Benevolent Alien Invasion
Aren't things just super since the aliens invaded? We really can't complain. They brought us Translator Microbes
so there are no more misunderstandings, showed us how to recycle our own waste products into food through matter-energy conversion, and they pee gasoline.
Okay, so they don't really pee gasoline, but the first thing they did after taking over The White House
was paint the fences.
The aliens have arrived and they actually are benevolent (most of the time, or at least toward humanity), and humanity is all the better for their having been invaded.
A subversion of Alien Invasion
and Aliens Are Bastards
, one that naturally lends itself to a Double Subversion
. Often, the "invaders" are a Superior Species
. This is often the hallmark of a Hegemonic Empire
. Compare Vichy Earth
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Anime & Manga
- Crest of the Stars. While the Abh are annexing planets, they are generally depicted as positive. They will even accept some of their subjects into their rank of nobles.
- They really accept everyone who would come and ask politely — the only requirement for the imperial citizenship is basically an application, and to join the nobility the only thing you need is to rise to the officer rank in the Imperial Service. All Lander officers are considered entirely equal to the genetic Abh (and are required to have the genetic Abh children), and the Empire's current Prime Minister is actually a Lander.
- Blue Drop deconstructs this trope to the point of being horrific. Basically, the Arume are a race of lesbian aliens that invaded and conquered our Earth at some point in the past, and ever since, the Earth has been relatively free of conflicts. Not to mention bringing with them extremely useful nanomachines. But whoo boy, ain't it a Crapsaccharine World at best...
- Gintama is arguably an example of this trope. The invading aliens, after a period of bloody war that it's generally agreed humanity lost, mellowed out and managed to push the technology of the entire world forward a few centuries: Japan around the 19th century now has machines, skyscrapers, and Shonen Jump manga, which the ex-samurai protagonist loves to read.
- The basic premise of DearS is that aliens land on Earth with entirely benevolent reasons. True to form, they are very nice and kind to their hosts, happy to do whatever is asked of them. Truth is, they are a race who were genetically designed to be slaves, and NOT being given orders leads them to eventually freak out in uncontrollable violence.
- Two examples in Asobi ni Iku yo!:
- Played straight with the Catians, who want to establish a peaceful relationship with Earth, and at the end of episode 12, gives humanity a working space elevator.
- The Dogisians, on the other hand, try to subvert it by giving some human governments illegal alien technology in an attempt to prevent the Catians from establishing their foothold on Earth.
- A subversion of this is the central premise of Cannon God Exaxxion, where for years the aliens posed as this but it was simply an act to get us dependent on them and allow them ease for conquering us.
- The elves, trolls and preservers in ElfQuest (originally sufficiently advanced aliens and their servants) don't invade the World of Two Moons/Abode deliberately, but it's implied that tens of thousands of years after their arrival their influence has had subtle but highly beneficial effects on the planet's human society (carefully-controlled population, environmental management, acceptance of alternate beliefs and sexual orientations, female equality…)
- Technically, Superman is this via someone flinging a light.
- Paperinik New Adventures has Urk's Alternate Universe, where America has been invaded by the local counterpart of the Evrons in the far past: the invaders gave the local humans advanced technology with little impact on the environment, united them in three nations and then left.
- Subverted in Blue Beetle. The Reach come across as this, but they're actually alien conquerors engaging in a very long-term invasion plan: dumping mind control drugs in the water supply so that humanity will just hand them Earth in a couple of decades.
- The Skrull in Ultimate Fantastic Four share technological secrets with the human race, gives Reed the means for everybody to achieve superpowers, and wants to enlighten us to join them in the stars. All a charade
- Plan 9 from Outer Space has aliens invade Earth to save the Universe... and fail.
- One of the Ur-examples is The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). If you ignore the deathbots and the closing threat, the aliens are decent enough guys. The closing threat is that if humanity doesn't abide by the alien's rules, the whole world will be destroyed. That's pretty clearly an invasion, even if it is for our own good. The Remake, not so much.
- A humorous variant from outside of science fiction, the "What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?" segment from Monty Python's Life of Brian.
- The movie V subverts this. The aliens appear to be totally benevolent, and indeed they appear this way to most everyone on Earth. But their intentions turn out not to be.
- The bizarre men-in-black-alike "Whisper Men" from Knowing were this. They realized Earth was going to be destroyed by a supernova, so they decided to save the animals and humans of Earth and transport them elsewhere. Of course they were really, really creepy about it and spent most of their time scaring the shit out of everyone, but arguably that's not their fault: they apparently can't talk per se and are rather horrifying to behold.
- In Stargate Continuum, Ba'al tries to do this, having traveled back in time and made himself the supreme ruler of the Goa'uld with his future knowledge and technology. He then targets Earth and is nothing but sincere in his desire to let the planet do their own thing for the measly price of acknowledging him as its ruler. He had grown quite fond of Earth culture during his time there and didn't want to ruin it. Unfortunately, he didn't take into account that all the other Goa'uld, his queen included, were both too set in their ways and treacherous enough to usurp him upon hearing this.
- The plot of Childhoods End by Arthur C. Clarke.
- Subverted in two different ways: One, the aliens resemble demons (for appropriate reasons). Two, they come to Earth knowing that the next generation of human children have begun to evolve into god-like metaphysical beings, which will entail The End of the World as We Know It. Not that they have much hope of stopping this inevitable process. Regardless, they don't reveal their true intentions.
- According to the Overlords themselves, if they hadn't interfered with humanity, it would have become a destructive hive-mind akin to a cosmic cancer. With their aid the children of humanity can become one with a benign cosmic hive-mind instead.
- The flip side is that it is beneficial to the universe at large, but not humanity. Because humanity is 'eaten' by the Overmind and only exists as knowledge within the Overmind.
- The backstory of Expedition, a science fiction art book Wayne Barlowe wrote about a joint human-alien expedition to a primitive planet called "Darwin IV" (the aliens came and helped humanity clean up their act).
- Played with in World War. The invading Race is far from benevolent as a whole - them conquering Earth would result in a state of submission to them - but humans living under more oppressive regimes, such as Nazi Germany side with them, because even the Race is shocked by some of the things the Nazis do.
- Played with in Bruce Coville's My Teacher Is an Alien series. The various alien species are shocked at mankind's violent ways and fear what will happen if we achieve space travel. They come up with four possible solutions. The first is to leave us alone and hope we destroy ourselves. The second is to blow us up for our own good. The third is to erect some kind of barrier (or sabotage our scientific progress) so that we never escape our own solar system. The fourth proposed solution is basically this trope; the aliens will contact us and give us the technology and knowledge we need to end wars, eradicate disease and poverty, etc. However, because we are dangerous sociopaths they will need to take over the planet first to make sure we don't abuse these gifts.
- Played with in Walter Jon Williams' Drake Maijstral books, where the aliens did not really disturb Earth very much bar imposing their own formal culture and ideas of monarchy upon it. Humanity still didn't take this very well and kicked them off-planet before the beginning of the first novel, becoming the first and only race to accomplish this. The protagonist Drake Maijstral is the descendant of those who opposed the revolt, and honestly doesn't much care either way.
- Doorways in the Sand by Roger Zelazny is more or less an example of this. The aliens are officially benevolent, but there's some behind-the-scenes political weirdness leading to less-than-benevolent behaviour on some of their parts.
- Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi is a more straightforward example; the plot is about how to get humanity to accept a race of benevolent but disgusting-looking aliens.
- Crest of the Stars. The author goes out of his way to show how much more awesome and civilized the Abh are than normal humanity. Of course, Abh consider themselves to be humanity, a right that the other superpower in the Galaxy vehemently denies. So it's mostly the choice between the conquering but largely hands-off neo-feudalistic Abh, and ostensibly democratic, but meddling Principles Zealots of the United Mankind.
- The Gardeners from Orion is an interesting subversion. It's an interesting little book. Basically, the eponymous Gardeners from Orion are benevolent, and want to save our planet from being choked by pollution and global warming. The problem is that their main priority is the planet, not us. And apparently, the fact that there's way, way too many of us is the problem. Nothing personal, you understand. Just part of a Gardener's work - pruning the weeds. But they're really very polite and pleasant about the whole 'Annihilate 90% of humanity' thing, making sure that family-units are kept intact, and providing the survivors with the tools and knowledge they need to survive without the extended infrastructure of human civilization. Humanity is slightly less polite in their response.
- The brilliant short story High Yield Bondage is about some aliens that land on Earth with a broken ship. To repair it, they need to improve Earth's technology to the point where we can make them the parts they need. So, they start "inventing" and selling stuff, creating dummy corporations, and basically end all wars and improve the standard of living to where no one is poor and we are terraforming Mars and colonizing the Solar System. The story ends where they get the parts they need, and contact their boss, who then bitches at them for "ruining" the Noble Savage human culture.
- Tuf Voyaging by George RR Martin is a series of short stories where a benevolent "advanced" human travels the galaxy, offering his services to worlds with environmental problems, and sometimes imposing solutions of his own. Some of the races he "helps" are not pleased with his solutions, although an objective observer would be inclined to agree with him that he did right.
- Donald R. Benson's novel And Having Writ... involves a group of aliens who accidentally crash-land on Earth in 1908, and spend the next few decades reluctantly influencing the development of human technology to the point where it can build them a new spaceship. At the end of the novel they regret all the changes their tampering has forced on human society, the irony being that the Alternate History they have created is far better than the one which actually happened.
- They were trying to start World War I early, in a bid to get the - as they saw it - inevitable violence over with quickly and with relatively minimal loss of life. They were considerably surprised when, after carefully explaining this to the leaders who would be involved and asking them to hurry it up, the leaders avoided it instead.
- Kate Elliot's Jaran Series involves the vast Chapalii Empire, who simply absorb the Earth and humans into their Empire without effort or aggression. Even though they've received many technological benefits from being ruled by the Chapalii and very little in the way of drawbacks, the humans still rebel.
- The body-snatching alien invaders in Stephenie Meyer's The Host see themselves this way (they cut down on crime, improved healthcare, and generally civilized those violent and barbaric humans! Isn't it great?), but the humans don't exactly agree — however friendly and peaceful the aliens may be, they're still, well, body-snatching invaders.
- Part of the problem is that the "souls," as they call themselves, never even conceived that their hosts may be unwilling, or that it would be wrong to take away that freedom. (Many of the other species they have gotten involved in were nonsentient or borderline intelligent, similar to dolphins or apes here on Earth.) When the main (soul) character runs into a truly altruistic human, she realizes the aliens were wrong.
- The aliens are definitely well-intentioned. The only other race that was actually intelligent enough to possibly mind honestly didn't care, and in fact welcomed them. In fact, they were only wrong once before, out of all the other planets they tried.
- An even older example would be the aliens from Robert A. Heinlein's The Puppet Masters, who consider themselves to be bringing inner peace to humanity. Humanity, needless to say, does not agree, and they are rather less benevolent, what with entertainments like pitting human puppets against each other in gladiatorial battles.
- The Quozl, from the book of the same title by Alan Dean Foster, turned out to be quite beneficial to humans (once each species was willing to recognize the other as sentient life forms).
- Subverted in the ending, in which we discover the Quozl, whose ability to offer violence is bound by very formal doctrine, intend to use humans as warriors to conquer in their stead— indeed, they believe they've enslaved us without us being aware of it.
- The Monitors by Keith Laumer has benevolent aliens ruling the Earth, "opposed" by various misfit rebels.
- Neil Gaiman's short story, "A Study In Emerald", is set in 1881, London, on an alternate timeline in which all the world leaders are Great Old Ones, risen from R'lyeh and sundry other resting places some centuries previously. Most everybody appreciates this, because when your royalty gain their sustenance by driving people mad, you don't want to be the next meal, but there are a few "Restorationists" who think humanity should be in charge of its own destiny, a pair of whom the Holmes-and-Watson-esque protagonists spend the story hunting. At the very end, the narrator mentions that he heard one of the men they were chasing on that case was named James (or maybe John) Watson, and signs the entry "S____ M____", implying that he is Sebastian Moran, Moriarty's sidekick.
- Amusingly the Old Ones seem to have gone native, adapting titles and trappings of human society (the most fun title of all: The One Who Presides Over The New World - think about it), rather than imposing their order on us.
- Inverted in Donald Moffitt's The Genesis Quest, where the benevolent aliens, rather than being invaders, find humans (or instructions on how to make them) coming to them, instead. The story still follows the usual pattern though, as even with the Nar doing their best to provide for all human needs, some humans still violently rebel.
- The Culture, from Iain M. Banks' series of novels, does not generally invade other civilizations, but does spend half its time gallivanting through the cosmos looking for species to help out and improve (if they fall within certain criteria) through the agency of Contact. To an extent, 'helping' other species is the means by which the Culture justifies its own existence.
- Lilith's Brood by Octavia Butler (also known as the Xenogenesis trilogy) is about a race of tri-gendered aliens who kidnap the scattered survivors of a global nuclear war in order to mate with them and repopulate the ruined Earth with the resulting hybrid offspring. Squicky though this may be, the author's point is that Humans Are the Real Monsters and the only way to fix it is with a Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong.
- Inverted in Speaker for the Dead- Instead of being invaded, the Humans invaded a planet belonging to a race of weird, pig like aliens.
- An interesting example can be found in Ray Bradbury's short story Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed. In it a group of humans flee war-torn Earth to colonize a mysteriously terraformed and abandoned Mars. After a while the idyllic climate of the planet changes the way they act and think to such an extent they forget they knew anything else. When a second expedition lands, the Earthlings assume- and aren't corrected- that the colonists are Martians. Effectively, the planet benevolently invades them.
- Prince Roger has the Empire of Man taking over all habitable worlds in their space. Humanity though, can't help to fill all those worlds so instead the Empire culturally uplifts the worlds. The planet we see it go wonkey on shows how diverse a planet can be and why the Prime Directive might be considered garbage by everyone on the scene. After all, freedom, long life, and protection from cannibals is a good reason to give up your culture.
- The Special Ambassadors in Deathscent by Robin Jarvis... possibly. The human characters clearly perceive them this way, but what their real motives were - to help humanity, study them, or just for fun - is left up to the reader.
- The Time Future duology by Maxine McArthur deals with humanity several centuries after being benevolently invaded by a species known as the Invidi. Earth is now a minor member of The Confederacy of Allied Worlds, which rules fairly peacefully over most of the galaxy. However, a major theme of the books is whether or not humanity is really better off as part of the Confederacy: because only the ruling Four Worlds (which include the Invidi) have access to Faster-Than-Light Travel, the other races are dependant on them for interstellar contact of any kind, and are essentially second-class in galactic society.
- In Alan Dean Foster's The Damned series, the Weave (and the Amplitur, as they perceive themselves) visit worlds populated with intelligent, civilized sentients to warn them of the intergalactic war between the two sides, share technology and invite (or "invite") them to join their side.
- Played with in Pamela Service's young-adult novel Under Alien Stars. The Tsorians are a smug, rather xenophobic, and somewhat brutal Proud Warrior Race who turned the planet into a military outpost, don't really "get" human customs, and think we're funny-looking, to boot). Nonetheless, they turn out to be by far the lesser evil compared to the Hykzoi, and seem to be accepting humanity as a proper ally at the end.
- Played with in The Course of Empire. The invaders conquering Earth are hardly benevolent but they are no worse to Earthlings then a typical Earth conqueror would be. The planetary governor is something of a Caligula but the prince sent to be his underling admires Earthlings, tries to learn about them, and even from them, and tries to encourage mutual cooperation against a far worse enemy.
- The Martians in the novel Auf zwei Planeten ("Two Planets", 1897, incomplete English edition 1971) by the German science-fiction pioneer Kurd Laßwitz (1848-1910), published one year before H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds. Laßwitz's Martians are not just technologically, but morally superior, living according to Kantian tenets. It isn't quite simple though, the Martians do behave like benevolent colonialists, leading to Earth's inhabitants rising and fighting a war of independence, but it all ends with an Earth-Mars peace treaty.
- Animorphs ultimately ends this way. The Yeerks, the only outright villainous aliens, are driven off the planet, while the Andalites, the Taxxons, and the Hork-Bajir set up a downright peaceful coexistence with us humans. The Andalites even start giving us their advanced technology, a little bit at a time.
- A human/human example. In David Drake's Raj Whitehall books the protagonist is the top general of an Evil Empire with an Evil Chancelor and Corrupt Church, and he fights to subjugate the independent nations that border the empire. The kicker? Being a subject of the evil empire is far better than being a subject of the "feudal pigstyes" he is conquering, as the ruling classes understand that you need to treat you serfs well in order to get full value out of exploiting them.
- Subverted in The Tripods. They set themselves up as a benevolent invasion in the minds of many (by hypnotizing them), while really having dark plans for humanity.
- While not really an invasion in Robert Charles Wilson's Spin, the Hypotheticals end up encasing Earth into the titular membrane that blocks all EM radiation and slows down time to a crawl inside the bubble. Why? To give them time to add Earth to their Portal Network and let us expand to other worlds before our civilization destroys itself.
- Clifford Simak's The Visitors explores what happens when humans can't communicate with alien visitors. The aliens come from space as giant boxes which land on Earth and start consuming forests. However, they reveal themselves as benevolent when they begin giving birth to their next generation in the form of living cars and living houses.
- One of the central premises of Julian May's Galactic Milieu series (Intervention, Jack The Bodiless, Diamond Mask, and Magnificat) is this trope - the aliens don't invade, they intervene, offering us membership in the galactic civilization because Humans Are Special. But Humans Are the Real Monsters.
- It also has this trope in reverse since the lead alien from the oldest race that first founded the Galactic Milieu is actually a human who had travelled backwards in time, so humans had benevolently invaded several alien species before they did the same to us.
- Inverted in the Zones of Thought series, where humans are the aliens invading the medieval Tines planet and changing its culture to benefit both species. Granted, the invasion wasn't intentional (a cargo ship carrying children in stasis crash-landed on the planet and the humans only expected to stay long enough for rescuers to find them, but things got much more complicated), but by the end of the first book, the humans have upset the political balance of a large part of the planet. By the start of the second, the sole adult human has become co-ruler of the most powerful nation on the planet, is working to advance the Tines' technology beyond Space Age levels within a century, and the human children are intermingling with the native Tines and creating a social revolution almost unintentionally.
- Some religious groups interpret the references to "kingdom of God" or "kingdom of the heavens" or "kingdom that will not be brought to ruin" in The Bible this way. Beings from the heavens recognize that man cannot rule man, so they come to Earth, start a world war that ends up wiping out existing governments and corrupt religious organizations, set up a new government, bring dead people back to life, and help humankind to clean up the earth over the next millennium. Some even see Signs of the End Times in the events of the past century.
- The Cosmopolites, the Andrey Lazarchuk and Irina Andronati's supremely weird Space Opera trilogy, plays and subverts this trope twelve ways to Sunday. What with the amount of plots and gambits woven into the story. First, the Earth is clandestinely visited by The Empire, about whom the UFO crowd was largely right, and then they genuinely try to invade us. With the help of the other ostensibly benevolent civilization Earth managed to somewhat successfully chase The Empire off, only to suffer the constant retaliation attacks and harassment as those other aliens turned out to be in it only to exploit the Earth and stick it to their previous Imperial masters, not to really help us — they're stooping as low as selling the earthlings the amusement park Flight Simulators as the genuine guidance complexes for the Space Fighters, so the Earth is forced to rely on the Child Soldiers. Then the couple of new inventions allows the Earth to genuinely kick the Empire's ass, the Jerkass "helpers" are given the boot and all seemingly settles into an uneasy peace after the treaty with the Imperials... Only for the old Emperor, who disappeared several milennia ago, to surface again to an immediate facepalm at what his domain has become, and to settle immediately with the Earth to reclaim his old ideas and the realm. Only he might not really be the one who he says (or thinks) he is, and then The Culture Expy/parody might have their own designs... Given that Lazarchuk himself has once owned up to getting confused with several of his own plots, you can imagine the level of the Mind Screw that actually happens in the series.
- Discussed in Out of the Dark, where both the hostile Shongairi and the humans fighting them both realize that a benevolent invasion would have been a lot more effective than the regular Alien Invasion that triggered the violent, stubborn human resistance that is turning the aliens' occupation into a bloody slog.
- A short story once described a group of aliens who had arrived via hologram and were helping the human race become healthy and profitable, even showing them how to create their own space defense force. They like visiting random humans in hologram form, and visit the protagonist as he goes duck hunting, mentioning to the man that their races will soon meet face to face - the ships they are broadcasting from are almost to the solar system. When the man fires his gun into the air to scare the ducks, the alien asks why and the man says "to give the ducks a sporting chance", and the alien says "We feel the same way!"
Live Action TV
- Apparently, this was what Well-Intentioned Extremist Cylons of Battlestar Galactica wanted to do on New Caprica, but it kind of blew up in their face.
- "The Second Soul", an episode of the new The Outer Limits, played with this trope when non-corporeal aliens were allowed to settle on Earth... and to inhabit the bodies of dead humans.
- The Doctor Who story "The Unquiet Dead" makes use of the same idea. Although in actual fact, the aliens are deceptive and prepared to kill to get more bodies.
- While not an invasion per se, the Tenctonese refugees of Alien Nation are implied to have brought several advanced technologies to Earth when their slave ship crash-landed, which are now being reverse-engineered.
- Earth: Final Conflict counts, though not all the Taelons were equally benevolent. Also a case of a relatively benevolent alien conqueror trying to protect Earth from a far less benevolent would-be conqueror. According to the Jaridians, they'd have no problem with humans if we kicked the Taelons out before they entrenched themselves in human society. They actually sent a warning message to Earth before the Taelon arrival, but the Taelons intercepted and blocked it.
- Played with in an alternate reality explored in an episode of Farscape, John Crichton was born on an Earth that had been taken over by the Scarrans decades ago, the remaining humans apparently the product of Scarran interbreeding. While the Scarrans are brutal toward species they consider threats, or to be of some value, humans were apparently not much of a threat, so long as the Scarrans kept them confined to Earth. It was noted that the admixture of Scarran DNA had been beneficial for humans in the long run: they were healthier and enjoyed longer lives. John, however, was unhappy because the Scarrans denied humans permission to explore space.
- In Star Trek, the Vulcans helped humanity get their shit together in the aftermath of World War III after humanity developed warp drive.
- As seen in the Enterprise series, this didn't go right. Many humans chafed under the well intentioned clampdowns the Vulcans created.
- In Deep Space Nine, Eddington believes The Federation's entire raison d'etre to be this, comparing them to the Borg.
: You assimilate
people... and they don't even know it.
- Quark and Odo agree with Eddington, but take the other side. They really do like it better under Federation rule, even if they're still completely bemused about it.
- Perhaps the most famous subversion in history is The Twilight Zone's "To Serve Man" episode, adapted from an earlier short story by Damon Knight. The Kanamit actually manage to end famine and war, but it's eventually revealed the only way they want "to serve man" is on a plate.
- In Babylon 5, an alliance of benevolent aliens and human rebels fought the Earth Alliance to break the control President Clark had over the government. To make it seem less like an alien invasion of Earth, the final assault on Earth was almost entirely done by all human rebel forces, with rebel outposts and colonies being guarded by their alien allies.
- In Galactica 1980 this is the goal of Dr.Zee is to get Earth's technology to the point where they can fight off a Cylon invasion.
- According to Word of God, the final track of Rush's rock opera "2112" represents the return of the culturally enlightened Elder Race of Man, who overthrow the culturally repressive Solar Federation. Good news for humanity, but a bit too later for the protagonist.
- The Tau Empire of Warhammer 40,000 claim to be this, and initially were (though providing a nicer place to live than the Imperium of Man isn't all that hard). This was before the idea that the Tau were just engaging in Realpolitik, and rumors of concentration camps and forced sterilization started circulating.note Whether the rumors are true or if it's all just Imperial propaganda is in this case irrelevant, since the Tau would still be the most benevolent alien race to invade in the setting if it's true. And that's saying something...
- Traveller: The Third Imperium was this. Of course most of the invaders had ancestors that were from Earth anyway.
- In The Journeyman Project, aliens make contact with humans to say that they'll be showing up in ten years to start diplomatic relations, thus giving humanity plenty of time to get used to the idea. Agent 5 has to stop the one guy who thinks the aliens are bad, though.
- In the Shadowgrounds series, it turns out that the aliens are invading the colony because an experimental weapon being developed there would end up destroying the solar system if ever used. When their peaceful attempts to warn of the impending disaster were misinterpreted as threatening to destroy mankind, they reluctantly decided that they'd have to wipe out the colony to save humanity in general. This almost backfires, but the misunderstanding is finally cleared up at the last minute.
- Infinite Space, with the big evil empire that comes to the SMC and then captures it. When you talk to random people thereafter, they'll tell you they're happy of having been invaded because of the superior tech.
- The Chenjesu from the Star Control games asked humans to join an alliance against the Ur-Quan, and in exchange shared their technological knowledge with us. The Ur-Quan themselves aren't all that bad, either; while they do prevent the species they conquered from leaving their home planet, and destroy most major cities and military installations, they evacuate said places first and make sure the species can still survive, building new cities or even finding a new planet if the old one is no longer habitable.
- In Star Control 2 it's revealed the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za believe themselves to be benevolent dictators who are protecting the galaxy from far worse forces mainly their opposite faction the Ur-Quan Kohr-ah, who believe all other life should be killed rather than simply enslaved.
- In Half-Life 2 and the Episodes, the interdimensional Combine invaders attempt to play themselves up as this, going so far as to have their spokespuppet call them "Our Benefactors". Enough people buy into it that there is a significant population of collaborators and volunteers for trans-human transformation. It is played straight with the Vortigaunts, who are more than willing to help humanity out once they realize there is a common enemy in the Combine.
- That creepy interdimensional bureaucrat seems to think otherwise though...
- Upon leaving the train depot in the introductory level of Half-Life 2, the PC hears people make comments implying they are at least somewhat resigned to the situation, if not aware, the Combine does in fact suck.
- The implication in Half-Life 2 is that life under the Combine started out rather better than it is at the point where Gordon shows up, but that the administration more or less dropped off after humanity was sufficiently neutered; they don't even paste up new propaganda posters any more.
- Played straight in the Half Life-2 Machinima series Civil Protection as Mike points out. Then again, the Civil Protection universe is apparently much less of a Crapsack World than the main Half Life 2 universe anyway.
- The backstory to Sword of the Stars involve peaceful contact between Morrigi traders and primitive human civilizations some ten thousand years ago — they apparently also had similar encounters with the primitive tarka. Ok, fine, so they didn't do much trading above the 'exchange of shiny baubles' stage (Morrigi culture is partially based around seeking out new civilizations and exchanging shiny baubles with them; not so much handing all their hard-earned technological advances to the "children of the dust"). Still, they did give the species they visited the inspirations for dragons, for which more than one RPG developer should probably be grateful.
- The Vasari in Sins of a Solar Empire were half this. If your species hadn't mastered space travel, you were peacefully integrated and given a minimal amount of standing as a "valued citizen". If you had mastered space travel, your civilization was violently overthrown and your race enslaved.
- In Perfect Dark, the Maians planned to do this eventually, but left the humans to develop on their own for a few millennia. The end of the main plot revolves around the Maian ambassadors finally coming down to meet with the authorities in the White House and establish peaceful connections. Then the game plays the evil Alien Invasion straight when the Skedar come rolling along.
- The Praetorians in City of Heroes like to present themselves as wanting to change Primal Earth for the better. Whether they actually are is something that is up for debate.
- So blowing a huge hole in the planet is probably not the most benevolent thing an alien could do, but the Krill in Sigma Star Saga did it to kill an Eldritch Abomination that was hibernating inside the Earth, and their second invasion was to check on Earth's recovery. The benevolent part is questionable as the Krill paid little attention to the Puny Earthlings, but things would've been much worse if they didn't show up.
- Fry eats a rancid sandwich from a bus stop vending machine, and his body becomes infested with microscopic worms that actually do everything they can to fix up their new home, turning him super smart, super strong, and Nigh Invulnerable.
- Also in the movie The Beast with a Billion Backs, the entire universe is invaded by Yivo, a rather benevolent alien being from another universe. Hir body actually turns out to be a heaven like place.
- Then there was The Professor's recollection of the last time aliens invaded, and all they did was force the smartest people on the planet to breed with each other. It might not have been benevolent to mankind as a whole, but judging by his reactions, it sure was a great time for some.
- Half-averted, half-played straight, in most Transformers stories when humanity has widespread knowledge of the alien self-propelled Humongous Mecha among them, as well as many of the ones in which only a handful of Earth's people are aware.
- Usually the Autobots are the benevolent kind, the Decepticons are the other kind.
- Notably, although they're fighting a war on our doorstep, the Autobots show no desire to overthrow Earth's governments ("Freedom is the right of all sentient beings," after all). Even the Decepticons usually don't care much about conquering humanity per se, except perhaps as a means to help them loot the Earth more efficiently (to them, humans are scarcely more than animals, and we're in the way).
- Not only do the Autobots not try to overthrow Earth's governments, they're often shown working with them. They also do their best to keep a low profile to avoid a public panic, and sometimes help out with our planet's own problems when they're not busy protecting us from the Decepticons. And the "protecting us from the Decepticons" thing is pretty significant in its own right.
- The Rescue Bots don't have to deal with Decepticons, and instead masquerade as non-sentient Transforming Mecha to protect the people of the high-tech island of Griffin Rock from any threats that might crop up. The only one to object to this mission when Optimus Prime assigned it was Heatwave... Not because he didn't want to help, but because he wanted to do it more openly.
- One episode of Mighty Max starts with reports of a swarm of beetles ruining a small village. Turns out they are actually tiny alien scouts, clearing the area for one of their diplomatic ships to land. Hey, the aliens left a note saying they would come back later (it's in a language no one alive can read, of course.) The aliens want Earth's toxic and radioactive waste; it's apparently an extremely valuable commodity where they come from. Win-win for Earth, Max, and the aliens.
- Not an invasion, but rather a crash landing: In Justice League Unlimited, we learn that in the distant past (c. 6600 BC) two Thanagarian law officers landed in what is today Egypt. Worshipped as gods (In spite of their wishes) they used their technology to make the harsh desert bloom with life and ruled over a vast and peaceful empire as benevolent leaders. They were expansionist, yes, but only to bring their peace and bounty to their neighbors, who were primarily ruled by unjust dictators (Teth-Adam even sends an offering of horses to thank the Thanagarians for liberating Kahndaq). Unfortunately, they only educated their people to the level of tool users, not tool makers, and when the Thanagarians themselves died, their peaceful utopia crumbled in a generation. Notable, in a way, for not having aliens build the pyramids or ruling Ancient Egypt; the dates make it clear that all this occurs before the building of the currently standing pyramids and temples, and before there was even a unified Egypt at all. The remnants of their constructions and history might have inspired the Pharaohs to adopt a similar style and culture, but Egypt itself was a completely human development that arose millennia later.