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Bane 8: Bad Gets Worse
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Created and written by the immortal deadfast

"We can escape through the back door," I said hastily as the sounds grew.

"Not without my brethren," interrupted the dark templar, taking off before I could say anything else. I watched the fleeting templar open his psionic blade and disappear around the corner, past the broken glass wall and sighed,

"Let's go help him."

"Yes, let us go," Bane growled, following me as I took off, scooping up the barrel of my broken guass rifle.

"I wouldn’t have guessed you would be so quick to help a protoss," I said over my shoulder as we covered the short distance down the hall.

"I'm not thrilled about it, but I owe the dominion marines a little favor for that ambush." Stepping through the busted frame of the old glass wall, I checked the energy on my cloak inhibitor: 22 units of power. I would be cutting it close again. I rounded the last corner and gasped at the scene before me. The marines were flooding in, surrounding the protoss. There were originally 4 dark templar standing and fighting, but two had fallen under the extreme hail of bullets that spewed from the mob of soldiers. The two were slumped down against the wall, trying to stop the flow of blue blood from their wounds. The other two were nobly defending their fallen comrades, holding the whole squad back with whirling psionic blades. They took down marines by the pair but it wasn't fast enough. The guass rifles chattered and the templar became visible as their blue shields were pelted again and again. One templar loosed a psionic scream as its shields gave under the raining bullets. I charged into the room and Bane was on my heels, snarling in challenge to the marines.

The marines had almost won, the Protoss were finally going down but a blood curdling snarl came from behind them. They turned from the templar, a deadly mistake, and attempted to stop the beast that raged toward them. I dove before they let their rifles rip, tackling a marine to the ground as they shot Bane. The marine fell and I knocked him senseless with the barrel of my old gun, jerking the guass rifle out of his hands. The bullets only slowed Bane's momentum a little and he hit the marines at a run. One was sent sailing into the air, falling down again on top of his friends as Bane slashed and maimed them. Pieces of armor and power suits flew like woodchips as I stood up and blasted a marine with my new weapon, gunning him until he screamed and dropped to his knees. Bane turned with a wicked swing, impaling one of the slow ones and throwing him forward again. He slid across the floor and someone tripped over the body, so I blasted the unfortunate one while he was down. Bane swung again, smashing a rifle, snapping the holders arm just above the wrist. The marine yelled and held his arm, and Bane batted him out of the way, and slashed at another one. The sizzling psionic blade of the templar never stopped as he fought the other side of the squad, always spinning and whirling in graceful attacks that slashed faces and parted the man-made armor, ripping through to the flesh inside. A little buzzer went off in my ear and my hands on the guass rifle I was aiming suddenly faded into view in my eyes.

"Uh-oh!" I said and took three big steps back, diving behind one of the lab tables as the marines tried to fire at me. It was a welcome distraction to Bane and he uppercutted another marine, his scythes getting stuck in his throat. Bane threw his scythe to the left, taking the marine with it and he smashed him headlong into another one that had turned and fired at me. The remaining marines started stepping back, actively retreating as one of them in the rear sent a message through his head set.

"The subject has escaped!! Repeat, the subject has escaped! We are under attack by it and an unknown number of Templar warriors! Requesting immediate back-" He stopped short as I popped out of cover long enough to blast his face full of holes. They backpedaled firing but Bane caught up with them, impaling a straggler while the rest turned, running back out the door. The panting templar, bleeding from more than one bullet wound, shut down his psionic blade and leaned against the wall,

"You..saved us...why?" It was the one that had attacked me and Bane.

"Don't get used to it," Bane said quickly, shrugging off the templar's appreciation. I picked up a few guass clips from the fallen marines and, noticing Bane was almost covered in blood, I said, "You're hurt-"

Bane interrupted me, "Don't worry, it's not mine." His wide hydralisk grin showed a little through the blood spattered across his face. Then, more foot steps echoed from the entrance, and I suddenly remembered,

"A marine had called for backup, we gotta get out of here!" The templar nodded and ran to his brethren,

"They cannot walk, they need our help!" One of them winched and managed to stand on his own, but the other two could barely speak, much less move. The last templar picked one of his comrades up, carrying him on his shoulders,

"We will leave them here to die, they fought bravely for Auir in countless battles-"

"Don't talk," I sighed, grabbing one of the last templar’s wrists, "Move!" The injured one helped me drag him away from the wall and we started making our way back into the room were I found Bane, headed for the back door. Bane hadn't moved at all and I called out to him,

"Common, they're coming!" It was true, I could see the shadows of bulky power suits lumbering in through the door.

"Let's go, Bane!" I yelled again as we reached the hallway. He gave me a quick look over his shoulder "Get them to safety, mortal, Its only marines-I'll hold them off." I just groaned and pulled with the templar, dragging the injured ones to safety around the corner.

     Bane watched the shadows as they entered the light of the laboratory. The mob of firebats burst in and stopped abruptly, sliding to a stop at the sight of the ten foot monster growling before them. Bane noticed that something was different about these marines. They had beefed up power suits, but they lacked the boxy, pointed machines that belched lead shards and he thought,

"This is going to be easy, they don't have guns!" Then he lunged for the easy kills.

"Let's cook!" One of the firebats finally stammered as the hydralisk drew near. The hydralisk wailed in pain and surprise as the marine in from off him suddenly started spewing fire, practically sliding into the flames as he tried to stop. The firebats changed formations, surrounding him. Bane growled in rage as the flaming napalm stuck to his carapace like thick syrup, and he lunged for the nearest firebat, trying to stop the onslaught of fiery pain. One of the firebats laughed as the creature stumbled and writhed in the fire, but yelled as it suddenly changed direction and came straight for him. Bane impaled the firebat, lifting him high off his feet and smashing him down again against the rock floor; the napalm storage tanks on his back splitting open. The hydralisk vanished in a blazing inferno as the firebat's tanks blew up on impact, spreading napalm everywhere.

A red flash strobed on the walls and a dull explosion followed as I helped the templar drag his friend to safety. The one carrying the other on his shoulder set him down against the wall and came to help us. We pulled him up by his friend and I said,

"Bane needs help." The templar strained, dragging his friend into a sitting position and giving quick orders to the only conscious templar left.

"Let's go," he said after saying something I couldn't overhear to the other templar. I turned, jogging back down the hallway with the only dark templar left fighting right behind me.

Bane roared in terrible agony as his carapace finally heated up and burst into flames beneath the firebat's attack. One was down but the remaining three closed in, concentrating their flame throwers on the monster. Bane's view was blotted out by the fiery light and he swung his scythes wildly, trying to stop the torture. The flaming blades whiffed through the air, and the firebats grinned, sidestepping the blind attack easily, but one of them stumbled forward as the thin air shoved him. The firebat fumbled into the swing and Bane cloths lined him onto the floor. The hydralisk snarled in rage and ripped at the firebat with both scythes, wildly stabbing at the thick armor. Another firebat yelled as his back was pelted with impaler rounds, and he turned and started coming for me. I laid into the trigger and the bullets rained on the firebat, shredding the armor away. The last firebat finally stopped roasting Bane and spun on his heels, trying to catch up with his comrade. The dark templar activated his psionic blade and intercepted him, swatting the firebat with it in one incredibly quick motion. So fast, the firebat didn't even know why he crumpled forward on his knees and fell to his face until it was too late. The last one got right up to me, but weaved in the hail of bullets, only managing a tiny spurt of harmless flame before falling over backwards. We ran to help the flaming hydralisk, who still blindly hacked at his enemy. The firebat rolled around in futile attempts to get away and Bane swung at just the wrong moment. His scythe clipped the firebat's tank and he was engulfed in a second explosion. The ball of fire rose to the ceiling and vanished in a cloud of sooty smoke, but Bane was still ablaze. The beast screamed in panic and still swung its scythes around wildly, still trying to put the fire out.

"The criotanks! Hurry!" I yelled to him and he zigzagged in the general direction of it. He snarled as he ran face first into the rock wall next to it and fell over backwards, starting to crackle and pop in the flames. "Help him!!" I barked at the templar standing next to me. He ran over to the hydralisk and grunted with the effort of picking Bane by the shoulders and shoving him backwards against the Criotank. The dark templar winched as his plasma shields flashed, the flames wrapped around his hands and Bane growled with the impact of being smashed through the glass of the cell. The liquid inside gushed out over Bane, soaking them both with the soupy stuff inside. Bane sputtered and coughed for a second in the torrent and violently shoved the templar backwards,

"I didn't need YOUR help!!" Bane snarled coldly. The templar stumbled back but managed to stay on foot,

"I just owed it to you from earlier, don't get used to it," he said in a mocking tone.

"I should have killed you when I had the chance!" Bane raged back. The templar crossed his arms and retaliated calmly, his slitted eyes glowing fiercely,

"And I should have left you to burn." Bane started growling menacingly and the templar's warp blade crackled to life from his hand,

"You wanna finish this, you blood-thirsty abombmination?!" he said, louder this time.

"I'LL RIP YOU APART!!" Bane roared and lunged forward.

"ENOUGH!!" I yelled, stepping between them as they leapt at each other. They both stopped short on either side of me, glowering into each others' faces, even though the templar had to look up slightly at Bane's. Along with a verbal growl, Bane's voice rumbled into my mind,

"Get out of the way, mortal."

"Yes, step aside, Terran-" came the threat from the templar behind me, along with the crackling sound of his modified psionic blade. Bane looked up abruptly and snapped at the templar,

"I still don't need your help, you Protoss piece of-"

"I SAID THAT'S ENOUGH!!!" I interrupted them before they could start again. "I know you Protoss and Zerg have your major differences," I said between pants, "But let's not get out of hand here. The dominion forces and the rebels will probably swarm in here by the shipload any minute now, and we have to work together!" They still growled at each other, but slowly backed away.

"Now I'm covered in this crap again!" Bane complained, whipping his scythes in the air angrily, flinging the liquid off.

"What’s the matter? You were floating in it earlier," I laughed. Banes grin came back again and the templar’s eyes didn’t glow as intensely. The hostile atmosphere finally broke, but we didn't get much time to enjoy it. More shouts and foot steps came from the entrance, but a new sound accompanied it. There was a steady marching of solid clangs-the tell tale sound of a goliath war walker squad stomping in.

"Time to go!" I said. The templar shut his blade down,

"We'll finish this later.” Bane turned with us and we started moving towards the back room again,

“Indeed we shall,” he replied and we took off. The auto cannon bullets started bouncing off the walls around us as we got to the hallway and turned down it. I looked back for a split second, spying more goliaths than I could count flooding in the room behind us. They lumbered in, searching the laboratory and we lost sight of them as we turned the next corner and went through the shattered glass air lock yet again.

     The injured templar was in the hall, doing what he could to patch up the other two.

"Can they walk yet?" I asked as we got close. One of them used the wall as a prop and got to his feet,

"We can't fight, but we can run." Bane stopped, guarding the hallway. His carapace was so charred it had changed color to a dark charcoal black and had so many chips blown out of it from the impaler rounds that it made a pattern. The Templar didn’t look much better, they all had dark blue stains in their Khala robes from their wounds. The incredibly durable anatomy of both the alien species never ceases to amaze me; it even makes me wonder how we Terrans ever got as far as we have here in the harsh environment of the fringe worlds.

“Alright, then lets get moving. Mengsk and his body guards left through that back door, so there must be a second way out of here.” The goliaths metal feet could be heard pounding up the hallway, time was running out. In three steps I was at the door and I tried the big iron handle. No good, I should have known it wouldn't be open. Bane noticed my difficulty and was already coming to assist me in picking the lock and the crippled dark templar hauled themselves to the door behind him. Suddenly, one of them sent us all a psychic warning as he spotted the cockpit of a goliath appear at the edge of the hallway, "Take cover!" Then the enemies flooded in on us. Bane impaled the door, struggling only a little, mangling the thick steel hatch off its hinges as the goliaths poured in with auto cannons blazing. I dove to the right, behind the criotank's steel base, and the dark templar pulled their brethren back to the left. Bane growled as the goliaths pelted the only visible target. He gave his scythes a jerk, and his left one tore free of the door, but the other was caught in the iron latch. I leaned out of hiding long enough to bother one of the goliaths with my puny guass rifle. It riddled holes in the tough armor, but it wasn't even enough to slow them down. Their pivoting cockpits turned and I ducked back behind the metal base as the goliaths' high caliber rounds swept across the room and eroded what was left of the criotank. Bane heaved his right scythe one last time, splitting the hinges and taking the door with it. The goliaths heard the crash of the hatch coming off the rock wall and swiveled around again, their automatic chain guns rumbling back across the room. Bane shook his scythe hastily, trying in vain to free it from the thick door, and the bullets began to pelt his carapace. He growled, hefting the steel door stuck on his right scythe as a shield against the stream of shells. The powerful rounds sparked and flashed off of the metal surface. Bane held the door upright against the barrage, motioning to the templar with the other scythe. They got the idea. All you could see of the injured templar slipping by Bane into the doorway was flashes of blue plasma shields as they caught stray bullets from the goliaths. But that same one stopped again, behind Bane and his shield, and activated his warp blade. It crackled to life, and the templar nodded to the noble hydralisk. Bane's grin showed through the charred carapace, and they dove into battle.

Bane snarled, surging against the bullets with all his strength. The goliath pilots fired so many shots that the showering sparks from the door lit the room in brilliant flashes that matched the flares of the auto cannon barrels themselves. Bane lunged when he got near, smashing one of the mechanical war walkers with his momentum. The machine split in half from the impact, and Bane came over the top of the crumpled goliath, hurling his right scythe into another armored enemy at his flank. The dark templar dove from the left of the hydralisk, sinking his warp blade into one of the clumsy terran machines. The bullets rained on Bane again, but in close quarters, its just as hard to shoot the enemy as trying not to shoot your own allies. Bullets sprayed in all directions as the goliath operators panicked. Bane smashed his free scythe through the windshield of another cockpit, and the pilot's scream cracked the air. The templar turned with his psionic blade whirling as it flashed through a goliath effortlessly, apparently with no recoil from the impact. The blade passed smoothly though the machine's riveted armor and hydraulic fluid fountained out. It sparked on the torn electronics, bursting into flames and the blue blades spun again burning through the reinforced steel of another goliath's legs. The machines toppled over and with a final angry snarl, Bane swung his right scythe back to the left, smashing the door against the frame of another nearby goliath. His blade broke free and he happily swung again with his other scythe, aiming low and knocking the machine off it's clumsy metal feet by chopping one of its legs. The goliath toppled over, it's legs buckling beneath the impact of the attack and the shining blade of the dark templar flashed again and again, parting the man made armors easily. They were causing such distress in the ranks of the goliaths that I had chances to lean out of cover and spray a few shots into the mob of enemies before they turned on me again. This would distract them and the hydralisk and the templar would rip into them with new waves of enthusiasm. Every time I leaned out, fewer and fewer goliaths were left standing against the rouge hydralisk and his invisible ally. Just when it started to look like we may win, a high pitched chime split the air, giving away the enemies sensor sweep. The rotating torso's of the 5 remaining goliaths shifted abruptly to the left, taking aim at the protoss that was suddenly visible amongst them. The chain guns blared and the dark templar's shields flashed for a brief moment, absorbing the insane hail of bullets for a few seconds before going out. Bane turned around as he saw the flashes from the corners of his eyes and spotted the templar stumbling backwards from multiple rounds. With a single bound of his augment, Bane was between the templar and the goliaths again, taking the punishment of their shots with his armored carapace. The templar's body was a mass of blood-stained robes as he fell, hitting the rock floor with a dull thud. Bane growled in rage beneath the attacks and charged against the stream of bullets, diving into the nearest machine with both scythes ready. Bane hit the goliath at a dead run, almost, and pieces of the cockpit flew in all directions. His momentum carried him and the goliath into the one behind it and them into the one behind that, so Bane ended up tackling three goliaths to the floor, roaring and ripping with his scythes as they fell. The two remaining goliaths could only stand back and fire helplessly into the twisted ball of beast and machine. Bane's scythes could be seen rising and falling, and rising again in a flurry of stabbing attacks. The stack of machinery suddenly burst into flames from a ruptured fuel line and the two by standing goliaths took a step back from the fireball that erupted from the massacre. Bane leapt free of the flames, impaling the nearest goliath with both scythes. Despite being shorter than the machines, Bane lifted the his torn enemy off its feet, snarling through the glass window of the cockpit at the pilot. The only goliath left standing, on its own feet anyway, tried vainly to help his friend by blasting the terrible monster with its auto cannons one last time. Bane flinched and growled from the bullets as they bounced off his carapace, and heaved the lifeless machine to one side. I could hear the pilot croak into his headset as he turned and ran, retreating from a hail of needle spines spraying from the one enemy that had taken down his whole squad single handedly,

"To hell with the army!! I'm outta here! That college money ain't worth this!" Bane closed his sore chest cavity slowly as the cowardly goliath trudged back down the hall and around the corner again. I stood up, running over to him quickly. I slowed down as I got close and the seriousness of the wounds could be seen. He was bleeding from everywhere, particularly from where some of the auto cannon bullets punched through. Blood ran down his augment to the floor in streams and it dripped from his drooping scythes like a leaky faucet. He still had a rasping growl in his throat that he couldn't stop; the adrenaline-rage from attacking still had him. The thick red liquid even ran out from the corners of his mouth, seeping out between the jagged teeth.

"Holy shit! Will you be okay until we can find a medic?" I asked worriedly.

"It's not me you should be worried about, check on him." Bane said, pointing to the Dark Templar sprawled across the floor behind him. I ran up to the protoss, kneeling down so I could inspect more closely. He had several entry wounds to the chest, and I didn't dare turn him over to look at his back to see if the bullets had come through the other side, I already knew it was too gruesome to see without becoming sick to your stomach.

"This is fatal," I said in a sad tone, looking up at Bane. He stood over us, staring down at his red blood mixing with the blue puddle that spread from the templar.

"What can we do?" I asked out loud, beginning to panic. "What can we-"

"Go.." came the psionic message, interrupting my rambling. I looked down and the templar's eyes were open again, they glowed faintly with each word,

"They are coming, they come to stop you..." now the words seemed to strangle themselves forth, barely distinguishable over the snapping and popping of my own thoughts, and the light in the templars eyes faded with each syllable,

"I know now..the creature is not our enemy, my brethren were is fortunate that you stopped us,"

"What are you trying to say?" I asked hastily so he could speak again.

"..Your emperor..the evil ruler...he will try to control an evil even greater than himself..."

"Common!" I yelled, "Spill the beans before you croak!" The light faded from the wide orbs of his eyes, growing weaker every second,

"..It will destroy us all-you can still stop must.." The templar raised one hand, his three fingers opening and closing in a fist involuntarily,

"" then the tiny flicker of life blinked out, and the hand dropped abruptly. I sighed, reaching up and closing the Templar's eyes with two fingers,

"I hate it when that happens." Bane watched the templar die without blinking,

"He was a noble warrior, one that didn't deserve to die like this, in this place." I stood up, slinging the guass rifle over my shoulder, shaking my head as I looked down at the body of the slain protoss,

"You wanted to rip him into pieces earlier. Why the sudden change of heart?" I stepped past the templar into the doorway and Bane followed me,

"Fighting along side your enemy, one learns to become allies."

"We can't attack the protoss! That wasn't part of the deal!" Mandelle exploded as he followed Mengsk into his office. The two marines at the door stepped hastily out of the way as Mengsk shoved his way through the double doors with the rebel commander at his heals. Mengsk didn't say anything until he dropped casually into his chair and pulled a fat cigar out of his desk, lighting it with a wooden match from the same drawer. He puffed on the stogy and regarded the red-faced general with his crooked politician smile,

"Mandelle," Mengsk finally sighed with a false tone of surprise, "what's the matter, my friend?" The rebel commander slammed his fist on Mengsk's desk,

"I didn't authorize the attack on the protoss forces!! I may be answering to you, but I retain the command of my own army-you gave them an order without consulting me first!" The emperor looked shocked,

"Robert, I have no idea what you're talking-"

"LIES!!" interrupted Mandelle. Suddenly, the speaker box on Mengsk's desk crackled to life,

"Sir, subjects in prefect crio stasis. Awaiting your orders to merge them," Mengsk reached forward, calmly pressing a button on the speaker,

"Thank you, Philis, tell them to merge the cerebrates." The rebel commander's eyes grew wide as he overheard the message and he stammered,

"And you're cloning cerebrates under my nose too?! I want the truth!!" Mengsk sighed again, leaning back in his chair,

"You see Mandelle, the truth is that I used you to bring the rebel uprising to a halt. I used you to capture the cerebrate long enough to get a copy of its genetic coding, and I will now use your troops to hold off the protoss fleets long enough for my army to be built. I used you just like I used that kid and his pet zerg." Mengsk leaned forward again, taking something boxy and metallic from his desk drawer and leaning back again,

"This is all too convenient for me! I get three deals for the price of one: I have a new army, the rebels will be stopped-permanently with the help of the protoss fleets, and then I will crush whatever's left with both the terran and zerg armies at my command." Mandelle only managed three steps to the door before several blasts of Mengsk's sidearm cracked the still silence of the office. The two marine guards rushed in,

"Everything okay in here sir?" One of them asked. "No," Mengsk barked, pointing to the body of the rebel commander laying in front of his desk. "Get this scum out of here and send somebody to clean the stain up immediately-This rug is very expensive."

We couldn't find the other dark templar anywhere in the dark corridor. The back door led to nothing more than a crude tunnel through the rock wall. There were no lights, so once we got past the first corner, I had to let Bane lead because I didn't bring the expensive goggles from Mengsk's arsenal with me this time. We twisted down a narrow tunnel and I didn't see Bane come to a sudden stop front of me. I ran into his back and stepped on his tail.

"Watch it!" he said in front of me. "It's not my fault you stopped." I said defensively.

"And it's not my fault terrans can't see in the dark," he retaliated. I laughed and tried to remember how pointless it was to argue with a Bane.

"Why did you stop, anyway?" I asked.

"The tunnel ends and there’s a door here," Bane said simply.

"Then do your stuff." I replied. The light blinded my eyes as Bane snarled, smashing the door off the hinges. The hydralisk stepped out and I followed it into the afternoon sun. I heard gravel crunching beneath my booted feet and my eyes adjusted to the bright light of mid day.

"Watch your step," Bane warned and I looked down, gasping at the 200 foot drop only a yard in front of me. The tunnel came out at the other side of the compound, leading to a trail that had been carved into the stone wall ages ago. It was a narrow path winding down the plateau at the edge of the canyon into the dessert below. The view was incredible, but the terrible scene that covered it wasn't. From our high point of view, we could see two armies set on the verge of battle. On the left side was a Terran armada. Bunkers mixed in with missile turrets were lined up in rows as far as we could see. Siege tanks were behind the bunkers, aiming out to the south east were an entire protoss fleet had erected a front line to match the Terrans'. Fields of Photon cannons were lined up just outside the siege tanks range, with reavers and high templar holding positions, backing the cannon defenses. Both sides had arsenals of ground units and air units ready for the fight. Firebats, goliaths and medics were in tight formations behind the bunkers, with squads of wraiths and valkalries hovering overhead. On the other side, stalwart mobs of zealots stood with their psionic blades ready behind the photon cannons. Dragoons bobbed up and down behind them on their mechanical legs. A single ship coasted in over the army, and the zealots and dragoons vanished. A single glare of light came from the ship and blue warp fields suddenly materialized over the protoss side. Eight mighty carriers and another arbiter flashed into existence over the army and took on color and detail as the warp fields faded. We could only get a glimpse of the majestic carriers as they were enveloped in the arbiters' cloak. More warp fields crackled to life as legions of scouts and corsairs emerged with shuttles of reinforcements in tow. The protoss weren't the only ones receiving extra help. Dropships began gleaming on the horizon by the flock, hailing in countless marines and vultures. Science vessels scooted over the crowd of infantry leading a fleet of the awesome battle cruisers to the front lines. The mighty Yamato cannon mounted on the front of each one made the siege tanks' barrels look like twigs. I closed my mouth, I hadn't realized it was hanging open, and Bane spoke up in a tone of awe,

"I hate machines."

To Be continued...

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