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Fanfic / The Bureau: Summer Declassified

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Left: Summer Rose. Right: William Carter.

Summer Rose had heard many theories about what happened to people on Remnant after death, and even believed in a few of them herself. But never in a million years would she have guessed that the afterlife took the form of a warm bed in a dimly-lit room.
And yet...that was exactly where she found herself.

The Bureau: Summer Declassified is a RWBY/XCOM Crossover fanfic written by Joey245, envisioned as a fan-made Alternate Continuity Prequel to DrAmishMD's RWBY Within series. As the title may imply, the story is heavily based on The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, with Summer Rose as the main protagonist.

Set in the 1960's at the height of the Cold War, a mysterious young woman with silver eyes shows up at a top secret military base just moments before it's attacked by an unknown enemy. This woman is named Summer Rose, and she herself has just arrived shortly after dying in the heat of battle with an immortal witch. The story follows both Summer and her unlikely ally, an ex-CIA agent with a troubled past named William Carter, as they become part of a noble (if shady) organization dedicated to fighting this alien invasion. The Bureau of Strategic Operations and Command (or XCOM) might be Earth's best shot at repelling the Outsider threat...but can Summer fully trust them, considering she is an alien herself?

The fic was originally published in July of 2019, and concluded in December of 2021.

The Bureau: Summer Declassified contains examples of:

  • Ace Pilot: Leon Barnes, from the source game, once again serves as the Skyranger pilot, though this time he's joined by other pilots for the strike teams.
  • Action Girl: Summer Rose, of course. Angela Weaver from the source game also counts, though she's often compared unfavorably to Raven Branwen as a Dark Action Girl. The latter gets better as the series progresses, though.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Happens a lot during the chapters that retell the "main story" missions from the game. Notable ones include:
    • Chapter 7, where the fight for the AA tower and the Muton fight is broken up by Summer and Carter arguing over healing hurt civilians.
    • Chapter 15, where Carter and Summer try to reason with a Sleepwalker virus-infected Nico Da Silva.
    • Chapter 16, which sees Strike Three mourning their first real casualty in between encounters with the Titan.
    • And then of course there's Chapter 30, which between the frantic action of an attack on XCOM HQ has Summer trying to talk down a crazed Carter from blowing himself and Asaru up.
  • Adaptation Expansion: While the fic follows the overall story of The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, a number of new characters and changes to the plot are introduced to help flesh out the space left behind by removing the gameplay. Summer's sudden arrival at the beginning of the story is just the start of those changes.
  • Adaptational Badass: While just about all the characters lifted from the base game are capable in a fight, special mention goes to the three named Outsiders. The Infiltrator goes from a Warmup Boss who summons other aliens through the fight to a powerful solo agent who's capable of mimicking anyone and who possesses incredible skill with the sword. Axis goes from a "Get Back Here!" Boss with Deflector Shields that need disabling to a towering brute with an arm made of crystal and telekinetic powers. The biggest change is Origin, who goes from The Unfought to the Final Boss of the story...complete with a One-Winged Angel makeover courtesy of Grimm matter!
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Once Carter "tames" a Silacoid, its disposition changes to become very doglike, mimicking Summer's movements while "imprinting", being consistently rewarded with headpats for its behavior, and even at one point "pawing" at the door of a UFO to draw out the alien troops inside. It also acts like a very affectionate cat at times, crawling all over Summer and nuzzling her at just about every opportunity.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Much like the game itself, the invasion begins with an attack on Groom Range, and escalates from there until eventually XCOM HQ is overrun by the Outsiders.
  • Alternate Continuity: With the XCOM: RWBY Within series. Literally!
  • Alternate History: Appears in a few places. Not only is there the obvious indicator with the existence of the Bureau (which, much like the base game, was created in response to rising tensions between the US and the Soviet Union), the story also has Roswell being a hotbed for conspiracy theories about UFO landings, something which wouldn't gain traction until the late 1970's. Also, Raymond Shen is ten years older than he's supposed to be in XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
    • Justified In-Universe, as Shamash explains that there are an infinite number of realities.
  • Amazon Brigade: Chapter 20 sees Summer leading XCOM's first all-woman mission, to an overwhelming success.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Penelope Cohen, who's almost always blushing whenever Summer says or does something affectionate towards her, has shades of this. At least until Chapter 12 with a scene in her POV, at which point the "ambiguous" part is dropped entirely.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Elerium-115, much like its source material. It can generate Deflector Shields, shift gravity, and act as a powerful energy source. Most Outsider tech involves it in some way, and most of the Bureau's scientific research goes into trying to understand it.
  • Ascended Extra: Thomas Nils and John Kinney, the pair of agents that join Carter for the first story mission in the game, take a more prominent role here as friends of Summer, with the latter even having a scene from his perspective and the former becoming a main fixture of the story even up to the final mission.
  • Babies Ever After: A number of the couples that survive the story end up with this in the epilogue. Two of them should be familiar to anyone familiar with characters in the XCOM franchise.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Seems to be the standard dress code for the Bureau, as opposed to the body armor worn by their future counterparts. The fact that their backpacks contain Deflector Shields probably helps matters.
  • Badass Bookworm: There's no shortage of brainy bruisers among the Bureau's ranks, but special mention has to go to Doctor Alan Weir, the leading expert on Zudjari technology who can also drop an Outsider with a perfect rifle shot.
    • When she eventually undergoes Agent training, Penny blurs the line between this and Badass Adorable.
  • Badass Normal: Pretty much every Bureau agent besides Summer and Carter, but Weaver personifies this trope. Anyone who not only nearly wins her fight with Summer Rose of all people, and then manages to keep up with an alien Huntress and Bad Boss Axis in the very next chapter is nothing short of this.
  • Battle Couple: Summer and Carter start showing shades of this, even before their Relationship Upgrade later in the story. The Mucallins play this straight, once Jack drops her disguise.
  • Benevolent Conspiracy: The Bureau operates like one of these, much like in the game. They're committed to fighting the alien menace and keeping the entire war secret, and if it means burning down entire towns that were recently hit by a terror attack, then so be it. Summer is horrified when she witnesses firsthand what Agents are prepared to do to cover up the truth.
  • Berserker Tears: After Ennis's death in Chapter 24, Summer flies into an Unstoppable Rage, complete with these. Also showed up when Weaver killed Axis when he made it clear he wouldn't tell her where the Outsiders were keeping her sister.
  • Big Damn Kiss: So far, the relationship-cementing kisses have served as the parting sentence of a scene, framing them as such. The first was in Chapter 22 between Penny and Crawford, while the very next chapter sees Summer and Carter getting a similar treatment.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: The Outsiders have vertical mouth flaps, reproduce from eggs laid by Hive Queen-esque Matriarchs, and apparently can't digest scrambled eggs. Though that last fact may or may not just be Van Doorn's cooking.
  • Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: The captive Outsider is very adamant that female Zudjari are not just "regular soldiers with two useless fat deposits on their chests". Carter sees three of them in the Vault on the Temple Ship, and if the descriptions are anything to go by, they're as far removed from Green Skinned Space Babes as one can possibly be, though it's unclear how much of what he's seeing is true at this point.
  • Blob Monster: The Silacoids, just like the game. The one tamed by Carter ends up being a friendly one, though no less dangerous to the aliens.
  • Book Ends:
    • Faulke's first speech to the Bureau following the Groom Range attack concluded with the orders to "survive, adapt, win." His final speech during the Base Defense ends the same way.
    • The first battle in the story sees Summer try (and fail) to take down Salem once and for all. The final battle almost ends the same way...but thankfully she has friends this time to help her achieve her Golden Ending.
  • Breather Episode: After two absolute monsters of chapters dealing with Weaver and Axis, Chapter 23 is a nice lighthearted series of off-base interactions that showcase Carter and Summer's blossoming relationship, culminating with them finally cementing their Official Couple status. Of course, this is immediately followed up by the Drama Bomb that is Chapter 24...
  • Brick Joke: "See? I told you moon wolves were real!" Said by Crawford to Goldstein during the final mission.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Much like her daughters and their friends in the future, Summer is unable to use her Aura or her Silver Eyes while on Earth. Doesn't stop her from performing daring feats on the regular, such as rushing the enemy head-on to engage in melee, making jumps that other people would need Olympic training to do, or diving off the side of a platform while using a winch as a swing to get behind an enemy squad. And it only escalates from there.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Shows up a lot among the field agents, particularly whenever Dawson or Crawford are involved.
  • Cape Snag: Played with. When Carter sees that Summer's eventual Remnant-inspired outfit comes with a big cape, he immediately points out how likely it is to snag on something. Apparently Summer and Crawford thought the same thing, since the cape has a handy "emergency release" button that comes into play when Weaver almost strangles Summer with said cape.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: William Carter during the finale, after finally realizing just how much Summer means to him in the last chapter.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The silver eyes that Summer uses against Salem in the prologue go unused for most of the story, due to the lack of Grimm on Earth. Emphasis on "most" of the story.
  • Cheesy Moon: Dawson jokingly brings up this theory during the final mission, but Walters just warns him not to take off his helmet.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Chapter 14 introduces us to Catherine Crawford, a seamstress training to be a Recon agent with an...unusual perspective. Anyone willing to talk to (and feed) the captive Infiltrator and actively believes in "moon wolves" certainly qualifies as being a little out of touch with reality.
  • Continuity Cameo: Ennisnote  Cole, from the live-action trailers made for The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, makes an appearance in Chapter 12 as someone writing the Bureau's operation reports, as well as being the leader of the seldomly-seen Strike Four.
    • At the very end of the story, when Summer Rose is old and gray, who should make an appearance but Ruby Rose herself?!
  • Cool Sword: The collapsible dueling "knives" used primarily by Mutons. Summer gets one for herself early in the story, and uses it extensively (even going so far as to name it 'Wandering Thorn' later).
    • The Infiltrator has one too, though his is green instead of the traditional red. This of course leads to a duel when Summer corners the Infiltrator at the end of Chapter 11.
    • Following the Internal Reveal, Wandering Thorn gets reforged and combined with both the Infiltrator's sword and some other tech, becoming an even cooler sword.
  • Darkest Hour: XCOM HQ has fallen, the survivors are on the run, and Origin is planning something worse than subjugation for humanity. Surely it can't get any worse, right? Then it turns out there's Grimm on the moon...
  • Deadpan Snarker: Seems to be the main way that Agents in the Bureau cope with all the crazy stuff they see. William Carter, Gray Dawson, Thomas Nils, Adam Goldstein...even Summer Rose gets in on the action a few times.
  • Defense Mechanism Superpower: How Carter discovers most of the powers that come from the alien artifact. Got shot in the chest? Good Thing You Can Heal. Got a man down? Instinctively blast the aggressor with a wave of telekinetic force. A Titan bearing down on your team after a crash landing? What a great time to find out you can use Astral Projection to see the world around you, complete with Bullet Time to help form a plan! Origin even calls him out on it aboard the Temple Ship.
    • Aura is revealed to work like this on Earth, much like in RWBY Within. Summer has it activate twice in Chapter 22: once to get herself and Weaver out of a deadly fall, and again to give Axis a Teleport Spam styled No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
      • This later ends up exploited in Chapter 24, where it's revealed that Summer's learned a way to temporarily reactivate her Aura by injecting herself with poison.
  • Deflector Shields: Much like the game itself, Outsider Shield Commanders boast these, protecting them from fast-moving objects like bullets (but not grenades). The Bureau eventually reverse-engineers these following the Groom Range attack, making them a standard part of every agent's field kit.
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: The Depleted Elerium Armor-Fragmenting ammo, or "DEAF rounds," are explicitly stated as being bullets made with spent Elerium. They're able to tear a Muton to shreds, but they don't do much against Sectopods.
  • Dissonant Serenity: When Gray Dawson performs surgery on the still-conscious Infiltrator to retrieve an implant, Director Faulke notes how cheerful Dawson remains throughout the operation. He's not sure whether it's comforting or concerning.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: When Summer bonds with Asaru, she not only gets the same telekinesis and battle focus as Carter showed off, but she also has her Aura permanently unsuppressed. Considering that Origin warned of a "worse fate for humanity" just before the Bureau comes under attack, they'll almost certainly need it.
  • Elite Mooks: Shield Commanders, more advanced Outsiders who are able to project kinetic barriers and use telekinesis to throw agents around like ragdolls. They also have big capes on their backs.
    • Chapter 15 also gives us the Tech Commanders, who can reassemble the weapons of fallen Outsiders to form laser turrets. Naturally, they have capes as well, although theirs are yellow.
    • Starting from Chapter 20 onwards, the Bureau starts facing Muton Elites, which are bigger and tougher than their regular counterparts with rotary plasma cannons and jetpacks. Even taking one down is a challenge for a non-Aura empowered Summer.
  • Fishbowl Helmet: Just like the game, the space suits that the Bureau wears for their non-Earth missions are gloriously retro, complete with these.
  • Fluffy Tamer: Chapter 14 introduces us to "Silas," a Silacoid that Carter reprograms with the alien artifact. Although he's the one that controls the little thing, it seems to like Summer more than him (much to Summer's amusement).
  • For Want of a Nail: It's implied in Chapter 28 that Asaru's decision to bring a dying Summer from Remnant to Earth is the linchpin for many of the differences between the fic's version of events, and the game's version of those same events.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Just like in the game itself, Carter does not take being Asaru's host very well. Not only does he summarily execute the Infiltrator while Origin is using them to deliver a vaguely ominous threat, he also threatens Summer at gunpoint when Origin implies that she knows what the threat means. It really says something when Weaver is the one to step in on Summer's behalf.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Seems to be Weaver's preferred close-range fighting style, if her duel with Summer in chapter 21 is anything to go by. Fitting for her characterization, her Unskilled, but Strong nature combined with a Boxing Battler fighting style lets her serve as a Foil compared to Summer's more agile, Remnant-style martial arts.
  • Handicapped Badass: Even after getting shot in the spine during his fight with the Infiltrator, it doesn't stop Thomas Nils from eventually donning a robotic exoskeleton to compensate for complete lower-body paralysis to fight in the field.
  • Healing Hands: One of the first powers that William Carter learns how to use after accidentally bonding to the alien artifact. It's come in handy many, many times throughout the story, though there's only a finite number of times it can be used before Carter needs to "recharge" himself (usually by eating).
  • Heroic Host: Carter has served as one to Asaru for most of the story, and when he goes off the deep end, Summer is the one to step up and become Asaru's new host.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Happens twice in Chapter 15: the first time involves Kinney and Redmond fighting a losing battle to buy time for Da Silva to hide away, while the second one has a half-Sleepwalker Da Silva do the same by driving a car loaded with explosives into the enemy shipyard. Considering Summer's own experiences with her Suicide Mission, she doesn't really take either one very well.
  • Hidden Depths: As the story goes on, characters that seem abrasive and aggressive are seen in a new light. Carter's distant attitude towards Summer and reluctance to return her affection is eventually revealed to be a result of his wife and family dying in an accidental fire, while the reason Dark Action Girl Weaver is so vindictive and stoic towards her fellow agents is because she's constantly clamping down on her rage at the Outsiders for abducting her sister at a young age. Even Knox, the grizzled Korean War veteran whose every other line is punctuated with swear words, takes the time to check in with Summer following her mental breakdown in Chapter 24, even telling her that it's okay to not be okay after witnessing Ennis's death and failing to protect Pima.
  • Humans Are Flawed: In chapter 17, after being revealed as an alien herself by the Infiltrator, Summer gives a long, impassioned speech about this as an answer to why she fights for the Bureau.
  • Internal Reveal: Summer first shares her status as an alien with Penny, and later on her true identity is exposed by the Infiltrator during an interrogation...with much of the Bureau's command staff listening in.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The pricklier members of Strike Three, Knox and Goldstein, are eventually shown to have their softer sides, particularly when Summer is involved.
  • Lethal Chef: Leon Van Doorn is implied to be one, if the descriptions of the slop he makes is anything to go by. His food is even described as "culinary war crimes" in Chapter 18. Not that anyone else seems too eager to try their hand at feeding the Bureau...
  • Legacy Character: Raymond Shen appears as Strike Three's Engineer in this story, starting as an easily-angered hotheaded young man. His Intergenerational Friendship with Doctor Alan Weir is presumably what softens him up into the kindly old "Maker of cool things" we meet in RWBY Within.
    • There are also a number of agents sporting familiar last names, such as Bradford, Vahlen, and Van Doorn. The last one even borrows some of the catch phrases of his future counterpart.
  • The Masquerade: There are two primary secrets being kept. One is the Bureau trying to keep the alien invasion out of the public eye, and the other is Summer keeping her own alien nature under wraps from The Bureau. The second one doesn't last forever.
  • Mind over Matter: Carter's next ability from the artifact comes in the form of telekinesis, either as a giant blast of force or a controlled 'pick up and throw around' ability. It's saved people's lives just as much as his healing hands have.
  • Mini-Mecha: The Sectopod appears as one in Chapter 15, well after they're encountered in the game proper. It takes half the chapter just for Strike Three to deal with it.
  • Missing Child: The incident with Yang and Ruby in the forest happens in Chapter 22...except this time it's from Taiyang's perspective. What makes it worse is why they walked out in the first place - Tai had slumped down to the bar after a particularly nasty argument.
  • Mythology Gag: At one point in Chapter 12, Doctor Dresner laments that he wishes that the Agents would be less...liberal with explosives around the enemy. Must be a German scientist thing.
    • In Chapter 19, Carter derides Summer's Remnant-inspired outfit and calls the dress into question, prompting her to give the ever-classic "It's a combat skirt!" defense.
  • Naked on Arrival: Summer appears in Carter's room at the beginning of the story completely nude, which doesn't surprise Carter as much as the fact that she literally appeared out of thin air. Doesn't stop him from doing a quick "weapons check" from across the room.
    Summer: See?! I'm not hiding anything but a nice rack and a sweet ass!
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Discussed in Chapter 24, when the team is dropped off in a field of crashed alien spaceships:
    Summer: Why is it always MORE worrying when there's nothing immediately waiting for us?
    Carter: Cause it means there's something worse waiting further ahead.
  • Oh, Crap!: Strike Three's general reaction when the Sectopod shows up in chapter 15. Dawson, meanwhile, just wonders if fighting it qualifies them for hazard pay.
    • Shows up occasionally in the narrative segments in the form of the POV character (usually Summer) going "Oh. Oh no."
  • Precision F-Strike: Unlike most of the Bureau, Summer isn't one much for swears. Which makes her dropping the F-bomb in Chapter 11 (as part of the narration) and in Chapter 22 (as part of the dialogue) that much more impactful.
  • Prison Episode: Summer Rose spends most of Chapter 18 locked up for being an alien, though she's released and her agent status is reinstated by the end of the chapter.
  • Red Scare: Mentioned a few times, most notably during the prologue, where one of the people at Faulke's briefing speculates on the signals being Soviet in origin. Chulski in particular seems to resent the anti-Communist propaganda tactics, as it makes her job of keeping people calm and orderly in the middle of a shadow war with aliens that much more difficult.
    • Just like in the game, a Soviet spy infiltrates the Bureau and is caught and recruited by Agent Carter, though it takes a scuffle with a Sectoid and a brief Curb-Stomp Battle with Summer to convince him to join.
  • Shipper on Deck: At one point, Dr. Dresner makes a comment about how Summer and Carter bicker Like an Old Married Couple. Cue embarrassment and denial from both parties.
  • Ship Tease: There are a LOT of moments between Summer and Carter as the story goes on, especially during the Roswell mission. No wonder people on base start calling them things like "The Bureau's Bogie and Betty."
    • Penny and Crawford have a lot of flirty moments from Chapter 19 onwards, culminating in the two of them sharing a first kiss in Chapter 22. Strangely for the 1960's, it's not given all that much scrutiny...though that may be a result of the alien threat providing bigger issues.
  • Shovel Strike: The shock spades introduced in Chapter 20 for Commandos, which serves as both a useful melee weapon and an in-universe explanation for the game class's "Pulse Strike" ability. Knox in particular seems fond of them, using his spade extensively when push comes to shove.
  • Shrinking Violet: Penelope "Penny" Cohen, a communications operator who's cute as a button and has all the social skills of an exceptionally shy mouse. Nonetheless, she's good friends with Summer, and by Chapter 12, they trust each other enough for Summer to reveal Remnant to her.
  • Soft Water: Subverted in Chapter 13, where Summer and a wounded soldier plunge into Lake Michigan after falling off a platform. While the water does indeed soften Summer's landing, it also provides another obstacle to overcome, nearly drowning her as she tries to swim to the top. A good quarter of the chapter is just dedicated to Summer's struggle to swim to the surface while carrying Jack, which almost ends up being just as dangerous as the fight with the aliens.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: By its very premise, Summer gets saved from the grisly fate of playing broken host to an Ethereal in Remnant Unknown, as well as her as-yet-unknown fate in RWBY proper.
    • Thomas Nils, the Recon agent Crutch Character from the first mission of The Bureau, lasts significantly longer here than he does in the source game, and even survives his fight with the Infiltrator...if only just.
    • Sadly, John Kinney and Michael Redmond weren't so lucky. On a similar note, Da Silva's sacrifice was a choice in the game that was left up to the players - here, it's presented as the only preferable alternative to turning into a Sleepwalker.
  • Sticky Fingers: Adam Goldstein, the Recon Agent for Carter and Summer's squad, has a tendency to "scavenge" for supplies that the Bureau might need, such as fuses, books of matches, rope...and comic books and stacks of cash. Carter lets it slide as long as Adam keeps in mind that, what with the alien attack happening, money's lost pretty much all purpose besides kindling.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Jacqueline Mucallin, as noted above. A conversation with Summer convinces her to shed her disguise, though.
  • Taking You with Me: Attempted by Carter, who threatens to prematurely trigger the Self-Destruct Mechanism on the Elerium generator at the heart of the base as a way to free himself from Asaru. Though Summer manages to stop him, she's only interested in making sure he doesn't also take the evacuating XCOM personnel out as well.
    • Faulke later does the same when everyone is clear, wiping out the aliens, the base, and himself.
  • Teleport Spam: Given how Summer's Semblance, Scatter, lets her vanish and reapper elsewhere in swirls of rose petals, this serves as the bread-and-butter of her usual fighting style. She does this once against Salem in the prologue, and then later to finish the battle with Axis in Chapter 22.
    • Once she figures out how to trigger her Aura in short bursts on command, this becomes her way of finishing fights that would normally be too tough for her.
  • The Reveal: Chapter 28 is full of these. To wit:
    • The Ethereals are aware of alternate timelines and universes, and draw their power from that knowledge to influence their own realities.
    • Summer's arrival on Earth is a direct result of the Ethereal Asaru's influence, transporting her soul to Earth and reforming her body.
    • Carter has been a host to Asaru the entire time.
  • Token Good Teammate: Asaru is all but explicitly called this by Shamash.
  • Trip to the Moon Plot: It wouldn't be a story set in the 60's without one! Just like the game, the last mission takes place on the moon, although thanks to the Bureau's own Flying Saucer, getting there is easy enough. It's what's waiting for them on the moon that's the main threat...including a new enemy that's very familiar to Summer.
  • Trust Password: Invoked by Doctor Weir during the Infiltrator incident in Chapter 11, to defuse the tension and help the present agents identify who is or is not the Infiltrator. One of the first hints of the Infiltrator's identity is when no one questions Penny.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: For all their complaining and grousing about one another, strike teams in the Bureau do seem quite close, avenging their fallen teammates and even hanging out with them while off-duty. Time will tell if they remain True Companions or not.
  • Was It All a Lie?: Of all the people that seem hurt by the Internal Reveal of Summer's alien-ness, William Carter seems the most upset, asking this almost verbatim as he arrests Summer.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Nobody is particularly happy with Carter after he kills Shamash, least of all Dresner.
  • You Wake Up in a Room: How Summer arrives on Earth, thanks to Asaru's influence over reality.