Well, team, welcome to Paris.
The good news is we’ve landed.
The bad news is that there’s a bomb almost about to explode.
The XCOM team received the mission briefing about Operation First Law just as the transport crossed over into France airspace.
The increased alien activity was a cause of concern for local authorities. One brave police patrol ventured into the affected area to discover a strange node glowing with the green plasma energy the aliens seem extraordinarily fond of. Then they found a second, and thought they saw a third in the distance before energy bolts started whistling over their heads, forcing them to beat a hasty retreat.
This was just as swiftly brought to Council and XCOM attention, where engineers concluded the most likely scenario was that the nodes were intended to charge a plasma bomb of some kind and that detonation was imminent.
The primary objective of the mission is, of course, to disarm said bomb before it levels an unknown number of city blocks.
Dr. Shen, XCOM’s leading chief engineer, has suggested that it may be possible to drain the power nodes and thus delay the charging of the bomb.
No time like the present to test that hypothesis out.
The squad arrives in front of a closed delicatessen and butchery, and right in sight next to a parked car, is one of the glowing power nodes.
Sq. Syl takes on the task of disarming it, and powers it down.
So far so good.
Time is of the essence here, so the team is forced to spread out and cover more ground moving quickly and looking for both the bomb and more nodes to deactivate.
All is quiet until Sq. Izlain slides open the door leading to the cold room at the back of the butcher’s.
There is a reptilian hiss, and a tall, thin, shadowy figure darts out of the cold room’s back door into the alley behind.
Dr. Vahlen remarks on its humanoid appearance and suggests that the team should capture it, but the team isn’t equipped for that today. Bomb disposal is the order of the day, not alien safari.
Any other thoughts about its resemblance to humans are quickly dispelled as the creature bounds up to the roof of the neighboring building in a single leap.
Then it unhinges its jaw and spits a cloud of corrosive poison at Sq. Syl, who begins coughing and choking immediately.
Sq. Eri, who was also moving up with her in support, just narrowly misses getting hit.
Sq. Izlain comes out of the cold room in hot pursuit of the figure he just saw, looks up, and riddles it full of bullets.
More power nodes are found, one in the cold room and three in the alley.
Rk. Bhagpuss moves up to disarm the one in the cold room.
Sq. Syl takes on the first in the alleyway, despite the corrosive poison still eating away at her armor.
Before Sq. Syl can get to the second power node in the alley, more alien guards appear. A more typical-looking pair, with the squat appearance and wide oval eyes of the previous two missions.
They’re also on the roof of the building overlooking the delicatessen, and one of them takes a shot at Sq. Syl.
She’s using a large truck for full cover though, and the shot goes wide.
The other alien moves up to join its friend, and now it’s Sq. Syl’s turn to return the favor. With interest.
No one is quite sure who approved the use of a frag grenade in a potentially very explosive environment, but I think the conversation among the squad must have gone something like:
“Fifty bucks says that I can toss a ‘nade right up to the roof and avoid hitting both power nodes below, or damaging too much of the building just in case the bomb’s in there.”
“Betcha can’t.” “No, wait-!” “What?!”
“You can pay up when we get back to base.”
“…” “…” “…”
Sq. Izlain and Rk. Bhagpuss just after they ducked away from that explosion, Bhagpuss having just completed power node deactivation.
Sq. J3w3l moves up and finally spots the bomb… which is indeed in the building.
The alien guarding the bomb fires furiously with its plasma pistol, and lands a hit for 2 damage on Sq. J3w3l.
Sq. Syl, who may have been moved to haste by the poison that slowly but steadily taken off 4 points of damage so far, decides to Run & Gun up to the alien and forgo cover in a gamble to end it.
(Run & Gun is an ability that Assault classes can use to still fire after moving the full distance by Dashing.)
She takes aim…
59% chance to hit and 20% chance to critical…
And it pays off as the alien is blown to smithereens.
Sq. Izlain and Rk. Bhagpuss guard both entrances as Sq. J3w3l does the honors and defuses the actual plasma bomb.
The caution is warranted, as Central radios in with a warning that alien activity is once again detected in the area.
Like bad pennies, two Thin Men turn up, seemingly dropping out of the sky onto the squad’s location.
The squad takes three reaction shots in succession, and all of them miss.
Fortunately, there’s still time to fire again.
Sq. Izlain takes more careful aim this time, with 90% chance to hit and 60% chance to critical.
Rk. Bhagpuss climbs up to the roof where the last Thin Man is, and flanks it for 78% chance to hit and 68% chance to critical.
It too goes down without a fight.
Operation First Law is completed.
Most of Paris will never know what could have happened here, if not for the XCOM team.
6 aliens killed.
0 XCOM operatives lost.
The after action report for this mission is quite full of information.
Squaddie Izlain has been promoted to Corporal.
Squaddie Syl has also made Corporal, but has been wounded for 10 days. She does also have ten kills to notch on her gun (or should that be, her grenades?)
Rookie Bhagpuss has only one kill so far, but lots of power node disarms, and he’s been promoted to Squaddie and assigned a Heavy class. Heavy weapons ahoy!
Squaddie J3w3l, alas, didn’t get to fire a shot so far – bomb disposal missions where everyone has to move quickly are not exceedingly conducive to how I prefer to play snipers – and has to sit out for a week, healing up from plasma burns.
On the bright side, Paris is safe and sound, and XCOM has -some- money to burn.
And here’s where I need some input from my readers, whom I hope are enjoying this as much as I love playing XCOM.
Turns out that the Enemy Within expansion has Medals that can be unlocked by completing certain criteria, which is pretty nifty. They are an award that can be given to a soldier, and confers some kind of upgrade/benefit.
I just unlocked the International Service Cross with mission 3, for completing missions on three different continents:
But you know what? That’s so boring. It’s the most generic name for a medal I’ve seen in a while.
I’ve already picked the upgrade, but I want -you- guys to suggest a new name for the medal and which soldier should get it.
It doesn’t have to be related to the power at all, just something relevant to anything that’s happened in the first three missions. 🙂
The more ideas I get for this, the faster I can move on past this naming block and get to mission 4!