The Mysteries of X-COM

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Discussion page for some less clear aspects of the series

General issues

How fast can alien craft travel in space?

Some alien missions (repeated attacks on X-COM bases, for instance) come daily. This seems to imply that alien craft are able to travel the distance from Mars to Earth in a matter of hours.

Or maybe, as you suggest in your novels, they have a staging area near Earth, such as the dark side of the Moon. Spike 15:36, 25 February 2009 (CST)
Really fast. Consider that they don't need to push aside atmosphere, as well as the fact that momentum is conserved in space, so they can achieve very high speeds with gravity slingshots. (Mars DOES have 2 moons, recall.) Also note that they may be operating a bit closer to home(the far side of the moon, perhaps?) it's simply that the command staff are at Cydonia. Arrow Quivershaft 00:19, 26 February 2009 (CST)

Good article in last month's Scientific American pointing out we only rely on gravity slingshots because we still use chemical rockets with pathetic delta-V. Once 2nd and 3rd generation plasma engines come on line (1st gen are in flight now) the gravity slingshot will become an irrelevance. No doubt UFO drives are at least as good as our (future) 3rd gen plasma drives, probably way better since they warp space.

(Reminds me of the old Guild Navigator joke - I just warped space from Ix, and boy is my mind tired. Oh well, you had to be there)

Spike 13:24, 27 February 2009 (CST)

Also keep in mind that both Phobos and Deimos are tiny. They are basically captured asteroids. Neither would be useful in gravity assist. But yeah, the UFO's shouldn't need any assist anyway.Mannon 11:35, 30 March 2011 (EDT)
Case in point: http://xkcd.com/681_large/ (Deimos can be escaped with someone on a bike and a plank stacked on a brick, Phobos requires a good pitching arm). --Xuncu 16:55, 13 April 2013 (EDT)
Consider that many of the same aliens as UFO/EU are in X-COM Intercepter, having necessarily had to break light speed. Consider that if outside any atmoshphere a battleship could reach 4800 knots(in-game top speed) within two minutes (which is about how long it appears to take in-game) then it is accelerateing at about 18m/s/s or almost 2Gs. In 24 hours it would reach 1,555km/s. At this speed (assuming it turned it's drive off after 24h) it would travel about 134,000,000km each day. The maximum distance between Earth and mars is about 401,000,000km.
For simplicity, because we have room to work with here, even if a battleship were to accelerate for 24 hours while orbiting mars, and again had to decelerate for 24 hours in orbit after reaching earth, (all while a chrysalid inside balanced two apples on each of it's mandibles) it would still only take 5 days to reach earth when both planets are at opposite orbital positions. It seems that the Ethereals can wipe out your base and not have to miss Ladies Night, assuming the club is also on earth. Ethereal Mind-Trick: "You don't want to 'blow dis joint'. You want to come back to the UFO for a little abduction mhmhmhmhhmm. Darkestaxe 23:38, 12 April 2013 (EDT)
On one hand, "near-constant multiple organ failure" problably includes THAT organ. Ouch. On the other, sheer force of will problably works on that for them (lucky them); and with Psionics, you can make any woman belive that "this long" (holds hands a few inches apart) is 1 foot, as well as literally make her forget any other man she's thought about before, as well as Algerbra. Unhooking a bra would, however, still a challenge unto itself. And, since we are given specific dates in-game, there's plenty of programs online that can calculate the distance between planets for any given time, as well as lists of Oppositions (when two plants are at their closest): http://cseligman.com/text/planets/marsoppositions.htm For example, in 1999, the in-game year of the first game, on April 24th, Mars was only 86 million Km away (though Kudos if you can beat the game THAT early into a campaign) --Xuncu 16:55, 13 April 2013 (EDT)

What happens to the crashed UFO craft and its crew?

Downed alien craft disappear after a few days have passed. No explanation is given to this whatsoever, so what really happens to them?

Possible answers:

  • The UFO and its occupants are recovered by other humans.
  • The Aliens manage to repair the craft and fly back to space. (unlikely, in the event that the power plant blew up and they have no Elerium)
  • The Aliens self-destruct the craft and kill themselves in the process, ensuring their remains will not be recovered by humans. (This is, in fact, the in-game explination. Read the mission briefing. Darkestaxe 23:38, 12 April 2013 (EDT))
  • The UFO Powerplant eventually suffers a meltdown and explodes, eliminating any vestiges of alien presence.
  • The Aliens blow up the UFO and disappear into the countryside.
  • Most likely answer, IMHO: The local government/ funding nations give X-COM a limited time window to launch any operation, similiar to what you see in covert ops movies: "Complete the mission within 36 hours, or we initiate Carpet Bombing of the area". This is very likely considering that each nation actually has jurisdiction, and X-com is operating each military op with permission and cooperation by local authorities. Jasonred 13:42, 25 February 2009 (CST)
  • Similiarly, I assume that nations which have signed a pact with the aliens launch a rescue operation and assist their alien friends. Jasonred 13:42, 25 February 2009 (CST)
In the UFO TV show, it's stated that alien craft and bodies degrade quickly in Earth's atmosphere, disappearing completely in hours or a few days. Spike 15:36, 25 February 2009 (CST)
If that was the case, then one of the gases present in the atmosphere would be very toxic to the aliens. They would be restricted on their activities outside their craft, not to mention they would have to terraform the planet to be able to live here. Hobbes 20:32, 26 February 2009 (CST)
As Zombie said, doesn't Alien Containment support this idea? Spike 13:24, 27 February 2009 (CST)
Those are excellent suggestions. One of the X-COM books detailed that aliens throw up a force field around crashed UFOs to give them time to repair the craft. This would also explain the limited size of the Battlescape (the area of the force field...the field was thrown up before the crash, thus why the craft wasn't always centered in it) as well as why the Battlescape is devoid of human life(the aliens took care of that up front.) Similarly, large scale bombing works as well, as does the local government going in to clean it up themselves. Arrow Quivershaft 00:19, 26 February 2009 (CST)
If there's a force field around the craft what is it supposed to repel? The atmosphere? Because humans have no problem entering the field and operating inside it. Hobbes 20:32, 26 February 2009 (CST)
Of course they do! Have you ever noticed how dumb your units can be? That's because the aliens can't live with too much nitrogen, so they turn some of it in their force field to oxygen, and excessive amounts of oxygen make you act weird. After a while, their power source runs out and the nitrogen returns, dissolving them into E-115. (What did you think it was made of?) AT least, that's what seemes logical to me, ad is a combination of many postulates here. 21:36, 18 March 2010 (EDT)
That would require that the aliens' biochemistry and the alien alloys used in the power sources reacted with nitrogen, which is a mostly inert gas on normal temperature and pressure and a . It's kinda of weird that the aliens didn't bothered with fixing that vulnerability with their craft and bodies during millions of years (what happens if the force field malfunctions while capturing cattle? ooops!) but ok. The increase in the amount of oxygen would probably also turn any kind of fire into large explosions throughtout the force field. Hobbes 21:24, 19 March 2010 (EDT)
The force field was intended to keep humans out so the aliens were undisturbed. The first major hurdle X-COM had was figuring out a way to bypass those fields so they COULD get troops and aircraft inside. Arrow Quivershaft 20:54, 26 February 2009 (CST)
  • I'd guess that the aliens would eventually mount their own rescue missions, especially once they realized that XCOM is farming their ships for resources (they must know we don't have ready access to their alloys and Elerium) and co-opting their technology. In the Firaxis game, when idling in the Situation Room screen, Central's (often amusing) radio chatter implies that there are many more UFO's and reports that don't go into the globe. Additionally: only 16 countries are covered, and there are over 150 countries on earth, plus all the oceans. After all, if we were shooting down every last ship, then the alien collective shouldn't be able to land so many aliens for Terror Missions. --Xuncu 02:48, 26 January 2013 (EST)

How do the aliens carry their equipment?

Like human soldiers, aliens can carry weapons and equipment in locations like legs, belt, shoulders and backpack, regardless of the fact that some of their races even lack those anatomical features.

Potentially a sticky gel-like area on the limb. Though really, since we were never intended to access alien inventories and the AI does all inventory management internally, this may simply be something that was never considered. Speaking from a slightly different standard, most aliens do not carry excessive amounts of gear; often their equipment would be able to fit in both hands. Also recall that Floaters and Ethereals have capes and robes(which may have inside pockets, or the Floaters could store them in the anti-grav/life support unit or inside surgically created body cavities during the installation, while Ethereals could support their excess gear with telekinesis), Mutons have armor(which may have external straps or adhesive areas), and Snakemen have an armor plate(which could have straps, adhesive, inside pockets, or even a backpack.) Arrow Quivershaft 00:19, 26 February 2009 (CST)
We already know the answer to this one - they cheat! ;) Spike 13:24, 27 February 2009 (CST)

Are X-COM transport craft piloted?

Almost certainly, since a remotely-piloted craft could be returned to base when the mission was aborted or failed. It's entirely possible that all X-COM soldiers are qualified pilots of the appropriate craft, since it would make no sense for X-COM to waste space on the plane for a noncombatant, or to have a single-point of failure on the mission like that. (The aliens could screw over the entire op by killing the pilot). It also explains why the craft is lost when the mission fails or is aborted with no one inside(lacking a pilot, the aliens are able to easily destroy it.) Arrow Quivershaft 00:19, 26 February 2009 (CST)
On the other hand, even a tank/hovertank is capable of getting the craft back to base. Perhaps there is an autopilot function. X-com craft are also infamous for choosing strange and bizarre intercept paths, based on latitude lines... almost as if they followed some a few simple lines of code from 1993 programming (bit of 4th wall breakage there...) -Jasonred
Of course, given the tanks seem to be remotely piloted from an X-COM base, its possible that the tank being in the craft allows the Tank pilot to reroute into the control systems for the dropship and take it over. Limiting this to having the tank inside is a rather good idea. Arrow Quivershaft 12:07, 27 February 2009 (CST)
I recall that the various cutscenes in the PSX version had a pilot, most notably in the "Mission Failure" scene, where it shows the pilot being killed. --Mabmoro 16:06, 13 March 2009 (EDT)

What sort of physical process is used to increase human stats over time?

The increases in some stats are easy explained by experience gained on missions (firing abiility, reactions, etc.). However, in the cases of physical stats (TUs, stamina, strength) the increase must be augmented by an artificial process, since it isn't easily explainable that humans can significantly increase body mass/speed/endurance just by physical activity/exercise.

Lifting weights will increase strength. Running and cardio exercise will increase endurance, and performing the same task multiple times will allow you to perform it faster. I see no reason natural increase doesn't work. Arrow Quivershaft 18:33, 26 February 2009 (CST)
I assume that it is possible to a human to use those methods to double its physical condition, but that being the case why are X-COM recruits so... undeveloped? Maybe this is a more intriguing aspect. Hobbes 20:32, 26 February 2009 (CST)

What I don't get is that when someone gets blasted that they gain a lot of extra health. For crying out loud, the aliens are throwing around plasma and ridicoulously HUGE explosions. Shouldn't they be suffering from third-degree burns? I would expect them to at least have a major sore spot where they got hit. Tsunamiatunzen1 September 24

There's been arguments over whether the soldiers in X-COM are the Green Berets or equivalents of their various militaries, just average soldiers that volunteered for the job, or if the Council of Funding Nations is corrupt and is using this as an excuse to foist off their most useless soldiers onto the X-COM project. If the latter, it would easily explain their rather poor early stats. Arrow Quivershaft 21:06, 26 February 2009 (CST)
Maybe the stat increases relate to the troops getting more comfortable performing all operations - lifting, running, combat actions - when the aliens no longer scare the cr*p out of them so much. Spike 13:24, 27 February 2009 (CST)
I know what you mean... if this were Jagged Alliance, it'd be like trying to hire Mike and getting Gumpy instead... ouch! ... IMHO, it looks as if the COFN is being funny about this. Clearly, the troops assigned to X-com have had extensive weapons training... each and every one of them can use just about any standard weapon, including Rocket Launchers, incindieries, auto Cannons, etc. However, NONE of them have any combat experience, coming to you as fresh rookies. And their stats look as if they were selected based on a pot luck basis rather than screening among the elite troops... User:Jasonred
Health isn't gained from getting shot. But as for the "ludicrously low stats" issue, maybe they're being selected on some other basis, or there's a real shortage of volunteers. Magic9mushroom 04:56, 25 September 2009 (EDT)
I think that the X-COM's soldiers have big responsibilities, can't have children. They are sworn in and only then go to the field - if someone can't be trusted to keep a secret, he's getting sacked, given a shitty job (ever wondered who maintained the General Stores?) or worse. - n, 16:47, 16 August 2010 (GMT+2)

In Hotpoint's XSGCOM: Goa'uld Defense, his explanation is that after a few missions of watching their fellow newbies die, the survivors give in and volunteer for an experimental regimen of performance-enhancing drugs. IRL, steroids and such don't result in instant strength enhancement, they just encourage accelerated development of muscles. Kalaong 03:16, 28 March 2011 (EDT)

Heh: http://www.nerfnow.com/comic/901 --Xuncu 02:52, 26 January 2013 (EST)

As much as I've played this series for decades, and know full well how pitiful the starting stats of soldiers are, at least with respect to the game's rules, I really feel I must wonder and ask why we think those starting stats are 'underdeveloped' or 'pot luck'? What, exactly, are we basing this judgement on beyond how poorly they seem to perform in-game against a force that is quite honestly and clearly demonstrated as superior to humans in the first few missions, where only luck and superior numbers appear to manage to secure any wins for the organization and, in turn, humanity? How much can the average X-COM 'Rookie' carry in pounds as gear, and is it considered substantial compared to Army kit, or not? How many direct hits from a rifle can they take normally without dying or keeling over from fatal wounds, and how does this compare to real-world soldiers' survivability? How much time is one turn meant to represent, and how far can the average 'Rookie' run in that time, and how does that compare to how fast a fully-kitted Army soldier can move?

Has all of this already been figured out elsewhere? Otherwise, I'm starting to question whether we have any real proof that 'Rookies' AREN'T "The best of the best of the best, sir! With honors" beyond just how it 'looks' and 'feels' during gameplay, which is already skewed by the enemy having superior firepower and attributes, or, in the case of replacements, existing troops being pushed far beyond previously-perceived human limits from such extreme combat maneuvers as have resulted in success against, as I said earlier, a far superior force (EDIT: want to clarify on this point that I'm taking the 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger' stance on the original question for this section). If the stats extrapolated for OpenXcom are any indication, this is most certainly the case, even with Sectoids, to an extent. While Sectoids will never have anything on humans in the Health department, being as fragile as they are (though some rookies can have less health, apparently, but only a few unlucky ones), they are surprisingly enduring, with tons of stamina, being 20 points higher than the X-COM 'Rookie' maximum upper limit for initial stat generation, and the same for Bravery (though this seems to be the case with all AI controlled entities, except mechanical ones, which have an impervious 110 Bravery). Reactions are also higher than possible with a Rookie, and speed (TUs) is on par with the statistical average for rookies, same with accuracy ratings, and even strength. This is just looking at the grunts, too, not even considering the stat boosts Leaders and Commanders have. As expected, the average X-COM Rookie's stats are almost universally superior to the civilians, representing the average member of humanity. The only exception is Stamina, and I'm starting to think this is to compensate AI units somehow for an AI that may not be able to manage energy levels as well as a human.

Anyway, just felt someone had to bring this up here. If it really is explained elsewhere, it probably should be clarified here, as well, for consistency, anyway. (EDIT: I just felt it was being taken at face value far too readily in this discussion, and it just didn't seem right to just assume it with no evidence, despite all my experience playing this series, and noticing full well the soldiers' stats feeling constraining at first) --StormhawkAPS 01:08, 4 October 2013 (EDT)

Enemy Unknown/UFO Defence issues

Why isn't Earth overrun by Snakeman/Chryssalids?

According to the UFOPaedia, Snakemen's "Reproduction is asexual, with each snakeman carrying up to fifty eggs inside its body at any one time" adding the ominious conclusion: "Left to its own devices this species would be a severe threat to life on earth." Moreover, this species is usually accompanied by the Chryssalids, which have a capacity to reproduce themselves very quickly using humans. So, any survivors of crash sites or terror attacks could start reproducing themselves hidden, resulting in large areas being overrun by those aliens later on.

Possible answers:

  • Both races have a self-destruct mechanism incorporated into their psysiology to prevent this.
  • The entire area is purged by large scale bombing. Jasonred 13:42, 25 February 2009 (CST)
One thing suggested in fan data was that Snakemen have air tablets in their stomach...which may be different from earth's atmosphere, which would limit their lifespan in earth's atmosphere, also making egg-laying pointless, since the offspring wouldn't be able to breathe or survive. It has also been suggested that Chryssalids have a very rapid metabolism. Though Chryssalids are likely just as, if not more useful, as a threat or a bargaining tool. When attempting to get a nation to capitulate to their demands, the aliens could threaten to employ Chryssalids en masse, or offer to remove a mass infestation in exchange for the government's cooperation. Or even further, it's possible that Chryssalids are under Ethereal control and maintaining the control link at that distance is taxing, thus eliminating mass use of the creatures. Arrow Quivershaft 00:19, 26 February 2009 (CST)

Two words: Alien Containment. That answers everything except for the UFOPaedia articles for the aliens themselves which contradict it. --Zombie 00:42, 26 February 2009 (CST)

For captured aliens, yes. But what survivors of uninvestigated crash sites? Hobbes
Zombie is commenting that based on the need for an Alien Containment unit, the aliens cannot survive in earth's atmosphere for extended periods, needing special atmospheric blends and/or nutrient pools which earth is unable to provide naturally, thus limiting their operations outside of the craft. (If the aliens won the war, it's likely this would be one of the first things that they would 'correct'.) Arrow Quivershaft 20:54, 26 February 2009 (CST)


What is the propose of the 'disco balls' found inside some UFOs?

Given that they explode, they could be storage reservoirs for coolant for the computers or other systems. They could also be circuit breakers or electrical junction boxes, or even a component of the UFO's particle beam they use to fry X-COM Interception craft. Arrow Quivershaft 00:19, 26 February 2009 (CST)

Here again, two words: Alien Entertainment. Even though the spheres are not set to Alien Entertainment in the MCD files, they are almost certainly related to the process somehow. --Zombie 00:42, 26 February 2009 (CST)

Maybe they are for having discos? Spike 13:24, 27 February 2009 (CST)
Presumably Alien Entertainment is psionic in some way, maybe they're Psi-Emitters or something? -magic9mushroom
'Disco balls' = Alien 'LSD' emitters. Travelling through space to go on almost-suicide missions force aliens to develop POWERFUL relaxing devices to entertain themselves and not go insane :P. --Nekrocow 20:10, 24 June 2012 (EDT)
Assuming it's about eyeball-like pod #3, it's absent on base maps, and present only in two UFOs: Battleship (in Alien Entertainment), but Terror Ship on the second deck has one in Alien Entertainment room, but two on the bridge. Those are also the only two ships running ground battles and carrying Terror Units (bases have them, but normally don't expect to use them), so... either remote control psionic relays or something else related to ground combat? -TBeholder (talk) 21:04, 30 December 2015 (EST)

Who buys those alien bodies/equipment from X-COM?

Equipment likely goes to the funding nations or the international black market. No rebel group is going to ask too many questions about being offered guns that can slice through the hull of an MBT or grenades that can level a building or man-portable guided missiles; it'd just be cash-and-carry. Similarly, scientists would likely be interested in looking at much of this stuff for their own research. This would also explain the lack of market forces; the funding nations could have a set price for each item, or if X-COM is selling them under the table to rebels and rogue scientists, they can set the price and refuse to budge. The money on corpses could also be an "Alien Bounty" paid by the Funding Nations, as a reward for each alien that X-COM can prove they killed. Or it could be bought by other groups...rumor has it that some fast food restaurants have processes that can make ANY meat, no matter the source, look and taste the same, and a Muton would make a LOT of McBurgers. Arrow Quivershaft 00:19, 26 February 2009 (CST)

From the USO (Kasey Chang): XARQUID SUSHI.

How did the aliens get to Mars?

There are no indications that UFOs are capable of faster than light speed. So how did they get to Mars in the first place?

The UFOs are mission craft, used for the legwork. The fighters; we never see the carriers. Given the aliens have been proven to be interstellar, they either Clone-A-Crew as needed when coming the long way to keep the UFOs crewed, or its far more likely that the aliens did have or still do have larger "Carrier" ships, which are capable of FTL travel, that were/are further out in the Solar System that store and dispatch UFOs to mission locations. Arrow Quivershaft 18:33, 26 February 2009 (CST)
One word: TFTD. The entire city of T'leth was put into cryogenic suspended animation? Or look at X-com Interceptor. X-com and the aliens show the ability to enter hyperspace or whatever it is.
T'Leth is another mystery of its own. More to that later on :) Hobbes 20:32, 26 February 2009 (CST)
... there are no indications that the UFOs are INcapable of FTL... I don't think you would want to perform FTL travel within Earth's planetary atmosphere!
There are no indications that they are capable as well. And X-COM scientists don't seem to detect any FTL capabilities in UFOs during their research. And after the war the Elerium stocks dwindled, and it would make sense to perform some sort of interstellar missions to detect and harvest Elerium, however none are mentioned. Hobbes 20:32, 26 February 2009 (CST)
Unless you count the events of X-com Interceptor? User:Jasonred Jasonred 21:15, 26 February 2009 (CST)
I am refering to the events between Enemy Unknown and TFTD. There is clearly a big distinction between the alien craft on EU and those of Interceptor. Hobbes 09:38, 27 February 2009 (CST)
Enemy Unknown is set in 1999, TFTD in 2040, Interceptor in 2067... looks entirely plausible that they DID begin research into space exploration immediately after the events of Enemy Unknown. These things take time you know. Remember that the universe is a huge place, and Earth had rather limited Elerium Reserves by the end of EU. It takes... what, 30 Elerium just to fly an Avenger halfway across Earth? They could hardly afford to fly around randomly in space HOPING to come across elerium, they had to figure out detections methods, then scan the galaxy sector by sector, possibly partially using non-Elerium based propulsion at times... I can't remember if it's canon or fanfic, but I remember reading that all Elerium on Earth was reserved for space exploration.

As for FTL, Earth does get it for sure sometime between 1999 and 2067. And I'm pretty certain the technology is Elerium based. It's not a huge logic jump to assume that the aliens have access to FTL Elerium based tech. Though I'm a bit puzzled why all T'leth technology is based on Zrbrite, when the aliens uniformly use Elerium, all the way from Earth to Cydonia to the far reaches of space. -Jasonred

It takes 12 Elerium to fuel an Avenger, though how much 1 Elerium is is an ongoing debate. As for Elerium, it was reserved for propulsion research when the funding nations divvied up X-COM's resources, and then they blew it all without learning anything more than the original X-COM scientists. And yes, Earth clearly gets FTL after TFTD but before Interceptor. The reason Elerium is not used in TFTD is because Elerium becomes inert and useless upon contact with seawater. Similarly, seawater aggressively corrodes Alien Alloys and eventually completely dissolves them. Zrbite functions similar to Elerium, being gold mixed with alien bio-material. Unfortunately, Zrbite only works when supported by a massive energy grid created by T'leth and becomes inert upon its destruction. Arrow Quivershaft 12:07, 27 February 2009 (CST)

OK... take the UNIT of elerium out of the equation... let's say that Earth had 5000 units of elerium, so 6 units get's an Avenger halfway around the world, and 12 units is sufficient to reach Mars. Hardly enough fuel reserves for intergalactic travel then. 2065 On October the 27th, the probe 'Tombstone 1' returns reports to Earth. It's data show that the globular star cluster where it rests, one hundred light-years from Earth, contains many life-supporting planets. Many of the planet's within the probe's scanning range also apparently possess great mineral wealth, including trace veins of elerium-115. Hmm... So, mankind discovers FTL technology on their own in those 65 years? ah... come to think of it, if they've got non-Elerium based space travel and FTL, and more powerful weapons too, what's the big deal about Elerium in the Frontier? Does mankind even need it anymore? As for T'leth, it is meant to be over 65 million years old, and CRASHLANDED on Earth due to a solar flare. Was the Ultimate Alien a prophet, thus chose to base T'leth on aqua plastics and Zrbite when T'lth was first constructed? Or did T'leth crash land, followed by frenzied activity where the entire city was replaced part by part, the alien alloys swapped for Aqua Plastics? ... Actually, come to think of it, it's obviously a massive plothole due to limited timeframe, no point in discussing too deeply. Sigh... Jasonred 13:50, 27 February 2009 (CST)

It's implied that despite the loss of ability to use the alien technology from the First and Second alien wars, simply being able to see and examine their designs catapulted earth's technology forward at least a few decades...which really is entirely reasonable. Much of the technology can be replicated on earth, and the principles and designs can be reapplied.
As for the deal with Elerium, its needed to power stronger weapons and is also wonderful for power generation; its efficiency in power generation is what allows Mega Primus to even exist.
And was there anywhere that specifically said that T'Leth was made of Aqua Plastics? I don't recall. Yes, the rest of their subs are made of aqua plastics, but I'm wondering if something the size of a medium city might perhaps be made of something a bit more durable. PS: Thanks for signing your post!  :D Arrow Quivershaft 14:17, 27 February 2009 (CST)

It's not a plothole at all. There is no Elerium on Earth, whereas the aliens can manufacture Zrbite on Earth, since there's gold here. Therefore it's obvious why they used Zrbite. Also, there's the fact that it was an Aquatoid colony mission, intended to produce an "aquatic paradise", so using Aqua Plastics instead of Alien Alloys is perfectly justified. User:magic9mushroom

I think that the use of Aqua Plastics instead of Alien Alloys is perfectly justified by the fact that T'leth crashed million of years ago while the aliens that came to take a shot or two at earth were two million years ahead technologically. So Aqua plastics was some plastic that was used by aliens before they've got the Alloys. You might argue - it's Aqua Plastics, so Aqua =/= Space. Well, Aliens weren't calling them aqua, and there wasn't anything saying that Aqua Plastics is not suitable for Space Travel. --Domenique 11:10, 19 May 2010 (EDT)

... I think Alien Alloys alone would catapult earth's technology forward a decade, and there's no reason humanity can't use those anymore, just not in water. According to timeline, some space pirates manage to make the decommisioned Avengers run on non-Elerium fuel... a large technological step. By the time of Interceptor, Elerium weapons aren't that powerful. Good point about power generation though. I would assume that T'leth SHOULD have been constructed out of Alien Alloys, since it was originially an interplanetary vessel? Generally, everything in EU was made of Alien Alloys, everything in TFTD was made out of Aqua plastics. Both of which seemed plenty durable.


Have you noticed that the UFOs fly however their mission parameters tell them to? The UFOs pretty much IGNORE interceptions by X-com craft... if their mission tells them to make 3 passes, speed up, slow down, speed up... they will follow that pattern exactly, whether X-com craft are firing on them or not.
Question: How long does it take the Avenger to reach Mars from Earth? User:Jasonred Jasonred 19:12, 26 February 2009 (CST)
No longer than a week, in my opinion. Probably less than 2 days. Since canonically, the design of the Avenger had the Cydonia mission in mind, it would be capable of very high interplanetary speeds. (You could choose to burn 40% of the Elerium in one blast to get to high speed. Or you could burn even more and refuel while it's landed...or it could be a mission with no guaranteed escape for the crew. The lives of the many over those of the few and all that, especially since the war hinges on the mission.) In addition, you can fit a full complement of soldiers on board with no real excess room for supplies, and the longer it takes to get to Mars, the greater the chance the aliens will spot it coming for them and mount a serious defense. Arrow Quivershaft 19:20, 26 February 2009 (CST)
If you'd burn that much fuel to accelerate the craft then you'd have to use as much again to decelerate it and attain a planetary orbit, otherwise you'll simply overshoot the planet and head towards outer space. This is also another aspect to take into account when thinking about the speed of UFOs. Hobbes 20:32, 26 February 2009 (CST)
UFO drives are non-Newtonian so those sort of rocket equations don't necessarily apply. I think filling up a car with gas is a closer analogy. Spike 13:24, 27 February 2009 (CST)
Well, they could put a mini mind shield on the Avenger, shoot down a UFO roughly their size, and then fly to Cydonia when the UFO they shot down was supposed to return based on the instructions found by the hyper-wave decoder. Basically taking the place of the UFO. Shouldn't be too hard since the UFO's are pretty common by the time you research Cydonia or Bust. Tsunamiatunzen1 14 February 2010 (MST)
That would leave 20% of the fuel to take off the Avenger and land it. Not really that unreasonable. While they're landed, they could potentially refuel the Avenger, or the mission might have been planned as a 1-way trip from the get-go. Arrow Quivershaft 21:06, 26 February 2009 (CST)

Perhaps Elerium-based drives are a bit like Ramjet engines, where they're actually useless or inefficient below a certain threshold speed? --Xuncu 03:02, 26 January 2013 (EST)

What happened to Mars and the alien civilization there?

According to the Brain, Mars was blooming with life had a alien civilization millions of years ago. However, Mars nowadays is a barren world and the alien civilization seems reduced to the area on Cydonia.

That may well have been before Mars lost the majority of its atmosphere due to its weak magnetic field. As the atmosphere dissipated, the aliens left or died off. It's also possible that the aliens, shown in the game over to have little respect for planets other than as sites for slaves and resources, they strip-mined the planet dry(and the rust from the machines created the red coloring), and then seeded Earth so that the slave workforce would grow for future extraction of Earth's resources. Arrow Quivershaft 18:33, 26 February 2009 (CST)

Where are the human-alien hybrids referred to on the UFOPaedia?

For the ones on earth, probably in hiding or in laboratories for research. For the ones the aliens have, potentially improving the Sectoid gene pool or being used as food or menial tasks. Cloning is alot easier than making genetic hybrids and there's nothing that says their first-generation experiments would be suitable for combat. Arrow Quivershaft 18:33, 26 February 2009 (CST)
They are babies at the time of X-com, and few in number. Their aren't even that many of them by the time of X-com Apocalypse. User:Jasonred Jasonred 19:12, 26 February 2009 (CST)
Not to mention the ones in X-COM: Apocalypse are less-than-fit for battle before extensive training. Arrow Quivershaft 21:06, 26 February 2009 (CST)

Why did the aliens only activate T'Leth after they were defeated?

On TFTD T'Leth is shown as an entity/city of major power that is capable of conducting a war on its own. But the aliens leave it dormant although they could have used it to speed the process of taking control of Earth.

Perhaps the Enemy Unknown aliens are legitimately scared of the TFTD aliens and are unsure how long they could trust them. Evil is not monolithic; the TFTD aliens may be more interested in themselves than the alien empire, so they were kept as an ace-in-the-hole. This is the same reason (canonically) that SKYNET did not originally send the T-1000 to assassinate Sarah Connor; SKYNET was scared of what the T-1000 could do and had only a bare minimum of control over it, so it only used it as an option when it had nothing left to lose. Arrow Quivershaft 21:06, 26 February 2009 (CST)

T'Leth is in fact so powerful that all it has to do is surface, in order for X-com to be considered to have lost the war. In fact, looking at the timelines, it takes 40 years for T'leth to wake up from it's slumber... that's one good reason not to use it. By the time it activated, the war would already be over. User:Jasonred

Because the whole purpose of the Enemy Unknown aliens was to rescue the TFTD aliens from T'leth, and there was no way of seeing whether the T'leth-based invasion in TFTD would even work - from their perspective it's possible that getting T'leth to bootstrap itself could have caused a catastrophe (they don't know whether or how badly it's damaged). Presumably the aliens planned to mount a proper rescue operation after locking down Earth and readying it for the aquatic paradise that was the entire point of the T'leth expedition in the first place. User:magic9mushroom

T'Leth was a coleny ship sent by the Sectoid/Aquatoid's millions of years earlier. This is why the Aquatoids use electronics to augment there control over other creatures, while there progeny are genetically modified to gain the same control. In TFTD it's implied that the T'Leth had been partialy active for a long time. Thawing out aliens in small groups but never going in full production. UFO aliens may have not intended to start the full awakening cycle until they had a chance to prepare the planet. OR, given the Ultimate Alien was aquatoid in origin by his looks and there was no other races from the first game involved. And the fact that Sectoid/Aqutoid's are not the top of the food chain with the Ethereal and Brain being more powerful it's possible the brain had decided that the Ultimate Alien was a threat to it's power. It was not until it's death that they tried send the signal. --BladeFireLight 17:19, 22 March 2010 (EDT)

Why did the aliens use limited force during the First Alien War?

Imagine Independence Day or War of the Worlds: UFO above the major Earth cities destroying the national leadership and any resistance. Or simply announce to Earth that they are now a part of their empire and resistence is futile. Instead, they go 1 mission each day, allowing humans to capture their craft, research their technology, discover their intentions and mount a successful defense. Don't the aliens watch sci-fi movies to see how it should be done?

Perhaps they don't have the standing forces to do so, and are in the process of building up the forces needed to do so. Perhaps they don't want to wipe out the entire power structure too fast; they want to leave some pieces in place for when they rebuild. Perhaps they're too condescending to think that humanity ever really has a chance; they've probably conquered thousands of other planets without anyone ever successfully resisting them. Perhaps they consider the X-COM project to be a rearguard action that, while a valiant effort and a credible threat, is ultimately doomed to failure because they simply cannot win in the end, which is why they undermine it. Indeed, the reason you need to launch the Cydonia mission in order to win is because X-COM simply cannot stop the aliens in a ground war; the aliens have an effectively infinite supply line and standing forces(though nothing says they're all waiting to swamp the earth), and the only way to win is to kill the command staff(which the aliens believe X-COM will not be able to do, lacking both knowledge of where the Brain is and any practical means to get there.) Arrow Quivershaft 21:06, 26 February 2009 (CST)
The most plausible explanation seems to be the one employed in the Worldwar series, by Harry Turtledove, but that does not seem to mesh with what the Brain says about having been on Mars for a while, since then they could watch the Earthlings perpetually. Of course, what it says is probably a bunch of lies. Thinking about what it says for too long also raises the question of why the aliens attacked when they did, of course... Vizzydix1 21:52, 18 March 2010 (EDT)

The aliens are completely lacking in weapons of mass destruction. When you get right down to it, their aircraft are very fast, manuevarable and durable, but they have rotten firepower. Even the battleship is unable to bring down an Interceptor in 1 shot. The terror missions and X-com Base Defences prove that the Aliens are unable to simply launch orbital bombardments... in fact, they appear to have no Air to Land weapons whatsoever... When you get right down to it, the aliens are pretty stupid. Also, their scientists seem inferior to Earth's. Seems to me that they only had the advantage of Elerium deposits and thus elerium based research. X-COM was unable to win in an all-out war with the aliens, but remember that X-com is a small little covert group with several dozen soldiers and a handful of aircraft. Can you imagine the result if the aliens had caused a joint war effort by the UN? You would have Lockheed factories converted to Avenger production, several platoons of soldiers outfitted with Flying Suits, Lasers, Heavy Plasma, thousands upon thousands of Laser Tanks... I would say that keeping the fight to covert action on both sides was actually beneficial to the aliens, really. User:Jasonred

  • Nope, the aliens could just invoke John's Law and blow up the planet with a kamikaze battleship at .9c. Even failing that, the alien battlefleet could come in numbers sufficent to blot out the sun.--(name here) 14:39, 8 November 2009 (EST)
    • Lest we forget, X-Com is essentially the Spartans to the aliens' Persian Empire. So they'd just fight in the shade (which would be a blessing in desert missions). --Guido Talbot 13:58, 16 July 2010 (EDT)
      • Mass producing those technologies on such a large scale would be impractical considering that those said technologies sans Laser Technology rely heavily on Elerium. Thus the Earth forces would be heavily reliant on downed or landed UFO's to resupply their Elerium powered craft making such efforts pointless.

Aliens first began with smal scouting missions, so maybe all we expirience in X-Com is initial attacks by aliens, maybe the whole base was begining scouting and waiting for the invasion fleet? Aliens problably could be in sense dumber than humans, humans are adaptable and thinking, our technology advances fast, and we are fast and smart enough to stop the invasion before it begins. Aliens problably were not used to it so they thought "oh well, another invasion...". --Domenique 11:10, 19 May 2010 (EDT)

Mankind, as a whole, is incredibly cunning and full of guile. We are also incredibly aggressive. A trait that the most of the Aliens can barely concieve. Though we are weaker physically, mentally, etc, we are overly developed when it comes to strategem and war. The aliens are, in essence, have come to an inverse of Flatland. Though they are advanced, it is they who are 2D to our 3D approach to fighting. They return to earth, and through extensive research and testing, determine that inferior are strategically to humans. So...they use their advances to what they percieve as the most full advantage, and call for reinforcements over the initial months of the First Alien War. For eons, only the Sectoid make arrivals to earth. When the Brain finally realizes the situation, that mankind has woke up and is dealing with them most directly, it begins to get desperate, it sends reinforcements, but only incrementally. (Its always focused on peak efficiency). The concept of overwhelming force is illogical and some how, disdainful, to it. It prefers nuance, interogation, politics, and assessment. The Brain determine that its more effective to eliminate allies of XCOM than to face it directly. The concept of obliterating anything from orbit is reprehensible. Everything must be examined, especially the dead creatures you leave behind. Over time, it would learn man's tactics and assimilate. In fact, each race called in is an example of the Brain adapting. The Floaters bring forth an extra dimension to combat. The snakemen aggressiveness and accuracy. Mutons a culmination of superior warrior breeding, raw physical power, and determination not unlike the so called human soul. Finally, the Ethereals enter, with capacity to bring overwhelming force. In time, as they do on Mars base, they might begin joint force attacks with Mutons backed by Ethereals, supported by a mix of terror weapons. Fortunately, the First Alien War is ended before they fully develop such cunning. Hence the desperate act of T'Leth. The Brain has learned the power of anger fueled by vengeance and desperation. --BlackLibrary 11:10, 29 May 2011 (EDT)

I've always viewed it as primarily a lack of resources. Even if you get a UFO every single day and shoot them all down so that there's no possible chance of any of them being the same UFO that's still only several hundred to perhaps a thousand or few UFO's over the course of several years. And most of those are quite small and not too difficult to take out with regular old interceptors and human armaments. If used all at once it might be enough to achieve air superiority, particularly if the Battleships do all the heavy lifting. But it also might not. It certainly would NOT provide enough soldiers to mount a worldwide ground offensive. The crews on those ships aren't all that big. There's also no reason to assume that all those craft, weapons, soldiers, and more importantly... elerium are all available at the same time. It's quite likely that the aliens are cloning new soldiers, building new weapons and UFO's, and possibly receiving supplies (particularly of elerium) from deep space. Elerium is needed to manufacture a lot of their stuff as well, and we already know it's a limited resource in our solar system. Consider on top of that how much get's used up as fuel every time a UFO visits Earth. If they sent all their UFO's they would use up their reserves of Elerium all at once for a 1 day attack that ultimately would fail. Instead of conquering the Earth wholesale they are trying to influence governments into signing secret pacts with them so that they can control the population of the Earth rather than wipe us out. They do this by using terrorism to intimidate the public and inserting clones to infiltrate governments while holding secret negotiations. A steady stream of UFO missions keeps up the pressure until governments break. Lucky for us they never expected us to bring the fight to the command center on mars. Just imagine if they had built base defenses like we can for our bases. heh Lord would it be aggravating building up a crew of top notch soldiers, constructing an Avenger from scratch, scrapping together all the gear, sending it to Mars, and then watching it get blown to bits before it even lands... O,o Also consider that their UFO's have operated with relative impunity for a very long time. Presumably XCom is the first organization to shoot down a UFO? As for Earth ramping up for a full scale war, it'd be unlikely that we could really produce enough alien technology in any reasonable timescale to actually outfit whole nations armies, especially with limited Elerium. Perhaps the tech that doesn't require Elerium, but then again shifting an entire army from one weapon system to another is not as simple as merely producing all the weapons. It's an extremely long, arcane, and baffling process. Getting just the branches of the US military to switch to laser weapons would probably take at least a decade. I think that limited resources and the intent to control and dominate rather than eliminate the population of the Earth explain it. For that matter they would see the human population it-self as a resource. Hence the use of small scale terrorism rather than attempting to use any weapons of mass destruction. A bunch of aliens walking around shooting people is still pretty damn scary stuff.Mannon 13:12, 30 March 2011 (EDT)

I would have thought that the simplest answer here is best. The aliens are manifestly unable to survive outside containment or bases for prolonged periods. Further, their clearest technological advantage over the humans (at least, prior to X-Com research) is mind control. Therefore, their primary method of offence is not to get bogged down in a ground war, but to engage in the overthrow of governments by infiltration, coercion, corruption and bribery, and achieve complaisance by terrorisation of the general populace. It is for this reason that standard combat tactics involving large hierarchies are ineffectual against the aliens (when the government/command can be mind controlled and the theatre can be defined by a mobile alien force). A decentralised, partly cellular, covert approach like X-Com is preferable, but unable to win an outright ground war either (being composed of, at maximum, 250 soldiers). Of course in reality, the irony is that the aliens/bourgeoisie/Fox network have Mind Controlled you, the X-Com commander into wasting your time with retro video games instead of doing anything about their societal control! --Oogleshay 16:16, 18 October 2011 (EDT)

My theory is that the aliens are deliberately trying to be low-key because they know once the UN can no longer keep the invasion a secret, they will have no reason to pull their punches at defending Earth. The aliens want to make it so that once humanity at large fully realizes what's going on, it's already too late - they're poking the sleeping giant but take care not to awaken it before amputating all limbs to make it unable to defend itself once awake.--amitakartok 06:33, 14 January 2012 (EST)

Perhaps the aliens suffer from a lack of proper logistics. If we assume that their purpose was to retrieve the lost colony ship(T'leth) then it wouldn't seem particularly likely that the aliens would have brought along the necessary logistics to support a full scale invasion of Earth. Furthermore it is quite possible that the alien ships you encounter in the first XCOM are actually not dedicated invasion ships but rather re-purposed fighter ships(which would explain the total lack of artillery or bombardment capabilities). --Theinsomniac (talk) 22:47, 17 February 2014 (EST)

I disagree with all this. "Mankind is the greatest species." - hogwash. The aliens are clearly capable of wiping out humanity when they wish, if you read the whole of the lose game screens. The game had to be designed to give humans a chance to fight back. With this caveat: the only reasons the aliens don't start wiping out the population would be to preserve humanity. With the harvesting and abduction missions, clearly they are looking for something in the fauna and flora of Earth. Something that a massive assault would make improbable to find due to the overwhelming loss of life that would occur. The most logical explanation would be that the aliens want to harvest specimens with specific genetics traits, so they would want to be able to sift through as much of the population as possible to find those with the best traits. Before wiping out the rest of the "inferior specimens". This explanation would also fit to the story that the brain tells at the end of the Cydonia mission (if that story is more than just a desperate attempt to save itself.) [Why the aliens are so incompetent is due to incomplete development of the strategic layer by the designers, especially with the economy.] Tycho (talk)

Obviously, in the remake, this is much more easily explained as the Etherial search for Psions making human extermination not being their goal (but in fact, the last thing they want, since we're the best shot they got for their apparent true goal: ascendance), but to an limited degree is is reasonable to retroactively apply this motivation to the 1994 Etherials/Cydonian Brain. On a similar vein, where the Gallop Brothers even thinking about T'leth yet during Defense's development? I saw not too long ago, I think on the History Channel, of a 'realistic' take at trying to fight off an invasion/occupation force, also noted to be about harvesting, not about outright killing all humans: with presumed FTL tech, even someting a fraction of lightspeed, and the number and masses of UFOs involved both in the special and in XCOM; it'd be much easier to just strap some engines on some large asteroids and spam them at Earth, which those points prove is possible: a much easier and effective means to exterminate humans, if the goal was xenophobic in nature--- but I digress. Consider.. hmmm, yeh, the US invasion of Iraq or Aphganistan: we COULD of just nuked the hell out either country and called it a day. Presuming a lot, but maybe some of the same reasons America didn't are the same? Intergalatic politics not allowing such WMDs? Excessive collateral damage wasn't their interest? Looking for something specific on an individual basis? That the aliens (may) want slaves, and reasons on that vein, is a big difference they have. Going back to the special, how humanity won is by a mass infitration/kamakaze attack on the barge/battleship-sized UFOs, and making it "not worth" continuing the occupation (in similar nature to people wizing up to Bush's bullshit and losing so many soldiers to cheap-ass IEDs and Soviet-era tech making the Iraq War unpopular)..... again, assuming alien behaviors and mechanics of motivations are anything remotley "human-like". So, at best, I'd ascribe the 1994 alien's motivation as the same as in the special: conquering for resources. Cortez conquering my ancestors for gold. --Xuncu (talk) 08:03, 18 February 2014 (EST)


My personal theory in regards to this is simple. To get to Mars from where they originated they would have to travel at relativist speeds (at or at least close to the speed of light) this requires a lot of energy and at this speed every microgram counts. (a single microgram of cargo can cost a ton of fuel at FTL speeds). So the aliens travelling to Mars, instead of bringing a massed invasion fleet bring the bare minimum. Embryos or even genetic samples for each of their species, blueprints for weapons and equipment, basic manufacturing facilities, mining equipment and a transport vessel designed to be cannibalised to set up the initial Cydonia base, with only a ghost crew to start things off. This explains the year prior to the start of the game (the steady increase in UFO reports, abductions ect.) the aliens need resources, they probably got some from mining the area around Cydonia to build some of their equipment but to grow clones they need a nutrient medium (not to mention the food they need for themselves) which means they have to go to earth and harvest. The initial missions were probably in areas such as the ocean, or jungles, harvesting flora and fauna. But given how little they would be able to harvest this way (they would have trouble finding enough protein not to mention the fact that mutons are said to be obligate carnivores) which meant increased incursions on populated areas (such as farms) add to this the lack of genetic diversity means that they would abduct humans to help provide some means of altering their genetic code to better handle earth diseases and atmosphere. This can also explain why you only get small UFOs initially, they don't have the resources to build battle ships (until they have mined enough to expand their production facilities and build bigger craft). It also explains why they lack weapons. TFTD show that the alien's method for “education” is to just implant knowledge. What this means is you have a bunch of aliens with the same hard-wired brain (clones) and with the same knowledge. Limiting their ability to adapt and change (they don't have years of experience to work on, nor have they had to think of the knowledge they have it's just given to them as fact). Once X-com is formed they now find themselves battling an enemy that not only adapts to use their technology but builds on it (personal armour, power suits, flying suits, fusion ball tanks, ect). The whole alien invasion is doomed from the start. Given time the aliens could have built up a massive fleet capable of overwhelming earth (which was probably their initial plan) but due to X-com getting involved that plan got knocked back. They can mine Mars and the asteroid belt for minerals to build their weapons, but without raiding earth for the fauna to feed their troops and grow their clones they can not build an army. The aliens probably observed earth previously. (maybe Roswell was a scouting mission which failed to return) as such they underestimated our detection and interception capabilities (the back-story actually states that X-com is using the best craft available and previous attempts to intercept UFOs failed using conventional earth technology, which probably explains the limited weapon load-outs for x-com craft (they are built on high speed prototypes designed as proof of concept not actual in service craft so they had to jury rig hard points). This basically means that the aliens were unprepared for earth's level of resistance, before they even had a force capable of fighting. If they had been more careful, built their forces in silence (by farming wild life in the jungles and oceans, instead of going for rich targets like farms to load up on cow parts quickly) they may have been able to launch an invasion before earth even knew what was happening (just imagine if the game started with 20 battleships over every country, mutons march down the streets carrying heavy plasmas and blaster bombs, while snakemen and chrysalids strike major cities, all the while ethreals are mind controlling everyone... try winning that game with just 2 interceptors, a couple of rifles, some heavy weapons and 8 soldiers who can't hit the broad side of a barn from point blank range with a guided rocket --crwydryny 14:50, 30 December 2015 (GMT)

TFTD issues

What was the relationship between the aliens from the 1st and 2nd wars?

Quoting from the UFOPaedia regarding Alien Origins: 'Deep in the oceans there lie ancient sites used by the Aliens to contact their stellar cousins.' This also has some implications regarding the issue of why T'Leth was only activated when the Sectoids were defeated.

  • Gill Men are coopted Terran creatures, Aquatoids are a differently-modified Sectoid breed, Lobstermen are machine soldiers that are manufactured, Tasoths are clone soldiers that are grown.

Aquatoids are the ancestors of the Sectoids. The colony ship was sent out slowing than light hundreds of millions of years ago. Sectoids are a more genetically advanced race. The rest of UFO aliens were picked up after that point. The Brain and Ethereals probably conquered the Sectoids and don't regard them highly. While the Aquatoids that were thawed over the years created, conquered (Gill Man) or manufactured the rest of the allies over time. I picture the Tasoth as probably something they brought with them and have been working on. Since most of the Aquatoids come from suspended animation they have not tinkered with genes much. Instead modifying and using electronics (MC Chip) to control. --BladeFireLight 17:28, 22 March 2010 (EDT)

What kind of materials were 'synomium' and 'adamantium'?

The first one is mentioned on the name of the alien communication devices and the second one appears at the end when T'Leth is destroyed: 'he twisting hugeness of T'leth begins to rupture. Flames and smoke spew from its gleaming spires and adamantium halls.'

Synomium is probably a special material used in the comm. devices, like Stargate's naquadah (universal stuff), naquadria (unstable power source), trinium (hull material) and neutronium (superdense metal). Adamantium is a legendary material in ancient literature that is said to be indestructible, similarly to mithril.--amitakartok 10:55, 3 November 2009 (EST)
Adamantium is said to be one of the strongest elements in many books and films such as X-men. --St.froppelie 19:45, 23 October 2011 (GMT)
  • See also Wikipedia article on Adamantium: [1]

How deep were X-COM bases located on the seas?

  • Floating bases would be easier to build, repair and supply. However they would have to be tethered to the ocean bed or possess some sort of propulsion to prevent them from drifing with the ocean currents. But it would also allow for easy redeployment of the base.
  • Submersible bases could allow for better sonar detection. Same problems regarding ocean currents would apply. In case of hull breaches entire modules would be quickly flooded and any crew present would be crushed by water pressure or drown. Base could be built and then submerged (requires depth control)
  • Seabed bases would be the hardest to build and supply. Several other factors could limit their deployment, such as unstable areas (underwater volcanoes, prone to seaquakes, rock avalanches, etc.) and depths.
  • Given that the Alien Retaliation missions in TFTD are called "Floating Base Attack", I'd say floating. Also remember that your starting sonar can't see Very Deep, which rules out seabed bases. User:magic9mushroom
    • Floating doesn't always happen on the surface. The surface has to deal with large waves ad bobbing up and down, submerged only has the currents it could be stabilized easier. --BladeFireLight 11:57, 14 January 2010 (EST)
  • I was recently researching how far you have to be down to not be effected by surface conditions. You have to be submerged 1/2 of a waves lenght (measured crest to crest) Best I can find is that the average wave is 150 yards accross. To not be effected by the waves you have to be 75 Yards below. This is way below the depth needed to not be effected by the bends when surfaceing. I figure they are probably right at the limit of what can be safe for quick surfacing and well anchored to avoid getting tossed in a storm. --BladeFireLight 17:37, 22 March 2010 (EDT)
    • Something else to consider - these 'floating bases' could be large modular submarines/submersibles. If memory serves, submarines basically maintain sea-level pressure regardless of the depth, so that could explain why they'd be able to be 75+ feet below sea level and not suffer the bends when surfacing.
(Or, y'know, we could just say "a wizard did it".) --Guido Talbot 14:13, 16 July 2010 (EDT)

XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2012) issues

Motives behind the invasion

Now, the UberEtherial pretty much spells out the whole point of the invasion, as well as of their use & control of all the other aliens: they wanted humanity to evolve and become powerful, because they needed a species that was both high in physical prowess, and a powerful psychic warrior. He (presuming gender) freely admits that their bodies suck (and that the other races suck in body and/or mind even more), and the 1st-3rd-1st person pronoun switch in ONE sentence ("We who failed to ascend as they thought we would") and "preparation for what lies ahead", as well as his descriptions of the other alien races in the Temple Ship imply a number of things:

  • The other races are enslaved races, perhaps from earlier invasions (possibly starting with Sectoids and Etherials being different castes of the same species?), themselves having been enhanced by their own resistances, before becoming enslaved on the degree of being puppets.
  • The whole point of the invasion is enslavement of humans, not extermination, for the perfect warrior-- any Metroid fans can think of the Chozo also becoming masters of Psionics and energy manipulation, at the cost of becoming physically frail and infertile, and entrusting the Power Suit -- and their legacy -- to Samus.
  • The alien surgeries (which greatly resemble Sensory Deprivation tanks-- you can even zoom in to see captive humans twitch sporadically) are their version of XCOM's Psi Lab (which also greatly resemble Sensory Deprivation tanks): they are 'farming' humans for Psi potential, similar to how us, the player, may farm soldiers for our own Psi Squad
  • Which then makes XCOM almost as much the Etherial's project as it is the Council's (hence why they do not invade or attack XCOM HQ or Interceptor bases)
  • Someone/thing else is involved, someone the Etherials are in some way subservient to: notice in the Temple Ship and in the Overseer UFO, the strange, Cathedral-like "Stained Glass Windows". To me, there appear to be two figures in each: the much more visible 4-armed Etherial silhouette, and in a transparent, but slightly darker shade of lavender, some other 6-8 limbed creature, with a larger body and a very different head-shape behind the first.
  • "What lies ahead" may mean some coming disaster, or merely a challenge and testing from this sequel-hook of "They"
  • Additionaly: the description of the Hyperwave device implies contact with an alternate dimension. The organic-metallic (silicon based, perhaps?) form of the Outsiders (as opposed to the rather obvious "manufactured and machined parts grafted onto flesh" Cyborg attachments of both Floater varieties), and their absence (especially from the Temple Ship) after the device's capture, as well as released screenshots of the upcoming FPS XCOM game (mentioning Outsiders AND being placed several decades ago)-- all this suggests alternate timelines as well as alternate dimensions (in quantum physics, these are practically the same thing anyways), as well as some species native to this Outside dimension that are the ones, this "They", whom are actually calling the shots.

--Xuncu 03:56, 26 January 2013 (EST)

  • Just to verify the point about the Outsiders, they are called OUTSIDERS, which pretty much means not native, so possibly they are not native to this dimension, also, "What lies ahead" Could possibly be foreshadowing a TFTD remake? And the Outsiders are merely, prototypes of the Ultimate Alien?

XBrassxDragonX 22:59, 25 May 2013 (EDT)

  • The UberEthereal is a rebel against "They" he/she/it united a group of Ethereals, and left "They" Then, he/she/it proceeded to search for the Ultimate Race, a race that was as tough as a Muton, and as Psionically Powerful as an Ethereal, these were the Humans. This Ultimate Race would overthrow "They" and thus, complete the Ethereal's legacy, it could also be, that through the use of implants, and sacrificing physical strength for Psionic Power, the Humans could walk the same path as the Ethereals, and be contacted by whatever was left of "They" then, the Humans would help "They" rebuild, and realize the sinister motivations behind "They's" plan, and thus, repeat the story in a never-ending cycle.

How is it possible for Psionic soldiers to exist?

After capturing a Psi-capable enemy and dissecting it: does XCOM reverse-engineer the implants and insert them into troops (whether they test positive (capable of using them) or not)? Or, is the testing just digging for a Psi signal that is already there? In which case, it's a human-evolved trait, but from where, and why wasn't it found before? Vahlen's reasearch implies similar genetic struture between aliens and humans: do humans and Etherials/Sectoids have a common Psi-capable ancestor, or have the Etherials been interfereing with human evolution for at least 20-30 years (or however old troopers tend to be, with Shaojie Zhang and his advanced age, equally possible to have Psi-Abilites), if no longer? At least in Apocalypse, there's the excuse of Sectoid/Human Hybrids. How do humans use a power just discovered that year, and only a few months of practice, end up with the capacity to potentially mind-control Etherials, each of which who have several thousand years of personal experience with Psi abilites? --Xuncu 05:28, 11 April 2013 (EDT)

It's implied that humans were always latent psionics (it's possible that if we weren't, the Ethereals would never have bothered us at all). The cutscene where your first psionic is found suggests the testee is immersed in some sort of purple gas, which presumably causes some physiological change to make them operant psionics. As for how human psionics get so good so quickly, good question, though bear in mind that psionic humans are implied to be an Ethereal's equal in raw power, but while an Ethereal has to expend psionic power all the time just to stay alive and standing, a human can devote it all to his psionic attacks. This could explain why humans are on an equal footing with Ethereals despite having comparatively little practice. More simply, it could just be that humans are badass compared to aliens; we certainly seem to be able to reverse engineer their technology in record time AND then make improvements to it, suggesting we're frankly just "better" than them. Binkyuk 09:07, 12 April 2013 (EDT)
Another possibility could be that Elerium exposure maybe one of the factors. While Doctor Vahlen stated that she found a correlation with high will power and psychic ability, gameplay mechanics aside there are cases where a very high willed soldier came back from the Psionic Labs who had displayed no psychic prowess whatsoever. Elerium is used in the alien technologies and it was only after the Alien attack that XCOM was able to 'make' psionic soldiers. Another piece of evidence is that pieces of equipment such as the Psi Armor and the Mind Shield require a large quantity of Elerium in order to manufacture and that it 'enhances' the Psychic abilities of the wearer. While it is true that Elerium is used as a power source for the armor, unlike the hulking Titan armor the Psi armor is essentially a skinsuit/catsuit/muscle suit that has no visible heavy pieces of armor but yet the Elerium requirements for a set of Psi Armor exceed the Elerium requirements for the larger, heavier Titan armor. Logically (again, gameplay mechanics aside) speaking the lighter Ghost armor could perform the same if it used the same amount of Elerium for the Titan armor yet it requires more to function. Combined with the fact that the Psionic Labs and the Gallop Chamber (Both facilities that involve Psionic's) are the only XCOM facilities outside of the Elerium Generator that requires Elerium in their construction means that Elerium maybe linked to the manifestation of Psychic phenomena.

GMPilot0079 3:56, 13 May 2013 (CST)

Bureau/Enemy Within/My Little Pony Supplemental

Yes, really

How does a Psychic attack on an XCOM soldier cause obvious psychological effects (-will, -aim), but damages armor first?

So, it's a safe assumption that the "They" spoken up above is probably the likes of Asaru and Shamash, "True" Etherials, who's physical forms have been discarded in trade of bodies made of pure energy--- much like EU/EW's Outsiders (not the Zudjari-- for clarity's sake, "Outsider" means the UFO-commander type alien in EU, and Bureau's 'Outsiders' shall be specifically called "Zudjari") are also described as being of pure energy. So, Bass Dragon was half-right: the Outsiders are not prototypes, they're attempts to reverse-engineer the Ultimate Life-forms that are the True Etherials. Shamash outright said they exist in multiple realities (either in the "omnipresent" sense (and the "physical" body is just the part that happens to intersect this reality), or that they can shift between alternate realities, XCOM's dimension included), and the Hyperwave Uplink, which seems to be the source for the Outsider's existence, has in-game descriptions that states that it has some kind of access to alternate dimensions, I think confirms this. The fact that Origin could study and emulate Shamash through scientific methods also leads credence that the Outsiders were scientific attempts to manufacture a True Etherial (or analogue thereof), via the Uplink.

The slave collars on the Bureau's Sectoids. I used to think that Sectoids may have been a low catse, but effectively the same species as Etherials. But, that was more based on the 1994 game's depictions, where the Sectoids were weaklings, but seemed to be "just another member of the alien horde." With 4-armed Etherials being canon, it's more likley that Etherials share a common ancestor with Slenderman than Sectoids, since evolution doesn't really work that way (ie: all/most (modern) Earth animals with spinal chords (chordate [2] ) follow a "head and 4 limbs and 2 eyes" body configuration). More likely, Sectoids are the "for hire/sale" whipping boy of the universe. Additionally, the slave collars that are suggested to help link them to the Mosaic Network, show how incomplete Origin's manipulation of Shamash was: in the infliltration of the Spire in Arizona, Dr Wier comments that Mosaic "seems to want to help". But, as the normal Etherials were collectively working together, that is why EU's Sectoids were without collars: the Etherials had no need for them.

Sectoids on sale, now 50% off, this Rel only, here on Shopduct n' Slave!

Now, the Meld: it always struck me as odd how careless the aliens seemed to be, leaving massive resources laying around for XCOM to collect. If XCOM was some kind of MMORPG, I would bet that players who chose the Alien factions would often blow up the Elerium Generators and Navigational Computers if it looked like they were going to lose a base or UFO (Chryssalid Rush, ke ke ke!). That they leave the Meld hanging around seems to me that they want XCOM to get it, which goes with what I wrote long ago up there about how XCOM could be said to also be the Etherial's project, at least indirectly.

On the other hand; how does Meld tie in with the purpose of the invasion? Searching for the Ultimate Life Form, "as we sought to uplift them, to prepare them." In other words: those aren't mere storage canisters, XCOM Bait, or bombs. They're dispersal units. The Etherials' plot was to seed Earth with Meld to enhance physical capacities anyways (Mechtoids, Floater/Heavies), while doing abductions as mass "Farming" for Psi-positive humans (ie; like how the player buys soldiers in bulk, and picks out the ones we want to submit for Psi testing). Failures: we fire them, Zudjari kill them and dump 'em out back, Etherials and The Matrix turn them into flood slurry, and the Wachowski Siblings make a third movie and lose all credibility.

Which brings me to my third topic, where I talk about a cute talking unicorn that hails from a magical Fantasy kingdom of baby horses.

In the crossover fanfic XCOM/FiM: Stardust, the Author is (with obvious liberties) attempting to stay accurate to XCOM's technical information (with assistance from this very 'Paedia: he's seen my work here). The major alterations to the plot are that Bradford replaces the player character of the Commander, and instead of Fluttershy reforming Discord, Discord makes a bet with Twilight Sparkle to "Convince me, irrefutably, that friendship is the strongest power in the universe."

With Twilight accepting the terms, Discord teleports her to April 02, 2015, to the site of a Terror Mission in Washington DC, within 30 feet of a Chryssalid.

If you've read this far, I assume I've had your interest. If I now have your attention, and want to read the story without getting spoilers, scroll down to where Elerium is next written in bold.

So, obvious question: "What the hell does that have to do with anything?!" Well, the Author is trying to stay accurate to EU and Bureau (he did start writing before much of EW was revealed) while writing his own story, and he addresses several valid points that solve, or at least address several XCOM mysteries. The unique viewpoint of involving cartoon ponies is for flavor, amusement, and contrast to better see them.

As the story continues; Twilight is captured by XCOM, and almost Interrogated by Dr Vahlen, but manages to escape the containment cell. Hijinks ensue, Dr Shen talks Bradford into allowing him to make contact (referencing the in-game Arc Thrower conversation between the three), and Twilight is now a 'guest' of XCOM, taking residence in "Stardust" Labs. Eventually, she helps in XCOM's research of both alien technology, and her own magic abilities: The magic field she uses in Equestria is also available on Earth, but is stiff from "disuse," but is discovered to be the same field that the Aliens use for Psionic abilities. It's revealed that Elerium is, or is at least an analogue to "Arcanite", a material that boosts magic abilities. Ergo: Elerium boosts Psionic abilities. As Twilight assists in both XCOM Research, and indirectly with missions themselves, with her magic, her use of the Field begins to awaken the Psionic/Magic abilities of the humans around her. For example, Commander Bradford has 'time-stopping' precognition; several times, he has seen TPKs, only to snap back into real time shortly before it all goes to hell-- save states, basically.

Her assistance also points out that the implants found in the aliens, particularly the Sectoid Commanders, also have Elerium circuitry that activates/boosts/projects their Mind Control ability (as well as all aliens to be able to be controlled by the Etherials, who have not yet been revealed in the story, save for a refrence to/by a possible EXALT/Osiris member, and another to William Carter). This also points out that the Etherials are not specifically "Religious" of themselves, as Origin was, but are scientific-minded (the "All Technologies" research credit).

The mystery of XCOM this addresses is, as Analyst Krut points out in The Bureau: "Why?"

"Dear Twilight Sparkle,

ELERIUM.

Sincerely,

Pinkie Pie!"

The Field that makes the abilities possible has probably always been here, and is perhaps universal, as inherent as magnetism or gravity (or, if you want a stupid comparison: like the "Chroma" in Indigo Prophecy). And, with Elerium and it's use making Psionics easier for humans, Earth is now a 'factory' for making the most potentially dangerous beings in the universe.

Evolution, at least on Earth, is more about "Good enough"/"it works, duddn't it?" than any search/aim for "better", and certainly not "perfect". If there was no evolutionary push (or capacity) to be able to use the Field (as useful as it would be), such traits would not develop. Interesting examples where real-world animals do use advanced physics are the Pistol Shrimp, who's claw has evolved in such a way that's essentially a Sonic_Pistol and can make a luminescent spark of plasma that's the same temperature as the surface of the sun, and dolphins that use complex fluid dynamics that humans barely understand to, basically, just pass the time [3].

So, the Field that makes Psionic abilities possible is, in fact, accessible to humans, but as it is not often developed; it's rare, or doesn't manifest strongly. But it is there, so there is a motivation for the Etherials to come to Earth and do their testing (Incidentally, I don't think there is anything really saying that the Etherials knew that Asaru and Shamash were here).

Which also addresses "Why now?"

Because Elerium is now on Earth: in The Bureau, it's established that the Zudjari have been seeding the Earth with Elerium as early as 1957 (the year that Spudnik was launched: the satellite is even seen in the opening sequence of a campaign). If Elerium boosts Field abilities, such as Psionics, then 58 years of low-level global exposure may have triggered/boosted enough to draw the attention of the Etherials (incidentally, background radiation from above-ground nuclear tests peaked in 1963 at about 0.15 mSv per year worldwide, or about 7% of average background dose from all sources. The Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963 prohibited above-ground tests, thus by the year 2000 the worldwide dose from these tests has decreased to only 0.005 mSv per year [4]-- and in Angela's ending, she gets the US Government to use nukes to erase evidence of the invasion). This may also be why the aliens seem careless with Elerium; not as effective at making enhancements as dispersing Meld, but may help instigate Psi activations.

Now, I realize: if Psi powers ARE a scientifically understandable energy wave (and not straight-up "Magic"), then it does make sense that armor is damaged as well, and that the suits that include Elerium can block the "piercing/bypassing" damage that I think would be more realistic. And for the armors it doesn't make sense for; they don't give an HP bonus big enough to make the difference.

Which leads to one more interesting thought: Elerium is not exclusive to the "Etherial Empire", or whoever controls the Sectoids (as Elerium is not in Apocalypse(?), but Sectoids are): while not naturally native to Earth, there's nothing saying how limited-- or abundant-- Elerium is throughout the universe (Arcanite). Less evidence, and more of a hunch: may Elerium be somewhat... "viral"? That it may at least "try" to spread as it goes, as the Bureau suggests? Like a milder version of Tiberium [5] or Phazon [6]?

Obviously, Origin didn't have the device that had Asaru before the invasion, BUT, Faulk said the device was found in an Elerium Mine (in Montana). In other words, the Elerium aggregated around Asaru, who was there first. So, there is enough to establish that there is a link between Elerium exposure/presence, and Psionic abilities, as is shown in Stardust.

In conclusion:

  •  ???? - Asaru arrives on Earth
  •  ???? - Sectoids, a clone race, are sold in open intergalactic slave markets to various alien empires across the universe: as clones and near-blank genetic templates, their adaptability, ability to be mass produced, and 'ease of use' (aided by Psionic links to one another) lends to the success of their sale.
  • 65,000,000 BCE - The Lovecraftian "Vortex" Empire (refrence: Ecco the Dolphin [7] - would explain why they look like Earth's aquatic animals), hailing from aquatic worlds, crash land a colony ship on Earth, either because, or as the impact that led to the extinction of the Dinosaurs-- and in the process, pave the way for mammals, and eventually for Humans to rise, whom will spend the rest of Time crossing Space, and even going into other Dimensions, obliterating every alien menace they encounter. Way to go, guys.
    • Due to the exclusion of Elerium and their preference of aquatic habitats, their own research creates Zrbite and Aquaplastics, and they modify their own Sectoid slaves/genome templates into the Aquatoids.
  •  ????-1957-1962 - Zudjari, as part of their normal conquests' terraform operations, and the search for True Etherials, seeded Earth with Elerium in The Bureau. Asaru awakens, Shamash is killed, and Origin is deleted in a massive Etherial-fueled Psionic wave.
  • 1962-2015 - Background radiation from Elerium is covered up by atmospheric Nuclear Testing, but the effects are still felt worldwide: while skills may not be developed, Psionic potential grows.
  • 2015-2016? - The "cast out" Etherials begin their conquest and research of Humans and Earth, led here either by Elerium's energy signature, Psionic energy signatures, or due to the presence of the two True Etherials on a single planet; and event said to be a multiversal rarity. The battles between them and XCOM are a boon to human science and technology. Psionic experimentation, and the dispersal of Meld lead to the enhancement of both the human mind and body. Then the Etherials get blown the fuck up.
    • Black Market interests begin the EXALT organization, a paramilitary group made with the aim of stealing and adapting alien technology and materials to force human evolution. After the raid on their headquarters and the neutralization of their command leadership, remaining members go into hiding, and begin to pass and adapt their ideology down family lines.
  • 1997-2002 - Due to the energy signal released by the death of the multidimensional being Shamash: in an alternate timeline/dimension, the Etherial invasion happens earlier: since the Alien Brain is a computer, it's able to organize the invasion that much faster. The Tachyon signal released upon it's destruction lasts only a little while, but as the Tachyon is a (theoretical) FTL particle, it's properties are not restricted to 'normal' space-time.
  • 2027 - Reminants of EXALT reorganize into the Cult of Sirus.
  • 2041-2046 - As the Aquatoids were able to receive the signal as easily as their Sectoid cousins, they began the resurrection of T'leth: thus, the Second Alien War.
  • 2084 - The Micronoids, while not as experienced as Etherials at multidimensional travel, also register the death of Shamash, and begin their assault on the largest Earth-based population: Mega-Primus. Thanks for that, Carter.
    • Sectoid-Human hybrids were origionally developed by the Etherials in an attempt to add the docile and controllable aspects of the Sectoids to the physically and psionically potent human race, much like the 1957 experiments with Africanized Honey Bees. In fact, exactly like those experiments: those bees are now known as "Killer Bees", and the Human-Sectoid mutants are willing to fight for XCOM, in exchange for universal rights.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand there: a Grand Unified Theory of XCOM!

Source: --Xuncu 08:53, 24 November 2013 (EST)

And yes, I feel there's legitimacy in connecting XCOM to Ecco: Et voilà.--Xuncu 17:49, 24 November 2013 (EST)