Two More Touchdowns

Alien missions began to come faster for the Earth Monkey Strike Team.  April 22nd brought notification of alien abductions in St. Petersburg.  With Combo and Hughes injured and in the med unit again, the team was led by Lt. “Hardcore” Norris.  To get the full squad more trained, a new rookie, Rookie Mayhugh was invited to come along for the “fun.”

A few days prior to the terror mission in Argentina, an anonymous benefactor on the international Council brought new armor modifications to the North American base.  After the terror mission,  the team wasted no time designing their own look.

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squad07B

Operation Purple Shark went well and within moments of contact, Rookie Mayhugh had her 1st kill against a pack of Thin Men.

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Shortly afterwards, though another Thin Man group appeared on the left flank and caught the team without cover.  Fortunately, Sgt. “Brick” Osborne took care of the situation with a well-placed rocket blast.

As the team moved through the construction buildings, “Black Widow” Roberts took the high ground on the second floor of a taller structure.  With her sniper rifle covering the team, two more sectoids were introduced to the Black Widow’s careful aim.

BlackWidowRoof

Within moments, the area was secured with no casualties.  Rookie Mayhugh, on recommendation from Black Widow, was promoted to Sniper.

Within five days, another ship was spotted over Canada and after scrambling the newly modified Raven, the Earth Monkeys had another mission to get into!  This time, Squad B (Banana Squad or, possibly, Bozo Squad) was formed as Corporal Roberts, husband to Black Widow, took over command of the secondary team.  With Cpl. Hughes also out of medical care, she was included into the team as well.  To add depth to the unit, Rookie Moser was also assigned.

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Operation Blind Chant took place in a remote Canadian wetland and this time it carried a special assignment.  Retrieve a crystalline alien that was often reported inside the vessel.

Shortly after landing the team handled themselves very well when a squad of floaters appeared unexpectedly on the right flank.  Squaddie Moser revealed fine accuracy while under fire and assisted in eliminating the floaters.  Once it was determined the exterior of the ship was secure, Cpl. Roberts ordered the team to an opening on the ship discovered on the far left side.  As the team moved into position the crystal alien formed itself to their presence.   It quickly moved to a position directly next to the ship’s opening.

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Cpl. Roberts ordered Bledsoe, Mayhugh and Moser to lay down covering and overwatch while Cpl. Hughes and Roberts would charge into the ship to capture the crystal alien.  Roberts would provide support as Hughes was trained in the Arc Thrower she lovingly called her “Pokeball.”  It was determined that the ship appeared clear and with the team in position, Cpl Hughes and Roberts charged directly towards the alien!

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Unfortunately, a Thin Man alien had been hiding in the nooks and crannies of the vessel.  He was far enough into the ship no other team member had a clear line of fire and the alien immediately fired on the pair.  Cpl. Roberts was able to put himself between the alien and Cpl Hughes and took the shot onto his shoulder armor.  Thankfully, the attack did little damage.

08_ThinManSurprise

Roberts diverted towards the Thin Man while Cpl. Hughes, issuing a long line of profanity, fired her Arc Thrower at close range into the crystalline entity.  In a double play, both team members were successful.  Cpl Roberts’ shotgun sent the Thin Man sprawling back into an alien console and the crystal alien fell to a heap on the ground, immobilized.

A close call but a complete success!

Afterwards, all members of the team were given accolades.  Sqd. Moser had done well his work early in the mission and was promoted.  Cpl. Roberts was promoted to Sgt and given the nickname “Cobra” for his fast action and thinking in the situation.  Cpl. Hughes began calling him “Cobra Commander.”  Cpl. Bledsoe was promoted to Sgt. as well and the assault trooper was appropriately nicknamed “Werewolf” for his ferocity on the field.

The crystal entity was delivered to the Research department and the team retired for several long drinks at the Barracks.   One question was of major concern.  How long could the Earth Monkeys keep up their run of success?

 

 

Shanghai Shootout

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.

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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.

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The team landed at 1:33 am in a Chinese railyard.  Operation Swift Daze was underway and it appeared to be aptly named.

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Within moments the team encountered a pair of sectoids which were immediately eliminated by Hughes and an excellent shot from Sniper Roberts

Sniper

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.

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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.

FloaterFirefight

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.

HughesTakesItForTheTeam

Ouch.

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.

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He looks SO MAD.

Two in a Row

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.

Squad

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.

first kill

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.

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Pardon The Interruption but, Hey, GenCon!

I just wanted to jump on here real quick and offer a sincere apology for not having a more recent post!  You see, I was surprised a few weeks ago by my middle son who decided he wanted to go Gen Con for his first time ever.  So, after much scrambling, we are headed to Gen Con in nearby Indianapolis!

GenConMy first Gencon was in 1983 when it was still being held at the University of Wisconsin.  I was halfway through high school and about to burst with excitement when I walked into the vendor hall.  I partook in a TSR sanctioned D&D tournament which showed me that railroading PC’s DOES occur at the higher game levels.  (Close to actual quote of the GM at the time.  And yes, I was so mad I STILL REMEMBER IT. “Yeah, that Revenant was supposed to come after the Ranger character in the party.  It was designed for the Ranger to die because he would be too useful later on in the adventure.  IF the party could come together there was a slight chance he could survive…” )

I was a midwestern kid from a small town and a chunk of that town thought for sure roleplaying was the work of the Devil.  I had to find my game books in a dusty hobby shop that specialized in model trains, planes and race cars.  Not that I really cared but I never knew if I was doing any of this roleplaying stuff right.  By the time that summer weekend was over, I had a pretty good idea.  I played in a double blind Gamma World miniatures battle that blew my mind.  I saw my first large scale miniatures wargame that blew my mind.  I saw the first ever fantasy wargame battle strewn out on 30 square feet of convention floor that blew my mind!

Because of my interest in art I spent a large chunk in the artist’s hall and for two days was befriended by Timothy Truman who gave me impromptu art classes.  I remember him showing me the best way to draw legs and arms.  I would take my sketchbook in and sketch next to his table and we would talk about all stuff comicy and geeky.  Needless to say — Mind blown!

I think by Sunday morning of that first GenCon my brain was completely goo.

I’m not really sure how many I’ve attended now.  I attended them in Milwaukee numerous times including one time where everything fell through and I and my friends had no where to stay!  Funny enough, I’ve attended them less now that it moved to Indianapolis and is much closer to me.   The first year it was in Indianapolis I was working from the other side of a vendor table with friend Chris Engle after becoming enamored with his Matrix games, the first story style game I ever played.  I was even pushing my first garage made RPG at the time.  After that, I would go if I could afford to drive up but not attend.  You know,  just to meet old friends who were either going as convention-goers or vendors for dinner.  I don’t think I’ve been in probably five years.

But that’s all past now because I’m headed back.  This time I get to bring the next generation along and start a whole new round of stories, adventures and shennanigans!

I’ll most likely have a post out in the week following the con.  In the meantime, if you want to see a bunch of goofy con pics from a paleo-gamer, feel free to follow me on Instagram where I’ll be posting more than my fair share!  If you’re at the Con, let me know.  I’ll be the tall, graybearded fellow walking around with a nostalgic grin!

Announcements – Annnnnnd before I forget, I’ve been working on the Super’s setting for the solo play and I’ve managed, I think, to come up with a decent hack for the FU RPG.  Very shortly I’ll be presenting that as well as an outline of the up to date gameworld.   Hang in there!

I gotta deal with this pesky game convention thing…