Sarah Kerrigan – Co-op Commander Lore

starcraft 9 - Sarah Kerrigan - Co-op Commander Lore

Hey folks!

Last week's thread was pretty successful on Raynor Co-op lore, so I'll keep this going through the commander list. Next up we have the infamous Queen of Blades, Sarah Kerrigan, ruler of the Swarm, and her one-woman Co-op army.

Confederate Ghost

Longform story here. Once again sorry for the crammed description, Kerrigan is probably one of the character's whose done the most in SC, but future commanders will be less packed with stuff.

Kerrigan was from on TarKossia, and as a child her psionic abilities manifested explosively, killing her mother and brain damaging her father. She was brought into the custody of the Terran Confederacy, who discovered they was the most psionically gifted human yet encountered. Yet, their attempts to coerce her into helping them failed, and she was sedated and giving inhibitors and regular memory wipes to prevent her from killing herself. Kerrigan was shaped into a ghost: a psionic assassin for the Confederacy. One of her important missions was to assassinate the dissident Korhal senator Angus Mengsk, and she personally decapitated him. Her memory of the event was then wiped.

Later, she was used to experiment on the connection between psionics and a strange race of insect xenomophs the Confederacy had discovered, later named the zerg. Kerrigan was the only survivor of the ghosts they experimented on, and the facility was raided by Angus's son Arcturus Mengsk and his rebel group, the Sons of Korhal. They rescued Kerrigan, and helped slowly undo her mind wipes. Seeing the corruption of the Confederacy, Kerrigan worked with Mengsk to raid their Ghost Academy, and after their victory Mengsk revealed to her that she was the one who killed his father. However, he said that he had forgiven her, and that they could work together to take down the Confederacy. Kerrigan became his second-in-command.

Soon however the full might of the zerg invaded the sector, and a second alien civilization named the protoss came to incinerate them. Kerrigan worked to help scout the world of Mar Sara and guided reporter Michael Liberty to the truth of the Confederacy's experiments on the world before the protoss destroyed it. When the group moved to Antiga Prime, she became close to former marshal Jim Raynor. At first the two got off on the wrong foot due to Raynor's distrust of telepaths, but it did not take long for the two to become romantically involved. Yet Mengsk slowly became more and more brutal in his tactics, and Raynor voiced his concerns to Kerrigan, who began to doubt him.

It all came to a head on the Confederate capital of Tarsonis, where Mengsk used devices named psi emitters to lure the zerg to the planet. Kerrigan voiced her outrage at slaughtering civilians, but Mengsk refused to back down. Kerrigan was ordered to halt the advance of the protoss from destroying the zerg, which she did, but soon she was overrun by a zerg force. Rather than rescue her, Mengsk pulled the fleet back, abandoning her to the Swarm. Mengsk declared himself emperor of the new Terran Dominion from the Confederacy's ashes, and Raynor, appalled, rebelled from him.

Queen of Blades

Yet Kerrigan was not dead, rather she was infested. The zerg Overmind, seeking a psionic human to use against his enemies, took her from Tarsonis back to Char, and used the evolution master Abathur to reshape her. Psionically she cried out to Raynor and Arcturus, both of whom sent forces to retrieve her, and her cry attracted the protoss forces of Tassadar and Zeratul. A massive battle broke out on Char between the various factions, but Raynor came the closest to finding her. Kerrigan emerged, infested by the zerg, and their new powerful psionic agent. She allowed Raynor to live, but hunted Tassadar and Zeratul across Char. Raynor allied with the protoss, and fought a running war over a number of months with her Swarm, even as the Overmind left to invade Aiur, Kerrigan remained to find her quarry. Yet they would escape Char, and the Overmind would die on Aiur shortly after. Without an overriding will, Kerrigan was now free of anyone's control.

Yet, she could not rest, the cerebrates under the Overmind drove her from Char, and began to create a new infant Overmind that, if it reached full strength, would control her. To further complicate matters, the forces of the United Earth Directorate invaded the sector to control the powers there. Thus Kerrigan set a grand scheme in motion a grand scheme, manipulating the terran and protoss forces to slay the new Overmind and drive back the UED, then betraying them and slaying billions among their number. Raynor, her old lover, swore revenge after she killed the protoss hero Fenix. At the final battle above Char, Kerrigan fought Mengsk's fleet, the remnants of the UED in the sector, and the protoss under Artanis, and crushed them all. She now stood uncontested over the Swarm and the sector.

Yet, rather that push for total victory, she held back and let the powers rebuild. Before the battle, her consort, the infested terran Samir Duran, abandoned her, and her investigations revealed he was connected to the return of a powerful malevolent xel'naga named Amon and the creation of protoss/zerg hybrids. She prepared her brood for the coming war, only poking out occasionally for small raids, but studying the xel'naga and what Duran's betrayal meant, with subtle influences of Amon in the Swarm giving her a fatalistic outlook. She meanwhile reformed the Swarm with new strains under broodmothers loyal to her.

Finally, four years later, she found that Duran was searching for a xel'naga relic named the Keystone that was core to his plans, and Kerrigan struck out, invading the Dominion and scouring the sector for the Keystone. Yet Duran manipulated the terran Jim Raynor into finding the Keystone's pieces, and he, with the aid of Arcturus's son, completed the relic and turned it into a weapon that could turn Kerrigan human. Raynor unleashed the Keystone on Char, devastating the Swarm and reversing Kerrigan's infestation. She was in critical condition, and could barely remember anything from her time as the Queen of Blades.

The Primal Queen

Raynor and Kerrigan fled Char, but Arcturus Mengsk sought to kill Kerrigan and chased them across the sector. While Raynor was convinced Kerrigan was back to normal, his crew still deeply distrusted her, exasperated when she accidentally killed a member of Raynor's crew. Kerrigan was taken to the rival nation of the Dominion, the Umojan Protectorate, and experimented on. Yet Mengsk found them shortly after, and sent a team to raid the facility. Kerrigan escaped, but Raynor was captured, and Mengsk reported him dead.

Kerrigan, enraged, took control of parts of the Swarm again, and gathered forces to take Mengsk down. She was confronted by Zeratul, who she had manipulated into killing his leader, but who came seeking to help her due to the xel'naga prophecies stating that she had to be prepared for the final war against Amon, guiding Kerrigan to the ancient zerg homeworld of Zerus. There she was reinfested as a Primal Zerg, the zerg before they were bound to the Overmind. With this new power, she struck back at the Dominion, confronting Duran and banishing him to the Void, though he revealed that his work was complete: Amon had returned. Kerrigan found Raynor was alive and rescued him, though he was appalled to find her now infested, and refused to talk to her.

With the Swarm returned to its might, Kerrigan launched an invasion of Korhal. She allowed civilians to escape, an act Raynor saw as proof of her humanity, and he aided him in the final assault. Together, the two killed Mengsk, and ended the brutal regime they had help found.

Now, Kerrigan takes her brood to fight Amon, smashing the bulk of the Swarm against his hybrid and thralls. Unbeknownst to her, the xel'naga who also seek Amon's destruction are manipulating events in the physical world in order to ensure her survival, as they see her as the last being, a pure of form terran and pure of essence primal zerg, that can continue their legacy…

  • Zergling: The “hounds of war” of the Swarm, zerglings were assimilated from the Dune Runners of the planet Zz'gash. They are lightly armored, fast and easy to take down, but their simple genetics means two can be spawned at a time, allowing them to easily and quickly overrun enemies with their talons and teeth. They are designed as survivors, and can survive outside of a hive for long periods of time. However, they have a curious allergy to lemon juice, which Abathur has been unable to fix.

    • Metabolic Boost: A common evolutionary tactic is bolster their metabolic system with augmented enzymes, allowing them to close distances quicker and outrun pursuers. During the Second Great War, improvements to this process even gave zerglings small wings as part of the augmentation process.
    • Hardened Carapace: During the Second Great War, Abathur experimented with hardening key locations across the zergling's thorax, which would hamper access to the zergling's vital organs.
    • Adrenal Glands: A rebalancing of the zergling's brain chemistry that dates back to the Great War. This puts the zergling in a battle frenzy that increases their rate of attack.
    • Shredding Claws: While there isn't much lore for this upgrade, zergling talons are notoriously sharp, being able to tear through neosteel. Even separated from the creature and after years of wear they can shred terran flesh without them noticing.
  • Queen: The queen strain dates back to the initial hive clusters on Zerus, though the current role was created from the brood-keepers of Arachnis. In the Great War and Brood War, these served as a battlefield support flier, but when Kerrigan took over the Swarm she returned them to their hive tending role. She incorporated terran and imitations of protoss DNA into their design, as well as some of her own, creating a much more humanoid form. It was from this template she further experimented to create the Broodmothers who help lead her Swarm.

  • Hydralisk: Once the peaceful caterpillar cows known as the Slothien, the Swarm twisted the creature into a nightmarish needle spike throwing monstrosity. Their 4,000 muscles are designed to shoot spikes at a range of over 300 meters, and with pinpoint accuracy. In melee, their brutal scythes can also claw through most forms of armor. After the Brood War, Kerrigan improved on the hydralisk genome, thickening their carapace and increasing the number of scythe blades they utilize.

  • Muscular Augments: During the Great War, the musculature of the hydralisks could be altered to shift from pure spine launching to improved locomotion. Since then, the evolution has also incorporated the Swarm's twisting of hydralisk needle spines into a more grooved variant, improving how aerodynamic they are.

    • Ancillary Carapace: Normally, the hydralisk carapace is thin, hollow, and fragile in comparison to other breeds. In the Second Great War, Abathur evolved a secondary, redundant carapace on the hydralisk, in order to prevent full exoskeletial rupture.
    • Frenzy: Normally, hydralisk aggression is inhibited by their cerebral cortex to prevent them going into a rage that could damage their fragile limbic system. However, during the Second Great War Abathur invented a means to trigger a temporary frenzy state for hydralisks, increasing their attack rate for a short time without causing damage to the beast.
  • Lurker: First evolved from the hydralisks of Daggoth's Tiamat Brood, the lurker is a subterranean siege attacker, which can shoot a flurry of spikes from range. After the Brood War, they fell into disuse and near obsolesce among Kerrigan's zerg, but when Kerrigan returned leading the Swarm, she assimilated some of the last surviving lurkers from Daggoth's former breeding world of Cavir.

    • Seismic Spines: While underground, lurkers can shoot spikes twice as tall as a marine , which travel in a line. The origin of these spikes from the lurker's body remains a point of great contention among the Dominion Marine Corps.
  • Mutalisk: Taken from the Mantis Screamer, the mutalisk has become the core harassment flier of the Swarm, propelling itself with two wings on the ground and through gasious expulsions in space environments. A curious quirk of its evolution was that when the Screamers were assimilated, parasites in their eggs also absorbed. These became the glave wurm, the living ammunition of the mutalisk, which can home in and bounce off targets.

    • Rapid Regeneration: During the Second Great War, Abathur saw the fragility of the mutalisks, and restructured them from the core down in order to improve their survivability. He created a series of cells that, when activated, would regenerate the mutalisk to its base form rapidly. However, this requires nearly the full concentration of the mutalisk in order to activate.
    • Viscious Glave: Due to the simplicity of the glave wurm genetics, Abathur was able to mutate the cartilage of the wurm in order to increase durability when outside of the mutalisk, thus increasing the number of times the wurm bounced.
    • Severing Glave: Formerly Sundering Glave, Abathur initially evolved a configuration of the glave wurm that was explosive, smashing into its initial target for high damage, but not bouncing. Presumably Kerrigan further modified this, so that the wurm itself would maintain its full strength on all three of its bounces.
  • Brood Lord: A replacement for the zerg guardian, the brood lord is an evolution on the zerg corruptor, turning it into a massive siege attacker that can store and launch temporary broodlings, that smash into a target, then attack them from the ground. However, after Kerrigan was uninfested, the corruptor template was temporary lost, so Abathur incorporated their genome into the mutalisk.

    • Porous Carapace: The brood lord's carapace is lined with sacs that gestate broodlings, evolved from the growths on the tentacles of the corruptors. These growths were evolved to the strains of mutalisks with brood lord DNA, and can be seen on their heads.
  • Ultralisk: Evolved from the massive peaceful brontolith, the Swarm took the herbivore and turned it into an engine of destruction, capable of shrugging off most attacks and continuing to charge. Its kaiser blades are honed down to a molecular level. The ultralisk was initially more bug-like during the Great War and Brood War, but after her rise to power Kerrigan modified the ultralisk genome, improving their durability and giving them more kaiser blades.

    • Chitnous Plating: During the Brood War, ultralisks were exposed to raw vespene gas, hardening their exoskellital shell. This evolution was continued through to the later strains of ultralisks.
    • Burrow Charge: Zerg units burrow by vibrating their muscles, allowing them to “swim” into solid rock. While ultralisks were given the ability to burrow in the Second Great War, late in the conflict Abathur modified their to utilize the massive muscular surface area, which allowed ultralisks to charge while underground and literally blitz through solid terrain.
    • Tissue Assimilation: The brutal kaiser blades are hones to a monofiliant edge, which creates a number of organic and metallic debris from those that get in the ultralisk's way. Abathur modified the ultralisk carapace to assimilate matter from the ultralisk's victims, which it could use for tissue regeneration.
  • Nydus Worm: Nydus worms are evolved from the nydus canals utilized by the Overmind. These were enhanced to tunnel into enemy defenses, with a viscous maw that could break through rock and metal to reach enemy positions. These were controlled from a nydus network, which served as the worm's hub. Such a network once spanned through the crust of Char, before Jim Raynor flooded the tunnels they utilized with lava during his assault on the planet.

  • Leaping Strike/Psionic Shift: After Kerrigan was reborn as the Primal Queen of Blades, her genome was modified, making her into a brutal melee attacker. She utilized these psionics to slay and assimilate Zurvan and the other hostile primal pack leaders of Zerus. Out of universe, both of these abilities were used for Kerrigan's kit in Heroes of the Storm, one as her Q ability, one as a level 20 “blink” ability.

  • Assimilation Aura: The zerg utilize the biomass of others to create their strains, bringing such material back to the hive cluster where creep can break it down.

  • Immobilization Wave: During the final siege of Mengsk's palace, Kerrigan used such a psionic ability on Mengsk's marine and Viking defenses, blasting them aside as they were stunned.

  • Mutating Carapace: Kerrigan's carapace can twist to regenerate any damage from it, keeping her in the fight even after she takes brutal damage. Out of universe, this ability was taken from her Heroes of the Storm appearance, where she would gain a shield proportional to damage she did.

  • Unlock Lurker: This upgrade changes the hydralisk model to that of the Leviathan Brood model. The Leviathan Brood is an older, aquatic-based brood, who would later be known for their powerful lurkers. Even after their fall into disuse, the Leviathan Brood never lost the ability to spawn lurkers from hydralisks.

  • Malignant Creep: In spite of its innocuous appearance, creep has deceptive strength to it. It is used to send nutrients to nearby zerg structures and breeds and break down inorganic and organic biomatter for the Swarm to use. However, protoss researchers, in attempts to create a means to kill creep, unlocked hidden evolutionary paths within it. This mutated creep was psionically powerful enough to drive them to madness, and even infest a fallen Templar. To date, this is the only recorded instance of protoss infestation.

  • Omega Worm: During the Second Great War, Kerrigan experimented with a number of variants on the nydus worm. One of these was the greater nydus worm, which could transport entire broods instantly to the warfront, and was much larger. It appears the Omega Worm is based off of this genetic template.

  • Zergling Evolution: Raptor: The Raptor strain of zergling was evolved during the Second Great War when zerglings assimilated the DNA of a violent avian named the Karak. This enhanced the wings on the back of zerglings, allowing them to jump up and down cliffs, and charge enemies. These zerglings had the unintended but welcome side effect of enhanced aggression.

  • Ultralisk Evolution: Torrasque: The Torrasque is a strain of ultralisk that dates back to the Great War. It was a superpowered beast of an ultralisk that could deal significantly more damage with heavier armor. Its signature ability was the fact that once it died, a nearby cerebrate could utilize its energies to reincarnate the beast, sending it once again against the enemies of the Swarm until the cerebrate was destroyed. During the Second Great War, Mengsk attempted to use experimental nuclear arms against ultralisks, and the residual radiation unlocked the atrophied torrosque path. This allowed the new torrasque strain to reincarnate using energies from within itself rather than a cerebrate, though it required time to utilize this ability again,

That's all for this week! Next week we'll get into Hierarch Artanis, who I think is a really fun one. Hopefully you enjoyed this, zerg are a little less “juicy” when it comes to lore, but as long as you all seem to enjoy this series I'll keep going through the commanders. See you next week!

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