Terribly sorry, but this chunk of the diary might be a wee bit boring. Not a lot really happens, you see. That speaks to something that tends to happen in XCOM – the early game (at Classic difficulty and above) is characterised by regular and sudden losses because your squad are weak, scaredy and under-equipped, but if you can keep a core team alive for a little while you get over the hump and able to cope better in the field. (Until the psychic aliens arrive, at least). That’s basically where my RPS-themed squad has gotten to now- we’re on the (vital and satisfying) busywork, as we prepare to take the fight to enemy somewhat.
Think of this as one of those mid-season episodes in a TV drama where they’re just killing time until the big denouements and cliffhangers at the end of the series. Like that rubbish episode of Battlestar Galactica with the black market, or something.
Interception over Japan!
Our ship’s shot down because we only have the default Avalanche missiles – we’ve been prioritising soldiers too much. Won’t somebody think of the spaceships?
Grmmph. Oh well, let’s get some work done in the meantime. I had planned to go straight to Plasma weapons but it’s becoming a grind for resources and research times are insane. So, we get Laser Sniper and Scatter Gun researched as an interim.
Abduction mission in China!
– We’re on a train! We make most of train explode, kill a lot of Thin Men and get out of there with no casualties. That’s more like it.
Shortly after returning home, our scientists come up with Heavy Lasers and Laser Cannons, but we can’t build any yet due to a crippling alloy shortage.
Meanwhile, an engineering binge gets a load more satilletes into the air, which calms down half the world as well as improving coverage, but we’ve still got three nations on the verge of dropping out of funding. heavy laser and laser cannon researched, but I can only build 1 of the former as out of alloys. Lame!
A Council mission!
We’re forced to take the one with the lousiest reward due to panic levels. We could have had a Captain Sniper, but nooooo, $200 because some country’s got its knickers in a twist.
Another textbook mission at least, and a couple of successful stuns means we have some Light Plasma Rifles and Plasma Pistols in the bank ready for once we’ve researched them.
Back at base, we’re breaking the back of R&D – skeleton suits for our only Sniper, the gallant ‘Zulu’ Meer, enter the fray, we finally get a Foundry up to start developing upgrades to existing kit (and, eventually, tanks) and the Outsider Shard is researched, meaning an alien base invasion looms. Soon. Ish.
Another textbook mission sees Meer make Colonel and Ellison make Captain. Getting cocky now.
Terror Mission in Argentina!
We see the challenge ramp up again, after a few suspiciously safe encounters. Specifically, the deadly ovals of deadly death known by the cheerfully cheesy name of Cyberdiscs.
These robo-plates take their best shot at murdering everyone, but they hadn’t reckoned on one thing – Quintin ‘Moose’ Smith really, really hates robots. So much so that he has a 100% damage boost again them. Take that, circular robot!
Even though we’re doing very well, Adam ‘DJ’ Smith decides to have a panic for no reason. This is almost as pitiful as like when the real Adam Smith tripped over a cat and broke his jaw. Actually I’m not sure I’m allowed to mention that he did that. Oops.
A sudden poisoning of both Smiths by Thin Man phlegm, followed by a car exploding over the quaking Smith. A and squaddie Caldwell, puts us in a tight spot. Making this a bad time for a second Cyberdisc to float onto the scene. Followed by three Mutons. Erk.
Then we have a frankly miraculous turn:
A. Smith’s rapidfire lands two Shotgun blasts at 50% odds. Caldwell, out of ammo in his rifle, all but dead and still being poisoned, finishes the disc off with a pistol shot. Q.smith’s rocket takes out two of the Mutons in one feel, noisy swoop. The third Muton sensibly identifies Caldwell as the most vulnerable, takes aim… and misses. Next turn, Caldwell drags his half-dead ass over and stuns it. That’s the Belfast spirit, lad.
It’s not over yet – two more Thin Men arrive on the scene, but fortunately we’ve had a turn to relax and reload. A reaction shot from Meer takes out one, then the other five members of the team fire as one. The poor, lizardy sod doesn’t stand a chance.
And we go home. It’s promotions for Q.Smith and B.Caldwell, who becomes Sergeant Brendan ‘Spitfire’ Caldwell. Spitfire! Now that’s a name.
And Spitfire’s Muton stun also means we can start researching Plasma Rifles. The full fat kind, not the poxy Light variant.
Finally, our reward – a new Support soldier. When RPS needed support from across the Atlantic the most, one man came along. And so it happens again: welcome to the team, Captain Nathan ‘Deacon’ Grayson.
I’ve never met Nathan in real life and thus aren’t entirely sure what he looks like, so I’m going to give him a cool helmet. And make him sand coloured as he’s from Texas.