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 Four
Episode 9 - The Golden Rules

By Jordan D. White

The Stallion
The Golden Eel
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 & The Golden Eel in "The Golden Rules."

(Stallion and Eel are in the tower.)

S: (excited) So, I thought, if only there was some sort of organization that could work simultaneously both to act against larger threats to the innocent people of planet Earth and to protect the interests of those heroes who put themselves at risk as part of the team. And that's when I started the Earth Guard.

Eel: I see.

S: Before that, I'd had to spend so much time and effort avoiding being labeled a vigilante, convincing the public that I was a hero, and even fighting with the police or sneaking past them into crime scenes. This was time and effort that should have been spent on fighting actual crime.

Eel: Mm hmm.

S: But the Guard gives its members a respect that- oh, wait here it is. Sound up, Monitor two, Brainframe.

Brainframe: I am in need of repairs.

S: Just ignore that.

Newsman: ...where the Earth Guard announced the results of their recruitment drive in a press conference overseen by Earth Guard press secretary, Mr. Fahrenheit.

MF: Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pleasure, that I... Mister Fahrenheit... Earth Guard Press Secretary... announce the two newest members of the Earth Guard. May I present to you... The Golden Eel and Bumblebee!

Newsman: The Golden Eel has been active as a hero in Hawaii for the past five years, popularly known as the only hero defending the fiftieth state. During the recruitment, there were rumors or her having a falling out with the Guard, but today, the heroine seemed pleased to have been chosen.

Eel: The Earth Guard is a respected organization and one of which I'm proud to be a member. I look forward to doing good on a scale I couldn't do on my own. I know the Guard has gotten a bit of bad press recently, but I think it's important to remember all the good they've done, and all the good they are capable of.

Newsman: Bumblebee, on the other hand, has been fighting crime in the New York City area for the last year or so, and previously enjoyed much less of a level of fame, being one of many heroes protecting the Metropolis. She, too, was thrilled to have made the cut.

Bee: This is the most exciting day of my life! I've wanted to be in the Earth Guard since I was a little girl, this is absolutely a dream come true! I'd like to thank the Guard, each and every member, for allowing me in... EEEEEEEEE! I am so excited!

Newsman: The Guard has said they'll be working the two heroines into the Guard Duty rotation immediately...

S: Sound down. You see that? In the Guard for one minute and already making us look good. Now, what was I just saying...?

Eel: You were talking about the respect the Guard offers it's members... and I've been meaning to talk to you about that.

S: Oh?

Eel: I fight crime because it's the right thing to do. I protect the entire state of Hawaii. The whole state. Yes, it's a small state, but I'm the only one protecting it, which means I have to be very serious about what I do. More than a million people over ten thousand square miles depend on me.

S: Of course, I understand completely.

Eel: I'm not sure you do. There are a number of members of the Earth Guard, not just the wretched Mister Fahrenheit, who treat the Earth Guard like it's some kind of... social club.

S: Well, I wouldn't call it a 'social club', but to some extent, the Guard is a place where heroes can be among heroes. Yes, being on Guard Duty brings responsibilities, but there is a social component as well. We can discuss our experiences with someone else who will understand them. That's why there are two people on Guard Duty at a time. One person could monitor a bunch of TVs or wait for the Brainframe to spot something. Having two people allows Guard Duty to also serve as a release, to connect with others in a similar situation.

Eel: I assumed it was just to keep people from falling asleep.

S: That's... another reason...

Eel: I, for one, don't feel the need to 'connect'. I'm here to do a job, a job I couldn't do alone. I'm here to help Guard the entire planet against global scale threats, not to make 'buddies'. I've got a state to look after. I'd rather pay attention to that than 'chat' and gossip with my 'superfriends'. Especially considering most of them don't seem to take this job seriously.

S: Hang on, what do you mean? The guard are professionals.

Eel: Hardly. They're far more interested in their personal lives than in the actual Guard work.

S: Ocean Man died protecting people! Foal was killed stopping the Creationist! The Jack wouldn't stop fighting even though he knew it could get him kicked off the team!

Eel: Three good examples of people who were serious about their jobs, all of whom are notably not Guard Members anymore. Most of those that remain don't know the meaning of sacrifice. They're all self-interest. Can you honestly tell me that Dr. Fast would answer a call from the Guard if it meant completely ruining one of his experiments?

S: ...I...

Eel: Exactly.

S: Regardless of all that, we still get the job done. When the call goes out, the Guard responds.

Eel: But the Guard should not be successful in spite of itself, it should be streamlined and made into the best evil stopping organization on the face of the planet.

S: It is the best on the planet!

Eel: Then it should be better. It could be better. For example- why not have people actually doing work on behalf of the Guard during their shifts of Guard Duty?

S: What do you mean?

Eel: Have actual work assigned to them during their shifts. That way, when Broadband is on duty, instead of watching TV, he could actually get the Brainframe fixed.

S: But they have to actually monitor the Brainframe, they shouldn't be doing other things that would distract them that completely.

Eel: But like you said, there are two of them. They could trade off monitoring and getting work done. They could keep up with our police reports, so they're not always late. They could do routine checks on confirmed Class A powered felons on our watch lists.

S: We do all those things, just not on Guard Duty. Those things get done.

Eel: But they get done sporadically. Back in my cave in Honolulu, I have a setup similar to this, and I can get all these things done myself. One person. You know how? By being systematic. I have a system in place to keep tabs on known threats within the islands, and I keep a rigid schedule of checkups. When I finish a mission, it doesn't matter if I'm tired, or if I want to 'talk about my experiences', the first thing I do is write up a report. And when was the last time Hawaii was successfully attacked by a supervillain?

S: It's easier for one person.

Eel: Easier for one?

S: Yes! Because you can do everything your way, and you don't have to rely on other people. It makes it easier to get things done. With additional people comes some level of beauracracy that complicates things.

Eel: Well, if you had people you could rely on-

S: I trust each and every member of the Guard with my life. If I didn't, they wouldn't be here.

Eel: Sure- your life. But would you trust them with running the team? Even just on paper, not in the field? Would you trust them to get the finance paper in? Hell, would you trust them with your taxes?

S: (pause) ... Bob. Broadband. I would trust Broadband.

Eel: One. Excellent. So, we've got you, running the Guard, doing most of the work of keeping us going yourself. We've got Broadband, who you would trust with the Guard, apparently, but who can't keep one computer working. We've got me, who keeps an entire state safe herself, and who is willing to work just as hard for this team. And what do the rest of the members do for the Guard? Just show up? Is that really enough?

S: They do the actual fighting crime part.

Eel: But is that enough? If they really care about the Guard, if they care about the organization itself, shouldn't they be working for it? They're more than happy to reap the benefits afforded them by the team, but what do they give back? Other than fighting crime, which they should be doing anyway.

S: That's not how we work.

Eel: No, it's not. And that's the problem. Why should you shoulder the entire weight of the Guard, while they all get fat off your work? There was all that hubbub about Binary Girl's identity being exposed... you know what they'd find if my identity was exposed? Nothing. Nothing worth reporting. You know why? Because this, The Golden Eel? This is my life. And I bet it's the same for you, isn't it?

S: Well... yes, for the most part. Chuck Cavallo doesn't really get out much.

Eel: Exactly, because the Stallion is the real you. Doing your job is what you really care about. Do you think any other member of the Guard puts the Guard before themselves? Honestly?

S: (sigh) No. Probably not.

Eel: I didn't think so. Think of it this way. If the Earth Guard was a company, you'd be the CEO. The other members of the Guard would be your employees. They should be working for you. They should do the things you tell them to do. Instead, here, doesn't it seem like you're working for them? You do the heavy lifting, they reap the benefits. Does that seem right?

S: Well, no, I guess it doesn't.

Eel: Of course. Imagine how much better the Guard could be if you could ask members to get something done and count on them actually do it?

S: I might have time to breathe.

Eel: Exactly. Instead of worrying about their personal missions, their celebrity, or their love lives-

(Bumblebee Enters)

Bee: Hello, everyone! Hey, Goldie, I'm here to relieve you. You can head on back to the beach and work on your tan. Man, I wish I could go for some beach time! Not really beach weather in New York right now, you know? Maybe I could swing by your place some time to visit, huh?

Eel: We'll see. But don't call me Goldie. Eel, please.

Bee: But Eels are so gross, don't you think, Stallion? They always kind of creeped me out. Of course, Bees are kind of freaky too, but at least Bumblebees are cute and fuzzy. But I've always liked horses. I used to ride Stallions back in Kansas in my spare time. You ever ride a Stallion, Eel?

Eel: I'm leaving. Think about what I said, Stallion.

S: I will.

(Eel Leaves)

Bee: What did she mean by that? She making you any... inappropriate offers?

S: Not exactly, no. More of a serious offer.

Bee: Good! I wouldn't want to have competition. Now, I think I promised you-

S: No, Bumblebee, we're on Guard Duty, this is a serious j- ... ohhhhh.... ok. OK, that feels... really nice.

Bee: I told you, so. You're going to be happy you chose me. I guarantee it.

Go to Episode 10