XCOM: The RPG
So who remembers X-Com? I never actually played it, but my friend Bruce did, and I sat there and chatted with him while he did. The game seemed to be pretty popular, so I figured it was a good name to use. Other than the basic idea, little of this will have basis in the world or game of X-Com. It also gives me a chance to throw my hat into the 2012 ring.
In the Spring of 2010 scientists detected a strange concentration of exotic radiation near the edge of the solar system. The world watched as a massive metallic object drifted closer to earth, taking weeks to arrive near Jupiter. The massive object drifted directly into the path of Ganymede, on a collision course, and the earths population collectively gasped as the giant satellite plowed into it, converting the mass to a mere lump on its equator.
The public watched, and waited, but nothing came, and eventually everyone forgot. Everyone except the scientists, that is. And the crackpots, they never forget anything.
But this time the crackpots were right.
The Brainy Boom
In early 2012 NASA, in joint cooperation with space agencies around the globe, completed and launched an exploratory, unmanned rocket probe specifically outfitted to land on and explore Ganymede called Trailblazer. It set out in early May, with a mid-December arrival date that ominously motivated conspiracy theorists the world over.
Simultaneously in May, NASA and China sent a joint mission to Luna to set up a signal relay beacon and base, to not only monitor the incoming Trailblazer broadcasts, but also provide a low gravity training ground for astronauts.
The speculation about the energy and massive metallic object (colloquially called 'The Little Bang' and 'The Lump' respectively) led to a boom in the economy, which correspondingly created a spike in scientific funding and jobs. Time magazine dubbed it, The Brainy Boom.
With the impending end of the universe coming in the eyes of nutjobs everywhere, gun sales and membership in survivalist and apocalyptic cells multiplied. Religious cults as well as mainstream religions scrambled to rewrite their prophecies and dogma to conform to the empirical data. The end was near. Everyone knew it.
But they were wrong.
When Trailblazer achieved orbit of Ganymede the world sat glued to their HDTVs. Trailblazer launched its 35 sensor drones, and humanity wore out their thumbs switching between 36 channels of live video feed from a world months away at the fastest speeds man has ever achieved.
Probe VII was the first to achieve visual on the Lump, and shockingly it was exactly as pundits speculated: a machine-formed, angular, metallic dome. A light flashed what looked to be a countdown in some alien dialect, and after a few gasp-inducing seconds, a hatch opened. Probe VII went dead.
Within a few minutes all probes had ceased relaying data. Astronauts on the Sino-American Lunar base Solidarity scrambled to determine the cause, in full view on live tv. Fifteen minutes later, that feed also went dead.
The nations of the world learned from 9-11. As soon as the first probe lost contact the United States scrambled fighters, and both the US and China prepared their nuclear arsenals. When ships entered the atmosphere both countries let loose a barrage capable of sublimating a continent, but it wasnt nearly enough to destroy all of the ships. Their superdense hulls repelled explosions exceedingly well, and though many ships were destroyed, many also continued.
Fighters and other attack craft were no match for alien designs. Pilots fought, and died, valiantly with little effect. Eventually the world was forced to let loose another atomic barrage, dangerously close to the earths surface.
The first wave was repulsed.
It was nearly a week before the earth gained any semblance of normalcy. The massive doses of radiation in the air blocked incoming and outgoing sensor transmission, and something in the cores of the alien spacecrafts shorted out electricity for many miles surrounding. Quarantines were quickly established around the ship carcasses that fell from the sky in Africa, Turkey and central Europe.
Once sensor contact was reestablished the worst fears of all humanity were realized. Not only did the aliens take over Solidarity, and begin to make the base their own, but more ships were on the way. The first attack cost the US 60% of its nuclear arsenal, and China 75%. Dmitry Medvedev committed Russia to providing the majority of this second nuclear strike, and Isreal also promised 50% of their stockpile. The four country coalition, dubbed the Nuclear Defense Federation, blackened the sky with warheads.
This time the ships were met before they entered the atmosphere, and the damage was gratifying. Again, the world watched on tv as the alien starships were transformed into superdense metallic clouds in orbit. The world rejoiced.
But it was not a complete victory.
Kim Jong-Il, Epic Douchebag
Of all the nuclear armed countries, only North Korea refused to commit their arsenal. Their ambassadors consistently claimed that the entire incident was a ruse, a farce perpetrated by the Chinese and Americans to deprive them of their freedom. They also declared Korean airspace as a 'no-fly' zone for ballistic missiles, and any which strayed near their borders were shot down with their missile defense systems. This created a hole in the defenses that one alien cruiser was able to exploit. Once it entered the atmosphere, the damage was done.
Televisions, telescopes, radios and all transmissions stopped the world over. The blink only lasted 15 minutes, but it was enough. Too much many would say. The cruiser devastated Pyongyang and landed in Korea. Troops, weapons and materiel poured out its holds with razor precision. Kim Jong-Il was never heard from again (yes, he is ronery).
The beginning was upon us.
Once the aliens had established their base in Korea they quickly spread as far as they could. The Chinese army, though easily the largest in the world, was no match for alien technology or tactics. Familiarity in the land and the immense size of the landmass was all that kept them from being overrun.
Japan had the opposite problem. Their army, while also large and well-equipped, was defending such a small area that it fell quickly to the aliens. Japan became their second base.
Gradually the aliens sent more ships to their bases, and even with all available resources funneled toward producing nuclear armaments, the stockpiles grew smaller and smaller. Eventually the final wave of alien ships landed with little resistance.
But the Nuclear Defense Federation had one last trick up their sleeves. On February 7, 2013 the USS Ohio along with the RFS Ekaterinburg surfaced in the seas between Korea and Japan and leveled the first and second alien bases. This was to be the last hurrah, however. For the nuclear stock was now truly exhausted.
It has been many months since the last alien carriers entered the atmosphere. Bases exist all over the globe, and alien aircraft patrol the skies. Small patrol and fighter craft, while formidable, have not been invincible to Terran weapons. The worlds navies still sail the seas in task forces, yet their numbers dwindle daily. Air forces, however, have been reduced to next to nothing.
On the ground alien military teams expand slowly, but with precision. They rarely attack except in force, and when they do they have yet to be repulsed. Attacks on alien held ground have met with mixed results, yet mostly failures. Naval guns and high velocity artillery have been the most effective at softening defenses.
The World Today
It is late 2013, the war is nearing its one year anniversary. The aliens have won many battles, but the armies and partisans have managed to secure a victory or two of their own. The aliens have proved wily and relentless. Their technologies are strong, but not insurmountable.
Many questions remain unanswered. Why? Where are they from? Are more ships on the way?
The aliens still maintain their base in Korea, but it is in shambles. They have a warehouse there which is of much interest to commanders the world over. Their Japanese base was completely obliterated by the Ekaterinburg, and the Japanese army was able to regroup and retake their land.
But they have won new strongholds which persevere. In North America they have Portland, Nashville and Mexico City. In Europe London, Dresden, Lyon, Brussels and Athens. But the biggest problem is Siberia. It is unknown how many bases exist in the vast frozen wasteland, but some estimates say its as high as 15.
The second north American alien base is one of its busiest. Many humans betrayed their race and became turncoats. Portland is where the aliens are developing their first naval base. It is also the setting for this game: XCom Seattle.