Even though it's in my sig, figured I'd post it here as well.
This is a short story that I wrote quite a few years ago. It's based in the StarCraft universe, but has nothing to do with the actual plot of StarCraft. The story isn't finished yet, and probably never will be (no time to work on it), so take it as it is.
The air was eerily thick with the billows of incandescent smoke that washed over the war-torn battlefield. The twin suns were rising in the distance, their crimson rays casting a devilish hue over the barren terrain, seeming to call an end to the carnage that had ensued during the night. Small, yet still luminous, fires littered the rocky hilltops where vehicles and tanks had met their end in the chaos just a short time ago. The sounds of battle had quickly faded, with only the high-pitched whirring of the circling fighters overhead complimented by the low thrum of the massive battlecruiser in low orbit left to permeate the deadly silence. Bodies of valiant men and women alike lay among the ruins, their blood soaking the ground beneath them as a testament to the sacrifices made on the god-forsaken world. Only a small number of the enemy could be seen lying among these defenders, their jet-black armor and a small insignia of a coiled snake located on their shoulder pads the only sign distinguishing them from the multitudes of the dead.
Amongst the stillness that encompassed the area, a sizeable piece of sheet metal was kicked off of a shallow trench. A lone man rose up, placing one hand on the soft dirt in front of him as he shifted his weight to one leg and hopped out of the ditch, his other boot landing on the rocky surface in front of him, pulling him out. His clothes were muddy and worn, with the small fragments of neosteel attached on various parts of his body severely battered from the previous battle. Bringing his left hand up, he slowly wiped the sweat off his brow and surveyed the damage before him. His face was that of anger, yet sorrow. Vengeful, yet mournful. The look of a man who had seen his friends murdered in battle and was helpless to stop it. But the same look of a man bent on vengeance, on retribution.
The young marine Lieutenant of the Sons of Korhal stood there, his right hand gripping tightly on the modified weapon he held in his hands. Dual-magazines nestled into the large, twin-barreled shotgun, each one holding ten of the 25mm canister rounds found in the weapon commonly used by elitist ghosts. Located on the underside of each barrel clung three-inch long blades, ideal for close-quarters combat. The weapon drooped at his side, his grip ever tightening as the events of the battle began to unravel in his mind. This weapon had always been his closest ally, his savior. Yet not even it could stop the inevitable deaths of the hundreds around him, his friends, his brothers-in-arms.
All because in the end he hid there under that muddy slab of sheet metal, huddling in the cold, wallowing like a pig in the mud in that cursed shallow trench. How he hated that trench, how it tempted him, lured him, to hide in it. To abandon his friends in the heat of battle when they needed him the most. He should be lying next to them, contributing to their fallen legacy. Yet that trench saved him from such a death. One that would’ve brought him honor, yet at the same time an honor deep inside of himself he knew he didn’t want. He was a coward.
He stood there, inconclusive of what actions to take. The faint noise above him beckoned him to turn his head upwards. There remained the enemy, the black-painted wraiths circling overhead, slowly pulling away from the battlefield. The battlecruiser that loomed in the distant also began ascending out of the atmosphere, the smoke from its engines adding to the already overwhelming blackness that clouded the valley. There the enemy was, right before his very eyes, seemingly not noticing his presence, or they just didn’t care. He couldn’t change his past, but he could change his future. One that would add him to the fallen bodies of the honorable men and women before him. He could reclaim his honor, as all he had to do was raise his gun towards the circling wraiths and pull the trigger. Yet his hand stayed put. He could not bring himself to do it. Everything in side of him screamed to avenge his friends, to die an honorable death, but his arm would not budge. He fought himself over the matter, trying desperately to raise the weapon and call upon a rain of death, but it seemed as though his hand had a mind of its own, one that contradicted his.
Soon the wraiths had flown too far out of range, destroying whatever hope the Lieutenant had of regaining his honor. He dropped to one knee, covering his face with his free hand as his emotions overcame him, his other still tightly gripped around his weapon. There was nothing left for him. He was stranded here, alone on this desolate rock.
Gaining control of himself, he again straightened up, facing in the direction that led to what remained of the Korhal base, the smoke rising over the tops of the rocky hills revealing its position. The young marine strode off towards the base, in hopes of finding some means of getting himself off this cursed planet. As he slowly made his way across the war-torn land, he kept a lookout for any other survivors, hoping for some sign of life. Yet the battlefield remained dissonantly quiet, the only sounds coming from the dull clunking of his standard-issue army boots upon the jagged ground.
A soft wind swept around him and engulfed him, causing him to give a light shudder, even though the heat from the desolate land was still very apparent. The wind seemed to torment him, whispering in his ear. The sounds of battle kept replaying over and over in his brain, the screams of his comrades echoing in the endless void of his mind, crying out to him for help. He shook his head violently, crying out over and over “Enough!” Yet the endless replay continued as he made his way towards the smoldering remains.
The battle seemed all too vivid. They had come out of nowhere, like thieves in the night. Their black armor moved as a single tidal wave, unleashing a torrent of hell onto the unsuspecting Korhal forces. He remembered awakening to the sounds of booming thunder as the enemy’s Arclite Siege Tanks laid waste to the surrounding defenses of bunkers and missile turrets. The Korhal forces quickly massed and prepared for the coming onslaught, but none occurred. The Lieutenant grimaced when he remembered the order that was given by the commanding officer. The fool commander ordered his men to charge into the blackened void of night, without any scouts prior to the attack.
What ensued was a massacre. They were lying in wait, their armor blending into the night, their presence only revealed when the hills erupted in a halo of light as they poured fire down into the surrounded Korhal forces. Despite the odds stacked against them, the men stood their ground, returning fire into the hilltops as the tanks deployed and began to pummel the enemy forces. The Lieutenant joined his comrades in the fight, firing blindly into the mass of dotting lights that encircled him. However, their forces began to rapidly dwindle, with the men dropping like flies to the hail of bullets. What men remained seeked cover behind the thick neosteel plating of the arclite tanks, but it was to no avail.
The familiar high-pitched tone of wraith fighters pierced through the monotonous blend of battle noises, the sound diverting the men’s attention upward into the cloudy night sky. It wasn’t long before dozens of the lethal craft crested over the hills and descended upon the trapped Korhal forces, their combined burst lasers and Gemini missiles making short work of the siege tanks the men hid behind, the backbone of the Korhal battalion. With no heavy weaponry remaining, the Lieutenant knew he and his men were doomed, yet still they fought on knowing that retreat was not possible.
Without warning, the enemy forces let out a horrendous battle cry, one that seemed to shake the very ground beneath the Lieutenant’s feet. Then, in perfect unison, the entire force charged into the valley, the multitudes of glistening lights choking away what remained of the staunch defenders. Men from both sides clashed together as fire, bullets, and neosteel entangled in a single moment. Dozens of men fell at once, their bodies never connecting with the ground as they collapsed upon their deceased comrades as the death toll continued to rise. Fear began to take hold of the Lieutenant, the massacre before him adding to fear’s control. The young marine fought against it, struggling to keep it under his control even though it seemed to engulf him, to choke him, away from reality.
He looked to the man on his right for a sign of reassurance, the man’s face red with rage as he continued to pour fire down into the endless ranks of the enemy. This man the Lieutenant had known for many years. He was a brother-in-arms, a mentor, and a friend. Someone whom the Lieutenant had always trusted and whom he’d be willing to fight side by side with until the end. The man, noticing the Lieutenant look in his direction, turned his head towards him, offering a small grin. It was the kind of grin offered only when all hope is lost, when you know you’ve lost the fight, but are unwilling to let go. The kind of grin that would never give up.
The man gave a small nod towards the Lieutenant, the smile slightly growing in size and sincerity. The smile almost made the Lieutenant return the favor, however, the slight shift in the man's demeanor made the Lieutenant pause for a moment. It suddenly dawned on the Lieutenant the reason behind the man's smile, and his face quickly faded away whatever emotion he previously began to show.
The man turned his head away from the Lieutenant and charged into the mass of black armor before them, screaming with rage so loud it seemed to silence the very battlefield upon which they stood. The man’s rifle shared its owner’s anger as it spouted off round after round into the enemy before it. The Lieutenant screamed out after the man, but it was too late, as the man was brought to a halt from the wall of metal spikes that slammed into his body. He struggled forward, but the endless amount of fire upon him was too great, and he succumbed to the force that dropped him to the ground, ending his life. The Lieutenant’s friend lay dead before him, a shadow of the past as he disappeared underneath the footsteps of the enemy.
It was too much for the Lieutenant. What control he had over his fear had now been completely lost, and he surrendered to it’s call. With fear now in control, it threw his body into the shallow ditch, beneath the slab of metal, which originated from one of the many burning tanks that littered the ground. The Lieutenant could only try to cover his ears with his hands while he knelt in the mud as his eyes, though shut, continued to play a never-ending light show as the battle began to slowly dwindle down around him. After only a few short minutes, all was quiet. And as the light show before him slowly faded away, all that remained was darkness.