|"Trust me, I know what I'm talking about."|
|Phoenix Legion Chronicles, part I|
|Date: ||06/07/99 12:06|
|Game Type: ||Starcraft|
|Labels:||Famous Reporter(1), Starcraft(1), Old Classic(1), Text Only(1), Fan Fiction(1), Series(1)|
|Report Rating: , # of Ratings: 1, Max: 10, Min: 10|
Lifetime Rating for .Praetor: 8.2987
|Well, I decided I didn't want to study for finals tonight, so what to do? Go to BR.com! Well I'd played a bit of starcraft today, but nothing to really row my boat, so hmmm, what if I write some fiction about a Starcraft battle? If you don't think this is appropriate for the site Johnny, leave me a little comment, and I'll pretend someone is stealing my name.|
I was nervous when the Praetor called me into his office. I'd just lost a weeks worth of officer's rations to a Marine who was a little too good at cards. As such, I hadn't been in the officer's mess for quite some time. I just hoped Spike wasn't being too boisterous. The attendant outside the Praetor's Command Center waved me in, apparently I was important enough to be on the visual list.
The Praetor didn't really cut an imposing figure, with his head down, writing with some old-style pen. I'd seen the way the secretaries rolled their eyes when they had to scan the sheets of hard cloth that was written on, just so normal people could read it on a decent computer screen. I held back a snicker.
But when the Praetor looked up, it was a different story. He had blue eyes, but they could have been steel grey, and I'd have the same feeling. Straining, I tried to seem just a bit taller, my back a bit straighter. I glanced down at a bit of lint on my lapel. Damn, gambling and a dirty uniform. Am I going to get it.
"Haven't seen you for a few days, Fred. Too good for us officers nowadays?" He had that little quirky half-smile that could mean he was amused, or that he was playing with me, like a cat plays with a mouse. I tried to concentrate on the fact that I was almost half a foot taller than him. it wasn't working. "No matter. You know, I'm always fascinated when you are around. I don't know whether you are a black man, or more a blue one."
That got me riled up. I hate people mentioning my skin color. Bad enough almost no Africans had been sent on the prison ships to Korprulu, almost none of the darker people had been fully dark, or stayed that way. It set me apart, and in a bad way. "I'd say I'm a Legion man sir."
The Praetor chuckled, "Sorry to make you uneasy Fred. I don't hold it against you that you don't sunburn as easily as I do." I relaxed, he was amused, not anything else. The Praetor got up, and headed over to a glass bottle. "Something to drink Fred? I have some lightly flavored carbonated stuff here. Raspberry flavor." I'd have liked a brandy, but you don't refuse the Praetor"
"Good then." He poured us both a glass. "You know, your friend Spike is rather good at poker." I choked, and barely managed to avoid spitting up my drink. "Nothing to worry about. I bluffed my way through. Besides, I play only pence games. Anyway, over poker, he had a bit much to drink, and started talking about when he was a member of some mining company in the Combine. Seems one time during the initial invasion, his transport was caught and it's navigational abilities damaged. To save it, the captain quickly dropped out of warp in the nearest system. No rescuers were there, but the Zerg did not follow. See, they had stopped in Ashrigo." This time I did not have trouble keeping my drink in my mouth but it was close.
"But sir, that's hogwash. Ashrigo is the third highest system in the sector for blue-light radiation."
"A very good point Fred, however, Spike does remain alive. To check his story I had a reconnaissance squadron check the place out. It's true. There is a massive asteroid field there, also cluttered with debris. The useless, but odd metals in the belt provide protection to the single planet in the system, a rich jungle world, bathed in twilight at it's brightest. The flora is amazing, or so the egghead in the Science Vessel told me. More importantly, the moon orbiting the planet is a rich resource node. It is not nearly as pleasant, being more akin to Char than any habitable place. Still, I want the moon as a mining center, and the secluded planet as a potential fall back base for the Legion, should Kerrigan ever decide we are a threat. So, captain, you should head over to Fillmore's point, where your new Command Center is being finished. It has all the amenities, even a good decanter full of brandy." The Praetor sat back down at his desk, sipping his drink. I stood open-mouthed.
"Um, sir, I'm a lieutenant."
"Not anymore. Captain Dvorchek was siphoning funds, so he was unavailable. Plus, I liked the way you owned up to losing at poker. And I noticed the ghost you sent to follow Spike to find out how he does it."
"Um yes sir, thank you sir."
"This is a stealth mission, I don't want anyone seeing you warp into the system if it's possible, so I'm just sending the Command Center with you. We've managed to add a little tug on to it, so you should be able to take along your normal large compliment of staff and peoples. Once have enough science vessels in the areal, we'll find a supply route that can help you out. You shouldn't have any opposition when you get there, so you'll just be starting with a few SCV and a marine or 4. I'll send Spike along too." He bent down and began writing again. "Oh, yeah, don't screw this one up Fred, Ashrigo is really close to our little hideaway here." The Praetor pointed at his holomap, spinning slowly in the corner of his office. "Good luck." That was an obvious dismissal.
"I'll do my best sir." I saluted and turned to leave. In the background, the Legion's leader was hard at work.
"Abbey, have the Karanga four colonists attacked our position yet? ... Well see if you can get me through to their General, or President, or whatever fool leader passes for being in charge there."
I stepped into the waiting transport outside the Praetor's Command Center. How does he keep up with all the details? I talked with the rest of my team, who I met there. The three SCV's were quiet, and tried to stay out of the way. There was a card game going on between them and the marines, enough room because no one had their equipment on. Spike leaned against the wall on the other side of the transport. "Hi Boss."
"Not in the game Spike? I'd have thought you'd jump at a game of cards."
"Nah sir, these suckers wouldn't let me stay in their damn game, not after I won for the third time in a row. I ain't much over breaking even, and they throw me out. Why commander, I think you ought to do something about it." Spike was a smooth one all right. One of the marines looked up, worried.
I smiled, "Not a thing Spike, not a thing, these guys could have robbed you blind, and I'd let em keep you out of the game. It's a free coun... Well, it isn't a free country, but officers don't have a place telling their soldiers what to do in their free time. Don't you think so guys?" There was a chorus of yeah's and hear hear's, and I left Spike to go and talk to the pilot.
Sheryl had constructed the Command Center, and was the lead SCV for the expedition. She quickly directed those under her command to the closest mineral piles, so they could start mining as soon as possible. Every time I watched the laborious mining process, I wished someone would invent the shielding that kept communications from being messed with by the electronic fields surrounding valuable metals and crystals. Or even just a ventilation system that could be used to keep the air-cooled reactor in the Command Center going despite some interference from vespene gas. Even the Protoss and the Zerg couldn't do that though. I sighed again, it was not to be so.
I surveyed my command room, my crack team of operation specialists bored watching the SCV's at their work. The marines had finished exploring the large plateau that was now my very own base. The reported happily that it had only one faintly accessible route up the side, and that was all. This corresponded with the rough map of the resource area that the Science Vessel had provided as data. We were situated in the southwest section of the resource area. I didn't know much else, but initial scans had shown a depression edged on the sides by various cliffs, with four plateaus spread about equally around the center. In the middle of the depression, there were signs of some minerals and a rich gas deposit. I looked forward to construction of a valuable outpost for the legion. Keeping two marines about to scare away any wildlife or whatnot, I sent Spike and another marine out to scramble down the ramp and see what there was to see.
They entered a small valley, heavily boxed in, with only one other way leading out by land. Apparently there had been a rockslide, and later an eruption, forming a steep but smooth pathway of hardened lava. I had had four more SCV's made, and grumbling privates were pulled away from the rec center, to go out and do some mining. Before another was built, I had Sheryl make a supply depot as added storage for the shipments that soon should be coming in from the rest of the Legion.
Spike reported that his little patrol had come upon a ridge area with another ramp down to the main valley, and that the ridge continued to the left and to the right. Just as I ordered another SCV built, the operations man keeping an eye on Spike reported a Protoss unit. Knowing Spike and his buddy were no match for any Protoss unit, I quickly ordered them to stay out of sight if possible. After the comlink shut off, I reacted badly. "Main screen you fool! Put this up on the main screen!" My 'crack' staff member turned even whiter, and a representation of the area was shown on the main holo projector, replacing the SCV's happily mining away. It showed a picture of Spike, sending in reports, as well as the area from overhead, the men shown as generic icons. A small map in the lower left corner reminded me where this was happening in relation to the rest of the important area.
I snuck a glance at the accounting indicators. Damn! Not enough material for a barracks yet. Noting that Spike commanded the top of the ridge, and that the zealot - just a zealot, thank god - wasn't in range yet. "Connect me directly to Spike. Tag him call number seven." Spike liked seven-card stud. "Spike, I want you to show yourselves, and ask, no order, the Protoss not to come any further. Tell him if he gets in range, you'll shoot, and try to see if you can get me in touch with his commander."
Helplessly, I watched the screen. Spike and his marine stood on the edge of the ridge, and yelled down at the Protoss. Battlesuits have decent amplifiers, so he should be able to hear them. Sure enough, the suit camera from Spike showed him raising his head and looking at the two marines. "Stay there. This is Legion held territory. We wish to avoid any provocations, but if you advance too closely, we will shoot. Our commander would like to see if he can discuss this matter with your um... leader." I had Sheryl start on a barracks when she was done with the supply depot.
The zealot was not in a friendly mood. "And why should I listen to little Terrans?"
Spike pretended not to be impressed. Translator technology on a simple battlesuit was something, indeed. Perhaps they were expecting trouble. "Because we have the high ground, plus we'd rather not get in a tussle anyway."
The zealot was indecisive. After a few moments of pause, it said "Channel 42, Chernowitz standard." Hmm, they knew standard Terran communication frequencies. I wonder what else they knew. The zealot left in the opposite direction. I took a small gamble, and sent Spike to cross the map, while the other marine headed towards the plateau directly north. Keeping the two marines at the top of the closest ramp, I sent an SCV out to scout the southeast corner. I had another SCV start construction on another barracks. I kept making SCV's too, thinking enough of them could hold a zealot off, if need be. Spike passed the zealot leaving the north east plateau, luckily, the zealot didn't attack, just went towards the southeast. The other marine made it to the southeast, and found a nightmare. At the edge of the creep, he could see the glistening hide of a newly made hatchery. Seven drones worked away, and two zerglings ran after the marine. He did live long enough to be sure of the entirety of the infestation. Spike climbed to the top of the northeast plateau. Since he was the top priority (and currently only) control group, his report was public as default. "Commander, I've got bad news, the Fourrier mining company is here. It's the one I worked for before, where the transport accidentally found the system. Um, I should have mentioned this before, but a relative told me that the Mengsk put them out of business, some sort of political thing, trying to keep the Kel-Morian Combine out of the New Dominion created when Korhal was liberated from the UED, and that they company hand left with just a handful of men. I think we've found them. Oh shit." Gauss fire started up, but only from Spike's rifle.
"Get out of there Spike, get back to camp." He had the information I needed, four marines and several SCV's were present, as well as a barracks, and the lights were on. Luckily the marines had been hidden in the peon line. As Spike retreated, I asked, "Spike, were those U-238 rounds you were firing. That was some impressive range."
"Well, you see, er, I won this little wager during my week with the brass, and..."
"Stop there Spike. Good job. Get back to camp." Sheryl reported the barracks finished. I ordered a battlesuit constructed, and sent some of the soldiers quartered in the Command Center over to stay at the barracks. An alarm signaled on the map, and the marines at the ramp reported killing a zergling just before it could reach them. I told them to advance to the ramp above the resource valley near our plateau, accompanied by Sheryl. They would meet Spike there and protect a bunker while it went up. The other SCV I had sent out found the Protoss base, at the plateau directly north of my position. There was a Nexus there, and a pylon, plus a gateway. None of our units can ever tell if one of those things is working at the moment. A lone zergling entered soon after, as my SCV reached the mining group of probes. Two probes dispatched to follow my SCV, and I remembered I hadn't called the Protoss commander yet. I sent my SCV towards the zergling and told it to attack. It would even have a decent chance against the little beast. It attacked one of the probes instead, but the zergling went down to the three workers attacking it rather quickly. The probe had only lost shields. I ordered the SCV away quickly, it was not pursued. That SCV I sent to explore the ridge area, and the valley, to look for any other possibly important resource spots. All the other plateaus had a small valley as well, of varying forms and sizes with the single unifying feature of riches available.
I broke communications silence and contacted the Praetor. I was displayed on his desk screen, making him seem very large on the wall-sized monitor in my command center. "Fred. I thought I ordered radio silence." Radio? This was a trans-warp communicator. "I'm in a bad mood, so make it quick. Mengsk talked me into giving him a wing of wraiths for a last ditch attack against Kerrigan." That was completely unlike the Praetor, there must have been a good concession in it. Perhaps recognized autonomy.
"Sir we've got competition for the moon. The Protoss are there, as well as what's left of the Fourrier mining company. There's a hatchery as well." The Praetor swore under his breath. "We're all at a similar level of progress. I've got a bunker set up, but we're going to need more supplies that are available by a covert transport route, and faster too. There's been verbal contact with the Protoss, but none of the others. I'd like permission to negotiate with all the antagonists, especially the Protoss."
"You've got it. Suggest to the Protoss commander a complete split of the moon between our forces and co-operation in battle. I don't like the Fourrier company, tell them they can leave if they can. Inform the Zerg... Well with the Zerg, try and eradicate them early. It doesn't seem like Kerrigan would be there, she's got bigger and better plans she's busy with. If we get the Zerg early, maybe she won't notice. Kerrigan there, how odd... Anyway, the Protoss can't have much invested this far from any known base of operations, and Kerrigan is busy. Since the Fourriers are refugees, you should all be dependant on the moon itself. I'm afraid you will be too. I'm counting on your skill to win this one for us, got it?"
"But sir! A squad of wraith soon and it's over! And.."
The Praetor cut me off, "No. That squad of wraith are going to lose their lives under Mengsk, and problems abound concerning our campaign on Aiur. He grimaced. Just to tell you how bad, I'm going there personally to supervise the hottest battlefields." I raised my eyebrows, that was a huge step. Putting the Praetor at risk meant, well it meant that this battle may decide the future of the Legion. "Now that you know the importance, I leave to you the fate of Ashrigo. Oh, and don't mention our campaigns to the Protoss, I don't think they actually know we are on Aiur for the moment, and they probably wouldn't take it well if they found out. Good luck. Oh, and I will set up an active supply service, but you're going to operate on your own."
With that, the screen went blank. I looked around the operations room. "Well boys, let's get to work. The crowd began to move again, began to talk again."
"The scouting SCV has found another rescurce node in the far north. Light mineral content and gas. Below the ridge."
"The second barracks has been finished."
"Sir, I've finished the bunker, Spike and company are inside... Roger, beginning another by the Command Center."
I got back to work as well. "More SCV's and marines, save enough money for Sheryl's new bunker and another supply depot. When we have enough money, I want another barracks built as well. Now get me through to the Protoss."
This is, of course, just the first installment. There should be more fighting in the second part. All you old-schoolers, remember the setting on Warcraft I, where you could set the number of standing forces for a beginning fight? This is a little modified, players get a CC, as well as 4 SCV and 100 minerals in basic units. I picked a map that most people will know (if you don't it's a great ladder map) so that the battle will more easily be visualized in your head. Flames and compliments please, one day that comment record will be mine!! What is it, 45 or so?