A/N Just going to take a small break from other stuff for a bit while I figure out how I want them to proceed. The next chapter of To End All Wars being a possible exception as it's a HUGE fight scene I hope you all will like. But for the time being I'm just going to do this for a bit.
HUGE thanks to , /u/Madgamer2k7, for making the lovely thumbnail art. You sir are awesome.
Also this is INSPIRED by Metro 2033, not a recreation of it; no nukes, no mutants. I swear up to chapter 4 all the similarities are complete coincidence. At chapter 4 I had the idea for it, but I decided I could actually do something cool like they did in the game. Outside that, standard everything belongs to their respected owners, blah, blah blah. Let's get on with it!
~I always wondered what it must have been like to live under the stars. I've only seen them once before; almost a year ago. They were beautiful, I could have looked at them the whole night. Dad says that people never really gave them any thought before, but now that they were gone they were one of the many things he misses from the old days.
That's the odd thing about the surface, it looks so beautiful. So warm and welcoming, like your problems and worries no longer exist. It's all a lie though. The surface is the second most dangerous place one could be, the first being surrounded by grimm with no ammo; though on the surface no matter where you went you would wind up there eventually.
Dad once told me when he was young they had a wall higher than the height from our house to the surface that kept the grimm out. I didn't think it was true till I actually saw it for myself. He also says they had ships that could fly through the skies from one end of the world to the other. I still don't fully believe him, but the wall was true; so I'll give him the benefit of a doubt.
~I wonder what the other kingdoms must have been like. Traders brave enough to travel the surface have come and told us about them. The adults breath sighs of relief to hear they are still going strong in their underground shelters like us. I just enjoy hearing about different people and their customs, they seem so strange, but interesting. No doubt they think the same of us.
Traders from Mistral are suppose to be coming by boat in a few days. Dad, Yang, Blake, Zewi and me are suppose to meet them at the docks and escort them to the metro.
I wonder if they'll bring sweets? The last traders that came through brought something called "sugar" and dad used it to make my new favorite treat "cookies." I still like strawberries, but not many make the trip here before spoiling. I tried growing some in the underground gardens, but they haven't grown yet. Dad said it wasn't the right time of year, though that was a few months ago, I still check everyday to see if they've started growing or not.
~Uncle recently came back from a expedition to Emerald Forest. He said he found some shotgun shells and even a few sniper bullets in an old ruin. He even gave me two! I was so happy I almost spent them on that cute beowolf doll at the store run by the old man. But I decided not to, he is going to let me have it if I help him in the shop for a little longer.
Sometimes it sucks being a huntress, even being one in training. If I could I would work for the old guy for the full five weeks straight then get the doll, or hang out with Jaune from Team #101 more. Not that I couldn't, but his Dad and mine, can only tolerate each other at the best of times. So we don't get to hang out outside missions for very long, because our dads would come looking for us, and find each other, and I don't like it when they argue with each other over "nothing" as they put it.
"Aww, my baby sister has a crush on Jaune."
"Give it back Yang!"
Yang held me away with an open palm on my face while she held my diary up in the other, far out of reach. I struggled against her, but she was always stronger than me; doesn't help that her arms were longer too. Finally I gave up and pulled the one card that I knew always worked.
"DAD! YANG STOLE MY DIARY!"
"Yang's is behind the dictionary on the bookshelf." He called back.
"What? No!" The hand that was pushing me away now tried to pull be close, though Yang may have had strength, I had speed.
I bolted, quickly recovered my sister's own private tome. Yang tried to force it out of my hands, but I could easily slip away from her with my semblance.
I think I heard uncle Qrow ask my dad why he wasn't stopping us, but I did clearly hear dad say, "It's good practice for them." Really though It's because he gave up long ago on controlling us, he only put his foot down when it was really important.
I read through a few entries in my sister's "journal" as she preferred to call it. Apparently she had a date with some guy named Viktor and had a "good night" with him; whatever that means.
"Alright I give, trade?"
"And one of your chocolate bars."
"No!" Normally I would just accept the trade, but I felt she needed to be taught a lesson this time.
I turned the page back and continued reading, looking for some sort of dirt on her. "Ok fine, half a bar." I accepted and she told me to wait in our room while she went to recover the sweets from where she hides them.
Uncle Qrow came in a little bit after Yang left and mentioned he was going to be heading to the store.
"Do you need me to pick up anything?" I mentioned I needed some more weapon oil for Crescent Rose, and gave him two .30 calibers to pay for it. It's always strange having your most powerful weapon also be your wallet, but for my baby every expense was worth it. I even kept a spare clip of .50 cal just so I could use them for their original purpose. It was super expensive to fire my baby even once, but it was always worth it; even with the weaker "pea" rounds as dad calls them.
Despite that, there's no way me, or even me and dad combined could afford to consistently use my sweetheart, so my 'Hunter DMR' has to make good for general use. It's an ok weapon. It fires single shot or in a two round burst, but the 'Standard Heavy Rounds' are nicely sized and the gun is solid and reliable. The only way you could break it is if you're doing something with the intention of breaking it.
Sometimes I found myself wanting to have Yang's "Grimmbane 02." That full auto killing power was awe inspiring. Plus I would by lying if I said the sound it makes didn't make me feel weird in my private area. Despite using 'Standard Light Rounds,' that thing eats through ammunition so fast that after seeing her receipt, it still racked up pretty high at times. Plus light rounds weren't as effective at range and even lost their killing power on grimm at only 30 meters. It was more of a defensive weapon compared to my DMR, but with grimm you're always on the defense.
Uncle Qrow left, and I had the feeling that my two .30 cal would find their way back into my pouch some how. I didn't like it when they used their own money on stuff for me. I'm a Huntress after all, I can pay for my own gear and supplies. I know Yang likes to spend her money on random things, like alcohol and those weird, rigid plastic squares. The most I spend money on though is sweets.
Yang returned, and we made the trade. I happily nibbled on my newly acquired candy, while we both initiated the 'under the pillow truce' till we could find new hiding spots.
"Alright girls, I think we should head to bed early, we need to be up before dawn."
Both of us groaned, but complied. I stashed what was left of the chocolate with the rest of my sweets, then turned in for bed.
Like he did every night he tucked me in like when I was little and made sure I was snug. Yang told him when she turned ten she didn't need him to do it anymore. Though he smiled and claimed her to becoming a big girl I could see a small amount of disappointment in his eyes. I guess small things like this remind him of when he lived on the surface.
He gave me a goodnight kiss, then did the same for Yang. She gladly returned it, then he pulled the chain for the overhead light. He performed the ritualistic process of turning off all the lights in the house so that the last one was in his own room. Uncle slept on the couch in the living room, so dad wasn't worried about leaving a light on for him. Despite being underground in the metros at night it became very quiet. Normally the soft echoes on the other side of the tunnel could be heard as a soft whisper in the distance, but at night, everything became silent.
"Wake up Yang."
Even though Dad was struggling to wake my sister, he woke me up first anyways. I grumbled lightly to myself and rolled over, still dead tired. I'll wake up when he gets to me.
"You need to wake up too."
I struggled up and set my feet on the floor, but I guess I passing out for a minute or so, as next thing I knew I was on by back again; feet still over the edge of the bed. Dad nudged me and said it was time to get up. Yang had sleepily made her way for the bathroom, so I went about preparing my stuff while I waited to do my morning pee.
Combat vest; check.
Knee and elbow pads; check.
Flashlight, helmet lights and charger; check.
Geared up after relieving myself. I waited by the door for Dad and Yang; Zewi at my feet waiting to go. Uncle was passed out on the couch with the pillow covering his head.
Yang ran out from our room fully geared. She wore her shorts, cape skirt and tan vest like usual. I never understood why, because she wore the standard khaki combat vest over top it like I did with my black blouse; difference being you could actually see my clothes' sleeves. I think Yang just liked to wear it for the sake of wearing it.
Her helmet was pure yellow, and she wore sunglasses for some reason. Though she had a standard respirator like me, she had modified it into a full face mask. Bag on her back and Ember Celica around her wrist. We both did a standard check on our equipment, to make sure it was strapped down right. Yang tugging my arm straps a little too tight and I couldn't move my arms to release the squeezing pressure. She laughed at her petty joke and got a good whack on the head from me.
Dad came down with his brown leather pea coat with the fur lining. Also wearing standard equipment, he lifted his full face gas mask so he could see better and undid the straps squeezing my shoulders.
Yang opened the locker and handed us our weapons. I made sure Crescent Rose was fastened behind my waist, and my DMR over my shoulder. Dad did the same for his weapons and Yang kept hers in a holster at her waist. We filed out, Zewi running excitedly in a small circle happy to be outside.
"Dad." I closed the door and saw a familiar symbol sprayed on the outside of the dented metal portal.
It was the image of a crown being broken in half by a black lightning bolt. I'd seen it a few times before. Usually on the small houses like ours, but I've seen it on random apartments too. Dad and Yang never told me what it meant exactly, but explained that not everyone has it as good as we do in the metros and sometimes they get angry because they weren't ready for 'The Great Retreat.'
Dad stepped up to the image and ran his finger along the dry spray paint. After commenting that they must have done it just after Qrow got back, turned and said he'd clean it later.
Zewi "lead" us to the hunter headquarters. The narrow streets were only three meters across, so not a lot of room during the day, but right now they were almost completely empty. The ceiling lights were off, so it was very dark. The lights on the flanks of my helmet lit the way for me just as Yang's and dad's monolight did for them. A few night crew were working on the lights, no doubt some had burned out or needed changing.
As we got closer to the end, the buildings turned from small two or one bedroom homes into apartment buildings. At the end of the tall buildings were a couple shops; the old man's store being a general goods shop, while the other four were more specialized. The tallest building being only three stories high and going all the way to the metro ceiling. A few side streets had been carved through the stone but for the most part it was a straight shot, making a left turn closer to the far end.
At the very end where the ceiling wasn't carved away to make room, a massive steel wall separated us from the rest of the grimm infested metro tunnels. Before it was the small building that housed headquarters.
Black was waiting outside the building, waiting patiently. I learned when I was young she was a faunus. When we were kids she would always wear a bow to hide her cute kitty ears. Apparently people weren't as nice to faunus as we were. I'd seen them being teased because they have bunny ears or similar, but I was bullied just because I had silver eyes, so it couldn't be that different could it?
Her bow though has long since been replaced with her standard issue combat helmet. I was always a little jealous of her weapon. Unlike mine, Gambol Shroud could operate to full effect with standard light rounds. The only extra weapon she carried was a 'Grimm Buster' a compact breach-action pistol, that fired 'light explosive rounds.'
We stepped through the slightly ragged curtain that "separated" the outside and in. As usual, Glynda was organizing files. Without even looking to us she handed dad a folder and commented he was a few minutes late. He apologized, but Glynda wasn't having it.
"The group from Mistral is arriving soon, and you need to be there before they arrive. For all we know they were seen and are being followed by grimm waiting for them to come ashore."
"Right no time for briefing. Let's go girl's you can read the file on the way there."
Shame, I wanted to see Ozpin, but dad is right; we need to get going. We stepped up to the steel barrier. Three guard, one in a control booth, started opening small view ports in the wall and looking inside before moving to the next one. Dad and Yang helped speed along the process. I'm a little too short to see, so I just stood by the door. After the last one was checked one of the guards shouted it was clear and the one in the booth pressed a few buttons making the door in front of me crunch as its heavy locks moved out of the way. Dad pulled open the three heavy dead bolts then with a little effort pushed the heavy steel portal open.
We stepped through, and a second wall stood before us. Dad closed the door and we waited for the three deadbolts to be locked into place. The door in this wall had a wheel crank lock and a single deadbolt to hold it close.
Dad peeked through the viewport, after calling it clear he opened the portal. We filed out weapons drawn and formed a defensive semicircle around the door till he closed it behind us.
Grimm didn't normally stay right next to the barrier, but that didn't mean we could afford to drop our guard for a moment. Yang took point, while Blake using her superior vision to watch our backs for any grimm smart enough to try flanking around where the lights were looking.
It was an easy straight shot; that first part normally was uneventful. Once we reached the end of the tunnel we entered into the main terminal, a large open area with an elevated roof. This is normally where you can start expecting grimm. There were none that we could see today, but the bullet casings littering the ground hinted that, that wasn't always the case. At the far back wall was a ladder leading up. A sign next to it, two arrows pointing to the left read: "West Terminal 5KM," and the second reading "SDLN 12KM." On the right referring to the tunnel that kept going straight read "VDNKh ∞KM." The last one said "Vale Main" and pointed where we came from.
It was a bit of a climb up the ladder, made even harder by the fact I had to carry Zewi. Yang lead the way and reached the small trap door at the very top. She looped a leg through the bars and braced her gun in one arm as she pulled the door open. Judging by the lack of gunfire I would say there were no grimm in immediate sight.
We piled out and closed the door behind us. The sun was just starting to rise over the horizon, the blinding light forced me to put on the goggles that had been casually hanging around my neck till then. The black monogoggles were nicely cushioned and blocked out much of the blinding light we were going to be walking into, only problem is they blocked much of my peripheral vision; but seeing only a little is better then not seeing at all.
Yang helped pull up Blake while I took a quick look around the area. No grimm, which was odd, they must still be sleeping. The ruins of the city normally had them congregate around the many entrances to the metros till they could find a way actually underground.
Dad mentioned our first time to the surface this use to be the commercial district, there were so many now ruined shops that I wondered what they all could have sold. The old man's general goods store had practically everything you could need, save dust and the few things the specialty stores carried. Yang resumed leading the way toward the shipping district.
The ships were huge, dad said that before the metros they were planning to have us live on a flotilla of boats, but some smart people determined that the ships couldn't sustain a population over 23 for more than a year, only reaching two if only 10 people lived on it. Apparently during 'The Great Retreat,' a few that couldn't get to the metros tried to live on the massive ships. Most of them had to abandon the idea, which is where all the "bunker towns" scattered around the world come from. My mind continued to drift from one thing to the other on the topics from "How do they hold off the grimm" to "Do they live on a shelter on the surface or did they dig underground? Or did they find a natural metro to live in?"
My thoughts were cut off when a flicker of movement caught my eye, and I stopped only a inch away from walking into a sign post. Yang laughed at what was going to be the amusement of the day. I pulled my respirator up from around my neck onto my face to hide my embarrassment.
"Ruby you need to get your head out of the clouds. Else the world is going to ground you."
I ignored her dumb joke, and stuck my tongue out at her; till I remembered she couldn't see it, so I just dropped it. The docks were in sight and I was excited to see the sails of a boat still out in the bay heading our way. I pointed it out and me, Yang, and Blake ran ahead to meet the boat.
"Stay alert." Dad called as we ran ahead, not overly concerned as he could catch up quickly if anything did happen.
We ran to the end of one of the docks and started waving to the incoming sailboat. It was small, only large enough for three or four people and their cargo. They pulled up to the side and the man at the wheel started instructing us how to tie them down. Another crew member tossed use some ropes so we could follow the instructions.
I pulled at the ropes with all my might to make sure the boat was fastened to the dock. The helmsman grabbed a bag of gear and pulled himself up onto the concrete surface we were on.
"Don't worry about the rest of the stuff, we'll get it later, for now I just want to find a bed to crash in." He reminded me of how tired I was still, but I kept the feeling suppressed for after we got back.
A few hands came from below deck only one looking particularly sleepy. Each also had their own weapons and gear. With some help from the three of us, we pulled the crew ashore. The last girl helping the sleepy guy up before herself. She took my offered hand and it felt more like she was pulling herself up as I struggled just to keep from falling forward.
"Thank you, I appreciate the help." Her hair was flat red with emerald green eyes.
"No problem, welcome to Vale." I smiled back, completely forgetting she couldn't see my face.
She spoke thanks again, this time for my hospitality. The group did quick introductions, the helmsman introduced himself as Philip; the first man his cousin Cloelius; the sleepy one as Otho; and the girl his niece Pyrrha. Each giving some form of greeting to us as we in return gave our names. Yang had to elbow me lightly as I admit to ogling Pyrrha's sword and shield under her bag. Her gun was nice too, a standard Mistral style Hunter DMR, a slightly larger frame than mine, but obviously of the same blueprints. Like mine she also had a custom extended barrel, but she didn't have anything else particularly unique on hers save a collapsible bayonet. I was actually a little surprised she hadn't done anything else to it, mine had a forward grip, sight rails and a custom butt and handle for extra stability and comfort. I didn't point it out though, maybe she just liked standard issue more.
"Our dad should be on his way, we ran a little ahead to meet you."
"I hope he doesn't delay, I wouldn't want to be separated."
"Oh don't worry, our dad is a full fledged hunter; It'll take more than a few grimm to take him down."
A low howl was heard in the distance and I laughed lightly, "Speak of the grimm."
A few popping sounds were heard a little closer and me and Yang looked to each other.
"Come on, the fun is starting!" I called to them as our team took off toward the distant gunfire. The newcomers looked to between themselves. Otho let his face fall into his hand as he frustratedly rubbed his eyes, before joining the others who were already a few steps ahead, running to help out.
Fav + Follow and all the other things.
And again; thanks to /u/madgamer2k7.