Commander’s log, March 12, 2015
It’s been nearly two weeks since I took command of the XCOM project. Things have progressed better than any dared hope. When the alien incursions first began, we thought it was the end of humanity: ships we could scarcely track, weapons we could not combat, and creatures beyond our wildest nightmares. Not even the UN could organise a resistance. In the face of such terror, unity was shattered, as every nation sought to protect its own people, and the world be damned.
Damned we would be, were it not for a small handful of nations looking beyond their borders, seeking to defend their citizens by defending the Earth itself. With the funding and blessing of this Council of Nations, the Extraterrestrial Combat Unit – XCOM – was formed.
Japan agreed to host our headquarters, ceding control of a mountainous region between Gifu, Nagano, and Tomaya provinces directly to XCOM command – which I suppose means me, now. I never thought Governor would be added to my resume, not that my “state” houses much of interest. XCOM HQ lays beneath the surface, the only place that offers any protection from alien assault. My fiefdom consists of a maze of twisty passages, all alike, and the small cadre of scientists, engineers, technicians, pilots and soldiers under my command.
I never met my predecessor. An interim director of the project, whomever this person is was tasked with overseeing the initial construction and maintenance of our headquarters. I presume this individual was a construction contractor or architect; the facility was certainly designed by a professional, balancing both civilian and military needs to allow comfort of both. I never thought it possible, but somehow this underground complex is the most comfortable and efficient base I have ever had the pleasure to command.
And the command is a pleasure. Despite the dual civilian/military nature of my command, tensions are low and all teams operate together with aplomb. While only sixteen nations have contributed to the funding of the project, over thirty have joined in the form of material support and personnel. With such a diverse group of individuals housed in such a small space, one would expect rampant disciplinary actions in response to national rivalries.
It seems, however, that the aliens did bring one good thing along with their terror: purpose. United by this sense of purpose, to defend the Earth from alien invaders, the past has been set aside. In just two short weeks, I have seen Irishmen risk their lives for Englishmen, Israelis sacrificing for Egyptians, and I swear I even saw a Kiwi shaking hands with a Aussie, though CO Bradford insists it was simply a hallucination brought on by lack of sleep.
I suppose I should mention the soldiers. On the recommendation of several tactical reports across the globe, XCOM employs small strike teams rather than full platoons. This allows us greater flexibility in responding to threats, as well as keeping a low profile from the aliens; they don’t seem to consider a handful of humans to be much threat, and continue to operate under this assumption even in light of our recent successes.
This also means I’m far more familiar with each soldier than I am used to in a typical command. This is a double-edged sword; while knowing their Commander so well boosts the soldiers’ morale in the field – for they trust me to take their own well-being into consideration as I call mission parameters – it also means their lives mean a great deal to me, and such sentiment could have great cost in a war with stakes as high as this. I simply cannot afford to let my personal affection for any of these brave souls endanger the very fate of the world. It’s an uneasy burden to bear.
So far, I haven’t had to deal with this deadly balance; we have yet to lose a single soldier on an operation (thought Spc. Vecre did spend nearly a week recovering from plasma burns after our first foray). But it’s only a matter of time until I do. I hope, when the time comes, I’ll have the courage to make the call Earth needs.
Several soldiers have already made great contributions to the XCOM project; I’m including their dossiers and my personal notes, for the sake of posterity.
Corporal Beargal hails from the Netherlands; I never associated courage and valour with the Dutch before, but after seeing the Corporal in the field, I have begun to revise that view. The Corporal currently commands our field team, and is constantly putting himself in harm’s way to protect his team; it is to his great credit that every soldier has come home alive so far.
I hope the Corporal’s performance continues; he is an inspiration to the entire project.
Specialist Vecre caught my attention immediately; in her first mission under my command, she suffered severe plasma burns over most of her body, yet fought through the pain to bring down fully half of the alien squad herself. She spent a week in the infirmary, but as soon as the doctors released her, she demanded an immediate return to active duty.
“Those aliens aren’t going to kill themselves, sir.” Of course, I approved. XCOM needs dedication like hers.
I’m not sure what to make of Specialist McNutcase. Trained first and foremost as a medic, she was assigned to the strike team on its second mission, replacing a convalescing Spc. Vecre. In the field, she has displayed an uncanny eye and steady hand, boasting an accuracy rate rivalling our best snipers, and yet she refuses a transfer in classification, citing her role on the field as support, not offense.
If I could have a team of McNutcases, this war would be over in a month.
PFC Irridium boasts a popularity far beyond his mission exploits. He has a great rapport with the troops, and his mere presence seems to boost morale, despite other soldiers far outpacing his performance in the field. This has done nothing to dull his reputation among the troops, however, and many a tense night has been eased listening to his tales of past valour and forgotten folly.
If I did not so sorely need guns in the field, I would likely reassign him to full-time morale officer.
The project has many other soldiers, as well as over a dozen scientists and engineers who all live and serve under my command. As the time goes on, I am sure I will come to know many more of them; I hope that time shall allow for such idle fraternisations, but I fear the aliens shall give us no rest.
They won’t take Earth without a fight. We’ll be sure to give them hell.