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Somewhere between the friendly aliens and the aliens who want to wipe us out completely, there's a group whose intentions are definitely hostile, but not genocidal. They land on Earth, knock down our pathetic defenses, and decide things would be better if they ran our lives for us. Maybe they need slaves, maybe they think we don't know how to govern ourselves, maybe they're setting the stage for a far more worrisome plan.
Whatever the reason, Terra Firma has become a Vichy planet. Best case scenario, the aliens are just doing it for our own good and intend to make sure the new government works out for us. Worst case scenario, we all go into the meatgrinder.
The name is inspired by the Nazi governing of France during World War Two. In 1940 those areas of France not directly governed by German forces were controlled by a Nazi-friendly dictatorship based in the spa-town of Vichy. "Vichy France", or "Vichy Regime" as it was known, became something of a byword for pragmatic, if somewhat shamefaced, collaboration with the enemy.
This trope provides a sharp contrast to any series where humanity freely cruises the stars and calls many of the shots, and will generally focus on how humanity is affected by the change in power and how people feel about and react to it.
Expect La Résistance, especially if humans are being enslaved or killed. Les Collaborateurs will sometimes help the aliens, usually in a bid to get some of their old power back. See also Villain World.
Anime & Manga
- The Arume treat humanity in this fashion in the manga and anime Blue Drop, although their main reason not to destroy earth completely might be their attraction to its women.
- Leiji Matsumoto uses this trope a lot, especially in Galaxy Express 999 and Captain Harlock. The Harlock spinoff Cosmo Warrior Zero revolves around an Earth starship serving a Vichy Earth.
- Matsumoto's vision might be more directly influenced by his childhood in U.S. occupied Japan. This seems particularly evident in the rhetoric of the character of Maya in Waga Seishun no Arcadia. E.g. "The sun which set yesterday will rise again this morning. And we believe that the sun will rise again tomorrow."
- The plot of Kenichi Sonoda's Cannon God Exaxxion revolves around this. The aliens make a point of frequently mentioning how they're Not So Different from what humans have been doing to each other throughout history & how they're a great deal more civil about it than most human empires have been (although their speeches to the public usually skirt the issue of their "Processing Plants").
- That's what happens when your planet gets conquered by the Abh Empire or, for than matter, United Mankind in Crest of the Stars. Subverted in that Abh are basically a reasonably benevolent bunch of Anti-Villain Protagonists (the series is definitely Abh-centric) who couldn't care less about you matters as far as you don't try to obtain starships and start an interstellar war, while UM are meddling, conquering bigots... who allow you to elect your own leaders, participate in galactic affairs, and own your own starships so long as you'll help them against the Abh.
- The debate within and without the fandom over whether the Abh really are as clear-cut 'good' as the material makes them out to be, or whether they're just a lesser 'evil' compared to the United Mankind rages on to this day. While the series is definitely pro-Abh, it also readily demonstrates that many Abh, at least many of the abh in positions of power, are more or less Sociopaths of a kind, some of them seemingly emotionless Sociopaths (the lower-class Abh are generally more like 'normal' Humans though). Likewise, one of the REAL problems of Abh takeover/rule is that it tends to cause immense social strain and breakdown on the planets they conquer, often resulting in all levels of unrest, rioting, anarchy, and war destroying peaceful life, NONE of which they give a damn about. Jinta's past being the prime example. And, for all their relative peacefulness when they don't actively want your space, they DO basically go from planet to planet telling Humanity "cooperate with us, join the Empire, adopt our governing lifestyle, or we'll blast you into glass".
- It sorta happens in Magic Users Club -- the Bell conquers the planet, and earth goes on, mostly because its military forces were thrashed. But the hand of the conqueror is very light -- apparently content to just observe.
- In Gantz, only days after Katastrophe, Japanese leaders are shown on TV making peace with the same aliens that destroyed every major cities and slaughtered millions, while the journalist calls Gantz troops a threat for peace.
- This is a prospect outcome in Blue Comet SPT Layzner, shall the Gradosians reach for Earth. And yes, this is what happens: Earth is conquered, Grados enslaves the population in ways that are very similar to Imperial Japan's treatment of its colonies before World War Two, many humans sell out to their invaders, etc.
Films -- Live-Action
- A possible example of this trope, but with robots instead of aliens, is the movie I Robot. It's discovered near the end of the movie that the robotic super-computer wants to control the world, whether we like it or not. It's all for our own protection, of course.
- Which is really a heavy-handed application of a theme discussed in a classic (if boring) Asimov story (see Literature).
- In Arthur C. Clarke's novel Childhoods End, the Overlords come to Earth to help ease our transition to the next evolutionary stage. And at least according to the Overlords themselves, they came to prevent humanity from becoming a severe threat to themselves, as well as the rest of the universe. They don't exactly "invade" in the more common sense of the word, either; their ships just sorta arrive and hover over major cities and look intimidating while they're ... negotiating.
- The Course of Empire by Eric Flint & K. D. Wentworth takes place after the alien Jao have succeeded in this, and has a rare sympathetic portrayal of Les Collaborateurs.
- Harry Turtledove's Worldwar series involves the alien Lizards, themselves largely a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Imperial Japan (minus the more infamous elements we know and love today), attempting to do this in the middle of World War II. They only half succeed, but basically turn everything south of the Brandt Line plus Iberia and Australia into Vichy Earth.
- Poul Anderson's The High Crusade involves an attempt at this which backfires spectacularly.
- In Stephen Baxter's Xeelee books, Earth is defeated and occupied thrice (always by a different alien race). Twice they can rise successfully, the third time... not.
- Battlefield Earth to some degree. It was mostly Kill All Humans, but during the timeline of the book it was "one alien uses the humans for personal profit and then is going to wipe them out".
- This is the state of Earth in CS Friedman's novel The Madness Season.
- David Gerrold's War Against the Chtorr series. It's not clear what the Chtorrans ultimately have in mind for the human race, but it appears to be assimilation.
- The Sci-Fi short story Russian Vine is about this trope in perhaps its most benign form - the aliens responsible start by releasing pollutants that destroy humanity's ability to read. Once the resulting calamity dies down, they establish a new government and live among the people.
- Again, not Earth, but in the Man/Kzin Wars series, the planet Wunderland is conquered and enslaved by the Kzin.
- In the short story "The Liberation of Earth" by William Tenn, the narrator describes how an alien race "liberated" Earth by doing this. Then another alien race liberates Earth from the first aliens, and become the new overlords. Then the first alien race re-liberates Earth, and so on. In the end both aliens leave as Earth has been reduced to an atomic wasteland and there's no reason for either to want to occupy it.
- In The Ganymede Takeover by Philip K. Dick and Ray Nelson, Earth has been conquered by worm-like aliens from one of Jupiter's moons. They administer the planet via human collaborators - some willing, others former Resisters who've been reconditioned by disturbed psychiatric genius Rudolph Balkani. Unfortunately when Balkani and some other collaborators commit suicide the Ganymedeans wrongly assume the La Résistance have completely infiltrated the collaborationist regime and, as direct rule would be too costly, decide to withdraw from Earth and sterilise it entirely.
- Gordon R. Dickson's The Way of the Pilgrim makes as if tells a pretty straightforward interpretation of this trope, with the protagonist, a translator/pet for the occupying Aalaag, organizing a revolution with the power of the indomitable human spirit. They have to, since militarily La Résistance is futile--if he had to, one fully armored Aalaag could defeat every human army in an afternoon. They used a couple.
- The Alien Years by Robert Silverberg is a novel based on this concept- the "Entities" move in and take over, complete with shutting off the electricity.
- In the My Teacher Is an Alien series, aliens contemplate occupying Earth because they consider them a possible threat to the rest of the galaxy. Of course, they're also considering blowing us up. Let's hope for Vichy Earth.
- The Oankali of the Xenogenesis series sort of qualify. They show up right after the humans get done blowing themselves up in a nuclear war, and save the survivors, intending to crossbreed with them in order to create a new species. The catch: This will leave humans, as such, extinct.
- Aliens are running the earth in Patricia Anthony's Brother Termite; it's told from the point of view of one of them.
- In They Live, Earth is the aliens' Third World, using us for cheap labor while keeping people docile and unquestioning with subliminal messages.
- In Jack L. Chalkers Rings of the Master series, the Master is a supercomputer that was built with the order to keep humanity safe. It calculates the best to do this is to scatter the human race throughout the stars so that destruction of any one planet won't kill everyone, but keep the humans on each individual planet confined to ethnically partitioned zones with no technology beyond subsistence farming, to prevent them from warring with each other. The result is an enforced Vichy Galaxy.
- Piers Anthony's Triple Detente (formerly titled A Piece of Cake) was a novel that starts with this premise. The truth turns out to be more complicated than that.
- Played with in Roger Zelazny's This Immortal. After humanity wrecks Earth with nuclear war and ecological meltdown, most of the population emigrates to an alien civilization's worlds. Consequently, the government in exile and the near-vestigial apparatus on earth end up bending over backwards to make the (often annoyingly superior) aliens happy, while a resistance on Earth is trying to inspire humanity's return to the empty but recovering planet and the overthrow of the alien-controlled regime. The subversion comes from the aliens themselves, who would prefer to leave the planet in responsible human hands, if they can find such. The alien rep's visit to earth is essentially a Secret Test of Character for the protagonist.
- In Timothy Zahn's Blackcollar novels, Earth and its colonies have been subjugated by the alien Ryqril. All human officials have to undergo conditioning that ensures their unquestioning loyalty to their alien masters. Every year, all human worlds celebrate the Victory Day as the glorious day when the alien masters ended the "old regime" and brought their just (*cough*) rule to humans.
- Cthulhu's Reign, edited by Darrell Schweitzer, is a Cthulhu Mythos anthology of short stories on what existence on Earth would be like when the Old Ones return. Some think that serving the new masters is the answer, but whether this leads to their survival, let alone humanity's, is doubtful. If so it's only for Cthulhu's petty amusement.
- The John W. Campbell short story Out of Night and its sequel Cloak of Aesir detail the fight against the occupying alien Sarn that conquered Earth four thousand years ago.
- The entire premise to Under Alien Stars by Pamela F. Service is this, as an alien race called the Tsorians showed up ten years ago, completely kicked our butts, and turned Earth into a military outpost for their empire. Slightly subverted, because even though they control the highest levels of government and crack down on rebellions, life goes on more or less like it always did.
- The final story in Asimov's classic collection, "I, Robot", is a wordy and actionless discussion about several small, but inexplicable, errors in the production and construction quotas from the (three laws compliant) A Is running the world economy (to maximize efficiency and the greater good). It seems that all the errors are connected to a covert group who sees the control given to the A Is as creating a Vichy Earth where humans are enslaved to machines. In the end, however, it turns out that the A Is are the ones who are giving them false instructions so that they'll be demoted and stop being a threat.
- The Caves of Steel and its sequels are about the former Earth colonies who make Earth their vassal. While not violent, it is estimated that if this state continues, constant revolts and suppression will wipe out Earth's people within a century.
- This has happened in Novels of the Jaran.
- In The Tripods books and TV series, an alien race has subverted human civilisation from within, and then installed themselves as rulers. From the age of 14 people are fitted with mind-controlling "caps", which make people cooperative, docile and serene. Caps also remove all drive, creativity and rebellion. Finally, caps cause people to instinctively worship their Tripod conquerors. Ultimately, the alien invaders plan to "Terraform" Earth to change the atmosphere to one they can breathe... but humans cannot.
- V: The Visitors in the original 2 miniseries and TV series; their counterparts in the 2009 remake are obviously but slowly setting the stage for this.
- Earth: Final Conflict is also built on the Trope.
- It's not Earth, but the Cylon occupation of New Caprica in the 2000s Battlestar Galactica Reimagined was ostensibly for the purposes of bringing human and Cylon together in peace.
- There are probably many examples in the Doctor Who TV series, but five examples immediately spring to mind.
- 1964's "The Dalek Invasion of Earth": In the 22nd Centry the Daleks have wiped out 9/10ths of the population with a plague, leaving the strongest as slaves. The Dalek Supreme rules the planet from his unlikely capital in Bedfordshire. While there are only a small number of Daleks overseeing proceedings, the population is kept under control by the Robomen who are unwillingly made to do their bidding via intrusive cranial cybernetics.
- 1972's "Day of the Daleks": This time, instead of Robomen, the Daleks have installed an apparently efficient system of willing human 'quislings'. It seems the Daleks have learned to keep people in order via more subtle methods than just sticking a radio receiver in their brains. Their collaborators are provided with sharp tailoring, cushy lodgings, blonde female staff and plenty of fruit and nuts. To do their really dirty work, they're employing the Ogrons, a race of interstellar mercenaries. The Daleks themselves remain largely hidden behind the scenes.
- 1978's "The Invasion of Time": Gallifrey gets invaded. The President puts in place a curfew, ejects a lot of revered Time Lords due to their political pasts and deactivates the planet's most vital defence systems, all at the behest of the invaders.
- 2007's "Last of the Time Lords": The Master has conquered contemporary Earth. He's in a politically advantageous position as Prime Minister of the UK, and the human population has been enslaved in order to build a fleet with which he can conquer the universe, of course. Resistance is minimal thanks to the Master's mind-control satellites; fortunately Martha demonstrates there is more than one way to resist.
- "The Collaborators", from the Showtime revival of The Outer Limits, is a very dark, slavery-themed version.
- Another non-Earth version in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, where the Cardassian occupation of Bajor produced many Bajoran Quislings who helped the Cardassians in exchange for continuing to live in comfort. It's cleverly turned on its head when Deep Space Nine itself is taken over by the Cardassians, and former Bajoran resistance fighter Kira keeps her old job, justifying herself by saying she needs to keep things running smoothly so the Cardassians won't start brutalizing the station's residents. Until another former resistance fighter hangs herself in protest of the situation, and Kira comes to the bitter realization that she is now a collaborator herself.
- This happens to Narn and the other Narn planets in the middle of season 2 (June 2259 or thereabouts) of Babylon 5. After bombarding the homeworld from orbit, the Centauri dissolved the Kha'Ri and established an occupation government staffed with collaborators (though generally not Quislings). They put a price on G'Kar's head and appoint a new ambassador to Babylon 5, with whom G'Kar has some serious disagreements. By the middle of Season 4 (say, June 2261), the Centauri discovered they had more serious trouble back home and, thanks to a deal between G'Kar and Londo, the Centauri left.
- The Aschen from Stargate SG-1.
- Although, in this case Earth was supposedly invited to join an advanced alien confederation. The whole genocide and sterilization plot was secret from everybody except for the highest Aschen leaders.
- Not quite. We are told that the world's leaders were in on the sterilization plot from the outset and went along with it, believing that losing a certain number of the population was a price worth paying for everything the Aschen offered Earth. Note, of course, that none of THEM were among the sacrificial lambs. Or so they believed at the time. They were, however, unaware that the Aschen's plan was to kill off almost the entire population - far in excess of the number agreed.
- The Ur-Quan subjugation of Earth in Star Control 2 fits this trope to a T -- Earth is put under a "slave shield" to prevent anyone from entering or leaving the planet, a force is stationed on the moon to make sure that the planet is following the Ur-Quan's orders, and the planet must keep a space station for repairing and resupplying Hierarchy vessels. The planet itself, however, is mostly left to its own devices. With a Nigh Invulnerable force field around it, the Ur-Quan neither know nor care what its inhabitants do.
- The Spathi captain Fwiffo does mention being reduced to "pre-atomic savagery".
- Most historical monuments and landmarks, including some the humans did not know existed, were destroyed. The Ur-Quan also destroyed Buenos Aires as punishment for having opposed them in the first place.
- This troper figured it was more punishment for not surrendering and avoiding unnecessary fighting when the Ur-Quan entered the solar system.
- Ironically, if you manage to ally with the Spathi, they study Earth's slave shield and intentionally duplicate it on their own world. The Spathi really only want to be safe.
- Fortunately for the humans, Fwiffo wasn't an expert in these matters. In the end, when the shield is taken down, spaceships launch from Earth to meet you at the Starbase, implying that they've retained a fairly high level of civilisation.
- The Spathi captain Fwiffo does mention being reduced to "pre-atomic savagery".
- In the Doom novels, the aliens that attack Earth use this as a ploy to gain control over most of Earth's armed forces -- however, this is only in preparation for their attempted genocide.
- The Combine have done this to Earth in Half-Life 2. Their plans, however, include converting all of humanity into either Stalker slaves or Transhuman soldiers. Meanwhile, the planet gets its resources depleted, the oceans drained away and its atmosphere siphoned with giant portals. It's all advertised as being for our own good, as the page quote indicates.
- The Elites in Halo wanted to do this to Earth and the human colonies, but the Prophets overruled them and decided on Kill All Humans instead. This is just one of several events that led to the schism between Elites and Prophets.
- SOP for the Covenant seems to be to make Vichy planets of the races they conquer and assimilate them into their empire.
- UFO: Enemy Unknown develops into this. As the game progresses, more and more nations will be taken over by alien infiltrators and stop funding X-Com. Should X-Com be disbanded, all of the Earth's governments will become Les Collaborateurs for a brief period, then the aliens will invade openly and enslave humanity.
- Sometimes done by the Irkens in Invader Zim, if they don't just level the lifeforms and make another Parking Structure Planet. The residents of the Conveyor Belt Planet have all been put to work stamping boxes; the Vorts seem to mostly be put in prisons and forced to make weapons. (Some suggest that this is why Irken tech tends to not work too well.)
- In this apparently-canonical end of the series, Zim manages to take over the Earth...and no one but Dib seems to mind. Huh.
- In the animated Justice League, the Thanagarians take over Earth for its own good. Or so they say. They're actually planning to destroy the whole planet as part of their plans to attack another civilization.
- It's actually a bit of a reference to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy because they do after all want to destroy Earth to make way for a Hyperspace Bypass.
- It should be noted that without it they actually did lose the war, and were conquered because of it.
- "And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords!"
- A popular conspiracy theory, put forth by David Icke and others, claims that Earth is secretly being controlled by reptilian aliens who have disguised themselves as human and run most of the world's governments (including making up most of the British Royal Family).