The novel is a look at three generations of the Mengsk family, including Arcturus' early life and the relationship between his father and his son. It explores whether a man's destiny is his own and how it's shaped by earlier generations. Valerian came of age and met his father for the first time in I, Mengsk.
The timeframe of I, Mengsk covers Arcturus' youth on Korhal to the years following the end of the Brood War. The novel is divided into a section for Angus, Arcturus, and Valerian although there is a degree of overlap.
Sixty-thousand light-years from Earth, the corrupt Terran Confederacy holds the Koprulu Sector tightly in its tyrannical grip, controlling every aspect of its citizens' lives. One man dares to stand up to this faceless empire and vows to bring it to its knees: Arcturus Mengsk -- genius propagandist, tactician, and freedom fighter.
A monstrous act of bloody violence sows the seeds of rebellion in Arcturus, but he is not the first Mengsk to rail against such oppression. Before Arcturus grew to manhood, his father, Angus Mengsk, also defied the Confederacy and sought to end its brutal reign.
The destiny of the Mengsk family has long been tied to that of the Confederacy and the Koprulu Sector, but as a new empire rises from the ashes of the past and alien invaders threaten the very existence of humanity, what will the future hold for the next generation...?
A black-cloaked figure broke into the Mengsk Dynasty's summer home, south of Styrling, Korhal. He was caught by the head of security, Achton Feld, who asked the figure why he was breaking into his own house. Feld expressed disappointment that the interloper – seventeen-year old Arcturus Mengsk – wasn't aware of the visit of the Umojan ambassador, Ailin Pasteur and his teenage daughter, Juliana. His interrogation of Arcturus Mengsk was interrupted by a "corporate death squad" which had broken into the house as well, carrying out an assassination mission. During the gunfight, Feld was injured. One of the attackers targeted Arcturus, who was rescued by his mother, Katherine. She had taken Feld's gun.
The attackers turned out to be disguised neurally resocialized marines. Angus Mengsk, a senator of Korhal, was angered by this attack on his family, as was Pasteur, who offered to support Angus' political initiative – a freedom fighter movement against the Terran Confederacy. Arcturus overhead part of the conversation and was upset that what his father planned would kill people, but swore not to tell anyone about it. Angus Mengsk and his son didn't get along or understand each other well; Angus believed that Arcturus wasn't yet ready to become a man, and should eventually follow in his father's footsteps. Arcturus was more interested in becoming a prospector, an occupation Angus felt was beneath their family's dignity.
Arcturus Mengsk went back to school at the Styrling Academy, which didn't challenge him academically. He continued his feud with the principal, Isaac Steegman. While there, the Confederate Marine Corps sent a team of recruiters led by Captain Angelina Emillian of the 33rd Ground Assault Division to enlist students. Emillian had read Arcturus' personal file (an illegal act by her own admission) and tried to persuade him to join. She told him only about half of marine recruits ever see combat, and he could learn much about prospecting there.
At Arcturus' graduation party, class of 2478, he exposed Steegman's various frauds, leading to the principal's arrest. After the party, he reconnected with Juliana Pasteur, who had become smitten with him.
Meanwhile, Angus Mengsk continued his political attacks on the Confederacy. He gave an anti-Confederate speech at the senate's Close of Session event. Arcturus Mengsk, meanwhile, signed up with the Confederate Marine Corps that very morning, a gesture unappreciated by his family. He left without saying goodbye.
Approximately two years later, Arcturus Mengsk was a lieutenant in the 33rd Ground Assault Division of the Confederate Marine Corps. He was currently leading a subunit called "Dominion section," consisting of himself and five other marines.
His task was to assist his commanding officer, Captain Angelina Emillian, and her group of neurally resocialized marines, to throw out Kel-Morian-associated miners at an illegal deep-core operation in Turanga Canyon, Sonyan, then capture their operation intact. The miners had fended off the last Confederate assault with a combination of goliaths, missile turrets and "lots of guns".
A force of marines, firebats and a siege tank were transported to the combat zone by dropship, but they were shot out of the sky by a missile turret and crash-landed in the canyon. Dominion section survived, but several resocialized marines were wounded and Emillian was out of action, leaving Lieutenant Mengsk in charge. The Kel-Morians immediately began to pour fire onto the Confederates. Mengsk ordered the resocialized troops to draw fire while Dominion section climbed out of the canyon and ambushed them.
Following this victory – which cost him the majority of the resocialized troops – Mengsk spoke with the mine operator, Lemuel Baden. Baden claimed he was there legally, but Mengsk told him he had to leave, otherwise the siege tank would destroy the mine. Baden caved in.
When Mengsk spoke about the incident with Emillian, who was recovering at base camp, she was disappointed in him. Not only had his tactics lost most of her troops, but she disapproved of his intention to destroy the mining facility against orders. Mengsk countered that he knew Baden would back down, but Emillian felt that he didn't "get it". Meanwhile, Mengsk realized that Baden did, in fact, have a valid claim to the mine, but Emillian was determined to steal it in order to protect the Confederate way of life and avoid being beholden to the Kel-Morians. She worried that Mengsk would turn out like his father, as well as any children he might have. She told Mengsk to go on leave and come back with his head "in the game".
Another Kind of Conflict
On leave, Mengsk planned to visit his family, but not before spending time with Juliana Pasteur... and her two Umojan bodyguards. Their visit was interrupted by a rebel attack. Mengsk realized who they were, prompting them to begin shooting. In addition to trying to kill him – Mengsk was wearing a military uniform – they also attacked the Umojan and several Confederate marines who had been enjoying themselves. A short firefight broke out; Mengsk and Pasteur had barely survived. Mengsk was hailed as a hero by the Confederate militia which arrived afterward. The young couple became emotional and enjoyed themselves.
Mengsk returned to Korhal to meet his family. He connected with his younger sister Dorothy, but had less success with the rest of his family. Achton Feld suggested he make a clean break, and not return until he was ready. Arcturus, who was already avoiding Juliana Pasteur by this point, promptly broke contact with her.
Five years later, Arcturus Mengsk had been promoted to captain. The commander of the 33rd Ground Assault Division, Brantigan Fole, ordered him to work with a fellow captain, Edmund Duke of Alpha Squadron, to capture the Noranda Glacier vespene refinery from the Kel-Morian Combine on the icy world of Onuru Sigma. Duke was put in charge of the combined operation.
The site was dangerous due to contaminated vespene gas ... as well as a carefully planned ambush by the Kel-Morians. Duke's aggressive tactics resulted in the loss of many of his troops. He was pinned down, and Mengsk had to rescue him. Mengsk called for air support, asking a Wraith pilot to blow up much of the facility while his own Dominion section attacked, resulting in the loss of two of his close soldiers. Mengsk managed to extract Duke's forces but was forced to retreat as brigades of Kel-Morian Combine troops and heavy air forces such as battlecruisers reached the scene of battle. The Guild Wars had been declared.
Four years later, Arcturus Mengsk, having been promoted to colonel, had left the Confederacy military. Taking with him former co-soldier Dia de Santo, he had become a successful prospector. As they explored a risky venture, he received an urgent summons from Ailin Pasteur. Meanwhile, Universe News Network was reporting the Guild Wars were coming to an end and that Angus Mengsk had declared war on the Confederacy. Martial law had been declared on Korhal and the Confederacy was planning unspecified retaliation. Mengsk's day continued to have big news – the site turned out to have a huge lode of well-hidden, high-quality minerals.
Arcturus Mengsk was stunned. He tried to get used to the idea and bond with his son, but came to the conclusion that he was "bookish, effeminate and weak". He hadn't like the way Juliana Pasteur had raised him and tried to raise him to be a man like himself. The two did enjoy practicing fencing, however. Juliana Pasteur pointed out that Arcturus was trying to raise his son to be a copy of himself, the same way Angus had tried to raise Arcturus. Meanwhile, Juliana was suffering from an unspecified illness, which would only get worse over the years.
Arcturus took several days to compose a "non-incriminating" message to his mother and sister about his new son. The response from Korhal, however, came from Achton Feld – Angus, Katherine and Dorothy Mengsk had all been murdered, despite strict security measures. Arcturus became consumed with revenge. Ailin Pasteur promised him all the support he could give. He told Mengsk about the newly announced Umojan Protectorate, an organization designed to defend Umoja from the Confederacy.
Realizing his message was likely intercepted by the Confederacy, Mengsk insisted that Valerian and Juliana Pasteur go into hiding. While on the move, Valerian would be taught academics and sword fighting by Arcturus' old instructor, Master Miyamoto.
Two years later, Valerian had toughened himself up. He was aware of the Rebellion's tactics – destroying Old Family factories and assassinating Confederate officials – when he received word that the Confederacy had destroyed Korhal.
Six years later, Valerian and Arcturus had a reunion on the world of Van Osten's "Moon", where Valerian, following in the footsteps of archaeologist Jake Ramsey, investigated strange alien architecture. However, he and his father couldn't seem to connect over this issue. Arcturus had plans to make Valerian his heir, and "apologized" for calling Valerian "weak" during their earliest time together. Arcturus admitted he now had a better understanding of the relationship between himself and his own father. The two began to understand each other a little better.
A Mysterious Enemy
Three years later, Arcturus Mengsk had been named emperor of the Terran Dominion, and six months after that he traveled to Umoja to meet his son again at Ailin Pasteur's house. He was accompanied by a fleet of Dominion vessels led by General Edmund Duke. Juliana Pasteur had finally fallen out of love with Arcturus, and cautioned Valerian that Arcturus used people. She didn't want Arcturus to use him too.
Before arriving at Umoja, Arcturus had to negotiate with Ailin Pasteur about the movements of his Dominion vessels, since Pasteur was concerned about the direction the new Dominion was traveling. Arcturus promised not to send his vessels close to Umoja, arriving in an out-of-date system gun cutter instead with a small number of soldiers.
He didn't know that his movements were being tracked by Confederate remnants. They had recently made an alliance with an outside party, and together they had captured the city of Boralis, capital of the Dominion world of Braxis. Using the stolen codes, they could track Arcturus Mengsk, at least until the Dominion became aware of the fall of Braxis. A pair of officers, Angelina Emillian and her mysterious partner would strike when Arcturus was vulnerable.
A heavy lander, carrying approximately 30 marines, along with a quartet of Wraiths struck. The attackers used a Cassandra scrambler to cut off communication with the Umojans and the Dominion. Emillian led the troops against Dominion and Umojan forces; Arcturus, Valerian, Miyamoto and the small number of remaining Dominion soldiers retreated. The two Mengsk took shelter within the shattered remnants of the gun cutter, where they were failing to hold off the larger number of Confederate marines. Emillian entered the vessel and confronted Valerian Mengsk. She recognized him as Arcturus' son and tried to kill him, but her weapon was damaged by Master Miyamoto. This gave Valerian an opening to shoot her down. Arcturus arrived, and Emillian had just enough time to taunt him about the next threat to his reign – the UED.
Shortly afterwards, Duke's fleet (having ignored Umojan instructions) arrived, finishing off the remaining Confederate marines. Once again, the Dominion and the Umojan Protectorate had to renegotiate the shipping patterns of the Dominion capital ships.
Eighteen months after the attack on Umoja, Juliana Pasteur died. Arcturus Mengsk and a small number of high-ranking Dominion advisers attended the funeral. He told Valerian his life story, then told him he didn't need his son to be like him, he just wanted to be proud of him... and was.
Valerian said he would be his own man and not make Arcturus' mistakes, and Arcturus agreed – pointing out that Valerian would make his own mistakes instead. Meanwhile, the two set about rebuilding their empire.
Other Mengsk Dynasty Characters
Other Main Characters
- Lennox Craven
- Edmund Duke
- Samir Duran
- Achton Feld
- Chuck Horner
- Toby Mercurio
- Master Miyamoto
- Dia de Santo
- Isaac Steegman
- Charles Whittier
Note: These characters were only mentioned or had little to no role during the story.
I, Mengsk describes Dylar IV as a gas giant. The original StarCraft manual stats that Dylar IV was infested by the zerg (something seemingly impossible if it was a gas giant) and the Alternity RPG described it as a desert world. In the board game, Dylar IV resembles a gas giant, complete with an "eye" similar to the one possessed by Jupiter.
Firstborn states that Valerian Mengsk was three years old when he had to flee from assassins of the Terran Confederacy. However, in I, Mengsk, Valerian did not meet Arcturus nor begin fleeing from the Confederacy until he was seven years old.
McNeill, Graham (December 30, 2008). StarCraft: I, Mengsk. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 978-1-4165-5083-9.
- McNeill, Graham. 2007-07-05. Monkey Gland Sauce. Graham Mcneill's Weblog. Accessed 2008-07-26.
- Download Seasonal Catalogs (Fall 2008 Pocket Books Catalog). Simon & Schuster. Accessed 2008-08-29.
- Medievaldragon. 2008-28-02. New Starcraft Novel -- Starcraft: I, Mengsk. Blizzplanet. Accessed 2008-02-29.
- StarCraft Legacy staff. 2008-04-04. StarCraft II Lore Panel. StarCraft Legacy. Accessed on 2009-05-12
- Underwood, Peter, Bill Roper, Chris Metzen and Jeffrey Vaughn. StarCraft (Manual). Irvine, Calif.: Blizzard Entertainment, 1998.
- Bill Slavicsek, David Eckelberry, Shawn F. Carnes (March 1, 2000). Alternity: StarCraft Edition. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-1618-4