At 12:01 AM tomorrow morning, Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm goes live. Millions of Starcraft
II players who've been itching for the next chapter of single-player storyline and multiplayer goodies will face-dive into the game -- including me.
But before you tear open the digital confectionary, PETA would like you to spare a momment to think about Zerglings. The organization has formed a subsidiary group, Terrans for the Ethical Treatment of Zerglings, or TETZ. Joel Bartlett,
t; TETZ staffer, reminds us all that the group will "attend tonight's launch event in Irvine, California, and distribute copies of our new "Zerglings Have Feelings, Too" leaflets as a reminder that gamers and nongamers alike should have compassion for all beings—even those who are very different from us. He asserts that Zerglings are "cute" and writes "How could anyone ever want to hurt a Zergling?"
We visited the Hyperion to ask our brave frontline soldiers that same question. It soon became clear, we'd get no easy answer.
"Mffng Zg!" exclaimed First Lieutenant Hank Altzin, when we asked him whether he thought the Zerg's plucky, tenacious front-line
phlegmatically challenged individuals had been mistreated by the soldiers who encountered them. Altzin, who is currently being fitted with a prosthetic lower jaw after injuries sustained during the evacuation of Mar Sara (informally known as the Battle of Chowder Hill amongst the rank-and-file) became agitated by our follow-up questions.
Other marines were more coherent, but none were willing to endorse TETZ's radical idea that zerglings might just be misunderstood. When we asked Staff Sergeant Frank Sims, a longtime Raynor compatriot and veteran of many conflicts, whether he thought Zerglings had been mistreated, he grunted and handed us the following diagram. We later learned that Raynor's Raiders had recovered the drawing on Char, during the initial conflict with the Overmind, but had withheld widespread publication due to concerns about troop morale.
"The problem with explaining zerglings to these tsetse flies" Sims growled, "Is that they've got no frame of reference. They think a zergling is like a Terran animal -- that if you raise 'em up right, you can train out the aggressive instincts, or keep their mandibles trimmed, or something like that. But zergs don't work that way."
"A Zergling," the grizzled sergeant continued, "is capable of killing its prey 32 distinct ways. It's teeth are strong enough to carve through titanium and its bite can dent starship armor. Zergling drool can bore through a country ham in 3.2 seconds, and it can survive on a tenth the oxygen a human needs. Worst of all, millennia of evolution have eliminated anything like an emotionally stable Zergling -- these critters spawn pissed off, and things don't improve from there."
The TETZ organization acknowledges that, for veterans who bear the physical and mental scars of zergling conflict, the road to acceptance is long and difficult. "I just want the Terran Dominion, UED, and Raynor's men to recognize that when we they kill Zerglings, everyone
loses," said Jennifer Roling, head of TETZ's controversial "Adopt-A-Zergling" program.
"We've made great strides in recent years. Our certified Zerg-Friendly body armor comes in both child and adult sizes and is built from the best in metallic carbon composites with piezo-electric Flexi-Grip strength enhancers, PetDefense stun grenades, a miniturized nuclear reactor for power generation, and our patented ZAZER personal training technology that's guaranteed to deliver an appropriate training response to even the most stubborn Zergling. These tools help ensure that humans and zerglings can live together peacefully -- without violence."
Despite these advances, human-zergling relations face a long road -- and in the opinion of this reporter, few solutions.
Joel Hruska, UNN