XCOM 2 Countdown Calendar: Hiro “Warlock” Yoshida (week 12/19)

Since nobody can be expected to just sit and wait for XCOM 2 to come out, we’ll be having ourselves a little countdown for the 19 sundays left between us and salvation. Each week I’ll be showcasing another soldier living aboard the Avenger, who they are, and why exactly it is they fight for XCOM. When the game comes out, I’ll be creating all of these and release them as a content mod for your character pool. But for now, this’ll have to do.

Keep in my that this is all completely fanfiction-based and I am in no way affiliated with Firaxis. I just do this as a fun writing exercise, because I can.

An encounter with:

Hiro “Warlock” Yoshida, from Japan:

 

 

Yoshida is sitting in a lounge chair on the balcony of his Barcelona apartment, sipping on a glass of bitter lemon. The city’s summer nightlife can be heard raging in the distance like a typhoon of sweat and laughter.

“XCOM was a natural reaction to a foreign object entering the collective human body. We are not a very accepting species, and to be fair, the aliens did barge in weapons at the ready. I remember my time with XCOM very fondly. We were idealists, the best of the best, united in what appeared to be the first righteous fight in generations. It feels good, being the hero, not having to doubt yourself when you kill a man for your country. They were evil, a canvas for us to project upon whatever we hated. I thank the universe every day that they aren’t, because we would have lost regardless. An organization so well-funded, equipped with the best weapons on the market, staffed with the smartest engineers and scientists in the world, clandestine and protected by every secret service even after official support was dropped. The location of our base was so secret, even most people working in it did not know where it was, and those who did were explicitly forbidden from telling anyone. Most of us soldiers pieced it together, of course.”

An old, petrol-fueled motorcycle rides down the street, the staccato from its exhaust resounding like an angry machine gun. Yoshida shakes his head in disappointment.

“Why so many shun their gifts remains a mystery to me. When the aliens came for the base, I was in a pod in what the scientists called the ‘Psionic Labs’, having been fed through a tube for eight days straight. Testing wasn’t complete when they found me, but they could feel it: the Gift, I had it. The Irish girl next to me also did, but she attacked them instantly. Their leader, the Ethereal, touched my mind. I was not trained in telepathy yet, but this magnificent being, it aided me. To this day, I could not have a conversation of such clarity with any other Gifted. It was honest with me, told me more than my superiors ever had. The destruction of XCOM was unfortunate, but it had to happen so humanity could ascend, so we could join their community of species and take our special place in it. The only other species capable of psionics are the sectoids, and look how far they have made it. The technology, the knowledge, the protection from other species, species who would mean us real harm, all of those things were given to us, and they expected nothing in return. Yes, they may be a little firm at times, not understanding of our ways, but I have seen their true faces, and they are benevolent creatures imbued with a vision no human mind could ever hope to comprehend. We scorn their gifts, kill their soldiers and condemn those who would side with them, yet they still love us. They have made concessions to our primitive ways so that we might feel safe. When they understood that we are fiercely independent, they allowed us to self-govern under their guidance with the ADVENT Coalition. And they continue to give and give and give. I fight for the ADVENT, because I will do whatever it takes to see humanity flourish in this new world the aliens have opened up to us.

XCOM 2 Countdown Calendar: Genevieve “Loup Garou” Lesauvage (week 11/19)

Since nobody can be expected to just sit and wait for XCOM 2 to come out, we’ll be having ourselves a little countdown for the 19 sundays left between us and salvation. Each week I’ll be showcasing another soldier living aboard the Avenger, who they are, and why exactly it is they fight for XCOM. When the game comes out, I’ll be creating all of these and release them as a content mod for your character pool. But for now, this’ll have to do.

Keep in my that this is all completely fanfiction-based and I am in no way affiliated with Firaxis. I just do this as a fun writing exercise, because I can.

An encounter with:

Genevieve “Loup Garou” Lesauvage, from France:

 

Lesauvage is in the galley, preparing restaurant-grade reindeer steaks from an animal she hunted herself, and with the very limited supplies given to her.

“Certainly quite civilized for someone likened to a savage animal, no? I was a chef in my real life, before they found out the truth about who killed collaborateurs all over the Normandie and made it look like the attacks of a huge wolf. They compared me to Alain Passard, Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal first, Joseph Vacher, Jeffrey Dahmer and John Cooper were added to the list later. The first three I can agree with, but I’m nothing like those mentally deranged psychopaths.”

After seasoning the steaks with rosemary, thyme, salt and, strangely, a little of her own curry mustard, she puts them in a pan, where one of her infused olive oils (this one with garlic, mint and lemongrass) goes from sizzling to roaring.

“I would never kill an innocent person. I don’t do it for fun, for gratification, or just because. I do it because it needs to be done. When the Nazis invaded my beautiful country, people of all creeds and colours came together to slit their throats, and the throats of the traitors that helped them. I was the chef and owner of the most prestigious restaurant in Caen, L’elefant, and everybody knew I hunted the most choice pieces myself. It was the perfect cover: I got to talk to collaborateurs, because of course they were rich and had to flaunt it, and then I got to go out at night, armed, with no one batting an eye. I remember one man saying ‘be careful Genevieve, there’s a monster prowling in the darkness, and it might just pick a young woman like you for its next meal.’ I killed him in his garden two days later. They figured out it wasn’t really a wolf soon, but still nobody suspected me. Why would they? I am only a woman, after all.”

Grinning, she flips the steaks with the swift, confident moves of a professional.

“I grew more bold, going into buildings and dragging my victims outside. The story of the Loup Garou de la Normandie became legend soon. There was even a movie made about it last year. They paint me as a literal werewolf, sneaking into homes and mauling people’s children in their sleep. The rebels of course, they knew. They were not afraid of me, they even changed their emblem to a wolf. And the more the media all over the country reported on how gruesome the killings were, the more wolf graffities appeared. Of course it couldn’t last forever. A man, I don’t know who, called my cell phone one morning, saying only two words: ‘They know.’ I fled just in time.”

She flips the steaks again, already preparing the next batch without even needing to look.

“I am a patriot, not only of France, but of earth. I fight for XCOM, because three Michelin Stars and seventeen collaborateurs are not the only things I want to accomplish in life.”

XCOM 2 Countdown Calendar: Howler “Cheese” May (week 10/19)

Since nobody can be expected to just sit and wait for XCOM 2 to come out, we’ll be having ourselves a little countdown for the 19 sundays left between us and salvation. Each week I’ll be showcasing another soldier living aboard the Avenger, who they are, and why exactly it is they fight for XCOM. When the game comes out, I’ll be creating all of these and release them as a content mod for your character pool. But for now, this’ll have to do.

Keep in my that this is all completely fanfiction-based and I am in no way affiliated with Firaxis. I just do this as a fun writing exercise, because I can.

An encounter with:

Howler “Cheese” May, from Australia:

May can be found refining his aim at the shooting range, where he stops his breath to hit a tiny, far away target with a sniper rifle. Only half a moment after couching the weapon, he pulls the trigger and hits.

“I’m not really as interesting a character as the rest of these guys, to be honest. I like guns and shooting, I’m interested in wars and warfare in an academic sense, and I’m slightly lactose intolerant. That’s really all anyone knows about me, because that’s all there is to know. I was born in Melbourne, a teenager when the aliens came. Pretty average family, middle class, Dad was a public defender, Mum used to be a tax accountant. I have a sister, she owns a bar in Canberra. Sure, my career so far wasn’t all that average, but whose is these days, right? I was one of the last generation applicants for the SARS that actually got into training before all national armed forces were incorporated into the ADVENT. They offered me a job, but I never trusted the aliens, and I think the humans who work for them are misguided. Ended up working as a survival guide in the outback, which was a booming industry at the time in many parts of the world. People wanted to be able to go underground if they wanted to. This one time, me and my mate Bruce took out a group of seven on a tour through Fitzgerald River National Park, and it turned out one of them had a blog knocking ADVENT. Pretty funny stuff, if you ask me. There was this one post I read where he called the aliens ‘elevators with only only one floor tile’ and how people were probably nostalgic for the good old days of hardcore racism, because at least Hitler was honest about not liking the Jews. One night, we had just finished a wildlife barbecue to kick things off, they land this huge gunship, a bunch of ADVENT cunts come out, shoot the bloke in the head, and say ‘looks like a crocodile bite to me, don’t it?’. So me mate Bruce gets up, tells him no, he just shot off the bloke’s head, and eats a load himself. I was fucken’ speechless, and luckily the ADVENT bloke left without killing any more people, probably so we’d share the story among our presumed fellow dissidents. So I started working for the Australian resistance, giving them outdoor training, moving people through the country, and later scouting for facilities to raid and sabotage. That’s how I ended up here. I fight for XCOM, because I think you can’t go to someone’s house and make up new rules just because you have bigger guns.”

XCOM 2 Countdown Calendar: Ralf “Thor” Bengtsson (week 9/19)

Since nobody can be expected to just sit and wait for XCOM 2 to come out, we’ll be having ourselves a little countdown for the 19 sundays left between us and salvation. Each week I’ll be showcasing another soldier living aboard the Avenger, who they are, and why exactly it is they fight for XCOM. When the game comes out, I’ll be creating all of these and release them as a content mod for your character pool. But for now, this’ll have to do.

Keep in my that this is all completely fanfiction-based and I am in no way affiliated with Firaxis. I just do this as a fun writing exercise, because I can.

An encounter with:

Ralf “Thor” Bengtsson, from Norway:

Bengtsson is meditating in front of a small, carved wooden idol, breathing in and out slowly. He appears so completely immersed in his head, it is surprising he perceives his surroundings at all.

“My work here often reminds me I am not a god at all. There were times I almost forgot about that in the past, though many people would disagree with that notion.”

He opens his eyes, but otherwise does not move a muscle.

“Soon after the aliens arrived on earth, a group of scientists found a family of seven unconscious at an archaeological dig site in Kaupang. They were dressed normally, had Norwegian passports with names, even functional mobile phones with registered SIM-cards. Yet, they were special: None of them knew anything about their prior lives, including their own names, they were fluent in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish and Icelandic, had deep knowledge in a variety of topics, and the oldest man found, Bengt Eriksson, appeared to be legally married to both of the older women. It was huge news, and was initially used as a tool to keep people from panicking over the alien attacks, but the masses soon forgot about us when their family and friends started becoming food for chryssalids. The geneticists decided that each generation was too close to the next for them to be parents and children, but they also found that exactly that was the case. My half brother and his wife must have been seven years old when my nephew was born, considering he was a young man when they found us, which was verified by his passport. When Oslo was struck, we were rescued by a mob of norse pagans, which had resurfaced after our arrival. After that, the old faith became increasingly popular among the common folk, so much so that the ADVENT outlawed it. After all, Jesus hadn’t come down from heaven to protect them, but Odin, Frigg, Jörd, Nanna, Baldr, Forseti and Thor had. We embraced it. Yes, we did not know each other, but there was love between us, and we acted like a family. We were never sick or emotionally distressed, and, seeing as I was twenty-one the day my life began, one can see that I have aged very, very well, as has the rest of my family. We were hidden deep in the mountains and worshipped, given offerings, celebrated. We commanded an army of warriors that was spread out all over rural Scandinavia. The region was too large, wild and devoid of people for the ADVENT to take much of an interest, but the common folk believed that was our doing. There was one thing, however, that the ADVENT really wanted gone: us. And they almost got their wish when they found Valhalla, our hiding place and a spot of religious pilgrimage. They infiltrated it using monsters that looked just like people, until the precise moment they became … whatever it is they are. We were saved by a steel ship appearing out of the heavens. It was almost divine providence.”

Bengtsson smirks.

“But why, you ask. Why do I not believe I am a god. Is it because I have been hurt before? Is it because I am too humble? The answer to both is no. The conviction that I am a human and can be killed was the very first thought I had when I opened my eyes in Kaupang. It is etched into my mind for all time. I fight for XCOM, because having a god fight alongside them gives people hope, whatever their beliefs.”

XCOM 2 Countdown Calendar: Vasily “Grandfather” Vinogradov (week 8/19)

Since nobody can be expected to just sit and wait for XCOM 2 to come out, we’ll be having ourselves a little countdown for the 19 sundays left between us and salvation. Each week I’ll be showcasing another soldier living aboard the Avenger, who they are, and why exactly it is they fight for XCOM. When the game comes out, I’ll be creating all of these and release them as a content mod for your character pool. But for now, this’ll have to do.

Keep in my that this is all completely fanfiction-based and I am in no way affiliated with Firaxis. I just do this as a fun writing exercise, because I can.

An encounter with:

Vasily “Grandfather” Vinogradov, from Russia:

Vinogradov is sitting in his tiny office, creating duty rosters, filing paperwork and listening to an audio-handbook on modern weapons technology at the same time.

“They never prepared me for any of this in the Spetsnaz, nor the KGB. When XCOM was first activated, I was already an old man. I had served my motherland since Union days. I was appointed Staff Colonel even before the Commander had been selected, and I was responsible for recruiting and managing soldiers, coordinating with medical and keeping the Commander up to date with the status of all his people, how long until they were ready for combat, all of those things. Only one day it turned out we were short on manpower, and we could not gather new recruits fast enough. So I went into the field and fought the aliens directly, and it turned out I still had it. I was as much a capable flag officer as I had been a staffer, and it was the thing that saved me. When the aliens hit HQ, I was in Chongqing, rescuing a VIP who had stolen a transponder from his triad bosses. We were under heavy fire when Central suddenly stopped responding. Big Sky had no idea what was happening, so instead of flying back to HQ we went to hide in the Himalayas. Despite us being armed soldiers suddenly landing in their garden, the monks took us in and even helped hide the skyranger from satellites. Markus “Guardian” Vogel, Eleonora “Bullet Rain” Romano, Norbu “Crater” Matsumoto, Tarcisio “Omega” Noronha, Janet “Glitch” Murray, Shaojie “Chilong” Zhang, Harry “Big Sky” Walters and I, we were the last of XCOM, and our mission was simple: find whoever was left and bring them together again.

He turns around a picture on his desk so that it’s visible. It shows him and Dr. Shen Senior, posing with a dead berserker.

“We did find Shen and some of his people in Canada, where they had been hiding with a man named Chevrier. Not a particularly friendly individual, but very capable at keeping people hidden. Shen said he could build something with the transponder, so we had him work on it. It was difficult, we had to move around constantly, and the Skyranger was left behind in in the Urals because it needed too much fuel. Finally, after a year, Shen was finished and we launched the last XCOM mission for many years to come: Operation Hornless Dragon. Our target was an alien ship we’d been tracking, and we struck when it was off the coast of New Orleans. The objective was to capture it and then get away so it could be retrofitted, but I never saw that happen. Instead, I was thrown out by the explosion of a cyberdisc’s grenade and fell from a hundred metres. I still remember feeling sad about how I’d never know if the mission was a success or not. As we can see around us, it was. Don’t ask how I survived, because I don’t know, but it is quite clear the aliens wanted me to.”

He scratches the back of his head, where Dr. Tygan removed the same alien device from him as he did from the commander.

“I fight for XCOM, because, whatever the reason the aliens kept me in stasis for twenty years, I will make them regret not killing me when they had the chance.”

XCOM 2 Countdown Calendar: Kate “Comedian” Buffoni (week 7/19)

Since nobody can be expected to just sit and wait for XCOM 2 to come out, we’ll be having ourselves a little countdown for the 19 sundays left between us and salvation. Each week I’ll be showcasing another soldier living aboard the Avenger, who they are, and why exactly it is they fight for XCOM. When the game comes out, I’ll be creating all of these and release them as a content mod for your character pool. But for now, this’ll have to do.

Keep in my that this is all completely fanfiction-based and I am in no way affiliated with Firaxis. I just do this as a fun writing exercise, because I can.

An encounter with:

Kate “Comedian” Buffoni, from the United States:

 

Buffoni is writing with a pen on her tablet computer. It’s ownership can be assessed by the large sticker on its backside, which simply says ‘mine’.

“I was the hottest shit in Montreal the year before they invaded, and that July, I went full supernova. Just a star made of faeces, exploding all over ADVENT, and that was before they even existed! I was thirteen, and I was a stand-up comic, which ended up being my downfall. I mean, cmon, I was doing time in New York’s most prestigious comedy clubs, the lowest rank of teenager, telling jokes to smelly, middle-aged drunk men while my parents were sitting in the back cheering at every punchline like I was the inquisition burning a witch at the stake. I was living the dream! But what’s there to talk about as a thirteen year old, really? Nobody cares that boys aren’t icky anymore, and the only place where I could make jokes about blood coming out of my pussy was this catholic church I sometimes went to.”

She places the tablet on the table and reveals what she has been working on. It’s an anthropomorphic penis with legs and testicles fashioned to resemble a voluptuous rear with another penis sticking out of it.

“You thought I was writing jokes? How can I make any surprising observations when someone is probably being eaten by a snake with tits right now? Sure, when the aliens first arrived there was some weird stuff to make jokes about, but with so much absurd shit happening every day now, nobody is surprised by anything anymore! ‘Oh, you wrote a joke about a drunk muton fucking a giant pig? Well, I saw a sectoid look through an actual god-damn hole in a guy’s chest yesterday!’. What am I supposed to say to that? ‘Yeah, but the muton grunted?’ That’s not a punchline, that’s a psychotic mind trying to cope with the fact that the world is no longer predictable. So what do you do if comedy is the only thing you’re good at? You vote Republican, because unlimited guns suddenly doesn’t sound like such a bad idea anymore, and then you make fun of the aliens with the most low-brow and politically charged humour possible. Rally some crowds, piss people off, make people be pissed off, piss on people, and have people piss on you until ADVENT knocks on your door and asks you to kindly apologize to their shotgun for making fun of their abusive husbands from another galaxy. And then you have some corpocrat tell you he could use your help writing propaganda for Cthulhu and the Martian Brothers, so you say yes, only to bolt at the first occasion, run around the woods for a few days and get shot by a bunch of assholes playing revolutionary army. And then you learn how to shoot from them, and you join the game. You and your buddies start shooting entire brothels worth of red light at people who are just doing their jobs, and then you almost die from having a kidney stone. Couldn’t be something funny, like cancer, nooooo. And then some eccentric billionaire with a fucking spaceship offers to save your life if you go with him to kill aliens all around the world. It’s not a simple plan, but if you follow it step by step, you’ll probably die, because why would you ever do any of these things? I fight for XCOM because the amount of death and destruction we see every day is hilarious, and soldiers need to laugh sometimes.”

XCOM 2 Countdown Calendar: Matthias “Vampire” von Bluth (Week 6/19)

Since nobody can be expected to just sit and wait for XCOM 2 to come out, we’ll be having ourselves a little countdown for the 19 sundays left between us and salvation. Each week I’ll be showcasing another soldier living aboard the Avenger, who they are, and why exactly it is they fight for XCOM. When the game comes out, I’ll be creating all of these and release them as a content mod for your character pool. But for now, this’ll have to do.

Keep in my that this is all completely fanfiction-based and I am in no way affiliated with Firaxis. I just do this as a fun writing exercise, because I can.

An encounter with:

Matthias “Vampire” von Bluth, from Germany:

 

Von Bluth can be found in his quiet corner, working on a woodcut with great craftsmanship.

“Of all the civilizations in Europe, the Germans were most fond of the art of woodcutting. Of course, that was in the good old days, when people were still impressed with nobility. They thought they got rid of that, but dynasties of power have never stopped existing, their names simply aren’t designated to be special. Look at me for example: I am of noble blood, but I am neither wealthy nor powerful.”

With a sardonic smile, he puts away his carving equipment and takes a sip from a metal cup of what one can only hope is hot tomato juice.

“I see my words are confusing, but these things define who I am. My nickname comes not from my skin and eyes alone. I have embraced it fully, some would say in ways that are even a little uncanny, but what few understand is that people call me Vampire because I am a remnant of age so far past, the very concept of aliens was entirely alien to it. I was born in a castle, I am quite astute at waltzing, and I like referring to myself as Prussian, though I’ll take German as much as any other one of my Landsmänner. I am a creature of a world so primal and pure to this high-tech one that it should drive fear into the bones of the invaders. I am a symbol of the past, and it’s greatness. Today’s humans do not stand alone when they stand with me. Napoleon, Alexander, Sun Tzu, Che Guevara, Cortez, Genghis Khan, they all unite against a common enemy, rising from the graves of history. That is what we are, no? The world’s best and brightest, reaching across status and ethnicity to defeat the ultimate evil. I am merely one animal among them, albeit a very deadly one. I fight for XCOM, because history deserves to have its own gun in this war.”