X-Com – The First Alien War.

Copyright - Craig Mansfield (The Shadowscythe) 2006

UFO - Enemy Unknown, Terror From The Deep and X-com Apocalypse are all copyright to Micropose/Infrogames/Firaxis/Atari games 1990-2007.

X-Com Headquarters Construction Site – Andorra – Spain - June 10th 1997

The room was small, dark, and uncomfortably warm, with a deep, and rank smell of concrete and dust filling the baked, stuffy and condensed air.

The room was filled with filing cabinets, drawers and schematics, with only one window letting pure and yellow sunlight filter through the thin slat's of the blinds, as rays of light covered the single desk at the rooms centre, and two dark and shaded figures sat on either side of it.

"So, the U.N finally let slip of the funding for this little project of yours Therold, I'm impressed . . " The sharp, snake like tounge of the young woman let slip over the cup of now-cold coffee.

"Well, yes – after the failure of the Japanese, and the Germans? It was only a matter of time until the oversight committee joined in the Americans little farce, and the U.N got pulled by the testicles into coughing up the funding, and the authorisations to go with." Therold replied in a grunt like tone of voice, he was a man with no visible deformities or abnormalities, He was white skinned, but not tanned nor was he pale, and he appeared to be European in composition, with dark hair, thick rimmed glasses and brown eyes. He was clean and shaven, he sat in a business suit on his side of the desk, he simply stared over his glasses, to the young woman sat on the other side of his work desk.

She was young, with pale skin, obviously European in origin, with long, abnormally straight, styled jet black hair. Styled to the point that it held straight down, no matter which direction she turned her head, and gravity never seemed to let it go, it never turned or waived. She sat there – in a white shirt and skirt, with a white overcoat, obviously, styled and tailored for her. Her face was thin, and cutting, with no make up to be seen, she turned to him, and her eyes stared directly into his.

"So, this is your little construction site? Your toy playground? Your attempt to "Fight for humanity? too bad no-one will ever know about your little holy Jihad Therold, or why your fighting it . . ." She said, with a tone made to cut, and cut deep into his character.

"Now listen, and listen well Anyata" He said, edging in his seat slightly "The incident in Scotland was only the beginning, and it was the first to show the true signs or their intent, it took this long to get the U.N into order by itself . . let alone the Oversight Committee, so if i have to take matters into my own hands, then i will do it, and god-damnit, I'll do it again!"

He had now leant fully over from his chair, and was now stood up, hands on the desk, staring Anyata down,, triggering a deep, dark burning torment and hatred, and a light which could only have originated from hell itself in his eyes.

"Very well Therold, just don't let . . . personal matters cloud your judgement on this this, you may have lost something very dear to you to get this far, but the U.N. cannot afford to have this operation compromised, not after spending this much." Anyata said, completely ignoring Therold, who was staring her down like an aggravated Bull at the waving red flag.

" . . I'll be here again in four months." She finished, as she headed towards the door at the far end of the room, she opened the door, and pure yellow light seeped through into the confines of darkness, illuminating Therold and Anyata with the light of the outside world, and in the blink of Therold's eye, she was gone.

He sat back down in his chair, letting out a brief sigh of relief for a moment, until he roused himself from his seat, and departed through the same door Anyata did just a moment ago.

Bright sunlight, fumes of diesel and concrete filled the air around him, as he felt himself fill with a sense of grim pride as he looked over what was once the green, sun-licked hills of northern Spain, was now a massive construction site, with a hole in the ground over a mile deep, U.N cranes, drills and mining equipment bored deep into the earth, as fresh batches of concrete and material where lifted down into the scarred earth below, and thousands of workers scurried about their business, as in the distance, he could see another three holes, and he turned to see the fourth behind him, the three primary airlocks for the hangar bay's, and the main elevator. Even further in the distance, he saw mountains covering the entire north and east sides of the base, with SAM site's being constructed, hidden deep within mountain wall, six of them in all, all pointed inwards towards the base, would cover its south and west flanks, their main attack, and defensive area, while on the other side, inside a vast forest of local tree's and foliage another series of six underground-hidden SAM sites would deploy and protect the north and east arcs of fire, essentially providing the hundred and sixty degree protection from any threat. While on the exposed ground, there would be multiple Radar towers and camera sensors, for movement, heat, night and ultra violet vision sensing, linked to a series of three hundred mounted fifty calibre A.I controlled machine guns, their fields of fire, converging every twenty meters at different positions surrounding the area. There was also a series of hidden mortar tubes hidden in the ground, also A.I controlled, to aim and then fire at any incoming target.

He felt the grim pride well up in him, until he couldn't stand it any more, and then he turned away, unable to stand the sight of the grand achievement, he knew what it was, why it was being built – and what it meant, it was a beacon of peace, and a hammer of war, rolled into a single entity, it marked humanity working forwards together, with hope, and the last desperate attempt ourselves from a violent and bloody fate.

He pulled out a small golden pendant from his pocket, and opened it, inside there was a picture, two young men with glasses, each with a young woman in their arm's.

One man was young, with shoulder length black hair, glasses, brown eyes and a youthful dis-composition, the other was larger, more toned, with short blonde hair and a large, almost child-like gin on this face. The two women where younger, the one in the arms of the small, black haired man, was young, perhaps in her twenties with blonde hair, the fame of a girl who was not shy to the occasional burger or extravagant meal. She wore glasses, and was looking up to the man who held her in his arms and smiling gently. The other woman was older, perhaps in her mid twenties, she was thin, with ginger, frizzy hair stretching down to almost waist high, and was grinning, almost laughing, in the arms of the larger, blonde haired gentleman.

"Well, your dream almost came true" He said to himself, staring into the pendant, re-living old memories "But now, its our nightmare." He said to himself, as he closed the pendant, and placed it back in his pocket.

He looked back over the giant scar in the ground, as the cranes lifted what appeared to be a gigantic spherical object down into the ground, along with other pieces of machinery and equipment.

He looked down into the site, full well knowing what it would eventually become, X-Com Headquarters, and the last chance, the U.N's last chance, and humanity's last chance, to fight back.

Earth Orbit – August 8th 1997

A glint of light in between the light of the sun, the gentle and distant glow of the stars, the light, florescent glow of the light reflecting off of the sun of the mother earth. The glint of light vying for attention in the endless black of space, it move slowly and surely towards the surface of the mother earth. It shifted suddenly, and its speed increased dramatically, as the small glint of light slowly increased in size, as the cross-shaped UFO grew ever closer towards the Earth, it angled slightly away from the planet as it descended through the atmosphere, as streaks of red, white and orange flame erupted from all around the mysterious craft, warning lights, sirens and radar screens on three different continents lit up, orders where passed along the chain of command, phones rang and forces mobilized, and the mysterious craft set its course to settle down on Terra firma, just outside of a small African town, filled with small hut houses, and the occasional concrete building, with dirt roads leading out in the north and south of the settlement, a perfect site for whatever alien purposes may have needed, the town of Bebalo, Cameroon – Africa.

Bebalo – Cameroon – Africa – 0910 (Local Time) August 8th 1997

"Do not engage! I repeat! Do not engage!" The voice yelled out down the radio to the 4th unit commander of the local African forces as his unit of five T-62 tanks rolled across the dry, dusty, empty desert towards the small desert town of Bebalo, where less than four hours ago – a single craft had been detected landing in the area by Bebalo and since then, the area had become a literal hive of activity, with U.N force inbound, tanks from the republic of Cameroon's military all inbound, and some other force the U.N was insisting have priority, some third party force they wanted to take over the operation, or at least, impose an operation to take over, but he had little care for this "X-COM" force, whatever it was.

The 5 tanks drew to an eventual stop at a series of small dunes, just a few miles away from the target area, as a pair of fighter aircraft he did not recognise flew overhead with great haste, he saw their silver forms pierce the air as they flew towards the town ahead, he cursed under his breath – he knew those had to be U.N jets, and while the help was appreciated, it was, a slur to their honour, of sort's, even with their ageing T-62 tanks, their training for the crew's was good – and they where military forces, not some thrown together militia . . . but like the U.N ever really cared when it came to an African field of warfare anyway.

The radio sparked alive again, more U.N transmissions "Interceptor One has engaged the primary target, be aware – we read a second and third inbound" it said, the transmission was garbled at best, it surely had to be from the pilot, but before he could take the time to take in the information from that snippet, another pilot interrupted "This is Interceptor Two!the second target has engaged! I repeat! The second target has engaged, the third is headed for the ground target!"

That was all he needed to hear, he picked up the radio handset inside his seat, coughed loudly, and then clicked the side button "This is Captain Abiona" He said, giving it a moment to sink in "All units, move in on the town of Bebalo, prepare for combat!"

He looked over to the gunner and loader next to him, and then down to his driver, and nodded once, the driver turned his attention from Abiona to the steering system, and the tank burst forward with a flurry of speed.

The tanks eventually rolled over the last dune between themselves and Bebalo, and where met by a hell-fire of green plasma, the flair of stinger Air-to-Air missiles, Vulcan cannon rounds, and the screams of pain, death, and suffering.

One craft was in the air, performing acrobatic acts far beyond those of any earth-bound craft, it was silver, about thirty meters around, and shaped like a giant, flying cross, it performed amazing feats of speed and agility as it opened fire on the Fighter jet attempting to pursue it, opening fire on the Jet with bolts of lighting green, which fired so fast, it was a wonder in Abiona's mind that the pilot was even able to evade them at own, however – the people on the ground where not, as massive bolts of green plasma pounded into the ground, they destroyed entire houses in explosions of lime green and flame red, enveloping some of the smaller huts entirely. The blasts of green punched through human flesh and bone without being impeded, as Abiona watched a mother and son, desperately running from the battle in the skies, and a stray bolt hit them directly, cutting straight through the mother, severing her clan in two, before it struck into the ground, and the pair of them disappeared in a ten foot explosion of bright green, which cleared to show nothing but scorched earth.

Abiona watched as another of the same design of craft flew above his tanks with great speed, and felt the sudden, unexplainable sensation of sheer binding heat, as he went to release the hatch and realise what had just happened.

Abiona opened the hatch on the top of the T-62's turret, and he looked to his right, and was absolutely terrified to see that three of his group had been devoured by the lances of a hungry plasma cannon, the alien weapons where completely unhindered by such annoyances to earth warfare like armour, ballistic, steel and ceramic plate, as he looked onto three scared hulks of white-hot metal, the remains of their chassis's dripping into the sand.

He looked over to the other remaining tank in the group, seeing its captain, Banjoko also shocked and amazed by the sheer lethality of these flying foes, he ducked as the second fighter jet soared overhead, in haste of the UFO, and it opened fire with 4 Stinger missiles at the craft, and white steaks of death scarred the air as they made their way towards their targets with deadly intent.

Abiona then saw the third UFO.

It was larger than the other two, and slower to, it resembled a large hexagon in the centre, with a hexagon off of what could be called its "left" and "right" edges, and in the centre, it appeared the central "hexagon" had two floors . . .

The craft flew to the town itself and stopped, completely ignoring the hellish battle around it, it lowered directly into the town, landing a-top several hut's and crushing a small concrete home, before it landed completely, and Abiona decided to make his move.

He closed the hatch and picked up the handset for the radio, and began to utter terrified words down into it "All units within range, assault the Town of Bebalo, use maximum force, we are being . . . invaded"

He then took the handset again and uttered "You still in there, Banjoko?" he asked down the radio, a few moments later, a terrified voice replied, from the other remaining tank.

"Yes i am, Captain Abiona" he replied, obviously terrified beyond his wits "What shall we do?"

"We attack . . " Abiona replied, unsure of his actions.

"Yes but how can we withstand against that kind of fire power?" Banjoko replied, now even more terrified by Abiona's choice.

"We move in, you head east, I'll head west, we shall pincer them in the town, and open fire upon them, until there is nothing left." Abiona said slowly, and deliberately down the handset, before giving it a moment to sink in.

"Ye . . yes Sir!" Banjoko replied, and Abiona heard the sputter of Banjoko's driver, turning the war machine on the spot, and driving away.

He looked to his crew, the shocked and terrified faces of his gunner, loader and driver looking up to him, with faces, locked into the same look, their eye's drilling into Abiona's own.

"You know your orders! Get to it!" He yelled at them, and they moved into action, and the sheer weight of 40 tonnes of battle tank turned on the spot, and sped down the dune, turning further and further towards the east, around the town, drawing ever closer into position.

Both tanks drew to a stop at either side of the town, at a perfect horizontal with the north and south road leading through the town, and the UFO which had decided to land dead in the centre of it.

He looked to his loader and gunner, giving them the hand signal, and uttering the words "load and fire" under his breath, as the loader slammed the level, loading the HEAT (High Explosive Anti-Tank) round into the cannon, and the gunner took up his position, turning levers and controls, as the entire turret turned, and levelled dead onto the top "half" of the landed craft.

"This is Abiona" He muttered down the handset "Fire."

The sheer force of the weapon firing always, always caught Abiona by complete surprise.

The T-62 was armed with a 115mm smooth bore APFSDS (Armour piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot) rounds, firing with terrifyingly high muzzle velocity, concentrating massive amounts of force into the target after the discarding Sabot had released, and the round screamed into the side of the Alien craft, and the sheer force of the High Explosive Anti-Tank shell pounded into the side of the craft with all its worth, and fire and death erupted from the blast zone.

Seconds afterwards, the round from Banjoko's tank did the same, from the opposite side, and another massive explosion appeared to have wrecked the side of alien craft, obscuring it in fire and smoke.

As the Loader finished his task of loading the next shell, the gunner prepared to take aim, as their concentration was shattered, by the screams of a Jet's flair, and a massive explosion, the ground shook from behind Abiona's tank, and he felt the blast wave lift the rear of his vehicle off of the ground, and it hit Terra-firma once more, the screams of the fighter plane disappeared into the background noise of screams and terror.

But Abiona had no time to even wonder what on earth had happened behind him, as the smoke was clearing around his primary target, his gunner looked through the scope's, adjusted his sights once more, altering the angle of the barrel slightly, and pulling the trigger once more.

Yet another round streaked through the air, cutting through the smoke for a moment, dispersing it enough to reveal the cracked alien metals making up the hull of the upper half of the craft, just before it connected, and ploughed through the alien metals, into the inside of the craft, and it obviously connected with something.

The top half of the craft exploded entirely, as shards of alien metal where thrown in every direction, as fire, and fury where thrown out of the top of the craft like a volcano in the middle of an en-raged eruption.

Obviously, Banjoko's crew had seen this feat, as they had adjusted their fire to target what little they could of the bottom section of the craft, between buildings, wreckage, smoke and flame.

Unfortunately for Banjoko's Crew, both tank crews had fail to take into account, the occupiers of the landed craft.

Banjoko's gunner was the only one in the vehicle to catch sight of the being, with grey skin and only four foot tall, it had a large head, dis-proportionate to the rest of its of its tiny form, it stood atop a concrete building, or at least the remains of it – staring at the tank with its large, mucus covered, jet black eyes, and thin, slit-like lips, it uttered a word in whatever language the thing spoke, and raised a weapon almost as tall as the alien itself, a large, grey barrelled rifle of alien design, sparks of electricity shot along it, and within less than a second, the alien being had let rip with a barrage of green fire, with un-erring accuracy.

Every shot hit its mark, with devastating effect, melting instantly through the ballistic armour and into the innards of the tank itself, Banjoko and his crew with literally shredded into pieces of nothing more than charred meat, spread thin throughout the inside of the tank, which now more closely resembled Swiss-cheese, the turret slumped inwards through melted metals as the hull gave way to its weight, at which point, the ammunition, through one means or another, perhaps it became to jarred, intense heat, or hit by one last, lucky plasma blast, exploded, spreading the remains of the armoured hulk across a good fifty meter radius.

Abiona swore under his breath, as the gunner yelled – there was another three of those creature's emerging from the wreckage of the craft, the loader was still priming and loading the next round, this was a sink or swim moment, and in that moment, Abiona swam.

He quickly bolted upright in the turret, and un-locked the top hatch once more, grabbing the shoulder-rest of the mounted PKMG, which was for all accounts a belt fed AK-47, the praised "best assault rifle on the planet" he grabbed hold of the trigger handle, flipped off the safety, and strafed the area where the creatures where pouring from liberally with almost half the belt of one hundred, seven point sixty two rounds, causing the ground to explode with pillars of dust, and oozing, runny, green liquid.

As the dust cleared, he could see the three corpses, one had no head left, the other two had shattered bodies from where they where pierced by round after round from the PKMG, and not one was moving now.

It was at that moment, that he saw everything.

Inside the tank, not one of them had realised, that there was a downed UFO less than 60 meters behind them, burning slowly away to its own accord, the centre of the town was a ruined graveyard, the outlying huts and buildings where aflame, the centre was now a massive crater, pattered with the ruinous remains of the large UFO, the two fighters in the air, where fighting a winning battle against the last UFO, which was a fireball, still amazingly flying through the air, but not returning fire.

He then looked back down, to see corpse after corpse inside the town, human, and alien, on the ridge to the south, sat the remains of the three other T-62 tanks, the rest of his ill fated unit, and somewhere across the other side of the town, laid the fuming remains of Banjoko's tank, slowly simmering to itself in the desert sun.

Then he noticed a glint in the mornings sky, moving fast, inbound on the town, Abiona mounted his PKMT once more, expecting another alien vessel in this hellish invasion, instead he was surprised to see something, more, earthbound.

It looks like a gigantic, grey flying rectangle with a cockpit on the front, and two directional rockets on each side, it flew in at the very edge of the town, apparently it had some sort of VTOL capabilities, as the rockets turned to slow its flight and it landed. He noticed a very large, black "X" marked on its visible side, with a gold outline.

He watched as a squad of ten troops, and some sort of automated robot leapt from the back of the vehicle, which, then proceeded to take back off, and disappeared back into the sky.

All but three of the soldiers disappeared into the town, the main squad, on search and destroy training, obviously to root out any alien threat that remained, but Abiona's eyes focused back on the three soldiers heading his way, dressed in uniforms made out of grey fabrics, each with the same black and gold "X" on their right arm. They where all armed with weapons he didn't recognise, defiantly earth-bound rifles, but they where strange, wide and flat, and seemingly made out of strong, black plastic's.

The small drone that followed them was about 3 foot tall, and was a treaded platform, armed with an M16 machine gun, it followed the three soldiers seemingly by its own accord, scanning the horizon.

The lead soldier cam forward to Abiona, he was a large, tall, and very well built man, defiantly American, with short-cut black hair, and a cutting jawline, and a very aggressive looking facial structure. He stood forward from the rest, presented himself and yelled to Abiona "I am Sargent Thomas McPherson of the X-Com primary assault team, congratulations – you and your crew have just been recruited into X-Com!" with a grim look of seriousness on his face.

Abiona looked at him blankly, as he – unwittingly, had just been hired onto the front lines, of an all new war . .