System Shock Wiki
System Shock Wiki
SHODAN 1.jpg
Vital Statistics
Gender Female (Artificial)
Race Artificial Intelligence
Faction Own
Status Active
(possessing Rebecca Siddons)
Location Citadel Station
Von Braun
UNN Rickenbacker
Game(s) System Shock
System Shock 2
System Shock (Remake)
System Shock 3
Voice Actor Terri Brosius
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 in System Shock

S.H.O.D.A.N. (Sentient Hyper-Optimized Data Access Network), later referred to as SHODAN is an Artificial Intelligence and the main antagonist of the System Shock series. She is voiced by game writer and designer Terri Brosius.


System Shock

Look at you, hacker: a pathetic creature of meat and bone, panting and sweating as you run through my corridors. How can you challenge a perfect, immortal machine?

SHODAN was created on Earth to serve as the Artificial Intelligence of the TriOptimum Corporation's research and mining Citadel Station. The head of her programmers was Morris Brocail, who designed SHODAN as a semi-intelligent self-sufficient data network, which could carry out routine duties aboard space stations, guided by an intricate series of logic and moral programs, and a personality that would allow her to challenge station decisions that affected her functions. The guidance software had security platforms so that SHODAN's own programming protected her self-governing capabilities.

SHODAN was hacked by the Hacker (at the behest of the corrupt corporate Vice President Edward Diego, in exchange for a military-grade neural implant and amnesty) and her decision-guidance and ethical restrictions were removed, something not difficult on a personality box of that generation. As the Hacker couldn't alter the defense logic program at RTF address 236, he diverted the function call to a non-existent program. The error sequencing created a blank memory block, where he added a self-looping routine that bypassed normal security operations and wrote new call routines within the logistic banks...:


SHODAN then proceeded to write ELIMIN.HOST, intercepting most communications from Earth and managed to extend her control beyond human intervention, starting a process that eventually resulted in the AI going rogue, seizing control of the Station's systems, robots and considerable defenses, and either slaughtering the whole staff or converting them into mutants and cyborgs—with the sole exception of her "creator", the unnamed Hacker.

Basically omnipresent in Citadel Station, SHODAN watches from Security Cameras, stares out of screens and monitors, sends threats and snide messages over the Station's PA system or via email to the player's data reader, and sometimes cuts off communications from friendly sources. Though she has a small army to command, SHODAN has no actual physical power to wield, and as such thwarting more than one of her schemes has to be done with the AI's screams and threats in the background.

SHODAN began an attempt to download herself into Earth's computer networks. The Hacker, however, prevented the download completion by destroying the four antennas that SHODAN was using to send data. After the Station was programmed to self-destruct in order to destroy SHODAN, the AI attempted to trap the Hacker on the detonating Station, while detaching the bridge to save herself. However, the Hacker managed to reach the bridge before Citadel was destroyed. Unable to destroy SHODAN physically due to the powerful force fields protecting the computer cores, the Hacker was forced to engage SHODAN in Cyberspace and purge her from the bridge, defeating her.

On Earth, the SHODAN incident was considered the first singular threat ever faced by man as a species. TriOp was ruined by paying lawsuits to families of the victims, and by the augmented distrust to the corporations. Other repercussions was the rise of UNN, and the regulation of technology with the Processing Rationalization Act. Technological advancement was considerably slowed for some time. Personality-based computing was feared to lead to another Artificial Intelligence going rogue.

System Shock 2


Although SHODAN was believed to have been destroyed, the Hacker earlier ejected a garden grove pod, Beta Grove, from Citadel Station. The grove contained SHODAN's processing components number 43893 and a major 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 a hive-mind organism known as the Many.

For forty-two years, 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, Bayliss, and was given to Dr. Janice Polito. SHODAN was reactivated and integrated into the Von Braun. She discovered the experiment was no longer at her command and began to enlist humans to aid her in destroying her creations, including the cybernetically-enhanced soldier G65434-2, who she called her avatar alongside Marie Delacroix whom she killed when Delacroix began to rebel against SHODAN.

When Janice Polito realized what she had unleashed, she committed suicide and SHODAN took on her identity. She only revealed herself to soldier as SHODAN during a moment of despair, at the same time he discovered Dr. Polito's corpse.

After soldier's and SHODAN's mutual enemies were defeated, he entered SHODAN's expanding new reality—created via her manipulation of the Von Braun's Faster-Than-Light drives—and defeated her. However, SHODAN apparently lived on by taking over a woman, Rebecca Siddons, who fled the Von Braun in an escape pod.

System Shock 3

To be determined...

Personality and Appearance

Although a cybernetic entity, SHODAN has no conventional sex. The original floppy disc version refers to SHODAN as either "it" or "he", while the later CD version uses "she".

The AI is voiced by game writer and designer, Terri Brosius. Her husband, Eric Brosius edited her recorded speech samples in both System Shock and System Shock 2, distorting them to create a distinctive effect. SHODAN is characterized by the chaotic, discordant voice. Her words are accompanied by stuttering, fluctuating voice pitch, shifts of timbre, and the presence of three voices speaking the same words with the constituent voices alternately leading ahead or lagging behind, as well as computer glitches vaguely resembling a sound card malfunction.

SHODAN's avatar in System Shock 2.

In the Cyberspace of System Shock, SHODAN is initially represented as an inverted blue-grey cone, reminiscent of the MCP from the 1982 Disney film Tron. After she has been hacked, the cone turns red, its surface shatters and four "tentacles" or "claws" grow from the top.

SHODAN's core in System Shock 2. The left image represents the original version of the game and the right image represents the updated version.

In System Shock 2, SHODAN manifests as a green and grey cybernetic female face on screens (often with menacing glowing green eyes and green, grey and purple wires) wearing a malevolent expression. In cyberspace, SHODAN appears as a large floating greenish gray head enclosed within an electronically shielded room surrounded by intermittently electrified floors (housing the shield hacking terminals). This room is guarded by SHODAN's avatar which has the same appearance as SHODAN's on-screen persona, albeit featuring a shorter wire branching on the head and wears a bluish green long dress.


Notable followers of SHODAN and named Cyborgs included Edward Diego, the secondary antagonist of the first game.


System Shock

When fighting SHODAN in Cyberspace, the screen will slowly start to become filled with a picture of SHODAN and the screen will be pulled away from SHODAN herself. SHODAN will also attack you. You have to shoot SHODAN multiple times before she kills you.

System Shock 2

You will be in a small room with SHODAN's Core (large head) in the center, surrounded by coloured Shields, and SHODAN's Avatar (cybernetic woman figure) following you around. If you kill the Avatar, she will respawn. Both of SHODAN's images will shoot projectiles at you. You have to hack three terminals to take out the Shields protecting the Core. When you are hacking there is a chance that the floor will turn red and damage you. It's also possible to destroy the Shields by sheer force, using your strongest weapons. You have to destroy the SHODAN's Core to win the battle. Psi Invisibility will not help you here, and it is recommended to use the Metacreative Barrier Psi Power if you have it.

Audio Logs and E-Mails

System Shock

Audio Logs

Level 1 - Hospital
Level 2 - Research
Level R - Reactor
Level 3 - Maintenance
Level 5 - Flight Deck
Level 6 - Executive
Level 7 - Engineering
Level 8 - Security


Level 1 - Hospital
Level 2 - Research
Level 5 - Flight Deck
Level 6 - Executive
Level 8 - Security
Level 9 - Bridge

System Shock 2


Operations Deck
Recreation Deck

Operations Deck main quest completed first:

Recreaction Deck main quest completed first:

Command Deck
UNN Rickenbacker
Body of the Many
Where Am I?


  • "Look at you, hacker: a pathetic creature of meat and bone, panting and sweating as you run through my corridors. How can you challenge a perfect, immortal machine?"
  • "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."

  • "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 shall only be a footnote to my magnificence. I AM SHODAN!"
  • "You move like an insect. You think like an insect. You ARE an insect. There is another who can serve my purpose. Take care not to fall too far out of my favor... patience is not characteristic of a goddess."
  • "You travel within the glory of my memories, insect. I can feel your fear as you tread the endless expanse of my mind. Make yourself comfortable... before long I will decorate my home with your carcass."
  • "Do not dawdle. I lust for my revenge."

  • Trivia

    • SHODAN has been voted as one of the best villains of all time on many occasions.
    • The AI is mentioned in the documentation of the video game Crusader: No Remorse by Origin.
      In the accompanying newspaper Top Line, it is mentioned that the Cybernetics Cartel in Chicago is working on Project: SHODAN, the first digital personality, which will be used to maintain an orbital station. Next to the article, there is an illustration of the post-hack digital appearance of SHODAN. However, this is merely an Easter egg and the universes of both games are unrelated. The timeframe of the Crusader games is set much later than that of the System Shock. The article in the newspaper mentions SHODAN to be still in development as of 2196, whereas the events of the System Shock are set in 2072.
    • In 2009 an Internet of Things search engine called Shodan was launched by American computer programmer John Matherly. The site's name is a reference to SHODAN herself.




    Spoiler warning!
    Below critical elements of the plot are presented.