The XCOM Saga, part 35
March 20th, 2016 (morning)…
- As there’s no telling how the aliens will react to an assault on the temple ship, the entire base is put on high alert. Every soldier is given their battle kit, and non-essential personnel are moved to secure areas. Power is also cut to the alien device in the Gollop chamber.
- Dan meets the six soldiers in the bay, shaking their hands and giving them a final send-off.
- He tells Adam that he’s truly proud of him. He’s been an excellent brother-in-law, husband to Christina, and father of Eli and Oliver. It took no small amount of courage to do what he’s doing. Dan tells him to remember his family and his God when he goes into combat. He has to go on this mission, not just because of his new link to the gestalt, but because his compassion transcends any evil the aliens can muster.
- To Chris, he says that it’s been an unlikely friendship from the start, but he has few people he trusts do deeply. That’s why he’s on this mission. Dan has the utmost confidence that he’ll scrape and claw his way to the end, fighting until his last breath with an implacable dedication few human beings even possess.
- He thanks Jimmy for being there for him for so many years. He also reminds him that there’s something more important than being a father: having a father. Dan knows Jimmy has a strength Jimmy himself lacks the confidence to see, but that strength is the reason he got chosen.
- He asks Scott if he ever thought he’d see the like of all of this. He asks him to recite the names of his wife and children. Should the aliens try to harm him in mind or body, he’s to repeat those names again and again until he remembers why he’s fighting. He’s needed on this mission because of his even keel and methodical mind.
- When he gets to John, he thanks him for being a loyal friend for so many years. He then takes a piece of paper, colored on one side by Connor and on the other by Duncan. Dan folds it up and puts it between the plates of John’s armor. That’s the family he’s fighting for. His intuitive reasoning is why he must go.
- Finally, he comes to Tex. He shakes his elder brother’s hand, a tear finally forming in his eye. “I’m sending you somewhere I cannot go, because you’re the only person alive I trust to understand every aspect of what we hold dear, so deeply as to stand in my place. Come home alive.”
- Dan orders them aboard the Sky Ranger. He stands in the bay as the troop ship launches, saluting them even after the bay doors have closed. He then removes his armor and weapons, putting them back in their locker. He puts on his earpiece comm, telling Krenzke to meet him outside of the base at his truck, ready for a road trip and a hell of a story.
- Dan stops by his quarters to kiss Karla goodbye, saying he needs to get away for just a little while. He then walks through each chamber of the XCOM facility, pausing to say goodbye to the familiar halls, touching each picture on the memorial, and finally stopping in his office.
- He opens the desk drawer and takes out the advanced plasma pistol he’s been hiding there. He pulls up his email and forwards thousands of documents to multiple email addresses. Then tucking the pistol into his coat, he heads out to meet Krenzke at his truck. A human era may be over, but today, the entire alien story will get its last chapter.