Author Topic: HLPX-COM: Enemy Within  (Read 25186 times)

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Offline IronBeer

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(damnit NGTM, I appreciate being folded in as a fairly important "base-side" character, but now I've got to do a double update to complement the recent developments!)

Professional log: Dr. Vincent "IronBeer" Zokus
April 5, 2015 - Entry #5
_____________________________________________________________

Skipping Entry #4, it was a mess of drug-induced garbage.

Surgery went well, though Dr. Vahlen still has me in medbay for the rest of the day. Missed Michael's first two live deployments, but I've been going over the guncam footage and suit data as well as I can on my personal tablet. The latter part isn't going too well, I'll need to run proper analytics through my workstation. It sounds like Michael's got some potential long-term concerns about his augmentations as well, so getting back to the MEC bay should help a lot. I've heard the medical guys saying the Commander wants another MEC augmentation- Ralwood's apparently stepped forward. Can't say he'd have been my first choice were it an involuntary program, but this time we've got people who've gone ahead of him and can help him prepare.

Speaking of which, I don't normally like discussing myself at length in my "pro" log, but I think my recent conversion counts as appropriate material. My new arm is a proprietary lightweight "medical" variation on the MEC cyberprosthetics, originally designed to work without Meld as a replacement limb for maimed HLPX-COM operatives. Obviously it works even better with a Meld-catalyzed interface; though my finger dexterity did take a hit, it should improve over time, in contrast to most conventional cyberprosthetics. "Skeletal" construction of composites, titanium alloys, servos, and surprisingly rugged circuitry, though it's less rugged than MEC limbs (intentionally- "medical" imbs aren't meant to withstand gunfire). Approximately 40% increase in "muscular" strength - though that is dependent on how heavily I can use the servos - massive increase in structural durability, a new ability to withstand contact/convective temperatures of around 500K, and a secondary CyberLife implant to convert blood sugar for electrical power.

Sensation-wise, the story is a little more complex. The hand itself is about as perceptive as before, (though a 360-degree wrist rotation will take some adaptation) elsewhere on the arm is less "sharp", like I'm wearing a long-sleeved shirt. This is, of course, colored by the fact that I basically have an exposed mech-radius/ulna, so some sensations are just plain new. I've only been awake with the arm for about a day, so of course it's still shocking to see it or touch it with my "natural" hand. But the strange thing is how quickly I've begun to think of the prosthetic as a part of me. Will need some more time to evaluate long-term impressions.

I've also begun thinking of some potential physical therapy avenues. Though my "baseline" post-surgery dexterity is very good, better than anything I've seen in the pre HLPX-COM world, it is noticeably less than before. I'm not just positing potential avenues for myself, though it would be oddly fitting to get back to my heavy metal shredding with a bionic limb. Improved dexterity and interface with the limbs is a big deciding factor for MEC trooper quality-of-life, and will have important battlefield applications in better aim and general improved usage of MEC hands. Before I start spitballing, it's worth noting that MEC troopers should double their cyberprosthetics PT, since they live and fight with two different sets of limbs. Off the top of my head, some activities that should speed adaptation: musical instruments (particularly piano and stringed instruments- may be troublesome to acquire), firearm customization/maintenance (can be scaled up for MECs),  typing exercises, action-oriented video games (as much as Dr. Shen may protest), ball-oriented sports, martial arts.... and there have got to be more, but that should be a good starting place.
"I have approximate knowledge of many things."

Ridiculous, the Director's Cut

Starlancer Head Animations - Converted

 
I somehow missed the difficulty you were working on.
Also, I would like to report in as a, scientist Joshua Vandenberg reporting in.

 

Offline NGTM-1R

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Sorry Ironbeer.

I somehow missed the difficulty you were working on.
Also, I would like to report in as a, scientist Joshua Vandenberg reporting in.

Easy, but the difficulty has been considerably raised by Enemy Within. The game plays a lot more like Normal now, and interceptions are much more difficult. Phantom did the impossible or close to it with the interception that's in the queue by taking down a Large Scout alone.
"Load sabot. Target Zaku, direct front!"

A Feddie Story

 

Offline StarSlayer

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Hold on a tick, you can scramble multiple birds on a single sortie?  I've always been sending them up in singletons. 
“Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world”

 

Offline Scotty

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Kinda.  You have to scramble them one at a time, and unless you want to lose a couple on the larger craft you have to disengage before they take critical damage.  Against something like a battleship?  Prepare to go through three or four Interceptors if you're still using early tech.

 

Offline NGTM-1R

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Essentially as Scotty says. This was the first time in EW that I've not had to pull the Interceptor and send another.
"Load sabot. Target Zaku, direct front!"

A Feddie Story

 

Offline IronBeer

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Sorry Ironbeer.
Not actually an issue- I was just being facetious. I'll do what I can to keep up.
"I have approximate knowledge of many things."

Ridiculous, the Director's Cut

Starlancer Head Animations - Converted

 
Sorry Ironbeer.

I somehow missed the difficulty you were working on.
Also, I would like to report in as a, scientist Joshua Vandenberg reporting in.

Easy, but the difficulty has been considerably raised by Enemy Within. The game plays a lot more like Normal now, and interceptions are much more difficult. Phantom did the impossible or close to it with the interception that's in the queue by taking down a Large Scout alone.


Ah.
Upping the difficulty might just deal with that odd problem of XCOM having waay to many enlistees :P.
You can actually change the difficulty level in-game.

 

Offline StarSlayer

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Huh, in EU I always got by just using single birds, even against the big ships, I didn't even know you could send up multiple.  Are intercepts substantially more difficult in EW or did my EU playthrough just get the cream of the fighter corps?
“Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world”

 

Offline NGTM-1R

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Huh, in EU I always got by just using single birds, even against the big ships, I didn't even know you could send up multiple.  Are intercepts substantially more difficult in EW or did my EU playthrough just get the cream of the fighter corps?

The latter, the standard Avalanche missile has lost effectiveness, meaning it's actually worth considering laser cannon now at the least.
"Load sabot. Target Zaku, direct front!"

A Feddie Story

 

Offline AdmiralRalwood

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Huh, in EU I always got by just using single birds, even against the big ships, I didn't even know you could send up multiple.  Are intercepts substantially more difficult in EW or did my EU playthrough just get the cream of the fighter corps?

The latter, the standard Avalanche missile has lost effectiveness, meaning it's actually worth considering laser cannon now at the least.
I think you meant "the former."
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Codethulhu GitHub wgah'nagl fhtagn.

schrödinbug (noun) - a bug that manifests itself in running software after a programmer notices that the code should never have worked in the first place.

When you gaze long into BMPMAN, BMPMAN also gazes into you.

"I am one of the best FREDders on Earth" -General Battuta

<Aesaar> literary criticism is vladimir putin

<MageKing17> "There's probably a reason the code is the way it is" is a very dangerous line of thought. :P
<MageKing17> Because the "reason" often turns out to be "nobody noticed it was wrong".
(the very next day)
<MageKing17> this ****ing code did it to me again
<MageKing17> "That doesn't really make sense to me, but I'll assume it was being done for a reason."
<MageKing17> **** ME
<MageKing17> THE REASON IS PEOPLE ARE STUPID
<MageKing17> ESPECIALLY ME

<MageKing17> God damn, I do not understand how this is breaking.
<MageKing17> Everything points to "this should work fine", and yet it's clearly not working.
<MjnMixael> 2 hours later... "God damn, how did this ever work at all?!"
(...)
<MageKing17> so
<MageKing17> more than two hours
<MageKing17> but once again we have reached the inevitable conclusion
<MageKing17> How did this code ever work in the first place!?

<@The_E> Welcome to OpenGL, where standards compliance is optional, and error reporting inconsistent

<MageKing17> It was all working perfectly until I actually tried it on an actual mission.

<IronWorks> I am useful for FSO stuff again. This is a red-letter day!
* z64555 erases "Thursday" and rewrites it in red ink

<MageKing17> TIL the entire homing code is held up by shoestrings and duct tape, basically.

 

Offline deathfun

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Ah.
Upping the difficulty might just deal with that odd problem of XCOM having waay to many enlistees :P.
You can actually change the difficulty level in-game.

I'll fix that in about a days time
NGTM, what's the current list looking like by the way? For enlistees

"No"

 

Offline TrashMan

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I would like to request (if possible) a white armor tint. I like white.
Nobody dies as a virgin - the life ****s us all!

You're a wrongularity from which no right can escape!

 

Offline NGTM-1R

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Quote
Raymond, how much can we trust this thing?

Quote
My first name! It must be serious.

Quote
I'm not asking for your professional analysis, I have that on my desk. You're the conscience of this project, Shen, and everyone knows it. Give me your personal feelings on this.

Quote
We've run through it in simulations dozens of times, Phantom and I. It could be a consummate liar or genuine. There is no way to tell. But as a practical matter...our Interceptors are exceptional aircraft, but they are not unstoppable. It cannot fly forever, and the loadout of 12 Avalanches means the damage possible is limited. If it works, we gain much. If it does not work, if Phantom goes berserk even, then the results will be regrettable but no worse than anything a UFO might accomplish on its own. This is not the godlike AI the breathless proselytizers of the singularity predicted, Commander. Phantom has limits.

Quote
All right. Hook it up. God help us all if we made the wrong choice.

Quote
How often do you say that, Commander?

Quote
You have no idea, Raymond. No idea.



Quote
UFO over South Africa. Scramble the prototype. Squad One stand-to.

Quote
Phantom is in the air. Closing the target.

Quote
Central, Phantom. Request permission to engage.

Quote
Granted, Phantom. Bring it down.

Quote
Central, five Avalanches expended. Serious damage sustained. Inform Engineering the aircraft will require repairs. There are unidentified military aircraft approaching from the direction of the border with Zimbabwe. Request reinforcement, permission to remain on station while operations are conducted.


Quote
Commander?

Quote
Phantom, this is the Commander. Request granted. Bradford, scramble the Skyranger and Scotty. Coordinate with the SANDF. I'm going to remind Mister Mugabe that we know where he lives.


Quote
Operation Dark Sword, South African border with Zimbabwe, April 19th, 5:30pm
Deployed: Deathfun (support, mission commander), Micheal Sanderson (MEC), Admiral Ralwood (MEC), Irina Ignatyeva (heavy), Starslayer


"Both MECs, three of the original squad...we're pretty heavy this time."

"All right, you all know how this is done. We still need a Thin Man alive and the Commander has expressed interest in any spares we can pick up, mainly for their weapons."


"Squids! Overwatch!"


"Christ, Irina!"


"No hits, no hits, ****, what do we do?"

"Ral, got a shot?"


"Negative!"

"I do."


"Jesus Mike! That thing's in shreds, what the hell were you thinking?"

"We know it works and I don't feel like playing tug of war with Irina's head. Irina, you okay?"

"Da, just...give me a moment Micheal."

"There's still one more out there. MECs, you're on overwatch. I don't want to see any more hugs on this mission."

"Contact, Floaters!"


"Lotta heat here!" Aliens used suppression on Deathfun.


"Star! DOWN!"


"Frak! Scared the hell out of me!"

"The man says no hugs. There are no hugs."

"Scratch floater."


"No hitters. Great."




"DF!"


"I'm all right."

"Got a flanker, stupid jetpack aliens! Firing-X-Ray down!"



"Taking down another. Confirmed kill."


"Scratch the last Floater."


"Move into the ship."

"Got a materializer! Winged it."

"Stunning."


"No further contacts, DF. Think we're clear."

"Sweep the site and confirm."


The squids again. Using the MECs for overwatch has helped reduce the threat, but Irina still got grabbed. No excuses, train harder on snapshots. Doc Shen is looking into upgrades to the targeting integration for the Warden, ways to reduce reaction time. This is what Science and Engineering does: we find a threat, they study it, they come up with ways to make it null and void, we implement them.

Had a late night with IronBeer and Shen in the cantina a couple nights ago. The Floaters...they got to us all, I guess. Here we have a sentient creature that has been so completely modified it's not even capable of meeting the conventional definition of life since it's incapable of reproduction. Even Sectoids can technically reproduce, they don't because they're all clones, but the equipment is still there. A Floater is a head and a jetpack integrated directly into what's left of the torso and some arms.

Shen worries that there will be a line in the sand, and we will not stop; that we will charge over it in pursuit of victory at any cost. As for me, I wonder...I gave my limbs to this job and Rodo reminded us all that we have offered our lives as well, and that offer might be accepted. If the cost is becoming like a Floater...if the cost is damnation, that the world may sleep safely...

Do I care? Should I care? Does my damnation even matter, set against the safety of humanity? If the description I've used jokingly about being a cybernetic killing machine comes to truly apply, does that make me a martyr or a monster?

The List

Storyline
Micheal Sanderson
Irina Ignatyeva

Active Troopers
The E
AdmiralRalwood
TrashMan
deathfun
Enioch
StarSlayer
CommanderDJ
EuclidanGeometry
Rodo (spanish)
MP-Ryan
Polpolion

Support Staff
IronBeer (MEC Project Lead)
-Joshua- (science staff; probably going to make him Biology Section Lead)

Waiting For A Turn
Patriot
Scotty
SpardaSon21
Scourge of Ages
The Force
Swashmebuckle
BLARGHER
Gortef
TwentyPercentCooler
Hobbie

Deceased
Rodo
"Load sabot. Target Zaku, direct front!"

A Feddie Story

 

Offline TwentyPercentCooler

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This one is even more awesome than the last, NGTM-1R! Thanks for working to entertain us. :D

 

Offline crizza

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*sigh* I'm still not in the list :(
Guess I have to buy this^^
Check out my blog:

http://geo.schulzbert.de/

 

Offline StarSlayer

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 :banghead: I need squad sight
“Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world”

 

Offline NGTM-1R

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:banghead: I need squad sight

Yeah. For the Chryssalids.

...spoilers!
"Load sabot. Target Zaku, direct front!"

A Feddie Story

 

Offline StarSlayer

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Don't I know it.  Actually I'd be curious to know what Crysallids do when faced with a MEC.
“Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world”

 

Offline NGTM-1R

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Don't I know it.  Actually I'd be curious to know what Crysallids do when faced with a MEC.

Die horribly, mostly.
"Load sabot. Target Zaku, direct front!"

A Feddie Story