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Interlude1

SQUAD NICKNAMES

XCOM gives nicknames to soldier once they hit a certain rank; while the selection is entirely random from class-based lists, it's surprisingly often the case that it gives a good fit... Or maybe it's just pareidolia.

Kite Winters: "Cyclops". This works largely because Kite was the first to volunteer for psionic or genetic augmentation.

Vee Doss: "Gonzo". She got the nickname before MEC conversion... I am choosing to believe that it has to do with Gonzo Studios, since Vee is an anime fan and Gonzo did a lot of magical-girl stuff.

M K Borri: "Rhino", which works surprisingly well since my default reaction to any new alien threat is "let's headbutt it".

Lily Foxoboro: "Disco", Lily is a very positive person and I can totally see her setting up a disco ball in the rec room and getting people to dance... Also, despite being Heavy class, she's very quick and nimble.

THOR: "Enigma", which works because we're not terribly sure where it came from, how it works, or anything like that. (OOC Note: I recycled Riley's character as THOR, as per his wishes -- the nickname Enigma was generated after that).

(OOC Note: I will update nicknames for Kip and Jonny as soon as the game gives them one!)

MELD

We have barely used any Meld, so we have 230 in stock. From what little we can tell, Meld can be used for nearly anything... but the best use we've come up with so far is, it takes care of organ rejection issues. This would, for example, allow putting Slenderman leg muscles in people so that they can jump twenty feet. The problem is that as far as we can tell, we would have to keep pumping Meld into soldiers as tissues change from exercise or natural metabolism, a little like ADAM in Bioshock.... if there's a way to keep the Meld in there, we don't know it yet. Cybernetic augmentations are a different story: the implants are done once, and don't change -- the rate of Meld attrition is minimal.

However, while our MEC suit works well, it's so far pretty much a one-off design... this is largely because our Base Augments don't work nearly as well. A MEC suit can be as loud as it likes, and carries a diesel generator for powering the hydraulics; base augments are battery powered and really only work for a couple hours at a time, not to mention that the sensory feedback is poor.

In short, it takes a very particular kind of person to actually want to spend a significant part of their day limbless! Mere sense of duty won't do it, or has enough of a chance of not being enough that it would be a bad idea to risk even volunteers who don't actively enjoy the situation; fortunately, we ended up with such a person. Further research in cybernetics and Meld may make it so that soldiers who do not match a very specific personality profile may volunteer for augmentation, but in the meantime, at least we know who to screen for. The hope is to eventually be able to manufacture cybersuits without Meld so that the technology can be released. At this point, research on Meld is undertaken -- much to Bradford's frustration for some reason -- when there are no other pressing matters.

(OOC Note: I would prefer to start looking at gene mods or other MECs after we discover psionics -- vanilla EW gives you access to those a little too early, in my opinion. Meld isn't pixie dust.)

THE STUDENT BODY

Most of X-COM's active duty personnel come from police or military academies from Council member nations or their close allies. For example, while Italy and Greece are unable to contribute to the operation due to both fiscal constraints and the fact that their intelligence apparatus cannot be trusted with maintaining secrecy, they have sent recruits. X-COM is not expected to take on the brunt of the alien invasion by itself; rather, its students are supposed to be quickly exposed to intensive mission-specific training and various combat situations, then return to their nations with first-hand knowledge that will allow them to act as instructors to train conventional forces to deal with the new threat.

Students have been screened to fit the "too smart for their own good" profile; X-COM exists as an experimental combat unit, to throw ideas at the alien wall and see what pierces it. Most X-COM operatives have flunked out of boot camps and police academies due to excessive individualism; espirit de corps is maintained due to the perception of being in an elite unit, and being constantly exposed to the reality of possible cultural annihilation should the project fail.

In truth, operatives are considered semi-expendable -- their main purpose while they are within the organization is to provide information to the research, engineering and combat doctrine teams (under Vahlen, Shen and Bradford respectively) so that it might be used by national armies.

X-COM operatives who have gone on covert operations generally have a police background; it's easy for them to take on the role of freelance UFO researchers, and they are generally allowed to share some harmless information with X-ALT as part of the infiltration method. Current policy is to always send an operative native to the country the X-ALT cell is operating from.

(OOC Note: The cadre, myself included, has no idea that they're more or less all expendable, but not much would change if they did, at least as long as the aliens are on Earth. Their mandate is to deliver at least one graduate each month, and in every case, deliver more graduates than casualties.)

ROBOTICS

SHIVs essentially have two modes -- teleoperated (students generally take turns at this, since whoever happens to be on a wake shift is required to watch deployment through helmet cams) and sentry. When in sentry mode, a SHIV will shoot whatever moves that doesn't match a human shape. Fortunately, we haven't shot any dogs yet.

So far, we have only one MEC suit - the codename for the project changed from Warden to Sentinel. The suit carries a kinetic strike module, "jet boots" (actually torsion frame boosters for the leg hydraulics), and a targeting system. We have plans for a heavy-hitter suit incorporating a flamethrower and grenade launcher. While the MEC suit's special functions do not in fact require calling the attack to be triggered, Dee likes to do so anyway.

THOR is a smaller tracked platform that we literally found by the side of the road -- it seems to work more or less like a SHIV, except for carrying a sniper rifle. We suspect it's a gift from Riley; it uses standard SHIV software, though.

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Page last modified on March 01, 2015, at 09:44 PM