The team is quickly formed and sent out to assist the resistance on the ground. It's another brutal attack from ADVENT, and it's our job to stop it. The team itself is much more variable than it once was. The med bay, unused for so long now sees itself as a rotating door. New patients come in, and healed patients leave to get shot again. The injuries are well within our capabilities to treat, but it is still a sobering though. Some of these soldiers have only narrowly missed being classified as dead instead of merely injured.
We arrive on the outskirts of town. We didn't have time for a proper, stealthy insertion, but this should still do nicely. The shadow chamber had warned us of a new variant of alien, and the team does spy it quickly: the hulking muton berserker.
Just look at the health on that thing! Good grief. JCan and Culise both fire into it, but only serve to enrage it. Van Wezel uses his shotgun for the killing blow, felling the beast. Susanne and Lovenought work together to bring the supporting trooper down. The final trooper retreats backwards towards the main building that ADVENT has focused their attention on. Shots from a mec trooper killing harmless civilians can be heard in the distance.
The team advances slower than I'd prefer, but the river between us and them provides little in the way of cover. ADVENT has the building clearly defended, with a mec and two soldiers standing on the roof ready for us. It's rare to see them smart enough to use a height advantage against us and I don't relish the thought of taking that building from the ground, but it needs to be done.
The mec rains missiles down upon Culise and Van Wezel, throwing Culise into a panic and he retreats in temporary fear. Susanne joins the fight, only for the aliens to unleash another foe upon us.
In surprise, her shots go a little to the right, impacting a fuel container and blowing the cover of two more troopers and a berserker. The blast strips the shielding from them, but does prompt them to attack earlier than I would have liked. We've found all the patrols, but we are outnumbered 8 to 6. Target rich environment. JCan attempts to even the odds by hacking into the mec, succeeding and giving a large tempo swing. Van Wezel and Lovenought eliminate the faceless behind Susanne, which at least keeps the team from being flanked. For now.
ADVENT in a display of true cruelty neglects to fire on us, choosing instead to target the nearby helpless civilians. It makes our job in killing them easier, but I mourn the useless loss of life. One of their troopers makes a break towards Lovenought, using his blade and rendering him unconscious. I wonder if he intentionally targeted the one member of the team that could have cured the stunning effect. No other civilians in sight, the new berserker charges Susanne, while the other soldiers fire at the mec, destroying it.
JCan tries to awaken Lovenought, but to no avail. Opting instead to fire on the berserker, he sends it into a blind rage. Van Wezel flanks the trooper that took down Lovenought, but fails to kill him. Spyhawk does not fail in his shot from afar. Culise recovers from his fear and throws more bullets into the raging hulk. JCan and Susanne find themselves the victim of an ADVENT grenade, only to watch their grenader attract the attention of the hulk. The hulk smashes into the ADVENT soldier, stunning him and injuring him. Out of cover, JCan takes a brutal wound from another soldier.
Susanne and JCan use grenades of their own on the stacked group. Susanne sets JCan up with three kills in a single grenade. The odds are much more in our favor now. Van Wezel uses the new skulljack to great effect, quickly killing the shieldbearer but taking large feedback damage in return. He'll definitely feel that later. Culise eliminates the last trooper. Seeing the rest of the ADVENT forces go down, a nearby faceless gives up the charade and charges our forces, serving no threat but giving us ample firing practice. Or in the case of Van Wezel, fencing practice.
The mission is a success, but at a cost. Only Spyhawk came out uninjured. The rest of the team will have to spend time in med bay, some for at least a month. Unfortunately, soon after the mission, a request comes from Mr. Mysterious to rescue a VIP, an engineer that would do well to assist us and provide some much needed intel. We don't have the troops available for such a mission, and I decline. (In retrospect, I should have recruited newbies to attempt the mission. They're cheap and I could use a few more bodies. I didn't realize that recruitment was instant, in the original you spent a few days for them to be flown over.) Seeing weakness, the rest of the resistance are disheartened, and pledge fewer supplies to us each month. (At least supposedly. The flavor text says this happened, but my income remains the same)
Shen comes to me with a new finished project from the proving grounds; the E.X.O Suit.
It comes with more durability (+1 health over the other heavy armor, and +1 armor) and a hard point for a heavy weapon. Shen only has a wrist-mounted heavy launcher for use currently, but says she might be able to come up with new and better weapons, if she had the time and resources.
(Let me quickly go over how armor works. Like the first game, armor adds health points to the soldier. The first upgrade we have is the predator armor, which adds 4 health and an extra utility slot to each soldier. The armor stat decreases damage done by the amount of armor, but can be stripped by explosives. Unlike the first, damage to armor health does require recovery time. Lovenought took 3 damage, well under the 4 from armor, but still required 7 days in the med-bay. As well, like weapons most armor is done as a "squad upgrade". Pay one cost, and the entire squad is upgraded. No need to build individual sets of armor.
The proving grounds though allows for projects that each award only 1 item. Some, like the EXO suit always give the same item, while others like "Experimental Ammo" reward a random ammo utility item. One beauty of the proving ground is that it uses salvage to create new items, rather than supplies. Mostly. The skulljack takes 25 supplies, but it's unusual.)