StarCraft: Wings of Liberty
Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm
Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void
The queen is a zerg support unit that appears in StarCraft II. Despite a shared name, it is a vastly different unit from its predecessor, most notably in that it no longer flies.
The creation of this breed of queen was carried out at the behest of the Queen of Blades, in order to safeguard the future of the Swarm and act as its hive-masters. The queens came into use after the Brood War, in use as early as 2501. Abathur altered the essence of an older breed of queen, and ultimately from the Arachnis brood-keeper, suppressing their ability to fly in order to improve their abilities to take care of the hive.
Queens are sapient beings. The queen’s brain is encased in an armored skull, and connected to a set of nerve cords that bear resemblance to those possessed by protoss. The queen’s brain gives it great mental capabilities, but these queens have severe limits to their mental flexibility (unlike broodmothers), and have limited independent thought and analysis. They play a limited command role in nurturing zerg nest sites. In leadership roles, they oversee hives and easily coordinate lesser strains. Queens can evolve and grow through experience, and can analyze and relay any tactical data fed to them by overlords. Queens generally can’t communicate verbally, but have been observed to converse with other species psionically.
These queens are tougher than their predecessors, including an armored skull. At full height, they are roughly 1.5 times as tall as a terran wearing CMC armor. The new morphology of these queens hints at the incorporation of terran or protoss DNA, or perhaps even the zerg-altered genes of the Queen of Blades herself. Such evolution implied a widespread change occurred within the zerg hierarchy, a redistribution of power making them more difficult to combat. When terrans first saw this queen, the universal reaction was that someone had taken a centaur from human legend, replaced the torso with a section of a centipede, and replaced the lower, equine part with a giant crab.
The egg-laying abilities of the Arachnis brood-keeper was revised and altered for these queens to allow them to produce living globs of tissue, which adhere to creep and accelerate its growth. These globs are deposited via their ovipositor, mutated from the one possessed by the Arachnis brood keeper. These queens also produce a thick, protein-based substance that stimulates cellular growth, achieved via mitotic enzymes,which they are able to expel in liquid form. When a queen covers the wounds of a zerg organism (structural or otherwise) with this reddish fluid, the damaged tissue regenerates in a matter of seconds. Conversely, if the fluid is combined with a catalyst secreted by a gland located on the queen’s neck (which gives it a sickly green coloration), and forcefully injects it into a hatchery, larvae will be incubated more rapidly.
Like all ground-based zerg strains, queens move faster across creep than normal ground. However, their legs are designed so that their movement is impaired when crossing non-creep covered areas; they ‘skate’ over creep, which, per the design of said legs, makes crossing over normal terrain more difficult. Dominion scientists have speculated that this is to keep more intelligent queens within the vicinity of a hive and reduce the incentive for them to wander off on their own.
Queens have the advanced ability to manipulate their “offspring”; for instance, by 2503, they engineered the zergling morph to the baneling, a breed that can contain its explosive energies until just the right moment. They have also been tasked with the spawning of numerous cocoons. These queens are equipped with acid spines as projectile weapons, and claws that can be used in melee situations. They can also lob spores at their enemies. However, their biological weaponry is mainly used to defend hive clusters.
The queens of the Leviathan Brood are incredibly vicious and hostile. Any creatures foolish enough to approach their clutch with hostile intent may find themselves quickly impaled by many spines.
Primal zerg have also adopted queens, though the brutal nature of primal packs means that queens fill a very different role from the Swarm counterparts.