They were created by the Terran Dominion, secret weapons forged from Zerg flesh and Terran steel. They were the ultimate war machines, unstoppable on the battlefield. They were incapable of questio...
Gregory P. Wong
Chapter 14: Lance And Shield
The space battle began with the launching of twenty-four "Seraph" interceptors from each of the nine carriers in orbit, plus the eighty interceptors from the /Phantasm/, for a grand total of two hundred ninety-six attack craft. The Seraph interceptors were the brainchild of Khalai Rethoj himself, and they proved deadly. With a higher control distance, the new craft could operate almost three times the distance of the normal interceptors. The Seraph interceptors were so named because their enhanced drives sent out distinct ion trail, giving it a glowing, angelic look. Their new engines allowed them to operate at mind-boggling speeds, at least three times that of the original interceptor. Enhanced pulse cannons rounded out the impressive performance of the drone craft.
Traenid/Esralath watched as the fighter craft slammed into the Thres'nalop fleet, which was still too far away to engage the Protoss fleet with their main weapons. The graceful, glowing Seraphs lashed out with pulse cannons. However, the sheer power and numbers of the powerful Thres'nalop fighters and capital ships overwhelmed the speedy craft. Nevertheless, the drones bought enough time, giving the Arbiters the chance to activate a stasis lock on a dozen of the capital ships, and a double handful of the single-ships. The Arbiters then were recalled away by two more Arbiters that had been holding station next to the carriers. Traenid/Esralath looked over his/her scanners. Three Thres'nalop Katanas and Scimitars were disabled by the Seraphs, and four more severely damaged. Fifteen more had been caught in the stasis lock. Two dozen talons and Rapiers were disabled. /Not enought. Not nearly enough/. He/she opened the fleet-wide communications net.
"All units, be prepared to activate battle plan Tarthan's Lance."
The carriers of the fleet broke formation, surrounded by another twenty-four Seraphs. The maneuver would have been suicidal, not allowing the carriers to interlace their interceptors for a stouter defense. But he/she knew that was a lost cause. There were much too many Thres'nalop ships for them to counter. So something else had to be done.
The carriers spread out thinly, keeping their prows faced towards the enemy fleet. Soon a box of carriers were holding station in space, Arbiters interspaced every few kilometers. As the Thres'nalop closed in, Traenid/Esralath gave a command over the communications net.
"/Activate the planet-crushers/!"
Energy began to build up at the front of each Protoss ship, each roiling ball of force powerful enough to slag a planet. Each of the ships had been given a coordinate to fire to, hoping that the greatly inaccurate weapons could hit something.
The crisscrossing beams of devastating energy ravaged the Thres'nalop fleet, the searing white rays of devastating power going through Thres'nalop ships like a psi-blade through flesh. Four score of Thres'nalop ships were drifting dead in space. The plan was a success! Now, for the hard part.
"All ships, head to the surface. Commence battle plan Jetok's Shield!"
As a command sequence was fed in, Traenid/Esralath noted that the Strikers had activated. The two hundred strike drones assigned to the ambush roared to life, their engines accelerating them towards the Thres'nalop fleet. The Thres'nalop didn't detect the drones until it was too late. The scorpion-tailed drones began strafing runs on the Thres'nalop capital ships, sowing damage with their strike blasters. The cloaked drones destroyed two Katanas, four Scimitars, and a handful of fighters, but were simply overwhelmed when the Thres'nalop concentrated their sensor nets on the area and opened fire. Traenid/Esralath was impressed with the trade-off. The drones were all destroyed, but not before six Thres'nalop capital ships hung ruined space. The Thres'nalop battle fleet headed toward the planet. ETA five minutes.
The antimatter cannons began to roar, taking out the swarming Thres'nalop ships. Transports spiraled in maneuvered, and were blown out of existence by the antimatter cannons and defense fire from the lighter photon cannons and Dragoons. But only a fraction of the invading ships were destroyed. The majority reached the ground, and began disgorging prodigious numbers of Thres'nalop strains. Daggers, sickles, and Bloodscythes exited the transporting scabbards. Surviving talons, Rapiers, and scabbards swooped overhead, pounding the Protoss defenders from the sky. Phase disrupter spheres and glowing photon blasts reached from the ground, striking down air and ground units alike.
The Protoss had dug into the valley where the anomaly was detected. Apparently, the gravitic phenomenon was inside an ancient-looking temple of some sort, which was sealed up tight. The gray, ornate temple sparkled with undermined jewels. It was built similar to a pyramid, spanning eighty meters square. The Executor had made sure that no one ventured into the ancient structure.
The powerful antimatter cannons and lesser photon canons held passes through the mountains. More firepower was arrayed around the temple.
Finally, after thirty minutes of fierce fighting, the Thres'nalop were through the mountains, and were on the expansive valley, only seven kilometers away from the source of the energy readings. Another ring of cannons guarded the temple holding the gravitic disturbance. At only five kilometers from the temple, the Thres'nalop forces slammed into the ring of outnumbered Protoss defenders.
Straas dodged to the left, cleanly avoiding a falling darkblade's arm. He thrust up, his azure-white flaming scythe jabbing up through its stomach. The dead Thres'nalop keeled over. He whirled to the left, and deflected an incoming bolt of energy with his left blade. He spotted the source, a lone sickle surrounded by noblades. A quick two-shot burst from his plasma cannons ended that threat.
He noticed a large group of huddled noblades and stoneblades in between two rock outcroppings. He smiled grimly, then charged them. The noblades fired of their spark rifles as the stoneblades crouched into attack position. At the last moment, he leaped up and to the right, evading the seeking sparks and blades. Using the momentum of his leap to coil up his legs, he jumped to the left wall and down, at the same time striking with his psi-scythes. Six Thres'nalop fell down dead as he passed. Upon reaching the other side, he allowed his momentum to again coil his legs, then he sprang again, moving deeper into the outcroppings. He repeated the back-and-forth wall attacks until the Thres'nalop in the area were dead.
He settled to the ground, and peered at the Protoss lines. The Protoss numbers were slowly dwindling, as the Thres'nalop seemed to come in an endless tide. He braced his blue-white flaming self to await the next wave of attackers.
Szcraa was two hundred meters from Straas' position, her jade-white flaming scythes flashing. She had mostly occupied herself with neutralizing the air units, freeing the scouts and Corsairs to continue ground support roles. She spied a flight of talons off to her left. Her neural targeting system was already deployed, so she just lined up her crosshair with the aircraft and fired off a burst from her plasma cannons. Crackling blue rays of energy struck the Thres'nalop fighters out of the sky.
A buzz warned her of an incoming spark. She jumped, but not fast enough. The glancing blow from the spark seared her thigh. She cursed her extra weight.
She spun to her left, lifting her right scythe. A darkblade's top left hook /spanged /off her psi-scythe, and she dispatched it with a kick that slashed open the creatures' belly. She could only pause a second, as a small group of five-armed steelblades converged on her. She hopped backwards and opened her chest carapace, raining green psi-powered Magna Needles on the screeching aliens. The Needles exploded, slaughtering the rushing insectoids.
Getting a moment of breathing time, she peered around her quickly. Zealots battled hand-to-hand with stoneblades, steelblades, and monstrous darkblades. The valiant Protoss warriors swung and slashed, fighting for their lives. Cybernetic Dragoons traded fire with weak noblades, all the while scrambling around to avoid the powerful nuclear cannons of the Thres'nalop sickles. The Dragoons relied on the zealot lines to keep the close-range melee Thres'nalop from swarming them. Zealots wielding energy weapons blasted away with the Dragoons.
Szcraa saw a handful of zealots and a Dragoon perish when a sickle opened fire point-blank with its three powerful nuclear cannons. A group of zealots charged at the walker, and set their psi-blades to the machine, slicing the six-legged vehicle apart. A roaring darkblade incinerated two zealots with a well-placed gluon cannon shot and crippled another, but the surviving zealots, crying for blood, eviscerated the Thres'nalop.
A handful of swift hovering daggers swept by photon cannons, firing their heavy spark cannons.
Four of the five attacking daggers swerved away in time, but one did not, and was reduced to scrap by the photon cannons. Two more were destroyed when a zooming scarab fired from a Reaver detonated within a meter of them. The two surviving daggers skimmed away towards Thres'nalop lines, ready to regroup. Szcraa did not give them a chance to do so, and blasted them with a volley of Magna Needles. Spying a section where Protoss defenders were being ravaged, she shot to the area, and began dealing out more death.
The carriers in orbit managed to distract the Thresn'nalop ships long enough for the antimatter cannons to target the enemy ships. Four Katanas had already fallen to the powerful weapons, and a Scimitar was barely able to move, so damaged it was. It would soon be targeted and finished off.
The Phantasm and the other ships had reached the atmosphere, and were providing support for the antimatter cannons. The Scimitars were playing a dangerous game with the antimatter cannons. The Scimitars would randomly change their vectors, hoping to confuse the sensors, all the while firing their heavy nuclear and spark cannons. The match was endurance versus speed, as two antimatter hits were enough to reduce a Thres'nalop ship to fragments. However, given enough time and provided they kept from being hit by the spheres of energy, the Thres'nalop ships could penetrate the sturdy shields and blast the cannons to pieces. As the carriers and Arbiters swooped down into the atmosphere in a fiery entry fireball, the Seraph interceptors and phase disruptor cannons opened up holes in the Thres'nalop lines.
If Traenid/Esralath had a Terran jaw, it would have dropped. The Thres'nalop were everywhere/. At his rate, even the fortified base surrounding the gravitic anomaly would fall. The /Phantasm zoomed over the Protoss ground troops, using its Seraphs as a type of screen. After using the sensors to survey the battlefield, he/she decided to assist directly.
"Deneras, I will travel to the ground to assist in the defense. Templar Deneras, you have command of the aerial forces," he/she said. Deneras just nodded in assent.
The executor concentrated his/her energy, and teleported to the command Nexus at the base of the temple. The surprised Khalai manning the communications station nearly fell out of his seat. With a nod towards the shocked technician, he/she glided outside.
At full speed, he/she reached the front lines in less than two minutes. The embattled Protoss and Thres'nalop were fighting full tilt, the ground littered with bodies. He/she lifted up his/her hands and blasted red and white energy from different hands. Gesturing with his/her arms, he/she called down lighting from the sky in a devastating psionic storm. The Thres'nalop ranks in his/her area hesitated, their numbers horribly reduced by the psionic lighting. Reaching out further, he/she launched a mind control attack, and the Thres'nalop turning on their confused comrades.
As he/she watched, a section of the Protoss line broke, and the Thres'nalop forces raced past the occupied photon cannons to chip at the stone temple with their spark rifles. Protoss Dragoons raced back and shot the two-dozen attacking noblades.
A blast of energy fell near the Executor from the direction of the sky. He/she peered into the sky, and noticed the flight of talons that were harassing the ground forces. The flights of superior scouts were too busy with the Thres'nalop Rapiers to destroy the talons, so he/she called out to a team of Dragoons. With them, he/she began launched powerful blasts into the sky. The groups of talons were quickly swatted from the air.
Except one. As Traenid/Esralath watched in horror, it began to dive towards the temple...
Straas looked over his shoulder as a bright explosion lit the area. His eyes widened in shock when he saw that a wall of the temple encasing the anomaly was gone/. In amazement, the rest of the stone structure crumbled, and a blindingly white sphere of /something became visible. There came a flash, and he felt an invisible wall of energy strike him off his feet. The rear ranks of Protoss crumpled to the ground, hit by the shockwave. The Thres'nalop behind the front ranks, screeching in triumph, sprinted past the unconscious Protoss and leaped into the ball.
"No!" He cried. /The Thres'nalop were hopping into Waj Norhal/! He heard Traenid/Esralath cry out.
"We must engage them in Terran space! Hurry! Into the warp gate!"