The Junior Guard

THE JUNIOR GUARD– The Junior Guard, a mandatory youth program implemented by Chaplain Ross following the Great War, is, in some sense, a positive experience, stressing morality and such useful life-skills as self-defense. To some degree, Chaplain Ross’ indoctrination of the Addletown young is also a preventative measure against future civil war as it is designed to systematically subvert any dissenting or perhaps even violent notions inherent in children at a very early age, stressing instead a blind obedience to Church Law over any other doctrines. In addition, The Junior Guard fulfills community obligations such as providing a complete daily meal to each child, fortunate for impoverished children who often go hungry when not training at the Central Structure. Junior Guards are taught language and rudimentary arithmetic but the Chaplain’s lectures are devoid of any further knowledge which could perhaps cause children to turn against their Order. Therefore, at its root, the purpose of The Junior Guard is a nefarious one, seeking to manipulate and ultimately control the minds of the Addletown youth so that they will be easier to train for murder at the Chaplain’s behest.

The Program has been imposed on all children for roughly five years with a special deployment of the Senior Guard periodically searching houses and performing detailed census reports which indicate the abilities of potential Junior Guard candidates based on Intellect, Faith or Fighting Stature. All children – of both sexes – from the ages of 6 through 16 are required to participate in one of these three primary concentrations. Those lucky enough to be deemed of “Fighting Stature” are led through gauntlets of psychological and physical abuse to test their ability to reconcile battle-stress.

As the Junior Guard is a recent creation, its core tenets remain in a state of flux. There is, for instance, no set protocol on discipline and many Senior Guards inflict differing modes of punishment, resulting in numerous severe injuries . Disturbingly, an inordinate amount of children are groomed against their will for ‘supreme combat’ positions, ostensibly to be used as Addletown’s military, still depleted from the Great War. Many children dread this revered distinction as it is rumored to mean that they will be then eligible for immediate deployment to the Outer Realms to spread the Chaplain’s Word upon graduating from the Junior Guard. Conditioned by force, surely, but yet not attuned to life beyond Addletown, many Junior Guard are plagued with paranoid visions and shivering sweats at the thought of traversing the Outer Realms. Sadly, more often than not, they are sent there and many do not return…