XCOM 2 WotC Countdown Calendar: Citlalmina “Azteca” de Goya (Week 9/12 Part 2)

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:

Citlalmina “Azteca” de Goya, from Mexico:

De Goya is sitting at the common shrine, which contains idols from all religions represented on the Avenger. She’s using a laser shaper to etch the likeness of one of her gods from a block of wood.

“The God of the Abrahamic religions has failed us. He said he would protect his children, but he either failed or did not stay true to his word. Either way, he is not an ally we can count on. He became a non-interventionist, really, after his son was killed. Maybe our actions put him off humanity, who can really tell? His rise in popularity is the product of our preachers, not his own pursuit of worshippers. Humans were the ones who replaced the old gods, the true gods, the gods that would have protected us. The Roman pantheon, the Germanic idols, the Canaanite faith, the spirits worshipped by the many tribes native to my continent. The Buddhists didn’t help, either. Their gods are nothing but men, and what, if not man, makes for a flimsy deity?”

Her look is very serious as she gives the little golden Buddha a glare. She gives the stainless steel winged snake standing next to it a kiss of the forehead.

“We must return to our old guardians. The Conquistadores may have defeated them, but they were not slain. Wherever you are in the world, find the gods that were forbidden by the colonisers, and worship them. Give them the strength to make a return to our world, invoke them to save it from the alien threat. For what can defeat gods from another world, but gods from this world? And if this isn’t clear enough, I speak to everyone. I do not just mean African animists and Aboriginal diviners when I implore them to return to their old ways. This goes out to the Norse and the Celts as well. I care not about the colour of your skin, I care only about the faith that is in your heart.”

Satisfied with her work, she gives the carving its finishing touches and begins murmuring incantations in Quechua. When she is done, she douses it in alcohol and sets it ablaze in a brass bowl.

“What we do here is not fight. What we do here is sacrifice. This is a war we cannot hope to win on our own. We pay with our sweat, blood, and glory, so that we may show the gods of old that we are still here, we need their help, and we will do anything to get it. Only when Quetzalcoatl rises into the heavens once more, this time to destroy UFOs, will we be saved. That will be the day when Ares will battle the hordes of ADVENT, when the Kami swallow alien structures whole, and Papa Legba takes the Ethereals into the afterlife. I may never get to see it, but that is a sacrifice I am willing to make. I fight for XCOM, because we need a beacon the old Gods can find to return to our aid.”

XCOM 2 WotC Countdown Calendar: Cyril “Blood Sport” Kosta (Week 9/12 Part 1)

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:

Cyril “Blood Sport” Kosta, from Greece:

 

In the sickbay, Kosta is patching up the superficial injuries he sustained from wrestling with some ungodly creature in the laboratory. Any challenge the scientists propose, he will accept. It has gotten to the point where everything has to be run by Dr. Tygan to make sure Kosta does not kill himself.

“There’s nothing quite like Deathmatch, but these experiments come close. The thrill of hunting somebody down and the ripping their insides out with a sickle is better than any orgasm I’ve ever had. Before you freak out, that’s one of the major misconceptions about Deathmatch. Yes, we do give people substandard weapons, let them run free, and chase them, but we only do it to ADVENT collaborators. Don’t think for a second those mutons don’t do the same thing with their prisoners.”

A maniacal grin on his face, Kosta shows off the eight muton heads tattooed on his left shoulder.

“That’s only the ones I killed in melee. It’s a great feeling, pulling your axe out of a skull that big. I wish I could do it more often, but alas I am not allowed. I hear the commander wants to keep me around for a while, though I suspect it’s Tygan making sure his guys are the ones who end up being my undoing. I really help out their research by wrestling with those beasts, and I’m glad to do it. There’s no entertainment on this ship. I’m not allowed to drink, because I end up punching people. I’m not allowed to participate in competitive fighting either, because they’re afraid my instincts will take over, and I think that’s a justified fear. I don’t want to kick off anybody’s head in a sparring match. XCOM needs soldiers more than I need gratification, I get it.”

He lets out a grunt while disinfecting a wound to avoid staph.

“I used to do more than one game back before they shut down the Corfu Arena for good. I was an actual gladiator, fighting against all kinds of abominations. I remember after the shutdown, when they locked me up, I ended up killing seven prison guards because I hadn’t split any skulls in a month. That’s something I actually feel bad about. But it helped me break out, and nowadays I get to go on some tense adventures. I said there’s nothing quite like Deathmatch, and I stand by that, because going on missions is better. The stakes are higher, the game is more tactical, the opponents are stronger, and I actually get to accomplish something. Not to mention there’s fewer rules. Going up against ADVENT is a beautiful thing, I tell you. I fight for XCOM, because I just love killing, aliens most of all.”

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.”

 

XCOM 2 WotC Countdown Calendar: Seamus “Raven” McLoughlin (Week 4/12)

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:

Seamus “Raven” McLoughlin, from Ireland:

 

Immersed in his work at the small section of Engineering he has requisitioned for himself, McLoughlin takes the occasional sip of Guinness as he tinkers away with dangerous explosives and makeshift contraptions.

“I’d wager to say that we Irishmen know a thing or two about guerilla warfare. It’s in our blood, if you will.”

He has a sheepish grin on his face.

“What a surprise that was, when the aliens dropped in. My father always said that the IRA was almost completely dead at the time of the invasion, splintered into a thousand factions, generally despised by the public. Ironic, how things change, eh? Yes, my father was a Sinn Féin politician, even held office for a while in our small town. He wanted to unite with Northern Ireland and gain as much independence from Britain as possible. But he didn’t hate the English. He would never have picked up a rifle against them. Now with ADVENT that was a whole different situation…”

Smiling, he screws tight a contraption he’s been working on and arms it. He drops a cube of orange gel on a hair-thin wire, and a crossbow bolt darts forward from the apparatus and expands inside the cube, which has the same consistency as human flesh.

“Strength is completely adaptable, depending on where the enemy crosses. We don’t even need a tripwire, a laser will do. Imagine loading this with explosives and sending it into an ADVENT-Officer’s thigh. Fucking beautiful. So yeah, I was raised into it, essentially. We moved around a lot, going from hideout to hideout. I lived with some family and then another so I could get an education, and we also had some teachers giving classes for hideout kids. My mother didn’t approve. For the sake of my own future, I was supposed to go to a state institution for lost children. An orphanage, if you will. I could get an education there, and then come back to the IRA if I wanted to. My father and I both knew that they would only brainwash me though, and that they’d use me as leverage if they found out who I was. God bless my mum, she always tried to shelter me from the evils of this world, but I always knew. I’m still grateful she took matters into her own hands, though. She put me up in this home, and I stayed there for a whole year, soaking in ADVENT propaganda, trying to fit in so that I wouldn’t be singled out. I learned a lot that year. How to be invisible, how to be independent, how to keep secrets. When my dad rescued me, a whole bunch of the boys left with me. We eventually became one of the most effective guerilla squads in the whole IRA, and Bradford took notice. It was only a matter of time until we were shattered though, ran into an ambush. I’d prefer not to talk about it, if you don’t mind. Half my brothers were killed that day.”

He shivers.

“We disbanded to improve the whole of the IRA instead of trying to repair our squad. It would never have been even a shadow of its former self. That’s how I ended up here, eventually. I fight for XCOM, because I’ve practically never done anything else.”

XCOM 2 WotC Countdown Calendar: Jarek “Grey Tiger” Johnson (Week 3/12)

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:

Jarek “Grey Tiger” Johnson, from Jamaica.

 

Johnson returns the child handed to him to its mother, who accepts it as though it had just been kissed by the pope. He laughs, shakes some more hands of the crowd that has gathered around him in this haven. After a few minutes, he excuses himself and bows out, heading back to the Skyranger.

“Prison in Jamaica is not an easy place to be, especially when you’re on the lighter side of your mixed-race heritage. When Me was in there, Me never thought Me’d become a folk hero, but Me suppose you can’t choose your destiny. It’s all a bit embellished, but the core of the Grey Tiger’s Legend, as they call it, is what it is. Me know, because Me experienced it. Me was doing time for killing some gangsters trying to extort money from me dojo. When ADVENT took over, Me was being transferred to a new facility when the prison bus was blown up by guerillas. Me wont lie, it was terrifying, but Me survived without a scratch. Far as the legend goes, the Ferryman was standing over me dead body, and declared that Me should live to fulfil me purpose in this world. Me survived between shore and jungle for two weeks before Me found me blade. Despite what people may believe, Me did not wrestle the spirit of a grey tiger, and said spirit did not fuse with me, but faith in supernatural agents is a powerful weapon against the aliens. When Me returned to the dojo, Me see that it was turned into an ADVENT recruitment office. Me got so angry, Me cannot describe it. The legend says Me walked in there and cut down a small army, but really Me waited ’til nightfall and was surprised by a few of them working late. Me had no choice but to kill them to get at me secret stash of weapons, money, and clothing. Me always wondered how they didn’t find it doing renovations, and the storytellers say it was Jah extending his hand to shield it, because he knew Me would need it. They always make me life much more interesting than it really is.”

He laughs, baring the shining white teeth he is famous for.

“It was a big upset when they found out the next day, but Me was already long gone, riding on the back of the tiger, they say. Me didn’t know what to do. Me was still a wanted criminal, escaped from prison through no action of me own, and Me could not return to me old life. So Me wandered the wilderness, living off the land. When Me find some people in need, Me help them. Me learn the terrain pretty well, and eventually Me become a guide for lost people trying to find their way to resistance havens. Me think this is where the ‘Grey Tiger’-thing got started, though Me don’t know where exactly it come from. Me hair is grey, me eyes is grey, but why a tiger? Ain’t no tigers on all of Jamaica.

He shakes his head, amused at this conundrum he will probably never know the answer to.

“Legends be weird, man, and Me was becoming one. When Me finally joined the resistance, they treated me like a demigod. It didn’t help that all of me missions were successful, because Me seems to be such a lucky man. People attribute the First Caribbean Insurgency to Me presence, but Me don’t think so. It was all the great people Me worked with, and all the great people they worked with, that made that happen. Me was just the thing they could look up to. Me fight for XCOM because Me became a living legend, and living legends always fight the oppressor.”