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Bane 6: Rise of Chaos
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Written and created by the immortal deadfast

Once everyone got over their fear, Bane became quite popular as the base fell into its usual routines. Marines would look up at him and ask questions, talk about big battles and jabber about action they'd seen on the front lines. Bane would then hush them all with tales of even bigger battles and more epic heroes, causing the crowds around him to erupt in new waves of stories and constant questions. Even a few of the medics overcame their fear and came within three feet. It was a day just like every other day that week. I had slept in and Bane was gone somewhere when I woke up.

"You seen Bane anywhere?" I asked a marine as I stepped out of the barracks into Char's dim morning sun. The marine was in the middle of his morning rounds and answered me without stopping his patrol,

"I think I saw him by the academy, messing with those medics again."

"Thanks," I said over my shoulder as I turned and started on my way to the academy. There he was, sure enough, standing around and running his mouth (or mind really) to the off-duty medics.

"Your pet zerg is great!" they announced to me as I walked up. Bane groaned,

"It's about time you got up! You sleep like a zergling," The medics laughed at my uncombed hair and baggy eyes as if noticing them for the first time. I was just about to retaliate when Bane pointed to the sky,

"What's that?" he asked as a few meek little dots appeared in the distant blue, growing steadily larger.

"I dunno," I confessed, "Can't tell yet-they're too far away." A droning alarm started going off as the dots began to take shape.

"What's that mean?" Bane said over the noise. The medics took off and everyone started becoming frantic around us.

"That means there's an officer coming. Looks like some hot-shot general has decided to pay a visit." I guessed right, because in a few seconds an official dominion flagship appeared, followed by a lumbering battle cruiser and two wraith escorts.

"What's going on?" I asked a marine as he ran by.

"It's the emperor's messengers,"

"Mengsk?" I asked, "What's he doing here?"

"I dunno," the marine shrugged, "Guess we'll find out shortly." Bane and I stood watching everyone run around until Bane noticed three official looking people strutting through the crowds,

"Who are they? They look different from everyone else here."

"Messengers," I said as they drew near, "I wonder what they want." I was taken by surprise when they marched straight up to us, keeping their distance from Bane, but studying him intensely.

"Are you Specialist Charley Daniels?" The one in the middle asked. I stood at attention and saluted the superior officer.

"As you were," he said after returning my salute. I stood at ease.

"Reports of a tame Hydralisk saving the Char Resource Operation have reached the capitol," One of them said, staring up at Bane. Bane returned his stare and the officer stuttered before continuing,

"The Emperor was very impressed by your valiant achievements and would like to meet you in person to offer an official promotion."

"Is that a good thing?" Bane asked curiously.

"We accept!" I said quickly, ignoring Banes question, "I've always wanted a nice pay raise."

"Follow us to the flagship," another officer said and they all turned abruptly, heading back the way they came.

"Common," I said to Bane, "We're getting off this boring planet!" We moved along hastily, keeping up with the swift stride of the messengers. They lead us to a dropship were two MP's guarded the entrance. The officers walked up the ramp and Bane stopped,

"Are you sure about this?" he asked wearily, still remembering his crash landing just a week ago.

"Go ahead," I whispered, "I'm right behind you!" Bane followed the last officer into the ship and I walked up behind him. An officer stepped in front of me holding a hand up and saying, "Not you, boy! Just the hydralisk goes!"

"But-" I started to protest but the stern face of the messenger and his offending hand was gone in a flash. Bane had spun around snarling and shoved the officer against the wall of the dropship, were he had him pinned by the throat with the blunt edge of one scythe. Bane lowered his head even with the messengers face,

"The mortal goes where he wants!" he growled. The MP's at the bottom of the ramp drew there guns,

"Stop right there!!" one of them yelled. Bane turned from the officer he had pinned for just a second,

"Put that TOY away before I tear you in half!" He snapped at them. The messenger turned very pale and his eyes rolled back in his head. Bane let him go and he passed out, crumpling onto the floor. Bane turned and faced the MP's with scythes ready. The first messenger on the ship, the superior officer, was watching the whole thing without blinking and finally said,

"So he goes." The MP's grumbled and holstered their side arms and gave me dirty looks as I walked up the ramp. They stayed outside and the ramp swung closed. I looked out the window and watched the dust and ash swirl around the ship as the thrusters carried us away.

The ride in the dropship to the capitol was quite possibly the most extraordinarily boring five hours of my entire life. The atmosphere in the ship was pretty hostile at first, but before long a little conversation broke through. As the hours dragged on though, we ran out of broad subjects to talk about. Talk died down and it became difficult to fight sleep. Pretty soon, everyone was snoring around me, even Bane had trouble staying awake. His eyes were almost shut and his head kept drifting down then snapping back up as he fought sleep. Soon, I caught myself doing the same thing. Finally, the whining drone of the dropship’s engines was too much and I was gone.

A voice broke through the darkness, light invading with it,

"Common! The emperor ain't gonna wait all day!" Who ever it was stopped and the sleep started taking over again, until the grizzly voice snapped me awake,

"Git yer sorry asses up!" That did the trick. Everyone was on their feet with minimal commotion and only one sleepy growl from Bane. The messengers left us there and Bane and I stepped out of the dropship. There was some short fat guy in a pair of greasy coveralls holding a old wrench and a tired looking shop rag. We must have looked confused because he finally asked,

"Where you headed?" I looked down to his name tag that was so dirty I had to squint to read it.

"Clem," I finally deciphered, "Can you tell me where I'll find the Emperor?"

"Top floor," he said quickly, pointing over his shoulder with the wrench, "Elevator's at the end of the hall." We went were he told us to and eventually came to the elevator. The ship bay was pretty far up, so it wasn't a long ride. Once at the top, there was a wide, dull hallway with a big set of wooden double doors at the end.

"Let's go meet the Emperor," I said dully as I shoved the doors open. They swung wide, revealing an immense office with tall ceilings and giant book cases lining the walls. There was a thick, plush rug that ran straight up the middle of the office to a expensive wooden desk sitting in front of three long windows overlooking the city. A tall chair was behind the desk, rocking slightly. It stopped abruptly and the Emperor boomed,

“Welcome to the capitol, Gentlemen!” as he swiveled around in his chair, a practiced politician smile not giving anything away,

“You’re probably wondering why I called you here today, so I won’t disappoint you.” Bane gave me a confused look and I just shrugged. Mengsk continued,

“You see, I’ve been in need of a talented team to perform unique tasks for the good of the dominion. I could send hundreds of men and spends thousands in valuable resources, but why do so when a pair of stalwart warriors can serve just as well? When I heard that a single ghost operative and his tame hydralisk wiped out a whole faction of rebels, I knew I had found my warriors-“

“Get to the point!” Bane interrupted, “I’m hungry!”

“My point is,” The emperor continued, “That I want you to work for me. Leave your dead-end post in the third defense garrison and make something of yourselves.”

“What’s in it for me?” Bane asked. The emperor laughed out loud,

“You said you are hungry didn’t you?” Bane nodded quickly. “Then that will be your reward! You’ll have more time to sleep and more food to eat than you’ll ever know what to do with.” Bane grinned with his big, toothy mouth,

“Count me in!” he said enthusiastically.

“You know what I want.” I said. The emperor nodded and pulled out a fat checkbook, slapping it on the table.

“So we have an agreement, then?”

“You bet!” I answered.

“Then let us get down to business, shall we?” he announced. Mengsk slid a folder of pictures my way,

“These are the comsat photos of one of many Rebel compounds here on Tarsonis. They are in league with the rebels that captured the Resource Operation on Char. Together, they’ve been trying to undermine the Dominion for years. I would send in the local militia to deal with this problem but our situation is one that will not allow a large scale military response." Mengsk slid me another photo.

"This is my right hand advisor, taken hostage by these rebels.” I took a good look at the photo, and the windbag kept talking,

“They will execute her if any violent retaliation is taken, so I need you to infiltrate the compound and rescue the advisor. The supply room is two floors down-use anything at my disposal that you deem necessary for this mission, Good Luck!” With not so much as another word, he flipped back around and faced the windows again. I turned to leave and Bane followed me. Heading down the hall, he finally spoke up,

“Is it just me, or is something not exactly kosher about him?” We reached the elevator and I pressed the down button. The doors opened with a “Ping!” and we stepped inside.

“I got the same feeling, but this IS a better job.” I said.

“Yeah,” Bane sighed, “Maybe you’re right.”

I tried the new access code on the door and it only bleeped again, telling me that access is denied.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to open it?” Bane groaned.

“I would,” I confessed while trying the code one more time, “but I don’t think the maintenance crew will appreciate your methods.” Finally, the door slid up with a hiss and the lights came on inside automatically, revealing shelves of assorted weaponry and high-tech field equipment.

“Ah!” I said, rubbing my hands together, “Pay dirt!” I walked slowly down the aisles, drooling over the shiny new canister rifles, grenade launchers, different caliber machine guns and one fully automatic, belt fed monster in the corner.

“They’re all machines-Just pick one!” Bane complained. I walked to one rack and said, “Hold these,” Bane held both scythes up and I started grabbing guns and laying them across his scythes by the armful. Bane held a stack nearly taller than I stood before we finished.

“That should do it,” I said, until I noticed the big glass case of ghost equipment in the back. I walked to the case and stared at the upgraded cloak inhibitors and the best in targeting technology. I threw a pair of inhibitors on top of the stack and one pair of the new night vision, inferred, target analyzing, scope zoom goggles. Bane strained a little under the load that probably weighed more than he did.

“Is there anything else?” he managed.

“Can’t forget spare ammo,” I said and Bane sighed, following me to the stack of crates brimming with fresh clips and boxes of shells. At last, with Bane stumbling under the arsenal, I grabbed an expensive looking case of specialty canister rounds and a 45. side arm just for good measure.

“One last thing,” I said and snatched a set of keys off their peg on the wall.

“Common!” Bane raged.

“That’s it,” I said. I turned to leave, tossing the keys over my shoulder onto the stack Bane carried. I nearly jumped to the ceiling in surprise when Bane collapsed, snarling, beneath the pile of weapons and one set of keys too many.

Bane heaved the huge stack of weapons into the back of the dropship, growling with the effort.

“You tryin’ to supply a whole platoon, son?” Chuckled Clem, the mechanic from earlier, as he watched Bane throw everything down.

“Not me,” Bane said proudly between panting breaths, “These are the only weapons I need.” The hydralisk brandished its scythes and the mechanic laughed at the signature fighting stance.

“And right powerful weapons they are, too!” Clem said with a thick southern accent. Finally, his laughter died down some and he looked around for me, then asked

“Where’s your partner in crime?” Bane was sitting on the ramp, resting, and answered,

“I dunno. He said he was going to pick up a few last minute necessities.” Clem burst into new fits of laughter,

“Wha’d he forget?! The kitchen sink?” Suddenly, the tall cargo door to the hanger slid open and the hydraulic beast known as the C-83 Goliath War Walker stomped up to the dropship. Its electronic voice boomed through the hanger,

“Intruder! Drop you weapons, you have ten seconds to comply!” Bane only looked bored,

“Common, mortal. I want to deal with this sometime before I die of starvation,” he said dully. The cockpit of the goliath split open, and I jumped down.

“Sorry,” I said, “I’ve always wanted to do that.” Bane stood up and turned to Clem,

“Did you get rid of that seat like I asked?” Bane wanted to sit up front for a change, but the pilot’s seats were simply way too small for him.

“Yep,” Clem chuckled again, “Cut it out just for you!” he choked, still not fully recovered from his laughing fit. I was starting to wonder if he thought everything was a joke.

“Let’s go,” I said irritably. “The best of luck to you on yer mission!” he cackled as he walked to the control booth, opening the hanger launch door for us. Bane climbed into the back, dragging the goliath in with him. I flipped some switches and the engines came to life. The ramp swung closed Bane maneuvered over the pile of weapons and the goliath and came to sit next to me on a crate of rations.

“Ready?” I asked. Bane just nodded, so I gassed the engines and the dropship shot away, flying off towards the enemy compound.

“How?” Bane asked as he eyed the line of impenetrable bunkers and siege tanks, backed by missile turrets.

“I dunno,” I said, toying with the goggles I had; trying to figure out how to make the telescope vision work.

“But I’m sure something will come along sooner or later.”

“ I hope it shows up soon,” Bane complained while he popped calorie supplements like candy, “I hate these tasteless things!” Finally, I pressed the right button and the base flew to meet me in the goggles.

“Why did Mengsk send us here,” I said, studying the front line, “Nothing cloaked can get in or out in of this place in one piece-“

“Unless,” Bane interrupted, “They let you in.” I peeled the goggles off,

“What?” I asked. Bane only pointed at an ancient old salvage truck pulling out of the Base. They simply moved aside and let the truck through. It billowing up a cloud of dust and smoke as it rumbled up the dirt road towards us.

“Hmmm,” I said, thinking out loud, "We have to get the truck without damaging it, so we can't gun it down." Bane could only come up with ideas that would total it, so he had nothing to offer.

“I’ve got an idea,” I said finally, “Run out in front of it and they will stop.”

“Were did you ever come up with an idea like that?!” Bane exploded.

“I saw it in a cinematic scene once and it worked.” I got up and beckoned for Bane to follow me,

“In a what?” he asked reluctantly.

“A cinematic scene. A zergling ran out in front of this truck and got hit. They stopped and got out and were killed by the zerg. It can’t fail!” Bane sidled wearily up to the edge of the road,

“Okay,” he said watching the speeding semi. “But what happened to the zergling?” he asked at the last minute.

“Don’t worry about that, here it comes!” I said and jogged out of the road. Bane sighed and did as I said, staring into the headlights of the truck as it crested the last hill.

“I hate machines,” I heard Bane groan right before his face met the grill of the trucks radiator. The hydralisk snarled in surprise and pain as the truck smashed him out of the way, pieces of the grill and glass from the headlights flying everywhere. The truck screeched to a halt immediately and a lanky truck driver in a grey jumpsuit hopped out of the cab. He walked around to the front of his truck and whistled at the damage. Then he noticed Bane sprawled motionless in the road about 20 feet from his truck,

"Damn!!" he swore out loud. "That's the biggest one I've ever hit!" Bane looked more hurt than I thought he would get by being hit by a semi, so I jumped out of hiding and trained the drivers head in the sights of my side arm.

"Step away from the Hydralisk!" I yelled. The trucker flipped around and threw his hands in the air, "Don't shoot, man! I'm unarmed!"

"Good, then you won't be carrying much on your walk back to town." I said as I gave him a shove down the road. "

But it's 14 miles!" he complained.

"Then it sounds like you better get started." I said casually and fired a few rounds in the air. He got the idea and took off like a relay runner. Bane growled in pain on the road and I ran up to him. He looked up at me,

"Why did you say not to worry?!" he demanded, "Remind me never to stand in front of those things again!" I flipped my pack off my back and pulled out a fully charged TRA,

"This'll fix you up, just hang in there." The little gamma reactor started up and its white light flashed over Bane. He sighed with relief at first but then loosed a sharp snarl. He lurched on the ground and I could hear a large bone snapping back into place under the healing power of the TRA. I winched involuntarily at the sound,

"Ouch! What was that?" I asked.

"That was my spine, you infidel!" he groaned. The little gizmo shut itself off as Bane became fully healed. After a minute, he rolled over and got up.

"Next time, you're stopping the truck!" he snapped at me.

"Sorry," I said as we approached the semi, "Wait here and I'll go get our stuff." Bane watched me vanish into the dark trees by the road and, in a minute, I came hovering lazily out of them with our dropship. The noisy engines strained as I eased the ship onto the back of the flat-bedded truck. I cut the engines and hopped out of the truck. Walking up to the cab, I noticed the passenger side door was laying in the road, along with the seat. I looked up, and Bane was sitting comfortably in the cab, ready to go.

"I don't think you'll pass for a truck driver," I called up to him, "You'll hafta hide in back." The hydralisk grumbled and jumped out, moving to the back and climbing into the piles of rusted machinery. I jumped into the cab and started the sputtering diesel engine. Noticing a greasy hat and a tired pair of sunglasses on the visor, I put them on, hoping to look more truckerish. After making a giant three point turn, we started back toward the rebel base.

I couldn't help breaking out in a sweat as the siege tanks and bunkers came into view. I followed the road into the base and a marine stepped out and put his hand up for me to stop as I came to the bunkers.

"Back already?" he asked.

"Yeh," I said as casually as I could muster, "forgot to drop this tin can off." I pointed to the dropship in back. The marine leaned back and studied the ship for a minute before waving me through,

"Go ahead, they might want it for something." He stepped out of the way and I drove into the base. I kept following the road until I came close to the command center, were I parked the truck between a pair of supply depos. Leaving the engine running, I grabbed a clip board off the dash. I walked to the back of the truck and climbed in, trying my best to look genuine and check my fake clipboard often. I reached the dropship hatch and threw the useless paper to the ground as I opened the door. Grabbing a pair of cloak inhibitors and one of my new canister rifles, I found Bane huddled in with some of the machinery.

"We make it?" he asked quietly.

"Yep," I whispered, "But now we hafta find the advisor." Bane noticed the belts I held in my hand,

"More machines?" He guessed. "Right again," I reported and helped him put s cloak inhibitor on, and showed him how to turn it off and on.

"Its only one button, even you can use these!" I told him. He snorted and awkwardly pressed the cloaking button with the point of one scythe. Banes intimidating form slowly vanished before my eyes.

"Lets go," I said and he followed me to the back of the truck, were I jumped down. I heard Bane's weight hit the gravel behind me and we made our way across the Base to the command center, were they probably had the advisor locked away in the brig. We reached the command center and Bane tapped my shoulder.

"Shhhh!" he hissed at me, and I spotted an SCV approaching. We stood silently and watched the SCV use his key card to open the door. We darted in after him, nearly knocking him over because the door was closing again. He looked right at us with suspicious eyes, but never caught a glimpse of us thanks to the cloak inhibitors. He grumbled and moved on, and we watched him turn the next corner before discussing our plan.

"We don't have long on the inhibitors, so lets split up," I said.

"I'll go this way than," Bane said and started moving. I nodded, even though he couldn’t see it and he moved down another hall directly to the right. I went to the left and searched the next room. It should have been the brig, but these rebels had torn the command center apart and rebuilt it several times, so the room I looked into now was a break room. I tip-toed past the 6 marines lounging around and talking. I moved on and checked the next door, finding the can. The door after that was a utility closet. "

Man," I thought to myself, "This is going to be a long search."

Bane's search for the advisor was surprisingly short. He just smashed in the first door he came to and there she was, locked inside a crude little cage. She jumped out of her seat when the door to her cell crumpled up and fell off by itself. Bane moved into the room and she said,

"I know someone's there! Show yourself!" Bane's voice stole into her mind,

"I'm here to help-were going to get you out of here." She gasped and leaned against her bars,

"A telepath! Are you a ghost?" she asked with curiosity.

"No." Bane said simply as he approached her cage door. The expression on her face changed,

"Why do I get the impression that you're not human?" she asked with a failing voice.

"Because I'm not," Bane said with the same simple tone. With only a little snarl of effort, Bane tore the cage door off too. The advisor's eyes grew wide,

"I know a ghost can't do that-Show yourself!" she cried. Bane sighed,

"Are you sure you want-"

"Show your true form or I won't come with you," she interrupted. Bane couldn't think of any way to drag the advisor back to the truck with causing serious fatal injuries, so he finally gave in.

"Alright! Just keep your trap shut when I do. You could use this cloak inhibitor more than I could anyway." He found the belt for the inhibitor by touch and worked a scythe under it. He snapped the latch off easily and the cloaking field faded. The intimidating form of an over-grown Hydralisk nearly filled the room. Bane sighed as he watched the advisor's eyes roll back in her head. She gasped and fell over backwards unconscious. The hydralisk leaned down and shook the advisor gently with the flat edge of one scythe. She opened her eyes and screamed in Banes face. He jumped and hit his head on the ceiling before snapping at her,

"SHUT UP!! Your going to get the guards attention!" She ran out of breath, and so did her scream. She lay there panting for a minute and finally croaked,

"You're really here to help?" Bane held a scythe down for her to grab,

"Yes, we were sent by the emperor!" he said as he hoisted her to her feet.

"Mengsk?" she asked as she put the cloak inhibitor belt around her waist, "You should have said so in the first place! Let's go!" Bane nodded and stepped out of the door. Just as the advisor stepped out after him, the six marines I saw came jogging around the corner.

"Hey! How'd a zerg get in here?!" One of em yelled. They all raised their guns and took aim. Bane shoved the advisor out of the line of fire just before he was pelted with bullets from the marines. "Hey!" she yelled as she stumbled back into the her cell and guass rifles thundered in the hallway.

I started running as soon as I heard the shots going off. They were from the other side of the command center, so I had time to pull my canister rifle off my back and turn the safety off. I rounded the next corner and skid to a stop. Bane and the marines had been battling it out in the hall. The rebel marines had the jump on him and he had to fight through a hail of bullets to just reach the first one. The hydralisk managed to cut the first enemy down, but the remaining five marines stimmed up and the impaler rounds rained on him. Bane was growling with rage beneath the pounding shots, tearing into the next marine when I showed up. I swung the barrel of my gun up to the head of the nearest marine and closed my eyes. Blood splattered as the canister rifle belched fire and the marine dropped like a stone. One of the closest marines got the rebels' attention,

"A ghost! Cover the hall!" I hit the deck just before they all turned from Bane and swept the hall with their guns. Bullets whizzed over my head and bounced off the floor around me as I took a prone position, blowing some guys leg off while Bane came from behind another marine and crushed him brutally with both scythes. The last marine turned to Bane and fired for all he was worth. Bane snarled and approached him, taking the bullets head on. The marine started backing away, but I stood up and smashed him in the back of the head with the stock of my gun, knocking him out cold.

"You shoulda-" Bane stopped in mid sentence to spit out a few well-aimed impaler rounds, "let me kill him," he finished.

"He didn't stand a chance anyway," I confessed. Then I noticed, for the first time, that Bane's cloak inhibitor was gone.

"Where’d your cloak go?" I asked. He pointed to the cell,

"I gave it to the advisor, she needs it more than I do." I leaned into the cell,

"Let's go, they'll find this mess soon and then they'll be after some answers." The advisor was huddled in the corner and spoke up,

"You're with the emperor too?" She asked.

"Yeah, we gotta move!" She got up and we hurried down the hallway back to the front door.

"I'll escort the advisor back to the ship first, then I'll bring an inhibitor back for you. Can you hold your own here for a minute?" I asked Bane. He nodded,

"Go ahead, just hurry back."

"Cloak on," I said to the advisor and she pressed the button on her belt. She vanished in the thin air and I opened the door, which doesn't lock from the inside. I was glad for the cloak inhibitors because we passed quite a few patrolling guards on the way. We made it to the truck safely and I let her hide in the dropship in the back, so I could take the cloak inhibitor. I made my way back to the command center and Bane was still there, although roughed up a little more.

"What happened?" I asked as I helped him put the cloak belt on.

"Another pair of terrans came through," he said simply and gestured over one shoulder to another slaughter in the hallway. Bane disappeared and we left the command center behind, shutting the door behind us. I was also happy for the coming of night, because the blood trail that Bane left wasn't going to be invisible. The truck came into view, and Bane climbed in the back again. I jumped up to the cab and put on the hat and sunglasses again. Turning the cloak inhibitor off, I put the idling truck in gear and pulled out of my hiding spot. I saw a patrolling marine find a bloodspot on the ground with his suit lights in my rear view mirror. I hit the gas a little more as he began to follow the trail to the command center. I gulped as the siege tanks and bunkers came into view again. The same marine stepped out and I stopped again. He came around to the window and said,

"That was fast, what happened?" I shrugged,

"Boss said he didn't want it." The marine smirked and said,

"That's typical," as he waved me through. I drove through the blockade and sighed with relief as we got out of range of the devastating siege tanks. Bane sent me a message through the cab of the truck,

"I think we got caught," I looked in the mirror and almost ran off the road as 4 vultures blew by the lumbering truck. They stopped in the road in front of us and fired their fragmentation grenade launchers. Explosions rocked the dirt road as I swerved around, trying to dodge some of the shots. They fired again and I cut the wheel back to the left. Two shots missed, but one hit low on the right side, blowing the tires and suspension out. Another hit the front grill squarely and the engine erupted into a fireball.

"Time to go!" I said and climbed out of my window into the bed of the truck, letting it coast right off the road.

"In the ship, lets go!" I said hastily to Bane and opened the hatch. We hit the bed hard as the truck jumped the ditch into the trees. Then the dropship slid forward as the truck smashed into a big tree, stopping dead. I got up with a groan and stumbled into the ship, letting Bane in then closing the hatch and powering up the engines. The vultures pulled up the road and faced the truck, aiming their grenade launchers. "Hold on to something!" I warned everyone before I hit the throttle. The vultures fired as we blew out of the back of the truck. The truck exploded into a mushroom cloud as we zoomed over the vultures, knocking the pilots out of their seats. We gained altitude and the vultures followed along for a while, but a cliff finally stopped their pursuit all together. Silence reigned in the humming dropship all the way back to the capitol.

Rain streaked down the three long windows as Mengsk sat behind his desk, having a fierce conversation with the Rebel commander on the holophone.

"I'm only gonna say this one last time, Mandelle. All I'm offering is a truce. As you already know, my team has extracted your last remaining bargaining chip. So the choice should be simple." A tall, highly decorated officer in a rebel uniform talked on the holoscreen,

"You lead a tough deal, Mengsk, but I don't see any other choice."

"So we have an agreement, then?" Mengsk asked with a malevolent tone.

"Alright, you win. Bring us the cerebrate and I'll give you control of the renegade swarms." Mengsk leaned back in his chair, sighing heavily,

"I'm glad you see things from my point of view now, Mandelle! Send me the location of your nearest facility and I'll have the cerebrate sent to you as soon as it returns."

"The co-ordinance is on the way, Mengsk, we'll be ready and waiting for him." The emperor put his finger on the power button of the holophone and said, "Please do have a formidable defense, Mandelle. The ghost won't be hard to deal with, but this hydralisk can be a dangerously resourceful fighter." The Rebel commander started to say something else, but Mengsk cut the screen off and his picture faded away. Mengsk turned, facing the windows again and started laughing quietly to himself. The laugh rose in volume and became hysterical as a single dropship ventured the rain and brought his newest weapon closer and closer.

To be continued...


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