Tiberium Wars novel
|This article is written from a real world point of view.|
Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars is a 2007 spin-off novel by Keith R. A. DeCandido based on the popular RTS video game Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars by Electronic Arts. Although it covers the same timeframe as the game, the events of the game are only briefly referenced, with a few character cameos. The main characters of the book are a GDI soldier named Ricardo Vega, the son of a decorated GDI soldier Javier Vega, distant nephew of General Vega, and protagonist of Tiberium', a W3N news reporter named Annabella Wu, and Michael McNeil, the player character from Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun.
The story is set simultaneously during the events of Tiberium Wars. Many game characters are either featured or mentioned such as Kane, Lieutenant Sandra Telfair, Gen. Jack Granger, and W3N reporter Cassandra Blair.
The first chapter of the story involves a summit at the Philadelphia Space Station, with almost all of the top GDI directors and officials aboard, as well as Dr. Mobius, GDI's top scientist from the first Command and Conquer game. Nod annihilates the station, killing all of those onboard, by firing a nuclear missile after disabling their defenses at Goddard Space Center.
The novel describes the actions of GDI's 22nd Infantry Division, led by Michael McNeil, who are decorated as heroes for their adventures, as well as describing the effects of Tiberium on the world with a trip to Atlanta by W3N reporter Annabella Wu. Atlanta is a "Yellow Zone" partially infested with Tiberium but still under GDI control. The story alternates between the experiences of Ricardo Vega and Annabella Wu during the conflict.
The chapter opens with W3N reporter Jasmine Martinez and many other reporters, aboard the GDSS Philadelphia, watching a holographic documentary of the GDI 45th Infantry Division storming Nod's Kenyan headquarters during the Second Tiberium War. According to the documentary's narration, the Nod headquarters was detonated while the 45th was still inside, killing dozens of GDI soldiers and injuring hundreds. However, Kane was believed to have been killed during the explosion as well.
Shortly after, Director General Lia Kinsburg and an elderly Dr. Ignatio Mobius entered the lounge. Kinsburg reveals to the press that during the summation address tomorrow, GDI will have a new watchword, and that Dr. Mobius will receive a GDI Medal of Honor for his Tiberium research. After Kinsburg and Mobius leave, Martinez and several other reporters discuss what the new watchword may be. After a call from her editor, Penny Sookdeo, Martinez filmed the report, but right after she sent it to Sookdeo, the latter mentioned that there was a military mobilization in B-2.
General Zachary Harkin, the ranking GDI officer on the Philadelphia, was talking with Director Kinsburg in his office. Harkin mentioned that InOps downgraded Nod threat level to "low", though some generals objected, most notably General Jack Granger. The narration mentions that Granger was one of many who did not believe that Kane had been killed, even though Granger and Harkin both knew that contrary to what GDI told the public, Kane's death had taken place not in Kenya, but in Cairo, at the hands of Commander Michael McNeil, who stabbed him in the heart. However, a body was never recovered, which was why Granger was sceptical.
Harkin explained that Granger sent men to North Carolina after a Nod truck disguised as a produce truck exploded during a routine stop, and satellite scan revealed strange energy readings in the area. At this point, Dr. Elisa Scarangello, one of the scientists advising the Directors during the summit and Harkin's wife, entered, and Kinsburg left the room. Scrangello complained to Harkin that Kinsburg has been ordering Redmond Boyle to hold back the funding for the resonator project, even though she was planning on taking credit of the project for herself in tomorrow's speech. The two were interrupted by a holographic call, and Scrangello leaves. The call was from Sandra Telfair, informing Harkin that there was a Nod staging area in North Carolina.
The next day, in the Philadelphia's press room, Kinsburg started her speech recapping the events since Tiberium first appeared on Earth, before revealing that the new watchword was "preservation". She explained that GDI had recently discovered Tiberium's vulnerability to sonic resonators, with the initial goal of halting the flow of Tiberium in Yellow zones and keeping it out of Blue zones, and the long-term goal of making all Red zones habitable by 2112 - the projected year that Tiberium would cover the entire planet.
As Kinsburg was giving the speech, Harkin was informed by Sandra Telfair that the Goddard Space Center has been destroyed, realizing that the A-SAT defense is now offline, Harkin looked out of the window to see a Nod nuclear missile approaching the station. The entire station was consumed by nuclear fire, killing everyone on board.
Somewhere on Earth, Kane, with the assistance of an acolyte and a member of his Inner Circle named Brother Eamonn, hacked into the broadcast signal of The William Frank Hour while William Frank was broadcasting the news of the Philadelphia's destruction. He announced that the destruction of the Philadelphia was not an accident, and declared war on GDI.
Private Ricardo Vega, a GDI United Peacekeepers recruit fresh out of basic training, was sitting in a room in Fort Dix with other recruits. Ricardo was the son of Javier Vega, a war hero. He was recently assigned to the 22nd Infantry Division, an elite division under the command of Michael McNeil himself. Vega and another soldier named Mustapho Zipes (who joined GDIUP to avoid a prison sentence for an assault charge), were assigned to Company 7. His superior officer, Major Hastings, reassured him that being Javier Vega's son will not grant him special treatment in either direction, but told him that his father served with McNeil.
Vega and Zipes reported to Lieutenant Opahle of Company 7. Zipes was assigned to Unit Alpha and Vega to Unit Epsilon. Vega and the lieutenant board a Pitbull, and Vega was dropped off at Unit Epsilon, where they were doing their morning run. During the run, Vega met a soldier named Brodeur, who was apparently deaf, as they ran, a flash of light appeared in the sky, and the unit's leader, Sergeant Goodier, ordered the unit to stop and head for the auditorium of Fort Dix after receiving a message.
Inside the auditorium, Brodeur introduced Vega to another member of their unit, "Angry Puppy" Momoa, and revealed that he wore experimental glasses that projected spoken words onto the lenses, and that all of his equipment was part of an experimental program to make hearing unnecessary on the battlefield. The two were interrupted by McNeil, who announced to all the soldiers present that Nod had destroyed the Philadelphia, and that General Granger had ordered the 22nd to B-11 to respond to a Nod attack on San Diego.
Vega and Brodeur headed for Epsilon's barracks, and while suiting up inside the barracks, Vega met several other members of the unit, including Gallagher, who made fun of him after Goodier revealed that he was the son of Javier Vega, and Alessio Bowles, nicknamed "Dish". As the unit was heading out, Vega thought about the destruction of the Philadelphia, and how it was more about destroying GDI's biggest symbol of superiority than causing actual damage, since GDI protocols meant that they had replacements for the Directors, backup for the data on the station, and other space stations that can replace its duties. He also thought about how his father would have been on the station as a military advisor if it wasn't for a prosthetic malfunction.
On their way to the Huron, a large transport aircraft, the unit mentioned that the Huron was going to be piloted by a notoriously bad pilot named Johanssen, and one of the soldiers, named Golden, began to feel sick. Bowles introduced him to Vega as the "resident hypochondriac", and Vega handed him one of his own pills from a pill case he received from his father. As Golden thanked him, Vega felt that he had made his first step in fitting in with the Epsilon.
W3N reporter Annabella Wu woke up in her single-room flat in B-2, in what was once New York. Like Martinez, she worked for Penny Sookdeo, who assigned her to Y-6 on the order of Redmond Boyle, former Treasury Commissioner and now Acting Director of GDI, in order to cover how the common people was fighting the good fight against Tiberium.
Before she left her house, she put on an imager, a device that disguised her appearance, to prevent people from recognizing her. While waiting for the bus, Annabella called her uncle and aunt, who had raised her after her parents died during a construction incident caused by a fault line created by Tiberium. On the bus, she helped two strangers look up a name on a GDI casualty report, even though they had insulted W3N for not airing a casualty report.
Throughout the chapter, life in a Blue Zone was described as crowded and unpleasant: residents usually only had one room per person or couple, only the rich and important or those who needed automobiles for work owned them, and everyone has to take seven pills a day to "stave off the toxins of everyday life".
It has been twenty minutes since Unit Epsilon had taken off in the Huron, along with all the equipment in the 22nd, including several Orcas and tanks. The pill that Vega gave Golden was apparently not a motion sickness pill at all, and the rest of the unit was having a laugh at him as he vomitted.
A clerk nicknamed "Memo" dropped off a box for Vega, and told Momoa that his requisition request for the GD3, a model of the GD2 with a grenade launcher, was rejected, much to his disappointment. Vega received a nickname "Puke" for his prank on Golden, and just as he was about to object, the Battalion Commander issued them with orders: Nod has taken San Diego, and was using the San Diego Convention Center as command and control. A GDI scientist, Dr. Joseph Takeda was captured by Nod and held in the SDCC, and Vega's team was assigned to the rescue mission.
After going over the battle plans, Ricardo opened the box. Inside the box was a GD2 rifle, shoulder and thigh armor, a Nighthawk pistol, some ammo, and a helmet. Ricardo noticed that there was no first aid kit, and Brodeur explained that the 22nd used the latest battlesuits, with microfibers that could automatically constrict against wounds and apply antibiotics, as well as augment the wearer's musculature.
Lieutenant Opahle informed the unit that the Huron would drop them on Harbor Drive, half a kilometer away from the SDCC, in order to avoid AA fire. Brodeur helped Vega activate his artificial muscles.
One day after Washington D.C. was liberated by GDI, Annabella took a train to Atlanta in Y-6 from the Pennsylvania Station station. The Yellow Zone was a desolate place, littered with broken down and burnt out buildings, some of which were infested by Tiberium, and few people could be seen.
After getting of the train, she was greeted by Salvatore Patel, an aid to Mayor Liebnitz, who introduced her to her hotel (one without the automation and bioscanners that Annabella was used to in the Blue Zone). That night, Annabella was having dinner with the Mayor, who asked her why she was here, as Boyle did not tell him anything. Annabella replied that she was there to cover life in a Yellow Zone, and Liebnitz explained the story about the Tiberium-infested wreckage of a house that was across the street from the mayoral residence.
One of the children in that house accidentally broke a window. Normally, a shade would automatically come down to protect the house. However, the shutter system in that house constructed by PTZ, the company contracted by GDI to construct anti-Tiberium systems, failed to activate. The boy was afraid to let the Tiberium in, so he dumped some towels in paint thinner and used it to plug the hole. Paint thinner was one of the many "home remedies" for Tiberium, unfortunately, Tiberium actually thrived on it. Later that night, an ion storm blew through, and Tiberium got into the house through that hole, infecting the family inside and forcing them to abandon the house.
One of the mayor's aids, a woman named Terise, confronted Annabella over her use of an Imager, accusing her of trying to hide who she was from the public, and even swore in front of the camera. Annabella planned a hospital visit for tomorrow, as well as to follow the mayor while he's at work to see what he does on a normal day.
Two Nod soldiers, Corporal Hugh Isembi and Private Voyskunsky, were idly chatting in the SDCC. The two talked about their new T7 Tiberium-enhanced energy weapons, and Voyskunsky was worried that they would explode and kill them. Isembi was angered by Voyskunsky's nonchalant attitude, who commented that they would not be able to take and hold San Diego, much less all of the Blue Zones, and made a snide comment about his Tiberium-laced tattoo. He threatened to report him to their Captain, al-Rashan, but decided to reconsider after Voyskunsky revealed his deep hatred of GDI.
On the other side, Vega effortlessly ran the six hundred metres to the entrance of the convention center, due to the muscle enhancement effect of the battlesuit. Eight sniper teams entered one of the hotels that serviced the convention center, in order to take out any sentries near the SDCC. Vega noticed that his night vision was not working, and a member of the tech corps named Jason Popadopoulos (nicknamed "Geek the Greek") helped him fix it.
All the sniper teams moved into positions on the upper floors of the hotel, and just as they were waiting for the airstrike from Battalion 3, the top floor of the hotel suddenly exploded, killing all of the snipers and forcing the GDI forces to attack the SDCC sooner than planned. One of the Nod soldiers fired a green energy beam at Lieutenant Lipinski, the commander of Company 6, cutting off her left arm before being cut down by Momoa.
Vega wondered how Nod was able to develop energy weapons, something GDI had been attempting for years but could not accomplish due to power consumption issues. The only energy source powerful enough would be Tiberium, but GDI was unable to use it as a power source without infesting the weapon itself, and many did not wish to use Tiberium as a power source on principle.
Ryon Henry, the battalion commander, ordered Lieutenant Ophale to rescue Takeda. As Vega and his unit swept the second level, where Takeda was held, Vega's helmet HUD began to malfunction again. As they approached the final room on the level, Vega's helmet suddenly switched to night vision. He noticed an unusual heat signature in the ceiling and realized that it was the muzzle of an energy weapon. He immediately opened fire on it.
List of errors and inconsistencies
- According to Martinez, she became a reporter right after the end of the Second Tiberium War, yet one of her first reports for W3N was about the construction of the Philadelphia. The Philadelphia was constructed prior to the Second Tiberium War, and had already been active for some time by the beginning of the war, so this is chronologically impossible.
- In the game, it was mentioned that Dr. Ignatio Mobius was killed prior to the Third Tiberium War by an ion storm, rather than the destruction of the Philadelphia.
- Resonator project, the plan to reclaim Tiberium-infested lands using sonic resonators, was treated as a new development. In reality, by the time of the Third Tiberium War, GDI's Tiberium reclamation project had already been in progress for many years.
- According to Harkin, Goddard Space Center was only responsible for the Philadelphia's A-SAT defense when it was over North America. It is stated in the game that it was responsible for GDI's entire A-SAT system.
- Ricardo Vega believed that Nod's attack on the Philadelphia was largely symbolic, and that "a new Council of Directors was probably already on the job". In reality, the destruction of the Philadelphia threw the GDI chain of command completely into chaos.
- In the game, automobiles are a very common sight on Blue Zone maps, and there is no indication that they are only owned by a select few.
- In official source texts, Blue Zones are described as pristine, benefit from Tiberium as a clean source of power, and do not suffer the effect of Tiberium air contamination as Yellow Zones. Therefore, Blue Zone residents should not have to take seven pills daily just to prevent being poisoned by the air.
- Blue Zone residents are described as having large homes, rather than the single-room flats depicted in this chapter.
- The narration mentions that the most recent iteration of GDI's Living with Tiberium handbook was released "right after the end of TWII in 2035". The Second Tiberium War ended in 2030, or 2032 if the Firestorm Crisis is considered a part of the war.
- Several GDI soldiers were described as being armed with railguns. The most common infantry railguns used by GDI are the ones used by Zone troopers, which are so heavy that they require power armor to use. More compact railguns, such as the rail-carbines used by GDI commandos, are described as extremely expensive prototypes.
- Similarly, during the Third Tiberium War, infantry energy weapons are extremely rare among Nod forces and reserved for elite units like the commandos.
- The idea that GDI could not develop Tiberium-based energy weapons without having the weapon itself be infested by Tiberium crystals is strange, since the infrastructures of GDI's Blue Zones heavily depend on Tiberium as an energy source, yet they do not suffer from Tiberium contamination. GDI's sonic emitters, for example, are powered by Tiberium.
- The Urban Combat Platform Mark 3A Juggernauts were described as having "gun turrets that could turn a full three-sixty", implying that it was a new feature, when in fact the Juggernaut Mk. III already had a turret that could rotate 360 degrees.
The novel has mostly poor reception from fans of the series due to its out-of-character portrayals of the cast and strange plot twists, as well as numerous contradictions with the games.
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