Date Started: April 1st, 2009
Date Finished: April 11th, 2009
Summary: Deep within the pulsing chrysalis, Sarah Kerrigan dreams of her past and awakens to her future.
Sarah was dreaming…
She recalled that her father did not like crowds. He liked them even less here in the city, and today she was beginning to share his sentiment. There were many people, with many voices, and they all fought over each other in order to be heard.
The echoes were getting louder; the voices began overlapping. The words became indistinguishable and formed into a dull roar that banged against her ears. She tilted her head in an attempt to drown out the sound. It was beginning to ache.
"Sarah?" Her father had spoken. He noticed her discomfort, and dropped down on one knee to her level. He offered her a soothing smile.
"Daddy," she frowned towards him, "The people are too loud. Tell them to stop."
The smile immediately faded. There were no more than two others in the lobby here with them, and they hadn't spoken a word since the pair had entered. His errand was quickly forgotten; the only thing on his mind now was getting his little girl back home and out of the busy city. He picked her up in his arms, holding her tightly against his chest, and abandoned the counter.
Sarah raised her brows in confusion; she somehow sensed his thoughts. She could hear him speak, but his lips had not yet moved.
"Wait until we're alone."
The crowds slowly disappeared as her father drove towards the outskirts of the city. In this time she decided to put her newfound ability to use. She probed into her father's thoughts… she wanted to know more about this Ghost Academy.
Within minutes she learned more than she had ever known.
Daddy's name was Patrick. He was forty years old and had served in the Confederate's Delta Squadron military unit for twenty years. He was born and raised here in TarKossia, and was finally granted retirement leave when Sarah was born.
"I didn't want this to happen." Her father said. They had left the city; the crimson sun descended and the night sky settled into dusk. His face hardened, "I won't let them take you away from me."
"I don't want to leave you, Daddy." She told him. She then reached into his thoughts once again.
And what she found there was a different man. It was a man she had never seen before; yet now knew everything about. His name was Harold Kane. He was divorced and had not seen his child in several years. The man thought about his wife, his sister, and his ailing father. He thought about the 200 series Hoverbike his father had bought him when he was merely a young boy – then the thoughts ended – and Sarah screamed.
Their vehicle instantly screeched to a halt. Daddy looked towards her in panic, "What happened?"
"You… you hurt him. He's not there anymore." She met her father's gaze, terrified. She tried to back away from him in her seat, but the child safety belt prevented her from moving.
"Sarah, I didn't…"
She cut him off with a whimper, "Daddy, you're scary."
"I didn't want this to happen." He repeated.
She shivered, and his thoughts invaded her mind once more. This time they came without her consent; and she could do nothing to stop them.
Immediately her unasked questions were answered. The reason why he didn't want her being able to read his mind; the reason why he didn't want her being taken to the Ghost Academy: Daddy was a telepath, and was once part of the highest class of Confederate assassins.
He had been a Ghost.
In her dreams, she thought of her father.
At the tender age of eight, she had matured greatly, and shared a constant psychic link with her father. She no longer resented him; regardless of the life Daddy had once lived, he was still able to prevent her from repeating it. It was her mother that was the firm believer in the Confederacy, and as such had not been told of Sarah's gifts. Her father made it clear that this was to be a secret shared only between the two of them.
Through their psychic link, Sarah came to realize that when her father was a young boy he considered his telepathic ability to be little more than a nuisance. During his later years his telepathy became a curse; it was then a mere weapon to be used at the will of the Confederacy. Only now, when he had a loving wife and a wonderful daughter, did his views on telepathy finally change. For the first time in his life, Daddy was able to see telepathy as a divine gift.
"I hated doing it," her father spoke.
Sarah could only nod. It was midday. Her hand clasped around her father's as they walked down the country roads. She finally responded to him, "I'm happy you don't have to anymore."
Her father sighed, "When you take away someone's life, you feel them completely. All of their thoughts are imprinted into you. You know everything about them as soon as they pass on."
Their psychic link had a single consequence; through this link, Sarah shared in the thorough knowledge of every life her father had ended. Those lives had become as much a part of her as they were a part of her father. There were times when she could feel herself committing those very murders.
"Is there really no way to prevent it from happening?" She found herself asking.
Her father shrugged, "The Confederates began looking into some forms of mind altering technology a while back for that very reason – the risk of emotional breakdown in telepathic troops had always been very high. Very few were able to keep their minds in tact and serve as long as I had."
"It was difficult for you, too, Daddy," Sarah said.
"Definitely," Daddy agreed. "Everyone sees telepathy as the new step in human evolution; just so happens that nobody stops to think why Mother Nature ever thought we needed it in the first place."
Sarah paused for a moment during their trek. She looked up at her father, trying to read both his expression and his thoughts for clues as to what he meant. He tugged her arm, and she fell back into step with him. She finally responded, "You think it's supposed to help us."
It wasn't a question, but her father treated it as one regardless. "Not just us; all of humanity. One day, when everyone is telepathic, everyone will be linked just like we are. All thoughts and feelings will be completely shared. There's a reason we telepaths suffer so much for killing another human being – it's to dissuade us from doing it. Evolution is pushing us towards the path of telepathy. It's a sign that Man on Man violence is reaching an end. If only the Confederacy actually saw these things the same way I did."
She wanted to reply. She had felt the horrors of death that plagued her father, and would have completely agreed with his ideology. Before her lips could even move the words were cut off by gunfire in the distance.
The pair froze mid-step, and looked towards the source of the sound.
Sarah creased her brows in confusion. "Daddy, I don't sense anyone there."
There was a scream. Then a loud angry cackling, an almost clicking noise, followed, and the gunfire ceased.
"I don't either," she felt the tension in her father's voice. "Come on, we should leave."
Her father began moving, trying hard to ignore the sound that was clearly getting louder by the second. He paused when he felt a tug at his arm, and Sarah's grip tightened over his palm. She whispered, her voice shaking, "It's coming."
The sound was stable now. The source had found them in a matter of seconds. She turned to look at it… and found a creature unlike anything she had ever seen before. The unknown canine creature stared down at them from the highlands that surrounded the country roads. It stood on four legs, and another twin pair of scythe-like limbs dangled downwards from over its head. With those limbs it scraped rhythmically against the rocky ground. The orange color in its eyes slowly began to fade into a deepening black. It carried something in its mouth; held steady by a pair of sturdy tusks.
"It's a dune runner," Daddy spoke in disbelief. She could sense his thought process going over the various Confederate military files he had read during his service, yet he was still drawing a blank. "At least… I think it is."
Sarah frowned. The dune runners were a feral desert species often found off-world; there were certainly none of them here in TarKossia. And after having seen an actual dune runner in her father's mind, she now knew that this creature in front of them shared nothing more with it other than a few mere similarities.
So what was this thing?
The creature didn't wait for them to finish their analysis. It reared its head back, and launched at them the item it held in its mouth.
Sarah let out a gasp. Her father pulled her backwards, his strong hand keeping her fixed behind him as he moved to stand in between her and the creature.
A mutilated arm dropped in front of them. It held an antique rifle. Her father's thoughts helped her recognize it as being loaded.
Her father backed up slowly, pushing Sarah backwards along with him. His eyes never left the creature, but his senses traveled down one side of the road and up the other, straining to feel for anyone else that would be driving by.
He felt no one.
Her father tried to bend downwards; he wanted to pick up the rifle. The creature didn't even give him the chance; it charged at him from atop the hills. Her father barely managed to push her away before the creature collided into him.
He fell on one knee to hold his ground. His arms gripped tightly against the creature's scythe-like limbs; at the same time using every ounce of will to keep the beast far enough away to avoid being impaled by its tusks.
The creature shrieked a cry of frustration, and its tail snapped to attention from behind. It recoiled and let out a vicious strike against her father's arms, trying to weaken the hold over its scythe-arms.
Sarah stared at them from where she had fallen. Daddy had just cried out in pain. His grip was wavering; his body shook, almost ready to give out.
"Stop it…" she whimpered.
The creature didn't listen.
She tried again; mentally this time. The creature ignored her, but through this attempt she felt another psychic link – another mind was bound to this beast.
Daddy's hands were bloody. His pain-filled cry filled the air once again and he fell backwards.
The creature moved in to strike.
"STOP IT!" Sarah cried out. She felt that psychic link in the creature again – the link with the primary mind that controlled it – and then she broke it.
The beast instantly stopped. It stood still for a moment, then turned to her and took a few steps forward. It then paused again and waited.
"What did… what did you do to it?" Her father managed to ask. His voice stuttered; his hands were shaking.
"I don't… I don't know," Sarah managed. She took a step back from the creature. It responded by taking a step forward. The distance between them remained fixed.
Her father spoke slowly, almost in hushed whispers. "Stay still… just stay there..."
Sarah did as she was told.
Her father moved towards the dismembered arm. He moved slowly, stealthily, putting as much of his training as a covert ops to use as he could. He bent down, and grasped the rifle.
The creature remained still, and he moved towards it. When he was finally standing near it, he placed the muzzle over its head. He forced himself to stop shaking long enough to steady the barrel, and pulled the trigger.
The beast collapsed over the road.
Sarah shuddered in her sleep. There was something rather familiar about the creature in her visions.
"Space pirates believed to be affiliated with the Kel-Morian Combine have stolen several Confederate prototypes for the newly developed Viking project. We bring you now to Colonel Edmund Duke as he prepares to retrieve the lost Vikings."
"It's a good thing I was allowed to retire when I did," Daddy spoke aloud over the news report, "It's looking more and more likely that war will break out with Moria."
Mommy was here with them, too. They were watching the holographic projection of the daily reports from the Universal News Network.
"If it comes to that, perhaps we should re-enlist?" Mommy suggested, "Sarah's almost old enough to join one of the military academies. It's such a shame you didn't pass on your telepathy to her. The families of ghost-operatives really do get some wonderful benefits."
"Yeah, real shame," Daddy said. His words didn't carry very much enthusiasm.
Mommy had been in the military, too. Marine division of Delta Squadron; both of Sarah's parents had served on the same flagship.
The holograph droned on, "Meanwhile, various reports have begun coming in from several Fringe Worlds about alien sightings within Confederate borders. While we at the U.N.N. have sent reporting teams to investigate these claims, the Confederacy stands firm that these are merely elaborated folk tales thought up by the backward peoples that inhabit those regions."
"What are they thinking… aliens? Ha!" Mommy scoffed, "What a load of rubbish. There's a war they should be focusing on!"
Sarah felt it unfortunate right then that her mother had not also been a telepath; were she one, perhaps she would not have been so insane.
Daddy didn't respond. He looked down at his bandaged hands. It had been a week since their encounter with the foreign creature, and his wounds had not yet fully healed.
"It'll be alright, Daddy," Sarah tried to soothe him telepathically. She could almost hear the clicking sounds repeating in his thoughts...
The sounds continued. She gasped; they weren't in his mind.
"Someone shut off that racket!" Mommy complained. She hadn't moved her eyes off the holograph.
Her father's eyes shot open, widening in fear, and he raced out of the room. Sarah followed right after him.
Outside on the road, the same creature clacked its scythe-arms against the ground; it faced their house. When they appeared, it stopped its actions, and then waited.
Her father stared. "This can't be…"
"Is it the same one?" Sarah wondered.
As if to answer her question, the creature took a few steps towards them. It stopped again, and began coughing. Within seconds it spat out a small object. Her father stared. The bullet he had shot the creature with rolled towards him along the pavement.
He backed himself inside the house, pulling Sarah along with him. The creature remained outside. It stood still; continuing to wait.
Despite the fact that her father was terrified of the beast, Sarah had managed to gather her wits. She tried to study the creature's mind, looking for answers. The creature proved to be empathetic towards her, and allowed her full access to its thoughts. With the link to the hive mind gone from its psyche, it had turned elsewhere for telepathic contact.
And it found this much needed contact in the most powerful telepathic mind on TarKossia: the eight-year old Sarah Kerrigan.
She remembered now; she'd always wanted a pet. Father had not taken to it kindly, but the creature simply refused to die. She was with it for only a few days, but she would never forget its strangely intelligent obedience.
Confederate Marines broke into their property, guns aimed and ready. Watchdog, as Sarah and her father had promptly named the creature, had stood no chance against them. They surrounded the creature in the middle of the day, guns blazing as they shot it repeatedly even after it had dropped to the ground.
"What the hell is going on?" Daddy shouted at the men.
One of them answered, his rifle raised to ensure submission. "It's over, Patrick. We know everything."
"The hell is that supposed to mean?"
The same man signaled to the surrounding marines, "Get the girl; get the carcass. We're taking them both."
Sarah inched back behind her father. He stood in front of her protectively.
"Let them do their job," Mommy said, announcing her presence.
Daddy turned to look at her. His eyes hardened accusingly, "You! What did you do?!"
She didn't respond. He didn't need her to; he searched her mind for the answers. She had made contact with her former commander in the Marine Corps; she had reported her daughter keeping a bizarre alien creature as a pet; she had reported her suspicions that her daughter was a telepath.
Her mother had betrayed both husband and child to the Confederacy, and she had done it the very same day the creature appeared on their doorstep.
The head marine pushed Daddy aside, and grasped Sarah's arm. He began pulling her towards their transport craft. The other marines moved in to surround her father, each one had their gauss rifle raised.
Her father shouted after her, "Sarah!"
Sarah tried to resist, attempting to break away from the marine's grasp. He proved her struggles useless by lifting her airborne by the single hand he held her with. It hurt her, and his grip tightened over her wrist even further, "Move it, kid. I ain't very patient."
She telepathically reached outwards in a desperate cry for help. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Watchdog rise from the ground. It shook its head, spitting out multiple bullets. When the creature was no longer disoriented, it charged at the marine that held her.
In front of her, towards the transport, she saw a man step out covered in a full grey body suit. He cocked his rifle – she recognized it as being different from those the marines carried. She had seen this one before in her father's mind. It was the C-10 Canister Rifle. It was the primary weapon of use for telepathic Ghosts.
The Ghost took aim, and then fired.
Watchdog continued with the charge, but didn't make it very far before its head exploded from the direct impact.
The creature's death reached Sarah's mind. It was unlike any human death she had ever experienced. The creature's last thoughts had reached out to the hive mind, and in doing that it allowed the hive's mind to make telepathic contact with hers. The invasive action caused her to cry out in both pain and terror. In desperate attempt to end the link, she let loose an escalation of psionic powers against all those around her.
She had only enough will power to let her father survive.
She recalled her father's apathy towards the Ghost Academy. While he didn't care greatly for the Academy's existence, he still wanted Sarah as far away from it as possible.
On the day she turned eleven years old, the Confederacy had spent nearly three years trying to break her. She passed their tests, she survived their drugs, and she endured their mental torture. They kept her locked in a cell, but she remained strong; the psychic link with her father still persisted, and for that reason she refused to allow the Confederacy to win her over. Her father was proud of her courage and determination.
"Her Psi Index is near or possibly even at a perfect ten," said the man she now knew as Lieutenant Roger Rumm. "I'm certain of it. It would be a waste to put her on an inhibitor."
His companion was a female officer. She walked beside him as they neared her cell. Sarah peered inside the woman's mind – if only to get her name.
Ilsa Killiany, the Director of the Confederate Ghost Program. She was Rumm's superior.
"You've told me that, as of yet, she hasn't displayed any powers of telekinesis."
"She's a stubborn little one," Rumm frowned, "The trial with the kitten proved to be a complete failure in getting her to display her powers."
Killiany tapped against the glass of the prison cell. Sarah's lips curled downwards into a scowl in response. Killiany ignored her, "If she wouldn't save the cat, then it's time to bring out someone she will."
Sarah did not need to be a mind reader to know who that someone was. Her father's health was rapidly deteriorating. The psychic link between them proved to be doing her father more harm than good. He had experienced through his daughter the very same drugs and torturous exercises she had been put through.
Sarah knew that she was the only one keeping her father's mind still intact. She only hoped they would be able to survive the next set of trials as well.
She saw visions of her father dying… and remembered the feeling of the inhibitor eating away at her thoughts. The Confederacy had effectively killed them both.
At sixteen years of age, she had fully completed all of her training at the Ghost Academy. She could no longer remember her mother; she could no longer remember her father. Upon graduation she had been designated number Twenty-four. She was now property of the Terran Confederacy, and her sole purpose was to ensure its survival.
She had done exactly that during the final year of the Guild Wars, and continued performing covert operations for the Confederates even after the war had ended.
Now she was given new orders – she was to be transferred.
The Fujita Facility on Vyctor 5 had requested telepaths to help with their research. The war with the Kel-Morian Combine had been long over, and the latest rebellions had been pacified. In this time of peace the Confederacy had many telepathic assassins to spare; Sarah was one such assassin.
There were nearly two dozen Ghosts being herded towards the docking bay. They all finally came to a stop as they waited for their transport to arrive. The surrounding agents all carried psi-screening instruments; this made their minds inaccessible to other telepaths.
In a solitary room some ways away, Sarah felt a few humans that had no psi-screens installed. She reached out for them instinctively.
Agent X81505M – he was a mere boy – was being tested in the final exam to enter the Ghost Academy. His mind was clouded, almost as if he was forcing her away. She read the minds of the supervisors for more information on the child. He had come from a Fringe World. His father James worked as law enforcement; his mother Liddy was employed as a nurse. She finally managed to successfully peer into his thoughts; I just want to go home.
The guard was named Michael. He had undergone neural resocialization, but that didn't stop him from being a nervous wreck as he held a gun to the boy's forehead; he knew the examination could only end with him killing the child or having died trying.
The supervisor gave the go-ahead, and a gunshot followed.
Curiously to Sarah, she felt both the guard and the boy still alive. And then the thought process of the boy began to weaken. She felt his mind injured, and he slipped into unconsciousness.
A siren interrupted her thoughts. Their transporting spacecraft had finally docked.
The marine escorts ushered the telepaths inside.
Once she was safely secured, she allowed her mind to wander again, reaching out to any minds that were not shielded. Their ship announced for departure, and she prepared herself for the imminent spaceflight towards the planet Vyctor 5.
Something was happening to her. Old wounds were healing. Her skin was toughening. A tickling sensation spread downwards along her back. It was a rather pleasant feeling; full of life and energy. She felt renewed.
In a dream within her dream, Sarah found herself in an isolated room with no windows and no doors. She was strapped to a chair, her hands locked to her sides, her head held in place. The walls of the room were draped in a strangely living purple substance. She knew it was alive; she could feel its presence.
A door then opened through the solid wall, granting further expansion for the purple substance that covered the room. And from the darkness that existed beyond the doorway emerged a male human figure to rescue her.
Sarah peered closer at the new arrival. He had a rigid facial outline, which was further emphasized with his graying hair and bushy eyebrows. She easily identified the man as Arcturus Mengsk. This was the leader of the rebellion group known as the Sons of Korhal.
At the sight of him, she awakened. She felt herself gasping for air, as if the mere sight of the older man brought about the peak to her nightmare. It was through this reaction that Sarah came to realize that her memories of Vyctor 5 were flawed and inaccurate. She dug into her thoughts and tried over and over again to fully remember how she had been rescued from the experimentation facility on Vyctor 5.
Her many attempts were met with little success; she was only certain of one thing: Arcturus had saved her before, and she was sure that he would come save her once again.
She called out telepathically. Her thoughts magnified to beyond what she knew capable, and traveled up to and beyond the heavens as they moved towards Terran occupied space. They passed through many alien life forms, one after another, before finally reaching their intended destination: Arcturus Mengsk.
Now weary, Sarah once again slipped into another dream within her dream.
She ascended up the stairwells, stepped unnoticed into the bedroom, and stealthily moved towards the sleeping form. She pulled the clearly male figure upwards, lifting him with a tight grip over his collar, and impaled his throat with her blade.
The moonlight lit against them from the bedside window, and her dreams again revealing the face of Arcturus Mengsk.
Sarah awoke again from the flash of imagery, and chided herself. That wasn't how it happened, she was certain. It had not been Arcturus in that bed; it had been his father, and she had slain him in a fashion much crueler than her dreams portrayed.
Sarah was able to recall the facts this time: she had indeed murdered Angus Mengsk. She killed him in the name of the Confederacy. It was for this very reason she knew that Arcturus would not come rescue her. Arcturus had thrown her to the zerg; he had taken his revenge for his father's assassination under the guise of her martyrdom.
She quickly decided that Arcturus was just as insane as her mother was. Her thoughts reached out again; only this time they had a different target in mind.
As her telepathy traveled throughout the stars, Sarah recalled her prior dream of holding in her hands the decapitated head of Arcturus Mengsk.
And she liked it.
Her eyes opened to the unknown. It was bright. It was warm. It was terrifying.
Sarah thought back to the first contact she had with the hive mind. She had known it would try and find her again, and feared for when that day would come. Now she was glad that the day had finally arrived; for without the hive mind the zerg would have devoured her whole.
She had learned through experiences that only the other free telepaths could be trusted. When a psychic link was shared between two minds, it meant that the minds were as close as possible to becoming one. There could be no betrayals then.
It was as her father had spoken. The evolution of the psyche in humanity was meant to bring peace amongst the species. And this peace could only be obtained when all of Mankind was telepathic – and when all of Mankind was able to share one single mind. The unfortunate problem was that the process of evolution took too long.
The hive mind had the answers. The hive mind could be trusted.
For the second time in her life, she allowed herself to be psychically linked with another. Finally allowed access, the hive mind invaded her thoughts.
The hive mind instructed her. She would bring all of humanity under this very psychic link. Together they would bring Daddy's dream to realization. Mankind would know peace, and they would know it as part of the Swarm.
It was time; the hive mind reached out to her, and she responded.
"Arise, my daughter," the voice of the hive mind called out to her. Sarah recognized it now as the Overmind; the single entity that governed over all zerg. The call continued, "Arise… Kerrigan."
"By your will, Father."
This story officially belongs to Blizzard Entertainment due to the legal agreement I made when submitting it for their Global Writing Contest. Characters, settings, names are all property of Blizzard Entertainment. Regardless of that fact, my respect for their legal terms is about as big as the respect their judges must have had for my entry. Judge #1 probably decided his paper shredder was very hungry, Judge #2 must have needed a dust collector for his book shelf, and Judge #3 probably wanted a few crumpled pieces of paper so he could practice his basketball skills with the trash can across the room.
In other words, I lost.