Unfit for XCOMmand: The True Story of Humanity’s Last Disappointment
by Rachel Kennedy (Soldier, Rookie Class)
Intro: Welcome Back, Dumbass
Somewhere in an ass-stinking dark room, some tool is writing history.
Why do people do that under normal, non-apocalyptic circumstances? I don’t know. But lately the idea is starting to catch on that history’s a big old train track headed for a big old cliff with cartoon heaps of dynamite at the bottom, and to a certain introspective, posterity-minded individual, this imminent disaster is an opportunity. If any random record of these days might become the final record, any author might–by virtue of not being dead or in a camp somewhere–fall ass-backwards into being the Herodotus of our generation. So suddenly all the jerks who in a gentler time would inflict nothing worse than coffeehouse poetry on humanity are, instead, taking it on themselves to write the final musings of a dying species.
Why does this make me angry? Well, for starters, I’m just angry a lot these days. I considered therapy, but since that currently involves a ridged alien brain-worm and six months of re-education, I’ve instead elected to shoot a lot of aliens in the fucking face. And since that’s a part time job, it’s left me plenty of time for retrospection, and one thing I’m not proud to figure out is this: I’m not angry because people are writing history, I’m angry because I’m sure they’re all getting it wrong. The more I involve myself with the revolution, the more certain I feel that I’m the only person out here who hasn’t lost her damn mind.
So now we’re back to that ass-stinking dark room I mentioned. It stinks like ass because it’s a canteen on a busted sky-submarine full of breaking systems and relentlessly exercising grunts. It’s dark because there are no windows and few working lightbulbs. And yes, there’s a tool writing history in it, and it turns out that tool is me. So let’s get Herodotusing.
|There's like ten humans fighting for the movement, so if we all kill one hundred thousand aliens, this crazy resistance just might work out.|
A few decades ago, an alien empire dropped out of the sky and put siege to the planet Earth. To fight back, we assembled an international team of soldiers, scientists, pilots, and engineers. Their leaders were Bradford, an officer and intelligence agent who volunteered to be on the front line of the counter-offensive; Vahlen, a scientist and bonafide visionary; Shen, the finest technological expert the world had to offer; the Commander, an enigmatic and influential individual entrusted full with overseeing and administering the most important campaign in the history of the species. For months they fought bravely with every resource the world could spare. One tragic ambush halted their progress, split their forces, and put the Commander in the hands of the enemy.
But now, even as the alien’s grip on the planet seems most secure, there is a new hope. Bradford has recruited to his side a new team of scientists, experts, and brave volunteers–myself included–to carry on the battle against alien domination. And with one hard-won victory, we have already begun to turn the tide: we have liberated the Commander, humanity’s brightest star, from captivity.
That’s what you might call the “heads” side of the coin. Here’s the part that’s stuck to the bathroom floor:
About one generation ago, aliens started kicking our asses confidently and with passion. Humanity responded by assembling a hundred of the most promising soldiers and technicians in the world, whose leadership included two really good scientists, an intelligence agent who selflessly volunteered to be stationed deep underground in an undisclosed location surrounded by humanity’s best security, and the Commander, an individual whose qualifications were mysterious to everybody but the rich unaccountable bureaucrats who confirmed the appointment. The war lasted several glorious months, in which time humanity killed several dozen aliens. Then an extraterrestrial task force found the base, broke in, and slaughtered just about everybody humanity’d deemed qualified to fight back. The soldiers, scientists, and techs ended up dead. The Commander was captured. Bradford Baggins put on his magic ring and slipped out the back gate, tricksy fobbit that he is.
But now, even as aliens have basically perfected the art of global domination, humanity has devised a totally new branding for their resistance campaign. Bradford has recruited to his side a family member of the original technician, the best doctor he could get under the literally apocalyptic circumstances, and about a half-dozen “soldiers” with no confirmed military training or aptitude. Several of these soldiers gave their lives so that Bradford could obtain for his anti-alien resistance the only individual in all of human history who has actually, conclusively, demonstrably failed to lead one: the Commander.
|Here's me bombing a statue in Toronto. We have ten guys, and we risked four of them to do this. This was the first mission the Commander approved.|
If that sounds bitter, think about it from my perspective. I’ve thrown in with this brand-new powerwashed XCOM project. My boots, armor, kit, and weapon used to belong to men and women who trusted the Commander. Now that we’ve got one hundredth of the resources, and face a much stronger foe, Bradford picked as our leader…the same goddamn Commander. You see how this looks? I’d love to sugar coat it, but I think the Caribbean was nuked, so we’re fresh out. Maybe we can borrow some from our next-door neighbors, the Pan-Continental Alien Hegemony.
Basically I’m giving it two weeks before I eat a laser. If this manuscript ends abruptly, that means my first prediction was right. Take that into account in considering my next one:
We are all completely doomed.