Star Wars: Evolution of the Rogue Zerg
Chapter 8 (Part 1)
Time period: 15 minutes after level two lockdown initiation
Oh look… Rithcus smiled. This was the last stretch of hallway to the hanger. He didn't need any shortcuts or anything to get around the extra lockdown. He was a Republic officer and he had a lightsaber. It wouldn't even be 5 minutes before he was gazing into the biggest single room of the outpost.
Abdule walked through the hallway leisurely, whistling. His wounds felt like nothing at all to him. He didn't know why. What was his anesthetic?
These Zerg were monsters. They seethed with evil, they could transform technology to serve their biological needs, and from what he saw before his fight with that larger zerg, they could also transform other life into their own.
Never before had Jedi Master Rithcus taken so much pleasure in killing.
And he had not yet even killed more then one of them. There were more than a dozen left in the base, and he was to be the force of retribution that would turn them into piles of motionless meat. He smiled at the ideas. The ecstasy of the previous fight had been exhilarating.
But it left him wondering.
What was that gibberish it was talking about? Templar? Psionics? Meaningless terms, but no matter how meaningless they were, no matter how evil the Zerg were, Abdule felt inconceivably interested in them. There was just something about all that hideousness that attracted his attention.
Perhaps after purifying the base, he'd find the rest of them. Kill them? Maybe he didn't have to. Maybe he could study them, like the animals they were, in cages that they deserve. Would the Order allow it? Who cared! They were abominations from another galaxy! Spawned from the pit of darkness and come to devour the Republic!
They deserved the worst that Abdule could offer them.
If only his last victim had not become a mindless shell of a monster. Then it would have been satisfying torturing it to its final breath. Then it would have been so lovely listening to it actually scream, in all of its humongous strength and girth and skill.
At least it was dead, put down like the barbarian it was. Soon, they would all be dead.
And so should anything that got in the General's way.
Nothing would stop the retribution of the light.
Tiborsis was drooling. Hungry. Not physically. But in every other way a male zerg could be, he was hungry. It was irritating, how slow and smug the General's pace to the hanger was. Tiborsis wanted his blood NOW. He couldn't fight in those tiny hallways even a little. It he could, even if he was the size of a zergling, he would have nonetheless gone in there and fought the powerful psionic warrior.
And probably won also, even at such a small size.
But unfortunately it was not going to happen like that. He had to wait, and listening to the Overlords panic like frightened children was not helping the bad mood.
"Syrmatu, they are close enough to the lobby room to get around by themselves, let go of control over that trooper before the General gets here!" Nibloth said for the third time.
The Intelligent responded quietly, "Soon, old one. Very soon. But not yet. I have a bad feeling about this, so I'm exploiting this strategy as long as possible," it was obvious he was concentrating hard under great stress.
"I would advise you not go on for a minute longer," Ruktis snapped, "We all need to be battle-ready to assist Tiborsis. We can't assume that the General will even give us a few seconds to prepare before he charges in for the kill. You all felt the magnitude of his psionics. We need to all be in or we won't leave this place alive."
"… Very well," Syrmatu surprisingly said, and then visibly let go of the commando he had been mind controlling, "But if the Ambassador and her bloody escort don't make it here alive, I'll blame you."
Tiborsis snarled at all of them, "You fools, if the General does not die, NONE of them will make it out alive. Stop your blathering and get ready," he wasn't in a good mood, and he could feel it. The colossal psionic presence was a mere few steps from the entrance. They could all feel it. The Overlords briefly shuffled around where they hovered, anxious.
And then, without a moments notice, the room was overwhelmingly full.
There he stood, Republic General Abdule Rithcus. Injured, but looking quite the opposite in expression. He took literally a minute to eye all of the huge zerg in the room, one by one, his smile increasing, and his aura enlarging.
Overlord Nibloth very bravely spoke up, "Your genocidal plans end here, Jedi. You will behold the mental fury of the Rogue Zergs hierarchy."
Tiborsis then listened, sickened, and yet enthralled, as the General's grin disappeared, and as he looked blankly at Nibloth. Then, it reappeared, twice as amused, and the General gave probably the most devious laugh any zerg had ever heard.
In one move, he shifted into a battle position and drew his blade of light and said, "And I thought I was already having fun. I hope you bloated bugs have some bite and not just bark, because nothing but a miracle will save you from me."
"COMMANDER! Attack!" The Overlords floated erratically as Ruktis then yelled that, directed at Tiborsis, "Hold him off for our psionics!"
Tiborsis did nothing.
He had heard the Overlord, but did nothing. He hung there still, from the ceiling, watching, out of sight of the bulky Overlords, but not of the General.
Rithcus gave a shrill laugh and jumped inhumanly high in a first charge attempt to cut Nibloth. He barely drifted out of the way to be severely wounded, but instead, his chitin was scalded as the General cut downward, ending his attack on the ground.
"You damned coward Mutalisk! Get into the fight!" Syrmatu yelled before beginning to channel a power.
Tiborsis was silent… and then softly murmured, "This is supposed to be my fight alone. If you three kill him before he kills you, then what's done is done. But I refuse to fight him at all but alone," in his last sentence he hissed loudly, and the Overlords threw panic and terror and outrage into the Ariel Commander's mind.
"How DARE you! You greedy traitor! Who are you to betray lives for glory!" Nibloth screamed as the General laughed again and landed on top of his carapace with one jump.
Tiborsis chuckled, "This is nothing about glory. This is my hunt. Until you are dead, it is your hunt. Let's see who is the strongest Rogue Zerg alive now, shall we? Surely it must be you, in all your hierarchy might who will dominate this opponent, aren't you?"
Tiborsis and the General both laughed, not in unison, not in the same tone, but they did nonetheless. Nibloth fell, his entrails now spilled out of an open wound and his figure deflating. The oldest Overlord in the room died, and Ruktis blasted Rithcus many meters away with a psionic power, yelling, "YOU ARE NOT FIT TO BE A ROGUE ZERG, TIBORSIS!"
"AND YOU ARE NOT FIT TO LIVE!" Tiborsis roared back, "You pathetic Overlords control us, monitor us, get above us, rule the lives of all underlings, and for what? Because these are you rights by your genome? THIS SHOWS YOU HOW WEAK YOU ARE! We are Zerg! Only the strong should deserve their bearings, and the only ones in this room that are strong are the General and I," Tiborsis smiled, at last, and was silent.
Only he was going to be left.
And then, his prey would be his, and no one else's.
This was his destiny.
To set the standard of Zerg ferocity strength and save his people.
Ruktis was the fastest of the Overlords who were fighting. But his humongous claws were still not fast enough, even with psionics, to hit the General, who was becoming more and more inhumanly fast. He would swipe, very quickly for his size, and the General would vault, or flip, fast enough to avoid boulder-sized slams going at nearly terminal velocity, each of which greatly dented the floor or wall every time they hit a surface. Rithcus was gleeful, and one by one, he dodged and attacked, cutting off individual dainty limbs, each one being more painful then the next, each one provoking a louder shriek of pain.
Tiborsis could tell he loved it.
Ruktis then fell to the ground, having lost too much blood to move, to sustain his inflation and his wings. He would likely die within a few minutes.
Rithcus seemingly took even greater delight as he turned then to fight Syrmatu alone. Both were powerful psychics, Tiborsis observed, but the General was tougher, in the long run. The High Overlord drifted as quickly as he could, strafed as fast as possible to avoid the strikes, shooting lightning, creating wells of gravity, blowing Rithcus back with pure kinetic force.
He was good, but the Jedi was better.
No matter how many wounds he sustained, he got back up. Anyone else would have been a paste at the Intelligents psionic assault, but not the General. Tiborsis was excited beyond belief. The General was smoking and wounded and bludgeoned even more, but he was unstoppable, and the High Overlord was not immovable. Syrmatu thought it prudent to try flying as high as possible in the hanger and barraging the General from above, which as first proved useful, the Ariel Commander was impressed. Very much. He even felt like perhaps the High Overlord even might win as he forced the General to jump, run, and dodge while frequently tossing him around like a ragdoll with the explosions of kinetic energy and energy bolts as they hit the ground.
But Tiborsis knew it wouldn't be over.
Syrmatu boomed with as loud as his enormous stereophonic voice could, "MY POWER IS UNMATCHED, JEDI! SURRENDER AND I MAY CONSIDER SPARING YOUR PUNY LI-," but he was interrupted.
General Rithcus gave a very shrill, thrilled laugh as he suddenly held his hand up, clamped a fist down and made a pulling motion in his direction, facing the Intelligent. Syrmatu was abruptly pulled out of the highest nook of the hanger and he plummeted to the ground, slamming and skidding across the metal in a huge racket, his head stopping literally at the feet of the General.
He stood above the Overlord, smiling… and then plunged his saber into Syrmatu's head. Tiborsis felt the Intelligents life fade away before his mind and body, his last thoughts being filled with rage towards Tiborsis and his choice.
And then there was one.
And he and Rithcus were as happy as could be.
Kriss collapsed partially onto the consol, sitting at the control room chair also. He breathed, hard. At first, he didn't know what to think. He could move his eyes, and so he was confused. He could move them? He moved a finger; then his left hand, then his arm. Then he sat up, and stared at his palms, his eyes moving rapidly.
He had control! At last! He laughed out loud and then took his helmet off. He breathed with his lungs, voluntarily, by his own will. He kept laughing, here and there, wiped his brow of the relieved flop sweat and then leaned his forehead on the controls.
His breathing slowed, and his laughter and smile softly faded. He had never been happier and more relieved in his life then to have control over his body back. But it was a short lived good mood. He blinked, now calm, his expression blank as he went back on what had just happened. The zerg Overlord… Syrmatu, had mind controlled him to the extent that he had no control over his body. While it at first seemed horribly malicious though, after the event, Kriss was even more conflicted now then before. Syrmatu did not control every single last thing. He didn't control Kriss's thoughts or his beliefs or anything deep like that, just his body's movements.
And just as Kriss could see through his eyes, unable to do anything, he could also see through the zerg's… eyes, he supposed, also unable to anything.
These Zerg really came here with the best of intentions. Maybe some of them seemed like vicious killers, but it was always because they were hunters, warriors, knights… here for protection, fighting a battle they had never fought before. The Overlord that had controlled his body was not even a frequent slave driver of any kind. He merely wanted to take Kriss's and the squad's tactical advantage and use it to get his people to safety.
It was painful.
Being a clone trooper of the mighty Galactic Republic… of all the times in the universe he wished he could stop himself from obeying a Jedi, he wished he been able to earlier. The only way he could go against the order now was the fact that he saw, with his own 'eyes,' that Jedi Master General Abdule Rithcus was out of his fucking mind.
Perhaps that Commander Zerg… Tiborsis? Maybe he was a vicious duelist, but the General was a madman. Not a Jedi anymore in the least. A true force of insanity and evil; thirsting for blood and battle with aliens out of self righteous fury. Kriss didn't know what the cause was, he didn't know what exactly to do to stop this onslaught…
But he knew he had to do something.
He picked up and put his helmet back on, sealing it. He checked each piece of armor on his body for preparation, fixing any imperfections. Then he picked up the rest of his armaments, and his DC-17. Right before exiting the control room, he turned off all of the lockdown procedures that the Overlord has put in place, because at this point, he needed a fast exit to the hanger to confront the General before everything went to hell.
He then stormed out into the hallway at full speed.
Kriss had only one enemy today; not the Zerg, but none other then his former officer: Former Jedi Master Rithcus.
Hiktic was near his breaking point. He could barely handle the fact that he had lost so many in one sitting, in comparison to all of the hunts he's led before. These were his first major casualties, and he didn't know what to do. He almost wished Karsona could hold herself entirely together, because that fact that she could barely carry her own footsteps was not helping the situation.
But it wasn't even the members of the party that weighed so much on everyone. Only moments ago, they had all nearly become malignantly ill as they listened to the cries of agony as the Overlords were slain… as the damned Ariel Commander allowed their deaths. Most underlings didn't share the view that the Overlords were slave drivers. Newborn Overlords tend to assert their power in an uncomfortable way, but ones like Nibloth, Ruktis… Even High Overlord Syrmatu the Intelligent… they were friends. They bettered the Rogue Zerg. They weren't hindrances.
Practically feeling their pain had dangerously lowered the moral of the party. Karsona, as observed, looked like death. And Hiktic felt responsible. He wasn't prepared to live through this, even a little. But no matter what, he refused to loose all hope. He'd fight to the ends of the world for Karsona… he'd die for this mission. Proudly.
As would the others.
It didn't matter what happened, as long as the true enemy is destroyed and enough of them get back home. Hiktic then peered back, at Karsona, and she slowly walked in the very back of the group. He let the hydralisks lead as he then slowed down and slipped back next to her in the walk.
She didn't look at him. Only at the ground as he said, "Don't worry, we're almost there. Those lockdown doors all got deactivated, so we'll be fine."
She growled lightly at him, "Right, we're just fine while the Overlords lie dead in our destination and a damn contingent of soldiers is out to kill us," Hiktic noticed tears welling up in her eyes.
He shook his head and sighed, "I… I know. But please, don't worry… I won't let them take you," unexpectedly, she peered at him as he added, "I'm here for you. There isn't anyplace I wouldn't follow you."
She stammered, "B-but… I'm a useless, tiny zergling! What have I possibly done to earn that kind of respect?"
"I…" Hiktic had to think about it for a second, "… You have a strong heart. All of us can feel it. You've held yourself together, despite your inexperience, and all you've willed is for us to live and nothing else, not even your own life. You're selfless. We'd die proudly for you because you'd do the same for us."
He noticed out of the corner of his eyes that she was looking at him, speechless, and then she turned away, looking back at the ground, this time in silent contemplation. Then he barely heard her softly mutter, "Thank you…"
And with that, Hiktic smiled. He didn't know… why, but he felt far more optimistic at that moment. But suddenly, he was slightly shocked most of the zerg in the party turned to give Karsona a glance and a sign of acknowledgement. At another glance, Hiktic noticed her tears well up more until they glittered down her soft face.
He didn't know what was going on in her mind, but he knew that everyone else in the group was still extremely proud of her for being here for everyone.
Then the party suddenly stopped, and Hiktic noticed why, there was a hopefully unlocked door now, sitting ahead of them. If they were lucky, it would lead to the hanger or nearly to the hanger.
"Alright! Hydralisks, open it up please," the Hunter Party leader chirped.
"So this is the lobby? You're sure Gent?" Gent heard Double ask as he typed in a splice to open the only locked door left in the base, probably. He was, to be honest, infuriated. After too many minutes of walking, he still hadn't encountered the monsters that did this to him, and he was positively lusting for a fight.
"Yes, Double, this is the door to the hanger lobby. I know the corridors like the back of my hand, even after a lockdown," Gent almost snarled back with his semi-stereophonic voice.
"Good thing then. Everyone, get ready," Double said. Gent then heard the rest of the squad shuffle around behind him, preparing for a combat move considering they don't know what's behind the door inside the lobby.
The door greeter chimed quickly, and then opened the door. If Gent were still totally human, he would have gasped, but instead, he yelled, "MOVE! Get into cover, all of you!" He jumped on all fours and charged forward. Inside the lobby was the main group of Zerg, among them the Ambassador. They were examining the room and also looking out the window of the lobby down into the hanger at whatever was going on down there.
Immediately when Gent charged, fury and bloodlust filling his soul, the Ambassador screamed and the larger of the zerglings yelled, "GET INTO COVER, HUNTERS! With me, warriors; hold your ground! Do not let them touch Karsona! For the Hive Mind! For the Rogue Zerg!" and the leader zergling pushed the Ambassador into cover with a hydralisk and the zerglings charged from the other side of the room with leader, directly towards Gent and his rush.
He heard Double begin to yell orders as the clones then got into the nearest cover they could, and if not cover, they strafed around hoping to find or making cover. Blaster fire and acid needle spines began to rocket around the room, taking a zergling down, incapacitating a clone, just as Gent and the lead zergling hit head on in a colliding charge.
Gent was stunned, greatly, from the collision, and couldn't tell who hit what and where, but he didn't care; all he felt was rage. His control was lost in red hot hatred for the ones who tried to enslave him and ruin his Mandalorian honor. As soon as he could, he looked up and around, still on all fours. The lead zergling was still stunned, and one of his backup jumped to the side in preparation to rake Gent. A single flash of his training surged through is body, and as the zergling pounced, Gent quickly slid, his legs facing the zergling, and he kicked upward with both of them and its attack was successfully countered as it went flying backwards.
Right after though, the lead zergling roared and tackled Gent, which he regretted, for his gut was exposed, so as opposed to trying to claw back, he got into a grapple with the thing, rolling around on the ground, trying to use his arms and extra limbs to keep it's claws from cutting him open.
He saw a quick opening as it managed to chop one of his shoulder arms off, and he exploited it by making a quick and precise punch to a sensitive area on its abdomen. It was stunned for just one second long enough for Gent and grasp it around the middle and throw it aside for 2 meters.
Now crouched on one knee, Gent took a quick look around the room. Another one of his squad-mates had been killed, spines to the neck and head, but a zergling that had rushed past him was slain in melee with another one of the commandos, who was not far behind Gent in melee-to-ranged combat.
The lead zergling regained it's stance after being thrown quickly, and snarled, "Why do you attack us, clone? You have been influenced to know our views! What makes you do this when we do not wish for any bloodshed?"
"You have imposed upon me the visage of a monster, and you tried to enslave me to your ideals, not understand them!" Gent roared in retaliation, clenching his arms and fists.
"YOU WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO ATTACK IF YOU WERE A SLAVE!" Another clone fell, along with his hydralisk opponent.
"BECAUSE I HAVE FREED MYSELF FROM YOUR CONTROL!" and Gent lunged at the zergling again, enraged almost beyond coherent thought, intending to attack without prejudice.
But then his strike stopped.
An inch away from the zergling, his muscles tensed up again. Gent's and the zergling's eyes widened in disbelief. Gent stammered in panic, "No…n-no…" and then snarled in rage, "THIS IS THE PRODUCT OF YOUR EVIL! STRIPPING MY WILL OF ALL THAT WAS MANDALORIAN!"
"Th-this…" the lead zergling whispered back, somehow hearable among the surrounding battle, "This is not my doing… I never thought such a thing would be imposed on a sentient creature. The drones made these to assimilate mindless creatures, not intelligent beings!" Gent was surprised at how horrified the zergling was.
And then the voice came back.
Gent screamed, and jumped back from, wrapping his arms and single extra limb around his head. The voice was so soothing… it was painful. Painful feeling it sway him now that his system pulsed with zerg pheromones. He didn't want to hear it. He wasn't apart of the Swarm, he was a son of Mandalore, of the Republic Grand Army!
But the voice did not lie! It kept saying he was a part of the Zerg Swarm! The Garm Brood! It couldn't be true, but it must be! Gent crouched on the ground, nearly in the fetal position. He couldn't take it. The horror; his identity was unknown to him. What was he? Who is he? Why does the voice have to be angry with him?
"Who am I…" despite the assumed loss of function in his tear ducts, he felt a single tear barely force its way out of his infected eye.
Inside his head, his mind screamed for closure. He had nothing, and everything; a life, but a death. He didn't want this. He wanted to be something. What was he? Clone? Zerg? Both?
He opened his eyes, and everything was silent. The battle raged, but he heard nothing. He felt something swirling around inside him. It was a heat as dangerous as a sun and as life giving as a passion.
He took his hands off his head. He had his answer, finally. The voice would not tell him otherwise, and his birthright would not change his mind.
"I…" he quietly began. He saw the zergling he was fighting gasp and then yell orders and then begin to jump out of the way.
Gent felt the heat well up to its pinnacle, and thusly, he stood up to his full height, passion filling his veins, arms flexed out as he then yelled, "I AM SON OF THE REPUBLIC! CHILD OF THE SWARM! I! AM! GENT!"
And with that, Gent exploded, finally finding peace away from what felt like the most powerful conflict he's ever faced within his heart.