Fears that a squad of untrained rookies would have to be sent into danger while a chunk of the team rested in their hospital beds proved to be unfounded. Nearly four quiet weeks passed with the XCOM satellites watching the skies and agents pouring over information from around the world. The North American base took that opportunity to move forward with construction and research.
The new alien was dubbed a Thin Man and an autopsy was performed providing new anatomical information. Weapons and materials were analyzed and word spread of possible new armor and beam weapons. Leadership underwent training and the squad size was expanded from four to five. Finally, the governing power, The Council held their monthly review and found the work, so far, to be excellent.
The project gathering the most attention from the Earth Monkey Strike Team was the space set aside for building an “alien containment unit.” Everyone knew what that meant and word got around from the tech division that a new item called an Arc Thrower was being built so that some “lucky” soldier could “stun” an alien into submission. Needless to say, the team was “thrilled” with the idea.
On April 7th, word came in the aliens had resurfaced. Three simultaneous attacks across the world. The North American base chose the abductions occurring in China and within an hour the Strike Team was decided and the SkyRanger prepped for Shanghai. Word came down from command that an objective would be added, use the Arc Thrower to stun and capture a live alien. One Arc Thrower was issued to Corporal Norris, the second was issued to Squadie Hughes who actually volunteered for the job.
With four experienced soldiers heading in with new equipment, it was decided to give the bench some depth and Rookie Bledsoe was given some time at the plate.
The team landed at 1:33 am in a Chinese railyard. Operation Swift Daze was underway and it appeared to be aptly named.
Within moments the team encountered a pair of sectoids which were immediately eliminated by Hughes and an excellent shot from Sniper Roberts
Another new alien species was discovered, this time an odd half alien, half machine creature that could fly. They’ve been dubbed “floaters.” The squad seemed concerned for all of five seconds before Corporal Hughes demonstrated that gunfire seemed to work just fine in putting them back on the ground.
After an intense exchange of gunfire, the floaters appeared to also be bad shots and Sgt. “Combo” Niedzwiecki was able to drop the last floater.
Afterwards, Sgt. “Hardcore” Norris reminded everyone they had come all the way from China to “catch one alive.” and that he hoped there would be a few more. Hughes retorted by patting her Arc Thrower and saying, “Got my Pokeball right here, Sergeant.”
The Earth Monkeys continued their sweep of the graveyard and for a moment thought the mission was over. Finally, Sgt. Norris, advancing on the left flank, spotted two sectoids trying to disengage. The team went into action and Sgt. Norris and Squaddie Hughes armed their Arc Throwers.
With the team in position and the sectoids flanked, Sgt. Norris agreed to charge in first as he seemed to have the most experience charging face first into “shit storm crazy,” and reminded everyone they had given the tag “Hardcore” for a reason. All agreed and “Hardcore” made his move. Unfortunately, the sectoids made theirs as well and as Sgt. Norris charged the sectoids retreated further. The result was he found himself out of range of his arc thrower and in close range of two dangerous sectoids. Left with minimal cover and at close range he was a sitting duck.
Realizing what was occurring, Rookie Hughes dashed forward through a freight car, putting herself in the clear and open while yelling as a distraction. She fired on one of the sectoids but missed. Regardless, her move worked and at least one of the sectoids focused on her. Sgt. Niedzwiecki was able to put down the other sectoid with his assault rifle, leaving only the one focused on Hughes.
Rookie Hughes then took a massive blast from the remaining sectoid and staggered backwards obviously wounded. Distracted, the shot gave “Hardcore” enough time to close the distance and fire his arc thrower. In a flash of ball electricity the sectoid collapsed, twitching and nearly unconscious. Rookie Hughes then collapsed (with only 1 point of health left.)
Except for the near death of Rookie Hughes, the mission was dubbed a full success as the sectoid was secured and transferred back to the North American base. All squad members had performed admirably and Rookie Hughes’ action to possibly sacrifice her life for Sgt. Hughes did much to rectify the rookie’s past actions. Upon return to the base she was transferred to the med unit and was expected to make a full recovery after approximately two weeks. She was also promoted to Corporal for her actions during the operation.
The sectoid was transferred to the new containment cell and current plans are being implemented for interrogation.