Interlude: Dossiers


To: Dir. Maxwell E. Creed, Commander of XCOM

Sir, I've heard that you're trying to form two new squads with the intention of making them work together as a more flexible and versatile alternative to just having a single squad in a single Skyranger sent on missions. As it's my job, I've taken the liberty of having talks to the twelve volunteer operatives you've rounded up. Even with me being saddled up with my day-to-day routines in order to keep our operations running smooth and discreet, I've managed to compile dossiers on each (just nine, really. See below) of them. Here they are, sir:

Note: Some of your operatives are quite literally doing their first day at XCOM HQ, or we simply don't know much about them, so information on them is kind of minimal.

Delta 'Xenobane' Squad

Operative's Name: Michael 'Shallow' Graves

Nationality: British

Official Title: Colonel, C: A-

Recruited From: Special Air Service, Task Force 042

Position in Squad: Squad leader, assault specialist, tactician, anti-Berserker, anti-Ethereal, attack psionic, Meld trooper

Appearance: Colonel Graves stands at 6'3, weighs 195lbs, and has Meld-altered red eyes and dark brown hair. Graves possesses three large adjacent scars that stretched from his left cheek right down his jaw, two smaller ones on his left temple, and the largest one running vertically over his right eye. Furthermore, he is missing the tip of his ring finger.

Biography: Graves was born and raised in the city of Leeds, in the UK. His father is a career military man, and his mother worked as a court stenographer. After his 19th, birthday, the young Graves enlisted in the British Army, and saw his first engagement during the pacification of a certain Middle Eastern country thirteen years ago. In addition, Graves served briefly as a guard to a numbers station in a hidden underwater facility, where he developed a fear of sharks.

Graves first encountered operatives of our organization when he was found alone and heavily injured in the Calderdale countryside, which was where Task Force 042 was last seen alive. It was a well-kept secret that the colonel had been engaged in a relationship with another Task 042 member: Sergeant First Class Chloe Parkes•. Shortly after he was given medical treatment, he was recruited into XCOM after one of our agents had a look at his service record. He has been observed to harbor extreme anti-alien views. Furthermore, Graves was discovered to be a strong bearer of the Gift a few months ago, and was accordingly classified as a C: A-.

Personality: Graves is shown to be extremely resentful to anything concerning Ethereals and their allies, but especially Chryssalids••. However, he seems to actively try in getting to know his squad, and has already made friends with most of his future squadmates, especially Captain Bouchard. He doesn't seem to like his squad's tech expert, Lieutenant Conagher, though.

• - Security footage shows Graves and Parkes holding hands when alone, and both make frequent excuses to slip off somewhere, with both disappearing at the exact same time. Veeeeery suspicious, sir.

•• - This might get problematic in the future. His hatred can lead him to make thoughtless, irrational decisions. You and I both know that a bad decision at a bad time can be disastrous, commander.

Operative's Name: Elise 'Doc' Bouchard

Nationality: French

Official Title: Captain, C: G+

Recruited From: N/A, civilian medical doctor

Position in Squad: Second-in-command•, medic, fire support specialist, defensive psionic, Meld runner, Ethereal-dampener

Appearance: Captain Bouchard stands at 5'11, weighs 130lbs, has natural green eyes and brown hair. Bouchard typically wears reading glasses, but I told her to replace them with our newly implemented 'sweepers'.

Biography: Bouchard was born in Washington DC in the United States, and was raised in the city of Lyon, in France to a wealthy family of entrepreneurs. Her mother was killed in a skydiving accident, and as a result, Bouchard's father was too grief-stricken to function as a parent. Her uncle, who worked as a doctor at Claude Bernard University Hospital, and her aunt, who worked as a police officer were the ones who took it upon themselves to raise the young Bouchard, as they cannot bear their own child. Soon, after her aunt took her for a round at her workplace's shooting range, Bouchard learned that she was a crack shot with a rifle.

Contact with XCOM operatives was achieved when Bouchard's workplace was attacked by extraterrestrial forces looking for people to abduct. Dr. Bouchard defended herself and her patients with a dead serviceman's assault rifle before Lieutenant Maxson and his squad•• arrived to relieve her. The doctor was recruited into XCOM after she was requested to, when Maxson saw her potential as a combat medic. Apparently, Dr. Vahlen holds strong suspicions that Bouchard might possess the Gift, and Vahlen's rarely wrong about something, so I suggest that Bouchard be posted for a second-in-command role in Delta Squad, serving under Graves.

Personality: Bouchard is an approachable, serene sort of individual, but she seems to be easily flustered at times, and is shown to act irrationally when angered or pressured. However, I still think this woman is most likely the most level-headed person in this squad, sir.

• - Suggestion only. Your choice, commander.

•• - Captain Maxson commands Orion Squad.

Operative's Name: James 'Jim' Conagher

Nationality: American

Official Title: Lieutenant

Recruited From: Academi (PMC)

Position in Squad: Engineer, Ethereal tech expert, assault specialist, anti-Ethereal, support specialist, Meld Trooper

Appearance: Lieutenant Conagher stands at 5'9, weighs 190lbs, has blue (natural) and red (artificial, cybernetic) eyes, natural black hair and is bald. Conagher has made it a habit to make his armor look as beat up as possible, his reasons being that if the aliens see how rusted he looks like, they'll underestimate him. He has also been issued with one of our 'Handyman' combat-engineering servo-arm, which he had programmed to have a rudimentary mind of its own.

Biography: Conagher was born and raised in Texas, in the US. It was notable that the boy was found to have genius-level intellect, just like his father. His father worked as a private military contractor in Academi (formerly Blackwater) as a combat engineer, just like his son. Conagher, who was well known as a 'daddy's boy' in the neighborhood he lived in, had made it his life's mission to follow his father's footsteps as much as possible, to the chagrin of his mother, who liked her son to become a lawyer like her. The young Conagher studied in the exact same way his father did in college and studied for multiple degrees at once, thereby earning himself a ridiculous amount of college degrees in such a short time. Even I find this guy unbelievable. Seriously, fourteen degrees? I could barely keep up with one degree back then.

Conagher was found by XCOM recruiters• looking for 'smart'•• people to give roles to. His company was paid a total of 200 credits to allow the lieutenant a place in XCOM. Soon after, Conagher immediately went to augmenting most of his body with crude cybernetic implants. In fact, our scans often mistook him for a MEC Trooper. To Vahlen's great disappointment - and my great relief, Conagher was found to not possess the gift.

Personality: The lieutenant is nice. Too nice, in fact, that I find it disturbing. He's frequently asking everyone about their day, or asking if they've got something that needed fixing. Also, in his spare time, he plays the guitar, hoping that ladies find him attractive. However, it's well known around the base that Conagher shares Vahlen's enthusiasm about the scientific benefits of an alien invasion. He even sawed off his (perfectly functioning) right hand for a mechanical replacement. Also, he likes playing video games in his spare time, which is pretty much most of the time.

• - Operative Koehler and his cohorts.

•• - People who can work as field operatives and scientists/engineers at the same time.

Operative's Name: Alexei 'Tin Can' Dmitriyev

Nationality: Russian

Official Title: Sergeant, MEC

Recruited From: Воздушно-десантные войска (Russian Airborne Troops)

Position in Squad: MEC Trooper, heavy assault specialist, siege specialist, anti-Berserker, anti-Mechtoid/Seeker/Drone/Cyberdisk/Sectopod, close combat specialist

Appearance: On his base augments, Sergeant Alexei stands at 6'4, and on his MEC, he stands at 9'7. He has a natural eye color of green, which is now mostly blue, thanks to his implants. His hair has been singed off because of a Heavy Floater's plasma grenade, but records indicate that it was a brownish blonde at one point. As a reward for his exemplary performance in the field, Alexei has been issued a MEC-3 Paladin as a gift after his fifteenth mission.

Biography: Alexei was born in the capital of Ukraine, in Kiev, but he was raised in Kirov, Russia. His family was descended from a long line of diplomats and politicians, but the young Alexei scoffed at his father's wishes for him to follow his footsteps as a politician, and instead enlisted as an airborne paratrooper. As a result of this rebellion, Alexei's family disowned him. But this seems to only drive Alexei to become better at his current job.

Our soldiers had contact with Alexei when his unit was ambushed by an obscene amount of extraterrestrials while out on patrol. Thankfully, our operatives were in close proximity to Alexei's unit's location, which prevented the aliens from eliminating the Russians to the last man. When Field Operative Faucheux found him, Alexei's body is but a shadow of its former self; he was missing both arms and a leg, and his only remaining limb was unsalvagable and infected. Faucheux decided to bring the wounded soldier back to XCOM HQ, where Dr. Shen gave him the opportunity to protect humanity once more, by becoming a MEC Trooper.

Personality: Alexei mostly keeps to himself, he's shown to play his own version of Tetris on his suit's interface when he's not doing anything, and he appears to be very loyal to the friends he had made. He seems to resent his family for their actions against him, but he's known to sometimes send a part of his earnings to a certain someone's address in Kirov, and it's known that the Dmitriyev family has fallen on hard times lately, due to suspicions that the father is in collusion with the aliens. He also plays the piano on his base augments.•

• - Not for recreation. He needs to get used to his new limbs.

Operative's Name: Edward Jensen

Nationality: Former Norweigian, naturalized American

Official Title: Corporal

Recruited From: N/A, civilian ex-special forces operative

Position in Squad: Sniping specialist, anti-Chryssalid, Meld runner

Appearance: Not yet known to me•. I've got too many important things to do than to search up how this guy looks, sorry sir.

Biography: Nothing's known yet.

Personality: Nah.

• - Jensen is scheduled to appear today, at XCOM HQ. So far, he hasn't shown up yet.

Operative Name: Reilly 'Spook' Denton

Nationality: American

Official Title: Lieutenant

Recruited From: Central Intelligence Agency

Position in Squad: Espionage and subterfuge specialist, counter-intelligence expert, covert operations specialist, fire support specialist, close combat specialist

Appearance: Reilly stands at 6'0, weighs as much as 140lbs, has natural brown eyes and brown hair. She usually wears her hair in a long ponytail, and usually has a cigarette in her hand. Yep, she's definitely a spy.

Biography: The CIA knows about our existence, so they chose to give us one of their best agents as a 'gesture of trust and goodwill'.

However, the agency had also chosen to keep Reilly's details unknown to us. Thus, we know absolutely nothing about her, not even her squadmates. All they know is that she's really accurate with a pistol, really smart behind a computer console, and lethal with plasma knives. They also noted that she seems rather fragile, as she often ends up in the infirmary just because she tripped on her armor.

Personality: Reilly would really like it I wasn't writing a dossier about her. Really, I don't know anything about her, sir. She does seem to like fine business suits and sharp briefcases. She doesn't get along with Zhang, because she doesn't like 'criminals'.

Echo Squad

Note: Since you already know so much about Claire, Buskirk and Gasebonwe, I'm cutting these dossiers to just include Fischer, Vogel and Li, who you don't know much about on a personal level, sir.

Operative Name: Heinrich 'Rook' Fischer

Nationality: German

Official Title: Major, C: B-

Recruited From: Deutsches Heer (The German Army)

Position in Squad: Second-in-command, heavy assault specialist, area denial, close combat specialist, Meld trooper, attack psionic

Appearance: Fischer's really freaking tall; he towers at about 7'7 and weighs as much as 330lbs out of his armor. He has Meld-altered bright blue eyes and brown hair. The major also had one large Chryssalid-induced scar that ran from his right temple, his right cheek and over the edge of his mouth, stopping just before his jaw. He's been known to scratch his scar as a habit, agitating it and making it grow larger, so he might look different when you see him.

Biography: Born in London and raised in Hamburg, Fischer was born to a family of middle-class businessmen as the middle child. He originally wanted to be like his parents, but Fischer took inspiration from his childhood friend Claudia Vogel's father, who was a decorated war hero. Instead of seeing their child's chosen profession as a negative thing, Fischer's parents actually chose to shrug their shoulders and supported their son in his goal.

Fischer - and by extension, Vogel - made contact with our troops when he assisted Field Operative Wilson's squad• in preventing an alien terror attack underway in Hamburg. Fischer and Vogel were given a six-week furlough by their employers, and Fischer was apparently meeting with his mother and father when the aliens struck.•• Being on vacation, Fischer was only armed with a H&K P8 pistol, but he managed to hold his ground as he provided fire support for Wilson's squad. By the end of the day, Wilson was so impressed at Fischer and Vogel, that she highly recommended the two for a spot in XCOM. Naturally, we could always use more soldiers. Fischer was found out to be harboring the Gift, and was classed as a Beta Minus, thereby earning him the second-in-command role.

Personality: Despite his losses, Fischer seems to be just as friendly as Conagher, but not in the same disturbing way. He tries to maintain his calm under fire, and he's slow to anger. So far, the only people I see him not getting along with is Graves, Buskirk and to a tiny degree, Annette. In his spare time, Fischer plays the violin, or he tries to maintain his physique down at the physical fitness facilities in Level Three.

• - The very same Echo Squad I'm writing about.

•• - On that day, his parents were both killed by alien small-arms fire. He seems to cope with drinking, but I don't think it affected his performance in any way, sir. But it might become a problem one day.

Operative Name: Claudia 'Checkmate' Vogel

Nationality: German

Official Title: Lieutenant•

Recruited From: Deutsches Heer (The German Army)

Position in Squad: Sharpshooter, anti-Chryssalid, anti-Berserker, Meld runner, Meld trooper, covert operations specialist

Appearance: Vogel stands at 6'2, weighs 135lbs and has natural blonde hair and Meld-altered, glowing emerald eyes. This woman rarely leaves her Ghost armor, as a result she stays mostly unseen by people, but I could tell that she has a small, neat scar over her nose she acquired from a near miss in a conventional weapons exercise.

Biography: Born and raised in Hamburg, Lieutenant Vogel is the daughter of decorated war hero Lukas Vogel. Initially raised to pursue a career in marine biology by her mother, Vogel found that working on a research ship drifting in the middle of nowhere to be too dull for her to endure. After discovering her talent for sharpshooting and stealth, and after taking interest in her father's line of work, Vogel eventually dropped out of college and enlisted along with Fischer in the German Army, where she was stationed in a special operations unit.

Vogel and Fischer were on furlough in Hamburg when it was besieged by extraterrestrials, with the intention of causing as much casualties and panic as possible. Luckily, Colonel Wilson's squad was nearby. Since Vogel insisted on never parting with her rifle, she managed to pick off some of the weaker aliens while leaving the tougher ones for Echo Squad to take care of. Wilson was impressed with the two German soldiers, so the first thing she did upon returning to HQ was to recommend a spot in XCOM for Vogel and Fischer. Sadly, Vogel was found out to be devoid of the Gift.

Personality: Lieutenant Vogel is a... peculiar, individual. She's been shown to never converse with anyone in the base besides her fellow marksmen, her commanding officers and Fischer. She seems extremely focused when on field operations, rarely ever talks when not asked to, and hates small talk. However, from what Major Fischer has told me, she also appears to like fine clothes and jewelry. Peculiar indeed.

• - Vogel is scheduled to be promoted to captain after eight months, commander.

Operative Name: Xiao Chen 'Marks' Li

Nationality: Chinese

Official Title: Sergeant

Recruited From: 中国人民解放军陆军 (People's Liberation Army Ground Forces)

Position in Squad: Heavy weapons specialist, Meld runner, area denial, anti-Mechtoid/Seeker/Drone/Cyberdisk/Sectopod, engineer, general tech expert

Appearance: Sergeant Li stands at 5'9, and weighs at around 150lbs. She has natural dark brown eyes and black hair. This woman always keeps her hair up in a bun. Always.

Biography: Born to a simple family in the Xinjiang province in China, Li had to work as hard as the other members of her family in order for her to stay alive. However, Li used most of her earnings to finance her tuition fee for school, to the dismay of her parents, who wanted her to spend her earnings to maintain their family. It's at school where she found her knack for hacking and computing. After graduating college, Li volunteered for duty in the PLA after taking advice from a friend.

In the summer of 2016, in the Guizhou province, an alien abduction attempt was made. Li's unit, who was the first to respond, was decimated. She only escaped alive thanks to the timely intervention of Field Operative Zhang's squad•. Zhang, who apparently knew Li since they were teenagers, immediately tried to recruit his former friend on the spot. After much paperwork and much army officers thoroughly terrified after being threatened with several fusion lances pointed their way, the PLA finally allowed Li to leave the army and enlist in XCOM as a sergeant, where her technological skills will be put to good use.

Personality: Li is perpetually happy, but underneath that sunny exterior is a sad, shattered woman•. However, I can say that her competence with a hacking tool far exceeds most of our field operatives, and her skill with suppression fire is above average.

• - Lieutenant Colonel Zhang is in command of Triton Squad.

•• - She has been taking her unit's death quite hard.

Well, there you have it, commander - nine dossiers on the soldiers you haven't gotten to know yet. It should be easier for you to interact with them if you took the time to read this, but what with all the work you've been doing, I'm not surprised if you even open this message at all, if you don't mind me saying. On a side note, Dr. Shen appears to be satisfied with the surgeries we've given him after he was blasted across the room after a generator exploded right beside him when the aliens attacked HQ. He seems livelier, even. Makes you wonder if giving everyone cybernetics is a better alternative to augmenting them with Meld.

Stay watchful, commander. For we're always relied upon.

From: Bill 'Central' Bradford

The Director's Quarters, XCOM Headquarters, November 11th, 2017, 11:01 Universal Time Coordinated

Creed marked the mail from Bradford as 'read'. He inhaled a long drag from his cigar as he reclined himself on his seat. There is only one thought he had on his mind as he kept smoking.

Where are they now?

A/N: This isn't a real chapter. I was just practicing my speed writing. Thanks to Snioipeh for the idea, though. Oh, and Guest: Yes, except that scout titans aren't in production yet. He does it with reprogrammed Sectopods and cloaked Ghost soldiers.

13-03-14 EDIT: To all people who read this chapter and are familiar with LoL, I've removed the easter egg. Thank you for your participation! Hope more people get to see the little things I sneaked in in the future.

14-03-14 EDIT: To those who kept asking me if those (Graves, Conagher, Heinrich, Claudia) augmented with gene mods are wearing the sleeveless versions of the armor they had equipped, the answer is no, in this story at least. The reason is that it's because it's ridiculous. In a game where a Sectoid's lucky plasma pistol shot can blow gaping holes in your Carapace-armored torso, having sleeveless armor just looks absolutely stupid. So that's where XCOM gets all their MEC Troopers from: armless soldiers. Next thing we know, we've got operatives wearing alloy-plated shorts like a certain archeologist-adventurer.