|“|| Careful with this stuff!|
- GDI Harvester
Tiberium (referred to as Ichor by the Scrin) is a mysterious crystalline material that was discovered on the planet in 1995. The poisonous mineral has been valued greatly for as long as it has existed on Earth, and has been used by both the Brotherhood of Nod and the Global Defense Initiative as a form of currency.
Typically green, Tiberium is named after the place of its initial discovery at the Tiber river in Italy (although Kane claims that he himself discovered it and named it after Emperor Tiberius). Tiberium leeches metals and other heavy minerals out of the soil, concentrating them in crystals which can be easily collected and processed. The leeching process leaves the landscape depleted, leaving the ground underneath effectively useless for agriculture.
It is a valuable resource. Harvesters (large, heavily armoured vehicles with specialised equipment) collect the crystal by sweeping it up from the ground. The crystal's growth speed and amounts of materials it contains depends on variables such as soil conditions, moisture, yearly-average temperature, and local weather.
Many theories exist on what Tiberium really is. Some, such as Dr. Mobius, believed that Tiberium itself is a lifeform rather than a mineral. This hypothesis seems to be based on early forms of Tiberium, which originally occurred as seemingly organic, plant-like pods. One fanciful hypothesis is that Tiberium possesses consciousness. According to this idea, the crystal contains a quantum crystalline brain that grows more intelligent as it grows and grows. However, this has yet to be proven.
Tiberium first reached Earth during a meteor shower in 1995. The first patch was discovered by Dr. Ignatio Mobius (although some would argue that it was actually Kane himself) by the Tiber river in Italy. Tiberium was initially hailed as a limitless resource that could change the world for the better. However, given its rate of proliferation and the negative ecological impacts that come with it, the future that Tiberium created was somewhat different than what was originally envisioned.
Tiberium can spread almost anywhere, with the rate of spread being influenced by soil density and ambient temperature. Only the polar caps show low levels of Tiberium infestation. Tiberium spreads through a variety of methods, depending on the local environment.
No matter how small, an isolated patch of Tiberium can spread to cover acres. The process is not entirely understood, but it is believed that a patch of Tiberium will release underground shoots in every direction, which will then grow into Tiberium proper. In this way, the amount of Tiberium in an area will increase exponentially. Tiberium patches can be completely de-'forested' temporarily, but will grow back even if the Tiberium is completely removed, due to its underground "roots". Some of the immature Tiberium sprites are fairly non-descript, allowing the illusion that Tiberium is growing from out of nowhere. The ground from which Tiberium grows sounds like shattered glass when walked on- though the large crystals may be entirely harvested, smaller crystals will remain in the soil and become clusters for further crystaline growth. However, in the Third Tiberium war GDI scientists hypothesized that Tiberium spread through an advanced form of Fission. The process was that Tiberium would use it's heavy Atoms to knock the Protons and Neutrons from the affected substance. It would then add these to it's own structure therefore creating more Tiberium. This is explained more thoroughly below.
A more disturbing method of Tiberium growth is witnessed when the area Tiberium is in has any sort of foliage, such as trees or bushes. Through an unexplained mutagenic process, Tiberium alters these trees into "Blossom Trees". These "trees" are fleshy stalks with a large bulb at the top. The bulb regularly contracts and relaxes, releasing microscopic Tiberium crystals and gases into the atmosphere. As long as there is a Blossom Tree in an area, Tiberium will constantly regrow around the tree. Most attempts at injuring or removing Blossom Trees have been ineffective.
Tiberium Vinifera, the highly combustible blue-coloured Tiberium variant, has its own specific form of spread. If a large enough patch of Vinifera grows to maturity, the crystals will meld together into a massive blue crystal, roughly 10 meters high. These large Vinifera masses act similarly to Blossom Trees (it is unknown how), but at a much slower pace. These crystals are very volatile, and if a vehicle manages to be destroyed over a patch of Viniferia, it will start a slow chain reaction. The crystals will catch fire and then explode after a short time, and some small pieces of debris will land on other areas and catch them on fire and so on, until very little of the original patch remains.
In the 2040s, the planet was divided into three types of zones showing the global impact of Tiberium: 30% of the Earth's surface ('Red Zones') has been rendered completely inhospitable to carbon-based life (though not to mutated, Tiberium-based life). A further 50% ('Yellow Zones') is severely afflicted and war torn, and often suffers from Tiberium contamination, yet is home to most of the world's population; while the remaining 20% ('Blue Zones') is relatively untouched. Much of GDI's efforts are focused toward the conversion of Yellow Zones into Blue Zones, and the complete sterilisation of Red Zones.
- Red Zone - The Red Zones, which cover 30% of the planet's surface, are worst affected by Tiberium, making these areas uninhabitable. Australia seems to be the biggest Red Zone area. Southeast and central Asia, central Africa, and South America from Guatemala to Venezuela, as well as the European countries of Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Austria, Greece and the former Yugoslavia, have also been turned into Red Zones.
- Yellow Zone - The Yellow Zones, which cover 50% of the planet's surface, are empoverished and war-torn, many having significant contamination levels of Tiberium, yet they contain the majority of the world's population. Much of the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Europe are contained in the Yellow Zones.
- Blue Zone - The Blue Zones, which cover 20% of the planet's surface, remains untouched by Tiberium. Canada seems to be the largest Blue Zone area, followed by Argentina and Chile. Smaller Blue Zones include South Africa, Madagascar, Great Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, the U.S. Eastcoast, Greenland and parts of the Middle East and West Africa. Western Canada (Vancouver, BC) is possibly part of the Blue Zones, as seen in a news cast.
When Tiberium first arrived, plant-like pods would form, spread roots underground and forming more pods. Soon afterwards, the pods begin to soak underground minerals, and begin forming Tiberium crystals. During the First Tiberium War, only Riparius crystals were found. By the Second Tiberium War, a wide variety of Tiberium had developed. TW2 Tiberium crystals also grew bigger, were more toxic and more dangerous.
Following the Firestorm Crisis and the decontamination of the atmosphere, due to unknown factors, Tiberium evolution rapidy accelerated. While Blue Zones were largely unaffected, Yellow Zones and Red Zones suffered greatly, as the new Tiberium is capable of literally fusing with and assimilating organic matter even faster than the old Tiberium.
The new Tiberium is a dense "dynamic proton lattice" held together by exotic heavy particles. When Tiberium comes into contact with other matter, the heavy particles randomly collide with the nuclei of the target matter, smashing it to pieces (in the case of smaller nuclei) or incrementally knocking off protons or neutrons (in the case of heavier nuclei). Tiberium captures a fraction of the protons that are ejected during this collision process and incorporates them into its own structure, thus transmuting matter into more Tiberium. Whenever one of the heavy particles — a muon or tauon — collides with an atomic nucleus, fission occurs, which results in the production of alpha, beta, and gamma radiation as well as other forms of electromagnetic radiation (like infra-red). During the transmutation process, nuclei that Tiberium has come into contact with may be changed into nuclei with different (usually fewer) numbers of protons or neutrons. The evolved Tiberium continues to form green (low mineral density) and blue (high mineral density) crystals, varying in worth.
Harvesting and processing
It 'lives' and 'grows' by a particular way of sucking up nutrients from the ground, leaving it bare and unsuitable for agriculture. The end result of this unique leeching process is that the Tiberium crystals can be easily harvested for industrial means with the minimum of mining expense. It is as if Tiberium performs the mining process for the Harvester, with significantly greater efficiency than can currently be counted upon. It was the Brotherhood of Nod that pioneered the mining process, and consequentially, Nod became very wealthy, giving them the upper hand at the beginning of the First Tiberium War.
On the world market it is very valuable, and it is the rich mineral wealth of these crystals that has allowed the GDI and the Brotherhood of Nod to amass such huge armies. Note that although Tiberium is relatively common, it is Tiberium's extreme utility that drives the cost - demand for the compound is extreme.
Nod has created a number of military technologies based on Tiberium, possibly with the information from the Tacitus, including the Chem Warrior, the Catalyst missile, the World Altering Missile, the Liquid Tiberium Bomb, the Tiberium trooper, and has even used Tiberium as a means of altering humanity. Additionally, they were the first organisation to invent successful Harvesters and pioneered Tiberium refining.
In the First Tiberium War, the Tiberium refining process began with the dumping of the harvested raw Tiberium into a Tiberium Refinery. The harvest would be transferred to a special centrifuge, where the minerals would be extracted alongside other useful materials, creating a thick, clay-like sludge that was transferred afterwards to the melting furnaces, where it would be molded into elegant bricks, preparing a clean, safe product for further use in Construction Yards, War Factories and other manufacturing centers. Waste and other byproducts would then be stored in barrels and stacked for removal from the refinery or, in Nod's case, use in the chemical sprayers for the Chem warriors. Quite ingenious indeed.
The situation changed after the Second Tiberium War, when Tiberium was further transformed in the wake of Tacitus decontamination procedures. Now, the refineries melt the crystals as their first step in processing it into a safe, usable resource.
Tiberium composition and types
This is the most basic form of Tiberium. Its crystals are small and green in appearance, thus it is commonly referred to as "green Tiberium." This type of Tiberium has a low level of leeched minerals and is therefore the least valuable resource, albeit the most common. Generally does not grow more than one foot off the ground. It is toxic to all known carbon-based lifeforms on Earth, and produces very small amounts of Tiberium gas. The assault suit developed by the Mobius doctors will protect the wearer from 99% of the radiation and gas.
- Phosphor: 42.5%
- Iron: 32.5%
- Calcium: 15.25%
- Copper: 5.75%
- Silica: 2.5%
- Unknown: 1.5%
This was the form of Tiberium which arrived in the meteorites at the Tiber river and was therefore given the name Riparius (meaning growing near a river). It was the first type of Tiberium extensively studied by Dr. Ignatio Mobius. Riparius grows and spreads very fast - about an acre per month in temperate climates. It would appear that its rate of growth is more accurately expressed as a formula of perimeter area of the field, size of the field, density of the field, etc, but the 1 acre per month figure is reasonable for medium sized, average density fields.
The most common proliferator of the Riparius was the "blossom tree," which launched Tiberium spores (microscopic crystals) that eventually mature into Tiberium pods. The second means of proliferation is the underground spread via root-like structures.
Riparius Further Evolved
Tiberium continues to transform itself. By 2047, Tiberium has become a self-replicating proton lattice that turns any matter it touches into more of itself, giving off powerful radiation in the process. More advanced research has been conducted that indicates that this new Tiberium affects matter on the molecular and possibly even smaller scales. It is advised that all carbon-based lifeforms stay well away from Tiberium.
The "new" Tiberium spreads two main ways: It is capable of assimilating matter it comes into contact with, similar to older forms of Tiberium, but significantly faster. This Tiberium also spreads by spreading underground veins, which tend to mass beneath the surface of Earth and, when the concentration is high enough, breaching the surface, creating open, gaping rifts which spread Tiberium crystals around them. The Scrin make use of those rifts by implanting Growth Accelerators on them, which, as their name suggests, speed up the growth rate of Tiberium.
|“|| Its going to be difficult getting Infantry past that Blue Tiberium!|
- GDI Soldier at Ground Zero
As Vinifera did not spread noticeably until after the First Tiberium War, Doctor Ignatio Mobius did not manage to study it in great detail before he died. Extensive studying of this tricky crystal by scientists of the Global Defense Initiative has shown that after some time, developed Riparius crystals mature into Tiberium Vinifera, which is blue in appearance, and has crystals about the same size as Riparius. Vinifera is commonly referred to as "blue Tiberium" because of its color.
Vinifera has some special properties which distinguish it greatly from Riparius.
- It spreads much more slowly than Riparius.
- It has a much higher mineral density in a given volume, compared to the Riparius, and therefore has greater economic value.
- It is highly combustible and unstable. It explodes violently when brought into contact with fire or other explosives.
- It is significantly more harmful to organics, and soldiers often die quicker when traversing a field of blue Vinifera than in a green Riparius field.
When it explodes, it does not blow up all at once. The crystals in a patch blow up randomly, often with gaps of up to 20 seconds between each explosion. The reason for this is as of yet unknown. Vinifera Monoliths began to appear as Vinifera fields spread further. This massive blue crystal form of Tiberium functions like a "blossom tree" but rather than spreading Tiberium Riparius, it spreads Tiberium Vinifera.
In the year 2047, there is a Large colony of Vinifera visible in the areas formerly referred to as Malawi, Zamibia and south Congo. Also unlike before they do not explode so easily and also hard to grow.
Tiberium Aboreus is very similar in appearance to Vinifera, and shares many of the same properties. It is slightly more valuable in minerals and slightly more explosive, but this has not been conclusively scientifically proven yet. Apparently there were enough chemical differences for Dr. Mobius to put it in a class of its own. Not much is known about this form of Tiberium. It is thought to be more valuable due to peaking chemical concentrations.
These are large crystals, similar in appearance to the above two strains of tiberium, except they grow in clumps of approximately 1 square metre to a height of one to two metres. They spread patches of Tiberium Vinifera and Aboreus around them. These crystals are extremely explosive and quite rare. When exploded they shower crystals around the landscape up to 600 metres. This is thought to be a method of spreading Tiberium. It is called "Cruentus" meaning blood-red, even though the crystal itself is dark blue.
Unknown Red Strain
This new strain of red/orange Tiberium started to appear during the Firestorm Crisis. However, it is extremely rare, and few commanders have had the chance to harvest it, though some have remarked that it is even more potent, valuable and explosive than Tiberium Cruentus and Aboreus. A sample was retrieved by Tratos, and studied at his base protected by a Firestorm shield. However, all of its secrets were lost with the Mutant leader, who was assasinated by Nod forces on orders of CABAL.
Though this form of Tiberium is called Algae as if it was a form of mutated flora, it is actually Tiberium growing in water. It forms from Tiberium colonies that extended from either Riparius or Vinifera on the sea floor to the surface by strands. It poisons and clogs waterways. By the time of the Second Tiberium War, most of the oceans have been covered by this unhelpful variant of Tiberium which makes travel by ship impossible. This issue has been rectified, as GDI managed to partially decontaminate waters worldwide.
A sludge/moss form of Tiberium which marginally slows down travel but is otherwise unobtrusive. Tiberium moss is a sky blue in colour, while the "sludge" is iridescent green. It usually serves as a base for Tiberium flora growth.
Following the abandonment of those parts of the planet designated as 'Red Zones', the growth of Tiberium there has increased unchecked. The results are found in a large number of vast, towering Tiberium deposits that have engulfed the soil beneath them and created 'glaciers'. These fissures in the Earth's surface create huge barriers for anyone foolish enough to try and cross these regions on foot. Tiberium glaciers, like Ion Storms, are beginning to intrude into Yellow Zones that border Red Zones - notably, Temple Prime was located adjacent to a large Tiberium glacier during the Third Tiberium War.
While technically liquid Tiberium is not a new form, as the compound has to be melted down for processing, the liquid Tiberium (refered to as Ichor LQ by the Scrin) developed by the Brotherhood of Nod is a completely new type of Tiberium altogether. It is an extremely potent form that has a high energy density yield. GDI was originally researching it's properties in a lab in Australia, under Doctor James De Groot; however a Black Hand strikeforce destroyed the lab. This caused massive fallout and accelerated the ecologic damage Tiberium had caused to Australia. Nod continued to research Liquid Tiberium's properties, and by the Third Tiberium War it was used as both a weapon and a tool.
Liquid Tiberium can be used to "Seed" Tiberium. The new form can be sprayed on a surface, and the microscopic Tiberium particles will embed themselves in the soil and rapidly develop into Tiberium Riparius. It is used as one of the methods of amplifying Tiberium spread. Another use is as a component of the Tiberium infusion or as a power core of Nod Power Plants.
Kane used the liquid tiberium to draw the Scrin to Earth, by provoking an Ion Cannon strike on Temple Prime which triggered a catastrophic detonation that ultimately drew the harvester detachment of the Scrin to Earth. With the proper detonator, the blast yield was 2 gigatons, and it also caused all proximate Tiberium crystals or liquid to explode.
To respond to the invading Scrin, Acting GDI Director Redmond Boyle commissioned the construction and authorised the usage of a Liquid Tiberium bomb. General Jack Granger was against the plan, as the Scrin were concentrated in the world's largest Red Zone, and the blast would in all likelihood greatly surpass even the devastating Sarajevo explosion. In the end, the call to use GDI's Tiberium weapon was left in the hands of the field commander during the battle to destroy the Scrin Relay Node. If used, the Liquid Tiberium bomb would destroy every GDI, NOD, and Scrin unit in the battle, and the resulting effects will cause an additional 25 million civilian deaths. Though dwarfed by the blast created when the Ion Cannon was fired at Temple Prime, the blast of a Liquid Tiberium Bomb far surpasses a nuclear bomb's destructive power.
This is a dangerous form of Tiberium which forms toxic clouds. It is often observed being emitted by Veinhole Monsters and Tiberium Floaters. Tiberium gas is highly corrosive in nature and will damage vehicles and buildings. Soldiers without a special suit will die as soon as the gas enters their lungs or when the gas is absorbed into the blood stream. It may cause mutations, turning them into Visceroids. Tiberium gas clouds also damages Cyborgs and Mutants. Fortunately, the concentrations of Tiberium during the First Tiberium War were relatively low compared to what followed.
This is a new form that is currently undergoing study. It is used in the GDI ion cannon and the enlightened particle beams. If one has been through an Ion Cannon strike or particle beam attack, they will know how dangerous Ionic Tiberium can be.
Effect on organic matter
- GDI Harvesters, taking Tiberium easy.
See also, Tiberium poisoning
Outcroppings of Tiberium release odorless gases as they appear. While Tiberium was originally considered harmless (and perhaps even beautiful to some due to its unearthly shimmering sparkles), these fumes will heavily poison any human that ventures through it.
Long-term low-level exposure to Tiberium causes illness of various systems amongst all terrestrial life. As the exact mutagenic means by which Tiberium affects terrestrial biology are largely unknown, treatment is generally restricted to alleviating the symptoms rather than curing the cause. Unfortunately, this means that victims of Tiberium poisoning almost uniformly experience a gradual decline over a number of years until eventually succumbing to the effects. A research study funded by GDI that was conducted during the First Tiberium War produced the following statistics:
|Immune system ailments||14,681,994||29,377,224|
Long-term mid- to high-level exposure to Tiberium can result in effects that reveal an alarming aspect of the mineral/life-form: Tiberium is a mutagen. Furthermore, it is unlike any terrestrial mutagen, as it can cause quick evolution in the infected being.
Generally, exposure to Tiberium (either a single heavy exposure or a long-term light exposure) will cause death by some form of total system failure.
What was not initially apparent, however, were the intra-organism mutations that could cause subtle mutations seen only within a few generations of exposure. The growth of Tiberium crystals on the skin and flesh, increased resistance to the effects of Tiberium poisoning, and even the ability of tissues to achieve accelerated cellular regeneration when in the presence of Tiberium were only known to Nod researchers.
Tiberium poisoning in humans
When exposed to very high concentrations of Tiberium, such as while passing through an area of dense Tiberium growth without protective apparatus, the short-term effects of Tiberium poisoning are immediately experienced by individuals. If an individual dies from such exposure, irregular Tiberium mutation can sometimes result. This mutation causes the individual's body to literally break down into a somewhat inside-out, amoeboid organism. These are known as "Visceroids", with the strange tendency to "bleed" fluids in both gaseous and liquid forms. Visceroids tend to feed upon nearby sources of Tiberium, or, if available, they will attempt to digest organic matter of vaguely similar genetic composition to the host organism that preceded them.
Human Tiberium poisoning has become much more dangerous in recent years: if a human comes into direct contact with Tiberium, the green matter will start to fuse with their skin within about 20 seconds. An intense burning sensation will be felt. A full infection will manifest if the victim isn't treated immediately. The flesh will begin to take on a glassy-greenish appearance as it begins to crystallize; eventually internal organs will shut down as Tiberium extends rigid crystalline runners throughout the body. If the crystal is breathed in, then it will become embedded in the lungs. The ability to process oxygen will be lost as the lung tissue crystallises. Eventually the subject will hemorrhage to death.
It should be noted that the new Tiberium does not always kill its victims, as due to unknown factors, a human can survive contact with it and mutate, eventually becoming a human with superior strength and endurance, and the startling ability to repair bodily damage with Tiberium. There is a chance of mental instability. Shunned by most other humans, they usually leave society facing the threat of murder and general distrust. Usually, the mutants die or join a mutant tribe, such as the larger organization of several mutant tribes, the Forgotten in their exodus.
Interestingly, plants seemed more susceptible to visible mutations than animals and humans, with the 'blossom trees' being an early-recognised example of such mutation in plants.
- See Tiberian wildlife for a more detailed article.
- Visceroid - As stated above, the amoeba-like Visceroid is a pulsating glob of undeterminable flesh. It is often formed by the Tiberium-related death of a human-sized organism. Some variants of this organism spew Tiberium gases at its enemies, whereas others attack with pseudopods.
- Tiberian Fiend - The 'fiend' is a horse-sized animal, resembling a terran dog. The flesh is blackish or red, and the back is covered with Tiberium Crystals. It is believed Tiberium fiends were actually once dogs, although they are more reptillian on closer examination. The fiends can launch these crystals at enemies, causing both damage as well as Tiberium poisoning. Often, they bury themselves in Tiberium fields (the Tiberium on their backs concealing them) and lay in wait to attack Tiberium Harvesters. They do react to perceived acts of kindness, and The Forgotten have been able to actually "tame" a significant number of them for use as watchdogs.
- Tiberian Floater - Looks like a large, hovering/floating, greenish/yellowish jellyfish. It can build up an electrical charge in its tentacles to zap threats. The Tiberium floater can release Tiberium gas to propel itself, as a way of movement.
Though limited in variety, Tiberian flora has been located:
- Blossom Tree - Sometimes referred to as the Tiberium Spore Tree and officially called "Tiberium Riparius" by scientists. Blossom Trees are born when normal trees come into prolonged contact with Tiberium. Once contact is made, the tree will slowly die. When it is a withered husk, a blossom will move from the roots up to the top, bursting out from underneath. The tree will also develop fleshy organic parts over time. Blossom trees' main purpose are the proliferation of Tiberium through periodically releasing Tiberium spores to the surrounding area. When these spores land on the ground, a new Tiberium field will begin forming. Blossom trees can spread green Tiberium at an alarming rate, and are known to sprout from any type of tree species.
- Veinhole Monster/Tiberium Veins - Perhaps the oddest Tiberium lifeform, the Veinhole Monster is simply a massive mouth-like orifice in the ground, with many orange tendrils flowing outwardly from the mouth. These tendrils harm anything heavy enough to damage them, and were harvested by Nod for use in chemical missiles. They release a concentrated Tiberium based vapor when the central node is threatened. The effects of the vapor are an accelerated form of Tiberium poisoning to both infantry and equipment.
- Tiberium Plants - These plants have not been given names. The scientific background is that they release Tiberium gas and add to the suspected terraforming process of Tiberium. These plants come in both blue and green variants and grow either on the Tiberium creep, or on terrain soil. Some of these plants can respond to their surroundings and threats.