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Neural resocialization

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"This is the new marine! Neural resocialization! Cookie-cutter soldiers! Press them out of the resoc tanks like so many gingerbread men, wind 'em up and send 'em off to die!"
"Well, ma'am, it's a lot quicker than the old way, that's for sure. That's progress."
"God save me from progress!"

- L. Z. Breanne and Jon Littlefield discussing neurally resocialized marine Ardo Melnikov(src)

NeuralResocialization WhyWeFight Comic1

Intense resocialization

Neural resocialization is a rigorous process, devised by the Terran Confederacy, used to treat criminals suffering from mental disorders or at least prevent them from committing crimes and turning them into loyal soldiers.[1] Some Dominion military personnel have even volunteered for the process (in an effort to avoid mental problems).[2] Those who undergo the process often have a blissful look.[3]

Terrans sometimes refer to neural resocialization simply as "resoc"[4] or "brain panning"[5] (the latter term also refers to any form of insanity, brain damage, drug use or even simple stupidity).[6]

Neural resocialization bears many similarities to the technology used to control ghosts[7] and has also been used to control spectres.[8]

Resocialized individuals' minds are "fuzzy" when sensed by a telepath.[4]


"What a bunch of losers. It makes you wonder what the Confederacy is coming to."

- Master Sergeant Rockwell after seeing resocs in battle(src)

Neural resocialization was commonly used as early as 2478 by the Terran Confederacy and was sometimes publicly disclosed[9] but was still considered new, "unproved" technology c. 2480.[7] By 2488 it still wasn't common knowledge within the Confederate military[10] and other factions resorted to torturing Confederate soldiers to learn more about it.[11] During this period, Confederate resocs were little better than robots, marching blindly into enemy fire and taking chances that other soldiers wouldn't—effectively walking into the meat grinder.[10]

The science has continuously advanced since then, having "new" forms by 2499.[5][12] Dominion scientist Dr. Stanley Burgess further advanced the frontier of resocialization.[13]

During the tenure of the Terran Confederacy, most marines were resocialized, but near its end it claimed that only half of its marines were resocialized, "sometimes less".[5] During the Great War, forced resocialization was used to conscript civilians into the military.[12] In the aftermath of the Brood War, the intake of resocialized marines had fallen slightly, but volunteer numbers remained low, so the process has continued.[14] The Dominion's official stance is that its resocialization program is for taking criminals and "redeeming" them, giving them hope and a "new beginning."[3]

After the ascension of Emperor Valerian Mengsk, the Terran Dominion's resocialization program was fully abolished, and reforms were put in place for better treatment of those who were subjected to the procedure. On the other hand, some marines are skeptical as to whether the resocialization program wouldn't be reactivated if casualties mounted and recruitment was low.[15]


"All the other boys and girls in the marines-they don't understand like I do, they don't yet realize that it's better to be dead and who you are than walking around with everything that made you you buried and smothered with fake chocolate-coated memories. That ain't living. They're better off dead."

- A "liberated" Marcus Wright(src)

There are multiple types of neural resocialization, but all share two things in common: they reshape the victim's memories (layering new memories over the old ones), and they enforce obedience (to different levels, depending on the type of resocialization). Neurally resocialized soldiers can shift loyalties if their commanders do so as well.[5][4]

The memory layering is "programmed"; the scientists "seek out" and "suppress" certain memories, such as emotionally charged violent criminal memories, covering them with "chocolate-coated" filler memories.[4]

Victims of some forms of resocialization are incapable of even pointing their weapon at another marine.[5][4]

People may gain technical and combat skills during resocialization by receiving experience through altered or new memories. New personnel may be trained quickly in this manner.[12]

The effects of the resocializaion, especially the repeated process, was shown to grant resistance to the psychic domination of the hybrid.[16]

Methods of ResocializationEdit

"If you think hard labor is bad, you can only imagine what else we're capable of. You might just end up a prisoner in your own body."

- Lt. Colonel Javier Vanderspool threatens a larcenous marine(src)

By the beginning of the Great War, the Terran Confederacy used "non-invasive" forms of neural resocialization. These left few physical outward marks (such as divots behind the ear). The process modified behavior such that a resocialized individual was susceptible to obeying strongly given orders even from those not in the chain of command. When combined with stimulants, a resocialized marine could be ordered to shoot civilians and relatives; explicit orders were needed to shoot possible "friendlies".[5]

Resocialization tanks provided a "milder" form of resocialization. A subject endured multiple sessions in the tanks where they were "programmed" with knowledge and skills needed for the desired occupation. The procedure tended to leave the subject disoriented for a period of time afterward. The subject emerged with fewer behavioral restrictions; the subject could choose to disobey orders and even attack allies, based on the situation as evaluated by the individual.[12]


"Resoc is quite delicate. It's not something you do with a kit you built in your father's basement."
ColeHickson SC-Com6 Comic2

Subconscious resocialization

More intensive forms of resocialization were considered to be extremely painful.[4] Dr. Stanley Burgess, a resocialization specialist for the Terran Dominion used such techniques, sometimes incorporating full-body restraints into the process.[13]

By 2502 a "subconscious" form of neural resocialization had been developed[17] using resocialization tank technology.[11] While it would cause behavior problems, it would generally have little effect on the victim's personality until a programmed trigger was set off.[17] It could be resisted through willpower.[11]


"He undid it. Undid the resoc. Made me remember who and what I was. Made me remember the joy of what I did. And made me remember how damn bad it hurt when you boys played with my brain to make it all docile-like."

- A "liberated" Marcus Wright(src)

Neural resocialization is not restricted to enlisted personnel; Lieutenant Emily Swallow of Alpha Squadron had undergone the process.[5] Notably, a number of obvious candidates have not undergone the process, such as Major Esmerelda Ndoci.[6]

Resocialized soldiers possess little or no initiative, often react poorly to changing battlefield conditions and tend to lack the depth of personality one might find in an ordinary human.[9] Unique talents and expertise are largely wiped away, which resulted in programs such as the War Pigs. However, some handlers preferred "obedient" over "improvisational".[18] In additon, resocialized soldiers are known to react badly to antagonizing behavior such as pranks or exploiting their willingness to accept hazardous duty assignments with fatalities having occurred in the past.[15]

Neural resocialization can "shatter" under stress. For instance, when the resocialized marine Lt. Emily Swallow faced stress when questioning a Sons of Korhal agitator, she had to use her stimpack to "relieve" the stress after the encounter. Later on, her previous criminal behavior came to the fore when she was attacked by zerg.[5] Trauma can also weaken the hold resocialization places on scrubbed memories. To counter this, the Confederate Marine Corps kept seriously wounded resocs heavily sedated whilst undergoing medical treatment in order to prevent them from sliding back into their former personalities.[9]

A small percentage of terrans are resistant to resocialization. Among this tiny group are members who are conscripted into the Reaper Corps, including various criminals, the occasional political dissident,[19] and marines who remain uncontrollable after resoc.[20]

A number of protoss have shown the ability to psionically reverse the process of resocialization.[4][13] Even terran psychics can undo the process to an extent.[12] The infestation process can peel back the memories of an infested terran, revealing false ones implanted through resoc.[21]

List of Resocialized IndividualsEdit

Main article: Resocialized characters


Terran SCR Head1

A terran with a stamped QR code

Within StarCraft, a few terrans are seen with barcodes stamped on their foreheads;[22][23] possibly a sign of neural resocialization and/or indentured service. This returns in StarCraft: Remastered, though the barcode has been replaced with a QR code.[24]


  1. Underwood, Peter, Bill Roper, Chris Metzen and Jeffrey Vaughn. StarCraft (Manual). Irvine, Calif.: Blizzard Entertainment, 1998.
  2. Neilson, Micky. "Stealing Thunder." (Oct. 13, 2010). Blizzard Entertainment. Stealing Thunder Accessed 2010-10-22.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Waugh, James. "Changeling." (November 18, 2009). Blizzard Entertainment. Changeling: A Short Story by James Waugh Accessed 2009-11-18.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Golden, Christie. StarCraft: The Dark Templar Saga #1: Firstborn. Pocket Star Books, May 2007. ISBN 0-7434-7125-3.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Grubb, Jeff (February 27, 2001). StarCraft: Liberty's Crusade. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 0-671-04148-7.
  6. 6.0 6.1 DeCandido, Keith R. A. (November 28, 2006). StarCraft: Ghost: Nova. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 0-7434-7134-2.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Neilson, Micky (December 18, 2000). StarCraft: Uprising. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 0-7434-1898-0 (eBook).
  8. Kenyon, Nate. (September 27, 2011). StarCraft: Ghost: Spectres. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 978-1439-10938-0.
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  10. 10.0 10.1 Dietz, William C. (April 6, 2010). StarCraft II: Heaven's Devils. Simon & Schuster (Gallery Books). ISBN 978-1416-55084-6.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Furman, Simon (w), Federico Dallocchio, Mike S. Miller, Carlos D'Anda (p, i). "StarCraft #6" StarCraft 1 (6) (November 25, 2009) DC Comics (Wildstorm).
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Hickman, Tracy (May 21, 2002). StarCraft: Speed of Darkness. Simon & Schuster (Pocket Star). ISBN 0-671-04150-9.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Elder, Josh and Ramanda Kamarga. "Why We Fight." In StarCraft: Frontline: Volume 1, pp. 6–47. Tokyopop, August 1, 2008. ISBN 1427-80721-3.
  14. Marine. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2014-02-12.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Barba, Rick. StarCraft Field Manual (hardcover). Insight Editions, November 17, 2015.
  16. Neilson, Micky. "Sector Six." (Oct 27, 2015). Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft Lore: Sector Six Accessed 2015-10-27.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Furman, Simon (w), Federico Dallocchio (p, i), Carlos D'Anda (p, i). "StarCraft #5" StarCraft 1 (5) (October 28, 2009) DC Comics (Wildstorm).
  18. Giffen, Keith and Simon Furman (w), Federico Dallocchio (p, i), Milen Parvanov (col). "StarCraft: Issue 1" StarCraft 1 (1) (May 27, 2009) DC Comics (Wildstorm).
  19. O'Reilly, Michael and Brooks, Robert. "Icehouse." (March 14, 2013). Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft Lore: Icehouse Accessed 2013-03-14.
  20. Reaper. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2014-02-12.
  21. Brooks, Robert. "“The Education of PFC Shane”." (April 4, 2013). Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft Lore: The Education of PFC Shane Accessed 2013-04-04.
  22. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft. (Blizzard Entertainment) (in English). March 31, 1998
  23. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft. Vivendi Games. Cinematic: Battle on the Amerigo. (in English). 1998.
  24. StarCraft Remastered, Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed on 2017-03-31

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