RP XCOM: The Story of Defiance.


Game Master
Staff member
Atka stopped by the table where the Exalts were seated with their surviving mother, smiling at the half-asleep Lily. “Glad to see you’re all doing well.”

Elene inclined her head slightly. “Indeed. Though it is unfortunate Markus is busy… I believe he was waylaid by Emma about something to do with her Cyberdisc…”

Eva still was chowing down on a what seems like a mountain of food, she stopped eating to see Atka “Oh, Atka it’s good to see you. What brings you here, Colonel?”

The Inuit woman smiled. “I was just checking on friends. I don’t believe we’ve had much of a chance to talk off the clock, Eva,” Atka mused. “And you can just refer to me by name here. I don’t have any plans to call you ‘Lieutenant Aergerter’, after all.”

Eva smiled at being called a Lieutenant. “That still has a good ring to it, heh heh. So Atka, you’re friends with my daughter?”

Right… she was the other female ‘template’ Lusett used aside from herself. “Yes, I am.”

“The Colonel is a bit too modest, but she saved Emma and Lily, and likely Vee as well, from Invidia when she was possessing that girl… that tends to be a positive way to initiate a relationship,” Elene intoned with a slight grin.

Eva looked at Atka “You saved my kids, thank you for that Atka as far as i’m concerned that makes you my friend as well. Eva looks at Elene. “I’m a terrible mother aren’t I?”

Elene raised an eyebrow. “Not at all… why would you say that?”

Eva looked down “Well Desmond saved you, Atka saved you. Me I haven’t done much for you three, Hell I barely kept in contact with you three when you were with EXALT. I haven’t done much for you guys at all.”

“I’d hardly call that your fault… only Desmond had the implants necessary to carry communications, and the other circumstances have been just that. Circumstantial. Had you been around, you would have done the same thing,” Elene responded resolutely. “You spend as much time with us as you can in the present, anyway… speaking of which, I wonder if I could persuade your boyfriend to work for Exalt Enterprises…”

“And thus Elene became an evil corporate mastermind.” Atka chuckled. “At least try not to sound like a stereotypical villain.”

“Yea, we don’t need the world to go after EXALT again. Besides I was thinking about asking Jean to work for EXALT, I mean I would be close to him and I hope you and Lily will be doing some good. Which reminds me, Lusett had some warehouses with some of her old experiments were.”

“I’ll be sure to claim them once this all settles down,” the heiress affirmed. “For now… we have a God of Fear to kill.”


Emily scanned around the room as the group was finishing their meals, noticing Atka wandering around between the tables. She raised her hand and waved.

“Hey, Atka, come take a seat!”

The scout nodded, sitting at one of the open chairs at Emily’s table. “How have you been?”

“Pretty good for the times,” Emily smiled, “how about you? Enjoying Christmas?”

“Of course.” Atka smiled. “It’s my favorite holiday. We even celebrated it up in the far north… syncretism and all that.”

“I’m slightly surprised no one has complained about it, with all the cultures we have here. I guess the need for a holiday from all the stress transcends all that, though.”

“Or perhaps we’re just surrounded by good people.” Atka shrugged. “I’d like to believe the latter.”

“Yes we are,” Emily nodded. “So, how are you spending your ship time nowadays? Just roaming about?”

“And training,” Atka added. “In the Christmas spirit, I was wondering if I was capable of something. Took a hint from Desmond’s fire and your electric ability, and well…” Atka lifted a hand, a helix of true ice winding itself together. “Hydrokinesis?”

Emily watched intently as Atka performed her new ability. “If it’s ice, it would be cryokinesis, wouldn’t it?”

The ice dissipated, and Atka snapped her fingers. “That’s perfect! Needed a cool-sounding name for it. And… an accurate one.”

“It does sound pretty cool,” she smiled. “And you never have to drink a warm soda ever again.”

The Inuit woman chuckled. “I suppose so. It may not have a ton of combat applications, especially since the origins are shackled to me like my other powers, but that in itself is refreshing.”

“You never know, there’s a situation for everything. I recently got an odd power myself…I’m sure you can guess from who,” Emily noted.

“I can hazard some guesses about what she might teach you…” Atka mumbled. “Not that I mean anything… bad about that.”

“Yeah, your guesses are probably right,” the support chuckled. “But I can distract and disable well, and that has its uses.”

Atka rubbed her chin in thought. “I could probably freeze hydraulics, but I’d have to get into contact with them. Though I’m no stranger to close combat, so that wouldn’t be too much of a hassle…”

“True, just don’t take any unnecessary risks,” Emily replied.

“No more than the usual,” Atka replied with a smile. “I’m not about to charge a Sectopod just because I can… that’s more the style of our enemy.”

“They do like to underestimate us, don’t they,” she smirked.

Dallas nudged her, “the Commander said no work talk, you know.”

“Bah, we can talk about aliens, some of them were sitting here for like an hour after all,” Emily retorted, taking a sip of her drink.


Game Master
Staff member
Sunny leaned back in her chair, lightly tapping her full stomach. Like an older sister, Alice reached over and wiped her mouth. “So messy. I didn’t think you could eat that much.”

“Well… neither did I…” Sunny frowned. “I hope I don’t regret it later. Wish I could eat all I want like you.”

Alice grinned, and took another bite a ice cream. “Jealous?”

“No,” Sunny quickly answered, but her expression said that she was.

“I see you two are enjoying yourselves,” Atka said pleasantly, sitting down, seeming a bit tired out from the festivities.

“We are,” Sunny responded with a smile. “To be honest, if it wasn’t for people like Emily, Ammy, and you, I wouldn’t have been able to stay in a room with this many people for so long.”

Atka shrugged. “I only helped slightly. I kind of wish I was able to spend more time with you… but duty calls. I’m glad that you and Emily could become such good friends.”

Sunny nodded. “We… we’re going to be roommates for much longer after this. She ask Alice and I to come live with her and Dallas after the war.”

Atka smiled widely. “That’s great… me, I have a real entourage of people that will be coming to live in Toronto… Jake, Keiko, Rei, Hitomi, father, mother, Nouja, Lily, Ayame, Mary potentially…”

“That’s a lot of people for sure.” Alice grinned. “I hope you won’t mind if we come and visit you some time.”

“Not at all,” the Colonel responded. “I’m going to need another couch or two for my apartment though.”

Sunny sighed, looking across the room, and was obviously trying to keep the smile from fading from her face. “We… we’re going to win this, right? We aren’t all eating like this… because…”

Atka shook her head. “I’m not overconfident, but we can win this. This won’t be our last supper, I promise.”

Sunny nodded, her smile returning in full. “We just need to make sure you don’t fry your psionics, Desmond doesn’t try to take Phobos alone, Albert doesn’t blow any part of himself up, Emily doesn’t attract any more Ethereals, Eva doesn’t punch a hole into the side of the ship, and Mary doesn’t try to seduce Phobos, right?”

“That pretty much sums it up…” Atka sighed. “Wish I could have brought Taqukaq on the ship… I’m sure he’s worried sick…”

Sunny nodded again, remembering how she was scared of the dog when she first met him. “He’s here with you in spirit, right? And thanks to your abilities, you can tell him everything he missed in great detail.”

“Yeah… I suppose that’s a silly thing to worry about right now, huh?” Atka decided with a laugh.

Alice shook her head. “Of course not, Atka. He is your friend, and it is only natural you’d worry about him, and the rest of your family. I got lucky, everyone I know still being here.”

Sunny frowned. “Though I kinda miss Rei. She and the others were around my age, and she was the only one I’ve ever met my age with that kind of intellect.”

“Well, if you visit you’ll get to see them again,” Atka suggested.

“Good point.” Sunny lifted a cup of soda. “Can you… make a toast with pop?”

“I don’t see why not.” Atka retrieved a sprite with her icy helix, cooling it, and lifted it in a toast.

“To, uh… to Project X-COM… to good friends, loyal allies, and… um…”

Alice smiled, lifting her own glass. “And to the future of the human race. May we come back stronger then ever after this.”


Desmond walked down a long stretch of hallway alone, telling Elizabeth to head onto the party ahead of him, the two having to arrive late anyways due to her not feeling the best earlier in the morning. As he walked, he came upon a large window that gave a nice view of the Earth, the soldier sighing to himself and just looking at it for a long while.

“Seems more vulnerable up here, doesn’t it?” Atka spoke softly, walking up to the window as well.

“During my early days of living, I used to daydream about seeing the world...never thought I would see it like this.” He responded, holding his hands behind his back. “It’s almost over...isn’t it?”

Atka nodded. “Yeah. Phobos is the last challenge left… and with this ship, I think we stand a chance.”

He nodded, looking down at the ground. “What are you doing here? I thought you would be at the party.”

“I was, though things have been settling down, and I figured I’d check on you,” the Inuit woman replied. “We’re odd friends, aren’t we? Different in so many ways, yet we still manage to get along.” Atka lifted a palm, forming a large snowflake in it. “Like fire and ice getting along.”

Desmond held out his own palm, a ball of fire flaring over it. “With times like these, petty differences need to be put aside for the greater good.” He looked at Atka with a soft look and stared back at Earth. “You taught me that. That day on the cliff. Seems like so long ago…” He chuckled, rubbing the bottom of his nose. “We came so close to killing one another that day.”

The Colonel shrugged. “Well, that was when you were in service to someone else… now, I don’t think you’re anyone’s puppet.”

“Yeah...try telling Elizabeth that.” Taking a deep breath, he rubbed the back of his neck. “Never thought that I would have the life I have now. I was so full of hate that I never considered things like love and family.”

“And that newfound happiness is just one of the things we have to protect.” Atka glanced back down at Earth. “From here it’s small, and vulnerable, but even more beautiful than it seems standing on its surface. And we have to protect it and all that live there, no matter what.”

“And we will. For this day, and for all the days to come.” Silence fell over the two as they looked down at their collective home, Desmond finally saying, “I guess this is the part where I thank you for everything you have done?”

Atka shook her head. “You don’t need to. I won’t say I was just doing my job, but I was doing this because I care about everyone else, and it is what I wanted to do.”

“You kept me alive you know?” Desmond reached into his pocket, taking out the small whale bone figurine. “I carry it with me every mission. Even with the worst of wounds, I seem to have come out of it. Can’t help but wonder if you really gave me a guardian.”

“That Alpha wolf has seemed to carry me this far,” Atka replied. “I wouldn’t doubt it.”

Desmond nodded his head. “Sorry to be leaving you with this mess after all of this. I am just not the leader you are. Nothing would make me happier than to just vanish. I don’t need the thanks of the world, I just want to be normal for once.” He looked down at his arm. “Well as normal as I can be. I think I at least have earned that.

“You have. Me? I think I’ll take a page out of the same book once things have settled down, at least for awhile. I might come back to grander things one day, but for the time being I think I’m going to truly relax for the first time in months.”

“That’ll be nice. Ellie wants to move us to California, somewhere on the beach. Can’t say I won’t enjoy it, I just have no idea what I am going to do, I think I am done with the military.”

“Well, you seem to have a talent for engineering,” Atka offered. “Could work for Elene in some capacity, or on your own terms.”

Desmond shrugged. “Maybe I will become a contractor, who knows. At least I won’t have to call someone to remodel the bathroom if it is ugly.” With a smile, he looked down the hallway. “I guess I should go before they start wrapping things up, huh?”

Atka nodded. “Though perhaps find Elizabeth before she starts worrying about you.”

“She already worries, but might as well make sure she doesn’t overdo it too much on the sweets.” Desmond turned and walked down the hall, pocketing the wolf again and raising a hand in the air. “I will see you around.”

Atka waved back, and then glanced back through the window, the stars twinkling softly, surrounded by darkness. Quietly at first, she began to hum a tune to herself. “Silent night, holy night… All is calm, all is bright… Round yon virgin mother and child… Holy infant so tender and mild… Sleep in heavenly peace… Sleep in heavenly peace…”


Operator 21O
Staff member
MarineAvenger & ZombieSplitter53 "The Pen is Mightier than the Sword"

X-COM Headquarters, Warship “Arkbird”
Infirmary, Office of Elizabeth Rinly-Walker
Dec. 26th, 0900 Hours

Looking over her amenities and taking stock of her supplies, Elizabeth darted around her office, straightening everything that looked slightly out of place to her, trying to make things perfect. Finally, after adjustment after adjustment, she finally gave up and sat down in her chair, playing with the pen on her desk, trying to get it straight as well but finally slamming it down and ignoring it, though the way it was slightly skewed irking her.

A healthy knock came from the door, and one of the nurses stuck his head in the door. “Um, Dr. Rin… Walker? The, uh… the Commander is here to see you.”

“Really?” She asked with a tilt of her head, before throwing a book at the door. “Well let her in you nitwit, don’t have to announce it like that.”

“Y-yes ma’am!”

The nurse ducked out again, and a few moments later, the Commander walked in, smiling and looking professional. She nodded graciously at the nurse, closed the door, and immediately grasped her stomach in pain, obviously having been hiding it on her way over. “Good morning… doctor…”

Ellie shook her head and got up from her seat, helping Morrigan into one. “Dear Lord, you went overboard at the party didn’t you? I swear, by the time I got there there was almost nothing left. I hope it wasn’t largely your doing?”

Morrigan chuckled, then winced in pain. “No… I don’t think so, anyway. I’m just not used to so many different foods. And that whiskey cake was so good, I… I might have eaten more of that in one sitting then I should have.”

“There was cake?” She asked, pouting a bit in disappointment. “Anyways, this will be a simple fix. I just hope you aren’t just using this as an excuse to get a day off work.” She stated, raising an eyebrow at the Commander.

Morrigan laughed again. “No, no. I don’t get a day off, unless I’m in a hospital bed with a plasma wound.” She smiled at Ellie. “You’re a very casual person, aren’t you?”

“Yes, yes I am.” Ellie gave a mischievous grin. “And I can arrange that. A few tweaks to your medical report, and I can have you in bed with any major illness by the end of the hour.”

Morrigan shook her head. “Thanks, but now isn’t the best time for that. With the end approaching, I need to be there for everyone. Gotta make sure a certain psionic soldier returns to his loving wife, for example.”

“A few hours won’t kill you, or him.” Elizabeth dropped a tablet into a glass of water and handed it to the Commander along with a small plastic cup with nasty smelling medicine in it. “Small cup is medicine, second is an antacid.”

Morrigan frowned as she looked over the medicine. “You… no matter how old you get, you never get over that childhood reservations about nasty medicine, do you?” She sighed, and chugged it, showing a surprisingly disgusted face for one able to drink as much alcohol as her.

Elizabeth giggled, taking a seat in her chair behind the desk. “Trust me, there are worse ways I could have gave you that medicine.” Crossing her arms, she leaned back and sighed. “So, you will need to stay here a bit before I release you, so what is on your mind?”

Morrigan sighed again, leaning back in her seat. “Well… I… I’m tired of sitting back, to be honest. It is one of the burdens of my position, but… I’m trained, I can fight, but I’m stuck here. I say I’m going to bring people like Desmond back… but how much do I really do from the comfort of the base?”

“Every war needs a figure head, and you are that idol that has been leading us forward. You don’t need to be on the frontlines to inspire your troops or lead them in any way.”

“Yeah… yeah… but I want to be…” Morrigan lightly sipped the water. “I need to be…”

“You don’t need nothing Miss O’Brien. All you need is to keep leading us the way you have been, and before you know it, you and your daughter will be together again. Besides, if you went out that would only stress the troops. They would do anything to protect their leader and that would weigh heavily on them. They need to be as clear headed as possible in order to be the best they can be.”

“I suppose that’s true.” Morrigan smiled. “And I’ll keep that in mind. But we’ll need everything we have for the final fight. I’m… I haven’t told anyone else this, mostly because they would try to stop me, but I’m thinking of joining the assault on the Temple Ship. If we take it down, the hard part will be over. I want to be there to make sure it happens.”

Ellie sat forward in her seat, frowning. “Allow me to be blunt with you, but are you daft?”

Morrigan thought for a few moments, then grinned even wider. “Yeah. Probably.”

The doctor nodded. “Besides, you may have battle experience before the war, but besides one base assault, you have never fought the aliens like the other soldiers. Even then, these are people with mind powers and body modifications. You are just you. Wouldn’t be hard for an Ethereal to pop into your mind, even with a mind shield, and make you do something bad. We need you here. Besides, with you gone, people will be jumpy and as much as I respect your Central Officer, she doesn’t have your finesse with the staff and others.”

Morrigan sighed. “I… you’re right, Elizabeth. I just… the thought of sitting back just eats at me. I… but maybe you’re right. Maybe I would be nothing but a distraction. Maybe being there would just make things harder for the others.”

“You’re damn right I am right,” Pointing her finger forward, Ellie grinned in victory. “And don’t you forget it!” Settling down, the doctor composed herself. “Now...there is something very serious I need to discuss with you, one that you will not allow to leave this room or reach another ear, got it!?”

Morrigan raised an eyebrow. “You’re quite demanding too, you know. No wonder you can keep Desmond in line.” She crossed her arms. “Alright, go ahead.”

Leaning forward with eyes closed and deadly serious look on her face, Ellie asked, “What’s it like being a mother?” Her eyes opened and her grin was wide, eyes a little star struck.

Morrigan smiled. “That’s… a good question. One that I’m learning the answer to myself. But the short of it is… if you are a good mother, and are there for your child, it is very rewarding. It is hard, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. And there will be times when it seems to beat you down. But at the end of the day, you’ll look down at the little person you created, that you put so much time and effort into raising and caring for, and just… be happy to be you because of them.”

Holding her cheeks and cooing a bit, Elizabeth had a look of pure joy. “I always wanted to be a mother. I can’t believe it is actually happening! Oh I can’t wait!” She exclaimed.

The door creaked open and the nurse from before poked his head in. “Everything alright?”

Elizabeth threw another book, this one larger and more heavy. “Out!” As the nurse retreated and the door slammed shut, the doctor returned to her happy face. “Wait...did I even tell you I was pregnant before? I don’t think I have…crap!”

Morrigan raised a hand. “It’s alright, I heard about it on the grapevine. Things like this don’t stay quiet for long in a cramped base, especially to the Commander.”

“Oh well, you know now.” Wrapping her arms around her stomach she swayed side to side.

“Do you know if it’s a boy or a girl yet?” Morrigan asked.

Elizabeth shook her head. “We are going to wait till it is born to find out.”

“Really?” Morrigan rubbed the back of her neck. “That’s some patience you have there. Couldn’t wait to find out with Brigid myself. You have names?”

“For the first one, either Cayden or Bethany.” She said, staring at the pen that was still not straight.

“First one, huh?” Morrigan chuckled. “Planning ahead, I see.”

“Mhmm...I wanted four but Desmond said that was a little much but I am content with three instead.”

“Well… good to hear you’re set for the future. Good to have goals, at least. And who knows, maybe you’ll be able to convince Desmond to get you that fourth kid in time. You certainly are a convincing person.” Morrigan glanced up at the wall clock and frowned, muttering, “Damn.”

“You work with him, he is as stubborn as me.” Glancing at the clock as well, Elizabeth smiled. “Well, you shouldn’t have any more pains now. The medicine has had enough time to work. And you want to know my secret for my persuasiveness?”

Morrigan stood up and nodded. “Sure, lay it on me.”

“While in medical school, I took several psychology courses. Almost got my degree as well, though I don’t really have much use for it, I am more for practical medicine. Just not really something I had a need for.”

Morrigan grinned. “Well, maybe you should look into that again. You’re pretty good at it, and unless I can convince that mailman to switch over, Parker and Wiewiora are gonna need some help when this is over.” She patted her stomach, feeling surprisingly better. She headed out, calling back, “Thanks for the meds, and the advice, doc. Mail me your bill.”

“I will take either a blank check or all the sweets you can muster. I need payback for missing the party!”

“I’ll see what I can dig up. That little Ethereal always seems to have some chocolate on her for some reason.” Morrigan stepped out, smiling at a nervous nurse as she went.

As the nurse attempted to walk in a third time, Elizabeth just smiled. “I require nothing. Though I think that cute secretary you have a crush on is going on break soon.”

He blushed and nodded his head fervently, running out the door and shutting it behind him before any more books flew his way.

Sighing to herself in relaxation, Ellie sunk down in her chair and eyed the pen that laid slightly a little to the left. Picking it up and throwing it across the room with a yell, she pouted and slumped even lower. “Fucking pen…”


Game Master
Staff member
MarineAvenger & ZombieSplitter53
"Cozy Couples"

X-COM Headquarters, Warship “Arkbird”
Improvised Recreation Room/Bar
Dec. 26th, 1300 Hours

Aya sighed as she looked around the room. Despite everything that had happened, people seemed to be in relatively high spirits, likely because the last mission yielded less casualties than expected, and there was actual room to breath now. She looked over at the jukebox in the corner, wondering, not for the first time, how it got aboard the ship, but didn’t complain, just hummed along to some rock song she remembered from childhood, but didn’t know the words to. “You know,” she said, taking a sip of a tequila sunrise, “I think this ship is actually bigger than the base was.”

Hawke, who was sitting next to her, took a sip of some beer and took a deep breath. “Yeah, really sucks too. I had just learned where everything was.” He smiled weakly, sighing to himself and putting a hand on Aya’s back. “Sorry we had to leave the party early, but we promised some guys we would cover their guard. Besides, we had never celebrated Christmas before so we will just have to do it next year.”

“It’s okay. Eve tied a few drinks and… passed out almost immediately.” Aya took another sip, laughing a bit. “She puts up a brave face, but with that small body of hers, there are a few things she can’t do. Hold her liquor is one of them.”

“Fox has never had alcohol before and I am not letting him anytime soon. Boy is already a handful as is.” The sniper smirked and leaned forward, still a little tired from the night before.

“Good idea. I’ll try to encourage Eve to do the same from now on.” Aya smiled and Hawke, and scooted her seat a little closer. She kissed him on the cheek, and placed her head on his shoulder. “Thank you, Hawke.”

“For what?” He asked, leaning his head against hers.

“I… I don’t know. For being here.” Aya sighed. “I’m… usually alone, you know? Eve keeps me company, and I have the soldiers I work with, but at the end of the day… I had no one to go to. No one to… just hang out with. But now I have you. So… so even if it just for now, even if this doesn’t go anywhere… thank you.”

“Sure. Even if this don’t work, you can still hang with me all you want.” He gave a small smirk, but his expression quickly turned neutral. “I don’t intend for this to be a fling. If it is in my capacity, I will make this last for as long as necessary. You at least deserve that.”

Aya nodded. “Thank you, Hawke. I’m… not sure what I deserve, but I know you’ll make me happy.”

“One can only try.” Taking a final sip of his beer, he wrapped his arm around Aya again and closed his eyes, enjoying the moment. Aya did the same, enjoying the embrace of Hawke’s strong arms.


Office of Morrigan O’Brien

Chief strolled along to the Commander’s new office, smiling as he saw the older secretary still at her place. With his arms behind his back, he greeted her with a slight nod. “Hello. I have some business with the Commander, may I see her?”

“Of course, Mr. Chief,” Peggy answered, the same warm smile on her face as before. “Go on inside.”

Turning and walking to the door, Chief gave Peggy a clear view of why his hands were behind his back, a large wrapped present and smaller one on top, both wrapped in the same colorful wrapping. Winking at her, he opened the door and walked in.

Morrigan’s eyes lit up when she saw her guest. She quickly stood up, and walked past him, closing the door. When she turned back, she couldn’t help but notice he was keeping his back turned away from her. “What ya got there?”

“Trash I forgot to throw overboard, what do you think?” He held out the two packages, smiling lightly. “Big one is for Brigid, the smaller one is yours. I had opportunity and I thought I would take the chance to get something.”

Morrigan smiled widely, taking her package and quickly unwrapping it. Under the wrapping was a quaint little generic brown box, and when she opened the flaps and took out what was inside, it was a bottle of expensive whiskey. “Nice… how did you get this?”
“Don’t ask. Took a lot of work.” Looking at the second gift he said, “Open that one too. It wasn’t meant to be wrapped but the guy I got to do the wrapping for me did it anyways. I wanted to get your opinion on it.”

“Of course.” Morrigan took the second package and started unwrapping it. “I’m sure whatever it is, she’ll love it.” As she opened the floppy little box and took out the present, it was a fuzzy pair of pink pajamas with fluffy white cats printed all over it. It was a little big for Brigid’s size but nothing too big. “Oh… it is so adorable. I can’t wait to see her in these!” Morrigan quickly wrapped her arms around Chief, giving him a big kiss. “Thank you.”

He smiled and nodded. “I’m glad. So...how was the party after we left?”

“It was nice. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, and that was my goal.” Morrigan casually walked over to her desk, looting through one of the drawers in search of something. “Had a bit of a tummy ache, but I’m better now. Thanks for taking that second guard shift, by the way.”

“Sure. Holidays don’t really mean as much to us as some other people so it was the least we could do.” Taking a seat across the desk, Chief crossed his leg over the other and turned himself so he could crack his back.

“Good point,” Morrigan said. “Though maybe we can change that. After all, it is a good excuse to come together with the ones you care about.” She pulled out a small wooden box. “I got you something myself. I’m afraid it isn’t new, but I hope you’ll appreciate it.”

“I’m not really big about flashy, expensive things so I am sure I will like it.” He took the box and opened it up, revealing a small revolver, obviously old, but in excellent condition.

“This was my uncle’s,” Morrigan explained. “1849 Colt pocket model, 97% Blue, with a six inch barrel. He collected old firearms, and this was one of his favorites. I… have no talent for maintaining these, but I’m hoping it would find a nice home with you.”

He looked over the weapon, turning it over in his hands with satisfaction. “I don’t know, I would say you kept it in good condition. Are you sure you want to give this to me?”

Morrigan nodded. “I am. I think it looks good on you.” She looked over the bottle of whiskey and smiled. “Wanna share a drink with me?”

“How could I say no?” He asked, smiling and sitting forward.


Game Master
Staff member
Room/Office of Aya & Eve Brea

Eve frowned as she reluctantly handed Fox a handmade cherry pie, muttering, “I… I’m not a very good cook, but… I-I made this for you. I… hope you like it…”

Fox looked over the pie, sniffing it and saying, “Well it smells good at least.” Taking a fork, he put it in and ate a big mouth full, shuddering but smiling none the less. “Well...I’m not dead.” He joked. “The taste is a bit...odd but I still like it.” Taking another bite, he actually started to like the taste.

“Really?” Eve asked, genuinely surprised. She took a bite herself, the pastry hitting her stomach like a brick. “It… it sucks, huh?”

“It...isn’t perfect, but I am not too particular with my tastes.” He took another bite, and then another. “Just keep practicing.” He gave her a wide smile, a bit of cherry pie smudged on his mouth.

Eve giggled, wiping Fox’s mouth with her finger and grinning. “Well, with that encouragement, how can I go wrong.” She kissed him, the slight taste of cherry on his lips. “I’m glad.”

“Having to work into the night sucked a bit, but at least they gave us today off for thanks.”

“And you deserve it.” Eve curled up next to Fox, cooing lightly. “This is how it should be. You and I, alone together. Nothing to trouble us, nothing to worry about. I… I wish we could stay like this forever.”

“We will soon, don’t you worry about that.” He snuggled up as close as he could get, closing his eyes in relaxation.

Eve nodded slowly. “What are we going to do afterwards, Fox? Did you have any plans?”

“Well...funny you should mention that…” Fox pulled away from Eve and supported himself with his arm. “The Elites aren’t staying together after the war. We will be going our separate ways but still keeping in contact so me and you could really do anything we wanted.”

Eve thought for a second. “Well… we could always ask Elene for a job. You could fit in any number of roles, and I could actually put my degree to work. Or… if you prefer, you could… join a military. Aya has contacts in the U.S. military. They could get you in easily.”

Fox shook his head. “I don’t want to fight any more. That run in with that Berserker kind of made me reconsider a military career.” The scout looked at Eve with a curious look. “You never told me you had a degree, what is it in?”

Eve shrugged. “I have a double BA in political science and sociology. Not… sure what I can do with them, but… I’m sure we can think of something.” She smiled. “I could always do the work, and you could stay home and take care of… heh, never mind.”

Fox tilted his head. “What? You can’t lead me up like that and not say.”

Eve looked away, blushing a bit. “Well, um… i-if we do stick together, I was hoping we might have a little… you know, Fox or two… some day…”

Fox blushed as well, looking a little abashed. “O-Oh…” He rubbed the back of his neck and said, “Well...I plan to be with you for a long, long time. I don’t think it there is any uncertainty. It could...maybe be a possibility...”

Eve squealed a bit, jumping into Fox’s arms and showering him with kisses. “I’m glad you see. it that way. Foxy.” She nuzzled her cheek against his. “And by the way, that pie was only half of your christmas gift.”

“Oh...I actually had one for you too…” He said, still a little nervous.

“Really? What is it?” Eve asked excitedly.

Fox crawled away, rummaging around and looking back up at Eve. “Eyes closed!” Eve nodded, closing her eyes and holding out her hands. Crawling back over, he put something small and soft in her hands. “Alright, open.” When Eve opened her eyes again, Fox was wearing a Christmas hat too big for his head, and looking down, there was a small, square box open in her hand with a ring inside, a pretty green stone in the center.

“Wow, Fox, I… I don’t…” A few tears formed in Eve’s eyes as she slipped it on. “It is so pretty. I… thank you, Fox.”

Fox nodded, grinning wide. “It was hard to get...let’s just say I owe a huge favor to a robot.” As Fox looked at Eve, his grin slowly fell and he quickly shook his head. “Wait, no, this probably looks wrong, I am not...I mean this isn’t...I’m not p-proposing!” Fox scratched his head. “I could have presented that better…not that I am saying I won’t! I just...uh...I am going to stop talking...”

Eve rolled her eyes, and planted her lips on his to quiet him down. “I know, Fox. And it’s lovely. Thank you. Now… do you want your other present?” She asked seductively.

“U-Uh...sure?” He asked, still feeling a bit stupid about his execution.

Eve glanced at the clock, making sure Aya wouldn’t be back anytime soon. She walked over to the door, making sure it is locked, and said, “I… wasn’t sure what else I could get you, but one of the soldiers at the party gave me a suggestion for something you might… enjoy. At least… from what I could understand from her.”

“Oooookaaaaay.” He said, always a little nervous from new things. “I...I trust you.”

“Good,” Eve said, sliding onto his lap. “Now… lay back, and leave everything to me.”


Well-Known Member
DarkGemini24601 and MarineAvenger: "Robotic World Problems"

Sora walked with an unusual stride, looking like his normal prideful one but something off about it. The android took a deep breath, even though it wasn’t needed, and tapping his knuckle on the door to the Exalt room. “Anybody still alive in there?”

Avanix opened the door. “I am present, though the others are currently unavailable.”

“Ah, just the one I wanted to see.” He waved his hand, wanting Avanix to join him. “Come on. I didn’t get to see you at all yesterday since I was covering for that stupid cat but I want to make it up to you.”

“Very well,” Avanix stepped out of the room, following Sora. “What did you have in mind for us to do?”

“Just walk around for a bit and talk.” Sora looked to the ground and finally said, “Might as well get it out of the way now. Have you...given any thought to what I asked you? About the...kid idea.”

“A bit… an organic child poses the issue of passing away while we do not,” Avanix replied. “Though I am not entirely averse to creating a new A.I…”

He nodded, smiling as he put his hands in his pockets. “Good...at first I thought it would have been stupid but I at least wanted to ask first.” Taking his hand out of his pocket, he wrapped one arm around Avanix and the other had an elongated box.

“Is that gift relevant to this?” the original A.I. inquired.

Sora shook his head. “Not really, just a gift I thought I would get for you. I actually got it a while ago, just wanted to wait for the right moment. Was a bitch to get a hold of but since a couple of people came to me for some of the same reasons, I thought I would work some magic. Go ahead, open it.”

Raising an eyebrow, Avanix did so, peering inside. Unfortunately, there was nothing inside, just the plain, soft inside. “Ahem…”

“Huh...that is actually very lucky,” Sora opened his hand that had the arm around Avanix and a silver necklace hung from it, a little pearly pendant attached to the chain. “now I have a place to put this.”

“Very funny,” Avanix noted with a shake of her head.

“I try.” Sora stopped, putting the necklace around her neck and clipping it together. “There. Looks beautiful. The jewelry does too I guess.”

Avanix chuckled. “I don’t recall you being one for flattery… are you sure you aren’t possessed or otherwise controlled?”

“Even if I am, you seem to be enjoying yourself.” The male android shifted on his feet and shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know, maybe I am finally accepting how much I really feel about you.”
Avanix smiled, leaning up to kiss him. “Good to hear. Especially since you are the most emotionally developed of us all… it would be odd if you didn’t embrace such feelings.”

“Oh you know me, always one for the melodramatic. I am surprised we even made it this far to be honest. We really are a new kind of relationship.”

“Pioneering new territory… though I doubt love can be called a science or a terrain,” Avanix mused.

“Yeah, more like a battlefield...or a bout of indigestion.” Shrugging his shoulders, Sora continued to walk. “We will just have to see where the future takes us. We have eternity to spend together, unless these bodies are more advanced then I realized.”

“I have no need nor desire to die anytime soon… though I don’t like thinking about the idea that I may one day outlive most of my family,” Avanix responded with a shudder.

“That is one difference between us at least. As good the times we had, the girls are your family, not mine. Other than you, I don’t really have that many people I fear to lose.”

“Not even Desmond?” Avanix asked curiously.

“He is a friend, a companion really. I would be sad for a while but nothing that would destroy me. If there is one thing I curse, it is the fact I have very little,” He took Ava’s hand in his and smirked. “But that makes me enjoy these moments all the more.”


Game Master
Staff member
Grand Ethereal Temple Ship
628,300,000 km from Earth
December 27th, 2100 Hours (X-COM Arkbird time)

Take us out of out of hyperspace. Phobos rose from his seat as the ship's engines slowed down. The area outside of the viewscreens went from white to black, stars coming into view. Before them was a sizable satellite orbiting around a gas giant.

We have returned to normal space, Exalted Commander. Currently in orbit around what the humans refer to as Ganym...

Do not concern yourself with what the humans call it. When we are finished here, this solar system will be ours.

Y-yes, Commander. Tora exchanged a look with her Ethereal copilot, Ferrox, and they could practically see each other's nervous glances under their masks.

Phobos turned to an approaching Old One, taking a report from him. Aw... good news. The plague was only amongst the Elders. They will be missed, but they would be pleased to know none other on this vessel needed to fall with them.

Ferrox turned to Phobos and carefully said, It... it is a good thing the Exalted Commander was not infected, d-despite being so close to...

The Ethereal pilot fell silent at the sense of Phobos' increasing energy. The Commander looked down on him. Yes... it is. It is because of my respect for them, as I never approached them unless they order me to.

O-of course, Exalted One! Tora quickly said. We are... pleased you were not lost, and can take over as... our high leader. We... w-we just wish we could see the Council of Elders, and witness the send off of their mortal...

It is too dangerous, Tora. We still do not know how long the illness lasts, even after death. Phobos seemed to give the two Ethereals a death stare, and they wisely nodded and feel silent. He turned to a Sectoid Commander, who was angrily pushing an Outsider aside and working on its station. TS-111. Report.

The oversized Sectoid jumped a bit, and turned. Y-yes, Exalted One. We... we still can not get into contact with the Honored Overseer of Earth. It seems our fears that he might have fallen are... are not unfounded. F-furthermore, we... can not seem to contact our other Supra ship.

Phobos' energy flared as he looked like he was struggling not to explode in anger. They were given explicit instructions to wait for us around the red planet! Where are they?!

The Sectoid Commander shuttered in fear, as did most of the bridge's occupants. We... w-w-we can not... find them. They... a-and no debris matching... th-they c-could be hiding somewhere. P-possibly near the planet's poles, or... o-or b-behind one of the m-moons, but... but we would still pick them up unless they were... i-intentionally trying to avoid... us...

Phobos seethed for a few moments longer before, to everybody's surprise, calmed down. Very well. Set course for our new planet. I...

B-but... what of our plan to drop off as many of the citizens...
Ferrox again fell silent, a ring of red energy appearing around his neck.

As her friend chocked, Tora quickly typed in the appropiate commands. Course laid in. To her horror, Ferrox continued to choke. E-Exalted Commander, please! He only wished...

Ferrox's neck snapped with a sickening crack, and Phobos flung him to the side. As a shuttering Tora silently returned to her work, and a Balmadaar collected the fallen Ethereal, Phobos settled back into his seat. We do not have time to second guess. This is war, and as it stands, my orders are absolute. To question them is treason. Around the room came a series of nods, and Phobos smiled under his mask. And remember, this extends to the humans as well. They will be ordered to surrender their planet to us. Should they refuse... well then, I will deal with them myself...


Well-Known Member
To the Bitter End

Toronto, Canada
1200 Hours, December 28th, 2018
Harrison Hair Salon

Male Reporter: "Dire news at this time... a massive alien ship, estimated to be about the size of Japan, has warped into orbit around Earth. Their intentions are clear: conquest of our planet by any means necessary. At present the Canadian government had no comment about what defensive measures they were planning to take..."

A murmur passed between the customers in the hair salon as the news came to light. "Something wrong, Melissa?" One of the owner's subordinates asked worriedly.

"Nothing... more than what we're hearing here..." the purple-haired woman lied. "Just... go about what you were doing. That's all we can do."

"If you say so." The man returned to his post, leaving Melissa alone as she glanced up at the TV.

"Atka... did you really go off to fight them?" Melissa muttered. She looked over the displayed image of the Temple Ship solemnly. "And you have to face that? Great Spirit eternally protect us indeed..."

St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
1900 Hours, December 28th, 2018
XCOM Safehouse #4

At the same time, a similar news reel was running in Russia, as Ipiktok sat with his family, trying to contain his own fears about his daughter. It was easy to tell, regardless. "She'll be fine, Ipiktok, she always has made it through," Yaralria assured him.

"You're rather optimistic," Ipiktok responded quietly.

"I have to be. Right now, fearing for her safety won't do her any good. She would want us to trust in her and not waste our time worrying," the Interface stated.

"I just hope..." The door opened, cutting Ipiktok off as a tall Russian in military garb stepped in.

"Guard to see you again, Ipiktok. Just wish it could be on better terms," Stanimov announced as he entered the room.

"Uh... it's 'good', Mr. Dragomirov," Nouja corrected.

The tank commander chuckled heartily. "So it is... I'm not as good with English as Modya is."

"He's just as worried about him as I'm sure you all are about Atka," Katya offered, standing by the old soldier.

"You're blocking the door, old man..." a voice growled from behind Stanimov, and he stepped into the room.

"I think someone's forgetting who is on bail and who is the parole officer..." the Russian replied sarcastically.

Poinsettia rolled her eyes, and grinned. "I wouldn't worry two much about those two... they'll kick some Ethereal tail with the Exalts. We can count on that."


Well-Known Member

I got a second chance from science I could never muster, from people whose mercy I never deserved. For months I’ve only had one object of true affection, that and a vague idea of freedom. Though I’m free in body, I know there’s only one way this really ends. I will avenge my friend, and then I will drag my people to a new dawn, crying and bleeding if I must.

For too long have I hid from everything. Mistakes I made, whether I perceived them that way or not, anchoring me down like solid steel. Not anymore. No more tweed suits, lowered foreheads, and menial paperwork. When I was young, I studied for years solely because I wanted to help people. Now I have a new opportunity, and I will serve it through space and time as though I was born to do it.

If you told me this is where I’d be when I graduated three years ago, on the precipice of ending an alien threat, I’d probably have guessed you were messing with me and stuffed you in a locker. I feel like someone completely different since they asked me to do a shooting test and then flew me over here, and God only knows who I’ll be or what I’ll do after this. God, I need a drink…

Everyone is talking about this next mission like it’s the last one of their lives, like we'll slay the evil lord and all go home. I already know it won’t be like that though. I started young with a serving plate as a target. That plate became a pitcher, then a mug, then a teacup. There’s always another target hiding behind the hardest one you can imagine. Whatever comes next won’t be any different.

I wouldn’t ask me why I’m here, because I sure don’t have a rational answer. My skills are spent charming past secretaries and sneaking through ducts, but through some twist of fate, I’m apparently part of a group that’s going to save the world. I only stayed because of her…but I don’t know, maybe it’s better to be part of something now. It’s a challenge, at the very least.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. I repent for those sins I have committed, both seen and unseen; and thank you always for the sacrifices you have made for us. Though I kneel at our bed every night and ask of you happiness for our family and blessings for our beloved community, I pray here for one purpose today. Please, bring Amelia home. Amen.

I may not have been the most ambitious person that could be called a “company man,” but I still played the part. I knew what I was, and I was good at it. I still am. First I did it for the experience, then I did it for the degree, and then for the flag, then for the patch. All that led here, lives hanging on my word and my command…all that’s changed now is that I do it for my love.

For years I lived alone, huddled in a corner, only the space in my mind to console me. Memories of being homeless were my home. I still had a heart, but it was closed off from anyone who saw me. Now I have people to depend on, people I need, people who need me. Whether they’re soldiers, doctors, civilians, androids, aliens, or my one true love…I will defend them all with every drop of blood I have left.


Game Master
Staff member
DarkGemini24601, Adrammlech, & ZombieSplitter53
"In the Pursuit of Peace: Part One"

Ethereal Temple Ship
Military Meeting Room
Jan. 3rd, 2018, 1200 Hours, Local Time

Morrigan looked across the odd, oversized table at the selection of Ethereals before her. She momentarily considered ordering them to take off their masks, but decided against it. From her right, her two Ethereals and one human-Ethereal entered taking a seat next to her. The other aliens seemed to look at Luxuria with confusion, but said nothing. “Are we ready?” she asked her companions.

“Should be,” Luxuria sighed, taking her hands off her chin and onto the table. “Emily would want to be here, but…”

“It would seem that many of XCOM’s finest are currently incapacitated,” Sapentia spoke, having been working to make his voice less dried up. “In any case, I am ready to begin as well.”

“As… a-am I,” Acedia answered, seeming nervous despite her former position.

Morrigan nodded and stood up. “Well… we have a few things to go over here. We want an end to the aggression as much as you do, but we need to come to a few… agreements first.”

The Ethereal in the center of the others slowly stood up. I… am acting second-Commander Torenda’slint. We… we do not wish to fight anymore. We are willing to give in to your demands… and pay for the crimes of our military. Please… do not take it out…

Luxuria’s eyes narrowed towards them, but she didn’t respond.

“No one is going to lash out at the citizenry here.” Morrigan rose an eyebrow. “Second-Commander? Who is in charge then?”

After the loss of so many of our leaders, and the loss of our Overseers, Commander Carthigi’seris would be in charge, but she is recovering. We only recently rescued her after she escaped from… the one you called Conquest.

Carthigi is here? I did not realize…
Sapentia stuttered for a moment, having to compose himself again.

Morrigan thought for a moment. “If… she is in charge, I would like for her to be present. It is important, considering the terms of our peace treaty.”

I will send for her, to see if she is able.

The parties sat down to wait, and Morrigan turned to Sapentia. “You know this Ethereal?”

“She is my laʒier... I was not sure what to think when I heard that Conquest had commandeered the… the Supra-Battleship’s name would translate to ‘Starfield’, I believe. I should have know she would have found a way to survive,” the former Watcher of Europe explained.

“I see…” Morrigan rubbed her chin. “Can she be trusted?”

“I doubt she will be as aggressive as Thanatos… especially not with him dead. The death of one we believed to be invincible…” the maskless Sapentia gazed over at the other Ethereals. “...has had a profound effect that will take awhile to assess. But we have been humbled, that much I know.”

The doors opened with an automatic silence, and the current Ethereal Commander floated in, her trappings more of an indication of status, while her mask had remained the same, and she hadn’t bothered fixing Phobos’s cybernetic device. Commander O’Brien, She intoned tiredly. My… apologies for not showing up initially, but I am still recovering from my encounter with the late Balmadaar warlord. She glanced at Sapentia, briefly showing a flash of surprise before returning to her placid expression, not that it mattered with a mask on. And I see you have survived as well.

“Sapentia has been a captive, and a cooperative one. He wishes for the betterment of his people above all else.” She waved her hand towards Acedia. “I am sure you know… um…”

Ah. The slacker,
Carthigi acknowledged simply.

Acedia folded her arms. I prefer the name Aergian, thank you. It is good to see you well, Carthigi.

And you, considering how few of our vital staff remain.The Ethereal Commander nodded to Gloria, sitting with the other alien dignitaries. The other three living secondary Overseers saw fit to abandon us when my predecessor perished. Apparently his death was too much for their feeble minds to take, she mused sarcastically. In any case, I am over my shock, even if some of the others are not. Finding evidence suggesting what… or rather who… really killed the Council of Elders has helped me along that course.

“I can imagine,” Morrigan muttered, thinking of the feelings of her people about their own Council. She waved a hand towards Luxuria. “And despite her appearance, this is… um… w-what was your…”

“Acra’siathi, but Luxuria works just as well,” she replied, “haven’t decided which one to keep yet.”

Carthigi seemed to consider the verity of the statement for a moment, and then shrugged. Very well. Shall we begin, then?

Morrigan nodded, and pulled out some notes. “First off, the most obvious one. The release of all humans still in captivity, and the assistance in restoring them from any experiments that might have been done to them.

Carthigi’seris smiled grimly beneath her mask.It shall be done. There aren’t many left anyway; you were rather effective in taking down a good portion of our advance fleet. I believe there are only a few ships containing human captives still, and they shall be freed and attended to.

“We also want the release of the non-Ethereal aliens from your service. Should any of them wish to stay by your side, they are free to do so. However, any who wish to leave will be allowed to do so, and you will do what you can to assist them. That includes returning them to their homes of origin and undoing the changes you have made to them to the best of you abilities.”

The other Commander balked for a moment. You.. want us to… Carthigi was silent for a few moments. It would be possible, but some modifications are more extensive than others… and what guarantee do we have that the Balmadaar will not seek further vengeance like Conquest did?

“We ask only that you do what you can. As for being like the Balmadaar, their release will be under the condition that they do not strike out against you.” Morrigan shook her head. “We… can not protect you from every one that might retaliate against you. However, if we can meet an agreement here, and become allies rather than foes, then an act of aggression on you would be one on us, and the Balmadaar are an honorable people. I know a number of them that are as appalled by Conquest’s desperate actions as we are.”

“They can be reasoned with, with enough care and understanding,” Luxuria added. “Not that we don’t deserve retaliation anyway.”

I will agree on this emancipation, and terms of protection… but none of us… NONE OF US… deserve what Conquest did to the crew of the Starfield.
Carthigi clenched her fists, trying to calm herself. Do not suggest that we should suffer.

Acedia rose her hands. Please, Carthigi. You are right. She only meant that we have crimes to answer for, that is all. Acra was there to help stop Conquest from destroying us all. If it were not for her, as well as a hand full of the humans, even if this planet survived, every Ethereal might have died.

The Ethereal Commander glanced at Sapentia, who gave her a silent nod, and finally relaxed somewhat. Turning to Morrigan, she cautiously offered, Continue.

Morrigan nodded, and cleared her throat. “We… request an exchange of technology. We need to know that, should aggression pick up again, we will not be fighting to catch up again. What we know now, we had to learn along the way. What we learn will only be known by X-COM. Even our own Council will have limited access to it, to assure it does not get out.” She looked back at Rebecca Carter, sitting next to a very tired Aya, and the Councilwoman nodded. “Of course… I am not sure what we can offer you, but you are free to learn about our technology too. And that includes the research on the illness that ravaged your people.”

Understood, and we are grateful for that. I believe you do have some points of interest to offer that we shall pursue at a later date. Believe it or not, ballistic weapons like yours are not something we have seen much of in our history. The cyberdiscs… came with their gauss weapons.
Carthigi tilted her head slightly. I take it XCOM will continue to exist, even though the war is over? she asked carefully.

Morrigan nodded. “Even after the post-war clean-up is done, someone needs to keep an eye out for the spread of this technology, and possible alien relations, now that we know of the existence of extraterrestrial life. We might even try our hand at space travel.” She grinned. “When we are ready. One step at a time.”

You wouldn't want to appear as if you were taking advantage of this victory for your own aims, after all.


Well-Known Member
In the Pursuit of Peace: Part Two

“No… we wouldn’t.” Morrigan sat back down. “One moment.” She turned to the Ethereals next to her. “She, uh… she isn’t patronizing me, is she? I’m not used to talking to Ethereals aside you three, and… I don’t want to accuse her of anything… falsely.”

I’m...not sure I would say…

I would.

Acedia shrugged. She is headstrong, but I do not think she means offense. She needs to agree with us, but she can not seem weak in front of her allies. She will not insult you flat out, though.

Morrigan rubbed her chin, and shrugged herself. “As long as she is cooperative, right? Doubt Mr. Fear would be so pleasant if he was still around.”

Maybe not, but she needs to know her place too. You know well enough from our meetings that we will wiggle out of trouble when necessary.

“Agreed. I guess this next part will be the determining factor.” Morrigan stood back up, and asked, “Tell me… do your people have a concept of… probation?”

I’m not sure I follow…

“Well… we need to make sure you are staying in line. I’d like to work the honor system… but that isn’t how this works.” With a neutral expression, Morrigan folded her arms. “We need you to return to us once every twenty-five years. We will assess your progress, and make sure you are following our agreements.”

Twenty five years seems fair enough...that should give us the time we need to deal with most of these issues, Carthigi replied. Just remember that we are still a sovereign people… we may comply with your demands, but we are not a territory of Earth, now or ever.

“As long as you remember that that’s a product of their will, not yours,” Luxuria scowled.

Morrigan nodded in agreement. “We will respect your sovereignty for now, Carthigi. But remember that you have plenty to answer for. I do not wish to take any aggressive actions that might hurt your citizenry, like putting under our rule. That isn’t how we operate. But if we feel that you can not be trusted to rule for yourself, we will step in.”

I’ll tell you who couldn’t be trusted to lead our people… Carthigi pointed an accusing finger at the former Overseer of Asia. Someone like you would lead our people to ruin in some… some masochistic vision of excessive penance!

There is a difference between accountability and masochism, and if you can’t tell the difference, it is you that is unfit!

You cannot heap the actions of Thanatos onto all of us… and how dare you attempt to judge your own… no, our people… you have abandoned anything that would make you one of us.

“While… I can understand what you are saying, Acra… I think you’re going a little too far,” Sapentia started, folding his upper two hands together.

I’ll tell you what’s too far, Luxuria growled, a slight aura forming around her, you coming in here and pretending to stand as an equal, sending a lackey rather than facing the music yourself. The only reason our people are not exterminated right now - by fury instigated by us, actions we all allowed - is because they risked the lives of their own to save us. You should be on hands and knees pleading, but their Commander is far too kind to ask of it, so I will demand it for her. You should accept anything she says, and do so with a smile.

You are nothing but a-

“Please… trust me to handle this, Carthigi.” Sapentia looked at Luxuria seriously, doing his best to remain calm. “I had the fortune to learn some of this planet’s history under Avaritia. In particular, that of the countries of Europe… they had two great wars there, once. The country of Germany had reparations forced upon them that they could not hope to pay, and the resentment they felt lead to an even more militaristic nation than the one that fought in the first war. If you try to make our people bow until their backs break…” Sapentia shook his head. “Something else will snap, and you’ll be faced with conflict even more vicious than the first, launched by a people with nothing left to lose. I’d imagine the person that just recently helped save our race wouldn’t want to damn both it and humanity.”

Acedia gave the others a worried look. “You… y-you are all right, in a certain way. We… we should listen to the humans demands, but we can trust them not to push too hard. I… I-I am sure the last thing they want is a repeat of their history in our people. Please, we… these talks are for the sake of peace, are they not?”

Morrigan sighed, rubbing her brow. “No… I don’t. Luxuria is right, you need to be receptive. But so is Sapentia. We will not push your people to that point… but only if you are willing to hear us out.”

And I am, replied Carthigi in frustration. I do not need to ‘get on my knees and beg’ in order to do so, however.

Luxuria leaned back, making a visible effort to calm herself. The humans won’t ask too much of you because of the history you quote…just don’t expect them to care about your political standing. They can put a Jie’lo in charge if they please, there is no point in posturing here, when they ask as little as a visit every two cycles.

And do not assume that is my purpose. I care little for my own standing… I am merely acting Commander because there isn’t...anyone...else... Carthigi shook her head. What I care about is maintaining the dignity of my people while changing our ways. We have made mistakes, but the common Ethereal has no reason to hate themselves. The military has its share of guilt, which we acknowledge, but the civilians onboard this vessel are guilty of little. No more than the average human, anyway.

Morrigan bowed her head. “And I have respect for your people. I wish to help you maintain that dignity, with leadership that will assure this does not happen again.” She looked between Carthigi and the Ethereals at her side. “You have your difference. I’m not sure any one Ethereal can be trusted to lead right now. Your former Commander is proof of that. But I see a number of individuals, with different views and ideas that, should they come together, could do what they couldn’t do apart.”

Luxuria glanced at Carthigi, then Acedia, then Morrigan. Are you suggesting...a new council?

“Of sorts.” Morrigan smiled. “I would like you to establish a society that involves your citizenry more in the decisions that affect your entire race. When the power is put in the hands of a few, things like this war happen. But, until that can be put into place completely, I feel that the knowledge, beliefs, and understanding that would come from the combination of Luxuria, Acedia, and Carthigi… and Sapentia… would benefit you.” She folded her hands. “I want you four to lead your people together.”

I… see. If that is what is best, than I can fulfill that role.

As can I.

“Perhaps a separation of powers would be best suited… someone to handle politics, another for military matters...another for economics, and finally one for social interactions among our people and between others, like the humans,” Sapentia offered. “I can handle the first one, assuming that the rest of you have little taste for such things.”

Acedia rubbed the back of her neck. “I… I guess I can take economics. I… I can also work on sciences, if Luxuria assists me. I feel she would be the best for social interactions. She has proven herself quite adept at connecting with others, and… if it wasn’t for her, I know the humans wouldn’t have been as lenient on me when they captured me.”

“Naturally,” Luxuria grinned confidently, “I’d be happy to fill that position.”

“And we can leave military matters in your hands,” Morrigan offered. “Sapentia is right about our history. We have no intention of dismantling your military, especially when… well, lets face it, you might have others coming after you. We also intend on keeping the Temple Ship in your hands. Until you find a new… uninhabited… planet, or clean up your own, this is your home, and we have no intention of taking it from you.”

“Tiala has a cure, there’s a chance she’ll be able to replicate it with access to a good lab,” Luxuria suggested.

Carthigi thought for a few moments, then nodded. Agreed. This is… acceptable.

Morrigan bowed her head, and dismissed the room. As the others left, Sapentia going to speak with Carthigi, Acedia frowned, and looked over at Luxuria. Do… you… think I can do this, Acra? I… am not sure of myself…

“You can,” Luxuria smiled. “I’m going to need you to help me just as much as you’ll need me. We’ll fix these problems together, starting with our planet.”

She smiled lightly. You… you really think… I… I believe in this cause. I… I will do all I can to make it work, I swear it.


Game Master
Staff member
MarineAvenger & ZombieSlayer21
"Letter of Resignation"

X-COM ‘Headquarters’, The Arkbird
Officer/Room of Aya & Eve Brea
January 4th, 2019
1000 Hours

Aya sighed as she finished the last of her paperwork, tired despite Eve doing 90% of her work. “Finished?” Eve asked.

Aya nodded. “Yeah. Not going to get much better, but at least we don’t have to worry about us or people we care about dying everyday.”

Eve nodded in agreement, but said nothing. She was no happier with the death toll then Aya.

There was a knock at the door, the voice on the other side saying, “Are you guys available?” Desmond asked.

“Of course!” Eve yelled out the door. Aya rubbed the sleep out of her eyes, and put on her best smile.

Desmond stepped through the door, slowly closing it behind him, the soldier not looking much better than Aya did. “How are you two doing?”

“Doing… fine.” Aya yawned. “Even with what Tiala did for me, I’m still exhausted. But I’ll live.”

“Better question is, how are you?” Eve asked. “I mean… you had two huge fights, one after another. You must be on the verge of collapse.”

“To be honest I did, Eva had to carry me after the fight with War, and I am still not at a hundred yet.” Desmond rubbed his neck and let out a tired sigh. “But a cup of coffee and a few hours sleep are keeping me going.”

Aya shook her head. “Don’t push yourself, Desmond. It might be over, but you still have of wife and future kid to think about. Make sure you rest up, they need you.”

“I’ve come too far to die from exhaustion Aya, but I will keep that in mind. That is...actually part of the reason I have come.”

Aya nodded, and folded her hands. “Go on. I’m all ears.”

“I am putting in my official resignation from the project.” He stated simply, putting his hands behind his back.

Eve frowned. “What? W… w-why?”

“I have done my part. With the treaty signed and the Ethereals saved it is time for me to move on. I knew for a while after the war ended I wouldn’t stay on. I am just not suited much for this anymore and as you said, I have a wife and kid to take care of.”

Aya slowly stood up. She slowly approached Desmond with a serious look, but smile as she reached him. Without a word, she extended her hand.

Desmond took it and shook her hand, smiling slightly. “Not to say I will forget any of you, far from it. I just trust others to take care of the mess.” He looked Aya in the eye and winked. “Sorry.”

Aya shook her head. “Don’t be sorry, Desmond. Like you said, you did your part, and you have nothing to be ashamed of.”

Eve smiled lightly, and nodded. “That’s right. You are just as responsible for winning this war as anyone else. More so than most, in fact. You… you deserve to live your life, Desmond.”

“The Earth can keep it’s thanks. I have no need for it.” With a brief smile he looked to the door. “That is all I needed, I guess I should go now and get ready for departure once we land.”

Aya placed a hand on his shoulder. “Whether you want it or not, you deserve thanks. And there are people here that will miss you. I know Morrigan will be one of them. I want you to make sure you say goodbye to her, whether she wants it or not.”

“I will be sure to see her at some point before I leave.” With a nod of his head, Desmond turned around and headed for the door. When he opened it he took a step out the door and stopped. “Oh and Eve.” He turned and flashed a large grin. “I hope you are happy. You deserve it.” He told her with a quick wink before stepping out the door and closing it behind him.

Eve sighed, and lowered her head. Aya walked over to her and placed a hand on her shoulder, smiling. Eve nodded, giving her a gentle smile.


A little ways away from Aya’s office, Desmond reluctantly visited Morrigan’s office, looking at Peggy and eyeing the door.

The door slowly opened, though no one appeared at first. Desmond suddenly felt a pair of small arms wrapping around his legs. “Mr. Desmond!”

Desmond looked down in surprise, not expecting to see Brigid on him but he smiled none the less and knelt down to hug her. “Hey sweetie. I wasn’t expecting to see you.” He rubbed his hand up her back and pulled back. “Uh...interesting choice of clothing though.”

She giggled. “Mr. Chief gave them to me for Christmas. You like them?”

“They certainly fit you…” He noted, chuckling at the cats all over them. “How have you been?”

“I’m good.” She ran back inside, and jumped into her mother’s arms. “I just missed everyone.”

Morrigan nodded. “Carter pulled some strings. She was able to get Brigid to me on the last supply run.”

“I am happy for you.” Desmond said with a slight nod. “I imagine you must be ecstatic to see your little girl.”

“That I am, but I’m just happy to see her safe.” Morrigan squeezed her daughter tightly, and placed her on the floor. “Go work on your drawings, dear. Desmond and I need to talk.” Brigid nodded, and ran over to the couch on the side of the room.

“I just came from Aya’s office.” He told the Commander, choosing to stand rather than take a seat.

Morrigan nodded. “She told me to expect you. She said there was something you wanted to talk about, but she was… vague.”

The psionic soldier closed his eyes and sighed. “Morrigan, I put in my resignation. First chance I get I am leaving.”

Morrigan stared at him for a moment, then slowly shook her head. “No. You aren’t going anywhere. I need you here.”

“It’s too late. I have already made up my mind. You and Atka can handle yourselves just fine without me, you have enough people behind you. You don’t need me, and I need to do this.”

Morrigan glared for a moment, but Desmond noticed a small smile creeping on her face. “And… there is no convincing you?”

“You have known me long enough, do I really need to answer that?” He asked, his own smile making it’s way on his lips. “Besides, even if you ordered me to stay, you aren’t my commanding officer anymore.” He added smugly.

Morrigan folded her arms, grinning widely. “Really? And that implies it was easy for me to control you even when I was.” She shrugged. “Honestly, I love Aya… but I think your wife should have been my second. She’s the only one that comes close to keeping you in line. It would be irresponsible of me not to release you into her care, wouldn’t it?”

“I really have you backed into a corner, haven’t I? Feels good to be the one in power.” Desmond stepped forward and held out his hand.

Morrigan looked down at his hand with a frown. “What’s this crap?” She slapped it away, and wrapped her arms around him, squeezing tight enough to make her recovering ribs ache. “I… I’m sorry for everything I put you through, Desmond.”

“What’s this crap?” He echoed, chuckling. “I wouldn’t be half the man I am now without you. I owe you my life. In more ways than one.”

Morrigan slowly nodded, sniffing lightly. After a few moments, she stepped away, a big smile on her face. She wiped her eyes, and asked, “So… where are you going now?”

“California is the plan. Ellie wants to collect her uncle’s life insurance and move us to the beach. I think I am more excited than I should be about this.”

“I don’t think so. You might surprise yourself in how much you enjoy a quieter life.”

Brigid pulled and Desmond’s pants leg, giving him a worried look. “You… you are going to visit us some time, right? I… I want to see the baby.”

“Of course, though you might need to get a bathing suit, I think you will need it.” He told the small girl, putting hand on her head. “You know if you would ever need a babysitter, we would love to have her. I am sure our kids could become great friends even with the age difference. I can’t imagine anyone not liking this little thing.”

Brigid smiled widely, and Morrigan nodded. “Alright, I’m going to take you up on that. I need to keep in touch with Ellie anyway. I’m not that experienced with motherhood, and we can work on it together.”

“I will leave that up to you two then. I am sure Ellie and Jessica will be keeping in contact as well so we might need a big house...I am sure the two will want to visit one another whenever possible as well.”

Morrigan nodded. “Alright.” Her eyes darted around. “I… I want you to go, Desmond. To live your life. But… that doesn’t mean I’m not going to miss you. No matter what happened, you were my friend. And I appreciate everything you did for us.”

The ex-soldier nodded and he hugged Morrigan once more. “I will miss you too. As weird as it might sound, you are about the closest thing to a mother I will ever have. I am...grateful for that.”

Morrigan smiled. “Thank you. I… good luck, Desmond. I’m rooting for you… even though I know you’ll be just fine.”

Desmond pulled away from the woman and quickly turned away, rubbing his eyes with a laugh and shaking his head. “Damn it, I think you finally broke me.”

Morrigan laughed, and walked over to her desk. She poured a pair of shots of whiskey, and handed one to Desmond. “To our future. May way succeed in all we do, now that our future has brightened.”

“And let us hope that we are never forced to come together in combat again. I have had quite enough of war for one lifetime.” He tapped glasses with Morrigan and downed his drink.


Operator 21O
Staff member
"Changes of Heart" MarineAvenger & ZombieSplitter53

X-COM ‘Headquarters’, The Arkbird
Officer of Elizabeth Rinly Walker
January 5th, 2019
1200 Hours

Elizabeth filed away some folders and rubbed her eyes after a bulk of her work had finally been done. Somewhere along the line, she had moved up from just one of the other doctors and was now the one running them all, if unofficially. “How these people ever came to put me into a position of power I will never know.” Turning around, she pulled off her doctor coat and put it over the back of her chair, sitting down in it and glancing at her bare desk. “And not a pencil in sight…probably shouldn’t have thrown them all...and I just sat down...” Ellie groaned, wishing she had her lazy days back.

The door creaked open, and a familiar young alien peaked her head inside. Um… Elizabeth? I, um… are you busy?

“Yes...but I always have time for a good friend.” She sat up in her seat and waved the alien in. “Please come in.”

Jan’tiala nodded, and slowly entered. I, um… I wanted to… I’ve been… looking more and more into… into human culture, including patterns of partnership and… pairing. I… I have come to learn the true depths of how… inappropriate my actions were that… one night… and I wanted to apologize.

The doctor’s eyes were a little wide at the mention of that night and she rubbed her neck. “Yeah well...don’t feel too bad. You weren’t...the only one that ever happened with so…” Ellie looked down a little embarrassed.

Tiala tilted her head slightly. Oh? So this is… normal for you and Desmond? That is a relief.

The doctor quickly shook her head. “N-No! I wouldn’t say normal...what we did isn’t exactly...look, just don’t sweat it. And please...never mention this to anyone.”

Tiala quickly nodded. Of course. I never would. She floated over to one of the chairs and took a seat. I have heard you two will be leaving once we are ready to depart. To start your family together. I am happy to see you can move on after this… turmoil. I imagine it will be difficult to do so for many. War as a tendency to… mess everything up.

“That much is true, but there are also good things to come from war as well. Just have to look on the bright side of things. I am sure people will recover one day. I mean look at you. You have a long life ahead of you and I am sure you will find your own husband one day, have a family.”

Tiala looked down, closing her eyes. I… I have not given much thought to that. I… I would not mind that, some day. But… I will need to help reform the Ethereals if I am to trust any one of them.

“And that is an admirable goal. I wish you luck in it.” Elizabeth opened her desk drawer and threw a mini piece of chocolate towards Tiala. “Just don’t forget to have fun now and then” She said, unwrapping and putting her own in her mouth.

Tiala nodded, taking a bite of her own. Blushing a bit, she was sure to eat it slowly. You are most kind, Elizabeth. I am sure you will be a good mother, even more so than my own.

“Every mother loves their child. They might not always show it, but they do. That is the biggest lesson I have learned as a mother myself. So I wouldn’t be too hard on the woman.” Elizabeth gave the Ethereal a wide smile and sucked in her fingers.

Tiala smiled. I…. thank you. A-as I said, I… you are a kind person. I am glad Desmond found you. He was lucky.

“She tends to make a habit of reminding me that constantly.” A voice said behind Tiala, Desmond standing with a smirk on his face as he entered. “How are you feeling Tia?”

Jan’tiala’s shoulders slumped a bit. I am… more tired than I have ever been, to be honest. I… I did not know this level of fatigue was possible.

“That seems to be a response I am getting a lot of lately.” Desmond grabbed a chair and put it at the side of the desk, sitting in it and looking to the two women.

We were just speaking about your future, Desmond. I am glad to hear that you are breaking away from this life of fighting. I, too, plan to leave strife behind me, if at all possible.

“Yes, I must say it is a relief to not wonder when the next battle will be and if I will be able to come back from it. You deserve your own break as well. You have suffered enough.”

Tiala’s head dipped enough. Have… I? I wonder sometimes. My… my birth alone caused so much pain. The destruction of the resistance, leading to Conquest’s fall into insanity, and War with him. The development of the device my father used to fight you. My people’s strife…

“I used to think like you, you know.” Desmond stated, closing his eyes. “You have seen my scars, you know my pain. I almost let that pain, that grief consume me. I pushed away anyone who tried to get close. But it took the kick of someone special to me that made me see what I was truly like, how many lives were better for my birth into this world. Do not blame yourself for others mistakes. That path only leads to ruin.”

I… I understand. I will try and remember that. It is not easy… but I will try and push forward. I have much to do, and I can not give up now.

“That’s the spirit.” Elizabeth encouraged.

“I have no doubt you will make a fine leader Tia.” Desmond told the Ethereal.

Jan’tiala blinked several times. What? No… no, I am not… I have little plans to take a leadership position. I am about as qualified as you are. I am glad to work on the side lines.

“Oh I don’t know. You have it in you.” Desmond told her. He smirked, scratching his head. “I just wish you luck none the less.”

Tiala slowly nodded. I… I will keep that in mind. For now, I plan to assist my people as best I can. I will go with them, and make our planet inhibitable. But… when I am done, I… I plan to return to this planet. Its people have grown on me, and I wish to assist them as best I can. If you… think they will have me.

“Of course they will have you silly! What isn’t there to like about you?” Elizabeth asked.

Jan’tiala rubbed the back of her head. Well… for your people, I am an Ethereal, for one. Your people have been very forgiving of mine, but they have still caused you much pain. However, I plan to work with the others to make sure that I am not the exception for my people, but rather, the rule. If it takes me until the end of my days, they will be a people others will take joy in seeing, not fear or anger.

“The best advice I can give you is do what you think is best. Part of being human is making choices and living with them. So whatever happens, know you will have these humans’ support.” Desmond encouraged.

Thank you, and I will do just that. Tiala rose to her feet. I should prepare myself, and I have many I wish to say farewell to. She bowed her head. I would thank you again, Desmond. You were one of the ones that believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself. And I will remember that forever.

“You will always be a dear friend Tia. Remember to look us up whenever you visit, it will be nice to see you.”

You will likely be the first, Desmond. Tiala stepped out, and smiled back. Good luck.

Elizabeth and Desmond both waved to the Ethereal as she closed the door.


Well-Known Member
DarkGemini24601 & ZombieSplitter53: “Broken Shackles of Fate, Part 1”

X-COM ‘Headquarters’, Arkbird
0500 Hours, January 1st, 2019
Operating Room

Too-bright white lights turned on as suddenly as the medical team entered the previously dark room, moving in a sort of orderly chaos. A few went over to monitoring equipment as a few pads were attached to Atka to monitor her heart rate, breathing rate, and other vital functions. Having removed any obstructions such as armor along the way to the operating room, they quickly gathered the tools they needed and prepared to get to work.

Jake stepped up to the viewing window, his eyes dark from lack of sleep and worry. When he heard what had happened, he felt like he would have a heart attack, even though he was told she was alive. We could only watch and wait, and wonder what he would do if she didn’t make it.

The doctors within began to work on binding the more minor wounds, either bandaging them or sealing them with MELD solutions. The more skilled staff, Chandra among them, examined the wound to the Colonel’s chest as a breathing mask was placed over her face. The Indian green psion glanced up at the monitor, shaking her head. “It’s as bad as I thought it was… someone… go ask him what he thinks is best to do after we remove the lung.”

With a nod, Lily stepped back and walked over to the door, approaching Jake. “Mr. Wiewora? I need to ask you something.”

Jake turned to Lily slowly. “What… what is it? Is she going to be okay?”

“She’ll make it, but her right lung is as good as destroyed. We need to ask you… if you believe she would accept a cloned replacement. She will not die if we don’t give her one, but she certainly will not be able to live as active of a lifestyle as she has in the past. If you feel that she would, we can go through with it now. If not, we can wait and ask her ourselves when she comes to… likely in a a day or two.”

Jake bit his lip. “I… I don’t know.” He looked through the glass. “She was so resistant to getting the gene-mods, and I don’t blame her. I… I am not sure what I think about the whole cloning thing, but if it was up to me, I’d say yes. But… but it isn’t up to me. I would rather wait and ask, if she will make it. To be honest, I’d just give her my own if that was possible.”

Lily shook her head. “A cloned replacement based on her DNA is the most likely organ to not be rejected by the body. But I will trust your judgement. We’ll wait until she regains consciousness to pose the question to her.” With a curt nod, Lily returned to the operating room, assisting the others in removing the shredded remains of Atka’s right lung and sealing the wound.

X-COM ‘Headquarters’, Arkbird
1200 Hours, January 3rd, 2019
Main Infirmary

Atka woke slowly to the soft beep of her heart monitor. She momentarily tried to sit up, but found herself fatigued enough that she couldn’t get far, and there were measures in place to keep her from hurting herself anyway. Taking in her surroundings further, the Inuit woman noticed the ventilator beside her, a cord reaching over to her side and a small mask over her face, as well as the familiar face on her right. “Jake…?” she prompted quietly.

Jake slowly smiled at her, reaching out and grasping her hand. “Hey, soldier. Good to see you back from your… little nap. Don’t move around too much, you… you were hurt pretty bad.”

“What’s… the machine for?” she asked cautiously, a bit of dread beginning to well up as she recalled the last few minutes before she had lost consciousness.

“It, um… i-it’s to help you… breath. You… it… you were hit through the chest, and… and they…” Jake dipped his head, finding this much harder than he imagined. “They… couldn’t save your lung…”

Atka considered the news for a moment, laying her head back down. “I was… ready to give my life, if necessary… it’s a small price to pay for ending this war.”

“That… that’s a good way to think of it,” Jake said carefully. “I know I’d rather lose a piece of you than the whole thing. But, um…” He took a deep breath. “It doesn’t have to be this way. You deserve to be whole.”

“You mean… replace it?” Atka seemed confused for a moment. “Oh… through… Elene’s methods…”

Lily got up from the chair she was sitting at, quietly reading, and walked over. “It would be possible to clone your right lung from existing samples. There was enough of it, along with previous readouts, to do so if necessary. I understand if you have reservations, though.”

Jake rubbed the back of his neck. “Listen, Atka. I… I’m not exactly the most scientifically minded person. Heck, Rei knows more about this than me. She… she knows more about a lot of… ahem, but I’ve been looking over some of the material, and Lily has been forthcoming with the details. I… think you should do it.”

Atka smiled weakly. “It wouldn’t… give me a very long life if I didn’t, huh?” Lily nodded grimly, and Atka sighed. “...there was a time when I hardly wanted any part of the MELD… Tz6… whatever you want to call it. But it helped me keep an arm, and I couldn’t have won that fight and lived without the adaptive bone marrow Jessica gave me.”

“If I may add, you wouldn’t have survived transport to the operating room. The only reason you didn’t expire of blood loss is because you produced just as much as you were losing,” Lily offered a bit morbidly.

Atka closed her eyes for a moment. “I’ll… I’ll do it. It’s not like you’re creating another Xifeng to steal a lung from, right?”

“Of course not. It is merely speed-grown in a laboratory setting, and then we will perform an operation to put it where it is needed,” the clone of Lusett explained.

Jake let out a long, shuddering sigh of relief. “Thank God. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to push you into it. Had this… big, convincing speech…” He smiled sheepishly. “Well… speech might be a strong word. More like begging. But I can’t picture you having to suffer when there is something we can do about it. So I’m glad you are open to it.”

Atka returned his smile. “I promised you I’d make it back... and I can’t exactly live a full life with you without a lung. Besides, I’d rather not have to see this damn thing again.” Atka glanced at the ventilator with distaste. “If there’s one thing I fear more than genetic modification and cloning, it’s being sustained by machines.” The scout shook her head. “Still remember that nightmare of the Council turning me into some sort of MEC puppet… would rather not see reality get anywhere near that. Makes me feel bad for Albert.”

Jake chuckled lightly. “Yeah, well… I don’t think that will be a problem. I’m not exactly within the know of things, but I have it on good authority that the Council works for X-COM now, not the other way around. And somehow, I doubt the Commander would do that to you.” He smiled grimly. “She could have used a mod or two, going out there like that…”

Atka’s eyes widened. “She went out to fight? When?!” she coughed for a moment, having to get her breathing under control. “Tell me… and then we’ll… get this taken care of sooner, rather than later.”

Jake held up his hands. “Easy. Please. That Muton and his big friend took advantage of our fight, and tried to blow up the Temple Ship, or at least kill the Ethereals. Desmond, Albert, and two others… um, Eva and… Hawke? They stopped the latter, and the Commander went with Emily, Luxuria, and Ammelia’s bodyguard to stop the former. They succeeded, obviously. She’s fine. Some broken bones, but otherwise fine.”

Atka visibly relaxed, laying back down. “I’ll… have a word with her when Lily is done.” Giving a slight nod to the Exalt, the latter helped push her bed towards the operating room for one last procedure.


Game Master
Staff member
DarkGemini24601 & ZombieSplitter53: “Broken Shackles of Fate, Part 2”

X-COM ‘Headquarters’, Arkbird
1800 Hours, January 6th, 2019
Commander’s Office

Atka cautiously walked over to the secretary, not wanting to hurt herself and be sent straight back to an angry Chandra, who had only tenuously released her. Taking a deep breath that felt relieving even days after the operation, the Colonel smiled pleasantly. “Is Morrigan in?”

Peggy nodded. “Of course, Atka. Please, go right in. She’s been looking forward to your visit.”

With Jake following, the Inuit woman opened the door and walked in, her eyes lighting up when she saw the Irish girl sitting on the couch with a piece of paper and crayons in hand. “Hi, Brigid.”

“Ms. Atka!” Brigid practically flew off the couch, and might very well had for a moment, and rushed towards Atka, wrapping her arms around the woman’s legs. “I’m so happy you’re better. Mommy said the bad guy blew up your lung, and the clone lady grew you a new one. Does it work right?”

Atka chuckled. “Yeah, it’s as good as new. Still a bit weird to get used to having a new one, but I’ll probably forget about it, given time.” The Colonel raised an eyebrow, looking over at the girl’s mother. “What about you, Commander ‘Go off to fight while your second and third are incapacitated’?”

“Oh… and who told you that?” Morrigan’s eyes wondered over to Atka’s partner.

Jake laughed nervously, scratching the back of his head. “Well… you know, rumors… move fast on a… base.”

“Hmm… that they do…” Morrigan smiled at Atka. “Please understand, it wasn’t exactly planned. Though I suppose I… didn’t hate the idea of being able to get one last fight in before the end. It’s hard, you know. Not being able to fight by everyone’s side.”

Atka’s expression grew seriously. “Believe me, I know. There’s a reason I always turned down promotions that would pull me away from fighting beside my troops. Thankfully… with the war over, that’s no longer a worry.”

Morrigan nodded. “I’d imagine you would want to get off the battlefield, at least for a while. You’ve put enough work into the last ten months for a lifetime in the military. And you wouldn’t be the first to want out.”

“People have already come to you, hm?” Atka sat down in the chair across from Morrigan. “I’m considering going back to Canada, but I might stick around for a bit longer to help smooth things out. Honestly… I’m not really sure what to do.”

“I… I think you should do what you want to do,” Jake offered, giving Morrigan a hopeful look.

Morrigan nodded. “That’s right. I could use some help around here, and you will always be welcome. But with the war over, soldiers with your high caliber will not be necessary to last more than a week. Please, follow whatever path you want. I know your people are counting on you.”

Atka sighed. “It probably would be best if I headed back to Toronto with my family. They’ll need help acclimating to a city, after all… and I could use a rest. That counts for you too. You have a daughter to raise, just like I’ll have three half-grown up ones.”

Morrigan nodded. “Once I clean things up here, I plan to take a nice, long vacation. Not… sure how permanent it will be. Someone needs to run things around here, especially if we are going to continue with our current plans.”

“And what might those be?” Atka inquired, folding her hands in her lap.

Morrigan leaned back in her chair, Brigid climbing into her lap. “Well… let’s face it. The world isn’t exactly going back to how it was. Especially with all this new technology. Someone needs to regulate it, as well as make sure the Council keeps the whole world in mind with their decisions, and deal with any aliens that come our way. We are part of a the galaxy now, not the world. A loooot of pressure. And someone needs to sit in the big chair. Not sure if I’m the most qualified, though…”

“Well, after all of this, I think you are… but I wouldn’t force you to do that after all we’ve been through. You deserve a chance to retire,” Atka replied honestly.

Morrigan sighed. “I… I would like that, to be completely honest. I… feel like I might be running from my responsibility, but I can’t deny my feelings any more than the others here.” She grinned. “I… had an idea… but the questions is, would she go along with it.”

“Your Central Officer?” Atka guessed.

“You know me too well, Atka.” Morrgian looked her in the eyes. “You think she’d go for it? She probably more qualified than me, and of course, I’d stick around until she is set.”

“Maybe. Somehow I don’t see her getting an office job after all of this… I’m not sure what I’ll do myself,” the Inuit woman responded.

The Commander nodded. She glanced at Jake, and asked him, “Mr. Wiewiora, do you mind taking Brigid to get something to eat?”

“Of course not, Commander.” Brigid jumped down and ran over to Jake, the two exiting.

Once they were gone, Morrigan pulled out her whiskey and poured a drink. “I… I wanted to ask you about the fight, Atka, if… that’s okay…”

Atka nodded. “That’s fine. Ask away.”

The tired looking red head swirled the alcohol in her glass, staring down at it. “We… we lost so many good people out there. Several of them weigh heavy on Aya’s heart. And Phobos was so… imposing. I have to admit, I was afraid I sent everyone to their death that day. How… how did you pull it off? How did you manage to take out the grim reaper himself, albeit not unscathed?”

“Well, I’m not sure how long the feed lasted… knowing that my helmet got torn to shreds at some point,” Atka began, “But I couldn’t have done it without everyone else. We managed to whittle him down further and further until the fear aura he was projecting got everyone. I… acted on instinct, and used psi inspiration and physical enhancement to free myself… and from there I just gave it everything I had.”

“I’m… I’m glad you made it, Atka. Same for the others. But you were put in so much danger, and like I said… so many died. I… was I wrong. With… the Ethereals, I mean?” Morrigan rubbed her arms nervously. “Everything in me screamed to… to make them suffer. To make them pay for the pain they caused us. I… wonder if it was naive of me not put them under our thumb, to make them pay tenfold. I… I just don’t know. It makes me feel like I did a disservice to all the names on that wall.”

“Not at all,” Atka replied resolutely, frowning. “This wasn’t a war of vengeance… we were fighting to protect Earth, nothing more. Everyone that fought and died knew that going in.”

Morrigan slowly nodded, and chuckled grimly. “I could almost thank Conquest for his part. His insane motives showed me how dangerous it could be if I let vengeance consume me. Though I’d like to think you would stop me before that happens.” She took a quick shot, and continued. “Remember when you got back from New Delhi? That damn alien had me going up the walls. If it wasn’t for you and Desmond, you knows how far I would have gone. And don’t think I don’t know how much I owe to you two for restoring my image as well.”

“Don’t think I didn’t enjoy a bit of pest control there…” Atka muttered. “I’m just glad that we dealt with that thing before it could cause any more damage. So that Margaret could rest in peace.”

“Agreed.” Morrigan placed her glass down, and slowly stood up. Walking up to Atka, she asked, “You remember… how I asked you, if anything happened to me, if you would… take care of Brigid? Be the mother she needed?”

“I remember,” Atka stated. “Why do you ask?”

Morrigan did something she usually didn’t do unless she had a lot more to drink; her cheeks reddened, and she looked away in embarrassment. “Well, I, uh… I felt you would be a good mother, because, I… I always… I started to look at you like a, uh…”

Atka smiled. “Well, I’m honored that you think of me that way. And I’ll have to be, considering I have Keiko, Rei, and Hitomi to look after. Though it is a bit odd that two of my ‘daughters’ are...um...”

Morrigan looked back, raising an eyebrow. “Are what?”

“W-well…” Atka tapped her index fingers together. “They’re not related by blood… a-and they’re...in a… relationship… Rei and Hitomi.”

Morrigan chuckled. “Is that so? That’ll be awkward. But I know you’ll figure it out… somehow.” She reached down, and grasped Atka’s hand. “I mean it, Atka. In my eyes, you are practically family. And you will always be welcome in my home. You can come visit anytime… and you better expect a visit from me every now and then. Brigid wouldn’t let me live it down otherwise.”

Atka smiled warmly. “I wouldn’t mind coming to visit or visiting Ireland.” The Colonel winked. “I do sorta… miss the accent, not going to lie about that.”

“Oh, aye.” Morrigan let out a hardy. “I tell ye, ‘ive me about a month er two. Itil be back right and strong.”

“And everything will be back to normal.” Atka held out her palm, winding a helix of ice in her hand. “Aside from the ‘having supernatural powers’ thing, of course. Wonder if I can teach Jake any of this… or at the very least, pass it down to the three… or children of my own.”

Morrigan nodded. “Knowing you? Wouldn’t doubt it.”


Well-Known Member
Farewell is a Bittersweet Word - Atka Ipiktok + Squad and Modya Dragomirov + the Rocketeers

XCOM Warship ‘Arkbird
1000 Hours, January 7th, 2019
Barracks Section

Atka paused at the door, taking a deep breath. Goodbyes are never easy, are they? She silently asked no one in particular. Putting on a resolute expression, the Inuit woman took another gulp of air, and then opened the door.

Inside, the Colonel’s squadmates were waiting. Janina stood, wearing her officer uniform with an XCOM badge. Offering her CO a simile, Captain Adolfsson shook Atka’s hand. “It was an honor and a pleasure working under you, Atka.”

The scout Colonel smiled gently. “I couldn’t have asked for a better second-in-command. Are you planning on going home?”

“Of course. I need to get Katrin off her ass after all. And I wouldn’t miss Gerlinde’s graduation for the world.” Janina stepped back absently, thinking of her younger sisters fondly.

Atka looked to Sarah, simply sitting on the couch reading. “What about you?”

Sarah glanced up from her book at the Inuit woman. “I… think I will stay with XCOM in some capacity. My talents as a covert operative are more suited to this kind of work. And I can fulfill that role as an informant with plenty of time left over for Golin.”

“I’m glad to hear you’ll be able to put your skills to use in a more peaceful fashion. Are… you going to tell him the truth?”

Sarah’s expression fell. “I have to. I’ve kept the truth from him for long enough.”

“He’ll forgive you for what happened to his father, Sarah,” Janina reassured the sniper. “Golin sounds like a sweet kid, and you’ve treated him with more kindess than plenty of parents do for their biological children.”

Amanda shrugged. “And you’ll have me and Gabe around to help. I’m going to stick around for awhile, at least until they figure out a way to reattach my limbs. Or give me equivalent feeling in these metal ones.”

Masambe matched her gesture. “I can leave now that Lily has completed that serum to prevent my sickle cell anemia from harming me.”

Atka chuckled. “If I were you, Amanda, I’d catch Sunny before she leaves. She might be able to make you synthetic limbs like Alice’s.”

The Guardian’s eyes lit up. “That would be perfect! And that way I might be able to sink a boyfriend without the whole…” Amanda lifted a cybernetic arm. “…’your limbs are cold steel’ thing.”

“I don’t believe beauty such as yours can be diminished by any augmentations,” Masambe spoke as if reciting memorized words. “At least, that’s what Kevin would have chipped in,” the African offered.

Amanda chuckled. “If there are any means of looking down on Earth from heaven, I sure hope the angels keep him away from them. I’d rather not have him ‘observe my beauty unhindered’.” The group shared a laugh.

“To Kevin and Kris, and all the others that gave us the chance to be here, at ease, able to go home and resume our lives… thank you,” Atka decided, smiling happily.


“…and then I ask Letz, ‘What difficulty is this simulation even on?’ And he answers with a straight face,” Megan Connor stated, holding her hands out and pausing for effect, “Ogedei.”

Modya raised an eyebrow. “That… is the punchline?”

Sharron laughed quietly. “It’s so bad that it’s actually sort of funny. To Letz.” The five rocketeers clinked their glasses together from around the round table.

“To Letz.”

Scarlet rested the side of her chin and cheek on her hand. “I’m going to miss you idiots, you know.”

Megan smiled, shrugging. “I’ll make sure to visit as surely as I will Marabelle. But XCOM’s pretty much my best shot at a paying job.”

“I didn’t mean you, sunshine,” the Welsh-Palestinian mumbled. “I hope Cross doesn’t mind another security guard…”

“I doubt he will,” Christine replied, letting out a tired yawn. “He needs the staff after what happened. Who knows? You might even get to wear an iron man suit.” Ignoring Scarlet’s brief scowl, the orange psion added, “Me, I think I’ll work with XCOM’s science sector.”

“Because you actually have useful skills,” Scarlet said sourly. “I’m just tagging along with Ammelia. I… want to bet here when she gets to see for the first time. For all of Elene’s bullshit… I can respect her for doing that much for Ammy.”

Modya smirked. “You all have elaborate plans, but I’m just content to work with military manufacturing, and more importantly, raise the twins.” Funny that, if Atka was right, I have an idea of what they’ll look like.

Sharron nodded. “And I am merely returning to family. Though I have plans to work with some groups there that want to make Israel a safer place…” she glanced meaningfully at Scarlet, who met her gaze, “For both our peoples.”

Scarlet grinned, offering a toast to Sharron. “That I can respect, you Israeli idiot.”

Sharron met the toast, taking a sip of her wine. “And good luck with everything, you Palestinian Punk.”

“Palestinian Punk…” Scarlet tapped her chin in thought. “I like that… maybe I’ll use that if I try to…” she trailed off.

Modya raised an eyebrow again. “Try and what?”

“Maybe… start a band…” Scarlet muttered with embarrassment. Modya patted her on the shoulder.

“Your music I would listen to, my friend.”


Game Master
Staff member
X-COM/XSDF Headquarters
Moscow, Russia
Jan. 7th, 2019
1200 Hours

Morrigan took a deep breath as she looked over the crowd. Much like before, she patiently waited for the people before her to quite down. It did not take long. She looked down at the big, fancy speech she had prepared, but moved it to the side, knowing what she really wanted to say.

"Before me are the faces of this planet's saviors. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about this. Some are faces I know from the beginning. Some are faces I have come to know more recently. But I know them all, some quite well."

"But... there are quite a few missing faces. People who deserve to be here as much as you or I, but they were taken from us. I am glad...I am proud to say that their sacrifices were not in vain."

Morrigan smiled gently. "There are no words... nothing I can say to truly express how much this world owes you. You all sacrificed so much. Your home's and those you left behind. Your safety, going into dangerous fights, handling dangerous material. Some of you gave up whole pieces of yourself. But it is over. The Ethereal's Commander is dead. The rest of their officers are either dead, retreated, or have submitted. Peace has returned, and it is because of you."

"There is some work yet to be done, however. People that need help recovering, some more then others. Technology to be regulated and controlled. The distribution of information that needs to be kept out of the wrong hands. Not to mention our existence now extending beyond the borders of our planet. Alien relations and all that."

"This, however, is not the purpose of X-COM. It is the purpose of what this project will become. I plan to help with it... for a while. But X-COM's mission is complete. Therefore, I am henceforth disbanding it. You are all free to join me in the coming work, but you are not required to. I am no longer you commanding officer, and you are free to go. I hope you will follow your hearts and do what you think best. The Council has left a... decent sum of funds in your personal bank accounts. No amount of money would pay you back for your contribution, but this should help."

Morrigan stepped down to the applause of her colleagues. Shaking hands, exchanging hugs, and chatting it up. As she finally reached the front of the room Aya smiled at her. "Nice speech, Commander O'Brien."

"Thank you, Commander Brea." With a salute, Morrigan asked, "What are my orders?"

Aya scrunched her nose and tapped her chin. "Hmm... well, isn't there a nice, quiet park near here? Bet Brigid could use some fresh air." Morrigan chuckled, and took off in search of a certain blond girl.
Last edited:


Well-Known Member
Frostlich1228 and DarkGemini24601: “Seeing is Believing”

XCOM Headquarters aboard the Arkbird
8:15 A.M., January 8th, 2019
Auxiliary Medical Ward

Elene went over her notes one last time, even if she had already committed the procedure to memory by now. The heiress glanced over at Emma and Lily preparing medical equipment in the operating room, while Avanix did some heavy lifting in her repaired android body. They soon finished, all giving Elene a nod. “That should do it. Now all that is left is to get the patient… oh, hello, Mr. Cross,” she said, glancing over at the entering C.E.O.

David slowly walked into the room, looking over at Elene. “So… Everything’s good to go? For her surgery?”

Elene nodded. “All the equipment is ready, calculations have been cross-checked, and the required Tz6 solutions are prepared. I’d say we are good to go.”

Ammy’s father smiled a little before slowly fading. “That’s good… Do you know if she’s woken up yet? When I visited her through my mech she was still unresponsive...”

“She has regained consciousness since then. I wouldn’t go through with this unless she had,” Elene replied. No need to worry him with the ordeal it was to repair the SAaIDA...

He let out a sigh of relief as he leaned on the door frame, “I was so worried she was in some sort of coma… She took a lot of energy straight to her brain...”

The heiress shrugged. “Your daughter is resilient. If you are ready to begin, I can call her up now. We’ll briefly explain the procedure if necessary, though I doubt I can describe to her what sight is like. That’s something she’ll probably have to figure out on her own.”

“Yeah.” David nodded, “Speaking of which… I could help you all with the surgery if you want… This wouldn’t be the first time I’ve operated on her…”

“I… understand if you’re concerned, but this is better left to us, David,” Elene stated honestly. “You could help with monitoring the equipment and her vitals, but the Tz6 and genetics are outside your field of expertise.”

“Right…” He took a breath, “I’ll do that then… I trust you Elene.”

“I’m glad you do.” The clone folded her hands together. “Go retrieve her, if she is ready.”

David nodded and walked down the hall towards his daughter’s room, eager to see her in person. As he reached the door, he noticed Ammy laying quietly in her hospital bed, leaning over and playing a game of chess with herself on her side table. As soon as her father stepped into her vision, she quickly dropped what she was doing to give him a smile. “Dad, you made it!”

“Of course I did,” he replied, “I wasn’t about to watch my injured daughter through a frigid mech. We’re you playing chess with yourself?”

The ex-sniper glanced over at the chessboard, “Oh that, my friend Jessica came in for a game, but she was pulled away before we could finish. I decided to play for her.”

“Well sweetie, Elene is preparing the surgery to fix your eyes.” David added happily, “You’ll finally be able to see like a normal person.”

Ammy’s eyes perked up, “Already!? I didn’t think she’d be ready that quickly.”

He tilted his head slightly, “Already? It’s been eight days.”

“I’ve been asleep, remember. Didn’t exactly feel like a week to me.” Ammelia added as she slowly lifted herself onto the wheelchair next to her bed, “I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited.”

“Then let’s go.” David responded, walking behind his daughter’s wheelchair and pushed it back down the hall towards the heiress’ room. Ammelia poked her head inside when they reached the door, smiling when she spotted Elene, “I hear you’re all ready.”

“I am.” Elene looked over the sniper. “Would you like me to explain the procedure before we begin?”

Ammy responded with a simple, “Mmhm.”

“We’re going to sedate you first, of course, but following the operation is fairly simple. We’re going to inject the Tz6 serum, which is coded with the initial data to begin. From there, we’ll control and begin the repair process. In about an hour it should be complete, and we’ll wake you up,” the clone described. “When we do that, you should be able to see in the visible light spectrum like the rest of us.”

“Only an hour?” Ammy spoke, seeming a little surprised.

“Unlike regenerating body tissues over a large area, this is a fairly localized repair process, and one sped up by the Tz6,” Elene responded, inclining her head slightly. “Quicker than repairing a hole in one’s arm or replacing an entire spine, I assure you.”

“Then let’s do it.” She said anxiously, “And don’t forget to let my friends know. I want them to be the first thing I see when I wake up!”

“Of course.” Elene gave her a sly smile. “That includes me, doesn’t it?”

“Of course it does!” Ammy exclaimed, “You may as well be my cousin after all!”

The heiress smiled. “I’ll make sure to put on my best outfit then.” Looking down at her typical attire, she raised an eyebrow. “Though this is my favorite, so I’ll probably stick with it.” Swiveling on her heels, her labcoat trailing behind her like a cloak, the scientist entered with Ammelia. Having her lay down on the table, Lily quickly administered anesthetic to ensure the sniper wouldn’t be under any stress.

Elene had Emma and David go over to the monitors to check progress and make sure Ammelia was alright, while the heiress and 156 went over to inject the Tz6 serums into Ammy’s eyes, and begin the repair process. “Everything is functioning properly and according to our calculations,” Avanix reassured the Exalts and their assistant. “Tz6 solutions are taking effect… retina and cornea malgrowth and damage is being corrected and repaired. Now all we have to do is wait.”


Well-Known Member
Frostlich1228, DarkGemini24601, ZombieSplitter53, MarineAvenger, and Adrammalech: “I Was Blind But Now I See.”

XCOM Headquarters aboard the Arkbird
9:45 A.M., January 8th, 2019
Auxiliary Medical Ward

As the sniper regained consciousness, she could hear the sounds of machines and hushed voices echoing around the room, waiting for her to open her eyes. She could easily make out of few of the voices, Buniq, Jessica, Scarlet, and Mary to name a few. Ammy’s whole body tensed in preparation for the thing she’d been waiting her entire life to see. The sniper’s eyes fluttered open, filling with bright white light from the ceiling above, one of the few colors she was actually familiar with, thanks to the SAaIDA.

She opened them a second time, making sure not to stare straight up, as her eyes filled with strange hues and shades from all around the room. Her mouth hung open in awe as she first looked at the numerous multi-colored flowers and balloons next to her bed, darks and lights, some strangely fierce, others oddly serene. She moved to see the first person standing above her, and instantly recognized her love’s face, the spots in her hair matching the strangely mysterious color of her chitinous plates. Ammy’s smiled widen so far it seemed as though it would stretch off of her face as she wrapped her arms around the hybrid and pulled her in.

Buniq smiled sheepishly. “H-Hi Ammelia… w-what’s it like?”

Ammy planted a kiss on her nose, “Y-you… You look like an angel…”

“R-Really?” Buniq asked, seeming a little surprised.

The sniper pulled back and poked one of the spots in her hair, “What is that? It’s so... Deep… and… I can’t even describe it…”

“Oh, that? T-That’s violet,” Buniq explained. “It’s like purple… but not purple.”

“So, it’s a mix of red and blue? I know blue, but what does red…” Ammelia replied, amazement in her voice and she looked over at her friends and focusing on Jessica, but more specifically, her hair, “That’s not red, is it? Doesn’t look… Hot enough? My friend said red was hot…”

Jessica giggled lightly, running her hand through her hair. “My hair is green. I mean… assuming you are seeing the right colors. It, uh… isn’t natural, of course.”

“It’s still gorgeous though! It… Sort of makes me feel… calm… So, most of the plants are that color!? How does that… That’d look so weird!” Ammy giggled.

Jessica tapped her chin. “Hmm… never really thought about it. You tend not to when you see them your whole life. I never imagined what it would be like to have to learn about color as an adult. Very interesting…”

“So what does-” Ammelia said as she looked at Scarlet, her hair a completely different hue than the rest of her friends, “Is that red? Is that why all the kids called you red?! I always thought it was because of your name!”

“Uh… it is because of my name,” Scarlet explained. “My hair is black, though my eyes are kinda… brown-red.” She glanced between Atka and Desmond for a moment. “Not sure why they’re not purple now, honestly…” she muttered.

Ammy remembered something all of a sudden, and leaned in to get a closer look at Desmond, “You said your eyes were red! So that’s red?”

Desmond gave his friend a slight smile and a small nod. “Natural psions seem to have it as a unique trait. Since I am red, red eyes. Though they used to be brown.”

“So…” the sniper tried to piece it together, looking back towards Buniq. “Buniq’s eyes are… Orange?”

“Amber… i-it’s like yellow mixed with red,” the chryssalid hybrid explained, looking around the room for something yellow. Remembering Elene’s eyes, she pointed towards the smiling scientist. “T-The symbol on her shirt is orange, and her eyes are yellow.”

“That is correct enough, I suppose,” Elene mused, knowing it was wise not to get into subcolors at the moment.

Ammy grasped at her own hair, pulling out the pin and letting it fall loose. The sniper grabbed a lock and moved it in front of her face, “Yellow… I love it!”

David couldn’t help but shake the smile from his lips as he moved closer to his daughter’s bed, “Is it everything you thought it’d be?”

“Yes!” She answered quickly, looking over at her dad, “But so much better! Y-Your hair is… Part black and… Almost white?”

“It’s grey, sweetie.” He explained, “It’s a brighter black…”

“Well, Ammelia, what about personal features?” Jessica asked. “Who’s the… most attractive here?” She nudged her chin towards the hybrid girl in front of her.

“Well, you have a weird little… dark dot on your cheek…” Ammy said, looking at Jessie, “Is that normal?”

Jessica’s eyes widened a bit. “I… um… y...yes?”

“I still think Buniq is the prettiest though!” Ammy exclaimed like a schoolgirl, “She looks so different from everyone, she has a lot of of those… plates, more than I thought.”

Buniq shrugged. “P-People have s-said they are p-pretty…”

“They are! But, maybe I’m not the best judge.” She added, looking at Nika, “You look nice too!”

“Thanks, you look good too for just out of the operating room,” Nika smiled, then frowned a bit, “I’m sorry Emily and the others couldn’t come...Emily’s still recovering and Dallas isn’t really moving. But I had to have someone here to be happy for you, for all of us!”

“It’s okay, I’ll be sure to see her when I get the chance.” Ammy smiled softly.

Nika gave a small hug before backing away, smiling at her now ex-roommate.

It is… it is nice to see you can… see, Ammelia. Acedia stood near the back of the removed from the rest. It is… what you wanted, I know…

Ammy focused on the tall Ethereal, ooo-ing and aah-ing softly at her detailed robes, “Their… it’s so… strong… it makes you look really powerful.”

It… it does? Thank you, Ammelia. I… I do not feel strong, though. With Ammy’s new sight, she could see the troubled look on the Ethereal’s face.

“Are you alright… you look… upset…” She asked in a concerned tone.

Acedia sighed. I… I feel out of place, considering… I know you said you forgave me. But it feels awkward being here for your dream when I… when I faked you dream not long ago.

“I already forgave you… I’m really happy to have you here Aergi…” Ammelia said slowly, before cheering her tone up, “Besides, you didn’t spoil it for me. This looks nothing like what I saw.”

Acedia brightened up, and move to stand with the others. Th… Thank you, Ammelia. That means a lot. And… I am happy for you. I know you waited a long time for this.

“I don’t think I’d even be here without you Aergi. If you didn’t know where to attack that ship, we’d have lost that fight. You did just as much as everyone else.” Ammy said, trying to comfort her.

Acedia nodded, and Jessica nudged her. “Told you,” she muttered. To Ammelia, she said, “You have a long road of recovery ahead of you, but at last you can view the world for all its beauty. And you don’t even have to find a mirror to see your own face.” She waved her hand towards Mary.

Mary chuckled, simply enjoying the show, “Yeh’ ‘incess, ‘is is ‘at ye’ ‘ook ‘ike un’er ‘ell ‘at make- up.” (Yeah Princess, this is what you look like under all that make-up and hair dye.)

“I like my yellow hair, it stands out more than yours does.” Ammy replied with another smile, “But that doesn’t mean I don’t like that color, I like all the colors… Except for maybe blue… Familiarity breeds contempt I guess.”

Mary simply rolled her eyes a little, letting her sister enjoy the moment.

“Too bad we can’t use that holo-room anymore… But this is all I could ever want right here… I am glad to be with the people I love...” Ammy spoke slowly, a few tears of joy in her eyes as she practically pulled Buniq off her feet with another hug.