The Motherships had begun to attack with their own special weaponry. From each, hundreds of brilliant gold streaming streaks emerged per second, joining with the intense white ones of the ion cannons, a beautiful combination to all onlookers. As the golden streams touched the surfaces of the Zerg, a strange kind of reaction seemed to occur as gold mist encompassed the reddish-brown bodies of their targets, dueling their own battles on the nanoscale level. The golden nanites of the Protoss, far superior to the rudimentary ones of the Zerg, swiftly proceeded to disintegrate the Zerg nanites and create new ones out of them in their own image. In mere seconds the affected Zerg fliers' bodies had become entirely replaced by golden nanites, giving them all a distinctly golden coloration. Now allied to the Protoss, these subverted Zerg swiftly began to attack their former brethren with their glaive wurms, adding to Protoss firepower. As the golden beams continued to be scattered about through this now terrifically bloody region of space, more and more Zerg began to be infected, and soon much of the invading swarms' attention had been diverted to facing this new threat.
The Zerg, meanwhile, had countered with their own defensive tactics. What resembled giant floating anemones reached out with their hundreds of tentacles, and with their incredibly refined reflexes, sacrificed their great many limbs to absorb ion cannon fire and allow the body of the swarm behind to advance unhindered. Endlessly they lashed out, seeking out anything deadly and colliding with or getting in their way. After all, these monstrosities had so many limbs, what did it matter if it lost one, or a dozen? As each successive fleet approached, the anemonelisks at the front were always the first to be shredded to pieces by a hundred different hits, scattering them into many tiny shards that continuously added on to the debris field, already thick with attrition.
The minutes drew on. The battlefield had become filled with the half-remaining corpses of trillions of Zerg, gradually pushed to the side as more and more continued to replace the fallen in a grand assault of fleshy waves. The Guardians' shields continued to collapse under the planetary assault, the energy being absorbed and dissipated far faster than all the prisms covering the surface could replace. This was a truly great amount of energy that was being exhausted every second, and yet the draining continued. Zerg losses now neared a thousand trillion, and the Protoss had lost fewer than a hundred vessels. And yet inexorably, the waves continued. The Overmind knew, as well as all the others who could set their sights on the unfolding spectacle, that eventually, the shielding would just all collapse, making the Protoss fleets highly vulnerable to any and all attacks.
Explosions continued everywhere, littering the great stretches of space. The lengthy psionic shadow of Aiur was filled with the deadly silence of countless glaive wurms - they merged together into one gigantic barrage that one could imagine that they were going the other way too. Wave after wave of sacrificial Zerg slammed into the surface of the distortionary shielding.
Daniel had, while still in his seat, rather surprisingly fallen into a slumber.
Almost immediately, another, familiar presence entered his minds. Was he dreaming? It did not seem so, so vivid, and in such a serious tone, the psionic emanations were...
<Abandon the Protoss, Daniel. You have no hope of surviving this encounter. Go now, while you still can.>
<Mind your own business!> Daniel responded in his mind.
<Ah, but it Is our business. Purity of Essence has always been greater than Purity of Form.>
<You know what's missing with your Purity? Purity of Heart!>
<Heart? What's that? How can a race have purity of a body part?>
<Of course we feel, Daniel Travincal. We have been greatly aggrieved by all the woes you and your race have caused.>
< If you feel, then don't fight the Protoss!>
<The Protoss are our eternal enemies. We stand diametrically opposed-->
<Can't you befriend each other?>
<The Protoss have, over the course of five hundred years of warfare, inflicted many trillion more casualties upon us than we have upon the Protoss. Even if all the Protoss were to die, that would still not be enough redress.>
<Evidently, but that's because your individual minions are scarcely any competition for individual Protoss.>
<You dare accuse our race of weakness?>
<Absolutely not, but you must admit that your race's greatest strength is fighting in numbers.>
<Our greatest strength is our purity of essence. And we will prove that it is superior to purity of form-->
<Yes, I know that already. What do you wish to get out of wiping out all Protoss?>
<Yet you cannot ever achieve it because you've suffered more casualties than there are Protoss currently existing.>
<Xenocide counts for infinite casualties.>
<The destruction of an entire race?!>
< Indeed, that is our goal.>
<And does that include humanity as well?>
<You cannot dismiss the fact that your species have caused us great woes.>
<And just why is it so important that you must always force an eye for an eye?>
<We uphold righteousness, Daniel Travincal. If you have not uncovered so much from our past discussions, then we are very disappointed in you indeed.>
<Your sense of 'righteousness' is perverted!>
< It is also what our creators have taught us. We have never forgotten so much.>
<You and your creators... Don't you understand where it's taking you? Your war with the Protoss would just continue to escalate until the end of time-->
<Or until we triumph, you mean?>
<Or lose. I've seen the Protoss, technologically and mentally. They're incredibly strong and they will find a way to defeat you, to kill you-->
<We, the Overmind, are eternal. So it was decreed by our creators.>
<You're full of yourself, oh Overmind...>
<And we have much reason to do so. We warn you, do not meddle in the affairs of other races, or you shall swiftly find your allies and friends wilting before your very senses.>
< Is that a threat?>
< In war, the existence of everything is a threat.>
< I despise you, Overmind, you who cannot even comprehend what the Protoss must have been thinking when they first encountered your kind, who does not have it within you to give the Protoss a clean start-->
<Do not think that we have not tried, Daniel Travincal. We have tried giving that race a tabula rasa countless times, but the Protoss have long ago taken an extreme dislike toward our kind.>
<Enough! I will not tolerate just standing aside and watching as you fight the Protoss into oblivion. I, having personally been rescued by the Protoss in space over Tarsonis, will not take your belligerence lightly.>
<Then we believe that we must make war with each other. As a credit to you, and in hopes that you will think over your decisions, we shall not actively pursue your fleet-->
<Just get out of my head, now!>
<We shall be judging you, Daniel Travincal, and we shall be finding you wanting. Ohh--interesting! --What is this?>
Suddenly, a very powerful mental force thundered into Daniel's mind, contesting with it for control, access to his memories, trying to uncover into the depths of his mind. Within moments, his mind was numb with the incessant confrontations, and was crying out silently, pleading to be left alone. This was a presence even more formidable than that of the High Templar's he had managed to resist before; this was planetary bombardment by comparison.
The Khaydarin Amulet that Daniel still bore around his neck turned a bright blue and glowed: warmly, softly, soothingly. Another entity, one that gave Daniel warmth and hope, entered his mind, also fighting back the Overmind's venturing threat, fighting alongside Daniel's own battered mind. As the fighting within continued, he flailed his body, his muscles spasming. The amulet's crystal grew hotter and hotter until it seemed to nearly sear the flesh on which it rested. It seemed as if the end were near.
Yet the Overmind, being, as it was, a formidable presence yet a stranger to his mind, could not grasp onto it. Unable to delve any further, and being thwarted by either Daniel or the dying psionic strands of the Khalai who had sacrificed herself at Salutation, the Overmind withdrew.
Immediately, Daniel regained control of himself, and felt his memories for any scarring. He was breathing heavily as he swiftly recalled the entire conversation. He looked around and saw the concerned faces of several officers.
As the two titanic forces clashed, it was quite clear that it was the wrong mood for anything but concentrating on winning the war--that was, of course, except for the human fleet, which had the best hope of surviving by staying out of the fight entirely. And yet--
And yet Sarlena managed to find time for something else.
She was dressed in a velvety black blouse and a black short skirt--very stately. However, her mind was nowhere near the battle being waged deep in space some thousands of miles away. The swarms had ignored them entirely, and there had not yet been a single incident.
She came up to Christopher rather shyly, and the two clasped hands. "Come with me," she beckoned to him, and together they walked down the corridor outside the operations center, indifferent to whatever was happening. They went merrily, lost in each other's embrace, all the way down to Christopher's quarters--which, considering his rank as lieutenant admiral, was well-adorned and spacious. Upon entering, Sarlena closed and locked the door.
Christopher turned on the computer the moment he stepped in, and soon what amounted to a movie was playing--a virtual renditioning of the battle between the Firstborn and Secondborn as the signals were being picked up by on-board ansible.
In the portion of the battlefield that they were watching (sitting side by side on Christopher's bed), the Protoss fleet begun pulling to the edges of Aiur's psionic shadow in preparation for when their shielding would inevitably fail. For their part, the Zerg fliers had entered what seemed to be a very chaotic flight pattern, but to their trained eyes, both could make out the careful formation that the dracolisks were holding. Simultaneously, hordes of bee-like starcraft shot out from the whirling Zerg cloud, persistently slamming into the Protoss fleet's combined shielding and eroding it like a waterfall pouring interminably over smoothed stone.
Sarlena turned off the computer screen, finally halting the incessant strings of eruptions being tracked by the Hyperion's ansible sensors, and turned to Christopher with a seductive smile. "Look at me, Chris," she said to him sweetly while gently brushing her hair aside.
Christopher turned around to look--and was instantly struck (for perhaps the thousandth time) by his fiancee's delightful beauty. "You called, and I answered," he replied with a smile, even as he lost his self and his reserve looking at her. "So what's--?"
Before he could finish, Sarlena had playfully toppled over him, and they collapsed onto his bed, laughing their heart's sorrows and worries away and looking at each other lustfully. "I would Love to have a piece of you," said Sarlena.
"And I would Love to get to Know you," Christopher replied as they snuggled close to one another.
"It's been a long time since we were last so close together..." Sarlena sighed, showing Christopher her curvaceous figure.
Sarlena placed her hand on Christopher's chest lusciously. "Are you happy?"
"Who, me? Happy as can be--"
"Oh, I don't think so," Sarlena nagged, a mischievous grin spreading on her face.
Christopher looked back at her. "Oh? How so?" Just then, he felt an upwelling of desire for her, one of intense anticipation, yet dampened by the possibility of refusal--
"Hmm, if you're too slow to figure that one out, maybe I fell in love with the wrong person," she teased sweetly.
Christopher grasped her hand in his, and passed another one over her soft hair in a soft caress. "I think I may have a chance yet!" he replied, grinning also.
"How come I get the feeling you've been waiting for this for so long?" Sarlena goaded him and shot him a seemingly innocent look.
"Well, you were always so lofty and at a level all to yourself," Christopher replied, as his hand passed down her back. "You didn't give me the chance--until now." He seemed to be in his own world--a bit carried away--
Sarlena giggled. "Well then, I suppose you ARE smart enough to satisfy me?" she asked softly and lovingly.
"That's up to you, but I think you'd agree before we leave this room," Christopher whispered in her ear, and flipped off the lights. "Won't you?" Silently, they both began to undress.
"How do I feel?" whispered Sarlena as they pressed each other, felt each other's warmth--
"Oh, magnificent," Christopher replied in kind, and groped around in the darkness for--
"What are you waiting for, sweetheart?" Sarlena asked softly as she lay prostrate, enticing him to continue. Soon Christopher had tumbled over her and felt that natural orifice...
"Come into me... aah, that's right... yeah, just like that..." Sarlena whispered into the darkness.
"I'm coming, hold on tight," Christopher said softly. It was a feeling like no other, that touching of such gentle and sensitive skin... For the first time he Knew her, realized what a voluptuous and supple body in Sarlena meant; his breathing became more labored and his skin clammy with sweat as his mind became overcome with sensuous excitement, a captive of the moment, and lost track of time.