The Let's Play Archive

X-Com: Enemy Within

by Speedball

Part 49: The Whole Truth

XCOM Part 49: The Whole Truth

So, this was America, 1962, but, y’know, pre-Woodstock, the part of the sixties that was really just the fifties in color. The Red Scare was in full effect and everyone in America was sure the Soviets were going to invade and destroy them all. Everyone except one guy, Director Faulk, who was positive that these strange new signals we were receiving from space were signals to alien sleeper agents. He’d been diverting resources to collect alien artifacts from old space probes.
How long have aliens been crashing on earth?
Not sure, but a long time. Not everyone out there has Faster-Than-Light travel, so it could take thousands of years to get around the galaxy. The “Elerium Mine” underneath Groom was just a bunch of ores from an ancient supply ship, for example. We think that disturbing it was what alerted aliens to our planet, the timing of it was a bit too coincidental. Anyway, Director Faulk was retrieving artifacts.

And this chain-smoking booze hound was his number-one guy in charge of the artifact in question, William Carter. Yeah, you know this story takes place in the sixties when the hero has serious substance abuse problems. Can’t blame him too much, because his whole family died in a fire while he was on duty. For some reason, it never seemed to affect his job performance as much as you’d think.

Some officer lady showed up to relieve him of the case, and that’s where things started to get weird.

She blasted Carter in the shoulder, opened up the case and that’s when we saw our first look at Sleepwalkers.

Whole swaths of the population had been infected with a mind-controlling nanomachine that made them cry black crap once it took over completely. She started kicking the shit out of Carter bare-handed, but then the thing in the case exploded.

Whatever was in there fried her to a crisp, but healed Carter’s wound. He had alien healing powers now.
Whoah. What was it?
Why would it heal someone but kill the other?
Good questions. Heh. Actually, Carter never really questioned it too much himself; he wasn’t a very inquisitive person for a secret agent, which is probably why he was on courier duty. And he didn’t get a chance to, either, because…

Aliens started coming out of nowhere, blowing up everything and shooting everybody.
Sectoids. They look different than the ones we fought. Those collars…
Slave collars. These guys were disposable grunts working for a higher power. The Director called them “Outsiders,” but they called themselves “Zudjari,” we later found out.

Long story short, Carter blew the shit out of a bunch of them with the help of some other guys I can’t be bothered to remember. We hooked up with Faulke, got what we could and got the hell out of there to the prototype XCOM facility.

This was 1962, conformity was king. Tons of anonymous caucasian G-men with identical clothes and interchangeable personalities. There are only a few people of note from back then. Director Faulke, and his top agent, Angela Weaver.

Spy agencies have been using women for centuries but never gave ‘em credit. Weaver was less of the “sneak around and pretend to be a waitress” type of spy and more of the “kill everyone in the room” type, all business. Of course, she had to be three times as tough as any of the dudes to get half the respect she was owed, so she compensated by being six times as tough. Blew away a Sleepwalker posing as a general right in front of me.

We lost communication with almost everyone. America was paralyzed, possibly the rest of the world as well, and it was down to a bunch of suits and geeks in front of space-age word processors to save it. Carter, Weaver and a bunch of disposable G.I. Joes went around the country defusing all sorts of problems.
Like what?

Let me put it to you like this: stopping the aliens from stealing all the nukes in America was considered a minor mission.

Zudjari technology let them build bases and facilities in minutes as they invaded. Fortunately, we were pretty good at asymmetrical warfare, especially because of the weird powers Carter was developing.

And we managed to rescue this guy, Dr. Alan Weir, for a specific reason. You see, the aliens were linked up to each other, cybernetically, in a hive-mind control system called MOSAIC. This guy was one of the best experts on computer code we could find, and the only guy who could speak the programming language the aliens were using.

We even captured an alien infiltrator and removed his Mosaic implant. He became much less aggressive the moment we did. No more orders from on high telling him to kill us all.

We could have slapped him around for information, but for some reason Carter decided to take a different tactic. Made the guy realize he was just a puppet of evil masterminds. He was confused and reluctant, but eventually saw things our way. Not that he knew much, being a pawn and all.
I could have made him talk.
Well, we didn’t have brain-scanning electrodes back then! Anyway, our plan, such as it was, was to kill the alien commander on Earth, find their home base and the Mosaic hub, take a makeshift UFO we were constructing to it, and blow it up.

It was getting worse across the world. The Sleepwalker infection was spread through the water, and only isolated military bases like ours were free of it. The infected’s brains started to burn out and they could only accept simple commands, but the command was usually to report to Zudjari slave barges. They marched to their own abduction. Whole towns were emptied without a shot fired.

Dr. Weir had a little combat experience himself and helped us bust that Mosaic network wide open, but he couldn’t override the commands to soldiers or keep the Sleepwalkers from marching to the abduction pods. Still, the information led us straight to the biggest alien mission sites.

We found the alien commander, Axis, and killed the shit out of him, but strangely, he knew Agent Carter, kept calling him “The Prisoner.”
Maybe he was a fan of Patrick McGoohan?
That show wasn’t out yet. We figured it was just a weird alien being weird.
Sounds like Patrick McGoohan to me…

Carter also had a weird reaction when they used their infiltrator test on him.

He was infected all along?
Nah, he wasn’t a sleepwalker, but whatever that alien junk had done to him to give him superpowers made him react badly to the test. He passed out. Director Faulke decided he was okay since he never started crying black crap from his eyes. Still, everyone was on edge around Carter after that.

You tried to assault the aliens in that? I’m amazed it even hovered, with 1960’s technology.
Dr. Weir was a fast study, and Zudjari technology was designed to be idiot-proof. We figured out from our captured infiltrator that they were invading the planet from a wormhole hidden in a dam, so the goal was to fly right through to their world, kill the mysterious alien overlord named Origin, drop a nuke on his Mosaic hub and, if we had time, get back to Earth.
A suicide mission. Hm. I think I see where this is going. You were Carter, weren’t you?
Hey! Who’s telling this story?

Origin himself turned out to be just another Zudjari, but hooked up to a giant machine he used to enslave everyone else. He was full of mystical bullshit none of us understood, talking about a demonic entity that was lying in wait upon our world, that he’d already bent one to his will.

Some sort of energy being that he’d captured, and was using to power his Mosaic network. It was a creature of the mind, you see, so he used it to enslave millions of minds.

Wait a minute. Four arms… is that?
The creature you fought… that was a shell, for this ethereal being. This is what they look like without a body. I think. Might be a different sub-species, there’s enough differences… anyhow, we killed the shit out of Origin and sucked up the Ethereal into an energy bracelet, set the nuke and got the hell out of there. That mystical bullshit he kept spouting didn’t make him nuke-proof, heh.

So… you won? What happened to the Ethereal?
We hadn’t won yet. The remaining Zudjari got less organized, but they didn’t stop fighting. It wasn’t a decapitation like we had hoped. Mosaic was a distributed network. It may have had a controller but it kept on going without the guy at the reins. As for the Ethereal…

It woke up where we were keeping it alive, in this big vat full of elerium. Then it started talking to me, which was really weird.

What did it say?
You don’t understand.

It wasn’t talking to Carter.

It was talking to me.
Wait a minute… what!?

The thing in the case…
Honestly, I was as surprised as anyone else. I’d never had anything but Carter’s memories, never seen anything but what Carter saw. But those alien superpowers had to come from somewhere, didn’t they?
Ah, you’ve arrived.

Back the fuck up! The Commander is an ALIEN!?!
Don’t be a fucking racist. I’m Ethereal-American.

To Be Continued!