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Ghosts are chosen from psychically-gifted individuals who were quarantined by the Terran Confederacy and trained from infancy to channel their psionic energies to augment their natural physical strength and endurance. Conscripts who successfully completed the Ghost Program's rigorous training and augmentations then served as commandos and assassins.
Ghosts are lightly armored and can hide their presence with a cloaking device. Ghosts are generally trained as commandos and assassins, appearing and striking suddenly and silently. In addition, ghosts direct nuclear missile strikes against enemy targets. Their stealth abilities make them extremely valuable for this role.
Standard Confederate practice was to implant psychic dampeners into all ghosts as a precautionary measure, acting on the principle of neural resocialization; however these implants could be removed. While active, the implants reshape a ghost's memories, weaken their powers and enforce loyalty. As a result, few ghosts under the program have any memories of their former lives. After the defection of Sarah Kerrigan, memory wipes became standard operating procedure, only made optional after Valerian Mengsk came to power. Ghosts live their lives entirely within the program: all housing, food and living arrangements were given to them by the Ghost Program, making it difficult for many who had never lived outside of it to adjust to civilian life.
For the most part, ghosts are simply numbers or names. Under the Confederacy, all ghosts, regardless of whether they "graduated" or not, were assigned a standard number and/or agent number (an alpha-numeric code). The Dominion has retained this system. Under the Confederacy, ghosts were unaware of their true names and while most ghosts retain knowledge of their names under the Dominion, their training emphasizes that they should address each other by their alpha-numerics—a trait followed by Dominion soldiers as well.
All ghosts possess a personal file, though the contents are restricted.
The history of terran psionic abilities began on Earth even before the existence of the United Powers League. At the end of the twenty-first century, private firms had developed biotechnology which granted human subjects abilities which included advanced telepathy. Unfortunately, Earth erupted in a civil war, partly as a result of these genetic manipulations. By the year 2229, most of the Earth was under the grip of the United Powers League.
The UPL launched "Project Purification" to remove mutations and unnecessary cybernetic prosthetics from the human population. UPL troops scoured the globe, killing over 400 million people and throwing many more into prison. The scientist Doran Routhe, who lived during this period, began a colonization project. He intended to send thousands of prisoners to the world of Gantris VI to mine new resources which could be found there. Many of these prisoners were prey to the mutations that had spanned the human species.
The prisoners were put into cold sleep and loaded into four supercarriers, then sent on a journey. The lead vessel contained ATLAS, a revolutionary artificial intelligence. During the journey, ATLAS discovered something unusual about the prisoners – a relatively high proportion of them had a mutation leading to psionic potential. While currently weak, it would manifest in only a few generations. This information was logged and sent back to Earth. The prison ships missed their target, ending up in the Koprulu Sector. There they founded three colonies, with Tarsonis being the most technologically advanced. Tarsonis founded an interstellar government which they called the Terran Confederacy.
The Confederacy's New Power
About twenty years before the war sparked by the destruction of Chau Sara, the Terran Confederacy had already created a fledgling Ghost Program. One of their subjects, eight-year-old Sarah Kerrigan, was brought to their attention after her powers erupted in spectacular fashion.
The child's psionic abilities were so potent, it required a complete readjustment of the measurement scale. The girl appeared to possess telekinetic abilities, but the Confederacy appeared unsure about the existence of this power and demanded incontrovertible proof of this ability. Even when the girl destroyed her trainer's gun, it wasn't considered acceptable proof. At this time, "neuro-adjusters" were routinely inserted into the heads of uncooperative ghost subjects.
Shortly after this incident, the Rebellion of Korhal was taken over by Arcturus Mengsk, Angus genius son. It had created an alliance with Umoja. The Confederates feared the alliance and fired a barrage of nuclear missiles at the planet, nearly wiping out all life. Millions of Korhalian colonists were killed, although the rebel movement still survived – with very small numbers. As a political consequence of this extreme action, the Confederates limited their use of nuclear weaponry to tactical nukes. These nukes would be guided to their destinations by ghosts.
The Confederacy discovered a species of strange xenomorphs among their Fringe Worlds. They conducted experiments with them on the world of Vyctor 5, which was home to the secret "Fujita Facility". The Confederate scientists discovered that the aliens were sensitive to psionic abilities and could even be controlled. Ghost Agent Sarah Kerrigan had the best control over them, and was the only subject allowed to work with them after a point (the rest of the ghost subjects were killed). Unfortunately for the Confederates, Arcturus Mengsk and his Sons of Korhal rebel movement raided the facility, discovered the existence of the aliens and rescued Kerrigan. The Sons of Korhal removed her neuro-adjuster, enabling her to recover her memories. Kerrigan led the Sons of Korhal in an attack on the Ghost Academy, the primary ghost training center, on Tarsonis, destroying it. The Confederates feared that more ghosts might defect, so in order to prevent their memories from being used by their enemies, they started memory wiping the ghosts, a technique that is (at least theoretically) unbreakable.
Ghosts of War
The Terran Confederacy lost their colony of Chau Sara to a sudden attack by a species of technologically advanced aliens, the protoss. Shortly thereafter, another species, the zerg, were spotted on Mar Sara. At the secret Jacobs Installation, the Confederates experimented with a new piece of psionic technology, the psi-emitter. The technology amplified a psychic's powers so the zerg could detect them from far off – the rebel Sons of Korhal movement would later claim that this technology drew the zerg to Mar Sara.
The Confederates found themselves facing off against the zerg, protoss and Sons of Korhal and were losing ground in the war. Ghosts suffered a high mortality rate. Ghost Program Director Ilsa Killiany believed that the ghosts were the only thing keeping the Confederacy alive, and went out of her way to acquire powerful psychics for the program. She even sent an agent to track down a fifteen-year-old scion of the Old Families on Tarsonis in order to forcibly recruit her into the program - by this point, the Confederate knowledge of psionics had expanded; they had psionic detection equipment and could "rate" psychic power on a "Psi Index" from 0 to 10. The teenaged girl, November Terra, was retrieved just as the Sons of Korhal defeated the Confederacy at Tarsonis; ironically, the rebels used the psi-emitter technology to lure zerg to the world and do their dirty work for them. The Confederacy imploded and the Sons of Korhal, renaming itself the Terran Dominion, gained control over many Terran colonies. The Dominion took control of the Ghost Program. The young girl was rescued and taken to the world as part of the new Ghost Program.
Sarah Kerrigan had played a large role in the Sons of Korhal victory, but because she displayed a greater morality than its leader, Arcturus Mengsk, she was abandoned to the zerg on a space platform over Tarsonis. She didn't die, but was infested. She resurfaced on the world of Char as the Queen of Blades. One of her first actions was to attack the Amerigo, a science vessel. Despite her infested state, the Confederacy's old "ghost conditioning", another method used to dampen a disloyal ghost's powers, was still active. She was able to steal the information on the conditioning from the Amerigo's computers and finally break the conditioning.
The Next Generation
The Dominion took over the Ghost Program following the defeat of the Confederacy, relocating the Ghost Academy to Ursa and putting Director Kevin Bick in charge of the program. Under the rule of Arcturus Mengsk, ghosts of the Dominion remained ghosts until they died, without exception—no-one could leave the program voluntarily. Mengsk ordered fully half (282 minus one) of his government's ghosts killed in a controlled environment as part of an "overhaul" of the program, in order to eliminate untrustworthy former Confederate ghosts as well as those considered "worthless". As part of these reforms, Mengsk ordered the construction of dedicated ghost academies equipped with nuclear silos.
The Dominion came into conflict with the Umojan Protectorate over the fate of its ghost trainees. Senator Corbin Phash of Maltair IV secretly harbored a psychic son, Colin. The secret was revealed when the planet was attacked by the zerg. Only the two Phashes survived. Corbin Phash took shelter with the Protectorate, but Colin was captured and inducted into the Program.
The Dominion even tried to assassinate Corbin Phash, but Phash survived the attack. The Dominion turned to public relations to defend its use of ghosts in order to counter propaganda made by former Senator Phash and spread by the Protectorate, publicizing them and making them out to be "superheroes". Despite this however, they have achieved a mythical status, many terrans believing that ghosts or mind-reading do not exist.
As a result of Phash's propaganda, the Ghost Academy became more "open" and comfortable. It began training students in groups on the recommendation of Superintendent Sarco Angelini. While Angelini believed this resulted in a superior training technique, Emperor Arcturus Mengsk was only interested in the public relations value.
Ghost Academy underwent a public relations backfire when it admitted son of the head of the Terran Dominion Treasury Ministry, Aal Cistler, in spite of him not having the correct PI to be trained. After he was kicked out for giving drugs to a student of the academy, Lio Travski, the academy was attacked on the Universal News Network for its mismanagement. Issues were further complicated when a training group rescued members of the Old Families during a training operation, after which Emperor Mengsk had the memories of the training crew wiped and the Old Family scions executed.
The Dominion's Ghost Program instituted a training change; trainees had to undergo a graduation exercise immediately prior to their memory wipe. Nova Terra was the first agent to undergo the process, successfully terminating her targets.
The next generation of ghosts were trained in several new psionic techniques and given access to new technology. In addition to their previous abilities, they could combine psionics and technology to do things such as greatly increase their speed and reflexes and see through objects with heat vision.
This article or section contains information about StarCraft: Ghost, which has been declared non-canon. Elements may be taken as 'flavor lore' however.
Ghost Enhancement Projects
Project Shadow Blade
Following the Brood War, Project Shadow Blade was formed as a secret Terran Dominion project to study the effects of a psionic reagent, terrazine, on terrans. The gas was discovered on the fringe world of Demon's Fair and the experiments took place there. General Horace Warfield led the project. The project was infiltrated by Cole Bennett, an escapee from the Ghost Program, and secretly the head of Nova Squadron, Jackson Hauler. Bennett experimented on himself, increasing his own psionic power. His experimentation was discovered, and the project dissolved. Bennett escaped, hiding his involvement, and three of his experimental subjects were thrown into the New Folsom Prison.
In 2502 Dominion Intelligence Section devised Project Gestalt, in which Dr. Stanley Burgess spliced ghosts with protoss organs. The first resulting gestalt was codenamed Gestalt Zero. The next year, Zero captured a high templar and some of its higher-quality nerve cords were added to him, creating a warrior with a PI of over 7 who fought at 187% of the effectiveness of the typical ghost without any of the "unpredictable" side effects of terrazine enhancement. The project ended in disaster, however.
The Spectre Rebellion
Bennett, bitter at the Dominion's attempt to kill him, turned against Emperor Arcturus Mengsk, but did so secretly. He made contact with another escaped ghost, Gabriel Tosh, a former technopath turned AI, Lio Travski, and the Umojan Protectorate, and recreated his own version of Project Shadowblade. Tosh discovered a new source of terrazine on the world of Altara. Using jorium and psi indoctrinators, they could convert resocialized marines into new, lower-grade spectres. They operated out of Gehenna Station, a cloaked battle platform.
By 2502, ghosts began disappearing from the Program. The Program tried to cover up the disappearances but by 2503, over a dozen ghosts had been abducted. Numerous ghosts were involved in the counter-insurgency/investigation, but their ranks had already been worn thin by the rebel group. The Dominion publicly blamed the terrorist attacks on remnants of the United Earth Directorate Expeditionary Fleet.
Travski was able to replicate Dominion communications, luring ghosts into compromising positions. By 2503 Tosh decided to lure his old training team, Team Blue, into Shadowblade. He lured Kath Toom to Altara and abducted her, slowly converting her to his side. The Dominion responded by sending a wrangler, Malcolm Kelerchian, to investigate. He discovered a modified refinery on the terrazine rift, but it blew up due to Shadowblade sabotage. An injured Kelerchian was trapped on the planet. He made a distress call.
Mengsk dispatched one of his most powerful ghosts, Nova Terra, to retrieve Kelerchian. She was accompanied by Nova Squadron, ferried by its battlecruiser, the Palatine. Due to the rules against reading minds, and also Hauler's unique psionic abilities, she didn't realize she was surrounded by her enemies.
The explosion lured the zerg to Altara, and they got there a little ahead of Nova Squadron. Terra intended to scout, but was interrupted by heavier Nova Squadron forces landing, led by Lieutenant Chet Ward. She rescued Kelerchian, destroyed the zerg, and enabled Nova Squadron to escape. Afterward, a team of ghosts were sent to assist Terra in the investigation. However, one such ghost, Talen Holt, was actually a spectre acting as a mole. In addition, Nova Squadron was accompanied by a special forces unit, the Annihilators, which had issues with Terra.
Shadowblade launched an attack on Augustgrad, intending to capture Mengsk and replace him with Bennett. Despite attempts by Travski to cover it up, the emperor managed to contact other forces for help. The attack was also an attempt to recruit Nova Terra to Shadowblade, but both attempts failed.
Bennett tried a new tactic. Realizing Mengsk trusted Terra, and that she was in love with Kelerchian, he had Kelerchian kidnapped and taken to Gehenna Station. Then he told Terra to turn over Mengsk or he would murder Kelerchian. Terra surrendered, but managed to escape and hid on the Palatine. She also made contact with Travski, converting him to her side. Together they contacted the Annihilators and revealed the plot. They agreed to cooperate.
When the Palatine reached Gehenna, she slipped aboard. She confronted and defeated Kath Toom, who was now loyal to Tosh. She broke Kelerchian from prison.
Meanwhile, Bennett had murdered Toom and pinned the blame on Terra, hoping Tosh would seek her out and kill her. During a confrontation with Terra, the treachery was revealed to Tosh. He attacked Bennett, giving Terra the distraction she needed to kill him.
Terra and Kelerchian escaped in one vessel. Tosh took six indoctrinators, each with a marine, with him on the Palatine. Travski left, believing Shadowblade to be a failed experiment.
Second Great War
Ghost agents were deployed by the Dominion throughout the Second Great War, often coming into conflict with the zerg and Raynor's Raiders. Nova Terra continued her hunt for the spectres, even offering rebel Jim Raynor access to ghost technology in exchange for his aid in hunting the spectres.
After the Battle of Char, Arcturus Mengsk sent a ghost team under Agent Nova, supported by Dominion infantry, to raid the Umojan Protectorate Research Station EB-103 to retrieve a recently uninfested Sarah Kerrigan and Jim Raynor. Kerrigan and a portion of Raynor's Raiders escaped, but the ghost team was able to capture Jim Raynor.
Ghosts were continually used to stop Kerrigan's resurgent Zerg Swarm on Char, Skygeirr Station, the Moros and finally Korhal itself. They were not enough to stop Kerrigan however, and Arcturus Mengsk was killed.
Ghost agent Stone and his crew were assigned to investigate a Moebius battle station threatening Dominion colonies. After calling on the aid of allied commanders, Stone was able to destroy the platform using xel'naga technology.
After coming to the throne, Emperor Valerian Mengsk made reforms to the Dominion Armed Forces. Special attention was given to the Ghost Program. This resulted in better, more committed ghosts who served of their own free will. Among his reforms was to make memory wipes optional, and to allow ghosts to leave the Program voluntarily, though by 2511, only one ghost had taken advantage of the offer.
The harsh training regimen under the Terran Confederacy was further modified when the Terran Dominion took over. Under the Dominion failed trainees were "eliminated" and were required to complete a practical assignment before graduating. Few ghosts survive service long enough to be considered veterans.
Theoretically all ghosts were trained from infancy. It was mandatory for children born within the Confederacy to have a Psi Aptitude (PA) Profile taken within nine months of birth. A score of 2.50 or higher resulted in recruitment into the program. Naturally the ideal of universal testing was impossible and it was possible for Fringe World children to escape detection. In rare cases, children with socially powerful parents could also escape. Cover stories were invented to obfuscate the fate of conscripted children. Some parents were informed their children were being taken to "special schools", and sometimes this was followed by reports the child had "died in an accident".
The Dominion is relatively up front about the recruitment process. Should a child be accepted, parents are given a letter beforehand informing them of their child's selection. However, failure to comply with the child's selection will result in penalties. The recruitment is carried out by the Psi-Ops Division.
PA Profiles aside, telepaths who could be useful to the terran armed forces (either as ghosts or performing other roles) are usually tracked down by "wranglers", mildly psionic agents whose powers are generally only useful for finding other telepaths at close range. They can use equipment to help them in their search, but the equipment is itself limited.
Dominion Ghost Program wranglers are paid for each psychic they bring in, and often work with more conventional military forces. They sometimes use zerglings, "lobotomized" to cut them off from the Zerg Swarm, in order to track down psychics.
The Ghost Academy
- Main article: Ghost Academy
Ghosts have the ability to read minds but generally do not have the ability to block thoughts; ghosts find each other very easy to read. Ghosts and weaker psychics can detect other sources of psionic power.
With the assistance of their hostile environment suit, which ghosts can channel energy through artificial muscle fiber, they can enhance their physical capabilities. A cloaking device and requisite power supply were frequently issued as well; the device requires psionic energy as a component.
The Next Generation
Exceptional ghosts exist that can tear through walls, run at remarkable speeds, and leap tall obstacles. Excitable media rumors of long-range telepathy, telekinesis, and even mind control or other exotic powers have all added to the grisly reputation of ghosts cultivated by their masters. Some ghosts have demonstrated a wider variety of powers; for instance, Sarah Kerrigan (pre-infestation) as well as post) and Nova have demonstrated the ability to damage opponents brains to the point of death. Nova can even kill multiple opponents while leaving someone in the midst of the attack unharmed and, with the assistance of her hostile environment suit, can dramatically increase her speed.
Devon Starke has demonstrated the ability to project his thoughts, as well as remote viewing and psychometry. He and some other ghosts have also demonstrated the ability to plant suicidal and homicidal urges into an opponent's mind.
- Aggression inhibitors, implants which prevent ghosts from attacking their superiors
- Ghost conditioning, which weakens a ghost's psionic abilities
- Psi-screens, a device which can be worn to protect one's mind from mind-reading, also a ghost training device
- Psychic dampeners (known through various similar names), which reshape a ghost's memories, control them in a manner similar to neural resocialization and weaken their powers.
- Memory wipe (successor to the psychic dampener)
Standard Confederate practice was to implant psychic dampeners into all ghosts to weaken and reshape their memories and as a safeguard, acting on the principle of neural resocialization; however these implants could be disabled. Following the defection of Sarah Kerrigan, the Confederacy instituted a policy of memory wipes.
Ghosts are usually silent and are generally loners, in part due to other terrans being wary of their psionic abilities, in part due to their lack of memory of past events. This serves their masters well—the harder it is for ghosts to form relationships, the fewer distractions they have to deal with. Ghosts are expected to remain impassive and forbidden to use their mind-reading powers, but they sometimes accidentally pick up surface thoughts.
The Next Generation
Following the defection of Sarah Kerrigan, the Terran Confederacy instituted new controls on its ghosts. For instance, instead of relying on psychic dampeners, which could be disabled, the memory wipe technique was implemented, and used after training and major missions. They were all subject to "brain panning". Every ghost was implanted with a neural implant whose sole function appeared to track the location of the ghost.
In physical training, ghosts are trained in target shooting, close-quarters combat (martial arts and possibly other techniques) and vehicular expertise. Ghosts are also trained to move quickly and are desensitized to combat; an example would be Sarah Kerrigan's training, who had a gun placed to her head by a guard and was ordered to kill the guard before he killed her. Kerrigan was subjected to this training at age twelve.
Artificial environments and simulations are also common, which include;
- Artificial High Gravity Environment
- Scenario A11-X93 - Trains ghosts to guide tactical nuclear weapons in holo-projection simulations. Referred to as "Nukes Away" by trainees.
- Valerian hostage rescue exercise - Team exercise for Dominion ghosts. Ghosts board a planet-hopper against marines with psi-screens.
- Low-light maze combat exercise - Team exercise for Dominion ghosts. Ghosts combat automated defenses in a darkened maze, using infrared goggles.
- Zerg combat exercise - Team exercise for Dominion ghosts. Ghosts fight automata simulating zerg creatures.
- Urban melee exercise - Team vs. team exercise for Dominion ghosts. Held in a battle-damaged urban environment.
Other Faction Ghost Programs
The Kel-Morian Combine and Umojan Protectorate both have a Ghost Program, which are different than the ones operated by the Terran Confederacy and Terran Dominion. The Umojan version are called "shadowguards", and do not use memory wipes or other forms of control. The Kel-Morian program has essentially been put on hold since the disastrous Guild Wars.
UED Ghost Program
The United Earth Directorate had its own Ghost Program, even though its predecessor the United Powers League tried to wipe out mutants, including psychics. These ghosts played a key role in the assault on the Dylarian Shipyards. Alexei Stukov commanded the loyalty of a number of ghosts.
- A disgruntled male ghost(src)
- AGR-14 rifle
- BOSUN FN92 sniper rifle
- C-10 rifle
- C-20A rifle
- E-11 lockdown device
- Torrent SR-8 shotgun
Ghosts sometimes worked in teams on missions under the Confederacy, such as the assassination of Angus Mengsk. As of 2501, the Dominion has begun teaching ghosts trainees to work in teams in order to improve the Ghost Program's image. Known teams include:
Known Ghost Program Employees
- Main article: Known Ghosts
- Director Kevin Bick (current program head)
- Director Ilsa Killiany (former program head, deceased)
- Commandant Barris Schmidt
Preceptors are responsible for training the students.
- Superintendent Sarco Angelini
- Dr. Gauthier
- Dr. Reginald Morris (formerly)
- Dr. Neall
- Jeff Cristofer
Members of Associated Projects and Forces
- General Leonid Celsus ("Ghostmaster General")
- Colonel Alexander Davidoff (Second Fleet)
- Colonel Jackson Hauler, leader of Nova Squadron (deceased)
- Doctor Stanley Burgess, leader of Project Gestalt (deceased)
- 2005-11-29. Ghost. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2007-09-06.
The list of authors can be seen in the page history of Psionic technology (StarCraft)#Ghost agents.
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