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"So stranger, you come over to my corner of the bar...well I guess you expect to hear a tale of some form. Well fine, just don't go expecting no happy endings or something stupid like that, and give me one of those beers while your at it."--"Thank you stranger now..oh? You want a name? Just call me what I call you, hell..everyone else does."
My story begins as most do, someplace calm and quiet. For me..it was a posting over at some godforsaken planet at some godforsaken section of our sector. I am..or rather was, one of the SCV pilots sent with a command center to expand the Dominion's mineral wealth. It was all easy at first, the center landed, we got off, and right infront of us was our goal. Enough minerals to fund the war effort for a solid month. So we began mining, or rather most of us. You see, overwatch decided it would be a good idea to send one of my buddies off to scout around. So off he went..the last thing I ever saw of him was his signature going off line in the minimap. No one really wanted to think about what happened to him besides, More scrubs were being sent into the suits along with us. Shortly after, Overwatch tasked me with building more supply depots. Being a loyal scrub I did as I was told. I finished this just in time for Overwatch to order the construction of a barracks. Seems like Overwatch is expecting problems, I thought. I started building it anyways though, seeing as it was better than constructing the geisers. I have never liked Vespine duty you see..anyways! The barracks comes up and I'm sent back to mining duties. Another scrub takes over what I was doing and layed down the structure for a factory while the barracks was flashing with lights.
"I'm boring you aren't I? Here, get me another drink and I'll speed this along."--"Thank you now.."
..several marines had been sent out to recon the areaand defenses had been laid down. I was personally charged with the construction of an expansion, and still had no idea who it was we were fighting. That is..until they came to the bunker doors. I must admit I wasn't able to see much, just some flashes of shields and bodies flying into the air. It became quiet once more, but now at least we knew who killed our poker buddy. From what I saw they were just a couple of zealots. They managed to catch two of the marines out of the bunker, but the other six marines gunned them down quickly soon after. But that didn't matter because the command center was ready. In I went, along with two other scrubs, out to the closest mineral node to our base. It was a smart location; high ground, single ramp up, and a great spot to place defenses. Or it would've been if the damn command center wasn't shot down first. Overwatch..when I find him, I'm going to wring his damn NECK for such stupid planning. The center errupted into flames and crashed into the jungle below. We all managed to escape; however, I was the only one with a functioning suit. Heh..from where I was, you could hear Overwatch's ship evacuate into hyperspace as well as the screams from our original base. So here we were, stuck on some godforsaken rock in the middle of godforsaken nowhere.
"Ah..I must stop this tale here for now. No no! It's not because I'm parched, it's only that I feel we need a break from this." "I hope to share more of my tale with you stranger."
Edited by evilpenguin on 5/13/2011 11:34 AM PDT
"Ah stranger you've returned to hear an old man's story. Well..no sense putting it off then for you."
It was a miracle us three had survived the explosion. I looked to see if any of them were part of the original team. They were all scrubs, probably from just before the original Command Center exploded. "Alright," I said to them, "Seeing as how we're trapped here until some other team comes along, I'll be taking charge." One of the scrubs tried to raise their suit's arm in protest, but the servos snapped and only caused it to explode into smaller pieces. "Good, no objections then now, we need to get moving out of this jungle before those damn telepaths start exterminating survivors." There was no point in using polite words at the time, we were stuck here on hostile territory for who knows HOW long. So making sure the emergency beacon was off(Observers can track them to the source) us three started to head on off. It was getting towards the night cycle on the planet before I decided it was safe to stop and set camp. A quick atmospheric test showed that the planet did indeed have an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere, and so it was safe for us to exit the suits. And so I got to see who the two scrubs were behind the suits. The first one was big, dark hair, green eyes, and a tatoo of what looked like a Scantid. The other one was a bit lankier, brown hair, brown eyes, glasses, and some attempt at growing a goatee. Both looked not a day over twenty and each had fear in their eyes. They were also taller than me.
"Now, I'm not saying I'm short or anything stranger, but well..here, stand up."--"There, see what I mean? Now.."
.."I need your names and your ranks." I stated directly at them.
"Private Corpland..sir." said the guy with the tatoo.
"Ah hell man, why should I tell you? It's not like we're ever going to go home ma-" I punched the guy with the glasses before he finished his sentence.
Then, picking him up by the front of his shirt I said, "If you really feel that way, I'll make sure you never DO get home. Understand?" He managed to spurt out a weak yes sir. "Good. Now, your name and rank soldier."
"P..priv..vate Staten." I released my grip on his shirt and he fell to the ground. The air was quiet and the scent of piss hung lazily in the air.
"Alright, Corpland, Staten, I am Stranger to you, Lieutenant Stranger, and," I leaned in my face towards them, "I welcome you to this godforsaken corner of the planet." Things progressed quickly after that, we began rationing so we could survive for at least a few weeks, We scrounged up some scrap minerals to power the fusion cutter on my SCV to repair both of theirs to half strength, and we kept our eyes peeled for any signs of the Protoss. For a time, we thought ourselves safe, entirely unaware of others watching our actions. That is, until Staten decided to toss a rock into the air and it bounced off the observer.
"I tire now stranger, please...come back another time and I shall share more of the story to you." "But for now..yes..another drink will do."
Edited by evilpenguin on 5/13/2011 11:33 AM PDT
"I'm sorry stranger, I had thought I told you this part so my mind began to wander. You still wish me to tell you my story?" "Very well..but first, another drink for me."--Thank you. Now.."
..The Observer was a big call for alarm. So it was decided to pack up our makeshift camp and head to someplace safer. So we did. Got it all done in less than half an hour no less. But just as we were finishing up, they came out of the jungle. Zealots only, from what little I've read on their armor it seemed that speed boost wasn't installed into their armor. So we fled, lost track of them as well. But that didn't mean anything to us, we kept moving. They..kept following us. Those tenacious bastards would keep following us until, days later, they finally stopped chasing us, and we got a chance to rest for a while. After awaking we had decided to keep moving and hope we'd eventually be rescued. Of course..we knew that there was no chance in being rescued at anytime. Hell, I had even tried to use the emergency beacon but the damn thing decided to catch fire and explode.
"Hmm? It sounded like you had a question stranger. No? Hmm..almost thought I heard you say something. Anyways.."
..The night cycle was falling once more when our pursuers finally caught up to us. We had just set up a makeshift camp when they emerged from the bushes. There were only two of them, yet the looks they gave us sent shivers down my spine. I felt..wierd, like..something was crawling inside my mind, snatching up crtain things and smushing other ones together. The looks on Statens and Corpland's faces seemed to suggest that they also felt this..strangeness. Then, the feeling stopped and I looked around. They were standing over Staten, some liquid oozing from his body. It took a second for me to register that Staten was dead and the liquid was his blood flowing out onto the jungle floor. Damn fool, all his talk about how we weren't going to make it and all...he must've jinxed himself or something because thats exactly what happened to hisself. Any sense of vengeance was quickly doused as one of them jerked, then vanished in a puff of smoke. The other looked around, then jerked and vanished as well. Feeling returned to my body, and I rushed over to Staten, no thoughts on anything else. Of course it was too late for him, the lucky bastard. His whole chest was carved open like a..well like how a man with his chest carved open would look. "Most people would have the sensibility not to cry over a dead man." Came a voice from the jungle.
"Who the hell said that?" I half yelled back, ignoring the fact that I indeed WAS crying.
She seemed to materialize from the shadows, her cannister rifle aimed at the ground. "Me?" she asked, "Why, I'm only a ghost, and you are?"
"I am.." I began but she cut me off.
"Lieuteneant Stranger," She offered her hand, "Pleasure meeting another terran on this planet."
I took her offered hand and shook it, "I'm glad myself, seeing someone with an actual gun and all. But I'd like a name to please."
She glanced slightly away, "The gun...it..doesn't have anymore ammo...heh.." I glanced at the gun, then at her, then back at the gun. She quickly interjected before I could say anything "B..but you can call me Knell! It's much easier than remembering my number!"
I was about to say something nasty when Corpland interupted, "Ma'am, I am Joseph Corpland, and I greet you with hopes that you join us," He took her hand, "I do however, wish to know how it is that you came to find us and so quickly, take out those two fiends who dared to kill one of us."
"Err..I'll tell you soon...yea.." she removed her hand, "But right now we should probably be moving."
I looked at Staten's body, "We need to bury him, least I could do for the jackass.." Knell looked at me with a slight tinge of frustration, but she didn't say anything. The sun was just rising when we were standing over his makeshift grave, his glasses lying atop the mound. No words were spoken, but a sense of sadness was shared among us. Then, with no words spoken, we took to preparing for our departure.
"I feel my throat sore stranger. No no! I don't wish for another drink, just..I wish to break away for now. Come again another time and I shall perhaps tell you more."
"Again you return stranger. What is it about my tale that interests you? My tale is not a strange one, many have dealt with situations like my own."--"Your still here then? Fine..purchase me another drink and I shall continue then."
By the time the sun was fully up we were on the move. Knell had no problems figuring out how to run the SCV suit stating that, "You have to learn how to use things in our job." Neither Corpland or I asked anymore than that, we were just thankful that she wouldn't slow us down none. So we sped on through the jungle, keeping our eyes open for any pursuers or the shimmer of observers. We did keep a constant stream of chatter over the suit comms to help try and keep the tension of what was going on around us. "So Knell..how did you find us anyways?" I asked, breaking off Corpland's one sided conversation.
She sighed with relief, "I was put here as part of the reconnaissance team that first found this planet, and no you can't use the ship before you ask." I opened my mouth to object this but she spoke first, "The ship was destroyed. All left on it were killed and survivors were hunted down by groups like the ones you met."
I closed my mouth and looked down at my console. "Sorry for your loss."
To my surprise she laughed, "Ohh don't be like that, the idiots were completely lousy at their jobs. Had all the information in the world that the Protoss were set up as they were and did nothing about it." Her voice changed slightly, a hint of sadness creeping in, "Though if they'd have relayed the message, your team wouldn't have went down unprepared-"
"But thats the thing Knell," I interrupted, "why would we get sent down even though the recon team went out of contact?" I paused for a moment thinking it over, "And why would they send a ghost along, aren't you all, like, special, or something?" She started to say something, stopped, then just remained quiet. I decided not to press on the issue
"Your asking why I didn't press on the matter? It's because I'm not one to press on people's pasts stranger. Besides, she told us later, but right now...get me another drink stranger, I need to be alone for a few moments."--"Thank you stranger for at least being polite about that. Here is more of my tale.."
..Corpland broke the silence first, "Where are we headed anyways? Theres nothing around that CAN get us off planet and I doubt very much any rescue vessels would come for us anytime soon."
Knell sighed with, annoyance? Relief? I wasn't really sure. "While with..my original team, I managed to spot a bunch of ships in a huge clearing just sitting there. At the head of the clearing was a gigantic warpgate. I'm thinking that'll be our ticket off this rock."
Corpland was silent for a moment then, "Oh..but what about defenses? You know, guards, turrets, all that stuff!" He did have a point, something that big would certainly be heavily guarded. But Knell interrupted my thoughts, "It doesn't matter, we're already here." We emerged from the jungle into a clearing. In front of us was well...lots of ships for lack of a better term. "How..the..hell?" I looked around me at the vast numbers of ships.
"I reprogrammed the SCVs guidance systems of course." Knell stated, "They're pretty lax on security aren't they.." Eight stalkers warped into view infront of us, with four zealots warping infront of them. I managed to let out a chuckle, "You should probably never say such things, life has a way of screwing you over when you do." The Stalker's weapons began to glow with a cool blue light.
"I'm sorry stranger, I'm afraid my voice is giving out on me. I've been through too much in my life, please, be here again, I now realize I must get this out to you."
"Hello again stranger, take your seat. Hmm..no no, something different to drink this time."--"Thank you stranger, It is good to try new things. Now could you remind me of what was going on? Nevermind stranger, I remember now..
"Split up!" I yelled, thrusting my SCV to the right. Knell juked left and Corpland followed suit. I moved as fast as the SCV let me, dodging disrupter fire and scattered ships. The comm system crackled to life with the voice of Corpland, "So Stranger, hows it going on your end?"
"Not too well," I replied back, "I was hoping to not die first then see what would happen next." Iheard him chuckling over the comm. "What?! It's a legitimate-" I looked up to see a Stalker directly in front of me, "Hold on a second, got something here." I turned towards a gap in the ship line, only for the Stalker to blink there, blocking the path, weapons glowing with the same cool blue light from before. There was no time to turn so I did the next best thing. I shifted the engines towards the grounds and jumped onto the sucker's back. I heard the SCV legs scrapping against the shielding of the Stalker. Not giving the thing a chance to toss me off, I turned the engines to full blast and literally flew through the air for a few seconds. The landing jostled me around in the harness, but that didn't stop me from speeding off down the line of ships. The comm crackled to life again, "You alive there Stranger?"
Keeping my eyes firmly on the path this time I replied, "I'm about as alive as I could be thank you very much. Whats up with you?"
There was some chuckling from his side, " Oh nothing much, Seems the bulk went after you for whatever reason, still though..wait a second." He went silent for a few moments, "Power fluctuations around us, just where the hel-" I heard an explosion from the otherside of the field.
"Corpland? Corpland! Damnit Corpland! Answer me!" Static eminated from the radio. "Knell, you read me?" Static eminated from the radio.
"Obviously this wasn't going well for me stranger. With no response from either of them I was forced to search for any ships capable of hyper space jumps. Hand me another drink stranger, maybe the same one you gave me earlier?"--"I appreciate your generosity stranger Now.."
..I delved deeper and deeper into the fields, occasionally having to flee from groups out to kill me. Of course, the deeper in the more that tried to kill me. No thoughts of how I was going to run any of these passed through my mind, but I'd have to try one eventually. So I did, it was an old shuttle, probably from before the Brood Wars. Looking around first to make sure there were no protoss around, I headed for the shuttle ramp. Luckily, the thing was open so I was able to get inside with no problems. I shut down the SCV and climbed out, then decided to take a closer look around me. The shuttle was huge! It could've easily fit at least two siege tanks! But...there was no way I knew how to run it. So with a sigh I turned around, only to come face to face with a slugthrower.
"Yes stranger it was indeed Knell, but I..excuse me stranger, I need to leave you. Please, if anyone asks, you know nothing of me. I shall finish my tale the next time we meet stranger!"
"You alone stranger? No, don't answer me, just..need to finish this. I see you've already gotten me a drink. Thank you stranger, you've been most kind to me. Now, I had a gun pointed at my face.."
..with Knell being the one aiming it at me. Blood ran down her face. We stared at each other for a few moments, then she lowered the gun. "Sorry," she stated, "Thought you were one of them for a moment."
"It's fine," I replied back to her, "I probably would've done the same thing." We chuckled nervously and the tension eased slightly. "By any chance, do you know how to run this thing?"
She grinned, "I do now." With that, she hit a button next to the ramp. The door slowly started grinding closed behind her, "Before you ask it, I saw your SCV head into this," She kicked the wall gently, "place." The ramp closed fully as she said this last one. There was silence for a moment, then soft blue lights began coming on. Knell started feeling along the wall on the other side of the shuttle, "There should be some sort of dppr that leads to the central navigation core..ah hah!" The wall slid smoothly back, revealing a small, bright room. Knell motioned me over, then pointed at some duller blue lights. "Just hit that one, that one and that one, the shuttle will do the rest."
"Got it." I made for the console and typed those keys in. The room blackened out and tiny lights began winking on. "Ahh...what do I do now?"
She came over and looked at the lights. Then, she poked one of the lights with her finger. The ship began to rumble, and a screen appeared, showing the area around us. Nothing was waiting for us outside as the ship began to rise above the ground. In the distance, the warpgate began to activate. A question suddenly came to my mind, "Why DID you come here? You never told us before this."
She froze, for a moment, then smiled and held up a small remote, "Search and Destroy." She pressed the button.
"I'm sorry stranger, my mind goes a little fuzzy at this point, there were indeed lots of explosions. However, I can say that we made it out alive, if that matters to you anyways. Anyways, do you have a light? I could use a smoke."--"You really are a good friend stranger, I hope we will see eachother again...but I must finish this first.."
I recall a point after the explosions, we had exited onto a planet closer to terran space, and started heading for the inner planets. Knell came up while I was working on the SCV and said, "It's a shame I have to kill you now."
"Wait...KILL ME?!" I turned around and she was there, pointing the slugthrower at me.
Her voice had a hollow, echo like tone to it, "No witnesses." I dived to the side just as she fired, knicking my leg with the round. Gritting my teeth trying to keep my mind off the pain, I kept moving. Yet everytime she fired, her aim got better till it was a miracle that I wasn't hit. Eventually though, I was hit in the leg. With that hit, I tripped and fell to the ground. She walked slowly over to where I lied. "Nothing..personal. Just..orders." She raised the gun to my head. The shadows behind her shifted position. Knell didn't even seem to notice, just slowly tightened her grip on the trigger. The blade came from the shadows, thrusting through her midsection and thrusting up through her skull. The two halves crumpled silently to the ground and the shadows vanished. I tried to get a closer look, but something overpowered my senses and I went unconcious. I came to some time later when a group of salvagers managed to board the vessel. I tried to ask them if they had seen Knell's body, but they assured me that they had seen no one but me. I decided not to push on it and decided to fade back into civilian life.
"Or..I would've, but..people seem to have other ideas. I thank you once more stranger, now that my tale is told, I can accept what may or may not happen to me. But first, a toast. To whatever may or may not happen!"--"Stranger, I can't thank you enough for the fact that you at least listened to my story. I wish you well in your future travels, wherever they take you. As for me...I need to go meet my fate."
"Breaking News: Man found dead outside of local bar! More news on this at ten!"
Edited by evilpenguin on 5/16/2011 7:33 PM PDT
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