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Project Blackstone is comprised of scientists that were selected by Dominion Intelligence Section and approved by Arcturus Mengsk himself. Their base installation is located on an asteroid and is classified information. All communications made within the facility are monitored.
With the future of the Zerg Swarm uncertain, Arcturus Mengsk seized upon the opportunity to bolster his Dominion forces. He ordered that the best terran minds in the Koprulu Sector be gathered so that the secrets of the zerg and protoss could be unraveled.
Adjutant 33-27_V3.1974 went online and tested the project's systems. Shortly afterward, maintenance personnel came to visit. They went into what would become a forbidden area and were killed by a solitary zergling. The adjutant requested an additional sample, then made a separate request for additional personnel.
Shortly afterward Dr. Helek Branamoor and Major Lee Treicher disembarked at the project. Following a review of the zergling incident, Treicher ordered that the replacement maintenance personnel not go to the containment areas. The adjutant told the replacement personnel that they would be executed if they went to those areas. Major Treicher objected, but Dr. Branamoor believed this was best.
The subordinate scientists arrived. Dr. Vera Langridge was granted a higher security access than the other scientists. At least some of the scientists (such as Talise Cogan and Talen Ayers) had been kidnapped and protested their ill treatment. Ayers lodged a protest at the way he had been "recruited"—forcibly by a ghost, no less. In response, Branamoor restricted personal communication and canceled the barbeque, so they could get straight to studying larvae.
The adjutant detected a security breach, but believed it was simply caused by malfunctioning equipment. It turned out Sherman Jack's image files weren't secured. In addition, something happened to the machine shop, resulting in it taking a hole in the door.
The project later moved on to studying other strains such as zerglings, banelings and mutalisks. Dr. Talen Ayers collaborated with Dr. Talise Cogan on a dissection of zerglings and banelings, inadvertently going over D. Ayers's deceased daughter's notes. The two later collaborated on researching Dr. Sandra Loew's failed Tamed hydralisk project.
After a month of operations, new member Jake Ramsey arrived as an expert on the protoss. Ramsey quickly discovered and revealed to other researchers that live protoss were being experimented on. Ramsey was angered enough to shout at Dr. Branamoor, having little fear of him due to previously being chased by the Dominion. Dr. Ayers wasn't happy with Ramsey's pro-protoss bias, as Ayers considered them an enemy of the terrans.
Ramsey and Held frequently clashed, at one point being restrained by Quinton and Ayers. Dr. Branamoor didn't interfere. Another time, Dr. Daniel Rothfuss talked Ramsey down. Meanwhile Ayers and Cogan began an affair.
Redell Quinton was confined to quarters on suspicion of building a distillery, after he was discovered to have massively overused the project's supply of activated carbon, and Jake Ramsey was discovered collapsed in a hallway. Dr. Pamela Foster complained about being locked out of the lab, but refused to turn on Quinton, despite his previous rude treatment of her. After four days of searching failed to find the distillery, Director Branamoor ordered Major Treicher to release Quinton and conclude her investigation.
The Palomino arrived at the station carrying warhounds. Major Lee oversaw the transfer personally. Quinton, while drunk, suggested developing cloaking devices for the warhounds, as they had excessive power supplies.
Dr. Held squabbled with Winlaleah Martine, suggesting she stole his tools. Meanwhile, Dr. Martine told Ramsey about being a ghost, and what she had given up for it. She disdained him for being a "hard-shell" (non-telepath), but he was able to determine her full name, saying he "just knew it". She also mentioned that Held was destroying valuable samples.
Dr. Held made more unreasonable demands, eventually attacking Martine with a scalpel. She used her ghost abilities to beat him up and nearly kill him. Meanwhile, Quinton suggested Ramsey was in love with Martine, but Ramsey said he was interested in another person. Quinton helped by holding him back, but Martine was injured enough to require medical attention. Ramsey later told Dr. Ayers Martine had ghost training. He also said that Martine had psionically pushed Held, intending to eliminate him, as she was miserable having to work for him, but the administration did not respond to her complaints. Ramsey and Ayers became friends over the incident, and Ramsey passed Ayers a note from Dr. Daniel Rothfuss about his daughter, Maren.
Dr. Branamoor announced that this was Dr. Held's last day at Blackstone. He asked the other scientists to cease discussing him and made it clear this would not have any impact on his later career.
Dr. Rothfuss hacked into Quinton's protected research files, and noted that Quinton suggested removing security devices from the warhounds. Despite the invasion, this earned Quinton's respect.
Dr. Branamoor learned that Axiom Corporation had sent three transport ships with warhounds, but only one had made it. In addition, Mistaff IV, where the missing transports had last been seen, had fallen to the zerg.
Dr. Talise Cogan, operating on a dead overlord, felt its grief. She consulted Dr. Martine about it, but Martine said that kind of transfer wasn't possible with a dead zerg and that it had to be her imagination.
Ramsey and Martine discussed Held's mental breakdown. Ramsey wondered if Martine had picked up any warning signs. Martine marveled at his intuition, and he suggested she was more perceptive than she let on. When he demonstrated the ability to hide his thoughts from her, she suggested teaching him about psionics.
Dr. Rothfuss arranged for private communications with Ayers through the use of a scrambler that he had designed. He also noted that Dr. Branamoor didn't trust him, for good reason. He didn't believe that Branamoor or Emperor Arcturus Mengsk were working for the betterment of mankind. He noted that terran technology advanced quickly in the field of war, but there was little progress in computer programming. They were still using original ATLAS coding in adjutants, which led to a form of complacency in the field of programming.
Rothfuss was able to hack into the personnel files, and discovered information about Dr. Cogan's daughter, Ariel Hanson. He had trouble tracking down the fate of Ayers's own daughter.
He told Ayers that he was being used, and worried about Dr. Vera Langridge's study of mind-controlling plants, as well as six more off-the-books isolated portions of the facility. He revealed that Dr. Held was still on-site, working on the protoss. Rothfuss didn't believe he would convince the patriotic Ayers, but hoped he would at least look for proof. Rothfuss declared that Project Blackstone must be destroyed.
Dr. Cogan requested a transfer. Dr. Ayers was upset at Dr. Rothfuss, who had given her the information. Dr. Cogan had learned that her daughter, Ariel Hanson, was considered a traitor to the Dominion. The Dominion had abandoned Hanson's world, Agria, during the Second Great War, and no further records were found, leading Cogan to believe Hanson was dead.
Meanwhile supplies were drying up. Dr. Branamoor was reluctant to disclose the reason why.
A brawl broke out among the marines in the mess hall while Quinton watched. Dr. Treicher put an end to it by spectacularly smashing a table over one of their heads.
In the lab, Dr. Martine said that she had warned Held about indulging his "sick" desires, but she didn't care about the protoss. She was only upset at Held for wasting samples. Since Held left, the protoss specimens, especially Kaeon, had become more responsive. Martine told Ramsey to refer to Kaeon by the name Experiment #383. Ramsey was able to determine Kaeon was a member of the Khalai Caste and intensely curious, but Martine worried about him being alone in there with a protoss. She also worried about his headaches. Ramsey said that nothing was wrong with him organically, and the headaches had gone away for a while after Dr. Held left, but were now coming back. Dr. Martine began teaching him a method of relieving the pain.
The operation took a turn for the worse when the station stopped receiving supplies and could not establish contact with the Dominion. Dr. Held, wanting to hoard all of the resources for his own research, then released several captive zerglings into the facility.
The escaped zerglings killed all of the guards and support staff and left the main science team trapped.
Dr. Rothfuss asked someone to put him into his wheelchair. Pamela Foster volunteered. The scientists began heading to the bio lab, the only place the zerglings weren't rampaging. Jake Ramsey started babbling and acting incoherently, bleeding from the ears, talking about Rosemary Dahl. He had learned that Dr. Held was killing the protoss.
The scientists ended up taking shelter in the mess hall. Dr. Rothfuss converted the datapads into walkie talkies, but this prompted Dr. Branamoor to fall into insanity. He demanded they "cut the chatter".
The situation deteriorated. The station could not keep track of the zerglings' locations. However, they learned that Daisy 8, a transport vessel, was available to rescue them. Meanwhile Dr. Martine slipped away and began killing zerglings. However, she stole the Daisy 8 and made it off the station alone. A rambling Dr. Branamoor revealed that Martine had been imposed on the project from the top. They still had seven zerglings left, and not enough bullets for all of them and Dr. Held.
Red Quinton revealed he had hidden ethanol in a hellion, and this could be used to blow through the vents and attack the zerglings. Rothfuss controlled the vents. Quinton and Treicher headed to the garage to put the plan into action. Quinton ended up locked in the garage with the last of the zerglings.
The team reached Dr. Held's lab, only to find that he was killed by Kaeon, who had been released by Dr. Cogan, secretly held in that underground level.
Some time later, the team was rescued by Emperor Valerian Mengsk, who took over and reorganized the project, putting it on the DS Brin. Dr. Ayers was made the new head of the project. Kaeon refused to leave, wishing to study Ramsey's condition. Meanwhile Rosemary Dahl arrived at the station and reunited with Ramsey.
- Adjutant 33-27 V3.1974 (Twitter link)
- Talen Ayers, Xenobiologist, Senior Zerg Research (Twitter link)
- Helek Branamoor, Chief of Research, Project Director, Omega-level access (Twitter link)
- Talise Cogan, Xenobiologist (Twitter link)
- Warren G. Held, Xenobiologist, Senior Protoss Researcher (Twitter link)
- Pamela D. Foster, Chemical Engineer, Explosives Expert (Twitter link)
- Sherman Jack, Xeno-Imaging Specialist
- Vera Langridge, Xenobotanist, Gamma-level access (Twitter link)
- Leah A. Martine, Xenobiologist (Twitter link)
- Red Quinton, Chief Engineer (Twitter link)
- Jake Ramsey, Xenoarchaeologist, Protoss Specialist (Twitter link)
- Daniel Rothfuss, Astrophysicist (Twitter link)
- Lee Treicher, Head of Security, Major, Gamma-level access (Twitter link)
From a real-world viewpoint, the goal of Project Blackstone was to weave a narrative across multiple media, draw traffic to the StarCraft website, raise awareness of StarCraft short stories, and build hype for Heart of the Swarm. Blackstone increased unique visits to the lore portions of the website by 13,000%.
Initially, the site was assumed to be a viral marketing site for Heart of the Swarm. The site originally asked for a password, "Y7_$0>0k_3<$m", but the log-in page was removed when the site officially announced. It took fans at Teamliquid and Reedit only three hours to crack the code. Senior Story Developer Cameron Dayton has revealed that its story was two years in the making. He has stated that Project Blackstone is more than just marketing, without revealing what exactly it is.
Most of the characters have a Twitter account. Links to their accounts and logs of their conversations can now be found at Project Blackstone - Declassified.
Blizzard released short stories, often featuring the zerg, around the release of Heart of the Swarm. Project Blackstone was linked to these stories, usually by the delivery of zerg killed in these stories for examination by the project scientists.
The campaign was collected in War Stories, including its tweets, journal entries, and the short stories that were published alongside it.
The project has been referred to as being "season 1."