I don't recall exactly how I wound up in the briefing room. I mean the series of events that led me there. Hell, most of the last 24 hours have been so much chaos I barely remember leaving Los Angeles. One minute I was laid up on the beach enjoying some much needed leave, and the next I was racing toward a secret underground bases aboard something called a Skyranger.
My lift was the last off the island before the ships appeared overhead. They'd already dealt some serious damage to the New York and Washington and were headed our way. California managed to dodge a bullet in the initial attack, but the riots and looting once evacuations started did more than enough damage. Europe had been the first hit, and Paris was still on fire when my ass was being pulled into the fight. Hong Kong and Tokyo went shortly after.
There were 13 of us in total; at least, only 13 soldiers--there had to be at least thirty civilians and techs already operating the base. The bunker had been built ages before as some sort of Cold War Bio-Weapons Research Center. There were motivational posters on the wall, ancient slot-operated Coke dispensers, and a row of Presidential pictures that ended with Nixon. Despite the dust and cobwebs, HQ was state of the art. I don't know the names for half the machines in here, but needless to say, we are ready for E.T. to poke out his ugly head.
I was on a beach when the invasion began. Can't say I remember much of anything from the attack, seeing as I was working my sixth margarita into my stomach at the time. The news anchor on the TV said it was a global strike, but that doesn't make much sense to me. Earth is huge, and their ships aren't all that big. I think it was a series of surgical strikes, like a Shock and Awe campaign, and the media just overreacted.
When I touched down, they told me I missed the initial action. Operation First King, out in Canada. All four soldiers made the trip back safe, including an old buddy of mine: Corey Bonanno. He was a writer and producer from Chicago, but looked the part of the warrior. He told me that this shit was global. La dee fucking-da, it's the end of the world and we know it. Glad I brought my swim trunks. He'd been conscripted during the Sears Tower Pullout, and been with X-COM ever since.
Corey took me on a tour of the facilities; at least what they'd let us look at. There are satellite hookups, labs, manufacturing bays, and even a gym. Hell, the barracks are better than the ones I had back at NTC. Uniforms take a little getting use to, but they fit snug and the armor feels sea-worthy.
I better get back to paying attention here. Center Officer Brandon has been droning on for about an hour about Sectoids and plasma weaponry and all manner of sci-fi nonsense. Holy shit. He just did the whole "look to your left and right--one of them won't be there tomorrow" speech. I almost lost it. Still, I think it's worthwhile to keep some notes. The Commander--this omnipresent leader we're supposed to be following--wrote out these words personally. This won't be verbatim, but it's as fast as I can write.
"We are facing an unprecedented threat to our species, and that calls for unprecedented measures. Some of you have worn a uniform before, and others will for the first time. You will be a part of a defensive operation that will last a lifetime, and there is no guarantee that any of us will see the other side. God only knows if we'll make it to tomorrow. But know one thing. This is our planet. Our home. And if they want it, then we will drown them in our blood before letting them have the keys."
I'm not normally one for journaling, but this all seems important. Maybe, if I make it through all this, I'll turn it into a book. If not, at least there will be something left of me in the world that doesn't get buried...or eaten.
Adam Korenman, Recruit, X-COM