The Let's Play Archive

X-Com: Enemy Within

by Speedball

Part 18: Who You Are Under The Mimetic Skin

Part 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. It’ll take a month and a lot more salvaged UFO electronics to get a proper mega-satellite network up and running so we’ll save that for the end of the month. Now: Naomi Bar-Lev, what’s up?
I’m 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, we’d 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… I’m a spy. *rubs back of her neck nervously and averts her eyes*

Ah, good. I’m glad you came clean; I’ve known this for a while.
You did?!
I can tell your feelings on the matter have shifted. In fact, I haven’t intercepted any communiques back to your old superior ever since your augmentation surgery. Which leads me to believe that you’re 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 don’t care about. The terror attack in India made it clear, they could destroy us all if they wished. My old superiors still don’t get that. And…
And on an emotional level…I’ve learned to care about people here, even the ones from countries I don’t 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 wouldn’t have understood that…but things are different now.

Well, I’m glad to hear all this, Bar-Lev. I had faith that you’d see the light sooner or later, most of us have. I’ve 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.
Except “Hogan…”
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. I’ll let you two discuss things, you’ll need to work it out.

Mimi, you should know…I was one of the other ten.
…you were?!

Commander, we’ve finished the armor! It can only take one hit from an enemy plasma weapon before becoming useless, but that’s 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 we’ve 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 I’m not modest…someone throw me a towel!

Okay, nothing to do for now but sit back and wait for new developments…

Commander, we’ve completed our designs for a new autonomous weapons system, essentially a robot machine gun rolling around on the battlefield. It wouldn’t be able to do much except fire its weapon at the enemy, but it would be capable of deploying mobile cover to troops, it’d have increased accuracy once I outfitted it with laser weapons, and it’d be completely immune to panic or the enemy’s strange mental powers.
Hmm, cool. We’ll 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 we’re not using to the Council on the Gray Market…

SHIT! Abductions! Troops, get ready to move out!

We’re heading out to Mexico, we’ve failed them in the past and this ought to make up for it.

If there’s 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 Joe’s. I’ll head up first!


They are here! YOU are here! Watkinsss!

Shit, I can’t see them, they scattered for the doors in the back! They could come from anywhere, toss me some smoke, Pixie!
On it!

I’ll turn invisible and try to scout around near the parking lot. If I’m invisible the aliens won’t react to my presence, I hope…
Sure. See if you can circle around ‘em.

Cameron Watkins…we know of you now.

Whuh…how? Hogan?
You’re so different from how you started out, aren’t you?

And yet you seem to have adapted to this new form quite well. Far better than most would. Wouldn’t a lot of men be disturbed or disgusted by a female body?

(I can’t see shit…) Look, maybe I’m 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 it’s because your BRAIN has mutated as well.

Your brain’s edges had to shift to fit in that differently-sized skull. It’s 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? You’re not Cameron Watkins anymore. He’s dead.
S—shut up! (Fuck, I can’t see this guy either!)
Surely you’ve noticed by now that your personality has shifted since you were altered, ever so slightly?

(ggggah, I’m 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!?


I’m breaking the wall on the last one! Princess!
Got it!

Enemy down. Cam! Is Cam alright?!

Cam, I’m here! Hold still, this will neutralize the poison and patch you up.
gg…ggg…gggg…thanks…hands are still trembling…
Thanks, Leroy…
Don’t mention it.

More sectoids up north! Don’t worry, I can take out a few of them.
G…go for it. Regen’s kicking in, I don’t feel so bad now…armor took most of it…
…I’ll wager the aliens’ words hurt more.
Y…yeah…but I’ll talk about it after the mission.

Two sectoids down! One left behind the meld to the northwest!
I’ll vanish and scout ahead.

Fuck! SEEKERS! They don’t see me but they’ll vanish the moment they see us. Leroy, if your skin thing can really help us, now’s the time.
On it.

Ha ha! YES! It works! They can’t even put one tentacle on me!
That doesn’t mean they’re harmless, they have a small plasma weapon installed. Take ‘em down!

Never again!

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…I’m 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 isn’t destiny, it’s merely an origin. We are more than what our DNA makes us. You wouldn’t understand that, since you’re all designed identically. You have no culture.

And you’re easily distracted.

Surprise, asshole.
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?


It’s over. Cam, you alright?
I’m fine…gonna need to take a break in the hospital to get the rest of this crud out of my system, but I’m fine.
You sure?
I’ve been blown up, shot repeatedly, strangled, burned and mutated, a little poison won’t keep me down forever.
I’m not worried about your body.

I mean…you may have Allen’s DNA but there’s no way I would have fallen for Allen. You know that, right?
I know. He didn’t say anything I wasn’t already thinking. I won’t lie, it scares the shit out of me thinking I might not really be the same Cameron Watkins anymore…but I’ve found a way to make peace with it. As long as whoever I turn into is someone the old Cam would have liked, it’s fine.

Excellent work, everyone. Cam, for keeping your head and killing many aliens despite all the shit being thrown your way, you’ve 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…I’m 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!


Commander’s Poll:

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.