Categories > Games > StarCraft > Steel, Soul, and Spirit

Chapter 1: Units S-213 and S-214

by Forge 1 Reviews

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...

Category: StarCraft - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Sci-fi - Characters:  - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2006/02/16 - Updated: 2006/02/16 - 2164 words

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/STEEL, SOUl, AND SPIRIT/
By
Gregory P. Wong

Chapter 1: Units S-213 and S-214

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"The units S-213 and S-214 performed with admirable skill. The mechanical plasma cannons performed superbly, and the genetically enhanced Magna Needles were equally destructive. The 'volunteers' had no chance." The death row inmates had been given an enticing deal. Destroy two machines with top-of-the-line Confederacy weapons, and they could go free. The three-dozen men had died in, oh, two minutes.
"Even with all their heavy weaponry, they were clearly no match for S-213 and S-214. These Cyborgs will be very helpful if those Protoss and Zerg show up here again," said Thurston to "Emperor" Mengsk, the new headman, over a comm connection. Mengsk's coup against the Confederacy had paid off, and now the Terran sector was /his/. A lot had happened in the last three-and-a-half years since he had ordered Cassandra to begin the cloning and gene mixing sequences. Now, the Cyborgs were at optimal performance levels, the Zerg Overmind was dog food, the rebellious James Raynor had fled with a small chunk of the Dominion military in tow, and the Protoss were rebuilding their homeworld... and a fleet from Earth was beginning to encroach on Dominion space.
The emperor had shown interest in the lab and its creations, therefore preventing the former rebel leader from ordering the execution of former Confederacy employees. A good deal of sucking up to the new bigwig had not hurt, either.
"These... things... show promise then?" inquired the High Emperor Mengsk over the communication screen. The emperor had a dubious look. The terrorist cum emperor had an extreme case of pathological xenophobia. He had to tread carefully with how he handled this...
"Definitely, sir."

***

Cassandra exited her room, making sure the door closed quietly behind her. She silently traveled the many corridors of the research compound. She had to flash her identification to the guard.
She made her down the final corridor and opened the blast door leading into the holding bay where her two main creations, S-213 and S-214, a.k.a. Straas and Szcraa, stood. She looked at them and reflected on what she had done. Their organic parts looked almost like normal hydralisks, but their flesh had more purity and cleanliness; no slimy drool perpetually dripped from their mouths, nor did they have the rotten stench of the Zerg. Their armored flesh ended at about 150 centimeters down, where the double-jointed Goliath III-style legs and lower body took over. They stood about three meters high, with Straas a few fractions of a meter taller.
The Goliath III legs were constructed following a strange schematic that they had uncovered, adding a second joint on the legs, under the knee joint. The legs had a human-style knee joint, then about a meter down another joint bent backwards, then the ankle, and then finally the three-clawed foot. The legs were fashioned out of a little-known metal, which had strange properties. Other than its immense durability and strength, the metal was an unknown. The metal had been weaved with numerous sensors, so the foot would feel like real limbs to the "user". Someone with aesthetics in mind had also attached a "tail" into the Goliath III lower body, which served as a heat sink, balance gyro system, and last resort weapon.
Cassandra looked back at the organic parts, focusing on the faces. She had secretly integrated voice boxes that allowed them to talk as articulately as a human. Of course, they didn't talk with those, but with their communications equipment. Cables snaking out from a computer terminal were attached to interface nodes on the back of the Cyborgs' heads.
They were on low-power status: they knew what she was doing, but they wouldn't do anything about it, unless it was assessed as a clear threat by their computers. She walked to a computer terminal, booted it up, and began to do some "minor" programming on them, first on S-213, and then on S-214.
She had bribed Thurston's master tech to the codes for the internal systems. At first, the man had been skeptical, but had given in with a little flirting and a couple thousand credits. She really had no place to spend them, anyway. And the tech wasn't bad looking.
She glanced at their powerful weapons. Twin plasma cannons were slung over their shoulders, and their chests concealed rows of Magna Needles. The new Magna Needles had required hard work. The powerful biological weapons were basically larger hydralisk spines, but with potent bioexplosives integrated into each needle. The Cyborgs produced the bio-explosive themselves, fed with the right nutrients. The devastating Magna Needles were nearly as powerful as the 80-millimeter shells used by Terran Arclite tanks. The rest of their body was also genetically enhanced, making their claws, carapace, and even the bony frill and glossy spines, all harder than neosteel.
She had designed the scythes to be able to sharpen themselves at will with molecular rearrangement, similar to, but much more complex than, the concept of a cat's claws. The symbiotic nanotechnology could sharpen their scythes, or dull them. Perhaps the most distinguishing feature located on the arms, however, was the fact that the Cyborgs had a quartet of fingers, complete with opposable "thumbs". The scythes were kept in recesses over the Cyborgs' wrists. The molecular rearrangement allowed the blades to retract from 0.1 meters to 1.2 meters.
She looked a little closer, gazing at the two. Straas was significantly bigger than Szcraa; Cassandra had impulsively made Straas male, and Szcraa female. That took a lot of work, since the Zerg were initially genderless. Straas' organic parts were colored a deep red, while Szcraa was colored an orange-brown, while their bellies were a paler beige. The metallic gray of the Goliath-III legs clashed with the drab colors.
Oh, how the ethicists must be turning in their graves!
Then Cassandra looked at Szcraa's head, glancing at the numerous sensors and input nodes placed there. Over the left eye was a neural targeting system, which let the Cyborgs track targets merely by sight. The targeting apparatus could fold up and over when not in use. She sighed and continued typing. Then she stopped.
She stared down at the glowing screen, with it rows and columns of alphabetical figures and numbers. She needed to make her programming inconspicuous, so that her patches would activate at the right time, without a chance of detection before that. The triggers that would activate them would be more than a simple clock. No, she needed something that proved that her creations could make use of their abilities in the right way. She came upon an idea, and nearly discarded it. It seemed too... arrogant, /unright/, to make a trigger based on it. But she did it anyway. She resumed typing again.
She finished her programming, and then left, quietly leaving the two Cyborgs behind.

***

News Excerpt: After a massive armed rebellion on the world of Westgate caused severe Dominion casualties, the military high command has decided to send in the special undisclosed weapons, which were believed to be first "manufactured" four years ago. The specialized constructs should be the key to stopping the rebellion. More news as events unfold.

***

S-213 ducked, a high-explosive round sailing over his head. A clean miss. He opened his chest, and Magna Needles blew the cannon emplacement to smoking pieces. A small squadron of friendly Wraiths flew overhead, beginning their attack runs. Unit S-214 acknowledged them, and provided air cover by scattering the clustered enemy Valkyrie frigates with her plasma cannons. The Wraiths took out the remaining tanks that had dug in, hull-down. As the cannons fell silent, he and his partner, S-214, charged the enemy bunkers, pummeling them with Needles and cannon. The troops inside tried to flee once their shelters cracked like dropped eggs, but he and S-214 butchered them before they could even take ten steps.
Two enemy bases lay to the north and south; they would have to split up. S-214 took the airbase in the north, and S-213 took the encampment to the south.

***

S-214 crept in the shadows, sneaking up on the airbase. The sensors did not detect her. She deployed her neural targeting system.
A loud explosion and firing attracted the attention of the enemy troops. Seeing the perfect opportunity, she leaped out of hiding, her cannons and Magna Needles firing madly. Dozens of enemy soldiers were cut down in the first few seconds of the firestorm. Bullets began to shoot her way, many spanging off her armor, others missed as she dodged madly. She lashed back at the defenders with a deluge of Magna Needles and plasma bolts.
After dispatching the defenders immediately around her, she spied the rebels' single battlecruiser doing its best to get off the ground and brings its many laser turrets to bear, but she quickly destroyed it with multiple bursts from her plasma cannons to the engine area. Unable to stay aloft, the capital starship crashed into the bloody ground and exploded. The rebel forces directly under the falling behemoth were squashed like insects.
The remaining forces were fleeing, and she gave chase. Suddenly, as she rounded a corner of a small hill, she was confronted by dozens of tanks, which all began to fire at her. The tanks were absolutely too close for them to miss her, speed or no. Her plasma cannons went into action, smashing six of the old version armored vehicles. But there were too many to take out before they fired. Explosive shells slammed into her, knocking her off-balance. Regaining her stability, she leaped, and landed on one the tanks. Her scythes slashed down, opening up the tank like a can. A burst of Needles into the interior compartment combusted the ammunition, and the armored vehicle exploded. She leapt off just as the turret flipped upward into the air from the force of the detonation. She continued this strategy, until only twelve tanks remained.
She managed to kill all of them, but not before they had damaged her to the point of immobility. The remaining forces began to rally to this point, bringing more and more weapons to bear. She sent a distress beacon to Unit S-213...

***

S-213 received the distress beacon just moments before he was going to fire at the main factory. At first, his programming told him to ignore the imminent-danger class V beacon, but suddenly something else took hold. /He thought... amazing. He had never felt this way before. But suddenly, the feeling left him. Growling, he destroyed the factory and ran off to aid his partner./

***

S-214 did not know how much longer she could last. She had suffered severe damage, and her auto-repair systems simply could not keep up with the mounting damage. Still she fought on.
Suddenly the enemy lines broke, scattering. Plasma and Needles followed them out. A large group of fleeing soldiers was struck down by the outgoing weapons blasts. Then the other Cyborg picked her up in his arms, his scythes molecularly unsharpened and retracted, and tromped off to the waiting dropship.

***

"The Cyborgs have performed well, Emperor. Records show that in battle, their reactions are one-one hundredth of that of a man. And, they were clocked a nearly 90 KPH at full battle reflex. Also, S-214 has been fully repaired," said Thurston to Mengsk over the commlink, two weeks after the rebellion on Westgate had been crushed. The rebels had thrown down their arms after their stunning defeat at the hands of the two Cyborgs. Their hanged bodies were still swinging on the formal rebel world.
"I was reviewing the tapes and mission logs," said Mengsk in his oily politician's voice, "and I noticed that S-213 paused before destroying the factory. And the timing was exactly when S-213 received S-214's distress call. I thought these Cyborgs were incapable of thought, with the encoding you said you integrated into them, but it seemed to fail. S-213 had its orders to destroy all enemy forces before all else, even before rescuing a 'comrade'. Remember Thurston, I do /not /like failures ."
Thurston's heart skipped a few beats. The he did his best to appear confident, and replied.
"Yes sir! I will follow this up immediately, sir!"
"You had better."

***

Thurston looked at the security cameras in his office.
After the near-disaster with Mengsk, he had activated the special cameras that he himself had placed there after returning to his office. The normal security cameras sometimes seemed to develop static at certain nights, which had prompted him to seed some extras in the lab. Movement caught his eye.
Cassandra Golavich entered the bay, looked around, and began some type of programming on the Cyborgs.
"Hah hah. I have you now, you little... I do /not /like traitors," growled Thannanian.
He got up, took out a needle pistol, and walked down to the holding bay.
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