Story Possibilities (Narrative and all things XCOM)
In preparation for XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and as a writer, I have indulged in something I never thought I would: Fan-fiction, more precisely, XCOM fiction, and I was reading the manuals for Terror From the Deep, and Apocalypse (in prep for playing them, (though TFtD kind of scares me with its catastrophic difficulty) and I can appreciate how minimalistic, but effective the broad narrative. Ironically, most of the interim story comes from Interceptor I think...
Anywho, this is meant to be catch all for anything narrative or story based in the XCOM series (you know, we've got to decide whether or not we're keeping the hyphen or not).
Story speculation for the new game.
Fan-fiction (though you've got to keep it within forum rules, people)
Anything indulging in the story of everyone's favorite covert paramilitary organization.
The narrative provided in Interceptor (http://www.ufopaedia.org/index.php?title=X-COM_Timeline) leaves a lot to be desired for imo.
Enemy Unknown provided all it's narrative through gameplay, and didn't really need to provide any special setting for that narrative. Since you can see that setting by just looking out the window.
But I'm really interested in the period from the first alien war (Enemy Unknown) up until the Mega-Primus war (Apocalypse), somewhere in this period is a great sci-fi setting for a game.
I liked the setting of UFO:Aftershock were you had a post-Apocalyptic situation with fractions. I think the same thing could be done for XCOM just before Apocalypse, by having a pre-Apocalyptic setting with global turmoil, ecological collapse, mega-cities and mega corps on the scale of countries, fractions like Cult of Sirius, Corporation X and Country Y and so on.
I'll see if I can digitalize my notes and reveal how truly nerdy I am about XCOM. =D
So this is the first chapter of the story I'm working on. A few things that I'm aware of. I know Chrysdids are gray, but when I first saw them they looked brownish, so it stuck. I also know that their hits are 100% fatal even if they do no damage, but there are certain liberties I get to take with this.
XCOM: Arrival Unknown
Chapter 01: Operation Hamilton
“’Spades’, come in, do you have visual?”
I looked forward and not at the soft noise coming from my earpiece. It was clean, new and static free. My hands felt cold despite the warmth of the office building. It was one of the many corporate shrines off of Wall Street. Monitors and sleeping computer screens were dead, glinting in the sparse ambient light from the nighttime sky. Papers and stale coffee lay strewn across the tile bullpen floor. Several lights flickered and hummed spastically throwing light into dark corners.
I didn’t like it; it made me really freaking twitchy.
“Negative, ‘Blackjack’, no visual. The grays aren’t around here. I’m going to link up with DeJesus and we’ll meet at the nearest hallway.
“Copy, ‘Spades’, I’m oscar mike.”
The channel closed and I rolled my shoulders and put the stock of my assault shotgun to my shoulder. I stepped through the debris. I saw DeJesus, she was skulking through the other hallway connected through an open archway. It was another bullpen like mine. I signaled and she nodded. I took a covering position behind a desk. It was a flimsy sheet-steel affair, but it was better than the stark open.
She was outfitted a lot like me. Light tan modern ballistic fatigues with lots of pockets, some kind of new Kevlar weave they’d been working on. We had the standard SWAT gear, too. Knee, elbow, and shin pads with fingerless gloves, matte-finish black boots finished up the ensemble. She was holding her assault rifle close scanning over the reflex sights for hostiles. She was the new blood in the group, shipped in after the Cornwall Incident two weeks ago. She was wearing a balaclava, and it was impossible to make out her other features in the dark.
She was about forty feet away from me when I saw something out of the corner of my eye.
“Down!” I shouted.
She tried and sort of succeeded. Three glinting claws lashed out and hit DeJesus across the shoulders. She went into a half roll, but slammed painfully into the nearby bank of desks and office chairs. The creature stepped forward. Black brown chitin glinted ink-like in the dark. It had large claws on its hands and feet. The tile literally gouged under its weight. The face looked similar to a mantis’s but it was wrong. It had large frontal mandibles, but it had row after row of large razor-sharp shark-like teeth. It clicked and chattered.
I broke cover and pumped several rounds of double-00 buck into it. Faking right it lost one of its spiny arms. Dark, brackish blood sprayed the papers and ruined tile. It fell over and twitched like a dead bug.
“Crap…” I breathed and slung my shotgun around and pulled out DeJesus’ medkit. The things were pretty high-tech, but easy to use. They were portable aid stations. I quickly slapped the sensor on her arm and her vitals lit up.
She was still kicking. She had a few deep cuts and broken ribs. I slapped some styptic around her lacerations. I used a utility knife to cut away the suit.
“Good news, rookie, you’re going to live to fight another day.” I said pulling her facemask off so she could breathe better, “Welcome to XCOM.”
Hey Inkidu, as a rule all "fanworks," such as fanfiction, goes in the Forum Games section. I'm just going to move this up there.
Oh, okay, sorry.
Originally Posted by Codex
I really like the story so far and I hope you will continue it. Also what classes are spades,blackjack, and Dejesus.
Chapter 02: Operation Genesis
It’s funny how no one in the public saw the signs. Maybe, it was a testament to the power of the various worlds’ governments to suppress their respective medias. At first it was simple. There was a disappearance in New Mexico, then in Pisa, a few people were gone from Hokkaido, and along with some cattle mutilations and crop circles (that’s kind of another issue).
I’m sure there was some crackpot with his bathroom wallpapered in the newspaper headlines and tabloid pages had put two and two together and tried to make a business by selling tinfoil hats, but the most of the world thought it was just some weird oddity and no more important than the morning commute or the Red Sox scores.
I was on leave at the time. I was a gunnery sergeant in Marine Force Recon. Something had forced the conflicts around the world to full stop. Oh, it wasn’t peace on earth and good will toward all, but there were a lot of talks of cease fires and an end of hostilities. Most leaders began running to Geneva to get all the paper and ink together. They were barring a lot of it from the press. There was a lot of coverage of the front doors to the convention hall; not much else.
One week later two people showed up at my door. I was staying at the base housing. They were your stereotypical men in black. One was five and nothing and the other was six foot one. I was wearing gym shorts and an old Corps T-shirt.
“Gunnery sergeant?” The short one on my right asked.
“Yes, sir.” I replied.
“We’re from the pentagon.” He continued, “We have a unique proposition for you.”
I invited them inside and offered them drinks. They declined, politely.
“You’ve no doubt seen the goings on in Geneva, sergeant. To be brief, the various governments of the world are looking for capable soldiers to volunteer.” I was about to ask for what, but he held up his hand. “We’re running various camps right now to find the best of the best among the world’s top military organization.”
I listened thinking it was something for NATO. “You’re twenty seven, spent four years with Force Recon, exemplary record, but not much more in the way of advancement for you. We’d like to remedy that.
“With what, pray tell?” I said slightly impatient.
“Like we said, gunny, a unique proposition.”
When they put it like that, what else could I say? I signed on.
The next day I was shipped out to some Arizona hellhole desert. I was flown out by helicopter. I could see chain-link fence and several white tents with red crosses on them. Some didn’t have anything painted on them. The chopper didn’t even stay to get a refuel before dropping my duffle and me off on the hastily erected landing pad. The noise and rotary wash wasn’t even out of my ears when some MPs walked up and escorted me to a billet. There were only about twenty people in the barrack, I saw at least five different countries. Even some Japanese and Nigerians were there. A few questions went racing through my mind at that point. They handed me an armband with the stars and stripes on it and I wore it just like everyone else.
They wasted no time putting us to work. I was used to PT, don’t get me wrong. However, there was a lot more to it. Within two days they were putting us out in the elements, throwing grenades into the marching grounds (they weren’t entirely harmless, but they weren’t maiming people either). It spent more time in a deprivation tank than anything. Weird things too, they had us run full drills in hazmat gear, and they would walk along with combat knives and slash at us. Some would dodge and some would get their suits sliced. They didn’t last much longer.
They would send us in for regular psych evaluations. If you’d done anything worth commendation, especially bravery above and beyond, they would grill you on it for hours, checking your story asking you how it made you feel.
“So, sergeant,” the shrink asked, “They say you were pinned down outside of Bagdad. Two of your men were wounded and your CO was killed. You took one to the shoulder but kept fighting until the air cavalry got there?”
“Yes, for the fifth time.” I said becoming a little frayed at this point.
And just like that it was all over, a month of tests and drills and grilling and they were suddenly letting off the pressure. Life became a lot easier. People were being shipped off, we assumed they were cut from the program. I was talking to a French woman named Monique D’Claire. She was recruited from the French secret service. We all learned pretty early that everyone spoke English functionally.
“It obviously has more to do with just the physical training, no?”
“True enough,” I agreed, “who knows what they’re testing for.”
That afternoon I was put on a plane to God only knew where. It wasn’t your typical plain either. It was VTOL. Squat kind of thing, looked like it could hold a tank and maybe gear and equipment for a small squad of Special Forces. It wasn’t exactly pretty, but it had an appeal. The folks who stashed me aboard kept calling it a Skyranger.
They shipped myself and four other people. The inside of the Skyranger was Spartan and utilitarian at best. We stayed strapped into the bench seats that lined the sides and back. The front opened into a landing ramp. Gear was stowed in cargo nets and under our seats. I saw some of it. It looked like high end military hardware. The new top-of-the-line assault rifles and combat shotguns, as well as some brand new M89 high-explosive grenades were seated under us as well. It didn’t bug me that the gear was there, but the amount was something to make me think. It was like the gear for a small army.
We arrived at nighttime. The Skyranger had no windows, but they let me into the cockpit. I saw us fly down into the earth. I didn’t know where we were, but it was underground.
“You’ve got to be kidding me.” I muttered under my breath.
“Nope, welcome to HQ.” The pilot said as she flicked a few switches. The thrusters rotated under and there was a small drop before we descended to the deck below.
It was a whole freaking hangar.
High-powered lamps lit the underground caverns. We filed out and were greeted by a soldier. He was a big guy with more muscles than the Hulk. He was a black man about seven feet tall easy.
“Sargent Earnest Cincinnatus,” he said his voice deep and surprisingly friendly, “Everyone just calls me Blackjack.” He led us down to a lift and we shot down a few floors. The doors hissed open and we were in some kind of barracks. They looked like the typical slightly shoddy, cost-effective affair most of us were used to billeting.
“Grab a bunk rookies,” Blackjack told us, “ You’re in for a treat.”
“Can you tell us why we’re here?” A man named Carlos Shoemaker, of Brooklyn said.
The big sergeant just boomed out in a big laugh and left.
It was twenty minutes before a soldier with lieutenant bars came in brandishing some kind of tablet. She turned on a projector.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we’re at war.” She began, “Late last year various abductions took place panicking the world’s governments.” She showed some pictures of cattle mutilations.
Shoemaker made a sound like the old X-Files theme song. The lieutenant just showed another slide with human mutilation and Shoemaker shut his mouth.
“You all heard about the convention in Geneva earlier this year. They met to form this.” She changed to a slide of the base that we were presumably bunked in right now.
“This is XCOM.” She said, “We’re Earth’s extraterrestrial combat unit, and you are the new guys. Welcome to your first day on the job, rookies.”
Just a quick question. Was the first chapter a flash forward?
I started it in medias res, yes.
Originally Posted by lifeingames
I know it's been a long time, but I was finishing up a lot of stuff, and I realized I was going to need some more new info about the game to base some of this off of. Anyway, here it is.
Chapter 03: The Rushmore Incident
I sat in the back of the Skyranger my assault rifle in hand. The joke about the last rookie’s blood was priceless. Well, they had thought it was at least. They had been snickering up until we entered South Dakota airspace. There was some small town that set off some alert in the in HQ. They had scrambled us. In fact, I was a last minute replacement for a sniper who panicked and dropped his grenade. He’d live, but he was out for a month easy.
“Hey, rookie. You ever seen a sectoid?” One of the senior members asked his name was Kazuhiro Hito. A riot officer from the JSDF.
“Check yourself, squaddie.” “Blackjack” said checking his sniper rifle, “You ain’t seen any either.”
There was some quiet laughter in the belly of the VTOL craft. I cast a look to “Blackjack” The .308 in his hands looked almost like a model replica of the real thing. If he wasn’t a bemusing image Carolyn Yu would. Five foot four, one-hundred and twenty pounds soaking wet and she hefted her fifty-cal and her rocket launcher like a pro.
She wore a non-nonsense braid of died-blonde hair. Strange mix of valley-girl and bad ass that one. She blew a large pink bubble and popped it loudly. “So, sarge,” She said casting one of her always-haughty look at “Blackjack”, “Do we know what to expect.
“We know that there’s nothing out there but some old radio tower that was decommissioned years ago. There’s maybe one house, but it was left to rot by the housing depression of ’09.”
“That’s a lot of open ground…” Kazuhiro said, darkly.
“Ya’ think, Hito?” Yu said lacing her fingers behind her head.
He groused, but didn’t rise to the bait. He was a consummate professional… most of the time.
“Anyway,” “Blackjack” said, his low heavy baritone dying on the walls of the ‘Skyranger. We’re going to hit the ground running, “The rookie will be on point, Yu, you’ll provide support for point. Hito, you’re with me, and I’m going to be playing guardian angel tonight. Investigate and neutralize hostiles.
The craft buckled and shook as the loading ramp began to open. Hito and I covered the entrance as we disembarked. The Skyranger buffeted us as it throttled back to the perimeter of the engagement zone. We didn’t know what kind of hostiles. Apparently this one like most of them came our way by the Funding Council. To us grunts on the ground that didn’t mean much. Oh, we saw it in the mount of kit we did or didn’t have, but mostly it was our nebulous and shadowy commander.
Tall grass bisected by a wavy gravel road. The oppressive nighttime sky glowed with the light of dozens of stars and the little red light at the top of the radio tower about half a click in front of us. “Blackjack” and Hito double timed it over to an old shack. It had probably been an outbuilding for the radio tower back in its hay-day. I was a little nervous about some of the aging homes that loomed on our periphery, but we moved up.
We moved and a blip appeared on my heads-up display. Hito had thrown one of those new battle-scanners. It was supposed to act like a sonorous ping. Nothing came to light, but it would continue to ping out its radius. Up ahead in the starlit window appeared a small insect-like silhouette. It was a cross between some kind of bug and a monkey. I held up a closed fist and pointed forward. Yu nodded and pulled her LMG to bear. I pointed out a nearby position and moved opposite the house they were behind to flank.
I was around the corner to set up a cross fire on the bogey. I took a peek. There were four of them. I whispered into my radio, “Contact. Four… sectoids…”
“Copy.” Hito replied, “’Blackjack’s’” just gotten into position.
“Take them.” “Blackjack commanded coolly.
I don’t know what they tell you about fire fights, but when you’ve got position and surprise, they don’t last long. Yu opened up on the corner and the aliens dodged behind the house: Right into my grenade. Three of them were thrown a ways with shrapnel wounds. One of the less wounded ones made a break for the corner. Yu wheeled her machine gun in pursuit but only winged the alien. It returned fire with some kind of weird pistol shaped weapon. Green bolts of energy burned the air. It was a wild shot, but it took out half the brickwork Yu was covering behind. She flinched back behind the masonry.
There was a crack and a thock, and the sectoid hit the ground.
“Tango down.” “Blackjack” said. We heard him work the bolt on his rifle. We kept searching the zone of operation. We made it about four feet before we heard a deafening roar. Out of the nighttime gloom came a red hulking mass of muscle and blades. It came smashing through the house toward Yu. Nothing seemed to stop it.
“Kill it! Kill it! Kill it!” Hito shouted in all our earpieces. If it weren’t for the pinging scanner we would not have been in such a good position. I, Yu, and “Blackjack” put rounds into it, but it kept coming. It was moving toward Yu.
“Screw this!” She shouted. She dropped the LMG and pulled out her rocket launcher. She tracked and let fly in less than half a minute. The rocket smashed dead center and the red monster hit the soil. She walked up and put about forty more rounds in the corpse.
We searched the rest of the zone, but we found nothing. “Blackjack” ordered in the science teams. They showed up later in vanilla choppers after we had been long gone. I didn’t think too much of the recovery. I was happy to get back into the Skyranger and headed back to my billet.