A fleet of twelve wraiths flew in formation, low over the city. Their engines screamed through the
sky as they closed ranks for the transfer, gliding to a smooth, hovering stop, lined up on either side of a wide steel door
on the side of the Capitol Building.Inside, Mengsk Strode down the hallway behind a flock of scientists with an equal sized
mob of marines following him. They came to a last door in the hallway and the pair of MP's guarding the entrance used their
access cards to unlock the main shipping bay for the personnel. The herd of white lab coats flowed under the wide door when
it came up with a whirring of electric motors. The bay was a long room with a huge steel door in the middle. Two dropships
hovered inches off the floor as a huge crew hastily prepared the ships. The wraith engines could be heard through the cement
walls as SCV's constructed a cage for the fledgling overmind. It was stable enough to be taken out of the criotank, and was
holding up well behind the thick steel bars. It was like a giant, sticky cocoon-nearly big enough to fill a small swimming
pool. About two hours ago, it began growing and evolving into its mature form at a geometric rate and this was something Mengsk
hadn't counted on. The Overmind, once fully developed, would be far to large for any room in the city, much less the capitol
building. So, before it was too big to transport, he decided to have it moved to a secure location outside the city. The hydraulic
motors of 8 space construction vehicles whined as they hefted the cage, and the overmind, into the back of the modified dropship-the
rear cargo hatch had to be enlarged by six feet on the sides and three feet on top. Mengsk studied the SCV’s hard at
work and turned to one of the jabbering scientists,
"I want full control of it, some of you egg heads go with them just in case you need to tweak something."
The emperor studied the pulsing blob inside the cage as the SCV's backed away and the door on the dropship slowly slid shut.
"What if it grows during flight?" Mengsk asked. The same scientist he had talked to earlier spoke up,
"That's what the cage is for, It should keep it down to size until they reach the drop zone." Mengsk
"I want the escort on full alert, I don't want another ship in the air within a hundred miles." Another
SCV entered the docking bay from the main door, carrying a smaller cage, with a flat, crab-like thing inside. It was motionless
on the bottom of the cage, still unconscious from the powerful neurostim drugs. Not much bigger than a lawn mower, the drone
fit inside the second dropship with ease. The SCV backed out and three scientists with four medic assistants gingerly walked
up the rough metal ramp. Marines came from the sides, hauling in bags of equipment and dumping them at the feet of the scientists
sitting inside the ship. One of them hit a switch and the ramp swung shut. Both ships' engines whined up to speed and the
huge door clicked up inch by inch. Sunlight streamed in under the door as Mengsk turned to leave, the remaining scientists
following at his heels,
"Are the cerebrates stable?" he asked without breaking his stride. One of the gangly little scientists
jogged to catch up, waving a fat wad of papers and notes.
"Yessir!" he croaked beneath a pair of thick glasses, "The two that weren't used for the merge are
in captivity. Psionic emanations are at an all-time high and they should be capable of producing broods in no more than an
"Something doesn't seem right," Bane said, staring at the impeding battle field.
"Of course it isn't right, war never is." I replied.
"I know," the hydralisk stated calmly, "but you Terrans have always seemed to have had a
sort of truce with the Protoss. Why would this happen?"
"I don't know, maybe it has something to do with Mengsk and the Zerg," I rambled.
"And where did those other Dark Templar go?" Bane offered another question. I let my guass rifle hang
by my side with one hand and I rubbed my weary face with the other,
"I have no idea, they vanished like a fart in the wind." Bane only gave me a confused look, although
he winched a little with the effort. "Never mind," I sighed. Then I remembered what the templar had said and everything suddenly
starting fitting together,
"Wait!" I snapped, "Before we found you in the rebel complex, the four templar rescued me from Mengsk's
soldiers. They explained a lot to me; you're a cerebrate." The ragged hydralisk could only frown and shrug, staring down over
the rocky ledge to the armies below. I continued, "The UED controlled the overmind and its cerebrates once, and that's why
the rebels and Mengsk are after you." Bane looked up,
"We know that already." I nodded,
"Yeah, but the Protoss were are after you, too." Bane's eyes closed to slits,
"Why?" was all he said.
"From their hints," I stated, recalling the crackling sound of four warp blades, "They know what Mengsk
has planned and are here to stop it, even if it means killing you to prevent the swarms from being reborn again." Bane's huge
frame heaved with a deep sigh,
"I'm not sure which one is worse."
"And now a war between the Protoss and the Rebels, only a few miles outside of the capitol too-this
just keeps getting better, doesn't it?" I added. The hydralisk only stared blankly over my head, toward the city.
"I'm running short on ideas here, do you have any suggestions?" I asked. My battle-torn friend stood
perfectly still and silent, gazing off into space.
"Bane?" I asked wearily. His eyes began to glaze over and I reached up, waving my hand back and forth
in front of his face. "Bane?! Snap out of it!" I barked. He jumped, almost like he didn't know I was there,
"It lives," the hydralisk finally stammered after shaking his head.
"What?" I asked. Bane shook his head again and his eyes cleared,
"The overmind, its alive-here, on Khorhal!" I did a perfect double take,
"Your kidding! There's no way-"
"It's true," Bane interrupted, "The overmind has been reborn, I can already sense it's will beginning
to radiate across the planet." I gripped the handle of my guass rifle like a security blanket,
"Can you tell what its saying yet?"
"Wait a minute," he said, "Didn't you ask me to remind you never to ask the overmind's will again?"
"Just give it a shot, I'll take my chances," I shrugged. The hydralisk didn't make a sound as it
concentrated. Then Bane came out of his trance suddenly,
"Their numbers are growing," he said, "I don't think the swarms are large enough for an attack yet,
but they're building fast."
"Is Mengsk in control of them?" I blurted. After another few seconds of silence, Bane answered that
question as well,
"Yes, he seems to be maintaining a fragile control over the broods for now, but the overmind will outgrow
its restraints and attack in a matter of hours."
"Then they'll just be the same old Zerg again, search and slaughter." I finished for him. Bane nodded,
"The way Mengsk is carelessly leading them, they won't have to search long." I groaned and rubbed my
"What can we do?" I asked hopelessly. The question echoed down the canyon, resounding off the rock
wall, mocking me with my own helplessness. Finally, even the echo faded away and the only sound was from the whistle of the
updraft rising up the cliff face and the rumble of the armies far below. My friend finally broke the silence again,
"What about the machines?" he asked irritably. My face lit up,
"Could these armies be enough to stop the-" but as usual, some giant explosion drowned my voice out
in mid sentence.
"Not if they kill each other first!" Bane said quickly. We took off down the stone path, and the platoon
of siege tanks guarding the eastern flank of bunkers bellowed again with their Arcilite Shock cannons, pounding a squad of
zealots aggressively charging the front lines of the Terran fleet. The unbelievable warriors took the explosions head on as
12 sleek Protoss Scouts soared over them, sweeping in and pelting the armored tanks with charged photon blasters. The bunkers
flared to life beside the tanks with chattering gauss rifles and the missile turrets halted their endless spinning to spew
rockets at the air targets.
"How do you stop a war?" Bane asked over his shoulder as he slithered down the trail in front of me.
"I have no clue," I managed to say while running, "But we have to do something or there will be nothing
left to fight the Zerg with and then we'll really be up the creek." The ships flared with their blue plasma shields repeatedly
as they took damage and the zealots reached the bunkers and tanks, shredding them in a blind fury with their powerful psionic
blades. The buildings began falling apart and catching fire, and the tanks started smoking as the Scouts tore the armored
plating away with their air to surface blasters. Two zealots toppled a missile turret, but the Terrans sent reinforcements;
eight valkalries rocketed over the barracks and factories from deep in the base and approached the front line, spewing halo
missiles. The siege tanks pulled a desperate move to rid themselves of the zealot threat and their barrels swiveled around
and fired. The front line exploded as the tanks fired at any zealot outside of their minimal range, despite the fact that
those targets were right next to their own allies manning bunkers and other siege tanks. I could hear the psionic screams
of the zealots as their blue embers mixed with the red explosions of the bunkers and heavy machinery beside the cliff. A half
a dozen tanks and buildings were reduced to no more than piles of smoldering rubble and flaming wreckage as smoke billowed
up the cliff by us, leaving a small hole in the Terran lines below. Only four marines had climbed out of the collapsed structures
and a siege tank by the bottom of the cliff was on its last legs. Suddenly, its smoking barrel swiveled around, aiming up
the cliff face towards us.
"Bane, Stop!" I yelled ahead. We were nearly at the bottom of the trail, only about forty feet up,
when the rock suddenly erupted into a fireball in front of the hydralisk as it came to a halt. The deafening explosion
rocked my ears and quaked the ground under my feet as the blast blew Bane against the rocky path. He got up snarling, and
limped back up were I was, out of range of the siege tank.
"I hate machines!" he growled.
"I don't think the Rebels are going to listen to any explanations you have to offer; the Protoss are
the only ones who might not try to kill you right away." I said, squinting in the dust that rained down from the arcilite
blast. Bane snarled,
"Yeah," I coughed, "I might be able to do something about the Terrans-at least they're my species."
"Good point," he shrugged.
"But we have to get by that tank," I said, "And before they send reinforcements and block us in up
here." A draft of air blew by as Bane studied the crippled machine keeping our path in his sights and said,
"I can take care of the tank."
"How?" I asked. Bane glanced at the four surviving marines a short distance from the tank and the rest
of the Terran army still mustering for an attack.
"This is probably going to hurt," my friend spoke up, "So can you take care of yourself?" Bane pointed
toward the guass rifle I held in my hands.
"I don't have much of a choice," I laughed.
"We don't have much time-Just be ready to run when I jump," Bane explained as he backed against the
rock wall behind us.
"Jump?!" I barked. Without another word, Bane fairly exploded off the wall, getting a running start.
I winched as he reached the edge and pushed off with a growl of effort, leaping out into the open air. Dropping to my knees
at the edge of the cliff, I watched him plummet down the rock face. Time seemed to stand still as the hydralisk fell;
I counted off nearly seven seconds before he hit the center of the siege tank. It sounded like a car wreck; sending up a plume
of red dust and turning pieces of the tracks and plates of armor into flying shrapnel. Not believing what I just let my friend
do, I took off at a sprint, heading down the last stretch of rock path to the battlefield below. Quick looks over my shoulder
as I ran told me that I had nothing to fear from the siege tank; it was crumpled like an accordion and had already begun smoking,
starting to catch fire.
As I approached the bottom of the cliff trail, I could see the crushed siege tank smoking away
with the marines closing in to investigate. Before I reached the foot of the trail, one of the marines yelled to his comrades,
"It's him!" I heard the lead soldier bark. One marine began jabbering into his headset, calling for
backup as the other three turned with their guass rifles. I dove the last four feet of the trail down to the sand as the bullets
whizzed by me, pelting the rocky path I was just on. I flipped on my cloak inhibitor without bothering to look at the power
meter as I hit the ground and the marines stopped firing as their target dissolved into thin air, last seen jerking the bolt
back on a guass rifle and getting to his feet before vanishing. I threw the rifle up to my shoulder and let the lead marine
have a full helping of impaler rounds. He fired a couple stray shots before stumbling backwards and the remaining marines
sprayed the rocky sand with their guns. I took off to the left and bullets made a wake in the sand behind me as I circled
around the confused marines, reaching the smoldering piles of cement that used to be a row of bunkers. One of the marines
croaked into his headset, requesting a sensor sweep as I took aim with the guass rifle again, sending him to the dirt with
a hail of rounds from my gun. Suddenly, the chime sound of the enemy scanners could be heard and I was visible once again.
The two remaining marines opened up in my direction and I dropped to the sand behind a cracked slab of cement that used to
serve as a bunker wall. I winched as the guns chattered and bullets chipped off the wreckage behind me. I heard hydraulic
engines and the shouts of soldiers and glanced to my left in time to see the reinforcements arriving in the form of two dozen
marines and a squad of goliaths thrown in for good measure. I leaned out to see if I could make a run for it but jerked right
back behind cover as the two marines kept me tied up with their guass rifles. I was trapped.
I heard a great snarl
and a wrenching of metal, followed by a few desperate gun shots and knew my friend was back in action. Peeking over the slab,
I saw Bane's scythes protrude out of the great gash were he fell through the siege tank and he pulled himself free, peeling
the metal out of his way. The marines forgot all about their ghost problem and peppered Bane with impaler rounds as he heaved
himself free of the shredded machine and charged in, breaking a marine's neck with one staggering swing. His head twisted
around the wrong way with the impact and he spun on one heel, falling to the sand as I jumped up, pelting the other marine
in the back with everything I had left in my guass rifle clip. He stopped firing and stumbled forward onto the points of Bane's
waiting scythes. The hydralisk finished him off and dumped the tattered marine aside, noticing the army closing in over my
"Time to go!" he said as the bullets began to pelt the ground around us. I reached down to grab a guass
rifle out of the sand from a fallen marine and noticed my cloak had begun working again as the sensor sweep's affect wore
off. I called out to Bane as he turned to leave for the Protoss side,
"Good luck." My friend looked back for just a second before taking off,
"Be careful." I was about to say something else, but 5 vultures shot by me so close that I could smell
the rank drivers as he they nearly ran me over. I stumbled in the wake of air and watched the army flow around me; they had
already come to seal the hole in their front lines. Marines ran by me, marching double-time in formation. Goliaths trudged
up and took positions behind siege tanks whom went into siege mode upon reaching the old bunker sites. SCV's scooted in hastily
and began setting foundations for new bunkers. The vultures kept going out into the battle field in pursuit of Bane. I grimaced
involuntarily; Vultures pack grenade launchers and they were much too fast for a hydralisk's scythes. Suddenly, a lispy voice
broke my thought pattern as an SCV swore next to me,
"Damn! This doesn't make sense!" I turned around and the boxy space construction vehicle stood at idle
and a marine stepped out of the dozens standing around us, waiting to fill the bunkers.
"What's the problem, man?" the marine barked at the worker.
"Command says to set a turret here but sensors keep telling me that I can't," came the muffled voice
from inside the machine. They were already getting detection established; I looked around and other SCV's were replacing the
fallen turrets. I took one last look at the plume of dust the vultures had left and started jogging past the marines. Picking
up speed as my path cleared, I was careful not to hit the goliaths that stood guarding the rumbling siege tanks. I skid to
a stop as a squad of firebats marched right out in front of me, blocking my path.
"Jobs finished!" came the faint messages from all over the front lines behind me as the workers finished
their assigned buildings. I eased around the firebats and finally reached a row of supply depos. A bleeping little alarm started
going off on my cloak inhibitor and I looked up. A science vessel was approaching from the southern lines, sweeping over the
bunkers and tanks behind me. I slipped between the depos as my cloak started to dissipate from the interfering signals of
the detector. As I moved deeper into the base to get away from the science vessel, more buildings came into sight. I smiled
as I reached the end of the row of supply depos and found myself staring at the covert ops stations of the Terran militia.
It was tucked away behind the supply depos with various other technical facilities. I took one last look around the corners
of the supply depos; the coast was clear. Taking off at a sprint for the covert ops, I made sure I had a fresh clip in my
guass rifle before reaching the thick steel door. I tried the access pad next to the it, but it required a code. I laughed
in spite of myself; usually a locked door isn't a problem but Bane wasn't around to open it this time. All I had with me was
my guass rifle so I just shrugged tried the only code I knew on the control panel. The impaler rounds blasted the panel and
screen into pieces and sparks flew from a couple shorted wires. I jabbed the barrel if the guass rifle into the edge of the
door and pried it open. The tip of the barrel bent over, rendering the gun useless, but it had forces the door open nearly
an inch. I threw the gun to the dirt and just managed to get a finger hold on the edge of the door and I pulled back on it
with everything I had. It barely moved, the dead electric motors of the door whining dully as it slide back another few inches.
I jumped to the other side of the door jam and could get my hands behind it. I put my back to the wall and pushed. The door
slid back another 5 five inches-It was just barely enough for me to squeeze through. Once inside, I immediately noticed a
red alarm rotating on the ceiling announcing that the place had been broken into. I didn't have much time before a truckload
of marines showed up so I sprinted through the familiar halls of a standard covert operations facility with a broken guass
rifle and 13 points of energy left on my cloak. Plenty of time.
It only took three guesses to find the supply room, but
my cloak flickered off as I rounded the last corner. I caught a glimpse of a single marine at his post, guarding the stockade
room before I lunged back behind the corner. The marine did a double take and snapped at me, "Hey, you! Stop!!" he yelled
and took off down the hall. He reached the corner, rifle held at the ready and I smashed his face with the stock of my gun.
He stumbled back against the wall and I kicked him to the floor, picking up his guass rifle and putting the barrel to his
forehead, "Get up! Open the supply room!!" I barked. I didn't want to pry open another door. The marine walked slowly over
to the hatch and hit a few buttons on the key pad and the door slid open with a hiss. There was another door opposite of the
supply room and I commanded him to open it as well. The marine reluctantly did what he was told and I shoved him into the
empty briefing room, "Try to keep it down in here," I laughed at him before blowing the panel off of the wall on the inside
of the doorway. The marine with a bloody face gave me menacing looks as I stepped into the hall and shut the door from the
The supply room had just what I needed. I found a fresh ghost suit with the militia insignia's on it, along with
a fully charged cloak and a new canister rifle. Once I found the helmets and ghost masks, I looked just like any other ghost
in the base as I strode out of the supply room and closed the door behind me. I got a little worried when I reached the entrance
and saw four marines marching in. An SCV had come and cut the door off and they were investigating the distress alarm. I cleared
my throat as they noticed me approaching,
"What's going on here?!" I boomed. The lead marine gave me a confused look and I bellowed again, "Did
I stutter, Boy?! What happened here?" He shook his head and stood up straight,
"I-I apologize, Sir, I-" "What it looks like to me, Private, is that you're not doing your job around
here!" I interrupted him, trying to sound like I knew what I was doing,
"You are paid to keep this facility safe from intruders, and now this! Who's your commanding officer?!"
The marines stood at attention while I barked at them and the lead one snapped out an answer,
"Sir, all orders come straight from the G-General, Sir!"
"Is he still in the war room?! I'd like to tell him about the fine job his marines are doing, letting
someone deface military property."
"Y-Yes Sir, the General is still giving briefs for the next attack, Sir!"
"Alright, then." I smiled, and started walking to the door. The marines jumped aside to let me through,
"Clean up your act around here!" I yelled over my shoulder as I strode away towards the command center. Taking
off at a sprint, and not believing what I just did, a row of barracks came into view. 8 buildings were lined up in a row with
marines marching out into formation. I slowed down and did my best to stroll through like I didn't have a care in the world.
It seemed to work, the marines acted like I didn't exist. The command center rose up before me, sitting amongst four missile
turrets and I jogged up to the door. No one was standing outside so I tried the thick steel handle. For once the door wasn’t
locked. I sighed and stepped inside as the door slid open. My eyes adjusted to the dimmer light as the door slammed shut behind
me and two marines came into focus.
"What's your business here, psychic freak?" One of them said.
"I’m here to speak to the General," I replied simply.
"We didn't hear about it." the other one gruffed back. I hit the button on my cloak inhibitor,
"Then you won't see it either," I said as I disappeared, shoving a one of them out of my way. He hit
the floor hard and I took off, hoping I would find the right room first this time. I heard the shouts and the footsteps of
the marines always just around the corner as I came to the back door of the briefing room and burst in, turning my cloak back
off again at the same time. It was a small room with a table and a hologram in the center. Someone important looking was in
front of me and seven other officers sat around the table facing him. There were marines posted at all corners of the room
and they quickly trained their guass rifles on me as soon as I flipped the barrel of my canister rifle to the General's back.
"I'm sorry for the intrusion, and the gun-to-the-back thing, General, but I have some important matters
to discuss with you," I said through the muffling ghost mask.
The rocky ground flashed by below Bane as he slithered
toward the shining pylons and photon cannons in distance. He changed directions, angling off to the left as an explosion rocked
the ground in the path he was just taking a moment before. The vultures had caught up with him and were in closing in fast,
gliding only a foot off the ground and gaining at incredible speeds. Bane growled as something small and solid hit him in
the back and exploded, sending him reeling into the dirt. He got up snarling, holding his scythes ready as the vultures circled
him. The five engines rumbled around him. The riders whooped and laughed hysterically as the hydralisk lunged at one of them.
They simply moved with him and Bane never got any closer to the quick enemies. One of the riders broke from the circle and
flew threw the middle surprising Bane with a grenade to the face. It exploded, smashing Bane to the dirt again. He roared
in rage and got back up, waiting for them to try the trick again. This time, two of them swerved out of the dusty circle for
a run at the hydralisk and Bane threw his scythes out at the last minute. The vultures ran across the outstretched blades
and sparks flew as the bone scythes ripped through the steel. A rider fell off of his bike screaming, holding a bloody stub
that used to be his left leg and the other vulture burst into flames and exploded a few yards away after getting its fuel
lines cut by the hunter-killer's counter attack. The remaining vultures roared as they changed formations, coming straight
at their target and Bane took off again in the only direction he could.
The photon cannons jutted up out of the ground one by one as Bane drew near
them with the vultures hot on his heels and the particle accelerators crackled as they charged the phase disruptor shots.
Bane saw the powerful ball of energy leap from the cannon and he closed his eyes as he ran, hoping his desperate plan would
work. The hydralisk dove to the sand, and the ball flashed right over his head and crashed into a pursuing vulture, making
the vehicle swerve with the impact as pieces of armor plating flew from the explosion. Bane jumped back up and sidled past
the pivoting photon cannons as they fought off the vultures. One of them exploded and the remaining 2 turned back, retreating
from the simple, yet stalwart, defenses of the Protoss lines. Bane practically laughed as he put distance between himself
and the cannons thanks to his stubborn stalkers, but slid to a stop in front of a squad of zealots and dragoons. The zealots
turned towards him and squealed, noticing him for the first time.
"Shit..." Bane groaned to himself and turned around again, running parallel to the photon cannons,
away from the hostile Protoss warriors that had suddenly decided to join in where the vultures left off. Bane managed to keep
ahead of the 12 clumsy dragoons, but the 16 zealots were much faster. He looked back only to see the Protoss catching up,
and turned back around again to find that he had come to a dead end. Rows upon rows of tightly packed gateways and pylons
loomed up from the ground, blocking the hydralisk's path as the wave of Protoss warriors trailing him closed off the only
Wait!!" Bane panted, "I didn't come to fight! I need your help!" he sent to them, but the zealots ignored
him and charged in from all directions. The first one to reach Bane ran in with psionic blades in a flurry, but was batted
away again with the blunt edge of one scythe,
"I won't fight you!" Bane growled. The zealot stumbled backwards with a crackling plasma shield as
his brethren charged past him.
"Don't make me do this!" Bane yelled at them as the mob of troops closed in. Bane ducked as a zealot
ran up and swung high with one blade and threw himself off balance. Bane shot up and swatted him away as well, but two more
zealots were there as soon as Bane could get rid of the second one and the shier numbers of Protoss warriors poured against
the single hydralisk fighting amongst a sea of blue. They were all around him, slashing and stabbing with the ripping blades
of light. For every one Bane knocked away, three more took the advantage and tore into their enemy. Another zealot rushed
into the crowd, trying to tackle the hydralisk to the ground and Bane slung him off with a deep snarl of fury,
"ENOUGH!!" he roared as he flung his scythes out at the entire of mob that zealots that had rushed
in to attack again. He kept swinging, left and right, constantly hacking at the zealots that were trying to do the same thing
to him with wild slashes of their psionic blades. The warriors that could get close enough with their short weapons could
only do minimal damage before being knocked away again with a the crackle of a dieing plasma shield. Bane growled furiously,
impaling a zealot in front of him, despite the other two who lunged, stabbing the hydralisk's sides open mercilessly. Bane
dumped his enemy to the ground and slung his scythes to the left, but the offending zealot leapt backwards out of the way
and the ones behind him tore at the thick carapace covering the hydralisk’s back. The stomping dragoons could be heard
over the roar of the infuriated zealots as they outnumbered Bane. After their brethren started taking casualties, the entire
group rushed the hydralisk at once. All he could to defend himself, as 6 zealots tackled him to the ground and the remaining
9 dog piled on top, was to hold his scythes out in hopes that a few of the bastards would get gored by them in the fall. Bane
hit the sand hard and the attacks rained on him. Snarling in terrible pain, he thrashed his scythes wildly against the warriors
that held him down and did their best to tear him to pieces. Just when Bane could feel the strength draining from his arms
and smell his own flesh burning more with each hack of the dozens of painful blades, a booming psionic voice broke through
the unfair fight,
"IF that hydralisk is killed you will ALL answer to ME!!" The zealots that weren't injured immediately
leapt away from their enemy, shutting down their psionic blades at once and bowing down on one knee to a single dragoon that
clambered forward from the squad that had finally caught up with the chase. The hydralisk was sprawled across the sand, bleeding
severely from uncountable slashes across its scuffed carapace and panting heavily next to four maimed zealots, barely able
to keep its eyes focused on the boxy machine that had come to stand over him. Bane snarled in agony and the familiar
voice broke through the waves of pain,
"Adun, help us! They nearly killed you," Bane squinted through the translucent blue glass of the dragoon
at the mutilated dark templar inside,
"Is that you? But...you're-"
"Dead?" the dark templar answered for him from inside the cold shell.
"Almost," he continued, "My brethren remained in the Terran facility long enough to retrieve my body
so I could further serve Auir." Bane sat up slowly, but growled in pain from the movement,
"You Protoss are really committed to your jobs, aren't you?" He half-laughed.
"All for Auir, my friend." the dragoon answered heartily, "But I have to ask you: what brings you here?
You knew it would be dangerous." Bane stumbled, trying to get up, and a couple zealots that would have killed him a minute
earlier came to help him. Bane snapped at them with a deep, threatening growl and they backed away again, letting the Hydralisk
stand on its own.
"Mengsk will lose control of the Zerg," Bane panted, "And they will destroy us all." The dragoon bounced
on its gangly metal legs,
"I know that already, its why were here-to stop him before the overmind and the swarms are reborn."
"You're too late!" Bane finally got his balance enough to stand up straight again, "The broods are
already rampaging toward us, everyone here is doomed unless we all rally against them! Charley is spreading the word to the
Terran militia as we speak. You must ally with them-it's the only chance you'll get to stop the Zerg." Bane explained. One
of the zealots spoke up,
"How do we know that what you're saying is true?"
"We'll know the truth soon enough," answered the dragoon, turning to the zealots, "Prepare a truce
party to meet the Terrans."
The idling siege tanks thrummed with a monotonous buzz as the
missile turrets spun on their stands. Bunkers stood between the turrets and tanks, completing the impenetrable front line
overlooking the battlefield. Two zealots approached under the setting sun, walking slowly, but steadily, toward the Terran
defenders that could crush them easily. Inside the frontal siege tank, the gunman laughed as he aimed his sights at the two
"Is this some kind of joke?!" he chuckled, flipping on the auto targeting. A transmission crackled
into the navigator's headset and he held up a hand,
"Hey, hold it Larry. Were getting some new orders."
"What?" asked the gunman, easing his finger off the trigger that released the powerful napalm shell.
The navigator argued with his headset a minute before reporting what he was told.
"Command says were allying with the Protoss to fight the Zerg..."
"Sir, we have a situation!"
squawked the speaker box on the Emperor's desk. Mengsk groaned, sitting up and flipping off an ancient record player emanating
"What is it now?!" He blared at his secretary, stubbing out a half-smoked cigar,
"Can't you see I'm about to celebrate a victory here?" The intercom crackled to life again,
"My apologies, Sir, but I think you better look into this."
"Alright," Mengsk sighed, taking a sip off of a glass of champagne,
"Put it on screen." The emperor hit a button under his desk and the Holophone flashed to life, displaying
time and location of the incoming transmission before the picture and sound faded in through the static,
"Commander, we are under attack!!" The emperor gulped the wine down harshly and croaked,
"What?! By who? The Protoss couldn't have broken through already!" Screams and gunfire started to break
out with the panicking voice of the officer,
"Sir! Send reinforcements, we're getting slaughtered down here!!" Ferocious snarls and hacking sounds
became more coherent, followed by dieing gunfire and explosions.
"The Zerg, Emperor, they just...turned against us!! Please! Send help-" The voice talking screamed
the words and then suddenly fell silent to the sounds of growls and faint gunfire.
"Linda!" Mengsk barked into the speaker box, "Sweep the drop zone and send me the comsat photos the
xenomorph operation." The terrible scenes flashes across Mengsk's face from the light of the hologram for a few seconds before
it suddenly changed. A new view was available, one more terrible than it's predecessor. It was an aerial view of the militia
sent to protect the scientists and engineers controlling the overmind. The Hive clusters were complete; a living carpet of
Zerg warriors and structures covered the land and swarms of monsters blotted out the sky. The Dominion bunkers and a few stray
buildings looked puny in front of the menacing brood. The swarms flowed over the restrictions set to contain them, the buildings
burned and filled the blotchy sky with pillars of black smoke. The bulk of the swarms were steadily flowing north toward the
city and the battle outside like an unstoppable tidal wave of carapace, teeth and claws. Flocks of scourge flew close by,
blocking the view and then the pictured died altogether, leaving the office in silence. Minutes passed and the speaker box
broke through again,
"Sir? Are you there?" Mengsk sat, staring at the blank holoscreen and reached slowly across his desk
to his intercom. The secretary croaked once more,
"Sir? Are you okay? Should I send someone?" The emperor finally pressed the button on the speaker,
"What have I done, Linda...What have I done?"
To Be Continued...