The War against the Strogg is a large-scale intergalactic conflict between humanity and the Strogg. The war began when the Strogg invaded Earth intent on harvesting humanity only to be forced into retreat following a decisive Global Defense Force victory which saw the human race band together to defeat the alien foe. The Terran Coalition of Man, a branch of the Global Defense Force serving as an expeditionary force, then launched a counter-invasion of the Strogg homeworld of Stroggos in retaliation.
Since the nightmarish events of the conflict in the mysterious other dimension humanity has been thrust into an intergalactic war with the Strogg. By the mid-21st century humanity is fighting for its survival against the hostile alien threat seeking to end the Strogg once and for all by invading their homeworld. It was initially believed that the Strogg intended to strip Earth of its natural resources but it was discovered they actually came seeking one thing - humanity itself. It became clear that the Strogg were harvesting injured human soldiers in order to augment their armies. The Strogg would "stroggify" captured human soldiers biomechanically altering them by attaching machinery and weapons onto their bodies to turn them into mindless soldiers. Any soldier unfortunate enough would be turned into a cyborg-like soldier engineered to be mindlessly obedient to the Strogg.
Before the War
In the years before the war began Mankind was advancing at a steady pace. A supranational organization by the name of the Global Defense Force had been formed from the military forces of several nations and relief groups to combat terrorism and keep peace in unstable regions. This organization was also responsible for providing a rapid and effective response to natural disaster serving as a humanitarian aid agency as well as unified military force. However, peace remained illusive with reports of terrorist attacks in Beijing, Reykjavik and Tokyo circulating shortly before the war began.
At this time there was a human colony on Mars indicating that large-scale spaceflight was beginning to become a reality. In addition to this colony, at least one new space station had been built and named for Ferdinand Magellan - a famous Portuguese explorer of the 16th century. It was most likely situated in near Earth orbit.
Elsewhere in the galaxy the Strogg, in their constant hunt for fresh species to forcibly assimilate, discovered Earth and deemed it worthy of further investigation. It is likely that the Strogg sent reconnaissance craft into Earth's solar system to gather information in an initial effort to learn more and to plant a, or perhaps more than one, Strogg Slipgate in strategic orbital positions to allow the main Strogg fleet to use the element of surprise to catch its prey unaware. This would allow their fleet to arrive without warning commencing the invasion before humanity was even aware of their presence.
It is not known how these initial reconnaissance craft, or the Slipgate seen orbiting Earth, traveled the immense distance from Stroggos to Earth without using a pre-existing Slipgate. But it is possible that Earth had been selected as a target several centuries earlier and that the Slipgate had been transported to its location by a craft traveling at a relatively standard speed. However, the Strogg are known to use highly advanced technology meaning that they could have ships capable of hyperspace travel.
A report from an unidentified news agency on Earth, broadcast mere days before war erupted, indicated that the Martian colony had been abandoned and that plans were being considered to re-establish it. The report went on to state that the colony's abandonment had "nothing to do with the arrival of the mysterious aliens in the Solar System". The report itself may have been informed by a government press release seeking to cover up the details of the Martian colony's fate.
Immediately before the Strogg fleet's arrival radio telescope arrays operated by SETI detected transmissions of unknown non-terrestrial origin coming from just outside the asteroid belt around the solar system. The head of SETI was to hold a press conference concerning these transmissions but may not have been able to do so before the Strogg attacked.
Shortly after the arrival of the Strogg the Magellan Space Station was destroyed by the enormous fleet which had arrived via a carefully positioned Slipgate and the war on Earth began.
The War on Earth
"Like flaming meteors, their crafts pounded into the Earth and unbelievably, these bio-mechanical aliens... these hideous cyborgs... swarmed out while their ships still sizzled with reentry heat. They killed or captured anything that lived." - SSgt. Bitterman, TCM Marine, recalling the first days of the war.
Despite the recent announcement by SETI of the detection of non-terrestrial radio signals originating just outside the Solar System's asteroid belt, the emergence of a Strogg Slipgate in Earth orbit, which soon activated, pouring forth hundreds of hostile Strogg spaceships, took the whole world by surprise.
The military forces of Earth were immediately put on the defensive, blind panic quickly engulfing the general population, as dozens of Strogg spaceships entered the Earth's atmosphere and released their baleful armies of gruesome cybernetic warriors upon the Human race.
As the invasion began in earnest, much of the Strogg fleet remained in orbit around the Earth, likely monitoring Human communications, selecting target zones for HQ establishments, assaults and harvesting, and transporting prisoners and pieces thereof either to factory ships or back through the Slipgate to the Strogg home world.
It isn't known how many people were taken in the first days and weeks of the war.
Initially, the Strogg held a distinct advantage; the element of surprise was firmly on their side, they possessed numerous distinct technological advantages over the Human forces, and they held the ultimate high ground - space supremacy. However, the Humans were resilient and resourceful, deploying their military forces around the world and successfully managing to prolong the war, buying themselves time wherever and whenever they could.
The cost in lives was high, however, as Strogg spaceships in low Earth orbit were bombarding Man's great cities with missiles and enormous laser beams, and when they weren't destroying them, they were deploying armies in and around them to kill and/or capture their civilian and military inhabitants.
Mankind was not about to die quickly or quietly, the weeks turning into months turning into years, the tenacious people of Earth pouring their hearts and souls into the fight for survival.
Over time, the forces of the GDF began racking up some significant victories over the Strogg - shutting down planetside facilities they were converting into Stroggification and Stroyent production plants, for example. They also started capturing important alien technologies as enemy forces were intercepted and defeated upon arrival, including: weaponry, armor, Slipgates and spaceships.
"We figured that the Strogg were after our planet’s resources: minerals, metals, and water: things like that. But their onboard storage facilities did little to disguise what they considered to be resources: fleshy limbs and organs for new cyborgs, and of course, food." - SSgt. Bitterman, TCM Marine, recalling the hideous discoveries made by those given the unenviable task of boarding captured Strogg ships.
However grim the discoveries made aboard captive Strogg spaceships were, their acquisition proved to be an invaluable asset to Mankind's war effort. Human scientists and technicians, intelligent and highly adaptable, used all of their skills to learn more about the alien menace, its intent and technologies, and the location of its far-away home world, through the captured technologies. In this way, the means to the Strogg's ultimate undoing was eventually uncovered.
Despite the victories and adapted technologies, however, the war would still last for years, seeing the destruction of almost every great city on Earth, and the killing or capturing of untold millions of people. It was only by sacrificing countless lives and draining the planet's resources that the Humans were eventually able to drive the Strogg off-world, and then out of the Solar System entirely.
Its collective experience with the Strogg shook the whole Human race to its core, and left its home world burnt and forever scarred. The Humans knew that the Strogg would not leave the Earth alone now that they were aware of its wealth of fleshy resources. People everywhere were terrified and convinced of the likelihood of a renewed, far more ferocious invasion, which would surely be the definitive end of all Mankind. However, the people of Earth were also grimly determined to have their revenge on the Strogg, to avenge their countless horrendous losses, to deliver payback for devastating the Earth and its people so profoundly.
The Strogg had made the war personal for every Human being.
The First Invasion of Stroggos
When the Strogg homeworld was located, the humans' newly constituted Terran Coalition of Man (TCM), the interstellar retaliatory expeditionary force arm of the Global Defense Force (GDF), conceived a daring, high risk operation to exact vengeance upon the Strogg for the unprovoked Strogg war on Earth: A two stage invasion.
First Invasion: The Plan
The first TCM forces to be dispatched would arrive via Slipgate in two large troop-carrying ships, the Phobos and the Deimos, carrying tens or hundreds of thousands of troops, accompanied by several small reconnaissance craft, and an undisclosed number of fighter and bomber craft.
The troop carrier ships would arrive in Stroggos' orbit and launch their payloads: Thousands of (million dollar) Drop Pods, which would descend swiftly to the surface of the world. The Strogg's defenses, blind to the Pods, wouldn't even know that they were there.
Side Note: It has never been stated whether the Phobos and Deimos were equipped with similar stealth technologies, to mask the Human presence entirely, but seems unlikely that vessels so large could remain hidden for long.
The Human forces would reunite on the planet's surface and, aided by the element of surprise, quickly complete numerous important objectives, such as the neutralization of the Stroggos global defense network, the destruction of the Strogg's ability to travel to Earth, and the assassination of their leadership.
In this manner, the way would be paved for stage two of the invasion to commence.
That was the plan, at least.
First Invasion: The Reality
However well conceived the TCM believed its war plans were, they contained monumental miscalculations, which would lead to certain calamity. They did not appear to anticipate, for example, that Stroggos' global defense network would be able to detect Human aerospace-craft equipped with stealth technologies, or that it was capable of trapping ships in orbit with an artificial gravity well projector.
Included in the Strogg defenses' inventive arsenal was an energy weapon of tremendous size and power, which towered over the surrounding Stroggos landscape. A long-range weapon designed with the intent of softening up (or even crippling) hostile forces approaching Stroggos, and dubbed the "Big Gun" by TCM commanders, it was capable of firing powerful bolts of energy several hundred miles into space from the relative safety of the world's surface.
In addition to its primary function, it was also equipped to wreak havoc among enemy forces which survived long enough to enter Stroggos' atmosphere and directly threaten the surface. The main gun would be quite ineffective at such a close range, so it was outfitted with a secondary weapon; one better suited to deal with in-atmosphere targets. It was an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (E.M.P.) weapon. It could emit powerful, targeted E.M.P. bursts, which would disable any unshielded electrical devices within its effective range (which, while not known, likely did not extend beyond the atmosphere). Unfortunately, this would include the incoming Human Drop Pod invasion force which, despite believing itself to be undetected by the Strogg defense networks, was very much in their sights. Much of the force was consequently targeted by the Big Gun's E.M.P. weapon while en-route to the surface.
Suddenly powerless, all of the affected pods suddenly found themselves flying on ballistic trajectories, although some of lucky pilots would quickly gain manual flight control. Scattering across a huge area of the planet's surface, many soldiers would crash land miles from their designated landing and rendezvous zones. Disoriented, confused and very often totally isolated from friendly forces, the Human Marines were ill prepared for the Strogg forces, which were waiting for them. An alarmingly high proportion of the Marines would not make it far from their pods' impact sites before being killed or captured by overwhelming enemy numbers. Those taken alive were subjected to several grim fates; imprisonment and torture, medical experimentation, Stroggification or being turned into the closest thing the Strogg have to food or medicine: Stroyent.
A lucky few managed to remain alive and even free for a time, evading or killing any Strogg they encountered. A luckier few even banded together with other lost Marines and tried to reach others or complete their assigned objectives as best they could, but the numbers of free Humans on the surface were too low to inflict the levels of the damage or to complete the objectives command expected of them. With every passing hour, hope for the first invasion faded.
Only a relative handful of Marines survived the initial landing operation; one such Marine was sent many miles to the south of his squad's designated Landing Zone (LZ) by an in-flight collision with a fellow Marine's pod. He eventually crashed into the outer edge of a lightly guarded Strogg base complex.
The survivor, nicknamed Bitterman, found himself in the nightmare predicament of being isolated from friendly forces on an unimaginably hostile world, but soon found himself leading his own one-man campaign against the might of the Strogg. His squad's primary target was the Big Gun; a key component of the Strogg's primary defense system. Accessing and destroying the Big Gun was a top priority, as its elimination would guarantee relatively safe passage for the follow-up Human invasion forces, and make aerial superiority over Stroggos an attainable goal.
The assassination of the Makron, an entity identified as the leader of the Strogg, was another central objective for Bitterman and the rest of the TCM ground forces. In a long and daring operation, against all odds, the lone Marine succeeded in no less than all of his assigned objectives; removing a huge laser grid barring access to a vast Strogg industrial region, shutting down a horrifying Strogg creation factory, destroying the Big Gun, as well as severely hampering the Strogg's ability to wage an effective interplanetary war and keep its air forces operational. Bitterman went on to achieve the impossible: the assassination of the Makron, which retreated from its palace complex to a hitherto unknown command center, built into an asteroid in orbit above the world. Its death triggered the base's self-destruct sequence, but Bitterman managed to narrowly avoid death by taking an escape pod back to Stroggos' surface. He is currently listed as M.I.A. by the TCM.
Despite the Strogg being eerily well prepared for the Human assault, and despite the cruelly high casualty figures for Mankind, critically important objectives had been achieved: The Makron was dead, Strogg forces were presumed leaderless and in disarray, the Big Gun's destruction had blown a huge hole in Stroggos' planetary defense network, planetside defense grids were down, Strogg air superiority was dealt a tremendous blow, and industrial operations in several areas were halted or destroyed. Mankind had gained an invaluable window of opportunity.
Another Marine involved in the invasion, nicknamed Joker, and his squad (all Special Forces Commandos), were tasked with locating and destroying a Strogg counter-fleet, laying in wait for the expected Human invasion fleet to become trapped in Stroggos' orbit. Joker's drop pod, like Bitterman's, also suffered a mid-flight collision. However, unlike Bitterman, Joker's was clipped by a small asteroid, rather than a fellow Marine's drop pod. Joker's pod crash landed in a swampy region dubbed the "Badlands," only a mile or so outside of the facility in which the rest of his squad was to rendezvous.
The Marine forces intended to assist Joker's squad were scattered far and wide across the Badlands and Strogg facilities beyond, just as they were everywhere else, and as he proceeded to rejoin his team, he found body after body. Joker's ability to meet with his remaining squad-mates was delayed by having to find a way past a laser defense grid protecting the facility from the Badlands' remaining wildlife. The delay would prove fatal to his squad-mates; by the time he reached them, they were being executed by heavily armed Strogg guards in the facility they were supposed to infiltrate. This terrible event left Joker to carry out his assigned mission on his own, which he did, making his way through several large Strogg facilities in the Badlands, en-route obtaining mission-critical intelligence which pointed him toward his primary objective.
Making his way through the various facilities, Joker began encountering previously-unknown, stronger, more lethal Strogg variants in alarming numbers, along with some experimental Strogg weaponry. His harrowing, odds-defying one-man crusade eventually brought him to a Strogg spaceport, wherein he was able to board, capture and prevent the self-destruction of an enemy cargo spaceship ferrying supplies to a hidden base on one of Stroggos' moons.
Once aboard the lunar base, Joker had the hardest fight of his life ahead of him. Determined to see his mission to the bitter end and pumped up on adrenaline, the Strogg forces standing in his way, including the base's Commander (none other than a Strogg Warlord strongly resembling their leader; the Makron) were picked apart piece by bloodstained piece. Joker went on to sabotage the base's Geothermal Reactor, causing it to melt down, destroying the entire base complex and wrecking the Strogg counter-fleet before it could depart.
Joker escaped by boarding a Human drop ship, waiting for him in one of the facility's hangar bays, mere minutes before the destruction of the base, and was taken, bloody and exhausted, back to the waiting Phobos.
After the launch of the human marines' main Drop Pod invasion force, the Phobos and Deimos attempted to pull away from the planet, but were unable to do so, thanks to an alarming increase in the planets gravitational pull. The gravitational anomaly was caused by a freshly activated Gravity Well Generator - a devious machine created by the Strogg to pin enemy vessels in place, where they could overwhelm and destroy them. The two Human capital ships became trapped in orbit as a result, and a large number of Marines en-route to the planet's surface were subsequently redirected to destroy the source of the trap.
While the pods were still in-flight, and prior to the Big Gun's EMP detonation, Strogg Gorgon fighters rose up to engage the command ships, their fighters and their just-launched pods. The drop pods were given orbital covering fire from their command ships, one particular enemy fighter being shot down with a marine's pod close behind it. The downed Gorgon's impact into Stroggos' surface blew a sizable hole into the ground, causing the trailing pod, still following it (perhaps in some way affected by the Big Gun's EMP, as it was by now many miles off-course), to break through the surface of Stroggos and into the periphery of an underground mining complex, several miles north-north-west of Bitterman's pod's outer base landing site.
This pod's occupant, nicknamed Stepchild, would proceed to fight his way through and out of the mines, disabling a large tectonic plate-stabilizing device along the way (which would have repercussions for Strogg facilities many miles away). On the surface he would manage to cripple the Strogg's ground-to-air communications (not far from the base Bitterman crashed into), and followed this victory up by travelling north-east towards an experimental fighter hangar, securing the fighter for transit off-world. His hard-fought ticket home secured, Stepchild's primary objective took priority, leading him to a munitions plant. There he created an Anti-Matter Bomb, which he was to use to destroy the Gravity Well. The Well was guarded by a creature dubbed the Black Widow Guardian, which was tenacious in battle, but ultimately defeated. The anti-matter bomb was planted, Stepchild returned to the hangar and flew the captured fighter back to the command ships. The resulting explosion destroyed the Gravity Well and devastated the surrounding area, possibly including the southern military base complexes which Stepchild and Bitterman both fought through.
At this point, very few marines were retrievable; over 95% of the force sent down was killed or captured, making Stepchild and Joker two of the lucky handful of marines to survive. Bitterman's current state is as yet unknown; all the TCM knows is that he was alive and in one piece immediately after returning to the surface of Stroggos.
With the Gravity Well gone, the Phobos and the Deimos were able to pull away from Stroggos, allowing the TCM's second invasion wave to commence its attack.
The Second Invasion of Stroggos
The plan for the second stage of the invasion was simple: With Stroggos' defenses down, its leadership beheaded, and its ability to launch a retaliatory invasion at Earth crippled, a second, far larger invasion would be launched. This time, the war plans dictated that an entire fleet would descend upon the Strogg home world, fresh from Earth, armed to the teeth and eager to fight.
Second Invasion: The Plan
The second invasion fleet, far larger than the first, will enter the Stroggos Solar System and proceed to maneuver into orbit around Stroggos, combating threats as they arise, immediately dispatching dozens of smaller craft into the planetary atmosphere to deliver initial ground teams and armor. These teams will link up and clear their designated areas of all hostile forces, bringing down any identified anti-aircraft units and, wherever possible, link up with surviving units from the first invasion wave.
From there, with a beachhead established and the Strogg still in disarray, the situation will be assessed and fresh orders will be issued. All going well, troop ships loaded with men, armor and supplies will begin the descent dispatched to the surface, and the enemy will be put to flight.
Again, that was the plan...
Second Invasion: The Reality
The TCM/SMC managed to successfully exploit the opportunity afforded by the unlikely success of several members of its initial invasion wave, launching its much larger second invasion of Stroggos, firm in its belief that it would soon finish off the Strogg once and for all.
Unfortunately for High Command, eradicating the Strogg was to prove to be much more complicated and arduous a task than they had anticipated. The Strogg showed themselves time and again to be a great deal more resilient than the Humans had hoped, and they had not only selected a new Makron, but their military forces were utilizing a much more advanced system of tactical co-ordination than the Humans, known as the Strogg Communication Network.
An elite and renowned SMC squad, "Rhino Squad", the best of the best by all accounts, was thus entrusted with a high priority mission that the Humans' commanders believed would neutralize the Strogg Communication Network, thereby cutting off the Strogg soldiers from their commanders, sending their whole war effort spinning into disarray.
The mission involved shutting down a technological marvel known as the Nexus, which the Humans, even while possessing little verifiable information on it, knew to be vital to Strogg communications. Rhino Squad's target was one of the Strogg's central communication hubs, called the Tetranode, which they believed an E.M.P. Bomb could neutralize. This action, it was thought, would effectively bring down the Nexus and, by extension, cripple the entire Strogg Communication Network. During the squad's mission briefing, the Nexus was described as the Strogg's "strength, but also their Achilles Heel".
Although Rhino Squad succeeded in reaching the Tetranode, after much hard fighting, their luck eventually ran out while inside the facility. The E.M.P. bomb was, just before activation, destroyed by the sudden appearance of a traveling Harvester.
Matthew Kane, Rhino Squad's new recruit and scout, who was the only squad member left uninjured in the incident, was given the responsibility of destroying the Tetranode manually, with the assistance of Squad Technician Johann Strauss; a brilliant engineer with a deep and intuitive knowledge of Strogg technology. At Strauss' direction, Kane was in the process of deactivating the cooling systems, the object being to overheating the Tetranode allowing it to destroy itself. Unfortunately, the newly installed Makron arrived on the scene just before Kane could complete his objective, surprising everyone and forcing the retreat of the Human forces in the facility. Matthew Kane did not make it out, and he was presumed K.I.A.
An unspecified period of time later, during an assault by multiple squads (including his own) on a large Strogg medical complex/processing factory, Kane was discovered to be not only alive, but also undergoing Stroggification; on his way to becoming a Tactical Strogg. Since the Neurocyte implanted in his brain had not yet been activated, following his rescue at the hands of Rhino Squad, he was able to retain full mental and physical control of himself, despite having the augmented physical abilities which Strogg Tactical units possess.
His unlikely and unexpected return to the fold, following a harrowing sojourn through the medical facility, through a large construction site and then through the unsanitary bowels of a Stroyent creation and dispersal facility, offered his commanders and his species a startling new opportunity: They would use him to breach Strogg barriers, using their Teleportation and other systems to ultimately punch past multiple high grade Strogg security teams into the recently discovered central Nexus Core tower, which High Command had designated a primary target for all available Human forces.
There Kane assassinated the second Makron, in an eerie repetition of the events that drew a successful close to the first Human invasion, and then destroyed the Nexus itself, revealed to be an enormous brain-like structure which the Strogg had been using all along to brilliantly co-ordinate their entire military force via the Strogg Communication Network.
The end result of this Human victory is that the Strogg are now fighting at a severe disadvantage compared to Human forces, since the Human Marines did not have need for such an all-pervasive control system as the Nexus to manage all of their units and strategies.
While the Strogg still had the Nexus, the Human armies were consistently being out-thought and outmaneuvered. However, because each and every Strogg was incorporated into and controlled like the network of the now-destroyed Nexus, and with the new Makron dead, the suddenly, jarringly independent Strogg armies have been severely crippled, as no individual Strogg has been known to have the same degree of tactical independence and initiative as a typical Human soldier has.
Because the Strogg are a particularly resilient enemy, the war is still ongoing, and is not expected to end soon. Although the destruction of the Nexus did not mark an immediate end to the war, it is likely that it marked the beginning of the end for the Strogg. And though it is likely that only the death of every last Strogg, and the capture or destruction of every hostile facility on Stroggos, will provide their conclusive and final defeat, the decisive Human victory in the Battle of the Nexus means that the foreseeable remainder of the war is likely to be little more than a large mop-up operation against displaced and disorganized threats.