X-COM Season 4 Role-Play Journals

Thenlar

Active Member
Dec 5, 2013
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NJ, USA
Before Operation Demon Mother

Zhang was called into action, merely hours after he was picked up from Beijing and dropped off the alien artifact with the science team. He requested a machinegun and a rocket launcher, the biggest weapons they had on issue, despite the fact that while he had used a machinegun before he never had used a rocketlauncher. He sits in the skyranger, actually reading the instructions as he waits.

"Seems simple enough," he mutters as he hefts the rocket launcher to his shoulder to make sure he gets a feel for its targeting reticle, pointing it out the back of the vehicle and focusing on the first soldier coming into view.

Ryan hopped up into the boarding ramp and saw the business end of a rocket launcher pointed straight at him.

"Dude, I know you're new to the whole alien killing business, but uh, I'm not an alien. No aliens in XCOM."

That brought a slight smirk to Zhang's lips but he pauses a moment before lowering the muzzle of the rocket launcher. He speaks in Mandarin taking a guess after seeing thne name 'Chen' on the soldier's uniform. "One can't be too careful. I find myself wishing I had a little more time to familiarize myself with this weapon before being sent out; however, it seems the aliens aren't fond of giving you XCOM soldiers much of a rest. I was barely out of my own security debriefing before they told me I had to go fight."

He shoulders the rocket launcher and goes about checking his new machinegun, racking the slide and inspecting the belt feed to make sure it won't jam. Despite his Triad background, it's immediately clear this not his first time handing a heavy machinegun. "Not that I'm opposed to fighting though I'm not exactly used to working with others when I have to go kill... things."

Ryan grimaces and feels his way through some halting Mandarin. "Er, my pu tong hua is a bit rusty."

He drops into a seat. "At least you can shoot them from a distance. Command assigned me this stupid thing," he complained, slapping his shotgun," when I would rather stay at least 30 meters away from the little ben dan. Especially if that new super alien shows up again."

Zhang looks at the shotgun that Chen is carrying and to the pistol he's carrying on his hip. He changes his language to slightly accented english, seemingly the most common language within XCOM. "A shotgun is very good at killing men. So is the pistol. Unfortunately... we are not hunting men. As for the Assassin, I'm not so sure we will see one of his kind for awhile. I'm sure there are more who look like him, to our human eyes, but he moved like a professional. At the very least, like a rival."

"I really should see about claiming his skull. Looking at it would remind me that even a professional can be taken down if taking on too many at once. If he was smarter he would have circled the edge of our group just out of sight, picking us off one by one like he did for Wildchild. She got overconfident, going too far ahead to scout. After she died, the Assassin got overconfident."

"Even among the most professional, mistakes still happen. Unfortunately, this is a case where those mistakes are going to result in scars to remind you of your foolishness. And that's if you are lucky. If you aren't lucky... well..." He draws a finger across his throat meaningfully.

"That's how you got your beauty marks, eh? Well, note to self: Just don't be foolish, and I'll be pretty forever." Ryan chuckles quietly. "Ever been to Brazil? I'm looking forward to getting some Brazilian barbecue after the mission, I think. There's some nice food.. and nice hotties, but I don't think Command will appreciate us loading a few women as 'battlefield salvage.'" He grins conspiratorially.

Zhang touches the scars twisting his smile lightly and shakes his head. "Not these scars. These were a gift when I decided to join the Triads. There were five of us, street urchins and such, all of us desperate. They put us in a pit with three wild dogs that were hungrier than we were and threw in two knives. They said there was one position for the survivor, IF there was one. If we fail then they would know which dog to bet on at the fights."

He shrugs as if it is a meaningless detail. "I did not get a knife at first, I held a dog at bay. They assumed I was going to lose so they attacked each other first. Eventually I got my chance, and a knife. The dog was delicious. The scar is both fang and blade but a reminder to never assume an enemy down if he is not dead."

"Damn, dude, that's hardcore. My worst time as a kid was when I broke my arm playing ice hockey." Ryan laughs and shrugs. "Well, guess you won't freak out once the shit hits the fan, eh? Seen it all. Mostly, yeah?"

The eyes of dead jade regard Chen with a stare that looks into him, not just at him. "If you panic, you are letting the enemy win. They want you to panic. To make mistakes. It makes it far easier to kill your target if they are afraid. In this matter, I may know more than most on the subject."

"But enough about me, I'm not even sure why I am telling you all this. Perhaps it's a novelty of being in a group that does not already know my reputation, not that it matters here. We have to work as a team, I can't have you too afraid of me otherwise our overall ability to survive will be compromised. So tell me of you, Chen. Why are you fighting against these aliens?"

"Uh, I actually applied to be an engineer. I was a US Marine, though, so, I guess they figured I'd be better off in the field, and be the guy they hand any new tech to field test it. But hey, they pay us, and this is definitely the cutting edge of tech. When this war is over, I'll have a head up on getting another job in engineering."

"Engineering." Zhang goes back to inspecting his machinegun. "War doesn't teach us to build anything, just how to destroy. How much tech have you been able to analyze since they gave you the position? I've heard of some advances from Dr Vahlen and her team but I have not had time to really find out what those are yet."

"No idea, I'm not actually in engineering." He chuckles. "But hey, there's MEC Troopers. Cyborg soldiers, dude, how cool is that?"

"Cyborg soldiers. I think I heard them referred to as MEC soldiers in passing. Well, that changes everything. Why didn't I see one on the mission where I was picked up? Or why am I not seeing one on the Skyranger with us now?" There's a grimness in his tone. "How much does one have to sacrifice to become one?"

"He, uh, got shot up pretty bad in the last mission, but since he's half metal, they could just replace those parts. It looks like they rip off your arms and legs. You get two sets of prosthetics. Regular sized ones that seem to work pretty well for everyday stuff. Then there's the combat ones where you're like two times as tall and tote around a minigun like it's an assault rifle. Oh, and a giant super powerfist that turns aliens into mush."

"And this was developed using technology that the aliens already possessed? Then it stands to reason they too have such a soldier that we have not yet seen. But I will be interested in seeing how a MEC works in action and what remains of a man after you remove his arms and legs..." He pauses and smirks slightly as if remembering something. "Well, without the intent to kill him anyway. Still, the experience would be rather traumatic."

"With such technology, a soldier so changed could never be anything but a military weapon. There would be no other job for such a person when this war is over. Or at least none that the military would allow. Yet if that's what it takes to win this war, I imagine there are some who would make the sacrifice."

"Y'know, I'm pretty sure Arsène got voluntold. But he seems to be taking it okay. But yeah, in the end, we gotta win this thing. Whatever it takes."

Operation Demon Mother

Shit shit shit, Ryan thought as the rookie ran through an ambush. She got shot up bad, making it behind cover, but wasn't looking good. Ahead of him, some of the sectoids had shifted position, exposing him against the truck. Again, he silently cursed his issued shotgun. If he pulled back, he'd be way too far to make any contribution to the firefight while he repositioned.

Fuck. What'd they teach in Marine Combat Training? Assault the ambush, right?

He gripped his weapon, ducked his head, and bolted forward, slamming up against the trunk of a burned out car, just ducking a plasma bolt. He heard some machine gun fire from off to his left, and popped his head up to see if they'd taken anything out. He looked straight at a sectoid aiming at him. Oh hell. He tried to twist away and got blasted right in his right shoulder. The agony was unbelievable.

"Aagh! I'm hit! Cover me!" Ryan crouched down, gritting his teeth against the pain. The smell of his own seared flesh filled his nostrils. He blinked back tears of pain and looked down at his medkit.

On the right side. Of course. When my right arm is useless.

He flopped at it uselessly, his right hand unable to grip it. Taking a breath, he straightened up. He let his shotgun hang on its sling and twisted his left arm across his body to grab at the medkit. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw he'd popped back up into view and drew a thin man's attention.

The plasma ate clean through his armor and burned through his chest, ribs, and lungs. He stared up at the starry night sky, choking as he felt blood leak into his ruined lungs. Faintly, he heard the shriek of a rocket, followed by a muffled blast. Heh. Guess Zhang figured out who to point his rocket launcher at.

Stars seemed to wink out as his vision darkened.

... No light? ... They always said there would be a lig-

Legacy of Ryan Chen

Stashes of goods hidden around the base. Everything from DVDs, liquor, sat phones, and high quality Belgian chocolate.

One cafeteria, signed out and set up for a Chinese food night.
 
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Dragonivon

Active Member
Dec 8, 2013
146
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Chilong XCOM Journal 2: First mission, DEMON MOTHER
Official Killcount : 2 sectoids, 1 thinman

My newest scars are the first with an otherworldly origin, setting them apart from the others gathered over the years. Two plasma bolts that tried to remove my arm from my shoulder left a whorl of scarring unlike anything I've seen before. A knot of melted flesh with two pits like the baleful gaze of the assassin I saw during my escape from Beijing.

Perhaps I will find a skilled tattooist to enhance that image on the scarring itself as a reminder.

At the recovery room within the base I have entirely too much time to reflect on what little went right and how much went wrong during the Demon Mother mission. The first mistake was an obvious one: Commander Odd should not have put me as the squad leader on that mission. The reactions of the soldiers who went with me on that mission ranged from curiosity to distrust to nearly naked hate. None thought I deserved higher rank than they had as a soldier.

It's interesting to reflect on how things happened. One moment I was being debriefed immediately after I delivered the alien artifact transmitter. The interrogators naturally suspicious of my motivations or if I would turn against them. My only reassurance was that I didn't wish to see them dead because there was no profit in it. I also assured them that I was convinced that if XCOM failed, we would all die anyway. I am fairly sure they were not reassured by that explanation. The next moment there was an abduction alert happening in Brazil and I was told to get to the Skyranger immediately.

I arrived at the Skyranger first and read the instructions on the rocket launcher I had just acquired. While I profess to a degree of proficiency with almost all weapons, this was the first time I had handled a rocket launcher. Fortunately they make them simple enough to understand in theory, I just wish I had more time to actually practice.

During this time Chen arrived and we spoke awhile as the others scrambled to the Skyranger from the far-flung parts of the base. We spoke awhile, I learned more about him than I had anticipated. Like he was really an engineer that happened to be a marine, he doesn't even really see himself as a soldier. He learned a little about my past. I was trying to be reassuring; however, I'm not entirely sure I was successful.

The others arrived and we were off to Brazil. While I tolerated gazes from the likes of Southway who obviously hated my presence and the others who were just curious, I replaced every 12th round in my machinegun clips with a luminol round. My thinking was the tracers would make the enemy easier to see if they had to be shot more than once. Not something that I'd ever use for a human but we aren't fighting humans.

We landed and found the alien enemy, an interesting assortment of horrors. The tentacled and vanishing seekers, the skittering and strange grey sectoids, the eerie thin men, and menacing floaters. I admit I only really learned the details of exactly who did what afterwards. At the time I fell into a battle trance of sorts, I vaguely remember moving from positon to position and firing at what enemies I could see.

I remember there was a moment the entire squad was screaming in panic, fearing death, then Chen's voice suddenly stopping.

The comms relayed Commander Odd's displeasure about my missing with a missile the first time I ever used one, despite having a panicking Southway pushing up against me on a column, despite the fact that the blast still killed two grey sectoids. Largo kills one thin man with his rocket and he's given effusive praise.

I evidently shot everything that came into sight, the luminol rounds splashing almost every foe so it could be dispatched easier by the next soldier. It seems that in a way there was more teamwork than I had originally expected. Eventually, all the enemies were dead and the mission deemed a 'success'. To Triad standards, it certainly would be considered a success. Casualties and wounded don't matter in that world; however, in this one such losses are felt more acutely.

Still, in the end four of us were carried off the Skyranger on stretchers and one in a bodybag. A pity about Chen, in a way I liked him. In my world he would have been a fence and a not a soldier, but on occasion fate has other plans. Not the best showing. But once again I survive, once again I have more scars to remind me of the fight.

Once again death has followed in my wake, but not yet reaching out to me.
 
Dec 9, 2013
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13:45 Zulu, 21.04.2015, Vahlen’s personal quarters

“Well…we finally have confirmation that the aliens have no qualms about killing our soldiers.” Cerise said to herself. Her voice was flat as she spoke, and her face was void of emotion. Up to now, she had thought that they were intentionally holding back. Their superior technology was, it seemed, undoubtedly fit to destroy anything X-com, or anyone else on Earth for that matter, could throw at them. The preliminary results suggesting the use of cloning technology further made it seem like this might not even be costing the aliens much. A cosmic prank of some sort, or curious probing of a primitive civilization’s response to an alien threat. She could imagine designing such a study, for the sake of some global and multi-species research project, though its sociological nature made it seem unlikely anyone would fund it.

It was farfetched, she was very much aware, but it made more sense than aliens with plasma weaponry and such just randomly striking at Earth. More importantly, probably, though she’d never admit this, even to herself, it was comforting to imagine it like this. Curiosity was something she was familiar with. The concept of a huge amount of resources expended for research purposes appealing, the implicit belief that the aliens were in perfect control of the harm they did, so it didn’t go too far, made it seem that they were both benevolent and unimaginably capable. The fact that it was a belief that wasn’t strongly held, but rather just a subtle, nagging and funny thought she could dismiss whenever evidence to the contrary piled up, and then have return, because “It was a funny thought” helped it survive for so long.

Well, it was safe to say that hypothesis had been rejected completely. And with that had come a certain terror. Or maybe it was the terror that had preceded it, and shattered the illusion of civilization that Vahlen had been operating with. Either way, for the first time since the project had started she felt afraid, and vulnerable. Like there was a chance of it all going wrong. Sure there had been wounds, and even the accident in which Lemarque had been severely wounded by the Thin Men, but not one of those had shaken her faith quite as much as actual casualties.

The specific casualties didn’t make things any better. Robinson had been nigh invincible so far, taking shots and rushing right past them to do her job. She was also one of the few people to have been shot and not done infirmary time, thanks to the nano-fiber vest. She had given a speech in the officer training school not an hour before taking part in the mission that would see her killed. All in all, she was Vahlen’s belief that everything was harmless made flesh.

Maltus’s death had struck closest to home and Vahlen had, for a time, considered the possibility of requesting a handgun to keep on her person, for the sake of feeling safe. It was silly, of course. He hadn’t been killed in the base, yet when she remembered the man it was the base that these memories dwelt in and now the feeling of her life being in danger came with every recollection. And a certain sadness, she couldn’t deny, though in her line of work losing people you worked with was to be expected, since even to this day some insights about the brain could only be gleaned through the window provided by the sick.

And lastly, today had seen the project’s third casualty, Ryan Chen. Within eight hours of the previous mission’s devastating losses another man had died. Vahlen didn’t know much about him, and had only seen him in his two previous deployments, but the loss of three people in such short order, while most of the remaining senior staff was sent to the infirmary said volumes. Or at least, that’s what her fears were trying to convince her. And this made her desperate for a breakthrough.

23:15 Zulu, 21.04.2015, X-com central laboratory

The laboratory was silent, safe for the unpleasant hissing sound the white light was making. In theory, it should be, giving day-like illumination to the scientist. In practice, minds that had been hard at work for over 16 hours, and ones that were convinced it was deep in the night, paid too much attention to the shadows that were contrasting rather starkly with the whiteness of everything around them. The objects that made them were mostly empty chairs, and desks, with equipment scattered on them in a chaotic fashion, the purpose of their abandonment open to interpretation. The silence that reigned over the scene made the place seem abandoned, if not outright haunted.

Then there was a fizzling sound, followed by a sigh as Vahlen put the prototype laser pistol down. “It still isn’t working.” She said, her voice sharp, as she turned to the American weapon engineer behind her. The man shrugged, unapologetically.

“Didn’t blow up in your hand, which was more than I’d expect considering how quickly it was assembled.” His voice was without humor. The woman glared at him.

“Then you’d be doing double time. The infirmary’s crowded enough as it is.”

“I don’t think there are enough hours in the day for us to double the time we spend here.” He said, jokingly.

“No, I don’t think there is either. So you should consider yourself lucky it didn’t.” Her pronunciation slurred with the exhaustion, but Cerise’s eyes killed any possible comic effect.

“You know, things would go better if we had a full eight hours of sleep, and some recreational time.” He tried.

“No!” She lashed out. “Not until we manage to make a useable prototype.” Surprisingly, the man didn’t seem fazed, and when he spoke his voice was level and calming.

“That’s not something you can force…” he only got that far before she interrupted him again, angrily.

“You think I don’t know that, just because I’m not an engineer!” Her voice was so loud in the situation that it even gave her pause. She coughed and composed herself. “I apologize for that outburst, and keeping you up so long. I wanted to test your model tonight. Let’s call it a day.”

“Or a night.” He said, before nodding and heading off. The experimental shooting range’s automated door slid closed behind him silently a few seconds later. Vahlen stood there, looking at the blocky weapon she had attempted to fire. Its design wasn’t particularly pleasant to look at – just sharp edges and utilitarian extrusions, on a frame of whatever metal that was. To the best of her knowledge, the bulk of the thing was made of terrestrial materials, with just the inside of the barrel and the lenses using the alloys that had been recovered from the alien vessels. Supplies were limited, after all. The side of the weapon had a transparent opening, from which could be seen the small power unit, that powered it, the brightness diming after it was used. It had gone dark after her attempted shot. At an educated guess some safety mechanism had kicked in, and that was the only reason her hands were unharmed. But the weapon specialist had walked out, unwilling to keep up with the 15 hours or more a day work schedule she was forcing upon the science team. He would probably gather data on what had happened tomorrow, when his head was clear.

Sighing, she headed out. The lab was silent in this hour, and she headed out towards her room. It was infuriating. But she had nothing more to give. With the rest of her team gone, her painfully narrow area of expertise could contribute very little to the ongoing fight. She could study the corpses, to an extent, but that was against regulations, since no one was permitted near them alone. And so far she hadn’t found anything useful from these analyses. There were some interesting differences in neural structure, but they could contribute little to anything, other than philosophical discussions, and evolutionary explanation that would have little value if they were on a species going extinct.

In the absence of her team, she was aware, she was completely useless. People had died or been brought within an inch of death, and the armor that the science team had designed had done little to deter this. The S.C.O.P.E. wasn’t doing much either it felt like, since even if the soldiers scored a hit, most of the aliens that had been encountered recently could walk it off and proceed to punching holes through humanity’s finest. Plus there was hardly enough data to even support the assertion that the soldiers were making use of it. All in all, the science team was failing to live up to its potential. No, it was failing to even pull its own weight. The two scientists that had come over following the mission that had seen Maltus and Robinson gone, had arrived and started working, but the micro-generator that one of them had designed, the only meaningful contribution of either so far, had fizzled in her hand earlier, so it didn’t seem like a fair trade for two lives.

These guns were pretty much the only hope the team had to make up for their past uselessness, Vahlen felt. And to say that they were making progress, at all was being charitable. This was the fifth schematic that had been proposed, and none of them could anything more than proof of concept. The first prototype was the only one that had even worked so far, yet its design turned out to be a dead end since any increase in the thing’s power melted the lens array, and there was no opening for better lenses. Two and three were rough sketches and little more, while the fourth was entirely based on a misplaced decimal point. This one didn’t seem like it had much life in it either, and the atmosphere in the lab had become extremely tense. Cerise knew she was pushing too hard, and making her staff do more than they thought they could. But she also knew that results were needed and fast, before any more soldiers were lost.

Cerise closed the door behind her and rested her back on it. We are losing, was the wicked thought that went through her mind as she did so.
 

BMPixy

Well-Known Member
May 26, 2013
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Personal Log of Dr. Raymond Shen, Chief Engineer of the XCOM Project
Date: 2015-04-25
Time: 1637 Local Time


Good news and bad news since I have last written. Bad news: Ryan Chen is dead and nearly all of our veterans are in the med-bay. Good news: Lemarque is back, and we have a new recruit, an Assault Sergeant. Hmm, writing it that way kind of weakens the effect of the already mild good news. But any good news at this time needs be mentioned. There has been an undeniable air of pessimism around the base. Sometimes I feel that somebody here is going to snap and lose their mind.

As of late, it seems the aliens have revealed that they have been just toying with us for the past months. A few raids to scare the populace, loot the area of everything and everyone, then crush whatever is left under a boot made of their strange alloys. Is this their form of entertainment? Are they watching our engagements, filming it to broadcast to their people? Forming little story-lines, such as the Fearsome tugh lutlh ghomHa' jan finally being brought down by the Immortal loD porgh? Is this just a game to them!?

Or are these just the ramblings of an old man, past his prime? Perhaps their goals as unknowable as their technology.

-Shen

July Twenty-Seventh, 1989
UC Berkeley, Berkeley, California
3:45 PM


A man of Asian descent, wearing a beige suit with a bow tie and a full head of black hair, shakes another man’s hand, as the second man walks away. A voice speaks up to him, and he turns to face it.

“Hello, Dr. Shen?” the voice says, belonging to a woman who looked as if she had just exited her lab, still wearing a buttoned up lab coat and simple blue jeans. Shen takes a look at her name badge, reading her name, but before he can respond the woman continues. “I’m Dr. Janice Ensslin, with the Foresight Institute. Wonderful lecture you’ve given. While I’m no engineer, I can say that what you’ve outlined here, if given funding, can vastly improve our space travel capabilities.”

Raymond gives a small smile in appreciation, and replies, “It is great to know that I made my ideas accessible for those members of society without thirty years of aerospace engineering behind me. Now, the Foresight Institute, you’re the ones promoting molecular nanotechnology, correct?” Dr. Ensslin nods, and Shen continues, “Then it interests me in why you’re here at a lecture like this, it is at best distantly tangential from your goals.”

“I was expecting that question, Dr. Shen,” she replies, “and I must be frank, I’m not here for the contents of your lecture. I’m here about a job offering with the Institute.”

“I’m listening.”

2015-04-26
XCOM Headquarters
1244 Local Time


“Dr. Shen to the MEC Bay. Dr. Shen to the MEC Bay,” the base PA droned, as Shen shook himself awake. One of the down-sides of a 26-hour schedule, the engineer thought, as he rubbed the sleep of out his eyes, is that you get out of sync with the rest of humanity and you end up getting woken up with something important happens.

The PA repeated it’s message once more, and Shen barked in reply, “Alright, I’m on my way.” Quickly pulling on his jacket, pinning on his ID, and then sliding on his glasses, he stumbled his way out of his room, and made his way to the access lift.

Funny that I dream about back then, now that her dreams are reality, Raymond thought to himself, though I still wonder if our methods would meet her approval. The ding of the lift opening brought him back to reality. A quick crack of the knuckles stowed away the thoughts, and Shen muttered to himself, “It’s show-time.”
 

PrinceZarek

Active Member
Dec 14, 2013
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Indiana, USA
Personal Log 009
Name; Arsène Lamarque
Rank; Sergeant
Current Status; Reserves
Confirmed Kills; 10 Sectoids 2 Seekers 4 Thin Men


I was taking a walk around base after being discharged when I heard the Skyranger returning. I made my way up to the door, and what awaited me was horrifying. Soldiers wounded all over, my good friend Caroline included. I asked where Ryan was, but the hanger staff just sadly pointed towards a metal container.

Not again... damn it... DAMN IT!!

I watched everyone being taken into the medbay, and waited outside the glass window, contemplating the costs of this war.

I had to lose most of my body in the name of evening the playing field, many of my closest friends here at XCOM have paid with their lives, how much more will we lose before we can achieve victory? At what cost?

Later that night, I made another trip to the memorial, I hope these visits never become commonplace. Gathering my thoughts, I began to speak, "Ryan, you were a great friend. Always knew a way to get under my skin," I paused and looked down at my augments and chuckled, "or at least whats left of it." I glanced at my hands, metallic and cold. "I had to give up my limbs to XCOM, you had to give up
your life. I know we both swore the same oath to the Commander, but its still hard to accept."

I began to look back on the times I had shared with Ryan, "You saved me from a boring recovery after what happened in Shanghai. I know your 'morale boost' sped up the healing process. The look on your face when you first saw me in the MEC, I must admit it was quite hilarious, a mixture of awe and jealousy." I wiped a tear from my eye, "I'll miss you, my friend"

I glanced over to Rebecca's memorial, still containing my locket. Next to it was now Ryan's. I placed the flask he had given me during my recovery on it. I gave a final salute, before somberly walking back to my quarters. I had one goal from here on out, to eliminate every alien I meet in battle by my own hand, nothing else matters now.

The next day I began training non-stop, the sound of the KSM impacting against metal resounding throughout the MEC bay.

I'll kill them...

I'll kill them all...

I'll wipe every one of them off the face of this earth...
 
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MarineAvenger

Operator 21O
Staff member
Dec 9, 2013
3,310
849
113
New York, USA
Name: James Nightingale
Rank: Rookie
Status: Active

Audio Journal 9

More dead, more wounded. This time all didn't come back unscathed. Chen was dead and the rest were injured bad, especially Caroline. I wanted to walk with her but I would've only been a burden. I look at the faces of everyone and I know the pain they feel. I have felt it more than once. I'm glad Zhang was among the wounded. That bastard deserves to die. Ever since he came here people have been dropping left and right. Some of it is the Commander's fault also. I mean what the hell man, maybe he needs to step down but I know that won't happen. I don't want to believe that soldiers are expendable, but little kids want to believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. Just like them, its all a lie.

I am being called to active duty finally. Though with the past to missions it is hard to get excited. I went to visit the wounded but it appeared most were asleep. I can't lie it was mostly to see Caroline. I decided to give up my petty crush on her, I think and respect her to much for something like that. Sort of a brotherly bond is what I have formed with her. I left a present for her just in case I didn't come back. It was carved nick-knack of a shamrock that opened up to contain whatever she wanted. I put it in a box, and also a note. On it said "I finally found out who you are, and your secret is safe with me ;)" I smiled as I put it on her night stand in the medical bay. It was finally time to head out. On the way out of the base, I figured something had to be said. I looked to the five of us and said,"Let's get these fuckers!" I swear I saw Lamarque smile.
 
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Wedgekree

New Member
Dec 8, 2013
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Name: Cecannia Eirrissach
Sergeant Assault
Missions: 1
Kills: 2

Debrief: Operation Burning Sword

She'd barely had any time to even get settled in when she had been called up for active duty. On the ride over, Cecannia Eirrissach was mostly quiet. Holding her shotgun as they went in for a landed craft, mostly quiet on the way in. Otherwise not volunteering up much information on events given her newness, looking over the other members of the team. Two who had been with the organization longer than she had but this was thier first field operation. Like her.

Glancing over at the giant MEC Trooper, and remembering the debrief of 'keep close'. Giving a salute as they approached the drop zone of a landed UFO and deployed, the Skyranger hanging back. Hopefully they would all be there to return to it. Holding on her shotgun as they had landed practically right on top of the UFO, not much room to sweep around for things. Field orders seemed simple - secure the perimeter, if viable grab at Meld, neutralize aliens and secure the UFO. Giving one final salute at the MEC which oddly fascinated her for some reason, she let out a breath, "Let's hope this is as.." Knowing not to say 'simple' or 'straightforward', she went to choose, "Not a cluster$##!." Simple enough reasoning.

But unfortunately the mission seemed like one of those things where SNAFU and Murphy conspired together for nearly the worst possible outcome. The team had clustered over together once they had made first contact with some of the 'Seekers' as they had been called in her notes on nomenclature and the team clustered close to watch one another's backs. And right then they'd been mobbed.

Flanked on both sides by those flying things and then a group of Sectoids, the team had opened fire on them. And as the orders came i over to fall back and get to more defensible ground, the sniper shot the Seeker off the Rookie's face. Cecannia called into the comm, "Nice shot." For the team's sniper, all that time in the shooting range apparently paid off. They redeployed, falling back to come cover right as the aliens did the same thing again!

As one of the Seekers immediately decloaked, Cecannia didn't even have a chance to scream as it's cybernetic grapplers latched onto her face, her arms flailing about as she felt serrated buzzsaws digging into her armor, peeling it away to try and slash her jugular open! Trying to swing her shotgun up at it like a bludgeon, but without air she was seeing white! Only right a few moments later as the thing was shot off her face, her taking a few moments to heave out, blood and guts flying everywhere as the ichor from the Seeker poured over her, barely on her feet and most of her armor in ruins. "Still.. Still active." Murmuring as the thing flew off her and she coughed up blood, her ribs having been cracked and her neck nearly so, "Guess they're allergic to bullets." So were humans.

Nodding her thanks to whomever had blasted the Seeker off her face, Cecannia whipped her shotgun up, and went to blast into it, it falling into sparks. She coughed, "Felt good.. Status update?" Right in time to see the big Yellow Golem run and one punch the OUtsider to flatter than a pancake, and letting out a cheer as she went to reload her shotgun. The group had redeployed and found that.. The Aliens were good at positioning as well!

Some of the Sectoids had dug in, gotten to a position they couldn't get clear shots on and were blasting away at the team from full cover with plasma pistols and the team was exchanging potshots at them, and not having much luck. One of the Rookies went down. Cecannia heard herself scream. "Evac! We need immediate evac!" She hadn't been in such a panic since she'd seen a mortar round slam into a child, huddling up and screaming, the world drowned out along her comm. Clutching herself and praying as she heard yells on the comm of someone being hit bad and bleeding out. Whom after the mission she would learn was one of the Rookies. Concerto - the one that had blasted the thing off her face.

The Golem shot the Sectoid down, and Cecannia began to rise up, breathing heavily as they had orders to find whatever Xenos were left and terminate them, as they didn't have any medkits to stabilize the kid. The Golem was running through the craft, her hearing Shen over the comm as the remaining group zigged and zagged along the exterior of the downed UFO.

They were in a run, trying to clear the UFO in time to be able to save the Rookie. Ritofuto was the first one to spot it - one of the Floaters. She heard the orders from the Commander to run up and deal with it all close and personal and grinned. "Aye Aye Commander." Charging towards the Floater, shotgun out in front of her as she called out, "Hey Boostface, we all must die sometime! And your's is up." Her ribs were broken, she likely had internal injuries, and she felt like she had just set a personal best in the fourty meters as her shotgun whipped up and unleashed ballistic hell on the Floater, the segmentation of where mechanics met organics being blasted apart by high velocity slugs percolating it at a range of just a few meters. "Target down!"

She slapped her commlink. "No further hostiles in sight. Area secure." She then slumped against the side of the UFO, clutching her ribs.

* * *

Post-Mission debriefing Cecannia was in a haze for thanks to the painkillers and the improvised bandages that had been used to stabilize her. On the long and somewhat uncomfortable flight back she had a chance to reassess things. Was this a successful mission? No one was dead and a small UFO secured. At the cost of three members of the squad being badly injured,one of the Rookies having nearly bled to death, and her havign been nearly paralyzed if the Seeker had cut just a little lower. But the big cheer at the end of the mission and Commander Odd's presonal thanks had made it feel better than that.

They seemed to have made a nice haul off the intact UFO, but those things were beyond her as she was whisked away into surgery to set her ribs. During one of the intermittent periods while she was conscious after her ribs had been set she had a chance to mentally review things. The Aliens had made damned excellent use of ground to catch the team in a crossfire and then flank them, and then withdrawn to superior positioning. And had outnumbered them nearly two to one..

Her musings on the field operation were cut short as one of the televisions up on the side of the medbay began playing news of a Terror Attack. The news camera being cut short in a very macabre manner.

"Mein Gott." My God. They barely had a field team to deploy and they were going to be hit with whatever the best was the aliens had to offer and with the medbay packed to the gills with thier veteran troops.

They were doomed.
 
Dec 11, 2013
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Log Entry #9: 22:50 April 27th 2015 of Corporal Hokuchiyo "Hoku" Ritofuto. Sniper Division. En route to new operation CLASSIFIED: Terror Mission.

We had a stroke of good fortune on the last operation in that noone died this time. Plenty of wounded, but myself and one other of the squad was able to get out unharmed, which in itself is saying a lot concidering what happened. The enemy decided to rush us all at the same time at the UFO instead of trying to hide away and take their time. Most of our injuries were sustained in the initial ambush. The new soldiers on the team proved themselves quite capable under pressure, shooting off seekers, floaters, and sectoids alike. As I was playing the role of overwatch and surveillance from afar, the moment I saw an alien come into view that the new soldiers hadn't come into contact with before, I made sure to call what it was and a warning of something to look out for, at least I tried to in a quick and efficient manner.

It was nice to see Lemarque give the Outsider that decided to play ball a five-fingered salute back into the solar system if came from.

One of them was put in critical condition however scouting ahead for us near the end of the operation. Thankfully, we were able to get her back to Leeroy and the base fast enough to save her, courtey of Cee Cee. The girl was able to get a shot in when we neeed to get out, and we would have lost the one bleeding out if she hadn't been able to do so.

She is more then capable in my eyes, even if her initial impression was less then stellar and despite her light panic during the mission.

I have to, for once, praise the durability of the MEC suit. Otherwise I'm sure I'd be talking about how we lost another soldier today.

I almost don't have enough time to get off the Skyranger, as a matter of fact, I never left the hangar. I helped ofload the injured and almost immidiately afterwards it seemed I was called up to bat again. We are bringing another rookie along as well as Gorefest, Nightingale, and Caroline.

I hope all goes well, by the look of things, we are going into a much hotter area of engagement. The aliens have drastically grown more brazen and are directly assaulting the city we are going after. News footage and reports claim to have seen a variety of aliens, one of which, by its description by some overheard wideband frequency, doesn't exactly sound like anything we've fought... It could be just paranoia however, but it wouldn't surprise me if there is another new problem.

With any luck we will escape unharmed, Caroline will be fine, the rookie will get a promotion, Nightingale will learn to use his shotgun effectively, and we can both see how our skills in the sniper division improves with me and Gorefest.
 
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PrismaCube

Well-Known Member
Jun 3, 2013
1,157
464
83
22
Germany
Part 1
Soldier Name: Caroline Southway
Rank: Recruit
Class: Support


*Chunk* *Click*


*Deep inhale and hold*


*Chunk* *Click*


"That's two..."


If felt my ponytail moving to the west, which meant the wind was blowing from the east. Ok Caroline 50 Meters...so aim slightly to the right...


Caroline reloads her weapon


0,2 seconds


*Chunk*


Time slowed down as the bullet flew out of the gun, everything around me turned black


*Splat*


I see a Sectoid fall to the ground.


Wait? What?, This isn't the Olympics...I'm back on the mission...


I stood up and moved towards the dead alien, I arrived and peeked over the broken car it feel behind.


Mother?


It was my mother lying on the hospital bed, I look around but noone is there the hospitla room with me. Only the sound of the hearth beat monitor echoing through the room. I feel down beside my mother's bed.


"Mother can you hear me? Please Mother wake up" I said quietly brushing her hair. Tears were starting to run down my face. "Please mom it's me, your daughter." *Sniff*


*beep, beep, beep, beeeeee...*


My heart skipped a beat as the sound continued at the same sequence. I stood up and wanted to yelled out to my mother but no sounds were coming from my mouth, yet you could hear someone yelling mother from outside the room.


"Mother!, Mother!"


"MOTH...LINE!!!"


Everything goes dark, I hear nothing see nothing and feel nothing.


Caroline?


Someone is calling me?


I awake to the stinging of my side, heat overflows my body in seconds and I felt like a wet potato sack. I was sweating and breathing heavy without noticing.


Quickly I scanned the room. There was a small box on the counter to the side of my bed, which I still haven't gotten around to open yet sadly.


There was a women, about age 21, really slim, blond hair tied back into a ponytail, she had a nurse outfit on, her mouth was moving, yet I heard nothing. Then everything darkened again. I saw myself. Dead...



This is a collaboration between Dragonivon as Shaojie Zhang and PrismaCube as Caroline Southway


Zhang


The mission was punctuated by screams and death. Many of them and one of ours. All the survivors knew they had been in a fight, all being taken to medical for recovery. Zhang impassively looked at his new scar where plasma had seared into his shoulder. Med spray did a great job of killing pain and stopping immediate bleeding; however, as usual it still took time to truly heal. Even if the protein vats and other equipment here made recovery mere days, not weeks.

It really was an impressive scar, twisting flesh into a jagged melted spiral. Perhaps he would have it tattooed later to give it the screaming face of the alien assassin within the scarring. His body was a road map of scarring. Bullet, blade, fang, lash, and many more terrestrial sources of pain. This was his first extraterrestrial wound.

He refused pain medication out of habit, pain gave him focus. His eyes wandering to the other soldiers with him. Those that had gone on the mission and screamed.


Caroline


Caroline lies deep in the big pillow only seeing the white ceiling above her. She knows her other comrades are also in the room, she knows that Zhang is there. She decides to get up and peek around. Upon seeing Zhang anger overfilled her but yet she knew he is also the reason why she is still alive. She whispers to him.


Zhang


Zhang looks over to the voice calling out to him, his eyes narrowing when he realized it was Southway addressing him. Not exactly who he would have expected to try to talk to him after the mission. "I see you are beginning to recover, Southway," he says in a neutral tone. "Considering how close you were to dying, I imagine your scarring is pretty magnificent. Not many can survive running in the open in front of three of those skeletons in suits. They don't often miss if given a chance to shoot."


Caroline


"Fuck you!"

A moment of silence follows

"If it were not for you I would still be in my bed waiting for Rebecca to come back from a mission to tell me all about it."

Caroline looks at him for a while

"Yet I also would not be alive if it were not for you so... Thank you I guess."


Zhang


Zhang looks at Southway with eyes the color of dead jade, assessing her carefully. "I am not exactly unfamiliar with being blamed by some friend or lover for the death of someone. In the case of... Rebecca was it? My understanding was she had gained the nickname of 'Wildchild' for running straight into the face of danger recklessly. Exactly how long did you think she could possibly remain alive with tactics like that in this war?"

He stands and walks closer to Southway until his face is scant inches from her own, the dead eyes still boring into hers. "You may find a thousand things to blame but in the end, it was a fight between her and an alien assassin. She lost. Personally I consider the assassin partially responsible for her death. I also consider Rebecca responsible for her own death because she did not realize she should have fallen back to the others instead of staying in front where the assassin wanted her to be without support. I might even consider the fact she brought a shotgun to a plasma rifle fight a very poor choice. But in the end, I had nothing to do with her death."

"As for saving your life, it was incidental. Do not thank me for that. I simply kept fighting even as you, Largo, Chen, and Gorefest all screamed in panic. Because one of us had to or we would all have died, not just Chen."
 
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PrismaCube

Well-Known Member
Jun 3, 2013
1,157
464
83
22
Germany
Part 2

Caroline


Caroline looks at him for a while not saying a single word.

She then sighs and lays back into the pillow.

"Sorry I guess, I just..."

Caroline pauses for a second

"I just did not have enough time to spend with her and now she is gone and you are here. I guess blaming you was not the right thing to do. I should be blaming those damn aliens."


Zhang


Zhang backs away to a less threatening distance and leans against a wall. Though heavily wounded he refuses to be in the medical bed any more than necessary. He thinks better when on his feet, his focus is better when he's in pain. Though he admits to himself his mood could possibly use a little work while he's in recovery.

"Fortunately, this war makes it fairly simple to know who are our true enemies. Though even that can change. If we weren't in a war for survival, I would be the first to tell you that you shouldn't trust me. But for now, my survival is tied to that of XCOM's success. So I will do nothing to undermine the chances of XCOM's success. The chance of us winning is already slim enough as it is."


Caroline


Carolin looks at him with an disapproving look.

"You probably think your some real though shit, don't you. Well if I remember correctly you also panicked. I bet you wouldn't even dare to go near one of those aliens face to face only 50mm apart. Rebecca proved herself out there taking around twenty down before she herself died."

Caroline sits up, she instantly craps to the side of her stomach where a bandage all blooded was tied around.

"Look here pal, you might have covered my ass out there and I thank you for that. But don't start talking shit about how dangerous you are and how I shouldn't trust you. Prove that you know what it takes to survive this shit we are all in and maybe I will have a little more respect towards you."
Caroline lays back down

"Maybe."


Zhang


"You don't remember correctly, but that's of little importance to your complaint." Zhang goes back to smirking a bit, the scar on his face making his expression a touch more twisted than he perhaps intends. "By your logic, Wildchild was the first to prove that in all of XCOM she didn't know what it takes to survive this shit, as you say. She merely proved she was very lucky for a long time and then it ran out. And still you hold her in the highest respect. Perhaps you just found her prettier than I am, I wouldn't argue that claim."

He closes his eyes and shrugs as he continues, "But you have a point, whatever our past may have been and whatever sins or merits we may have had in the world before the aliens arrived, very little of it matters now. I am not yet proven against this new enemy, despite having been given a rank higher than your own. Despite having killed outright three times the number of aliens you did last mission. Despite having wounded five other aliens with machine gun fire for others to finish more easily like that single grey sectoid you finished off."

"That was just one mission. Doubtlessly it will take more to determine if I am useful."


Caroline


"How dare you call Rebecca's success luck you little worm. I do not know why the Commander thinks you are so important, but rank and kills were merely given to you by him. Rebecca fought for them. EARNED them. I looked up to Rebecca and I will follow in her footsteps and will avenge her."

Caroline closes her eyes.

"You did not know here like I did. You should be thankful that she is there where you should be."

Caroline's eyes feel heavy and full of tears.

"Now leave me be."


Zhang


Zhang watches Southway for a moment then walks out of the medical wing. While he has a longer recovery than most, he's only considered merely wounded so not confined to a bed like the others. He leaves for the direction of the science wing, leaving Southway to continue her emotional tantrum to herself. He chuckles as he walks, having thought that went as well as could be hoped. They likely would never be friends but now he's less worried about her trying something foolish.

Now her hatred of him is aimed squarely at the aliens, where it belongs.

-END-


I opened my bra. The weight of my breast being released felt almost to heavenly.


"Ahhh...sweet freedom. Guy's are so lucky not having to wear these all day."


I slipped out of my underwear and threw it together with the bra into the laundry bin. I put on some new underwear and moved towards my drawer. On top was lying my new armor. My none rookie armor. White! So every alien from 10km away can see me. Good job Commander way to think ahead. The smell was nice thou, it smelled new, fresh and...you know, like the leather gloves you usually use for cycling. It was a comfortable smell.


I slipped into the leg armor and put on the pads. A sudden rush of childhood memory filled my mind, this felt like I was getting ready for some inline skating. I put on the new armor, it felt like the old one, yet new. The heavy weight did not change thou, it's hard to move around in this thing. I was at least expecting a new helmet to go along with it, since I was almost bleeding out of every hole in my body, and some new once. I would love to request one, but I heard the commander does not take request lightly.


Man things sure change quickly around here, first I was doing nothing, now it feels like the world is turning around me. I think I'm the only Medic in the entire base, the Commander must have know about my Doctor title. None the less I guess I will be seeing a ton more combat from now on. These Soldier now rely on me to heal their mistakes. This suck's I haven't even had time to visit the memorial for Rebecca and that other guy who disliked me. Oh and I long for a chat with Hoku again, he was kind enough to visit me during my time out. He is the only one I can remember I was knocked out most of the time. Ah yeah I also got to get frenchie to finally go to the fricken gym with me, I will force him if he doesn't go with me soon, a girl will always get what she wants. Alright Caroline let's not get lost in thought here, the Commander is probably waiting for me. Let's get going. There ain't no rest for the wicked after all.
 
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Dec 9, 2013
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XCOM HQ; officer training school
Ten hours after operation: BURNING SWORD
Tidy Team internal meeting, 3rd person perspective


Just after the discussion about whether or not Kleenex wipes should be issued as standard equipment for the cleanup crew passed the 30 minute mark the last person who wasn't a member of the crew left the officer training school. He was asleep when the meeting started and everyone just left him alone, when he woke up and realized people were talking about the cleaning effectiveness of different tissues he just looked completely lost. It took him almost 20 minutes before he just decided to leave.

The discussion dragged on for almost another half hour but the leader of the cleanup crew, Johan decided that the Kleenex wipes would be made available for anyone to take with him or her, their effectiveness proven on the first mission. But nobody would be forces to take them, everyone would decide for themselves.

The other changes to the equipment were easier to agree on, everyone would carry a crowbar and a standard XCOM sidearm towards their next mission.
 

MarineAvenger

Operator 21O
Staff member
Dec 9, 2013
3,310
849
113
New York, USA
Name: James Nightingale
Rank: Rookie
Status: On mission

Audio Journal 10

The hum of the engines was a surprisingly soothing sound. The others looked calm but you could see that jittery feeling in them. War does that to you. I was bad during my first deployment in the Middle East, but back then I had my brothers along with me and it was always a relief. They are gone now. There is a sense of deadness inside of me, one that has been there since the very beginning and that feeling came when I lost everyone I cared about. Now I am not afraid of death, for death is not scary. I have been at death's front door and I refuse to go back there again anytime soon. I do not fear death... because I have met death.

We were heading out to Mexico for the mission, and that was basically to secure a landed UFO out in the forest. I once knew a guy from Mexico, he served in my unit for a couple of months. He had recently married and had a kid on the way, he returned to his wife in pieces. Luckily these aliens didn't have any IEDs, or at least none we have heard of. Jenkins lowered us onto a nice LZ point and opened the back hatch. C.E. and Concerto covered the sides of the ramp while I was the first out followed by Hoku, the girls, and Lemarqe out last. We took up positions after we were given the green to start. We moved up into a sort of cluster position while the MEC went to go get a meld canister. Hoku immediately took up positon at the Commander's request and the rest moved up. We then heard a sound that I have never heard before but the Commander obviously had. Lemarque then went for the meld sounding like a friegt train along the way and me and the girls stacked up. That is when we encountered them.

Concerto was the first to spot the squids that apparently pulled a Houdini and disappeared. Hoku moved up to provide support as soon as she called them out and we kept our eyes open. At one end of the ship the, what I was guessing, "Sectoids" emerged and taking up defensive positions. Hoku and the girls opened fire and killed one of them but I decided I did not need to lend a useless hand. Just after these half alien, half machines came out of nowhere and started flying around. They dispersed and I took the chance to open up at the one heading up, but failed to connect. The squids reappeared and the MEC lit one up and hit it good but it managed to grab Concerto letting the other shot C.E. Hoku pulled back, and shot the squid and Concerto slowly ran to cover. The MEC shot one of the floating freaks. Apparently the others didn't like that and one of those "Floaters" hit Lemarque and damaged him bad. This time we all came together and we were at eachother's back to protect the MEC.

The floater came back and everyone tried their best to kill it. Concerto and Hoku missed their shots, C.E. hit it and Lemarque got the last shot. Right after, the squid appeared again and scared the shit out of me. I tried to shot it quick but I missed and C.E. took the grab for me. Another strange alien appeared but we had to help our assault. Concerto hit it and I missed again out of trying to finish it quick and not taking the time to aim but it was at least off her. I don't know what happened but I heard a whirls and that new alien was nowhere to be found. The assault finished the squid and we took a breather. We readjusted our positions and after a while a sectoid opened up on our assault just missing her. We all decided to cluster up to watch over one another, everyone moved up and I went last and out of nowhere these green bolts struck me and burned through my armor. Other than a couple of burns on my right arm I could continue. Concerto moved up and shot an alien almost killing it, I then moved up and upon seeing more bolts heading my way kicked my legs out and lid in next to the log I was heading to. Stupid me dropped my rifle so I had to pull out my pistol and shot the fucker dead. Damn it felt good.

The commander told Concerto to move up but the last sectoid was waiting for her and nearly shot her dead and she went down unconscious and bleeding fast. I screamed out to her and put my head down, and C.E. was freaking as well. Lemarque moved up and shot the bastard dead. We then went to hunt the last alien. As soon as we found it we tried to kill it but it was C.E. who ran up and killed it. The team was told to head back to base and we didn't hesitate. I ran to Concerto's side and picked her up as delicately as I could and went to the ship to head home.
 

MarineAvenger

Operator 21O
Staff member
Dec 9, 2013
3,310
849
113
New York, USA
Name: James Nightingale
Rank: Squaddie
Class: Assault
Status: Active

Audio Journal 10 Part 2

Things were buzzing when we got back. The medical team was luckily waiting for us and I handed Concerto over to them as I had tried to control the bleeding on the way back as best I could. Once again Lemarque was heading back to the med bay and so was C.E., the docs tried to get me to come to look at my arm but it was okay, I could manage besides more people than me needed the attention. I put some cream and wrappings around it myself and would let it heal up. Somehow my one kill managed to get me promoted to an assault. Why out of all the classes did I have to get assault. We have C.E., plus Rebecca and Chen were admirable soldiers. So to honor my new promotion I went to the bar to get a little buzz. In my half drunk stupor I went to visit the Med Bay. Caroline wasn't there but a few beds over was him. Zhang,I had a few things to saw to that... man.

"So how does it feel? Huh Zhang, how can you sleep at night knowing you have caused so many to die?" Zhang looked at me with no emotion in his eyes. It made me want to punch him right in his face. "Ah if it isn't, I am not sure what your name is?" I squinted my eyes and told him "Name is James, now answer my question you son of a bitch!" He still wasn't fazed at all and I didn't realize how loud I had gotten but it didn't matter. "I sleep just fine at night for I know that I am not the one who kills but the one where people are killed around." Now I was mad so I walked over to him and grabbed him by his shirt collar. "Enough with your philosophical bullshit, if we had never had to go out there and pick your ass up, Rebecca and Steve would still be alive, not to mention Ryan!" He squinted at me this time and got real close to me, "Why is it that you come down here stinking of booze and start to point fingers at me saying this is about me." This response stunned me, I let go of his collar and backed up. "The only reason Robinson is dead is because she used close quarter tactics and her own plans got her killed, and if you want a scapegoat for the two others blame your dear Commander for giving the orders that got them killed." This was a real punch to the gut for me. I shook my head and looked to Zhang again. "Just because you make sense doesn't mean I trust you." Zhang chuckled and told me before I left, "I don't need your trust only for you to stay out of my way." I left steaming and headed to my room.

On my way back I heard a commotion coming from the bar. I quickly ran to investigate and what I saw was disturbing. Plastered on the T.V. was "Washington D.C. Latest Shelling Victim". It was horrible, there were people running everywhere as an alien ship was firing from above. Eyes wide I ran to the Armory as soon as the alarmed blared calling for soldiers to come for the mission. I was given my new red armor and shot gun and I raced to the hanger. I was the last to arrive and the people coming were Gorefest, Southway thankfully looking better, a new rookie called Winters, and the other non injured from the last mission, Hoku. Me and him shook hands seeing each other again. We headed onto the ship, going to face more unknown dangers. There is another reason I don't shake when I go on missions now. Before it was because I had my brothers with me and I realized something. My brother's are with me again. Though not biological we are still family. We will look over each other and hep one another out. Time to kick some grey ass!
 

Dragonivon

Active Member
Dec 8, 2013
146
95
28
(The following is a collaboration between Zhang (Dragonivon) and Dr. Vahlen (Psilon), done in narrative form and not personal journal form)

April 24th, 2015, evening. Hallways of medical wing.

After speaking with Southway, Zhang is waiting for the elevator car to arrive to take him to the science level of the complex. When the elevator stops in front of Zhang, within is Dr. Vahlen, still sporting her usual lab coat. Her eyes are red, her stance hunched. It takes her a moment to notice him but when she does he sees her cant her head curiously.

"Mr. Zhang," she said with a hint of confusion, "I would think that a man in your condition would be confined to the medical wing." She's at the elevator's door, keeping it open.

Zhang walks into the elevator and nods slightly. "I have been shot before and I rarely have had the luxury of resting afterwards, I'm used to it. Granted this was the first time with green beams of plasma fire. But they only hit my shoulder, nothing wrong with my legs." He reaches out and presses the button for the science division level with his good left arm, the right arm bandaged heavily and hanging at his side as if he's loathe to move it too much without good reason.

"You are exactly who I was hoping to see in truth, Dr Vahlen. I was going to ask for some idea of what new technology we have learned to fight these aliens. In particular I was going to ask for a look at the assassin we met in the graveyard when I arrived. There's no better time than now for me to ask these questions, while I still hurt."

He leans back against the wall of the elevator and chuckles, reciting an old axiom: "A lesson without pain is meaningless. You cannot gain something without sacrificing something in return."

Vahlen stands to the side, looking at Zhang, surprised by his talkativeness. "I'm afraid, that I'll have to ask you to work with me, before I can consider your request. You see, my observation, as well as that of the medical staff, suggests that your physical condition is well beyond the norm. I'd like to gather a few samples..." She seems nervous, keeping her distance from Zhang within the closed confines of the elevator.

He considers her request and shrugs. "As you like. In exchange I want the head of the assassin muton we met in the graveyard. And to watch the footage you have of the alien autopsies or watch in person. If I am to kill these things, I want more options than just shooting it in the head to kill it." He smirks and looks at Vahlen with a flat stare. "I won't negotiate for information on your scientific progress, I'll just have to hope you want to share that with me anyway."

"You want the muton's head? I fear I can't give you that. The body has yet to be autopsied. We've only done some basic analysis of the bodies we already had from the first mission." Her stance becomes even more guarded.

"Even better. Then while I'm stuck in the base recovering, I would like to observe and perhaps participate in some autopsies. When you have the data you need, THEN I will take it's head." He assesses her stance and looks at her with eyes of dark emerald, cold and professional. "I can assure you I'm quite skilled at cutting open bodies. Living or dead."

"Or are you wondering what use I'd have for such a thing, Dr. Vahlen? I thought your interest in me revolved around my physical specifications, not my psychological." Zhang says this in a voice gravelly and low but touched with a hint of amusement intermingled with the shadows of implied dangers laying along those lines of thought. "Though as you might suspect, the two are somewhat intertwined. You asked me to work with you, I am simply doing the same. Again, you cannot gain something without sacrificing something in return."

Zhang remembers the package that brought him to XCOM in the first place, wondering if to the science team it was a taste of victory or bitter ashes he gave them in turn. "Besides... I suspect that as the war progresses, you won't be able to pick and choose what you keep for technological research. The demand is too high for such artifacts for them to be kept indefinitely. Tell me I am wrong."

Vahlen responds with a determined tone, responses to requests to bend the rules almost rote for her. "The autopsies shall be done solely by members of the science team, and even that seems to be far off in the future, if past interests provide any information to work with." She pauses. "And there are strict regulations on how bodies should be treated. I'll have to consider your request very carefully."

"Considering I will be the one out there first dealing with the bodies that will be brought in with a rocket launcher and a machinegun, the condition that you get the bodies in the future may be varied. Some may come back with missing limbs. Some with missing heads. Some with a grenade having already detonated in their abdominal cavity. Fortunes of war being what they are, I really can't tell. But I'll be glad to let you consider my request."

The elevator doors open to the science wing and he holds the panel open for Dr. Vahlen, gesturing for her to go first. "Technically I am not supposed to be here inside the science labs, Dr. Vahlen, but since I'm your guest I'm sure that it will be fine. Tell me about the MEC program and why none were available during the missions I've seen so far."

"No, mister Zhang. I think I've misjudged you badly." She presses the button to the infirmary level and walks out of the elevator. "Your help will not be sought out from here on. And I'd advise you to reconsider your attitude. X-com is a cooperative, not a competitive effort."

He pauses and then shrugs. "Perhaps you are used to a different world, one much more sanitary than I know. I'm being as cooperative as I know how to be; however, as you like. Though I was under the impression, that since this is a cooperative effort, the data I am asking for would be common knowledge amongst the personnel who need it the most. It seems that you either have nothing to tell us or wish to keep us soldiers on the front line in the dark about what you know. Either way, such lack of information means we will definitely have more casualties. And soon."

He lets the doors close and lets himself be taken back to the infirmary, though a smirk forms on his lips. Not everything according to plan but he learned enough about the good Doctor to improve his approach next time. She was right that he wasn't used to working on a team but he wasn't in competition with anyone. To do his job as an assassin, even of aliens, he needed more intel before trying to perform his job. One way or another, he would get it.

Zhang smiles grimly and goes about finding a survival wire saw to carry with him on the next mission. With a pair of simple wood grips at either end, it should do quite nicely.
 

PrinceZarek

Active Member
Dec 14, 2013
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Indiana, USA
Personal Log 010
Name; Arsène Lamarque
Rank; Lieutenant
Current Status; Wounded
Confirmed Kills; 11 Sectoids 2 Seekers 4 Thin Men 2 Floaters 1 Outsider


Another mission, another trip to the med-bay. I'm starting to think the aliens have it out for me. Every time I'm sent out I get shot to pieces. If I didn't have the MEC suit I'd be done for. Of course, it can only take so much punishment, I don't want to repeat what happened in France, I barely made it out of there alive.

It was a small UFO, my first operation at a landing site. I hadn't used the MEC in non-urban areas yet. I had to get used to the terrain. It didn't take long for the enemy to make contact, they quickly scrambled to cover. One of the seekers latched on to one of the squad. I managed to damage it enough to make it release it's hold. I had to reconfigure the targeting matrix carefully, one miscalculation and I'd riddle my squad-mate with bullets. Ritofuto finished him off before it had a chance to escape.

I managed to kill one of what the other guys called "Floaters". To be honest... they reminded me of what I had become, a joining of organic and synthetic materials. I didn't have time to philosophize, one tried to avenge its comrade by firing at me. It had great aim, as it hit right in the weakest part of the MEC's armor. "Warning, armor integrity at dangerous levels, advise retreat" the HUD blared at me. I immediately thought of what had happened last time I was hit that bad, I almost didn't make it. One of the squad returned fire, and I made the kill.

We made our way towards the craft, making sure not to run into anymore surprises. Another enemy I hadn't faced before, an Outsider, made its appearance when we came close to the UFO. It came close to squad to try to flank us. Big mistake on it's part. I dashed towards him, and readied the KSM, "This is for Rebecca, Ryan, Steven and everyone else!" The impact it made on the Outsider's body created the weirdest sound, perhaps its because of what the Outsider is made of.

After that, we scouted around the rest of the area surrounding the UFO. We made contact once more, and Concerto got hit bad. Everybody started to panic, but I knew what I had to do. I moved up and took care of the one who shot her. Unfortunately, none of the squad had any med-kits, so we had to hurry up and finish our mission quickly. I entered the craft, taking note of the UFO's power source. I can't imagine the power capabilities of that thing. We found our last contact on the outer edge of the ship and finished him.

When I returned, I was given a promotion to Lieutenant and another trip to the med-bay. While I was recovering, I was informed the MEC was now installed with something called the "Jet-Boot Module" Why they didn't have that on the MEC in the first place is beyond me. I also learned of the aliens stepping up their attacks against major population centers. The latest target is in South Africa. With most of the NCOs and commissioned officers in the med-bay, I hope the guys heading out there can come out relatively unscathed. I've heard rumors of what awaits them... and it doesn't bode well.
 
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Dec 29, 2013
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Canada
Twitchy Cam
Test 1

My new eye sparks to life, the world is much more clear then I could ever imagine.

Abby has reajusted my joints and replaced my welder with a camera. She plans on turning me into some sort of robotic assistant. I can see her looking at me and even if the picture is as shaky as a found footage film, I can still see a smile on her face.

"So Twitchy now that you can see indeed your opinion on something."

She picks up a clipboard filled with paper and places it over my lens, its so close all I can see is darkness.

"Its a survey I'm going to bring to every soldier who has been injured. Its just to get some more info on how the aliens fight and how our equipment is performing in the field. I think it can really help us in engineering get some new ideas for upgrades to our current equipment, of course we don't have the material or facilities yet. "But all in good time" as mom always said."

She stops for a moment as if she has just realized something.

"HOLY CRAP!!!! I COMEPLETELY FORGOT TO TELL MY FAMALY IM OUT OF PRISON! Mom, Dad, my brothers they must be worried sick! I need to go contact them some how and let them know I'm ok! See you latter Twitchy!"

Then she leaves and all I can do is silently wish her luck, for I am just a robotic arm.
 
Dec 8, 2013
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Berlin/Germany
Diary of Abigail Black, Part one: May 4, 2015

I've been here for a week now. Haven't seen much yet, but doctors and psychologists and a whole lot of military. I won't go into details, don't know what's being read and censored here. The short version is: I got shanghaied into some kind of super secret military cooperation and am officially now a squaddie. I am in an underground base (could be Northern Mongolia for all I know - and counting the many slit eyes around here, it even may be) and undergoing basic training in arms, because everything here seems so massively fucked up that they are glad for everyone who can handle a gun and knows when to let go of a grenade.

I'm being unfair. People try to be nice, but there has been some really major desaster right before I came here, and everyone is both on edge and gloomy at the same time. It's not their fault that they cannot be everywhere, cannot save everyone. One of the recruiting officers took me by a memorial wall, and there are a lot of freshly chiselled names on it. It seems "X-Com" is losing people on a daily basis, and that's not boding well for me, either.

Hey. I even might end up as an anonymous white cross in some graveyard. Just what Dad always wished for me.
 

Adrammalech

Well-Known Member
Dec 9, 2013
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Florida, USA
talesoflaranea.com
Name: Daniel Veilleux
Current Rank: Squaddie
Recent Missions: None
Recent Kills: None
Total Deployment Count: 0
Total Kill Count: 0
Status: Healthy

/// Entry Date: May 1, 2015
I have been accepted to the XCOM Project and moved in today. This is a bittersweet moment, I am excited to serve with such a prestigious group, but it is at a steep cost. My life is now under lock and key, and my fate is almost completely in the hands of others. I have become a simple gun, being used on strings by a massive team of fellow soldiers, military strategists, scientists and civil engineers. However, it could be a simple gun that saves millions of lives.

Urgh. It's a little too early for that kind of brooding. I'm just trying to look at all of this as detached as I can.

There are times in my career so far where I've acted impulsively, and even if it panned out for my reputation, I don't have that liberty while I'm here. I signed up for this duty, and I'm hoping that knowing I'm in a trustworthy network will keep me calm and sane. That is my job in a nutshell, after all. Keep calm and follow orders. Simple enough, right?

I've heard of this Commander Odd. His experience speaks for itself, but he does have some strange predilections. I'm not crazy about our base in Asia, I will likely spend more time flying and underground to care. I might have to get used to some foods, though, as I doubt anyone is expecting a picky eater in this outfit. Also, they gave me a suit of purple armor, which is apparently standard issue. Are we funded by The Saints or something?

Anyway, I learned very quickly here that my hometown has already been attacked by our foe, almost a month ago. It's funny, maybe ironic that the move I hated when I was a kid wound up saving my mother and sister. I'll have to ask around about that mission sometime, to see just how brutal they were there, if I should have any hope of seeing anyone from there again. Speaking of home, I've written a letter and am sending it to Mom today. It was not easy to write, as I can't divulge anything about the project. I hope it is clear enough though, as it may be the only one I get to send.

I think that's enough introspection and all for today. Hopefully, I'll feel a little less somber about this soon. I could do with being less sober right now, at least. I wonder if we can get rum on base.

/// Entry Date: May 3, 2015 (taped to the page)
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Document Release Receipt​
-- Classification: Correspondence - Family
-- Language: English
- Sender: Daniel Veilleux, XCOM Soldier
- Destination: Ilyana Veilleux - Versailles, France
- Status: Approved and Delivered to Destination on May 2nd, 2015
- Copy Transcription Below (Unmodified)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mom,

I have been deployed somewhere new. I cannot tell you where, but you shouldn't be surprised if I fall out of contact in the next few months, or you cannot figure out where to find me. However, my station is of international importance now, and should my allies and I succeed, the world will be a much safer place. In honesty, it is a dangerous assignment, but I promise to be as careful as I can be.

Know that I will do everything I can to come home; but should I disappear or never make it back, do not let me haunt you, for I will have died happy knowing I did for you and Lana. Please, stay safe. Leave the city if you can.

Dites a ma sœur, elle me manque.

With love,
Daniel
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
/// Entry Date: May 4, 2015
Today is the first day I heard the alarm go off. That shrill computerized shriek from the situation room. It gets into your head quickly, whispering menacingly to you. Someone's being shot at right now, someone you know is going to face that gun soon, and that someone could be you. I'm lucky, I think...I got to stay home this time around. The pilot and a few soldiers rolled out first thing in the morning, headed towards Canada.

I've run into a few people around the base, but I don't know anything but peoples' strained smiles and half-hearted waves at this point. I expected to be kind of like a new kid in the neighborhood here, but almost everyone is a new recruit like me. I peeked into the memorial room earlier today, and managed to grab a look at the wall. Almost all of the entries were less than a week ago. There's nothing I can really articulate about that, but it doesn't feel great to know.

Even though I could get to know some people, I guess I feel like I just found a crate of a dozen puppies, and I'm nervous about naming them. Maybe once this first engagement is out of the way, I can start putting some names to faces. Well, if there are any faces left, I guess.
 
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Grelite

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2012
386
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The Netherlands
//Tarrmis Gorefest, Sergeant, Sniper, KIA

'Bloedfontein', he would have said. That would be a more apt name for the state the city in South Africa was in. The turn in the strategy of the aliens, from subtle abductions to all-out massacres, certainly proved too much for the squad led by Caroline Southway. After all Tarrmis had seen before the invasion he never imagined going down fighting the infested corpses of his mutilated squad mates. Those he left behind would never learn of his successes or his failure, as he had intended before he agreed to join X-COM. As such he died in irony of the name he gave himself, a true Gorefest.
 

Rosen0x5

Active Member
Nov 3, 2012
37
144
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Name: Richard Kuklinski
Class: Heavy
Rank: Lieutenant
Confirmed Kills: 17
Journal Entry #7 / May 3rd, 02:24 PM

There's a saying I always kept repeating to myself. If you lean on your luck for far too long, sooner or later it'll come crashing down right ontop of your head. Have we been lucky all this time?... I saw the reports. I heard the rumors. Zombies, entire crew wiped out. Including our top 2 snipers... Gorefest and Ritofuto... Ritofuto, the man who gave us hope from the beginning. Made the first squad into the fray something.. more than just a squad.

Robinson, Lemarque, Me and Ritofuto... the FIRST ones in, the LAST ones out. Robinson and Ritofuto may be dead but as long as I, and Lemarque, draw breath we WILL see that OUR squad, WILL BE THE LAST ONES OUT! Our squad has its history, we were unstopable when we were all 4. But we had to be seperated from time to time, people were getting injured. Thats when we started to fall apart, and as that continues to happen the burden will be brought upon the last sirvivor, to carry the weight of the squad and see it to the end.

Commander says we should be celebrating, I say screw that. Commander as he may be, I still have a hold of the choices I make, I will take multiple bullets for him but I will not celebrate when my friends on the field are getting mutilated by alien scum. The fact that he mentions any form of celebrating is an INSULT to their memories! I'll be damned If I let anyone celebrate on MY death! The others may wish to do as they please with all those drinks, but I will never abandon the brave souls that served with me. That includes Maltus, I still have a promise to keep.

I wish I knew what went wrong down there. We barely have any men with experience left. Theres a lot banking on this next mission, the candidates have already been selected. Hassan and Cole, 2 new rookies, along with Largo, me and Lemarque. We have no sniper support, hopefully our rockets will be enough. All we can do now, is hope we dont end up like the last batch.