Hello, Antagonist here. This idea has been stuck in my mind ever since I realized how awesome Abathur was.
I'm just gonna warn you right now, Abathur (and most other characters, for that matter) in this story is a massive example of the Alternative Character Interpretation trope. Abathur is a massive villain in canon, and I certainly like him that way, but a villainous Abathur just didn't work for the story. Don't worry, Abathur's still Abathur. He's still creepy, he's still obsessed with essence, he's still got that weird speech impediment, he's still Abathur. He's just a little more sympathetic than in canon.
So, here we go- the first chapter of Gensokyo's Heart.
DISCLAIMER: Touhou Project belongs to Team Shanghai Alice, and Starcraft belongs to Blizzard Entertainment.
Spinning strands and sequences. There was a lot of meaning in that sentence. It involved collecting the essence brought in from the Swarm, consuming that essence, analyzing that essence, and applying that essence to various Zerg strains. You didn't just apply essence willy-nilly. Evolving Zerg creatures was an art, one that required immense skill. Kerrigan and the Overmind could both do it, but it was difficult, and as such, they relied on Abathur to do it for them.
And Abathur liked it that way. Or, so he thought.
Searching for essence. Telling Kerrigan, "Hey, you might want to check that essence out." Collecting the essence that Kerrigan gives you. Working it into the Swarm, or sometimes into Kerrigan herself. Finding Essence on other worlds. Telling Kerrigan to bring the Leviathan to those worlds. Having her destroy unique creatures. Utilizing that unique essence into a specific Zerg unit to give them new, previously unseen abilities, such as creating Swarm Hosts that could tunnel like Nydus worms, or Zerglings that could hop cliffs. That was Abathur's existence. And that was all that Abathur would ever be.
He never thought about it until recently. However, the thought that this would be how he would spend the rest of his life, despite the fact that he loved doing it… it made him feel uneasy. Uncomfortable. He didn't like feeling things. It got in the way of his work. The work that he lived for.
And so, he stayed in the evolution pit, continued working, and didn't think about it. If he avoided the topic, he could keep working. And that was good enough for him.
His resolution, and his work on his personal project, were interrupted by Kerrigan entering the chamber, her bony wings trailing behind her.
"Abathur," she commanded, walking up to the Evolution Master. "I need an upgrade for the new Defilers."
Ah, yes. Abathur had recently managed to reconstitute Defilers for use in the Swarm. They weren't the best, and Kerrigan herself used Infestors more, but Defilers still had their uses.
"Three upgrades available," Abathur responded. "No different from others. Can increase usable energy by 20% by utilizing Infestor essence in design. Can add light defensive attack by reprogramming minds of symbiotic microbes. Can add light defensive ability that allows for symbiosis of Vile Roach microorganisms. Which to choose?"
Kerrigan pondered for a moment, before responding, "I'll take that second one. Defilers need to be able to defend themselves. At least the Infestors can just spawn Infested Terrans to protect itself."
Abathur nodded sagely. "Will do," he answered. "Should be ready for next mission."
"About that," Kerrigan sighed. "There's something I need you to do."
"Hmm?" he asked in response. For a creature with as much echo in their voice as him, the sound was very strange indeed.
"Our next mission is a Tal'Darim outpost. They're guarding a Xel'Naga artifact, and I want to know what the hell it does," Kerrigan answered. "It looks like some sort of door, but for all I know, that's just an entrance for the chamber that the real artifact is kept in."
"Unrelated to me," Abathur narrowed his eyes. "Only focus is improving the Swarm."
"It's related to you, now," Kerrigan glowered. "I want you finding out what that thing does as soon as I've wiped out the Tal'Darim. I've told you in the past- the only reason I haven't killed you yet is because you're useful to me. As a Xel'Naga expert, you'll be even more useful. You do want to stay alive, don't you?"
Abathur groaned in defeat. "Will… will do," he answered. "Cannot improve the Swarm if deceased."
"Good," Kerrigan smiled. "Good to know that we're in agreement. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go talk strategy with Stukov."
As she walked away, Abathur just glared at her. His meaning in life was to improve her soldiers. She gave him purpose. So why did he feel so much contempt for her?
On the plus side, his new job wouldn't interfere with his personal project, seeing as he was already incredibly close to completion.
Abathur awoke to find the Evolution Pit empty except for him. He must have fallen asleep working on his project.
The sounds of battle plagued the room. He heard Zerg scream as they died, and Protoss yelling out as they, too, lost their lives.
He wandered out into the Leviathan's nerve center, finding that the usual crowd had stayed behind on the Leviathan, as usual.
"Greetings, comrade," Alexei Stukov greeted, waving from his seat across the room. "Join us, battle is interesting."
Abathur crawled over to the transparent wall showing off the world outside. Kerrigan and a group of Zerglings were annihilating a small Tal'Darim base.
"It's a small base, but our Queen will take it over and use it as a base of operations," Izsha said calmly. "From there, she will attack the Tal'Darim's main colony."
"It's very strategically sound!" Zagara piped up with enthusiasm. "Much better than taking over a completely different base! This one is close!"
"Feh!" Dehaka snarled. "I, would, not, create, a, base. I, would, already, be, ready. I, will, collect."
Abathur personally couldn't stand Dehaka. Much like the rest of the Primal Zerg, who he spent hours trying to keep away from the Evolution Pit, his design was sloppy and improvised. He could easily improve the Primal Zerg greatly, but they would never allow it. Such illogical creatures.
"You forget, normal Zerg need Hives to even survive. You don't understand military strategy, Dehaka, because you're the leader of an animalistic pack," Stukov pointed out. "Kerrigan and I were both military personnel, her Terran and I human, before we were infested. We know strategy."
"There's no difference between a Terran and a human!" Zagara spat.
"You would be very wrong in that regard," Stukov smiled. "Humans were born on Earth. Terrans were born in the Koprulu Sector. Since you weren't born yet during the Brood Wars, you wouldn't know."
"An idea that makes no sense," Izsha commented. "Terra is another name for Earth."
"Is it?" asked Stukov. "Kerrigan does store her memories in you, so I guess you'd know. I didn't know that. I'm Russian; English is not my first language."
"It's not English," Izsha continued. "It's Italian. It's also Latin for Land."
"Eh, it's unimportant. Bottom line, I learned something about my own culture from a Zerg hard drive," Stukov joked.
"Hard drive?" asked Izsha.
"Human technology," Stukov answered. "And, I suppose Terran, too. Stores the memory of computers. Since Kerrigan uses you as a sort of… memory bank, no pun intended, I thought I would make the reference."
"I, do, not, need, a, hard, drive," Dehaka growled. "I, will, evolve, a, larger, brain."
"Fascinating," Abathur spoke up, surprising everyone. "May attempt to replicate someday."
Stukov laughed. "Good to see that you're interested, good friend! I may try to get an adjutant onboard some day, let you study it. Maybe you'll learn something that will revolutionize the entire Zerg Swarm! Hahaha!"
Abathur stalled at this. What was it that Stukov had called him?
"Good friend?" Abathur asked.
"Huh?" asked Stukov.
"Explain," clarified Abathur. "Good friend?"
"Oh!" Stukov smiled. "That's what you meant! Well, aren't we friends? We work together, we watch entertainment together, we chat- I would call that friendship."
"Friendship is a Terran concept!" Zagara sneered. "We have no need of it!"
"I disagree!" Stukov grinned. "In case you haven't noticed, we all work for the Queen of Blades out of admiration, in the case of Zagara and Izsha, fear, in the case of Zagara, or necessity, in the case of Dehaka, Abathur, and I. But that's work. When we have time off, we all hang out together in here and share happiness! That's the very definition of friendship, at least in my book! Kerrigan is our fearless leader, but she's not our friend. We're each other's friends."
"Interesting notion," Abathur noted. "Perhaps not entirely… incorrect."
"I, do, not, need, friends. I, have, a, pack," Dehaka smiled (as much as a mandibled creature could smile). "This, does, not, mean, it, is, a, completely, bad, idea."
"Oh, alright!" Zagara sighed in defeat. "I guess we are friends or whatever. My true devotion still lies with the Queen!"
At that moment, Kerrigan reentered. Upon turning back to the screen, the Tal'Darim had been massacred. Abathur supposed it was time to work, now.
"Welcome back, my Queen," Izsha greeted. "Was your mission successful?"
"Moderately," Kerrigan groaned. "I defeated all the Tal'Darim out here, but there are more in that… tomb, and by the time I've defeated them, backup will have arrived. You guys are coming with me, now! I need to wipe the Tal'Darim out quickly, before reinforcements arrive!"
Abathur would have raised an eyebrow if he had one. This was new.
Alright, everyone, remember to review! No, really, I need the criticism. Even a scathing review will help me as a writer.