StarCraft® II

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A short story by

Cameron Dayton

Private Ayers:

The rest of my report? You want to know what happened in those four days? I got to see a wall we’d defended for six months dissolve under a slowly crawling wave of acid. I got to watch a platoon of marines giving their lives one by one, trying to stop an endless horde of swollen green xenos inching closer and closer with every detonation. I watched the last rays of hope disappear in those marines’ eyes as the next generation of explosive zerglings arrived – creatures that had gained the ability to roll into balls and project themselves along the terrain faster than a fully armed marine can run.

And finally… finally I got to watch a colony of civilians die, screaming in slow motion while this new breed of zerg destroyed Cask inch by inch, an endless series of explosions echoing through the Wedge.

Captain Gentry:

That’s your report?

Private Ayers:

That’s my report. Yes, I know that I have rambled and not shown you the proper respect due a superior officer. I also know that I’m not going to see the end of this flight, that you’re just the first and gentlest of the Dominion interrogators who will be visiting me. I’ve known ever since you brought me onboard with Lieutenant Orran. He’s not going to see daylight either, is he?

Captain Gentry:

If that is all, Private, I can have you escorted to –

Private Ayers:

That is most certainly not all. Perhaps you’ve been listening close enough to my report to know what this is.

(Sounds of a gasp and a chair scraping backwards.)

Yes, I brought a sample for your labs, Doc. It’s significantly bigger than my fingertip, isn’t it?

Sit down. Sit down, sir. You stand up again, and I will blow this room through the fekking hull. I barely survived a blast in a suit of armor, and that pustule wasn’t half as big as this one. That’s right: sit still.

You were so anxious to get my report; you probably should have gotten me out of this beat-up suit of armor first, eh? Or at least searched my storage vials for foreign matter, maybe deactivated my little lasers? A dumb field medic would never turn violent, would never suspect….

Captain Gentry:

(Whispering into his lapel) This is Gentry: I need security in interrogation room 7E stat.

Private Ayers:

Oh, by all means, call for security. This won’t take long.

I know that you bastards heard our cries. That you’d been listening the entire time. I know that you wanted to see how long a civilian population could stand against an incursion. And I know that you wanted to see how the infamous zerg adaptability would deal with an insurmountable problem. I can read the excitement in your eyes from this new data, you sick, murderous sonuvabitch. Well, I’ve got some bad news for you.

I saw something else in those four days. I saw the zerg pull back once they’d beaten the Wedge and destroyed the colony. The lieutenant and I watched the creatures turn and crawl from the smoking ruins of Cask, watched from our hiding place in the cliff face where you found us. They left because their experiment was done. It was a success.

You thought you were experimenting on them? They were experimenting on themselves. It’s how they grow, how they become stronger.

And for the last twenty-four hours before your fleet arrived, we listened to the massive spore cannons that they’d grown in the surrounding mountain ranges. Cannons that could have been turned on Cask at any time, mind you. But that would have ruined the experiment. No, these cannons were firing spores into space – no doubt on trajectories to other zerg planets. They were sharing what they’d learned with the rest of the Swarm. I know that it has been years since we’ve seen any zerg activity in terran space. But I hope you’re prepared for the next encounter. The zerg are coming. The zerg are nature in all her fury.

Still recording? Good.

Dad was right, Doctor. Nature doesn’t just adapt. Nature cheats, changes the rules, and slips out the back door with your wallet while you’re still trying to figure out what the hell happened. Now shut off your recording and stand up.

(The recording registers a long pause, a gasp, and a wet explosion. It then cuts to static.)

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