Arcturus Mengsk was a terran from Korhal. He led the Sons of Korhal and orchestrated the downfall of the Terran Confederacy during the Great War. Mengsk ruled the Terran Dominion, the Confederacy's successor, as Emperor Arcturus Mengsk I, until his death during the Second Great War.
Arcturus was born to Angus Mengsk, a Confederate Senator for Korhal and Old Family member, and to Katherine Mengsk. As a young boy, his mother told him he would be a great leader, but he would later ignore this encouragement. However, he would often awake from dreams in which he saw himself as a figure of importance, though in the waking world, did not see himself as any such person. Even as a youth, he lacked empathy, something perceptive people such as family servant Achton Feld noticed.
He got along well with his mother and even better with his sister, Dorothy, but his relationship with his father, Angus, was poor. Angus wanted him to follow in his footsteps so he could make the most of his talents, but Arcturus wanted to be his own man and follow his dream of being a prospector (a profession that had intrigued him for some time) a dream that did not coincide with Angus' dream of a Korhal free from the rule of the Terran Confederacy. While Angus detested the Confederacy with every fiber of his being and feared its ever-tightening sphere of influence, Arcturus was willing to let history take his course and unlike his father, who'd inherited his wealth, make his own fortune among the stars. He wanted people to look at him and know that he had achieved his position through blood, sweat and sacrifice.
Arcturus attended the prestigious Styrling Academy, where he repeatedly clashed with the principal, Isaac Steegman. His profile indicated strong leadership skills and a distaste for authority figures that he considered inferior to himself, and calculated his IQ at the upper end of genius level. These clashes regularly saw Arcturus thrown out of the academy, though he remained in attendence. While at the Academy, Mengsk learned fencing from Master Miyamoto, a skill he developed from around the age of seven. However, despite the academy's academic prestige, Arcturus was generally bored there. His level of intelligence allowed him to progress academically without a hitch and the females were politicos who bored him or were no challenge to seduce. To make matters worse, many students were antagonistic towards him due to the actions of his father, whose anti-Confederate speeches would do Korhal more harm than good in their minds.
In 2478 Arcturus was attending his last year of the Academy, but was unhappy enough to pull stunts that could jeopardize his position there. He knew this would upset his father. In one such stunt, Arcturus skipped school to sneak into his parents' summer home, not knowing that Umojan ambassador Ailin Pasteur and his daughter Juliana were visiting. He was caught by the Mengsk Dynasty head of security, Achton Feld. However, the stunt inadvertently alerted Feld to other intruders – a "corporate death squad". A battle erupted, nearly killing Mengsk; he was saved by his mother, who shot one of the attackers.
Angus Mengsk and Ambassador Pasteur were worried by the attack, which had been conducted by disguised Confederacy marines. Pasteur offered Umojan assistance to Angus' initiative – a secret armed struggle against the Confederacy. Arcturus overhead the discussion and couldn't agree with his father's aims, which would involve killing people. Arcturus swore never to reveal his father's doings, but the incident only pushed them further apart. Meanwhile, he failed to connect with Juliana Pasteur.
Back at the Academy, the Confederate Marine Corps made a presentation, hoping to enlist students. Mengsk was impressed by Captain Angelina Emillian, who told him he could learn to be a prospector there and might not even see combat. She had read his psychological profile, and felt quite sure that he would join the Corps. When he graduated, he exposed Principal Isaac Steegman's money laundering, making him a temporary hero. He also connected with Juliana Pasteur, spending much of the next two months with her, discussing his plans for the future while forsaking the company of his family and evading any talk about his choice of career.
Arcturus enlisted in the Confederate Marine Corps on the morning of the Close of Session speech at the Korhal Senate. He hoped that a military career would allow him to learn the finer points of prospecting, though a life in the military was never his goal. His father, Angus made an anti-Confederate speech at the senate, tearing down their flag. Arcturus, having had enough anti-Confederate rants from "an ordinary, stubborn man who refused to listen," revealed his enlistment to his mother during the speech, leaving despite her protests and the negative reaction of Ailin. He would later correspond with his mother, but Dorothy wouldn't forgive him. Over time, he came to miss them both and even his father. However, he maintained a regular correspondence with Juliana.
Training in the Dylarian Shipyards and later serving on Pridewater, Arcturus' early career in the CMC was successful, his understanding of battle tactics and "making the impossible sound plausible" allowing him to ascend through the ranks. Arcturus became a lieutenant in Captain Angelina Emillian's 33rd Ground Assault Division. He led a team of five other marines which he called Dominion section, the only non-neurally resocialized members of Emillian's company. However, he disliked the heavy-handed nature of the CMC and found himself missing his family, realizing that there was much sense in his father's stand against the Confederacy.
To ascend further in the Corps, Mengsk needed to gain some combat experience, which occurred in August, 2480 in Turanga Canyon on the world of Sonyan, where Kel-Morian Combine-associated miners worked at a deep core mining operation the Confederacy intended to capture. They were defended by missile turrets, which shot down the dropship carrying the company. Emillian was badly wounded, and the miners' hired mercenaries fired at them.
Mengsk took command, sending the resocialized soldiers on a suicidal distraction mission while his own troops ambushed and killed the mercenaries. He followed up by convincing mine owner Lemuel Baden to surrender. However, his actions displeased Captain Emillian, which he learned when she debriefed him from her sickbed. His tactics had wasted the lives of her resocialized troops and he had been willing to destroy the mine despite orders to capture it. Furthermore, he questioned the morality of stealing the mine from Baden, who turned out to have legitimately owned the mine. Emillian told him to get straightened out when he went on leave.
Early the next year, Mengsk took Juliana Pasteur on a date to Tyrador IX, a resort planet frequented by the wealthy Old Families. While there, anti-Confederate rebels attacked, trying to kill him and other off-duty marines. Pasteur's two guards and Mengsk killed the rebels, and Mengsk was hailed a hero by the local militia. Afterward Mengsk and Pasteur connected on an intimate level.
Mengsk's reunion with his family was less fortunate. He reestablished his relationship with Dorothy, but only strained his relationship with his father, as he still resented Angus for trying to control his life, not to mention differing in opinion as to the morality of rebellion. He left again, and Achton Feld suggested he make a clean break until he was ready to speak with them again. Mengsk decided to make a clean break with Juliana Pasteur as well-he'd bedded her and while she was still attached to him, the Umojan was of no further interest to Arcturus.
Mengsk continued to serve in the CMC, continuing to lead his unit against Kel-Morian mining claims and acting as enforcers, serving on worlds such as Parragos and Pho-Rekh. In 2485, Captain Mengsk's unit was summoned on short notice by Brantigan Fole to the world of Onuru Sigma, ordered to work with a detachment of Alpha Squadron and its captain, Edmund Duke. Alpha Squadron had more troops, and Duke was not only put in command, but would rate Mengsk's unit. Their command styles immediately clashed. Regardless, the two fought against Kel-Morian Combine mining operations at Noranda Glacier. The vespene gas was tainted and thus explosive, and the operation looked unusually dilapidated, causing Mengsk to err on the side of caution. However Duke charged ahead against his advice, only to discover the complex was a well-laid ambush with multiple disguised strongpoints. Duke fought his way into a strongpoint but was trapped. Mengsk moved to the rescue, requesting Wraith air support. The attacks eventually detonated the complex as Mengsk was able to pull Duke to safety, but not without losing troops. He acquired the rifle Mayumi as a result of the battle. The Confederates were pushed back by a large wave of Kel-Morian troops and ships. The Guild Wars had begun.
During the conflict, Mengsk became known for his innate leadership skills and brilliant tactics. He achieved the rank of colonel as the conflict drew to a close. Many Confederate officers were being promoted at a high rate, but Mengsk no longer believed in the cause of the Confederacy, and resigned from his posting shortly before the war's end. He stayed in touch with Warfield, however.
By 2489 Mengsk became a prospector along with fellow ex-soldier Dia de Santo. Risking a great deal of money, the two made great hauls, enabling Mengsk to purchase a ship, the Kitty Jay. Going by Mengsk's hunch, the two finally discovered a huge lode of high-quality minerals at Pike's Peak when Mengsk received a communication from Ailin Pasteur, requesting he visit him at Umoja as quickly as possible. The Guild Wars ended – and Angus Mengsk had declared the independence of Korhal. Martial law quickly ensued there.
Arcturus Mengsk traveled to Umoja where he discovered he had a seven-year-old son, Valerian, whose mother, Juliana Pasteur, had kept secret from him and the rest of the family. The initial meeting was awkward, and Mengsk failed to connect with Valerian, thinking him weak, except in the area of sword fighting. He sent a message to his parents, telling them of this new development and began to take over his son's education, throwing out his favorite books and giving him tomes on topics he felt were more appropriate, mirroring his father's treatment of himself. Valerian felt that Arcturus was always trying to find something wrong with him.
Mengsk received dire news from Korhal during the visit – the Confederates had killed his father, mother and sister despite their tight security. Mengsk was consumed by revenge. Ailin Pasteur was shocked, and offered the support of the newly formed Umojan Protectorate. Pasteur, in his capacity as a member of the Umojan Ruling Council, made Mengsk the new leader of the Rebellion of Korhal.
Mengsk took steps to protect the remainder of his family. He immediately had Juliana Pasteur and Valerian sent into hiding within the Umojan Protectorate, and dispatched his former sword fighting instructor, Master Miyamoto, to instruct Valerian in a similar manner to himself. He would only see Valerian again once during the next eight years.
Mengsk began rallying the militant groups who had followed his father. With this impressive, if ragtag, army the rebels struck boldly at various Confederate bases and installations. He also attacked factories belonging to the Old Families.
Over time Mengsk enlarged the size of the rebellion, eventually amassing a "huge" army on Korhal. When the rebellion acquired and repaired a Confederate battlecruiser that had crashed in Umojan territory "well outside the range of Confederate hailing" signals it was Mengsk who renamed it the Hyperion and took it as his flagship.
The Confederacy could not accept the success of the Korhalian insurrection for it could encourage other worlds to revolt. With rumors spreading of a secret alliance between Mengsk and the Umojan Protectorate the Confederacy decided to decisively end the revolt. A thousand nuclear missiles were launched at Korhal, killing millions of people. Unfortunately for the Confederacy, Mengsk was not on Korhal at the time. News of the strike reached Mengsk at a secret base within the Umojan Protectorate, establishing links with numerous dissident factions. With Mengsk as their head the survivors formed the Sons of Korhal and pledged to overthrow the Confederacy and build a new government that would benefit all terrans within the Koprulu sector. The Sons of Korhal quickly became the sector's most wanted fugitives as they struck silently and swiftly, winning countless victories over the Confederacy.
They operated with important intelligence from Warfield, who had defected from the Confederate military as a result of the destruction of Korhal.
The first of these raids was against a small Confederate research installation called the Fujita Facility on Vyctor 5 when he discovered Sarah Kerrigan, a ghost. Rescuing her from the Confederate scientists that were performing experiments upon her involving xenomorphs. His purpose for visiting the facility was that he discovered that one of the three ghosts who had murdered his family was present. However, thoughts of vengeance were put on the backburner, as Kerrigan was no longer willing to serve the Confederacy. In the meantime, Mengsk carefully monitored the rumours about the xenomorphs spreading throughout the ship, knowing that they could fuel his men's conviction in their fight against the Confederacy.
Returning to Umoja, Mengsk planned his next course of action with Protectorate ambassadors.
Mengsk took Sarah Kerrigan to Tarsonis in order to attack the primary Ghost Academy (which would create much publicity for his fledgling organization). He also wanted Kerrigan to eliminate one of those ghosts as well. The attack was a disaster as the very small Sons of Korhal was nearly wiped out. However, Sarah Kerrigan did manage to kill Major Rumm, her former instructor who had tormented her; she also capture the ghost Mengsk sought and the Academy was destroyed. Mengsk promptly killed the captured and nearly helpless ghost in cold blood. He told Kerrigan she was the third ghost, and the most important one - the one who had cut off his father's head. Yet he found her useful and kept her as a loyal member of the Sons of Korhal. Kerrigan's loyalty to him increased.
The attack created publicity for the Sons of Korhal; the attack was subject to a report by Michael Liberty. Heralded by radicals as a visionary and a patriot, Mengsk was portrayed as a madman and a terrorist by the Confederate-controlled media. For his part, Mengsk broadcasted his own pirate transmissions condemning the Old Families for their crimes, which began to be taken seriously by the Confederate elite.
Meanwhile, Mengsk was able to visit his now-teenage son once. He said he was proud that Valerian was making his own way in life, and admitted that, by forcing Valerian to suit his own image, he was behaving much like his father had. He exhibited great confidence that he could destroy the Confederacy. Over the years, Mengsk displayed increasingly ruthless tactics in his crusade against the Confederacy.
The Great War
The Confederacy avoided action against the zerg and even arrested the Colonial Militia forces. Mengsk quickly found himself in demand as the only force there willing to face the zerg. Mengsk and Kerrigan made contact with Universe News Network reporter Michael Liberty, whom Mengsk would later use as a propagandist. Mengsk endeared himself to the Colonial Magistrate of Mar Sara by assisting in the evacuation of the Mar Sara Colony, something the Confederates refused to do. Liberty's duties included spreading the word of Mengsk's rescue.
Before leaving Mar Sara, Mengsk and Liberty rescued Marshal Jim Raynor from a Confederate prison ship and used him to lead a strike force against the Jacobs Installation. He believed secret Confederate military technology was concealed inside. Within Raynor discovered zerg being imprisoned, but Mengsk had seen Confederate experiments with zerg before. Raynor retrieved a data disk. The Mar Sara Colonial Militia became part of the Sons of Korhal under the command of Captain Raynor and the former Colonial Magistrate, who was referred to as the Commander. Raynor's own band of troops were known unofficially as Raynor's Rangers.
Meanwhile, the Sons of Korhal struck against various symbolic targets on Tarsonis, such as the Palombo Valley plant operated by Old Family patriarch Constantino Terra through the use of inside agents. Mengsk broadcast video messages after each such attack.
A Gift of a General
- Arcturus Mengsk(src)
Mengsk's next destination was Antiga Prime, where the colonists were ready to begin open revolt against the Confederacy. However, the Confederates, aware of this as well, stationed a large detachment of Alpha Squadron troops there to suppress the nascent revolt. To free the Antiga Prime colony, Mengsk sent a task force with Raynor and Kerrigan (the latter sneaking in and assassinating the Confederate officer in charge). The Antigan rebels and Sons of Korhal then defeated the Alpha Squadron detachment.
Alpha Squadron's General Edmund Duke was unable to respond to this event because his flagship, the Norad II, was attacked by the zerg in high orbit over Antiga Prime; it crash-landed in a position surrounded by the zerg. Mengsk was determined to rescue Duke, over the objections of Raynor and Kerrigan. He sent Raynor and his troops to save Duke, whom he convinced to join him by offering him a position in his cabinet. Even more important than the acquisition of Duke's tactical skill, and his Alpha Squadron, was the decoding of the Jacobs Installation data discs, which contained designs for a Transplanar Psionic Waveform Emitter, or psi emitter.
The Confederates discovered Mengsk's position and send a large Delta Squadron strike force, which established a base camp within his defensive perimeter, along with a massive Army and Colonial Fleet blockade. Mengsk decided to test the new emitter technology and break the Confederate blockade. Sarah Kerrigan infiltrated the Delta Squadron base camp and activated the device; however, she expressed doubts about unleashing the zerg against anybody, even the Confederates.
Soon, the zerg homed in on the signal, breaking the blockade and allowing the Sons of Korhal and allies to escape. Sometime afterward the protoss arrived, wiping out all life on the surface of the planet. The Confederate force was forced to retreat and redeploy to Halcyon.
Great Power... and Betrayal
In the aftermath of Antiga Prime, Kerrigan attempted to dissuade Mengsk from further use of the psi emitter by convincing him to focus his efforts on liberating new upgraded goliath models from the Confederacy on G-2275's moon. Mengsk approved the operation, and the goliath models were incorporated into the Sons of Korhal. Not long after the operation Raynor and Kerrigan began to be romantically involved, a union Mengsk vocally disapproved of.
As the Sons of Korhal grew ever stronger, Confederate official Tamsen Cauley came to believe Mengsk would win the war. Tamsen sent the War Pigs, a team of outlaws, to assassinate Arcturus Mengsk. They struck in February 2500 as Mengsk personally led his troops on Atticus Minor, a planet the Sons of Korhal had captured from the Confederacy but had fallen under threat from the zerg. The War Pigs hoped to use the chaos of the zerg invasion to kill Mengsk but were driven away by the zerg themselves.
His plan failed, Cauley tried a new tactic—ingratiating himself to Mengsk.
In order to win the conflict against the Confederacy, Mengsk had to strike against Tarsonis. While Tarsonis had been invaded in the past, it had never fallen. Fortunately for Mengsk, Duke had defended Tarsonis in over thirty major battles and so knew its defenses inside and out.
Duke's plan was to assault the central of the three primary orbital platforms, causing enough of a ruckus to allow a small force to break through the planetary defenses.
He would use the psi emitters to summon the zerg. Mengsk did not inform Kerrigan or Raynor of this part of the plan. While successful, causing the destruction of the Confederacy, it alienated both Kerrigan and Raynor.
However, Kerrigan remained loyal and followed his next set of orders... to protect the primary zerg hive from the coming protoss fleet, under the command of Executor Tassadar. Kerrigan knew that the protoss were there to exterminate all life on Tarsonis, not just the zerg, so she agreed to follow the orders. She and her strike force defeated the protoss but, as a wave of zerg advanced on her position, were abandoned as Mengsk ordered the immediate disengagement of the Korhal fleet from the Tarsonian system, despite Raynor's protest. Mengsk did so due to Kerrigan's political unreliability, and also because he couldn't resist getting vengeance for his father, which Kerrigan had herself killed years before. In addition, Mengsk sent a signal to his followers that he didn't need their belief, only obedience.
Following the loss of Kerrigan, Raynor and his men left the Sons of Korhal and formed their own rebel group, Raynor's Raiders. They took Liberty with them, but not before a brawl with General Duke. Mengsk offered a media position to Liberty, but was rebuffed.
Before leaving with Mengsk, Duke successfully activated the Ion cannon, a powerful piece of technology, and Tarsonis' primary defensive weapon, which would shoot down Raynor's forces if they attempted to leave. Raynor was forced to destroy the Ion cannon in order to escape.
The New Dominion
The successful destruction of Tarsonis caused the fall of the Confederacy. Most Confederate survivors joined the Sons of Korhal, including the remaining Confederate squadrons, which were forcefully conscripted, giving the Dominion military supremacy. The former rebels saved many terran lives, but refused to assist worlds that did not welcome their intervention, as Mengsk remarked that the planet's local government had ultimate authority on that planet.
The Sons of Korhal became the Terran Dominion, Mengsk had himself crowned Emperor of the Terran Dominion and made Korhal his throne world. All of the terran colonies within the Koprulu Sector were united under one sovereign rule for the first time. With Duke by his side, he was unopposed by any of the major terran militias within the Sector.
Continuing Military Action
Having reinforced the armies of the Dominion by forcefully conscripting the remaining warriors of the defunct Terran Confederacy, Mengsk set out to fortify the various worlds under his care. He built Augustgrad, the capital city of Korhal which became the most heavily fortified city in all of Dominion space, employing multiple battlecruisers for his planetary defense and establishing a large cluster of missile silos on the outskirts of Augustgrad.
As the final battle concluded on Aiur and the zerg reeled in disarray throughout the sector, Mengsk was left to wonder what ever became of Kerrigan.
Mengsk still did not trust General Duke, despite his oaths, so he sent him and his Alpha Squadron on a seemingly unimportant mission to the world of Bhekar Ro, whose colonists sought his help. The mission ended in disaster for Duke.
Not long after the battle, Mengsk sent a drop pod containing a zerg drone to the mining world of Shi. He had learnt that Old Family heirs had taken refuge there during the war, and was willing to use the zerg to eliminate them. After a group of ghost trainees rescued the Old Family heirs, he ordered the heirs to be rounded by and executed, and had the ghosts involved with the operation undergo a memory wipe. He later had the UNN report that the heirs had died on Tarsonis.
The Brood War
The United Earth Directorate
Arcturus Mengsk made his first official visit to Umoja six months after his inauguration. He was also there to see his son, Valerian. He took a fleet of Dominion vessels with him, but ambassador Ailin Pasteur demanded he leave the ships beyond the outer markers. Mengsk had to descend in an obsolete gun cutter. He took about twelve soldiers with him.
Shortly after landing, a Confederate Resistance Forces team lead by a vengeful Captain Angelina Emillian attacked. They used jammers to cut off communication with the Dominion fleet and Protectorate military assistance, and outnumbered the defenders. The gun cutter itself was too heavily damage to fly, falling down the shaft of a landing platform.
Mengsk planned on using the gun cutter's powerful communication equipment to call for help, and ordered Valerian and other people to safety, but Valerian insisted on accompanying him. Together with Master Miyamoto, they fled down an underground path to the gun cutter. From this position of relative safety, they were able to hold off the attacking marines for some time. However, Valerian was nearly killed by Captain Emillian, and only the sacrifice of Master Miyamoto gave him the upper hand – he shot her down. As she lay bleeding, Arcturus Mengsk approached her, and after trading hostile words, she told him that the UED would attack him, and would "clean his clock". She died before telling him anything further, leaving Mengsk in the dark about the identity of her mysterious allies.
Mengsk had built a powerful defense of Korhal, but when the United Earth Directorate's Expeditionary Force arrived there, it was able to destroy Augustgrad, including his palace. Mengsk tried to escape in the Norad III, but the UED cut off his escape. Mengsk remained unfazed and declared he would throw off the UED just as he had the Confederacy. Admiral Gerard DuGalle threatened him with execution, along with the rest of his ranking officers, but Raynor suddenly appeared in the Hyperion (along with a small protoss fleet) and rescued Mengsk.
Mengsk and Raynor fled to Aiur, where Raynor had allied with Fenix, and hid in a command center near a warp gate. Making matters more complicated, there were multiple zerg broods surrounding the protoss base, which remained quiet until the warp gate was activated. In their efforts to capture these men, the UED force attacked Raynor's command center. Raynor and Mengsk fled in a dropship through the gate, which then exploded. The destination of the ship was unknown. Worse for the UED, the zerg suddenly attacked and DuGalle had to face possible treachery from two of his subordinates.
Mengsk was put into cryogenic hibernation, and when he awoke he found himself in the power of Kerrigan, who had struck an alliance with Raynor and Fenix. Kerrigan needed Mengsk for a favor - Mengsk would use his psi emitters to gather up enough zerg for her to destroy the UED's Psi disrupter on Braxis and confront the UED. Mengsk agreed in exchange for Kerrigan's help in retaking Korhal from the UED. Kerrigan planned to use the psi emitters to lure uncontrolled zerg on Braxis to her control, then used them to destroy the Psi disrupter. The ploy worked. Mengsk still felt that Kerrigan was completely untrustworthy, but he would work with her, so long as she helped him retake Korhal.
- Kerrigan to Mengsk(src)
Kerrigan, with the help of Fenix, Raynor, and an impatient Mengsk, destroyed the main UED base at Augustgrad. After the successful attack, Mengsk sent Duke to establish his base of operations in Augustgrad. However, Kerrigan and Samir Duran launched a devastating surprise attack while the Dominion troops were resting after the victory, destroying both Duke's and Fenix's bases. In the attack, Duke and Fenix were both killed, leaving Mengsk very bitter.
Despite the loss of Duke, Mengsk wasn't out of the fight, calling in a few favors and making a few concessions, scraped up a new fleet of "special interest groups" interested in killing Kerrigan, and attacked her base of operations on Char Aleph, along with the UED and the protoss. His ragtag fleet was beaten and crippled however, but Mengsk, before leaving, threatened Kerrigan. He then fled back to Korhal to lick his wounds and plan the reconstruction of the Dominion.
Mengsk turned Korhal into the most heavily fortified planet in the sector and made a promise that Tarsonis would be restored and the Dominion would help guide it toward a brighter future. Through his oratorical mastery and control over the media, he managed to keep his past atrocities hidden from the public, both past and present. Most of the Dominion populace accepted Mengsk's rule, believing him to be the only leader capable of protecting them from the alien threats in the Koprulu sector. Mengsk asserted that humanity's only chance to survive the dark days ahead was to be united under his leadership, whether by choice or by force. However, his oppressive rule and powerful position made him the target of many terran revolutionary groups.
In 2502, Juliana passed away, finally losing her battle to cancer. Reuniting with Valerian for the funeral, Arcturus Mengsk related the story of Korhal and the Mengsk Dynasty, the two coming to an understanding. Arcturus told him he didn't want Valerian to be like him, only to be someone Arcturus could be proud of. To his delight, he saw something of himself in Valerian—a man who was guided by his own will, and no-one else's. Sometime later, Mengsk brought his son into the Dominion. His son became an active part of the Terran Dominion government and was named his heir, although his status as Arcturus Mengsk's son was still secret following the Brood War.
Mengsk took part in the training of the ghost Nova, oversaw the use of terrazine to create spectres and led a war against the Koprulu Liberation Front. As part of an "overhaul" of the Ghost Program, he eliminated half of his government's ghosts in a controlled environment.
Mengsk utilized the Dominion-controlled media, along with oratory and propaganda to marginalize Raynor and his Raiders. While Mengsk refused to assassinate Raynor for fear of turning him into a martyr, he hunted and harried the Raiders, preventing them from resting or rearming. Despite his successes in controlling his enemy, it was not uncommon for him to go into tirades about Raynor's "treachery."
Shadows and Spectres
The Quest for Protoss Knowledge
By 2503, the Dominion hadn't heard from the zerg for years and Mengsk considered them too quiet. His son Valerian had other things on his mind. He convinced his father to fund archaeology expeditions to a strange artifact on the dead world of Nemaka. He used mercenaries led by Rosemary Dahl to provide security for the expedition. The only success Valerian had was when one of his hired archaeologists, a maverick named Jake Ramsey, solved one of the temple's puzzles and ended up with a protoss preserver's spirit in his brain. The "attack" rendered Ramsey unconscious. Valerian tried to arrange safe transports, but (betrayed by his minder, Charles Whittier) Arcturus became aware of it and intended to have Ramsey interrogated by psychics who would destroy his mind in the quest for the information which Ramsey carried. Ramsey escaped with the assistance of Rosemary Dahl and took shelter with Ethan Stewart, a crime lord on Dead Man's Rock, a world outside of Dominion space. The pair believed Valerian had betrayed them.
Stewart was in contact with both Arcturus and Valerian Mengsk, without the latter's knowledge. Ramsey discovered Stewart's connection with Valerian and made another escape with Dahl, using his newfound psionic powers to do so. The zerg suddenly attacked Dead Man's Rock, lured by Ramsey's powers, and Arcturus Mengsk saw this as an attack on the Dominion. He contacted Valerian, demanding to know what the zerg were after. His son gave him very little information, distracting him with his knowledge that Stewart really belonged to Arcturus.
During Valerian's hunt, Mengsk had another issue to deal with, namely a rebellious Project Shadowblade. He managed to hide the group's existence from his people by claiming that UED terrorist cells were responsible for their attacks against targets across the Koprulu Sector. Dominion ghosts had been disappearing in the meantime however, and the disappearance of Agent Kath Toom on Altara while investigating a supposed UED terrorist cell, was but the latest in a series of disappearances that had been going on for at least a year. Upon hearing of her disappearance, Mengsk sent a priority one message to wrangler Malcolm Kelerchian, ordering him to head to the planet and investigate. Kelerchian ran into trouble with members of Project Shadowblade however, and to make matters worse, terrazine was released in the process, luring the zerg in. Kelerchian and the planet were saved by a Nova Squadron force however, in no small part thanks to ghost agent Nova Terra. Mengsk contacted the ship on which they were stationed, ordering that he converse with them privately, much to the aggravation of Colonel Jackson Hauler.
Briefing the wrangler and ghost, Mengsk listened to Kelerchian's account of events, said account corresponding to Mengsk's own unease. He'd never received any report of UED forces on Altara, nor had he ordered Toom to investigate. The order had come from somewhere, but not from him, and whoever gave the order had likely done so to lure Toom in to be captured. He elaborated on the insurgency the Dominion had been dealing with, and wanted it stopped before word of missing ghosts got out. He ordered the pair to find the missing ghosts, locate those responsible and eliminate them. He promised them the support of the Palatine and the Psi-Ops Division.
He nearly fell victim to Shadowblade anyway. They attacked his palace, with Lio Travski, an AI (and former technopathic ghost) shutting down his communications and automated defenses, although he managed to get a message out as he hid in his psi-shielded panic room. While he was trapped there, he was taunted by Gabriel Tosh, whom he had believed was dead. Nova Squadron arrived to rescue them, but they were secretly led by his enemy, Cole Bennett, who prevented the Annihilators from making their own rescue attempt. Nova Terra arrived, chasing off the attacking spectres and protecting Mengsk. The emperor met with only Terra and Kelerchian, where he told them of the attack.
Afterward, Annihilator leader Major Spaulding, who believed that Terra was a spectre, demanded to be given control of the military response, but Mengsk rejected him, giving control instead to Terra, Kelerchian and Bennett.
Secrets of the Past
Valerian Mengsk tracked Ramsey to Aiur and sent a small force to rescue him, led by Devon Starke, a ghost who had barely survived Arcturus Mengsk's purge of the Ghost Program. Ramsey, still fearful of Valerian, escaped, but Valerian's forces were able to track Ulrezaj, a dark archon also hunting Ramsey, to Ehlna, a moon sacred to the Dark Templar. Ramsey had gone there to remove Zamara from his mind, as her presence was slowly killing him. Valerian promised protoss intelligence to Arcturus in return for a Dominion force using new technology. The Dominion forces took part in a battle against Ulrezaj and the zerg, and captured the Alys'aril, a trove of protoss knowledge. However, the protoss were able to take the site back relatively quickly, so, having lost the knowledge, Arcturus would take Ramsey as a "consolation prize." Ramsey offered to willingly give up what he had but Arcturus couldn't trust such honesty. Valerian delayed his father for a time, but Starke knew his plan wouldn't work. Starke copied many of Ramsey's memories into his own mind (while leaving many out) and offered to take Ramsey's place as a decoy, making Dominion ghosts have to "dig" for the information. Starke himself said that "at the very least [the process] will shatter [Starke's] mind." Meanwhile, Ramsey and Dahl were able to escape Dominion custody (with Valerian's assistance).
The War Beckons
- Dominion slogan(src)
As the next war approached, Mengsk became "crazy" for alien artifacts, making trade in these goods illegal. Legitimate scientific organizations such as the Moebius Foundation found this hard to bear.
The Second Great War
- Arcturus Mengsk(src)
In 2504, Arcturus Mengsk approached convict Tychus Findlay and offered him a deal: kill Sarah Kerrigan and regain his freedom. To ensure that Findlay would stay loyal, Mengsk had him sealed in CMC armor, set to shut down his internal organs if he disobeyed an order.
This was part of a long-range plan. Arcturus already knew his son Valerian was plotting an attack on the Queen of Blades, which would deinfest her if successful. If the invasion succeeded, Findlay would assassinate the weakened Kerrigan, and the Dominion would take Char. If it failed, Arcturus would blame the defeat on his "traitorous" son and Jim Raynor, at which point Mengsk would then rally the people by saying "we're now in great danger, with our military damaged by Raynor!"
On the fourth anniversary of the Brood War's end, Mengsk held a press conference and defended his perceived neglect of the Dominion Fleet in favor of his hounding of Raynor. He denounced the former marshal as a lawless rebel and terrorist, and assured the public that justice would be brought to bear. After Raynor seized a xel'naga artifact from White Rock Base, Mengsk declared that anyone found in possession of it would be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law. Not long after that, the zerg invaded the Dominion, prompting Mengsk to recall the fleet to defend the core worlds at the expense of the fringe worlds.
Even during the conflict, Mengsk was still a media fan. He announced new austerity measures and the reactivation of Warfield, tightened security measures, declared a moratorium on interplanetary travel, and in light of the release of Imperial Dawn, once again maintained that he had no hand in the fall of Tarsonis.
The lie was soon exposed. Raynor's Raiders stole a Confederate adjutant from a Dominion salvage operation on Tarsonis. The adjutant contained recordings of intercepted transmissions proving Mengsk caused the zerg invasion of Tarsonis. The Raiders infiltrated Korhal and broadcast the recordings to the entire Dominion.
The truth incited popular riots and negative media coverage against Mengsk. Mengsk held a news conference to deny these allegations, only for reporter Kate Lockwell to play a recording of the rant he made towards Raynor four years ago, prompting the furious tyrant to storm out of the interview. He later tried to claim his enemies would do anything to destroy his reputation and that the recordings were fake, but the public shouted him down after he made this statement. Mengsk retreated to his palace and refused to make further public statements. UNN was temporarily taken off the air for anti-Mengsk views, and many arrests took place in order to try to prevent the spread of damage. The revelation also encouraged Bountiful to revolt and declare independence from the Dominion.
Mengsk remained in power through cunning, intrigue, and brute force. The Dominion did not topple under him; the Swarm was not immediately interested in its systematic destruction, and powers like the Kel-Morian Combine were simply not a threat.
Valerian Attacks Char
"We'll see about that. And when this is over, you and me got a score to settle."
- Mengsk and Raynor confront eachother via hologram(src)
Valerian took half the Dominion fleet to Char in a bid to deinfest Kerrigan and prove himself a worthy successor to the emperor. The prince did not explicitly seek permission to do this from Arcturus, and the emperor was personally informed by Valerian just as the fleet was preparing to engage. Arcturus was impressed by his son's initiative, but felt the challenge was beyond Valerian's limited experience. The emperor was not pleased to find the prince had enlisted Raynor's help, and declared that neither Kerrigan or the rebel could be saved. Nonetheless, Arcturus allowed the attack to go forward with Raynor's assistance.
Mengsk moved the half of the Dominion Fleet near to Char but out of range of detection of Valerian and Raynor's forces, personally commanding the White Star. He would allow Valerian and Raynor to fight Kerrigan and her zerg, and swoop in to claim victory after one side had been whittled down by the conflict. From there he observed the battle, and his proximity allowed him to personally communicate with Tychus.
The terrans suffered heavy casualties attacking Char but succeeded in deinfesting the Queen of Blades. The emperor monitored the recovery of the Kerrigan through Tychus Findlay's suit, and ordered the ex-convict to execute her. However, Raynor intervened and saved Kerrigan by killing Findlay.
- Mengsk to Valerian(src)
With Kerrigan removed and the swarms in disarray, Mengsk took his chance to strike, moving his undamaged half of the fleet out of hiding and into orbit. Mengsk demanded that Valerian turn over Kerrigan, who was now on the Bucephalus. Valerian refused, and the fleets engaged in battle. The Bucephalus and Hyperion were able to escape the system, but Mengsk was able to track them due to having planted trackers on the Bucephalus.
In one such confrontation, Valerian fooled his father, when one of his damaged ships rammed the White Star. (In fact, the ship was empty of crew and running on autopilot.) This delayed Arcturus long enough to let the rebels escape.
Mengsk made a reappearance at the Moebius Foundation station Prometheus, where Dr. Emil Narud was in the midst of demonstrating his loyalty to the emperor by ambushing Raynor, Valerian, and their followers. As his fleet engaged the rebel ships, Mengsk contacted the station, telling Raynor and Valerian that if they surrendered and turned over Kerrigan, he would spare their lives. Once again however, the rebels were able to escape.
- Mengsk to his people(src)
The Dominion pursued Kerrigan and the rebels to the Umojan Protectorate Research Station EB-103 on XT39323. Kerrigan escaped but Raynor was captured; Raynor was secretly imprisoned. The emperor publicly declared victory over the leaderless and fragmented Swarm and the "dead" Raynor. In the aftermath of his victory, Arcturus enacted a brutal civil oppression regime in order to end the unrest caused by the actions of Raynor's Raiders.
Return of the Swarm
- Mengsk's ultimatum(src)
News of Raynor's "execution" only spurred Kerrigan's desire for revenge against Mengsk. She moved to retake control of the Swarm for this purpose. The emperor took precautions. Terran two-way communicators were launched at the zerg; one reached Kerrigan after her transformation back into a human-zerg hybrid and allowed Mengsk to speak with her. The emperor revealed Raynor was alive as a hostage; Raynor would die if Kerrigan or the Swarm moved on Korhal or threatened Mengsk's person. Kerrigan was undeterred; she rescued Raynor from the prison ship Moros with the aid of Raynor's Raiders.
Mengsk acquired the Keystone which was installed in his Korhal Palace office as a security device. He also ordered the creation of Project Blackstone, which would collect scientists of various fields for research on the zerg and protoss. Dominion Intelligence Section selected the candidates, and Mengsk approved their conscription.
"I made you into a monster, Kerrigan."
"You made us all into monsters."
- Kerrigan ends the reign of Arcturus Mengsk(src)
With Raynor rescused, the Swarm converged on Korhal. Mengsk quickly ordered all Dominion fleets to defend the planet. The Swarm broke through the orbital defenses to Augustgrad. The city's defenses were anchored by the Psi Destroyer which was lethal to zerg connected to the Swarm's hivemind; it was destroyed with the aid of the unaffected primal zerg, whom until then the Dominion had not known existed.
Mengsk sheltered within his palace as the Swarm and Raynor's Raiders pushed toward the palace. The elite Dominion formations dug in around the palace broke under the assault.
Kerrigan entered the palace, cut through the guard, and confronted Mengsk in his office. The emperor used a remote control to disable Kerrigan with the Keystone. Mengsk tauntingly called her his greatest failure and prepared to kill her, when Raynor suddenly appeared, clad in his CMC Powered Combat Suit. He threw Mengsk across the room, and in the process, destroyed the remote. The rebel raised but then put away his revolver, and let Kerrigan impale the emperor in both shoulders. Grievously wounded, Mengsk stated he made her a monster, to which she retorted that he made monsters out of everyone. Kerrigan infused Mengsk with psionic energy, causing him to die in a violent explosion.
Mengsk was succeeded by Valerian, who claimed that his reign would be free from the atrocities of his father's rule. On the third anniversary of Mengsk's death, celebrations were held on Korhal to commemorate the downfall of his regime. Mengsk's role in the use of psi emitters at Tarsonis would be glossed over in the Dominion Marine Corps Combat Handbook.
More than five years after his death, Mengsk's portrait still remained on board the Bucephalus. In this time period, the Defenders of Man Insurgency occurred. The Defenders of Man leader, General Carolina Davis, had been a loyal ally of Mengsk through the Sons of Korhal and his rise to power, and gathered a paramilitary group that sought to avenge his death and engineer the downfall of Valerian, who she saw as Arcturus's murderer. A monument to the fallen emperor could be found within her personal compound. In spite of her efforts Davis and those allies she obtained loyal to the memory of Arcturus were defeated, and Valerian's rule secure.
Personality and Traits
Arcturus was a bulky man of imposing stature, large of shoulder and thick of waist. He had a powerful charisma about him, something that many said was more imposing in person than through holos. Earlier in his adulthood, Arcturus had a full dark hair, but as he aged both his hair and beard became streaked with silver, which Valerian stated enhanced his natural gravitas.
As a boy, Arcturus Mengsk was labeled a genius.
Mengsk rose to the rank of colonel in the Confederate Marine Corps before leaving and has demonstrated considerable tactical skill, leading several of his former compatriots to call him a gifted strategist. Admiral Gerard DuGalle referred to him as an "accomplished tactician".
Mengsk has demonstrated the ability to befriend and manipulate people to his benefit. He claims that other people are unfocused in their thinking, and he acts as a "strong center" for them. He is very skilled at oratory and propaganda and has been described as a "media darling". Mengsk also demonstrated skill in electronics and studied geology, politics and psychology, becoming a skilled prospector. He did not empathize with other people well, finding those who suffered loss and expressed their sense of it unpleasant to be around.
In addition, Mengsk was very strong-willed. He considered himself to be a man who was guided by his own will, and no-one else's, and is a great orator. Through careful blanking of his mind, he could prevent telepaths such as Sarah Kerrigan from reading his thoughts. The skill was not perfect, however.
Arcturus was a fan of ruby port and enjoyed playing chess, though he found it not truly accurate to real war. Traveling between worlds made Mengsk uneasy, as even before the discovery of alien life his imagination feared what may be out there.
- Arcturus Mengsk's portrait is available on battle.net for players who complete the Liberty Completionist: Hard achievement.
- Arcturus is possibly named after the star Arcturus, the brightest star in the constellation of Boötes (it forms the left foot) and the third brightest star in the night sky. Arcturus means "bear guardian" because its position in the sky makes it appear to guard the Great and Little Bear constellations.
- Arcturus Mengsk is referred to both as "Emperor Mengsk I" and as "Emperor Arcturus." Most Western conventions governing royal/imperial names would dictate that he be "Emperor Arcturus" of the "House of Mengsk" (or "Mengsk Dynasty"). An ordinal number would only be added posthumously in the event of another Emperor Arcturus (regardless of whether he was a Mengsk or not).
- For StarCraft II, the developers felt that Arcturus Mengsk's story and character development has already been executed through StarCraft and Brood War, as he had gone through his revolutionary phase to a tyrant figure. In some ways he was replaced by his son, Valerian, for story purposes.
- In older versions of StarCraft Mengsk had a battlecruiser called the Leviathan. The unused, incomplete unit can only be extracted by third-party StarEdit programs such as the Emerald Patch.
- At some point in its development, Arcturus Mengsk was designed to appear in StarCraft: Ghost, with videos showing developers modeling him for the game. It is unknown in what capacity he would appear in.
- In the early storyline of StarCraft, it appears that Mengsk's role was radically different. He acted as an ambassador to Korhal, delivering an impassioned speech to his neighboring worlds about the threat of the protoss. Below is a transcript;
Korhal has chosen only its greatest rivals to receive this embassage. As with my world, each of yours has arisen to the fore through a strength and ingenuity unmatched by your neighbors - alien or human. But be warned: pride comes before the fall. Even as your worlds are rich with a deserved confidence born of triumph, the somber truth may make you rich with wisdom. We are - all of us - poised upon the very brink of total annihilation.
Despite subtly exerting their will over our fringe worlds and hampering our expansion for decades, the Protoss have always claimed to have no interest in our affairs. Now at last they have revealed their true nature, seizing several human colonies in the Koprulu Sector. My world has not lost any colonies, but it is abundantly clear to us with the Massacre on Tau Ceti and with the continued mobilization of Templars that the Protoss are preparing another offensive even as we speak.
This tyranny in the Koprulu Sector is but a whisper - a faint harbinger of things to come. Listen now - before that whisper grows to a roar and all is lost. The Protoss possess an empire larger than any of us singly, but together, fellow humans, we may defeat them. Do not let suspicion cloud your judgment. Humanity must recognize its fraternity or face certain extinction."
- Excerpts from a recent speech by Ambassador Mengsk of Korhal IV (cd:m P11 - P5)(src)
The list of authors can be seen in the page history of Characters of StarCraft#Arcturus Mengsk.
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