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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 that 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 is 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.
Surprisingly, the 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 (if any) would volunteer for such a procedure. It is not entirely necessary, because a hero named Johann Strauss claimed to be one of the few humans fluent in Strogg, without undergoing stroggification.
On the other hand, the presence of English sign on Stroggos, as depicted in Quake II, would suggest either that the Strogg do use written English, or that some humans including the invading Marines have learned the Strogg language, at least in its written form, and this is "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!" 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 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 armoured bunkers, weapons factories, defences and massive fortifications. The Palace of Cerberon is a rare example for highly sophisticated 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 colouring, 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 is 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.
In Strogg society, the biggest and strongest individuals are automatically considered superior, and have higher authority. The most superior member of the Strogg race takes on the title of Makron, and has absolute authority over the Strogg civilization. Larger, more powerful Strogg have little to no respect for their weaker brethren, and will kill or trample lesser Strogg foot soldiers if they get in the way.
Most humans who are captured alive are sent to stroggification, though there are those who are much less fortunate: captives who are not stroggified are forced to undergo 'mortality tests'. Because the Strogg want to study the pain of their victims and their bodies response, Strogg scientists begin removing organs without applying any anesthetic. They also want to ascertain how long the body can last without specific organs. The torture is long, horrific and inevitably leads to the captive's death. Strogg medical research lacks a concept of ethics, and as such they will do anything they think will help them advance the stroggification process, advance their own medical capabilities, or enhance their weapons to be better at killing.
Compared to Humans, Strogg technology is overwhelmingly advanced. The most advanced of their technology are the Slipgates, which allow them to travel great distances using wormholes. A Slipgate was used to bridge their assault on the Earth.
They also employ the use of teleporters that are specially made to only transport Strogg, and will kill any unstroggified Human that tries to use them. Whether or not that is a security feature or a part of Strogg physiology is unknown.
The Strogg have developed a variety of advanced weaponry. Ranging from small, energy-based blasters to fully-functional railguns. When compared to Human weapons research, the Strogg appear to be centuries ahead, and would be easily winning the war if it was not for the limited spread of many of their weapons.
A short overview of common Strogg soldiers' weapons follows:
- Blaster: an energy-based weapon with relatively low damage but a high rate of fire.
- Machine Gun: Classical kinetic weapon that fires large amounts of bullets at a high rate of fire.
- Shotgun: Fires a load of pellets at the target.
- 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 the weapon exist: the first one is a built-in variant and the main weapon of Gunners in Quake 4, as well as Harvester, while the second one is hand-held. It should be noted that the hand-held version is capable of firing homing nails (after an upgrade).
- Grenade Launcher: 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 and Dark Matter grenades which are only seen during the second fight against the Makron.
- Lightning weaponry: Fires bolts of damaging light and comes in two forms. Firstly, there's the lightning weapon of the Berserker. Apparently, it is integrated into its right weapons arm and can either fire a lightning bolt or be used to create a shockwave that hurts all nearby enemies. Also, there is a hand-held version that shoots a bolt at enemies. After an upgrade, the bolt is capable of jumping over on enemies standing nearby one's target.
- 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 hand-held 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 Tactical Stroggs, which use a hand-held 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 Light Tanks and Stream Protector. It comes in two types: A Flamethrower, and an explosive fireball.
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 is 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.