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Call him drunken Ira Hayes, he don't answer any more.
Not the whiskey drinking Indian, the marine who went to war.

A beaten up jukebox played old country songs in the corner of the bar. Outside, the mid-afternoon sun beat down on the cracked clay floor. The rocks surrounding the small mining town of Cripple Creek almost seemed to glow in the heat, and the horizon was half-hidden by haze. The township went about its business under the watchful eye of the local Dominion garrison.

But those in the Pink Moon sheltered from that world. The barman, Townes, was an old war veteran with only one arm. In place of the other was a crude robotic substitute. He served up drinks with little more than a vice, powered by a handful of servos which were connected to his arm just below the elbow. He was strangely proud of the device – he'd often joke that he'd never play piano again, but his sex-life had improved tremendously.

Old Ma Haggard sat at the other side of the bar, smoking. She, like almost everyone else on Mar Sara, was also ex-services. The Zerg invasion of years ago had driven almost everyone into some sort of military service. Ma Haggard had piloted drop ships, evacuating refugees and dropping doomed soldiers into the middle of bloody battles.  When the Zerg finally fled, she swiftly retired from the service and ended up cooking at the Pink Moon. When she wasn't cooking, she was smoking.

On a small table in the middle of the room sat a man cradling a bottled beer. He was a Vulture pilot for the Clay Pigeons, the local smuggling racket. He'd just got back from a raid and things had gone poorly – the Dominion had caught up with them, easily out-gunning the Vulture hover-bikes and light armour of the raiders. He had been lucky enough to escape, but many of his comrades had met worse fates. He occasionally took out a picture from his pocket, and stared into the face of a girl, the colour faded from the sun and age.

And in the very deepest, darkest corner of the bar was a sight that was quite unique within the whole vastness of Dominion space. A single male Protoss sat alone, swirling a whisky around in a dirty glass tumbler. He was tall and gangly, though his slouched posture belied that fact. He almost looked fragile beneath his dusty desert robes, but beneath his limestone skin were powerful, lithe muscles. His face was long and thin, with deep-set, yellow glowing eyes. Tentacle-like nerve-stems  grew behind his crested head and fell down across his shoulders in an alien parody of hair. His chin stretched long and smooth, with no discernible mouth to break up that grey skin.

The Protoss Eiy'ra Haiz had crash landed on Mar Sara towards the end of the Zerg invasion. He had made himself a sort of home in the desert. Whether he had chosen exile from his own kind, or whether he was simply unable to get back to Protoss space, was a topic of much discussion among the Cripple Creek locals. After years of isolation, watching the humans from afar, Eiy'ra Haiz had slowly drifted closer to their culture. He could often be found in the Pink Moon now, when it was quiet, drinking silently. He seldom spoke to anyone, but was widely believed to have a soft spot for Ma Haggard – who was the only person who had ever gleaned any information from him. His corner of the bar was left untouched – even at busy times. Eiy'ra Haiz had practically become a local superstition, and none dared to cross him.

He suddenly looked up from his whiskey and sat perfectly straight – alert and tense. His eyes closed for a moment. Experts in Protoss body language would have seen a wave of horror pass over him, exhibited in the tightness of his eyes and the clutch of his shoulders. He rose from his bench and ran out of the room, to the curiosity of the stragglers of the bar. He looked up and down Copperhead Road, which cut through the Cripple Creek like an arrow, and ran to the boxy metal buildings which housed the Dominion forces.

As he ran, Eiy'ra Haiz signalled to the people he passed. Like all Protoss, he was telepathic and communicated psychically, rather through physical vocalisation. This communication consisted of a series of mental images and emotions which were projected directly into the mind of the 'listener'. It could be a difficult and eerie experience for humans, but after years of practice he was able to hold a conversation reasonably well. Now, as he ran, he reached out with his mind to issue a warning to everyone he saw.

Danger, he broadcast.




People stopped in the streets, frozen in fear and confusion at the sudden images which flared in their minds. People began to murmur, began to whisper amongst themselves. Most, though, dismissed the crazy Protoss – figuring a drunk was a drunk, whatever species you happened to be.

When he reached the barracks, he contacted the Dominion's commanding officer.

Danger, he spoke into the mind of the officer. You must prepare yourself.

The duty sergeant rose to his feet.

"What the damn hell are you talking about?"

Your doom approaches, Eiy'ra Haiz broadcast, gravely. The Zerg have returned.

"Someone get this damned Xeno out of my barracks!" barked the sergeant, ignoring the tall alien in front of him. "I don't have time for this prophetic bullshit."

Eiy'ra Haiz was manhandled roughly out of the barracks and back onto Copperhead Road. He sensed the Zerg moving ever closer. He stopped in the street a moment, like a boulder in a river, letting current of people flow around him. He decided to return to the Pink Moon and take his grave portends to Ma Haggard.

They come again, he said to her, sending images of Zerg infestation direct into Ma Haggard's mind.

"Say, what?" she drawled around a cigarette. "When?"

Soon, Eiy'ra Haiz intoned. Your Dominion has been warned, yet they do nothing.

"Sounds like our Empire's boys," Ma said, grimly. "What d'you want me to do about it?"

Cripple Creek must be ready, Ma Haggard. It must be prepared to face its doom.

Ma sat and thought a moment, unsure whether to believe the Protoss. He was a stern and solemn figure, and she did not believe him a liar. But she was neither convinced of his sanity, nor his wisdom.

"Hey, Stagger," Ma Haggard called out to the raider, still sat alone at his table. "Stagger Lee, I'm talkin' at you." The raider looked up from the picture in his hand.

"Leave me be, Ma."

"Stop mopin' over that girl for a moment and listen. We need you to take a look around, outta town, on that Vulture of yours."

"The hell for?" he replied, brusquely.

Eiy'ra Haiz strode over to the Raider's table and stood before him.

Your doom approaches, human, he broadcast. Will you take responsibility? Or will you cower in fear?

"I don't cower from no-one, freak," replied Stagger, rising from his chair. "Don't you go calling me a coward."

Then find the Zerg. They approach even now, though I do not know from which direction.

"Goddamn Xenos, ruining my beer." Stagger pushed past Eiy'ra Haiz and strode toward the door. "Take your crazy talk elsewhere". The Protoss stood by impassively.

"Boy," called out Ma Haggard. Stagger stopped in the doorway. "Make yerself useful for once. Get out of town and check it out – take Pancho and Lefty and any other Pigeons that are hanging about. There's a free drink waitin' for each of you when you get back."

"The hell there is!" cried Townes from behind the bar.

"Fine, there's a beer for y'all on me," countered Ma Haggard with a glare towards the barman.

Stagger stood in the door way for a moment, before stalking off, grumbling as he went.

"Alright, alright. Caught between a woman and a Xeno. Ain't no call for that..."

Eiy'ra Haiz turned to Ma Haggard.

Thank you, Ma Haggard. Your actions may yet save us all.

"You better be right about this," Ma cautioned, stubbing out a cigarette. "I can't afford to just go handing out beers."

Profit will be the least of your worries, Ma Haggard, broadcast Eiy'ra Haiz, solemnly. He turned and left the bar, walked down to the Dominion barracks – the tallest building in Cripple Creek - and climbed onto the roof. He watched as four Vultures roared down Copperhead Road and headed South, out of town, into the hazy red desert of Mar Sara.


Now Ira's folks were hungry and their land grew crops of weed
When war came Ira volunteered, forgot the white man's greed.

It didn't take long for the Vultures to return – though only two riders came back into Cripple Creek. Stagger and his companion tore back into Copperhead road and screeched to a halt, screaming and shouting. A crowd formed around them – first civilians, then uneasy marines – and finally the Dominion Sergeant himself gathered to hear the news.

The Zerg were back.

That mindless, all-consuming, insectile race, which had already brought one apocalypse to Mar Sara through an unrelenting hunger for destruction, were returning. In a flurry of action, the Sergeant tried to organize his marines, while Stagger Lee tore off once more on his Vulture to round up his own companions. Eiy'ra Haiz watched from his rooftop as the humans  flocked in panic, trying vainly to prepare themselves for invasion.

They weren't ready when the first Zerglings burst through the cracked clay of Copperhead Road. A dozen dog-sized creatures, insectile and chitinous horrors, leapt right out of the ground and onto the unsuspecting townspeople. Eiy'ra Haiz leapt from his vantage point as three of the beasts swarmed onto an unfortunate marine, knocking the heavily armoured figure to the ground.

He produced two blades made of pure psionic energy - shimmering in a fizzing blue light as they emerged from his arms like claws. Like a bolt of lightning, he dove from the sky and skewered two of the Zerglings instantly. He kicked the third from the prone marine and drove a crackling blade deep into its unprotected underbelly. The beast squealed as it died – the thin, reedy sound rising above the panicked sounds of gunfire.

The sound quickly faded, and Eiy'ra Haiz looked around as silence began to settle once more. The creatures had been killed. Sobs began to rise to fill the silence - two children knelt above the still, bloody body of their mother. No-one moved forward in comfort: all were pole-axed by the suddenness of the assault.

Eiy'ra Haiz reached out a hand to the floored marine, pulling the powered suit of armour to its feet. It weighed a tonne – but was able to rise mostly under its own mechanised power. The orange helmet visor flicked open, revealing a human face buried beneath the metal. A round, female face grinned at him – purple hair plastered to her head with sweat.

"Thanks, Darlin'," the marine drawled. "I'm Rita Ballou, and it looks like I owe ya a drink."

More Zerg come, Rita Ballou, the Protoss broadcast in response. Prepare yourself.

"Got time to tell me your name, Honey?"

Eiy'ra Haiz. You must protect these people.

The helmet visor clicked shut, hiding Rita's smile.

"I'll see you in the 'Moon, Ira."

Moments later, the duty Sergeant burst from the barracks, barking orders. Marines flocked to him and set up defensive positions across the street. Shaking her head melodramatically, Rita balanced her rifle on a shoulder and slowly walked into position.

She was half way across the thoroughfare when the ground shook and erupted once more. Rita dove to the floor with a scream, the first to open fire on the new threat. Zerg beast after Zerg beast rose from the floor – Zerglings and Hydralisks snapping their terrible jaws, tasting the sunlight. The small band of defenders opened fire, filling the air with metal, punching into the creatures. They screamed as they died under the hail of fire. But this time, the swarm didn't stop coming – wave after unrelenting wave of death came at Cripple Creek.

Marine and Protoss fought desperately against the swarm. Bands of marines fired round after round from their Gauss rifles. Eiy'ra Haiz danced through the writhing mass of Zerg, flashing his psionic blades left and right, fighting the enemy claw-to-claw. More than once he fell upon beleaguered ranks of marines, saving their lives when the Zerg got too close. The group of defenders grew tighter and tighter, gathering to a circle in the centre of Copperhead Road. Civilians locked themselves indoors, praying that the swarm wouldn't find them.

Just as the situation looked desperate, and Eiy'ra Haiz began to believe that the town was already overrun, a roar of engines flared above the din of battle. A pack of some fifteen Vulture hover-bikes ripped through the Zerg ranks, releasing frag grenades among the writhing mass. Stagger Lee's Clay Pigeons returned to Copperhead Road like a hurricane. The Zerg numbers were thinned in seconds, and swiftly the horde retreated.

The marines roared in the euphoria of victory, clapping the backs of the same raiders they had persecuted that very morning. Eiy'ra Haiz dropped to a crouch, hanging his head to the floor wearily. The fighting had been fraught and brutal, and he was overcome by a wave of exhaustion. A metal hand landed heavily on his shoulder.

"How about that drink, Darlin'?"

The wide, grinning face of Rita leaned over him.

I require little liquid nourishment, he replied, wearily. Fortifications need to be constructed, he added.

"Hell no, I mean a drink. C'mon."

Rita hauled Eiy'ra Haiz to his feet and they strode over to the Pink Moon. They entered to find the place empty. With a chuckle, Rita walked over to the bar and poured two large measures of whiskey. She handed one to the Protoss, who had sat down heavily.

"This is for savin' my ass, Ira," said Rita, raising her glass. "Thanks," she added, before drinking her whiskey in a single gulp. She almost spat it back out again when she saw the Protoss: he had placed a finger inside the glass, and before Rita's astonished eyes the digit soaked up the liquid like a sponge.

"God damn," Rita murmured under her breath. She poured out another two glasses. "What's your story, Darlin'?" she asked, brashly.

I do not understand, the Protoss replied, swirling a finger around the fresh whiskey. Rita eyed the movement suspiciously as she answered.

"How comes you're on a rock like Mar Sara?"

Eiy'ra Haiz looked straight ahead, pulling himself up straight.

During the first Zerg invasion, my homeworld, Aiur, was overrun. Our entire planet destroyed, our culture ruined. We lost almost everything.

"I'm sorry, Sugar."

Most of my people fled to fight the Zerg elsewhere. I had a family – a child. We do not have many offspring – Protoss young are extremely rare. I fled the fleet with my female and child, hoping to escape the Zerg threat and raise my progeny in safety. I hoped I would teach him the ways of the Khala.

He stopped broadcasting images for a moment, and sat unmoving. Rita hadn't met a Protoss before and was unaware of their body language – but she had a strong sense that he was trying to master very strong emotions. She filled the silence by refilling his glass.

The mothership was destroyed as I fled – overwhelmed by Zerg. I felt the screams of the dying – I tried to close my mind to them, but I could not. As we abandoned my brethren to their doom, we were pursued in turn by Zerg. Our transport crashed here on Mar Sara. I was the only survivor.

"Oh, Darlin', that's a cruel hand to be dealt."

I have spent the years trying to rebuild a life here, trying to atone for my shame.

He was interrupted by the figure of Stagger Lee, who burst through the doorway.

"The hell's going on here?" he asked, eyeing Rita and the bottle in her hand. "Marine, shouldn't you be back at the line?"

"Well if it ain't the famous Stagger Lee," Rita drawled. "I'm just thanking Ira here for saving my ass back there."

"Ira, huh?" Stagger looked across at the Protoss, suspiciously. "Well. Might be we're all thankin' him soon. But not if we ain't prepared."

Stagger Lee is correct. There is much to be done.

Stagger nodded and ducked out of the bar to marshal his raiders and try to liaise with the Dominion marines. Rita hesitated a moment, unsure what to say. Eiy'ra Haiz rose and left the bar.

Thank you for the drink, Rita Ballou, he broadcast as he went.

With a sigh, Rita drank one more dram of whiskey and returned to Copperhead Road to find her squad.


Now, when the fightin' was over and Old Glory raised
Among the men who held it high was the Indian, Ira Hayes

The Zerg returned again, attacking swiftly and with renewed intensity. This time, Cripple Creek was more prepared. Buildings had been secured, and those civilians who couldn't fight were safely sequestered in the Dominion barracks. The fighting dragged on through the afternoon and into the evening. Eiy'ra Haiz fought with Stagger and Rita, patrolling the defensive positions of Cripple Creek and fighting them at dangerously close quarters.

"Listen, Darlin'" Rita had drawled to him. "If you're gonna fight with us, you might as well fight like us. Ain't no reason to be cheek to cheek with the Zerg all the time."

The fighting eventually broke, and midnight found Eiy'ra Haiz with Stagger and Rita. They sat by the train line at the edge of town. Eiy'ra Haiz predicted that the Zerg wouldn't be back until the morning at the earliest, so the three of them had retired with a few bottles of whiskey and a small horde of weaponry – to teach the Protoss how to fight from a distance.

For a while they just sat in near-silence – enjoying the quiet after the cacophony of screams and gunfire that had surrounded them. Eventually, Stagger broke the reverie.

"So, anyone got any good jokes?"

"Yeah," replied Rita, taking a swig of beer. "What you call a guy who asks people for jokes?"

There was another moment's silence.

I do not know, Rita, answered Eiy'ra Haiz.

"An asshole."

Stagger barked out a laugh and threw a rock playfully at Rita.

I do not understand, Eiy'ra Haiz broadcast, after a moment of contemplation.

"It's a joke, brother," said Stagger. "Well, sort of. Somethin' to make us laugh, lighten the load."

"Don't Protoss have humour, Sugar?" asked Rita.

I am uncertain. Your human humour is strange to me. Young Protoss, I believe, experience something... similar. They project a signal which indicates non-threat, so that they can practice combat and socialisation in safety.

"Uh, yeah," said Stagger, slowly. "Sounds just the same," he added, with a sarcastic shrug.

"Don't be an ass, Stag," Rita chided. "He's talking about play-fighting. It's sorta the same."

"Well, what about adults?" asked Stagger. "You can't be all..." he stopped, and flapped a hand over Eiy'ra Haiz dramatically. "... All of the time."

Young zealots have a certain... rapport, Ira broadcast thoughtfully, uncertainly phrasing the alien social concepts. They often tease each other, have certain competitions.

"Yeah? Like what?"

They try to visualize the most bleak and terrible deaths for their comrades.

"Say, what?"

I recall now from my own training. When left unsupervised, my fellow zealots and I would often try to out-kill each other, telepathically. The result was competition, banter and a reaction similar to your jokes.

"I'm not sure I get it," said Rita, uncertainly.

Eiy'ra Haiz didn't respond immediately. Instead, he broadcast a psychic image of Rita skewered on the giant tusk of a mammoth-like Zerg Ultralisk while a swarm of flying Mutalisks sprayed acid over her unprotected flesh. The image appeared with such immediacy, such realism, and such sickening violence that Stagger and Rita both leapt to their feet with a scream.

"Jesus Christ on a Vulture!" Rita shouted, trembling in the aftermath of the terrible image.

"Man," sighed Stagger, slowly moving his hand away from the pistol holstered at his belt. "That's nasty."

"You call that humour?! You're sick Darlin'," Rita said around a deep swig of beer.

Among zealots, such things were received with something like your humour.


Then perhaps I understand less than I thought, Eiy'ra Haiz put the palm of his hand over the top of a whisky bottle and raised it upside down, soaking up the liquid through his skin.

Silence hung over them for a moment as they each sat consumed by their own thoughts.

It took me a long time to understand this, Eiy'ra Haiz broadcast, holding his whiskey bottle aloft. I have watched much, and think I begin to understand.

"What's to understand, Sugar?" Rita asked.

It appears that when humans aren't working, they are drinking. Some of you even drink while you are working.

Stagger laughed loudly at that.

"'Cause there's nothin' else to do, brother," he answered. "Ain't nothin' more to it than that."

"Sure there is," said Rita. "This stuff is like a magic potion," she explained, shaking her own bottle. "Drink enough of it, and you'll forget all your woes. Times like these, that can be a real blessing."

Why seek to forget? Eiy'ra Haiz asked. Is it not better to grieve? Or to change that which troubles you?

"Because sometimes forgettin' is all we weak-willed humans can do," Stagger answered darkly. His hand reached to a pocket which held a picture of a girl, faded now from the sun. He softly patted the pocket as he replied, "I guess it beats just... waitin' around to die."

Eiy'ra Haiz thought for a moment, then said, Yes, perhaps I understand this.

Yet another silence broke amongst the three unlikely comrades.

"Alright," said Stagger, decisively. "We got us plenty of empties. Rita, be a doll and go set 'em up over there somewhere."

Rita rose to her feet, stumbling slightly, and started slowly gathering bottles.

"Well damn my eyes," Stagger whispered under his breath. "Rita Ballou, are you drunk?" he asked, watching her awkward steps.

"Hell, yeah, I'm drunk. Shut the hell up and let me concentrate here."

You humans and your drunkenness, Eiy'ra Haiz broadcast to each of them. Somehow, the images were less clear, their meanings less distinct, than they had been earlier. He drew himself to his feet and would have a fallen over immediately had he not steadied himself with an arm.


Stagger burst into raucous laughter.

"Oh I've seen it all now. A drunk Protoss. Well I'll be."

Still chuckling, he leant down and took up his rifle.

"Alright, Ira, let's teach you a thing or two in the art of blowing the crap out of stuff."

He held out the rifle, and Eiy'ra Haiz took it from him carefully. It was a huge, bulky, rectangular thing, and the Protoss held the weight awkwardly.

"Now that there is the finest hand-held assault rifle money can buy," Stagger explained. "That's a C-14 Gauss Rifle, Impaler model. Know why they call it an Impaler, Ira?"

Eiy'ra, who was quickly learning human body language and gestures, shook his head. He was still trying to find a comfortable way to hold the bulky weapon, shifting his shoulder and arm position until he found something suitable.

Stagger answered his own question in the silence, warming to his subject. "It's 'cause it fires these metal spikes... ah, what do you call them spikes, Rita?"


"Right. Well, they call it an Impaler 'cause it fires these eight mil spikes at thirty rounds per second. Them babies will punch through two inches of steel plating – ain't many Zerg won't feel that." He stood back, satisfied, and crossed his arms, watching Eiy'ra Haiz struggle with the bulk. "How does it feel?"

Awkward, Eiy'ra Haiz broadcast in response. Heavy. Clumsy. Graceless.

"Yeah, yeah, alright," said Stagger. "It ain't no fancy Protoss whizzgig. But wait 'till you try it out. Just unlock the safety..." he leaned forward and flicked a switch. The rifle made a soft buzz and started humming with life.

"Right," Rita called from the target range. "That's the last of them – think we're ready, boys."

"Ok, Ira, To fire-" began Stagger, but was cut off by the cracking burst of the rifle firing. With a shout, Rita dove to the floor and put her hands over her head. Eiy'ra Haiz lurched backward under the recoil and released the trigger.

Nice, he broadcast, simply, into the ringing silence.

"You Goddam idiot!" screamed Rita, leaping to her feet. "You could at least have waited until I was off the damn range!"

"Actually, Sister, I think you were alright," Stagger said with a smile. He pointed to the target range. "Look."

Rita turned around to see the rock covered in shattered glass. Where there had been some twenty bottles standing in a neat line, there were only eight remaining.

"Woah," she gasped. "Uh, nice shooting."

Eiy'ra Haiz aimed again – more carefully this time – and fired a short burst, taking out two more bottles. Then he broadcast an image of Rita getting impaled by a dozen spikes and being flung back into a rock face. A final spike landed between her eyes, pinning her head back against the rock.

Rita and Stagger both stared, aghast, at the Protoss, both of them physically repelled by the image they'd seen. He somehow contrived to look smug, standing there holding the huge rifle by his side, head cocked to one side. Stagger suppressed a sudden giggle.

"Damn it, Stag!" Rita shouted. "That's not funny! Ira, don't be an asshole."

"Actually," said Stagger, chuckling. "It's kinda funny."

"The hell it-" Rita began – but was again cut off, this time by an image of Rita leaping on top of Stagger and brutally caving his head in with a brown bottle.

The two of them fell about cackling hoarsely, racked by sudden fits of laughter at the ludicrously graphic imagery that filtered through their minds. Eiy'ra Haiz stood and trembled, bent over double, projecting immense psi-waves of mirth – a thing he hadn't done since he was a child. A thing he had forgotten he had the capacity for.

The three of them spent the night testing their generous array of small arms – from the C-14 rifle, to the P-46 and C-150 pistols, an old shotgun and hunting rifle, and even a C-10 sniper rifle that Rita had managed to scrounge. They shot at bottles and rocks until the sun began to rise on the horizon, and fallen into a drunken sleep beside the tracks.

Eiy'ra Haiz was the first to rise, having slept off the worst of the alcohol in a mere couple of hours. He decided it safe to leave the two humans sleeping soundly, so he took up the P-46 pistol, which he had felt the most comfortable with, and left for the sanctuary of his cave in the desert.

When he returned to Cripple Creek that afternoon, the Zerg were threatening to overrun the town again. Darting between the swarming mass of Zerg beasts, he managed to slash, shoot and scrape his way into the human defensive line. The Dominion marines, aware of his presence, were quite content to let the strange Protoss fight beside them. Indeed, it wasn't long before Eiy'ra Haiz had become a key presence in the town of Cripple Creek. His accuracy with his pistol became legendary, and the amount of lives he saved at close-quarters with his psi-blades rose by a dozen for every day he helped the humans fight off the Zerg threat. He slept intermittently between waves of Zerg invasion, never for more than four hours at a time.

Between the sleeping and the fighting, he would mostly be found in his darkened corner of the Pink Moon. Where previously he had sat in silence - listening to Ma Haggard and Townes the barman trade war stories – he was now visited by people, civilian and Dominion marine alike, who toasted his health and bought him a drink. He grew closer and closer to Rita and Stagger, becoming firm friends over the weeks they fought together. Eiy'ra's attitude gradually grew less and less austere, and the three of them developed a great rapport by painting gruesome and vivid deaths for one another.


Well, Ira returned a hero celebrated through the land
He was wined and speeched and honored; and everybody shook his hand.

Try as they might, the Dominion sergeant was unable to get help for the mining town. The nearest Dominion Stronghold – Tombstone – was some distance away, and struggling themselves to hold off Zerg attacks. Even the famous Raynor's Raiders offered little in the way of help – caught in a battle on two fronts against the Dominion and Zerg. But one day a small media team left Tombstone – a single Medivac carrying nothing more than medical supplies, two cameramen and a field reporter. It's presence in Cripple Creek was underwhelming and unwelcome. The media team had heard of Eiy'ra Haiz's heroics, and were keen to capture the story in a heart-warming newsfeed. The Dominion was always keen for propaganda pieces – and what could be more endearing than a superior alien being who had been seduced by human culture?

The people of Cripple Creek were all desperately loyal to Eiy'ra Haiz. Even the Dominon guards were unwilling to let Dominion spin doctors get hold of their brave Protoss guardian. It took days of wrangling and promised bribes – but eventually, the small press team got their exclusive. Eiy'ra Haiz  gave a ten minute interview, with an interpreter to voice his thoughts aloud. He was every bit the dignified, solemn presence one would have expected a Protoss Zealot to be.

The story broke over Dominion space like a storm. Eiy'ra, Cripple Creek's guardian angel, became a cult figure on all the news networks across Dominion space. Not since Jim Raynor had a single figure taken up so much time on Dominion airwaves. Eiy'ra Haiz captured people's imaginations – and the Dominion was keen to capitalise.

Sure enough, after Cripple Creek had miraculously survived another week of bitter fighting against the relentless Zerg, the Dominion sent in their spin doctors – hoping to use Eiy'ra Haiz to fuel their hungry propaganda machine. The Dominion's twin wars against the Zerg and against Raynor's rebellion were costly, and needed vast investment from the Dominion populace. Fully one hundred marines – including twenty ferocious Firebats – were sent to the aid of Cripple Creek. That the Dominion had spared valuable resources to save the town was the subject of a great many media feeds. The transport ships left Tombstone with a fanfare and a promise: to begin the evacuation of Cripple Creek, and save its heroic people from the Zerg.

When the small fleet flew across the Red River Valley and landed in the middle of the dusty town, the new troops instantly asserted their authority and took over from the local duty sergeant. They promised drop-ships to escort everyone from the doomed town within twenty-four hours – but for now could only take a dozen people back to Tombstone. Among the names of the V.I.Ps were the town Mayor; several important political officers; four people selected from a lottery; and – most importantly - Eiy'ra Haiz.

The Protoss, although tired and weary of fighting, refused to leave. He swore to stand and fall beside his human friends. Stagger Lee and Rita Ballou fought hard to keep Eiy'ra Haiz by their side – fearing the worst for their alien friend should the Dominion claim him. Eventually, though, he was half-persuaded, half-threatened to leave Cripple Creek. He was given full reassurances that he would be reunited with his friends within the day.

Rita and Stagger watched sadly as the transport shuttle departed, taking the lucky few away to the safety of Tombstone. A few hours later, the biggest horde of Zerg that Cripple Creek had yet seen rolled over the town – the reinforcements sent by Tombstone proved entirely ineffective against their numbers. After hours of brutal fighting, Rita Ballou and Stagger Lee – among hundreds of others - died deaths far less imaginative than those they had joked about weeks earlier.

It was a little while before Eiy'ra Haiz learned of his friends' fate. After spending a day being shuffled around various media photo shoots and interviews, he was taken to a Dominion press liaison by the name of Joni Mitchell. Joni's first unfortunate duty was to inform Eiy'ra Haiz of his friends' death. He instantly began a mourning ritual which lasted twelve hours – during which he wouldn't speak to anyone. He killed one marine guard and severely injured another when he was interrupted. Eventually, Mitchell decided to let him finish his ritual – figuring it would make better press in the long run.

Eiy'ra Haiz spent the next six hours in a bar called the Green Frog Café, where the locals took much amusement in his drinking whiskey through a finger.

Mitchell escorted Eiy'ra Haiz on a media tour of the Koprulu Sector – they visited Korhal, Anselm, Nepho II and even New Folsom in a storm of publicity. Eiy'ra Haiz was put on stages in town after town, presented before thousands of screaming people. He was hailed as a war hero. The whole time, as he stood amongst media spotlights and numerous anonymous dignitaries, he thought of his friends who died back in Cripple Creek without him. He thought of the people he lad let down. He thought about his family. In every face he saw amongst the crowd he saw someone who he had met and fought with in Cripple Creek. He mourned every name he recalled.

By day he travelled, mourned, and was sickeningly branded a hero – a label he found increasingly hard to bear, so consumed was he by guilt, grief and alienation. By night he sat in bars and was laughed at as a novelty. 'The whisky drinking Protoss', he was called once. Eiy'ra Haiz had torn the man's right arm off and been banned from the bar for life.

On one of these forlorn evenings, Mitchell caught up with Eiy'ra Haiz in a bar, swirling his finger around a huge glass of whisky. She took a seat by his side.

"Jesus, Ira, are you just going to sit in these bars every night?"

Yes, he broadcast, solemnly.

"Why?" Joni asked.

What else would you have me do? I have no enemy to fight, save for my own nightmares and my bitter conscience. You parade me around like a hero, but I have been proved helpless in every test. I have let my friends... my family... die around me. I have twice fled my brethren, abandoning them to their fates. And now I allow myself to be paraded around like some kind of trophy. My people are built on a culture of dignity. Where is the dignity in me now? All I can do is sit, and drink, and remember.

"Why do you drink, Ira?" Joni asked, carefully. "Surely that is the greatest enemy to your dignity?"

Eiy'ra Haiz was silent a moment before he replied.

It beats just... waiting around to die.

Mitchell moved to speak, but decided to keep quiet. She sat and looked at the hunched figure of the Protoss for a moment, trying to imagine him on the frontlines of combat – brave, gallant and quick as she had heard rumoured. She watched him fumble as he topped up his glass with another measure of whiskey, and wondered how such a creature could ever have been branded a hero. So all she said was:

"We're leaving for New Houston at zero-eight hundred hours. Be ready." And she left.

Eiy'ra Haiz sat alone with his thoughts and his whiskey. Maybe it was his slumped figure; maybe it was the psionic melancholy he projected; but mercifully he was uninterrupted that evening. He sat alone for a long time with his thoughts, thinking of his homeworld Aiur, and trying to understand his place in this strange galaxy he found himself in. From exile and estrangement, to brief companionship and purpose, to what? A media token and public spectacle? He was an outcast and disgrace to his own people, and a novelty to the culture which he had fought for. Feeling more alone than he ever had in his life, Eiy'ra Haiz took up the bottle from the bar beside him, and left.

Well he died drunk this morning, in this land he fought to save.
Two inches of water in a lonesome ditch was a grave for Ira Hayes.

Call him Drunken Ira Hayes he don't answer anymore.
Not the whiskey drinkin' Indian, the marine who went to war.

-Peter La Farge
'The Ballard of Ira Hayes'

Oh Golly Miss Molly, it's a DD! Thank you SO much to everyone who's read, llama'd, favourited and commented. Thanks also to `nycterent for the nod. It means the world to see so much love and support come in for little Eiy'ra :heart:


This story is part American folk; part fan fiction; and part science fiction story. I hope it's proof that fan fiction doesn't need to have a robe and wizard hat, and I intend that the story should be enjoyable without knowing the background lore.

I originally wrote this to enter Blizzard's Creative Writing contest in August 2010. Then I read their Terms & Conditions and saw how last year's entrants were treated - and thought better of it. No disrespect to Blizzard, but I'm not prepared to relinquish ownership of this story.

Updated 19.6.11 - just some reformatting to put Eiy'ra's speech in italics, rather than quotes.

Cover Art

The fantastic sketch which lights up this story is the work of Childofdune :iconchildofdune:. I owe her a great debt - not only has she drawn this beautiful picture, she's allowed it to grace this story.

There's a larger version available here: it's well worth a peak!

Depicted in the sketch is a Protoss Zealot, leaping into battle. This is what Eiy'ra Haiz looks like.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2011-10-08
space-commander Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
A few years ago I bought a book about the young Jim raynor called "Hell's devils"

I think what you have here is way better :)
monstroooo Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Oh my, thank you! There are a few rough edges here, but I appreciate the sentiment :)

Thanks for stopping by. I suspect that most deviants would have blocked me after you-know-what, let alone come and check out my gallery :la: So I really appreciate that, too.
space-commander Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
You're welcome :) by the way, do you know of anyone who has a good collection of non-fanfiction scifi prose? It would be a very useful thing to start a collection for bc good non-fanfiction is especially difficult to find
monstroooo Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
hmm. Well, *Laura-Lie is one of the best authors I know for sci-fi, so she's probably your starting point. You might also check out ~KwatzHeWrote for a cyberpunky feel (if you can handle the Italian translation), and I think ~AtrumMiles has some strong pieces. Erm, off the top of my head, those are my best tips. Maybe *linaket's Lifrasir Wars is worth a look, too.

But when it comes to a collection of good pieces, I wouldn't know where to start :(
TheMoorMaiden Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I finally found the time to sit down and read this. :D I don't usually read either Westerns or Sci-fi, but I'm so glad I read this; I thoroughly enjoyed it, it hooked me in right from the beginning. You have a beautiful writing style; you're just a brilliant story teller, and for a little while I forgot everything else and was swept up in your story. Eiy'ra's a charming protagonist, and it was great to see a piece which is a little more realistic about the fate of a war hero, as sad as it is.

It was a joy to read. ^___^
monstroooo Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you so much! That comment really means a lot to me. This piece is quite close to my heart, but it's one of those which I re-read and all I can see is its flaws :hmm: It's so nice to hear that it still holds magic with others :love:
TheMoorMaiden Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
You're very welcome. :D
You-R-Who Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2012
reading this actually brought a tear to my eye, it's one of the best stories i've ever read
monstroooo Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for saying so - I really appreciate it. Knowing that my work has moved my audience is the greatest compliment I can receive as a writer :)
sirx16 Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2012
I have only read the first paragraph of this. I'm really sleepy and my head is hurting. Still, I am drawn in! I cant wait to read the rest when i am feeling better!
monstroooo Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Well, thanks for stopping by! I hope you continue to enjoy it after a rest :)
Janoera Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2011  Student Digital Artist
I finally got round to reading this, and wow, isn't it amazing! The deaths of Rita and stagger are just told in one short paragraph, no drama and tearful last words of wisdom or anything, but it hits harder in the way you told it. A well deserved DD. (2am in the morning, so if I sound spastic, that's probably the reason. I was meaning to go to sleep earlier but this story is too captivating:D)
monstroooo Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you, I really appreciate such kind words :love:
Beat-u-with-a-stick Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I have read many a story but none of them like this
the comedy sadness and drama have sent me into bliss
the story has reached my heart and there it shall remain
thanks to your creativity and the heroics of Eiy'ra Haiz.
monstroooo Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you so much, you've rendered me sincerely speechless.
Beat-u-with-a-stick Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
it was a pleasure
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2011   Writer
I read this late after you got your award. It's a fantatic representation of everything you say in Author's Comments...and much more. It's about music, it's about history, it's literally a song in print, with all the embellishments of sci-fi, of much. "Why do you drink?..." It beats just... waiting around to die. You wrote a circular story, my favorite kind, but this one expands like an entire galaxy, spinning infinitely and forever outward. Thank you. :+fav:
monstroooo Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you, that's a really wonderful thing to say :iconisaydanceplz:
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2011   Writer
It's a wonderful piece. :) :iconwelcomeplz:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2011  Professional Writer
:wow: This held me from beginning to end! Great characterization, vivid drama, and a real feel for the alien-ness of it all. Even without being a fan of StarCraft, I have no qualms about recommending this piece; congrats on a well-deserved DD feature.
monstroooo Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you so much! That's totally made my morning :love:
HaveTales-WillTell Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2011  Professional Writer
My pleasure. :)
Chari-Artist Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I'm generally picky when it comes to stories and books and such and I must say that this is indeed a story I enjoyed. Even though I had no background on what any of this might have been from, I was able to understand it all as I went along. :)
monstroooo Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it :)
kaboomduck Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Hooked me in straight from the start with those two lines. I never really like to read long stories online, but this one just stood out, and it stood out well :) I love the mood of the entire story, especially in the beginning and end. Sometimes I feel like I'm reading a summary, but it wasn't boring in any ways, and it was intriguing and emotional till the end, thanks to the great cast of characters. They're the real star of this story :D

And congrats on the DD! :thumbsup:
monstroooo Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you very much! :D I'm concious of the summary sections (particularly the final third), but it's necessary to adopt that style to tell the story in a reasonable amount of time. I'm glad it didn't hinder your enjoyment of it, though :)
rosecat13 Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
This is amazing... the story, the characters... everything is amazingly vivid. Thank you for treating me to this on a nice Saturday morning!
monstroooo Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it :huggle:
bloodlore Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
should have built more pylons... >.>
monstroooo Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Vigilo Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2011  Student Writer
This is gorgeously done. Congratulations on your DD! So well deserved. I'm utterly speechless. I especially enjoyed how Ma Haggard believes Stagger. Gorgeous. :heart:
monstroooo Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you :D I'm pretty speechless too :blush:
Vigilo Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2011  Student Writer
Haha, that's great! You really do deserve it, so congratulations again! :hug: :heart:
angelStained Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2011   Writer
Also, I see *linaket's comments below and I'm glad you changed the bits s/he pointed out. And I'm sure we'd love to see the extended version.
angelStained Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2011   Writer
This is one of the best short stories I have ever read. It's genius and compelling and a wonder all at once. I'm happy to be rendered speechless.
monstroooo Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Wow! :boogie: That's very high praise indeed... thank you so much :huggle: :happybounce:
linaket Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2011   Writer
Uh... ok... this is a long detailed critique and I'm sorry because you didn't ask for it. But I wanted to do it anyway and I hope you don't take offense to anything herein, I'm only trying to be helpful. :) the praise does exist. its at the end. think of it as a reward for taking one for the team! Or, well, yourself. I basically just wrote this and copy/pasted as I went, so its kind of a play-by-play of whats going on in my brain. Not that you were curious. Ok, I'm going to stop typing and just give it to you:

I love how in the first three paragraphs, you've given me so many details about the story, as well as the backstory and characters, with tremendous ease. Pink Moon is a pretty risque name for a bar, and I like it, it befits the people inside who could really care less what the place is called as long as there's liquid inside.

Old Ma Haggard sat at the other side of the bar, smoking. She, like almost everyone else on Mar Sara, was also ex-services. The Zerg invasion of years ago had driven almost everyone into some sort of military service. this seems a little odd. Maybe its the repetition of "service"? Its a good way to introduce the idea, but can probably be worded better.

He'd just got back from a raid I, personally, would change "got back" to "returned".

Whether he had chosen exile from his own kind, or whether he was simply unable to get back to Protoss space, was a topic of much discussion among the Cripple Creek locals. Here's your comma issue that I had mentioned before. You actually don't need either of those, as the two clauses beginning with "whether" make up a compound subject with the verb being "was".

But in other spots: He could often be found in the Pink Moon now, when it was quiet, drinking silently. it somewhat works stylistically, but you can probably go through and reword it better by taking out the "now," and just mushing the two bits together: He could often be found in the Pink Moon when it was quiet, drinking silently. or something.

People stopped in the streets.... People began to murmur Repetition. change the second people to "they"

He stopped in the street a moment, like a boulder in a river, letting current of people flow around him. either "the current" or "currents." but I really like the use of the extended metaphor here, river --> current

A dozen dog-sized creatures, insectile and chitinous horrors, leapt right out of the ground and onto the unsuspecting townspeople. Eiy'ra Haiz leapt from his vantage point "leapt" repeated. Maybe try a different description for the action. Also, be careful of saying things like "right out of" because it starts to seem like one of those crazy people they interview on the news. y'know the ones that are all HE CAME RIGHT OUT OF NOWHERES!

"I'll see you in the 'Moon, Ira." is this foreshadowing? hmmm... it must be....

More than once he fell upon beleaguered ranks of marines, saving their lives when the Zerg got too close. this felt a little heavy-handed, the "saving their lives" part.

YAY STAGGER LEE! (love the name, by the way. I think "swagger" when I read it as opposed to drunken wandering about XD )

The fighting had been fraught and brutal "fraught" is probably the wrong word here.

fighting them at dangerously close quarters. & "If you're gonna fight with us, you might as well fight like us. Ain't no reason to be cheek to cheek with the Zerg all the time." I'm getting mixed imagery here. If the first part is meant to only refer to Ira, then it needs to be specified that he's the only one fighting that close because as it reads now it seems as if the other two are, as well.

The fighting eventually broke, and midnight found Eiy'ra Haiz with Stagger and Rita. They sat by the train line at the edge of town. Combine these two sentences (we already know Eiy'ra is with the other two): The fighting eventually broke, and midnight found Eiy'ra Haiz, Stagger, and Rita sitting by the train line at the edge of town. (or found them, the three, the group, the party...)

Love Rita. She can be my BFF.

"It appears that when humans aren't working, they are drinking. Some of you even drink while you are working." I chuckled to myself. awesome.

"Why seek to forget?" Eiy'ra Haiz asked. "Is it not better to grieve? Or to change that which troubles you?" Love this, too.

His hand reached to a pocket which held a picture of a girl, faded now from the sun. I think the fact that it is sunfaded was already mentioned at the beginning, and the idea of the picture. It's all introduced at the beginning.

ummm.... I might stop nit-picking here.

ok, one more.
he leant down ---> he leaned down

"Alright, Ira, let's teach you a thing or two in the art of blowing the crap out of stuff." yes. blowing crap up is awesome. how could he not know this? everyone must know this. it should be a requirement!

The whole drunk-banter is pretty ace. "what do you call these spikes?" "spikes."

on the horizon, and fallen into a drunken sleep beside the tracks. "had fallen" or "fell". I know I said I'd stop but I can't once I get started....

so consumed was he by guilt, grief and alienation. again, a little heavy-handed with the "alienation."

The ending--buh. THAT'S the most horrifying way to go. I love science fiction because I always believed that within a story, one can explore the true aspects of human nature without the haze of the "real world" and its pre-conceptions in the way. This being said:

I have no idea what kind of "fanfic" this is (Starcraft?). And it doesn't matter because it is so well written that I probably wouldn't have known it was a fanfic if you hadn't told me. I think you do a good job of portraying the "historiography" (it is a real literary term, I'm not making this sh*t up). That is, basically, history is defined by those who tell it, not by what actually happens.

I like Ira's journey, from a basically ignored stranger, to a friend and companion, to an outcast. It was an odd path, and the end definitely was NOT what I was expecting. Yet I still appreciated it for what it was, and telling the entire story in one go was pretty impressive. The end was a bit rushed, but it wasn't necessarily bad, it is easy to picture it as scenes illuminated by flash bulbs of photographers and other tripe.

I loved the characters. Loved them. Poor Stagger Lee having to save the people that killed all his buddies, and then Rita... I want to resurrect her and put her in a bar with Kanna and see what explodes. I'm sure it would be epic.

Pfffft. Ok. Done. errrr... hope you uh, like it?
monstroooo Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
This is great, great feedback :)

I'm not going to make the mistake of critiquing your critique: but I will let you know my thoughts on the points you've raised.

I won't lie - you scared the life out of me with that introduction! This story is 'The One' for me. I've never written anything like it, I doubt I will again for quite some time. I'm aware of the odd dodgy sentence here and there... I thought you were going to rip it to shreds! You really had me worried ;)

But you needn't have done. I think most of your comments are actually complimentary. The things that aren't are pretty small details which are both useful and well justified. I shall take them all on board :) I'll perhaps find an hour to go over this at the weekend. Something I've been meaning to do for ages is put Eiy'ra's speech in italics. I don't know why I didn't in the first place - I think it would really add to his voice. I'll also take your advice into account on the little details and see how it comes out.

I was almost disappointed that you loved the introduction. I hate that opening paragraph - I really do. Never could figure out why, though. It's been tweaked and jostled and jigged and poked a dozen times... it always feels clunky to me. I was sort of hoping you'd put your finger on what's wrong with it. But I guess if you dig it, it's not so bad as I think!

I love that you think 'Pink Moon' is risque. It's actually named after a folk song by a British artist called Nick Drake. It's a song about a bad omen, rather than anything saucy :). In fact, pretty much every name in this story comes from the world of folk/country music (mostly American Country, actually).

The ending is rushed: it's very astute (and a little disappointing) of you to notice that. As a result, I also feel the ending is a little heavy-handed (as you've picked up on). The problem here was that I was writing to a word limit and needed to bring things to a close. Ideally, it would have been a fifty-fifty split in words before and after Eiy'ra left Mar Sara. Since dropping out of the competition, it didn't feel right to go back and expand on this second 'half'.

The other side of it is the danger of dragging the story out too long. It's better to be a little bit too short than a little bit too long, I think.

It's worth noting that the story itself is, essentially, a true one. The American-Indian Ira Hayes joined the US Army during the Second World War, where he was sent out to the Pacific and the fight against Japan. He faught at the battle of Iwo Jima, where he was (mistakenly, I believe) identified as a soldier in a famous photograph: raising the flag at the top of a mountain. The photograph became American propaganda, a symbol of achievement. The Army shipped him home and called him a 'hero', using his name and photograph to try and raise money and enthusiasm for the war effort. The label was something that didn't sit easily with him, and he turned to drink. As the song reports, he was found dead in a ditch one morning, years later. The film 'Flags of Our Fathers', directed by Clint Eastwood, tells the story very well.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time for this, I really appreciate it :) Most important, I'm glad that you enjyoed the story, and the characters. :heart:
linaket Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2011   Writer
Haha, yeah sorry about the introduction. I was sleepy and not even sure what was all in the critique and if it had more good or bad things in it. I've done this long, drawn out thing before and it wasn't well received, so I figured I should preface it.

What's weird is I'm a country girl that doesn't listen to country, unless its blaring at me from a neighbors bonfire or something. Maybe that's why I missed some of the references, but still appreciated the shooting stuff part ;)

Let's see, that first paragraph... I enjoyed the details but may be able to suggest something about the wording:
A beaten up jukebox played old country songs in the corner of the bar. Outside, the mid-afternoon sun beat down on the cracked clay floor. The rocks surrounding the small mining town of Cripple Creek almost seemed to glow in the heat, and the horizon was half-hidden by haze. The township went about its business under the watchful eye of the local Dominion garrison.

"beaten up" is kind of awkward. I'd also maybe put the exterior description first and then move into the bar, pulling the reader into the action. Also there are a lot of short, abrupt sentences, and maybe if you add a few details to extend some of them it may flow better.

The ending... I understand WHY you rushed it, trust me I do. I don't think you need to make it 50/50 between the beginning and the end (it would definitely make it too long to be a "short story"), maybe just edit it a little for the heavier parts. As it is, the quickness of it does well to reflect the absurdity of it all. It probably just needs to be refined. I think I only noticed the "rush" because I'm guilty of it myself sometimes.

The story behind this is interesting... I'm not a history buff (I prefer anthropology ;) ) which is probably why I missed it. But very cool idea, again that concept of making history "new."
ZakndriinAuvryviir Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2011
That's true, I don't need to know the original story to enjoy this :) It was sad and I realized that you always give a deeper meaning to your stories, that you make characters alive and ready to meet me in another world. That's really great.
monstroooo Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you very much :) It means a lot that you're enjoying my work :love:
Wytewulf Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2011  Student General Artist
Wow...just wow. This was really amazing. I felt so much for the characters, and being able to draw people in like that is an incredibly valuble skill for a writer. So congrats.

I almost cried at the end, honestly. Poor Eiy'ra. :(

And thanks to you, I'm now about to suggest my first Daily Literature Deviation. ;)
monstroooo Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Wow, that's an incredibly nice thing to say. Thank you :heart:

It's really encouraging that I provoked such a response, too. It's a very sad story. A true one, in a way. I'm glad I did it justice :)
scarletbird Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2011  Student Writer
I honestly have no idea what world you drew this from--and the great thing is, that doesn't matter at all. You did an excellent job of creating a convincing setting that didn't leave me feeling out of the loop. The characters, as well, were all very strong. Rita was probably my favorite, but the main character was very well fleshed-out too, especially considering the fact that you also took his non-human characteristics into account. The idea of tucking lines from a song into the story really helped add to the atmosphere, and was a great way to give the story an extra punch. I could go on, I think, but suffice to say this story made me realize that I haven't been reading nearly enough sci-fi lately. Excellent job, as usual. :)
monstroooo Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
This story is a real oddity. It came from about five different places and there were about a million things I wanted to do with it. It's a miracle it got written at all. In the end, I'm extremely proud of it.

Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such a great comment. It means a lot to me!

I've been thinking lately of splitting the story up into four/five chapters, headed by each couplet of the song. The idea is that it will create a more manageable read - it is, after all, a bit of an epic. I think the length alone puts a lot of people off actually reading it.

Do you think it'll attract more interest if its in shorter parts? Or should I stay true to the original and leave it as one complete piece?
scarletbird Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2011  Student Writer
You're welcome! It was my pleasure.

I think it's really cool how you were able to take something that obviously has a lot going on in the background, but still make it a cohesive story with a strong message. Very impressive. :nod:

Hmm... I actually thought of that while I was reading it. It certainly would make it more approachable, since it would make it easier to take in little chunks without losing your place. If this was in print, the length would be perfectly fine, but online... I can see why you'd want to split it up. However, seeing something four chapters long can be just as off-putting sometimes, so ultimately the choice comes to whether you think splitting it up detracts from the experience in some way. Personally, I enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment after I'd gotten to the conclusion. :)
monstroooo Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Ah - that's the clever bit! I wasn't going to put 'part 1' on the first part, and hide the other parts away. Hopefully, that will make people read through to the end of part 1 without realising it's a four-part epic. By the end, they'll want to click through to part 2. Hopefully.

The obvious concern is people reading the first part but not finishing the story - which would be heartbreaking, for me. I'll think it over some more.

I could easily be offened by 'Personally, I enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment after I'd gotten to the conclusion' - luckily I know what you mean :D :rofl:
scarletbird Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2011  Student Writer
Or, (to play the devil's advocate) people could see "part 1" and wonder if it's going to be a megalith 30-chapter series. Four chapters really isn't that scary, considering one of my friends is on chapter 15 of her story and clearly only about a third of the way in. But it would be an interesting experiment to try out...

:omfg: I'm glad you took that the right way! :lmao:
monstroooo Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
It's all so complicated! I just want people to read my story. Why won't people read my story??


I might just leave it. It would feel like cheating to split it up now. It would be like chopping up a beloved family dog, you know?
scarletbird Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2011  Student Writer
*sigh* Nothing's ever easy, is it? :hmm:

Yeah, it'd probably be best to leave it, but keep length in mind in the future. :shrug:
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