Area Fifty-Two is the final mission in the Zero Hour USA campaign. In this mission, American forces had to capture Dr. Thrax's toxin missile launchers before he could launch them against a major US city or military base.
Learning that Dr. Thrax was the de-facto leader of the GLA, the US had proceeded to cut his supplies and production. After blowing up the oil field providing Thrax's toxin production, the Americans received satellite intel of Thrax's current location and that Thrax was preparing the launch of a chemical ICBM against a major city. The US response to this was its signature "shock-and-awe campaign".
Missile Attack at Toxin Bunkers
Above the Earth, satellite reconnaissance had successfully located the exact location of the toxin bunkers. Six Tomahawk cruise missiles subsequently were able to strike the bunkers and wiped out all of the defending GLA forces in close proximity to them.
|“|| We will lend you our aid to rid us of this toxin monger. His obsession will kill us all! And that, we cannot allow.|
- Rebelling GLA Commander
Whilst establishing their base of operations and defenses, the Humvees made a small patrol of the surrounding area and found a standard but well-built GLA base just over the hill of the American positions. The Humvees immediately rushed in to prevent any strikes from the GLA but, in a surprise twist, the GLA commander in the base decided to rebel and lend their arsenals to the Americans after realising that Dr. Thrax had descended into insanity, effectively defecting from the terrorist organisation.
Dr. Thrax was not swayed by this act of treason however, and immediately sent his Toxin Rebels, Scorpion Tanks and Toxin Tractors to assault the US base and the GLA defectors. The American General kept his infantry back from the fatal chemicals and let the Fire Bases and Patriot Missile Batteries do the work. The GLA defectors though needed to use their tanks and vehicles to defend their base since the crews of the Stinger Sites were vulnerable to the toxins. As the raids continued, Lieutenant Eva displayed the amount of time left before Dr. Thrax could finish fueling the rockets and launch them.
With only 30 minutes remaining to capture all four launch facilities, the Americans quickly deployed their air force to weaken Dr. Thrax's defences. The new Bunker Busters upgrade for the Stealth Fighters proved useful to the American forces since it could clear garrisoned buildings from the air without the exposing Rangers on the ground deadly toxin sprayers wielded by Thrax's Rebels. As the US and the GLA defectors built up their respective forces, the American General sent a commando team of Colonel Burton and Jarmen Kell to scout the area for enemy units and tech structures. The tech structures were captured by the US rangers and defecting rebels while the commandos located a Scud Storm each in the two Thrax bases defending the launch facilities. The US countered them with their own Scud Storm and Particle Cannon superweapons both used to destroy Thrax's Scud Storms and weaken the bases even further.
Dr. Thrax's last stand
The US decided to hit Thrax's bases simultaneously: the GLA defectors would send their force to the north-east Thrax base, while the Americans would strike at Thrax's main stronghold in the north-west area.
The GLA defectors made their way to their destination where they were also assigned to capture or destroy a radar Control Bunker that was vital for the ICBM's destination. However their strike force was met with some casualties when their scouting parties were destroyed by demo traps, designed to contaminate the ground around them for a short time. Not wanting to risk any more unpleasant surprises, they brought in a Radar Van and sentry drones lent by the Americans to detect and destroy more traps. This was about the only major problem the defectors had though as their targeted base had fewer defenses. Nonetheless, the GLA defectors destroyed the base while they captured the control bunker and two of the four launching facilities.
The US forces however had a tougher time as Thrax's main stronghold was much more heavily defended. The stingers and small rockets were upgraded with toxin warheads that deal more damage to the vehicles and left behind deadly toxins on impact. Indeed, even US planes outfitted with the Countermeasure upgrade suffered much damage. These upgraded stingers additionally also shot down every Tomahawk missile launched against them before it even arrived halfway to their designated targets. The stinger crews were still no match to the Pathfinder snipers stationed inside Humvees nonetheless, allowing the Tomahawk launchers and Crusader Tank platoons to finish the job.
Defiant to the end, even with his defences breached, the mad GLA scientist sent everything he had against the American strike team. A massive tank battle ensured between the Crusaders and the Scorpion-Marauder tank force inside the compound. The odds were always the Americans' favour though as the US had the firepower and technology to turn Thrax's tanks into scrap metal. With time ticking away, the Humvees carrying the Rangers rushed ahead to capture the last two launch facilities.
Dr. Thrax's elimination
As the launch facilities were captured, the Americans destroyed all of Thrax's base structures. Thrax's Command Center was the last to be destroyed. His body was later found by US forces beneath the rubble. Though none is what it all seems to Dr. Thrax's death.
|“|| By land, sea and air, American troops head home, battle weary but proud. And as the smoke clears, perhaps we are a step closer to lasting peace.|
- James Seabury
With the world safe once more from the threat of the GLA, the US military once more demonstrated its power by halting the threat of global terrorism. The GLA was but a shadow of itself; fragmented once again with Dr. Thrax's death, with splinter factions and warlords now fighting each other for control of the organisation. US celebrations were premature however, as they would soon learn that the GLA was far from finished with the rise of Deathstrike.
Initially,build a defensive position on your base. Then find the defectors and capture the Oil Derrick nearby and another derrick near the village.
Build a force of Quad Cannons,Paladins,Marauder Tank and Humvees filled with Pathfinders and Missile Defenders. Build as many as 5 Particle Uplink Cannons and 3 SCUD Storms to soften Thrax's defenses.
Then slowly, eliminate and secure Thrax's forces. He will not activate the countdown until you enter his base. His defenders are strong,but you can overwhelm them by putting Spy Drones and Spy Sat Uplink on areas.
Your mission is to capture the 4 ICBM launch units,it is optional to capture the launch control facility nearby.
- The player can essentially train up to two Jarmen Kells by having one of Thrax's workers (trained from a captured Supply Stash) build a Barracks and Palace. Thrax's Jarmen Kell cannot however, ride Combat cycles.
|“|| Your betrayal has not gone unnoticed. You will burn with the infidels you now assist! May your son's camels swell with virulants!|
- Dr. Thrax
- Thrax has three voice lines for this mission that mainly taunt the player and the rebelling GLA Commander, but are left unused in the final game.
|“|| Thank you for releasing me. Transport me to my base to the east and I can help you.|
- Captured Rebel commander
- Unused audio and World Builder waypoints suggest that the rebelling GLA forces would only join the player once they managed to successfully rescue their captured commander. The Rebel was held in the base struck by Tomahawk missiles in the intro cutscene. The "prison cage" itself that is used to hold the Rebel commander is still present in the final game.
- This mission marks the only time that the GLA allies themselves with the USA. (Even though they are most likely defectors)
- This is the only time-related mission to start without the countdown timer. However, after certain amount of time (especially if the player cannot make any substantial progress), Eva will display the countdown timer of 30 minutes. China's Liberation (where the timer is in the form of International Opinion) and Defending The Fire and GLA's Sneak Attack mission all have the timer indicating certain objectives from the start.
- GLA defectors has their Generals' Promotion available within Command Center and through their Arms Dealer and Barracks. The player can build Marauder tank, Hijacker, SCUD launcher, and veteran Technical (from Technical Training Generals' promotion). The GLA Command Center has Anthrax Bomb and level 3 of Rebel Ambush (16 rebels) available for the Player, but these Generals' promotion must be used from the GLA Command Center and not from the side bar, or at USA Command Center. With the assignment of Generals' promotion points, GLA defectors commander shall have 8 points and is likely at the rank of 5-star general (who normally have 7 points except if one promotion was available from the outset and does not count towards such points, such as Sneak Attack when GLA commanders face General Alexis Alexander in Generals' Challenge).
- Toxin Rebel in this mission has particular interests. A few of them, in heroic rank, are disguised (using Camouflage) near every missile launchers and is able to place Booby Traps (something the Players can also acquire by upgrading Camouflage and Booby Traps then capture or build Thrax's Barracks and deploy Toxin Rebels from there). In Generals' Challenge, Thrax's Toxin Rebels cannot place Booby Traps and cannot be upgraded with Camouflage by its own (except if they acquired Command Center of Prince Kassad and construct the tech tree that will always have the Camouflage, or they acquired vanilla GLA tech tree and upgrade it from the Palace).