Saturday, September 11, 2010

Some Interesting Fan-Fics (Starcraft 2 Spoilers)

I've come across some interesting fan-fics lately and I figured I ought to share them.  Two of them take place in the aftermath of Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty, which some of my friends haven't played yet, so I'm putting the spoiler tags in the title so they don't read this article and get spoiled for the ending of the game.

The first one is Emergence, a crossover of the Draka and Mass Effect fictional universes in which some Prothean artifacts are discovered on Draka-settled Mars in the 1980s.  I do like many of the places it goes, even though, with a divergence from the canon timeline 18-odd years before the Final War (and some major consequences of the divergence, like the early deaths of Yolande Ingolffsson and Marya LeFarge), the Final War goes very similar how it did in the The Stone Dogs, the only major difference being the continued survival of Ceres (the Alliance for Democracy's capital in the asteroid belt) and the Stone Dogs-induced destruction of the Alliance submarine that, in the canon timeline, nuked Cape Town.

Despite this, there are some really awesome moments, like the evacuation of the surviving Alliance spatial forces through the mass relay on Pluto or the fact that on Samothrace, the Earth-like planet colonized by the Alliance survivors, they use old-school airships as a low-tech and cheap means of transportation, ironically like how the Draka used them to colonize hostile Africa early in their history.

This second one is entitled A Healing of Hurts and was written by JamesP81, who posted on some of my Starcraft-related blog entries.  It takes place after the scourging of the Zerg on Char and the de-infestation of Sarah Kerrigan.  I didn't like how he made the Queen of Blades some separate entity holding the human Kerrigan a prisoner in her own mind--the way Kerrigan behaves in StarCraft: Brood War indicates the Queen of Blades is essentially "evil Kerrigan," complete with her grudges (Mengsk, Duke, the Protoss) and her attachments (Raynor).  As a result, Kerrigan is a lot more responsible for her actions as QOB than, say, Captain Picard was for his actions as Locutus of the Borg.

(That being said, given the fact her altered mental state was brought about by being forcibly infested by the Zerg and the massive contrast in ethics between human-Kerrigan and the QOB, one could make a good case for temporary insanity.)

Zeratul showing up to essentially play psychiatrist also comes off as really deus ex machina, although to be fair, it is entirely possible he was on the Hyperion the entire time between him warning Raynor of the coming Armageddon Kerrigan will be necessary to stop and the victory on Char.

That being said, he did a good job depicting the probable psychodrama that will take place in Heart of the Swarm (Kerrigan's guilty feelings for the murders committed as the Queen of Blades, for example).  There's so much opportunity for character stuff taking place in HOTS; I hope Blizzard doesn't drop the ball.

The third one is Next Steps, which also takes place after WOL.  This one isn't as well-written as "A Healing of Hurts" and it also depicts human-Kerrigan as being asleep the entire time and not even remembering her actions as QOB until Zeratul probes her mind to see if she's really reformed or if she's indulging in some backstabbing scheme like she spent most of Brood War doing.  I also didn't like it's portrayal of Valerian Mengsk as betraying Raynor soon after the victory on Char (although he's manipulative like his father, he isn't evil like he is), the return of Fenix from the dead, Stetmann having some medical-ethics problems, and the author making Nova Mengsk's illegitimate daughter rather than using her canonical back-story.

That being said, there are some fun moments in this one, like a catfight between Nova and Kerrigan, Zeratul flat-out telling Raynor he historically has not been a very good judge of character when he wants to probe Kerrigan's mind, an extended confrontation between Raynor and Tychus prior to Raynor shooting him (in which Tychus points out how much he's sacrificed for Raynor and Raynor's acknowledgement of that), the possible ways Mengsk could secure his position in the aftermath of the revelation that he deliberately brought the Zerg down on Tarsonis, and an angsty Kerrigan using action figures to replay her torture and killing of General Duke.  Plus, although the author hasn't said so in his replies to my reviews, it seems like he is foreshadowing Kerrigan using her psionic power to take control of the Zerg again.

(Nova suggesting Kerrigan "call" the Zerg on Aiur and her angry response, the fact that creep tumors infesting humans respond to psionic attempts to slow their growth, and the fact that a gigantic Zerg attack that the joint human-Protoss forces intent on reclaiming Aiur might not be able to fight off is coming indicate something could happen relatively soon.)

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