Part 18: Who You Are Under The Mimetic SkinPart 18: Who You Are On The Inside Of Your Mimetic Skin
Right, according to the survey, we should be focusing on survivability first, then revenge. Works for me. Itll take a month and a lot more salvaged UFO electronics to get a proper mega-satellite network up and running so well save that for the end of the month. Now: Naomi Bar-Lev, whats up?
Im a er my superiors sent me to this program under false pretenses. They believed at the time that the alien threat was minimal and that sending me here was purely an olive branch to a larger organization they had no stake in. My mission was to integrate, eliminate whatever made-up threat you people were involved in and return. On the off chance that aliens were real it was believed that, at most, wed destroy them all quickly and I would be able to return to the homeland with samples of their technology, with or without your permission. In short Im a spy. *rubs back of her neck nervously and averts her eyes*
Ah, good. Im glad you came clean; Ive known this for a while.
I can tell your feelings on the matter have shifted. In fact, I havent intercepted any communiques back to your old superior ever since your augmentation surgery. Which leads me to believe that youre someone XCOM can trust.
Yeah the old mission is pointless. From a purely pragmatic standpoint, the only people who can fix my body live here, so betraying XCOM is suicide. And on other matters, everything going on back home seems like a bunch of small-minded bullshit. Little people arguing about things the aliens dont care about. The terror attack in India made it clear, they could destroy us all if they wished. My old superiors still dont get that. And
And on an emotional level Ive learned to care about people here, even the ones from countries I dont give a shit about. Some of them really piss me off, but only in the sense that a family member pisses you off. I still miss Allen, and Allen annoyed me to death. The old me wouldnt have understood that but things are different now.
Well, Im glad to hear all this, Bar-Lev. I had faith that youd see the light sooner or later, most of us have. Ive had this conversation with about ten other staff, also all donated from countries that thought this invasion was either not their problem or an opportunity to screw over their neighbors. They all wised up.
He completely passed my initial screening and never sent any communiques out of the base. Which means he was a deep-cover spy from the start. Someone out there knows about XCOM and its mission, and knew about it before XCOM even got off the ground. Well, let me worry about that. Ill let you two discuss things, youll need to work it out.
Mimi, you should know I was one of the other ten.
Commander, weve finished the armor! It can only take one hit from an enemy plasma weapon before becoming useless, but thats still one more hit than we were able to take before.
On standard, baseline-human troops it covers most of their body, with fiber-weave around the limbs and soft joints. On our gene-modded troopers we shifted it a bit. Watkins, come here!
As stated, we need to let our genetically modified troops have some exposed bare skin, so weve concentrated the armor around the torso. Now, for the durability test. Captain Watkins, could you enter the test chamber to the left?
What the FUCK!? OWWWW
Please, you were only lightly toasted at best. The pain should have already subsided.
Ffffuuck. Good thing Im not modest someone throw me a towel!
Okay, nothing to do for now but sit back and wait for new developments
Commander, weve completed our designs for a new autonomous weapons system, essentially a robot machine gun rolling around on the battlefield. It wouldnt be able to do much except fire its weapon at the enemy, but it would be capable of deploying mobile cover to troops, itd have increased accuracy once I outfitted it with laser weapons, and itd be completely immune to panic or the enemys strange mental powers.
Hmm, cool. Well build some more once we have some cash to spare. Sorry, funds are tight though I guess I could sell a little of this elerium crap were not using to the Council on the Gray Market
SHIT! Abductions! Troops, get ready to move out!
Were heading out to Mexico, weve failed them in the past and this ought to make up for it.
If theres seekers about, I hope your bioelectric powers come in handy, Leroy.
Eh. If nothing else, I can make a light bulb light up by sticking it in my mouth now.
A small food store, huh? The aliens are knocking over the equivalent of Trader Joes. Ill head up first!
They are here! YOU are here! Watkinsss!
Shit, I cant see them, they scattered for the doors in the back! They could come from anywhere, toss me some smoke, Pixie!
Ill turn invisible and try to scout around near the parking lot. If Im invisible the aliens wont react to my presence, I hope
Sure. See if you can circle around em.
Cameron Watkins we know of you now.
Whuh how? Hogan?
Youre so different from how you started out, arent you?
And yet you seem to have adapted to this new form quite well. Far better than most would. Wouldnt a lot of men be disturbed or disgusted by a female body?
(I cant see shit ) Look, maybe Im just mentally gender fluid enough to not give a shit. Maybe I have bigger things to worry about, like killing you alien fucks!
Or, maybe its because your BRAIN has mutated as well.
Your brains edges had to shift to fit in that differently-sized skull. Its now sensitive to different hormones. The connective tissue has adjusted. What kind of effect do you think that had on the mind contained within that brain? Youre not Cameron Watkins anymore. Hes dead.
Sshut up! (Fuck, I cant see this guy either!)
Surely youve noticed by now that your personality has shifted since you were altered, ever so slightly?
(ggggah, Im almost blind!)
How much of you is really you? How much of you is other people? How much of you is us?
How much of you is GRENADE!?
Im breaking the wall on the last one! Princess!
Enemy down. Cam! Is Cam alright?!
Cam, Im here! Hold still, this will neutralize the poison and patch you up.
gg ggg gggg thanks hands are still trembling
Dont mention it.
More sectoids up north! Dont worry, I can take out a few of them.
G go for it. Regens kicking in, I dont feel so bad now armor took most of it
Ill wager the aliens words hurt more.
Y yeah but Ill talk about it after the mission.
Two sectoids down! One left behind the meld to the northwest!
Ill vanish and scout ahead.
Fuck! SEEKERS! They dont see me but theyll vanish the moment they see us. Leroy, if your skin thing can really help us, nows the time.
Ha ha! YES! It works! They cant even put one tentacle on me!
That doesnt mean theyre harmless, they have a small plasma weapon installed. Take em down!
All visible aliens dead, I guess we can collect the meld now before it self-destructs.
I can sense two more in this book store. Those are the last ones.
Okay Im going to fall back and get the far meld container.
Aaaah, Dr. Alicia Gomezzzzzz
Hello again. If you were listening in on what your brothers were talking about, I have a counter-argument. Biology has a powerful effect on our mental state, but it isnt destiny, its merely an origin. We are more than what our DNA makes us. You wouldnt understand that, since youre all designed identically. You have no culture.
And youre easily distracted.
Where did you come from?
You hurt someone I care very much about. For that, I will shoot you where you least want me to.
And where is that?
Its over. Cam, you alright?
Im fine gonna need to take a break in the hospital to get the rest of this crud out of my system, but Im fine.
Ive been blown up, shot repeatedly, strangled, burned and mutated, a little poison wont keep me down forever.
Im not worried about your body.
I mean you may have Allens DNA but theres no way I would have fallen for Allen. You know that, right?
I know. He didnt say anything I wasnt already thinking. I wont lie, it scares the shit out of me thinking I might not really be the same Cameron Watkins anymore but Ive found a way to make peace with it. As long as whoever I turn into is someone the old Cam would have liked, its fine.
Excellent work, everyone. Cam, for keeping your head and killing many aliens despite all the shit being thrown your way, youve earned another pay upgrade. So have you, Dr. Gomez and Hilda.
How the hell did they know about Watkins and the switch?
Only one way: they got Hogan before he was able to return to his spymaster. Hmm Im still trying to figure out who he was really working for
That armor saved my life, no doubt about it. Gonna need to learn how to let the armor take the hits for me. Now, which movie should I watch? Hmm how about The Thing
To be continued!
If you could pick at least one genetic augmentation from the list of known ones, which would YOU choose and why? Answers need not be limited to battlefield tactical reasons.