The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

X-COM Chronicle – Entry 37: Relay Race

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

29 December 2015 / Granite Peak / X-COM

You’re not like the rest of them. Weak, soft creatures, begging to be ruled. Yearning for subjugation. Had we arrived as conquerors rather than exterminators, you would have welcome us with open arms. Your species quivers under our gaze, itching for release. Shall we grant you the gift of death? Or will you squirm up from the dirt once more to try and claim your kingdom?

I woke covered in sweat, shivering despite the three blankets on my bed. I reached for the circlet on my head but found it missing. No wonder I was having bad dreams. 

Dr. Vahlen had cooked it up in her lab after dissecting one of the Sectoid Commanders. It was a neural dampener, designed to prevent mind control. We hadn’t taken it to the field yet, but she suggested that it might help me block out some of the feedback on site. It rarely worked, except when I slept. 

My first night as a freak had gone predictably poorly. I’d actually lived other people’s dreams. It was bizarre, seeing memories that weren’t mine. I had inherited psychic sympathy, or the ability to draw from the surrounding emotional fields within a room. At night, when there were fewer distractions, my reach went all the way to Mission Control. I’d read one of the technician’s thoughts (mostly about their long dead dog, which nonetheless left me weeping bitter tears until three in the morning). 

What made tonight’s episode worse was that I wasn’t sleeping in my bunk. After three days without rest, I’d dragged a cot down to the lowest level of the bunker. We hadn’t even finished carting out the rubble from this cave, and the HVAC was primitive. Still, the layers of rock blocked out most of the voices. 

Or had, until they built that fucking machine. 

The Hyperwave Beacon was a transmitter, possibly to another dimension. It folded space/time in a sphere of influence that extended exactly forty meters. So far, anyone who got too close left thinking they’d been there for hours. One time, a night clerk walked into the sphere and came out with three days’ worth of facial hair. It was a pretty spooky toy. That’s why I was so surprised when they decided to built a goddamn monument to it. 

The Beacon casing was said to prevent the harmful radiation from leaking out and hurting the techs, but I know there is another motive. It’s not just a feeling. I’ve read Dr. Vahlen’s mind more than once (it’s mostly what you’d think: Crazy experiments; zero sexual fantasies; Broadway show tunes). I can’t figure out what they hope to find once they get this thing on. 

I found myself standing at the entrance to the Beacon’s housing, looking in at the empty room. A few lights cast long shadows on the massive structure. It was about two stories tall, shaped like a huge metal ball, and the Beacon was crammed into the front. Strange flashes appeared every few seconds at the Beacon’s core. Every time that happened, I heard something. 

Forian is lost.

The krell failed to achieve their goal at the broken moon.

Resume activity on Druzak 14.

The language wasn’t human, but I could understand the meaning. It wasn’t like I was hearing a voice; I heard tones and noises and understood the words behind them. I stood there for what turned out to be hours, just listening. And then I heard it. 

What is the progress for Earth?

They have discovered yLa’s RaAn and forged a chrysalis.

Are they ready for ascension?

No. But we have heard rumor of one risen to Hurkin.

Understood. Carry on your work. We are coming.