Video Game / Blue Planet
A blue planet...with vast seas.
is a series of fan-made expansion packs for the video game FreeSpace 2
. It is set eighteen years after the original game and details the Galactic Terran-Vasudan Alliance returning to Sol and the aftermath. The Blue Planet saga will eventually consist of three parts, but so far only the first two have been unveiled.Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius
(2007) follows the 14th Battlegroup of the Galactic Terran-Vasudan Alliance as they cross the newly-constructed Sol Gate into the solar system for the first time. The player takes the role of Samuel Bei, an experienced veteran of the Second Great War from the original game. The fleet ends up lost in an Alternate Universe
where the Shivans won the Great War and humanity is reduced to a handful of scavengers on the run from the Shivan armada. Samuel Bei ends up playing a pivotal role in discovering the nature of this strange dimension and how they got there, finding his own destiny
, and finding a way for the 14th Battlegroup to return to their own universe. Age of Aquarius
won much acclaim for its richly realized story and excellent characters, especially Samuel Bei and his father, who have some issues
, and its excellent and innovative mission design that featured a scale far larger than most previous campaigns.Blue Planet: War in Heaven
(2010/2013/???) is set a year and a half after Age of Aquarius
. The 14th Battlegroup returned to their home dimension to find the United Earth Federation as the current government of the Sol system. Their standing orders: crush the Federation and forcibly assimilate it into the GTVA. Samuel Bei, his father, and several other members of the 14th Battlegroup defected to the UEF, leaving the blitzkrieg assault the GTVA was hoping for in tatters. However, the GTVA were quick to regroup, and are now slowly grinding the UEF's miltary into dust. The player character this time is Noemi Laporte, a newly commissioned pilot in the UEF navy. Noemi has...issues, most notably a history of mental instability, aggression, and hearing voices which are actually Sufficiently Advanced Aliens speaking to her through her Psychic Powers
. She must face both her own personal demons as well as the forces of the Galactic Terran-Vasudan Alliance, who outnumber, outgun, and generally outclass the UEF's. At the time of this writing, only three-fifths of War in Heaven
has been released, the remaining portion still in development. War in Heaven
was hyped extensively prior to release, and so far the general impression has been overwhelmingly positive of the released first part. More than one player has declared it the best FreeSpace
campaign ever released.
It is currently unclear if War in Heaven
will wrap up the story. The developers have hinted at a "Blue Planet Part 3" that will occur after War in Heaven
, but details are sparse.
This game includes examples of:
- Ace Pilot: Plenty of them. On both sides. One mission is literally two small teams of Ace Pilot's going up against each other. two of them happen to be Xinny and Zero, two of the pilots that made up the four SOC-man team that ventured beyond the second Knossos portal in FreeSpace 2 (including you, the player, and fan-favorite Snipes). Unusually for the trope, it's possible to lose (by getting shot down), in which case you (barely) survive by virtue of your fighter getting disabled but not blown up, and Xinny and Zero survive to complete their mission, which is to retrieve (or rescue) a character from the first game in the Blue Planet series...though the cruiser they boarded gets practically blown up in the chaos, killing her entire crew.
- Action Girl: Noemi Laporte and Lorna Simms. Taylor in Age of Aquarius, along with many others. Heck, it'd be easier to find women that aren't examples.
- Adaptive Ability: The Shivans apparently have no fixed form, are infinitely malleable and variable, and respond and reshape themselves according to external pressures. They attack randomly and use what works, refining their combat strategies and ship designs, narrowing it down until they have the perfect attack pattern for their opponent, at which point they win. The process can take a very long time... but the Shivans are willing to wait and lose a few wars if it will ultimately, maybe thousands of years down the line, end in their victory.
- A Father to His Men: Admiral Lopez`s command style is based around this. Unfortunately for her, this ends up being the cause of her eventual downfall.
- All There in the Manual: The "Intelligence" section of the tech room and various parts of the mod website have vast amounts of information on the setting.
- And This Is For...: In Her Finest Hour, Laporte say this for each of the enemy corvettes destroyed, naming the captains of the destroyed ships in Delenda Est.
- Animal Wrongs Group: The Gaian Effort from War in Heaven.
- Apologetic Attacker: Most UEF pilots will say something like 'May they find peace in death' should they kill an enemy. UEF's First Fleet (comprised largely of people from Earth) even mourns the people who died fighting against them as a cultural tradition.
- Artificial Brilliance: For the most part, pilot and capital ship AI is much improved from the retail copy, with AI pilots retreating to friendly warships, rearming much more readily, and pulling tactics like the Thach Weave. But...
- Artificial Stupidity: With that said, friendly AI pilots a nasty tendency to tie down the rearming ship for ages because they'll never stop for it to dock until all enemies are destroyed. In some situations you really can't do much but wait for them to get killed so the tender will finally get to you; if the pilot is an invulnerable story pilot, you're basically screwed.
- Attack Pattern Alpha: The UEF has a set of attack plans with codenames to use depending on the situation in Delenda Est. However, these plans and their execution are actually specified.
- Badass Crew: The Wargods are absolute terrors on the battlefield, to the point that Admiral Steele is forced to plan and execute a series of strategies specifically to wipe them out. It works.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: The Katana and Altan Orde in the optional single-mission campaign named The Blade Itself. Two humble UEFg Karunas and half a dozen fighters wipe the floor with a pair of Deimos-class Corvettes and numerous other Tev ships long enough to evacuate some of the civilians, deny the station to the Tevs, and finally escape from a Meson Bomb attack. All of this despite a surprise attack and the Katana's dock being sabotaged, forcing her to depart without her full crew complement!
- The Battlestar: Pretty much every destroyer class ship in the game falls into this category.
- Beam Spam: The favored anti-capital ship tactic of the GTVA, Shivans, and Vishnans. Any engagement that involves multiple warships belonging to these factions will quickly devolve into a veritable light show since most warships have not only multiple beam cannons, but also multiple anti-fighter beams for point defense purposes.
- Big Damn Heroes: Samuel Bei leads a Vishnan fleet to save his father's battlegroup from being destroyed by the Shivans. Unfortunately, the victory party didn't last long...
- Black and Gray Morality: This is present in the conflict between the Shivans and their counterparts. The former are... well, the Shivans, but the latter may not be benevolent, no matter how they choose to present themselves when talking to Terrans. Of course, there's an Alternative Character Interpretation that the Vishans are the Black and the Shivans are Gray.
- Blind Jump: Crash-jumping, which involves not setting a destination jump point and/or forcing the ship in question to engage its subspace drives before they fully recharge. So far, in Blue Planet, the after-effects of crash-jumping have always hit the ship that does it quite badly: the Duke wrecked its engines in a remote part of the N362 system, the Ranvir and Akula were scattered and besieged by GTVA forces shortly after, and the Indus disabled its engines, navigations systems and escape pod launch system, destroyed its hangar bay, severely compromised its radiation shielding and long-range communications and put it into a descent towards the sun.
- Bonus Material: Several single missions that come with the campaign, one of which is basically "What would happen if we stuck every single named capital ship in the story together and had them shoot at each other?" There is also a Racing Minigame with UEF interceptors. One (good) mission even has you commanding a capital ship during the battle that the opening cutscene of War In Heaven depicts, complete with its own HUD and coding.
- Both Sides Have a Point: While the UEF definitely has the moral high ground, the GTVA has very understandable reasons for invading Sol. You REALLY need to read the supplementary material in the Tech Room database to understand why. Mainly, the GTVA is (legitimately) terrified that the UEF's Ubuntu philosophy and loose-Federation government style will catch like wildfire in the rest of the GTVA, given the cultural, social, political, and economic situation in (at least the Terran portion) of the GTVA. It is very strongly implied (and readily apparent) throughout War In Heaven, and to a lesser extent in the series as a whole, that neither the GTVA nor the UEF can survive as they currently are, and they need to reach peace and incorporate the best elements of the other in order to avoid the crippling weaknesses of both. Some of the supplementary material also suggests that some parts of the UEF—especially its Council of Elders—is under the influence of or is being manipulated by some alien power (implied to be the Vishnans, who are apparently less benevolent than they appeared to be in Age of Aquarius, or even the Shivans), of which the GTVA are utterly terrified.
- Boss Battle:
- In Age of Aquarius we have in order of appearance:
- And in War in Heaven we have:
- Warm-Up Boss: GTD Meridian
- Background Boss: GTD Hood
- Trick Boss / Victory Fakeout: At first you fight the GTD Carthage and after you're this close to winning, the GTD Imperieuse tags in and wipes the floor with the Wargods.
- Duel Boss / Reactor Boss: The Morena MacDuff destroyer, as you fight it while piloting a cruiser, there's also elements of Flunky Boss as the destroyer has a fighter escort and, depending on an earlier choice, possibly a few light cruisers.
- Puzzle Boss: GTD Carthage which you defeat this time by eroding it's defences i.e. destroying it's AWACs cover, Mjolnir beam cannon emplacements and disarming it's corvette escort, one by one until it's weakened enough for Admiral Calder to launch an all-out fighter, bomber and cruiser attack, and cripple/destroy it.
- Brown Note: The Great Darkness in War In Heaven's Universal Truth. Whatever it is, it is too much for a human mind to handle, just looking at it is enough to drive a person irreversibly insane/catatonic, and even thinking about it for too long is implied to be dangerous to one's mental health.
- The Cameo:
- The Transcendant from the Sync series of fan-campaigns can make brief appearances in Laporte's Nagari-dream, and it implies that the Nagari connection is the "outside the universe" place where the Transcendant turned Eldritch.
- Ships from Vassago's Dirge appears as well (GTA Argus and GTC Ascendant), the GTC Cretheus techroom description also described it as such.
- The Cavalry: Happens quite often.
- In one of the earlier missions in Age of Aquarius, the Temeraire and its attending cruisers skewer the SD Kyton after you destroy its bomber complement. In a later mission, the Vishnans break off a seemingly Hopeless Boss Fight with 3 Shivan destroyers. Near the end of the campaign, the Vishnan detachment Bei hooks up with catches up with the Orestes and its escorts as they were in the middle of a losing battle with the SD Lucifer.
- In War in Heaven, two Narayana frigates show up and drive the Atreus away just as the Indus prepares to take on the Allied destroyer on its own. This trope is also subverted when both the Valarie and Medea attempt to pull this against the Federation on two separate missions, but fail and are destroyed in the process. In 'What Binds Us', this trope is twisted to a hilarious degree—a Vasudan logistics vessel falls under attack from the Gaian Effort. Hearing the distress call and wanting to improve relations with the Vasudans, the UEF sends the Indus to save the logistics vessel, which she does. Shortly after, an Allied corvette jumps in to the logistics vessel's aid, but finds the Gefs already dealt with. From there, both sides agree to a temporary ceasefire on the spot so that they can cooperate to save the damaged logistics vessel and the lives of her crew, which they succeed in doing so. Then a Narayana-class heavy frigate shows up, guns blazing, shattering the ceasefire and blowing up the Allied corvette all too quickly for the situation to be salvaged. Finally, an inversion of this trope happens in Delenda Est, where this trope is played straight for the GTD Carthage.
- Chastity Couple: Noemi Laporte and Lorna Simms, at least on-screen. It's justified because they're both in the military, both serving in the same unit, and have different ranks; openly showing romantic affection to someone above or below you in the chain of command is a big no-no.
- Chekhov's Gun: The transmission from the Vasudan logistics ship contains specs for a miniature quantum pulse transceiver, which is the means of communication for the Shivans. It's used in the end of Act 3 as part of the means through which Laporte enters the Nagari 'network'.
- The Chessmaster: Steele has plans for nearly everything the UEF does through out most of War in Heaven. At one point early on he even congratulates the UEF on a "match well played" before retreating.
- The Chosen One: First Samuel Bei, then Noemi Laporte. Or, to be more accurate, the Laser Guided Tyke Bomb's.
- Cliffhanger: The first part of War in Heaven ends on a massive one: The Wargods have been effectively annihilated by the GTVA, the Indus is disabled, 80% of the crew is incapacitated due to radiation poisoning, your character's girlfriend is in the infirmary and you don't know whether she's alive or dead, and the Fedayeen show up in a last-minute rescue to retrieve your character for a secret mission ... and then the credits roll.
- Colonel Badass: Captain Lorna Simms.
- Colony Drop: The Gaian Effort attempt one in War in Heaven. The Fedayeen deploy in order to stop it.
- Combat Pragmatist:
- The UEF are fully aware that their warships are outranged and outgunned by GTVA warships of comparable size. Many of their tactics revolve around deception and electronic warfare to throw off the GTVA beam cannons' aim and catch GTVA warships in disadvantageous positions. For a UEF ship to fight an Allied warship on equal terms is to give the GTVA an almost certain victory.
- The Fedayeen in a nutshell. As one would expect of a covert black ops group that doesn't officially exist, they are generally willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish their goals. Their "leader" mentions at one point that his suggestion when the GTVA showed up, the very day the war started, was to antimatter-bomb their jump gate into oblivion before an invasion could commence, but the Council of Elders said "no".
- Admiral Steele is not just a brilliant strategist, but his dossier reveals he spent a good amount of time in the SOC, the black ops wing of the GTVA. Accordingly, he is more than willing to employ political warfare, subterfuge, false intelligence, and anything else alongside his purely military plans. This goes so far as ordering attacks on the Vasudans, his own allies, and making them think the UEF was behind the attacks to get them to devote resources to what the Vasudans see as a purely Terran conflict that doesn't involve them.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Ships given the BALLS OF STEELE, or BOS, AI-class. BOS was required to keep some of the most experienced players in the community from Script Breaking some of the missions and give the player competent wingmen without the need of having a large number of them as well as giving the feel that you are really in a squadron of ace pilots instead of red shirts.
- Contemplate Our Navels: Samuel Bei and Elder Mandho do this quite often.
- Continuity Nod: Many.
- Xinny and Zero, the SOC wingmen from Into the Lion's Den in the original game, fight you in War in Heaven.
- The Lucifer in Age of Aquarius, which was destroyed in the original ''FreeSpace timeline.
- The GTD Carthage from FreeSpace 2 (and even FreeSpace 1), now with upgraded armour, point defenses, electronics, and a slew of experimental tech.
- "I've seen your war record, Admiral. Are you prepared to be the next Koth?"
- The GTCv Marcus Glaive.
- One of the corvettes in the prologue is named 'Snipes', though this one is hard to see since the player can't change the camera angle.
- Remember the player character of the first game? That one freaked-out pilot in the Nebula in the second game? Lieutenant Ash from the first game's opening cutscene? All were Nagari-sensitive, and connecting with either the Shivans or Vishnans.
- There are even cross-continuity nods: the GTVA was apparently motivated at least partially by the events of "Vassago's Dirge", another fan-campaign. See also The Cameo entry.
- The 212th Silver Scythes appears to be posted on the GTD Imperieuse.
- Conveniently Interrupted Document: Laporte is unable to learn the Shivans' primary purpose for existing, because the connection is terminated as she's listening to it. The implication is that learning it would have destroyed her mind.
- Cool Ship: The United Earth Federation's Solaris-class destroyer is the biggest example, both in the literal and metaphorical sense. But on the whole, nearly every ship introduced in the Blue Planet series, both on a fighter and capital ship level, are this. Special mentions go to the Vishnan Perserver and Shivan Kalki, who both surpass Juggernaut classification by five-fold, and hammer away at each other with weapons that could oneshot any other ship in the game for several minutes, yet never drop below 75% hull integrity. Unique mention goes to the GTD Carthage, an FS2 veteran destroyer that was built near the end of the Great War (FS1), heavily retrofitted and equipped with experimental technology, and now presents a totally unique and very powerful threat to any battle-group. To give you an idea, this ship would have likely wiped the floor with FS1's ultimate Cool Ship, the SD Lucifer.
- Cosmic Horror Story: Between the Vishnans, Shivans, and whatever the "Great Darkness" is, one shouldn't be surprised.
- Crazy-Prepared: Admiral Steele has contingencies for the contingencies. He, and often the SOC as well, often do things that are disadvantageous, but can potentially end up as crucial elements in setting up a gambit in the future. In other words, they'll take a small loss to set up something that, for the foreseeable future, has no use whatsoever, just because at some point it might be very useful in whatever gambit they come up with down the line. This allows them to pull off plans with alarming frequency. Thankfully, the UEF officers aren't slouches, either.
- Credits Gag: In the Director's Cut of Age of Aquarius, "Unknown Entities" are credited for the voices of the Vishnans and the Shivans.
- Cutscene: Both Age of Aquarius and War in Heaven use in-game cutscenes for campaign intro. Age of Aquarius ends in a playable cutscene from first person view, while War in Heaven ends with something that could be called a cutscene montage. There is also a flashback cutscene in the form of recording which reveals what happened to Earth. There's also a rendered version of the Age of Aquarius intro cutscene, made by a community member.
- Darker and Edgier: The story is considerably darker than the original Freespace games, particularly War in Heaven.
- Death Seeker: Captain Gennady of the Katana, in the extra mission included you see why he choose to stand back and hold the line to allow the Indus and Yangtzee to escape.
- Defensive Feint Trap: Used in the climax of War in Heaven Act 2 by the GTVA. The Wargods fight a desperate battle to destroy the GTD Carthage which is hunkering down above the rings of Saturn. After a difficult battle the Wargods get within spitting distance of victory...only for a destroyer that UEF intelligence said was out of the system to jump in and wipe the floor with the Wargods' already damaged ships.
- Designated Hero: The UEF, because Blue Planet runs on moral ambiguity. The story has so far cast them in the more favorable light, but has also shed doubt on the idea that they are entirely correct in their beliefs and principles. The big accusation against them is that they are being mentally and socially manipulated by the Vishnans and are nothing but pawns in their games.
- Designated Antagonist: The GTVA. Their unprovoked attack on Sol and refusal to permit the "Ubuntu" philosophy that has taken root there to exist has painted them as the antagonists, but the story has been dropping heavy hints that they may be at least partially justified in their actions due to extreme circumstances.
- Despair Event Horizon: The UEF seems to be hovering right on the edge of it. And Kassim ultimately, he was not ready to see so many people die, undergoes a nervous breakdown and is pulled from active duty.
- Developers' Foresight:
- If you destroy the GTD Carthage in Delenda Est - which is only feasible by cheating - Mr. Cuddles, a Sathanas Juggernaut, will show up to attack you. If you can destroy Mr. Cuddles too, you even get a debriefing specifically made for such an occasion!
- It is also impossible to stop the corvettes warning the GTD Carthage during the initial trap for it, period. Even if you disable every single subsystem, they still manage to jury-rig a transmitter to warn the Carthage to retreat. You cannot stop this without losing the mission, as the corvette(s) must survive.
- Dialogue Tree: One mission involves Noemi having to talk Captain Simms out of a depression through Epiphany Therapy using these. It's surprisingly tricky. Not exactly an Epiphany Therapy, though, as Simms is more on the verge of a specific Despair Event Horizon, rather than actually being depressed or traumatized. The epiphany isn't some new information, it's reminding Simms of a perspective that Simms herself once had, and simultaneously providing reassurance and credibility that that perspective has merit. That, and The Power of Friendship and The Power of Love. Simms doesn't "snap out of it" even then, though, as its a gradual process (but the very fact that Simms takes even a step in the other direction is very noticeable to everyone else and a huge relief.
- Difficult but Awesome: The Slammer area-suppression missile is very difficult to master and you don't get very many, but with proper positioning and timing one of them can take down an entire squadron of fighters before they get anywhere near you.
- Downer Beginning: War in Heaven opens with an in-game cutscene of the UEF military installation at Jupiter being overrun, and a frigate captain ordering his battlegroup into a suicidal attack to buy time for more civilians to escape.
- Dysfunction Junction:
- The pilots of the UEFg Indus.
- The Fedayeen. Among the three active pilots we see, one is an obvious psychopath and another is a self-admitted serial killer.
- Easy Logistics: Averted. Logistics ships and/or installations are frequent targets for both sides.
- Eldritch Abomination:
- The Shivans keep inching further from "Inscrutable Aliens" and further toward this trope the more that gets revealed about them. Current best guess of the community given what's been shown about them is they aren't a "species", per se, but rather a naturally-occurring swarm intellect of space-time itself, which is dedicated to preservation of the universe from what they refer to as "ontovoric" threats. This also means it's impossible for mankind to ever defeat them: their intelligence and what passes for their consciousness is non-corporeal and literally built into the fabric of space-time.
- The Great Darkness, an unknown entity so horrible that even thinking about is implied to be dangerous, would also fall into this category. No one is sure what exactly it is... it may not be an intelligence or even an "entity" at all, but rather some kind of existential collapse event. Its physical form, as revealed in FRED, is an enormous, vaguely cylindrical gas cloud; in-game, trying to look at it instantly drives you insane.
- Enemy Chatter: Most likely to have a feel that they are not just your everyday Mooks.
- Energy Beings: To call the Vishnans this would be to miss the point, but it is very close. They do not exist in a physical sense; rather, they influence physical objects in this reality from another plane. This allows them to, among other things, fly ships with no detectable life signs on board, utilise weapons that violate the laws of physics and theoretically manipulate the actions and thought processes of living entities. It is implied that the Shivans are similar in most respects.
- Evil Sounds Deep: The Shivan representative in Universal Truth.
- False Flag Operation: Used by both the UEF and the GTVA. The GTVA colluded with the Gefs to ambush a Vasudan destroyer during a diplomatic meeting, and announce that they were doing it under orders from the UEF. Later, the UEF uses captured Gefs to attack Vasudan logistical ships so that the GTVA thinks the Gefs are trying to play both sides.
- "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: DESPERTA FERRO!
Indus Captain: This is Earth, the birthplace of humanity. They will take this station only after it has been stained Mars-red with our blood.
Brie: Desperta Ferro you sons of bitches, we die like we lived, on our bloody feet!
- Fantastic Slurs: The GTVA call the UEF "Feds", the UEF call the GTVA "Tevs", everyone calls the Gaian Effort "Gefs", and Gaians call the UEF "Buntus". Notably, though, the 'Tev' moniker is actually rather pragmatic, as only the Terran half of the GTVA is at war with the UEF—the Vasudans are largely neutral/uninvolved. Since the UEF doesn't want to piss off the Vasudans and does want to improve relations with them, the UEF uses 'Tev' as a way to distinguish the entity that they're at war with from the entity that they'd like to be friends with (but is officially friends with the enemy entity).
- Fantasy Conflict Counterpart: The devs of War in Heaven have stated that the war between the United Earth Federation and the Galactic Terran-Vasudan Alliance is meant to be the Vietnam War IN SPACE!. In both cases we have one side being far more powerful than the other but forced to fight a limited and conservative war due to political divisions and murky objectives while the much less powerful but more ideologically convinced side is simply trying to hold its own and ultimately push the other side out by costing them enough blood. Similarly to the Vietnam War, there is no clear-cut good guy.
- Also much like the Vietnam War, both sides are actually proxies for much larger foreign powers.
- Five-Bad Band: In War in Heaven: Noemi's list, according to her.
- Five-Man Band: The Fedayeen
- Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon: UEF Warships use multiple mass-driver cannons attached to the bow of their ships to deal out severe pain. The main purpose of the Narayana-class in particular revolves around the artillery potential of its forward guns. Also the GTVA's Chimera and Bellerophon class corvettes and Titan class destroyers.
- Four-Star Badass: Admiral Calder on the UEF side, and Admiral Steele, Admiral Lopez, and even Admiral Severanti on the GTVA side. Admirals Netreba and Byrne, of the UEF's 1st and 2nd Fleets, are certainly smart and competent in their own right, but time will tell if they have a badass streak or not.
- Freudian Trio: Alpha Wing in Age of Aquarius:
- From Bad to Worse: If you ever think things couldn't possibly go worse for the United Earth Federation in War in Heaven, you will be proven wrong.
- Game Mod: Despite the quality of game design and writing, this is ultimately a game mod for the Freespace universe, and is in no way an official continuation of the story.
- Gameplay and Story Integration: A retroactive example. In the first game, there were the "Ancient Monologue" cutscenes that would appear every so often. Blue Planet implies that these weren't cutscenes for the benefit of the player, but that the player character was actually seeing them through a Nagari contact.
- General Failure: At times Admiral Byrne seems to be this. However, knowing the way Blue Planet works, he's probably got a hell of a trick up his sleeve. He has some sort of grand master plan ("Project Shambhala") that will evidently require all of Earth's surviving military industrial capacity, virtually all of First Fleet, all of the captured and defected GTVA ships at the UEF's disposal, and substantial additional resources, but it's never explained what the plan entails, and it still hasn't been put into effect yet.
- Glass Cannon: The GTVA's Chimera and Bellerophon corvettes have incredible forward firepower, but are completely helpless should an enemy capital ship get close or approach them from a blindside and do not perform very well during prolonged engagements. They were designed to emulate the Shivan tactic of dropping out of subspace on the enemy's flank and hitting them so hard they can never recover.
- Good Is Not Nice: The UEF can do some pretty sleazy things when they have to.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: In the final mission of Act 3 there are many possible ways this can happen to Laporte.
- Gratuitous Spanish: Gratuitous Catalan actually, "Desperta Ferro!" (literally: "Awake Iron!"), which was the battle cry of the Almogavars, a famed group of mercenaries from the medieval kingdom of Aragon, today a part of Spain.
- Grey and Gray Morality: Each side has a cause they believe in and does some very shady things (though the UEF is notably A Lighter Shade of Grey in most respects, but under the circumstances makes them—and possibly the rest of the GTVA—extremely vulnerable to a Shivan invasion).
- Hazy Feel Turn: Half the 14th Battlegroup's personnel, and three of their ships, defect to the UEF at the end of Age of Aquarius.
- Hello, [Insert Name Here]: Averted. Unlike the original games, the player characters in Blue Planet are defined characters with their own names, personalities, and life stories.
- Heroic Sacrifice: So many times in War in Heaven, on both sides even.
- He Who Fights Monsters:
- Noemi muses that as the war drags on, the United Earth Federation seem to be slowly losing their "Ubuntu" nature and becoming more like the GTVA. For instance, in the beginning, protecting civilians was the UEF's top priority. Near the end of War in Heaven Act II, some have become focused in fighting the GTVA that they considered the civilian caught in between to be "Necessary Losses".
- Act III shows that Laporte is dangerously close to the line after the events of Delenda Est. However, in toeing the line, some others call her "the Fedayeen ideal".
- The GTVA themselves has started to copy Shivan technology and tactics, and even making them several times more effective that they are on the way of becoming the new destroyers.
- Hindu Mythology: The story of Blue Planet is quite obviously influenced by elements of Hindu myths and beliefs.
- His Name Is...:
- The elder you are escorting is killed by GTVA assassins right before he explains the transmission from the Vasudan logistics ship.
- Then in Act 3, there's a complete reversal of the situation where you're the assassin piloting a stealth fighter and tasked with killing a traitorous elder before she reveals important info to Steele.
- Hopeless War: The UEF are completely outmatched by the GTVA. Their weapons technology is woefully behind, and they've been a society of pacifists for decades while the GTVA is a highly militaristic war machine willing to do whatever it takes to survive. On top of that, the GTVA is devoting less than a tenth of their overall fleet assets to this conflict, and they're still steamrolling the UEF, the latter of whom have only a handful of actual victories in nearly two straight years of war. The UEF are primarily hoping on draining the GTVA populace's will to fight and having them cave due to socio-political pressure, as there's no chance of a military victory.
- Hope Spot: War in Heaven likes to toss these out before brutally crushing them.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: Seemingly happen to Kassim in War in Heaven, early on after his first real combat sorties, he frequently strays from his path during missions, and midway he apparently freaked out, may or may not be Go Mad from the Revelation, could be just trauma of war or having visions similar to Laporte. The same thing happened with Lorna Simms shortly after the Rheza Station battle until Laporte beat some sense into her, and again after "Delenda Est".
- Humans Are the Real Monsters and Humans Are Good, with the clash between the two clearly reinforcing that Humans Are Flawed. However, this is far more important than it might initially seem: the Vishnans and Shivans seem to be debating which of the two humanity will turn out to be, or if it's already decided.
- Humans Are Special: Averted. Though the two human protagonists of the series are able to achieve a form of communication with the Shivans and/or Vishnans due to their Nagari sensitivity, it is also apparent that the Vasudans also have N-sensitive individuals as evidenced by the Jester. The Vishnans also state in Age of Aquarius that both races (Humans and Vasudans) exhibited potential, though what this means is not yet clear.
- 100% Completion: Most people will try at some stage, such as making sure almost every friendly capital ships survive, and ensuring the destruction of every single non-plot critical enemy ships.
- Hyperspeed Ambush: Used frequently by both the GTVA and UEF. The GTVA in particular seems to have taken Shivan shock-jumping tactics to heart in both its ship design and warship tactics. Post-Capella GTVA doctrine holds that a warship in reserve is more powerful than one already deployed, as a ship exiting subspace can pick its spot and hit another warship at a weak point with all of its forward guns.
- Icarus Allusion: The name of the first mission (and song) of Act 3, which is an in-game cutscene showing the Wargods being annihilated completely and utterly on the cusp of what was to be their greatest victory.
- Interface Screw: The UEF's favourite tactics to compensate for their lack of brute force is to jam the enemy's beams.
- It Gets Easier: Laporte starts the War in Heaven campaign and her first battle worrying about this very concept. Judging by her actions and personality later on in the campaign, especially act 3, her worries were justified.
- It's Up to You: Averted. Unlike in the original games, trying to do everything yourself instead of using your wingmen tends to end badly. In fact, in several missions in War In Heaven you absolutely must delegate certain objectives to your teammates: winning them on your own is impossible.
- Keystone Army: The Vishnan Sacred Keeper functions as a keystone. Killing a Keeper is not easy, but should one manage it, it will shut down an entire Vishnan fleet instantly.
- Knight Templar: The Wargods as well as those on the Toutatis have become like this near the end, forgetting their Ubuntu principles, especially when hunting the GTD Carthage: not only is Admiral Lopez not exactly a bad person, but they are willing to sacrifice hundreds of civilians in doing so and label them collateral damage.
- Last Stand: Many, The UEFg Yangtze, after its subspace drive is shot out leaving it unable to retreat, turns back towards the GTVA fleet in a desperate, suicidal attack. Age of Aquarius features at least half a dozen of these, with the player alternating between being the Big Damn Heroes or one of the people going down with a fight. Delenda Est, the final mission of the first chapter of War In Heaven is notable for feeling like this for both sides of the battle, simultaneously and throughout. It even features "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner's on both sides at the beginning, middle, and end.
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: The fact that the GTVA is attacking Sol was originally a massive Twist Ending to Age of Aquarius. However, it's almost completely impossible to talk about War in Heaven without mentioning this.
- Lethal Joke Weapon: TAG missiles were known for having a small niche where they were actually more than novelties. But in War In Heaven, where jamming beam weapons' accuracy and coherency is often the only thing preventing UEF ships from getting gutted in short order, getting hit by a TAG missile—which can allow GTVA ships to accurately target UEF ships with their beams—is one of the ultimate Oh Crap! moments. This comes into FULL effect in Delenda Est, whereupon one of your ships realizes with dawning horror—too late—that they've been hit with a TAG missile, and is promptly obliterated in a single shot. That ship was your AWACS ship.
- Lightning Bruiser: The Lao Tze advanced fighter used by the White Guard. The Durga bombers may also count seeing how fast they tear through unfortunate GTVA corvettes that are not fast enough to run.
- The Long Game: The Shivans and Vishnans, while they have an interest in the conflicts of humanity and the Vasudans, are primarily concerned with some kind of impending event in the far future they hope to avert. They have plans literally billions of years in the making, and it may be billions of years more before they pay off. Ultimately, the entire human race is but a single chess piece in a much larger game.
- Macross Missile Massacre + More Dakka: The UEF fighting doctrine, unlike the GTVA which uses powerful beam weapons, involves dakka-venting the enemy ships with multiple railguns and spamming loads of torpedoes at the enemy (hopefully also knocking out several weapons and subsystems). The Solaris is the embodiment of this trope, sporting 12 anti-warship torpedo launchers, each firing 4 torpedoes per salvo, and its railguns are mounted on turrets, allowing it to engage enemies from virtually any direction. In addition, its numerous burst flak and point defence turrets will send any enemy bombers that come close into a Bullet Hell nightmare.
- Made of Indestructium: The Vishnan Preserver and the Shivan Kalki hammer away at each other with anti-fleet beams near the end of Age of Aquarius, but are highly unlikely to reduce the hull integrity of the other vessel to below even three-quarters of its maximum by the end of the mission they are in.
- Magnetic Weapons: The secondary armament of most UEF capital ships (the main armament being the torpedoes).
- Manipulative Bastard: Laporte comes to believe the Vishnans are just using humanity for their own ends, and do not have humanity's best interests in mind. This is also, coincidentally, the position GTVA High Command is taking.
- Meaningful Name: Many, but the one that arguably takes the cake is the second-to-last mission of War in Heaven's second chapter, titled "Delenda Est", and the primary objective in that mission is to destroy the GTD Carthage. In the Roman Republic, the Latin phrase "Carthago delenda est", translated as "Carthage must be destroyed", was very popular during the war against Carthage, an ancient city in current-day Tunisia. The phrase was apparently uttered at the end of almost every single speech by some speakers, even if the topic of the speech was completely unrelated to the war against Carthage. This could say a lot about the UEF's motivations at this point.
- Mental World: War in Heaven Act III shows examples of this in both the Fedayeen dreamscape and the Nagari network.
- Mind Hive: Ken, who is an amalgamation of the captured crew of the Iceni and some Shivan influence. Al-Da'wa is revealed to be something similar: the combined psyche of the Fedayeen.
- Mind Rape: In the Director's Cut re-release of Age of Aquarius, this happens to Samuel Bei as he approaches the SD Lucifer and the Shivan superdestroyer begins some kind of mental assault on him.
- Mind Screw: Pretty much anytime someone is contacted via the Nagari phenomenon. Best displayed in the final mission of War in Heaven Act III.
- Modern Stasis: Or a distinct lack thereof. The GTVA has actually bothered to get off its arse to design and build some new warships and strikecraft after the end of the original campaign. They are also statistically superior to their predecessors. Fortunately the UEF hasn't been slacking off either.
- Mood Whiplash: Partway through reading about the depressing state of affairs in the UEF's war, suddenly you get a kitten picture!
- My Greatest Failure:
- Samuel Bei's inability to save his family during the battle of Capella counts as this.
- Noemi does see her failure to destroy the GTD Carthage, which resulted in the deaths of all the Wargods as this. The survivor's guilt probably contributed to her outlook.
- My Greatest Second Chance: When Noemi goes up against the GTD Carthage again during the second battle of Neptune, she succeeds.
- Necessarily Evil:
- "Nothing is true; everything is permitted", the creed of the Fedayeen. Their reason for existence is to ensure humanity's survival...through any means necessary. If it means teaming up with terrorist organizations, slaughtering allies, attacking innocents, committing war crimes, or even withholding information from the people they are technically working for, then so be it.
- The Shivans are theorized to be something similar for the universe as a whole: they are Destroyers, first and foremost, and admit to it. However, their destruction is believed (at least by themselves) to be for the purpose of culling dangerous elements out of the universe for the sake of everything else's survival. It's particularly telling that, in the Shivan consciousness, "preserve" and "destroy" appear to be the same concept.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The UEF manage to get Admiral Severanti, who was in charge of the invasion, removed from command by making him look like an idiot...giving his reinforcing commander, Admiral Steele, total control of the invasion effort. Where Severanti was a more cautious commander wanting to take Sol's assets intact via slow, grinding attrition, Steele is far more aggressive and would rather bring the hammer down now and get the war over with in a massive full-frontal assault. The sudden change in GTVA overall strategy catches the UEF off-guard and costs them dearly.
- No Endor Holocaust: Averted. The story mentions Earth having to deal with huge amounts of falling debris from orbital battles. The effects of radiation from the megatons of ordnance going off in almost every major battle are also mentioned.
- Not So Different:
- A running theme in Blue Planet so far is that, in defeating the Shivans, the GTVA are starting to dangerously resemble them in a lot of ways. This is most apparent in their new ship designs, which use reverse-engineered Shivan weapons and are quite obviously heavily inspired by Shivan warship designs, and in their new battle tactics, which emulate observed Shivan fleet behavior almost exactly. It's also rather telling that, on the few occasions in Blue Planet that GTVA and Shivan forces meet each other in a straight-up, even fight, the humans almost always win—which means that they may well be on the way to becoming the new Destroyers.
- Think about the war between the GTVA and UEF as a conflict between the Shivan-influenced and Vishnan-influenced branches of humanity. How much of that reflects the conflict between the Shivans and Vishnans themselves?
- Not-So-Imaginary Friend: Noemi often spoke to a voice in her head named "Ken" when she was a child. This lead to lots of therapy and a psychotic episode in her teens, and she became convinced he was just an imaginary friend. She is quite surprised when Ken starts speaking to her again during the war, and briefly fears that she's schizophrenic. Ken is indeed real, though the idea of an alien being directly messing with one's mind across many light-years is arguably just as scary a thought as being schizophrenic.
- Oh Crap!: Pretty much any time a big Shivan capship shows up in Age of Aquarius, and the surprise entrance of the GTD Imperieuse in War in Heaven.
- "Trebuchet strike incoming!"
— Status message shown when any warship (usually friendly and on your escort list) is hit by a TAG-C in War in Heaven.
- Ominous Latin Chanting:
- Numerous missions, most notably the end of Delenda Est when the GTD Imperieuse shows up.
- The Dreamscape music contains an Arabic chant, which turns out to be a prayer praising God as creator of all things.
- Another one is near the end of Her Finest Hour.
- Playing the Heart Strings: The ending of Delenda Est as the Yangtze decides to face the Imperieuse head on after being rendered unable to escape, and promptly gets disintegrated by the Imperieuse's forward beam cannons as its remaining fighters get picked off one by one, all the while a rearranged version of "Still Reprise" from the Black Hawk Down soundtrack plays in the background just to make sure the scene is appropriately sad enough.
- Point Defenseless:
- Refreshingly, the UEF ships actually have fairly (relatively speaking) competent point defense systems compared to the GTA's flak.
- So thoroughly averted that attacking UEF and GTVA cruisers, corvettes, and frigates is going to get you ripped to shreds if you linger more than a short time inside their range. The second mission of War In Heaven starts with you just inside the point-defense range of a GTVA cruiser, and if you don't hit your burners and run away at top speed immediately, it's almost likely for you to die right then and there. It does a nice job of establishing just how averted this trope is.
- Praetorian Guard: The Knights of the White Brotherhood, also known as the White Guard.
- Precursors: The Vishnans are eons old, and are advanced enough to stand up directly to the Shivans on more or less even terms. And they had Precursors named the Brahmans, who are extinct. The Shivans themselves claim to predate even the Brahmans.
- Previous Player-Character Cameo:
Bei: Sublieutenant Laporte. We meet at last.
- Psychic Powers: The "Nagari" phenomenon that is the source of both player characters' visions.
- Punch Clock Villain: Most enemies in War In Heaven, especially the GTD Carthage battlegroup.
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Serkr corvettes. No matter how much you hate them at first, they are properly humanized in their second appearance.
- Ramming Always Works: Averted. Much like in the original games, you're going to need something a lot more powerful than a collision to damage the armor of a warship.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The "Wargods" task force of the UEF is not very glamorous, but it is brutally effective.
- "Reason You Suck" Speech: The Vishnans deliver a fairly epic one to the Shivans (of all people) at the end of Age of Aquarius, essentially telling them that they've screwed up big-time and then to get the hell out of this sector of space. Slightly subverted the Shivans return a three-worded Shut Up, Kirk! and then dish out a Badass Boast in War in Heaven.
- Recursive Ammo: UEF's Slammer missile, which unlike the GTVA counterpart, has homing clusters. Likewise, it has earned an infamous reputation from GTVA pilots.
- Red Baron: Lorna Simms and Karen Ngmei have earned quite a reputation among GTVA pilots, giving them bounties in their heads of unspeakable amount which nobody dares to collect. Laporte also earned one (The Butcher of Rheza) after Darkest Hour.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: In Age of Aquarius, your wingmen Lt. Phillip Corey and Ens. Mina Taylor are blue and red respectively. He's a stoic, very formal by-the-book pilot while she's much more passionate, informal, laidback and eager to kick ass.
- Retired Monster: The nicest, friendliest member of Falcata Wing, The Heart of the squad, is a convicted serial killer who murdered dozens of people, and was conscripted out of prison by Federation black ops.
- Rogue Protagonist: Bei is increasingly in danger of becoming this especially if the Vishnans prove to be as malevolent as the Shivans claim them to be.
- Sacrificial Lamb: Nehru in Age of Aquarius. Actually, depending on player this can either be played straight or averted, since it is (technically) possible to pass the mission with your whole squad alive. Saving Nehru will be noted in the de-briefing, but does not result in any further branching—Lt. Nehru is never seen or heard of afterwards, and the popular consensus is that if he survives he suffers from nervous breakdown and is confined to the sickbay for the remainder of Age of Aquarius.
- Scavenger World: The alternate universe in Age of Aquarius.
- Scenery Porn: Go play any of the Earth Missions in War in Heaven. The view of Earth is beautiful. That is of course, after you may have been a bit weary if you saw the consequences of failing Good Luck in FreeSpace 1 during Age of Aquarius...
- Somebody Set Up Us the Bomb: Laporte finds a nuclear bomb in the freighter Nauticus, one that can blow up an entire comet. Her immediate reply was pretty obvious.
- Spirit Advisor: "Ken" acts as one to Noemi Laporte. Many fans theorized that he is a Shivan speaking to the player. The truth is a bit more complicated than that.
- State Sec: The UEF's Fedayeen are a (more or less) heroic version of this.
- Sting: The ending cinematic of War in Heaven where the Fedayeen come to take Noemi Laporte for a secret mission.
- Stock Scream: Aforementioned Lieutenant Wilhelm Nehru, who uses the famous scream as he dies. The dev team actually had some proper voice acting recordings for his death. However, Nehru happened to be the very last minor character to be voice acted, possibly delaying the release by some time. Hilariously, they decided to use the Wilhelm scream instead of the voice acted lines (the originals were the somewhat more dignified "Not like this...").
- Straight Gay: Noemi Laporte, the Player Character of War in Heaven, as well as her love interest/commanding officer Lorna Simms—two tough, competent, disciplined fighter pilots who just happen to be attracted to their own gender, a fact which is treated as entirely normal and never commented on.
- Survivor Guilt: Laporte definitely shows signs of this after the Wargods' destruction. The final mission of act 3 gives Laporte the option to stay within the memory of Delenda Est until her mind deteriorates beyond repair, due in large part to her anguish over the events of that mission.
- Sword of Damocles: Admiral Byrne has this in mind for his flagship, the Solaris, which also happens to be the lead ship of the Federation's biggest Cool Ship. His other colleagues do not share the same strategy.
- Talking in Your Dreams: The Fedayeen Dreamscape uses the Nagari phenomenon to allow its members to share experiences and thoughts while asleep.
- Techno Babble: What Laporte gets when she manages to access the Shivan thought-network. It is meaningful, but good luck puzzling it out:
bi-polar defect-strategy conflict underway; anticipated xenocide and defect-hegemon outbreak (protocol failure)
- The Unreveal: Just before Elder Taudigani could tell Laporte the secret of the transmission she received from the Vasudans, GTVA stealth fighters appear out of nowhere and destroy her shuttle.
- Up to Eleven: "One of [those ships] is definitely Shivan, sir. The other looks to be Vishnan. Both ships exceed juggernaut specifications by at least fivefold!"
- Unfriendly Fire: Laporte and the other Fedayeen pilots are forced to do this to some Second Fleet pilots who happen to stumble upon a black ops.
- The Slow Walk: The assault on the Agincourt starts with this, also when breaking through the Hood's blockade.
- íThree Amigos!: Bei, Taylor, and Corey in Age of Aquarius. Brie, Kassim, and Laporte in War in Heaven Act 1.
- Time Abyss: The Shivans, who apparently first appeared 5 billion years ago. They, however, claim that they are eternal, and they were "sleeping" prior to that.
- Unexpected Genre Change: The later missions of the campaign include a long chain of stealth missions, a strategy mission, and a mission that consists entirely of a Tower Defense minigame; Act 3 ends on a lengthy psychological-horror segment in which you do not engage in any combat at all.
- Unexplained Recovery: Samuel Bei. He appears to die after the Vishnan Sacred Keeper explodes, with his soul even appearing to be going through a reincarnation process... and then he wakes up back on the Orestes, his body apparently having been found, barely alive, floating near the Ross 128 node.
- Updated Re-release: The Director's Cut of Age of Aquarius.
- Victorious Chorus: The ending of Aristeia in which the Toutatis has just curb-stomped the Hood and the Wargods have captured a GTVA logistics ship, delaying the Alliance attack on Earth by about a few months and scoring the Federation it's biggest victory in the war so far. What follows is this musical piece as Admiral Calder announces his intention to take the fight back to Steele.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential:
- You can take a hostage in the mission For All the Wrong Reasons in War in Heaven and threaten or even murder her.
- Or if you are such a bloodthirsty bastard, make sure you equip some anti-subsystem weapons and use them to destroy the engines of enemy ships (most of the time, they just let them go) to ensure their destruction.
- Act 3 cranks this up to eleven. In the first mission alone you can detonate some hostage pilots you're using for a strike after they outlive their usefulness, and destroy your own UEF fighters who's only crime was stumbling into your black ops mission and seeing too much. In another mission, you can choose to destroy the GTD Carthage after Admiral Lopez surrenders.
- Voice of the Legion: The Vishnans and, as of War in Heaven Act 3, the Shivans too. It has the effect of making them sound impressive and awe-inspiring rather than sinister.
- War Is Hell: War In Heaven features this trope in abundance. However, it is done in unusual ways: it's so much worse, because both sides are full of good people who are in no way evil, forced to kill each other in droves. Little tastes of peace make the war so much more horrific and tragic. Both sides want the war over as soon as possible, but both sides have good reasons for not wanting to be on the losing side when the dust settles.
- The War Sequence: Universal Truth from Age of Aquarius, and Aristeia, Delenda Est, and Her Finest Hour from War in Heaven.
- Wave Motion Gun: Terran beams have received suitable names in this mod, the most imposing being the Crypt Hammer.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Samuel Bei was never forgiven by his father for failing to protect his mother from being killed by the Shivans. Admiral Bei eventually forgave him over the course of Age of Aquarius. Their reconciliation was more or less complete after the destruction of the SJ Sathanas.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Based on what little has been revealed of Shivan and Vishnan objectives, they may fall under this trope. Both of them have plans to avert some kind of looming cataclysm. They appear to be currently arguing on whether humanity's continued existence is beneficial or detrimental to those plans. Ironically, it's the Vishnans that appear to be leaning towards wiping out humanity, whereas the Shivans seem to believe that humanity should be preserved.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The sleeper ship Sanctuary, along with its entire crew, simply disappears between the events of Age of Aquarius and War in Heaven and is never mentioned again. So are the fellow GTVA defectors in the GTL Solace, GTCv Labouchere, and GTC Duke who decided to follow Admiral Bei. However, the Solace is given a passing mention by Admiral Netreba after the Agincourt is escorted well behind Federation lines. It appears that both ships are being used in some capacity for Byrne's project.
- What If?: Think of the Federation's weaponry as a logical evolution of the Great War-era GTA, which were developed without the advent of beam weapon technology. This results in an interesting balance, as the Federation's weapons of mass give them superb point-defences and anti-subsystem capabilities, while the Alliance has greater overall stopping power at range due to their development of heavy beam weaponry which, unlike torpedoes and missiles, are impossible to shoot down.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- The UEFg Hesperia bungles a truce up. Badly.
- A lot of people are calling the GTVA on this in regard to their invasion of Sol.
- And Noemi delivers one to Samuel Bei himself.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: Admirals Calder and Byrne on the UEF side play this against Admiral Steele of the GTVA. But they're Out-Gambitted: Admiral Calder's big trap for Admiral Lopez is just taking the bait for Admiral Steele's even bigger trap.
- You Are in Command Now: How Admiral Netreba obtained his position apparently.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In Act 3 you can do this to captured Gef pilots once you are finished with them.
- You Shall Not Pass:
- Zerg Rush:
- The preferred way the Gaian Effort deal with their enemies, such as on mission 5 (3 of you versus about 15-20 of them) and mission 13 (2 veteran pilots and 4 elite guards against endless wave of them).
- One way to win "Her Finest Hour" is to order a fighter/bomber Zerg Rush on the Carthage near the end of the mission, although chances are you'll lose a lot of units in doing so.