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While fighting a multidimensional monster, Raven's powers go haywire and blast the cast of Dark Titans into an alternate world. A world where superheroes and supervillains don't exist. A world where the general populace doesn't know about aliens. But that doesn't make it harmless.

In the world of The Road to Cydonia, inter-dimensional incursions begin to occur all over the world. From these emerge beings that can only be described as superhuman: a nearly full-body cyborg, the most powerful human psychic ever encountered, a new kind of alien, a living jinx, a multi-headed griffin not properly aligned with this dimension, and a doppleganger of Lieutenant Ryouga Hibiki. As X-COM moves to confront these new threats, the Mind moves to take advantage of it.

From Lathis and Cap'n Chryssalid comes a Mega Crossover between their own crossover fics, Dark Titans and The Road to Cydonia. Reflections Lost on a Dark Road is canonical to both Dark Titans and The Road to Cydonia and looks like it will have lasting effects on both. This fic is still in progress and has been being released on a weekly basis for about half a year. The writing quality is extremely advanced for fanfiction, and is on par with plenty of professional authors.

Somewhat divisive, as Titans fans come to read about idealistic heroes defeating universe-threatening adversaries despite never compromising their ideals, and X-COM fans come to read about UN stormtroopers killing and vivisecting aliens by the bucketful while dying and getting vivisected by the bucketful. They argue.

Available on both Fanfiction.net and spacebattles.com.

Place your WMGs here.


  • Alien Abduction
  • Aliens and Monsters
  • Aliens Are Bastards: Aliens abduct people and experiment on them, which includes cutting them up and using them for spare parts. Aliens kill people and replace them with clones to manipulate the governments of countries throughout the world. Aliens abduct powerful individuals and alter them into trenchards (half-alien hybrids) to force them to work for them. And the list goes on and on.
  • Alternate Universe: There's the The Road to Cydonia world and the Dark Titans world, as well as several other unnamed alternate universes.
  • Amnesiac Lover: Raven did some editing to Jinx's mind. Now she isn't in love with Ryouga, and doesn't remember ever being in love with him, despite remembering who he is.
  • Angst Nuke: How Starfire takes out Saffron.
  • Animal Motif: Both Ryougas think that Ranma has a Tiger motif.
  • Anti-Hero: DT Ryouga, Raven, and Ranma are types II, but Raven is quickly marching downwards lately. Since arriving in the X-COM-verse, she's lost her telekinetic powers, but gained the ability to possess the enemy to turn them into kamikaze meat-puppets, and telepathically deliberately inflicted extreme pain on a good friend (Cyborg). X-COM Ryoga is either an extreme type III or a type IV. Your Mileage May Vary.
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: The aliens are all linked to the Mind, making it impossible for them to turn on each other (unless they are freed from the Mind's control or something else overrides it).
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: As X-COM is dealing with increasing numbers of delusional psychics, it takes a while to realize that the Titans are potential allies rather than alien dupes. Their first response is thus Let's You and Him Fight; a command to surrender to their authority, with a warning that they will Blaster Bomb them rather than let them wander around.
  • Armor Is Useless: While X-COM's armor may protect its soldiers from a glancing blow, the alien weapons are powerful enough to easily tear through it if they land a direct hit. Or even an indirect hit, in some cases.
  • The Atoner: Titans Ryouga
  • Battle Aura: All of India Squad and Juliet Squad, as well as Jinx, Raven, Starfire, and Titans Ryouga.
  • Big Brother Is Employing You: The X-COM-verse has all sorts of very creepy implications, thankfully our main characters are on the inside and doing it to others (mostly).
  • Break the Cutie: Trenchard Akari.
  • Brick Joke: Back in Dark Titans, Ryouga and Cyborg have a conversation about the T-Brella Cyborg made for Ryouga. Most of the conversation consists of the words "Helicopter Option" (much to Robin's annoyance). It is then never mentioned again in all of Dark Titans. However, after the fight with Saffron, as Starfire is plummeting helplessly from the upper atmosphere toward the ground, we get this:

 X-COM Ryouga: "Don't tell me. Your Ryouga… His umbrella. Does he really have something crazy like that?"

Cyborg:"That's right."

Ryu Kumon: "What? What does it have?"

Cyborg:"Ryo's umbrella has a Helicopter Option!"

  • Broken Aesop:
    • Anime Starfire somehow rationalises restraint against non-superpowered opponents as a version of supremacism, and not in the "You should show restraint against the aliens as well" direction, but rather the other one. [1] This despite that her teammates would have preferred to use non-lethal force against the alien war-breeds as well, but they were conceptually designed to be impossible to use it against, and near impossible to even keep alive in confinement to boot. However, she also makes a valid point about that the term "inhuman" is contradictory, as there will always be some human perfectly willing to commit any level of atrocity.
    • The psychologist that Starfire spoke to, stated that UNETCO members who started to not find the act of murder unpleasant and actually greatly enjoyed it were sensibly weeded out of the organization, yet Shampoo is also portrayed as being extremely sexually stimulated from playing sadistic hunt-games with completely outmatched prey (including previously doing so for sport and training at the age of 13, against non-superhuman opponents), and then enthusiastically slaughter them in as brutal manner as possible, and she is still there without anybody batting an eyelash.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Not quite. Raven starts losing her telekinetic abilities due to being separated from Trigon's presence, but trains up her telepathic abilities to make up for it.
  • The Cameo: Slade Wilson. In The Road to Cydonia world, he's just a guy working for X-COM.
    • The Inuyasha crew.
  • Captured Super Entity: Trenchard Akari
  • Cast From Hit Points: Jinx's power was this, but she was so used to using it that she didn't notice.
  • Central Theme: Set from the beginning chapter with Inuyasha, and being that we all have to wake up and not spend our lives in a coma, which is sympathetic in theory, but the early execution reads more like: "Wake up and smell the rotting corpses, burning ozone, absolute savagery, and infinite abyss of despair and entropy!", which is probably not the best approach. It turns much better on that front though.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: The Nerima Wrecking Crew. Also Jinx, in addition to her luck powers.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Back in Dark Titans, Starfire mentions having a discussion with Ranma regarding the workings of the Hiryu Shoten Ha. Then, in her fight against Herb, she uses the Hiryu Korin Dan, a variant of the Hiryu Shoten Ha developed by Ranma.
  • Chekhov's Skill: An indirect example. Early on in TALB, Cologne enlists Starfire's help to teach Ryouga the Hiryu Shoten Ha but doesn't bother to teach him the basic steps, saying that Ryouga already knows how it's done because he helped Ranma develop the same skill earlier in the main series. Sure enough, Starfire winds up using the techniques she learned by training with Ryouga to perform her own Hiryu Shoten Ha before the series is over.
  • Combination Attack: The Hiryu Shoten Ha generated by Ranma and Starfire but powered by Ryouga and Ryouga's shishi houkodans.
  • Crapsack World: The entire galaxy is ruled, rim to core and pole to pole, by an Completely Monstrous Hive Mind. Humans might be able to destroy the local node if they become The Unfettered - abolish every civil liberty and article of war. And there's another, unattached(albeit slightly less advanced) node in the Gulf of Mexico. And its destruction would reduce Earth's biosphere to the algae level.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Nabiki, who quickly realizes that a super-hero fight is inevitably followed by a team-up against a foe neither group of heroes could deal with alone. So she starts trying to recruit the lost Titans.
  • Darker and Edgier: Initially, compared to Dark Titans, although it gradually turns Lighter and Softer / closer to normal.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Raven, especially after trading in her telekinesis for mind-control abilities. Of course, given that she is now presented as a massive force of pure nihilistic entropy, the "not evil" part is turning iffy.
  • Deflector Shields: Jinx's Armor has a force field
  • Determinator: Pretty much all of the Teen Titans, India Squad, and Juliet Squad, but special notice goes to Jinx and Akari. They go on a hundred kilometer dash to the nearest city through a snow filled forest while fighting off armed aliens, fending off mental attacks by an Ethereal, and fending off large tracking monsters that were raised by Akari herself, and all while dressed in a manner unsuited for the environment. Then, when Akari's operation is sabotaged by X-COM Ryouga, Jinx immediately joins the Titans in a mission to hunt down and capture an Ethereal so that they can replace the brain Ryouga destroyed, all on the off chance that the operation will save Akari's life without returning her to the Mind's control.
  • Differently-Powered Individual: Rogue psychics. X-COM-style psionics that, like the aliens, can use their abilities without psi-amps. That the aliens created but can't replicate in Ethereals. And let wander around freely until X-COM hunts them down. They're the justification for attacking the Titans on sight. Most are repeat abductees. Enhanced Martial artists have only recently fallen into this category as well, as the aliens turn their attention on this much smaller study population.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Although it is uncertain how much of this was unintentional and simply inherent undertones in the original X-COM chronology, there are lots of Rule of Symbolism aspects packed into RLOADR, very Family-Unfriendly Aesop style or otherwise, including Saffron now being an Eldritch Abomination suicide bomber. The opposition are written as some kind of odd Buddhism + Internet Addiction + Socialism + Spoiled Brat + Psychopathic Manchild + Islam Fundamentalist + Eldritch Abomination extreme Take That Accentuate the Negative distortion/inaccurate associations overlap, which comes across as Unfortunate Implications, considering that the first two to four groups are generally completely harmless in real world terms, if possibly helpless in certain areas, while some of the types of people set as Designated Heroes against them are very much not.
  • Dream Land: Jinx frequently has hers visited by Akari. Akari has also appeared in X-COM Ryouga's Dream Land, and once Akari brought Jinx into her Dream Land.
  • Dream Weaver: Trenchard Akari.
  • Elemental Powers: Titans Ryouga uses Earth Ki and Ranma uses Wind Ki
  • Energy Ball: The Shishi Hokodan, Mouko Takabisha, Starbolts, Titans Ryouga's unnamed earth element ki attack, and Jinx's pink fireball all count.
  • Evil Twin: What both Ryougas assume the other to be. Titans Ryouga genuinely is nicer though, and is as disturbed about the Sociopathic Soldier aspects as most people would be in seeing a killing-machine version of themselves, but is initially too idealistic to be efficient in the X-COM world, so he has to adapt. His counterpart is more mature however, but mistakenly thinks that his "brother" is simply jealous of him being stronger.
  • Eye Beams: Starfire uses hers on Herb.
  • Facing the Bullets One-Liner:

 Saffron: LITTLE ONE. LET ME SEE YOUR FIRE.

  • Fireballs: Jinx's attacks often appear as pink flames.
  • Flash Step: X-COM Ryouga can use a combination of the Shishi Houkodan and Bakusai Tenketsu technique to launch himself like a rocket.
  • Flying Saucer
  • Frickin' Laser Beams
  • Full Potential Upgrade: Cyborg is making one for Yankee Squad. This includes more armor than usual since most of Yankee Squads members are significantly stronger than the standard X-COM member and can handle the extra weight, as well as specialized weapons designed for individual members.
  • Game Face: Raven does this early on when she lets her anger take control during the fight with her and Ryouga against X-COM.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: X-COM uses tactics that would be considered war crimes against any nation on earth. Fortunately for them, aliens have no rights. X-COM Ryouga uses killing techniques and possesses an evil ki. However, he makes a compelling argument to Titans Ryouga about that Titans Ryouga will also always easily turn moody, angry, and depressed, as that is how they are fundamentally built, and that it is better to learn to handle that than only pretend that they don't exist.
  • Hidden Depths: Pretty much every main character, especially to readers who read either Dark Titans or The Road to Cydonia, but not the other.
  • Hive Mind: The Mind
  • Humans Are Bastards: After her literally explosive entrance into the world of The Road to Cydonia, Starfire does her best to save everyone from the collapsing clock tower, and manages to prevent any casualties. She is then attacked by the police, then the Chinese army, and finally by X-COM. After being captured and interrogated, they proceed to Mind Rape her. Upon discovering that she isn't lying and really is from another dimension and not with the Mind, she is recruited by X-COM as if nothing happened. She then watches as X-COM employs the exact same tactics as the aliens against the aliens, barring what circumstances prevent them from doing. She also watches all the human propaganda X-COM spreads throughout their base to keep up morale. All while being told that, as an alien, she basically has no rights and, if the Titans can't get home, she will essentially be a prisoner for the rest of her life. It's little wonder that she wants to get home as soon as possible.
  • I'm Having Soul Pains: Starfire after being "interrogated" by X-COM
  • Improbable Weapon User: Both Ryougas use umbrellas and cloth as weapons.
    • Mitsuko Hibiki uses cloth as a weapon.
  • Inhumanable Alien Rights: It really sucks to be an alien in the X-COM-verse. Even if you're an ally of X-COM. Poor Starfire.
    • Also, if Trenchard Akari weren't already an enemy of humanity, the torturous experiments X-COM has been putting her through probably would make her one.
  • Interrogated for Nothing: Starfire.
  • It Amused Me: The most common reason that Jinx tends to harass people.
  • Ki Attacks: Now in two flavors - emotion based ki and elemental ki.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Kinetic weapons are just cheaper.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: As TRTC is having a plague of delusional psionics who don't need Amplifier Artifacts when the Titans show up, their world's first response to weirdos in spandex is to give a warning to surrender then attempt to incapacitate, and escalate from there. Interestingly, Cyborg never fought X-COM as he was initially assumed to be a human criminal (a local law enforcement matter) and Jinx ran into the aliens first. The others were assumed to be alien terror units or infiltrators.
  • Light Is Not Good: Traditionally, phoenixes are portrayed as holy symbols of life, light, and hope. Not Saffron. Especially disturbing symbolic imagery when set against Raven's entropic chaos and nothingness.
  • Look What I Can Do Now!: The X-COM Ryouga vs Titans Ryouga fight is full of this.
  • Made of Indestructium: The alien alloy is fairly close to indestructible, barring plasma attacks. Or Titans Ryouga.
  • Made of Iron: All of the Nerima Wrecking Crew. Unfortunately, that's not enough against lasers and plasma weapons.
    • Special notice goes to Cyborg and Starfire, who are indestructible enough to survive attacks by lasers and plasma weapons. But not without taking damage.
  • Meat Puppet: Raven switches to possessing enemies when her telekinesis starts to fail her.
  • Mega Crossover: This is a crossover between Teen Titans, Ranma ½, and X-COM: UFO Defense.
  • Meta Fiction: On-off, starting with the Inuyasha dismantling.
  • Mind Over Matter: Raven starts with this, but eventually loses so much of it power-wise that she switches to using only telepathy and mind control.
  • Mind Probe: What Starfire is mind raped with.
  • Mind Rape: X-COM attempts to use a machine to destroy the false memories implanted within Starfire's mind so that they may discover what the Mind is actually up to. Except none of Starfire's memories are false.
  • Mirror Match: Titans Ryouga vs. X-COM Ryouga
  • Mood Whiplash: Compared to Dark Titans, "Reflections" initially takes a massive leap along the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism, to I Did What I Had to Do, Sociopathic Soldier, To the Pain Gorn, Black and Gray Morality, A Real Man Is a Killer, Cold-Blooded Torture, Break the Cutie, Good Is Impotent and so onwards, or to put it another way, it presents the likes of Warhammer 40000 and Friedrich Nietzsche as the only reliable worldview, and everything/everybody else must be assimilated. It is still very well written though, likely even more so on a technical level, which isn't necessarily a good thing when used in this direction. Later it becomes much more balanced and enjoyable again.
  • Murder Arson and Jaywalking: RLOADR Nabiki's consistently hardcore psychopathic acts and nature were initially given a Hand Wave as being on the same level as illegal downloading; which is generally simply morally neutral when it causes no harm, and grants a bonus much larger audience who would never have seen the work otherwise; whereas indifferently selling somebody who had saved your life into sex-slavery... is not.
  • My Greatest Failure: Back in Dark Titans, Titans Ryouga, after having Fake Memories implanted by Brother Blood, managed to maim almost every member of the Teen Titans. Then, after having his true memories returned, he proceeded to nearly nuke Jump City. While the other Titans forgive him, he has yet to forgive himself.
  • No Sense of Direction: Every single Hibiki in the story. This is played for laughs often, and many jokes are had at their expense.
  • Off the Chart: Raven's psychic ability after abandoning her Trigon based powers. The machine just lists her as "Double A".
  • Opposites Attract: X-COM Ryouga is paired off with Nabiki, who wants him to head her mercenary organization (which pretty much requires him to strongly rein her in if her Heel Face Turn is going to last).
  • Out of Character: Absolutely excellent in TTATLB and DT, but:
    • The "Road To Cydonia" counterparts of Ryoga and Ranma have been willing to kill armed, though extremely outmatched, non-superhuman opponents in battle, whereas the originals were firm Bully Hunter types.
    • Kasumi is here perfectly willing to participate in Cold-Blooded Torture against trenchard Akari.
    • Konatsu, whose entire point was that he had no natural urge to kill whatsoever, and had to be drugged by magic to get any, constantly runs dozens of graphic combat scenarios in his head. He still typically opts for the one that does the least harm to his opponent, human or alien.
    • A much smaller issue is that Ryoga, whose entire point during the manga was that he liked Akane because he mistook her for a super-strong Kasumi with the same interests as him, was then paired off with a girl much closer to his/their actual ideal, sans the superhuman martial arts (Akari). Nevertheless, X-COM Ryouga is in a relationship with a mischievous psychopath (Nabiki), and DT-Ryouga with a much less extreme sociopath version (Jinx), although he initially ended up attracted to her because of mind-control.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome:
    • Shampoo seems to feel that this may be happening to her since the arrival of Yankee Squad, and she isn't happy about it.
    • Every single psychic in X-COM when compared to Raven. She outdoes them, and doesn't need a psi-amp to do it. There are a few psychics who are as strong as her though, including Saffron, but all of them are insane.
  • Parasol of Pain: Ryouga. Both of him.
  • Perky Goth: Jinx
  • Pettanko: Jinx
  • Playing with Syringes: What X-COM does to Trenchard Akari. What the aliens tried to do to Jinx.
  • Plucky Girl: Starfire
  • Power Creep, Power Seep:
    • Initially, in Titans and the Lost Boy, Ryouga (and by extension, the rest of the Ranma crew), as well as Starfire and Cyborg are all drastically reduced in strength. As the story progressed, the author has been slowly been bringing them back up to their levels displayed in the animated series source materials. Ryouga and Starfire are represented as close in strength as a conscious choice by the author, as, although her greatest blatant feat of strength was far beneath manga Ryouga's, she was sometimes able to challenge Cyborg. Cyborg, whose top showing in the animated series include tearing up an office building and using it as a bludgeon, which matches Lime keeping open a closing ravine, is presented as ten times stronger than either of them. It would be about 3 times stronger compared with manga Ryouga, but that may be irrelevant.
    • Since the author is using the Ranma anime and Titan's animated series as alpha canon (for observable combat feats, as opposed to trying to extrapolate from static page images), and the Ranma manga and Titans Go comic as Beta canon, quickly followed by the DCAU and other animated DC shows as third canon, followed finally by the actual DC comic lines for the lowest level of canon, this means that although the speed and skill feats for the Ranma crew are still superior to the Titan's cast, unlike the manga's supersonic speed and unearthly skill, it is not by an insurmountable level. Again, this was done as a balance issue, as the manga has showings far in excess of those shown in the anime, although comics Cyborg and Starfire were actually usually presented as far less physically extreme than their (much more compelling) animated series counterparts.
    • By taxing her limits Starfire also manages to match Saffron, an immortal capable of vaporising a mountain, which seems a tad extreme, but worked well for narrative purposes.
    • As a reverse counterpoint, another notable case of this trope is Starfire's flight speed. Despite her ability to fly FTL, both in the animated show and in the comics, she has been dropped to sub relativistic speeds in regards to Reflections.
  • Powered Armor: The Armor Assist System
  • Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner:

  Starfire: "You may burn like the heart of the volcano itself. But I. I- I burn like a star!"

  • Ray Gun
  • Redemption Quest: Jinx is going through one, and doesn't come across as particularly extreme to start with compared with some of her allies.
  • Relationship Reset Button: Ryouga ended up being paired off with Jinx, due to a combination of growing closer with Jinx and feeling too guilty to start a serious relationship with Raven. Then Raven went nuts, nearly Brainwashed him into being her love slave, and erased Jinx's attraction to Ryouga. Now in Ryouga's eyes, he and Raven are "even", and Jinx isn't attracted to him anymore. Congratulations, Raven, you've just set everyone except Starfire back to square one.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Shampoo.
  • Ship Sinking: Ryouga finally came clean to Akane about being P-chan before the story began and got a chewing out to the tune of "I never want to see you again!"\x9D for his courage. While Akane later felt bad about her reaction and apologized, by that time Ryouga had moved on and started to form his own Love Dodecahedron.
  • Shipper on Deck: X-COM Ryouga ships Titans Ryouga/Raven.
  • Sinister Surveillance: It's X-COM's Hat really, even saying the wrong word on a random phone can get you locked up, tortured, MindRaped, or killed.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Early on, the Titans manage to steal the spotlight and run with it. Later on, it becomes more evenly distributed between them and India and Juliet squads.
  • Static Stun Gun: The T-Brella has a shock feature in it. Although the one time it was used, it just pissed X-COM Ryouga off.
  • Strapped to An Operating Table: How Jinx wakes up after the aliens catch her. How Starfire wakes up after Herb punches her face in.
  • Super Strength: Starfire is handled as a little stronger than Ryouga, and Cyborg as a little stronger than Lime.
  • Telepathy: One of the few superpowers already in The Road to Cydonia world.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Early on, Titans Ryouga expresses concern that crappy treatment by the Titans is going to undo Jinx's Heel Face Turn.
  • The Shrink: Psychiatrists are repeatedly mentioned throughout the story, and apparently all of X-COM regularly sees them. We even get to meet one in the form of Dr. Phillips.
  • Time to Unlock More True Potential: X-COM Ryouga developed a superior ki circulation method. Titans Ryouga, Starfire, and Jinx all promptly learn said method.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Shampoo.
  • Touch of Death: X-COM Ryouga's "Killing Point" technique.
  • Trapped in Another World: The Titans. And Jinx.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Trenchard Akari turns against the aliens after Jinx severs her connection to the Mind.
    • Afterwards, the very Reapers she raised are used to hunt her down.

 Trenchard Akari: "Onishi was the prize of his litter. A bred champion. He also tried to bite me in half. Even a champion has no right to turn on his creator."

Jinx: "Oh, man, if I had a nickel for every time I heard a mad scientist say that! I mean, it’s practically a trope or cliché or something!"

Notes

  1. Possibly a very loose, some generations-removed, memetic leftover from the popular online or GTA style: "If you are willing to accept the unavoidable realities of eating animals, you have to be willing to murder, eat, and put anybody in a genocide camp, or you're a hypocrite, as benevolence has to include all or nothing, and as all is impossible per definition you should all become casual spree-killers, or you are all horrible people" rationale.
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