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Fanfic / Things XCOM Operatives Are No Longer Allowed to Do

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XCOM: An organization that is made of up of the best and the brightest to be the first, and last, line of defense against the alien threat. Their soldiers are the best of the best that Earth's militaries can offer, their engineers and scientist are award winni-

...Why are they trying to teach a SHIV how to play fetch? Why are there sectoid heads in the toilets?!

Welcome to the reality that is the XCOM project, where stupidity is considered a challenge. The full approved list can be seen here.


A second List has been started on Sufficient Velocity, this time for XCOM 2. It can be found here.

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This list provides examples of:

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    Tropes from Part 1 
  • All Anime Is Naughty Tentacles:
    167. Seeing a squadmate being strangled by a Seeker should draw retaliatory fire, not comments of ‘I’ve seen enough anime to know where this is going’.
    22. Stop asking the Japanese rookies if they enjoy the Seekers.
  • Badass Boast
    78b. X-COM's motto is not ‘if it bleeds, we can kill it’. There’s no need to restrict ourselves.
  • BFG:
    151. Dr. Shen is forbidden from making anything man portable which has a barrel large enough to fit his head.
  • Bee Bee Gun:
    127. Bee grenades are not in development, nor viable as weapons, so stop asking for them.
    127a. Even if Sgt. [REDACTED] killed an Ethereal by throwing a beehive at it.
    127b. Bee grenades are now being tested, volunteers please report to RnD.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed / Buxom Is Better:
    20. No, the science team will not use MELD to make it/them bigger.
  • Bothering by the Book: interestingly used by the high command to cut down on troopers idiocy regarding MEC Troopers and their use of Fastball Special.
    24c. MEC Troopers claiming that S.H.I.V. units are able to volunteer or communicate are to report to Medical immediately.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Not if the Commander has anything to say about it.
    68. MEC Troopers are discouraged from shouting "Go go gadget..." just before using MEC equipment.
    68a. Stop calling your attacks. Intel is unsure if the invaders understand our language or not.
  • Catapult to Glory:
    118. In the rare event that operatives are able to get a hold of a Seeker, they are not to use its elastic properties to launch a S.H.I.V. or another operative at the enemy.
    162. Raven pilots, engineers and MEC Troopers; stop trying to figure out a way to use a rocket-propelled MECT as an UFO intercept weapon.
  • Chainsaw Good:
    65. MEC Troopers, please stop requesting Dr. Shen for additional chainsaws to be placed on a MEC's primary weapon, elbows, fingers, knees, feet, knuckles, head, crotch or in single/multi shot rocket tubes.
    65a. Skyrangers do not need chainsaws anywhere.
    65b. Hover S.H.I.V. Chainsaw variants? No.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Most of the items detail shenanigans so insane they actually worked. In rare occasions, the rule is reviewed following an astounding success or consistent effectiveness.
  • Crowbar Combatant: Defied.
    88. Crowbars are indeed issued to X-COM operatives, but for the purposes of breaching doors and prying out obstacles, not as melee weapons.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Command seems quite fed up with X-COM personnel's antics. And their aim.
    88b. The fact that you've killed three times as many Mutons with your knife as you have with your rifle means that you're a bad shot, not that you're a good knife fighter. (88 is a disapproval on using tools not meant for combat as a melee weapon, like crowbars; 88a is a note that things like combat knives can be requisitioned as a last resort.)
    146. No, there is no ‘bring your daughter to work day’. No matter how cute she is, Major [REDACTED].
    146a. Even if she’s a better shot than half our rookies.
  • Death Course:
    143. Despite the recent attack by invader forces, Engineering staff are to stop filling our base with enough booby traps to make it look like a Death Course. This includes: buzzsaws coming from the walls, laser grids, descending ceilings, pitfall traps, embedded wall mounted plasma pistols, poison dart launchers, giant rolling balls and floors mined with pressure plates, walls made of spare MEC arms to grab victims, spiked elevator floors/roofs and covering the entire air vent floor with mouse traps.
    143a. Especially if the hallways stop resembling Temple of Doom and start resembling a Japanese game show.
  • Destructive Savior: XCOM tries their best not to add to the damage the aliens have already caused, however, their operatives get a bit creative.
    157. While yes, cars and other vehicles do explode when sufficiently riddled by plasma fire, this does not mean that Operatives -MECs especially- are to use them as substitute hand grenades when out on the field.
    157a. This includes using suppressive fire to force the aliens to take cover behind cars. We appreciate tactical application of your environment. We do not endorse mass collateral damage.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    34. Calling in an artillery strike on a populated residential area infested with Chryssalids is regrettable, but acceptable. Calling in an artillery strike on your ex-wife’s car is a waste of resources.
    34a. MEC Troopers reporting ‘Kinetic Strike Module Malfunctions’ around property belonging to ex-spouses are to report to the MEC bay immediately. We have therapists for this sort of thing.
  • Distracted by the Sexy:
    26a. Projecting porn onto the wall and playing 80s music worked on EXALT Operatives ONCE. Do not attempt it again.
  • Exact Words: Several addendum are the apparent result of X-COM personnel trying to Rules Lawyer their way around new standing orders in order to continue to goof off. Example:
    57a. This also includes putting on two right feet or two right hands. Operatives are reminded that they are professionals fighting a war, and should be ready for combat at the drop of a hat.
    57b. This does not mean that the new ‘standby’ alarm is a dropping hat.
  • Fastball Special:
    24. MEC Troopers are advised to stop throwing other Operatives and S.H.I.V. units, regardless of the tactic’s effectiveness.
  • Fusion Dance:
    51b. Similarly, Psi soldiers cannot meld into an ultimate form by simultaneously using mind fray on each other... Please stop.
  • Hearing Voices: Well, not really, but Exploited Trope as a way of Bothering by the Book to cut down on trooper idiocy regarding the Fastball Special entry:
    24c. MEC Troopers claiming that S.H.I.V. units are able to volunteer or communicate are to report to Medical immediately.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: Frequently, rules violations and circumventions are punished in an appropriate manner:
    39. "Shoot it in the face" is valid advice on the subject of engaging a Muton. “Nipple cripple it for massive damage” is not. Stupidity does not come under 'acceptable losses' of our recruits.
    39a. It works, I swear!
    39b. Doctor Vahlen has a Berserker live capture. She’s looking forward to the demonstration. Captain [REDACTED], please report to the Interrogation Chamber.
  • Impossible Thief: The only explanation for this.
    14b. As funny as it was, no replacing Berserker combat drugs with recreational drugs.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Several of the more mild admonishments to veterans, such as:
    55. Removing a MEC Trooper’s arms and declaring them ‘armless’ will be punishable by a severe summary kicking.
    55a. Similarly, ending an argument by removing a MEC Trooper’s legs and declaring that they have no argument to stand on is prohibited.
    122a. Cease referring to operatives who take (orders to stop worshiping the Commander) seriously and leave the Commander-centric pseudo-religion as having been 'X-COMmunicated'.
  • Intimidating Revenue Service: Lampshaded in the Long List of things operatives can't claim to be in public - the I.R.S. back taxes retrieval committee.
  • Leitmotif:
    11. No playing inappropriate music when senior staff walks in. This includes (but is not limited to):
    The Imperial March with Bradford. The 24 Chimes. Hell March. Anything related to X-Files, Doctor Who, Torchwood
  • Long List: Rule 58, aka 'the list of things X-COM is not allowed to claim to be'. The following is most of the full list:
    Lost aliens
    Space Hippies
    Space Indians
    Injustice League
    Girl Scouts (even if you bring back cookies)
    Zombie Emergency Response Operations
    I.R.S. back-taxes retrieval committee
    Society for Creative Anachronism
    the plumbers
    Jehovah's Witnesses
    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons)
    The Church of Scientology
    Robin Hood’s Band of Merry Men
  • Memetic Badass: The Commander, in-universe.
    92.The Commander does not fistfight with Berserkers for his morning exercise routine.
    119. Personnel are to stop worshipping the Commander as if he were some god of war. Please refer to him as 'Commander' or 'Sir'. Not as 'Master Commander', 'the Man with the Plan' or 'the Great Commandy One'.
    • Annette too:
    133a. Despite her claims otherwise, this does not mean that she is a demi-goddess.
    133ai. Even if her psionics theoretically put her in that ‘power level’.
  • Memetic Psychopath: Dr. Vahlen, also in-universe.
    Addendum to 8note : The next person to do so will be placed in the Interrogation Chamber. - Dr. M.V. MD
    8a. This does not suggest that Dr. Vahlen is a sadist.
    8b. Stop requesting Dr. Vahlen to ‘break out the leather and the whip already’.
    90. Yes, Dr. Vahlen was laughing last night. This was because of an anecdotal joke told to her, and not because she was practicing ‘her super villainess thing’.
    • Though, admittedly, it isn't like she goes out of her way to dissuade such talk.
    105. To whoever delivered 5 meters of 2cm wide red silk ribbon to Dr. Vahlen’s office with attached note ‘Have fun’, the answer is ‘yes, Mutons can be strangled by red string’. Thank you for your contribution to progressing our understanding of alien physiology.
  • Mundane Utility: Frowned upon by Command.
    18. Operatives are to stop cooking bacon on the heat sinks of plasma weapons.
    73. The Skyranger is a top secret, cutting edge, incredibly agile, supersonic troop transport capable of getting X-COM Operatives anywhere within the globe in a matter of hours. Stop requesting its deployment for the sake of ‘real’ Chinese food.
  • Music to Invade Poland To: Lampshaded in Rule 11
    11b. ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ is relatively unknown in Vietnam. Get over it, nobody there will get the joke.
  • Musical Episode: XCOM Personnel attempted to make a musical out of their experiences, unfortunately due to rule 70...
    70. The performance of 'X-COM: The Musical' will be postponed until AFTER the Invasion.
    • Then it's brought up again in rule 142.
    142. Base personnel are to stop randomly breaking out into song while on duty.
  • "No. Just... No" Reaction: Happens fairly often.
    2. Snorting or otherwise ingesting powdered Sectoid DOES NOT grant psychic powers.
    2e. With the recent discovery of Elerium; no. Just… no.
  • Noodle Incident: Many entries qualify since in general only the reactions (i.e., the order listed) are listed. One in particular, though, is more baffling than most:
    66. While creative and useful use of duct tape is encouraged among staff and operatives, cruel and immoral use of duct tape is forbidden.
    66a. Put it this way: even Vahlen was disgusted. Stop it.
  • Not So Above It All: Apparently, the Commander gets special privileges.
    42. The alien entertainment system recovered during the Alien Base Raid is still an alien artifact and should be treated as such, rather than a video game system.
    42b. Beating the Commander’s high score (Tag CMDR) is prohibited.
  • Only Sane Man: With all the implied craziness, the two sanest people left in XCOM are pretty much Bradford and ex-triad member Shaojie Zhang (from the Slingshot DLC). But who is saner?
    166. Stop trying to rope Major Zhang and Central Officer Bradford into a 'X-COM's Sanest' competition.
    166a. Especially if most of the ideas were taken from Japanese game shows.
    166b. Or Fear Factor/American Gladiator.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: a particularly egregious example was Annette on the covert mission:
    152. Due to the incident after OPERATION: PURPLE TEARS, Captain Annette Durand is hereby banned from participating in any Covert Operations. The British government requested our presence thinking it was a Terror attack, and afterwards our counter-intelligence division requested captured materials that they could process without needing to resort to electron microscopes.
  • Power Perversion Potential: All over the place, naturally.
    48. Stop harassing Psi Operatives for mind sex.
    48a. Psi Operatives are to stop offering mind sex. You can’t do it.
    48b. Just because Vahlen says you can’t, doesn’t mean that she’s tried.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: On rare occasions, Command will modify standing orders if someone can prove it can actually be useful despite its ludicrousness.
    38. While fedoras are acceptable for casual attire, all X-COM operatives (MEC Troopers included) are reminded that it is off duty attire. Standard issue helmets can be found in the armory.
    38b. This order is now rescinded following the success of OPERATION: Nice Hat.
    38c. I can’t believe that worked. - Dr. Shen (Of course, d and e go back to admonishing the personnel.)
  • Reality Ensues:
    49. MEC Troopers are hereby exempt from morning PT. We’re getting earthquake warnings whenever you guys pass by the sensor stations.
  • Redshirt: Many rules try to counteract the 'disposable' attitude XCOM veterans have towards rookie operatives. Rules telling veterans to not scare rookies, not haze rookies, and not get them killed or injured purpose are something of a Running Gag in this list.
    4. Stop referring to the base security personnel and rookies as ‘cannon fodder’, ‘D-Class’ and/or ‘redshirts’. This is negatively affecting morale.
    4a. Personnel caught in violation of this order will be issued one red shirt one size too small, and be required to wear it for the next 24 hours. They are also considered off the combat roster.
    4b. Rookies are not to be called ‘Tactical Ablative Armor’. Calling them ‘Taa-taas’ is also frowned upon, whether they know the meaning of the acronym or not.
    22b. Stop using Rookies as any kind of bait. This includes pushing them out the back of a Skyranger when infiltrating an AO to check for ambushes.
    27. Stop telling the rookies that EXALT operatives keep ‘Fun Time Syringes’ on them.
    78. Our motto here at X-COM is 'Vigilo Confido', not 'rookies first'.
    80. Stop feeding the rookies caviar and then 'accidentally' dropping an empty sample canister marked 'Chryssalid Eggs'.
    102. Rookies are advised that MEC Troopers do not have pain receptors on their hands. Therefore, if they offer you a glowing piece of metal, refuse.
    122. Attempting to induct rookies into this new religion (dubbed ‘Commanderism’) is forbidden. Especially if the initiation rite involves their paycheck, a rubber chicken, an ARC Thrower, or any combination thereof.
    129. The practice of Malicious Charity is prohibited, namely giving three wounded rookies two medikits.
    134. Rookies are measured for armor during induction, not coffins. Stop telling them otherwise.
    134a. ‘We don’t measure you for coffins because there usually isn’t enough left to bury’ is not a viable alternative, either.
    138. Stop wandering around base, drawing chalk outlines around the hallways and telling the rookies ‘I’m trying to remember where they all died’. It’s bad for morale, and we know that nobody died in that hallway.
    138c. We’ve actually had to treat rookies for PTSD before they’ve even gone on a single combat mission. Stop it.
    140. Stop leaving rookies behind after mission clear. That is all.
    140a. Stop leaving rookies behind BEFORE mission clear. Even if it’s ‘just a sectoid’.
    145. Sgt. [REDACTED] is now banned from making any more of his ‘World Famous Rookie Smoothie’.
    145a. Despite his claims to the contrary, Rookie Smoothie does not actually contain Rookies.
    145b. Nor their tears.
  • Reference Overdosed: There is an actual rule (For the rulemakers, not XCOM personnel) stating not to make rules that rely on references to be humorous; nonetheless many entries make pop culture references as extra treats to those who already know about them. Subverted in rule 58 - it's nothing but references to different organizations in media.
    • Which still keeps in with 'Rule 0', as it can be funny no matter what names are on the list.
  • Rescue Romance:
    158. Operatives are to stop luring Chryssalids, Mutons and zombies towards hiding civilians just to make ‘a last second save’ and try to get a date/get laid.
  • Shipper on Deck: X-COM personnel love to claim the Commander and Dr. Vahlen are an item.
    91. Rumors of a relationship between the Commander and Dr. Vahlen should stay as that: rumors. (Someone apparently left a fanfic textfile on the network.)
  • Taxidermy Is Creepy:
    104. X-COM Personnel with a background in animatronics and taxidermy are greatly discouraged to putting their past skills to use with alien corpses and janitorial closets.
    104a. Especially bathroom stalls. Some people would like their personal emergencies to run smoothly, not suddenly.
  • There Was a Door:
    46. Attention, MELD-enhanced X-COM Operatives: doors are still a thing. Please use them.
  • Throne Made of X:
    163. Stop trying to replace the Commander's seat in the Geoscape with 'a throne more befitting a being of his station'. Thrones and other chairs made of swords, bones, skulls, teddy bears, gold, 'hard light', women/men (be they volunteers or not) and/or alien alloys are forbidden.
    163a. Most of them are not very comfortable anyway.

    Tropes from Part 2 
  • All Anime Is Naughty Tentacles:
    18a. The appropriate reaction if a Viper is trying to constrain you is to request the help of your fellow operatives, not saying "I've seen enough hentai to know where this is going..."
    18b. Nor is "Porn Now!"
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Just about everything related to the Vipers.
    26. When fighting Vipers, please refrain from calling them 'snek' and being distracted by their new armor.
    39a. Should a captive Viper offer to show you her "native dance", the correct response is to contact the appropriate staff immediately, not "Where's my camera?!".
    39b. Even if it's in HD.
    • Attempting to invoke this is also prohibited
    41. Shouting "Hey baby I'll show you my python." to a viper in an attempt to distract them does not work. Dropping your pants after may confuse them, but majorly hampers your mobility once the viper calls for reinforcement.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    1a. To the entirety of Strike-1: no, you may not build a giant Terrarium to keep the captured viper as a pet. Whilst they are the enemy, the vipers remain a sentient species, and keeping them imprisoned in a cage and treating them like a pet is probably a war crime.
    1b: Just because your poll said it would be popular doesn't make it any more okay.
    1c: Even if the snake lady agrees to it.
    1d: Even if she promises to dance for entertainment.
    34a. Alien prisoners are not sex slaves, the attempt will be it's own punishment.
    34b. The same goes for our female operatives.
  • Memetic Badass: The Commander, like before.
    28. The reason why we lost the invasion is not because the "Great Commandy One wanted an actual challenge.", we were completely overrun.
    42c. The Commander does not take a shot of viper venom in the morning to wake up.
  • Not So Above It All: The commander retains the same special privileges as before.
    1e: The Commander has issued a new rule that the Terrarium may be built, so long as it is built in his office.
  • Shed Armor, Gain Speed:
    7a. While stealth in now an integral component of some operations, Operatives are not allowed to leave behind necessary XCOM gear in an attempt to gain more stealth.
  • Shout-Out:
    2a: While it was funny the first time, wearing Viper heads over your helmet and shouting 'COOOOOOBRA!' Is now prohibited.
    2b: No, just because the Commander did it too, it does not make him the 'Cobra Commander'.
    2c: No. Just because we are not COBRA does not automatically make us G.I. JOE. We're all adults here people, show some professionalism.
    2d: While humorous, Cobra Commander is not a effective call sign for any reptilian enemy.
    5. Yes, the Avenger is technically a looted ship. No, that does not make us 'Freeboota Orks', nor does it make the engineers 'Mekboyz'.
    8a. Whomever is responsible for hacking Corproral [REDACTED]'s Gremlin so that it started playing Mission Impossible music during the last infiltration mission: Please report to the Commander's office immediately for disciplinary measure.
    8b. Or don't. The Commander says it's been a while since he's practiced his own stealth techniques, and he could use the practice.
    17. Dumping Viper Corpses out of one of the Avenger's airlocks while expressing that you have "had it with these motherfucking snakes" will result in immediate disciplinary action and can be grounds for termination. Those bodies are valuable research materials, people.
  • Stock Ninja Weaponry:
    7b. Kunai, shurikens, and katanas are not necessary XCOM gear.
    7c. Neither are black robes and masks.
  • Sword Drag:
    29. Yes the swords are cool, but refrain from charging in the open with the sword skidding on the ground.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works:
    22. Throwing the weapon of a downed ADVENT soldier to try and kill another one worked ONCE, do not attempt to repeat this.

Alternative Title(s): Things XCOM Operatives Are No Longer Allowed To Do


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