The XCOM Saga, part 33

March 1st, 2016…

  • Nigeria has requested some of our nano-fiber armor for military research.  As always, we agree and ship out the samples.
  • On March 6th, a well-armed and heavily staffed supply barge lands in Montana.  Dan insists on a very specific team to raid the vessel.  Tex will lead Jimmy, Scott, John, Adam, and Chris Mais.  He invites Ryan to take C3.
  • The Sky Ranger deploys the team alongside the cargo ship.  Given the number of exits and ledges, it’s a terrible place to assault.  Tex orders the team to immediate cover as Ryan maps out an attack plan.
  • As the entire team is wearing either Ghost or psi-amp armor, they’re fairly mobile.  Ryan, therefore, tells them to bypass the side of the craft and make a run for a rear cargo barrier.
  • Bullies, hulks, and barfers are swarming all over the aft bay.  Jimmy drops a barfer with a quick volley.
  • Dan requests Adam and Chris to advance carefully and see if they can take control of an alien soldier, though they are only to do so if it appears safe.
  • Tex agrees, but only after the swarming ranks of aliens have been thinned a bit.  He sends more conventional troops into the fray.  John, Tex, and Scott all take shots and miss.  Seeing little alternative, Tex tells Chris and Adam to do their best to turn the aliens against each other.
  • The two psychics intrude into the alien gestalt mind as they’ve done before.  But instead of planting nightmares or willing them to die, they pit will against will, subjugating them to our cause.  Though no instrument can measure their success, the sight of a bully and hulk turning their attacks the other direction brings out a cheer in the command center.
  • A disc emerges from the fore of the craft.  It hovers toward Scott, unfurling its main weapon, and firing a barrage.  The ghost armor seems to work, as the alien can’t achieve a successful lock, even though Scott has no cover in that direction.  Scott’s retaliation is far more effective.
  • Our friendly hulk kills the remaining barfer.  With no immediate use for the bully, we send it ahead to scout out the ship for us.  It it dies along the way, so much the better.
  • Sure enough, the bully finds three heavy cyborgs in the next compartment.  It dies to their combined fire, but no one on our side mourns the loss.
  • Our friendly hulk follows the same path, tossing a grenade into the room, wounding the aliens and blasting apart the consoles they were using for cover.
  • The wounded cyborg falls to psychic attacks.  One of his friends is shot off the roof by plasma fire from John and Jimmy.  The final one is gunned down by Adam’s plasma rifle.
  • After so much faithful service, our hulk finally breaks free of the psychic control and turns on us.  Adam and John bring it down with plasma fire.
  • On the opposite side of the craft, a locust and two drones come online.  Now we’re on the opposite side of the prophet’s equation.  We can’t mind control their robots, so our heavy gunners are brought to bear.
  • Dan tells Scott and Jimmy to go weapons free with their launchers.  There’s a moment of odd looks.  He reiterates that the upgraded launchers have never been tested on the field.  This isn’t a fevered request.
  • Tex assents, and so the two rockets streak down the hall.  Their detonations deal serious damage to the locust, kill its remaining drone, and even blow up a disc we didn’t know was back there.
  • The locust is wounded but still standing, so our team is told to activate the stealth devices on their Ghost armor.
  • The alien machine activates a scanning mode but, seeing no targets, it fires no shots.
  • Decloaking, Tex puts it down for good.
  • Seeing the primary ramp ahead, he orders the team to start forming up to sweep the area.  Once that’s done, they’ll circle back for the command center.
  • Weakened by the explosions and plasma blasts, parts of the cargo bay collapse.  No one is injured.
  • The team encounters two heavy cyborgs by the loading ramp.  One is killed, but the other is taken under mind control.  Tex elects to use it as both a scout and bit of psychological warfare.  The alien is to be sent straight into the control room as the opening move of our breach.  The rest of the team follows right behind it.
  • Tex’s plan seemed to succeed.  At the sight of a cyborg hovering into the room, both the prophet and its bodyguard flee the ship and jump overboard.  Unfortunately, now we have to find them.
  • The bodyguard climbs onto the ship again, but Scott burns it down with his plasma cannon.
  • The cyborg comes face-to-face with his master, now hovering atop a nearby hill.  It shoots him a few times before the prophet curls up its hands and throws out a ball of energy that blows the cyborg apart.  We were not previously aware of this power, and we’re glad the cyborg discovered it for us.
  • Our psychics move into position to fight the prophet.  Lacking a clear line of fire, the psychic battle begins.  The alien leader cannot seem to ward off either of his opponents.
  • For a brief moment, Chris Mais feels the tendrils of the prophet’s mind touching his own.  It starts to press against his psyche, seeking to push him aside.  But he resists with every fiber of his being, yelling, “NO!” as he forces it completely from his mind.
  • Fueled by pure rage, he rushes up to the alien, puts a shotgun into its chest, and blasts its body apart.
  • 18 aliens and 0 humans dead.  John and Chris will both spend a few days in the hospital, but they’ll recover just fine.

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