This isn't strictly a Fan Fiction or anything like Nicaro whips out. But this morning while out on the road my mind wandered to NOTD. And thus The Apollo Conspiracy was born. It wasn't meant to be a huge narrative, but more the musings and connections of an insane man. Before we go into this, I want to put a disclaimer. In no way is this "official" after all. Nor do I even imagine it's ANYWHERE close to XaVi's original vision of the story. This work is more or less just based on the twisted way my feeble mind thinks. It draws upon events in the game, stray bits of lore I picked up on places like Reaper's Basics Topic, the old Storyline topic in Announcements on the old board, and cruising through some of the NOTD Wikia. Setting the Stage: Earth is dominated by the UGC. But it's hardly a complete and total domination. Many areas of the world seem to still be out of the grasp of UGC control. Perhaps because they are just too poor to bother with. Perhaps because the natives are so unruly that they can't maintain authority over it. I imagine there are places like areas of Africa which are mostly left to go to hell, beyond what strategic resources can be taken from there. Apollo Mining Colony is the most important location in the growing UGC's authority. It's Helium-3 mining operations are by far the key to civilization as we know it. And as such is typically kept under the strictest, tightest controls. When the Compliance Nexus System is invented, Apollo is the first place to have it installed and tested on a large scale. It's a stunning success. There's a new rumbling in the political culture. The military machine of the UGC, which has been keeping things mostly in line is looking more like an expendable budget item. They remain important, mostly because those few trouble spots which aren't important enough to warrant full scale pacification, also aren't worth the investment of Compliance Nexuses. Not to mention the technology is still new enough, and not quite trusted enough to fully supplant traditional forces of peace keeping, defense, and civil order. The upcoming Mars Colony mission is announced. They eschew any military presence in favor of the now proven Compliance Nexus technology. This takes some higher ups in the military completely by surprise, and is done over their protests about needing traditional forces in case of an emergency. Meanwhile UGC marine forces are also being withdrawn from the Apollo Mining Colony. They are cut back to a mere squad where once a full regiment was stationed. Many are upset over this. Military big shots who can see their power and political pull being curtailed, and civilian authorities who depend on military funding in the areas they represent suddenly losing out on the industries they count upon. When it seems as though the sun is setting on the traditional balance of power that they are counting upon, a miracle happens. Everyone swore it was impossible. But the facts couldn't be questioned. SOMEHOW, malcontents on the Mars Colony were able to circumvent the control of the Compliance Nexus. In one swift day everything that the Compliance Nexus based power block believed in was shattered. The unarmed Mars Colony fell quickly to the rebels. It was a disaster of the grandest magnitude. It took a month, during which UGC Marine forces were called in. Brutal fighting against dug in fanatics, but General Jan Koller was able to retake the Mars Colony and became the champion of the military agenda. His backers helped him lead a new expansion of military spending, and got UGC forces back on a permanent station in the Apollo Colony. Not quite the forces he would have wanted. Slowly a plan started to hatch. To forever destroy the dependance on the Compliance Nexuses and bring back the full power and dominion of the military, like it always should have been. The Execution: The Mars Colony was small, distant from Earth Politics. The effect of its revolution, despite being exactly what they could have asked for, paled in comparison to it's effects should it have hit a strategically important outpost. And nothing was more strategically important than the Apollo Mining Colony. Congressmen and high ranking military officials are gathered into a conspiracy to make this disaster come to be. First comes the Compliance Nexus update broadcast. However instead of it's usual behavior modification and pacification, it turns off the Nexuses while having them fake an Online status. The plan was never as sinister as imagined by later observers. Simply turn them off. Let people who have been suppressed for so long act on their own accord. Everyone knew there were rebels on Apollo. If left to act, they would strike on their own, with complete and total plausible denial to any wrongdoing. It would be exactly the uprising and rebellion the warhawks could want, and would be a major bit of leverage for an expanded military for years to come. Then it went wrong. Apollo had more lurking underneath it's surface than mere military rebels like Ivan Plushenko. The truth of HAL, it's self awareness, and the madness derived from the mind it was based upon was a complete unknown. The mutation, invented by Dr. Tanaka and kept sealed up by Compliance Nexus demanded behavior protocols. These were secrets kept only at the highest levels, and would catch the conspirators wholly unprepared. Apollo had to fall. And it had to fall hard. No one really knew how many malcontents lurked under the Compliance Nexus. There was a fear that the crack security team stationed there might be too much for the rebels to overcome. The Black Ops were deployed, with orders that Apollo must fall out of UGC hands. Intact, but fall nonetheless. Day One: HAL, Tanaka, and Bergmann being easily manipulated by the self aware computer was a perfect storm that no one could have predicted. The Black Ops team arrives, with no clue what is going to happen. After all, there was no way for the operational planners to predict how the chaos would unfold. Assassinations and terrorist attacks were the expected. A full blown epidemic of insanity, mutation, and carnage swept through Apollo. Within 24 hours an estimated 90% is either Infested or Dead. In the chaos of this first day legends are born, and forgotten. The one man who managed to gain control of his own infestation, fighting along side the Security Team in the early hours. He disappeared during a hectic fire fight, never seen up close again. The Black Ops team infiltrates the Colony, avoiding contact, recording and observing the trouble as it unfolds, and subtly guiding events to stack the odds against the Security Team survivors as much as possible without overt action, intercepting comms, releasing infested who are trapped by security locks. But time and against the marines prove more resourceful than they reckoned. HAL's betrayal is revealed, and the Dr. Bergmann seems to regain his sanity as HAL is shut down and the computer's control over him is lost. Bergmann finds traces of the Black Ops, and that the Nexuses have been shut down. With the carnage spread before him, and his relative experience in secret projects and missions he is able to piece together some of what is happening. With no other options, the Black Ops show themselves to try and silence Bergmann before he can reveal the plan. It fails, but Bergmann seems unnerved enough to avoid throwing his lot in with the Security Team. Horrible Mutations, HAL returns to Apollo, hijacking the powerful IVAX unit and bypassing several security measures that even the Black Ops felt shouldn't be tampered with... such as Athena's Prison. The final battle concludes, and somehow, despite the odds the Security Team prevails. Their primary mission, assuring the fall of Apollo, so General Jan Koller can come in and be the great hero again, is directly in jeopardy. They execute the Security Team, for the greater good, while promising their efforts would not be forgotten. The Black Ops after all, are still only human. It doesn't fill them with any particular joy to gun down such heroes. But it had to be done. They disappear into Apollo to continue watching events, subtly guiding them, and waiting for General Jan Koller's first teams to land. The Turn: Bergmann is free of HAL, temporarily. During this time Bergmann becomes known as a hero during the crisis. He's witnessed helping out several civilians, saving them from undead ambushes and locking down several of the access points that the Black Ops had been opening up. Bergmann's greater familiarity with the area, as well as some advanced prototype equipment he's found, has managed to give him the edge over the Black Ops that hunt him down. What happens during the Alpha Company's incursion into Apollo is mostly a mystery. What is certain is the following facts. A: During the events of Alpha Company HAL has transfered it's consciousness out of IVAX, and regained control over Bergmann once more. B: Tanaka manages to trick the marines into releasing some "Toxin" that is going to kill the infested. Hardly the case, as the Black Ops uncover his continuing betrayal. C: Lt. Sheng and the few survivors of the Security Team go missing. It is believed that they die during the attack of the nightmare beast, however there is no reliable evidence. Even the Black Ops can only guess, as they were similarly effected by the toxin released by Tanaka. D: With the Fall of Perses, the Black Ops realize that the original mission is scrubbed. Sentient computers, this rampant mutation, betrayal that seems to reach to the highest levels. They decide to brief the marines on their discoveries, and bring Alpha Company into the depths of Apollo to see the horrors for themselves. What transpires between Alpha Company and the Black Ops is a matter of speculation, as survivors and records of the incidence are nearly nonexistant. But it seems obvious there is a confrontation, with Bergmann, the Senator, and their allegiance to General Koller. Easy Company: Unwitting Rubes. They come in, marching on a path to destruction. The mere fact that they don't seem aware of, or briefed on this infestation speaks highly towards the body count that General Jan Koller was looking to achieve. Casualties were his aim. The pricier the victory over Apollo was, the more that the event could be used in his favor. No longer would he play with mere security details or reconnaisance teams, but be in charge of full divisions and regiments. There is little doubt that he could have not known about the Infestation, considering his recorded contacts with the Security Team and Alpha Company his feigned ignorance to the threat or even nature of the enemy is clearly a badly played lie. Why though? General Koller is always portrayed as an honorable soldier and true leader. But his behavior here at the tail end of the Apollo Incident suggests something else entirely. The aspersions he casts upon the characters of others are traits he himself clings to. His tactics, bombing runs on his own marines who have seen too much of the truth... a truth he never planned, but one he took advantage of, seems to back this up. Use of widely targeted heavy artillery, called down only when the supposed source of the infestation was near dead. An attempt to hog the glory from his cruiser, instead of putting it on the marines on the ground. The confrontation between Black Ops and Easy Company: Much is made of this, proving that the Black Ops are somehow evil, looking for nothing but to kill every marine in sight. They take their orders from the Senator, and it suggests that what occurred between the Black Ops and Alpha Company resulted in the Senator having to reassess his position, and the Black Ops coming to terms with the Senator and Bergmann. Much is made of Bergmann being a pawn of the Senator. However that doesn't fit quite right. Bergmann's personal history suggests someone who is ideologically opposed to the Senator, and most politicians. His past with his wife suggests a hatred that rather see the Senator in ruins rather than successful. So we are left with the missing piece of the Apollo Conspiracy Puzzle. Bergmann cuts a deal with the Senator during the events of Alpha Company's incursion. The Senator sees that his simple excuse to draw out and crush the rebels on Apollo, and promote his new puppet Koller, is a lost cause and agrees to work with Bergmann on a new angle. Presumably Alpha Company, being more loyal to the corp, stumble across this deal cutting, and are likely cut down. Bergmann (Under HAL's control) himself is planning to betray the Senator the moment he no longer needs him. The Black Ops are involved in this new deal to try and bring the Apollo Nightmare to a new resolution. Where the infestation is sealed by Easy Company, the Compliance Nexus is updated to take control over Apollo Colony again, an uneasy status quo achieved during which the Senator can try to draw himself out of this mess, or perhaps pin it on the more openly hawkish members of the government. Koller's stink is all over this incident, at least as far as the Black Ops can tell. Thus the confrontation. The Black Ops are pitted directly against Koller. Bergmann (HAL)'s betrayal releases the Queen. Not part of anyone's plan at all. And as it draws closer to the military units they are forced into a standoff. Koller sees them, supposedly units under his command for this operation, not following his orders. A complete shock to him, but he quickly realizes that this means his backers in the government have turned traitor on him. The intelligence these Black Ops teams have could implicate him in this whole mess. End of his career, end of his ambitions. He orders their execution, giving what help he can to Easy Company for the fight, immediately scrambling Charlie Company to rendevous with them, rather than holding them in reserve for the final, large scale set piece assault. Which is incidently why the slower moving, heavier assets of Lihn's Company take longer to reach Apollo than the lighter elements, as they were not fully prepared to conduct the assault for an hour or two yet to come. In the end, it is the rebels the conspiracy originally sought to destroy that saved them from the Apollo Incident becoming an even greater disaster than it could have been for all involved. The Black Ops were dead. Bergmann is killed by the rebel Ivan Plushinko. Retired marine Kenny dies in a friendly fire incident. Lt. Sheng is missing in action and presumed dead. The only ones who really know what happened left alive are those who have no reason to speak the truth. The conspiracy remains silent as an uneasy status quo settles. The Senator and Koller both know that they had crossed the line and acted against one another. The Compliance Nexuses remain in power. And eventually... one of those men will find a cloaked operative sticking a dagger in their back, making sure that the Apollo Conspiracy will never come to life.