Nightmare Fuel: Red Alert 3: Paradox
Let's face it, Paradox gets dark. An atomic civil war, wrapped in the centre of an ongoing Cold War-esque conflict between two massive superpowers that are both waiting to sink their teeth into the other, as smaller powers and factions nip at the heels.
Underneath the dark comedy, the silly units, and the stereotypical characters, the reality of Paradox is this: War. War, unending, unceasing, unforgiving.
Forget everything good and pure about the Allies. Throw it out the window, and replace it with an increasingly socialist state in which the biggest rule is follow the rules. More and more the Allies are morphing from a well-meaning and desperate alliance on nations bent on fighting off Soviet aggression into an alternate-Soviet state, where state industries produce the people's goods under the beneficial direction of the leadership. Those happy-go-lucky spies you see running around? They're loose cannons, not beholden to any civil or military authority. The occupation of the United States is the "greater good" of the world being used as justification for the usurpation of lawful and sovereign government by paranoid overseers desperate to retain any edge they have against the Soviets.
- More specifically, they've started to give up on trying to follow any kind of ethical weapons development. Case in point, the Pion Isospin Array. It doesn't just kill a man, it flays the target while it's still alive. If a target's lucky, they'll just turn into a puddle of half-dissolved mush. If they're completely screwed, there will be nothing left to bury. Imagine being a regular soldier, fighting in the field, and suddenly your brothers in arms start vanishing all around you, their screams cut off by their own vanishing bodies. Then you look down, and your foot is starting to disappear.
- On a deeper level, this is only one example of how perverted the Allies have become. Instead of creating this unit for actual scientific research, it, and all of the tier X weaponry the Allies field, has been weaponized into the exact opposite of the peaceful progress the Allies had hoped to nurture. Look on the X-Weapon unit headers; almost all are manufactured by universities.
- The planned title for the Allied campaign sums this up perfectly: Freedom at any cost, including humanity
- Cryo-Prisons. The simple idea of cryo-prisons is terrifying. Any opposition to the Allied Nations, any attempt to question them more harshly than just writing an editorial is enough to have a person frozen, put on trial, frozen again, then shipped off to a human ice box in Greenland. There's already dozens of prisoners kept in stasis, and the prison guards themselves are apparently going mad from some kind of "ice sirens".
- ACIN. Take an intelligence agency, and strip away whatever ethical and practical concerns might have been left to lot. They are beholden to no one, only organized into various national agencies like MI-6 or SDECE. No one actually knows who runs ACIN, since the agency was designed for maximum decentralization. On paper, it was to prevent the Soviets from ever infiltrating or running counter intelligence. In reality, spies are loose and free to do whatever they want. They can kill who they want, bribe when they want, and implicate who they want. And no one can stop them.
- The slow disintegration of nations under the Allies. As quoted from Paradox, "It's like the government's only the BBC and tax man any more." That statement effectively includes most of Western Europe. Even the most ardent Allied supporters are starting to realize just how far they've gone in their control when they see images of Allied peacekeepers on the streets of cities in the United States, arresting citizen protesters and fighting with the Confederates. Under the Allies national borders are slowly being erased, to the point where the Allies have become a true super-state.
- The Peacekeepers, right on the Chemical Mortar page, outright state that its use violates treaties banning Chemical weapons, but the Peacekeepers don't consider themselves affected by international laws. That's one very small step from tear gas to something worse when you don't see international law as a hurdle.
- Since in this timeline, the Soviets actually did attack the West, McCarthyism is much, much worst when compared to our own version. To the degree that merely being suspected as a Soviet sympathizer or having been a member of the USA Communist Party during your youth is enough to get you convicted of treason in a kangaroo court! In the case of physicist Arthur Leonard Schawlow, the only reason he wasn't given the death penalty and executed was because the Allied Nations have ban on the death penalty in member states. Even afterwards, they still get harassed and even brutalized by government agents constantly, having their life-long work discredited, even going after his family by keeping them under constant surveillance, and to prevent his autistic son from getting treatment. And remember, the Allies are suppose to be the defenders of democracy and freedom, yet this setting is so grimdark that they have been perverted to the point of being willing to go for an outright political purge.
The Union isn't necessarily trying to be evil, but they're still the totalitarian state formed from the post-Lenin ideals of the communist Russia. The remains of Stalin's rule are still present in the massive gulag system that spans the Siberia, and their slow and steady acquisition of the Middle East. They have started supplying rebellions around the world, their only concern the fact that each war drains Allied resources more and more. Meanwhile the Soviets build up their resources, watching. Waiting. The Union plans to survive by whatever means are possible. And will show the world their resolve.
Empire of the Rising Sun:
- The biggest problem of the Soviet Union is that in the Paradox timeline, since the death of Lenin and until Davidova's coup, the country has been ruled by a secession of insane, murderous, megalomaniac madmen:
- First there was Stalin, in our real life timeline he is already one of the worst dictator in history, in the Paradox universe everything evil about him was taken up to roughly 21. His spent his entire time in power doing nothing but preparing the country for a war that will allow him to conquer the world, with him completely ignoring the needs of his own people, and killing all those that speak out against him.
- Perhaps some examples will better define how horrific the Soviet Union under Stalin was. In order to create a large enough population for him to conscript into the army, he used measures such as banning contraceptives, introducing a childless tax, and even having infertile spouses systematically divorced from their partners and sent to Gulags. This resulted in the country's infrastructure and agriculture being stretched to the breaking point, resulting in widespread famines. This has gotten to the degree that when Red Army soldiers were first encountered by the Allies, they thought that the Soviet had made a pact with Satan due to the years of starvation giving them a “demonic” appearance.
- And as soon as the war started, in order to keep up their advantage in manpower, Stalin started dragging off entire collective farms and city blocks worth of Russian men, women, child, and elderly into the front lines, with citizens and PO Ws of occupied nations getting mass-conscript to replace them to keep the war machine running. Most of those that were taken by the Soviets ended up worked to death or killed in mass executions when they were suspected of sabotage or rebellion.
- Cherdenko wasn't much better. Not only did he effectively erase Einstein (and with the good doctor the time line for Red Alert 2), he ensured that the people who travelled back with him would be in no position to challenge him. Gen. Krukov was killed in the Second World War, and it's implied that he was the one who assassinated Stalin. He, more than anyone else, is responsible for the madness that erupted, from the Empire of the Rising Sun to the five other powers that have started to destabilize the world.
- Desolator Defoliant. It seems that Soviet super reactors create so much waste material that storing it all is herculean. So instead, during World War III, it was decided that it could be used as a defoliant much like the Allied Agent Orange. The difference is that while Agent Orange takes time for the side effects to show in human tissue, Desolator defoliant melts the skin and muscles and leaves a blackened skeleton.
- And the worst thing is that Desolator Defoliant wasn't even intended as a chemical weapon. It was originally named the Kalach Compound and was created by Trofim Lysenko with the intention of being a fertilizer for collective farms! No wonder it resulted in the entire Soviet agricultural sector being a complete wreck, and flak troopers always demanding for food since they are not fed in the gulags!
- The Soviet Smelter. On the surface it might seem to be just a simple ore refinery that players have been building in the bases since RA1. Here they are revealed to be absolute death-traps that are affronts to worker safety. To start with, in order to keep up productions, there is no off switch for the machines, so even when an accident happens and someone dies, they will just keep on working. Resulting in small bone fragments of dead workers sometime being stuck in the frame of tanks. Furthermore, workers have to breath in so much ore dust that they often die from black lungs and poisoning. To make matters worst, the state deliberately shift workers in and out regularly in order to deny them government compensation.
- Continuing from the above point on Soviet leadership, under Stalin and Cherdenko, workers in Smelters were too afraid to ask for improved working conditions. After Davidova took over the government, they were finally able to petition her to improve conditions in the workplace. But even then, the only change that was enacted was for more motivational posters to be displayed inside the foundry lines.
So it looks like an anime where feudal Japan has high technology. Okay, not much different from a lot of other media. Only this is Feudal Japan
. One third of those in power believe that the samurai traditions should be brought back in force. A third believe that utter military conquest will be Japan's divine destiny. The last third want to use the Empire's psionics and nanotech to transcend humanity, and embrace a new form of existence.
- In this timeline, the Meiji Restoration was halted, and while Japan still managed to advance technologically and economically, their cultural and social attitude has barely changed since the Edo period. You know the Militarists such as Tatsu that wants to make Japan into an expansionist fascist regime? They are actually the progressives in Japanese society (At lease until the Transhumanists came along)!
- To better illustrate this, as paraphrased from a discussion from Paradox, "If you ask an average Japanese citizen about the Empire's sexism and racism problems, he will find your question strange, because in his eyes, sexism and racism are not problems."
- The Imperial subjugation of the Philippines. With the Empire transforming the entire country effectively into a breadbasket agricultural colony that focus entirely on food production for the Japanese homeland. With more than 90% of the Philippine land mass owned by Imperial noble families that never even bother to set foot on the islands. Furthermore, the Imperials keep the cost low by minimizing expenditures on things such as worker salaries, housing, and maintenance of any infrastructure not part of the Imperial agricultural system, resulting in terrible standards of living for the Filipinos. It is an illusion on what will happen to the rest of the world if the Empire had won WW 3.
- As Masoko Okamura, a Japanese defector to the Order of Talon puts it, if the Imperials had it their way they would have "...[C]onquering the planet and making like it's nineteenth-century Europe only with everyone outside Japan playing the part of the African natives."
- The Imperial Colonization Corps, during the Imperial invasion of the Soviet Union, they were tasked with making occupied areas suitable for full scale Japanese colonization. They did so by committing atrocities in massacring entire Siberian villages and towns, then systemically demolishing all the buildings so they can shipped back to Japan for recycling as resources.
In this timeline, the Chinese Civil War escalated into an outright nuclear holocaust
, with both Red China
and Blue China reduced to squabbling warlord fiefdoms
, and the rest of the country burnt to post-apocalyptic ash
, while pockmarked with the lethally radioactive "Jade" (a cross between nuke-grade Uranium and Tiberium
. Even worse is that the Atomic Chinese have not just emerged from the ashes as the dominant Chinese faction in spite of this devastation
, but with power on-par with the other major factions
. And their goal isn't just to leave the planet for the galaxy at large
, it's to exterminate every other nation on Earth first
- The most chilling part about Green China's technology is that it is based heavily on the Federation's tech in StarTrek. Remember how SF Debris lampshaded how Star Fleet is being Willfully Weak since they never took advantage of their technology to help deal with the Monster of the Week or to win wars? Here we are given a picture of what would have happened if instead of using that power to create a post-scarcity utopia, someone fully exploit that technology's military application instead.
- Teleportation: When the Nationalists first attempted to create a molecular teleporter, they decided to go straight for human testing, with Bruce Chen, a janitor, being the first person to do so. When he re-materialized, he was turned into a pile of bloody flesh, exposed organs, and jutting bones, which quickly exploded due to gases trapped within. The teleporter was redesigned as the Scrambler, which specializes as a weapon that scrambles its target's molecules until it no longer resembled anything it once was, turning enemy solders into shuddering piles of flesh and fusing tanks with their pilots.
- Replicators: Unlike in StarTrek, replicator technology cannot solve the problem of scarcity since the Law of Conservation of Mass note still applies. Thus, China still need access to raw materials like anyone else. Green China does this by collecting ore and asteroid mining. Red China on the other hand, created the Hellmouths. A machine that recycles the dead bodies on the battlefield, transforming the carbon in corpses into coal, graphite, diamonds, and even an organic slurry that is used as food.
- Life in pre-nuclear China regardless of which side you are on is absolutely nightmarish. If you live in an area controlled by Red China, you either live in the cities and work 14 hours a day in state factories and workshops to provide war materials for the army while being staved, or live in the countryside and get conscripted into the Red Guard in which you are expected to die in the thousands everyday just to rush enemy defense positions in human waves. While in Blue China, you are expected to serve in World War 1 style trench warfare with no end in sight.