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Continuing from >here.

Amara Val-Ren had followed after Vince as the hologram led her from the room in which she had been awoken and into the vast chamber beyond, where seemingly endless rows upon rows of cryogenic tubes were stored in the cold air of the room. The cold no longer was bothering the Naram, as she moved over towards the nearest row of tubes, around which lights had just activated and the faint forms of her friends and comrades could be seen behind the frost on the tubes.

She carefully counted the tubes as Vince moved over to a nearby control panel and began the awaking process for the other Praetorians. Just about two dozen tubes, the number of survivors she remembered from after their final battle with the Communion. And yet now they were being awoken to face the Communion once again.

Amara stepped back from the tubes as she waited for the others to begin to wake. "We will want to see all information you and the Curator have regarding the Communion's advances. As well as that on any power groups that are there to oppose it."

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"Sure thing," said VINCE seriously - well, almost seriously. "Curry's getting a holobriefing room upstairs ready for you guys as soon as the ice cubes here defrost." He gave a cheerful wave as the Praetorians began their awakening, standing beside Paradigm as if nothing was amiss. "Man, you're an colorful bunch!" he exclaimed in surprise. "Coordinated too, I like that, very stylish." He snapped his fingers and his own colors changed - his black and white alien costuming turning orange and white to match Paradigm's colors. "Look, we're all on the same team. Hey, Paradigm," he called. "Welcome to freedom! I'm your host VINCE, and you already know the lovely Paradigm here!" 

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As soon as Kharag exited his tube, it was clear that he'd be in a rather sour mood from the experience. Stepping out of the cryotube which had held him for the last two thousand years, he seemed even more tense and aggressive than the usual. Just to drive the point home, a primal scream echoed through the room. Upon waking up, as he slowly pieced everything together, his anger grew even more.


"CURATOR! You dared?! You dared take the God-King of Za'ak as your trophy!" he shouted, snarling, exposing some rather sharp teeth and deep purple gum. The alien clenched his fist and raised it to the sky, or rather ceilling and shook it. "Know on this day that I shall do far more than scatter you into space dust; I shall take your very essence, artificial or not and erase it from existence and memory of all sentient life that live amongst the stars!"

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Moon-Moth finds his slow return to consciousness and the harsh grim reality of many of his fellow praetorians...many of his friends; dead somewhat expedited by the familiar scream and bellowing of his comrade kharag and putting his sadness to one side unsteadily clambers out of the curator's cryogenic containment capsule, grasping weakly at the frames, antenna weighed down with grief and frost pokes his head out to regard the screaming Za'akis God-Emperor, he feels a burden lift off his heart to see Amara alive and well; though standing on unsteady feet next to the strange Lor. he fights back the urge to cry.


<We needs to be strong for each others, Now more than ever.> he tells himself as he blinks away his tears and with some effort shakes out the gathered ice on his antenna and mane, scattering it across the metal flooring before stepping out. Standing as tall as he can will himself too he salutes Paradigm and then Kharag and the others "I am Happiest to see you alive...!" he croaks as loudly as his dry throat will allow him; "Do anyones Require Assistance?" addressing the Lor as much as his fellow praetorians, Assuming him a fellow escapee if not an emancipator.

Edited by Exaccus
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Sitara hadn’t expected to wake up like this again,in fact for a few seconds  she could almost believe that her time wandering and during the Praetorian had just been a Healing Machine induced dream. The rather booming voice of Kharag soon convinced her that she had been in stasis for a second time.

It could be her imagination but something about this place, from the short time there’d been here before being frozen, felt different somehow.

“Stand down Kharag I’m pretty sure that he’s not here right now. Rather than cursing another potential enemy maybe we should be finding out how long we’ve been asleep here.â€


Though just in case she activated her power pike, though she almost immediately slung it over her shoulder.

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Amara watched as her fellow Preatorians began to awaken. As would be expected, Kharag awoke with cries of defiance, not too dissimilar than her own awakening (although without the long term threats). But now was not the time to allow him to start tearing things up, luckily Sitara spoke up to try to bring him back under control.

"I am well Myoth." The Naram replied to Moon-Moth a she took a few steps forward. "Any vengeance will have to wait Kharag." She then stated firmly. "We have more pressing issues before us. The Communion have returned."

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"That's right, folks, and it's pretty bad," said VINCE, speaking up immediately when the subject of the Communion came up. "Here, let me show you to our briefing room." He led them up a staircase that folded out of the floor at their approach. The wall at the end writhed apart as they reached the summit, leading them into an oddly featureless room dominated by a flat circular table. As they were all citizens of a galactic empire, they recognized a galactic map well enough - the old Milky Way's stars and spiral arms didn't look changed! The map was dominated by the blobby shapes of various interstellar civilizations - and marked by ominous silvery circles that VINCE soon identified, gesturing with a long wooden rod that he had produced seemingly from nothing. 


"These are, uh, Communion sightings we've detected. Wormholes, ships, the whole nine yards. Wherever they've been - they're not playing around anymore. They're here in Grue space, they're all through the Khanate up here at the edge of the spiral arm, and of course right there at the old Lor capitol." He swallowed hard and added, "They, uh, they took it out. They dropped a wormhole on it or something, I don't know!" He threw up his hands. "Listen, I've seen enough bad stuff in my time, I didn't go prying into the details..." He wiped his forehead, the hologram visibly sweating. "My boy estimates maybe half the population made it offworld. Everybody's in retreat. But it's early in the game, right? We'll rally and fix things up!" 


VINCE was doing his best to keep the conversation directed, but all the Praetorians, being citizens of a galactic empire, could instantly see that something was wrong with the map. The stars were in the right places, mostly, and the galaxy itself was shaped the right way - but the shapes of those galactic civilizations, the names of their planets, the focus of the map itself - everything was off!

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As Kharag's anger ever so slightly cooled off, a different expression formed on his face. One of confusion, followed by grief. A low growl came out of him, before he managed to shut himself up while clenching his fists. "You are all correct, vengeance can wait. Time has no grasp on me."


He continued to observe the map, slowly taking in the information. The Communion had returned and in full force, it seemed as it was spreading all across known space. Slowly, a smile formed on his face before he started laughing loudly.

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With the danger, for now, apparently passed Sitara put away her pike and folded away her armour. She sat at the table, feet up on it’s surface, calmly examining the map as if kind of thing had all happened before. Which for her it had.


“I remember the Lor. Last I knew they were starting to explore beyond their own system, they definitely didn’t have an empire.That means either they got there act together really quickly or we missed a lot of history, again!â€


She’d been through all this before and had learned not to get too attached to things, but it was going to be tough on some of those here. But they’d have to know the entire situation was.


“What about the Delaztri Empire has it already fallen to the Communion?â€

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Moon-Moth followed, bringing up the rear in silence, mostly to afford himself time to think and partially to keep the few of his surviving allies in sight so he might better react to any threats that could jump out on them in the curators seemingly silent ring world.


<The Communion returns? our victory was at great cost with the backing of the most powerful interstellar empire in this galaxy...they did not withdraw till nigh total obliteration either...this does not bode well....i fear we do not has the numbers to repulse them a second time on such short notice> his mind flickering back to the horrific sight of numerous bodies floating lifelessly in the void before him at the site of the final battle and what had proven to be the last stand for over half their numbers, they'd not even had time to bury them; sadness once again taking root in his heart.


<I must build them a memorial worthy of their sacrifices when we have beaten back the Communion once again and I has the times.> he resolves, hardening his heart and bringing his attention back to the matter at hand, getting a glimpse at the somewhat unfamiliar map...desperately trying to convince himself it was simply comically incorrect despite the growing dread in the deepest, truest part of himself and the nagging of his brain insisting that the curators knowledge of the cosmos is nigh beyond reproach; Slumping into the offered seat rather worriedly.

"It seems there is many retributions to be delivered upon our great enemy....on both behalf of our brothers and sisters that fell and the rest of the universe....and few times to be doing it with." he comments gesturing at the swathes of silver rings and biting back his anger at Kharag's laughter at this time of mourning, none the less bolts of prismatic lightning occasionally bridging and traveling up his antenna like a Jacobs ladder plainly displaying his agitation "So let us not be frivolous with our times, boogieng around the questions, friend." he says rather evenly as he rests his fluffy elbows on the tables surface and steeples his slender Chitinous fingers.

Edited by Exaccus
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Dragonid rose from the tube confused and sluggish. He did not remember where he was or how he got here, but it seemed unlikely to him that it was of his own choosing. Chatter from the others, already awake and milling about, seemed to confirm his fears, fueled his rage.
He attempted to melt the whole containment tube to slag, but for now, it seemed, his fires were failing him. A side-effect of his extended sleep, he guessed. He could only hope that it would return before he needed it. He gave the tube a savage kick instead, then moved to follow the others upstairs.
He took his seat among the others, watched this VINCE with suspicion. He seemed to have deliberately avoided the subject of who he was, but Amara seemed to at least trust him. A little. Dragonid guessed that would have to be enough for now.
"Rally? Fix things? These Lor lost their Capital world and half its population in an instant, and according to that map they're a major power. If they couldn't defend their Capital, what could they have left now to stage a counter offensive?" Dragonid's words sounded angry, but they hid an amount of fear. Everything on that map boded ill.
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Amara was relieved Kharag regained some composure, along with a few other of the survivors who had awoken rather ready to resume the battle with the Curator which had been the last thing any of them recalled before their sleep. The young Naram followed along as VINCE led her and the other Praetorians up to another room, where there was a holographic map of the universe awaited them.

Moving to stand along one side of the table, Amara looked up at the large holographic map, listening to VINCE's explanations of what was known thus far about the Communion’s actions. But at the same time, she noted how the map seemed…off.

Sitrara asked the question that Amara was half afraid to learn the answer of, but then several of the others made comments, and she decided to speak briefly to those before pressing VINCE for some answers.

"No Moon-Moth, we do not want to waste time, but at the same time, we do not want to rush out there without knowing more about what is going on." She began, before focusing back on the areas the Communion had struck. "And I am not so sure the Lor are as helpless as they may seem Dragonid." She began. "Look at how the Communion has advanced in into the Grue Unity and this Stellar Khanate, it is like a wave sweeping onto a beach, methodical conquest of system after system in order, much like their assault on the Empire that we responded to. But with the Lor, they struck deep into their territory, straight at their capital world. It could well be the majority of the Lor's military forces are still intact, and if they can be rallied, could be helpful in turning back the Communion."

"But Traveller is right. The Delaztri Empire should be here."
She then stated, pointing up at where one of the edges of the empire should have been. "But there is nothing noting their presence." Amara then turned back toward VINCE. "What has happened to the Delaztri Empire, and, just how long have we been in suspended animation?"

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VINCE rubbed his hands together nervously. "Well, Dreamsicle, I'm not gonna lie to you, it's been a while." He counted off time on his fingers. "From what the boy tells me, and adjusting between Terran and Delaztri years, you were down there for..." He bit his lip then went on. "For about two thousand years. I'm sorry, kids, but the old place is gone. Listen, I'd have let you out a lot sooner, but I only got here myself a couple of years ago, and I only found out about this place today. The boy must have liked you; there were alarms in place to wake you up as soon as the Communion showed back up." He waited for the first uproar to die down before he added, "The Delaztri Empire is gone. 2000 years is a long time, even for space empires. It was no one thing, they just..." He shrugged. "Listen, I'm no historian, but from the files they just sort of fell apart. Their gods are still worshipped in parts of the Republic, the people are still there in a lot of places...but the Empire's dead." 

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Kharag stared at VINCE, with a an empty haunted gaze. He stood like that for a moment as it truly began sinking in. His yellow eyes grew wide, his nose and mouth twitched. Then, what the others would have no doubt found impossible, Kharag began to lose his balance as he took a few step forwards, before falling to his knees.


"M-my...my people. The empire. It's gone." He tried to breathe in, to very little avail. "Has it been this long? It feels like it has only been mere instants, no, this cannot be right. THIS CANNOT BE TRUE!" In a fit of rage, the alien punched the ground, which resisted the blow, not even getting a dent despite the force of the impact.


"What cruel fate is this? To wake up, with the greatest battle ahead, the one where I wanted to lead my people, their very defining moment amongst the stars, what I had led them toward to only for me to be sent two thousand years forward, with the empire scattered and gone?!"

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When Sitara spoke her words were quiet yet determined, all bravado gone from her voice.


“When I first joined the Praetons the empire of the mArttik Avata wewe already three thousand years gone, many of their great achievements already turned to dust. So i know what you’re all feeling at this momen. Bt remember this as long as the memory lives on here and here...†she tapped her head and her heart


“... in people like us then the great empires will never truly go away. The Lor republic may stand or fall after this but right now there are billions of sapients that need someone help against the Communion. And that I believe is where we some in, it’s what the Praetorians are about after all. What do you say kid?†she looked over at Amara.

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"Two thousand years...."  Amara stated, the sheer length of time coming as something of a shock.  The Naram was stunned for a moment, as she realized that her parents and other family members were long, long gone.  The Empire she had sworn to give her life to protect was also gone, left to the pages of history, if not largely forgotten.


She was looking down at the table in thought as Kharag reacted in a somewhat unexpected way.  Then she heard Sitara's words and looked back up, focusing on the ancient warrior first as those words sunk in.  "Yes.  Yes, that is why the Praetorians were organized."  Amara then looked about at the other Praetorians gathered around the table, many still in shock from the announcement of just how long they had been asleep.  "Again Traveller is correct.  The galaxy may not be as we remember it, but there are countless sapient races out there that will be destroyed if the Communion is not stopped.  The Empire may be gone, but we have no way of knowing the fates of our various peoples.  Many of them could still be out there, in the path of the Communion."


"I for one am willing to stand against the Communion to protect those that cannot protect themselves.  It would be my continued honor to do so along all of you."

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"You are right. All of you." Kharag said, after getting up and recovering from his initial shock. "The rites of grief and passage for all those I knew will have to wait." He then walked past them, with a grim expression on his face.


"We must dive into former Delaztri space, reunite our people! We will assemble whatever ship they have into a fleet! Meanwhile, I will find my people, assemble the clans and houses into an army. They will form an elite force to strike at the most dangerous targets. No enemy will be left standing in their way." Kharag declared, already formulating his own plan, disregarding any change that might have happenned in two millenia, as well as making the plan without consulting the others.


"The empire is no more, therefore, I will once again assume full command of my people!"

Edited by RobRX
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"We are, of course, sworn to defend those who need defending. But first we need an honest examination of the situation to know where we can hope to do any good. If VINCE is right and we don't have the rest of the empire behind us any more we need new allies, new armies..." Dragonid trailed off as facts sunk in. Frozen here for 2000 years while the empire he vowed to protect fell apart without them. 2000 years in the Curator's trophy case.
Dragonid tried to control the fires of anger building inside him. He looked at VINCE, "I do not remember anything like this wormhole weapon. Have the Communion's tactics been the same otherwise? Or is this a brand new fight?"
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"I, uh..." VINCE looked up at the ceiling. "Son?" 


A few moments later, the holographic display shifted - this time to their own ancient battle against the Communion. The distant recording, made by one of the Curator's drones, was narrated by the sinister cybernetic collector in an all-too-familiar voice. 


"Weakened from-the destruction of-the Vandals, the-Praetorians proved easy-acquisitions for Drone-#4053 and associated-units. The Delazatri-Empire collapsed soon-after, just as-Long History had-predicted. They were-no match for-" 


"Hey, hey, let's just-fast-forward through that," said Vince with a wave of his hand at the ceiling! And soon enough the voice did indeed speed up, worlds and planets flashing by at an incredible rate of speed, before the Curator's voice picked up again. From the date, this recording was nearly a thousand years later. 


"...believe-the Vandals have-taken up a-position inside the-Galactic Core outside-the reach of-my probes. Drones-dispatched for reconnaissance-purposes have not-returned. I-have had a-new experience-though, an entire-civilization dispatched-a distress signal-calling me to-save them-from a nova..." 


"There is-one final Vandal-incursion in the-files," said a voice like the Curator's, but higher and more male, like a boychild version of the robotic menace that had destroyed their lives. 


This time the Curator's voice sounded...drunk? Drugged? It was hard to tell. "Have-LEARNED many-interesting things-frommmm nanite-core in galactic-sphere. Why SHOULD I-not be WORSHIPED-as a GOD by-PRIMITIVE CREATURES-" 


"That was-four Terran years-ago, Father," spoke the voice from above again - VINCE's son? The Curator? "All records-from that period-were destroyed during-Tronik engagement that-altered consciousness." 

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Moon-moth remains quiet throughout the holo-briefing as he examines the photographic memory of the map it replaced, only somewhat vaguely aware of what the company is doing as he turns this tragic situation over in his mind again and again, comparing it to the battle-maps he'd seen before there final push against the communion and what little talk the more dedicated tacticians were having he'd overheard.


<Similars...but at this times differences...still predictables though...diminutive blessings.> he muses, adding the revelation of the curator being this Lor's son to the "deal with this later" pile, he waits for the chatter to die down before speaking up.


"As if there were ever any doubt, sister paradigm...moon-moth stands besides his friends." he says first, chest puffed out with pride "I have noticed something of a patterns in the foes movements and believes i am fairly certains of where is next to fall prey to this terrifying new technology of theirs...I am unfamiliar with the system however...." he says as he brings up an illusion of the map as he saw it with the potential target ringed in red. "Sister Elite is by far a more astute tacticals thinker than myself though i would weigh her opinions on such matters more heavily than mine owns." he says before taking a deep breath and sitting as up right as he can.


"I would also likes to put forth what i believes to be a pressing issue for your considerations brothers and sisters....we are leaderless and diminished...we must move with swift and terrible fury for certains...but we will require unity if it is to be more than a suicidals charge." he says "I Would propose we elect a new leader and with this same breath nominate sister paradigm for the rank of Imperatrix of the praetorians." 

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“Personally I think talking about rebuilding the empire or forming a new Praetorians is a little premature. For now its just us as normal I’ll follow the kids orders.†she pointed towards Amara


She studied the holo and considered A’lira words she wasn’t a master tactician but she was no slouch either, though she tended to think more on a battlefield level.


“It would nice to hear Tatiana opinion on this, if she’s still with us, but I agree it’s worth checking out.â€

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"Enough with the words! Now is the time for ACTION!" growled Kharag, clenching and pumping his fist. He glanced back at the holographic display, showing the constant advance of the Communion, in their soulless mechanical march across both known and unknown space, assimilating or destroying in their path.


"Curator! We have wasted enough time as it is, take us to the nearest battlefield."

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Amara listened to Kharag's outline of what he felt was a plan once he had recovered from his initial shock of learning how long they had been asleep.  Before she could respond, Dragonid did, asking about the weapon the Communion was using to create wormholes.  The Naram then listened to the various recordings from the Curator that were played back, not particularly liking some of what she heard from the Curator, but that was not something they could truly focus on at the moment.


Moon-Moth then spoke up, noting some of what he had managed to observe regarding Communion's movements based on what information they had thus far, and then surprised Amara by nominating her to serve as Imperatrix for the surviving Praetorians, a nomination which was essentially seconded by Sitara.


"I am honored at your nomination brother Moon-Moth."  She replied.  "Should it be the will of our brethren, I will accept that responsibility."  She then turned to Kharag and his demand to be taken to the nearest battlefield.  "I understand your concerns about the fate of your people Kharag, we will help you find them when we have dealt with this crisis.  But rushing off to the nearest battle will not accomplish that.  We may be able to overcome a portion of the Communion's forces, or we may all be killed and accomplish naught.  It is clear that given our current numbers, this is unlikely a crisis we can overcome alone."


"We do not have time to try to go an forge new armies or reunite any portion of the Empire, if such a thing is even possible.  Instead, we must look for allies in those already under attack from the Communion."  Amara focused back on map of the current status of things, or at least as far as the Curator knew.  "We need to make contact with the Lor and Grue, as well as these Star Knights.  They sought to protect the Lor homeworld at the cost of hundreds of their own, and seem to operate in numbers greater than we ever did.  But I also am reluctant to overlook Moon-Moth's analysis of the next possible target for the Communion's wormhole weapon.  This weapon is something new, and traveling to that location ahead of the Communion might well provide some clues to what it is up to."

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"I do not like this place and would be off it as soon as possible, if we even have a ship capable of taking out of here" said Dragonid. "I think our best plan is to seek out the survivors of the fallen Lor world. If they saw the weapon in action, maybe they could give us a clue on how to rip it to shreds. Otherwise we may just find ourself on a world with a target on our heads like the Lor did." He looks to Amara, "I will follow where you lead, burn any enemies before us to a crisp, but I would prefer if we learned what we needed to win."
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"Galaxy's too big for you to go together," said VINCE, more seriously than most of what had come out of the Lor's mouth. He walked into the holographic galaxy map they were studying - and as he did so, passed through the panels and directly into the map itself. An instant later, he was visible again - this time hovering above the galaxy like a tiny holographic colossus! "Why don't some of you go here, and some of you go here, and some of you visit this little number?" he asked, his avatars popping up over each possible site and his voices blending together into a chorus for a moment. He finished, and reconstituted himself, hovering over the barren world Moon-Moth had identified as the possible location of the next wormhole. 


"If it's a ride you want, the kid has got about a million ships in the hangar - I think he even still has your old digs around there somewhere. Believe me," he added, a surprising amount of pathos in his inch-high voice, "I know it's tempting to stick together and try and defend one spot. But that...well, sometimes that just doesn't work. Anyway, kid's fixing up some ships for you now." 

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