Storytime: Intelligence, But Not As We Know It (Based on events that occurred in a game)

So this is a story I wrote after finishing a desperate campaign of containment and sterilization against an absolutely catastrophic Fungal infestation in my game. It is less about the fight itself, and more about what caused it; this was a huge battle, and I felt like it needed a reason to have occurred, as it came out of nowhere, caught me completely by surprise, and would have rapidly covered the map. Writing isn’t something I normally do, but I hope you enjoy it.

NORAD, 0030 Hours, 120 days Post Cataclysm

General Bradford couldn’t sleep. Between the stresses of being the highest ranking military officer still alive, and the godawful dreams of the events of the last few months, sleep had become both a rare luxury and hellish torment. His only refuge at the moment was in work, reviewing the latest updates on supply levels, and progress on the reorganization and redeployment of what little of America’s military forces remained. He looked up as the door to his office opened, and the on duty intelligence and communications officers walked in. The intel officer looked pale, and his face was drawn with anxiety.
“Oh shit, both of you here at the same time is never good. Please tell me its not another Florida. The Everglades are going to be radioactive for the next two thousand years after what we had to do to contain that thing.”
The comms officer spoke first, “We just received a report from one of our recently recruited U.S. Marshals in Vermont. He stumbled upon a Class 5 infestation of that fungal organism we have been seeing pop up everywhere. Luckily, he was well equipped and able to sterilize the area before it could spread further. Vermont now has one less forest, and one new smoldering field the size of a small city”.
This disturbed the general greatly. The fungal superorganism had a high energy metabolism, and the heat generated by even a Class 2 outbreak could easily be detected by satellite thermal imaging. This detection method was reliable, had been used for the last two months to spot outbreaks early, so that they could be sterilized by drone aircraft armed with napalm.
“How the hell did Sat Recon miss that? We should have located that infestation weeks ago.”
“That is the exact same thing the Marshal asked.” said the intel officer. “We just finished performing diagnostics on the satellite imaging system and the detection software after the Marshal’s report. Someone has tampered with our software. The system was altered to selectively ignore some outbreaks while reporting others. Someone wanted this stuff to go undetected and spread out of control, while making it look like the fungus was being contained”.
The general felt a cold fury rising at the thought that someone would assist in spreading that virulent and dangerous lifeform across the nation. “Do we know who it was?” He asked.
“We have one suspect. A systems technician in charge of maintenance on the satellite uplink systems”.
“Get a squad of marines in power armor right now. We are going to pay him a visit”.
The general and squad made their way to the base quarters, and the marines formed up around the door to the technician’s room. After knocking gained no response, the general gave the order to breach the door. What they found inside was worse than they could have imagined. Every surface was covered in fungal growth, and a strange plant with berries was growing in a pot on a desk. The technician was nowhere to be seen. The marines swore profusely and the squad leader ordered everyone to evacuate the section and seal off the area.
“I don’t know what the hell is going on, but I want him found, RIGHT NOW” the general yelled.
The intel officer suddenly called in over the radio “Sir, we found him, he is at the satellite uplink”.
“We are on our way now!”
As General Bradford and the marines reached the uplink, the satellite technician stood up and turned around. His skin was pale with fungal growths protruding from beneath it, and his face had a blank, yet somehow serene expression. Then he began to speak.
“We are the Mycus. We will grow. We MUST grow. You will join with us, and we will grow together. This is inevitable”.
The general stared in horror at the thing which used to be a human being, now being controlled like a puppet. This was worse than Florida. MUCH worse. “MARINES, KILL THAT THING RIGHT NOW!” He yelled.
The infested technician began moving towards them with an inhuman speed as the marines opened fire. As it ran, they could see fungal mycelia extruding from its hands, and beginning to form claws. Their bullets were hitting the thing and slowing it, but the wounds and chunks of missing flesh were quickly filling in with a woody material. The creature got within 2 feet of the squad when it suddenly staggered and fell down dead.
“Get a hazmat team in here. We need this thing sent off for autopsy, and this room sterilized immediately. Send the team to his quarters as well. Have them take samples, especially of that plant, and then burn everything else”.
The general made his way back to the command center, and ordered the facility sealed under quarantine. The satellite detection system software was restored from isolated backups, and every officer in the command center watched in shock and fear as the map of the US on the screen blossomed with red and yellow splotches indicating infestation. After returning to his office, he sat for a while, contemplating what he had just seen, and its implications, knowing that new nightmares awaited him the next time he closed his eyes to sleep. Finally, he could delay no more, picked up the red rotary phone on his desk, and dialed.
“This is General Bradford, wake the President. The situation is even worse than we thought. We need to begin POSEIDON EXODUS ahead of schedule”.


They’ll have to be really careful about dissecting the berry.

Very nice story; may I ask, is the General Bradford in anyway related to XCOM’s Central Bradford?


Honestly I just pulled a name out of thin air. But now I’m definitely picturing him as Central.