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Talen Ayers (father)
Maren Ayers had a difficult relationship with her father, Dr. Talen Ayers, whom she described as "one part renowned research geneticist and two parts backwoods yokel."
Dr. Ayers taught evolutionary theory to his daughter. At age twelve Maren was already conducting experiments with fruit flies.
Dr. Ayers 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.
Maren disappointed her father by dropping out of grad school and joining the Dominion Marine Corps.
In 2503, her platoon was supposed to serve a tour of duty on the ice world of Anselm when their battlecruiser was recalled to Korhal for a refit. The platoon was abandoned at the starport of the strategically unimportant mining world of Sorona.
On the way to the settlement of Cask, the platoon was ambushed by zerglings, which killed a quarter of the Iron Jesters' membership. Ayers tried to rescue Private Braden, but he was already dead and Private Delme pulled her away. Ayers credited Lieutenant Travis Orran for saving their lives by keeping his cool. The platoon was then met by armed civilians, who escorted them to Cask.
Ayers discovered that Cask, a natural fortress, had been assaulted daily by the zerg for the past eight months, yet the Dominion had not responded to their calls for help. The colonists had blocked off a natural chokepoint with a defensive formation called "the Wedge". The zerg population had dwindled and only minor breeds such as zerglings continued to attack. The colonists weren't in a bad military situation, but their supply situation had become precarious – they had to subsist on a native acidic mold. The town's doctor had killed himself a month before, so Ayers was given the task of treating teeth decay caused by the colonists' diet of acidic mold. She also participated in combat at "the Wedge".
The Science of WarEdit
After six months of combat, Private Ayers perceived the methodical zerg approach and believed the attacks were part of a zerg evolutionary program, on the basis of her father's theory that reducing the size of a population increases the rate of mutations. Without hard evidence she could not convince Lieutenant Orran to strike out and destroy the hive responsible.
In search of proof, Ayers fashioned a primitive field laboratory from material taken from her combat suit and used it to analyze tissue samples taken from dead zerglings she had retrieved from the field. Lt. Orran and Private Delme both believed she was acting suicidally. The tissue had bulbous pustules containing material partially based on the mold the terrans were eating, and Ayers could immediately discern this from its distinctive smell. The medic, still wearing a suit of armor, attempted to dissect a sample the size of her fingertip with a med-laser. The resulting explosion destroyed her room, knocking Ayers out. Lt. Orran personally pulled her out of the wreckage. Ayers woke up two hours later. Lt. Orran believed this was another suicide attempt. Ayers was locked in a room as punishment for a few days, watched over by a bored Private Delme.
Meanwhile the zerg stopped attacking, and after a week of peace Orran authorized a scouting expedition. The marines returned with tales of large numbers of "sick" zerglings found outside of Cask. Ayers realized the zerg had completed their mutations, which is why there were now so many zerg. While the others celebrated, Ayers contacted the Dominion with this intelligence. As she did so, the new breed – banelings – poured into Cask.
The Dominion took four days to scramble a fleet of battlecruisers to Sorona. By that point, Cask had been destroyed, and only Ayers and Orran survived by hiding out in a cliff. Ayers noticed spore cannons situated near Cask, which could have destroyed the settlement at any time, but were now being used to transmit information to other zerg-inhabited planets.
Transmission of KnowledgeEdit
Maren Ayers was to be interrogated, but, believing she wouldn't survive it, she smuggled a baneling pustule with her, along with a medical laser. The rescuers were so eager to debrief Ayers that she was sent to interrogation still clad in her damaged armor; the suit's systems and contents were not secured.
Ayers was debriefed by a Dominion military scientist, Captain Serl Gentry. Ayers started by talking about her father before describing the events of her life from arriving at Anselm to the destruction of Cask. However, as she did so, she would frequently go off-topic or become emotional and showed Captain Gentry a lack of respect. She also didn't immediately reveal the existence of the spore cannons.
Ayers admitted she knew she and Lieutenant Orran would not survive their debriefings, and revealed her baneling sample. Gentry frantically called for security, but Ayers knew it wouldn't take long to get the rest of her findings recorded. Finally she told Gentry to turn the recording off before detonating the pustule.
While working at Project Blackstone, Maren's father Talen tried to find out more details about his daughter's fate, citing how he'd had zero contact with her since her deployment to Anselm. Dr. Daniel Rothfuss revealed that her current fate was unknown, as all files pertaining to her were classified, but that she has definite links to Project Blackstone.