A story from the Kharra persepctive...
Disclaimer: the following was written in acourdance with the TSA Manual, however no consultation was done with any Dev. This may be found to be inconsistant with Flayra's vision of the Kharaa, and it should not be assumed this is how things "really" work. It is best to view this as happening in an Alternate NS universe.
Part I of the Kharaa Chronicles:
By Christopher S. CaseTranslators Note: The following was translated by a TSA research team. The location and origin of the translation is classified Top Secret, or better. It should be noted that the original translation was very difficult to read, and long winded. A more concise version has been written in Chinese. The following is a reader friendly version, which may or may not be as accurate.
I was birthed in a dark, humid room. I stopped taking notice of my surroundings millennia ago, and this room was the same as the last one for longer than I cared to remember. In the back of my consciousness, I knew that battle wasn’t going well for the Brothers. The marines were attacking us from 3 directions, and the Brothers only had one Hive. The Bacterium told me I must go defend the Brothers, and rid this place of Marines. Kill I was told, and kill I would, for I am Kharaa, the Devoured.
I ran along the ceiling, and in vents, letting the Bacterium act as my guide. The sound of the Brothers fighting, familiar, welcome, and correct, filled my mind. I also heard the bizarre and alien sounds of the Marines. Hive had given labels to them soon after we first heard them, but I never truly understood them. I never truly understood much of anything since the Bacterium. Nor did I want to; the Bacterium was cold, and demanding. I had no desire to know its mind, or understand it.
The sounds of light machine guns and other Marine noise filtered through the sound of the Brothers. I looked, and saw that I was behind the Marines. The Brothers were putting up a valiant fight, but losing. I leapt from my perch above the Marine heads, and killed one marine in the process. The other three were too busy holding off the Brothers to notice their loss. I bit into one, feeling the warmth of blood, and the satisfying crunch of bone. I ripped into him, and only after I knew he was dead, did I proceed onto the next one. The Brothers joined me, and soon there was nothing but blessed silence. I could not enjoy it, however, since Hive had other plans for me. The Bacterium urged me on, and I followed its guidance.
The next group of Marines was better armed. They hopped about as if they had wings, although they didn’t. I tried my best to kill them, however, they quickly destroyed my body. I rejoined Hive, and as I did, my consciousness grew dim, and faded.I was standing on a small hill, overlooking the prairie. It was a vibrant blue, tall, and inviting. Scattered here and there were Puffers, small stumps that blew gentle puffs of soft pollen against you’re skin if you walked near them. Over head a Lahlf soared, and I knew the evening was nigh. Ovli would be waiting to meet with me down in the prairie and I knew he wouldn’t like what I had to say. There was no choice, the Elders had spoken, and the pack would not hunt any more Great Ones this season. We had stored enough food for the Cold, and there was no point in killing any more. Ovli would not like this, since he still wanted to hunt. He was obsessed with killing, and he would have gone after the Great Ones by himself if it wasn’t for their huge size, and great strength. Poor Ovli, I thought. He doesn’t know the value of life.
The memory faded, and I realized I was about to be birthed. Hive had use of me, and it wouldn’t do for me to be in the middle of a memory when I was birthed, would it? As I awaited birthing, I questioned myself why I was thinking about the old life, before the Bacterium. I had no answer.
The Marine attack was growing in ferocity. The Brothers were fighting with all their strength and I too quickly found myself in the fray. I jumped out of a vent, and took out two Marines. I ran down a hallway, being pursued by another Marine. This one had a shotgun, about which the only thing I knew was that it would destroy my body very quickly unless I was cunning.
I ran into another room, and leapt onto the wall above the doorway. I waited for the Marine to enter the room, so I could pounce on him. He had apparently faced this tactic before, so he came through the doorway looking up, and firing. His first shot missed, and so did his second, I leaped, and there never was a third shot. I decided to stand guard over our Collectors, making sure they didn’t fall prey to Marine attacks. We were short on minerals, so I figured I’d help the Brothers out by guarding the precious Collectors. I took out any Marine that happened my way. Then, they sent a group of four after me. I fought valiant, and hard, but soon I was rejoining Hive yet again. As before, I faded into a memory.“But I cannot do it, Ovli. The Elders will surely cast me out. No more hunting parties are to go out this season. The Cold is coming, and we must prepare the pack.” He looked into my eyes. He saw something he didn’t understand. His intense study of my eyes blinded him from the blazing light that had appeared in our sky. It only took moments for the light to impact our world, and only a few more moments for the Fire to start burning us. I didn’t know at that time, but it was the Bacterium enslaving us, and dissembling our bodies for its purpose. Ovli howled in pain and I could do nothing but howl back. In moments, everything we’d known was burning. Every living creature was Judged, and those worthy became the Brothers, the slaves of the Bacterium. The Kharaa were born.
I was birthed yet again, and I realized that we now had 2 Hives, and the Marines attack had been pushed back, for now. I decided it was time for me to evolve, in order to aid the Brothers. I ran down a hallway, seeking a place to hide. I found one, and invited the bacterium to envelope me, and as it did, my sight faded swiftly into a pink nothingness.It was the most curious sensation I’d ever felt. I knew I must be dead, but this was not the fertile plain we were promised by the Elders. It was more like a dark void. I caught glimpses of a brown world, which looked barren, and dead. The visions were sparse, jumbled, and disorienting. I became increasingly confused as the terrifying glimpses continued.
‘Where am I?’ I wondered.
‘The Void’ a voice told me.
‘The what? What happened? Am I dead?’
‘No, and as long as we flourish, you never shall taste death. That is one of our gifts to you.’
I was very confused now. ‘Who are you?’
‘We are the Bacterium. We have devoured you. You now must help us survive.’
I grew angry, and even more scared. I tried to control my anger however. ‘Where did you come from?’
‘You are different from the rest. The others only cared about themselves. They have become angry, and told us they would never help us. They failed to see that we are their life now. They, and ourselves are one. No, instead you want to find out more. You want to know why we did this, and how, and to what end. We will grant you with this knowledge, to a limited degree.
We once lived on a planet much different from yours. We lived in unison with all life, and connected everything growing, crawling, flying, or swimming. Everything was part of us, yet still themselves. Then, the Monsters came. They started to destroy the life of the planet, and ourselves. We took action, and took over an isolated group of them. We found ourselves on this planet. Somehow, they had transported themselves in something called a “ship” to this world. It was our taking over their bodies that caused us to end up here, so they told us. It didn’t matter; this planet was full of life, and perfect for what we needed. We devoured all life on this planet, to help us Survive. In return, we have given you all immortality, and the chance to be part of something bigger, something worthy of living. We will improve you, and evolve you to help us survive. Nothing is more important than our survival.’
‘I see. I have no choice in the matter, do I?’
‘No. We cannot reverse what we have done.’
‘I see, well then, what do you plan to do next?’
‘We will wait. The Monsters will come again. This time, we will be ready. They shall not survive.’
I felt the Bacterium release me, and I had a newfound strength. I was large, and disgusting to behold. I had two powerful claws that itched with anticipation, and the need for blood. I was Fade, powerful, and twisted. I remembered that Fade had once been a great majestic race of creatures, before they infringed on the Bacterium’s world. The Monsters, as the Bacterium called them, they had been subjected to the rule of the Mighty Kharaa. As will the Marines. The Bacterium reminded me. It was time to bring that day one step closer to fruition.
I ran down the hall, in search of my prey. I found 2 Marines flying about, and quickly dispatched them. I was filled with a seething hatred that was not my own, yet, it felt so right, so purposeful. I joined up with a group of Brothers, a Lerk, the former Lahlf, and an Onos, the Great One. Together we headed to the Marine’s Hive. We walked in there, and started attacking the nearest structures. The Lerk gave a primal scream, and I felt a new surge of power envelope my being. My sole purpose was killing the Marines, and my entire being was bent on their destruction. I ripped through them as if this was the deciding victory. I realized my body was being stung, and bitten, but I didn’t care, I was fulfilling my purpose, I was destroying all that threatened the Kharaa. Soon I found myself rejoining Hive yet again. I had gotten caught up in the moment, and let my body be destroyed. The Bacterium chastised me for that, but I only half listened. Again my mind drifted into a memory.‘Awake.’
‘I didn’t know I was asleep. I must have been dreaming.’
‘It is time.’
‘Time for what?’ I was suddenly aware of strange creatures falling from the sky, and landing on our planet.
‘The Monsters have come back. It is time for us to destroy them.’
‘Ah, yes, the monsters. Can’t we just leave them alone?’
‘No!’ It was said with such force I winced.
Suddenly I found myself being birthed, into a form much like my old self. It was the same, almost. I couldn’t speak, the most I could do was growl.
‘What happened to me?’ I thought.
‘You have been reborn. Go, and destroy all those who threaten our existence.’
It was this way that the Kharaa came to destroy the Monsters. We spread from ship to ship, destroying everything. I was caught up in the Bacterium too much to realize exactly what we were doing. I saw visions of battles in which I killed hundreds. The Monsters were ill prepared for such an invasion, they had never had a foe to fight in centuries, let alone one bent on their utter destruction. The Bacterium called them soft, weak, ill fit to survive. There were times I felt shame at what I had helped do. How I had helped to take over their entire empire. With each creature we killed, we gained more knowledge, and understood what technology was, and how to operate all of the devices the Monsters had created. We used them against them too. It was a form of irony that at one point would have made me cry. I no longer feel that way, Kharaa cannot cry. We cannot feel sorry for our prey, all we can do is kill them, and ensure our own survival. There is nothing else.
The Marines were holed up in a small room. They were losing, and they knew it. I ran to the fight, and started killing things in their base. I almost died, but I ran out, and let a Gorge heal me. The Marines tried a desperate push, and somehow ended up forcing the Brothers back towards our Hives.
I attacked a group of them. They had heavy machine guns, which I knew would kill me if I wasn’t careful. I killed one of them, and left the Brothers to fight, while I evolved again. I let the bacterium envelop me, as my body transformed into Onos, the Great One. ‘Awake.’
‘But we’ve been asleep for so long. What can it possibly be?’
‘The Monsters have returned.’
‘Impossible, we killed them all ages ago. Now, let me sleep.’
‘They are back. They are not the same ones we killed before. They are different, pink, and soft. Their technology is a threat to us. They have awoken us, and it is time to act. They must perish.’
I was released from the Bacterium, and knew that is was time to act. “They must perish.”
I remember those words, and realized, they will. We will kill all who threaten us, including the Marines. Victory will always be ours….