The cloak of darkness which wrapped itself around the horizon was beginning to ease its grip on the sky. Starkad had been faithfully patrolling the borders of the new colony the span of the entire evening, keeping watch for fierce predators that would threaten the lives of his family. His vision was spectacular, able to peer across a larger spectrum of light than what was visible to most creatures, allowing him to see flickers of ultraviolet and infrared far before the planets’ sun would appear. This did not however aid his vision in the dark, as during the evening he could not sense colors, and textures seemed to blend together, as if he was viewing the world through a shallow stream. Even with slightly blurred vision, Starkad’s mind was clear as a midnight pond, even though he had patrolled throughout the evening without rest. Starkad had never slept, and never would.
As the light on the horizon grew, Starkad was able to notice shapes below him take clarity, and vivid colors come to life. Jagged mountain peaks could be seen miles away on the horizon, illuminated by the flickering light of the rising sun. Lush vegetation and thick jungle stretched for miles on every side of them, with several holes in the canopy where lakes and rivers lay. Starkad not only could feel the breeze pass him, but he could see it ride upon the tops of trees as is flowed.
After what seemed like an eternity, the rays of the sun rose over the mountain. The light that was radiated turned the dull landscape into a vibrant portrait of beauty. Colors from throughout the spectrum filled Starkad’s eyes as he took in the beauty like a breath of fresh air, and felt completely at peace. No danger could be seen; it was time to return to the colony.
Starkad began to gently drift back towards the colonies location. The breeze was in his favor, so his usual slow-paced movement was nearly doubled. Starkad was grateful for this small fortune. Helium filled sacs supporting his heavy organic carapace were hardly enough to keep him afloat, much less aid in any method of propulsion. He was able to assist his movement with a weak telekinesis to manipulate the air around his body, but this was not extremely effective and Starkad feared few things more than a strong wind.
As the sun began to inch its way into the heavens, Starkad could feel his calm mind begin to stir with the thoughts of his brothers and sisters. They had spent the night huddling close to the colony, burrowed within the creep to draw nutrients from its rich structure. Their minds were stirring and clamoring, but none had emerged from their dens.
Starkad could see the clearing that the colony lay in. It was easily distinguishable from the surrounding jungle due to the dying foliage which lay around its circumference, signaling the spreading of creep. Creep was the life-blood of the Swarm, selflessly expanding across inhospitable terrain to pave the way for the colony to survive. Each structure that drew sustenance from the creep formed the other vitals which allowed for the budding colony to expand and thrive. The structures of the colony all came together to form one creature, merely different parts of a greater, unified whole.
Starkad ebbed over the tree line and was able to view the colony in its entirety. As evident by the decaying plants, thick purple creep blanketed the clearing in all directions, shimmering in the rising sunlight. Small deformities could be seen along its surface, and Starkad reaching out with his mind could identify the minds of his fellow brothers and sisters, huddled tightly within their protective blanket.
The colony was relatively small; only several structures rose of the organic purple mass. A spawning pool sat awkwardly on a small hill, a crater-shaped structure lined with spines along its edges, churning and pulsing with green ooze that gave of a deliciously pungent odor. Portions of this liquid spilled over as its heart beat strongly, and the creep that it splashed upon absorbed it instantly, growing in size. A roach warren also stood firmly on the creep. While this structure did not pulsate like the spawning pool, it too shifted as it breathed. The carapace that it was encased in was much stronger than that of the spawning pool, and was dull even in the light of the morning sun. Large spines rose off it at several angles, pushed through the armored hide as a source of additional armor and intimidation.
Edited by Aradan on 5/13/11 7:41 PM (PDT)
The most impressive structure of new colony however, was the hatchery. Majestically it stood as a beacon of security and conquest. This glorious structure had spine-like spires which grew along its borders, with a narrow column in the center, allowing for air to flow through and aid the millions of tiny organisms inside. Most importantly, the hatchery contained a single creature that heralded back to the original Zerg insectoids; a large bloated worm referred to affectionately as the matriarch, which was nourished by the creatures inside. This creature produced thousands of eggs daily, which workers inside would incubate until they hatched into fully developed larvae. Many Terran and Protoss believed that larvae simply turned into eggs to morph into essential Zerg units, but this was more of a cocoon sustaining the metamorphosis, as Zerg only are contained in eggs before they emerged as larvae.
<Starkad!> Starkad heard a familiar voice echo throughout his mind, and it filled him with joy. The mighty queen Zariah was calling to him, their minds linked through telepathy. <It is wonderful to see you back, safe from your journey!> Starkad saw Zariah patrolling close to the hatchery. Her striking visage was reflected beautifully in the morning sunlight, her large pulsating abdomen an indication of health. Strong robust legs kept her large body aloft, and they were steadied greatly by the creep. Two long arms stretched in front of her with large powerful claws at the end that could easily shred through solid rock.
<Your majesty! It is fantastic to see you doing well here in the colony,> Starkad echoed with his own mind. <Our path is safe to the south; no enemies were spotted for miles.>
<Wonderful!> Zariah said. <Reports from Duneyrr and Hvergelmir have also been ones of safety. We shall continue the infestation as planned. This world is beautiful, and is full of potential. The Queen of Blades will be pleased with this colony!> She let out a verbal screech of triumph which echoed throughout the colony, and turned stabbed the hatchery with her large sharp claws. The structure seemed to wince at first, but as the queen filled the carapace with a green sludge from her jaws, the pain seemed to ebb, and the structure began to swell. The special nourishment from Zariah was allowing the structure to produce larvae at a much faster rate, as more eggs could be incubated without sacrificing the larva's longevity.
Zariah’s screech seemed to have awoken the colony. Starkad felt the minds of every brother and sister in the colony come to life, and the calm pool that was his mind became a torrent of a rushing river. Starkad however was used to this commotion, and felt it a privilege and an honor to be so close to every member of the colony. All across the creep the tiny deformities began to shiver and quake before exploding as zerglings, roaches, and drones all revealed themselves from their nightly tombs. The creep regenerated extremely fast, and soon the holes which they had appeared from were no more visible.
Voices of his brethren called out to Starkad in delight of his safety, but one called out a little stronger than the others. <Starkad! You’re back!> a familiar voice echoed in his head. Starkad looked down and saw a zergling which he had known since she had newly emerged from her cocoon. She was named Regna, and she was a prankster. A splendid specimen of a zergling, her body was narrow and her carapace thick. Long bladed appendages extended from her back, with scythes on the end. Gleaming teeth sparkled in the early morning light. A tad odd for a member of the Swarm, Regna’s mind could drift easily when bored, and she would entertain herself by pestering the drones or poking at the larvae. Under dire circumstances requiring battle coordination, this trait was easily controllable by Starkad and other overlords like him, the hierarchy of the Swarm usually allowed all Zerg to live their own lives. Because of this Zariah didn’t like Regna all that much, but she was Starkad’s favorite.
<Hello small one!> Starkad said back to his friend.
Regna screeched and rolled over on the creep. <Small? Small?!? I’m twice as big as you!> She looked up at him and cocked her head. <Well, in spirit that is.>
Starkad chuckled. <I can’t argue with you there, Regna. You’re spirit is my inspiration.>
Edited by Aradan on 5/13/11 7:41 PM (PDT)
Regna screeched again, this time jumping in the air and running around in circles to show her joy. <Really? Really really? Oh boy! I am the best zergling, no, the best Zerg ever!> She then stood up straight and cocked her head to the left. <Hmm, I’d better go see what those lazy drones are up to, they haven’t done a thing all morning. I bet they’re sluggish!> Starkad watched her run off towards the hatchery where the drones where busy examining several of the rocky outcroppings near the edge of the clearing. He thought about letting Zariah know where Regna was heading, but then decided against it. It would be more fun for his little friend.
Starkad could sense the sensitive minds of the hatching larva beginning to work their way out of the hatchery. Zariah’s ichor had given them sufficient strength, and the struggled out onto the creep, the newest members of their colony family. Starkad loved hearing the thoughts of newly hatched larvae; so excited to be a part of the swarm, so full of potential, so unique and wishful. Their voices like children filled his mind.
<Wow, it feels so warm out here!>
<I know! And can you feel the creep? It’s so comfortable and soft!>
<Yeah! And I feel something else. It is like something is brushing past my hide, but light enough I can hardly tell it’s there!>
<That would be the wind, young one.> Starkad said to the inquisitive larva. Teaching the larvae about the world around them was difficult as they were blind, and their mental capacities had not fully developed.
<Oh! Did you guys hear that voice?> the young larva squeaked. < I think that is Mother!>
<No child,> replied Starkad. <I am your brother, your kin. My name is Starkad, and I watch over you and the entire colony. We are all brothers and sisters young one, and we all love one another.>
<Brother! Hello brother!> The young mind of the larva was golden and pure. <When I hatch, I want to be a drone! That way I can help my other brothers and sisters by becoming whatever they need me to be!>
Such kindness, such service. This wasn’t natural in many Zerg. This child was going to go onward to serve the Swarm with such bravery and courage that Starkad was proud to be in his presence.
Edited by Aradan on 5/13/11 7:41 PM (PDT)
Starkad was about to share his admiration with the young larva when a screech echoed throughout the colony. He looked towards the rocky outcroppings he had seen Regna hopping with glee as fast as her claws would carry her away from Zariah, who had heard the drones complaining and was flailing her claws around. Starkad could hear Zariah’s threats clearly. <If I catch you I’m going to stuff your worthless little hide right into the spawning pool!> Starkad chuckled to himself. Regna bolted straight into the jungle, and Starkad followed her.
It was difficult to see Regna through the foliage, but her mind was racing wildly from her excitement. Starkad had no problem knowing where she was under the treetop canopy. However, as he trailed after her, he noticed that her thoughts changed instantly from excitement to curiosity. He decided to call out, wondering what she had found.
<Regna, what is it small one?> he said, hoping that another joke at her size might bring her back to her normal quirkiness. However, she remained inquisitive.
<I don’t know Starkad.> the young zergling replied. <There is something strange about this tree here. I almost didn’t see it, but it looks funny.>
Starkad began to feel uneasy. What was this thing which she had found? He drifted over a small clearing in the treetops and could see Regna standing absolutely still, gazing at what first appeared to be thin air. On closer inspection however, Starkad could definitely tell that there was a shape, as his highly sensitive eyes could detect thin rays of light shining through the canopy not reflecting on the ground properly. Small bits of dust and debris were also disappearing when the floated to that space. Whatever it was, it was nearly twice as tall as Regna, but did not move. As Starkad focused on the object, he thought that he could hear whispers, voices. In an instant Starkad realized what it was. It was a Terran ghost operative.
<Run Regna!> he echoed, but before she could respond, he reached into her mind and forced her body to sprint back to the colony. The object suddenly shimmered to life as its invisibility melted away, revealing a terrifying creature beneath its shroud. Tall, bipedal, and coated with a thick shell of armor, the ghost reached towards the weapon it carried on its back. Regna’s thoughts of terror welled up inside Starkad’s mind, but still he forced her body to sprint to the colony.
The ghost brought the weapon to his eye and aimed it at the retreating zergling. Starkad watched in horror from above as the monster activated the weapon that he held. At the same instant, he jerked Regna’s body to the side and the projectile missed its mark. Starkad thought that all was safe, but saw the ghost take aim again at the fleeing creature. Starkad jerked the small zerglings body to the side again, but the ghost had learned from his last shot. This time the projectile met its mark, and sliced through Regna’s abdomen. Pain coursed through Starkad’s mind as he felt the metal casing embed itself through flesh and bone.
Looking down, he saw the Terran ghost return the weapon to his back and then fled away from the colony. Starkad was worried for the life of his friend, and reached with his mind to examine the extensiveness of the damage. The wound was painful, but not fatal. It had missed the heart, and would be regenerated with time. However, the ghost scout had seen their position. He needed to notify Zariah of the impending danger.
Edited by Aradan on 5/13/11 7:41 PM (PDT)
<Zariah!> he called out. <Regna has detected a Terran scout just to the east of here, who was heavily armed. We need to prepare for an attack immediately!>
Starkad could feel the queen’s anxiety increase, but she continued to stay calm. <Very well Starkad. I shall call for Duneyrr and Hvergelmir to return, as we will require their coordination should an attack befall us.>
A sick sensation was felt throughout Starkad’s entire body. Not my friends, he thought. Not my family. This cannot be happening to us. Why are these creatures so determined to rid us of this world? Maybe it is because they are just as afraid of us as we are of them?
Starkad noticed that the minds of the entire colony were growing uneasy. He reached through the voices and called upon a drone that had been prospecting for usable minerals and urged it to come to Regna’s location. Upon seeing Regna lying on the ground, the drone thought that this might be a prank, but after careful explanation from Starkad, the drone realized the urgency of the situation, gently picked Regna up off the ground, and carried her back to the security of the colony and placed her on the creep. Starkad could still sense her pain, and occasionally shrieks of pain could be heard from her direction.
Worried for the safety of his family, Starkad scanned the horizon. He would see Hvergelmir approaching from the west and Duneyrr from the south. Soon they would be in range enough to communicate. Starkad reached the colony first. Several of the drones were gathering material from the spawning pool, and then burrowing themselves into areas on the creep, cocooning themselves to become defensive spine crawlers. When transformed, they would be essential to holding off the enemy infantry. Two of the spawned larvae were spinning cocoons about their bodies rapidly. Zariah had requested for them to become roaches. Armored beasts which were capable of launching acid incredible distances, roaches would be helpful for the upcoming battle. Several other larvae remained, including the remarkably selfless larva he had communicated with before.
Suddenly, the ground began to shimmer with artificial light. Starkad could see it was a Terran scan using their technology they had in orbit above the planet using infrared light to view every detail and relay it to their troops. There was nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide. The monstrous Terran knew everything about their location, and Starkad knew nothing about them. Starkad felt every mind in the colony quiver, wondering what danger lie in the not to distant future. He tried to comfort and strengthen his brethren, but the truth was he was trying to conceal his own uneasiness.
<Brothers! Sisters! They are coming from the south!> Duneyrr’s voice shrieked in his head. Vivid images from Duneyrr’s perspective flooded into Starkad’s mind as he saw five Terran drop ships, metallic beasts which housed Terran infantry in order to transport them across vast distances. The drop ships were escorted by another Terran monstrosity, the Viking. The Viking was another metal creature which had the ability soar through the air, slaughtering other flying creatures, then transform into an assault walker, blasting at troops from below. This armada was closing fast, and Starkad quickly calculated that they were greatly outmatched. This would not be a battle. It would be a massacre.
Edited by Aradan on 5/13/11 7:42 PM (PDT)
Starkad could sense vibrations echoing through the air, and heard what sounded like a rushing of wind. Through Duneyrr’s eyes he saw that the Vikings had released their deadly missiles, and they were rushing towards him. <Save yourselves!> he cried out, just as four deadly projectiles came in contact with his bulky carapace. Starkad winced as his brother’s body absorbed the crushing impact of the exploding missiles, but he stayed afloat after the first volley. Once again the Vikings launched their deadly weapons, and as they impacted every member of the colony felt Duneyrr’s death cry echo throughout their souls, and his lifeless corpse, unable to support itself any longer fell in a heap upon the ground, crashing into the foliage in a heap of bone and gore. No! Starkad thought. My brother!
Instantly every mind in the colony weighed much heavier on Starkad’s mind. He could sense Hvergelmir also struggling to assist and coordinate their brethren, now that they had lost the assistance of Duneyrr. Panic ensued as the monsters approached. Starkad gave up on trying to comfort his family, and instead began to rally their meager force around the hatchery. The roaches that had been morphed by Zariah were beginning to hatch, blades and teeth forcing their way from their cocoons, ready to protect their family at any cost. The spine crawlers were also nearly complete, as their long bladed tentacles were able to be seen underneath the thin cocoon of the drone.
The drop ships with their Viking escorts were at their doorstep. They hovered slightly to the south of the colony, poised ready to annihilate the colony. The Vikings then began to form their deadly transformation, metal twisting and turning as fire shot from their backs, allowing them to softly land on the ground beneath the tree line. The drop ships also lowered themselves to the Vikings level, and began to unload their deadly cargo, just out of Starkad’s line of sight.
All was silent. Zerglings and roaches formed uneasy ranks, shuddering at the unknown. Starkad could sense metallic plates shifting and clanking together as Terran infantry and mechanical units were unloaded from their transports. Starkad looked down on his brothers and sisters. Their pure and unique minds were trembling, for they all felt the impending doom as the monsters approached unseen. The last moment of peace scurried away, and all hell broke loose.
Two loud explosions were heard rip forward from the Terran’s position. Speeding through the air faster than sound came accelerated projectiles which contacted with one of the budding the budding spine crawlers. The cocooning flesh melted away in a fiery explosion which sent a shock throughout the rest of the colony, knocking many zerglings to the ground. Siege tanks! Starkad exclaimed as the helpless spine crawler prematurely rose from its burrow, blood and fluid pulsing from its injuries. Starkad took control of the troops around the crawler and forced them to retreat behind the hatchery. Several more bombardments from the tanks left the crawler’s tentacle separated from its body, twitching and trashing violently on the creep.
The transports rose from above the canopy again, and started to move forward. The trees were shaking, and Starkad knew that deadly Terran infantry were fast approaching their position. The second spine crawler burst from its cocoon, much to Starkad’s relief. They would need all the help they could get. He held their troops just outside of the siege tank’s range, and waited for the inevitable.
Memories began to flash through Starkad’s mind. The day that he burst from his cocoon, welcomed into the world by Zariah, beaming up at him. Watching the colony expand and thrive, pushing its way into the forest. Watching his brothers and sisters emerge from their cocoons, embracing life with their new senses. Watching as Regna and her twin hatched, and seeing her roll around in the creep playfully. All of this beauty, all he held dear, was about to be torn from him from these beastly Terran.
He noticed Regna’s mind gaining strength, and he turned to see her limping across the creep. His nearest, dearest friend. He admired her strength and tenacity, but knew that all would be in vain. <Young one...> he thought to her.
Edited by Aradan on 5/13/11 7:40 PM (PDT)
<Starkad,> she whispered silently. <You have always been my inspiration. I feel happy that I had the honor of knowing you.> She smiled softly up at him, and Starkad began to weep. Here his comrade was ready to lay up her life in defense of her family, and he was proud. The minds of his family took courage, and prepared to face their greatest fear head on. Starkad and Hvergelmir arranged the troops in ranks, the armored roaches leading the army, with the zerglings behind.
In an instant the Terran infantry arrived at the clearing. Dozens of marines armed with large weapons similar to the kind the ghost had carried, much louder and threatening. Accompanying them were marauders, large armored beasts which could launch armor piercing concussive shells from their carapaces. The drop ships above them capable of regenerating their wounds and the heavy assault Vikings assisting them, Starkad’s heart sunk as he realized how terrible this situation would be.
Hvergelmir and Starkad ordered the roaches forward, and they began to draw fire from the Terran monsters. The marine projectiles merely glanced off of their armored carapace, but the armor piercing shells from the marauders shattered large parts of the roaches armor. Squeals of pain were both heard and felt by Starkad as they moved their way forward. As soon as the roaches reached the appropriate distance, they began to expel acid at great force. This green sludge caught the metal of the different troops; it dissolved away, exposing the Terran’s flesh underneath. When the acid began to fly, every zergling was issued into the battle.
Bullets tore through bone and flesh, and piles of Starkad’s kin soon littered the creep. Just when it would seem that one of the enemies was about to fall, a drop ship would extend a healing beam of energy, repairing the infantries armor and returning the troop to maximum health. Few zerglings even reached the line of infantry, as they were cut down by flying projectiles and siege tank fire.
Starkad watched in horror as Regna leapt from the back of a roach towards the line of marines. <For brother! For sister! For the Swarm!> she screeched, talons wide and teeth snarling. She was about to pierce a marine’s skull when a metal blade extended from his weapon, and he thrust it into her abdomen.
<No!> screamed Starkad as he felt the blade pierce her body. Life drained from her as the marine thrust her to the ground. The marine then stomped on her lifeless corpse with his metal foot, crushing it in twain.
“Where’s your Queen of Blades now, maggot!” he exclaimed as he kicked her body aside. Starkad was heartbroken. An hour ago his best friend was happily pestering drones, and now she lie lifeless before a terrifying monster.
Within seconds every zergling had fallen, and only one or two roaches remained, being cleaned up by the Terran monstrosities. Starkad’s mind was soon filled with an awful silence which had moments before been filled with the individual minds of his loving family. All of them where gone, brutally destroyed by the terrifying beasts. The remaining spine crawler stretched forth as the infantry approached, but heavy firepower brought it down quickly as it exploded in a column of blood. Zariah stood between the hatchery and the enemy snarling and hissing at the approaching beasts. <Stay away from my children! Back!> She stabbed forward with her blades, but soon, she too fell to the overwhelming power of the advancing force.
“Alright men!” one armored marine barked out. “Let’s clean out these mindless bugs. Remember to show no mercy; they have no souls. They are all just extensions of the wretched mind of the Queen of Blades.” The assault force moved forward, and Starkad watched in horror as they began attacking the hatchery. He felt the minds of the remaining few larvae in his mind, who were confused and scared. They had extremely armored carapace, but it would not last to the intense firepower of the enemy. The last thoughts of the larvae screeched through his mind as the enemy drew their focus on them.
<Brother! I’m in pain! What is happening to me? Why are they hurting me brother? Stop them brother! Please!> Eventually the brutal shells pierced the sweet larva hide, and they dissolved directly into the creep.
Starkad began to weep as his mind was completely silent. His mother Zariah which had watched over him and protected his cocoon as he developed had died defending her children. The larva in which he saw so much potential had been slaughtered by these terrible otherworldly beasts. And finally his best friend, so unique and precious, so full of life, had been slaughtered and mutilated. <You have always been my inspiration.> He remembered her sweet words in his mind. Every family member he had ever known was gone.
“Hey boss!” Starkad heard one of the marines say. “One of those over-things is up there! Let’s clean it up!” This was the end. Starkad felt a hailstorm of projectiles ramming over his body. <You have always been my inspiration.>
I loved you all, thought Starkad as the world around him started to fade. The vibrant colored creep was regressing, the colony was dead. Starkad closed his eyes and accepted his fate, his carapace slicing open. <Thank you Regna,> he spoke, knowing that nothing would hear. <Thank you for being my inspiration.>
*Feel free to post and let me know how I did*
Brought a tear to my eye +1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
Hey, glad you liked it. I started writing this when Joey Ray's bar opened up, and wanted to do something that didn't portray the Zerg as the bad guys (since most of Blizzard's stories seem to lean that way). This was also inspired by the many zvt matches I've had where the Terrans would just ROTFStomp me. Hopefully some Terran player will read this and think twice about slaughtering poor, helpless Zerg.
Now I'm one that will gladly accept constructive critisism, and I'm sure I made one or two typos, but how many typos are you thinking? Did you load this into word and then do a spellcheck? Because yeah, zergling, Starkad, etc. would all be mispelled on this basis. If you could point out the typos that would be better, so that I can fix them. Thanks for reviewing anyway, hopefully your next comment is a little more constructive.