Xenonautical Adventures – Part 22: The First Alien Base
10th of December, 1979, 14:30
Another full inspection completed. It’s not been that long since last time, but with the action over the past few days, I ordered one for all three bases.
I also checked with the Chief on the progress of the research, but the best I got out of him was ‘good’.
10th of December, 1979, 19:05
I found the socks! Major Merrywhiskers had created quite the nest of them behind one of the cupboards. Some of these aren’t salvageable. In fact, it was the smell that finally tipped me off. Even Major Merrywhiskers was avoiding the place now. It was about six socks, I think… hard to tell. My worry now is that she might have more of these hiding spots.
11th of December, 1979, 07:42
The fifth garage and second laser battery are ready in the Euro-African base. Nothing else to report.
11th of December, 1979, 13:28
Oh god, my hunch was right. One of our operatives stationed in Australia tells me that one of their scout-planes has discovered an alien base. They didn’t dare get close enough to take any detailed images, but it seems like they’ve built underground, as we do. We have been asked to deal with it by the Australian government. I probably would have done that regardless. I helped the soldiers go over all their gear before I let them onto Charlie-1.
“Launch Charlie-1! Set course for the alien base.”
This could end awfully. I would have liked a faster dropship. Or a bigger one. Or stronger armour. Or more advanced weapons.
It will take them about 14 hours to get there. I don’t know what to do in the meantime.
12th of December, 1979, 03:30
“Charlie-1 has reached the alien base location, sir!”
“Understood. Tell them they are free to engage, and… tell them good luck. Give those aliens hell.”
I tried getting some sleep. I didn’t manage much. I doubt I’ll be able to calm down before this is over.
Charlie-1 Response Team on the ground. Alien base assault. Weapons at the ready. Alien elevator accessed. Godspeed.
Being transported down into the base is an awkward sensation. It’s been a while since we’ve seen action now, and this is what we have to deal with?
As soon as we are sure everyone has stopped moving, we survey the room. It’s very… sterile. Exact. To a standard that would put any terrestrial military to shame. And aside from the hum of alien energy sources, eerily quiet. And there are two doors out of here; one to the east, and one to the west.
We split into two teams right away. Cpt Cuftbert will cover the west door with Lts Beargal, Berwolf and Niña. Maj Riddium will cover the east with Cpt Herr and Lts Jonely and Troidell. As the alien doors have shown the annoying tendency of self-closing after a short while, Cpt Herr and Lt Niña will have the dubious honour of keeping the doors open as we wait for the assault. They must know we’re here, after all.
And so we wait. One minute. Two minutes. Five minutes. Nothing is coming. Nothing is heard. Surely they know we’re here? Maybe they’re doing the same thing we are?
Fine then. Plan B. If they won’t come to us, we have no choice but to seek them out.
The two groups start crawling down each their own corridor. We have no idea what we might face. Lizards? Grey men? Reapers? Those floating discs? Something new? All of the above?
We move really slowly, not wanting to run head-long into an ambush, but it’s still really quiet. However, once Maj Riddium’s group are halfway down the corridor and can clearly see the door into the next room, it suddenly slides open.
What looks like a big, blue metal-man, like something out of a cheesy 50s sci-fi, is standing in the doorway and it takes a shot at us. Cpt Herr and Lts Jonely and Troidell fire back, and under their combined assault the thing falls over in a smoking heap.
We see at least two more moving about in the strange, red room beyond. One of them starts coming towards us, and Lt Jonely takes a shot at it, but it seems to just bounce off of this one. Regardless, the door closes before it reaches the corridor.
We move up into slightly better positions, and we need only wait a moment before the door opens again. However, this one seems to have learned from its friend, and moves back into the room to take cover after opening the door. We have a brief exchange of fire, but this one seems more resistant to damage than the first one, so it’s still up by the time the door closes again.
On the other side of the base, Cpt Cuftbert’s group are approaching the end of their corridor, when the door also slides open. On this side it’s one of those floating discs, and it unleashes a torrent of plasma bolts straight at Cpt Cuftbert.
Even at this range half of the shots miss, but there’s still plenty that hit. Cpt Cuftbert gets plasma burns all over, but before the thing can fire a second salvo, Lts Beargal and Berwolf blast it into a pile of shrapnel.
Lt Beargal takes out her med pack, and starts treating Cpt Cuftbert’s injuries. None of them too serious on their own, but five plasma burns, even small ones, aren’t that easily ignored.
Before the door closes, we spot what looks like a green metal-man on the far side of the room. We move up to the door and take a look inside again, with Cpt Cuftbert now at the rear, since her armour is a bit worse-for-wear. We no longer see the metal-man, so we close the door again to give Cpt Cuftbert another moment to get her breath back before we enter.
Maj Riddium’s group are also slowly moving into the red room. Cpt Herr spots the metal-man on the far end of the room. As a test, he takes a gas grenade from his belt, and throws it towards the thing.
The thing doesn’t even seem to notice the gas, but it does look in our direction, so the whole group move up to the door to form a defensive line behind it.
The door slides closed again, but before we can re-open it, the metal-man beat us to it. We weren’t expecting it to be that fast. It fires its plasma shotgun straight into Cpt Herr, who gets knocked on his back with parts of his armour melting. Lts Jonely and Troidell return fire, but it takes a full burst from the assault rifle and two blasts from the carbine before the metal-man finally falls. Maj Riddium quickly helps Cpt Herr with his med pack, though the Cpt still blacks out for a moment.
Once he comes to again, he swears he’s okay to keep going. Maj Riddium accepts that, but orders him to stay behind Lts Jonely and Troidell.
As we are doing that, another metal-man comes walking out of the gas cloud.
So the one that just shot Herr came from the side? I guess that would explain how it got to us so fast. The other metal-man fires upon us, but misses. A small mercy. Lt Troidell fires another blast from her carbine which stops the thing’s advance, and Lt Jonely finishes it off. We close the door, and give Cpt Herr a moment more before we move into the room.
Cpt Cuftbert’s group are moving into the storage room they found in the meantime. Lt Niña spots the green metal-man again, across the room. He dives into cover and fires a blast at it, but it’s well-covered itself. Lt Berwolf moves into cover besides Lt Niña and steadies her rifle. She aims as the metal-man turns towards us, and takes it down in one shot that hits it straight in the face.
Lt Beargal is the last one into the room, and we watch the far door for a minute before we start approaching it slowly.
Maj Riddium’s group have all moved into the red room now, and spot yet another metal-man moving in the next room, or next half of this room, maybe. Through an archway into more red interior.
We try to get a good firing location through all the tat in this room, but in the end it’s just Lt Jonely that manages to score a hit. This roused the attention of the metal-man, who comes into our room, but heads straight for Maj Riddium instead of the others. He fires a rocket at it. It doesn’t destroy the metal-man, but it stops it. It attempts to fire back, but misses quite badly.
Lt Troidell moves up and takes cover behind a table of sorts and blasts the thing with her carbine. Bits of it are now falling off, but it’s still standing, so Lt Jonely takes cover besides her and finishes the job.
We quickly check out the room to our east and find it devoid of aliens. It does have a layout of the base, though, and some strange platforms we don’t feel like testing out. We move towards the next bit of red room instead, pondering what all these cabinets are for.
Cpt Cuftbert’s group have moved up to the door to the next room, and Lt Niña opens it. We see strange consoles and things that resemble the holding tanks we have in our own laboratories. Have we found their research room?
Lt Beargal spots another metal-man beyond the holding tanks, but no one can get a clear shot on it.
So Cpt Cuftbert steps up. She empties the entire charge of her scatter laser in that general direction, destroying the vast majority of obstacles between us and the metal-man, which lets Lts Beargal and Berwolf start taking shots at it while Cpt Cuftbert loads up a new battery. Between them, they manage to take it down just as Cpt Cuftbert has finished reloading.
We slowly creep into the room as Maj Riddium’s group are entering the second red room. As we get into the alien laboratory proper and see the sorts of experiments they are working on, we also see two more metal-men. One blue, and one green.
We focus on the blue one first, but it is a lot more resilient than expected, so it manages to close in on us and fire a blast from its plasma shotgun that hits both Lts Beargal and Berwolf before we are able to take it down. Thankfully the green one went down much easier.
We tend to our injuries as Maj Riddium’s group encounter their own difficulties.
One of those floating discs is seen hiding around a corner. We try to line up a shot, but it’s too well hidden behind the wall, so we pop a smoke grenade and wait for it to come out.
Only it doesn’t. It moves away for a bit, and then comes back to that corner area, where we can see enough of it to know what it is, but can’t actually take a shot. We crawl a little closer, but it still shows no sign of jum- flying out at us. So we leave it to Lt Troidell’s Assault training.
She throws a grenade right in front of the thing, and as soon it blows, she sprints forward and dives behind cover before destroying the disc with her carbine.
We check out the side-rooms where we are. Maj Riddium’s group find what looks like it might be the power core for the base, while Cpt Cuftbert’s group find another of those rooms with the strange platforms. It’s empty, so they quickly move on towards a room that contains something that looks sort of like a radar dish, only not quite.
We get ready to exit the red room, when we encounter another metal-man guarding the exit. For some reason it doesn’t seem to actually pay attention to us until Lt Troidell shoots it. Then it starts walking around a table until we put enough shots into it that it falls down. Was it not working right, perhaps? We try to put it out of our minds as move into the next corridor.
Cpt Cuftbert’s group enter the room with the strange contraption, and find it devoid of aliens. The dish-thing keeps constantly moving, though.
According to the layout we found, there’s one more corridor, and then a final room. We can’t read the alien language, so we don’t know what sort of room it is until we get there, but our best guess is it hold the base’s commander. Maybe someone we can capture?
Lt Troidell enters the corridor first, and spots a metal-man at the door at the end, so she ducks back around the corner. We coordinate over the radio, and both groups spill into the corridor at the same time. However, it seems like the metal-man has retreated.
We form up and crawl towards the door, ever alert that maybe the metal-man will come back out. As that doesn’t seem to be happening, we have Lt Niña run up to the door and open it before he ducks out of the line of fire. The metal-man, assuming it’s the same one, is all the way at the back of this room, but not too far for Lt Berwolf.
Before the door closes, we get a fairly good look on the room beyond. There’s a big, transparent globe hovering above a large table, and lots of screens showing… stuff. Possibly some sort of control room or command centre? Though the tech looks way beyond anything we have back at base. I bet the Chief would have killed to have been able to come here and see this.
Once the door slides closed, we move up a little further, stopping about five metres from the door. Lt Niña heads forward and opens the door again, but the room seems quiet. Until he looks to his right and sees a pink metal-man.
He fires a blast that seems to bounce off, then quickly retreats to the group again. We all train our guns on the door, expecting the metal-man to follow. But it doesn’t. After a minute of waiting we realise we’ll have to go in there and get it. So we move three metres from the door, and wait another moment.
That’s when we have a crazy idea. Let’s try to capture the metal-man. Lt Niña almost has to reload anyway, so instead he pulls out his shock-stick. An electric charge or two should work, right?
Once we are ready to execute the plan, we burst into the room. Lt Niña charges at the metal-man while the rest of us provide covering fire. He still has to duck a shot from the thing, but he is able to close the gap and strike the metal-man dead-centre with the shock-stick. It barely moves, but it does seem to have paused. So he strikes it again, putting all his strength behind the blow. It still doesn’t budge, though it seems to shudder slightly. It reaches for Lt Niña with its free hand, so he dives out of the way to let the rest of us blast it to bits.
And that was that. We make a final sweep to make sure we didn’t miss any nasties, but we don’t touch anything else. Best to leave it to the clean-up crew. We give our injured an extra round of medical attention once we’re aboard Charlie-1, and then we strap in for the long flight home.
12th of December, 1979, 04:38
They’re coming back. All of them alive. Though some of them are a bit worse-for-wear. Still, I’m comfortable calling this a success. We should come up with a medal specifically for capturing an alien base, I think. Something with valour, maybe?
I’ll work out the details once I’ve had some sleep.