Journal of an XCOM Operative: Operation Fire Wheel – May 8th, 2035 - Part 1

What follows is a journal written by one of the operatives in the second XCOM campaign, Alan Robertson.

We’ve known for a while that there was a UFO that had been searching for us, but we’d been able to avoid its detection.  Today, we were not that lucky.  It has found us, and it is closing in quickly on us.  We try some evasive maneuvers, but it hits us with a blast.  We lost power and start going down hard.  Shen looks and sees no damage to the engines and realizes they must have hit us with an EMP pulse.  Shen works her magic and gets us on emergency power.  It’s not enough to keep us flying, but it’s enough to keep us from crashing and destroying the ship.

We work on trying to get her airborne again, but we’re not having any success.  That’s when Shen lets us know that we have a big problem.  ADVENT has dropped some sort of spike outside the Avenger that is generating the same EMP pulse that brought us down.  Central comes to the realization at this point that it’s not us that ADVENT wants.  It’s our ship.  It’s determined that there is no way to neutralize the spike from inside.  We’re going to have to take a team outside and destroy it ourselves.  We’re also going to need to prevent the ADVENT forces from boarding and taking over the ship.

In a move borne out of desperation, Central is even letting wounded soldiers participate in this mission due to its critical nature.  Plus, we’re going in with more soldiers than normal for a mission.  So, today’s mission lineup will be Lieutenant Kelly, Sergeant Ishikawa, Sergeant Girard, Squaddie Ye, Rookie Keenan, and myself (Sergeant Robertson).

As soon as we step out of the Avenger, I feel an overwhelming sense of fear, more than I’ve ever felt before on a mission.  I soon know why as Central lets us know that we have even more of a problem than just the disruptor spike.  It seems there is a lot of communications chatter, and that there are dozens of ADVENT transports heading to our position.  This is an all out effort by the aliens, and they are sending everything they have at us.

Ishikawa starts us out by moving up into some cover outside the Avenger’s ramp.  Ye follows suit to the other end of the cover.  She spies an officer and a trooper outside a fence row a ways off, but they see her and start to advance upon us.  Keenan moves up to some cover just down from Ye.  Kelly moves up into cover between Ishikawa and Ye.  Girard takes cover at the end of the ramp, and goes into overwatch.  Ishikawa, Ye, and Keenan all follow suit and go into overwatch also.  I move up into more cover at the end of the ramp and go into overwatch.  Kelly pulls out one of her axes and throws it at the trooper, but her throw falls just short and misses.  She then pulls out her bolt caster and takes down the officer with a well placed shot.

The trooper starts to move in closer, and Ishikawa takes a shot at him but misses.  Girard and Ye also take a shot, but both miss as well.  Keenan tries his luck, but it is not meant to be as he misses also.  I don’t have time for a sniper shot, but I pull out my pistol and graze the trooper with a shot.  He’s hurt but not down.  As the trooper makes it into cover, he fires a rifle blast that hits Kelly.  She’s also hurt but not down yet.

Central lets us know they are sending in reinforcements from the Avenger’s reserves to assist in this battle.  Rookie Kim steps out onto the Avenger’s ramp to join us.  To get a little bit of payback for the rifle shot she took, Kelly rushes up and finishes off the trooper with a swing of her axe.  Unfortunately, she spies and catches the attention of a MEC unit and two more troopers down by a derelict building downfield.  They move quickly into cover.  It looks like she also got the attention of two sectoids, a trooper, a stun lancer, and something I’ve never seen before.  Central is calling it a Berserker.  He says they can’t do much at range but are lethal up close.  As the berserker charges towards us, Ishikawa lays into it with a solid volley of fire.  He makes a solid hit, but the thing is still standing, giving testament to its toughness.  It then bellows loudly, and I think that Ishikawa just peeved it off and enraged it.  Girard hits it with a blast from his rifle, but the thing is still standing.  Ye takes aim and fires her sniper rifle at it.  Finally, the thing goes down after her hit.  Keenan moves up a little closer to the enemies and takes down a stun lancer with one well placed shot.  Kim makes a mad dash into the field and into cover shortly behind where Kelly is at.  I try lining up a shot, but I do not like my chances of hitting and instead go into overwatch.

One of the sectoids starts to move up closer, and hit him square in the chest with a sniper rifle shot.  He’s still standing, but just barely.  The other sectoid falls back a tiny bit into some cover behind a tree.  He then reanimates the dead trooper.  The living trooper moves up behind a tiny bit of cover and takes aim at Kelly.  I watch in horror as critically hits her with a blast and she crumples to the ground.  The sight of her going down is too much for some to bear and Keenan and Kim panic.  Keenan rushes back and takes a wild shot at the injured sectoid but misses.  Kim runs back to the ramp and hunkers down quivering.  The MEC unit moves up just on the other side of the cover that Ishikawa is behind.  One of the troopers moves up in to cover and goes into overwatch.  The other trooper moves up and takes a shot at Ishikawa but misses.

I’m sick to my stomach.  I knew going into XCOM that there might be casualties, and this isn’t the first death I’ve seen.  However, Kelly had been in this war longer than I have, and I always figured she’d finish this war too.  Now, I’m starting to wonder how long any of us will last.

<To Be Continued>

 

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.


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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.