We, the Hrimfaxi, an extensive interstellar empire, are invading the Earth!

However, these pesky humans have proved themselves to be extremely good at pouring out dakka and making things go kaboom. Despite the technological advantages the we had during the first days of the invasion, they seemed to be adapting and dragging the ground war on and on.

So why shouldn't I, the commander of the invasion just claim Earth a lost cause and declare Exterminatus? After all, Earth is just one small planet in the entire galaxy.

Invading Forces:

My space forces consists of a rather small flotilla of space ships armed with weapons on the equivalent of Earth's strategic nuclear weapons, enough to make Reagan and Gorbachev blush. I have a small shipyard in the solar system so I can procure more as I needed.

My soldiers, on the other hand, are cloned, mindless drones, controlled by me through a psychic chain of command. Commanders like me have free will, while sub-commanders further down the chain have decreasing levels of free will. They are organized fairly conventionally: infantry, armor, artillery, air force, etc. I have cloning tanks at my disposal to replenish losses.

Operational Objectives

Standard expansion of Hrimfaxi sphere of influence and adding humans to the collective psychic network of Hrimfaxi systems. Secondary objectives include cataloging the genetic properties of life on earth, with is largely complete through abductions. The reasons are so buried underneath bureaucracy, ancient history, and indoctrination that most Hrimfaxi don't even know why they are invading other worlds other than they must or their superiors will have them executed. In fact, it is highly debatable if the higher spheres of the bureaucracy psychic network can be even fathomed under the mindset of an individual being.

  • $\begingroup$ I think to be able to provide a good answer to this question, you need to give us more information on why there is an invasion in the first place. What is so valuable on earth that it'd warrant an invasion? Why even bother in the first place, if the humans aren't a threat? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 10:05
  • $\begingroup$ @DoomedMind The thing is, there is so many layers of bureaucracy and indoctrination that the aliens themselves don't even know why they are invading Earth or any other planet, other than if they don't they will be executed for insubordination. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 10:17
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    $\begingroup$ I guess, the Hrimfaxi Imperator can order the destruction of Earth but that implies that you, the conqueror in charge, have failed and your career is over (whatever that implies—don’t even try to imagine). So you better keep sending “progress slowed down but we’re still at it” messages up the hierarchy… $\endgroup$
    – Holger
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 13:09
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    $\begingroup$ I sense your resolve waning, commander. Need I inform on you to the high Hrimfaxi? If you wish to avoid that inevitable fate then I reccomend you implement a new strategy. Win. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 13:25
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    $\begingroup$ This sounds like "idea-generation" question, which is offtopic. $\endgroup$
    – SJuan76
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 14:02

8 Answers 8


Sir, here is your Prime Commander with an extensive report on our position.

We are not reciving support
The empire has, once again, refused to send more soldier to help us, saying that for those puny humans our flotilla should be more than enough and, as commander @Zhehao pointed out, FTL is too expensive anyway. We are on our own.

High power weaponry
I'm sad to have to remind you that we cannot nuke the whole planet, since we need it as is, but without the rioters of course. To be honest, even if we could nuke it, having to deal with all of the radiation fallout is not advisable.

Soldier weaponry
Our intel on the enemy is warring. they seem to be smarter than how we originally thought, they even started to reverse engineer our way superior weaponry from the fallen soldier and use it against us. Of course, it is not as wide spread and refined as our's, but it's slowing things down.

Our people on the R&D department are totally incompetent. They cannot even mutate our clone army to breath the air mixture of the planet efficiently. After the first "round" of abduction we thought to have unlocked the secret about their metabolism, but sadly our soldiers seem to be able to stay on earth for only a bunch of hours before their lungs collapse.

For now, this is everything, but I'll personally update you if any new feedback from our specialists should come trough.

High Personal Skill
Sir, I'm here with an update. One of our research team, lead by @Martijn, recently found out that their brain is well suited for problem solving and independent thinking. This may explain how they have figured out where and who to take down in our battalion so quickly. As a result of the "hive mind", striking down higher grade soldiers heavily compromises the efficiency and the coordination of the simpler soldiers.

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    $\begingroup$ Commander, we have completed a part of our analysis of the humans. They score remarkably well in the problem solving area, higher than some of our own experts. They seem to be too stubborn to accept a loss. $\endgroup$
    – Martijn
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 11:57
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    $\begingroup$ they have gone as far as asking civilian to share tought on why we are taking so long on crush them, all of that trough some sort of eletrical-based mind-sharing technology. What an interesting specimen. $\endgroup$
    – Jackyz
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 14:03
  • $\begingroup$ Earth contains valuable materials or resources that you cannot find in another planet ( or it rarely exists in the space, maybe you can use humans as slaves) so destroying ALL the humans (and maybe animals and planets with massive weaponry) will cause instability in eco system, so sending this valuable material to your emperor will make him happy and youll be promoted to supreme commander, and he might send you reinforcment to control the earth. $\endgroup$
    – Moudiz
    Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 8:29

My current idea

A combination of expensive FTL travel and alien bureaucracy.

I am thrown into the solar system with the bare basic tools to establish a base of operations and a few samples of embryos to get my clone army started, and even sending this much stuff at faster-than-light speeds across interstellar distances is enough to bankrupt several planets. Reinforcing my forces is impossible, as the nearest Hrimfaxi world is a few hundred light-years away.

I am also being constantly monitored by the empire, who set my objective to bring Earth into the fold of our empire, and any serious deviation from the plan will result in my execution through an implant. However, while the bloated bureaucracy is extremely keen on eliminating traitors, it is close to impossible to find someone to rescind my order of adding Earth to the empire or change it to "nuke the hell out of these damned humans and strip mine the system instead."

So in effect, I am sent of a one-way trip with a mission of conquest that I have to either complete or die trying.

Free free to point holes out of this idea.

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    $\begingroup$ You have almost described Gamilas's conquest of Earth in Space Battleship Yamato. $\endgroup$
    – Euphoric
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 11:09
  • $\begingroup$ Similar things limited colonization in human history. Besides ethical constraints (people usually don't want to massacre absolutely everyone), the home country didn't fully mobilize for total war, and only sent a smaller force. Sea voyage, especially in the Age of Sail was slow, limiting reinforcements. $\endgroup$
    – vsz
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 14:23

Excerpt from Skynews.au News Article:

New, delicious species of desert dwelling dodo-bird discovered in Australia.

Hrimfaxi Official Operational Report on Sol-III, Stardate 12345.6667

Mission Accomplished!

The entire world is ours:

Australian Deserts

Our campaign to rip out the hearts and minds of the inhabitants of Sol-III has been an unmitigated success. Only a few minor outlying islands (Eurasia, Africa and America) remain.

I hereby declare mission accomplished and pass responsibility for the minor mop-up operations remaining to the lightly armed Imperial Pacification Forces at the State Department. Our heavy infantry forces will begin redeploying to out-of-system locations tomorrow.

Another glorious victory for our generals and for the spread of Hiveocracy to the peoples who yearn for such enlightened systems of governance!

May the Goddess bless the troops and the Hrimfaxi empire!

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    $\begingroup$ Are you looking at Australia from underground? $\endgroup$
    – Mr.Mindor
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 17:39

Well, I don't know if this counts as a proper answer, but to give you an idea:

What would happen if I, the great siege commander, would happen to succeed in taking the earth? Would I get another unsensible assignment? Maybe even an assignment that could lead to my death even without an implant activation?

Is my position in the current assignment in any way comfortable? Since there is already so much beaurocracy, why not gain something from it? Dragging this siege on and on, would I gain from it? If I don't have an exact timeframe in which I have to be successful, could I not secure some luxury from a microscopic fraction of the resources transferred to me to aid in my task? Could I not have a nice life while others die for me, far away on the surface, while I am here in my comfy space vessel? Or maybe, could I use the clone bays to secure my own personal army, using some of my assigned resources, just enough that I don't make myself conspicuous?

Maybe I enjoy doing this, and it makes me feel great, so I don't like rushing things?

Context: Beaurocracy has multiple origins. Firstly, it is a structure to limit and control power. But usually, individuals within the chain of command tend to use the system for their own benefit, either by using parts of resources to gain luxury, just being lazy, or by securing their own power, diverting resources assigned by upper echelons.

  • $\begingroup$ Don't forget to clone a bunch of beautiful obedient personal assistants. They are very helpful in spending time, you know, pondering how to finally complete the siege. $\endgroup$
    – Peter S.
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 15:58

I think you've already got a pretty solid idea there:

Collective Psychic Network: The Hrimfaxi leadership doesn't care one whit about the balls of dirt on which their subjects live...they care about the squishy computers in their skulls. Gray Gold, it's called.

If the psychic control strips free will from the lowest level thralls, then what is all that delicious gray matter doing? Just sitting there, regulating heart rates and breathing? How wasteful!

Instead, the entire Hrimfaxi is, itself, just a single organism: the Collective Psychic Network. It uses the brains of its thralls as parallel processing units. The "lower" a thrall is, the more of its mind is used for this processing, resulting in a psychic pyramid scheme. This is why higher-level commanders appear to have free will: the only psychic processing running are those which make them follow the inscrutable orders of their superiors.

How did this start? Originally, the Hrimfaxi evolved as roaming mini-Collectives. The size of the collective was limited, because the entire cluster formed a single hive mind which controlled their every action (like a human who had to focus intently on what each of his hands was doing at any time).

However, mutations occurred which caused a certain cluster to contain "individuals". With a handful of individuals to control parts of the cluster (like an ambidextrous human whose hands could operate semi-autonomously), Collectives could contain many more individuals. Such mega-Collectives were much more successful, and easily enveloped the mini-Collectives.

Eventually the mega-Collectives coalesced into a single species-wide Collective-- not a hive-mind, however. The Planetary Collective consists of an Upper population of individuals, and descending orders of thralls.

At some point, the Planetary Collective encounters an intelligent alien species, and discovers that it can forcefully turn them into thralls. Once it does this, it suddenly gains an entirely new perspective on reality (like a human suddenly gaining the ability to see into the infrared spectrum). Seemingly insurmountable scientific and logistical problems may suddenly seem trivial.

This is also why the Collective Psychic Network doesn't rely solely on clones as thralls: they only add raw processing power...no creativity or knowledge.

Brass tacks: No one in the Collective knows that they are part of a collective. Everyone, down to the lowest grunt, thinks that they have free will. Likewise, everyone thinks that they're psychically controlling those beneath them. At the top, the Leaders believe that they're controlling everything, but they're still guided by an ephemeral psychic force. It surrounds them, penetrates them. It binds their galactic empire together.


The asker says in a comment that "there is so many layers of bureaucracy and indoctrination that the aliens themselves don't even know why they are invading Earth or any other planet, other than if they don't they will be executed for insubordination."

This seems to me all that's needed for an answer. The commander continues the invasion because to do otherwise would entail filing the appropriate paperwork - and that would be a far more difficult and dangerous task than simply continuing to send more troops indefinitely.

I actually quite like that as a basis for a story. It does what it needs to do, and has a darkly comic message about the futility of war.


The Hrimfaxi, an Empire building race are not just trying to take the land, they are trying to build an empire and assimilate the Earth into their own culture - They are trying to save the humans from their own crazy anarchic freedom-loving ways, not wipe them out! To bring them into the superior, structured, warm, welcoming peaceful bosom of the empire.

Unfortunately, there is a segment of the human population who fight back and are ruining it for the rest of them. Once those misguided barbarians who poison the human race are destroyed, the remaining humans will see the superiority of the Hrimfaxi and rejoice in a modern civilisation, free of negative thought!

Every rose has its thorn, as they say.

Also if your own soldiers are mindless drones, then you'll probably have less qualms about losing them to the human fight-back and more determined to properly conquer the humans.

  • $\begingroup$ How exactly dpes this answer why it takes so long? $\endgroup$
    – JFBM
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 14:27
  • $\begingroup$ @J_F_B_M It answers the question, "So why shouldn't I, the commander of the invasion just claim Earth a lost cause and declare Exterminatus?" $\endgroup$
    – komodosp
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 15:14

The bureaucracy cannot deal with a stalemate

It is impossible to "declare Exterminatus" due to a bureaucratic hitch: One of the attachments required for the Exterminatus request form is the Finalized Cost Accounting Statement, model 432g "Lost wars". As the war is not lost, this statement is unavailable.

There are also no directives or request forms that could be used for intentionally losing a war, so your options are to freeze any reinforcements and slowly let the invasion force die off or to request additional support from outside the solar system, at which point you might as well prepare the forms for your own evaluation and recycling.

Of course, none of this matters if your computers are compatible with human Apple laptops.


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