The Zudjari are an alien species that feature in The Bureau: XCOM Declassified.
The Zudjari were an alien species who were also known as the Outsiders that were native to a world similar in composition to Earth. This planet was situated in the Cygnus constellation and was located 600 light years from Earth. At some point, an Ethereal possessed a scientist by the name of Origin. This union led to the pair creating a linked cybernetic intelligence that was known as Mosaic. They desired a new homeworld for their kind and believed that without one their species was doomed. This saw a campaign of exploration and conquest that encompassed generations before they managed to find the only suitable planet in the form of Earth. However, it was occupied by a more primitive race of beings known as humans which the Zudjari intended to conquer but found mankind to be very desperate and focused as their own. At some point, they established a secret facility in Iowa that was dedicated with the study of human beings. A number of abductees were taken to this installation for study with Pete Weaver being one of them. Through Weaver, the Outsiders managed to perfect the Sleepwalker pathogen for deployment when their invasion forces arrived.
By 1962, the Outsider threat had finally manifested on Earth in a full scale invasion where they disrupted communications in North America. This saw them deploy a large expeditionary force at the Groom Range facility where they massacred the United States high ranking military leaders. In order to devastate their foe, they launched an unknown weapon into the mountain that imploded. They did suffer a setback when an Elerium bomb was detonated by human forces that obliterated a portion of their attack. However, they continued their onslaught but faced renewed opposition from a human Bureau agency. An invasion force was responsible for terraforming the region around Rosemount University. They also targeted a human Codebreaker installation in the effort of using the satellite dish to hack into their communication system to find the XCOM base in order to eliminate this resistance. These expeditionary fleet were tasked with preparing the way for their invasion forces with transport hub docking towers situated near Venn Gates such as the one at Vida Buena in New Mexico. Human inhabitants of the town were infected with the Sleepwalker illness whilst the Outsider forces terraformed the area. They also took control of a nuclear launch site at Montana in order to launch a warhead at Washington but were stopped by the Bureau. Their docking tower designated S-1 was infiltrated by X-COM forces who discovered large number of Sleepwalkers being transported to the Outsiders home planet. Primarch Axis who commanded the alien infiltration forces was later killed by Bureau Agent Angela Weaver when she discovered the site where the Sleepwalker pathogen was being distributed.
- Multiple endings have different fates for the Zujari by linking with the Mosaic Core that can include; 1) Doctor Weir can get the Outsiders to help rebuild the damage they caused and hide any trace of their existence whereupon Earth would not accept their existence so XCOM returned their mothership so they could find a new homeworld for themselves. 2) Weaver causes the Zudjari to kill one another by controlling them through Mosaic. 3) Faulke orders the aliens to stop fighting and help rebuild the damage but they were worked to death afterwards their mothership along with all trace of their existence being destroyed.
In appearance, the Outsider biology shared many of the traits similar to humans. They were a tall carbon-based bipedal vertebrate species that ate, slept, excreted and breathed like mankind. They had no hair on their bodies though had extended foreheads. Their mouths were distinctive as they were slits over the mouth with the flaps of skin moving sideways to allow them to speak. The greatest difference was internally where the majority of the Zudjari had extensive modifications to their circulatory, nervous, respiratory, skeletal and muscular systems. These were synthetic additions though the implantation method was highly thorough and precise compared to the surgery performed by 1960 human surgeons. Zudjari held a powerful hive mind that was artificially put into place through implants and achieved through Mosaic. These implants were placed into the body through surgery with it being done through the neck region. The device itself resembled a bead with numerous glass-like threads beneath the skin that controlled the Zudjari's actions. Its only means of being detected initially was through the long healed scars present on the neck that indicated surgery. Upon death, these modifications overheated whereupon they rapidly consumed themselves and their host. This prevented their bodies from being taken for analysis by enemies though careful surgery was able to remove the modifications but was very difficult and dangerous. Those surgeons performing the procedure were capable of suffering from burns as a result of the removal process. Removal of the implants greatly affected the Outsider as they became less aggressive in their actions.
Individual ranks within their forces included Shield Commanders that had helmets that masked their faces with these individuals responsible for providing personal shields to their comrades. A more covert group was present in their Infiltrators that were designed to enter into enemy bases and sabotage their efforts. Infiltrators had implants that allowed themselves to mask their appearance as their target species. These modifications were capable of being corrupted by surgery thus preventing them from assuming another form. Outsider Elites were officer level warriors within the army of the Zudjari who were bettered armed. Command and control of their forces were directed through a transmission from a single source that was Mosaic who served as a central command for the aliens.
Outsider ranks included:
- Phantoms : these fast-moving infantry had the ability to cloak making the Phantom extremely dangerous when outflanking their foes but had fewer defensive features forcing them to rely on speed and subterfuge.
- Outsider Elite : Elites were heavily armed and shielded ground troops that were at the peak of physical development, advanced tactical training and a vicious ferocity that could surprise even trained foes. In terms of armaments, these warriors made use of shields along with automatic weapons and grenades where they used this arsenal in conjunction with support from grunts as well as a Commander. It was believed that these Outsiders were veterans of many previous conquests made by their kind and often carried small trophies of their past campaigns.
- Outsider Commander : these were the leaders of the alien forces that had the same physique as their comrades but had significantly more complicated neural implants along with better equipment. Personal shielding was common and their other tactical capabilities made them dangerous opponents as well as priority targets. They did not show any of the poor living conditions as their subordinates as nutrition was plentiful, physical trauma was minimal and even carry personal effects into battle.
- Psion Commander : these squad leaders possessed psionic abilities allowing them to distract and disrupt enemy lines with their powers allowing them to make duplicates of themselves or overpower the minds of their enemies thus turning them against their own allies.
Their society had led to the formation of an expansionistic empire that sought the conquest of other worlds. Though their vehicles were sturdy and built for war, they showed signs of heavy use and minimal repairs conducted to them. In fact, luxury and entertainment systems were shown to had been cannibalized in order to address more pressing needs such as weapons and environmental equipment. This suggested that the aliens were running low on supplies due to their extended conquests and was one of the reasons they had become so desperate. They were concerned with the survival of their people and would go through any means necessary to achieve that objective no matter how hopeless the situation. Thus, they became a desperate yet war-like race that offered other species incorporation into their empire or destruction. To them, there was no other alternative between these two approaches made when in contact with another race. Lower ranking Zudjari were provided minimum equipment and were not at peak health compared to their superiors. High ranking Zudjari were known to carry devotional effects with these personal effects being involved in religious ceremonies centered around Origin. In fact, a manuscript called the Book of Origin contained writings and religious quotations for the Outsiders.
Their expansion into the stars thus saw the addition of a number of other subject races into their ranks. Such campaigns were viewed by the Zudjari as being ones of freedom as they incorporated other alien species into their empire who were thus offered the freedom offered by Mosaic. Among the Outsider armies consisted of a number of species that included the:
- Sectoids : It was believed that a subspecies of Sectoid were given neural implants and encased within Sectopods to control the war machines.
- Mutons : these bipeds weighed a quarter ton and were believed to be the products of extreme mutation or countless generations of eugenic breeding to make them walking tanks. Their impressive physiology was further enhanced by an array of implants though did not include the neural relays found within the Zudjari. It was believed that they served as mercenaries within the Outsider forces as they lacked the hierarchical command structure of the Zudjari and enslavement of the Sectoids. However, it was not known what form of motivation or payment was made to them. They were heavily armored and armed with scatter lasers with their enemies typically focusing concentrated fire in order to eliminate them.
- Muton Elite : heavily armored and implacable foes that wore armour sections and deployed a plasma field that dealt damage to enemies over a period of time in that area
- Silacoids : these mobile blobs were composed of nano-fluid and moved on their own initiative to envelop targets into their mass.
Zudjari demonstrated a ruthless approach to some of the slave species that served them and were cruel to the likes of the Sectoids. This was evident when a group of Outsiders attacked a Sectoid slave who attempted to retaliate and for his actions the Zudjari brutally killed it. However, though they looked down on the Sectoids, they felt that humanity would be an excellent addition into their empire.
The species had developed a level of advancement in the field of cybernetics that were integrated within a body. This line of research led to the creation of Mosaic that led to a group mind being formed that united all members of the race together. However, this would ultimately prove to be their downfall where they became enslaved by the intelligence of Mosaic. As a result, these neural implants, physiology and technology linked the Outsiders with this transmission system in a manner similar to a radio network. Mosaic implants actually erased themselves upon the death of their host in order to prevent them from being used by their enemies. Though a unifying presence, Mosaic was a potential weakness as it meant knocking this system out could defeat the entire Zudjari race. Mosaic was in fact an complicated artificial intelligence network that linked its behavior and intentions to whoever communicates or interfaces with it whilst using the proper commands. It was able to think within the limits of its program but was ultimately a machine though one of amazing and fascinating complexity that operated in a manner similar to living beings. The network made use of Venn Gates to relay its transmissions to special towers housing its systems. It functioned with both technological and telepathic elements that allowed the Outsiders to organize their troops whilst ensuring loyalty. Humans were not able to handle exposure to this system as their minds became burnt out and turned into Sleepwalkers. Set command signals were generated by the network which had an adverse reaction to Outsiders and their subjects with these including commands for aggressive action that was the easiest one to create.
In terms of weaponry, the alien forces hade access to:
- Heavy Plasma Pistol :
- Laser SMG : a small handheld weapon similar to submachine guns that fired many shots.
- Scatter lasers : shot-gun style laser weapons that dealt a great deal of damage to close range targets.
- Plasma Sniper Rifle :
- Plasma Assault Cannon :
- Blaster Launchers : a rocket launcher styled weapons that shot projectiles that targeted enemies and homed in on them to deal a great amount of damage to targets.
An unknown form of energy was utilized by the Outsiders that was used to help power their landscaping efforts and even build infrastructure. These spheres of energy was deployed into the field where they were able to eat through obstacles such as mountains where they could burrow underground before imploding. This ability was more extensively used by the Zudjari in terraforming efforts in order to better prepare the environment for their occupation. Through these 'seeds', they were able to quickly prepare entire infrastructure from large towers to military bunkers on occupied worlds. A noted radiation signature was registered when these 'seeds' for deployed. The potential of this technology was near limitless as it had both civilian and military applications in the instant preparation of buildings and other structures that were needed by its users. Such facilities included the formation of war factories that built the alien warmachines such as Silacoids to Mosaic spires that expanded the Outsiders control network.
Their arsenal also included a number of vehicles such as:
- Sectopods : these dangerous heavily armored 20 feet tall seemingly robotic machines were equipped with heavy weapons along with multiple all-terrain legs that could be used as melee weapons. A living Sectoid controlled the machine where they were encased and sustained by its systems. It was believed that these pilots were perhaps a subspecies of Sectoid bred for the purpose of operating these machines and equipped with neural implants to ensure their loyalty to the Zudjari.
- Gunships : countless number of these sturdy multi-purpose assault ships were used by the Outsiders. A combined thruster/gravitic propulsion systems with an elerium transfer power source and assorted environmental control systems.
Another field of study was the use of bioweapons which they inflicted against other races. This was evident in the form of the Sleepwalker virus that infected organic beings and was an extraterrestrial pathogen that left hosts in a coma-like state though their bodies were still active. Those infected were divided into two categories; the former being docile individuals that roamed aimlessly and the others being more aggressive double agents. The second type served the Outsiders as spies and operatives where they masqueraded as a normal citizens before turning against their own kind to aid their alien masters. Signs of infection were not apparent at first with Sleepwalkers only manifesting their true nature when they openly began to work for the Zudjari. At such moments, a Sleepwalker had blue protrusions form on their faces and their eyes glowed blue.
The Outsiders had also developed teleportation technology known as matter projectors that were used for travel within their installations. They had developed space craft that made use of portal technology that allowed them to travel between two distant points. To achieve such crossings, instruments called Phase Plotters were required that could recalibrate quantum structures to match the wavelength of inter-dimensional tides. During their invasion, they were shown to deploy drop pods that allowed ground troops to be directly sent onto the battlefield. These pods also contained technology that supported their forces by providing shields and similar such abilities. Outsider forces also made use of spherical drones that were tasked with providing fire support and the capacity to repair their mechanical units. Zudjari ground forces were at times supported through large flying gunships that dropped further troopers to the ground or provided fire support.
- Origin :
- Axis : prideful primarch in the Zudjari military who was trusted by Mosaic with leading the invasion of Earth who was responsible for overseeing the abduction of Pete Weaver and also commanded docking tower S-1 in New Mexico.
- Lawrence Bailey : a Zudjari Infiltrator that managed to enter into XCOM's base of operations when he was discovered and captured with his implants removed leading to him becoming more docile.
- The Bureau: XCOM Declassified: (2013)