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 11 - Back to the Table

By Jordan D. White

The Stallion
Warren Grant
Mr. Fahrenheit

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 Stallion in "Back to the Table".

(The Stallion is present but silent. Grant enters.)

Grant: Good afternoon, "Mr. Stallion".

S: Grant. Shall we sit?

Grant: Please, thank you.


S: So?

Grant: Yes?

S: I called off the strike.

Grant: Excellent.

S: So… you said once the strike was called off, you’d enter back into negotiations.

Grant: Yes! And here we are.

S: And… I assumed you’d be bringing a proposal?

Grant: Of course. I would propose that we go back to the way things were before the strike, and pretend none of this ever happened.

S: What?! You’ve got to be kidding me!

Grant: I wouldn’t kid you, not about this. You saw what happened out there- you were disgraced. You had no public support. They looked at you as traitors. You had no choice but to call off the strike.

S: Oh really?

Grant: So why would I even consider giving you anything you demand? It was a clear victory on my part. My machine was able to spin events our way. You people didn’t even bother making a statement. In the court of public opinion, you bastards were tried and hung while we came off Scott free.

S: You’ve got a thing or two to learn about the Guard.

Grant: Oh yes? Please, teach me.

S: We don’t do this for the public’s adoration. We do it because it’s right. We couldn’t give two spits how we look in the public opinion- as you’re so fond of pointing out, we’re not the ones who have to get elected. You are. You can make us look however you want to- we fight for what’s right because we believe in it.

Grant: Oh yes, you’re so damned idealistic that it hurts- hence the desperate need for medical care, right? If you’re all about ‘what’s right’, what do you need Government collaboration for?

S: Our relationship with you benefits us, sure- but it benefits you as well. Possibly even more. Clearly, you learned nothing from the strike.

Grant: On the contrary, I learned quite a bit. I learned that you really are as naïve and goody-goody as you claim to be, which is why you’re going to go back to work with no additional coverage and thank your lucky god damned stars that I haven’t taken more from you! You can’t help yourselves.

S: Then you’re a fool. The lesson of the strike was this: you need us desperately. You’re right about one thing, we don’t want to see people get hurt. We came in and saved all those folks from Attractor, and if we hadn’t, what would you have done? You had exactly zero chance of taking him down without people dying. Let’s say, for just a moment, that we disbanded. Or we go on strike indefinitely-

Grant: You’d never dare.

S: Let’s say we did. How many times do you think the public would blame us for the innocent deaths before they start thinking maybe they should cover our health care if it means bringing us back? How long before they decide they might want to elect officials who will keep them safe?

Grant: You couldn’t. There’s no way you’d allow that many people to die.

S: Then what if the Guard and the American Government parted ways? You don’t seem happy funding us, maybe you’d feel better if we were all on our own? Then we could go back to saving people on a regular basis, winning the adoration of the public, and you people wouldn’t be able to claim any of that glory for yourselves. I always thought you liked being able to say the US Government was helping to protect their people. Of course, if we didn’t take your funding, I suppose we could feel free to criticize you whenever we wanted to. We could let the public know that you were helpless to defend them. Do you think they would side with the helpless Government, or the people who actually protect them?

Grant: You mean a choice between their elected Government or showboating, unpatriotic traitors?

S: All right, if you’d like, we could explore that possibility. We go our way, you go yours. See who does better. I know I wouldn’t want to make enemies with the planet’s most powerful heroes, but that’s just me.

Grant: If that’s what it takes to put you in your place, so be it. I have full authority in this case, the President and Congress have both put full faith in my abilities in this matter, and will support whatever decision I make.

S: Even if it means cutting the Guard loose?

Grant: Even so.

S: Well, I suppose you do have a record of doing that, now, cutting people loose.

Grant: What are you babbling about?

S: At the Power House. They couldn’t even hold Attractor for one measly day after we went to all the trouble of capturing him.

Grant: I have nothing to do with the Power House.

S: Oh, I’m sorry… I could have sworn-

Grant: Then you’re mistaken.

S: Hm. Well, that’s certainly a good thing for you. Him getting out was a pretty monumental screw up. He’s a class A villain, and we’d put a priority warning on his detainment papers. See? (Produces paper.)

Grant: I assume that’s standard. What’s the point of all this?

S: Of course it’s standard. He’s a very deadly villain. Class A. Has to be kept in a special power dampening cell, and whenever a Class A is being transferred anywhere, one of the Earth Guard is always present. I guess that’s something else that would stop if we weren’t working with the Government.

Grant: Is that supposed to scare me?

S: It scares me, I must say. In fact… take a look. (another paper) It seems the reason Attractor escaped was that he was being transferred without one of us present. Here’s the emergency transfer order, from the evening we called the strike.

Grant: Where did you get that?

S: I’ve always fancied myself something of a detective, and I had nothing better to do during the past few days, did I? Being on strike gave me a lot of time to look into things I would usually never get around to. You see here? Thompson, who wrote this memo, says they’ve received orders to put in an emergency transfer. But his boss has no record of requesting the transfer. You see here, (paper) Thompson’s phone records show he talked to two people that night, his wife and Ed Miller. Now, I’m assuming his wife didn’t order a prisoner transferred, so I checked into Ed Miller- you know Ed, he works in your office, right?

Grant: This is completely illegally obtained- inadmissable-

S: Not in the court of public opinion, it’s not. And if you thought that was illegal, wait till you see this… (paper) the only thing more illegal than me having hacked Eddie’s email is what this one seems to imply. I’d wait for you to read it, but it appears you wrote it. "", that’s you, right?

Grant: You’re going to blackmail me?

S: (takes paper back) Let me see… "We need to assure there’s an event as soon as possible. Show these people we have them where we want them." Ect, ect. "Arrange an emergency Class A transfer, ASAP." Blackmail wouldn’t work, right? I think everyone will understand you did what you had to to put us superheroes in our place. There’s nothing to blackmail.

Grant: (Quiet.) What do you want?

S: I think you know. Full restoration of the Moore provisions, and official recognition of the Earth Guard charter as binding.

Grant: I can’t just back down like that, the president will-

S: He has full faith in your abilities in this matter. He will support whatever decision you make.

Grant: Questions will be raised about my-

S: So you resign. Come to think of it, that’s one of our terms as well. Moore provisions, Earth Guard charter, and your resignation. I like it.

Grant: Of course, if the government is going to recognize the charter, you’d have to abide by it as well.

S: Of course. We always do.

Grant: So the Jack is being removed from the Guard?

S: What?

Grant: It’s right in the strike section. Any member of the Guard found to have broken a strike will be removed from the team.

S: No, the Jack- he didn’t break the strike. I called it off. He was just first on the scene.

Grant: Really? Before Dr. Fast? That’s odd. Not to mention that the Jack appeared on the scene live on television, a full minute before your communication came over the Guard communicators.

S: The Jack is a member of my team. I’m standing behind him.

Grant: Even when he goes against the Guard. Excellent. Then we’ll have no trouble- the Government can recognize your charter, and then show that the Guard does not. It will be thrown out in a week, to be replaced with a new one which we can insist we have a hand in drafting. Sounds like a plan.

S: Why are you doing this? Why the Jack?

Grant: You’ve got me in a corner. You expect me not to bite? I’ll take what I can get.

MF: (incoming message) Hey, uh… Stallion? You there, Stallion?

S: (sigh) Is this an emergency?

MF: Yeah, I think so. I mean-

S: What is it, Mr. Fahrenheit?

MF: Are we on, or what? Cause Disastress is over in Brooklyn, and it looks like she wants to start something. I wasn’t sure if I’m supposed to go at it or… what.

Grant: What do you say, Stallion? Are you on?

S: (pause, tough decision, then,) We’re on the job. Put out a call.

MF: All right. (beep) Attention Earth Guard, Disastress blah blah blah, Brooklyn blah blah blah, I think you get the point. Let’s kick some ass. Mister Fahrenheit out.

Grant: So we have a deal?

S: You’ll return all the Moore provisions, and recognize the charter.

Grant: And I’ll resign first thing tomorrow morning. Oh, and I’ll take these little trifles with me, if you don’t mind. (gathering the papers) And all you have to do is lose the Jack. Congratulations, Stallion. Looks like you made out quite nicely. I’d say it’s been a pleasure, but I’d hate to give the impression I think you’re any better than the scum you fight.

S: The feeling’s mutual.

Grant: Good day, sir. (he leaves)

S: (sigh) Is it?

Go to Series 4, Episode 1 .