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Fanfic / XCOM: From The Ashes of Temples

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XCOM: From The Ashes of Temples is a fanfic by Phalanx. The story is a retelling of XCOM: Enemy Unknown's Enemy Within expansion pack storyline. Has a side plot involving the Slingshot and Progeny DLCS with additions of moral dilemmas and character development/backstories for both the canon and OC cast.

It's also supposed to have stuff based on the Long War mod too, but not much of that has been seen yet.

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Examples of tropes in this fanfic:

  • Action Healing Drama: The team medic performs field surgery on a downed VIP in the middle of a terror mission infested with chryssalids at one point.
  • Composite Character: The author combined the character of Annette Durand in with Anna Sing from the council missions.
  • Disney Death: The Russian VIP is attacked by a chryssalid and at first it looks like he's turned into a zombie, but in the next chapter we find out he managed to kill the chryssalid before it planted the parasite.
    • Kotsi falls off from the dam in Deluge and presumed lost. Of course he's not dead.
  • Dirty Old Man: The base doctor apparently admires female XCOM soldiers for more than just their combat skills.
  • Escaped from the Lab: Even if it was for the purpose of saving his life, Dibs didn't react well to waking up in a MELD tank and decides to get the hell out of dodge.
  • Field Promotion: The Commander is killed during Base Defense. The Council is forced to assign Central Officer Bradford as the replacement commander. Everyone including Bradford goes "Oh, Crap!!".
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  • Flashback Echo: Lots and lots of them.
  • How We Got Here: The story starts post-Base Defense with practically half the cast dead, and we find out through a series of flashbacks, discussions and document excerpts how the XCOM and the invasion played out until that point.
  • Jerkass: The chief of XCOM base security is big one who also discriminates against psionics.
    • Apparently he's also something of a Jerkass Woobie, if events in Chapter 17 are anything to go by.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Lt. Pan may be a Jerkass but he has a good point about Annette forcibly linking her mind with other people's without respecting their boundaries.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: The base psychiatrist shows concern over Dib's habit of acquiring stuff that doesn't belong to him.
  • Mistaken for Racist and Sexist: Poor Carlock gets this when he tries to explain why sending women or non-Caucasians for covert ops is a really bad idea. The perfectly valid reason is because EXALT only have white men in their ranks, but his choice of words could have been better.
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  • Mythology Gag: Some of the chapter titles are references to things from canon. For example, "Ain't No Calvary Comin" is an Achievement, while "We Have Ways" is the bonus you get for satellite coverage over all South American nations.
  • Noodle Incident: What happened in the Newfoundland mission.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Chapter 7 has Valdez happily thanking Bradford for letting him back on the field, which allowed him to save the life of the VIP who would have died otherwise. The same VIP he saved had just been sacrificed for the sake of information just hours earlier.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: The plot kicks off with the Council Spokesperson being informed of the death of the XCOM Commander.
  • Post Humous Character: Several. Almost all of the original Strike-One and The Commander were killed in the Base Defense attack, but they still make periodic appearances in the flashbacks of the survivors.
  • Power Incontinence: Dibs seems to have hell a lot more trouble controlling his psionic powers compared to Annette.
  • Properly Paranoid: Central Officer Bradford is portrayed as something of a gun nut with the habit of hiding spare guns all over the place just in case. It turns out to be one reason why he survives Base Defense when others didn't.
  • Running Gag: Valdez getting knocked out cold every single time he is hit by a psionic attack. Poor guy must have a really low Will score.
    • Confirmed in Chapter 18: Valdez's Will score is so low that Bradford takes him off the Strike Team because of the risks he poses to his teammates. Poor dude really is this universe's punching bag.
  • Sadistic Choice: Send a comatose VIP into the alien interrogation chamber to get at crucial information, or let EXALT get away with kidnapping Annette Durand?
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Most of the troops. Kinda expected, this being XCOM.
  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: Bradford gets hit hard by The Chains of Commanding and starts making more and more ruthless decisions in his desperation to keep XCOM running. Even Vahlen calls him out on it.
  • Sole Survivor: A repeating theme in the story. Valdez is the sole survivor of the tutorial mission. Kim is the sole survivor of Base Defense.
  • Subordinate Excuse: Valdez towards Captain Kim:
    Valdez: "I don't care about rank, as long as you don't drop me from your squad."
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: When Bradford finds out that Pan is actually the previous Commander's nephew, Pan immediately denies that he got any special treatment because of it. Hm...
  • Team Killer: Tragically, Valdez is treated as one after he was mindcontrolled by a Sectoid Commander into killing his squadmates.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Zhang, who uses his triad interrogation skills on Senator Thorne so the others won't have to get their hands dirty.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Carlock apparently single-handedly rescued Annette Durand before both were recaptured by EXALT in the events of Portent. No elaboration on this is given other than a few lines in a briefing by Bradford.
  • No-Sell: Laser weapons don't work on Berserkers, thanks to the aliens improving their armor.
  • What The Hell, Durand?: Annette's indiscriminate use of psionics gets called out on Chapter 19.
  • Unwitting Test Subject: Let's test gene-mods on the brain-dead soldier, Dr Vahlen. I'm sure that won't backfire at all.
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