From the Ashes of Empires.....
AU Earth, March 21st, 2009
Empire State Building, the Red Zone....
Alex Mercer stood perched on top of the spire of the deserted Empire State building, enjoying the feeling of power it gave him. Less then two years ago he was nothing more than an exceptionally gifted Gentek scientist, on the run from his shadowy employers. Now he had dominion over all that he could see . Oh that land may officially be under martial law, supposedly under Blackwatch "protection" (they had ceased pretending that the marines had jurisdiction months ago) , but in effect the remaining uninfected parts of the city quaked when he came calling, not for those Templar marionettes that called themselves an organization....
The word "Templar" automatically threw off his train of thought, and he regretted having it. For whenever he heard or thought of the word he thought not of the the shady organization that funded the Blacklight virus, but of the crusader who he had only just slain a couple of months ago.
That Templar was an enigma that still puzzled Alex. At first he had attempted to field medieval weapons against the Biological super-weapon, only to turn to more bizarre weapons once his sword, shield and halberd were cut down. First he wielded a scythe that could extend almost as long as his Whipfist, then when proved inefficient he used a giant cross to shoot giant jets of Ultra-violet light at him, which scorched his skin and inhibited his regeneration. Of course those weapons were far from the strangest things witnessed in that battle; Alex had had a giant paralyzing fruit thrown at him, had seen angel wings, and was chased by heat seeking crosses. Yep, you heard that right.
From below the cries of the infected reached him, shaking him thoughts of knights and religion, and he idly wondered if they were chasing after one of New York's few surviving uninfected possums. The once thriving population was now reduced to a few stragglers, and they were on the run at all times. Alex had taken the habit of swooping down and absorbing those possums that he could reach before the infected tore them apart, just to satisfy the curious scientist within him who wanted to see how these organisms survived so long in a hostile environment.
*Pop* *Pop* *Pop*
The familiar roar of assault rifle fire broke through the infected cries, and Alex Mercer's eyebrows raised slightly, his interest piqued.
"Strange," he wondered to himself, "Blackwatch hasn't made an incursion in the red zone for three months. What changed their policy? "
He peered at the streets below, and sure enough the spec ops outfits of Blackwatch could be seen. Soldiers fired upon infected rushing them from all sides; so far just common infected, but the walkers were starting to move in behind them. Alex noticed that not all of the soldiers were shooting, and his curiosity took another surge, as he saw the remaining fiddling with an odd cylinder. The cylinder came to life when one of them touched the top of it, and immediately began entrenching itself in the ground. The soldiers dived back into their trucks; most making it. A few were caught by the newly arrived hunters, and there fate took its course as flesh was nosily rendered from limb.
The remaining soldiers floored it and drove off. Alex cocked his head sideways a little; they seemed to have been as scared of the machine as they were the infected. Then Alex understood why.
A small field of light filled his view, emanating from the cylinders, but that isn't what shocked him. What shocked him was its effect on the infected . The moment they touched the field their bodies began undergoing a transformation even more dramatic then the original one. The infected shrieked as skin began rapidly peeling off flesh, hair falling off in giant clumps, eyes beginning to break down on the molecular level. The damage was clearly internal as well, as the infected began vomiting uncontrollably, and Alex's enhanced sight could pick out blood pouring out of their noses, ears, eyes and mouths (Alex judged it likely it was also oozing out of two more...private orifices).
The gruesome spectacle only got worse as their muscles and then bones began dissolving into some form of liquid-lie "soup". By now the screams had long ceased.
Alex was both excited from an a intellectual standpoint and horrified from a personal one. On one hand he was excited to see the effects of a VERY powerful radiation field. On the other hand he was horrified that Blackwatch now possessed this technology, as that meant that he would now have to worry about it.
Determined to find out more, Alex leaped from his perch onto the nearby Chrysler building before taking off towards another one. Racing from rooftop to rooftop, Alex knew he only had limited time to catch the convoy before he risked a war in the Yellow Zone. Fortunately they were being delayed by a near constant stream of infected attacks.
Alex jumped down from the rooftops , following them from within the forests of an adjacent park, waiting for the opportunity to strike. Finally he reached the middle tank which had become separated from the others.
Zeus took a deep sight; it had been a while since he had last done the aerial trick he was about to do. He leapt some forty feet into the air, before spinning his blade towards the ground. The tank exploded beneath him, killing its inhabitants and nearby infected.
This attracted the other vehicle's attention, and for the first time in months Alex's body was riddled with machine gun fire, every bullet making a "bubble" on his skin that would then miraculously heal itself. Alex found it exhilarating, better then the best massage.
A tank shell pounded into him, rocking him out of his pleasure zone. He scowled, already pissed off. Biomass rushed to his hand, turning them into behemoth sized fists. The Tank was speeding right at him, apparently under the impression it could run him over. Alex smirked and as soon as it got close enough, slammed his knuckles down in front of it. The top end of the vehicle went up 70 degrees, just as the roaring of a Apache machine gun came to life, riddlnig Alex. Zeus just smiled, and thought to himself
'So Blackwatch has called in a strike team." He chuckled mirthlessly at that , "They never learn, do they?"
Shifting his mass into his muscles, Mercer reached underneath the tank and lifted it high above his head, before tossing it at the helicopter.
Mercer's acute hearing could pick up the crews of both vehicles curses, screams and last minute prayers. He smiled at their fear; massacring soldiers in gruesome ways was one of the few joys he had in life.
To his surprise one of the crew jumped down just before the resulting inferno of crashed vehicles, and Alex knew what he was even before he gracefully landed on the ground.
The super-soldier cracked his knuckles menacingly, the silent challenge answered by a swirl of Alex's newly transformed blade.
Without missing a beat the soldier charged into the battle, at speeds none of his Blackwatch companions could come close to matching. Alex met him head on, burying his blade deep into the soldier's lower torso. He twirled it to the side, spilling out the D-code's guts for the world to see. That would have killed any normal human being, but not a super soldier.
A fist rocked Alex's jaws, breaking the lower portion of it. Another one buried itself into his neck, and a whole flurry of them into his gut,shattering many ribs. Alex took it in stride, as he typically did nowadays, and once again buried his blade into the super-soldier's already reforming chest, canceling the process. He reached in with his other hand, Looking forward to ripping the heart out of the man before him. His eyes gazed up to the soldier's masked face....and saw the reflection of a themobarbaric tank's barrel in it. Alex's response was as laconic as they come
The tank fired as Alex attempted a front-flip over the man's shoulders. The blast hit the D-code in the chest when Alex was halfway over.
Capt. Eddie Lang had always been eager for battle, and had a spark of energy that no one could truly place. He had passed all exams the exams in record time - a whole two weeks before his nearest competitor. His reward? A position to command the biggest, most ass-kicking machine in all of Blackwatch (much less the regular military, those fuckin' amateurs)! And now he could barely contain his excitement, could he have really destroyed Zeus? He was going to get one hell of a promotion for this!
The smoke cleared, and the moment of truth had arrived. Eddie peered closely into the screen, eager for to the results. The scene was littered with body parts-including Mercer's still clawed hand, buried under wreckage!
He let out an ecstatic cry, undoubtedly the greatest success in his career, and congratulations were in order from both his gunner, Sgt. Jason Randolph, and his driver, Cpl Bernard Webster. Webster was so happy that he actually pulled out a bottle of vodka; illegal according to regulations, and something he would not have dared done had his superior been anyone other then Captain Eddie Lang, and handed out glasses.
Before the toast could begin in earnest, a slighted party who felt left out made his presence known. Alex Mercer ripped open the sealed drivers door with his remaining arm, now in musclemass form, before smashing Webster's head into the wall, with such intensity that it actually made a dent in the tank.
Randolph opened fire with his M4, its bullets riddling Mercer and rattling Lang's already strained eardrums. The captain was smart enough to know that such an effort was futile, in capable of even delaying him, and so he fumbled with option B; pulling his grenade pin.
Unfortunately for him Alex caught on, and the biological machine impaled him with his whipefist and through him outside , catching the grenade in his hands as he did so.
Lang's head pounded into the ground . His vision blurred and head pounding, he was just barely able to make out the silhouette of Alex leaving the tank, making sure to shut the door behind him. From inside Jason screamed-and then Lang's world blew up in flames. His prized tank, his gleaming medallion of skill, a fireball now.
Shrapnel showered him, shredding his body like it was being forced into some kind of giant grater. Blood entered his lungs, and his world got fuzzy. His last sight was that of the hated hooded figured crouched over him, a wicked set of claws poised to strike....
With a single stab the familiar consumption process began, and once again Alex's thoughts were filled with those that did not belong to him.
A beautiful blond woman, wearing a suit so tight that Alex could feel something stir that hadn't in a while, was speaking to a group of Blackwatch agents.
A Blackwatch voice, distorted at first, entered into focus
"If your associate is good, then we have ourselves a deal. But Blackwatch will remember this swindling."
..." I believe we are done here."
Later on, the rest of the group was laughing at him with the guy next to him smacking him aside the head.
" I can't believe you didn't know she was telepathic, dumbass."
The scene changed, now it was at a deserted airport lobby.
A giant of a man entered into view. This man was covered in blue armor that covered from head to toe, with a couple of grenades attached to his belt. A rifle larger then most machine guns hung over his shoulder, a minigun at his feet.
Slowly the spaceman like helmet lowered, revealing face scarred by a thousand battles, including a recent bullet hole that had taken a chunk out of him. Even though Alex had never personally met the man, he knew his name, the result of knowledge acquired from the man he absorbed:
|Tychus Findlay: When Rednecks and Space mix|
A stereotypical Southern drawl filled his ears, and the man spoke "Hell, its about time you folks showed up. "
"Heard you fellas got a bit of a infestation problem'? Well good ol' Mengsk sent me here to do what you sorry sacks of shit can't. "
Someone next to him was incredulous, and said 'Your the specialist? Mengsk really is a perfect used car-salesmen! He makes us a deal and then sends us trash."
There was a loud smash, as Tychus punched the the smart-mouth in his mouth. The man flew backwards and crashed into a visitor information box. He wasn't going to be getting up anytime soon.
The space marine turned to the rest of the Blackwatch squad.
"Now does anyone else feel like makin' anymore smart-ass comments? "
The scene faded one more time, focusing again into a conference room . A senior officer- colonel- was standing in front of a younger plain clothes man, who bore the expression of utmost confusion. In the background was a cage that contained a creature unlike any Alex had ever seen. It looked like a giant slug horribly mutated and transformed by the virus, and had blade-like arms longer then Alex's body.
"Sir, is it true what they are saying? That Findlay, that ghost, Mengsk, this thing....not only are they not from this time-period, but that they are not even from this Universe? "
"Son, in all honesty, I have no fucking clue."
The Scene dissolved, and left the newly recovered Alex with far more questions then answers. That base...it was the Randall Park base in Brooklyn (named after the fanatical general Alex had so recently killed ). The scientist within him yearned for answers, and Alex had proven to himself time and again that he would stop at nothing to find them.
Suddenly a familiar roar could be heard in the distance, and Alex immediately took off running. He did not want to have to deal with a vengeful James Heller today....
2505, February 18,
Somewhere on Char, Korhal Sector....
Three Days earlier....
They landed amidst the Zerg eggs, which were already on the verge of hatching, blows flying back and forth between the two of them; one the Ghost program’s most famous operative who had turned into the Galaxies’ most feared sovereign, the other the Golden Girl of the academy, who was renowned for surpassing even Kerrigan herself on its tests.
Without a moment to waste Kerrigan shot a psionic blast at her opponent, who shielding herself with the bodies of three dead swarmlings. The corpses exploded, showering both fighters with blood and gore, but neither let that distract them.
Nova was already back up, picking up and hurling several dismembered spines, claws and teeth at Kerrigan . The most famous ghost in history dove deep into the Earth, popping back out behind Nova.
The blond ghost only just dodged Kerrigan's claws, slashing her across the legs with her Psi Blade as she rolled away.
Kerrigan hissed but then smiled as Nova had just rolled into another hatching egg!
The Swarmlings burst from the egg, leaping towards Nova-and then leaping past her towards Kerrigan.
The Queen of Blades cursed but wasn't surprised; after all her minions were always getting mind controlled out from under her. First the U.E.D. and the Protoss, then Jimmy and his silly Raiders, and finally that arrogant Anakin Skywalker had all demonstrated the power of mind control to the point where she no longer felt surprise at the act, only immense displeasure. She sighed; one day she would have to develop a counter measure to that. But as for today Mengsk's new girl toy was in for a rude awakening if she thought that they could stop her.
The first of the trio of Swarmlings rushed into her, and Kerrigan didn't even blink as she impaled it on one of her blades, its dying squeals spurring the other two on. They tackled Kerrigan but underestimated her strength . She held her ground, before impaling another one of them on her wings, resulting in them hanging like Christmas ornaments. The last, sensing opportunity, buried its teeth into Kerrigan's arm causing her to growl before hurling it at Nova.
She hadn't been expecting that, and the body impacted her with enough force to send her spiraling into the wall of a nearby Spire, the back of the Swarmling being broken by the impact. Kerrigan hurled the remaining two at her, pinning Nova to the Spire and nearly knocking her unconscious.
.....Nova, at 15, crying over her parents bodies as a bunch of working class men, some her servants, laugh at her despair. Rage overcame her, and the resulting Psionic burst took down the entire skyscraper.
....Being held hostage by a gang lord, made to read minds and to execute the disloyal....
....An agent stood next of her, the body of the gang-lord lying smoldering behind them. . Nova turned to the man and said ""Agent Kelerchian, I've killed three hundred and eighty-two people, and felt thirty-two more, including my own family, die in my head. I can tell you everything about every single one of those people-all four hundred and fourteen of them-including what they were thinking the moment they died. What makes you think I want to remember any of that?"....
...Nova standing before Mengsk, unlike before bow cold and emotionless, listening to the dictator's latest assassination order. Target: Sarah Kerrigan ....
....Nova and a few Imperial Guardsmen meeting with a strange group of special operatives, though they were not wearing any uniform that Kerrigan recognized.
The Ghost twirled a vial in her hands, as if trying to decipher what was in it by doing so, before she turned to one of the men, this one exceptionally tall and large, posing him a question
"How long to the serum takes effect?"
The man's gas mask made his voice sound robotic as he responded,
"Six weeks. Two to shut down her impressive regeneration, another two to poison her network of brood mothers, and finally two more to take the bitch herself ."
Nova turned to a guardsmen loitering around next to her"Take this up to the ship and have the armorer put it in my sniper round. "
Turning back to the special operative, she was all business.
"The Dominion appreciates your commitment to our cause. Your package will arrive shortly. " She pulled something out of her satchel charge and handed it to the giant operative "This should prove quite effective against you infected."
The man pulled out the holo-clip and showed it to his fellow operatives .
Nova shrugged . "The deal was that you would be provided with an extermination tool for the infected; Mercer is another matter and thus, another deal. You want us to send a specialist, you forward your research to us. "
Angry murmurs erupted from the operative, save for the front man who just shrugged to his comrades and said "Mengsk always struck me as one of those sleazy salesmen that would only give you have of what you asked." Turning back to her he said "If your associate is good, then we have ourselves a deal. But Blackwatch will remember this swindling."
Nova gave a shrug of her own "Business is business." Turning her back on the troopers she called back to them " I believe we are done here."
She hardly made it ten feet before she angrily turned back around, almost spitting at the man towards the left of the agent "Get your filthy head out of the gutter."
His compatriots just laughed and the big guy turned to his confused and shocked comrade, and patted him on the back . " Don't be so shocked Demetri, they told you she was a Telepath in briefing. Don't worry, I won't mention that in the report, can't fault you for staring can I?"
Nova was about to angrily turn away before a more serious operative asked "How will you get to the Queen? How do we know that you will succeed?"
Nova coldly turned to him, repeating the words that had been drilled into her time and again. "Failure is never an option for the Dominion and I am THE professional ghost of the entire empire. The best of the best. Rest assured that the Queen of Blades will fall."
Before heading back to her ship, Nova couldn't help adding "Though if I do fail, I wouldn't want to be anyone in Blackwatch once she finds out of your organization's, ahh, involvement".
Now she marched back to her ship, leaving the Blackwatch team a little intimidated, and wondering what the hell they had gotten into? Well all except one. The man who was verbally grilled earlier grumbled "why the hell did she call me out? I wasn't the only one staring! You all were!"
A voice, almost all inside the ship, called out "Because while they were smart enough to keep their minds empty, you were the one dumb enough to fantasize about "bending me over". Not the best way to get into a woman's heart or pants, as you want to do. "
Despite the new-found tension, the rest of the team burst out laughing at the now very unhappy operative. " I can't believe you didn't know she was telepathic, dumbass."
For the first time since she had been forcibly deinfested, Kerrigan was afraid.
No, she panicked, I have not come this far to lose control of everything I have to that....fiend.
That creature that had played all races against each other for its own benefit, that which thought to remake the world in its own image.
In the back of her mind, Kerrigan could hear the creature's dark and deep laugh of triumph, and the sound of the slaughter of her entire swarm.
She could feel the poison slowly seeping into her veins, and had to act with utmost haste to avert such a disaster. But first there was one unsettled question...
What to do with the unconscious girl that lay before her?
She could kill her off course, and quite effortlessly too, but for some reason that just seemed like a waste. She could also infest her....but did she really want to inflict that on anyone anymore? She had not done it since the partial de-infestation ( the Queen of Blades personality was rendered dormant, but was still a part of her) and honestly wasn't sure she wanted too...
She thought of Izsha, her great adviser, who prior to infection had once been the Terran Amanda Haley, a powerful Psionic human. Reflecting on the state of her adviser, she decided that she never wanted anyone else reduced to that again....even if she had recovered somewhat from the drooling monster she was previously. Especially not on a girl that reminded her too much of herself....
Letting her go was an option, but that would alert Mengsk to the fact that she was aware of his plan , and in turn alert the mysterious organization known as Blackwatch.That would be the worse option of the three. Though there was another option....
Jim Raynor. The most hated man in the Dominion and second most hated person, behind only Kerrigan herself. Though Dominion propaganda portrayed him as a cruel criminal who kept his force together only through fear, Sarah knew he was one of the last men that could be accused of being ....somewhat chivalrous.
He could take the girl off her hands, and he was too damn noble to do more then try to remove Mengsk's memory wipes and neural inhibitors. And besides, if she did that she could bargain for his help in drawing Mengsk's attention elsewhere.
Months ago she would not have had to consider such a alliance (nor would Raynor have ever accepted had she requested one) . Back then her swarm was the most powerful known force in the galaxy, and the only shot it had in repelling the hybrids. Now....her forces lay scattered across the sector, most no longer under command. The rebel queens that dared lead them defiantly refused her every command. How she wished to bring them under heel....but the opportunity to do so had not yet come up, and would not come up now. . Now she had an invasion to plan.
Kerrigan shook herself free from the flashback, still feeling confused by her actions. Why had she spared her, the assassin sent to kill her? She certainly wouldn't have a few months ago, and probably wouldn't have prior to her infection, either. So why do it? That was a question she couldn't quite answer....
Raynor was ecstatic, said that was something the old Sarah would have done, though she doubted that old Sarah would have (the pre-Tarsonis personality, she knew that the Queen of Blades persona would have never considered it) .Raynor took the girl, promising to help her, a proclamation that likewise left Sarah with conflicted feelings. But it was time to put those thoughts aside....
Within a hour, she would leave for a specially constructed portal that would take her to Earth. Who constructed it was currently unknown to her, but that didn't mean that she didn't couldn't take an educated guess.....This had HIS work all over it. That damned Duran and his shadowy master....
An overseer had already scouted the planet, and changelings had infiltrated the Blackwatch base in the nation called the United States (something stirred in the back of Sarah's mind, she could have sworn that that nation were mentioned somewhere in one of her history classes...) . After some detective work, they found that the organization had constructed the virus somewhere in New York, meaning that that place would be her destination. Maps were pretty simple to acquire as the world seemed to have been an exact replica of Earth, so much so that she was feeling eerie just thinking about going there. It had been two and a half centuries since the factions of Earth kicked her ancestors out for "polluting" there attempts at creating a perfect world, and except for a brief period where the U.E.D. tried to invade, contact had been pretty much cut . Now she was going back to her species home-world....and she really didn't know how she was supposed to feel about that.
IF she had launched the invasion the previous year, she would have been able to swarm over the planet. Now? Her armies depleted, her Zerg splintered and scattered to the winds, she could not hope to successfully conquer Earth and keep control of Char, the planet she had only just recently wrenched from Mengsk (luckily the old bastard in chief was too distracted by internal difficulties to counterattack) ..
Oh how the Mighty have fallen, she once again mused to herself, neither you nor I command a fraction of the power we once did. The difference is while I will return to my throne, you will be buried in the ashes of your empire.
Back to the subject at hand, it was clear that the attack force needed to be split . Multiple strike forces across multiple continents to prevent the human governments (speaking of which she was under the impression the Earth was unified under the U.E.D.? These nations actively competed against each other. Something was off here..) from being able to focus on New York . Another force of her best remaining air would have to serve as a rear guard, in the event that Mengsk showed up (she knew that Jimmy would try his best to keep him focused elsewhere, however the old man was simply too crafty even for him, and Kerrigan knew it wouldn't take him long to figure out what she was doing).
Suddenly a deep voice rang out from her side. Abathur, her evolution master and the sole creature capable of reverse engineering this virus in her employ, called out and said
"My Queen. The Fel Brood has been mustered and is ready to leave on your command."
She looked at the sentient ground at her feet. She had two prized ships left in her fleet. One was the Behemoth that the Fel Brood was currently stationed on.
The behemoth was the largest known organism in the entire galaxy, larger even then its younger cousin the leviathan. This giant creature was used to carry whole broods on, though it was a peaceful giant and never attacked even when attacked. Kerrigan's ground force was housed with the massive creature. The opposite of that in temperament housed her air force.
The Zerg Leviathan was a viscous beast that had four tentacles sticking out of its belly and spit Plasma at its foes. It was also Kerrigan's personal flagship, and indeed it was the creature that she, Abathur and Izsha normally resided on. Speaking of which Abathur called out questionably from the rear of the ship, taking her out of her thoughts
"Yes Abarthur it is time for us to depart. To Earth. To our.... my.....homecoming."
Back on Earth, Zeus was busy playing James Bond. As was his typical style, it hadn't been hard to sneak in and avoid the viral detectors by dropping in from the roof. Once inside he had preceded to absorb a Sargent named Nick Sanchez in the restroom, giving him a great overview of the system defenses, security and location of both of his primary targets .
They were both in the same block, and it wouldn't be difficult for Alex to reach, provided the D-codes stay within their sections. Those nasty little buggers could see through his disguise.
As Alex roamed the almost endless halls his thoughts drifted to the location within which he wandered. a few months ago, this massive complex hadn't been there. Instead the zone housed a apartment complex. In typical Blackwatch style, they asked the occupants to move once. Those that didn't heed the warning no longer factored into the Blackwatch conscience.....
Mercer turned a corner, and soon found himself staring straight at a Blackwatch squad.
The other scoffed.
"There is nothing impressive in trying to shoot a unconscious and defenseless woman, much less trying to do so AND failing. Surely that Mengsk could have-"
The scientist stopped and noticed Mercer for the first time. Changing his tone to that of a supervisor dealing with a particularly dumb underling, he asked
" Well, well, well, it looks like Anya finally got off her lazy ass and got you down here. Took you long enough. Give me the folders and tell her not to keep me waiting so long next time."
Alex, quietly fuming as this man reminded him of more then a few of his previous superiors, slowly reached out with the folders in his hand. As the scientist grasped them with an annoyed look molded onto his face, Alex's grip tightened. The scientist raised his gaze from the folders to Mercer, the retort on his lips stopped in its tracks by the smile on Alex's face. It was not a pleasant smile; in fact a smiling corpse would have looked a damn sight less creepy.
Without warning Alex's fist turned into a hammer, smashing away the psychologist who still stood beside the scientist and sending him crashing into a wall. Turning to his now scared prey Alex dropped the documents and sent his fist through the man's body.
A man whose suit was black as a unlit night leaned against a pole, his eyes obscured by a pair of shades. He was staring at the scientist, who had dropped his air of superiority that he had worn only moments ago, and had now assumed a tone of deference.
"S-sir. I am curious, Mengsk's men seem to be so much more advanced then our own.Why would they need technological help from us? My work requires me to under-"
A robotic, official voice interrupted him
"Yours is not to question Jenner, but to do. Though they are advanced in many ways, virology and genetics are not their strong-points. They cannot take her down without those two key areas. It will be your job, your mission to make a goddess mortal."
Once again Alex shook himself out of the flashback, trying to digest some of the info he had gained. The man in black seemed to have been deliberately vague.
Probably because he'd knew I'd be after his men, he reasoned to himself.
The government spook was currently out of reach for Mercer, being stationed in Nevada, and nothing could be done about him. Alex's train of thought was destroyed by the sound of a alarm. Looking over he saw that the psychologist hadn't been knocked out by the collision, and had destroyed his chances of leaving without a fight.
The possibility of more deaths did not unsettle Alex at all, and in fact he raised his now clawed fists to inflict another....
Images flashed by rapidly in Alex's mind, briefly pausing on the black and white old photo. A squad of men stood posed in what was obviously a victory photo prop. What stood out to Mercer was the tall shirtless man who had his arm wrapped around a younger, mustachioed man. Alex immediately knew, without knowing how he knew, that both men were important.
Over the photo the cool voice of the spook returned, giving details to the mysterious man
"Findlay, Tychus J. DOB: 2464, Mar Sara.Reports to: Emperor Acturus Mengsk of the Terran Dominion" The image changed to an old man with greying hair in what looked to be a giant trench coat. Not Alex's perception of what royalty should look like.... "Known Affiliates with : James E. Raynor." The mustachioed man's image popped up again. "Joined the Confederate military at a young age. Deserted and became a famed outlaw. Captured and subsequently incarcerated in New Folsom Prison. Released as part of a deal with Mengsk to kill the Queen of Blades. " The image changed from prison to a horrifying looking woman whose appearance seemed to be more insectoid then human. "Shot by James Raynor while attempting to fulfill that bargain. Recovered by Operative Nova and assigned new mission objectives; the death of Alex Mercer, code-named Zeus. "
The flashback ended, and none too soon, for Alex's form was being bombarded by bullets. . Knowing instinctively where they were coming from, Alex lifted a table and chucked it at the doorway, not bothering to look as the screams of the Blackwatch operatives reached his ears. He dashed through the lab, overturning equipment and stacks of paper as he went. He has a purpose now, one that he was mere meters away from. Turning his arm into a shield he bashed through a steel door, which had a sign engraved in it that said "Bio-Safety Level 5 : Equipment required" . Alarms, ten times louder then the one the psychologist had triggered, blared. If the base wasn't aware of Alex's intrusion before, they were now.
It did not take long for Alex to find what he was looking for, as the chained, slavering Hydralisk really stood out. When it saw Mercer it hissed and struggled, but the chains did not budge. Morphing his fists into claws, Mercer walked towards the creature, intent on carving up one hell of a turkey. Yet the creature had other ideas....
Quills burst from the Hyralisk at machine gun like speed. Being chained up and unable to aim properly, the spines scattered in all directions. One buried itself into the face of a super soldier who had just entered the room, saving Alex from a tough close quarters fight. Others buried into the walls all around them, and some few into Mercer's chest. Baring his teeth in pain. Mercer jammed both of his claws into the chest of the fiend, as he was treated to another sequence of memories....
A scene of battle on a volcanic world between heavily armored humans and a whole panoply of monsters. The soldiers were bravely holding off the monsters with a number of advanced rifles, however it was clear that they were being overran. As the scene shifted Alex got a last glimpse of a monster spitting acid onto a soldier, dissolving through his armor and flesh alike as the man howled.
The Hydralisk bowed its head in a oddly affectionate sort of way towards woman with razor sharp wings and purple-green body- the woman she had seen earlier. Her hand dropped to her side and petted the beast, as they both watched a tall humanoid looking figure cloaked in darkness flee.
The scene changed to and the creature gave a frightened hiss, a hiss, as a dozen tranquilizer darts buried themselves in its flank.
A steel cage entrapped it, and the creature awoke panicked, only to find that its arms were pinned to the floor.
More images rapidly entered and exited Alex's mind, too many for him to process. The one that stood out was that of the alien woman looking out at -
Alex was thrown from the memories when something powerful collided with his skull, sending him crashing through a brick wall. he landed in a pile of bricks
" Well its about damn time. I was wondering when you were gonna show up."
At this point Alex tried to rise, only for a metallic object to smash him in the gut with enough strength to send him flying into a nearby canister. A man's voice called out at him
"You egghead types ain't nearly as bright as you think you are. When it comes down to it your just as stupid and predictable as the rest of us."
Alex felt his rage grow the longer this man spoke. How dare this piece of trailer trash speak to him like that? Yet hearing him speak couldn't help but bring back memories of his childhood, when he had been surrounded by them. The neighbors, his dad, his deadbeat mother....all of them had been trailer trash and because of them his early life had been hell. All of them hated him for his natural gift, his intelligence, and talking to them became a torture. Eventually he got so fed up with them that he vowed to put every last ounce of effort he had into education, as it was his only chance to ensuring that he never had to interact with their types again. And now here he was, getting his ass beat by man who probably spent as many years in school as he had great-grandparents- meaning 5-6 by the looks of him.
Like hell he was going to allow a hillbilly in space armor do him in....
Alex morphed his biomass into muscles, meeting the hillbilly's fist head-on. It put a huge dent in the armor, destroying at least one of his knuckles. This caused the man, Tychus, to growl in annoyance. . Alex sneered at him, but missed the sight of Tychus's other hand, which brutally back-handed him. Alex reeled backwards, more pissed off and infuriated then ever before, but as made to head back to the redneck a strange cloud caught his attention.
Alex had watched Animal Planet before, and seen the dread storms of locusts that so devastated crops in Africa. That was nothing like this. The whole sky was covered in little dots, and they were rapidly approaching.
From somewhere near him he heard Tychus snort and exclaim
"So that bitch finally showed up?"