The Third XCOM Saga, part 16

March 13th, 2084…

  • With the paperwork done and orders in, Dan goes to bed.  The loading crews and medical professionals have a lot to do, but there’s nothing more he can attend to right now.
  • By 9:30am, the Commander is back up and checking on both the convalescing troops and arriving supplies.  All seem to be in good order.
  • By 10:00am, the engineering team has completed an analysis of the alien gun.  It’s roughly the size of a bloated pistol, and like everything else they’ve used so far, it’s entirely organic.  The back of the gun is covered in a purple, fish-like hide.  The front is a fleshy cone that reduces down to a crystalline core that forms an emitter.  Its shots disrupt targets at the molecular level.  Good thing we’ve never been hit by one.
  • As for ammunition, it seems to draw power from something akin to the dimensional rifts we’ve seen, meaning these guns have an effectively infinite supply of ammunition.
  • The weapon is unwieldy, and its accuracy is a little below our normal rifles, but its damage potential is better than even our plasma pistols.
  • Though our scientists don’t fully understand why the gun works, they’re able to map it sufficiently that we can begin building our own.  Dan agrees to allow a small number of these alien Disruptors to be taken into combat for field testing.  They’ll be issued to Hussey and Kite, since they’re the least susceptible to biological agents, should the guns have any hidden surprises.
  • After dinner, the Commander looks over a map of Mega-Primus.  Our facility sits in the northwestern corner, but the alien portals — while they appear and disappear — keep showing up in an L-shape along the east, southeast, south, and southwest of the city.  None of them are near us.
  • We need an interceptor base in the middle of town to have any chance of catching the saucers, but price puts that out of the question.  However, if every excess piece of equipment is sold from inventory, it would be enough to afford a second Hawk interceptor.
  • He then devises a new strategy.  Even if we don’t own the buildings and can’t refuel, rearm, or repair in them, we could land the VTOL-capable Hawks in any friendly building.  Perhaps it’s time to “forward seed” the interceptors to better locations.
  • There’s a point in the city where the wall dips inward, creating a “U” shape.  Right in the heart of that U is government run slums.  Dan orders the pilots to land there and be prepared to scramble.

March 14th, 2084…

  • At 7:50am, an alarm sounds throughout the base.  A saucer has emerged near the middle of town, right by our Hawks.
  • The team assembles in the mess hall.  Monitors setup there focus on the enemy craft.  It’s made of dark purple flesh and larger than anything we’ve seen in this war.  The Hawks are told to pounce.
  • Moments later, a second one emerges near the first.
  • Then two more appear.  They’re roughly the same size as the first two craft, but brown in color and of a different hull design.  They also seem to be moving much faster, following the purple ships like escorts.
  • The purple/brown pairings split up.  One heads northwest while the other heads south.
  • Before the northern group gets very far, our Hawks open up with barrages of plasma fire.  The escort saucer responds, but its hull buckles under the assault and the UFO crashes right next to a freeway.  “Target down,” comes the report.  A cheer erupts in the mess hall.
  • Seconds later, the purple ship succumbs to the same fate, sliding across the ground before coming to rest near the gravball stadium.
  • Though moderately damaged, the Hawks are ordered south to chase the other pair.
  • The escort tries to hold off the Hawks but the assault appears to have caught it off guard.  Its wreckage falls near the slums our Hawks had been hiding in.
  • Pressing their advantage, the Hawks pour shots into the final craft.  It retaliates with a lone gun, but it isn’t enough.  The wrecked husk of that ship bounces off of the city’s wall before landing near its smoldering escort.
  • Back at base, the team is ecstatic.  Until now, we had yet to shoot down a single alien ship, much less stop them from completing their missions.  Now four craft are on the ground and none of them had been able to offload cargo.  There’s no better message we could send to the aliens or citizens of Mega-Primus.  And there’s no better salve for morale than absolute victory.
  • With their mission complete, the damaged Hawks turn back to base for repairs and rearmament.
  • However, the soldiers would have to prepare for a new kind task: cleaning out and salvaging alien ships we know nothing about.

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