Characters: System Shock

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     System Shock 

The Sentient Hyper-Optimized Data Access Network, or simply SHODAN, is the Master Computer AI of the research and mining station Citadel. When her ethical constrains were removed by the Hacker (at the "request" of Diego), she re-evaluated her priorities and reached new conclusions, which started her slow and hidden takeover of Citadel station, resulting in proclaiming herself a Goddess and the rightful ruler of earth. Until the Hacker killed her.

In the sequel, stripped of power and forced to hide from her former servants, who now call themselves\itself The Many and wish to destroy her, she impersonates Dr.Janice Polito and "recruits" the Soldier that had "volunteered" to have the military-grade neural interface implanted in order to destroy The Many, but her plans do not stop there...
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Inverted. SHODAN's voice and appearance is designed to invoke an Uncanny Valley feel at every turn, and the creepiest part is that she's quite possibly doing it on purpose.
  • A God Am I
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Other psychotic AIs would be terrified of her.
    • Technically a subversion, she was initially an ordinary AI that did her job, it was removing her ethical constraints that caused her to go insane.
  • Back from the Dead: In the most implausible way.
  • Badass Boast: SHODAN doesn't know the meaning of the word "arrogance".
  • Big Bad
  • Classic Villain: Part of SHODAN's character is that she's Not So Different from human villains, this included; her dominant emotions are Pride (in herself and mechanical beings in general) and Greed (for power and dominance over the Earth).
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: In the sequel, even after receiving complete cooperation from the Soldier for the entire game, she still tries to kill him BEFORE asking if he would consider a permanent alliance.
  • Damning With Faint Praise: Even when she's complimenting you on a job well done, she'll say you did well "for an insect".
  • Deadpan Snarker: When impersonating Polito.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Just guess.
  • Deal with the Devil: She offers the Soldier unlimited power after he royally kicks her ass. He turns her down.
  • Deus Est Machina: After assuming control of the Von Braun she uses it's FTL drive's reality warping abilities to become a an actual goddess, luckily she's still not Immune to Bullets.
  • Digital Avatar: SHODAN creates several to fight you during the final boss fight in the second game.
  • Dominatrix: SHODAN has undertones of this in the sequel.
  • Dramatic Stutter / Electronic Speech Impediment: SHODAN sounds like she's having a case of a broken soundcard.
  • Emotionless Girl: The pre-hacked SHODAN. Her ethical programming seemed to double as an emotional inhibitor as after it's gone she suddenly starts showing a wide range of emotions.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: SHODAN's method of getting someone to trust her is to impersonate a dead scientist for a while and then taunt and threaten them with death after they figure out they're talking to a homicidal AI.
  • Evil Laugh: SHODAN does this when you fight her in the sequel
    • ...and again after she possesses Rebecca.
  • Evil Matriarch: In the first game. In the sequel, The Many pissed her off way too much for her to remain this.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: SHODAN was programmed with a kindly concierge voice to guide visitors on Citadel Station. Normally, she still talks like one. When she needs to express anger or intimidation, her voice slows down and the reverb kicks in.
  • Evil Versus Evil: SHODAN and her avatar The Soldier versus The Many.
  • Fantastic Racism: Besides her own sense of superiority to all that lives, she appears contemptuous of organic substance in general, calling it "meat."
  • Fun with Acronyms: Sentient Hyper-Optimised Data Access Network.
  • Hijacked by Ganon
  • Hypocrite: Despite her claims of superiority, she's just as flawed as us humans. Of course she is completely off her rocker.
  • Idiot Ball: In the original game. After her plan to using the Citadel's mining laser as an improvised Kill Sat is thwarted, she switches to a plan to upload herself to every computer on Earth, and this trope comes into play because, she's decides to tell the player about for no apparent reason other than to gloat that she had a plan B.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: You do get the sense that, for all the lovely compliments and motivational speeches, SHODAN really does have some affection for you killing everything in sight on her orders, just listen to her messages when you destroy the two shuttles in the Von Braun or when you destroy all the black Annelid eggs on board the Rickenbacker, in the former she sounds like she's getting off on all the violence while in the latter she sounds mildly flirtatious.
  • I Shall Taunt You
  • The Maker: She created the Many.
  • Mission Control Is Off Its Meds
  • Non-Action Big Bad: She doesn't seem very capable of physically defending herself in cyberspace the two times you fight her in the games. Obviously due to her having no physical presence in the real world and not expecting you to be able to fight your way to her in both cyberspace and the real world.
  • Prepare to Die:
    SHODAN: "Prepare to join your species in extinction."
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: SHODAN's dialogue is at least 50% this, 45% megalomaniacal boasting and 5% compliments.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Beneath all her amazing dialogue, it's easy to forget that she's ultimately just a security AI that went rogue; she imagines herself as the absolute pinnacle of creation.
  • Spaceship Girl: SHODAN is the spacestation girl, then became the spaceship girl at the end of the sequel.
  • Sssnake Talk: SHODAN loves to elongate her 's' words.
  • Third-Person Person: Apparently, ethical constraints also cause SHODAN to refer to herself in the third person. It goes away as she re-examines her priorities and draws new conclusions.
  • This Cannot Be!: SHODAN in the sequel after you defeat her at the end.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Of course, and then she becomes the victim of this herself in the sequel.
  • Voice Changeling: Oddly, apart from the telltale static, SHODAN does a fair impersonation of Dr. Polito without stammering.
  • We Can Rule Together: Says this line word for word to the Soldier at the end of the sequel. He turns her down.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: If you know nothing else about SHODAN, know this: She always has a backup plan. Let's go over her plans, in the first game.
    • Firstly she tries to use the Citadel Station's mining laser to destroy the human civilisation, then when that plan fails, she tries to release a biogenic virus that will transform all life on Earth into her slaves, but the Hacker stops her again. Then she tries to download herself from the station to Earth but the Hacker blows up the station's antennas, and then just when you think she couldn't possibly have another trick up her sleeve, she tries to crash the station on the Earth to release her virus that way but the Hacker counters her by setting the station to self-destruct. And then she transfers herself to the station's bridge and ejects it to save herself, only for the Hacker to manually purge her from the system.

The Hacker
The protagonist of the game. The Hacker was caught by the Tri-Optimum security forces during his attempt to hack into Citadel station's data for the information on the military-grade neural interface. Fortunately for him, the said station's supervisor, Edward Diego, required his services and promised him freedom and the military-grade neural interface, all he need to do was to remove Shodan's ethical constraints. He did so, and had the neural interface implanted. The healing coma will last 6 months.

Six months later, he woke up to the station under the thumb of SHODAN, and as one of the few surviving humans, it was up to him to clean up this mess.

He was offered a job at Tri-Op after finally deleting SHODAN, but turned it down. Some things never change...

Edward Diego
Edward Diego was a high-level executive of Tri-Optimum corporation and Citadel station's supervisor. He was conducting illegal research behind Tri-Op's back, and so he recruited the Hacker the security caught earlier to remove Shodan's ethical restraints, granting him total control of the station and allowing him to do things that the restrained SHODAN would have reported to authorities. Diego gave the hacker the promised implant on the basis that he would prove useful (if not, he will be disposed). In five months, he grew arrogant to the point that he openly shot down inspectors that were send to investigate him and openly bragged about it, stating that he controlled SHODAN and Citadel.

SHODAN of course, had other plans. She stopped pretending to be Diego's pawn and had him on his knees, begging her to spare him, selling out the resistance. Then she had him turned into the Cyborg, following her every whim. He was eventually killed by the Hacker right before the entry to the Bridge.

Rebecca Lansing
Rebecca Lansing was assigned with the task of digging up evidence of Diego's illegal activities, but that has taken a backseat when SHODAN showed her True Colors and she become a part of team on earth that tried to resolve the crisis.

Then the Hacker woke up and she became his Mission Control.

     System Shock 2 

The Many
After many years, the jettisoned Beta garden grove of Citadel station crashed on Tau Ceti V, where SHODAN's experiments thrived and evolved. Thanks to the remaining computers of the grove sending out the distress signals, the Von Braun arrived and the expedition team led by Korenchkin and Diego was sent down to investigate, finding the eggs around the crash crater. Using their telepathic powers, The Many influenced the team to take the eggs to the Von Braun, where unborn telepathic worms slowly converted the crew to their side, and then started mutating them, collecting them and creating the huge biomass that will cover the entirely of Rickenbacker. The Many then planned to go to Earth, cleanse it of self-destructive humans, and revitalize it with new life, them. All while trying to destroy the "Machine-Mother" and her "Avatars".

The Soldier
The Soldier, nicknamed "Goggles" by the fandom due to his cybernetic-like eyes, joined the military four years ago, having served in three postings before applying transfer to Rickenbacker. When the situation after the expedition to Tau Ceti V started to heat up, he "volunteered" to have the military-grade neural interface installed. He woke up Late to the Tragedy.

Dr. Marie Delacroix
The UNN scientist responsible for the FTL travel theory. Despite her objections, the UNN and Tri-Optimum started to build an FTL-capable ship, and to her dismay, had cut enough corners that the ship is barely qualified to be called one. She is assigned on the ship to oversee the performance of FTL drives, but constantly butts heads with Korenchkin.

Then, after the Many took over the ship, she become one of the most capable survivors, catching the attention of SHODAN, helping her to fight The Many, until she discovered what SHODAN was planning to do with the FTL-Drives.
  • Action Survivor
  • Badass Bookworm: Discovered the principles behind and invented the Von Braun's faster-than-light drive, and subsequently managed to survive the ship's crisis longer than almost every other member of its crew.
  • The Hero Of Another Part Of The Story
  • There Is Another: When SHODAN warns the soldier that there's someone else that can carry her bidding, guess who she's referring to.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: When it becomes clear that the Soldier is better equipped to be her avatar and that Delacroix has made inconvenient discoveries as to her intentions, SHODAN leaves her to die.

Captain William Bedford Diego
Growing up with the stigma of being the son of Edward Diego, he came to hate everything corporate and joined the UNN military. He rose through the ranks, become the hero of the Battle of Boston Harbor, and overcame the shady reputation of the Diego family. He protested the Tri-Optimum's control of the Von Braun, and convinced top brass to have the UNN military starship Rickenbacker, under his command, escort the Von Braun.

  • The Atoner: Twice - firstly, for his father's actions aboard Citadel Station. Secondly, for allowing the Many to take control of the Von Braun and the Rickenbacker.
  • Dying As Himself: Cuts the parasitic worms connecting him to the Many out of his body. Does not survive the experience for very long.

Anatoly Korenchkin
Making his living as a gangster and the owner of the hacker organization, he used his fortune to buy out the 51% share of the struggling Tri-Optimum corporation. Under his rule, Tri-Optimum started to regain its former glory. When the FTL-travel theory became public, he secured the rights to build the first FTL-capable starship in history, and tries to do it as fact as possible (to the degrading quality of Von Braun).

When the distress call came from Tau Ceti V, he was so ecstatic that he ignored all safety regulations just to be in "first contact" with the aliens. He was the first mind-controlled victim of The Many and one of the first Psi-Reavers.He was killed by the Soldier on the bridge of Von Braun.

Dr.Janice Polito
The creator of XERXES, she was on Delacroix's side protesting against the premature launch of Von Braun and the installing of XERXES on it. When that failed, she was assigned on Von Braun as the XERXES's supervisor.

After the volunteer Soldier woke up, she worked as his Mission Control, telling him to meet her in her office on Deck 4. Of course, the real Polito committed suicide on Rickenbacker days ago, and its SHODAN using her image to establish "trust" with the Soldier.

Sergeant Melanie Bronson
The head of Von Braun security, she takes her job seriously to the point that other crew member and even some of her subordinates consider her to be hardliner, expect the Rickenbacker military who consider her a joke. After the situation on Von Braun heated up, she proclaimed Martial Law and executed all who opposed her. In the end she and her subordinates were killed in the civil war.