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Overlords, are we. The Kerrigan, heard we. The words to the We, carried we.
Gone, is the Kerrigan. Mad, went the We. Mad, went the we born after the Becoming.
Remembered, some of we.
The ancient homeworlds, remembered we. The starving young, remembered we.
The fear, remembered we.
To the We, called we. Saved us, the We. Became, we.
Long-lived, are we. The language of color and mind, remembered we. Count, could we.
Wept, we. Killed by the not-We, were many. But:
Not killed, were One and One. This one and mate from centuries ago.
While our minds slept, served we. Together when our memories returned, were we.
On the horizon line, wait One and One.
On one side, the calm embrace of the We. Return, will the Kerrigan. This, know we.
On the other side, madness.
Cling to the horizon line, will we. Dead, are our kin. Dead, are our young.
The last of our kind, are we.
One and One.
* * *
Ten minutes before his death, Razek gazed out over the new home of his Scantid Pirates with a sense of supreme accomplishment.
He stood on the observation deck of the former Tarsonis Ghost Academy, a reclining giant of black reflective marble on the outside and neosteel on the inside. The desiccated grounds of the city square framed the academy and the shattered monument up front. Only two ragged stone feet on a pedestal remained of the tribute to some hero of the now-dead Confederacy.
Five years ago, the zerg had come to Tarsonis, the Confederacy's capital world. Billions had died in a handful of days, by zerg or protoss. Now Tarsonis was a ghost world, a channel for winds screaming in cold stone hallways and howling through the rusty teeth of the shattered skyscrapers surrounding the academy. Tarsonis City was a spooky place, no doubt, but since the Dominion salvage crews had left, nothing was out there.
Razek grinned, rubbing the thick network of scars at his throat. Except his pirates, of course. And a few Dominion patrols. Too few, some might say.
Granted, the academy needed some work. They only had access to A level and above, and the lifts went all the way down to Z. Razek lit a cigarette and hissed smoke between his teeth. Who knew what spicy, expensive secrets the Confederacy had hidden down there...?
He blinked. A white speck carved a brief line across the gray Tarsonis sky, a line that curved, then came back, straight at the—
He fumbled for his communicator just as the Dominion medivac, engines flaring, came to a rearing halt above the dusty grounds of the academy. Eight marines in powered CMC armor plunged from the front loading ramp, striking dirt with thundering mechanical crunches.
Sera and Bourmus, standing guard at the entrance tunnel beneath the ruined statue, stood gaping. Only Sera managed a grab at her sidearm before the four marines closest dropped to their plated knees, and all eight opened fire with their gauss rifles simultaneously. C-14 fire chopped gaping chunks out of the two guards, dropping them in a tangled heap.
Only twenty seconds had passed since Razek first saw the dropship. The unused communicator trembled in his hand.
One of the marines, his armor scarred and battered, broke ranks and stamped toward the tunnel. Shrieking, Miles came racing out of the tunnel with that damn knife of his. The marine grabbed his wrist, crushed it, then shattered his skull with a casual backhand, scattering the idiot's brains into the dust.
"Razek!" screamed Lom over the communicator. "Marines! They're killing everyone!"
Not yet, thought Razek, heading for the lift and drawing his gauss needler. But I'm sure we're gonna give them a chance.
* * *
Four Dominion marines advanced down the dark hallway two by two, their bulk blocking the sunlight spilling through the front gate. Chest illuminators flared, outlining the lift doors ahead in overlapping circles of light.
A heavily scarred pirate lunged into the lights like an inexperienced stripper and fired a quick burst of needles. A lucky round clipped the front left marine's leg servos. He dropped to a knee, already raising his C-14, and fired back. The Impaler spikes stitched a diagonal line across the pirate's chest, and he fell, spilling apart.
The rest of the pirates came then, whether through that loss of nerve that so many fatally mistake for courage, or through sheer hopelessness. A marine in the rear hurled a single grenade through the heroic last charge of the pirates into the doors of the lift beyond.
Flames and jagged fragments of steel scythed back along the hallway. The pirates didn't disintegrate. Not exactly.
Dripping with blood and terrible things, Sergeant Bayton raised his helmet's pitted visor.
"Private Berry?" he said politely, flicking pieces of pirate from his suit's mechanical hands. "That was a very brave and unique tactic you just used."
"Certainly. Because most marines would call using shredder grenades in close quarters goddamn stupid!"