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Just The Start Of An X-com Story I Wrote.

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#1 jack cloudy

jack cloudy


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Posted 26 December 2005 - 10:43 AM

It's been a while since I last posted. Here's the start of a story I'm writing in my spare time. Right now it's a bit of a mess. Comments welcome as usual.

Isaac Vogel stared out of his office’s window. Down on the streets he could see the crowd of vehicles speeding down the roads, with the people tubes and buildings of the city towering over them, and among those, the shapes of Megapol patrol cars and the odd taxi. He sighed but kept staring. Though still quite young, he looked like a person twice his age. His hair had turned from the pure black that reminded his friends of a raven into the snow white of a dove.
He had refused to take any medications or surgery to slow down the aging of his body, quite a rare decision. Despite his age, he was a tall and athletic man, and just about as strong as a human possibly could get without any gene-modifying, drugs, surgery or prostheses. But the feature that immediately drew anyone’s attention were his eyes. They were grey and reflected the man’s soul, instantly causing who ever saw him to realize that this was one person not to mess with.

Piere Gautier saw his boss standing near the window and moved over to him. ,,Having one of your depressive moods again, Isaac?” ,,You could say so.” Vogel responded without turning to face the newcomer. ,,Would you mind telling me what it is this time?” Vogel responded with a question of his own:,, Tell me, my old friend. What do you see when you look out of the window?” ,,Um…Well, there is the senate building to the left. I also see the space port. And there are the people tubes, the roads, and off course the wall surrounding the city.” ,,So, what do you see?” ,,Mega-Primus off course, the largest inhabited city on earth.” Vogel sighed. ,,But look beyond that, what do you see?” ,,I don’t think I understand your question.” ,,Then I’ll tell you what I see. I see the death of the human race.”

,,Now wait a minute, I know that it may not look so nice from here, what with a polluted planet and all, but it’s not so bad.” Vogel looked at the man but said nothing. ,,I mean, come on, we did manage to build a big city with a contained atmosphere. And humanity has spread among the stars. Look at the colonies we have!” ,,Yes, the city and the colonies. Do you know how many people die on the colonies every day because of disease, lack of food and rebellion? And the city, I don’t say anything bad about the people who built it. But humanity is dying. Physically on the colonies, mentally in the city. The people here have become passive, filling their lives with sensovision and thinking they’re experiencing a golden age. It’s a dark age they’re experiencing. And look at us.” Gautier was now really confused. ,,What do you mean, look at us?” ,,Tell me, Pierre. When was the last time you had the chance to do some research?” ,,Um…About three years ago. Why?” ,,We’re supposed to be developing more powerful weapons every day. Yet, you’re forced to spend your days idly on the office without doing anything worthwhile. And what if they come back?” Vogel said, pointing at the sky, getting really fanatic now. ,,We are supposed to be the first ones to beat back any alien attempt to invade Earth, and even the damn cabbies are more powerful!”

He looked at the screen that filled one wall of the room. He was king and this was his throne. Someone entered. Someone who was short with thin limbs. But the most noticeable feature was the head. It was out of proportion with the rest of the body and contained huge shining black eyes, each of which had two greyish eyelids that appeared from the sides and met in the center. Both nose and mouth were nearly nonexistent. ,,Progress?” The king asked, using the telepathic speech common to his kind ,,Seed has fully matured.” The Sectoid answered in the same telepathic language. ,,Unexpected circumstances?” ,,A slight mental instability has occurred due to the accelerated maturization.” A barely noticeable vibrating of the Sectoid’s eyelids revealed its fear. ,,Instability?” ,,It will not hinder its purpose.” The king thought for a few moments, weighing his options. ,,Prepare to plant the seed on the human daughterplanet.” ,,It will be done.”

Thomas Crosset sure didn’t had his day. It all started when he woke up. He knew that getting drunk like that wasn’t a good idea, but he needed the distraction from the embarrassment last morning. Getting beaten up by one of those Sectoid hybrids who were known for their weak muscles wasn’t going to do a lot good to your reputation, especially if it happened on the streets. and now he had to face the consequences. His head was pounding and felt like it was about to explode with the power of an elerium meganuke. And it all turned even worse when he tried to pull a few credits out of the wall. ,,Not again!” He thought when the red message insufficient credits lighted up on the display. Great, now he was broke again, just as he thought he could take it easy. His first thought was to go look for the damn ill mannered person who promised to pay him 5000 credits for the job he had performed last week, but with his headache and the memory of the beating he had recently received, he decided that that was probably not such a good idea. ,,Well, looks like I’m going to have to see if anyone can use an engineer again.” And so he did. His search for a job was pretty fruitless and he started to go back to his apartment to spend the rest of the day sleeping when he saw an ad looking for a mechanic onboard a Transstellar ship. Seeing as he wasn’t too happy with the idea of staying at this planet for much longer, he instantly applied for the job without being smart enough to ask just where the ship was going. Only when they had left, did he take the time to look at the contract. It would become a six month trip to earth, carrying cryogenically frozen foetuses who are going to provide organs for transplants in the hospitals. He was already wondering just how the heck he would be able to survive six months in the cramped ship when things got even worse. The ship was a wreck, nearly falling apart thanks to insufficient maintenance in an attempt of the company to keep things cheap. It looked like he would be working overtime trying to keep this thing together, something which was supposed to require ten engineers instead of one. And one look at the captain told him that the chance at decent payment was negligible. Could life get any worse?

The man looked up from the computer on his desk when somebody entered. ,,Everything prepared?” He asked, after tapping the button that activated several systems to prevent anyone from eavesdropping the conversation, using any means known to man. ,,Yes, sir. We’ve got seventeen troops, all armed with the best we have. We also have about thirty scientists and engineers. They’ll help us use any new equipment we might come across.” ,,Vehicles?” ,,Two Valkyries and four phoenixes, all configured for equipment and troop carrying. We’re planning to send in our troops trough the people tubes, so we won’t be armed with any heavy guns ofcourse to prevent any suspicion. The operation will not commence before we are in place.” ,,Good, we’ll leave in four hours, tell the troops to depart, we’ll follow later with the vehicles. Also, if possible, try to talk your way in, I don’t want any unnecessary bloodshed.” ,,Good, but what should I say, that I just happen to be around with my guns?” ,,I don’t know, use your imagination.” ,,Yes, sir.”

,,What do you want? This entrance is for authorized personnel only.” The sentry said against the group of people who were approaching, each and every one of them carrying a bag. ,,We are authorized personnel, let us pass.” The huge man who was closest to him answered. ,,Could I have your identifications then?” ,,there’s no need to ask for them, we were working undercover in the slums without those, but Jeff said that we could come in here, he would warn you.” ,,I don’t know of any warning and I don’t know a Jeff either, I’ll check it up.” ,,I said, there’s no need to ask for our id’s.” The other man said, suddenly pointing an armed Megapol lawpistol at the sentry’s head. ,,Oh, no you won’t.” He said and punched the sentry on the jaw with his other hand as the sentry tried to hit the alarm button. As the Sentry crumpled to the floor, he tapped on a hidden communication device:,, Sir, we’re in, you can follow at the next signal.” He and the rest of his group then took of their jackets and pants, revealing the body armour underneath. They opened the bags for their helmets and guns, and stormed into the building.

The first corridors were silent and the armoured raiding squad encountered no resistance. They didn’t let their guard down though, as this was still one of the most heavily guarded buildings in the city, even if you took the rear entrance. As they approached another door, their leader raised his hand to tell them to stop. His soldiers immediately took cover behind the many plants in the corridor and made sure they could fire down both ends of the corridor.

The leader crept forward and crouched next to the door to listen. He was right, there were voices in the next room and listening to what they were talking about, they were security guards.

He motioned four of his men to cover the door. Once they had taken their positions, he knocked. The moment one of the guards opened the door, he was met by a barrage of machine gun fire. He fell backwards from the force of the impacting bullets. One down, one left.

The leader of the raiding squad weighed his options. There could be something volatile in the next room, so dropping in a grenade wasn’t an option. And sacrificing his people wasn’t a habit he wanted to start with today.

His eyes scanned the corridor and a plan began to form in his mind upon seeing a statue.

He removed his armour and clicked the pieces back together, creating something best described as a metal doll.

With the empty suit of armour in his hands, he edged closer to the door. Then, he rushed through.

The front armour of the suit was penetrated by several rounds, but the back armour prevented them from reaching the man holding it.

He threw the armour on top of the guard and put a boot on his arm after he fell, preventing the M4000 machinegun from being aimed at him. He drew his lawpistol and send a single round through the lightly armoured throat. With that out of the way, he carfully opened the next door and called over his squad.

They had entered a small armoury. Racks with weapons, ammo and grenades lined the walls. In one corner, the separate pieces of an unknown type of personal armour were laying in a pile.

,,General Dreyfus, what do we do?” One of his soldiers asked. ,,Throw that table in front of the door to provide some cover. My armour is busted, so I’ll borrow that thing over there. As for you, gear up.”

He quickly put on the armour which luckily fit, although it was a bit small. The armour plating was rather light and the entire back of the torso was used by a strange device that made the armour quite heavy, despite the light armour.

He flipped what looked like a powerswitch of sorts and felt the weight on his back disappear. He tried jumping to see how easy it was to move around. He rose up and banged his head against the ceiling.

,,Cool, an antigrav unit with full bodycontrol.” He said and descended back to the floor with a crouching movement.

He diverted his attention to the racks with weapons. He checked out the various options and quickly made his choice. Two brand new plasma pistols and a powersword, both weapons that were not yet available on the market.

As he looked for the accompanying ammo, the sentry they’d left came in and send everybody diving for cover behind the table. Seconds later, bullets impacted against the walls.

,,Thieves!” One of the newly arrived security guards shouted.

,,You know, I feel sorry for my crime! I’ll give it back!” Dreyfus shouted back and primed one of the grenades that had fallen of the racks. He threw it.

The grenade sailed through the air and exploded with a deafening bang. The guards that survived the explosion didn’t had a chance to react before the raiding squad got up from behind their hiding place and pumped them full with metal.

Dreyfus examined the carnage. ,,There goes my hope at avoiding detection. Alright, we won’t have much time. Our only option right now is to storm through those corridors and shoot anything that moves. Any questions?” There were none.

The soldiers stormed through the corridors, carrying as many weapons as they could. Luckily most of the people they ran into were unarmed and subsequently received a hit from a stungrappler. But those that were armed proved to be harder to take down and it didn’t take long before several troops in his squad were wounded. Nothing serious, fortunately.

,,Come on, where are you?” Dreyfus muttered. Finally they passed a map. He looked at it while continuing at full speed through the corridor. ,,Alright, second to the left!” He shouted.

After a few more corners, he stopped. ,,Ok, Beta rushes up those stairs and secures the control room. Get those doors open, then come meet us. Alpha follows me into the hangar. Move!” His hand went back to the hidden communication device. ,,Sir, you can start your approach.” ,,Good. We’ve been flying in circles around the city for so long I’m getting dizzy.” A response came from the other side of the line. Dreyfus flashed a smile, then his face turned serious again. ,,Here we go, charge!”

Hot steam shot out of the cracked pipe. ,,Not again!” Dropping his business with the lights, Thomas ran over to the pipe and shut it down. ,,Who the heck built this wreck?” He muttered as he began to seal the crack. His life consisted of barely more than eating, sleeping and mostly working. He didn’t even had time to take a shower. That would limit his chances with the ladies on the ship, if he actually had time for such things. ,,The moment this thing docks somewhere, I’m outta here. Stupid piece of junk.” He continued. ,,And what are you doing here?!” He shouted and turned around. The female hybrid didn’t answer, she just stood there staring at him. ,,Ew, now that’s gross. Why can’t you bloody bugeyes have normal eyelids? What, they didn’t fit you with a tongue?” Still no answer. ,,Whatever. Just don’t get in my way, bugbrain.” With an annoyed sigh, he focussed on the pipe again. Life sure couldn’t get worse.

Still no answer. The king felt an emotion he thought he couldn’t feel. He was….afraid. Something had happened he could not predict, nor did he know what this could mean. ,,Try again!” He demanded. ,,No hyperwave broadcasts received. No response from the other control units.” ,,Watch your thoughts!” He send back. His control unit had failed to disguise the feelings of hate towards its master.
For centuries, the specially created beings known as control units had kept the empire of the Ethereals together. Basically nothing more than a huge brain with equally huge psionic outgrowths, the control units were in direct control of every single servant of the Ethereals and required constant maintenance to survive. With proper care, the brains were basically immortal.
The last time one of their kind was lost was during a failed attempt at taking control over the human motherplanet. In an unpredictable sequence of events, a small group of humans travelled to the fourth planet in the system using a ship made out of parts that came from the alien ships that had been lost over the human motherplanet. They successfully fought their way through the alien armada and made their way into the depths of the alien control center. The control unit was destroyed and all surviving Ethereals fled back to the stars. The control units were considered the most intelligent beings after the Ethereals themselves, and were perfect for their task. But with their sentience came the thoughts of rebellion. To prevent this, the brain was constantly guarded by an elite Ethereal guard. The Ethereals would protect the brain with their lives, but the moment it began to disobey, it would be cut down mercilessly by a barrage of plasma from those same guards. ,,Keep trying. I’ll come again after two dark periods.”