13 April, 2015
Satellites detect our second UFO in the earth’s atmosphere.
It’s a lot bigger than the first.
That’s more than a little intimidating, since there hasn’t been time or sufficient resources to improve XCOM’s fleet of interceptors yet, but there’s no point closing one’s eyes and pretending aliens don’t exist.
We send out our interceptor, with a sinking feeling that we may never see it or its brave crew again.
Sure enough, the fight we see on the monitor is a desperate one.
The interceptor has one last hit that it can take, and I’ve had enough. I actually hammer down on the abort button, but before the order can go through:
One last gasp volley from the interceptor brings down the UFO.
It limps home, more wreckage than flying machine.
But well, you should see the other guy.
And we will:
Operation Bloody Hawk is initiated to go over the UFO crash site, salvage anything valuable and take out any remaining alien crew.
Almost immediately on landing, the squad stumbles into a group of three aliens that have left the crashed UFO.
Lovely, they’re not coming in pairs anymore, but threes?
Sgt. J3w3l brings it back down to a duo act with a swift sniping shot for 5 damage.
Rk. Mojo fires on the closest one, but only gets 2 damage out of her assault rifle. It’s still alive.
Then they do their Mind Merge, and the wounded one gets an extra bar of health.
Who then promptly returns fire at Rk. Mojo and hits her for 4 damage. Ouch.
Sgt. J3w3l tries another shot, using squadsight to see the nearer alien (the Mind Merge originator is out of line-of-sight), with a 73% chance to hit.
The shot misses.
Sgt. Izlain has been moving up the center, with Sq. Skryim on the right flank, and spots a rare opportunity.
He has moved up far enough to flank the first alien, giving a potential 98% chance to hit and 60% chance to critical.
Knowing Sgt. Izlain’s excellent aim, that’s a dead alien.
But look, he can see the second alien too, the Mind Merge initiator. 82% chance to hit, 10% chance to critical.
We trust in Sgt. Izlain’s aim and judgment, and go for it.
Dead on, hit for 3 damage and the alien is down.
We then watch with glee as the feedback winds its way back down the Mind Merge link and zaps the first alien.
Who also satisfyingly explodes.
One hit, two kills.
With the threat eliminated, Rk. Mojo moves up closer to the crashed UFO and discovers a Meld canister.
Plus another group of three alien crewmembers.
She collects the Meld, then using the emptied canister for cover, takes aim at the closest alien.
53% chance to hit, 10% to critical.
Well, it’s better than a coin toss. Slightly.
The spread of bullets is dead on.
Scratch one triplet.
With that 4 damage hit that outright killed it, Rk. Mojo earns herself a promotion.
Hopefully, it won’t be a posthumous one, because she only has two bars of health left, and there’s two aliens still alive.
One alien fires at her, and everybody holds their breath.
Then more aliens show up.
A pair of Seekers, who promptly vanish into stealth.
This is definitely not good.
We send Sgt. Izlain and Sgt. Jw3wl as far and fast as they can go, while still taking care to remain in cover and Overwatch, to back Rk. Mojo up.
Sq. Skyrim is a little too far down the right flank to get to the left in time, and thankfully, is finding no resistance. No Meld canister, either.
In the meantime, Rk. Mojo -is- carrying a frag grenade.
It’s really hard to say if the splash damage would hit the stealthed Seekers or no, but regardless, we wanted to make sure the last visible alien went down, so that was about as far left as she could aim the throw.
The ‘nade takes out the alien we wanted, but appears to have missed the ones in stealth.
Rookie lifespan in XCOM is kind of 50/50 anyway.
The first Seeker reveals itself, making a bid to strangle Rk. Mojo. (If it hits, that’s 2 damage, which coincidentally, is the rest of her health.)
The Overwatching Sgt. Izlain and Sgt. J3w3l get to take reaction shots to prevent this happening.
They were apparently having some kind of competition, because one hits for 4 and one hits for 3 (and no, I don’t know who hit for which number) and the once-stealthed alien creature disintegrates into a shower of metal flakes, sparks and broken machinery.
There’s nothing for it, but to freeze in place in Overwatch again, to stay in wait for the second stealthed alien to show itself.
Can Rk. Mojo get lucky a second time?
This time, the Seeker makes a grab for Sgt. ‘Bad Luck’ Izlain.
Leaving Rk. Mojo and Sgt. J3w3l to take the reaction shots.
One hits for 3 damage, and the other one misses!
The Seeker has 2 health left, and that’s enough to let it complete the Strangle.
Sgt. J3w3l is out of bullets for her sniper rifle, but suspecting that Sgt. Izlain wouldn’t appreciate waiting a turn for the reload, swaps to a pistol and takes aim for 73% chance to hit and 50% chance to critical.
The pistol shots go wide.
Guess it’s up to the rookie.
With a 76% chance to hit and 60% chance to critical at this range, Rk. Mojo does 3 damage and finishes off the Seeker.
In the meantime, what of Sq. Skyrim?
He’s been having a walk in the park – albeit one with burning trees and a crashed UFO in the way.
Making his way through the abandoned corridors of the UFO, he opens a door to flank a surprised alien for 72% chance to hit and 50% chance to critical.
With predictable results – the alien is critical hit for 6 damage and is blown away before it can even react.
Sgt. Izlain advises the wounded Rk. Mojo to stay outside the alien spacecraft and keep watch, while he goes in.
The strange Outsider alien is woken from its crystal housing as he approaches.
Is it some kind of alien AI guardian for the UFO flight computers? Some fuel source that powers the UFO?
It doesn’t put up much of a fight.
Sgt. Izlain takes it out, ending the mission.
Somewhere in Japan
Operation Bloody Hawk comes to a successful end.
9 aliens killed.
0 XCOM operatives lost.
2 of 2 Meld canisters recovered, and a decent amount of salvage from the UFO.
After-action report: Sgt. Izlain is promoted to Lieutenant, and Rk. Mojo is now a Squaddie with an Assault class role.
Wounds will take Lt. Izlain out for 5 days, and Sq. Mojo for 9 days.
It’s about this time when the Commander has a look at the entire wounded roster…
… and decides the situation is getting a little out of hand.
A number of rather valuable, as yet unresearched UFO machinery, is sold to other countries on the gray market.
This raises some quiet protest from Dr. Vahlen and Dr. Shen, but the Commander points out that there’s still one of each kind kept in reserve, when the scientists finally have time to get around to it.
More can always be retrieved from crashed UFOs later, but healthy soldiers are needed to retrieve them.
A whole bunch of upgrades are bought from the Officer Training School with the semi-illicit proceeds of gray market sales, including Rapid Recovery.
(I’m avoiding Squad Size for now, as I’m -hoping- to go through the game with four squad members and get the achievement. We’ll see how long that resolve lasts, if the casualties start mounting. 🙂 )
The walking wounded list looks a mite better now.
21 April, 2015
Lt. Izlain recovers and returns to active duty just in time, as the base receives a Priority-1 incoming council transmission.
This time, the squad is supposed to look into the story of a Triad member who has come into possession of a piece of “unique” – possibly alien? – technology.
Operation Fading Thunder begins next post, with the still-intact squad members below!
It’s in China, when this squad will come to face to face with a new alien that none of them have ever seen before…