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Mission9

GEOSCAPE

Little happens for the next couple of days -- I'm still confined to sickbay. Part of it is that my lung still hasn't healed; part of it is that there are guards to keep everyone out but the orderlies, as I'm apparently a danger for myself or others until Bradford says so.

In better news, Riley is declared fit for duty, to which Bradford has no comment; Stephen took excellent care of him. I don't know if he is staying or leaving, but I hope he visits me now that he can get out of bed. If he does have to leave... well, in that case I sort of hope Stephen goes with him; however this goes, they'll need each other. Come to think of it, so will Canada.

Also, Bradford finds the head of a My Little Pony doll in the middle of a large tomato sauce stain on his pillow, his bedding graffiti'd with the same to read, "Only with the consent of the clowns, Mister Lipwig. Only with the consent of the clowns." (As written by Kite Winters) The incident is made public by Bradford reading it into the morning bulletin, concluding with "Enquiries are proceeding" and pointing out that there is no Mister Lipwig on base. Facepalms happen discreetly.

Dr. Shen is still keeping mum about the new lab annexes, but the workshop expansion we had planned is finished: we've put filament extruders and a Bessemer machine in it, hopefully it will allow us to recycle some of the consumables we use. Since right now our budget for pretty much anything other than the annexes is a big fat zero, it's a moot point, but Shen's team is going to take the opportunity to start scrounging. I'm half tempted to try to sign up for the engineering team as a way to remain on the peoject.

Some nut calling himself Commander Straker has been all over the airwaves lately ranting about shadow operatives. Some of what he was talking about checks out -- he definitely knew about the botched operation in Paris. What's going on? I need to get out of here and do some science to things, dammit.

The news feed we're getting is a lot less ambivalent: government officials, if not official government proclamations, are starting to acknowledge an alien presence. A few of our people are getting close to graduation; hopefully we'll be able to send them home with what they've learned. I hope Bradford won't mess with that, at least!

Kite is going to be on medical suspension for another few days, even though she's already left sickbay to be with her partner. I'm told they have built some sort of nest in a corner of the barracks; she should be cleared for deployment roughly when I am... with the caveat that in my case Bradford technically has the authority to declare me mentally unfit.

The same person who brought a car battery here also dropped off the skeleton of a 1990s desktop computer claiming it's needed as backup for my ventilator, some electrical tape, and a pair of toenail clippers. My guards -- who I have to say have been unfailingly polite when I asked for a bit of water, or a book, or a clean pillow -- didn't confiscate that stuff. Hmm.

Sighting alert! We spot another small scout, right over Japan -- are they looking for us? Since Bradford sold off all the Sectoid corpses we had in storage, we couldn't install new triangulators on the Avalanche missile launcher. Fortunately, our pilot manages to drop the UFO and fly the interceptor home, although it'll need a lot of work before it can take off again. Given the circumstances, Riley is released from sickbay a couple of hours early -- I have no idea if it's to kick him out, to send him out to risk his life, or what. I hope to get to see him...


The channel told me not to go to Japan. They were pretty une-fuckin-quivocal about it. The Foreign Office had put out a travel advisory and my insurance would be invalidated. So what have I done? I've gone to Japan.

Like, I get it that things aren't exactly normal over there right now but come on. It's Japan, when are they ever? And furthermore I had gig commitments and a nice heavy crate of fresh vinyl to play out so from a personal honourability point of view I didn't have a lot of choice.

Well the gigs part goes well and one thing leads to another and a lot of very good sake gets involved and it's opinion is I should just get on the damn Shinkansen to Sapporo because the last anyone heard that's where Chisato went after she got back here and I really want to see her again. The trail goes cold in a small town near the coast, and so I go for a long walk looking for a short pier because yeah THAT frame of mind is always productive.

Next thing I know some wicked fast dark grey plane cuts low overheard heading out to see. Like proper next level X Men shit, and all I can think of is what the hell was that and where can I get one?

Maybe they'll know back in town. Worth asking, right? (As written by Jonny Flames)


Riley has left. I hear part of the conversation; Bradford is trying to formally kick him out of the project while Riley talks over him, explaining in great detail why XCOM's current approach is at best a band-aid. I thought we were here to help conventional forces adapt to the threat, rather than supplant them... Isn't it just like Riley though? Even as he leaves, he's still fighting like a hero. I suppose he is right and we should be more proactive -- if I get out of here, I will see to it that we CAN take on the aliens in a significant way ourselves; after all, what we lack in numbers, we make up in reaction time. Riley will be shipped home to Canada and, I hope, be debriefed by local forces there -- I doubt he will take an instructor's job if they offer it, but given his personal charisma and committment to doing things well, I have no doubt that they will at least learn something from him on how we're fighting by the time they're done with the interview.

I tell myself that he didn't say goodbye because Bradford told everyone that I'm still comatose, rather than because he didn't want to talk to me. I wonder what he's planning. I force a smile out of my lips -- we got our first official graduate, and haven't lost anyone yet! Thank you, Riley. You're as awesome as always.

(OOC NOTE: Riley has officially left the XCom project by graduating from it, but says he has a plan to intervene further.)

Stephen will have to decide whether to stay or go -- I understand divided loyalties. Part of me wants both of them to stay because... well, if the aliens ramp up their attacks, it'll be safer here. On the other hand, Canada is big; they can both get back to work knowing that it'll be easy to bug out into the north. I follow Riley's brief trip to the surface, and see through the security cameras that he does get to talk to Stephen briefly.

He ends up leaving, knowing it'd happen sooner or later. Taking the lesson and running, as it were. He shares the belief that there should be an experienced, dedicated task force to deal with them... not just a bunch of students getting shuffled around. (As written by Stephen Mako)

I'm not sure whether Stephen will count as having graduated or not -- technically he's a mission short. I guess it makes sense; Bradford has every interested in purging my friends out, and he wouldn't say no to one wanting to up and leave.

Riley and Stephen end up waiting for the floatplane as I watch the Skyranger take off -- I look at the monitor and wave goodbye, even though they can't see me. At least they have each other; reintegrating into civilian life shouldn't be hard after less than two months on base, and they have each other for support. This time I do not hope there will be cuddles, because I am fairly certain that there will be.

(OOC NOTE: Stephen has officially left the XCom project by dropping out, and hasn't decided about whether to keep writing or not.)


CFB Petawawa, Ontario, Canada

Two men sat on opposite sides of a battered wooden desk in an equally battered office, the windows rattled as a SeaKing helicopter out on the tarmac groaned through yet another post flight maintenance cycle. The uniformed older man behind the desk sighed as he observed the operation, the old birds required something on the order of 30 hours on the ground for every hour in the air, and he felt a depressing kinship with the craft of late.

The other figure looked over the rim of his sunglasses,

“Problems Sir?”

The uniformed figure turned his attention from the scene outside to his 'guest'. The man looked like he just came off an assembly line for nondescript government officials; Generic black suit, cheap black tie, black pants, white shirt and the oh so stereotypical sunglasses. He also had the misfortune to have a voice that could lull a rabid gorilla to sleep.

“A million of them” the officer replied sharply, before talking a sip of coffee from one of the two paper cups set upon the desk. “You being number 1 million and one, So let me cut out the standard pleasantries and get to the point, what is the fastest way for me to get you off my base?”

The G-man may have quirked an eyebrow behind those shades before leaning down to take a manilla envelope out of his brief case and placed it on the desk.

“Temporary personnel reassignment for some of your men, all the prerequisites are there, it only requires your signature”

The officer suppressed a snort; this was the 21st century, such orders should have been sent via offical secured communications, not some MIB looking courier. This stinks to high heaven of politics and civilian micromanagement in MY armed forces.

“And on who's authority are you shanghaiing some of Canada's Elite? I know there are some strange reports floating around, the civilians ranting to anyone in a uniform that everything from terrorists to zombies to a damned alien invasion is going on just around the corner, but that does NOT give you the right to walk onto my base and...”

While the officer ranted, the man's aid ducked into the office, patiently turned a deaf ear to the tirade and dropped a folder into the officers “in” box with all the silence of a shinobi before quickly retreating to the safety of the outer office. The G-man nodded politely as the aid closed the door behind him.

`...and so help me if I get another report requesting another evaluation of ` the environmental impact of the DEW line` I will personally tear off their-``

``I`m sorry to interrupt...but if you could Read those orders it would be very much appreciated`` The G-man`s dull accent-less english broke the stream of aggravation like faucet had turned off. The Officer settled back into his seat, muttered a few francophone profanities under his breath and tried not to appear to sulk.

He took his frustration out on the envelope, tearing the top off and dumping the contents out in front of himself. The first thing he noted was a cover letter with the orders, a scanned hand written notation which was co-signed by both the Minister of Defence, and his opposite number in the British Parliament and a few dozen names he wasn’t immediately familiar with. That set him back. Canada may well still be a “Dominion” of the English monarchy, but outside of a few ceremonial points the Royal Canadian Airforce was about as `Royal` as Diary Queen since the second world war, Heck they'ed even dropped the ``Royal`` part for years before bringing it back solely for PR and Morale purposes. The Brits didn`t have any sway over Canadian deployments. Politics He swore mentally. Aloud he read:

“...As brothers in arms for so many years, and in light of recent events that will be disclosed in due course, all signatories strongly request immediate participation in international efforts in cross training of select personnel in unconventional warfare exercises...” The Officer glanced over the pages at the man across the desk for an explanation.

“The same letter was sent to most current and former Commonwealth nations, including Australia, New Zealand, Uganda all the way down to Tuvalu and Nauru”

Which distinctly leaves out the WHY, only that what ever it is it's important enough to dust off an atlas and figure out where you might find a friendly face to the British Empire of yore.

The officer paled as he considered the events the last time there was such a call for queen and country.

Very carefully the man read through the attached orders to the letter, then gently placed the papers back on the desk. He attempted to say something, but the words caught in his throat. A moments fumbling in a drawer revieled a bottle of Baileys, and the officer poured a generous dose into his coffee as the G-man watched silently.

“So,” after a few sips to settle himself “Who do you need?”

...

Five minutes after dropping off the next round of DEW line reports on the officers desk the mans aid heard a terrible choking sound from inside, he rushed to the door only for it to open before him, the G-man stepping out. The Government offical solomly removed his now coffee and booze covered sunglasses from his face and mopped them clean with his tie with an air of routine. “Don't Worry, he'll be fine in a moment or so, do make sure he signs those transfer papers before he laughs himself sick”.

Popping off his clip-on tie the G-man drops the soiled garment in a waste bin before pulling out another one from his briefcase, adjusting it while walking out the door

 “Happens Every Time...” He mutters dully to himself. As written by Kip Hawley

OPERATION

With most of the cadre wounded or leaving, Sgt. Diaz is put in charge of the mission. He takes Lily, and also squaddies Petrov, Kelly and Kazmarek.

The small UFO crashed pretty hard in a suburb -- fortunately, the earthquake warning system could be used to make sure most everyone evacuated. Once out of power, UFOs largely fall down in a ballistic arc; given how expensive rent is over there I don't want to think about the property damage, but the aliens got very little blood out of us. Hopefully that remains the case through the mission.

As is becoming standard operating procedure, Diaz advances with everyone else following cautiously in a fan pattern; Kelly spots two yarnalls, which quickly cloak, aided by the dust.

Moving at a walking pace, Kelly stays separated from the others to bait the yarnall -- one uncloaks near her, prompting a torrent of firepower in that direction. Kelly ducks away and the first mechanical squid is obliterated.

The squad advances towards the crash site, this time with Lily being bait by being slightly apart from everyone else; the tactic works and the second yarnall is taken down the moment it uncloaks. It'll be hard to figure out who got the kill, but that's not my problem -- what's important is that this threat has a simple and effective counter. This is exactly the sort of thing we've been set up to figure out; hopefully this piece of information is properly disseminated to member countries' armed forces.

Kazmacek recovers a Meld canister inside a torn-open container truck -- I suspect the stuff has been out there for a while, rather than dropped off in the crash. Do the aliens WANT us to have the stuff? Why is Bradford so obsessed with it? If we accumulate enough, will it turn into a giant robot and obliterate the base?

The squad finds the UFO after spreading out; a trio of Slendermen are spotted by Diaz as he doubles back to the others. Lily keeps watch while everyone regroups as the aliens scatter.

Petrov drops one -- the Slenderman was acting as bait to let one of its podmate flank Sgt. Diaz! Fortunately, the combination of armor and underarmor holds. Diaz returns fire, but only manages to scare the Slenderman off.

Bradford has Lily take point! I cannot help but worry -- letting my friends leave is one thing, but putting them in danger is another. Maybe I'm being overly paranoid; either way, Lily steps lightly and breaches the UFO -- another crystal drone appears... and runs right at Lily, who simply stops and blasts at it.

Lily missed! Fortunately, the rest of the squad can concentrate fire on the alien; Kazmacek takes the kill after Petrov also misses the alien robot from point-blank range.

Further out, we see the second Meld canister puff out and deactivate. "You're all too goddamn slow!" Bradford calls out. What's his problem? The presence of yarnalls mandate moving carefully.

Lily keeps point; we know we're missing one Slenderman, but maybe that was it for this ship's crew. The UFO looks remarkably undamaged -- both the power plant and the navigation system seem to be in salvageable shape.

"Diaz, clean up and get out of there" Bradford calls out. "I have a call in the situation room." Now that the Meld is either gone or retrieved, he doesn't seem to care about hunting the last alien.

A quick look later, Petrov catches it. He shoots and scores, but our assault rifles once again prove their inadequacy -- the reptiloid is still up. Lily has considerably better luck; she steps forward, takes a plasma shot to the chestplate, and obliterates the Slenderman with a rocket.

She'll be spending some time in sickbay -- I doubt they'll let me talk to her -- but we had no casualties to report. Even so, between medical and academic attrition, the only core soldiers we have out of sickbay right now are at Bradford's command...

I wish I got to thank Stephen for the help with the cameras; hopefully I'll be able to keep an eye on things as I finish recovering.

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