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  • Overseer UFO shows up in Europe, can't blow it up, interceptors sent but recalled.
  • Titan Armor research finished.
  • CEO of Argentina med company wants sectoid corpses for scientists. OK.
  • Council gives C report.
  • Firestorms completed.

Shen hadn't laughed in the face of the rookie who'd said it. It had been tempting, but one who still felt themselves exalted by having been selected for the Xcom Academy project (he never got tired of that pun. It was one of the 'laugh so you don't cry' variety, and it helped more reliably than irish cream in the coffee) would definitely still be disproportionately touchy about things. It's certainly true, that the young tend to do a much better job of going out and shooting things and coming back alive than anyone his age was likely to. But in this war, above all others, the young who would go out to shoot and fight and die would most definitely do a lot more of the latter without others who stood behind them, those who'd studied long enough to know simply by the sound when an engine wasn't quite right, even though the engine hadn't existed a few days prior. Without those who had worked long enough to understand that for all that one person could do, it was nothing compared to what one -team- could do, if the team were truly deovted to the task.

He tried to push the thoughts out of his head and get back to the data he was checking. Everythign was on schedule, for once, which just screamed something had gone wrong unnoticed.

It didn't work. Instead he turned around, and let his eyes rove over the curves of the Firestorm taking shape in the foundry. Built by human hands, human ingenuity, using secrets and techniques torn from the invader's grasp. In every way combatively superior to alien craft of similar size and weight.

A young man's game.

Dr Shen chuckled. Well, with the right stimulus, anyone can feel young enough.

  • Some plasma weapons research done.
  • Overseer shows up in Canada, hours before the Firestorm gets to North America.
  • Panic in Egypt to level 5 due to EXALT (make a big deal of this). Rookie Ms Hoda Jawahir sent to investigate.
  • Psi testing round 1 done. Round 2 happens with rookies, to get baseline.

--- Kite sits on a crate in one of the base's many storage areas, hands on her knees, hunched forward and smiling in that way that most knew she wasn't thinking thoughts most would find to be happy ones.

Five of the Academy's students either stood or sat facing her, Polina Malakhova, Julie Cook, Kirill Ilyushin, Riccardo Conti, and Yue Wan Pan. Fewer than she'd hoped, but, being honest with herself probably as many as was sensible for a first test group.

"I don't know how many of you are here because you agree with how important this will be for us to work on, both personally for everyone in this Academy, as well as for the world as a whole as an eventual part of the Doctrine. As opposed to how many of you are here just for the novelty of a training session that's actually voluntary. There isn't a defined curriculum for this yet, but hopefully in a short time there will be. We're all learning here."

"The long and short of it, is that I am going to try to get into your head, and you are going to each try to stop me." Kite let that sink in for a few moments, sweeping her gaze back and forth over the 'class.' "Now-" whatever she had been about to say was pre-empted by Polina taking a quick step forward and pivoting, a high roundhouse kick collecting the side of Kite's head and spilling her from her seat to sprawled out on the floor.

After a moment of shock, Kite laughed. "Good, very good, Miss Malakhova. But that's how you keep a psychic from messing with someone ELSE'S head." Kite's eyes flashed, which had been cause enough for the occasional bit of worry when that just meant a fierce expression rather than a visible purple glow. "Thankyou for volunteering to go first."

(written by Kite Winters) ---

  • Ghost armor developed.
  • Jonny gets 2nd heart, regenerative bone marrow, hope he likes Dr Who.
  • Canadian govt demands Meld enhanced derps, Mary Holmes and Melissa Matthews get enhanced eyes.
  • Council mission: bomb disposal in India (are we sure it's a bomb? looks more like meld dispersal system). Further proof of infiltration tactics from the aliens. Showcase tactic: we did heavies and assault, sniper/finesse time.


Mumbai, railyard. Kite, 2 snipers, 3 rookies as spotters. All women, coz that's how it went. Kite has ghost armor, everyone else has titan. Kite gets on top of a rail car with the grapple, spots a slenderman group. Gabrielle Girard looks for a vantage point, spooks them. Kite takes one out by laser pistol. So far so good. The other two slendermen shoot at Ngele and Valdez, but do little damage; titan armor proves great for training missions in this sense. The snipers are staying back while the spotters poke out. Gabrielle sets up while Gonzales takes a snap shot and takes a slenderman out. Kite covers. The spotters surround the remaining slenderman but nobody gets a shot in. They're using LPRs which are supposed to be easier to aim, but not so much obviously. Kite deals with it.

The spotters have to find new targets and turn off the bomb's secondary nodes, so they move into the railyard. Polina Malakhova, frustrated, runs forward and spooks another trio of slendermen, who disperse. The snipers keep watch.

Polina gets shot by the slendermen, one hits, nothing serious. One exposes itself to Kite and Gabrielle, who take it down. Polina misses another easy shot and Kite has to take care of it. Gabrielle and Gonzales reposition, finding an elevated spot; suggestion is to issue all snipers with underarmor and skeleton suits rather than titan armor.

Ngele is exposed by a slenderman we hadn't seen and takes a shot rather than getting into cover, wounding the slenderman. Valdez advances to cover her; they decide to try for a capture, maybe the critter can explain why the recent change in tactics. Yet another one takes a shot at Gonzales, with no result, as she sets up. Polina runs forward, overextends herself, spots a third slenderman which Girard takes out. Ngele covers Valdez as she gets her capture.

One slenderman visible. Ngele, covered by Gonzalez, slams it against a secondary node and tazes it.

Polina spots the bomb, notes that at least she's done SOMEthing useful in this mission. Even carefully heading towards it, she catches three slendermen adjusting settings on it, and finds herself exposed, rather than taking cover she fires at one and misses yet again. Girard repositions again.

Valdez is pinned by this last group of slendermen - the shots have managed to go through her armor! Polina runs forward, tells Valdez to hunker down, and takes them both out with her grenade. She's next to the bomb, but she's exposed. Ngele runs towards her and disables the bomb. Valdez runs back towards the Skyranger.

Slendermen get out of shipping crates and jump on top of the train car roofs. Gonzalez takes one down. The three snipers have an uninterrupted field of view from their vantage points. Ngele and Valdez have easy shots as some of the slendermen got out of crates and in the open. Gonzalez manages to headshot another, while Girard misses her target and Kite has to take care of it for her. Polina is shot by two slendermen as she gets into cover - armor is still intact, but not for long. She returns fire and takes out the slenderman behind her!

Kite takes out the last slenderman as it runs away. The mission was a success, with only one soldier wounded, the bomb -- which turned out to be just a series of plasma bombs -- disabled, and sixteen kills. Polina is despondent, feeling useless despite the excellent job she did as a spotter. Someone's going to have to talk to her. Gonzalez is ready to graduate; the Argentinians insist that she be given ocular modifications, but they already got exclusive access to biotech already. Valdez will be in sickbay for a week. We'll have to get something out of the two slendermen we caught.

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