ZombieSplitter53's Island of Misfit Stories


Game Master
Staff member
Voices in my Head: Part Eleven (1)

(Five days later, X-COM Infirmary)

"Hold still," Alice says, gently tapping an alcohol swap against the gash over Jake's left eye. He flinches, and Alice grasps his shoulder. "I said hold still."

"I'm sorry." Jake ignores the stinging as Alice finishes cleaning his wound and places a bandage over it. "Thanks," he says, lightly touching it.

"Really, now, is all this hostility nessacary?" Alice shakes her head in disgust. "What is this, the fifth interrogation in as many days?"

"Sixth," Jake answers, rolling a sore shoulder. "But I think they're done for now. I'd like to think it was because they finally figured out that I can't say anything if I don't know anything, but more likely, they just want me to stew until the next time." He looks Alice up and down. "How are you holding up?"

"Oh, I'm fine." Alice turns away. "I guess since I'm a woman, they're going easy on me."

Jake shakes his head. "That black eye you're trying to cover in makeup says otherwise."

Alice sighs. "Duncan has had it the worse. Cybernetic body means they think they don't have to hold back. It's all for the safety and security of X-COM, or so they'd claim."

"Pft." Jake puts on a grim expression. "Safety and security my ass. This is McCarthyism, plain and simple. With the Commander and Bradford up to their eyeballs in paperwork, repair orders, and accusations from the counsel, that Russo guy has free rein to initiate a witch hunt."

Alice glances at Hitomi and Rei, sitting solemnly in the corner, Rei resting her head on Hitomi's lap as Hitomi slowly strokes her hair. "How are they holding up? They look miserable."

"They're depressed. They've hardly eaten since then." Jake shudders. "The idea of Russo getting his hands on them..."

Alice gives him a look of shock. "You don't think they'd...oh, of course they would." She clenches her fist. "From what I've heard about what they're doing to Sora, I'd believe anything. Jake, you haven't been able to see her, have you?"

"Are you kidding?" Jake scoffs. "It's a miracle Haven was able to convince them to keep me on security, at least for the time being. But they won't let me with a hundred feet of the labs, let alone in the alien containment facility." Jumping to his feet, he says, "I have to go. Now that I'm finally out, I need to see what I can do about talking to the Commander. Will you keep an eye on them?"

Alice looks at the girls with pity. "No problem. Just don't do anything to get yourself in any more trouble."

"I can only promise to try," Jake says, heading out the door.

(X-COM Main Laboratory, Alien Containment Facility)

Sora sits silently in her small, glass container, staring solemnly at the top of the cell. Two large, arm-like devices extend from the walls on either side of her, the round objects on the end of them humming softly. A man in a lab coat stares into the cell, impatiently tapping his foot. "Don't you see how much easier this all would be if you told us who your collaborators are?" He asks. "It would spare you so much pain."

"No pain would be spared, Dr. Krueger," Sora responds without looking at him. "Only transferred. And I would only be passing it off on someone free of guilt. No, this is my pain to suffer, and mine alone."

The scientist lets out an angry grunt and hits a switch on the counsel before him. The mechanical arms buzz loudly, and the cell fills with waves of distorted energy. Sora squeezes her eyes shut, clutching her head in pain. The man deactivates the machine after a few seconds. Sora takes a few moments to catch her breath, then resumes staring at the ceiling.

"I suggest you start talking." Krueger folds his arms. "The fact that you look human is the only reason I haven't turned up the power, but my patience only goes so far."

Sora smiles weakly. "Look human, huh?" She turns to look the doctor in the eye. "Do you have a sister? Or a daughter, perhaps?"

Krueger moves his hand towards the switch. "Are you threatening me?"

Shaking her head, Sora says, "No. I was just wondering if you'd so readily hit that switch if it was someone you loved who was accused of just 'looking human'."

Krueger's angry expression softens, and he pulls his hand away from the counsel. To his left, the door to the main lab opens, and Major Russo walks in. As he approaches, he asks the doctor, "How is today's session going?"

Krueger's eyes dart back and forth. "I was, um, just finishing up. I'm afraid we can't push her anymore today." Sora nods at him, and looks back towards the ceiling.

Standing inches from the cell, Russo asks, "What are looking at? Are you trying to stare a whole in the cell, or are you trying to communicate with you compatriots. Because neither is going to work."

Still smiling, Sora looks at Russo and says, "Oh, I know, Major. There's no escaping on your watch, right?"

Russo chuckles. "I know you're just patronizing me, but yeah, that's right. You know, you might as well just open up to us. Your friends have already confessed to us. The young ones in particular didn't take much to crack."

Sora's smile broadens. "Do you play poker, Major?"

"I do." Russo raises an eyebrow. "Why?"

"Just wondering if any of your fellow players ever told you that your nostrils flare when you lie. It's a pretty bad tell."

Grunting angrily, Russo slams his fist on the counsel, activating it. Sora writhes in agony. When the Major doesn't deactivate it after a full minute, Krueger darts forward and does so. Sora collapses, and the doctor yells, "You'll kill her!"

"It, doctor," Russo says, raising a finger, "and don't forget it, less it trick you into letting it free, and it slaughters you and everyone else in it's wake." He snarls at Sora as she weakly tries to sit back up. "Have her ready to go again in two hours."

Russo exits in a huff, and Krueger turns to follow. He looks up at Sora, and whispers, "I' m sorry."

Sora nods, and says, "I know," before looking up at the ceiling again.

(Two hours later)

Krueger takes a deep breath before opening the door to the containment facility. He nearly doubles over at the sight of the carnage before him. All around him are the torn apart remains of over a dozen soldiers and scientists. "What the hell?" He mumbles to himself.

"Krueger! Is that you?" At the sound of Major Russo's voice, Krueger rushes towards the containment cell. From within it, Krueger yells, "Get me the HELL out of here!"

Krueger runs up to the counsel and rapidly types on it. "Sir, what happened here?"

"That damn alien bitch!" Russo pounds his fist against the cell wall. "This is what I was warning you about. She got some young, pretty-eyed ditz working in the labs to sympathize with her, and the moment the cell opened, she went ape shit. I got a tip they were getting too friendly, but by the time I got here, it was too late." He grits his teeth. "She threw me in here, forced me to watch as she slaughtered my men, laughing the whole time. Hurry, we need to act fast!"

"I've almost got it," Krueger says as he frantically types. "There are a lot of safety protocols."

The cell slowly opens, and Russo ducks out. "Crazy bitch said she was saving me for last. Come on, we need to warn the Commander."

Krueger nods and runs to the door, holding it open for the Major and following closely behind. Making sure he's gone, Sora climbs down from the containment cell, stretching her sore, underused arms and legs. She looks at the two passed out guards by her cell and smiles, then walks over to the lone unconscious lab tech near the door. She carefully slips off his lab coat and puts it on over the shabby medical gown she wears. Her eyes dart between the man's over-sized shoes and her own small feet, frowning. With a shrug, she peaks her head out the door, then darts out.

As she makes her way through the lab, she grabs a folder off a desk and pretends to read it as she walks. Behind her, she can hear Krueger yelling, "What are you talking about? He was right here."

"Slow down." Another scientist says. "Did you say you let the subject out?"

"Aren't you listening? She already got out! How did you not notice the blood bath?"

"Are you insane? What blood bath? All I see are a few knocked out people and a cell that used to contain a dangerous subject!"

"What, no! They...it was...what?"

"Someone get him out of here and call the real Major Russo!"

"Damn, I don't know why I thought I'd have more time then that," Sora mumbles to herself as she picks up the pace. She peaks out the door to the main hallway and notes the two soldier guarding it. "Time to have a little fun."

"Did you say something?" The first guard asks.

"Huh?" The second guard shrugs. "I was just saying I wished something would happen around here, if that's what you mean. After that alien attack, guard duty is so boring."

"Tell me about it," the first guard says. Suddenly, the door bursts open, and a chryssallid rushes into the hallway. It snarls at the two soldiers before dashing to the left and around a corner. The soldiers exchange a surprised look before taking off after it. Sora exits the lab and heads in the other direction.

As she rounds the corner by the staff showers, she jumps back at the sight of three guards outside it. Taking a moment to think, she pulls off the lab coat and tosses into an empty room next to her. Forming an orb of energy in her hand, she fires it at the wall next to her, then presses against the edge of the turn. As the soldiers round the corner, she throws herself forward, landing in the arms of one of them. "Oh, officer, please, help me!" She yells frantically.


Game Master
Staff member
Voices in my Head: Part 11 (2)

"What happened?" Asks the soldier that caught her, looking down at her near lack of clothing and bare feet.

"The infirmary!" Sora looks back in terror. "The aliens, I don't know where they came from! One of them chased me here, a robot that can turn invisible! It shot at me, then disappeared again when you showed up."

The soldiers lift their weapons. "Will you be okay?" The one holding Sora asks her. She nods, and he releases her, saying, "Go hide in the shower room."

As the soldiers take off, Sora smiles. "Practice makes perfect." She quickly ducks into the showers, emerging a few minutes later fully dressed. Behind her is the sound of dogs barking, and several women can be heard yelling for help. "Sorry, ladies, but they'll go away in a few seconds."

As she makes her way through the hallways, she stops at lab tech chatting with a security officer. "Excuse me. I don't mean to intrude, but do you know which lab Dr. Vahlen is working in?"

"She's in 2B." The lab tech says, pointing towards the lift.

"Thanks, I owe ya one." Sora enters the lift and hits the button for the second basement floor.

(Alien Containment)

Russo stares at the open cell, his rage barely contained. A soldier cautiously approaches him and asks, "Um, sir, shouldn't we sound the alarm?"

"And send the whole base into a panic?" The Major snaps, clenching his fists. "No, no, that's what she wants. If this was a simple attack, she'd have made her move by now. She wants the base in a ruckus so she can escape." He turns to the soldier behind him. "Spread word to every soldier, but make sure no one else knows. And tell them if they find her, don't hesitate to shoot. Take her alive only if possible.

(Central Command)

Russo walks up to Bradford as he examines the holo-globe. "Sir, we have a problem. We need to talk to the Commander, right away."

Bradford gives him a serious look. "What kind of problem?"

"There may be a traitor in our midst, secretly moving among us. We need to make a plan before it gets out and people start panicking. How does twenty minutes sound?" Bradford nods, and Russo quickly exits.

(Lab 2B)

Bradford makes his way through the lab. Approaching Dr. Vahlen, he says, "Doctor, are you busy?"

Looking up from a microscope, Vahlen says, "Not with anything I can't put off for a while."

"Good," Bradford says. "Because we have an emergency meeting in the Commander's office. We have trouble." Vahlen gives him a worried look, and nods.

(Primary Workshop)

"What's going on?" Shen asks.

"I'm not entirely sure," Bradford says. "But Russo sounded serious. So be in the Commander's office in ten."

(The Commander's Office)

"You don't understand, sir," Jake says. "If they did this to my friends and I, what do you think they're doing to Sora?"

"It's not that I don't believe the seriousness of the situation, if it's true," The Commander says, biting his lip. "I just find it hard to believe. Which is hard since I do trust you." He sits back in his chair. "I just can't believe Major Russo would go behind my back like that."

Jake folds his arms. "He probably just figured you'd be too impressed to care, once he tortures some kind of confession out of Sora."

The intercom buzzes. "Sir, Bradford, Vahlen, and Shen are here to see you."

Looking confused, the Commander says, "Um, okay. Send them in."

The three enter the room. Bradford asks, "Sir, what's the situation?"

The Commander raises an eyebrow, looking at each of them in turn. "What do you mean? You tell me."

"Sir!" Russo barges in. Glancing at Bradford, Vahlen, and Shen, he says, "I'm sorry for the intrusion, but we have trouble. The traitor we were interrogating..." He gives Jake an angry look. "Sir, this man is in league with her. I don't feel comfortable discussing this around him."

"Is that so." The Commander taps his fingers together. "Because he's told me some unflattering things about you. And the fact that you'd call a meeting of the base's senior staff lays credence to this."

The Major shakes his head. "Sir, I don't know what this cretin has said, but this wasn't my idea. I am glad that they're here though, because..."

"What do you mean?" Shen asks. "Bradford said you had something to tell us."

Bradford shakes his head. "I didn't tell you anything. I was under the impression Russo asked you to come here, same as me."

Vahlen shakes her head. "No, it was you who asked me to come here as well."

Russo's eyes dart back and forth. "She's responsible for this. Which means she can be anyone of us." He looks at Jake. "I'd put my money on him."

The Commander shakes his head. "If what you say is true, then what reason do we have to believe he is the one we should to worry about? She could be you. Hell, for all you know, the Commander is already dead, and I'm the traitor in disguise."

"No, you're not," Jake insists. "Because she would never kill you. What makes you think any of us are Sora?"

Russo thinks for a moment. "He's right."

"I am?" Jake asks, surprised.

"Yes." Russo looks around. "She used illusions to get out of that cell, and there have been reports of such illusions all over the base. For all we know, she's using an illusion right now to render herself invisible. She could be standing right in front us with a knife, ready to plunge it into one of our hearts."

"Well, you're half right," Sora says from behind Russo's ear, causing him to jump forward. She chuckles. " But I can't stay invisible and move at the same time."


Game Master
Staff member
Voices in my Head: Part 11 (3)

Sora smiles at the Commander. "I don't believe I've had the opportunity of personally meeting you. I'm Sora. The pleasure is all mine." Sora extends her hand and steps forward. Russo quickly draws his side arm and points it at her. Stopping, Sora shakes her head. "Must you always be so rude?"

"Commander, you and the others get out of here. I'll deal with this...creature."

The Commander and his staff carefully circle around Sora and head for the door. Bradford reaches for the doorknob, but his hand touches an invisible field. He jumps towards the door shoulder first, but only bounces off. "Sorry about that," Sora says. "But I went through a lot of trouble to get you all here. You can't just leave."

Russo shakes his head. "Just another monster. I'll take care of this." Russo fires, and Sora ducks down. The Commander lets out a cry of pain and drops to the ground. Horrified, Russo drops the gun and backs away. Sora extends her hand, firing an orb of energy at the weapon. "Oh God, what have I done?"

"Not a thing." Sora glances at the Commander, who gives Russo a confused look. Livid, Russo grabs the gun and attempts to fire at Sora, but the weapon is too badly damaged.

Jake steps behind Sora and whispers, "Sora, what are you doing?"

Sora smiles and glances back. "You trust me, right?" Jake returns her smile and nods. "Good." Sora's eyes glow with a purple fire. She points towards the Commander and the others, angrily yelling, "Over by that bastard you call a Major. NOW!" As she shouts, a mirror and a pair of brandy glasses on the desk shatter.

The group do as they're told. Carefully, the Commander says, "Sora, please. I doesn't have to be like this."

"Oh, it doesn't, huh?" Sora let's out a sarcastic laugh, looking at Shen, Vahlen, and Bradford in turn. "So what should I do with the man that built the small prison I was shoved into, or the woman that had it commissioned, or the man who is supposed to be in charge of the soldiers who captured me." She points at Russo, and the glow in her eyes intensifies. "Or the man who has spent nearly a week straight torturing me!"

As an orb of energy grows to the size of a beach ball in Sora's hand, the commander steps forward. "Sora, I'm sorry. You have every right to be angry. But as Commander of this base, responsibility falls squarely on my shoulders. If anyone needs to die today, it should be me alone."

Sora laughs loudly. "Wow, I have to say, that is quite noble of you, but I can't agree with you. And do you know why?"

Shaking his head slowly, the Commander says, "No. Why?"

"Because she's not going to kill anyone," Jake says, placing a hand on Sora's shoulder. "She only wanted to prove that she could, if Russo was right about her."

The energy dissipating from her hand, Sora lets out a frustrated groan. "Jaaaaake!" She turns to him and lightly beats on his chest. "You stole my big moment, you jerk."

The Commander lets out a sugh of relief. "Well, you sure put on a good act. So what happens now?"

"What do you mean?" Sora sits on the floor, suddenly visibly tired. "I've proven my point. And you're the Commander. If you want to throw me back in that cell, then so be it."

Jake kneels next to her says, "Sora, don't."

Sora shakes her head. "It's okay. I'll even tell you how I escaped so you can make sure I don't do it again." She points up. "That cell is extremely strong, even against psychokinetic energy. Especially against psychokinetic energy. It took me five days of constantly focusing on one point on the top of it to bore a nearly microscopic hole in it. A little too small for me to squeeze through, but big enough to reach the people in the room."

The Commander laughs, a laugh that starts with a chuckle and ends with him balling, the others looking at him like he's insane. After taking a moment to regain his composure, he says, "That's rich. I have to say, though, I'm not happy about the idea of having to repair my containment facility. I'll have to find somewhere else to keep you. I was thinking about confining you to your room, at least until I figure this whole mess out."

Jake and Sora smile at each other, and wrap their arms around each other. An angered Russo steps forward and shouts, "Sir, this is madness! You're playing into her hands!"

"In what way?" Vahlen asks. "She could have killed us, but she didn't. Why?"

"It's a trick!" Russo gives the others a look of desperation. "She's leading us into a false sense of security."

"To what end?" Shen folds his arms. "She has the bases Commander, his second in command, the lead scientist, and the head of engineering right were she needs them. If she was going to hurt X-COM, then what better chance could she have?"

"Tell me, Major." Bradford says. "Have there been any casualties since she escaped. For that matter, why did we receive no word of her escape until you came through that door?"

"I, um..."

Sora shrugs. "I'm sure the Major here was just concerned about spreading panic. It looked like he was about to tell you now. Right, Major?"

Russo scowls, but in a reluctant tone, says, "Yes, that's right."

The Commander shakes his head. "Jake, please escort Sora to her quarters." With a nod and a smile, Jake and Sora take their leave. The Commander motions for Bradford, Vahlen, and Shen to leave, and they exit as well. Turning to Russo, he folds his arms and says, "Major, we need to have a talk about the chain of command on this base, as well the proper time and place for taking the imitative."


Game Master
Staff member
Voices in my Head: Part Twelve

Sora nestles against Jake's side, panting lightly. She wipes a bead of sweat from her brow. "Have I told you lately how much I love you?" She asks, looking into Jake's eyes.

Jake smiles back. "You have. Though I hope it's more then one thing you love about me."

Sora traces her fingers across Jake's bare chest. "It isn't my fault we don't get a lot of alone time. I just want to get as much use out of it as I can." She sits on Jake's waist, smiling at the sight of Jake's wondering eyes. Leaning over so her face is directly over his, her chest lightly pressing against his, she adds, "And besides, it took you over a month to work up the nerve to kiss me in public, let alone get us here. I swear, you men have no trouble fighting the craziest of villains and monsters, but when it comes to showing any sign of public affection, you are all scared puppies."

Jake smirks. "You're right, kitten. And besides, I'm not complaining." He wraps his arms around her and presses his lips against her's. He pulls away at the sound of movement outside the room. "You locked the door, right?"

Sora's eyes widen as the door opens and Rei and Hitomi enter, letting out shrieks of disgust at the sight of their roommates. "Oh, dear GOD!" Rei shouts. "For the love of everything that is good and clean in this world, put some clothes on."

Hitomi covers her eyes. "Man, it's like walking in on your parents." She peaks between her fingers as Sora quickly throws on her clothes, smirking slightly. "Though mom is looking pretty good." Rei slaps her lightly on the back of the head.

"Oh, hush," Sora returns, slipping on her shirt. "At least we're in the privacy of our own room."

"Yeah," Jake adds, struggling to get dressed under the covers. "Don't think we've forgotten about that little incident in the public showers."

Rei and Hitomi both blush, and Rei shouts, "We told you, it was a misunderstanding!"

"Yeah!" Hitomi stomps her foot. "Those perverted soldiers that saw us were just imagining what they wanted to see."

"Yeah right." Sora shakes her head. "You just keep telling yourself that, and maybe we'll start..." A familiar alarm sounds out, and Sora gives Jake a serious look. "They're starting the mission."

Jake nods, and quickly throws on his shoes. As he and Sora leave, he tells the other two, "We'll be back," and the pair quickly run down the hallway.

They arrive at the public viewing room, the monitors already displaying the views of the soldiers as they walk through the alien Mothership. "Do you think this will work?" Sora asks, worry in her tone.

"It has to." Jake shakes his head. "We won't get another chance."

"It'll work." Major Russo steps next to the two. "They're the best soldiers in X-COM. They'll finish this."

Jake sneers at the Major, clenching a fist tightly. Sora places a hand on Jake's shoulder and says, "Don't."

"You shouldn't stop him." Russo gives the two a sincere look. "I deserve every ounce of your anger and more."

"Why the sudden change of heart?" Jake asks through clenched teeth.

Russo sighs. "You know, I've been informed that the aliens tried to attack the base again a few months ago."

Jake raises an eyebrow. "I didn't hear anything about that."

Russo nods. "That's because Sora single-handedly blocked their attempts at mind control with some kind of mental shield, and they didn't attempt a breach when that failed." Jake gives Sora a questioning look, and the Major adds, "Please do not be angry with her. The Commander swore her to secrecy, for the sake of base morale."

"So," Sora places her hands on her hips. "Does that mean you aren't angry with me anymore. No more thoughts of vengeance or what have you?"

Russo looks surprised. "I would think it was you who would be enraged with me." He turns his attention to the monitors, focusing on the Psionic soldier leading the mission. "In my attempts to stop the alien threat, I failed to see that I had become just like them. Many of our advances here have shown that." He turns back towards Sora. "You, too, have become like them, but unlike us, it was not by choice, and it was wrong of me to take out my aggressions on you." Russo drops to one knee and bows his head. "I have wronged you in a way that I can never make up for, and though I deserve not your forgiveness, I must still give you my most sincere apology."

Jake and Sora exchange a shocked look. "Please, stand up Major," Sora says, and Russo does so. "I've already forgiven you." She chuckles. "Though the apology was appreciated. You have a way with words, sir."

"Just as you have a way with people." Russo smiles. The smile is wiped from his face at the sound of an explosion on the monitors. The three turn to look as the soldiers fight their way through what appears to be the ship's bridge. After several minutes of intense fighting, the alien leader falls, and everything goes silent.

Sora falls to her knees, clenching her head in pain. "What's wrong!" Jake yells as he and Russo drop to her side.

"The alien device...on the bridge..." Sora lifts a shaking hand and points it towards the screen. "Without the alien leader to...t-to control it...it will cause a massive breach in the ship's engine."

"It's okay." Russo places a hand on Sora's shoulder. "I'm sure they'll get out in time."

"No, you don't understand!" Sora shakes her head violently. "If the engine core breaches within our atmosphere.....the r-resulting implosion, it...it'll rip the planet apart!"

"How do you know that?" Jake asks frantically. "You haven't shown any ability to see into the future before."

"The alien, he..." Tears stream down Sora's face. "He knew this would happen. He sent out a psychic message before he died. To mock us."

"Look!" Russo points at the screen. "They've pulled out, but the psionic soldier stayed behind!"

As they watch, the soldier attempts to interact with the strange alien device. "What's he doing?" Jake asks.

"He's...saving us." Sora watches in awe, a glimmer of hope in her eyes as the ship ascends into space. Moments after exiting the Earth's atmosphere, the ship explodes in a brilliant flash of light.

The group watch the screens for several minutes as the soldiers and staff around them either cheer or give sighs of relief. Several feet away, obscured by the crowd, Jake can hear a woman crying and some of the soldiers consoling her. "Is it over," he manages to ask through his shock.

"Almost." Russo nervously rubs the back of his neck. "We'll have to pick up the stragglers, but I think the major threat is over."

Russo salutes the pair, and quickly exits. Helping Sora to her feet, Jake asks, "Are you alright?" Sora nods. She wipes away her tears, and wraps her arms around Jake. She kisses him, holding the kiss for a full minute. As she pulls away, Jake smiles and says. "Thank you Sora. For everything."

Sora starts to ask what he is thanking her for, but instead says, "You're welcome. Any time." Clasping his hand and pulling him along, she says, "Come on. Let's go tell the others." The two run off towards the civilian barracks as the soldiers and crew around them continue to celebrate their hard fought victory.


Game Master
Staff member
First Day on the Job: Part One

"And this, my boy, is the hologlobe," The Commander said, waving his hand towards the massive hologram taking up the center of the room. "With this, we can see the comings and goings of our extraterrestrial guests in real time, in addition to other organizations that..." He thought for a moment, "Let's just say they don't have our best interests in mind. Best not to put too much burden on you on the first day."

"It is a lot to take in, sir." Jackie smiled nervously, scratching the back of his head. He stared up at the large projection before him, a flashing red light over Austria catching his eye. "What's that, sir?" he asked, pointing toward the offending light.

"Hm?" The Commander quickly walked over to the computer, typing rapidly. "Damn, speak of the devils."

"Sir?" Jackie took a cautious step forward, attempting to look over the Commander's shoulder without it being to obvious that he was doing so.

"They've been at it for weeks, constantly a thorn in our side." The Commander rubbed his temples, his face the picture of frustration. "As if we didn't have enough to do with the aliens here, we have this misguided organization of fellow humans undermining everything we do."

"Undermining how, sir?" Jackie asked, looking around at the people now running to and fro in the command center.

"Intercepting supplies, blocking funds, hacking our systems. We're pretty much racing each other to see who can find who's main headquarters first. I'm afraid they might be in the lead."

Jackie frowned. "Can't they be reasoned with?"

The Commander shook his head. "We've tried. But when one side sees something as a threat, and the other sees it as salvation, there is little in the way of middle ground."

"Besides," said a woman typing on a computer a few feet away, "They're a bunch of fanatics who always shoot first and ask questions never. The first time we encountered them on the field, they immediately opened fire the moment our men came into view."

The Commander clenched his fists. "If only we could get the drop on them, instead of just having to clean up after them afterwards."

"Commander!" The woman looked up from the computer, a broad smile across her face. "You might get your chance. Radar shows no enemy vehicles in the area."

"Send the coordinates to Dropships Two and Three." The Commander quickly flipped the switch for the intercom. "Smith, Carol, Gurlukovich, Wesker, form a team of four and get to the hanger in five. Details will be given on the way." Turning to Jackie, he said, "You too, son. Time for your first mission."

Jackie swallowed hard. Doing his best to suppress a nervous look, he saluted the Commander and quickly made his way to the hanger.

(Twenty-four minutes later, over Austrian airspace)

Jackie looked around at the eight men crammed in the plane around him like sardines in a can, his nervous mind racing. Oh God, why am I even here? Am I even ready for this. This is a group that deals with beings from a whole other world on a daily basis, and I'm getting scared because we're going up against a single human.

He examined the stone-cold faces of each of his colleagues in turn. Look at them. They don't even look the least bit worried. These are real soldiers. Alright, that's enough, no more doubting yourself. Mimicking the soldier next to him, Jackie started to look his rifle up and down, focusing all his attention on it until the dropship touched down.

"Come on," the imposing Major said to Jackie as the group stepped off the ship and half of them moved to the left. "I'm Major Arnold Wesker." He pointed to each of his men in turn. "This is Daniels, McCloud, and Verne. Don't look so nervous. This'll be a cake walk. Just watch us and do what we do, and you'll be fine." Looking down at Jackie's rifle with a raised eyebrow, he added, "Just make sure you take the safety off."

As the group moved forward to the right, Jackie rolled his eyes at his own incompetence and hit the safety. Taking up the rear, he made sure to scan every corner of the street as he moved, so much so that he didn't notice he was being left behind.

Lost and on the brink of panic, he reluctantly reached for his communicator, knowing he'd never hear the end of it for having to call to be picked up like a lost child. Suddenly, from around the corner in an alley, he heard the sounds of gunshots. After a few moments, the shooting ceased, and the sounds of struggling could be heard.

Jackie quickly ran towards the noise, crossing his fingers that none of his allies were hurt. He slowed his approach at the sight of the other soldiers all in one piece. "Damn it," Major Wesker muttered, standing behind the rest and examining his right forearm.

"Are you alright, sir?" Jackie quickly ran to his side and pulled out a first-aid spray, putting it away when the Major waved his hand.

"Fine, fine, just a flesh wound." Wesker rolled his sleeve down and shrugged. "Got a jump on the bitch and she still managed to clip me. I swear, give these people an inch and they sure make you pay for it."

"I dare ya to give me another!" Shouted a female voice. "You'll get more then a scratch. Everyone of you!"

Submitting to his curiosity, Jackie took a few steps forward. Pinned to the ground by Daniels and McCloud, with Verne above them with his weapon at the ready, was a young woman, somewhere in her mid-twenties. Her attractive features, emerald eyes, and long, blond hair reminded Jackie of a girl he had a crush on back home in New Jersey. A cheerleader, someone Jackie watched from afar but never had the guts to approach.

The woman wore street clothes, plain jeans, an ugly, half-open jacket with a plain shirt underneath, her hair tied in a pony-tail. Jackie thought for a moment that she looked so "average-citizen" that it actually made her stand out, but realized how stupid that sounded, and figured it was just because she stood out when compared to what he and his associates were wearing. A few feet from her, a laser pistol sat under Verne's foot. "Hey, Major, they said this was the only one here, right?" McCloud asked.

"Then that means we have time to have a little fun, right?" Daniels cracked his knuckles, smirking.

"Well, I haven't radioed the others yet," the Major answered, shrugging, "So I don't see why not."

"What...do you mean, fun?" Jackie felt a sick feeling in his stomach, and took a step back.


Game Master
Staff member
First Day on the Job: Part Two

"Come on, kid, don't be an idiot!" Verne kicked away the pistol and chuckled loudly. "The base is a major sausage-fest. And all the chicks are holed up in their own quarters. A guys gotta get his rocks off. Keep it pent up too long, and you'll end up goin' crazy."

Verne knelt down and pulled off the woman's shoes while the other two struggled to remove her jacket while still holding her down. Like an enraged Tisiphone setting her sights on her prey, the woman practically growled, "I swear, place one hand on me and I'll bite off my own t..."

Before she can finish, Daniels buried his fist into her stomach. As she struggled to catch her breath, Verne quickly yanked off one of her socks and tossed it to McCloud. Balling it up and shoving it into the woman's mouth, McCloud asked, "You were saying something about touching you?" When the woman is incapable of answering, he shruged and roughly fondled her chest.

"Stop!" Jackie yelled, not bothering to hide the cracking in his voice. The four men all turned to look at him. Trying to find the right words, he said, "You...you can't do this. It's...i-it's wrong...I..."

His three fellow soldiers laughed loudly. "Grow up, kid," Verne said between chuckles. "I'm sure the Commander told you that these people are animals. Why should we treat them with any dignity?"

Jackie struggled to explain why something he had always known to be wrong without question was wrong. "If...if you...if they're really that bad...then doing this would only make you just like them, wouldn't it?"

The men's laughs grew even louder, but were stifled when Major Wesker stepped forward with his hand raised. "He's right." The men moaned childishly, but Wesker shouted, "Quiet! We need to set a good example, after all. Here." He tossed his side arm to Jackie and took a step back. "Finish her."

"Major?" Jackie looked down at the weapon like he was holding a dangerous animal.

Pointing at the woman's face, still the picture of rage, Wesker said, "Boy, it doesn't take a master interrogator to tell that no amount of questioning, force, or drugs are going to get any information out of this one. Get rid of her."

Jackie reluctantly raised his weapon and walked over to the woman. As the other three men stepped away, the woman sneered at Jackie. "Just get it over with."

Raising an eyebrow at Jackie's shaking hands, Verne asks, "Seriously, what's the hold up? She's going to die anyway, and you'll have to fight them eventually. Your first kill is an easy one. My first scrap left half my colleagues dead. All you gotta do is plug this girl and you've proven yourself."

Jackie pointed the weapon at the woman for a few more minutes, but finally lowered it. "I'm...sorry sir. I know she's the enemy, but I can't just shoot an unarmed, innocent woman."

Wesker let out a long sigh. "Very well, but I'm afraid the Commander will have to here about this." He took the pistol from Jackie's hands, stepped forward, and pressed the weapon against the woman's head. Turning his head towards Jackie, he added, "I just hope that if you aren't taken off the field, you'll live long enough to learn that this kind of hesitation will usually..."

Quick as a cobra, the woman grabbed the Major's hands and yanked them back, wrenching the weapon from him. By the time the other soldiers raised their rifles, she had already jumped to her feet and turned the Major into a human she shield. Taking advantage of her opponent's hesitation, she fired three quick shots, each hitting their target's dead center in the forehead. Shoving Wesker forward, she grabbed a knife from an ankle sheath, spun the Major around, and plunged it into his chest. She pulled the sock from her mouth, and with a twisted smile, she looked into the man's dying eyes and said, "Maybe you should have given your other men that little tidbit."

As the Major slumped to the floor, Jackie dropped to his knees. "I...I-I-I.." He struggled to find the right words, but could only babble.

Raising the weapon towards Jackie, the woman's twisted expression faded from her face. Stepping forward, she said in a quiet tone, "I've got a little advice of my own for you, little man. There are no innocents in war. The innocent and the guilty are chosen after the war by the victors. You might think we're insane for our beliefs, and I can assure you we think the same of you, but save that for the history books. The next time you have your weapon trained on an enemy, I suggest you pull the trigger, because if you can't, then maybe you should reassess your allegiances. You might be on the wrong side."

<Extraction team to Agent Hannigan. We're showing you half a klick to our northwest. Do you read us?>

The woman quickly redressed herself while keeping a watchful eye on Jackie. Speaking into her collar, she said, "Roger, Extraction team, I'm reading you."

<Damn, it's good to hear your voice, Barbara. When we were delayed by that massive electrical storm and found the place swarming with goons when we landed, we were afraid we might have lost you. What's your situation?>

"I'm a bit worse for wear, but I'm in one piece. I was ambushed by a quartet of assholes, but they've been neutralized. I've already got everything we need. I think I'm ready to go home."

<Roger that. This kitchen's getting a little too hot for my likings too. Just get over here as quickly but carefully as you can. We'll try to make some noise to keep them busy. then we're out of here like a bat outta Hell.>

"Got it. I'm on my way." Hannigan tossed the gun to the side and grabbed her own weapon. "Think about what I said," She said over her shoulder as she turned to leave.

Genuinely surprised, Jackie shouted after her, "Wait, that's it? You're just gonna let me go?"

Hannigan turned back towards Jackie. "Well, there's no point in giving you advice if you don't live long enough to appreciate it. And besides, it might go against my better judgement, but I can't gun down a man that saved my life, however inadvertent it might have been." Her expression growing ice cold, she added, "But we're even now. The next time I see you, if you're in that ridiculous attire, or I see you within a hundred feet of anyone or anything baring the EXALT logo, I'll gun you down like all the rest. Got it?" Jackie nervously nodded. With the smile returning to her face, Hannigan cracked her knuckles. "In the meantime, we don't need your EXALT buddies thinking about executing you as a traitor, now do we?"

Jackie gave her a nervous smile. "What do you mean?" He asked before a fist to the face put him out like a light.

(Thirty minutes later).

Jackie woke to find himself on a stretcher on the dropship. He could feel his face pulsing with what was surely a black eye. He reached up to touch it, but let out a shrill cry of the pain in his arm. Looking down at the small scorch mark on his arm, his eyes bulged slightly. "She shot me!" He cried out softly.

"Don't worry about it," said a voice belonging to someone Jackie was too out of it to make out. "It probably hurts a lot worse then it is. You got lucky, especially compared to the eight men we lost today. We're almost back to EXALT HQ. I'm giving you something to sleep the rest of the way."

As Jackie slowly drifted away, the words of the X-COM soldier drifted through his mind, and not for the first time, he wondered if he had taken a seriously wrong turn in his life.


Game Master
Staff member
Last Day on the Job: Part One

"Welcome to EXALT. I see a lot of potential in front of me, but you'll need more then just potential. You'll need strength. Determination. Cunning. But most of all, your best chance at survival is your loyalty to the EXALT cause."

Jackie's eyes darted around the room. He could see the older staff looking away from the presentation to avoid anyone seeing their rolling eyes. They'd heard the same lecture a hundred times. None of them were as tired of it then Jackie, though. He had hoped once he decided to devote himself to the cause, his misgivings would fade with time. But somehow, hearing what he was supposed to believe just seemed to make it worse.

"EXALT is devoted to the betterment of mankind by any means possible. At it's core, EXALT exists on the idea that humanity is too misguided, too uncoordinated, too ill to survive on it's own for much longer. Someone had to make the tough decisions, do what others were too weak, to stupid to do on their own. One organization needed to be exalted, raised above the morals of everyday society, and lead humanity into the future. That organization is EXALT."

Jackie scanned the group of new soldiers with wide, questioning eyes. God, what a bunch of mindless sheep, ready to through their lives away over a pretty speech. Of course, mindless or not, I'm still a sheep like them, aren't I?

"EXALT has had many, many successes over the years, even from the shadows. The bombing of the Chinese Embassy in England in 1964. The Tokyo Subway attack in '73. The 1986 assassination of the Russian ambassador to America. The complete crash of the Pentagon computer systems in 1999. The manipulation of the U.S. presidency from 2001 until 2008. The...silencing of that little leak we had the Saint Thomas Church in New York city in 2010."

Bunch of self-centered, egocentric monsters. But what's worse? The people who do this thinking they're right, or someone who goes along with it knowing it's wrong.

"But now, with the aliens, we have the best chance to bring our dreams to fruition. Naturally, in order for them to have achieved their level of technological advancement, they had to have reached what we have longed for for so long. It is our belief that they've come here with just those thoughts in mind. But our narrow-minded opponents in X-COM our doing everything they can to destroy our dreams. Remember that the first full-scale attacks came after X-COM interfered with them one too many times, yet we have had zero confrontations with our visitors. And this is why all current EXALT resources are being directed towards the destruction of X-COM. Now, I want you all to hit the shooting gallery. We're going to start finding your proper classes right away."

As the soldiers shuffled out of the room, Jackie rubbed the bridge of his nose. The Commander walked up behind him and said, "Impressive as always, Colonel McGurn. You felling alright."

Jackie nodded slowly. "Yes sir, just a little tired. I just...tired."

The Commander patted Jackie on the shoulder. "Well, that's because you're such a hard worker. That's why I made you my second officer so quickly, after all."

First officer, you blithering idiot. Did Picard ever call Ricker "Number Two"?

"Thank you, sir," Jacob responded without missing a beat. Suddenly remembering something that had been on his mind, he asked, "Sir, can I talk to you about something in private?"

"Of course, my boy!" Jackie led the Commander into the main Computer Processor room. The Commander motioned for the staff to exit, and after they had gone, asked, "So what's on your mind, my boy."

Stop calling me that, you're, what, ten years older then me?

"Sir, I started working with communications and records on the new changes I proposed to our information handling, but they, um, don't seem to know what I'm talking about, and I can't find any of the changes."

The Commander nodded his head. "I'm afraid that is because I commissioned them deleted."

You did WHAT?!

Jackie struggled to hide the desperation in his voice. "Sir, why? We need those to protect us from hacking. I tried to tell you this in my report, and I figured when you didn't get back to me the second time I sent you a message about it, that I had the go-ahead."

The Commander smiles. "An honest mistake, my boy. Just be more careful in the future. Otherwise, no harm done."

"I...can't believe..." Jackie closed his eyes and took a moment to compose himself. "Sir, our current set up is a security risk. A major one. Our reliance on the alien technology we've acquired could be the death of us. It might make our systems faster and more efficient, but X-COM has been fighting them for nearly a year now. They're just as adept at detecting they're signatures as we are, and they're using that fact to find us."

The Commander waves his hand toward Jackie. DON'T dismiss me like some low level lackey! "Colonel, you worry too much. There is little need to compromise efficiency for such a minor threat. We're practically knocking on X-COM's door, and even if by some miracle they get to us first, we're more then capable..."

"Sir!" Jackie took a step forward, his firsts clenched in rage. "With all due respect, don't you think you're gambling with our future. You can't let your arrogance put EXALT in jeopardy!"

"I AM EXALT!" The Commander yelled suddenly, showing a rage Jackie had never seen before. "Arising to this position was not undeserving! I am here because what I was chosen as he who would be exalted over the exalted! How dear you doubt me?"

"Are you mad! Compromise efficiency? You've compromised everything! And sadly, I'm not even sure why I'm surprised" Jackie swings his arm back, pointing at the door with a hand shaking in fury. "Any minute now, someone could come charging through that door and tell us..."

"Commander!" Shouted a secretary, charging through the door. "It's X-COM. They've found us! They're about to breach the roof as we speak!"

"What!" The Commander's eyes darted back and forth in confused thought. "How did they get up here so fast, and why was I not alerted when they first got here?"

The secretary shook her head. "You don't understand. They did just get here. They used a dropship, probably remote controlled, to distract our AA weaponry. The dropship containing their forces then rose from the side of the building and landed. They must have been practically skimming the ground to avoid detection."

A small explosion could be heard outside, and the secretary ran out. As Jackie walks forward to follow, the Commander shakes his head and puts on a nervous smile. "None of this matters. As I said, this is a minor setback. This is our base, and even if they sent their entire force, they stand zero..." Jackie slowly closed the door before him. "What are doing, Colonel. We need to get out there and command the troops."

Turning back towards the Commander, Jackie slowly pulled a large knife from sheath on his boot. Examining it, he asked, "I don't suppose you remember this knife, do you?" Without bothering to wait for an answer, he continued, "This is the knife pulled from the chest of my commanding officer after my first mission. I asked you if I could keep it as a reminder of my near disastrous first day on the job. Truth is, I was hoping we'd be able to help X-COM see the light one day, and I'd have the chance to return it. You see, I was sparred because my weakness inadvertently distracted my fellow soldiers long enough to give their executioner the upper hand." Jackie squeezed the hilt hard enough for the Commander to hear an audible pop of one of his knuckles. "But now it might all end today because of the arrogance and incompetence of the man who we were all supposed to put our faith in!"

The Commander reached for his side arm. By the time he had pulled it from it's holster and raised it, Jackie had already closed the distance between them. With a swift swipe of his arm and a flick of the wrist, the Commander's weapon fell to the ground, along with his index and middle finger. "Oh, God, please, don't!" The Commander dropped to his knees.

Look at him, whimpering like a frightened child. He's worse then I was when I first started here, and he's supposed to be the Commander? Pathetic.

Jackie shook his head. "You know, I'm sure I'm supposed to say something right now, some kind of speech about how I'm relieving you of duty. But quite frankly, I don't think you're worth it." With a violent stab, Jackie thrust the knife into the Commander's chest. The Commander looked down at it in horror. Huh. Guess she had some practice killing people with a single thrust. Jackie shrugged. Oh well, I'm patient. Jackie yanked he knife from the Commander's chest and thrust it in again. And again. And again. And again.

Around the tenth stab, a female analyst walked in. "What have you done!" She looked down and grabbed the pistol from her holster. Raising her head, she looked back and forth in confusion, Jackie having disappeared from sight.


Game Master
Staff member
Last Day on the Job: Part Two

Having dashed to the side and behind her, Jackie wrapped his hand around the back of her neck, lifting her in the air and slapping her gun away with his free hand. "I'm sure if you were a soldier, you would have known not to take your eye off an opponent like that." Walking over to the Commander's body, he said, "You know, I'd be more sorry about this if you didn't constantly report to the Commander about my actions. I'd be willing to bet your the one who deleted my changes on his behalf."

The woman smiled weakly as Jackie pulled out his sidearm. "Go...to...Hell..." Jackie fired six shots into the woman's back, then a final one into the back of her head.

Moment after Jackie had dropped her onto the Commander, two soldiers ran in. "What happened!" The first yelled.

"Patty, she...she murdered the Commander!" Jackie pushed the woman's body to the side and pulled the Commander onto his lap. "How could she do this? Why now?" He closed the Commander's eyes, and said in disgust, "How unforgiving. For him to have to fall to an EXALT knife."

"No, Colonel, look." The second soldier picked up the knife from the ground and handed it to Jackie. "This knife has the X-COM logo on it!"

"Of course!" Jackie punched the ground in rage. "She must be a spy. And to think she was one of the Commander's most trusted crew members." Gently placing the Commander on the ground, Jackie climbed to his feet and headed for the door. Over his shoulder, he said, "This base needs a leader right now. Join me out there after you've barricaded this room. We need to make sure the Commander's body stays safe in here so he can have a proper burial." Jackie quickly walked out of the room. Cracking his knuckles, he said to himself, "Now let's see if I can salvage this."

(An hour later)

"Colonel, I don't know how much longer we can hold them!"

Jackie looked around the main command center. He sneered angrily at the flickering hologlobe as though everything was it's fault. "We need to do something to turn the tide. Stay here and cover me." He quickly dashed to right, diving through the doors before him, barely avoiding a shot in the back.

As he quickly made his way through the soldier's lounge, he flinched at the sounds of gun fire and explosions around him, X-COM destroying the base that Jackie now controlled. Not content with his reign being the shortest in history, he stepped up the pace. But as he reached the center of the room, he stopped at the sudden feeling that he was not alone, that familiar tingle of his bioelectic skin running through his body. Resisting the urge to start firing around the room randomly, he closed his eyes and trusted his hearing and instincts. A few moments later, he turned 180 and pointed his handgun forward. He could vaguely see another soldier aiming at him, nearly invisible thanks to mimetic skin. "You again!" Shouts a familiar voice.

As his opponent dropped her cloak, Jackie chuckled loudly. "Barbara, right? Or do you prefer Barb?" Jackie's eye's momentarily dart towards her rank insignia. "Lieutenant, huh? I see you've moved up through the ranks. I'd make a joke about outranking you know, but to be honest, my Commander is...was kind of an idiot, so my rank doesn't mean much."

"And I see you didn't take my advice." Hannigan sneers at Jackie. "You're still wearing that fucking ridiculous uniform. Seriously, you're a black-op group wearing something that makes you stick out like Thin Man in Munchkinville. If you weren't going to take my advice about reassessing your choices, you could have at least tried to fight your superiors to change into something less conspicuous."

"Oh, but I did, on both counts." Jackie steadied his hands, keeping an eye on Hannigan's trigger finger. "Trust me, I thought about my situation. Long and hard. I looked at what EXALT was, and what it stood for. And I decided that, between them and X-COM, EXALT had the right idea about the aliens, they were just going about it the wrong way. I needed to stay with them, to do what I can to set them on the right path."

"Stay with these monsters?" Hannigan shakes her head slightly. "Do you know how many good people have died because of you?"

"Good people?" Jackie smirks. "You're the one who said the decision about who's good and bad was best left for after the war. Besides, you can't just expect things to get better unless you're willing to work at it and make the necessary changes. That's what EXALT is all about. But they forgot that they had to keep themselves in check too. You know, when I reached the rank of major, I came across a group of my men pulling the same shit as the guys you took out all those months ago. I executed them myself on the spot. And as for the uniform? What can I say? It grows on you."

"We found a female soldier surrounded by a group of dead EXALTs, but she was already dead."

"Of course she was." Jackie raised an eyebrow. "I executed her as well."

Hannigan clenched her teeth. "Her name was Clara, and she was my best friend."

"And? Are you trying to make me feel bad for striking down an enemy?" Jackie narrowed his eyes. "You told me that if I had my weapon trained on an opponent, I should pull the trigger. I let her live, and she has the opportunity to kill me another day."

Hannigan took a short step forward. "I was hoping to turn what I saw as a decent man towards a better path."

"You wanted to convince a good man to do what was right, and in my eyes, that's exactly what I did."

The pair stood in silence for several moments. Taking a deep breath, Hannigan asked, "So what happens now? Do we just stand here hoping that our respective allies will come first?"

"I'm not sure to be honest." Jackie lightly shruged. "I don't want to die today, but I don't want to kill you either. In my eyes, you didn't owe me a thing when you speared me, so I'm still in your debt."

"Well, I have my orders, and I have no plans of backing down. I'm afraid we aren't both getting out of this alive."

Hannigan slowly moved her index finger over the trigger, Jackie doing the same. The pair continued to stare at one another. After a minute, Hannigan's hands started to lightly shake. Seeing his chance, Jackie dropped to one knee. Hannigan darts backwards and takes cover behind a pillar as Jackie opens fire. Jackie walks backward until he reaches a pillar of his own. "What's wrong, Lieutenant? Maybe that low rank is for a reason."

"Shut it!" Hannigan fires wildly towards Jackie, not bothering to aim.

"Don't tell me you're all bark and no bite, Barb. You have to have more field experience then this, right?"

"Of course I do!" Hannigan's clip went dry in the middle of firing. She rapidly reloaded, cursing softly.

"That's why you were a spy, huh? Good actor, but little fighting skills." Jackie peaked out from his cover. Seeing his opponent still fumbling with her weapon, he fired rapidly at her with his hand gun, unloading on her while pulling out a grenade with his free hand. Pulling the pin, he ran forward, firing with one hand while tossing the grenade past Hannigan with the other. She lets out out a loud yelp at the explosions as Jackie runs up behind her and slams into her shoulder first. Her rifled slid away from her, and she slowly crawled backwards, looking up at Jackie with cowering eyes.

Jackie looked down at his defeated foe. He grabed his rifle off his back and takes aim. Looking into her terrified eyes, he mumbled, "I'm sorry. I really didn't want it to end like this." Letting out a deep sigh, Jackie steadied his aim, and at the sound of two gunshots, dropped to his knees, a sudden pain running through both his lower legs. His eyes darted down at Hannigan's left hand, and the smoking DoubleTap Derringer in it. Struggling to fight the pain and re-aim, Hannigan raised her right hand and pressed down on a remote trigger, detonating a sticky bomb on the pillar she had been hiding behind. Jackie took the entirety of the explosion to his back, launching him up an over Hannigan and landing hard on his back.

Jackie looked up at the ceiling. He tired to sit up, but realized he couldn't move anything below his neck. Hannigan slowly stood up, dusting herself up and retrieving her weapon. As she stood of Jackie and reloaded, she softly said, "Just because I'm a good actor doesn't mean I can't also fight."

Jackie laughed weakly, coughing up some blood as he did so. "You're right," he whispered. "That was a good trick. You beat me fair and square."

Hannigan kneeled down next to him. "Mostly because you hesitated. When you mentioned you outranked me, I knew it was too risky to try and fight you out right."

Jackie nodded. "I guess I never did learn, huh?" His eyes darted down. "My...boot holster." Hannigan cautiously pulled the knife from it's sheath and examined it. "I always...wanted to...return..." Jackie closed his eyes, falling silent.

Hannigan checked Jackie's pulse, then rose to her feet. "Thanks," she said quietly, flipping it in the air.

Three X-COM soldiers ran into the room. One of them stepped forward and said, "Commander, we've taken the base. I believe EXALT is done for." He shakes his head. "I still think it was a bad idea for you to come along."

"Staying on base didn't save the former Commander did it?" Hannigan looked down at Jackie. "Besides, this was a very important, very dangerous mission. I had to lead it myself

Looking at Jackie himself, the soldier asked. "Someone you know?"

Hannigan nods. "Yeah. Someone I tried to help a long time ago. But I'm afraid you can't save everyyone. Shame, too. He was a good man"

"We believe we found the Commander of the base," the soldier said. "He was already dead. It looked like he had been stabbed to death."

Hannigan looked at the dried blood on her knife again. She shrugs lightly, then motions for the others to follow her as she heads towards the command room.


Game Master
Staff member
Name: Vladimir 'Vlad' Koslovo
Role: Commanding Officer
Age: 48
DoB: Jan. 16th, 1950
Sex: Male
Place of Birth: Moscow, Russia
Nationality: Russian
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 202 lbs
Hair Color: Black
Hair Style: Shaved
Eye Color: Brown

Vladimir has the hard appearance of one who has known combat his whole life. His face and body have a variety of nicks, marks, and abrasions from bullet wounds, knives, and shrapnel, including a large scar running from his forehead to his left cheek, crossing over his eye. He has a serious expression, but has been known to crack a smile once in a while. He has let his weight get a bit high, but it hasn't slowed him down.

Medium level body armor. A M4 carbine equipped with a M03 grenade launcher and a STI Eagle 6.0 sidearm. A single H.E. grenade, a worn out but functional multitool, a worn but well maintained combat knife, and a pocket torch.

Vladimir is a tough as nails commanding officer that expects only the best out of those around him, and has a high turnover rate because of it. Those that are able to live up to his expectations, however, find him to be a fair man who they can trust to keep them safe. His 12% casualty rate, less than half of the entire UBCS's 25%, is a testament to that. He is stern and serious, especially in the face of danger, but he is not lacking in a sense of humor.

Bio: Born to a former KGB spy, Vladimir was never a stranger to the dark underbelly of Russia. Taught in fighting and weapon use at a young age, Vlad joined the KGB himself by his father's side.

Tasked primarily with the elimination of foreign spies and those who challenged the Soviet Union's rule, Vladimir made for quite the skilled spy and assassin. After the dissolution of the KGB in 1991, a 41 year old Vlad had few places to go, as his career path of death and assassination left little room for skills appropriate for a peaceful life.

Vladimir decided to try his hand at mercenary work, and continued his work as a spy and assassin for other countries (though never when it was against his beloved Mother Russia). Two years later, Vladimir was recruited by the recently formed UBCS to share his wealth of experience and skills with the normally wild and difficult to control recruits. He has thus far led a fine and financially successful career in the UBCS.

Special Notes:
While skilled with most weaponry, he is best with his rifle/grenade launcher/magnum combination.

Before being sent to Raccoon City, Vladimir was considered for participation in Operation: Bravo-16, but was passed over as a possible Monitor because of his high degree of loyalty to his men.


Game Master
Staff member
Name: Jorge 'Taruca' Rivera
Role: Medic
Age: 27
DoB: July 5th, 1971
Sex: Male
Place of Birth: Santiago, Chile
Nationality: Mestizo
Height: 5'8"
Weight: 129 lbs
Hair Color: Black
Hair Style: Short, Spiked
Eye Color: Hazel

Jorge has an optimistic face, with a hint of sadness in his eyes. He smiles when others are around, frowns when by himself. He keeps himself well groomed, and his tanned skin is mostly blemish free, with the exception of a set of holes in his right arm, leg, and side from a trio of bullets. The wound on his side occasionally causes him discomfort.

Medium level body Armor. A M4A1 rifle with no accessories and a SIG Pro SP2009 sidearm. A Standard issue torch, a heavy-duty field medical kit, a small pocket knife, a two-way radio, and his 'lucky grenade'.

Personality: Jorge has an unusually upbeat attitude for one in his line of work. He tries to project his positive attitude on others, something that kept spirits up before the UBCS, but now just seems to piss off his peers. He tends to sit alone a lot, staring sadly into space. No matter how his peers treat him, he watches out for them like they're family.

Jorge was born to an upper-middle class family, and had a promising career as a doctor ahead of him. Just as he began medical school, however, his interest in the suffering of his fellow South Americans at the hands of drug cartels, coupled with how much local authorities were paid off, reached a boiling point. Dropping out of school after two years, he moved to Peru and joined a small guerilla army.

Jorge primarily acted as a field medic. Adopting the role of caregiver, the harder the tasks he had to face, and the more death he had to face, the more he had to learn to smile, to keep morale up, as well as to keep himself from going insane from despair. However, it was all for naught, as his small band was ambushed in 1996, and all of his comrades were wiped out. The lone survivor, an injured Jorge came face to face with his death at the hands of the corrupt local authorities.

His saving grace was the Umbrella Corporation, who had his charges dropped in exchange for a service period of at least three years. Jorge is now entering his third year, and looks forward to its completion, as he hopes to finally escape this life of killing and pain, and to return to his family in Chile.

Special Notes:
Jorge is not very skilled with weaponry, and is best acting as rear security, support, or back-up. He is, on the other hand, an excellent medic, is surprisingly proficient with the simplest of med kits, and is good at improvising.


Game Master
Staff member
Name: Michele Aquila
Role: Scout
Age: 22
DoB: March 22nd, 1976
Sex: Male
Place of Birth: Florence, Italy
Nationality: Italian
Height: 5'9"
Weight: 136 lbs
Hair Color: Blond
Hair Style: Short, messy, swept to the right
Eye Color: Blue

Appearance: Michele has the youthful, nervous expression of one who has seen little combat. He constantly has a five o'clock shadow, and paranoid, skiddish eyes. While relatively healthy, he has a somewhat gangly, malnourished look.

Gear: Light level body armor. A M3 Shotgun and a SIG Pro SP2009 sidearm. A standard issue torch, a standard issue combat knife, a personal medkit, two flash-bangs, and a worn silver cross.

Personality: Michele appears to suffer from a moderate form of Paranoid Schizophrenia. He is easiest to deal with when his sister is with him. At other times, he'll still follow orders, but often needs to be told things twice, as he oft seems to be in his own world. He is incredibly nervous, and seems to be prone to panic attacks.

Michele was raised by his sister Erica (six years his senior) after their parents died in an unsolved fire that burned down their estate when Michele was nine. It is unknown if Michele was disturbed by the experience, or was already disturbed before the fire. Regardless, his sister used his fragile mind to her advantage.

Something of a sadist, Erica became a skilled mercenary and assassin at the age of fifteen, and brought her brother along for the ride. Despite his state, Michele is skilled with a weapon, particularly a shotgun, and Erica often used her brother as an enforcer. The two have an odd relationship. On the surface, Erica seems abusive, and yet Michele follows her like a loyal pet, and has nothing but good things to say about her. Whether the pair have an intimate relationship has yet to be substantiated.

The pair were stopped during an assassination attempt in the Vatican in Rome, though not before killing a dozen people during a fire fight. It was never discovered who they worked for or who their target was. Erica was set to be hanged, but not before Umbrella swooped in and claimed her for their own. She happily agreed to lend her skills to the UBCS, though insisted on bringing her brother along, who had been sent to a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. The pair have been with the UBCS since 1995.

Special Notes:
Michele might be very, very strange, with antisocial tendency and a penchant for zoning out, as though talking to someone, but for all his faults, he makes for a deadly soldier. Entering into some sort of trance in the heat of battle, he seems to have a sixth sense for dodging bullets and shooting with deadly accuracy, even at long range with a shotgun.


Game Master
Staff member
Name: Anthony (Tony) 'Viper' Richardson
Role: Demolitions
Age: 33
DoB: December 21st, 1964
Sex: Male
Place of Birth: Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Nationality: Caucasian American
Height: 6'
Weight: 154 lbs
Hair Color: Brown
Hair Style: Long, Ponytail
Eye Color: Green

Tony has the perpetual smug look of one who is in constant control of everything around him, or at least believes he is. He has a trio of small, faded scars on the left side of his neck. He has a strong build, lean and somewhat muscular, and a fairly handsome face.

Heavy level body armor. A M4A1 rifle with an attached torch and a SIG Pro SP2009 sidearm. An AT-4 anti-tank rocket launcher with two rockets. A standard issue Combat knife, a second, custom Combat knife, two H.E. grenades, and half a pack of Marley cigarettes.

Tony has an incredibly abrasive attitude that rubs everyone the wrong way. He is loud, intrusive, obnoxious, and if he thinks he can get away with it, disobedient. Despite his skills, he would have been dismissed from the UBCS a long time ago if not for his incredible loyalty to his god, the Almighty Dollar, that usually keeps him in line. Nearly as bad as his greed is his lechery, and numerous complaints have been voiced by the UBCS's few female soldiers.

Taught by his uncles in the art of explosives, Tony grew up with a love for destruction. Developing sociopathic tendency at a young age, he particularly enjoyed explosions that claimed the lives of others, and during his time as a bomb maker for the mob after moving to New York, they had several incidents in which he purposely made a bomb too weak, in the hopes that civilians caught in the explosions would suffer for as long as possible.

It was not his penchant for blowing things up that got him in trouble, but his other psychotic needs. In 1994, circumstantial evidence tied him to the double homicide of a housewife and her fourteen year old daughter, the wife and daughter to an investigator trying to nail Tony. While Tony's connections would have normally got him off the hook, the teenage victim had the last laugh with DNA evidence under her fingernails. The mob might have still been able to get him off, but his own family had grown tired of dealing with him, and they left him to fry.

Except he didn't. A month before his execution, Tony mysteriously received a pardon, as well as a job offer from Umbrella. Much to the dismay of everyone involved, especially the victims' family, Tony happily joined the UBCS.

Special Notes:
Tony is an excellent shot, but where he really shines is in explosives, both in use and making them. He is surprisingly improvisational too. Just use caution, as he tends to get carried away.

As Tony's anti-social nature makes it easy for him to avoid others without drawing suspicion, and because he can be so easily manipulated with monetary rewards, he has been selected to act as a Monitor in Operation: Bravo-16.


Game Master
Staff member
Name: Jack 'Iron Jack' Anderson
Role: Engineer
Age: 35
DoB: November 13th, 1963
Sex: Male
Place of Birth: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Nationality: African American
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 220 lbs
Hair Color: Black
Hair Style: Very Short
Eye Color: Hazel

Jack has a hardened expression, and rarely smiles. He has seen some difficult times, and one can see it on his face. His handsome yet brutish looks hide his inquisitive eyes. Almost obsessed with working out, Jack is a powerhouse, 220 lbs of pure muscle.

Medium level body armor. A M4A1 rifle with a customized shotgun attachment and a SIG Pro SP2009 sidearm. A single H.E. grenade, a multitool, an on-board diagnostic device, a small portable hard-drive, a small canteen of water in addition to the standard issue one, a small pocket book w/ notes and a picture, and three Cuban cigars.

With a few exceptions, Jack doesn't interact with his fellow soldiers beyond a professional means, though this is less because he is antisocial and more because he dislikes working with murders, mercenaries, and assassins.

Otherwise, Jack an intelligent and analytical man, excellent at reading people and situations. His personality stands out amongst the usual lowlifes in the UBCS.

Real name is Jack Irons. Jack grew up in a modest middle class family in the suburbs of Chicago. After high school, he joined the United States Marine Corps, where he received specialized training, and was praised for his quick and analytical thinking.

Injured in the line of duty in 1992, Jack returned home and used his earnings to become a private investigator, interested in police work but having grown tired of that kind of structure from the Marines, wanting his freedom. He made a modest name for himself, and had a good relationship with the CPD and the Chicago branch of the FBI.

It is through the latter that Jack learned that the FBI were investigating his brother-in-law, Raccoon City Chief of Police Brian Irons, and his tie to possible illegal activity involving the Umbrella Corporation. Afraid to send their own men, as they knew Umbrella had eyes on them as well, the FBI gave Jack a new last name and back story, and asked him to investigate Umbrella from within through the UBCS.

Little does Jack or the FBI know that Umbrella's information network is greater then they realize.

Special Notes:
Working as a field engineer during his time with the Marines, Jack is a wizard with electronics, and anything mechanical, from engines to communication equipment to electronic locks, should be left to him.

Jack Iron's information digging has reached an uncomfortable level, and Operation: Bravo 16 presents an excellent opportunity to be rid of him. All monitors have been instructed to eliminate Mr. 'Anderson' if at all possible. Note that your instruction to avoid revealing your true mission takes precedence over this.


Game Master
Staff member
Raccoon City
Near the Corner of Ennerdale and Davies
September 28th, 1998

The Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasures Service made its final approach to the city. Echo team touched down, the two Blackhawks dropping off its twenty-four soldiers and taking off again.

Fucking cowards, Erica Aquila thought to herself as the ten squad commanders sounded off. She reached for her own earpiece. "Echo Platoon, Squad B, landed." She looked towards the LZ of Echo A, grinning. Brother is likely pissing himself without me. Sorry. I'm not going to give up my chance at command for you. Be good, and maybe I'll get you transfered to Squad B after this... maybe.

Gunfire in the distance. Sounded like UBCS weaponry. "Charlie B. Hostiles incoming," came a voice over the radio.

More gunfire. "Delta A. Hostiles over here too."

"Bravo A. Hostiles must be on some kind of drugs. They're not reacting to gunshots like they should."

Erica looked around at her group of soldiers. Mostly green. I can see it in their eyes. Damn it, I thought the UBCS was supposed to be made up of the best dregs from across the globe. This is what happens when we have a sudden recruitment drive for this mission.

"Hostiles incoming," one of the men shouted, and Erica snapped to attention. Looking through the scope of her sniper rifle, she was taken aback by the disheveled appearance of the incoming men, women, and... children?

"U-uh, Captain?" One of the other men started. "They look like civilians. Um... sick civilians, but..."

"We're here to rescue civilians, police, and most importantly, Umbrella VIPs from unknown aggressors destroying the city. If these people are charging us..." Erica fired, a round punching though a man's chest and knocking him down, along with three hostiles behind him. "...then these are the aggressors."

"Yes, Captain," several men answered, and prepared for the attackers to come within range. As Erica lined up another shot, she noted four of them standing back up.

Wait... four? The man she had shot was standing back up, blood leaking out of the open wound. Drugs, my ass! I shot him in the heart! How can he... "Open fire!"

"But Captain, they're not completely within..."

"Fire, dammit! Open fire now!"

The squad opened up, and the attackers continued their advance. As they brushed off the bullets, most not stopping at all, Erica could hear the yells, cries, and bloody screams of the other platoons.

"Bravo A, they won't stay down! What the fuck is going on?!"

"Delta A, they're overtaking us! Fall back, fall back!

"They're biting them! Oh, God, they're trying to eat us!"

"Aim for the head! That's the only thing keeping them down! Hit them GAGH!"

Erica took careful aim. The attackers made no attempt to shield themselves or avoid shots, and she blew a hole in one of their heads. He dropped to the ground and stayed there. "Concentrate on head shots!" she shouted. "Only aim for the head!"

It was too late. Several more attackers fell to the ground, but so many more swarmed the soldiers. The squad fell apart, everyone rushing into a retreat. Erica flung her rifle on her back and took off, rushing past a soldier she was unfamiliar with as one of the aggressors took a bite out of his cheek.

Catching up to another soldier, a long time colleague named Sampson, Erica pulled out her side arm and fired back. "Inferno cazzo! What the Hell is going on!"

"Research," Sampson answered calmly, pulling out his own sidearm. "Research I'm being paid too much for to die here. Though I could use something to slow them down."

Erica turned her head to ask him what he was saying, only to see him aiming at her legs as they ran. She suddenly leaped at him, his shot skimming her leg as she tackled him to the ground. They struggled for a bit, Erica getting a few good punches to Sampson's face, before the sharp, stinging pain of a bullet punching through her side made her cry out.

Sampson had a few moments to grin up at her in delight before screaming, one of the crazed attackers biting into his leg. As several more swarmed over him, Erica rolled out of the way. Another man jumped on her, trying to take a bite out of her face. She shoved his face back, but a quick chomp cost her half of her right pinky.

Bleeding, limping, crying in pain, Erica swung off her rifle and tossed it at another attacker, her pain now leaving her too weak to carry it anyway. She retreated as quickly as she could, the aggressors close behind. What the fuck is this?!


Game Master
Staff member
Balance. Light and Dark. Good and Evil. A constant struggle between two opposing forces, each pushing against one another in an attempt to come out on top. Neither can ever win, as there is no coming back from eternal darkness, and too much light only gives way to deeper shadows. Only a balance between the forces can assure the continuation of the universe as we know it.

But the balance has been shattered.

Earth. 2051. For half a century, the fires have been burning. Growing. Such a fraction of time to us eternal beings, but so long for the short lived humans. The forces of the Inferno have always spread their influence across the Human realm, ever since the Great War. But the intensity had grown so much. And yet... our intelligence told us it was little more then a push.

An influential whisper here or there was all that was needed to set man on a dark path. Flawed are they that little more was necessary. Destruction. Riots. Assassinations of great leaders. Horrific acts of terrorism. War. Genocide. So far had the darkness spread that the forces of Paradise were preparing to intervene, regardless of what had been reported... but we acted too late.

The world shook with a massive quake. The sun darkened, and the moon became as blood. A farce, one resembling the opening of the sixth seal, but the seals remained untouched. Ignorant were we to the spread of darkness, so great that it opened a path to Earth from the darkest depths of the Inferno. Their forces spread across the globe, spreading havoc and death. We discovered too late why we were unprepared: a number of Powers, Virtues, Dominions, and even Thrones were no where to be found. We had been betrayed, betrayed on a scale we never thought possible.

Earth was immediately declared a lost cause, one that would only result in an unnecessary loss of Celestials if we tried to save it. It was decided it was better to leave the Earth and consolidate our forces, to prepare for the assault that would surely come.

I didn't accept that. I couldn't accept it.

With a band of my fellow Celestials, including several other Principalities and a few Powers, we charged down to Earth, five hundred strong. In the end, we didn't stand a chance. One by one, my allies fell. Killed in battle, or worse: captured and dragged off for who knows what tortures. I witnessed my love, my everything, pierced through the belly and broken on the ground.

If only I had shared his fate. He died because of my insistence on helping humanity. And I've lived. All the torments I have endured, all the torture I have suffered, even the sight of the pile of feathers before me...

...none of it compares to living with the knowledge that I led so many dare friends to oblivion...


Game Master
Staff member
Zombie's Spontaneous Anime List (Because He's Bored at Work) GO!:
"Top 10 Magical Girl Anime"

10) Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon is about the adventures of Serena Tsukino (Usagi Tsukino in the original dub, which is a little too close Unagi for me), a ditzy teenager who, along with her team of "Sailor Soldiers/Guardians" named after various planets (Moon>Planets?), fight against Evil to defend, not only the Earth, but the whole Solar System.

Was I into Sailor Moon as a kid? No. Do I have a lot of experience with it? Nnnnnot really. Is it only on this list because I needed something to fit into the #10 slot? Kinda. But just because I wasn't into this series doesn't mean I don't respect the significance of it, as it was one of the early ones and shaped many anime to follow, as well as introducing an anime series to America where before the selection was lax. I just couldn't get into it because I was turned off by how the main protagonist is a ditzy, clumsy, underachieving... well, idiot who was freaking out that she gained a single pound in the first episode I saw. It also showed a weird double standard in terms of Sexuality in America, where they kept in the somewhat revealing transformation sequence for the fourteen year old main character but changed Sailor Uranus and Neptune from lesbian lovers to close cousins. Very... very close cousins.

...song is kinda catchy, though... wicked guitar solo...

9) Puni Puni Poemy

From the makers of Excel Saga and something of a spin-off of that series, this anime follows Magical Girl Poemy's strange and unusual encounters in a two-part OVA that largely acts as a spoof of other MGA (Magical Girl Anime), almost in the way a movie like Hot Shots! or Scary Movie spoofs, that contains all the wackiness and weirdness one would expect from a show like FLCL, Azumanga Daioh, or (naturally) Excel Saga.

This is a fun (and fairly mature) entry. It goes so low on the list because it is so short and has little in the way of a plot, mostly played for laughs. It is enjoyable, and has that kinda zany comedy from anime like Excel Saga, Cromartie High School, and Pani Pony Dash, though never quite reaches their level of hilarity. Still, a fun watch I would recommend to anyone who wants to see something 'out there'.

8) Magic Knight Rayearth

Another early 90s anime, Magic Knight Rayearth stars three protagonist who, during a school trip to Tokyo Tower, are mysteriously whisked away to the magical world of Cephiro, where the will of the world's 'Pillar' maintains the world, and the girls are tasked with saving the world's current Pillar, Princess Emeraude, while searching for a way home.

This one is a ton of fun and ideal for those looking for some old school fantasy world action. Sword fighting, magic, elements, love, sacrifice, betrayal, and twists and turns you might not see coming. Oh, and some giant mechs later in the series. It's okay, though. They are ancient mechs power by magic, like Escaflowne mechs or... certain Power Ranger robots? Anyway, pick this one up. Bonus, it has a movie based on the anime that doesn't suck!

7) Revolutionary Girl Utena

Attending Ohtori Academy, tomboy Utena Tenjou defends Anthy Himemiya from her abusive 'boyfriend', beating him in a duel, only to find out she just entered herself in a tournament in which the winner of each duel gains possession of the Anthy, aka the "Rose Bride", and the ultimate winner will gain the "power to revolutionize the world".

Words to define this series are trippy, surreal, metaphysical, allegorical, and just plain weird. This is definitively a strange one with metaphysical discussions that might leave you scratching your head and surreal imaging that will make you tilt your head at times. It is an interesting take on the "Prince saves the Princess" story, seeing as the Prince in this case is a women (and she does strive to be a Prince, and no, not in the way you're thinking). It might be cheating to include it on a list of Magical Girl Anime, but she does have a transformation sequence, and she does fight "evil" to protect something precious to her, so... I'm including it, and that's that.

6) Princess Tutu

This series follows a young dance academy student named Duck (yes, her name really is Duck, and yes, there is a reason for it), who longs to be a great ballerina as well as attract the attention of Mytho, a young man with a shattered heart. She fights magical and dance-related threats after transforming in the mythical Princess Tutu, often beating them through the power of ballet.

This series is naturally inspired by a variety of famous Ballet along with fairy tales, especially The Ugly Duckling and Swan Lake. Despite not having much of an interest in ballet and having low expectations as a mature man, I found myself enjoying this one a lot. It is probably the most "Something for Everyone" series on this list. Kids will enjoy the humor, the fights, and the flashy sides of it, and it tends to resolve things through dance rather then violence. On the other hand, the humor can hit home for the more mature, the art style is great, and it deals with a lot of adult themes, from death to betrayal to love lost. Don't pass this one up based on title alone. What might seem like a little girl-focused ugly duckling may be a beautiful swan all along.

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Game Master
Staff member
5) Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya

The spawn of the idea "What if we took the series Fate/Stay Night and turned it into a magical girl anime starring the tragic, lonely Russian girl who gets her heart ripped out in the movie?" Plucky, energetic Illya deals with everyday shenanigans while fighting all sorts of magical beings, and the power locked deep inside herself.

An odd spinoff of the Fate series, though very enjoyable. Don't worry if you have never seen another Fate series, as the cameo characters are not related to their main-series counterparts. Definitely the most Moe series on the list, this series has a number of loli moments, treading the line between Ecchi and adult. If that isn't your thing, don't worry. The animation is fantastic, the comedy is spot on, and the action is phenomenal.

4) Is this a Zombie?

Comedy series about Ayumu Aikawa, a high school student who is murdered by a serial killer but resurrected as a zombie by a necromancer named Eucliwood Hellscythe. In his attempts to continue a normal life despite being undead, as well as catch the man who killed him, he ends up amassing quite the colorful group of fantasy characters, all women of course, including the aforementioned necromancer, a vampire, and, naturally, a magical girl.

This series is pure joy. Extremely funny, great fantasy and monster related fights, sexy with its cast of female characters, and with a solid story that offers a great balance between comedy and more serious moments. This can be classified as a magical girl anime because, not only does it feature a chainsaw-wielding, demon-slaying Magical Girl, but in the first episode, Ayumu accidentally steals her powers, making this the only series on the list (and likely the only one ever) where the main male character is a magical girl. And no, her costume does not become any less feminine on Ayumu, and yes, he does transform into this embarrassing form in front of his whole class... in the first episode.

3) Cutie Honey

The oldest entry on this list, the original series dating back to 1973 (making it one of the first MGA ever, though Princess Knight predates it by 20 years), this story follows the adventures of Honey Kisaragi. After her father is murdered by the evil Panther Claw Organization, she finds out she has a mystical power to transform into any role or job (similar to the dress sphere system in Final Fantasy X-2 oddly enough), later finding out she can do this because she is, in fact, not human, but an android built with an experimental atmospheric element condenser mechanism, allowing her to "create matter from the air" (Suck it, Star Trek Replicators, anime did it first!). Her ultimate transformation is into the sword wielding Cutie Honey, and busty redhead who fights with agility, fierce attacks, and the power of her Android heart.

...and fan-service.

I love this series, and so does Japan. Since its inception, the serious has produced numerous manga series, two anime television series, two OVA series, two drama CDs, and two live action adaptations, the latest production being in 2016. This is the most mature of the series on this list, containing a lot of adult themes and nudity. Naturally, for sex appeal, whenever Honey changes into another role/costume, her clothes from the previous costume disappear first (FFX-2 would have been a lot better if it included this feature). I was personally introduced to Cutie Honey with New Cutie Honey, brought to us by Toei Animation in 1994. If you're not attracted to the more lewd aspects, there is plenty of comedy, plenty of action, plenty of heart, and a good story no matter which series you pick. Not to mention a kick ass theme song!

2) Cardcaptor Sakura

Also known as Cardcaptors in America, this anime centers around the power of mystical sorcerer named Clow Reed, who created powerful magical cards, known as the Clow Cards, each with their own power one can utilize, as well as a mind all their own. Thousands of years later, ten year old Sakura Kinomoto (aka Sakura Avalon) accidentally opens the book they are contained in, releasing all but the Windy Card (which she manages to hold on to) across her city. The book also releases a guardian named Cerberus/Keroberos, nicknamed Kero by Sakura, who charges her to use the magic contained in the book's Key (which transforms into your usual Magical Girl Wand) to capture the cards, a task that becomes increasingly difficult and dangerous as she faces stronger cards, though she is aided by the cards she is able to capture along the way. She is joined by her second cousin, best friend, confidant and keeper of her secret, and camerawoman Tomoyo Daidouji. (Madison Taylor in America. Talk about Americanization of a name!)

This might not be the greatest series ever, but it holds a special place in my heart as one of the earliest anime I ever saw, and definitely the first anime I got into, looking forward to every episode. Not only does it have the usual pluses, including a beautiful art style that I feel holds up today, good action, a delightful story, and a fun little romance web subplot, it has a bonus 'collect-a-thon' feel to it. Beyond the simple "monster of the week" story, I not only looked forward to seeing how she would beat the next card, but how she would use that card in a future episode. Reminds me of Mega Man, beating a Robot Master then using its ability to solve platforming puzzles and beat the next Robot Master. Nostalgia certainly pushed this one up on the list, but it is a solid entry, and I'm sure most people would love this, strange Americanizations notwithstanding (interesting Sailor Moon- like change, Tomoyo has romantic feelings for Sakura in the original manga, but even though these were only the feelings of a ten year old, they still completely removed them from the American version).

1) Puella Magi Madoka Magica

This is the story of Madoka Kaname and her friends as they are approached by a strange cat-like being named Kyubey, who offers to grant them any wish they desire in exchange for them becoming Magical Girls and battling monsters refereed to as witches. This simple plot expands beyond the usual Magical Girl story as nothing, from the magical powers to the wishes to the witches themselves, is what they seem.

While Cardcaptor Sakura almost made number one for nostalgia alone, I would be remiss to not make this one my favorite MGA, possibly the greatest MGA of all time. What starts off as a typical, cutsie, girly show turns into a intricate plot, even a kind of psychological thriller, involving loss, pain, sacrifice, deception, jealousy, longing, and tragedy that culminates and concludes in an incredible ending that ties a neat little bow on a fantastic series (one of my pet peeves is endings, which I feel can ruin an entire series if done wrong, but this one completely delivered). Add to this stunning animation, intense fights, interesting and deep characters, and great pacing that tells a clean, concise story in twelve episodes, and I can honestly say this is a must watch for anyone who claims to be a fan of Japanese Animation.

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