With several members in the medical wing, two new recruits were pulled into the action. One had seen limited action, the second, Rookie Brandie Roberts had seen none at all.
Reports came in that a sweep and clear assignment was needed in Alexandria, Egypt and Earth Monkey Strike Team scrambled a squad to address the problem. Directly after landing contact was made with a small group of sectoids. Almost before the Ranger’s jets had cooled, Rookie Roberts had her first kill while Assault trooper Norris cleaned up the other.
Within minutes, Operation Shattered Engine was a complete success and the team was riding high on the way back home. Once back at base, Rookie Roberts was promoted into the Sniper division and Rookie Osborne was assigned as a Heavy class trooper. Norris was promoted to Corporal.
However, the fun times did not last. The terror level had spiked horribly in South America and a report came in that aliens had planted several bombs on a key bridge in Brasilia, Brazil. The objective of Operation Dark Line – to neutralize the enemy threat, find the bomb’s location on a large bridge and disable it. Led by two corporals, Niedzwiecki and Norris the same squad was sent in to handle the problem.
At first, it seemed to another cake walk as the team moved up the two lanes of the high bridge filled with abandoned cars and semi-trucks. Sqd Osborne, on point with Corporal Norris, detected a new kind of alien. A creature which looked vaguely human but moved quickly. Directly after reporting it, the creature moved and fired a poisonous weapon catching both Corporal Norris and Squaddie Roberts in a thick poisonous cloud. Sqd. Roberts, taking the worst of the poison, panicked and dropped down behind the power conduit the two were working on disabling.
Corporal Niedzwiecki was able to get to Roberts and use his medikit to pacify the poison. As Roberts moved out, the squad leader went back up the center line to rejoin Sqd Osborne. Norris, having held his breath, shrugged off the poison quickly and dispatched the alien.
Two sectoids who had gone unnoticed then ambushed Corporal Niedzwiecki. Osborne, currently on overwatch as the two leap frogged between cars, was able to take the first sectoid down. However, the second fired a shot directly into Cpl Niedzwiecki who went down but somehow stayed alive.
Niedzwiecki limped to cover, dodged an exploding car, and with what was left of his battle armor falling off of him, made the call to take himself out of the fight.
The three remaining squad members worked quickly to dispatch the remaining aliens.
Osborne provided covering and suppressing fire…
Which allowed Sqd. Roberts to get into position to score her first head shot with her shiny new sniper rifle.
With the bridge now quiet of enemies, the squad was able to find the bomb and, with a sigh of relief, get the large alien explosive defused with very little time left. Between the poison and the sectoid ambush, everyone besides Osborne had been damaged or injured. To make matters worse, XCOM command notified the team it appeared more targets were inbound to their position. The team scrambled to get themselves into cover.
Again, the new human-like aliens appeared and this time from nowhere. possibly dropping down from the bridge wires high above. Unfortunately, for the aliens, the team was ready. Osborne eliminated one almost immediately as it landed on the trailer of a semi-truck.
The second made the drastic mistake of landing directly next to Corporal Norris. The experienced assault trooper took the moment to introduce the alien to effectiveness of his combat shotgun.
With the area contained and the bomb defused, the team gathered up their injured medic, the bodies of the aliens and whatever tech they could locate quickly.
Upon return all members of the squad were promoted. However, the mission had taken a chunk out of the overall squad sending three members to the med unit for recovery. Corporal Niedzwiecki, a staple on the team, would be out for 17 days as he recovered from his wounds.
The next mission, whatever it might be, would rest in the hands of less experienced strike team members.