Let's talk about the Terrans (Starcraft)

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Let's talk about the Terrans (Starcraft)

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-04-18 09:28am

I've been (re)reading Starcraft novels lately, and the Terran Confederacy, and later the Terran Dominion, are culturally interesting.

Earth had nuclear wars, cyberpunk cyborgs, psychic mutants, etc., and eventually fell into a sort of fascism of eliminating anyone who was genetically 'impure', or went against the "Divinity of Mankind". All these people were rounded up and sent as a test case for future colonization. They were put aboard sleeper ships, and sent to an alien system to colonize. The navigation utterly failed, and they wound up in the Koprulu sector instead. Some of the sleeper ships crashed, others landed, and they started forming civilizations of their own.

The Nagglfar, the first supercarrier, landed on the world Tarsonis, and they established civilization. It's from ships filled with refugees, political prisoners, hardened criminals, and minorities that this new civilization was founded, connected, but essentially separate from Earth civilizations.

The commanding officers of those ships were in charge, and eventually established dynasties that ruled the planet, and eventually the rest of Terran space in the Koprulu sector. Like the historical Confederacy it's flag apes, the Confederacy is a government established around protecting the power and wealth of the rich elites at the cost of everyone else. This leads to sizable corruption and problems on the capital world, as well as the later colonies that they establish throughout the sector. Every single planet colonized by Terrans is meant to serve Tarsonis in some form or fashion, whether as a mining planet, a research outpost, agriculture, or simply a giant resort. As expected, people are bitter about this, and try to rebel, or settle out even further to establish their own independent colony.

This leads to military actions wherein the Confederacy starts claiming mines or other properties from independents, and asserting their control over it. Some well established colonies, such as Korhal, worked to militarize so as to fight off the Confederacy when given a chance. The Korhal fighters were so effective at fighting the Confederates that eventually the Confederates showed how little they respected insurrection, and nuked the planet.

It's noted that their ground military is 50 percent neurally resocialized (brainpanned) criminals. Convicted violent offenders, as well as sometimes kidnapped colonists who were taken, processed, brainwashed, and with a new personality to serve as front line troops in combat. Their new personality could be seen as unnerving to normal people, and would not hold up to scrutiny in regular conversation, but they were still used at recruitment stations for the Confederate military. It's also worth noting that such processes could break down under extreme stress unless chemically aided. One of the reforms under Emperor Valerian Mengsk of the later Terran Dominion was to ban such practices.

They have two independent neighboring Terran nations, both former members of the Confederacy itself, the Kel-Morian Combine, and the Umojan Protectorate. The Kel-Morians are essentially a giant corporation protecting their interests on various colonies of their own from Confederate interference, to the point that a war between the Confederacy and the Combine happened, leading to an uneasy peace. The Umojans are, relatively, the Switzerland of the colonies in terms of government, being mostly a democratic government focused on maintaining their independence and keeping their space intact, staying as neutral as possible while also focusing on making sure their civilization does no ecological damage to their worlds, and uniting to protect against Confederate invasion.

So, we have an oligarchy, a libertarian corporate world, and a highly armed Democratic environmental peacenik government all competing against each other, waiting for the other shoe to drop with their rising tensions against each other. Even without the Zerg or the Protoss showing up, there would have been additional devastating wars between these factions over who would rule the Koprulu sector.

Culturally, there's a lot of flaunting of culture and wealth. Entire waves of music, art, literature, etc. that have developed in the Koprulu sector, almost completely disconnected from Earth's own history. In I, Mengsk, Valerian Mengsk makes references to several pieces of literature that are from their world, and not from Earth prior to their exodus, and how what we know as the Art of War is a book without a title as the author and title of the book have been lost to time. Facts about Earth itself are suspect, due to their carrier ships being scrapped for shelters. This has led to interesting interpretations of common facts about conditions on Earth, such as Michael Liberty thinking that all gorillas are King Kong size, and actually did swat at primitive aircraft back in the day. While this affect on their culture isn't examined in detail in the games and novels, we do see appeals to what they think is in the past with their traditions among the elites, and appealing to things like historical symbols from old Earth without really knowing, or knowing and connecting the history behind them, of symbols like the Confederate Navy Jack as the symbol of their government.

With their ships and buildings, there's a real divide between the core worlds and the colonies. The colonies are barebones, focusing on the bare essential technology, if they can even afford that, to survive. While on the core worlds, opulence goes into the design of their buildings, uniforms, and even their starships. Battlecruisers with gold leaf interiors, chandeliers, and opulent lighting, for instance. Proof of corruption in their government.

It speaks of a culture drawing from what they know of Earth, while not really knowing anything about it, and making their own culture about it. A culture that is top heavy with their wealth, and almost purposely designed to benefit the rich elites at the expense of others. Revolution, terrorism, and wars of independence seemed like a natural consequence of such policies and the inevitable conclusion of such a government. It's also interesting that in the face of corruption, populism followed with an appeal to an absolute monarchy, who could be considered just as bad, if not much worse in practice, but eventually, with reforms by the heir apparent, led to a stable and peaceful Terran Dominion.

What are your thoughts on the Terrans from Starcraft?
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Re: Let's talk about the Terrans (Starcraft)

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2019-04-19 10:31am

From an old thread o' mine
Shroom Man 777 wrote:
2017-05-12 06:46pm
Shroom Man 777 wrote:UP NEXT: Rationalizations on the Terran Dominion's developments. Roughly in a similar line, their optimization for all out warfare, survival against existential threats, Korhal centralization, ironic increased authoritarianism compared to the Confederacy's looser approach (that was nonetheless tyrannical) that just got by through deploying Marines to crush fringe world yokels and/or nuking rebelling colonies (ala Korhal).
Hurm. I think this actually sums up what the developments were. I don't think there's much more to it than that.

I do wonder if the rapid Coruscantification of Korhal can just be explained due to Mengskist authoritarianism and centralization leading to this weird ass Stalin-style industrialization of the planet, utilizing all the resources relocated to the Dominion throneworld after the Confederacy's disintegration, the exodus to un-infested worlds...

Could they have appropriated some off-screen UED development tech? Like, what if aside from using a Special Forces-heavy operation to use the Dominion and ex-Confed's forces against the natives (to explain why Stukov and DuGalle weren't commanding the Expeditionary Force from within Luna-class or Mars-class or Earthican Star Destroyers or whatever), they also had logistics vessels full of deployable infrastructure? They DID set up shop fairly quick on Char...

And even without the UED, perhaps even civilian Terran tech can also easily just lift-off and land somewhere else? Imagine all of those outlying worlds, colonies, moons around Tarsonis and the Sara system, all around Antiga, like Antiga Secundus or whatever that were next door to Prime's gobbling, all these folks just taking off to the FORTRESS KORHAL system!

EVERYTHING becomes Siege Mode! Yes. The great Confederacy project, which I presume was this widely distributed colonization effort to settle all sorts of fringe worlds as fast as possible - hence all these allusions to guild wars, pacifications, brushfires, whatnot - gets reversed and redirected entirely to Korhal. Or mostly to Korhal. So after this consolidation and super-fortification, North Koreahal ends up slowly re-expanding. When Mengsk sees that Kerrigan ain't gonna murder everyone just yet (for some reason).

This is harder to satisfactorily explain than the Zerg because one didn't get the impression that the Terrans had this level of industrial capability...

Anyway, like the steroidified hydralisks, now we also see Terran Marines become walking tanks. It's because Metzen wanted huge shoulderpads and because everyone wanted to borrow Iron Man aesthetics. But in-universe let's assume that this RUNAWAY DEFENSE BUDGET meant that the Marine couldn't just be "space suit with gun + drugs" anymore...
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Re: Let's talk about the Terrans (Starcraft)

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-04-19 02:15pm

Maybe the Terrans have some rather good terraforming capability and Mengsk used a lot of his GDP to make Korhal actually worth walking on after the Brood war? I know in at least one novel, Mengsk is watching his coronation speech over and over again, trying to drown out the endless sounds of construction workers outside his palace building up the city. It's meant to look like Mengsk is in full fled narcissism, but I like the idea that he's experiencing a bit of buyer's remorse at the cost of making everything about the Dominion centered on Korhal, and how he has to pour everything into it, even the idea of his peace of mind.
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Re: Let's talk about the Terrans (Starcraft)

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2019-04-20 02:44am

FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-04-19 02:15pm
Maybe the Terrans have some rather good terraforming capability and Mengsk used a lot of his GDP to make Korhal actually worth walking on after the Brood war? I know in at least one novel, Mengsk is watching his coronation speech over and over again, trying to drown out the endless sounds of construction workers outside his palace building up the city. It's meant to look like Mengsk is in full fled narcissism, but I like the idea that he's experiencing a bit of buyer's remorse at the cost of making everything about the Dominion centered on Korhal, and how he has to pour everything into it, even the idea of his peace of mind.
Korhal turning into a fortress world, and the devouring of worlds such as the former capital Tarsonis as well as those of Antiga, Mar and Chau Sara, and so on, might've led to a huge refugee influx and resettlement on Korhal, the safest place you could be in the Dominion? Hence terraformations to accommodate that.
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Re: Let's talk about the Terrans (Starcraft)

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-04-20 03:17pm

Shroom Man 777 wrote:
2019-04-20 02:44am
FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-04-19 02:15pm
Maybe the Terrans have some rather good terraforming capability and Mengsk used a lot of his GDP to make Korhal actually worth walking on after the Brood war? I know in at least one novel, Mengsk is watching his coronation speech over and over again, trying to drown out the endless sounds of construction workers outside his palace building up the city. It's meant to look like Mengsk is in full fled narcissism, but I like the idea that he's experiencing a bit of buyer's remorse at the cost of making everything about the Dominion centered on Korhal, and how he has to pour everything into it, even the idea of his peace of mind.
Korhal turning into a fortress world, and the devouring of worlds such as the former capital Tarsonis as well as those of Antiga, Mar and Chau Sara, and so on, might've led to a huge refugee influx and resettlement on Korhal, the safest place you could be in the Dominion? Hence terraformations to accommodate that.
Makes me wonder how long it took to terraform various planets for the Terrans to be able to settle, as they do make mention of it, while other worlds they just said, "Fuck it, this world has some resources, but aside from that, there's no reason to settle here." and they just made it as barely habitable as possible via mechsuits and then exploited the crap out of the planet.

There was also mentions in Starcraft II, specifically the mission on Tarsonis, that after the Zerg left/died out, they started salvaging a LOT from the planet, while still leaving a treasure trove of materials. They probably grabbed a lot of luxurious items for direct use on Korhal. Almost akin to spoils of war.
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Re: Let's talk about the Terrans (Starcraft)

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-04-20 03:36pm

One thing I do love noting about Starcraft 2, is that they took the 'desperate times calls for desperate measures' that the Terran Dominion was supposed to stand for, and utterly smashed it by pointing out that Mengsk, instead of devoting resources to building up the Terran Navy so that they'd be ready for the Protoss or Zerg, mostly devoted a lot of it to fruitless projects to hunt down Raynor. Making Mengsk just as guilty as the Old Families of the Confederacy of putting the stranglehold of personal power over everything more important than protecting the people they rule over. It's a nice contrast as to why the Dominion has to majorly change in order for it to work, and why Raynor's revolution is necessary, as liberating political prisoners and allowing things like scientists, philosophers, journalists, etc. have a free say in their society is an important stepping stone in getting the Terran civilization to actually be worth living in.

Regarding their arts, I'm a fan of country music, and do enjoy the jukebox on the Hyperion, I would have liked, since how the Terrans are castoffs of a fascist regime, to see a more eclectic blend of Terran cultures. Maybe Reggae meetings Gregorian chanting or other interesting potential song choices, or Aborigines instruments mixing with country music. Ah well, lost opportunity.

Maybe the American south is the dominant population of the Koprulu sector because they had the most genetically impure due to high psyonics, cyborgs and violent criminals?
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Re: Let's talk about the Terrans (Starcraft)

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2019-04-21 08:15am

It could also be reflected in how the UED brass seem to be very Euro-centric with Dugalle and Stukov. Yeah I like the strange futurized cultural mishmash myself.

If one wants to really expand the Terran stuff, one could go on about how while Mengsk was once a revolutionary, he was still of upper-class background and inherited a lot of the patterns and tendencies of the aristocracy (that did disown and screw his dad), so despite the revolution's successes, because it was centered on one person then his faults and his inheritance of the old ways doomed the post-Confederacy society to repeat its mistakes. The uprising didn't have a true foundation of transformative theory and ideology, Mengsk had no vision beyond "topple bad guys" and by offering no true alternative after that point, backsliding into the past's sins is inevitable.

Da. If Raynor and Valerian can offer an alternative, that'd be good. Valerian has nice intentions but if it's still some imperial rule, or even some democratic rule that nonetheless is swayed by his clout, then it'll be same shit different day if when push comes to shove, Valerian still resorts to strongman solutions. This is the fault of the Great Man, the solo heroic "apolitical" "saving the good day, just beating the bad guy" vision or lack of thereof, the unconsciousness of how power structures work will make it fall victim to the malfunctions of power. If Raynor's anarchism, his presumably solid proletarian background, AND his exposure and familiarity with the ideologies and societies of Protoss, their own struggle of Khala-interconnectedness and the Aiur-style caste system stratification versus Dark Templar egalitarianism that's also tempered by their isolationism, if he can do the Terran political equivalent of Tassadar's synthesis owing from his exposure to Fenix and Zeratul, then that would be a beautiful ideology or transformative vision that might help Terran-kind do better.
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Re: Let's talk about the Terrans (Starcraft)

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-04-21 06:13pm

I guess that would really depend on how much influence Matt Horner has on Valerian, as after Wings of Liberty, the two become almost joined at the hip, and in the game epilogue, are working together to reform the Dominion. That could mean a sort of Roman Empire becomes a Roman Republic with Consul for life. And that someday Horner pulls a Brutus and stabs Valerian for being "too ambitious", leading to Valerian crying out, "Etu Matt?" We'd have to see what happens there.

Or they draft some space version of the Magna Carta, making the nation more like a constitutional monarchy, having Valerian or the reigning Emperor sit in on parliament, and only making decisions when they think the parliament needs to be sacked and changed out. A Brexit from the truce with the Protoss and Zerg, for instance.
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Re: Let's talk about the Terrans (Starcraft)

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2019-04-22 09:31am

FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-04-21 06:13pm
I guess that would really depend on how much influence Matt Horner has on Valerian, as after Wings of Liberty, the two become almost joined at the hip, and in the game epilogue, are working together to reform the Dominion. That could mean a sort of Roman Empire becomes a Roman Republic with Consul for life. And that someday Horner pulls a Brutus and stabs Valerian for being "too ambitious", leading to Valerian crying out, "Etu Matt?" We'd have to see what happens there.

Or they draft some space version of the Magna Carta, making the nation more like a constitutional monarchy, having Valerian or the reigning Emperor sit in on parliament, and only making decisions when they think the parliament needs to be sacked and changed out. A Brexit from the truce with the Protoss and Zerg, for instance.
In my head canon Horner is the Magistrate from the original Terran campaign. If so Matt's as experienced as anyone there, as experienced as Raynor, in the faults of Terran ideology and also exposed to the various Protoss ways of life.
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Re: Let's talk about the Terrans (Starcraft)

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-04-30 02:07am

Shroom Man 777 wrote:
2019-04-22 09:31am
FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-04-21 06:13pm
I guess that would really depend on how much influence Matt Horner has on Valerian, as after Wings of Liberty, the two become almost joined at the hip, and in the game epilogue, are working together to reform the Dominion. That could mean a sort of Roman Empire becomes a Roman Republic with Consul for life. And that someday Horner pulls a Brutus and stabs Valerian for being "too ambitious", leading to Valerian crying out, "Etu Matt?" We'd have to see what happens there.

Or they draft some space version of the Magna Carta, making the nation more like a constitutional monarchy, having Valerian or the reigning Emperor sit in on parliament, and only making decisions when they think the parliament needs to be sacked and changed out. A Brexit from the truce with the Protoss and Zerg, for instance.
In my head canon Horner is the Magistrate from the original Terran campaign. If so Matt's as experienced as anyone there, as experienced as Raynor, in the faults of Terran ideology and also exposed to the various Protoss ways of life.
I think that's pretty much guaranteed. The canonical ending of New Folsom is liberating a bunch of free thinkers, philosophers, scientists, etc, because he wants 'to build a better tomorrow' in one of the most uplifting scenes in the game series:



Which does bring into my wondering about Arcturus's rule, in that he had his puppet press corps, but also was locking up every dissenter he could. I'm wondering just why he was locking up scientists on that list, as either they were a bunch of crazy folks who needed to be locked up, or they were pursuing technologies or fields that made him uncomfortable and disagreed with his perceptions. Say, telling people that 'Korhal is still radioactive, please don't set foot on it yet', Mengsk declaring that fake news, and having construction crews work double time to build his palace while they all died of radiation poisoning. That's just a guess, though. It could be something as simple as saying, "Protoss technology outpowers us a dozen different ways, please don't start a war with them." or other things like that.

Regarding your line of thinking, I wonder how many Terrans started looking for unification of their people, to try and follow the Protoss example of recognizing that they were one people. Jake Ramsey does give a few mercenaries and Dominion troops the equivalent of a religious telepathic experience in the first Dark Templar book, making them experience each other's lives and incapable of enacting violence against each other because of it. It'd be interesting to see what the fallout of that is generations later, of Terrans who start making a sort of philosophical movement to do away with killing other Terrans in the name of being a united people. Especially as Terrans have the psionic gene in their DNA.
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Re: Let's talk about the Terrans (Starcraft)

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2019-05-09 04:42am

FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-04-30 02:07am
Which does bring into my wondering about Arcturus's rule, in that he had his puppet press corps, but also was locking up every dissenter he could. I'm wondering just why he was locking up scientists on that list, as either they were a bunch of crazy folks who needed to be locked up, or they were pursuing technologies or fields that made him uncomfortable and disagreed with his perceptions.
As well as possible whistle-blowers and refuseniks who'd spill the beans on unethical R&D programs like the Specters or refuse to participate, and people who'd provide Dominion-tech to anti-regime forces.
FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-04-30 02:07am
Regarding your line of thinking, I wonder how many Terrans started looking for unification of their people, to try and follow the Protoss example of recognizing that they were one people. Jake Ramsey does give a few mercenaries and Dominion troops the equivalent of a religious telepathic experience in the first Dark Templar book, making them experience each other's lives and incapable of enacting violence against each other because of it. It'd be interesting to see what the fallout of that is generations later, of Terrans who start making a sort of philosophical movement to do away with killing other Terrans in the name of being a united people. Especially as Terrans have the psionic gene in their DNA.
Uh huh, and even without people gaining psionics or other Protoss-like powers, the mere fact that right across the sector they've got people with glowy crystals unifying and saving themselves would be inspiring. Imagine weird ass religious movements and New Age spiritualism but like with actual basis (which they can totally misinterpret).
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Re: Let's talk about the Terrans (Starcraft)

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-05-09 04:53am

I can just imagine, they'd be the equivalent of the Hare Krishnas in the Koprulu Sector, bugging Raynor at space ports as he's trying to go through customs.
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Re: Let's talk about the Terrans (Starcraft)

Post by Tribble » 2019-05-10 07:07pm

Is it ever explained how the UED was able to keep track of what was going on in the Koprulu Sector, how they got there so quickly, and what happened to their forces back on Earth?
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Re: Let's talk about the Terrans (Starcraft)

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-05-10 09:04pm

Tribble wrote:
2019-05-10 07:07pm
Is it ever explained how the UED was able to keep track of what was going on in the Koprulu Sector, how they got there so quickly, and what happened to their forces back on Earth?
Mostly through the same way that anyone would keep tabs, they had a few people there operating as spys, at least around the time of the Confederacy's fall. The only action we see of them is funding some Ex-Confederates to try and assassinate both Mengsks at once to create a power vacuum shortly before their arrival.

Whether they had been there forever or just within a few years is not explained.
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Re: Let's talk about the Terrans (Starcraft)

Post by Shroom Man 777 » 2019-05-16 01:55am

Tribble wrote:
2019-05-10 07:07pm
Is it ever explained how the UED was able to keep track of what was going on in the Koprulu Sector, how they got there so quickly, and what happened to their forces back on Earth?
Perhaps the UED developed long-range scans? If psionics isn't a Koprulu-only phenomenon maybe the UED has some psi-corps of Cleos and Minority Reporters doing recon-seances to determine what's up. Maybe the Confederacy and even proto-Confed/pre-modern-K-Sector-polities actually built these arrays to send messages to Earth in the hopes of reuniting with humanity, sending status updates, even though centuries went by and there were no responses... until their latest status update "alienoids are eating/melting our planets" reached the UED and really riled them up.

From Chau Sara getting torched to Brood War, that's probably months or even years worth of time, and we saw that even before the main UED campaign happened and before they engaged the Terran Dominion (such as in the Dylarin Ship Yards where Edmund Duke was all "EARTH DIRECTORATE?!") they already had forces on worlds such as Braxis, which Artemis and the Protoss ran into, and were biding their time.
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Re: Let's talk about the Terrans (Starcraft)

Post by Mr. G » 2019-06-14 01:24am

Shroom Man 777 wrote:
2019-05-16 01:55am
Perhaps the UED developed long-range scans? If psionics isn't a Koprulu-only phenomenon maybe the UED has some psi-corps of Cleos and Minority Reporters doing recon-seances to determine what's up. Maybe the Confederacy and even proto-Confed/pre-modern-K-Sector-polities actually built these arrays to send messages to Earth in the hopes of reuniting with humanity, sending status updates, even though centuries went by and there were no responses... until their latest status update "alienoids are eating/melting our planets" reached the UED and really riled them up.

From Chau Sara getting torched to Brood War, that's probably months or even years worth of time, and we saw that even before the main UED campaign happened and before they engaged the Terran Dominion (such as in the Dylarin Ship Yards where Edmund Duke was all "EARTH DIRECTORATE?!") they already had forces on worlds such as Braxis, which Artemis and the Protoss ran into, and were biding their time.
I remember in the dialogue from the game that when you start the UED campaign you are supposedly waking up from cryogenic sleep. Which means it took a long time for the UED fleet to travel all the way to Kuprulu.

Since the UED started preparations for invading Kuprulu just after Chau Sara got torched it means that by the start of the UED campaign in Brood War it was like 5-6 years or so from the beginning of Starcraft. That was my impression.

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