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Kestevan 79 


A pair of Lor officers made their way into the new headquarters of the ancient alien group known as the Praetorians.  The space was still very much under construction and being refurbished, with a number of Lor technicians assisting in the process.  But these two Lor officers were not there to oversee assisting the Praetorians in establishing their new facility.  Instead they were there on behalf of the Republic to request the assistance of the Praetorians. 

With the Communion stopped, some semblance of normalcy had returned to this sector of the universe, and that had allowed the Republic to return its attentions to several matters that had been unattended when stopping the Communion had been of utmost importance.  But even now the Republic did not have sufficient resources to deal with all the problems at hand.   

As the pair moved down the corridor, a larger hulking reptilian humanoid moved over toward them.  The figure towered just over eight feet tall, covered in green and brown scales, with a long tail that ended in a spiked ball.  "Greetings officers," the reptilian humanoid stated in accented GalStandard, "I am Seresk, may I be of assistance?" 

"Greetings Praetorian Seresk, I am Commander E'tten of the Lor Star Navy, and this is Aya K'zan from the Allied Liaison/Intelligence Extra-National Service."  The male Lor stated in response.  "We are here to speak with Praetorian Val-Ren about a matter in which the Republic wishes to request the assistance of the Praetorians." 

The large reptilian alien gave a small nod.  "Please, follow me."  It replied before turning and leading the pair off down the corridor.   

A short while later, the trio arrived at the central command center of the headquarters, a larger circular dome shaped room with a number of other exits.  Like most of the rest of the facility, it was still undergoing significant renovations and work, a number of Praetorians and technicians working on installing various systems along the room's walls.  In the center of the room was a larger holographic system capable of displaying and tracking information for multiple units and locations.  Gathered around the holo display were four individuals, currently in conversation about the progress of renovations for the facility. 

One was a humanoid female, slightly over average height for a Lor or Terran, with long black and purple hair and dark orange skin.  She was dressed in a full length white bodysuit, with black diamond shapes surrounded by golden yellow trim on the shoulders, upper chest and back.   Her black boots and gloves also has the golden yellow trim, and a long black cape trailed behind her.  It was not hard to match her appearance to the reports about Paradigm that had circulated among the Coalition forces during the Communion incursion. 

Two of the other three were also female, one, dressed in a red jumpsuit, appeared to be Terran, with long black hair and a deep tan complexion.  The other woman, who also resembled a Terran, had long dark blonde hair and was dressed in a blue and white military style uniform.  The crisp and perfect uniform, as well as the woman's stern, commanding presence, left little doubt that she had at least once been in the military.  She had a jagged scar along one eye, and her left arm was a sleek, mechanical replacement. 

The fourth figure was dressed in familiar armor of a Star Knight, his armor bright green in its coloring.  The Star Knight's helmet was currently not deployed, reveling a Terran who was easily recognizable as Star Knight Kyle Steward, also known as Cavalier. 

"Excuse me Imperatrix," Seresk stated as he lead the two Lor forward into the room and towards the four gathered in the center, "may I introduce Commander E'tten of the Lor Star Navy, and Aya K'zan from the Allied Liaison/Intelligence Extra-National Service, here on behalf of the Lor Republic."

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Amara Val-Ren had been feeling a bit weary.  Although the Communion had been defeated, the immediate aftermath had not been lacking in opportunities for her and her fellow Praetorians to assist those who were still feeling the effects of the Communion incursion.  Even beyond the various efforts to offer assistance to those worlds in need, there was the decision to establish a more permanent headquarters for the group, so they could more easily continue to carry on such missions. 

Even with the substantial help of the Lor and other worlds, there had still be much to be done.  As the construction went on around her, Amara had been meeting with Elite, Sitara and Kyle Steward, the Star Knight Cavalier, who was the Star Knights' representative to the Praetorians, the four discussing the progress on the construction as well as establishing possible patrol routes through various sectors, to help assist the weakened Star Knights as the order worked to replenish its ranks. 

At the sound of Seresk's voice, the young Naram turned to regard the Lor officers, given a small nod in greeting.  "Greetings Commander E'tten, Aya K'zan.  I am Amara Val-Ren, also known as Paradigm, current Imperatrix of the Praetorians.  What is it I may do for you and the Republic?"

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Aya K'zan couldn't help but look around as she followed first Commander E'tten and then the reptilian Praetorian through the ship. She could see obvious pieces of Lor technology throughout the vessel, but most of it was of a type she was unfamiliar with. She wanted to stop and talk to one of the techs about how all the systems interfaced, but she was here to do a job.


Aya K'zan, dressed in a dark gold jumpsuit with the starburst of the Lor Republic over her breast, came to a halt at the side of E'tten. She had been briefed on what the Lor knew of the Praetorians; she recognized Elite and the one who was only called 'the Traveler' from those briefings, and any school child could recognize a Star Knight. She also knew roughly what the rank of Imperatrix meant, and so when she stepped forward she addressed the orange woman.


"Th' Lor Republic would request th' Praetorians' assistance with'a security matter," she said. "During th' war with th' Communion, we lost track of a number of prison transports. We assumed they were lost in th' black, but recently a few of 'em have turned up, running with their old gangs." She swept her gaze over the other assembled Praetorians and the Star Knight. "These people are Reavers, Black Holes, and Maw. Scum by definition, murderers by trade, monsters by inclination." She put her eyes on Paradigm again. "Th' Republic doesn't have th' forces at its disposal, yet, to go after them. However, if fights with th' Communion are any measure, th' Praetorians could do it without breaking a sweat."

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Amara focused on Aya as the Lor woman stepped forward to request the Praetorians' assistance.  Having been on the council of leaders for the Collation against the Communion, she had been able to read reports of some of the Lor officer's exploits during the conflict.  Not that a request from the Lor Republic required it be delivered by one with such distinguished service during the recent conflict. 

"We are certainly happy to provide what assistance we may to the Republic Officer K'zan."  Amara replied.  "Needless to say, in the past we have faced many such threats as these groups.  I trust you have information on the transports and the prisoners who were aboard?" 

"Yes Praetorian Val-Ren."  Commander E-tten replied, holding up a data stick.  "All the information is contained within, if you are ready for a briefing." 

"Before you start commander, let me gather the rest of the Praetorians."  Paradigm replied as she reached down and keyed a button on the counsel in front of her.  "This is Paradigm, all Praetorians please report to the command center."

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Sitara had been around long enough to have a healthy sense of caution about how organisation worked when cooperations came up. Normally they left a something's out, which could turn out to be vitally important later on when it was far too late to do anything about.

First she gave a traditional Lor greeting to the young agent, then again everyone was younger than her, she’d been practicing on updating her knowledge of Lor so it didn’t sound so archaic.

“I know the Lor Republic is still in chaos but you local law enforcement has always been extemporly. What’s so important, or dangerous, about these prisoners that you need the Praetorians help?”

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Tamahine glanced up as the call to assemble came in, but given that it wasn't a priority alert didn't drop everything in a panic.  His/her sandwich had only a few bites, left and he/she took one of them as he/she stood and cleared away the rest of the preparations.  He/she knew that the rest generally had a problem with consuming food that they claimed 'smelled bad', but in his/her opinion, any food that had additional food growing on it was simply a bonus, and the colour variations tended to enhance the aesthetic effect.  Mould was no less edible than processed things like bread, or cheese, or gaļa, and he/she had a difficult time understanding how other species had developed to the point of space travel with such...delicate sensibilities.  And bellies.


Sweeping the last scraps into the trash disposal -- he/she had found out some time ago that the others were most certainly not interested in any last bits being saved for their consumption -- Tamahine swallowed the last of the sandwich, nasal ridges flaring as he/she savoured the slimy texture of the meat, before departing for the command centre.  Triggering the comms built into the Phase Tech bracer, he/she reported in.

"Hūhunu reporting; on my way."

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While often understood to be a 'barbarian' by modern (or even ancient) standards, it was often forgotten that Kharag came from what was once one of the most advanced civilizations of his homeworld's ancient history. His home city had once been the center of the world or...at least the center of A world, at any rate. Layers upon layers of walls had suceeded themselves, always there to protect the ever-growing city. Beautiful stone temples, dedicated to the gods, had been erected in celebration to their wonders and those of civilization. What had not passed very well down into history is that Kharag himself had overseen most of these constructions, if not built them himself. He was the one who had chiseled those status out of their stone block, with only primitive tools and the patience of a being who never ages. With so many dead Praetorians, it was him who had the task of constructing their memorials.


Fifty blocks of stone had been brought on board, not enough to make a statue for everyone. Some would have to wait for later. Currently, Kharag was at his first statue. Using tools mostly identical to the ones he had used over two thousand years ago, he had begun carving the face of a Delaztri from memory when he found himself called.


Leaving behind his tools, Kharag headed out to the central room.

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This was the calm after the storm, and Vyrdnaya absolutely hated it. She hated having nothing to do, she hated having nothing to occupy her mind, because most of all, Vyrdnaya hated the voice in her head that reminded her of what she'd lost. Everyone's probably the same. she'd often force herself to think. You're not the only one lost her family, neither here amongst this group, nor in the entire world. And yet... those thoughts did nothing to alleviate her anxiety. Having dealt with the Communion did not help either, for that matter. That's why Vyrdnaya had thrown herself to work; restoring the lost Praetorian equipment and helping with the construction of the new Headquarters for the group.


Already an accomplished mechanic for the Delaztri military, even before the battle with the Communion 2'000 years ago transformed her into a Technomorph, Vyrdnaya took the helm of the designing process. And though her powers had transformed her body, she couldn't help but admit that they helped a lot in the handling and melding of the complex parts. As a matter of fact, transfiguring mechanical matter into whatever shape and function was necessary had grown to become a very intuitive process for Vyrdnaya, helped by the fact that the advanced Delaztri technology had become an intricate part of her.


She'd been working near non-stop for a Terran month now, doublechecking everything both to make sure it lasts, and also to make sure that she stays occupied, when Amara summoned the Praetorians at the command center. It sounded like something was up, and Vyrdnaya was more than a little thankful for that. Forgoing most of the doors, she flew right through the steel walls that seperated her from the command center, melding in and out of them in the process. As she did so, she passed by Kharag, and though she nodded at him, she sped up. After all, she'd made a bad habbit of avoiding the other Praetorians after the last Communion War.


"Lieutenant Commander Engin-" Vyrdnaya started, upon arriving in the Command Center where Amara, Aya, Kyle, and Sitara where, making the Delaztri military salute, before catching herself. "-... Mater Vyrdna, reporting for duty. You summoned us, Paradigm?"

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Dragonid knelt in an observation room, deep in thought. Stars in unfamiliar constellations stretched before him. He knew many of those stars harbored worlds of sentient beings. Sentient beings whose existence had been only narrowly saved. Finally, with the Communion defeated, for the second time, he had time to relax. Time to consider everything that had happened.


He knew virtually nothing of the galaxy when he first joined the Praetorians, fresh off his backwater planet. But he had come eager to learn. Now though, everything he had learned of the stars and their civilizations was ancient history. The empire, gone. His homeworld? Who knows? Nobody he had spoken with had heard of his people. Maybe some disaster had struck them. Maybe they had destroyed themselves. Maybe they remained stuck on Dragos, fighting amongst themselves for millennia.


Emerging from deep sleep in this new time, almost a new galaxy, to once again fight the Communion had been hard. To burn their antibodies to char, to see them stopped once again, at least for a time, was satisfying. But he looked out among the myriad stars before him, wondering what strange new worlds they held.


His thoughts were interrupted by Paradigm, summoning the Praetorians over the coms. The red-scaled reptillian warrior rose from his resting place, and made his way to the command center. "Praetorian Dragonid reporting."

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The danger had passed. Kyle thought he was going to go back to some degree of normality... despite all the things he had seen, and some of the things he'd done. But there was a different offing in the cards. He'd been called back to Citadel once all the cheering had died down - first to help stabilize some of the more fragile subnetworks of Mentor and to aid some of the new cadets in training. The Knights needed everyone they could get these days. And then there had come the job offer.


After years in the Cloud, he'd just wanted to get back to Earth. To walk among normal people, to plug himself back in the world, to see his family again. And that had worked... for a while. But in these times... there was so much of the galaxy that was still scarred by the Communion's assault. So many willing to take advantage of the chaos. So many leftover horrors. Earth would still be there... but there were so many other places that needed help. And he couldn't turn his back on them. 


"Praetorian Cavalier reporting," he said, "So. Where are we needed?"

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Moon-Moth with his relative lack of understanding technology had retreated into his quarters and quiet introspection, levitating a few inches off the metallic flooring of his room, trying to re-ascertain the control of his emotions and reorder his mind after his harrowing battles with the arch-foe; He was a Mystic, despite what some overinflated egos might think and extreme emotions were dangerous for him and anyone who might be around him at the time of an outburst or worse, A possession or Incursion on his mind.


Having set his Communicator to silent it is only after a few discreet flashes of the alert light to draw him fully from his naval gazing, opting to walk to the command centre rather than Teleport directly in or fly mostly because he'd been told how disconcerting it was for people when he just appeared in a room but also in part for the exercise. though he still moves with the up-most haste and atrives at the command centre shortly.


Though the loss of his fellows weighed upon him still he couldn't help but feel happier to see the latest member, The Star-knight Chevalier; He was rather fond of the idea behind them on its own, that he was friendly and now a Praetorian only added onto that; he makes a point to salute the room entire not giving a Gnortwoff about rank or seniority (safe for maybe a straighter back for the Imperatrix  Amara)  "Myothizar A'Lira Retorting!" he squeaks.

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Commander E'tten cleared his throat as he turned to regard Traveller at her question.  "Well, under ordinary circumstances, local law enforcement would be able to handle an escape of this many prisoners with some support from the Star Navy.  Unfortunately, our law enforcement forces suffered losses during the incursion as well and are still being brought back up to normal standards." 

"But there are additional circumstances surrounding one of the lost ships that make this a far more dangerous problem, as I will explain when the briefing begins." 

It did not take long for the Praetorians to gather in the large room, forming a circle around the holodisplay in the center of the room and those gathered around it.  "Praetorians," Paradigm began once the entire team was present, "may I introduce Commander E'tten and Aya K'zan here on behalf of the Lor Republic. The Republic has requested our assistance in a matter and Commander E’tten will be briefing us on the details."  

"Thank you Praetorian Val-Ren."  The commander stated as he looked about at the gathered Praetorians.  "As we were just explaining to your Imperatrix and her advisors, during the Communion incursion, several Republic planets were evacuated ahead of the Communion’s advance.  These evacuations included a number of prisons.  A handful of the transports carrying prisoners failed to reach their intended destinations, but the threat of the Communion did not allow for investigation into their fate and most were assumed lost to the void." 

"Recently, some of the prisoners aboard one of the transports have resurfaced, once again working with the criminal organizations they had previously affiliated with.  We now wish to try to track down more of the lost transports."  The Lor activated the holodisplay, images of a section of Republic space appearing in the center of the space above the display as smaller images of a number of transports appeared around the center image. 

"The situation is made more dangerous due to the presence of twelve individuals aboard one of the transports."  The commander continued as one of the transports displayed enlarged slightly.  "This is the Sar-lan, the transport that was carrying these twelve individuals as well as couple hundred additional prisoners from one of the Republics maximum security facilities.  Each of them possess extraordinary abilities, in some cases superior examples of traits characteristic of their species, or in others the result of some sort of unusual incident.  All were extremely difficult to capture in the initial instance, together they are a truly formidable force." 

The commander pressed a few keys on the holodisplay controls and an image of a female humanoid appeared among the other holoimages.  She vaguely resembled a Lor or Terran, with dark brown hair and a light complexion.  "This is Adiri, a Geox.  Like most of her species, she is very strong and durable, but is able to surround herself with rock like armor, her strength and durability increasing significantly.  She has proven able to shrug off turbolaser fire from Republic cruisers with little effect." 

Another figure appeared in another section of the area above the holodisplay, this one a male humanoid.  He had dark black hair and very thin, sharp features.  "This is Amikai, like most of his species, he is able to control localized weather conditions.  However his abilities are far more powerful, allowing him to generate powerful blasts of electricity, destructive windstorms, and other weather effects." 

A third figure was brought up by the Lor officer.  This one was a tall, wiry figure, appearing to stand nearly eight feet tall.  The figure appeared to be male, hairless with a light grey flesh tone.  Its facial features were rather square and angular, a small pair of sharp teeth jutting out of its mouth from the lower jaw.  A number of intricate designs appeared to be tattooed on its head and other parts of its body in red ink.  "This subject is Cor, a Gwahlt.  Like most of his race, he is tall, stronger than average, and very durable.  But in addition, he is able to generate psychokentic energy, which he has been known to use to form various melee weapons, making him even more dangerous in hand-to-hand combat, or to create barriers or walls to trap opponents." 

The next figure was a male humanoid as well, average height, with light blue skin, dressed in pants with a long robe-like coat that was open in the front leaving his bare chest exposed.  On the figures chest was a dark purple tattoo vaguely in the shape of an eye.  The subject had long blond hair and a moustache, with bright blue eyes.  "This Futianni is known as Pheydyn."  Commander E'tten stated.  "Like most of his race, he has psychic powers similar to a Lor Mentat.  However, he is considerably more powerful than most Mentats, with the ability to project powerful blasts of psychic energy, control the emotions of others or even directly seize control over their minds." 

Yet another figure appeared as the previously displayed figures shifted to make room for the newcomer.  This one was a tall, thin, insectoid figure, with four long thin arms and dark green and grey chitin covering its body.  "This is Procyus, a Drixxini.  Like most of his race, he is far more durable that he would appear.  He also is able to move at blinding speed, near achieving hypersonic velocity.  His incredible speed and multiple arms allow for him to deliver ferocious attacks in rapid succession." 

"The sixth subject on the list is Rux, a Mekirri, a race known for enhancing themselves with cybernetics."  The commander continued, as a new image appeared.  This one was short, vaguely feminine in form, but appeared almost completely robotic, with gold and black metal covering all visible parts of its body.  "She has the ability to create rifts in space through which she can teleport, is quite durable and can form plasma blades from her robotic hands." 

"This is Sai'x."  The commander stated as an image of a female humanoid came up.  She was of average height, with short white hair.  Her features were thin, and she had pointed ears.  Her skin was a dull black and her eyes were almost a glowing white.  A pair of black, hawklike wings extended from her back.  "In addition to being able to fly, she is able to generate powerful sonic blasts that are capable of shattering even some of the strongest composite metals." 

The next image was of a short, stocky humanoid with only three thick fingers and toes on his hands and feet.  "Here we have Santri, a Nai-Koni capable of generated a personal forcefield and blasts of energy which can break matter down on a subatomic level, thus disintegrating targets." 

Another male humanoid figure then appeared, this one average height, with light grey hair and generally Lor/Terran features.  Both of his arms were grey/silver metal, clearly robotic.  "This is Sullek, another Mekirri, although one with far less cybernetic enhancement than Rux.  Despite that, his cybernetic limbs make him far stronger and quicker when compared with the average Lor.  He is also an extremely well trained combatant, preferring melee weapons." 

The next image was one that was familiar to Corna, a reptilian humanoid with yellow and green scales and a long snake like tongue.   The Lor officer had encountered the reptilian criminal when he had been working with the Maw.  "This is Valris."  Commander E'tten stated.  "While able to move at impressive speeds, he is not nearly as fast as Procyus.  His bite is capable of causing paralysis." 

All of the original Praetorians recognized the race of the next figure to appear, a feline F'terrix with dark brown fur.  The image brought back memories of Raark, the senior Praetorian who had been one of those who had overseen their integration into the order and directed them on several of their earliest missions.  "This is Zadvian, like most of his race he is fast, agile and has incredibly sharp claws.  He also has enhanced senses of hearing and smell." 

The commander paused a moment before he continued, calling up the final image.  "And this brings us to our last subject.  X'madi."  The image was of a female humanoid, very attractive by Lor/Terran standards, with green hair and deep lavender eyes.  "A former Mentat, she is a powerful telekentic, and also a genius.  Given her superior intelligence and considerable charisma, we suspect she is likely the leader of the escapees."

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Vyrdnaya studied carefully each one of the criminals, as they were brought to view and described by the Lor Official. This was a lot of information to diggest, and more still to fully process. Each one of them on their own is certainly a cause for concern, and all of them working together... That was, of course, supposing that the criminals did all make it out alive. Which was certainly not beyond the realm of possibility. "Commander E'tten, if you'll allow me the inquiry. What were the crimes these escaped criminals had been convicted? Learning what they are and what they can do is important, and I mean no disrespect, but... learning who it would be we'll be dealing with is of equal importance, I think." Which was true enough; one would use a different attitude and mindset to approach a robber, than to approach a murderer. And there was also the possibility that some of those escaped may in fact be insane...

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Dragonid looked over the list of subjects with interest, trying to pick out features to remember each of them. All sounded dangerous as presented by the Lor Commander, but the Lor themselves did not look very imposing, the threat to warriors like the Praetorians might be far less.


"Where have these criminals been seen?" asked Dragonid. "Have they been limited to a single world or acting throughout a whole region? There must be... thousands of livable worlds out there to hide on. If we can not narrow things down this will be a very long search."

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Aya stood at parade rest in the briefing room, positioning herself behind Cavalier so she could watch the Star Knight's reaction. "The Lor don't lock sophonts up in maximum security prisons for stealin' some credits," she said. "You can assume that each of these people is a dangerously unbalanced personality." The faces of each criminal reappeared, sorting themselves into a slowly rotating circle. She pointed at Valris, her eyes following the reptile's. "This one, to take an example, took vacation on an orbital habitat of a couple hundred. When a supply ship made dock an' no one answered, they investigated. In a couple weeks, Valris had paralyzed each inhabitant, strung them up, an' started... cutting them." She shook her head, tamping down the fury she was feeling. "These are monsters. Don't worry about playing nice with them."

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"Officer K'zan is correct Praetorian.  Each of these particular criminals are among the worst the Republic has had in custody."  Commander E'tten stated in response to Mater Vyrdna's question.  "We could spend the better part of a standard rotation detailing the various crimes these particular twelve criminals are responsible for.  We of course have all that information available for you to review." 

The Lor officer then turned to Dragonid as he posed his questions.  "There have been no known reports of any of these twelve, or the other prisoners aboard their transport Praetorian.  However, we do have some information which can help to at least narrow the initial search." 

The sector of space that had been sitting in the center of the holodisplay enlarged slightly, as the images of the twelve criminals reduced slightly in size and dropped down a bit lower to provide an unobstructed view of the star chart.  A red dot appeared in the image, toward the center of the map.  "This is the last known location of the Sar-lan before its identification beacon went offline.  Needless to say, disabling that beacon would have been a simple matter for X'madi if she and the others had seized control of the vessel." 

Another dot appeared toward an outer edge of the map, this one green in color.  "This is a suspected sighting of the Sar-lan made by a long range scoutship one standard rotation ago.  It is toward one of the outer edges of the Republic bordering the contested space that sits between the Republic, the Unity and what remains of the Khanate.  The nearest systems contain a small number of habitable worlds, with only one currently colonized by the Republic.  There are also two deep space mining facilities in asteroid belts in the region."

Edited by Thevshi
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"So, I see that the stars have once again not dissapointed me." Said a figure who had kept rather quiet during the meeting, surprisingly: Kharag. Currently most of his body was wrapped in the simple clothe he used for travel, with a hood pulled over head. Only his hands and feet were poking out, exposing calloused blue-green skin.

"Tell me; which one of them is the most dangerous in single combat?"

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Commander E'tten turned to regard Kharag for a brief moment before he replied.  "The answer to that rather depends on how you define 'most dangerous' Praetorian.  If you are meaning in terms of raw power, then I believe it would be Adiri, with Cor likely next."  The Lor officer replied, bringing the images of the two criminals back around toward the side Kharag was standing on.  "If you are referring to skill and finesse, then Sullek and Procyus are rather closely matched, with Rux not far behind."  He then added, bringing the images of those three individuals around as well.  "Of course, these answers assume you are inquiring about melee combatants." 

"Has there been any distress calls from either the colony or mining facilities in the sector?"  Seresk asked. 

"No."  The commander responded, pausing a moment before adding, "but the long range comm relays in this region suffered heavy damage during the incursion, so communications with much of the sector has been disrupted."

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Like the other gathered Praetorians, Paradigm had followed the briefing intently, studying the twelve criminals closely as they were presented by Commander E'tten.  When the primary briefing ended and various Praetorians began asking questions, the Naram continued to follow the discussions, while leaning off to one side for a quiet conversation with Elite.   

She then began to select the Praetorians who would be part of this mission team, pressing keys on the console in front of her to organize the mission team in the computer system.  While the number of opposition they could face easily warranted taking the entire team, Paradigm did not want to commit all of them to this mission, particularly if something were to arise that could require some of their assistance while they were gone. 

As Kharag received an answer to his question, the Naram spoke up as well.  "Before we start trying to determine who we might wish to face in personal combat Kharag, let us not forget that they might not be so accommodating as to accept any such challenge.  I rather expect that the majority of these individuals will use whatever advantages they can obtain in facing us."

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Kyle shook his head. He'd run into some dirty bastards in his time as a freelancer, and as much as he wished these guys stood out amongst the herd, they just seemed to blend into the multitudes of horrible people. Still, it was a dark enough universe in some corners, and he didn't like seeing people like this take advantage of that darkness. You'd think a gigantic threat to everything we know would convince some people to take a break from being assholes. But no, we can't have that, can we?


"All right, we know what they can do, and - in horrifying detail, in some cases - what they did. Who do they know? There's a chance these guys didn't just vanish into the darkness all on their own. Any of them got contacts in the underworld? Or did they eat those, too?" 

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"This metal lor, the ringleader Zee-Baddy" He clarifies in case his poor grasp of gal-standard was failing him again "They are a mind-speaker? A Subverter of thoughts and usurper of will, not just a mover of matter?" having now recovered from the utter disgust at the mention of the one who was eating people and resumed its train of thought upon hearing about the ring leader and the resulting idea  "I believes i mights be able to armour and hide a mind with my magic given sufficient times" he offers "It is a old spell from my home-world from long before the migration, before even tae'lun's living memory." he boasts a little bit.


"I woulds be pleasured to provide it as a resource for whomever we choose to send after her or volunteers myselfs for such." attention shifting towards the Imperatrix as he speaks, having always held her in high regards and eager to show he did have some limited understanding of the command structure he was no doubt a part of.


In his heart of hearts he knew that many of his brothers and sisters in the Praetorians did not believe what he did was actually magic, just a highly ritualistic form of what had been designated "Sub-space manipulation" by the great minds of the Delzatri and tolerated under the label of mysticism for the benefits it had brought to the empire, not least of which the intimidation factor against the cultures that did hold such things as fact; much as his own poor grasp of technology and decorum had been overlooked upon his application to the praetorians. "It may be less effective in defending a mind that...doubts."

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Vyrdnaya simply shook her head. "Fine, then. We will go and capture those monstrous criminals." She responded with some irritation in her voice. "Whom, I need to point out, only managed to escape because your precious Lor found it prudent to spare the manpower and resources and evacuate them from their rightful prisons." Folding her arms, she continued. "Nevertheless, we WILL indeed need to review every single piece of information, the better to be prepared against them. Paradigm speaks the truth; these criminals are wont to use each and every advantage they can get, should they come face to face with us. No reason why we shouldn't return the favor." And truth be told, Vyrdnaya did not feel comfortable, going in blind. Sure, the Lor did inform the Praetorians who they'd be dealing with, but for a Rookie like her, extensive preperation could very well mean the difference between life and death. At least, that's how she felt.

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Commander E'tten turned toward Cavalier as he asked his questions.  "Many of them do have significant contacts and acquaintances within the underworld and beyond Star Knight.  X'madi in particular.  We have included data on all known associates and contacts, but I am afraid that information is not particularly up to date in terms of which ones are still living." 

The Lor officer then turned toward Moon Moth as he spoke up, asking about X'madi and mentioning an old spell he knew.  It was clear the Lor was something of a skeptic when it came to magic, but he did his best to remain neutral.  "No Praetorian, X'madi does not possess any telepathic abilities or any other ability to directly attack a beings' mind.  However, such a countermeasure would indeed be useful in dealing with Pheydyn, who does have such powers." 

When Mater Vyrdnaya spoke again, the commander stiffened slightly, turning back toward the Praetorian.  "It was either evacuate them or leave them where they were and allow them to fall into the Communion's possession.  I am sure Praetorian Val-Ren can tell you what a fearsome opponent the cyber-enhanced Star Khan was, these twelve could have provided even more capable combatants to the Communion."  The Lor officer paused a moment before adding, "of course, another option would have been to have executed them all, but as desperate as things were, we were not yet ready to sacrifice ideals that are at the core of our Republic.  We are providing all information we have on these individuals Praetorian, we would not ask you pursue them without as much knowledge on them as we can give."

Edited by Thevshi
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Paradigm gave a small silent sigh as Vyrdnaya allowed some irritation to creep into her voice as she questioned the decision to move the escapees from where they had been confined.  While the Naram could somewhat understand the frustration, but she also was concerned about causing unnecessary tension with the galactic power that had thus far been most supportive of the Praetorians establishing themselves as protectors and guardians in the region. 

"Hindsight often allows one to find flaws in most any decision made.  The fact is these individuals have escaped and represent a clear threat.  Stopping threats such as these is what we do best. "  She stated, cutting into the dialogue.  "Mater Vyrdnaya, Traveller, unless you have any further questions for the commander or Officer K'zan, please prep the Devotion for departure." 

She then turned to regard Moon Moth.  Although she did not fully understand his abilities, she had long ago learned to trust them.  "It sounds as if we will have a need for such a spell Moon Moth, make whatever preparations you feel you need."

The Naram then turned to regard the assembled Praetorians as a whole.  "I will be leading a team of just over half our members to pursue these criminals.  Elite will remain in command of those remaining in reserve, to continue work on our new headquarters or to respond to any additional situations which might arise." 

"Praetorian Val-Ren," Commander E'tten stated, "the Republic would request that Officer K'zan be allowed to accompany your team to assist in the recapture of these criminals.  As Praetorian Vyrdnaya has indicated, the Republic does have ultimate responsibility for their escape, and we would provide what assistance we can." 

Paradigm turned to regard Aya, once again recalling the reports she had seen that had mentioned the Lor officer.  "Of course, we welcome your presence Officer K'zan."

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"Understood, Imperiatrix." Vyrdnaya nodded emphatically. "Forgive me if I spoke out of line." The reasoning the Lor official gave was certainly sound, though it still bothered Vyrdnaya. Nevertheless, she had her orders, and that was that. "If you'll excuse me." Leaving as she came, Vyrdnaya's body seamlessly melded with the mechanical floor, before completely vanishing. Rematerialising outside the room, she flew towards the Devotion, without waiting for Sitara to follow.


The Devotion. The ship which once housed her, after a fashion, for nearly two thousand years. Though frozen in stasis during that period, when the ship came back online, and she regained consiousness after the long sleep, Vyrdnaya had found herself trapped inside the ship's machinery, a digital existance perceiving time in the speed of electrons being transferred through the cablework. What had been a couple of months for the rest, for her was an agonizing hell of hundreds of years, a hell that saw her reliving her memories, the peaceful ones allong with the painful ones. Now, though, that she had regained a body, and a consciousness aligned with the passage of time for most living beings, she'd find that she shared a... peculiar connection with the ship. In fact, staying at the Devotion, she felt the most at home.


And throught these last few months, she'd come to know the spaceship better than ever, inside-out. She immediately melded with the Devotion, traversing the spaceship until she reached the control panels in the engine room, and started running diagnostics.

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