Disclaimer: I do not own the Starcraft series

Author's note: Before we begin, I'd like to say that while Starcraft 2 has a decent, if not cheesy, story, the character development and motivations are completely backwards. If this were to appear in any other medium of entertainment, it would be unacceptable. In this story, I'll try (and maybe fail) to correct this.

"Warning: class 12 psi signature detected."

"Shit!" cursed Jim Raynor, ducking behind cover as more hydralisk spines continued to rain down.

Raynor retreated up to the high ground where the command post was located. Tychus was manning a giant Gatling gun which managed to take down a persistent Ultralisk who had been pounding at their gates for quite some time. General WarField nodded at Raynor briefly before continuing to use his new artificial arm canon to great effect. The experienced war veteran climbed over the glowing Xel'Naga artifact and went to his friend.

Raynor tapped Tychus on the shoulder. "Kerrigan is coming!"

"Let that bitch come," yelled Tychus. "I'll mow her down like the rest!"

"We can barely hold the lines as it is!" roared Warfield. "I'm moving the forward siege tanks to the high ground. We can't let her breach our bunker line!"

Jim Raynor scrambled over to his communications hub and quickly established a link with his tactical commander, Matt Horner.

"It's hell down here Matt! How does it look from above?"

"No better," replied Horner. "That last Xel'Naga artifact pulse was premature. We won't be able to activate it again for a long time. There must be thousands of zerg converging on us, not to mention Kerrigan."

Horner scanned the battlefield desperately. "We've lost one of the eastern bunker clusters. Our boys repelled the attack but we got a giant hole in our defensive line."

"Well we'll just have to pull some more marines to the frontline," said Raynor over the gunfire.

"We can't! I've got marine escorts running supply drops to the forward siege tanks. The SCVs will get torn apart without them. And god knows what will happen if we lose the tanks. We have no one to spare"

"Great," muttered the former Marshall.

"That's not it sir," continued Horner. "We've lost contact with the ghost we sent to nuke the zerg outpost to buy us more time. The Western siege tanks are under fire from the remaining zerg air fighters. And there are more Nydus worms popping up behind our ranks. Sooner or later, our Battlecruisers won't be able to keep up with them."

Raynor snapped into command mode. "Alright we got to assume the ghost is dead. Call 2 squads of War Pigs from orbit to reinforce the siege tanks. Get some Reapers to set charges at the forward bunkers. Collapse all of our forces to my position at the high ground command center. Use every Banshee you've got to cover the retreat."

Raynor closed the communications hub. Grabbing a nearby Goliath and two marines, he made his way down the slopes of the high ground to the lower level where he saw dozens of marines falling back to the high ground. The Banshees screamed overhead and shot every zerg they could see. Encouraging his soldiers on, Raynor ran to one of the few still-standing buildings. Inside the factory, he spotted his chief engineer Rory Swann.

"Swann, we're falling back to the high ground," shouted Raynor. "Get all the SCVs onto the factory and lift off. Head back to the Hyperion. Most of the zerg air threats should be gone."

Swann nodded and started preparing the building for liftoff. Exiting the Factory, Raynor told his men to head back to the command post. As they began moving, a lone Mutalisk dove in to attack. The Goliath swivelled his Hellfire missiles to deal with the threat. Before he could, the Mutalisk let loose a salvo of glave wurms.

One of the marines used his weapon to shield his visor from the acidic attack. The Goliath quickly fired off 3 Hellfire missiles and destroyed the zerg flyer. Raynor let a sigh of relief which was short lived as he felt the earth rumble around him. A few feet away from him, a huge monstrosity erupted from ground. The Goliath struggled to keep its footing.

The marine who had shielded his face, did not have time to react. His left side was pierced by one of the creature's teeth. He screamed in pain. Raynor leaped up and did the only thing he could.

He handed the nearly dead marine a D-8 explosive charge. "Give em' hell."

"Yes sir," said the dying man. He painfully pulled himself from the creature's tooth. Inside, he could hear the zergling sprinting through the creature.

He armed the explosive and leapt into the mouth of the beast. The Nydus Worm exploded from the inside out. Having no time to spare for grievances, Raynor alongside his remaining marine and Goliath, ran back to the high ground.

Behind him, he could hear more Nydus Worms erupting. Raynor dared not look back or he knew he would certainly see all the zerglings, roaches and hydralisks hot on his heels trying to get the chance to rip him to shreds.

On the cliff, Tychus swivelled his huge mounted weapon in Raynor's direction. The Marshall instinctively dove to the ground as Tychus made quick work of his pursuers. The bunkers placed on the high ground also covered Raynor as he and his men were the last to make it to the command post.

It seemed that the zerg attack wave had ceased and the exhausted Terrans were given some breathing room. Raynor surveyed the scene. There were just over a dozen siege tanks on the cliff edges for maximum range. Combat suits from both dead and surviving soldiers took up the rest of the area.

"Well old buddy, it doesn't seem like we'll be getting out of this," said Tychus, making his way over to Raynor. "I bet you wished that you banged that doctor while you had the chance."

Raynor smirked at his old friend's dry humour. 4 Medvacs had arrived at the high ground. Wounded marines were carried onto the shuttle by white armoured medics who were all surprisingly female and very flirty despite the situation. Some fresh troops exited the ship to refill the ranks. Most of them were Dominion soldiers. Tychus gave the medvac a long hard look.

"You know, I could always shoot you in the foot," said Raynor. "Then you could hitch a ride on the Medvac."

Tychus gave a deep chuckle. Raynor gave him a serious look.

"You're not joking?" asked Tychus. He paused for a moment. "Nah I reckon Horner would probably try and throw me off the ship if I came back without you Jimmy Boy. So I guess I'll just stick this one out with you."

"Thanks Tychus," said Raynor seriously.

The large man turned away. "Besides, you can hit the broad side of a barn. What makes you think you could hit my foot?"

Raynor turned to the troops. "Alright boys, we've been through a lot. We took the fight to the zerg. We fought a good fight and we have their dead carcasses as proof!"

A couple men cheered but others remained sombre.

"Now I know most of you know me as a criminal and a terrorist, but I want you all to know, you fellas are all medal-worthy in my books. We just undertook the largest frontal assault in Terran history. We leapt into the mouth of hell and killed more zerg than I ever knew existed. And we're still alive to show for it. Let's keep it that way."

Rejuvenated, the marines sprung to their feet and manned their positions with newly found vigour. Warfield walked towards Raynor.

"In another life, you'd have been my commander," said the general. "Let's finish this."

"Sir, according to Stetmann, the artifact should be fully functional in 3 minutes," said Horner.

"That seems like a lifetime right now," Raynor muttered to himself.

The full might swarm of the zerg had exploded from the ground and began their savage run towards the remaining terrans. Hundreds poured in from both the west and east. As soon as they got to the bunker lines, the charges detonated and hundreds more zerg vanished in an all-consuming cloud of fire.

"Ka-boom baby!" yelled a Marauder.

Despite the substantial loss, the zerg were undeterred several more hundred minions leapt over their fallen comrades towards the humans. Once they were in range, the siege tanks opened them up to the full power of the 120mm Shock Cannon. Seconds later, every gun on Char Sara fired. Zergling skulls were ripped open, the huge Hydralisks fell to the ground with fist sized holes in their worm-like bodies, but still the swarm continued to advance.

James Raynor squinted and he saw who led the attack. His old lover turned infested zerg leader was approaching. The first waves of zerglings had already reached the bunkers and were pounding away at its hard steel surface as the marines inside struggled to kill them. He looked at his watch and saw the timer was half finished.

"All siege tanks aim at the Queen of Blades!" yelled Warfield.

The gigantic rounds struck Kerrigan dead on. Minions all around here scattered from the impact but she merely had to regain her footing before continuing. Using her psionic powers, she lifted a tank in the air and sent it crashing onto several marines.

"Fire every round you've got!" yelled Raynor desperately to his men.

Kerrigan leapt up on the cliff and with one swipe of her blades, tore a gash into a bunker which zerglings were able to easily penetrate and kill the marines inside. Tychus was doing what he did best, but it wasn't enough. A firebat next to him was struck by hydralisk spines. Seeing the gasoline tank on his back, Tychus grabbed the dead man and hurled him into the zerg swarm. Several seconds later, the dead firebat exploded and burnt multiple zerg minions to a crisp.

"It's ready!" yelled Horner. "Use the artifact!"

Raynor rushed over. He leapt over a zergling clawing away at a marine. Using the activation technique Stedman had shown him, the ancient artifact glowed more brightly than ever before. All fighting stopped. Even Kerrigan was mesmerised.

And then the full power of the Xel'Naga was unleashed upon their Second Born. The zerg around them witnessed the blanketing blue-hued wave which engulfed them all. None but Kerrigan stood. She slowly put one foot in front of the other, still marching towards Raynor in particular.

"No!" she screamed. "You will not take her from me! I will destroy all of you!"

Thousands of rounds peppered her hard skin. The last siege tanks emptied their explosive missiles into the Queen of Blades. She was brought to her knees.

"She's mine!" snarled the zerg leader. "This vessel is beyond all of you. None here but I will have her!"

The Queen of Blades stood inches from Raynor. The blue wave was still present and hammering away at Kerrigan.

"It's over, Kerrigan," said Raynor.

With every muscle in his body, he leapt away as far as he could as a mighty bright Yamato Canon salvo engulfed Kerrigan and sent her flying into the distance.

Silence. And then mass outbreak of cheer. Every marine shouted in exuberance as loud as their lungs could handle. Some of the most battle-hardened men, broke down in tears. Raynor was brought to his knees. They had liberated Mar Sara. They had taken out the Queen of Blades. And they survived. And then something caught his eye. A few clicks away laid the smoking crater where the Yamato Cannon had carried the Queen of Blades.

Raynor turned to Tychus, who was already busting out the alchohol. He rounded up the men he recognized from his Raider group.

"There's something I need to take care of," said Raynor.

Tychus nodded. "It's about time we settled this whole thing."

The Yamato Cannon had carried more impact than Raynor had initially thought. It had carved a cavern like hole into a nearby mountain. Raynor, Tychus and his raiders activated their flash lights and raised their weapons despite the zerg extermination on the planet. The men had every right to be weary. This was where they'd find the most dangerous individual in the Korprulu Sector.

The rocks and dirt, plagued by years of subjection to the zerg creep, still carried the odour of the abomination race. Visors down and weapons up, the men cautiously ventured further into the cavern. And then, Raynor's eye caught a very small and delicate thing. A pale human hand reached from the ground. He moved over and saw her. Her body was as pale as the moon and he could hardly believe that moments ago she was capable of all she had done. For only a bald and naked woman was at Jim Raynor's feet.

Her eyes opened the slightest and truly saw for the first time in years. She was looking and seeing without the filter of a zerg infested mind. She attempted to move but could not. She had been lucky enough not to be killed by the Xel'Naga artefact. It was too much to hope that a Yamato Cannon on top of that would have left her unharmed.

A blury figure knelt beside her. Her eyes adjusted and she saw the one who she longed for.

"Sarah," said Jim quietly.

"Are you reading all this?" asked Tychus softly.

"You have your orders Mr. Finley now carry them out," said the voice into Tychus' helmet.

The huge man's weapon raised and his laser sight rested on Kerrigan's pale forehead. Raynor turned his head ever so slightly.

"Tychus, what have you done?" he asked his old friend.

"I made a deal witih the devil," replied Tycus roughly. "She dies, I go free."

"Don't do this Tychus," begged the kneeling man.

"It ain't like I got a choice, Jimmy. If I don't do this, I'll be chained to this armour forever, or worse."

"We all got our choices to make," said Raynor. "If you choose to stand down, I'll free you just like I freed her. We can do it Tychus. Just like old times."

"Like old times?" roared Tychus, "Maybe you don't remember, partner, but old times didn't work out in my favour. I served my time, AND yours! Not once did you hear me complain you know why? It's because I thought this friendship of ours went both ways! I went above and beyond for you Jimmy! Why the hell did you think I didn't want to come to Char? This is why! I didn't want to have to put you in this situation, old buddy but here we are."

His deep voiced echoed in the dark murky cave. Somehow, the other Raiders remained oblivious and continued to search for the mystical Queen of Blades. Raynor couldn't expect any back up on dealing with Tychus.

"You owe me, partner. You owe me my freedom!" he bellowed. "You gave me a taste, and now Mengsk is giving me the full deal. All that stands in the way is that thing!" he pointed a large metal finger at Kerrigan. "What are you going to do Jimmy? You gonna side with that bitch who's tried to kill us more than once? Or are you gonna stick by your old buddy Tychus who sacrificed damn near everything for you!"

"Let me ask you the same question!" shouted Raynor back. "Did you really think that I was taking you for granted? Don't think for a second, I ain't grateful for what you did on Mar Sara. Hell, even with my marshal position, I thought a dozen times about breaking you out! I had already told Swann, after this is over, we'd get you out of that armour. I was already planning to free you, Tychus! So now its come to this. What side are you going to pick, Tychus? You gonna side with that bastard who's screwed all of us over more than once? Or are you gonna stick by your old buddy Raynor who would gladly give his life for you?"

Tychus waned. "You give me your word, that you'll free me. I want you to swear to me, you'll do it."

"I will," stated Jim, firmly. "I promise."

Slowly, Tychus lowered his rifle, and dropped it to his side. He tried to ignore the flashing red light beside his visor as well as block out the Emperor's voice in his head.

Raynor sighed in relief. Tychus then went rigid. He tried to move his body. He couldn't. He could hear the mechanical gears twisting and turning inside his cursed suit. His own body began to betray him. He felt his own arm lift without his consent, and his finger moving back towards the trigger. Old Mengsk always had a card left to play.

"Sorry Jimmy," said Tychus sadly. "Guess I didn't have a choice after all."

The gunshot rang and was followed by another.

Raynor rushed to his friend. Removing his helmet, Raynor saw the blood gushing from Tychus' neck.

"Well I'll be damned," chuckled Tychus painfully, "It seems you can hit the broad side of a barn. Sorry about the trouble old buddy."

"Don't worry Tychus, we'll get you out of this," said Raynor to his friend.

"It ain't no use," sighed Tychus. He rolled his head and coughed out some blood. "I can feel my suit doing something to my insides. It's over for me."

"Come on, Tychus," whispered Raynor desperately. "Don't you die on me now. God damn it, we just beat the Queen of Blades! The fighting's over, you can't die now! Just hold on-"

"Hand me one last cigar," he said quickly.

Lighting it, Raynor handed his friend one last smoke. The smoke filled the air, and Raynor's irritated eyes began to water. Tychus grinned.

"Don't you be going soft on me old buddy."

"Don't count on it," replied Jim, busting out a smile.

"I told you I'd be here till the end, or at least my end," Tychus said weakly. He struggled to say one last thing. "Like you said Jimmy...it's like...like..."

His jaw slacked and the burning cigar fell from his mouth.

Raynor rose. "Like old times."

He turned to Kerrigan.

"I've gotta say this." The former ghost focused her eyes on him. "Maybe it's more for me than you. I do love you darling. Truly, I do. But not enough to let billions of people die. If you were in my arms a couple weeks ago, I wouldn't have let you walk out of this cave."

Sarah struggled to speak, but years of not controlling her own voice had taken its toll.

"I don't know who you are," Raynor said. "I don't know what's worse. Are you still the Queen of Blades? Or were you Sarah all along?"

Raynor heard his men coming down into the cave.

"I haven't given up on you yet darling, but understand, I ain't saving you for your sake. I'm not even saving you for my sake. I'm saving you for every other living thing in this universe."

A single tear fell from the corner of Sarah's eye.

Gently, Raynor picked her frail body up in one hand. Pausing, he lifted Tychus on his shoulder and began to walk out of the cave. Some of Sarah's motor skills had returned. As she saw her first star in years, she shielded her face. The hot sun was harsh to her pale form.

"Jim," she whispered.

"It's alright," he said, surveying the battlefield, "I got you."

Author's note: Alright, the following chapters will be alot less combat focused, and more to do with the characters. Remember, I write these chapters in bulks, so I've already finished 5 or 6 chapters already. Please Read and Review and let me know if this story is awesome, or a complete train wreck.