Written by: Adam “ManKorn” Korenman, CC2K Video Games Editor
04 March 2015 / Guadalupe, Mexico / Operation Restless Dawn
I don’t know how long I stared at the interior of the Skyranger. They gave us these little blue pills that were supposed to help us sleep. Hell, I took double the dosage and still stayed up the whole flight. Being located in the center of the country means it’s a hell of a trip to just about anywhere. If I’d known how sore my ass was gonna be when we landed, I wouldn’t have volunteered so readily.
SatCom and the other X-COM Council members (no idea who they are, but I’m imaging some pretty rich folk) have access to a pretty detailed network of intel sources. I spent a few minutes talking to one of the many analysts, though I didn’t understand most of what he said. Reports come in from all over: CIA, MI-6, Mossad, FSB–heck, we had a contact on YouTube that turned out to be legit. When a high priority target comes in (meaning we have X-Ray on the ground, actively abducting) then the big boss sends us in.
I haven’t met the Commander yet. Supposed to be some tough-as-nails officer with brass and medals weighing him down to the ground. Or her–it could be a lady, I haven’t met anyone yet, and all the techs refer to the Commander by title. In any case, a lot of trust has been placed in a single person, and now they’re coordinating a global defense plan.
And I mean global. We have soldiers and scientists from every continent. I’m bunking with this German dude, Dieter. Or at least, I will be once he’s out of the infirmary. He was on the first flight, back when we thought this was just an isolated incident. Took a hit right to the chest and went down hard. Doc says he’ll be good to go in a few weeks, though. Apparently they’ve got better surgeon’s here than the Presidential bunker.
Our bird touched down just outside of this auto garage, way on the outskirts of the city. SGT Amber Fontaine led the team–she was the highest ranked, and had at least seen an X-Ray before. We swept in teams of two: me with Amber, and my buddy Corey running with this little lady named Akemi. Every few blocks we’d pass one of the gas pods. I don’t know what else to call them, but they were part of the original attack. Big boxy jobs, still steaming off this green mist, and just surrounded by bodies. The corpses looked to be wrapped in emerald web, some odd side-effect of the toxins. The open graveyard didn’t do anything to help my nerves as we entered the garage. It didn’t take long to run into the welcome party.
I’d seen pictures; we’d all watched the videos during the briefs. But nothing could prepare me for running headfirst into a fucking alien. Sectoids, they’re called. Just under five-feet tall and gray as a battleship. They’ve got big, bug-like eyes and sharp fingers. Most wear an arm cannon that shoots this acidic plasma bolt. Not very accurate, but deadly if it hits. They don’t seem very smart, the Sectoids, and command thinks they may have some sort of leadership class hiding away somewhere. None of that mattered in the moment. Hell, I forgot where my damn trigger was on the rifle.
Akemi squeezed off a burst from her heavy machinegun. The little bugger rolled on the ground, dodging most of the fire but taking a slug to the leg. I ran for cover, my heart pounding so loud I couldn’t hear. Corey and his battle-buddy flanked around to the south, popping shots every few feet.
I felt something hot and heavy snap past my ear and I curled into a ball. Holly shouted in pain and fired another burst from her cannon. The Sectoid dropped to the ground in a spray of green ichor. I ran to Akemi, but she was already on her feet. Her armor was melted down to the honeycomb lattice over her left side, and her uniform had peeled away to reveal raw red flesh underneath. She was still in the fight, but I could smell the fried-chicken stink of burnt skin filling the small room. She shoved me aside and we kept advancing.
Two more aliens popped up and I fired. I didn’t know I’d killed one until the it didn’t fire back. The other panicked and ran to the side, only to take a blast from Corey’s rifle. We moved faster now, leapfrogging through room and pausing to listen for movement. Corey came across one of the strange alien containers with the orange light. Command doesn’t know much about them, but wants it collected whenever possible.
Amber held me up just outside the office to the garage. She heard them inside and gave me the go-ahead for a little bang and clear. I prepped my grenade and counted to three before rolling it inside the room. The whole building shook as the explosive went off, sending shrapnel bouncing around the small space. There wasn’t much left inside.
Clean up took a few more hours, but we didn’t see any other aliens.
I gotta tell ya, I’ve never felt more pumped than I did clearing out that garage. And I never slept better than the flight back to base. We got Akemi into the infirmary and dumped all the intel with the science-types on the second level. In minutes I was racked out on my bunk, dreaming of monsters and spaceships and death.
I’ll bet the shrinks’ll have a field day with that one.
Adam Korenman, Rookie, X-COM