Mission 14 was conducted against a UFO that Nuke downed in Mexico, by the Area 51 squad. Mxlm and Scourge of Ages both distinguished themselves assaulting the UFO. Mxlm, shortly after the breach, shot and killed two Floaters as they attempted a counterassault with two consecutive reaction shots. Scourge of Ages killed one alien during the initial breach, and then recalling the balls-up by Squad 2, got out his Stun Rod. At great personal risk he stunned two aliens. All HLPX-COM personnel survived; in fact, thanks to the freak negation of a Heavy Plasma hit by Scourge of Ages' armor (making him the luckiest trooper ever), none was even injured.
His foresight has paid great dividends. We have previously captured many aliens; badly injured Chryssalids (which were immediately destroyed as too risky to contain), a Reaper too shot up to move but still alive, a Sectoid Medic that stunned itself. After the mission, during preliminary interrogation, it became clear one of the “Floaters” was simply a soldier. The other, however, is an alien pilot and navigator.
We don't know where the aliens come from, aside from a vague “space”, and we've only detected them after they enter Earth's atmosphere. (Note to self; hijack Russian RORSATs, point them outwards.) But we're quite suddenly on our way to finding out.
We've missed a couple interceptions; a large and a medium UFO were detected by Dekker's Pad, but outran pursuit. Nevertheless, many of the signatory nations were quite pleased with our performance this month.
A large UFO has appeared over the Eastern Seaboard and was shot down inland over Canada; it took the combined efforts of both Nuke and Scotty, and most of their missiles, to bring it down. Lessons from the first battle with a ship of this class were remembered, however, and neither Interceptor was damaged. Skyranger 1 has been launched to assault the wreck and recover it.
On approach, flares are passed and incendiaries loaded for night combat. This is the same sort of ship Squad 1 lost the original tank and CommanderDJ assaulting, but despite many missile hits it appears to be essentially intact. Axem chimes in and reminds everyone that the other one looked intact too; all damage there was internal.
The ramp drops as Darius brings the Skyranger in. Spoon's tank and -Joshua- disembark, but draw no fire and locate no hostiles. Then a Floater darts off the roof of the building next to the Skyranger, drops three stories, and runs into a building through the front door. Why he felt the need to do all that when he could have just used the stairs on the roof is a mystery, but Spoon blasts away a section of wall to reveal the Floater before clearing the line of fire and KyadCK blasts the floater. (And the door. Must consider the possibility long-term HLPX-COM agents develop violent reactions to doors.)
One problem of the switch to rocket launchers was that illumination firing is now sorely restricted, with only a single round from each launcher. SpardaSon puts his rocket out, eager to load something useful. (My kingdom for a grenade launcher loaded with parachute flares or something; the limits of line-of-sight illumination are surprisingly troublesome.) Hopes of an intact ship like that smaller one they recovered a few days ago are dashed as he reports smoke leaking from small rents in the ship's hull.
Due to the presence of Floaters, and the fact the previous ship of this sort carried terror units of the crew race, everyone is told to expect Demented Fuzzy Shivans. Committing anyone to sweeping the area outside the ship so far seems unwise and possibly dangerous, so everyone with a rifle is pulled pack to assault the ship. The missile launchers set up to defend the Skyranger for now. (I'm tempted to cut back on the number of missile troops; having six rifles is proving to be a major limiting factor.)
A Floater reveals his presence by taking repeated shots at Spoon's tank and missing, in the process also blasting Spoon a way to get at him through this building.
The Spoonzer Elite will not be denied. The flames you see there are TrashMan actually being helpful to the tank by lighting the area up. It's shocking, I know. I half expected him to fire into the tank despite the wall in the way.
Scourge of Ages continues to prove his worth. The Demented Fuzzy Shivan never had a chance. (The Floater was already dead, though.)
Another Demented Fuzzy Shivan appears. They wag their butts in a really weird, uncomfortable-looking way when they're walking pointed directly away from the camera, by the way. Mxlm, please stop it from doing that.
jg18 and Scourge of Ages make it to the top floor of the UFO safely. KyadCK and mxlm cover the opposite side of the UFO, as everyone keeps hearing door noises, while jr2 and -Joshua- prepared to ascend as well. Jg18 makes our next contact.
Hoping to be as fondly recalled as Scourge of Ages, he stuns the alien.
An alien, firing from the top floor, misses two rounds at mxlm, but strikes home with one shot from its plasma rifle. It finds a weak point in mxlm's armor and kills him, ending the career of what was honestly one of the most promising recruits HLPX-COM has had. (mxlm's stats on recruitment were top-notch, he was actually better than some of the squaddies.)
jg18 rushes over at the sound of gunfire, finding the alien still looking the wrong way, too late to stop it from killing mxlm. Stun Rod still in one hand, he nonetheless shoots it repeatedly with his laser rifle. Meanwhile, Scourge of Ages confronts another at four squares away. He explains its kind is not welcome here by shooting it twice, but it shoots him back. Another auto burst finishes the job. Jr2 renders first aid.
KyadCK finds an alien hiding in a barn and kills it. The last one, though, is being elusive, taking several turns to hunt down before it's found in a hedged-in field. A Demented Fuzzy Shivan, KyadCK spots it and pulls back. The E calls down the thunder.
Mission Complete! There was a decent haul of alien tech, another Floater Navigator, and a Floater Medic.