Bring Your Kid to Work Day… Starcraft Terran Style
It was that day of the year. One of those days that every kid looks forward to with great anticipation. A day when they eagerly await their first exposure to adult life. A time when they get to be a true part of society. Alas, it was the famous, and ancient, bring your kid to work day!
Claire and Mathew had been waiting for this day for months. This year their dad had finally agreed to show them the Terran base he worked at. Yeah they could have gone with their mom to the hive, but that was nothing special. They played there all the time. Plus their mom's day job at the lab was really boring. For the past bring your kid to work days, they had been stuck tagging along with their friends' parents, to other boring jobs like farmers or accountants. This year, they got to see the inner workings of a real life Terran base! A front row seat to action, and an excuse to miss an entire day of school to hang out with their dad! Booya!
Jim woke up at the crack of dawn, and woke his kids at the same time. They groggily had a breakfast of cold cereal and prepared for the day ahead. Jim looked over his kids practically falling asleep in their cereal and cleared his throat to get their attention. "Listen here munchkins, for today, you aren't my kids, you are my subordinates. And that means that you do what I say when I say. For your own safety of course." Or your mother will hang me out to dry between the tusks of an ultralisk. He added to himself. "Yes sir!" Both Claire and Mathew looked up and threw a mock salute as they continued to eat their breakfast.
Jim cringed. "Quiet." he whispered. "Don't wake your mother." Claire giggled quietly. "We know daddy." They ate in silence after that. When Jim was finally done his breakfast, he turned again to address his kids. "Okay soldiers, once you finish your breakfast we are heading out for you orientation. Look alive."
Jim left his kids to finish their breakfast as he went over the mental checklist he had made in preparation for this day. Extra water, check. Fed the Zergling? He looked at Nibbles who was happily munching on the rest of the briquettes, err… cookies left over from Sarah's most recent baking endeavour. Ok, that's a check. Left Sarah a note reminding her where we are, check. Sanitary wipes and cloths for the inevitable mess the kids will make, check. Messaged the staff as heads up, check. Looks as if everything was in order. Just in time too, as his kids were waiting patiently at the front door, all packed for the day.
"Hop-to kids. We're taking the minivan. Decide amongst yourselves who gets to ride shotgun"
"I do!" Piped Claire. "Aww, but you always get to ride shotgun…" Complained Mathew. "You brother's right Claire, you gotta share the experience. Mathew rides shotgun on the way there, and you can have it on the way back. Pile in soldiers! We move in five." Claire and Mathew saluted again and climbed in the van while Jim went back inside the house to say bye to Sarah.
Jim quietly opened the door to their shared room and saw Sarah still sound asleep on the bed. God, she looks so funny when she sleeps. He thought to himself. Sarah was what Jim called, for lack of a better term, a gymnastic sleeper. Meaning that she usually ended up taking up most of the bed by the time morning came around. From the time that Jim had gotten up until now, she had managed to migrate to his side of the bed and had her head under the pillow instead of on top of it.
Being gentle as not to startle her, he carefully lifted the pillow from on top of her head. Jim snort-laughed to himself. Her mouth was open and she had a pool of drool on the mattress. Behold, the mighty Queen of Blades. He thought to himself sarcastically. He shook her gently. "Darlin', I'm leaving now with the kids okay?"
Sarah shifted a bit and mumbled dazedly "Abathur, why is this hydralisk fluffy?" Jim gently shook her again. This time, she slowly opened her eyes and turned to look at him. "Jim? What is it?" Jim laughed quietly. "Gonna take the kids into work now." Sarah looked confused at first, but then remembered what today was. "Okay, have fun. And I don't want to see a single scratch on them when you get back. Capiche?" Jim laughed again and replied sarcastically. "I promise not to void the warranty on our investment." Sarah rolled over and put the pillow back on her head. "You know what I mean…" She mumbled as she went back to sleep. He did, but it was so much fun teasing her. Getting to poke fun at the leader of a terrifying insectoid hive mind was one of the perks in his life.
With that done, Jim left the room and returned to the car where his kids waited patiently. He opened the driver's side door, sat down and started the engine. Turning back to look at his kids again he said "Okay soldiers, who's ready to get to work?" They replied with enthusiasm. "We are!"
It was a 15 minute drive to the compound. The base looked almost good as new, as most of the damage from the hybrid attack had been cleaned up and repaired thanks to the work of his men. He was really lucky to have such a close bond with his brothers in arms. They still stuck out for him, even after all the shit that happened and the truth came spilling out. They would put their lives on the line for him, and he for them. That being said, there were many people around town that were not happy campers about sharing a town with the Ex-Queen of blades. Luckily, only a few of them had worked at his base, and they had all asked for a relocation after the incident. So they wouldn't see them today.
Jim parked the car and ushered the kids out. His second in command, Michael Erikson, came jogging up to meet them. Jim had decided that two adults supervising his kids would be better than one, knowing what kind of crap they could get into. Plus, Michael had been extremely supportive of Jim after the hybrid incident. Apparently, he had a sibling that had been infested by the swarm and had miraculously retained their sentience. He sympathised with Jim's and Sarah's plight of trying to integrate into society. Today, he was more than happy to formally meet the kids of the two most famous/infamous people in the sector.
Mike saluted his commanding officer and stood at attention. "Permission to speak freely sir?" Jim nodded, "Permission granted soldier" Mike looked down at the kids who were looking at him in awe. "You guys must be Claire and Mathew. Nice to meet you guys!" He stuck out a hand and Claire and Mathew shook it in turn.
Jim addressed his kids. "Okay kids! Today we are going to start your orientation at the barracks. Who wants to see real marine armour?" Mathew squealed at this new development. "Oh! I do! I do!" Claire was also enthused, but not nearly as much as her brother. Mathew had a real love for marines and anything marine related. Jim was pretty sure it had something to do with him looking up to his old man, and that made him pretty proud.
As they walked over to the barracks, Mike seized the opportunity to talk to Jim. "Sir, the repairs are finally complete on the siege tank. So it should be ready to move whenever we need it." He paused before adding. "And might I add, your kids are awesome." Jim smiled and looked back at his kids. Mathew was busy telling Claire about all the functions of mechanised marine armour, and how it worked. "Yeah, they really are the best. I would turn over entire planets for them. At this point, I can't imagine my life without them." He turned to look at Mike, with a smile on his face. "But they can sure be a handful at times." He laughed out loud. Yep, for all the hell and grey hairs they gave him, he loved them unlike anything else.
They walked into the barracks as the men were suiting up for the day. "Eww. It smells like feet in here." Claire complained. Mathew on the other hand, was mesmerized by the action around the room. He had the most profound look of awe on his face, you could think he was in his personal heaven. Heck, in many ways, he was. "This is so cool!"
One of the marines, Philip, noticed the kids and laughed out loud. "Hey boss, don't you think you're recruiting a little young? I could fit one of those tykes in my boot!" The other marines laughed at this as well. "Not today Phil. These are my kids, and they might just outrank you one day so make a good impression on them." Jim countered. "Well, first they have to grow up like their Papa." Phil finished suiting up and started to exit the room. "Your dad's a good man Twinkies. Be good to him ya hear?" Both Claire and Mathew saluted. "Yes sir!" They piped. Jim gave Phil a nod. "You have a good day Phil. I'll see you in debrief." Phil gave one last salute and left to go perform his duties.
Jim turned to Mike. "Hey Mike?" Mike raised an eyebrow quizzically. "Yes sir?" "Take the kids to the siege tank and show them how it works, I have to go and retrieve some paperwork from my office." Mike gave a nod "You can count on me sir." Jim gave Mike a reassuring pat on the shoulder and turned to his kids. "Mike here is going to give you a demonstration. So be good, and I'll be back soon."
Mathew jumped up and down for joy, but Claire just rolled her eyes. Oh man, she definitely gets that from her mother. Jim walked out of the room giving Mike one last reassuring pat. "Don't blow anything up."
Mike laughed a bit nervously and turned to address the kids. "Ok! Follow me. We're going to see the big guns of our operation." He herded the kids out of the room and started to explain the functions of the famous siege tank. "Now, the tank and its use dates back hundreds of years to what was the First World War back on Earth." He turned to look back at the kids. "Which one of you can tell me what type of artillery they used back then?" The story had gotten Claire's attention, and Mathew was jumping up and down with his hand in the air. "Cannons and big shells that exploded!" He said excitedly. "That's right. Now what use today and we have here is a Crucio-model tank. The latest in mobile heavy artillery. Instead of shells, we have twin 90mm plasma canons in tank mode, and a whopping 180mm shock canon in siege mode. When you hear one of these things roar, you run for the hills and pray that you aren't its target."
Both kids were now captivated by the lesson. "There are two sets of treads on the Crucio for added stability and reliability. The coolest thing is that if one of the treads gets shot, instead of breaking down like a contemporary tank would, a complex system of tubes and fast drying gel replaces and patches damaged tread segments." They rounded a corner and came into view of the factory. Mike seized this opportunity to continue. "Or it would, if the mechanics had done their job!" He yelled in the factory's general direction. The mechanic, Liam, heard him. "Oh, screw off Mike!"
It was at that moment that Jim returned. "Well, looks like you guys are having fun." To Jim's surprise, Claire actually didn't object this time. "Who is ready to see the tank?" Both of the kids got really excited. "Yay!"
They entered the vehicle factory. The Crucio tank was sitting in the corner, looking good as new. Jim called over Liam, who was just putting the finishing touches on some damaged marine armour. "You outdid yourself Liam. The treads look great." Liam walked over to them and glared at Mike. "Well, at least someone appreciates my work." Mike rolled his eyes in return.
Claire and Mathew were amazed by the sheer size of the tank. It was massive, especially compared to their tiny forms. They barely reached the top of the treads at full height.
Jim looked at Liam, who seemed to be enjoying the attention his tank was getting from the kids. "Hey Liam? How about we go for a spin?" Jim proposed. Liam looked up, the eagerness to impress clear on his face. "So long as I drive commander." He said with a smile. Jim turned again to Mike who was looking at his reflection in the side of the tank. "How about you be gunnery chief private?" Mike looked up, visibly pleased by the outstanding offer. "Yes sir!"
Mike was a marine, and as such, he never got the opportunity to touch such heavy artillery, let alone operate it. Sure it was just a short ride around the base, but he was excited nonetheless. Now, he just needed to avoid blowing anything up by accident and maybe they would let him train to be a gunner full time. One can dream right?
Claire and Mathew looked up at their father expectantly. "What are our jobs daddy?" Asked Mathew. "Yeah! What do we get to blow up?" Added Claire. Jim just laughed. "Kiddos, today you are going to be the lookouts. They have the very important job of keeping an eye out for enemies and alerting the driver if they are going to hit anything. Every tank needs a good lookout."
Mathew seemed to have bought the bait. Claire however, looked excited at first, but then the realization struck. "Wait. Isn't that just the same as a passenger?" Jim laughed again and messed up his daughter's bright red hair with his hand. "No silly. Didn't you hear? You are the lookout." Jim bent down and looked Claire in the eye. Lowering his voice so that Mathew couldn't hear. "Between you and me..." He pretended to look around for prying ears. "I need someone to show Mathew how to do it properly. I don't trust just anyone to be my lookout. So what do you say? Can you do this important task for me?" Claire giggled and gave a salute. "You can count on me daddy. I'll make sure Mathew doesn't screw this up."
The old, 'I need you to show your sibling how it's done' tactic. Sometimes all it takes to get a kid to behave is to stroke their ego a bit. Actually, now that Raynor thought about it, that tactic worked for adults too.
"Ok soldiers, pile in!" One by one each person filed into the cockpit. Liam took the driver's seat, Mike sat in the gunner's seat, and Mathew and Claire stood with their heads peeking out of the top hatch. Jim settled himself in the centre next to the ammunition. "Ok, just a short drive around the base and surrounding grounds Liam. And Mike, try not to let your trigger finger get itchy." Mike laughed at this comment and Liam put the tank into gear. "Hold on kids."
They rolled out of the factory and then exited through the front gate. The kids were having a blast. They kept pointing at the various things dotting the landscape, making sure the driver knew the terrain. Claire in particular seemed to be taking the role of lookout to heart, and was even trying to instruct Mathew on the best surveying methods.
A few minutes into the ride, they came across a derelict car in the middle of a large empty plot of dirt. This gave Jim an idea. "He Liam. Let's give this puppy a real test. Face her towards that hunk of junk in the distance." Liam smiled. "Oh, I like where this is going commander." He complied and deployed the stabilization legs of the tank putting it into siege mode. Mike was already training his sights on the rusted car. "Target acquired sir. Ready on your command." Claire and Mathew were jumping up and down in excitement. "We're gonna blow stuff up!" They sang repeatedly. Jim savoured the moment of anticipation for a few seconds before issuing the order.
"Fire at will"
The roar of the tank was almost deafening, and the recoil made the tank jerk backwards. The event took less than a second. One moment the car was there, the next moment… it just wasn't. In its place was an explosion of plasma and fire, followed by a rain of burning metal. Claire and Mathew were in awe. "Oooo, Ahh!" Jim had to admit, the display almost looked like fireworks. I really nailed this whole bring your kid to work day. Oh yeah, score one for Jim! He congratulated himself.
His victory was short-lived though. Not a moment later the ground beneath the tank rumbled. Liam was the first to inquire. "Uh, sir? What was that?" Oddly enough Claire was the one to reply. "A big hole just appeared where the car blew up. Was that supposed to happen?" Jim stood up and looked out of the hatch. "No, it wasn't. The hell?" Jim saw a few zerglings pulling themselves out of the rubble. It was actually kind of funny, they looked pretty shaken and disoriented. But Jim had spent enough time with the Zerg to know that where you see a few zerglings, there are sure to be many more. Aw shit, what did I do?
It was at that moment that a sharp pain wracked his head, accompanied by a very familiar angry voice. "Jim I swear to god you alone give me more grey hairs than the rest of the galaxy combined!" Sarah yelled. "You don't have hair darlin'." He joked trying to sound upbeat despite his splitting headache. "And what's the deal?" He asked. Though if the dishevelled zerglings and Sarah's tone said anything, he already had a pretty good idea that he had messed up big time. "You just blew up an entrance to the underground hive you moron! You playing around with your big guns just cost me twelve zerglings and three hydralisks!"
Oh. Oops. "Well why the heck did you put it in the middle of nowhere under a rusty car?" Jim rebuked. "So that Civilians wouldn't stumble into it! But apparently it's not idiot proof. Oh wait it is. It's proof you're an idiot." Countered Sarah, getting even more annoyed. Jim thought Sarah was overreacting. The Zerg could just dig another entrance. It really wasn't a real cause for concern.
Mike and Liam on the other hand, were very concerned. They had just witnessed what appeared to be their commander grip his head in pain, and then proceed to sit down in place and make different facial expressions for a good thirty seconds. For all they knew he may have just had a stroke followed by a mental breakdown.
"Uh, sir? Mind filling us in on what's going on in your head?" Mike asked. Jim immediately realized how silly he must look having his mental argument. "It's okay private. However, apparently we just blew up the entrance to the Zerg hive." Liam laughed. "Well that's great! Right? They can't attack us now!" Everyone looked at him, waiting for Liam to get why it wasn't a good thing. "Oh, yeah." His face fell as he realized what this really meant. "They are our main line of defence… and we just shot them in the foot. Metaphorically. Sorry Sir, still getting used to this whole Zerg-ally thing."
Mike started laughing and turned to face Jim. "I guess that whole mental episode was you being in hot water with the wife huh? And here I thought my girlfriend could give me hell. You must have a whole other level." He laughed again. This time Jim chuckled a bit. "You know Mike, after almost a decade, you'd be surprised at what a man can get used to." He turned to his kids. "Okay kiddies, time to head back to base before your mother realizes that I had you here to help me blow up our defences." Unfortunately for Jim, Sarah was still listening in on the conversation. "YOU DID WHAT?!" Everyone heard it this time.
Liam was the first to pipe up. "Sir, I think we should high-tail it back. An ultralisk just un-burrowed and turned to face us. It doesn't look happy." Jim couldn't agree more, but before he could issue any sort of command, the ultralisk charged. It quickly reached them and picked up the tank firmly between its tusks, being careful not to crush it. It then started walking in the general direction of the base with its payload of Terrans in-a-can. "Jim, we are going to have words. You hear me?" Sarah said to him telepathically.
Claire and Mathew were having fun with this new development. "We get to ride with Bessie the ultralisk! Wheee!" Mathew chimed. God, the kids and their incessant naming of every Zerg creature they came across. Which happened very frequently considering their parentage. Oh well, at least they were having fun.
Mike, Liam, and Jim on the other hand were a little less amused. "Gentlemen, I think it is safe to say that I am in real trouble with my wife right now." Jim said. Liam couldn't agree more. "Commander, if this is hot water I really don't want to see what full-out rage is. My wife threw a plate at me once. I think yours might throw a whole building at you." Jim just sighed and sat down calmly, waiting for events to unfold. He would probably get an earful when he got home. He smiled to himself. Everything would be fine, she never was really able to hold a grudge against him. Fights with Sarah were hard, but that just made it all the better when they eventually worked it out. And they always worked it out.
Claire and Mathew ran over to their dad, jumping up and down with excitement. "Dad. That was the best bring your kid to work day ever!" Claire said. "Yeah! Totally awesome! Can we do it again next year?" Mathew added.
Jim pulled his kids into a hug. For all of the crap he had had to put up with during his life, these little tykes made it all worth it. "I don't think I am the one who will need convincing."
With that last comment the gang sat down together as a family. Jim was sure that his kids would remember this day for a long time to come. Best bring your kid to work day indeed.
A.N. Hey guys! I'm back!
So I have had zero free time for the past couple weeks with university interviews and doing the sound for my school's play for the Sear's Drama competition. Woohoo we made it to regionals! (RIP my free time )
That being said, I was able to pump out another chapter over March break! Hope you like it! I got a request for more Raynor in the story and I totally agree. I was stuck on the Kerrigan side for a while. I also want to give a big shout out to my older brother for the 'bring your kid to work day' idea.
I am going back into no free time mode as my drama club prepares for regionals, so I am not sure how long it will be until my next chapter upload. Sorry. Being tired and having zero free time sucks all the creativity and motivation out of me, and I don't want to put out anything but my best work for you guys. For your sakes and mine.
That being said I still have a few ideas for the next chapter. I'm thinking along the lines of a more Kerrigan and Raynor focus, or a family trip/vacation, but I want to hear from you guys! I get some great ideas from your feedback and every bit helps. Constructive criticism is always welcome, as I want to keep improving my writing. Making sure I portray the characters and the StarCraft setting properly is equally important to me as coherent writing and consistency.
I would love to hear any of your ideas for scenarios, character development, and anything else. That is the great thing about posting this online, it is an interactive author-reader process. I always read your comments and take all of your ideas into consideration.
You guys are what keep me going. Stay awesome!
P.S. the next section is an explanation of my upload schedule, or lack of thereof. So feel free to ignore if you are not interested.
I received a request to share my upload schedule with you all. I will take this opportunity to announce that... I don't have one... I'm sorry about this fact, but the truth is that my muse is really spontaneous. I write when I feel inspired so that I put 110% into every word. I actually had the first chapter on my computer for months before I decided to why-the-heck-not post it to . Something that, before then I never would have done.
I think that if I force my writing it will become a chore, and when it becomes a chore, it becomes literary trash. Ideally, and this is a best case scenario, I would upload every two weeks or less. But with my school, extracurriculars, and anxiety disorder (yes it is a thing, and no I'm not grabbing for sympathy or expect any) , I sometimes have what I call dry-spells for my creativity and ability to produce inspired fiction. In reality, I have no idea when the stars will align and I will have inspiration, time, and low anxiety at the same time.
I will try to continually upload new stuff and try to fuel my muse with happy music, fan art, and other StarCraft lore.
Thanks for bearing with me, and I hope my erratic upload schedule doesn't upset you all too much, but there is little I can do about it if I want to produce quality, heartfelt fiction.