1/3/2015 - Meeting the Crew
Our lone survivor - Alejandro Vargas - returned to HQ in the early hours of the morning. It wasn't quite the triumphant return he had hoped for, honestly I think he was happy just to be alive. We were caught by surprise, but I vowed that would never happen again.
Naturally, it happened again. But more on that later.
Officer Bradford and Dr. Vahlen were watching back some of the footage, when the German doctor asked a very important question...
That's what was on everyone's mind. XCOM had been founded to tackle this sort of threat, but we really had no clue who we were facing, why they were attacking Earth, how many there were, what did they want, where did they come from etc etc the questions kept piling up.
The old man is Dr. Shen - our chief engineer. His and Dr. Vahlen's work are closely related - Vahlen and her team of scientists will do a lot of researching - into our enemy, their technologies and how we can apply them for our own use. Dr. Shen can then use that research to develop weapons, armour, ships among other things. This will be the only good side of fighting this war - humanity will go through a great deal of technological progress. We'll have the best team of engineers and scientists by the end of the war.
Talk about an understatement. Still, I had faith in them. If we are going to beat the aliens, these two will play a crucial role in doing so.
Officer Bradford formally introduces himself to me and explains his role in XCOM - namely, all the little things that are not important enough for me to deal with, as well as offering advice to me. His first piece of advice was to suggest giving Vargas a promotion. Honestly, surviving the first mission is more than enough reason to get promoted - he is, after all, the only soldier with experience against the aliens.
Once a soldier gets promoted from being a Rookie to a Squaddie, they are given one of five classes to specialise in, depending on what they show potential in. Vargas is a big strong man, and thus is perfect for the Heavy class - machine guns, rocket launchers, need I say more? They are basically walking tanks.
Here I can check out each soldier's stats -
- HP = Health Points = How much health a soldier has. They run out - they die.
- Defense = How much they can withstand attacks.
- Will = Not too sure how this relates, though Vahlen mentioned something about being less susceptible to alien psi-attacks, as well as less likely to panic. A higher will, in essence, will prevent them becoming like that German recon guy.
- Aim = Does what it says on the tin - a higher Aim means more accurate shots.
Loadout is where I change a soldier's equipment - his weapon, side-weapon, armour and an added item of equipment (a frag grenade as default).
Customize allows me to change just about everything about a soldier, including his voice and race. I will most likely not be using this often, unless I get some really ugly dude - I want the most beautiful army in the universe!
...that was a joke, for the record.
The higher in rank a soldier gets, they get access to a number of extra abilities. Most ranks will give me a choice of one to give them - in this case, however, only one is available for Heavy Squaddies - the ability to carry a rocket launcher. We can test that out in the next mission.
After I finish promoting Vargas, I am called to the Research Laboratory.
I am introduced to Dr. Vahlen. Don't let her age fool you, she may be young but she's one of the brightest people on this planet. She, like myself, wants to see the human race come out of this war with a plethora of new technologies. She gives me the choice of what to research first...
We don't have enough supplies to got for Xeno-Biology - however, the fragments of the alien's weapons could help us eventually building our own, while the Alien Materials can be used to improve armour. Naturally, I choose the latter.
Unfortunately our little research meeting was cut short as I am called to Mission Control. It turns out the aliens are on the attack again.
On my first day on the job and I'm already given an incredibly hard choice. With our limited capabilities, we can only respond to one of the two simultaneous attacks. Both are council members, and both are offering separate rewards for protecting them -
The United States will donate four more Scientists for Dr. Vahlen's team if we choose to go to Miami.
China will give us 200 credits - which is actually a good amount - if we choose Hong Kong.
It was difficult, but eventually I made my choice. We flew to Miami right away.
Bradford chose the team, which included our "veteran" Alejandro Vargas...
Also on the team were...
Scottie Hunter - I have a fondness for this fella, probably because we are both Scottish.
Amber Verhoeven of Belgium.
And Victor Roux of France.
Unlike the last mission, we are far more prepared.
Unlike the last mission, I WILL bring everyone back alive.