"Sir, I received an encrypted transmission from an untraceable source. It claims that Tosh here was part of a classified operation called Project: Shadowblade. They used jorium and terrazine to enhance ghost powers."
"It's true. We are called Spectres -- next generation Ghosts."

Project Shadow Blade (a.k.a. the Spectre Program)[1] was a secret research project devised by Terran Dominion emperor Arcturus Mengsk after the Brood War.

It would later be considered a subversive offshoot of the Ghost Program.[2]

The existence of Shadow Blade continues to be classified within the Dominion.[3]



In 2501, an unmanned Terran Dominion probe discovered the fringe world of Demon's Fair. Further investigation showed protoss ruins (of the Tal'darim sect); the Tal'darim had been mining a gas called terrazine until they had exhausted it. However, they had let another gas-producing rift alone.

A linguist translated the name from protoss writings. A scientific officer convinced Arcturus Mengsk to exploit the psi-enhancing gas for military applications. Mengsk created Project Shadowblade, putting it under level nine classification. The project was led by General Horace Warfield.

The project came to the attention of Colonel Jackson Hauler, the commander of Nova Squadron. Hauler was secretly a psychic, with a PI of 8.5. Hauler arranged to vanish on a "secret mission" and took on the identity of Cole Bennett, a biomedical researcher.

The gas was tested on animals, some condemned prisoners, and eventually several volunteers (some being low-level psychics). The gas increased psychic power, but it was addictive and created hallucinations and violent outbursts.

In addition, Bennett was experimenting on himself. The chief scientist discovered this and went to warn Warfield about this. Bennett couldn't allow this to happen.[4]

The following section contains information from Heroes of the Storm that is ambiguously canonical.

To support what they hoped would be the next generation of psychic super soldiers, the Dominion began designing specialized equipment for Project Shadowblade. This included the phantom, which was to serve as a single-rider infiltration vehicle for the Dominion's elite spectre operatives.[1]


"From what I heard, they discontinued with extreme prejudice."

- A Dominion marine on the project's termination(src)

Mengsk grew leery of the project and ordered its termination. According to Bennett, after Warfield was recalled, Mengsk sent in marines to eliminate the project members. Other sources indicate that Bennett had gone mad through his self-experimentation and killed most of the project members himself. In any event, Bennett was declared dead, but in fact had used his memory-altering abilities to fool the others. He escaped with a few "grunts", while the other project members (beyond Warfield) were either killed, except three who were thrown into New Folsom Prison. These events left Bennett wishing revenge on the Dominion. Bennett infiltrated the Dominion as Jackson Hauler, later becoming the commanding officer of Nova Squadron.

One of the prisoners was able to resist "brain-panning" due to the effects of terrazine gas. He kept this a secret from everyone except his brother. This man came into contact with Gabriel Tosh, a former ghost who had escaped from the Dominion Ghost Program and was left with a seething hatred of the Dominion. Tosh went looking for the terrazine, until he discovered a source of it on the world of Altara.

A few weeks later he met Cole Bennett. Bennett knew of Tosh's history. Tosh helped Bennett broker a deal with the Umojan Protectorate to gather resources for a coup against Arcturus Mengsk.[4]


"You could lead them all and become the most powerful spectre who ever lived. Think of the zerg, an army made for one purpose, and ruled by one mind. We could do the same with our Marine Corps, lead by a few, talented psionic warriors!"

- General Cole Bennett(src)

Main article: Spectre Rebellion

By 2502, the rebels had begun abducting Dominion ghosts, removing their neural implants and exposing them to terrazine. By 2503, at least a dozen ghosts had been abducted this way. Over the months of the year, the group disabled several military and trade targets, assassinated leaders and disrupted supply chains. Dominion media labeled the attacks as the work of UED terrorist cells, but rumors of psionic super soldiers still leaked through. Things came to a head on Altara, the site of the project's latest abduction. Events were accelerating, and while Bennett wanted more time to prepare, he decided the time had come for the movement to make its final strike against Mengsk.

A spectre team moved in to capture Mengsk, and take him away to renegade reporter Michael Liberty, where he'd confess his crimes. However, this operation was stopped by the interference of Nova Terra and a squad of ghosts. The victory came at a great price however, as a large number of marines and staff were killed, and all but two ghosts in Nova's squadron died. The other two were captured and indoctrinated into the spectre program.

Desperate, Cole Bennett played his hand, revealing he and his crew of Nova Squadron were behind the attack and gassing Nova with the intent of indoctrinating her. She and her wrangler friend Malcolm Kelerchian were brought to Gehenna Station. However, Nova broke out, and reunited with Kelerchian. Nova faced off with Bennett, killing him. Outside the base, the 22nd Dominion Marine Division approached, and began attacking the station. Nova escaped with Kelerchian, and the 22nd released a nuclear missile at the base, destroying it and ending Bennett's uprising.

However, Tosh escaped the station with six spectres in stasis tubes. He returned to his homeworld of Haji, intending to restart the spectre program when the time was right.[4]

The Shadow WarEdit

With a vacuum of power, Tosh was left as leader of the spectres and plotted ways to reform the program. Nova Terra captured and imprisoned many of its members in New Folsom Prison.[5] In spite of this, the Dominion was rumored to continue to use spectres.[6]

GabrielToshMissons SC2 Icon1

This article or section contains information from the optional Covert Missions in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.

During the Second Great War, Tosh sought to build upon the Project by acquiring jorium, terrazine, and more suitable candidates.[5] He established a spectre training facility at Avernus Station. [7] Nova was sent to stop Tosh.[7][5] To this end, Tosh recruited Jim Raynor, offering credits and later his services to help bring down Mengsk. They retrieved jorium from Redstone III[8] and terrazine from Bel'Shir.[9] With those pieces in place, Tosh and Raynor moved on New Folsom Prison with the intent of freeing the spectres within. However, Raynor was contacted by Nova, who warned him of the spectre's psychotic tendencies.[5]

Plot branch : Raynor's Raiders continue helping Tosh (A canon)

Raynor disregarded Nova, proceeding with the operation. Raynor sent his forces to attack the prison while Tosh surgically took out its defenders. After all opposition was removed, Raynor freed the spectres from New Folsom, as well as a large number of political prisoners.[5]

Plot branch ends here
Plot branch : Raynor's Raiders side with Nova against Tosh (B canon)

With knowledge of how psychotic the spectres could be, Raynor decided to disrupt Tosh's operation. He had set up on Avernus Station. Nova allied with Raynor, destroying the spectre's jorium stockpiles, terrazine tanks and psionic waveform indoctrinator. Later, Nova assassinated Tosh, ending the threat of a new Project Shadowblade. [7]

Plot branch ends here

Tosh and his Spectres continued to fight alongside Raynor, through their raid on Char and beyond. When Raynor was captured by Mengsk in the later stages of the Second Great War, Tosh and his spectres offered their aid to Sarah Kerrigan in finding him aboard the Moros, but she refused.[10]

Under a New GodEdit

When the fallen xel'naga Amon returned, the Void based connection of the terrazine gas made those of Project Shadowblade susceptible to his influence. Spectres flocked to Moebius Corps, and aided in their raid on Korhal, disabling the platform Sky Shield.[11] They also aided the Tal'darim in attempting to prevent the Daelaam from accessing Ulnar, though their blockade was destroyed.[12] Spectres later fought inside the temple itself, trying to block the way of Sarah Kerrigan and Hierarch Artanis as they attempted to reawaken the xel'naga in the temple.[13] Spectres were also present in the final stand of Moebius Corps at Revanscar, though the defenders were destroyed with the base.[14]

In spite of this, not all spectres fell to Amon's influence, and during the final assault into the Void Jim Raynor deployed uninfluenced spectres against Amon during their defense of Sarah Kerrigan as she channeled the energy of the xel'naga Ouros.[15]

Known MembersEdit

Development NotesEdit

StarCraft Ghost Logo2

This article or section contains information about StarCraft: Ghost, which has been declared non-canon. Elements may be taken as 'flavor lore' however.
The content may be significantly out of date. Please do not add speculation to this article, and remember to cite a published source for details.

The concept of Project Shadowblade had its origins in StarCraft: Ghost. Here, also, the program used terrazine gas to alter the genetic profile of ghosts, transforming them into spectres – shadowy superhuman beings bent on executing the will of their true master.[16] The program also used protoss technology.[17][18]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Blizzard Entertainment. Heroes of the Storm (Blizzard Entertainment) (in English). June 2, 2015
  2. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. (Activision Blizzard). PC. UNN newscast after "Breakout." (in English). 2010.
  3. 2015-09-18, NYCC 2015 – James Waugh’s StarCraft Field Manual Signing Schedule. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2015-09-23
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Kenyon, Nate. (September 27, 2011). StarCraft: Ghost: Spectres. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 978-1439-10938-0.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mission: Wings of Liberty, Breakout (in English). 2010-07-27.
  6. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Armory units (in English). 2010.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mission: Wings of Liberty, Ghost of a Chance (in English). 2010-07-27.
  8. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mission: Wings of Liberty, The Devil's Playground (in English). 2010-07-27.
  9. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mission: Wings of Liberty, Welcome to the Jungle (in English). 2010-07-27.
  10. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mission: Heart of the Swarm, Conviction (in English). 2013-03-12.
  11. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mission: Sky Shield. (in English). November 10, 2015
  12. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mission: Temple of Unification. (in English). November 10, 2015
  13. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mission: The Infinite Cycle (mission). (in English). November 10, 2015
  14. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mission: Templar's Charge. (in English). November 10, 2015
  15. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. (Activision Blizzard). PC. Mission: The Essence of Eternity. (in English). November 10, 2015
  16. 2006-02-15. Story. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2007-09-01.
  17. John Lagrave, IGN staff. 2004-05-11. E3 2004: StarCraft Ghost Interview. IGN. Accessed 2008-10-26.
  18. Chris Remo. 2005-11-11. Starcraft: Ghost Preview. Shacknews. Accessed 2008-10-26.
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