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Fanfic / XCOM: RWBY Within

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"So, do I have to be all unlady-like and ask, or are you going to be a gentleman and offer us the chance to have some fun and kill the little dirtbags?"
Yang Xiao Long

XCOM: RWBY Within is a crossover Fanfic by DrAmishMD, combining universes of Rooster Teeth's RWBY and Firaxis Games' XCOM: Enemy Unknownnote .

On a routine mission, the team RWBY found a mysterious portal to an unknown place. After Yang dashed through it, causing rest of the team to follow her, young Huntresses found themselves in a base of the XCOM unit, a multinational organization protecting the planet from Alien Invasion. Stuck in a different world with seemingly no way of returning home, the team decides to lend their skills to end the war as soon as possible - but without their Aura and with unknown technology surrounding them, it will be much harder than they think...

The fic has a sequel, XCOM: Remnant Unknown, taking place on Remnant after the war. The third (and final Planned) story XCOM: War of the Maidens. was posted on 3/21/2021 13 months after Remnant Unknown was completed.


There's also Tales from the Anthill, a collection of tales which take place in-between various chapters of RWBY Within. It also has Tales from the Avenger which presents various stories set between the chapters of Remnant Unknown. However, these stories aren't written by DrAmishMD but by other authors from his Discord server.

It has also spawned a Recursive Fanfiction that has gained the approval of the original fanfic's author, that is a continuation of Things XCOM Operatives Are No Longer Allowed to Do that can be accessed here, as well as an Alternate Continuity prequel in the form of The Bureau: Summer Declassified, and even an ongoing play-by-post role-playing game, affectionately known as RPGCOM, hosted on a sister Discord server taking place alongside it.


XCOM: RWBY Within contains examples of following tropes:

  • Abnormal Ammo: After given an opportunity to study Dust, Doctor Vahlen manages to invent a new type of Dust that uses Elerium as an essence. The result is a weapon that's capable of reducing both aliens and Grimm into Ludicrous Gibs.
  • Accidentally Correct Writinginvoked: Councilman Bailey thought that Ozpin almost seemed like an older version of the Central Officer (Bradford). That's because he literally is, being Bradford's Alternate Self from Remnant.
    • And even more examples came from this alternate universe realization. Zhang claimed that Ruby was like a daughter to him. Due to Field Commander Durand from Remnant being the first Silver-Eyed Warrior, and having the entire Silver Eyes line trace back directly to her, and Remnant!Annette having married Remnant!Zhang's, he's only off by a few thousands generations.
  • Action Girl: Technically any female XCOM operative, but special mention goes to Annette Durand, whom even the aliens start to regard as pulbic enemy number one. And of course, there's Team RWBY themselves, as well as Nora and Pyrrha when Team JNPR arrives.
  • Alternate Self: two pairs are currently alive. Bradford/Ozpin and Vahlen/Salem.
  • Alternate Universe: Word Of God invoked has stated that the backstory of Remnant will be significantly different from canon in this story
  • Anyone Can Die: Which shouldn't be surprising, considering difficulty of the source material. RWBY's first mission ends with a soldier killed, and it only goes downhill from there.
  • An Arm and a Leg: In addition to having Yang and Blake having their limbs removed and replaced when becoming MEC troopers, Blake also has one of her cybernetic arms cut off by Adam. It barely phases her, and the shock it causes Adam allows her to defeat him.
  • Apocalypse How: In the REMCOM verse, the ethereals detonating a large chunk of Remnant's moon had predictable results when the debris it created impacted planetside. The worst part was that it was the intended result from Remnant!erthereal, as an act of spite.
  • Ascended Meme: During the Battle of Menagerie, XCOM's reinforcements play what they call "XCOM's anthem". It's "X Gonna Give It To Ya" by DMX.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Strike One coming to the rescue near the end of Base Defense, saving Ruby from getting blasted to bits by Sectopod.
    • XCOM does this numerous times during the Battle of Beacon.
  • Blatant Lies: In the sequel, after a bartender points out that the members of team RWBY are all obviously underage, they decide to have Bradford order five drinks. Four of which are "recommended" to him by team RWBY.
  • Book Ends: RWBY Within begins with Yang diving through a portal in hopes of finding her mother. Remnant Unknown ends with Ruby passing through a portal made by Raven in order to reach Yang and the rest of her team.
  • Brought Down to Badass: They might not have access to their Auras or Semblances, but Team RWBY still have their skills and training. Once they get used to wearing proper armor and adapt their individual fighting styles to local weaponry, they go right back to kicking ass. In fact, if anything they get even more badass because now they have to compensate for their lack of Nigh-Invulnerability and various individual superpowers by learning better tactics, which also leads into some Character Development.
  • The Captain: Following Jaune's promotion to Lieutenant, Ruby is promoted to Captain.
  • Colonel Badass: Colonel Shaojie "Chilong" Zhang, who is the only operative able to resist the Ethereal's psychic assault during the England base mission, and successfully defends the labs with a group of rookies during the final Base Defense mission, while still recovering from the wounds said Ethereal gave him.
  • Colony Drop: During the Battle of Beacon, Amity Colosseum ends up being destabilized and put on a crash course collision with the city of Vale. It's only thanks to the efforts of Vahlen, and with Tygan and MacAuley staying onboard Amity, does XCOM manage to divert the path away from the city.
    • And there was an example that couldn't be prevented. First Field Commander Durand failed to stabilize the Temple Ship, which crashed in Germany, causing massive earthquakes. And the Ethereals followed by detonating powerful elerium charges on the Moon in order to take humanity with them, causing large chuncks of it to impact, causing exactly the Apocalypse How scenario one would expect. And in the RWBY Within / Remnant Unknown verse, that is the story behind Remnant's moon.
  • Confess in Confidence: A Lighter and Softer example — In Chapter 6, Blake confesses about being a Faunus to Vahlen. Vahlen herself brings up the Confidentiality, and holds herself to it, not revealing Blake's secret(until she accidentally outs herself in Chapter 9).
  • Cool Airship: The Avenger, a salvaged Atlesian cruiser that Torchwick was on during the Battle of Beacon. XCOM secured it while rescuing the team that was on-board when it crashed, got Ironwood's permission to keep it, repaired and modified it, and are currently using it as the headquarters of the XCOM forces stranded on Remnant.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: Synthetic Dust created with elerium. Weiss realises that XCOM does not possess a way to make more elerium yet, and their current stocks wouldn't be enough to meet the demand on Remnant for an extended period of time.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • The "Aura Run", when RWBY and JNPR were able to devastate the aliens after regaining use of their Auras but before the Grimm showed up.
    • The fight between RWBY and Team ABRN in the sequel, which happens in the appropriately titled chapter "Overpowered".
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Reapers have the ability to use the essence of the Grimm against them, with the idea of "not fearing the shadows" being brought up a lot when this is introduced.
  • Death by Adaptation: During the Battle of Vale, Blake manages to mortally wound Adam.
  • Deployable Cover: Thanks to the engineering expertise of both Ruby and Shen, the Titan Armor is eventually upgraded with a collapsible blast shield that can (barely) withstand the full volley from a mechtoid. MECs get a similar upgrade in the form of Juggernaut plating, which can also shield other operatives.
  • Determinator: Jaune. He quickly realizes how serious the Aura issue is and how dangerous and painful the experiments to find a solution are. He still marches to Vahlen's labs to essentially get tortured in an effort to speed the research. Ultimately, he successfully activates his Aura and gives Vahlen the necessary breakthrough.
  • Detonation Moon: The reason why Remnant's moon is broken? Ethereals placing elerium charges on it, as a plan to take humanity down with themif they failed.
  • Door Stopper: With RWBY Within finishing at nearly 237k words and Remnant Unknown finished at almost 490k words, be prepared to be reading for a while.
  • Double Tap: This becomes a compulsion for Weiss after Site Recon, even if the alien is clearly dead.
    Jaune: Even when your shotgun already blasted a giant hole through its chest?
    Blake: Ouch, even Jaune noticed. That's how you know you're being obvious about it.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: As mentioned in a description, team RWBY can't use their Auras and Semblances on Earth. According to the author, having them curb-stomp everything like they do in a show, "while hilariously awesome for a chapter or two, would not make for a very interesting story in long term." However, later chapters have Vahlen experimenting with various solutions and finally unlocking their Auras.
  • Dramatic Irony:The first hint XCOM gets of the White Fang's presence during the Battle of Beacon is when someone knocks on the door of REMCOM's comms room using the wrong knock (they use the one for shift changes, despite XCOM's standing procedures saying that they don't do shift changes in the middle of an emergency). The first hint the White Fang get that XCOM has tracked down where they are interrogating a captured operative is when someone knocks on the door of the interrogation room, but fails to use the correct knock
  • Drop the Hammer: After applying a little "Remnant magic," the Plasma Dragon gets an upgrade allowing it to transform into a giant hammer. Zhang is particularly fond of using this to fight Berserkers.
    • Later on, after the huntsmen's auras are restored, Nora does not hesitate in using Magnhild in the field again.
  • Emergency Transformation: During events of Site Recon, Blake got gravely wounded by a Chryssalid. Her Aura wasn't strong enough to heal multiple wounds, so Ruby decided that the only way to save her is to amputate her limbs and turn her into MEC Trooper.
  • Everyone Knows Morse: Inverted. After going to great lengths to encrypt and hide a transmission (see Gag Penis), it turned out to be a message in morse code, specifically noted as a "communication protocol that the people of Remnant have never heard of".
  • Fallen Hero: Salem is Dr. Vahlen's Alternate Self, and was just as dedicated to helping mankind before she was corrupted by the Ethereals after being trapped on the crashed Temple Ship.
  • Four-Star Badass: Field Commander Peter Van Doorn, former United Nations official rescued by XCOM who decided to join the team that saved his life. Doubles as Frontline General, since he personally leads Strike One, the most elite team in the organization.
  • Gag Penis: When an XCOM squad separated from the main force in the sequel try to regain contact with the organization, they notice an oddity in the radio patterns. To quote a squad member explaining it to his officer: "It looks like a cock and balls, sir. Centered on the 69 MHz bandwidth". Turned out, another squad has gone dark and tried to pass a secret message that people familiar with a squad member's dick jokes will notice and has even further encrypted the transmission. Upon learning that, the officer asks if the comm specialist can "look for another Johnson".
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: In XCOM: Long War, psychic soldiers cannot be promoted to officers, but here, Annette reached the rank of captain prior to the start of the story, and later reaches the rank of major.
    • The game and the story end up taking pretty different directions once XCOM starts getting Remnant-style tech.
  • Grand Theft Me: The fate of Summer Rose, having been captured and turned into a vessel for an Ethereal, and what Salem plans to do to Ruby and any other Silver-Eyed Warrior she captures.
  • Good Shepherd: While he doesn't actually appear, Vahlen talks to Pyrrha about Pope Francis, and makes it clear that she views him as this. His actions are part of why Vahlen not only doesn't mind helping wash, feed, and exercise the paralysed Pyrrha, but actually looks forward to it, since she feels better knowing she's helping others.
  • Hearing Voices: Throughout Remnant Unknown, Annette hears another voice in her head, giving her advice. Chapter 38 reveals that it is ASARU.
  • Heroic BSoD: Vance's death nearly broke Ruby, causing her to cut herself off from her team and completely disregard her duties. It took JNPR's arrival to knock her out of it.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Contains all three types.
    • Corporal Biggs dies on Strike 8's first mission in order to fire a crucial rocket.
    • The first PennySHIV, Elim "Bolts" Gustavo, and Major Vance all die in order to hold off the Chryssalids on the Site Recon mission.
    • Colonel Zhang dies during the final Base Defense mission after fighting his way from the med bay to the laboratory and organizing a final defense that ends up pushing the aliens back
    • Knowing something is up with Merlot's augmentation program, Winter volunteers to go undercover for Ironwood and undergo Merlot's procedure. She tells Weiss the night before that she knows full well that it may well - likely will - kill her or at least kill her as Weiss knows her and does it anyway. The result is a near-complete death of self to the point of being willing to inflict Merlot's symbiont on Weiss. It's only prevented from actually ending in her death by the combined efforts of Vahlen and the science team, Volunteer Annette Durand, and literal friendly Ethereal Asaru.
    • But while that's happening Merlot pushes XCOM out of his base using an Aura-targeting toxic gas. Realizing that Merlot will go to ground under Salem's protection if he gets away, Beagle hands Blake his dog-tags and goes into the gas(as Earth operatives don't have their Auras unlocked, the gas affects them very slowly)and gets himself captured to bring a bomb right into Merlot's face when XCOM blows up the base. A Reaper also accompanies him, both to help make sure his plan works, and because he felt nobody should die alone.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The Viper settlement on Remnant is this.
  • Hold the Line: XCOM Base Defense mission, with Ruby's team protecting the engineering section and Doctor Shen.
  • Hot Blade: Blake gets a combat knife with a low-power laser in the handle, which heats the blade and allows it to more effectively penetrate armor and hardened skin. note 
    • Later on, an upgrade to the Plasma Pistol allows it to form-shift into one of these, complete with plasma washing over the blade.
  • I Call It "Vera": In addition to team RWBY's normal weapons, Ruby names Zhang's Hand Cannon from when he was in the Triads Aureate Mercy.
    • In the sequel, Durand names her shotgun-sword La Voie et la Volonténote .
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: (almost) each chapter of RWBY Within is named after a long war skill, officer training school perk, achievement from the XCOM game. Names for the sequel episodes, Remnant Unknown, are similarly derived from XCOM2 skills and achievements.
  • I Never Told You My Name: Everyone of import at XCOM knows Weiss's last name despite her never saying it.
  • Innocently Insensitive: When they meet up after the Battle of Beacon, Yang jokes that, just because she's his "princess" now, doesn't mean Jaune has to carry her around like one. She then realises that Pyrrha is actually paralysed and unable to walk.
  • Intergenerational Friendship:
    • Ruby and Shen are close friends, bonding over their love of engineering.
    • Weiss and Vahlen are also close friends, bonding when Weiss helps her deal with her reputation and lack of social skills, with Weiss becoming her closest friend outside of the Command Staff and developing an interest in science and research, and Vahlen being the one who gives Weiss her Nom de Guerre.
  • Internal Reveal:
    • In chapter 9, Blake ends up revealing to the rest of XCOM that she is a faunus.
    • In chapter 9 of Remnant Unknown, Ozpin and Ironwood bring Bradford and Winter in on the Maidens, and the attack on Amber.
    • Chapter 26 of Remnant Unknown sees Bradford reveal the truth behind the "Valean Recon Division" to Ironwood.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Jaune with his undergoing what amounted to torture in order for Vahlen to learn how to allow the Remnants to use their aura.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: Inverted, one XCOM operative comments while treating Pyrrha and Jaune after the Battle of Beacon that he's an engineer, not a doctor.
  • It Never Gets Any Easier: An XCOM operative tells Coco this after the Battle of Beacon, help her deal with the guilt of accidentally causing the fall of Beacon.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In the sequel, Bradford eventually admits that the Council is completely justified in wanting to inspect the Temple Ship in person, and that he has been just as hostile as they are. He agrees to let them inspect the ship in exchange for the Council Spokesman revealing who he is, and both agree to put their disagreements in the past and start trusting each other.
  • Lensman Arms Race: Given the source material, especially the Long War mod, this is far from surprising, but is advanced even further when XCOM reverse engineers Remnant Technology and the aliens start to use the Grimm
  • Like a Son to Me: Zhang tells an Ethereal that he views Ruby this way, right before shooting it several times for mocking her. Given that he has a Gene Mod derived from the team's physiology, it's a little closer than most uses of this trope.
    • It's later revealed that Ruby, like all Silver-Eyed Warriors, are the descendants of Remnant's Annette Durand and Zhang, meaning they are very distantly related.
    • Likewise, Weiss and Dr. Vahlen have an extremely close familial relationship; both explicitly see the other as their adopted mother and their daughter respectively. Which, given what one might generously call canon Schnee family dynamics, which have only gotten worse in REMCOM!Remnant, and that Moira's own home life by her own admission wasn't exactly great, is quite natural.
  • Little Bit Beastly: With her permission, XCOM reverse-engineers Blake's genetics, allowing some soldiers to effectively be turned into Faunus' to gain her enhanced sense of smell and hearing.
  • LOL69: Exploited Trope to send a signal, as described in the Gag Penis entry.
  • Majorly Awesome: Major Xander "Claymore" Vance, a veteran sniper of XCOM and the mentor of the team RWBY - especially Ruby.
    • Major Annette Durand counts as well. Even more so after she has her aura unlocked.
      • And Major Annette Durand got even more Majorly Awesome by bonding with Asaru, and went even more awesome by being the first Silver-Eyed Warrior from both Earth and Remnant, courtesy of a little helping of Alternate Self.
  • Meaningful Name: The codenames of the two XCOM operatives working with Junior are Omerta and Ochoa. Omertà is the name of the Mafia's code of honour and silence, while Ochoa is the family name of the Ochoa brothers, three important founding members of Pablo Escobar's Medellín Cartel.
  • Mini-Mecha: In addition to the MEC suits from the game and the Atlesian mechs from the show, there's Odin, a MEC suit that is specially built to be piloted by XCOM!Penny and Gidjit the friendly Cyberdisk, with the option to also have a normal MEC trooper join in.
  • Monumental Damage: Commander Van Doorn has a Firestorm pilot blow up the Old St. Louis County Courthouse, due to it being the site of the Dred Scott v. Sanford case.
  • Mutually Exclusive Magic: The Reapers' Grimm-essence manipulation requires them to make a choice that damages their souls, preventing them from using aura.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Coco in the sequel, after realizing that she's accidentally fired into the audience and killed people, is barely able to respond, and has trouble using her gun until Jaune steps in and takes it. Continues after the Battle of Beacon is over, where an XCOM operative has to talk to her to keep her from spiraling.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Jaune jokingly asks Vahlen if the chip she's putting in him will "enslave me to your every whim until someone notices and yanks it out twenty years later".
    • During the sequel, the Councilman's last name is revealed to be Baileynote , the leader of his security escort is Jane Kelly, and his scientific advisor is Dr.Richard Tygan.
    • One of the Albatross pilots is Firebrand, the dropship pilot from the sequel
      • As of Chapter 31, she's become the pilot of XCOM's Bullhead, which is acting as their dropship after they got cutoff from Earth.
    • Dr.Shen apparently tried to make an AI sibling to keep Lily company after her mother's death. His name was Julian, and Lily thought he was creepy.
    • Once again, Adam manages to cut off the arm of a member of RWBY. Except this time it's one of Blake's artificial arms, meaning she just keeps fighting and manages defeat Adam while he's still getting over the shock.
    • As of Chapter 27 of Remnant Unknown, XCOM is using a salvaged flying ship taken from someone else as a mobile HQ, and have named it the Avenger. The difference is that, instead of being an alien cargo ship, it's Atlas' downed cruiser.
    • In Chapter 28, during her speech, Cinder says that they are on "The ADVENT of a new tomorrow", with the word ADVENT capitalized (and not italicized, unlike the rest of her speech).
      • Those two chapters, XCOM's situation on Remnant is becoming more and more reminiscent of their situation in XCOM2, though with more allies.
    • In Chapter 31, the Alien Rulers and the Reapers from the Alien Hunters and War of the Chosen DLCs appear. In a twist, the Alien Rulers are actually good guys, and the Reapers are made up of humans they've rescued from Mountain Glenn.
  • Names to Trust Immediately: Implied Trope In-Universe. Central Officer John Bradford and XCOM are this to Ozpin. Which is why normally secretive and paranoid Ozpin trusted XCOM instantly. Even Ozpin implicitly trusts his Alternate Self...
  • Nom de Guerre: Like in the game, RWBY eventually gets nicknames based on their exploits.
    • Ruby: No-Scope, due to her near-impossible sniping precision.
    • Weiss: Elsa, coined by Vahlen as a nicer replacement for her standard "Ice Queen" nickname.
    • Blake: Sabretooth, both after saber-toothed catnote  and the X-Men character.
      • After she becomes a MEC Trooper, MacAuley tries to get people to call her Wolverine, but it doesn't catch on.
    • Yang: BFG, due to her love of explosions.
    • JNPR similarly get their own nicknames eventually after they arrive.
    • Jaune: Dakka, because as gunner, you can never have too much Dakka.
    • Pyrrha: Ares, given her armor's similarity to Greco-Roman armor and her impressive fighting skills.
    • Nora: Hammertime, because her weapon is a hammer.
    • Ren: Shrike, because of his agile fighting style and Stormflower's ability to impale Ren's foes.
  • No Indoor Voice: Gidjit, the friendly cyberdisk, always speaks in all-caps.
  • Noodle Incident: In the sequel fic when Weiss goes to show Winter her progress with her semblance, she summons a small ordinary sparrow. Considering how it's only supposed to summon enemies she's slain...
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: a very subtle example. Ozpin, whom almost always keeps a lot of information secret even from his closest allies, shows unprecedented levels of trust in Bradford and XCOM. This is the first clue he knows much more about them than he lets on...
  • Opposing Combat Philosophies: As Bradford has noted, RWBY and JNPR are completely opposites of one another which he uses to great effect on deployments once they regain their auras.
    • Ruby and Weiss excel at Terror missions where speed is essential which contrasts Jaune and Pyrrha's slow and methodical pushes during Landed UFO missions.
    • Blake and Yang due to being turned into MEC troopers and their own auras and semblances enhancing their new mechanical bodies excel at facing off against the stronger mechanical enemies of XCOM. This is contrasted by Nora and Lie Ren being very adept at facing off against the psionic enemies of XCOM due to their personalities.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Junior in the sequel. He may just be interested in expanding his operations, but he agrees to help Bradford and Vale, realizing that, if Vale doesn't recover, there'll be nobody with enough money to go to his club or buy his goods.
  • Properly Paranoid: Ruby notices that Emerald is acting a bit odd while asking team RWBY who they're sending to the next round, and suspects she may be plotting something. She is correct.
  • Power Incontinence: During Cinder's speech in Chapter 28 of Remnant Unknown, her pretending to be the good guy angers Pyrrha so much that she starts using her semblance. Despite the scene being from Bradford's point-of-view, and him being in a completely different part of the ship, we know this because she starts making the entire Avenger shake, which is followed by Vahlen broadcasting a message across the ship informing everyone that Pyrrha is the cause... while Pyrrha can be heard in the background shouting "YOU BITCH. YOU LYING, FUCKING BITCH"
  • Puppeteer Parasite: Dr. Merlot makes his appearance and implants some sort of Grimm symbiont into many Atlesian Specialists, Winter included. Many organs are flat-out replaced with Grimm analogues, and a control node of some sort is implanted in the neck that can take direct control of the body on command. Even when not in control, the host's thoughts and emotions are extremely warped and hostile.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In the sequel, Ruby gives one to Team ABRN after they say that losing a tournament match to Team RWBY has left them wondering what they're doing with their lives.
    • Annette Durand gives their team lead another speech for sulking about the first one: Feeling humiliated after your team gets a thrashing has nothing on seeing your friends and comrades killed.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Jaune and Pyrrha, after she finds out about his work with Vahlen.
  • Retcon: RWBY Within established that Blake was an orphan who grew up on the streets. Remnant Unknown, and Word Of God invoked, has established that this is no longer true, with Ghira and Kali both being alive, and Blake not growing up on the streets.
  • Sadistic Choice: In Chapter 29 of Remnant Unknown, the Schnee Mansion security has captured the XCOM operatives sent (with her knowledge and permission) to keep an eye on Weiss. With Jacques firmly convinced that XCOM are terrorists, he plans on having them executed. Weiss has to choose between denouncing them and keeping the façade of being the dutiful daughter, or trying to save them and losing any chance of using the SDC's resources to help XCOM. The operatives make the choice for her, deciding to act like she had just been using them to help the SDC, though to fully sell the deception, Weiss is forced to personally execute them, with the operatives telling her in private that it has to be done, and that access to the SDC's resources is more important than their lives.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Most of the team RWBY, to a degree. In the sequel, in addition to both RWBY and JNPR having trouble with being overly brutal, Blake has developed a severe case of PTSD, to the point that Ruby needs to tackle Blake to stop her from killing Reese after she imagines Reese is a Chryssalid during the match with Team ABRN. Ruby herself nearly ends up blowing Cardin's head off when he unexpectedly puts his hand on her shoulder.
    • After accidentally killing numerous civilians and starting the Downfall of Beacon, Coco develops some serious issues, and it's revealed that XCOM's therapist has put her on suicide watch.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When traveling to their first AO, Corporal Biggs jokingly refers to Huntresses as Imperial Guardsmen.
    • Bolts begins his battle with the Greater Hive Queen by coating his Kinetic Strike module in flames and yelling Falcon...
    • Captain Beagle, leader of Strike Five team, is a reference to XCOM Let's Player and streamer Beaglerush. His squad also features sniper nicknamed "3-13", after infamously competent NPC unit from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn.
    • Things XCOM Operatives Are No Longer Allowed to Do are actual part of the fic's universe.
    • Blake's reaction to being turned into a MEC Trooper?
    • Yang once prepares her guns with a grenade-themed variation of the Unlimited Blade Works invocation.
    • During the epilogue:
      • "You expected a gift from RWBY's resident pyro, BUT IT WAS ME, NORA invoked.
      • Beagle says that Jaune is "basically an Assault Marine" after revealing that the XCOM staff had attached modified Archangel jump jets to Jaune's armor as a Christmas present.
      • After receiving her gift, Yang tells Bradford:
    Yang: "As my uncle, Ben once said, with great power comes great responsibility."
    • In the author's notes, Vahlen and Tygan are jokingly referred to as Science Bros.
    • Lily Shen thinks that the huntsman Coco faces in her disastrous match looks like he thinks he's "Remnant's version of Ezio Auditore"
    • Bradford notes that he needs to show the hunters working for XCOM an episode or two of Star Trek, since all the Avenger is missing is people wearing blue, yellow, and red uniform shirts.
    • XCOM, after capturing Roman, start calling him a droog. Unsurprising, considering that Roman is based on Alex de Large.
    • Just before dropping Hammer into Menagerie, Tech Sergeant Ryder tells the team in Menagerie to stand by for titanfall.
    • Bradford's rebuke to Liza Lavender is based off of the interview Shepherd and al-Jilani from Mass Effect 2, specifically the Paragon option.
  • Suicide Watch: Coco is placed on one by her therapist after she lets slip a joking quip revealing her self-loathing regarding the downfall of Beacon.
  • Super Empowering: During Temple Ship assault, RWBY and JNPR unlocked Annette's Aura to give her the strength she needed to prevent ship from blowing up.
  • Sleep Cute: Jaune and Pyrrha, after their argument when she finds out about his work with Vahlen
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Both Penny and Pyrrha end up surviving the Battle of Beacon, however Pyrrha ended up paralyzed from the neck down after the fight with Cinder, and the original Penny is highjacked by Cinder's virus, requiring the intervention of XCOM!Penny to shut her down
    • Torchwick isn't eaten by a Grimm, and survives his fall off the Atlesian cruiser, only to be captured by Taiying.
    • In a more roundabout way, Annette survives what would be her Heroic Sacrifice as the Volunteer (teleporting the collapsing Temple Ship away from Earth) thanks to teams RWBY and JNPR unlocking her Aura and giving her enough power to take control of the ship.
  • Split-Personality Merge: The original plan for XCOM!Penny was for her to be re-uploaded back into the original Penny so she could learn from the memories and experiences of her other self. After the battle of Beacon, the two Pennies decided to stay separated, with XCOM!Penny taking up the name Nichole.
  • Taking You Down With Me: The ethereals are the ones behind Remnant's moon, as a final act of spite for being defeated by Remnant humans.
  • Theme Naming: The XCOM operatives that are sent to Atlas with Weiss all have codenames that come from gods beginning with "O": Odin, Osiris, and Odei.
  • They Would Cut You Up: Subverted. Despite first impressions, Vahlen simply interviews the Huntresses and performs a couple of non-invasive medical tests. Even after discovering Blake is a Faunus, she only implores Blake to give permission to use her genetics, which she does after she gets accidentally “outed” during a mission.
  • There's No Kill Like Overkill: When XCOM realized that the aliens are using corpses to deploy Grimm, Ruby notices that those from the corpses that Weiss Double Tapped tend to come out weaker.
    • Deconstructed in the sequel. During the fight with team ABRN, Weiss decides to make sure that Arslan stays down by hitting her with a Boarbatusk after she had already been beaten down so thoroughly that she was driven to tears. Afterward, when Ruby asks if it was necessary, Weiss admits that it was not, and Ozpin scolds the team for being overly aggressive in a tournament fight.
  • Token Heroic Orc: Gidjit, a Cyberdisk reprogramed and activated by XCOM!Penny, who also acts as one of the pilots for the Odin.
    • Not necessarily token, but the Vipers on Remnant are not only not hostile, but end up becoming allies with XCOM soon after they meet, and were already not hostile to humans and Faunus(so long as they were left alone).
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: The Council acts quite a bit more paranoid and hostile in the sequel, though Bradford eventually admits that they are right about his refusal to let them inspect the Temple Ship being very suspicious, and that he hadn't done much to make the situation better. Eventually, Bradford and the Council agree to work things out, with Bradford agreeing to let them inspect the Ship, and the Council Spokesman agreeing to reveal who he is.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Ruby keeps the dog tags of everyone who has ever died under her command. In the epilogue, she also receives Zhang's personal handgun.
    • All of them are destroyed by Salem in Chapter 44 of Remnant Unknown, in order to get an emotional reaction out of Ruby
  • Trapped in Another World: Several of XCOM's leaders and Operatives are caught on the wrong side of the Hyperwave Relay when Cinder makes her attack on Beacon. Afterwards, they form REMCOM and continue the fight, while XCOM back on Earth finds themselves having to re-research the relay to rediscover how to open it to Remnant.
  • Training from Hell: Jaune's training with Zhang and his experiment sessions with Vahlen, which she describes as torture.
  • Training Montage: Several chapters are devoted to describing the training routines of cast members or research performed by them. Lampshaded in chapter 33, where Bradford officially bans playing several songs used in these montages...
  • Trauma Button: In the sequel, Cardin grabbing Ruby's shoulder from behind causes her to put Aureate Mercy to his throat, as she thinks it was a Seeker.
  • Uncertain Doom: Unlike in RWBY, Torchwick ends up being knocked off the Atlas airship by the XCOM strike team sent to recover it, leaving his fate unknown.
    • Chapter 27 reveals that he survived, and was captured by Taiyang.
    • No one is quite certain if Ozpin is dead or has just been captured.
  • Walking Disaster Area: Captain Beagle, who's an expy of famous XCOM: Long War Let's Player and Shack Tactical alumnus Beaglerush, whose real-life insistence on cranking the difficulty level up to the point where the developers thought it was logically impossible to win and then doing it anyway is famous throughout the playerbase. The author turns this into an in-universe reputation for Beagle as the Strike Team leader who always has seemingly routine missions go spectacularly awry through no fault of his own, yet somehow manages to come through with no worse casualties than average for XCOM.
  • Wham Episode: The entire Site Recon arc. Major Vance dies, Blake has to be turned into MEC Trooper to survive, Yang joins her of her own will, and Ruby falls into Heroic BSoD.
    • Chapter 26 also serves as one, thanks to this line:
    "It's... Grimm, sir. We've got eyes on the Grimm."
    • In the sequel, Chapters 14, 15 and 16. The Councilman appears in person for the first time, Remnant's existence is revealed to him, and he visits it himself. Vahlen discovers the Black Queen just as it causes the shield protecting the arena's audience to drop during the middle of a match, resulting in Coco accidentally firing on the crowd, and Bradford activates the REMCOM Project.
    • Chapter 22 of the sequel concludes with XCOM stranded in Remnant after narrowly holding off the Grimm in the Battle of Beacon.
    • Chapter 23 reveals that Jaune and Pyrrha survived their fall, but she's currently paralysed from the neck down and ends with Ironwood revealing that he examined Penny's data feeds after the fight and learned a bit more about XCOM, who decided to let him in on their secrets.
    • Chapter 28 ends with Cinder turning the CCTS back on, making a speech claiming that she is the good guy, revealing the Maidens are real, denouncing Ozpin, the Hunters, and XCOM, calling the other maidens to join her and her new order, and claiming that they are on the cusp of a new era, the ADVENT of a tomorrow that nobody thought possible. And then Bradford is informed that the citizens of Patch are gathering outside of the landed Avenger...
    • Chapter 30 ends with this line, mirroring the Wham Line in Chapter 26 of RWBY Within:
    "Looks like the signature of a Harvester-class alien ship. Coming from what I'm assuming are the ruins of Mountain Glenn"
    • In Chapter 31, the Alien Rulers and the Remnant version of the Reapers from the Alien Hunters and War of the Chosen DLCs appear. In a twist, the Alien Rulers are actually good guys, and the Reapers are humans and Faunus who live in their colony.
    • Chapter 44/45: Ozpin reveals that:
      • Remnant is an alternate Earth thousands of years in the future
      • He and Salem are that world's version of Bradford and Vahlen, Bradford having become immortal due to research carried out by Vahlen and Vahlen having been slowly corrupted by the Ethereals after having been trapped on the crashed Temple Ship following the destruction of the Moon.
      • The Grimm were the Ethereals last resort.
      • The Ethereals are responsible for shattering the Moon, which would have wiped out mankind if it weren't for Remnant's Annette and Asaru sacrificing themselves to create the Maidens, shielding four pockets of mankind that would go on to become the four Kingdoms.
      • Dust is Elerium that has been allowed to degrade while exposed to another element
      • Salem Vahlen is responsible for humanity having Aura.
      • The Silver-Eyed Warriors are descended from Remnant's Annette and Zhang. They are also the only humans who can act as suitable hosts for the Ethereals.
  • What the Hell Are You?: Adam is stunned after he cuts off one of Blake's arms, only to find out it's a cybernetic. It gives Blake enough time to force him in the path of a collapsing building, and even after it crushes him, the only response he can muster to seeing her calmly pick her severed arm up is "What... what the fuck?".
  • Workaholic: Vahlen. This is the reason why she has a reputation as a mad scientist among the members of XCOM
    Ruby: Dr. Vahlen? I understand the lack of professionalism is unwarranted, but if when you're trying to make a good impression on strangers, maaaaaaaybe you shouldn't lead off with 'Can I please analyze the subjects'.
    • In the sequel, she apparently always carries syringes, even while off-duty on Remnant.

The Recursive Fanfiction continued list of Things XCOM Operatives Are No Longer Allowed To Do contains examples of following tropes: