"We forge futures out of pain and grief, Commander. The computers and the communications officers and the EVAs and the displays only serve to isolate us so we can be inhuman. We're monsters, son. Cold, mechanical, rational monsters, and the only way we win is by being colder, more mechanical, and more rational than the next monster moving his little pieces on the screen. That's how war has been fought since Stalin rolled into the Allies a century ago. You point, you click, and they die. It's how it works."
— Colonel Nick "Havoc" Parker, Chapter XVIII
As its name indicates, Tiberium Wars is a Novelization of Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars by the same author behind Forward and Renegade. The fanfic was written in direct response to the official Novelization. As would be expected, it follows the actual game's plot fairly closely, though it takes a highly in-depth look at the Tiberium universe, and creates numerous characters to populate the otherwise faceless armies of the Global Defense Initiative and the Brotherhood of Nod, as well as exploring the respective factions' technology, history, and mindset. Established characters are used (with some of them even getting their own extra subplots) as well as original characters filling in the roles of infantrymen, tankers, pilots, and the faceless commanders.The fic is notable for its brutal, stark, and explicit vision of the endless war being waged between GDI and Nod, with heavy emphasis on realistic military operations and the chaotic and merciless nature of war. Combat is meticulously described, and the war itself is savage, violent, and often senseless. At the same time, though, neither GDI nor Nod are depicted as monsters, and a number of both sympathetic and despicable characters are portrayed. The author admits that he places more emphasis on GDI, having hinted that he considers them to be the series' true "good guys."The author himself has stated that he was heavily inspired by Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts series, as well as Warhammer 40,000 in general. Other inspirations include nonfiction works like Generation Kill and House To House: A Soldier's Memoir. As the fic is based on the military and warfare, expect to see lots of Military and Warfare Tropes.The series is also very quotable, as the sheer number of excerpts that have been quoted on This Very Wiki prove.
Provides Examples Of:
Action Fic Quiet Drama Scene: Despite the brutal action and depiction of war, some of the best scenes are quiet moments where soldiers or officers talk about their experiences and personal pain.
Action Girl: Multiple across the series; a number of GDI soldiers are mentioned as being female, but none of them are major characters (save Sandra Telfair during her escape), while several prominent Nod women (Lieutenant Cristos, Corporal Marona, and Sergeant Marisol) are no slouches.
Affably Evil: Rawne notes that LEGION is most certainly this.
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The GDI Firehawk squadrons have EAA units, a sort of squad-wide networked AI that helps them with targeting, operations, and coordination. The AI units for each squad become erratic when Firehawks are switched out of a particular squad and new aircraft are brought in without the EAAs on the older machines being wiped.
Generally-speaking, though, AI is not a crapshoot in the setting; EVA units are extremely reliable, apparently due to safeguards since CABAL's rebellion. The fact that EVA units don't seem to have either personality or identity beyond their functions seems to help.
Amusing Injuries: Kane finds his people banging their shins against consoles in the dim light of his facilities to be endlessly amusing.
Anyone Can Die: The author kills off several well-developed viewpoint characters. Given his insistence in portraying war as realistically as possible, this is not a surprise.
Armor Is Useless: Subverted somewhat. Against GDI body armor, lightly armed Nod militants have to aim for weak points, though more well-equipped troops have no problem taking them out. Against Zone Trooper or Black Hand armor... well... if you're really lucky, you might get a lucky shot on their optics and throw off their aim a bit. Otherwise, anti-tank weapons work.
Attack! Attack! Attack!: Notably averted in Chapter Sixteen, when the Mammoth Tanks arrive. Rawne withdraws his forces, knowing they don't have the firepower to go toe-to-toe with them.
Attempted Rape: In chapter 14, a Nod militant attempts to rape Sandra Telfair. She fights him off long enough for Brother-Captain Allen to arrive and beat the would-be rapist to death.
The author has a boiling hatred for the official novelization; although this never explicitly enters Writer on Board territory, he does let his rage flow full-force in many of the afterwords for his chapters.
He's also made it clear he has a great dislike for humanoid walkers like the Titan, Wolverine, and Avatar, and that he has no qualms about using his story to decry them.
There are also some much more subtle jabs and pokes in the story, such as some commentary on the interaction between the media and the military, and a general impression of War Is Hell.
This can also fall under depicting war realistically: it's an awesome way to get caught with your pants down, make new enemies, and generally encourage the enemy to fight to the death. You have to start hitting angering all the gods,including the evil ones, to come up with a single Stupid Evil act that's more stupid.
Badass Creed: Chapter Seventeen has one from a Mammoth Tank crewman:
Yea verily, though I charge through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for I am driving a house-sized mass of "fuck you."
Chapter Nineteen has a more solemn one for the Black Hand:
We have sworn our lives in the service of the Brotherhood.
In Brotherhood, we are all equal.
Within our Brotherhood, we are united.
Within unity, we are victorious.
By attaining unity, we strive for peace.
With our lives, we sacrifice to bring peace to the Brotherhood.
Through our lives, we bring power to the Brotherhood. With power, the Brotherhood brings peace.
Peace through power.
In the name of Kane.
Badass Grandpa: Colonel Nick "Havoc" Parker is pushing eighty, yet he is still the most hardcore bastard in GDI. Just how badass is he? In Chapter 23, he kills a Black Hand Acolyte with a knife. Said Acolyte is wearing powered armor.
And before that, he takes down an Avatar, levels the Nod command center with fire from a captured Nod artillery unit, and recaptures the freaking White House with nothing but a couple of guys he picked up in the chaos and a few vehicles they heisted.
Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted in the case of Private Marona, an attractive young Nod soldier who has her face shredded by shrapnel from a grenade, destroying her eyes and doing a lot of damage elsewhere in the process.
Captain Burke of the Forgotten is another example of this being strongly averted. She is described as probably being attractive in her youth, but her face is scarred, tiberium crystals are growing out of her face, and she's been "weathered" by long years living in a Yellow Zone and fighting Nod.
Better to Die Than Be Killed: Nod's forces firmly believe that GDI will torture their captured Brothers and rape their Sisters, so when they are forced to fall back and leave their immobile wounded behind, one of their captains personally executes each and every invalid. GDI sees this as Nod denying them intelligence and prisoners.
Big Damn Heroes: the GDI Marine Corps gets one when they save 4th battalion from a massive Nod counterattack.
Havoc does this for Sandra Telfair in Chapter Sixteen.
The Mammoth Tanks in Chapter 17 qualify in all senses of the word big.
Blood Knight: Lieutenant Wallace, who seems to enjoy killing Nod simply for the sake of killing Nod.
Colonel Parker makes it clear that the main reason he joined up with Karrde's task force as an "advisor" is because he's there to kill Nod troops.
Justine Marisol is almost like an opposite number on the Nod side; when offered a chance to sit out of a battle once her Shadow Team's objective was completed, her response was to go right back in, because she was "bored."
Bond One-Liner: In the second chapter, Sergeant Havers sights and shoots a Nod militiaman who is about to smoke a cigarette. As the enemy soldier dies, Havers muses that "That thing was going to kill him anyway."
Boom, Headshot: The only reliable way for a GDI infantryman to even slow down a Black Hand soldier is to shoot out his helmet's combat optics.
Both averted and played straight by Sgt. Joshua Havers who sometimes takes the time to line up a shot, but will usually just shoot whatever body-part falls under his crosshairs first. Not that a headshot is all that important to a .50-caliber discarding-sabot round fired from a scopedRAILGUN.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Lt. Kirce James comes off as very self-important, overly serious and dramatic, but Karrde figured it didn't matter as she does her job incredibly well. I mean, what else can you say about a person who gets you such support as an Ion Cannon, the marines, a thousand Mammoth Tanks on short notice?
Cannon Fodder: The Nod militants' main job is to tie up enemy troops.
As they rumbled off to battle, Alexander Karrde let the noise and the chaos slip away. He found a chair, and dropped down into it. He leaned back, closed his eyes, and his hands trembled.
Brother-Captain Alvarez of the Black Hand is characterized by something similar, having been deeply affected by executing his own wounded while withdrawing from Washington. In contrast, Commander Rawne is notable for not being affected by the deaths of his troops, if only because he refuses to get close to them in order to remain detached.
Commander Rawne is beginning to feel this in the latest chapter.
Chekhov's Gun: Those Reckoners Havoc captures early on in the story? They're used to destroy an Avatar and allow Havoc's rag-tag band of irregulars to retake the White House.
Church Militant: The Brotherhood of Nod, in spades. Doubly so for the Black Hand.
Cluster F-Bomb: Colonel Creden of the GDI 2nd Heavy Armored, a British officer who has a ridiculously foul mouth.
" . . . and I don't give a damn about the fucking collateral damage. I've got three million people to my arse who are going to be eating out Kane's crotch if we don't stop Nod, so blow the fuckers to shit and toss the rest."
Corporal Peterson, as well.
"Look, I'm just saying we've got this gigantic, trillion-dollar ion cannon array in orbit, tanks the size of fucking houses, supersonic jet fighters that can hit the stratosphere, and these crazy-calculus advanced proto-world-conquering super AIs, and here we are in out fucking recon with our fucking super cloak-piercing sensors and radar array and guided missile launchers and auto-loading mortars, and for some mystical, unfathomable reason, we don't fucking have working, fucking, AC! This is bullshit of the biggest, bisioniest order."
Cold Sniper: Sergeant "Simo" Havers and his spotter, Corporal Terrence.
Combat Breakdown: The armor battle in Chapter Twenty becomes one of these, starting at a relatively short distance (about half a kilometer) and rapidly becoming an extremely close and vicious brawl in vehicle terms (less than one hundred meters).
Crossover: Sort of - basically, it's Command and ConquerIn The Style OfGaunt's Ghosts, with a bunch of diverse world-building elements taken from wherever feels appropriate (such as the Black Hand as Space Marines, and various units from the Kane's Wrath expansion appearing despite it being the story of Tiberium Wars). Oh, and when Havok shows up, everything becomes an action film.
There is a hint to Red Alert in the game's intelligence files, but otherwise the Tiberium and Red Alert subseries were separated around the time the Tiberian branch became the Tiberium branch. This fanfic, on the other hand, in an offhand mention makes clear that something very much like the original Red Alert did happen.
Curb-Stomp Battle: The intial invasion of the US Eastern Seaboard initially goes this way for Nod, who have sufficient numbers to steamroll any resistance.
The battle for Langley AFB gradually becomes this for Nod, as Karrde's troops come close to being overwhelmed and outnumbered... and then the Marines show up. See Big Damn Heroes above.
The battle for the Pentagon becomes this for GDI when the Mammoths show up.
Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Avatar pilots are implanted with large numbers of cybernetics, and their continuous contact with the AI in their vehicles results in them being more coldly logical than most humans.
Cyborg: A number of characters are cybernetically augmented. Karrde has a single electronic eye that replaced one he lost in the Rio Uprising, Sergeant Marona has both of her eyes replaced due to shrapnel wounds, and Nick "Havoc" Parker is heavily augmented due to his age and long experience as a commando. Avatar pilots, as note above, are heavily augmented as well. Nod in general features a lot of cybernetic bits in their troops, as well as tiberium-based bio-augmentation.
A Date with Rosie Palms: In Chapter 1, Corporal Mitchell Colt was about to "vigorously enjoy" a magazine, when his unit gets called up for a mission.
A Day in the Limelight: The series often showcases individual soldiers with bit parts for brief periods to catch their perspectives on things before shifting back to the more prominent characters. Of course, with Anyone Can Die in full swing, this leads to....
Chapter Sixteen has a six-paragraph segment that consists of nothing but aircraft blowing the crap out of Nod troops and vehicles on the ground.
Chapter Seventeen has the CBU-1007, a smart cluster bomb that dispenses a mixture of high explosive bomblets and white phosphorous incendiaries. It is described as "God scooped up a bucket of hell, took a piss in it, and then poured it down over the men below."
Chapter Twenty-Two has an inversion; Vertigo bombers are loaded with huge numbers of fire-suppressant canisters to stop Rawne's firestorm in the dead Amazon River Basin from sweeping over his own troops.
In Chapter Twenty-Three there's a GDI Wild Weasel mission involving a group of Firehawks that use their stratosphere boosters to fly over Nod radar coverage and then come straight down on the SAM control bunkers. It is explicitly described as "playing Zeus."
Dodge the Bullet: Cristos does this in Chapter Sixteen. Lampshaded by Gutierrez.
Doom Troops: Tiberium Wars presents the Black Hand as these; when a GDI infantry squad encounters a squad, the corporal in command completely flips out in terror at the sight. Later on, when a Black hand unit ambushes a GDI convoy, the mere sight of the Hands is enough to terrify a GDI officer into paralysis.
Double Tap: After stabbing an Acolyte in the throat, Havoc shoots him in the head for good measure.
The Dreaded: The Black Hand have a tendency to inspire reflexive terror in any GDI soldiers they meet, and for good reason.
Dynamic Entry: Brother-Captain Allen, while preventing Grigorovich's rape attempt on Sandra Telfair.
Elite Mooks: In between the Cannon Fodder Nod militia and the Power Armored Black Hands are Nod's "professional" soldiers: troops equipped with standardized armor, helmets, and generally laser weapons. They appear from time-to-time in the series, are the ones operating vehicles and artillery, and play a major role in the second act of the story. According to Word of God, their uniforms are essentially lighter versions of the armor worn by Nod's light infantry in Tiberian Sun; semi-official fanartwork here gives them a Doom Troops vibe.
Elites Are More Glamorous: Played with. perspectives shift between both elite troops and regular infantrymen, especially on the Nod side of things, though focus is more often than not on Black Hand troops.
Encyclopedia Exposita: At the end of certain chapters, there will be excerpts from Fictional Documents that explain various elements of the author's view of the Tiberium universe. Subjects range from GDI infantry organization to Tiberium-based economics to analysis of Nod's power structure.
Epigraph: Each chapter opens with a quote, usually from an in-universe source. However, the prologue opens with the famous quote from the Starship Troopers novel about necessary military force.
Even Evil Has Standards: The Brotherhood of Nod may be loose on the rules of war, but certain crimes such as rape are classified as "Crimes Against the Messiah" and are punished by summary execution.
In Chapter Sixteen, Lieutenant Cristos comments to herself that she believes Nod has "some semblance of a moral code," unlike her perception of GDI.
Eyepatch of Power: Commander Karrde lost his eye during a battle sometime between the Second and Third Tiberium War, and replaced it with an artificial one. Word of God from the author on Spacebattles.com is that it was lost during the Rio Uprising in Kane's Wrath, which involved both Commander Rawne and LEGION. The Rio bit has entered the fic proper as of Chapter Eighteen, and LEGION in Nineteen.
Eye Scream: Private Marona's eyes being shredded by shrapnel.
Fantastic Racism: Regular humans ("blunts") and mutants ("shiners"). Captain Burke is willing to look past this, however, and work with GDI.
Fluffy the Terrible: A vehicle version. Colonel Creden gave his Mammoth-27—which everyone considers a sheer monster of tank—the name of Plaited Daisies.
Frickin' Laser Beams: Nod uses them quite extensively, and the Black Hand mix up laser weapons with their flamethrowers - even the flame troopers carry laser pistols for close-quarters work where they can't set everything they see on fire.
The Future Is Noir: Hilariously lampshaded when it turns out that Kane keeps the lighting low because he thinks people banging their shins on the furniture is funny.
Genre Shift: The specialty of the 'fic is portraying war as realistically and terribly as possible... with the exception of the parts of the story involving Havoc, who seems to be enjoying himself immensely and somehow emits a reality-warping aura that allows him to behave as if he was in a Schwarzenegger or Stallone 'flick. This is justified because hell, he's Havoc, and by the Rule of Awesome.
Gorn: Happens from time to time, where the author seems to take a little too much enthusiasm in describing just how brutal the combat really is.
Green Rocks: The most horrifying substance known to exist, Tiberium.
Grey and Gray Morality: Neither GDI nor Nod are represented as angels, nor are they overwhelmingly villainous. Atrocities, brutality, compassion, and mercy occur with troops on both sides.
Grim Dark: Shouldn't come as any surprise, considering the source material, but this fic is notable for making the Tiberium setting Darker and Edgier, and doing it well.
Gun Porn: Considering the author's love of guns and the military, this comes as no surprise.
Gunship Rescue: GDI Hammerhead gunships when the GDI Marines save the 4th Battalion.
Handsome Lech: Commander Rawne is an unabashed skirt-chaser, and at one point he promotes an attractive female soldier who was wounded in battle to his personal guard, and gives her improved eye implants to replace the damage she suffered to her own. It is implied the only reason he did this is because she's cute. Later on, Kilian Qatar "bribes" Rawne by giving him a billet in a mostly-female Hand of Nod. Rawne is very appreciative.
Rawne's lechiness is traceable even in the first chapter:
Rawne: "I will admit that even I managed to notice the troops massing here."
Alvarez: "You only noticed there were many more Sisters present than normal."
The latest chapter even shows him the morning after with an Avatar pilot, and he mentally describes the differences between her and other women he's bedded, i.e. her softness and the sensitivity of her skin around her implants, and how he finds her mechanically-logical yet sarcastic nature charming.
Hero of Another Story: Colonel Franklin of the Pentagon Guards, Major Norman of Talon Squadron, and Major Hagen of Skull Squadron.
We forge futures out of pain and grief, Commander. The computers and the communications officers and the EVAs and the displays only serve to isolate us so we can be inhuman. We're monsters, son. Cold, mechanical, rational monsters, and the only way we win is by being colder, more mechanical, and more rational than the next monster moving his little pieces on the screen. That's how war has been fought since Stalin rolled into the Allies a century ago. You point, you click, and they die. It's how it works.
Hollywood Tactics: Generally averted; in fact, the author takes pains to make sure realistic tactics are used for the most part. In some cases Nod does use frontal wave assaults, but these are deliberate attacks intended to tie up GDI defenders.
Homage: Peptuck has directly admitted to modelling Shadow actions after his Crysis play.
Humongous Mecha: Nod Avatars. Despite the author being vocal in thinking bipedal walkers are impractical, they're portrayed as terryifyingly powerful.
They swept the outside, making sure there were no surprises, and policed the dropped weapons in case one of the broken bodies "decided to go Black Knight on us," as Wallace said. The Corporal had no idea what he was talking about, and the older officer quietly bemoaned the loss of the classics.
Immune to Bullets: Black Hand troopers are practically invulnerable to most GDI weapons; even headshots aren't a reliable kill.
Invisibility Cloak: Nod Shadows use a man-portable version. The technology also thermal emissions, but the onboard computers have difficulty keeping up with any movements that aren't "preprogrammed" into the suit, meaning that Shadows have to be very slow or very precise in their movements.
Their work was quick and efficient. Tongues of blazing fire leapt from their weapons' nozzles, white-hot fury engulfing the building. Allen's men divided up the front of the four-story building into individual areas of responsibility, and they put quick jets of fire into each window and doorway they saw. Glass melted, paint blistered, and ceramic wept orange tears as it melted under their wrath.
He thought he heard screaming, but over the roar of the flames, he couldn't be sure.
PFC Cale Winters notes that his white phosphorous grenades are actually able to cut clean through the combat stims and actually hurt Nod troops, if only a little.
Flame tanks. The description of the flame tanks in action is chilling.
White-hot flames lanced out in a ragged, conical spread, washing over the entire group of soldiers. Brick and asphalt were melted and smoothed into steaming glass. Armor simply sloughed off in an instant, liquefied and spreading out in glowing pools of molten plastic and ceramic. Flesh was incinerated outright, the soldiers not even having time to scream before the fires reduced them to ash. Flashes of light came as the Zone Troopers' power packs cooked off and exploded like demolition charges.
Kill Sat: GDI's iconic Ion Cannon, which gets a near Scenery Porn-esque description the first time it fires.
Knife And Gun: Colonel Havoc carries a GS21 submachinegun and a heavy knife in Chapter 23 while "hunting" Nod soldiers inside the pumping station.
To give you a rough idea, the author has a separate text document solely devoted to force organization, and apparently filled out the entire battalion roster for the 103rd Recon Division's 4th Battalion. To put this in perspective, 4th Battalion is explictly said at one point to have more than five-hundred and fifty soldiers in it. And they're only one of the units focused on in the story.
Meaningful Name: Corporal Damon Goodman, who, surprise, turns out to be a decent guy. Sandra Telfair ends up killing him while escaping, though not without it affecting her.
Mercy Kill: A strange example in Chapter Seventeen, where Brother-Captain Alvarez executes his own wounded troops at the White House because he believes that they will be tortured and raped by GDI if captured.
Minovsky Physics: Tiberium, as a whole, which is a departure from how it has been handled in the actual series.
It was a Ragnarok in a bottle. Judgment Day in a can. A little slice of the Four Horsemen charging in with horns sounding and seals breaking, of Fenrir snapping his jaws shut on the world, of the universe kicking Bahamut in the crotch to cause the world to tip into the cosmic seas.
No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Brother-Captain Allen proceeds to beat the tar out of Grigorovich after the latter attempts to rape Telfair; quoting rules from the Nod handbook while doing so (and causing some pretty severe damage to the room they're in). Then he throws him out a window. I think everybody was rooting for Allen in this particular instance, I know I was.
The Nod invasion itself can be considered one of these, too.
The fight between Gutierrez and Cristos in Chapter Sixteen, too.
No One Gets Left Behind: An exceptionally brutal example in Chapter Seventeen, where Brother-Captain Alvarez holds his position at the White House to allow Nod troops to evacuate to safety and to receive wounded. His position is eventually overrun, and he executes the remaining wounded to keep them from being captured by GDI.
Oh Crap: both sides, quite often. Corporal Colt has a particularly potent one when he spots the Black Hand.
Apparently, GDI training instills a deep fear of the Black Hand in every soldier. Considering how the Black Hand are portrayed, it's not surprising.
Nod soldiers have this reaction when they first catch sight of Mammoth Tanks.
One-Man Army: Commandos, on both sides. The Nod commando in Washington was able to use stealth and rapid-firing lasers to cut apart entire platoons of GDI troops; the only way Colt survived tangling with her was by leading her outside, where a sniper team blew her head off. Colonel Nick Parker, despite being a very old man, is still a terror in combat (he kills a Black hand Acolyte in close combat with just a knife!) A "modern" GDI commando appears in Chapter 23, and lives up to the name, slaughtering dozens of Nod soldiers singlehandedly.
Percussive Maintenance: At one point a GDI officer conducts "field repairs" on a malfunctioning monitor by kicking it until it works.
Pet the Dog: Rawne gets one when he opts to push up Private Marona's eye implants to top priority, and gives her an upgrade so she can return to active duty instead of being stuck in a rear posting.
Brother-Captain Allen gets one when he prevents Grigorovich from raping Sandra Telfair.
Corporal Damon Goodman is one big Pet the Dog for all of Nod. Shame that he gets his throat cut a few minutes later.
Plot Tumor: the author has admitted that these creep in from time to time, with side stories about individual groups of soldiers rising up to take up major narrative roles, such as the skirmishes involving Mitchell Colt, or Sandra Telfair being captured by the Black Hand.
Powered Armor: GDI's Zone Troopers and Nod's Black Hand. GDI commandos also wear a very powerful version, with strength-enhancing technology and armor resistant to small arms to the point that a Nod soldier can empty his entire rifle at point blank into said commando's chest and do nothing at all.
Punctuated Pounding: Brother-Captain Allen loudly and clearly explains to one of his victims every single offense he is guilty of while mutilating the man's face on a wall.
Reality Ensues: Characters die. A lot. And many of those deaths are very shitty, sudden, and, overall, realistic. In fact, one of the few truly dramatic deaths ( Lieutenant Wallace's} ends up being subverted.
Refuge in Audacity: In Chapter 15, the suicidal Zone Trooper charge. The Nod troops are literally stunned into holding fire for a moment.
Peptuck has obviously read retired USMC NCO William S. Frisbee Jr.'s essay on psychological warfare.
He may have been officially retired, in his seventies, and twenty percent of him was replaced with cybernetics, but Colonel Nick "Havoc" Parker was still quite capable of waging war.
Right Hand Versus Left Hand: The story explores the conflict between Redmond Boyle and General Malcolm Granger, indicating that both of them are to a degree, equally right.
Scary Dogmatic Aliens: Only a slight hint at the Scrin's presence thus far, but that slight hint is pretty chilling.
Scenery Gorn: The author decries the violence and destruction with lengthy, multi-paragraph relish. The battle between the Mammoth Tanks and the Avatars outside the Pentagon deliberately uses imagery evocative of clashing gods and The End of the World as We Know It.
Lots of shout-outs to Warhammer 40,000; for example, the Commander of the Nod forces is named Rawne, one of the female GDI troopers is named Penlan, GDI uses heavily armored infantry squads referred to as "Armored Fist" platoons. The Avatar pilots being wired into their machines is quite evocative of Dreadnoughts, and on that matter, "Avatar of Kane." The members of the GDI 4th Recon Battalion are vague expies of the Ghosts, and one trooper is named Penlan.
In one chapter, there is a brief scene involving a quartet of GDI troops riding a Pitbull, where the fireteam acts much like the Marines in Generation Kill; one of the troopers is even eating coffee crystals right out of the bag, just like in the book.
There's a reference to Mass Effect in the form of a reporter named Emily Wong, as well as her cameraman Tim, whose description resembles that of the "gargoyles" from Snow Crash.
There's a shout out to the Gears of War commercials at the beginning of Chapter 14, with the poem "Rendezvous With Death" by Alan Seeger quoted at the beginning of the chapter.
"Simo" Havers's nickname is a reference to Simo Häyhä, who is generally considered the greatest sniper in history.
Chapter Sixteen has a very, very brief glimpse at the Scrin, with what is presumably the AI controlling their mothership. The AI is referred to as a "Mind".
There's also one near the end of chapter 3.
Chapter Sixteen also includes references to the early Metal Gear series, including the Zanzibar Land hamsters.
Chapter Seventeen has a group of recon troopers with the callsign of Caprica, and also has "Jericho" cluster missiles. There's also a Master Sergeant Lyons, which may be a reference to Fallout 3.
The Mammoth Tank nicknamed "Plaited Daisies" is a reference to a ship in Schlock Mercenary.
Several of the tank names appear to be references. For example, there's also a tank named Goldeneye, and another named Demon Hand.
The Nod commando's name, Cristos, might be a reference to Oxanna Kristos from Tiberian Sun.
The Spartan Way: Subverted; the document at the end of Chapter Twenty-Three explains that the reason why the GDI commando program has a "22% fatality rate and 98% washout rate" is because people make the mistake of assuming that commandos are trained in the traditional manner. Commando "training" is simply the fact that you're even in the commando program to begin with. There's only two ways out of the commando program once you join: you leave and go back to the regular military ("washing out") or you die in combat and that people criticizing/priaising the "brutality" of the "training" are misrepresenting it for their own ends.
Take That: the author is...vocal...about his hatred for the official novelization, and includes a few choice jabs at the book. At one point Havoc pulls off a shot with a handgun at long range that deliberately mocks a similair scene in the book.
The Nod biker was a hundred meters away, with a dozen Nod soldiers between him and the man by Nigel's bike. A normal soldier, straight out of boot on his first day, would never have made that kind of shot with a pistol. Even an experienced target shooter might find it difficult. But that was why they called him "Havoc."
The author also admits he hatesHumongous Mecha, and goes on a couple of rants about them.
Take That, Us: The description of Juggernauts in action also includes a bit of the author poking fun at himself for the abovementioned hate of mecha.
Tank Goodness: Nod Scorpions, GDI Predators, and in the most recent chapter, Mammoth Tanks.
Everything was going according to plan, and it would take an act of God to stop this advance.
That's an Order: Battle Commander Karrde has to pretty much say this when confronting the Colonel of the Pentagon Guards, who is quietly refusing to respect his rank because he is younger and less experienced.
Took a Level in Badass: Sandra Telfair goes from surrendering without a fight to slitting a man's throat, gunning down a few more, and blinding a Black Hand to escape. However, it's presented in an extremely plausible way, given the circumstances.
Unexpected Genre Change: Chapter 11 has a sudden shift to focusing on Firehawk pilots and an air-to-air battle with Nod Venoms.
Unusual User Interface: Nod Avatars work with a sort of mind/machine interface that involves the pilot being closely linked to the Avatar and the AI controlling it. As a result, the pilot effectively shares his mind with a machine intelligence, and controls the Avatar as an extension of his own body.
Vertigos have something similar; the pilots' eyelids are held open by their helmet and are kept hydrated by an in-helmet system, so he can process information faster. Also, the "Combat Computer" (aka "Comcom") used by GDI Battle Commanders is a wrist-mounted device with a holographic interface that transmits data directly to the user's retina via laser.
Urban Warfare: The majority of the action in the first act of the series involves this.
War Is Hell: GDI troops covered in dirt and grime, men bleeding out while looking for limbs, Nod soldiers wading through rivers of excrement (with one man even getting some of it into a fresh bullet wound!), soldiers being burnt alive, a soldier remarking that they found one too many left hands while clearing a bombed-out bunker, and one extremely chilling pre-chapter quote about a GDI trooper seeing a young girl missing both her legs...
"There was a little girl. Maybe, eight years old? I dunno. She'd lost both her legs. Just kept staring at them. Little stumps, cauterized by fire somehow. A little girl, all alone, looking at where her legs were, not understanding anything. Just . . . staring. Blank little eyes. Staring."
At one point, Kane even casually remarks that a million people have died before the end of the first day of the war.
That's a million on each side, plus several times as many civilians.
And three weeks into the war, GDI has managed to fill an entire stadium with three hundred thousand body bags from the casualties around Washington DC alone.
The death of Corporal Goodman seems to be a deliberate play to this. His death is fundamentally disturbing, as not moments before he was feeding Sandra Telfair, and apologizing to her for the rape attempt on her by his squadmate. And then she's forced to cut his throat to escape.
There's also the fact that the story didn't shy away from the danger of female POWs being raped, to the point that the Brotherhood actually authorizes summary execution of anyone caught in the act.
Chapter Sixteen shows what its like to be on the receiving end of a Mammoth Tank assault. Its about as hellish and terrifying as one can imagine.
Brother-Captain Alvarez executing his own wounded because he believes they will be tortured and raped by GDI troops if captured is one of the most stark examples of just how cruel war can really be.
It's lampshaded to Karrde that that is what war is "You point, you click, they die", which makes sense given that it's based on a game after all.
Warrior Monk: The Black Hand, a pious brotherhood of elite soldiers with the equipment and dedication to stride through firefights without wavering. They also seem to display more chivalry than the average Nod fanatic, but are no less devoted to Kane for it. Making them Command & Conquer's equivalent to Space Marines is both obvious and awesome.
The War Room: numerous; the Nod and GDI officers spend just about all their time being shuffled from one war room to the next.
The wrist computer that Karrde carries seems to be a mobile version of this, letting him shuffle units around no matter where he is.
Commander Logan Rawne leaned back in his chair, watching his chess pieces advance. He had lost countless troops and vehicles thus far, but he had a glut of resources on hand. He cared nothing for his losses; he knew any true Brother or Sister would give his or her life gladly for the cause.
Your Head Asplode: rather frequent, whenever a laser beam or sniper round hits someone in the head.
You Shall Not Pass: Lieutenant Wallace and the remains of his Zone Trooper squad hold off the Nod forces for several minutes so the rest of their battalion can evacuate to the Pentagon. It works, but the squad is virtually annihilated.