The Xenonauts are a clandestine organization founded jointly by NATO and the USSR in 1958 following the Iceland Incident. Their purpose: a global fighting force to protect the world from extraterrestrial invasion. Initially well funded and with powerful backers, the Xenonauts set about meticulously studying the events of the alien contact. Though no technology was recovered from the site and there were few survivors of the battle, some useful data was gained. Special forces soldiers were requisitioned and formed into strike teams, and brilliant minds from both sides of the Iron Curtain brought on board. Aircraft were refitted to use materials known to be resistant to alien weaponry, soldiers were drilled in combat doctrine, and radar data analyzed to find a plausible way to track extraterrestrial craft. A network of underground installations was secretly established to provide coverage across the globe.
But without a looming threat against which to defend humanity, the organization fell into decline. Powerful backers retired or lost their positions, replaced by people unaware of the events in Iceland. Geopolitical considerations clouded the judgement of the major alliances, each coming to distrust the organization formed to unite them because of its close ties with the other. Funding was reduced to a trickle. By 1979, the Xenonauts were reduced to only a single installation, a dozen trained soldiers and a handful of loyal researchers and technicians. Shrewd political maneuvering ensured they retained access to the most advanced technology developed by both the West and the Soviets, but only in limited amounts.
On the 1st October 1979, an alien fleet abruptly arrived in orbit and began to destroy the planet’s satellite network. Within a few hours, unidentified craft were scouting the upper atmosphere, none responding to any communication methods. Several nations made intercept attempts as the UFOs entered their airspace, but none were successful and most resulted in heavy losses. Surviving pilots told of beam weapons disintegrating whole squadrons in moments, of disrupted flight systems and an inability to acquire missile lock with any form of air-to-air missile. The only victory of the day occurred over the Baltic Sea, where multiple radar stations tracked a single interceptor flying under classified call signs successfully engaging and destroying a high-flying scout craft.
As the burning wreckage sank into the depths of the Baltic and the damaged aircraft limped back to base, governments across the world began to receive telephone calls from an organization that had spent the last twenty years hidden from view. The deal was simple – a monthly funding grant and authority to operate in a nation’s airspace and territory, in exchange for protection against extraterrestrial activity. Reluctantly, all the major powers agreed. The entire planet’s hour of need had come, its fate resting on the shoulders of the few dozen Xenonauts and their commander.