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Relaxing involves rebuilding BLISSEM with what alien alloy plating ended up being too sharp to machine into armor -- the job goes on smoothly. I'm learning a lot from Dr. Shen, less about fabrication and more about effectively managing an engineering team.

An amusing glitch causes a concerned accountant from the Council to ask why our budget is showing two extra zeros; it turns out to have had something to do with, of all things, the fact that our financials system was still running on Windows XP. We quickly have a virtual machine set up for that.

On the third day, just when we're done putting the damn thing back together, the alarm sounds -- another round of abductions.

While it'd make immensely more sense to hit Mumbai or Los Angeles, we have to calm down the African Union fears. Hopefully the Indians and Americans will be able to handle the issue....

After Mission 19.

β€œWon't catch up to Vee in kills, but it's nice to have at least to chalk up another alien mech troop kill, even it was just an assist on your 'Hail Mary' charge Kay. Not a bad day.”

The trooper shakes his head to get more burnt tree splinters out of his hair as he hauls in the loot. Dragging the meld container back wasn't much fun, but it was something to do with the left over adrenaline rush of searching the ship. Running his fingers through his hair to get the sweat out of his eyes leaves a trail of smoke grenade residue, giving the trooper pink highlights to go with the soot and a goofy grin that shows up only rarely.

On the flight back while the Commander gives the after action report over the radio, kip discreetly places a post it note on Kay's back. β€œ 'Humies Stomp Back!” With a stick figure standing over a smoking ruin of a alien mech trooper a few orks.

(As written by Kip Hawley)


We land near Kano, in Nigeria -- the abduction attempt has wiped out a pub; by the look of it all we can do is clean up.

We cautiously move ahead planning to circle around the pub

The Sectoids see us, leave the sucked-dry corpses alone, and -- headbang at us. I'm serious. They raise the hand that doesn't have a plasma emitter strapped to it, and headbang at us. A cold feeling of dread feels the squad -- we've heard reports of mind control and induced hallucinations, although we haven't seen any, and...

"NO! NO! STAY THE FUCK OUT OF MY HEAD!" I don't believe in ESP, but I know Kite does. Whether it's suggestibility or actual mind-fuckery, she's freaked out. She runs out of cover and... faster than she usually aims, puts a 50 caliber bullet in the little grey man that headbanged at her.

These aren't the Sectoids we know. It's still alive; it's twitching, and may get back up.

We've done a decent job of rebuilding BLISSEM -- the alloy plating slows it down some, but now we can actually use it to hide behind. We send it forward, and while it doesn't manage to do anything to the Sectoids other than pinning them down, it removes the section of walls they were hiding behind.

Lily advances to the edge of the broken wall, and pumps a Sectoid full of bullets. Kelly points to the Sectoid behind a car -- it seems to have performed a "kiss" on one of its brethren. She runs ahead to empty the laser rifle's capacitor into it and -- misses both shots! The Sectoid rolls under the car, then switches its... focus? to the critter that Kite almost killed earlier.

It gets back up, and in conjunction with another Sectoid takes aim at BLISSEM, the crossfire blowing off about half its armor. These sectoids are smarter, tougher...

"I think there's an alien commander about! Does anyone have an arc thrower?" I call.

Of course not - we expected this to be a routine run. Kelly tries again to lase the Sectoid, hits it right in the gut -- and it stands. Okay, time to show some Leadership. I walk forward, and kick the Sectoid that got up in the mouth before burning a hole in its throat. The other grey man hiding behind a chair in the pub gets a similar treatment.

Kite comes to. "Kay! STOP THAT! You're completely exposed! BLISSEM, park in front of Kay!" Heh, thanks... good idea. I dive behind the mini-tank as it drives up to me. My heart is going abnormally fast, although I feel calm. She takes out the last Sectoid, clearly having recovered her cool.

Since we ended up breaching the pub, we'll have to --

DRONES! Flanking us! Three of the little things come out of the kitchen, boosting over the bar. "TAKE COVER!"

Me and Lily take two out, with Webb covering us -- BLISSEM however was still set to move to my previous coordinates, and ends up out of the window. We have the operator circle around at speed; if there is an alien leader, even if we can't stun it maybe we can dogpile it. Kite tries to flatten herself against what's left of the near wall and shoot at the third -- the first shot misses entirely, and the second only dents it. I can't tell if these are tougher or just more maneuverable...

The drone breaks a window and, to our surprise, boosts up rather than shoot at Kite or Webb. Are they studying us? Is the leader keeping an eye on things using it? We're dealing with things, but why the sudden change of tactics.

In its sweep, BLISSEM finds a trio of Sectoids and another drone, doing something with a truck that by the look of it was carrying deliveries to this pub. The critters scurry towards Kite, who has to pass on the occasion because she's out of rounds -- I'm not too worried about the Sectoids but now she's got two drones on her!

"Lily, come with me, let's go get them! Webb, flank'em! Set BLISSEM to sentry mode!" Hopefully we'll be able to catch them in crossfire... which doesn't help much if the drones can fly. Ours can't; even the best quadcopter at this point would be able to carry only a pistol, and hover for maybe three minutes.

Lily gets there ahead of me, so I let myself slam against a wall and reload. Kelly sprints behind the pub and manages to flank this batch of aliens -- her laser fires true, but the drone stays in the air. Ablative armor? Better control?

BLISSEM correctly switches from teleoperation to sentry, but misses its shot.

I watch Lily shudder as one of the Sectoid headbangs at her. "I'm all right!" She looks pale. The second Sectoid waves at the third, and the third repeats the same gesture towards Lily... "I WANNA GO HOME!" I watch her drop the LMG and run towards the Skyranger. The hell? There's got to be some mind-fuckery about, here. I can understand Sectoids having radio telepathy, we found implants in them, but now they can mess with us?

Kelly climbs on the roof using a drain pipe in an effort to take out the drone -- she grazes it, but it's still flying. "We gotta take one home alive! Cover me!" Kite gets rid of the one that failed the headbang; BLISSEM fires at the closest target, and riddles the Sectoid that performed the "kiss" with bullets -- which causes the other one to collapse. Dammit! If one of these was a leader, we'll never know now.

"Get that drone before it zaps Kelly!"

I drag my fat ass up the roof, and fire wildly in the drone's general direction to distract it -- it's damaged, so maybe... No, it turns around and shoots me right in the chest. The plasma bolt that these things carry is weak, and my carapace armor ablates as it should.

Kelly deals with the drone with cold professionality. I feel fairly stupid about having gotten myself in danger to rescue someone who didn't need it, but... Heh.

Oddly enough, we only find one Meld canister -- they've been deployed in pair, so far. Did the Nigerian authorities quietly run off with the other while we were fighting? X-ALT? I'm not optimistic enough to believe the aliens are running out of Meld.

We have lots to talk about on the flight home -- Lily calmed down as soon as the Sectoid died, meaning that yes, we have direct confirmation that the aliens can fuck with our heads. Lily is oddly relaxed after that, and actually falls asleep in my lap for half the trip. Kite is smoldering.

(OOC Note: This mission was played with the Long War mod installed, by mistake. I may switch to it in the future -- it's interesting how pod composition and alien tactics change.)

My text feed shows that there have been bona-fide riots in America and India after a heavy handed intervention that caused a lot of civilian deaths -- both nations are threatening to withdraw from the Council. Hey, idiots, we only have one Skyranger!

That's odd, though. Both local defense teams acted completely in discord with doctrine. Did they panic? Did the aliens' change in tactics prompt a heavier response after our methods fail?

For now, a curfew is in effect in both cities -- there is both fear that aliens got loose and fear of riots and repression. Apparently some of the SWAT team in LA did freak out and start shooting on civilians.

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Page last modified on January 02, 2015, at 05:11 AM