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Take up the Gauntlet of Civilization!

The Patrol!

Patrol Universe Frequently-Asked Questions

Maintained by Davey Jones (after Stewart Brewer).
Information provided by Dave Montoure, David Van Domelen, Stewart Brower,
Matt Rossi, Mike Mendoza, Byron Molix and Davey Jones
Last Updated 04 JAN 99


=Table of contents=
1:
*1a:
*1b:
2:
3:
3a:
*4:
*5:
*6:
7:
*8:
*8a:
*8b:
*8c:
*9:
What is the Patrol?
What is Civilization?
Are the Rechargers our first Extraterrestrial contact?
How does one join the Patrol?
What is a Gauntlet?
What are the limitations of the Gauntlets?
What is the Recharger?
What is the Patrol Code?
Who is the Enemy?
What are the Emissaries?
Who are the other "major players?"
What are the Janissaries?
What are the powers and tactics of the Janissaries?
How do they relate to the Patrol Universe?
Who's currently active writing for the Patrol?

* = changed since last version


1: WHAT IS THE PATROL?

The Patrol is essentially a group based loosely on the Green Lantern Corps, with additional influences from the Lensman series by E.E. "Doc" Smith (the source for the GLC). It was created by Michael Montoure to let him tell GL stories without worrying about trademarks. It was then further expanded on by Dave Van Domelen, who devised the Enemy and thrashed out some of the details of the Universe.

The Patrol was created to guard Civilization (a confederation of peaceful worlds) against the attacks of the Enemy, and to help bring new worlds into Civilization. As far as Earth is concerned, Patrol members are agents of Civilization, trying to lead Earth into Civilization by example.

1a: WHAT IS CIVILIZATION?

This is a question that has not, to date, been answered by any Recharger (see #4: What is the Recharger? For details on getting information out of a Recharger). What little information we have comes from demonstrably unreliable sources (Emissaries of the Enemy, visitors from worlds who have abandoned Civilization, and so on). It is known that the Confederation of planets known as Civilization is comprised of 114 worlds, most of which are survivors of what is called the First Empire (see #6: Who is the Enemy) who found Civilization on their own. There has been a fledgling Second Empire, founded by Civilization, which died out at its own hands. There are also two known alternate confederations of planets: the Kll'ig'a*& and the Skyy, the so-called "Masters of Neutrality."

It has been pointed out by at least two Rechargers that the initial limitations on Gauntlet use laid down by the Patrol vary from planet to planet. On Earth, a planet predisposed toward violence, the Patrol has issued a No-Harm directive; on another, where the population was peaceful but environmentally-foolish, the No Harm To The Environment directive was put in place. Other worlds would have different moral imperatives set in place to fulfill before they could work their way up to Civilization.

1b: ARE THE RECHARGERS THE FIRST CONTACT WITH EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIFE?

No. It is known that there were several extraterrestrials being kept at a top-secret research facility (nicknamed Area 51) in Arizona, and had apparently been there for some time. This area, including all the alleged extraterrestrials there, was destroyed utterly by a rogue Patroller in recent times.

2. HOW DOES ONE JOIN THE PATROL?

The Patrol Rechargers (like Power Batteries) were scattered randomly about the Earth during a massive meteor showers of late summer last year. Because of the Earth's rotation, the majority of the Rechargers landed in North America, about a third dropping into the China area, and the remainder drifting over Europe. There were only a hundred of them to start with as well, and about ten percent of those did not survive FTL breakout, self-destructing after failing their power-on self-test. Thus, with ninety Rechargers spread across about half the face of the planet, one's chances of actually running into a Recharger are very slim.

However, anyone who finds one is given the chance to join the Patrol, with the understanding that they will be bound by the Patrol Code. If the person who finds it refuses the honor, the Recharger may stay where it is or may move to another location to seek another candidate. There seem to be no criteria for membership other than a willingness to abide by the Code and help bring Civilization to Earth. If there are any further criteria, they have yet to be revealed. Neither age nor physical ability seem to be criteria, as children and handicapped adults have become Patrollers. The presence of children among the ranks has recently come under fire in the Patrol, and the Rechargers have been made aware of general Age of Adulthood statutes.

3. WHAT IS A GAUNTLET?

A Gauntlet is a silver metallic sheath emitted on contact with a Recharger, typically worn on a hand. It is cool to the touch and it leaves a tingling sensation on the wearer. A Gauntlet contains a powerful microcomputer which regulates how a Patroller may use its energy. A Patroller commands the Gauntlet through a direct neural link which is strongest when the Gauntlet is worn over exposed flesh.

A Gauntlet receives energy through a broadcast power beam from its Recharger (See Question 4). The duration of the energy link to a Recharger is limited. It will last 27 hours at maximum power reception. Even if no energy is used, the link will last no longer than 54 hours. Should the power link expire, the Gauntlet will disintegrate. By placing the Gauntlet back inside the Recharger, a Patroller may renew the power link and preserve the memory of the Gauntlet's minicomputer.

A Gauntlet's primary ability is the power to generate and move powerful force field constructs of any shape, color, and texture. Imagination and willpower are the only limitations. A typical Patroller could maintain one highly detailed and mobile construct, several detailed but immobile constructs, or several simple but mobile constructs. Should a Patroller try to maintain too many field constructs, they will degenerate into simpler shapes and ultimately dissipate into nothingness.

These force fields can be nearly indestructible. If heavily reinforced, a force field summoned by a strong-willed and focused Patroller could withstand a nuclear detonation. Fields generated under distracting circumstances, such as in the middle of a firefight, will not be so strong. Nevertheless, they should resist anything short of explosives with ease.

3a: WHAT LIMITATIONS DO THE GAUNTLETS HAVE?

Aside from the power supply, the Gauntlets have a few important limitations.

First, the multitasking ability of the computer is limited, as is the broadcast power of the Recharger. Hence, any attempt to keep too many constructs going at once will result in the degradation of all of them to simpler shapes. Thus the Gauntlet cannot generate permanent objects.

Second, the Patroller must follow the Patrol Code. This is described in detail in section 5: What is the Patrol Code?

Finally, although the energy supply a Gauntlet can tap is theoretically infinite, in practice it is nowhere near that. In the past, it has been found that the Code isn't quite enough to balance the great power of the Gauntlet, especially in races that haven't been Civilized yet...power corrupts. And although the first action taken in violation of the Code will strip the Patroller of power, that one action could be quite severe, especially if the Patroller naively tries to do too great of a deed. Hence, there are practical upper bounds on Gauntlets given to new races, bounds which are raised as the planet advances toward Civilization.

4. WHAT IS THE RECHARGER?

The Recharger is a silvery, red-glowing pyramid of force fields with no physical components. It is held together by gravity fields. Its top few centimeters contain a powerful artificial intelligence. The rest of the two foot tall pyramid contains a power broadcast system and transdimensional energy tap. One hundred Rechargers were dispatched to Earth. As the energy-cheapest methods of travelling faster than light are also the most dangerous, 10 of the Rechargers failed their STL power-up self-tests, and self-destructed. 90 Rechargers reached Earth. Because of the curvature of the planet and the approach vector, around 40 of the Rechargers landed in the North American area. About 30 such slid down early, landing in the Asian and Chinese areas, and another 20 or so remained airborne long enough to reach and impact on the European continent. To date, no Rechargers have been discovered in any country south of or particularly near to the Equator. The Terra Patrol is taking steps to remedy this situation.

The Recharger draws energy from a pocket reality composed of infinite energy. This energy maintains the Recharger's existence and powers the Gauntlet through a broadcast power beam which may be disrupted by various devices.

A Patroller can activate a Gauntlet by touching the Recharger. The Gauntlet will then flow from within the Recharger onto the Patroller's hand. By returning the Gauntlet to a Recharger, a Patroller may renew the Gauntlet's power link and save its memory onto the Recharger's core memory.

Whenever a Patroller touches a Recharger, a psionic link between the two is opened. A Recharger may communicate verbally or telepathically. At first, its telepathic "voice" is low, monotonous, and unemotional. Over time, a Recharger designs a personality interface to communicate more efficiently with a Patroller. Usually, this interface will be based on someone loved or admired by the Patroller.

Earth's Rechargers maintain a database on the status of their Patrollers. They may pinpoint the location of any Recharger and its Patroller if they're wearing their Gauntlet. Rechargers will not share personal information on their Patrollers with anyone else unless it is necessary for a Patroller's duties. They will allow Patrollers to record and transmit messages to other Rechargers. Patrollers would receive these messages the next time they open a psionic link with their Rechargers.

The Rechargers are also very reticent about divulging information. Initially, all Patrollers are told is that the Rechargers will give them the Gauntlet and expect them to live up to the Patrol Code while furthering the cause of Civilization. Patrollers have had to experience or deal with several kinds of emergencies before Rechargers will voluntarily give out any further information. Even pointed questions are not always answered directly, and in many cases, tragedies have happened because Rechargers withheld information.

5. WHAT IS THE PATROL CODE?

A Recharger insures that its Patroller adheres to the Patrol Code, which is a variable pool of regulations depending on the planet's status. The one universal clause seems to be "Do no harm, and further the greatest good for the greatest number." As a Class-18 planet (the lowest class of world deemed ready to use Rechargers), the Patrol Code stipulated that no Patroller could deliberately harm another sentient being, that all Patrollers would further the cause of Civilization, and that a Patroller would avoid using the Gauntlet for personal profit. Even when not gauntleted, Patrollers were allowed to kill only in self-defense, could not initiate violent conflicts, and could not use excessive force.

After recent events on Earth, the planet was elevated to a Class-16 planet, with the result that some strictures were removed from Patrollers. It is no longer forbidden to cause injury, provided that such injury is in defense of life or self, but any such injury will be judged by the body of Patrollers guarding that world, not by the Rechargers. Other regulations, such as not initiating conflict, remain in force. In addition, the Rechargers will no longer abandon a Patroller who is forced to remain away from the Recharger longer than the standard charge of their Gauntlet; no Recharger will now leave their Patroller unless that Patroller is killed or drummed out of the Patrol by his fellow Patrollers, or resigns voluntarily.

Even when they aren't wearing their Gauntlets, Patrollers must adhere to some tenets of the Code. They may kill, but only in self-defense and only as a last resort. Patrollers may never initiate violent conflicts nor use excessive force. They may participate in minor violent acts such as boxing matches.

Patrollers are allowed to justify minor violations of the Code to their Rechargers. It is difficult but possible to persuade a Recharger, since its only sense of morality outside the Code is the directive to reduce fear and hatred. Major violations of the Code must be judged by the Terran Patrollers en masse.

6: WHO IS THE ENEMY?

The Enemy is a living star, surrounded by a self-maintained spherical-shell asteroid field, and possessed of the ability to feed on emotional energy. It has immense powers over any being capable of feeling emotion, and can utterly kill by draining a person or world dry. It prefers the 'taste' of emotions like fear, anger and hate, and has manipulated the formation of aggressive Empires to help keep it supplied. Although it can directly control emotions, the taste of emotions it forces on someone is 'flat', and it vastly prefers to manipulate emotions by influencing events behind the scenes with its Emissaries.

After a successful run for power eons ago, the Enemy became sated and fell torpid for millennia, allowing Civilization to arise. On awakening, it found the taste of Civilization not to his liking, and began work on the Second Empire. However, his long sleep and the confidence brought by having won once already have given him a flair for subtlety, for the dramatic.

The Enemy is not bound by conventional rules of causality, and can sense things instantaneously as they happen instead of having to wait for such trifling things as the speed of light.

7. WHAT ARE THE EMISSARIES?

The Emissaries are the main tool of the Enemy. They are composed not of normal matter but seemingly of pure darkness, enjoying vast physical strength and semi-invulnerability. These semi-autonomous beings can experience limited emotions, such as the desire to gloat over enemies. Nevertheless, their only motivation is the cultivation of fear and anger for the Enemy.

Emissaries derive powerful emotion-controlling abilities from the Enemy. Normally, they use these powers to induce people to ignore their inhuman appearance. In combat with Patrollers, they can ruthlessly twist their opponents' emotions and shut their minds down with fear.

Emissaries are fully aware of the Patrol's weaknesses. They can capitalize on those weaknesses using the technology of a thousand worlds. They often share their tools and tactics with the anti-Civilization parts of society (criminals in most cases).

8: WHO ARE THE OTHER "MAJOR PLAYERS?"

The Janissaries, the Guardians and PRIME are recent additions to the Patrol universe.

8a: WHAT ARE THE JANISSARIES?

The Janissaries are an organization of interventionists, who believe strongly in the eradication of what they call 'Artificial Entropy', the force that the Patrol has termed as The Enemy. Unlike Civilization, the people who have produced the Janissaries would not be considered beneficent, and their motives are much harsher.

When the Enemy finally retreated into Torpor, among the first systems to break away from the Empire was the H'Agathir. They were also the first to deduce what was behind the spread of said power. They called the force behind the expansion of the Empire 'Artificial Entropy' and developed a racial paranoia of future manipulation by it. While the rest of the vast stellar dominion fell to squabbling, the Hinterland-dwelling H'Agathiria turned inward, seeking a way to prevent any future manipulations. They found the World Mind. They became one. By turning themselves into a vast collective will, they hoped to develop an immunity to the manipulative powers of the Enemy.

The Janissaries (the enforcement arm of the H'Agathir) are common in the Hinterlands, where the First Empire crumbled but the Civilization has not yet reached. They have had no direct contact with the Patrol or Civilization until recently, where the H'Agathiria learned that an inhabited world only five or so light years away had both Emissary and Patrol operatives on it. Was the Patrol coming into the Hinterlands? Obviously, the Janissaries had to know. And so a Janissary has been sent to Earth, where the inhabitants think vastly different but look remarkably similar to the H'Agathirian race.

The H'Agathiria do not like the Patrol. They feel the Patrollers are Holier-Than-Thou and lack the courage to take the battle to the Enemy, who they revile as a spreader of Artifical Entropy, or Premature ending of life. Plus, Civilization has a reverence for independent thought, and the World-Mind keeps that from ever happening to the H'Agathrian race.

THE HELMET

These devices are combinations of the solar collector units also found in the First Empire's Hyperion units and the extradimensional Access Taps of the Patrol Gauntlet units, with very different desired abilities in mind when designed. They are far more limited in versatility than the Gauntlets, and are worn by living wielders rather than being Artificially Intelligent as is Hyperion.

The Helmet can generate a very powerful Force-Shield that fits over the body of the wielder, and can look like any clothing the wearer desires, but cannot extrude beyond his body. Within that limit, it is the equal to any force field in existence. It is within the realm of possibility that if no other systems were in operation and the total charge of the Helmet were expended, it could survive a Nuclear explosion. The force-shield, or Sheath as the Janissaries call it, gives superhuman strength to the wielder. (The upper limit is a function of will, but a Janissary should have no problem lifting tanks or trains, and Dargeth, a legendary Janissary, was said to be able to move Planetesimals.) And as long as the Helmet is charged, it provides air to the wielder.

The Helmet cannot give one interstellar flight, due to its charge limitation, but it is capable of space flight and is often used to depart an orbiting ship. Within an atmosphere, the limit on speed is usually 1100 MPH, but that can be exceeded with difficulty. No Janissary has ever exceeded Mach 3. Finally, the Janissary can generate what is known as the Heat-Spike. The Helmet creates a powerful burst of EMG radiation, usually in the Infrared portion of said spectrum, hence the name. More creative Janissaries have been known to move the Heat-Spike up or down the bandwidth until they find a form of radiation they find more effective. Gamma Radiation is a favorite, as is Electricity, Radio Waves are useful to jam primitive tracking devices, and so on. This is the Swiss Army Knife of the Jannisary, and is used in all sorts of ways, but melting your opponent to slag or burning it to ash are still the prefered use.

Unlike the Recharger and Gauntlet, the Helmet and Armor are neither Sapient or Sentient. Also, if a Janissary went rogue, all he or she would need to do to evade the wrath of the World-Mind is to never engage Option Polthag. This has happened twice to the knowledge of the World-Mind, which is hard to fool on these things. The Helmet and Armor have no code of conduct implanted in them, and will work for just about any humanoid, save for an Emissary, which is not alive and cannot wear one. (It will explode if an Emissary puts one on...not pretty.)

8c: HOW DO THEY RELATE TO THE PATROL UNIVERSE?

The Janissaries are an organization with leeway to spare: They have a mission that's as close to holy as a secular unimind can get, they believe the ends justify the means, they can do the stuff the Patrol can't, but often won't because it doesn't suit them. Janissaries can be heroes, villains, rivals, uninterested observers, all depending on your view of what they've become based on what they've seen since they left the World-Mind.

9: WHO'S DONE WORK IN OR IS CURRENTLY ACTIVE WRITING IN THE PATROL UNIVERSE?

The Machine: The first publicly-active Gauntlet wearers of Earth, allied with human scientists who strove to unlock the secrets of the Rechargers. Laid the groundwork for almost everything to come. Written by David Van Domelen. 16 Issues, plus 3 issues of the LNH-zine Constellation; all available here (complete editions of the Constellation issues available at the Eyrie).

Sculptress: The first to take up the Gauntlet, a crippled sculptor who taught the Rechargers that Civilization could spring from something other than fighting crime… Author unknown. Originally released as For Art's Sake, a one-shot; currently available here and at the Eyrie. It was rereleased as Sculptress #1 (with #s 2 and 3 advertised but never showing up) when the author had hopes of turning it into a series. Events in the vaporzines 2 and 3 were referred to in The Machine and Strange Bedfellows.

Aventine: A mentally unstable teenager at the cusp of adulthood and responsibility deals with the sheer cosmic wonder of being able to tap the power of a Gauntlet. Written by Michael Mendoza. Ran for 8 issues plus a half-issue recap zine; all stories available here (with the recap issue available at the Eyrie).

Guardian:A new player in the Patrol universe, this young hero has to learn how to cope with the pressures and demands of wielding incredible power. Written by Byron Molix. Two miniseries, all 'issues' available here (and as collections at the Eyrie).

Paladin:An experienced military man tries to deal with his past by taking a stake in the future of the Patrol. Recently spun off of the Jezebel mini series as a new monthly title. Written by Stewart Brower. Ran for 6 issues, with a seventh and eighth planned to tie into Strange Bedfellows; all available here and at the Eyrie.

Cruxadier: The adventures of several Patrollers from the British Isles and Europe, whose adventures led up to the taking of Boston and the Strange Bedfellows miniseries. Written by Badger. Ran for 8 issues; #4,5,7 and 8 still available; all others are apparently lost for good. See the Timeline for details on the missing issues.

Avenger: A young boy gained the power of a Recharger, and had to grow up quick. 1 issue reported, but no one's seen it or remembers it (apparently it was a vaporzine); not currently available. Avenger has made appearances in The Machine and Strange Bedfellows.

Strange Bedfellows: A multi-part crossover title which will change the Patrol Universe forever. Major miniseries. Co-written by Michael Mendoza, Stewart Brower, Davey Jones, Byron Molix and Badger. Currently running, planned for several issues, with crossovers to Renegade, Paladin, P.R.I.M.E. and Terra Patrol.

Renegade: A man who had been a hero once was called upon to take up the Gauntlet of Civilization, and realized how truly little choice he had… Written by Davey Jones; ongoing.

Terra Patrol:An ongoing anthology series concerning the different Patrollers who make up Terra's Patrollers. Writers include Davey Jones; ongoing.

Further questions? Comments? Contact the Patrol at homyakchik-at-mindspring-dot-com

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Last Updated on 05 JAN 99