The calm and cool breeze on the vast, barren land promised nothing but a serene, still night. The dim light of the moon and the dead sound of the wind were supposed to guarantee an uneventful atmosphere, but the vicious soundings of creatures’ rapid footsteps had otherwise to say. Two men were hurriedly scurrying across the rocky pathways as a herd of Zerglings chased them. Private Argus Anderson and private Sair Zerrius were running for dear life as the blood-thirsty Zerg force chased them through the darkness.
“Shit, I can’t believe you did this to us again,” said Argus as he ran with all his might. “How many times have I told you not to fire your damn weapon when we’re on enemy territory!”
“Oh relax Argus,” laughed Sair as he ran alongside his comrade. “It’s not like this is the first time we’ve had to outrun the enemy. And you got to admit, we’re pretty damn good at it since we’ve never been caught before.”
“This is not a laughing matter Sair! What are we going to do if we’re unable to deliver all that valuable intel we obtained from scouting out the Zerg base to headquarters? This will all have been for naught!”
“Well, what choice did I have?” Sair asked Argus as he kept on running. “Was I supposed to just let that Roach shoot both of us? At least this way, we get a head start instead of trying to sneak away after we had already been exposed.”
“Oh I agree. Trying to outrun a herd of Zerglings as opposed to one single Roach is so much better. You have my gratitude for your quick thinking Sair.”
“Shut up, I get it. For now, let’s just focus on getting our asses to somewhere safe. Got to get off this damn creep or those Zerglings are going to keep running at us with a speed advantage.”
As they ran for their lives, the two men desperately tried to find a safe location to escape to, as the sounds of the Zerglings’ footsteps drew nearer and nearer. Both men knew that they would be goners if they kept running straight ahead like they were doing now. They needed to find a safe area as quickly as possible, preferably a high ground area. Out of the corner of his eye, Argus spotted a tiny cliff a little off to the top right direction and decided that it would have to do for now.
“1’o clock Sair! That cliff won’t provide us protection for long but it’s better than nothing,” Argus shouted as he changed directions. “We’ve been fortunate enough that only speed-less Zerglings have been chasing us but we can’t push our luck. Head for that cliff!”
“Right behind you! Station yourself in front of the ramp. They won’t be able to reach us as long as we keep firing from a distance.”
Argus reached the cliff first and hurriedly ran up the ramp. After steadying himself once he reached the top, he quickly swiveled his rifle around and began firing at the army of Zerglings that were slowly gaining up on Sair. Argus made sure to carefully aim at the Zerglings that were getting the closest to Sair, while trying to avoid hitting Sair at the same time. As a Marine, Argus was specifically trained to be able to handle scenarios just like this. However, Argus was feeling more and more nervous as his rifle kept on shooting at the nearest Zergling. He knew that Sair’s heavy Marauder armor meant that Sair had to work twice as harder than Argus to try to get up the ramp. Once Sair finally reached the top of the cliff and was standing next to Argus, Sair aimed his grenade launcher at the Zerglings and began firing as well.
“No! Leave the Zerglings to me for now, I can handle them,” Argus shouted as the empty bullet casings flew around everywhere. “Hurry up and contact Heidi. Let her know our coordinates so she can pick us up.”
“One step ahead of you scrub,” Sair laughed as he fired. “I already contacted Heidi as I was running up the ramp. She should be here in about five minutes.”
Argus and Sair were firing as fast as their weapons allowed them to. But both men realized almost at the same time that it wasn’t going to be enough. The sheer number of Zerglings was just too large at the moment, and only two men firing weren’t going to be enough to buy them those five minutes they desperately needed.
“Things are looking pretty grim here Argus! We may have to use the you-know-what.”
“No! No Stim Packs! Those things take a percentage of our health, and the side effects are just too risky for us right now.”
“Don’t be so damn stingy Argus! You know just as well as I do that we’re not going to be able to keep this up! And not to mention-, wait… What the…” As Sair kept on rapidly firing, he noticed that about half of the Zerglings had all of a sudden decided to run to the other side of the cliff.
Without letting up his weapon, Sair quickly turned his head around to see what was going on. The darkness of the night was still present so it was difficult for Sair to see anything, but the dim moon light was just enough for Sair to see the Zerglings’ movements. Sair knew the Zerglings wouldn’t just blindly run around without a purpose, so Sair quickly tried to survey the surroundings of the cliff to make sure he wasn’t missing something. As soon as he was about to give up and turn back around, Sair caught something out of the corner of his eye and realized exactly what was about to occur with a horrible, sinking feeling in his stomach.
“You’ve got to be kidding me… Argus! There’s another effing ramp at the other side of this cliff! I say we got another thirty seconds before we’re completely surrounded by these disgusting Zerglings!”
“Are you serious?! Shit! We’re both running low on ammo as it is, now we have to worry about defending two sides?”
“We don’t have to worry about defending two sides because it’s not going to be possible. We’re pretty much sitting ducks at this rate!”
Realizing the critical situation that they were in, Argus quickly surveyed the area and tried to find somewhere else to run to. The clouds were finally beginning to move and as more and more of the moon light began to reveal their surroundings, he saw another cliff off to the right that was only about twenty feet away. Argus knew they didn’t have time to think about any alternatives so he gripped his rifle even more tightly, and yelled at Sair at the top of his lungs.
“There’s another cliff off to the right about twenty feet away! It doesn’t have any ramps but I see a narrow crevice that we can squeeze into. If we keep firing at the Zerglings from that location, we should be able to buy us enough time for Heidi to come get us! We’re out of time so move now!”
Without a moment’s hesitation, both Argus and Sair quickly jumped off the cliff, slid down the walls, and sped across the land as soon as their feet touched the ground towards the cliff that Argus had spotted earlier. It didn’t take long for the Zerglings to notice that their prey were no longer on top of the cliff and once again began to give chase. Feeling adrenaline like never before, Argus ran as fast his legs would carry him as Sair ran right behind him. Once they got into the narrow crevice, both men resumed firing with hopes that this new location would be able to buy them enough time for help to arrive. With the night becoming clearer and clearer with every passing second, it was evident to both men that the number of Zerglings was not dwindling down at all no matter how much they were shooting.
“There’s no damn end to these stupid Zerglings!” As things started looking worse and worse for them, Argus quickly began formulating a plan inside of his head. “Sair, I’ll handle the Zerglings for now. Try to find some rocks or something that could block up the entrance to this crevice!”
“Roger that,” said Sair as he ceased firing and hurriedly began looking around everywhere for some rocks. Sair quickly began moving further and further into the crevice as he tried to find bigger rocks than the tiny ones that were near the entrance. Just as he was about to give up all hope, Sair looked up and saw something very familiar located at the very back end of the crevice. He hurried over to it with excitement pumping in his veins. He couldn’t believe his eyes. What in the world was this doing over here?
As the sounds of Argus’ rifle firing echoed through the air, Sair began to observe the vehicle that was in front of him. He definitely knew what it was. He just had no idea what in the world it was doing here. But the time to ponder that was not now. With a quick leap, Sair jumped on to the vehicle, opened the door, and entered it. A giant smile spread across Sair’s face as he realized that not only was it still functioning, but it was still in perfect condition.
“Argus! Argus can you hear me! Argus stop firing and run to the back of the crevice! I’ve found something that’s going to save us!” Sair yelled as loudly as he possibly could in hopes that his friend would hear him. “Argus! Argus come here now!”
Argus swore loudly. What was Sair thinking? Sair was supposed to find rocks or something else to cover up the entrance, and now he was yelling at him to run to the back of the crevice? However, as frustrated as he was, Argus knew that there were no other options. He was on the last of his ammo and exhausted beyond belief. Realizing that it was either do or die, Argus ceased firing his rifle and ran to the back of the crevice as quickly as he could. The Zerglings now had no more obstructions, and quickly began filing into the area at a rapid pace as they chased Argus to the back of the crevice.
Sair was all ready and in position. As soon as he saw Argus, he turned the vehicle on and placed his left hand on the handle of the door. The minute Argus climbed the vehicle and took the seat behind him, Sair closed the door and began shifting gears around.
“What in the world? A Hellion? What the hell is a Hellion doing in a place like this?” Argus could not believe his eyes. He was sitting inside one of the strongest vehicles the Terran race had to offer against light units. “More importantly, how is this supposed to save us? One Hellion can’t do a damn thing against this many Zerglings. We need at least two or three!”
“Calm down Argus. You’re right in saying that this Hellion alone won’t save us. But this baby has a transformation that’s about to ease your mind.” With one fluid motion, Sair hit the last gear shift and immediately the Hellion began to morph itself. Within less than five seconds, the Hellion had transformed into a fire-breathing, heat-packing, splash-damaging Hellbat, just as the Zerglings arrived at the scene.
“Time to put an end to this. Say your prayers you sons of bitches.” Gripping the handles as tightly as he could, Sair pushed the buttons with his thumbs and watched with Argus as the Hellbat started shooting out devastatingly destructive blue flames. Both men just stared in utter amazement as the Zerglings melted instantly right in front of their eyes. What they were witnessing was just too unfathomable. Not one minute ago, they were struggling like never before just to try to survive. And yet here was this hellbat, ripping all these Zerglings to shreds without breaking a single sweat.
“What the hell? Blue flame? Blue flame is still supposed to be just a prototype weaponry.” Sair was puzzled as the flames from the Hellbat just kept on roasting Zergling after Zergling. “How is this possible? No one outside of headquarters even knows about the existence of blue flame Hellion/Hellbats.”
Finally feeling safe and secure after what seemed like a lifetime, Sair decided to observe the vehicle that he was in to try to find out what was going on. He noticed that the vehicle definitely did not look like the insides of the regular Hellions/Hellbats that were being produced back at base. There was no identification card placed on the headboard, no password inputted to alert headquarters that the vehicle was moving out, and there were even signs that the vehicle had not finished being created as bits and pieces were still missing here and there.
“I can’t believe this. Argus, this Hellion/Hellbat is an unregistered vehicle. It was removed from base without any authorization,” said Sair as he turned to Argus. “Look at this here too. No identification card, no pilot password inputted, and the GPS is turned off as well. This vehicle was definitely either stolen or snuck out.”
“Are you serious? What in the world? How is this possible?” Argus quickly began looking around the vehicle as well. “Holy crap, check this out. It says Terran Base #43. Not only was this vehicle snuck out of its base, it was snuck out of OUR base.”
“Are you serious? How in the world is that possible?”
Both men were so engrossed by the puzzling details of the vehicle that they failed to notice that all of the Zergling force had disintegrated to nothing, and that the Hellbat was still firing its flames. After finally realizing that they were no longer in any danger, Sair shut off the vehicle, climbed out with Argus, and breathed in the fresh air of the night.
“That was some crazy shit we just went through, huh Argus?” Sair stretched his arms high into the air, took a big yawn, and looked at his companion to see if he had heard him.
“I never want to relive something like that ever again,” said Argus as he shook his head. “I honestly thought we were going to die tonight.”
“Heh heh, yeah. But you got to admit, we’ve faced much worse before.” Sair smiled, made a fist pump with his right hand, and smacked Argus on the back with his left. “Remember that infiltration mission we did three months ago?”
“I think tonight probably beat that one,” said Argus as he started walking back towards the entrance of the crevice. “Come on, let’s get the hell out of here already.”
As both men left the safety of the crevice, the familiar sounds of the Medivac’s engine roared through the night as help finally arrived. Once the Medivac was flying right above the two men, it slowly began its descent on to the ground. As soon as the Medivac had successfully landed, a woman came out of the cockpit with a bright pink helmet on and a gigantic smile on her face.
“Argus! Sair! It is so good to see that both of you are still alive and well!” Heidi quickly walked over to the tired two men, embraced them with fierce hugs, and began to check for any signs of wounds or critical damage.
“Thanks for finally showing up Heidi,” said Argus weakly. “Please, get us the hell out of here. We don’t want to be here a second longer than we have to.”
“Understood. Get in then. I’ll get us out of here faster than you can say Jävla Zerg!”
Both men roared with laughter as they clambered into the Medivac. The sight of seeing the ground from all the way up in the air as the Medivac ascended had never felt so refreshing. Argus and Sair both knew that they had narrowly escaped death that night as the Medivac began heading towards home. They took off their helmets and dropped their weapons, as the cool breeze of the night washed away all the anxiety they had felt throughout the battle.
“I know I say this a little too often, but thanks for always having my back Argus,” said Sair as he placed his right hand onto Argus’ shoulder. “You really are my best friend man.”
“I know I say this a little too often, but please for the love of God, stop getting us into life-threatening situations,” replied Argus as he reciprocated the hand on the shoulder gesture. “You really are going to be the death of me someday.”
As the Medivac activated its Ignite Afterburners and increased its speed from 2.5 to 4.25, Argus took a moment to reflect on what had happened that night. First off, he and Sair had once again successfully completed their mission. Secondly, Sair got them both into a dangerous situation and they narrowly escaped with their skin on their backs yet again. Thirdly, the intel they received from this mission was going to be invaluable to headquarters once they returned and reported everything. Fourthly, and most important of all, there was an unregistered, illegally obtained Hellion/Hellbat from their own base that was abandoned on Zerg territory. Just what was it doing there? And exactly who was responsible for it?
End of Chapter