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EDIT: NEW BROOD LORD ENTRY ADDED. PLEASE ENJOY! I got this idea from reading the research done by Stetmann in the lab during the game and decided to follow a similar format with explaining how certain Zerg and Protoss units work. This first entry is the Baneling. Let me know if you like it, and what unit I should do next.
Stetmann Research Log
Research Entry 2432
Date : November 2nd, 2504
Location : Char
Race : Zerg
Strain : Baneling
Fascinating! Ever since the Xel-Naga artifact has activated and the Queen of Blades neutralized, the Zerg Broods which haven’t been destroyed seem to be in a temporary state of lifeless suspension. Scans show that their vital signs are active, but they seem to be...empty. Almost as if they are waiting for something. I don’t know, maybe I’m over thinking the situation. Better keep these thoughts to myself, because I know exactly what Swann would say if I said the Zerg seemed harmless. He’d yell “Dinner’s on me!” just as he threw me out of the bunker.
I can’t turn down this amazing opportunity I have to study the Zerg up close. As much as I enjoy studying samples in the lab, watching the Zerg in action is much more rewarding, albeit dangerous as hell. As Jim has headed out with a small strike force towards the primary Hive cluster to discover the results of the Xel-Naga artifact, I will see if I can find anyone crazy enough to accompany me studying the inert Zerg species that are still nearby.
* * *
As luck would have it, the success of the mission has lead to the intoxication of many of the troops. I’d probably be with them if I could hold my liquor, but...well yeah. Convincing several marines to come along wasn’t as hard as I thought; they already felt on top of the world. They probably wouldn’t have the aim, but if worst came to worst and I couldn’t outrun the Zerg, at least I could outrun them.
Not far from the Command Center I came across a small force of a dozen or so Zerglings, with several Banelings in the mix. Each stood patiently, eyes looking forward, completely unaware that we were just a sprint away. I had never gotten the opportunity to study Banelings this close! Well, without them barreling after me that is. I was able to notice much more detail about the Baneling’s carapace and structure that I had before.
Due to analysis of Baneling acid, I had previously discovered that the fluids churning within the body of the Baneling were always dissolving the inner membranes of the Baneling’s carapace. Though highly resistant to corrosion, the sheer strength of the acid caused the Baneling to literally eat itself from the inside out. The Zerg however had engineered a trait to the Baneling’s genetic structure to prevent them from being destroyed before they were needed. Using similar regenerative properties contained within the Roach species, the Baneling was able to regenerate itself at a rate proportional to what was being dissolved. This allowed for the potency of the acid to remain strong until the moment of explosion. Amazing how the Zerg works to become extremely deadly
However, while Banelings contained such corrosive acid, it had always been a mystery to me how they could explode even within their ranks and leave all of their surrounding brethren unscathed. Upon close inspection of the Baneling, I was able to notice that grooves were located around every sac of acid. It was possible that upon explosion the Baneling would rupture along these grooves to expel acid into any direction they pleased. I must find a way to experiment!
One of the Marines was kind enough to shoot one of the Banelings for me. Even though he kept drunkenly swiping bullets into the swarm of Zerg, none of them made any attempt to attack. After what seemed like ages, the bullets began to meet their mark. I noticed that every time a bullet would hit an acid filled sac, rather than spewing outward onto the fellow Zerg, the acid would ooze slowly from the wound onto the ground. This was amazing, since those sacs had to be extremely pressurized. The Baneling’s body must work at lightning speeds to correct pressure abnormalities to ensure its potency.
Sure enough, when the targeted Baneling could take no more, it ruptured with a loud pop. I watched as the body detonated, and sure enough, certain parts of the bodies carapace held strong while others detached. The internal acid spewed all throughout the ranks of the fellow Zerg, narrowly missing all, but not hitting a single one. Since the Zerg were not under control of any higher power, this had to have been completely on instinct. It is absolutely amazing that the Zerg have been able to form this species to have such a useful trait weaved directly into the DNA of this creature.
I need to get back to the lab to run more tests! Here on Char, I truly feel like a kid in a candy store!
Edited by Aradan on 8/26/2011 6:49 PM PDT
Make sure to include how the infestor can create infested terrans. Maybe one of the marines got too close to the infestor and it grabbed him and he came out in 20 seconds infested and he began to beg them to kill him, that the pain was too great. Stettman could say something to the effect that all the infested terrans have conscience of what they are doing but cannot do it. The virus also appears to cause great pain.
Ooh! I'd love to do the Infestor! I've been writing a story about the infestation process; I'll see if I can intergrate some of my ideas from that into a description of how the Infestor works. Also the ideas you mentioned were awesome as well (i.e. how it is extremely painful, etc.) I'll see what I can do, and thanks for the great idea.
Here I am, back with Stetmann's Zerg Research Log. In this entry, Stetmann analyzes a dead Infestor to gain better insites about it's abilities. I have also added Currently Researching and Planned Projects to the beginning of the entry. Please leave comments on what you'd like to see, and I'll keep it up.
Research Entry 2456
Date : November 5th, 2504
Location : Char
Race : Zerg
Strain : Infestor / Infested Terran
Currently Researching (Next Entry) : Broodlord
Planned Projects : Mutalisk; Larva / Egg; Nydus Worm; Creep.
Last night we had a rude awakening from our forward position stationed next to the primary Hive Cluster. The feral Zerg instantly became fierce again, and unfortunately due to their sedentary nature, their defences were at a minimum. Within ten minutes all communication with the outpost was gone. Were the Zerg awake all along; just waiting for us to let our guard down? I’d better not think about it too much. I’ll be part of a secondary strike force to take back our position. All I can say is I’m glad I won’t be on the front lines.
* * *
Reached the outpost, and it is truly a grim sight. Bunkers ripped open, their neosteel plating peeled back like a tin can; clearly the work of a brutal Ultralisk. Collapsed Barrack’s scattered ash and twisted metal all across the ground; shredded like confetti by the slash marks of Zerglings and armor piercing Hydralisk spines. Creep also spread itself up to the boarders of the outpost, a thick purple goo, shimmering in the dim morning light of the volcanic world. Reports from the initial strike force stated that by the time they arrived, there were only a few Zerg forces left, which were quickly mopped up. The Zerg thrived with this strategy; strike where weak, retreat, then strike again. Soon, they build up overwhelming numbers, and we are left licking our wounds, only to be crushed. What am I thinking? I need to have more confidence in my own race.
Though the atmosphere of the camp was solemn with the deaths of friends who had been ambushed, I began to search through the piles of Zerg corpses the initial strike force had slaughtered. I immediately saw a creature in the pile which I had encountered several times before, but had never seen up so close (luckily this one was dead). I’m shaking with excitement! What a find!
An extremely toxic member of the Zerg ranks, Infestors were lethal; housing various poisons and plagues within their carapace. As they waddle across Creep or ground, a thin film of of glossy slime is left behind. Amazingly this seems to nourish Creep that it falls upon; but instantly withers any other organic life immediately. As the Infestor didn’t use this slime for any noticeable attacks, I believe it is just a bi-product of the other more potent concoctions simmering within its carapace.
Prepared to handle samples from the Infestor with the utmost caution, I donned a very specialized protection gear. In addition to thick Hazard Material protection and personal air supply, I wore an outer-shell of Titanium plated armor, to stem any chance of contamination. Even a dead Zerg, especially this Infestor, was lethal if not handled properly. Even as protected as I am, I am still nervous as I approach the beast.
Upon closer observation, it appeared that a team of Marauders had made the kill; a real stroke of bad luck. Though the Punisher Grenades likely saved the lives of many forces, I couldn’t help but feel a little sad at the damage that had been done to the creature. Five meters long, its carcass lay on its side; its frontward appendages pulled inward towards its chest, tentacles hanging lifelessly from its face. The upper plating of the Infestor’s purple carapace was completely shattered. While at first I was excited to be seeing inside of the Infestor, I was soon disappointed to find that many of the organs, sacs, and tissues had been obliterated by the Marauder’s deadly rounds, their fluids leaking onto the ground in a variety of colors. I am excited to run tests on these various secretions when I return to the laboratory, but still, I would rather have them in their original organs, to study how they were synthesized.
I approached the gaping wound with specialized vials to collect samples when I noticed something peculiar lying around the Infestor’s shattered hull. Thousands of tiny pale insect-like creatures, no larger than a common housefly, lay clinging to their master’s flesh. Many seemed to be writhing in pain; others dropped lifeless from the corpse. Apparently the Infestor carried multitudes of these creatures within itself; a living, walking nest. Just as the Infestor brought death to its enemies, it brought life to a legion of symbiotic lifeforms, each which relied on the Infestor for life. I’ll include some of these creatures in my future studies. They’ll soon be dead anyway it seems
* * *
After thirty minutes of surgically slicing through folds of singed flesh, I’ve hit the jackpot! Two jackpots to be exact. Miraculously, two organs deep within the Infestor’s thorax had been protected from the concussive blows of Marauder grenades, both limp, but completely intact. The first was a pale yellow sac, lined flush along the lower vertebrae, near a natural opening in the Infestor’s back, similar to a whale’s blowhole. I believe this organ contains a symbiont to be the Neural Parasite, incubated and nourished within the Infestor’s own body until it is called upon to attach itself to a new host, overriding its own will! Ah ha ha! I have always to study how it could impose its will upon another! The other organ was dull green, heavy, and slightly lumpy; lodged firmly in the deepest thorax cavity. Due to the hard objects, my guess is that is performs as a large gizzard, aiding in digestion. These organs probably won’t last long outside their host; time to head back to the lab! Oh boy!
Edited by Aradan on 8/2/2011 10:48 PM PDT
* * *
Escort back to base was just interrupted. Apparently what I thought to be the Infestor’s gizzard turned out to be a nightmare! I had secured both organs in neosteel containers for protection on the journey home, sealed in a transport specialized for carrying toxic materials. The transport, trudging along in the middle of Siege tank and infantry support, started to wobble awkwardly, even though the road, while not paved, was moderately flat. I almost thought nothing of it, but suddenly a deafening explosion unleashed itself from inside. I stood, paralyzed in fear, eyes fixed on the side of the transport as terrifying claws tore through the metal siding like tissue paper. Out emerged a creature so terrifyingly hideous it chilled my soul.
The creature stood about two meters tall. Thick metal armor, originally worn for protection, now pulsed with a maroon organic growth. Claws had replaced hands, yet one was still able to clutch on to an infested rifle, it's growths only making it appear more fierce. However, the most terrifying feature of this creature was its face. An open visor revealed what vaguely resembled a human head, wrapped with tentacles and piercing eyes.
With an unearthly screech it lurched towards the line of infantry. I stood fixed on the spot, afraid that a bloodbath would ensue. Luckily, the racket it caused from emerging from it's cocoon had alerted the entire escort. The hail of lead shocked me from my trance, and I began to flee for the nearest Siege tank for protection, but not before catching a glimpse of the infested, bullets tearing through armored carapace, all the while not feeling the pain. Did infestation remove pain? No wait! He winced! Did infestation then just increase the tolerance for pain? So many questions!
* * *
I've returned to the lab, and I'd like to record a couple events which happened between now and the last entry.
A sample of nerve tissue from the infested showed that neurons were constantly firing spasmodically from the moment they hatched into the Swarm. Therefore, my hypothesis that infested are immune to pain was incorrect. Rather, it seems, that a higher ranking Zerg creature has the ability to lessen the pain once an infested Terran is released from its egg. This, in addition to several hallucinogenic compounds create an alternate reality where the infested find themselves in pain, and the only relief is found when obedience to the Zerg's whims is followed. The pain I calculated an infested feels is far beyond the limit of what an ordinary Terran can bear. Samples of infested to be sealed securely in cold storage.
I will now continue an analysis of the samples I collected directly from the Infestor:
An analysis of the small insects viewed clinging to the corpse of the Infestor yielded a shocking discovery. Analyzing the contents of the entrails showed mainly two things: Infestor flesh, and a unique fungus, initially green in color, and slightly viscous. However, when said substance was exposed to air, it hardened rapidly, crushing even the tip of my scalpel until it came clean off. However, after a few moments of pressure, it faded to a gray/purple color and crumbled away.
I had seen this effect on a larger scale once; through the safety of my television screen. A Terran outpost on some planet I can never remember had security footage which showed several troops being engulfed in this fungus. Immediately hardened, their bodies began to be crushed. It was all they could to to continue firing their weapons. According to its strength, even our strongest troops would be held down by it's amazing strength.
Now however, it seems as if we have found the little bugs that make the Infestor such a Fun Guy (science humor, he..he). Each one feeds off of the dead skin on the inside of the Infestor, and through digestion, they culture this fungus in their bellies. I wish now that the Infestor's corpse had been more intact, because I would love to study how each of these insects is able to gather enough of this fungus to hurl at enemies. Well, there's always the future to look forward too. Dead insects, along with Fungal Growth samples to be sealed securely in cold storage.
Once again in my safety suit, I made several incisions along the outside of the pale organ containing the Parasite, but not deep enough to harm the creature within. This was extremely difficult, because my hands were shaking out of both excitement and terror. As I pulled the casing back slightly, I immediately noticed that something was wrong.
Blood had pooled on the inside of the organ. Stupid me! Removing the Parasite organ from the Infestor was like taking a fish from water. I had apparently severed a large nerve when removing the sac from the vertebrae, but due to the cauterising effect of my blade, I failed to notice any serious damage. After I drained the blood, I saw to my relief that the Parasite was alive, but just barely.
The Neural Parasite had the most interesting physiology I had seen among all Zerg species. It appeared to be a large mouth with an extremely stretchable nerve surrounded with a flexible muscle coming out of its back. Pale green, it had long, needle-like fangs, about 30 or so, which grew out of the gums and
curved back viciously. Analysis of the fangs also yielded two interesting facts: they could retract, and they secreted not venom, but a numbing agent. Fascinating that the Zerg would let the touch of the Neural Parasite be so slight that it could not be felt.
Not wanting to be a victim of the Parasite, I decided to see if it would latch onto a mannequin in order for me to analyze it's mind controlling substances. As luck would have it, the bite, and subsequent injection of their miracle juice was governed chiefly by reflex, allowing for the mannequin to absorb all of it's exciting chemicals. Seconds after the creature had latched on, however, it withered and dropped to the ground, crumbling slightly. Fascinating!
Analysis of the active chemicals which overrode brain function was absolutely amazing! They didn't induce any pain at all, but rather affected the 'loyalty' center of the brain. Simply put, the victim of the Parasite's bite had one loyalty, loyalty to the Swarm, overshadow any previous loyalty held, no matter how strong it was. Yes, for us Terran, loyalty to God, Family, Race, and Nation, stood next to nothing to the Swarm. Even Protoss abandoned their deep love for Auir when under the effects of a Neural Parasite. This overriding effect however is short lived, as the Parasite can not hold enough chemicals to permanently altar brain chemistry. Interesting that infested are controlled by submission to pain, while Neural Parasites manipulate feelings to force obedience. Crumbled remains of the Neural Parasite to be sealed securely away in cold storage (along with the mannequin; it's giving me the creeps).
*Note regarding Infested Terran's relationship to the Infestor
Several flesh samples on different areas of the Infestor's body yielded many unique and separate DNA strands. A tissue sample retrieved from near the infested egg inside the Infestor showed that part of the Infestor's DNA, even if it was just a small amount, was human. Have the Zerg succeeded in assimilating human DNA? With all the infested which exist, have the Zerg been able to integrate our genetic material into their larvae for their own growth? I'm probably over-thinking this. Time to go to sleep. It has been a busy day.
Amazing, I would have liked to see the neural parasite give off electrical pulses that simply made the certain unit controllable through sending electrical frequencies throughout the body, controlling it like the brain does. How about next you study a larva that was found in a bunker that had creep in it, and while you are studying you see the lara squirming around itself, producing a quickly hardening carapace, and in seconds in forms an egg around itself. You introduce Sigma Radiation (what the Psi Disruptors use to slow down zerg) into the tank you are keeping the egg in and it slows its growth significantly so you can now study in-depth with no fear of it hatching.
Thanks for the positive reviews! Currently I am working on my next entry for Brood Lords. I've got some interesting things put together, but not yet concrete. Stay posted though; I'm having a lot of fun writing these.
@Ytternal - You, my friend, have named some great questions that I have a couple of fun ideas for. It was questions like this about the Baneling that led me to initially write about them (i.e. How come Banelings don't do friendly fire? How can they take a bullet without detonating on the spot, etc.) I also want to give more personality to Zerg units; so rather than seeing a Baneling as a soul-less rolling ball of death, you can see it as a marvel of Zerg genetic engineering; being able to hold potent acids by regenerating at faster rates than roaches, splitting along special crevices to allow ally safe passage. Thanks for the ideas!
@Chesty - Thank you for reading! I too think that I could have done the Neural Parasite more justice. The main reason I didn't was I want to make Stetmann as real as possible. He isn't going to discover everything about the Zerg the moment he looks at them under a microscope. Even many of the notes he takes are educated guesses, like when he initially wondered if the Infested Terrans were immune to pain. Like a good scientist, many of his answers will yield only more questions. Thanks for the idea about the larva as well, but don't tell the story for me ^_^ That's half the fun. Try writing your own; you'll see how enjoyable creative writing can be.
@Naitsrich - Infestation and how it differs from Assimilation is an idea that I would like to work on in a future story. I may even touch on it when I arrive at larvae, due to their DNA replication allowing them to produce any creature in the Swarm. I'll make sure to make it special, just for you :) Thanks for reading.
Very intesting so far, will be looking into this later.
Also if you want, for the broodlords, here are some questions you could "answer" for this.
-How are the broodlords able to keep a infinite amount of broodlings?
Edited by Carcanken on 8/4/2011 9:32 PM PDT
I dont know if you will read this, but thank you. I have been writing my own creative adventure, and i think its kinda good. its called protoss text adventure. plz tell me any mistakes i made. only problem is i broke my arm today in football practice and now i have to type one handed.
Actually the way the zerg corrupt is the larva burrow themselves into a host and morph it to their liking. The new zerg form usually has little resemblence to the original host.
Sc1 manual FTW!!!
Drones were originally wasps zerglings were dune runners and hydralisks were herbivores. Juss' sayin.
Edited by DoomerX on 8/9/2011 5:35 PM PDT
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