Welcome back to XCOM 2! Today I have another tale of action, excitement, and turn based tension as I deploy my squad to the abandoned suburbs of Toronto to destroy an Advent communications relay.
Journal entry: June 13 20XX Loius Ferina recording. Begin.
Its strange, isn’t it, how your perspective can change on a moment’s notice? I don’t remember what the world was like before Advent. I was a child when they came to this world and swept away our armies and governments. My childhood home was the Miami City center, a sprawling mega metropolis that spans the Florida Peninsula. My mother and I walked the pristine streets of the city with no fear of human or alien. Indeed the sight of a Sectoid or Viper patrolling the street is common, even mundane. They were our friends, our liberators, our saviors from our own human hubris.
I remember reading about all advent was doing to correct the wrongs of the old world. The greatest mind of Advent and Humanity working together to reverse climate change, to cure Cancer and AIDS, to end crime and cruelty. It was all so lofty, so idealistic, so perfect. But bright lights cast dark shadows and Advents is so dark its terrifying. As an adult I began to see things that felt wrong about Advent. The Trooper that held out a hand to the Terror Attack Victim was the same trooper that came to my neighbor’s door late at night and took him away.
Advent claimed he and others like him were traitors, collaborators, and sympathizers for XCOM. I had no idea what that name meant when I first heard it on the news feeds. All the talking heads would say is that they were a remnant of the old world, a final holdout of extremists, xenophobes, and human supremacists who would pay any price to achieve their goals, even take human lives. Every day a report would come air about a foiled attack by XCOM against a civilian target. I would see faces and names on display in the feeds about known terrorists and who to report sightings to.
Then I met one. It was on a warm February afternoon on at a dive overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. I don’t remember why I was there but I do remember his face, Bradford. He was an older man, probably in his mid 40s, one of the people who were adults when Advent came. He was supposed the leader of the terrorists, a vile man full of hatred, bile, and venom for everything the Aliens built. Part of me wanted to run and call the nearest Advent post to report his sighting but I didn’t. I stayed, curious to see who this most hated man was. I stared at him as he sat at the bar, nursing a whiskey, and saw none of the hate or anger they said he was consumed with. All I saw was sadness and regret being drowned in a whiskey sour.
I decided to forget I saw him and pushed my half finished Long Island away but just as I rose to leave a hand came down on my shoulder and shoved me back into the seat. A stern looking young woman with a hood over her head met my wide eyes and sat to my left. Instant regret chased by fear churned in my stomach as another hand firmly held my other shoulder and a wiry older man with silver hair and glasses sat to my right. “Its not polite to stare, son,” whispered the man on the right, “Finish your drink.” His tone was soft but commanding, leaving no room for argument or discussion. I obeyed, choking and coughing down my coctail in a fear induced haze. When I finished the woman pantomimed a friendly pat on the back and guided me to the side door of the bar.
The door led into a dark dirty alley lined with garbage, old boxes, and bio-hazard disposal bins. I was sure I was going to die. The pair guiding me never let go but they bickered back and forth. I didn’t hear them thanks in part to my own terror as well as the onset of drunkenness. Their bickering was cut short by a call from across the alley. Bradford stood there in the shadows, shoulders and head high, scowl on his face. “We play the odds every time we leave the Avenger. There is always a risk of being spotted. How did he get past our man at the door?” In my fear induced haze I only caught a a few words at a time but I was sure they were going to kill me to keep me silent.
“Hey, are you listening to me?” Bradford barked. He was looking directly at me. I stammered a reply and stared blankly at him. I must have been pale as a ghost. He sighed and took a breath, shaking head head and taking a step back. “You’re not Advent.” I shook my head enthusiastically. “You’re just a normal person who found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.” I nodded my head with equal enthusiasm. “Unfortunately you’ve seen me and my friends,” My heart sunk and my stomach did a flip like a fish out of water, “So We can’t let you on go. So it looks like you’re coming with us.”
My head spun with his statement, drowning out the protest coming from the pair holding my arms. Bradford shut them down and motioned for silence. I didn’t even realize a hood was draped over my head until we were in a car and halfway to their drop-ship. Dark silence enveloped me leaving me to stew in my own thoughts for hours, paralyzed by uncertainty and fear. I winced at the light of the morning sun as the hood was withdrawn. I got my first look at the Avenger and nothing has ever been the same.
The following weeks were spent in study, training, and drill. I learned about what Advent has really been up to, confirming my fears. I learned about weapons, equipment and tactics from veteran soldiers, men and women who survived Advent’s arrival. All my hard work paid off in the end and I suited up for my first combat mission. We succeeded but at the cost of half our squad.
I mentioned perspective before, how it can change so quickly. On the battlefield I saw advent for who they truly were. Gone was the compassion and kindness of the troopers, Sectoids, and Vipers, I only saw cruelty and malice in them. They are creatures of death and violence. I got a taste of that up close when the “Peacekeeping” Stun Lancer got a good hit on my side, the blow nearly killed me. I took him down with a well places burst into his deformed and inhuman face.
The fight ahead of us will not be easy, we will take losses, I may not survive. But now I know the threat Advent poses and I can give no less than everything I have to see their plans destroyed.
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