{Connection made… opening channel…}

{…pssst… Can you read me…?}

{Good… I don't know how much… I can keep this… secure…}

{These coordinates will help… cause… changed the security… numbers there… you can strike with… psssst… must close… good luck… friend.}

=Chapter 1 =

=The Viper, the Ranger, and the Gremlin=

=Hawkeye's PoV=

{Menace 1-4, we've got hostiles on approach to your position, what's your status on the target?}

Hawkeye tuned into Central's comms and spoke as quietly as he could into it. "Hawkeye here, I've neutralized three targets in the lobby, but the rookies have all Evac'd out, we have one casualty, it's just me and this Gremlin now." He said. "Target is up ahead, awaiting intel and orders from the Commander."

He looked at the Gremlin that was boosting the signal and keeping their comms from being intercepted, it was just like the Gremlins used by the technicians, but unlike theirs which had all been upgraded to the latest Mk II model, this was just a boring Mk I. Not only that, but it had absolutely no offensive capabilities, that he'd seen as of yet. All this one did was provide visual information and allowed the Commander to make tactical decisions on the spot.

He wondered if the thing could even hack consoles, he had yet to see the Gremlin this close up outside of them jumping from the avenger into missions.

In fact he wondered why the Commander was using this old model now that they've got MK II Gremlins, or even with the MK III engineering is coming out with in a few weeks.

{Understood, await orders from the Commander, continue with the operation, hack that intel and get out of there in one piece Menace 1-4, it's all up to you. We can't leave without that Intel, not after our last botched operation.}

He nodded and looked at the Gremlin as it turned to face him.

[Three contacts in the next room, offensive maneuvers, lead with Flashbang Grenade, proceed and target contact on far right with Pistol…] It beeped to him.

"Got it Commander." He said, taking the flashbang grenade out and opening the door to throw it inside.

In seconds it went off, and several satisfying grunts sounded, indicating that whoever was on the other side just had a face full of bright light.

[Contacts spotted, three ADVENT Soldiers, proceed with attack parameters!] The Gremlin said, and Hawkeye jumped in and did as instructed, taking his pistol out and targeting the first Advent soldier on the right, bringing him down in one shot to the head. [Target center contact with Plasma Lance… Probability kill, 99%...]

Not needing any further persuasion, he aimed with his Plasma Lance, and the beam shot straight through the Advent Soldier's cranium, dropping him like a sack of grenades. Yet the third contact, though disoriented, took aim at him and fired.

Hawkeye at first expected to be shot clean through, or at least to take a severe burn through his armor, but the Gremlin flew in the path of the attack and took the full brunt of the attack. It dropped to the ground with a heavily damaged front, with the little arms waving feebly and unable to stay floating.

"Well so much for comms." He said, taking aim and counter firing against the last contact, dropping him like his last two friends. "Command, come in…"

There was buzz on the comm before the static began clearing up. [Menace 1-4, status…] Central said before the signal broke up.

"Contacts eliminated, moving to the tar…" He began saying but the signal picked up again.

[Forget… target, what's the status… the Gremlin…] He said, and he sounded like he was panicking.

Hawkeye looked at the Gremlin as it feebly tried to right itself, but its weak little arms couldn't lift itself. "It looks like it took a bad hit, doubt the thing will last long, should I proceed with the operation?" He asked, wondering why Central was worrying over a hunk of outdated junk now.

[Get that… outa there… repeat… get the Gremlin… of there Menace 1-4!] Central shouted frantically. [Don't let the Gremlin be destroyed… repeat… get the Gremlin out of…]

As he began losing the signal again, the Gremlin poked an antennae up and cleared the signal, but this time the message came from the Commander. [Continue with the mission… Hawkeye… get the Intel… get out… that's an order.]

He looked to the Gremlin and then awaited confirmation from Central. "Command?" He said.

[You heard the commander, continue with the operation, but get that Gremlin out in one piece, don't let it take any more damage. That's your top priority Ranger, get that Gremlin out without it taking any more damage! Protect it at all cost!]

With that the comm cut out, and Hawkeye shook his head as he picked up the damaged Gremlin. "Why do I gata save you now, must be nostalgia's sake." He said as he advanced through the room to the console. "Alright let's hack this thing, sorry but I need to put you down for a sec little guy."

He put the Gremlin down and pulled out his hacking tablet. Within seconds he was inside the Advent database and began downloading the files they came for. Then he heard a clunk sound from somewhere in the room.

He held still as he listened carefully, after over thirty missions under the Commander's leadership, he had earned a name for himself. He also had one of the sharpest ears in XCOM, and he put all of his hearing into what he was listening to.

At first he heard nothing, but with how dead silent the room suddenly became, he heard what sounded like something 'sliding' across a surface.

There was only one alien creature that he knew of that slid across any surface, a Viper.

There was still one more contact left that the Gremlin seemed to have missed.

(Viper's PoV)

She stayed as still as she could hiding behind the pillar, begging to the laws of the universe that she had not been heard.

Why did she have to come here of all places to study some of her venoms that she found in the South American region. Of all the clinics, hospitals, anywhere that had the necessary facilities to study her specimens, it had to be one that the insurgents were targeting?

'I don't stand a chance against this one…' She thought fearfully, clutching her standard issue Beam Rifle as close as she could. 'He ripped through those three advanced Advent Soldiers like they were nothing… and they had full body armor! What am I going to do against him?'

She like her sisters, were all armed similarly with standard issue armor and weapons, they were all nimble and agile and had the use of their poisons to deal with any threat. But after witnessing the firepower and skill of this one insurgent, who she witnessed bring down three other protectors including the three in that room, what she had seemed feeble by comparison.

She like others were ordered to fight to the death, to defend whatever the insurgents wanted with their lives. But right now she could care less if they got what they wanted or not, all she wanted was to live to see another day. She wasn't even assigned to this post, she just came here to examine some vials of poison.

As she listened intently she heard the human finish something and say something quietly to whoever or whatever it was talking to. "Mission accomplished, package secure…" He heard him say.

'Please just leave, please just leave, please just leave!' She thought hopefully, not moving from her position in the hopes that he wouldn't notice her.

She heard footsteps now and hugged the wall even tighter, clutching her beam rifle even closer to her chest plate. If he spotted her now, she was as good as dead.

Then he came into view, and luck was on her side, he had his back to her as he took cover behind a desk in the room. 'If I just remain silent and don't move, he'll go away… just stay still and don't make a sound… and he'll go away!'She thought hopefully, watching him the entire time he was there.

But then she noticed that he wasn't just holding his weapon, under his arm he was also carrying what looked like one of those little flying robots that she had seen some reports about. It looked damaged, and he was carrying it protectively under his shoulder.

But while the Human hadn't noticed her, the little robot did, and it was staring right at her…

[Contact… spotted… Viper Class] It stated in a feeble, synthesized voice.

(Hawkeye's PoV)

[Contact… spotted… Viper Class]

The moment he heard that he spun around and readied his Plasma Lance, aiming straight at the target behind him. His guess was right, it was a Viper that he had heard earlier, but this Viper seemed to be different than the ones he was familiar with.

While they knew from various autopsies that this species of the Aliens were predominantly female, as their very noticeable breasts on their chests indicated, this one seemed to be a different variety of Viper. This one had a slightly different colored scheme to her scales, instead of the usual yellow, her scales were more orange.

But he wasn't interested in what made her different, he was more interested in the Beam Rifle she had pointed at him.

He stared at her, waiting for any indication that she would fire, but he hesitated in firing first because of one single thing. Her hands were shaking ever so slightly, and while he wasn't an expert on the alien's physiology, he could swear that her eyes looked terrified.

[Menace 1-4, do you copy?]

"This is Hawkeye, I read you loud and clear Central…" He said carefully, not taking his eye off the alien or his finger off the trigger.

[Menace 1-4, get out of there, repeat, get out of there! Advent forces are almost on top of you and we have battleships on approach to our position, get that Gremlin and yourself out of there! The Avenger can't stay here much longer, get out now!]

"Copy that…" He said, before he cut the transmission.

But still he could not bring himself to kill this new contact, a part of him told him to kill her, but another part could see the fear in her eyes and the shaking in her hands. She was obviously not going to shoot first, she was too afraid to do so. But the other part of him remembered his orders to protect the Gremlin at all costs, and this Alien had a flank on him, if she fired and hit the Gremlin…

The Gremlin feebly moved to get a better look at the alien, and began creating a strange hissing sound, matching the Viper's language. [Hssshash… shemash… koomashessh]

At hearing the Gremlins words, the Viper looked between it and him, still trying to keep the weapon trained on him. But after a few moments, it nodded nervously and lowered its weapon.

[Evac… now…] The Gremlin ordered in the Commander's voice.

"Understood sir…" He said, lowering his gun and walking backward out of the room, not taking his eyes off the Viper as she watched him leaving.

Only after she was out of his line of sight did he turn and make for the window, busting through it to grab the rope of the Evac vessel, being pulled up and into safety as it began to leave the area.

(Viper's PoV)

She watched the human leave, but didn't move until she was sure he was gone. Then she sighed and leaned against the wall again, her tail sliding out as she collapsed to the ground. She dropped her rifle and shook her head in disbelief.

"I'm still alive…" She hissed in amazement.

She looked back at where the human had been just feet in front of her, weapon raised and about to shoot her, and thought about him and the little machine he had been carrying. 'How did it know how to speak my language?' She thought, curious now that the danger had passed.

[Lower your weapon… if you leave us be… we will leave you be] It had told her, and while she wasn't sure if the little robot was speaking the truth, she was willing to take any chance to live.

So she had lowered her weapon, and just as the little machine had promised, they left her alone. "Mercy… they gave me mercy…" She hissed. "Why did they grant me mercy? Did they not want to waste their fire? Were they low on time? Why spare me when they didn't hesitate to kill the others?"

Shaking her head of those thoughts, she rose to her full height and mounted her rifle onto her back, before making her way out of the facility.

"This is the last time I want to see any resistance forces…" She thought sullenly, counting her scales lucky that she escaped that encounter alive.

She had heard from her sisters of how many have fallen in this war, it had been dragging on for years since the upper species began the AVATAR project. She only knew that they needed large numbers of humans for the project, and she was glad that she wasn't any more important to warrant more dangerous positions. But their project has diminished in progress by over 98%, almost to a complete standstill.

As she left the facility and made her way toward the living quarters, wanting to curl up and sleep after this horrible day, she looked over at news station that was broadcasting the latest 'wanted' individuals.

Each day more and more humans were starting to side with the resistance. While the majority of this world's population still sided with Advent, she was starting to wonder…

It was just a sliver of a thought, a sidetracked concept, which continued to pester her like a loose scale in her tail.

'Could they possibly win… these humans…?' She thought again, and once more thought back to the human who had spared her life, at the request of that little machine he was protecting.

If they had warriors as strong as him, with as much skill, a part of her believed that her sisters and the higher species in their alliance might actually lose.

Then she shook her head and once again the question she had asked about while in the facility. 'Why did they spare me?'

(Hawkeye's PoV)

Hawkeye watched the technicians in engineering working frantically to repair the damage done to the Gremlin that he had saved, and kept asking the same damn question, over and over again. Why is 'this' particular Gremlin so damn important?

"Nice job saving the Commander's Gremlin 'Hawkeye'." Central Officer Bradford said, watching the technicians and even Shen, working on the Gremlin.

"Sir, may I ask you a question?" He asked bluntly.

"Well, I suppose since I gave you hell about getting that Gremlin back in one piece, I suppose you want some answers about it?" He asked with a frown.

"Correct sir, why did you order me to forget the mission objective when it was right in front of me, in favor of getting that outdated hardware out in one piece?" He said angrily. "I lost a rookie out there today, two other rookies are in the infirmary, and the only other veteran with my squad, Eagleeye, is recovering from near fatal wounds. You and the Commander didn't put as much emphasis into getting 'them' out as you did with me getting that hunk of junk, out in one piece!"

He expected Bradford to get all higher officer on him, reprimanding him and threatening to demote him for questioning orders. But he didn't, he nodded and looked back at the Gremlin. "Follow me…" He said quietly.

So he did, he followed him to the staircase and they went down to the lower level, where the infirmary was. They walked to the infirmary and Brad pointed at him to look through the window.

Hawkeye looked inside and saw the rookies, Eagleye, and the Commander inside the infirmary as well. But the Commander was in the full body recovery pod, with the doctors watching his vital signs like his life depended on it. "What I'm about to tell you, does not leave this hallway without 'his' permission, is that understood?" Bradford said.

"Yes sir…" He replied, now even more confused.

"When we first recovered the commander and removed the chip the aliens implanted him with, we removed him from their network, taking away all of the information and tactical knowledge he had accumulated in twenty years of stasis." Brad said calmly. "When the Commander learned of this, he asked Dr. Tygan to see if he could, reprogram and retrofit that chip, repurpose it for 'our' uses. It took him a full year, but we managed to repurpose the chip for our own purposes. He had two chips created, one for himself, and another for an officer, and he had Tygan destroy all information on the project so nobody would know. The only ones who know, are myself, the Commander, Tygan, Shen, and now you."

"I fail to see the significance sir…" Hawkeye said.

"The chip's purpose is to allow the higher up individual linked by the chips to allow simultaneous exchange of information and relay instructions and commands to those lower in the chain. That's how Advent controls its forces, we did the same thing, but on a much smaller scale, and with a volunteer. The Commander is that volunteer." Brad said as he began walking back to the staircase, signaling Hawkeye to follow him.

"Wait, you said there was another, an officer, but you said the Commander was the only volunteer… so who's the 'officer' who has this chip?" Hawkeye said, something not making sense.

Brad didn't respond until they were once again in front of engineering, where Shen was putting the finishing touches on the repairs to the Gremlin, it looked better, but it still bore the scars of the blast it took. "You're looking at it." Brad said at last. "The Commander's Gremlin, his personal Gremlin is using the other chip."

"Wait… your saying that's how the Commander has been able to give us such clear instructions, such precise orders?" He asked in amazement.

"He's been using all of that information that the Aliens were using against 'us', against 'them', but in a much faster and more indirect means then the way they were going about it." He said with a nod. "But it came with a side effect that we learned about after the chips went online for the first time. The two are linked, the Commander can share his thoughts with the Gremlin's onboard computer, and it takes all of his knowledge, all of the information it gains from the field, condenses it in milliseconds, and together they come up with the most effective battle strategy on the spot for whatever situation we face!" He frowned and shook his head as Shen scratched the Gremlin, with a look of relief on her face. "But, as you've seen just now, if either one of em is damaged, the other suffers as well. The feedback effect damaged the Commander's brain thanks to the chip inside of him now, and that's why you saw him in the infirmary. He almost died on the bridge Hawkeye, he almost died saving you so you could complete the mission."

"What are you saying, I know I was wearing Predator Armor, but I could have survived a blast from that trooper!" He said.

"Not according to the Gremlin's data…" He said, handing him a tablet that showed an image of Hawkeye about to be fired upon, with numbers and calculations frozen in place. "According to the Gremlin's calculations, if you had been shot at that distance, without proper cover, the chance of you dying was an almost 99.8% certainty. He threw himself to keep you alive… you owe your life to the Commander. He overrode the Gremlin's protocols that we put in to keep it safe, and made it take the hit for you, it calculated that if 'it' took the hit, the chance of it being destroyed was only a 37% chance. We're lucky it had the extra armor we put on it before we began working on the MK II's."

"So why keep this old hunk of junk… if that chip is so important, why not upgrade to a more protective shell?" He asked.

"If we pull the chip out of the Gremlin, while the Commander is still linked to the onboard computer, we'll lose the Commander the same way we almost lost him just now." He said. "Tygan and Shen theorize that if either one of the chips are lost for whatever reason, short circuit, shut down or destroyed, then we'll lose the Commander. He'll be brain dead if that happens. Normally we've never had to worry about it before until now, because the Gremlin has always stayed at a higher altitude, so it could gather information and direct you better."

"But I was the last one… and it followed me so it could help me complete the mission." He said, looking as the Gremlin began flying again, albeit more shakily with the technicians watching it carefully.

"We couldn't afford to fail this mission, that data you retrieved helped us greatly for our next target. I just wish the Commander hadn't taken such a huge risk." Brad said in frustration. "Right now the Commander is in a coma, Shen says the Gremlin's safety protocol kicked in at the last second, and downloaded the Commanders entire brain into its memory through the chip. As of this moment, that Gremlin is the Commander."

"You're kidding me right?" He asked. "We're going to be taking orders from a Gremlin now?"

"You've been taking orders from a Gremlin for a few years now, what makes now so different to before?" Brad asked quietly, leaving to let Hawkeye watch the Gremlin steady itself.

As he watched, the Gremlin steadied itself and began flying normally, but then it turned to look at him and waved its little arms in 'hello'. Then it flew over to the door and opened it, beckoning him inside.

[So I take it you've been told?] The Commander's digitized voice asked him as he walked in.

"Yes… Commander." He said, having to speak very respectful toward the Gremlin that was now his superior, and the sole reason they've come this far in their war to free their planet.

As much skill as he had, as well as the others in the Avenger, for all of the advancements and everything else that he and the rest of XCOM have accomplished. None of it would matter if the Commander hadn't lead them this far. He's saved many live thanks to his tactical decisions, but he's also lost as many. And now he owed his own life to the Commander, if he hadn't taken the hit, he might not have completed the mission and lived to tell the tale.

[Well, now that we're alone…] He said, looking to Shen and the other mechanics who had left, but Shen gave him the thumbs up before locking the door. [I have a question I want to ask you…]

"By all means Commander, ask away." He said.

[Why didn't you shoot that Viper back in the facility?] He asked as the Gremlin turned sideways to mimic a curious look.

"Well sir… she didn't seem dangerous at the time…" He replied nervously.

[She had a beam rifle pointed right at your head.] He stated. [Believe me, I calculated the angle the moment she raised her weapon, so my question stands, why didn't you shoot her? You were ordered to protect this Gremlin 'at all cost', yet you didn't shoot her.]

"With all due respect sir… she was not as 'dangerous' as you think she was." He said. "I saw how she was holding her weapon, and I saw how frightened she was, she also hesitated to shoot me. She seemed more afraid of us, then she looked like she wanted to shoot us."

The Commander's Gremlin was silent as it watched him, before it nodded, or at least pretended to nod. [That's exactly what I calculated as well Ranger.] He said. [You see Ranger, this Gremlin calculates everything into 1's and 0's, and probabilities are nothing but signals to it. What makes it different than what Advent uses for its forces, is the 'humane' element that 'I' add to its calculations. I saw the fear in her as well, she was terrified for her life, and I could tell she only wanted to survive.]

"What did you tell her Commander, if I may ask?"

The Gremlin spun for a second before it replicated the sound from before. [Lower your weapon… if you leave us be… we will leave you be] He translated. [I hoped she would let us go, in favor of us sparing her life… by granting mercy… we can turn the tide of this war.]

"You think she or any of her kind would join us? They haven't exactly been signing up with the resistance forces Commander." He said skeptically.

[This Gremlin calculated a 0.001% chance of that happening Ranger… forgive me I haven't uploaded your name yet to replace the word, it's not easy making this adjustment… but while the Gremlin believes as you do, that they won't join, the 'human' in me believes that 0.001% chance is worth it.]

With that, the Commander's Gremlin floated over to the door, unlocked it, and left the engineering room.

(The Commander's PoV)

The Commander floated into his quarters, and over to the keyboard to punch in the commands to call the council member, whom he has chosen to not identify the name of for security's sake. Within five minutes the screen changed and became distorted, to prevent anyone from identifying his face.

{Commander… I take it the reason that you are calling me on this secured channel, via this Gremlin, means that the Gremlin's safety protocols have activated?}

[Yes Council, I have entered into a coma after the Gremlin took damage, as such, my brain has been downloaded into the Gremlin's body. As of this moment, this Gremlin will serve as my new temporary body while my real body recovers.] He said. [I still can function as Commander of the XCOM forces, but my outward appearance is going to take some getting used to. On the positive aspect, now that this is my new body, I can work against our 'guests' twenty four seven, provided I recharge the Gremlin's battery every six hours.]

{That hardens my resolve to know that you are still in the fight, despite the loss you suffered this day, but I doubt that this call was all you wished to speak to me about.} He said calmly.

[No Council, I am calling to propose to you a new plan of action, an 'Operation, in the making', as it were.] He said just as calmly. [As you know, this war since I have taken command has been dragging on for over five years now. The Alien's resolve to break us has not diminished, and Advent's forces have only grown in number, as our research has told you. Meanwhile, our resources and manpower, as well as support from the various resistance splinter cells, has grown weaker with each passing month.]

{This I am aware of, despite your best efforts, and your numerous victories against our visitors, including all but destroying their AVATAR project, I have noticed an increasing drop in resistance forces willing to fight.}

[Yes, and as you have requested, I have kept that knowledge secret, if word got out that we are fighting a losing battle, despite our high morale, what little resistance Earth has left will crumble over the next few years. Soon XCOM will be crushed, and the resistance will end… I have done all I can to turn the tide, but it seems defeat is inevitable.]

{Which once again, brings us to why you have called me.} He finished for him.

[I have a plan that might turn the tide of this war.] He said finally. [Earlier today, when the Gremlin took damage, resulting in my current situation, a Ranger under my command and myself, encountered a female Viper. She hesitated in attacking us, apparently out of fear for her life. In other encounters our enemy never hesitated to attack us, but this one did… I have a feeling we can use this to our advantage.]

{Explain…} He said, cupping his hands together in deep thought.

[I believe, we are starting to have an effect, I believe that we are beginning to put doubt into some of the alien's belief in conquering us. With this female Viper, we allowed her the choice, if she lowered her weapon, then we would spare her. She chose to let us go Council, if she had fired and delayed us for even a moment, then we might not have escaped in time. But our act of mercy… might have had an effect on her.]

{You mean to turn one of their own against them?} He simplified for him.

[Correct… if we can turn even one of them against them, it may be the domino that tips the balance in our favor. Think about it, if word spread that one of their own sided with the resistance, more humans would begin to see through the lies of the Speaker's propaganda. More would join the resistance… the Alien's hold on the world's population would begin to weaken.]

{I see… the concept of, the tighter the grip, the easier it becomes to slip through… does sound like an interesting prospect to exploit.} He said with a nod. {Very well Commander, I trust you to carry out this operation, good luck.}

As the screen turned off he sighed again, wishing he had hands to rub his head. [How am I going to explain to the crew about this?] He contemplated, wishing he had a mouth and stomach as well because he seriously needed a stiff drink after all of this. [Can't even think privately without this Gremlin speaking it. This is going to take some getting used to…]

(Viper's PoV)

'Why me…?' She thought fearfully as she stood at attention in the center of the dark room, listening to the higher up members of the alliance debate among themselves what her punishment would be.

Once it was discovered that she had been at the facility and failed to stop the insurgents from accomplishing their goal, she had been summoned to speak of her failure. Now she merely sat there waiting, hoping once again today, that they would at least let her live. Advent did not tolerate failure or betrayal, any found guilty of failure had either better be dead or have a very good excuse.

Or be a member of the high council, which she was not.

[My fellow council members…] The Hierarch Mother, her species' leader declared, silencing further discussions. [My young daughter's fate falls under my jurisdiction… as you all very well know… so I will handle her punishment. Rest assured… she will not fail us again…]

The others agreed and soon only one image remained on the various screens, the shadowy image of her hierarch. "Hierarch Mother, I beg you to spare me… I was but one against their fearsome warrior! He took down two entire guard squads singlehanded, all of whom were more armed than I was… how do you expect me to repel such power?" She pleaded.

[Silence…] She hissed, but even though it was an order there was a gentleness in her tone. [I understand entirely… you could no more have stopped them then you could cut off your own tail… be at ease, I do not blame you in the slightest.] She hissed while shaking her head, but her expression on the screen could not be seen because it was in shadow. [Despite their anger for your failure, I would prefer you living my daughter and letting the insurgents succeed, then bear another death to our species.]

At that she was confused, her hierarch mother didn't mind that she effectively let the insurgents go? "You don't mind?"

[Each day my young daughter… our numbers dwindle… the repeated attacks against and by the insurgents have reduced our numbers ever more. Like the Sectoids, we Vipers have become to the elders, in the words of the humans… 'Cannon fodder'. We are no more valuable to the alliance than the Advent clone soldiers are. Our objectives in conquering this planet has gotten to the point, where all of our past rituals no longer exist…] She declared, and now her voice was filled with distaste. [Nearly all of your brothers… are dead… and they do not care that they take even more of our brothers and sons from us. They were so few before we joined them and now they are almost all gone.]

[Your sisters are sent into battle with orders to not relent or retreat, but for each insurgent they manage to slay, we lose at least three sisters to achieve it. That does not even count for this floating fortress that rallies and inspires the resistance to even greater heights… we have lost so many of your sisters to that group… that just thinking of the number alone causes me grief…]

"And yet our goals become ever closer… right?" She asked. "We are on the verge of victory, so I am told."

[Perhaps… but the price is becoming… too high for my liking…] The Hierarch Mother hissed angrily. [In any case… I have to deal with your punishment, as is my duty. I can spare your life… but you still must be punished for your failure… there is a convoy heading out to a city in the Eastern North American region. You will guard it with others and protect it from insurgents… and my daughter…]

"Yes… Hierarch Mother?" She asked worriedly.

[There can be no failure this time… I cannot protect you a second time...] A moment later all of the cameras shut off, but her leader still remained. [But no matter what happens to the convoy, don't die… no matter what you must do, live… for your sisters…]

With that the last screen turned off, leaving her alone in the darkened room. "Yes… Hierarch Mother…" She said, before slithering out of the room.

=Author's Notes=

Q/A: Imperator here, and yes… I know what you're saying… why are you doing this fic, when you're already working on two other fics that you've been doing for longer? Not only that, but why XCOM 2, and why 'this' particular pairing.

Well to answer that peeps, it's because a friend of mine let me play XCOM 2 on his pc and knows about my writing hobby, and so dared me to make a fanfic, involving a Ranger of his and the (in his words) rule 34 bait, but make it a believable love story. Personally I think he just wanted me to make one.

So yea… that's why I'm doing this. I hate you friend, making me delay my Arceus' Book fic and my Pack of Destiny and Life fic. But don't worry, even with my school schedule, I will find time to write those two as well as this new one.

Have faith in me my loyal followers and readers, The Imperator always delivers to you, I may be slow but I always find a way.