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Troubled with the advancement of her combined Swarm, Sarah Kerrigan - the "Queen of Blades" - removed an assortment of raiding scouts from their hidden burrows on Char; sending them instead to investigate the distant planet Azeroth, one of the last outlying planets reached by the late Terran Confederacy's deep-space research vessels (which belonged to the Swarm now). This long-forgotten world held Kerrigan's hopes to discover evolutionary potential harbored within the indigenous inhabitants so that she might use it in an effort to evolve the Swarm.

Despite her numerous broods and hundreds of thousands of warriors, the Zerg under her sway were still formed by, and thus belonged to their first master, the Overmind. Kerrigan was merely the latest master to hold the leash, not unlike the previous Terrans who had attempted to harness this alien power previously. However, she alone bore witness entirety to the existing evolutionary knowledge within the Zerg. She was able evolve the Swarm to fulfil her ends.

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After collecting some of the more menacing specimens that thrived on Azeroth, Kerrigan's scouts hurried back to Char carrying the first of her evolutionary test subjects (the future of Kerrigan's own Swarm). Kerrigan made no delay in processing the abducted captive's genome into the existing Zerg strains; she sought to sculpt a Swarm that resonated to her own twisted human vision. And time was of the essence; it would be some time until her fledgling genetic manipulations reached culmination.

Aside from the whimsically-selected physical alterations Kerrigan derived from the Azerothian specimens, the integrated strains had also given birth to entirely new warriors. Their creator, jubilant, ordered the ancestral (and outdated) Zerg brethren to be devoured without hesitation. Kerrigan had begun successfully the ultimate unraveling of the Zerg that were so diligently conceived by the Overmind. She had initiated her personal change to the Swarm. What arose from the ashworld, Char, is the Queen of Blade's Swarm - and hers alone.

Below are examples of the different genomes of Azeroth that now compose the Swarm:

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The Ultralisk has acquired much of the distinctive form and pose from the most powerful Centaur-like species of Azeroth. This included the Magnataur Destroyer and the demonic Magtheridon. Though less material was gathered from the Crypt Lord, Kerrigan has been inspired by some of the insect-like qualities natural to the Nerubian species.

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The Zergling, once formed from the Zz'gashi Dune Runner, is no more. In its place, Kerrigan has selected the Fel Hound's physically bovine appearance to instill fear and hatred within the hearts of her enemies. Though the Zz'gashi Zergling had the aid of forearm-attached scythes as well as alien-like webbed feet for all-terrain performance, this new Zergling - born out of Azeroth - was Kerrigan's distinctively; this was all the reasoning she required to supersede the original form of Zergling.

As a preliminary test, she sent forth a small group of the Azerothian-spawned Zerglings to wage battle against the local life-forms living on the planet's surface. These Zerglings were certainly considered dangerous by the inhabitants of Azeroth, but the new-founded strain of Zergling still required some aesthetic work to give the Zergling - more of what her old colleague Jim Raynor would have put it, "Frickin' Awesome". Kerrigan merged the smirkingly devilish face of her infested Magtheridon, the arms of her newly inspired strain of Hydralisk, the insect-like wings of a Nerubian Crypt Fiend, and the ceremonial shoulder guards of the Nerubian Crypt Lord into the final strain of the Zergling.

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One of the most profound discoveries Kerrigan's scouts had made on Azeroth was that of the Undead who cause great devastation. While she would have loved to study their ways in greater detail, her scouts had but a limited time frame to observe the planet.

The only significant characteristic of the Undead that her scouts were able to retrieve was the physical make-up of the burning Blight that the Undead spewed forth from their structures. Kerrigan, enthralled with yet another demonic visual, merged the rocky, toxic, and burning properties of the Blight's traits into the Zerg's Creep by matching the chemical reactions observed. The sheer toxicity of this new Creep comes at the cost of losing the sprawling tentacles and thickness the Creep once had, and instead the Creep has taken on a more violet-colored, watery-asphalt existence. This form of Creep would soon be aptly nick-named The Bleep by those who encountered it.

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Gargoyles, employed by the Undead, provided several creative concepts for an evolution of the Mutalisk. The most visually outstanding of these are the thickly armored membranes bracing the wings as well as the dull spines extending several feet past the wing's ends. Despite the overall weight of the Mutalisk being noticeably increased due to these physical adaptations, Kerrigan was one again convinced that the mutation was necessary to instill a fearsome and demonic look among the Swarm.

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The Defiler was a tactically powerful strain of Zerg that could threaten easily the defenses of even the most secure adversaries, but the creature was also one of the first species introduced into the Zerg Swarm (thus was one of the first Kerrigan was intent on replacing). The greatly-feared Forgotten One discovered on Azeroth had many hidden potentials that lay dormant - not the least of which including the capacity to expatriate great portions of liquid. Though the Infester was found to have little use for them, the great eyes that once protruded from the individual directions of the Forgotten One's body can be found once more upon the most recent mutation of the Overlord, which Kerrigan named the "Overseer" in obvious reference to the Forgotten One's assimilated features. Kerrigan decided to utilize directly the vile creature's 'man-eating' evil appearance and evolved the strain for her soon to-be-created "Infester" from the Forgotten One's infested body itself.

Sprouting three simple, yet menacing, mouths and adding the Swarm's now-standard procedure of "six insectoid legs to walk upon", the Infester has come into existence. Kerrigan was pleased to unleash the Infester upon the surface of Char, where her first commands brought the last of the Zerg Defiler to be digested inside the Infester's stomach cavities.

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With the death of the Cerebrates, Kerrigan had to manage the entirety of the Swarm by herself. To remedy the possibility of losing control over large portions of her swarm, she sought out immediately the commanding ( hero-esque) qualities of the Crypt Lord, the insectoid body structure of the Crypt Fiends, and the fortuity that the Nerubian species was an adept layer of eggs. The assimilation of the Nerubian design into Kerrigan's new swarm was effortless. In a final, whimsical decision, Kerrigan decided to instill her own former-female figure to her new Matriarch rather than adhering to the Zerg's anonymously alien appearances.

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Since the latest incarnation of the Queen was born directly from the tissues of Azeroth's Nerubian, Kerrigan felt that the former Queen's Nest would no longer befit her beloved Matriarchs as a throne. To this end, she chose the towering menace of the Undead's Ziggurat. She felt that it would now cast the same feeling of dread as it did in the lands of Azeroth. This dread would emanate from the throne of the Swarm's Matriarchs, who held dominion over their very own demons.

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These are but a few of the revisions Azeroth has graced upon the Swarm, but there are more that have been left uncovered in this historical reference including the purely demonic strain of Hydralisk and the pacification of the Overlord's functionality within the Swarm. This dastardly, and almost human influence Kerrigan has submitted to the Zerg is only the beginning, for the evolutionary path she takes will eventually lead to the Swarm matching Kerrigan in both behaviour and appearance, forever.

In all honesty, the "writing(/art)" is on the walls folks. The Tauren Marine joke gave me the perfect "in" to expel a portion of it. It's no secret that Warcraft™ has, is, and will continue to be a great influence on the development of StarCraft's sequel. It's not that I'm terribly against the expansion of the 'universe' or the addition of new, respectful units (to the lore), or just a plain-and-simple "fun" StarCraft universe, but I feel the developers owe it to the fans to flat-out tell us their intentions. Is it to make a devoted sequel to StarCraft while still adhering to the subtle dark (read: not demonic) nature of the lore, art (all of us miss you, Blizzard North), and style? Or, is to build a multi-million dollar "Rated-E For Everyone" franchise that will produce quantities of Happy Meal™ toys and a visual appealing to their 9+ million paying World of WarCraft users?

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About the Author

Age: 20
Occupation: Game Developer Extraordinare
Education: Self-Educated in all ends of Game Development
Family status: Unmarried, five siblings; four brothers, one sister.
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Non-StarCraft related Hobbies: Flying small aircraft, swimming, running, raising Northern Largemouth Bass, the criticism of films, and the development of multiplayer games.
Currently reading: Plane Crazy
Currently playing: Anything locally multiplayer that can give you a good laugh, Call of Duty 4, Call of Duty 2, Halo 2, Soul Caliber 2, Smash Bros. Brawl, Diablo II, StarCraft, WarCraft 3, and the console classics.

Playing StarCraft since: 1998
In the community since: 1999 to present
Favorite game (FPS): Goldeneye 64 / Perfect Dark 64
Favorite game (RTS): StarCraft
Favorite StarCraft Race: Zerg (The aliens who, until Brood War, were the only "good guys" of StarCraft)
Favorite Starcraft Unit: Zz'gashi Dune Runner Strain of Zergling
Favorite Starcraft Character: Zasz

Favorite Comfort Food: Diet Pepsi & Almonds
Favorite Meal: French Toast

I was born and raised on video games. With the constant arrival of new siblings, there'd always be a reason to pull out the Super Nintendo for another spin with the classics, as this was always a garauntee for some laughs. One of the earliest games I can remember playing was actually Blizzard's own Radical Psycho Racing Machines. With its cooperative gameplay and 3D course editor, the game was just a marvel for its time. It wasn't until I was 9 years old that I really had a desire to discover why certain games were more entertaining than others and how the gameplay itself functioned within the game. As a fledgling game developer, I'm always in the pursuit of those golden nuggets of gameplay that can captivate a group of friends, and most importantly, make them laugh. In regards to StarCraft, it was actually introduced to me over the phone by an exuberant cousin who ordered me to immediately download the demo. Although the demo version was certainly unique, the minute I begun the Zerg campaign (before the Terran and the Protoss I might add), I was in love. The Overmind and his Zerg "children" were the greatest concept for an alien race I've yet to see, bar none. The Zz'gashi Dune Runner strain of Zergling in the StarCraft instruction manual also catches me to this day as distinctly original design, and an icon for the Zerg. May it rest in peace.

Editorial by Aaron "EdFishy" Harris
This is a StarCraft: Legacy guest article.

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