Part 2: A Routine Examination
Chapter 2: A Routine Examination
March 29, 2004
: There you go Commander Zander, that's not so bad, isn't it?
: You're not the one with wires coming out of you head.
: Ha, no wonder it took you so long to finally schedule this. I've told you how important these mental evaluations are, right?
:Believe me, I'm well aware of what this war did to our men. I wanted to form this clinic for soldiers ever since the war ended. I've seen it all first hand. PTSD, schizophrenia, the two or three psionic conditions discovered in the last few years....and then there are all the stories from the soldiers retrieving Elerium from the bottom of the ocean...
: I've heard them too, people believing they saw monsters in the water. We've all seen a lot of tragedy in the war, which is why it's so important to diagnose mental conditions in former soldiers before it becomes a problem. Hallucinations like that are warning signs. Luckily for some, this machine can detect problems before they manifest.
: So what do I have to do? I'm not too familiar with this gadget.
: It's basically a psionic recorder. All you have to do is remember all the events of the war, and the machine will translate your memories into images. Strong memories can even be extracted as video. Once we have all the information, we examine the record for signs of problems.
: Where do you want me to start?
: At the beginning of course.
: Well, I guess it started when I got the news that my brother Gerhard was killed in battle. I was told he was killed in a UN operation in Yugoslavia. I actually was preparing to be transferred there myself when I was approached by a bunch of American soldiers. I was in grief and the whole thing is a bit of a blur, but the next thing I knew I was signing a bunch of NDAs and was on a plane heading towards Sicily.
: I arrived at some kind of military base. I though it was American, but there were people from all kinds of nationalities there, and I didn't recognize the uniforms. The base was in disrepair, with equipment scattered all about. Very cramped conditions. I started wondering what the hell I had signed up for, and if I had made a big mistake. I was instructed to head to the Director's office.
: The Director's office was literally crammed into a storage closet. Man, back in the early days XCOM had no idea what they were doing, and the base was full of ridiculous crap like this. It got a lot better once we had some reliable funding, but it was like living in a submarine for the first couple months.
I stepped through the sliding door, and that's when I first met him. Ulysses was large and imposing man, even while sitting down at his desk. I noticed an American flag stitch on his vest. I could tell he's seen a lot of action somewhere.
Ulysses: Good day, Mr. Zander. It's good to see you here. You have my deepest condolences about Gerhard. He was a good man.
Zander: Thank you sir. I heard you were there?
Ulysses: Yes. Sadly I lost five good men on that mission. I was the only one who made it out.
Zander: About that - The men who brought me here told little about what this is all about. Only something about your recent appointment to Director and the chance to follow in my brother's footsteps.
Ulysses: First I must remind you of the agreements you signed before coming here. You can discuss nothing you see here with anyone outside the base. The penalty for a breach...is harsh. Do you understand?
: I nodded my head. He pulled out his laptop from his desk, clicked on something and then showed me.
Ulysses: This is an image from the research laboratory on the base.
: It took me a minute to notice, but once the gray figure started moving, I uh...it's hard to say exactly how I felt about this.
: We all felt something weird the first time we saw an alien. Please continue, the machine is recording everything automatically for you.
Ulysses: We call it Allen. We found him in a tank of fluid inside an alien spaceship that we shot down.
: I don't think I said a word for the next few minutes. I sat there with my jaw on the floor as the Director explained how they had began tracking alien incursions on Earth, how the UN formed the XCOM project as a multi-national program, and how, well, how they've failed miserably in both shooting down UFOs and capturing them intact.
It was certainly something.
Ulysses: So! Any questions?
Zander: Are you kidding me? Where do these guys come from? What do they eat? Do they believe in a God.....why does the plaque on your desk say "R U SIRIUS"?
Ulysses: That's because it's my name. Roscoe Ulysses Sirius. I go by Ulysses, it's uh, well, my parents were flower children, what can I say! C'mon, let me show you around the base.
: The Director gave me a quick tour of the base and-
: Hold on a second. What's the name of this base?
: Early Light. Named about something in the American national anthem, why?
: Oh nothing, just a minor recording glitch. Continue.
: We went to the hangars where I saw them loading up our Skyranger with equipment and the remote controlled tank.
: And they were finishing installing Avalanche missiles onto the two Interceptors.
: Finally he showed me my bunk which I had to shift-share with another soldier.
Ulysses: Get some rest Rookie, and I'll have someone send up the briefing material you're cleared to be reading. In the meantime, it's Zeta Reticuli, meat smoothies and something called the "High One".
Zander: Huh? The what now?
Ulysses: The answers to your previous questions. We think they come from Zeta Reticuli, they eat meat smoothies...
Zander: Oh, okay, I get it. Thanks.
Ulysses: Training tomorrow at oh six hundred. It's quite intense, it'll get you up to speed in only two weeks.
: So how long do you think this whole thing going to take? It was a long war.
: We recommended a six week program, you approved it in case you forgot.
SELECTED FAN ENTRIES BELOW
Personnel Review Form 12-A
Personnel Name : Lily Takakumi
Occupation : Scientist
Age : 24
Gender : Female
Nationality : Japanese Ancestry, born and raised American.
Specialities : High-energy particle physics, with subspecialty in the utilization of such in weaponry
History : Born and raised in California, Miss Takakumi astounded teachers and peers alike when she successfully finished her PhD at the age of sixteen, graduating with full honors from the University of Cambridge, England, and completing Post-Doctoral research under Stephen Hawking. The founding of the X-Com project saw her working at CERN, and she was at the top of the list of researchers gathered from all over the world to develop new technologies to combat the alien menace.
Psych Evaluation : Dr. Takakumi is a brilliant, albeit highly narcissistic woman. If not for her intellectual abilities, she would have been dismissed instantly. However, so long as her ego is kept mollified, she can be quite kind and welcoming - But question her superiority, and calling her an Ice Queen would not do her attitude justice. A potential candidate for either head of the particle weapons research division, or the entire research project as a whole, to be determined upon interaction with fellow researchers, staff, and soldiers.
Diary Entry, 1/1/99
The sheer state of disrepair in my new home astounds me. To think that, despite this being the most important joint undertaking that humanity itself has ever indulged in, this being obvious with my presence, we are so underfunded is shocking. We're beginning a war here, and all the combined governments of the world could see fit to assist us with is this, and I hate to use such an uncouth word, but this shitheap, and a mere three and a half million as a monthly allocation?! Do they realize that I alone had twice that much in research grants back at CERN?
Ingrates. The geniuses back home are willing to fling money at foolish expenditures left and right, yet can spare mere scraps for us? A friend of mine has an internship in the senate, working under some guy named Stevens. She wrote to tell me of a plan he had to erect a bridge to some nigh-deserted island that she managed to talk him out of, but something tells me stupidity like that will rear it's head again.
This whining will get me nowhere, though. I may have little to work with, yet Commander Ulysses says that will change once captured weaponry and technology starts rolling in. The prospect of actually examining extraterrestrial designs has me positively giddy - It may be late, but the first toys will be the best Christmas present I have ever gotten.
At any rate, there are some promising fields of inquiry to look into, even now. I have a few ideas on how we can modify and condense industrial cutting lasers into a more offensive form. My proposal has been submitted, and merely awaits approval. I can only hope the Commander is intelligent enough to recognize the obvious benefits such a weapon would yield.
1998 Dec 31
Well, I'm finally here! I've never been to Sicily before, so I was kind of hoping I'd get to see some sights, but we were flown in all black-ops, hush-hush, so that's not too likely. Still, maybe I can talk the quartermaster into requisitioning some postcards or local grub or something.
I had a chance to talk some with my squad on the way over. When I say 'my squad', of course, I mean 'the squad I'm going to be covering with an RPV'. A few of them had derogatory comments, maybe some resentment that I'd be relatively safe in my piloting station while they were pounding ground in the field. Maybe so, but I bet they'll be glad of it when my armor plating and heavy gun are all that stand between them and enemy fire. Anyway, I may not be all that much safer; I've heard some rumors that the RPV signal range isn't as great as they'd like, and I may be on the dropship right along with them. Hopefully a mission doesn't go so badly that the whole plane gets blown up.
One guy seemed to think my codename was a reference to my weight. Obviously not a Kirby fan. I'm gonna have to see if they'll let me stencil a logo on the side of the HWP; I don't see as it'd be a problem, but then this isn't the Air Force, so I don't know what the regulations are. I heard a rumor that Kirby's going to be playable in that new Nintendo brawler that's coming out in Japan; I hope there's an American release.
I had a chance to look around the base once I got my stuff settled in. It looks kind of cobbled together, but at the same time really high tech. Kinda like 'Stargate'. But then, this whole operation has kind of a 'Stargate' feel, only without the, you know, stargate. (That reminds me, I need to find out if we can get that show here. If not, I'll have to arrange for somebody to tape it for me. I've heard the next two episodes are already out in England; how fair is that?)
I've heard competition to pilot RPVs is stiffer than anticipated; I don't mind having some company in the field, but I hope I don't get kicked off the squad for some 13-year-old. 25 is not over the hill, dammit! Of course, 'dead man's boots' would be a worse way to leave the team, so if they decide to rotate us or something, I guess I'm cool with that.
Anyway, I don't have much to do besides train on the simulators until we actually find something. I'm still a bit incredulous about this whole alien thing, but they wouldn't fly me out to Sicily for a practical joke, so I guess we'll see.
Until next time!
Fred "Waddle Dee" Sloniker
Personal Entry: Private Dominic "Terashell" Maxwell Day 1, XCOM facility Early Light
Access Denied! Password:
Access Granted! Play log? y/n
I have no idea what's going on, right now. Picked up in the middle of night by a bunch of suits and brought to this place. Something called XCOM. Aliens, apparently, are invading. Would explain all the lights in the sky lately. Word around here is that they need guys like me. Assholes who know how to push the limit just far enough to win. Can't say being here is any better than the slum of an apartment I was in. Reactivating me for a UN op only to stick me in another slum, shift-bunking with some other asshole I see for 5 minutes a day.
They've got me in some sort of intense training program. Supposed to get me up to speed in a couple of weeks. Don't know why they're bothering with me. Not like my record is exemplary. I've heard rumors most of us are just being used for cannon fodder. I'll have to show these bastards who they're dealing with. I wasn't a marine because of my rugged good looks.
Continue with next chronological log? y/n