The Third XCOM Saga, part 13

March 12th, 2084…

  • Ryan leads Jeremy, Karla, Ray, and Mais into the Superdynamics facility.
  • Its purpose is essentially identical to that of the Nanotech factory, and while its exact layout is unique, the buildings share many traits.  The structure is solid metal, robots outnumber humans in the work areas, and much of the floor is wide-open.
  • Only a few steps through the door, the team makes aural contact.
  • First visual contact is with an Anthropod.  It opens fire on the team with its energy weapon but misses.  Ray and Jeremy shoot back, a few rounds striking the creature before it ducks behind cover.
  • As the shark-faced Anthropod retreats, a spitter rushes past it and toward our line.
  • Ryan puts two shots into the new threat, burning holes right through the alien.  Karla follows up, her machine gun fire shattering its legs.
  • Jeremy tracks the fleeing blue with his cannon.  Three shots ring out.  The first two miss, but the third hits the creature’s side with incredible force and drops it for good.
  • Another spitter emerges across the vast factory floor.  Several shots nearly miss it.  Apparently rethinking its situation, the alien disappears back into the shadows.
  • Ryan orders the squad forward in careful pursuit.
  • When they get close enough to see the spitter, its reason for falling back becomes clear.  It’s been joined by several friends.  The soldiers are well beyond the range these creatures have ever demonstrated throwing their bile, but while possible, shooting such fast-moving enemies at that range isn’t an easy task for us, either.  Rounds fly, but almost none connect.
  • As the humans draw closer, the aliens react.  One of the spitters leaps from a side room, sprays its acid, and then retreats before we can respond.  It does it a second time, its attack eating through Ryan’s armor and burning into his flesh.  It then does it a third time, but this time, Mais guns it down before it can attack.
  • The soldiers try to track the other two spitters but find one of them already dead.  Was it wounded in the prior fight and ran for a while before dying from the wound?
  • Karla, Mais, and Ray continue advancing.  Spotting an egg on a nearby platform, Ryan and Jeremy split off to terminate it.  However, as they get closer, they see a second egg, a third, and possibly more.
  • Ryan gives Jeremy clearance to swap rounds.  A pair of incendiary shots hit the platform.  The two stick to cover as they wait out the inevitable.
  • The spitter-hunting group checks one corner after another, but fails to turn up anything.
  • Apparently Diablo’s incendiaries are more effective than we guessed.  The fire not only burns the eggs but melts the metal, causing a portion of the platform to collapse.
  • As Ryan moves to confirm the kills, he’s caught in the back by spitter acid.  Turning around, he finds himself facing an alien with a panicked civilian unwittingly running within arm’s reach of it.
  • The spitter shows no interest in the civilian.  Indeed, thinking back, they’ve never attacked bystanders when we’re around.
  • Ryan takes a very careful shot and hits, though it isn’t enough to drop the alien.
  • The only other soldier close enough to intervene is Jeremy, but with his cannon loaded for blast radius, he opts to throw a gas grenade.  Better to put both the civilian and alien to sleep than burn an innocent alive.
  • Finally locating one of the spitters we misplaced earlier, Karla slays it with several well-aimed shots.
  • A brain rounds a corner by Ryan and Jeremy.  Ryan snaps two shots at it and misses.  Having reloaded his weapon with armor-piercing rounds, Jeremy fires as well, missing a few times before splattering it.
  • In the confusion, a lamprey charges the duo, attacking them from a third direction.  It sprays venom at Ryan.  With his armor already battered, the vile liquid seeps right into his body.  His thoughts become fuzzy and his visions blurs.  His muscles feel like they’re on fire.  He collapses to one knee, fumbling for his medical kit.
  • Jeremy puts a few rounds into the beast, but these things don’t die easy.  He calls for reinforcements.
  • Having cleared their target are, the other three soldiers sprint toward Ryan’s location.
  • Sensing the growing threat, the lamprey backs off.  It gives our team a moment to solidify the line and help Ryan stabilize himself.  Unfortunately, the alien then retreats into a narrow room filled with robots.  Fighting in there would be taking it on its own terms.  And with no way to know which — if any — of the robots are self-aware, blowing up the room is out of the question.
  • Ray maneuvers a bit and manages to get eyes on the lamprey.  He rolls a gas grenade right to it.  If it’s wounded, it should take it down without harming any robots.
  • The plan partially works.  The lamprey passes out, but seconds later, a second one can be seen slithering by, followed by a spitter.
  • With Ryan now back on his feet, the team advances and assumes a better position.
  • The troops wait and wait, yet the aliens don’t emerge.  Ryan is left with no choice but to start moving in after them.
  • One-by-one, the team members slip into the room.  At first, the aliens are nowhere to be seen.  Then Ray notices movement above.  They’ve left the room and taken grav lifts to a higher platform.  They’re harder to reach, but at least there are no innocents up there.
  • We spring for the same grav lift the xenos used.  Upon reaching the top, Ryan is able to shake off the haze long enough to kill a spitter.
  • A brain jumps from ambush and charges Ray.  He’s able to stop it, but not until it’s right at his feet.
  • The second lamprey descends from above.  After just a few shots, it stops and rolls to one side.  It must have been caught in the earlier gas cloud and been weakened by it.
  • With the area clear, the team loads up and heads back to base.  Jeremy calls ahead to have the med bay prepped for Ryan.

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