Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Fictional AltHistory #5: C&C: What if Tiberium Landed in Our World?

For those of you who know me very well (or have seen my avatar on Twitter), you will know I'm a huge fan of Command & Conquer. One of the first major franchises of the RTS genre, C&C had reached stellar heights, releasing hit game after game, until EA took over, released two pretty good games, canceled a few other promising ones, then absolutely bombed the franchise with *shudders* Command & Conquer 4 Tiberian Twilight and a free to play Generals that was ultimately canceled three years ago, and not a single word has been heard since.

But, at least there are three universes, eight great games, and a lot of expansions and mods to keep us all happy.

And yes, I said eight. C&C4 will never count.

Honestly, this picture was the only good that came out of C&C4

Eventually, over the next while, I want to go and try to make at least one AltHistory scenario with each of the major games of the series, similar to what I've done already with Fallout (Part 1 here). So, let's start with a simple one: what if Tiberium, instead of landing in a world as we see in the game, instead comes and lands on our current world?

So, first of all: no Brotherhood of Nod. We can go on all day about how Kane is an alien or a clone or the biblical Cane that is doomed to walk the earth forever, but since this is our world we are talking about, we can say that the Brotherhood does not exist.

I'm sorry Kane! It's not that I don't like you, with your bald head and menacing goatee and whole "come back from the dead thing," but... *shot*

The first meteorite with Tiberium lands in the Tiber River valley of Italy, hence the name, sometime in 1995. Scientists around the world are rather fascinated by the new discovery, but after people began to die after coming near or touching the crystals that began to form, it would take months of effort to eventually even get a sample to study. Over the next few years, more meteors hit the earth, spreading more Tiberium across the world. By 2000, there are dozens of impact sights, all having turned into large, green, crystallized expanses.

It was about this time that the first scientific studies of Tiberium are complete, and the results are released to the world. It has been found that the green crystal, while poisonous, radioactive, and has a habit of fusing to skin and mutating it's new host to create more Tiberium (leading to some horrifying animal and human mutations to those effected), is actually full of minerals that made it easily harvestable. Depending on where the Tiberium landed, it would absorb any and all minerals from the soil, sending roots deep into the Earth to extract and mutate into more Tiberium. It could, theoretically, be refined into whatever substance is required, while also providing a powerful energy source, many times more efficient and powerful than oil or nuclear power. However, more research would be needed before harvesting this new god-send material would take place.

During this time, efforts to contain or extract Tiberium begin, especially as it begins to encroach on major population centres. The entire city of Rome has to begin to evacuate, with the Italian government relocating to Naples, and the Papacy to France. Dynamite and fire are seen as the best way to slow the spread of Tiberium, but it only slows it. In many cases, within a week after a clearing operation has taken place, the Tiberium had already grown back, as the roots of the crystal were untouched. Efforts to literally dig Tiberium pods and root systems out are quickly seen as impractical and too expensive.

And honestly, who would want to get rid of these cute little green crystals?

By 2003, with most of the world's scientific community focused on unlocking the secrets of Tiberium, rudimentary extraction and refining techniques begin. Within months, Tiberium is made one of the major trading indexes in the world, rivalling gold and oil as the most valuable resource on earth. Eventually efforts to destroy or slow Tiberium growth changes to simply try to harvest as much of the crystal as possible.

But as more and more Tiberium is produced, and the infrastructure of the world begins to change, massive economic, social, and political shifts take place. With the massive infusion of wealth as the mineral is harvested and refined, subsaharan Africa experiences a major economic boom, as does areas like China, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the deserts of Australia. New technologies, like Tiberium power plants and new production methods that makes Tiberium useful and, more importantly, non-leathal, are put into effect. But as Tiberium is easier to extract and refine than oil, and all over the world and growing larger and larger, soon nations like Saudi Arabia and Iran in the Middle East, Russia, Canada, and Venezuela that were dependent on exploiting their oil reserves are left with an overabundance in product, but fewer and fewer people to sell it to.

Unemployment in these countries reaches reach record highs, and only Canada, with help from their largest trading partner in the US and a more diverse economy, is able to avoid falling into chaos. Even Vladimir Putin (yes, he'll still be in power) wouldn't be able to reform Russia's economy before the government has to stop paying it's debts, and faces political and economic instability, that leads Putin into a series of dangerous geopolitical moves to try to shore up support at home. The invasion of Ukraine in 2013 is too much, and soon Putin is assassinated, and Russia falls to pieces. Hugo Chavez is thrown out of office by a coup in Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia, without oil money to support the regime (and the withdrawal of US support for a hardline, Islamist autocratic government) succumbs to warlordism and the rise of Islamic terrorist groups trying to carve their own section of the desert for themselves.
But even in nations like the US, the European Union and China that have large Tiberium deposits and can exploit it to their hearts content, the growth of Tiberium still presents huge problems. People have to be evacuated from areas quickly as Tiberium spreads unchecked. Most of the Midwest is turned into a alien, shimmering green wasteland, and masses of refugees are seen crossing the US for the first time since the Great Depression. The first recorded "Tiberium Storm" took place in North Texas in 2017, and soon the massive lightning storms that could knock out planes and electronics and spread even more tiberium were a common occurrence around the world.

Social unrest continues to grow as more and more people are forced from their homes and into refugee camps and into increasingly overcrowded cities, many of which are only expanding thanks to new construction techniques using Tiberium. The companies and nations that embraced (carefully, and in a specially designed hazmat suit) Tiberium early grow rich, while those that didn't have a meteorite land on their land suffer. Businesses that invested in Tiberium mining and extraction soon become massive monopolies, with such resources that even the US government, suffering from high unemployment, unrest, and social discord are unable to break up. By 2017, and the election of President Donald Trump, one of the early adopters of Tiberium extraction and on his way to being the first person to be worth $200 billion (and who most likely bought the election), Tiberium interests came to dominate the US, which was already on it's way to losing super power status due to the crisis at home.

And J.K. Simmons never became President. And he had such a great campaign...

The United Nations has been trying almost since Tiberium came to Earth to try to establish something to try to combat it, and won a success in 2009 when the first United Nations Agency for Tiberium Containment and Mitigation (UNATCM) was established to pool the scientific knowledge to try to stop the spread of Tiberium, and keep statistics of the world's descent. By 2020, over 40% of the world's surface had some form of Tiberium on it, and of the estimated 6 billion people on earth in 2000, over one billion people had died in 20 years from Tiberium poisoning, failing healthcare, war, famine, and civil unrest. Half a billion other people were forced to flee their homes. But it was guessed that about 75 million people around the world had not been killed by Tiberium, but mutated by it, and were still able to live in Tiberium infested areas, or even thriving. These people called themselves the Tiberittes (or more often, The Forgotten), but more derogatory terms emerged: Shiners, Crystalhuggers, Mutants. They were forced into areas of the world with dangerous levels of Tiberium to eke out a living, but the hardy Tiberittes managed to make a living.

Entire nations, like Italy, the former Yugoslavia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central Asia, and half of Brazil are totally depopulated and exist in name only, or as small refugee colonies in other nations. Tensions between the refugees and those hosting them boil over many times. Riots in Germany and France by Italian and Spanish refugees, rampant shootings in the US between the "Tiberplaced," the locals, and the federal and state governments, and the "Shoot first" policy of China to keep out the displaced leads to infighting, war between weakened nations, and terrorism reaching a scale that even the Global War on Terror that President George Bush started in 2001 after September 11 couldn't stop. (By the way: the War on Terror ended in 2005 when Congress ordered the military home from Iraq and Afghanistan to help with Tiberium containment and evacuation). The succession of a new Coalition of American States in the US South in 2027, sponsored by Tiberium barons in the area, was uncontested by the US. Soon after, the US broke into other nations, and soon war broke out as refugees and land disputes between heavily armed former American nations went back and forth.

The European Union on the other hand finally went the other way, with a new, centralized union being Established, with London as the capital. The lack of Tiberium in the UK made the nation a beacon of hope in the world. Japan was also lucky, as was some of the islands of Indonesia, Madagascar, and Newfoundland. Tiberium was also found to not be able to grow in cold areas, so northern Canada, Scandinavia, Russia, and Antartica became major refugee locations, with new cities using new technologies to try to house, clothe and feed the masses. Massive floating cities were also built, though the sinking of New Paris in 2025 with 29,000 deaths put a damper on that project. Eventually, even though it was ill-advised, many refugees began to settle in areas with dangerous Tiberium infestation, if just because there was no where else to go. A more successful attempt to save humanity was the creation of off world colonies, namely on the Moon and Mars, as well as space stations that could hold thousands of people. But only a few chosen select were allowed to go here.

So... can we say that Tiberium is basically the new Roman Empire?

By 2030, it was finally discovered that sonic energy at a certain level could halt the growth of Tiberium, but not push it back. The wealthy and prosperous "Blue Zones" in northern latitudes and island nations, and they began to refuse refugees, turning into massive gated communities, with advanced technology and powerful armed forces, with 20% of the worlds population in 20% of the world's land. By this point, huge areas of the world are devastated by Tiberium, and divided into Yellow Zones (War torn areas with a lot of Tiberium, but over 80% of the world's population in only 50% of the world's land) and Red zones (areas only Tiberittes could live in, totalling over 30% of the planets surface), . Since the report in 2020, UNATCM believed that another billion people had died, with a full billion people displaced. Most nations that existed in 2000 were gone: Russia, the US, China, Germany, Australia (fully abandoned to Tiberium and Tiberittes) and many others, replaced with smaller countries that were fighting amongst each other. The UN itself was disbanded in 2033, though UNATCM continued to monitor the world situation until it was forced to close in 2045.

However, by 2060, even the Blue Zones was having tiberium encroaching on it: the sonic barriers was only enough to slow the growth of Tiberium, but not enough to stop it, and soon Tiberium was able to adapt enough to get around the sonic fences, and even growing over water. By 2100, the only humans alive were those that mutated to survive the hostile conditions, or those that lived off world. All of Earth was Tiberium.

And then the Scrin came...

Want to know how you'll have a bad day? These guys showing up.

And on that downer note... I think that's enough depressing cycle of video game Alternate History for today. And maybe the next Alt History will be less depressing! Maybe....

But what do you think? What would a world be like that is given an alien substance that could kill you or make you rich? Or if you have a topic or idea you would like me to talk about, please leave comments below, email me at, or tell me on Twitter @tbguy1992.

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