Grandson, you're a small child now, and you've started asking about them. You're far too young to be told, so I've brushed you off. I've decided to write you this note, for when you're older. How I wish I could be there by the time you are old enough to understand, but I know that won't happen.
I was born in what your history teachers call the Golden Age. As a child, I never questioned anything about the situation. It was a time of innocence for me and humanity in general, and I never really focused on things. Our teachers taught us about The Enemy, and how we had our Defenders to protect us. They sacrificed for us, keeping our world safe. We appreciated them, and they enjoyed it.
… I can't remember when we, as a people, started calling them Defenders. I know them as something else, but it would hurt me too much to call them that.
I was a young man when the Golden Age ended. Everyone will tell you that it ended like a flick of a switch, but don't believe it. People talked. We knew how horrible The Enemy was, and what they would do without our Defenders. But over time, we questioned them more. Rationally, we knew that the sacrifices were worth it. Some deaths were expected, damage was predicted. But in the face of total destruction, was it worth complaining about?
But our Defenders knew we were talking. Maybe that was it? Maybe that was why they didn't stick around for people's praise as long? Maybe they were beginning to see us as a burden that they had to defend, rather than their people that they wanted to defend?
It wasn't until the Attack of… I'm so sorry, but to this day I can't say the name of that old city. You can look it up if you want. I'll call it the Attack of the Great Hole, since you know that place as the Great Hole.
Our Enemy had attacked, as they had often did. The police, the armies, they defended us as well as they could. Don't believe that we, as a people, became complacent. Don't believe it for a moment, child. We never expected or assumed our Defenders would arrive. Ultimately, though, the police and armies were only stopgaps, keeping The Enemy contained until our Defenders arrived.
Arrive they did, in their ships. But this time, it was different. I wasn't there, of course, but I saw the vids, just as you did. I saw the attack.
Not from The Enemy. Our Defenders. They didn't attempt to combat The Enemy from the ground, as they always did. They didn't respond to the enemy's escalation by escalating in turn. From high in the air, they attacked with the greatest weapons they had at their disposal.
In a moment, that sacred city became the Great Hole. Do you know how many people lived in that city? Millions, child. Men, women, and children. Innocents, all of them, and all of them dead. And our Defenders? A press release. "We do not have the time to focus on secondary goals such as removing civilians from the combat zone. Our primary goal is now our only goal: defeating The Enemy. Adapt to this."
The nations of the world reacted as you think they would. They tore into our Defenders. To their credit, the Defenders attempted to explain their reasoning for their change in attitude, but it's hard to believe someone with the blood of millions of innocents on their hands. When the UN demanded that our Defenders defend us from farther away, they agreed. I think they were happy. They mentioned that they had other missions to accomplish.
That was… a long time ago. The Enemy still exists, and occasionally they get through Our Defenders. We've fought them off by ourselves, you know. You'll rarely see mentions of the Conflict of Chicago, the Delay of Oregon, or the Stalemate of Brazil, but they happened. I was there, and I have the scars to prove it.
Sometimes, Our Defenders regroup and destroy The Enemy. Sometimes, they ignore the breach and let us handle it. There are some among us that still believe that they are helping us by making us defend ourselves. Most of us believe that they hope we get wiped out, so that they can defend elsewhere more efficiently.
I'm an old man, child, and my time is short. I can't say I've lived a good life, because the memories have sapped my soul. You grew up seeing our Defenders raze entire cities to defeat The Enemy. You've seen them destroy our spacecraft to keep us in the solar system. You have Enemy Assault Protocols in your school, and you have Defender Guard Protocols. You won't blink or twitch when you're old enough to know that they are the same protocols. All of those things, though, child, hurt me more than you'll ever know. They haunt everyone my age who still lives.
Even the name hurts people my age, child. Defenders? They used to be called something else. Everyone my age remembers.
We remember when they were called the Power Rangers.