So I was playing impossible Ironman on XCOM Enemy Within. I'm barely keeping my soldiers alive and I lose countries left and right and just after I got a good batch of Psionic soldiers Australia decides to cut funding for the XCOM project. Unfortunately I already had 7 countries that did the same thing and I lost. After raging at my Xbox 360 as if it was it's fault, I began to wonder. If XCOM is no longer around, what happens to all those genetically modified/cybernetically augmented/Psionic soldiers. Do they take it lying down, then I realize the answer is no. They keep on fighting because they were built up to do it, they know they can't stop fighting just because The Omniscient Council of Vagueness who secretly rule the world from a poorly lit room tells them to 'stop it'. Sure they won't be organized, but these are the guys who assaulted an alien battleship mid flight and won. I had an idea and now I am bringing it to Fanfiction, I hope you enjoy it.

Disclaimer: I shall only say this once, I do not own the rights to XCOM Enemy Unknown or XCOM Enemy Within, or any of the XCOM games really.

Chapter 1- The End or is It

Bradford knew this was probably the end, Australia may have just doomed the world after they pulled funding. The soldiers just barely made it back during a terror attack in Sidney. Dozens of Heavy Floaters, Chryssalids, and a Sectopod forced a tactical retreat. The commander was not happy about it either, but some of his best men were getting slaughtered. He made the call knowing the consequences. As the Sky Ranger made it's way home, the commander had gone to the Hangar for the last time, probably to talk to the men , Bradford thought. Currently Bradford, Dr. Vahlen, and Dr. Shen stood waiting for the inevitable. Then the screen came on.

The council spokesperson sat in a dimly lit room flanked by two guards who were just as hidden by the shadows. Bradford watched with dread as the man began to speak.

"The inability of this project to maintain the support of several crucial council members, has greatly reduced the effectiveness of both entities. This undertaking was the product of an ill-conceived plan, a series of simple misunderstandings, met with an overzealous response. We believe the best course of action now is to cooperate with the aliens for the betterment of all mankind", said the Council Spokesperson.

"We are of one mind about this. The path ahead is clear"

With that the spokesperson pressed a simple button and all of XCOM lost not only it's funding, but it's power.

Dr. Vahlen, Dr. Shen, and Central Officer Bradford looked down in defeat as there work was literally cut off with the push of a button. There was a long silence before Dr. Vahlen looked up.

"What now?"

"I don't know", said Bradford, his voice low.

"So that's it, the aliens won", said Shen with a hint of anger in his usually calm voice.

Dr. Shen looked down at XCOM base with grief. He oversaw the original construction of XCOM Headquarters, and put years of his life into it's construction before becoming the head engineer.

"It seemed like it would never end", said Shen.

Dr. Vahlen watched as the entire base simply shut down, month's of work gone in a moment. As a group Vahlen, Shen, and Bradford went to the lift, it was sill working at the moment with the backup power. They watched as the Alien containment unit shut down, trapping a captured Ethereal in the walls, it was not the first one they captured alive, in fact the only reason it was captures was because a solder had run out of ammunition and rather than try and reload, the soldier grabbed his Arc Thrower and hoped for the best. It worked, and the soldier lived while they gained a second Ethereal captive.

The tall alien seemed to look around with something akin to triumph. Bradford looked to the beast and glared at it, pouring all his hate into his gaze. He gripped the rail in front of the cell and just stared at the still alien that hovered in containment before a thought occurred to Bradford.

Bradford looked to Dr. Shen.

"How much power do we have left", asked Bradford.

"Enough to keep several systems online for at least a day, all major facilities are down but we can reroute power to any one to use at least once", said Shen.

Bradford nodded before turning to Dr. Vahlen.

"XCOM may be over, but at the very least, I say lets deliver one last blow to the aliens", said Bradford.

Dr. Vahlen smiled.

"I'll begin the final interrogation process", said Vahlen.

The Ethereal watched in fear as the containment unit once again came to life, and the glass that gave it view of the outside world was blocked by massive metal doors. Then it's world erupted in pain.

On the other side Bradford watched as the Doctor did her work, analysing the images that passed through her tablet PC. Bradford didn't know what they would find, the first Ethereal resisted the process as best it could, and Bradford could guess this one was doing the same. Then Vahlen stopped cold with her eyes narrowed.

"What is it Doctor", asked Bradford.

In response Dr. Vahlen showed an image of the council spokesperson. And behind him was a Sectoid Commander. The two guards next to him during his brief with them were Thin Men. Vahlen looked to the others, the message was clear. The Council was under alien control.

"Those bastards", said Bradford.

"How did the Ethereal know about that", asked Shen.

"It could be a psionic link of some kind, but that is merely speculation", said Vahlen.

"We need to show this to the commander", said Shen.

"XCOM may be gone, but we still have a duty to uphold, we may not have our base, or our resources, but we cannot stop fighting, not when we know for a fact our superiors are being controlled", said Bradford.

"I agree"

They all turned to the man walking towards them and each one straightened up when they saw him. Their Commander. Bradford saluted the commander before the commander waved him off.

"At ease Bradford, I am no longer your commander"

Bradford looked down with slight depression.

"What do we do sir", asked Bradford.

"We can't stay here, right now our priority is getting our men out of here, make the council and the aliens think we complied and have given up as well. Make them think that we don't know the truth, then we get back to fighting the Aliens", said the Commander.

"Without funding there isn't much we can do. It won't be long until the aliens or the military send in soldiers to kick us out, I say we have hours, if that", said Dr. Shen.

"Not to mention there is little we can do at the moment without power", said Dr. Vahlen.

"I have a plan, you three remember the mission the council got us to do, to rescue one General Peter Van Dorn", asked the Commander.

They looked to the Commander with confusion before he spoke.

"I called him in, after we rescued him, he promised he would help us any way he could. I took him up on that offer, it isn't much but I got us a second chance. I'll get everything set up, you three go home and wait, I will be coming, it may take months but I will figure out something. This fight isn't over, not as long as I am alive", said the Commander.

The commander walked away.

"Where are you going sir", asked Bradford.

"The Hangar, trust me I know what I am doing. Though you may want to get out of here fast, grab what you can. I am going to draw a lot of attention to myself. Vigilo Confido", said the Commander with a smile.

2 Months Later

Shaoji Zhang looked down over the balcony. His cybernetic arms hidden by his clothing, a long sleeved suit and gloves While loose fitting jeans hid his legs. He was thankful XCOM at least let him keep the base augmentations. After that damn Cyberdisk blew off his arm and he volunteered for the MEC program it was the least they could do. Zhang watched as several men calmly walked down the street, there were three of them, a number so small caused him to sigh, he was almost insulted by it.

He knew them of course, after all they were his former employers, the Triads. Zhang looked at his plasma pistol and smirked, it was one thing he was able to steal before he and all the other soldiers got kicked to the curb by that 'council of dumbasses', as some of the soldiers called them.

Zhang carefully moved next to his door. His pistol primed and aimed. He was ready for the door to open. The green glow of the elerium core cast an eerie light over his face as he waited. For what seemed longer that it probably really was he waited. Then suddenly there was a loud bang and his door was kicked in. He pulled the trigger and the unfortunate bastard who chose to kick said door was propelled back with a hole right between his eyes.

Zhang then began to move, he flipped and shot out with his arm, which now sported several knives welded to his forearm and he slashed the seconds guys neck with ease before bringing up his pistol and hitting the last guy upside his head, he fell like a ton of bricks unconscious and useless.

"Well, that takes care of that", said Zhang before he picked up the unconscious man and brought him to his bed.

He looked back to his door, and glared. That door alone cost 5,000$ This moron would pay for that with interest. Zhang tied the mans arms and legs to the bed posts before taking out a simple wooden chair, taking a seat, and waiting. He polished his pistol as he did, idly wondering what he should say when the man woke up, living around several testosterone fueled soldiers would make anyone a master of what they called the Schwarzenegger one liner, unfortunately Zhang never really got a hold of it. Zhang didn't have to wait too long before the man woke up in a daze.

"Knock Knock", said Zhang making a note that his one liners could use some more work.

The man was instantly drawn to Zhang before he shut his mouth. Zhang examined his pistol before looking to his captive, he was young. Like Zhang was when he started. Though Zhang knew how to handle the young and over zealous.

"The quiet type, huh", said Zhang as he pointed with his plasma pistol to the missing ring finger on the mans hand.

"I see that was not always the case, good. Now you and I are going to have a little chat, and then you will die how does that sound", said Zhang calmly with a smirk.

in response the man spit in Zhang's face. Zhang wiped the spit away showing the man his cybernetic arm with welded on blades before he turned to the man.

"You should not have done that", said Zhang before he brought the bladed arm to the mans other ring finger.

"On your right", screamed Matthew "Alecto" Hawkings.

Annette Durand quickly responded with a Mindfray to the nearby Sectoid before it had a chance to shoot back. She dove into cover as she began breathing deep.

"You ok Annette", asked Said "Megaera" Tariq.

"I'm fine, where's Fatima", asked Annette.

"Sis is probably ripping someone's mind out right now", said Megaera

The sound of a dying Muton caught there attention. Fatima "Tisphone" Tariq, Megaera's sister had just used her own mindfray against the last Muton before walking towards them calmly.

"There dead now", said Tisiphone with a look of satisfaction as she looked down at the dead Muton.

"The Furies strike again", said Alecto.

"Hoo ra", cheered Megaera.

Annette smiled before she kicked the dead Muton to the side. The Furies as they called themselves were all psionics, it was thanks to XCOM they were freed before the aliens did who knows what to them. To bad not two days went by after they all finished at the Psionic labs and doing only one mission, the XCOM project failed.

"I miss our laser guns", said Alecto.

"They were plasma Alecto", said Megara.

"Same difference", said Alecto with a shrug before he lifted his hand to reveal the familiar purple glow of psionic energy.

"At least we still have our mind raping powers", said Aletco before he canceled the surge of power.

"Whatever, we should get out of here before more freaks show up", said Tisiphone.

"I heard that", said Megaera.

Annette smiled before she began picking up the pieces that remained of the aliens guns, she may not have known how to do anything with them, but she was sure they would come in handy.

"Where is Sparky anyway", asked Megaera.

"The stupid thing probably got stuck again", said Alecto.

As if hearing them a single alien drone flew towards them. This one painted red and gold. A keepsake from there First and only mission together with XCOM where Annette used an Arc Thrower to capture the drone, they kept it around ever since.

Annette looked at the drone for a second before she walked over to the Furies. Each one celebrating their third near death escape this week after the aliens tried to capture them once again, much to their continued annoyance. Though each having their own psionic abilities made dealing with them that much simpler, especially taking in the training they got at XCOM before it went belly up, no matter how limited it was.

The whirling sound of a nearby UFO flying overhead broke Annette from her thoughts.

"Think we should get back to the Shop", said Annette.

"I'm with you, lets get the hell out of here", said Megara.

"Whatever", said Alecto.

The Furies and there drone left to head to the Shop, a simple body repair shop owned by Alecto's parents when they were still alive. It served as there sort of base for now. Annette sat down with a sigh as Aletco went to the fridge and began tossing beers to everyone, who all were able to catch the can without looking, a side effect of there psionic abilities was being in sync with each other at all times.

Aletco jumped on a couch ignoring Tisiphone's protests as he laid his legs in her lap.

"Yo, I'm not a foot rest asshole", said Tisiphone.

"Can't you two ever get along, you're giving me a headache", said Megara as he massaged his head.

"He started it", said Tisiphone.

"Don't make me end it", said Megaera.

"What, come on bro, he's the one being an ass", sais Tisiphone as she pointed to Aletco.

"You know you love me, I am in your head half the time after all", said Aletco.

"Idiot", said Tisiphone.

Annette rubbed her head in exasperation, though inwardly she smiled, it was good to have her friends back, even if they were fighting against hostile aliens near daily. Megaera sat in a chair as he turned on the news. An alien terror attack hit Ney York again, and yet the combined world governments still tried to ally with the aliens, claiming that the attacks were done by the Chryssalid which were more animals than anything. Why said animals never seemed to attack the aliens and only focused on humans was never explained, not that it needed to be. Not when most world leaders were mind controlled daily anyway.

Annette took a look at her own beer before chugging it down and crushing the can with her mind. She sighed as a slight buzz came over her. Sparky flew around them in increasingly annoying patterns, or at least annoying to Annette, everyone else just ignored it.

"What do you think happened to all those guys who got upgraded", asked Aletco.

"Probably the same as us, keep fighting, damn the Council", said Megara.

"Wish we got a chance to get one of those Gene mods, that invisible thing would have been really useful right now", said Tisiphone.

"Remember when Vahlen asked if she could cut open our heads right before the psychic tests", said Megara.

Annette smiled.

"Didn't you threaten to put a restraining order on her", asked Annette.

"What, that woman scares the shit out of me. You saw what she did to that Muton, thing looked like it pissed itself when it saw her, I think it was an elite to", said Megara.

"Yeah, not like the bastard didn't have it coming anyway", said Tisiphone.

"Is it bad that I kind of miss it all. Vahlen arguing with Shen, Bradford coming seeing us personally after a mission. The Commander awarding us those medals for hitting a Thin man from 300 yards, maybe that was just me", said Aletco before he got quiet and started to laugh.

"The Commander. Now that guy was badass, the whole XCOM project just got shut down, and what does he do. He steals a Firestorm equipped with a Fusion Blaster and high tails it outa there blowing up three alien ships before he drops off the radar, I don't think they found him either. I hear he's America's most Wanted at the moment", said Aletco.

"More like the worlds most wanted", said Annette.

"Whatever, either way I know for a fact he is still fighting, just like us. You don't do something like that if you intend to just give up", said Aletco.

"He's still one man, he may be crazy, and have a Firestorm, but that's pretty much all he's got", said Megara.

"Thank you Captain Buzzkill", said Aletco.

"Bro's got a point Aletco, he's just being a realist", said Tisiphone.

"What do you think he's doing right now", asked Aletco ignoring Tisiphone's comment much to her growing anger.

"Who knows, but I hope he's killing those alien bastards", said Annette.

Jake Phillips was a gene modded sniper, unfortunately when XCOM had gone dark he was on a Covert Mission to get the last data to find EXALT HQ. He had nothing but a Plasma Pistol and a Nano-Fiber Vest. He clung to the wall unseen by the EXALT soldiers who were looking for him in the same room. Jake kept quiet, one sound and no amount of invisibility would hide him from these fanatical psychos.

Jake watched as they moved to the next room . With there backs turned Jake made a run for it, using his increased leg strength to leap up out of a second story window, crashing through it alerting the men behind him. Though he was able to land on his feet and start running.

His two Hearts beat in sync as he ran from continued laser fire only able to avoid it thanks to his continued leaps onto buildings and getting into cover and becoming invisible. He watched as the EXALT soldiers moved around looking for him, each using there own genetic enhancements to follow him.

With his eyes increased dept perception Jake was able to see them clearly, regardless of their distance, which thankfully was far away at this point. Jake took a sigh of relief as he got low and crawled to the other end of the building. He was really missing his plasma sniper rifle right now, and he knew unlike the other times he went covert against EXALT he would have no help arrive to extract him and get the data.

Jake had five mods to himself, all focused around stealth or anything to aid in his sniping abilities. Though he did choose two hearts if only because it sounded cool, and a backup was never not a good thing. Neural feedback was his other mod, one that saved his life against more than one Sectoid Commander.

Jake stood up as he jumped clean across the building to the nearest one, at this point his mission was over, and it was just a fight for survival against EXALT, who were hot on his tail. He moved to cover once again as an Elite heavy landed not ten feet away after being dropped in by a chopper.

Jake looked at the man's sickly skin, a result of his own mods called Iron skin by the doc's back at XCOM. The sickly yellow orange glow around his skin made him stand out, easy to see and thus shoot, but Jake knew better than to gamble with shooting the man, especially with that particular gene mod. So, Jake waited for the man to think he was gone.

Jake then watched as the door to the roof opened and an EXALT sniper moved toward the heavy. Jake looked at the man's laser sniper rifle before getting an idea. As the two prepared to head downstairs Jake took the shot. He disabled the Heavy's gun before sprinting toward the sniper, pistol whipping him and grabbing his laser sniper rifle. He pointed point blank at the Heavy and pulled the trigger. A beam of red hit the man and he hit the ground like a puppet with his strings cut, before Jake used the rifle to bludgeon the sniper to death. All in all it took less than a minute to get a brand new sniper rifle, and two dead EXALT. Jake smiled at his new rifle.

"Must be my Birthday", said James before leaping to another building before more EXALT showed up.

Bradford moved carefully through his home. When he arrive not to long ago, he found his door unlocked. He grabbed the pistol in his glove box as he moved through his home. He scanned the area carefully as he walked. He looked around and saw nothing out-of-place, though he did not let his guard down, no telling who or what was inside his house right now.

Moving to the stairs Bradford aimed his gun upwards preparing for anyone dumb enough to pop out of nowhere. He stepped carefully, and close to the wall to prevent the wood from creaking. Seventh step was always creaking if you weren't careful.

Once Bradford made it to the top he looked to see his bedroom door open, and there was someone th his bathroom. Taking slow and careful steps Bradford moved to his room, just as someone stepped out of his bathroom. He lowered his pistol at surprize of who it was.

"Dr. Vahlen?", said Bradford confused.

The doctor smiled.

"Sorry if I broke in, I couldn't find a key", said Vahlen.

Bradford looked at the questionably sane woman before pointing out the obvious.

"You could have waited outside, or just came bask you know. Why are you here anyway. shouldnt' you be in Germany right now", asked Bradford as he put his pistol on the dresser.

"Maybe, but I was hoping you met with the commander, I have made a breakthrough", said Vahlen.

Bradford,s head fell before he shook his head.

"Not since he took off in a Firestorm", said Bradford.

"Yes, that was surprizing", said Vahlen.

"What is this breakthrough exactly", asked Bradford, intrigued considering she thought it important enough to break into his home.

Dr. Vahlen proceeded to calmly walk back into Bradford's bathroom like she owned the place and came out with her Tablet PC. Bradford only stared blankly at the woman's audacious nature before she went over to Bradford.

"I take it you decided to keep that as well", said Bradford pointing to the tablet.

"Amung other things. I've had to gather specimens myself, but I couldn't allow my work to go", said Vahlen before looking to the pistol on the dresser.

"No plasma", said Vahlen.

"No, call me old-fashioned, but I like a good slug thrower, though I did keep a few keepsakes", said Bradford.

Dr. Vahlen nodded before she handed the tablet to Bradford.

"What is this", asked Bradford.

"I was able to successfully capture a live Thin Man. Using what I knew about the alien physiology, and Psionic technology what limited research with the Ethereal device, I found something interesting", said Vahlen.

"You caught a Thin Man, how?", asked Bradford.

"Very carefully, now watch", said Dr. Vahlen before she tapped on the tablet.

It began playing a video of a Thin man strapped to a bed by a liberal amount of rope belts and duct tape. A bandana was tied over its mouth probably to prevent it from spitting its poison. Suddenly Dr. Vahlen stepped next to the Thin Man who was struggling against its bonds looking quite fearful at the woman over it.

"Subject TM 042, now would you kindly explain what the purpose of the Ethereal device is", asked Dr. Vahlen while showing the Thin Man a picture of said device.

The Thin Man glared at Vahlen before it redoubled it's struggling, though to no avail.

Then Bradford watched with genuine shock as Dr. Vahlen pulled out a regular taser and shocked the creature in its side, causing it to emit a vaguely reptilian roar.

"I'll ask again, Subject TM 042, what is the purpose of the Ethereal device"

Bradford looked to Vahlen, as if reading his mind she sighed.

"Well without the containment unit, the interrogation process was much less sophisticated, and resembled an actual interrogation. More or less ", said Dr. Vahlen.

"I can see that", said Bradford as he looked back to the video.

Dr. Vahlen shrugged.

"Besides, we never did get a chance to study the Ethereal device before XCOM was canceled, this was my chance to figure out exactly what it was. Now shhh, and watch", said Vahlen before pointing back to the tablet.

The Thin Man was breathing hard before it turned to Vahlen.

"I am loyal, you can torture me, but I will not relent", spoke the Thin Man in an odd voice that sounded deep and inhuman.

In response Dr. Vahlen once again tazed the Thin Man, this time however she tazed the creatures head and held it for a long time. Then the sound of medical equipment flat lining could be heard before Dr. Vahlen frantically attempted to bring back the Thin Man. Several minutes passed to no avail. Vahlen sighed as she turned off the medical equipment and walked to the camera, presumably to turn it off.

"Wh-where am I"

Vahlen turned around to see a living Thin Man looking around in obvious confusion. She carefully walked up to the creature who now was observing itself. Then the creatures eyes widened considerably before it began thrashing.

"Subject TM 042, calm down", said Vahlen.

"WHAT HAPPENED TO ME. THIS IS NOT MY SHAPE, THIS IS NOT MY SHAPE!", screamed the creature in fear as it began wheezing, seemingly in a form of hyperventilation that was not entirely dissimilar from a humans. It was disturbing to watch in Bradford's opinion.

The creature thrashed before the video simply cut to Vahlen who was not moving away from the camera. She walked over to the now unconscious Thin Man before she sat down. It wasn't long before the creature woke up.

"Subject TM 042, now I'll ask again what is the purpose of the Ethereal device", asked Vahlen once again showing the Thin Man the device.

"I do not know, the Withered Ones use it to communicate, but I know not it's true purpose", said the Thin Man.

"I see, why the sudden cooperation Subject TM 042"

"My kin were attacked by the Withered ones. The Ethereals as you called them, our original form is not this one. This shape is wrong to me. Some of bones are the same, but my shape is not. We did not have these limbs below us", said the Thin Man as it gestured to its legs.

Suddenly the video cut. Bradford turned to a grinning Dr. Vahlen.

"What happened to that thing", asked Bradford.

"I still have him, he is quite cooperative. Apparently during the interrogation I somehow broke off control over him. I believe the aliens, all of them baring the Ethereals and the robotic ones are under mind control. The Ethereal device seems to be multi-purpose, both as a communications device, and something that allows the Ethereals to control the other aliens. I have tried to replicate the process to other live specimens, but no other ones broke contact like the Thin Man did. Not even other Thin Men. I believe that the taser cut off the psionic link from the others, since a taser is not as elegant as an arc thrower there are some differences. I am not sure how though", said Dr. Vahlen.

"You mean to tell me you have a live alien that is no longer apart of the others, and you still have him", asked Bradford.

"He is kept tied up, but quite useful. I have learned much of his original race. They were a race of snakelike beings that reproduces asexually. It was quite a learning experience", said Dr. Vahlen.

"I'm sure", said Bradford.

He handed the tablet back to the Doctor.

"I was hoping to Show this to the Commander, but I can't find him. I though you would know where he was", said Vahlen.

"No, but this could be our chance to fight back. If we can figure out how to break the mind control we could turn our enemies into allies, and bring down the Ethereals", said Bradford.

"That is my plan, but for now, I'm going back under ground. Here take this", said Vahlen as she handed a small device over to Bradford.

"I met up with Dr. Shen a month ago, that will allow you to stay in contact with us, he is in China right now, but he is still working, just like me. We hope when the commander finds one of us, we will be ready. I should leave now, take care Bradford", said Dr. Vahlen.

"You to doctor", said Bradford as he put the device in his pocket.

Well that's the first chapter. And yes I essentially made the Thin Men modified Snakemen. It kind of makes sense in a way. I will leave the Commander nameless from here on out, if only because You are the Commander and giving him a name seems wrong to me, as far as I went was to identify him as male. I will try to update this story from time to time but it is not my main focus right now, just a side project I am working on. I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Review tell me what you think.