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X-COM Chronicle – Entry 32: Freaks and Geeks

Written by: Adam “ManKorn” Korenman, CC2K Video Games Editor

Big Sky landed on the deck with a heavy thud. He was still getting used to the added weight of a mech trooper. We walked out calmly, dragging crates of Meld from the cargo hold. Dr. Vahlen was on the ground waiting, checking off items on a clipboard. 

“Magnificent work, Colonel.” She smiled, but not really at me. Just at the room in general. I didn’t see a shred of human decency in that look. “Our augmented soldiers performed beautifully. I couldn’t be more pleased.”

I shrugged. “Pretty simple mission. They didn’t have much of a chance to show off.”

“But that’s precisely the point, Colonel. They are fully integrated into the squad once again.”

“Let’s wait until we’ve had more than one mission, doc. There’s still a few things to work out with the new crew.”

She deflated momentarily, then perked back up. “That’s the spirit, Colonel.” 

The barracks felt different now. Only a few soldiers had undergone any kind of treatment, but the effects rippled outward. In order to better monitor and treat the genetic and mechanical augmentations, those soldiers had been moved to one side of the bay. You could take one look and see the line of demarcation. The usual human elements of the room–pictures of loved ones, posters of movies we could no longer hope to see–were all absent. Instead, huge machines helped the mech troops enter and exit their battle armor, and medical equipment surrounded the genetic super humans. 

When not armored out, Victor looked normal enough. As long as he wore his uniform, that is. You could see the mechanical hands and hear the gears turning, but it left much up to the imagination. When he was changing, though, it was a terrifying sight. Everything from the neck down was gone, replaced by a biomechanical body case. It turned my stomach every time I saw it. 

Their genetic splicers fared a little better. At least people would talk to them. But every now and then you’d see that same look in peoples’ eyes. Yuzuki would talk about something she’d seen from an ungodly distance, or Ewan would tell you who was waiting around the corner by feeling out their heartbeat. It was just unnerving.

Before we’d crossed down this path, I spent most of my days in the barracks. Now I hid in my room, usually with Sam and Chris and a few others. We’d been playing cards for an hour when I hear the knock. 

“Come on in.”

CO Brandon opened the door. We could tell by his face that something was up. All three of us rose.

“What is it?” I asked.

He smiled, wider and longer than I’d ever seen him do before. It was so out of character that I thought, just for a second, that he was being mind controlled. Then he spoke. “France is cleared. Tipton managed to route that entire site.”

The others looked unimpressed, but I knew where this was headed. My heart started to pound. “Where are we headed?”

“Russia.” At that, Sam and Chris stood as well. 

“We found them?”

Brandon nodded. “EXALT just saw its last sunrise. Get your team ready. We’re ending this tonight.”

Author: Adam “ManKorn” Korenman, CC2K Video Games Editor

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