StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm hits retail stores in a week on March 12th. The collective hearts of millions of fans are pounding with excitement — not only to play the new Terran, Zerg and Protoss units; but to savor the single player campaign’s storyline.
Toward the end of the novel, Sarah and Jim Raynor are brought by Valerian Mengsk to a secret lab on an orbital platform within the Umojan Protectorate.
Something the Heart of the Swarm tie-in novel by New York Times bestselling author Christie Golden establishes throughout the story is that this is a very vulnerable and human Sarah Kerrigan. I think the objective of the novel was well written and received by the readers. There is no doubt this is the Jim’s loved Sarah. We even get to see some flashbacks from the point of view of Sarah at Antiga Prime and how her love affair with Jim escalated.
In early screenshots and video clips dating back to BlizzCon 2010-2011, we have seen Sarah wearing a ghost uniform. She is very human except for the tendril-like hair which shows she retains some zerg DNA in her system.
Last week, Blizzard Entertainment teased us with an amazing video trailer titled “Vengeance”.
As detailed in my “Vengeance” analysis article, there are two messages we got across from Blizzard Entertainment. One: Sarah will remain Sarah for a while during the single player campaign. We’ll enjoy her very human emotions in cutscenes, cinematics and as she engages some of her missions.
On the other hand, two: We see Sarah at a Xel’Naga Temple emerging from a crystal-like crysalis or cocoon — during the scene where we see a bright flash followed by an explosion.
Sarah emerges as a new Queen of Blades right in front of Jim Raynor.
I think you have been sharp-eye enough to have noticed her face as the brand-new Queen of Blades looks slightly different than when she was the old Queen of Blades prior to the Wings of Liberty-finale. Her eyes and the sides of her face have a special glow she lacked previously. A radiance of never-before untapped power.
The old Queen of Blades emerged from a zerg crysalis. This new Queen of Blades seems to emerge from Xel’Naga or Protoss technology — as seen in the “Vengeance” trailer. An enhanced Queen of Blades.
We don’t know exactly how Sarah becomes the Queen of Blades again. I can only interpret what I thought I saw. I know some lore fans might not like to see Sarah lose her humanity, especially after all Jim Raynor did to revert her back to human. However, the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty storyline was very specific on what Kerrigan’s role in the three-episode shall be.
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty – Protoss Campaign in a Nutshell
This quick summary will open up your eyes on why Sarah must be the Queen of Blades again.
Zeratul sought the three fragments of “The Return of the Xel’Naga” prophecy in planet Ulaan. Both, Zeratul and Kerrigan the Queen of Blades were drawn to planet Ulaan. Kerrigan said she heard whisperings from the stars which drew her to the prophecy fragments. A storm is coming.
Kerrigan also knows more about what’s coming and about the prophecy than Zeratul gives credit. He simply refuses to understand the words coming from an abomination like Kerrigan.
She knows there’s a war coming like a tidal wave from where none shall survive. There is no time to fancy a life as a normal human, in love, alongside Jim Raynor. The Fallen One and his minions are bringing about the extinction of the entire universe. It’s to go out in flame, and then eternal utter darkness. Kerrigan knows this. She must prepare to save everyone. It’s her role. This is what the Overmind created her for.
During the “Zeratul’s Warning” cinematic, Zeratul brings tidings of doom and asks Jim Raynor to save Kerrigan the Queen of Blades even if justice demands she is slain.
During his quest to learn what the prophecy fragments said, Zeratul visited the three immortal protoss preservers in the remote planet Zhakul.
The protoss preservers were held captive by a hybrid protoss, who was siphoning their lifeforce to augment his own powers and to gain immortality. Presumably, it was also stealing their sacred archive’s knowledge for his master: The Fallen One.
Zeratul and some allies he met in planet Zhakul rallied together and defeated the hybrid. The protoss preservers revealed the following:
Zeratul determines the Great Hungerer is a reference to The zerg Overmind. Thus, Zeratul embarks into a journey toward his former homeworld … planet Aiur. There, he plans to draw psionic imprints from the tendrils and the cortex off the dead husk of the zerg Overmind.
To Zeratul’s surprise, he got more than he bargained for. Tassadar’s avatar materialized from the beyond. Somehow, Tassadar did not die at all in his final sacrifice plunging the Ganthritor protoss carrier into the zerg Overmind (as seen in the original StarCraft video game, 1998).
In the original StarCraft game, Zeratul was teaching Tassadar the way of the Dark Templar. If you watch the cinematic above, Tassadar channeled the High Templar and Dark Templar energies and became a being of pure light. The Ganthritor is shown to actually desintegrate long before the energy ball hit the Overmind, which means Tassadar trascended his corporeal form to become something else.
Tassadar told Zeratul the Overmind had been programmed unwillingly with an all-consuming directive and assigned with the mission to destroy the Protoss. The Overmind was imprisoned within his own mind with lack of free will.
Tassadar admited he did not know who programmed the Overmind with these directives. It seems as if someone sabotaged the Xel’Naga’s original plans for the Overmind. Maybe a traitor from within?
Before the zerg arrived to the Koprulu Sector, the Overmind had seen a vision of the future. In this vision, the Terrans had fallen. The universe was aflame. Only the protoss remained alive in a distant world holding the last bastion of the protoss civilization. In this future, Zeratul, High Executor Selendis, Hierarch Artanis and other heroes fought to the bitter end in a glorious battle against the Hybrid and the enslaved zerg.
In this future, Kerrigan the Queen of Blades had been killed earlier. It seems Jim Raynor had eventually killed Kerrigan as he originally planned.
The Fallen One whispered into the minds of the Protoss the only one who could have posed a threat to him was the Queen of Blades. The protoss in their arrogance did not see.
The Overmind orchestrated a hope to set itself and the zerg race free. It created the Queen of Blades. She will destroy the hybrids, the harbingers of the Fallen One. This is the role she was created to undo. This is why Sarah must be the Queen of Blades once more in “Heart of the Swarm”.
Wait — but how comes if this is her role, she died in that dark future? Jim Raynor had something to do with her demise. Or maybe Tychus Findlay was meant to shoot her in this alternate timeline. Somehow the prophecy came to the past from the future. I think I can explain that one. The bonus objective in the “Utter Darkness” mission is to protect the “Protoss Archive” vault.
A High Templar says the following:
High Templar: “High Templar: Great one, the vault is prepared. Guard us while we preserve our knowledge for those that may follow. They must not make the mistakes we did.”
It seems the Protoss Preservers managed to send the archive back in time, securing the knowledge of this dark future so that the wisdom could be used to change the outcome. We have seen time manipulation before in the StarCraft lore. In StarCraft II: The Dark Templar trilogy we see Zamara halts her death by placing her dying body in a time bubble. Maybe the protoss are not capable of traveling back in time, but they might be able to send a signal back in time? If that can’t be believed, then let’s just see how Tassadar pulled an Obi-Wan trick and cheated death. For instance.
This vision of the future was given to Zeratul by Tassadar, who saw into the Overmind’s memories as it died. It is then how Zeratul recorded his experience into the Ihan Crystal and gave it to Jim Raynor during the “Zeratul’s Warning” cinematic.
Only Jim Raynor can save Kerrigan. And so he did.
It’s now Kerrigan’s turn to fulfill the role she was created to accomplish. There is no doubt whatever Blizzard’s Creative Team has cooked up for StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm is going to leave fans hungering for more with an epic storyline.
This is your last chance to pre-order the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Collector’s Edition (while supplies last), or to buy the standard edition.
Play through the single player campaign, and we’ll both discover what the Blizzard creative writers have in store for us.
Read our transcript of the entire Protoss Campaign (StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty) along with screenshots and cutscene videos.
Read the “Vengeance” trailer analysis article.
Echoes of the Future
Jim Raynor: I remember the fall of Aiur. Don’t much like the idea of havin’ to see it all again. Guess there’s nothin’ for it.
Zeratul: At the very apex of its victory against us, the zerg Overmind grew … overconfident. Now, all that was left of the mighty Overmind was a twisted, withered husk.
I needed to understand whatever memories lingered within the creature’s rotting mass. Only by making contact with the gargantuan tendrils connected directly to its cortex could I learn its secrets.
Yet its countless minions, which seemed to be feeding from its dead husk, would prove somewhat … problematic.
- Reach the Nexus
- Bring Zeratul to the Overmind Tendrils (0/4) – Research
- Zeratul Must Survive
Zeratul: I must find a way to establish a foothold and summon reinforcements to keep the zerg at bay!
Zeratul: Ah, this faithful Observer has kept watch since the evacuation. Its abilities will certainly prove useful now.
Zeratul: Some of these structures remain functional … we shall make use of them.
Zeratul: This ancient beacon still thrums with power. I wonder …
Zeratul: Ah! I’ve heard tales of the mighty colossi sealed away beneath Aiur! The beacon must have awoken these fearsome guardians!
Zeratul: The zerg perceive a threat to their dead master!
Zeratul: The zerg will keep coming until we are dead. I must find the Overmind’s cortex and discover what I can from it.
Zeratul: If we use our Observers wisely, we can scout the area before putting ourselves at risk.
Zeratul: We must be prepared to defend our base. The zerg are on the move.
[Overmind Tendrils 1/4]
Zeratul: The first Overmind tendril! I sense … pain. Surprise. Death.
[Overmind Tendrils 2/4]
Zeratul: The second Overmind tendril. I sense … death … and joy?
Zeratul: The third Overmind tendril. I sense … satisfaction … in a plan set in motion long ago … and … fear for the future?
[Overmind Tendrils 3/4]
Zeratul: The zerg seek to overwhelm us! To arms, my brethren!
Zeratul: These warp gates appear to be functional. Perhaps there’s a chance …
Zeratul: The fourth Overmind tendril. I sense … an end. I must go to the Overmind Cortex to understand.
Tassadar: Greetings, brother. I speak to you … from the Beyond.
Zeratul: Tassadar! But … you died … slaying this cursed Overmind!
Tassadar: I have never tasted death, Zeratul – nor shall I. But that is a tale for another time. I have come to tell you of this creature’s … courage.
Zeratul: Courage? It was an abomination!
Tassadar: Not always. The zerg were … altered. A single over-riding purpose was forced upon them: the destruction of our people.
The Overmind was formed with thought and reason … but not free will. It screamed and raged within the prison of its own mind.
Zeratul: Who did this? Why?
Tassadar: I know not. But the Overmind found a way to resist its all-consuming directive. It created a chance … a hope of salvation. The Queen of Blades.
Tassadar: Only she can free the zerg from slavery – and in so doing, save all that is … from the flame.
Zeratul: I do not understand, brother.
Tassadar: Forget what you know, Zeratul. The Overmind saw a vision … the end of all things. And now you must see it too.
Zeratul: No! This vision! I cannot bear it, stop!
[Overmind Tendrils 4/4]
In Utter Darkness
Jim Raynor: I don’t think I want to see any vision of the Overmind’s … But if Kerrigan’s involved … I need to know.
Overmind: On a distant, shadowed world, the protoss will make their final stand. Their heroes will gather, their forces will be marshaled, and they will die bravely. But still, they will die.
And my zerg … will be slaves … to the hybrid. All will bow before the power … of the Fallen One.
- Kill 1500 Enemy Forces – Research
- Defend Until the Last Protoss Falls
- Protect the Protoss Archive (25:00) – Research
Zeratul: Protoss brethren, heed me! The last twilight has fallen. The galaxy burns around us! The terrans have been consumed. We are all that stands against the shadow. But if we are to meet our end this day, then we will do so AS ONE! En Taro Tassadar!
High Templar: Great one, the vault is prepared. Guard us while we preserve our knowledge for those that may follow. They must not make the mistakes we did.
Urun: I have rallied the last of our great fleet!
Zeratul: Your timing is impeccable, Admiral Urun! When the enemy takes to the air, we will need your support.
Dark Voice: The zerg performed their function as I planned … My Hybrid are proof of this. Now, the last of the protoss will fulfill their function … In death!
Urun: The zerg are swarming at our flanks. We have to react quickly or our perimeter defenses will fall!
Dark Voice: All shall be remade in my name! Behold my greatest creation!
Urun: I’m detecting a large amount of zerg activity in their hive-clusters! Prepare for an assault!
Mohandar: Our Void Rays are ready to do their part! Disengage prism inhibitors and concentrate all batteries on the hybrid!
Zeratul: Well met, great Mohandar! For Aiur!
Dark Voice: Every hand is turned against you. Even the ground beneath your feet carries the seeds of your destruction!
(Note: 3 or more Nydus Worms emerge near the Protoss Archive)
Selendis: This is the hour of truth, noble templar! Let the enemy know the wrath of Aiur’s champions!
Zeratul: Executor Selendis! Unleash the full power of your forces! There may be no tomorrow!
Selendis: En Taro Tassadar, Zeratul!
Dark Voice: As I was your beginning – so shall I be … your end.
Dark Voice: You have no place to hide and nowhere to run!
Artanis: This is Hierarch Artanis commanding the Shield of Aiur! Our matrix-fields are within range! Engaging mass recall! My brethren, hear me! For there is little time left. All that remains of our race, our civilization, are those that stand beside you now. Trust in each other. Strike as one will! Let our last stand burn a memory so bright, we will be remembered forever! En taro Tassadar!
Dark Voice: Foolish, prideful children … There was one among you who could have jeopardized my great plan … but in your recklessness – you mistook her for the true threat!
Zeratul: The Queen of Blades … how could we have known?
Zeratul: If only we had acted sooner …
Dark Voice: Your efforts are futile. My harbingers will usher in a new age!
Mohandar: I return … to the Void.
(Dark Prelate Mohandar has fallen in battle.)
Urun: There’s just … too many of them …
(Admiral Urun has fallen in battle.)
Selendis: Forgive me great Tassadar … I wasn’t … strong enough.
(High Executor Selendis has fallen in battle.)
Artanis: Kerrigan … how could we have known …
(Hierarch Artanis has fallen in battle.)
Dark Voice: As I was your beginning – so shall I be … your end.
(Note: The Hybrid shed away their corporeal forms transforming into pure void energy. Each hybrid becoming sort of a black hole consuming everything. The Zerg implodes. The whole world is consumed.)
Dark Voice: Your light is expended. It is finished.
Note: The stars. The entire universe is destroyed. Only utter darknesss remains. Only the Fallen One remains in the void.
A Sinister Turn
Jim Raynor: Alright Zeratul, old buddy – you got your mysterious prophecy. Now let’s see what your Preservers made of it.
Zeratul: My quest to decipher the prophecy took me to the forbidden archive world of Zhakul.
Zeratul: Here, the three immortal Preservers guarded ancient knowledge. Only they could transcribe the prophetic fragments. I needed to seek them out quickly.
Zeratul: It is strangely silent here, yet these structures are intact. With power they would be functional.
- Power-up the Abandoned Base (0/6)
- Free the Preservers (0/3) – Research
- Power-up Abandoned Structures (0/3) – Research
Zeratul: The mighty spirits of the preservers are imprisoned close by – we must find them.
Zeratul: There are many abandoned structures in this place that we can make use of. They merely need their power restored by the construction of a few well-placed pylons.
Zeratul: A Dark Shrine! Once power is restored it could be of great value to us.
Dark Templar: Zeratul! Truly fate has sent you here.
Zeratul: Join me, brothers, and we shall cleanse this place of evil.
Dark Templar: Command us!
Stalker: The Preservers you seek serve a higher power now, dark one.
Zeratul: Higher power? What could have corrupted these protoss so? Truly, something foul has taken hold of this sacred place.
Zeratul: A Robotics Facility! This structure may prove useful to us.
Immortal: I return to serve.
Zeratul: My thanks, mighty one.
Zeratul: This templar archive lies abandoned!
Hybrid Protoss: INTRUDERS …
Zeratul: A … protoss and zerg hybrid … Gods, an abomination! Who created this atrocity?
Hybrid Protoss: Come, my SLAVES. The time has come to give me your STRENGTH.
High Templar: Our liberation is at hand!
Zeratul: Ready yourself, noble warrior. We confront a terrible evil this day.
Hybrid Protoss: This knowledge is FORBIDDEN.
Hybrid Protoss: I shall return.
Zeratul: The hybrid is draining the preservers to survive! I must free them before it is too late!
Hybrid Protoss: Your lives are FORFEIT. Surrender to DESPAIR.
Hybrid Protoss: Your doom is only delayed.
Zeratul: The spirits of the Preservers are entombed within! We must break them open immediately!
Hybrid Protoss: Your existence ENDS this day.
Hybrid Protoss: Merely a temporary setback.
Hybrid Protoss: Come, my SLAVES. The time has come to give me your STRENGTH.
Preserver: We have seen the prophetic fragments in your mind, Zeratul. We will make of them what we can. The Cycle shall draw to its end. The Xel’Naga who forged the stars will transcend their creation … Yet, the Fallen One shall remain … Destined to cover the Void in shadow … It begins with the Great Hungerer. It ends … in utter darkness.
Zeratul: A Great Hungerer … could it refer to the zerg Overmind? It has a part to play in this prophecy? I must seek out the Overmind’s final resting place. Our ancient homeworld … of Aiur.
Whispers of Doom
Jim Raynor: Zeratul … what the hell have you gotten yourself into?
Zeratul: Friend Raynor … long has it been since we stood together against the Swarm. Since then I have wandered the Void in solitude – seeking an ancient prophecy rumored to foretell the return of the Xel’Naga.
My sojourn led me to a remote world known as Ulaan … where I discovered fragments of the prophecy. Yet I was not the first to find them.
It falls to you know, old friend … to relive my memories … and believe.
- Bring Zeratul to each Xel’Naga Shrine (0/3)
- Zeratul must survive
- Destroy Zerg Hatcheries (0/3) (Research)
Zeratul: The prophecy was divided into fragments, each kept at separate shrines. I must gather them and depart this world quickly.
Zeratul: This chasm is vast. It is fortunate that I can phase through the shadows to the other side!
Zeratul: Spore crawlers can detect my presence! I should stun them with my void prison.
Zeratul: That spore crawler can detect me from across the chasm. It must be destroyed.
Zeratul: That overseer can see through my cloak. I’d best stun it with my void prison before crossing this chasm.
[Xel’Naga shrine 1/3]
Zeratul: The first fragment of the prophecy! Soon all will be made clear.
Kerrigan: Why not surrender yourself to oblivion, Zeratul? Wouldn’t it be better to end your struggle now than witness the final agonizing moments of your species?
Zeratul: The foreboding prophecy weighs heavily on my heart. I’d best reach the remaining shrines before she reconsiders letting me live.
Zeratul: So much for Kerrigan’s reprieve!
(Note: Several Mutalisks, Scourge and an Overseer fly above Zeratul. Four Protoss stalkers beam down)
Stalker (Daelaam Protoss): For Shakuras! Greetings, exalted one. We are here in the service of High Templar Karass. He is nearby.
Zeratul: Your presence is most welcome. Let us keep moving.
Stalker (Daelaam Protoss): Permit us to destroy their defenses before we proceed.
Zeratul: That patrol of brood lords must be dealt with cautiously or we will be torn asunder.
Zeratul: Prepare for an aerial attack. Brace yourselves my brethren!
Zeratul: The Queen of Blades built hatcheries here! She seeks to subvert this sacred world. I shall put an end to that plan.
[Xel’Naga shrine 2/3]
Zeratul: The second fragment of the prophecy! My task is nearly complete.
Kerrigan: Your hope is an illusion, old fool.
Zeratul: If you can so easily read my mind, Kerrigan – you’ll see that I’ll never give up so long as hope remains!
Zeratul: Careful now. Kerrigan has set guards to bar our way. It could be a trap. We should take them out carefully, one at a time, or risk being overwhelmed.
Zeratul: The banelings spew acid when they die. Stalkers, take them out from a distance!
Zeratul: This hatchery must be destroyed if I am to keep the Queen of Blades from subverting this land.
Zeratul: Spine crawlers! Kill them before they can take root and attack!
Stalker: High Templar Karass is nearby.
Karass: En Taro Tassadar, Prelate Zeratul! I am High Templar Karass. My force tracked the Queen of Blades to this world – yet we know not what she seeks.
Zeratul: Kerrigan and I were both drawn here to uncover an ancient prophecy. With your aid, I pray we can discover it before her.
Karass: It is an honor, great one! Lead on.
Karass: Zeratul! Can you destroy the airborne zerg?
Zeratul: These nydus worms must be destroyed or the zerg reinforcements will overwhelm us! Stalkers! Take the high ground and support our brethren!
Karass: Zeratul has destroyed their worms — press on!
[Xel’Naga shrine 3/3]
Zeratul: The final piece of the prophecy. It speaks of one who shall “… break the cycle of the gods …”
Karass: Most ominous. But if the Queen of Blades seeks this prophecy, we must keep it from her.
Zeratul: The rest is obscured … what??
Kerrigan: You might peel away the prophecy’s layers, Zeratul – but you cannot outrun the doom that awaits us all!
Zeratul: We cannot prevail against so many!
Karass: I will stand against the Queen of Blades while you escape with the fragments!
Zeratul: I will not abandon you!
Karass: The prophecy is more important than either of us! Reveal its secrets, Zeratul! The future rests on it!
Zeratul: Your sacrifice will not be forgotten, Brother.
Zeratul: I must get to the Void Seeker before the zerg overwhelm me and the prophecy is lost!
(Void Seeker destroyed in: 2:00 minutes)
Karass: Now … I shall become one … with the khala.
Zeratul: I cannot decipher the fragments on my own. Yet I know who might interpret them: the Preservers of Zhakul. If they cannot … I fear this entire universe will burn.
Available in 1080HD.
The Prophecy – Cinematic
Zeratul: The zerg swarm came as was foretold. And the Protoss, first born of the gods, rose to fight them. Now, the Xel’Naga that forged us all, are returning. But do they come to save, or to destroy.
Kerrigan: (Laughter) I knew you’d find your way here … eventually.
Zeratul: Your very presence defiles this place, Kerrigan.
Kerrigan: Do you hear them, Zeratul? Whispering from the stars? The galaxy will burn with their coming.
Zeratul: Perhaps … But you won’t live to see it!
Kerrigan: Please … our petty conflicts mean nothing now. A storm is coming that cannot be stopped. Fitting, that we should face oblivion together.
Kerrigan: Fate cannot be changed. The end comes. And when it finds me … I shall embrace it at last.
(Note: Kerrigan retreats, leaving Zeratul alive.)
Zeratul: The prophecy is uncertain. There is always hope.
Available in 1080HD.
Zeratul’s Warning – Cinematic
Zeratul: James Raynor … I bring tidings of doom.
Jim Raynor: Zeratul …
Zeratul: I have pierced the veil of the future and beheld only … oblivion. Yet one spark of hope remains. You will hold her life in your hands … And though justice demands that she die for her crimes, only she can save us.
Jim Raynor: Wait a second, you’re talking about Kerrigan? It’s been four years! Y’show up outta nowhere —
Zeratul: Time is short! You must understand! The answers you seek lie within. Study it well, the fate of creation hangs in the balance.
Jim Raynor: … Nice to see you too.
Available in 1080HD.