…a more , or perhaps less, subtle heroism than was required by previous generations.
The defenders in the past contended with adversaries, or forces, which were bounded in the ways that they were bounded. They faced challengers who sought to bring those that they protected under the dominion of those who would do them wrong. Their foes resembled themselves in the ways which were important, such that battle was occasionally romanticized as a game, or a duel.
Nowadays, of course, we are not so fortunate. What you will be part of is no game, rather, it is, at it’s core, mythic.
The police officer of days gone by faced criminals, humans like herself in every important way. Soldiers in the old world bought soldiers loyal to enemy nations, perhaps unequal in technology, but equally laying their lives on the line to carry out their master’s orders.
Today’s heroes contend with monsters.
I do not use that term lightly. Your courses will not speak of monsters. They will not speak of evil. I partake of that tradition. A tradition which describes sadism as a mental defect, habitual killers as serial offenders. It is a defeat that I must utter these primitive sentiments, but it is a defeat which I endure in the search of a lasting victory. Only truth delivers victory. The world must be faced as it is, for only doing so brings power, and only power can garner us salvation.
When your training is complete, you will go forth to defend this Union. You will do so against, and I emphasize this once again, evil monsters.
You must be vigilant. You must be capable of understanding your enemy. Are they the desperate and confused rogue Ultras, bearing powers that have warped them beyond the bounds of sanity? Are they the loathsome would be the demi-gods of the Pantheon? Power hungry and selfish? Are they the deathless fiends of the Regime, desperate to amuse their twisted Lady?
You must be ever discerning. Do they seek battle? Would facing the foe head on draw them away from those you’ve sworn to protect? Do they seek conquest? Would facing them cause them to lash out at your charge, determined that if they could not master the free folk of the world then no one would? Do they come at the orders of another, enacting an agenda unfathomable to a right thinking person?
You must be daring. Are they weak, such that your unit might subdue them without great harm? Such a chance might bring about their redemption. You might gain a powerful new ally. Are they a challenge, such that the outcome of your battle is entirely down to the skill with which you apply the lessons that you will learn? It is for these challenges which you will be trained. Are they beyond you entirely, unto you as Ultrahumans are to common men? Must you withdraw, cursing your powerlessness even as your charge succumbs?