A/N: Hello faithful readers and newcomers! Today I bring to you a significant re-write of the original Hail to the Zero Queen! As those who are familiar to the series are aware, the original version was written in early 2013 in about two and half weeks. Since then reviews came in with some not liking certain details and some pointing out the myriad of mistakes I made, both canon and grammatical.
This, along with my recent personal disapproval of how I missed so much potential content (dialogue, imagery, attention to canon details from both franchises) and the considerable sloppiness of the first half the first season led to the decision to re-write.
Now don't be too alarmed, the story in itself won't be changing all that much if at all. I am not unhappy with the direction that the story took, especially later on after the Albion arc. We're looking at a few new chapters most likely, with at least 20% more content per chapter. This is likely to increase even more, especially during the final chapters.
The OVA will remain relatively unchanged, a bit more dialogue and explanations will be made, but I received nothing but positive commentary on it's rather slapstick humor and equally slapstick execution.
The second season's new chapters will reflect the newer storyline that will be present after Season one's re-write, and existing chapters will be modified to accommodate any new details and enhance the content already present. This is particularly applicable to the first chapter in Season 2.
I know there are those who remain unhappy with Kerrigan's behavior and mental state, particularly hardcore StarCraft fans. I respect and understand your disapproval with an occasionally submissive Kerrigan, but I do ask that you keep an open mind. Just remember, this story is as much an action adventure tale as it is a science fiction drama with a strong political thriller element. Kerrigan has to evolve to find her place in a new world.
This therefore means that the story is not a super-fast paced action tale, like many fan-fics, particularly some of the popular Mass Effect crossovers that are out right now. If you are looking for a story like mine that has more focus on the action element but retains the political bits while remaining almost completely canonically accurate, go for the ME X-over The Supernovas of Mass Effect. You won't regret it.
I now present to you, the re-written Hail to the Zero Queen.
October 25th, 2504
Another Hive detonated in the distance, a nuclear fireball giving visual verification to what the Infested Terran once known as Sarah Kerrigan had known for several hours already.
She, the mighty Queen of Blades was losing.
To add insult to injury it was losing to a bunch of Terrans on her home turf. The lava-laden cooker of a planet that had served as the adopted homeworld of the Zerg for nearly half a decade was being steamrolled by the Terran war machine, made up of nearly half the Dominion Navy and Raynor's Raiders.
'You never fail to impress Jim, it will all be in vain however. The Swarm is endless, while your soldiers are finite. I will win . . . eventually.' Even with her extraordinary confidence, the Queen knew she was speaking hollow words, filled with denial.
The campaign was perfectly planned and coordinated, massive simultaneous assaults on the Dominion's Outer Rim would force the Mengsk regime to either divide its forces to protect its outermost colonies from the Swarm's brutal invasions, or have their military forces already present abandon them entirely. Either choice was a losing strategy for the Dominion, the colonies would be lost, their populations infested regardless. The madman that Mensgk was guaranteed the Swarm would have vast pools of biomass to fuel their next offensive into the Inner Worlds of the Dominion and eventually the other Terran states.
If the Queen of Blades had been in a similar tactical position she would've instead followed a 'scorched earth' policy. Said policy would be to destroy any large concentrations of biomass (likely with large deployments of tactical nuclear weapons) with extreme predjucie in order to deny them to the attacking force. Mengsk wasn't able to go that far however, thanks to Rasynor's remarkably effective and efficient resistance movement, in addition to needing to cover the Dominion's borders from the Protoss and secure his existing worlds from falling into open revolt.
It had been a perfect plan, but the single most uncontrollable variable proved to be a single man: Marshal James Raynor. Instead of focusing on the Zerg which Kerrigan had planned on, he instead continued to attack the Dominion while she invaded. Assault after daring assault disrupted Dominion war time activities, kept the large colony of Haven out of Zerg hands, and even attacked Korhal IV itself at the height of the invasion.
That same drive was now pushing the Queen of Blades into a single valley where her last major stronghold on Char still stood. Most of her troops in the region had been lost from the extensive orbital bombardment employed after Raynor established a foothold on Char's surface just three days earlier. Char was on its way to becoming one of the most irradiated planets in the Koprulu Sector after the detonation of hundreds of nuclear warheads across its surface, the nuclear fallout falling like snow.
Her Hive Cluster's remaining vanguard units and bases were being systematically annihilated, opening up nearly every side to assault. Without Nydus Wyrms or the tunnels that held them, she no longer had a way to drop heavy attacks onto the base without having to deal with the base's extensive defense perimeter. She had gone personally onto the field three times so far to destroy the Xel'Naga artifact that was charging on top of a small plateau in front of the base; only to be pummeled by Siege Tanks, thousands of 8mm Gauss rounds, and a damn Yamato cannon straight to the side of her head.
Still heavily weakened from the previous assault, the Queen knew that her chances of victory were literally being burned away by nuclear fire. For the first time in her relatively short existence, the Queen of Blades felt like she was powerless and unable to succeed. The Swarm was unfortunately sensitive to their Mistress' emotions, felt the same powerlessness that she did, and caused the entire Zerg war machine to grind to a halt.
Around her many Zerg looked to her for guidance, she perked up as she saw them all coming close, all seemingly trying to bring her back to her feet. The Queen of Blades scowled as she turned towards the now pulsing artifact preparing to fire.
"My servant, who lives somewhere in the universe!"
Her eyes narrowed instantly, scanning the terrain around her for the voice, "Don't toy with me! I'm no one's servant!"
"My divine, beautiful, and powerful servant, heed my call!"
If the Queen of Blades could feel amused and flattered at the same time it was at that very moment, "Divine? Certainly. Beautiful? Deadly beautiful is more like it. And powerful? You're referring to me here child."
"I wish from the bottom of my heart, APPEAR!"
Within a single moment, the Queen of Blades witnessed a floating green oval appear seemingly out of nowhere; a single Drone latching onto her leg; and the Xel'Naga artifact explode with light, its shockwave vaporizing all the Zerg it touched. She shook her head and scowled, "We'll see if you can truly control me witch!"
Running towards the oval she launched herself inside, as the purifying wave flowed nearly over her entire body causing the Queen of Blades' whole world to go pain.
Tristain Magic Academy - Halkeginia
Four Hours Earlier
Louise Francoise Le Blanc de La Valliere awoke to the sounds of singing birds and a whistling breeze as the petite pinkette sat up on her bed. She yawned and stretched, a few errant pops were felt as her body came out of its short term hibernation. Eyes narrowed, she walked to her vanity and slowly brushed her flowing hair. As the second year student of the Magic Academy began to become more attentive she finally realized her monthly had started up, a full week earlier then what she had planned.
As she grumbled out of disgust and frustration at her soiled nightgown and bed sheets; she took a light rag from her washing bucket and gingerly cleaned herself. Avoiding her most sensitive places and managed to remove any potentially problematic spots while maintaining her modesty as a noblewoman. Enjoying the carnal pleasures alone (and most of all, out of wedlock) was a great sin after all.
One thing that she was thankful for was the actual cycles themselves were more of a nuisance then an actual problem. While her flow was as the family physician put it, 'moderately heavy,' she rarely suffered many of the side effects that other students and most of her family dealt with. Cattleya almost never had monthlies anymore, given the poor state of her health. If she did have one it was considered a good sign that her health was at least remotely normal. Her mother was much the same as Louise, with even less effects.
Her eldest sister Eleanore however was a different story, her cycles made the already stiff academic even more emotionally trigger able, and often ended with the use of triangle class magic indoors. Thankfully there hadn't been any fatalities to date, but knowing her eldest sister's luck that was bound to change.
Louise for the life of her could not fathom why The Founder gave her these unpredictable monthlies. She once heard father make the mistake of saying that a woman's monthly was proof that the Founder had a sense of humor. Her mother, who was in the middle of a pre-cycle mood swing sent him flying off the estate's veranda in the middle of lunch. On the other hand, the Scriptures said they were a way of a woman's body cleansing itself of sin, but as a completely virginal young noblewoman, she was completely innocent, wasn't she?
One Hour Later
After Louise took the extra time to ensure that her body was as clean as could be, had ensured her cycle was temporarily blocked by a special set of enchanted undergarments, and the young noblewoman found herself eating well and heartily. Her cycle had taken a toll on her mood and energy, her stomach screaming 'feed me!' was also a good indicator. Said indicator also brought unwanted attention to the pinkette, mostly with the snickers of those within earshot.
After yelling at a maid for bringing burnt toast to her she decided to simply wait until after the familiar summoning for tea or any dessert.
After going over all of her notes regarding the Springtime Familiar Summoning three times, Louise felt as ready as she could be. That confidence wasn't being helped by the sheer variety – and magnitude – of the familiars being summoned. Louise was shocked by some of the more unique familiars, such as a bugbear, intimidated by the success of a few others, particularly Kirche's Fire Salamander, and downright in awe of Tabitha's Wind Dragon.
Professor Colbert called out to all those around, "Has everyone summoned their familiar?"
Louise, who was nearly frozen with anxiety, was called out rather suddenly by Kirche, "Not everyone professor! Louise the Zero still hasn't tried yet!"
Laughter filled the court as a red-faced Louise walked towards the summoning circle and began to chant.
"My servant, who lives somewhere in the Universe!"
Students immediately started to giggle asking one another what kind of familiar calling this was turning into.
"My divine, beautiful and power servant, heed my call!"
Colbert smashed his staff bottom into the soft earth below him, "That is enough everyone! You are stepping on the tradition our very Founder created for us by continuing your idle gossip!" Louise found herself stopped, stunned by her Professor's support but continued once he nodded to her.
"I wish from the bottom of my heart, and APPEAR!" With a flick of her wand and nearly all the willpower in her body the entire court was flattened by a massive explosion. The blast blew out windows on all sides and sent people onto their backs, stunned by the overwhelming force that was the magic of Louise Valliere. What instantly registered as different then all of Louise's other spell misfires was the putrid odor of death and decay, causing all those around to instantly gag.
"What did you summon Zero? A mass grave perhaps?" Kirche taunted, all the while those who could still breathe began to laugh.
Tabitha, the constant soldier that she was instantly recognized the smell and was put on guard, her staff in a combat position, a line class water spell prepared almost instantly. Those around her instantly noticed her new posture and drew their own wands. If something could put the most stoic student in the school on edge, it was something that couldn't be good.
The familiars on the other end were downright terrified of whatever presence was held within a now swirling cloud of dust and ash.
As soon as the Queen of Blades flew into the portal completely, the pain began to subside. One of the first changes she felt was a sense of weightlessness, not at all that different from deep space. It was almost like a void, without any light, sound or much of any other sensory input. The one thing that she could feel was the drone still tightly clutching her left thigh, the Zerg worker unit seemed for the lack of a better word . . . different.
'What is going on here?'
Suddenly the drone turned to her, 'Orders Mistress?'
Her eyes widened, 'How are you able to speak directly to me Drone?'
The insectoid creature seemingly hesitated before her, 'I do not know Mistress, all I felt was the Swarm's will," the Drone paused again, 'Your will Mistress. Then it felt like all of the Zerg's energy was poured into me as the Creator device fired.'
The Queen's eyes widened even further as the possibilities began to become even more complex, she would've thought more on it but saw a familiar looking green oval approaching – fast.
'Drone, hold onto me, when we get through to the other side burrow underground and hold your position. I do not know where we will land or end up, so be prepared.'
'By your will Mistress.'
As the portal swallowed the Queen once again, the burning pain returned that seemed to ravage her from head to toe, minus the one leg the Drone had been latched on to. As soon as her feet hit the soil beneath, the Drone detached, and burrowed five meters down, leaving no trace of the grass ever being dug through.
As she took in her surroundings she was forced to rely on her thankfully still intact sense of smell to identify where here exactly was. Or she would have, had a massive gust of wind come through and not blown the dust away. As soon as the smoke cleared the entire class gasped at the sight of an athletic framed young woman coming to a standing position. The young men within the class immediately began to throw cat calls at the young woman, who was seemingly naked except for a thin layer of mud across her body.
In an instant, Kerrigan turned her eyes towards the sounds of little boys in heat and blasted them all with a wave of killing intent. The focused Psi silenced the group in an instant, many began to shake and hyperventilate, and her highly acute sense of smell noticed the ammonia like smell of urine coming from at least one of them.
Kerrigan turned towards the one whom her subtle mind probes had discovered brought her here, and was completely flabbergasted at the sight of a petite girl with pink eyes and hair. Hell, the entire crowd around her was something you'd only see at one of those old colonial rock concerts, and that was just the hair!
She couldn't help but smirk at the pinkette before her, 'How much radiation did she get in the womb?'
The entire audience was terrifyingly silent as the newly summoned humanoid approached Louise, who attempted to act fearless when in fact her legs were shaking. She was terrified, more than ever before; not even her mother, Karin Desiree 'The Heavy Wind' Valliere could match the sheer terror this woman put out. Her sudden smirk was even more terrifying, causing Louise to finally flinch and fall onto her bottom with a solid smack as nearly every familiar broke away from their new masters and ran away from the biggest predator among them.
Kirche was stunned at the being that Louise had summoned. Questions immediately began to come to mind, 'What is she? Who is she? And what the Hell does she want?' Her current state of mind wasn't being helped by the fact that she was equally terrified as the boys in class had been.
Tabitha, being a combat veteran and a formally knighted Dame knew the being in front of her was no mere mortal. Every step and gesture were calculated to gather a specific response from her and all those around her. The total confidence she held had started to completely corrode her own, as the woman simply looked into her eyes and seemingly peeled her very skin away.
Professor Colbert on the other hand felt the controlled, bubbling power that the creature held within her. His stares caught Kerrigan's attention, which stunned the Professor, who thought she was not aware of him individually. Surprisingly, the woman nodded ever so slightly towards him, in what context however was something of a mystery to the Flame Snake.
Kerrigan decided to end her little game of torment with a question she already knew the answer to, "Which one of you called me here?" While seemingly stoic, she was shocked at the sound of her pre-infested voice coming out of her mouth. 'I almost forgot what that sounded like.'
The pinkette stepped forward, blind courage now pushing her towards Kerrigan, "I, Louise Francoise Le Blanc de La Valliere have summoned you as my familiar. Now kneel and let me complete the binding!"
Kerrigan laughed heartily, causing all those in attendance to have a shiver run down their spines, "You have no idea who you are dealing with, do you girl?" The pinkette seemed to hesitate before tapping her wand across Kerrigan's nose, causing the older woman to scowl in annoyance and those around them to gasp in both fear and morbid anticipation.
"By the Five Points of the Pentagon, I mark you my familiar!" As the girl reached in for a kiss, Kerrigan pushed her away and held her off the ground gently. Kirche, Tabitha, and Colbert all prepared to cast their spells only to be shocked by Kerrigan chuckling again.
Those around immediately began to whisper furiously only to stop as Kerrigan once again started to laugh.
"Again girl, you fail to understand what you are tampering with. I can't tell whether you're ignorant or just plain stupid."
Tabitha in the meantime had repositioned herself so that Louise was directly between her and Kerrigan. With a prepared Air Gust, she casted it, sending the little pinkette head first into the newly summoned human (or what she believed was human).
Kerrigan shook her head in frustration and immediately stood up, hoping to find that blue-haired bitch only to find her left hand feeling like someone had taken an arc welder to it. She actually groaned in pain, something she mentally cursed herself for doing out loud, only to detect a presence trying to burrow its way into her subconscious.
Ignoring the pain from her hand she focused solely on the invading presence, attempting to pull it apart and destroy it. The one thing Kerrigan was certain was this force was powerful, and ancient.
'Stop resisting Sarah . . .'
The voice laughed softly, 'I will win eventually Kerrigan, and everyone breaks . . . eventually.'
She wasn't going to let that happen, no matter what. Focusing all of her remaining energy she purged her mind of the presence and took great pleasure in its screams. The act of purging the presence took a toll on her own mental faculties however, causing her to slowly lose control of the purge. The presence, now hanging on by a thread rushed back, hoping to take control; only to find Kerrigan waiting for it.
Louise quickly scurried away from the now glowing entity and managed to get back onto her feet next to Professor Colbert. She began to cry quietly when no one was looking, 'What have I done?'
After another few seconds the runes ceased their branding and Kerrigan finished glowing. Barely kept modest by what little mud and debris remained on her she turned to Colbert with a big, cocky grin, "My name is Lady Sarah Kerrigan de Char, and I desperately need a bath."
A/N: And there you have it everyone! The first re-written chapter of Hail to the Zero Queen has been completed, and if I daresay so myself, its looking absolutely glorious.
See you all next time!