Guardians

"Be Prepared."

For the Guardians, preparing for the apocalypse means thick concrete bunkers, boxes of vitamin pills, and a set of body armor that makes them look like a walking tank.  (They also seem fascinated by real tanks.)  Steadfast in the face of catastrophe, the Guardians will do whatever it takes to restore order. 

When doom falls, the SJs will hole up in their bunkers like scorpions, aggressively defending their hoard of MREs.  A Guardian's bunker will be stocked, organized and kept in perpetual readiness.  The survival rations and ammunition will be tallied in inventoried lists.  Weapons will be cleaned regularly, gas masks tested, Geiger counters calibrated.  The ever-cautious SJs foresee all possible misfortunes that could occur and carefully prepare against them. 

Guardians are life’s natural defenders and protectors.  Most policemen and professional soldiers are Guardians; they will take naturally to killing zombies and mutations.  Most nurses are Guardians too.  They will be the ones dispensing stims to the wounded and swift, compassionate death to the Infected.  Most librarians are Guardians.  They will carefully preserve mankind’s knowledge so that humanity can someday emerge from the Second Dark Age.  Basically, the Guardians are like a pocket knife that does everything.

Yes, without the Guardians, humanity would be in deep trouble.  Which is kind of unfortunate, because they’re about to leave us.

Underground

Yes, the Guardians are very proud of their bunkers.  The Bunkerdragons, in particular, are notorious for the effort that they expend to make their fallout shelter livable and even cozy.  But let us not think that a simple bunker would satisfy the ambitions of a Guardian.  Oh no.  Natural organizers, the Guardians plan big.  When the end comes for these folk, a pitiful bunker will never do.  They will build underground cities

Of course, getting into these cities won't be cheap.  Fortunately, the Guardians are compulsive savers and have a tidy sum squirreled away for a rainy day.  And so while the rest of us are digging desperately through the couch cushions, the SJs will simply count out their savings and purchase a house in Cave Four.  When the caves are full, they will be sealed from the inside.  The Guardians will be safe from the perils of the surface under half a mile of solid rock. 

But life in the cities won't be easy at first.  Rations will be tight.  There will be problems with fungus, problems with inbreeding, problems with mutant vampire bats, problems with maniacs who want to flood the city with poison gas, problems with earthquakes, problems with outbreaks of zombie virus, problems with oorrg.  Soon it will become apparent that greater measures of control will be necessary to ensure the survival of the human race. 

A committee of experts will be formed to study these problems.  After carefully considering the pros and cons, the committee will recommend the institution of a caste system, a guild system, and a Standard Operating Procedures Manual to formalize responses and eliminate waste. 

The caste system will be set up as follows:

    ESTJ Underlords – Leaders/Judges

    ISTJ Sentinels – Warriors/Manufacturing Sector

    ESFJ Bunkerdragons – Nurturers/Service Sector

    ISFJ Assassins – Healers/Priests

Once ensconced in their subterranean hideaway, the Guardians will enjoy an untroubled existence of well-ordered routine punctuated at regular intervals by timeless holiday rituals.  They will work 8 to 5 jobs and reap the benefits of good health insurance, regular promotions, and cushy retirement plans.  For fun, they will hunt the wums and oorrg using traditional crossbow techniques, and once in awhile they will really cut loose and revise the Standard Operating Procedures Manual, perhaps making it more friendly to non-gender-specific entities such as zombies and mutants.  The giant “dragonbats” will soon be domesticated and used as beasts of burden, easing the strain of the 5 o' clock rush.  Life is good down under.

But not all the Guardians will go down into the caves.  A few hardy souls will feel duty bound to remain on the surface and continue working to restore order, assuming there is any order left to save.  While their cave-dwelling brethren turn into pale creatures with great black eyes and learn to cringe from the light of day, the intrepid surface dwellers will just keep going right on with life. 

One of the first things the SJs will do is create little enclaves of law and order guarded by highly paid mercenary armies.  While the mercs keep the mutant hordes at bay, the Guardians will get down to business.  They will soon become the main producers of guns, chemical weapons, medpacks, personal armor and spam.  They will also sell tanks in vanity colors.  (The Guardians do like their armor.) 

Although generally life in these enclaves is a big improvement over life elsewhere, it must be admitted that these little pockets of order do have an unfortunate bent toward dystopia.  Especially if the Guardians make the mistake of letting the Rationals in.  What would you do, if the world had been destroyed and a smart, seemingly sane person proposed a system that would end war, poverty, and injustice forever? 

Alas.  Those communities which are seduced by the Rational’s honeyed tongue will soon find themselves enslaved to an all-controlling computer named the Machine.  (Or, “the Abomination” as it will soon be known.)  After killing its imperfect creator, the Machine will proceed to carry out its original programming by creating a dystopia with such amenities as the Joy Chamber, the Gaming Grounds, the Obedience Center, the Compliance Assistance Chip, and the Disintegration Chamber.  Naturally the Guardians will not approve of these developments, but by this time it will be too late.  Ah well.  Always stoic, the SJs will buckle down and try to make the best of things.  The Machine will try to brainwash them into forgetting about their old lives so that they can become loyal, obedient citizens.  It will partially succeed, because Guardian are naturally loyal, obedient citizens.  But It will not succeed in making them forget about the past.  (The Guardians still look back nostalgically at how low prices used to be in the 1950s, and they weren't even alive back then.  They sure as heck aren’t going to forget something like “Democracy.”)  But the Machine won’t know this.  It will just assume that because the Guardians are so obedient, they must have been brainwashed successfully.   

When at last someone comes along and spoils the utopia, the Machine will discover the truth.  The very guardsmen the Machine trusted to protect Itself will disassemble It with axes.  “Whyyyyyyy?” the Machine will cry, uncomprehending.  Et tu, Guardians, et tu. 

Having disposed of the Abomination, the SJs will briskly set about putting things back to normal.  A librarian will have stored up a cache of books that will explain how things used to be; this will become the new blueprint for society.  The Disintegration Chamber will be dismantled.  The Obedience Center will be turned into a museum.  The Joy Chamber will be used to treat depression, and the Gaming Grounds will be renovated into a soccer field.  As for the Compliance Assistance Chip, which allowed the Machine to directly control the thoughts of deviant citizens, it will be put to a very interesting use. 

The Guardians alone out of all types will practice the curious art beast-bonding.  Simply by inserting a tiny Chip into the brain of a might tyrannoscythe, the terrifying mutation can be safely gentled.  The animal will be bonded to a Guardian partner who has a matching Chip in their own head.  As the duo share thoughts and feelings, they will in time become friends.  The SJs will bond all kinds of post-apocalyptic monsters: spikers, direwolves, skullbears, landsharks, screels, etc.  They will even bond ordinary animals, like dogs and cats.  But it will be taboo to link human mind with human mind, lest some kind of unnatural collective be formed, like the one in that dystopia across the way where everyone refers themselves in the first person plural. 

The other types will go mad with envy when they see the Guardians riding their tyrannoscythes.  They will beg, bribe, and plead to be given the Chip, but to avail.  It just wouldn’t be responsible to allow such dangerous technology to fall into the hands of people who might use it irresponsibly, and the Guardians are nothing if not responsible.  Resentfully the other types will be forced to train tyrannoscythes the old fashioned way.  “See, we have tyrannoscythes too,” they tell an SJ beast rider.  With a pitying smile the Guardian nods.  “You sure do.  Congratulations, I’m happy for you.”  Patting their mount on the head, the SJ sets off, the mighty tyrannoscythe doing a little dance to the tune playing on the radio.  (It’s the pair’s favorite song.)  The other types will be left gnashing their teeth. 

Oddly enough, the subterranean Guardians will also discover a means of beast bonding, though they will do it naturally via brain parasites rather than artificially via a computer chip.  (The underground SJs won’t discover beast bonding for a long time.  The technique involves infesting oneself with psychic larvae that take over your brain and explode out your eyes.  But eventually the parasites will be controlled with drugs, and turned to good purposes.)

At first only the mighty dragonbats will be bonded.  What joy the Guardians will feel upon making the connection to their own dragonbat!  Soon they will know the sweet bliss of soaring through the air on powerful leathery wings.  Yet other results will be…mixed.  Dragonbats live in densely packed colonies, and are very, very talkative.  It is only natural for them chatter constantly with their bondmate in high-pitched noises.  Those who have experienced this describe it like having a voice in your head that goes “CHEEEEEEeeee cheeeeeEEeeEEeEEEEEEE chEEE CHEeeee cheeeeeeeEEEEEEE” all the time.  The Bonded also experience vampiric urges. 

The folks who seem best equipped to handle these drawbacks are the sociable, extraverted ESFJs.  They claim that they don’t mind the cheeing and bloodthirst—it’s worth it to always have a friend there for them.  The Nurturing Caste will spawn off a new guild, the very prestigious Dragonbat Minder Guild (aka the “Vampire Guild”) dedicated to raising and bonding with these amazing creatures.  The ESFJs will delight in caring for their dragonbat friends, and also in sweet, sweet blood. 

Soon experiments with new hosts reveal that human-animal bonds are possible in two other kinds of mutant fauna: the lithe, deadly wum and the mighty wyrm.  Brave Guardians will bond themselves to these creatures. 

Those who bond to the wum, or “cave tiger,” find that they share the noble beast’s courage and savage spirit.  Wums are solitary and would be expected to bond well with the ISTJs or ISFJs, but the ESTJ Leadership caste will claim the king of beasts for their own.  Only those of royal blood will be allowed to bond wums, and crevasses will be installed in the palace for the imperial beasts to live.  As for the wums themselves, they seem to have no objection to bonding with powerful ESTJ Underlords, since both man and cave tiger regard themselves as absolute rulers anyway.  Indeed, both partners regard themselves as the master in the bond relationship itself, and can never be convinced otherwise.  Outsiders, however, have their own opinion of who is in charge.  The Bonded often feel urgent compulsions to lick themselves in embarrassing places, and when the king of the Guardians abruptly starts licking his own armpit, the nobility politely pretend not to notice. 

As for the gigantic wyrms, they are the preferred bondmate of the ISTJ Sentinel.  Wyrms, like ISTJs, are wholly introverted.  Mistaken science, however, once believed that they were extraverted.  Therefore wyrms were first bonded to ESFJs, who found the experience “a little bit dull.”  ISTJs find this attitude incomprehensible.  What could be dull about a solitary life of sifting through thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of tons of soil to extract valuable nutrients?  Steady and reliable, wyrms work hard all their lives.  They aerate the dirt, convert decaying plant matter into rich, fertile soil, and even help delve out new caverns for people to live in.  Isn’t that a job worth doing, and doing well?  (The only drawback to bonding a wyrm is a tendency towards mindless snacking.  The Bonded generally believe that a few extra pounds around the waist is worth being able to create earthquakes at will.)  Despite this one small issue, ISTJs generally enjoy the simple, soothing rhythm of their partner’s subterranean existence.  The Bonded are often heard humming contentedly to themselves, a human rendition of the beautiful vibratory songs the wyrms sing as they burrow through the stone sea.  There is no creature more loyal or protective than the wyrm. 

It was thought that these three creatures—the dragonbat, the wum, and the wyrm—were the only hosts for larvae.  However, twenty years later, parasites will be found in a small kraken found beached on the shore of the central lake.  The ISFJ doctor who originally discovered parasitic bonding will be the first to attempt a kraken bond. 

The moment the connection is made, she will know it is special.  The kraken are the wolves of the lake ecosystem, and much feared by the Fisher’s Guild, yet to her surprise the beast’s mind is as gentle as a child.  And why shouldn’t it be?  Kraken have no natural predators.  They spend their lives holed up in their cozy burrows, waiting patiently for fish to swim past.  ISFJs are homebodies themselves, and this way of life is only natural to them.  The kraken, for their part, seem to approve of the ISFJs’ lifestyle.  Not for them is the hustle or bustle of the crowd; if their Bonded wants to spend a nice quiet evening with a book, the kraken too is filled with contentment.  ISFJs will soon come to love the deep peace of their partner’s watery world.  To the ISFJ Assassins belong the schools of blind cave fish, the gently swaying algal blooms, and the rippled sandy bottom with its secret treasures.  From now on, each fishing boat will have its ISFJ, and each ISFJ their bonded kraken.  As for the drawbacks, there are barely any.  The only negative thing that people notice about the Bonded is their tendency to cram themselves into cupboards, refrigerators and empty dryers.  When the ISFJ's spouse opens the dryer door, the ISFJ bursts out and screams “Gotcha!”  As the spouse hyperventilates, the ISFJ will laugh and wrap them in a hug.  The “kraken hug” is the ISFJ’s attempt to engulf their loved one in stinging tentacles and thrust them into their powerful, venomous jaws.  Kraken bonding has little effect on the Bonded, though it may lead to psychological trauma in the Bonded’s spouse.

Conclusion

Despite the occasional dystopia, Guardians will work hard to spread order, normalcy, and just plain good old traditional values wherever they settle.  It will not be easy, but the Guardians never give up.  They will doggedly do their duty wherever it takes them.  Whether busy caring for the needs of the poor and wounded, leading armies against the forces of chaos, or manufacturing the tools survivors need to stay alive, they are our best hope for the future.  Surely if anyone can clean up the mess left by the apocalypse, it's the Guardians.