RP X-Com Role-Play Missions


Well-Known Member
Part 2
“What is this? What is this felling going through my body it’s like I want to kill even more than usual?” Ashley says out loud. Ashley turns to the squad and sees that they seem to be more aggressive and turns back to Eva what did Eva just do to the squad?

The Squad continues firing there weapons at the pack of Chryssalides. One of the Chryssalides stud up and drived it’s claws into our squad leader Fedor putting him on his back. Before it synced its teeth into our squad leader Colin fired his Alloy cannon into the Chryssalid. Colin grabs Fedor and tries to drag him to Ashley. Ashley trough’s a smoke grenade to give Colin some cover while adding suppressing fire behind them.

“Damn it he’s been poison and these wounds are very deeps the, Ashley uses the med kit to heal the poison and uses an x-stat to stop him from bleeding out. “Great that should stop him from bleeding out. While the chryssalides are running blindly in the smoke it allows X-COM to gun them down. Yea come on you bug freaks the chryssialids keep coming through to the point where x-com want’s to fall back but since there’s a village behind them that’s not an option. Damn it why don’t they just die already. Another group of chryssialds come from the woods and charge the village. Quine and Eva start to through grenades at the Chryssialids horde. Take that you bloody freaks. A loud roar comes from the side and sees another group of chryssialds coming from the east. They don’t give up do they Shit were running out of room we might have to pull back.

Screw that Eva says out loud I’m not going to let these freaks have this village for lunch. Eva grabs a heave rack and charge the Chryssiald group. Eva drives the rack deep into one of the chryssialds chest a number of times. Before a chryssiald sinks its claws into Eva’s back Randall shoot’s the chryssiald that has its claws into Eva. “Why must you be so reckless?”

Shut up and help me with these things. Eva unlades her sawed off shot gun and she and Randall charge the chryssialds. While Jay fires rocket’s into the forest drawing ought the remaining Chryssialds Colin joined Eva and Randall in the charge, while Ashley Quinn Wade John and Masambe gun down and chryssialds that went past them. Quinn threw grenades ahead of the Chryssialds to make sure that he got them. While Ashley and Masambe laid surprising fire at the charging Chryssilads. While wade tried to make Ashley Masambe and Quinn’s job easier by sniping the Chryssilads before it got near them. I’m out of rockets. And I’m out of grenades shit that’s not good were’s Eva and the others?

Eva and the others come out of the forest covered in the alien’s blood. Eva what happen to the other aliens?

“There dead any that got past us you guys might have killed, so unless you guys missed some I think were done here?


Well-Known Member
Farewell to IndiaAssorted Cast

Siege of New Delhi VI, Final
May 11, 2300 Hours
Dropship Landing Site

Atka Ipiktok gazed back at the citadel, having been as salvaged as it could. The crews moved away as it began to topple, no longer steady. It fell apart in pieces, metal crashing to the ground and kicking up dust and debris. “Fitting funeral for their aspirations here, I suppose…” the Inuit woman muttered. Her squad stood by her, watching with approval.

“You know, I swear I saw some other salvage ship awhile ago,” Kevin added.

“The fearful and weak tend to imagine things,” Sarah muttered.

“That your idea of a joke, Sarah?” Janina asked with a smile. “What do you think, Atka?” She sighed when the soldier seemed lost in thought, and rested a hand on her shoulder. “Look, you did all that you could. No one’s blaming you for those losses, we have to expect that sort of thing in the hardest battles. Its unavoidable, war leads to death without fail.”

“I know...but there was more I could do. The smoke grenade was misplaced...and…”

“And you couldn’t have made all your decisions perfect. It would have been highly unlikely no matter how you look at it,” Kris countered.

Atka held up her hands in defeat. “Alright...I get it.”

The squad began to load up in the dropship, the troop transport preparing to take off. From the pilot’s cockpit “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was playing. Atka smiled, knowing the pilot by now by his music.

“I never did ask your name,” the scout said over the music.

The pilot turned it down. “David, thanks for askin’. You all ready to go home?”

“Heh, home,” Kevin muttered.

Atka glanced out the exit, and tapped Modya on the shoulder. He got up with Atka. Before them were an assortment of Indian troopers, two Russian tanks, and Galena Volkova in uniform. They all saluted, and Atka returned the gesture, as did Modya.

Galena lowered her hand, and smiled. “Good luck with everything, Modya. And don’t piss off that Jessica like you did me,” she added with a sarcastic grin.

“I will try,” Modya returned with a raised eyebrow. “Do svidaniya, moy drug.”

“Do svidaniya, Modya.”


Game Master
Staff member
X-COM Mission Parameters
Base Defense Mission

Operation Ashes and Temples
July 25th, 2018

X-COM Headquarters
Siberia, Russia

1600 Hours

Mission Details:
Hostile forces have infiltrated X-COM headquarters and are moving towards central command. We have to protect the base at all costs. Failure here means any hope we had of stopping this invasion will be lost. Any soldiers not dealing with threats in other parts of the base have been sent to central command to hold the line. You will be sent reinforcements in the way of base security whenever the become available. However, with XXXX lost and several X-COM staff members acting under the alien's influence, back-up will likely be few and far between.

Number of Soldiers for this mission: Seven (7) Soldiers, plus Two (2) SHIVs if the SHIV Manufacturing Bay can be reached in time. They will also have a large number of Base Security Guards backing them up (on average, two guards for every one soldier)

Soldiers' Names:
*O'Brien, Morrigan (Commander, Acting Assault)
CAPT (TSGT) Ipiktok, Atka (Scout)
SGT Walker, Desmond (Engineer)
SGT Fischer, Amelia (Support)
SGT Aegerter, Eva (Infantry)
CPL Martinez, Sergio (Sniper)
CPL Wagner, Christine (Rocketeer)

*Squad Leader

Gear: Players' characters' will have the following supplies (and only the following supplies) available:

- Primary weapon: Several Gauss Rifles, one Alloy Cannon, one Gauss Long Rifle (Snipers), one Alloy Strike Rifle (Scout, Sniper), and one Gauss Autorifle (Gunner)

- Armor: Kestrel Armor and Carapace Armor

- Secondary Weapon: Laser Pistols and a single Hand Scatter Cannon (H.S.C.)

- Equipment: Two medikits, Two Chitin Platings, a battle scanner, an AP grenade, a flash-bang grenade, a smoke grenade, an alien grenade, one shredder rocket, and an Arc Thrower.

Soldiers and staff will start of in Central Command, which contains the holo-globe and several large computer terminals that can act as cover, as well as a large room on the south part that contains several tall computer servers, and there is a small catwalk circling the top of the entire room. To the west of the this room is the Rear Guard station, an small area containing an upper and lower section that opens into a large, cavernous area that the aliens could potentially use to attack us from two sides.


East of the Command Center is a small Mech bay, used for crafting every day supply used through out the Base. Tucked int the corner of this area is the Primary SHIV Manufacturing Room. Both areas contain large containers, supplies, and manufacturing equipment to act as cover, as well as several storage rooms that can be used for flanking (for both sides).


Finally, there is the Forward Access Tunnel and Forward Guard Station. This area contains another two level structure for the guards, as well as several large vehicles meant for moving supplies in and out of the forward access tunnels. It is from these tunnels that the majority of enemies are coming from. Securing this area is will halt nearly all advances into the base.


Of course, we also have the option of fortifying our defenses in central command. However, reports state that our main SHIV Engineer, Dr. Sonya Randolf, is currently in the Primary SHIV Manufacturing Room, which is being heavily assaulted by the aliens. Of course, even if we were to fight our way there now, we could still show up too late, so it is your call.

Nearly One Hundred Aliens, pulling from the pool of currently known aliens (and possibly more).

Conditions for Completing the Mission:
The elimination of all alien forces from the base. Failure is not an option.

All civilian staff have either evacuated to safer parts of the base, or have been lost. The only exception, of course, is Dr. Randolf.


Game Master
Staff member
ZombieSplitter53, DarkGemini24601, MarineAvenger, Dahlexpert, and Adrammalech proudly present:“Operation Ashes and Temples”


Explosions ripped out around the base. The entire room shook as it seemed as though the entire world was coming down. “What… what the hell is going on!” Morrigan shouted as she picked herself up from the ground, looking around for someone, anyone, in Central Command to give her an answer.

Bradford rapidly switched between cameras. “I… I don’t… there are reports of chaos and confusion from all over the base! There is massive damage in engineering… the labs… the hanger, everywhere.”

One of the techs looked up from his station. “Reports of active acts of sabotage all over the base. Staff of all ages, genders, and positions are openly attacking others and destroying the base! I don’t…” The tech fell silent, slumping to the ground with a bullet hole in his forehead. Bradford tackled his killer, another tech who had worked along side him everyday since the beginning of the project. As the two wrestled to the ground, Morrigan stepped forward to help, only to find herself in a chokehold from another tech. She quickly flipped the woman over her shoulder, and a solid jab to the forehead knocked her out. Morrigan quickly looked around in a panic, and was relieved to find Bradford holding his attacker at gunpoint.

“What have you done!” Bradford shouted, and the tech didn’t answer.

“It’s mind control, it has to be,” Morrigan muttered, then grabbed her comm. “All available soldiers, get to central command! I repeat, the aliens have breach the base, get to central now if you aren’t in any of the other occupied areas. We need to drive them off!”

My God… "I’m on my way, sir!” Captain Atka Ipiktok’s voice came in through the speakers, slightly disrupted by static.

“This is Tech Sergeant Emily Fischer, I’m by the training room, I’ll get to you A.S.A.P.,” Emily replied, grabbing some of the practice gear from inside the training room and starting to rush through the halls.

Eva headed to Central. Wearing some practice armor. Damn it I can’t believe the aliens would attack us here. I knew that they were pissed but not this pissed. Eva rushed through the halls.

“This is Sergeant Desmond Walker, I am with the Commander’s daughter. I will drop her off in a secure location and be there when I can.” He picked up Brigid who was drawing a picture and he ran off.

Morrigan swallowed hard, not letting her motherly fear override her rationality. “Alright. Bradford, we need to keep these things out.”

Bradford nodded. “We can’t let them get access to the computer banks. Even if the base was destroyed, we might have hope. But not if they get access to the vast amount of…” Bradford flew back as the tech he was holding down pushed up with a sudden surge of energy. The two struggled as the Commander pulled her sidearm and took aim. “Wait, Commander, we can’t. If they’re being controlled...”

Morrigan hesitated for a split second as the tech pulled the pistol from Bradford’s hand. She finally fired, a moment after the tech. The mind controlled man dropped to the floor, the blood from his chest mixing with that of X-COM’s Central Command Officer.

One of the still-active doors split open, XCOM’s Captain rushing in. Atka stopped dead when she saw the bodies on the ground. I was too late. The thought hit her with a cold feeling washing over. “...C-Captain Ipiktok reporting in, s-sir.”

Morrigan slowly nodded, her expression cold and distant. “We… we need to keep them out. We need to get them all. I don’t want a single one of these bastards in my base.” She pointed at one of the security guards that arrived with Atka. “Can you… put him somewhere safe?”

The guard nodded, and carefully lifted the body of X-COM’s second officer, bringing him to the side of the room. He solemnly closed the man’s eyes. “Thanks for everything,” he whispered. “We’ll kill every one of these bastards for you.”

Morrigan glanced around the room at what she had to work with. She stepped to Atka’s side and whispered, “It doesn’t look good. Walker and Fischer are on their way, but against the odds we are facing…” She trailed off, looking at the multiple life readings coming from one of the computer screens.

Akta nodded slowly. “We’ll give it everything we have, that’s all we can do. If this is the end...I can’t think of someone I’d rather die beside, sir.” Be safe, Nouja. I have to focus now...make sure everyone down there is ready for the worst.

The Commander gave her a grateful smile. As two more soldiers ran in, Wagner and Martinez, Morrigan spoke up, “Alright, everyone, we need to push these aliens out if at all possible.” She glanced at the computer screen. “We need to count on our fellow soldiers to defend the rest of the base while we fight here. If we can get control of the forward access tunnels, we can get the main forces out of here. But this is our final line, here in Central Command, and we don’t push forward unless we are sure they can’t get here.” She fell quiet for any soldiers to respond. When she only received nods, she quickly checked her sidearm, a familiar looking revolver she was holding on to.

“Commander.” Sergio Martinez stepped to her side, and offered her a Gauss Rifle. “Figured you’d need this.” The Commander smiled, and accepted it.

“Dr. Randolf, looking for Commander O’Brien, can you read me?”

Morrigan grabbed her radio. “Sunny? Where are you?”

“I-I’m in the main SHIV room, but I’m not alone. I-I need help, I can’t…”

“We… we’re working on it, Sunny, but…” Morrigan sighed over the radio. “We can’t leave anything to chance. We can’t rush ahead and leave central open to the aliens. I’m sorry, but we’ll try to get there as soon as…” the Commander was cut off by a sudden blast of plasma whizzing past her head. She looked up at the offending Sectoid, which had dropped onto the catwalk above. Around it, half a dozen more Sectoids were taking aim, and the X-COM forces scrambled to cover. “Covering fire!”

Atka formed two icy helixes, weaker than her typical ones in an attempt to save her psionic pool for later. She launched them into the chests of two Sectoids, the telekinetic spikes wrapping around the cover to strike their feeble targets and easily punch through them for the kill.

Morrigan fired at another one, punching a hole through its face. She pointed towards Eva. “Aegerter, we’ll cover you! Try and get up there and flank them. You two go with her!” She added, pointing to two of the guards.

“Right, got it boss.” God, the last time someone tried to do this they were met with Floaters. Why would I say that? Eva climbed up the catwalk and saw the Sectoids. “Hello Sectoids, meet my gun’s barrel.” Eva opened fire on the Sectoids, pinning them down.

Jake slid behind a pillar. He had the sensation that the Commander was saying ‘I told you so’ in the back of his mind, what with real combat being so much more intense than simulations. He watched as Eva pinned the three Sectoids down with her sustained fire. Across the catwalk, the other guard stepped out of cover and took down a Sectoid, but left himself too exposed. As he dropped, Jake learned from his mistake, taking down a second Sectoid and ducking back before the third could shoot him.

A strike rifle rang out, and the last Sectoid collapsed with a hole in its skull. Atka lowered her weapon, briefly confirming the death of the security guard on the catwalk visually, and then went over to Jake. “Two things. One, I’m going to keep in contact with everyone with telepathy, it’ll help us respond quicker as a group in combat.” Two, what’s your name? I’d like to know who I’m fighting beside, to thank you later if we make it out of this.

Uh… Jake...

“Would someone explain what’s going on and please say that this is a training scenario, if the aliens find us,” Eva asked.

“I’m afraid not,” Morrigan called out as she directed Sergio and two more guards to cover the catwalk. “This is as real as it gets. But we’ll get through this, as long…”

The Commander was cut off by the sounds of Floater jet-packs, coming from the rear guard station. She pointed toward Christine, who nodded at ran to check on the sound, taking two guards with her. As she reached the entry way, she ducked to the side just in time to avoid plasma fire, her companions not so lucky. “U-uh… only got a brief look, but I’d say at least half a dozen floaters, as well as… I don’t know, I guess ‘armored floaters’ would be the best way to describe them. And they have a cyberdisc.”

If I can run a distraction, you can step around the corner and launch a rocket in there, Atka suggested. “We’ll need everyone else ready to fire cleanup into there, though.”

A series of head nods circled the room as Christine stepped to the side to ready a rocket. “Time for a little bit of boom.”

Atka ran out from her cover and grabbed the alien’s attention; all of them firing on her position but she dodged them easily. That opened up an opportunity long enough for Christine to fire off her rocket. The explosive launched, the distraction letting Christine aim carefully. It hit one of the regular floaters in the chest, and the resulting explosion took out another four. The remaining forces, injured but alive, rushed forward. Fire from the guards took out the other floater and an armored one, but two more remained, along with the cyberdisc. The machine prepared a grenade while one floater flew to the top of the room, the other going straight for Christine.
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Game Master
Staff member

Eva whistled. “Hey, you forgot a soldier”. Eva fired her rifle at the Floater up top hitting it in one of its jet-pack rockets, forcing it to crash to the ground. “Nailed him.” Eva fired her weapon at the grounded Heavy Floater filling it with lead. “Well he is not getting up but just in case...” Eva fired a few more shots at the heavy floaters head. “Now it’s dead.”

As the other Floater headed straight for the vulnerable rocketeer, a new sound of metal scraping leather could be heard as a blue tinted blade dug into the the unaware alien, killing it instantly and causing it to slide lifelessly across the ground.. Desmond trained the laser pistol he had in his other hand at the cyberdisc and fired a few shots that barely grazed the armor but caused it not to launch the grenade. Desmond retreated back as it fired on him instead with its cannons and he hopped to the cover Morrigan was behind. “Sorry I am late Commander.”

“Just glad you could join us,” Morrigan answered, firing a few more shots at the cyberdisc as it tried to ready its grenade again. The machine let out a sound that almost sounded like a cry of frustration, and tried to ready the grenade a third time. The explosive suddenly went off by way of a sniper bullet, tearing the insides of the alien apart.

As the soldiers regrouped, Morrigan angrily mumbled, “Where’s Fischer?” Grabbing her radio, she shouted, “Fischer?! I thought you said you were on your way. Where are you?”

“I’m going to Sunny,” Emily whispered sternly.

“What!? We need you here! I’m sorry, we’re working our way to Sunny, but we can’t risk the base for one person!”

“I understand you can’t,” Emily replied, “but I can’t just run by her. I’m already on my way.”

“I… you can’t…” Morrigan growled angrily, then sighed. “Then you… do what you need to do. But make sure you save her. Just… switch to another channel. I need to keep this one free for the soldiers here. Switch to comm station 98.6. Its a designated channel for the engineering stations.” She put her radio back in her pocket and sighed. “Alright, listen up.” Her hand swiped across the room towards five guards. “You’re going to hold the rear. I want you to point your guns out that rear guard station and blast any alien that tries to sneak up on us. The rest of us, it looks like we have one more thing to motivate us to push towards the forward guard station.”

Atka began to advance at the spearhead of the small unit with measured haste. “Not used to this feeling of the ‘end of the world’, in spite of everything…” the Captain muttered. Glad you could join us, Desmond. I think it goes without saying, but there’s no need for you to hold back anymore, the Inuit scout conveyed telepathically. Time to pull out all the stops.

Couldn’t have said it any better. Desmond raised his rifle and proceeded with the group.

Eva said to Desmond, “Hey cyborg, it’s been awhile, Where have been you this whole time?”

Desmond looked over to his roommate. “Protecting the Commander’s daughter.”

“Well, that’s good to hear. I was in the training room when this happened, and it’s safe to say I’m not prepared for this attack. Hell, I barely have any ammo. I was prepared for training aliens not a full scale war. What about you? How much ammo you have?”

“Enough to do the job, I’d imagine.” Atka held up a hand. Alright, cut the chatter. We’ve got company.

As the group stepped into the west side of the Mech Bay, three Chryssalids dropped down from the rafters. From behind some of the equipment, four Mutons and Four sectoids rushed towards the troops. One Sectoid immediately dropped to a sniper round, followed by another from the Commander’s rifle. “Stick to cover,” Morrigan shouted. “We have the high ground, but those bugs can jump pretty high!”

Atka took aim with her alloy strike rifle, shutting one eye to confirm the head of a bloodthirsty Muton before firing. The round tore through its helmet, dropping the Muton, and the self destructing gear made its kinsman recoil, revealing its side to the scout. Another ‘twoom’ sounded a second shot through its lung, causing the Balmadaar to fall to the ground in death throes.

“Oh man, I don’t have time for you idiots.” Eva took aim and fired her weapon at a chryssalid, and fired carefully, knowing that she didn't have much ammo. Eva hit the chryssalid in the leg claw and fired at its chest, hitting its heart and dropping the Chryssalid. Eva then took aim at one of the Sectoid trying to fire her weapon and saw that it won’t fire. “Oh shit. I’m out ammo, thats not good.” Eva headed back to cover yelling for back up.

Jake ran to her side, and quickly handed her two clips. “I, uh… I got these from our fallen comrades.”

Desmond rushed in front of his comrades, jumping over cover to face the menacing, purple aliens one on two. He slid to the ground, cutting off the front Chryssalid’s leg causing it to stumble to the ground. He then swung the blade in an upwards arch, cutting the second alien’s head away from the body. Getting to his feet a small red orb appeared in his right hand and he slammed it down on the living Chryssalid he had downed before. “That was for Moscow…” Desmond spit on the alien and turned back with his blade away and rifle back out. “That was for my arm.”

“Well, someone has a grudge.” Morrigan muttered. “Not that I blame him. Speaking of which…” She pointed at two guards, then over her shoulder. The guards lifted their weapons and fired wildly. Morrigan took advantage of the momentary distraction to aim carefully, blowing holes through one of the Muton’s faces, then the other.

The two Sectoids looked up towards her position, sending out a mind fray towards her two supports. One of them let out a scream, rushing back into Central in a panic, but the other continued to fire, taking advantage of their focus on the mind fray to pelt them.

“Good work, Wiewiora,” Morrigan said. “Maybe I should have made you a soldier.”

“Just got lucky,” Jake said, rubbing his head. “They gave me a wicked headache, though.”

As the group scanned the room for more threats, Morrigan’s radio buzzed. “This is Fischer, are you guys still breathing?”

“Fischer?” Morrigan answered. “We’re fine, and we’re getting close. Are you two safe?”

“We’re fine for now,” Emily said with a pause, “but we’re outnumbered and our position won’t hold for long. There’s at least two Berserkers and several shooters in the bay.”

“We’re making our way through the Mech Bay now. Are you still in the SHIV room?”

“Storage room by it, near a cyberdisc wreck.”

“Got it. Hold on to your butts, we’ll be there before you know it.”

“Roger,”Emily answered before the Comm went silent.

Morrigan pointed forward, and the group made their way through the Mech Bay. Jake quickly took cover next to Desmond and Atka, and whispered. “The soldiers are doing fine, but the guards aren’t so much. Half of them are on the verge of a panic attack.”

“I…” Atka took a deep breath. “I can try something.” The Inuit woman’s eyes took on a soft blue glow, and she held a hand forward, the glow faintly spreading around the security guards as a whole. Be at peace, we shall be victorious. All our sacrifices will not be made in vain here. The psi inspiration flowed as Atka conveyed the calming words.

Jake smiled. “That… worked somehow. They seem a bit confused now, but they aren’t panicking.”

Eva came behind Desmond and Atka. “That’s a good thing you did that, but just to remind you when they're in combat I still have the augmentation like the mutons blood call, that makes them more willful so I hope what you did mixed with what I can do doesn't make them lose their minds.”

Jake shrugged. “Something tells me both are temporary anyway. At any rate, maybe you should stay near them. I’m sure most of them could use a good blood call. Myself included.”

As if on cue, a large roar rang out from the east side of them room. Running into the Mech Bay from the Forward Access tunnel, six Mutons with two Berserkers in tow ran in, and rushed the team with blood lust in their eyes.


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As if on cue, a large roar rang out from the east side of them room. Running into the Mech Bay from the Forward Access tunnel, six Mutons with two Berserkers in tow ran in, and rushed the team with blood lust in their eyes.

Eva put her gun on her back. I’m so going to regret this. This will hurt for weeks. Unless... Eva looked at Desmond. I need to borrow your sword for a few minutes.”

Desmond looked at her like she was crazy. “Why would I let you borrow it? I am the one who is trained with this thing. What do you have in mind?” He popped up and fired a few bursts at the aliens and popped back down.

Eva, I need you helping with suppression. I have this thing to deal with. “Hey, follow me, you red dope!” Atka yelled at the Berserker, distracting it with a strike rifle shot as it closed in, and lured it around the catwalk.

“Oh, screw this. I tried, cyborg.” Eva took Desmond’s sword from the sheath and charged the Berserker. OK, if I remember my training if I just shoulder tackle this thing it should stop it for a second… Or it will dislocate my shoulder either way this will hurt. Eva charged the Berserker and arches her shoulder. “This is going to hurt.” Eva collides with the Berserker, stopping it from charging. OK step on is done, now for step two. Eva landed on her back leg for balance and pushed off her leg to drive the sword through the Berserker’s shoulder and slice through half of its arm. Now just a litte more. Eva continues to drive the sword through the Berserks body cutting it in nearly in half.

“Dammit, Eva!” Atka swore. I was going to deal with this, lure it to the edge and then knock it off and shoot it from high ground. You-There was a scream as Muton gunned down one of the remaining security guards, and Atka’s eyes widened in surprise and fury. You...goddamn...idiot! If you had suppressed it, no one would have died!

Desmond ran up to Eva and grabbed his sword from her and slid it back into the sheath. Orders Atka? Just paint me a target and I am on it. Desmond asked telepathically.

Use a grenade or psionics to rip apart their cover, and we’ll repay them in full. Atka pulled her strike rifle out again, and lined up a shot, notifying the others to do the same.

Desmond focused as he pulled out a grenade and looked over the scene. Seeing as Morrigan was still shooting at the remaining Berserker, he might as well open her up an opportunity. He activated the grenade and chucked it near perfect to his target and its blew the cover. “All that training paid off I guess…” He didn’t waste anymore time as he rushed forward to help push back with his own powers.

“Thanks.” Morrigan opened up on the Berserker, draining an entire clip into it. She quickly reloaded as the Berserker moved towards her. “Damn it. Is it at least slowing down?”

Jake glanced over at the Commander and the Berserker getting closer to her. He wanted to fire at her target, but shook his head, and stuck with his orders. One of the Mutons tried to charge forward, and he took it down with his suppressing fire.

Atka shot down one of the Muton’s with a shot from her strike rifle, and then spun quickly, letting go of it. Her H.S.C. slipped into hand, and she shot the Berserker at close range. The spike went through the ravaged red armor, and burst, turning it’s insides into a bloody mush. The battle trance Balmadaar collapsed, quite dead.

Another Muton took a look around the room, trying to find a way around the wall of suppressing fire. Settling on a room in the back, it took off. Noting the enemy moving for either a hiding spot or a place to ambush, Christine muttered, “No you don’t,” and rushed to the side of the room, trying to catch up with it, the Muton’s heavy armor the only thing letting her keep up with her heavy rocket launcher. The Muton reached the room, pulled the door open, and went flying backwards in a spray of gunfire.

“We’re having a moment!” A young voice shouted shouted angrily.

“Whoa, you alive in there?” Christine called into the room. “Don’t shoot me.”

“We’re alright,” Emily called out, clearing her throat and taking hold of her gun again, “Who’s there?”

“Wagner. Rocketeer.” Christine cautiously stuck her head in. “Are you… ready to join the party? We could use a bit of help.”

“Y-yeah,” she replied, rising to her feet. “Is the Commander with you?”

“She’s… blowing a hole into an alien. Come on, let’s go help.”

Emily nodded and walked forward a bit, looking over to Sunny. “Stick with me, we’ll see if we can get you to a safe spot.”

Morrigan glanced up, noting Emily and Sunny running out of the room. She pointed at the two remaining Mutons and shouted, “Atka! Can you make sure they don’t fire at our friends?”

The Inuit scout nodded, and ran from cover, drawing the fire of the two Balmadaar while shooting out her mindfray spikes into the weaker-willed creatures’ skulls.

Desmond capitalized on the moment Atka opened and he ran towards the imposing aliens. He noted the weak chinks in the alien armor and slashed his sword at the weaker points on the nearest Muton. Though many of the slices seemed to bounce away he got a few lucky hits in and he used his laser pistol to get the small weak points up close. Shifting attention to the second, Desmond didn’t target the weak points this time but instead attack the front armor. Throwing down the pistol, he made a red orb appearing his hands, the normal size he used when he first used the move and slammed the rotating ball into the front armor. The force of the blast threw both the alien and the man backwards, Desmond slamming into cover; dazed but otherwise unharmed and the alien with a hole in it’s chest.

Atka sighed in relief as Sunny joined them. “Glad to see you’re okay.”

Morrigan rushed forward as the final Muton slowly stood up, its face not too alien for it to look confused. Morrigan wiped the look off its face with her rifle, then rushed over to Christine, Emily, and Sunny. “Are you two okay?
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Desmond crawled to his feet and walked over slowly to the group. “Nice to see you finally show. I was starting to think Atka would be the only one to be a hero.”

“We’re okay,” Emily nodded, looking at everyone, “I’m glad most of you are too. Is there a safe place we can get Sunny to?”

Morrigan thought for a moment, looking around. “There… there aren’t any more enemies behind us, but we can’t guarantee they won’t sneak up on us from elsewhere in the base. I… we can either leave her behind with some of the guards, which will keep her safe but weaken our numbers, or take her with, which would…”

“I’ll come with!” Sunny leaned against Emily. “Emily has kept me safe until now, and I know how to keep my head down.” She looked to the side of the room, to beat-up looking SHIVs rolling forward. “Besides, without my computer, I need to be within sight of the SHIVs to control them.”

Morrigan cocked an eyebrow at Emily. “Can you keep an eye on her for a little longer?”

Emily’s training nagged her in her head about bringing a civilian into combat, but she hadn’t come this far to leave her alone. “I can do that,” she said with a hint of worry in her voice.

“We’ll keep her safe,” Atka said simply, “But we don’t have time to divert forces or debate this further, we need to clear the rest of the intruders and try and seal off the breach.”

Morrigan nodded. “Alright. Walker, see what you can do to make those SHIVs a little more combat ready. Fischer, Sunny, cover our left flank, and keep you head down. If you both make it out of this in one piece, I might even forget how you defied an order. Atka, take Wagner and Martinez and scout ahead. If we can take the forward access tunnel, we can stop the main flow of aliens into the base.”

“Understood.” Atka motioned to the sniper and rocketeer, and had them follow her as she went on at the front of the XCOM forces, keeping in contact and visual range with/of main group.

Meanwhile, Desmond pulled out his arc thrower and switched the settings so that he would be able to repair the battered machines. This will take a few. I will go as fast as I can but we don’t want a peice of junk protecting our flank when an extra minute could save a life.

As the team quickly started to follow after Atka, Morrigan asked, “Um, Emily, where’s your armor?”

“Outside the training room or cooking in there,” she replied, gesturing back at the storage room. “It’s a long story.”

Morrigan looked around the room, but couldn’t find any fallen guard with decent armor. She shook her head, realizing she’d have to watch Emily’s back while Emily watch Sunny’s. Stepping next to Eva, she muttered, “This isn’t going to be easy. I’m gonna need you to follow my and Atka’s orders to a tea this time. Can you do that this time?”

“No promises that I’ll follow every order, but if were facing aliens with guns then yes I will follow every order you say. But if were facing aliens with no guns you will get behind me is that alright?”

“If it comes to that. But next time we need some suppression, I need you to suppress. We can’t have you running off to do your own thing, understood?”

“Yea don’t worry, I won't run off and charge the aliens again. Just let me get some ammo and grenades”.

Jake ran up to both of them, handing out spare ammo, along with two grenades for Eva. He did the same for Emily and Desmond as the SHIVs repairs were complete, then Atka, Sergio, and Christine at the entrance of the Forward Loading Area. “Here you go, Captain. Please… don’t ask where I got these. H-how does it look in there?”

“I don’t need to ask,” Atka said coldly. Realizing how harsh she sounded, she cleared her throat, and closed her eyes, peering further into the room with her ESP. Within was a Sectoid Commander giving orders, seven of its weaker kin having set up a perimeter around it. An Outsider acted as a go between, the Atka to Morrigan for them. I’m guessing that Sectoid is the one calling the shots here...

The Inuits scout relayed what she saw, having the squad set up as close as they could, and held up a hand. I’ll go for the Sectoid Commander. Desmond, you take on the Mechtoid with Eva’s help. Everyone else, focus on those Sectoids. Got it?

After a round of nods, Morrigan took point. She slowly pushed the doors open, just enough for everyone to sneak in. Everyone got into position, and Morrigan held up her hand. Counting down with it silently, everyone opened up as she reached zero, three sectoids immediately falling, and sustained SHIV fire forcing the Outsider to fall back.

The Sectoid Commander’s large eyes darted between the numerous enemies, and it went into concealment. With its Greater Mind Merge, it empowered itself, and the three remaining Sectoids. One of them hid behind another piece of cover, but not before providing the Mechtoid with a hefty telekinetic shield. The alien mechanized trooper turned to face the enemy, unleashing a plasma barrage with suppressing fire from its two small compatriots.

Atka quickly ran to the other side of the alien unit while her squad was engaging the towering Mechtoid, going to seek out and destroy the Sectoid Commander. Her H.S.C. was drawn, and telekinetic spikes ready to shred whatever the truncated alloy cannon couldn’t.

With the Mechtoid’s attention elsewhere Desmond took this time to try and get closer to the hulking alien so he could possibly get an attack in. His plan failed however when a Sectoid spotted his movement and his buddies started to fire back at him. Pinned down he pulled out the alien grenade and chucked it without looking hoping he loosened up the pack.

Eva saw Desmond pinned down and fired at the Sectoid’s direction. “Get your dumb ass back over here cyborg”. Eva continued to suppress the Sectoids so Desmond could get away from the Mechtoid.

Desmond was hesitant to fall back from his close position and popped up from cover firing at the rather large target as Eva fired away. “Keep it suppressed! We get that shield down and I can take it out.”

“Yeah, yeah. I got it. just make sure you take out that bloody thing, I don’t feel like dragging your knocked-out body out of there.” Eva continued to suppress the Sectoids, getting ready to throw a grenade if needed.


Well-Known Member

Atka rounded the corner, and raised her H.S.C. at the Sectoid Commander. “Goodb-” her eyes widened when it turned quickly, and a spiral of purple energy wrapped around her head. “It was waiting for…” the Inuit scout held her head as the alien tried to assert its mind over hers. It began to probe her mind as it sought total control, using every weapon available to it as it realize it was working against a psion.

A shot-up airport took shape in the Inuit’s mind. Not...here again… Atka saw herself walking up to the building with a group of Canadian soldiers, their officer leading the way. ‘We’ll handle this, things will work out’, he had said. How wrong he had been. The negotiations with the ISIS gunmen, the ones that quickly fell apart, followed with brutal speed. They opened fire, killing the officer and several more soldiers. It had been up to Atka to take command, and despite her efforts, many of those soldiers never made it home...nor did a good portion of the terrorists’ captives. S-stop it...please...

Desmond began to hold constant fire on the Mechtoid’s shields and he could tell that they could not hold up for much longer. The alien returned fire from it’s own cannons but Desmond moved from cover to cover as he saw the alien get ready to fire. He raised his gun again but he could feel another psion in the room. He shook the feeling aside as best he could and pulled the trigger as the shields finally went down.

Even that was not the end of the string of failures for the Inuit soldier, who had become a Lieutenant in the actual fight against ISIS. Operation Styx went poorly as well. B-bastard...don’t… As a group of refugees crossed, the militants came out in full force, guns blazing. one of Atka’s squads perished in the frontlines, nine of them, all but one who would leave the military from trauma and severe PTSD shortly thereafter. In total, the international forces on the Syrian-Turkish border lost about a hundred men and women that day.

Atka crumpled to a knee, holding her head with tears in her eyes. “Y...you won’t...d-damn you...I won’t let you…” Her psi inspiration flared weakly, the psion using what little concentration she could muster to boost her defenses.

Sunny peeked over her cover at a trio of sectoids. A dart of the eye, and the machine they were hiding behind turned up. One of the aliens panicked for a moment and stepped out of cover, straight into the line of fire from one of the SHIVs.

“Ha, ha. Nice one, SHIV. My turn.” Eva turned her attention to the two Sectoids. She saw one of the them poke its head out of cover so it can see where Eva is. Eva fired a few rounds into the sectoids peeking head. “That will teach you you little freak. Hey, Desmond, hurry up and kill that thing before its back up comes.”

Desmond rolled his eyes and he waited as the Mechtoid had just gotten done firing to make his move. Jumping over his cover he rushed the hulking machine alien and materialized a small orb in his hand. The Mechtoid trained his guns on him but Desmond was too close for him to fire at accurately and Desmond climbed up his chest and brought down his hand on the facemask, shattering it and the pilot’s head inside. He jumped off it as it toppled down and the self destruct mechanism activated. I maybe running low on power soon. These take a lot to make.

The Sectoid Commander did not let up, forgetting its surroundings as it focused its complete attention on the troublesome scout. Operation Rancor went like the others...you really are a failure of an officer, aren’t you?

Shut up…

And the missions with XCOM...you had a nice run, I suppose. At the start. Then there was Wilhelmina...so many Indian soldiers. And I thought my weaker kin were cannon fodder...you’re even worse than me. The alien gave a telepathic chuckle.

Shut up! You could never understand! Atka denied.

Even all these dead security guards now...who will be next? Jake? Probably not Desmond...he is stronger than you, after all. You’re too weak to protect others...your powers are better suited to another purpose…

Atka could feel herself slipping away, the control over her starting to solidify. He...may be stronger than I am...but…

It doesn’t matter. You’re my puppet, now. Content yourself with the freedom of servitude, the bliss of not having to worry anymore.

Atka slowly seemed to give in, and then struggled to her feet. Through gritted teeth, she said, “I may be weak...I may fail time and again...I may not be worth all that much...but I’ll...be damned...before I let you…” She stumbled forward, falling onto her knees again.

Pathetic. After all that, you really- The Sectoid Commander squealed in terror and agony as twin telekientic spikes pierced its lungs, blasting it back into the view of the rest of the XCOM troops, impaled against the steel of the guard station.

“And you are all the same. Arrogant, cowardly, and easily letting your guard down the minute your superiority seems assured. Take that to your grave, abomination.” As ichor-like blood stained the wall, and the Sectoid slumped down, Atka struggled to stand. She let go of the dead psion as she retracted the telekinetic spikes.

As the soldiers and remaining guards regrouped, Morrigan ran to her side. “Atka, are you…” Jake stepped next to her and shook his head, and the Commander just sighed, and offered her hand.

Atka shakily took Morrigan’s hand. “I’ll...be fine. I’d rather not....relive my past a second time, though.”

You are right, child. Many of our lower kind have a tendency to be arrogant. It seems that whenever they are not in our presence, they forget their place. It is a problem, to be sure, but one that is to be expected.
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From out of one of the tunnels in the back of the room, the sound of rumbling echoed into the room. The Sectopod stepped into view. On either side of it, two aliens resembling Mutons in fancy looking armor walked with it. And behind it, a tendril of psionic energy flowing into the colossal machine, was a tall being, at least a head or two taller than a Thin Man. It wore what looked like ceremonial robes, and had an unusual looking helmet on its head.

“Spread out!” Morrigan shouted. “Security on suppression! Anyone with heavy weapons, take out the supporting Mutons!”

From behind their flanking cover, Emily knew better than to grab her rifle and pop out gunning at the robotic goliath. She whispered towards Sunny.

“Can the SHIVs do anything to that monster?” she asked.

Sunny nodded. Looking over her cover, the SHIVs rolled forward. Firing as they went, several of the machines’ powerful rounds punched through the Goliath’s armor, but they had to swerve out of the line of fire from the Mutons. “I… I can probably hit it really hard if I can get a shot, but we need to get rid of its guards first!” Sunny yelled so everyone could hear her.

“Just make sure the attention is away from our position and I can take some shots at them from here,” Emily said.

“I can flank the Mutons, just give me an opening!” Desmond shouted, firing small bursts to conserve ammo.

“On it!” Sergio took aim at the Muton Elites and fired a few test shots. His high powered rounds couldn’t penetrate their armor, so he started to look for weak spots.

“Focus fire!” Christine shouted as she pulled out the shredder rocket she had been saving for such an occasion. I need a spotter! Some one tell me when to shoot!”

Atka fired off a shot from her alloy strike rifle, missing, but highlighting the first Balmadaar Elite with holographic targeting. “There.” You...you have to be one of their leaders...I can feel your power...like an invisible shadow…

That I am, and for good reason. For example…

Christine let the missile fly, on a direct course for the Muton. As it near it, the alien leader lifted its hand, and the missile flew up and turned, heading back towards the X-COM soldiers. Only a quick shot from Sergio stopped it from blowing up in their faces. Christine’s eyes sunk in as she frantically reached for her remaining rocket. “Uh… I don’t know what just happened.”

“Telekinesis. This opponent...expect it to have any psionics you know of, and more...we can’t let our guard down,” Atka responded. Don’t think you can intimidate me into backing down...even if it’s futile, I won’t give into you.

Do not worry, human. I will not underestimate you like my lessers have time and time again.

“Eva!” Morrigan shouted. “The guards and I will cover you. I need you to get close enough to hit one of those red assholes with you grenades.”

“Right. Um, please don’t let them shoot me, alright?” Eva ran out of cover and tried to get towards the Muton Elites. The Mutons saw Eva and fired at her. “Crap just a little bit closer and I can run through this. Hey, I need some more suppression over here”.

“Atka, Desmond. You two have the best chance to get close to that thing and withstand any psionic attacks.” Morrigan fired off another round of covering fire. “Try to get close enough to give Eva her cover.” A powerful blast shot out from the Sectopod, disintegrating two more guards.

Atka...you feel that too right? Even with both of us this alien will be hard to take down. You ready? Desmond shifted uncomfortably at the mass of energy that radiated from the other side of the room.

We have no other choice. Atka stood by Desmond, and gave both of them psi inspiration. Around her hands telekinetic helixes formed, wrapping along her arms. Mindfray will be useless against this one. We just have to hope our more physical of powers can breach its defenses. The scout nodded to calm herself, and ran towards the Ethereal One.

Desmond followed suit and instead of using just one psi orb two materialized in his hands, pushing the limits of his pool of energy. There is a problem Atka. This is my only attack. I don’t know how much use it will be so we got to make quick work of this guy. I may look tough but I am reaching the end of my capabilities.

Great. This is why I conserved my powers… The Inuit woman shot her telekinetic spikes forward, splitting them into four total like she had against ‘Kitty.’ Please work!

The Ethereal held up its hands, two of the spikes dissipating. The other two slammed into the heads of the Muton Elites, and they roared angrily.

Desmond charged past Atka and at the strange alien. This guy may have strong psi powers, but that won’t make up for his lack of physical ones. Desmond brought his hands forwards, the spinning orbs in his hands aimed directly at the psi alien.

As the Ethereal held out its hands, desperately trying to hold of Desmond's attack with its own energy, Emily noted the Muton’s weakness and jumped out of cover, lining up a perfect shot. After a moment, she shot a stream of bullets directly at it’s head, the sound of it’s helmet plinking loudly along with the bursts of her gun. Instead of the Muton’s signature roars, there was an odd silence, and it toppled over onto the ground.

The death of one of it’s personal guards attracted the attention of the Ethereal, and the Sectopod began rotating towards her, the giant fusion cannon in its chest glowing a bright and crackling orange. Emily barely had time to swear as she hooked her arms underneath Sunny and dived to the side, a powerful fusion shot ripping through the metal and rock where they once stood. Shaking and almost deafened, she looked at the tiny scientist and pointed further down the cover, urging her to crawl away with her as fast as possible.

Impressive. Kill him!

As the Ethereal pushed back against Desmond’s psionic attack, the remaining Muton Elite turned to fire at Desmond. Christine took the opportunity to fire her last rocket at it. The Ethereal revealed a second pair of arms from under its robe, holding them out to try and stop the missile. Unable to handle Desmond and the rocket at the same time, it was only able to partially devert the missile, and the explosion severely damaged the Muton’s armor. “Now, Eva!” She yelled. “Hit it with your grenades!”

“About time!” Eva took the pins out of two of her grenades and threw them both at the damaged aliens. “Ha! Take that you freaks now, now that they're dead that just leaves the…” Eva eyes widened. “Oh. crap.”

You’re not infallible, either, it seems, whether you all believe yourselves to be gods or not. Your actions suggest that you are that arrogant, even if you are smart.

As the Sectopod turned towards Eva, the SHIVs charged forward. They pelted the alien machine with everything they had. The Sectopod turned to them and fired, one of the SHIVs bursting in a shower of sparks and fire. The other continued its charge, Sunny unable to see where it was exactly after Emily had pulled her into safety, and it simply plowed into the Sectopod. It’s destruction took one of the alien machine’s legs, and it slammed into the ground.

It would seem I am not. But your friend here is nearly out of psionic energy…

The ethereal let out a burst of energy, pushing Desmond away from it. Holding up three of its arms to block any shots from the others, it sent a ray of energy into Desmond’s head with the fourth.

Desmond recoiled from the pain of having the alien forcefully enter his mind and he let out a pained yell. Get out of my head, you bastard!

Atka’s eyes widened as she realized what the ethereal was doing. With one hand she battered its shield with a telekinetic helix, and shot the telekinetic barrier with her H.S.C., trying to shatter it.

“Everyone, hit that shield with everything you have!” Morrigan unleashed everything she had, not holding anything back. “It can’t stop us all!”

Eva walked up to the Ethereal. “Hey you alien freak Hi, my name is Eva and I’m gonna deck you in that ugly mask of yours.”

The Ethereal gave her a look of apathy. Opening one of its palms, it fired a psi lance directly at her chest.

Eva fell to the ground and after she got shot she stood back up. “Really, you worthless freak, is that all you got? After seeing your psi powers, I was expecting a lot more than that. Did my friends drain you of your energy, or is it because you're using so much energy on my friend that you know if I beat the crap out of you? You will let him go and can't mess with his mind.”

The Ethereal scanned the room. Eva shrugging off its attack. Atka mustering what was left of her energy into a final attack. Several angry soldiers firing into its quickly fading telekinetic shield.

Well… as I said, humans. I am not so foolish to underestimate my opponent.

The alien released Desmond, and sent out a wave of energy, bringing everyone to their knees in nausea.


Operator 21O
Staff member

You are wrong about one thing. I am only weakened from trying to control this machine, coordinate the mind control of the base, and deal with you at the same time. Trust that the next time we meet, I will be much, much more prepared. In the mean time, I leave you with some friendly advice. Call it… a gift for besting me.
The alien pointed at Desmond and scanned the room, locking on to Morrigan. I am afraid you have a traitor in your midst. I would highly recommend you look deeper into his background. You might find an affiliation or two that is not very pleasing. Perhaps the names Viktor and EXALT mean something to you.

Desmond’s eyes widened and he looked up at the alien. With what little strength he had, he tried to get to his knees but fell back down. “You bastard! What have you done!”

I have simply told the truth. You could deny what I have said, but something tells me your secret is out.

The Ethereal raised its arms, and the Sectopod suddenly exploded in a flash of light and fire. When the carnage subsided, the Ethereal was gone, the entrances to one of the tunnels leading outside having collapsed.

Atka stood there for a moment in silence, and gazed over the entrance, confirming that the alien threat was past. She walked over to the charred body of one of the security guards, picking up his gauss autopistol, and pointed it at Desmond. “What the fuck...have you been…”

Desmond looked at her, his breath shallow and his look one of confusion and anger. “No...this isn’t happening…” Desmond tried to get up once more but Atka’s warning gaze and advance stopped him cold.

Eva came behind Atka and pointed her rifle at her head. “I recommend that you get off him, cap’n. I don't want to put you down for listening to an alien.”

Atka didn’t look at Eva. “And I suggest you cease threatening a superior officer, Miss Aegerter. Unless our traitor here is about to deny what was just said...it would seem by his reaction that it was the truth. And I’m sure I know why that creature told us what he did, but I couldn’t be asked to give a damn if I play into his hands or not.”

“So the great Captain of X-COM is taking the word of an alien, An alien for which if I remember is trying to kill us all. Listen, we destroyed their main base and the one in India they’re scared, they're trying to psych us out and you're playing right into their hands.

“You certainly raised your weapon at me fairly quickly. Raises some questions regarding you…” I’m being like she was before...but damn it, it makes sense. Tom was right to be suspicious, there are too many inconsistencies…

Emily stepped out of the wreckage she was hiding in, looking rather exhausted and certainly angry. “Enough, everyone!” she shouted loudly. “We’re soldiers, and soldiers don’t chat at gunpoint. We’ll figure all this shit out later, in the right place for it.”

“Yeah, you're right we need to figure this out, but I’ll put my gun down once our dear CAP here lowers hers.,” Eva said.

“Enough, Eva. It is over for me.” Desmond sighed weakly and did his best to prop himself up against debris.

“That’s enough, all of you.” Morrigan weakly stood up, and walked up to Desmond, Atka, and Eva, holding her side. “Emily is right, we don’t have time for this.” She flashed Atka a sympathetic look. “We need to focus on getting the aliens out of here. There will be time for that later, and I’ll be counting on you when the time comes.” She looked at Eva. “I need you to pull that weapon away from Atka and point it at some of the aliens that are probably still on this base.” She glared at Desmond, but her eyes looked more tired than angry. “I… trust you understand that you’ll have a lot to answer for.”

Desmond looked away from her and pulled the remaining weapons off of his person and threw them on the ground. “I fear there isn’t any trust between us anymore.” Desmond stated sadly.

Atka slowly lowered her gun, her breath held by the rifle at her back. “That tends to happen when you’re...a double agent... and get...found out...Desmond…”

Eva lowered her weapon “ You're an idiot Atka for believing the enemy for even a second and were supposed to trust her to lead us into battle, what good is someone if they listen to the enemy?”

“Enough!” Morrigan coughed, and wiped her hand against her side. “She isn’t the only one that believes that alien.” Morrigan pointed towards the doorway. “Take two of the guards and check the infirmary. Emily, get Sunny somewhere safe, then check on engineering. Atka, I need you to check the labs… we need to.. w-we need to handle the aliens from the outside before we worry about the enemy within.”

Atka lowered a shaking fist. “R-right, sir.” She quickly turned and headed down the hallway, barely able to find the strength to walk from exhaustion and the flurry of emotions she was feeling. She quietly reached out with her mind. Nouja...a-are you?

I’m fine, Atka, Nouja replied as shakily as her older sister.

The Inuit scout sighed in relief. Thank God for small miracles.

Eva walks towards Desmond and offers her hand “Come on, you idiot. We're not done yet, unless you enjoy eating the ground and dirt?”

“Desmond… stays… with me…” Morrigan said, panting a bit. She points towards the exit. “You have your… orders, Eva. Go.”

Eva looked at the Commander. “Fine, I’ll go. With any luck I’ll find some aliens there come on boys were wasting time.”

As two guards followed Eva out, Sunny looked up at Emily. “What… happens now?”

“For the aliens, clean up, and then probably revenge,” she said tiredly, offering her her hand. “But for here...I don’t know.”

Sunny took Emily’s hand, and gave Desmond an odd look, a mix of fear, regret, and sympathy. She looked back up at Emily. “At least we stopped them. I just hope they never get a chance to do this again.”

“Yeah, I hope so too,” Emily replied, unable to hide the uncertainty. She took her towards a large set of bay doors that opened after a pause, letting in a flood of locked out soldiers. “And I hope they didn’t mess with our room,” she added, brushing by the others.

As the last of the soldiers cleared out, and the guard swept the room, Morrigan stepped to Desmond’s side. “Mr. Walker. Just… just tell me you didn’t get close to Brigid… t-to get in my good graces and manipulate me through her.”

Desmond looked up at her. “I may not be who you think I am but I was not lying when I first met you Morrigan...I would never threaten a child.”

Jake stepped to their side. “He isn’t lying, Commander.”

“I know,” Morrigan muttered. She dropped to one knee, wincing in pain. “I… I-I need you to escort h-him to the Brig. I… t-trust he’ll c-come along without a p-problem…”

Desmond laid his head back and put a hand on his throbbing forehead. “Any strength I had left me when that alien left.”

Jake offered Desmond a shoulder to lean against. “Come on. Once you get… um, settled, I’ll get you a doctor.”

“What is the point? I am a dead man either way.” He stated solemnly.

Jake shook his head, but didn’t answer as they walked out. Morrigan grabbed the arm of a guard as he walked by and muttered, “Do you… have a… med… kit?” The guard shook his head, and Morrigan said, “Then… f-find… one…” She then collapsed to the ground, her blood soaked hand dropping to her side.


Game Master
Staff member
Operation Ashes and Temples
(Sub-Mission, Emily & Sunny)

X-COM Headquarters
Primary SHIV Manufacturing Facility

Another explosion rang out nearby as all hell seemed to break loose. Sunny quickly grabbed one of the comm radios as she ducked under a table, trying to divert her eyes away from the two other engineers she had been working with, now two scorched bodies sending a pungent scent towards the young engineer. “Hello? Hello, can anyone hear me? This is Dr. Sonya Randolf. I’m in the main SHIV room, and… and everyone else is dead! What’s going on?!”

After several agonizing seconds of silence, an unfamiliar voice responded. “Copy. The base is under attack. Most forces are busy in a number of vital sections of the base. A small band of soldiers is near your position, in central.”

“I… can they come get me?” Sunny flinched at the sound of chattering and clicking coming from across the room, and she lowered her voice. “Th-they’re here! I-I’m not a soldier, I can’t…”

“Negative. The soldiers need to clear the base out and protect central. They can’t just…”

Sunny quickly started to flip through different comm channels, stopping every so often to ask for the Commander. Finally, she found the right one. “Sunny? Where are you?”

“I-I’m in the main SHIV room, but I’m not alone. I-I need help, I can’t…”

“We… we’re working on it, Sunny, but…” Morrigan sighed over the radio. “We can’t leave anything to chance. We can’t rush ahead and leave central open to the aliens. I’m sorry, but we’ll try to get there as soon as…” the Commander was cut off by the sounds of plasma fire. No longer speaking into the radio, Sunny could hear her yell, “Get into position! Don’t let them surround us. Where… where’s Fischer, she should have been here by now!”

Sunny took several deep breaths. She slid the radio into her pocket, and slipped the detachable earpiece onto her ear. She looked over at the two nearby SHIVs and sighed. “Fine… I’ll do it myself.”


XCOM Headquarters – Training Room
Siberia, Russian Federation
3:59 PM

As she exited the holo-training room, Emily felt a rocking thump through the ground, which for the bunker, included the walls and ceiling as well. After two more thumps, she thought it was a simple test, but when the alarm began to blare in its unsettling and bitter tone, her adrenaline started to rush. She grabbed her comm and rushed through the channels, eager to find out what was happening, when she heard a familiar voice.

“All available soldiers, get to central command! I repeat, the aliens have breach the base, get to central now if you aren’t in any of the other occupied areas. We need to drive them off!”

“This is Tech. Sergeant Emily Fischer, I’m by the training room, I’ll get to you A.S.A.P.,” Emily replied, grabbing some of the practice gear from inside the training room and starting to rush through the halls.

As Emily rushed through the halls, her radio started to go off. Turning the volume up, she could overhear Sunny’s call for help.

“I-I’m in the main SHIV room, but I’m not alone. I-I need help, I can’t…”

“We… we’re working on it, Sunny, but…” Morrigan sighed over the radio. “We can’t leave anything to chance.”

Emily stopped in her tracks as she heard the conversation, looking to the wall beside her. She drew a mental map and knew that she could get to Morrigan faster if she continued down the hall, but it would take her far past where Sunny was. She looked down at a vent in the wall, barely big enough for her, and only without the armor she had swiped. She pulled off the pads on her shoulders and arms, anything that increased the size of her frame, and then ripped the cover off of the vent. With one last look down the hallways, she lowered the volume on her radio, pushed her gun in first, and dived into the vent.

“Fischer?!” Morrigan’s voice could barely be heard on the radio. “I thought you said you were on your way. Where are you?”

After wriggling through the claustrophobic aluminum passage, she emerged from the far side of the vent, and recognized her position in one of the base’s large cargo rooms. She took cover behind the first sturdy thing she could find, pulling out her radio and whispering into it carefully.

“I’m going to Sunny,” she said sternly, despite the hushed tone.

“What!? We need you here! I’m sorry, we’re working our way to Sunny, but we can’t risk the base for one person!”

“I understand you can’t,” Emily replied, “but I can’t just run by her. I’m already on my way.”

“I… you can’t…” Morrigan growled angrily, then sighed. “Then you… do what you need to do. But make sure you save her. Just… switch to another channel. I need to keep this one free for the soldiers here. Switch to comm station 98.6. Its a designated channel for the engineering stations.”

Emily looked out from atop one of the crates, seeing a group of aliens walking through the large doors of the cargo room. She turned to the station she was assigned to.

“Sunny? You here?” she said softly.

“Emily… is that ugh… is that you?” Sunny cried out. Her breathing was ragged and there was an obvious shake of fear in it. “H-how is the fight for central going?”

Emily began strafing against the wall, keeping track of where she last saw every alien.

“I’m not going to Central, I’m coming to you,” she replied. “How is it looking there?”

“Not good,” Sunny answered, her tone barely hiding the relief she felt. “I’m surrounded on all sides. Alice is doing her best to protect me with her force fields, but she’s running out of power.”

“I’m on my way, but I have to be quiet, the aliens are already in this area,” she said, a hint of guilt emerging in her voice. “That means I’ll have to turn this off sometimes.”

“Okay… I’ll wait for you to call me. Just… please hurry…” Sunny turned down her own radio, and pointed her finger forward, her two SHIV protectors rushing forward.

“Stay safe,” Emily replied, unable to hide her worried tone.


“I… I’m sorry, Sunny,” Alice muttered, the drain in energy portrayed by her exhausted look. As two more plasma rounds punched into the shield she had raised around her and Sunny, she let out a cry of pain. “I can’t keep this up.”

Sunny nodded. “Alright.” Her eyes darted around the room at the Thin Men, Sectoids, and Mutons around her, taking the occasional shots while taking cover from the SHIVs fire. The two machines were mostly intact, the aliens focusing on taking down their obvious controller. Sunny smiled a bit as she took in the aliens positions and formulated an idea. “On the count of three, drop the shield.”

“W-what?” Alice looked at her in shock. “But… why don’t you use me until Emily gets here?”

“I’m not about to call her and have her rush through enemy fire to save me, and you won’t last that long. I’d rather you use a more hands-on approach. You still have those programs you downloaded when you fought Ayame?”

“I do.” Alice stood up, and cracked her knuckles, an exaggerated crack making Sunny giggle.

“Alright. One… two… THREE!” The shield dropped, and the two children ran forward. Sunny rushed towards a workbench, her saving grace being her short stature as the alien’s shots whizzed over her head. She glanced up at the large crane arm over one of the Mutons. The arm suddenly sprang to life, grabbing a shocked Muton and flinging it into a wall with a sickening crack. Two Thin Men aimed at the crane arm, stepping onto a conveyor belt while the SHIVs were busy with another pair of Mutons. One quick gaze from Sunny, and the belt turned to its highest speed, rocketing them Thin Men forward and snapping their necks against the end of the machine.

Alice charged two Sectoids. They blasted her with a twin Mind Fray, and frantically raised their weapons when the mental attack had no effect on the hologram. Channeling the force-field's power, Alice slammed an open palm into one of their chest’s, and it crumpled to the ground. She grabbed the other by the neck and snapped it with a quick flick of the wrist.

One Muton down and one two go, the SHIVs charged the remaining alien, turning in opposite directions as the neared it. With the two machines turned away from it, the Muton stood up and took aim, not realizing that Sunny was their true eyes. The moment it exposed itself, Sunny had the one it wasn’t aiming at turn and blow it away.

The room fell into a dead silence as Alice cautiously ran back to Sunny. “I… I think we…” The holographic girl was cut off as a Cyberdisc hovered into range and started pelting her.

Sunny scrambled to cover, the Cyberdisc not having seen her, but almost immediately poked her head out. “Alice, I…” she started to say.

“Stay in cover until Emily gets here!” Alice ran away from Sunny, trying desperately to keep the machine busy, her image starting to flicker as the last bit of her energy quickly drained away.


Well-Known Member
Looking out at the massive cargo area, Emily saw she would have a significant challenge getting through. The aliens had fanned out through most of the room, opening boxes and destroying equipment where they could. In the side of the room, a group of Mutons paced around angrily, guarding the only exit towards Sunny. Emily tossed the gun around her back, knowing an unsilenced gun was useless.

“Okay, cargo room…lots of stuff here, and no pineapples,” she noted, briefly remembering the last time she snuck around a docking area.

She reached into a large, red crate awaiting delivery to India, packed to the top with a supply of alien grenades. She grabbed four of them and rushed further along the wall, opening a normal crate filled with lab equipment. She took two spools of metal wire and inspected them.

“99.99% platinum wire…probably not that expensive,” she shrugged.

Lacing one of the wires to three of the grenades’ triggers, she wrapped the second wire around one of the shipping boxes’ hook. She walked further along the outer wall, pacing slowly as each spool unwrapped in her hands. As she reached the edge of the room, she looked again to see the aliens working their way towards her side of the room, the façade of her safety shrinking quickly. She grabbed the second spool and pulled the wire hard, toppling the box in the middle of the room with a loud crash.

Squeaks and grumbles echoed from the invading aliens, two Thin Men and a little Sectoid friend walking over to investigate the noise. They walked with malicious stares and pointed rifles, looking around warily as they did. They looked at the red crate and the boxes around them, noting their open state. Emily pulled the other string, little purple blinks flashing rapidly around the red crate. The Sectoid made a panicked screech as the entire crate burst open, a massive explosion shaking the ground and blasting three limp alien bodies across the room. The supervising Mutons roared and rushed over, shooting random boxes and hoping to kill a hiding saboteur.

Emily quickly cracked open another vent in the chaos, sneaking through the industrial ducts of the wing. She paused to look through an open vent peeking out into the access tunnel she was bypassing, massive masked Mutons with red skin and considerable muscles marching towards the cargo bay and growling loudly, eager for combat. The implication of troops confidently moving away from Sunny’s position dawned upon her.

“Fuck…please be okay…”

Emily moved to the end of the industrial vent, opening the cover slowly and peeking out into a massive room that she was uncomfortably high up in. Down on the floor there were several conveyor belts and cranes, along with manufacturing projects of all kinds. On the far side, there were several SHIVs-in-progress waiting to be used. Emily noticed a thin catwalk beneath her, and with a wince, dropped down. The loud clang of her boots was instantly overridden as the bay sprang to life, two SHIVs and two tiny bodies rushing out from their hiding place, trading fire with a group of Mutons.

She noticed everyone in the large bay take notice, moving towards Sunny and her AI compatriot to fire at her. With little time to stop a flank, she climbed onto the edge of the railing and readied the practice gauntlet still on her wrist. The hook’s claws readied and she pointed it towards the ground far below, grabbing her last grenade with her other hand.

“I hope they build the practice ones as good as the real ones…” she noted.

With a loud pop, the grapple shot forwards towards one of the Berserkers rushing back from the tunnel and towards Sunny, the claw sinking into the neckguard of his armor and latching painfully. Just as soon, the wire tugged forwards and ripped Emily off the catwalk, propelling her towards the blade-loving Muton. She tossed her last alien grenade behind her and pointed her solid-steel boot forwards, and as the Berserker looked angrily upwards, snapped his neck with the nauseating sound of metal cracking bone. Without missing a step, she clipped the grappling hook’s wire and took off towards Sunny, two Berserkers roaring and chasing behind her before being staggered by the falling grenade.

As she made her escape along the conveyor belts of the mech bay, she saw Sunny hiding behind a workbench not far away from her, ALICE decimating the remaining Mutons that were immediately assaulting her. The alien force at her heels turned their attention to her, shots coming in from all directions in retaliation for her divebomb. The plasma hit the belt beside her and the equipment behind her, the crackling of sparks and the sizzling of the alien’s ammo filling her ears. She felt a hard thump in the back of her armor, causing her to stumble slightly before sprinting harder.

She felt heat pressing against her back as she finally arrived in earshot of Sunny, in time to see a cyberdisc arriving and damaging her AI protector. She pulled the Gauss rifle from behind her back and pelted the mechanical assailant with an inaccurate barrage of flechettes before jumping across the workbench that ALICE was protecting, landing beside a terrified but unharmed Sunny.


Well-Known Member
Despite the encroaching danger on their hideaway, Emily flashed a look of pure relief and joy as she saw Sunny, instinctively darting her arms around her protectively.

“Oh, thank God you’re okay,” she sighed loudly.

Sunny squeezed her back. “I… I-I knew you would try, but I didn’t realize you’d actually make it.”

“They’d need a lot more firepower to stop me,” Emily said confidently. “Getting out will be trickier though…they didn’t hurt you, right?”

Sunny shook her head. She glanced behind Emily, and the crane arm swung to whack the cyberdisc, causing it to fall to the ground near the two of them. It slowly started to raise up, its flying mechanisms damaged. Emily raised up her rifle and fired another dozen shots at the disc, this time hitting most of them, causing loose electricity and sparks to shower out from it.

“Is that ALICE using the crane arms?” Emily asked quickly.

“Uh… no. It’s a long story, and I promise I’ll tell you everything if we get out of this. But I’m able to control most of the machines in here with my mind.”

“A-a-a-and she can u-u-use it q-quite e-e-effectively.” Alice dropped down next to them, her image flickering wildly as she struggled to maintain the power needed to stay physical.

Emily looked between the two rapidly, having more questions than answers from her inquiry, but knowing there was no time to ask them.

“I’m thinking we’re not going to win without backup, and there’s a lot of directions to look out here,” she said, pointing towards one of the small opaque rooms built into the walls. “These storage rooms, could they be used to funnel the aliens in while we wait for the rest of our guys?”

Sunny nodded. “They could. It could buy us some time at least. The Commander did say they would try at work their way here.”

“Is there anything you could use as a distraction so we can run there? The sprinklers, or the alarm, or something?”

Sunny looked around the area. She focused on a far storage room, and a moment later, an alarm rang out inside of it. A few nearby aliens ran to investigate “How’s that?”

“Nice work,” Emily said smiling, gesturing to the storage room.

Emily made sure Sunny went first, covering her with her rifle but relieved that most of the gun shooters in the place had fallen for the impromptu distraction. As they closed the door behind them, Emily pulled off her armored vest, the plasma-burnt back nearly completely eaten through. She rifled through the pockets for her radio and cranked the volume back up, switching to the proper channels.

“This is Fischer, are you guys still breathing?”

“Fischer?” Morrigan answered. “We’re fine, and we’re getting close. Are you two safe?”

Sunny gave Emily a hopeful smile, a smile that faded as Alice’s power finally ran out, the holographic girl disappearing.

“We’re fine for now,” Emily said, returning the smile before lowering her voice and turning towards the door, “but we’re outnumbered and our position won’t hold for long. There’s at least two Berserkers and several shooters in the bay.”

“We’re making our way through the Mech Bay now. Are you still in the SHIV room?”

“Storage room by it, near a cyberdisc wreck.”

“Got it. Hold on to your butts, we’ll be there before you know it.”

“Roger,” Emily confirmed quickly before putting down the radio and going over to the door.

Cracking the door open a bit, she looked back out into the bay, relieved to see the distraction delayed their search for them. The Berserkers sniffed around angrily and Thin Men inspected the machinery carefully, almost daring them to spark back to life. She glanced back at Sunny and the few piles of spare parts laying around the room.

“Is there anything here you can use, in case they find us?”

Sunny ran up to the various pieces of equipment and machinery. She ran her hand over them, stopping every so often to pull out some of the equipment She quickly started to put Part A into Slot B, until she hand to devices resembling stationary turrets. “Help me set these up?”

Emily grabbed whatever Sunny handed to her, figuring out the important ends and setting them facing the door.

“That should do it. Are these automatic though? Don’t want them shooting our guys if they show up early,” she noted.

Sunny smiled and tapped her head. “Remote control, so to speak. I’ll make sure not to shoot anything human, unless they’re too tall.”

“Good,” Emily grinned. She walked over and grabbed her gun again, taking up position by the turrets and watching the door attentively as sounds of stomping and gunfire started to get closer. “Stay near me, okay?”

Sunny nodded, crouching behind Emily. She jumped a bit at each blast outside, hoping that it simply meant their back up was getting closer. “Um… Emily, I… I wanted to say something. Just in case I don’t get another chance.”

“What is it?” she asked, glancing towards her and then snapping back, trying not to look away from the door.

“I… I’m sorry that you had to come get me. I know you put yourself in danger because of it, and I’m sure the others won’t be happy with you. But…” Sunny smiled. “If there was anyone I’d want to come save me, it would be you. I… I like to think of you as… n-never mind, i-it’s stupid.”

“It’s not stupid, and don’t be sorry,” Emily said softly, smiling towards her. “I’ll always come to help you. No matter what or who’s in the way.”

Sunny nodded, and wiped away a tear. “I… I’ve never told anyone this, but not only do regret never meeting my mother, I… I always wished I could have had a big sister. But… I feel I already got that second wish.”

As a rogue tear dropped down Emily’s cheek, she lowered her gun and wrapped an arm around Sunny, giving her a hug.

“We’ll make it out of this, little sis,” Emily said, beaming sincerely towards her.

The door burst open as a Muton let out a mighty roar, and was immediately pelted by Sunny’s improved turrets. “We’re having a moment!” Sunny shouted angrily.

“Whoa, you alive in there?” A voice called into the room. “Don’t shoot me.”

“We’re alright,” Emily called out, clearing her throat and taking hold of her gun again, “who’s there?”

“Wagner. Rocketeer.” A young woman with light down hair cautiously stuck her head in. “Are you… ready to join the party? We could use a bit of help.”

“Y-yeah,” she replied, rising to her feet. “Is the Commander with you?”

“She’s… blowing a hole into an alien. Come on, let’s go help.”

Emily nodded and walked forward a bit, looking over to Sunny. “Stick with me, we’ll see if we can get you to a safe spot.”


Well-Known Member
No one cared who I was…

Penny Anderson, Part 1

XCOM Headquarters, Forward Labs, Siberia

July 25th, 3:56 PM

The door slid open with a hiss, allowing Penny to breach its defenses and enter. The only other person in the room, seated at his desk scribbling into a notepad, raised an eyebrow as she entered, her steps clipped and rapid.

“Late again,” he noted as she walked over to her own desk. He received a middle-finger salute for his trouble, and merely chuckled in response. “What’s your excuse this time? Alarm clock sabotaged by that cat thing they found a few days ago?”

The look he received could have frozen a volcano mid-eruption. Still, she said nothing, and disappeared beneath her desk

“What’s the matter, cat got your tongue?”

A thick notepad came sailing from the other side of the room, narrowly missing him. “Charles…” Penny warned, straightening with a tone indicating she was very close to throwing the desk the notepad had been sitting on very soon if he didn’t zip it. After the little episode where she’d pinned him against the wall by the throat using only her right forearm, Charles wasn’t really willing to test her strength any further.

He raised his hands in mock surrender and Penny, satisfied, returned to tidying up her workspace. Charles went back to scribbling in his own notebook after passing Penny’s back to her, all the while humming “What’s New Pussycat”.

“I take it you heard about moss-head then?”

Penny stopped and looked at him, bemused. “What?”

“Moss-head. You know, that chick with the green hair?”

Penny folded her arms. “Moss... - Do you have any idea how rude that is?”



“If you’re into that kinda stuff.”

She didn’t dignify that with a response. After a moment of silence, she finished her tidying with a sigh and dusted her lab coat off.

“You think up anything since yesterday?”

Charles shook his head, all business now. He swiveled on his chair to face her. “It was a good idea, but I really think we’ve exhausted the capabilities of ‘bullet’ weapons with the gauss equipment. We’re pushing the boundaries of what we can do with firing the alloys as it is, making them thicker…” He shook his head again. “Just not possible without utterly destroying the barrel. Or clogging it.”

Penny grunted. “What about my idea regarding the laser weapons? ‘Pumping’ them out like a large scale pistol?”

Charles raised the same eyebrow as he had when she had walked in. “Really? Still chasing that idea?”

“I haven’t been given a definite ‘it won’t work’ yet.”

Charles opened a file on the laptop sitting to his right. “I went through it a bit a while ago, before we hit on the gauss weaponry. The theory itself was pretty sound, as far as I could tell. Since the laser pistol already works on the same principles, theoretically it shouldn’t be too difficult in extending it to-“


Charles raised his hands in a gesture of uncertainty. “It’s not like I’ve sent the idea to engineering yet. Remember, that’s when we hit on the gauss weapons. Been a tad busy.” When he noticed her look of disapproval, he hastily added “But, again, it should work. I ran the numbers, a couple of projections. With that kind of ‘squeeze’ out of the weapon, as you described it, we should not only be seeing an increase in the intensity of the beam, but also a sort of pulsing effect where the intensity wobbles between certain thresholds.”

Penny had a startled expression on her face. “What? Why?”

Charles grinned. “It’s to do with the way the pistol prototype treated firing, the whole ‘piston forward and back’ motion it does. You might have noticed it does this thing where there’s a point of brightness that moves up the beam to the impact and back again before it ceases emitting the light? That’s the pulse. With the pistol, because the beam itself isn’t that powerful, the pulse is night imperceptible in terms of damage. But if we could extend that kind of method of firing to larger weapons with more, ah… ‘output’, then we should see a noticeable climb from what one would expect, the expectation being the same as our current laser weaponry.” Charles stopped himself before he could run away with the excitement. “Again, this is all conjecture. Maths. Projections based on observed evidence, theories. But…”

“…it’s more than we had before,” said Penny, a genuine smile on her face. “You have no idea how much better that makes me feel. I’ve been trying to improve on the laser weapons since I got here, and now to possibly be achieving that goal…”

“Possibly,” said Charles. “Remember that this is by no means a definite ‘it can be done’.”

Penny ignored him. “Set up some tests. I’ll see if we can get one of the engineering staff to give us a hand working out the details for a prototype.”

As Penny made her way back to her desk, something sitting on one of the shelves around the lab caught Charles’ eye. He frowned. “Is there a reason you brought that thing back here?”

Penny looked at him quizzically before following his gaze. The mask that belonged to her father was sitting on the shelf, seemingly watching them with empty eyes. “Yeah. Keeps me uncomfortable. Therefore, keeps me working.”

“You brought it in to make us uncomfortable?” Charles gave it a suspicious look. “Yeah, it’s working.”

“I brought it in for you too. Slacker.”

Charles made to protest. “You’re the one who spent over an hour discussing the ethics of, and I quote, ‘having a squad of Harbingers running around the place’.”

“It was a legitimate concern!”

“One for someone trying to weaponize minds I would say, not for someone who is trying to weaponize weapons.”

Penny made a pschtt noise. “You’re just salty that I beat you in Smash Bros yesterday.”

“Dedede has no business being so fast and so tanky. Besides which, I died to a stage hazard, you can hardly take credit for that victory.”

“You picked that stage. Being Fox on a stage where the ground is constantly falling into the abyss isn’t exactly a smart manoeuvre. Plus, I smashed you into that spike. You put yourself in that position.”

“You got lucky.”

“Next you’ll be blaming lag.”

“Well, it is a shitty controller.”

Penny raised her eyes to the heavens and sat down at her desk at last, making a few notes before making the call to engineering. As she waited for them to pick up, she returned to the banter. “To be fair, when you were actually on the stage you were pretty good.”

“I’m good at everything I put my hand to.”

“I’ll take that as a sexual joke.”

“Hey, if you’re interested-“

“I’m gonna stop you right there. No way.” Engineering’s taking longer than usual. They busy down there or something? Then she noticed Charles had gone quiet. Oh boy. Did I just…?

Giving up on Engineering for now, she put the device down and began walking slowly over to Charles. “Well, I mean. I’d expect dinner first, at least. I, uh… i-it’s not exactly something I’ve really thought about, y-y’know.” He remained silent, and Penny could see his hands clutching the edge of the table, almost straining with the grip. She reached him and was about to tap him on the shoulder, but something prevented her. “Hey. I didn’t think you’d… well. I didn’t know you were interested. I mean, I’m willing to give you a shot if… if you really…”

Still nothing.

At that point Penny stopped being awkward and started being irritated. “If you aren’t even going to dignify me with an acknowledgement, then you can forget about it. Hey!” She pushed him on the shoulder, wanted at least some response. Instead of yelling or apologizing, Charles actually snarled and whipped around. His eyes, windows to the soul as they always were, were empty and feral.

With a ferocity she hadn’t been expecting, Charles attacked her, a punch connecting with her jaw, making it ache. She stumbled backwards with the force of the blow and then continued backwards, trying to get away from the animal anger that was contorted onto Charles’ face. “What the hell are you doing?!” she demanded as he picked up the chair he had been sitting on and charged at her, holding it high above him as if to bring it down like a holy judgement.

Penny shrieked and bolted to the side as the chair came crashing down, breaking half of the wheels it had sat on in the process. She didn’t bolt far enough, however, and Charles managed to bring it up and swing it to the side, directly into her stomach. She grunted as the wind was expelled from her lungs with far more force and speed than she was accustomed to. As she stood there gasping for breath, Charles took the opportunity to swing at her head. There was an unpleasant crack as the two entities connected and one resisted and was summarily overpowered. Penny fell backwards, only saved from further damage to the head by landing on the relative cushion of her ponytail bun, although afterwards her head did land sideways.

As her vision slipped away, she could see Charles, seemingly satisfied that she was incapacitated, moving out of sight, and the mask sitting on its perch above the floor, surveying the room and watching all that unfolded. It seemed to be glaring at her, accusing. You could have done far better if you had gotten over the shock quicker, it seemed to chide. Then you might still be fighting instead of lying on the ground comatose. Or at least, heading there.

Funny. Almost as soon as she’d walked in for work today, she’d wanted to fight Charles. By no means had she ever thought it would actually happen.

Then blackness enveloped her, and the penny dropped. All was still in the world of Penny Anderson.


Well-Known Member
…Until I put on the mask.

Penny Anderson, Part 2

Beijing, Undisclosed Address, China

September 10th, 2003

“Higher. Remember, a long one like this, you need to compensate for gravity. Physics, that’s what you like, yes? Remember its base laws. Gravity, forces, all of that. Use it to choose the position. Breathe, but hold it in when you want to take the shot.”

Penny obeyed, and fired. She’d started to get used to the recoil, so the sidearm hadn’t come up and nearly thwacked her in the face this time. The sound it made when it fired was gentle, like a sharp breath of wind, thanks to the cylinder affixed to the end of the barrel. The bullet went wide, impacting the wall to the right of the target. The man standing behind her grunted.

“Again. You’ve got a good eye. You need to use it more. Patience is greater than speed right now. Maybe one day you’ll be able to accomplish both, but for now, keep it slow. Make sure you are going to hit the target, and if you aren’t sure, don’t take the shot.”

She obeyed again, fired again. This time the bullet hit on target, nearly a bullseye. “Daddy, I did it!”

The man behind her smiled, rubbed her shoulders and carefully took the gun from her and laid it down on a bench. “Well done. See, I told you you could do it.”

Penny pouted. “Mummy says I’m too young to be using this.”

“She’s probably right,” her father said, a twinkle in his eye. “But I promised you. When you are thirteen, I said. And today, that’s what you are. I keep my promises. Just remember, a gun isn’t a toy. You can hurt someone with it, very, very easily and without much effort. The allure of something like that calls to quite a few people who want to hurt others.”

“What’s an ‘allure’?”

Her father smiled again. “A desire, a want. You like jellybeans, don’t you?”

“Yes,” Penny said, fully aware that such questions were usually followed by the giving of the item in question.

“Then the jellybean is calling to you. It has an allure. You want it, for some reason or other. It’s the same with this for some people,” he said, indicating the weapon. “They feel it call to them as a way to solve problems.” He gave up when it was clear she didn’t understand his metaphor. “Don’t worry about it sweetheart. You’ll understand better when you’re older.”

“Oh.” She frowned. “So there’s no jellybean?”

“Not until after dinner there isn’t.”

Almost as if on cue, there came a voice from the basement door. “Penny, Isaac! Dinner’s ready!”

“We’re coming!” her father yelled back. “Speak of the devil,” he said, grinning and offering Penny his hand. Penny smiled and took it, and they began walking towards the door, warm light showing through the cracks around the edges.

Hang on. Light? Why would there be light? This room’s already lit, isn’t it?

… oh.

Oh no.


Fuck right off.


No, no, no.

No you don’t.

Not like this.

You aren’t getting me that easily!

XCOM Headquarters, Forward Labs, Siberia

July 25th, 4:15 PM

Vision returned, if blurry, along with sound and nerves. In the background Penny could hear sirens, a klaxon that went on and on and on like her alarm clock at 3 in the morning, and just as fuzzy and intangible. And she treated the situation in exactly the same way as if it had been her alarm clock at 3 in the morning. She went back to sleep, the darkness returning and drawing curtains over her eyes and ears. Hush now, let me tuck you into bed. Don’t worry. It’s going to be fine.

No. She tried again, forcing herself to open her eyes and ears more. The klaxon returned, but still faraway, soft. The lights in the ceiling shone daggers into her eyes, a stark contrast to the welcoming darkness of unconsciousness. She blinked groggily, a hand coming up to meet her brow and coming away wet. Lovely, an open wound. That’s going to be a problem later. Explains the pounding headache.

Now, sit up. Slowly. Shh, wait. Remember how you got here. Is he still here? Yes? Good. Now, get up. Quietly, he’s too busy with that computer to notice you if you sneak up on him.

The klaxon faded out as Penny’s life became that room and a single goal. Eliminate the threat. When she was close enough she raised the chair and brought it down on Charles’ head. There was a crack not unlike the one he’d inflicted upon her earlier. Unfortunately, this one did not knock him out. Indeed, he didn’t even seem to register the pain of the blow.

Snarling again, he turned and grappled with her for control of the chair, a stream of blood trickling down his face. Hang on, how did I get this chair in the first place? Is this really the time? No. Get a grip. No, really, get a grip. Now pull. Now snarling herself, Penny wrenched the chair away from the small tug-of-war and spun around with it, taking out of Charles’ reach. In a single fluid movement, she whipped it back around and struck him in the head again, the blow this time successfully knocking him out cold. He collapsed forwards, his arms luckily breaking his fall and preventing further damage.

Then the fog cleared from Penny’s mind. Klaxons. Something was up. Think. Oh, come on now. You’ve been thinking a lot the past few days, why stop now? Use that bloody brain. What does that specific alarm mean?

Her eyes widened. Aliens. Here? How? How could they possibly –

Ok, ok. Think this through logically. This is almost to be expected, really. Eye for an eye…

A realization dawned on her, and she looked at the limp form of Charles with a kind of pity. Then she looked at the computer with curiosity and then worry. It looked like he, or whatever had been influencing him, had been trying to figure out how to delete their notes. The thought was almost funny. As if the ideas of two dreamers would have a bearing on the outcome of the war.

Right, alien attack. Right. Ok. Well. Shit.

Penny tried to remember procedure. Was there a procedure for this? Who the hell can remember procedure when their life is being threatened? Wait, stop, back up. Mind racing. Surprised I can still think after that hit. Should have concussion. Maybe I do.

Bloody hell, FOCUS. You can’t expect to survive if you’re as scatterbrained as that, you stupid bitch. That’s what this is about now, you know. Survival. So, plan. Survive.

Penny looked around the lab, trying to come across some kind of weapon. Unfortunately, any prototype weapons that they might have had in the lab with them had already been improved upon and subsequently removed as inferior tech. So, no Gauss rifles. Not that I’d be able to use them well, anyway. Dad only taught me how to use pistols…

Her gaze settled on a recess in the wall which held two Arc Throwers, installed as a precaution in case of rowdy staff. That’ll do. For all the fancy buttons, it’s just a taser, right?

So she made to leave, opening the door and stepping out… right into the path of a running Thin Man. The two collided, not seeing each other until it was far too late, and the Thin Man fell backwards onto the floor, having injured it’s head on the base of the Arc Thrower. Penny blinked, and remembered hearing somewhere that Arc Throwers were best used on a weakened foe.

The electricity lanced out of the weapon and struck the recovering Thin Man, sending it into spasms and eventually causing it to lie still. With a smirk, Penny picked up it’s plasma weapon, which appeared to be a carbine of some kind. “Ta,” she said, winking at the paralyzed alien. She could almost feel it glaring at her as she swaggered away.

As Penny made to leave however, she stopped. Something was… missing. She walked back into the lab and waited for whatever it was to make itself known.

Running her eyes around the room they rested on the mask, still sitting there, still watching. Their respective gazes met. And she knew what it was she was missing. Head protection.

So she reached up to the shelf and pulled it off, resting it in her hands. The hole at the top attested to her poor choice of protection, but what choice did she have, really? With some trepidation, she slipped it over her head, fastening the clasp at the back underneath her ponytail.

And with that she stepped out into the hallway again, stepping over the Thin Man. Armory. Storage. Something with weapons. Need something I’m more comfortable with than this. She lightly tossed the weapon up a few times, getting the weight of it. Assuming I can even fire the damn thing. Might give it to a soldier if they’re lucky.

She turned left, and began walking. Though some part of her questioned the logic in moving into what was quite possibly enemy territory, it sure as hell beat sitting in that lab with a potentially dangerous alien thrall and a very pissed off Thin Man outside the door, waiting for a rescue.


Well-Known Member
Do you think she plans it all out in advance…

Penny Anderson, Part 3

XCOM Headquarters, Storage, Siberia

July 25th, 5:07 PM

Penny held her breath as a group of Mutons (Mutons? Muti?) charged past her, intent on reaching some indeterminate destination. So intent, in fact, that they didn’t bother checking the corridors they went past. Fine by her.

She poked her head around the corner after they had thundered past, to see if they had friends. Thankfully, they didn’t, and she was able to slip in behind them, if going the other way. She made her way down that corridor, hoping her memory was sound on this.

Thankfully, it was. Penny found herself in the storage area, filled with crates of… stuff. Alloys, alien corpses… maybe even human corpses. She shuddered at the thought, and although she dismissed the thought as logically preposterous, she gave the larger containers a wide berth afterwards. It didn’t stop her from seeing bodies, though.

There were a few unfortunate guards and workers, either too slow to run away or simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. They lay as they had fallen, plasma still burning further into the holes they’d already blasted, corroding the flesh as a caterpillar eats a leaf. Penny nearly gagged when she saw them, the smell and the sight overcoming her.

Today was definitely going onto the list of “very bad days”.

But soon enough, she found what she was looking for. Skirting around the side of an intense firefight near the SHIV bay, she found a storage room off in the side of the warehouse-style area which contained some of the more… volatile of cargo. Penny smiled, her mouth still exposed by the maw of the mask. Her chances of survival had just gone up drastically.

Well, they had until the alarm inside the room rang.

Shit. Penny scrambled quickly, knowing that any aliens not needed for whatever conflict they were carrying out out there would come in to investigate. Meeting them head-on was probably not the best idea, so… her eyes alighted on a pile of crates. That’ll have to do. The room was unlit, save for the rotating orange sirens on two of the walls. Hopefully that would keep her concealed.

As she crouched behind them and tried to regulate her breathing, she tried to assess what could have set off the alarm. I didn’t even touch anything, it just went off! … it doesn’t matter. It went off, that’s the important thing. I just need to wait this out until I can get something I can actually fight with. She examined the plasma carbine she’d stolen, glowing softly green in the gloom. This was clearly not made for humans. The stretch from the grip to the trigger is far too long, and I’m honestly a bit worried about the heat discharge near the front handgri-

A group of three Mutons stole into the room, the silence with which they entered odd for such large and seemingly bulky beasts. Penny forced herself to keep her head out, a sudden movement would merely alert them to her presence. Slow, and steady. Despite her attempt to keep herself calm, her hands were shaking oh-so-slightly. This wasn’t exactly a low-pressure situation, after all.

The Muton in front growled something, and they spread out, each one investigating the areas in between two shelves in the middle of the room and the walls, one Muton per section. It was then Penny withdrew into the shadows, slowly and deliberately, taking care not to make an unintended noise.

Alright Penny. Think back to all those stealth games you’ve played over the years, all those action movies you’ve seen. She turned her head to search for something, anything, useful, her eyes finding a broken Muton Berserker’s claw weapon on a shelf in front of her. She took one of the blades and weighed it in her hand. Perfect. Laying the carbine on the ground, out of vision, she pressed herself back against the crate, gripping the blade tightly in her hand.

When the Muton passed Penny, it looked in the gap in the crates. If it saw her, it didn’t yell fast enough. With a swiftness that surprised both of them, she lunged forward and drove the blade into its skull through the eye. It merely exhaled as it collapsed, however the thud it made upon landing was loud enough to attract the attention of its friends. Still in motion, and before the body had actually hit the ground, Penny swiped the beast’s weapon from its hand and threw it over in the general direction of the other searchers. The Muton closest to her had the chance to utter a surprised grunt before the weapon detonated as its host expired, causing the target alien to flinch in pain. The other Muton, however, was not dazed, and it raised it’s own weapon to fire at her. At this range, and while Penny was still recovering from her attack, it couldn’t possibly miss.

But something clicked in the beast’s mind. It saw something that shocked it, and hesitated. Realizing quickly that the hesitation wouldn’t last forever, Penny dashed to the side and hide behind another group of crates, clutching a small spherical object in her hand. As she backed herself against the crate, using it as cover, she congratulated herself seriously on escaping as yet unscathed, and then sarcastically for leaving her only real weapon behind.

No, no regrets, she told herself. Only a situation solved in an unsatisfactory manner. I’m just going to have to deal with it.

She heard the two creatures barking at each other in their guttural language. Could they possibly be arguing? Sure enough, when she poked her head around the side to see, the Muton who had been hit by the exploding rifle was berating the other, probably for not taking the shot. The other Muton seemed… confused, if anything else. It stood there, dumbfounded, while its partner growled at it.

The Muton receiving the verbal punishment looked up as if the respond, and met Penny’s eyes. It’s own brow furrowed, and it actually roared. It charged towards her while the other stood there blinking in surprise.

Penny waited. Meeting this head-on assault would still get her nowhere. So she waited. And when the Muton had closed in on her, when there was a certainty that it would come around that crate at any moment, she too charged, meeting it halfway around the box.

She lunged up in the air, her left hand closing into a fist. Take this you sad excuse for a Krogan! she thought triumphantly.

And she swung.


Well-Known Member
… or just makes it up as she goes along?

Penny Anderson, Part 4 (Final)

XCOM Headquarters, Storage, Siberia

July 25th, 5:19 PM

The Muton is a strange creature, all in all. It is a unit genetically modified to be a perfect front line unit, able to withstand enormous amounts of punishment, in all of it’s forms. When cornered, instead of panicking, it becomes enraged and will fight to the death in a manifestation of what certain alien captives have described as a previous system of “honor”. It’s build is large and strong but remarkably agile, and despite appearing and acting the brute, it is a very cunning hunter and combatant.

And, as Penny learned to her great discomfort, they have incredibly thick, strong skulls.

She yelped as her fist connected and the sound of a fractured bone came out, unfortunately from the wrong individual. The Muton seemed more surprised that she would attempt such a suicidal manoeuvre than annoyed at her continued resistance, and so it’s shot was reflexive, and went wide.

The plasma whizzed forward and burnt – no, tore – a hole through Penny’s lab coat as it tried to catch up with her, standing cradling her quite probably broken fingers. This brought her back to her senses. Here she was, almost literally licking her wounds, right in front of a Muton that was quite irritated with her and likely very willing to execute her.

With the certainty of one who knows their enemy will not expect the same ineffective tactic twice, she brought her right arm around and pounded the creature’s head again, this time assisted by the spherical object she was holding. Again, the Muton seemed more annoyed then hurt, but it remained baffled enough by her actions that she managed to quickly slip in between the Muton and the wall, dashing at speed away from the area. The Muton discovered why, to its great chagrin, when the spherical object revealed itself to be a grenade.

The explosion, thankfully, did not set off the various other explosives and other weapons sitting around the room, which was something she really should have considered beforehand, Penny reflected. She got to her feet and came face-to-face with the surviving Muton, rather obviously displeased with the current situation and wishing to put an end to matters.

So Penny ducked. And two volleys of plasma, one from the Muton in front of her, and one from the wounded Muton behind her, flew above her head, each connecting with the one who fired the other. This killed the wounded Muton, and enraged the other, as burning plasma dripped from its shoulder guard. Seeing an opportunity, and relying on pure genetic instinct, Penny grabbed the alien’s grenade, attached to it’s belt, and pushed the big green button. She grabbed the edge of the crater around the neck of the Muton in it’s armor, and vaulted over it, surreptitiously dropping the live grenade right into the same crater. She smiled as she grabbed her plasma carbine with one hand and a spare Laser Pistol from the shelf with the other and ran out of the room, just as the grenade exploded, almost certainly killing the poor Muton.

She turned and examined her handiwork. The Muton had been far enough away from the other ordinance in the room that, again, the whole room hadn’t been blown to kingdom come. Hopefully that meant the biologists could still scrounge up some leftover organs. Or something.

Then the adrenaline wore off, and the pain in her hand and head returned with a vengeance. With a surprised cry, she dropped both of her weapons, making them clatter to the ground. She fell to her knees and clutched her hand by the wrist, wanting to hold the injury, but only making the pain worse if she did so.

After some time, likely only a few seconds in reality, Penny heard footsteps. Curious aliens, coming to inspect the disturbance? Probably. Instinct kicked in again. Grab the most useful weapon. Can’t use the carbine, that’d just hurt to fire. So…

When the Thin Man arrived, it found a plasma carbine lying on the ground. With a surprised hiss, it dropped the primitive human weapon it had “obtained” from one of the base security guards, and picked up the rifle again. For the first time in its existence, it smiled. It quickly repressed the expression, fearing detection by its superiors, and made to investigate the storage room.

Penny watched from the crates, and stayed hidden. No, better to let it be.


At least, that’s what she thought until, while waiting for official news, she saw that same Thin Man drag a screaming woman wearing lab clothes back into the warehouse from another storage room, where she must have been hiding. The woman was unknown to Penny, but that meant nothing. She was in danger, and Penny might have the opportunity to help her.

So she began moving. Slowly, quietly, she approached behind the cover of the various containers and crates.

The Thin Man unceremoniously dumped the woman in front of a Muton wearing some kind of ornate red armor. They exchanged words, or it seemed that way. It was an odd sight – a large, ape-like creature that looked like it belonged in some kind of honor guard seemingly haggling with a tall, reptilian man in a fancy suit, all the while a scientist cowered on the floor in front of them. The hissing and guttural barking continued for some time, and eventually they seemed to come to an agreement.

As the Thin Man lowered its recently re-acquired carbine at the woman, Penny’s heart sank. Short of firing her pistol at them, a suicidal action at best, there was nothing she could do. The woman was as good as dead.

The problem was, she apparently didn’t know that, or seem to care.

Before the Thin Man pulled the trigger, she jumped forward off the ground with surprising grace and speed, landing in front of the Muton and wrenching it’s weapon from its shocked grasp.

The Thin Man, seemingly unruffled, simply adjusted its aim. It fired, and the woman used exactly the same trick as Penny had not too long before – she dodged, allowing the Muton to be struck by the plasma. In a rage, it attempted to throw her off, but found that she had quite a good grip on it’s helmet. It swatted at her, but she simply jumped onto it’s back. Suddenly, there was a knife in her grip, which she plunged into the Muton’s neck, leaping off and landing gracefully as it gurgled its last gurgles. In the same movement, she drew something from her side and threw it.

Penny narrowed her eyes as the object flew through the air, straight towards the Thin Man. Were they bollards? And yet electricity crackled along their length as they flew, gyrating like helicopter blades, striking the Thin Man in the head.

If the Thin Man hadn’t been knocked out by the force of the blow, it would have been incapacitated by the shock of the electricity. Yet again, it seemed, the driving force of all technology was not looking kindly on that particular Thin Man.

Penny moved out from behind her cover as the woman went to retrieve her strange weapon, taking care to pick it up by one end only. As she turned to inspect her victory, she saw Penny, gingerly stepping out from the crates. Penny herself froze at the detection, suddenly unsure about her willingness to reveal herself.

They stared at each other for a while, both staying completely still while they weighed the other as a threat. But then the other woman smiled.

“Penny Anderson? You can call me Raider,” the woman said. “Gandy Raider, if you want to throw my nickname in there.

“We’ve been looking for you.”


Well-Known Member
“Mark of Honor”

XCOM Alien Containment Facility

The room shook, and the lights went out. A moment later, red emergency lights flickered on as the backup power tried to come online. Samuel's face was slowly overtaken by a wide grin. "So I was right after all. Seems you painted too big of a target on your heads, humans..."

"W-what the hell are you talking about?" One of the scientists shifted uneasily. "You're not going anywhere." The man's companion grabbed him by the throat. "Teresa...w-what are you-"

His protests were cut short as his neck was brutally snapped by the blank-faced scientist, purple glowing around her eyes. She began typing on the access panel, unlocking the cell containing the Thin Man. He stepped out, quickly retrieving his powered armor and plasma carbine. He shoook his head at the plating, which missing a few small pieces and put back together from an analysis. "Filthy creatures...adulterating my uniform." He took his plasma mauler pistol, smiling at the scientist next to him. "Thank you for your service." He promptly shot her in the head.

Meanwhile, the Balmadaar and Sectoid were receiving similar freedom by mind-controlled scientists. Ogedei quickly turned to face the approaching Thin Man, the Muton wearing his own armor and wielding a plasma rifle.

I-12, panic this stupid brute. Samuel ordered.

I'm not sure I should.

What? You stupid little gray, obey me and do it. We will be rewarded for our loyalty.

There is no guarentee our forces will win this battle. And while you held a position of honor, I am just a disposable scientist. I would prefer to continue research with B-2.

Ogedei smiled beneath his mask as Samuel's face twisted in fury. "Things not going working out?"

I-12 stepped back. I shall go with the victor of this battle. Please, do things how you do them best.

The Balmadaar lifted his rifle without hesitating. "Ogedei has waited long for this."

The tall alien was quicker, sending three plasma bursts down the hallway. One missed widely, the other skirting the green armor of the brutish alien, and the third connected with the side of his helmet, damaging it. "Troublesome Balmadaar...your kind are useful for only one thing, and you can't even do that one job as a soldier properly."

"Am a warrior! Honor has long screamed for action. Shall deny it no longer!" Ogedei rushed forward, sending two powerful shots at the Samuel.

The former base lieutenant dodged nimbly out of the way of the plasma, and unhinged his jaw. He spat poison onto the Balmadaar, the noxious substance seeping into his armor before he cut off ventilation. "Your specialized lungs are your downfall. You can't beat one who knows so much about you."

The Balmadaar coughed violently, some of the acidic substance having gotten into his breathing mask that converted the nitrogen-dominated atmosphere of earth into something with a higher oxygen concentration. He stopped talking, and reached for his alien grenade, tossing it at Samuel. Burn, snake.

The Thin Man leapt back, but his armor still took the frontal force of the explosion, Ogedei having lobbed it further than where he was standing a moment ago. Sparks flew as his armor registered medium damage. "Impudent bastard!" He lifted his carbine with one hand and his mauler with another, firing both of them in quick bursts.

Ogedei held up his arms, his armor being demolished by the flurry of fire. In a raspy voice, he shouted in defiance, "Made the promise of a warrior to Nouja! Shall not break it! Will protect her!" He closed in on the stationary Thin Man, and shot him at near point blank. Samuel's armor shattered, his eyes going wide. "Snake should never have made this contest of strength, endurance."

The Balmadaar punched into Samuel Wilson's chest with an armored fist, tearing out the Thin Man's heart and silencing his screams. Ogedei crushed the vile-looking organ, and painted what remained of his helmet with three lines of ichory blood. "Honor is restored."

I-12 regarded his dead master for a moment, and then imitated a human shrug. Well done, my large friend.


Well-Known Member
“Boxed In”

XCOM Records Room

Thomas Burrick chuckled at his sister's glee upon opening the present he had shipped to her for her birthday. She held up the basketball autographed with 'Dirk Nowitzki' with a shake of her head. "You didn't..."

"Expensive gift, but I could care less about money," Tom replied. "Thought you might like it?"

"Like it?" Sofia grinned. "Tom, I'm going to crush you with a hug when you get back."

"Looks like my life will be in more danger when I get home."

Sofi shrugged. "Pick your fate. Either way-" The screen went black, with text saying 'connection lost'. The sudden disconnect was accompanied by a rumbling blast throughout the base, and the room went black, only the computer screens illuminating the room while their internal power lasted.

"What...what the hell?" one of the records clerks shouted, while others nervously backed up. The two guards came inside, lifting their autopistols with a deep violet glow around their eyes.

Shit. This isn't happening...this isn't... Thomas reached under his desk, grabbing a conventional pistol from under his desk. He quickly raised it, firing twice. One of the shots punched into the first guard's shoulder, and the man dropped in agony. The second one seemed to ignore her companion's fall, and shot one of the clerks.

"Jesus!" Tom fired again, this time hitting body armor and making the second stumble back. "Someone, tackle her!" None of them moved, frozen in terror. "Dammit, get it together!"

A shadow went up behind the security guard adjusting her aim, and then the mind-controlled woman collapsed from a strike to the neck. Sarah Wong looked at Thomas, not wasting any time after the action. "What is going on, Burrick?"

Tom slowly lowered his pistol in relief. "Hell if I know. If I had to guess...I'd say a security breach."

"Don't slip off like that," Kevin muttered, walking up behind Sarah.

"Anyone else with you?" Thomas asked hopefully, but was quickly given a shake of the head from assault and sniper alike. He sighed, and retrieved the unconscious guard's gauss sidearm while the other was being restrained and having his wound treated.

Nash noticed this, and raised an eyebrow at the assistant manager of records. "Was that you?" A nod. "Nice shooting."

"We need to move. I doubt we'll be safe in here," Tom muttered as some of the screens started to shut off.

Sarah thought for a moment. "We could return to the barracks. A lot of the other soldiers are holed up in there...though..."

"They're in the middle of a firefight. If we flank the enemy, however..." Kevin grinned. "We could fix that. There's only three of us, but they won't be expecting backup."

Tom shook his head. "That's a terrible plan, but it's all we have. All of you," he looked at his staff. "Just follow behind Sarah. If anything comes at us from behind, warn us. He reloaded the autopistol, and joined Kevin at the front of their strange posse. "Let's go."

They passed through the darkened mess hall, dimly illuminated by the emergency lights. "Guess they hate the food as much as us," Kevin whispered, seeing no enemies.

Sarah ignored him, squinting to make sure he was right about the room being clear. A furious skittering suddenly sounded against metal, and a Chryssalid dropped from the ventilation hatch, accompanied by two more of its brethren. The sniper tried to fire at them, but they were too close. Kevin was not so hindered, however. With his close combat training, he gunned down two of them as they got dangerously close. The other's claws clattered against his chitin plating.

"Can't beat yourself, can you, motherfucker?" Kevin said tauntingly. He shot the Chryssalid, but it didn't quite go down, stumbling back. "Fine then, style points." The assault pulled out his autopistol, riddling the Chryssalid with bullets.

Further pistol shots clattered against a wall as two Sectoids ducked behind cover, mind merging. Tom swore at his miss, and advanced with Kevin trailing close behind. He spun around the corner, holding his breath, but Tom found himself staring directly at the surprised mind-merger. It panicked as much as him, lashing out with a mindfray instead of the deadlier plasma pistol.

Tom held his head in agony, and repaid the Sectoid with a bullet to its brain, scrambling the mind of the other it was boosting. A sniper shot rang out, punching through the wall and killing it before Kevin.

"Come on..." the assault muttered. Sarah smiled slightly, and Kevin went over to Burrick. "You alright, man?"

"Peachy..." Tom muttered, his vision starting to finish its swimming.

They continued along to the barracks, where they could see Janina and Kris suppressing a troop of seven Mutons lead by an Elite. They were aided by another gunner, infantry, and Karen in keeping the enemy down, though they couldn't break their cover without risking a tunnel collapse, and were victim of counter-suppression. From around the corner, a cyberdisc floated in, escorted by two drones, and started advancing on the barracks.

Kevin held the group back, preventing them from being seen. He allowed the cyberdisc to go a few meters away. "That thing's gonna bombard them...and they don't have a clear shot on it with all that fire and smoke."

Sarah started to take aim with her gauss long rifle. "Glad I picked the HEAT weapon," she said in a low tone.

The two drones turned on the small group, and shot at Sarah as they saw her. One of them missed but the other outlined her with holo-targeting, damaging her armor with a shot, s the cyberdisc unfolded and took aim at the flanking troops.

"Sarah, move!" Tom yelled out.

The sniper didn't even seem to sweat, and pulled the trigger. The modified alien alloy round blasted through the cyberdisc's eye, shredding its internals, and it fell to the ground, blowing up its escort in a fiery explosion.

Kevin pumped a fist. "Damn!" He ran forward, taking aim with an eye closed, and shot a round into the back of a Muton suppressing Janina. "Kill the big guy!"

Tom's shots clanked on the Muton Elite's armor, his face pale with fear as it turned with irritation, lining him up. Oh God...what have I done.Through sheer luck, Tom had hit the one Balmadaar suppressing Megan Connor! With her aim unhindered, the rocketeer sent a shredder rocket screaming down the hallway, and blasting all the Mutons, spoiling their suppressing fire. Janina shot the weakened Elite, her succession of rounds downing it before it could recover. The rest of the Muton pack fell to a hailstorm of rail-accelerated bullets.

The assistant manager of records ran inside, breathing quickly. Janina patted him on the back. "That was hella brave of you, Tom. Thanks."

The rest of his group got inside of the barracks, just in time for the door to close and lock up from alien tampering. "Son of a bich..." Scarlet Jacobs swore.

Megan gave her a shrug. "At least we're safe...I just hope the others can do without us."

Airi Fujioka knelt down at the door's access panel. "I'll see what I can do. Sorry, So Ji, I know you wanted to kick some ass."

The Goliath MEC troooper heaved a heavy sigh. "Such is fate. Or luck. Pick one."


Well-Known Member
BMPixy, DarkGemini24601, and ZombieSplitter53: “Crumbling Resolve, Part 1”

XCOM Headquarters
1600 Hours
Civilian Quarters

A Sectoid dropped to the ground, landing on top of its two fallen comrades. “J-Jesus! Why?” Ian Legend compulsively reloaded his gun. “Why are they attacking us?! These are a bunch of civilians! Why do they care about us?”

“Relax.” Johnathan Cage scanned the hallway leading towards the large lobby. He glanced back at the many scared faces of the defenseless refugees. “No need worrying them.”

“What if they ARE the reason?” Ian asked. “What if the aliens are here for one of them?”

Eve scoffed, close enough to hear the soldier’s paranoid words. She watched the various refugees she sat next to, having been checking on the psionic refugees when the aliens attacked. “How are you guys feeling?”

Isitoq had one arm around his trembling sister, trying to calm her as best as he could. “As well as can be expected.” The mechanized human extended his ‘rifle’ arm. “Could you remove the inhibitors? I assume you have the clearance to, and I will need it.”

Eve shook her head. “I… I don’t. But one of the soldiers might. I… I have an idea.” She closed her eyes, and she slumped a bit.

A moment later, Cage looked at his partner. “Hey… you have the codes to unlock Isitoq’s… the cyborg’s arm?”

“Are you nuts?” Ian raised an eyebrow, but a stern look shut him up. He quickly ran over to Isitoq, and opened a small panel on his arm, and typed in a short code. “You better not shoot me in the back.”

“I have no reason to perform such an action,” the mechanized Inuit responded.

Nouja closed her eyes for a moment. Got it, sis. We’ll be fine, I promise. Opening them, she said, “Atka...Captain Ipiktok is fighting in Central. They’ll keep the enemy up there at bay, but we’re on our own here.” No sense in telling them what happened to… Nouja shivered.

As Ian returned to his post, Eve reopened her eyes. She smiled at the others, then slipped over to Albert, who had Veda and three frightened Japanese girls cowering next to him. “How are you holding up, soldier?”

Albert rubbed his temples slightly, before focusing once more on the hallway he was covering. “Can feel it murmuring at the back of my head, but otherwise alright,” he replied, “Could use a bit more personal space, on the other hand, we’re nice and clustered up for a gr-” Albert quickly cut himself off with a cough, remembering just who it was that was making him explosive bait.

Veda frowned, looking over to a room where the mind-controlled civilians and security guards they had fought off and incapacitated were piled. “Whispering in your mind? That’s not anything minor, Mr. Foulke.”

“It’s fine,” Albert said, shrugging off the comment, “A lot different from direct em-cee. Not direct hijacking, just trying to guide your thoughts on their path. Something like that, I guess.” The Amero-Anglican shook his head noncommittally as he finished.

Eve followed Veda’s gaze, and jumped out of her own body once more. She made her way towards one of the tied-up guards, and gently took hold, but as before, she couldn’t control him at all. Returning to her body, she shook her head, “Damn it. Useless. One thing, one thing, and I can’t do it.”

Inderpal and Qamut set up their weapons, ready for action. Qamut looked at the heavy’s gauss machine gun with approval. “Glad to have the big guns...though I doubt you’ll find much use out of the rockets. Wish I had some chem grenades right about now,” the support muttered, looking down at his two smoke grenades and medkit.

“Uh...Qamut?” Kataktaq started. “I hear skittering from the elevator shaft.”

Inderpal raised his rocket launcher. “Should? Would cut off avenue of entry.”

“Negative at the moment,” Albert cut in, barking, “Wait until they hit ten meters, then frag ‘em. Any that get through we got overwatch fire for. If we nuke the entrance now, they may find another way in.”

Inderpal nodded, understanding, and the former police officer put his LMG back on the alloy bipod in preparation. Eight chryssalids, packed in like sardines, scattered out of the elevator, rushing at the defenders without hesitation. Most of the security guards missed, their shots going wide against the lightning-fast creatures.

Veda’s eyes glowed purple, and she shot out a jagged tendril of purple at one of their heads. When the chryssalid didn’t even flinch, her eyes widened. “Shit! Why didn’t that…” A mechanical rifle arm blew a laser hole in the chryssalid’s skull at point blank.

“They appear to be immune to your psi panic,” Isitoq observed calmly as two more chryssalids went down, one of them taking a security guard with them.

“Aw hell,” Albert said, “Somebody get on that guard, make sure he stays dead! Inderpal, rocket them now, danger close!”

Inderpal shot up a chryssalid with his LMG. “No time.” Qamut’s hands roared with fire. “That might not scare them...but…” He tossed the flames as best as he could, and they expanded on the ground, scorching chryssalid’s. It wasn’t enough to kill them with the range he had used, but it certainly gave them pause, and they skittered frantically and on fire.

Before anyone could focus on the zombie, it reached up, grabbing Buniq’s leg, and it’s claws screeched against her armor plating. The chryssalid hybrid, too frightened to scream, leapt at it with her claws jutting out, stabbing it in the head and torso again and again, even after it had stopped moving.

“Buniq!” Rei shouted out. “It’s dead. But…”

Hitomi pointed at the remaining aliens, including a couple Thin Men running up to join the fray. “There are a few more you can try that on!”

“Hey, no suicide charges!” Albert exclaimed, snapping off a couple shots around the corner, and nailing one of the Thin Men in the chest, “Keep in cover, they have to come our way!”

Hitomi frowned, retreating back. “W-We’re sorry, Mr. Foulke,” Keiko said. “She was just trying to help.”

Buniq slowly calmed down, staring at the blood on her claws and hands, frightened by her own ferocity, and having to reassure herself that it was indeed a zombie, not a dying man reaching for help.

“Legend, keep up fi- Buniq!” Albert snapped. “Get your head on straight, more aliens coming our way!”

The hybrid seemed to shrink back at the shouted command, and Chandra went over to make sure she wasn’t hurt, making sure to not sneak up on Buniq for fear of her lashing out. “Sh...it’s going to be alright. We’ll get through this. I’ve got your back.”

Buniq nearly did spin around, but relaxed at the soothing voice of the ‘green’ psion. As Chandra went back behind high cover, she glanced over at the elevator that was opening again. Four Balmadaar, stone-faced at the despicable task they had been assigned to, stepped out with Plasma rifles lifted, escorting the ‘battering ram.’ That is, a Berserker with alloy plating reinforcing its war armor and thick muscles.

Isitoq fired off a shot at the bloodthirsty warrior, and the laser practically had no effect. “That...may be a problem.” A shredder rocket slammed into the group, damaging their armor. “Appreciated, Inderpal.”

However, such actions, while forcing the hurt Muton troopers to cover, only egged on the Berserker, and it charged with frightening speed towards the defenders. Even shredded, it was more than prepared to take hits, and some of the security guards got up and ran in fear, being shot in the back by the Balmadaar.

“At least these ones give us reason to kill them,” one grunted in its language.

“Cowards,” said another.

Buniq stared at the approaching Berserker wide-eyed, but her adrenaline had wiped away fear. I can’t...I have to… She closed her yellow eyes, and crumpled to one knee, holding her arms in agony as she did what must be done. Her violet, ‘crystal’ plates pushed up through her skin, being splattered with her own blood. They wrapped over her completely as flexible chitin plating, being painted as red as the Berserker armor.

The red liquid dripping off her form, the hybrid launched herself at the closing Berserker, all four claws out. It punched at her with its double fist weapons, the alloys grinding against chryssalid claws. The Balmadaar kept up the pressure, beating at her again and again. Two hits got through, cracking plating and battering Buniq’s form, but she did not go down.