What follows is a journal written by one of the operatives in the second XCOM campaign, Alan Robertson.
Operation Gatecrasher – March 1st, 2035
Today marks my first day as part of the newly reformed XCOM. Today is also the twentieth anniversary of Unification Day. This was the day that the ADVENT Coalition was formed, and ‘peace’ was brokered with the Elders, the alien visitors. At least, that’s what they want you to believe, and what a large portion of the population believes. I do not believe this. I was very young when the invasion happened, but I remember the abductions and terror attacks.
I’ve been told that our mission is a distraction for a much greater mission. Our goal is to go in and destroy a monument to the Elders. While we are doing this, another team is going to hunt for something that we’ve been told can turn the tide of this war. My squadmates today are Maria Malakhova, Amadi Mbeki, and Katia Delgado.
We dropped into the operation a couple blocks from the monument to try and maintain some cover. There are four of us today, and we are all on our first mission. I’ve got to admit, my nerves are strung pretty tight right now. We all slowly move from cover to cover working our way towards the monument. Maria is the first one to spot the enemy. So far, we appear to be lucky, and our only opposition seems to be three ADVENT troopers. Central Command reminds us that they are well equipped, but that they are obedient and that obedience makes them predictable.
We continue to approach, but make sure to stay far enough away that we aren’t spotted. As we’re trying to get set into position, I notice Maria lining up a shot, and she fires at one of the troopers. Unfortunately, she misses, but it does get their attention, and they scatter to try and take cover. In reaction, I see Amadi take a shot at one of the troopers, and he hits his target and takes him down. Katia shoots at another trooper, but misses the mark. I realize I better act fast before the troopers get their bearing and try to take us out. I take aim, breathe, and squeeze the trigger. Then, I breathe a huge sigh of relief as I take down another of the troopers.
At least now there is only one left and still four of us. He moves up and behind cover, but doesn’t fire a shot. I think he’s trying to wait for one of us to make a move and then gun us down. Luckily, he doesn’t get a chance as Maria pulls out a frag grenade and tosses it at his feet. After the explosion, we do not see any movement from him. Amadi, Katia, and I take this opportunity to move closer to the monument.
Katia plants the X4 charges at the base of the monument. Just as I’m ready to think our day is done, Central Command advises us that there are still hostile contacts in the area that we need to take out. So, we spread out to continue our search. Again, Maria is the first to make contact. This time it looks like two troopers and one officer. Amadi moves up behind a bench and flanks one of the troopers and takes him out with a single shot. I inch to the edge of the statue and realize I’ve flanked the officer. I pull the trigger and am surprised to see the officer drop with just one hit. I think I got lucky and hit a critical organ or something. I noticed some gear fall as he drops and let the team know he might have been carrying something. Before we get a chance to do anything else, the remaining trooper first off a blast that hits Maria. I can tell she’s hurt, but she’s not down yet.
While she’s lining up her retaliatory shot, I move over to where the officer went down and find an Auto-Loader and pick it up. As I am, I see Maria move up into the face of the trooper and fire at him point blank. I’m not sure if it was nerves or the injury from the shot she took, but even standing just a few feet away from him, Maria misses the trooper completely. Amadi, luckily, doesn’t miss his shot. We get confirmation from Central Command that the area is clear. We move towards the landing zone and watch as the charges are detonated and the monument falls. As we’re heading back to base, we’re advised that by taking out six enemies and only have one soldier sounded, that we did an Excellent job.
Once we get back to base, we get informed of what the other mission was. They found intel that the Commander from twenty years ago is still alive and being held by the aliens. While we provided the diversion, the other team went in and pulled him out of whatever stasis the aliens had him in. I never met the Commander, but my father talked highly of him. You see, my father was part of the original XCOM resistance. I lost him twenty years ago today. He was there with the Commander when the aliens attacked and took him. I mourned him for several years growing up, but now I have to wonder. If the Commander is still alive after all this time, is it possible that the aliens may be holding my father somewhere too?
Author Heath Markley
I have been an avid gamer for 32 years now. It started with the Atari 2600 my parents bought me as a child (my mom still says she regrets that decision), and I have never looked back. For my gaming, I enjoy RPG and strategy games the most, but I will play almost all games. Besides gaming, I am a family man (beautiful wife and three wonderful children) and a healthcare IT professional. So, gaming time is a premium for me, but I make the most of every chance I get.