The Gentlemen in Black

First Appearance: Pilot

Mysterious, dangerous, and universally feared, the Gentlemen in Black appear when it's least convenient and make life very difficult indeed for anyone who opposes the Enlightenment's rule. Their specific function in the government is debatable; they don't seem to work for any particular ministry and often operate independently from other Enlightenment officials. In many cases they arrive to arrest an enemy of the regime. At other times they seem to perform the duties of investigation or damage control after an incident draws the Enlightenment's attention.

The Gentlemen dress in impeccably tailored black suits with dapper bowler hats atop their heads. Variations on this uniform may include tinted glasses or umbrellas—these are assumed to be indicators of rank, but no one has ever had the nerve to ask a Gentlemen about his umbrella.

Those who have seen a Gentleman up close and lived to tell the tale often describe curious mannerisms: eerily smooth movements that remind many of a well-oiled machine, a tendency to sniff the air like a canine catching a scent, and an unnatural lack of emotion in voice and expression (though their conversational style is unremittingly cheerful). People who have observed a Gentleman in combat and survived are fewer, and their recollection is even more disquieting. Superhuman strength and unbelievably quick reflexes seem to be a common trait. Whether equipped with a weapon or fighting hand-to-hand, a Gentleman is a fearsome and nearly invincible foe.

Unconfirmed reports have surfaced about individuals who claim to have captured a Gentleman in Black and attempted to dismantle him. Secondhand tales of clockwork innards and positronic pathways always end with some tragedy befalling the foolhardy surgeon. One notable account holds that a young doctor in Stockholm came into possession of what seemed to be a dead Gentleman and undertook an autopsy. In the middle of the operation the Gentleman awoke and sprang up from the examination table, held his lacerated skin closed, and jumped out the laboratory's second story window. Two days later the doctor answered a knock at his door and found the same Gentleman, completely healed, there to arrest him.

The unfortunate wretches who are taken by the Gentlemen may disappear entirely, or in some cases return months or years later, forever changed. A citizen who incurs the animosity of a Gentleman will earn an enemy for life, and will be unceasingly pursued until he is apprehended or manages to defeat the Gentleman. Of course, no one has figured out how to do that yet.

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