Hello everyone, this is a story that I've had on my mind for quite some time and after several hours of planning, I have finally completed the first chapter. Please enjoy.
It was only a few hours before the break of dawn on the planet Adena, a Terran Dominion mining world, miles away from any colony or civilization. Out in the middle of a former mining area that went dry years ago and was abandoned, were two small ships, one was a Dominion cargo vessel and the other was a drop ship that belonged to a former Raynor's Raider's ghost named Derrick. Throughout the Koprulu sector these interactions would always turn out deadly but unlike those conflicts, this one was held by old friends doing business that would get both of them killed had anyone found out about them. The ghost, Derrick was in the process of buying any medical supplies that his longtime friend, Jackson could steal for him. Derrick started doing these supply run three months ago after Marshall Jim Raynor was pronounced dead throughout the sector by the Dominion.
The Raiders were the only ones that would allow him to live a free life ever since he discovered his psionic abilities, the only ones that would allow him to live a peaceful life once the war with the Zerg and Protoss was over; and Arcturus Mengsk was the man who killed his greatest chance at that.
About three years before that, Derrick decided to join one of the Raider's medical teams until they were taught how to train proper ghosts. He spent his time learning all that he could about medicine and emergency treatment and served as a corpsman onboard the Hyperion and at one of Umojan facilities. His career changed when the Raiders started learning how to train or liberate former ghosts for their own armies through some unknown method, even though most people believed that someone from within the Dominion ghost program was helping them. Derrick saw this as an opportunity to do even more impact in the war by being on the battlefield rather than being at a medical aid station caring for the wounded.
Derrick hid his psionic powers since he was a young teenager, only being able to experiment with his powers a couple times every few months because of where he lived and he didn't want to risk being taken away from his home and sent to the Confederacy if anyone knew about him, but when the Raiders started soliciting for people to join the new program he left the medic corps to start training down a new career path. Throughout the six-month training course, he was at a disadvantage due to the fact that all of the other ghost trainees had spent most of their entire lives focusing on how to use their abilities either in small towns or as Dominion ghost, unlike Derrick who spent his life learning his passion, medicine.
Once his training was complete, he was attached to the Raider's second battalion, third goliath division where he would conduct scouting operations to make way for any armor or marines making their way to the battlefield. The last assignment with the raiders was on Umoja where they were keeping Kerrigan after the assault on Char. That facility came under attack once the Dominion found out where they were hiding and dealt a crippling blow to the Raider by capturing their leader, then announcing his execution days later.
Derrick, however, escaped the facility and found himself separated from his ghost team and rather than regrouping with the Raiders, he decided that his time with the rebels was over but still transported medical supplies and treatment to some of their more isolated colonies; which led him this moment: out in the middle of nowhere, with an old friend, stealing and reselling Dominion property.
The last crate of various medical supplies went onboard the ship as the last payment went into his suppliers account through his datapad. "Alright looks it's all here, I'd leave soon as possible if I were you; the next wraith patrol is in half an hour, but please be careful on your way out of here. I'd hate for any of this to come back to me."
"You're killing me with these prices Jackson; every couple of weeks they go up." Running a mobile clinic across worlds by himself was a very expensive operation, even more so when his only source of income was doing personal 'Ghost' contracts whenever he could get his hands on one. These assignments usually involved mercenary work that leads to more than a few dead bodies. This last month was especially hard on him after a bunch of his medicine was stolen by someone from him while he was at Mar Sara. He spent three days tracking down the group that broke into his drop ship but by the time he got to them all of the stolen supplies were either used or sold to someone else.
"I'm sorry but people are starting to notice that a bunch of stuff is going missing, and if I die doing this then I want to know that my family has the money to get by without me." Jackson replied, only receiving an annoyed look from Derrick. "This is getting riskier every time we do this shit; now I could get a friend a call that lives on Tarsonis. He may be able to get more stuff for you there but I don't know how far out into Dominion space you want to go."
Derrick looked at the crates of supplies being loaded by one of Jackson's friends in an SCV; he thought about how much help he could provide with just that one crate. 'One hundred IV solutions, several hundred needles and tubing, lidocaine, epinephrine, gauze, ortho-glass, splints, Motrin, cold medicine, and water purification all in one of those small crates, and I have fifteen of those onboard with so much more. I could change the lives of another two whole colonies with this. The extra seventy-five thousand credits are worth it.'
"Can't say that I won't eventually head over to Tarsonis, but for the time being, I think I'm better off in this area. I'll just have to take a few more 'special' trips for some more money In the future." Derrick held out his hand which Jackson firmly shook with his own.
"I really do appreciate what you're doing for all those folks out there. Be safe now." Compassion was in Jackson's voice as he waved for his SCV friend to head back to their dropship. "Hope to see you again soon."
"You be safe as well and let me know if anything happens; I try to get back as soon as possible."
They both waved goodbye to each other and departed for their separate ships. It didn't take long for Jackson's engines to start up and roar to life, and after about two minutes of allowing them to heat up the ship started to generate lift and raised itself about forty feet into the air.
Derrick just stood inside of the darkened bay door of his own dropship of the same model that he named the 'Caduceus' and watched as his accomplice took off into the direction of the mining colony before anyone noticed how long he was gone for. Stepping inside of the Caduceus, he navigated around the tightly packed cargo, making sure that everything was secured and wouldn't move around once he took off, then made his way up to the cockpit and started the clutch-in process to get his ship's engines to start-up. The whole process took a few minutes due to his pre-flight checks that included the airtight sealing, navigation coordinates, testing propulsion, along with several other things.
After checking the scanner and looking out the windows to see if there were any patrols, Derrick fastened his seatbelt and started to apply pressure to the throttle, causing the dropship to take off. The entire ship rattled as it speared through the layers of the atmosphere into space; he was thankful that he made sure that all the new supplies and equipment was strapped down to the deck and wouldn't break.
As the Caduceus entered space the interior stopped shaking as much but was still very noticeable along with the low roar of the engines pushing him through space and on his way to the planet Agria; a fringed world that was being overrun by the Zerg about two years ago. Derrick was with the Raider's when they went to Agria to defend the colonist from both the Zerg and the Protoss leader Selendis, while they were being evacuated. Now the colonies there are next on his list for a support effort while they battle the Dominion to secure their independence.
Now that the track-line was set in the navigational systems to Agria, Derrick was free to move about the ship as he pleased. While transiting in between planets there wasn't much to do on the Caduceus aside from watching the TV that he set up next to his bed along with some video games that he had set up. He liked to keep himself entertained with anything that he was able to get his hands on such as his dartboard or a few puzzle games that he had inside of a cabinet.
Stripping off his armor at the end of the day along with taking a shower was always a relaxing moment that he tried to savor with the limited amount of water that he could store onboard, but it's a joyful five minutes of his day. After stowing away his armor and rifle, Derrick heated up some food and poured himself a drink from a half-empty whiskey bottle while he turned on the TV. He turned the channel to a game show that allowed people to win money by solving word riddles with a time limit. Even though it wasn't the most exciting program it was still a good time-waster that kept him entertained and reminded him of more enjoyable times in the past.
"You are on your fifth one for ten thousand credits," the host said through the TV to the contestant as the audience cheered, "The next questions will get a bit more difficult than before but I think you'll be able to handle it."
Derrick took another bite out of his pulled pork meal that he had in front of him while anticipating the next question. "Alright now for the last one of the first round, you have sixty seconds to answer; there are seven letters to this one with the first one being the letter 'L'; with that, here is your riddle: Nobody wants me, yet nobody wants to lose me. What am I?"
Taking another sip from the glass of whiskey Derrick thought about the question briefly before calling out answers to the monitor. "Lawyers! Wait, that doesn't make sense with the last part. Um, seven letters."
The constant on the show kept on shouting answers and seemed just as confused as Derrick and started to panic as the timer hit thirty seconds. "I'll stick with it, its lawyers!" Derrick would always let himself get excited when watching these shows and would think back to when he would watch the same stuff with his ghost or marine friends during his time in the Raiders. These types of shows were always enjoyed by the crew and would the subject of many drinking games in the mess hall during the evenings after a hard day's work.
"Ten seconds left, is 'lenders' your final answer?"
"Yes, it is." The contestant answered nervously. A few seconds of silence went by until a loud buzzer went off, signaling an incorrect answer.
"I'm sorry but the answer was 'Lawsuits'."
"Shit! I was on the right track." Derrick shouted before listening to the TV again and taking another sip of his drink.
"Fortunately you still had your freebie so you can still continue but you're still stuck at eight thousand credits but this next riddle is worth fifteen thousand, so let's get right to it. Remember that these ones are harder than the last set; so this is a nine letter word starting with the letter 'I' and your hint is the word 'Justice'; here is your riddle: I'm as a child, a lamb, and a simpleton at once. All are born with me, yet few possess me at their moment of death. What am I?"
"The fuck is a simpleton? let's see, child, lamb, death." Derrick said, listing off what he thought were keywords to the puzzle. "Few possess me in death but all are born with me. Can't really be a body part; could it be what someone else gives them?"
The contestant on the screen was pounding at their head just as much as Derrick was but shouting everything that came to their mind, none of them being the correct answer.
The lights around Derrick suddenly dimmed around him and turned blue while an alarm started going off. He hastily jumped up from his seat and ran over to the cockpit to see what could have triggered the alarm but saw the answer outside of the window in front of him before the onboard adjutant was able to read off the alarm.
Off in the distance was the unmistakable golden hull of a Protoss vessel. "Get me the heading and speed of that ship now! Turn off all exterior lights and radios." While shouting voice commands into his console, he stared at the threat that was ten miles out in front of him; he couldn't tell the exact size but from what he could tell, the Protoss ship was about one thousand yards long but couldn't see how wide it was.
"Acknowledged." The computer confirmed. "Protoss vessel is currently adrift at a speed of three hundred knots and is not operating using astern propulsion."
It didn't match any combat vessel that he even heard or seen like a carrier or tempest; even so, if it attacked his only chance of survival was to run or hide. "You're telling me that it's floating around dead out there?"
"Confirmed, scanners indicate that the Protoss ship has several holes on the outer hull and is currently unpowered, unshielded, and without any signs or repairs being made by its crew."
An idea started to brew inside of his head, "So nobody is trying to fix or salvage it? Not even the crew?"
"That is correct." The computer replied.
"Is there a chance that the crew is even alive?"
"While the possibility exists, it appears as though the vessel has been in this state for approximately four to six months."
'So whatever was on board is probability starved to death already.' Derrick pondered.
Protoss technology was a very valuable resource that few outside of the military come by; the usual method of collecting it is on the battlefield and gathering it all by hand, most of it would be severely damaged with the occasional semi‐functional immortal weapon system. Even those few working parts were worth a small fortune to the right buyer, and if this ship hadn't already been raided by someone else than it was worth it to look around and try to find anything that could help fund his clinic.
"Take us in slowly no more than a twenty‐five-knot difference between us, once were within fifteen hundred meters transfer to manual controls and alert me if anything changes." Derrick left the cockpit to go change back into his ghost armor.
It was a black, skin-tight mesh layer that was surrounded by lightly armored plates. Sewed in were wires that went all throughout the suit to power his cloaking field and allowed the wearer to appear transparent to the naked eye. Underneath his suit, he wore a set of light fabric long sleeve shirt and pants to help absorb sweat and to keep a layer of cloth in between his skin and the suit's material. Over his head, he wore black headgear that was almost like a ski mask that hooked into his armor for both the cloaking field as well as having an optic over his left eye that would offer him either a magnified view, night‐vision, or inferred layer over everything he could see.
Next to his armor, he kept a small weapons locker that held a small variety of weapons for different situations that mainly consisted of either small or long-range engagement as well as some different options for missions that relied on being stealthful. Even with the possibility of nothing being alive on board, Derrick still wanted to go for the stealth option on the off chance that there were Protoss survivors that didn't like having Terran guest around.
"Protoss vessel is seventeen hundred meters off our bow at zero-zero-eight degrees with a right bearing drift." The adjutant states over the ship's internal speaker.
He hastily slung a CK‐27 rifle over his shoulder, strapped a T10 pistol to his right thigh, and put four magazines of each into the slots in his armor before making his way back to his seat. Derrick could feel his heart rate quicken as he fastened himself to his seat while staring at the massive ship in front of him.
The dropship crept closer to the Protoss vessel, still testing to see if any threat was still there. His knuckles started to turn white from the death grip that he had on his throttle; should the slightest hint of danger arise he would immediately dive down under the enemy and escape from their other side if possible.
As the Caduceus was within three hundred meters he was able to see the different areas where the hull had large holes from what looked like explosions that came from the inside due to the shape of the metal surrounding the area.
Every possibility of what could go wrong was starting to swarm his mind, the largest being hostile Protoss still being on board, something going wrong with his own ship while trying to land, or even getting trapped inside. Even though there was a large risk, the payout would be larger than any contract that he had as a ghost operative.
Although it was a foreign vessel it wasn't very hard to tell where the landing bays were, and after finding one that was large enough he started to make the descent. It also came as a surprise to Derrick that there must have been some type of emergency system that still allowed the hangar to maintain the atmosphere within, luckily. With the state that the ship was in, it didn't come as a surprise that the landing bay would have been pitch black without his lights cutting through the darkness.
The landing gears hissed as they took on the weight of the dropship when it landed along with the bay door opening up for Derrick to depart. Holding a cutting torch in one hand and his rifle by the carry handle in the other, he took his first step onto the treacherous path that laid before him.
After making his way to the door of the hangar he grounded the fuel and oxygen tank to his cutting torch and started working on cutting a small hole for him to crawl through. Since the ship was unpowered he expected to have to do this every time he came to a door or hatch.
He could feel the heat from the torch start to seep in through his protective gloves and had to adjust his hand placement every few seconds to avoid the burning sensation. After a few minutes went by he finally had cut a three-foot hole for him to be able to fit through.
Derrick closed the valves to the torch and carried it through the newly made hole, expecting to have to use it soon. "So far so good." He said as he took his first step. His state of mind immediately changed as his foot hit the ground and felt a very soft substance. The flashlights switched on and revealed the last thing he expected to find covering the Protoss floor: creep.
This is a fair warning, it will take a few chapters before everything at Westeros starts to take off. I plan for the first few chapters for building up some new and old characters from Starcraft and showing how Derrick takes command of his own brood. Thank you again for reading.