The Strogg are a barbaric cybernetic alien race, moving through the Universe consuming, recycling and annihilating any civilization in their path. They are infamous for the systematic replacement of their ranks with prisoners of war and the modification of their bodies with mechanical weaponry and prosthetics. They maintain a massive global military-industrial complex with mines, ore refineries, light production plants and heavy industrial manufacturing facilities throughout their homeworld of Stroggos. Their heavy reliance on industry has created a toxic environment that has killed much of the native plant and animal life on Stroggos; the remaining animals are subject to horrible mutation.
One of the notable features of the Strogg is their complete lack of sense for the macabre or cruelty and their willingness to do anything to anyone so long as it serves a practical purpose and is in their best interests. They employ warp-holes to invade other planets, for food and resources. Furthermore, the Strogg civilization remains devoid of anything unrelated to war, based streamlined nature of their industry geared for war and that there is no true civilian population among the Strogg. Warfare is accepted as the only way of life, though the origins of this viewpoint are unrevealed.
The core of the Stroggos civilisation is the capital city of Cerberon. This city is built into the base of an enormous crater dubbed 'Crater Majoris'. A smaller crater - 'Crater Minor' - houses the defense base for Cerberon.
The Strogg move through the Universe consuming, recycling and annihilating any civilization in their path.
They attacked and devastated Earth before being driven offworld by a series of successful counterattacks by a united humanity. An invasion was subsequently led into the Strogg's homeworld Stroggos, with the mission of eliminating the Strogg leader Makron and crippling essential military facilities. The initial attack, dubbed Operation Alien Overlord and consisting of aerial deployment of Space Marines on Stroggos' surface, was a disaster, rebuffed by the Strogg's EMP defenses. However, a lone marine who survived the deployment destroyed various tactical structures and assassinated the Makron.
The Strogg expand their armies and population by absorbing non-Strogg species and process them to better serve the Strogg race. Prior to any procedures, prisoners of war may be kept in bare cells and continuously tortured, periodically driving the captives to insanity. The following procedures are known.
- Forced Stroggification. An exceptionally painful and brutal process conducted without anesthetics, instead utilizing excessive doses of steroids to give the subject enough strength to survive. Limbs are frequently amputated and replaced with implants often hap-hazardly wired and rudimentally attached to the subject (A doctor onboard the MCC Hannibal comments that Stroggification resembles mutilation more than anything else). If successful, the end result is a cyborg with 50% or less of its original body but with physical strength, speed and agility beyond typical human capacity.
- Experimentation. The Strogg medical community maintains no 'ethics policy' for non-Strogg organisms. Experiments mainly focus on testing human mortality, which involves organ removal, electrical shock, ballistics tests, surgery without anesthetics, environmental stresses and temperature limits. Presumably, all tests concern the victim's suitability for various types of cybernetic augmentation and the conclusions from such experiments are applied to other members of the same species. This process is probably to see if the species is able to be "stroggified", to increase their reliability to "stroggify", or improve the abilities of the stroggified.
- Recycling. The Strogg have perfected technology which allows them to break any living thing back down into its sheer molecular components; amino acids, enzymes, mineral structures and so on. As demonstrated by their other processes, the Strogg exhibit little care as to whether the victim is alive or dead during the process.
- Torso Storage Device. Strogg facilities involve a large laboratory that maintain lone human torsos, often recombining them with spare limbs and in rare cases, heads. The heads on torsos exhibit signs of heavy drug use or intoxication of some variety. These torso storage devices, or TSDs, are integral to the power supply, distribution and regulation of Strogg facilities. Damaged units must be replaced immediately or the area which they are based in will switch to emergency power.
- See also: List of Strogg technologies.
Strogg technology exceeds humanity's all scientific disciplines, with their lack of ethics allowing unfettered research and development in all aspects of warfare. The Strogg make practical use of black hole-like portals to effectively travel at faster-than-light speeds and their possession of functional teleportation is refined enough to be personally utilized by ground soldiers, or magnified for mass transit. A vast majority of scientific research is geared towards warfare or industrial uses.
- Main article: Stroyent
The Strogg are nourished, fueled and lubricated by a viscous liquid known as stroyent, consisting of processed corpses of their victims and former allies. A system of pipelines, pumps and distribution vessels runs throughout Stroggos, fed at its core by a massive creature known as the Stroyent processing creature, resembling a mutant stomach, which also serves as the stroyent processing plant. Another creature, resembling a giant heart with an attached eye, pumps the vital substance through the pipes. The "donor" for these organs is unknown.
The Nexus is a vast computer network that stretches over Stroggos, relaying information between Strogg military leaders and soldiers in the field, allowing a far-reaching wireless communications network. The Nexus is also tasked with teleporting dead Strogg to the stroyent plants for recycling. The Nexus is based in massive fortresses housing the tetranodes, massive, continuously-operating primary relay points cooled to subzero temperatures. A tetranode operating without adequate cooling will eventually overheat and destroy itself.
The central component of the Nexus is the Nexus Processor, housed in a huge fortified structure called the Nexus Core in the middle of a heavily-industrialized area in the Doggus crater. The Processor is a gigantic living brain which according to Corporal Johann Strauss of Rhino Squad has never been seen by anyone but the Makron. Just outside the crater's rim and situated equal distances from one another are three slightly-smaller but nonetheless gigantic structures, deciated to Data Storage, Networking and Processing. While the height of these structures is unknown, the floor readout of one of the towers' internal lifts displays the floor number 1986, although the tower is larger than this.
The Nexus is critical to the Strogg military. Without it, communications would cease and their forces would collapse in disarray. Attempting to disrupt the Nexus forms a core component of the later stages of the Stroggos Campaign. Despite their technological advancements, Strogg computer systems appear to use the same underlying principles as human computer systems, making the two surprisingly compatible with enough relevant equipment present.
There are few limits to the cybernetic designs the Strogg consider and implement, such as replacing legs with caterpillar tracks, arms with reloadable missile launchers and entire sections of bodies with high-performance machine replacement parts. The Strogg also practice directly-integrating weapons into host bodies and linking them to the central nervous system. The Strogg also use nanomedicine to maintain the original organic tissue after the augmentation process (doctors onboard the MCC Hannibal noted that Strogg medical nanorobots would attempt repairs even after death or after a body part was amputated from the host). As amputations severely hinder normal locomotive ability, the host's existing musculature is supplemented with servomechanisms and artificial muscle. Strogg exoskeletons are constructed from hardened tribinium, a metal extremely resistant to cutting tools.
Due to its extensive practice of cybernetic augmentation, the origins of the Strogg's biology is unknown. Any biological creature compatible with Strogg enhancements is immediately transformed and absorbed into the Strogg, including captured quadrupedal creatures which are augmented into bio-mechanical "guard dogs." Larger specimens are given augmentations to enhance endurance and firepower to transform the specimen into a heavy battle unit. Some of the Strogg units have exhibited physical characteristics that hints at shared genetics, in the case of the "Berserker" and "Gunner" who share similar heads. The "Iron Maiden" may be the female form of one of these creatures, and the heads of the "Heavy Tank" and "Light Tank" suggests a similar species. In Quake 4, a common characteristic among all humanoid Stroggs is their glowing orange eyes.
Soldiers forcibly stroggified eventually have their higher-brain functions completely atrophied, replaced by a transceiver unit with links to the Nexus. Following activation, many hosts remain aware of their situation but maintain little control over their inherited cyborg bodies. When Rhino Squad's leader (Lieutenant Scott Voss) was captured and transformed into a large Strogg guardian for a critical location, he issued warnings to Matthew Kane before the Strogg transceiver activated itself and Voss proceeded with his attack on Kane.
Though the success rate of Stroggification far exceeds the failure rate, subjects who fail to be properly augmented are sent to biological-recycling facilities. Some remain active and resemble zombies, working in facilities dealing with hazardous chemicals that can degrade their hippocampus and somatosensory systems.
- Main article: Stroggification
Despite similarities to humanity's offerings, Strogg aerial engineering remains superior. Strogg gas turbine jet engines examined by combat engineers estimate that they run fifteen percent more efficient than their human counterparts and have expressed interest in reverse engineering the Strogg technology for implementation into humanity's current arsenal.
Low-orbit aircraft can drop immobile turrets which initially act as non-explosive bunker-busting bombs before anchoring onto a surface and deploying their heavy weapons. These turrets have been known to pierce roofs of buildings and heavily-reinforced fortresses. This tactic establishes an immediate foothold and provides covering fire for advancing Strogg infantry. In addition to the low-flying planes, the Strogg are suspected of operating dive bombers, troop transports and a machine of unknown use that utilizes thrust vectoring.
The Strogg's ground-based vehicles reflect an advanced level of technology. Harvester mechs have been known to survive several hits from tank-fired and man-portable armor-piercing munitions before being disabled. They also utilized sphere-shaped mobile gun turrets that provide quick target acquisition.
The primary defensive weapon for the Strogg capital, Cerberon, is a large structure known to humans as the 'Big Gun', an enormous anti-spacecraft cannon designed to destroy hostile spaceships in orbit or descending through the atmosphere. The destruction of the weapon was a key mission objective of Operation Alien Overlord, as the Big Gun limited the effectiveness of large-scale invasions by Humanity. The Strogg also utilize powerful EMP defenses and laser batteries to protect key Strogg structures from invading standard and mechanized infantry on the ground.
- See also: List of Strogg weapons.
Being the warlike race that they are, the Strogg naturally possess a myriad of personal weaponry for their infantry ranks. True classification regarding a personal "kit" is naturally difficult, given the seemingly large number of infantry types, but a number of weapons appear to be consistently employed. It should be noted that a number of Strogg weapons can be picked up and used effectively by human beings. This suggests that Strogg may be inherently similar to human beings in some ways, or that they simply began creating weapons for use by their tactical units, which are the result of Stroggified human soldiers. It is also hinted during many of the various scenarios which took place during the Strogg Invasion of earth; Humans retrofitted and reproduced captured Strogg technology, such as the hyperblaster. And they used this stolen technology to create an improvised invasion force of Stroggos; thus the similarities in certain weapons between Stroggs and humans; and the compatibility of human technology with Strogg technology.
The gamut of weapons is impressive, running from the relatively simple Nail Gun to the high-tech Hyperblaster and then culminating in the beyond futuristic Dark Matter Gun. The Strogg have a weapon for just about every situation, and with the advent of their tactical units, they have begun to manipulate Terran weapons as well. Due to the propensity of the Strogg to experiment with their victims, many different versions of a similar weapon type can be spotted.
With regards to their architecture, Strogg designs reflect their practical, industrialist nature. Facilities of a medical nature or that work with biological materials often resemble slaughterhouses. They have dried blood on the walls, rusting metal pipes, biological residue on computer equipment and so on. Industrial facilities are somewhat better, but still have the occasional rusted pipe or steam leaking out of a valve, along with heavy machinery operating out in the open with few safety devices. Non critical computer equipment, if damaged, is often left that way unless it is totally necessary to be fixed. This is supported by the presence of numerous computers found through out the game with damaged displays, or 'system error' screens. The Strogg also appear to simply pile obsolete or damaged machines in store rooms or under walkways rather than try to reuse them. Sometimes these devices are even still powered on. These over-engineered facilities fitted with many tertiary elements and overlaying facilities gives sort of a labyrinthine quality to their architecture. It leaves little imagination as to why human strike forces easily become isolated from neighboring allied forces and why Operation Overlord ultimately failed in combination of the EMP pulse. Exceptionally-important Strogg facilities such as those housing communications equipment are the most well-kept. They are immaculately-clean, all areas are well-lit, equipment is well-shielded and everything is constantly monitored to ensure maximum efficiency.
Facilities which handle biological material may in themselves use biological components as part of their systems. The most apparent and noticeable example of this is a gigantic heart that is part of a facility's biochemical fluid transfer system. According to the nearby computer panels, it has an atrioventricular node and a sinoatrial node, akin to the mammalian heart although it requires periodic electrical stimulation. The heart pumps an enzyme acid solution known as Stroyent. The heart may also be attached to a large creature known as the Stroyent Processing Creature, as the creature has many tubes (similar to gastrointestinal organs) that spread through out the facility with some leading to the heart, and every time the heart is electrically stimulated, a painful howl is emitted from somewhere in the building indicating the creature (or another being) can feel it. The creature itself is also used as a power source.
Automation is heavily-used. Bridge and ramp systems have to be actively-deployed. Damage to critical systems is often met by the deployment of repair bots which operate autonomously. In critical structures, repair bots can number in the hundreds and possibly thousands.
Culture and languageEdit
Since the Strogg military is controlled by linked neurocytes and the brain functions of stroggifed humans are atrophied, it is unknown whether the Strogg are self-aware at an individual level, or whether any native Strogg are capable of independent thought. Theoretically, the Strogg could be a cybernetic race carrying out computer programs or a collective group mind. Strogg emotions are likely however, and individual Strogg can be observed making expressions of anger and contempt while in battle, vehemence stemming from the remnants of their organic brains or from the Nexus itself. The Makron acts as a dictator over the Strogg, having been chosen from among a group of warlords. A newer, bigger, stronger Makron was specifically created in response to the human invasion of Stroggos.
Strogg facilities and bases are adorned with a variety of banners and signs with the insignias of skulls and lightning bolts with stylized wings. These nationalistic symbols suggest the Strogg previously had a culture that was heavily suppressed by imperialistic expansion and their highly disciplined industrial priority. While in many facilities these banners are the only form of art and culture present, the Makron palace inside the city of Cerberon displays a grand style of architecture which exceeds pure functionalism. Besides this, there are no indications of any Strogg expressing creativity or self-exploration through art, music or literature. The neural implants that allow them to communicate also override their individuality to focus them on serving Strogg society.
The Strogg, despite being able to transmit information through electromagnetic radiation (whether with radio or microwave is never explained) rely on written text for consoles, machinery and location signs. This may be a holdover from an earlier level of technology, or a fail-safe in case the Strogg's communications nodes failed.
According to Strogg speech samples found in Quake II and Quake 4, the Strogg language does exist. Spoken Strogg can be heard dozens of times and according to file names that those samples have, the context of some spoken words is easy to guess.
There is dialogue in Quake IV which gives a theory that the Strogg might have been a human-like species at one point. But due to their dedication, obsession with technology (such as cybernetics), industry, and consumerism, they eventually lost themselves in it (the "slippery slope" argument).