StarCraft #3: Speed of Darkness is the third StarCraft trade paperback novel, written by author Tracy Hickman. The action revolves around a small group of terran marines on Mar Sara during StarCraft Episode I. They must battle the zerg and come to terms with the Sons of Korhal ... and even their masters, the Confederacy of Man.
It became part of the StarCraft Archive.
Far in the future, 60,000 light-years from Earth, a loose confederacy of Terran exiles is locked in battle with the enigmatic Protoss and the ruthless Zerg Swarm, as each species struggles to ensure its own survival among the stars -- war that will herald the beginning of mankind's greatest chapter or foretell its violent, bloody end.
All Ardo Melnikov ever dreamed of was to live in peace on the verdant colony world of Bountiful. But when the vicious Zerg Swarm attacked the colony and annihilated his loved ones, Ardo was forced to wake from his dream and accept the brutal realities of a war-torn galaxy. Now a confederate marine, charged with defending the worlds of the Terran confederacy, Ardo must come to terms with the painful memories of his past -- and the unsettling truths that may dominate his future.
The novel's protagonist, Ardo Melnikov, a new recruit in the Confederate Marine Corps, was devastated over his memories of the destruction of his homeworld, Bountiful, and the loss of his childhood sweetheart Melani Bradlaw. As part of the 417th Confederate Marine Platoon under Lieutenant L. Z. Breanne and her squad sergeant Jon Littlefield, Private Melnikov is assigned to the terran border colony of Mar Sara. The platoon, consisting of marines, firebats and vulture hover cycles, was sent on a "reconnaisance-in-force" into a seemingly abandoned backwater town, where they encountered the zerg. After an intense firefight, they recovered a mysterious "box" and an unconscious woman. The remnants of the platoon retreated towards their base, but before they reached it, a tactical nuke dropped behind them, obliterating the town and the zerg attackers. When they arrived at base, it too was found deserted save for a lone SCV operator, Marcus Jans.
The woman from the town, named Merdith Jernic, awakened in the command center and Melnikov (still traumatized over his past) briefly mistook her for Melani Bradlaw. Jernic revealed to Melnikov that she had psionic powers, and tried to help him come to terms with his loss. In so doing, Melnikov found that his memories may be fake, a fabrication of the neural resocialization process of the Confederacy. It appeared that he was, in reality, abducted and conscripted by Confederate marines.
Soon, the platoon, trapped in their base, realized that the Confederate forces were abandoning Mar Sara and that civilians trying to flee would shortly be under attack by the zerg. Jernic revealed that she was, in fact, is a member of the Sons of Korhal, and that a Sons team brought her the box. It was a device known as a psi emitter, designed to lure the zerg across interstellar distances. The platoon was sent to find the emitter, secure it, and then die in the tactical nuclear strike, without being informed of their impending deaths.
An effort to evacuate the platoon from the base ended disastrously: a flight of mutalisks noticed the base and attacked, and Sergeant Littlefield was killed defending the command center. Lieutenant Breanne decided to reactivate the psi emitter in order to lure the zerg from the civilians attempting to leave Mar Sara in transports provided by the Sons of Korhal. The platoon then set about fortifying the base with mines and automated defenses in preparation for the impending attack.
After a vast and destructive battle, the platoon was eventually reduced to Melnikov, Breanne, Merdith, Cutter (a firebat), Jans (the SCV operator), and Bernelli and Xiang (other marines). Confined to one last bunker, they fought to the death, and the civilians were able to escape due to their thankless act of heroism.
- Fetu Koura-Abi aka "Cutter" – firebat
- Tegis Marz – pilot of the Valkyrie Vixen (a dropship)
- Marcus Jans – brother of Marz and an SCV operator
- L. Z. Breanne – platoon leader
- Jon Littlefield – a sergeant in the platoon
- Merdith Jernic – Sons of Korhal technician
Note: These characters were only mentioned or had little to no role during the story.
- Melani Bradlaw – Melnikov's childhood friend on Bountiful
Hickman, Tracy (May 21, 2002). StarCraft: Speed of Darkness. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 978-0671-04150-2.
The list of authors can be seen in the page history of StarCraft: Speed of Darkness.
Wikipedia content was licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License prior to June 15, 2009 is. Wikipedia content from June 15, 2009, and StarCraft Wiki content, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported).
- Starcraft #3: Speed of Darkness. Simon & Schuster. Accessed 2009-05-12 (excerpt).
- Draztal. 2011-02-14. Galaxy Archives - StarCraft: Speed of Darkness. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2011-02-19 (excerpt).