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Bane 7: Vile Betrayal
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Created and written by the immortal deadfast
 
The ship bay on the huge dominion building opened by itself when we drew near. A pounding thunderstorm had blown in and the rain buffeted our ship around as I maneuvered into the hangar. After the curtain of water streaming over the door was parted by the windshield of the ship, I spotted four MP's standing in the Hangar. The landing gear swung down as I cut the engines and the ship hit the floor with a satisfying metallic thud. I flipped the switch that opened the cargo door and one of the MP's shut the hangar door behind us. Jumping down from the pilots hatch to join Bane and the Advisor at the rear of the ship, I threw my hand up in salute to the MP's and they returned it.
 
"Specialist Charley Daniels reporting in," I said, "Mission successful."
 
"Well done, we'll take the advisor from here." One of them said and two MP's and the advisor we just saved walked away, leaving the remaining MP's with us. One of them spoke up when the MP's and the advisor were out of the room.
 
"The emperor is prepared to speak to you, follow us to the office."
 
"Wait!" I said, "Again? We just finished a mission-we don't get a little break?" One of them sighed,
 
"You'll have to take that up with Mengsk. All we know is that he ordered us to escort you to the office immediately following your arrival. Now, are you gonna follow us peaceably or do we hafta drag you up there?" Bane began a deep growl behind me, taking the MP's off handed comment as a threat.
 
"Don't get yourselves hurt," I warned them with a sneer, "We're coming." They turned and led the way out of the Hangar to the elevator we used last time. After a quick ride to the top; they followed us all the way to the wooden double doors, stopping just outside as we went in. The office was dark and gloomy. The three great windows flared with light as thunder clapped outside. A single desk lamp showed the Emperor to be hard at work on some important looking papers. We approached the desk and he looked up, taking his reading glasses off,
 
"Gentlemen! Extraordinary job saving the advisor! A whole army of Marines couldn't have done any better-"
 
"Where’s my food?" Bane interrupted. Mengsk laughed out loud, his voice echoing through the expanse of his office.
 
"All in due time, my hungry friend, we have important matters to discuss." Bane snarled irritably and Mengsk continued, "I know you have just returned from a vigorous mission, but your services are needed now more than ever. The Rebel factions have become outraged with the recovery of the Advisor. They have banded together and are actively engaging Dominion cities, but we were lucky enough to intercept one of their latest transmissions. It appears the rebels are planning an attack on the Capitol, and are already on the way with multiple troops. The local militia can handle the invaders in most cases, but we are outnumbered on the southwest side of the city. I need you to take my personal militia and lead them to ambush the incoming rebel convoys before they reach the-"
 
"I won't listen to another word if you don't come off with my food!" Bane snarled. The emperor laughed again; I even snickered a little under my breath.
 
"Alright, alright!" Mengsk gave in, reaching out and hitting the button on his holophone. In a minute, a high pitched voice rang out from it,
 
"Yes, sir?" Mengsk leaned forward and spoke calmly,
 
"Bring me a second dinner, Philis."
 
"Another 18 ounce well done?" the holophone asked.
 
"No," Mengsk said, studying Bane for a minute, "You'd better bring the whole rack." The voice in the holophone stuttered,
 
"A whole rack?! Are you serious?"
 
"I won't ask again," Mengsk said impatiently.
 
"Yessir!!" the holophone croaked before shutting off.
 
"What's a whole rack?" Bane asked me quietly while Mengsk argued with his secretary.
 
"If you like military issue hamburger and the critters on Char-you'll like this." I assured him. Then the emperor started spouting boring details about our mission again,
 
"The troops are already en route to escort you to the ambush site. You have one hour before the strike force arrives, the best of luck to you both."

     We didn't have much time to rest. While Bane wolfed down his food, I snagged a new Canister rifle with some lockdown rounds from the stockade. When I came back, the bay doors were open and the storm pounded outside. Bane was in front of the door, waiting on the dropship that approached slowly in the driving winds.
 
“I hate machines,” he muttered as I came to stand next to him, staring at our lumbering escort.

     The ride in the dropship was awkward, just us sitting in the back while someone else flew. We took a strange route out of the colony, far past where I thought the city limits were.
 
“That’s odd,” I said, staring out the view port at the dark desert scene below, "It looks like were way past the city limits." It was still very dark outside, but the rain had slowed down considerably. I The pilot had a set of headphones on with a microphone and a message broke through the static. He listened for a minute and, turning around, he said,
 
“We’re here! On your toes, boys!” I looked out the window again, but it was impossible to distinguish anything except our height above the ground and some dull canyon walls that grew around us as we descended. The rear cargo hatch slid open and the sounds of gunfire and explosions wafted in with the cool night air. I sighed and jumped 5 feet to the ground because the dropship pilot wouldn’t come down any closer. Bane hit the dirt next to me and I took my first look around. We were in a canyon with steep rock walls on either side. A rough road ran straight down the middle of this canyon, leading behind us to town and down the canyon somewhere in front of us. As I looked back towards the city, I noticed the lights of more drop ships approaching. They slowed overhead and descended the way our ship did, letting the troops spill out the back door before taking off again. I counted thirty marines, a dozen siege tanks and 6 upgraded goliaths that spewed from the ships.
 
“Who are they?” Bane asked.
 
“Must be the private militia Mengsk was talking about.” I answered, listening to the sounds of a fierce battle not so far down the canyon. Marines were shouting orders and the siege tanks moved out.
 
“I think we better go with em,” I said and Bane and I hurried to catch up with the troops. I jogged out in front of a siege tank to the squad of marines. They didn’t stop running as I started to ask questions,
 
“Were we headed?” I asked. The squad leader spoke up without breaking his stride,
 
“Got a group of hostiles advancing on the front line, escorting the convoy and comsats indicate reinforcements closing in on the right flank.” We came to a slope in the canyon, were the river that once flowed through it carved deep into the earth, making the canyon walls loom even higher above us. The ground sloped down and the sounds of battle drew close. Then, the siege tanks stopped abruptly and went into siege mode. Marines around us stimmed up and I said to Bane,
 
“This is it! Are you ready?” He had been silently observing the entire scene and watching the canyons walls carefully the entire trip, not offering any conversation.
 
“I don’t like this,” he said finally, starting to follow me as the marines charged,
 
“Something doesn’t seem right.” I nodded and picked up the pace, Bane followed carefully behind. I could vaguely see the enemy line over the light of the burning buildings. Machine guns were going off and bullets pelted the ground around our feet.
 
“What’s going on?” Bane asked frantically behind me. I looked back over my shoulder and the marines had stopped, letting us go out ahead. Bane had stopped too and faced them, and turned back to find the rebel forces were lined up behind too, as they all took aim at us. The machine guns were silent and everything stopped . Suddenly, the ground around us lit up like broad daylight as multiple spotlights illuminated the canyon from the enemy side and ours. Strangely enough for a battle field, silence reigned for a few seconds save for the roaring flames of the burning bunkers. We could clearly see the 30 marines in front of us, who had their rifles trained on Bane and I. The siege tanks were behind them, barrels posed to fire. Our own goliaths were facing us with 30mm auto cannons ready. Behind us, the enemy had forces of their own targeting us as well; marines, bunkers and more siege tanks lined the wide stone trail on the other side of us. I heard a roar of engines, and 9 wraiths soared over the canyon walls, swooping in low over us and coming to a hover 50 above our heads with laser batteries charged. We were surrounded on all sides, there was no escape.
 
“This doesn’t look good,” I said out loud as I heard guns cocking and hydraulic motors of the machines whining around us. Bane started snarling involuntarily at this new threat.
 
“Wait,” I said, “There are too many, you can't fight them all!" I knew Bane heard me, but his fighter instinct wouldn’t let him go down peaceably, and he continued growling.
 
“So!” a familiar voice with a thick southern accent boomed. We both whipped around in time to see a man in a power suit striding close to us, fearlessly stepping into range of our siege tanks and marines.
 
“The sole surviving cerebrate! I can hardly believe the sight of this. A hydralisk-Who would have guessed?” As he drew near, I recognized him as none other than the emperor himself. Rage welled up in my throat,
 
“What’s the deal, Mengsk?!” I exploded, “You bring us out here to be ambushed by the rebels and our own army?” Mengsk threw his head back and laughed,
 
“Really? What would make you think that?" the emperor sighed,
 
"Okay, you caught me, come along and you might live. Although, if you resist, I will allow the use of this deadly force,” he said, gesturing to the troops that surrounded us. Mengsk continued,
 
“All we want is the hydralisk, these kind rebels have some important business to conduct with-“ Bane roared, interrupting him,
 
“MENGSK!! You’ll pay for this!!”
 
“Will I?” The emperor asked sarcastically, “I think not. You see, my friend, you are the last remaining key to total dominance in this galaxy. Now, just throw down your weapons and come along-“
 
“I’ll die fighting before you capture me!” Bane raged with clenched teeth. Mengsk started backing up towards the safety of the siege tanks and goliaths and kept talking,
 
“Son, if you don’t cooperate on your own, I’m afraid we’ll have to force some cooperation…” he trailed off, letting the gleaming gun barrels finish for him. I looked to Bane,
 
"What can we do against all this?" He shot me a quick look,
 
"If I am captured, your mortal worlds are doomed," I nodded, knowing what Bane would do, regardless of what the odds were-he would fight, even if he couldn't win.
 
"I'm only gonna say this one more time," Mengsk began again. Bane raised his scythes, snarling terribly. I knew he wouldn't go down without taking a few enemies with him, so I decided that I would share his fate and die fighting alongside my friend. My hands began shaking violently as I loaded the first lockdown round into my canister rifle. The emperor started a countdown,
 
"I'll give you to the count of five to drop your weapons and surrender: One...Two..." I turned on my cloak inhibitor and vanished beside the hydralisk. Mengsk managed to get to three before Bane lunged. The battle field exploded with the thunderous blasts of the machine guns as Bane went straight for Mengsk. I hit the dirt as bullets whizzed over my head and sent up little tufts of dirt as some shots just barely missed me. I carefully brought my canister rifle up and fired the lockdown round at the closest goliath. It was gunning away at Bane with its auto cannons when it suddenly stopped short, falling over as electrical energy covered it and shorted its circuits. I fired another, stopping a tank in its tracks, before switching to C-10 rounds. Bane was nearly within firing range of the emperor when I began picking off marines one at a time. In spite of the heavy load of bullets that Bane took head-on, he managed to open his chest cavity and get a few shots at the emperor. I heard Mengsk yell in pain and surprise as one of the hydralisks's shots hit its mark. Picking off marines, I saw Mengsk shout an order to his siege tanks while trying to stop the blood from running down one arm. The powerful blasts of the siege tank's arcilite cannons shook the ground under me and the recoil could be heard over every gauss rifle and machine gun. Luckily, most of the shots fell just short of the hydralisk, setting the earth on fire and scorching it with their fiery shockwaves, but one shot hit him directly. I could hear Bane's wail of pain as the shell hit him squarely in the chest. I lost sight of my friend as the scolding flames completely engulfed him, burning him alive and crushing carapace with the force of the explosion. Bane came stumbling backwards out of the fireball, nearly flying, and the tanks fired again. The rebel side fired with the Dominion forces and the poorly aimed arcilite blasts shattered the ground around him. I had to look away as he was hit again. This time, two shots hit him directly, one from the dominion side and one from the rebels. The twin crimson explosions pummeled him with their ripping flames. I actually saw pieces of smoldering carapace fly out of the inferno as Bane's cry was muffled by the devastating firestorm. With the exception of my thumping canister rifle, the battle field grew silent as the smoke and fire cleared. I stopped firing and watched the scene unfold. My mouth hung open as Bane's smoldering form became visible again. Somehow, he was still standing; bleeding and scorched all over; favoring a dislocated arm with the other scythe. Mengsk gave another gruff order and the machine guns started again. He could only snarl weakly, weaving under the hundreds of raining bullets before finally collapsing. He fell over backwards and the firing stopped slowly. The troops, Rebel and dominion, encircled him with gauss rifles pointed down, and closed in on him. I swung my canister rifle up to the closest marine and pulled the trigger, but only an disappointing click met my ears. I could do nothing but watch as they got near. Bane was still writhing on the ground, a mass of bloody carapace and torn flesh. The hydralisk was still alive though, and fought capture with everything it had left. The foolish marines got close and Bane managed a few swings with his scythes, taking one guys leg off and stabbing someone else in the foot. The marines went into an uproar and mercilessly opened fire again, blasting Bane into the ground with bullets. If he lived, I could have waited until an opportunity came up for me to attempt a rescue, but I lost my head and dove at one of the marines killing my helpless friend. He yelled to his comrades as something invisible tackled him to the ground. I smashed his face with the stock of my canister rifle in rage, busting his nose and mouth wide open. He screamed and held his face with his hands as I got up and used my gun like a bat on the next marine. He took the blow head-on and toppled into the group of enemies. Recovering from the surprise attack, they turned and opened fire in my general direction. I tried to run, but my legs exploded in pain, causing me to trip and fall. The troops stopped firing as a dropship approached from the rebel side. I could do nothing but lay in the dirt and try not to scream with the pain. I tried to get up as they dragged Bane's limp form into the dropship and began marching south, down the canyon, but I could only struggle a few steps before my legs collapsed beneath me. The dropship lifted off and the canyon slowly became deserted, with the exception of Mengsk and about 8 marines, who stayed behind. They were pretty close, so I could hear the conversation over my own panting breath,
 
"I know he's here somewhere," Mengsk said, "Although I highly doubt it, the kid may be able to interfere with my plans," I winched as I tried to drag myself away. Mengsk continued, "I know a cloak inhibitor doesn’t last forever, so when he reappears, take care of him." The marines chuckled amongst themselves and Mengsk turned, following the convoy south.

Silence and darkness reigned as I watched the marines standing above me. I had a little time to think, despite the pain and the impeding doom buzzing around me in the form of 8 guass rifles. There was no way out of this. The cloak inhibitor would run out of power and they will kill me. I couldn't hope to run away, my legs could barely sustain dragging me into a sitting position against a rock. They had Bane, for whatever strange reason, and Mengsk had won. The marines seemed to draw in closer to me as I watched the last few digits of power click away on the inhibitor belt. All too soon, the cloak failed and my blood soaked body was suddenly visible. They walked up to me, and one of the marines spoke,
 
"You fought bravely, kid, but you fought for the wrong side." They raised their rifles and I squeezed my eyes shut, waiting for the bullets to rip into me. No mighty scythe would save me now, no terrifying growl would crack the still air. Instead, I heard a different sound: a sort of "Woosshink!" sound of psionic blades on throats came to my ears. I opened my eyes to see the marines heads popping one by one. They turned and tried to flee before the invisible assassins, but none of them made it more than ten feet before toppling forward onto the rock. I stared up at the thin air that had slain my assassins,
 
"Who..What?" I stuttered. A voice came to my mind, breaking in the way Bane's voice does,
 
"It does not matter who we are," The voice was deep and aged, but sounded far more intelligent than I ever thought possible. The dust shifted oddly around me as four dark forms slowly faded into my view. I gasped, never having seen a dark templar up close before. They were protoss alright, but different from any other. These wore no armor, only the tribal robes and tattered cloths of the Khala protected them. They only carried one psionic blade apiece, but they were modified to be lighter and more powerful than any common zealot blade. They looked down at me, all four of them, and the one in the middle spoke up again,
 
"We watched the emperor betray you." I sat up against a boulder, grunting with the effort of motion,
 
"Yeah," I managed to say, "And Mengsk took Bane, but why?" The templar kept glancing at the puddle of blood that was slowly spreading from my legs,
 
"There will be time for explanations later," he said as two of his comrades shut their blades down and grabbed my shoulders. They easily lifted me off my feet, carrying me by the arms. "We've never had to heal a terran before, but I believe we could manage," he trailed off as the templar hauled me away.

     It was strange being in a protoss base. It wasn't really much of a base either; just a net of photon cannons and a shield battery filled the small rocky alcove hidden in the canyon wall. The templar couldn't heal as well as a trusty medic, but I could use my legs again. Another thing I noted about the protoss right away was how quickly they got down to business. No idling talking, no eating, no lazing around-none of the weaknesses of a terran army. As soon as I was healed, the discussion began again,
 
"They took the cerebrate because it is the only remaining key to controlling the broods," one of them started. I was trying to rub some feeling back into my numb legs and looked up,
 
"How would you know?" I asked. The templar looked nearly insulted when he answered,
 
"We templar have acutely tuned psionic abilities-we can read thoughts."
 
"Can you tell what I'm thinking, then?" I asked. The templar's eyes glowed as he squinted them, staring at me for a minute.
 
"No," he finally said, "I cannot gauge them correctly when you hide them so, but your emperor was not so careful. The Terran left its thoughts to broadcast over the entire canyon-it is how we found you." I nodded, stowing that little bit of information away in the back of my mind,
 
"How will they take control of the swarms with a hydralisk?"
 
"Not just a hydralisk," he corrected, "A cerebrate-Kerrigan's cerebrate!" I only gave him a confused look and went back to work on my leg while he explained,
 
"Long ago, the queen of blades noticed that the swarms were defeated too easily because their leaders were nothing more than defenseless worms, incapable of fighting back when enemies drew near. So Kerrigan chose her strongest, most versatile unit, the hunter-killer, to be her cerebrate. But upon bestowing a hunter killer with the powers of a cerebrate, she consequently gave it a free will as well. The creature saw Kerrigan’s dark design for the evil plan it truly was and rebelled. The cerebrate then cast its swarms back at Kerrigan and a huge battle ensued, even though it was out numbered by the queen's massive army. The hunter-killer's army was decimated, but the cerebrate escaped before she could destroy him." I nodded, but I still had more questions,
 
"But what good is a cerebrate to Mengsk?" The templar thought a minute before answering,
 
"Couldn't the emperor use your crude terran technology to build an army, as the UED did with overmind?"
 
"You're right, that's probably why the rebels were there, too!" I said, jumping to my feet. "This has to be stopped!"
 
"Agreed," said the Templar next to me, reaching into his robes and pulling out something boxy and metallic. "I found the terran marines carrying these primitive weapons-perhaps you could make some use of them," he said, handing me the guass rifle of a fallen marine.
 
"Thanks," I said, "But why did you guys rescue me in the first place?"
 
"Because," answered another templar, "The cerebrate is a powerful enemy, and with you along he may give in peaceably. It is...odd: in all my centuries on the battle field, I have never seen such a bond in so merciless a creature. It fights to protect you...." the templar trailed off again, not finishing the statement. His head snapped back up after a minute, "We must go, our time is short." The other templar were already standing by, ready to leave.
 
"Once we have recovered the beast, we shall ensure the safety of our race and yours and rid ourselves of the Zerg menace forever; the creature must be destroyed to end the Zerg swarms for good."
 
"What?!" I interrupted, stopping short and swinging my rifle up to the face of the templar who spoke last.
 
"Bane," I shouted at him, "has saved my life and the lives of countless others many times over," I jerked the bolt back on the gauss rifle, "And I won't let you or anyone else threaten him." The Protoss stood up to its full height, easily a foot or two above my head, and spoke with slitted eyes,
 
"Either you help us on our terms," all four templar then activated their crackling psionic blades, "Or you'll share 'Bane's' fate." I studied the stern looks on the faces of the templar around me and considered my situation. The last time I lost my head, I got my legs nearly blown off. These templar wouldn't have any trouble dispatching one head-strong, over aggressive terran ghost; maybe they could get into the rebel compound safely. If so, then who said I have to hang around and follow orders? I could use them to get inside the compound and then break away to find Bane on my own.
 
"Alright!" I lied, "I suppose it's better than Mengsk or the Rebels controlling the Zerg." I lowered my gauss rifle and the templar seemed to relax again. The tense atmosphere passed and the protoss turned abruptly from me, walking out of the small base.
 
"We have wasted enough time," was all the warning I got to move out. I checked the safety on my gauss rifle and jogged to catch up.

"Genetic decoding and transfer complete," droned the computers artificial voice. They had to bring the cerebrate back via dropship. 6 marines had to pack in with him; it took every bit of their strength to hold it down the entire trip. Upon arrival, a short battle ensued and they had to subdue it again with endless amounts of ammunition and a truck load of tranquilizers. But things were back under control again and they finally had the beast contained in the criotank. Mengsk stood next to the rebel commander and stared at the battered hydralisk floating unconscious in the cell. The powerful neurostim drugs kept Bane in a deep sleep as he healed slowly in the sterilized chemicals of the tank.
 
"How much longer?!" asked Mengsk impatiently, "I want control, Now!!" The commander stalked away, getting the attention of the scientists and engineers hovering around the tank with clipboards and gadgets. In a minute, he came back to Mengsk with some sheets of paper containing a rough summary of the scientists' progress and discoveries.
 
"Height," Began the rebel commander, "9 foot, 11 inches, weight 384 pounds, 12 ounces" the rebel commander whistled sarcastically, "Species is a unique Cerebrate-Hydralisk Hybrid-"
 
"Just get to the bottom line, Mandelle." Mengsk interrupted. The commander continued after flipping through a few pages,
 
"The neuroscan is complete and the cloning should commence soon. Once we have the cerebrate clones, we should be able to merge them into your overmind. From there, it's only a matter of time before you can build a formidable Zerg army."
 
"That's more like it!" Mengsk laughed, rubbing his hands together. "Get me a copy of his genetics, I don’t want to lose them now," the emperor demanded. As Mandelle turned and began typing furiously at a keyboard, a marine entered the chamber and brought the emperor a message.
 
"Sir?" he asked. "What is it?! Can't you see I'm busy?" Mengsk snapped irritably.
 
"Y-Yessir!" stuttered the marine, "The delta squad hasn't reported in for over an hour now, and we haven’t been able to raise them on the comsat."
 
"Very well," Mengsk sighed, "Send someone out to check on them. There's no way that half-dead ghost with no gun could have stopped eight armed marines."

The rebel compound was built into a giant rock wall at the end of the canyon, where a water fall had once thundered over the cliffs high above. A single, great blast door was all that guarded the entrance-no armed guards, no siege tanks, and thankfully-no detectors.
 
"I sense no threat-it is safe." The templar said next to me. I heard the others' quick words of agreement and we stepped out of our cover behind a giant boulder. My cloak inhibitor had partially recharged and I turned it on as we got closer to the entrance. The door itself was huge-like nothing I had ever seen before. The steel was immeasurably thick and the door was so wide and tall you could have maneuvered a hovering command center through it. A large, covered light was glowing red above the door, indicating that it was locked up tight. I realized, suddenly, that this was one of those fallout shelters built long ago during the Nuclear Wars.
 
"This is your technology, Terran. How do we get inside?" asked one of the templar, tapping the thick steel with one fist.
 
"Look around for a control panel," was all I could say. We walked back and forth in front of the door and even down the sides of the compound to the edge of the rock walls. Nothing. We regrouped in front of the door.
 
"It must be opened from the inside," I finally announced with a tone of defeat. Just as I finished my sentence the big light above the door suddenly switched colors, changing to an aged hue of green. A red, rotating lighted started spinning and the canyon seemed to split open as the door slowly opened. The dark templar and I moved to the edge of the door, waiting to see what would happen. As the door crawled up, the sound of machines buzzing and people talking drifted outside.
 
"As soon as you find out what those idiots are up to, give me a call!" boomed a gruff voice. Another voice called back with the sounds of a vulture engine revving to life,
 
"Shut up, Joey! I'll be right back."
 
"Now is our chance, GO!" came the psychic message behind me. The vulture zoomed out of the door, a plume of dust rising in its wake as it took off up the canyon. We ducked inside as the door started to close again, the morning sun disappearing behind the steel and rock wall. Once my eyes adjusted to the dim light, I could take a look around. The room we were in was like a scrap yard. Pieces and parts of siege tanks, dropships, wraiths and vultures were everywhere. A few greasy mechanics were huddled over an unfamiliar looking piece of equipment and three more ran SCV's, welding frames for what looked to be a pair of tanks. Two marines guarded the door that led into the rest of the compound. A small, boxy devise was mounted above the door-a detector. We were at the other side of the room, but couldn't move near the door without being seen. Watching the noisy SCV's grind away on the frames, I got an idea. I whipped the guass rifle up and took the best aim I could manage with the clumsy sights. Wishing I had a nice, silenced canister rifle with a zooming scope, I squeezed the trigger gently, firing a single round at the cloak sensor mounted above the door. The rifle responded with a healthy "BLAM!" and the impaler round found its target, shattering the box off the ceiling. The marines jumped and turned around, looking at the detector laying in the hallway in pieces,
 
"Oh shit!" I heard one of them say.
 
"Let's go," I said quickly and the Templar followed me through the large hangar to the door. One marine had run to a panel on the wall and was calling for backup, the other was in the hallway, sweeping his gun left and right nervously. I was just going to walk right by the them but the templar didn't want to take any chances. I heard a psionic blade crackle to life and a muffled gargle soon followed, and then another as the templar dispatched both the guards. I turned and they followed me down the hall which widened into a huge vaulted room divided by glass cubicles with tables covered by chemistry equipment and computers. I even noticed a few huge criotanks in the corners. Scientists in white lab coats worked behind the tables; marines were among them, pacing around with guns at the ready. A Templar had wandered over to one of the criotanks and peered through the green glass,
 
"Adun, what foul plot is this?!" He got everyone’s attention and soon we were all standing amongst the scientists who gawked at the creature inside and watched the instrument panels spout numbers. I squinted through the translucent tube and gasped at what I saw. It was one of the cerebrates that controlled the Zerg. It looked like a fat, slimy worm floating in dirty water to me, but what it meant was terrible. If Mengsk could clone cerebrates, there would be no end to his control over the swarms and he would completely dominate the sector with two armies at his command.
 
"This cannot be allowed..." said one of the templar, reactivating his blade. The other templar agreed and I backed up a little, eyeing the marines that patrolled the room amongst the scientists. The criotank was bubbling away, incubating the growing cerebrate when the closest templar ripped the machine wide open with his blade of light. The water inside gushed out onto the floor and the templar began decimating the computers and smashing the glass tubes of chemicals off the tables. The scientists yelled and fled as the criotank sparked and burst into flames, and the marines came pouring in from everywhere. The dark templar moved through the confused ranks of the marines and began cutting them down, one by one. The marines fired in all directions, and the dark templar’s blue plasma shields appeared and vanished again as they absorbed the bullets. But once they were shot and visible for a split second, more marines would take up the target, making them all the more visible. It was chaos; guns were going off and echoing loudly off the rock walls and marines were yelling orders and screaming in pain when they let a dark templar get too close. The marines' numbers started to dwindle until the sounds of heavy boots pounding on rock floors could be heard through the gunfire and screams. Firebats emerged by the pair from a central door at the other end of the room, charging for the Dark templar. It was here I thought about making my escape and finding Bane amidst the chaos. I took a quick glance at the Templar surrounded by hostile terrans and turned on the scene to find Bane, running through the biggest door in sight. Jogging down the hallway, I hoped my sense of direction was right. Bane would require only the largest of passages, so the large hallway looked reassuring as it flashed by. When I came abruptly to another glass wall, with a thick, air-tight glass door, I tried to peer through the glass, but the wire netting running through it distorted the view. Trying the handle, and finding it locked, I used my guass rifle to blow the glass out of the door. It was bulletproof, so it took nearly the rest of my clip to blow a hole in it large enough for my hand. I reached through and opened the door from the inside, kicking the glass shards out of my way as I walked in. Just as the door shut behind me, the glass wall exploded. Marines jumped up from hiding spots behind tables, gunning at the invisible intruder that just walked in. I dove, landing hard on my stomach on the other side of the hall as bullets whizzed by, clipping the walls and shattering the glass behind me. I crawled forward, until I was out of the line of fire some, and began returning fire, pelting marines as they stood up to make their shots. A marine yelled as he went down in my hail of bullets and I heard a familiar voice. The emperor shot past the marines to a door at the other end of the room, yelling for the marines to follow him. They fired fiercely down the hall, keeping me behind cover until the last one had filed through the door after Mengsk, and then the door slammed shut with a metallic clang. The sudden silence was odd, even the battle outside had died down some. I got up carefully and walked over to the large tank in the center of the room. This tank was clear-I could see right through it: a hydralisk was floating inside with a breather over its mouth. It was huge, it filled the tank, and had long, deadly scythes that hung motionlessly by its sides. This was definitely Bane. Just as I lifted my rifle up to blast the glass out of the criotank, a cold hand grabbed the back of my neck, lifting me off my feet. An angry psionic voice pierced my mind,
 
"I warned you before! You left us to die so you could save the impure one, now you shall share his fate!" The templar slung me backwards against a table, knocking the glass tubes and bottles onto the floor. I yelled as I hit the table and fired my rifle at him, even though he still had a tight grip on my throat. The bullets pelted his plasma shield and he activated his blade, slashing the weapon in two. It fell out of my hands in pieces and I yelped as he held the blade at my throat. Whether it was the drugs wearing off, or my desperate cry that woke Bane, I would never know. But wake he did as I saw him over the shoulder of the templar. His eyes snapped open and the breather came off his mouth with a spray off bubbles as the water muffled his outraged snarl. Just as death was so close I could feel the heat of the modified blade, Bane reared both scythes back and shattered the walls of his glass prison. The liquid inside gushed out onto the floor, sweeping the templar off his feet. He fell over backwards and dropped me on the stone as Bane came through the glass, jumping to the floor, growling angrily. I rolled away from the templar and got to my feet, coughing from the templar's grip on my throat. The Protoss nearly missed being impaled to the floor as Bane lunged for a stab at the enemy. He rolled to his feet, but was covered in the wet chemicals of the criotank, and the clinging liquid made cloaking inaffective. They went at each other and the templar's psionic cry of surprise cracked the air as the hydralisk took a wicked slash to the shoulder and kept coming. Bane overpowered the smaller enemy, smashing him around, draining his plasma shields. The templar stumbled back from the attacks and Bane lunged in, swinging a scythe wide. The blue plasma shield flashed, lighting the room in crackling protest as the templar was knocked to the floor from the blow. He practically slid into the criotank and Bane lunged for the kill.
 
"STOP!!" I yelled, and Bane pinned the templar by the throat instead of disemboweling him,
 
"Why should this...Protoss live?!" Bane snapped. The templar's eye's glowed fiercely, but he couldn’t move or it would have been the last thing he ever did.
 
"Because," I said calmly, "If it wasn't for them I would be dead, they deserve the same in return." Bane growled in his opponents face, and the templar returned his death cold stare a minute before Bane shoved him and let go. The templar got up slowly and shut his psionic blade down. I continued,
 
"And we may need all the help we can get, it was too easy getting in here. Were are all the troops from the-" Right on cue, the sounds of gunfire and explosions echoed suddenly from the other room.
 
To Be Continued...
 
 

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