X-Com Chronicles: Prophet

by Skonar
X-Com, Chronicles of the Apocalypse: Prophet - 1 - An alien world.

--- Aldous Huxley Emporium, Bernard's Square, March 4th 2084, 20:32.

"Sing a song of Posies, Ashes singing lullabies! Senators fall from their hall, and all of MegaPol couldn't put them together again" The trickster leapt out from behind a display for NutriVend synth-snacks, a mask covering the top of its face. The background sounds of the Aldous Huxley Emporium, finest real shopping experience in Mega-Primus, filtered away.
"What?" A corporate executive, suit clashing horribly with his date's spray-on bodysuit, recoiled backwards. His date seemed startled, the anti-gravity hair-jewellry twined into her hair carried her red hair over her face as she slipped backwards, as if she were underwater. The pair had been on an excursion, he to buy her some trinket and undoubtedly find her favor, she to happily spend his money for him. Being confronted with another person in such a direct fashion simply wasn't something either were equipped for.
"Didn't you hear I? Sixpence for Rye, ravens in a pie" The masked trickster leered forward, green clothing seeming archaic. The white plastic tiling reflected the green tones of the trickster's suit, somewhere behind him a holodisplay flickered.
"I think it's a street performer. Quite archaic, but..." The executive's date offered, running a hand back over her hair, settling it to hang in the air behind her head, accentuating her shoulders. A slight flick of her head set her hair into a complex swirl. "Give it a few creds, maybe it'll go away."
The executive brought out a cred-transfer card hesitantly, but the trickster ran for a nearby service door unexpectedly. A sensor flickered above the door, and it opened just as the trickster reached it. The executive and his date stared after it. "Perhaps it's part of the Senate's aesthetic ordinances?" He ventured.
Drawing back into the industrial heart of the building, the trickster discarded his mask. No one understood him, or them. No one ultimately understood. It wasn't his fault, words just didn't come as easily now. He got distracted midsentence, sometimes moved without wanting to. But he wasn't alone anymore. How could he be? He could almost hear the others. A shaft of light caught the healing laser-burns on his face, slowly becoming a cleanly lined scar. A triangle, representing a pyramid. Rays bursting from its tip, representing the star, Sirius. Jagged lines crawling up the triangle, representing the long path to the truth. The truth that they were coming. They were coming, and he would hear them, and sing in their glory...

--- Infolines, Mega-Primus Infonets.

"Spray-on Bodysuits revolutionized revealing fashions in 2077 and onwards, as the full ramifications of financial success by space-miners in the Frontiers hit home. Asteroids rich with Elerium not only brought home the bacon for many major corporations, but also funding the completion of the Mega-Primus city project earlier this year. Introduced By Richard Gautier, quick-cooling Nyloplex polymers are used. Originally intended for practicality, thinner spray settings 'showed' more and more, with less and less skin revealed! The trophy wives certainly found use for this new technology application" - A look back at the seventies, 'Fashion!', a documentary by Jacob Keeble. Aired on Sensovision Channel 9, May 3rd 2081.
"Aldous Huxley Emporium, named for one of science fiction's greatest writers, is conveniently located in downtown Mega Primus! Five levels of shopping extravaganza, place your orders just as easily as you do at home, or take your items with you! Touch and feel - For real. NutriVend - Your Friend." 'Aldous Huxley Emporium' promotional Sensovid 33, Produced by NutriVend Advertising for NutriVend, Aired June through September 2083.

--- Temple of the New Visitor, an underground sanctuary, March 4th 2084, Late Evening.

The Temple of the New Visitor was a face. It's surface a church for the masses, those who would seek to know creation by knowing its masters. Those who once attempted to gift humanity with Elerium, but man shunned them. Then the gift of Zrbite and the once glorious molecular control network, but again we shunned them. We traveled to the stars, their home, and brought shame upon ourselves a third time.
Seeking to avoid this fate a fourth time, the Archon brought the church to life once more. Funded it, and put a quiet face over the true glory, the true revelations. In the halls above fine tapestries divided hall from hall, laser-carved walls of synthwood added a somber tone and the public came and learned what minor truths they could feebly grasp. The masses came and went, and occasionally, the few were chosen. Picked to receive the higher blessings. The Archon knew they would return, he himself had received their kiss. He had the sign of Sirius burned into his cheek as a sign of devotion. It was all preordained in the book of stars. A real book, ancient pages covered in hieroglyphs. The leather cover was the skin of the first heretic, he who sinned by casting his eyes away when they first came. It foretold the masters' second coming, man's visit to the stars. Its crinkling pages told of him, his rise to power, his refounding of the church. All was revealed. It told of how in the weeks to come the masters would return once more to enlighten men, how the senate would foolishly welcome back those who would defy the workings of creation... and how the Prophet would arise to lead the Chosen to glory, saving mankind from its own folly.

--- Infolines, Mega-Primus Infonets.

"... The Prophet rose from civilizations past, bloodlines running back to draw on the wisdom of generations gone by. The Prophet was to face those who defy, and conquer them. Then would the Prophet be ready to lead us to sup at the Master's table..." - Book of Stars, Prophecy of the Prophet's coming, Translated from original text by Transline 5.00 Alpha.
"Cursed is their name! Those who attack gods, those who deny us our right to glory! Is it any wonder they have left? There have been no great battles, there have been no atrocities against us. It is they who attack the masters and sully the name of mankind in their eyes" Sermon by Johan Goulen, May 19th 2079, shortly after the refounding of the Church of Sirius.

--- Unknown, The Future.

The wind whipped over her shaven head. She could smell the burnt air of the world beyond Mega-Primus on the wind, moving too quickly for the barrier walls to deal with. A slow smile formed on her lips. She could smell them, too. Somewhere past the wind. The muzzy organic smell, the feeling. A faint tingle in the back of her mind, shaping itself towards a voice.
"Turn Around."
Her view of the city returned as she opened her eyes and turned. The roof of the building was flat and featureless, in the distance she could make out the spotlights illuminating the senate building, a ragged crater beside the rubble that was its west wing. The sky was a murky gray by the illumination of the city lights, low clouds heavy with rain and pollution. She saw the roof access door. It slid open at someone's approach. He was blonde, tall, utterly human. She couldn't see more than that, that and the feeling of helplessness. He could do nothing now. The wind picked up strength and as he walked closer it whipped his hair back and forth.
"Sergeant, we need you ready to go, they're prepping. MegaPol should be giving us the first alerts any minute..." He spoke, a voice flat with underlying trauma thrown aside in the name of purpose.
She couldn't make out the detail, perhaps because of the wind... Perhaps she didn't need the detail. A smile flickered to her lips. The tingling expanded, a wave of numbness followed by fire. Her back arched reflexively, almost in pleasure. The air became oily, the ground shifted away from her feet. She felt as if she was falling for a moment, burning sensations drifting away for a moment. Dizziness and then the world seemed not to matter anymore. Just the warmth.
"They're Here." Someone said nearby. It took a moment for her to realize the voice was her own. It rose up behind her, close to the building. So close she could feel the warmth radiating from its body. The shadow climbed over the roof. The man stared fearfully up behind her, then at her, almost as shocked. The faint shadowed shape of something almost like skin rose, and then she made out the sounds of the engines, a dull keening whine accompanied by the throb of its heartbeat. Wind rushed past her, the man was pushed backwards, struggling against the gale.
"I'm here." Her voice didn't sound like it was alone anymore. The fire within her head surged, extended down her spine and it flooded into the rest of her body. Bits of plaste-crete sprayed to the sides as the roof cracked. A new rumbling sound could be made out. He was thrown back, the roof shook and sunk away from her in pieces. The fire within spread out from her body, and into the world... But, it wasn't her body anymore, was it?...

--- Angel Heart Heights, Apartment 405a, March 5th 2084, 01:03.

A scream echoed through the darkness.
"Lights! Lights goddamnit! Lights" Nyann yelled out into the darkness pleadingly. It obeyed causing neon lamps mounted in the ceiling to flicker into life, dull pings echoing in the confined space of her room. The dull white walls and pressed-fiber tile ceiling continued to be illuminated, and a The dull rumble of Mega-Primus acted like a blanket on her nerves. She watched the door worriedly, but she was calming down slowly.
Footsteps found their way to her door, an LED on the palmlock facing her turned green and the cloth covered framework whisked aside, displaying the corridor, and Nyann's 'Mother'. She stepped in, over the gap of cracked tiles which separated hall carpet from the bedroom rug and towards Nyann's bed. Her mother's face was wrinkled, slight lines to either side of her lips that would crinkle if she smiled, deep laugh-lines beside her wide almond shaped eyes. Nyann never remembered her like that, though.
She always saw her 'Mother' as the slim-built woman she held onto in panic, watching a dirt encrusted door. Willing it to never open, but a few moments later it did...

--- Sewers of the Roswell Urban Complex, a hideout, June 2067, 23:52.

The flimsy door splintered under the first impact. Under the next it shattered, the trooper's armored boot punching through easily. Flashlights mounted under weapons swept across the room. The children screamed, Nyann among them. The air seemed somehow thicker as the adults, Nyann's parents aiding, willed the invaders to stop. Flashes of dark red armor, shouts passed by overhead. Gunshots. She made out a voice in the darkness.
"Stop! Surrender or die" The single clear voice was followed by a dull cracking noise nearby the adults. The thinly haired form of a tall and thin man, red blood covering his face, lay on the chaotic flooring of the sewer hideout. An old-style Psi-Amp's bulk, the main organic transponder cylinder covered in blood, was held by a trooper standing over him.
Another holding a submachinegun of some kind wavered, started backwards, Screamed in panic. She looked up at the tiny vents in the ceiling, originally meant to let out buildups of explosive gasses in the sewers. Dull green mist began to pour from them, swirling into the room's air. It smelled faintly of disinfectant, she clung to a woman's leg, pressing her face against the woman's knee to try and get away from the horrible smell and the noise, the reality of what was happening. Her hands began to slip, her vision blurred as she fell over, staring up. A man in panic dropped his weapon, pulling off his helmet. She could only just make out his eyes, tiny eyes... human eyes...

--- Infolines, Mega-Primus Infonets.

"In 1947 first contact with extra-terrestrial life occurred. In early 1999 further contact was made in the form of well documented abductions and sightings. Shortly a covert war waged by X-Com, the Extra-terrestrial combat unit, erupted worldwide in an attempt to ensure the security of humanity from otherworldly threats. As is well documented, they succeeded, and were disbanded. In 2040 a new Alien threat emerged, operating from underneath the seas. Again, as is well recorded, the Aliens were beaten, the Alien city-ship Tleth detonating as it climbed into the skies to begin a reign of terror over humanity. Alien pollutants from this cataclysmic explosion came close to wiping out all life on earth. X-Com became a singular organization dedicated to the defense of humanity from Alien threats while coordinating with any governments in place." A summary of X-Com and the early Alien threats, by Dean Wallis, Published in 2058 by GalactoPublishing inc.
"The Sectohumes are not a threat to humanity. All we want is a chance to live free. The eldest of us were human once, and we are a legacy of victims. Is it right to call us aliens when our origins are human? We may be human no longer, but we are not Sectoids, nor are we aliens! We thank humanity and the North American Alliance for allowing us to live in our few new communities, no longer in hiding... But it is wrong to discriminate against any who have been scarred by the Alien Wars" Speech by Sandra Beaumont, 12th February 2068.

--- Angel Heart Heights, Apartment 405a, March 5th 2084, 01:19.

Sandra wasn't her real Mother. Nyann's parents died in the X-Com assault on their hideout. They thought that Nyann, her family, her friends... were all Sectoids. It caused a bitter taste in the elders' mouths. Those that were now dying. The relics. Those who could remember the Sectoids and what they did trying to take over the planet. Earth. They had been fought back and defeated, but, they left behind Nyann and others like her. Sectohumes. Hybrids. Mistakes.
The door shut itself behind her Mother... Sandra, and Nyann considered the glass of chocolate milk in her hands. Comforting words. Always comforting words after the nightmares, after being turned down for job after job. Nyann made her way to the door that led onto the tiny balcony of the room. Sandra had been there for Nyann after the elder ones 'Convinced' X-Com to leave the Hybrids alone, forming the Mutant Alliance to try and protect all those who were scarred into existence by the wars against the Aliens.
She shook her head quietly, the door opening for her as she walked. It wasn't fair. She was only three years old when they took away her life. In the process, she gained a new one. A way to live above the ground, no longer be a rat scuttling away underneath humanity's feet. Now to be a freak to be spurned and hated under the heavy UV daylight of the dying earth. None of the corporations would hire her, and every day the family had to rely more and more on the neighbors. Sandra had been one of the loudest voices in the old days, in the fight for some sort of equality, but somehow everyone could forget the work she did to free them all. 'Human nature'? Ironic, ultimately. Money was tight, and Sandra adopted four hybrid youths last year to keep them from needing to turn to crime.
The door opened itself to let Nyann onto the balcony. A faint breeze drifted east to west across the slum. The building complex as a whole was owned by the Mutant Alliance, Hybrid families had a discounted rent rate, and so by now only a few humans continued to live there. It was once an office block, judging by the compressed ceilings and jury rigged walls. A refitted husk, part of the city in ruins that Mega-Primus replaced. Four stories below her was the dull cracked asphalt poured layers thick over soil made poison by rains pregnant with pollutants. She glanced down, holding the glass of chocolate milk tightly, then raised her gaze slowly. The smaller companion building in the complex, roof cracked and leaky yet supposedly structurally sound, according to the man from the government who'd only taken the minimum of time interacting with the Hybrids who lived there. The gray expanse of Mega-Primus' barrier walls, massive building high constructions with huge housed wind traps to catch the polluted air before it tainted the gentle lungs of the cityfolk, and thanks to neutralizing agents released into the air, the slums just outside those walls were also graced with protection from diseases in the air.
Abruptly an AutoTrans buzzed through the sky a few hundred meters away. The green van-like vehicle disappeared shortly somewhere far to the left. Nyann returned her gaze to the Mega-Primus skyline. Lights of cars hovering meters over the roadways, the hundreds of buildings built in gaudy colors and designs more artistic than practical... It was almost an Alien World.

--- Infolines, Mega-Primus Infonets.

"With the destruction of the world ecology in 2046 with the destruction of the Alien city-ship Tleth, and resultant toxins released in the world, life became hazardous for mankind on earth. With many people moving to colonies on Luna and Mars, the North American Alliance Government decided to create the first Megalopolis, a test of new technologies and the social implications of a new, safe city. Consisting initially of one million new citizens selected randomly from all segments of humanity, Mega-Primus, the first hope of a new humanity, rose from the ashes of Toronto. Almost all city functions were privatized, and the city was to be led by a Senate of eleven elected officials, passing edicts. One of the first was an aesthetic ordinance, demanding that all public vehicles and buildings had a 'Future-Retro' styling, reminiscent of the 1950s Era in the Old United States of America..." A history of Mega Primus, Sensovid 445 in the Lifetree Learning Catalog.
"Hybrid society in Mega-Primus is primarily centered around the Slum Areas of old Toronto, like the Androids built between 2076 and 2081, they are outcasts with little hope of any real economic survival. Feared and revered for their rumored Psionic ability, up until a few years ago the general opinions of the Hybrid community as a whole were fairly uniform - Regretful of the wars that brought them into creation, and desiring equality in human society. Nowadays some have joined the cult of Sirius, where they are revered as figures who are closer to 'The Masters' than others, some wish the Sectoids to return and take them away from human society into a society where they are understood and accepted. Others have become very violently opposed to any thought of cooperating with aliens, some going so far as trying to gain employment in MarSec. Some voice that they would like to join X-Com, those who oppressed them almost twenty years ago, others wish to wipe out the covert organization." 'Children of the Wars', Sensovision documentary, Aired in June 2083.

X-Com, Chronicles of the Apocalypse: Prophet - 2 - First Glimmers

--- Mars Colony 2, MarSec Offices, March 5th 2084, 07:45.
The darkness howled. A dust-storm raged across the Martian surface, through air unbreathable to the hundreds of thousands of inhabitants living beneath metal domes.
Sarah Deevans watched the red sand pinging against the pressure windows. The MarSec human resources offices were disarmingly placid. Designed with the overall aesthetic concepts of peace and placitude. The faint perfumed tang of the air probably contained anti-aggressants to boot. A half chuckle passed through her, and she swept her eyes back down to the letter in her hands.
"Report for Contract Expiry Debrief."
That generally indicated absolutely no hope of reenlisting in MarSec's prestigious security teams... Sarah sighed. It wasn't as if any earth governments had armies anymore. Subcontract to MarSec or MegaPol. MegaPol didn't tend to hire ex-MarSec, a sign of animosity between the two companies that tended to grind the little guy into the dust. For once... Sarah was the little guy. Where else could she go after Mars? One of the barely existent colonies on the frontier? ... The slums of Mega-Primus? She didn't have citizenship in any form other than her MarSec employee cards. So... what now?
"Ex-Officer Deevans?" called the secretary from behind her massive desk. The words grated on Sarah's nerves. "Mr. Donnman is ready to see you..."

--- Infolines, Mega-Primus Infonets.

"With the millions of deaths and rapid decline of Earth's ecology after the second war, politics began to flounder once more. In the years to come the people who held the power were those who had Elerium. Eventually a vein of Elerium was found on mars, and rapidly the red planet was colonized. With this Elerium we gained the capacity to move between the stars, but we only found one cluster of stars useful, covered with planets and, more importantly, asteroid belts. Asteroid belts laden with Elerium." - History of X-Com, Prof. G. Koppler, Excerpt Six, Lifetree 21st Century History department.
"With these final purchases we do now own 100% of former X-Com assets on earth, Mars, Luna, and the frontier that were known to be active at any point in time. We are doing this not only as a service to our customers, increasing our capacities, but also to preserve historically valuable data and equipment. Some of it dates from just before the first Alien War" - Public relations statement on purchases amounting to 40 000 000 000 'New Credits', PR Agent John Frontman, MarSec PR archives.

--- Angel Heart Heights, Apartment 129, March 5th 2084, 08:02.

The door slumped slightly in its sliding frame as someone knocked. Charles reached through the webwork of plastic tubes that fed him air and food, to tuck an eighty year old pistol behind the throw cushions.
he yelled in rasping tones at the door, "Open" His knuckles tightened faintly, the dull aching of the joints endured to ensure his own safety.
Muscles tensed beneath faintly translucent skin marred with age spots, and the door slid aside with a dull grind. Standing there was a figure to give Charles pause. Tall, willowy thin... wide eyes that were so large all you could see were black pools... Breath rasped through his oxygen mask. It wasn't one of the child-monsters. It wasn't, he just had to keep telling himself that.
The old wheelchair bound man dropped the handgun behind the cushion and retracted his hand, breathing heavily. The figure stepped in uncertainly, her head was shaved... Most of the SectoHumes did that, or wore wigs. The thin half-growth of hair most had was less than appealing to their human-like sensibilities.
"Mr Benson?" She asked, stepping towards him.
A shake of his head cleared it. His voice rasped through his respirator. "Come in Nyann. Come in. How are you?"
"Having more nightmares." She finished for him, smiling thinly.
Charles Benson lived out here, in this slum, because it was one of the few places people would tend to leave him alone. Not this whelp of a girl, but... people. A hundred and three, and he felt every year. His breathing started failing sometime back in the sixties, after the 'Big one' blew out.
He nodded quietly. A kindly smile fell onto his lips. "You too, Girly? I'll put the coffee on." The gun behind the pillows long forgotten, Charles grunted, pulling the break lever on his wheelchair. "So, what was yours?"
She smirked slightly. "I went first last time - You go first today, Mr. Benson."
The Coffee steamed as Charles poured it out of the packet. "Y'know, I remember when you could actually make this stuff. With ground up beans and everything."
"Beans? Coffee came in beans?" The tall slim woman sat down carefully, smirking. "And don't change the subject, What were yours about?"
The cup placed before her bore worn cartoon figures, all rotund with wide eyes, one wearing a hood of some kind, all of them dressed for winter. Charles' apartment walls were covered in old images, most printed on paper and framed, relics of a world almost forgotten, now. A thin smile crinkled Charles' cheeks around the respirator.
"Th' little ones. Grubby lil' fingers all over me, the goddamn light... heh..." His eyes turned down to his own mug. Black porcelain, only the faintest hints of a white letter over the sides. Worn away to almost nothing.
She remained silent, and Charles continued. "S'all half forgotten memories. Don't worry... I'll forget the rest soon enough." The man's smile was melancholy. Her silence continued, and he tried to soothe it. "Y'don't bother me none Nyann, yer' not one o' 'em... And besides, Conners, Conners was..." He lifted a hand to his forehead, tapping lightly. "Changed. Heh. Load of fatarses, the rest of 'em... All the decent people, alla 'em, were Psis... you know that? heh..."
She smiled faintly, looking down at her hands. "I still don't understand how you manage to think like that, Mister Benson." The movement was designed to hide her eyes more than anything else.
Charles didn't speak with most people, didn't allow himself to. The past hurt too much to think about, and that's all most people wanted to talk with him about. Nyann, though... was like the grand-daughter he'd never had.
He smiled, and pointed with one thin arm to a nearby shelf. "Get the cookie jar, and then you tell me all about what happened."

--- Infolines, Mega-Primus Infonets.

"In the middle of the twentieth century contact with alien life occurred, The Sectoids. Small humanoid beings with large eyes, their initial activity was limited to abductions which were ignored by society at large. As time went by, it was clear that these incursions were not random, not exploratory, and most certainly not peaceful." - History of X-Com, Prof. G. Koppler, Excerpt one, Lifetree History Department.
"I saw a bright light, blinding, but it didn't hurt my eyes. I felt a childlike hand on my arm, and as I looked there, an almost... elfin creature stood there. I trusted it. It took me back to its ship, performed surgery on me. I haven't felt so good in all my life" - Early Patient Statement, Patient 335, 1997, Case studies of abductions, United States Air Force official inquest.
"I... No! My lungs, my..." Recording breaks into desperate bubblings and wheezings. "I... Come back!... Save me!... Why?..." Recording continues through apparent coughing and choking fit, ends. - Final Recording, Patient 335, 1997, Case studies of abductions, United States Air Force official inquest.

--- Transtellar SpaceLiner 223, En Route to Mega Primus, March 5th, 18:00.

The Data-Tab glimmered in the faint light. It measured only one inch by two, clasped by her fingertips. A holoimage of a building of light toned granite could be seen, a rounded oval, two sides sloping up in terraces of glass, a pair of extensions curving forward on each side. In the front of the building a broad cylinder, half the height of the building. Lined with glass and architectural artistry. Those were the Senate Chambers, where Mega Primus law was made, where it lived and breathed. The society itself revolved around this place.
This place was vulnerable. Being one of MarSec made her privy to security concerns like these, she didn't merely participate in assaults... she planned them. She had worked hard to try and pinch security contracts out from MegaPol's nose. She'd run simulations on that building, planning for every possibly contingency. It were a prime target for terrorist extremists. She knew the layout perfectly. If anything happened to the Senate, the paragon of any remaining human government, humanity itself might begin to fail as the corporations looked out for themselves.
She turned the Data-tab over slowly. On the back a holo image of a stern woman in her mid-thirties stared out, green eyes and red hair. Freckles marred the woman's skin here and there. Once near-beautiful features were marred by the slightly misshapen nose, the scar along her left cheek. She could've gotten reconstructive surgery to put her looks back together. Or, more likely, better than they were... But, Sarah wasn't like that. Beside her own image read 'Sarah Deevans. Citizen.' in holographically embossed letters.
The rows of seats nearby were mostly devoid of human life. Few people had the means to return to earth. Even fewer had anything worthwhile to return to. Sarah had both served to her on a silver platter as part of her contract completion bonus. Eight years of her life, just, eight years, and now she was selected to be a citizen? It was unbelievable. Not merely a resident, but a goddamned citizen.
An uncomfortable silence entered her consciousness, and she glanced up. A young man sitting next to her, not quite past twenty, had been watching her.
He offered a smile quickly, in a reflexive manner. Before Sarah had a chance to say anything, he offered, "Mega Primus. It's been awhile since I've gotten back there, but, hey. Your first time there?"
She nodded mutely, slipping away the Datatab. She tried to make the fellow's razor-clean features and corporate suit match with his age and, more importantly, his haircut. Short back and sides - Not the sort of thing young execs in training would wear.
"There's a big move back to fifties music again." he smiled, and then blinked faintly as he realized his error, "The Nineteen fifties, though. Not the twenty-fifties. God-awful whining about the ecology..." He offered a short, sharp grin.
"I haven't really been able to listen to music for quite some time..." Sarah replied, watching him carefully.
"Really? Too bad! There's a recital tomorrow afternoon, with real musicians. A 'Concert', I've heard it's very twentieth century. In fact, just a few hours after we should be landing." He didn't need to continue, the implication that he was offering to take her somewhere lingered in the air.
She narrowed her eyes faintly. If she was still in MarSec, still on security detail, She would have arrested this guy in a heartbeat. Something about him set her teeth on edge. This had to be a setup... But... then again, maybe being a civilian played by slightly different rules. Besides, she still had a permit for the Plasma pistol nestled underneath her jacket. She offered a smile in turn.
"I didn't catch your name..."
"Kowalski. Joel Kowalski."

--- Infolines, Mega-Primus Datanets.

"When the Mega-Primus project was started, the initial residents were to be one million 'Citizens'. As the project expanded, taking into account the various other elements which wished to join mega-primus, two other 'classes' were created. 'Resident', and 'Worker'. Only Citizens have full and unfettered access to all of Mega-Primus' facilities at the low costs intended. Residents have the same rights as a citizen other than heavy taxation and service requirements, and 'Workers' only have the right to work within the city, but not reside there, limiting them to living in the various slums outside the barrier walls. These measures are in place to ensure that the idyllic Mega-Primus way of life continues until expansion allows for all citizens, or enough megalopolis' are finalized for construction." - Introduction to Mega-Primus politics, Document 5573 in the Senate Library.

--- Temple of the New Visitor, an underground worship site, March 5th 2084, 23:55.

The rough exterior, almost shell-like, glistened as if wet. Veins ran across the pod's surface, faint brown lines over the yellowy flesh. Yet, it was hard to the light touch of the Archon's fingertips. It was the last of the gifts left, but more would be arriving soon. A young man in the blue robes of one about to receive the greatest gift stood before the altar, behind him, the fifty or so green-robed initiates.
The Archon took a breath, and immediately all was silent. The words flowed to him easily, as they did for every 'sermon.'
"Brothers, Sisters! The time is at hand! Soon we shall all be free and equal. No longer will money bring worth to one man over another, we shall all share the greatest treasures, and none of us shall ever want again. They come"
A chorus repeated those last two words. At least, he thought they were repeated, yet, somehow there was a nagging feeling that the entire room knew to chant at once... The worry faded away.
"They have come once by stone through sky, twice by stone through sky, and soon, for the last time, by stone through sky! The masters will know all they must." A ragged cheer began, but he silenced it with a slight lift of his hand. "They have found another brotherhood wanting far beyond our skies. They resisted, and were crushed beneath the Masters' heel! The Masters drew back that which they had created, and were stronger for it. Let us walk with them"
"Walk with them in glory" Completed the crowd. Yes. The Archon smiled. This was right. They knew his words... They knew to bring the initiate forwards. He wavered slightly under the cooperating hands of his brethren.
The gift's flesh began to soften and bulge outwards as it prepared to hatch, to be accepted by the initiate, and to accept him...

--- The past, another place, unknown.

The motherhood that was within wrenched away from an attack. Veins shut, defenders surged. It was coming for her, like a virus. It was coming for her, and her alone through the network of the hives.
It was going to take her, and then kill her children!
Umbilical pathways surged, blood dripped from the motherhood that was without as the doorways split, admitting the dying wretches it was using. Unnatural shells clanked and whirred, pulses of pink light blasted towards her, towards her children.
The children surged forth, slithering to twine around these attackers, bite at them, spray acid in their faces. The attackers' eyes shone dully. Her children were dying. An attacker, cut down from life, fell next to her and turned to face her as it died. Its eyes rolled away, like an eyelid, and it stared at her with a lost look, from those strange white-rimmed eyes, pinkish flesh graying rapidly in the safety, as she would outside... Another began to approach with a shard of honeycombed rock clenched in five-tendrilled appendage, as if being used as a claw the attacker did not have, dripping greenish fluid.
"Not my children! No! NO"

--- Infolines, Mega-Primus Datanets.

"The UGS Patton was launched on its mission to Mars on April 23, 2062. Traces were found briefly during the late sixties, but we still ultimately have no indication of what happened to the crew. Wherever they may be, we are certain they are representing the best interests of X-Com, and Humanity." - 20 years on memorial speech, 2082.