ALTERNATIVE STRATEGIES: SUBVERSION
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?
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.