The blue-and-black banner of XCOM, with its saltire cross over the globe and stars, is at half-mast today. Humanity's last, best hope for survival has lost a true legend.
Colonel Tatiana "Flash" Lebedeva was one of the initial four soldiers to respond to the first confirmed Extraterrestrial incursion in her homeland of Moscow, Russia. From her humble beginnings as a rank and file soldier, she rose swiftly through the ranks as a Heavy Weapons Specialist, specializing in explosives as well as her trusty light machine gun. She was the first XCOM soldier promoted to the rank of Colonel, and, for twenty missions, led her men to victory against Sectoids, Floaters, and Mutons alike. She was there at the infamous Battle of Manchester, where she held the line against a wave of thirteen Chryssalids that threatened to destroy the entire city. She led the raid into the alien base, and was there when Major Shane "Twitch" Jackson fired the arc-thrower that captured the Sectoid Commander.
Ironically, it was this mission that would eventually result in her death. Although she was one of the first soldiers to enter Psionic Training, it was soon discovered that, despite her talents in leadership and combat, she was not one of the few soldiers gifted with Psionic ability. Passed over for the best equipment in favor of the new generation of psionic soldiers, she nonetheless fought valiantly with heavy laser and carapace armor.
She was killed on August 25, 2015, in Operation Vengeful Stranger: the defense of the town of Volgograd, Russia, against a combined terror force of Mutons, Berserkers, and Floaters. When the squad was pinned down by heavy fire, and flanked on all sides, Colonel Lebedeva personally risked her life and limb to kill the flanking force with an Alien Grenade. Shortly afterwards, a critical strike from a Plasma Rifle ended her life. Perhaps if she had been equipped with the new generation of Titan Armor, she could have survived.
Colonel Lebedeva was the first XCOM soldier promoted to the rank of Colonel, and the first of its Colonels to lose her life in combat. Her final combat statistics were 32 kills over 20 missions. She is remembered by her close friends and fellow Colonels Abimola"Tombstone" Manana and Colonel Willem "Ghost" Peters.
She will be missed.
On a side note: XCOM Enemy Unknown is a fantastic remake of a classic game, and I highly recommend it.
- Listening to: Podcasts
- Reading: Cryoburn
- Watching: the world go mad
- Playing: STALKER
- Eating: Bread and Cheese
- Drinking: Blood Orange Soda