XCOM 2 WotC Countdown Calendar: Aiden “Taxman” Green (Week 7/12)

Seeing as the Countdown Calendar for XCOM 2 was such a massive success, I decided to use some discarded character concepts and a couple new ones for what is essentially season 2 of the project. For those of you who don’t know: Every Tuesday until the day WotC is released, I will reveal a new soldier on the Avenger, so you can get a small dose of XCOM to bridge the gap.

Quick reminder: I am in no way affiliated with Firaxis, and all this content is fanfiction/headcanon/whatever term you prefer.

An encounter with:

Aiden “Taxman” Green, from Canada:

Surrounded by screens, folder, and stacks of paper, Green is sitting in his little office, going through paperwork at enormous speed. The air smells of cigarette smoke. Were it not for the distinctly technological look of the room, the Taxman’s nicely pressed waistcoat and his minibar would make a strong case for this being the set of some retro-noir detective thriller.

“Before you ask, no, I am not doing taxes right now. This is an inventory count of a haven in Mongolia, and I’m comparing it to an index of expenses. I do this for a lot of havens. I am a trained accountant, after all, and organisation is a crucial part of any successful endeavour. The idea of a rag-tag resistance fighting for the common cause may be romantic, but, at the end of the day, rigour and work ethic are the only things that get the job done. That, and bullets in just the right places.”

He motions to the display case that contains his state-of-the-art sniper rifle. The kill marks on it are etched into it with method and precision, as though drawn with a ruler.

“When you leave the army as highly decorated as I did, few people expect you to join the Canada Revenue Agency of all places. But it was one of the institutions that ADVENT has never dismantled, even to this day. It just works by different codes and regulations now. That’s the funny thing about ADVENT – they may pretend to be different in most ways, but they do collect taxes as meticulously as any government. I was one of their best operatives for a long time, exactly because I am meticulous with what I do. I brought down wealthy business magnates, criminal enterprises, superstars who wanted to stash their money elsewhere. No scheme was good enough for me not to find a gap in its armour. I’m not proud to admit it, but I destroyed some people who were funnelling money to resistance cells. ‘Same rules for everyone’, is what I thought at the time, and I continued believing it until the Maranzano Case.”

He puts down his pen and takes a deep drag from his cigarette. There is still an expression of disbelief on his face, as though he were going through the process of losing faith in the system all over again.

“Reginald Maranzano was a high-ranking politician. He was the mayor of Ottawa when the aliens worked on establishing ADVENT, and he signed the city up before they could even finish their proposal. He became a high-ranking figure in the administration later, eventually became governor of Canada, but that was after my time. He embezzled an unimaginable amount of money, it’s difficult to believe. Misappropriated funds, involvement in money laundering, illegal offshore accounts, everything. I worked in secret, and eventually presented a watertight case that would have imprisoned him and about a dozen other people for the rest of their lives. Next thing I know, my house goes up in flames, all my files are destroyed, and I escape three ‘accidents’ in the span of a week. I knew I had to get out of there, and that’s how I ended up here. Now I’m the director of finance for the XCOM project, and I’m damn proud. Money is up, embezzlement is down, and havens are operating at maximum efficiency. Nobody steals from the pile any more, now that they know there’s someone who actually checks. I fight for XCOM, because when the Taxman cometh, he cometh for everyone, especially a force as corrupt as ADVENT.”

XCOM 2 WotC Countdown Calendar: Ekta “Ice Queen” Dutta (Week 6/12)

Seeing as the Countdown Calendar for XCOM 2 was such a massive success, I decided to use some discarded character concepts and a couple new ones for what is essentially season 2 of the project. For those of you who don’t know: Every Tuesday until the day WotC is released, I will reveal a new soldier on the Avenger, so you can get a small dose of XCOM to bridge the gap.

Quick reminder: I am in no way affiliated with Firaxis, and all this content is fanfiction/headcanon/whatever term you prefer.

An encounter with:

Ekta “Ice Queen” Dutta, from Pakistan:

 

Dutta is sitting by a large window, observing the blizzard raging across the taiga outside. She has been like this for hours, and does not seem the least bit bored.

“People always wonder if the fact that I grew up in a blistering hellhole contributed to my obsession with ice and snow, but I really don’t think so. Even as a little girl, I spent time in the fridge of my father’s restaurant. Much to his anger, I might add. I’ve always been warm-blooded. I can cope with the cold very well, while heat is a problem. You might say I have no problems being cool.”

She giggles and shakes her head at the pun.

“I’ll leave the comedy to Kate, I think. Ironically, my father’s warnings about how dangerous it was to live in a refrigerator are what turned me onto the destructive power that the cold has. I once saw a dog freeze to death when visiting my grandmother in Islamabad during winter. It was terrible, but also interesting, you know? I probably sound like a sociopath, but that’s how I felt at the time. Weapons usually work by adding energy to a system, or otherwise using high energy to kill, maim, and injure. Think explosives and bullets, flame throwers, rockets, that type of stuff. By focusing on that we often disregard just how much havoc can be wrought by doing the exact opposite. Do you know how many systems break when you remove energy from them? The body, for one, and it doesn’t result in the potential hazard of an enemy running around in flames, panicked. Weapons may become unable to supply the activation energy necessary to propel their projectiles. In the hands of a good engineer, cold can be a devastating tool.”

Dutta holds up her hands, showing off the small frost burns on them. She’s been experimenting with this technology for a long time.

“I’m not saying stop using bullets and grenades, God knows I love ’em. I’m just saying, maybe let me freeze those bogies in place, and you’ll have an easier time shooting them. A two-pronged assault, really, is what I’m proposing, and with the aliens, every prong you add to that is probably a good idea. I fight for XCOM, because I want to see just how cold it can get before the aliens decide to abort their little vacation here.”

XCOM 2 WotC Countdown Calendar: Levi “Invictus” Ben-David (Week 5/12)

Seeing as the Countdown Calendar for XCOM 2 was such a massive success, I decided to use some discarded character concepts and a couple new ones for what is essentially season 2 of the project. For those of you who don’t know: Every Tuesday until the day WotC is released, I will reveal a new soldier on the Avenger, so you can get a small dose of XCOM to bridge the gap.

Quick reminder: I am in no way affiliated with Firaxis, and all this content is fanfiction/headcanon/whatever term you prefer.

An encounter with:

Levi “Invictus” Ben-David, from Israel:

Slouched on a couch in a way that puts the least possible strain on his body, Ben-David is poring over one of his many books on military strategy. His concentration is unfaltering, but even as he speed-reads and flips page after page, he is always aware of his surroundings.

“’In the end, the people who got the holy land were not even from this world.’ That’s what my father used to say after the Mossad was disbanded. Israel was one of the ‘military keystones’ that the invaders used to build ADVENT, or at least the civilian enforcement parts of it. We used to be one of the most advanced militaries in the world, with special forces that drove terror into the bones of our foes. Everyone had to serve, and service was strict. If that’s who ADVENT wanted as its traffic police, I dare not imagine what they use as actual military.”

He takes a deep swig from a bottle containing a regenerative multi-vitamin protein shake. Unlike Lombardi, he does not require rejuvenation supplements, but instead uses them preventively. Ironic, considering his most likely cause of death is not old age.

“Luckily, or unluckily, I don’t have to imagine what they use as actual military. I’ve been fighting them for years, and they’re every bit as intimidating as you would think, maybe even a bit worse. Their technology, their infrastructure, their tactics, their equipment, it’s all beyond what is reasonable. And what they do to their own people…”

With a look of disgust on his face, he exhales and shakes his head.

“They clearly do not value human life, and human life is exactly what I’m here to protect. Look, I don’t have a problem with all the fascinating characters aboard this ship. They’re all skilled warriors, know how to handle a weapon, and also have the resolve to do serious damage to ADVENT. The sheer variety of their skill sets gives the most convenient advantages in the strangest situations But if you want to defeat a military enemy, you will need soldiers, not warriors. Yes, angry sociopaths with axes have their uses, but what you want is disciplined people who understand the bigger picture and can handle difficult tactical situations. The Gallic tribes lost to the Romans because they were consistently outmanoeuvred by a foe with superior training and equipment. If we don’t want to end up like them we’ll have to become more like the aliens. We have to continue adapting their technology for our own use, learn as much about and of them as possible, otherwise we will be defeated. Of course we need to make sure we don’t lose our own humanity in the process…”

He looks to the ground, recalling a memory so horrendous it would be painful to vocalise it.

“I fight for XCOM, because I believe that traditional military skills are required in any successful rebellion.”