Disclaimer: I do not own anything in the following writing except the characters and events I create.
Warning: This is an AU, backstories and personalities will differ from canon. Violence, gore, language, and dark themes are ahead. You have been warned.
Art: Check out my profile for links containing drawings of Ruby and Blake in this AU, done by the wonderful Noxypep of Tumblr. Credit of the cover art to Noxy as well.
Last Huntress – Chapter 1
-A New Remnant-
"Ladies and gentlemen of the Remnant Security Council.. Facts don't lie."
Ruby Rose sat in the second row back from the front in the massive court room. She, and countless others, had gathered into this section of the Vale capital building in order to bear witness to what would happen here today. Granted, the seat that Yang had chosen for her was not the best suited for viewing anyway. She was forced to sit almost sideways on the chair in order to turn enough to allow her left eye a clear view of the floor that separated the assembled population from the raised area that housed the two dozen members of the Council. Her right eye was covered by a large bandage that wrapped around the back of her head, but the thought occurred that even without it obscuring her vision, it would not matter.
An empty socket could see no better than if an eye had been covered.
"Facts don't lie." The man who was speaking was none other than James Ironwood, General of Atlas' military forces and the same man that had once prophesied that they would one day be here, in this court room awaiting this decision. Ironwood shrugged as he repeated his original point, earning several nods of agreement from the councilors. "They have no agenda, they don't cover up the truth, they are simply facts. And the facts, ladies and gentlemen, say that the number of children born with a propensity for Aura use are lower than they have been in two. Hundred. Years." The crew cut of the General and his high-backed posture added immensely to the way that he emphasized each word, and Ruby gulped down a tingle of fear that had wormed it's way through the haze of painkillers and guilt. "The fact is: We can no longer rely on trained warriors, on the Huntsmen, to defend us. And Vale has becoming a shining example of why in these past few days."
"People lie." Ironwood moved a hand, palm up, through the air in front of him as if he were asking if the councilors agreed. Again, many nodded. "People make mistakes. People have an angle. And Hunters, supposedly the best of our very best, have failed to measure up to the standards that must be required of them. I, and many of my contemporaries in the military and security industry, have realized that we must employ a method of defense that is not prone to the error that is.. People. Never has this been more apparent than earlier this week."
"The southern Commercial District is gone, Councilors." The sudden rise in Ironwood's voice generated a ripple effect of sudden attention, the commanding presence of a military officer arresting the entirety of the court room. That is, except for Headmaster Ozpin, who Ruby watched for a moment. The man who had been her mentor for nearly four years stood as still as he had since she had arrived, hands clasped together and resting calmly on the surface of the table before him. "And with it, nearly a thousand of our citizens, the same that we swore to protect, are dead. Were it not for the intervention of the good people at the Vex Security Corporation, we could have easily lost much more. We were lucky."
"And we cannot depend on luck, ladies and gentlemen of the Council. I refuse to place the safety of our people in the hands of luck, just as I will die before I allow the utter incompetency of the Hunter program to happen again!" The damning proclamation echoed through the chamber, but still came utter silence from the crowd, as even Ruby herself was compelled to hang onto the General's every word. There came a moment of quiet as Ironwood brought a hand to pursed lips, as if he were swallowing an instinct to let out a sob. He recovered quickly, rising back up to his full height as he continued. "We must face the fact that with each day the Grimm grow bolder. That with each day, they grow more dangerous. Grief and terror strike through much of the kingdom, and that emotion will feed our enemy."
Ironwood paused for a brief second, looking back towards the assembled mass. More importantly, Ruby saw that he looked directly at Ozpin, before returning his gaze to the Councilors. "My opponent comes to this meeting armed with statements of glory and tradition, but I came prepared with the harsh truth of reality. The Hunters can no longer protect us."
"Ladies and gentlemen of the Remnant Security Council, I move to vote that the Hunter Program be immediately disbanded in it's entirety, to be replaced in function by the Robotic Defense Division and the Barricade Program. This is no longer a world controlled by Dust and a few gifted individuals. We no longer need to risk the lives of brave young men and women who devote themselves to a profession that has become a fairy tale they needlessly die for. We owe our sons and our daughters so much more than that. We have the technology to defend ourselves, to push back the Grimm. I hope you, Councilors, have the wisdom to deploy it. Thank you." Giving a last nod to the gathered men and women above him, Ironwood turned on a heel and strode back to the table on the other side of the room from where Ozpin sat.
It was the Headmaster of Beacon Academy that everyone, from the Councilors to the people in the general area, now looked to. He stood slowly, straightening and leaning heavily upon the cane that was always at his side. A long moment of silence passed, allowing for the slow filtering of murmuring to fill the court room before one of the women of the Council spoke up. "Headmaster Ozpin? Now is the time to present your case."
Ruby watched with no small feeling of confusion as Ozpin looked up at the Councilors, and then sat back down in his chair without a word. Just as General Ironwood had commanded the room with his presence, the Headmaster did so with his absence, as a ripple of shocked gasps brought about the slamming of a gavel and a man yelling to bring the room to order.
She felt her own mouth fall open in surprise. Ironwood had made a tough act to follow, but the thought had never once entered her mind that Ozpin would simply give up without a fight. "Very well, then." Those three words brought back the silence in the room, as the Councilors all looked to each other. Two dozen nods, two dozen agreements, and the woman who sat in the middle of the raised area rose to her feet to speak again. "In unanimous agreement, the Remnant Security Council has decided to disband the Hunter Program in it's entirety. All Hunters are henceforth stripped of their weapons and rank, but also pardoned of their crimes against the four Kingdoms. Those who refuse will be taken into custody and court martialed for desertion of duty."
Ruby's ears were filled with the noise of sudden screaming from behind her, overpowering whatever else the woman was going to say. The entire side of the room that she had sat in was populated with the Hunters and Huntresses that had gathered, and even her own older sister joined the chorus of loud disagreement, hurling insults towards the Councilors with abandon. It seemed as if everyone joined in on the frenzy.
Everyone except her, as she sat in the chair, the right side of her face aching and feeling uncomfortably empty. And Ozpin, who remained staring ahead, despite the choice words that were thrown his way as well. They both understood, she and the Headmaster, they both knew what had happened.
They both knew that it was over.
Author's Note: So here it is. Those that have followed me through Roses & Thorns, Reddit, or my DeviantArt will know that I've been referencing this story for quite some time(My way of saying "Oh my god I am so sorry it has been friggin' months!"). I used to call it the 'Cyberpunk AU', but honestly it has moved further and further away from that genre into something else, so now it's just "Last Huntress AU" to me. This is the prologue, and as such is only a taste of what it is to come! Thanks for reading and I hope you'll enjoy this story! Please remember to check out the awesome art of Noxypep for this AU from the links in my profile! -Fox