The archaic doors swung slowly open, creaking with a majesty that resonated within every fibre of the Protoss' body and mind. As the figure slowly entered the dull room, a dreary chamber illuminated only by the holotable affixed to the centre of the raised floor, thoughts roiled in bedlam and anarchy with no true form, passing as quickly as they came and bringing with them legions of others. One thought, however, drowned out all the rest - not because of force or strength in numbers, but because of its sheer simplicity. While other thoughts were scrambled and called for many different actions, this was a single word - a single thought.
Every tortured soul was slaughtered.
Every pained mind was relinquished.
Every frail body was incinerated.
At the mere nod of his head, the Protoss' armada carried out the grave orders.
And every voice screamed out in agony, HELP. US.
Corporal Rick Wells awoke in a cold sweat, gasping for air and trying desperately to recollect his thoughts while his eyes adjusted to the dark interior of the hospital room. As the soldier caught his breath, a monitor chirped and activated, bathing Wells' face in an eerie green light, bringing out his scars against the fleeing shadows of the night.
HEART RATE: 215
"Oh, fuck." Rick exhaled heavily, leaning back into his hospital bed and covering his eyes with both hands, sweat drenching his brow. "I gotta stop seeing shit in my dreams..."
Dreams of the past, Executor?
Executor Uldwe's muscles clenched above his eyes, moving in a downward motion that would possibly resemble a human frown if seen in the proper lighting. Against the backdrop of the shadowy-black night, however, the movement was barely noticeable to even a keen eye. Slowly, the imposing Protoss warrior rounded to face the speaker. The Executor was a startling height of nine feet and seven inches even before stepping into a Zealot power suit, putting him well above the standard height of a Protoss. His body was clearly built for action, with finely-toned muscles blending naturally with his bright cyan-coloured skin. His eyes shone a deep blue, a hint of magenta flickering in and out of existence, truly manifesting only when a thought was projected.
Uldwe's visage promptly eased when he saw the speaker. Salanas. The thought that identified his addresser as one of two High Templar chosen as personal advisors to the Executor was filled with recognition and a strong mutual and emotional connection - what humans would describe as "friendship."
Honourable Uldwe. The templar nodded his head in acknowledge of the rank of Executor, a ritual that Uldwe often grew tired of. Your thoughts are troubled. Without true cause, I have become concerned about your... security. A pause in thought projection signified that the High Templar was choosing his words carefully. Are you alright? The Executor sent back an emotion of appreciation of the other's empathy and yet another reassurance of their friendship before taking a pause himself. Salanas was a foot and a half short of reaching Uldwe's height, putting him just over the average size for a Protoss male, and his skin, a dull grey with scattered hints of purple, covered an exterior that was average at best in terms of strength. But the more impressive feature of the templar was his eyes. They crackled an electric green, belying true intelligence and illuminating the darkness. Salanas was chosen as an advisor for his ability to naturally establish an emotional and mutual connection between himself and another party, as well as his expansive understanding of psionics. The Executor himself was more fond of brandishing a pair of psi blades and charging in for a close-quarters fight, but that's what he enjoyed about keeping such company; they balanced him out.
This time, the Executor knew who the addresser was. First Templar Kempor, Uldwe's second consort, made his presence known with his ever-ghastly delivery, the resonance of his mental voice echoing throughout the minds of all those nearby. If there ever was a true foil to Salanas' character, it was Kempor. The brash, ruthless, almost malevolent personality the First Templar sported clashed almost every way with the calm, understanding, and benevolent one of Salanas'. Kempor was chosen to aid Uldwe in making tough but crucial decisions during any skirmish, large or small, and his option was almost always the quickest and the bloodiest - or, as he liked to refer to it as, "the most efficient way". This naturally created strife between the Executor's two advisors. While they both were powerful templar, however, Salanas had always been the more psionically-adept - becoming the natural choice for accompanying ground forces during operations - and this infuriated Kempor to no end. I am pleased to report that the Protoss insurgency in Taltamör has been defeated, as I predicted. There shouldn't be any more problems for quite a while after my demonstration...
Salanas' response was an emotion of distaste that Uldwe found surprising. The templar usually wasn't as blunt as that, even after such a distasteful action. Very well, Kempor. The Executor expressed a frustrated emotion - something a Terran would know as a mental 'sigh' - before facing his First Templar directly. Perhaps you can brief me in more depth at sunrise. Salanas and I were discussing a matter of importance that need not concern you. Uldwe kept his mental tone respectful but strong, hoping to avoid angering Kempor. The addressed merely nodded and stepped back into the structure, leaving the Executor and his templar at the balcony. Salanas sent a frustrated emotion not unlike Uldwe's own, to which he responded with an agreement. Turning to violence wherever there lies a problem only creates more.
The Executor nodded. The insurgents have been increasingly violent recently. The last few takeovers have denied our negotiations, and I am not keen on letting them take our lands. Those who deal in violence will meet their ends just the same.
Salanas sought for a statement, but defaulted to merely sending his mental sigh once more. His frustration was met with Uldwe's empathy. You can't save them all, Salanas. Sometimes, they just don't see the bigger picture. The Executor placed a comforting hand on Salanas' shoulders, meeting his gaze and sending the feeling of mutual, emotional connection again before stepping past him to seek out Kempor.
The templar looked to the stars as Uldwe departed, and wondered just what had triggered his Executor to think back to their home, Rastar.
"And you found nothing in the room?"
Rick was tired of being barraged with this question over and over again. Resisting the urge to roll his eyes, the soldier responded, "Sir, the only thing I saw in the room was dust and a human body, and the body looked like it'd been there for a long time. That's all there was." His response had the debriefing officer sinking his hand into his face and sighing, something Rick himself had felt inclined to do several times through his exceedingly-thorough questioning. "Is that all?" A bit agitation was evident in Wells' tone, and the officer definitely picked up on it, frowning as he raised his head. "Yeah, I guess so. Sorry about your men, sergeant."
Rick opened his mouth to respond, but stopped himself. Sergeant? "Sir?" The officer nodded. "Command saw it fit to promote you, seeing as how you attempted to fulfil your objectives long after there was any real hope of succeeding and still pulled through. I gotta give it to you, son - one hell of an endurance you got there." He rose and moved to the door, pulling it open for Rick. "Good luck out there, Wells."
The sergeant nodded after a brief pause and rose to step through the door, still a little surprised that he got a promotion for losing all his troops in a single skirmish. I guess that's how things work... Rick gave himself a mental shrug as he headed out of the office and back towards the mess hall for some grub. As he walked, a strange feeling crept over him, running over his mind like running water over one's arm. Rick smiled.
I guess so, Sergeant Wells.