Karax – Co-op Commander Lore

starcraft 2 - Karax - Co-op Commander Lore

Hey folks!

Was out last week so didn't get a chance to do this one last week, but I haven't given up on this series! This week we're going into everyone's favorite “i def” phase-smith, Karax! Karax utilizes a lot of technology from around the protoss, so lets get into it!

edit?usp=sharing - Karax - Co-op Commander Lore
Link to previous Co-op lore episodes

The Khalai Caste

To understand Karax, lets first talk about the caste system and why his caste is so significant.

At the end of the Aeon of Strife, the brutal thousand year period of civil war among the protoss, the mystic Savassan, later known as Khas, sparked the protoss's psionic link, connecting their memories and emotions, allowing them a deeper empathy with their kin. From this, Khas created a system of living and government to unite the protoss people, to best utilize their psionic link. Part of this was reorganizing the tribes into a caste system, with three castes to control protoss society. The Judicator Caste was the statesmen of the protoss who made societal decisions, run by a ruling Conclave. The Templar Caste were the warriors who trained their bodies into living weapons to protect their people. The final caste, the civilian mass of protoss society, was the Khalai Caste, the artists, scientists, workers and general people that made their empire run.

In general the Khalai Caste were the often overlooked workhorse of the protoss. While all three castes were technically even, the Khalai were looked down upon by their Templar and Judicator brethren. In combat situations, Khalai were often called in to maintain automatons and ships for the Templar, but lacked their psionic training and skills, and were seen as a burden in many combat situations. The Judicators influenced the Khalai with subtle mind control psionics, keeping them pacified.

Yet, there were those among them with key skills, those assigned to produce the robotic automatons, structures and cutting edge technologies of the protoss: the phase-smith. These engineers fought a war of design, using the protoss's advanced knowledge of energies and materials to produce inventions from massive towering arkships to nanite cures for diseases. It is from these that the humble Karax comes from.

Karax: Master Phase-smith

Not too much is known about Karax's past before the End War. We know he was a veteran of the Great War and Brood War who evacuated to Shakuras, and served under Executor Selendis as her personal phase-smith. Like many Khalai he took part in the Reclamation of Aiur under the Golden Armada. However, the invasion went awry when hybrid appeared leading the zerg on the planet, and Karax helped Dark Prelate Zeratul in trying to find Hierarch Artanis, who vanished from the Khala. However, soon the truth was revealed: the Khala had been corrupted by Amon, and seized those connected to it.

Thankfully for Karax, he was surrounded by a Nerazim warhost who instantly cut him from the Khala. Yet soon they were overwhelmed by Amon's zerg, but were rescued by Artanis. Artanis and Karax rallied the reaming free protoss to the ancient arkship, the Spear of Adun. They left Aiur, and swore to rally what forces the survivors and defeat Amon

Karax was Artanis's personal technician and engineer, working tirelessly to improve the capabilities of the Spear of Adun and of his countless warriors. Meanwhile, Karax must unlock the capabilities of a xel'naga relic named the Keystone, which Zeratul discovered may be the key to defeating Amon. The fate of the universe hangs in the balance on the hand of a single civilian phase-smith, and the depth of his ingenuity may decide whether his race his victorious or faces utter annihilation.

The Spear of Adun

Didn't get much of a chance to talk about it before, but Karax is the perfect opportunity to discuss the basics of this arkship.

During the protoss's Golden Age of Expansion, two motherships containing 8,463 protoss total were destroyed by a flaw in their cores that sent them into a star, a random one-in-a-billion happenstance. The randomness of such a grievous tragedy shocked the Grand Preservers, who held the memories of all protoss within the Khala, who pondered that if such a tragedy could occur to a mothership, such a tragedy could occur to their empire. They sought to make a contingency plan should such a tragedy befall their people. Thus, they commissioned three supermassive arkships, named after ancient protoss sailing vessels, each with the capability to house the majority of protoss civilization until a tragedy passed. These contained the ability to support protoss civilians within, while supporting a war effort with a starforge capable of creating new weapons and an array of weapon and support systems capable of taking on any potential enemy.

The first of these was christened by the most venerated Templar executor, Adun. Thus, it was named in his honor, the Spear of Adun. Two others were made, the Memory of Nezin and the Pride of Altaris. Yet these were used for basic functions of protoss society, ferrying colonists, helping evacuate protoss from natural disasters, and many similar petty trivialities. The preservers reflected on this, and realized that the arkships were built too early; should a tragedy occur, the protoss would not retreat, but rather throw the arkships at the threat to eliminate it. These ships needed to be sealed away for the race's darkest hour.

The Grand Preservers made their appeal to the Conclave, who agreed. The arkships would be sealed beneath Aiur, with a Grand Preserver and a legion of ancient warriors in each ship. The Conclave could only reactivate them if they could admit that there were no other options and it was their race's darkest hour, something the preservers knew the Conclave could only do in the most desperate of hour. But they misunderstood the depths such hubris would go: the Conclave refused to admit they were losing the war against the zerg when they invaded Aiur. Two of the arkships, the Memory of Nezin and the Pride of Altaris, were destroyed by the rampaging zerg. By the time the protoss were willing to accept the loss of Aiur, the planet was overrun beyond the reactivation of the arkship.

Artanis and his forces came back to reclaim the planet years later, and sought to raise the Spear of Adun as a sign of their victory, as their race were still locked in a desperate struggle for survival. However, Amon's return seized the majority of the Khalai, and Artanis was forced to rally to the Spear with what few free protoss he had. Now he operates from the ship, using the ancient warriors sealed within and the Grand Preserver Rohana to aid him as he fights against Amon, with the race's final ancient hope at his side.

  • Sentinel: Sentinels are the footsoldiers of the Purifiers, ancient protoss constructs based off of the brainscans of protoss heroes. These are fully robotic facsimiles of Templar zealots, created when the Glacius tried to revive the ancient program for a new generation (though some were on Cybros, with the ancient Purifiers). Sentinels are outfitted with a very basic AI compared to other Purifiers, and made to take the brunt of an enemy's fire to preserve the dwindling protoss population.

    • Charge: Templar zealots can change their bodies into pure energy for a microsecond, giving them a burst of speed to charge at an enemy target. While robotic, the Sentinels appear to have a similar capability.
    • Reconstruction: Unlike Templar zealots, Sentinels are fully robotic. On-board systems allow a completely destroyed sentinel to rebuild itself on the field, bringing it back into combat even after taking critical damage. However, such systems are intensive and require some recharge, and if a sentinel is destroyed a second time during this cooldown period it is destroyed forever.
  • Energizer: The Glacius Facility experimented with enhancing the capabilities of sentries, tiny warbots that used solid light to support protoss ground troops. Such technology was enhanced with the Purifier revival program, and the energizer was developed as a means to support Purifier shock troops.

    • Chrono Beam: The energizer is outfitted with on-board chrono-boosters, which allow them to dilate time around an ally, increasing their speed and firing rate.
    • Phase-mode: Energizers are connected to the miniature psionic matrix on the Spear of Adun, and can create a power field of energy from that matrix, allowing units to be warped in and structures to be powered even if there is no pylon present.
    • Reclamation: During the End War, Karax studied the Void energies of Amon and the Keystone and their impact on protoss robotics. When the protoss moved on Aiur, he used this knowledge to “reclaim” protoss robotic units. Though he could not sever the pilot of units such as immortals from Amon, he could take control of the mechanical aspects to serve him. This technology seems to have been applied to his energizers.
  • Immortal: After the fall of Aiur, the technologies needed to produce life-support systems for their dragoon walkers was lost with the planet. Thus, every remaining dragoon became invaluable for the protoss. These survivors were enhanced to improve their suitability, given heavier armor, doubled phase disruptors, and hardened shields. Though Artanis reclaimed dragoon technologies on Aiur, the cost of producing immortals was still prohibitive, so the walkers they created were limited to the most mighty of protoss warriors.

    • Shadow Cannon: This ability is not of the immortal, but from the annihilator, which is the Nerazim variant of the immortal. There suits were given to volunteers among the Nerazim who wanted to be put in a perpetual state of near-death, as they saw the closer one was to death, the closer they were to the Void the Nerazim drew power from. This boost to their power allowed them to send a rapid barrage from their particle disruptors, which could devastate both air and ground targets.
  • Colossus: The colossus is the only protoss robotic explicitly designed for a single purpose: killing. It is a towering machine with two thermal lances, able to sweep and destroy groups of enemies of the protoss. During the Protoss Empire, a protoss observation mission of a race named the Kalathi spiraled out of control when the protoss were discovered, and to protect themselves the protoss deployed the protoss to “scare” away the aliens. However, the colossi ended up annihilating the Kalathi and their civilization, reducing them to the Stone Age. This sparked outrage among the protoss and tensions between the Templar and greater protoss, and the colossi were sealed away in order to prevent another such tragedy. Yet with the fall of Aiur, the protoss reactivated these sealed war machines in order to combat the zegr.

    • ** Extended Thermal Lance:** Improving on the ancient design, phase-smiths increased the airflow on the thermal lance, allowing it to operate at higher temperatures, which increased the lance's range an velocity.
    • ** Fire Beam:** A specialized variant of the colossi was created to the Purifer Program, as they were seem as the ultimate purification machines. However, when the program rebelled from the Protoss Empire, these robots were sealed away as well, both on the research retreat of Endion and on their battlestation of Cybros. When the Purifiers were reactivated as a means to fight Amon, these machines were used by the Daelaam to push back against Amon's forces. They are enhanced with an improved thermal lance that leaves a trail of fire, incinerating those that are caught in its wake.
  • Observer: An old protoss technology, the observer is made to scout planets, battles, and situations through the protoss’s domain. They are often used for deep space exploration, but in combat are equipped with a micro-cloaking field. Their ability to scan for cloaked or burrowed units makes them an invaluable support drone.

    **Gravitic Booster:* The gravitic booster dates back to the Great War, and combined anti-gravity theory with micro-booster technology. This allowed the observer to speed quicker around the battlefield or out of hostile situations.

  • Mirage: An enhancement on the design of the phoenix designed for use by Purifiers. These ships are outfitted with technology that allows them to become incorporeal, a technique that would normally be fatal to a biological pilot.

    • Anion Pulse-Crystals: Replacing the old focusing lenses of the phoenix’s ion cannon, the Anion pulse-crystal is a new crystal design able to deliver greater power to the cannons.
    • Phasing Armor: The technology behind the mirage allows them to to become incorporeal when taking enemy fire. As the Purifier is a robotic construct, it avoids the fatal side effects this would have on a biological protoss.
  • Carrier: The most ancient and venerated capital ship of the protoss, the carrier was regularly the center of the protoss fleets during the Protoss Empire. In ship-to-ship combat, carriers usually utilize a swarm of robotic drones named interceptors which can overwhelm enemies and take out smaller ships. Some carriers are outfitted with purifier beams, which when used in mass numbers can be used to liquefy the crust of a planet. There was many attempts to phase out the carrier during the Second Great War due to some of their glaring weaknesses, with some conspiracies among the protoss to even destroy ancient carriers to prove their flaws, but the protoss maintained them as a cornerstone of their arsenal.

    • Graviton Catapult: Khalai Caste members sought to improve the speed in which the carrier launched and recovered interceptors,. From this desire, the graviton catapult was born, which uses utilizes graviton particles to hasten the speed that the interceptors are launched from the carrier.
    • Repair Drones: During the End War, Karax developed a miniature version of the reconstruction beam used by the Spear of Adun for use in mechanical drones, which followed the carriers along and were able to repair nearby allied units.
  • Photon Cannon: The automated defenses of the protoss, these structures fire a ball of anti-matter that can burst through air and ground targets. However, their slow rate of fire makes isolated cannons weak to massed enemies.

  • Khaydarin Monoliths: These ancient structures were a Nerazim technology key in the defense of Shakuras. They use the khaydarin crystals to focus energies into a beam that can burst through heavy ground targets.

  • Shield Battery: The shield battery is a khaydarin crystal outfitted into a structure that stores psionic energy. This energy can be discharged into the plasma shield of nearby allies to recharge them. After the Brood War, advancements in personal shield regeneration caused shield batteries to fall into disuse, but improvements to their design caused the protoss to revisit the ancient structure for modern use.

  • Solar Forge: The solar forge is Karax's uplink to the Spear of Adun, appearing to connect to the solar forge, a miniature star which generates power for the ship and sustenance for the protoss on it (as protoss live off of light). From here he can upgrade abilities and utilize its solarite abilities. Solarite is a ancient and combustible substance that powers the solar core, which Karax sought out during the End War to power to the subsystems of the Spear of Adun

    • Solar Efficency: Phase-smiths state that their battles are ones of efficiency, of constant improvement. The image of this upgrade shows the different power levels of the solar core as it upgrades.
    • Reconstruction Beam: One of the advanced support systems of the Spear of Adun is the ability to focus on an ally mechanical unit and repair it on the field from orbit. This technology was outfitted into repair drones that were used to support Karax's carriers.
  • Orbital Strike: Part of the assault cluster of the Spear of Adun, the orbital strike is the basic cannons of the ship, designed for surgical orbital strikes against targets.

  • Solar Lance: At full power, the Spear of Adun's* assault cluster can focus its energy into its solar lance battery, which sweeps the field and can wipe out groups of enemies in a line.

  • Chrono Wave: The Spear of Adun's fabrication matrix has the ability to slow down time in a set area, allowing researchers within the target area to research quicker when under a combat situation or for production structures to complete warp-in of units faster. Karax has enhanced this ability to aid himself and his ally for a brief time.

  • Purifier Beam: The Purifier Beam is an ancient planet-busting technology used by the protoss. Initially these were outfitted on motherships as an emergency weapon, but were later outfitted onto carriers as a means of purifying planet infested with the zerg, such as Chau Sara. The Spear of Adun utilizes an enhanced version of this beam as part of its annihilation cluster of weapons.

  • ”Don't forget, I too am a Templar now.” – During the End War, Karax led the assault on the Moebius Corps base of Revanscar, which bred Amon's hybrid, while the Templar defended the Spear of Adun. Such an act showed Hierarch Artanis that the need for a caste system had passed, and he declared that all now needed to be Templar. Karax stated he would always be a phase-smith, but wore his new honor as Templar with pride.

  • ”I greatly appreciate when a plan is brought to fruition.” – A reference to the A-Team quote “I love it when a plan comes together.” Amon uses that quote in the brutal ending of the mission “In Utter Darkness.”

Not much in the way of talents worth noting, but that is Karax! Next week we'll get into Abathur, the evolution master, for more fun in the way of zerg technology. So look forward to that! I'll see you next week!

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