"Apparently StarSlayer uncovered a major EXALT presence in Brazil, but got rumbled and needs extraction. We're going in to get our person out and get the intel. Don't think it'll be easy; Star reported significant genetic modification was evident in EXALT's operatives."
"This isn't exactly what I signed on for, Sanderson."
"I hear you Gortef, but they've decided the best answer is to fight us and deliver everyone into the hands of the aliens. We've got to stop them if we're going to stop the aliens as well. The Council has other ways to wage war, but we're soldiers, we use the tools and skills we have. They killed those French airborne without a thought, they'll try to kill you too. Don't hesitate."
"Death to the xenos, death to those who consort with the xenos."
"I heard that. Just because you have a laser rifle doesn't mean you're in the Imperial Guard. We have a much better survival rate, for starters."
Operation Demon's Vengeance, Brazilian coast, 9:00pm, May 18th
Deployed: Micheal "Gipsy D" Sanderson (MEC, mission commander), Mongoose "Strobe" (heavy), Irina "Casino" Ignatyeva (heavy), Droid803 "Scotch" (support), Gortef (support), TwentyPercentCooler (sniper)
On-site: StarSlayer "Viper" (sniper, covert operative)
"Star, Strike Lead, we are moving north from the LZ to meet you. How copy?"
"Strike, am I glad to see you! Area is very hot, Exalt operatives with gene mods, projectile weapons, explosives. Am trying to reach you!"
"We have movement ahead. Star, is that you?"
"Negative, negative, I'm pinned down by an Exalt comm relay." Hacking EXALT Comm Relays forces them to reload their weapons before they can fire, in effect causing them to waste a turn doing so, though they can still move somewhat
"Roger. Target is spatter."
"Just saved my bacon, Sandy, moving out!"
"We've got Exalt ops moving up under cover of smoke...jesus, look at their faces..." EXALT troops come in the same classes as your own, and have abilities like your troops; their Supports have smoke grenades like yours do, and medikits like yours.
"Gene mods. They weren't subtle or careful about them. Shame if something happened to his cover, like a railgun." Collateral Damage ability native to all MECs used to destroy the cover. Probably needless, but the smoke made me paranoid.
"Gortef, drop him."
"Copy. Target down. Only one?"
"No way, I saw at least a half-dozen."
"Welcome in from the cold Star. Stay safe, you're not in armor."
"Don't suppose you brought a spare suit?"
"No such luck."
"Hostiles moving up! No hit, but he ain't happy."
"Eyes on two of them." Unlike the alien voices you get for the alien turn, the EXALT turn gives you scrambled radio transmissions.
"Strike, Sky, hostiles entering the AO in number." One of them didn't even make it that far, Irina is explosively vaporizing his face in the last shot.
"Get the **** out of my personal space!" An EXALT Support dropped next to Droid. And directly on top of Star.
"Only winged him, going for stun-he just stabbed himself in the neck with a syringe. He's gone."
"Crazy bastards. Guess we knew that though. Dropped one." Exalt have grenades like yours, too.
"Solid hit...my god, he took a full-auto heavy laser burst and he's still alive!"
"I told you they were aug'd up the wazoo, Mongoose-wait, did he just use a medikit? Like one of our medikits? That's proprietary tech! How the hell did they get that!"
"Got more moving up, firing! No hit!" I put TwentyPercentCooler on the roof of a large building for overwatch. It didn't work as well as it could have, lack of squadsight. Still, he got his back later.
"Damn, likewise. Adjusting aim-firing-target down!" The Major ability for MECs is Overdrive; firing a regular shot as the first action of the turn acts just like a short move; you can still fire another shot or move or reload.
"You just blew through a cargo container to kill him!"
"I have a railgun. Velocitas eradico
, your cover is irrelevant."
"Dammit, missed the one with the LMG. Hit a truck."
"Maybe you'll get-damn, nope."
"Got more moving, missed him."
"Says the one with the pistol."
"Hey, I hit the target at a greater range than you missed."
"Strike, Sky, more dropping in."
"There's just no end to them."
"Dammit, another one survive a laser hit! These guns just aren't killing them reliably!"
"Can it people, we're HLPX-COM and these bastards aren't nearly as impressive as an alien battleship. We can do this."
"Taking fire, not accurate."
"I have a fix on his position, taking him down."
"Nice shooting Mongoose."
"Got more moving on the other side of the warehouse between us and the LZ!"
"What was that, pistolero?"
"Not bad Gortef, perhaps you should have been a Sniper too."
"Hmm, so he thinks the edge of the building will protect him. Didn't learn from the death of his buddy. Firing."
"Backing you up, Mike-target, firing! Damn, he's still up!"
"Got another group!" EXALT rookies and a Heavy.
"I have a shot from the roof, firing."
"What the hell, you used your pistol?"
"Didn't have time to set up the bipod!"
"Confirm they've got medikits, that one just used one."
"It's not going to help. Target is high-velocity spatter."
"Got one back on the other side trying to sneak around; missed him!" Heavies can get Bullet Swarm, which works essentially the same way as Overdrive I described above; but for them it's a Sergeant ability.
"Target is running-target is down."
"****, frag incoming!"
"Star! Talk to me."
"Cut up. Think I've got shrapnel in my thigh. Can walk, it's not bad."
"Right. Minor armor damage here."
"And another new one!"
"...did we do that with our lasers, Irina?"
"I think we did, Mongoose."
"Surprise mother****er!" TwentyPercentCooler drops from the roof like Spiderman and pistol-kills this EXALT guy. DYNAMIC ENTRY
"His aim is rather poor."
"Frankly with all the lasers we've blasted at these guys, the fact their hands aren't shaking so bad they can't hold a gun is amazing."
"Target is down."
"Strike, Sky. No movement and no IR in the area. Coming in to pick you up."
"You ready to go home, Star?"
First combat mission against EXALT. They fight hard; as hard or harder than we do. Pure fanatics, kill themselves to avoid capture, whole nine yards. I suppose in some ways that's not so different from us. Still, the bodies we brought back...
Doc Shen was brought in as the conscience of the project mainly because nobody trusted Doctor Vahlen to recognize when the bounds were being overstepped. She's not crazy, mind, but she's pretty gung-ho FOR SCIENCE at times, and having watched the lady interrogate a Thin Man once, I know she can appear to be quite lacking in basic morality. I've killed those things and they've tried to kill me and I still think it was a bit disturbing. Vahlen has no such excuse.
She was autopsying one of the EXALT operatives we brought back and she threw up.
Doctor Vahlen had to turn it over to somebody else from Biology. Her commentary in the base lounge wasn't just offended; it was disgusted. She called what was done to him gross butchery and perverse and a whole horde of German expletives that I'm honestly not sure I want translated. Not just augmentation and grafts, too. Combat drugs. One of the reasons they were so hard to down was they were high as kites on painkiller and stimulant mixes that would kill normal people. At the same time their adrenaline levels were so high the biology guys can't tell if they were just injecting it straight or if their adrenal glands were hyped to hell or even both. These guys took laser shots to the stomach, with no body armor, and kept fighting with half their guts blown away. Madness. And I worried I was throwing away my soul to fight for humanity. Well, that's in perspective now.
We did find out one other thing though. The EXALT ops...they were all civvies in their real lives. Worked regular jobs, banks and offices and stuff, the call came and they put on their bandannas and armbands and picked a fight with a squad of HLPX-COM troopers. Last thing they ever did. We think we wiped out the whole cell.