Saturday, 15 June 2013

XCOM Enemy Unknown - Intro + Mission 1

Much has been written about the mysterious, almost-mythical organisation known as XCOM. Completely shrouded in secrecy, the only thing people truly know about it is that it was them who fought against the alien forces during the First Contact War. However, the video diary of the still-anonymous Commander of the operation has become declassified along, and with it an avalanche of information about the now-defunct organisation. Over the next few weeks we will be sharing what we have uncovered.

1/3/2015 - First Contact

We weren't ready.

They came, falling from the heavens in a fiery rage. Hmph, they might have fallen from the heavens, but they were a gift from Hell itself.

It's been the subject of many films, games and books - what would happen when they made contact? Would they come in peace? Or...

...would it be an act of war? 

We didn't have to wait for an answer.

This was the first act in what would be known as the First Contact War. The human race vs the extraterrestrial threat.

Hello, Commander. In light of the recent extraterrestrial incursion, this council of nations has convened to approve the activation of the XCOM project. You have been chosen to lead this initiative: to oversee our first and last line of defense. Your efforts will have considerable influence on this planet's future. We urge you to keep that in mind as you proceed.

Suddenly I was the one directly responsible for the protection of this entire planet. I was chosen to lead XCOM (eXtraterrestrial COMbat Unit) and fend off the aliens. As to why I was chosen...well, we'll get to that. I didn't get a chance to ease into my new job however, by the time I arrived in XCOM headquarters in Germany we already had a team flying out to Berlin.

I didn't even get a chance to introduce myself to this guy (he's Central Officer Bradford, I saw a lot of him during my time at XCOM). As I arrived he was busy listening to a "mayday!" transmission and before long was debriefing the Delta squad as they approached Berlin.

You are being deployed to Germany. At 1900 hours Zulu, several unidentified objects fell to Earth. After ruling out the possibility of a downed satellite, we now believe these objects be extraterrestrial in nature. Shortly after impact, German officials received reports of mass hysteria and freak weather around one of the impact zones. Then things went dark. At 2100 hours, a chopper carrying a German military recon team went down in the area after they reported being fired upon. As you know, Germany is a member of the Council, and they have requested our assistance. Our mission is to assess the situation on the ground, ascertain the current status of the German recon team, and investigate the extraterrestrial objects. Central out.

Bradford took control of the mission, to give me an idea of how missions generally work.

This is the Delta squad Bradford is leading. From left to right: Neil Crawford (USA), Akemi Hayashi (Japan), Vasily Semyenov (Russia) and Alejandro Vargas (Argentina). Four soldiers from four different countries, united to tackle the greatest threat humanity has ever known.

This part of Berlin, the nation's capital, was completely empty, save for a few abandoned cars. 

Bradford was very clear in pointing out that finding cover should be a soldier's first priority on the battlefield. That was something I would need to keep in mind when I get full control of the battle.

Of course, some things offer better defense than others. If you look at Vargas' status, you'll see a half-shield. This means that he is still somewhat exposed, though it's still better than no cover. Where Bradford is moving him, the statue, will offer him full cover - making him incredibly difficult to hit from that direction.

Rookie Semyenov found something moving, so Bradford sent Rookie Hayashi to check it out.

Well...we found one of the recon team. Sadly there was nothing we could do. At that moment however, we were interrupted by an incoming message.

Dr. Vahlen pointed out that the message was coming from inside that building. That would be our next destination.

However, Rookie Vargas spotted an excess of blood on the ground. When he checked it out, none of us could have expected what he was about to find...

Horrific. Dr. Vahlen said that the cause of death was something exploding out of his stomach. I refused to believe it, this wasn't some sci-fi b-movie. A few months later I would have believed anything she said.

Semyenov checked out a strange object just outside the building, but we still had little clue as to what it actually was. Bradford decided to proceed forward to the building.

We found the recon team member responsible for the earlier message just...standing there. As if in a daze - holding a shotgun in one hand and a grenade in the other.

Semyenov moved closer to try and disarm him when he made a discovery...

The alien was somehow controlling the poor man. But at that moment we were caught by surprise...

He shot and killed Semyenov then blew himself up - no doubt the work of the alien's mind-control. Suddenly, more threats came into view...

Crawford, the American, was next to go. The other two soldiers were flanked by the aliens, but Bradford refused to panic.

Alejandro Vargas marked the first extraterrestrial kill of the war. This helped to open up Hayashi to move to a different cover.

It's good to know that exterrestrial life blow up just as well as anything else. However, we were not yet clear...

An alien had snuck up behind Hayashi and fired at her. She didn't have a chance to survive. Vargas was all that was left of the Delta squad...

Thankfully, Hayashi's killer was the last of the alien force in this area. Vargas took care of it rather easily.

The mission was technically a success, but three casualties in a normal scenario is simply unacceptable. However, this wasn't a normal scenario and Bradford did as well as he could. But from now on it's all up to me. All these men and women who have voluntarily signed up to take on an unknown threat - I'm now responsible for the lot of them, as well as the team of scientists and engineers at HQ. Not to mention, the leaders of all the Council nations. I almost literally had the entire world on my shoulders. This wasn't going to be an easy task.

Mission Summary

Nick Crawford (USA) - Killed (1 mission, 0 kills)
Alejandro Vargas (ARG) - 2 kills (1 mission, 2 kills)
Vasily Semyenov (RUS) - Killed (1 mission, 0 kills)
Akemi Hayashi (JAP) - 1 Kill, Killed (1 mission, 1 kill)

OOC: This is the tutorial mission, as such it is scripted. There is nothing you can do to save the three casualties. Not all the updates will be this long - I tried to give as much of a feel of the gameplay as possible (the next mission will give a better look at that...).

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