Conspiracy Theory

This article was written just prior to the release of UFO: Aftershock, so many of the answers will be known by Aftershock veterans.

Are the Reticulans puppets of another power?

There are several loose endings scattered throughout UFO: Aftermath. It is my personal contention that they fit a specific pattern for a theme that the game developers will expand upon in the forthcoming UFO: Aftershock.

Bionode material

If you complete the game by successfully winning the lunar base mission, the following message appears on your screen:

"So, this is the end. The enemy is vanquished. The great teat that fed the Biomass – the source of the mysterious greenish liquid that was turning Reticulans into Biomass nodes – lies destroyed. The scientists say that it does not come from the Reticulan home planet, but that no longer matters. Now all that matters is that the Earth is free again, free to be reborn."

There are two particularly interesting revelations in this statement. The first is that Reticulans are being turned into biomass nodes, and the second is that the Biomass liquid is not from the Reticulan homeworld.

It is known that a large and complex nervous system makes a better bionode than a more primitive nervous system. As Reticulans have larger brains than humans on average, it follows that they would make better bionodes. Although an individual Reticulan is more willing to sacrifice himself for the common good than a human would be, he would still need to know there is a very good reason for him to make the ultimate sacrifice. One wonders how many Reticulans expected to survive to enjoy the benefits of ruling the Planetmind.

The comment that the liquid used to create the biomass nodes was not from the Reticulan homeworld is particularly interesting as it means they would have had to either develop it or to obtain it in their interstellar exploration. If the liquid was developed by the Reticulans, then it would have had to have been developed in conditions of utmost secrecy.

If the Reticulans discovered the liquid during their exploration of other worlds, then this raises a very important question: how did they recognise it for what it was? Given that the liquid is an essential part of the creation of the biomass and thus Planetmind, does this mean that Planetmind already exists on other worlds?


Research into the transgenant species encountered in Aftermath reveals one or two interesting anomalies that cast doubt on the simplistic explanation they are simply mutations of native life forms from before the Fall.


The sporeblower is no more than a biomechanical artefact designed to carry the alien spores to human soldiers on the battlefield, however it does give your scientists their one chance to examine the spores behind the Twilight and Fall. They discovered that the spores were self-organised and capable of responding to external stimuli. The spores have some means of detecting the proximity of humans, which causes them to become more active. This increased activity causes the sporeblower to explode, thus releasing the spores into the air in order to attack nearby humans.

It is possible that the spores are intelligent beings in their own right; the coordinated nature of their actions would indicate a form of group mind. This implies that the spores, the transgenants, the biomass nodes and Planetmind are all part of a complex life cycle of a single organism. If this theory is correct, then it follows that thousands or even millions of worlds have already been ruined by this organism, and the Reticulans are reduced from a position of leadership to errand boys.

The second theory is that the spores are a biological form of nanobots, and they were programmed to carry out certain tasks, such as killing people or altering their DNA. Curiously, the Reticulans and Old Greys have not managed to find any other military application for nano-technology, which leads to the possibility that it was not developed indigenously.


The transgenants used to defend the Reticulan Royal Chamber have several unique and puzzling properties. Called octopuses, although they look more like spiders, they appear to have been intended to be guard dogs to be used as a final defence for the persons of the Reticulan queens. Despite being the toughest transgenants in the game, they are never deployed on Earth.

However they are the only transgenant species to have been deployed in conjunction with the Reticulans, which means that they are able to tell the difference between a Reticulan and a human. This suggests rather more intelligence than that possessed by other transgenants – even the humanoid transgenants are incapable of using a door knob.

The most unique property of an octopus is its weight. It weighs 750 kilograms in a body that has the volume of a balloon fish or a flapper. This gives it a density of maybe fifty times greater than that of any species native to Earth, and greater than any of the 92 naturally occurring elements. As most other transgenant species are mutations of species native to Earth, it follows that the octopuses cannot be from Earth.

Neither can the octopuses be from Zeta Reticulum, where life has a similar biochemistry to that of Earth, although gravity is lower and there is more free oxygen in the atmosphere. Such creatures could only evolve on a planet with far greater atmospheric density and gravity than Earth.

It is possible that the octopuses were biomechanical constructions, in the manner of plecton and sporeblowers. However if that was so, why did the Reticulans only manufacture a few of them? It would have been more logical to manufacture and deploy thousands of them during the fighting on Earth. Also, why not add some sort of ranged weapon to the design?

The fact that the octopuses were only ever encountered in the Reticulan lunar base is curious. If their primary purpose was combat, why give them the same level of protection as the Reticulan queens? It is hardly as if the attack on the lunar base was expected – if it had been, the Retribution would have been attacked and destroyed en-route. The only possible explanation for the amount of protection they received is that they were intelligent beings who were supporting the Reticulan efforts.

Military Technology

Despite having been a spacefaring race for thousands of years, Reticulan military technology at the beginning of the game was not much more advanced than our own. Their fighters only narrowly outperformed ours in a dogfight, their laser rifles were no better than our assault rifles, and the only advantage their body armour had over ours was that it was lighter. One of their late game weapons is even based on pre-Fall human technology – the collapsible machine gun. Evidently Reticulan military technology evolved at a remarkably slow rate for countless centuries.

When your forces to offer effective resistance to the Reticulans, they start developing new military technology at an explosive rate, despite only being able to spare limited resources and few scientists for weapons research. Improved versions of existing weapons and armour, and many new weapons such as alien rocket launchers and microslug accelerators are developed and mass produced in a matter of weeks.

The most bizarre weapon in the Reticulan arsenal is the warp assault rifle. It creates micro-level distortions in space that shreds living tissue and rips stone and metal apart. Yet their people had never developed true warp technology before the invasion, despite having a powerful incentive; warp technology would improve the speed of their spacecraft and make interstellar travel far easier than the current cumbersome network of Qports.

If the Reticulans had access to such powerful weapons at the beginning of the game, why weren’t these weapons issued to their forces from the beginning? If they were developed during the game, how did the Reticulans manage it? Reverse engineering existing technology is a lot easier than building radically new technology.


The Reticulans that attacked Earth in UFO: Aftermath are only a renegade faction of their race. The rest of their people, called the Old Greys, had already been in peaceful contact with humanity for decades through the Dreamland Project. The surviving Old Greys on Earth have taken up arms to stop the Reticulan plan, and their government despatched a military fleet to help Earth – this fleet is scheduled to reach Earth in the mid 2020s.

Although the Old Greys are prepared to use military force to stop the Reticulans, the attack on Earth came as a surprise to them – the first they knew about it was when the Qport was destroyed. Had they known what the Reticulans were up to, there would have been a large fleet ready to pounce when the Reticulans entered our system. As the invasion took the Old Greys by surprise, the Reticulans must have managed to carry out their preparations in secret, but this would have been no easy matter.

The Reticulans had to assemble thousands of ships, tens of thousands of personnel willing to devote their lives to their plan and large amounts of food, weapons and equipment. Not one person involved refused to cooperate or questioned the morality of what they were doing and tipped off their government. Nobody outside the project picked up on the unusual shipping patterns as the fleet was assembled.

Even the research required on the genetic makeup of native flora and fauna would have been difficult. It required frequent visits to Earth without the Old Greys noticing what was going on. Either the Reticulans were given privileged access to stealth technology or the Old Greys never read paranormal magazines.

Controlling Planetmind

The Reticulans were ultimately planning on turning Earth into a gigantic planetary computer with massive psionic powers. However, the in-game glossary and the message that appears if you accept the Reticulan offer reveal that they have no idea what the extent of its powers will be and there are doubts that they will be able to control it.

Considering how much planning was behind the invasion, it is amazing the Reticulans did not seem to apply any thought about whether Planetmind would be content to be directed by beings that it would regard as being mentally inferior, and what they would do if it refused to obey them. As the Reticulans planned to use Planetmind to destroy the Old Grey fleet upon its arrival, Planetmind would have the power to destroy them as well if it chose to.


It is my opinion that the most likely explanation for the anomalies and loose ends in the game are that the Reticulans are the tools of another power, probably without even realising it. This unknown power handled the technology and logistics behind the invasion and is using the Reticulans as hired hands, cannon fodder, and ultimately as biomass nodes. It has also has stopped the Old Grey fleet from coming to the aid of humanity, and it is possible that the Old Greys are now too busy fighting for their own survival to send another fleet to help humanity.

So what do you think is going on in the UFO Universe? If you've got comments on Accounting Troll's theories, or have some ideas of your own, why not share them in this forum topic