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Monday, July 19, 2010

StarCraft II: The Story So Far

From the StarCraft II manual, the game will be released on the 27th July 2010.

StarCraft II



Long ago four supercarriers loaded with political dissidents and convicts from Earth crash-landed on the distant planets of Tarsonis, Moria, and Umoja. These hardy and resourceful terrans established colonies and eventually spread to other planets. In time the largest and most technologically advanced of the colonies, Tarsonis, founded a powerful yet oppressive government called the Terran Confederacy.

A bloody rebellion ignited against the Confederacy, led by an ambitious and charismatic ex-prospector named Arcturus Mengsk.

Yet as Mengsk and his Sons of Korhal strove to liberate their terran brethren from the yoke of oppression, a far greater conflict loomed on the horizon....


Humanity first learned that it was not alone in the universe when a gleaming fleet of protoss warships emerged over the Confederate planet of Chau Sara and incinerated its surface without warning.
On Chau Sara’s sister planet, Mar Sara, Marshal Jim Raynor found evidence of a second alien presence. Attacks broke out across the planet, and it took the Sons of Korhal to mount any kind of organized resistance to the aliens, which had now become known as the zerg.
Jim Raynor and the rebels evacuated as many people as possible from Mar Sara before the mysterious protoss fleet reappeared and incinerated the planet. Thoroughly disillusioned with the Confederacy, Raynor joined the Sons of Korhal. On the planet of Antiga Prime, he worked with Mengsk’s second-in-command, Sarah Kerrigan– formerly an elite assassin for the Confederacy–whom Mengsk had liberated from the government’s neural conditioning. Despite a rocky start, Raynor and Kerrigan quickly formed an efficient partnership.
Mengsk stirred up a full-scale revolt against the Confederacy on Antiga Prime. He then employed a psi emitter–a Confederate-designed device that acted as a beacon for the zerg–to destroy the Confederacy’s forces. Soon afterward the protoss incinerated Antiga Prime from orbit, just as they had done to Chau Sara and Mar Sara.


Next Mengsk struck at Tarsonis, the capital of the Confederacy. To Kerrigan’s horror, he had psi emitters placed on the uninfested and densely populated planet. As the zerg descended on Tarsonis, Raynor began to question Mengsk’s sanity: no measure seemed too extreme for Mengsk if it achieved his goals.
This time the protoss fleet’s leader, Executor Tassadar, deployed ground forces in an effort to save the planet. Mengsk ordered Kerrigan to vanquish the protoss. Despite her misgivings, Kerrigan obeyed and ensured that the planet would fall to the zerg Swarm. Surrounded by zerg, Kerrigan called for evac.
However, in a shocking betrayal, Mengsk abandoned Kerrigan and her troops to their fate. Furious, Raynor rushed to Tarsonis in a desperate attempt to save his partner. Yet in spite of his best efforts, he arrived too late.


With the destruction of Tarsonis and the collapse of the Confederacy, most terran survivors quickly pledged allegiance to the Sons of Korhal, which had become the primary military force opposing the alien invaders. As planet after planet appealed to the Sons of Korhal for aid, Mengsk announced that a new government, the Terran Dominion, was necessary to protect these worlds. Promising victory over the aliens, he declared himself emperor of the Dominion.
Meanwhile, Jim Raynor struggled with the loss of Sarah Kerrigan as he came to the full realization that he had begun to fall in love with her. Haunted by her death and the many other demons of his past, Raynor stole Mengsk’s flagship, the Hyperion, and resolved to seek justice in Kerrigan’s name.
What Raynor could not have known, was that Sarah Kerrigan was not dead. The Overmind–the supreme consciousness who controlled the zerg–had altered Kerrigan by infecting her with the zerg hyperevolutionary virus. Her subsequent evolution unlocked incredible strength and immeasurably potent psionic abilities. Ultimately she emerged as the Queen of Blades: the Overmind’s loyal servant, an extraordinary entity stripped of human ethics and morality and ruthlessly dedicated to the survival of the Swarm.
Yet the Overmind had suffered a terrible blow: Zeratul, a leader among the protoss’ estranged brethren, the dark templar, killed one of the Overmind’s cerebrates. The zerg brood formerly controlled by the slain lieutenant ran amok and turned against the rest of the Swarm, which was forced to obliterate them.
All was not lost for the zerg, however. When Zeratul killed the cerebrate, he made fleeting telepathic contact with the Overmind. In that moment, the Overmind discovered the location of the protoss homeworld of Aiur. The zerg assaulted Aiur, and although the protoss resisted valiantly, the zerg established a foothold, and the Overmind embedded itself in the planet’s surface.
Joining forces with Jim Raynor, Tassadar rallied the flagging protoss for one final push against their foes, yet protoss forces only weakened the zerg while sustaining heavy losses themselves. In a last desperate gamble, Tassadar channeled the energies of the Aiur protoss, and the outlawed energies of the dark templar through the hull of his ship, the Gantrithor, and steered the vessel on a collision course with the monstrous Overmind.
Tassadar’s brave sacrifice resulted in an explosion that killed the Overmind and threw its minions on Aiur into disarray. The protoss had little cause to rejoice, though, for much of Aiur was left in ruins. Furthermore, the Swarm as a whole was undefeated. Far away on the planet Char, Kerrigan sensed the Overmind’s death and finally grasped the true purpose of her creation. The reign of the Queen of Blades was about to begin.

The Brood War


Even without the Overmind, there was little doubt that the zerg would overrun the remaining protoss on Aiur. The Aiur protoss’ only hope for survival lay in escaping to the dark templar homeworld of Shakuras, where Zeratul offered to shelter the protoss refugees. It was there that the protoss were confronted by Kerrigan, who demanded to speak with the dark templar matriarch, Raszagal.
Kerrigan swore that she was no longer a merciless killer, and notified the protoss that several zerg cerebrates had merged to create a new Overmind. If this Overmind matured and gained control of the Swarm, Kerrigan warned that she would revert to the savage and cruel creature she had been. In order to prevent that from happening, Kerrigan volunteered to help the protoss fight the zerg and the new Overmind. Raszagal accepted Kerrigan’s proposition despite the reservations of Zeratul and others.
UED forces bolstered their strength further and headed to Korhal IV, capital world of the Dominion. After a fierce battle, Directorate forces laid siege to Korhal’s capital city, Augustgrad, forcing Emperor Arcturus Mengsk to contact the UED fleet requesting a parley.
The emperor’s small fleet was surrounded, but while UED forces were preparing to take Mengsk into custody, Jim Raynor arrived in Mengsk’s old battlecruiser, the Hyperion, along with a small protoss fleet. Raynor angrily made it clear that he was rescuing Mengsk only because a mutual acquaintance wanted Mengsk alive. Moments later, Raynor, his protoss allies, and Mengsk had escaped.
The UED persisted in its campaign, moving on to Char to capture the developing Overmind and, through it, seize control of the zerg. Directorate forces overcame the Overmind’s defenses and soon specially trained medics began administering powerful neurostims to pacify the organism. By then Duran had been revealed as a spy working with Kerrigan, but that discovery made little difference: the Overmind was firmly under Directorate control.


The UED’s control over the new Overmind and the broods on Char gave the Directorate a decisive advantage over Kerrigan, for a weapon known as the psi disrupter prevented the Queen of Blades from controlling the zerg broods that were not yet under the Overmind’s control. Fortunately for Kerrigan, however, she had foreseen this difficulty and had acted accordingly.
Kerrigan had contacted Jim Raynor from her fortress on the planet Tarsonis. Raynor cared for her before she joined the Swarm, and she knew that on some level he still had feelings for her, even though he distrusted her. Contacting him had therefore involved minimal risk to Kerrigan, and Raynor had made the perfect ambassador between her and the protoss on Shakuras, who had not forgotten Kerrigan’s pastmanipulations. Once Raynor and the protoss had been willing to listen, she had asked them to rescue Emperor Mengsk and the battle-scarred remnants of the Dominion fleet from the UED’s assault. Galvanized by the threat of an emergent Overmind in the hands of the UED, Raynor had temporarily put aside his hatred of Mengsk and agreed to Kerrigan’s plan.
Once Raynor had rescued Mengsk, Kerrigan assured the emperor that she had no intention of killing him, for she was no longer angry at his betrayal. Victory over the UED, she maintained, was more important than petty grudges. In the course of executing their plan, the protoss grew suspicious of Kerrigan. They learned too late that their alliance with her had only helped the Queen of Blades achieve her true goal: eliminating a challenge to her rule over the Swarm. Due to the dark templar’s assistance, several dissident cerebrates were destroyed.
Kerrigan departed from Shakuras even as the horrified protoss concluded that they had no choice but to finish what they had started. Utilizing the power of an ancient xel’naga temple, the protoss successfully obliterated the zerg on Shakuras. Even so, they paid a terrible price, for the cataclysmic explosion left Shakuras a wasteland of sand dunes and shattered ruins.


Unbeknownst to the terrans in the Koprulu sector, Earth had kept a long and silent watch over its far-flung colonial planets. The frightening discovery of hostile aliens managed to unite Earth as never before, leading to the formation of a new government called the United Earth Directorate (UED). When it became clear that the Koprulu colonies were losing strength, the UED’s ruling council considered it the perfect time to establish control over its distant cousins.
After monitoring zerg and protoss activity for several months, the UED was confident that it could control the zerg. By this time the UED had received word that a new Overmind had formed on the planet Char. Confident of victory, the UED dispatched an expeditionary fleet to enslave the young Overmind and use the Swarm to overthrow the Terran Dominion.
The fleet moved to secure the planet Braxis as a staging point, assaulting its capital city. The city was well defended, and progress was slow, but UED forces made contact with fighters from the Confederate Resistance Forces. Their leader, Samir Duran, explained that they had sworn to overthrow the Terran Dominion and Emperor Mengsk. These fighters volunteered to become new recruits of the UED.
With Duran’s aid, the UED soon had access to the Dominion’s primary datanet– specifically, its weapons diagnostics and other top-secret material. The UED moved on to the Dylarian shipyards, where the bulk of the Dominion’s battlecruisers were docked. Striking swiftly, the soldiers commandeered the ships for their own use and conscripted the remnants of the Dylarian defenders.
Despite Zeratul’s reservations, Raszagal convinced him that, for the sake of all protoss, he must do as Kerrigan demanded. In the end, Zeratul obeyed. The dark templar assaulted the UED forces on Char and managed to slay the Overmind along with its cerebrates. As a result, all zerg in the Koprulu sector became subject to Kerrigan’s will once more.
When the mission was completed, Kerrigan asked Raszagal if she wanted to return to her people, but the matriarch said that her only wish was to serve Kerrigan. In that moment, Zeratul realized that Kerrigan had long ago enslaved and corrupted Raszagal’s mind. After their defeat, the remains of the Directorate fleet had fled from the planet Char. Zeratul and the other dark templar circumvented Kerrigan’s defenses and rescued their matriarch.
They had yet to realize that Raszagal’s mental enslavement could not be undone. Before the dark templar could escape with Raszagal, the zerg surrounded Zeratul’s base and attacked. As Kerrigan and her minions closed in, Zeratul cursed Kerrigan bitterly and, rather than let the zerg recapture Raszagal, dealt the matriarch a mortal blow. In her last moments, she thanked him for freeing her from Kerrigan’s influence.
Ravaged by grief and guilt, Zeratul vowed he would avenge the matriarch’s fall.


Upon leaving Char, Zeratul and the dark templar investigated protoss power signatures on an uncharted moon nearby. There they found several stasis cells containing protoss and zerg. Further investigation revealed that Samir Duran was using genetic manipulation in an unholy attempt to create the hybrid: creatures with mixed zerg and protoss DNA. Most disturbing of all, however, was the fact that Duran’s attempts were proving successful.
Kerrigan explained that she wanted to use Mengsk’s psi emitters to reclaim control of additional zerg forces. She would then be able to tear down the psi disrupter, at which point she would finally stand a chance of beating the Directorate fleet. In return, she offered to help Mengsk reclaim the planet Korhal from the UED. Mengsk was free to refuse her offer, of course, but if he did, she would imprison him for the rest of his life.
Mengsk could see no other alternative, and he was enticed by the prospect of reclaiming Korhal, so he loaned Kerrigan the psi emitters. Kerrigan’s plan worked perfectly, and she destroyed the psi disrupter on Braxis. Once Kerrigan had gained control over a greater number of zerg and built up sufficient resources, she and her reluctant allies launched an assault on Korhal. The UED forces occupying the planet were overwhelmed, and Mengsk was jubilant as he retook possession of the planet. Declaring himself the emperor of the Terran Dominion once again, he set up a base of operations in Augustgrad.


Kerrigan, having rebuilt her zerg forces and driven the UED from its primary seat of power in the Koprulu sector, decided that her allies had outlived their usefulness. Duran pointed out that if she struck now, her erstwhile allies would not be expecting an attack.
Without warning Kerrigan sent multitudes of her minions against the terran encampments. Mengsk denounced Kerrigan for her treachery. She responded that her actions were well-justified revenge, given the suffering she had undergone due to Mengsk’s betrayal on Tarsonis. As for Mengsk, she would permit him to live: she wanted him to watch her ascend to ultimate power and know that he had helped shape her into the deadly Queen of Blades.
Raynor fought courageously, but he knew a hopeless fight when he saw one. As he escaped from Korhal, he promised Kerrigan that she would pay for the lives she had taken: one day, Raynor swore, he would kill her.


Kerrigan remained determined to crush the UED forces and their enslaved Overmind. To that end, she traveled to the planet Shakuras and kidnapped the dark templar matriarch, Raszagal. Using Raszagal as leverage, Kerrigan laid out her demands.
Because only Zeratul and his people could destroy the Overmind and its cerebrates, Kerrigan made them an offer: if the dark templar killed these renegade zerg, Kerrigan would permit Raszagal to return to Shakuras.
Unmoved by Zeratul’s disgust, Duran revealed that he served a power far greater than Kerrigan and that the creation of the hybrid was the last step in a vast cycle that was approaching its end. Duran claimed that the hybrid, who were scattered on a thousand different worlds, were on the verge of completing their development, and they would change the universe forever when they awoke.


For a brief time thereafter, Kerrigan was sorely challenged. Duran had inconveniently disappeared; the orbital platform from which she watched over Char was under attack; and most of her forces were still on the planet surface. Arcturus Mengsk had scraped together a new fleet, and a gleaming armada of protoss ships from Shakuras had warped in as well. Last but not least, Directorate forces were stubbornly intent upon defeating the woman who had manipulated and humiliated them.
Yet the Queen of Blades proved to be too powerful a foe as she unleashed her full wrath upon her enemies. Facing imminent defeat, Mengsk withdrew early in the battle. He told Kerrigan to watch her back because he would be lying in wait for her, ready to strike when she inevitably made a mistake.
Nor did the forces composed of Aiur protoss and dark templar retreat without a parting word, declaring that they would never forget the death of Raszagal. They too would be watching Kerrigan. At last it became clear that the UED fleet could not hope to overcome Kerrigan at her full strength. For her amusement, Kerrigan allowed the fleet to flee in the direction of Earth, giving it a reasonable head start before she sent the Swarm after them.
Kerrigan’s forces soon overtook the UED fleet and tore it apart. Not one of the fleet’s ships would reach Earth to report the events that had taken place in the Koprulu sector.


The Queen of Blades has not grown complacent in the wake of her victory. She continues to keep watch over the Swarm from Char. The Brood War showed her to be more powerful than anyone could have imagined: she is truly the dominant force in the Koprulu sector.
However, for the last four years the Swarm’s initial, merciless expansion has been replaced with a foreboding silence. There is only speculation about what Kerrigan has been doing for the last four years, as no scouting expeditions to zerg-occupied planets have lived to report what they witnessed.
Many believe that the zerg are building their strength and engineering new organisms before going on the offensive again. Some contend that Kerrigan is staying her hand due to some lingering shred of humanity, but those who have encountered the savage fury of the Queen of Blades suspect that this is merely wishful thinking.
The Aiur protoss have been struggling to recover from the loss of their homeworld, while attempting to reunify their society with the dark templar living on Shakuras. It has been a difficult transition for both sides, and the name of Raszagal has been invoked more than once to keep the peace. Interacting with the dark templar and the xel’naga technology on Shakuras has also led to many new developments as the protoss prepare themselves for continuing the war with the zerg.
Memories of Raszagal have plagued Zeratul, and he was deeply disturbed by his encounter with Samir Duran. For years he kept to himself, racked with guilt and sorrow, until a valiant terran archaeologist in need of Zeratul’s aid sought him out and convinced him to emerge from his self-imposed exile. Since then, Zeratul has uncovered a revelation somehow related to the xel’naga, creators of both the zerg and the protoss. He has been seeking additional clues to unravel the mystery.
Arcturus Mengsk and his forces initially returned to Korhal to regroup. His first order of business was to rebuild the Terran Dominion. In Kerrigan he has found a new target for revenge. The Dominion has risen once again to become the most powerful force among the terran factions, having taken over almost all of the original Confederate worlds.
The UED expeditionary fleet was shattered during the Brood War and now only a few isolated pockets of survivors remain hidden in the Koprulu sector. Jim Raynor has led a resistance movement known as Raynor’s Raiders against the spreading power of the Dominion, but over the years it has been a losing battle. Arcturus Mengsk has used his greatest weapons–the media and propaganda–to marginalize Raynor’s efforts. Now Raynor seems to be losing faith, drinking heavily and haunted by the ghosts of his past.
Those who know Jim Raynor best have been saying that there is one part of him that won’t rest until Sarah Kerrigan is dead... ...and another part of him that refuses to let her go.

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