Part 43Monday, May 1, 12:00
Interrogation of the Psimorph is proving difficult since we have to keep the thing sedated at all times. No matter how much we pump the base full of anti-psionic fields, we've been able to determine that the Psimorph would be able to cut through them and pose a danger.
And that's not the only bad news.
The government is so pleased with our recent performance that they've REDUCED our funding. They do this EVERYTIME! Just when it looks like X-COM finally has the upper hand in a war they decide that we can now make do with less money. During the last two wars governments kept reducing funding near the end of the war until terminating funding altogether once X-COM declared total victory. We shut down until the next emergency when they decide they still need X-COM and throw money at us. Why can't they realize that there always is a threat, and that we need to be funded for continuous operation?
Still we have a job to do, even if it ends up costing us money in the future.
Frank was sent on a scouting mission to keep an eye on the alien skies.
It looks like another battleship and escort were cruising above the alien city.
That's no worry to Frank!
The escort was shot down...
..and Frank engaged the battleship.
He did so at maximum range of course. Frank's much more speedy and maneuverable than the alien ship, so by staying far away Frank could fire and dodge any incoming disruptor blasts.
The results speak for themselves. We have total air superiority in the alien dimension. Doesn't look like we need another Annihilator after all.
Monday, May 1, 20:00
We've got all the data that we need from the Psimorph.
Which is very little at all. The creature is smart yes, but in the same way that skeletoids are smart. It knows nothing of any sort of background or useful information about who or what is behind this war. Again, it appears we've failed to find the source of the alien intelligence. Perhaps their leaders are inside one of the alien buildings we have yet to destroy.
As for the "bottle of goo" we've discovered something interesting. This goo does not appear to be some kind of alien excrement, but rather a unique single-celled life form. It's not even genetically related to the aliens we're fighting; it's has a totally new genome.
Individually, each cell of these "micronoids" has an extremely small psionic signature; we're not sure how exactly. Psionics as we know them require very specialized biological organs. We used to think it impossible that one single cell could generate a psionic field, but here we have proof to the contrary. Somehow, billions of micronoids have found a way to work together in an effort to psionically produce locomotion. Teppec was right, these things can move. The most curious thing about these organisms is that we've actually detected them before. Samples of this and thousands of other microscopic organisms were found on, inside and around all aliens and alien technology. It's not really a surprise, humans themselves are covered in countless different bacteria, none of which are really very interesting in the grand scheme of things. Our biochemists have cultured the few living cells remaining in our sample and are attempting to grow a large mass of them for further research.
In the meantime, our quantum physics team members have also made a few new discoveries.
This larger version of the disruptor shield is a perfect addition to Frank's already near impenetrable shielding.
The alien escort ships have no direct attack capability by themselves, but we've already demonstrated that fact in battle.
The alien mothership is a formidable threat, but we've just shot it down. If they manage to grow another one, I'm sure we can shoot that one down too.
Finally, we've been able to determine how the alien personal cloaking fields work. There is no counter to the technology, but fortunately it does not shield the user fully, as we've seen on our missions. We can deal with the aliens whether they are cloaked or not. Our agents can use the personal cloaking field should we choose, however since it is always our troops who are on the offensive, it is of no use to us. We cannot engage while cloaked, so this item has been reduced to interesting trinket status.
Tuesday, May 2, 6:00
Our scientists woke me up in the middle of the night, they told me they had big news. We've now filled in almost all the gaps in our knowledge of the aliens.
As I've stated before, in the first and second alien wars we were fighting aliens, yes, but they were still familiar to us. They were (mostly) bipedal humanoid creatures. Their ships had instantly recognizable and familiar structures like doors and chairs. During this war we initially were a bit phased by the biological nature of our adversary, but we've learned much and become used to it. We were still fighting mainly bipedal and humanoid beings. Even the massive Overspawn is of the familiar bipedal design. We're used to fighting things like ourselves, things that look like ourselves, think like ourselves and live in the same universe as ours. So should an enemy come along that is totally and completely alien, would we even notice them at all?
That's why I think we can be forgiven for completely overlooking the most important discovery of the war until now.
From the cultured Micronoid cells we grew an aggregate of them. One Micronoid by itself is completely harmless. Millions of them are not dangerous. But in truly large numbers, these micronoids become dangerous enemies. Somehow, each individual Micronoid cell is able to psionically communicate with neighboring Micronoids. The whole aggregate somehow cobbles these tiny psionic fields together into a working intelligence. The entire mass is then intelligent, can become mobile, and begin moving around into our macroscopic world.
Our attempts at communication with the Micronoids have failed. We suspect the problem not to be with the Micronoids, but with ourselves. There is something incompatible with human psionics and those of the Micronoids. The sectoids rescued from the food chamber were brought in and they had no trouble communicating with the Micronoids at all. From the sectoids, we learned about the source of the alien intelligence, and of the real alien threat.
Micronoids. We're at war with a single celled organism. Everything in this war can be traced back directly to them.
In the alien universe during the time when their sun was a red giant, it nearly sterilized the planet. Micronoids and other single celled organisms were the only life forms able to survive the heat and radiation. When their sun cooled and the Micronoids were no longer in danger, they found themselves in a new world with no way to change it. They anticipated this, and spent the previous millions of years developing a biological weapon that allowed them to make the jump from the microscopic world to the macroscopic. This weapon is the alien genome as we know it. One DNA blueprint that could create a variety of hosts for the Micronoids, grow ships, buildings and items. Everything a single celled organism needs to function in our macroscopic world. They enter the bloodstream of the larger aliens, and take over function of their brains (or simply take over function as brains for the brainless creatures we've encountered).
Then the sectoids attacked them, and they learned of humans and our dimension. To them, we must seem like a buffet. We have everything they've ever wanted - the power to change our environment to our liking. Mastery of the macroscopic world. They wanted to make the jump into people, and use people as their new hosts. Thus they created Brainsuckers. The Brainsuckers work by attempting to infect the individual with Micronoids. If a sufficient number of them enter the victim's bloodstream, they migrate to the brain and take over all function. They had too choose us since they were unable to take over the brains of the Sectoids.
As an aggregate the Micronoids are not entirely without defense. We've encountered Micronoids on three missions. The first was inside the first alien building, the sleeping chamber. It now appears that the Micronoids were responsible for Jim's erractic behavior and eventual betrayal. While not as strong psionically as a Psimorph, the Micronoids were able to take control of Jim, but from there we can only speculate as to what they did to him. The aggregates were destroyed through accidental explosions and by simply being stepped on by Sad King Billy.
The second time was inside a bomber, where the aggregate was fortunately displaced by the footsteps of our android soldiers.
The third was inside the mothership, when android Untalented was the only one to come into close contact before again disrupting the aggregate with a stun grapple shot.
As it stands, we're pretty lucky we've discovered the real alien threat at all. Who know how this war would have changed if we never discovered that these tiny creatures are one of the greatest threats we've even known?
This revelation presents us with a unique opportunity. The DNA structure of the Micronoids is relatively simple, and we've been able to figure out what they require to thrive - and what kills them outright. Therefore we've developed a specialized chemical that directly targets and kills Micronoids with terrifying quickness.
This Toxin-C is much more potent than the B-Toxin, able to drop skeletoids in one shot. Even the larger, more difficult to kill creatures such as the Psimorph and Megaspawn are now are felled in a handful of shots as opposed to an entire clip. The best news is that it is harmless to humans; an entire clip would have to be emptied into a person to notice any detrimental effects in them. We're quickly researching the possibility that C-Toxin may be the cure for our three brainsucked soldiers. I don't want to try anything though before we've tested the C-Toxin in actual combat and analyzed the results.
What is the source of the alien intelligence?
Brainsuckers. Seriously, what's the deal? ANSWER - This creature is the delivery method to infect humans with Micronoids.
It pains me to wait even longer to rescue our missing soldiers in the alien dimension, but I want to wait a bit more so we can outfit our squads with C-Toxin for their next mission. Once enough is manufactured, they're going in to destroy the alien maintenance factory.
"Sir, this is the most important question I have about this alien goo. Will it blend?"