Consciousness returns to you slowly and with the throbbing pain of a concussion. With your awareness of the world slowly returning and sharpening, so too due your memories.
You had been flying back to X-COM HQ, located beneath Mount Irongullet, an abandoned dwarven mining hold in the unclaimed mountain range between the Kingdom of Forectu and Hausenberg. You had received the unbelievable report that X-COM HQ itself had come under X-D attack, and were hurrying back with all due haste aboard one of X-COM's experimental Skyranger airships.
The sun has long since gone down beneath the horizon by the time you arrive back at your home, but this only makes the truth more self-evident. Fires burn up and down the slope of the mountain, the remains of crashed airships and defensive positions, and something else that is awe-inspiring. At periodic intervals of roughly a minute, a shooting star descends from the heavens as a fiery blaze that crashes down into Mount Irongullet, leaving a smoking hole or burning crater in the mountainside.
That sight is all you have time to take in before without warning an unearthly shriek fills the air and a glinting streak of reflected moonlight descends on your Skyranger from above. There is a flash of green fire, an explosion, and then you know nothing more before awakening here.
Here, bruised and battered on the ground amongst the broken wreckage of your Skyranger - the wooden frame and the corpse of the giant beast it had been carried upon, the bodies of its crew, and what few survivors there are. Some of your squad didn't make it, and you're pretty sure the X-Ds that you had been bringing back as prisoners didn't make it either. Looming before you is the slopes of Mount Irongullet. There was an entrance at the base of the mountain near your crash site, but between you and there were the scattered wrecks of half a dozen airships, an unknown number of X-Ds, and that shrieking, glinting monstrosity that had effortlessly blown you out of the sky. If you were going to survive, you would need to explore the nearby wrecks and try to find more survivors.
(Assume that while your pride and ribs are bruised, you are still at full health despite the crash. Likewise, for those of you who have been in combat before now, you may treat yourselves as having taken an extended rest during the ride back to HQ. You are near to the remains of your squad's Skyranger, and while the bodies of a giant eagle and a winged serpent are providing you with cover for the moment, that won't last very long (in your case Irish Musician, you were aboard a standard air balloon equipped airship that was a supply ship bringing you in towards the base when it was attacked. The explosion threw you clear, and you found yourself nearby to the crashed airships of the other two squads. You may all explore the immediate environs right now and find each other and form up - you are the only survivors of all three wrecks, although there are a few more between you and the base's ground-level entrance should you wish to explore them. I would prefer if you did not advance beyond the wreckage of your airships just yet, however.)