|“||The Strogg: soulless fusions of decaying flesh, bones and metal, twisted and ruined by centuries of war. They search the galaxy for the sole item their existence requires, harvesting, consuming and destroying everything in their path. And now, they have arrived… here!||”|
—Intro to Quake Wars
The Strogg are a hostile cybernetic alien race featured as the main antagonists in the Quake 2 and Quake 4 video games, and recently in Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. The Strogg are cybernetic constructs of unclear origins which reproduce by taking biological components and fusing them with advanced technology in the brutal surgical process of Stroggification that enslaves their minds and enhances their bodies for war.
The Strogg's need to harvest biological components for their own augmentation, and the flesh of slain enemies for the creation of stroyent, is their primary motivation, since it's necessary for their survival. This motivation led the Strogg to Earth, which they promptly invaded, slaughtering millions of humans just to harvest their corpses. This Strogg aggression led to humanity's long war with them that has continued unabated ever since.
Strogg Crates were spotted during the eerie events of Quake, although the connection has never been explained. It's possible that the Strogg were somehow involved Shub-Niggurath's forces, so as to help weaken Humanity's military, in turn making Humanity more vulnerable to the follow-up harvesting campaign. It's also plausible that the events of Quake occur after the events of Quake II and Quake 4, possibly explaining Strogg crates and several weapons. A third possibility is that the developers simply liked the design from Quake 1 and brought it forward into Quake II as a nod to the previous game.
Matthew Kane shared the knowledge of the Strogg and described the Strogg's origins as a kind of Frankenstein event: "created for war, and fueled by the blood of their enemy".
Another marine aboard the USS Hannibal during the Second Stroggos Invasion said the Strogg were super-soldiers still roaming the Universe after a major war long ago. He also claimed that someone told him the Strogg were the "next step in human evolution" due to the increased reliance of humans on technology.
Strogg environments bear an uncanny resemblance to human environments, although this could have any number of explanations. None of them was ever revealed or hinted at whatsoever.
It's possible that the Strogg worship the various Lovecraftian-esque entities seen in the first Quake game, due to the use of the 'Dual' Quake symbol and their leader Makron.
The war against the Strogg
- Main article: War against the Strogg
The Strogg invaded Earth in the mid-21st Century in search of biological components. Though at first they gained the advantage, the humans rallied and defeated them in a long and bloody conflict. The humans then invaded Stroggos and the Strogg were forced to defend their homeworld. A lone marine destroyed their main planetary defense system, the "Big Gun", and killed their leader, an entity known as the Makron. However, they were resilient and regrouped, constructing a new and more powerful Makron. After this, the humans learned of the Nexus, a system that coordinated the Strogg Communications Network. After a series of daring operations they destroyed it, crippling the Strogg's tactical and strategic chances of victory because this disorganized them, though they still possessed an army billions strong and continued to fight the humans. In the second human invasion the Strogg also lost many facilities essential to their existence, chiefly the Strogg Medical Facilities where they renewed their ranks with Tactical Transfers, a particularly smart and elite unit, and the facilities that they used for creating stroyent, which is essential for lubricating and fueling them. The stroyent's pumping system, a massive heart, was also lost to the humans' hostile infiltration of their industrial complex. To make matters worse for the Strogg, their reconstructed Makron was killed by a rogue transfer named Matthew Kane along with the Nexus. Whether or not these operations have finally destroyed the Strogg war machine for good remains to be seen. One thing is certain: mankind's survival depends on the Strogg's defeat.
- Main article: Stroggos
The Strogg's homeworld is host to a vast military and industrial complex with its capital city based at Cerberon, which is the heart of thier civilization, built into a massive crater called Crater Majoris. The Strogg have mostly stripped half their planet of its resources and there is little that remains of the original ecosystem which allowed them to evolve. However, there is still a small amount of animal life on Stroggos that has undergone horrific mutation and these once-docile creatures will attack without provocation. The entire planet is a desert wasteland covered in various military and industrial facilities.
The Strogg process of gathering the dead remains of their enemies is known as harvesting. This is the principle way in which the Strogg gather the resources that are their primary source of strength. Though the Strogg possess mechanized walkers called harvesters specially made for harvesting, they also manage without them: Strogg are known to drag the corpses of the dead enemy away, which is part of their harvesting function, so that they can either take organs for building more Strogg or so that they can break the body down into stroyent. It's also notable that Strogg shout "Kill the human food" and that a high ranking Strogg officer would say over the comm systems that "We shall feast tonight!". This may indicate that the Strogg are "hunting" down humans for the stroyent which can be extracted and then fed to the ever growing numbers of Strogg.
Harvesters themselves are powerful weapons, capable of taking on large numbers of enemies, and are virtually indestructible by most infantry weapons because of their specific anti-personnel purpose. Human infantry are taught not to attract the touch of a harvester at any cost, as such machines should only be faced by vehicles equipped with advanced anti-armor weaponry, such as mechanized walkers or hover tanks.
- Main article: Stroggification
The Strogg procreate only by using the various technologies at their disposal. They are known to assemble new soldiers using the remains of their fallen enemies, with the irretrievable bodies being processed into stroyent. There is also evidence of shared genetic material among the Strogg, for example the Gunner and Berserker have similar heads, meaning these units may have been developed in a genetic project to create super-soldiers. The Strogg practice of assembling new soldiers using the parts of their enemies and their own technology is known as Stroggification. Infamously, Stroggification is also practiced on live enemy prisoners of war in order to produce the Tactical Transfer, at the Strogg Medical Facilities. Natural limbs are removed and replaced with more efficient mechanical legs and arms that are much stronger. The subject has nanites introduced into them in the cybernetic augmentation process, and finally a neurocyte is implanted in the brain to link them to the Strogg Communication Network so that they can receive instant command directives and experience the aggressive Strogg thought processes.
|“||The nanites are healing the tissue even after it's separated from the body!||”|
—An astonished human surgeon examining a stroggified soldier.
In addition, nanites may be capable of inflicting harm on their enemies on a micro-cellular level and are airborne all across Stroggos, which prompted human paranoia of them and they therefore used a decontamination procedure for any marine returning to his base.
Death and Recycling
When the Strogg die, their bodies do not rot away like most organisms. Instead, their cells undergo a sudden process induced by the nanites within them that dissolves them, and they are quickly vaporized as their corpse will glow green and wither away. Presumably, the nanites quickly disassemble the body once it's dead, and the particles dissipate into Stroggos' environment. After this, the particles may be collected in various Strogg facilities and recycled into stroyent production. As a result, dead Strogg will always typically be recycled and used to feed their war machine even more.
However, some Strogg bodies have been recovered that failed to undergo this process, and instead the nanites continued to repair their bodies even after they were dead and the process was futile.
Surprisingly, Harvesters do this despite being visibly made mostly of metal, perhaps because there is organic matter inside them and nanites. Robotic Strogg hardware does not do this, however, suggesting it's a cellular process.
The decomposition phase is a relatively new Strogg technology that was only observed in the course of mankind's Second Invasion. In the previous invasion, Bitterman witnessed no such phase, as Strogg corpses simply lay there with flies buzzing around them. An explanation could be that the Nexus was not yet brought on-line, since intel points to that technology being the cause of the Strogg decomposition phase.
The neurocyte is a small but vital neural implant inside the cerebral cortex of any Strogg. It is an archive of data and a neural link to the Strogg Communication Network. The neurocyte contains the associated tactical program for a particular unit, which is why the Strogg require no training for combat. Along with this, the data archive also purveys a certain level of comprehension of the Strogg language to the host, with Matthew Kane gaining the ability to at least read Strogg. The mere presence of the neurocyte in a host allows them to access Strogg control panels, as witnessed by marine Matthew Kane who gained the ability to operate security lock-outs on Strogg control panels and pass through security grids unhindered.
The neurocyte is implanted using a large hypodermic needle, driving it directly into the brain of a fully conscious subject at the last stage of stroggification. In human terms, the damage to the cerebral cortex during implantation would likely kill a subject, but Strogg technology (most likely nanites) has proven otherwise. Far ahead of human medical knowledge, the neurocyte cannot be removed by any forms of surgery. Immediately after implementation, the host gains access to the data purveyed by the data archive.
It's unknown whether Strogg are subject to emotion, although The Makron possessed an arrogant character, laughing grotesquely at his enemies in combat while shouting "you cannot win!" or contemptuously saying "die, human!", but this could simply be a component of psychological warfare.
- Main article: Stroyent
The Strogg rely on liquefied rations called stroyent to both fuel and feed their cyborg bodies. Essentially a processed flesh slurry, stroyent is rendered from the bodies of captured enemies or fallen combatants. It's accessed at key points, each with a strange suspended gland, called stroyent health stations.
Stroggos is inhabited by the Strogg, a race of Aliens made up of many different species that have been captured by the Strogg and transformed into cybernetic soldiers as part of their army. It's unknown how long the Strogg have lived on the planet and little is known about their origins.
The Strogg society is built around a group of Warlords who control all forces, with one Warlord chosen above all else for its strength and brutality to be appointed leader of the Strogg, the Makron.
Strogg culture is dominated by a fixation on warfare, with all their efforts being geared towards this single purpose. The majority of buildings on Stroggos are nothing more than countless armored bunkers, weapons factories, defenses, and massive fortifications. The Palace of Cerberon is a rare example for prestigious Strogg architecture. Many of the buildings show signs of extreme age and crude construction, rusting to the core, though they all tend to have the same kinds of elevators and automatic doors that are typical of human military installations. One sign of the Strogg's culture is their use of nationalistic banners and symbols in orange and yellow coloring, hinting that they may once have had a national identity or took some kind of pride in their culture. Many such banners still hang on or inside Strogg installations, though many of them, like the buildings, are weathered, torn, stained and almost ancient in appearance. It's possible the Strogg still make these flags and display them as a holdover from a past age when they were less enslaved by their technology, since otherwise the Strogg would see them as a waste of resources due to their lack of need for morale or military pride compared to humans.
LanguageThe Strogg language functions very similarly to English, with various symbols forming separate words and basically working as letters, as opposed to symbols representing whole meanings in the way that Chinese, for example, works. However, there is little indication that many humans have managed to understand it even after years of war against the Strogg and study of them. Understanding of the Strogg language is gained from a neurocyte being implanted in the cerebral cortex, and few human translators would volunteer for such a procedure. It is not entirely necessary, because Johann Strauss claimed to be one of the few humans fluent in Strogg, without undergoing stroggification.
On the other hand, the presence of English signage on Stroggos, as depicted in Quake II, would suggest that the Strogg do use written English. Another possibility is that some humans, including the invading Marines, have learned the Strogg language, at least in its written form, and is being "translated" into English for the player (a supposition which may be supported by the alien-looking font used for the English on Stroggos, intended to imitate the shape of the "real" Strogg script). Note that some Strogg, having been processed from captured humans, do speak English (for example, the Berserker growls "Trespasser!" or the Iron Maiden snarls "Traitor!" or the Gladiator utters "Prepare to Die!" upon spotting the player), although this would not explain why their signs would be in English instead of Strogg, especially since some of the other Strogg troops yell out non-English words (such as "Hito!", Japanese for "A man!", by some Guards).
Strogg society is marked by brutality and savagery without parallel. The biggest and strongest Strogg are automatically the ones with higher authority. While the most superior Strogg gain the title of Makron and have absolute power over the Strogg civilization or society. Larger and more powerful Strogg have little respect for their weaker brethren, with many a light tank killing or trampling lesser Strogg foot-soldiers if they get in the way. Unique powerful Strogg function as guardians and act as subordinates to the Makron, such as the Tower Guardian which was tasked with the outer defense of the three security stations surrounding the central Strogg Nexus tower.
|“||We're like animals to the freaks!||”|
The Strogg conduct cruel experiments on captured humans. Though most captives are sent to stroggification, there are those who are much more unlucky. They are sent for mortality tests. Various organs are removed by scientists without the use of any anesthetic, because Stroggs study the pain of their victims and their body's response. Also, they want to ascertain how long a human can last without certain organs. This torture is long and horrific. Driving the victims to insanity and inevitably death. The Strogg have no concept of ethics in their medical research and will do anything to anyone if they think it can help them develop the stroggification process more, advance their own medical capabilities, or enhance their weapons to kill more efficiently.
|“||I must admit to being envious of you, Corporal Kane! The technology you are witnessing must truly be spectacular!||”|
The Strogg have developed a variety of highly advanced weapons, ranging from small energy-based blasters to fully-functional railguns and even the Dark Matter Gun, a devastating weapon firing a deadly orb that consumes smaller enemies and inflicts severe damage on bigger ones. When compared to human weapons research, the Strogg seem to be centuries ahead and should be easily winning the war if it was not for the limited spread of many of these weapons. In the following, there's a short overview of common Strogg weapons.
- Blaster: an energy-based weapon that shoots ionized plasma bolts with relatively low damage but a high rate of fire. Most commonly used by Guards. However, bigger versions of this weapon can also be found in larger units such as the Gladiator, and even the Makron himself.
- Machine Gun: classical ballistic weapon that fires large amounts of bullets at a high rate of fire. Strogg units featuring this weapon include Guards, Sentries, and Grunts. Also, Tactical Strogg units often wield captured SMC Machine Guns.
- Shotgun: Fires a load of pellets at the target. This weapon is only used by some Guards. Tactical Transfers and Failed Transfers use captured SMC Shotguns.
- Nailgun: basically working like a Machine Gun, but firing nails that travel slower, yet cause more damage. In the Strogg military, at least two versions of it exist: the first one is a built-in variant and the main weapon of Gunners in Quake 4, as well as Harvesters, while the second one is handheld (see Nailgun for details). Several turrets also fire nails. It should be noted that the handheld version is capable of firing homing nails (after an upgrade).
- Grenades: Fires a small grenade in a ballistic arc. There seem to be at least two different types of grenades, one being the "standard" explosive grenades (fired by Gunners) and Dark Matter grenades which are only used by the Makron. The standard grenade launcher of the Gunner seems to have inspired the SMC weapon of the same name.
- Lightning weaponry: Fires bolts of damaging light and comes in two forms. Firstly, there's the lightning weapon of the Berserker, which is integrated into its blade arm and can either fire a lightning bolt or be used to create a shockwave that hurts all nearby enemies. Also, there is a handheld version that shoots a bolt at enemies. After an upgrade, the bolt is capable of jumping over on enemies standing nearby one's target. The Makron uses a specialized lightning gun which is purple-colored.
- Rockets: Rockets are mainly used by very strong Strogg units such as the Heavy Hover Tank, the Harvester, or Stream Protector, but also by Iron Maidens. All of these rockets possess homing ability. A handheld version, the Rocket Launcher, can be obtained at the Strogg Medical Facilities.
- Railgun: Fires a large slug of metal at extreme velocity through magnetic coils, causing very high damage. The only known Strogg units using it are the Gladiator, who features a large one mounted on its shoulder, and the Tactical Strogg, which use a handheld one.
- Dark Matter Gun: The most powerful weapon of Quake 4. This weapons fires a ball of Dark Matter that causes disastrous damage to any enemy. This weapon is fairly experimental and rare, with the only known Strogg to wield one being the second Makron and the stroggified Lt. Voss. Also, the player can obtain a working handheld prototype during the events of Quake 4.
- Incendiary: Another rare weapon system, used by the Light Tanks and Stream Protector. It comes in two types: a flamethrower, and an explosive fireball.
Another example of the Strogg's advanced technology is the Nexus itself and the associated hardware i.e. in the networking towers that surround it.
Albeit advanced, the Strogg technology has many similarities to human technology. Both races' computer systems are very similar, hinting that they were developed in a similar way. Johan Strauss, a brilliant engineer in Rhino Squad during the human invasion of Stroggos, said that the Strogg Communication Network could not be hacked easily, but it would be possible with the proper equipment.
The Strogg were able to take power from human torsos and used many biological systems wired directly into their facilities, such as the giant heart which pumped stroyent across their world. They were able to power whole facilities using torsos, many of which were headless and regulated by a neural link that kept their body functions going. Others still had heads but showed signs of extreme intoxication. The Strogg's combination of biological and mechanical systems is a defining characteristic about their technology since it's how their own bodies work.
The Makron acts as the leader of all Strogg forces, but primarily are a machine of war in its own right, typically stronger than any other Strogg and sporting the most powerful weapons or shields. It presides over and protects the Nexus Core in Quake 4, and is the only Strogg that has ever laid eyes on it until it's destroyed. While the first Makron was simply the strongest Strogg, which had achieved a position of power through brutality and risen over the other Strogg commanders, the second Makron was constructed by the Strogg in response to the human invasion of Stroggos. In the PC version of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, a usable taunt (in the voice chat phrases) that a player, playing as a Strogg, can send includes: "For the Makron".
The Strogg build larger creatures to defend important areas, which act as leaders over the Strogg armies presumably, and as subordinates to the Makron. Examples include the guardian creature that was quickly created using the captured body of Lieutenant Scott Voss to turn the tide in a battle that was threatening the Strogg's waste processing facility and stroyent processing operation, or the Tower Guardian, a massive non-humanoid Strogg that could fly using rocket propulsion and was armed with flame missiles.
- Main article: Nexus
The Strogg were directed by a massive communication network, maintained by a system called the Nexus. Its central processor was the main weakness of the Strogg, since it was an absolute focal point for their commands. Its destruction aimed at the complete collapse of Strogg forces across their homeworld. However, it's hardly conceivable the Nexus could have been in direct communication with the Strogg expeditionary force that attacked Earth, raising the question if the Strogg can actually continue their fight without the Nexus.
The Strogg have displayed great tactical capabilities. During their attack on Earth, the Strogg initiated a standard planetary conquest program which divided the world's surface into a honeycomb-like grid, hinting that they had done the same to many worlds before and Earth was simply the next on their list. Presumably, the strategy they chose was to take over each hexagon individually and harvest all life forms therein. Given that the Strogg presumably had a history of total war, it's a wonder that the humans were able to develop their own tactics effective enough to defeat the Strogg in any battle, let alone drive them off-world. Most likely, the human victory was owed due to their access to greater resources and control of more of the surface of the planet, allowing them to use attrition against the Strogg invaders' strongholds. Without these factors to help them on Stroggos, things started to look quite grim for the human invasion forces as the war on the enemy homeworld began to consume far too many lives.
Losing battle after battle on the Strogg homeworld made the humans realize Strogg tactics were way ahead of them, and so they knew they needed to cut the Strogg off from their commanders, by disabling the Nexus that controlled all of these commands by processing billions of Strogg thoughts.
Strogg flyers, the mainstay of their air-force, have engines that are much more efficient than anything possessed by the human forces invading Stroggos. During the human invasion of Stroggos, the Strogg possessed air superiority with the only problem being the massive human assault ships coming through the atmosphere to pound their installations. Flyers persistently harassed human forces on the ground, functioning as dive bombers or fighter-bombers that were particularly deadly to infantry. They were able to manufacture hundreds of them quickly in hangars and launch them almost immediately upon construction, making it a priority for marines to neutralize these air-force facilities as soon as possible to reduce the amount of punishment their infantry were taking on the ground. To make matters worse, the flyers could drop turrets or convoy protection units that instantly deployed, allowing them to erect tough defenses instantly.
The Strogg also possessed a number of flying infantry units in Quake 2 such as the Icarus. They also have units called Hornets that could fire missiles which particularly harassed armored units, because they maneuvered quickly and could hence avoid the heavy weapons of the humans' hover tanks or mechanized infantry walkers.
The Strogg ground forces attack in massive numbers and sport many different units, each with their own different combat functions.
In comparison to the humans, the Strogg preferred not to use small mechanized infantry walkers, because they already had monstrous cybernetic infantry known ironically as "tanks" to perform roles that humans would normally give to their heavily armored vehicles. The Strogg mechanized walker role is performed by the harvester, a unit developed, as its name suggests, for harvesting. Naturally it is very effective against infantry, and there is no record of any human infantry managing to bring one down. They usually must be taken down by the humans' armored units such as hover tanks or their own mechanized infantry walkers.
Strogg military units
The Strogg use a variety of different cybernetic constructs as soldiers. Here are some of the different kinds of combat units:
- Tactical Strogg
- Heavy Hover Tank
- Light Tank
- Tank Commander
- Iron Maiden
- Super Tank
- Teleport Dropper
- Stream Protector
Small arms weaponry
The Strogg have developed a number of powerful small arms weapons, many of them living up to the brutal reputation of the Strogg. Here are some of the different kinds:
- Grenade launcher
- Flamethrower (not accessible to the player)
- Lightning gun
- Dark Matter Gun
There are Strogg that are not used for military purposes. These Strogg primarily specialize in medicine, engineering, or science:
- The Strogg Flag is similar to the Third Reich Flag. Also, the fight with the first Makron (in Quake 2) is similar to the battle with Adolf Hitler in Wolfenstein 3D.
- "Strog" is a Croatian, Serbian, and Bulgarian word meaning "strict" or "harsh" (though this may be a mere coincidence).
- The Strogg also have many similarities to the Borg Collective from the Star Trek universe in the same manner they procreate; the only difference is that the Strogg lack any signs of interdependency.