The XCOM Saga, part 32

February 15th, 2016…

  • XCOM receives an emergency alert.  London itself is under attack by alien ground forces.
  • Tex will lead Chad, Chris Hussey, Scott, Beth, and Rachelle into combat.  Dan will run C3, though under Ryan’s observation.  Chris and Scott will be field-testing suits of Ghost armor.
  • The scene is London looks like something straight out of World War 2.  Air raid sirens are blaring.  The streets are bathed in orange light as cars and buildings burn.  The sounds of panic are everywhere.
  • Scott and Chris confirm the armor is much easier to move in.  However, the speed enhancers, grapple lines, and other mobility features will take some getting used to.
  • Just ahead, the team spots a locust.  It raises its beam cannon, locking onto Scott.  Three shots tear through the night air.  The first strikes the engine block of the car he’s hiding behind, the second cuts through its passenger compartment, and the third passes through the wreckage to hit a car even farther back.  Fortunately, Scott is unharmed.
  • The two escorting drones turn and fire at the locals, killing a civilian and then a cop who was brave enough to help with evacuations until the bitter end.
  • Scott fires several bursts at the locust, but only one connects.
  • Watching the satellite map of the action, Dan notes a bit of debris that would allow Chad to flank the robot and still remain in cover.  He asks Chad how confident he is about trying one of Tex’s trick shots.
  • Chad answers his question by moving to the debris and destroying the machine.
  • Tex urges his squadmates forward to dispatch the drones.  They succeed, but six bugs, a disc, and a drone can be seen having a heyday just down the street.
  • Dan assures the team they have sufficient cover to make a rather aggressive run.  And given the number of civilians he counts ahead, they better take it.
  • Tex keeps the team together, but they follow his suggestion of a rapid advance.
  • Without their psychics to protect them, alien units designed to terrorize civilians find themselves quickly outmatched and eliminated.  Their few retaliations are against the hapless bystanders.
  • 10 aliens and 0 XCOM members were killed.  Only 4 civilians died during our battle, but local government informs us the casualties from the larger course of the battle will likely number in the hundreds.  While it’s far below the casualty rates we saw in Melbourne, it’s still enough to dampen the spirits of the team as they fly home.
  • After a conversation with Ryan about Dan’s performance, Tex returns command of XCOM to his younger brother.  Whatever trauma he’s struggling with seems to be something he can turn on and off, almost like he’s selectively mad.
  • A medical research company in Brazil sends a request for hulk corpses.  They believe the alien physiology may provide some medical breakthroughs in cell regeneration.  Dan approves the order.  It’s the least he can do for the country that’s currently home to an alien ship whose mere presence causes earthquakes.  When checking the evening news a few days later, he finds out the research in question is meant to reverse aging.  Dr. Shen was right: an era really has ended.
  • On February 24th, an alien scout is spotted over Canada.  A Firestorm is launched and brings it down with EMP weapons.  Dr. Shen confirms a prophet is on board, so a mixed team is ordered up.  Ryan, Adam, John, Chris Mais, Cape, and Krenzke are sent to the hangar bay.
  • From the scarring of the terrain, it looks like the craft bounce and spun quite a bit on impact.
  • The team quickly encounters several barfers.  Taking advantage of the change in gear for our psychic troops, one poisons Chris.  John kills the alien on a snapshot.
  • Back at C3, Dan suggests sending the psychics up to deal with these weaker aliens.  They need the practice, and it will send a message to the prophet.  As there appears to be sufficient cover to do so safely, Ryan agrees and orders them up.  Seconds later, both of the xenos are dead on the ground, having never been touched by anything but thought.
  • John is ordered to treat the poison coursing through Chris’ veins.  The rest of the team — now with eyes on the craft — begins reforming the line.
  • Cape reports contact with two hulks.  As they try to spring their ambush, he kills one of the monsters and Ryan snipes the other.
  • Three elites attack us from the right side of the craft.
  • One of the hulks tosses a grenade, which lands right by Chris and Adam.  The blast rattles them both, but even their weaker, psi-amp armor is sufficient to protect them from the worst of the blast.
  • As the firefight continues, one of the elite hulks attempts to break our lines.  Seething with hatred, Chris tells it aloud that it will die.  The alien soldier panics and runs back to cower behind a boulder.
  • Conventional fire manages to bring one down.  Adam warps the mind of another, though it still takes a follow-up shot from John to finish the task.  Cape’s shots find their mark and kill the third.
  • Back at C3, Dan makes a note of the current time on a piece of paper.  He tells Tex to remind him he wrote that down later.
  • On the battlefield, Ryan gets his team reorganized and reloaded.  They’ll be breaching soon.
  • The assault begins with the psychics leading the way, searching for the prophet.  The rest of the team is close behind them in case a more conventional threat should appear.
  • The prophet can be heard muttering his inanities in a port-side room.
  • As soon as we open the barrier, both the prophet and his bodyguard retreat to another room.  Our psychics seem to have made quite an impression.
  • The bodyguard is behind excellent cover, and our few shots fail to find their mark.
  • Chris reaches out and terrifies the creature.  It shoots wildly and then hunkers down.
  • The prophet bypasses its guard and floats right into the midst of our firing line, but makes no hostile move.
  • With his shotgun still cradled in his left arm, Chris simply redirects his rage to the prophet.  It contorts and then dies in a wave of energy that injures most of our squad.  Dan makes a note to tell the psychics to watch where they choose to kill things.
  • With the way now clear, Ryan lines up his rifle and kills the cowering guard.
  • 10 aliens dead, 0 human losses.  However, it looks like we have several troops headed to the infirmary with minor injuries.
  • Dan sends the parts from the saucer to Dr. Shen, telling him to construct more suits of Ghost armor.
  • When the science team examines Adam and Chris, the staff reports that their implants are growing in complexity and integrating into surrounding tissue at an unexpected pace.  Both of them now state they can occasionally feel the thoughts of nearby people.  When asked if they think they could control a mind, neither gives a definitive answer, but they feel there’s a good chance they could.
  • Tex approaches Dan in the command center, reminding him of the timestamp he marked during the last mission.  Dan nods and pulls up Adam’s camera recording, forwarding it to a few seconds before that time.  Shots are flying between our team and several hulks.  A few seconds later, Adam rises up and attacks the mind of one just before John fires the killing shot.  Dan rewinds it, playing the clip again, and cutting out all audio except that from Adam’s comm mic.  When he makes the attack, he can be heard laughing gleefully, maniacally.  “He has no recollection of that,” Dan informs his older brother.  “What the hell have we done to him?”  (AUTHOR’S NOTE: The laugh really did occur in the game.)
  • Another month ends and another email gets deleted.  Looking through the team inventory and readiness reports, Dan makes a decision.  Unless any noteworthy developments occur, one of the psychics will be sent to the Gollop chamber to attempt contact with the massive, alien vessel.  His goal is to bring it down before the end of March.

Comments (1)

JamesNovember 17th, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Nearly there! Keep going!

Leave a comment

Your comment