The XCOM Saga, part 34

March 14th, 2016…

  • The chairman relays a message from the Canadian government.  Rumors abound of aliens performing mass excavations of cemeteries.  They reports had been dismissed in favor of simpler explanations such as vandalism or insurance fraud, but Calgary police have just caught them in the act.
  • Commenting he has to see this one for himself, Dan calls up Beth, Karla, Rachelle, Julia, and Krenzke to accompany him.  Ryan is given C3.
  • Looking at the assembled troops, Dan wonders if XCOM could do a calendar to raise money for alien alloys.
  • On the flight out, command reviews the police officer’s statements.  He’s observed strange “men” in dark suits.  Sounds like we’ve got barfers on our hands.
  • By the time the Sky Rangers lands, police have cordoned off the area to give us a clean battlefield.  Unfortunately, it’s cold, raining, and the middle of the night.
  • Kenzke gets eyes on several aliens rummaging through a mausoleum.  It is indeed barfers.  Julia drops one.
  • The surviving aliens scatter.  One of them fires on Rachelle, damaging her armor.
  • Julia fires a second time, killing again.
  • Realizing he’s too far away for his shotgun to be effective, Krenzke switches to his plasma pistol and kills the third.
  • Given the way barfers deploy, there are sure to be a whole lot more out here somewhere.
  • The graveyard is terribly wide, so the team spreads out and begins a front-to-back sweep.
  • Six more aliens scurry from the darkness.  We trade fire with them, killing several as their lighter weapons whittle away Beth and Julia’s armor.
  • Another group is spotted beyond the prior six.
  • By the end of the battle, we count 12 dead aliens.  No XCOM members were lost or seriously injured.  Though looking over the cemetery — now covered in shattered tombstones, collapsed mausoleums, vomit, dead aliens, and partially exhumed bodies — Dan can’t help but feel a little bad for the families whose loved ones are interred here.  He shrugs it off.  The duty of XCOM isn’t to protect cemeteries but reduce the number of people being sent there by alien hands.
  • While the team flies back, Tex files an official inquiry with the council, asking if they have any theory as to why the aliens would be digging up bodies.  Their reply is predictably vacuous and evasive.
  • On March 20th, Dan calls for Tex, Ryan, Adam, and Chris Mais to meet him in the lower levels of the base.  The time has come to open the Gollop chamber.
  • Inside the containment center, a purple orb sits suspended above an alien device.  We have no idea what it does other than some form of telepathic communication that goes beyond their hyperwave devices.
  • Only a psychic can interact with it, so Dan asks Adam and Chris if either is willing.  There’s no pressure, and declining will not be held against them, even if it means shopping around for additional psychics.
  • Both are willing, so Dan takes out a coin.  He asks if they can predict the future.  The duo chuckles.  Dan repeats the question and assures them it’s not a joke.  Both of them insist they can’t, so Dan has Adam call it in the air.  He chooses heads.  The coin lands on heads.  Adam is sent into the chamber.
  • As he approaches the device, he asks what he’s supposed to do.  Dan tells him that we have no idea; he’s going to have to figure this out on the fly.
  • Adam puts his hands over the orb and clears his head.  As his fingers near a device that was a complete mystery to him just moments ago, he suddenly knows exactly how to use it, as if the machine is teaching him.
  • The orb contorts.  Parts of it collapse while others extend.  Spikes of energy surge out in every direction.  While our eyes can’t perceive it, Dr. Vahlen believes it’s changing shape in more than three dimensions.
  • Streams of energy course through Adam’s body.  His eyes goes wide as visions fill his mind.  Then he hears a single, clear voice.  A prophet is on board that giant ship, though his power is unlike any we’ve encountered before.  Rather than fighting Adam, it seems to invite his mind into the gestalt.  Then he sees its face, feels its presence, and hears its voice.
  • “You have succeeded where we have failed,” it says.
  • Adam recoils from the device, feeling a sudden burning sensation overtaking his body.
  • Moments later he arises, insisting he’s fine.
  • He tells us the aliens call their monstrous vessel the Temple Ship.  Our choice to call the most advanced race “prophets” isn’t quite wrong, as they have a nearly religious obligation to pass on the will of the gestalt.  But the alien on this ship is at the pinnacle of the prophets.  Lacking a name, we designate him the High Priest.
  • Medical scans show that Adam’s implants — both genetic and crystalline — have evolved again, developing a complexity they didn’t have right before this experience.
  • When Dan asks him what we’re supposed to do, Adam replies that he can control the aliens enough to lower their defenses and open up the way for an assault on the floating, alien temple.
  • Seeing no value in waiting, command votes unanimously to launch the assault.
  • As the leader of the XCOM project, it falls to Dan to pick the team.  Without hesitation, he names Tex, Jimmy, Scott, John, Adam, and Chris Mais.  He tells them they have two hours to resolve of any personal business, and then they’re to assemble in the launch bay.  Presuming we can maintain communication, Ryan will head C3.

Comments (3)

MintskittleNovember 18th, 2012 at 1:23 am

And so the end game begins. Fare thee well brave soldiers of Earth.

PedroDecember 1st, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Amen…and Godspeed.

GinDragonFebruary 4th, 2013 at 8:24 pm

The Calgary police are pretty awesome, I have to say. They wear black cowboy hats in the summer.

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