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Out of the Fire
by Byron Molix

4: The Question

   "I would like to offer you the opportunity to become a Guardian, Earth's first Guardian. If you express interest after I have explained some more about our organization, I will let you try out a Passion Device Matrix and then we will let you make your final decision. You will have to quit the Patrol, if you wish to join our ranks. Due to a standing agreement, Guardians and Patrollers may exist on the same planets, may aid each other in times of need, but no one is allowed to be a member in good standing of both at the same time," Kel Etrice said.
   "I am a flattered that you even thought of me," Ryan said. Kel was beginning to respond when Aldrin puffed himself up in what seemed a fit of jealousy
   "Out of the question. You so called Neutrals will not be stealing my charge away!" Aldrin said. Kel raised an eye brow and Ryan wondered why Aldrin was all of a sudden so emotional. This was the first time he had seen his companion act in such a way. Kel Etrice ignored the machine and answered Ryan's earlier statement.
   "The reason you have been offered this honor is that you are a very capable Gauntlet user, and have strong morals. That has been proven by your sense of justice and your creativity in handling problems that have come up against you. There is something else, unlike many Patrollers, you have shown the ability to maintain several force fields at once, your will and concentration are at a peak that has only been rivaled by a few rare beings. Some of those beings have gone on to greatness. Some in fact in the ranks of the Patrol or the Guardians," Kel said. Ryan was slightly embarrassed. It was evident that the alien had been watching him for some time, as he had stumbled along the way in the Patrol and tried new strategies that had only barely worked.
   "Yes. Ryan is a most capable Patroller, and that is how it should be. Now that I have seen what you are about here, I have contacted my superiors. They have informed me that Ryan is one of the most promising, albeit confused and maybe troublesome Patrollers of Earth. We are prepared to teach him the reason behind the edict that prevents violence at his hands. Therefore, logically he will remain a Patrol member and teach his fellow humans this reason. I have also been told to tell you that the Patrol is now changing its policy concerning the trial of a Passion Device Matrix by one of our members. If you show true interest in joining the Guardians Ryan, you will be discharged, honorably, from the Patrol," Aldrin said. Ryan was shocked but not as shocked as Kel.
   "Never before in all of the past initiations and trials has such an event occurred. I ask why do you limit the scope of this human's involvement with other galactic agencies?" Kel asked.
   "Because this planet has taken a turn for the worse since the advent of the Patrol. The Enemy immediately moved in and started their insane machinations. There are humans who walk the path of the Guardian, thankfully without your power. They have stirred up the hearts of the wicked, and the criminals and violent people of this planet have started to threaten the balance that will bring Civilization to this world. Ryan is currently new to the Patrol, but he is also creative, willful and powerful as you have said. It is therefore necessary that if possible, Ryan must remain a member of the Patrol," Aldrin said, suddenly taking on the lifeless robotic tone that he had responded with once before. Ryan sensed that Aldrin had not said all of these words him... itself. He was hearing the voice of his true masters for the first time.
   "Recharger, the situation on Earth is nearly the same as it was on our planet. We offer them this opportunity more out of brotherly similarity, than anything else. As you also must know, they have started to delve into your secrets as we once did," Kel said.
   "Well, I'd certainly like to know what a Passion Device Matrix can do that a Gauntlet cannot and vice versa. I'd like to hear about the goals and rules of his organization as well. I don't see how this could do any harm, and if the goals of the Guardians are similar to those of the Patrol, then my world will not lose a defender of justice," Ryan said. He had a no-nonsense tone in his voice and he was addressing Aldrin, his masters, with an air of confidence. Confidence in himself told him that he had the right to know about these people. The Recharger was silent and Aldrin bowed his head in acquiescence before disappearing back into the Recharger. It ceased to glow and remained dormant on the metal floor of the cockpit. "Can we go somewhere to talk and learn about your agency? I will return with my answer, if you are wondering, Aldrin," Ryan said. Kel politely pointed to a section of wall behind Ryan and a door slid open there. Ryan started toward it and Kel bowed with respect toward the Recharger as he left.

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Copyright 1995, 1997 by Byron Molix