Collateral Damage is a StarCraft II short web story written by Matt Burns, set in the StarCraft universe and designed to tie-in with Wings of Liberty. It focuses on the thor unit and details the infiltration of the Simonson Munitions Factory (a thor-testing facility) by Umojan Protectorate shadowguard Ulli Trey, aka "Pandora", in 2503.
An Umojan spy must infiltrate one of the Dominion’s most tightly guarded weapons research facilities in a desperate bid to uncover the truth about a secret weapon that could shift the balance of power in the Koprulu sector. If the fate of millions depended on you… how far would you be willing to go?
Agent Pandora's mission had failed. She was assigned to protect a former Terran Dominion weapons engineer on Anselm. The Dominion discovered his safe house and killed him, then deliberately injured his wife and daughter. Pandora had failed due to a moment's hesitation. The engineer's wife blamed Pandora for the loss, drawing a gun and shooting her thumb off.
Pandora swore never to make a mistake like that again.
The Thor Mission
Pandora spent four months on Augustgrad, Korhal IV, trying to collect information about a secret weapon program located at the Simonson Munitions Factory. She planned to infiltrate the facility by posing as Rebecca Schafer, a driver for Commander Bartlett, who was to view a weapons test there. She used a psiweave, a piece of psionic technology which could disguise her appearance, within certain limits. She had to use her own psychic powers to maintain the illusion. In addition, Pandora's thumb had been replaced by a weapon which fired poisonous micro-spikes.
At the factory, the guards paid more attention to Bartlett than his low-ranking "driver". She was able to activate stealthy micro-spies which would follow Bartlett through the facility while she headed to the rec room.
Pandora scouted exit routes while avoiding large groups of people, against which she could not maintain her psionic disguise. After several hours, personnel were ordered to the mess hall for a security check. Pandora barely dodged large groups of people and hid in a bathroom. A female security guard followed her, and Pandora controlled her fear by viewing the guard as just an obstacle. She shot her with her poisoned thumb-gun and stole her gun.
Pandora sneaked to the testing chamber, seeing the Odin, a powerful war mech, being tested against unpiloted, remote-controlled vehicles. She was in danger! Stealing a somewhat damaged vulture, she found herself being shot at. The Odin hit her, and in the explosion her psiweave was destroyed. The Odin's female pilot descended and, not realizing she was facing an enemy, gave Pandora medical treatment. Pandora noted the pilot had no thoughts of rage. Nonetheless the pilot was an obstacle, and Pandora shot her with the stolen gun.
Mentor and Student
A few days earlier, Pandora's team leader, Sage, had ordered her to abandon the operation, feeling the rewards weren't worth the risks. He told her she could have been discovered by a wrangler or ghost, and that if anything happened to her, it would threaten the other teams in the area. He reminded her of her failure on Anselm. Sage believed Pandora's new attitude – she was willing to risk her own life for the information – was a good reason not to allow the mission to proceed.
Pandora spent a day creating false intelligence about the Simonson facility's security, making it seem less secure than it really was. She based her information on Sage's secret fears that she could perceive with her psychic abilities. Sage was left confused, enabling her to mentally manipulate him. This left him slightly confused, but Pandora justified this, believing he would recover shortly after the mission.
Pandora eliminated Commander Bartlett's original driver, Colton Miersma, then assassinated and replaced the alternate driver, Rebecca Schafer. Finally, with Sage's permission, she headed to the facility. Sage insisted on remaining near her, partly due to guilt at failing her at Anselm, and partly because he believed security there was minimal.
The Guilty Escape
Pandora fled from the facility in her stolen vulture, with the Dominion in hot pursuit. She was unable to warn Sage to get out of there. As she made her escape, the Dominion forces caught up to Sage.
Pandora woke up in a medical facility with a missing patch in her memory. She was greeted by Jacob Kang, a member of the Umojan Ruling Council. He congratulated her on a successful mission, pointing out her face had been save by the Odin pilot's medical treatment. The mission was covered up by claiming it was the Koprulu Liberation Front which had carried it out.
- September 27, 2011. "Timeline." StarCraft: Ghost: Spectres. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). pp. 393-416. ISBN 978-1439-10938-0.
- Blizzard Entertainment staff. New StarCraft Short Story: Collateral Damage. Facebook. Accessed 2010-05-21.
- Burns, Matt. "Collateral Damage." (May 13, 2010). Blizzard Entertainment. Collateral Damage Accessed 2010-05-16.
- "Collateral Damage" IGN. Collateral Damage