Maru gave a slight nod. Words had never come to him easily, especially in times of duress.
“It’s an honor to serve KeSPA, sir. I won’t fail.” he said, almost wincing at how unconvinced he sounded.
Commander soO gripped his shoulder with a firm hand. “No, the honor is ours. You are truly the best of us, Maru. That, I knew even in the days when we were enemies. We believe in you. I believe in you, and always will. There’s no one I would rather entrust with KeSPA’s fate.” soO said, with his usual wry smile.
Maru let out a heavy breath, and nodded. “Then I’m ready.”
“Core to full power! Activate the time warp!” barked soO. The technicians in the Core manipulated control panels covered with arcane symbols, and the chamber thrummed with energy.
In the center of the room, a green circle of light materialized on the floor. Energy rose from the circle, slowly taking shape until it formed a shimmering half-sphere of temporal power.
Maru walked forward, and gazed into the translucent bubble. He was startled by his own blurred reflection, as he had been for the last few weeks. Changing his face was one of the last stages of preparing for the mission, but he wondered if he would have been better off getting it out of the way earlier.
soO noticed Maru’s reaction. “Damn, you sure do look like one of them. At this kind of thing, I guess we’re still the best.” he laughed.
“I hope I can sound like one of them, too. Gonna have to do a lot of talking.” replied Maru. He took a few more steps, getting close enough to almost touch the bubble. He could hear faint sounds emanating from the warp.
’Ready to roar, ready or not, ready to give it all I’ve got…
’Hell, it’s about time….’
“Warp is stable, sir. Ready to proceed.” said one of the technicians.
Maru took one final moment to gather himself.
The mission was insane. But then again, so many of the things leading up to this moment had been insane, and he could hardly recall what normal was anymore. He vaguely remembered being on Prime, the KeSPA invasion, his move to Jin Air. He remembered Proleagues, GSL’s, SSL’s, and BlizzCons. Those were the years he regarded fondly.
And then, he had come. The devil. The destroyer. The foreigner. Neeb.
Two decades of dominance had made Korea naive, confident that their empire would last for an eternity. The foreign barbarians had never been a threat, and they believed they would forever remain that way.
Within a day, Neeb humbled KeSPA. Within a year, he had crippled them.
It was painful for Maru to think about the decade after that, so full were they with shame and devastation. They had picked “Korean hope!” as their rallying cry, only to taste the words turn ashes in their mouths. At times he had wished StarCraft might die, so Korea would be free of Neeb and his sadistic disciples.
How could they have been so foolish, to welcome their doom with open arms? But now, there was no more time for regret. Now, he had a chance to set things right, to prevent the unspeakable horrors.
He was going to go back, and lock the regions before it was too late.
“Good luck, and have fun Maru.” said soO, awakening Maru from his reverie. “Or should I say, ‘Shaun Clark.’”
Apollo smiled, and walked into the Warp. He wasn’t nervous anymore—he was just grateful for the opportunity. He heard soO yell a few parting words.
“And if you see that filthy collaborator ByuN, you know what to do!”