Chapter I - The Toll of
The countryside moved. Alive with inhuman
determination, a blanket of soldiers swept over hills and rolled through
the valleys. Flesh intertwined with cold steel, through loops and back
again to create a perfect army. Thousands of bodies moved in unison as
they had been ordered - to their salvation, to their pyre. Each human, who
only years before was unique and beautiful, now merely existed as a cog in
the indifferent game of war. Individually, they were issued a weapon, and
thus became machines. They had been twisted and bent into hateful
automatons that were forced to decide who had the right to exist alongside
them. Their movements now created a morose song that rolled over the
countryside and in their wake, was a trail of bitter tears and withered
hopes. These men would soon die.
Hours later, the pale moon betrayed
translucent heat waves against the brush.
Moving as a panther, the Ghost flowed through the forest and onto the
brink of a knoll that overlooked the demons. He suppressed a gag as the
binoculars focused in on unheard of horrors. Vile snake-like beasts
patrolled the outskirts of a throbbing gray carpet. Bloodthirsty zerglings
skittered across their organic home in packs. Zerg drones moved about
their business, oblivious to the imminent attack only miles away.
The covert agent's pupils narrowed to pinpoints as he watched his enemy.
He began to count the lethargic behemoths floating in the sky - a common
way to discern how many enemies there were. But there was something amiss.
There were far too few bugs in this colony to necessitate the army he was
in. Why would the confederacy order such a full-scale attack on what
appeared to be a vulnerable and insignificant target? Not having any
answers for such questions, he made a quick mental map of the terrain
below him, and prepared to return to his commander.
The wicked hiss of a forked tongue slammed into his ears like a
cannonball. He whipped his head around and saw the vicious hydralisk only
yards from his throat. He instinctively reached for his weapon and then
remained deathly still. While cloaked, it would be next to impossible to
be spotted without the aid of an overlord. Still, the powerful jaws and
natural scythes wielded by his foe gave him ample reason to be nervous. A
putrid smell that seeped from its mouth made the soldier want to retch. It
swayed in the moonlight, devising an almost hypnotic dance. For a moment,
their eyes locked and the Ghost had to force himself to remain still as he
stared into the soul of hell. Then, as quickly as it had appeared, a bony
tail carried the Zerg away as if on a magic carpet. The soldier breathed a
sigh of relief and took a few moments to regain his composure. He then
took one last look at targets below him before moving back into the
darkness as silently as he had arrived.
"You sure about this?" The
commanding officer eyed his recon agent.
"Absolutely sir, you could send one third of this army and there
would be no difficulties in cleansing the entire area."
"I'll be the one to make that decision. Now go find your team."
The Ghost nodded grimly and vanished into a sea of marines. After taking a
moment to ponder the new developments, the commander turned to his flank
and addressed a lieutenant. "Well, that was certainly good news.
Nevertheless, our orders stand. Prepare the troops. We attack in one
He then looked off into the horizon and spoke quietly, more to himself
then anyone else. "This land will run crimson before the day is
The famished zergling eyed his prey
intently. On the ashen planet, tender meat was hard to come by, and the
small rodent would make a fine meal. Keeping a lookout for others of his
brethren who might want an undeserved piece, the alien slowly moved closer
to his target. Muscles rippled in his flanks as he tried to find a
delicate balance between distance and silence. His eyes glinted with greed
as he prepared to make his leap. The crouched hind legs quivered with
anticipation, ready to deploy death at a moment's notice. But even as
temptation was literally yards away from his slathering jaws, instincts
would not fail him.
His attention was snapped to the forest half a mile away. The trees swayed
rhythmically, not about to reveal their deadly mystery. He sensed
something foreign and mysterious but curiosity kept him rooted to the
ground. Minutes passed without development and just when he was about to
return to his dinner, a white-hot flare screamed out of the leaves and the
trees came alive with vigor. From what had appeared to be passive woods
streamed hundreds of soldiers; they sprinted towards the center of the
meadow where their target lay bare. The terrified zergling fled from the
onslaught of marines, looking for the assumed safety of the colony.
The army flew across the field, fueled by their own rage and hatred. Some
fired a spray of bullets into the air in anticipation of the slaughter to
come. War cries hung in the air like a black cloud, always growing bigger
and spurring the men onward. They had been told there would be little
resistance, which made them all the more savage. Faster and faster they
ran, unleashing all the years of brainwashing and frustration in a tsunami
of steel fury.
Suddenly, the earth shifted. A low guttural roar moved over the land and
stopped every man in his tracks and ran tension into the air. The ground
they stood on groaned and rumbled at the disturbance, causing the over
confident troops to stagger back in confusion. The heaving soil pumped
fear into their veins like an incurable poison as they struggled to make
sense of it all. Some turned their backs to the terror and ran back to the
forest, hoping to find salvation. Others stood, too afraid or confused to
do otherwise. Soil began to erupt sporadically about their feet and they
struggled to keep their balance.
The earth began to boil and churn while the roar increased its intensity.
Men fell to their knees at the wicked sounds, refusing to again find their
feet. Slowly but adamantly, the countryside released a secret it had been
harboring for months. The burrowed aliens tore through the earth in an
effort to get free as thousands of beady eyes and slathering jaws leapt
from the tainted ground. Within seconds, the marines found themselves
pitted against staggering odds. Where once they were the favorite, now
they were only lambs to the slaughter. The ocean of hydralisks turned to
their prey, eyeing them hungrily. Silence once again dipped over the field
until one lone soldier raised his rifle above his head and opened his
mouth to the world: "DEATH TO THE ZERG!!!" And so, in a
cacophony of wrenching bones and inhuman screams, the battle was on.
No one was spared; the hateful cataclysm was merciless with its insatiable
appetite for life. Men were hacked to their knees by the biological
terrors and still fired their weapons until every last ounce of strength
had flowed from their bodies. Those who were killed immediately were
fortunate; many others died a slow and painful death with cries of agony
all around them. The once peaceful meadow had been transformed into an
orgy of crimson fire. Steel clashed against bone in a bedlam held over
fallen comrades and the living envied the dead.
* * *
"Dead! They're all dead!"
Lieutenant Shugar towered over the board members with flying hair and
bloodshot eyes. "My entire damn army has been slaughtered! They never
even had a chance! Those.. those bastards knew we were coming! They knew!
And I sent my men right into their waiting jaws!" His voice shook the
room while his officers exchanged nervous glances.
A confident sergeant named Troy strode forward and placed a hand on his
maddened commander's shoulder. "Sir, there was no way of knowing.
They must have been underground for months. You can't blame yourself. It
won't help anything. We need your sharp mind. Don't let it become clouded
"Who dares?!" Shugar whirled around and faced the startled man.
His maroon face betrayed a deep primeval fury that consumed his entire
being. Bearing white knuckles and speaking through clenched teeth, the
lieutenant addressed his officer. "You, leave me to my pain! You
cannot possibly imagine the anguish I have caused this day! Thousands fell
to the swarm on my orders, many with children and wives who loved them
dearly. I woke up a man, but I will sleep tonight as death, the destroyer
of lives. Now take your hand from my shoulder! Fall back. For the love of
God fall back or I can't be responsible for what happens."
The sergeant shakily nodded his head and took a step back. He then nodded
to the rest of the board and made a hasty exit.
Shugar took a deep breath and ran a callused hand through his hair. He
once again faced his panel and spoke softly and slowly with great effort.
"Reconnaissance. I want twenty-four hour surveillance on that colony,
and wire a message to the fleet. Tell them we need more firepower down
here. Tanks, ships, marines… whatever they can muster. Those things are
up to something, and I'll be damned if we just let them do it. Now
The room came alive as the officers rushed to carry out the lieutenant's
orders. Angry as he was, they had all come to trust their commander, as he
had a history of intense battles and years of experience. Even under
tremendous pressure, he had a reputation of keeping his wits and not
always laying all his cards on the table. Even now, his fantastic brain
was working fiercely to assess the situation. He continued to brood all
through the evening until finally, he fell into a fitful sleep, dreaming
Many miles away, a man bled on the forest
floor. He stumbled along blindly, gasping for air and trying to endure the
stinging branches which whipped across his face. It had been a full day
since the massacre, but he still fled from the merciless demons that had
slaughtered his comrades. He held an arm to the laceration at his side,
trying to assuage the bleeding. Although he felt the reaper's hand already
beckoning, years of brainwashing in the army had driven all logic from his
head. He ran now because he still could; no purpose or goal in mind for he
had no thoughts of again finding safety.
Each second that passed, he swore by the hisses and beady eyes that he
felt were close behind. There was no escaping the terrible image of those
beasts, ripping into his fellow soldiers like Christmas presents. There
was hatred now that welled up with each drop of blood he lost. Hatred for
not just his enemies, but himself. He loathed his decision to flee, but
there was no hope for anyone. It was instinctive and impossible to deny.
He grimaced with pain as each heavy footstep crashed to the ground.
Although the night was warm and he had been running for hours, he was very
cold and could feel his limbs hardening as the red water continued to
flow. It became a struggle to even breathe, let alone move through a dark
forest. Vertigo set in and his sight began to haze and blacken. He tried
to scream, but no sound came forth. His knees buckled and he crashed to
the ground gasping for air but knowing that the end was near.
As his vision became utterly useless, he heard the movement around him.
Leaves crunched loudly under the weight of the foreigners. Even without
sight, he could imagine the wretched beasts with their lolling tongues and
hungry eyes, waiting for the perfect moment to suck the flesh from his
bones. And with his last few moments of consciousness, he felt the jarring
of his body as unknown creatures set upon him. Then, he felt the hands.
They were good, strong hands that felt safe and warm. As they moved about
him in a caring way, his mind slipped into a deep sleep with one final
thought: He was with humans.
Chapter II - Awakenings
Shugar was afraid.
His body was drenched in a cold sweat as he
stumbled over the rocky terrain. Double suns hung low on the horizon, as
the shadows grew longer and twisted over mountains and into canyons. All
around him were whispers and movements, muses and observations. His heart
slammed wildly against his chest as he continued to flee from the
invisible eyes. Dust hung in the air invading his eyes and nose making the
journey all but impossible, but still, he pressed on.
Then, as he looked up, his gaze fell upon a hydralisk slithering towards
him, slashing viciously at his unprotected throat. Shugar drew his gun and
blindly fired a spray of bullets into his enemy. Blood sprang forth from
the wounds and the creature cried out in pain. Then, its beady eyes went
dark, and it slumped to the ground motionless. The gun fell from the
lieutenant's hands as he cautiously moved over to the to the fallen snake.
But even as his burning eyes focused in on what should have been the
alien's carcass, he saw only the bullet-riddled body of another human.
Shugar fell to his knees next to the dying man, not wanting to believe
that he was responsible for the pain.
The body was bleeding profusely from several areas, as the color slowly
drained from his face. Shugar cradled the man and felt the agony as if it
were his own. He pressed his hands against the marine's wounds in a feeble
attempt to stop the flow of blood. Into the vortex of wind his voice flew.
"Help! Oh God, someone please help!"
A gurgling sound erupted from the man's throat as if he were trying to
talk. Shugar looked deep into his eyes and whispered softly, "I'm
sorry, I didn't know… I didn't know…" Then, with one final gasp
the stranger's head went lax, and he closed his mouth forever.
The lieutenant slowly closed his eyes, and released his hold on the dead
soldier who fell to the ground. He again felt the silent observers
hovering around him, discussing all that had occurred. Their presence was
inescapable, and he again felt very afraid. As he finally opened his eyes,
he found himself staring at his own hands, which were covered in the blood
of the deceased. He stood up with wild eyes and flying hair, and held his
arms outward to the darkened sky as if to be carried away by the wind.
Then, his voice erupted into the storm, driven by fury and passion.
"This is my blood! Do you hear me?!? My blood!!"
The whispers grew louder and swirled about him like vultures above a
corpse. He waved his arms frantically, spraying blood and sweat into the
"Leave me!! Leave me to my blood!!" he screamed through a bitter
tongue. He then drew his weapon and began firing sporadically into the
air, trying to drive away his tormentors. The wind surrounded him, his
knees buckled and his head raged with confusion. The noise became
unbearable, he covered his ears, he screamed, he cried, and then… he
Shugar eyes flew open as he leapt up in his bed. He looked around for a
moment in fear before he realized the familiar surroundings. As his heart
rate began to slow to a normal level, a voice pierced the silence.
"I'm sorry to wake you sir, but I have the surveillance reports you
asked for on the Zerg colony."
Shugar turned his attention to the opposite side of his quarters where
light poured in from an open doorway, outlining the silhouette of a tall
"Yes… yes of course, leave them on the desk."
The soldier nodded, dropped the files on a nearby table and left. The
lieutenant slowly got out of his bed, and walked over to the file. He laid
a hand on the papers as if to retrieve them, but did not. Instead, he
moved into to his bathroom, closed the door, and threw up.
It was a dull pain that kept the man
wondering; an insistent prodding somewhere on his body which sent messages
at a fantastic speed through his nerves. It would come in waves,
approximately thirty seconds apart with each break noticeably more
powerful then the previous. His eyes refused to open, and his world was
silent as a tomb. Indeed, only a faded sense of touch and his groggy
sentience would remind him of life. But as his weary body, numb with lack
of blood and neglect, slowly recovered, so too did his thoughts and
The last thing he remembered was crashing to the forest floor fearing the
worst from pursuing enemies. But wait… there had been rescuers who used
their strong hands to help. Pulling carefully but powerfully, lifting
gently but adamantly they had ushered him to safety. They were ones who
succeeded where he had failed, giving life to a person who could only die.
Suddenly, the pain once again blasted through his mind, destroying all
thoughts and logic in its path and leaving fear of the next break. Slowly,
his senses began to return to him, and his mind started to clear. Distant
voices invaded his ears, betraying the presence of other humans but his
sight continued to malfunction. A cold, damp bit of cloth slid across his
forehead, easing his thoughts and releasing much tension. Slowly, his
eyelids acknowledged his silent pleas and began to open. The blurry world
before him only showed that he was still in the forest. In several
directions, he detected movement that could not be distinguished, but
could tell for certain that he was under a starry sky.
More pain came, but this time not so forceful - indicating some medical
assistance. It was then that he heard a siren voice. "Do not try to
move. You are safe here."
The words surrounded him like a warm blanket and he longed to see the
women from where it originated, but the mandate could not be ignored. He
felt his mind tranquilized by her sweet vocals and was soon asleep,
dreaming of living once again.
Chapter 3 and 4!