Buck & Jane
A Death in the Family
Decker & Hayes
Epic Echoes
The Great Muppet Debate
Guard Duty
Like Mother, Like Daughter
Stage Blood



Guard Duty, Series Three
Episode 5 - Under Coverage

By Jordan D. White

The Jack
Mr. Fahrenheit
Dr. Fast

Narr: The Earth Guard - the planet's most powerful heroes united in the common goal of protecting the innocent people of planet Earth and defending them from threats of all kinds. From the Guard Tower, their base of operations, they watch over the citizens and spring into action at any sign of danger. To that end, the Guard take shifts monitoring events all over the globe. Sooner or later, they all have to take a shift of… Guard Duty. This week: The Jack and Broadband in "Under Coverage."

(The door opens, and The Jack and Broadband enter.)

Jack: I know, I’m just saying… how could I cheat?

BB: Well, you’ve got to admit, the bag of letters is pretty incriminating.

Jack: I’m a big fan! I use them to get in practice in my spare time. Look, he saw me pulling the letters from the regular bag, putting them on my rack, then playing them to the board. Where is there room to cheat?

BB: Oh, come on, Jack- you’re by far the most dexterous member of the Guard. You don’t think slight of hand is a reasonable assumption?

Jack: Yeah, ok, sure, but how could I get the right letters so quickly?

BB: Maybe you prepare them ahead of time.

Jack: But you have to fit the words in with what the other person plays. You couldn’t plan it out ahead. You know how it is- if you have a word sitting on your rack, it’s pretty unlikely the other guys going to give you the opening.

BB: It’s also pretty likely that at some point in the game, you’re going to have either all vowels or all consonants, and that doesn’t seem to happen to you, does it? So, either way, you're incredibly lucky.

Jack: You’ll get no argument from me there. I happen to live by my luck. I just get good letters.

BB: Oh, or you could have all 26 letters separated into different hiding places on your person. Some magicians do things like that for card tricks, I've heard.

Jack: That’s a bit excessive, isn’t it?

BB: Depends on how much you care about winning.

Jack: So the proposition is that I spend hours setting up letters on my person, memorizing their locations, palming them in game, and swapping out my real letters as necessary through slight of hand... for what? So I can win at a lousy spelling game? To what end?

BB: Your counter-proposal involves you practicing letter combinations in your spare time to those same ends, so you tell me… which is more of a waste?

Jack: I’m no cheater. Do I really come off as having so loose morals?

BB: Oh, come now. It’s a game. No one is implying that you’re some sort of villain in disguise. You can be a good person in real life and still cheat at Scrabble.

Jack: But I don’t!

BB: You don’t have to convince me. Personally, I think I prefer to believe you’re some sort of idiot-savant.

Jack: Hey!

BB: Well, let’s face it, Jack… you don’t exactly come across as the genius type.

Jack: Well, I’d rather be an idiot than a cheater...

BB: That’s what I figured.

Jack: Although I’m clearly not an idiot. Could an idiot run a convenience store and feed a family of three on such a tight budget?

BB: Is it really that tight? I thought you had insurance money?

Jack: Oh yeah, that. It’s not as much as all that, really, and what there is I don’t want to just… blow through. Tommy is almost done with High School, and Cindy would like to transfer out of community college. I’m trying to save up for that, plus once they’re gone, I’m going to have to hire two more employees. The store barely makes a profit as it is.

BB: What about the stipend you get for being in the Earth Guard? Doesn’t that help cover your expenses?

Jack: Ha! It barely covers our food shopping.

BB: What?

Jack: Don’t get me wrong, I mean, we appreciate every dime of it, but it doesn’t really go that far. Plus, if I can’t make Guard Duty one week, I get docked.

BB: That’s non-sense! Does Chuck know about this?

Jack: He must- he gets the stipend, too, right? I mean, he’s not rich like you.

BB: This is just like him. He says he wants to support the Guard, but then he lets the government bilk you for all you’re worth! Just because he’s some sort of, of… Spartan warrior, that doesn’t mean everyone has to be. First he let’s them decimate our health care-

Jack: Health Care? What happened to our Health Care?

BB: You haven’t heard?

Jack: No.

BB: The Government’s new man, Warren Grant, has everything tied up in red tape. He’s backpedaling on every issue Davis Moore settled with us. Remember the provision compensating for wages lost in civilian identities while recovering from Guard related injuries? Gone.

Jack: What? But if The Jack breaks his leg, and then Jack Balleski has a broken leg-

BB: I know. I know. And Chuck is just allowing him to do it. He’s supposed to be defending you people, not selling you out.

Jack: I have enough trouble with people suspecting my identity as it is.

BB: It's complete nonsense! … Of course... that is partially your fault for using your given name as your codename, Jack.

Jack: No, no, I’m The Jack.

BB: No, I know, like a jumping Jack, athletics, I know, but-

Jack: Nonononoooo! Why does everyone say that? No, like a Jack, you know… the little metal things? I throw bouncy balls, and I’m the Jack.

BB: A… Jack? Like the children’s game?

Jack: Exactly.

BB: Does anyone even play Jacks anymore?

Jack: I don’t know… they could. It doesn’t matter, that’s what I’m named after. See, shiny outfit, metal jack? And then when I’m jumping, arms and legs akimbo, I look like a Jack… get it?

BB: I suppose. It’s… subtle.

Jack: Well, I’m nothing if not subtle.


BB: What?

Jack: Is it really that hard to see? Here, look, when I go like- (a scrabble tile scitters across the floor)

BB: What was that?

Jack: Nothing. Just a, you know... thing.

BB: It's... it's a letter "N".

Jack: It's my lucky tile. I always have it on hand. (pause) I'm not a cheater!

Brainframe: The Jack, there is a phone call coming in for you through phoneline number sixteen.

Jack: Oh, put it through, Brainframe.

Brainframe: Connecting…

Jack: Hello?

Cindy: Jack?

Jack: Oh, hey Cindy. What’s up?

Cindy: Angela just quit the store.

Jack: What? Why? Did you two get in another fight?

Cindy: She was forty dollars short again last night, Jack! If you’d come home like you said you were going to-

Jack: Cindy, you know being part of the Earth Guard is-

Cindy: I know, I’m sorry. I’m just… I don’t know what to do about the shop. I can’t stay on for another shift, Tommy is in school, and now, with no Angela-

BB: Go, Jack.

Jack: I can’t- we can’t afford to miss another check for Guard Duty.

BB: I’ll cover for you. It’s not a problem.

Jack: Are you sure?

BB: Of course. Go. Besides, what are the odds there’s going to be an emergency during this shift?

Jack: Thanks- I won’t forget this! You’re a real buddy, you know that?

BB: I try. Now get going.

Jack: See ya! (Jack leaves)

BB: Hm. I'm going to have to speak to Chuck about that, eh, Unit? Ooo, Peaseblossom! Brainframe, bring up the sound on monitor… three, please.

Newsman: ...flying through the New York sky at nearly sonic speeds this morning, but no Earth Guard emergencies were reported in the city all day. Peaseblossom could not be reached for comment. We turn now to our interview with another member of the Earth Guard, Mister Fahrenheit. He joins us here in the studio to discuss his work in the Guard, and well as his newly announced record deal with Elektra records. Welcome to the show.

BB: What?

MF: My pleasure, Frank.

Newsman: So, let’s begin with the obvious; we all know Mister Fahrenheit the hero… who is Mister Fahrenheit the musician? How did this record deal come about?

MF: Well, Steve, uh, Steven Lieber, he’s producing the record. He came to me with the idea. He’s been looking to work with a member of the Guard for some time now but never had any takers. But really, this makes sense for me, I mean, I’ve always had a finger in the music world.

BB: Oh, that's rich!

Newsrama: Really? In what way?

MF: Oh, you know. Me and a bunch of those rock guys are… like this. Spent a lot of time hanging back stage with some of the greats. The Stones. Page and Plant, when they got back together. I had dinner with Alice Cooper once. Won a contest. And, of course, you know… Freddie.

Newsman: Freddie?

MF: Mercury, yeah. We hung. Went to bars, you know. Good guy. He actually wrote that song about me. "That’s why they call me Mr. Fahrenheit…" Whadyacallit. Don’t Stop Me Now.

Newsman: Really? That was on… I believe, Jazz, in 1978.

MF: … really? Well… it might have been my… earlier exploits… but yeah, that’s my understanding.

Newsman: So what can we expect from your album?

(Dr. Fast runs into the room)

DF: Broadband! Jack! Attractor has torn the Space Needle out of the ground and is threatening to- to… where’s Jack?

BB: Oh, he’s just… in the bathroom. He’s got a nasty case of… you know.


DF: Yes. Send out the signal. We’ve got to get to Seattle, now.

BB: I’m on it.

(DF runs out)

BB: Well, crap. (button) Earth Guard! We’re needed in Seattle- Attractor is tearing the place up. Rendez-Vous ASAP. (off) Sorry, Jack. (he leaves)

Go to Episode 6