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Praetorians: Interlude

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Kestevan 79

Coalition Victory Station

(February 2018 (Terran Calendar))

 

It was a typical day for most on CoVic Station, with millions of sentient beings going about their daily routines as normal.  But within the headquarters of the Praetorians located on the Main Plaza, it was something of an unusual day, as a majority of the teams members were all present at the same time.

 

Amara Val-Ren walked into one of the side chambers off the main hall of the Praetorian headquarters.  The Naram was, as normal, dressed in the costume she wore as Paradigm, a full length white bodysuit with black diamond patterns on the shoulders and the upper chest and back.  Each of these patterns had a golden yellow trim.  Black gloved covered each hand, going up almost the full length of each forearm, while her black boots similarly went halfway up her calves.  Both had similar golden yellow trim.  As she walked further into her room, her long black cape trailed slightly behind her.

 

The room was dimly lit and was not regularly frequented.  To either side of the room were several rows of holograms representing dozens of costumed beings from nearly as many worlds.  As she slowly walked forward, Amara’s gaze drifted over numerous figures displayed.  Among them was Raark, the feline F'terrix who had overseen her first missions as a Praetorian along with several of the others than had joined when she had.  There was also Chrystaa, a powerful mentalist who had been one of the more senior members, and so many of her other comrades and friends who had fallen over two thousand years ago against the Communion.

 

On the far end of the room, opposite the entrance, were about a dozen stone life sized statues of fallen Praetorians.  These had been the memorials Kharag had managed to find time to finish before he had chosen to leave the team to seek out his people.  Toward the center of this group was a statue of a male humanoid that resembled Amara.  Kharag had captured Daar Val-Ren's powerful physique, the patterns of his costume, identical to Amara’s (though the colors had been different).  Kharag had even managed to capture the confident look that was regularly on the older Naram’s face.

 

"I miss you brother."  Amara said as she looked up at the carved replica of her brother's face.  "I miss all of you."  She added, glancing a moment at some of the other statutes and holograms before looking back up at the statute before her. 

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Liora spent her time doing what she usually did while not on a mission--reading. Her latest book was some obscure archeological text with no cover title. It looked more like a journal than anything else, complete with random slips and notes protruding fro the sides. She looked up from it, just long enough that she spotted Amara as she walked in.

 

"You're going to give yourself a neck cramp like that," she quipped, offering a comforting smile as she tucked the book underneath her left arm. Liora was no stranger to grief or missing someone. There were plenty of faces among them that made her recall vivid memories that seemed shockingly recent. For all the futures she could see, somehow looking at the past seemed harder. The memorials, nonetheless, were a lovely if somber tribute.

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It was only a minor glitch in the holodisplay but Sitara was determined to find the source with pieces of electrons scattered all over the briefing room.

 

"Bloody Lor technology I could probably make something better with the technology back home. And we were in the bronze age!" what followed was a stream of creative swearing mostly in Sanskrit but also a dozen other languages living and dead.

 

To be fair she could have done this anytime but she knew better than be around Amara, her commander and longtime friend, when was paying her respects to lost friends and family. Having lived much longer as the others she had a very different viewpoint on thing long lost. Sitara wasn't one to morn lost things but instead celebrate new discoveries, but she respected her friend enough to allow her to deal with losses in her own way.

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Amara looked over toward Liora as the Tetragenian spoke up.  "No a very likely occurrence Liora."  The young Naram said with a smile as she turned away from the statute of her brother and moved over closer toward her teammate.

 

"Although it has been a few years since the Curator revived us to face the Communion again, things have been so busy that the events before we were placed in suspended animation still seem so fresh in my mind.  Sometimes I find myself thinking that I will go into the command center and see Darr and some of the other Imperators there, overseeing everything like always."

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Moon-moth mostly just stood there listening to his teran friend sharing all these news bits of her air-noises language with him and occasionally dodging bits of utilitarian standard electronic parts, made from polymer and metal and designed to be fixable with the equally standard issue tool and diagnostics kit they came with.

 

He would've offered to help but he had learned that sometimes dismantling things was cathartic and that traveller and his other terran friends had no problem asking for help if they wanted it so he instead opted to fiddle with his badminton equipment he'd had queenie pick up for him whilst she was on earth in exchange for a few of the more exotic spices he'd come into possession of in his short time as the emergency cook onboard the kavaca.

 

so he opted tfor polite conversation in-between her outburst as he marvelled at his souvenirs "I must say, this shuttlecock thing is delightful...its like a ball with plumage!" his excitement betrayed by his squeaking voice "I am very excited to play this game, though perhaps i could set up a illusion for us to play in if the machine is being a $#!@ as you say." he offered politely.

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Sitara always enjoyed the company of Moon-Moth, his unique viewpoint on the universe was always a joy. She also felt a little guilty that she was somehow corrupting his fairly innocent ways with her more worldly viewpoint. Standing up she pulled on the top half of her jumpsuit, it got hot under the display with its power cell. Like any good engineer, she was pretty dirty from the work, despite the best effort of the bases cleaning nanites.

 

"A lot of modern, well back a good few millennium, Earth customs are a mystery to me. There's only so many questions you can ask before people get antsy after all. So do you know how this game is played?"

 

She leaned against the display she'd been "repairing" and paid her full attention to Moon-Moth.

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Moon-moth hummed to himself, for all his great intellect and insight he had been given pause for thought by this question traveller posed to him, he mulled it over a little as he put the shuttlecock on the end of his left antenna as he turned the racket overt in his hand and after a brief but contemplate thought he answered.

 

"It can't be that hard to figure out, is only has three pieces." pretty sound reasoning he thought at least, figuring things out was often part of the fun in a game...at least it was in all the game he'd played so far.

 

"Maybe we should arrange a field trip to errf sometime, find out how close we got?"

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She grabbed a bottle of water and one of the sugar waters that she knew Moon-Moth liked and offered it as she sat on a unit beside him.

 

“I could always link CoVic’s data feed to those from Earth, but what's the fun in that.” she smiled at the Lanturnians “Let me put the holo display back together and well give it a try.”

 

The mention of visiting her homeworld had, however, given her pause and after a pause, she decided to express her thoughts. She'd never been one to bottle up her feelings.

 

"Until recently I didn't even know Earth had survived and it's weird to think I could return. I've been back to worlds that have changed beyond recognition, and whilst I've missed people and places it's not quite the same as the thought of visiting the places where I grew up. Have you ever been home to visit your own kind?"

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"As much as I'd like to say that I've come to terms with how much things change and how different things are... that wouldn't be very honest."

 

Liora smiled and shifted her book to both hands. "Moving forward, one step at a time... harder than it sounds, but I suppose that's the way they would have wanted. I certainly wouldn't be where I am now if it wasn't for them."

 

She absently realized that statement didn't end with the fallen Praetorians. Her parents, as well, were long gone, but it felt more recent, than it actually was.Finally embracing her gift, seeking revenge for her parents' murder and the attack on Caldor... She caught herself mid-thought, realizing her grip on her book was tightening.

 

"Enough of that. I feel like I've been cooped up reading for days. Food seems like an excellent distraction!"

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Moon-moth Gratefully accepts the offered beverage and  quietly ponders this question a little bit "Maybes Sometime soon, For nows, Moon-moth is needed here." he answers simply "Lanturn is very far away from here." he muses "that and its pretty on fire." he adds as mostly an after thought "I am Pretty flammables, so maybe ill go at night. though that is when the predators come out."  he muses.

 

"My peoples were very eager to leave as I'm sure you can understandings, the planet was on fire and the moon was...well a moon, very boring place to live so when the Delzari came and gave us space travel that didn't require vast mystic power or mass rituals we spread out all over the empire, so i dunnos if anyone would even be at home if i went."

 

Popping the lid from his beverage with a dexterous flick of his antenna and putting it to his mouth to lick up some of the sweet sweet sugary contents with his whip like black tongue, the equivilent of taking a swig from it for species with lips he imagined.

 

"Change is scary, but that isn't bad, or so moth thinks; For examples Im pretty sure Me and that Lor Speaker guy are distant genetic relatives! Crazy huh?"

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"Yes, I want to believe that Daar and the others would be proud of the work we have done since reawakening and finding our original purpose as an organization to be gone."  Amara stated as she and Liora began making their way out of the memorial room. 

 

The Naram then smiled as the Tegregenisian mentioned being cooped up and wanting to get some food.  "Things have been rather uncharacteristically quiet the last few days.  Hopefully that is a good sign, and not one of some dire situation looming."

 

"But some food does sound like a wonderful distraction."  She then added, as the pair continued through the halls of the headquarters and towards the lounge.

 

The Praetorian headquarters' lounge was located along an outer edge of the facility.  The space covered three levels of the headquarters in a tiered design that consisted of various platforms and seating areas stretched over the three levels.  The outer wall of the lounge curved upward from the lower level towards the upper level, and was several large sections of plasti-steel, providing a view of the nearby nebula as well as the wormhole which connected the otherwise remote CoVic station to other parts of the quadrant.  Even at this distance, a steady flow of space traffic could be seen entering and exiting the wormhole.

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The Traveller

 

Sitara drunk her water as she listened to her fellow Praetorian, it'd been a while since she'd been near that part of the galaxy even before she joined the Praetorians.

 

"The Lor Republic covers some of the old Empires space, shouldn't be too hard to track down records of any of you kind living there. Things are quiet we could go have a look, but obviously only if you want."

 

She'd spent enough time among non-humans to know they didn't all have the same goals and drive, and she wasn't going to push just to keep herself busy.

 

"Change is good I realise it, I seek it out, but this is different..." she struggled for a good analogy "Have you ever not finished a book of a holoshow because then it means it's finally done?"

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"Moon-Moth thinks he understands, you do not wish to confirm the outcome because until you look inside a box might have anything in it." he mused "but once you do, you are left with the reality." he put his hand on his friends shoulder and said quite plainly in the best Delzari he could muster "We have been through a lot, you more than any there is no judgement in trying to keep yourself from yet more." he adds gently patting at her head with his floofy antenna "I understands of course....We....Lanturnians that is, Don't get older, we lived mainly in a sterile enviroment in the void so we rarely got sick and have adapted to survive on the radiation blasted wastes of our homeworld and the freezing void of our moon." he explained all things 

 

" i am over two centuries old and i had never seen anyone I know, anyone i loved,  die before that great and terrible battle." he sighs sadly and leans back away "and there was so much death all at once, Moth held together only by closing his heart to further pain and doing what needed to be done."

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The Traveller

 

Sitara had never been one to hide her emotions so she looked at Moon-Moth with sympathy and gently touched the Lanturnian on the shoulder.

 

"I'm sorry if I bought up bad memories, seems it might be a day for remembering the lost." she sighed and slumped a little, she guessed she was going to do the remembering after all.

 

"When I was younger death was common and cheap, and then I became a warrior ever since I've seen such slaughter on thousands of worlds. All you can do is remember the good times, and there are very more good times trust me!"

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"Hey!"

 

Hyperslice burst into the lounge, rocketing past Sri Sitara and Moon-Moth. She was out of her armored suit and had decided that today was the day to wear every single ring and bangle she could find, and as a result she clanked and rattled with every movement as she swept up into the group, peering curiously at the faces of the team leader and the illusionist, her great snakelike head inches from Naram's shoulder.

 

"What are you talking about?" She whispered loudly to Liora "I sssaw you guysss talking on the monitorsss...one mic, you're Spectra!"

 

The sidewinding speedster swiveled around to eagerly shake the new Praetorian's hand "Glad to have you, Sssri Liora! Ssseen your work, you're magnifisscent!"

 

She turned back to Paradigm "Sssri Amara! There'sss word of Grue sshipsss ssspotted near the borderworldsss!" She slammed one powerful fist into her palm "Give the order and I'll ssshow them what I've got!"

 

This was perhaps the least convincing excuse she had come up with that week to sneak off to the outsystem pubs.

Edited by Ari

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Paradigm

 

Amara turned to regard the sudden appearance of Hyperslice.  The overly energetic Hassaan was generally overly excited about something, that something typically being when her next mission would be, particularly if that mission took her well away from CoVic Station.

 

The Naram just gave Hyperslice a small smile.  "At peace Skirris, you should learn to welcome the opportunity for a chance to rest between missions.  Such opportunities are often scarce." 

 

"As for any Grue vessels, unless they are actively violating Republic or Coallition space, there is little we can do about them other than keep them under observation.  The last thing we would want to do is make an unprovoked attack."

 

"But why don't you join us," Amara then added, "Liora and I were just talking about how time has seemed to pass so quickly since we were reawaken to face the Communion and how quiet things have been the past few days.  Something that is bound to change."

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Liora didn't usually startle easily but Hyperslice managed to catch her  off guard. She couldn't help but laugh. The enthusiastic handshake nearly made her drop her book.

 

"Skirris, right? Nice to finally meet you. By all mans, join us!" For a moment, Liora pondered what she meant by having seen her work. In hindsight, that could really have meant anything. Just speculating on the specifics was amusing on its own; she decided not to question it.

 

"Oh, I'm sure something is happening somewhere. Certainly no sense looking for trouble... I have a feeling it will find its mark sooner or later. But until then..."

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The Traveller

"If you want something to do there is always the maintenance on the base and craft. I'd be happy to let you help out for a whilst I take it easy." Sitara beamed at them, of all the Praetorians she had the easiest time switching off when not fighting


"If people are really looking for something to do we could always update our old star charts." she looked over at Amara and smiled sadly "There must still be traces of the old Delaztri Empire out there, and maybe even more lost Praetorians. If that's something we want to do obviously."

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Paradgim 

Amara gave a small smile as Sitara suggested Skirris help with maintenance.  While it likely would not hurt for the serpentine Praetorian to learn to do so, Amara was not certain she would be able to do much to help currently. 

When Sitara suggested sending some Praetorians out to update star charts and possibly reconnect with any remnants of the empire, she also gave a slightly sad smile.  "We know that some species that were part of the empire are still out there, there could be many more.  It would be nice to get a chance to just travel the stars without some urgent objective.  Just so long as any such groups are not so far that they could not return should the need arise."

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moth flicked his antenna about briefly watching as the fast one darted around past him

 

"So much fast!" he said trying to keep track of hyperslice, very much in vain but trying none the less as she rattled and jangled as the moved around the stations.

 

"Greetnings new friend, I am Moon-moth, Hows your doing?" he squeaked, he'd long since gotten used to speaking airwords of course but in moments of excitement like this he lost track of how much he had in his lungs and often found himself tapering off in to a horase whisper or a  squeak if he was talking fast enough.

 

One almost comically oversized gasp for air later he spoke up again.

 

"Moth is ponderings his teleportations more, soon perhaps able to teleport several praetorians around a star system without error!" he boasted "Making stabe gates in space time as well!" he boasts, poofing his floof out even more than he normally did "Not so much as stable sooo...shorter range." he admitted deflating a little bit "Still enough go to the moons of a world, or any ships orbiting them."

 

"Perhaps then turning to expanding senses and long distance scrying?" he offered "not am the sure."

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