by Kristin Bezio
So after spending a good long time failing repeatedly to take down UFOs with my Demon and Raptor ships (and then being yelled at by the Council for failing, despite having the ENTIRE PLANET at a level one panic – again, except Argentina, who quit), I FINALLY brought one down and was able to go kill things at it.
I also researched the Psionic Lab, and have been methodically testing my soldiers for mental abilities – and was rather amused that my first positive subject turned out to be my Iranian female Assault, Septic, who pretty much pwns everything on the field when I take her with me. One more thing for her to kill stuff with. Also, the cutscene where she was all “I’m superhuman!” (not literally – she doesn’t talk) was pretty cool.
I haven’t managed to progress any of my Psionics (Septic, my Canadian Heavy, and an Irish sniper named Moira) beyond the first skill, but it’s still kinda cool.
I immediately happen upon the next major plot mission – a UFO landing with a nasty alien called an Ethereal. This critter can possess people (and man, was it upsetting when it possessed Septic, who seriously messed up my squad while I desperately tried to keep them from killing her), and it can also reflect back (some) plasma and laser weapons, but not explosive damage or bullets.
This was the first of its kind, so of course I sent Carlos (the Heavy Argentine) after it with the arc stun weapon. And my highly skilled team killed it. So I reloaded. AND THEY KILLED IT AGAIN.
Here’s the thing about stunning aliens. It doesn’t really work very well unless their health is three or less, so you have to do quite a bit of damage to an Ethereal to get it down there. AND when you stun it, you have to sneak up behind it and STAND RIGHT NEXT TO IT in order to do so. So I have Carlos in Ghost armor sneaking around in corners with a stunner waiting for his teammates to damage the stupid thing enough to stun it while Septic tries to murder them and Moira panics and then shoots her and does 9+ damage.
The other problem is that my squad is so upgraded at this point that managing weapons is really hard – the grenade says it does 5 damage, and the Ethereal has 8 left, but with the bonuses David the Psionic Canadian Heavy has, he throws the grenade and it does 9 and kills it. Or Moira shoots at it with a 7 damage plasma rifle and a 35% chance, and crits it and kills it with 12. Or Camille “Voodoo” Van Damme shoots it with a plasma gun and misses completely, and then it has 14 left and my only option is David’s rocket which is supposed to do 10 and does 17.
I reloaded a lot, because I really wanted to catch the damn thing alive.
The husband suggested hitting it. But I didn’t choose the melee power for either David or Carlos, so I CAN’T EVEN PUNCH IT. I ended up taking two full turns picking at it with standard pistols at 1 and 2 hit points at a time, letting Septic shoot Moira (not dead, but still), and letting the Ethereal mind-shoot both Carlos and Septic (when I got her back) down to two health. But the minute it was down to three hit points, Carlos zapped it. Finally.
I will not be catching any more of them alive. That was a pain in the ass. Shoot to kill from here on out.
Oh, and there’s also a BIG GIANT SHIP hovering over Rio de Janero. I should probably do something about that.