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January 24, 2013 


It was just after beginning of lunch period on Thursday, January 24th, 2013 when a holographic dog appeared in the common room of the Claremont dorm that had recently been the home of Sharl Tulink, the young hero who had given his life to save his home world, and much of Earth, from the ravages of the Curator earlier in the month. Claremont's students had been hard at work rebuilding their damaged campus and making new connections with friends who had been falsely accused of being Terminus replicants, or had in fact turned out to be evil robots from beyond the depths of space.


Lora, Sharl's familiar electronic German Shepard, woofed at everybody a moment before Sharl Tulink himself simply appeared in thin air with a faint electrical hum. Standing right in front of the TV, and in fact seeming to be partially projected from it, he was hard to miss. "Uh, hey everybody," he said with a little wave. "I'm back!" 

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"Welcome back, you jerk," Indira said, standing off to the side of the television. She looked human, other than having let her eyes fill in with solid, featureless black; her body language was a mix of relief and good cheer. Despite that, she really really wanted was to reach out and smack her teammate upside the head a couple dozen times - but it was so hard to determine whether or not he was solid at any given moment.

"You perhaps could have told us that you were backed up," she added, though she sounded a little too happy for it to be a proper admonishment. "It would have spared your friends a great deal of sadness."

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"I didn't really know!" said Sharl, raising his hands defensively. "Miss A and I don't really talk about that stuff! The last thing I remember is, she was scanning me just before we went off to Erde, and the next thing I know she was putting me back together. I don't even know what happened on the mission or anything, just that we saved Tronik and stopped the Curator, and that...a  lot of people got hurt along the way. But you guys are all okay, right?" he asked concernedly. "I mean, you didn't get hurt? I heard Koshiro took out the whole bioneural complex by himself..." 

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"Turns out that if you stuff a bioneural whatsit full of cranes it explodes!" Kristin confirmed with a grin in Koshiro's direction. "And I think everyone came out pretty much unscathed except me, and that was just a scorch mark or two from getting shot at by about a million robots. Even Erde went off pretty well, Koshiro trashed a bunch of helicopters there too. Think that took the heat off pretty well."


She turned a friendly scowl on Sharl. "Don't think changing the topic is going to get you off the hook though mister!" she told him while wagging a finger in his general direction. "You made Kimber cry, and I'm pretty sure that it's in the team rulebook that anyone who makes Kimber sad gets a punch in the nose!"


That he'd made her cry too was clearly not on her list of things to say, and that though came to her all in a rush, and for a moment she looked fit to burst into tears once more. "Glad you're back.." she managed to choke out before a deep shuddering breath that went some of the way to helping her regain her composure.

Edited by Scuffles
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"Me too," said Sharl, "It's so strange, I mean, I still feel like we're ready to go off to Erde and save the day, but instead we're back here and everything's better again! It's really weird!" He dropped down on the couch, his magnetic body making it vibrate a little just like a real person's would. "I'm sorry I died, I guess..." he said, scrubbing his hands briefly on his arms. "I mean, I don't even know how it happened, I just know from reading the report you guys gave the Freedom League. I know people died in Tronik, were...were my mom and dad and sister okay?" he asked, looking first at Kimber, then at Koshiro - the former having actually been in Tronik, the latter knowing the most about his family. 

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Mali lowered her eyes and sighed. She was glad he was back, but after all the emotional turmoil of that day, it was hard to just be happy about it. "Glad to have you back, Sharl." She sort of mumbled. She was smiling, but not upset, or happy. Dimly, she was aware that this meant she could finally put that day behind her and look forward. Ever since finding out he could come back, she was on an emotional cliff, uncertain and consumed with confusion and doubt.


"Everyone was so upset. I spoke to Cobalt Templar and told him the news. He took it bad, before I found out you'd be coming back. I, I think you should let him know you're okay."

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"Oh hey, look who's finally back from vacation." Koshiro didn't bother getting up from the couch he was sprawled on, but he did spare Sharl a glance before flicking the crane he'd just finished in his roommate's direction. The tiny white paper crane flapped its wings madly as it shot across the room and began orbiting Sharl's head. "And I had five bucks that said you'd wait another couple days to avoid the Modern Languages group project." He gave an exaggerated sigh for the loss, but couldn't quite conceal a smile of pleasure and relief. 


The question about Sharl's family made Koshiro go serious, at least for a moment. "Yeah, far as I know they're okay. Some technician hero was down in the system after we left, I'm sure he'd have said something." He looked to Kimber for confirmation on that. "Both Troniks are plugged in and working good. But I guess you don't remember the stuff we did in Erde, or getting the hard drive or anything?" 

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"Okay, that's good..." said Sharl with a grateful nod Koshiro's way. Koshiro's calm helped Sharl straighten himself out - maybe he'd died and been brought back to life, but that didn't mean he wanted to look like a wimp. "I'll make sure to call Corbin so he doesn't think anything weird is going on. Eve too, just to be on the safe side. You never know what she hears. Yeah, I don't really remember anything since Miss A did my last backup scan, and that was even before we left for Erde. She took what she'd scanned, plugged me into a default Tronik program, and went from there..." He thought for a moment, then asked,"Oh hey, did you guys save the body? Did you do any of those gnarly human death customs, like burn it?" 

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Kimber had been uncharacteristically silent while the others greeted their returned thread, watching Sharl so intently that her ectoplasmic form forgot to blink, trepidation written broadly across her translucent face. The mention of the holographic teen's family in Tronik seemed to snap her out of her thoughts with a shuddering start, hurriedly responding, "Th-they were fine, yes! I made sure they didn't... that they didn't see y-you." The words seemed to take an effort for the normally verbose spirit, he voice quavering slightly. "Leroj... he was already gone when we got there. The Curator, he-- A lot of people were gone. You... you were gone, too. You were just gone." The phantom wrapped her arms around herself, the memory of Sharl slipping away in her arms playing over and over again in her mind as she found she couldn't look the revived version in the eyes.

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"I know, I heard about Leroj," said Sharl, his face falling for a moment. "I wish I'd been there. I wish I could go there _now_, but Miss A wants to make sure my program is stabilized before I interact with Tronik's systems. Much less the Erde-Tronik again. Anyway, it was bad...but we saved everybody we could, and now both Troniks are safe from the Curator. That's worth a little downtime, right?" He smiled faintly, though his heart wasn't quite in it. "And yeah, I mean, I did...shut down there, so Miss A took my backup program, put it in a new Tronik matrix, and got me going again." He shrugged. "Like I said, we're just the sum of our memories, right? It's not that weird. Well, maybe a little weird..."

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Kristin smiled sadly at Kimber. She wanted nothing more than to reach out to the ghostly girl, but she wasn't certain how to replicate the telekinetic hug she'd managed on the spur of the moment in the Sanctum. "Just a little weird," she said to Sharl with a bit of a grin. "But I reckon we can forgive you this time. Saving both Troniks from the Curator is a pretty big thing. It was a pretty brave thing you did in there Sharl. True hero stuff for sure, even if you don't remember doing it."

She paused for a moment, then dropped the other boot, wanting to lighten the mood in the room a little. "Don't do it again though, else I'm going to find some way to kick you in the backside I swear!"

"So when are you going to visit your family?" she asked. "Because I was sort of hoping to tag along. I reckon we must have earned a tour of the Sanctum, right? You know, for us new kids who haven't been there when it's not under attack by giant alien ships full of shooty robots?"

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"Miss A's still getting the system locked down. From what she tells me, we're lucky things didn't get a whole lot worse." He sighed and took a seat, and was briefly distracted by a small gaggle of underclassmen who had heard the story of Citizen's death in the battle to save the Earth from the Curator's electronic domination. He told them the exciting, albeit serious, tale of the battle, leaving out the details of what exactly had been the scene of the great battle, leaving his friends to talk about it amongst themselves. 


He was no more alive, as far as Kimber could tell, then when she had seen him dead. 

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