The Queen of Hearts-
The Terran barracks was slowly falling apart around her as Kerrigan strode further into its depths, thoughtlessly killing the few remaining marines that stood in her way with bursts of psionic energy as swarms of Zerglings continued to mop up the remaining Terran resistance in the area.
Kerrigan knew she should feel regret at killing so many terrans, but she had told Warfield to withdraw from the planet Char twice now, both when she had made her arrival known and when she had crushed his so called 'Invincible' air force. So it was as much his fault for the thousands of Terran deaths for not admitting defeat as hers for pressing the assault after he had begun withdrawing the heavy weapons and what remained of his air fleet.
Striding down the corridor that lead to the main command centre of the barracks she saw at the end of it an injured medic, her left shoulder armour rent and bleeding and helmet torn off, attempting to heal an injured marine, whose abdomen had been torn open by the now dead Zergling in front of the two of them.
The marine was barely conscious at this stage, his life signs dangerously low to Kerrigan's enhanced vision, but he still noticed her approach towards them and tried to force the medic to run with his still working arm. To Kerrigan's slight surprise the medic shook her head at him, standing and drawing a pistol from her belt and pointing it towards her instead of fleeing or panicking. She paused as a memory hit her of her recent past, the first memory not shrouded in the darkness of her infestation, lying in Raynor's arms as Tychus pointed a gun at her head under Mengsk's orders.
Anger boiled up in her at the thought of Raynor's fate and Kerrigan lashed out, batting the medic back into the wall and causing her to drop her weapon. To her surprise the medic forced herself to her feet once more as the Zerglings around her stood ready and eager to pounce upon the two Terrans and tear them to shreds. The woman stood in front of the injured marine and glared hatefully at Kerrigan for a moment before speaking slowly in an attempt to disguise her fear.
"Well? If you are going to kill us Queen of Blades, do it. It was too much to hope that Raynor was right about you!" The Zerglings fidgeted and growled at the woman and two of them began to move towards her, unaware of the reaction that the woman's stand and words had elicited inside Kerrigan's mind.
Memories of her short reunion with the charismatic outlaw flashed through her mind, dozens of encounters in less than a second, one particular moment sticking in her head and resonating throughout her mind.
Flashback: The Hyperion, subdeck level 5
Visions flashed through her mind, screaming marines torn in twain by Ultralisks as civilians tried to flee from the masses of Zerglings, each Terran's dying moments filling every last inch of her mind as she awoke covered in sweat, her psionics completely out of control as she jumped between the hyperion and being trapped with the screaming Terrans.
Thankfully the crew had created a psionic resistant room for her to stay in, but that didn't save the bed or any of the other items in the room, which were ripped to atoms as her power raged and lashed out at anything it could. Then he appeared, not even dressed in combat armour but his usual casual dress, striding confidently to her both in reality and in her mind, banishing the faces as he walked up to her and grasped her arms firmly. She couldn't hear him at first, her mind still reeling from the nightmare, but eventually what he was saying made itself clear to her.
"-rah, Sarah! Calm down darling, you're safe here. No need to panic anymore." She saw him wince slightly as a burst of her power lashed out and opened a cut on his cheek.
But his confident gaze never left her eyes as she quickly calmed her powers, the room settling quickly, though the smell of ozone could not be dealt with so easily. She couldn't help but feel deep shame even as she reached up to lightly touch the small cut on his face.
"Jim, they came back. I-I, killed them Jim, everything the Zerg di..." She stopped as Jim shook his head and looked at her seriously as he reached up and grabbed her hand with his own.
"No, Sarah you didn't, the Queen of Blades did and that is most definitely NOT who you are." He turned his head and waved off the marines standing at the open door before turning back to her, his eyes lighting up as he looked upon her face once more, causing her to bow her head in shame, unable to look at him with what she had done.
"But Jim, I WAS the Queen of Blades..." His hand let go of hers and she was suddenly terrified of the possibility he was going to admit the truth and then leave her alone in the dark hold once more. She calmed slightly when the hand instead moved to her chin and gently forced her to look up once more at his face.
"No Sarah, because you have something the Queen of Blades never had, something that makes you more powerful than she was even with the entire Zerg swarm behind her." He smiled at her and she couldn't help but smile back at him before he leaned forwards and kissed her cheek lightly.
"Now, I am going to get you some more clothes to change into and then the men can bring in a new bed for you, I don't want anyone else seeing this beauty but me you hear?" Despite her shame and guilt at the situation, the slight possessive tone in Raynor's voice made her blush slightly as she nodded and he stood, heading back towards the entrance to the room. He had reached the door and was about to enter the switch code when she called out to him, her mind focussed on what he had said before.
"Jim, what is it that you see that separates me from the Queen of Blades so much that you were prepared to fight the entire Zerg swarm to save me?" He turned, familiar smirk on his face as he pondered his answer for a moment before giving it with a tone so sure of himself that she couldn't do anything but believe the words as well.
"It's your emotions Sarah, the Queen of Blades had strength, power and psionics beyond anything I have ever seen. But she did not have your heart and caring, which is why I knew it couldn't be you in control under that skin. Keep that heart Sarah, it is what makes you truly unique regardless of which race you are..."
Barely a second had passed and the Zerglings were gearing up to rend the two Terrans to pieces, regardless of a lack of her direct orders to do so even as Kerrigan left the memory. Her memories of Jim making her realise how much he would be disappointed with her actions right now.
Fighting and destroying the Dominion was something both of them had agreed on, but despite his outlaw status Jim had never killed anyone who couldn't fight back, or had surrendered to his forces.
She raised her hand to above her shoulder, fist clenched in a sign that the Zerglings recognised as a stop order even before her psionic commands truly reached them. The medic looked confused and wary even as Kerrigan stared at her for a few long moments, trying to get her emotions and thoughts truly under control once more before carrying on.
Then she placed her hand against her head and sent out her orders to the swarm that were still dealing with survivors. It was done in seconds and Kerrigan removed her hand to look at the medic for a moment longer before a pained smile crossed her face.
"Well done medic, you have just made a name for yourself in the history books, now I would get back to treating your patient before he bleeds out, and then you can send a message out for me." The Zerglings were loping down the corridor away from them now, leaving the three alone as the medic shook herself out of her shock and obviously realise that Kerrigan was right, quickly returning to healing the man's heavy wounds. That did not stop her asking a question even as she began to close the man's wound with her equipment.
"Not that I am hoping you will change your mind or anything, but I suppose I have to ask, why you didn't kill us? I assume its the same reason as why the comm channels are now filled with reports of the Zerg surrounding our remaining outposts but not attacking and destroying them?" Kerrigan chuckled, she didn't realise that the Dominion forces would catch on so quickly, but she supposed it was General Warfield's troops rather than the usual Dominion cannon fodder she usually had to deal with.
Realising that the medic was still waiting for an answer to her question, she decided that honesty was the best approach here, and it might let her sleep a little easier tonight at least.
"Simple girl, Jim Raynor saved your lives, you simply reminded me of what he would he would have thought about I was doing. Before he was murdered by Mengsk for trying to save me of course!" Kerrigan couldn't help the anger that came into her voice as she discussed Jim's death, she knew that it would never stop hurting her.
There was always going to be that little voice, that she could have and should have tried to fly across to him; to save him despite his assurances that he would be fine and find another way out, noble fool that he had been. The medic looked shocked at the revelation and paused in her healing to look at her with an unreadable expression for a moment before bowing her head once more and returning to her work.
"I am sorry to hear that, he was certainly a much different man in person than he had been depicted in Dominion news reports. What happens now then, are you going to let us retreat? Because most of those left behind aren't really in any condition to go anywhere in the near future. And even if we do I imagine the fortress is your next target, so it wouldn't do us much good to run only for you to hunt us down tomorrow."
That was a point Sarah hadn't considered and she was for a moment lost as to what she could do, but then it came to her as the medic finished healing the marine who was thankfully now unconscious and therefore unaware of the situation around him. Stepping forwards, she hefted the marine so that his weight was resting on her shoulder as the medic stepped back cautiously, only for Kerrigan to smirk at her and gesture at the marine.
"You have just become the Zergs first official prisoner of war, you can at least help me lift him back to where I will be containing you, then I think I need to have a long chat with General Warfield... And this is the message I want you to broadcast to the remaining people in the area, and do it right if you want them to stay alive. I am showing mercy this time, do not make me regret it..."
Persona Change: General Warfield
Sitting in his operations centre trying to come up with a way of defending the bastion against the rapidly growing numbers of Zerg that were seemingly coming in this direction, Warfield was cursing the day he had agreed to come to this planet with Jim Raynor and the others, Kerrigan had proven that the Zerg menace could not be wiped away even with the power of the Xel'Naga artefact and was now reaping his mistake with the lives of his soldiers.
He had turned off his communicator soon after ordering the retreat from the Bone trench, not wishing to hear the reports of what happened to the poor souls that couldn't be extracted in time. If there had been a way for him to cover their retreat he would have taken it, but with his limited resources and men already strained to their limit, he knew that such actions would simply have led to an even greater massacre at the hands of the foul aliens.
He was surprised therefore when one of his lieutenants burst into the room, holding a long range communicator in one of his hands.
"Sir, you might want to hear this, The Queen of Blades is taking prisoners!" That was a shock to the system, and completely against the Zerg mentality of devouring all in their path, it had to be some kind of trick or ploy. Grabbing the communicator he caught the message just as it began replaying once more.
"This is medic Felicity Mendez and I am imploring the remnants of the forces trapped in the canyon of bones to lay down their arms and surrender to the Zerg. I speak this free of mind and not under duress, but with the aim of saving lives that would otherwise be wasted pointlessly. The Queen of Blades has sworn that no one who surrenders and does not then try and cause sabotage or escape shall be harmed in anyway, and there are already half a dozen medics here to heal any injured or wounded that you have. I have also been asked to relay a message to General Warfield by the Queen of Blades, it is as follows."
" 'Warfield, I have given you a way out twice, but you have refused to take them and your men have died for that mistake. The fact that I am taking prisoners and not killing everyone is because you were one of those that risked everything to come and save me from being controlled, but that courtesy will only extend for so long. Leave Warfield and think long and hard about why I am doing this and what Mengsk has done, to me and Raynor.'" There was a pause for a moment as Warfield mulled over the threat and offer combined into a few short sentences.
"That is the end of her message and the end of this broadcast, I have set my suit to repeat this broadcast until all resistance in the area is over or General Warfield enters communication with the Queen to begin negotiations with her... This is medic..."
Handing the communicator back to his lieutenant now that it had obviously finished its message, Warfield tried to work out what Kerrigan was trying to accomplish by such a move, prisoners would tie up resources and troops that she could use against him here.
But Kerrigan had to know that he could not simply up and leave over a couple of defeats, even with the loss of his main battleships being one of them so they weren't a useful bribe or threatening implement. Seeing no other way of divining her motives, he head past his lieutenant and to the door to the rest of the operations centre, it was time to talk to his deadliest enemy once more...
Persona Change: Felicity Mendez
Looking around the small camp that had been made in the remains of one of the few outposts that had not been overrun by the time the call to surrender had been sent out, Felicity could not help but be impressed by the number of Terrans that The Queen of Blades had actually allowed to live.
There were almost 800 people here, most of which were badly wounded marines or medics that had been trying to treat the wounded before the Zerg had overrun them, though there were some civilians and marauders to complete the group.
Many of them were terrified that the Zerg, who had spawned dozens of spine crawlers around their buildings, were going to strike them down at a moments notice and that this was all a ruse by Kerrigan to get them to surrender so that they were easier to kill. There were even darker mutterings of those that had fought in the brood wars a decade before, that they were going to be experimented upon to become the infected Terran drones, something that terrified each and every person here on a deep, primal level.
Not that that fact had stopped them surrendering rather than being ripped to shreds by the Zerg of course, but the human psyche was almost hotwired to prepare for the worst in any given situation. There was a sudden murmuring through the camp, moving closer to her every second and Felicity could guess what was causing it even before Kerrigan appeared.
Their captor strode through the buildings with the same supernatural grace that she had used when walking through the barracks the first time that Felicity had met the woman. Standing from her seat, Felicity bowed her head nervously as the Terran's jailer came to a stop in front of her, three Zerglings standing like guards behind her, growling at any Terran that got too close.
"I assume that you have enough supplies to look after the wounded here? If not then I can have some Zerglings escort a group to the ruins to find some more?" The confidence and commanding tone that was exuded by Kerrigan's voice caused Felicity to want to either salute or drop to one knee by instinct, something that she managed to resist doing, if only barely. She instead nodded and gestured around the camp.
"Yes Kerrigan, we have enough supplies to look after these men and feed ourselves for the next three days, and all but the worst cases should either be healed or mostly recovered by that point. Though I have to ask, what of General Warfield? I imagine he was not particularly willing to negotiate with you about leaving Char to the Zerg once more, after all we sacrificed to take it..." She trailed off as Kerrigan's eyes flared at the reminder of her past persona and Felicity thought for a second that her life was forfeit for her impudence towards their captor, but then Kerrigan's eyes returned to normal and she shook her head with a frown on her face.
"Unfortunately he was unwilling to abandon the planet with his men, and I imagine even if he had that Mengsk would have had most of them executed or turned to the crime legions anyways. So tomorrow I launch the assault on his headquarters and will drive them off this world one way or the other, which is why I am here, to ask your advice." Felicity couldn't help but flinch slightly in shock that the Queen of Blades, champion of the dreaded Zerg was here to ask her advice about something to do with the battle against her leader and hero General Warfield.
Trying to work out how to phrase the next sentence so that there was as little chance as possible that Kerrigan would kill her for it, she looked up and shook her head before Kerrigan could carry on after her pause.
"I am sorry Kerrigan, as grateful as I am for you sparing the lives of these people and my own, I cannot betray General Warfield and help with whatever you are planning." To her surprise Kerrigan looked surprised at her for a moment before she chuckled and waved her hand dismissively.
"Such presumptuous thinking is annoying, even if your loyalty to the man is laudable. What I was going to ask was something slightly different to helping me in the battle. In fact it might save some more lives..."
Timeskip: 12 hours
The Zerg had overwhelmed the Terran forces with surprising ease, the sheer numbers and speed of the Zergling forces mixed with the sheer destructiveness of the banelings and Aberrations swept any form of resistance aside and tore the base asunder, leaving Kerrigan with surprisingly little to do in terms of combat. Kerrigan had been forced to personally take to the field initially in order to deal with troublesome siege tanks whose powerful area attacks had disrupted the initial probing attacks of her forces and left them easy prey to the defending marines and hellions.
But once past that initial difficulty the swarm had moved too quickly for a second line of effective defence to be mounted, especially with the news that the Zerg were accepting surrender from those who threw down their weapons or were too injured to keep fighting.
Once it was clear their defences had been shattered, dozens of dominion troops had thrown down their arms and surrendered, being herded by packs of Zerglings to the rear of her lines where they were out of reach for possible rescue or rearmament. Kerrigan was glad that Medic Mendez had agreed to her second suggestion about the siege, which had been to have squads of captured medics move into the captured area of the base and begin to evacuate the wounded that they found there to be healed, under Zerg guard of course to stop any of them trying to escape back to the Dominion lines.
Kerrigan was glad that the idea of taking prisoners had occurred to her the previous day now, it had reduced the enemies that the Zerg had been forced to fight by almost a fifth. And whilst guarding the captives had consumed considerable biomass of her rather limited supply, it had been worth it by reducing the Zerg casualties in taking the base by roughly the same fraction if not more.
Stepping up to the badly damaged operations centre with Mendez and half a dozen medics in close proximity, as the same Zergling that had joined her on Raynor's shuttle stalked in front of her, Kerrigan had to respect the stubbornness of the old veteran and his men. They had certainly made her fight for every inch of the planet, even if they had probably guessed quite early on that it would be futile in the end.
Kerrigan sliced through the wreckage that was obstructing the doorway with her psionic powers and strode inside, wondering whether Warfield had been caught in the storming of the base or was on one of the transports that was currently trying to outrun the Zerg forces to the landing pads where their space shuttles were based.
The medics began to peel off to search through the outer rooms of the building, their nerves at being around so many Zerg organisms gone after a day of being surrounded by them almost constantly. Kerrigan headed to where she assumed the main control centre was, if Warfield was anywhere that is where he would be, and she had some words to have with the man before she would be willing to let him leave...
Persona Change: General Warfield
Consciousness returned slowly to him and with it so did the pain of his wounds. The command centre had been breached and half a dozen banelings had burst through the corridors, the explosions of acid triggering several further explosions in the building's fuel supplies and power systems.
Opening his eyes he found himself leaning against one of the console centres in the room, the bodies of half a dozen of his most loyal marines laying around him, either dead or soon to be. His hearing was a bit slower to return than his sight, something Warfield attributed to his old age more than anything else, and when it did he could not repress the sorrow of what he heard, bursts of communications from all his surviving lieutenants that he had placed in the back lines just in case this event occurred.
"All positions are overrun... Landing bay is compromised... We are being surrounded...Argh!" Listening in for a few more moments to get a rough idea of what had happened to the remnants of his force, he isolated one of his lieutenants channels.
The man in question having managed to hold together a small force of hellions to escort a convoy of wounded to the transport area despite the fact that it significantly reduced the chances of the men being able to escape the fast approaching Zerg, an action that struck pride within Warfield as it was obvious that his leadership had achieved something.
"Lieutenant, I want you to get those wounded to the shuttles do you hear me?" The man took a second to respond, obviously surprised to hear his voice after the command centre had fallen, though when he spoke it was with the same clipped professionalism that Warfield used with his officers.
"We are nearly there, do you want me to send a squad to pick you up sir?" Looking down at his chest, where a large metal bracket had pierced both his armour and his ribs, stopping barely before his heart, Warfield decided to let the man not worry about him and try and do something stupid like try and rescue him through the Zerg swarm that they were escaping from.
"I'm fine Lieutenant, you just see to those wounded." He sat up slightly, the movement making the bracket in his chest and the second one in his abdomen shift painfully and put pressure on his lung, though he managed to cover up the pained grunt with a couple of coughs as he put his hand on the bracket.
"I'll get out another way..." There was no response, obviously something had arisen that required the man's personal attention, so Warfield muted his microphone and started to pull on the bracket in his chest. He knew that there was no way he would be able to survive standing with it so perilously close to his heart as it currently was.
The pain was excruciating and he could not stop himself crying out in pain as the bracket shifted outwards in his grip away from his chest. Such was the pain's distraction, it took him a moment to recognise the sound of growling approaching from in front of him and to his horror there was a Zergling stalking towards him, it's right lower horn damaged in battle but doing nothing to detract from its terrifying appearance.
He knew that he wouldn't be able to move his arm cannon quickly enough to get a shot off at the thing without it leaping at him and tearing him to shreds, and as such he was resigning himself to his fate when the Zergling stopped in front of him for a moment, his lieutenant speaking hurriedly into his ears about how the convoy was going to be destroyed by the Zerg forces that were nearly upon it.
Its eyes were filled with ferocity and hunger staring deeply into his own as if judging whether he was worthy of being prey for it to hunt and devour, before with a flutter of its side fins it jumped off to the side, revealing a woman that Warfield dreaded seeing even more than any number of ravenous Zerglings could be. Finding his voice at last, he sat up as straight as he could so that he could face his inevitable fate in the most honorable way he could manage with his injuries.
"Kerrigan, now you listen to me. I have three shuttles packed with men too injured to ever be a threat to you. Husbands, fathers, you let them go, do you hear me?" He didn't know why he tried reasoning with the fallen woman in front of him, he supposed it was due to the belief that Jim Raynor had in the ex-ghost. Some of that damned optimism had probably rubbed off on him during their fighting together on Char.
Seeing the woman still stood there imperiously and unrepentant of the deaths around them his anger suddenly rose within him and he decided to let his feelings be known before the end, rising slightly so that he could point his cannon at the woman.
"You bitch! You aren't even human anymore. How many people have you killed, how many more will have to die? And for what, petty revenge? What would Raynor say if he could see you now..." He knew he had gone too far with his last line by the way that Kerrigan stiffened even as her eyes glowed, her psionics lifting him painfully into the air and causing him to shout in pain once more.
Just as he was sure she would finish him off her eyes suddenly shifted away from him as a figure in white ran towards the two of them and he was lowered surprisingly carefully to the floor as Kerrigan looked up and away from him for a moment. It was almost a picturesque image, Char's sun bursting through the holes in the command centre roof to light her face for a moment, his lieutenant speaking suddenly in his ear as the medic knelt to start tending to his wounds.
"Sir, the Zerg are retreating, we are going to make it! It is a miracle, General? General?" Ignoring the man's calls for him for the moment, Warfield cast his eye to Kerrigan's back as she started to walk away from him, Zergling following like an eager puppy.
His mind was unable to entirely comprehend what had just happened, though he knew that he had been wrong about the woman, at least as far as his final words had been. Knowing he had to say something as one armies general to another, he called out to her as she reached the ruined doorway.
"Kerrigan, I was wrong about you, and I owe you my thanks for saving my men from my stupidity." Kerrigan stopped and turned back to face him, her eyes hard and unfeeling once more, a stark contrast to the almost serene expression he had seen moments before.
"Do not thank me Warfield, the dead in this place certainly will not do so, if given the choice." And then she was gone from his sight and he was left alone with the medic who he guessed was one of those who Kerrigan had captured the day before, who looked at him with a sad expression on her face.
"I am sorry sir, but this is going to hurt quite a lot and then we are going to have to get you back to the camp for proper surgery, otherwise you will not survive the hour." Warfield sighed as he knew she was right, though he honestly was still getting over the fact that he was still breathing now after what he had said to the former Queen of Blades. He looked into the medic's eyes to ask the next question, one that he knew he had to ask for his own conscience.
"How many have you managed to save? How many of my men..." He couldn't finish the sentence, feeling the drugs the medic had administered kicking into his system even as she began to cut out the bracket in his chest, but his ears caught her answer, one that further conflicted his thoughts on Kerrigan.
"More than a thousand, which is more than we would have accepted from the UED or the Protoss in all honesty..." And then his vision blacked out and darkness claimed Warfield once more, his heart a little lighter than he had thought possible when he had came to...
A/N: I imagine that quite a few people are going to not like how I have done this little one shot, whether it's how I have portrayed Kerrigan, caused the Zerg to keep prisoners or keeping Warfield alive.
But with Warfield being the stubborn old idiot he is, which I will admit despite him being one of my favourite characters, I needed to change things before the scene in the command centre to have a hope of keeping him alive.
Besides, I like to think that Kerrigan actually does give a damn on some level about how the Zerg acts now, something shown in the actual game cutscene in question. I have just brought it in a little earlier... Hope those who read it liked it, leave a review on your way out, I might try and change it from a one shot if people care enough to ask me to... :P