Jan 11, 2010

We should have seen it coming

X-Com Directors Log – 19 April 1999
We should have seen it coming.

It started with a typical detection. A small UFO was heading in to the US over the Atlantic. Then a larger blip appeared from the Gulf. Then the Canadian skies parted with two more large craft. Then another biggie from the Pacific. They were pinging all over the sky. Hell, even Moses didn’t see that much red when he parted the sea.

Interceptors scrambled. I ordered the small downed over the Atlantic. Down she went, lost to the sea floor. We have bigger fish to fry. I ordered the flight groups split to the larger craft with strict standoff orders. Pursuit and report, only. They tracked the first two to their landings.

Ranger One was deployed to the first landing. Breach and recon teams worked to perfection. Liberal use of the aliens' grenades made sure of that.

Flight crews turned the Ranger around in record time. The wrenches need to be recognized for that. Second landing was bigger. Probably a warship en route to terrorize another city. Not on my watch. More intense fire fights, but zero casualties. Thank God for the new personal armor the tech boys created.  A round for them as well.

During the two recoveries, one of the Interceptors had tracked what we believe to be a supply vessel to its landing the Florida panhandle. Int-One was ordered to CAP over the landing zone until the Ranger could be turned around. Again, I’ve gotta buy those wrenches a round on me.

Then it happened. I can still hear it in my head. “Interceptor 1-1 to Command. Sir! They’re heading underground! They’re heading underground!” Murmurs quickly spread through the Command & Ops Center. I ordered our satellites into position. Well I’ll be damned if the thermal scans didn’t confirm our worst fears. Those damned aliens built a forward post right under our bloody noses.

Global RTB ordered and base lockdown status initiated. No one is getting in here. The Ranger One team was given two days R&R. No need to rush this. Following that, one full day of prep and briefings. One more day to get the operatives rested and focused.

Then we launched. Surface penetration went perfectly. Breach and recon teams swept the base with tactical precision and efficiency. The aliens were scattered through the base, but quickly dispatched. They picked their way in to the central command center. Breach teams lined up, smokes and chokes at the ready.

Then it happened.

A blast of purple light shot down the lift shaft and turned – I mean 90 f*#&ing degreest turned – and hit the squad leader square in the chest. The blast decimated the room and instantly incinerated the three operatives inside. Then a second blast right behind it streaked through the now sundered door and hit the back wall, killing the other three operatives holding position outside. Before the recon teams could even move to support their fallen comrades, a third blast came from behind. Three blasts, 9 kills, 3 seconds.

We should have seen it coming. It was all a trap. We’d been too successful, too over-confident and fell victim to our own successes.

The skies filled with UFOs were the first lure and we bit down hard. They allowed us to take their larger craft - a larger bait which we swallowed whole. They let us pick off their base’s interior sentries and fodder. Hell, even their base was a throw away by the way they nuked the crap out of it. They leveled the damn place and all of our men in one fell swoop.

They didn’t need to come to us. They knew we’d come to them. And we blindly accommodated them.

We should have seen it coming. Now I sit approving personnel requisition forms, scheduling training regiments, and writing letters home to the families of the fallen.  And my bottle of scotch is far too low to accomodate all of this.
Yeah. I should have seen it coming.

If you've never played X-Com UFO Defense, I highly recommend it. It is one of the deepest and most rewarding strategy games and still one of my all time favorites.  Plus you can nab the first (and best) off of Steam for just $5.  You have no excuse.

1 comment:

  1. Hello dear one - if you don't get off your butt and help shovel I will go all nightelf on your ass. Thank you
    Your loving wife now shut the WOW off and help shovel our butts out of all this snow :-)