The sands of Korhal felt uncomfortable beneath her bare feet; she had never liked coming to this place, even when she was still human. And while she had always hated hearing Arcturus say that they were stopping off at his blasted ruin of a home world, he was her leader, and Sarah Kerrigan the soldier had never disobeyed orders. But now she was simply Kerrigan, Queen of the Zerg, most despised being in the galaxy and loving every minute of it, and one would think being the ruler of a race of conquering insectiods meant you didnt have to go or do anything you didnt want to.
But here is where reality, she had to remind herself, departed from theory, especially when an invading fleet enslaves the majority of your subjects. It had certainly been a dire situation; the fleet sent by the United Earth Directorate had left her with barely enough minions to maintain the defenses of her hive clusters, forcing her to seek help from outside sources. For anyone else, this wouldve meant a challenge within itself, but Kerrigan was more resourceful than some might think. Her old friend Jim Raynor had gone and allied himself with a warband of Protoss, and some carefully chosen words and a friendly disposition meant that she had a force of Protoss warriors on her side, even if they were still uneasy about their choice of bedfellows. Arcturus Mengsk, former leader of both a Terran revolution and an empire, had been deposed by the UED and was quick to give his support when she had promised the return of his throne on Korhal in the exchange. So, despite this being one of the last places in galaxy she would rather be, Kerrigan had come to fulfill her end of the bargain.
Now that the deed was done and the UED crushed, however, Kerrigan was free to do as she pleased. And though they had done their work well, though she knew they had taken a great risk in giving her their trust, what she wanted to do more than anything was destroy her new allies. It had not been an easy decision, but this was a task that needed to be done. They were a threat to her rule, or would be very soon, and this was something she could not abide by. So, at dawn of the day following the battle against the UED, the Zerg had attacked the sleeping Protoss and Terran camps, catching them unaware and unprepared. Many had fallen quickly. But few, like the Protoss commander Fenix, were made of stronger stuff, and would not go down without a fight. Standing defiantly against the Zerg swarms, Fenix had held out long enough to force Kerrigan herself to enter the battle, ending his long life with her own hand.
And despite her discomfort, this was the sight that she was now taking in; the once proud Protoss warriors blue blood staining the sands beneath his corpse. She paused to savor the moment, for she had no love for the Protoss, and the sooner their pompous, self-righteous race was brought to its knees, the better. Yet what was that sound that interrupted this beautiful moment? Kerrigan turned to find its source and saw a Vulture hoverbike speeding towards her, and Jim Raynor leap from its seat to see the remains of his comrade, who he had fought and bled with through many difficult battles, lying broken at her feet. He stared in horror at the spot as his mouth, quivering from rage and grief, struggled to find words.
Fenix! he finally said No!
She nearly laughed, her body still brimming with the euphoria of her triumph, as she responded. What are you worried about, Jim? He died the way all Protoss hope to: In combat!
Her words seemed to drain the grief from his face, replacing it with a barely-contained rage that overflowed into his own voice. He died because you betrayed him! How many noble souls do you need to consume before you're satisfied? How many more people need to die before you realize what you've become?
Perhaps that rage wasnt contained at all, because his response hit Kerrigan like a sledgehammer. She had known for a long time that he had always hated her transformation into a Zerg, but he had still remembered that the two of them had been friends, close friends in fact, when they had still been members of the same species. When they were together, Jim had treated her the same way the best friend of a person who had made some bad choices in life had; he may notve liked some of the choices shed made or the company shed chosen to keep, but he had still cared about her. As much as Kerrigan talked about being beyond such emotional attachments, that fact had always comforted her. But as she looked into his eyes now, she saw that all of this was gone; Jim Raynor now looked at her with immense hatred and contempt, and she felt a sharp pain inside her chest.
You dont even know what youre talking about, Jim! she shot back, not quite able to keep her pain hidden from her face.
Dont I? He turned back to his bike, but he pointed a finger at her to punctuate his point. Ill see you DEAD for this, Kerrigan. For Fenix and all the others who got caught between you and your mad quest for power!
Even as the pain inside her chest intensified into a piercing feeling, Kerrigan struggled to reclaim her former confidence with a small laugh. Thats tough talk, Jimmy. But I dont think you have what it takes to be a killer.
Raynors gaze told her that if he couldve killed her right there and then, he wouldve. But he was a smart man, and he knew she wasnt human enough anymore that anything he could do offhand could cause her any significant harm. So as he revved up his Vultures engines, he said It may not be tomorrow, darlin. It may not even be with an army at my back. But rest assured: Im the man whos going to kill you some day. He swung the bike back in the other direction, added Ill be seein ya. then sped off.
Kerrigan said nothing for several moments afterward, only watching silently as he drove into the distance and out of sight. It would be so easy to kill him, to send the might and fury of the Swarm to hunt him down and end him as easily as it had ended these Protoss, but she couldnt bring herself to give such an order. Ever since she had become a member of the Zerg, she had gone out of her way to see that Jim Raynor had come to no harm. Perhaps she had sought to repay him for his companionship while they were with the Sons of Korhal, that he remained the only worthwhile souvenir from her human past. Perhaps it was because, out of all the beings in the galaxy, he was the only one who really understood her. But now this was the man who had vowed to kill her, who would not rest until he had avenged the many thousands she had slain in her time as Queen of the Zerg.
She spoke to no one in particular, for the entire Swarm could hear her every word. It is done. Let us return to Tarsonis to rest. For the first time since my transfiguration, I am
wearied of the slaughter.
Queen of the Zerg, most despised being in the galaxy
and no longer enjoying it as much as she thought she would.