A Marine's Story Part 10
"An Unforgivable Act and The Hidden Power"
“Stack where are we?” Drake asked as the Dropship gave a lurch. “Don’t worry sir, I’m taking you back to Tarsonis.” Stack explained, “You’ll be safe there.” “But I don’t wanna go to Tarsonis!” Drake stood up angrily, “We need to go back and-” he stopped. Stack burrowed straight into his commander’s mind and forced him to sit down. Dropping his rifle, Drake’s arms went limp and he stared open mouthed into the distance. Sighing, Stack said, “Sir, Joe is dead.” Drake focused on Stack and his face turned into a look of utter horror. “No.” he cried, “Wh-what about Ti-Tiffany and Jon?” “They’re dead too sir.” Stack said in a tone of boredom. “No” Drake whimpered.
Stack’s wrist PDA beeped. Looking down at it he froze. There was queen Kerrigan, staring up at him through his PDA. “Update.” she ordered in her harsh tone. “Umm, sir?” Stack said franticly. Drake looked up, tears brimming in his eyes. “Umm why don’t you go into the cockpit. I’m sure the pilot will have something to entertain you for the journey.” Drake stared at him. “What? Do you not care that you lost fellow squad member-” Stack cut him off again and Drake made his way, with a zombie-like quality, to the cockpit. Turning back to his PDA he bowed, “Yes my queen?” “Update.” she said in a more harsh voice. “Oh, my apologizes. I am with Drake and we are on our way to their homeworld.” “And the base?” “Completely destroyed.” “The company?” “Dead.” She paused and raised her eyebrows. She was impressed. Her voice softened slightly. “Very nice Stack. I am pleased with your progress.” “Thank you my queen.” Stack said, bowing again. “I have a reward for you as well.” “My queen?” “Upon my arrival at Tarsonis, as soon as I “Thank” your captain, I will sever your connection to me. You will be free.” “My queen?” he said, shocked. “You have done me great deeds and I reward those who do so. Once Tarnsonis falls to me as will the rest of the system. I will have no more need for you.” Stack couldn’t believe his ears. She would set him free. He would no longer be bound to do her every will. “Th-thank you my queen.” he bowed repeatedly. “But.” her voice returned to its original harshness, “You are not done yet. You still have a mission to complete. Do not fail me.” “No my queen, I-I will not.” Stack nodded, “I will see my mission is completed.” She disappeared from the screen. Stack fell backwards into a seat.
He would be set free. In less than a day, he would be set free.
Joe found himself charging in the middle of a platoon of Zealots, with a full fledged battle cry coming from his lips. Arenes ran next to him. His red and yellow armor standing out in the sea of yellow Protoss armor. The Zerg lie ahead of them, approaching fast. How had he gotten here? A few hours ago he was safe in his bed with Tiffany. Tiffany… “She’s dead now.” Joe told himself. “Don’t be so quick to give up hope.” Gylenacs’s voice sounded in his mind. Joe felt strengthened by these words and in turn ran harder. He was going to kill each and every one of these abominations. They had taken everything from him. The anger inside of him began to seep out again. The bad memories flooding back to him, turning into adrenaline. Verdas falling face first on the Dropship floor, Dale lying dead with a Zergling on top of him, Ky’s head dropping and his eyes go dim. And finally what Jon, Mike, and Tiffany’s death screams might have sounded like, if he had heard them. The Zerg were upon them now. Joe gave one last scream of rage and opened up with his gun.
“This is the end. I am going to die.” These thoughts raced through Corporal Mike Patterson’s head as he lay face up, staring into the never ending sky. “That sick son of a bitch shot me.” He could feel the blood coming up his throat. He coughed. A spray of blood flew up and then back down on the marine’s face. He flashed back to when he first left for basic. He told his parents he would be fine, nothing would happen to him. And now he lay, on the brink of death, on some fucking planet he never thought he would never go to. His vision started to blur. The end was coming.
The sky went white and an angel knelt down next to him. A beautiful, brown haired angel. “Oh shit.” she spoke softly, “Duke, Rulli, get over here. Mike’s hit.” Another angel knelt down over him. This one had blonde hair. Even with his vision as it was he could tell how beautiful these angels were. “Are you taking me to heaven?” Mike choked. “Heaven?” The brunette laughed, busily searching for something, “Sorry Corporal, we’re all still in hell.” Hell? How could he be in hell? He didn’t do anything wrong in his life. There was that one thing he did in high school but no boy could resist that lunch lady’s charm. The blonde moved his hair out of his eyes and asked the brunette “Will he be alright?” “He’s fading fast, here.” she thrust a weird object into the blondes hands. “What’cha doin’ with that?” Mike’s tongue just didn’t want to move anymore.
“That will tell us just how much blood you lost Corporal.” Mike could answer that question for them. A lot. Too much to keep on living that’s for sure. The sky kept getting whiter and he began to feel further and further away from the angels. Mike’s head fell back. “Rulli, elevate his legs.” An unknown force pulled Mike’s legs upward off the dusty ground. “Mike do you feel any pain?” the brunette asked. “No, I feel so good.” Mike was floating upwards to the clouds. He was flying. “No Mike don’t go.” the blonde screamed. “I have to. I want to…” Mike trailed off. So this is how the story ends for Corporal Michael T. Patterson. He closed his eyes and drifted into a long, dark sleep.
Clicks sounded from Joe’s rifle as he fired on a Zergling. He popped out the empty drum and groped his belt for his last. The Ling screamed as it leap for him. Joe thrust the butt of his rifle at the flying Zerg. The rifle made a crack as it collided with the Zerg’s jaw. The beast let out a howl of pain as it fell to Joe’s feet. Quickly, he raised his boot and smashed the Zergling’s head. Once he heard the satisfying crunch of the Zergling’s skull he grabbed his last drum. The wordless scream of a Protoss warrior sounded behind him.
Spinning around he saw a Hydra claw go straight through a Protoss’s chest. The warrior’s arms and head went limp. The Lisk stared at him, admiring the dimming of the Protoss’s eyes. Then tossed the dead alien aside and started slithering toward Joe. Cocking his rifle he sent eleven rounds into the beasts head. It collapsed on the ground, blood oozing out of the holes.
Joe looked around. The whole area was a battlefield. Broken Zerg bodies littered the ground alone with a few Protoss. Joe thought it was an amazing sight to watch them spar. It was even better watching them fight. They jumped, parried, and slashed the Zerg as if they were standing still. For each Protoss that fell it took at least five or six Zerg with it. Joe quickly took up another target and put it down in an instant. Even with his visor down he could smell the burning Zerg flesh. “Arenes must be having fun.” Joe thought to himself. A scream focused Joe’s attention to the left. But before he got a glimpse of what hit him, he was on his back.
A Zergling had broken through the Protoss and slammed into Joe. His grip remained tight on his rifle and it didn’t fall out of his grasp as it did before. The Ling jumped onto him and raised it claws to go after his already clawed up chest. Again, Joe brought the butt of his rifle around and cracked it against the Zerglings skull. The Zerg recovered quickly and grabbed Joe’s rifle with its jaws. Joe could hear and feel the neosteel bending under the power of the little Ling’s teeth and desperately tried to wrestle the gun away. Too late.
The gun was snapped in two by the Zerg. In either of Joe’s hands he held what remained of his greatest defense. The Zergling gave a satisfying shriek and drove its claws into what remained of Joe’s chest armor. Joe felt the claws pass on either side of his body. Missing him by centimeters. The Zerg pulled its claws out and raised them for another strike. Joe launched his hands out and grabbed them both before the beast had a chance to do some real damage.
Even with the Zergling putting all its weight and muscle into this strike, Joe kept the claws away from him. But the Ling hand one more trick up its sleeve. It started snapping wildly with its deadly jaws. Saliva fell from the madly snapping jaws and onto Joe’s armor. But Joe felt it. It was running through the holes in his armor. His armor was breeched! If the Ling’s claws fell on his chest it would surely kill him. So Joe put all his strength into pushing the Zergling off of him and keeping his arms away from the mouth.
A blue blade thrust its self into the Zerg and dark blood fell onto Joe’s body. The Zergling shrieked as the blade flew out of its back, severing the spine. In one final scream of pain the Zerg collapsed. Joe pushed the dead body off of him and a blue hand offered him help up. Taking it, the strong arm hoisted him to his feet. “Are you alright?” it asked. “I’m fine.” Joe lied. He could feel blood flowing from his sides. Maybe that first strike didn’t miss after all. “Come brother,” the Protoss shouted, “We must get back to the battle.” “Wait!” Joe yelled, sliding the rocket launcher off his shoulder, “Can you give me a boost?” The Toss looked confused at first, but the grabbed Joe around the waist. Hopefully he would lift him high enough to get a decent shot. “Fly brother.” the Toss said as he bent his legs.
“Wha-” Joe began to ask. But before he could finish the Protoss launched Joe straight up. For the scrawny arms and legs of the Protoss, he threw Joe over twenty feet high. He had a clear view of the battle from up here. But he didn’t have time to sit and watch, he was starting to slow down. He quickly glanced around for the biggest pack of Zerg he could find.
His eyes finally spotted a lurker that would devastate the battle if allowed to burrow. And it was nestled right in the middle of a nice pack of Hydras and Zerglings. He stopped climbing. He would start falling in a matter of milliseconds. As fast as humanly possible, he took aim and fired. Whether it was his skill and fast thinking that guided the rocket into the back of the Lurker, or it was shear luck. The explosive detonated as soon as it made contact. Scattering the many legs of the Lurker into the crowd and spraying blood everywhere.
Joe hit the ground with a THUD. His armor absorbed the shock of his body hitting the ground and he rolled to the right out of habit. Looking up, he saw he was face to face with a Hydralisk. The massive Zerg towered over Joe and it cocked its head, as if wondering what to do with him. Opening its great jaw, the chest cavities slowly slide outwards. Though Joe’s armor had taken a lot, he was positive that it couldn’t handle a barrage of poisonous spines. Joe shifted the rocket launcher off his shoulder and threw it at this deadly foe.
It collided with the Zerg’s middle and it let out a low moan of pain. Drawing his pistol, he sent three round into the beast’s head. The first hit a strong point and deflected. But the next two penetrated above its right eye. The Lisk gave a high pitched scream of death and collapsed on the ground in front of Joe. “Nine shots.” Joe muttered to himself. He would have to keep a good count on the number of rounds he had left. Seeing as how it was his last line of defense.
Joe turned from his fallen foe and froze. A line of Zerg rush toward him. Even with all the shots in his pistol, he wouldn’t survive them. The lead Zergling took a leap from the sand but never made it to Joe. A bolt of pure energy came from the sky and caught the Zergling mid-jump. The rest of the Zerg paused to try and figure out what just happened. But as they did more bolts of energy rained from the sky and reduce all of them to blood puddles. A Psionic Storm! He had heard that powerful Protoss warriors could produce these energy storms to rip apart their enemies.
Joe wheeled around to find Praetor Gylenacs with his fingers pressed to his temples. He had what was left of his Zealot army surrounding him as he called down the thunder all over the battlefield. “Lieutenant, we must retreat.” the Templar’s voice called out to him. “Copy that Gylenacs.” Joe responded, “Arenes, fall back.” Joe sprinted back to the circle of survivors. “Copy that.” Arenes’ voice came over the comm. During his sprint, he realized just how exhausted he was. His body ached all over with tiredness and the stim was wearing off, reveling how many wounds Joe had acquired during this day.
The sound he dreaded hearing most, had just sounded behind him. A yell of pain that belonged to the only other human on this battlefield. Joe turned to see Arenes face to face with a Hydralisk. The Hydra’s claw protruded between his neck and shoulder. A weak point in all marine armor. Arenes, painfully, moved his hand and attempted to remove the scythe. But in an instant, a Zergling was at his leg and biting at it like a beaver on a tree. The Firebat collapsed on his back in a howl of pain and began swinging wildly at his killers. Joe watched ,helplessly, from the safety of the Zealot circle. “AAAHHHH... Sir…AAARRRGGGGHHH. Help me, NNNNOOOOOOOOOOO” Arenes’ screamed over the comm. Arenes knew, as Joe did, that if he used his flamethrowers he would fry up along with the Zerg. Their claws were going in and out of Arenes armor, each time they came out they shimmered with light red blood. He wasn’t going to make it. “You must do it Joe.” Gylenacs’ voice echoed in Joe’s mind. “Do what?” Joe asked, fearing the answer. “You must shoot the containers on his back. You are the only one among us with a projectile weapon. You must shoot them.” Joe watched as Arenes rolled unevenly on the napalm tanks. “That’ll kill him!” Joe shouted. “He’s already dead.” “It’s murder!” “It’s mercy.” “But-” Joe started, but never finished. “He will save our lives. Please hurry.” Gylenacs finished. Joe wouldn’t do it. He couldn’t do it. Kill a fellow marine? There was no way. But if Joe fired, he would spare Arenes from a slow and painful death. He would save his, Joe’s, life along with the Protoss’. Arenes would die a hero. Joe slowly felt his arm rising and taking aim. “I’m sorry Arenes.” Joe whispered and fired. The bullet glided perfectly into the external napalm tanks. One final scream came from the Firebat. Arenes, and the whole area around him, was incinerated, in seconds, by a fiery blast.
Joe lowered his head and mumbled, “Eight shots.” A new smell entered the air that moment. The smell of burnt human flesh. Arenes’ flesh. That smell and his last scream would haunt Joe till the end of his days.
He couldn’t believe what he had just done. He had killed a fellow soldier. A friend. Stack had made him kill a fellow marine. Just one more item to add to the long list that Stack was going to pay for!
The Zerg numbers were drifting dangerously low, but so were the Protoss’. Joe looked around the circle. They were entirely surrounded by Zerg but it was a very thin line. Five Zealots held the line with Joe and Gylenacs at the center. The mighty Praetor still rained down bolts from the heavens. Though still killing Zerg, they became weaker and less frequent. The warrior was running out of strength.
Joe knew how he felt. His body ached just as much, if not worse, than the Templar. “Joe…” his voice called out. Joe wheeled around to find him collapsed, on his knees. Joe hastily ran over to him, “Gylenacs?” The Protoss’ response was slow, “You-you have a great gift that has been hidden from you.”
Joe was confused, “What? What do you mean?” “I-I will explain in more detail later. But know I must revile to you what could save our very lives.” Joe didn’t understand. What power could he have that he didn’t know of?
Gylenacs lifted both his hands and placed them on either side of Joe’s head. The alien mumbled something he couldn’t understand and, just as before with Stack, he felt a door in his mind open to him. But nothing came from this door. No new information presented its self from the chamber. Nothing. “Gylenacs, what did you-?” The Protoss didn’t move. His hands slipped from Joe’s face and fell to the ground. Was he dead? “He is fine.” One of the Zealots spoke, “He needs rest.”
Two Zealots had fallen during his time with Gylenacs. Joe jumped up and drew his pistol. Eight shots or no eight shots he was getting out of here alive. He brought up his gun and fired. “Seven shots.” a Zergling fell. “Six shots, five shots.” another. “Four, three, two shots.” A Hydralisk buckled. Another Zealot had fallen. Two shots and two Zealots versus twenty or more Zerg. “Not very good odds.” Joe thought. The two remaining warriors backed up so close to Joe and the exhausted Gylenacs that if Joe reached out with both arms, he could touch them.
Joe saw a Zergling making a leap towards one of the warriors. Swinging his pistol around he fired. It hit the Ling in, what Joe would call, the neck and it let out a yip of pain. The Protoss cut down the Zerg until there were only two Hydralisks left. The two Templars and Joe stood to face them. They were a fair distance away. Too fair away for any of their weapons to do any harm.
Without warning, the two Hydra’s popped open their chest cavities and fired a deadly barrage of spines at the survivors. The two warriors were caught off guard but Joe ducked to avoid the damage. Joe looked up just in time to see a spine lodge itself in the Protoss’ throat. He clamped both hands around the wound in a vain attempt to stem the flow of blue blood. More spines flew into the Toss and he fell to the ground. Turning his attention back the Hydras, he saw one of them stopped firing and was sliding toward them. The other, however, continued to fire the deadly volley of armor piercing needles. “Two shots.” Joe thought to himself as he raised his gun to fire on the approaching Hydralisk.
The remaining Zealot charged at the forthcoming Hydra and raised his blades. The far Lisk took aim at this new threat and sent three spikes into the being’s head. His blades died and his eyes dimmed all before he hit the ground. Now, the blood thirsty beasts focused their attention on Joe. “Two shots. Two targets.” Joe thought as he took careful aim. He stared straight into impending death. Joe pulled the trigger. The round flew out of the barrel and struck a weak point in the Hydra’s carapace. Blood dripped from the single, solitary hole in the aliens head and it dropped to the ground.
“One shot. One kill” Joe thought. The last Hydralisk took notice of his fallen broodmate and targeted Joe. It sent out one spine as Joe pulled the trigger. “Click,” sounded from the gun. “No!” Joe thought desperately. He hadn’t counted the last Zergling he killed when he saved the Toss. “What good it did.”
The spine pierced Joe’s armor in an instant and lodged itself in his shoulder. He was driven back by the blow. His back hit the soft sand as the poison from the spine entered his blood stream. The pain was unbelievable. Millions of little knives poked ever inch of his veins as they traveled through his body. Joe brought himself up on a knee and grasped the spine. With one fluid and swift motion he yanked out the seed of death from his shoulder.
A sharp pain raced through his right side as he pulled out the spine. He felt blood flow from the wound as he tossed the needle away. The knives running through his veins would soon be at his heart. Joe didn’t wanna see how that felt so he franticly hit the manual release of stim. The pain disappeared immediately, but a warning flashed up on his HUD. “STIM SUPPLY DEPLETED” flashed in big, bold, red letters. His on board computer also informed him that his suits battery supply was dangerously low and that he should recharge it.
Chances were slim to none that he’d get the chance to refill either two. For he now stood face to face, with one of the most fierce Zerg, without a weapon. All he had left was his combat knife. “Its better than nothing.” Joe attempted to comfort himself. Almost mockingly, the Lisk closed its chest cavities and slowly slid toward Joe. Holding the knife as if it were a sword, he trembled at the thought that he was about to go against a Hydralisk in hand- to-hand combat. It was the first time he‘d felt true fear about dieing since yesterday. “Maybe that course back in basic wouldn’t have been as useless as I thought.”
Something happened then that Joe never thought possible. His knife was surrounded by a blue aura that stretched two, to two and a half feet beyond the tip of his knife. The aura didn’t disappear even as Joe moved his blade. Joe began reaching his hand out to touch the weird aura. “Wait!” his mind shouted. He’d seen this kind of thing before. But how could it be on his knife? Only Protoss were able to wield Psi blades. But here one was, in his hand. “Okay,” his mind said, “We need to get our hand away from the Psi blade. Psi blades are made out of energy. The energy is hot. You touch it, it burns.” Joe still had trouble believing he held a Psi blade in his hand but retreated his hand none the less.
If a Hydralisk could show emotion, it looked like it was in more disbelief about this phenomenon than Joe was. But it recovered from this state of shock quickly. Giving a growl, it raised its scythe to strike. Joe brought up his blade to block. As the claw fell, Joe expected it to go straight through the aura. It did, sort of. The Lisk gave out a howl of pain as the end of its scythe fell to the ground. Joe’s blade had cut right through what ever material made a Hydralisk’s claw.
Joe smirked. He could win this. The Hydra lurched its head straight at Joe’s unprotected chest. Side stepping the attack he brought his blade up and then down on the exposed neck. The blade didn’t go through this part of the armor as easily as the claw but it made the bone sizzle and smoke. The Hydralisk let out a shriek of pain and swung at Joe with its remaining claw. Joe didn’t have time to dodge this strike and the scythe caught his left leg. The claw cut through his weakened armor and drew a long gash across the back of his shin.
Joe let a cry of pain escape from his lips as he staggered backwards, away from his enemy. With the stim still coursing through his veins he could feel no more pain from the wound but he was sure blood was dripping from the gash. When he tried putting weight on the leg it collapsed on him. Joe found himself on one knee in front of a pissed off Hydra. The beast lurched out again with its head. Joe narrowly rolled out of the strike zone. Propping himself up on his knee, he quickly made an upward swing at the remaining claw. The blade made contact right under the Hydra’s armpit and Joe cut it clean off. Blood gushed from the wound and the Lisk let out another howl of pain. Putting all his weight on his good leg, Joe stood up and brought the blade to the Hydralisk’s throat.
It screamed as Joe ran the blade of pure, hot energy across its neck, spilling its blood across the parched desert sand. The abomination fell the his feet. Joe breathed a sigh of relief. The blue Psi blade deactivated itself as Joe turned to leave. But when he put pressure on his left leg he collapsed on the ground. Either stim was wearing off or the pain in his leg was so incredible that he felt it through the stim. So Joe carefully got up and limped his way back to Gylenacs. As he closed in on his ally, the Protoss raised his arms and ignited his Psi blades. “It’s me Gylenacs.” Joe said. The Praetor deactivated his blades and rested his head back down.
“Are we safe lieutenant?” The Toss asked. “For now.” Joe replied, “Gylenacs? What did you do to me?” The Protoss slowly brought himself to a sitting position, “It’s a very long story lieutenant.” “I don’t know if I have enough time to hear it then.” Joe stated, sitting across from him. “Are you alright?” “Depends on what you mean by alright. I have a deep gash on the back of my leg, Hydra venom running through my veins and, undoubtedly, hundreds of wounds across my chest. Other than that, I think I’m fine ” Gylenacs jumped to his feet. “Then we haven’t much time. We must find you a healer.” “Give it up Gylenacs, I’m dead.” Joe said depressed, the Protoss warrior stood there, watching, “In a matter of minutes the venom will kill me, unless the stim wears off and I die of pain.” Gylenacs continued to stare, “I guess this is how my story ends.” “No.” Gylenacs said, confidently, “You will survive.” “How do you know that?” Joe laughed. “Some Protoss, and even some humans in your case, are give the very rare ability to catch glimpses of the future.” Joe didn’t believe his ears, Gylenacs continued, “It is an extremely rare gift among Protoss and even more unique among humans. In fact you are the only human I know of who possesses such a gift." “Hold on a sec.” Joe interrupted, “I can’t see the future.” “Not at will, no. No one can. It comes at times when the mind is most venerable. During sleep or deep meditation. If I am not mistaken, you have had such a vision of the future?” Joe felt Gylenacs searching his mind for the vision, “I’ve only had one. Why hasn’t this happened to me before?” Joe asked getting carefully to his feet. Gylenacs sighed, “Lieutenant, you have had a terrible, terrible past. The ones you lost…”
“You mean my family being slaughtered by the Zerg?” He paused, as if hesitant to give Joe an answer, “Yes.” he said uneasily, “When you were a child you had the most powerful human mind this galaxy had ever seen. But due to the terrible events that happened to you as a child, you had a powerful mind block put on you, to shield your mind from the bad memories. Unfortunately, the mind block, blocked your powers as well as your memories. Though the memories are clear to you now, your powers are still hidden.” “How do you know all this Gylenacs?” Joe asked, stunned. The Protoss was silent for the longest time, “Because I was the one who put the block on you.” “Why? Why did you do that?” Joe asked. “Because no one knew how you would cope with it. We couldn’t risk losing the strongest human mind yet. Fortunately for us, we have kept you secret from Kerrigan. Fore she would have wanted you for her own evil plans.” Joe was speechless. He was the most powerful human? “But, when I was scanned to be a ghost my results came back normal.” “You slipped through the cracks. Even Terran machines could pick up on your brain waves.” Joe felt light headed. How could this be?
Joe mistakenly put pressure on his left leg and he fell. In stead of helping Joe back up, Gylenacs knelt down so that Joe’s face was level with his. “You saved my future lieutenant…now I will help you uncover you past.” Just as before, Gylenacs placed his hands on wither side of Joe’s face.
Gylenacs lead Joe down a hallway of locked doors. He opened up each and every one of the as they walked down. With each new door opened, Joe’s mind felt stronger. He was gaining the ability to burrow into Gylenacs’ mind. His mind got so strong that in a matter of seconds, Gylenacs only had one more wall of defense before Joe could read his every thought. But he couldn’t penetrate it. The Praetor was desperately trying to keep Joe out of his mind. Joe wondered, why?
Only one door remained now. It lie at the very end of the hallway. Joe walked toward it. “No Joe.” Gylenacs’ voice came. It was a stern, harsh voice, “You must not see what is behind that door.” Before Joe could ask why, he had opened his eyes and he was back on Kel-Moria. Gylenacs stood before him, offering an arm to help Joe up. “What was behind that door?” Joe asked as Gylenacs pulled him to his feet. The mighty Praetor paused before answering, “Your true past.”