The Let's Play Archive

X-Com: Enemy Within

by Speedball

Part 13: Friends in Low Places

Part 13: Friends in Low Places


Well, that’s it. Aliens exist. No covering it up now. XCOM needs to keep the specifics of what it is and who we are a secret from the public, though; the commander said it’s not because humans need to be kept ignorant of the threat of aliens, it’s because they need to not get ideas about exploiting the technology XCOM is researching. Every country is still more or less thinking about their own needs and a lot of the puffy old fat guys in charge keep thinking that it’ll all “blow over” soon and then it’ll be back to nation against nation.

This all reminds me of another movie in Allen’s stack: Men in Black. I loved watching it as a kid but the more I think about the MIB’s ethos the more it sickens me. A coverup could not possibly work in the information age, where there’s a camera phone in every pocket, unless the population is repeatedly mindwiped, sometimes en masse. “People are stupid,” says Tommy Lee Jones. Yeah, because you KEEP them stupid.

I made captain today. …it’s so overwhelming I don’t know what to think of it.

Game of the day: Chinese Checkers, originally known as Stern-Halma in Germany. (And has nothing to do with China, despite the name.) Everyone has marbles they move towards the opposite end on a hexagram-shaped board, but you can jump other marbles, including your opponent’s, to get to the other side. You win when you put all of your marbles where your opponent’s used to be. Using the enemy’s own strength against them: yet another thing we’ve been doing lately at XCOM.


Finally, FINALLY off sick-leave. I swear, I am never going to let another alien ever touch me again.

Cam was extremely sweet to me the whole time I was in the hospital. I just hope Dad doesn’t screw it up for us.

Dr. Vahlen says that if she examines the invisible smokescreen the seekers create around themselves, she MIGHT have a way to reproduce the invisibility, either in a suit you wear, or as a gene mod. I am so totally volunteering for that; if I was invisible, I could set up anywhere I wanted around the battlefield without hassle. Also I could fulfill an adolescent fantasy: pretending I’m the Predator. Heh…”Over here!!”


I’ve been making a smooching score log. Every time I see base personnel flirting or kissing, that’s a point. If they’re from different countries, two points. If they’re from countries that hate each other, ten points. If they’re a same-sex couple, x10 points multiplier.

I wonder how long it’ll be before we hit a thousand points…heh heh…If Carol’s original estimates are accurate, we’ll be up to a thousand points a week within a few months.

I so want to design an official XCOM marriage outfit.

Well, today’s our lucky day, we were just planning to put a satellite over Brazil! Tell them I’ll cooperate if they also send us you-know-who.
Commander, we have another Council request mission!

Commander. A… unique… opportunity to acquire rare alien technology has surfaced. It seems that alien infiltrators were utilizing the criminal underground to smuggle vital components across the globe. One member of the Triads in China has intercepted such a delivery, and has offered to deliver it to us if XCOM gives him asylum.
Ooohh…sounds tricky. But even if it’s just an alien hairdryer, I want that tech. As an aside, is this Triad guy likely to be the type who can pull his own weight and earn his keep in battle, or is he a wormy accountant type of mobster in over his head?
That is… unclear. Shaojie Zhang’s criminal record has been… purged… from our records. Most likely by his employers.
Hmmm… I guess we’ll know more when we get there. Send out the team!

Right, this will be an escort mission, in an urban area. That means we need snipers to cover us, and we need to expect Thin Men, as they are the enemy’s primary infiltration unit.
Hong Kong op, huh? Been awhile.
What does a German-Brazillian sniper have to do with ops in Hong Kong?!
Breaking up an underground…look, I’ll tell you later. It’s messy.

Eva, you went back to the helmet?
It makes me feel safer.
Pfft, the alien weapons go straight through our armor. Helmets are purely decorative.
Well, morale boosts should not be discounted. The illusion of safety can bolster confidence and improve performance.
And anyway, isn’t this mission in an urban center? If we want to keep our identities secret we should all be wearing helmets!
Shit, you’re right. Let’s do that next time.

Hey, I recognize this place…this graveyard was where they filmed the finale of Master of Fists IV.

You must be my contacts. No one who fears reprisal would make an entrance like THAT.
Yeah, we are kind of a motley crew, I admit…but also kind of badass, so it doesn’t matter.

There is an alien behind you.


Not so different from killing a man.
(Oh, my GOD this guy is a stone-cold badass. PLEASE tell me he’s staying for keeps.)
Of course, I won’t ask you to trust a stranger to hide behind you while he’s holding a gun, so…I’ll place my life in your hands and disarm.

It won’t take long for them to realize I’m missing, especially since I’ve got this thing with me. If you take me with you, it’s all yours.

I’m not sure where my boss got this thing, but he was taking offers from a variety of bidders - regardless of their intentions.
…what KIND of bidders? Were any of them, by any chance, wearing Action Wada suits?
Yes, how did you know?
Everyone take cover and establish overwatch!

Ahhhhhhh. XCOM. I advise you to—

…I see I chose the right people to contact.

There’s one behind us too!
Ahh, Dr. Gomez, we meet at last. You should know, we have kidnapped your—

If he’s lying, there’s no point in listening to him. If he’s telling the truth…he’s still trying to screw us over. Either way, it is not advisable to negotiate.
A woman of pragmatism.

Everyone reload and get ready to push forwards. Use the tombstones as cover. I hope the dead forgive us…
So, Mr. Zhang, who else was trying to buy from your employers?
An underground industrial electronics spy who lost the bid, and a strange man wearing a red bandana over his face. No names were given.
And you just decided to turn on your bosses?
I’ve crossed many lines during my life, but now we all face a common enemy.

Two more! Let ‘em have it!

X-rays down! Christ, lotta poison clouds…
I guess when they make BIG leaps they don’t have much control over where they land, or else they’d land in cover. Works for us, we’ll keep blasting them as they hop down. Hilda and Leroy, pull to the right past the poison clouds and move up!

You know this is futile, Carol Allen. Eventually one of you will make a mistake, just a single mistake, and die for it. Who will it be THIS time?

You didn’t sign up thinking you would die, and if you did, you thought you’d be the only one. But now you bear the weight of others. One single mistake and every one of them could die. Consider a peaceful alternative.

That’s a classic squad leader negotiation trick, Captain; “you have to think about the lives of your men, too!” Er…women in our case, you get the idea.
I’ve used this technique myself. Sometimes before receiving the order to kill them anyway.
Right. We’re not surrendering, Thin Man!
As you wish.

EEEK! …I’m fine, I’m fine, the tombstone took it. *pats grave* Sorry…
My turn!

I have a pink handgun and I know how to use it!
Yeah, I think so, for the moment, anyway.

Okay, everyone, take a minute to rest, reload, and wait for the poison to clear.
By the way…why, specifically, is this an all-female unit?
Got a problem with women, pal?
Humph. Guns don’t care if their owners are women. However, old-fashioned militaries traditionally use men, and progressive modern ones use a mix. So all-female units are usually only formed on purpose.
Oh. We have male soldiers…they’re just not as good as us. So we went.

Ah. I thought there were technical reasons beyond that, such as, aliens only being able to brainwash men.
(Think I saw a G.I. Joe episode like that…)
Hee hee. One of us used to be a dude. Can you guess which?
*snicker* Okay, now that we’ve had our moment of morale-boosting levity, let’s carefully push up.

What the hell is THAT?!
Holy shit, it’s the alien gorilla Dad said he fought!
Looks more like an alien GUERRILLA! Look at the size of that gun!
It’s got thick armor…take more than one blast to down it.
Watkins, I know it’ll be a bitch to try, but try to take that thing alive. We need more samples.

Shooting it in the foot isn’t doing much either! Crap, wish I’d brought flashbangs…

FUCK! That’s a strong gun!
I’m fine, but I can’t take another shot like that.

One final warning, XCOM. The device within the briefcase is a bomb.
A bomb?!
It would contaminate a large area, making it unsuitable for our sample acquisition, so we don’t wish it to explode…but if you really insist on taking it back to your base, we would have no problems with XCOM conveniently wiping itself out of existence. Your choice.
…that’s a pretty strong bluff, but I know it’s a bluff, or else you would have lead with that. Dr. Gomez, you can shoot him.
My pleasure.

Cam, hit the dirt!
Go for it!

Its cover’s down!
Loading the electromagnetic dart…thing’s a little inaccurate, but it’s designed to jam their guns…fingers crossed…

Trick shot, yeaaah!

He’s down! Eliminate the remaining aliens!

All clear!
Perfect. Zhang, move up.
Surprisingly effective cooperation for such a…diverse unit.
We are the losers who are also winners.
Mimi, you hurt yourself AGAIN! Don’t do that!

I’m alive…but the life I had is gone now.
Don’t worry, we’ll take good care of you.
Though, be warned, you run the risk of getting unrecognizably mutated if you hang with us. This ain’t hair dye!
…eh. I’ve served with worse.

What a mess…but great job, everyone!

Bar-Lev, Eva and Gomez, you’re all promoted. Fantastic work, everyone. Beyond the call of duty, and best of all, nobody even got scratched.

Plus, more live samples for Vahlen, and a very, VERY big plasma gun for us to disassemble. A new type of alien grenade, too… by the way, Bradford, have we launched the satellite over Brazil?
We have, sir!
Great. Then, as per our agreement with Brazil, let’s get ready to welcome Dr. Cobra…heh heh heh…

Next time: Two months worth of research in a single day!