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Bane 3: Noble Sacrifice

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The impaler rounds ricocheted and sparked down the corridor; Bane's needles blew small metal shrapnel out of the wall were they hit. The electrical short stopped and the hall was bathed in darkness again. The scratching sound of clawed feet on steel mesh floors drifted out of the shadows. The marines stopped firing and waited with their guns held at the ready, pointed out to the impeding darkness. We were packed in the ship, two by two, and the front two marines turned on their headlamps. The lights pierced the darkness, revealing an empty hall devastated with gauss fire.
"Where’d our little buddies go?" asked the front marine, waving his gun back and forth across the hall. Bane and I were behind them. We stepped out slowly as the Marines in front of us quietly advanced into the hall. Bane spoke up as soon as we stepped out,
"It's too quiet here, be on your guard." The marines around us jumped and turned, pointing their guns around. One yelled out,
"Who said that?!" Bane snarled lightly,
"It was me," he answered. They all jumped again, searching for the source of the voice. I recognized their confusion and gave them the answer,
"It was Bane here, He can't pronounce words so he speaks telepathically." The marines exchanged relieved, yet confused looks and just shrugged.
"He's right though," one said, "It IS a little too quiet for my liking." Then the squad leader spoke up,
"Quiet or not, there's been a disaster on this ship and there may still be survivors. We’ve gotta get to the primary command bridge and see if we can get power back to this floor."
We slowly eased down the hall, covering one another in case the zerg decided on a surprise attack, which they are known to do. Just as we turned the next corner, the zerglings came out of hiding. Suddenly, the thudding and scraping of claws and feet came from both in front of us and behind us. Everyone turned and shifted, trying to see were they would come from first. With a loud crash and wicked little snarls, the ceiling tile above my head fell away, and zerglings dropped out on top of me. I heard gauss rifles going off as the rest of the attackers came from both sides while everyone was distracted with the zerglings from the roof. A trio of the little monsters were on top of me, clawing and stabbing. The gauss rifle in my one hand was too long and bulky to get in a shot with. All I could do was roll around and hamper their attacks. Marines screamed and yelled as the numbers bore down on us. I saw, despite the screeching, clawing creatures that wrested me to the ground, a pair of marines go down under the weight of countless other zerglings. They kicked and yelled, like I was doing, as the zerglings stabbed their way through their power suits. I finally collapsed on my back and the lings went into a fury. They stabbed and punched at my armor; blood covered my hands as I pushed away their snapping jaws. Marines screamed and gurgled blood around me, and slowly stopped struggling against the fiends. The lings continued to hack at them even though they were helplessly injured. We were nearly over run when Bane came to the rescue.
"Hold still!" he told me hastily. I stopped fighting the zerglings and lay flat on my back. Then a deep snarl could heard and a two-foot scythe swooped over me like a golf club, swatting one zergling and sending it sailing against the wall. I saw the scythe swing by again, scattering the other two. Only one ling got up from Banes attack, backing warily into the darkness. I sat up and grabbed my gauss rifle while Bane stabbed and swatted at any zergling close enough. The remaining marines were in a panic, yelling and firing at anything with a carapace. The zerglings who killed the forward marines finished their terrible work and scrabbled over the torn bodies to attack us. The marines opened fire on the hall, spraying the advancing zerglings with multiple rounds. The first of the zerglings were instantly cut down, but their brethren trampled right over their fallen comrades and tackled more marines. I ran up and kicked a zergling off one while Bane did what he could to keep the bulk of the zerglings at bay behind us: chopping them from afar with needle spines and slashing the foolish ones that came close enough. I helped one marine up and we moved to help the remaining three, but we were too late. The creatures suddenly ignored them and came for us. Zerglings, by shier numbers alone, started to leak through Banes defenses and come for us; surrounding us on both sides. I was tackled to the ground; I had a faint recollection of the last marine falling with me under the weight of our enemies.
Then Bane was there again, sweeping the zerglings off us with one mighty swoop after another. The agile zerglings rebounded instantly and dove at the hydralisk. Bane lunged and flung his blades into the zerglings flight path, catching one with the point of a scythe, but the rest hit him in mid-leap, staggering him backwards. Bane stumbled back alittle, but kept his footing. With a raging growl, he slung them all off. Zerglings sailed and smacked the walls, a few got up, most of them didn't. With a deep-throated, rumbling growl, Bane roared his rage and wrath at the attackers. The remaining zergling squealed and whimpered, retreating quickly into the darkness once more. We hurried them along with a combination of guass fire and needle spines.
"Good job," I said as I helped the sole-surviving marine to his feet. He was pretty shaken up, but not badly injured. Luckily, the power suit had taken most of the abuse-it hung like scrap metal on him. We could hear, but not see, the zerglings scampering back down the hall, leaving their brethren in torn piles on the floor. Bane still held his scythes ready, facing the darkness. I bent down and picked up my gauss rifle again,
"You really showed them who’s boss," I said. The silence crept in and all I could see was what the marine revealed by sweeping his power suits lights back and forth across the hall. Then the sound of zergling feet on mesh steel floated back up the hall to us. They sounded different somehow, the thudding accompanied by a dragging, almost slithering noise. Bane became tense, snarling low in his throat, "Do you know were to go?" he asked. I jammed a new clip into my gauss rifle, "Yeah, we gotta make it to the generator room; Can’t get much done with the power out." The familiar, fierce roar of hydralisks rumbled down the hall to greet us.
"Run!" Bane growled as the marine's lights flashed across the faces of four hungry hydralisks and a fresh mob of zerglings.
"GO!!" Bane snapped at me. I shook my head and ran past my friend and the marine into the dark hall. Bane turned as I went by and sidled along beside me. The last marine turned to run, but he was just a little too slow. The hydralisks stopped abruptly and opened their chest cavities as the zerglings ran out ahead. They fired in unison and peppered the poor marine's back with spines. I heard him scream and turned around in time to see him trip and fall forward beneath the hail of needles.
"Common, there's no hope for him!" Bane stopped and called back to me. I became sick,
"No, we can still save him!" The fallen marine disappeared beneath the carpet of zerglings. Bane turned and continued down the hall. Unfortunately, he was right. I turned on the last marine and ran with Bane as the zerg continued the chase. The lights from the marine's headlamps disappeared behind the bulky frames of the pursuing hydralisks. It became extremely difficult to see were you where going without the lights from the marines suits. I started ping-ponging off the walls,
"Hey, I can’t see!" I heard Bane sidling out in front of me,
"But I can, follow me," He called back. My ghost suit didn’t have night vision but it had built-in inferred targeting. I flipped the goggles down and turned them on. My vision was filled with fields of blue, except for the living creatures around me. Their body heat caused them to glow bright reds and yellows in the goggles. Bane was easier to follow-at least I could see him.
"Where do we go?" He asked me as we ran.
"We need to make it to the generator circuit on this floor and get the power back on, then well take the supply elevator to where ever we need to go." Bane snorted as needle spines whistled by my ear, chipping the walls between us.
"Could you be a little more specific, we don’t exactly have time to search for it!" I turned and backpedaled, firing my rifle at the red blobs shaped like hydralisks in my goggles. They shifted and dodged in the hall as they followed us, firing clumsily back when they could. It seemed they had a hard time shooting spines and running at the same time, their aim was miserably off. "It’s the biggest door on this hall," I yelled up to Bane, "You cant miss it!" Bane stopped abruptly and rammed right through a door. Light flooded the hall from the room, powered by the emergency batteries. I jerked the goggles off my head and ducked into the room. I ran over to the control panel and flipped some switches, the round generator in the room hummed to life as it built up a charge to start the circuits on this floor. Outside we could hear the hydralisks catching up with us, the slithering sounds coming closer and closer. I picked up my gun and Bane opened his chest cavity. We aimed at the empty doorway and waited for them to fall into our trap.
"Aim for the augments, they’re the only thing not armored," Bane told me. I aimed a little low, were the snake like muscle would be, slithering them along. Sure enough, they lumbered into the doorway and we opened fire, shredding the floor around them. They roared and danced on the bullets, the two on the sides ducked back into the hall. But the pair in the middle were stuck between the ones on the outside, and got hammered with shots. The impaler rounds from my gauss rifle tore through the sensitive augments like flat tires. The hydralisks crumpled to the floor, wailing in pain. We blasted them into the ground while they were down, but it took most of my gauss rifle clips and Bane was panting by the time they finally stopped snarling and twitching. We didn’t get much of a rest because the other two hydras were on top of us as soon as the firing stopped. They lunged in the door, one after the other. Bane was ready and shoved the first one, knocking him back into his partner. The first one fell over the second and I let loose the last clip for my rifle, aiming for the delicate spot. The second one managed to jump free of the line of fire,lunging for Bane with its scythes. Bane threw his blades up and they locked blades, each dro afraid to let the other one go. I finished off the third hydralisk and wanted to help Bane, but there was no way to get some shots safely in-not with him so close to the enemy. They lunged and shoved each other around, smashing into walls and control panels. It was pretty easy to tell them apart, Bane was much bigger. They raged and snarled in each others faces, displaying their wrath. Bane gave one final, mighty shove and the blades unlocked with the harsh sliding sound of scythe on scythe. The hydralisk stumbled backwards and Bane blasted him with a round of his needles, sending it over on its back. Bane lunged in swinging, and landed on top of the other. The hydralisk tried its best to fight back, but Banes superior size and strength won out in the end. He was busy slashing away his enemy, who flailed its scythes around in meager little attempts to block the blows, when the zerglings caught up. Bane was in the doorway, and they went straight for him this time. About a dozen of the little beasts poured in the door, covering Bane the way ants cover a piece of candy. Bane was already low to the floor from killing the hydralisk, so the group had no trouble knocking him over. He went down snarling and swinging, managing to knock one away before he went fell. I blasted the one he repelled before it made it all the way back to the floor. He whipped his scythes around wildly, trying to escape the stabbing little terrors. I ran over and kicked the mass of zerglings, doing nothing but upsetting one of them into attacking me. It turned with hungry jaws and lunged for my throat. I side-stepped just in time to avoid its flashing claws. I turned as it landed across the room and pointed my rifle at it, pulling the trigger.
I flipped the gun over and gripped the barrel tight. The zergling turned and lunged again, ignorant to the fact that I was the home-run champ for my battalion. I eyed the zerglings flight path and when the time was right, I swung with all for all I was worth. I heard the crack of my rifle splitting in half, telling me that I hit my mark. The zergling made a whooshing noise as all the wind was knocked out of it as it beamed across the room like a missile. The zergling hit the wall with a crunching of bones and carapace. Then the zergling group started teaming up on Bane. A trio would hold down each scythe while the rest piled on top for the kill. Just when I was feeling totally helpless, the lings on top started rising up; as if Bane was growing beneath them. The tell-tale sound of Bane firing his spines could be heard and the zerglings on top began exploding. They splattered with shrill squeals, and the ones on his arms panicked and jumped on top to help their friends. As soon as they did, Bane was impaling them with his blades, until 9 of the original zerglings were reduced to twitching piles of broken carapace on the floor. I ran up and booted another and Bane managed to heave them off and stand up. As soon as they saw that Bane was up again, the remaining pair of lings turned and left the room, retreating back down the hall. I looked over and noticed Bane was in bad shape again: dozens of small puncture marks from the zerglings little teeth and scythes dotted his carapace. "Will you be okay?" I asked, studying his wounds.
"Ill live," he replied slowly. Just as he answered, the lights down the hall flickered on one at a time until the entire corridor was illuminated with a dull white light.
"Powers on," I exclaimed, "lets go!" Bane nodded and we stepped outside warily. I looked down the hall both ways. It was empty again.
"The supply elevator should be at the end of this hall," I started to explain but Bane stopped suddenly and closed his eyes. He remained very still and quiet until he spoke again,
"She’s here," he said, "I thought I sensed her crooked will when we first arrived but I wasn’t sure. Im positive of it now." His words confused me,
"Who is she? And what’s the big deal about her?" Bane snorted and gave me a shove, rushing me down the hall as he explained,
"The queen of blades! Her evil will radiates through this vessel as we speak!" Bane was moving so fast I nearly stumbled trying to keep from being run over by him,
"You mean to tell me that the rumors about an infested women single-handedly dictating the swarms are true?" Bane didn’t get a chance to answer because a deep roar rumbled down the hall to us as we came to the elevator. We whipped around to see another pair of hydralisks standing at the end of the hall. But there was something different about these hydralisks. They looked bigger and meaner; with bulky square shoulders and longer scythes. I realized with a twinge of fear that these were no ordinary hydralisks-they’re hunter-killers.
"There’s her escort-Lets Go," Bane shot at me. I punched the button for the elevator and the hunter killers snarled and started rampaging down the hall toward us. Bane watched the moving lights above the elevator door and growled impatiently,
"I hate machines," he repeated. With a 'Ping!' the elevator door slid open and we jumped inside. I mashed the button panel with my hand hastily; it didn’t matter were we went as long as it was away from those monsters. Another 'Ping!' sounded and the elevator doors slid shut just as the Hunter-killers stopped to fire their needles. I breathed a sigh of relief as I felt the elevator lurch downwards beneath me.
"I was hoping you would tell it to go up," Bane said after a few seconds.
"Why’s that?" I asked casually. Suddenly, a loud clang came from the roof of the elevator as if someone had dropped an oil drum on it. The elevator shuddered and screeched to a stop as the lights flickered off and on.
"Thats why," Bane answered. The steel mesh on the ceiling fell away as a thick, curved scythe stabbed through it, shattering the light in the middle. I pressed the emergency stop button and the doors slid open again. We were halfway between one floor and another and the floor between them was visible in the doorway. The scythe stabbed through again and ripped the first hole a little wider.
"This is my floor," Bane said, lunging to dodge the blade. The hydralisk could only fit through the top floor. I let Bane climb through first, but as soon as he made it out, the elevator lurched again-closing the gap between the floors. "Aaw, shit!" I said out-loud as I stepped out of the elevator. "Stand clear!" came Bane's muffled remark from the ceiling above me. I took a few extra steps away from the elevator as the Hunter-Killer smashed both scythes through the elevator roof and began peeling the metal away; forcing his way in. Just as the Hunter-Killer dropped into the elevator the lights inside it flickered and went out. I heard Bane snarl above and the elevator shuddered one last time. The hunter killer lunged for me but it only managed a clumsy stumble as Bane cut the elevator cables with his scythes. The elevator screeched and fell away into the dark shaft, taking the unfortunate hunter-Killer with it. It took nearly 18 seconds before we heard the crash of the elevator hitting the bottom of the shaft like a meteorite. An eerie silence took over. I held on to the wall and leaned as far as I dared into the elevator shaft and shouted up, "Bane! You okay?!" Bane snarled lightly somewhere above my head,
"Of course. What floor are you on?" I turned and looked around. Lighted labels above the doors indicated what each one led too. They said things like ‘Starport Hanger’,’ Evacuation Bay’ and ‘Wraith launch Port 3'. I leaned back up and shouted up to Bane,
"It looks like the aircraft floor! Were are you?" Bane snarled some more as he answered,
"I can't read these scribbles!" I laughed and smacked my forehead for forgetting.
"What do you say to getting the hell outta here?" Bane sent down to me.
"Sounds good to me," I said.
"Since you're already on the right floor, go find us another ship and warm it up. I'll find a way down to you." I nodded and realized Bane couldn't see me and shouted up to him again,
"Okay!" I said and turned to jog to the nearest door when another message floated down to me,
"Charley," I gasped. It was the first time Bane had used my name. He continued,
"If I don't show up, take off without me."
"What?!" I yelled back.
"You heard me, Mortal! It is not safe here. If I don't return, leave me." A lump formed in my throat, hampering my voice, "But how will I know if you're not coming?" Bane's confident psionic voice broke into my mind once more, "You will know," I yelled back up to him, trying to protest, but he was gone. I turned and solemnly walked to the nearest door and punched the button to open it. I sighed and walked in, feeling an impending doom hanging just over my head.
Bane sidled down the hall ignoring, Charlies call behind him and frowned at the strange symbols and lines glowing above each door. He snarled irritably chose the closest one, impaling it and ripping it off the hinges. He sidled through into a huge room with dim lights glowing high on the ceiling above. He looked around, deciding that this room was not the one he wanted. Bane turned to leave when he spied a figure standing in the doorway. It had two legs and a pair of wicked arms that protruded in front of a set of scrawny wings. The head was a twisted mass of hair, centered on top of what used to be a human face. It's eyes glowed a dull yellow in the shadow. The figure stepped aside, letting something else in. The second figure was obviously the other hunter killer, its bulky frame and long scythes was outlined by the brighter light of the hallway. The hunter-killer stood still for a few seconds before sensing Kerrigan’s will and lunging in to battle Bane. Bane fired needle spines as it moved in, but they bounced harmlessly off thick carapace. The hunter-killer dove at Bane with both scythes swinging. Bane dodged left and smashed the Hunter-killer in the back as it went by, sending it stumbling forward into a crate. The cargo shattered beneath the beast. The hunter-killer was up again in time to see Bane charging in, but it caught him in mid charge and their scythes locked. The combatants snarled and growled at each other, shoving one another around. Bane was just barely stronger than the Hunter-killer, slowly forcing it backwards. But the hunter-killer opened its chest cavity and blasted needles in Bane's face. The hydralisk fell back as the hunter killer swung its scythe wide. It came arced and smashed into Banes side, piercing the carapace and passing in all the way up the hunter-killer's arm. Bane wailed in pain and swung immediately thereafter in a uppercut that brought both his scythes through the throat of the Hunter-killer; the tips just breaking through the top of its head. Bane, impaled painfully by the dead hunter-killers scythe, fell with his enemy, blood gushing out of his lethal wound. Kerrigan walked leisurely over to the fallen warriors and cackled wickedly. Bane tore his blades free of the hunter-killer’s throat and used them to force the scythe out of his body. Ever-so-slowly, the blade slid out and more blood gushed onto the floor.
"Well done, my pet! I couldn't have done better myself, except for the mortal wound part," Kerrigan said as she stared down at Bane. Growling with painful effort, Bane stood up and raised his bloody scythes for battle.
"Still got some fight left in you, huh? Let's see what you got," Kerrigan said, waving one hand-welcoming Bane's attack. Bane roared and swung his right scythe with everything he had. Kerrigan easily ducked the swing and Bane swung with his left. Kerrigan leaned back, the blade wiffing in front of her face, and Bane stumbled onto the floor with the momentum of his own swing, snarling in shame. Kerrigan put her pale hand to her face, a tiny cut was there from where she timed Bane's attack just a second off.
"My turn," Kerrigan sneered and bent down, grabbing one of Banes arms and slinging him over her shoulder into another crate. Bane hit the crate like a sack of dirt and lay in the floor until Kerrigan moved over to him and picked him up by the shoulders and lifted him off his augument. She laughed and crushed Bane against the floor, mopped him up and threw him from wall to wall until he snarled in pain. She picked him up again and held him against a hard vespene reservoir, blood seeping out steadily from the scythe wound. She laughed again and spoke out loud to him,
"Dear, simple Bane. How long did you think that you could possibly stray from my will? After all, you are my creation and thus bound by your genetics to follow my rule." Bane snarled weakly and managed a strained answer, "...I will die before I follow kill innocent creatures and raid peaceful bitch...I despise you....." Kerrigan's smile leaked away, changing to an angry frown. She shoved him higher up against the tank and reared her arm back and began smashing the hydralisk across the face so hard his head moved from side to side with each blow. She finally stopped and her fake smile came back,
"You could have been one of my greatest cerebrates-leading the swarms to countless victories. But you have a flaw-you are weak. You refused destroy the Terrans on Tarsonis, you wouldn't even attack the Protoss as they came to foil my plans!" Bane choked and coughed, blood seeping down the sides of his mouth,
".I not.. weak.....I am not one of your...mindless..pawns..and I'll destroy you...for making my..existence so miserable!" Kerrigan backhanded Bane again, blood flying across the room in a fine little spray. Bane opened his mouth and managed to spit in Kerrigans face. She shrieked with her scratchy, infested voice and smashed Bane against the wall once more, carapace and bones crunched out loud. Bane whimpered faintly.
"And how do you expect to accomplish such a feat, wounded and dying as you are now?" she said in a mocking tone. With his last strength, Bane reared one scythe forward and swung it backwards, smashing it into the steel hull of the giant vespene tank he was held against. Green gases spewed out and Bane swung again, coughing blood. Kerrigan's smile vanished and her eyes grew wide as she lunged to stop Bane's scythe, but she was too late...
I watched the idling dials and gauges impatiently when the dropship shuddered suddenly. I looked out the windshield and noticed that the whole hanger was rocking violently. Something was terribly wrong, and Bane still hadn't returned. He had said to leave without him, but I just couldn't bring myself to push in the throttle and abandon him here. An alarm started going off, and the fire siren in the hanger started going nuts. The shaking got worse and worse-the dropship practically bounced around. The hanger in front of me started to take on a red hue and I stuck my head out of the pilots window and looked behind the dropship. In the long corridor that leads to the hanger, a wall of flames raged through, consuming all the oxygen.
"I guess Bane was right when he said I would know," I said to myself and closed the window. I gassed the engines just as the firestorm engulfed the hanger and all the ships in it. I shot into a tunnel leading out. Super-heated by the launch chute, the flames raced just behind my dropship, causing severe turbulence. The engines strained and I jerked the control stick left and right, following the tunnel. Finally, with the flames licking the back cargo hatch, the black void of space loomed at the end of the tunnel. I zoomed through the opening and away from the installation. The alarm was still going off for a few seconds, until a deafening blast that sounded like a planet exploding nearly shattered my eardrums. The orbital platform exploded into a huge ball of fire and began sinking to the planet, its orbit around Tarsonis decaying. Watching the flaming wreck enter the atmosphere and burn into little pieces, the shock suddenly wore off and reality set in. Bane was dead, as far as I knew. My worst enemy turned best-friend was gone for good, consumed in the fiery explosion-and I never even got a chance at farewell...
I collapsed over the control panel and covered my face with my arms, letting the unstoppable sorrow come, wondering if I would ever see my friend again.
To Be Continued...

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