I just got done with another playthrough of Enemy Unknown and decided to try my hand at X-COM-based fan fiction. The overall idea is a slightly more nuanced and realistic portrayal of how an organization X-COM would operate if it actually existed in real life, how it would be created, how world governments would react to the news of an alien invasion, etc. What I have written below is an outline for how the first part of the story will go. I am not sure which medium would be best suited for this...I've vacillated between a series of YouTube shorts and a series of novellas. The reason for these choices in media is my belief that the story possibilities of the X-COM universe lend themselves really well to some kind of episodic format.
Here's the beginning of the first installment.
Our story begins on a rainy night in the city of Shanghai.
Shaojie Zhang, a low-level Triad gangster, drives his flatbed truck through the wet, crowded streets. Zhang wishes the windshield wipers could wipe away the people, cars, and bikes in front of him, not just the raindrops on the glass. In the truck’s back compartment, several of his “associates” sit huddled around a sealed crate of American-made weapons. It is his job to smuggle this cargo into war-torn Russia by any means possible. All he has to do is reach the bribed government agent and exchange the guns for a few kilos of confiscated opium. Such a trivial job that it seems like an insult for a man of his bloodline.
The truck passes through a busy intersection when Zhang hears a thunderous slam to his left, accompanied by the bright orange flash of a gas explosion. People on fire run through the streets, dispersing the crowd in some places and clogging it up in others, in a futile attempt to put themselves out in the rain...but the rains have stopped.
Zhang peers up through the driver’s side window. The sky is obscured by a massive object hovering just above the city block. Columns of light spill out from the anomalous object’s underside.
The panicking and screaming in the streets builds to a violent crescendo. Zhang floors the gas pedal and repeatedly honks the horn. In the truck’s back compartment, he hears his comrades arming up.
Zhang veers the vehicle sharply to the right to avoid the impact of a strange object dropped out of the massive craft above. It is a rounded cube-like feature made of a shiny metal, about the height of a man. The thing opens up from all sides, unfolding rigid flaps outward like the wings of an insect, revealing writhing white masses inside.
Something climbs out...an indistinct blur in the truck’s shaky rear view mirror...looking like a a hairless orangutan...with an eerie quality that Zhang cannot articulate in the heat of the moment...something unsettling about the way it crawls. What Zhang assumes to be its face carries a pair of bulbous black orbs...the eyes of pestilence...and no nose or ears.
The un-man extends a limb...a limb wrapped around something that reminds Zhang of a pistol...which lets out a blast of green light towards an incoming crowd of panicked pedestrians...causing several people in the impact area to be evaporated by temperatures as hot as a star…stirring the mass of people to turn and flee in the opposite direction...as more white forms leave the pod, spreading fire and ruin with their strange green projectiles.
Zhang’s heart beats like a jackhammer. After getting some distance away from the strange creatures, he slides open the viewport separating his seat from the cargo compartment. In the rearview mirror, Zhang sees his comrades braced in firing positions, weapons pointed towards the cargo compartment’s bay door. He slides the viewport shut.
A bridge approaches overhead as Zhang rushes the truck through the rain-soaked streets. Trails of green light fly off of the bridge’s surface, signalling the creatures’ battle with the police. Another pod crashes down near the truck’s path, piercing the bridge and destroying several cop cars in the process. Two more creatures rush out of the shell and climb onto the hull of Zhang’s vehicle.
Zhang hears the sounds of screaming and gunfire in the compartment...only a few feet behind him. There are sick sounds of disembowelment...the smell of molten metal...and a cacophony of animalistic cries. His comrades are silent. Zhang feels the vibration of one of the creatures dropping down into the compartment.
A metro bus covered in flames careens out of control, tipping over and sliding right in front of Zhang’s truck. The creature in the cargo compartment is smacked against the wall by the impact. Zhang slides a pistol out of his coat, turns around in his seat, and slides open the viewport.
Inside the cargo compartment, Zhang sees the ivory creature recovering its footing amidst the bodies of the other Triad soldiers. The thing turns its head in a birdlike manner to face Zhang. He sticks his armed hand through the hole and empties out an entire clip. The monster dies gurgling in a pool of its own blue blood mixing with the red blood of those it had just killed.
Zhang turns back around and guns the accelerator once more.
The vehicle clears the chaos in the city and makes way for the outskirts. The strange presence, like a massive island in the sky, looms over the city miles behind. Intermittent blue flashes punctuate the orange tones of Shanghai in flames.
To be continued.