I’ve been playing XCOM games for years but I’ve never been able to fully complete the game…until now. The Playlist above contains all the highlights from my livestream campaign. Keep reading for a short fiction based on the setting.
XCOM Commander’s log: May 12 2036
Its been a very long war for me, longer than anyone else. Well, maybe except for Bradford. The battle ended for many in the first invasion the day XCOM fell, but I was captured by the elders and made to relive the invasion over and over and over again. I fought that first war a thousand times in an endless cycle of defeat and victory. I fought that war for twenty years with each campaign more difficult that the last. It was a hell drawn from Dante’s Divine Comedy.
Then Bradford recovered me and I found myself in a new world, Advent’s World. The old world wasn’t perfect by any means but it isn’t the gilded cage of Advent’s city centers. From the outside the centers look like the pinnacle of human potential, uplifted by the Elders and Advent. On the inside residents are healthy, fed, and secure thanks to the ever present generosity of Advent. The greatest example of this are the gene therapy clinics. The clinics cured everything from cancer to the common cold. They extend lifespans and even provide cosmetic alterations. One was also my prison.
Everything connected, The City Centers, The Clinics, even me, in a campaign Advent called The Avatar project. Advent abducted thousands of people through the clinics and send them to black sites across the globe. These people were processed and broken down into raw genetic material, the base for the factory grown Advent troopers seen throughout the city centers. The end goal, to create the perfect Avatar for the dying Etherials. I too was meant to be a conduit for an Avatar and in the end, I was.
Its Ironic. In the endless campaigns of my mental prison victory was achieved by turning the Aliens own technology against them. So too do we turn their design against them now. In order to defeat our enemy we completed their end goal for them. We created our own Avatar under my control in order to complete the two part authentication needed to enter the Etherial sanctum at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Now the Etherials are dead and without their Guidance Advent is in disarray.
Advent has Fallen, now the War begins.
Riots erupted in every city center and refugees poured from them in a mass exodus. Fighting is heavy in most of the city centers, especially in the Mexican, North America East, Australian, and South African regions. The Avenger in en route to the heaviest fighting to provide support and tactical control. Unfortunately a majority of the City Centers are still under Advent control and under martial law. When it comes time to take those cities it will be a siege.
The transition from tactical guerrilla strikes to large scale campaigns will be a difficult but XCOM is up to the challenge. The first major change will come from the Avenger itself. I’ve been working with Bradform and Shen to convert the Avenger into a true mobile command center capable of command and control of the global battlefield. The Geoscape is a good tool for the job but as Commander I need to see the bigger picture rather than squad level tactics. I am vetting the roster of my highest ranking soldiers for squad and battalion commands of their own. God knows they earned it.
As I write this I can’t help but reflect on my role in all of this. I still don’t know why the original council chose me to command XCOM. I was no one special, just an officer with higher than average scores at the command academy. It didn’t matter, despite the first few victories the aliens steamrolled over the world’s defenses and HQ was an easy target. The last thing I remember was a Muton charging through a breach in the wall, his rifle butt coming down on my face.
I was a pawn of the Elders, a facet in the Avatar project, the mind unwillingly used to guide Advent’s offense against human resistance. I was meant to be the guiding force of all Advent, from the mighty Avatars to the lowly Troopers. Mankind would be culled, its genetic base print used to vat-grow Advent Troopers, Lancer, Captains, and Shieldbearers. My mind would carry on as The Elders continued their conquest of other planets in their quest for genetic superiority.
Now Humanity is free again. But am I free? Will I ever be free? Am I bound to this cycle of battle? The War ill continue as long as Advent holds the remaining City Centers but what then? Will we remain united when our common enemy is gone? Will we turn on one another when old conflicts arise or will we find brand new things to fight about? I don’t know.
I’m so tired.
Tired of command, of combat, of sending men and women to die in battle. As tired as I am, I don’t know if I can walk away from my responsibility. I’m the de facto leader of the resistance, the person everyone looks up to, the hero who liberated the planet of The Elders’ influence. Can the world go on without me or will it all fall apart without my influence. These questions keep me awake most nights and there are few people I can speak to about it. Dr Tygen and Lilly Shen have departed to head up the new R&D division. Bradford…is too close. He would tell me to stay strong for the sake of the planet and the people. He would tell me they need me to be the face of the resistance, the guiding force for our victory over Advent.
It doesn’t do me any good to dewll on this for long. We don’t always choose the roles we play in life but the show must go on. So I’ll play my role as best I am able.
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