X-Men Mission: Phalanx
Part 8 of the Go Tell The Spartans Arc.
|Dates run:||January 5-7, 2007|
|Read the logs:||Phalanx|
"So, let me get this straight. We're going to jump into an island held by highly trained and regimented armed military squads, and our strategy is to run up somehow ahead of the machine gun fire and hit them on the head with an Eaton's toy department sword?"
Thousands of years ago, 300 Spartans defeated a million Persians at the battle of Thermopylae. Now imagine if you gave the Spartans howitzers and automatic weapons.
After the combined forces of the X-Men and the US military took out the Mistra training base on the isle of Youra, the Greek government set about the task of reclaiming the facility and retasking it as a cultural research center. Although nearly all the data on Mistra's methodology and techniques was taken as evidence in the trials of the directors of the project, a series of disks was left behind and found when demolishing part of a building during the redesign process.
These disks contained the beginning of a project to replace Mistra's empathic conditioning after the empathic manipulation showed a vulnerability to certain "Trojan Horse" memetic countermeasures. Shying away from psionic manipulation, the new project outlined the possibility of using technological means, specifically short-range radio transmissions on the 9MHz wavelength, the same frequency the human subconscious processes instinctive reactions.
Working with the Greek military, the cultural research center adapted this project to attempt to augment military training with the esprit de corps of the legendary Spartans. A group of volunteer recruits was outfitted with a coin-sized transmitter grafted to the base of their skull, and the newly-dubbed Phalanx program was turned on.
Initially, after a period of psychological adjustment, the soldiers began drilling together more cohesively, developing strong bonds of comradeship. Over the next few months, however, certain behavioral patterns started forming. No soldier in the unit bothered applying for leave, and all refused to take any rest and recreation passes, preferring constant drilling long into the night.
After concerns were raised by the families of some of the soldiers due to the sudden and massive changes in behavior, the military opted to discontinue the Phalanx project. However, attempts to order the unit to stand down met with armed resistance. Led by Captain Leonidas Nikostatis, the soldiers, calling themselves Spartans, revolted. Instead, the soldiers took the cultural research complex on Youra by storm, imprisoning the researchers there and submitting them to the same process, effectively drafting them into their army.
The Greek government contacted the X-Men through Val Cooper, due to the professionalism that the team had shown during the initial hostilities on Youra. Rapidly putting a mission plan together, the X-Men were outfitted with synthetic 'swords' designed to shut down the Phalanx implants, created by Forge. The X-Men were put in contact with Admiral Stilianos Milios, their liaison with the Hellenic Navy and overall commander of the mission.
Upon their arrival in Greece, the X-Men underwent a speedy course in the geography of the island, as well as HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) parachuting procedures for their insertion onto Youra. The first glitch in the plan came during the jump, when Legion's parachute malfunctioned, and the stress caused his telekinetic "Jack" personality to emerge. Once on the ground, the X-Men split into various two-person teams: Rogue and Tinky Winky took out sentries along the perimeter of the island and neutralized their anti-aircraft weapons, Cable and Phoenix provided telepathic and telekinetic support, Cannonball and Sunfire took out the Spartans' communications, while Dominion and Legion were intended to subtly neutralize the Spartans who had been receiving medical attention, due to Jack's emergence their role became more violent than planned. During the fracas, Nightcrawler and Wolverine infiltrated the cultural center and encountered Leonidas directly, managing to subdue him.
In less than ten minutes, the battle was over with no casualties and minimal injuries. After the battle, a number of the X-Men took time to reflect, especially those who had been to Youra before. The mission was considered a success, and was an effective "baptism by fire" for some of the team's newer members and trainees.
Trivia and Meta
This mission was the first field mission for Garrison and Clarice, as well as the first mission back for a number of X-Men who had been on various forms of hiatus, including Scott, Kurt, Haller and Jean.
The plot borrows from the canon "Phalanx Covenant" arc in name only, as it was decided early on that techno-organic alien lifeforms did not fit in with the tone of the game.