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Calculating the Abyss (IC)

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Kestevan 79

Coalition Victory Station

Legion Day


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Tra’Nor should have been celebrating with all the other Lor on the station, today was when they celebrated all the achievements of the Lor military and even though the station wasn’t part of the Republic many of the establishments allowed those like her to eat and drink for free. On New Lor-Van the finest ships of the fleet would fill the skies and the finest legion would march to be cheered by the gathered Lor.


But Tra’Nor didn’t feel that they really had anything to celebrate, since the fall of Lor-Var during the Communion War the Republic hadn’t been as strong as it once was, the different fleet off fighting to stabilize the Republic from threats outside. Maybe it was the old tales her clone mother use to tell but she felt that the Republic need larger than life heroes and whilst the Republic produced many of her own, like the Grand Nauarchus Frankan, but she felt that the almost mythic Praetorians fitted the bill rather well.


So this Legion Day she had volunteered to sit on monitor duty in the CoVic’s Praetorian base bathed in the blue light of the many displays seeing the known galaxy monitored, though nothing apparently was happening today. Apparently today was going to be quiet today, the rest of the universe was taking the day off as well.

With the Praetorian's she should have know better.

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It was generally expected, and especially in this new age, that the Praetorian's could wonder the universe and gather information and general reconnect with everything they missed. And Sitara had taken advantage of this having always having a bit of a wanderlust, being substantially older than her fellow Praetorian's, but she was happily returning to the fold and she was very much on a mission. She carried her little Asa, who despite her gray skin and red copper hair bore a striking resemblance to Sitara herself, who was bewildered by the sights and sounds of the station having lived her short life on an isolated farm. Sitara would have liked to have found her daughter somewhere else to be right now, but the time to act was short.


She strode into the Monitor Room surprising poor Tra’Nor who almost spilled her hot drink in surprise.


“Sorry to surprise you like this, I guess that you were expecting a quiet shift, but I have a led that can’t wait. What Praetorian's do we have on call at the station?”

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It was a quiet day. Legion Day meant a lot to the various Lor of the Galaxy, for a good reason. They celebrated their finest warriors, their soldiers protecting them day in and out. And while Kresh Melek could get behind that idea, she did not have much reason to celebrate. Or to join in with the celebration. This was about the Lor, not about anybody else. She would leave it to them. Besides, all this celebration only meant that there was an increased chance of something bad happening.


And that was when those innocent bystanders needed a shield, somebody to protect them. That was when Barrier would do her job. Perhaps she would have been better off patrolling the streets, dealing with any potential trouble before it would become an actual problem. But getting through the streets wouldn’t be easy. So instead, she had settled down in the Monitor Room, to help Tra’Nor with whatever issues would most certainly come up.


So far, so good. Nothing had happened yet, and Barrier had taken the time to once more polish her armor, currently working on her bracers, as her fellow Praetorian walked in. Barrier had not seen Sitara in some time, so there was some surprise on her part too. Not that there was any way to tell, with both her helmet and her neutral stance.


“It is a quiet shift, yes. Some of our allies are out investigating an issue with pirates, while some are otherwise occupied off-world. But I believe I am not the only one currently on the station, yes?”

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"Hyperslice to Monitor, Hyperslice to Monitor"


Serenely, the words repeated into a close and stifling apartment, festooned with clothes, pieces of furniture and some complicated apparati that looked much less organized than if they'd just been introduced to a tornado.


"Sssssbuh?" From out of a tangle of coils and limbs piled onto a bed two slitted eyes emerged, looking blearily at the slim commlet fallen under a table. After the message repeated a few more times, the eyes widened, and suddenly the still, dark room became a thrashing hive of activity as the hissing voice barked "Sssame time nexsst week! Out! Out!" Lending authority to the words were powerful and precise blows of brawny arms and a darting tail, which all combined soon sent the other occupants slithering out and into the halls, grabbing what they could from the wreckage while more than half-asleep.


Barely taking pause to catch her breath, Skirris Sandwinder, heir of the Silver Shadow muscled on her sleek white starsuit over her golden scales, closed her eyes and flung herself where she needed to be.


Landing on a chair in an undignified heap, the Hassan managed a vague salute "Presssent! Urrrgh, one...one moment..." Slithering onto the table she lay at full length, her head and tail tip brushing the floor as she struggled to regain equilibrium within. The pouding headache was no fun either.

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Sitara had sat her tot on the edge of the holotable and was playing with a small ball of fluff that the child called ribble. When the other were ready Sitara put the fur ball down and fired up the Holotable, Ribble managed to crawl a short distance before being snatched up by the child. The table showed a variety of star on the edge of Lor Republic, she manipulated the controls until a single system, the Ersi system, was up on the display.


“A few hours ago a Lor cruiser, the Indomitable, suffered a warp failure and ended up being captured by pirates. She only managed to get off a short range distress signal before being jammed and with the Lor forces being distracted with the celebrations it will be awhile before it’s missed.”


She zoomed into a large gas giant until it showed the Indomitable in orbit of the planet. It was obviously of Lor design but it had a blunter more angular design compared to the beautiful curved design they normally designed.

“Obviously we’re going to rescue the crew from the pirates, but something unusual is going on with the Lor Navy out near the frontier and I want to find out what. So we're also going to steal their data files...”

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As the call to Hyperslice went out, Barrier finished with her bracers. One click, and they were folded around her arms again, looking as shiny as the rest of her armor. She took her shield from next to her, then stood up, having sat on the ground so far. Casually, she walked over to the holotable. She wasn’t sure just what she thought of their new ally, they’d only talked shortly once.  


“Nice of you to join us, Hyperslice. I hope we didn’t interrupt.”


As she arrived there, she stored her shield on her back, then began to look at what it showed. The ship was a bit strange, not the average military design. Somehow, that explained a part of why this was going to be a data-steal. The mission setup itself seemed to be as average as it got. Warp failures weren’t exactly uncommon. Except that on a day like this, it would take much longer for anybody to respond, these pirates were smart.


“Sounds like a mostly average mission then. I am just wondering, what is happening with their fleet? What are your suspicions? And is the somewhat unusual design of this ship involved in that?”

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"No! No interruptionsss!" Skirris assured Barrier quickly, squirming on her perch and thanking her ancestors for the head-concealing helmet on her suit.


Twisting and rising to get a better view, Hyperslice kept still as she could during the missions summary. The plight of the Indomitable's crew was something she had seen often during the Incursion War, and the memory of her frantic work to get the crews of shuttles, star-jumpers and other small craft stranded by the breakdown od galactic infrastructure made the mention of espionage a lot less appealing than it would have been.


Sri Barrier's question got her back to reality.


"Grand Nauarchusss Frankan hasss been ssswapping out the old Ssstar Navy ssshipsss with her own desssignsss, Mother-Queen sssaysss Frankan wantsss to be like the old Praetorsss of the Empire." 


To Sri Traveler she added "Sssurely we can jussst asssk the crew? They have nothing to fear from usss."

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  • 3 weeks later...

“That’s the problem we don’t know anything about what any of the Nauarchus’s have planning out that far from New Lor-Van. Whether they think they could run things better, or if it’s just normal kind of grumbling you get in any kind of military.” Sitara had heard the arguments many time before, though some did end in actual coups


“Problem is the Lor see us as a wild card element, as we have no connects or loyalty to the Republic or there military. They know if anything happens we’ll choose sides depending on what’s best for this area of space. Besides I managed to upset the Grand Nauarchus on a mission so I’m probably not there favourite person to share things with, cost me a pair of really good boots on that one...”


She picked up the little Asa and held her in one hand and looked at the other two Praetorians.

“I think it best that the Imperatix not know about this, if it goes badly I’m a rogue element and I go back to my farm with Asa here. So obviously I’m asking only for volunteers, I’d understand if you’d want to sit this one out.”

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Barrier took in all the information, quietly processing it all. She didn’t move a single muscle, and thanks to her helmet, nobody could tell if she was in fact doing anything whatsoever. Inside her mind, she was considering the options. She’d not concerned herself with the contemporary politics too much so far. She managed to travel to most places just fine, and if she couldn’t, there usually was somebody who got her there.


And while as a Praetorian it certainly was part of her job, she concerned herself more with the hands-on part of the job. Whatever was happening, she could hardly just stay and avoid it. What Sitara had said was true. The Praetorians were an independent force. And perhaps, there was some personal issue between her and the Lor? It would explain some things.


Then again, Barrier wasn’t exactly a beacon of loyalty herself at the moment, with some of the more recent events. This could go wrong, if it was revealed she was involved. Who would challenge her? It was worth the risk, if just for the kidnapped forces.


“While I do not agree with the methods, there are people in danger here. That is my only concern. Whatever else may happen while we are on the ship I do not have to know about. “

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"Asss iff you needed to asssk." Skirrirs' tail twitched indignantly "The Imperatrixss will be pleasssed at our victory and what infformation we get can only help usss. To sssay nothing of how the crew of that ssship need ressscuing. Let usss away at once!" 


Sliding off of her perch and lunging onto the table, Hyperslice formed a neat upright circle by arching backwards and joining her tail tip with her helmet's visor. Almost at once she began to glow with a silvery light, a faint spacial distortion glimmering in the ring of her body. 


"Sssay the word, Sssri Traveler, and we're off to Hyperssspace!"

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GM Post


Tra’Nor looked around for a few seconds before she twigged to what was going on, after all she was in control and certain things should actually be logged. She didn’t answer at first but instead manipulated the controls of the holo-display.


The display shifted to show the bulk of the gas giant that the ship was in orbit off, with a region between the two being highlighted.


“If you drop out of hyperspace here the radiation will hide you from whatever sensors the pirates have. I wouldn’t recommend that you stay there to long though.” she smiled at the little group of Praetorians “Don’t worry we’re having a few systems issue right now, strangely none of this has been recorded.”

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  • 4 weeks later...

With a grace uncommon even to the serpents of Hassaan, Skirris uncurled, describing a spiral that opened a shimmering, flashing gate into the silver darkness of hyperspace, looming hulks, darting ships and the worlds beyond distantly visible. 


With her tail spun into a loose corkscrew to hold open the gulf of dimensions, Hyperslice motioned to the others to go through "Thisss will not be forgotten. We will count thisss debt high, Sssri Tra'Nor, I'll give you the number of a very talented Grue I've met in Bricktown."


Jerking her head at Barrier, she hissed "Ssslide in, it'sss sssafe! I'll get usss out at the right plasssce, thisss time anyway."

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Sitara gave a little smile, and inwardly a little smile of relief, some of the Praetorians had considered the law the most important things. She’d seen enough conflicts that she knew that sometime you needed to circumvent the rules to save people. It was a little sad that most of those Praetorians had been lost to time, and not all because of such attitudes. And she had to admit whilst she’d had a few run in with the Lor navy she generally wanted to help those people.


“Thank you all! And don’t worry the main focus here is saving the Lor, anything else is secondary, not that I have to remind you of that.” she paused to allow this to sink in, she might not volunteer but she knew how to lead sophonts “I have a small craft, the PravaasaH, ready to go right now. She’s not as good as the Praetorian craft but she got it where it counts. Oh and one more thing Tra’Nor...”


She scooped up the little grey skinned girl and deposited her in the Lor’s arms


“I need you to baby sit for a few hours, don’t worry she’s fairly well behaved and can only lift a couple of tons. It’s almost Asa’s nap time anyway.” she gently gave the girl a tap on the nose making Asa give a tinkling laugh


“Do you need to gather any equipment or our we ready to go?”


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“Ready to leave immediately. I have all equipment I require on me at the moment, anything else would merely be additional cargo. And not necessary, unless this turns out to take upwards of a week. Which is doubtful, probably for the best. “


It was one of the things that Kresh had learned early, and always used when possible. Carry your equipment and only the absolute necessities. Of course, for Lyankans, that was very little. It meant that she was ready, at almost all times. And it had saved countless lives before.


She was currently not active on the station, so there were no obligations of any sorts to tie her down either. She looked around the room, then towards her two colleagues. “Lead the way and I will follow.”

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GM Post


Ersi IV was a rather striking Gas Giant which due to some unique elements was a range of bright purple bands and massive enough to be almost a star in it’s own right. Apart from that it was an unremarkable systems that no one really cared much for, making it perfect for less reputable types to hide out, the whole systems wasn’t even fully charted by any of the interstellar powers. It dwarfed the Indomitable, which was not a small ship the slightest, and the ship grey-white hull stood out against the planet's vivid purples. Occasionally even the thin green of the ship's shield could be seen when it caught a particular burst of radiation from the planet's massive magnetosphere.


With a little burst of energy the PravaasaH dropped close into the planet's orbit, Sitara wasn’t the best pilot in the Praetorians but she was still skilled, and she gotten to know the battered little ship pretty well over the last few weeks.

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The flight wasn’t too long, and comfortable enough. Kresh didn’t have too much an opinion on what was happening, beyond the fact she was about to bail out people from pirates. Everything else was for the others to concern herself with. Throughout the flight, she mainly prepared herself, made sure her armor hadn’t suddenly gotten any weakpoints, and made sure her shield was fully functional.


When the ship dropped into orbit, Barrier took a closer look at the area. It was, as had been said, unremarkable. These kinds of planets, and even systems, existed in many places. Still, that hardly made this operation easier. Enemy backup was likely, so it would have to be quick. And there still was the issue of getting close to the ship. Barrier could serve as a one-person boarding crew, but what about the other two?


Then again, with what little she’d heard of Hyperslice, perhaps there was no need to worry about all those details.


“What is our plan of approach, then?”

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  • 1 month later...

"I ssslice in and sssmasssh them!" Skirris' armored tail lashed out at a wall for emphasis, the rest of her stayed coiled around an exposed bit of piping on the ceiling. Without a helmet the cocky set of her eyes and her bared fangs were impossible to miss, something Barrier saw plenty of times before other hasaani kids got their heads kicked through a wall by someone the lizard hadn't taken seriously. When that kid could go across solar systems on a whim the baffling anecdote in her file, something about building of a power-sink on her homeworld, made a little more sense.


"The piratesss have nothing I can't hhhandle, oncssse they're beaten I can get whatever data you need, releassse the crew and ssslice back to the PravaasssaH."


The serpentine scrapper shrugged her square shoulders "Really, I don't sssee why you need more than me, Sssri Traveler. Sssri Barrier would take too long and can't infffiltrate the Indomitable like I can." Hyperslice glanced sideways at the zultasian "What was your plan, SsriTraveler?"

Edited by Ari
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“Because the Praetorians value, well I value, the ability to improvise when trouble starts. In my very long life I've found few plans that survive meeting the opponents." her tone was pretty matter of fact with her usual tone of bemusement “Besides I always like someone to watch my back and that we can share stories with after the fact"


As she spoke she gently nudged the little ship towards the larger Lor craft, carefully trying not to bring the PravaasaH to the Indomitable's attention.


“First we need to find out where the hostages are being held. See if you can find me a sensor suite, or at least get me a tight beam link to Tra'Nor."

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  • 4 weeks later...


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The sensor of the little ship rapidly made a scan of the much larger ship, despite its rather battered appearance the ship obviously was more powerful than initially appeared.


The scan showed that the majority of the life signs on the ship were concentrated on a massive landing bay that dominated the front part of the ship. Apparently, the pirates were holding the crew in the large open space as they waited for something. Maybe they had a ship of their own on there the way?


And the ships computer core, networking centers were located in almost the opposite direction to the hostages.

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  • 2 weeks later...

"Alright!" Hyperslice's tail lashed nervously back and forth as she peered into the monitor "Plan A: I will jump into the ssship, carrying Barrier, and together we will fffree the crew and defffeat what piratesss are in that room. Then I will jump to the computer core and obtain what we ssseek. With Sssri Barrier'sss asssissstance the crew ssshould have no diffficulty repelling the piratesss and retaking their vesssel."


Slithering around to face the other two Praetorians, Skirris bobbed back and forth and side to side as she worked out the jitters that had plagued her since they'd come within sensor-range of their quarry. Her plan largely revolved around Barrier doing most of the work, since Skirris knew she couldn't possibly keep a secret like "we're here to spy on you" from the people they hoped to rescue.


"I can jump usss there anytime we wisssh," Hyperslice added reassuringly, with a dismissive flick of an armored hand "there isss nothing here we cannot handle!"

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Barrier took a good, long look at the scan’s results. She liked them, as much as she could like a hostage situation, that was. Everything in a central location, save for most likely a straggler or two. Things like this made her job so much easier. It would still be a challenge, of course. But it meant that protecting everybody was easier.


“I feel that plan should work. I may need some assistance at first, as I cannot tell the exact situation from just this scan. If the crew are tied up, it will be more difficult to arm them. Similarly, if the pirates are bunched up, I may not be able to take them all on at once, and would appreciate a distraction. “


She took a few steps backwards, and took a final look at her shield’s edges, now carrying it on her arm. “But barring an objection by you, Traveller, I am ready to put the plan into motion. Just give the signal. “

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  • 3 weeks later...

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The landing bay was a cavernous space barebone with none of the sleek lines and brights colors of most Lor ships. Framed by the blue glow of the planet though the launch bay's forcefield was a small group of Lor, apparently, the ships was currently run by a skeleton crew during its shakedown. Guarding them was a ragtag crew of aliens pirates, many from the nearby Khanate, their attention wasn't on the Lor at the moment their attention was on Sitara who had done something she'd called unexpected.


Tucked behind one of the boxy shuttles they'd found a good vantage point to watch the pirates, and access the ship's computer to gather the necessary data. Then she decided that she'd distract the pirates so the others could come up with a plan to rescue the Lor prisoners.

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