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Tales of the Flesh: Part III
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Author:.Praetor
IP:12-255-5XXXX
Date: 12/20/02 10:12
Game Type: Starcraft
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Report Rating: 8.5, # of Ratings: 2, Max: 9, Min: 8
Lifetime Rating for .Praetor: 8.2987
Yes, I know what you are thinking. 'What the hell!?!' For those of you who are thinking 'What the hell, more fanfiction?', you may search for my previous reports and read parts I and II, or you can bite me. For those of you who are thinking 'What the hell, the last installment was over two and half *#$&@*( YEARS ago!?!", I merely refer you to the comments section on part II. I was touched.

In either case, I suggest you read the previous two installments again before you read this one. The HOF has a handy-dandy automatic search which you can use to find them. Oh, and unless comments just don't happen, I promise to finish TOF within, oh, the year. I'm not getting ambitous, obviously, but I'll keep this promise, I swear...

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Go read the first two parts!!!

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I sense the growls and feel the hunger, visual senses shifting as heads are tossed back and forth. The creep seems inadequate to sustain, and it barely provides traction.

HaaaAAaaaaa! Gas escapes my form, producing a sound that emulate the low growl emanating from the throats of my new claws, the zerglings who have birthed from my egg sacs.

Aaaawwk! The cry of a diving kakaru unexpectedly intrudes on my consciousness again. For a moment, I am stunned by the Archon’s sheer essence before I can appreciate the image imprinted in my mind. Little Terrans, who should freeze in the snow but do not, walking faster than constant reports say their bodies can, since they encase themselves in metal, polymers, and other weak compounds. Two mechanical tanks causing streams of hot water and even steam to flow down a navigable rise, cresting the top and chasing, ever so slowly, the retreating toothless warriors before them, warriors who seem to have lost their revulsion of the creep.

My creep.

NO! (fear) A specialized organ in my bulk, unused for some time, traces the floor of the chamber I reside in with pheremones. The chamber’s psi-active floor picks up the command and Squk orders my zerglings to swing east before turning north. The toothless warriors, both whole-of-body and encased turn. Those who are encases shoot their soulless energy balls at the hot Terran. Those whole-of-body run towards the Terrans with fast metal bits. Claws tear at snow and dirt, and I feel the rush of cold air as my minions rush at screaming metal.

I hear thunder outside, with my own auditory membranes. Part of my splashes, one larger beast and two smaller disappear, while the creep is disturbed by an impact and an explosion around an encased toothless warrior. The thunder makes the sharpening of claws and carbon-fiber armor gnashed in my brood’s teeth taste even better.

Thunder! Chemicals spill onto my creep, poisoning a small area.

Blood! The warm ambrosia pours over jaws, failing to satisfy my minions. A small one is destroyed by ammunition explosions as the rest of my band – nothing here deserves the word swarm – begins to tear apart the second war machine.

It squeals, trying to flee! My zerglings refuse to abandon their prey, their limited synapses crazed by the relentless mental prodding of Squk. Squk will do well in my service. Again, the tangy nourishment of Terran blood is tasted. My zerglings feast, not only on the crews of the war machines, but on the bodies destroyed by the toothless warriors. See how they react to the glorious savagery! Do the toothless ones know the joys of life we experience? The two that remain standing leave our creep, one that is injured has to be helped.

I wish to tap into my minions, feel as they do the joyous feast. But I am not here for entertainment. Now more than ever, I am coerced. I try to find the screaming Kakaru, but I am shoved away. My mind seeks a way to report, roaming the plateau filled with the toothless ones’ robots. I sense the warm wind of a tropical beach, the movement of flexible branches, and the intricate murmur of leaves dancing on their branches. The sounds and the scene engrosses me, as I view the glorious sky of Aiur, a planet I have never visited. Froth jumps from the sea as the wind picks up, straining the branches of the trees on the beach. In seconds, I am almost afraid of the winds that blow all before their path. I pull back, and while I can feel the white Archon’s essence I avoid being destroyed by the storm which rages within. WHAT?

Reality intrudes. Several wings and other bits surround the white Archon, testimony to the mutalisk flock that he destroyed as his brother held them before him. OH, THAT. YOU ARE WORTH LITTLE TO ME. UNDERSTAND NO MORE PROTOSS WILL BE DISPATCHED TOWARDS YOU. DEFEND YOURSELF AND MAKE YOURSELF USEFUL, OR DIE.

Why are the toothless ones superior in the matter of minds? Why does he rip my meaning from me before I know there was contact. It was not once that way…

I raise another Overlord, and Squk begins teaching it before it is hatched. Defense… Defense… Defense… I have none, so I act as I have plenty. My zerglings are sent running, all of them, even the little ones. RUN! I begin to feel the land beyond what the toothless ones had shown me. It is a rich place here, despite the cold. I take note of a good-sized eruption of surface minerals as my zerglings travel. I allow my senses to contract, reviewing my hatchery. The walls seem stronger, though that may just be stiffness from the cold. I am becoming more comfortable, although it is still cramped. Drones. Two larvae end their existence, their organs moving in natural ways.

Blood and pain. Good and bad. My remaining zerglings die, but they destroy four marines, and I now know the location of the brand new bunker they had been waiting for. If only the Terrans think I have made this attack out of surplus, not as a ruse. Please.

Ark! I seize my second Overlord before it is fully hatched, sending it north. Watch closely, for my life may depend on it. Drones continue to deposit resources in the hatchery’s many receptacles. More. I must have more. I know better than to push the drones, they are almost always at the exhaustion point. My remaining larvae begin to change, creating more workers. No more larvae. Hmmm…

I survey what little information the Protoss have left to me. Three fighter vessels, the toothless ones label them scouts drop from orbit. They meet four shuttles over the plateau of archons. All seven vessels leave, empty but for pilots in the scouts. Odd. The passable regions of the moon in the northwest and southeast are illuminated by observers, but remain empty. The northeast corner is dark. Dark, and ominous.

Something tries to reach… no nothing. NOTHING!

I must have another hatchery. A drone changes, its life spreads and expands, becoming more glorious as I divert energy crystals to it, making it more than it ever could have been as a drone. Once…

Sarah laughed. She was reading some of the trinkets that had survived her cocoon. “In order to construct their grotesque biological structures, the Zerg must sacrifice a member of one of their more common strains, the drone. While interesting, this has little relevance to battlefield commanders, although it is refreshing to note this is one limitation they possess which we do not: regardless of time or resources, they cannot build an entire base with just one worker.” I hardly remember why that had been funny. What must it have been like, for Sarah, to go from one entirely different view, to the truth that all Zerg share by their birthright?

More drones. A few larvae squirm from my hatchery, and I almost force them to transform before they have made their way to the creep. No one else is around to tell me I am reckless. I tell myself. I am weak. Death could come at anytime. To live, one must gamble. But what is to live, under the auspices of that toothless one?

WORRY NOT, ABOMINATION. AS YOU REMAIN USEFUL, WE WILL ASSURE YOUR PATHETIC BODY REMAINS NOURISHED. HOWEVER, YOU MIGHT NOTE THAT WITH NO FIGHTING ABILITY, YOU ARE NOT CURRENTLY USEFUL.

Did I summon him? Doom Dragon. Is that his name, or the one I have given him? Is he watching all the time? No, I sense his presence has left. I trust no shield to keep him out, but if he is not trying… He does not understand. My life is not just my body, it is my brood. And despite his assurances, what is it to live, under his auspices. Sarah?

No answers. I know better than to ask the Overmind. I remain defenseless. I shudder, and a drone becomes an extractor. I have two hatcheries, and two larvae become eggs. Did I slip into a regenerative torpor? The eggs begin to hatch. I behold my seven zerglings. “Both scourge and zergling strains share the odd trait of producing two offspring per single larvae. Confederate scientists are not yet certain whether or not this is an effort to manage limited larvae supply. Confederate scientists are not yet even sure whether or not Zerg have a limited larvae supply. In any case, commanders in the field can expect to see recently produced groups of zergling and scourge strains appear in even numbers.”

Sarah had read that part of her intelligence briefing as we watched two zergling eggs hatch. One, very rare, had three full-grown specimens. The other hatched bearing one full-grown specimen and three runts one fourth the size of a normal zergling. I found the Terran ignorance hilarious, but and awkward moment ensued. Sarah tried to explain how Terran command and control systems presented representations based on mass, so that whatever the actual result, virtually all zergling births would show on Terran devices as two full-grown specimens. It was only later she began to appreciate the piercing truths available as a Zerg. To be Zerg is to know things as they are, to sense the essence of things with no icons to confuse the issue.

Then why are you so con…

Minerals gather. I cease contemplating the production of zerglings and order larvae transform into the useful strain. What was that, the wall? A physical intrusion. Unacceptable. My personal hatchery begins to grow and expand, to accommodate my increased bulk. With the taller spires, I could soon. But no, a spire is too ambitious now. More eggs transform into drones, once more I resist the urge to work my current drones to exhaustion. I usually do not dwell on such temptations, but my brood has never been so small. A second companion for Squk, yes…

I look through the eyes of a toothless watching drone. It is easier now. Nothing there, good. Wait! Fast, small war machine. I have seen those before, and when there are those…

Quak runs. Faster! Quak runs faster. Faster still! Squk protests, warning of death. I overrule it and Quak runs faster. I order the overlord in the north to stay connected until the end, unconcerned with any disorientation. One explosion, and a member of my brood dies. A seconds explosions ensures there is nothing but pieces in the snow. My overlord has to use his sensory clusters to detect the third explosion. Well worth the cost. Terrans are fools to use burrowing creature-devices that always reveal themselves.

YOU HAVE DONE SOMETHING USEFUL. A storm rattles my consciousness. USE MORE OF YOUR CLAWED ONES TO CLEAR THESE LANES NEAR THIS PLATEAU. The images are forced upon me, and the paths to be checked cannot be mistaken.

I obey and send off the zerglings before the storm forces me to do so.

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yours,
Fred Wilson

http://www.ethermoon.com
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