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Thread: [Fanfiction] A Measure of Hope

  1. #1
    Gradius's Avatar Administrator
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    Default [Fanfiction] A Measure of Hope

    This is my submission for the Blizzard Creative Writing contest. It's my first real foray into fan fiction, so go easy.

    The installation entrance was indistinguishable from the surrounding strata, blending in such that any eye would glaze over it. Fortunately, Elreros knew exactly what to look for. He and a small band of warriors have come to this place looking for a weapon, an ancient crystal used by Khas during the Aeon of Strife to burn the battlegrounds at Gyras.

    This crystal would be useful to Elreros’s race. The war against the zerg has largely been a losing battle. With every step the protoss took, the zerg made two more, constantly evolving and replicating such that it seemed hopeless to try and catch up. The protoss needed something to tip the scales. Being an anomalous protoss himself, and already capable of manipulating frighteningly large amounts of energy with his mind, Elreros could use the crystal’s fabled powers to aid the protoss’ increasingly dire struggle for survival.

    “Elreros, why do we delay?” grumbled Lerdyn.

    “I told you. We’ve taken a great risk in coming here. We are not the only ones who seek the crystal. The zerg have arrived here before us. Any part of the installation may be infested.”

    “Then we should charge in and route out the vermin before they can gather their forces, every minute we sit here is wasted,” retorted Lerdyn, pounding his clenched fist into his hand.

    “Don’t be a fool Lerdyn, if we’re outnumbered then we’ll have no choice but to retreat. Besides, I've yet to make all the necessary preperations…”

    “I’m inclined to agree with Elreros. Let’s not take unnecessary risks,” interjected Oranis.

    “Cowards…” scoffed Lerdyn, turning his back to inspect his warp blades to make sure they were in working order.

    Upon completing the preparations, the group of six protoss warriors strutted to the entrance. The door was reinforced by half a foot of paristeel - short work for the mighty protoss warriors. Energy blades flared up and cut a square opening in the door. Within minutes the protoss were inside and walking towards their objective. Elreros floated ominously above the ground, enveloped by the glow of a full high templar. Yet suddenly, he stopped. “What is it?” asked one of the warriors.

    “Get back to the entrance. Now.”

    The warriors, taken aback, began running back towards the entrance at Elreros’s command. Lerdyn began raging “What are you doing?! Don’t tell me you’re having doubts…” until the sound of chittering caught up with the protoss. The warriors looked back and saw the illumination of dozens of orange eyes staring back from the darkness.

    “Fall back to the entrance and hold it; filter the zerg through the entrance and let not one of them pass,” ordered Elreros.

    A horde of zerglings led by a group of hydralisks began encroaching towards the entrance at frightening speed. Lerdyn drew twin warp blade units from his backside and activated them – wicked energy-scythes emerging, ready to rend zerglings into bits. Lerdyn favored an unusual style of weaponry. Neither the single warp blade of the Lenassa nor the unwieldy scythe of the Zer’atai tribe suited him. Instead he wielded twin warp blades, but they were not attached to his forearms; instead they were separate units that hunched over his backside, which he could quickly withdraw when the need arose.

    The zerglings met with the end of the protoss’ energy blades and proceeded no further. The hydralisks began launching spines at the warriors, ricocheting off the protoss’ shields and penetrating through the width of the entrance door. Elreros telekinetically lifted the cut-out made by the protoss earlier and used it as a shield to help block the zerg and their incoming high-velocity spines. He then put both his fingers to his forehead and managed to block from his mind the chaos that was ensuing.

    Elreros gathered his energies, and his khaydarin amulet lit up to assist him with his psionic processing. He reached deep down into the Khala, the protoss’ ancestral communal link, and used it as a psionic anchor to help stabilize the primal energies that he was wresting away from the psionic matrix.

    Elreros was a so-called fanatic, exiled from Aiur by the conclave for his penchant of using both Khala and void energies in combat. In addition, he drew energies directly from the psionic matrix, a pool of latent cosmic energies usually reserved for the use of archons and protoss buildings. These advantages gave him leverage in dealing with his enemies, such as when he unleashed his next psionic storm.

    Elreros focused the blast into the installation - bolts of energy shot from his palms and wrapped around the zerg minions as if it had them in a stranglehold. As these zerg died, the zerg near the entrance were quickly cut down by the remaining protoss as well, and the last of the creatures dropped to the ground like a dead weight. Smoking carcasses littered the floor; wires and circuitry were laid bare by the devastating blast and a few pieces of machinery were on fire.

    “Damn. We’ve most likely alerted any zerg here to our presence…” muttered Elreros, his ire personified by the electricity still crackling at his fingertips.

    “A few zerg is nothing we can’t handle – let’s press onward!” exclaimed Lerdyn, leading the way back into the installation.

    “The crystal might not even be in this place, and if it is, it might not be the one we seek. Yet make no mistake, I am going to get what I came here for, but this is a potential trap we are entering. Any warrior who wishes to leave may do so. There is no honor lost in serving our people in more important matters.”

    The remaining warriors threw Elreros a cautionary look, judging whether or not it would be prudent to risk their lives and continue with the mission. Lerdyn did not manage to keep his thoughts to himself.

    “Cravens…”

    “Lerdyn!” exclaimed Elreros, his powerful mental voice reverberating in the protoss’ minds.

    “Forgive me brothers. You are right of course. I forget myself. No honor will be lost in serving our people elsewhere” affirmed Lerdyn with an abashed look on his face.

    All of the protoss deemed to stay, and continued with their task.

    “Elreros, tell us about this crystal that we’re searching for,” Oranis asked.

    “You know as much as I do Oranis. When Khas was still establishing the Khala among the protoss he traveled to Gyras in order to end the bloodshed there. Thousands of protoss warriors died at the proving grounds at Gyras. Because the protoss there refused to listen to Khas and saw fit to continue their bloody contests, he had no choice but to burn the proving grounds using the power of the crystal, bringing an end to the needless bloodshed. Where he attained the crystals or where they are now is only myth. However their power is legendary, they are certainly much more powerful than any of the crystals found on our homeworld.”

    “You have reason to suspect that one of them is here?”

    “Yes. I have received certain…information from one of my contacts, leading me to believe that it might be held here. But clearly the zerg know about this as well. More than likely, the ignorant terrans did not know what kind of object they were holding here.”

    Shortly thereafter the warriors came upon another locked door.

    “This door is too thick to break through. We’ll have to backtrack, circle around and activate it from another part of the installation,” noted Oranis.

    “I don’t think so,” mumbled Elreros, “we’ve no time for this.”

    Elreros reached out with his mind and telekinetically snapped the locking mechanisms in the door, pushing the remainder of the steel door open. Oranis lifted a brow in surprise.

    However, after the protoss walked through the door a shuffling of claws came from the other side of the hallway and a spine resounded off of Lerdyn’s shield, drawing attention to the zerg minions racing down the hallway.

    “Prepare yourselves! These beasts known as ‘roaches’ don’t die easily!” warned a warrior.

    The protoss powered up their blades and began slashing at the encroaching targets. A warrior lunged at a roach that attempted to evade attack, but backed into the twin warp blades of Lerdyn. The roach shrieked as two blades sizzled through its abdomen. Yet it was nowhere near enough, so using all his strength Lerdyn drove the blades across the roach’s backside, splicing him open like a hot knife slicing through butter. Yet the abomination continued attacking despite the gruesome gash across its backside.

    Elreros saw a group of approaching roaches accompanied by hydralisks in the distance. He closed off his mind and focused an orb of highly destructive energies into his palm. The energies resonated as the zerg approached, yet the beasts were heedless to the sound of their death whirling from across the hallway. Elreros released the orb of energy. At first it hovered of its own accord, but was then quickly drawn to the zerg as if by a magnet, leaving trails of lingering electricity in its wake. Like the scarab drones wielded by the deadly reavers, the orb of concentrated energy flew toward its targets, exploding upon impact. The zerg closest to the blast were completely incinerated, and the zerg further away were shred to bits. Gore flew across the hallway, splattering across the warriors’ power-suits.

    “Elreros, behind you!” Lerdyn sent, noting that a roach was about to skewer Elreros from the backside.

    Knowing that Elreros would not react fast enough, Lerdyn hurled his own warp blade across the room, end rotating over end. The warp blade found its mark and sizzled through the beast’s cranium before it could manage to rear its claws for attack.

    A zealot was still busy with a roach, just not being able to put the creature down. Two other zealots temporarily transformed into azure avatars of energy and cleared the distance across the hallway a microsecond later, coming to the aid of the protoss and helping to cut down the monstrosity. Four more roaches attempted to join the fray, but before they could make themselves of any use Elreros turned his intense gaze upon them and crushed their minds. The roaches’ heads erupted in a burst of red, leaving the last of them dead as the battle wound down and the harsh sounds of warfare gave way to the typical heavy silence associated with protoss.

    “Is anybody hurt?” asked Elreros.

    “The majority of our shields are down, and some of my circuitry has been damaged,” intoned one warrior.

    “We had best close off our minds in order to avoid detection,” suggested Oranis as he sauntered over to rejoin the group.

    “Indeed. We should avoid stumbling across any more zerg if we can,” confirmed Elreros.

    Closing off their minds, the weary protoss warriors continued along their path – their psionic energy signatures hidden from detection. The installation was devoid of terrans, so the protoss had no trouble from them as Elreros was wont to point out.

    “It appears that the terran cowards are nowhere in sight. Have they turned craven or are they all dead?”

    “They’ve all evacuated I’d venture to guess” answered another warrior. “We haven’t come across any bodies yet. Perhaps we should search some out to see if they can aid us in our mission.”

    “Unthinkable,” sent back Elreros. “We are here for one thing only, and any terrans will only impede our progress. If we run across any, we had best kill them before the zerg can use them as fodder.”

    “But surely, if there are some humans still holding out in this complex…their aid could be useful.”

    “No.” Elreros shook his head. “I have not the stamina to suffer their treachery. Let’s focus on the mission at hand.”

    Elreros closed off his mind even further, and the matter was settled. The protoss continued with their task. Elreros overloaded the circuits of any crude automatic defenses that would occasionally appear, making their going easy. This installation, as typical of most terran underground constructions, was a random hodgepodge of metal and machinery unceremoniously wedged into the walls.

    “It seems to me,” intoned Lerdyn, “that these terran constructions are the very incarnations of function overwhelming form.” The remaining warriors, coming from a civilization where no frivolity was spared to make even the most trivial machines appear beautiful, agreed with Lerdyn’s sentiment. Eventually the warriors came across an equally crude bridge that overlooked a seemingly infinite drop down. Before they reached the end of the bridge, it began retracting.

    “What trickery is this!?” Lerdyn raved, activating his warp blades.

    Before anyone could answer, a group of zerg appeared on the side of the bridge leading back. Zerg banelings replete with corrosive chemicals surged onto the bridge in a single-file line, heading straight for the hapless protoss.

    “A trap!”

    Elreros surged to the forefront and created another psionic storm. The zerg near the bridge were scattered, leaving room for a bridgehead. The majority of the banelings exploded against Elreros’s psionically-enhanced shield to no avail, but the few zealot warriors near the front had their reserves too depleted to deal with the threat, and they received glancing blows from the blast – taking acid to their unguarded skin. The blast caused a warrior to stumble and fall off the bridge into the abyss.

    “Andarnar! No!” screamed Lerdyn as he watched his comrade hurtle into the darkness.

    A blink of light at the bottom of the chasm let the remaining warriors know that Andarnar’s automatic teleportation mechanism activated, warping him back to a safe haven on the protoss world of Shakuras.

    Yet Andarnar was the lucky one. Though his wounds would be treated at Shakuras, the remaining protoss hit by the blast also suffered from severe burns and still had to contend with the zerg – something that Lerdyn was more than happy to do. Lerdyn scoured the remaining zerg near the bridgehead, until none remained. He made sure to dig his warp blade deep into the belly of his last victim before wrenching it out with a sickening whoosh.

    “I’d thought we lost them. But we fell right into their trap!” grumbled one of the remaining warriors.

    “I judge that they know what we’re looking for as well; I wonder if they haven’t already found it themselves,” Elreros speculated. “Nevertheless, we need to keep moving if we don’t want to be caught again.”

    Elreros turned his attention to the burnt protoss. “Come closer brothers; let me see what I can do for your burns.” A few protoss stepped forward. Elreros extended his hands towards a warrior and emitted a glowing blue light which seemed to ease and lessen the burns. He did this to each warrior in turn, easing their pain before the group began moving again.

    “Scum,” raged Lerdyn. “These zerg are not true warriors, taking comfort in numbers and treachery. If I could get a hold of Kerrigan myself then I’d show her what the protoss are truly capable of.”

    Elreros emitted a mental sigh. “Adun knows that some of the most powerful protoss have tried and failed, though I too wish that I could test my powers against hers. But alas, we can only dream my friend.”

    The protoss continued walking. Yet before they could cross the next hallway, a trio of slithering beasts emerged from the blackness.

    “Hunter killers?! This might be the end of us,” exclaimed a warrior as his psi blades pulsed back to life yet again.

    These heavily upgraded hydralisks used a specialized carapace based on a crystalline lattice. Their highly increased metabolism and musculature allowed them to fire the spines contained in their rear pockets at much greater velocities than standard zerg hydralisks.

    “This is intolerable! How do they keep finding us?”

    Lerdyn, only emboldened by the challenge, withdrew his twin warp blades and sent back with an intense resolve “Stand back you cravens, I’ll kill them all myself.” The hunter killers ignored his threat and continued forward to stalk the protoss, until facing down Elreros.

    One of the hunter killers shrieked, sending its spittle flying across the room, a war cry that challenged the protoss to come closer. Elreros reached out with his mind, telekinetically grabbed the hunter killer, and threw it across the room. The beast was airborne for a few seconds, limbs flailing and trying to regain control, before crashing into a steel wall with a crunch – its head snapping back to hit the wall hard and the body sinking down to the floor.

    Elreros attempted to do the same with a second hunter killer, but the beast, learning from its predecessor’s mistake, dug its claws into the ground which prevented it from being uprooted. The third hunter killer lunged at Elreros himself. Putting both hands out, Elreros erected a shield and blocked the hydralisk’s incoming volley of acid-tipped spines.

    “It seems that these hunter-killers have been sent specifically to counter us. Watch your backs,” he warned.

    With the exception of Oranis, the remaining warriors linked through the Khala and coordinated their assault, temporarily transforming into pure energy yet again. The protoss reappeared directly beneath the hunter killers and slashed at them with wild abandon. The two hydralisks evaded the attacks, though one was nicked, a molten-blue gash appearing on its carapace. The hunter killers then sprung back and launched a succession of spines at the protoss. Several spines that didn’t bounce off the warriors’ shields found their mark. Lerdyn’s power-suit was torn open at the chest area and two more warriors received glancing, yet damaging, blows.

    Lerdyn, frustrated by Oranis’s inaction and busy fending off a hunter killer of his own, managed to gripe “Oranis! What are you doing? There is no need to shutter your mind. Dip back into the Khala and join us in coordinating our efforts. Now!”

    One warrior was impaled through the leg, and the virulent acid seeped into his bloodstream. As his suit computed the extent of the damage, several lights on his power-suit sequentially lit up, initiating the warp sequence. The warrior was surrounded by a blaze of light. With an outstretched hand he screamed to stay in the battle for just a few more seconds as he was taken away to Shakuras…

    Elreros gathered psychically charged energy in his palm yet again. He compressed the energy so that it could fit in his closed knuckle, and released it a second later at the hunter killer. Yet the creature squirmed to the side with impossible speed and evaded the attack. The ground near the hunter killer erupted in a blaze of blue fire – the aftershock throwing it off-balance, giving another warrior the opportunity to take advantage. The warrior again transformed into a blaze of azure energy and cleared the distance to the hunter killer within a fraction of a second, slicing its belly open across the sagittal plain.

    However, the hunter killer that was thrown against the wall by Elreros earlier had quietly sneaked across the hallway and positioned himself right behind the warrior.

    “Ashdinin! Look out behind you!” warned Lerdyn.

    But it was too late, just as the warrior was turning around, the fearsome hydralisk brought his large claws down on the warrior – ripping both his arms off at the shoulder-joints.

    Ashdinin repressed a mental scream, yet the pain on his face was unmistakable. He was engulfed in a blue flame like his predecessor, and taken back to a safe haven to receive immediate medical attention. However, both his arms did not join him in returning to Shakuras. He would likely be put to use in an immortal exoskeleton.

    Enraged at this blasphemy, Elreros crushed the mind of the hunter killer from the outside-in. The beast’s head imploded – spewing gore and brain-matter all over the ground. The remaining hunter killers also laid dead on the floor. Only three protoss remained: Elreros, Lerdyn, and Oranis.

    “This is getting out of hand. The zerg seem to be aware of our every move,” noted Elreros, and turned to look at Oranis. “Something’s not right here.”

    “Oranis, why are you hiding your thoughts from us?” asked Lerdyn, noting that the protoss did not have a scratch on him despite the battle they’ve just underwent.

    Both protoss held their gaze on Oranis, who didn’t respond. Instead…the protoss’s face began melting.

    “What in Adun’s name...”

    Slowly, the protoss’s form began liquefying, and his visage was replaced by a globular coagulation. The monstrosity jumped off the ground and began gyrating in the air, losing all traces of similarity with the warrior formerly known as Oranis.

    “A changeling! No!”

    Elreros reeled. “By the gods…the zerg must have been tracking us the entire time. We were fools!”

    More zerg came pouring out of the complex’s hallways, intent on finishing off the two protoss now that their strategy had been revealed.

    “Elreros, it appears that we must stand and fight!” remarked Lerdyn. “They have us in a trap again.”

    “No, we are close to where the crystal is located. But we can outrun them. You will have your turn at combat later Lerdyn,” replied Elreros.

    Lerdyn reluctantly put away his blades and his bloodlust, not wishing to jeopardize the mission that his fellow protoss died for. Then he and Elreros immediately turned tail and ran. Spines bounced off the shield that Elreros erected to protect both the protoss. They ran at full speed and lost most of the zerg in the background.

    After arriving to where the crystal was located, Elreros exclaimed “it appears that my information was correct, the crystal is indeed here.”

    Even as it stood on the pedestal, both protoss were raptly seduced by its power, and took a moment to admire the crystal’s radiant energy and perfection of form. Yet Elreros moved to action and clutched the crystal in both hands. With his psionic capacity suddenly widening, he could feel the minds of all the zerg in the complex. Indeed, he could feel the zerglings that were roaming the complex in search of their prey, and the larvae that were metamorphosing into new creatures. He also sensed the lingering presence of what were once humans as well, remade into zerg. At a single thought, all these minds imploded. The zerg hive-mind no longer had jurisdiction over this place, banished by Elreros.

    Ten minutes later, the two warriors, the only survivors of the group of brave protoss who ventured inside the wretched installation to attain the crystal, stood outside on the plateau overlooking the mountain-side installation. Dusk was settling in, and the shadows reached their way to the two warriors, emboldening and empowering them.

    “Now,” Elreros intoned reverently, “we shall see if this is truly the same type of crystal that Khas used to burn the battlegrounds at Gyras.”

    Once again, Elreros dipped into the overarching energy-pool of the psionic matrix, gripping the khaydarin crystal, what his people called a “focuser of the heart”. As his mind moved over the sea of latent cosmic energy, Elreros was made aware of the subtle ebbs and flows entwining the psionic matrix.

    His eyes blazed as he guided the energy into the mountain-side installation, converting it from potential to kinetic and then to highly destructive energy. Geysers of blue flame erupted from where the entrances to the installation once were. The installation itself was burning from the inside out. The flames reached into lowest depths of the complex, liquefying all the walls and machinery that they came in contact with. The remaining zerg structures in the installation burned, making a popping sound as their cells were being cauterized and denatured. The pressures built up inside the complex to such a high magnitude that the mountain itself was coming apart in places.

    Minutes later, the mountain and the installation itself were nothing more than a smoldering slab of radioactive rock. Those who didn’t know any better would have attributed this work to that of a protoss planetary bombardment. And the two remaining protoss responsible for this destruction congratulated themselves on a job well done, securing a measure of hope for their race.
    Honestly, I'm not too happy with it. But it was fun to write.
    Last edited by Gradius; 05-25-2009 at 12:51 PM.

  2. #2
    Pandonetho's Avatar SC:L Addict
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    Default Re: [Fanfiction] A Measure of Hope

    I like it. Names sorta feel more "historic" than "Protoss" though if you know what I mean IMO.
    Last edited by Pandonetho; 05-23-2009 at 09:28 AM.

  3. #3
    Kegluneq's Avatar Junior Member
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    Default Re: [Fanfiction] A Measure of Hope

    Ashdinin repressed a mental scream, yet the pain on his face was unmistakable. He was engulfed in a blue flame like his predecessor, and taken back to a safe haven to receive immediate medical attention. However, both his arms did not join him in returning to Shakuras. He would likely be put to use in an immortal exoskeleton.
    ...
    “Now,” Elreros intoned reverently, “we shall see if this truly the same type of crystal that Khas used to burn the battlegrounds at Gyras.”
    I liked it! Very epic. Here's a little bit of editing for you (just 'cause it bugged me, I think its too late now?)
    Capitalize Immortal, as lowercase it makes it seem like an adjective.
    and add an "is" between "see if this truly" and "the same type of crystal"
    Again, good job!

  4. #4

    Default Re: [Fanfiction] A Measure of Hope

    I have done many fanfics on my favorite anime. (Gundam Wing)
    As for the first time experience you are delivering it is good.
    Of course it wouldnt hurt to go back and re-read it.
    I find it useful to read my stories out loud, that will help streamline some things.
    If this is a "short" (One shot fic.) then i say you are on the right track.

    I dont know if blizzard would require more.
    If you need some one to review after your edits you can PM me.
    I dont mind sparing some time.
    Good luck.
    "The question that has haunted my every being has been answered.
    The future is not set, the choices are my own.
    How ironic, i see that i have no choice at all.
    I am a warrior...let the battle be joined!"

  5. #5

    Default Re: [Fanfiction] A Measure of Hope

    For a first delve into the fiction writing realm, it was pretty good. You managed to pass the minimum 3000 word limit (you had 4001 according to MS Word) which was a good thing. The dialogue used was indeed fairly Protossy in nature, and the descriptive narration was fair. Other than the few typos and grammar mishaps, the one big critique I would give is the lack of a fully immersive, gut-wrenching climax. I know it is difficult, but even short stories have them. I know that the whole thing about the remaining two protoss was it, but it just wasn't brought to life enough. It's important for the major climax to receive about 20-30% of the writing in your story.

    Overall though, good job.

  6. #6

    Default Re: [Fanfiction] A Measure of Hope

    this story wa excellent, and i like the way you used the idea of the zerg changeling! that really added something to the story

  7. #7

    Default Re: [Fanfiction] A Measure of Hope

    Took me three weeks to get to reading this.

    I like it. So, were all those protoss twilight?
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