Before I forget, the Starcraft franchise is the property of Blizzard Entertainment.
Inside a dark cavern, on an unknown planet …
At first it was just a tug at the edge of its consciousness, then gradually, the Newborn became aware of a curious Presence far out across the Voids. It had felt the desire to seek out this presence. It strained to extend its own psychic presence farther than it had ever done before and direct those underlings dwelling on the same world as the Presence to approach the latter and investigate. And to its surprise as they arrived at their given destination, they were overwhelmed by a strange force and then wiped out of existence. This piqued the Newborn's curiosity even more, and it swept even more of its underlings towards that mysterious location, even ignoring the apparent Terran hive clusters that they passed by. This was as much control as it could maintain over such vast interstellar distances. Eventually, it could not sense anything from that world anymore, and withdrew its psychic presence back to itself.
The Presence was definitely not as strong as the Voice, nor the former Overmind, but still familiar to the Zerg. As the Newborn held and analyzed that psionic impression within its mind, it realized that there may actually have been two entities situated close together on the same world and forming the Presence.
The first entity felt like a raw, primal force contained in a dormant form. There was something about it that affected the Newborn deeply. The latter was reminded of the distant psychic scream that it had felt just a day before, which had affected the underlings as well, making them restless. It was a simple matter to keep them in line, but the incident was quite unsettling. It must be investigated.
Mentally, the Newborn superimposed the psionic imprint of the other entity, which had a more easily discernible structure, with the psychic emanations of beings which it knew about. The resulting revelation caused the Newborn's s body to stiffen momentarily in surprise, and then tremble with deep hatred.
At once, it began mobilizing its main brood.
James Raynor's temporary quarters, Agrian settlement cluster, Haven
Two standard days after leaving the surface of Char …
Raynor pulled the window curtains aside. Looking out through the window he could see the other mobile shelters, and even further out he could see the vital facilities and transports appearing as towers, domes, scaffolds and floating silhouettes rising above the common residential area. And finally in the farthest background, covering the entire horizon and barely visible due to their distance and low light, were the forests and mountains.
The pale blue glow of dawn diffused into the room through the space in between the curtains. It lit up the smooth marble floor, a simple bed and the lithe figure sleeping beneath its white sheets, as well as the door situated opposite the window.
Said door now clicked and slid open, and a familiar figure stepped in through the room. "Thought I'd find you here." Hanson walked over to stand beside the bed, while looking at Raynor's back. "Ever since yesterday, I've never seen you away from her."
Raynor turned, shrugged, and walked over to the bed as well. "I'm the only one she has." He gazed down at Kerrigan's peacefully sleeping face, and gently stroked her nerve cords with a few fingers. Then he chuckled, "well, maybe except for Lulu."
"Lulu ?" Even as she kept her voice down to a whisper to avoid waking Kerrigan, she could not stop herself from staring up curiously at Raynor.
"The second present." Raynor explained.
"The … oh, right … I was going to thank you, for bringing it to Haven, and for saving those people." Hanson smiled. "We found the cure, at least for now."
"See ? I told you we'll be fine." Raynor grinned, then looked up at Hanson again. "Are we ?"
"Well, the Fungal Mat isn't exactly harmless." Hanson glanced past Raynor towards the window. "It's been growing into parts of the settlements, and there's been reports of it clogging up the pipes, and eating up the farms. The estate management guys say they can 'handle' this, but I don't think property damage is the most dangerous part."
"Tell me." Raynor pressed the fingers of one hand against his chin, and stared at attention at the Doctor.
"It's the way the cure works. The lab has been examining the super-Mold, that's what Stetman's been calling the samples he collected. It seems to change its behaviour whenever a conscious living thing, like say a human, is nearby. I think it reacts to brainwaves." Hanson tapped the side of her own head.
"That Cocoon, it's making the Mold, but it's not exerting any fine control over the process." She lowered a voice, "It's highly possible that Kerrigan took advantage of that … did something to the Mold, made it attack and absorb any Zerg cells it came into contact with, but leave human tissue alone … mostly. I was going to ask her about this, but … well, let's wait till she's awake." She glanced down at the figure sleeping on the bed. Kerrigan looked much less intimidating now that she was asleep. Hanson felt the urge to touch Kerrigan's nerve cords as well, then decided against it. "Rough night ?"
Raynor nodded and whispered in reply. "She pushed herself over the limit several times last night. It's as if she's trying use her connection with the Zerg to erase that part of her history. That's also why I need to stay close to her. I'm worried she might do something crazy." and then Raynor raised an eyebrow. "Did you say, 'mostly' ?"
"Of the former ZH infected that was brought back into our medical facilities, … covered in silk" Hanson emphasized the last word and shook her head slightly, recalling the unbelievable sight that she had witnessed last night after rushing to the nearest hospital in the settlement. "…, almost all of them have suffered some irreversible damage and are now under intensive care. Most of it was likely caused by the ZH infection, but we also observed the Mold becoming very … attached to the patients' bodies. We had to remove it, or else they would never recover."
"We're basically fighting one Zerg bio-weapon with another." Raynor agreed with the hospital staffs' actions. "Did you try waking up the patients?"
"A few of them were already awake. Their conditions are relatively stable. Speaking of which … while we were discussing ways to reproduce the cure in the lab, the issue of the Cocoon came up. We're concerned about what might happen if the …" Hanson waved a hand in the air, trying to come up with a better word for what she was going to mention next, then gave up, " … the Big Worm wakes up."
"You're afraid that it will take control of the super-Mold." Raynor finished for her. He saw her nod, and then continued, "I know what you mean. We'll have to relocate it." And then he rubbed his chin and frowned down at the edge of the bed. "This'll take some planning …"
Suddenly, both Raynor and Hanson heard a sharp intake of air, and they turned to see Kerrigan.
Immediately, Kerrigan now open eyes met Raynor's gaze, and he saw that they were filled with terror.
"Jim, we need to leave this place, now !" Kerrigan pushed hard at the blanket covering her, throwing it over the foot end of her bed and onto the floor, revealing the black pyjamas she had been wearing. She then swung one leg over the right edge of the bed. Reflexively, Raynor stepped back to avoid her foot, while Hanson just stared on in shock at this sudden action. When Raynor steadied himself, Kerrigan had already jumped out of the bed, and dashed past him.
He turned around, and saw Kerrigan peeking out through the window. She kept looking at the sky, and the horizon. Her fingers were gripping the window ledge tightly, and if one looked long enough one could see that she was shaking. "They're coming ! They're still out there, and they'll be here."
"Who's coming ? The Zerg ?" She heard Raynor's voice from right behind her.
"I … I overdid it last night." Kerrigan turned around, but with her face lowered, so that some of her nerve cords covered her eyes from Raynor's view. "I didn't know. I forgot … there's still some of them left."
"Sarah, calm down …" Raynor said gently, placing one hand over each of her shoulders. "Tell me who's they ? We can't help if we don't know what's going on."
Kerrigan mumbled something, then shook her head. "… but it's not possible …"
"Is she referring to the Cocoon ?" Hanson asked tentatively. "Maybe it's already waking up."
With that, Raynor turned towards a simple foldable table placed beside the bed. He pressed a few buttons on a dinner-plate sized device placed on the table, and a few seconds later, this corner of the room was lit up by a holographic display screen suspended above the table.
"Greetings." The face and shoulders of Zeratul appeared in the screen. Some branches and leaves could be seen in the otherwise dark background. He was apparently sitting inside the upper canopy of a tree, or a bush.
"Zeratul, are we still monitoring Lulu ?" Raynor asked.
"That we are …" Zeratul leaned away from the screen for a while, and then sat back up. He was now looking at somewhere just outside the screen, from where a faint blue glow shone onto his face and uniform. "I have one of my observers watching the Old One from the treetops." Zeratul moved a hand over an unseen beneath the bottom of the screen. The glow on his face now flickered and changed colour a few times. "Hmm, interesting … its internal structure has changed, and … it seems to be moving within its Cocoon. For now, it appears harmless, but we must prepare for unforeseen changes. I propose that we take the Old One to a remote location, where, should it awaken, it will not endanger the lives of the Terrans living on this world."
"Dr. Hanson and I were talking about that just a moment ago. It may already be waking up, and it just gave Sarah a nightmare." Raynor motioned towards the window behind him.
He heard Kerrigan's voice from right beside him. "No, it's not that. Something's coming. We need to leave Haven, now."
Zeratul looked up at the source of that voice. He stroked the tip of his face-scarf, and narrowed his eyes for a while. "Perhaps Kerrigan is right. I too have had nightmares of my own. Verily, we have not seen the last of the Swarm. As long as either Kerrigan or the Old One remains here, even more Zerg will be drawn to this planet, in greater numbers than we can handle." Zeratul closed his eyes and pressed his hand onto yet another unseen device near the bottom of the screen. A while later, they heard a low smooth humming noise, which Raynor recognized as the sound made by the Void Seeker in flight, but this time it was much more distant and thus much fainter, and blurred by wind and the rustle of vegetation.
Now Zeratul opened his eyes, and looked towards Raynor's right side. "Greetings."
"Hi … uh, how do you do ?" Hanson forced a smile. This was the second time that she was exchanging words with a real-life Protoss, and she still found the experience slightly unnerving. She quickly looked away from Zeratul's strange glowing eyes, and turned to face Raynor instead. "Sorry for butting in, but … what's going on ?"
"Just a moment." Raynor raised one hand in a 'hold on' gesture. "Even if we do get Sarah and Lulu off this planet. Where can we take them ?"
"Well asked, my friend." Zeratul nodded slowly. "I have a few destinations in mind, but we must hurry, before the ripples in the Void gather into an unstoppable tide, and consume us all."
I've got a few 'destinations' in mind, but I'm not sure how to get there. That's why this chapter is so short. Sorry XP
I think I need to go read the Starcraft comics, novels etc before I carry on ( if I do carry on at all ).
If you want to use my ideas in your own fic, go ahead :)