The Mysteries of X-COM

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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)

What happens to 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 to ensure that they won't be recovered by humans.
  • The UFO Powerplant eventually suffers a meltdown and explodes, eliminating any vestiges of alien presence.
  • The aliens destroy 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)
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)

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

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

How did the aliens got 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)
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)

What happened to Mars the alien civilization?

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)

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.

Why did the aliens used so 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?