Starcraft Short Story

“Little Habiflat on the Prairie”                                               Pen Name: themaxxilor

“Who ate up Mama’s pie, I ne’er would tell’er – and so she put two slugs in my ol’ Feller!” sang Jimbo and Sindra Soole in their cramped yet cozy backwater Bhrexian habiflat.  As simple Terran retirees, the Soole’s tuned in every Sunday night to “That Dog O’ Mine,” an addictive sitcom about a Protoss and his pet zergling, a popular concept with an equally popular theme song.  Already in its second season it’s probably the biggest thing to sweep through the households of the Terran Dominion since the aliens came.

The show’s credits and the twanging of its upbeat banjo-fiddle harmonics faded.  Jimbo slouched deeper and more comfortably into his couch and, as he did most evenings, proceeded to lazily thumb the navi-remote of his net-cast viewer looking for the latest news and headlines on the terrorist Jim Raynor.

Sindra on the other hand, as she did every Sunday evening after the newest episode of “That Dog O’ Mine,” went into the kitchen to fetch a bowl of Mar Saran Critter Crisps, the snack made famous throughout the sector by its namesake planet and its fateful encounter with the zerg.

Channel after channel Jimbo flipped and after the 23rd and final attempt he annoyingly growled, “Nuthin’ on tonight.  Again!”

“Nuthin’, what?!” replied Sindra, trying to shout over the squeaking noise of her unsuccessful attempts to open the jumbo-sized, needlessly secure and warp travel-safe Critter Crisps bag.

“Stories on that Jim Raynor!  Not so much as a net-blurb, even on the Daily Dominion’s main board!”  The pop and fizz of Jimbo starting on his fourth Mengsk-Tastic Ale could be heard.  “Ain’t that queer?” he mumbled sipping his drink.  With the same arm as he held his ale, he wiped his mouth and started loading a net-cast of a previous Raynor’s Raiders story he had bookmarked.

He waited, patiently at first, but as the progress bar approached 78% and his ale nearly empty he broke the silence.  “Sindra!  Where the hell‘r my Critt’r Crisps?!”

An already annoyed Sindra was now searching the overhead cabinets for something sharp with which to attack the snack’s stubborn packaging.  “In a sec!”  echoed hollowly from the kitchen.

It was the same routine every week, but this time, before Jimbo could mouth this week’s, “Hurry up, Sindra, I’m timin’ ya!” the Soole residence shook as if it were on the receiving end of a Kel-Morian ore harvester.  Furniture was tossed in the air like toys.  Rumbling muted the Soole’s cries of panic and fear.

Jimbo choked on his ale and was catapulted from his couch and became buried in (compulsory) subscriptions to “Mengsk Monthy” and “The Daily Dominion”.

The viewer fell from its fixture, with the display “98% complete” shattering into a thousand crystalline shards.

Sindra on the other hand was launched halfway into the cabinet she was exploring, leaving her lower half dangling with legs flailing panicked and wild.

Then just as suddenly as it began, the quake stopped.  Most chairs, tables and bookcases danced or shuddered back into some form of stability.  As for the refrigerator, the quake simply lasted too long and built up enough instability to send it and its contents sideways, ruined.  Small items, dishes, and pictures were strewn across the habliflat floor in a collage of memories and past purchases.

The Soole’s did not survive unscathed.  Jimbo was vomiting half-swallowed ale, coughing and trying to stop a profusely bleeding nose.  Sindra, totally limp from her pandemonium, sobbed and slid backwards out of the cabinet landing on the bag of Mar Saran Critter Crispies which burst beneath her, sending sweet and sour snack pieces across the chaotic kitchen floor.

When he regained control of himself, Jimbo got on the com and sent a mayday to the nearest ranger outpost to report what had happened.  He listened for a response.  Static and nothing.  He tried again and again.  Still nothing.  The first thought that entered Jimbo’s mind was, “the entire planet has been quaked! We’re the only survivors!”

Sindra came from the bathroom red-eyed from crying as Jimbo powered down his communications unit, a forlorn expression on his face.

“Anything?”  “No.  I think we’re the last –”  Just then, the ground began to shake and tremble again, but this time the habiflat and its contents stood their ground and Jimbo could hear the faint but familiar humming of military-grade engines and treads grinding up earth.

“Land sakes!” gasped Sindra.  “The army’s comin’!”  Jimbo was already out the habiflat’s mauled doorway no more than 2 paces when he froze, mouth agape.

A Crucio Siege Tank had parked 200 feet from their habiflat, its floodlights and flares turning the Bhrexian night sky into day.  But this was not what had so stunned Jimbo.

“Sindra! Baby, you need to come out ‘ere an’ see this!”  Sindra did as her husband said, but only got a half-stride outside of the habiflat when he eyes grew to the size of Bhrexian flapjacks.

Words failed the Soole’s.

A fissure? A crevice? Canyon? Chasm? Crater? In our backyard of 20 years?

The expanse that was once the pride of the Soole’s, an undisturbed prairie with a panoramic view of Bhrexia’s dual sunrises and sunsets, the only binary star system for light years around, had now become exactly that which words failed to describe, but an attempt to do so goes as follows.  50 feet from the Soole habiflat, a hole had formed in the earth, as if the innards of the planet had spewed out onto the surface.  A planetary pimple that had burst.  The hole was soon refilling itself as loose earth and sediment fell back into it, but looking towards the horizon leading away from the habiflat, the “hole” more closely resembled a short ditch that got shallower down the line.

A pair of floodlights on the siege tank beamed on, and focused on Jimbo, blinding him.  Despite his pain and shock, but not knowing what else to do, he held his hands up in surrender.  Sindra followed suit.

“Citizens of the Dominion,” boomed a loudspeaker from the tank’s commander, “You must evacuate this area immediately.”

The Soole’s were again speechless.

“We, the 215th Cavalry of the Terran Dominion, have detected a zerg Ultralisk in the vicinity!  We are now giving pursuit!  This area is no longer safe to non-combatants!  You must leave!”

“What in the name of Arcturus Mengsk are you talkin’ ‘bout!?” screamed a clueless and now frustrated Jimbo towards the lights, his authoritative voice echoing into the Bhrexian night.  “We ain’t had no zerg ‘round these parts, never! ‘F there was, we’da seen em, uh, or heard ‘em!  And surely our rangers woulda told us if those critters were around!  And dontchoo give me orders over a gall-danged megaphone!  C’mon down here and talk to me like a man!”

Sindra watched as her husband snapped at the massive war machine.  Then, she saw a hatch open from the tank’s armor, from where a soldier looking to be a high ranking Dominion officer stepped out and marched towards Jimbo.

“Citizen, my name is General Maxwell Varia, commander of the 215th Cavalary.  This yer premises I presume?”

“That’s right, General!” answered Jimbo.   “Terran Confederacy, Fenix Squadron, 32nd Wraith Group, Major Jimbo Soole, retired!” Jimbo gave with a textbook salute.  “I own these parts and been livin’ here fer twenty years runnin’!  ‘N whatever you’re chasin’, it ain’t here!  Or at least, ain’t here no more from the looks of it!” he barked defiantly while nodding towards the hole in his yard.

“I don’t mean to say yer wrong, Major Soole,” Varia said with a halfhearted salute.  “But, our agents have detected zerg signatures comin’ from this sector, getting’ stronger for the past year or so.”  He continued.  “We got orders to investigate, n’ take ev’ry possible precaution in doin’ so.  And it turns out we were right.”

“What the hell you mean by ‘you were right’?!” countered a newly enraged Jimbo.  “What kinda zergling needs a full blown siege tank to put it down like so many Ol Fellers in ‘That Dog O’ Mine’?!” he added, citing the popular sitcom.  “I’d bet y’all’s responsible for ruinin’ my yard, pro’lly all fer a little zerglin nappin’ in my garden no less!”

“Major,” Varia began, “Like I plainly made mention before having to exit my vehicle,” now sounding a bit annoyed, “We are in pursuit of an Ultralisk, the biggest of the zergs.  They’re bigger than tanks, they can burrow underground, and they don’t burrow alone.”

The last bit struck a chord of concern in the infuriated Jimbo.  “They don’t burrow alone?” he said after a brief silence.  “What’s that mean? There’s more than one?”

“Correct sir,” replied Varia.  “Your precious rangers likely din’t have a chance to warn you, being dead ‘n all.”

“Dead!?”  shrieked Sindra, now joining the conversation.

“Evenin’ ma’am,” Saluted Varia.  Sindra blushed.

Varia went on.  “Yes, every ranger outpost in the western hemisphere of Bhrexia is down, and we got reason to believe that zerg are responsible.  That’s why we’re here.”  Jimbo and Sindra looked at each other in disbelief.  “But you two were lucky.  Very lucky, cuz when them Ultralisks unburrow, they usually make more of a mess than this – musta been a baby.  I lost half a tank squadron from an Ultra burrowed ambush durin’ the Brood War.  At least you got yer home and yer hides!” Varia finished grinning.

“I’m not sure just how thankful I should feel,” sighed Jimbo, refusing to grin or anything of the sort, “Given as we had nothin’ to even hint that zerg were shackin’ up on Bhrexia.  20 years of quiet! Then all a’ sudden, we gotta leave!”

“The zerg are gettin’ smarter all the time, Major.  Yes, they have been quiet o’er the past few years, but who knows they mighta jus’ planted some seeds ‘round the Dominion to ruffle our feathers like tonight!”  Varia cleared his throat.  “But, all that bein’ said, you two still need to leave until it’s safe.  I’ll make it safe!  That’s my job!  Our Medivac shuttle will take you to the nearest relief station.  We’ll make sure that yer things are taken care of.  I’ve got zerg to fry!”

And with that, General Varia gave a full salute, about-faced and climbed back into his tank.  Other tanks had now reached the Soole’s prairie, joined with Varia and headed on a vector matching the Ultralisk’s trail.

The Soole’s watched from the medivac shuttle as their once beloved home disappeared into the distance of the Bhrexian night.  It would be the last night “That Dog O’ Mine” would be broadcasted, as the following day conflict once again gripped the Koprulu Sector with the reappearance of the Queen of Blades.  On a lighter note, this prompted many more stories on Jim Raynor, which made Jimbo happy. Once their new residence was decided, he enjoyed resuming his retired life, keeping up on the latest exploits of Raynor’s Raiders and the events that would follow.  Sindra was never again late in serving a bowl of Mar Saran Critter Crispies, having discovered a faster way to opening the bag during that final night in their old Bhrexian habiflat.

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~ by Red 5 Standing By on July 30, 2010.

2 Responses to “Starcraft Short Story”

  1. I THINK THIS IS GREAT AND AWSOME AND NICEEEEE

  2. […] another Starcraft short-story Not written as well as the first one, but hey, if you gotta write something, better let people read it.  Thanks […]

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