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X-COM Red Team Skyranger

Vera felt significantly more relaxed once they had taken off, assuring herself that they could pull off this mission. Most of the people present were going to be scientists. They could easily take the guards out and take the data and scientists back to headquarters. Idun and Merrik looked similarly relaxed, though the three new operatives in front of them took a little longer to calm themselves and prepare mentally.

She decided just in case that she would call Blue Team just to make sure they were all set as well, a gesture of comfort if nothing else. But before she could open the channel, the co-pilot's voice blared through the bay.

"X-COM headquarters are under attack. We're abandoning the research site. ETA to HQ 23 minutes." He curtly announced, which was followed by the Skyranger violently making a midair U-turn and increasing its speed.

"You've got to be fucking kidding me." In his anxiety, Merrik stood up, holding the chaingun in one hand and the ceiling's safety rail in another. "How bad is it?"

The co-pilot had a delayed response. "...looks like 30 dropships at least. And a wing of interceptors. We can't fly you into the hangar with that kind of air traffic. You'll need to jump into the ground-based hangar, the mountain hangar is too hot."

Vera stood up as well, making her way carefully to the pilot's cabin of the craft. "Full burn if we aren't already. Make sure Blue Team is doing the same."

"Already done, ma'am." The co-pilot answered for the primary pilot. "It'd be best if you sat down. Same for you, Lieutenant." He called back to Merrik. "We'll let you know when it's time."

X-COM Headquarters

Elias focused intently as he deflected the projectiles fired at him from the limited hangar security, set on advancing to gain ground quickly. He heard ADVENT soldiers following carefully behind him, many in the front benefitting from an energy shield spread by Lieutenant Nylund. Far ahead, he could recognize who Kylo Ren had described as their commanding officer, bearing a heavily modified rifle and shooting more carefully.

Next to him, a man Elias in no way remembered seeing before, was a ragged man in gray and red, carrying an enormous sword that fired shotgun blasts from the hilt. Taking charge, he began to stride forward more quickly, deflecting the commander's shots at the ground and walls.

Bradford began to step back, eventually realizing the hangar was lost. "I'm going to take the security and guard the hallway!" He told Qrow, gesturing for the few guards left to follow him.

"I'll catch up." Qrow replied, his eyes set on the approaching Knight of Ren.

"Follow the commander!" Elias ordered the troops, making a Force leap to jump and attack the man with the hybrid sword.

However, the man appeared to aim his sword at the ground behind him, jumped, and fired. Unexpectedly, the propulsion from this apparently stronger shot flung him into the air and directly at Elias. The Baron raised his Varja to protect himself, fully intending to cut through the sword in a second. But he found himself flung back as the sword did not shatter on impact, instead pushing him back to the ground.

Elias waved off the troopers moving to help him. "Keep advancing!" He then held his Varja towards Qrow.

"I can tell through that dumb helmet of yours you didn't expect the block." Qrow snarked. "What did they same your name was? Eli?" He paused. "Can I call you Eli?"


"I don't think we've met, Eli." Qrow gave a mocking bow, heaving the sword with one hand easily.

"Who are you?" Elias moved to a defensive stance.

"Qrow Branwen." He answered, directly after lunging at the Baron.

Elias only barely managed to redirect the attack at the ground, hurrying to try and stab him. Qrow simply sidestepped before pointing the sword in a direction that shouldn't have meant anything. However, Elias realized what he was doing just after Qrow pulled the trigger on the handle, propelling the sword at him with incredible force and whacking him with the flat of the blade, knocking him over.

Elias only barely managed to move his saber into a position that could block Qrow's strike from above, though he felt as if the other man wasn't even trying. "What are you?" He asked in shock as he rolled away and hurried to his feet.

"You really wanna know what I am?" Qrow made another half-effort swing at the Baron, throwing him off balance with the block and encouraging him to go on the offensive.

"WHAT?" Elias asked more forcefully, entering a blade lock and doing his best to push Qrow back.

Qrow's arrogant smirk faded for a moment as he analyzed the Knight of Ren before him. He knew he couldn't have been any more than a young man, confused so badly by the war and how it started. But his look of sadness and empathy was replaced by one of steely resolve.

"I'm out of your league, kid." Qrow answered finally as he sidestepped and forced his sword to fold down, exposing the shotgun barrel and also cutting through the handle of Elias's Varja.

Elias couldn't move in time as Qrow pivoted once more to turn the barrel on him and fired, blowing him back several feet and leaving him paralyzed on the floor with a horrifyingly mauled chest. Qrow solemnly folded his sword back into a compact position before sheathing it on his back, allowing some sorrow to show on his face again as Elias finally stopped breathing heavily and lay still, his head tilting down.

"Sorry, kiddo." Qrow said quietly to the Baron's spirit, or whoever was listening as he turned around. "Honestly you're going to be better off this way."

He abruptly stopped when his commlink began to ring, and Bradford began to shout over the line, ADVENT gunfire heard in the background. "Qrow, get to the second hangar! They're landing more troopers there!"

"What about you?" Qrow questioned. "You have at least 60 troopers co-"

"Do it!" Bradford ordered, shutting off the channel.

Qrow sighed in acceptance of the order, drawing his sword again and unfolding it. Immediately he began to hurry back to the hallway, making an abrupt turn to the stairwell and jumping down flights of stairs at a time. When he finally reached the level that the hangar would be on, he bust through the door and into the hallway, preparing his sword and lunging at the large group of ADVENT troopers that had been waiting for him.

X-COM Red Team Skyranger

"We're thirty seconds from the drop site!" The co-pilot warned all six of the operatives standing in the back of the dropship. "Opening doors!"

Even from their angle, Red Team could see through the door just what was going on around the base. Blue Team was following closely, but any other X-COM aircraft were being shot down quickly by the ADVENT interceptors. As that happened, dropships delivering troops began to land in and around the ground-based hangar.

"Jump!" The co-pilot ordered, and as soon as he began to say it Red Team jumped from the bay.

All six operatives began to rocket towards the ground, the Skyranger going back to full speed and leaving the battle. To their right, they could see three of the Blue Team members, but their deceleration for the drop resulted in a missile striking and blanketing the bay in an explosion, killing the pilots and other operatives instantly. The interceptor moved to a new target as the dropship plummeted to the ground in flames.

Forced to ignore the loss of half of Blue Team, Vera continued to fall towards the hangar, engaging her suit's gravity wells just before she hit the ground. Around her, the remainder of the teams landed roughly, opening fire on the swarm of ADVENT troopers. With two of the survivors being shot dead from retaliation fire, the other seven hurried to cover, even then still losing one of the new members of Red Team.

"Operatives!" Bradford's voice blared over the comms. "I need three of you coming to defend Mission Control right now! The rest of you, Qrow's on the way, work with him to clear the hangar!" There was a short pause filled with shouting before Qrow spoke up over the comms.

"I saw two Knights of Ren running loose in the base, I can't get to them and defend the hangar." Qrow announced.

"You work on the hangar, Qrow." Vera spoke up. "I'll pursue."

"Major, that's not-" Bradford started, but was cut off.

"Qrow's weapon is of more use in the wide-open hangar, sir." She explained. "I'm pursuing the Knights."

"Fine." Bradford seemed resigned to it, apparently having a lull in the battle or at least enough time to consider it. "Qrow, keep on course. Major, you take the Knights. Call for backup if it's too much, do you understand me?"

"Understood." Vera ignited her darksaber and leapt above the cover she was in, sprinting at an enhanced full speed from the battle to hunt down the Knights.

The hallways were relatively clear, only an ADVENT trooper or a friendly security guard running past her. She began to hurry to where Qrow had been coming from to see if she could find them from there. As she frantically looked around, she heard a yelp of pain and turned around, her eyes widening in panic at what she saw.

Kylo Ren stood in the center of the research labs, bodies of X-COM security scattered around him and one that he had just stabbed to death, dropping him unceremoniously to the floor. He then turned to face Vera, not showing any sign of emotion through his mask but he did shut off his saber.

"N-no." Vera stepped back in fear, her stance faltering. "... it... A-Agdar?" Not him. She'd face any Knight of Ren, any of them except for him.

Kylo gave no reaction to hearing his true name, stepping forward threateningly. "It's been a while, 'Vera' Arendal."

With trembling hands, Vera held up her saber. "W-what are you doing?"

"Destroying the last true asset of a corrupt and useless government." Kylo answered. "I'm very disappointed to find you on this side of the conflict. You used to be more than a puppet."

"This... isn't the way to change things." Vera tried to defend her position. "Killing so many people, spreading so  many lies."

"Oh, yes, I'm sure a peaceful protest would have been at least acknowledged before they threw it aside." The Knight of Ren snarked. "And you knew that too. We were going to change the world."

"Not like this." Vera shook her head. "I can't side with you."

"Why not?" Kylo asked quietly.

"Because I still think people like us could have changed it without all of this needless conflict." She managed to stop trembling, but she was still afraid. "Idun knew it too. And now I have people like Merrik, Bradford, people I can trust, and we can't let you change the world like this."

Kylo didn't move, considering what Vera said.

"I'm sorry, Agdar." Vera finally prepared her saber. "You know I wouldn't do this if I had any other choice..." She finally entered a defensive stance. "But they're my family."

The Knight of Ren stood silently before abruptly igniting his Varja, preparing to attack. "So was I."