Diary

Fridiary – XCOM – The Pen is Mightier than the Plasma Rifle – Part IV

It’s 10 days until the council report. I’ve got panic in the UK, no money in the bank, and a lot of dead science fiction authors weighing on my conscience. I’ve got an Arc Thrower, but nowhere to keep stunned aliens, and the whole of Europe is one bad day away from panicking as well.

Things do not look good.

[Note: Classic Ironman playthrough, where Earth’s mightiest science fiction writers are all that stand between us and extinction. Part I, Part II, Part III.]

Apparently the Council isn’t as concerned as I am. They still graded my performance as a B, despite the UK pulling out of the XCOM project.

I use the funding to build an Alien Containment facility, a Satellite, an Interceptor, and begin the engineering works required to get a second Satellite Uplink built… Leaving me with practically no money for the rest of the month. Brazil has offered to buy a satellite off me, which would provide a significant profit, so I’m seriously considering this. The satellite would only just be built in time to fulfil their request, which means that one way or another I have to wait 20 days for either cash or another satellite. I decide that I can’t afford to lose another country and cancel my Interceptor order, sell some Sectoid corpses and start work on a second satellite.

Before I have time to second-guess myself a UFO lands in Nigeria.

Ayn “All In” Rand (it must be an ironic nickname) joins the squad after the last mission. She’s an Assault Sergeant. Hubbard makes it to Squaddie and his background in messing with people’s thoughts and emotions somehow earns him a spot as a Medic. I give Hubbard’s e-meter to Rand and give him a medkit. Ursula K. Le Guin and Mary Shelley round out the squad. 2 Assaults and 2 Medics for a mission against a scout UFO. I’m feeling confident about our chances.

OPERATION DRIVING HAMMER

The team moves forward and spots some new sort of alien. They appear to be vaguely-humanoid but instead of legs they are held afloat by a jetpack.
Ayn is able to run near the aliens and fire a blast from her shotgun. She hits the closest, but it isn’t enough to kill the creature.

Le Guin does the same, but misses the mark.

Hubbard takes a pot-shot and Shelley moves closer to the front line.

The aliens begin moving and it’s apparent that we are heavily outnumbered. As well as the three Floaters I can see at least 9 Sectoids.
2 of the Floaters move in to flanking positions.

Hubbard gets up close to one of the flankers and dispatches it. Shelley heavily wounds the other flanker and Rand knocks it out cold.

The team moves forward, but no one can get a good angle on the Floater until Le Guin flanks and decimates it.

The team can see into the UFO where a number of Sectoids scurry about. 3 of them take aim at Le Guin, and the third scores a killing shot.

Shelley and Rand dodge incoming fire. Hubbard moves in, dodges a reaction shot and reloads his Assault Rifle. Rand moves around to the side of the ship to try and get out of the line of sight of a few aliens, but in the end she has more eyes on her.

Still, her new place has her flanking 3 X-rays. She unloads in the face of one of them, but it stays upright – the psychic backup it’s receiving from a comrade enough to save its life.

One of the aliens destroys the cover Hubbard is hiding behind, leaving him wide open for a blast from the Outsider. The head of the Church of Scientology is dead. It is official.

Rand flees back to Shelley’s position and gets sweet vengeance on one of the Sectoids. Shelley takes hits from 2 X-rays and is down.

It’s only Ayn Rand against a ship full of angry aliens… Can she do it?

It’s now apparent that we should have nuked the site from orbit, but the R&D department would never have allowed it.

3 New Abductions happening – India, Russia and Brazil. If I don’t send a squad to Russia they’ll certainly pull out of the project. Let’s just hope the team can survive this time.

Anthony Burgess, Sergei Lukyanenko, William Gibson and Leigh Brackett make up the new squad. The fate of the world is in these eight, uncalloused hands.

 

OPERATION VENGEFUL PROPHET

Gibson moves forward and spots 3 Floaters near an English double-decker bus. Not sure what it’s doing here in Russia… But hell, I saw a guy dressed like the Red Power Ranger in St Petersburg in winter, so nothing would surprise me in this place.

Burgess moves in to supporthim, but they both miss their shots. Brackett moves in to provide cover.

Lukyanenko takes a shot but misses. One Floater responds by making a flanking maneuver while the other 2 suppress Gibson and Burgess. Two Sectoids also join the fray.

Lukyanenko flanks the flanker and puts it down.

The aliens reposition, Gibson gets suppressed again and Luk and Burgess miss their shots. Brackett moves around the far side of the bus, hoping to get in a flanking position.

Burgess gets put down before getting to enjoy any of the old ultra-violence, but his death spurs Gibson and Brackett into action, who deals with another Floater. Luk hits the other Floater, but doesn’t kill it. The Floater returns fire and has better luck.

Two soldiers left in the field against 1 Floater and at least 3 Sectoids.

Gibson takes a hit and uses the Medkit on himself while Brackett covers him.

Hot plasma rains down on them both but they avoid taking any hits before running to the far side of the bus for cover.

They both reload and gather their wits. Feeling confident again Brackett steps out and takes fire. She misses, but the aliens don’t. Alone, Gibson heads back to the Skyranger. He takes a burst of plasma to the chest, but keeps moving.

He gets to the Evac point and the Skyranger tears away. Plasma bursts tear through the sky, which was the colour of television, tuned to a dead channel.

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