In which I bear witness to a hostile takeover of the third kind.
(You’ve stumbled upon my X-Com play diary, wherein I chronicle my latest playthrough of X-Com Apocalypse with a band of soldiers named for my chums in J-Server. The diary starts here.)
Phew. We made it through the first week relatively intact. There were casualties (famed in story and song, they will be missed) and assorted injuries that I’m proud to say were mostly the result of enemy fire, but on the whole the fighting force of X-Com stands stronger than it did at the start of the week. There have been some notable promotions, with J-Snukk and Kelron being promoted to Squad Leader, while “Try Again” Asmodeus reaching the rank of Sergeant means he’s now the senior X-C0m Agent in the field. Will poor aim, a massive autocannon and now an undeservedly inflated sense of self worth make him a better soldier? We’ll find out in the coming week.
There have been several alerts and one other UFO scout party that my hoverbikes entirely failed to impede. When it comes to aerial interception I’m always too late with the craft deployment to bag more than one or two UFO’s. At current count, I think the woefully under-equipped Megapol has racked up more UFO kills than me, simply by having so many police cars on patrol. Frankly, it’s a little embarrassing. When it comes to ground missions X-Com generally kicks arse and takes names, with no new fatalities to add to the list of the fallen. The screenshot above showcases our latest “investigation”, conducted in the slums owned by criminal gang Osiron, and I’m continuing to regret my decision to relocate my workshop. I still haven’t been able to build the bio-transport module that will let me bring back shot up aliens which means I’m leaving weeks worth of potential research behind at every scene. Oh, and one human corpse. But that was an accident, I swear.
I’ve continued to tinker with the layout of J-HQ. The vehicle repair bay has been successfully relocated and I’m going to build some additional living quarters on its original site. I will definitely have to purchase additional base sites in the coming weeks, but for now I’m concentrating on making J-HQ the hub for all my ground mission deployments. That means plenty of living quarters, training and medical facilities and stores, plus additional security stations. I want to move research off site to another base as soon as funds allow, hopefully to a more discrete location than the existing one which has a very public habit of launching half a dozen attack craft at the merest hint of a UFO. I’m already looking at alternative locations and working out the cost of setup and staffing, but the numbers are a little too large right now. I’d also have to leave a garrison at any research base in case of ground attack and I just can’t spare the Agents right now. I’ll be doing a recruitment drive later in the second week in the hopes of…
What. The. Fuck.
That was unexpected for two reasons. One, I’m still in the first week of the game and I’d expected to have another week or two before the alien takeover began in earnest. During the course of the game the aliens will try and infiltrate as many groups as possible with the view to restricting X-Com’s movements on home turf, but it usually doesn’t happen this fast. And two, well, I was just at an Osiron building and I completely wasted every alien interloper in the joint. You can’t take over someone when you’re dead, right?
Apparently you can. That graph above charts Osiron’s soaring infiltration rate, which I’d entirely missed because I’d forgotten that you could access this little screen in the game. Once an organisation tips over the fifty percent infiltration mark it’s usually too late, and in Osiron’s case they seem to have cleared that hurdle in a matter of hours. Being one of the criminal gangs, Osiron’s loss is not mission critical to X-Com at this time. It is pretty worrying, however, because up until now the majority of our ground missions have taken place in slum territory controlled by Osiron. The next time there’s an alien sighting and I have to send Agents in to that territory, they’ll have to deal with the newly turned gangers in addition to the aliens.
Things are not all doom and gloom however. The Senate seems to think that despite repeated UFO incursions, civilian casualties, damage to the city and the takeover of one of the major criminal gangs by the aliens that I’m actually doing a good job. It’s nice to see that the people at the top know what they’re doing. They’ve paid out my weekly pittance and added an extra six hundredths of a pittance on top of it for next week. The steady paychecks are nice, but the only way to make serious money is to start hawking new X-Com and alien tech on the black market.
Speaking of tech, the Marsec corporation has dumped some new toys onto the market. I’m particular interested in the armour units, as Marsec armour makes an Agent capable of flight at the expense of defensive capability. A squad equipped with these can basically go anywhere on a tactical map, and it’ll make building entry a lot easier as I can now use windows and skylights instead of doorways that the aliens might have covered. I’ve made a note to purchase some body sets later this week. Oh, yeah, and one more thing.
Onward, to Part 6.