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Fanfic: The Swarm of War
The Swarm of War is a Warhammer 40,000 / Starcraft Crossover written by VexMaster. It tells the story of James Malcolm Raynor, a nerd with knowledge of both universes killed by a car… and reincarnated as a Zerg Larva on the fallen Aiur. The guy morphs to a Drone… then a Hatchery… then a Hive Cluster… and just as he’s ready to take over after Kerrigan’s depowerment… the Xel’Naga artifact transports him elsewhere. From that moment, James is no more. There is a new Overmind. And that Overmind lands on a new planet. A planet just in the middle of a Warp Storm. Well, time to rebuild… and consume.

The first story arc – the first 40 chapters – is about the Overmind taking over the planet. The second arc – finished in summer 2014 – is about the Swarm testing itself against future enemies on a remote planet, opposed by the Imperium, the Eldar, the Chaos… and Captain Titus.

As of late 2013, the story is in the process of being betaed, but is a very enjoyable one even without it.


Contains examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Can be expected, considering the setting. For the Swarm, goes all the way from the regular Hydralisk spines in the ground units to psionically charged Ultralisk sized Baneling bunches and ICBM sized explosive spines fired at relativistic speeds from the newer capital Living Ships.
  • Anti-Magic: The Warp Storm around the planet rendered all the human Psykers incapable of using their powers. Well, except for the ones in the Swarm. Daemon summoning magic is also much reduced in power.
  • Arch-Nemesis: Warboss Bugklaw. Too bad he doesn’t survive into the second arc. Judanus seems to be shaping up to be one in the second arc.
  • Asshole Victim: Elegas, when confronted by Elric and accused of having… inappropriate feelings toward his sister, merely replies that she was only a half-sister… and then asks about her daughter.
  • Assimilation Plot: Well, what did you expect? It’s the Swarm.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: James’ first body was a Hive sized Ultralisk variant. Gets better later, when he starts making Zerg Titans and Living Ships up to ten kilometers long, with bigger stuff being planned.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The Overmind makes powerful bodies for himself and his Champions. Also, Warboss Bugklaw gets bigger and stronger with each encounter, until he’s six meters tall.
  • Back from the Brink: After Char, James/Overmind arrives in the W40K universe with only eight Overlords and some escorts from his force. Three of the Overlords are lost to local Giant Flyers, so he makes do with just over twenty land units and a lot of dead meat from the crashed Overlords. Oh, and a large Khaydarin Crystal from a Protoss Pylon.
  • Badass Boast:
    We are the Zerg. We are the Swarm. We are the Devouring Ones. We are the God Killers. We are the Conquerors of Aiur and Destroyers of Tarsonis. We are the Unending Doom.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: The Overmind has one against Ahzek Ahriman. Turns out even one of the most powerful psykers in the galaxy cannot match a world spanning Hive Mind.
  • Beehive Barrier: Naturally, considering the Zerg shield technology comes from the Protoss.
  • The Battlestar: The larger Zerg Living Ships, like the Hive Ship.
  • Beware My Stinger Tail: Zerg Patriarchs have the beam firing type.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In the final battle of arc 2.
  • Body Horror: When Zerg attack humans with acid and spores, the results are… not pretty. Also, chapter 23 describes a battlefield full of corpses... and then a severed head comes alive - a Spyling still has enough life in him to try searching for another host. Of course, a few tentacles must be grown first to move around.
  • Brain in a Jar: Humans allowed to survive under the Swarm largely end up as these in the end. So far, it has not been specified how aware and of what they are.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Elegas harbored rather… inappropriate feelings toward his sister.
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": Zerglings are often called “Dog-things” by humans.
  • Cannibalism Superpower: Aside from the Zerg consuming native fauna, Orks, space marines, daemons, etc, for their essence, Captain Titus demonstrates the Space Marines' little-remembered Omophagea implant by eating a zergling's brain to learn about the Zerg.
  • Carry a Big Stick: Bugklaw’s mace during his first Waaagh. As befits his name, it was made from Roach claws.
  • Cassandra Truth: Inquisitor Pardia is the first to realize the threat of the Swarm, but is ignored. Later, he is the one to figure out the truth about the identity of Queen Alena, but others are rather disbelieving – not to mention simply have no forces capable of dealing with the problem by then.
  • Cavalry Betrayal: First, the village which called for help against the Orks is attacked due to Tobias being mistaken for a daemon. Then, the Space Marines woken up turn out to be largely corrupted by Chaos. Later, during a battle between the King’s Army and the Chaos, forces led by the Loyalist Space Marines attack and wipe out the Chaos… and then the other side; due to the King refusing to recognize the Space Marines as his superiors, his kingdom is branded as heretics.
  • Combat Tentacles: Many of the advanced Zerg units have them. For some of them, they double as Energy Weapons.
  • Cool Sword: Judanus’ sword, once it absorbs Ga’huld the daemon.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The first Warboss against the Ultralisk, then the Kingdom forces against the Chaos. Alena and the Host deliver these to… well, whatever they have encountered in the first arc. An Avatar of Khaine turned out to be much more of a problem.
  • Cyborg: The new Swarm incorporates a good amount of Protoss tech in its units.
  • Deal with the Devil: Not counting the obvious examples for the Chaos Marines, there is Judanus’ deal with Ahriman to get him into Warp before he’s killed by the Swarm.
  • Death from Above: In chapter 32, after the Overmind learns that Ork reinforcement are coming from a large archipelago with a single island as a rally point, he uses Overlords to bring in a million Banelings and literally flood the island with acid.
  • Deliver Us from Evil: Played with. After Alena goes through the Hormone-Addled Teenager phase, the Overmind thinks that an actual pregnancy may restore her humanity completely. Of course, there is no way he'll risk it.
  • Deflector Shields: The new Swarm gets a lot of them.
  • Dissonant Serenity: When questioned, Captain Paris is the only calm person among the shouting and complaining commanders, despite Hadrian psionically influencing everyone to express their emotions.
  • The Dragon: Apothecary Lilgath to Judanus.
  • Easy Logistics: Averted. There are a lot of issues with feeding an army a million strong, and the Ork invasion runs into significant problems once they find out their spores don’t grow in Creep.
  • Emergency Transformation: Alena, Elric, Volran and Hargen.
  • The Enemy Weapons Are Better: There is a reason the Ork Warboss is called Bugklaw.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Played with. Enough of James remains in the Overmind to care for Alena, but it later turns a good part of it is attraction to her psyker talent. It doesn’t tend to extend to other children, in any case (although quite a few are spared for Pragmatic Villainy purposes).
  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: The Krakenlisk.
  • Explosive Leash: Judanus puts these on the other Marines’ necks.
  • Exposition: Quite a few chapters are dedicated to description of the politics, forces and new units.
  • False Flag Operation: In the second story arc, a Zerg force is lost in a minor Warp anomaly and lands on an Imperium world. Investigation reveals Laser-Guided Amnesia in the colony’s memories, which implies artificial causes with hints pointing toward the Eldar and their psyker powers. However, Volran guesses correctly that the real culprit is the Overmind, since only he could have done such a precise work. The next chapter reveals it was an Eldar attack all right, but the Overmind attempted to erase the evidence.
  • Fantastic Nuke: A single ability of the Overmind wipes out a city of eight million people in a heartbeat.
  • Fatal Flaw: The remains of James’ human overconfidence cause quite a bit of trouble at first.
  • Fighting a Shadow: The Overmind and its Champions.
  • Five-Man Band: Seems to shape up for this, but Hargen and Elric are yet to express their traits enough to be sure.
  • Flaunting Your Fleets: Chapter 46 describes a fleet of tens of thousands of Living Ships at the start of the Zerg expansion, and that’s just the ones in the kilometer and above size category.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Starts as a nerd, ends up as… well, we’ll see.
  • Fusion Dance: The Overmind does this with bases. A Hive merged with a dozen Spine Crawlers and Spore Crawlers is not something to take lightly.
  • General Failure: General Vegin is yet to appear personally, but everything is done already to make him look like one. Then it turns out he was a traitor... not too successful in that either.
  • Genius Bruiser: Bugklaw is the closest an Ork can come to this trope.
  • Green Eyes: Alena, at least before she joins the Swarm.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: The Host’s attack against Bugklaw’s forces starts with him summoning a small army of Zerg and flinging them at the Ork tanks and Stompa.
  • Gunship Rescue: During the Imperium’s battle with the Zerg, a rampaging Ultralisk is destroyed by Valkyrie gunships. Then, a massive wave of enemies comes, too much for the gunships. All seems lost, but then a Kill Sat network reactivates.
  • A Girl and her Zergling: Alena and Tobi.
  • Haunted Technology: Judanus is forced to resort to that due to the limited volume of conventional production.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: The Overmind goes through such a stage a few months after arriving in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Doesn’t quite work the way it does for humans, but it’s enough for some confusion. Then Alena goes through the same… enough for them both to be confused.
  • Human Sacrifice: Judanus, naturally. The Ruinous Powers pay him well.
  • Human Popsicle: The Space Marines from the original ship.
  • Humans Are Bastards: There is an off handed mention of James adding the “boundless cruelty of a human” to the Swarm.
  • Humans Are Special: The new Overmind is certainly much more creative than the first one. And Genre Savvy enough about the trope.
  • Humongous Mecha: Bugklaw’s Stompa.
  • Hybrid Monster: The new Zerg, especially the special units, have all kind of combined abilities from different old units.
  • I Can Rule Alone: Judanus to Ga’huld.
  • It Can Think: Harax seems very surprised when he encounters and is addressed by Volran.
  • It's Quiet... Too Quiet: Said by Captain Barridon right before his force and Inquisitor Pardia are attacked by the Zerg.
  • Kill Sat: At the beginning of the second arc, Captain Titus leads a mission to reactivate a network of these.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: The Swarm’s first attack against an Imperium fleet starts with dozens of asteroids (with shield disruption fields). One Cobra Class Destroyer makes a Heroic Sacrifice, the rest survive, although not completely unscathed.
  • Kiss of Death: The Blood Master exchanging his body for that of a Chaos Terminator. He even calls it “the kiss of your doom”. Not the slightest bit erotic, of course. Then there is a Krakenlisk’s attack, which involves grabbing an enemy starship and blasting it point blank with a Breath Weapon.
  • Laser Blade: Elric uses a Protoss style Warp Blade. Also, many Zerg units have their regular blades enhanced with psionic energy.
  • Last Stand: Lord Hebaras against the Swarm. Eblas against Judanus’ forces.
  • Like a Fish Takes to Water: James accepts his reincarnation very quickly. Then he builds an empire within months. Then he gets to the Warhammer 40,000 universe… well, it’s technically not him anymore, but still, he develops a new plan quickly enough.
  • Living Ship: Up to ten kilometers long so far.
  • Lost Colony: They are the descendants of a destroyed warship’s crew, at least the ruling class is. Apparently, the planet was already settled by the time they arrived.
  • Love Is in the Air: The entire royal family and the court are destroyed by Alena’s pheromones. And perhaps her psyker power as well.
  • Mad Doctor: Lilgath is described to look like one, although there is little opportunity to demonstrate.
  • Magic Eater: The new Zerg, with their Khaydarin Crystal implants, are capable of consuming Warp. And daemons.
  • Meaningful Rename: After Char, the name “James” isn’t used often, except in some private concersations. There is only the new Overmind. After the first arc, the planet upon which it occurred is named New Char, although it is unclear whether it had a name earlier.
  • Megalodon: A Zerg Sea Monster type. It’s even called the Carcharlisk.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Five sides in the first arc. 1)The King’s Army. 2) The Space Marines and Duke Verin’s forces. 3) Judanus with his Chaos Marines and cultists. 4) Bugklaw with his Orks. 5) The Swarm. The second ark has the Swarm, the Imperium Inquisition, Chaos, Eldar, and Vegin, although he doesn't seem to be his own master.
  • Million Mook March: By the end of the first arc, every faction was at that scale (before the Swarm emerged victorious). In the second one...
  • Mole in Charge: Alena as the queen, Changelings as most of the nobility and commanders.
  • Mook Promotion: The Spyling/Blood Master now seems to be the Sixth Ranger.
  • Multipurpose Tongue Alena can use hers as a Combat Tentacle.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: The first Host and its bodyguards all have four arms. And that’s not counting all the Combat Tentacles and Kerrigan style wings.
  • Mundane Utility: The Ultralisks’ Sharpened to a Single Atom Kaiser Blades turn out to be very useful for cutting down trees.
  • Named Like My Name: James Malcolm Raynor. He became rather popular with his friends once Starcraft came out.
  • Negative Space Wedgie: The planet upon which the first arc occurs is inside a Warp Storm.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: After the Kingdom learns about the Zerg and misidentifies them as a Chaos corruption, a decision is made to bring out the hidden superweapon: hibernating Space Marines. Unfortunately, nine of them are corrupted by Chaos.
  • No Sell: Theq’aras shoots the Blood Master with a full volley from a Meltagun. The guy gets knocked back a few meters… and then thanks the Chaos Terminator for the experience – now the Swarm knows what a point blank Meltagun blast is like.
  • One-Winged Angel: Used by Volran against Warboss Bugklaw. Volran gets Curb Stomped.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: With the new modifications, Zerglings can regenerate even after losing a head, a Spyling possessed human can regrow an arm in seconds, and some units are upgraded to pull off the From a Single Cell variant.
  • People Farms: After the first planet is conquered, about a million humans are allowed to survive because the Swarm needs workers to build machines, as well as psykers.
  • Phlebotinum Overload: The Overmind’s first bite of the Warp Storm is enough to send him into a coma. After that, he’s careful not to bite off more than he can chew.
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Alena’s mind grows from 5 to 16 in a matter of months. Then, an adult looking Zerg/human body is made for her.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: When the Imperium encounters the Zerg for the first time, they are much easier to dispatch than one would expect from the earlier chapters. That’s because it’s a Lost Colony which lacks some of the upgrades.
  • Power Crystals: The Khaydarin Crystals serve as that. Also, at the end of the first arc, the temporary success of the human forces is because Alena ordered to put small amethysts in all weapons, with her and the Spylings regularly charging them up with psionic energy.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: A lot of children are spared – because they can grow up to become powerful psykers, or, failing that, workers producing advanced equipment.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The Spylings are capable of consuming a human brain and then taking over from inside the empty skull – with all of the target’s memories, of course.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: An Avatar of the Overmind manages to defeat Khaine's, but is left so weak that the remaining Eldar take it out.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: The inquisition and the Chaos forces.
  • Removable Turret Gun: Titus sees a heavy bolter during his mission to retake the facility. Unlike the usual examples, however, he has a cyborg Huscarl carry it – the weapons he carries already are heavy enough.
  • Resurrected for a Job: Judanus summons back the souls of the Chaos marines betrayed and killed by him. Then he binds them to their former armor and skeletons.
  • RPG Elements: The Zerg, both individually and as a collective, turn out to be capable of using psionic energy (including that of slain enemies) to mutate into stronger forms.
  • Rousing Speech: Armanus gives the Do Not Go Gentle type after it’s discovered most of his brothers have been corrupted or killed by Chaos.
  • Schizo Tech: Mostly Middle Ages level technology, but there are some advanced weapons from the crashed starship, as well as limited production by the remaining Techmarines and the Adeptus Mechanicus descendants.
  • Serial Escalation: Starts with a few hundred humans, a few hundred Orks, and the Overmind with a few dozen Zerglings… Ends up with human armies a million strong, hundreds of Chaos Space Marines, hundreds of Daemons. hundreds of thousands of Chaos Cultists, millions of Orks, and tens of millions of Zerg (with all kinds of advanced tech brought out). And all of that is before the expansion to other planets starts…
  • Split Personality Merge: Happens to the Overmind after the Hormone-Addled Teenager phase.
  • Standard Sci-Fi Fleet: Everything the old Swarm had is Small Craft, except for Leviathan. The new Overmind has added Battlestars, carriers and other Capital Ships (Living Ships, of course), hopefully we'll see more soon.
  • Super Empowering: The Swarm is this... to their enemies. That is, because they consume Chaos energy in their vicinity, enemy psykers can use their powers there with a significantly reduced risk of corruption. Also, Alina has the power to empower entire Zerg task forces around her.
  • Superweapon Surprise: Bugklaw delivers a few of these.
  • Tastes Like Chicken: The Overmind compares the taste of daemon essences to human food… although chicken isn’t on the list.
  • Teleport Interdiction: Overmind does this to Judanus. Judanus is forced into a Deal with the Devil to make an escape. Later, it is introduced as a special attack of a Krakenling group.
  • Teleport Spam: Bugklaw does this at the end of the first arc… after using a lot of teleporters for a surprise invasion.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: Axhand the Magos has the HK/Elcor speech pattern.
  • Those Were Only Their Scouts: In the first arc, the Zerg had most of their units burrow and hibernate, with little outside indication about the real size of their army. The Orks turn out to have an army millions strong on a remote archipelago. Now, the Imperium has its first encounter with the Zerg… a rather degraded Lost Colony
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: The daemon Ga'huld orders Judanus to break the hibernation tube where it's imprisoned with his bare hands. Fortunately for Judanus, he takes time first to consult other daemons about possible consequences and... well, from that moment, he has a powerful sword named Ga'huld.
  • Time Skip: After the end of the first arc, the Overmind rules the planet, but cannot expand beyond until he consumes enough of the Warp Storm to clear the way. It takes decades, but of course there isn’t much to tell about.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The new Swarm, the new units, Warboss Bugklaw…
  • Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth: The Overmind is Genre Savvy enough not to try absorbing Chaos Space Marines, despite the usefulness of the Gene-seeds for his plans.
  • Transhuman Treachery: What used to be James and its transformed human servants care little for humanity.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: The Overmind doesn't tell Volran about the confrontation with the Eldar because, just like the Dark Templar, the Eldar can use the Hive Mind link of the Swarm to gain knowledge about the Zerg.
  • Upgrade Artifact: Judanus’ transformed Power Sword grants him spellcasting abilities thanks to the daemon trapped inside.
  • Up to Eleven: After the Overmind’s upgrades Leviathan is a kilometer long and wide with massive firepower. Then, he introduces the Hive Ship which can give birth to these, three at a time.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Alena is… quite the horror by the end of the first arc.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The Changelings.
  • Wave Motion Gun: The Lance cannon. Two have appeared so far, and each was a BIG trouble.
  • We Are Everywhere: Alena says the exact words to Judanus. You can trust her to have a good reason for such a boast.
  • We Have Reserves: The Overmind is perfectly willing to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of creatures to delay Bugklaw’s Stompa for a single day. Later, at the end of Arc 2, Volran assaults an impregnable fortress... by sending creatures at it until the Imperium Ragnarok Proof weapons break down from constant firing.
  • Weather Manipulation: In their first attack against a city, the Zerg fliers use their psionic power to start it with fist sized hail.
  • What the Hell Are You?: Seems to be a common reaction to the Spylings.
  • Worf Effect: The Overmind’s first mental battle is against Ahzek Ahriman. That’s a ten thousand years old Badass with knowledge and power only surpassed by the Greater Daemons and Primarchs… and he’s completely Curb Stomped. At the end of arc 2, hastily prepared Overmind Host takes out (barely) an Avatar of Khaine. Volran seems to suffer from the trope as well - as the Champion most inclined toward direct combat, he was killed twice already.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: The planet upon which the first arc occurs is trapped inside a Warp Storm. Inside, over five centuries have passed. Outside, it’s a single century at the most. For an orbiting abandoned starship in the Storm itself – ten hours.
  • You and What Army?: Elegas and Elric have the exchange word for word.
  • You Are in Command Now: In chapter 45, after the battle is finished, Lieutenant Worak realizes he’s the only officer alive in his regiment. Naturally, he then reports to Captain Titus.
  • You Monster!: Elegas’ final words to Elric. Elric’s reply is “Well, I am a monster now, Elegas”.
  • You Shall Not Pass: The Imperium’s attitude toward the Zerg in the second arc.
  • Zerg Rush: Volran actually has it as a tactic – a psionically reinforced stampede of a million Zerg isn’t easy to stop.

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alternative title(s): The Swarm Of War
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