A product of several centuries of germline genetic enhancement, eugenic refinement and memetic indoctrination, Protectors are biological baselines/nebs bred to guard baseline/neb individuals of high political status from such unpredictable events as accident, assassination, etc.
The problem with purely "hard-tech" defensive mechanisms are twofold:
1) They are expensive. Generally, the better the defense, the more it costs to deploy.
2) They offer incomplete coverage. You can't wear body armor all the time, and most area security systems can be subverted or crippled from within.
The goal of the Protector is to provide important individuals with a secret-service style defensive agent who will never leave the target's side. Protectors eat, sleep and bathe with their charges. They pick up the slack more traditional security mechanisms leave behind.
The duties of the protectors are facilitated by heightened senses, catlike reflexes and near superhuman endurance. In addition to having hawklike sight, an extended range and depth of hearing and an extremely acute sense of smell, these individuals are bred to respond to pheromonal cues. They are memetically indoctrinated from birth to hold the welfare of their charges in the highest regard. Indeed, most Protectors are raised with their charges from birth as "adoptive" siblings. Intimate relationships between Protectors and their charges are encouraged in many locales. By taking advantage of emotional bonds between Protectors and their charges, the program seeks to guarantee that betrayals are exceedingly rare.
Protectors are further enhanced by the inclusion of fast-processing neural ganglia in their trunk and limbs. These provide a bypass of the central nervous system, allowing the Protectors to react to stimuli many times more quickly than if cerebral processing were required. These ganglia are adapted to provide ready access points for modular cybernetic interfaces. Properly equipped, Protectors have been known to catch bullets destined for their charges. Outfitted with the proper machine-phase "enhancements," Protectors make excellent covert counterassassins. It's common practice to equip them with a polymorphic "tentacle." In crowded conditions, they are able to perceive potential threats to their charges, snake their "tentacles" quietly underfoot toward such threats and neutralize them with a quick upward thrust and a sharpened tentacle tip.
The advantages of the Protector program are these:
1) High cost/performance ratio. It's cheap to breed and train these agents -- their biology strongly predisposes them to their station, and makes them more than a match for a comparably trained "non-tweak." As most, if not all, of their enhancements are biological, they can be handed down to offspring through the germline.
2) Versatility. As much of their cybernetic arsenal can be removable and modular, Protectors can rob other neutralized Protectors of their enhancements to bolster their own strength.
3) Stealth. It can be difficult to pick a Protector out of a crowd, so unless their presence advertised, potential assassins have no idea what they may be up against when selecting a particular target.
4) Loyalty. A strong emotional bond to their charges make Protectors fiercely loyal. The encouragement of intimate relationships and relationships from early childhood only serve to make such bonds stronger.
5) Durability. Compared to other security technology of the societies in which they are employed, Protectors are surprisingly durable. While robots and security computers can be hacked or disabled with EMP weapons, Protectors have both the physical and mental stamina to continue fighting for their charges despite significant injury.
Disadvantages, of course, come from the fact that the Protectors are still only baselines. While they are not terribly useful as battlefield weapons or as military assets for higher SI: intellects, they can be virtually indispensable in primarily baseline inhabited societies of regressive technological potential and instable political character. While many, if not most societies throughout the galaxy may consider the breeding and training of Protectors a deplorable abuse of human rights -- at worst, it's outright slavery -- necessity often overcomes morality.
While not a perfect defense in and of themselves, Protectors compliment traditional defensive mechanisms, providing that critical last-line of defense that can often mean the difference between a foiled assassination and a funeral for an ill-fated head of state.
Text by David Jackson
Initially published on 19 April 2004.
Page uploaded 19 April 2004, last modified 1 March 2007