• Published 2nd May 2013
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Stardust - Arad

Can Twilight earn the trust and friendship of people who are by nature suspicious and hostile to anything that isn't 'human'?

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Stardust Supplemental Files (Pt. 3)




WARNING: Access to this file is RESTRICTED to personnel with TOP SECRET clearance or above. Attempts to access this file without authorization will be reviewed and be grounds for TERMINATION AND/OR PROSECUTION. Distribution of this file may only be done with authorization from Cmdr. David Bradford, failure to provide authorization will result in TERMINATION AND/OR PROSECUTION.

PROJECTDIV: Xenobiology
DIVLEAD: Dr. Joel Mills
Attached Files: Analysis reports of tissue, blood and hair samples from ‘Twilight’, Medical Imaging footage (various) of ‘Twilight’, personal notes by DIVLEAD.

Personal Notes follow:

NEW RECORD: 17:00 04/05/2015

Today we made arrangements for Twilight to be taken to Medical one floor up to use the scanning equipment there not to mention procure physical samples. Quite frankly I’ve been dying to see how her body operates as compared to the invaders or even our own physiologies. After all, there’s only so much we can tell with just the naked eye and the plethora of monitoring equipment in the lab.

From the trip to Medical we were able to determine the following:

1. Twilight is warm-blooded and mammalian in nature, with the vast majority of her physiology extremely similar to Earth organisms.

a. Side note: This was discovered earlier but also is worth mentioning; Twilight’s species are herbivores and are completely comfortable eating fruits and vegetables provided with no difficulty.

b. Side note 2: Twilight is not only able to consume and gain nutrients from our fruits and vegetables, but she recognizes them from her own homeworld. Considering the mammalian nature of Twilight and the similarity in described plant life, we may have a case of parallel evolution on a planetary scale.

c. Side note 3: Twilight has also ascribed a desire for coffee whenever any is brought into the habitat. Requests were denied and coffee in the Stardust labs has been banned until further notice.

2. The key distinguishing feature of Twilight’s skeletal structure (horn) is comprised of bone and hollow and has a significant amount of circulatory activity. It is quite apparent that this horn doesn’t serve the same function physically as the horns of earth animals; it’s not meant to withstand impacts.

3. Scans of Twilight’s brain show that its Encephalization quotient is roughly equivalent to humans.

a. Further scans of Twilight’s brain, especially during the ‘magic’ tests showed something startling. The frontal lobe (or perhaps even a new lobe entirely? Oh the possibilities) extends partially into the horn and lit up like a light on the imaging systems during the magic tests. The theory is that this section of the brain directly accesses and/or interfaces with whatever energy is used for her magic.

b. Visual footage of Twilight using her magic also confirms that her horn does give off light during magic use, and the target for her magic also receives a similar aura. Anecdotal accounts provided by Twilight seem to indicate that the color of this light depends upon the user, in Twilight’s case it is bright magenta.

c. Further notes on Twilight’s magical abilities can be described in Dr. Vahlen’s DEPTLEAD notes.

4. Analysis of Twilight’s blood indicates it is functionally identical to blood from terrestrial analogs. It’s even red. Analysis systems are still working on DNA structures to see if it bears any similarities to ours.

5. Hair samples are almost identical in makeup as human hair, being comprised of keratin.

a. The colors of her mane, coat, and flank marks are all inexplicably natural as far as the machines can tell.

6. Imaging of her muscle structure shows that she is likely capable of feats of physicality that would only be possible to only the most fit of humans. I note this specifically because Twilight describes herself as an academic and not physically oriented in her profession.

a. The ‘Earth Pony’ subspecies described in earlier notes must be significantly stronger if Twilight’s descriptions are accurate, even without any of the described magical abilities.

7. Other systems in Twilight’s body appear to have similar functions as earth equivalents. Heart, lungs, kidneys, everything.

The mountains of data used to come up with this summary are attached with the notes.

On a more personal note, today did not go quite as expected. In the previous days, Twilight has always been extremely eager for every one of our discussions. There was an equal amount of give and take as she both asked and answered questions (all answers were within the established security restrictions, and Twilight did not push any subject after she was informed of the restrictions).

Today, however, she was withdrawn and skittish. Her answers were short and clipped, and she stuck to Shen and the two volunteers more often than not. Kim noticed this behavior as well, and took this as further evidence of the herd mentality of Twilight’s culture. The only question now is what may have triggered our (Kim and I) exclusion from the ‘herd’.

Furthermore, I was in observation and was able to overhear Shen’s initial explanation of today’s plans as well as everyone in attendance and she seemed to have no adverse reaction to it until after we gathered to head to medical.

Perhaps it’s the technology angle? After all, a culture without the need for technology might be intimidated by mundane devices that can replicate their natural abilities. Twilight was extremely hesitant to participate in the medical imaging procedures until Shen volunteered to use them first. I suppose we all should be thankful for Shen’s presence, he always seems to know exactly what to say to calm any anxiety.

Perhaps it was the thought of leaving the lab? From what we know of Twilight’s arrival and time here on Earth, it has ranged from unpleasant to downright life threatening except for within the lab itself. First the Chryssalid attack, which would be enough to unhinge anyone, then ending up in Containment.

Oh, hell.

UPDATE: 08:25, 04/06/2015

I spoke with Frank and at his suggestion I reviewed all previous recorded contacts with Twilight and I think I found our answer. Kim, Vahlen and I were all present shortly before Twilight’s escape, and its likely seeing all of us together brought that memory back for Twilight. Shen obviously didn’t take part in that little fiasco, and the two volunteers had their helmets on until their official introduction, so that’s why I suspect Twilight considers them ‘safe.’

I know she is just doing her job but Vahlen’s effect on Twilight is extremely inconvenient. That ice queen is also doing nothing to adjust her attitude to accommodate Twilight. Seriously, would it kill her to crack a smile once and awhile, or maybe answer a question or two?

Looks like our job just got a little bit more complicated. At least we can count on the presence of Shen and the volunteers to placate Twilight if necessary. On that subject, Shen and Vahlen are getting increasingly terse in their exchanges. If it were anyone but Vahlen I’d say something to try and diffuse the tension but I value my life too much.

I’ll bring up that animosity during my next check-up with Frank, maybe he can suggest something to help those two resist the impulse to strangle each other. The XCOM project doesn’t exactly have an HR department for this sort of thing, so I hope it doesn’t come to that.

In light of the developing situation, Frank has also been read into the program and will be observing Twilight over the next few days. I’m hoping he will be able to give us some guidance on how to diffuse the tension with Twilight, not to mention around the lab.


PROJECTDIV: Supplemental
DIVLEAD: Dr. Frank McKendrick
Attached Files: Personal notes by DIVLEAD.

Personal Notes follow:

NEW RECORD: 09:30, 04/06/2015

There’s times where this job erodes the soul. I get young men and women coming into my office and they tell me about how their best friend was burned alive, or they had to shoot him to pieces because one of those damned monsters got inside his head or implanted by the bugs. They come to me to relieve the burdens this damned war gives them. It’s all I can do for them, and it kills me a little every time to see them so broken in their heads and hearts.

There’s times where this job erodes the soul, and for once I’m pleasantly surprised that this isn’t one of them. This all started a couple of days ago when I was informed I would be needing to perform evaluations on Dr. Shen from engineering as well as several new people. Parameters for evaluation involved not only stress factors but also mental tampering.

I was initially intrigued since the vast majority of my visitors are soldiers returning from missions or from recurring issues, but I was also well aware that asking too many questions might put me in a terrible predicament. After discussing things with doctors Ngo, Mills, and Shen, it was felt that my assistance may be needed with the project itself and I was given permission to view the subject of the project.

Imagine my surprise when the subject of the project was a little purple unicorn with big eyes and highlighted hair. I suppose that makes sense of the concerns of the doctors. They had worried about passive mind control to induce trust, but after viewing the subject I think we can safely rule that out. After the descriptions of what the doctors were feeling combined with this appearance, I think it’s just a natural human reaction to what we see as a cute furry animal. There’s a reason why cats rule the internet.

I didn’t speak with the subject but I observed her during an animated discussion with doctor Shen. I did notice some of the signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder that Shen had hinted at. The desk supplies are all stacked and ordered in exact spacing, the bed is immaculately made and I’ve seen the pictures arranged in her room organized in a very specific pattern. Pictures lining her desk were described as her closest friends, the pictures of her rulers are above the desk, and radiating out from there are the remainders sorted by species and further sorted by color and sex if applicable.

During observation Kim and Joel also described what sounds like the onset of PTSD. Prior to her arrival on Earth it seems ‘Twilight’ lived a simple life as a librarian. Within her first six hours of arriving on our planet she was nearly killed by a chryssalid and then dissected by Vahlen. The first part alone would give any civilian a good start towards an anxiety disorder, but I suspect waking up in front of Vahlen and not being human would only make things so much worse.

As to her current behavior to the volunteers and the science team, I’m afraid I can only speculate. Based on evidence gathered so far, it is a reasonable assumption that Twilight’s species social structures are herd-based, probably a relic of their more primitive days. Herds mean safety and companionship, being cut off from the herd means isolation and danger. Her initial friendliness towards everyone is likely a subconscious attempt to establish a substitute herd for comfort and safety. I have little doubt that seeing Joel and Kim with Vahlen caused their expulsion from her little herd. The question now is how can this be rectified?

On the subject of Vahlen, I should stop by and see how she’s doing. She’s been missing her scheduled appointments for about two weeks now and I am starting to worry that the stress of her position and the attack on Cologne is effecting her judgement. Kim and Joel have both described her as increasingly… agitated.


DIVLEAD: Dr. Moira Vahlen
Attached Files: Visual footage of subject performing abilities, Medical Imaging footage (various) of subject, personal notes by DIVLEAD.

Personal Notes follow:

NEW RECORD: 17:00, 04/05/2015

With testing procedures limited to non-invasive methods, I made the decision to move the subject to Medical for the advanced imaging equipment present there. While it would have been plausible to have this equipment moved to the Stardust lab, it would have to be done one piece at a time as the lab simply doesn’t have the room for all the imaging equipment to be run simultaneously.

I also wanted to see how the subject reacted after being removed from its habitat for most of the day. Anxiety and hesitation were clearly present. Good. The subject needs to realize that it isn’t here for comfort or enjoyment or to make friends. The sole reason for its continued existence is to provide us with information to help us save our world.

The others who have come into contact with the subject may also need to be reminded of this fact also. The subject is not a pet, nor a friend, or a mascot, or the grandchild you never had. It is an alien from another world with capacities beyond what we can measure and motivations the human mind cannot fathom. I’ll be speaking with doctor McKendrick to watch the others for excessive attachment to the specimen. There will come a time when ‘Twilight’ is no longer useful to this project, and will be discarded just like anything else.

Medical imaging technology has revealed a great deal about the internal structure of the subject as well as confirmed one theory of mine while disproving others. I had expected to find a similar brain structure to the Sectoid specimens detailed from project [REDACTED], with enhanced synaptic activity as well as implants to further enhance this activity. What was found was a brain completely devoid of any surgical activity or alteration; instead was an entire neural section comprised of synapses even further enhanced than the Sectoid samples previously captured. This neural section also extends partially into the subject’s horn, which I now theorize works as a natural projector for these abilities in place of implants.

The implications are disturbing: The invaders have to genetically engineer troops and install implants in them to get the abnormal abilities we’ve witnessed, but we’ve now stumbled across a species that not only has these abilities naturally but with an order of magnitude greater effect and control.

On that note, the monitoring arrays continue to fail to detect anything anomalous when the subject uses its abilities. Regardless, we will begin cataloging the various abilities of the subject starting tomorrow, and the subject is going to attempt to explain the mechanics as well. I expect nothing more than a more flowery version of, “a wizard did it.”


DIVLEAD: Dr. Moira Vahlen
Attached Files: Footage of multiple subject abilities, transcripts translated by Dr. Mills, personal notes by DIVLEAD.

Personal Notes follow:

NEW RECORD: 17:00, 04/13/2015

Attached to this update is a list of abilities demonstrated by the subject, their effects, as well as known limitations as discovered over the past week. A brief description of global ability mechanics is summarized below. For the full (and exhaustive) explanation, please view Dr. Mills’ transcripts.

The activation and utilization of subject’s abilities is a three step process.

1. Energy gathering. The subject describes this step as gathering energy from the ‘Field’(1) to power the chosen ability. An appropriate amount must be gathered or the intended ability may not activate or may misfire.

2. Ability formulation. The subject shapes the raw energy to create the desired effect. Improper formulation may result in ability failure or misfire.

3. Ability activation. The subject chooses an object or location for the ability to target, and activates the ability. If the object or location is outside the scope of steps 2 or 1, then the intended effect may not occur or may have significantly increased effect.

(1) Attempts to detect this ‘Field’ have all failed just as all other detection equipment has failed to detect anything being amiss during ability usage.

Restrictions on ability usage appear to be divided into two categories.

1. Power capacity. The ability to access the ‘Field’ is described in similar fashion that muscles correlate to physical strength. Practicing the use of complex and varied abilities increases the amount of power the specimen can draw on, but there are high and low peaks in this capacity. The low peak is the maximum that can be drawn after lapsing in ability usage, the high peak is the maximum that can be drawn while participating in exercises. Attempts to use abilities without the minimum required power capacity may result in ability failure, misfire, or death.

2. Ability Formulae. Each ability has a corresponding formulae that must be conceptualized in the subject’s mind in order to shape the energy into its most useable and efficient form. Without the formulae, the results may vary or fail entirely.

a. Subject also noted that this does not apply in certain cases. For instance, her entire subspecies (unicorn) possesses telekinesis from a very early age and do not require study to use it, though study and practice does improve fine control and scope of use.

b. Abilities related to the ‘special talents’ (See Dr. Ngo’s notes) discovered in adolescence are also significantly easier to activate and control even if it may be beyond that specimen’s abilities comparatively.

Summary of abilities tested listed below.

1. Telekinesis (TK), the direct influence of the mind on the physical world without contacting the affected targets.

a. Line of sight is required to activate the ability but not to maintain it.

b. Activation is nearly instantaneous.

c. Subjects held with TK appear to be weightless but still retain their mass. Objects with significant mass take effort to be physically moved through the air, but the only resistance the object encounters is air resistance.

i. Inversely, if the subject specifies, an object can be held in place and resist all attempts to move it. (Video example of Cpl Matt Harris attempting to push a quarter and failing) Attempts to move objects held in this manner were restricted to what was located within the lab, more thorough testing may need to be attempted in the hangar where sufficient power can be applied without risk to personnel or the lab.

d. Subject is able to apply TK to multiple objects while still maintaining fine control. Object used in this test was a deck of bicycle playing cards shuffled and then thrown into the air. Subject was able to apply telekinesis to every card within .5 seconds, and was able to sort the deck numerically and by suit within five seconds before replacing it in its box.

e. Complex objects can be manipulated simultaneously, though the number of items that can be simultaneously manipulated drops off as the complexity of these items increases.

f. Object weight appears to have little effect on the speed at which TK is applied, though again object weights were somewhat limited due to the size constraints of the lab. Weights tested ranged from 1g to 250kg.

2. Teleportation (TP), the transfer between two points without traversing the physical space between them.

a. This ability is primarily restricted by line of sight, but vivid memories of locations can be used as target locations.

b. Activation for short-distance jumps is approximately .5 to 1 second.

c. The amount of energy required for transport is directly related to the distance travelled and the amount of matter being transported.

i. The subject used this specific justification for not simply using TP to go home. The subject was not certain of the distance between Earth and her planet and would not be able to judge the energy required.

d. TP travel is instantaneous between two points and can go through solid matter so long as line of sight is present or the requisite memory of the area is available.

e. TP may affect the subject or other items or other beings. Items teleported in experiments included the following: The subject, two pens, a chair, various fruits and vegetables, and Pvt. Jenkins.

f. There is currently no way to prevent TP, aside from restricting the subject’s movement to prevent visualization of new areas to TP to.

g. If the above information is correct, then the being that used TP on the subject to send her to earth must have three things at its disposal:

i. Knowledge of the distance between Earth and its place of origin

ii. Knowledge of Earth-specific locations to use TP

iii. Staggering amounts of energy to draw upon to complete the TP

3. Light Generation (LG), the creation of light without a detectable source.

a. Line of sight is required to activate this ability but not required to maintain it.

b. Activation is nearly instantaneous.

c. Visually the ability appears to create a ball of soft lavender light approximately the size of a baseball.

d. LG can be manipulated to create several light sources, move them at will, or attach them to surfaces where they can be moved without further input from the subject.

e. LG generates neither heat nor any other detectable effect other than the corresponding increase in candles.

f. Attempts to touch the light source result in no change or noticeable side effects on volunteers.

4. Translation (Tn), providing the ability for communication across language barriers.

a. This ability is restricted to line of sight with the subject, and may only be cast on sapient beings capable of language.

b. Activation is approximately 1 to 2 seconds. Activation time has decreased after every subsequent usage. Subject attributes this as regaining familiarity with the ability.

c. Subjects under the effect of this ability can almost flawlessly understand anything spoken by other subjects under the effect. This has been tested and confirmed with all currently affected by this ability.

d. Although appearing benign in its mechanics, caution is recommended for anyone thinking of participating with this ability, as the mechanics are unknown and may result in mental tampering.

e. There exists a variation of this ability that can be used on written works but is significantly less accurate.

5. Transformation (Trn), the ability to flawlessly change matter from one form to another.

a. This ability is restricted to line of sight with the subject.

b. Activation varies depending upon the complexity of the Trn.

c. Tests thus far have been transforming simple objects into other simple objects, and require extensive knowledge of the end result to be transformed.

d. Tests included transforming fruits and vegetables into other fruits and vegetables. Testing the results of these experiments showed them to be edible and nearly identical to earth equivalents.

i. Pvt. Jenkins consumed an apple (formerly a pear) and commented as follows, “Is this how all your apples taste like where you’re from? That’s amazing!”

ii. Pvt. Jenkins has yet to experience any ill side effects.

e. Trn appears to last as long as the spell is channeled by the subject.

f. Attempts to test on live specimens were refused by the subject.

6. Crush (Cr), the application of raw physical force against a target.

a. Demonstration of this ability was requested but the subject refused to comply. Repeated requests resulted in the subject becoming non-compliant. Testing was halted for the day as the subject retreated to her habitat after repeated requests. What information can be gained about this ability is from interviews with Cpl Matt Harris, and armor cam footage from operation Hammerhead.

b. Reasonable assumption is that it requires line of sight like previous abilities.

c. Activation time in video is nearly instantaneous, though speculation is that this may have been an accelerated activation due to the prospect of death so close at hand.

d. The degree of force projected is staggering, and is higher than the impact tolerance of any structure we can currently create.

e. We’ll come back to test this once the subject has become more compliant.

The subject has hinted at several other abilities that stretch the imagination, some of which she is capable of while others are produced by artifacts found on her world. Some are believable, wearable artifacts designed to increase abilities but others… others I refuse to believe. A pool capable of creating perfect copies of anyone who looks into it? Time travel?

The only thing that is preventing me from writing all of this off as the ravings of a lunatic is the fact that this creature so easily violates so many of the established laws of reality that we thought were set in stone. I had to take the video footage from the Trn experiments to Frank to confirm that it wasn’t some sort of mass hallucination.

And throughout all of these experiments we weren’t able to find anything as to how it’s accomplished. My eyes are witnessing these violations of science, and in the case of the Trn experiments there’s physical evidence of it happening. How? HOW?

Further experiments will commence as soon as the subject has become more compliant.


Author's Note:

Supplemental Information:

Testing Procedures: Testing procedures are largely left to the divisions involved, so long as the testing does not endanger the XCOM facility or its security, but must be approved by their respective division leaders before proceeding.

Psychological Services: As the participants in the XCOM project are isolated from the outside world as well as tasked with difficult tasks in a stressful environment, psychological checkups are regularly done for all personnel and an open-door policy stands for anyone with concerns.