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Anatomy of a Hydralisk
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Created and written by the immortal deadfast
I shifted uncomfortably in my hiding place behind a couple stacked up crates. Around me, a few salvaged dropships and wraiths gleamed in the dull light. The Protoss had attacked our army so suddenly-we didn’t have time to react. The zerg close by were keeping the bulk of our forces occupied when the boys in blue descended and incinerated most of the planet. Survivors were found: most fought and died but a few unlucky souls had been captured and taken prisoner along with all remaining warships and aircraft. As far as I could guess, the Protoss were running low on metals and labor force, so they decided to borrow some from their human neighbors. I had avoided capture by hiding in my ship, but never expected the bastard’s to salvage the aircraft. I managed to get out of my ship undetected but I suppose the Protoss had suspected something and sent a dragoon to guard the cargo hold.
     And so there it stood, still posted by the door he had come through, scanning the hold for hostile’s. If I could get back on my ship and power up the weapon systems, I could blast a hole in the hull and fly home, but the dragoon guard wouldn't like that very much. I am just your average ghost-I couldn't take him out with just my canister rifle, but a lockdown would slow him down a little. I loaded my last lockdown round into my canister rifle with a click. The dragoon heard it and started wading in closer to me. I decided it was now or never and dove out from my hiding place, firing the lockdown round in mid-air. It flew, spiraling in an arc, across the room to smash into the dragoon. Electrical energy covered it and shorted its electronic circuits, stopping it in mid-step. I got up and walked closer to it, sensing the mutilated zealot inside the cold shell struggling with the psionic controls, calling for backup. I laughed triumphantly and started to run back to my ship, but I smashed flat into a invisible wall and fell over on my back. "Sonafa.." I said, slowly sitting up. In front of me I could vaguely sense a being staring down at me. Oh great, a Dark Templar. I began to squirm away and run but the floor fell away from my swinging feet as the 9-foot being effortlessly lifted me off the ground. I struggled and flailed my legs in the air but the crackling energy of a modified psionic blade at my throat stopped my resistance. "What are you going to do with me?" I asked the thin air that held me prisoner. He responded by clubbing me in the back of my head with a solid fist, knocking me out cold. The last thing I remember was being carried through the cargo hold door like dirty laundry.
When I came to, I was chained to the wall by my wrists in a dingy little cell. I sighed and looked around: a square room with a ten foot ceiling, one door, two lights-one broken leaving half of the room in shadow. I could sense another being in the room with me-not human, but still intelligent. I apparently wasn’t going anywhere for a while, so I decided to kick up a little conversation. I looked across the room were my cell mate was huddled in the shadows,
"Hey! What are you in for?" The darkness was silent.
"Ok, the strong silent type. I guess I'll do the talking for a while. The names Charley Daniels, I'm a specialist for the dominion world of Tarsonis-third defense garrison. My fleet was mostly destroyed by the Protoss, a few have been probably been taken prisoner on this ship, along with all our remaining aircraft. When were you captured?" The darkness was silent still, but a telepathic message entered my mind,
"I was also on the planet you called Tarsonis when I was taken prisoner by these Protoss." I was a little surprised by his response,

"Why do you talk like that? You can't speak normally?" The darkness sent another message through my brain,

"I don’t have the appropriate...anatomy to pronounce your language."
I smiled,
"I can tell you're not human; are you a Protoss prisoner?" The figure shifted in the darkness, the rattling of chains being dragged across the floor could be heard.
"Not exactly," The figure's mind said to mine.
"Do you have a name?" I asked the shadow.
"Bane," it finally told me after a few minutes.

"Well, Bane, why don’t you come out of the dark so we could talk face to face?"
"If you wish, I will come; but please don’t be startled by my appearance-it's very misleading."
I laughed, and waved my hand, encouraging him, but my enthusiasm leaked away as a Zerg hydralisk slowly sidled out of the darkness, chained to the wall with bonds just below the razor sharp scythes. It towered over me, about the same height as the Dark Templar who threw me in here. I couldn’t help myself, rage welled up in my throat,

"'re the ones we were fighting when the Protoss showed up! You're the ones who ravaged our towns and slaughtered innocent women and children!! You fuckin' monster! You bastard!! I'll kill you!!!" I kicked and stuggled with my bonds, trying to escape the nightmare before of me,

"I'LL KILL YOU!!" The hydralisk turned his head away at first but became outraged with my words before long.

"SILENCE!!" He boomed into my mind. And with a blood-curtailing snarl he lunged for me with his two-foot scythes. The wall resounded with a cold metallic clang and dust showered down on us as the chains arrested his sickle-like blades just a foot from my face. The mighty hydralisk strained against his bonds for a few seconds, snarling fiercely in my face before releasing the tension on the chains with one final jerk and backing against the wall again.
     Silence reigned in the cell for a few minutes, save for the panting beast. After a while, he let loose a mighty sigh that stirred dust on the floor into a swirl.

"We must escape this place," he spoke to my mind again. I didn't want to agree with this monster in any situation, but he was right. He frantically sent another message through my mind,

"I'll free you if you'll do the same for me. My bonds are simple metal strips held with a tiny clamp. I cannot free myself, but you have hands-you could grip it and pull it out of the slot!" I spat in his general direction,

"Yeah right, free you so you could reach me the next time I get on your nerves? Besides, I don't know how long its been since they last fed you, you might attack me straight off." He snarled lightly in the darkness,

"As if you can't already tell, I am no ordinary Hydralisk. I promise I have no interest in harming you, so long as you keep your tongue in line." I thought about his offer for a minute. If I waited until the Protoss arrived to where ever they were going, I would probably be killed or put into slavery. If I freed Bane, I would probably die right away. But one look at the Hydralisk's powerful forearms and long scythes assured me a quick death opposed to a slow one; wasting away as some Templar's robe folder.

"Ok, I guess I don't really have much of a choice," I said reluctantly to the dark.Bane slithered into view again and opened his chest cavity, revealing the deadly needle spines inside for firing.

"Hold VERY still," he warned me. I broke out in a cold sweat as he took careful aim. The Hydralisk blasted needle spines at my chains with such force that it shook its whole body in recoil. The six inch needles sparked and bounced off the wall until one wedged between a chain link and shattered it. I looked up at my arms. The metal around my wrists was still there but the chain attaching it to the wall was broken in the middle.

"You're free; now come get these blasted pins out of my bonds so I can open the door," his mind spoke to mine. I dragged my chains over to him and inspected the restraints. Bane held his scythes low so I could see them easier.

"Wow! This is high quality steel-Titanium! Why did they use these on you?" I asked as I slowly worked the rusted pins out of their slots.

"Because I can probably break anything else they use."

"Oh.." I said, a little confused. My hands were shaking violently, It was very frightening being that close to those deadly blades. When the last pin finally popped out and the bonds fell away, the Hydralisk stretched its arms wide, probably sore from being there so long. After enjoying the luxuries of freedom for a minute he turned and suddenly started moving toward me. I backed up against the door,

"Hey, you promised! What did I say wrong?!" The Hydralisk reached one scythe out and shoved me aside with the blunt side of it,
"Relax," it said. He reared one powerful arm back and jabbed the scythe through the neosteel door of our cell. My jaw hung open as he wrenched it free and swung a second time and began tearing a hole in the door like an oversized can opener. Now I figured out how the zerg kept penetrating our sealed command centers and bunkers. Bane jerked his scythe free one last time and a rough oval of metal fell out of the door into the hallway.

"You do have a way out of here, don’t you?" he asked while squeezing his bulky frame through the hole.
"I can pilot my ship out of here, so long as were not too close to any planets," I said while stepping though the door behind him. With a fierce growl, he stopped suddenly in the hallway, raising his scythes for battle. Just ten yards in front of us stood two zealots, who activated their psi blades and squealed in response to Bane's battle cry. The zealots charged. The Hydralisk devastated the hall with a barrage of needle spines, shorting out plasma shields and even injuring one of the zealots. The injured one fell back a little, but still charged in behind his friend. Bane reared both arms back and brutally impaled the first zealot. He struggled at the end of the scythes, trying to get at Bane while his life spilled on the floor; the psionic blades flickered and went out. With a jerk, Bane twisted his scythes free, dumping the zealot on the floor, and raised them just in time to block a deadly slash at his throat. The second zealot thrust and stabbed at him with the powerful blades of light, Bane blocking most of them with his incredible scythes. With one blade he swung wide and knocked the zealot against the wall and stabbed it through the chest with the other; pinning him to the wall. The last zealot grabbed vainly at the scythe with both hands and screeched in agony as the Hydralisk opened his chest cavity and sprayed the helpless warrior with spines until he stopped struggling and hung limp on the blade. The panting creature jerked it’s scythe free of the wall and the zealot crumpled to the floor.
     Bane was right, he was no ordinary hydralisk. No hydralisk I've ever seen could fight with his scythes and take down two zealots at once. I walked over and peeked around Bane at the massacre in front of me. The creature's carapace was slashed and bleeding in several places. Most of the wounds were pretty small, save for one deep gash in the chest cavity.

"Will you be ok?" I asked. The hydralisk continued to move down the hallway,

"Yes, I'll heal over time. But we better find you a weapon, I can't do all the fighting by myself. By the way, do you know you're way around this place-because I don't."

"Aw, shit," I swore aloud, "You're guess is as good as mine."

"Thats just peachy," came the irritated message from in front of me. We came to a row of doors and air locks of all shapes and sizes. Choosing the right one was all a matter of luck. Bane asked,
"Which one?" I looked at the doors.
"Try the little one over there," I said, pointing to a tall thin one. The hydralisk walked over and opened the door much the same way he opened our cell door. We peeked our heads inside and saw what appeared to be a Protoss utility closet.
"Good guess," the hydralisk snorted as he moved to a large door that a Goliath Walker could fit through easily. I shrugged and watched the Hydralisk impale the door with both scythes and crumple it off the hinges, heaving it to one side. Bane sidled through and I walked in after him. I gasped and looked around at the huge room I was in. The ceilings here were easily two stories high, with a huge round reactor engine humming away in the middle, surrounded by six mammoth cooling tanks.
"Whata engine! We sure could use something like that on our battlecruisers." I said in astonishment. Bane wasn't impressed,

"Pah! Machines! I hate machines. All it takes is one simple problem and it screws everything up." I walked over to a flashing panel on the engine. It showed a radar screen not unlike the ones we terrans use. It showed our current location and distance from our destination. We were very close, only an hour away if we held our current speed.

"I think we have a problem." I said and waved Bane over to the screen.
"If we reach our destination, the ship will be crawling with Protoss. There's gotta be a way to slow this hulk down so we'll have enough time to find my ship and escape. Bane turned and looked thoughtfully at the cooling tanks,

"Like I said," The hydralisk sidled up to one tank, "All it takes is a simple problem." It raised one scythe and hacked it into the side of the tank, but pulled back on it with no result. Then Bane gave a powerful jerk and finally began wrenching and twisting his scythe, trying to free it from the thick metal of the coolant tank. Suddenly, steam hissed out around the blade,

"Uh-oh," Bane reported. With a deafening blast, the tanks metal shell split open and sent the hyralisk sliding backwards into the reactor engine. Coolant gushed out, soaking the floor like a giant fire hydrant. The reactor engine wound down as the automatic controls cut its power because of the severe loss of coolant. Bane got up and stood next to me,

"Problem solved. It should take them awhile to fix that," he said to my mind. I chuckled and followed Bane out of the reactor room.
     In the hallway we chose another door and, to our complete surprise, it was the right one. Inside I could see wraiths, valkalries, and dropships gleaming in the dull light.

"Were are we going?" I asked. Bane responded,

"Anywhere besides here is good enough for now." I was about to open the cockpit hatch on a dropship when a telepathic voice boomed through the hangar,

"Just were do you think YOU'RE going?! Home? After destroying our reactor engine? You have doomed us all!" Bane and I turned in time to see a pair of High Templar standing in the doorway with two zealot guards coming in after them. Bane snarled and raised his scythes.
"Just let us go, what good can we do you?" I asked. The Templar's eyes glowed menacingly,
"I'm afraid that cannot be allowed, We have orders to exterminate you both at all costs." With no warning, the Templar waved his hand and the two zealots multiplied before my eyes. There were now eight of them bristling and activating their terrible blades of light. The Templar laughed sadistically as he sent the real zealots and his hallucinations at us. The zealots circled me and Bane warily, then they lunged in for the kill. Bane snarled and swung at a zealot in front of him. The zealot vanished in a blue mist, and the real one beside him ripped into the his side with a passion. Bane roared with rage and backhanded the zealot with his scythe, leaving a gash across the zealot's face; blood blinding his eyes and covering its face. Bane swung again and his scythe slashed deep between the shoulder and the neck of the unfortunate warrior, parting his arm from his body. He fell instantly and three hallucinations vanished in a blue mist. Another zealot lunged for Bane, but I blind sided him with the chains that still clung to my wrist bonds. But he was a phony too and vanished in a cloud as well. Just two zealots left, one fake and one real. One was bristling its blades for battle while the other one looked very unsure about attacking this particular hydralisk. At the last minute its blades flickered and went out and he turned and ran past the two templar and back out the door. The Templar muttered something along the lines of "Coward" and started backing away from the now advancing hydralisk. Bane lunged and pinned them both against the wall, sending psionic messages to them,

"What was that about us not being able to leave?" Bane snarled ferociously, "Give us no more trouble and I may let you live," The Protoss looked to one another held fast against the wall and said,

"You shall never leave here with your lives!" Suddenly, the two templar burst into blue flames so bright that Bane had to release them and back away. We watched in horror as the two glaring flames passed into each other and became one, bursting into a blue orb of pure psionic energy. "This can't be good," I said aloud. Bane shot me a message,

"Take cover! This is going to be bad..." I nodded and backed away behind a wraith and watched as the awesome psionic entity known only as the Archon emerged from the flames and dwarfed the brave hydralisk. It towered easily five feet above Bane and it still glowed with a bright blue light. Bane then opened his chest cavity and launched needles at the archon for all he was worth. The Archon laughed wickedly and opened its arms to the projectiles as if welcoming them. The needles were harmlessly absorbed by a massive plasma shield, but Bane continued to vainly fire away at the protective shield as the archon slowly hovered over and thrust both hands out at him. A blast of psionic energy erupted from the hands of the archon, line-driving Bane back against the hanger wall. The hydralisk slowly got up in time to see the Archon's mighty arm swing like a giant club and knock him back into the far corner. Bane snarled weakly in protest and fired more needles as the archon trapped him there in the corner, showering psionic energy on his enemy, roasting the poor hydralisk alive. I couldn't just sit and watch my new friend being slaughtered-especially since I was next. I had to do something to help Bane. I thought quickly and looked up to the wraith gleaming above my head. I jumped up to the cockpit door and hit some switches. The control panel glowed to life as the computer came online,
"Adjetent online, Good evening Captain Daniels," the computer droned out to me. I flipped the switch to activate auto targeting and powered up the laser battery. "Activating weapons systems, ATS laser operational in T-minus 20 seconds." I looked up in time to see the archon pick Bane up off the floor and hold him by the neck high against the wall, charging psionic power for the death blow with the other hand. The hydralisk no longer had the strength to fight against the Archon's iron grip. The entity then released a massive wave of devastating energy on Bane with both hands. I could barely hear Bane roaring out in agony over the crackling power of the archon's attack.

"C’mon! C’mon!!" I yelled at the computer.

"Defense systems online, Captain." droned the adjetent. I flipped up the plastic cover on the joystick and jammed down the firing button. The wraith didn't hesitate a second and the powerful laser battery burned a perfectly rounded hole through the archon’s mid-section, frying a spot in the wall just below were he held Bane pinned. The arhon disappeared in a blue implosion and Bane dropped 6 feet to the floor, flaccidly crumpling were he landed. I jumped down out of the jet and ran over to my friend. Bane was unconscious and burned severely all over. The mighty scythes were blackened and smoking; the thick chest cavity cracked and smoldering. The creature didn't look alive; he was barely breathing, but Bane had saved my life more than once already and I wasn’t about to let him die in this rotten prison. I ran back to one of the dropships and opened the rear cargo hatch, letting the ramp swing down to the floor. I ran back to the hydralisk and grabbed one arm below the scythe, pulling and jerking until I finally built up enough momentum to get going. It was very slow going-he weighed easily over 300 pounds. I painstakingly dragged him inch by inch to the cargo ramp and dragged him up it into the dropship.
     After I had him inside I shut the hatch and walked over to a valkalrie. Once activated and programed to launch a salvo of missiles to blast a way out through the hull, It counted down ten seconds before firing as I climbed inside the dropship and closed the hatch. With the airlock sealed and the engines hot, the valkalrie launched the bombs and explosions rocked the ship as halo missiles blew a massive hole in the side of the carrier. I gassed the engines and shot through the massive rip and accelerated away from the ship. The powerful vacuum of space sucked the other aircraft out of the carrier along with an awful lot of oxygen. Bane groaned behind me in the cargo hold and a psionic voice pierced my thoughts,
"Did we win?" he asked my mind faintly.
"Yes, we won," I said aloud to my new friend.

To be continued...


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