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Overview

Shana (known to the player character primarily by her code name, Blackbird) is a character within Strife whose main purpose is to direct the player through their objectives. After completing the game's first mission and accepting further work from the resistance group known as The Front, the player is given a com unit by Rowan in order to keep in contact with the rebels, and subsequently the wandering mercenary is contacted by Blackbird and given directions to a nearby resistance base. Upon speaking with Macil, the leader of The Front, he informs the player that Blackbird will be working with them directly in their endeavors against The Order, and from that point until the conclusion of Strife she functions as the player's guide by way of one-way conversations with the mercenary. As can be inferred from Strife's intro and is specifically stated by Blackbird herself on one occasion, she is located within a secret underground shelter, and thus she is present during gameplay only as a disembodied voice heard through the com unit. Her physical absence is attributed to the fact that The Order had previously taken to targeting women and children, forcing the oppressed to hide them as a protective measure.

The secondary purpose of Blackbird within Strife is that of comedic relief. Aside from helping the player achieve their goals, she will also chime in frequently for no other reason than to introduce a degree of levity into the proceedings. These remarks take a number of forms, and in some cases her comments seem designed to approach if not break the fourth wall, even going as far as to poke fun at the game itself. For example, she may choose to draw attention to the samey nature of some environments by pointing out that the current area feels oddly familiar, or highlight the underlying anarchic subtext of most first-person shooters by goading the player to destroy something expensive-looking. Her intermittent inability to keep track of the player's location in relation to where they need to be is also something of a running gag throughout the game, which is likely meant to satirize the contrivance of a character who exists solely to aid the player's navigation.

Ending

Blackbird's fate at the end of Strife is decided as a direct consequence of a decision made somewhere near the game's halfway point. After doing away with The Programmer and The Bishop, the player is given the chance to side either with The Oracle or with Macil. If the player sides with Macil, both the plague and The Order are eradicated after The Entity's demise. The mercenary then meets Blackbird face-to-face for the first time, after which she reintroduces herself as Shana and rewards him with a kiss. If the player sides with The Oracle at the aforementioned juncture, the plague is not lifted by The Entity's death, and Blackbird's fate is far more grim. Though not specifically spelled out, it is implied that at some point during the story The Order discovered the location of Blackbird, and that The Entity itself was impersonating her afterward. In this ending, the mercenary never meets Blackbird in person, and she is presumed to be dead.

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