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Perhaps this is just me trying to squeeze any last bit of juice out of a relatively average game, but the plot of Tom Clancy's HAWX reads a LOT better as a The Plan by whoever is running Las Trinidad, the game's Latin American Chavez/Castro substitutes that you really don't see too much of. The first time you see them, they throw a few dozen planes and landing craft at Rio (with or without potential partisans inside the city) in an attempt to decapitate the Brazilian leadership and gain dominance over Latin America. Naturally, you (a pilot for the local PMC, Artemis, which has just signed a "lucrative" contract with the Brazilians) tear them to shreds, save the Brazilians, and earn tons of money for Artemis while LT has botched their first strike and now has to await a counterattacked coupled with American intervention against them. All well and good, right? But pay attention to the briefing for that mission: it says that Las Trinidad's PMC (ie "Mercenary") units have been put on high alert, so chances are that the LT units you killed off at Rio and in the few other missions later were not "home-grown" units dedicated to LT's agenda, but rather mercenaries with no permanent loyalties and who are thus disposable. So, after their defeat by Artemis at Rio forces LT on the defensive, what do they do? Simple: they BRIBE Artemis- the force responsible for their defeat at Rio- with a BETTER CONTRACT then their Brazilian one, wagering (correctly) that the senior stockholders are all Corrupt Corporate Executives who will sell their country and their ex-allies up the river if paid enough and who are desperate due to profit downturns after the official American intervention. This maneuver violates the Reykjavik Accords that legalizes the PM Cs in the first place. Keep this in mind. So, after increasingly tense situations with command, Artemis does a FaceHeelTurn and back-stabs the US and Brazil. Naturally, you being the patriotic, pro-American gamer that you are, desert and start kicking Artemis around. This naturally ticks Uncle Sam off (likely since Artemis is probably American-based, is largely run and staffed by Americans, and is in violation of the Reykjavik accords), and thus they demand that Artemis disarm. Apparently, because the Board of Directors are either Randian fanatics or Too Dumb to Live, they decide to pull a coup that leads to a mini-civil war breaking out across the US, leaving tens of thousands dead. Because of the chaos, the Reykjavik Accords get tossed out (thus outlawing PM Cs again), and you get sent back to save the day by blowing Artemis' CEO and his inner cadre to hell. So, where does the The Plan come in? Think about this: First, LT sends in an invasion of Rio spearheaded by disposable mercs who have no allegiance to them and who- if shanghaied into national service- would probably be fighting AGAINST them. If they had won, it would have been a simple coup before a march to Brasilia to clean up any loyalist resistance before the US can react. But, since they lost they have only lost a few hundred mercs with little loyalty- and perhaps some native LT sympathizers- while testing Artemis' capabilities. After this, they choose to bribe Artemis, thus getting THAT firepower on their side while continuing to use mainly disposable mercs while forcing an international incident over the rights of PM Cs. After the situation spirals out of hand and Artemis attempts to launch a coup that fails but DEVASTATES important areas of the US, Las Trinidad has achieved a major victory: they have managed to turn and destroy the mercenary company that stopped them from taking Brazil by forcing it to fight Brazil's chief ally- the US-, with a mini-civil war in the US that outclasses 9/11 diverting attention from Las Trinidad's war against Brazil, ALL WHILE LOOSING ONLY EXPENDABLE MERCENARIES (HELL, they probably only had to pay Artemis' up-front fee!) WHILE DAMAGING THE BRAZILIANS, REMOVING PM Cs from the Table, ALL WHILE PRESERVING THEIR DEDICATED CADRES TO GO TO A "ROUND 2" against Brazil while the US is still distracted by Artemis!!!!! Either Clancy's writers are SMART or I should have their jobs.- Turtler
Probably the latter, if the Let's Play of the game is to go by. If better writers ever reference this incident, it'll probably be true.
I always thought Las Trinidad was defeated after Operation Stiletto, so it's impossible for them to actually have a "Round 2" with Brazil. Here's the thing: The game mentioned at the beginning of Operation Ulysses that Las Trinidad's ground assault have been halted after the capture of their battle plans, leaving their only way of waging war to be by water, hence why the beginning of Operation Ulysses involves fighting Las Trinidad's naval forces. The James Lawrence Battle Group destroyed both Las Trinidad's fleet, as well as Artemis's contracted fleet. Las Trinidad was defeated soon after in Operation Stiletto (when their Operational Center was bombed), which is why they're no longer mentioned for the rest of the game.
Continuing from my previous point, my basic understanding of the plot is that Artemis profited greatly during the six years that passed between HAWX squadron's recruitment and the time Artemis decided to invade the US, allowing them to become the most powerful Private Military Contractor in the world. They were able to fill their ranks with a huge amount of soldiers due to the events of End War. End War mentioned the "Forgotten Army", comprised of soldiers from dissolved nations that were out of a job. It's likely that after End War, all the countries were so devastated that they were forced to cut back on military expenses, causing many more soldiers to leave (Since any World War 3 will likely last a short while, the war ended in 2020). Many of those soldiers ended up joining Private Military Contractors, like Artemis. End War will also explain why the US was able to be invaded by a Private Military Contractor, because it doesn't matter who the victor is, the war will be devastating and force the US government to cut expenses in their military capabilities, leaving the US much more vulnerable that it would be normally. During the Brazilian conflict, Las Trinidad's ground forces were defeated after Operation Backfire ended with all of their battle plans captured, leaving Las Trinidad's only way of waging war to be by water. However, the James Lawrence Battle Group destroyed Las Trinidad's fleet. The US intervention, however, marginalized Artemis's role in the conflict, which caused severe drops in stocks. The reason Artemis switched sides is two fold: One, the US intervention helped decimate Las Trinidad's fighting force and the war is ending. Artemis needs the contracts to continue functioning, especially since the US intervention marginalized their role in the conflict. Switching sides will help prolong the war and continue giving Artemis contracts. Two, because Las Trinidad is on the verge of defeat, the amount of money they're going to give to Artemis is going to be huge. Desperate times call for desperate measures, after all. However, because the HAWX squadron defect back to the US, the Artemis fleet is completely destroyed. At that point, Las Trinidad was left with no Army, no Air Force, and no Navy. The next mission, Operation Stiletto, culminated with the bombing of Las Trinidad's Operational Center, eliminating them as a threat. However, even though the Las Trinidad Operation Center was bombed, the surrounding bases that would've contained Artemis forces were empty, meaning Artemis wasn't defeated in the bombing. With its employer defeated, Artemis decided to act on its own. Being the most powerful PMC in the world, and with the US still weakened by World War 3 in End War, the Artemis board decide to invade the US and knock it out with a coup d'etat, allowing the company to grow richer and more powerful now that it had the world's strongest country as its own sovereign territory. So, Artemis terminates all of its contracts and starts acting independently to fight the US military (this is evidenced by the mention that Artemis terminated its contracts in Southeast Asia to fight a US carrier group in Operation Typhoon). So, all in all, Las Trinidad's story ended in Operation Stiletto. After all, if it indeed survived, there would be at least a passing mention of it somewhere in the later missions, but after Operation Stiletto, there were no longer any mention. Because they were on the verge of defeat at the beginning of Ulysses, the Artemis naval battle group that was contracted to Las Trinidad was sunk, and their Operational Center was bombed, Las Trinidad was defeated. From that point on, Artemis was acting on its own terms, fighting, nearly winning, but ultimately losing, to the United States military and the HAWX squadron. The story does make sense if you take into account the broader Tom Clancy universe, which explains why Artemis is so strong and the United States is so weak. The chances of this story happening is next to nil, but it still doesn't stretch the Suspension of Disbelief that much.
The year in HAWX is 2012, End War prologe is 2020 so the weakness of USA cant be from End War.
And that's not even getting into the whole Megiddo thing that was introduced in Splinter Cell Conviction. Rainbow Six Vegas mentioned that the Vegas attacks were funded by a "wealthy backer" that was never revealed, and the sequel to HAWX had General Morgunov ranting in a why that's eerily similar to Tom Reed at the end of Splinter Cell Conviction about "something more powerful than nations". It seems like Ubisoft is setting up Megiddo to be the Big Bad of the Clancyverse, and it's not a stretch to think that they had something to do with both the events of End War and the strengthening of Artemis to launch an all out attack on the US.
Remember that HAWX 2 is in the same conflict as Ghost Recon Future Soldier, where the Big Bad is a weapons-trafficking group known as Raven's Rock. Moreover, the HAWX team helps the Ghosts in that game.