Part 20: Confounding Light AKA Awesome Old Man Team-UpPart 20: Confounding Light
No time to rest, XCOM. Weve figured out what the black box Zhang delivered to us was, a navigational transponder linked to an alien battlecruiser heading towards earth.
But theres an upside. Its got a skeleton crew and is operating on autopilot. If we pull off a daring mission in the next hour and put a bunch of transponders all along a running train, well fool the battlecruiser into thinking its a landing strip. Itll fly within striking distance and well be able to steal it right out from under the aliens noses. (The ones that have noses, anyway).
We need speed and firepower for this mission. Zhang is with us, since its over China, his territory. Watkins, Hugo, Bar-Lev, Leroy, youre going. No snipers, they take too long to set up. And the new Laser-SHIV will be commanded by General Peter Van Doorn!
Oh my God this will be the coolest mission ever.
Heh. Hey, Zhang. Ever kill a man just to watch him die?
To ensure a man died I once unloaded two full magazines into him with magnums in both hands.
Ah, thats more like it! But it doesnt compare to the time I had to kill a bank robber by burying him in his own stolen gold.
and after fighting my way through his maze of death, I met the Game Master, beat him in a sword fight and fed him to his own tiger.
Heh. Nice. As for me, after we killed the assassins, I married the baroness, we had a daughter, and we lived happily ever after until aliens invaded.
I, uh, arrested a few drug dealers once
Wait a minute, you married a baroness? Princess actually is a princess?
Focus, were here!
Youre going to have to attach a bunch of transponders onto different points along this train, then start the train. Weve already cleared its path with the Chinese transit authorities, we just need to hurry. In a matter of minutes the battleship will move out of the path of the train and well fail the mission. Additionally, the aliens seem to have been alerted to our presence, so watch yourselves.
Ah, so thats what this little radio in the SHIVs tiny grippy-arm is.
Time for some Grand Theft UFO!
Take cover, move up and slap a transponder down.
First transponder down, I see two more Thin Men who just ran for it on the right. Four total.
Hold still, you skinny fuck!
Not so good at video games, are we?
Fuck you, I once killed a man with a game of Tetris.
I got the one in the open!
Hmmm. The cyborg. How well can you play chess without your queen?
Mimi, hang on, Ill patch you up!
Holy crap, theyre beaming down reinforcements from the alien battleship! I didnt know they could do that!
Zhang, back me up! Lets both hit it at once!
Nice shot, kid.
By the way, asshole, Ive been working through my existential crisis much better these days!
G Good job. G-guys in the back, move up.
Oh, no, youre bleeding.
Its just a scratch.
You dont have many organic parts left, you need all the blood youve got! *sigh* Let me patch you up.
I placed the second transponder, watch the poison and keep going! We only have seven minutes before this train needs to roll!
Theres a big cloud of poison around the next spot.
Fine, Ill get it, Im immune to their gunk.
Third one down!
One on top of the train, guys! Looks like hes ready to shoot anything that moves.
Ill distract him, Im good at ducking.
Another right next to me! Grargh!
Finish him off!
X-ray down. Mimi?
Painkillers are working, Im fine.
Hey, cool, our lasers make an X when we shoot them at the same target.
Another enemy down. Only one more transponder to place and we can activate the train.
Hah! I FEEL NO PAIN!
bit less of a boast when youre just remote-controlling a robot, sir.
Alien bastard, stop ducking out of the way! I cant believe I missed with a laser machine gun.
Dont worry, sir, I got him!
Nice work, kid. Youve earned a dinner date with my family.
Please dont turn the SHIV to face me when talking, sir. Youre pointing a gun at my head!
Pfft. You think dinner will be any different?
Another Muton on top of the train!
Ready for another X-shot?
Go for it!
Good job, man!
Last transponder set. Mimi, hit the throttle on the train, now, before they beam down more Mutons!
Good thing they make such big buttons, itd be hard to hit with these hands right, thats done!
Its working, Strike-one!
WHOOO! I love trains!
Were lucky the train can still move with all the damage we did to it.
The alien battlecruisers autopilot has been sufficiently fucked with. Its coming within range of our interceptors. But all of its external defenses are offline, so we dont need to scratch it. We just need to herd it into a safe spot, then raid that sucker by killing off its remaining crew. They must have only a few guys left on it now.
How are we going to get it back to XCOM?
In pieces. This is where I come in, again. I know a very talented chop shop. VERY talented.
Well, nice. Our supports and Zhang have earned pay upgrades.
Mimi, youre hurt!
No, youre not! You cant go into battle on that ship like this!
The SHIVs banged up too. Looks like its down to the mere mortals
We have about 24 hours before were ready to move on the thing. Everyone, get some sleep and some food.
Oh my GOD did he tell you the baroness story? Its not true! Dont listen to him!
Is it just a story, or is she so embarrassed shell never admit its true? Youll never know! Mua-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
Do we, uh, do we really need to play pool with a loaded pistol on the table over there?
Yes. Because Im not allowed to wear it during a game any more.
Ugggh, Im just going to turn invisible and slink away while you two have the dont touch my daughter talk
TO BE CONTINUED!
Commanders Survey posted:
The answer to are we alone is no longer a mystery. Better question: do you think well ever find friendly aliens?