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Annette Durand (XCom Enemy Within) concept art by Piero MacGowan

Annette Durand

(XCom: Enemy Within)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Annette Durand is a character in the 2012 reboot of the XCom video game. If you’re not familiar with it, we strongly recommend reading our possible XCom backstory first.

This describes Annette as she appeared during a specific playthrough. The game rolled her up as a Heavy, the base assault took place pretty late, I picked certain powers and genetic enhancements for her, etc.. See our video games writeups FAQ for more.

This entry includes S P O I L E R S about the events in XCom : Enemy Within – not just the Operation Progeny material.


  • This profile features tabletop RPG mechanics about the video game’s gameplay – see our video games writeups FAQ for more.
  • This profile features non-canon hypotheses about in-game events and mechanics – see our video games writeups FAQ for more.

Background

  • Real Name: Annette Durand.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: XCom military operative.
  • Base Of Operations: XCom Headquarters.
  • Height: 6‘1” Weight: 184 lbs.
  • Eyes: Green Hair: Brown


Powers & Abilities

Annette is particularly strong and athletic. She can lug around the XCom heavy infantry ordnance during an entire assault without much hindrance. She can also keep pace with crack XCom tactical operators trained in a low-flash form of parkour suitable for armed and armoured people.

(Again, this version of Annette happened to be a Heavy. In other games her abilities will be different if she belongs to another class).

It seems likely that she was a proficient professional athlete before her abduction. Perhaps she was a powerlifter who evolved toward CrossFit or similar athletic training. If so it wouldn’t be surprising, in a French context, if she also held degrees in sports education and/or sports medicine.

She’s reasonably fluent in English.

Mind evolved

Ms. Durand is near the peak of human psychic potential.

Early on she was used as a sort of amplifier for the mind control abilities of certain Sectoids. She’d apparently boost both their range and the number of minds they could control simultaneously. However, abuse of this power damaged this portion of her brain and it is doubtful she could do it again.

Due to her power level she could be quickly trained by psionic XCom operatives. Annette’s powers include :

  • Deadly psychic attacks. Subjects who can survive those will be left shaking and with difficulties to muster their willpower.
  • “Psychic haven” effect. A bubble of telepathic influence around her that dispels the ongoing effects of hostile telepathic action on other people’s mind.
  • Warping space around herself to create a large bubble where everything seems diffracted. This makes accurate fire against anything in the bubble most challenging.

Body evolved

XCom invested heavily in keeping Annette alive on the battlefield. She is, after all, their most powerful psychic.

By the time she joined XCom, that secretive organisation had gained a considerable understanding of alien genetic manipulations. XCom scientists could rewrite large chunks of the DNA of their soldiers to make them superhuman.

Durand’s enhancements include :

  • Hyper-reactive pupils facilitating target acquisition.
  • Modified brain that will trigger psionic backlash against hostile telepathic intrusion.
  • Secondary heart, and bone marrow modified with nanomachines to confer superhuman survivability and a healing factor .

Combat evolved

XCom also has, by this point, duplicated and adapted a lot of alien hardware over months of feverish work. This its troopers pack considerable sci-fi firepower. The heavy infantry gear issued to Ms. Durand includes:

  • Titan-class heavy body armor, sealed and fire/heat-proofed.
  • Nanofiber protective vest absorbing and diffusing all impacts.
  • 66mm semi-disposable one-shot laser-guided rocket launcher with a high explosive warhead. This weapon isn’t meant for anti-armor fire, but to blow up a large chunk of terrain (usually to deny cover).
  • S.C.O.P.E. railed-on multi-mode holosight derived from alien technology.
  • A heavy plasma gun. This is a huge alien automatic plasma rifle that was rebuilt as a light machinegun for a large, strong human operator. Extra batteries are a carried on the back, and the operator can plug their gun to a new battery among those on their dorsal rack when the current one runs low

See our XCom Weapons Locker article for more.


History

Annette Durand was a French citizen of unspecified background during the series of alien attacks that shook the world.

An attempt at kidnapping her was foiled in unclear circumstances. One imagines that a small alien team was dispatched to capture her, but was repelled by French authorities.

Why aliens had come specifically after Ms. Durand was unknown at that point. The French military attempted to evacuate her to a fortified position. They quickly assembled an armoured convoy.

Annette Durand recovered by an XCom tactical team

Near Lyons, this convoy was attacked – this time by heavily-armed Human mercenaries. Though the mercenaries suffered heavy losses, they did capture Annette. The attack killed all the soldiers defending her, plus numerous nearby civilians.

The XCom tactical team swept in soon after. It ran into alien Thin Men who were apparently trying to find some trace of Annette. The commando disposed of them. They found a surviving mercenary, whom they captured and brought back to XCom headquarters.

Portent

Whether the prisoner talked is unrevealed. In any case, XCom eventually determined that the mercenaries worked for a secret organisation called EXALT. At first, XCom’s impression was that EXALT were quislings  collaborating with the aliens.

Meanwhile, in the hands of the aliens, Annette and other selected Human subjects were tortured using medicine and telepathy. These subjects had latent psionic abilities that seemed of high interest to the aliens.

After XCom raided the aliens’ planetside base, the extra-terrestrials prepared a retaliatory raid on XCom headquarters. A key asset was the Human psionics, whom the aliens used as a sort of magnifier for their mind control abilities.

This allowed for taking over a number of Xcom technicians and engineers. This in turn made the fortified headquarters vulnerable to an assault.

XCom narrowly defeated the attackers, but couldn’t determine right away how the mind control manoeuvre had succeeded.

Deluge

EXALT then attacked the aliens in order to recapture Ms. Durand. This clearly demonstrated that they were not pawns of the ETs after all. It is possible that they somehow seized the moment when the Human psionicists were being transferred back to captivity after the failed raid against XCom HQ.

One gets the impression that the other Human subjects used against XCom died from psychic stress during the battle. Or perhaps they were killed during the EXALT raid.

Annette Durand (XCom Enemy Within) with a heavy plasma gun

The extra-terrestrials reacted in anger. They located the EXALT extraction team while it was driving away over a dam. They shot EXALT troops to pieces, also damaging the dam and killing most people nearby.

XCom immediately detected the attack. Its tactical cadre arrived in the scene just as alien troop transports were coming in.

Rushing in as the dam was beginning to crumble away, XCom fought through alien arrivals. They reached Ms. Durand just in time. On her side, she had used her psionic abilities to kill the EXALT guards within the vehicle holding her. However, she was still in partial shock over the torture and seeing many of her fellow abductees die.

Revenge

Annette expressed a strong interest in joining XCom’s tactical operators. She craved revenge and wanted to help rescue her fellow abductees. Given her athletic capabilities, strong willpower and demonstrated psionic strength, XCom agreed to train her. The 4th Company training was pretty much ideal given her profile.

Ms. Durand became a fixture of the XCom tac ops team. She brought both her psychic strength and her plasma BFG  to bear against aliens.

The information she provided also helped XCom rescue three other psionic captives, who also enlisted with the organisation.


Description

The following are animation tests by a Firaxis artist who worked on the character. They include the audio for her voice (for what it’s worth, her French accent sounds about as accurate as Dr. Vahlen’s German accent).


Personality

Not much is visible in the game. During the cutscenes where she appears Annette is still in partial shock over the psychic abuse.

She’s not an experienced fighter and doesn’t have a lot of tactical experience. But she’s aggressive and has a strong killer instinct without being gung-ho. She also really really wants to keell zee ahliens.

Her mistreatment may have left her with a mild fear of the dark. But she’s generally a solid trooper.

Annette feels that she owes her life to XCom. Especially since she was also used against her will as a weapon in a raid that killed a number of XCom HQ personnel.


DC Universe History

The simplest parallel would be for Annette to have developed some minor super-powers during the Invasion . She would then have been authorised by the French government to enlist with the Human Defense Corps. A XCom-type scenario would probably involve the Psions as the “boss” aliens behind it all.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Annette Durand

Dex: 03 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Revenge !
Int: 03 Wil: 02 Min: 04 Occupation: Soldier
Inf: 02 Aur: 02 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 003
Init: 008 HP: 015

Powers:
Exorcism: 06, Fog: 03, Mental blast: 08, Mind blast: 05, Numb (Weaponry, MIN): 06, Regeneration: 04, Telekinesis: 02

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • All Powers but Regeneration are Mental-Linked where applicable.
  • Exorcism can break all hostile Mental effects, including such Powers as Broadcast Empath, Aura of Fear, Phobia, Hypnotism, Numb, Neutralize, Sensory Block… assuming they are Mental-Linked and, where applicable, aimed at Mental targets.
  • Exorcism has No Range, but has a 1 AP Area of Effect.
  • Fog is achieved by randomly warping space and cannot be dispersed as physical Fog would (+1).
  • Mental blast has Counterstrike and Can Only Counterstrike, and is used when a hostile telepathic attack is performed against Annette (whether it connects or not).
  • Mind Blast and Numb can be combined.
  • Numb cannot reduce any score below 1 AP.

Skills:
Vehicles (Land): 02, Weaponry (Firearms): 04

Advantages:
Credentials (XCom, Low), Familiarity (XCom military equipment and protocols, Sports Education), Iron Nerves, Language (French).

Connections:
None demonstrated.

Drawbacks:
MIH of aliens.

Equipment:

  • TITAN ARMOR [/BODY/ 08, Flame Immunity: 02, Sealed systems: 05].
  • Heavy Plasma Gun [BODY 03, Energy blast: 12, Bonus: Autofire, Ammo: 10, R#3] w/
    • S.C.O.P.E. attachment [BODY 01, Telescopic vision: 03, Thermal vision: 05, Ultra-vision: 05, Weaponry (Firearm): 08, Advantage: Sharpshooter 1 (Matching weapon), Limitation: Weaponry (Firearm) only for the weapon it is affixed to and calibrated for, and can only increase the shooter’s applicable Weaponry Skill by one AP for every 3 full APs they have (i.e. Weaponry 1 or 2 gets no bonus, Weaponry 3 to 5 gets + 1 AP, Weaponry 6 or 7 gets the full 8 APs)].
    • Tactical Searchlight [BODY 02, Flash (Area of Effect 0): 08, Bonus: Flash can be Combined with shooting the weapon the Searchlight is railed on, Limitation: Flash cannot gain more than one RAP, R#2].
  • Rocket Launcher [BODY 02, Bomb: 08, Range: 05, Grenade drawback].
  • NANOFIBER TACTICAL VEST [BODY 06, Damage Capacity (Physical): 02, Limitation: Damage Capacity cannot be Recovered (-3)].

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: XCom: Enemy Within video game DLC Operation Progeny.

Helper(s): Pufnstuff, Nicolas Lemaçon, Chris X.

Writeup completed on the 19th of June, 2015.

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