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become an interestellar legend of their own, their honesty and objectivity heralded on hundreds of worlds. If a Ranger was called in to arbitrate a dispute, his or her decision was utterly unimpeachable. And when force was needed to resolve a dispute, the Rangers were a feared power. But they were invoked only when absolutely necessary to preserve life, never for political or personal gain.

"I guess it was worth it after all," Marcus thought, but found himself distant from it all, feeling like a reverse historian; he saw consequences that proceeded from evens he knew, but he had little personal involvement with them.

"Everyone I knew is dead. So where am I supposed to fit in with all this?" He supposed he could rejoin the Rangers, catch up with all the latest training, but it just wouldn't be the same. When he had first joined up, it was a novelty, the revival of an ancient tradition for the purpose of fighting an impossible war. Now it had become status quo, had become everyday. The great war was long over, it was ancient history.

As was he, Marcus ruefully decided.

After several hours, his wanderings took him to Memorial Park, where the bodies of heroes, dignitaries, Rangers, and former Alliance presidents (at least those who hadn't mysteriously vanished) had been interred.

"Yeah, like this was an accident," he thought. He checked the directory and found what he knew he had been searching for, even though he had not acknowledged it - even to himself.

Susan Ivanova's memorial rose up before him in a tower of crystal and stone whose layers wove together in delicate patterns that caught the cool white light of an ordinary day and broke it into a million brightly colored pieces. How utterly appropriate a metaphor, he said to himself.

He entered the memorial,
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