Blinding white flashed from the Makluon artifact, filling Iron Man's vision. Tony Stark, the boy in the armor, clenched his eyes shut as it felt like his stomach fell as if it were lead. Opening his eyes, he realized that was the wrong thought.
Because he was literally falling to his death to the forest below him. "Thrusters to full!" he ordered his computer as the he fell a very large brick, spinning through the air. The thrusters kicked in at the wrong moment, sending him flying down at an angle and smashing through three trees before impacting the ground.
With a whine of his servos, he sat up. "Okay. Time to access GPS and find out where I'm at so I can find the Mandarin and whip his butt."
His HUD shifted focus and then brought up a red circle with an error.
"What do you mean, no GPS signal?" he complained to his armor as he stood up. "Guess I'll have to find out the old fashioned way. Flying high up and then-"
"Annnnnnd I've got a broken thruster. Just great," Tony complained to himself. "Guess I'm walking. With the sun over there just above the horizon and rising, that makes that East-ish."
"Yang! Yang!" Ruby Rose yelled out as her thoughts wound round and round frantically. She broke out of the underbrush and nearly collided with the white-haired Weiss Schnee and a brightly armored figure that shot from the side to stop them from running into each other. Both girls looked over at the face plate and the blue eyes beneath it.
"Whoa, you guys alright?"
Both girls back peddled from the armored figured.
"Uh, yeah. But who are you? I don't remember seeing you at the top of the cliff," Ruby asked.
"Yes, who are you?" Weiss had her revolver rapier held in a casual, loose grip that pointed toward the ground in front of her.
"Most people call me Iron Man," the man-machine said in a deep, electronically distorted voice said. The faceplate broke apart and folded away. "But you can call me Tony." He looked about their age.
"That's armor? Very garish with all that red and gold," Weiss said. "I am Weiss Schnee and this dolt is Ruby Rose."
Ruby pouted, but didn't argue the point. "But aren't we partners now?"
"No," Weiss said, turning on her right heel and walking away. Only sixty feet away, she came across Jaune Arc.
"Hi!" he said as suavely as he could while hanging from his hoodie that was pinned to a tree by a spear.
Weiss turned around again, walking right back to Ruby.
"This in no way means that I like you," she said as she grabbed Ruby's arm as she walked by.
"Um, guys?" Tony asked. "Don't you need to get him down?"
Weiss stopped as she let Ruby go. "If he was competent, he should be able to get down on his own. Up there, he won't be killed by the first Grimm to wander by. If he's quiet."
"Those Grimm are the shadow monster things, right? I've run into a few of them while walking towards the only radio signal I could pick up. Some place name Vale off that way." Tony pointed towards the cliffs. He directed his armor to pull the spear out with a tractor beam. "Odd. This spear has been polarized already."
Jaune landed with an oomph, holding a hand to his abused tailbone. "Ow!"
"That's Phyrra's spear. I hope she does not need it right now," Weiss said as she tapped a finger to her chin. "So, Tony? Are you from Atlas? That armor looks like something cobbled together from our defense robots," Weiss asked.
"No, I'm not from Atlas. Or Vale. I'm not even sure I've ever heard of those before. This place... it's odd. No satellite GPS, few radio signals and monsters everywhere. It's definitely nothing like Earth," he replied.
"The Kingdom of Earth? Uhm, the only kingdom I remember called that was hundreds of years ago, before it fell to the Grimm," Ruby said, thinking hard.
"That was the Kingdom of Erta. Not Earth," Weiss corrected.
"Earth isn't a kingdom. It's a planet. Also known as Terra or Sol III. The third planet in the solar system." And Tony braced himself for what they were going to say.
"But this is Remnant. Though I've never heard anyone called it the planet Remnant," the girl with black-cherry-red hair noted.
"And that's what I was afraid of. Somehow that Makluan artifact sent me to another world or possibly a different dimension-"
"Do you seriously expect us to believe such a wild tale?" Weiss said, cutting him off. "At least make your lie believable. I bet you are just another obstacle in our way for the entrance exam. Come on, Ruby. We have to get the artifact."
"Um, I don't feel right about leaving Jaune here alone. Or leaving the guy in the really cool armor! Does it transform?" Ruby squealed happily.
"Yes?" Tony wondered how had she guess that.
Weiss stopped, thinking and considering. "Well, let's see it."
Tony raised an eyebrow at that. "Really? Fine, I guess." A mental command to his armor sent it unfolding and sliding plates off his body. In moments, he was in his signature red T-shirt, jeans and tennis shoes, armor now folded up as a backpack. "It's just to allow me to have my armor with me incognito, so to say. Probably a good idea, as it's low on energy. I need to get it recharged."
"Your lightning Dust is nearly depleted? I'm sure you can buy some in Vale." Weiss looked quite unimpressed with the 'transformation'.
"Dust? Maybe I misheard that?" He thought he had figured out how to translate their language using the armor and his Extremis by tapping into their phones and radio signals. He stuck his finger in his ear, even though it did nothing to help his situation.
"Yeah, Dust! The power of nature in crystalline form! Everything runs on Dust," Ruby explained, a wide grin on her face as Jaune snickered in the background.
"Well, everything but my armor, I guess. I somehow think I'm going to have problems finding a megawatt generator," Tony said as he redeployed his armor, but left his head uncovered.
They all turned as they heard something approach at a rapid pace. Everyone but Jaune tensed and readied for a fight. He belatedly started to crouch just as the auburn-haired girl Pyrrha vaulted over a large bush.
"Ah! I expected to find Jaune, not you two and- Who's the boy in armor, Weiss?" the dueling champion asked.
"He goes by 'Iron Man' or Tony Stark," Weiss said, using her fingers to 'quote' his superhero name.
"Is he part of the initiation?" she asked.
"Nope!" Ruby said cheerfully. "Looks like you found your partner, Jaune!"
The blond perked up at that.
"Can't we-?" Weiss asked.
"No take backs!"
The platinum blonde almost wilted at that. "Fine."
"Looks like we are partners, partner," Pyrrha said to Jaune. She gave him a wide, genuine smile.
"Yeah!" he said in a bashful tone.
"We should continue on." Weiss gave the boy in the hoodie and armor a suspicious look. "And we should probably stay together for safety." Unsaid was that it was more for Jaune's safety.
"Do you mind if I tag along? Though I think you should get your weapons ready. Five nonhuman creatures are headed this way from that direction," Tony said, pointing towards the large bushes to their left. He tossed Pyrrha her spear.
The pack of Beowolves leaped out, trying to surprise the hunters and hero, only to be met by bullets, spells and repulsor beams. The last beowulf dodged left, then right, then a final right and leaped at Jaune only to be cleaved in half by Ruby's scythe.
"Hyaaaaa!" she said as she finished her move, legs bent. The end of her handle smacked Jaune's shoulder with a hard whap.
"Ow," he cried as he dropped his sword. He had barely pulled it out before the fight was over.
"Sorry, Jaune. Crescent Rose takes up a lot of space," Ruby said.
"Didn't your aura block that?" Pyrrha asked in concern.
"Uh, Aura?" Tony and Jaune asked in unison.
Weiss and Ruby shared a concerned look while keeping an eye Jaune.
"Yes, you dolts. The manifestation of our souls that helps protect hunters," Weiss snapped out, very irritated.
"Souls? Really?" Tony had one eyebrow arched so high it disappeared under his hair.
"Could it be you haven't had you Aura unlocked?" Pyrrha asked.
"Uh. Well, about that-" Jaune stuttered, sure he had been found out.
"Oh! He didn't have anyone that could unlock it for him in his family! Probably felt ashamed to ask a teacher to do it, too!" Ruby blurted out. She had seen that with a student at Signal, where they had not told anyone they were still Aura-locked and got hurt badly.
The blonde decided to roll with it. "Uh, how did you know?" he asked. It wasn't hard to act ashamed, at least.
"Don't worry, Jaune." Pyrrha smiled as she walked up. She put her hand on his chest. "For it is in passing that we achieve immortality. Through this, we become a paragon of virtue and glory to rise above all. Infinite and distant and unbound by death. I release your soul. And by my shoulder protect thee."
A glow surrounded them as Tony and the other two girls watched.
"It looks like you have a lot of Aura," the dueling champion noted with a small smile.
"Unknown energy source detected. Unable to analyze," a female's voice said from Tony's armor.
"What was that?" Weiss demanded, looking at him in suspicion.
"Just my armor's A.I. failing to figure out the energy of that Aura thing." Tony scratched his head. "So you say that protects you? I wonder if I should see if you can activate my Aura? I mean, I'm down to 20 % charge here and no sign of a power outlet," he said, joking and smiling at the last bit.
"Power outlet? Of Dust? No, you said you didn't know what Dust was," Weiss said, correcting herself.
"Just good old fashioned electricity. Something a little less than a lightning bolt." He gave her a grin. At least his heart did not depend on the armor at times.
"Oh? Is that all. Do I need to zap some lightning into a plug or something?" the platinum blond asked.
Tony blinked. "Uh, no." His helmet snapped back into place. "Zap away, princess."
Ruby stepped away over to where Jaune and Pyrrha stood.
"Hmph. I'm not a princess." Myrtenaster's revolver chamber rotated to socket yellow Dust in the aura chamber. With a surge of her aura, she unleashed a small bolt of lightning.
"Nice! Up to 40% charge. Can you do that another four times?" Iron Man asked.
Weiss blink-blinked at that. "I could, but that would leave me without any lightning Dust for personal defense."
"One more time then? I'm sure I'll be fine at 50 % charge," he replied.
Another lightning bolt and Weiss studied the armored figure. "Hmph."
Pyrrha turned to Tony as he retracted his helmet. "I can't activate your Aura for a bit, I'm afraid. I'm a bit drained."
"No problem! I'll do it!" Ruby cried out, pumping a fist in a victory pose. She closed her eyes for a second to remember the phrase.
"Don't be silly. You need a great deal of control and power-" Weiss said, only to be interrupted as Ruby put her hand on Tony's chest.
Tony listened carefully as the redhead chanted the same mantra as he felt something warm suffuse his body. "Whoa!"
"Hmm. I'm surprised. How old are you?" Weiss asked.
"Fifteen. Why?" Ruby with a hint of suspicion.
"Because I barely learned how to do this year. And I'm considered a bit of a prodigy," Pyrrha admitted as she set her hands on her hips.
"So now what?" Tony asked in curiousity.
"We need to go to the north side of the forest, retrieve our artifacts and make it back to the cliff," Weiss said, nodding her head sharply.
"North is that way," the armored alien said, pointing off in a direction.
"Wow, sounds like you have a lot of sensors in there," Jaune said, wishing he had armor like that.
"I do. I'm tracking about thirty-five of those Grimm things, about a dozen other people giving off radio signals and hundreds of drones and cameras."
The other four kids stared at him, then Weiss narrowed her eyes. "Ozpin did say they would be monitoring us," she said a bit angrily.
"Oh no! They wouldn't disqualify us for this, would they?" Ruby said, horrified at the idea of being kicked out. Would Signal take her back in?
Jaune looked even more worried.
"Of course not. I mean, this just shows how we would deal with a lone hunter we would run into in the wilderness. Allying together shows that we are social and intelligent," Weiss replied in a ruthless, cold manner.
"So let's go." Iron Man started tromping through the woods.
"Why not?" Jaune asked. "The artifacts could be in there." He pointed to a cave in a small cliffside.
"Because it's a natural cave that has a really, really big life form about seventy feet in," Iron Man said.
"What!?" Ruby and Weiss both shouted, readying their weapons.
"And I think it heard you, because here it comes," Iron Man said, sighing.
The trained hunters all hopped back twenty feet as Iron Man readied his repulsors. So the Death Stalker smashing through the too small opening only surprised Jaune who scrambled back in a panic.
"Repulsors; full power," Tony ordered his armor. With a shriek of particles, two beams of light shot from his hands. The Deathstalker's heavy torso armor took the hit, ablating part of the damage and leaving small, shallow craters. "You have got to be kidding."
"Move!" Pyrrha shouted as she and Ruby fired their weapons in gun forms.
The Deathstalker lunged forward as Iron Man tried to launch into the sky, only for his system to buzz and not activate his boot jets. Massive pincers, larger than a man, snagged him and tried to crush the hated human.
"Whoa!" Tony said as warnings lit up his HUD. "Full power to shields... NOW!"
A repulsor shield snapped into spherical existence, pushing the claws apart.
Weiss formed a glyph in front of her, attracting the armored form to her. Jaune narrowed his eyes. "Shoot the cliff above the Grimm," he yelled out as he held his shield out and stepped up to interpose his own body between Ruby and Pyrrha and the giant scorpion monster.
"Right! Switching to fire Dust," Ruby called out, discarding the current magazine and then slapping in one of her two spare mags in its place.
"That isn't going to work," Weiss said even as she started to shoot blasts of lightning from a yellow glyph she created.
"Unibeam to full power!" Iron Man called out, blasting out with the full power of his major repulsor weapon. All of the attacks hit home on the cliff above the Deathstalker as it started to move up to snap Jaune in half.
With a massive crash, the Grimm found itself buried beneath tens of tons of rock.
"I wouldn't have believed that any creature could do that. Then I remembered the Hulk. Now I'm wondering if that will hold it?" Iron Man said.
The young heiress snorted at that. "Well, I think we concluded the 'destroy anything in our path'," Weiss said after a long moment. "Let's get out of here in case it digs itself out."
"Say, could you give me another lightning blast? My unibeam uses up a lot of power."
Half an hour later, they followed the sound of explosions and the happy squeal of a girl to find two other pairs of hunters in training.
"YANG!" Ruby cried out, disappearing in a blur of rose petals and tackling her sister.
"Hey sis!" the older sister said, hugging back.
The Asian looking young man narrowed his eyes at the strange robot, but turned when he realized that redheaded hammer wielder had grabbed a golden Rook.
"I'm queen of the castle! I'm queen of the castle!"
"Nora!" he yelled out.
"Coming, Ren!" she called back, trotting over to him with a giggle. She caught the chess piece as she left.
Blake looked at the pedestals. "I think that is everyone from the initiation. We're the last."
"Right!" Ruby ran over and grabbed a gold Knight. "Let's head back to the cliff. Tony, guide us away from any big concentrations of Grimm. Keep your eyes peeled while we move and stay with your partners."
Tony raised an eyebrow. That was remarkably assertive. "Well, you heard her, Armor. Scan for hostiles."
Half an hour later their luck ran out as six Ursa appeared.
"Smash right through them!" Ruby called out, charging the one in the middle.
Jaune charged in at Pyrrha's side, but started to backpedal as he barely intercepted a swipe with his shield.
"Whoa!" he cried out.
"Jaune, look out-" Pyrrha called out, releasing a sigh of relief as a bubble of energy appeared around him that blocked another claw swipe.
Iron Man turned away from helping the least combat effective person here to see two Ursa running at him.
"Tony!" Weiss shouted.
"I've got this," he replied confidently as he waved her off from charging across the battlefield. "Target missiles and fire!"
Mini-missiles popped up from hidden panels in the armor's shoulders. With a scream of thrusters, they shot out at high speed towards two of the Ursa, blowing them up with great force.
"I WANT ONE!" Nora shouted. "How do I get an armor like that?" She ran up and swung her hammer with her whole body, smashing it's jaw so hard teeth went flying.
"Sorry, it's my own personal creation and not for sale."
"Ah," she said as she set her hammer on her shoulder.
"Keep moving, people!" Ruby called out. "We still need to get up the cliff while not being attacked."
Twenty minutes later, they arrived at the bottom of the sheer cliff.
"Well, I guess no time like the present to see if I can repurpose my hand repulsors as a main flight system." Tony listened to his armor as it set up the calculations and then shot him up into the air at half his normal acceleration. He cut it off at just the right moment, arcing over the edge of the cliff and not far from Headmaster Ozpin and Professor Goodwitch. "Yo." He waved. Turning back to the edge and the teams below, he called out, "Let me shoot a cable that you guys can hold onto for a quick trip."
Pfft-wizzzzzz went the cable. Ruby set her weapon to sniper rifle and scanned the area, Pyrrha joining her.
"Jaune, you go first," Ruby said over her shoulder.
"Right," he replied.
Yang just readied her gauntlets. "Making my own way up." With impressive jumping power and bursts of flame from her shotgun gauntlets, she led the way for Blake and Weiss up the steep cliff. Nora and Ren were only a moment behind. Then Pyrrha and Ruby followed up using their own weapons or leaping ability.
"Young man, why were you intruding on the initiation?" Ozpin asked, wanting to get it from him directly.
"Got blasted by an alien artifact and found myself in the forest of an alternate dimension. Then I ran into a few of your students and it kind of snowballed from there. Although I'm wondering why this place is called Remnant." Iron Man tapped a section at the center of his armor and it all retracted back to into its 'backpack' form.
"You speak our language very well," Ozpin noted.
"I hacked some data feeds and had my A.I. cobble up a translation matrix that I can access with my technopath abilities." Tony quirked a grin at Ozpin's small slip in expression. "I'm known to be very technologically savvy on my world."
"Do you have any way to prove this?" the headmaster asked.
"I've got some of my world's data in my armor, of course. And once it's repaired, I might be able to show off some of its abilities which I don't think you guys can do. I mean, it doesn't run off of Dust or anything like that. Just need electricity to charge it up."
"That may work. So what are you going to do?" the headmaster asked as all the students watched.
"Well, try to figure out a way back to my world. Which will require more than my armor." Tony frowned at that.
"Well, you are of age to fit in at Beacon. And it's possible we may be able to work together for the benefit of all," Ozpin said as he leaned on his cane.
"Headmaster?" Glynda asked.
"It will be fine. But for now, we need to assign teams. Everyone, head back to Beacon and clean up."
"-Ruby Rose, Weiss Schnee, Blake Belladonna and Yang Xiao Long will form RWBY; led by Ruby Rose." Headmaster Ozpin looked around. "Congratulations all. School starts tomorrow at eight A.M."
The students milled around or headed to supper as their wants dictated. Glynda caught up to him as he went to the security elevator to the armory a few levels down.
"I'm not sure why you let him into the workshop," Goodwitch said, looking slightly upset. Well, slightly more upset.
"He requested tools to allow him to repair his armor, which he thought would be a short affair."
The elevator stopped and opened, just in time to see the red and gold armored figure zipping about the large workshop room at high speeds. He spun around and fired this bootjets to slow down, then landed with a soft thud. Tony' helmet retracted.
"Headmaster! Professor! It was a quicker repair than I thought. So my armor is at near peak status. So what sort of tests did you want me to try to 'prove' that I'm not from Remnant?"
Goodwitch frowned. "Hmm. A flight to Atlas and back? Or Mistral?"
"That shouldn't be too tough. I've got your beacon system set up so that I know where I'm at these days. Nothing harder than that?" Tony asked.
"Well, you could fly up into space. The would prove that your Iron Man armor is not based on Dust technology," Ozpin said, half in jest.
"Sure! That sounds more fun and I can get some better scans of the broken moon!" Tony looked quite excited at that idea.
"That was actually meant in jest as a moment of humor. Can your armor really go into space?" Ozpin said, his eyes widening ever so slightly.
"Sure. Not as good as my specialty armor, but I've got more than enough power to hit low orbit without a booster module."
Glynda narrowed her eyes. "And you can transmit your beacon locator the entire time?"
"That shouldn't be hard," Tony replied as his armor sealed up around him.
Ozpin had his Scroll open and tapping on commands. "Set your beacon to 1.52 kilohertz."
"Got it," Tony replied as he applied his technopath abilities to his scroll and his armor to copy the signal. 1.48 kilohertz, hmm? Slightly different measurement system.
Two minutes later he tromped outside, surprising several of the upper year students.
"What's that? I mean, it looks like an Atlas robot, but all red and gold," a hulking fellow said.
"Moves too naturally," Coco countered.
Iron Man gave the pair a quick salute, then fired up his jets and his palm repulsors. "Thrusters to full."
With a massive woosh, Iron Man streaked higher and higher. After fifteen minutes, he achieved low orbit
"Iron Man to Beacon Academy, can you read me?" he called out.
"We read you, Iron Man." Ozpin pondered the odd callsign for a moment. "We are showing you at about one hundred and fifty miles up and about to cross the horizon."
"See you in about an hour then," Tony replied. He spun the armor around to face outward. He wanted to scan that moon.
It loomed closer than he thought. A quarter the distance and smaller. The broken fragments looked tidally locked to the moon, which itself had a revolution of once very two week. Which did not make a bit of sense. "Armor, scan for temporal energies."
Tony waited, watching the different icons on his HUD. He recorded the lands below as he flashed over them in the starry void. He saw few signs of a global civilization.
"Detecting unknown energy classified as 'Aura' within the debris of the shattered moon," his armor spoke up, distracting him from looking down on the near pristine world.
A glowing haze appeared on his screen. "Huh. Looks like it is an energy field around something. Can you put a 3D wireframe up."
The picture of a black dragon, hundreds of miles from nose to tail (or wingtip to wingtip) nearly froze Tony's blood cold.
"Identifying. Unknown energy has a 95 % match to subject Ruby Rose."
"That thing has an aura?" Tony shook his head as a counter hit zero. "Begin reentry. Iron Man to Beacon Academy, do you read me?" The hour had passed quite quickly, in Tony's mind.
"This is Beacon Academy, Iron Man. We read you," came Glynda's reply. "Are you on your return path?"
"Reentry, yes. We will lose the ability to communicate due to the plasma sheath that will be created upon entering Remnant's atmosphere," Tony explained. "Prepare for a lot of people to see me, as I'll light up a quarter of Remnant's sky while I do this."