XCOM: Ranger

by Wanderer D


Chapter 42: Farewells

Ranger

Chapter 42: Farewells

By Wanderer D

Good morning, ADVENT Citizens. News reports are still flooding our network as the citizens of New Appaloosa write and call us for clarification on last night's incident. To answer these questions, we have our very own beloved reporter on the ground.

Sweetie Belle?

Thank you, Matt, and hello to our viewers. This is Sweetie Belle reporting from the entrance to the Central Security Building, where attacks by dissident elements were reported late last night. As you can see, the gate is severely damaged and will need to be replaced, although it is not completely destroyed.

That is what most citizens have noticed, in addition to hearing shots being fired late last night. Several of our ADVENT protectors were injured by an individual of unknown affiliation who attempted and failed to hack into the ADVENT Network.

The investigations of what this person and their accomplices were attempting to achieve is still ongoing, although it is believed that our reliable guardians managed to identify the threat and stop it before any damage was done.

While no bodies have been recovered, it is reported that at least one dissident was shot dead on the premises. ADVENT Officials regret the need for violence, but report that the dissident in question opened fire first and refused to surrender themselves to justice, thus forcing their hand.

As for the injured ADVENT troops, there were no fatalities, and the Officer in charge vocally thanked the Elders that no further deaths occurred.

It is clear that we will never be able to fully understand what drives these individuals to risk life and limb in attempts doomed to fail against the ADVENT Administration, but perhaps the lesson we should all take home tonight, is that no injustice goes unpunished.

For ADVENT's Network and the Elder's Glory, this is Sweetie Belle, reporting.

Back to you, Matt.

Thank you, Sweetie Belle. We will continue updating our watchers as the investigation continues, but our citizens can rest easy with the knowledge that ADVENT is watching.

And now, the weather…

Sunset sat down on the table next to Jane's stretcher, keeping her arm as even as she could. She was chewing on a piece of jerky that had been included in their emergency rations, keeping herself fed.

The step-by-step video had been thorough enough for her to follow the instructions and fill in the gaps. The equipment that had been left behind included all of the required pieces, and they were all contained in sealed bags. The equipment might have been old, but it still served its purpose.

Letting blood draw out of her veins was not much of a problem for her. Regenerating it quickly enough for another batch would be easy—all she needed was food, and her magic would ensure she remained strong even if more was needed. That, and her blood was being fortified by her magic too.

Still, she had some time, so she pulled out the letter again, contemplating the red and yellow cutie mark on the envelope. Her old self had a very different personality… it had been weird hearing herself talk like that. A lot more carefree than she was, for sure, and also a lot happier.

Hearing that Dr. Vahlen herself had taught her other self at one point, was interesting… she hadn't just been a jock-turned-soldier—not that she had expected that scenario, but still—she'd had a sharp mind if their conversation was anything to go by.

But something in this Sunset's past was very different than her own. She didn't have that… anger that Sunset had felt the first year and a half after her arrival. She wasn't… condescending. Self-assured, yes, but there was no hint of her ambition stopping her ability to befriend someone even Bradford talked about with some reverence (and frustration).

So even though they might have been inter-dimensional twins… they couldn't have been more different.

Sunset sighed and looked down at the letter, skimming down to where she had left off earlier. Even in the way that things were written, she could almost imagine herself saying it.

Assuming you have watched the video, hooked up your friend and sat down to read again… that means I'm not crazy.

You see, me, I started having visions not too long ago. I happen to be the strongest Psychic anyone here has ever seen. Not tooting my own horn, I'm just stating it as it is, because that's the only reason this is happening. My strength is such that I Mind-Controlled an Etheral once without any additional aid of any sort or even harming it to lower its will. It was fun.

And I could feel these powers becoming even greater! Another psychic being contacted me at the time… it had been here for decades, trying to fight the invasion by aiding XCOM and now I was powerful enough to hear him despite his fading consciousness.

After that… I saw you. A couple of times. I thought it was just fancy. You were slashing a giant snake, or transforming into an adorable armored, battle-hardened, but still adorable unicorn version of me.

But I eventually realized it wasn't imagination, and so… I left you a few things to make things easier. I told Chrysy not to shoot me if she ever saw me again. I told Shen that you were not a clone… a few things like that… but I also saw my own future.

I'll be long gone by the time you read me, me. I made peace with this some time ago. Just before the time I convinced Vahlen to record that video. And yeah, we all die… that's XCOM right?

But… I saw you. I saw me. Me in you. You in me. However it works… and I wanted to help a little. I don't know what's going to happen to you, Sunny Two, (I like that! I'll call you that now!) but the visions I had before—which I really wish I had taken notes of—help me believe you can do this.

This is goodbye… I'm heading out after I drop this letter to Vahlen and I guess this is my last note, unless I somehow manage to write more and deliver them on the way to a giant spaceship. Unlikely.

There are just a few things I have to ask of you.

If they're still around...

Please… tell Chrysy that I'll miss her, wherever I end up after I go away. Tell her that she was my light at the end of the tunnel, and my moon in the sky. That without her I don't know what I'd be doing with my life up until now, and that I will always thank her for giving me direction and purpose.

Tell Bradford… that he's more handsome now that he's older, and to give himself a break sometime. Also, tell him that as a woman, I can guarantee that that lovely engineer is not just looking at him only when she has questions.

Tell Vahlen that making giant harem-owning snakes was an awful thing to do when I wasn't around to see it. Oh, and tell her you watched the video and to explain what Girls Gone Wild is if you didn't get the reference.

If Charles is still around, give the old man a hug for me. A good one. The type that makes you melt into it and sigh because, for an instant, things are okay.

And last, but not least… stay strong, Sunny Two. You have a good gang from the glimpses I got that I still remember. Take it from Sunny One: that really matters.

~Sunset Shimmer
PS: You're such a snake/ladykiller! It's doubly adorable! I'm so proud!

Chrysalis glanced over her shoulder when Bradford walked into her office, then returned to look at the screen displaying anticipated ADVENT movements. "What is it, Central?"

"Commander," Bradford sood at attention. "Our team investigating the Chosen has sent a pickup signal at their assigned safehouse. It appears at least one of our soldiers has been gravely wounded, but is still alive."

Chrysalis' hands tightened into fists. "Who?"

"We don't know yet, it was the automated signal that included the burst for that purpose."

"I see," Chrysalis took a deep breath. "And?"

"They still completed the mission."

"Good," she said, standing up. "I think, given her location, I should accompany you in when we get there."

Bradford raised an eyebrow. "Are you sure—"

"I am," she interrupted, glancing at him irritably. "Let's go get geared up. Tell Shen and Tygan to get ready as well. We're landing the Avenger there… and we'll make the most of it."

Bradford nodded. "Understood Commander, I'll give the order."

"Have the medical teams ready. I want all free Engineers and Scientists ready. All soldiers too. There's a wealth of information we left behind there. It's worth seeing if there's anything that ADVENT didn't strip away."

"Understood."

"Also, I want Wolf Team out there on the ground by Skyranger drop. I want them to scout the area before we land the Avenger back home. I don't want to have to rush out."

She paused, tapping her fingers. "What entrance did they take?"

"The GPS was set to the Lab entrance. When Shen's team encountered Vahlen off the coast of India on their way to the Avenger's location, she told them that the lab had been sealed off and there had been no enemies there."

Chrysalis smirked. "Good gal. No wonder she got away... " She tapped her console, sending a quick message. "You have your orders, Central, make it so."

Once Bradford had left, Chrysalis leaned back, sighing. Going back would be tough. But it was a chance to possibly arm themselves better. That, and maybe she could finally say goodbye.

o.0.o End Chapter 42 o.0.o