The mission goes swimmingly. Asmodues and Primal take out the first two aliens -- Floaters, thankfully -- and then dustbiter takes out a third with a rocket from half the map away. Inside the UFO, iwas gets the fourth and final kill with an autoshot. Here are some promotions that were awarded.
Asmodues, dustbiter and iwas all got promoted to Sergeant due to their fresh kills, and another Captain was made to keep the ratios up. Mission finished, I await the next event. It turns out to be the completion of the Plasma Cannon, allowing us to research Plasma Defense for base defense, as well as manufacture a Plasma Hovertank and Plasma Cannons for planes. I choose to make a Plasma Hovertank to replace the dead Rocket HWP, and start researching the Lightning. Next, a small UFO is flying low at a slow speed. Fool. Interceptor-1 is dispatched to ttake it down, and a new complement of soldiers is put on the Skyranger-1. Let's meet them. Their names are SuingForDamages, SnK-Arcbound, Dagomar, The Dark Lord Sindri, waki, Tripe, Charbroil, Mayday116, ILaughAtYou, ManicLurker, badme, Kedinik, Razoriel and Woodtopian. Oh, and I also buy some more rockets, 'cause we're starting to run out. Now, then. Just as the Interceptor catches the UFO over the Congo in Arfica, it lands, and the Skyranger-1 approaches, ready to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting aliens.
The crew touches down in the middle of a very classically European farm, despite the fact that we're in central Africa. SuingForDamages notes orchards on both sides of the Skyranger-1, possibly giving cover to aliens. SnK-Arcbound, the Captain and top scout of the expedition, takes it on himself to go first. He ducks into the right orchard and sees a Muton. He kneels and opens fire with an Autoshot, hitting twice and missing once. The Muton turns and returns fire with its autoshot, but SnK-Arcbound displays the same luck that he had in the previous mission he was on, and the Muton misses each time at almost point-blank range. Arcbound must've been taking luck lessons from eU)NiCk. He then finishes off the Muton, getting the first kill of the mission.
The second kill goes to Charbroil. Here's how it went down: Tripe starts moving, and gets shot at, missing. He turns, sees a Muton, kneels, gets shot at, and the Muton misses again. Tripe opens fire, hitting the Muton twice. The Muton returns fire, hitting Tripe in the chest, badly wounding him. Mayday116 moves up with his Medikit and heals Tripe's fatal wounds, and then Charbroil steps up behind Tripe, and gets shot by the Muton. Fortunately, Charbroil's armor absorbed the damage, and he was able to kill the alien with his next autoshot.
The third kill is earned by Mayday116. ILaughAtYou turns around a hedge and is shot at by a Muton which is right next to him. The Muton misses, vaporizing a hedge a few feet behind ILaughAtYou. ILaughAtYou decides that descretion is the better part of valour when fighting an eight foot tall alien with plasma, and ducks around the other side of the hedge. Kedinik shoots down trees and hedge to hit the Muton's side, getting an assist, and then Mayday116 administers the finishing move with an autoshot.
The Mutons have hired Sneaky People, inc. to plan their strategies this mission, it seems. First, hiding behind a hedge. Second, standing on a roof! SnK-Arcbound and Badme both succeed only in damaging the walls of the building, but Razoriel takes the fourth kill with a distance Heavy Plasma snapshot that takes the alien down.
Fifth kill goes to The Dark Lord Sindri. As the picture evidences, there was a second Muton on top of that building. SnK-Arcbound, badme and Razoriel all miss except for Razoriel, who hits once, and then Sindri steps up and takes it out with a lucky Autoshot, getting the fifth kill.
Man, there are a whole lot of Mutons outside their UFO! ManicLurker sees one as it rounds a corner, and fires off an opportunity autoshot, wounding it. On his turn, he proceeds to autoshot it three times, hitting it a grand total of five out of nine shots, and it still does not die. Reinforcements try to assist as SnK-Arcbound, badme, ILaughAtYou and Woodtopian rush to the scene, but none of them will be able to get there in time. Meanwhile, Charbroil spots another Muton hiding behind a hay bale a dozen yards away from the hedge. Charbroil, Waki and Kedinik each blast it, but it doesn't fall until Mayday116 take it out on his last autoshot, earning the sixth kill.
ManicLurker's life was spared as the Muton decided that descretion is the better part of valour when faced with a horde of angry, laser-toting humans and runs back inside the UFO. Sindri was democratically elected to go in the UFO first, and he does so, as this screenshot evidences. He pumps a full autoshot into the surprised and reactionless Muton, bringing it down, and getting the seventh kill.
Alas, we take out first casualty. badme was stationed by the west inner door of the UFO, ready to opportunity shot any Mutons that might come through. One does. badme and the alien face off. badme's reaction wasn't high enough, and the Muton cruelly guns him down. SnK-Arcbound, who was covering badme, opens fire and takes the Muton down with three laser blasts, getting the eighth kill of this mission. Razoriel, on badme's other side, gets shot at by a second (!) Muton but thankfully the Muton hits only the wall. Razoriel, full of rage, rushes into the room and guns the Muton down, getting the ninth and final kill.
Here are the loot and promotion screens. badme's death was sheer bad luck. There was nothing I could have done save perhaps putting a different soldier there, but I didn't think of that until too late. Besides, badme had one of the highest reactions of any soldier on the mission. Rest in peace. We'll bury you with a foil.
Mission over, I await the next event. Said event turns out to be the completion of a Plasma Hovertank. A few words on the Plasma HWP: although it lacks the destructive power and collatoral damage potential of a rocket HWP, the Plasma is still by far the best HWP in the game. It's much more accurate than a rocket HWP, and can fire many more shot -- both in a turn, and overall. It's better armored, and has about 100 total TUs. It has more health and stamina. But here's the real kicker -- it can fly, just like a squaddie in flight armor, but it's a tank. Think about this. Imagine an M1 Abrams that shoots plasma and can fly. A terrifying thought. It's well worth the four slots on the Skyranger-1, in my opinion, at least until flying suits research.
After this, there's a terror mission, and we all know how much I love these. Thankfully, it is at least a daylight Terror mission. Since these missions get the Best of the Best, soldier wise, let's trot out the lineup! The chosen are Convider, Epoch, Lithium_, Kevin, Endersshadow, Mark4, Desert Demon, eU)NiCk, snowyday and Primal. Let's get crackin'!
Right on. Land, tank looks around, nada. Tank flies over the battlefield, looks around, and... Oh, shit. Oh, shit! Gentlemen... Our first Chryssalid battle. I won't even bother giving you the game's defenition of these things, as it is woefully inadequate in the category of constant prayer. Chryssalids are the worst and most evil aliens to fight in the game besides Etherals, and they're far worse in terms of pure hate factor. One Chryssalid can take out your entire squad. Here's how these things work: a Chryssalid has about 120 TUs, allowing it to cross incredible distances very quickly. If it gets it melee, it stabs you, and implants an egg, turning you into a zombie. This zombie will shamble around and do nothing, until you shoot it, which you have to do to complete the mission. When you shoot a zombie, it hatches into a fully adult and very angry Chryssalid. Now, you say; "So? Just don't let your guys get melee'd." This is good advice, except that Chryssalids do the zombification routine to civilians, too, breeding an entire army of black, insectoid killers. Oh, and Chryssalids always accompany Snakemen on terror missions. A Snakeman is essentially a giant, upright snake with arms. They're standard ranged opponents, more dangerous than Floaters with their increased accuracy, tendency to use Heavy Plasma over the weaker forms, and increased durability.
Now, with all the Chryssalid fear out of the way, I use the Hovertank to end that particular alien's life. Convider, scouting afield, spots a Snakeman doing something sneaky in a garden. Both he and Kevin, another SS, open up on the alien, effectively vaporizing some unoffending tomato vines. It's up to Lithium_, a Grunt, with 12 less accuracy than both of his Sharpshooter colleagues, to finish the alien in one hit. Sigh. The rest of the squad fans out, prepared to clear the city. Next turn, a civilian is gunned down by a Snakeman in clear sight of our troopers. Said Snakeman then hustles inside a door, ready to pop out and take potshots should I give it that opportunity. I will not give it that opportunity. Convider responds to the threat by priming a grenade and then tossing it through a window, presumably onto the Snakeman's feet. Foot. ...Tail. Shut up! Stop laughing at me!
Kevin and Epoch take up positions by handy, cover-providing poles along the road. The tank flies about fifty feet above the battlefield, and spots another Snakeman hiding in a garden. They seem to like gardens. The tank fires, misses, and then gets hit three times by the Snakeman! However, it takes no damage. Gotta love that superheavy armor. Epoch fires from across the map and takes the alien down in one shot. At this point, catastrophe strikes. As Primal forms the farthest end of a line of soldiers, he spots two things: a civilian still inside the room where the grenade is (please oh please outside the blast radius) and the Snakeman, just outside the door. Doh! Apparently it walked back out. That'll teach me a lesson. The entire squad, that is, those who have TUs left, open fire on it, resulting in the destruction of a corner of the house, some of the street, a hedge, and finally, the Snakeman, at snowyday's hands.
Next turn, the grenade apparently fails to go off, thank God, and a Chryssalid patrols the outside of the door into the room with a Civvie in it, apparently unconcerned by the line of armed and armored humans across the street from it. A Snakeman also comes up and says "yo" to the Chryssalid, who responds with an emphatic "sup?" The aforementioned line of armed and armored humans opens up, with the aliens taking a small rocket in the face from Primal before being brought down by some Heavy Plasma autoshots from Convider. The screenshot is a picture of the destruction. We may not be good for property values, but by God, we make those aliens die. Meanwhile, the tank scouts ahead, spotting no less than four aliens. Two Snakemen on a stretch of suburban lawn, a Snakeman in a garden (sheesh) and a Chryssalid chillin' by a fence. They're over half the map away, so the squad decides to try some long range target practice, proving conclusively that they need to work on it. Endersshadow starts the deal by sending a small rocket dead on into a Snakeman, but the Snakeman apparently has other plans than dying to a small rocket, and so it lives, despite the fact that the garden itself was immolated. Mark4 takes out one of the lawn Snakemen, and Epoch brings down the second. Desert Demon blasts the resilient Snakeman, and then Kevin, the tank, snowyday, Lithium_ and eU)NiCk completely fail to kill the Chryssalid, although Lithium_ does badly wound it, despite the fact that he is almost three fourths of the map away. No matter. We'll kill that thing next turn, no doubt.
See this picture? The yellow dot on the left side is Lithium_. He's up against the wall. The blue top on the right side is the Chryssalid, who, faced with superior firepower, decided to (quote) "run the hell away." Lithium_, kneeling, with gun braced against his shoulder, prepares to take the longest shot in the history of X-COM! He misses. He blows up a fence. Mark4, closer, takes the Chryssalid down. Meanwhile, Convider spots a Snakeman, misses, leaving it up to Epoch to do the deed. End turn.
Right on. One civilian dead, two saved, and a whole mess o' loot. Good stuff. Next, the hangar and radar station at /forum finish, to I transfer Interceptor-2 over there and start work on a another hangar. I also begin work on our first Firestorm back at .php, but due to workshop space constraints, it'll take twenty nine days to finsh. Well worth it, though. I also begin constructing another Living Quarters and Workshop at .php, to fully flesh out our research and production units. Next, Interceptor-2 arrives at /forum. If we detect any aliens over there, we can shoot them down. Also, general stores complete there, so we'll start shipping over weapons and supplies. Also, a note: to my delight, on the mission where we fought the horde of Mutons in Africa, we captured one alive. That live one was a Navigator, putting us one step closer to the Final Mission. Now we need a commander. We can only get those from large UFOs or alien bases. The next event is the completion of Lightning research.
Okay, so check this piece out. Most X-COM players will agree that the Lightning is pretty much worthless, and here's why: although it is faster than both an Interceptor and a Skyranger-1, it can only carry one weapon, and it can only carry twelve soldiers -- no HWPs on this ride. So not only will it be less effective in combat than an Interceptor, it will also not be as good a transport as a Skyranger. Furthermore, it costs a lot. Pass, thank you, we'll take the Avenger.
Well, April ends, and the Council of Miserly Nations decides that we've done a pretty bang-up job this time and give us a little more than half a million more in cash. Gee, thanks. The hilarious thing is that we're actually in the red, income vs monthly upkeep-wise. We're paying about $7,020,000 in upkeep and are recieving $6,970,000 in income. Good thing we have some spare plasma weapons to sell. With May underway, I wait for something to happen. That something turns out to be a small UFO, going low and slow, heading southwest. Interceptor-1 is dispatched, and a new Skyranger-1 crew is made up. Let's meet 'em! The crew consists of MuLepton, who will be getting a chance to redeem himself, Dagomar, Tiger-, Avail, HeeroYuy, Crazster, squad, Niek, dodopout and ILaughAtYou. Meanwhile, Interceptor-1 catches up to the UFO easily, but since it's going slow and is close to .php, I decide to follow it instead of shoot it down. Better loot, and all. At last, the UFO lands, and the Skyranger-1 is dispatched. Hustle, people!
It turns out that we're fighting Sectoids, not an alien type I had expected to see again. Oh well. HeeroYuy got the first kill with a laser rifle snapshot, Dagomar gets the second with a well-aimed large rocket, and Crazster gets a nice doublekill with two autoshots, finishing the last of the aliens off. Way to go.
A nice bloodless mission. No promotions, but that's okay. After this small and relatively uninteresting interlude, a medium sized UFO is detected going superfast, superhigh. Yeah. Interceptor-1 is dispatched and starts chasing it over Africa. As this is going on, a second midsized UFO is detected, going slower. Interceptor-2 is dispatched from Mexico in a vain hope of trying to catch it. Meanwhile, the first medium UFO lands. Let's roll out the new crew. SuingForDamages, Nodikus, Decay, Landon_Fox, NtN-Scissors, Meatwhad, Dibbler, squad and Woodtopian make up the crew, with Colonel Desert Demon in command. Let's roll out!
While the Skyranger-1 is enroute to the landed UFO, Interceptor-1 diverts its course and goes after the nearby flying medium sized UFO, hoping to crashland it and allow the Skyranger-1 to take that one out as soon as it finishes with the first UFO. It lands of its own accord. However, just as we near the first UFO, it vanishes. How odd. The Skyranger-1 heads to the second UFO and begins the mission.
SuingForDamages gets the first kill, as he autoshots an offending Floater out of the air. The second kill goes to Desert Demon, who fires an autoshot at a Floater hanging around the imposing two-story UFO and kill it with the first shot. After a cautious advance, the squad convenes around the UFO door, while Meatwhad, SuingForDamages and the tank continue to scout for outlying Floaters. Landon_Fox was chosen to go in the door first, on account of his holding of a rocket launcher.
Landon blows the bajeebus out of an unsuspecting Floater, who was apparently on janitor duty in this examination room. Jerk. The way cleared, the squad then proceeds to systematically clear the UFO of all alien life. Nodikus, who enters the next room, gets a doublekill as he fries two Floaters who were waiting to ambush people with low reactions. Then, sadly, we take our first casualty of the mission. Dibbler, bravely rounding a corner, was killed in one shot by a Floater. squad rounds the same corner, comes face-to-face with the alien, and guns it down. Dibbler, you have been avenged!
With the first floor cleared (dead alien count: four. Dead squaddie count: one.) the squad convenes on the lift up to the second floor. Woodtopian was chosen due to his rather high reaction rating. He ports up, blasts a Floater, and covers a hallway. There are two hallways stemming off the lift, and the squad bisects itself to head down both. Woodtopian, Landon_Fox, Nodikus and Decay will go down one, while Desert Demon, NtN-Scissors and squad will go down another. The former marches up the north hallway, to meet with a dead end. Hmph. They turn about and follow the south hallway group, muttering about alien interior designers. Next turn, NtN-Scissors nears the very interior door of the UFO, spotting a Floater hanging out outside it. Chuckling to himself at the alien's foolishness, he blasts it with an autoshot from his Heavy Plasma. The Floater, apparently unphased, turns, and fires on shot, which instantly kills Scissors.
Yes, folks, we suffer our second casualty in a very weird way. I'm not even going to try to explain how a Floater, the second weakest alien in the game, managed to survive TWO heavy plasma blasts then proceed to take out an armored soldier in one shot. Desert Demon fries the alien with a simple snapshot, and the squad converges on the door.
The squaddie named squad was picked to go inside the inner door first due to his relatively high reactions. They were not, evidently, high enough, as a Floater peeks out, shoots him in the face, killing him, and runs back inside. The weird thing is, none of our other guys who were covering squad fired opportunity shots. Odd. squad was our third casualty. To avenge him, Decay murderizes the Floater who killed squad, then ducks behind a wall, as Nodikus jumps in and exchanges fire with a second Floater, killing that one, too. However, it seems there is still a Floater somewhere else, as the mission does not end. It's up to SuingForDamages, Meatwhad and the tank, now.
Okay, this is starting to freak me out. SuingForDamages finds the Floater, and covers the doorway that it will eventually come out of. Wait. Wait. BLAMMO. The Floater shoots him and kills him, in one shot. This is completely insane. Not even the Mutons we fought, arguably the most dangerous ranged enemies in the game, were as accurate, efficient at death-dealing, or even as ridiculously lucky as these Floaters! It is, as they say, enough to madden a saint. I'm sorry for the absurd amount of deaths caused by this mission, but really, none of them are my fault, and all of them are the result of crazy good luck on the side of the aliens. Anyway. Not wanting to risk any more casualties, I use the plasma tank to take apart the building the Floater is hiding in and finish it off. The Floater shoots the tank a lot and lives a while by being sneaky, but in the end, it dies. However, it is revealed to me that is was not the last alien! Arrrghh! Fortunately, Meatwhad finds it, and quickly puts it out of its misery.
So, with that UFO dealt with, I try and turn the Skyranger-1 onto the nearby landed UFO just north of it. It is, however, convinced that 84% fuel counts as low fueland refuses to go and destroy the grounded UFO, much to my chagrin. How very frustrating. That UFO, I guess, is lost. I wish it were otherwise.
Kevin walked into General Captain Eldritch's office. Captain looked up. "Hey, man," he said, "what's going on?"
"Eh," Kevin replied, throwing himself into a chair.
"what's the progress on fixing your... Portal thing. Wormhole device."
"Decent," Captain replied. "Slow, but decent. It's just a matter of finding broken parts and fixing them. The problem is making sure you don't break something really important while you're at it. That's why it's slow going."
Kevin thought this made good sense. "I've decided what I want to do when I get back."
"Yeah. I want to be a shuttle pilot again. A trader. It's the life I always wanted."
"I thought you wanted to take over the galaxy."
Kevin shifted uncomfortably and dodged the question. "Just a trader."
"I'll do better than that! How about I give you an IDA Frigate, eh? Eh?"
"That'd be... Nice." A thought struck Kevin. "Hey, I have a few questions."
General Captain Eldritch clapped his hands, appearing overjoyed.
"Very funny, very funny. Okay, first off, why are you hiring computer nerds?"
"If there's one breed of human beings I loathe beyond all others, it is the computer nerd."
"So why hire them?"
"'Cause it amuses me to see them die at the hands of the aliens from their computer games."
"That's horrible," Kevin said.
"Yah," Captain agreed. "Next question."
"Uh... Right. Why're you after me? If you found this wormhole deal, wouldn't that take up your interest rather than the fate of one shuttle captain?"
"One completely homicidal and insane shuttle captain, you'll recall."
"Well, you were a security threat. One of my first jobs with the Bureau was to, ah, nullify that threat. That is to say, you. So when you 'vanished' as you did, I was upset, and my employers were upset. Almost cost me my career. So after I found out you were put here, I decided to make it a little side project of mine to find you, and bring you back to the Bureau."
"Oh, just to prove my competence. In case bringing galactic peace hadn't already proven it, going through a wormhole into a parallel universe to bring you out certainly would."
"I... Guess that makes sense. Wait a minute, you're going to take me to... The Bureau?" Kevin remembered all the horrible stories he had heard about them."
"Well, yeah. That is my job."
"I thought you were going to give me an IDA Frigate!"
"I am. I like my prey running."
Kevin stared at Eldritch, who was busy fiddling with a few dials on his radio. Kevin backed out of the office and left.
And that finishes this report. I love you all. If you want to be a soldier, please leave your name and number in the comments section.