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It is the year 2084. Earth, never the most stable of places, enjoys a time of relative peace. The violent beginnings of the 21st century are far away now; distant memories, but not so distant that they've been forgotten. To most of Earth's people, the Second Cold War is a dark shadow from the past, much like the World Wars were to the children of the late 20th.

Conflicts have gotten rarer near the end of the century as new technology and universal health-care finally became available to the third world. Even the fires of terrorism have cooled in the wake of the Second Cold War, with its horrors and inhumanities still fresh in the minds of the people, from the old United States to the ravaged Indian subcontinent. Class struggles are ascending to the political battlefield now that every nation is guaranteed fair representation in the UN, and the global standard of living is slowly on the rise down to the most impoverished corners of the planet. Countries have solidified, stabilised around a restructured United Nations that successfully polices the world governments. Fragmented clumps of smaller nations, frightened at first by the vast power blocks accumulating around China and the European Union, have banded together into powerful political leagues of their own -- then found themselves with no neighbours they could safely fight. For the first time in the history of mankind, there is law and order across more than three quarters of the world.

To many people on Earth, it seems like things are going all right.

The first attack hits the city of Mumbai on the 3rd of March, 2084. Six small UFOs appear out of nowhere and come screaming down from orbit, undetected by the vast radar installations covering the skies over Mumbai, and set down in the single most densely-populated city on Earth. They offer no warning, no explanation. Twenty thousand innocent civilians and three battalions of elite troops are massacred over the course of twelve brutal hours before massed Commonwealth soldiers manage to bring the aliens' advance to a standstill. Then, as suddenly as they appeared, they retreat to their craft and vanish back into orbit, leaving only the ravaged streets of Mumbai as evidence.

An emergency meeting of the UN provides no conclusive direction. The incursions continue faster, larger and more savage than before, this time in Bonn, Johannesburg and Bangkok. Some nations attempt diplomacy, sending messages in a thousand different languages to the aliens ravaging across the countryside. Their words are ignored. Within hours, all three cities are emptied of human life. The attack is over by the time the various militaries are given permission to strike back. The aliens leave nothing behind them but concrete and blood. All the UFOs disappear without a trace -- but no one doubts they'll be back.

Eighty-seven hours after the initial attack on Mumbai, Earth declares war. For two weeks, the armies of humanity each try to fend off the mysterious alien attackers to the best of their ability. They score precious few successes.

Left with only one alternative, the UN takes action. Ancient equipment is dusted off, some of it more than a century old, and the long-defunct anti-extraterrestrial agency of the former United States -- PHALANX -- is resurrected under a new UN banner. Its sworn duty is to combat the alien threat, and to ensure the survival of the human race at all costs.

Funded by all eight of the political powers, and drawing its soldiers from the elite of their armies, PHALANX is the best of the best. It is Earth's first and only line of defence. It can't afford to fail; because if it does, humanity doesn't stand a chance.

First Instructions

FROM: SecGen. Mahouf Serra, United Nations, New York City
TO: Base Commander, PHALANX, Atlantic Operations Command
DATE: 2084, Mar 21

Welcome to your new post, Commander. You now have full command over the PHALANX Extraterrestrial Response Unit. Your mission is to protect the citizens of Earth and stop the alien threat at all costs. How you accomplish this is up to you; our only requirement is that you succeed.

Your first order of business is to set up a headquarters. The UN has access to military bases all over the world, so you may consider any region for your base of operations. Choose the location wisely, because it will have great influence on the success of the PHALANX project.

A recent analysis of the attacks on Mumbai and Bonn reveal that UFO sightings and alien activity seems to focus on the most densely populated regions of Earth, including coastal North- and South-America, Europe, Eastasia, South and Mediterranean Africa, and Australia. You should consider including these territories in your field of operations.

Once you've established your first base, you must prepare your soldiers. The recruits we have assigned to PHALANX must be stationed on your dropship, then equipped for battle.

Take care of them, Commander. The rest of us are all counting on you, and praying for you.

That is all. Good luck and good hunting.