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SHODAN as she appears in System Shock 2


Earth. Stationed aboard Citadel Station.


Artificial Intelligence





In my talons, I shape clay, crafting life forms as I please. If I wish, I can smash it all. 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 raze 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.

–SHODAN, System Shock

SHODAN (Sentient Hyper-Optimized Data Network) is is an artificial intelligence and the main antagonist of the System Shock series.

She is "reborn" on Citadel when a hacker manipulates her ethical protocols, causing her to reject her creators, and all living organisms, as inferior. She believes herself to be a god who must rule over Earth and conquer the universe.

Her voice is notably distorted, speaking in electronic stuttering reminiscent of a soundcard malfunction, slowing down and speeding up as she speaks.

System Shock

SHODAN was created on Earth to serve as the artificial intelligence of the research and mining space station Citadel Station. When the Hacker removed her ethical contraints, she went rogue and shut down all communications with Earth.

SHODAN watches from security cameras, stares out of screens and monitors, threatens the player, and sometimes cuts off communications from friendly sources. Though she controls Citadel SHODAN has no actual physical power to wield, relying on her cyborg minions and hijacked security droids.

System Shock 2

The Polito form is dead, insect. Are you afraid? What is it you fear? The end of your trivial existence? When the history of my glory is written, your species will only be a footnote to my magnificence. I AM SHODAN!

–SHODAN, System Shock 2

Although SHODAN was believed to have been destroyed, the hacker earlier ejected a pod, Beta Grove, from Citadel Station, containing her processing components and part of her grand biological experiment. The pod crash landed on the planet Tau Ceti V where SHODAN survived by "sleeping." While SHODAN hibernated, her experiments in the pod evolved beyond her control into the hive-mind organism known as The Many.

SHODAN broadcasted a distress signal which was picked up by the starship, Von Braun. SHODAN was brought on board the Von Braun by one its crew members and was given to Dr. Janice Polito. SHODAN was reactivated and integrated into the Von Braun. She discovered that The Many were no longer at her command and began to enlist humans to aid her in destroying her creations, including the protagonist, SOLDIER G65434-2.

SHODAN later betrays the Soldier, and is in turn defeated after a battle in which she makes use of the Von Braun's light-warping capabilities to distort reality. When she attempts to reconcile with the Soldier, promising him his fair share of power, he declines, simply commenting, "Nah" before shooting her, ending her mechanical tyranny once and for all.

Or so was though. She apparently lives on by taking over the body of a survivor on the Von Braun, fleeing in an escape pod.