Disclaimer: I do not own the Starcraft series

Author's Note: Before we begin, I'd like to point out that while Wings of Liberty's storyline was reasonably good, I always disliked the fact there was too little development between Raynor and Kerrigan's relationship. That and the fact that I seriously doubt while Heart of the Swarm will take place after Wings of Liberty, I doubt it will take place only a few hours after Wings of Liberty ended, so as of right now it is my intention to make the connection between when Wings of Liberty ended when Heart of the Swarm begins.

Chapter 1


Jim surveyed the battlefield around him as he walked back to Warfield's forward base. Almost 12 hours had passed since the activation of the Xel'Naga artifact, 12 hours after almost all the men under his command had gone up against one of the largest Zerg assaults in history.

Everywhere he saw, the ground was literally covered with decaying Zerg corpses, many of them still carrying the burns from the artifact's energy nova. To be honest, there had been many times during the final battle where he had been almost afraid to use it. Despite all of information provided by Valerian's Möebius Foundation, there was still no assurance that the Xel'Naga artifact would really return Kerrigan to her human form. In fact, after seeing just a premature energy nova the artifact released that killed thousands of Zerg with a single blow, Jim had been greatly worried that a fully charged blast would be fatal even to Sarah. Still, upon finding her returned to her human form upon entered the hive, he had been greatly relieved.

Or at least, mostly returned to her human form. Her hair remained the bony, dreadlocked aberration she had as the Queen of Blades, and Jim wondered if this meant the artifact didn't work the way it was supposed to. From everything he learned from Dr. Ariel Hanson while on the Hyperion, Stetmann believed that once the current mutated hair is removed, her natural fiery red hair will begin growing again. He is already preparing her for surgery on that, and after he had confirmed that she was in a reasonably healthy condition, Jim had no objections to the operation.

Still, he couldn't help but wonder what kind of an effect this had on her mind. For the last 4 years, despite he had always believed the real Sarah was still alive in the Queen of Blades, he always wondered what the Queen of Blades really was. Was she a Zerg monster with Kerrigan's face while the real Sarah was imprisoned in her own mind? Or had she been Sarah all along these years?

Most of his crew did not really care what the answer was, only that she had to be stopped no matter the cost. Jim agreed with that, but despite he had sworn to kill Sarah after Fenix's death, a part of him just couldn't let her go, probably because he always believed there was a way to kill the Queen of Blades without killing Sarah as well.

As such, during the final battle he was surprised, but also relieved to hear Sarah's voice calling out to him, calling out to him to keep fighting to matter the cost. If Dr. Hanson was right about the artifact and it really did absorb Zerg energy, then it was entirely possible that the closer the Queen of Blades got to it, the more her control over Sarah had weakened. Thus when the Xel'Naga artifact was nearing maximum power, she had briefly lost control over Sarah's mind, allowing her to call out to him.

Whatever the case is, it made no difference now. The Zerg swarm on Char is now scattered, and the fighting has mostly died down. After so much fighting since the invasion began, Jim was almost unaccustomed to hearing the silence. If it had been any other situation, he would be returning to the Cantina on the Hyperion for a long period of drinking and relaxation. However, after Valerian's offer to help restore Kerrigan, all he wanted was to go back to the Hyperion's lab to check up on her, and to be there for her when she wakes up.

There is still a long road ahead of them. The warning from Zeratul about the Dark Voice and impending armageddon was not to be taken lightly. If Sarah really is the key to preventing all this, then Jim knew he would do all in his power to protect her, as he knew once the news about the Queen of Blades's defeat on Char spreads across the Korpulu sector, there will be billions of people demanding Kerrigan's head for everything she's done. But whatever the path will be for them, he knows that they will face it together, the way it always should have been.