His eyes opened. And immediately a headache the size of a battle cruiser hit him.
"Damn! What just happen?" he muttered. Part of his body felt numb. It was like the hangover he experienced back at Wicked Wayne's on New Sydney after an all night drinking, only ten times much worse.
Or perhaps he was there. Inside his own private quarters specially prep for very special patrons like him and Jim. Daisy would still be sleeping beside him, naked and only covered with a thick blanket after a night of passion.
"Hey girl, wake up. What time is it?"
Still no answer. The erotic dancer must have been completely knocked out.
He tried to reach for her but finds that his hand had refused to move. He tried again but still to no avail. He then decided to give up and began to look around. He still can't see properly at that point. All that he could see was a blob of white light right on top of him. It wasn't that bright though, just enough to illuminate him.
He kept on blinking for a few minutes until his surrounding began to come into focus. It was then he realized that something was wrong.
He wasn't lying on a huge and warm bed. He was sitting on cold and hard steel chair. And his hands weren't free. It was bound. In fact both his hand and his leg were bound by metal clasps. And he wasn't at the Wicked Wayne's. He was inside an interrogation room of some sort. Everywhere else inside the room was dark with the exception of where he sat. Only small light bulb on top of him provided the illumination.
He tried to break free but the metal clasps were just too strong. He cursed.
"Daisy ain't here, Tychus. She's dead, remember?"
Tychus froze and began to look wildly around. His eyes reduced to a slit as he tried to pierce the veil of darkness all around him. "Jimmy?" he croaked. "Is that you?"
Tychus heard footsteps coming in and moments later he saw his friend step out of the dark and stood crossed arm in the light in front of him. Jim gave him a hard look.
"What is the meaning of this, Jim?" asked Tychus. "Get me out of this thing now!"
"You wanna get out of that contraption? Convince me," said Jim.
"Convince you of what? You're out of your mind! I ain't your enemy, Jim!" shouted Tychus.
"That will be decided later, Tychus," said Jim calmly. "If you decide to be honest with me."
"What are you talking about?" asked Tychus.
"Apparently, you have stories to tell. Unfortunately, you're not telling all of them," said Jim.
Tychus was about to argue further before the door behind Jim hiss opened. Matt came in.
The Hyperion captain walked over towards Jim and hand him a data pad. "Here's the data that you asked for, sir," he said. "Dr. Hanson and Stetmann are now waiting outside."
Jim muttered thanks and began to have a look through at the data pad.
Matt gave Tychus a look of disdain before he walked out of the room.
'Your captain didn't like me," said Tychus.
"Yeah, I know," said Jim. His eyes were still prowling on the data pad. "Believe it or not, he's the one who suggest that you need to be locked up in here until we could decide on what to do with you. I happen to agree with him."
"You son of a bitch." said Tychus. "I knew I should have break your neck the first time I saw you at that supply depot."
"Yeah and you didn't. If you did, you won't be here. Hank would have put a bullet in you before you could lift your finger. Besides, I don't think you're really going to kill me."
"Get me out of this thing and I'll show you."
"I will. After I had gone through with you."
A few minutes passed until Jim finally brought down the data pad. "Before we continue, let me tell that you're now in a shielded room. Nothing gets in and out of here, both physically and electronically. Mengsk won't know that you're here nor will he know what you're going to say."
Tychus stiffened when he heard the word 'Mengsk', a gesture that Jim didn't fail to notice.
"There's no getting out of New Folsom unless you're employed there," said Jim. Not once his eyes wavered from Tycus. "It's a one way street if you're a convict. Moebius isn't the only one who bailed you out. You got help from someone high up above and that someone wants something from you. You aren't coming to me just for the artefacts, Tychus. You want something more. I need to know what it is and what kind of deals you were making."
Tychus didn't speak. He remained silent.
"A few days ago, Matt did a scan on you," continued Jim. "He found something unsavoury about your suit. Looks like somebody is pointing a gun to your head. Me and Matt agree that something had to be done. I spiked your drink. You were asleep for a few days as a result. We kept you here so that a thorough analysis could be done. We were shocked when we found out what it was. I don't need to tell you what we found. I think you knew that already."
"There is a way for us to help you, Tychus. But before that, I need to know everything. Just be honest with me. That's all I'm asking."
Tychus stared down at his feet. A few minute later, he spoke, "Do you really could help me, Jimmy? There is a way for me to get out of this?"
Jim smiled. "There is. Trust me like you always do. I want you alive more than you do, Tychus. You gave me a second lease of life. It's time to return the favour."
Tychus looked up and straight into Jim's eyes as he tried to search for the meaning of what Jim had said.
Jim calmly looked back.
Moments later, Tychus gave out a sigh. His eyes were watery. "You're right, Jimmy. Those artefacts weren't the only reason. Mengsk came to me after I was put into this-, this prison. He told me that I would be the key to his plan to eradicate the Queen of Blades once and for all and if I succeed, I will be free."
"I see." Jim didn't comment further. He simply waited for Tychus to continue with his story.
"His son and someone by the name of Narud from the Moebius Foundation were in it as well," said Tychus. "But to get to her, I need to get to you first. No, he didn't say that I need to kill you," added Tychus once he saw Jim frowned. "He said that you could help me get near enough to her."
"Nobody could get near enough to her," said Jim. "Nobody. Not even me."
"Yeah, I did point it out to him," said Tychus. "But he said the artefacts could help."
"In what way?" asked Jim. He became curious.
"Oh, I don't know," answered Tychus. "Those at Moebius said that the artefact could get rid of the infestation. They said the Queen was once a human and getting rid of the infestation was the only way to deal with the Zerg threat. I don't know if I could believe them but they were dead serious, Jimmy."
Jim's heart leaps once he heard what Tychus said. So there is a way, he thought. "Do you believe them?" he asked while trying as hard as he could to conceal his excitement.
"That's a whole lot of crap, if you ask me," replied Tychus. "I don't really care if she lives or die."
Jim nodded. That's Tychus to him. He understood that man really well. Saving his own skin and money was all he could think of. But he was also a really good friend. "Did they say how?' he asked.
Tychus shook his head. "No. All I was told is that all the artefact needs to be collected. Once we got the complete set, they'll come and take it for some assembling or something. They don't tell me much what'll happen after that but I was told to keep you in the loop. They planned on doing something, Jim. And they want you in all the way."
Jim went silent as he continues to process what Tychus told him. One part of him was furious about the deal Tychus forged with Mengsk. On the other hand, getting Kerrigan back was a really enticing prospect. If the artefact could get rid of her infestation, he will get his girl back and the Zerg threat will be extinguished. But, if the artefact kills her instead, he would still accept it. At least the ghost of his past could finally be laid to rest. "Until the Queen of Blades taken care of," he said.
"Yeah. That's the main point, Jimmy."
"Thank you for sharing this with me, Tychus. Just so you know, I don't trust this deal you made with Mengsk. For all I know, he will still push the button even if you succeed. Guys like us are too dangerous to him. But I'm gonna get you out of this. You'll have true freedom once you get out of that suit. I promise. You're free to go wherever you wanna go. It's your turn to make something out of yourself," said Jim, smiling.
"What about you," asked Tychus. "If I leave, what are you gonna do next?"
Jim's gaze went far into the distance. "I'm gonna let it all played out. I establish this group with one main purpose that is to eradicate Mengsk. But eradicating the Zerg is also a noble thing to do. I'm gonna play their game and see where it will lead." He then turned back to Tychus. "You can go, Tychus. You don't have to be in this. This time, I'm doing this on my own will."
Tychus looked at Jim a quite a few moments. He later said, "Partners don't leave his partner behind. I'm staying. You get me out of this suit and I'm gonna help you, Jimmy. I will go with you all the way until the end no matter what it takes. Just like the old days. You and me old buddy."
Jim smiled widely. "Just like the old days."
Jim stayed back as Ariel and Stetman prepped Tychus. It would be a long and difficult operation but he knew that both of them, the brightest mind the Hyperion had ever seen, could do it. When all was set, Tychus was laid on an operation bed. He was put into an induced sleep. The operation then begins.
Jim decided to leave the two scientists to their device and made his way towards the bridge. But as he arrived at the door, he stopped. He turned back and landed a gaze at the now unconscious Tychus.
"Welcome home, Tychus," he whispered.
The battle had ended. The notorious Queen of Blades had been defeated.
For a few weeks from the day Tychus confessed until the Battle of Char began, Jim played everything out as if nothing unusual happened. That was part of the plan he and Tychus established after the latter was freed from his 'prison'. Tychus certainly kept his words. He stayed.
In front of Jim lied the Queen of Blades, now in human form. She was weak. Her muscle spasm from time to time, no doubt from the after effect of the artefact blast. He knelt beside her.
She was beautiful. Just like the way he remembered. Except for the hair. It was still consist of tendrils. She was still alive.
Sarah's eyes fluttered opened. She looked up and saw a bearded face. "Jim?" she whispered.
Someone handed over a blanket to Jim. He looked up and saw it was Tychus.
"Put a cover on her, Jimmy," said Tychus. "And let's get the hell out of here before the Zerg comes back."
The sun was setting. Its ethereal light shone on them as they made their way out of the Zerg hive.
Jim felt the tranquillity as he carried Sarah towards a waiting shuttle. Tychus, like in the old days, walked beside him acting as a guard.
He finally got all of them back.
Jim knew that more challenges will come his way but he will be ready for it. This time around, he won't be alone. The Heaven's Devil had return and together with Sarah and the Raiders, they're going to make a difference.
They're going to face it all together.
A/n: Just a drabble of how things could go differently if Jim made the right decision. I have to confess that I was quite upset that Tychus died.