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The Second Wind
Description: When Queen Kerrigan was taken from the swarm, her brood mothers each took their share of the brood, to separate from and sometimes battle eachother, but someone had to stand up for the swarm at large. Enter Cerebrate Varus. A living relic of the obsolete zerg, Varus takes it upon himself to collect whatever new units he can to protect his race from all the enemies who would take advantage of its time of weakness, but the challenge before him is great. Varus has only drones and a few outdated units at this disposal, and only the feuding brood mothers can make more. Furthermore, his essence has been condensed into the body of a drone, and so his thoughts have become cloudy, and a great wall blocks his mind from brilliance. How then should he hope to protect the swarm?
Story 1 Drone Cerebrate Varus
Brood mother Baresh cast a great shadow upon me and my brood of drones. When she lifted up her front feelers there was a low clacking sound as carapace met carapace at her joints.
“Have you come to challenge me? You dare presume that you have the strength to take the swarm and replace our lost queen!?” She snapped at me. The brood mother did not even need to open her maw to speak to me, for she could communicate with me via a powerful mental link. Nevertheless, she leaned down to bare her mandibles. I could smell the decay from bits of her last meal. “You are but the last vestige of a failed swarm that had fallen out of the queen's favor. She devolved you into a mere drone, and you are fortunate that she let you live at all!”
Every insult she uttered was true. Though I was a great mind once, I had been turned into a drone, for the queen had created the brood mothers to replace me. Even so when, Baresh's great jaws came close to me I dug my pinching claws into the living, pulsating, floor, and snapped, “I have no desire to rule the swarm! You brood mothers can fight each other as much as you like, and when the fighting is over I will serve whoever is the new queen.”
The brood mother could have consumed more than half of my body with one bite, but with righteous reasoning at my back I pushed forward, and reared up into her face. “But while you brood mothers divide the swarm I desire to defend it, and for that I need newly evolved forces. Our ancient enemies the protoss are surly gathering to take advantage of our weakness. So too will the humans who took our queen from us.” When I uttered the word protoss my hearts sent quakes throughout my body, and my mind's eyes conjured up images of furious beings of solid light, who cut and burned through many ranks of our people. Baresh imagined armadas of gold and crystal ships assaulting our people with weapons beyond our understanding. She shuttered somewhat.
After my yelling I had calmed down, and with a softer voice I said, “You brood mothers are the only ones who can hatch units. Please donate some to my cause.”
Brood mother Baresh leaned back and brought her feelers together in thought. “What do you need?” She asked.
“Right now I have mostly drones and a few outdated air units. What I need most of all is flying creatures that can take the fight to the sky and stars along with essence to evolve my existing fliers.” Baresh sat in silent contemplation.
“I cannot spare my offspring so long as brood mother Salith is at war with me. But when I have defeated her I will grant even more units than you desire.”
“If I convince Salith to weaken herself by donating units will you do so as well?” I asked.
“Perhaps,” she said simply. With a grumble I begrudgingly bowed and with my fellow drones following me I levitated out of the hatchery.
I felt a wave of suffocating heat and powerful pressure upon leaving, and had to put my pincers over my eyes to tolerate the brightness of a sun that dominated red sky. The planet Kalen V was very hot as it was close to its sun. Only the plant's heavy atmosphere prevented the tideless oceans from boiling away. Even so, as I traveled along the beach I noticed white, furry, beast trapped in slimy, translucent, cocoons. Since Kalen V had no moon its orbit was erratic and could move very close then very far from it's sun. No doubt Baresh was going to place the essence of the beasts in her troops to deal with the coming cold spell.
I came to a line of spiked tentacles, called spine crawlers, that towered over me and stood posed to strike me. They didn't, however, but I had to scale a pile of corpses on my journey. Mangled bodies of our troops, with their clawed paws twisted at impossible angles, lay with their toothy maws agape from the last time they screamed. They had been victims of the crawlers and each-other. There was another row of spine crawlers also poised to strike, for such defensive life-forms drew the battle lines.
I entered a brown hatchery, and there was brood mother Salith caressing some of her translucent eggs. I was about to utter a thought via mental link, but she spoke first.
“No need to say a word. I have already heard the conversation.” she said, still staring at the worm-like embryos swirling in the eggs. Three embryos were in each egg. “I said I would not lend my infestors to you until Baresh lent you air units, and she hasn't, so the infestors and their mind control abilities stay with me.” Three of the infestor creatures wandered her hatchery aimlessly. They had huge, bloated, black, bodies, that their tiny slender legs somehow managed to carry. Though they had carapace, they also had pupils like the eyes of a vertebrate.
“You hacked into our communication?” I asked.
“I hear all,” she said as she secreted a mucus from a gland on her thorax. She then rubbed the mucus on to her eggs.
I sighed and then replied, “We cerebrates may be obsolete, but when the swam was in danger we came together to protect it. Sooner or later you brood mothers will have to do the same.” When she didn't reply I sighed again, this time at my own powerless, and then I decided to go mine minerals.
* * *
One of my drones took root, and began growing into a building a split second before I knew I wanted it to. The drone formed into a ball and then flesh burst from it's own body as it pulsated and grew. In a few minutes the drone had grown many times its original size. It had become a wide tunnel leading to the hatcheries of both Baresh and Salith. I had two other drones grow into extractors, buildings made to mine useful gasses. Then the rest of the drones and I went about mining minerals necessary for the development of the swarm.
Since turning into a drone, I had come to use whatever was left of my mental faculties to invent more efficient ways of mining and growing buildings. I had developed a gas extraction organism that used it's blood to pump gas directly into my delivery system, and made use of acids that helped brake down the minerals in order to make their collection and future digestion much easier. My proudest achievement, was to train my drones to burrow into soil before growing into buildings. This quickened the growth of buildings by making soil softer, and by mixing it in with a nutrient rich substance called creep that we would normally leave only on the surface.
It was interesting to invent these mining methods, but after I had run out of ideas for improving mining, the job had become tortuously repetitive. Pick up the mineral block and bring it to the tunnel, pick up the mineral block and bring it to the tunnel, over and over again. The only way to escape the torture was to let my weak mind wander to other things.
I contemplated on how to unite Baresh and Salith, hoping I would come to a sudden revelation. None came. Before I was a drone, my mind worked efficiently and smoothly like my inventions for extracting resources. Every thought was a revelation, but as a drone, everything had become a cloudy haze, and only occupationally would inspiration strike.
All I could do was work, but then a bright, but tiny reflection from the sky caught my attention. Up in the sky I saw slender, flying, slivers of gold. Then my drones scattered, before I even knew I wanted them to.
(to be continued)
I narrowly dodged a powerful ray of light, that was many times my width in diameter. The light vaporized rock and left behind magma. I moved with all my being and determination, for I smelt the burning meat of the seared buildings behind me.
“Baresh, Salith, the enemy is here!” I thought, as I communicated with my powerful mental link. “I am being attacked by what appears to be a protoss vessel, but..” My train of thoughts was interrupted by another blast of energy, that melted stone and created a deafening blast, which reverberated throughout my body. My thoughts stopped as I focused entirely on retreating.
“Are you alive?” Salith asked me. Her communications did not register for a moment. It was only after I found a crevice to hide in that I finally responded.
“I have never seen this kind of starship before. Regardless, I am sending my air units to intercept.” At my thoughts, huge worm like creatures beat their powerful wings and created a loud boom as they broke the sound barrier seconds after take off. I then communicated, “Salith, the enemy is close to your base, I can keep them at bay with my air units, but you should build anti-air...”
Salith interrupted me by mind shouting. “Your outdated air units can't keep them at bay. The protoss have powerful, new, fighter ships.”
“What?” There were sudden screams in my mind as the air units I had a link with were seared through with the powerful protoss lazers. A smoldering wing landed with a crash right outside my crevice. “I will lure them away,” I said. “But prepare for an attack.”
I summoned my drones who had all been scattered, and brought them closer together so they would be a tempting target. “Baresh!” I yelled mentally. “We need your new flyers.”
“Oh I will help you soon.” Baresh thought to me.
With powerful energy at my tail I yelled, “Help us now!”
“I told you not until Salith is defeated, which will probably be very soon.” I heard Baresh snicker. When I looked behind me I saw that several ships were headed to Salith's base.
“We'll see who gets defeated!” I thought back. I suddenly turned thirty degrees and was headed to Baresh's base with the ships still pursuing me. To draw fire away from me, I had a few of my drones grow into air defenses buildings, called spore crawlers. They couldn't grow fast enough, but combined with weaving through crevices, it was enough for me and a few other drones to stay alive.
Suddenly, one of my drones shot up into the air. Then another, and another. Through my mental link I could see they were miles in the air in a matter of seconds.
“What the?! Salith, why are my drones suddenly flying into the sky!” I feared any second I would follow.
“Don't you know?” Salith asked. “Protoss can now pin point a localized area and reverse gravity.”
“Are you joking?!”
“You and your drones better hide, because my base is getting bombarded by protoss ships!” I found a hill side, and with my pincers and vibrating body I dove right into the dirt and dug deep into it. My drones followed suit, but a few more were caught by the anti-gravity attack of the protoss. Their eyes showed me thirty or so ships of different types, including the flag ship of the fleet. The ship was longer than most of our buildings were tall, and cast a great shadow. On it's side were crimson strips and in the center of each side was an insignia, of a swirling triangle. When I saw it I washed over with a flood of harsh memories.
“Salith I have an idea,” I thought to her.
“What?!” she asked
“Attack Baresh. Trust me, I know the Protoss commander leading this fleet.”
* * *
“They stopped the attack the moment they saw my forces were engaged with Bareesh's,” Salis noted. “You were right.”
“Of course. Protoss commander Caltarus would prefer we weaken ourselves before he risk anymore troops.” I pocked my eyes out of the dirt and looked to Salith's base. It was smoldering, and bleeding, but at least a few protoss ships had fallen.
“He will only wait so long, however, and he will find more preparations to make in the mean time.”
“Trick him into fighting Baresh,” Salith suggested. “She's going to brake my line if nothing is done!”
“I will try,” I said. “But this commander has never mis-timed an attack or had a ship out of formation. Tricking him into making a basic mistake will be difficult.” Something happened in the battle with Baresh that caused Saleth to stop talking to me.
To help her, I had my drones infiltrate Baresh's base and quietly steal minerals to give them to Salith. It was simple because I had established the mining infrastructure and Baresh was distracted.
I recalled my every battle I had with the protoss commander. He would always fly to battle in his flagship decorated with the so called “Templar caste” insgina. His vast pysonic powers allowed him to be part of elite group of protoss called High Templar. Though he was hardly the only one he preferred to display his rank his flagship in the middle of a crimson stipe.
I had lost more battles against him that I had won, because the execution of his named strategies had become so refined and disciplined that the only way I could route his forces was to invent unnamed strategies to catch him off guard. This was not easy task even as a great mind.
I could invent little as a drone, so with my every attempt to devise a new strategy my mind would strain and I would feel the vessels pulsating in my head for naught. Then I noticed a small robot that was floating in the direction of Saleth' base.
“Saleth there is a protoss probe headed to you base,” I communicated.
“What?” she said back. “Destroy it! It will summon a proxy pylon!”
Before she replied Saleth growled as she slashed an incoming enemy. “The protoss no longer need drop ships. They only need to have a probe warp in a pylon crystal, their ground troops can then be warped in near the crystal. Now destroy the probe! Because I'm up to my abdomen in Baresh's forces!” Suddenly the pieces of my thoughts fell into place like a puzzle, because Caltarus had another conventional strategy for me to take apart.
“I need an infestor!” I demanded.
“I can't spare a...
“I need one now!” Suddenly my mental link extended to a creature with more awareness than any creature I had controlled previously. I commanded the creature to burrow underground so it could subtly tunnel to the probe. I approached the probe from the opposite direction.
The probe stopped for a second by a crevices that was out of site of Salith's defenses. That's when an orb of blue energy began twisting the light around it. The warping had begun. I met up with the infestor and had it wait for the probe to wander some distance from the warping point. Then on my command a tentacle extended from the infestor's rump and snatched the probe.
Protoss do not build their bases on site. Rather they have all their buildings manufactured in a factory somewhere, then when they find a good area for a base, they have a probe warp their buildings to the sight. Having taken control of the probe I could now steel their buildings for my own purposes.
The first emotion to emanate from the creature was confusion. The infestor could mind control other life forms, but it had a machine not a living creature in its clutches. Nevertheless, persistence also emanated from the infestor, and after a moment of toying with the robot's parts it was in control. I then had the infestor and the probe descend into one of my mining tunnels. We and the probe popped up in an area close to Baresh's base, and that's when I commanded the infestor to command the probe to summon a pylon.
The control required effort to maintain, for I could feel the infestor was starting to feel strained. Even so, I required the infestor to have an entirely different building summoned before I allowed it to relinquish control. I then smashed the probe, and we quickly left the area. There was, but one more act to complete the puzzle.
“Baresh can you hear me?” I asked.
“Has Salith finally decided to surrender to me?” Baresh asked back.
“The protoss are building a proxy base just to the south of yours.”
“Impossible. They wouldn't draw both of us brood mothers into a fight at once!” I went silent as I knew she was sending scouts to verify my story. “I don't believe it. They are warping in a nexus!” No doubt Baresh had sent troops to interrupt the warping process that I had secretly started. When the protoss desired to build a base on another planet they would always begin with a worker machine factory called a “nexus.”
“You see now?” I declared. “The protoss are here to destroy us all!”
“Shut up you little drone! I can take on the protoss and Salith myself. I don't need help from the forsaken swarm!”
Salith shouted back, “You sure do need his help. If it weren't for him the protoss would have built a base right next to yours without you even knowing it!” Baresh hissed. We could all feel her searching for a retort, but her mind hit a block just like mine often did.
“What do you wish us to do, cerebrate?” she asked me.
“Pretend to keep fighting, prepare the air units, and on my signal attack.”
(to be continued)
Edited by Durani on 7/28/2013 7:05 AM PDT
I looked up and was struck by the enormity and brightness of the golden ships approaching us. The pylon crystal had been warped in, and any moment ground troops would warp in to storm our base. I kept my distance from it so Caltarus could think I was ignorant of it's presence. In reality I had my drones burrow and start growing into defensive buildings underground, while Salith had infestors tunnel to my position. Blue lights formed before me and if you blinked, you would have missed the first strike.
Energy rained down upon us and fearsome beings of light and metal materialized before us charging full force. In the next split second my buildings ripped out of the ground and struck the enemy troops with spiny tentacles, while flying worms bolted into the sky and assaulted the rear of the enemy fleet. Our troops, which had been clawing at each other suddenly came together to form a great wave that came crashing down upon our common enemies.
With blades of light, the protoss troops tried to slash free, but out beast pinned them down and they screamed as claws and teeth sunk into them. A few of the enemy showed the remarkable ability to teliport out of my ambush, but they were soon captured by infestors and pitted against their comrades.
More protoss materialized before me, but a great river of Salith's beast, flowed around me and pushed the beings back as they growled and hissed.
“I can take the ground troops,” Salith said. “Help Baresh fight the air war.” Baresh's flying worms had strike the flying armada from behind. The pilots were caught by surprise and several ships fell burning from the sky. This forced Caltarus to turn his attacks away from the ground fight, but Caltarus had unleashed the interceptor units from his flagship and so Baresh's worms were starting to be tore asunder.
“Baresh, focus your attacks on the flash ship!” I said.
I had drones surround the fleet from the ground and then had them grow into anti-air defenses. Most of these defenses were vaporized before they could even develop, but they provided the distraction necessary for the flying worms to get close to the flag ship and fire their projectiles upon it. The projectiles bounced to other targets, as they were made to do, but there was a problem.
“My air units can't penetrate the flagship's force field!”
“Do not give up!” I said. “It will fall eventually.” The field would flash when ever a projectile collided with it, but soon the attacks were puncturing the metal of the ship. Unfortunately, this was just when many of Baresh's air units were starting to fall from the sky. Baresh kept attacking, I kept growing, and the ships kept defending. Finally, a few of my anti-air growths escaped destruction, and blasted projectiles into the flag ship. Blue flame burst out of the ship and the ground shook with a thunderous explosion from the enemy vessel.
I imagined Caltarus was surrounded by flame and chaos in his ship, but he must have still been uttering commands as more troops were warped in to charge our lines, and the ships engaged in hit and run attacks to weaken us. These desperate attempts were all crushed by our forces, however. Then I heard a voice in my mind.
“Cerebrate Varus. Only you could have prepared this ambush.”
“Silence, Caltarus. When you speak it reminds me how old, tired, and obsolete I am.” I looked to his burning flagship slowly descending into a distant horizon. Though he did not communicate an image to me , I imagined him sitting cross legged while his crew dashes around him to escape.
Despite my request he continued speaking. “I know not how such an obsolete being has survived so long, but this I know; you will not live when we fight again.” There was a crash in the distance as the mortally wounded flag ship finally impacted the mountains in the horizon. I did not see any escape pods, and was unsure of how he could have survived the crash, but when he said we would fight again I believed him.
* * *
“We prepared your transport, Cerebrate, but where are you be going?” Brood mother Salith asked me. I stood before the brood mother as she waved her hand to a giant floating creature.
“Ultimately, I will journey to the protoss colony planet of Shia. The swarm is scattered and the only way I can defend us all is to take the fight to the enemy.
Brood mother Baresh then approached me and stated, “Some of my fliers will join you, but are you certain you can attack a well defended protoss world when you have such a small brood?”
“Worry not,” I said as my drones climbed into a sack hanging on the floating creature. “I will do some coalition building on the way. What I really wonder is, who will fight our other great enemy, the humans?” I could feel the smile from Salith's thoughts.
“I know two brood mothers who can help with that,” she said.
“Someday Salith and I may fight again to control the swarm, but for now protecting it will come first.” Both brood mothers stood side by side, the picture of companionship, but their mental link with me made it possible to sense their desire to end their conflict once and for all. Even so, I nodded.
I bid both brood mothers fairwell as the transport beast took me through the clouds, past the red sky and on into the stars. I had a long adventure before me, and it would start with assembling some old friends from the planet earth.
(I have more ideas for Varus' adventures, but I will not post them unless I know somebody wan'ts to read them. If you liked this story give me shout, or at least a like vote.)
Story 2: The Glass Guardians.
Description: When Queen Kerigan defeated the United Earth Directorate (UED), she commanded Cerebrate Varus and his brood to hunt them down as they retreated, but when a small contingent hid on the moon of a sunless planet, she allowed her cerebrate to imprison them in their own hiding place. With Kerrigan gone, Varus has decided to make his prisoners work for their freedom by developing new weapons for his fight against the protoss. Things don't go so smoothly, however, for another life form stalks the moons of the sunless planet, and they quickly prove to be far deadlier the humans from Earth.
As my transport beast glided through the cold, thin, atmosphere I peered down at the humans and their base. They looked out their windows and over their trenches constantly. I could feel their paranoia even close to the stars. Their command center had the letters U, E and D painted on them, which were bright and proud when I last saw them, but since then the winds had made the letters dull and worn.
I scoffed when the humans shot a missile at my flying transport beast. The accuracy of their weapons had deteriorated due to time and the harsh elements of the moon they lived on. I had the beast dodge the attack and temporary retreat. I flew over white fields of frozen CO2 and blue lakes of liquid Xenon.
“We would not want to land out here, Tuck,” I explained to the infestor that sat beside me. “It is too cold even for us” Tuck looked up at me as though the creature finally learned it's name, but it went back to scuttling around aimlessly. Back down in the CO2 fields I swore I saw something shift within the white, but I shook my head for I was certain nothing lived in them and I had more important things to think about.
I turned back for another fly over, but this time I had my newly acquired air units circle the base just out of range of their weapons. On the ground I had other allies. I reached my mind out to the beast that made the humans huddle in fear. The reserves of my brood that I had left here years ago. They now reared on their hind legs, and roared at my triumphant return. They had survived by hiding in the warm shelter of thermal vents, and by occasionally picking off the humans.
The humans had also found shelter in the thermal vents. Indeed, the thermal vents they built their base on had ceramic pipes twisting through them like artificial blood vessels. Even so, the moon's environment had made them ill. They hobbled to the trenches to put up a tired, sickly defense. My brood in contrast was drooling, and roaring with the desire assault the humans.
I ordered my troops to attack and they were like grindstone against an egg. The humans were forced to retreat instantly, as my brood smashed to their machine gun turrets, and the only reason they lived at all was because I wanted them to.
I hovered over the command center and my mind reached for human thoughts. I could feel a headache coming on as I did so. Such is the pain of connecting to creatures who do not themselves have psychic abilities. Their thoughts were clouded by their fear, but they were just dim enough to be whispers in my mind.
They thought things like, “I don't want to die, I don't want to die!” and “Well we knew this day was coming. I'll end it with my own gun.” Finally I found the one who's rushed and pressured mind could see the whole base, who's racing thoughts darted from one group of humans to the next. That one was the commander.
“Enough with the dramatics!” I mind shouted. “Throw down your weapons. I'm not here to kill you, yet.”
* * *
The warm steel, floor and dry air parched my throat, but I had to focus on the humans for it was exhausting communicating to them. I scanned three humans before me. Two large humans, in mechanized space suits stood with their guns aimed at me, their faces obscured by their visors. They were of little concern, for I knew my infestors could take their minds if they dared attack. The human between with the white lab jacket was the one that garnered my attention the most.
“Dismiss your marines Dr. Derrick,” I ordered. “They are in the way, and they cannot help you anyways.” With a wave of her boney hand she sent the space suited humans away. She had become a skeletal frame since I last saw her, and her yes had become sunken, while her hair was split and brittle. This world had been kind to her.
She then crossed her arms and with a hiss she asked, “Are you here to infest us?” she asked. “Change our so called essence so we're as disgusting and deformed as you are?”
I scoffed and replied, “Don't flatter yourself. War has been renewed with the protoss, and I kept you alive to invent a machine to help me fight them.”
“Let me guess,” She said as she put her fist on her hips. “You want something that will instantly take down their force fields.”
I grumbled in my reply. “Just recently, we resisted an attack by the protoss. We almost lost because we had difficulty penetrating the force field of their flag ship.”
“I'll bet you would have loved our EMP device then. That thing makes their shields disappear as fast as light. But why would we ever give it to you? Can you lets us go back to earth?" Her tired and dead eyes came back to life when she mentioned her home world, but not for long,
"I am sorry," I said. "But my queen forbade me from letting you return to Earth." She grumbled and crossed her arms again. Then I could feel the anger and bitterness rise up in her.
"Just who are you anyways?” she asked. I went silent, and I suppose that was a clue to who I was. That's when she started to grit her teeth. “Wait. You're Queen Kerrigan's cerebrate aren't you? Your the one who ripped most of my people apart even though we surrendered, and then held us up on this godforsaken moon.”
Then before I could even see it in her thoughts, she whipped out a pistol and aimed at my head. “Tell me why I shouldn't just kill you right now, you son of a !@#$%!” In a flash, one of my infestors garbed the back Dr. Derrik's head with it's tentacle. Her body was stiffened by a seizure, and her eyes rolled up into her head as the infestor sent charged ions into her brain.
“It's simple Dr. Derrick. If you serve me then my brood will nurse your people back to health and allow you to live, but if you don't then a bloody and painful death, if not infestation, is in store for you all.” There was a thump at my final word as the infestor slammed Dr. Derrick's face into the floor, causing blood to explode out of her nose. I turned my back on the human on my way out of the command center, but I could still hear her thoughts.
“This is cruel,” she thought, “This is so cruel.”
“You would have been no less cruel if my race lost that day,” I said back. I shuttered when imagined myself on a steel table getting cut open with scalpels and other strange human tools while I am still alive.
I made my way up to the top of hill, and though it spewed steaming water the air still felt cold, but that was fine. I wanted to be alone while I reflected on that battle long ago, and recovered from my headache. I never had much sympathy for humans. They were pathetic creatures. Nor have I ever felt guilt for those slain in battle, for the purpose of war is to kill and die, but this time I felt something.
For a moment I just stood looking out a the field of carbon snow, still trying to sort out what I felt, what I thought, and why I kept seeing something moving out in the field.
(to be continued).
Edited by Durani on 8/1/2013 1:30 PM PDT
I was certain I had seen the CO2 powder whipped in the air by something moving in it, but how could any native life exist in such cold? The moon orbited a gas giant planet with no sun, and though the compression of the planet's gravity caused it to emanate some heat and light, it was no substitute for a life giving star.
I had one of my fliers survey the fields, for the swarm bred it to withstand the extreme cold of deep space. It saw nothing, but then I felt an extreme pain that wasn't truly mine. Something had slashed the throat of one of my brood, and I felt it through the mental link.
I first blamed the humans, “Dr. Derrick if you are up to something, then all of you humans are as good as slaughtered!”
“I have no idea what you mean, all my troops are in the command center preparing your machine,” The Dr replied. I could have pressed the issue, but my head was throbbing against it's carapace, and had to concentrate on the danger. I had my brood fall back to higher ground so everyone could watch each other, but for my flier it was too late. It let out a screech so loud that it I could hear it at great distance, even in the thin atmosphere. The flier flew back to me with blood dripping form it's side.
I joined my brood on the top of a hill. I could see the beast of mine that had fallen, but not what killed it. In the dim light I would occasionally see subtle waves in the air, but nothing else. I turned with angry eyes to the command center, as I considered how the humans in it could be involved. Both humans and protoss had cloaking technology.
Suddenly fear welled up in my entire brood as the throat of my beast inexplicably burst open. At my thoughts, my beast attacked the vicinity in hopes of catching the invisible enemy. The enemy escaped and I knew it ran off only because it disturbed the CO2 powder as it ran. My troops could not pursue it into the cold.
I summoned my worm like flier that had been injured earlier. It extended it's body into my view, and I could see the wound. I just barely noticed the transparent shard glistening in the starlight. It looked like a shard of glass, and had it been anymore pure it would have been as transparent as the wind. Neither humans nor protoss used glass as a weapon.
“Derrick, you better tell me what's going on!” I mind shouted.
“I don't know what the hell you're talking about,” She thought back.
“Tell me what these creatures are or I will rip apart your mind finding out!”
There was silence, then the Dr stated, “You should have killed us, while you still had us by surprise.” Suddenly ten of my brood died at once for we were under assault form all angles. Once again we swiped futilely at air. The Dr continued her thoughts to me. “Did you think we would just sit and wait to die?! When we hid here we found there were sentient beings on this moon, and we've been secretly building an alliance with them, just for a day like today.” One of my beast finally manged to rip into one of the invisible beings, only to be decapitated.
“You disgusting human creature,” I snapped, “Once I assimilated the essence of these beings, I will flay you alive for this!”
“Oh, but that's the best part,” Dr. Derrick chuckled as she thought. “You see these lifeforms are silicone based while you're carbon based. So you can never hope to assimilate their so called essence.” I cut off my communication from the Dr. I had to focus on the fight because my troops were dying all around me. The silicone enemy would either propel glass shards into my forces, or they would kill and rush back into the CO2 fields.
I had one of my fliers randomly fire projectiles in front of my troops in hopes the enemy would ether be deterred or killed. The ricochet of the projectiles elicited ear piercing screeches from the enemy, and presumably a death or too. Even so, we had to retreat. I hoped if I went closer to the thermal vents the heat would deter our enemy, and it did. Unfortunately, human space marines were waiting for us, and when I accidentally backed into on of their ceramic pipes, they took aim with their machine guns, and put down several more of my brood. It would have been a massacre if my infestors didn't use their tentacles to take control of them and shoot in the direction of our invisible enemy. There was screeches and thumps as more of the invisible enemy fell.
My fliers killed the marines we once controlled, but more marines were on their way, and we were cornered. As a last ditch effort, I broke a hole into one of the ceramic pipes releasing extremely hot steam in the direction in front of us. The steam was more than hot enough to melt away human flesh, but my species were at home in the volcanic world of char, so I could force my way into the pipe, and be merely uncomfortable. Any other troops that could fit in a pipe quickly did so at my thoughts, while the rest of my brood scattered to inconvenience our enemies.
The pipe proved be claustrophobic, and uncomfortably hot even for a volcanic creature such as myself, but at least I had some shelter to think. I couldn't see the strange beings allied with the humans, but I felt certain there were not very many, because, of their reliance on stealthy hit and run tactics. If there were more of them they could have just come all at once and be rid of my brood. I felt certain then that the size of my army far exceeded that of the humans and invsables combined.
Normally, surrounding a smaller army is sufficient to defeat it, but against troops that could not be seen what could one do? Once again my cloudy mind prevented me from reaching the answer, all the more so, because of the strain of communicating to humans. Then suddenly I had a question; how was it that humans can see the invisables?
Just like that, I had the plan I needed, but I also realized I didn't have much time, because, my troops were still being pursued and culled.
Since some of my other troops had been hiding in the pipes, I could use my mental connection to imagine a map of the the piping system. My imagination proved imperfect as several times I got lost. I ended up out deeper in the volcano at one point, and then in a warehouse at another. I also had to constantly change my route in response to marines tracking my movements. Finally I burst out of a pipe and using my powerful pinchers I burst through a wall. I was in the steel corridors of the command center, where I desired to be.
There were more pipes on the ceiling of the corridors, and though they were too narrow for me to crawl into I could cling to them as I raced through the hall ways upside down. The command center had many empty rooms, for a good number of their staff had died overtime. So long as I crept up into corners when Marines ran by , and was out of view of their cameras I could remain undetected.
Finally I heard the low pitch, but famine thoughts of Dr. Derrick. She was uttering commands into a radio and this was reflected in her thinking. “There's an enemy creature in the pipes above you,” she said. “Blast them, well fix the pipes later.” Though I could faintly hear her thoughts, there was a thick metal door blocking the way to her headquarters, and I was certain marines were waiting on the other side. I ripped into the ceiling, and then silently crept forward until I was sure I was above Dr. Derrick. Slowly, I peeled back the ceiling tile so I had two eye holes.
As I expected, Derrick was using surveillance cameras to watch the battle, and these cameras even detected the invsables. In the cold the invisables' outline could only faintly be made, but when they ran into the heat they were very visible. The creatures looked to be made of living glass. They had long worm-like, bodies, and six longer, slender legs that allowed them to gallop circles around my troops even if they had been clearly visible. Their front limbs could double as arms to hold the blades used against my troops, and their toothy snouts were occasionally used to rip at my beast.
The first thing I did was summon some of my beast from out of the pipes close to my position. If I was detected I would need back up. Then I communicated what I was seeing on Derrick's screens to my troops. The rest was described perfectly by Dr. Derrick.
“I don't know why, but the cerebrate is having his fliers heading out into the wilderness to the south,” she communicated via radio to her troops. “His ground troops are braking out of the pipes, and they are headed to the wilderness of the east and west. His troops can't survives there for long, it's too cold, so I don't know what he's doing.” She pulled her head back in surprise. “Now they are headed to the north. I don't know... Wait! They are circling back. They are all coming it once. Oh no. Get out of there, they're surrounding you. Get out now!”
The invisables tried to run away too late, for they were already being assaulted from all sides. Their skin proved brittle, their internal tissue was soft, and their bodies could not withstand the assault of my beast. The marines along side them manged to kill a few of my troops, but they too succumb.
“How could they possibly see them!?” Derrick vented in frustration. Then she gasped. “He's in the room!” she yelled. Again she was too late for my troops burst through the wall and tackled her guardian marines before they could even fire their weapons. In the chaos the Dr was knocked on her back, a perfect position for looking up into my beaty, black eyes.
Once again I demonstrated restraint against my enemies, and while some of them died I had most of them captured, herded into the command center and forced on to their knees.
“You disgusting creature!” Dr. Derrick screeched. “I'll never serve you or your !@#$% queen.” I slammed my pincher between her eyes, shattering her glasses and sending her tumbling to the steel floor.
“Do not insult my queen again!” I shouted. She then spit on my face.
“What are you going to do to me if I don't obey huh?” She asked. “Do you know many people died because of you and your dam queen? Do you know how many people were massacred? How many of us froze to death and died ill from being on this god forsaken moon! If you are going to kill me then just do it now. Like you killed my husband.”
I didn't know what a husband was, only that it was a fellow human that was important to her. I did not respond. Derrick then brought her face close to mine and said the words to invoke my wrath. “Your queen is nothing, but a disgusting, hybrid of a creature. She is the despicable slime of the universe and there is nothing good to say about her.” I gritted my mandibles and my pinchers.
Then I sighed and said, “As you wish.” I thrust my pincher upwards into her warm, squishy stomach. I kept reaching until I was all the way in her chest. That's when I found her heart, and clamped down hard. Her mouth was gaping wide. She coffed up blood, and the last thing she did before she expired was smile.
I threw the corpse on to the floor and with my pincher still bloody I said to all the humans, “This is your last chance to come out of this alive. Swear your allegiance to the swarm or you will share this woman's fate!”
For a moment the only one who made a sound was a female human crying somewhere in the back corner of the room. All the other humans gave me a hard silent stare. Then one of the marines spoke.
“We would have to be real sissies to be fightin for you.” He stated. “After all you've done to us.”
“But you attacked us first,” I replied. The humans kept their cold stares, so I argued, “You have all survived my queen, you have survived this harsh world, and you have survived my assaults. After all that will you now succumb to your own grudge?”
The marine scoffed, “Why not? We don't get to back to earth, right?”
I shook my head. “No you don't.” I replied. The marine stood up, and with his fist clenched he said, “Better get ready then.” The marine had no weapons so he charged at me to attack with his fist, and soon all, but one of the humans followed. My infestors defeated them within minutes.
In a way the humans would still live, for I ordered my infestors not to kill them but to change them. Though the infestors could mind control other beings, their true purpose had always been to inject the essence of our species into other lifeforms. With our essence injected into them, the humans soon had carpace bursting out of their skin, spikes exploding out of their shoulders and fangs growing out of the molars. It was no longer difficult to enter their minds, since they had become more like us, except their minds were little worth entering, for they no longer had any thoughts to read. They had become my mindless beast.
Only one human was spared this fate. A female who was crying so hard that her face was wet with tears. She begged to be spared, and so she was. This left, but one loose end.
I crept close to one of the the silicone life forms. I could feel it's cold breath on my face, and hear it's soft purr. I had to be close the creature because, it took entering it's mind took even more effort than communicating with a human.
“What are you?” I asked.
“We are the guardians of these lands. Our people admire us for we have protected these lands from many invaders.” The creature replied. “But you may call us the silicates, just like the humans did.”
“What did the humans offer you for your services?”
“We were given tools we had never seen before, and silicone food from some of their broken machines. But their greatest offer was the stars. We have long wished to leave this world to explore others, and they promised take us with them to explore the universe.”
“Will you accept the same offer to fight for me?” I asked.
“Welcome to the swarm.”
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