A Marine's Story Part 4

"The Two Things That Should Never Clash"

They picked up their rifles and gear and waited for the doors to open. When the did the stepped out on to a sunny, green grassed planet. “Welcome.” Came a strange voice in Joe’s head. He turned to see a nine foot tall, purple skinned, orange eyed being in green robes. It was a Protoss. Joe looked around to see where the voice came from since the being had no mouth, but he couldn’t find anyone else at their landing zone other than this Protoss. The voice in his head spoke again, “Yes, it is I you hear humans. I am communicating with you telepathically.” it said. “So do we have to think what we want to say to you or can we just talk?” Jon asked. “You may "just talk", your brains still send the message in which I can pick up on.” it explained, “I am Templar Fer’Xela. This planet is a temporary home to my people.” “So how far does this telepathic thingy go to?” Patterson asked. “The Protoss can pick up on others brain waves almost anywhere. But as you are humans we can only pick up your brain waves if we can see you. And I sense there is a ghost accompanying you.” Tiffany smiled and blushed but didn’t say anything. “Ok, do you know where we go now?” Joe asked. “Follow me.” Fer’Xela said. He lead them across lush grassy fields and there they saw many Protoss gathered around two Protoss who were sparing. They each had two blue energy blades attached to their wrists. Joe looked away to see a massive human base in which they could see men and women running. The templar took the to a small hut in which captain Drake was waiting for them. He was wearing black armor with red stripes along the arms, legs, and helmet. “I see you’ve meet Fer’Xela. Thank you by the way for leading them here.” Drake said to the Protoss. “My pleasure.” Came the voice in his head and he walked out. “Well,” Drake began, “It’s good to see my officers here and I hope you had a good trip. Anyway your armor decals are on you bunks and you have the option of customizing your armor. But first I need to run you through our schedule. We’ll be spending a little time here until the Dominion needs us so until then you all can relax and take some time off. But don’t slack off to much. I’ll call you if I get any news from command. Joe, Jon, and Mike your bunks are at building 442. And Tiffany you’ll be going to the ghost’s camp. Sorry but you won’t be bunking with these guys. It’s on the opposite side of the base. That’s all, you’re dismissed.” They walked out. “Well this sucks.” Patterson said, “You won’t be with us anymore. Well I’ll miss you.” “I’ll miss you too you little leprechaun,” she said with a smile, “It’s not like I won’t see you again. We’ll hook up on the weekends and do stuff.” “Sounds good.” Jon said. “Bye bud, I’ll miss you.” Tiffany said, hugging Jon. “Bye Joe.” she said and gave him a kiss and ran off. “See me if you need and walk.” Joe said with a smile which she returned. When she was out of ear shot Patterson said, “Whoo, Tarn scoring with the hot ghost, good for you.” Joe smacked Mike behind the head and said, “Shut up, lets find our bunks.” As they walked away Joe glanced back just in time to she Tiffany’s magnificent ass turn the corner. He smiled to himself and walked with the others to the bunks.

Early the next morning Joe, Jon, and Patterson went to customize their armor. The man at the desk said it would cost 20 credits to do anything to their armor and for an extra 5 he would apply their regiment decals. Seeing as how he could do it himself he would just pay to paint his armor. Joe painted his shoulder pieces, his gloves, and his lower legs a deep blue that went well with the blackness of his armor. He also added a yellow eagle to his right shoulder piece. And on his chest he put a white skull. Jon had left the original black paint job on but added small things like “Your Ass Here” on his boot and “God of War” on his shoulder. Patterson however painted his whole suit white except for the gloves and lower legs. Satisfied they headed back to there bunks to apply their decals. When they got there they had a new room mate. They walked in and didn’t say a word to him and applied their decals in silence. The new guy was about six two with short brown hair and teal colored eyes. When they finished their armor said ‘Sgt. Joe Tarn‘, ‘Corp. Jon Rulli’, and ‘Lance Corp. Mike Patterson’. When the new guy left they immersed themselves in converstion again, “Why do we have a new guy? Isn’t this supposed to be for officers only?” Jon asked. “Maybe he’s an officer as well.” Joe suggested. “Ya, but wouldn’t the captain have told us though?” asked Mike. “I don’t know.” Joe said. This continued for a few minutes until the new guy came back. Jon asked him, “Hey bud, we were just wondering if you were an officer in our regiment. Seeing as how these are officers sleeping corridors.” The new guy stood there for a moment and then said, “I’m Lance Corporal Dale Balsitis. I’m in the 390th infantry division. Under the command of-” “Whoa dude slow down.” Mike said, “ It’s all good we just wanted to know if you were with us.” “Oh,” Dale said looking embarrassed, “Sorry.” “No problem.” Joe said, “I’m Sergeant Joe Tarn, this is Corporal Jon Rulli,” he said pointing to Jon, “and Lance Corporal Mike Patterson.” he said indicating Mike. “I see you still got your issued armor.” Mike said looking at Dale’s armor, “We’ll take you up to the paint shop tomorrow to get it customized.” “Cool.” Dale said. He couldn’t have been much older that 18. They all talked together for a while until Tiffany showed up, “Hey guy’s.” she said, “Oh, who’s this?” she asked in a polite tone of voice. Dale seemed to be at a lose for words, Tiffany was still in her armor, so Joe said, “This is Dale. He’s with us too.” “Oh, cool.” Tiffany replied. “Hey, news is coming on.” Mike said, "We might be able to watch it without being interrupted by Brent.” as he walked up to turn the TV on. “Or you.” Jon muttered under his breath, they all laughed but Mike heard him. “What!?!” he asked. The anger rising in his voice. “Nothing.” Jon said with a smile and they all laughed harder.

The next few weeks they didn’t do much of anything. They spent a few hours arguing over what would look better on Dale’s armor(They finally decided on a deep maroon color). Other than that nothing happened. They hadn’t seen Tiffany since their first day here. She must have been off training somewhere. Then one day after extreme boredom set in Jon said, “Hey this is a Protoss planet! Lets see what they do for fun.” Thinking of nothing better to do they all got up and tried to find some Protoss. When they finally did they were sparing as they were when they first arrived. When they made their way toward them the observing Protoss turned to watch them as they walked through the crowd to get a better view of the event. Joe felt very small next to these towering beings who were three feet taller than any of the humans. The Protoss in the center continued to spar though. They were very agile beings for being so tall. The way they moved and fought was unlike anything that Joe had seen. When they stopped sparring Joe had the strange feeling that all the eyes of the Protoss hadn’t left them since they arrived. “What?” Joe asked calmly. None of them spoke for a while until one of them said, “We don’t allow humans to view us training.” “Why?” Jon asked. “None can until they prove themselves.” “And we do that how?” Joe asked. “By fighting each other. Once they do that they may watch.” “Well how long do we have to spar for?” Joe asked “As long as is necessary.” “Who do we fight?” Jon asked nervously, looking around at the Protoss who were indeed imposing. “You fight a friend.” “What?” Joe asked, “Why.” “We Protoss believe that if you are able to meet a friend in battle you can bring yourself to fight an enemy in battle.” “That doesn’t make much sense, but ok,” Joe said, “ Come on Jon.” he added walking into the center of the circle. “What I’m not gonna fight you.” he said defiantly. “Come on, if we do this we can watch other people fight.” Joe said. Pondering on this for a moment he stepped out into the ring. “You will fight next?” a Protoss voice came into Joe’s head. He turned around to see that he was addressing Mike and Dale. “Well…umm…do we…have to?” Mike asked. “If you wish to view this battle, yes.” The voice came. They looked at each other then without discussing it Patterson said, “Alright, yeah sure.” “Proceed.” Another voice came. Joe and Jon hadn’t fought each other since Jon though Joe stole his favorite guitar in eighth grade(Which he didn‘t. Jon was very uptight about his instruments). Joe wrestled Jon to the ground then but that was before they had their military training. Jon had indeed gotten better. He landed a few hits on Joe before Joe put him down for good with a hit to the gut. All the Protoss’s eyes had been on them. They seemed fairly impressed too. Joe helped Jon back to his feet. And then a voice said, “Impressive, for humans.” “Thanks?” Jon said holding his stomach “Put the little one in now.” Another voice sounded. Patterson and Dale were now in the middle. Jon hit Joe hard in the jaw and he was now massaging it. Jon was now upright but leaning a little to his hurt gut. Patterson was pretty fast for being so small, but Dale won out eventually. “Good humans. You are now allowed to view our sparing from now on.” “Thank you.” Joe said courteously, “ I think we need some rest but how ‘bout same time tomorrow?” “Fine” They were walking back to the base when they were haled by a little man with glasses who said, “The captain wants to see you all.” They walked into Drakes tent and he told them, “We are shipping out to Kel-Moria soon.” “No way!” Jon said. “Sweet.” Mike added. “I know, I know, but first I need to go there and speak with the commander of our unit. I would comm. him from here but we’re having technical difficulties. So the only way to speak to him now is to go there personally. So, Joe I’m leaving you in charge. You won’t have to do anything special just come in here and make sure everyone is doing what they’re supposed to be doing.” “What are they supposed to be doing sir?” Joe asked. “Nothing.” he replied with a slight laugh, “I’ll be back in a few days. Oh, and you’re getting our battalion together on the 21st. Just to run them through some exercises. I’ll leave a note.” And with that he turned and left the tent. The next morning Joe, Jon, Patterson, and, Dale went up to watch the Protoss sparing. It was pretty exciting to watch a different race do battle with one another. “You humans like our sparing?” “Yeah we do.” Joe replied. “It has come to my attention that we do not know who you are.” “Oh.” Joe said slightly taken aback, “I’m Staff Sergeant Joe Tarn. This is Corporal Jon Rulli,” Joe said indicating Jon, “ Lance Corporal’s Mike Patterson,” Joe indicated Patterson, “and Dale Balsitis.” “Welcome humans.” They replied. Joe really didn’t want the Protoss to have to go through all their names, seeing that there were about thirty, and thankfully they didn’t. “I am Praetor Gylenacs. I run these sparing events.” “You do a fine job.” Dale said. “Thank you corporal.” Gylenacs said. “So how did you guys end up on this planet? Don’t you have one of your own?” Mike asked. “Our home planet of Aiur was taken from us many years ago.” Gylenacs explained, if it were possible Joe felt a bit of sadness in the back of his brain as the Protoss spoke, “It was taken by the Zerg. Although we defeated the dreaded Overmind there we did so at a terrible price. The battle had shattered our world and it was overrun with rampaging Zerg. We could live there no longer. So we left to the shadow world of Shakurras. It was the home of the long banished dark templar who we are now united with.” “So why aren’t you still living there?” Dale asked. “Alas, the Zerg had followed us there and we lost that planet as well. We then became a nomadic race. Trying to find a suitable planet to rebuild upon. We then learned that the humans were at an all out war with the Zerg and were losing. We offered our assistance and helped turn the tide in your favor. In return you offered us planets in return for our services. So until the Zerg are wiped from the face of this system and we find a new home world we stay here.” “Well I think it’s good that you’re helping us. We need all the help we can get going up against the Zerg.” Jon said. “Thank you young warrior. We are proud to fight along side of humans.” They stayed there for a little while longer until the sun started setting. They bid their goodbyes to the Protoss and left for the day. When the 21st came Joe went up to Drake’s tent to call the battalion up for some exercise. When he got there he saw Drake had left him a note:

Dear Joe,

Hope everything is going alright and you’re finding ways out of boredom. Anyway I need you to just run the battalion through a few exercises. Nothing special just keep them frosty. Don’t want them going into battle all relaxed. I’ll be back on the 25th just keep the division out of trouble until I get back.

Be back soon, Drake

As ordered Joe called up there battalion over the speaker system, “All troops of the 390th infantry division C Company, report to training area F.” Joe walked out of Drake’s tent and left for the training area. When he got there he waited until the last of the troopers showed up. It never occurred to him how many people were in this company. With two marine rifle platoons, one heavy weapons platoon, and an all ghost platoon there were pretty many people Joe didn’t know. To star off he said, “For those of you who don’t know me, I am Staff Sergeant Joe Tarn. Captain Drake is on his way to Kel-Moria to get permission for us to join the fight.” “Alright” One of the marines yelled out. Joe smiled and continued, “He will be back on the 25th so until then I’m in command. We’ll be doing a bit of training today to keep everyone frosty. I need you to divide up Ghosts on the right, and Marines on the left, my right and left.” Joe added hastily seeing the look of confusion on their faces. As they did Joe caught a glimpse of Tiffany as she walked over to the ghosts side. She gave him a soft smile which he returned. “Alright,” Joe said pulling up a chair, “give me five laps around the complex and stay together. I want everyone to finish at the same time.” It had been a full hour before they had returned. Joe must have forgotten that this base was a lot bigger than the basic base. “Opps,” Joe said with a laugh, “sorry, I forgot this base was bigger than the one I was at.” seeing the murderous looks on their faces he added, “Alright rest of the day off I want you all back here same time tomorrow though.” This helped a little bit. When Joe got back to his bunk he thought Jon, Mike, and Dale would kill him. But seeing as they just ran about fifteen miles in one hour without rest they just laid there and yelled until they were fast asleep.

The next day Joe was more courteous to his soldiers. He ran them through obstacle courses and training scenarios until he thought they had enough. He dismissed them and headed back to his bunk. When he got there Jon, Mike, and Dale were sitting and talking about something. “Hey guys sorry about yesterday.” Joe said truthfully “No problem you really made up for it today.” Patterson said. “I did?”, Joe asked, “But how?” “The training scenarios. They were the coolest things ever. Like a video game. It was so real though.” They went on talking about the training scenarios until the base alarm sounded. “What’s going on?” Joe asked as they ran outside. “Could it be a drill.” Mike asked. “I don’t know.” Joe said. Just then a voice came over the speaker system of the base, “Zerg flyers are above the planet. All pilots man your battle stations. This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill” All over the place Joe could see pilots jumping into there jump suits and the sound of engines firing up made the air smell like burning fuel. “Come on we need to get to a shelter.” Dale said. “No, I’m gonna go up to the command center see what I can find out.” Joe replied. “Alright, be careful.” Jon said. With a nod Joe hurried off to a big circular pyramid shaped building at the corner of the base.

When he got there he saw that it was a mad. People were running around yelling things to one another, hading out papers, and a few were situated in front of black screens which showed moving dots. One of them yelled, “Commander we have Zerg in sectors seven, eight, ten, and two.” “Move our wraith squadrons to intercept the Zerg at sector eight. We need to keep a hole open for our battlecruisers.”, barked a tall man with a shaved head and dark brown eyes that almost looked black. He was wearing his armor and looked strong. Joe ran up to him and said, “Sir, I’m Sgt. Joe Tarn sir. What can I do to help?” He turned and surveyed Joe for a moment and said, “We need some radio operators. Do you now how to do that?” “No sir but I know someone who does.” Joe replied, “Do you need me to get him?” “Yes, and hurry back.”

Joe ran out of the command center and into the chaos that was the marine complex. There weren’t as many people running around as they were before but there were boxes, weapons, and all sorts of debris lying around. Jumping over a box he ran over to the shelter that was nearest to his sleeping quarters and ran inside looking for Patterson.

Thinking, and hoping, that Jon, Mike, and Dale were too lazy to go much farther. When he got to the shelter it looked as though the whole division was down there. Marines and base personnel were talking loudly with one another. It would take forever to just go around looking for the short red head so Joe yelled out, “ MIKE PATTERSON, FRONT AND CENTER!” in the deepest, loudest voice he could muster. His yell carried over the whole shelter and everyone turned to look at him. He stood there waiting for Patterson to show up. After a few moments of everyone’s eyes on him, Joe concluded that he must be in a different shelter. He turned to leave when, “Yo bro-ha, what do ya need.” came from behind him. Joe turned around to see Mike had just made his way to the front of the crowd which was still silent. Joe managed a smirk to him and said, “Come on, we need to get you up to the command center. They need radio operators.” Patterson looked at him for a while with a ,are you kidding me?, face and said, “Are you kidding me? There’s Zerg out there.” “No,” Joe replied, “ There’s Zerg up there-” Joe pointed up“-but they will be here if you don’t help out.” Turning away from Mike Joe said to the division, “Any radio operators are to come with me to headquarters. On the double.” One by one, men and women came forward to show that they were radio operators. When no one else came forward Joe said, “Alright, radio men and women follow me. Everyone else stay here and wait for further orders.” Joe turned and lead Mike and the other marines out into the night.

It was getting cooler. Joe could see his own breath. There was no one in sight now. Everyone had to either be in a shelter, fighting the Zerg, or at the command center. Joe lead the marines into the command center and found the commander. “Sir, Sgt. Joe Tarn. I’ve got the all radio operators in my battalion.” Joe said to him. The commander turned around, “Good, it took you long enough.” he replied, indicating to the radio operators he added, “Follow me we need your skills.” He lead them out of the room. Joe walked over to a man in front of his computer and looked at the screen. On the screen he saw a dozen squares all over the screen and a big circle right in the center. Joe guessed it was Tyrador 9. Green, blue, red, and orange dots were moving about the various squares and make others disappear. Joe hopped that those were Zerg disappearing.

A deafening noise sounded on a terminal behind Joe and he turned to look. The mans screen turned a shade of red and he looked fearful, “Sir, Mutalisks, inbound on this structure.” Joe thought he was addressing him. But just as his brain started thinking possible solutions to this problem a voice said, “Johnson, reroute all power to shields.” Joe turned to see a beautiful women with deep hazel eyes, long, slightly curled red hair, and fair skin talking to a black man sitting a console that showed the outline of the center. “Lenny, do we have air support?” “No ma’am. All fighters have been sent to battle above the planet. No fighters docked.” a pale man said. “Damn.” the women replied, “We’ll have to hold them off from the ground.” She moved over to another computer and asked the man, “How many operational Goliaths do we have ready?” “Six.” said the man. “How many Mutalisks are inbound?” “Thirteen.” “Shit.” she said. Joe had been watching her this whole time and even when she looked right into his eyes he didn’t look away. “You there, can you pilot a Goliath?” she asked. “Yes ma’am. Top of my class.” Joe replied. “Good I’ll send out five other pilots and you’ll fight off these Zerg. I’ll bring up our missile defenses to give you a hand. Head to the armory and pick up armor and some weapons, just in case.” she explained. She had a sweet voice. “Yes ma’-” the structure shook. The lights went out and quickly came back on. They’re here. “Go now. HURRY!” she barked. Joe didn’t need to be told twice. He hurried out the door and fallowed the directions to the armory. He got there to see two other men getting their armor on. A tall black man and a short broad shouldered white man with no hair. They turned to look at him and said, “You the Goliath pilot?” “Yeah.” Joe replied grabbing his rifle and pistol. “You too?” “Yeah.” they said. The lights flicked and the center shook again. “We better hurry.” the tall black one said. As Joe got to his armor another man showed up. No one bothered asking questions to him. Joe finished with the first two men and headed out with them. They ran across the barren base just as the Mutalisks passed. They got to the Goliath hangers and Joe headed to the one closest to him. As he climbed in he noticed the hatch had the number: 146. Joe put his legs in the holes and his hands on the handle bars. He hit the igniter and the machine can alive. Noticing a headset on the floor next to his seat he put it on. It crackled, “This is 143 you guys read?” “Roger 143, this is 149.” came another voice. “146 are you ready?” Joe ran a quick scan and it reviled that his left leg was not working. “Negative. Left leg isn’t functioning properly, I’ll see what I can do from in here.” “Roger that 146. We’re gonna head out to protect the other three pilots on their run here.” The doors opened and the other two moved out. Their bird-like walkers reflecting in the setting sun. Joe read the diagnosis carefully and it indicated that he need to restart and move power into the leg. He did so and when he started putting power into the leg a voice crackled over the radio, “ Incoming, incoming, pilots haul ass they’re coming around. 146 stay inside.” “Roger that.” Joe said. Joe went back to transferring power from his right leg to the left. He finished and looked up. The pilots were about twenty-five yards away from the doors when green acid started raining from the sky. The other Goliaths were firing but the rain of acid continued. Joe started moving toward the hanger entrance when a great spray of acid found its target. A pilot’s armor was melting away and although his visor was shut he sensed that the man was in much pain. As he got closer to the entrance more acid hit 149’s right leg. He collapsed. His walker lay face down in the grass. More acid rained on the walker’s back and then Joe heard the scream. “Ahhhh. Help me!” came his voice, “It burns.” Joe finally got out and pulled his right handle bar to jerk the cockpit to the right. He saw them. Great winged beasts. They looked like T’s with their wings on their heads, flapping them lazily. He lined his aiming reticule over one of their backs and fired two missiles. They hit their mark and blew the beast in two. He opened up with his guns next. He hit another and it fell from the sky. He lined up for another shot but the rest disappeared into the clouds. He turned to face 149’s ruined walker. His screams had ceased now. “146 cover me. I’m getting 149 out of there.” “Roger that 143.” Joe said. “146, this is 141 and 147. We are making our way out of the hanger, all systems go.” “Roger that. Spread out. Keep a perimeter around 149.” “Yes sir.” Joe turned his cockpit left and faced 149 and 143’s walkers. He saw the black man emerge from the wreaked walker with the other man. He didn’t look like the man he saw in the armory. His helmet, left and right arms and most of his chest armor hade been melted away. His face’s right side was darkened and the skin was dead. 143 was yelling things to 149 but he wasn’t moving. He laid 149 on the grass and held his hand to the side of his neck that wasn’t burned. 143 looked up at Joe’s walker and shook his head. Joe’s heart sank. He was dead. “Incoming.” was shouted over the radio. Joe was brought back to the world. He pulled the cockpit up and faced the Zerg. He lined up his reticule again and let two more missiles go and then opened up with his guns. He moved closer to 143 in an attempt to cover him in his run to his walker. It was too late. The Mutalisks saw him and fired. They buried him in acid. He saw his mouth open in a scream but couldn’t hear him. He slowly sank into the ooze. “You sons of bitches.” Joe yelled and fired four more missiles and didn’t let up on his guns. Something awoke inside of him. Something he didn’t know was there. A rage, a blind rage. Every bad memory came back to him and channeled into hatred of the Zerg. All he wanted to do was to kill all the Zerg in the system. Green acid was falling all around him. He didn’t care. When they passed Joe heard a frantic beeping. He looked at his damage indicator and it showed his left leg in all red. “Sir, you’ve been hit.” came 147’s voice. “Yeah, I see that.” Joe shot back at him. His walker started falling. “Shit, shit, shit.” Joe thought as he fell. He landed with a thud on the grass. “Are you alright sir?” came a frantic voice. “Yeah fine.” Joe said. His armor saved him from most of the impacts force but it still shook him. He rolled his cockpit down as far as it went to see the sky. He felt a faint pain in his back but paid no attention to it. “Here they come.” yelled 141. “Don’t worry about me, get them.” Joe ordered as they made moves to cover him. Joe had to wait until one of the Mutalisks was dumb enough to fly in front of his aiming reticule seeing that he couldn’t move it any lower. When one finally did, he lit him up. But Joe saw that they noticed him. He made to free himself from the restraints that held him in place. Once he got everything off he tried to get his legs out. He freed his right with ease but his left was jammed in there tight. Joe’s heart sank. He looked back out into the sky to see the Zerg prepared to fire. All the sudden rockets came flying out of nowhere at the Zerg who where caught off guard. They caught the Zerg up in a hail of explosions and killed them all. “Did you guys do that?” Joe asked over the radio. There was no answer. “Hey, 141? 147? You guys there?” Again no answer. Joe made another attempt to free his leg again and after the fourth try it came loose. He opened up the hatch and looked out. He saw 141 and 147’s walkers covered in acid and twisted up beyond repair. He grabbed his rifle and hurried over to the nearest one. 141’s legs and right arm and the entire back portion were gone. He hurried over to see through the opening. It was horrible. His armor was completely melted away. Along with his upper back and most of his head. His right arm was missing and his left was being held in place with a thin strand of skin. He couldn’t look at what was left of him any longer. He walked over to 147’s walker, hoping he was alright. The Goliath’s cockpit glass had been shattered and its left leg was severed. He looked through the opening to a torso, with its lower legs and arms missing. The acid was horrible and so was its smell. The man’s skin had been scorched black. Joe turned away. He walked past 149’s walker but didn’t dare look to his body. 143’s walker was still in good shape but it’s pilot wasn’t. There was nothing but the right boot left on his body. Even the skin was gone. He was a skeleton. Joe walked over to the command center and halfway there collapsed onto his knees and threw up. How could this have happened. Five men dead. Dieing horrible, painful deaths. Like Kyle. What kind of monsters could do this to other living things? How could they be stopped? Their brutality knew no end. “JOE.” came a voice. He turned to look. It was Mike. For some reason Joe smiled. “Hey buddy what’s happening?” he asked. “What happened?” Mike asked, Looking around. “Zerg.” Joe said still smiling. He got up and walked over to him. He wasn’t alone either. The woman from the command center was with him. So was the commander. “Little bastards killed them. Burned them alive.” Joe said indicating the other pilots body’s and walkers. Joe noticed something on the ground behind them. The Mutalisk that Joe shot down earlier was alive and moving. Joe walked past Mike and the others and pulled out his pistol. The monster had one wing but was still trying to get back in the air. It was bleeding badly. The whole area around it was stained a dark red. Joe walked around it so it could see him. It stopped moving. They looked at each other for a moment. He could feel the anger still swelling in him. He wanted it to hurt as much as he could. Then Joe raised his weapon and aimed at its eye. He fired. Once, twice, three, four, five, six, seven times. It laid there now, motionless. Its eye reduced to little more than a gaping hole in its skull. He lowered his gun. And looked up. He saw all three of them were staring at him. He guessed the whole time. He started walking over to them. But another surge of anger came over him and he kicked the Zerg. It was a bad decision. Seeing that the thing was made up of mostly leathery skin and hard bones it hurt his foot very much. But he didn’t care. He holstered his gun and walked over to Mike. “So, how goes their attack?” Joe asked. Patterson looked rather scared. Like Joe might start attacking him. “Well we drove them back and, thanks to you, the base was saved from serious damage.” “He’s right.” came the commander’s voice, he sounded a bit scared as well, “You saved a lot of people today sergeant. Thank you.” “You should get some rest sergeant. If you hadn’t notice you have some pretty nasty scorches on your back.” the women said in a calm voice. Joe took of his armor and sure enough he felt some burns on his lower back and legs. “Little bastards must have gotten me from behind.” Joe said and attempted a smile. “Must've.” she said with a smile, “Corporal Patterson, please escort our good sergeant to the medical tent.” “Yes ma’am.” Mike said and led Joe off.

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