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Project Shadowblade (2501—2503)
General in charge of Project Shadowblade
His real name is unknown.
As a young man, Hauler had been a ghost in the Terran Confederacy Ghost Program. His psychological profile graded him as high risk. The "brain-panning" didn't "take" due to his high PI rating of 8.5. The Program wanted to eliminate him. However, he managed to escape.
He surfaced in the Confederate Marine Corps, having taken the identity of a non-commissioned officer named Jackson Hauler (and having murdered the real one). He used his memory-altering and mind control powers, along with some forgery, to make the substitution. His superiors now believed he had simply vanished one Saturday evening (while he had secretly gone to the Ghost Program) and now he was swiftly made into an officer. He rose to lead Nova Squadron, the black ops division. He kept his psionic abilities a secret.
In 2501, terrazine was discovered on the planet of Demon's Fair, and Arcturus Mengsk created a secret program, Project Shadowblade, led by General Horace Warfield, to research its military applications. Seeing an opportunity, Hauler had himself assigned to a "secret mission" while he stole or created an identity of Cole Bennett, a biomedical researcher.
Bennett self-experimented on himself with terrazine. He was discovered by the chief scientist, who wanted to take the evidence to General Warfield. A "straight arrow" loyal to the Dominion, this would cause problems for Bennett. In addition, the side effects of the project resulted in Mengsk wanting it shut down anyway. As a result, Warfield was recalled, and the Dominion Marine Corps was sent to eliminate everyone there or imprison them in New Folsom Prison. Bennett claimed he used his mental abilities to escape along with a few "grunts", planting memories of Bennett's "death" in the attacking marines. The Dominion would later claim that Bennett had gone mad due to the self-experimentation and had killed most of the team members, with Warfield narrowly escaping. In the end, only three project survivors were imprisoned.
He reassumed his Hauler identity, coming back from his "secret mission". He felt betrayed by the Dominion and plotted revenge.
Bennett met former ghost Gabriel Tosh on Altara, who had deserted the Dominion and also despised Mengsk. The two struck an alliance between themselves, and with the Umojan Protectorate, who provided Hauler's budding rebel movement with technology. A plan was made to launch a coup against Mengsk—Lio Travski would disable the Dominion's security network, Mengsk would be captured, and a confession would be broadcasted by Michael Liberty, the emperor confessing to his role in Project Shadowblade, among other things. Bennett would then step in as a benevolent leader, ready to take control. He knew there would be others trying to fill the void, but he knew he could use his telepathy to influence their thoughts to accept him as their new leader.
In 2503, years after meeting Tosh, Hauler took part in a mission to Altara in order to investigate the disappearance of a ghost (Kath Toom) and the wrangler sent to locate her. The mission was made more complicated by the arrival of a zerg force, lured in by terrazine released from the refinery that Toom had been abducted at. Ghost Agent Nova Terra, who had been assigned to his unit, informed him that she could sense that the zerg were here for a specific reason, and that their presence wasn't a coincidence. Hauler stated that the Altarans were of low priority, and ordered that Nova Squadron engage the zerg. The plan was amended somewhat when he agreed to Nova's request to go in solo and do reconnaissance, though still ordered that the ship be brought into the planet's atmosphere. He stayed in contact with Nova as she made her way across the surface, eventually making it to the area where the wrangler had disappeared. Against her wishes, he deployed ground forces to help her, stirring up the zerg. His actual intentions were to use the proverbial hornet's nest to dispose of any evidence that might incriminate him. During the debriefing, he further shrouded his intentions by suggesting that the forces that had abducted the ghost and opened fire at the wrangler were squatters or UED leftovers. Regardless, he had the zerg bodies destroyed and considered (supposedly) having the planet quarantined, but decided against it, given that the terrazine pocket had run dry.
Unfortunately for Hauler, Mengsk was becoming more invested in putting a stop to Project Shadowblade. The emperor ordered a private conversation with Nova and wrangler Malcolm Kelerchian, and while Hauler was aggravated, he acquiesced to Mengsk's demands. Switching to his Bennett persona, he contacted Gabriel Tosh, chastising him for the less than total destruction of the Altaran refinery that Toom had been ambushed at, worried about possible remaining evidence. Tosh assured him there was nothing to worry about. Additionally, he pressed his case to recruit Nova Terra into the rebel movement. Bennett gave Tosh permission to recruit his old comrade, while also ordering that the movement make its final move against Mengsk. He would have preferred more time to plan, but nonetheless, he was tired of lying low.
Back on Altara, Nova reported the presence of a low-level telepath, one with the words "Shadowblade" and "spectres" implanted in her mind, courtesy of a close encounter with spectre Talen Holt, currently posing as a Dominion ghost assigned by Mengsk to help Nova's investigation. She briefed Hauler on this development, who suggested that she be cut loose. The girl tagged along however and days later, the assembled ghosts, Kelerchian, Hauler and Rourke discussed the information gathered on the surface. Given the locations of the abductions, Kelerchian theorized that the insurgents' base of operations was likely mobile—Gehenna Station, even if he didn't know it yet. Hauler voiced disagreement with the theory immediately, pointing out that such a base would have been picked up on Dominion sensors. Still, it was a theory that he didn't have to debunk for any longer than necessary, given that the Annihilators arrived in Altara's star system, requesting permission to board the Palatine. Hauler consented, but the meeting didn't last long as Hauler laid out the facts to Major Spaulding, that Mengsk had ordered that Nova and Kelerchian head their investigation, and they were to provide whatever support was necessary. Spaulding stormed off, and Kelerchian filled in Hauler on the history he and Nova had with the man. With that said and done, Hauler gave Nova the choice of action to take. Nova excused herself, as she was suffering hallucogenic effects from terrazine exposure. However, they soon had a new mission anyway—Korhal Palace was under attack by spectres.
"And I suppose you're the answer?"
I believe so, yes."
- Hauler and Nova discussing the former's motives(src)
Playing the role of concerned captain, Hauler had the Palatine head for Korhal at top speed. They had no communications with the ground, so Hauler gave his plan of attack—as they were dealing with psionic rebels, ghosts would go in first, followed by marines, then other ships. The marines would stay inside the city limits unless the ghosts needed them. As Nova and her team of ghosts operated on the ground, Hauler's marines were engaged in a battle above the planet's surface. Hauler held them back from deployment to the surface, obstensibly to prevent a breakdown of communications in face of the confusion that would come with a large-scale marine deployment.
The spectres failed in their assassination attempt, not only to assassinate Mengsk, but to capture Nova also. In his Bennett persona, Hauler contacted Tosh and made his displeasure clear—not only had they failed in their mission, they'd ensured that Mengsk would be under greater protection in light of the possibility of further attacks. Tosh protested that they needed more time, but Hauler dismissed his concerns.
Back in the Palatine, and back in the position of being a loyal Dominion officer, Hauler drafted reinforcements for the ship after the casualties the marines had suffered planetside. Many of the new faces were resocs, who were loyal to him personally, and would be instrumental in the next stage of his plan. Nova suspected that during this period, Hauler had been summoned before Mengsk and been "handed his arse" in light of the attack. Major Spaulding, who'd wanted to move in on the capital, gave him flak for the heavy casualties suffered and his refusal to move in. Hauler defended his actions. And when Spaulding claimed that Nova was a spectre, demanding that the operation be turned over to him, Hauler pointed out that Mengsk had put Nova in charge, and then demanded, in no uncertain terms, that Spaulding leave his ship. He grudgingly obliged.
Afterwards, Nova requested more resources from Hauler, wanting to find information on Project Shadowblade, and of an operation on Shi that had occurred a few years ago. Hauler feigned ignorance on the former subject, but agreed to her request. Awhile later though, he knocked out both Nova and Kelerchian using neuroleptics. He later confronted Nova in the ship's brig, where he revealed his true colors and background. He offered Nova a place at his side, stressing his belief that Mengsk was a ruthless tyrant who needed to be toppled, and that he was the man to take his place to lead humanity into a better future. Nova refused, so he presented her with an hologram of Kelerchian (currently imprisoned aboard the Gehanna) and an ultimatum—retrieve Mengsk for him, and Kelerchian would go free. Nova initially refused, but as one of Hauler's lackies tortured Kelerchian, she gave in. True to his word, the lackey treated the wrangler's wound. He then told Nova she'd be prepped for surgery, where her neural implant would be removed. He also warned her not to do anything rash, lest Kelerchian pay the price for it. She would be a useful asset, but if need be, he had no qualms against killing her.
Despite Nova's promise, she not only reneged on it, but also escaped the Palatine and disable its communications. Furious, Hauler considered the possibilities, and concluded that it was likely she would try to find Gehenna Station. However, it was unlikely that she could, in his mind. Regardless, the Palatine was on its way there now, and he reasoned that all he had to do now was regroup with his forces there, then launch a full-scale invasion of Augustgrad.
Hauler met Tosh, and both men exchanged barbs at their shared failure to capture Nova. Hauler was further aggravated when he realized that Tosh and his spectres hadn't been taking jorium to dampen the negative effects of terrazine.
Hauler received some good news when Nova's ship was brought in by Vikings into the station's docking bay. But upon investigating the ship itself, the ghost was nowhere to be found. Hauler realized that she'd somehow fooled the station's scanners into thinking she was aboard the ship, and that she was now somewhere within the station itself. He led marines through the station in an effort to find and kill her, after ordering his forces to disperse throughout the station as part of the search effort. Believing that Nova would go after Kelerchian, he headed for the wrangler's cell first. Something was preventing him from dispatching a kill order however, and he suspected that Travski was the culprit. Arriving at the cell, he found that Kelerchian was gone, and an injured Kath Toom present. Toom confirmed that Nova was equipped with a spectre suit and headgear, along with a needler. Hauler then killed Toom through his psionic powers, declaring that she had become useless to him. He then had Dylanna Okyl (another spectre) tell Tosh that Nova was the one responsible for Toom's death. Tosh ended up killing Okyl in a fit of psionic rage, but Hauler's plan worked, and Tosh was now fully committed to hunting Nova down.
Things went downhill when Hauler lost contact with Lieutenant Chet Ward and his team. Feed from Ward's helmet camera had shown Nova attacking him before it cut out. To make matters worse, the station came under attack, and he headed to the bridge. The station's shields and cloaking systems were operating, but it couldn't fire back, and Hauler realized that Travski had indeed thrown in his lot with Nova. Hauler ordered the station's EMP be set off, so that when backup power kicked in, the weapons could be made operational in the process.
Hauler ended up confronting Nova, and the two dueled, both mentally and physically. The fight took them into a huge cavern, where the station's psi indoctrinators were kept. Hauler revealed his plans to create a psionic army, and made Nova an offer to lead his army of spectres. In his speech he tried to influence her mind, but it wasn't effective—Hauler was desperate, and it was affecting his abilities. In truth, he intended to kill Nova even if she did help him achieve his goals, and through the telepathy that joined the two soldiers, she knew it.
Hauler sent a telekinetic wave, shattering some of the indoctrinators, and disabling Nova through the fluid that erupted from them. Using the distraction to his advantage, Hauler put a knife to Kelerchian's throat (who had just arrived in the cavern). He ordered that Nova get in one of the indoctrinators, or he'd kill Kelerchian. However, Tosh had also arrived, and when it was revealed through Travski (who was still active) that Hauler had killed Toom, not Nova, he went berserk. As Tosh lashed out psionically, one of the cavern's stalactites fell from the ceiling. Hauler tried to use his powers to shift it away, but it was too late, and the stalactite plunged through his skull, killing him. He was buried soon afterwards as rocky debris continued to fall, covering his body.
Personality and TraitsEdit
Hauler was a powerful psychic, both as a ghost (as per his PI of 8.5) and as a spectre, his PI increasing due to terrazine exposure. His abilities included pyrokinesis, telepathy, the ability to conjure up apparitions, and he could give fake surface thoughts for other telepaths to read, hiding his true nature. People tended to defer to him willingly, and those who didn't, Hauler could use his psionic powers to alter their brainwaves to make them follow him, at least for a short time.
Reading the thoughts Hauler presented on the surface, Nova considered him to be a good soldier, loyal to Mengsk and willing to lay down his life for the Dominion. In reality, Hauler was a bitter individual. When Nova realized his true colors, she could see that for all his talk about giving democracy to the people of the Dominion, he was really no different from Mengsk—another potential dictator. He also possessed sadistic tendencies.
Physically, he had balding hair and massive arms.
This article or section contains information about StarCraft: Ghost, which has been declared non-canon. Elements may be taken as 'flavor lore' however.
Hauler was to appear in StarCraft: Ghost. Nova, working for his ghost squad, was one of his most talented agents. Hauler, her commander and mentor, promised to help her continue to develop psionic abilities if she obeyed his orders. Hauler has secured her loyalty. His portrait was used to represent Horace Warfield in game videos.