Written by: Adam “ManKorn” Korenman, CC2K Video Games Editor
10 April 2015 / Paris, France / Operation Forgotten Druid
It felt as though we never really got off the boat. One minute I’m taking off my armor and falling into the sack, the next I’m geared up for an emergency run to France. CO Brandon apologized even as we hit our stride in the lower atmosphere and rocketed toward the site. Not that I heard him. I took my rest where I could get it.
This was another Council job, and you could tell the pressure was on. A French convoy had been hit by unknown forces and completely obliterated. What made this one interesting was a short burst of traffic right before the line went dead.
“Command, this is Lancer Six. We are taking heavy fire from both sides of the road. Complex ambush at the entrance for A16 out of Paris. We need immediate support.”
“Roger, Lancer Six. Can you give me a description?”
“There’s got to me dozens of them, all armed to the teeth.”
“Roger, Lancer. Are they Sectoids? Floaters? New combatants?”
“No, Command…they’re human.”
We landed next to a burnt up office complex on the outskirts of the city. In the distance I could see the silhouette of the collapsed Eiffel Tower. Smoke continued to billow from the center of the megaplex; those fires would probably burn for another five months. Olga and I climbed to the top of the office building and set up sniper support. Akemi, Amber and Smits–the new guy– pushed forward.
After clearing the office we saw two men walking around the opposite building. They wore blue suits and sunglasses, despite how dark it was outside. Amber approached them, slinging her shotgun.
“Hey! Are you from the convoy? What are you doing out here?”
One of the men turned and I caught a look at his face through my scope. Jesus. His skin was speckled and scaly, and his eyes were bright yellow. He hissed at Amber and drew a plasma pistol, firing off a shot before leaping two stories in the air to the roof of the surrounding building.
Olga and I picked our targets and counted down. On “one” we fired, putting rounds between those creepy glasses on both targets. They didn’t just go down, though. Both men exploded into plumes of purple smoke that lingered in the air long after they quit kicking. We gave our report to Amber and she moved forward.
Bodies covered the street. Some were ours, but we found dozens of others, all wearing body armor and masks. They were human, no doubt, but they weren’t X-COM. Was this a resistance group? Some civilians fighting the aliens too? We tagged them for pickup and kept moving.
Akemi saw the survivor first as she ran through a broken down pub. He was hunkered down behind a burning taxi, looking more surprised than relieved to see us there. We were surprised to see he was wearing the same collection of gear as some of the bodies. More of the humanoid aliens appeared, headed for the survivor.
“Lock him down!” Amber shouted. I downed another alien just as Akemi reached the cowering man.
“I’ve got nothing to say to you people. You might as well leave me here.” Akemi grabbed him by his collar and hauled him bodily toward the Skyranger. Big Sky, our pilot, stated calling out targets. They were dropping fast.
Olga and I could barely keep up with all the aliens falling from the sky. Just as we took one out, another would spring out from the shadows and try to kill the survivor. Each round through their skulls brought up another cloud of noxious gas. I didn’t know what was going on inside, but I didn’t want to get close.
Akemi reached the Skyranger just as the last critter fell. She let loose a quick burst in the direction of a lone Sectoid, splattering it across the asphalt. We sprinted into the open ramp, dripping sweat but grinning madly. My heart felt like it would burst clean through my armor, but damn if that wasn’t the most fun I’d had since the war began. I was tripped out by the humanoid aliens, but we had made them look plain silly for the better part of an hour. And we had a new friend to talk to, whether he wanted to or not.
“The end is coming, drones,” he said. Amber clocked him over the head with her pistol and we rode the rest of the trip in silence.