Friday, June 28, 2013



Here’s a unique idea. Land on Earth, declare your friendship, start selling them stuff. Pretty soon, they can’t do without the products of your advanced civilization.

The Gryphonians of Rog Alpha wanted to try this. They were going to sell virtual reality game goggles that directly stimulated the pleasure centers of the human brain. But the whole plan was scrapped when their world’s economy tanked. Turns out Gryphonian real estate does not infinitely increase in value even if you do surround it with transdimensional warp generators.

It’s a nice idea, but it overlooked something important: what were the Earthlings going to give the Gryphonians in exchange for their addiction glasses? Raw materials are out of the question; as we will discuss later on, the Earth has a fraction of the raw materials available to a spacefaring race. If the Gryphonians had accepted, say, bars of gold in exchange for super advanced trinkets, they would have been exchanging at a big frigging loss. That would cause economic chaos, all right – on the Gryphonian homeworld. They might as well have planned to trade cell regenerators for rocks!

Because the humans don’t possess anything that could be used as a medium of exchange, this plot is a non-starter. The only solution would have been to accept terran currencies and integrate them into the galactic market.


WAR HAWK: Shut up! That’s a dumb idea. I’ll explain why later. But just in case you hadn’t noticed the galactic market for slave labor is pretty pathetic.

Back to the topic. Currency is a funny thing. Most of it, on its own, is worthless. Hell, most galactic currencies are one hundred percent virtual, and don’t even have a physical representation like a coin or a note. Their value is set pretty much by what the market dictates. Earth currencies would start out at the very bottom end of the scale. They’d have to exchange millions of their US dollars just for one super conducting hover belt. But under this plan, very gradually the exchange rate would start to favor the Earthlings as the Gryphonians flooded the market with more and more goods.

And here’s why this plan was not going to work.

In order to even get started, the Gryohonians would have had to integrate the Earth’s economy with the rest of the galaxy. So far, so good. But then Earth would have been open to other “investors.” Most of them would have been legitimate investors looking to take advantage of the exchange rate. They would start setting up their own operations. In order to run these facilities, the Earthlings would have had to learn how to operate the advanced tech behind them. In very short order, this plan would have transformed the Earth from a backwater to a semi-developed planet. More importantly, the humans have started to produce the products in addition to consuming them. So much for “taking over.”

But suppose the Gryphonians had been able to keep the interlopers out. They still would have had a problem because Earth consumption would be driving their economy. The Earth may have been dependent on the Gryphonians, but Gryphonians would have ended up just as dependent on them, if not more so. What would have happened if the terrans suddenly stop buying the Gryphonian devices? Who was going to hurt more, the Earth or Gryphonia Major? In the past this might have worked. History is full of examples of industrialized societies taking advantage of less sophisticated ones through drugs or strong drink. But the speed of modern trade works against that strategy. In the past a company was in danger only if it showed a loss for several consecutive quarters. Now a company faces major trouble if it doesn’t earn as much profit as experts expected it to. And because speed and interconnectivity that small “loss” can start a full on panic in nanoseconds.

How exactly would this ensure control of the humans? It might have brought Earth into the Gryphonian sphere of influence, but that’s not the same thing as control. Economics is nothing like warfare. Believe me, a town that lost its factory is nothing like a town that got blasted with heavy artillery. If the Gryphonians later threatened to cut the Earth off, sure the humans would be pissed. But, worst case scenario, they would be forced to go back to what they were doing before all this started. And by that point they may have reverse engineered enough that they could produce their own knockoffs.

This is terrible strategy because it would have opened the Gryphonian homeworld to unforeseen repercussions. Their home planet would have found itself less economically attractive than the Earth because in business “underdeveloped” also means “has loads of potential.” That would have resulted in mass unemployment in the Grypphonian’s own system. In the end, it’s a good thing their economy crashed and their civilization fell. Because, had they gone through with this plan, their economy would have collapsed, and their civilization would have fallen.

Warriors wage war. Merchants trade. Economists do… something. The point is, while war and economics are connected, they are separate pursuits. In the end, the merchant and warrior have different ideas of what success looks like. If you want to capture a fortress, you don’t try to increase market share. If you want to make a profit, you don’t blow up a command center.

Unless you’re a merc. In which case blowing up command centers are a great way to make money. Believe me, I know.

Friday, June 21, 2013



The Magelian Horde has just arrived. Excellent. Now I can talk about your failed invasion. Don’t give me that look. Everyone else in the room is a failure. Except for me. Which is why I have a podium and you don’t.

The Magelians used the subversion stratagem which is like the body snatching plan, only much, much worse. It also needs a lot of time and patience, and you need to remain hidden the whole time. But it has none of the strengths. In the end, the humans aren’t loyal to you, at all. They couldn’t make any elaborate moves. And once the plot was uncovered, it was over. When you look at it like that, the only question becomes: Why hell would you even consider this?

At first, it seemed pretty easy for the Magelians. The planet’s information security was still pretty primitive by our standards. It was easy to glean intelligence, set up dummy corporations, and buy influence among the political elite. For a while, it seemed like an ideal scenario. The Horde had infiltrated with a tiny team, had set up contacts among the world’s economic and political leaders, and roped several of them into a conspiracy. And after that they celebrated. It seemed like they had conquered the Earth with a small force and next to no violence. They might even have the planet’s own military forces doing their bidding.

Just as they were pouring the Altarian bubbly, that’s when Earth security burst through the doors. So what went wrong? Sorry to tell you, this plan was doomed from the beginning. Part of the reason was the main focus of your strategy: finding human traitors.

The Magelian Horde seemed to be making headway. They made contact with several Earth businessmen, the so-called elites. Of course, by now Earth is on alert for alien invasions but… that’s the problem, isn’t it? This is a planet that has been attacked without provocation for almost a century. What sort of person would side with alien invaders after all that, purely for personal gain? What kind of people did you ultimately recruit?

Scumbags. Exactly.

What’s wrong with recruiting scumbags? Turns out, scumbags make very bad conspirators. Scumbags don’t think they’re doing anything wrong. They think they’re normal. They think that everyone else is as rotten as they are, but that most people just put on an act to appear “civilized.” So the scumbags put on an act, too, so they fit in. The problem is that they have no empathy. None. Cute pet gets run over by a land vehicle? To them that’s actually a little funny. A small child suddenly dies? Not their concern. The people that the Magelian Horde recruited to be their eyes, ears, hands, and several other parts of their anatomy were just like that. The really scary part was the Magelians probably had a better idea of how to act “human” than these guys. Ultimately, it wasn’t a question of if they would give the game away, it was just a matter of when.

As it happened, it didn’t take long. More than a few of these knuckleheads couldn’t resist using their new position and advantage to line their own pockets and settle a few scores. They couldn’t have been more obvious if they had set off a flare next to the Magelian base.

And what happened when things went sideways? Did they stand by their Magelian masters? Hell, no. They turned on you faster than ever.

There are several other holes in this idea. For starters, the elites on Earth keep changing. It seems like the same people are always in charge, but closer inspection shows this isn’t the case. Corporations can disappear overnight. New technologies constantly throw old businesses, and even old political models, out of whack.

Just as an example, recently in Earth’s history they discovered you could link computers together and have them talk. When that happened, a whole bunch of people suddenly joined the ranks of financial, and even political, elite. It’s tricky enough to see a new trend coming. But try to determine who exactly is going to become super wealthy, and have to be psychic to know for sure. Even if you are psychic, you could still be wrong. There are just too many variables to screw up.

Ah, I bet I know what you’re going to say. “What if we game the system by introducing new technology ourselves?” The problem is new technology isn’t always successful technology. Better technology isn’t always successful technology. That computer link I mentioned? It actually existed decades before it became popular. If someone had invested hard when it first came out, they would have lost everything. If people could predict with any accuracy what products or services were going to be successful, they would be the richest people in the galaxy.

Now let’s go back to the trust issue, or lack thereof. Even if you find people who look like great recruits, you don’t know for sure if you can trust them, depend on them, or rely on them. After all, not only are you looking for somebody devious, conniving, and opportunistic – someone who by definition is the type who might turn on you if the wind changes. But the winds are always changing. Only people who have completely disengaged from political and business life believe that crap about everything being one giant conspiracy, and how all the elites secretly have each others’ backs. Are you frigging kidding me? Most of these people are out to destroy each other. That’s the way it is up here in the galaxy. Earth is the same way, even though it’s a backwards backwater. If you have money, you want more money. Same with power. And usually the only way to get lots of money or power is to take it away from someone else. That’s why there’s plenty of elite turnover, even though it may not look it at first. Sure, a few individuals stick around for generations, but they are the exceptions, not the rule.

Say you do find a reliable partner with enough wealth and power to weather the storms. What do you do if he dies? Do you spend your power and influence propping up his heirs? If they’re incompetent, you’re just throwing good money after bad.

Then we get back to the body snatching idea and all of its attendant weaknesses. Just like the Elagabalians, the Magelian Horde only took control of the Earth as it is now, a planet that’s centuries away from the technologies necessary for star travel. What were you getting out of it, other than the ego gratification of secretly ruling billions of people who don’t even know you existed?

MAGELIAN: We won a great victory.

WAR HAWK: Yes, but what did you actually get out of it?

MAGELIAN: Er… Victory!

WAR HAWK: Brilliant.

Also: you were discovered before this became an issue, but have you tried administering an entire planet? I’ve seen the place, and I can say it’s a mess. You’ve got half the globe fighting the other half. If you really want to take over, you’d probably want to improve things. Good luck with that. You own the financial and political systems. That means you’re responsible for when things screw up. I sometimes wonder why people want to be absolute rulers. When things go to crap, guess who’s got it all over their faces?

Finally, the reason this plan blows is that it has no legs, no endurance. It can’t take a solid blow. If the plot is ever uncovered, the conspirators are dead. The Earthlings will overwhelm them. What happened to the Magelian Horde? They were overrun in seconds.

This plan may appeal to you because you’d be dealing with humans who are a lot like yourselves; slime who would sell out anyone to get ahead in this galaxy. But that’s also the main weakness; it’s composed of nothing but worthless pus buckets. So when things start to go bad, and inevitably will, who’s going to come to your rescue; the spoiled rich brat who sold his own people down the road, or the stupid greedy glutton who didn’t even bother to ask where the money came from? Ask the Horde. Who came to your rescue when things went bad?

I’ll answer that for you: no one.

Friday, June 14, 2013



Ah, the Elagabalians are here. Excellent. I was going to talk about their invasion.

In the Earth year 1970 the Elagabalians infiltrated the city called San Francisco. From this base, they proceeded to kidnap Earthlings and replace them with duplicates spawned from plant pods.

The duplicates looked and acted like their human counterparts. They were identical, except they showed a lack of emotion and initiative. It worked out okay until the Earth army showed up.

But now that you guys are here I have to ask, why did you bother?

(No answer.)

I just don’t get what the point of all this was. I mean, your big plan is to replace the humans with other humans that think and act more like you do?

Suppose for a moment you had succeeded. What was the next step? The planet would still be run by the same species, more or less, and have the same infrastructure, the same technology level, the same environment.

What would you have changed? They think like you now. Does that mean new human hybrids were going to welcome you as their new overlord? That would have been nice for the ego. What would you have gained? The adulation of six billion inhabitants on a backwater planet?

This goes back to that non-discussion about motive. You guys don’t want to tell me what’s so important about this place? Fine. But ask yourselves if this approach was going to achieve that ultimate goal. This is a lot of hard work, replacing all six billion plus people on a planet. Even if you manage to pull off this scheme, does it bring you closer to your goal? Was it worth the effort of staying underground and hidden while you carried this out? I’m having a hard time seeing any gain that might be even remotely worth the effort.

The Elagabalians looked like they were out to take away human individuality. But they didn’t really do that. Even if those human hybrids just retained the memories necessary to do their basic jobs, then they were still individuals.

Did you take away the emotion and passion from the humans? That’s a very stupid idea. What good would they have been then? It’s passion and emotion that motivate us to do a better than average job. It’s bad enough you went through all this work just to get a planet full of technologically backward slaves, but if you remove their emotions you’re getting a planet full of technologically backward slaves who don’t care about their work and do a crappy job. There’s a terran species of insect called an ant. It lives in a collective and has no individuality. And the only thing it can produce is a giant mound of dirt.

This scheme already failed miserably, but let’s review what it would have taken in order for it to have worked. First, you needed to stay hidden while you transformed the entire human population. Your new hybrids had to have obedience, yet at the same time enough individuality to perform some useful task, and enough emotion that they’ll to do that task effectively. Finally, you had to import the technology necessary for them to actually perform that useful job, whatever the hell it was. Because, if you just left the Earth as it is, it’s still centuries away from producing advanced spacefaring tech.

The chances were astronomically against all these things going right. In this case, phase one went tits up. The humans figured out what was happening and crushed the San Francisco base.

Trust me when I say you got off easy. Just think about what might have happened had the screw up occurred later in the process. Suppose you had assumed you had gained Earth’s loyalty and had started to import your tech, only for their “loyalty” to suddenly falter. All of a sudden, instead of a new race of slaves, you have had a new race of competitors or, worse yet, enemies. And you have just given them the tech necessary to launch an attack against you. You know it’s a crap plan when a partial success can lead to your utter annihilation.

So I ask again, what was the purpose of this?

(Throughout this whole tirade the Egabalian delegate has been silent with a blank stare on his face.)

WAR HAWK: Hello?

(War Hawk now stands in front and waves his hand in front of the Egabalian. There is no response. It’s at this point that War Hawk noticed some green sprouts growing out of one of the Egabalian’s six ears.)

WAR HAWK: That answers that question.


In this next section, we’ll look at invasions that didn’t rely primarily on military force. These invaders sought to conquer the Earth by fundamentally changing it in some way. They used only a fraction of the manpower seen in the more traditional invasion scenarios.

But they were just as successful. That is to say, not at all.

Each invader only brought a token military force which put them on the knife’s edge from the onset. Unlike the other invasions, the Earthlings had the upper hand when it comes to force. Some of them brought firepower, one even included a squad with high power plasma packs. But that was still just one squad against a million armed troops. The Earth forces eventually took them out, leaving the rest of the invasion force helpless. These plans relied on total secrecy as their main line of defense. In every case, all it took was one slip for the entire plan to be put in jeopardy. That’s the flaw that all these invasions share.

But these plans also had other defects that worked against their own success. Once more, we’ll see that poor planning nets poor results.

Friday, June 7, 2013



Remember what I said? You want to give the Earthlings multiple options. If you give them a choice between dying and fighting, some will die, others will fight, and you’ll have a mess on your hands. But if you give them the option of going back to their normal lives, some of them will take it. In fact, a lot of them will take that option.

Have you really seen an Earthling? Most of them work jobs they can’t stand, pay money for entertainments they don’t like, and hang around friends who tell them how great everything is. Even the most sadistic minded of you will agree you can’t top this for a punishment. What are you going to do that’s worse? I mean, honestly, you can cause some momentary pain, but is that anything compared to soul crushing monotony? Hell, most of the humans hate their own government, even the ones that have democracy. Earthlings under a democracy hate their own government most of all. I’ve seen it up close, and I still can’t believe it.

Earthlings vote people into office, then spend the rest of the year complaining about what a horrible job those people are doing. It’s a perfect set up for an occupation. They already hate their own government, so it isn’t going to make that much of a difference if you take over. Think about it this way: you should strive to make the area someplace you yourself would live in. Someplace you don’t have to wear body armor and carry a pulse rifle just to get groceries.

The important thing is normalcy. And normalcy starts with order. That’s why it’s vital that you have professionally trained security, police, and administrative forces firmly controlling this area, but as invisibly as possible. Humans are used to dealing with faceless bureaucracies. It’s not going to matter to them whether the bureaucracy in question is run by an outworlder or not. The important thing is to ensure that vital functions continue uninterrupted. The water, sewage, and power services should be quickly restored. These systems are basic, and easy to comprehend.

Banking and commerce should continue as normal. Do you introduce a new currency? That depends on how much of the government you captured during your initial assault. If you’ve taken over a large area, you may have seized not only the capitols, but also the mints. If that’s the case, have them continue to print new money and regulate the banks. Nothing makes a human feel freer than shopping and or consuming lots of crap.

Food production and distribution should continue as before. You may have to get a little creative as some human societies have a very spread out food distribution system. Some areas are cut off from any large stretch of arable land. This can actually work to your advantage if you introduce advanced food production technology, thus feeding people who would otherwise starve.

Your improvements shouldn’t end there.

You can afford to be generous. And if you really want to win Earthlings over to your side you give them a taste of what they have been missing and what they stand to gain by joining forces with a starfaring species.

The ancient Telez Empire extended its reach throughout the old galaxy not only with the sword, but with food and entertainments. The Telez introduced people to comforts they could not otherwise have had, and many former resistance fighters became allies. They set about conquering worlds through dinner parties as much as through invasions. They would call the planet’s elite and have them feast on rare delicacies inside mammoth palaces filled with luxuries unimagined. Going back to our previous point, they also made sure to establish law and government in their new territories. But more than that, they made sure they had new citizens instead of new subjects. The difference is that citizens are a part of your government. They have bought into your system and have a stake in it. That’s the hard part. It’s easy to build a courthouse. It’s not so easy to get people to use it. Subjects, on the other hand, only obey because of the threat of force. And that force you will have to maintain indefinitely. It’s easy to build barracks. It’s damn difficult to keep it full of soldiers forever and ever.

You can do the same with the humans. Don’t just use your advanced tech to rack up a body count. Everything also has a peaceful use. Introduce them to the joy of sexbots. Give them access to entertainment beamed directly into the brain. Show them a world where feeble and aged bodies can be replaced. Above all, show them the stars. Humans are fascinated by space. Many of them long to travel beyond their solar system. Give them an option. They can wait two centuries for Earth to join the warp speed club, or they can sign on with you.

So what am I saying? That at the end of this war for conquest, you end up helping the humans? That you give them a better world than the one you overthrew?

Yes, that’s what I’m saying.

And why should you complain? After all, that’s a small price to pay for…

Say, why did you invade Earth in the first place?


Still not talking, huh? We’re eventually going to have to tackle your motives. But it can wait a little bit longer.