Saturday, September 14, 2013

Merric Maric

Name: Major Merrick Maric
Nickname: "Emo"
Role: Sniper
Status: KIA (Operation Avenger)

Even before the events in Mumbai, Merrick Maric's taciturn demeanor and tendency toward isolation earned her the squad nickname "Emo". Since returning from the mission, however, she has actually become an elective mute, communicating only through hand signals. Although the medics agree that she does still posses the power of speech, she no longer chooses to make use of it.

Merrick Maric has an almost obsessive love of heights. She does not speak to her fellow teammates, but gets along with them well enough--Mad Man Hendricks is her only close friend on the squad. She is contemptuous of Double Down's taking of live prisoners, and has expressed concern that Road Block Green relies too much on mental domination of their opponents--in her opinion, there is never a reason not to kill a hostile alien, and any other tactic is foolish at best.

In May of 2015, an alien terror squad landed in the heart of Mumbai, in a mission to cause panic throughout the population. Unfortunately  this attack occurred mere days after Colonel Green, Major Green, and Lieutenant Stock had volunteered for psychic evaluations, leaving Major Maric as the only active member of the XCOM program with any real combat experience.

The other members of her squad were Basanta Claus, Dee McGoldrilocks, Ricardo Berna, Parry Parry, and Gordon Taylor-Fletcher. It was Taylor-Fletcher's very first mission, and the others had only been on a handful. They were woefully unprepared.

Taylor-Fletcher, Parry, and McGoldrilocks were all shot down while attempting to rescue civilians, and then things got really bad.

Horrifying spider-creatures appeared out of nowhere, racing through the streets at incredible speeds. It was during this mission that we learned that they had the ability to infect their prey, turning them into dangerous zombies. Worse, much worse, was that this infection also incubated their eggs--an even larger number of the creatures "hatched" from the bodies of the people Maric's team had been sent to save.

Backed into a corner between a brick wall and a trash dumpster, Basanta Claus desperately fired his plasma pistol, killing one of the creatures at point blank range. Parry Parry showed up to extricate him, but they were both ambushed by another creature. Claus was fatally wounded, Parry's panicked shot went wild, and he was also killed.

Major Maric was fighting her way through a former nightclub, desperately trying to save them, but soon found herself surrounded by two more spider creatures and the zombified corpse of a former Mumbai citizen. Thinking quickly, she used her suit's prototype grappling hook to fly to the rafters, out of their reach. She was safe, but had no idea what was going on outside of the room in which she was trapped. 

From that vantage point, she spent the better part of half an hour shooting spider creatures, zombies and, eventually, the brainless husks of her former squadmates Claus and Parry. By the time the retrieval team arrived, Maric and six civilians were the only survivors. It took them over an hour to convince her to climb down from the rafters.

She was immediately placed in psychiatric leave (combined with psionic testing--she tested negative, however) and seems to be coping about as well as can be expected. As mentioned previously, she no longer speaks. Additionally, she has a marked preference for high ground during a mission regardless of Colonel Green's advice or orders. Fortunately, she is an extremely deadly sniper, and there is often little reason for her to be anywhere else: once she gets "in the zone", she is literally capable of shooting and killing her targets in a steady stream of death, until she runs out of bullets or aliens.

This love of heights has had another beneficial effect in that it has allowed her to form a close bond with assault trooper Hendrick Hendricks. As a rookie, Hendricks admired her prototype Skeleton-class armor, and she arranged for him to get a set of his own. She taught him to use its grappling hook, which he used so frequently and so recklessly that he earned the nickname "Mad Man".

Although "Mad Man" Hendricks is a bit of a talker and Maric an elective mute, the two have formed a close friendship based on their love of heights. In fact, the Archangel-class armor (designed for powered flight) was developed with those two soldiers specifically in mind.

During Operation Avenger, an assault on the main alien battle cruiser, Colonel Green had mentally taken over a "muton", alien heavy infantry, and was using it to scout the rest of the ship. They discovered a large hanger bay with two giant robot "sectopods". Maric scored a beautiful hit on the first, doing 19 points of damage and taking away over 80% of it's hit points. It responded with a blast from its main cannon, severely wounding her.

At that point, Colonel Green was taking fire from the other robot, although it shot wied and missed him. Perhaps because of this distraction, his mental control over the severely injured muton slipped. Although it was already almost dead (it had a single hit point left) it managed to open fire on Merrick Maric, killing her in the air.

Mad Man Hendricks immediately destroyed it, and Colonel Green released a rage-fueled burst of psychic energy, creating a rift in the psionic atmosphere of the hanger bay, instantly causing both robots to explode. Lieutenant Beef Stock was on hand with her advanced med kit at the ready, but there was nothing she could do.

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