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The XCOM Report: Volume Two

Greetings! It's time for volume two of The XCOM Report. For those of you who missed my first part, you can read it here. To sum up, this is a feature I will be blogging for a while about my experiences in XCOM: Enemy Unknown. In an attempt to reconnect with the GIO community, I have asked for participants (and continue to ask! Slots are always open!) to be soldiers in XCOM. I'm not fantastic, but I like to think I can hold my own. I got a lot of positive response from members in my last episode, so please be patient. You will be included!

I play on Normal difficulty on Ironman. I also have some various second wave options selected (I think at least Not Created Equally, don't remember what else). I do my best to keep all soldiers alive, so please do not think that your death is on purpose if it were to occur. So without further ado, Here is The XCOM Report.

“Jolt, suit up,” the commander yelled from the hallway as he walked to the command center. “Briefing room in two minutes.” He jumped up and hastily put on his combat gear. It had been only two days since his first mission, and he was still struggling to come to terms with the fact that the world was facing an alien threat.

He stood at attention in the briefing room alone facing the commander. “You’ll be running this next op. Another craft has touched down in France and we’re going in to stop it. As your previous three teammates are still in the infirmary recovering you’ll be leading a squad of rookies and giving them some experience against these aliens.” Jolt had been promoted after the last operation, earning himself a Squaddie rank and had taken up a support role after showing his utility with field dressing his squad in the last operation.

“Yes, sir. Anything in particular I should know?” Jolt asked.

“Give them hell and bring my boys back.”

OPERATION: SPECTRAL MOUNTAIN; 0219 hours

Jolt sat in the skyranger, surveying his team. Three rookies. He had only been on one mission, but it felt years away. Fighting these things changed you, he knew it. Each of his men dealt with the nerves in a different way: DJ shuffled in his seat, unable to sit still; Saint had his head back against the bulkhead with his eyes closed; and Mojo had some headphones in his ears, swaying to some music. Jolt looked at his watch, and stood up.

“90 seconds boys, let’s get this show going!” He shouted over the roar of the engines. DJ and Saint stood up and Saint knocked Mojo with the butt of his rifle to get his attention. Mojo fumbled with his music and quickly stood up. “I know it’s late, so let’s keep our eyes peeled. These things are sure to blend in well in the dark. Follow orders exactly and let’s get this done without any more of us injured. I’m sick of patching you people up. Let’s go!”

The skyranger touched down and the back opened, leaving the men free to step outside and fan out, eyes adjusting to the darkness. They heard command crackle over the com, “all units free to engage the enemy.” Jolt sighed and reflected on how useful of a comment it was before moving into position behind a car in front of a restaurant. Saint and Mojo took up overwatch positions behind other objects in the street while DJ rushed to the side of the building, peeking in the windows.

“Two of them inside!” DJ swore frantically into the com. The noise and movement alerted the aliens and they disappeared from view. Mojo took a deep breath and did a three count before rushing inside the building through the front window, shattering the glass. An Xray was waiting for his move and green plasma barreled out of the darkness towards the soldier, but Mojo quickly dove behind a counter and the plasma sizzled over his head. Mojo peeked over the counter and seeing an opening took a shot at an alien. His shot connected and he heard a howl from the creature, however it was only wounded and ducked back into cover. Luckily, Jolt had taken up a flanking position and finished off the alien with a burst into its oversized head and the creature flew back onto the floor.



The other alien suddenly stood up and its head exploded, painting the area in green blood. The men just stared, uncertain. The lead scientist’s voice came over the com, explaining that these creatures enter into each other’s minds to give boosts to stamina and willpower, however killing the controller kills the other.

They didn’t have time to process this information. “Behind you!” Saint yelled into the com as two aliens rushed towards the building behind the soldiers. He fired off a burst that went wide and DJ followed his lead. Cursing they hunkered behind vehicles as green plasma seared towards them, missing their marks. Mojo quickly turned and rushed to duck behind the windowsill, then took a shot at the closest alien, bursting open its chest and killing it. Jolt took up cover beside Mojo and fired at the other alien, killing it as well. The men reloaded their weapons in the ensuing calm and Saint went to check the back alley. Jolt sent Mojo to give him cover.

Jolt and DJ went to the front of the building and moved down the street as Mojo and Saint covered the back alley, giving each other cover. DJ moved too far down the road and suddenly more shots screamed towards him. He ducked behind the corner of a building and saw the aliens spread out, one entering the building and the other rushing straight towards him. DJ fired his gun, connecting with nonvital parts of the alien and wounding it. Jolt saw the alien rushing straight for DJ and acted quickly, pulling out a smoke grenade and lobbing it toward his teammate just as the alien brandished his weapon to fire. The smoke obscured the shot and it went wide, allowing DJ to fire an extended burst in the alien’s direction, killing it.



During the commotion, Saint and Mojo had slipped through the back door of the building and were searching the rooms for the remaining alien. Spotting it at the top of the stairs, Saint fired a burst, missing the creature. The alien ducked, allowing Mojo to rush ahead and turn the corner, close enough to the alien that he could punch it. Instead he emptied the clip into the alien’s brain.

The scene clear, the soldiers waited for evac and stacked the corpses. 6 Xrays dead, not even a hit against the XCOM team. Jolt smiled despite himself. This had gone much better than the last mission.

[PageBreak]

Back at command, Mojo and DJ received promotions to Squaddie. Mojo, showing an affinity for rushing up close and personal was promoted to the Assault class. DJ took on the mantle of the team’s Heavy. They smiled and began practicing with their new hardware. Jolt laughed as the commander made DJ run extra laps in full gear. “You’re going to be lugging around 70 pounds of gear in the field! Get moving! You need to move!” He could hear the shouting from the mess hall.

It had been a week since their last op. There had been no word of any alien activity, and the men had become complacent. The four of them sat around the rec room playing video games and chatting. “When is your old squad going to be back ready for action?” Saint asked Jolt.

“The report states tomorrow. And you know, they’ve been out for over a week and still have more kills than you,” Jolt replied. “Maybe you should get to the gym and try to drop 15, 20…years.”

“Very funny,” replied Saint. Just as he was about to retort, the lights began flashing. They were being called to the briefing room. The commander was waiting.

“30 minutes ago a UFO was sighted over Japan. We’ve dispatched a Firestorm and shot it down, but the thing is still intact,” stated the commander. “I’m sending in a team to clean up. Mojo, DJ, you’re sharing the lead on this one. Take Saint and a new rookie. Codenamed Firedude. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know.”

“Excuse me sir!?” Jolt exclaimed. “Mojo and DJ?”

“Jolt you’re sitting this one out. We need as many men as possible to have experience with these things. You can watch from control.” Mojo and DJ sniggered as Jolt’s mouth tightened.

OPERATION: HOT STRANGER; 1543 hours

The skyranger touched down in a forest and the soldiers exited the aircraft, looking around. Many trees were snapped and burning, a path cut through the once proud woods. The UFO wasn’t yet in sight, but they knew which way they had to go and fanned out, beginning to move forward. DJ ducked behind a tree at a conservative distance and shifted to an overwatch stance.



“What the hell are you doing all the way back here?” Firedude hissed.

“You’re more than welcome to go ahead and get shot at first,” DJ retorted. No way he was falling for that mistake again. Firedude settled into overwatch nearby.

This time it was Mojo. Moving forward he stepped on a large tree branch and a crack was heard echoing through the trees. Two aliens rushed over a ridge towards the team and the other three members fired at the oncoming creatures. Saint and DJ both fired wide, however Firedude’s aim was true and he killed one of the Xrays headed in their direction. The other suddenly changed direction and ran off into the underbrush. DJ tucked his rifle in and rushed after the alien, ignoring the warnings of his teammates. He was determined to not let it alert any others.

Mojo cursed and followed DJ, shouting that the others should continue down the makeshift path toward the UFO. Firedude and Saint looked at each other, shrugged, and carefully moved from cover to cover towards their destination.
Panting, DJ stopped and listened for the alien, alert. He saw movement in the brush to his left and fired, and his bullets were met by a howl. Hit! He investigated and saw the alien was dead. Sighing in relief, he reloaded and wiped sweat from his brow. Suddenly, hearing crashing coming from behind him, he turned and brought up his weapon ready to fire. “WHOAH!” yelled Mojo as he came into the clearing. “Put that thing away! Damn fool, rushing into who knows where following an alien and then trying to shoot me. Come on man. Let’s get back.” Mojo shook his head and then began making his way in a diagonal fashion toward the crash site and his teammates. DJ sighed and followed.

Saint and Firedude were in trouble. They had found the UFO and, with it, two aliens who were outside. Taking cover, they were engaged in a firefight with the aliens and couldn’t seem to find targets. Unfortunately, every shot that the aliens took demolished some trees they were using as cover. “These plasma bolts suck!” Shouted Firedude. Saint couldn’t help but agree as he continued to fire towards the alien’s much sturdier hiding place.

Suddenly Mojo burst from the tree line to the right, flanking the aliens and putting a burst of bullets into one of their heads, killing it. DJ followed and aimed down his sights, but the other alien fled around the outside of the UFO Saint, seeing an opening, quickly moved forward and flattened himself against the bulkhead, following the aliens. As he passed by an opening he saw movement to the right.

“What the hell?” He murmured. A crystal began rearranging itself and a tall, beastlike alien stood in its place, glowing a painful orange color. He began firing at Saint, who took cover back against the bulkhead.



“That cannot be right!” The scientist exclaimed over the com. “My readings indicate that this being is made of pure energy!” Saint decided he didn’t much care for what exactly it was made out of and fired a burst of rounds into its abdomen. The creature looked down at the giant hole left by his bullets, then looked back up and began to fire again. Saint cursed, again ducking behind the wall.

Suddenly a burst of rounds sounded and the creature’s bolts stopped. Looking in, Saint saw that Mojo had entered into the UFO from another place. Navigating it he had flanked the creature and killed it. Instead of a corpse, however, there was…well, nothing. It just…vanished. Saint wished he could think on that more, but plasma shot at him from a nearby point and he ducked inside the ship. He had forgotten about the other alien.

He returned fire as the Xray popped up, wounding it, but it ducked before he could finish it off. Firedude came up beside him and set himself into an overwatch position. As the alien rushed out toward Saint, Firedude brought up his rifle and squeezed the trigger. Xray down.

The soldiers cleaned up the area. They heard continuous excited chatter from the scientists over the com; the prospect at analyzing the UFO was more than they could take. Sighing, Saint sat beside Mojo as they waited. “Second op and not a single kill,” Saint said.

“You’re tough though. You’ll get plenty,” Mojo replied. “After all, it’s not like they’re going to stop anytime soon.” Saint looked up at the twilight and grimaced. Mojo was right. They had a long road ahead of them.

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So once again, if you would like to participate, please let me know! Also follow me on twitter at @Joyfulpenguin where I will live tweet a watered down version of the missions. Here's to many more episodes.

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