Dozens Of High Guard Ships Lost - Trouble Brewing On Praelor Front?Following the withdrawal of two fleets from their theatres in Praelor space, it has been reported that the remaining fleets have been taking a severe pounding by an apparently reinvigorated Praelor force. Just yesterday, over two dozen High Guard ships, including at least one battlecruiser, the "Tobermoon", were reported lost in a massive assault by Praelor forces. Many of these ships' crews were also wounded in what would seem to be boarding attempts by the Praelor; a new tactic which has not been considered effective in the past. It is unknown what has changed, and High Guard officials are keeping their lips sealed about the exact reason the Praelor have suddenly become more effective against High Guard ships.
"There is no reason to believe that that anything is wrong," said a High Guard spokesperson at a press conference last night. "We will have the CTN conflict handled by next week, and then we can resume our war with the Praelor. This is just a minor hiccup." However, some High Guard pilots are reporting otherwise.
"I don't know what's going on out there. High Guard is classifying everything as 'need-to-know', so none of us know what's going on out there. I don't even think those at the top are able to grasp the whole situation because of all this red tape," said a High Guard engineer, hospitalized for a time in the battle with Praelor forces yesterday. He has since taken convalescent leave from the High Guard navy to recover. "All I can tell you is that things were...messed up out there. I don't know what I can tell you. There's something big happening in Praelor space, and I don't think it's just Praelor out there. Some of the ships that attacked us were of classifications that none of us had ever seen before."
The engineer's claims are backed up by the new mode of attack by Praelor forces. While previously, skirmishes between High Guard personnel and Praelor ground troops have been uncommon but expected, it would appear that this has become an almost exclusive tactic in the 1st Fleet's engagement space. Reports from surviving personnel indicate that these are no regular Praelor; their ships are often oversized, twisted variants of previously identified Praelor vessels, while the Praelor themselves are much larger than regular Praelor and have a distinctive red carapace as opposed to the usual dull olive colour. High Guard Command has refused to corroborate these rumours.
"What you have to understand is that many of these pilots have been subjected to severe emotional trauma. Some crewmen have died in particularly gruesome ways; this is going to play hell with memories and they're going to demonize the Praelor into being more dangerous than they really are. Also, secondhand accounts are flying about everywhere in the mess hall, so obviously people are going to get fact mixed up with fiction," explained a spokesman. He declined further comment on the possibility of 'new Praelor'.
It is reported that the 'mutant Praelor vessels' mentioned in many accounts were capable of docking with human ships; how this is possible is unknown, possibly representing a fusion of human and Praelor technology. High Guard spokespersons were also quick to deny this possibility, but no other explanation is given for how the Praelor were able to board High Guard vessels in the first place. According to escape pod logs, those attacked by boarding Praelor were sometimes burnt, as is the only previously seen form of attack from Praelor ground troops, but severe mutilation is present on some crewmen and bodies which does not correspond to any known Praelor offensive strategies. It is reported in some accounts that the large, red Praelor had incredibly sharp claws on their limbs which were capable of dismembering limbs with a single stroke. Others still report that in the place of acid glands, the larger Praelor had 'maws full of razor-sharp teeth, like nothing I've ever seen'. And at least one account has the Praelor being capable of breathing 'some kind of flammable gas' that spontaneously ignited, meaning that gouts of flame were spat from their heads at helpless crewmen. How much of this is true remains to be seen, but one thing is clear; there's something brewing in Praelor space, and it may be the likes of which nobody has ever seen before.
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