What follows is a journal written by one of the operatives in the second XCOM campaign, Alan Robertson. The accompanying video can be seen here.
Operation Star Fort – March 6th, 2035
Well, I’ve made it to my second mission now with XCOM. Today, we’re going to the wilderness of New India to recover an ADVENT Power Converter. Central has told us that communications with the area have gone dark. So, it’s likely that they’ve all been eliminated by ADVENT forces. I plan on doing my best to make sure their sacrifices were not in vain.
I feel good about our chances today. I’m joined by two other rookies, Anastasiya Popova and Remy Girard. I’ve never seen either of them before today. The real bonus is that we’re being joined by none other than Jane Kelly, the only survivor of the mission to bring the Commander home. Whereas Anastasiya, Remy, and myself have no specialization, Jane is a Ranger. She carries with her a shotgun and a sword for up close and personal interactions with the aliens.
As we land, Central lets us know they have found the device. Unfortunately, it appears it’s been damaged in the fighting in the area. So, we’re not going to be able to take our time with this one and go slowly. We’ve got to get in and get this device before it explodes. We’ve been told that Shen (the head engineer at XCOM) is working on a way to stabilize it, but we have to get in close to the device. I pray she know’s what she’s doing, as I really don’t want to end up as a fried XCOM operative.
Jane heads out first, darting into cover behind an abandoned van, and we all follow her lead and move forward taking cover being other vehicles and boulders. We all cautiously wait and try to see or hear any alien activity nearby. Not detecting any, we slowly work our way forward from cover to cover.
As we come into sight on the power converter, Central lets us know that Shen is uploading the fix to stabilize it. Right as we get that information, Remy spots an ADVENT soldier and officer off to our right. We’re luckily far enough away that they do not spot us yet. Jane, Remy, and myself move into a position to try and get the drop on them. However, Anastasiya decides to move up towards the converter to tackle the mission at hand. As she does, she spots two more ADVENT soldiers and what Central calls a Sectoid. These guys look like what you would expect an alien to look like from all the old sci-fi movies. From what Central tells us, these guys have some sort of psionic powers that they can use against us.
Anastasiya and Remy and I settle in and wait for any reaction shot. I sit and watch in silence as Jane take out a grenade and tosses it at the first soldier and officer we spotted. I can tell the officer is hurt, but not down. Unfortunately, the soldier was behind a tree, and it took the brunt of the blast before being destroyed but leaving the soldier unharmed (albeit without cover now). As the soldier and officer scramble for new cover, all three of us fire off reactionary shots. Anastasiya and myself miss our marks, but Remy’s shot hits and takes out the injured officer. Of course, all this noise has alerted the other soldiers and the sectiod of our position, and they move forward to try and take us out. The remaining original soldier takes a shot at Jane but misses.
What happens next, I can hardly describe. The sectoid throws his arms up in the air and I see some sort of purple glow fly out towards Jane. I hear her scream in anguish, and then her face changes completely. I can see her trying to fight it, but I can tell that whatever he did, Jane is under his control right now. During all of this, another soldier fires at Anastasiya and misses, and another soldier flanks Remy and hits him with a rifle blast. He’s hurt, but not down yet. Anastasiya moves up to get into a better position and takes a shot at the sectoid. Her shot hits, but he is not down, and his control over Jane remains. Remy moves up and hits the sectoid again. I’m amazed he’s still standing. I know he cannot take much more though. However, Jane is still enthralled by him. I’d like to help, but I’m too far back to get a good shot. Instead, I try to find a spot with more cover to prevent myself from getting taken over or shot.
Thank goodness I did too, as I watch Jane rush forward and cut deeply into Anastasiya with her sword. Thankfully Anastasiya is still standing. Pulling yet another trick out of it’s proverbial sleeve, the sectoid now reaches its arms up and the purple glow flies out to the downed officer. My eyes must be playing tricks on me, as I see the officer stand back up and start to shamble forward. While distracted by this, I see a soldier streak past in front of me headed towards Jane and Anastasiya. I instinctively fire at him, but my distraction was evident as I miss. Now, I watch in horror as he takes a shot at Anastasiya. Luckily, he misses her. Unluckily, he hits the car she was taking cover behind, and I watch as it explodes from the impact and Anastasiya falls to the ground. I can’t imagine she’s getting back up from that.
It’s at this point, that I do something I’m not proud of. After seeing one squadmate get what I can only describe as mind controlled, watching a dead officer stand back up, and watching another squadmate die…I all out lose it and panic. I run away from the conflict screaming incoherently in fear. Without even thinking I fire a shot off at a nearby soldier, and somehow in this crazed haze I hit and take him out.
Central lets us know that we’re quickly running out of time to stabilize the converter. Remy moves up to the converter and right next to the sectoid and takes him out with a shot to the head. As he drops to the ground dead, the reanimated officer falls back down and Jane comes back to her senses. I’m guessing she’s trying to relieve some of the frustration of not being in control before, and she’s trying to thin the numbers, but Jane rushes to a soldier hiding behind a car and slices him with her sword and takes him down. This leaves one soldier left. He moves up and takes a shot at Jane, but he misses his mark.
I finally manage to calm myself down and regain my composure. In order to try and redeem myself for my moment of weakness, I move over and flank the remaining soldier and take him down with a shot. This allows Remy time to focus on getting past the security on the power converter. He’s able to get past the firwall and upload the fix. Central lets us know that readings are returning to normal. As such, our work here is done today and we load back up to head home.
As we land, Remy and I are told we’re earning well deserved promotions. I’m not sure Remy is too concerned with that at this time. He looks gravely wounded to me, and I’m thinking he’ll be spending a decent amount of time in the infirmary healing up. As we hit the armory, I’m handed a sniper rifle and a pistol. I’m going to become a sharpshooter for the squad. The first thing I’m taught is what I like to call Squadsight. Basically, if someone else can see the enemy, I can take a shot at it if it’s within line of sight. I’m guessing it’s because he hacked the firewall on the converter, but Remy is being made a Specialist and given a robotic drone to use in the battlefield.
I’m sure it won’t be long, but I’m looking forward to a little downtime after this mission to be able to process everything that happened.
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.