@unmanneddrone: Yeah… though for the same engine I’m baffled by how casually buggy it can be sometimes, anytime I try to ‘donate’ items to my valkyrie the game hard crashes, the Warrior Maiden’s valhalla ability only reaches back 1 turn instead of 2 (like advertised) it’s kinda awkward but endearing. Hard to say!

X-com storytime!

Classic Ironman game, Second Wave options: Damage Roulette, Not Created Equal, New Economy. . Satalites are in all countries (don’t ask me how near that was), everything’s proceeding well. Alien base mission has dropped terror across the globe, the first Ghost armor has come off the production line and everyone’s already in Titan armors. Alien abduction mission, only 2 countries being attacked, the aliens have really let themselves go it seems. construction site, no biggie.

The main players for this mission are my pair of col. Snipers

Mary “Zero” Mckay from scotland, gifted sniper with a severe couterance, following eerily in the steps of The Lady Grey… So sure of herself that despite being the most senior of soldiers she only goes in with skeleton armor and raw guts.

Holly “Lockdown” Hall, a blue eyed, blond haired bonny lass straight from the US of A. The team dotes on her regardless of her staggering kill count and she’s chosen to be the first to deploy with the new ghost armor. She’s their favorite support, always there with a wink and a smile, or a reaction sniper shot and a followup medkit. She likes being a healer.

between the two of them doubletapping no mission has been too tough, no challenge too great.

So Holly turns her invis on and skips her way off to high ground, she spots a berzerker, muton and 3 heavy floaters. Alright, my team advances to cover and puts enough fire into the berzerker to draw it out and drop it. the muton freaks out and backs into fog of war no biggie.

Second turn my sniper pops the head off one of the floaters,they freak out but can’t do much for cover except fly, one down, two damaged severely (damage roulette really hammers me here) Assault uses Run and Gun and dashes underneath one of the floaters and puts a 2 and a 10 damage scatter laser into it’s underside, heavy lasers and a few well placed sniping shots put it away. Last one dashes back and cowers under the hail of plasma. additional moves reveal 2 more mutons and 1 berzerker. Berzerker goes down to the SHIV (19 damage crit!) and related fire.

this is where things go bad though, the shot revealed my sniper, she’s behind boxed but the cowering heavy floater misses her (total cover behind partial cover!) However, the plasma melts the boxes to slag and suddenly she’s exposed. The muton that fled earlier comes back and the resulting crossfire and a lucky crit between the 3 active mutons ensures that Holly goes down and is bleeding out. Who had the only medkit? Oh right, it was her.

3 turns until death

Suddenly with the squad’s darling bleeding out they’re running recklessly into the darkness like rookies, the support, the heavy, everyone is suddenly heedless of consequence. one double tap rounds from Mary kills the offending Heavy Floater that started this mess and the followup shot takes a muton to 1. The coward muton is killed from a Bullet storm from the heavy’s laser gun, the SHIV skids forwards and finishes one of the crossfire mutons. My support takes his extra 3 squares to a wall and lofts an alien grenade to soften the remaining one and kill it’s cover. Assault moves over but can’t reach it.

2 turns until death.

My Assault shotguns the last visible muton in the face…. but the mission doesn’t end. Everyone takes full runs towards the last black spot on the map, time is running out, Holly’s rasping breaths echo loudly in their ears, even my protege Lady Grey is far more exposed then ever before in hopes of plying her psychic talents towards getting Holly out of there. The crew have taken some fire at this point from recklessness but the Titan armor is holding, there will surely be a few lengthy hospital stays after this

1 turn until death.

I still can’t see the last area, my Assault pops run and gun and does a full move into the heart of darkness. reveals a berzerker and a muton. The muton runs backwards to take cover against a wall, full cover, a serious pain, the berzerker comes straight up to my Assault and bellows in his face. Unfased he stands his ground as an alien grenade tags both the berzerker, the muton and more importantly, the muton’s full cover, as the berzerker charges the new source of pain the assault puts a double scatterlaser shot in his back, first misses, second nets 6 damage or so. Twin heavy laser shots take out the muton, it’s only the berzerker now, Mary steps out of cover and stands naked before the stars just to get line of sight to use a mental power…. 34%, berzerkers are too inflamed to care much about their brain sizzling all that much more… but it scores! 5 more damage down, another missed fire and then a SHIV shot, puts the berzerker, the last thing standing between everyone getting home to *2 points of life remaining*

Last guy to move is my support, nicknamed “Missionary” he has moved into position last round, he’s got an 80+% chance but there can be no uncertainty… He runs directly up to the hulking berzerker with his light plasma rifle and places the gun directly against the back of it’s head intent on earning his namesake and delivering dear Holly from death’s door.

he pulls the trigger at 100% to hit

A single damage point.

The round ends and the Berzerker’s brutal 13 point counterattack doesn’t hurt nearly as bad as the sound of Holly’s death rattle in the ears of her closest compatriots… they had struggled and risked everything to try to get her out alive. and now that risk was all for naught. There’s no going back. That was the deal for the Ironman. Everyone knew overconfidence was a risk, that new technology can be dangerous without the tactics to back it up. With everything going so well in the overall war how could they be defeated by this? It’s just hard to believe…

the team casually ends the berzerker’s life and get onto the Skyranger… a regretful Ops man informs the team that operation that in retrospect had been ominously named “Cold Prophet” had been…. carried out

No one would ever use the term “Success”