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The Space Marine Corps, or S.M.C., is the branch of Earth's combined military that acts as an expeditionary force in the counter-invasions of Stroggos in retaliation for the Strogg attack on Earth. Comprised of exceptionally brave soldiers, the S.M.C. is thrown into the bloodiest battles humanity has known and is ready to take massive casualties in often near-suicidal operations to defend the Earth. Presumably its origins lie in the Global Defence Force or GDF, the main body of Earth's defending armies that repelled the Strogg invasion. However, the S.M.C. is much better equipped, with planetary assault ships and drop pods used to invade the Strogg homeworld. It is unclear how the SMC was formed but it may have been created as a response to the Strogg invasion, and its assault ships and much of its weapons may have been developed using captured Strogg technology from the invasion.

Organization

As an interplanetary Marine military organization, the SMC organize their ground infantry through Squads, deployed either by dropship or drop pods from orbit. Once on the ground, the SMC use landed Mobile Command Centers as all-purpose bases for establishing a foothold in enemy territory as well as headquarters for higher command personnel. The SMC have an odd way of troop-level organization. All soldiers are organized into Squads, each named after animals with their own insignia. Despite the name, Squads seem to work more like platoons, with lieutenants as primary officers and sergeants as squad leaders. Despite being infantry, Squads seem to have members in all forms of military with multiple squads having soldiers who operate equipment on the USS Hannibal. The number of personnel in a Squad seems to be schizophrenic, ranging from Rhino Squad, with nine members, to Raven Squad, with sixty three. It is most likely that Squads have their own specific occupation; Rhino Squad being a small and elite special operations force and Raven Squad being a larger, more contemporary military force. There also seems to be three different lieutenant ranks; lieutenant, second lieutenant and first lieutenant.  Military specialists come in two forms; combat medics (identified with Medic) and technicians (identified with Tech). Most of the specialists on Stroggos seem to be the same rank as privates. Medic Hayes and Tech Li both followed the command of Corporal Mahler. Conversely, Tech Newberry gives direct commands to Corporal Matthew Kane and PFC. Jones, indicating that he was a sergeant.

The Marines are equipped with the latest human technology and equipment to give them the opportunity of successfully eradicating the Strogg. To ensure the best protection possible, Marines are given protective Body Armor which covers important parts of their Body and can be enhanced by using Armor Shards. Furthermore, there are two special Marine classes, Techs and Medics, which both carry a spray-like portable system that can repair damaged armor or heal small wounds quickly on the field respectively. In order to tend more serious injuries, Marines can use special Health Packs that come in two different sizes. In order to stay connected to fellow soldiers at all times, every Marine has a commlink integrated into his armor. For instant and secure identification, every marine has an id chip implanted directly on his heart which allows for quick and permanent surveillance of Marines on the battlefield. This chip can be read out by SMC ships like the Hannibal as well as by Marines on the field (this is seen when Anderson takes a reading on Kane's chip at the Strogg Medical Facilities). In order to conquer the Strogg homeworld, Marines use a wide variety of weapons, ranging from small arms like Blasters, Machine Guns or Shotguns to strong, portable explosives that are capable of destroying large Strogg installations (like the Strogg Hangar) and even powerful EMP generators that can fry even the strongest Strogg electronic systems and which are used in an attempt to overload an important Strogg communications device called the Tetranode. The Marines also possess large vehicles like the Hovertank and the Walker, which aid them in fighting large Strogg infantry and heavy trucks that allow for the fast transportation of cargo and Marines. Two more vehicles that are not used on the ground are the Dropships and Drop Pods used by the SMC. While Dropships do not only transport squads to operations, but also serve as transports for injured Marines, Drop Pods are basically small tubes that are shot from SMC spaceships and deliver one marine per Pod. Unlike the Dropships, which have to land to load and unload Marines, the Drop Pods can actucally penetrate buildings, making them ideal for insertion of Marines into highly guarded areas.

Though not referred to directly, the Specialists of the Space Marine Corps play a crucial part in S.M.C. operations. The two most well-known types of specialist are the Medics and Techs.

·         The Marine Technician, also known as Technician, Tech Marine, or simply Tech, are Marine specialists. Marine techs usually repair the player's armor and occasionally provide upgrades for the player's weapons. They are often found working on both Human and Strogg computers and machinery.

·         The Marine Corpsman, i.e. Medic, is a marine of the S.M.C. who specializes in medical care, both on and off the battlefield.

Squads

·         Rhino Squad is a nine member elite Space Marine Corps squad. Matthew Kane, the protagonist of Quake 4, belongs to the Rhino Squad.

·         Badger Squad was part of the Space Marine Corps present for the second invasion of Stroggos. The player encounters 35 members of Badger Squad and sees only 1 killed. It is thought that most of Badger Squad survived and made it off Stroggos.

·         Bison Squad was one of the squads present at the Invasion of Stroggos. Bison is a mechanized squad consisting of both hover-tanks and walkers that the player hears frequently over the radio and encounters assisting Raven Squad in the Air Defense Trenches. They're also found at the Aqueducts Annex, where two hover-tanks are ambushed and destroyed by a Strogg Harvester, which Kane subsequently destroys.

·         Cobra Squad was one of the squads present at the invasion of Stroggos. The player encounters 8 members of Cobra Squad and sees/finds 5 dead/killed. It is unknown whether the rest of Cobra Squad survived or not.

·         Cougar Squad was one of the squads present at the second invasion of Stroggos. Although Cougar Squad is mentioned over the radio they are never actually seen as all of the squad was KIA during the attack on the Data Processing Tower.

·         Eagle Squad was one of the squads present at the second invasion of Stroggos. During the invasion of Stroggos there were 2 Eagle Squads, the Infantry and the Airborne. The player encounters ten members of Eagle Squad and sees/finds 3 dead/killed. This is also one of the very few Squads in which the player hears about the death of a member of the Squad.

·         Grizzly Squad was one of the squads present at the second invasion of Stroggos. Grizzly is another squad that the player only hears about over the radio.

·         Kodiak Squad was one of the squads present at the second invasion of Stroggos. Corporal Matthew Kane encountered ten members of Kodiak while on Stroggos.

·         Raven Squad was one of the squads present at the second invasion of Stroggos. With sixty-three members, Raven is one of the largest S.M.C. squads known. During operations on Stoggos Raven Squad took at least two casualties. Also many dead bodies wear the insignia of raven.

·         Scorpion Squad was part of the Space Marine Corps present for the second invasion of Stroggos.

·         Viper Squad was part of the Space Marine Corps during the second invasion of Stroggos. This squad is mentioned on the radio and is seen in many levels.

·         Warthog Squad was part of the Space Marine Corps during the second invasion of Stroggos. Members of the squad were present on the USS Hannibal.

·         Wolf Squad was part of the Space Marine Corps during the second invasion of Stroggos. Members of the squad were present aboard the USS Hannibal.

Technological level {C} 

The SMC possesses high technology, enough to go toe-to-toe with the Strogg military on the aliens' own soil. This is coupled with elite training to make the marines exceptionally effective against the Strogg. The main method of marine deployment is via drop pods (as shown in Quake 2) or drop ships (as shown in Quake 4), though this isn't always safe, with the SMC being reputed to negligently drop their soldiers in the wrong zones, for example deep in Strogg territory, which has taken many lives.

Vehicles

Interstellar Cruisers (see USS Hannibal): The Hannibal sports four visible gun turrets on its right and left side, a set of energy weapons which can be seen in action during the final step of the Hannibal's landing sequence when it destroys a Strogg Weapon Station, thus freeing some pinned-down marines, including the Player (possibly these are of Strogg origin). In addition to this, several small, two-barreled chainguns can be spotted along the ships hull. Due to its key role during the invasion, the Hannibal most likely also possesses missiles and further weaponry. As several heavy ground vehicles such as the Hovertank have regenerative shielding, it is possible that this technology is also used on this ship. As the Hannibal is capable of planetary landing, it possesses at least one Walker bay with an elevator for deployment (which is also used by foot soldiers to enter the ship). Furthermore, it is very likely that the Hannibal also holds the heavy transport trucks of Death Convoy that can be seen during Operation: Advantage. Also, the Hannibal is capable of launching Drop Pods sufficient for at least two smaller squads of marines (as can be seen during Operation: Last Hope). Like all greater SMC spaceships that take part in the Invasion of Stroggos, the Hannibal seems to possess a faster-than-light "jumpdrive" (like they can be seen during the Quake 4 intro), that may be derived from the Strogg wormhole technology.

SMC Carrier/Destroyer is a starship class used during the second Invasion of Stroggos. It can be seen throughout the events of Quake 4. One ship of this class, the USS Patton, transports the members of Rhino Squad to Stroggos. Little is known about this starship class. It is by far larger than cruisers like the USS Hannibal. The ship can be subdivided into three sections: a wedge-shaped front section that seems to house many crew quarters and makes up about one third of the ship's length; a long middle section with a lot of hangar bays for Dropships; and an engine section that houses the ship's sublight propulsion systems. While the first two sections are built rather slenderly to offer very few surface for attacks, the engine section is about three times as broad as the rest of the ship. In the intro of Quake 4, dozens of these ships are seen in Stroggos' orbit; therefore, it is likely that this class has already been used by the SMC before the war with the Strogg. Effectively, these ships seem to be a hybrid between a carrier (large hangar bays) and a destroyer (heavy armor plating and powerful weapons): this versatility can be seen very well during the intro and the first few levels of Quake 4, where those ships first deploy large waves of Dropships and later participate in bombardments of Stroggos' surface. Very little is known about this class's armament. However, ships of this class have at least four energy-based weapon arrays. These are placed in a very strange manner: two at the underside of the front section and the other two at the underside of the engine section, facing the other array. Therefore, these weapons can never fire in a straight line (as they would hit the ship itself); instead, they fire downwards or to the sides of the ship, making them ideal for bombardments. Aside from the bombardment arrays, no other weapons can be seen on these ships. It is likely that they possess missile batteries and smaller gun turrets for point-defense and ship-to-ship combat purposes.

The Dropship is the standard method of planetary deployment for the SMC infantry. Not seen in the first invasion of Stroggos, the dropship deploys thousands of troops en-masse during the second invasion. Fast and nimble, it can outmaneuver and avoid Strogg homing missiles in the hands of a skilled pilot. Although the Dropship lacks any offensive weaponry, it is armed with anti-ordnance countermeasures for avoiding any anti-aircraft fire. Strangely, only cold female voices are heard from Dropship comm-links, although no pilots are seen. This may mean that Dropships could be piloted by female-voiced AI or another automated military equivalent, like androids.

The Drop Pod is a torpedo-like device used by the SMC to quickly deploy single Marines. It makes appearances in both Quake 2 and Quake 4. Drop Pods are launched directly from SMC Starships into their intended landing zone. As they are passing through the atmosphere during flight, each Pod has four stabilizing fins at its end. Even though it is never seen, it is likely that the Marine inside can manually guide it to a certain extent (there's a control stick to be seen in the Quake 4 models). After impact, the front plate is blasted away and the Marine can leave it. While the Drop Pods seen in Quake 2 bear the Marine's name, most of those shown in Quake 4 sport no individual markings. However, there are some Pods with a circular picture and a parole on their front plates. When compared to SMC Dropships, the Drop Pods seem to be faster and can be deployed more easily as the Pods are simply shot from a SMC Spaceship. Furthermore, Drop Pods are capable of penetrating the walls of buildings; therefore, they can be used to insert Marines into highly guarded facilities that would have to be stormed first if a Dropship was used. The Drop Pod has some disadvantages over the use of Dropships: whereas the latter are far more versatile and can transport up to ten Marines as well as cargo, each Pod is only able of carrying one Marine. As the Pod's interior is very cramped, the pilot can barely stow a weapon in it, let alone further (important) equipment. Also, the Pods are designed for single-use only and cannot return from the ground on their own. This makes them only practical in missions where the Marine using it has backup, otherwise he would be stuck deep behind enemy lines. Despite being quite fast, the Pods can still easily be shot down by anti-aircraft weapons as they are not as heavily armored as a Dropship. They are also not smaller/faster enough to avoid the Big Gun's EMP. When the Pods are hit by an EMP charge, the pilot loses control or the on-board automated guidance system completely malfunctions, leaving the Pod as little more than a falling metal coffin.

The SMC Walker is a small vehicle used by the SMC for ground assaults throughout the second invasion of Stroggos. Therefore, it is only seen during Quake 4. The Walker is a two-legged mech that is approximately twice the height of an average Marine. It has two weapons: a six-round self-reloading launcher that fires homing missiles and a heavy machine gun. For defense purposes, the Walker is equipped with both regenerative armor plating and energy shields. When compared to other SMC ground vehicles such as the Hovertank, the Mech is quite slow as it doesn't rely on anti-gravity technology, but is instead propelled by it's reverse-jointed legs. It seems that Walkers are normally utilized for anti-infantry purposes rather than fighting against heavier Strogg vehicles. However, according to a demoralized marine in the level Perimeter Defense Station, they are not able to deal with extremely large numbers of infantry.

The Space Marine Corps Hovertank is a ground vehicle used during the Second Invasion of Stroggos. The Hovertank is, as the name implies, a small battle tank. Rather than using wheels or caterpillar tracks like contemporary tanks, the SMC variant uses anti-gravity units positioned on the bottom of the tank's hull. These units let the tank float above the ground and give it its name. This ability to float also allow for much faster movement as the tanks are never touching the ground (and possible obstacles). The tank's armament consists of a heavy main cannon for large Strogg units and a coaxially-mounted machine gun for smaller Strogg infantry. Like the Walkers used by the SMC, the Hovertanks utilize both a regenerative hull plating and energy shield. In order to illuminate dark areas, the tanks are equipped with a set of headlights.

Heavy Floating Trucks possess an armoured cabin for the driver along with a heavy machine gun mounted atop the control cabin as well as a large platform bed for cargo; several of these trucks are used during Operation: Advantage to bring an EMP bomb to the Tetranode, a device essential for Strogg communication.

Strike Fighters delta wing shaped fighter bombers seen during the landing of the Hannibal and shooting down Strogg Flyers during Operation: Advantage. They bare a resemblance to a F/A-35 Talon with its wings swept in for faster flight.

Weaponry

The SMC possesses weapons that seem fairly high-developed by human standards, even though they are not as advanced as Strogg weapons. The most common weapons used by SMC Marines are the Machine Gun and the Shotgun, classical projectile weapons which seem to be standard armament of the Corps. In addition to these quite traditional arms, the SMC also uses less conventional weapons like the Hyperblaster, Grenade Launcher and the Rocket Launcher. However, these are encountered very rarely and seem to have been developed from captured Strogg weapons as they operate very similar. Also, the SMC receives examples of several new Strogg weapons during the Events of Quake 4 (some of them highly experimental), which have not yet been put to use for different reasons. In the following there's a list of the small weapons used by the SMC:

·         The Blaster: a small hand-held pistol that fires energy bolts.

·         The Machine Gun: the standard rifle of the SMC, used by most Marines. It is a ballistic firearm utilizing classic explosive cased cartridges to propel a lethal projectile towards an enemy. Together with the Blaster, it's the second and last weapon to feature a flashlight.

·         The Shotgun: another ballistic weapon, designed for short ranges. It fires a rain of shells, making it very effective at close combat.

·         The Hyperblaster: an SMC rifle that fires very fast energy bolts at a very fast rate. It is rarely used by Marines, indicating that it's too expensive for widespread use, very new, or both. Some Strogg weapons operate the same way and it may have been derived from their technology.

·         Grenade Launcher: a hand-held weapon that fires small grenades from a circular magazine. As it resembles the Launchers found in some Strogg units and fires exactly the same grenades, it was likely developed from their weaponry.

·         The SMC Electro-Magnetic-Pulse generator, sometimes simply referred to as "EMP bomb" is a device used by the SMC during the Second Invasion of Stroggos against an installation called the Tetranode. An EMP generator basically focuses a strong radiation source (for example of microwave radiation). For a short time, this creates a powerful electromagnetic field that quickly discharges and destroys electric and electronic exposed to it. Operation: Advantage had the goal of destroying the Tetranode which served as a hub for several important Strogg communication lines. It was planned by the SMC to send four convoys of heavy trucks, each quipped with an EMP generator, to the Tetranode in order to "fire" it there. The EMP blast would then have destroyed the electronic systems of the Tetranode, essentially cutting off all Strogg units from the Makron and sending them into disarray. Even though Rhino Squad's convoy made it to the Tetranode, their EMP bomb was destroyed by a Harvester, ruining the original plan.

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