Guardian [Original Story] rated T+
"So we're all here. Excellent." This meeting was in the making for some time. The people, the location and the time were planned. Here was when the world was changed. "Despite our nationalities, religion or race, here we sit and without hindrance."
"Why are we all here, Romulus?"
The man known as Romulus looked around the dusty hotel room that served as the location for this meeting. He set up a table in the middle of the room in which the all sat. Each of the men hailed from a different continent. "The same reason you are here. The same reason we are all drawn here." He cleared his throat and proceeded. "The future is why we are here."
Romulus knew them all personally in some way. But for the sake of privacy (or in a few cases lack of trust.) they decided to use names from their respective cultures: Anansi, from Africa, Baal from Asia, and Haburi and Qayak from South and North America.
"Of whose future do you speak?" inquired, suspicious of Romulus' motives. "Yours or Europe's? I've never been able to tell."
"The world is what I speak of. And it's worldly things."
Anansi yawned loudly. "You speak in mysteries, Old Rome."
"I will speak more clearly friend." He chuckled.
Haburi scoffed. "That could only help."
Romulus glanced out the window. The streets below were filled with onlookers of a passing parade. A foreign Duke visiting the city, waving to the people surrounding his motorcade. "The world is falling apart, its people dying."
He turned to his visitors. A grim look lingered in his eye. "War, rumors of war, famine and pestilence. Facets of our global community."
He looked down at his wrist, checking the time. "Have you ever wondered where we'll be in forty years? Or even ten?"
They remained silent. "We are all in a unique position to change it. We can create balance in this disorder. We can save this world!"
"All very nice and well said," Haburi said, annoyed by what he finds to be a waste of time and effort on the part of Romulus. "but who are we saving this world from?"
Romulus pointed out the window. "Them." He answered simply.
"Well, Old Rome there does seem to be a problem." Anansi added, clearly uninterested in the conversation at hand. "But it affects the rest of us... how?"
"You don't see it?" Qayak stated, his tone indicating something the rest of them should have picked up on. "One thing ties us all together."
"Yes and the United States has benefited rather nicely from your help. In the future they may become a global power of repute." Romulus reached into his jacket pocket. "Your U.S model is what inspired me to form this meeting."
"I've still heard nothing or are you being purposely obscure in the direction of this meeting?" Haburi snapped.
Romulus placed a small silver box on his side of the table."It is simple really." An image of the Earth projected onto the ceiling. They all looked unimpressed by the spinning globe. "Man cannot be trusted to with this world. Tactics similar to Qayak's can be used more proactively."
"Think about what we've accomplished on our own! We've..."
"Yes, on our own." Baal interrupted. "Why would any of us need you?"
"You don't. But together we can build a future that is absolute, a more perfect one!" Romulus grew more elated as he spoke of this world he envisioned. A world he saw as more fit than the one we have know. "A world crafted and maintained by our hand."
"Such do all tyrants!" Haburi spat.
"The goal is not, nor ever will be domination." Romulus replied defensively. "More like keeping a watchful eye, giving slight nudges in the right direction. A watchful guardian keeping man safe from his own hubris."
Anansi belted out a thunderous yawn. "Sorry, Old Rome." He kicked his feet on the table, his attention drawn to a coin he moved between his fingers. "I hear, Australia has already signed up."
Anansi was never one for long conversation. It bored him. He had his mind made up when he saw who arrived. "I suppose you can sign me right along up."
Haburi's face flashed with anger. "I will not sit by while; South America is in the dark about your doings either."
Qayak and Baal found themselves in the undecided party. Looking at each other in shock; seeming to wait for the other to speak. They look at Romulus. They've always known him to be suspicious and never could they name a time when there was not some motive to a scheme of his. "So what's the score?"
"Mutually assured advancement? Partnership?" Romulus says. "There is no score."
Romulus took a deep breath as he looked down at his watch. "If you must think of it as a business merger. In time businesses fall short. Think of it as competing against time."
Romulus looked directly at, Baal. "Business has never been a strength of, Asia has it?"
"Think about it, Qayak." His attention drawn to him. "The men you supply thrive off the misfortune of others and don't be naïve enough to think they will not cast you aside." Romulus looked back out the window, fixed to the crowd below.
"I guarantee you... the human parasites have begun."
Qayak opened his mouth with a rebuke of his claims. The words wouldn't come out and he remained quiet. Baal remained silent. "In this organization, Baal we are all equal, we all have a say in the affairs thereof."
Baal exhaled loudly. "Very well."
"We'll be in touch." Qayak grunted.
The images of the two men vanished. Leaving silver cubes like the one on the center of the table. "Excellent performances gentlemen." Romulus exhaled. "We can proceed to the next level, now that North America and Asia are in the fold."
"I'm surprised it worked so well. Qayak has been resistant in the past." Haburi says.
"He would have joined eventually. The fear of being left behind is an excellent motivator."
Haburi nodded. "Whats next?"
Romulus looked at his watch and back out the window. Gun shots have broke out in the parade below. The visiting duke falling forward. "The mission is all that matters now. We will save this world."
"All positions filled sir!"
"Tell them to stand by and wait for further orders." Everything seems to be working out fine for now. But nothing is ever this simple. The craft that is flying us is a carrier the size of a football field and is equipped with a light distortion array to bend the light around us. We're invisible. The carrier hovers silently over a factory. I'm supposed to pick up a doctor who's involved himself in something over his head. He had his warning and chose not to heed it. Now I have to get him.
"Send a team to…"
"Sir a heat spike has been detected in the factories center!" One of the five pilots bring to my attention. The doctor must be working late tonight. He had his staff leave hours ago and the janitors cleared out minuets ago. Coincidence? I don't think so. Too convenient and way too simple to. Now I'd be impressed if he was actually waiting for us.
"Never simple." I say to myself. A bright flash violently erupts from the factory, setting it ablaze. This doesn't mean I get to go home now though. "Life signs?"
"Just one sir. It's a big one."
The pilot's voice shook. "Problem soldier?" The others stared at him, awaiting his response.
"I'd hope so." I turn my back to them, walking towards the elevator. "I'm going down to check it out.
Nothing is ever just simple. I get ordered to take in this doctor, without any disturbances and instead the opposite happens. The place explodes. But considering what the good doctor and his colleagues worked on here, it's not really a surprise. The wind is blowing the heat in my direction. The heat is making it hard to keep my eyes open. Never simple.
That's my name and when something is roaring it that usually means I'm about find issues I didn't have when I got here. I can make out something walking out of the building. It's big. "Get ready to shoot on my say so. I wanna talk to it first." The flames howled as the wind blew. It seemed to take extra steps to make itself more imposing. Crushing ruble in its wake, throwing parts of the building out of the way. "That's all very impressive."
"I didn't think Guardian was so direct." There it was, walking through a chemical fire unscathed.
But when you're about twelve feet tall, claws as long as a man, scales from head to toe and fangs protruding from the mouth I might do the same.
"You know who we are?"
Ominous laughter. I'll take it as a yes. This must be the doctor. We asked him to stop making the poison that seems to have turned him into this. "Tasting your own product I see. You must be my doctor?" He just stands there, breathing heavy, the scales reflecting the orange glow of the flame, predatory eyes looking at me like a next meal. His legs bend only slightly. The talking part is over. My gun is drawn on the animal. Bullets bounce off him as he sails through the sir. He just misses me as he descends.
The doctor swings his arms rapidly at me. Each swing, nearly taking my head with it. He catches me though. I didn't see his tail until it was wrapped tightly around my leg. He slams me on my back; he crawls on all fours over me. He lifts a long clawed hand and drives a single claw into my shoulder going through the plating in my body armor, twisting and churning, slowly pushing into the bone. "I know you feel this!" He continues to growl. He gets close enough to my face to where I can feel him breathing, drool dripping onto my face.
He doesn't notice my left arm that's free. I'm looking him right in the eye, not acknowledging the pain in my shoulder. "Seems the skin on you is rock hard."
"But how true is that for the rest of you?" My hand is driven into his eye. Blood covers my hand as I pull it out of the socket. The animal backs off. Howling, falling to his knees he give me a chance to get away.
"Take it down!"
The sky explodes with the sounds of gun fire and engines roaring. The doctor is thrown off his feet and slammed to the ground hard. The ground shook when it landed. A mobile battle platform. A fifteen foot mechanized suite of armor. Two shoulder mounted missile launchers and a heavy machine gun on the right arm. Our resident primal doctor staggers back up. The M.B.P fires a volley of missiles at the doctor; it misses and gives him the opportunity to get close. The M.B.P catches an arm and with an audible crack, it breaks it without much effort. The M.B.P raises its right arm and the machine guns barrel begins to spool, it being used at all seems like over kill from where I'm standing. Chunks of the doc splashed all over the ground.
The platform tossed the body aside. It walked towards me; the chest compartment opened revealing the pilot. "Damn it, Spade!" The pilot is a woman. She's fairly attractive; her long black hair is tied in a bun. She is also supposed to be my partner. Hyden Nagoya. "You're all ways playing the bad ass, one of these days it's gonna get you killed!"
"Tell the team you brought with to back off from whatever hole you have them in!" She hardly has the authority to make that kind of request. I really need to have a talk to whoever gave her permission to fly that thing. She's on loan from section 9 back in Japan. Buy the book as they come and just as foul mouthed.
"You may want to shut the hatch." I pointed to the doctor. He was back on his feet, fully healed and ready for round two with Hyden.
"Oh hell!" The hatch slams shut as the Doctor tackles the mech.
A sharp pain shooting through my arm reminds me of my wound. I reach to the back of my equipment belt, pulling a syringe from my pack. "I want a containment unit here in five minutes!" I order. I stick the syringe in the wound, injecting a dark liquid. The wound begins to close instantly and it gives a burning sensation as it goes to work.
"Sir all teams under your command have been ordered back to 501st."
That is odd. This operation isn't done yet, now who would go behind my back in such a way. "On who's... " I look up at the tree line. A dozen Guardian agents flying up into the sky. Our transport makes itself visible.
Metal screeches as the doctor tries to tear open the M.B.P with no effect. Bone cracks with each strike Hyden lands on the creature. He keeps coming. He takes a look back at me, seeing me as an easier target leaps over Hyden and charges to me. The rockets on the mech fire up. Hyden fly's in front of me, intercepting the creature. The machines arms lock into place around the doctor.
Nothing can ever be simple. I get ordered to pick up a doctor and now all I have is a monster and a new scar to show for it. But things' not going your way is all about this kind of job. The unexpected, the unavoidable and everything you might find unexplainable are what being a Guardian is about. Taking out monsters like the doctor is our game. Hell even I don't get it half the time, it's an acquired taste really.
"Sir theDirectorwants tosee you atInstallation 501st."
Authors Note: So how was that? Came up with the idea for this story when thinking "I don't like how S.H.I.E.L.D has to answer to the United Nations" so this is what came of that thought. I usually post on fanfiction.net (when I do post fanfiction) but I think what I'm asking still applies. If your going to review be honest you aren't going to hurt my feelings. You know, tell me how the story can be better.
Installation 501st is a, Guardian base located in the upper atmosphere above North America. Looking at it from afar, it looks like a far off city on the horizon, but as you get closer you can see: the glass dome that houses the combat information center, the three smaller research buildings, the "box" where the exercises are held and the highest point, being the tower. Several smaller buildings and the barracks sits on the far side of the base. We're all often shipped off to some kind of mission or other and someone else is recycled to fill in the gap left behind. So needless to say, the barrack doesn't see much use; aside from the very rare amount of shut-eye you're allotted. The tower is where I'll be going to talk to the Director of Guardian.
For right now, I'm just wondering the hull of this giant airship, just getting back from another mediocre assignment, with Hyden. Once you set foot on here the "city in the clouds" feeling really amounts to something grand. You've got buildings all around you, aircraft hovering above you and other vehicles traversing narrow streets. An artificial gravity keeps you from just falling off the thing, thankfully. Still makes me nervous though. Exhaust vents on the back end of the installation release an enzyme into the atmosphere. Allowing agents to breathe and not freeze to death this high up.
Where we got this technology from is a bit of a secret. Guardian was founded by groups of like minded individuals, who agreed upon a single idea. Man is constantly in danger... from himself. So in order to save man from himself, he must be watched. Protected by an ever watching, ever present force. A silent Guardian to protect the world by any means. This is what we've done for one hundred years. Not that long in the scheme of things. But long enough to keep the world on a somewhat slippery slope of balence. We don't exist, we answer to no one. In the last hundred years we've put an installation like the one I'm standing on, on every continent, inserted our agents into every government and even put ourselves into space while the people down here were gassing each other with chlorine. I will say there are some that are interested in the plight of the human race. I can't really say whether or not that's a good idea. I don't make that call though.
Or that's what every Guardian agent gets told; when they reach level one clearance. Often enough though what you get told is much different than what is fact. I've always expected Guardian is much older. Never had time to check though and who am I to question the founding of an organization that gets its funding from every country in the world without them even realizing it? Probably just as well though. The extra inquisitive or the ones who just don't make the cut get sent to the outer solar system or a moon on Jupiter for manual labor.
There really isn't as many of us as you'd think. Just under a million of us inhabit this installation, the numbers being similar on the others. On average there might be less than a hundred agents in any government at a time, and five or ten regular bases in a country, depending on its size. Even then the max number aloud for a base is exactly five hundred. Once we go into space the numbers really start to dwindle. Every Guardian agent could fit into the state as large as Texas and you would never know.
I'm walking to the tower, by now. The pounding of boots on metal roars past me, a group of level fives are on the march. "Must be time for daily exercises." I yawn as I continue on. Normally I'm in charge of this installation. But things haven't been that way. The Director swoops in from Installation 242 and inserts herself in my office. I don't mind it. It gets me out of the CIC and as Director all responsibilities go to her.
No one usually gets a direct meeting with her. She likes to stay illusive and behind the scenes. Not many even know what she looks like. The organization is in a celled format, with the level ten and nine sharing responsibilities, an L8 is responsible over operations in a continent, direct projects get sent to a level seven agent to accomplish and your responsibilities get smaller from there. Of all of them, I'd really hate being a level nine. Too boring. You technically have the same authority as the Director , the only difference is that you do absolutely nothing other than wait for the Director to quit or die somehow.
With the tower before me, I take in the sights around me. I'm still amazed by what it took to build these craft. I take a deep breath the air is cold and smells stale due to the enzymes in the air. It takes the combined efforts of six hundred people to keep the place from falling into the Atlantic. 501st still uses a fusion reactor to keep the zero gravity working and reflective platting to bend the light around us, makes 501st invisible. Newer installations use a more efficient energy source to fly and thus can be made much bigger. In only one hundred years, we've managed to put installations over every continent, outposts on the moon and Mars. All the while the civs can't even fly to the edge of the solar system.
I walk in the elevator leading to the top of the tower. To the Head Director of Guardian's office. What used to be my office. I hold the doors open, seeing someone run for them. "Wait!" I hear her yell. I knew the voice well; it's usually hurling obscenities at me. My partner, Hyden Nagoya.
"What is it Hyden?"
She caught up, her breathing heavy. "I can't believe you went down there without me! Again!" She's been my partner for about a few months and already I am to blame for every bit of disinformation that comes her way. I mean... sure I didn't tell her about this last mission. No reason for all the hostility though.
"I brought a team. If you didn't explode onto the scene they would have taken him out." When she did find out where I was, all hell broke loose. She flew in on a Mobile Battle Platform and leveled a building I was in! Sure the situation was escalating and I'm glad she showed up. Not that I needed her help.
Her face was indignant. " Excuse me for saving you from, yet another misadventure caused by asinine bravado on your part! "
She was fuming now. I guess my indifference to her point is getting under her skin."You arrogant bastard!" Her hands were balled into fists. She shook with rage, looking to take my head off.
"Take the shot if you're feeling lucky."
She took a deep breath and leaned against the wall. "One of these days Spade one of these days!" The elevator stopped. The doors swung open, the Head Director was waiting in her office. She is no older than thirty five, but her jet black hair is lined with long white streaks was ever present. A light scar traversed across the ridge of her nose.
A smile came across her lips. "One of these days miss Nagoya you should knock him right on his ass. It would do him well. Now I'll be speaking to Spade alone." Hyden nodded and stayed in the elevator as it shut.
"Sit." She pointed at a chair in front of her desk. I walk behind the desk instead. Her eyes followed me. My hands on her shoulders, she tensed a little. She cocked her head back. "Now I thought I told you to sit." She relaxed.
"Now there was a time Sue when I was the one giving the orders."
"That was a long time ago Griff." I lean in, gently kissing her neck. She bit her lip, gasping faintly and falling limp in her chair. Her neck was always a sweet spot. Distracting her from whatever lecture I'm going to get with a little work place naughtiness usually works.
"You were under me then."
She giggled. "I don't think I've had the opportunity to be under you in some time."
"That could change." Or it used to work. As soon as I said that I found myself flying over her desk and slammed right into the chair across on the other side of the desk. She didn't move a muscle.
"I prefer being on top." She said in a commanding tone. She sat up straight, she was all business now. I've known her for a long time, before she was Director. I remember a time when she couldn't even focus enough to levitate a glass of water; her crying over a skinned knee was the worst. Now she's the most powerful woman in the world. And could crush me with a blink.
"You always did."
She smirked a little. The look in her eye gave nothing away. "Well Griffan its two thousand and eight, my home country is hosting the Olympics, a black man is president and you still can't follow simple directions!"
"Force of habit." If I followed everything you told me I'd find myself in some unmarked grave under Giants stadium. I think privately to myself.
You're a Chicago fan. I'd have you in Soldier field. But judging from the tingle in the back of my head, that thought isn't as private as I thought.
"Stop it!" I hate it when she reads my mind. A tingle in the back of my skull is a giveaway. When a psychic reads the mind of a Guardian agent our mental blocks force them out. Or if their strong enough it should serve to slow the mind taking process.
"You know from time to time I can't help myself. Now if it wasn't for the accident it wouldn't be so tempting, Griff."
An accident caused a fracture in my mind, causing a break in my mental blocks. Luckily, Sue was there and repaired what was broken, risking mental contamination herself. I always wondered why she did it. She won't tell me and I've long since stopped asking. "And since you put the blocks there…"
"I can pick your brain whenever."
If only she'd listen when I told her to stop it. "Why did you need to see me Sue? You don't see me unless I messed up or you want..."
"Have you seen this?" She presses a button on the desk. A hologram of a news cast starts to play.
Congress has just rejected legislation that would allow "super-humans" to live without registering with the state they reside in. The United States spends billions on special housing and gene scans. The treaty of Farixen Island forbids "super-humans" from joining a military or holding public office.She cut off the image. Disgusted by what she saw.
Sue was visibly upset. "Can you believe that?"
Sue wasn't born into Guardian like I was. She wasn't brain washed from birth to be a soldier in an invisible war. She grew up in China. Her powers developed late so she didn't end up in an internment camp like so many others. We found her seventeen years ago fighting for some group of "freedom fighters" they really smuggled and sold their own kind to foreigners as free labor or slaves. Her story isn't as unique as you may think. We pick up kids like her all the time. The unwanted, poor and the desperate. With as many people who have gone missing since the early twentieth century you'd never guess how common it is. Some have the memories before life as a Guardian erased. Sue remembers bits and pieces; due to her psychic affinity it was too hard to erase all of her memories.
Some of that anti human sentiment still lingers. If I didn't save her all those years ago I'd probably be talking to some hack with an eye patch that can't do this job nearly as well. "An immoral travesty against human beings!"
She laughed. "You don't have to pretend."
"You should know as well as I do what your kind can do. All of you are dangerous."
"At least you're honest about your bigotry." She glared at me. She knows I don't hate powers. Just that I'm very aware of their power and the potential for destruction. "Every day people like me are made to undergo hardships they shouldn't or hide what they are! I'm in a position to do something about it and I cannot!"
"Sure you could."
She took a deep breath and seemed to settle down. "Not without revealing Guardian to the world. What we do happens to be more important than the comfort of a rising species."
"Anyway this is what I wanted to show you." She hit another button. A projected image of some kind of facility in ruins. Bodies strewn every which way, almost like they were put on display, blood stained the walls. What's peculiar about it all is not so much the gruesome fashion the bodies were handled, but that the building is empty.
"Does it look familiar yet?" The video kept moving to a wall covered in blood, you could still see part of the logo. A globe with an eye watching over it.
"Not a big loses then."
Sue wasn't amused "You're funny."
"Fifth base this month and its happening too soon one after the other to be coincidence. And even then if we were found out I'd know about it first."
"Anything special that puts it all together?"
She leaned back in her chair. I could tell she was exhausted. "A large electromagnetic signature was found at every site. Strong enough to break the scanners we use to investigate with."
"Who do we know with that kind of power?"
She hit another button. A man came up. African American, bald, bearded. He has a look of superiority on his face that would make you want to hit him on principle. I know this man. "Michael Void." He makes satellites and has several contracts with militaries all over the world. A man very much in the public eye; he's even done work for Guardian in the past.
Until he grew a conscience. There she goes reading my mind again.
She ignores me. "Now he spends his time giving super-human militias weapons, while proposing peace with the U.N."
"Every flight of his in the last month has been in a country where we have a base."
"He'll be in Chicago this week. I want you to make your presence known. Tell him we have our eyes on him."
"I'm just as likely to shoot him ma'am."
"I know you two have history. That's why I'm sending you."
"Why not you're second? And where is that pinprick anyway." I look around the office to see if I missed him. He has a way of just appearing from thin air.
"Dead." She answered coldly. She reaches down into her desk drawer. She slides a medal to me. Could he really be dead? Can't really imagine a raid of any size taking him out. Can't say I'll miss him too much either.
"Congratulations are in order agent Griffan Spade."
I take a look at it. It's an emblem, a sign of rank. We don't use what the civs would call "traditional military ranks." Your emblem signifies what rank you hold and what your responsibilities to the organization are. A shield on top a set of demonic wings, surrounded by flames. A level nine emblem.
"You are no longer Level 8 of installation 501st. I'm promoting you to Level 9, my second in command." I'm not too excited to get an emblem that I've had already. Seems like this has been done several times before. And it isn't any more special the second time.
I heard that!
"Don't read my mind then. And I'll have to decline the promotion."
"No." She answers simply. She crossed her arms and glared right through me. It's obvious I don't have a choice in the matter.
"Why ?" She would have had to tell the other level eight agents of the change and with most of them firmly against me even having L8 status; this wasn't a very popular decision.
"Your transport is waiting for you in hanger three. Good luck soldier." She ignores me. Obviously I won't get any answers from her.
I hate it when she says "good luck" it's like saying "what's the worst thing that could happen". Something will happen. Or at least she's expecting something. She winks when she says it. A sign that she's expecting trouble. It's one of those nervous ticks she has left from her childhood. When you know her well enough you notice those little habits. Like I do. She's leaving something out. But what?
"Oh and I have a request." It is customary for when you're promoted to select a successor. I have one person in mind…
Two hours later.
501stdocking hanger 3:
It's a thirty minute flight from the upper atmosphere to Chicago base. Craft are constantly going in and out of base on some kind of mission or other. It's always like this. No one knows we exist, what we do. A secret organization with a single minded goal to make sure the sheep don't know of the slippery slope the world is on or how close to the brink it can get. Sometimes we let people get close. Great minds that can help us advance a little further. People like Michael Void.
He's one of the few people who know of the existence of Guardian. He was brilliant; he was more than thrilled to work with us when we made the offer ten years ago. Things have soured since then. He grew a conscious and a convenient one at that.
Guardian atmosphere to ground transports are cylindrical in shape and have four thrusters on the sides to control its speed and direction. Moving at about nine hundred miles an hour and small enough to fit three grown men, if anything goes wrong it makes for a snug coffin. Not really a comforting thought when rocketing down from the upper atmosphere.
"So where is the boss lady sending us to this time?" Hyden had obviously cooled down enough to want to have civil conversation.
"Chicago and I'm going it alone."
"Why the fuck would she do that?" I point to the emblem on my chest. She looked at it with big eyes, not hiding the surprise on her face. "You get promoted?"
I take one foot into the transport. Not that I have a choice. "Looks that way."
Her face twisted, she opened her mouth to say something. She closed her mouth. Her face formed a defeated looking frown. "Well congratulations. I guess screwing the boss has its upside!"
"If there was I haven't seen it yet."
She rolled her eyes, "Right." She's just full of sarcasm today. That's a change from her normal rue teen of angry brooding and violent mood swings. A sudden tingle in my skull comes about. I'm being paged.
I need one second.
The transports doors are shut and I'm already in flight. The clock says I'm already six minutes into the flight. I have no memory of those minuets. What was so important that Sue had to take over my mind? Something is going on in Chicago. And I feel that I'm going to get a crash course real soon.