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Hope you’re ready for the Second Installment of Johnny Smither’s XCOM Diaries! Last time, we saw Smither ready to hand in his resignation, something his best-selling autobiography neglected to mention, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. He did save the world, after all!
Day 7: Dammit
Well, it looks like I’ll be writing a lot more of these entries as a member of XCOM. It seems that this organization doesn’t accept resignations, and some strange international law lets them do something called “Keelhauling.” I have no idea what that means, but the alternative was a lot more appealing! My Primoris Morior unit has been promoted to a Special Task Group! I don’t get higher pay, better equipment or a nicer bunk but we proud few will be the first to deal with any new kind of mission that comes up! I really wanted the nicer bunk, but hey! This is just as good! The new units are coming in the morning, so I’m spending the rest of the day preparing a rousing speech and a new training regimen! Wish me luck!
Day 8: Disaster
Where do they recruit from?!? So I walked into the barracks today and they only gave me three new rookies! And despite their combat records saying they’re from Ireland, India and the Ivory Coast, they all have the same flag on their uniforms! They tried to explain that there are differences, but the last guys messed with me too much, so I didn’t listen to them. I don’t care what their flags look like as long as they can hit the targets at the range.
My boot camp…
And these guys all respond the same way. And in the same voice. Weird considering the nations they come from. Maybe they all got the same Rosetta Stone. Still, the military should use something else, because they keep calling me “Commander” when I give them orders in training. I’m flattered by their opinion of me, but I’m just a Squaddie. One of the guys! Just one that outranks them. And gives them orders. And has body armor (turns out the new guys don’t get it! Hah!) Still ticked off that I’m the ONLY one wearing purple armor while everyone else gets Black and Red, even these new guys, but its growing on me. May suggest the entire team wears them, if only to spread the team spirit. Waiting for the next mission!
Day 8: Supplemental
Jeez, its like I ask for something and it happens! The Council that supports XCOM just called in and they have a mission! We’re gearing up for a mission in Australia! And they got new cameras in the helmets to record our combats! Looking forward to being featured on a few news reels back home! Oh, and note to self, the team was not pleased about their armor colors. Buy them a round afterwards.
Day 9: Helmet Cam (Inside the Skyranger)
Smither: Are they serious with this? Bomb Disposal? Why don’t they tell us this stuff before we head out? Any of you guys know how to dispose of bombs?
Kaur: On it, Commander.
Smither: Is that a yes or a no?
Kaur: Locked and Loaded!
Smither: I’ll take that as a yes. Remember, guys, we dispose of the bomb as quick as we can, and then get the hell out.
Samori: Rolling Out!
Smither: Finally, some enthusiasm! Alright, we’re ten minutes from the target. Let’s get ready to rock!
All: On it, Commander!
*Fizzle, audible fire sound*
Smither: Why does it smell like burning… AHHHH!!!
*Camera moves erratically, a heavy hit is heard and the video turns to static*
Day 10: Combat Recap
The cameras failed. Apparently XCOM thought buying electronics from a company named “SORNY” was a good idea. There go my dreams of being a television star. Hair grows back, right?
Today could have gone better. We started out alright, formation was good and we took down the first ones really quick. Seriously, they looked like G-Men from the 50’s and had big SMGs, though at the time I thought they were humans, which brought up my old fears of a Swiss invasion. Still, how tough could they be? Very, as it turns out, but more on that later. Apparently the aliens shop for their bombs from SORNY too, because McGuinness just walked up to one of the batteries and although he tripped into it, the node powered down. And I was worried about defusing bombs!
Apparently the bomb had a horrible timing mechanism. It was set to go off in three “turns,” which is weird alien language for “the humans all get to move and fire first,” and the counter would go down. Happy they didn’t bring the real ones.
One of many fallen that day…
Moving on, we turned a whole bunch of them off, but we couldn’t find the damn bomb… we searched the entire area, fighting underweight Agent Coulsons the whole way before we noticed the big building in the middle of the area. We had one “turn” left before it blew up and I walked up and… SORNY made the bomb too. The sound of it powering down brought delight to my ears!
Just one problem. Agent Kay and his friends were waiting for us. Before we knew it there were four of them, ready to fire. Now there are three things that need to be known for future reference. First, they look human from far away, but they’re really ugly and definitely aliens up close. Second, it’s probably not the best command decision to separate your units so far from each other. Third, those SMGs are actually carbine Plasma Rifles, and they burn more than a camera fire.
Fortunately, the squad got it together. After suffering from some plasma burns, they managed to get into the building and provide cover while Samori treated my wounds. Never thought a med kit would work so fast, but I felt great!
Oh, and Smoke Grenades? NEVER leaving home without one again! Kaur got spit on, which was gross, so I tossed one near the door, which gave us time to sneak around the side and plug big 5.56 milimeter holes into Agents Johnson and Johnson (probably related) until they were eating pavement! We went back to our Skyranger and started back home. McGuinness has a few plasma burns, Kaur was coughing up blood, and Samori is limping, but its probably nothing serious. You know what is serious? My armor is MELTED in most spots. You know how much that sucks? If this comes out of my paycheck, I swear I’m making these guys do, like, a THOUSAND push-ups or something for letting this happen.
Journal Entry made on iPad
“At this rate, I’ll be ordering these guys around in a month!”
Day 11: PROMOTION!!!
Yeah, the title says it all, doesn’t it Journal? So Kaur’s coughing up blood was… a LITTLE more serious than I thought. Turns out he was poisoned, and I still haven’t been allowed to see him yet. McGuinness and Samori are doing better too, or at least thats what the doctor tells me, though they won’t be back for ten days. And for their troubles, they all received Purple Hearts, promotions to Squaddie, blah blah blah. The BIG news is… I MADE CORPORAL!!!! Tomorrow I receive special training, and I’m very excited. Also, it turns out my armor is “UNSALVAGABLE”, but I’m not paying for it and they’re giving the whole squad a new color scheme! Seems the higher ups liked my teamwork reinforcement strategy! Can’t wait to see my unit’s new colors!
On a side note, another mission has come up! Even though my team is down, I’ve been picked for this opportunity. Seems Primoris Morior means “best for important missions”! Journal, it seems like retirement was never in the cards, and I’m really too great an asset to lose. I’ll write more later! My luck is really taking a turn for the better!
Editor’s Note: A special thank you to the XCOM community on Reddit for its interest in these articles. Hope you’re enjoying these!
Is Smither’s luck really getting better? Let’s leave that up to a vote!
1.) UNBELIEVABLY Good Luck: Smither proudly dawns Red/White armor and becomes a hero on an Abduction Mission!
2.) No Change: Smither deals with drab Orange/Yellow armor and receives an Arc Thrower for a Landed UFO Mission!
3.) UNBELIEVABLY Bad Luck: Smither cries over bright Pink/Purple armor and gets sent on his first Terror Mission!
Voting ends on Saturday, March 2nd at 11:59:59 EST!