The Ascension Conflict, also known as the Fourth Tiberium War, was a short war between extremists of the Global Defense Initiative and the Brotherhood of Nod which followed the Incursion War, and lasted barely over a week. The resulting conflict saw the activation of the Tiberium Control Network, leading to the final dissipation of Tiberium and Kane's Ascension. However, while brief, many lost their lives during the conflict.
An Uneasy Alliance
In the aftermath of the Third Tiberium War, Nod's AI LEGION acquired the Tacitus forcibly from the Global Defense Initiative in 2052. To make matters worse, the liquid Tiberium detonation at Temple Prime seemingly caused Tiberium to mutate, and the alien substance began spreading more rapidly than ever before. By 2062, 98% of the Earth's surface was one global Red Zone and human extinction again seemed imminent. This became too dangerous even for Nod's leader Kane to ignore, and he met with the GDI Council of Directors at GDI's Global Headquarters in the now Tiberium-infested Manchester on 27 July, 2062. Using the Tacitus as leverage, he proposed what would be a controversial and uneasy alliance between GDI and Nod. Kane acquired knowledge of a Tiberium Control Network from the Tacitus, but only GDI had the resources to construct it. With the threat of extinction too great to ignore, GDI agreed.
The Incursion War
Both superpowers were divided over Kane's decision to ally with GDI. Many of Nod's followers could not accept an alliance with their mortal enemy, and the eradication of Tiberium was seen as directly contradicting the goals that were set by the Messiah himself. These followers declared Kane to be a heretic and splintered from the Brotherhood to form the Nod Separatists. They rallied around Gideon, an outspoken critic of Kane, and started a highly destructive guerrilla war to stop the construction of the TCN. This conflict became known as the Incursion War.
GDI was also divided by the alliance. Much of its military and citizens believed that allying with the instigators of three world wars was a betrayal of GDI's principles, despite the possibility of eradicating Tiberium once and for all. However, as the Incursion War wore on against the Nod Separatists, GDI did not splinter and the alliance still held, thanks to the mediation of the Idris Corporation and GDI's eventual commander in chief General Wesley Riggs.
Rise of the Separatists
For most of the Incursion War, the Separatists had the upper hand. They wreaked havoc in the remaining Blue and Yellow Zones across the planet, attacking Paris and Chicago, and successfully halted the construction of the TCN. As the war rages on, it became clear that GDI's TWIII-era arsenal was no longer adequate to combat the Separatists: Their aging MBT-6 Predator could not keep up with the Separatists' new model of flame tanks, and their Guardian APCs' machine guns were incapable of destroying them, and even though advancements in Zone Armor technology meant flame weapons were no longer a threat to infantry, they proved even more deadly to structures due to a new fuel compound, and razed over a dozen TCN sites to the ground until they were stopped during the Battle of Waukesha by a jury-rigged Predator/APC hybrid design that would later form the basis of the AT-22 Hunter's design.
Even the loyalist Brotherhood forces were impressed by the Separatist flame tanks' performance, which became the basis for their own flame tank design: the AT-6 flame tank.
Fortunately, with the construction of the TCN already underway, the GDI Council was able to free up enough resources for weapons development, leading to a series of powerful new weapons entering service. They expanded their air fleet in case of more Scrin incursions, leading to the Kodiak capital ship and the next-generation Orca Fighter and the return of the walker technology such as the Mastodon and the AW-T2 Titan.
Recognizing that defending the TCN and pursuing the Separatists at the same time is impossible, GDI's military and arsenal underwent an overhaul, centering it on the concept of defending the global TCN. In 2073, the GDI's forces were organized into three branches: Offense, Support, and Defense. At the same time, the latest Mk. VII model of the Mobile Construction Vehicle, nicknamed the Crawler, was also unveiled.
The Crawlers proved to be far more mobile, powerful and versatile than previous models, capable of constructing all structures and units in the GDI arsenal on their own, which made the fixed bases of the previous wars redundant. Indeed, less than a year after the Crawler's introduction, GDI crushed the Separatists, forced their leaders into hiding and brought an end to the Incursion War.
After the events of the Incursion War, the TCN seemed to be the source of humanity's salvation, and a future golden age was predicted using Tiberium as its fuel. However, tension in the alliance between GDI and Nod began to rise after 15 years of cooperation, this was only worsened by Gideon's propaganda machine, which instigated uprisings within the Yellow and Red zone populations.
Despite their apparent defeat during the Incursion war, the conflict between the GDI-Nod alliance and the Separatists erupted once again on May 1st, 2077. Gideon caused a diversion within the New Adana outskirts to sneak modular Obelisks of Light into the city's tunnel system in an attempt to assassinate Kane on his way to the TCN activation ceremony. However, his plan was foiled by a GDI commander named Parker, who had been assigned to escort Kane's personal transport.
A veteran of the Incursion War, Parker was mortally wounded and lost his eyesight, but regained them after receiving optical implants made by the Idris Corporation. He returned to service aboard the GDI Global Stratospheric Transport Tzadik, under the command of Colonel Louise James. Parker proved himself a capable field commander, successfully stopping two Separatist attacks on a TCN Node in the New Adana badlands and the Scrin Tower Research Centre respectively.
Impressed by Parker's leadership abilities, Kane contacted the GDI commander and promised to reveal to him the truth behind the TCN and the war if he choose to join him. At the same time, Colonel James pleaded with the commander to stay with her, reminding him of Kane's past atrocities. Faced with a difficult decision, Parker made a choice that would ultimately decide the fate of humanity.
The War Begins
Battle of New Adana
Three days has passed after Parker made his choice, during which time Gideon's propaganda was convincing many impoverished people from the Yellow and former Red zone to join with the Separatists and fight against GDI. At the same time, Colonel James was summoned to a hearing in regards to James' aggressive actions to protect the TCN from Separatist raids. These actions were becoming a political thorn in the side of GDI's General Secretary Evelyn Rios and General Riggs reluctantly heeded to Rios's wish.
However, just as they were speaking, New Adana was attacked by Gideon's Separatist forces, and both GDI and Nod headed in - GDI to protect the civilians, and Nod to realign the New Adana TCN hub with the Scrin Tower, which had been knocked out of sync by an ion pulse. As GDI secured the civilian evacuation centres, Nod forces were forced to fight through Colonel James' forces and succeeded in resyncing the TCN hub, which emitted an EMP that disabled New Adana's defenses. Both groups then escorted a number of civilian transports out of the city. Unfortunately, many civilians were killed by the Separatists, and Lillian Parker, Commander Parker's wife, was reportedly killed during the evacuation.
Realigning the TCN Hubs
Despite Colonel James' claims that her men were attacked by Kane's forces, General Riggs refused to go after Kane, since to do so would cost GDI the support of the yellow zones, which would mean the end of the TCN project. Angered by Riggs' inaction, Colonel James prepared to go rogue to expose Kane. In search of evidence, a detachment of her forces went down to the Arctic TCN hub, to investigate strange readings coming from it. Unknown to her, the Arctic hub was merely a diversion. After a battle with two Nod splinter factions, they secured it, only to have it blow up and kill many of James' forces.
Meanwhile, Kane and Nod proceeded to secure the Pacific Tiberium Control Network Hub, which was guarded by GDI soldiers loyal to James. The hub was under lockdown by order of GDI Central Command, and refused entry to Nod's forces, who had to remove some of Colonel James' forces by force. Gideon took advantage of this, and attacked at the same time, resulting in a three way battle between the forces of GDI, Kane, and Gideon. The battle ended with all GDI and Separatist Crawlers destroyed, resulting in the Pacfic TCN hub being realigned to the Scrin Tower.
The destruction of the Arctic TCN Research Facility caused thousands of civilian deaths, and Colonel James was blamed for mishandling the situation. However, James learned of Kane's plan to synchronize the TCN hubs with the Scrin Tower, and believed that Kane is trying to bring back the Scrin. Following this, Kane realized truly how great a threat Colonel James was to him, and ordered the GST Tzadik shot down as it passed over Tin City, a Forgotten settlement. After a struggle with James' advance forces, the GST was shot down. However, most, if not all of the GST's crew, including James, survived the crash.
James' forces successfully recovered the escape pods of the GST's engineering corps from Forgotten territories, and began repairing the downed GST using power from the local TCN node. Sister Chavra of Nod deployed two Crawlers in an attempt to finish James off, but the GDI forces held off the attack long enough for the GST to escape.
James believed that she now has concrete proof that Kane is plotting to bring back the Scrin. However, Riggs and Rios stripped James of her rank for disobeying direct orders from GDI High Command, endangering the TCN, and causing countless civilian deaths. Believing that Rios is no longer fit to lead GDI, James declared martial law and claimed that she is placing Rios under arrest. Officially going rogue, she informed the First Fleet that they are about to engage GDI forces and that anyone not prepared to do so has one minute to break formation.
An elite strike team was assembled to capture Rios and Riggs, while a division went in ahead to disable the four Defense Class Crawlers protecting the New Adana government district. Despite heavy resistance from the GDI defnders, including an entire fleet of Kodiaks, the strike team successfully breached the GDI Command Center.
However, contact with the strike team soon after they entered the Command Center. Meanwhile, an elite strike team personally led by General Riggs boarded James' GST, captured her and her crew, and imprisoned them in the GDI Supermax facility.
End of the Separatists
Shortly after, Doctor Pascal was murdered, leaving Commander Parker the last person with the optical implants needed to activate the Scrin Tower. Gideon, the murderer, was close to destroying Kane's plans, and ordered Gideon to be brought to heel.
After turning a trap laid by Gideon against him, Kane learned the location of Gideon's main base, and forwarded the information to Secretary Rios. Kane then assembled his own strike team, beating GDI to the punch and leading to a fierce battle that almost resulted in Gideon, inside a customized Crawler, self-destructing his entire base. However, loyalist Nod forces managed to deactivate the self-destruct mechanisms in his compound, and heavily damaged his Crawler, forcing the false prophet to surrender.
Everything seemed be going well for the GDI-Nod alliance until another crisis came. Colonel James somehow escaped from imprisonment, and headed to the Scrin Tower to stop Kane. Furthermore, a mysterious agent named Duquette had arranged for some of James' loyalists to be released to provide support for her. The released soldiers then broke out of the Supermax facility, deactivated the tractor beams immobilizing their GST, and escaped aboard the Transport, allowing James to continue the battle against Kane.
To Kill a Prophet
In the outskirts of the Scrin Tower, Kane is giving a speech to the amassing Nod followers. During the speech, he reveals that he has captured Gideon, and that James and Gideon have actually been working together to prevent Kane's ascension. In fact, James was the one who handed Doctor Pascal over to Gideon in exchange for a chance to kill Kane, who promised James that he will have Nod under control after Kane's death.
Meanwhile, Colonel James, suited up in a customized Commando Zone Armor, arrived at the speech, intending to kill Kane with a sniper rifle. However, Kane was protected by laser fences. and James planned on shutting it down by activating a nearby TCN node. Despite the extremely heavy Nod presence at the speech, James' forces managed to successfully activate the node, which sent out a burst of EMP, disabling the laser fences. With the final obstacle out of the way, James took the shot, and all hell broke loose.
Kane's inhuman DNA prevented him from dying, however, and Nod forces managed to stabilize him using the medical facilities of a hijacked GDI Crawler. Unfortunately, the Crawler's IFF was offline, and the Nod forces escorting Kane were unable to identify themselves to other Nod forces in the area, forcing them to blast their way through GDI and Nod alike until they successfully escorted the Crawler to a helipad, where it was evacced by air.
As the battle continued on one side of the tower, James' forces proceeded to break through on another front, destroying Sister Chava's Crawlers, and finally securing part of the Tower. Nod launched a brutal counterattack, firing a large number of Aurora missiles at the GDI position, but the GDI forces were able to intercept most of them.
On the other side of the tower, Kane's forces fought to control the TCN nodes in order to activate the Scrin Tower, facing not just James' forces but the full might of the GDI military led by Riggs, who had betrayed Rios at the last moment. As he gained ground and finally secured the TCN, the Scrin Tower began to sync up wholly... but James unleashed the Arcus, a powerful prototype bomber. Armed with devastating bombs and AA guns, the Arcus easily destroyed all but one of the Nod Crawlers. In the end however, it, too was destroyed, and the TCN fully powered up the Scrin Tower ... but it could not yet be activated.
Commander Parker entered the tower, and was confronted by Kane, who revealed that Colonel James knew all along that Lilly's death was not caused by Nod, but the result of a friendly fire incident. The Nod leader informed him that James wanted her anger to become his, and eventually bring about Kane's death. Kane explained the truth about the TCN and Parker's implants, who was now Kane's last hope of Ascension. At the moment, James burst in, holding a gun at Kane, and telling Parker to stand down, to end the madness there and then. Kane responded that if he was denied, Earth would be doomed to endless cycles of war, but James shot him. Parker realized that Kane was right and prepared to open the portal, but James shot him, too. But before James could deliver the finishing shot, Kane reappeared to James' shock.
Parker opened the portal and temporarily passed out. After regaining consciousness, Kane thanked a dying Parker, before stepping through the portal and disappearing.
Despite Lilly's pleas, Commander Parker entered the Tower to activate the portal. Unfortunately, moments after its activation, James appeared in the tower and shot him, believing him to be Kane (as Kane injected Parker with his DNA, transforming him into his likeness). But the real Kane steps in and strangles James. Parker awoke to Lilly crying over his body. Lilly angrily yelled at Kane, since he promised Parker would be fine. Kane simply told her that he was 'too fragile', just as the rest of mankind, and left through the portal, leaving Lilly and the dying Parker behind.
As it turned out, Kane's ascension, which took the remainder of the Brotherhood of Nod into wherever Kane ascended to, was the final piece of the Tiberium Control Network. Humanity was saved, freed from the Tiberium scourge, and the brief but costly Ascension Conflict came to an end.
Rios regained full control of GDI and, at long last, it seemed humanity would be at a golden age after nearly a century of on-off warfare and ecological devastation.
However, some were skeptical and doubtful on whether Earth's problems, Kane, war, and Tiberium, were truly over, for the Scrin were still out there, the possibility of an invasion as per the Overlord's invasion order looming above mankind, and whether they would return to Earth or not was unknown.
And what of Kane? All knew that he never truly vanished from public eyes for long, and as one man was quoted saying as the short war ended:
|“|| Kane's gone? Yeah, right.|
- Unnamed civilian, in regards to Kane's disappearance, interviewed in TXN
- The Ascension Conflict is the shortest war in the Tiberium series, lasting only ten days.