Associates have always accompanied the Inspector on his adventures as he travels the universe, inspecting the roots of all its mysteries. Since the literally heartless Infinity Knight is also seeking a "substitute" for the this organ, he often takes on Associates who are similarly searching for something or looking to improve themselves.
The Inspector's relationships with his Associates have influenced his character development, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse (and, with the later classic Inspectors, sometimes dimmer). The Associates are nicknamed "Soccers" by some Inspectrum fans. It's partly a shortening of "associate" and partly because they tend to get kicked about a fair bit.
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