Part 28: Many New FacesPart 28: Many New Faces
Alright, what have we learned from the corpses? The drone, the sectoid commander, and that flying disc?
The drone is just that, a drone. But we might be able to use what weve learned from it to improve our SHIV, give it self-repair abilities.
The cyberdisc is very strange. Its like organic technology. Weve learned a few things from it, including how to possibly create a backup life support organ for our troops in the form of a gene mod.
And this well, giving our soldiers its mental abilities will require a specialized facility, but in the meantime weve devised a gene mod that will cause any invasive telepath intense pain. It wont necessarily prevent mental attacks, but the enemy will pay for it.
Oooh. Brain spikes! Were going to want to put that on everyone as soon as possible.
Well Id be a fool not to get upgraded with the brain spikes, but every new gene mod I get will make it more and more expensive to get the old me back. And Ive had no real complaints, but Id like to keep my options open, yknow?
Heh. Well, I cant go back. But I stopped minding once I realized that in the future, theyll have more and more humanoid limbs for me, and that Ill be basically immune to aging. Ill be kicking ass when Im eighty.
Whoah. Yeah. Heh. Thats a hell of a bright side.
Actually, after its done altering DNA, the meld repairs your telomeres, too, the protein sheaths that shorten as you age. For people whove been repeatedly modified or exposed to meld, they wont show signs of aging for a while.
And you inherited the DNA of someone whod been exposed to meld at least four or five times, Watkins, so I imagine youll remain young for possibly up to a hundred years.
Of course, if you still want me to reverse everything, I can. Your comfort is important to us.
Okay, no. Screw going back! If anybody has a problem with that, Ill be laughing at them all the way to the 22nd century. Splice me MORE, doc!
Hmm, yeah, can I get brain spikes too?
Now would be a good time for me to finally get upgraded
I could always use a vision modification.
Hell I dont care if you mutate me into a purple-skinned Beyonce, immortality is worth it!
ENOUGH! The A-teams on break. That means the only people who get mutated are the ones who are gonna use it. Thats me, Hugo, maybe Zhang once hes out of the hospital, and anyone else who doesnt suck.
NO! Commander, who else do we have?
Uh, we havent hired any new talent recently, so, uh its not good.
Francois Roux, formerly a chef out of Quebec, lied on his eye exam and blows up in everyones face when they disagree about what spices to use.
Bobo Bananas, actually a chimpanzee that got mutated into a human during Dr. Vahlens initial meld tests.
I learning talk. Help kill bad?
No, Bobo, you just go back to your room and play with your kittens, okay?
And lastly, Maria Vos, who is intelligent, disciplined, loyal and dedicated, but cant hit the broad side of a barn and freaks out at the sight of blood.
Im sorry, sir! But if I fail you on the field of battle, I will surely never fail you in the filing department!
See what I mean? It takes at least three days and 10 megacredits just to hire one new soldier whos been cleared by every background check the Council of Nations has to offer.
It takes three days to get melded, right? Welp, Im going in the tube. I hope you can scrounge up someone better in that time, sir.
Im working on an advanced placement program, too, thatll help us discover their specialties sooner. Little expensive, but we can afford it.
Hugo, you can test out the brain spikes mutation. Im getting this cheerleader mod.
Its called Adrenal Neurosympathy, and it
Cheerleader mod. If this process really rejuvenates me I want the full effect, kay?
Hope this doesnt make me go crazy
Now, we wait
Now that weve got Asia covered, getting help setting up our new test chamber is a breeze. We just throw the recruits into what they think is a dangerous situation, and how they react will determine their exact aptitude.
Bit devious, but I guess itll save us time
Latisha, how do you feel?
Fucking amazing. That shit is better than a mud bath, I feel like Im 25 again.
You should start experiencing combat rushes in battle, and with your new pheremones youll pass that on to nearby troops as well. You should all become more alert as the battle progresses.
Sweet. Ive got coffee for blood!
And how are you, Hugo?
I also feel like Im 25 again! But then again, I am 25, so
I feel pretty normal, but sharp, in a way I cant quite describe. Like I can speed up my thinking when I want to. I guess we wont know if this mod can hurt telepaths until one tries to attack me.
Well, worst-case scenario, weve just sacrificed our sleeves.
Great, now hopefully next time it wont take so much space to build more satellite facilities. Gonna be a bitch to pay for, though
Ahh, hell! No time for anything else, whos going? Rhino, Hugo, the SHIV, Zhang (now that hes out of the hospital), and ?
To expedite the background check process, we tried hiring several recruits who were rescued from the alien base. (On the grounds that anyone they were going to mulch are not secretly on their side). Of all the new recruits, Lea Gerard of Belgium has the most outstanding aim scores, making her perfect for a rookie sniper.
No! Thats not right!
My name is Yoko Tachibana!
Look, as long as you can kill aliens, I dont care if your name is Moon Unit Zappa. Get on the skyranger, rookie, before that UFO takes off! Now, who else is going?
What? Dad, youre still in recovery from the ambush. Youre not the killing machine you used to be!
I dont care. Someones got to keep these kids in line, and if I go one more week without killing something Ill lose my edge forever!
yknow what, Ill allow this. But in the field you have to earn your rank all over again, Van Doorn.
So, Lea, why are you
Its YOKO! The aliens ripped out my brain and stuck it in the body of some white girl from Belgium for an experiment. Nobody believes me cause I dont have any signs of melding or surgery.
Okay well, your accent doesnt seem Belgian, at least.
I joined XCOM because I was hoping they could meld me to look like the old me or whatever.
Ha! Well, youd better prove yourself on the battlefield, Miss Tachibana, cause we dont waste meld on losers.
I will murder every alien in the solar system if thats what it takes.
Thats the spirit!
WOO! Okay, troops, Im in command today. Its daylight and the UFO is undamaged, which means there will be up to thirteen enemies inside, including the leaders in the bridge. We dont have any anti-invisibility measures to kill Seekers with, so well have to make do. Any questions?
Right. No questions. GO!
Three sectoids north, they havent seen us yet.
Grab some cover, fast!
Ahh, hell, skinnies to the southeast too! Theyve spotted us and pulled back. Were in a pincer.
Zhang, you, Hugo and the SHIV go southeast to take out the Thin Men. Youll be better against their poison. Everyone else, with me to the north!
Whos piloting the SHIV?
Who cares? GO!
Ohhh, this is too sweet for words. Theyre ALL exposed. Who dies today? Eenie, meenie, miney, mo
EAT LASER SHOTGUN!
OWWW! You little grey SHIT!
Ahh, hell, hes in high cover, Ive got no angle.
Not for long. Heres a trick I learned. Blast the ground next to em, showers em with dirt. If youre lucky it hurts and confuses em enough that they break cover.
And sometimes you get REALLY lucky, haha! WHOO!
Damn it feels good to get shit done, doesnt it?
Wow. I dunno what the hell youre on, Mrs. Watkins, but I think its starting to rub off on me.
Its working! Neat.
There are several very spread-out Thin Men in hard cover. Fortunately I have modified my rockets for increased area of effect. Backblast area all clear, rocket away!
Two down. One left, position unknown.
(Mother of God, why is everyone around me so much more of a badass?) Hey, SHIV, scout ahead!
There he is, Im taking him out!
Phew. Six of the twelve or thirteen estimated enemies down. Thats two more squads, thereabouts, inside the ship. Plus the pilots.
SHIT! Seekers! The things that keep attacking Cam! Theyre out for revenge!
Aaaah crap. Ill see if I can nade em if I can tell where they are.
Whoah, nice shot, SHIV pilot whoever you are!
First muton down. Second one is weakened.
Great! Okay, folks, you know the drill. Everyone on overwatch and huddle close so you can shoot those damn squids off each other when they attack.
Here you go, Yoko. Let me patch that hole in your armor.
No worries, Van Doorn. I got it.
God DAMN it I cant believe it snuck up on me. Im losing my touch! When I fought the inviso-ninjas of Shadow Brazil I could always hear em coming. I need that skin Leroy has.
Everyone move inside the saucer.
Phew looks like Im not infallible either. Thank you.
Okay, that does it. Who the hells piloting the SHIV?
Im really good at video games, my friend. Heh heh.
Right, folks, the bridge is the only part of the UFO we havent cleared. Theres two or three commanding aliens in there, I bet. Probably those weird Outsider things. Well open the doors on both sides, try to get em in a crossfire. Breach on three two one!
Holy fucknuggets, TWO Sectoid Commanders!
Back off! Everyone but Hugo and the SHIV, back off, NOW!
Moving forward! They cannot control a machine!
Aaaah, hell, Ill try to blitz them from behind their own cover! Hope these brain spikes work
ZINCHENKO YOU IDIOTA!
I dont know what happened, it said I had an 88% chance to hit!
Ffffuck! Firing weapon!
Got him! Ahh, hell, theyre charging up their brains!
Hugo Gutierrez we have you now.
Like hell! Get out of my head! DIE!
W-what!? FEEDBACK!? AIIIGHG!!!
Haha! It worked!
N-no! What are you?! Aoooowwwwwww
You bastards! What did you do to me!?
Hey, HEY! Ease up there, soldier! Let me try to take it alive.
I said back off!
There. We can find out all the answers we want after we fry this bastard on the interrogation bench and kick him in his nonexistent nuts a few times. Okay?
okay. Sorry, Mama Watkins.
Whew! Mission complete, and a fantastic job, everyone!
not everyone. *sniff*
*sniff* I didnt get to kill anything! *sob*
Not a scratch on anyone. Wonderful work. Youre both promoted, Hugo and Zhang. And weve proven the effectiveness of the brain spikes. Were gonna want to install those in everyone.
And Lea excuse me, Yoko were going to get to the bottom of whats up with you. I dont think youre faking or a delusional.
Oh. Thank you, sir. Im sorry, I wont let my temper get the better of me in the future.
And by the way, Rhino, great job of keeping a level head despite all the juices energizing you.
No problem, sir. I am a very good multi-tasker.
Baaaaahhhh hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo
Aww, cmon, dad.
Its over, Hilda. Your old man is useless. I couldnt kill anything. Fucking Zinchenko was better out there than me.
Ive had missions where I couldnt kill anything. You just need some more time to sharpen yourself up! Come on, lets go to the bar, youll feel a lot better after a few Cuba Libres.
*sniff* If you say so