In the last episode of Jarenth Plays XCOM, I diverted another alien terror attack and successfully captured a living Ethereal. I also started work on the Gollop Chamber, a facility that should allow me to make full use of the alien ‘Psi-Link’; while not spoken out loud, the doctors’ implication — that this device might be our last, best and only way to beat back the truly massive UFO now in orbit — is clear. Hopefully, the Ethereal we hold locked up in our alien containment facility right now will be able — and willing — to provide us with more information.
The day starts well, with the Psi Armor research project being all but finished when I reactivate my command console.
It turns out the Psi Armor is a lightweight suit of armor — space leather? — that should, and I quote, “provide a boost to our soldiers [sic] psionic abilities”. That sounds fancy in theory; in practice, it just boils down to boosting the wearer’s Will by a significant amount. That does enhance the effectiveness of their psionic powers, though, so in that sense there’s truth in advertising here.
More important than the power boost, though, is the suit’s secondary effect: according to Dr. Vahlen, the Psi Armor could prove an instrumental link in allowing a human operative to interface with the Psi-Link. I’m tempted to make a ‘plot armor’ joke, but think better of it.
Also, the Psi Armor has a very particular look, as Krellen — the only psionic soldier left in the squad, and therefore the only person capable of wearing this armor — demonstrates here:
With that done, let’s move on to the final item on my research list: interrogating the captured Ethereal! As expected, this interrogation tests our alien containment facility to the limit… but only to the limit.
And what, do you ask, is my reward, for this highly challenging and difficult task?
That’s… okay, I guess that’s… good? I mean, it sounds really cool. It’s just that…
Well, that’s kind of an anti-climax. I was really invested in this whole idea, and it just fizzles like a cheap balloon. If only I had some way of relieving all this left-over hype in some useful, constructive way.
I guess that’ll do.
You might notice that, for the first time in ten or so episodes, Colonel Krellen is not front and center in the squad screen. I actually made a conscious decision to let him sit this one out. It’s really simple: it’s clear to me now that some permutation of Psionic Soldier + Psi Armor + Gollop Chamber is going to be needed in order to breach that massive ship. The Gollop Chamber is being constructed as we speak, and Psi Armors are a dime a dozen with adequate funding, but Krellen is still my only psionic operative. I’ve already hired some more rookies to put through the Psi-lab’s paces, but I’d still prefer not to put Krellen in any more risk than he absolutely needs to be. And this mission doesn’t look all that difficult to begin with.
We’ll just say he’s still getting used to that new suit of armor. Thing looks hella uncomfortable.
Huh. Come to think of it, this is probably it, isn’t it? This might very well be the last Abduction mission I ever do in this Let’s Play. Possibly even the last regular mission, period. One final chance to make my soldiers die in poor, ill-conceived strategies probably involving exploding cars.
No need to rush just yet, though. Let’s just have Ghost-Wever check out the liquor store first.
Ghost-Wever doesn’t actually find anything, but Regular Wulf manages to catch sight of a few Mutons. I’m almost glad it’s Mutons: it feels… familiar, somehow.
Which is not to say I should stop paying attention, of course.
But neither should they.
Hey, liquor store owner!
This image included by special request.
And of course, no mission would be complete without a guest appearance by some Thin Men.
Dramatic camera pose!
Okay, but for real: as flippantly as I’m treating this mission, I went from ‘all clear’ to ‘four Muton Elites on the field’ in the space of a single turn. Plus Thin Men, who are still not entirely harmless for people not wearing Titan Armor. And with all the explosive fighting going on inside, there’s barely any cover left… which means I’ll have to get my cover outside.
Also, my accuracy is quite bad today.
But probably my biggest mistake here is this image:
Yes, that’s Captain Paradox next to a burning car. Yes, his turn is already done. Yes, that’s bad. What makes it even worse is that the car wasn’t burning when I put him there.
So why is it burning now? Well, you may remember my main complaint about cars: you use them as cover, aliens shoot you, the car acts as cover and takes some of the hits, and that’s what causes it to catch on fire. I’m used to this by now, and I’ve been working around that pretty efficiently.
What I hadn’t anticipated was that this works the other way around as well. Which is to say, I shot at an alien using that car for cover after parking Captain Paradox next to it, and the car acted as cover for the alien.
Cars take two turns to explode. Normally, this means they catch on fire in the alien turn, you have a chance to run away in your turn, then at the start of the next alien turn it’s *boom*. But this car caught on fire in my turn…
…you know what, let’s just skip ahead to the inevitable conclusion. You knew what was coming when I first mentioned cars.
In fairness, it’s not the exploding car that killed Captain Pyradox: two Muton Elites hitting him through full cover made sure of that. The exploding car just kind of seals the deal, and acts as a fitting capstone to my long line of XCOM achievements. Which is to say, getting all my Support soldiers killed.
Okay, well, not all of them: Major Wever is still alive! He’s made of sterner stuff, isn’t he? I even pull a Krellen Rocket Gambit on him.
The rest of the mission goes pretty much as-expected: the Muton Elites fall quickly to concentrated fire, and the Thin Men just kind of hang around and bother me for no reason. Cars explode, particles effect, and Wever gets the last kill. As it should be.
And after one final Council report…
…which I spin into some much-needed Foundry upgrades…
…it turns out my earlier suspicion re: final mission was right on, as a cutscene heralds the completion of the nigh-mystical Gollop Chamber.
The Chamber is done, the Armor is worn, and the Soldier is prepped and ready.
Time to end this.