Fictober 2018 Day 1 (…Late): “Can You Feel This?” (XCOM 2: War of the Chosen)

This would have been finished/posted on the actual October 1st, but got busy with college and didn’t get a chance to finish it until now. Oops. Well, hopefully I can “catch up”.

Anyhow, I’m using the prompt list from this Fictober post. Still figuring out something for the 2nd’s prompt and today’s prompt. We’ll see where that goes.

Nothing too fancy here. Takes place after the Commander is rescued, because I live for the drama (…trauma?).

For those just joining us, a bit of backstory on my version of XCOM’s Commander: Her name is Takashi Lund, she’s Japanese Norwegian, aroace, tactical genius (…let’s just ignore the “XCOM lost the first time” part, let’s do that!) and really not the biggest people person, although she tolerates Central Officer John Bradford… a little bit. She tends to be short and full of rage, but for this fic she’s really just short and full of… angst.

She’s finally awake, truly awake after… twenty years, they had said? Twenty years. Twenty years trapped in whatever hell the Elders had crafted. She still remembered some of it, memories of fire and screaming and of watching soldiers like Torres, Mizrachi, Aran, Miyazaki, and Miles and all of them dying over and over again, each death more brutal than the previous one. Each death weighing on her conscience as if it was not a vision but a tangible tragedy that she felt over and over. A constant cycle of living and dying only to live and die again.

She remembered winning just as much as she remembered losing. Memories of soldiers more alien than human, more machine than flesh. Pushing back the Elders’ advance, the destruction (disappearance?) of the Temple Ship and Durand vanishing with it… but had it all really happened?

None of it did, she knew. She didn’t understand what the memories were even supposed to be, and had been told that the chip Tygan had pulled from her brain (how did she not die, again?) needed to be studied to know what the purpose of it all had been. That felt more like a half-truth, like Central had purposefully hidden something from her, as if she was a child who wasn’t old enough to yet understand how cruel the world could be.

She couldn’t believe how old Central looked now, while she looked the same as she had before that Muton had smashed a gun into her face and her world went dark. And Central wasn’t the only one. She had seen what the others who survived looked like, had seen how Kamilla looked just a bit older than Central, how Takara looked old and weary.

She realized just how distant from everyone and everything she had become. She was a woman taken from her own time and dropped into one that didn’t suit her, a time that she didn’t want to accept.

Her body felt just as numb as her mind did, and she hated every second of it. Even the thought of movement made her exhausted, but she fought stubbornly with her body to move all the same. There was a world out there, a world she needed to save, as if one person could shoulder such a burden. As if she, as if all of them, hadn’t paid the price for that folly once before.

A sharp, piercing pain shot through her arm and shattered her thoughts, and it took all her power to resist her body’s sudden urge to jump in response to that unexpected pain. Her head whipped to the right, and she came eye to eye with Tygan, before her gaze fell upon the syringe in her arm.

“Can you feel this?” Tygan asked, and it sounded less like a question and more like an observation, and the moment he pulled the syringe away, Takashi mustered up enough strength to glare at him. He did not appear to be moved by the action, calmly walking elsewhere with a sample of her blood in hand.

Takashi decided not to respond to Tygan, instead turning her attention to Central, who seemed determined to stand and stare at her as if he couldn’t yet believe she was actually right there in front of him. He looked at her like a ghost, like something not real.

In fairness to him, he didn’t seem real to her yet, either.

Nothing did. Not yet.

She wasn’t sure when or if anything would.

Next: Later

One day I will play through WotC and write the actual fic I’ve got in mind, but aaaaaaaiieeeeeee large projects!

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