|Custodian of Humanity|
|A Custodian on patrol in Guatemala City|
|Produced at||Civil Defense Post|
(Builds a Waystation to heal nearby infantry)
|Heroic Upgrade||Proton Beam Projector|
- Trejo M1966 Carabina bolt-action rifle
- Obregon .45 semi-automatic pistol
- Mo-3 Smoxin grenade
- PIT-23 Tactical Earth Displacer
- Escaupil ballistic overjacket
- Steel-composite cuirass and greaves
- Multiweave spidersilk undershirt
- Mo-32 fitted respirator mask
- Service-issue rucksack
- Multi-band radio communications kit
- Ration kit w/ U-rations (includes R-unit and S-unit) and combat drugs
- Relaxation kit w/service-issue cigarettes and chewing gum
- For science and society: The average frontline infantry of the Technocratic Humanitarian Guard, Custodians are those civilians who have joined up to fight for the country and ideal they believe in. Armed with bolt-action rifles and near-dress uniforms, Custodians have to make up with training and lessons what other soldiers can accomplish with their basic equipment. Their eyesight is remarkable, and they can pick off enemies at distances beyond most soldiers.
- Need a dispenser here!: All Custodians are kitted with Ford-provided Emergency Station Kits, which when deployed into a Waystation provide a small healing buff to nearby infantry, which stacks with natural regeneration but not outside sources. While minor compared to an Allied Engineer's medical tent or the facilities provided by Combine buildings, they are relatively cheap and can be placed anywhere on the battlefield.
- Breaking through: For all their firepower and training, the Custodians are still able to be defeated by the same means as other infantry - tanks can crush them if they can't escape fast enough, and dedicated anti-infantry weapons are just as lethal as to anyone else. Furthermore, their lack of modern weaponry gives them a disadvantage when it comes to damage, where slow fire rates and low DPS mean they must take longer to actually kill their targets.
- Projecting much?: Especially favored by soldiers in fronts where heavily armoured opposition is expected to be present, the Manuelluxe Hi-Impact Modelo-4 proton beam projectors is an effective albeit bulky particle weapon that hits targets much quicker and harder than the Carabina. While every Custodian is expected to have one by 1971, currently only those serving in the longest campaigns get access to them.
Holding the line!.
- -Technocratic Custodian, engaging in combat.
The first soldiers of the Technocratic States were their national militaries. The Fuerzas Armadas de México, the Ejercito Nacional de Guatemala, the Guardia Nacional de Nicaragua, and even the mythical Guardia Civil of Costa Rica...all took up arms in defense of the new Technocracy, even as their brethren split from their ranks and defectors rose up against them. The new status quo was not a rebellion (except in the case of Nicaragua) but the rise of a new order: Technocratic ideals spread fat and plump into the previous systems so tightly that when made public much of the system already clung to their ideals. The first soldiers of the States were the militaries, for the militaries were borne of the States. But they were troublesome, they were divided. Different institutions with centuries of diverging schools and modes of thought, organizations, ranks, uniforms, weaponry. How to coordinate the Fuerza Armada de El Salvador with the Ejército Tecnocrática Sandinista when both used separate ordering systems, and Costa Rica’s forces were involved in separate operations guided by Mexican generals? The chain of command and the chain of logistics were both Gordian knots, and opposition governments and forces only further entangled effort at effectiveness further.
The second soldiers of the Technocratic States were their militias. They were the people’s will made explicit, a populace torn by a paradigm shift in power and made turbulent and active as a result. Many stood against the new States, claimed them as false prophets and comuni srs and puppets of the great bear in the East, and just as many stood up in favor of them. They spoke freely of their motivations, and when words were not enough they used action. The militias were soldiers too, for they fought for the States as surely as the militaries. They had not the equipment, nor the training, but they had fervor: fervor of a people who had tasted power, who had learnt that clean water and accessible power and education for their children and a chance was possible and that they wanted more. But they too were not enough, for their souls were hardened but their flesh remained untouched. They died for their ideals but the Technocracy did not desire death. They fought against their fellow men with a fire in their eyes and raw emotion in their voices, but the Technate could not live with just raw. It needed to refine, to temper, to sharpen, to mold, to consolidate.
The third soldiers of the Technocratic States were their Civil Defense Forces. The first melding of military and militia, soldier and civilian and warrior and farmer. A unification no matter how crude of their militaries, an organization with chains separated and delineated, bureaucratic seed already partially grown and planted in favourable soil. Volunteer forces for war and peace, where the plowshares were qualitatively mass replicated and the swords were standardized and modularized. It was almost like the Allies, in their early days when red communist hands threatened to strangle them in their sleep and Frenchman had to lay down with German, American with Korean, British with South African. It was acknowledgement of common cause. A step forward.
But the first soldiers of the United Technate were the Custodians of Humanity.
They first appeared in 1964, as far as the world was concerned. The wars were over and the television crews from the outside were let back in, let in to see the destruction so they could see the rebuilding, let in to see the death so they could see new life. The television crews were taken to the cities and the towns to watch the parades, to watch the people both crying and cheering (because there is something both tragic and beautiful in watching a wildfire, even a metaphoric one) and to watch the Technate’s new model army on display. And in the streets of Monterrey, of Salvador, of Valencia and San José the news crews saw the same sight: Custodians, from all regions of the Technate, marching and dancing together.
They wore deep green cloth jackets and matching shakos stitched with fanciful patterns from pre-columbian relief and modernist iconography and adorned with silver ranking and golden badges, their cuffs and collars a rich a purple and their pants a subdued white. From the tops of their shakos sprouted the feathers of a dozen tropical birds, and upon their shoulders fluttered the white tassels of ornamental epaulettes. They wore polished and painted golden cuirass, brass studs embedded so that colorful ribbon could be hung between them in a mimicry of old battledress, and equally golden knee and shin guards. And they had masks, too...gas masks, slung around their neck or put on for effect, golden gas masks with engraved features or studded with colorful beads, masks that seemed more for show than for use. Some of them marched in-step, but others danced with people from the sidelines or with members of their squad, boots clicking and hats waving. Others were bands, marching out a steady beat with percussive instruments while others blew horns and others played guitars and some of the more youthful, alluring men and women sang out to the crowds. They marched and played and threw candy to the children and sang and puffed out their chests, and their armour gleamed and their feathers waved madly in the air.
The Custodians were ridiculous, and the families on their couches in America and Britain loved it. They were ostentatious and gaudy, foreign in a safe way and derivative of a style that had not seen use since the early 20th century. Even their weapons were a far cry from the ugly usefulness of the ADK-45s seen brandished by Soviet propaganda troops, simple bolt-action rifles that called to mind hunting or sport shooting more than serious combat. The news crews and the outside world looked at the first soldiers of the United Technate, and they saw a spot of light in the darkness. They saw the pomp and circumstance of a regime with more air than substance in its words.
The revolutionaries and groups encountered the Custodians in battle soon after. Their first encounters with the Custodians were no less jokes than the latter’s appearance on international news, for the Custodians tactics were no better than their equipment. They were a generation of new soldiers in an era where their forebears had been depleted by warfare, and their leaders afflicted by the corruption of nostalgia. Where the revolutionaries honed the art of guerrilla warfare and sudden hit and run encounters, the Custodians struggled to dig defensive lines and entrench themselves in ceremonial armour and full-length dress. The revolutionaries embraced the SMG and the assault rifle in thick terrain, while the Custodians hunkered in their foxholes with rifles capable of firing at eight hundred meters unable to see further than thirty (ten if their gas masks were on). The revolutionaries had learned their weapons and their method through years of fighting and battle, while the Custodians hastily read over pocketbooks to inform them of what to do when anything went wrong. The revolutionaries witnessed the Custodian’s trial by fire go up in smoke, and initially they believed too that the Technocratic States victories were flukes. But things change, and as across Latin America guerrilla activity flared up the Custodians changed too. There were small changes, at first: ambushers found the Custodians faster to react than they had before, squad members spread slightly farther out while still keeping in contact with each other; defensive lines would start to overlap and angle themselves so as to keep multiple groups within each other’s sight range; reinforcements would be faster to arrive on the scene. But as the months and the years went on, and the ranks of the Custodians grew as did the editions on their guidebooks, a widespread shift became apparent to the revolutionary groups. The Custodians began to exhibit victory in battle. They were quicker to react to the tactics of those they fought, faster to adapt to sudden battlefield conditions. Ambushing parties would find targeted squads falling back to the safety of hidden rear trenches manned by Prosecutor machine gunners, and lanking Custodians would isolate and pick off charging bandeirantes one by one while the rest were pinned down by a storm of bullets. Smoxin grenades infected the lungs of melee fighters and dropped them wheezing to the ground, even as the clouds masked soldiers from sniper scopes. Squads in the field would arrange themselves so as to almost constantly overlap vision or fire zones against stealthier foes, and hacking into their radio networks by enterprising revolutionaries revealed an almost constant chatter of information, communication, and signaling. Snipers would find supporting squads triangulating their locations from the way the blood traveled from another officer’s head; heavy weapons teams or vehicles would find the Custodians pulling back and leaving traps in their forward trenches, calling in for different types of reinforcement depending on the situation. A constant, neverending stream of talk and chatter. Cut off the radios and the squads would use messenger pigeons instead; shoot the pigeons from the sky and they would shoot coloured flares to mark their positions and status; throw smoke into the sky and they would take off their masks and whistle in morse if needed. The communication was everywhere: from squad to squad via radio and chat, from squad to platoon via elaborate spined remotes that could alert command to attacks or locations at the push of a button and a raise of the device, and from command to squads...all in real-time.
The Custodians cooperated and consolidated, their forces sniffing out guerilla ambushes and overwhelming enemy assaults as they slowly, but surely pressed from ineffectively defensive to grindingly offensive. They began to make use of prefabricated Medical Waystations, machine dispensers that could dole out painkillers and medical supplies to their nearby forces. They were no match for experienced medics in the field, but it allowed the soldiers to push the enemy forward without falling themselves...and keep advancing. Slowly, bit by bit, the guerilla organizations found themselves pushed further and further into the forests and jungles, too thick for the Custodians to push through with any measure of speed but equally as miserable for them to reside in. Where there were open spaces or even hilly but sparse terrain, the Custodians dominated.
And now it is 1969 and the world sees the Custodians again, and they still see the colorful and exaggerated aesthetics of a group that prefers function over form, looks over pragmatics. They see the same jackets and the same shako and the same ornamentation, and they contrast it with the sleek armour of the Peacekeepers or the rugged utility cloak of the Conscript or the comfortable fatigues of the Minuteman and they shake their heads at the Technate’s already old new model army. But the enemies of the Technate see the Custodians, and they do not laugh or shake their heads.
For the enemies of the Technate see the Custodians as nerve endings in a body: not a singular force unto themselves, but the sensory organs of a much larger organism that constantly communicates and updates both itself and others of everything that it receives, through every means necessary. They are similar in some ways to the methods of the Peacekeepers, applied to a much larger military body: probes and skirmishers designed to test the environs and hold, contest, or deny it as appropriate for the situation. Their power comes not in their individual prowess, but in their ability to organize and reorganize on a near-constant basis, adjusting for changes in the battlefield to a much higher degree that what should normally be possible - or, in the case of said revolutionary groups, what is currently possible. For the enemies of the Technate, the Custodians stand as a worrying case of cooperation: how can one unite the people against their oppressors if the oppressors have already united the people themselves?