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Dwarfs in Space

"Matt, are you sure we're on the correct route?"

"What do you mean sir?"

"I mean, we've had our share of bad luck with aliens ever since we responded to that distress call. First there were those…elves in space, with more arrogance than a protoss with a khaydarin crystal up his arse."

"I don't think protoss have arses sir."

"Then we encounter green skinned aliens whose lack of linguistic ability is overcompensated by their ability to shoot at us and wield axes."

"Sir…"

"And then, just a few hours ago, we escaped bugs that made the zerg look like fluffy toys."

"…"

"Matt?"

Matthew Horner remained silent, refusing to meet Raynor's gaze…or rather, he was unable to. Yes, the Hyperion had had some bad luck recently since they agreed to come to the aid of some colonists in this region of space. Yes, they'd encountered…elves in space, and for all intents and purposes, orcs as well (or orks…apparently the brutes had some form of spelling). But until now, when they'd encountered what was thought to be the zerg initially and then revealed to be bugs from a lower circle of Hell, he'd always had an answer. He could always assure his superior that nothing they'd faced so far was enough to prevent them from coming to the aid of others. But right now, with the Hyperion about as far away from the god of its namesake as possible…well, he was beginning to wonder if the individuals who sent the distress call were even human.

Right now, nothing could surprise him.

"You know commander, there is a silver lining to all this," the XO ventured eventually.

"Really?" asked Raynor sarcastically, lying down on one of the bridge's chairs and fiddling with his revolver. "How so?"

"Well, the message mentioned orks attacking those in distress, and that the eldar were refusing to aid them. We know that the greenskins were orks, and the eldar…"

"I'm guessing, weren't the zerg's evil cousins?"

"No sir," Matt smirked. "Of course, it is possible that the eldar are responsible for those stray transmissions we've been intercepting recently."

"What, that Greater Good bullshit?"

"The same. Still, it's a...different kind of arrogance, if you get me. I think the eldar are the…space elves we encountered."

Raynor nodded, apparently agreeing with his subordinate's species reasoning, if not the reasoning for still being out here. And if he had to make an argument for that, Matt seriously doubted he could win.

Luckily the comms console did it for him.

"Calling…cruiser…Hyperion…respond…"

Both men headed over to the console, walking past Swann as he did his repairs. "Audio feed only," commented Hall as they approached, still refusing to meet Matt's gaze for some reason. "And faint at that. Still, I think we can send a message back."

"Calling…cruiser…rion…respond…"

"Well, it seems that they want us to do that," Raynor murmured. He pushed down the transceiver. "This is James Raynor, of the battlecruiser Hyperion. We've received your distress call and…well, let's just say we've had some stress of our own."

"…dar…orks?"

"If you're referring to aliens who are either arrogant gits or can't speak properly, then yes, we've encountered them."

"…sympathies."

Matt was feeling somewhat relieved at this point. Not so much from the nature of the distress call (which was…well, distressing), but from its contents. They were on the right path. This hadn't been for nothing. And provided that those sending it were…well, human, maybe the Raiders might come out of this at an advantage.

"Listen, I know your signal is weak," Raynor continued. "But I'd like it if you can send a visual feed as well."

"…why?"

"Well…after encountering elves, orks and bugs, I'd like to check that you don't conform to the meme of recycled in space."

Matt didn't know whether those needing rescuing would even know what the phrase meant. Even if they were human. And if they weren't…

"Here is our visage."

…they weren't.

Everyone on the bridge stared at the bearded…thing looking back at them. A humanoid thing, a dwarf-like thing, a thing that didn't seem to be bent on killing them, but a thing nonetheless. Or a dwarf in space. At least that had a ring to it.

"I am a squat, and represent my people," the thing/dwarf in space said. "And once again, I request your aid."

It seemed strange to Matt that as soon as the…squat showed its bearded mug, it could communicate perfectly. It seemed even stranger when Swann started walking towards the screen as if in a trance…

"My people…" he whispered. "I've found you at last."

And that, Matthew Horner reflected, was the strangest thing of all.


A/N

Alas, the squats, I hardly knew ye...seriously. I was introduced to both branches of Warhammer sometime in the late 90s, but didn't really learn about the squats and their removal from gameplay (and for all intents and purposes, lore) until I started browsing the Lexicanum. The former I can understand, but the latter...well, considering that ratlings and ogryns (halfings and ogres in space really) are still around, I don't see there being a problem with the squats. Still, the demiurg seem to have taken the position of "dwarfs in space" anyway.

Regardless, I like honouring obscure pieces of lore, and since Swann is essentially a Warcraft dwarf in space, came up with this as a result.