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STAR GUARD

INTRODUCTION: THE MERCENARIES

When the dominant species of a minor nine planet system revolving about a yellow sun known as "Sol"—situated close to the fringe of the Galaxy—gained knowledge of space flight and came out into our lanes of travel there arose a problem which Central Control had to solve, and speedily. These "men," as they called themselves, combined curiosity, daring, and technical skill with a basic will-to-compete against other races and species, an in-born thrust to conflict. Their answer to any problem was aggressive. Had this "will-to-battle" not been recognized at once for what it was and channeled into proper outlet, infinitesimal as their numbers were among us, we have been told that their influence might have torn asunder the peace of the stellar lanes and plunged whole sectors into war.


But the proper steps were taken at once and the Terrans were assigned a role which not only suited their nature but also provided a safety valve for all other belligerents among the systems which make up our great confederacy. Having been studied and carefully evaluated by Central Control psycho-techneers the Terrans were appointed to act as the mercenaries of the Galaxy—until such a time as these too independent and aggressive creatures would develop for themselves some less dangerous calling.


Thus there came into being the "Hordes" and "Legions" we find mentioned again and again in the various solar histories of the period. These organizations, manned by either "Archs" or "Mechs," carried on a formalized warfare for any planetary ruler who desired to enhance his prestige by employing them to fight his battles.


The Archs who comprised the Hordes were limited to service upon primitive worlds, being equipped with hand weapons and fighting in personal combat. The Mechs of the Legions followed technical warfare, indulging in it, however, more as a game in which it was necessary to make one's opponent concede victory, often without actual battle.


When still in the newly hatched stage "men" were selected to be either "Archs" or "Mechs" by rigid aptitude tests. After a period of intensive schooling in their trade they signed on for "enlistments" under field commanders. A portion of each payment made to the individual Horde or Legion commander by his employer was returned to their home world, Terra, as a tax. In other words, this system exported fighting men and the materials for war and became merchants of battle. Within a generation they accepted their role among us, apparently without question.


Three hundred years later (all students turn, please, to folio six, column two—the date of "3956 A.D." is a reckoning peculiar to Terra, we use it in your source material for this section because all reading will be based upon certain accounts written by the Terrans themselves) a minor Horde was employed by a rebellious native ruler on Fronn. While so engaged this organization uncovered a situation which changed history for their species, and perhaps for the Galaxy as well. Whether this change will operate for the general good for us all remains to be seen.


(From a lecture in "Galactic History XX" delivered by Hist-Techneer Zorzi at the Galactic University of Zacan—Subject of the lecture: Minor Systems' Contribution to Historic Changes—presented first on Zol-Day, 4130 A.D.—Terran reckoning.)  


 


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