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A War On is a StarCraft II short story written by James Waugh, designed to tie-in with Heart of the Swarm. It focuses on the zergling. The story was later collected in StarCraft II: War Stories.


Haunted by his past, Virgil Caine is forced to make a choice: escape the front lines and live the rest of his days in peace, or avenge his fallen brothers and go to war against the nightmarish zerglings.

Virgil Caine has fought more than his fair share of nightmarish xenomorphs in his time. Memories of his many deployments still haunt his dreams, and the scars of battle run deep. So you'd think that if a chance presented itself to avoid getting recalled into service, Virgil would be the first to take it. But sometimes, the war that's raging on the battlefield is nothing compared to the one a soldier's fighting in his own head every day.


The story is set during the Brood War in 2500, and the Second Great War in 2504. The story alternates between past and present.

Brood War Storyline[]

The Brood War storyline focuses on the marines of Rho Squadron, how they're whittled down over time by the zerg.

On Anselm, a zergling horde attacked Lawndale 12. The zerg were heavily outnumbered by the Terran Dominion defenders, but managed to get into the trench line Rho Squadron had dug. Irmscher was killed in the conflict.

In the Long Shadow canyons of Asteria, Rho Squadron was sent to clear out a zerg hive cluster. The operation was a success, but hidden zerglings emerged, killing the squad's resoc, Albee.

On Seti, the zerg were able to sneak up on a Dominion base due to a malfunctioning sensor tower. Dave was killed in his bed, but was quickly avenged by Caine and Birch.

On Urona Sigma, the zerg launched a massive assault on the Dominion base there. It was overwhelmed and destroyed. Caine tried to get Birch to get on the dropship with him, but he refused, and sought only the rush of combat. Virgil got on the dropship, but not before a zergling got in too. Virgil was knocked unconscious, but woke up in the hospital clutching a zergling tooth. He was the only member of Rho Squadron to survive the conflict.

Second Great War Storyline[]

Four years later, Caine was engaged to Rufi. He had to deal with PTSD from the Brood War, and with the UNN reports that showed the zerg's assault against the Dominion in the present. Rufi, whose father had a government job, planned on starting a new life on Shiloh, using false identities. Despite his misgivings, Caine originally agreed.

Rufi caught a shuttle, the plan being that Caine follow her in a second one. Unable to shake his memories away, Caine instead submitted himself to the recall. Along with other marine veterans who've faced the zerg before, he re-enlisted in the Dominion Marine Corps.



Rho Squad Members[]