Enemy Unknown (XCOM fanfic)

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Enemy Unknown (XCOM fanfic)

Postby The Hillock » Mon Jul 21, 2014 4:18 pm

Hello boys and girls. Recently my housemate got hold of Far Worlds and read my contribution to it, and having been mildly impressed (at least to my face) he's now challenged me to write a dramatic tale. Here's the kicker - it has to be a re-telling of the plot of a run through of XCOM Enemy Unknown.

XCOM has been around for years, obviously, but if you've not played it I strongly recommend the latest edition in the series. It's fantastic, and has serious scope for writing. Anyway, I've decided to put it up here as I go through it both as an archive and in case anyone else wants to read it. I'll post it chapter by chapter, starting with a prose version of the intro cinematic...

[EDIT - I'm aware it's distinctly average at best. I've not done any edits or spent much time on it beside the initial draft, it's only a bit of fun. No feedback required]

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XCOM: Enemy Unknown – A Dramatic Telling

“Two possibilities exist; either we are alone in the universe, or we are not.
Both are equally terrifying.”

Arthur C. Clark

Prologue
The sun had set and the warmth of the day was slowly being replaced by the chill of the evening, but the streets of Cologne still thronged with people. Offices were bidding farewell to the last workers heading home to their families whilst the bars and restaurants lining the streets welcomed the first customers of the evening. The sound of a busker plucking the strings of his cello drifted over the parasols and tables on the pavement.

Gareth Stinton stood outside a cafe admiring the waitress working within. He had arrived from London that evening, intent on seeing the sights of a city he’d visited once before as a child and visiting one of the many brothels for an evening’s entertainment. Wistfully he wondered if the waitress had a second job after the cafe closed, but shook the thought off and turned away toward the red light district.

As he stepped into the street a roaring noise drowned out the cello and several huge booms echoed off the buildings around him. Looking to the sky he barely had time to squint as a blinding light flashed across in front of him. Cars were smashed aside and bricks from the cobbled surface hurled into the air like confetti as the object smashed into the street, the shockwave blowing Gareth and everyone else from their feet.

As the echo of the impact died off the drone of car alarms could be heard from all around, although Gareth could barely hear them over the ringing in his ears. Gingerly he pulled himself to his feet, glancing around to see others doing the same. A woman screamed, and Gareth span to see her crouching over the body of a man. A flying cobblestone had decapitated the man, and Gareth swallowed hard as bile threatened to rise in his throat.

Turning away, his attention was drawn to the object lying in the crater in the street. As people recovered they were slowly approaching it, whispering and glancing nervously at each other. The dust had settled, revealing a pod of some sort half buried in the rubble. Gareth pushed through to get a closer look at whatever it was. His schoolboy-level German wasn’t good enough to understand what the people around him were saying but it was clear they were in shock.

Suddenly the object hissed and a green vapour began leaking out from its base, rapidly spreading out toward the encircling crowd. The people nearest the object took a hurried step backward whilst those at the back pushed forward for a better view, Gareth included. The smoke looked somehow unnatural, at the edges appearing almost invisible whilst at the centre looking solid enough to reach out and grasp. The crowd edged backwards as the cloud of smoke expanded and the first couple of people broke and ran.

Someone screamed and pointed to the sky and Gareth turned to see more of the objects streaming across the sky, clouds of dust and smoke billowing into the air as they smashed to earth. Suddenly the crowd turned from nervous tension to outright panic as the ground shook with the impacts, and as one they turned and ran. Gareth ran with them, but an elbow caught him in the chest and as he doubled over a foot smashed into his head and he went down.

Gareth felt a tug on his ankle and rolled onto his back, expecting to see another victim of the crush, but his eyes widened in horror as he saw the smoke somehow coiled around his ankle, gripping him with irresistible force. The smoke began to draw him back toward the pod and more tendrils lashed out and wrapped themselves around his flailing arms and legs. Desperately he cried out for help but no-one spared him a glance as they tried to evade the vapour themselves. Kicking furiously he managed to loosen one leg but it wasn’t enough, and he screamed as the vapour began to dissolve his clothes and skin. Rolling onto his front he clawed at the cobbles with strength born of desperation, eyes wide as his fingernails caught and tore as he scrabbled for safety. Briefly he managed to hold himself against the inexorable pull, his throat raw from screaming as his legs continued to burn away, but then his vision turned green as the smoke reached out and fully enveloped him and yanked him in. Gareth found new strength to scream as he melted away to nothing.
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