Four years after the end of the Brood War, Jim Raynor and the Raiders (among them idealistic Captain Matt Horner and gruff, inventive Chief Engineer Rory Swann), had become dedicated freedom fighters. Traveling between worlds on the Hyperion, they inspired revolution against Emperor Arcturus Mengsk, who had slowly reasserted control of Dominion space in the Koprulu sector through propaganda and fear.
Alone with his regrets – his inability to save Sarah Kerrigan from her infestation, his part in Mengsk’s rise to power, and the impossibility of overthrowing a galactic dictator – Jim found himself sharing a drink with his old friend, escaped convict Tychus Findlay, who suggested they recover a particular group of alien artifacts and sell them to eager buyers in the Moebius Foundation. Since Mengsk had criminalized transportation of the selfsame artifacts, Jim agreed.
As Tychus and Raynor uncovered an artifact on Mar Sara, the zerg, nearly unseen since the Brood War, began assailing the world, triggering a three-way race between the Dominion, the Raiders and the returned Queen of Blades to recover more artifacts. Kerrigan’s presence agitated Raynor and intrigued Tychus, who seemed particularly interested Jim and Sarah’s relationship.
When Captain Horner uncovered that the Dominion had a low-security supply train running on Tarsonis, the Raiders deployed Diamondback hover-tanks, outflanked the trains and made off with their cargo, including an ancient Confederate adjutant, a data-storage and communication-focused AI. The decrypted adjutant contained transmissions from the fall of Tarsonis – including evidence of Mengsk’s use of the zerg against terrans. Now, the Raiders had a weapon that could truly counter the dictator’s propaganda.
Raynor also retrieved a pair of artifacts on the planets of Monlyth and Xil, where they were guarded by the Tal’darim, violent protoss extremists unaffiliated with the Khalai or the Dark Templar. Though Raynor was increasingly interested in retrieving artifacts, he was also disconcerted by the reverence the Tal’darim displayed towards them – and the renewed presence of the zerg in terran space.
Wracking his brain to suss out the connection, Jim found a surprise visitor on board his ship – the Dark Templar prelate Zeratul.