Date: May 6th Location: Island of Hawaii, United States
Mission Parameters: EXALT assault team is to head to the island chain of Hawaii after reports of alien materials were being moved to a secret military warehouse somewhere on the island chain. Satellite images of the island suggest low to medium force will be required to find, take over and raid the warehouse. In order for the mission to be successful the squad must either:
1.) Find the warehouse and successfully raid it's contents.
2.) Destroy the warehouse so XCOM can't recover resources.
3.) Retreat back to base.
Mission Result: The raid on the base was a success but the results of the operation were less than satisfactory. The assault team went in the cover of night but the cover was blown as soon as they infiltrated the walls of the warehouse, causing them to lose the element of surprise. Also, the tactics of the clones was almost little to none as they strayed from one another and would become easy targets for the guards. After hours of intense fighting however, all military personnel were disposed of and the warehouse taken over. With the help of EXALT prototype jamming machines, no communication was sent outside of the base, so most likely no one will attempt to gain it back for the foreseeable future. Overall, the resources gained from the raid were beneficial to the research of new armor for the clones and creating new weapons, as well as giving EXALT a foothold in North America and other areas around the Pacific.
Operation Red Rum
Date: May 11th Location: Wine Village outside of Verona, Italy
Mission Parameters: A known funder and ally of XCOM, a wealthy politician is holding a special wine tasting at his manor outside the city of Verona. Since this is a delicate mission and the regular clones can’t be trusted to handle such a delicate matter, Subject 157, codenamed “Vee”, will infiltrate the manor as a guest and attempt to lure the wealthy man from the party. When she has done so, she will be ordered to kill him and hack his computer, finding out what information she can about his spendings to XCOM, and put an end to them. In order for the mission to be a success, the operative must:
Lure away and kill the target.
Hack the targets computer for information
Retreat from the manor
Two Days before Operation Red Rum…
There was a singular, light knock on the door to Viktor’s office.
Viktor had been writing out the letters to call in some favors when he barely heard the knock. “Come in.”
Elene walked in, her expression blank. “What is the nature of the mission you are sending 157 on?”
Viktor rose an eyebrow. “Why should I tell you, when I agreed to let you make those, you should have expected I would have to...borrow them for sensitive matters.” He gave her a menacing grin.
“That is illogical. You will have to inform 157 of what her mission is, and what she knows, I know,” Subject Negative Zero replied.
Viktor closed his eyes in disdain. “Well, since you probably won’t let this matter drop I will tell you…” He looked at her with complete calm and no emotion. “I am sending her into an enemy’s manor to kill him and learn his secrets. Should be pretty dangerous I am sure, I hope you have at least given her the sense to fight well.”
Vee is to...kill. This is not unexpected, but was not my intention for her if unnecessary.. “Subject 157, codename ‘Vee’, is programmed with all the combat and tactical knowledge possible, as well as being upgraded with genetic enhancements to her body. I assume you will have an extraction ready for her when the mission is complete?”
Viktor waved his hand dismissively. “Do you find me daft, woman? I am not an idiot. Once we have confirmed she has completed her mission, I will get her out. No sooner, no later.”
“I was confirming that you did not regard the two handmaidens as disposable. The amount of time and resources put into them makes that untrue,” -0 explained. “I will inform Ve...157 that she is to be ready soon,” Elene finished.
“Be sure that you do...one last thing however. Sora will accompany 157 to make sure that the computer gets hacked right, and to keep an eye on your pet.” He gave her a toothy grin. “Be sure to not get too attached, everyone is disposable.”
Tell him what he wants to hear for now, Elene. Make him more vulnerable, Avanix advised.
Negative Zero nodded. “I will keep that in mind. As long as it is unnecessary to sacrifice 157, however, I will continue to improve her to make her one of our most effective operatives.”
Viktor nodded. “Good. Now get out.”
The heiress left and returned to her personal laboratory. The cloning chambers within were now empty, and there were two clones in the room. Subject 156, Lily, was typing at a computer, wearing bland clothing and a labcoat. Without looking up, she said, “Welcome back, mother.”
Elene glanced over at her computer screen, nodding with approval at the progress she was making. She glanced over at the other person in the room.
Subject 157, Vee, was already in black military fatigues, armed with a laser pistol, laser rifle, an HE grenade, and a flashbang. “Welcome back, mother,” she said with a broad, mischievous smile. “What’s the news?”
“You are going to assassinate an enemy and take whatever data he has. Although I was not told specifically, I assume he has contacts with XCOM,” Elene explained with a worried expression.
Vee looked crestfallen. “Covert crap...aww… I was hoping for something involving more explosions, maybe.”
A look of concern flashed on Elene’s face. “Remember, I do not want you to kill needlessly. Do not forget, that is not our goal.”
Vee crossed her arms in an ‘x’ in protest. “Not what I meant, no worries. I won’t enjoy the killing, I promise. It’s the combat that I think will be fun.”
Elene sighed. “Just be careful, Vee. Promise me that.”
Vee grinned widely. “Alright.”
“And...you might want to drop the rifle and high explosive grenade. You won’t need those,” Elene finished.
There was another set of knocks on Viktor’s door, though this time it was much less restrained. “Ready for duty, sir,” an enthusiastic voice said from behind it.
Viktor got up and opened the door. “Do you plan on saying that to the entire world? Come in and sit, I will give you your mission.”
Vee seemed unfazed by his mood, and sat down.
Viktor sat behind the desk and took out a folder from his desk. “Frank Marciovelli is a rich businessman who lives in a manor outside the city of Verona. He made a fortune selling vintage wine and has openly said that he supports the XCOM project. Your mission is to kill him and take what you can from his personal computer.” He handed the complete dossier to Vee. “Read what you can, you leave tonight.
Vee took it, and nodded. “I’ll be ready then, sir.”
“Then prepare, and whatever you do, do not screw this up.” He said in a very menacing tone.
“Don’t sweat it,” Vee said, covering her orange eyes with green contacts as she spoke. “I’ve got this.”
The sun was dipping along the horizon as the taxi made its way to the manor. The manor was somewhat near the coast in a wine village so they had to take a road that gave a perfect view of the sea.
Vee made sure her laser pistol was hidden away, and the same went for her flashbang and a serrated knife. She was wearing a black dress for the occasion, though she did not seem happy about that in the slightest. “How did Lusett ever tolerate these things…”
“I think it suits you.” Sora said from the earpiece. “Plus I am the one being carried in a phone so I think I have the worse of the situations here love.”
Vee sighed. “It’s a pain to move around in, though. Hopefully I won’t have to chase Marciovelli…”
“If anything, it would be him chasing you...anyways are you all set on what we are supposed to do?”
Vee nodded. “I’m ready whenever you are.”
“Then let us move onwards to a successful mission.” He said in an over the top voice.
After about another ten minutes of driving they finally arrived at the gated manor, cars lining the road and guests flooding into the building. “Here we are.” Sora said. “It sure is big, I hope you don’t get us lost.”
“I’m not as brainless as the male clones, no worries.” Vee said with a sarcastic grin. “Let’s do this.” She got out of the car and walked towards the manor.
“Just so you know, this was an invite only party, so you have to use the password, ‘Arrivederci Roma’, to get in. ‘Good Bye Rome’ in Italian...seems fitting for the occasion.”
“Right…” Vee said. “I know a little Italian, so I should be okay with pronunciation.” She walked up to the guards. “Arrivederci Roma.”
The man nodded and waved her in. “Nice job, love. Now you are looking for a man who screams wealth and attention at this party so...you know, good luck with that.” Sora said in his joking tone of voice.
“The most obnoxious person here. Got it,” Vee said. She walked inside and took a look around.
It was everything to expect of a wealthy man’s manor. The walls were decorated lavishly, everything marble or some shade of white or yellow. The guests as well were dressed in exquisite cotton and silk clothes that almost made Vee stand out like a sore thumb. As she looked around though she spotted as pudgy man, with no hair and a thinly trimmed goatee walking down the large staircase. “That would be our obnoxious rich man.” Sora said enthusiastically. “Work your magic.”
“Are you asking me to do what I think you are?” Vee said with a sigh.
“No, I just thought I would ask you to pull a rabbit out of a top hat. All we need is to get him alone and kill the man, also the computer, that is sort of important for me.”
“Where’s the computer?” Vee asked. “His room?”
“Most likely, that or a study of some kind. Just be careful, I don’t like rich people much, too spoiled.” He said with genuine concern.
Vee approached Marciovelli. “This is a fine party you have here tonight,” she said as flatteringly as possible.
“Thank you, I do my best to please my guests.” He said in a tone like he was getting tired of saying it. “Would you like to sample some of the wines?”
“I would love to,” Vee replied graciously. This guy… she thought, mentally clenching her fists and gritting her teeth, though she appeared to be as polite as possible on the exterior.
He looked at her up and down, showing interest in her. “You are very lovely. It is nice to see natural beauty still exists in a sea of extravagance.”
Vee held a gloved hand to her mouth, giggling. “You’re too kind.”I’ll have to ask Avanix how the hell women actually put up with acting like this.
He smiled. “Come, there is much to choose and so little time to taste.” He put a hand on her lower back and led her to one of the many serving staff.
Keep it cool, you get to kill him later, Vee, she thought to herself, and just put up with it for now.
“I wanna say I feel sorry for the prick but I don’t really think I can.” Sora said out loud. “Sorry for anything he may do in the future.” He said with sympathy in his voice.
“Now what is your favorite? Red, white, or a nice vintage maybe?” Marciovelli asked in a heavy accent. “I prefer the vintage, though a nice red really spices up the night.”
Vee scanned the room for a moment, looking for a computer discreetly. “A vintage sounds nice. Maybe a red afterwards.”
“Nice choice…” He got the wine and handed a glass to Vee. “To a wonderful party!” He toasted.
“To a wonderful party!” Vee echoed, and took a sip of the wine.
“So, what is the name of the lovely woman I am graced with tonight?” He said after drinking the whole glass at once.
“Veronica Episcopo,” Vee replied.
“Really, is that the best you got love? And I thought my name was a little comical.” Sora said.
“What an exquisite name for such an exquisite girl.” Frank said trying to sound sweet.
Vee smiled fakely. “You are so generous. I’ve heard you’ve been using your fortune to help protect people, too.”
He laughed, trying to look nervous, but it was obviously a farce. “Yes, I take pride in my contributions to the world. Though it is not me who is fighting to keep people safe from this world’s enemies.”
“Oh?” Vee asked, feigning surprise.
“Yes, if the rumors are to be true, there are a crusade of heroes out there protecting us from the scum of the universe.” He said in an awed tone.
“Is...is this...man for real? I mean seriously?” Sora broke into laughter. “I almost don’t want you to kill this guy now!”
“Do you know anything about them? Could you show me?” Vee continued acting, to her ultimate frustration, like the most gullible woman possible.
Marciovelli looked around with a gleam in his eye and leaned in close. “If you follow me, I can show you everything.” He said in a giddy voice. Once again, Sora broke into laughter.
“Oh, shut up, Sora…” Vee muttered quietly to herself, and followed Marciovelli. They walked the large staircase and went to the right, walking through the dark halls.
He walked to the end of the hall and led her into a large bedroom. “Welcome to my humble abode.” He said in a grand voice.
Computer, computer… Vee noticed one on the nightstand. There we go. “It is truly wonderful…” Vee said, keeping up her Italian accent, though she spoke in English. She leaned up as if to kiss him, and when she got close she pulled out her knife in a flash and slit Frank’s throat. He fell to the ground like a sack, clutching his large neck.
157 watched as he bled to death, her expression devoid of emotion. She did not move, even after he had expired and blood had soaked the rug.
“Damn, you are a badass…” Sora said in a surprised tone. “Now, let’s go get that laptop.”
He may have been a shitty person...but...did he deserve to die like that? Vee thought to herself, and then shook her head, walking over the the computer. She pulled out her phone, and with a cord attached it to the laptop. “Alright. Work your magic.”
“I will pull something more than rabbits from this hat…” He said as he uploaded into the laptop. Once he gained access to the laptop he did a scan of the laptop and found the files they were looking for. “Well, here it is. It seems our late friend here was more than just a little fond of XCOM. The amount of the funds is a little staggering to say the least, but that all ends now.” He imputed multiple viruses and they took hold, ceasing all funds and draining all accounts to offshore locations. “Now, we should get going before the crowd finds out our vanishing act was the real thing.”
“Right,” Vee said. “Though the next thing I do...let it be something worthwhile. Like blasting aliens into smithereens.”
Operation Bedouin’s Gift and Operation Caliph’s Scimitar – Prologue
Subject Negative Zero sat at her desk, looking over specifications for a body armor made out of alien materials on her computer. For once, she was not in her personal laboratory. Rather, she was in the main HQ she had convinced Viktor to set up, complete with a holo-globe her mother had designed. For some reason Viktor had insisted the colors be altered, and thus the ocean was red and the land was brown.
All around her, there were “K” line clones at work helping Sora work on new technology. That is, clones of the “viKtor” line. He had not even wanted to call it a “V” line, either out of dislike to associate them too closely to himself, his dislike of Vee, or perhaps both. Subject 156 Lily, one of the female “E” line, sat next to her creator, working on the alien alloy designs with her using the limited samples that Lusett had acquired from one crashed UFO, shot down by local military forces. Vee herself was somewhere in the armory, and Avanix was purposely silent to avoid detection.
All of a sudden, two violet blips appeared on the holo-globe over the Gulf of Aden, and were closing in fast over the Arabian Peninsula.
Two contacts detected, Elene! Avanix reported excitedly.
Elene saved her progress, and then quickly brought up her link to the holo-globe. “I have not heard of their ships moving this fast…predicted trajectory?”
“Somewhere within Saudi Arabia,” Lily reported in a monotone.
Scrambling the fighters now, mistress…I’ll need your help to make sure they do their job properly.
Elene nodded, and got to work preparing the F-22 drones.
Saudi Arabia, 900 Hours, Local Time:
The occupants of a military base on the fringes of the Rub-al-Khali fell into a panic when the plasma from the low-flying fighters started to rain down. Their initial attack was devastating, and left many of the air base’s aircraft in ruins. What was left was quickly sent into the air, followed by some other F-15’s from nearby.
“فهي سريعة جدا وقوية جدا! نحن لا تقف فرصة!” [They are too fast, too powerful! We do not stand a chance!] the Arabic pilots said in dismay as many of their number were shot down. The continental military didn’t seem to stand a chance against the alien craft.
إخلاء قاعدة [Evacuate the base], the man in charge, a tough, weathered looking man in his mid-forties said.
ولكن ... لا يمكننا فقط ... [But…we cannot just…] one of his aides said.
فمن الأفضل البقاء على قيد الحياة ليوم آخر من الحفاظ فخر الحماقة. [It is better to survive another day than preserve foolish pride], the man responded.
The remaining aircraft banked away from the UFOs, leaving them to reduce the base to rubble and ruin, just as the EXALT F-22’s were reaching the area.
Elene got ready to maneuver the aircraft. “Start preparing the teams, we can handle this,” she informed Sora.
“Actually,” Sora said in an amused voice from the speakers, “once you’re done get in the second strike team. Viktor wants you and Vee to be commanding the strike teams…these “K’s” are so inept at that…”
Elene raised an eyebrow. A test of loyalty and obedience, perhaps? “I hope he realizes that my specialization is the sciences, not military com-“ Subject -0 fell silent as the F-22s came within visual range of the alien aircraft.
The two Fighter-Class UFOs opened fire with twin turrets, one on the bottom of the craft and one on the top. Plasma ripped through the air as the terrestrial aircraft took evasive action. They fired their experimental laser cannons, only to meet with an energy shielding that shrugged off most of the attacks.
We anticipated this…
The aircraft settled into a firing pattern, five swarming around each extraterrestrial craft. 2 opened fire to breach the shields, and two more shot the alien craft. However, its toughed armor did not easily let the lasers past.
Heavier armor than expected. Switching to missiles for armor piercing, and finishing off with the additional…
A lucky hit blasted through one of the F-22s, making it explode into fragments. Another took a hit to the wing and was shot out of the sky.
“Hurry!” Elene warned, imputing commands as quickly as she could through Avanix.
Missiles were launched from the wings of the aircraft, and broke open the UFO’s armor in thunderous blasts. Then, lasers cut through the engines of both enemy fighters, and with a shuddering sigh they lost altitutde, and crashed into the desert sands. Not before having damaged, but not destroyed, two more F-22s.
Elene sat back as Avanix returned the fighter craft to their base, sighing in relief. “It’s done…”
“Well, you’ve got an armory to go to. Get geared up,” Sora said chidingly.
Subject Negative Zero just gave the speakers a blank stare for a moment, and then stood up, going to join Vee who was already preparing.
Subject 157, wearing a black military uniform balanced out by pockets and padding, was already waiting for Elene. Vee also had a rocket launcher on her back, and was holding an EXALT autolaser. “The sarcastic AI told me you’d be coming, mother…”
Her eyes widened in surprise when Elene gave her a worried look. “W-what’s wrong?”
“I am…just worried that one of us might not make it back…” Elene said slowly.
Vee put down her weapon, and went over to -0’s side. “We’ll be fine, trust me, mother.”
Elene’s expression lightened, but then she frowned. “You know…considering you’re born from similar DNA to myself, the handmaidens are more of sisters to me than children. You don’t need to call me mother, especially since I aged you to be a little older than me.”
Vee got a wide grin on her face. “So I’m your big sister, then?”
“Not what I…”
The soldier patted Elene on the back. “Don’t worry, big sis will take care of the aliens, and I’m sure you will too…”
“If you start calling yourself that, Vee…”
Vee laughed, having to rest her hands on her knees to calm down. “Fine, fine…but you left yourself open for that one. Let’s take care of this, and get you some new prospects for research, sis.”
Elene smiled, still a faint, unconscious action, but she smiled nevertheless.
EXALT Player Mission Parameters
UFO Crash Sites (1) Operation Bedouin’s Gift (2) Operation Caliph’s Scimitar
Location: Rub-Al-Khali (Empty Quarter) Desert, Saudi Arabia Date: May 25th, 2018 Time: 1300 Hours, Local Time
A.V.A.N.I.X used her commandeered satellites to detect two small alien craft moving swiftly over the Middle East. They commenced an air raid on a Saudi Arabian aircraft base, using vastly superior weaponry to reduce it to rubble. The F-15 fighters that were scrambled were blown out of the sky, and the government lost contact with the base.
By this time, all ten of the Avanix F-22 drones had been sent to intercept the two alien fighters from CENSORED. Five each pursued the alien craft, and begun a dogfight in a heavily defensive posture. Armed with prototype laser cannons, they set to work blasting at the alien fighter craft. Avanix was unprepared to deal with the tough armor on these fighters, despite knowledge of their shielding systems.
However, Avanix made up for this. With the skill only an AI of her caliber could show, she quickly coordinated the fighters to blast within short lapses of each other, and broke through the shields and armor. Two F-22’s were lost in the chaos, and two more were damaged badly, but the overwhelming numbers were more than the invaders could handle. Both Fighter-Class UFOs crashed landed in the Empty Quarter desert, called the “Rub-Al-Khali”, the largest sandy desert in the world.
Interference by the local military is not expected, as they will be delayed by loss of contact and expectancy that the base was completely wiped out. While the missions take place, Viktor has deployed salvage teams to reclaim the fighter wrecks from the Saudi base. Our own wrecks will be recovered after the missions are complete.
Gear - Player’s Characters will be equipped with the following items:
-Primary Weapon: Either a Laser Shatterray, Laser Carbine, Laser Rifle, or a Heavy Laser Rifle. Vee can use any weapon effectively except for a sniper or marksman rifle. Elene cannot use any special weapons effectively without linking to the A.V.A.N.I.X system.
-Secondary Weapon: Either a Laser Pistol, a Heater, or a S.L.P. (Scatter Laser Pistol)
-Armor: Tactical Vest or Tactical Armor
-Equipment: Two (2) of the following; Two (2) of the following; a medikit, a battle scanner, an AP grenade, a HE grenade, a flash-bang grenade, a smoke grenade, a high-capacity magazine, a targeting module, or a taser.
The two operations share very similar terrain. The desert is sand for as far as the eye can see. For now, it is calm, but there is a constant risk of shifting sand dunes leading to either side’s downfall. The crash of the UFO’s has made the area significantly more unstable. Because of this terrain, the only cover available is hiding in concealment behind the sands. When engaged in combat, there is no defense from the enemy’s fire other than agility and good fortune.
For each crash site, there is a crashed F-22 nearby that EXALT will recover, should the missions be successful.
The UFO’s themselves are small, and designed for speed and combat. They have a sleek, almost round structure. Each of the 4 sides has powerful engines. The bottom and top have each have a rotating plasma turret that comes out of hatch on the floor or roof.
As for the alien craft’s interior, it has entry points between the walls from all four sides, and four computer terminals against each wall. Attached to each of these terminals are two drones each that served to help the Outsider pilot the UFO. Behind these terminals are power receptors for the engines, and a Tz6, or MELD canister that served as a catalyst an “elerium afterburners” effect. This allowed for the UFO to increase its speeds rapidly. A central console lies in the center, surrounded by some equipment and panels that can serve as cover for those inside. The outsider shard is contained in this console, and will awaken upon the entry of EXALT forces into the UFO.
(1) Bedouin's Gift
One unit containing one (1) Outsider [It is contained within the central console]
Four units containing two (2) Drones [Two are plugged into each terminal on each of the 4 walls]
One unit containing three (3) Floaters [They are the ship’s defense detachment]
(2) Caliph's Scimitar
One unit containing one (1) Outsider [It is contained within the central console]
Four units containing two (2) Drones [Two are plugged into each terminal on each of the 4 walls]
One unit containing three (3) Thin Men [They are the ship’s defense detachment]
Conditions for Completing the Mission:
1. All aliens must be captured or terminated.
2. The ship’s equipment must be recovered.
3. Under no circumstances should the Saudi Arabian military find out about this.
With a pneumatic sigh, the dropship landed, its landing gear sinking into the sand. The hatch extended, and Subject 157, codenamed Vee, exited.
“Geez, it’s hot,” Vee complained. “Damn desert.”
The eight EXALT operatives that exited behind her said nothing. “Aw, you’re all a bunch of stiffs,” Vee muttered. “Let’s do this.”
The squad of artificial humans began to advance towards the smoldering UFO, rising and falling over the sand dunes littered with debris from the UFO and the destroyed F-22 alike. Suddenly, there was the roar of jetpack rockets, and a pack of three floaters escorted by 2 groups of 2 drones exited the UFO. They headed straight for the EXALT squad.
Vee grinned widely, only having the sense to take cover beside a shattered plane wing before taking aim with her autolaser. “Take them down, you dull bastards!”
The black-haired clone shouted further orders, and the clones started to shoot, more to scatter the group than hit them. Despite this, Sniper K-031 and Infantry K-033 shot one of the floaters down.
Dumb bastards, shooting at the same guy. Did Viktor even program the word ‘teamwork’ into their empty heads? Vee thought with frustration as she sent a sweeping spray of laser fire at the drones. Two were blasted out of sky with a surprising amount of precision for a heavy automatic weapon such as the one 157 was using.
Two floaters barreled towards the EXALT forces, only to be blasted into the cloaked arms of death by Assault K-034 and Engineer K-038 with scatter lasers. The remaining 2 drones realized they could not win, and then split up, one heading straight towards the clones, another towards Vee herself.
Power buildup detected. They are attempting to self-destruct on you, Avanix warned calmly.
“Oh, for the love of…” Vee rolled backwards as her drone detonated with a small blast where she had been standing a heartbeat before. The female clone glanced over, seeing the two male clones with shotguns had damaged armor from a similar blast, and sighed. I guess that one wasn’t their fault…
The squad advanced towards the alien craft. Finding no further contacts, they entered it from two doors. The ship’s interior lights had dimmed on the consoles, and there was a large indentation where the elerium power source had melted down. A luminescent yellow-orange shard lay on the floor, pushed away from the center by the blast.
“Did we seriously already beat everything?” Vee lamented.
Vee! That shard is the ship’s pilot! Avanix warned just as the shard glowed brighter, and took shape, forming into an Outsider. It picked up a plasma carbine from the ground.
At the same time, the other two doors opened to reveal two drones, and another two lifted up from the sand, poised to fire from behind the squad.
“Back to cover!” Vee shouted, and dived backwards as the outsider charged and the drones fired. A shot from the flanking drone on the right was negated by Medic K-037’s armor, and another landed on Vee’s shoulder armor, heating it up.
“Here,” Elene offered, handing Vee a modified taser.
“What would I use this crappy thing for?” Vee replied in confusion.
“Try to capture some extraterrestrials for me,” Elene answered. “The research they could provide would be invaluable.”
Vee leapt at the drone that shot at her, tackling it and holding it down with her enhanced strength. She removed one hand, and pulled out her taser. Letting go briefly, she zapped the drone with the supercharged stun gun. Its weapon that doubled as an ‘eye’ spun around rapidly, and then the robot stopped moving.
Vee looked over, gritting her teeth, to the other group. Assault K-034 had shot the drone, and then was shot in the back of the head by a string of plasma bursts. The back of his helmet and head melted, and he fell to the ground with vacant eyes.
“Kill the damn thing!” Vee barked as she ran out towards the ‘being of pure energy.’ Her autolaser peppered the Outsider with holes, but beams from the last 2 drones kept it alive in addition to natural regeneration. The clones took the initiative this though, and hti the outsider with a spray of lasers before it could fire again. This made its form finally shattered, along with its carbine set to self-destruct upon its death. The drones soon shared the pilot’s fate.
Subject 157 took a deep breath, glancing at the fallen clone. “From pointless life to pointless death…” she muttered. “What a waste.”
Vee glanced at the other clones. “It’s not like any of you care, right? You’re just mindless drones that live to serve, like these robots.”
The clones stared at Vee, and then nodded, not understanding the question was rhetorical. Their expressions were as blank as the canvas of an artist who had lost his passion, and given up on trying.
Elene Exalt stepped out of the dropship uneasily. She had a number of problems to worry about. On average, there is a small chance of the sand dunes collapsing, which is heightened by the crash of the ship. There is not sign of the occupants, which means-
Elene, calm down. You’re not thinking clearly. It’s going to be fine, you can do this, Avanix tried to reassure her mistress.
Subject Negative Zero took a deep breath, normalizing her breathing and heart rates. She grabbed her laser rifle and followed the clones as they advanced towards the UFO from the south.
The sun bore down on the group, and desert winds howled, kicking up sand. There was no sign of the enemy.
Based on our information from observation and the two spies, it is highly improbable that the occupants are deceased if the ship is intact. This one more so than the other, Avanix intoned.
They are setting up defensive positions, -0 surmised. “Scout 41, Sniper 42, take the northwest door. Infantry 43, Gunner 45, take the northeast door. Rocketeer 46, Medic 47, take the southeast entrance. I will go with Assault 44 and Engineer 48 to the southwest.” The clones silently obeyed Elene, and once they were all in position the doors were simultaneously opened.
The ship was surprisingly intact. At the center console, three Thin Men took aim at all sides except for Elene’s. Instead, an Outsider formed to cover the southwest. At the same time, from each computer terminal, two drones flew up and started spinning in circles around the Outsider. They were like angry bees trapped in a cage as they linked healing beams to the Outsider. All 8 of them.
“Don’t fire a rocket, we can’t afford to destroy the equipment!” Elene warned the K clones.
All of the EXALT operatives took cover behind the walls. The four combat aliens went into overwatch.
“This is the plan: throw a flashbang in, Engineer 48. Gunner 45, lay down careful suppressing fire. Infantry 43 and Sniper 42, aim for the Thin Men. Assault 44, kill the last Thin Man. Everyone else, shoot the drones, except for Scout 41, who will draw the enemy fire,” Elene commanded, her heart racing now in the heat of battle.
The scout popped out of cover just for a second, preempting wasted reaction fire. A flashbang and suppression disoriented the 4 threats, and shots rained in. K-043 killed one Thin Man with his second shot, while K-042 caused another to collapse with his single shot. K-044 and K-041 dashed in.
The Thin Man targeted by the assault perished, and additional shots from the scout, medic, engineer, and rocketeer wrecked 4 drones. Elene took a deep breath. Be brave. The scientist dashed into the room, heading straight for the Outsider, defying instinctual barriers telling her to stay in safety.
“We should capture an Outsider,” Elene had said.
“For what purpose?” Avanix had asked.
“They are unique, and highly suspect there is something important about them that we can use, aside from their regeneration and structure,” came the reply.
“It will not be easy,” the Ai countered. “They can be healed by drones.”
“I would like to capture those intact as well. What if an electric shock that reverted the outsider to its core crystal caused feedback? In the same way the sectoid “mind merge” can kill the provider if the receiver is killed,” Elene suggested.
“It would have to be a potent shock, and the Outsider would have to be weakened,” Avanix concluded. “That said, it could work.”
The assault shot the Outsider, dealing heavy damage, before it turned to him and shot a hole in his chest. Elene faltered only for a moment. She quickly followed up with an SLP shot between the drone’s healing charges.
As the drones began another period of healing to try and repair the damage done, Elene drew her overcharged taser and fired it at the Outsider. It created flashing light as the Outsider shunted and reverted to its core crystal form. The Thin Man K-042 had shot began to aim its carbine up weakly at Subject Negative Zero. The drones had the same wild system flux they did when electrocuted themselves, and then clanked to the ground, shut down by critical system failure.
Elene smiled triumphantly. “Got you…” she trailed off, noticing the still-breathing Thin Man. Her eyes locked with his, and then a burst of plasma hit her in the stomach. The armor was destroyed in that spot, and it seared the organic matter underneath. Elene collapsed to the ground, trying to scream in agony but not able to find her voice. She could not quite see or hear the shots that impaled the impudent alien as her vision began to redden. No…not here…not like this…
Tears formed in the corners of Elene’s eyes, and she convulsed in fading pain as she started to go into shock. Without a change in expression, K-047 ran over and sprayed his medkit onto the wound. The blue nano-fiber substance stopped the plasma from eating any deeper and soothed the wound, though it meant that Elene could feel pain again as her body stopped shutting down from shock. This was thanks to stimulants in the improved medkit.
The scientist’s breathing quickened, and she gritted her teeth in agony, tears streaming down her cheeks as the emotionless male clones carried her and the Outsider shard to the dropship before the EXALT recovery teams came for the rest.
Location: Lucas Heights near Sydney, Australia Date: June 16th, 2018 Time: 0400 Hours
Mission Details (A.V.A.N.I.X.):
The extraterrestrial forces have targeted an Australian research facility just outside of Sydney. Upon further digging, I surmise it has to do with their ability to manufacture laser weapons. As the alien forces include a variety of robotic troops, this is a golden opportunity for use to advance in this field with potential artifacts to recover. Unfortunately, we will get the yield from another ship. It appears the 'Abductor' class UFO that dropped off the aliens did so outside the city, and then left before any response team could arrive.
158, you will have to move quickly. Viktor and XCOM might be tied up with their own operations, but the longer we wait, the more likely it is one of them will respond to this situation. We must act before it is too late. Capturing alien technology as intact as possible is our first priority. Civilians in the area can be saved, but we must not be too risky in how we do so. That is only a secondary priority.
Gear - Player’s Characters will be equipped with the following items:
-Primary Weapon: Either a Laser Shatterray, Laser Carbine, Laser Rifle, or a Heavy Laser Rifle. Gunners can use an Autolaser or Gatling Laser. Scouts and Snipers can use a Laser Strike Rifle. Snipers can use a Laser Sniper Rifle. Most classes can use a Scatter Laser. Emma is a 'Shadow Operative', having scout, sniper, support, and engineer training, though she cannot fulfill all roles at once.
-Secondary Weapon: Either a Laser Pistol, a Heater, or a S.L.P. (Scatter Laser Pistol)
-Armor: Kestrel Armor or Carapace Armor
-Equipment: Two (2) of the following; Two (2) of the following; a medikit, a battle scanner, an AP grenade, a HE grenade, a flash-bang grenade, a smoke grenade, a high-capacity magazine, a targeting module, or an arc thrower.
(Shredder rockets are available for rocketeers)
The facility is just outside of the actual Lucas Heights nuclear plant, apparently built for extra laboratory space but repurposed for the weapons research.
The facility is three floors tall. The first floor consists of a lobby, restrooms, elevators, and a garage. The second floor contains offices, research and development, and places to sleep. The third floor is filled with an engineering section and an armory off to the back.
One group containing one (1) Cyberdisc and two (2) Drones [3rd Floor]
One group containing one (1) Mechtoid and two (2) Sectoids [1st Floor]
One group containing five (5) Mutons [Parking Lot]
Two groups containing three (3) Thin Men [2nd Floor]
One group containing two (2) seekers [Flying around the building]
Conditions for Completing the Mission:
-Keep Subject 158 alive at all costs
-Recover the alien cybernetics
-Eliminate all opposition
The majority of the night shift has taken refuge on the third floor in the armory. Even with laser weapons, they only have three security members that can actually use them effectively. Saving them would give the heiress a good reputation, but our primary objective is the recovery of technology and keeping our forces alive. They are not as disposable as the 'K' clones.
The two helicopters let down ladders just outside of the parking lot, allowing their occupants to hop down onto the concrete. The two Legion troopers came first, and stepped forward as the Colombian clones and Emma followed suit. "Assessment: drop zone clear," Legion intoned from frame I. "Proceed?" it asked from frame II.
Emma pulled her laser sniper rifle off her back, and nodded. "Proceed." The shadow operative followed behind the other troops, acting as a sniper and non-commissioned officer. It was not long before the enemy was sighted. One of the five Mutons guarding the exterior of the building pounded its chest with a fist, roaring at the EXALT squad, and the Mutons took aim.
"Cover," 158 said simply, and the 9 humans and 2 robots complied. Plasma whizzed overhead or slammed into the frames of cars, but could not land a deadly blow. However, the Balmadaar had the wisdom to be behind the most secure cover in the lot: the delivery van. Two were on either side, while the leader aimed through a window, having smashed the door aside. Said leader let up on its fire, and gave a command in its guttural language. The two mutons in low cover pulled out their grenades.
"Alejo, draw their fire with Legion! Scatter!" Emma commanded, though without her uplink to Avanix, it was all by memory and the ability to remain calm.
The scout dashed out of cover with the two Legion troopers. The two mutons threw their grenades while the other three fired upon separate targets. The rest of the EXALT squad scattered as the grenades landed, and in a blast of plasma, detonated the cars in an impressive fireball. Alejo was unscathed, but Legion II suffered a hit to the right. Its arm ceased to respond, though not entirely severed. The internal damage reached dangerously close to the power core. Legion realized this, and went prone behind a car. "Repairing critical damage. II on standby."
Amidst all the confusion, Emma had lined up a shot on the leader. "Panic." A laser shot seared through the air, slamming into the armored faceplate of the Balmadaar, and came out the other side of the helmet. The dead alien slumped into the seat, its detonating armaments spraying the vehicle with plasma and setting it on fire. "Pin the other two down."
Suppressing fire from Luis and Carlos effectively pinned the other two Mutons on the van, and distracted them from the mounting danger of the fire. The two that unmolested took shots, one of them scoring a glancing hit on Santiago's armor. Guillermo returned fire on the offending alien trooper, scoring hits that forced it to hunker down.
"Sergin, kill the uninjured one when the van explodes," Emma announced just before the delivery van was consumed in a fiery blast, severely injuring both Mutons despite their armor. The EXALT assault rushed forward, killing the unhurt Muton with a scatter laser blast. Engineer Diego took the initiative to kill the other one behind half cover with his own laser shotgun. Legion I marched forward as the two Balmadaar fell, and shot twice. Each blast from its heavy laser rifle finished off a remaining Muton.
"All current targets eliminated," the robot concluded, and waited for the organic members of the squad to regroup. "Damage assessment on two suggests it will be unable to use the right arm for the remainder of the mission, but meltdown was avoided by the repair servos."
"Alright, let's move into the building," Emma ordered. The team moved towards the lobby, and saw a Mectoid with two smaller Sectoid friends in the middle of the room. Emma silently motioned for the squad to line up shots at the Sectoid pilot of the mech suit. Alejo and Emma lined up their sniper weapons, while an Autolaser was prepared to fire at the armor of the helmet.
The Sectoid to its right gave a shriek as its ESP detected the nearby humans, and the Mectoid turned, raising its plasma cannons. That was a deadly mistake, as its visor was still visible. Laser LMG fire rained down on the helmet, shattering the tempered materials in the front, and two beams of red pierced the pilot's remaining body. The alien was not killed instantly, suffering wounds to the abdomen, and Emma saw her chance. "Legion, overdrive, now!"
"Affirmative!" the robot shouted, and dashed forward, Suppressing fire from Carlos and a deadly shot from medic Tian kept the other two Sectoids busy, leaving one alive. Legion I pressed its hands against the metallic frame of the mech suit, and electricity sparked violently from its palms. The charge rocked the Mectoid as the pilot expired, and overloaded the self-destruct system. Rather than detonating, the suit merely had some of its circuitry fried, and collapsed in a heap.
A shot from Rocketeer Mateo finished off the other Sectoid, and the first floor was cleared.
The EXALT squad headed up to the second floor, catching the two groups of three Thin Men by surprise. Four died instantly to a spray of laser fire from the elevator the aliens planned on entering. Legion I went after one of the fleeing 2, and Santiago, along with Sergin, pursued another. Emma had her remaining group get into formation, and then followed Santiago down the hallway. It shouldn't have taken much for them to finish off those two, 158 assured herself.
She was incorrect.
Turning around the corner by a shattered window, the squad came across an unfortunate scene. The Thin Man was indeed dead, but two Seekers had burst into the room. One had its metallic appendages wrapped around Santiago's neck, and the other was trying to crush Alejo at the waist. Emma did not know what to say, surprise and fear getting the better of her. There was a sickening snap as the first seeker broke Santiago's neck.
The clone of Elene grew furious, and had the infantry open fire on the murderous machine. Before there was a risk of friendly fire on Alejo, Legion I rounded the corner. Realizing it needed further precision, it allowed Avanix to take over. The laser pistol was raised, and several shots damaged the seeker, before Legion/Avanix rushed at it and electrocute the seeker into system failure. Damage was unfortunately dealt to Alejo, but he lived, if in pain and dazed. While Tian tended to the scout with his medkit, Avanix laid a metallic hand on Emma, calming her anger and sadness.
"Do not let it be without purpose. We should finish this," the A.I. suggested.
Emma shakily nodded, and the remaining 10 soldiers under her headed to the final floor. When they arrived at the engineering bay, they were in time to see the Cyberdisc lob its grenade at the armory wall. It blasted apart the terrestrial metals and concrete, revealing three intimidated security guards and about twelve terrified scientists, all wielding laser rifles, carbines, or pistols.
"KIll the drones, we will handle the disc!" Emma shouted to the civilians.Not to place undue faith in them, but enough shots should do the job...especially if the drones can't predict that many bad shots.
Laser blasts filed the air from the nervous scientists and guards. A few scored hits and took the drones out, while the cyberdisc tried to figure out a course of action, surrounded as it was. It shot two of the scientists with its advanced gauss cannon, and was paid back by a hail of laser, first from regular rifles and sniper rifles. As it sealed to disc mode, HEAT-powered laser LMGs dealt heavy damage, putting the alien robot on its last legs. Avanix, in Legion I, ran towards it. A door was kicked open, and Legion II returned after charging up the staircase.
The two human-crafted robotic troopers leaped at the robot, and electrocuted it, making it crash to the ground intact, if heavily damaged, rather than explode. Avanix left Legion's hull, and the robotic intelligence remarked, nonchalantly, "Power low. Recharge recommended."
Emma breathed a sigh of relief that it was over. She looked over at the scientists. "You might...want to move out. I think you may have attracted too much attention."
"W-who are you people?" one of the security guards asked in awe.
Emma thought for a moment, and glanced over at Legion. "We...are an organization called Legion. We seek to advance human technology as you did, and protect humanity with it so we might progress further."
The automaton looked at 158. Interesting... the robotic collective intelligence thought to itself.
Legion Mission Parameters Alien Base Assault Operation Foreboding Winter
Location: Eastern Siberia
Date: August 4, 2018
Time: 2200 Hours
Mission Details (A.V.A.N.I.X.):
After conducting an extensive sweep of Siberia in search of the staging point for the assault on XCOM HQ, the base's location has been discovered. The Siberian outpost appears to be situated in the Verkhoyansk Mountains, the majority of the base likely in the landforms themselves. There is no sign of the battleship that transported the attack force, which is lucky for us. However, there are suspected alien craft in the hanger, which will likely attempt to shoot down our dropships. To combat this, our mistress has authorized the use of the three jets that we "acquired" for a hanger belonging only to Legion. Two are outfitted with laser cannons, and the third has received our newly-built phoenix cannon, which should help with the fighter's armor. All are reinforced by alien alloys. Once I have secured the landing pad, it is up to the forces on the ground to take the base.
Number of Soldiers for this Mission: Twenty (24) total. (1 'E' officer, 1 'A' Officer, 1 Cross Tech. Soldier, 1 M.E.S.H.A, 4 Fighter Drones, 6 Legion Troopers, 10 Adam Troopers.)
Nicholas Jimenez [Scout-Sniper]* (Neural Dampening, Adaptive Bone Marrow, Iron Skin, Secondary Heart, Dextrous Muscle Fibers)
(A) Subject 160: "Guillermo" [Infantry] (Hyper-Reactive Pupils, Magnified Bicep Structure, Adrenal Neurosympathy)
(A) Subject 162: "Alejo" [Scout] (Aerobic Respiration Boost, Dextrous Muscle Fibers, Reaction Time Overclocker, Iron Skin)
(A) Subject 167: "Tian" [Medic] (Adaptive Bone Marrow, Smart Macrophages)
(A) Subject 170: "Ongla" [Support] (Reaction Time Overclocker, Adaptive Bone Marrow)
(A) Subject 165: "Mateo" [Rocketeer] (Adrenal Neurosympathy, Depth Perception, Magnified Bicep Structure)
(L) Legion II
Infantry Airframe II
Unit 3: Mechanis
A.V.A.N.I.X [M.E.S.H.A.]* Dorian[Assault]
(L) Legion III
(L) Legion IV
(L) Legion V
(L) Legion VI
Infantry Airframe III
Infantry Airframe IV
Italics are player characters.
Gear - Player’s Characters will be equipped with the following items:
-Primary Weapon: Either a Gauss Stuttergun, Gauss Carbine, Gauss Rifle, or a Heavy Gauss Rifle. Gunners can use an Gauss Autorifle or Gauss Machine Gun. Scouts and Snipers can use a Alloy Strike Rifle. Snipers can use a Gauss Long Rifle. Most classes can use an Alloy Cannon. Emma is a 'Shadow Operative', having scout, sniper, support, and engineer training, though she cannot fulfill all roles at once.
-Secondary Weapon: Either a Laser Pistol, a Gauss Autopistol or an H.S.C. (Hand Scatter Cannon)
-Armor: Aegis Armor or Banshee Armor
-Equipment: Two (2) of the following; Two (2) of the following; a medikit, a battle scanner, an AP grenade, a HE grenade, a flash-bang grenade, a smoke grenade, a high-capacity magazine, a targeting module, or an arc thrower.)
(Shredder rockets are available for rocketeers, chameleon suits for scouts)
The base has an external portion and an internal portion. The entrance is situated across from a cliffside, which is dotted with alien crates and a few worker drones. The entrance itself is armed with twin plasma turrets on either ‘tower’ opposite the gate, and will likely have defense forces as well. To the left is the entrance to the hanger, which will have no heavy artillery, save for any manned ships. Even if they are enabled, the ships in the hangar cannot risk moving around too much, so they are a minimal threat. The real threat will come from the numerous worker crews within.
Inside the base itself, the hallways are lit with the red-orange glow of thermal power. There is a main hallway on the first floor with side rooms that serve as engineering bays, which may contain hostiles.
The second floor branches out in two directions, with north having an elevator and south having a dead end, though it appears the aliens may have been trying to mine something. To the right is a captive housing room. To the left is the thermal generator room with elerium backups. Destruction of the back-ups would risk a deadly explosion or cave-in, so this is probably not a priority, but should be cleared regardless before we head downstairs.
The third and final floor opens up into a circular ‘amphitheater’ of sorts where the base’s leader can likely be found with his guard. Scans have not permeated this deep, so no additional data is available.
Two (2) sets of two (2) Drones spread across the cliffside
One (1) set of two (2) Sectoids on the cliffside
Two (2) groups of three (3) Mutons on either guard tower
One (1) group of four (4) Mutons at the hangar entrance
One (1) group of three (3) Thin Men within the guard station
Two (2) groups of three (3) Drones within the hangar bay
Two (2) groups of three (3) Sectoids within the hangar bay
One (1) group of four (4) Floaters and two (2) Heavy Floaters within the hangar bay
One (1) group of two (2) Sectoids and one (1) Mechtoid within engineering bay #1
One (1) group of two (2) Drones and one (1) Cyberdisc within engineering bay #2
One (1) group of four (4) Seekers within engineering bay #3
One (1) group of two (2) Artillery SHIVs within engineering bay #4
One (1) mass of ten (10) chryssalids within the holding chambers
One (1) Chryssalid Hybrid and five (5) chryssalids at the thermal generator
One (1) force of one (1) Uber Sectoid Commander, one (1) Sectoid Commander, two (2) Muton Gunners, one (1) Sectopod, four (4) drones in the ‘amphitheater’
Conditions for Completing the Mission:
(1) Successful capture of the base and elimination of all enemy forces
(2) Successful retreat to the dropships (unlikely)
DarkGemini24601, Adrammalech, and Frostlich1228: Operation Foreboding Blizzard, Prologue
New York City, United States of America
1100 Hours, August 4th, 2018
Cross Technologies, the Tenth Floor
On a miniaturized ‘hologlobe on Emma’s desk, a marker indicated the spot shown on her computer screen. It was in the Verkhoyansk mountains in Siberia that the base EXALT had been searching for was located. “At last. Avanix, start preparing our forces. Make sure the M.E.S.H.A is in working order and the rest of the mechanized troops are fit for combat duty. I shall rouse the Adams.”
“Understood,” the A.I. in her mechanical form replied, walking off to the engineering section of the tenth floor, beginning to run diagnostics of her mech suit.
Emma, for her part, went to talk to the Adams. “It is time to assault the alien base soon. Start gathering gear and preparing yourselves.”
“Understood,” Alejo replied, a small grin forming on his face. “So we’re finally going to hit something big, huh? Muy bueno…”
Guillermo shook his head impassively. “Caution is still our greatest ally. A base such as that will not be easy to break.”
“Indeed,” Emma returned. “Now, where is Nico?”
Diego gestured to the small training room behind them. “As per usual.”
Emma walked over to the door, and opened in, stepping carefully inside to speak with the mercenary.
“Emma,” Nico stated, connecting the slide of his pistol with a loud clack. “How can I help?”
“We have located the alien base that perpetrated the attack on XCOM HQ, most likely. In the interest of gathering more resources, and doing a potential ally a favor, we shall go there and take it down,” 158 explained. “You will be joining us.”
“I see...how hot will it be?”
“Numbers are uncertain, but we’re guessing somewhere between 50 or 75 extraterrestrial troops. We shall be taking three squads of eight accordingly, including the M.E.S.H.A.,” Emma answered.
“Sounds heavy...but fun. When do we roll out?”
“In about thirty minutes. The Adams are getting ready and Avanix is running some final checks. I’ll see you in the dropship hanger nearby.” Emma walked over to the armory, beginning to put on her armor. As she reached for a newly-made gauss rifle, the entrance to the lab opened.
Dorian walked through the door with his arms crossed, “Mind if I join?”
Emma looked up at the bodyguard with a hint of surprise. “Are you certain you wish to join us? We are raiding an alien base...it shall not be an easy mission.”
He nodded, “You’ll need everyone you can get then.”
“What weapon type are you proficient in?” Emma asked while looking at the weapons rack.
“Close range weapons,“ He answered, “Mostly, shotguns and single shot pistols.”
The copy of Elene pulled off an alloy cannon, offering it to Dorian. “Same principle as a shotgun, just a stronger punch with a shattering alloy round. We have a miniaturized version if you want an extra shot for your sidearm.”
“That’ll work.” He said simply as he looked over the armor.
“Aegis Armor is the stronger variant, whereas Banshee is lighter for mobility and a grapple,” Emma added.
“I’m used to heavier armor, so the Aegis will work best.” He walked over and examined the suit more closely.
“I will go make sure the troops are getting ready. We should be leaving in about 27 minutes,” Emma finished, and started walking back into the labs.
The three dropships were warmed up and awaiting takeoff. Emma stood outside them as the forces got in. “Imperium Squad, you’re with me. A modified alien drone, Legion I, and five of the adam troopers started filing into the first dropship “Colombus squad, you’re under Nico.” The other five adams, and two similar robots went into the second dropship. “Finally, Mechanis shall be under Avanix. Since I wasn’t expecting you to join us, Dorian, you shall be part of Mechanis.”
Dorian nodded in agreement, checking his weapon for anything out of place. The other robotic forces went into the largest, third dropship, Avanix having to kneel down to fit in due to the M.E.S.H.A.’s size. Seeming satisfied, Emma walked into the first dropship with her squad, and the Legion forces, having their insignias now etched into their armor, flew off for Siberia.
DarkGemini24601, Adrammalech, and Frostlich1228: Operation Foreboding Blizzard, Part 1
Eastern Siberia, Russian Federation
2200 Hours, August 4th, 2018
Over the Verkhoyansk Mountains
The three dropships began to close, the alien base not yet within visual range. Beside them flew three Legion fighters, two with laser cannons and one with a phoenix coilgun. The sun glistened off the alien alloys that served as the terrestrial drones’ armor. Breaking the silence, Avanix noted, “Thermal readings increasing at target location. Alien fighters likely outnumbering ours likely powering up. Shall I initiate countermeasures?”
“Acknowledged, Avanix. You shall, Lily and I will do our best to help you,” Elene responded over comms. “And one last piece of information, Legion troops. While it is unlikely, you may find a chryssalid-human hybrid within this base. If you encounter her, she is an ally unless under the alien’s influence. If the latter is true, capture her rather than kill her. She is the friend of Mr. Cross’s daughter, and I will not tolerate her death.”
At the alien base, the alien computers suddenly blurred with a shadow of Avanix’s symbol, and corrupted data written in their own code leaked into the fighter craft. What is going on? U-2 demanded.
S-Sir! The New Ones launching an attack on us appear to have knowledge of our computer code! The Outsiders within Fighter SB-1 to SB-4 will not respond! We can’t launch them! one of the Sectoids in the hangar bay explained.
Unbelievable. That XCOM could launch a counterattack so quickly after the attack we nearly completed...launch the four scouts! The Uber Sectoid ordered.
The four scout craft thrummed to life, and took off, quickly closing the distance between themselves and the automated fighters. Their weaker plasma guns flared to life, and Avanix took evasive maneuvers. Laser cannons spit out their payload, and the shield for the first scout dropped. The ship armed with a phoenix coilgun finished the job with a scattershot that downed the enemy ship. They switched tactics then, the coilgun going first and the lasers going second to keep their enemy from predicting their movements. Thus far, the only hits one of the laser cannon fighters had taken was to armor.
“The remaining two should be easy to handle,” Avanix decided. And indeed, one more went down, but landed a hit on the underbelly of one of the fighters. It was forced to land, and the last remaining scout turned and attempted to run. Its cowardice was repaid with two sets of shots that downed it, as well. “You are clear to land, strike team.”
The dropships touched down closer to the hanger than the guard station, and quickly opened up their twin set of doors. Forward troops went first, including Avanix in her MESHA. The robotic MEC trooper quickly raised a wide shield crafted from alien alloys, blocking the fire of two drones that came to respond. They went down quickly to fire from the exiting troops, but were soon replaced by two more Drones and two Sectoids.
Dorian quickly found solid cover in the form of a alien alloy shipping crate. He scanned the cliffside and found a safe path to the sectoids. He crouched and ran from crate to crate until he was only a few feet away. The assault took a breath and stood up, sending a chunk of alloy from his weapon into the creature’s skull.
A shot from Emma’s gauss rifle tore through one of the drones, and Sergin echoed Dorian’s action to the other, retreating Sectoid as a railgun round impaled a drone. “Not bad,” the assault clone said.
The six Mutons on the guard towers seemed to realize the enemy wasn’t going to come their way, and disappeared into the building. They soon came out of the guard station with three Thin Men in tow, and they spread out across the right side of the cliff, opening fire. Soon to join them was the three Balmadaar guarding the hanger, leaving an option for a flank.
“Colombus, cover our flank from those four. Mechanis and Imperium will handle the larger group,” Emma ordered, before throwing down a dense smoke grenade for her squad to use as extra cover. Avanix created a blind spot with her unfolded shield, Legion troopers behind her preparing to jump out and fire while the Infantry Airframes repaired the shield with their innate ‘repair’ ability.
Nico gestured for his group to follow him as they ran around the perimeter of the battleground, moving to get opportune shots on the aliens. It was certainly simpler to command when his troops knew all of his movements and gestures to start with, and everyone had a frosty respect for one another. Nico commanded two of his clones and the Legion trooper to hold position on the way, to cover fire as he and three more of his clones moved closer. Taking cover behind whatever scrap they could find, they opened fire on the Mutons from two directions, effectively plugging the flank.
The leader of the four grunted in frustration, and set his gaze on the Colombian mercenary as the other three Balmadaar returned fire on the clones. He took aim, and plasma roared from his heavy novagun at the enemy officer.
Dorian moved behind the crates, attempting to flank two of the Mutons while they were busy with the clones. When he got into position, he threw a flashbang grenade under their feet. It detonated, blinding the two Mutons as they covered their eyes and fired in a random direction, attempting to hit whoever threw the grenade. Dorian stood up and blasted one of the hulking creature’s in the chest, sending it stumbling back into its friend who pushed the corpse out of the way. Dorian quickly switched to his H.S.C and, holding the grip with both hands, destroyed the head of the second Muton with a close range shot.
Avanix took the initiative upon seeing Dorian move forward. “Luis, Diego, Carlos, keep the remaining three together, Sergin, flush the last one towards us.” The four clones complied, and Emma grinned, realizing what Avanix had in mind as she glanced at the mech’s right arm. The clone of Elene laid down her own suppressing fire on a Thin Man near the clustered Mutons.
“Powering up secondary arm addition.” Avanix strode forward, her shield folding as she lowered her left arm, and lifted the flamethrower attached to her right arm. Sparks lit up the barrel, and then napalm roared forward, consuming the Balmadaar in flames. They immediately panicked as the Thin Man with them expired, coating the unfortunate warriors with toxins. They tried to run backwards, knocking over the other two Thin Men in the process. They were promptly shot in the back, and Avanix finished her sweep of destruction on the downed infiltrators.
The A.I. thought for a moment at the scene that had just unfolded. “Toasted,” she decided in a mechanical yet bemused tone.
Meanwhile, Nico pressed his back against his cover, one of the Mutons that his squad assigned to lighting up his position with a massive plasma gun. He shouted over to Mateo in the other group, gesturing to fire a rocket at the gun-toting Muton. After a short delay, a fiery and shrapnel-filled explosion wrapped up a couple of the Mutons, giving Nico and his clones a chance to fire back. As the third Muton fell, Nico popped out with his sniper rifle, blasting a hole in the head of the minigun-toting fourth.
“My targets are down, we’re moving up,” Nico reported briefly.
DarkGemini24601, Adrammalech, and Frostlich1228: Operation Foreboding Blizzard, Part 2
Emma and Avanix regrouped with Nico, and started heading into the hangar. Waiting for them was a group of three Sectoids and three Drones, which quickly realized how outmatched they were, and started running back to find reinforcements. Two Drones fell to cover the retreat of the organics, and soon Legion faced six Sectoids and four drones. All of the Sectoids had picked mind merge partners, and the empowered Sectoids strode forward, opening fire while looking for targets to psionically attack. The Drones flew at their enemy as a distraction.
Avanix extended her shield to block the first round of shots from the aliens, and then closed it again for Legion’s forces to return fire. The robotic troopers did so, using gauss rifles to precisely punch through the drones and send them spiraling to the ground. “Field repairs starting to lessen in effect on the alloy shield, saving remaining structural integrity for crisis situations,” Avanix warned.
Dorian stayed in cover, finding the closest sectoid to him and tracking the psychic lines back to the one it was melding with who was on the other side of the room. He moved up to a crate closer to his target. When he was sure he was close enough he aimed his Alloy Cannon around the crate and fired, tearing the fragile creature almost completely in half. The psychic connection became visibly erratic and it disappeared, the sectoid it was connected to grasped his head in what could only be intense pain, but was still standing.
Nico moved in with his group, maintaining the same calm and collected reticence he had ran with so far. His group split into two again, running into flanking positions across the left and right sides of the hangar. Lining up his rifle as the others fired on the drones, he blasted a slug straight through one of the Sectoids that poked its head out of cover, killing it instantly.
“These things are so frail...it’s almost not fair,” he remarked to the rest.
His men gunned down two more drones out of the air as they flanked the position the Sectoids were trying to fortify on both sides, making sure that the skirmish would end before it could escalate.
As the last of the weak force fell, there was the sound of roaring engines, and two Floaters in heavy silver armor jetted forward, pulled out grenades and launching them at the clustered Legion forces. The blast ripped through the aliens’ enemies, damaging armor on robot and human alike. The two Heavy Floaters were soon accompanied by four regular Floaters.
Emma’s eyes widened. “Ongola, smoke!” Her and the other support dropped dense smoke grenades onto the Legion forces, making it harder for the murderous Floaters to hit while the Heavy Floaters pulled out their plasma rifles. One shot did make it through, damaging a Legion Robotic Trooper, taxing its repair servos to their limits.
Avanix waited for holo-targeting to go up, courtesy of Alejo, before blasting a Heavy Floater with her railgun, tearing apart its armor. “This one is open for termination.” The Infantry Airframes opened fire with their central laser cannons, trapping the other Heavy Floater into a situation where it would be hit regardless of where it moved, and in its confusion it was hit more than it had to be.
One of the floaters spotted Dorian and attempted to quickly circle around his cover for a flanking shot. When he saw the floater moving towards him he fell back to his previous cover and fired his Alloy Cannon up at it, missing but leaving the creature open to a shot from Dorian’s H.S.C. The tortured creature’s body hit the ground bleeding and sparking. He moved up to it’s corpse to confirm that it was dead before letting his weapons cooldown.
Emma took a shot at another Floater, landing a critical hit and downing it. The Legion forces quickly found new cover with the collection of ships and boxes in the hanger, and opened fire again. The Heavy Floaters were suppressed by Guillermo and Diego, leaving them open for autorifle fire from Luis and Carlos. The remaining two Floaters exchanged glances, and fled.
Avanix quickly went through the status of the Legion strike team. Satisfied that there were no casualties, she informed Emma, and the Eve line clone lead the advance. The Infantry Airframes did a patch job on armor, but it was clear that the Legion forces would have to be more careful after that surprise attack.
“Apologies. My bioelectric skin should have warned us, I just didn’t register it this time,” Emma explained as they advanced towards the hallway leading into the base proper.
“We emerged intact,” Avanix replied simply.
The hallway itself had four doors, two on either side, up until the large elevator. The front two doors split open, and some familiar mechanized troops stood to oppose Legion. A Mechtoid with threads of purple from its room powering its telekinetic shield raised its plasma cannons, while a Cyberdisc escorted by two Drones hovered into view, preparing to unfold.
Avanix raised her shield. “Crisis detected.” The plasma from the enemy mech ripped through the air, slammed into the shield, and melted it into scrap, lightly damaging Avanix’s armor. “Assistance requested. Need means to kill enemy Sectoids.”
Diego pulled out an alloy AP grenade, and tossed in past the open door from whence the Mechtoid had come. There was a terrified shriek, and then the shield on the Mechtoid shattered, its armor sparking angrily. “That cut it?”
Luis took aim with his HEAT autorifle, and his bullets tore into the Mechtoid’s armor. “Mateo.”
The rocketeer eagerly lifted his recoilless rifle. “Roger that.” Not risking a cave in, a shredder rocket soared into the midst of the robots. The drones were completely destroyed by the HEAT warhead, and the cyberdisc refused to unfold to avoid any interior damage. The Mechtoid shakily tried to read another shot, but was cut down by a railgun.
Seeing that the other targets had been dealt with, Dorian took a firm hold of his alloy cannon and charged forward past Avanix. The Cyberdisc opened to try and eliminate the assault before he got closer. Blasts of all kinds whizzed past Dorian, but when he reached it he slid underneath the floating mech, blasting it’s underbelly with his cannon and ending up behind it just as it exploded into flames.
Alejo grinned widely. “I believe that is what we call badass.”
As the clone barely finished the sentence, cannonlike plasma shots ripped through a Legion Robotic Trooper and Infantry Airframe, blasting them both to pieces. Extremely close to Dorian, the two Artillery SHIVs readied themselves to fire another shot, their missiles useless in confined quarters. From the last room, the door opened, but nothing was visible.
Emma knew what that meant, however, especially with her genetically modified skin. “Diego, another grenade, now! Avanix, Alejo, Sergio, Dorian, close distance and eliminate the artillery.”
Diego let his last AP grenade fly, and the blast revealed four seekers coming towards the Legion force. While the forward troops advanced, Emma and the others opened fire on the slippery ‘squids’, starting to whittle them down.
Dorian stepped back and fired at the closest one to him, sending pieces of burning scrap metal all over the room. Avanix’s railgun finished the job, but she took a terrible hit to her armor from the remaining artillery SHIV. It was up to the LMGs to finish it.
The seekers charged forwards after being revealed, their mouths glowing with the green glow of plasma and their tentacles waggling intimidatingly. Alejo and Ongla shot first, their mods allowing them to open fire as soon as they were revealed. Guillermo and Nico followed after them, Nico’s seeker of choice dropping last in the bunch. He felt a little jealous of those reactive mods his clones got.
Avanix turned to fire upon the heavily damaged, remaining SHIV in vengeance, and then ran a diagnostic on her systems as the remaining infantry airframes set to work on patching what they could. “Structural Integrity of M.E.S.H.A. at 38%. That packed a punch.”
Emma knelt down infront of the elevator door, Avanix assisting her with hacking the controls. The doors split open with a screech of protest, and the Legion force, minus two robots, entered, heading down. “There is going to be a generator room and a holding room. Avanix, go with half of Mechanis and Colombus with you, see if by any chance Buniq is there. Imperium and the other half will clear the generator room.”
Her order was acknowledged, and the elevator doors opened as they reached the second floor.
DarkGemini24601,Adrammalech, and Frostlich1228: Operation Foreboding Blizzard, Part 3
Two Minutes Ago
U-2 shook his head in disgust. They should have sent me more forces earlier...they caught us at the worst possible time. The second floor is devoid of anything that could help us down here, so we shall prepare for them with what we have. However… The Uber Sectoid Commander looked at Buniq, trembling in the corner. Perhaps this New One can be of some use. Her ‘kin’ will not attack her on sight because they will not be able to recognize her as an ‘other’.
They will save you? The Uber Sectoid’s eyes glowed a deep violet, and Buniq found she could not look away from the creature. You misunderstand this situation...these are not humans...you are not where you think you are…
“I-I don’t under…”
We are the ones that are here to save you. Those that come here...to prevent you from returning… The Sectoid made sure his mesmerism was in full effect, and was not disappointed, despite it being used on another psion. They are the ones that killed Ammelia Cross.
The Chryssalid Hybrid’s expression twisted in confusion fast-replaced by fury. “T-they...I’ll…”
You’ll kill them all.
Emma lead squad Imperium, accompanied by one of the Infantry Airframes, a Legion Trooper, and Dorian along the left red-orange lit hallway, coming to a thermal generator not unlike those used at XCOM HQ. They immediately lifted their weapons when they saw five chryssalids rushing towards them, but had a dangerous paused when they saw the chryssalid hybrid with them, her expression one of cold fury.
“Worst case scenario…” Emma muttered. “Watch your fire, don’t hit her or the generator!” Legion took the forefront, taking a hit from the chryssalid in front to buy the squad time to open fire on the violet terrors. Sergin took down one with his close combat specialty and subsequently another. Madillo did damage from the back, killing one wounded by Diego. Carlos and Luis opened fire on the other two, but they nimbly dodged and charged for them.
That left Emma, who appeared as a Balmadaar not too unlikely Jiokjiok to her confused mind. “Y-you will p-pay for what you d-did!” Her claws burst out of their exit retainers, nearly cutting the clone of Elene in half as she stumbled back.
“What are you doing, helping them?” Emma pleaded with the hybrid, but her words seemed to fall on deaf ears. She dared not risk firing at Buniq, and instead did her best to dance out of the way.
Dorian saw Emma dodging Buniq’s attacks and ran in to help. He ran up behind the hybrid and attempted to put her into a full nelson so she could not attack him with her claws.
Buniq growled in frustration, and kicked back with the claws on the back of her legs, cutting into Dorian’s just enough to draw blood on the surface and push him back. “My...v-vengeance...won’t b-be…” she ran at Emma, jabbing her arm claws into the walls beside Emma. “Y-you...w-will fear…” An orange energy glowed around her, but the psi panic that shot into Emma’s head was repulsed, a responsive orange pulse hitting the hybrid in the forehead. She stumbled back, clutching her head in pain, her vision blurry.
“Ammelia Cross is...not dead…” Emma panted, grateful the neural feedback worked as it should, even if she was surprised the hybrid had those abilities in the first place.
Buniq seemed to hear her this time, and as her vision refocused she could see the truth of her enemies, and more importantly, a chryssalid about to plunge its claws into Luis’s chest. She dashed for it, slamming her four blades into its back, while the last remaining insectoid was shot apart. She slowly rose, retracting her bloody blades. “I-I’m s-sorry, I…”
“I know...what it’s like. To have your mind usurped from you,” Emma explained. “We’re here to rescue you. We are friends of Ammelia Cross...or at least, we hope to be.”
Dorian clutched his bleeding leg, breathing deeply in and out. Memories of his military career flashed through his mind as he tried to control himself.
Emma glanced back over at Dorian. “Apologies.” She knelt down beside him, pulling out her medkit, and sprayed the soothing sealant over the wound. Buniq stood beside her, looking much more guilty than Emma.
“I-I’am fine…” He said trying to forget about the pain, “It’s not that bad…”
The Shadow Operative finished applying the medkit. “Buniq, once we have cleared the base you shall return to our HQ, but you will find your way back to XCOM when it becomes possible. In the meantime, we shall inform them that you are alive and well.”
Buniq nodded. “T-thank you…?”
“Emma Exalt. Not the EXALT you might be thinking of, though. Long story…” Emma said.
Avanix held a hand up, listening at the sounds within the holding chambers. “I...do not believe there are live humans in there,” she decided, the skittering growing louder. “I shall open the door, and then-” The door opened remotely, and ten chryssalids burst out of the darkness, coming straight for the Legion forces. The MESHA quickly lifted her flamethrower as shots railed against the chryssalids, and let loose.
The chryssalids, maddened by modification and adrenaline glands, rarely knew fear. They would charge into the barrel of a cannon for a chance to feed, to kill. Fire? That was another story. As the flames licked their chitin, they scattered in terror, forgetting that they were still in danger.
Nico ordered his squad to open fire on the fleeing chryssalids, a gallery of shotguns, rifles, and snipers blasting loudly as they scurried away. As each chryssalid dropped, a new target was quickly chased after with bullets. In only an order of seconds, they were all dead, strewn about in their places of panic. They grinned proudly.
The separate forces rejoined at the elevator leading down to the next floor, across from the one they had come down in. It was not even locked this time. Beside Emma was the chryssalid hybrid they had been hoping to find, who stepped into the elevator after the Shadow Operative.
“It appears the third objective was possible, after all,” Avanix commented. “Nice to meet you at last, Buniq.”
The chryssalid hybrid looked up at the damaged mech in a mixture of awe and nervousness. “H-hello…”
“Hello,” Nico said, looking curiously. “I’ve never met a...‘hybrid’ before.”
“I-I’m the o-only one of m-my kind, a-as far as I-I know,” Buniq responded.
The door lit up as the elevator reached the third floor.
Emma held her hand at the open button, holding up three fingers on her other.
DarkGemini24601,Adrammalech, and Frostlich1228: Operation Foreboding Blizzard, Part 4
The door hissed open quickly, and before them was an amphitheater of sorts, lit by purple, psionic-commemorating lights, and some thermal ducts as well. There was a catwalk of sorts that ran around the room in a ring that they ran out onto. In the center of the room, on a lower level, was a Sectopod accompanied by four drones. On the other end, the catwalk was larger, and a Sectoid Commander, not the Uber, stood at a podium. He was flanked by two Mutons, and the 2 Floaters that fled earlier.
“Target the mechanized unit!” Emma warned, well aware from hacking files what the Sectopod could do. “Move towards the other enemy, make it hard for them to target us!”
Imperium advanced on one side, while Colombus advanced on the other, and Mechanis drew the enemy fire. Alejo was at the forefront of Colombus, dodging shots from the Floaters, while the rest of his squad returned fire, one or two aiming at the Sectopod.
Buniq grimaced in pain, but was not about to risk being shot by plasma from the Mutons. Her chitin burst forth as armor for the second time, but this time she was able to endure the pain and keep going. “I-I shall n-not s-suffer under y-you again!” She reached one of the Balmadaar, and her claws punctured its chestplate, coming out the other end, while Emma shot down the other.
“Carlos, Luis, Mateo, you know what to do to the Sectopod,” the Legion leader intoned.
A HEAT anti-armor rocket, plus a spray of LMG-type fire, and a grenade from Diego rained down on the Sectopod as it blew apart the walkway behind Imperium. The robot reeled, heavily damaged, its drones quite dead except for one that pointlessly repaired a plate of armor. As the pressure was kept up on the machine, the Sectoid Commander turned towards Nico, reaching out with its mind control in an attempt to divide the ranks.
Suddenly, images of Nico’s failures flashed before his eyes. He saw deals gone wrong, shots gone wide, clients gone missing. After a few moments of rooting in his memories, the Sectoid got to the heart of his pain, a burning and exploding drug boat, and deep inside it’s hallways, the throat-cut corpse of his brother, Sebastian. He groaned as the unpleasant memories were forcefully dredged up, both steeling himself and feeling some manner of intervention from his new implants.
“It’ll take...more than that...to get under my skin,” he growled, staring angrily at the Sectoid.
With a long shudder, he shook off the alien’s influence, but a shake remained in his aim as he brought the rifle to his eye. A quick barrage of bullets flew off-target before he shouted for someone else to put the Sectoid down.
Madillo responded with a silent not, blasting off the Sectoid’s arm with his long rifle. As it squealed in agony, Buniq punctured its chest with a blade.
The Sectopod seemed to realize its doom, and opened its missile bay, launching them at the forces on all sides as it blew apart from a self-destruct. Mateo’s eyes widened, and his banshee armor was not enough to protect him from being blown apart by the worst of it.
“Mateo!” Alejo yelled in anguish, as the Uber Sectoid Commander stepped out. You...have destroyed...EVERYTHING! He reached out his hands, and four mindfray tendrils slammed into the heads of Buniq, Dorian, Alejo, and Guillermo. While Buniq held her hand in agony, as did the others, the powerful psion switched to psi panic. Alejo, already rattled by the death of his comrade, turned and fled in terror, while Guillermo went wide eyed from the seemingly giant alien before him.
Dorian clutched his head in pain, as images of his own death filled his mind. He ignored them, the pain of the Mindfray driving him forward slowly, pure rage blinding him from thinking tactically. He took one step after another towards the Uber Commander, raising his Alloy cannon with murderous intent.
The Uber Sectoid reached out, attempting to seize control of Dorians’ mind. Autistic...hmm, you really are a pathetic creature, aren’t you? Such a waste of flesh, this one…
Avanix fired her railgun at the Uber Sectoid, and it shattered into shards of light. Four more appeared at all four corners of the room.
Disappointed? U-2’s psionic images taunted in an unnerving cadence.
Buniq slowly got to her feet, her blades snapping out, and she ran straight for the one at the entrance. U-2’s face twisted in confusion, and he ran for the elevator.
H-how did you?
Because y-you...are a c-coward… Buniq responded, a pulse of orange shooting into the Uber Sectoid’s head. Mired by fear of impending death, he panicked, just for a few seconds. That was enough time for Buniq to impale him on her claws, and then discard the corpse, falling to her knees as the adrenaline from battle faded.
Emma breathed a sigh of relief, leaning against a wall and taking a minute to calm herself. After she did, she walked over to the Uber’s computer, and started extracting data with Avanix’s help. “Send the recovery teams that followed us in. We have much to recover. I’ll have the UFO’s carry some of the burden, but that psionic equipment in the lab will be useful.”
“As well as all the resources recovered...we will be set for a long time. Ideally, we can finish the job before XCOM has the ability to detect us here. Not that we have too little to consider sharing, but it would be awkward if we were near…” Avanix stopped. “Emma…”
“What is it?” Emma looked at the screen, and fell equally silent. “It...was a possibility...but…”
Before her was an assortment of data that they had wished not to find in the name of trust. A layout of base facilities, of targets, of locations of personnel courtesy of a dead Incubator. It was a map detailing the facilities and exact location of XCOM Headquarters.
A large UFO was detected by a hacked satillite en-route to Egypt from around South Africa. Seven EXALT F-22s with one backup drone made haste for the craft, but even with Negative Zero and 156 controlling them, they were not enough until the two mysteriously managed to control all at once with ease and take down the enemy craft. It crashed into the Kenyan savanna, the engine section broken off and not a concern. The numerous heat signatures inside, however, are. As is how Negative Zero managed to suddenly succeed where she was failing.
Number of Soldiers: Five (5) Elites, three (3) Assault Drones [Same as Legion’s Infantry Airframes], Ten (10) EXALT Troopers [one of each class]
Subject 157 “Vee”
Gear - Player’s Characters will be equipped with the following items:
-Primary Weapon: Either a Laser Shatterray, Laser Carbine, Laser Rifle, or a Heavy Laser Rifle. Vee can use any weapon effectively except for a sniper or marksman rifle.
-Secondary Weapon: Either a Laser Pistol, a Heater, or a S.L.P. (Scatter Laser Pistol)
-Armor: Kestrel Armor, Phalanx Armor, and Carapace Armor
-Equipment: Two (2) of the following; Two (2) of the following; a medikit, a battle scanner, an AP grenade, a HE grenade, a flash-bang grenade, a smoke grenade, a high-capacity magazine, a targeting module, or an arc thrower.
(Shredder Rocket for Rocketeers and Heavies)
Terrain: The African savanna is a rolling grassland covered in tall grass, shrubs, and isolated trees. The mission takes place at night so there is an element of surprise but be advised of local predators.
Four (4) groups of three (3) Mutons, one (1) Muton ‘Gunner’, one (1) Berserker
One (1) group of One (1) Muton Elite, four (4) Heavy Floaters
One (1) Command Pod with One (1) Sectoid Commander, Two (2) Sectoids, One (1) Mechtoid, Two (2) Outsiders, One (1) Muton Elite, One (1) Incubator on the bridge
MarineAvenger and DarkGemini24601: Operation Scorching Safari, Prologue
Sora sat in his cyberspace and was shifting through EXALT’s recent research notes when an alert in the system reminded him of his meeting with Viktor. He sighed and went to make contact. When Sora came to Viktor was, as always, waiting. “Sir.”
Viktor looked through reports and looked at his monitor. “How are things coming along?”
“There are a few things I would like to bring to your attention. First is that our clone production has slowed from more combative ones to help with the work shortage we have in engineering. That has already showed about 5% increase in our production value.”
Viktor nodded and waved his hand for Sora to continue. “With this new production we have made an upgrade to our laser weaponry that has made them at least a bit stronger.”
“That will at least make up for some of our inadequacies. Those girls in the lab are intolerable but at least they have learned their lesson. What about our recent conflicts?”
“Our forces have engaged multiple small pockets of alien forces around the world but major conflicts are at a minimal. Resources are trickling in slowly but we are struggling to keep up with your...ahem...large demand.”
Viktor just looked at the monitor and his face was one not of amusement.
“Anyways, our contacts are slowly becoming hesitant to lend their assistance to our cause and some of them have completely revoked support in favor of other options.” Sora informed the already mad man.
Viktor rubbed his eyes and just sat back. “I don’t know what it is about spineless fools and their need to resist. Make sure that they see the error in their reasoning.”
“Noted.” Sora quickly disappeared and when he came back Viktor rose an eyebrow. “Sir, we have just received a report of a UFO sighting. Shall we send some interceptors?”
Viktor nodded and turned his chair as an image of the UFO appeared on the TV behind him.
Sora moved his server and went to inform Elene of Viktor’s orders.
“He made up his mind quickly,” Elene responded to the news. “Sora, what is the size of the contact?”
“It is rather large. It resembles a supply barge but it’s design is slightly different. Not all ships are made the same I guess. There might be a large amount of resources on board.”
“He expects us to take down a large UFO,” Lily noted. “The chances are low, but as I have learned, we have no choice.”
“Launching central group of F-22’s, selecting seven. Mostly autopilot, we can only override on two or four at most,” Elene informed Sora. The interceptors took off, and quickly caught up with the UFO that seemed on course for a city, though its destination was far off. The F-22’s began to swarm around the enemy ship, but even with enhanced beams, they were still having trouble hitting the gaps in the armor. One exploded in a flurry of fire and sparks, it’s wrecked hull crashing to the ground, melted by plasma.
Elene, shall I assist?
Override two. I can’t risk any more, if Viktor realizes you are helping me…
Two of the drones swooped below the craft, heading to the back and landing a hit on the engines, slowing the craft while two more kept its attention. The other three just seemed to target widely, not that effective. It wasn’t enough, though, and Lily’s interceptor was blown out of the sky as well, forcing her to control another one.
Viktor watched as the scene unfolded and he went to tell Sora his orders.
Sora put a hand on his head and looked at Elene. “It is Viktor, he wants to know why that ship doesn’t have more fire on it?”
“Our weapons can’t penetrate its hull normally. And the sequences we’re using to have the drones attack the small gaps in the armor are too complex for the simple A.I.’s they came with to handle,” Elene informed the A.I.
Sora closed his eyes and when he opened them he had a frown on his virtual face. “He wants more fire on it. He says forget the tiny drones.”
“Who does he think I am, Prometheus?” Avanix, we may have no choice. I fear reprisal if we fail to take this ship down and lose 2 ships for...lose 3 ships for it.
Acknowledged. Full override and assistance on the remaining four, as well as the backup nearby.
The F-22 drones quickly swerved back behind the ship, spraying the engines with laser fire and blowing a good portion of them up. The large alien craft started to turn, opening fire with guns on the side and one on the back, but the EXALT aircraft swerved out of the way, not a single one scratched. They fired off a missile payload, piercing the shields again and allowing a succession of fire on weak points in the back of the craft to effectively sever the power. That portion of the UFO split off and crashed into the ground, and soon the rest of it came to a rest a few kilometers off the tail end.
Elene took off her headset. “The UFO has made unintentional planetfall. We did it.”
Sora nodded and closed his eyes once more. “He says to send out the new elite squad as well as Vee to oversee their first mission. I will send more units along to help, but Elene there is a problem.”
“What is that problem?” Elene asked calmly, though she guessed at what Sora meant with apprehension.
“Viktor would like to...congratulate you on your victory later.”
MarineAvenger and DarkGemini24601: Operation Scorching Safari, Part 1
EXALT troop ships soared across the sea at top speed with the night sky as a backdrop for this particular mission. The interior of the carriers were only illuminated by the small red lights inside. In the lead ship was the regular troops along with the drones and in the back was the one containing the elites and Vee. The elites all had the same expression on their faces and their helmets were in their laps.
“And so there I was, surrounded by two Berserkers. I could hear one of the assaults get blown away by a regular Muton,” Vee said, reaching the climax of her story. “I ducked under their blows with all the speed I could muster, but even my autolaser wasn’t going to be enough to take them down. So, I figured, why not a hail-” She growled in frustration as the craft began to set down. “Long story short, I jumped into the air with my Muscle Fiber Density, and blasted them with a rocket. It was glorious. You shoulda been there.”
The group of four stood up and put on their helmets, their weapons in their hands and giving no indication of responding to Vee.
“See, I get fun when its time to be a warrior. You guys just become stone warriors.” Vee put on her black helmet with a gray visor. Etched onto it with translucent paint was a creepily grinning, red smiley face. “Let’s do this.”
As the EXALT forces moved in on the craft, they quickly saw shadowy, lumbering figures in the night, dimly illuminated by the stars not covered by the clouds hiding the moon. The first set of Balmadaar came across the enemy. The three regular Mutons, knowing there would be no cover, instead opened fire in a row, while the gunner fell back before laying down suppressing fire over a wider area with its plasma novagun. The Berserker, as expected of their kind, charged forward with murderous intent.
The grunts all fell to the ground and trained their guns on the approaching menace. Instead of their counterparts, the elites moved away from the main group and followed closely with one another. With Chief’s orders, Fox broke off from the clones and dashed into a partial bit of cover behind a small tree. Hawke found a suitable point to set up his sniper and Bull set up not too far from his position.
Vee did her best to set up a distraction with her quick reflexes, all the while pulling out an alloy AP grenade. “You wanna hear a shitty knock-knock joke? I’ll spare you. It’s pain.” She tossed it, and the shards of alloy punched through the forward 3 Mutons’ armor. This interrupted their fire as they reeled in pain before taking aim again. The Berserker was torn between the ten EXALT troopers shooting at it, not sure which to kill yet, and died before it could come up with an answer.
Hawke took aim at the closest Muton near the troops and he fired of his rifle with a crack and the Muton dropped; green blood flying away briefly as the intensified laser quickly cauterized the wound.
Bull finished setting up his machine gun and he stared concentrated fire at the aliens.
Viktor strode down the stairs to Elene’s lab, slowly clapping his hands together slowly as he neared the bottom. He walked in with a grin on his face and looked at the two clones in the room. “I must congratulate you on your victory.”
Elene looked at him impassively externally, but she was in turmoil internally. Viktor Dorian...is smiling. This cannot be a good thing.
“To take down a ship of that size with such skill,” Viktor leaned against a table. “Is that not something to be proud of? Seeing a subordinate perform admirably.”
“It is. I just didn’t expect you to actually congratulate us for our efforts,” Elene responded.
“Yes, it is not something I do often but credit goes where credit is due.” He got up and walked over to look over some notes on a nearby table. “I have watched your previous encounters with the aliens and you had never performed as well as that. You must be getting better as time passes. Even in Saudi Arabia you didn’t do as well as you did this time.”
“And is that not what humans do? Improve over time?” Elene returned.
“I suppose.” He looked up Elene. “You never cease to impress.”
There has to be some other purpose for this… Elene tried to keep herself from shifting uneasily, but still did so ever so slightly. Lily looked between the two, trying to figure out what was going on with growing apprehension.
He noticed Elene’s movement and smirked. “You look nervous. This is a special visit from your boss, you should be proud.”
“Our last meeting was not on such fond terms. This is a significant change from that,” Elene responded slowly, cautiously.
“You misunderstand. It is a form of tough love. I am hard on you so you improve.”
Play along, Elene… “I thank you for that, then. I have improved, and myself and 156 are at a point where we can be so effective with our fighters, using implant, brain, and computer in tandem.”
He slowly nodded. “Very good.” Viktor took a seat and he spread open his hands. “So...what are you not telling me?”
“I don’t follow. I am not so bold as to keep secrets from you,” Negative Zero responded.
“But you are so full of ambition. Everyone has a few secrets.”
“If you are referring to taking down the UFOs, I merely used simplistic A.I. to aide myself, playing off the even more simplistic A.I. in the fighters,” Elene explained. “And you already know about myself and Mr. Grathem. That is no secret, if it ever was.”
Viktor nodded his head slowly. “That is true…” Viktor smiled. “Do you think I am stupid?” Viktor pulled out a pistol from his hip and fired at Lily, just whizzing past her head and into the metal wall. “I don’t think you know who you are dealing with.”
Lily froze in abject terror, while Elene grimaced, trying to remain calm. So now you show your true colors. “What is this about, Viktor? We shot down your UFO, we have increased our pace of research and done everything so that you would be satisfied!”
Viktor stood up and pointed his gun at Elene. “You have been lying to me since day one.”
MarineAvenger andDarkGemini24601: Operation Scorching Safari, Part 2
Vee opened fire with her autolaser, tearing through another Muton and dropping it to the ground. The other two started to flee, only the gunner surviving the retreat. “I wonder how many more there are,” the Destroyer muttered.
“No matter the number we will continue to push.” Chief informed Vee. “Fox, report in?” There was a mutter from his end and Chief looked in Vee’s direction. “Fox has spotted another group not far away. Too dark to identify.”
“Which direction?” Vee asked.
Chief pointed in the direction Fox was. “About 100 meters away in that direction.”
The Queen of Destruction took a look in that direction, her orange eyes able to provide her night vision even without the goggles, which only aided her. “Hmm...looks like a similar group to what we just fought. And they’re headed towards something else...think I see a faint but strong heat signature. More plasma weapons, maybe.”
Chief called out orders to his men and the clones across the field began to move. “We will find out.”
They soon came across the two united groups, totally 10 Mutons with two Berserkers, two gunners, and six regular troopers. The large group went into formation, the two gunners taking cover behind acacia trees on either side of the group. With it more spread out, the eleventh Muton was revealed in his faintly glowing red ceremonial armor. He wielded an even larger heavy weapon, the Plasma Dragon.
Vee grinned widely behind her helmet. “Clearing to use ordinance.” She lifted her rocket launcher, and let the missile fly, blasting apart the two Mutons at its center, dealing moderate damage to two more, and lightly damaging the armor of the last two. The Elite was within the blast radius, but his armor shrugged off the explosion as he fired his mighty gun.
Two of the EXALT grunts instantly fell from the fire and the rest scattered to avoid dying. The two Berserkers showed a rare sense of self-preservation by the orders of the Elite, and fell back, disappearing beneath the tall grass.
Hawke took aim at the large alien but his shot just missed the large target. Bull tried to move up to reinforce Fox’s position but three Mutons moved towards both of the elites.
One of them fell to a spray of autolaser fire as Vee copied the Muton gunners and set up behind an acacia tree. “Down, boy!” The other two turned towards her, nearly flanking her, and the Destroyer moved behind the tree further to avoid being hit, barely out of danger from the gunners and Mutons.
Bull brought up his large machine gun to his waist level, usually a gun that large requiring time to set up properly but his enhanced body allowed him to fire from the hip. He let the lasers loose on the two Mutons, scraping their armor but doing no real damage. One of the aliens made the mistake of stopping and Hawke sent a laser into it’s head.
One of the grunts finished off the last challenger, and another took down the Muton still alive in the center. The Elite seemed to shift angrily, and pounded an armored fist against its chest, roaring loudly.
“I’m no expert in the language of stupid, but I think they’re calling for help,” Vee noted. As the EXALT grunts regrouped, the alien gunners kept up suppressing fire, joined by the Balmadaar Elite and the surviving Muton gunner from before.
The grunts returned fire at the aliens but their aim was less than accurate as they could not get up without revealing themselves. One of the engineers pulled off a grenade and chucked it at the group of aliens, his head getting blown off as a result as the grenade sailed towards it’s mark.
The cover of the gunner on the right was blown, and it stumbled back, while the Elite was again only irritated by the damage to his armor. As the gunners formed up in the center, returning fire, the Elite took cover behind the tree. The fourth group appeared over a slight rise in the ground, three mutons, another gunner, and an additional Berserker ran to oppose EXALT. As they did, the two Berserkers, itching to finally kill, joined their comrade in a bullrush at their enemy, no, at their prey.
“Enough, Viktor. You have made your point,” a female voice said from beside him. Avanix, wearing her angelic armor, save for a helmet, stood with her arms crossed before the EXALT leader. “I am the Artificial Intelligence system A.V.A.N.I.X. that you failed to delete, and I have been aiding with the piloting of the drones. I hacked them in the first place with Lily’s help.”
Viktor grimaced. “I had a suspicion it was too easy. There were traces left in the systems, anomalies that Sora passed off as himself but I always knew.”
“It is no reason to level a gun at Negative Zero’s head. I am a valuable addition to EXALT, as proved today. She made no error by working with me,” the original A.I. stated.
“She made the error of defying me. You are the last remnants of Lusett all gathered in one place. I am sure there are others including that one I sent on the mission but I wouldn’t plan on having her stick around long.”
“As reported in the creation of the handmaidens, only two were created, the third, 158, was lost,” Avanix responded in a half-truth. “You have no need to terminate them. As Vee is proving on the battlefield, she is a valuable asset as well. We all are.”
“Assets that can be replaced. As for your precious little Vee, I have already given the order to my troops. She will not return here alive.”
“You son of a bitch!” Elene shouted suddenly, her expression twisting in fury.
“Now, now. That is no way to talk to your superiors. Though just to prove that I am not bluffing…” He looked around the room. “Sora, come out here.”
Sora materialized in the room and stood next to Viktor. “What do you need...sir.”
Viktor smirked and looked over at Avanix. “I want you to kill her.”