When the Guardians first came onto the scene the joke was they were a cross between Robocop and Mary Poppins… the joke wasn’t far from the truth, being a biological/technical/mechanical mix designed for the public’s protection. However, the efficient way they were programmed and went about their business was chilling.
These Cyborgs were the law; the judge and jury who carried out the sentence with detached efficiency – no appeal, their verdict was FINAL – a sort of Judge Dredd but with the ability to alter a person rather than just obliterate them.
The jokes and comical way in which this new service was introduced is no longer a laughing matter.
The design, originally from the workshop and laboratories of ExecProtex, and with the tag-line - “The Guardians Will Keep You Safe”, complete with an image of a Guardian looking more like an angel with wings that surrounded a group of children - had been lampooned by every comedian, left-wing politician and religious leader as morally inept and unworkable. How wrong they all were; each and every one of the cynics and critics now reduced to sucking their toes and shitting in their diapers.
The Guardians were, and continue to be, a huge success: Employed by police and anti-crime firms around the world, their unique, special ability to locate deep in the recesses of the human psyche, the moment that turned someone from the path to do right in the opposite direction is impressive. Their success rate is phenomenal. Once they had tracked their felon, detection by AGR - atmospheric gene recognition - much like a dog uses the scent of a criminal to track them, the villain is quickly brought to justice.
The Guardians can ‘read’ every thought, detect every influence, navigate every nuance that the human mind tries to hide and then come up with an appropriate sentence. The result is laboursaving, instant and effective. Crime rates have fallen across the globe as criminals are quickly brought to book and their sentence instantly applied so, no costly, on-going justice system.
The Guardian’s job is ‘intelligent analysis’ but the term covers a broad range of themes which are quite menacing. Whilst scanning the offender’s mind they locate the instant in their life that changed their consciousness, that precise motivation that made them act against the law. Not just the law they’ve broken because the scan looks much deeper to identify the influences that led to such an action. Often it is something that has its roots when the criminal was young. It’s then that the Guardian delivering the sentence can erase the offender’s mind and return them mentally back to that instant. From that point they are given the opportunity to change their decision and relive their lives from that regressed state, making them ‘happy’ and law abiding citizen as they grow up all over again.
For some this doesn’t work; there are people who are bad through and through but still the Guardians give them a second chance. They are reduced to the mental age of a new born and allowed to start their lives once more. This relies on someone being there to see to an adult/baby who is no longer capable of looking after them self, which of course means a whole new business has grown up around such a service. However, if that isn’t an option, the lawbreaker can be terminated.
Termination is a last resort but accepted as a final solution to any completely lawless individual… the Guardian’s job is to protect and where needed to make that final judgement.
ExecProtex has quickly become a very rich and powerful company. Unfortunately for them, their success means there are fewer and fewer criminals to process, so they have had to come up with alternatives.
Various subsidiaries and affiliated supply companies grow day by day to meet the demand for their skills. To feed that challenge Guardians, in a slightly ‘altered’ version, are made available to companies who need (or want) to keep their workforce in check. These ‘Harmony Guardians’ as they are known, also find their way into the hands of families who are also keen on keeping a tight rein on the people around them. Even the most trivial act of lawlessness, like littering or speeding, is under the scrutiny of the ‘HGs’. Children of the rich and powerful are under constant surveillance and any transgression has an immediate impact on their lives.
Hacking into the HGs has become a past time for some who hate these featureless upholders of the law, a law that is at the whim of whoever controls the Guardian. Any transgression is punished; so children, friends, acquaintances or even business competitors have resulted in their mental age being returned to childhood. There seems to be an abundance of CEOs who want to keep their progeny under such a tight leash and maintaining a teenager in diapers is thought a good solution to them growing up and becoming independent of thought.
Life under the Guardians has changed the world, less crime but much more authoritarian. The fact that most people are regressed and not ‘dispatched’ is seen as the positive, humanitarian action of a more compassionate society. However, those who control the Guardians make the laws and, with certain ‘legal’ technical patches, can also alter the Cyborgs initial intent. They certainly don’t want a new, younger breed coming through with liberal ideas or programmes intent on dismantling the current status quo. Those who seem to possess such thoughts are dealt with.
The ‘ExecProtexCreche’ is designed for just such a purpose… and its juvenile residents increase daily.
However, there are other companies offering a similar, if less expensive service, which enjoy an equally successful, if different, business plan.
So, whilst the ‘ExecProtexCreche’ is doing well for one section of the community – ‘InfantileInc’, ‘PaddedBottomsRus’ and the scarily named ‘Drool Time’ are seeing business explode as the Guardians are put to use servicing another industry altogether.