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Talen Ayers is a famous research geneticist and author.
Ayers was born in a drafty, one-room farmer's shack. Despite this, he attended Tarsonis University (achieving top honors) and received a double PhD from Korhal Academy. One of his written works became the first treatise on xenobiology to be made an Augustgrad Times bestseller.
Dr. Ayers taught evolutionary theory to his daughter, Maren. He taught a hypothesis that mutation rates increase when populations have been drastically reduced. Maren could not see the logic in this, as this would require biochemical communication at the genetic level. Dr. Ayers failed his daughter that semester, despite her perfect test scores, saying she didn't get the most important part.
Dr. Ayers was upset when his daughter dropped out of grad school to join the Dominion Marine Corps as a medic. She later came to believe his theories at the Siege of Cask, where a substantially reduced zerg population evolved a new breed, the baneling.
- Ayers's message to Helek Branamoor (excerpt)(src)
Ayers was among the scientists recruited for Project Blackstone. "Recruitment," in his case, translated to a ghost forcibly removing him from his house during the night, without even giving him time to pack a toothbrush. Upon his arrival he received beta-level security clearance, and was immediately put off by the sterile reception Adjutant 33-27 gave him.
Ayers made his objections clear through an email to the project's head, Dr Helek Branamoor, though the other researchers received it as well. Ayers maintained that he was a supporter of the Dominion, and would have come willingly at his request. In response, Branamoor restricted personal communication, canceled the introductory barbeque, and got the scientists to work on larva samples. He would later reflect on the incident in his personal log. Engineer Red Quinton complimented him on the message however, and despite their different fields, the two hit it off.
Sometime later, he and Dr. Talise Cogan were to work on zergling specimens, but there was some delay in their arrival. Eventually they arrived, and Ayers complimented Cogan on her analysis on the modified zergling endocrine system. He also tried to invite her to a Valentine's Day meal, but she wasn't interested. Still, even with the facility's poor Thursday meals (a low quality that Ayers complained about, and everyone agreed with), work on the zerglings continued. He sent Cogan a summary of his findings on zergling-baneling mutations. She disagreed with his thesis on zerg "cellular recognition," the idea that individual zerg cells could respond to changes in the biome of another member of the same species. She instead considered it more likely that such changes were driven by "Alpha zerg," such as cerebrates or queens.
Regardless, the pair continued their work, made easier when Branamoor lifted the ban on linked datapads. They went over the notes of Dr Sandra Loew, the deceased head researcher on the failed Project Tamed. Ayers commended her on her focus, but noted her lack of impartiality on the subject. They also discussed the upcoming arrival of a mutalisk specimen from Choss and the difficulties that a mutalisk dissection would bring. He would later work on projects regarding overlord mental capabilities, and on infested terrans, but would soon find many zerg samples were being routed to Quinton in order to get results on weapons research over theory.
Later, Ayers found out from Jake Ramsey that something has happened to his daughter Maren. Quinton revealed that Dr. Daniel Rothfuss knows more about Maren's fate. In an e-mail conversation with Rothfuss, Ayers was told how his and Cogan's daughters were considered "troublesome girls" by Mengsk himself, and that details of Maren's fate were highly classified, but related to Project Blackstone. Rothfuss also told Ayers about the inhumane research being conducted by the Dominion in the lower level labs, and hoped that Ayers would help him destroy Project Blackstone. Ayers gave Rothfuss the benefit of the doubt, that his intentions were noble. However, soon afterwards, he saw that something wrong with Cogan. His fellow scientist lashed out at Ayers, distraught over the death of her daughter. Cogan soon applied for a transfer and soon left the project.
Angry, Ayers confronted Rothfuss over the issue, knowing that the doctor had told her something. Rothfuss told Ayers what he'd told Cogan, that he knew that Cogan's daughter had been caught up in the recent conflict between the Dominion and Swarm, and that contact with her had been lost at Meinhoff. He didn't know if Cogan's daughter was actually dead, hadn't told Cogan that, and was surprised at her reaction. Ayers cynically commented that Rothfuss likely didn't have any children.
Ayers returned to work, doing so without Cogan's presence. He made two copies of his journal in case his superiors caught wind of his discussions with Rothfuss. He reflected that Rothfuss hadn't provided any proof for his claims, and that he might have mentioned Maren simply to grab his attention. However, the seed of doubt had taken root, and while he'd long defended Mengsk as a leader humanity needed, if the emperor's ruthless actions had brought his daughter to harm...
The Face of MadnessEdit
- Ayers in his log(src)
Further compounding the issue was that the facility was running low on supplies. Knowing this, Doctor Warren Held released a number of zergling specimens, intending to reduce the facility's human population so he would have more food, water, and air, to carry out his own research. The result was a bloodbath, though Ayers and a number of other staff members were able to barricade themselves in the mess hall. For a week, they remained there, supplies dwindling, hope fading. Ramblings from Branamoor and some 'translation' from the adjutant revealed that the shuttle Daisy 8 was still docked with the facility. Quinton used his datapad to chart a course, but it was at this point that they realized that Doctor Leah Martine had disappeared. The adjutant reported that zergling vital signs were being terminated, leading the group to realize that Martine was making her way to the shuttle, and using her cane to kill any zergling that tried to stop her. They followed, only for Martine to take the shuttle herself, stranding Ayers and his fellow survivors.
Thus, they were in an equally grim situation. Major Lee Treicher (another survivor) had six bullets left in her pistol, but there were seven zerglings remaining, so any plan would have to rely on more than firepower. Quinton suggested that he jury rig the fuel pumps of the hellions in the base's garage and send his homemade ethanol (with a bit of plasma) through the base's ventilation system, strategically incinerating each zergling. It would cut down on their oxygen supplies, but Ayers and the group approved of the plan. And the plan worked, though Quinton had to sacrifice his own life in the final stages, taking out the last zergling with him. Ayers swore that his sacrifice would never be forgotten.
The group made their way down to the lower levels to deal with Held. However, he had already been dealt with, courtesy of his last surviving experiment, a protoss named Kaeon. Cogan was also present, who had released Kaeon and let the protoss take his revenge against his tormentor, a revenge that Treicher completed. Thus, in the lower levels of the facility, all they could do was wait. Plants grown by Doctor Vera Langridge provided the group with some food and oxygen, but rescue would have to come from the outside. Ayers recorded events in his journal, praying that rescue would come.
A Dash of DénouementEdit
- Ayers after the group's rescue(src)
Salvation finally arrived in the form of Valerian Mengsk, now emperor of the Dominion. Dominion forces entered the facility, restoring its structural integrity, and bringing supplies, medkits, and oxygen with them. With communications re-established, a message from Valerian was sent to their datapads, promising change for the Dominion, and the hope that despite their ordeal, they would continue working for Dominion interests. Ayers's reaction was mixed—after learning how Valerian had worked with the Queen of Blades to topple his father, the word "treason" sprung to mind. But upon reflection of what the elder Mengsk had intended through Project Blackstone, he couldn't conjure any moral outrage.
Valerian was true to his word in regards to accommodation, and Ayers found himself on the DS Brin, a science vessel. Ayers warmed up to Valerian's proposal, and concluded that while Blackstone's methods had been distasteful, the cause of advancing humanity was in itself a worthy endeavor. Indeed, Valerian asked Ayers to be head of the new-and-improved Project Blackstone. It was an offer that Ayers wasn't sure how to respond to. Made worse that he still had no idea of his daughter's whereabouts, and to his dismay, Valerian informed him that even his most classified records did not contain any info on her whereabouts. Ayers feared the worst, and hoped for the best. It would take time for the Brin to be completely retrofitted for long-term space exploration, and until that was ready, he could ponder his path.
Personality and TraitsEdit
- Talen Ayers(src)
Ayers described himself as a patriot and supporter of the Terran Dominion, and made no secret about his ego. His mind has been described as a "interplanetary treasure" by Michael Liberty in an old UNN expose. His daughter, on the other hand, described him as an embarrassing backwards yokel. He has also demonstrated sarcastic and flirtatious aspects of his personality, and admits that modesty isn't one of his strong suits.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 Blizzard Entertainment. Project Blackstone, accessed on 2013-02-06
- ↑ Dayton, Cameron et al (July 21, 2014). StarCraft II: War Stories. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ASIN B00IWTWTBY.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Dayton, Cameron. "Broken Wide." (March 5, 2010). Blizzard Entertainment. Broken Wide Accessed 2010-03-05.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Project Blackstone Tweets. Cameron Dayton's Twitter, accessed on 2013-05-20