Broken Wide is a StarCraft II short web story written by Cameron Dayton, set in the StarCraft universe and designed to tie-in with Wings of Liberty. It focuses on the baneling unit and explains the perfect adaptability of the zerg to situations. The story, which takes place in 2503, is portrayed as an audio recording of an interrogation, taken from the wrecked battlecruiser, Emperor's Fury.
Nature doesn't just adapt. Nature cheats, changes the rules, and for Pvt. Maren Ayers, nature has a nasty surprise.
Private Maren Ayers, a Terran Dominion medic with a scientific background, was being interrogated by Captain Serl Gentry, a Dominion research scientist. Gentry wanted to know about Ayers' recent combat experiences and intelligence on the zerg.
Ayers told an anecdote about her father, Dr. Talen Ayers, who said that "nature cheats, changes the rules". As the interview continued, Gentry became annoyed by Ayers' attitude – Ayers often became emotional, focused too much on her relationship with her father and eventually insulted the Dominion.
Ayers' military unit, the 128th Platoon under Lt. Travis Orran, was scheduled to serve on the world of Anselm. However, as soon as they reached it, their Minotaur-class battlecruiser was recalled to Korhal in order to receive an upgrade. Passengers such as the platoon were dropped off at the nearest habitable world, which turned out to be Sorona. This occurred six months before the interrogation.
The marines found noone at the tarmac, and on the way to the nearest outpost, Cask, they were ambushed by zerglings. A quarter of the platoon's sixty troops were killed. Colonists arrived in a combat-damaged ore loader and escorted them back to Cask.
The colonists revealed that they had been stranded for eight months and had been constantly sending emergency messages to the Dominion. They had mistaken the platoon for reinforcements. While the colonists had been fending off the zerg, the stress had gotten to them; their doctor had committed suicide, making Ayers the replacement, and the people had been forced to live off a nutritious but acidic native mold.
The marines assisted in fending off attacks, which had been larger in the past, but had dwindled to smaller zergling rushes. Meanwhile, one of the marines determined the comm system had not been malfunctioning; the Dominion had been getting the messages, but had refused to respond.
A New Breed
Ayers began thinking of a scientific proposal made by her father; when populations shrink, mutations occur more frequently. The fruitless zerg attacks had decimated their own population, but this would make sense if the zerg were deliberately looking for mutations. Captain Gentry found this hard to believe, but said her analysis had matched up with data collected by the Dominion tactical team.
Ayers collected samples from killed zerglings, which convinced Lt. Travis Orran that she was suicidal, and constructed a small lab from armor parts. She found the zerglings were mutating – their flesh contained green pustules which closely resembled the native acid mold. When Ayers tried to dissect a pustule, it unleashed a tremendous explosion. Lt. Orran believed this was another suicide attempt. Ayers was locked in a room as punishment for a few days.
The zerg attacks stopped coming. Several days later three marines went scouting and found large numbers of "sick" zerglings, which they quickly killed. This wasn't consistent with a parasitic infection, however. Ayers ran to the comm station and called for help as banelings began to attack Cask.
As Ayers reported this, she admitted not being respectful to Captain Gentry. She and Lt. Orran had survived, but she doubted either would survive the interrogations. Then Ayers stunned Gentry by pulling out a pustule she had sneaked into the briefing room. She threatened to blow the room up unless Gentry listened to everything she had to say.
Ayers was upset the Dominion didn't respond until they learned there was valuable intelligence to be gained. Ayers reported that the zerg had been conducting their own experiment. They used spore cannons, which could have destroyed Cask at any time, to fire their spores into space toward other zerg-inhabited worlds. These spores would contain what they had learned there.
Ayers finished the interrogation by exploding the pustule.
- Lieutenant Travis Orran