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Praetorians: Return to the Fold (IC)

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GM

 

Dreeda III, Lor Republic

Nova-Lor City

Lor time mark 1882.6 [February 14, 2019 (Terran Calendar)]

 

During the incursion, the Lor colony on Dreeda III had been spared any direct effect of the fighting.  But shortly after the incursion was over, it fell prey to a dozen super-powered criminals that had managed to escape confinement on a prison ship and size control over the vessel.  The colony was rescued when a large force of Preatorians arrived in search of the escaped criminals.  At the time, the planet was home to about forty thousand Lor.

 

In the past few years, the colony had seen a massive influx of displaced beings from across the Republic and beyond.  Entire cities have sprouted up on several continents, as well as the addition of at least two orbital ones.  Now the world was home to over one billion sentients, though there were still large tracts of untouched wilderness across the planet, mixed with large areas of cultivated farmland.

 

But along with the massive increase in population had come some of the problems associated with large populations.  One such problem was the recent appearance of a number of Spectrum Knights operating in the system, which had brought a group of Praetorians back to the world to try to root out the threat.

 

As the team of Praetorians had been investigating the Spectrum Knight activity on the world, they had received a communication that the Spectrum Knights were attacking a governmental facility in one of the new cities in the lower hemisphere.  Boarding the Kavaca, the group had flow to Nova-Lor City, several columns of smoke rising into the air quickly pointing them toward the scene of the attack.

 

Half a dozen Spectrum Knights, each in different colored armor, were still on sight, engaged in combat with Lor security forces which appeared to be having trouble dealing with the armored criminals.

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Paradim

 

Aboard the Kavaca Amara Val-Ren quickly took in the scene on the holodisplay before rising from her chair.  "Sitara, make a pass over the Spectrum Knights' location.  Moon-Moth, Hyperslice and I will disembark and engage them.  The find the nearest location to set the ship down and catch back up with us."

 

The Naram then turned to look at the two other occupants of the small bridge.  "Moon-Moth, Hyperslice, let us provide aid to the beleaguered Lor."  She stated before making her way out of the bridge and towards the nearest air-lock.

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The Traveller

Sitara sat at the controls of the Kavaca keeping the ship flying almost perfectly, all the time spent working on it meant sure the ship was humming along. After a bout of wanderlust she’d been spending her time working again on the ship, not trusting the Lor technicians to keep her running right.

 

“Sure boss try not to have all the fun before I get there.”

 

She began the manoeuvre the ship around for the jump, keeping an eye out for any nasty surprise they might find.

 

“Akazavani once they down find me a good landing spot nearby. We don’t want to keep the baddies waiting!”

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"Aye Aye captain!" Moon moth responded to his orders "anyone's wanting to piggy on moon moths back? I think I has finally crunched the number on portals." He added rather pleased with himself all in all.

 

This would be his first engagement with the spectrum knights so he would have to take notice of their tactics and weaponry in the chaos of the conflict.

 

"Might be surprising for the lor to popptyping in amongst them."

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GM

 

Dreeda III

 

Traveller guided the sleek Praetorian craft directly over where the Spectrum Knights were active, allowing Paradigm and the other two Praetorians to disembark.  Paradigm took the lead of the group, flying down toward the site of the conflict with the Lor peacekeeping forces at supersonic speeds. 

 

The sound of the small sonic boom approaching caused both many of the Lor peacekeepers and the Spectrum Knights to look up toward the site.  One of the Spectrum Knights, wearing green colored armor flew up slightly to face Paradigm as she approached.  So the oppressors have called in their enforcers.  You will not stop us, we have prepared for just such an encounter!"

 

Another pair of Spectrum Knights lifted up into the air as well, moving slightly behind the green armored Spectrum Knight to either side.  Both began powering up the weapons in their armor, clearly preparing for a fight.

 

The depths of space, a few light years away

 

Out in the depths of space, Universal Field Operative 777 was moving through the void of intergalactic space.  In the years since the Communion central intelligence had shut down and the unit had reactivated, it had been exploring space once more.  Recently, it had picked up traces of a Praetorian signal, and had been trying to trace it back to its source. 


Now, suddenly, it was detecting a strong signal from a Praetorian vessel, and it was only a few light years away….

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Paradigm

 

Amara halted a short distance away from the scene of the fight between the Spectrum Knights and the Lor peacekeepers.  Hovering in the air, the Naram focused on the three Spectrum Knights that had flow up to intercept her and her fellow Praetorians.  "I am Amara Val-Ren of the Praetorians.  In the name of the Lor Republic, I will give you this last chance to surrender yourselves to our custody."

 

Amara did not expect the Spectrum Knights to agree to surrender, but she still felt she had to give them the chance.  After all, she had encountered at least one individual that had not committed to the cause espoused by the Spectrum Knights, so it was always possible one could be reasoned with.

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U.F.O.

 

Flying through the colds of space, Universal Field Operative 777 could not help but wonder. It had been some time since it had reactivated, after the Central Intelligence had shut down, and it had yet to find a purpose. Much had changed since it had last been active, it seemed. It had been drifting. Floating to wherever something managed to attract its attention, observing, recording, doing as it was meant to do. And then, one day, it had caught the remnants of a Praetorian signal. Could it be true? Had the Praetorians managed to survive into this strange new future? Universal Field Operative 777 had been intrigued, and old commands had flooded its artificial mind. Commands remembered fondly. Feeling something about old commands had in itself been a strange feeling. 

 

It had now been searching for a while. The Praetorian signal had been faint, difficult to track, but 777 was not about to give up. It had nothing but time, after all. And then, there was something. Something else. Another signal. Definitely Praetorian! And close! For a moment, 777 hesitated. It could quickly reach the new signal, and it might indeed be the Praetorians, but what could happen? Much had changed for it since it had last seen a Praetorian. It was no longer just a drone. Would they accept it for what it was? Would they believe it still infected by the Central Intelligence? No, they did not know about that last part. And yet, old commands and memories resurfaced. Fighting alongside the Praetorians, as 777 had been programmed to do. It was fond memories. Much better memories than all the time alone, trying to repair itself.

 

The course was clear. The navigation was programmed. The small drone activated its mighty engines, and in an instant, it was gone, heading for the source of the signal as fast as it could.

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Appearing in a whirling cocoon of prismatic light moth span himself through space and into the air at his inperitrix's side as he regarded the assembled spectrum knights.

 

"Yous be wise indeeding to listen, shackled slaves of shattered light! You are no matching for the praetorians!" He intoned with a bassy boom.

 

"....and grey isn't even a colour of the spectrum!" He pointed accusingly at the grey armoured figure.

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GM

 

The gathered Spectrum Knights took a moment to take in the appearance of the Praetorians, then, one of them, an apparently insectorid sentient in Orange colored armor was the first to react, acting with blinding speed.  "We will not *tik* bow down to oppressors!"  It called out, raising one hand to send a blast of orange energy at Paradigm.  The attack struck true, not that Paradigm tried to really dodge it, but impacted harmlessly on the Naram.

 

The green colored Spectrum Knight was the next to act, flying up slightly the humanoid commented on his companion’s ineffective attack.  "She will require a combined effort to deal with.  In the meantime try to isolate her until we can deal with the others."  With that statement, the armored figure gestured towards the Praetorian Imperatrix as a blowing green sphere began to form around her.  But before the sphere could completely close, Paradigm soared out of the center, escaping the attempt to trap her inside.

 

The yellow armored Spectrum Knight turned her attention toward Moon-Moth, while the Grey armored figure selected Hyperslice.  Both armored figures fired blasts of energy matching the color of their armor at the two Praetorians, but both targets managed to avoid the attacks.

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Moon-moth was unsurprised that things had turned to blows so quickly many of these knights were fanatics so deeply brain washed he imagined their thoughts squeaked in their brains folds.

 

He was however unimpressed with their aim so far, he was not a difficult target to hit with his slow flight and ponderous movements.

 

Sizing up quickly which of these thugs Paradigm was preparing to strike at he launched a crackling prismatic bolt from his antenna that sizzled and flashed in its numerous different colours as it streaked towards the knight only to stop in mid air and instead spring in a circle around his back and taking his eyes away from the imminent impact with the inperitrix's blow.

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Paradigm

 

Turning back to face the Spectrum Knights after escaping the attempt to trap her, Paradigm let out a slight sigh.  "Very well, we will do this the more difficult way."  She stated before focusing on the green Spectrum Knight, who appeared to have a bit more tactical acumen than his companions.

 

As she started towards the green armored foe, Moon-Moth fired one of his mystical blasts at the same opponent to distract him from her impending attack.  The tactic worked perfectly, with the Spectrum Knight shifting his attention just enough that when he realized Paradigm was closing, it was already too late.

 

*WHAM*

 

Paradigm's powerful blow stuck the Spectrum Knight full force in his midsection, doubling him over as he was sent flying backward.  The force of the impact carried the armored humanoid over a hundred feet through the air before he slammed into the side of a building and the fell a short distance onto a balcony, where he lay unconscious.

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Hyperslice

 

A sliver shadow flicked past, ramming into the Knights in an impact that left waves of distortion in its wake. Before the report of a mighty blow receded, another burst against the Knight's comrade, and then another collision with the first, then the second, and very suddenly the space between them was filled with a flickering, scything sequence of silhouettes of a faceless enemy in brilliant steely armor. Her lashing tail and powerful arms swept and cracked against their legendary harnesses, flung by the searing darkness, the raw motion and energy of hyperspace.

 

Uncharacteristically silent, the Hassan did her best to telegraph her movements, lingering for bare moments she otherwise wouldn't, trying to lure the Spectrum Knights into firing on each other. In the middle of battle it was hard to concentrate, however, and the attempted subterfuge slowed the speed of her attacks even while her efforts to fight the Knights made her less convincing than she normally could be.

 

 Paradigm and the rest of the Praetorians had found Skirris consistently off her game after the investigation on the undeveloped world with its would-be messianic unifier. She'd wriggled out of active missions as much as possible, put in lackluster effort on the ones she had been assigned and spent almost no time training, instead skulking off to various corners of CoVic Station. And right now, in the thick of things again, it was clear what the effect had been.

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The Traveller

With a keen eye and a AI it wasn’t difficult to find a good place to set down, Sitara was more important to keep thing safe than rush into battle. One thing about being so old was that she didn’t need to rush, other battles would come along and the other Praetorians were more than capable of looking out for themselves.

 

“Akazavani lock down the ship once I leave, don’t allow anyone in but me and other Praetorians.”

 

All done she employed her armour and picked up her power pike all ready to join the other in combat.

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GM

 

Hyperslice's attack proved rather less effective than she might have hoped.  The insectoid orange hued Spectrum Knight had managed to dodge away from Hyperslice's blurring attack.  The Spectrum Knight in yellow colored armor was far less successful, taking a hit from Hyperslice.  However, while the Spectrum Knight appeared injured by the attack, it appeared to only be a minor one, and the armored figure remained in the fight.

 

Outside the area of Hyperslice's attack, two other Spectrum Knights (one with blue colored armor, and the other, a hulking humanoid, in red) moved around to flank the Praetorians.  The Blue armored Spectrum Knight tried to follow the tactics of the now unconscious green armored humanoid, and tried to entrap Paradigm in a bubble of blue energy.  But as before, the Naram managed to fly out of the bubble before it fully enclosed her.

 

Meanwhile, the hulking red armored Spectrum Knight fired an red energy blast at Hyperslice.  But while the Haasaan heroine was off her game somewhat, she still easily avoided the attack with ease.

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These garishly coloured goons were tricksy it seemed, the imperatrix seemed to be fine for now so he took stock of the sotiation, seeing that the red spectrum knight had joined the orange in attacking his friend hyperslice moth turned his attention to removing one of them from the fight.

 

"By the silver shackles of Moon-moth be bound!" He squeaked as his long slender limbs whipped in a frenzy of gestures and sure enough a small blot of silver swelled into existence and rocketed out towards the red knight.

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GM

 

As the Praetorians arrived to engage the Spectrum Knights, the remaining Lor peacekeepers on the scene pulled away from the combat and instead began focusing on getting bystanders clear of the area around the conflict.

 

The slivery bonds conjured by Moon-Moth struck the red armored Spectrum Knight, who was unable to dodge the attempt to bind him.  The silvery magic wrapped around the Spectrum Knight, binding his arms to his side and fully trapping him within its confines. 

 

While another Spectrum Knight was removed from the battle (if only potentially temporarily), the Orange armored Spectrum Knight shifted its attention on Moon-Moth.  Raising its armored gauntlets toward the magic using Praetorian, the Spectrum Knight fired a blast of orange energy, but the armored villain’s aim was not more accurate than the previous attack against Moon-Moth.

 

Meanwhile, the yellow and grey Spectrum Knights turned their attention on Paradigm.  The yellow Spectrum Knight first fired an energy blast at the Naram, hitting her to no effect as before.  The grey armored being tried to follow up on the blast to combined their damage, but rushed its attack, missing Paradigm instead.

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U.F.O.

 

777 was getting closer to the Praetorian signal. It was sure of it. Everything was whirling past in hyperspace, a blur of the universe around it, but 777 knew what paths to take, knew how to track the system. It was excited? Was that the right emotion it was feeling right now? Alone for so long, then travelling the stars, but now finally, it might find the Praetorians again? 

 

Exiting hyperspace, 777 hovered above Draede III for a brief second before putting all power to its engines. It could track the signal much clearer now, as it broke through the atmosphere. So many signals everywhere, but the Praetorian vessel stood out! Yes, 777 was sure that this was excitement that it was feeling. It was a very exciting feeling to experience, as it soared directly over the battle, barely even noticing, coming to a complete stop right in front of the Praetorian ship and the Traveller.

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Paradigm

 

Paradigm had flown up into the air to avoid being trapped by the energy sphere created by the blue armored Spectrum Knight.  The Naram did not even stop as she arched back down towards the armored figure, quickly closing the distance with him in a flash of white and black.

 

*WHAM*

 

The Praetorian had delivered a powerful punch at a downward angle, striking the Spectrum Knight across the jaw and sending his head snapping to one side.  The force of the blow twisted him around and sent him hurtling down to the ground below where he slammed into a roadway below.  Thankful any traffic had been diverted by the Lor pacekeepers, so it was deserted of any civilians.

 

"Keep the pressure up."  Paradigm called out to her teammates, not wanting to give the Spectrum Knights a chance to regroup or try to flee.

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The Traveller

Sitara’s response to the little probe reaction was almost instant as she took a defensive pose. But it didn’t take long before she realised that exactly what you she was looking at.

 

“Now you're a blast from the past, I remember being on the team that designed your model. This is kind of a relation of your Akazavani!

 

<”Though you look a little different, I wonder if your a later model?”> it was a little egotistical but when she could she always programmed Sanskrit into her software, how better to keep her native tongue alive

 

<”So do you have anything to report little one?”>

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U.F.O.

 

777 paused for a moment, observing and watching, hovering before Sitara. This one was familiar. And the way it spoke! It was one of the designers! One of the makers! It felt something new now. Was this happiness? 777 quickly scanned the language. Sanskrit. It was in its language banks, part of the communication package that had been added to its systems so long ago.

 

<"Greetings! This unit is designated Universal Field Operative 777."> It responded in the same language that it had been addressed in. It was an old subroutine, to respond in the same language as it was told, but it seemed proper to use when addressed by a designer! <"This unit has been lost for a long time. Repaired with Communion technology after near fatal mission to destroy enemy combatant. This unit placed itself in an inactive state to avoid being used against the Praetorians. Reactivated when signal from Central Intelligence ceased. This unit wishes to return to active duty.">

 

Yes, this had to be happiness. A curious feeling! It felt like a tingle of electricity running through 777's body.

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Hyperslice

 

Something seemed to have drawn Skirris' attention as she rounded on the Spectrum Knight who shone a brilliant gold, her faceless mask briefly reflecting their armor's new-made flaw. The space she was in blurred, and the next time she resolved was as a scything hurricane of blows raining down on the Knight from every angle, fists and tail flying through hyperspace to smash and rend their armor. The punches and collisions increased speed, until at last Hyperslice was a silver shadow battering relentlessly on her enemy's stalwart yet less-than-infinite defensive harness. The speed needed to shift energy fields and localize stress dispersion swiftly outpaced even the armor's formidable limits.

 

"Sssitara!" her voice hummed over the commlink "Ssstop fiddling with that massschine, you'll misss the fun!" With another flash, the star-sliding scrapper appeared in front of the orange Knight, hanging in place and seemingly oblivious to their other enemies as she coiled into stance for another attack on the golden Knight...

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The Traveller

That would explain a lot about the probe's arrival, even though she’d helped build them well they tended to get into a lot of trouble. Like any good Praetorians really.

 

“They call me Sitara, or Traveller if you really wish. I’ve never really gone with titles, even when I was an Empress, it’s a long story...”

 

She paused in thought for a moment, she’d like to test for the degree of sentience the probe contained. As an engineer, she always insisted that they had more capacity than needed and she was sure that it was a full AI, but these kinds of things needed to be tested

 

“And what shall we do with you 7’s? Because I’m sure Amara would welcome the help, though don’t call her that she really does dig the titles!”

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U.F.O.

 

"Designation: Traveller. Classification: Praetorian. Sub-classification: Designer. This unit remembers you." 777 had served the Praetorians directly. Even if the designer did not remember, it most certainly did. It was understandable, and 777 was not upset. After all, much longer time had passed for the Praetorians than for itself, and 777 had many fellow units, after all. 

 

It paused, remaining hovering before the designer as she thought of what to do. Still folded neatly into the shape of a flying saucer. The red eyes on the digital display lit up in a smile, shifting color to green for a moment, as it surveyed the battle happening close by. "This unit is ready and willing to assist. Query: What title should be used for designation: Amara?" 

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