The Ascension Conflict, also known as the Final War and 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. Without the Tacitus, GDI reclamation efforts crawled to a halt, allowing the green crystal to evolve unexpectedly, becoming resistant to sonic technology and spread at an alarming rate. 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 met with the GDI Council of Directors at GDI Global Headquarters in 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
Controversy between both parties
Both superpowers were divided over Kane's decision to ally with GDI. Many of Nod followers believed this as a direct contradiction to the goals that were set by the Messiah himself, allying with an enemy of three world wars and the eradication of Tiberium. 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, guerilla war to stop the construction of the TCN.
GDI was also divided by the alliance. Much of the military and civilians thought this as a betrayal to GDI's principles despite the possibility of eradicating Tiberium once and for all. They still viewed Nod as the fanatical murderers and the cause of the global chaos that had happened since the First Tiberium War. 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.
For most of the Incursion War, the Separatists had the upper hand. They wreaked havoc of the remaining Blue and Yellow Zones across the planet, attacking Paris and Chicago, responsible for the destruction of GDI's GST First Fleet and causing the halt of the construction of the TCN. Despite GDI advancements in Zone Armor to counter the Separatists' Flame Tanks and the creation of the Hunter tank, their current arsenal from the Third Tiberium War was not adequate to both protect the TCN and pursue the Separatists, leaving the GDI military in disarray. The Brotherhood was also unable to protect construction of the TCN and had to work on improvements in their arsenal that the Separatists had made, for example the new AT-6 Flame Tank and the introduction of the latest Stealth Tank.
Introduction of the Crawler and the end of Separatist reign
However the renewed funding gave GDI more research to develop new weapons to combat the Separatists. 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. The funding enabled the GDI Council, now led by a General Secretary, to rebuild regions and cities that had been scarred by Tiberium, the most notable example being New Adana. Yet the funding also led to the development of the new MCV, nicknamed the Crawler, in 2073. The Crawler made fixed bases of the previous wars redundant as field testing enabled GDI to protect both the TCN construction and support GDI forces to pursue the Separatists without being outrunned and outgunned. Indeed, a year after the introduction of the Crawler, GDI had the Separatists on the run, crushed and its leaders driven into hiding. The Incursion War had ended.
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 people were beginning to question why Kane chose to help his former GDI nemesis and what he wanted in return. Tensions in the alliance between Nod and GDI were beginning to crack after 15 years. Furthermore the political climate surrounding the TCN and the unholy alliance were becoming too strained, and this was not helped by Gideon's propaganda machine to instigate uprisings within the Yellow and Red zone populations.
Despite apparent defeat in the Incursion war, the conflict between GDI-Nod alliance and the Separatists erupted once again on 1 May 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 opening ceremony. A commander of a GDI unit from the Incursion War was brought upon the GDI orbital carrier Tzadik, commanded by war veteran and extremist Colonel Louise James, and after gaining optical implants to save his life from fatal injuries, was deployed on a mission to escort Kane's personal transport. The commander continued to work in various missions, namely fighting against Gideon's Nod Separatist forces.
However after some time and work to battle the Nod Separatists, Kane contacted the GDI commander. Claiming that GDI was blind to the truths of the war and the TCN, and that the commander's skills would be highly valued, the prophet offered the commander to join him and learn the truth about his optical implant. Colonel Louise James pleaded with the commander to not allow Kane's madness to corrupt his morals as a GDI soldier, leaving the commander with a choice.
The War Begins
Battle of New Adana
Commander Parker made his choice. Three days had passed, 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.
On 6 May New Adana was attacked by Gideon's Separatist forces, and both GDI and Nod headed in - GDI to uphold their mandate, and Nod to realign a TCN hub that Colonel James had knocked out-of-sync with the Scrin tower. As GDI resecured the refugee evacuation centers, Kane was forced to fight through Colonel James' forces (who were none too pleased with the alliance between GDI and Nod due to Kane's past actions), and succeeded in reactivating the TCN hub and resyncing it, then both groups, albeit in different ways, saw civilians out of the city. Unfortunately, Lillian Parker was recorded amongst the casualties, but many other refugees and escaping civilians reached safety, if not without considerable casualties.
TCN Hub operations
Colonel James, incredulous that, despite having had some of her forces attacked by Kane, Rios and Riggs refused to acknowledge that Kane was 'turning on them', angrily prepared to defect if necessary. In search of evidence, a detachment of her forces went down to the Arctic TCN hub, to investigate strange readings coming from it. After a battle between 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, and refused entry to Nod on basis of the incident with the resyncing of the New Adana TCN hub by Kane'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 GDI, Kane, and Gideon, plus their respective forces. The battle ended with all GDI crawlers destroyed, and Gideon forced to retreat with his Crawler down, resulting in the Pacfic TCN hub being realigned to the Scrin Tower.
Crash-landing of the GST Tzadik
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. After a struggle with James' advance forces, the GST was brought down in the surprise attack. With the Tzadik disabled, James would, theoretically, be killed, either by the GST crash or the local Forgotten population, which was none too friendly thanks to past wrongs. However, Colonel James managed to repair the GST using the local TCN nodes, getting enough energy to allow the GDI engineers in the area to restore the GST, though it would require some on-off extensive repairs after. Even though Nod's officer, Sister Chavra, deployed not one, but two Crawlers to finish James off, the GST escaped as did her forces.
GDI falls into Civil War
Despite a Global Stratospheric Transport being shot down by Kane's forces, and deliberately so, Colonel James was not just incredulous, she was amazed and shocked, even angry, that Rios and Riggs continued to dismiss her evidence. Having enough, Riggs and Rios stripped James of her rank and ordered her quarantined, but James refused and declared them unfit for duty and martial law, officially going rogue within GDI. A strike team was assembled to capture Rios and Riggs and secure the on-the-fly coup, while a division went in ahead to disable the four Defense-class crawlers protecting Rios in her government building, within New Adana. Several transports were seen leaving the city as James' forces arrived, but even with stiff defense, the battle was won by James' loyal GDI forces ... but while she won the battle, the war was another matter. An elite strike team personally headed by General Riggs had landed on James' GST, capturing her and her crew, locking them up in the Supermax Facility prison.
Defeat of the Nod Separatists
Shortly after, Doctor Pascal was murdered, bringing great risk to Kane's plot of Ascension as only one man, Commander Parker, had optical implants to allow the Scrin Tower to be activated. Gideon, the murderer, was close to destroying Kane's plans, and as such he had ordered Gideon be brought to heel. After turning a trap planned by Gideon against the latter, 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 leading to a fierce battle that almost resulted in Gideon, within a personalized Crawler, self-destructing his entire base, which would theoretically make him a martyr in the eyes of the public. Instead, Kane's loyal forces shut down every self-destruct mechanism Gideon tried to activate and subdued the Separatist heretic at long last, bringing him to heel.
Despite all seeming to be going well for Kane, Rios, and Riggs, another crisis came. A mysterious agent named Duquette had arranged for some of James' loyalists to be released, while she had already been heading towards the Scrin tower, but in desperate need of support. The released soldiers proceeded to break out of the Supermax facility, rescued all the captured soldiers and crew, and launched the GST, allowing James to continue the battle against Kane.
The Final Battle of Threshold 19, Kane's Tower
To kill a prophet
With that, James' proceeded to the Scrin Tower, and Gideon was revealed to have actually worked with James to prevent Kane's Ascension, the latter promising the former to have 'Nod under control' once Kane was killed by Colonel James. A battle erupted as, to allow James' strike team to disable the defenses around Kane, she assaulted the massive Nod base. As Kane (though some sources say it was a look-alike or Commander Parker given reconstructive surgery) gave a speech, a shot rang out, and Kane fell. Colonel James had shot him with a sniper rifle... but the kill was unconfirmed, much to her disappointment.
Chaos ensued after this turning point event, effectively breaking down the GDI-Nod Coalition into mortal enemies once more in the Ascension Conflict. Although Kane was saved in a frantic, chaotic battle involving the hijacking of one of James' crawlers and a three-way shooting match (due to the GDI crawler being incompatible with linkup to LEGION, the Nod AI) to get Kane out of the war zone, the battle was far from over.
As the battle continued on one side of the tower, James' ace commander proceeded to break through on another front, routinely defeating Sister Chava's crawlers, and finally securing part of the Tower. A final confrontation was brutually contested between Nod and GDI which included three Nod crawlers being destroyed, along with many GDI and Nod vehicles and soldiers.
On the other side of the tower, Kane's best commander fought for control of the TCN in full, facing not just James' forces but the whole GDI military led by Riggs. As he gained ground and finally secured the TCN, the Scrin Tower began to sync up wholly... but James unleashed the Arcus, a powerful bomber aircraft which rivalled the power of a Third Tiberium War MARV or Redeemer. A fierce battle ensued as Kane's plan was being threatened with failure. With many casualties, the Arcus was finally destroyed, and the TCN fully powered up the Scrin Tower ... but it could not yet be activated.
Meanwhile, James' best commander proceeded to destroy all Nod counterattacks, and finally, Nod launched large numbers of tactical nuclear warheads, carried in Aurora missiles. Despite this, GDI was able to intercept many, preventing large scale casualties, the AW-T2 Titan's lasers being a noted cause of warhead destruction. Finally, the Tower was opened, and Kane's Ascension began.
Commander Parker entered the tower, and was confronted by Kane, who revealed that Colonel James knew quite well about (and may even have had a hand in) Lilly's death. 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, had 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.
Entering the Tower to bring about Ascension, and looking perfectly like Kane (as he had been changed so with Kane's very own DNA to protect him, until James shot him with a sniper rifle during the commander's speech), but before he could open it, James appeared in the tower, and shot him, thinking him to be Kane. Regaining consciousness as Lilly, who had been saved from New Adana by Kane, Parker opened the portal with James subdued and most likely dead. Thanking Parker, Kane informed him that he was 'too fragile' to survive the gunshot wound, just as he labeled mankind as too fragile, and Ascended through the portal, effectively and immediately putting an epilogue to four generations of Tiberium Wars, leaving Lilly and the dying Commander 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. This surprising twofold turn of events begun when Kane proposed an alliance with GDI in 2062, and had finally come to completion in 2077, had not only come to the benefit of Kane, but it was humanity's salvation, freeing them of the Tiberium scourge. Already, peace was being reestablished, as with Colonel James unaccounted for and the realization of what they nearly did, the rogue GDI forces gave up their drive, and the brief but costly Fourth Tiberium War 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 between the Global Defense Initiative, which had come from the military arm of the United Nations in 1995 all the way to global superpower in 2077, and the Brotherhood of Nod, once considered merely another terrorist group now proven right of Kane Ascending, with the prophecy of Ascension now finally came to pass.
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 (presumed) final disappearance, interviewed in TXN
Behind the scenes
The Fourth Tiberium War, also called the Ascension Conflict, was covered in the campaigns of Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight. Although both campaigns are canonical, it is currently ambiguous which side, Nod or GDI, that the player (called Parker due to Lilly, the Commander's wife, having the last name Parker, as seen in the final GDI cutscene) chose after mission three. Because of this, the article has been written to presume that, in the event Parker did not join the opposite side, Kane or Colonel James still had a commander to fill in for the player. Thus, whether GDI or Nod campaigns are played, the outcome of the war is the same, but Lilly's fate is different, and the war is seen from another perspective.
- The Ascension Conflict is the shortest war in the Tiberium series, lasting only ten days.