Of course, there were violent repercussions and the Chief Negotiator, Doctor Solomon Thursday, used special powers to declare martial law throughout Canada, and the imposition of a strict curfew.  US troops also proceeded to disarm all Canadians and to forcibly relocate individuals and small communities from outlying dwellings to major towns and cities, using camps to house them where necessary.  An attempt to assassinate Doctor Thursday was met with an even more robust policy of suppression.  At the same time, the negotiators successfully drew more and more Canadian leaders under their influence.  After seven years of unrest, a new Canadian Government was formed and established, with US forces now backing off and even withdrawing.  Less than a year later, a vote in the Canadian Parliament saw the first move in the USA’s long-term plan, with Canada suing for unification with the US.  Within three months the Act of Union was signed by both nations, creating the United States of North America (USNA).

With the establishment of the USNA, efforts already underway to expand American power were given renewed vigour.  Mexico and Panama ‘voluntarily’ became new states within the USNA.  The West Indies followed and Cuba was finally taken and the pseudo-communist Castran Government was deposed in an American sponsored coup, with some 25,000 Cuban expatriates leading the very brief civil war.  Fidel V was imprisoned and then quietly tried and executed by the new regime.  Immediately afterwards, an application to become a state within the USNA was accepted and confirmed by Washington.

Within fifteen years of the end of the Second Korean War, the USNA was in complete control of Central America.  With Washington feeling more secure, and with vastly larger numbers available to the Pentagon, the USNA seized island nations throughout much of the Pacific Ocean and also took control of a bankrupt Japan.  Essentially, the USNA now held an empire that embraced the vast majority of the ‘Pacific Rim’.

With member nations of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) becoming more hostile towards the USNA, the US President, Theodore Franklin Ostermann, issued an Extraordinary Executive Order, with the full support of Congress and the Senate.  This Order authorised the Joint Chiefs at the Pentagon to use ‘any and all means necessary to secure the interests of the United States of North America throughout the world’.  Within hours of the Order being issued, American forces hit virtually every significant oil-producing nation around the globe, almost simultaneously.  Using Air forces, airborne insertion tactics and new electronic warfare systems, the USNA seized power within a very short space of time.  Resistance after these events was met ruthlessly and vast numbers of refugees fled to non-oil producing countries.  As the world watched, helplessly, tens of thousands died or were severely mutilated with the USNA suffering only negligible losses.

And that is where things now stand.  The USNA deal with other small nations with aggressive tactics.  They have become global bullies.  However, their expansionist policies have stalled to a large degree with the establishment of a variety of alliances by wiser nations, including some who had been traditional enemies.  As is the way of such things, the economies of many nations, especially those protected by umbrella pacts, are recovering rapidly.  One consequence of this is increasing arms industries, forcing the USNA to be more cautious in their international activities.   While they may remain the most technologically advanced nation on Earth,some of the other allied nations are now able to inflict significant damage if a conflict occurs.  At the same time,while the Extraordinary Executive Order remains in force, a change of leadership, following the death of President Ostermann, pursues a more moderate line in international affairs, led by President Ruth Imogen Jackson.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of this shift in American behaviour is the interest that Washington is showing in England’s efforts to establish a new organisation: the Union of Atlantic Nations (UAN).  While they have been responsible for causing some delays in the creation of the UAN, and some suspect them of having undeclared motives, they continue to support the concept of the Union.

In Conversation With: Matt Carter [Character Interview]

G1 TagWe’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.