This story follows the XCOM 2 game's main storyline. It contains dialogue and events which appear in the game. Keep this in mind if you want to stay spoiler free. Comments are welcome. Thank you for reading.
Bradford knew he was in the right place as soon as he stepped into the room. It had to be this time. He had chased ghosts and whispers across the globe for so long that he was at the point of forgetting what he was searching for. He had done his part and now it was in the hands of science and God. Two things he had little faith in these days.
He stood aside watching Dr. Tygan and Shen make their final preparations. The stasis suit on the table lays lifeless before them. There had been no movement from it has he carried it out of the ADVENT facility earlier that evening. His gut told him the body it housed was that of his missing - no their missing Commander. The only way to know for sure was to continue with their plans.
Shen checked and rechecked her connections before saying, "We're ready!"
"Good! Let's get on with it!" Bradford heard himself say. He needed to know if his search had ended.
Tygan gripped the sides of the blackened face plate and Bradford felt himself inhale, his body tense. With a slight tug they heard the seal break. As Tygan pulled it back they had their first glimpse inside, "Remarkable," Tygan muttered.
Bradford could scarcely believe his eyes and yet they had seen stranger things since the Alien War had started. It had been- "Just like 20 years ago -" his words trailed off. There lay the Commander - eyes closed and still. The Commander had always possessed such a stillness - something Bradford often studied and attempted to emulate himself in his daily life. The closed eyes unsettled him. He had only seen that once before when the Commander had been knocked unconscious during the security breach at HQ when the Aliens had taken control of some of their own and attacked them from within.
Tygan was lecturing Shen on the risks they were about to undertake. Risks the three of them had been over time and time again since they had received confirmation of the intel. This continued bickering incensed him. "No plan B here people! Do it!" He barked, his voice not betraying the trickle of fear he was feeling. There was but a glance between the two before they continued on. They had come so far and there was no turning back now - they both knew this.
Tygan proceeded to make the small necessary incisions to extract the small alien object from the Commander's head. The body on the table began to convulse violently. The closed eyes fluttered rapidly. Bradford could see the white between flickers. Shen called out from her monitoring station, "Doctor!" before the body fell still once again. Silence filled the room and after a moment Shen softly managed, "No signal."
Bradford felt his heart sink. At least the Commander was free from whatever those bastards had -
"Pupillary response normal. Vitals stabilizing." Tygan brought Bradford back from his premature memorial for their fallen leader. "Procedure complete." He said giving Bradford a proud grin.
Bradford moved in slightly as Tygan turned to consult with Shen. He let his hand slip up onto the table and grasped the Commander's hand through the heavy stasis suit. He was sure no one had noticed.
Looking down he saw another flutter behind the eyelids. R.E.M., he thought. Was she dreaming?
"Told them it would take more than that to keep you down." He squeezed her hand. "Welcome back, Commander."