The Terrans are a fictional future version of humanity in the StarCraft series. The Terrans are the most splintered of the StarCraft species, consisting of multiple factions that not only fight the other races but each other as well. Considered an adaptive and mobile species, the Terrans are noted in the lore of the series for their ability to quickly access and drain a planet’s resources. The Terrans have been dedicated a campaign in each real-time strategy video game installment to date, and are defined in-game by their specialisation of units and tactics of defence and mobility. In the series’ storyline, the Terrans are usually displayed as being caught in-between the conflict between the Protoss and Zerg while also dealing with frequent civil wars.
The Terrans are shown to be the most fragmented of the races in StarCraft, with multiple factions all vying for dominance over each other. Numerous factions are used throughout the series, ranging from national governments and corporations to rebels and criminals, although only four factions exhibit any major influence on the overall story arc. The first faction referred to in the backstory of the series is the United Earth Directorate (UED). A unified government of almost all the nations of Earth and several colonies both within and outside the solar system, the UED operates under a policy of “enlightened socialism” but is noted for its harsh methods of public order and media censorship. It is also seen as an advocate for eugenics, resulting the exile of unwanted criminals and genetic mutants for colonization of the distant Koprulu sector of the galaxy in which the series takes place. The UED remains outside the events of the series until Brood War, where it takes interest in the discovery of the Protoss and Zerg, the first contact between humanity and aliens. The player controls the UED faction in Episode V of Brood War.
The exiled prisoners from Earth form the Confederacy of Man in the Koprulu sector. The Confederacy’s inner workings are elaborated on in the novels Liberty’s Crusade, Speed of Darkness and Nova. Taking the role of the primary antagonistic faction in StarCraft‘s Episode I, the Confederacy is shown as the most powerful faction in the sector at the beginning of StarCraft, but is depicted in the novels as being brutal towards the public and corrupt at the highest levels on its capital Tarsonis. The player gets to control a division of the Confederate Security Forces in the prequel shareware campaign for StarCraft. Due to the brutality of the regime, it is opposed by a variety of rebel groups and is eventually overthrown by the Sons of Korhal. The Sons of Korhal, a rebel group led by Arcturus Mengsk that the player controls during Episode I of StarCraft, form the Terran Dominion to replace the destroyed Confederacy, with the planet Korhal IV as the capital. The Dominion is an autocracy with Mengsk as its emperor. The Dominion’s operations are built on in The Dark Templar Saga series of novels. Although Mengsk sees himself as a benevolent dictator, he is shown to be just as harsh as his predecessors.
Mengsk’s actions during his campaign against the Confederacy make an enemy of Jim Raynor, one of the Sons of Korhal commanders. After Mengsk betrays other members of his command staff and reveals his real objectives of obtaining ultimate power, Raynor deserts and forms a resistance movement to the Dominion, labeled Raynor’s Raiders. Described in the novels as a small army primarily consisting of members from Raynor’s former colonial militia, the Raiders use the hijacked former flagship of the Sons of Korhal, the Hyperion, as their base of operations. In Queen of Blades, the group is described as being amongst the most wanted fugitives and rebels of the Dominion. The player will assume the role of Raynor in leading the group in StarCraft II.
The Terrans are displayed as standard humans, and are often seen in-game in powered combat suits and with other war machines such as futuristic tanks and space battlecruisers in use by their militaries. Some Terrans are even displayed with cybernetic implants. Human behavior in the fictional history presented in StarCraft‘s manual also points to the Terrans having the ability to access and deplete a planet’s natural resources at an “alarming” rate. The Terrans are also noted in the backstory of the series as having a developing psionic potential. This psionic potential is what entices the Zerg to attack the Terrans, in hope of incorporating these traits into the Zerg gene pool. This psionic element is mirrored in Terran military technology through the ghost agent. Established as one of the iconic parts of StarCraft, ghost agents are Terrans who are born with ranging psionic abilities—from simple telepathy to advanced powers such as telekinesis—that are then located by the military and put through an espionage training regime that can cost them their lives. In-game, the unit of a ghost is equipped with a cloaking device and is designed for scouting and designating targets for nuclear strike, but has been developed further through the lore of the series to the extent that the StarCraft: Ghost sub-series was created, specifically focusing on the life of a ghost agent.
The player is first fully introduced to the Terrans in Episode I of StarCraft. For a number of years before the game begins, the Confederacy is shown to be fighting a slowly losing war against the Sons of Korhal. When the Zerg and Protoss make their existence known, the pace of the war quickly changes. The player, accompanied by Jim Raynor, joins up with Arcturus Mengsk and the Sons of Korhal, and helps bring about the fall of the Confederacy by using Confederate technology to lure the Zerg into destroying the Confederate capital Tarsonis. As a result of the brutal tactics used by Mengsk, Raynor abandons Mengsk and his newly formed Dominion, instead searching for Mengsk’s second-in-command Sarah Kerrigan, who was captured by the Zerg during the Tarsonis battle. Raynor is unsuccessful in rescuing Kerrigan, but meets Zeratul and Tassadar and consequently becomes an ally to the Protoss. Raynor’s forces assist the Protoss in defending their homeworld from the Zerg and in destroying the Zerg Overmind in the game’s conclusion.
In Brood War’s Episode V, the player takes the role of a captain in a UED expeditionary force, sent to pacify the wartorn sector after the discovery of the Zerg and Protoss makes its way to Earth. The UED force meets success in its initial battles, quickly bringing the Dominion to its knees and taking captive a new Overmind growing to replace the one killed by Tassadar. However the UED fail to capture Mengsk, who allies with Raynor, Kerrigan and the Protoss templar Fenix. The UED is slowly beaten back by this mutual alliance, and although Kerrigan betrays her new allies, her Zerg forces eventually annihilate the UED fleet. Regrouping his surviving forces, Mengsk begins to reconstruct his empire, although he is still opposed by Raynor and his troops.