Finally, his handlers had agreed to take a day off from the seminar and show him around the capital of the European Union State. They had insisted on starting as early as the other days.
Simon was ready. 680 chimed his door and they left.
“Don’t you have civilian clothing?”
“And when you go out in your free time?”
“We wear the parade uniform, to show respect.”
“And when you go on holiday?”
“Well we have places that are only for Guardsmen and there you wear the uniform. But most Guardsmen go for some kind of sports holiday, like hiking across the alps, long distance swimming or sailing, with other Guardsmen.”
“So, what is there to see at your capital?”
“We will show you the important offices of the Government of the Union State, the Guard and Army museum, the Unification memorial….”
Simon hoped he would be allowed to have some time on his own and maybe also sit down in a normal coffeeshop and talk to some ordinary people.
As they were again travelling in the APC, Simon tried to start a conversation.
“So, what do you think are the biggest differences between Guardsman and the Canadian officer, you have seen?”
For a moment, 680 thought: “Well, obviously, your uniform is much different from our. Your hair and sideburns are longer and less groomed. Your boots are unpolished.”
“That is the outward appearance,..”
“Well, you do not use the appropriate pattern of speech when talking to lower ranking Guard personnel and you constantly refer to yourself with I.”
“But otherwise, from what you’ve told me, about your operations with Quebec, it’s similar to what we did in Ukraine. So, what do you think are the biggest differences?”
Simon thought for a moment: “Your life seems to be centered so much around the Guard. As if you had no identity outside and no life really outside. And you are all very fit, we have this problem of unfit servicemen.”
Slowly, Simon had the impression 680 was deicing. While 308 was still mostly a lot for himself.
“624. There is one thing we have to tell you. We have noticed, it seems to be very unusually for you to behave like a Superior. Here we keep the expected pattern of speech when talk to lower ranking Guard personnel. That is to show our distance and for them to be able to show their respect for their Superiors. You are talking far too familiar with them. If you are here to learn to be more like a Guardsman, you should follow our lead and begin to act like a senior Guardsman. Also, it seems you are not taking much care in your appearance.”
Simon looked at himself. He was not sure what they meant, his uniform was up to regulation.
“You know, if you are not more professional when dealing with subordinates, we make a bad impression on people. And then we may all get punished.”
Simon gulped. He didn’t want to cause any trouble to his handlers.
Entry to Simons Journal:
“As we drove towards the centre of the Capital, we passed again at least two checkpoints. My hosts informed me that most normal citizens would go downtown by bus or train. Those who took the car had to park it and then do the last part of their journey by public transport or bike. Having a car was discouraged in all of the Union for environmental and security purposes.
However, there was a fairly central underground car park for Guard vehicles and we drove straight into that. I’m not sure if I have seen so many APCs in one place. We walked to the surface and our first stop was at the Guardsmen Memorial.
It was a very solemn place. An eternal flame burned and was protected by four Guardsmen. My hosts told me it was a great honor to be selected for Guard duty here and it was performed by Guardsmen who were given this duty as recognition for special services.
We watched as an elderly lady put down some flowers in front of the flame and then wept.
I was not able to speak to her as my handlers told me we had an appointment scheduled at the Museum. The memorial was empty of names. They told me the graveyard was outside the city.
As in all places the security around the installation seemed to be very tight. Again another thing that appears to me, the Guard has a certain fondness of concrete and polished steel. All the buildings I have seen so far have this brutalist style. Somehow, it seems to be made to emphasize power.
As we walked from the memorial the streets were not very busy. When I saw people, it was either men and children, women didn’t seem to take care of children. The men I saw were almost all dressed in colorful clothing and had carefully styled hair. Almost as if they were prizes. While the women I saw were almost all businesswomen who clutched to briefcases or talked busily into mobile phones. Sometimes, such groups of women were followed by one or two men who clearly seemed to be their assistants. Most people kept a respectful distance from us.
There seemed to be a patrol of Guardsmen either in their normal rubber uniform or even in the tank suits on nearly every street corner. The city was extremely clean and there was not a single grafitti or errand advertisement poster.
While we walked two vehicles stopped in front of us. The rear doors opened and Guardsmen in tank suits jumped out, ran towards a person on the street. They tackled him down. Next think I noticed was that the guy, with a gag in his mouth was carried away to the other car. It was almost like a James Bond movie. The entire thing needed like two minutes. My handlers didn’t want to talk with me about it, they just numbled something about “an arrest”, the local people were also almost extremely busy pretending nothing had happened.
As we came by the entry of a metro station, I was surprised seeing people standing in line, getting checked by Guardsmen. My handlers replied, this was just the normal security.
When we entered the Museum, I was immediatly surrounded by a group of youngish looking Guardsmen. Well, for those the faces I could see. There was at least half of them, if not even more who wore full rubber face masks. The masks seemed to be diffrent: some resembled a dog face, some that of fawn. Others were just in rubber suits. But all had a large C in front of their number.”
Simon thought: “To hell with the no talking regulation, I have to ask what these are.”
He talked to the first boy those face he could see.
“Who are you?”
“We are Guard Cadets on our 50 km hike. The Museum is the end point. We started hiking yesterday evening and walked through the night. Now we have a look around and then we drive back home to our Guard Academy.”
“What are you? You are not a Guardsmen, but are you military?”
“Yes. I’m a Canadian officer on exchange with the Guard.”
“Oh, so cool! What are you doing here?”
“I was at seminar and now these two took me for a day to see your capital.”
“We learned in military history that Canada was once an ally of Europe”
“Yes, we still are.”
“Are you a Canadian Guardsman?”
“No, I’m in the army. We have an army and a police.”
“As it used to be in Europe.”
“Do you have a boyfriend?”
“So you don’t wear a rubber protective uniform as we do?”
“Well, we have different kinds of uniforms, but none of that is made of rubber.”
“Crass. Is it true that men and women serve in the Canadian military?”
“Yes, they both serve together.”
Simon wondered why only the guys without the masks were asking him.
“Are you chip controlled like the American Marines?”
“No, chipping people is illegal in Canada. Can I ask your stuff?”
“Sure.” the baldest of them asked.
“How old are you?”
“This one is 18.”
“And what is that a Guard Academy?”
“Well, it’s like a normal school, but we wear uniforms and get prepared to become senior Guardsmen.”
Another one added: “Of course, we do more sports and it’s a boarding school, we don’t live with our parents anymore.”
“And what are the guys with the masks?”
“These are the reception level students, they wear masks. Once you advance you don’t have to do that anymore”
Simon must have made a shocked impression.
“It’s to learn proper humility. They say crawl, walk, run. So first, you have to know how to follow orders, then you learn how to give them.”
A seriously wrinkled Guardsmen with salt and pepper hair came over.
“Cadets. Attentiooooooon” The students came to attention “this visitor to our Union State has been pestered enough with your questions. Curiosity makes a good Guard leader, but we should get ready for our tour and he want to get ready for his. Thank him.”
The students saluted, bowed and said as one: “Thank you, Sir!”
When the students walked off, he saw that the older Guardsman seemed to have a prothetic left arm. Instead of a normal hand, there was a only a kind of metal claw.
680 seemed to have found him.
“Ah, this one sees, you had fun with the students. You know this one went to a Guard Academy too!”
“I hope it was ok to talk them.”
“Sure, our future leaders need to learn more about different countries militaries.”
“Do they really wear masks?”
“Sure during the reception stage they wear this mask. It prevents them from talking unnecessarily and gives them the right mindset for training.” 680 smiled.
“So which one did you wear?”
“Mine was a rabbit mask. That was what our academy wore. But we should go our tour starts”.
Their tour guide was an another elderly Guardsman with full salt and pepper hair.
“680, you are back with a visitor, great to see you.”
“Thank you as well, 366. This one brought a visitor from Canada, an officer.”
366 saluted Simon and then shook hands with a jolly smile.
“What a good looking chap. And here is 308…. your partner… so what do you want to see? The Heroes and History exhibition? Instruments and Institutions? Or Humanity in service?”
“For how many do we have time?” Simon thought such a Museum might provide an interesting overview but he also would like to see just normal life.
“Well, we had a presentation on history and the Guard. So why don’t we start with the humanity in service?”
They were let into an exhibition.
It started out with a large wall in an otherwise dark room: “The Guard, the human security force”
The first exhibit was a gun.
“So we start here. Traditionally, police forces did not have that many non-lethal weapons at their disposal, but once the Guard was formed it was recognized it should use non-lethal weapons. So the HK N12 was introduced. A gun that shoots tranquilizing darts instead of bullets.”
The gun was artfully light up and on a small pedestal.
“Currently, the Guard uses the HK 15 the successor model as it offers a variety of additional features. It can be used with non-lethal and lethal ammunition as well.”
Another gun on a pedestal.
“The current armor suits also have an integrated gun system. It is in the left lower arm. As for standard sidearms there is the current HK CSA 55, which can shoot tranquilizing darts as well as lethal ones. It’s the same that 308 carries in the moment.”
Everyone looked at 308 who smiled shyly back to them, clearly not liking to be in the centre of attention.
“But, of course, we also use more advanced technologies, always there is the grand direction: Re-education is better then killing. Our society needs everybody. So we come to one of the hallmarks of the Guard civilian control technology the PSB 100, a side-handle baton with a special additional feature.” The tour guide pressed a button the mount of the baton.
“Try to touch it”
Simon touched for a second and then withdraw his hand due to the strong pain.”
“Indeed, the baton can emit pain and, thus, stun any attacker. The pain passes through most clothing, it is an intense neural field. Very effective in riot control. There is a collapsible version PTB 50 of this baton.” The guide pointed his finger to another item.
“Again, the emphasizes is on stunning or disabling the offender not on harming him. This kind of baton allows the Guardsman to use very little force and actually reduced the chance of the offender getting injured.”
The tour continued with different items: stun Handcuff that reduce the victims desire to fight, standard handcuffs. They had a short look into the cockpit of a water cannon – 680 and 308 seemed to really enjoy this and knew all the controls.
680 mentioned that he had commanded one, right after he had left the Guard Academy.
But there were also displays on the use of some kind of gas. They showed Simon a video on the so called orgy gas. Once a normal person was exposed to it, their sexual urges overwhelmed them and they started pleasuring themselves becoming unaware of the environment.
“So this is our ‘Service is Pleasure’ room. Here we have several exhibits. This is a soccer team that played badly but after a terrorist attack they all decided to enlist in the Guard.” A second picture showed them playing soccer in tank suits.
“Here you see some of the most loving aspects of Guard life: Two Guardsman get married. And here is picture of two young Guardsmen kissing. This is to show that we are not just rubber-clad automatons, but have feelings as well.”
Simon thought he had seen 308 gently touch 680 and rub him, but was unsure.
Another picture showed two Guardsmen obviously in a run down village handing sweets to smiling children.
“And here you can touch and dress up as Guardsmen, we have some sample uniforms. Not sure if they will fit Captain Martin’s size, we mostly do this with children and youth.”
As they proceeded they entered a room full of face masks for humans. All of them seemed to be molded after some kind of animal.
“This is the Guard Academies room. Here you see the face masks of the various Academies.”
The masks must have literally been hundreds.
“Every Academy has it’s own particular mask. Starting right here, with the first academy that was established only three years after the Guard was founded.”
The tour guide showed them a dog’s mask.
“This is not only the oldest but also one of the most prestigious in Guard Academies, the director of the Museum attended it.”
“It was chosen because the dog is a symbol of loyalty and obedience”
They walked down the display of masks.
“Here the fawn mask. This is the one 680 wore.”
“Yeah. The memories are still there”
“Why should they be deleted?”
The description read: “Mighty and elegant – the Northern Academy”
“You can also feel how it is to wear one. We have some to try out.”
They proceeded to the next room, called: Discipline and Duty.
“These people on the photo are the inventors of the first GUMS system.” The photo showed a group of smiling scientists.
“Every Guardsman is connected to GUMS and has access to information. But GUMS at the same time also monitors the well-being and whereabouts of the Guardsmen. It’s truly your little friend in your ear.”
Simon for the first time go really conscious that every Guardsman wore this little silver earpiece.
“And, here is something we do not show our civilian visitors: GUMS is also used to enforce the strict discipline and professionally for which we take pride. To uphold this, it is sometimes necessary to punish an errand Guardsman. In former times, they would be beaten or incarcerated for some time. But now we have a more humane and simple solution: Guardsmen spend a pre described time with the pain inducers. This way everyone receive the same amount of pain and it can be administrated everywhere. Even in the field”
Simon was shocked. Corporal punishment had been abolished in the Canadian Army a long time ago.
“It’s not that bad.”, 308 spoke “This one got 2 minutes on the inducer three weeks ago and it helped me.”
“Let’s proceed to the last part of the tour Heroes and History”
When Simon entered, it he thought: This is pure recruiting and propaganda.
“Here this series of pictures is called: The Guard made me! It is of youngsters before they signed up and after their training and after one year. The project goes on.”
The before picture were weaklings, with acne filled faces, bad haircuts and shabby clothing. Then a transformation picture as they were after training muscled up, smiling studs, wearing a shining polished uniform. In the one year after, photo the muscles seemed to have bulged even more and some of them had short stylish haircuts others still spotted shiny domes.
The heroes’ section was very elaborate: They always told a story of one Guardsman who had done a heroic effort. It was all made up with multimedia, dioramas, pictures. Like a Greek tragedy it all went well in the end.
They also had full wax models of the Guardsmen who won last years “You’ve got a talent!” -competition in Europe. Another full wax model was of an Executioner.
That wax model had natural Executioner’s body sizes. His height was more than 210 cm. He was very muscular and had abnormal big cock.
“This one was the first Guard Executioner.”
“But I thought the death penalty was abolished in Europe.”
“Sure. He does not kill people. He is a Prison Guard who punished men who raped women.This is one of the most horrendous crimes, a gender crime. And so the punishment for the offenders was to experience what they had done to women. It was this guy’s job to execute that.”
The next exhibit included the jerseys from the Guard owned soccer team. “The Yellow Stars”. The story was told extensively: a soccer team was in 3rd league. A terrorist attack in their hometown killed many people. The players decided to enlist in the Guard. There were pictures and a documentary about them playing. After that they were deployed but continued to play. The club renamed themselves and the Guard recognized it would be good to have its own team. After some time more and better players signed up and the team begun to play in the upper league. The team was famous for its team spirit and cohesion.
“They are not little prima donnas like other teams”
Although, on the field they had to remove their earpieces, they spotted the typical bald muscular Guardsman look.
“Even after leaving, some of their careers took off.”
“So, this next exhibit is a little bit more solemn!”
Their guide showed them the mutilated rubber uniforms of three Guardsmen who seemed to have perished in a terrorist attack.
“The attack was perpetuated by the ‘Free Europeans’ one of the most vicious terror groups, these brothers of us were out jogging in a forrest.
Next to the display case stood a weeping lady:
“It makes me really sick to see this.” The lady told them. “I’m glad we have so good security here in the capital to protect us.”
Before they left, they came by a series of posters with propaganda messages, like: “Protect the Union State!”
As they stepped out. Simon had expected to be in some kind of souvenir shops. Well, it was that. But this museum shop seemed to be a mixture between recruiting station and souvenir shop.
“Strange, what this civilians think they need?”
“Yeah, without money one lives so much more carefree”
Simon overheard two Guardsmen strolling through. They must have been from the group from the Guard Academy.
He saw the headline on one of the newspapers: European Voice and started reading through it.
“Why is it so cheap?”
“Well, it’s the Government line paper, that’s why we also get it in all Guard stations.”
Simon decided to buy it and some postcards, just to see what was written in it.
“Ok. Guys. I’m hungry, should we go to the cafeteria of the Museum?”
680 replied: “No need for that, we have brought some lunch”
Simon was positively surprised, then 680 opened 308’s backpack had carried all the time and handed out bottles with this dildo like sucking thing on the end.
“Hmmmm, guys thank you, but can’t we have some real food?”
“Why, this is real food? All that you need contained in handy bottle. The calorie content is measured and so GUMS makes sure we get everything we need and not too much.”
“But can’t we just go and buy some lunch at the cafeteria?”
“We don’t carry any money.”
“Why didn’t you bring money?”
“Guardsmen don’t have money. Our needs are taken care of by the Mother Guard.”
“OK, maybe I can invite you?”
“No. We don’t do non-guard food, if we can avoid it.”
Simon was frustrated but decided not to press the point and sucked down his lunch. At least he became used to the taste as he had sucked it now the second time on the same day. It felt still odd to suck something out of a somehow penis shaped thing.
After that, they had left the Museum of the Army, that housed exhiibitons on the old Belgian armed forces and the Guard. They were walking don the Parc du Cinquantenaire towards the centre of the European Goverment the Barleymont. Simon could hear shouting.
“What is this?”
“Probably, people from one of the free speech zones.”
“What are they protesting about?”
“Could we have a look?”
“This one is not sure if that is a good idea, due to your safety”
“But I’m in the presence of two strong Guardsmen and you even carry your duty belts”
680 was really reluctant to go let Simon there.
As they approached he could hear an announcement from a good loudspeaker: “You have exceeded the time for use of the free speech zone, please end your meeting, cititzens”
“This is the last warning, you have exceeded the time for use of the free speech zone, please,end your meeting citizens. Otherwise, we will arrest you.”
There were already prison style vans driving slowly towards the fenced of area.
Then, several troops of Guardsmen arrived wearing tank suits and helmets.
“Citizens, you have not obeyed the orders of the Guard. This is a criminal offence. You are under arrest. Citizens, you have not obeyed the orders of the Guard. This is a criminal offence. You are under arrest. Citizens, you have not obeyed the orders of the Guard. This is a criminal offence. You are under arrest….”
680 spoke: “A some good old crowd control, it really itches to participate in that”
308: “Yeah, the good old days. Ah, those long haired hippies, always causing trouble”
“Can we try to talk to some of the Guardsmen on duty?”
“The canned ones?”
“Sorry, the ones wearing a tank suit?”
“You call them canned, like fish?”
“Yeah. Hmm, not sure. They are usually in fighting mode.”
From the distance, they watched how the Guardsmen took away row after row of protestors, handcuffed them and brought them into waiting trucks and buses.
“Why they don’t use stun guns and keep them stuggling?”
“More fun that way. This one means, sure we could have blanketed the whole area with these vomit guns and pain inducing systems, that way the protestors would have begged to get out. But hand to hand is much more fun.”
They watched the action from the distance.
After some time, 680 talked to them: “This one has talked via GUMS with the commander of the mission, he says we can approach and there is one of them ready to talk to you.”
They proceeded towards one of the grey tanked buses.
Two guardsmen in tank suits stood watch.
When 680 approached they retracted the visors of their helmets and saluted.
680 introduced them to Simon:
“This is 624 from the Canadian Army, these are C-276-413-671 and B-276-413-670.”
“Good afternoon, Sir”, the higher ranking said.
“Can I ask some questions?” Simon inquired.
680 signalled it was ok.
“What are you doing here?”
“We are protecting the free speech zone.”
“What were these people protesting about?”
“This one has no idea. Usually, the helmets block noise and blur the slogans on the signs. We are not hear to listen, but to provide security”
“Ahhhhh. How long have you been on duty so far?”
“Subjective mission time is 7 hours and 33 minutes”
“Do you always wear this suit? It seems quite heavy.”
“One does get used to it and we train it. But mostly we wear this. We are the working part, not just the fancy desk people… no offence intended.”
Simon thought, these guys were really tensed and not relaxed.
“So how long have you been in the Guard?”
“We got inducted the same time, about five years now.”
“Oh, but you’ve made a higher rank then your companion?”
“He is more the bottom anyway.”
The lower ranking one smiled and Simon was not sure what to make of it.
“Are there many protests like this?”
“The designated free speech zones are used for their purposes. But if they overextend their time we have to make the space free.”
“Wouldn’t their be more space for protests?”
“Not sure. This one does not think about these things. We are just obeying orders.”
“But you must have a private opinion on that?”
“Mhhhhh. Sometimes, it feels good, if we are allowed what we were taught and trained to do in practice.”
680 interfered: “You just want to use your skills. Everyone does.”
“Are you mainly doing these protests?”
“Our main duty is to provide security in the capital region. Yes. ”
“Just because there are protests, doesn’t mean we have many problems.” 680 reminded.
“Do you enjoy living in the capital region?”
“Sure, the facitilies in the barracks are very good.”
“I mean do you get out and see the capital?”
Both guardsmen looked at the Canadian bewildered.
680 interrupted them: “This one thinks our brothers need to get back on duty.”
Both tank suited ones looked relieved to have finished talking to the strange visitor. They closed the visors of their helmets and walked off.
“You shouldn’t try to talk to low ranking Guardsmen like these. They are not used to it and it’s not appropriate”
“But, I like to be friendly with all men under my command”
“The protocol is that communication with outsiders is conducted through the highest ranking Guardsman present.”
Again this chant!
It seemed they wanted to distract him from looking at the anti-aircraft missiles system that was parked on the lawn as well.
“The little trip downtown was interesting but strange. We could see a clean and very functional city. People were walking, cycling and going around without vehicles.
There were no cars and as I was explained these have become scarce in the union state and they have been banned from the capital for security reasons. Another thing was the tight security everywhere. There are Guardsmen at the entrance of every tube station, they have patrols going down the streets and they have the same checks when entering public buildings. Almost everywhere, there is one of these body scanners or explosives detectors. But then the city is free of trash, graffiti or even litter on the street. I could also see very little children walk freely and without their parents to places. But strangest of all, was to see these patrols of people in the dark tank suits, they were looking like ant, though all the Guardsmen that seemed to be on patrol had a smiling face and were very polite and deferential to women.”