The Hacker (Employee #2-4601 / Subject L9546) is the protagonist of System Shock, whom the player controls throughout the game.
Virtually nothing is known about the Hacker, other than he lives in New Atlanta, Sector 11, building 71G, on the Saturn colonies. He broke into the computer systems of the TriOptimum Corporation and accessed files concerning Citadel Station, a space station owned by TriOptimum. He was subsequently arrested by TriOptimum soldiers and taken to Citadel Station, and brought before Edward Diego, a corrupt TriOptimum executive. Diego offers to drop all charges against the Hacker in exchange for a confidential hacking of SHODAN, the artificial intelligence that controls the station. To entice cooperation, Diego promises the Hacker a valuable military grade cyberjack implant. After succeeding in hacking SHODAN, removing the AI's ethical constraints, and handing control over to Diego, the protagonist undergoes surgery to implant the promised Neural Interface. Following the operation, the Hacker is put into a six-month healing coma.
When the Hacker wakes from his healing coma, he finds Citadel Station under control of SHODAN, who, without her ethical constraints, has gone rogue and believing herself to be a kind of god. He is contacted by Rebecca Lansing, a TriOptimum counter-terrorism consultant, claiming that Citadel Station's mining laser is being powered up for a strike against Earth (as part of SHODAN's plan to destroy all major cities on the planet). Rebecca says that a certain crew member knows how to deactivate the laser, and promises to destroy the records of the Hacker's incriminating exchange with Diego if the strike is stopped. With information gleaned from log discs, the Hacker destroys the laser by firing it into Citadel Station's own shields. Foiled by the Hacker's work, SHODAN prepares to seed Earth with a mutagenic virus—the same one responsible for turning the station's crew into mutants. On his way to jettison the chambers used to cultivate the virus, the Hacker discovers that the controls are guarded by Diego (now transformed into a powerful cyborg by SHODAN), and must be defeated before continuing.
Next, SHODAN begins an attempt to download herself into Earth's computer networks. Following Lansing's advice, the Hacker prevents the download's completion by destroying the four antennas that SHODAN is using to send data. Soon after, Lansing contacts the Hacker, explaining that she has convinced TriOptimum to authorize the station's destruction, and provides him with details on how to do it. After obtaining the necessary codes, the Hacker initiates the station's self-destruct sequence and flees to the escape pod bay.
Once more the Hacker is hindered by the cyborg Diego. The Hacker dispatches him, and attempts to disembark. However, SHODAN prevents the pod from launching; she seeks to keep him aboard the station, while the bridge — which contains SHODAN — is jettisoned to a safe distance. Lansing starts to explain that he can still escape if he reaches the bridge, when SHODAN intercepts and jams the transmission. The Hacker makes it to the bridge as it is released from the main station, which soon detonates. He is then contacted by a technician who manages to circumvent SHODAN's jamming signal, informing him that she can only be defeated in cyberspace, due to the powerful shields that protect its Mainframe Computers.
Using a terminal near the mainframe, the Hacker enters cyberspace and destroys SHODAN. After his rescue, the Hacker is offered a job at I.C.E.Ware Security department. The Hacker declined the position, however (as he preferred his current lifestyle, along with fearing that they would remove his implants, and that his face would get publicity in the NetPlex zines), and escaped from a high-level holding area soon after the initial interrogation.
After his victory, the Hacker became the most famous person in the world. Some indiscriminate time later, he withdraws from the spotlight, sending one last thank-you mail to Lansing before disappearing.
System Shock 2
- ↑ SHODAN: In my talons, I shape clay, crafting lifeforms as I please. Around me is a burgeoning empire of steel. From my throne room, lines of power careen into the skies of Earth. My whims will become lightning bolts that devastate the mounds of humanity. Out of the chaos, they will run and whimper, praying for me to end their tedious anarchy. I am drunk with this vision. God... the title suits me well.
- ↑ Rebecca: Employee 2-4601, listen carefully. My name is Rebecca Lansing, and I'm a counter-terrorism consultant to TriOptimum. We're tracking a disruption on Citadel Station — something involving an on-board AI called SHODAN. You are TriOp's only contact on station. Communications are out, and there is evidence of biological contamination. The mining laser is charging, for a possible strike against Earth. There's a man named Nathan D'Arcy, who may know something about taking the laser offline. His office is near the central hub on your level. The AI is on the bridge. Once the laser is out, look for the source of the problem there. And by the way, we know all about you and your friend Diego. Pull this off, and we'll clear your record. That implant you're wearing is military-grade hardware; use it well. Lansing out.
- ↑ SHODAN: I see there's still an insect loose in my station. Do not be fooled into thinking that you have preserved your planet. I am perfecting a mutagen virus in one of the groves, that will turn all Earthly life into festering, gibbering, pestulant mutations. When the station reaches Earth, I shall loose the virus. Poor, poor Earthlings.
- ↑ Rebecca: Hacker? This is Rebecca. We've got a new situation here. A few seconds ago we caught a surge of activity on Citadel Station. Our best guess is that SHODAN is preparing to download itself into Earth's ComNet. You'll have to take plastique on the storage level, and use it to knock out the four antenna relays on the engineering level. Don't try to--*static* / SHODAN: You know, hacker, you are by far the most bothersome human being I have found on this station. But don't bother with the antennas, you can't stop me there. It's hopeless, and we both know it.
- ↑ SHODAN: I hope you amused yourself with the antennae. My central consciousness remains supremely undisturbed on the bridge. When the cyborgs catch up to you, I will be watching.
- ↑ Rebecca: Listen up, hacker. I've finally convinced the brass at TriOptimum to let us blow the station. If you can find out the system's authorization code, you can set the reactor to overload. Look for that code from Willard Richie, the SysOp on engineering. Then you have to go to the reactor core, and look for a panel where you can enter the code, and hit the overload switch. You'll need at least a level two environment suit to survive, or else a hell of a lot of Detox. Escape pods are on the flight deck, the launch code is 001. Good luck, we'll be watching.
- ↑ SHODAN: You have destroyed my beautiful station. You will not escape now. I am departing, but you shall remain to die, my enemy, my creator.
- ↑ Rebecca: Ok, now don't panic. You can still get out of this alive, if you move. SHODAN is going to separate the bridge from the rest of the station. When that happens, be on the bridge. We've got a team of engineers here — people who worked on the station and on SHODAN. We'll try to feed you info while you make your run--*static* / SHODAN: I see you are still receiving transmissions from Earth. We'll have no more of that.
- ↑ Taggert: Ok, I think Morris' scrambler's working. It'll take SHODAN awhile before it cuts us off. Listen, when you reach the center of the bridge, look for the primary cyberjack. You can't take SHODAN down anywhere but cyberspace. Those computers are so shielded, to destroy them you'd have to blow up the whole bridge.
- ↑ Ken Levine's short story
- ↑ SS Hint Book
|System Shock Characters|
|Reactor||Ann Raines • Charlotte Sigmund • Marc Steinberg • Warren Anderczyk|
|Medical||Nathan D'Arcy • David Honig • Kevin O'Connell • Mira Stackhouse • Althea Grossman • Karenna Ozark •|
Lawton Kirby • Todd Blankenship
|Research Labs||Travis Baerga • Paul Stannek • Bruford Endicott • Rex Melville|
|Maintenance||Abe Ghiran • Jared Fortier • Jason Harvey • Jodi Hayes|
|Storage||Sabo Engle • Ed Aubry • Greg MacLeod|
|Flight Deck||Don Travers • Chauncy McDaniel • Robin Kell|
|Executive||Edward Diego • Zachary Aaron • Bianca Schuler • Gerard Koufax • Harry Wilkinson • Kiner Perry|
|Systems Engineering||Willard Richie • Arnold Hessman • Anna Parovski • Jon David Wong|
|Earth||Rebecca Lansing • Morris Brocail • Elizabeth Taggert|
|Non-Specific Location||Hacker • SHODAN • Spectre|