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XCOM: The Hades Contingency is a XCOM: Enemy Unknown fanfic series by Xabiar. It is based on Enemy Within with XCOM: Long War content and some XCOM 2 elements.

In a world similar to our own, the War on Terror escalated into a massive global conflict and was won under the direction of a CIA operative known only as "The Commander". In doing so he committed many war crimes and killed millions, and in time was captured and sentenced to hang alongside his soldiers.

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Or so the world believes. In reality, a secret society within the UN called the Council of Nations faked his death and had him imprisoned as a trump card for the day where they faced an enemy that left them with no alternative but to use him again. With the alien invasion, the time is now for him to take command of the XCOM Project and defend humanity. However, there are those with the Council who are bent on sabotaging him no matter the consequences, and in the shadows the Ancient Conspiracy known only as EXALT spins plots to serve sinister ends.

The Hades Contingency ended with the mostly successful execution of Operation Gangplank, the downing of the alien battleship; it continues in The Atlas Protocol.

The Atlas Protocol in turn has also been completed after the Base Defence and the independence of XCOM from the Council of Nations; it continues in The Advent Directive.

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There exists a series of supplemental documents, including:

Note: Each successive story contains Late Arrival Spoilers for those before it and the tropes of each will be listed in their own sections.

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These fanfictions contain examples of the following:

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    General Tropes 
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • EXALT gets a lot more development than in canon.
    • Psionic powers are used in many more diverse ways than what you can get in the game.
    • In the Alien Base attack in chapter 31 of The Atlas Protocol, we get a much more detailed and horrifying look at the experiments the aliens are conducting on mankind.
  • Anyone Can Die: Just like in the game. A moment's carelessness or unluckiness on the part of a soldier can mean someone's death, even if that character's been around for a while.
  • Bad Dreams: The Commander is plagued by nightmares of his late comrades accusing him of letting them die.
  • Black and Gray Morality: On one hand, we have the Commander: Willing to perform war crimes on a regular basis, has no qualms about breaking international law to suit his own needs, and obliterated the religion of Islam. On the other, we have the Aliens. Pick a side.
  • Blue and Orange Morality:
    • The Alien agenda is discussed multiple times among the Commander and his Internal Council. In fact, the Alien speaker literally spells out (albeit cryptically) the objective of the Aliens in the Commander's dream but no one is able to comprehend that an interstellar Alien civilization probably cares little for human political goals such as territory, technology, or manpower. Or why peaceful assimilation is not an option. This is not helped by the fact that the Commander essentially always ends the discussion with: What they want doesn't matter, they are trying to kill/conquer us and so we must fight back.
    • Likewise, the Commander (and his Internal Council) cannot fathom WHY the Aliens would give such absurdly vital information as their language (and thus the encryption key to most of their systems) to their enemy seemingly for free.
  • Canon Welding: Very stealthily done with Mass Effect.
  • Dark Fic: Slaughter and atrocities abound, far beyond even the worst elements of canon XCOM.
  • Elite Army: Deconstructed. Despite their individual ability, XCOM's small numbers means that every time they've had to retreat, it was because they were getting overwhelmed by numbers after failing to score a decisive blow early on. By the time of The Advent Directive, they've begun to truly fill this role and stand equal or above most alien units.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: A theme throughout the entire work is that those who disregard moral concerns are much more effective than those who do not, among both humans and aliens.

    The Hades Contingency 
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • The Commander has Zhang set up an intelligence division for XCOM, with large parts of chapters in both this and Atlas Protocol devoted to their actions.
    • Thin men are actually used in their intended role of alien infiltrators, rather than merely being combat units.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Archer-class MECs are renamed Ballistas here.
  • Asshole Victim: The Saudi Arabian soldiers in chapter 28 that attack XCOM for not surrendering even after the squad try to peacefully talk things out and walk away. When they get slaughtered by alien reinforcements, no one sheds any tears.
  • Consummate Professional: The Male Council Speaker is always objective and neutral in his interactions with others, including the Commander. The same cannot be said of the Female Speaker.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The Commander develops a lot of contingencies for things like betrayal, hostile human forces, countries joining the aliens etc.
  • Darker and Edgier: And HOW! In large part due to Adaptation Expansion and Reality Ensues regarding a full-scale alien invasion, but many factors are also changed regarding the running of XCOM to make it much more morally gray.
    • The world presented here is also much bleaker than that presented in the video game. For starters, the War on Terror has escalated to a full-blown hot conflict, and the entire religion of Islam (along with most of Saudi Arabia) has been completely wiped off the map by its end.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: One to XCOM 2. Dr Shen asks if he can have Lily stay in the base.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Several things like the Gameplay and Story Integration or the mysterious silent sniper disappear from mention after a while.
    • It is revealed in Ch. 26 that the mysterious sniper is, in fact, the Commander who has been going on missions to evaluate field ops and personally contribute.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Commander is always referred to as such, with his real name never given.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • The Commander is even more disgusted with the UN for wanting to have Zhang Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves after defecting from the Triads with the alien artefact.
    • He also finds the aliens' targeting of civilians simply for its own sake abhorrent. While he wasn't above doing so himself, it was always either in order to achieve a military objective or their unfortunately being collateral damage.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Gameplay mechanics like percentage to hit indicators or cover indicators are the result of an augmented reality heads-up display in XCOM's helmets. These elements are later dropped from the story entirely.
  • Gilded Cage: The Commander first appears while in one, granted by the UN after faking his death.
  • Godzilla Threshold: It's explained that the Council would not have given the Commander the reins to XCOM if they didn't think the situation was desperate enough to need him over someone who might be even better strategically but wasn't willing to go as far.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The main reason why the Commander was so loathed was because he was willing to use the same terror tactics the terrorists were using right back on them and theirs.
  • Hidden Villain: The Ethereals, like in canon. Not knowing about them, most of XCOM speculate incorrectly that the sectoids are the masters of the aliens.
  • Idiot Ball: In his Bad Dreams, the Commander's dead subordinates accuse him of picking this up, telling him that after having railed against the UN for being untrustworthy for so long, he was a fool to expect them to honour his Take Me Instead plea.
  • It's Personal: Mira is one of the few people to unreservedly approve of the Commander's past actions due to her family and her being on the receiving end of the Caliphate's twisted atrocities.
  • King Incognito: Technically Hitler Incognito. The Commander actually being that Commander is hidden to almost everyone outside the Council, with him explaining the similarities in method to anyone who asks as himself being a subordinate of the Commander who defected after he went too far. In a more straight example, the silent Sniper who joins the squad on several critical missions is actually the Commander himself.
  • Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering:
    • Instead of wholeheartedly supporting an alien combat force like in the video game and only backing out when said combat force does not perform up to expectation, the UN is cleanly divided into two camps from the start: one that tolerates the Commander, and one that wants him gone. The Commander rightfully points out that the Council put him in charge of XCOM, but seems to second guess his decisions at every turn. He is planning to make XCOM independent of their funding in time.
    • The Commander himself has to be careful about which countries to sell alien tech to on the grey market instead of a universal pool in the game.
  • Operation: [Blank]: The random operation names are still here from canon, with the Commander snarking at some of the more bizarre or lame ones.
  • The Omni Scient Council Of Vagueness: The Council, just like in the video game. UNLIKE the video game, the Commander immediately (and rather successfully) attempts to figure out as much as possible on who is running the Council and how it works.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Unlike in canon, the Council are not a united front, and the Commander has to play political games as well instead of being able to focus solely on fighting the aliens.
    • The Commander doesn't micromanage squads in the field from the base like in the game, leaving leadership to the squad overseers. If he needs to assume direct control, he has to deploy alongside the troops personally.
  • Shout-Out: A sniper named Mordecai.
  • Take Me Instead: After winning the War on Terror, the Commander offered himself up to the UN in exchange for the freedom of his men. They took him, then proceeded to capture and execute his men anyway, adding yet another entry to the list of grievances he has against them.
  • Title Drop: The Hades Contingency - a plan to retake nations that switch to the alien fold by false flag terror attacks and assassinating their leadership.
  • The Unfettered: There were very few lines the Commander was unwilling to cross in order to win the War on Terror, and retains this attitude in the alien war.

    The Atlas Protocol 
  • Abusive Parents: Chapter 35 reveals that Creed had an abusive mother who would cut his younger brother for any offense.
  • Adaptational Badass: Ethereals were worthy endgame foes in canon, but still very much beatable if you knew what you were doing. Here, their powers are very much on display and they are the stuff of nightmares.
  • Anyone Can Die: Oh boy... Even Mission Control is not safe now. Bradford and Van Doorn of all people are killed in the Base Assault.
  • Badass Teacher: Chapter 20 reveals that before Ruth formally joined the Kidon, she was a teacher who used her position to spy on the parents of her students who had criminal connections.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: EXALT wants to rule the world? The Commander gives it to them via Advent... For the low, low price of having to come out of the shadows.
  • Body Horror:
    • The results of the failed MELD experiments are... not pretty, to say the least.
    • In chapter 31 we see the grotesque results of the experiments the aliens have been conducting on human captives.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Early on, after Myra gets turned into a MEC Trooper, Patricia notes that she's nearly invisible to psionic detection now. In chapter 36, this allows her to surprise the Ravaged One.
  • Dirty Business: Abby hates some of the extremes she has to go to in her intelligence work.
  • Don't Make Me Destroy You: In chapter 35 the Chronicler gives Cerian and team a final warning when they break into his apartment.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • The Fictional Document at the end of chapter 13 says that no documented evidence exists of a perfected third generation thin man. The Advent speaker presumably is one. And so is "Soran", as chapter 30 reveals.
    • In chapter 17, the Commander expresses the hope that EXALT didn't extract information from his previous subordinates and declares his intention to avenge them. Earlier in the story, it was revealed that EXALT did just that, but not in the way he was probably expecting.
    • In chapter 20, one of Cerian's operatives wonders why Russia hasn't approached the Commander to directly ally with XCOM, not knowing that just that happened a few chapters back.
    • In chapter 43, Patricia remarks that only XCOM and the aliens have psionics, unaware that the Chronicler is one. The Commander makes the same mistake in chapter 46.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • Lily makes her onscreen appearance after having been foreshadowed in the previous story.
    • The representative the aliens send to EXALT is the ADVENT Speaker. Well, technically without the ADVENT part.
    • One of the projects Shen suggests in chapter 9 is the EXO Suit.
    • Tygan gets mentioned by EXALT as a potential recruit in chapter 10 and appears onscreen in chapter 18.
    • Israel is working on Magnetic Weapons, armour that uses alien alloys, and has a plan name that translates as "Advent". Gee, that doesn't sound familiar at all...
    • And on top of that North Korea is also making armor from alien alloys. Specifically, Advent Trooper and Advent Officer armor.
    • In chapter 41, it is mentioned that America has started work on humanoid autonomous robots inspired by MECs.
    • Andromedons appear in chapter 42.
  • Enemy Mine; In chapter 45, XCOM and EXALT forces attack the alien base in the Arctic.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: When the talk of using Chryssalids comes up in chapter 14, some members of EXALT are disturbed by it.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Advent Speaker is this to the Council Speakers, being the link between EXALT and the aliens. He even ends their communications off with the same "We will be watching" catchphrase.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: EXALT believes that they can manipulate and betray the alien invaders the same as they can human groups. This is decisively not the case.
  • False Reassurance: In chapter 35, Abby and Jochern offer to "take care" of a captive.
  • Gambit Pileup: In chapter 3, the Council sets up a counterintelligence group of its own to look for dirt on the Commander and XCOM, and later it's revealed that certain persons of interest to them are actually EXALT operatives.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain:
    • The mysterious alien who nicknames itself "Aegis" has been feeding the Commander information in his dreams for reasons only it knows.
    • As we learn more about the Chronicler, it becomes quickly apparent that we don't know what his endgame is, and it may not even fully align with his EXALT masters. In his last appearance as of this instalment, he psionically manipulates Cerian's team and XCOM into attacking each other, with the end result of further intensifying XCOM's mistrust of the UN... but to what true end remains unknown.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Overlaps with Genre Blindness. Cerian, a mysterious man who can effortlessly (and impossibly) guess your every move, has demonstrated freaky mind-powers beyond your comprehension and has let you and your team go multiple times despite clearly demonstrating an ability to wipe you out with no evidence at any time, and your best idea is to try and assassinate him?.
    • The Council of Nations suffers this big-time. Lampshaded by the Commander just before he kills them. Nobody in their sane minds would believe that a war criminal with a serious grudge against them and absolutely no reason to listen to them would magically decide to become an obedient puppet after being put in-charge of possibly the most powerful government organisation in human history.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: In chapter 40 the Imperator tells Patricia that the aliens are not at war with mankind, because if they really were, Earth would already be cinders.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Played With and actually justified with the larger battles. While battles against psionics incur roughly the same number of casualties as an average player, the majority of the battle is actually mental in nature. The soldiers have trouble aiming when they are constantly bombarded with emphatic attacks and psionic blasts since psionics have been vastly upgraded in this fanfic, rather than being "elite" forces who can't hit the broad side of a barn.
    This is best exemplified with the soldiers who are immune to fear, such as Myra, who mechanically slaughters every enemy, psychic or not, in every battle she takes place in, making her (and other MECs) the most effective soldier bar psionics by a country mile.
  • Liberty Over Prosperity:
    • In chapter 26, North Korea's Supreme Leader gives a speech to the Commander that essentially boils down to asking if chaotic freedom and democracy are really preferable to an orderly and prosperous dictatorship.
    • The Commander himself subscribes wholeheartedly to the inversion (even beyond what EXALT would consider), as seen in his Advent Directive.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Psionic powers are shaping up to be this. Based on alien plasma technology, we already know the probable maximum limit XCOM will reach technologically. Psionic powers have only recently been introduced and the only people who can even TOUCH psionics are other psionics. That is not even scratching the ability to unconsciously wipe out an entire EXALT base, see enemies through walls, and kill the entire population of a city just by being there.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: It's revealed that EXALT managed to save several of the Commander's men from execution by the UN, and they promptly joined up.
  • The Mole: After the first battle with EXALT, the Commander deduces that EXALT knows a bit too much about countering XCOM's gear and tactics to not have an inside man; the question is who... As chapter 30 reveals, it's Soran, who's actually a perfected thin man. Then it's later revealed that the Council Speaker is one too, working for EXALT.
  • Mugging the Monster: In chapter 21, two gangbangers make the mistake of trying to mug Annette.
  • Mythology Gag: In chapter 29, after learning that Creed has an interest in Alternate History fiction and is planning on going into writing after the war, Patricia suggests that he could write an ATL where the aliens won only for mankind to revolt afterwards.
  • Not So Different: In chapter 36, the Ravaged One says this of Patricia.
  • Oh, Crap!: Ethan freaks out in chapter 28 on learning that XCOM's Commander is his former Commander.
  • One-Man Army: Ethereals. In chapter 30, it is recounted how the subjugation of the mutons was led by one ethereal who started off by singlehandedly using a sword and its psionics to cut down much of a tribe.
  • One World Order: In chapter 37, the Commander lays out his plans for an Advent Administration to unify mankind to properly stand against the alien invasion.
  • Power of Trust: In chapter 35 when Patricia tries to get a trapped-in-his-own-mind Creed to refrain from killing the mental representation of his abusive mother, Creed states that even though he can't remember who she is, he somehow feels that he can trust her and complies.
  • Previously On: The first chapter includes a recap of what happened in Hades Contingency.
  • Professional Killer: Cerian considers himself an Assassin.
  • Required Secondary Powers:
    • In chapter 9, Shen expresses concerns about the MEC programme because the augmentation needed for a soldier to use a MEC effectively would be so invasive both in brain and body that any MEC troopers would not be all there outside the suits. While he thinks this issue might be resolvable with time, time is not what they have.
    • Increasing squad size isn't simply a matter of buying an upgrade from the Officer/Guerrilla Training School, but requires the Skyrangers to be modified to accommodate the extra members, which takes time and resources. In addition, a separate Skyranger has to be specially built for transporting MEC troopers.
  • Somebody Else's Problem: In chapter 31 this is actually weaponised by the sectoid Hive Commander.
  • This Is Impossible: In chapter 44 Aegis tells the Commander that the killing of an ethereal should not have happened.
  • This Is Reality: In chapter 44 the Commander says in a dream to his dead wife that this is reality and no one person can save everyone.
  • Title Drop: The Atlas Protocol - the plan for when the Citadel comes under attack.
  • Total Party Kill: In chapter 33 this happens to the XCOM squad sent to investigate an alien abduction that turns out to be an ethereal entering the field.
  • Villain Episode: Several chapters show EXALT perspectives.
  • We Have Become Complacent: In chapter 25, Ethan says that EXALT has gone too long without fighting someone who was actively trying to destroy them, as opposed to someone who merely learned of a proxy plot and tried to thwart that.
  • Weak, but Skilled: In chapter 27, Creed demonstrates to Carmelita that a sufficiently skilled baseline can still defeat a Genemodded trooper in melee.
  • We ARE Struggling Together:
    • In addition to the Council, it turns out even the Aliens are not immune to this. Different Ethereals have different ideas on subjugating a species. The previous Ethereal (presumably the one encountered in the video game, advocating gradual improvement of technology to test humanity) is replaced midway by one who favours a more direct approach. Really the only reason why the Ethereals are not fighting among themselves is that the chances of meeting one another are so slim.
    • All this not counting Soran's rebellion.
    • The only major organisation seemingly immune to this is EXALT.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 12. XCOM meets EXALT in battle for the first time. Despite managing to get some kills, the squad is forced to retreat without even being able to recover their dead.
    • Chapter 26. North Korea's leader contacts XCOM to propose an alliance and have alien tech of their own, including a UFO they had managed to down and capture.
    • Chapter 33. Following its "visit" to EXALT at the end of the previous chapter, the Ravaged One carries out a Total Party Kill on an XCOM squad and announces that the aliens are stepping up their invasion.
    • Chapter 48, the final chapter. Where do we begin. Australia is under all-out alien attack, with at least two ethereals involved. X-Com's squad encounters another Ethereal. This Ethereal effortlessly dismantles the squad that managed to take down the Ravaged One, proving that he wasn't even the most powerful... then surrenders to X-Com.
  • Wham Line: In chapter 46.
    "I want you to lead it."
  • The Worf Effect:
    • In chapter 29, the Chronicler shows exactly why he's someone to be feared by showing Cerian that he already knows about his group and their plans for Solaris Industries.
    • During the attack on NYC and the Base Defence, the Ravaged One overpowers and kills several of XCOM's psionics, including none less than Annette.

    The Advent Directive 
  • Adaptation Expansion: The story goes into a lot more detail about alien society than the game did.
  • Affably Evil: Many Ethereals, like the Battlemaster and Qusilla.
  • Doorstopper: One with over a million words and still going.
  • Graying Morality:
    • The Ethereals are far from Always Chaotic Evil and many of them are even quite honorable. Similarly, the Mutons are an outright pitiable Slave Race treated as disposable livestock, while the Andromedons and Vitakhara (the Thin Men and Vipers' collective species) were unwillingly forced into a war that isn't theirs.
    • Humanity's moral high ground falls substantially with the establishment of ADVENT, which proudly opposes the concept of inviolable rights, declares itself the sole voice of the human species, invades non-compliant nations, and is generally authoritarian in nature including the use of prison slave labor and human experimentation.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: Said by the Commander in chapter 2 to Tamara after he assassinates the rest of the Council.
  • La Résistance: The Nulorian is a Vitakara terrorist group working againist the Collective and the Aui'Vitakar.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: In chapter 2, the Commander reunites his old team for the attack on the Council.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Advent is more than just a military alliance; it seeks to forge a One World Order that will eliminate need and poverty among other beneficial ideals. But as with everything the Commander does, there are very few lines he will not cross to make it a reality.

    Supplementary Documents 
  • Fictional Document: Primarily consists of these, from XCOM, ADVENT, the Andromedon Federation, the Collective, and the Zararch.
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