Suggested Listening: "From Shadows" - RWBY OST
DuO, Dust and the Desert
-Desol Desert, Outside Basin City, Basin Dust Goods Mining Facility 16-
One of the most fundamentally important elements for survival in all of Remnant.
First harvested by humans in the desperate attempt to ward away the monsters at their door, the demons called Grimm.
Combining this volatile chemical with their powerful inner energy, the power of their souls, Aura, the humans managed to push the Grimm away from the standing beacons of civilization. With this reprieve, humanity thrived on Remnant, building a world in which they could keep the soulless monsters at bay and still enjoy relatively comfortable lives.
Even in those recreational efforts dust became a necessary commodity. Its properties as a fuel suited it perfectly to power the machinations of a sentient species gone wild. All things now, from cars to planes to airships to buildings to homes, were dependent upon the substance to continue operating.
To facilitate the demand for power many large dust-mining companies grew to prominence, starting early in humanity's growth before evolving into corporate giants alongside the species that created them. Among the greatest of these companies was the Schnee Dust Company.
Universally loved, universally despised, the SDC was at the forefront of all innovations of Dust technology. Even some of the more… unscrupulous projects could be traced back to the company. Through purely circumstantial evidence, that is.
Very few people would look too an abandoned Basin Dust Goods mining facility for signs of foul play. Especially foul play when it came to one of the defunct company's former competitors.
Yet someone did.
And they'd taken a keen eye to SDC's involvement in the desert cliffs…
-Vale, Rose Residence-
The world shook.
Ruby opened her eyes, the dreary beams of sunlight pushing the warm embrace of sleep into a painfully groggy irritation.
"Go away sun…" she groaned, nuzzling into her pillow. "I don't need you for another few hours…" she muttered, trying to return to that comforting cocoon of rest.
She was met only by the feel of the blanket against her exposed skin and the presence of her dry tongue in her equally parched mouth.
She wasn't getting back to bed anytime soon.
Cursing under her breath she slipped out of the covers, unceremoniously donning a pair of fuzzy pink bunny slippers that matched her pajama bottoms. In the bright morning haze the seventeen year-old managed to shuffle her way to the shower, towel over her shoulder at ready for some personal grooming.
Opening the door to the bathroom released a plume of warm steam that beat her senses with the intoxicating odors of hair-care products.
Yang had been here, forty minutes ago at the latest.
Resigning herself to the balmy room she moved in and cleaned up, emerging mostly dried and still in her PJs. With more spring in her step thanks to the refreshingly hot water she made her way back to her room where she threw on a dark pair jeans and a simple t-shirt, something simple to pass the day in.
With a small smile she looked at her regular outfit, the majority of which was hanging on the back of her door. It and she had been through a lot in the last two years. It amazed her how well the combat skirt and corset had held up. Admittedly, it needed some minor patching here and there, not to mention a few small edits she had to make when her natural form began filling in more rapidly after adolescence hit its stride, but it was still very much the same set of garments that'd made the transition to her new life with her.
She'd change into it later if she was planning on going out, but until then simple was the way to go. Except the cloak. She always wore the cloak, regardless the situation.
Clothing now worn she went about her regular Saturday morning routine; pouring herself a big ol' bowl of Tom Thumb's Cookie Crisps, sitting on the couch with Yang and watching whatever cartoons came on.
The blonde in question came into view as Ruby exited the kitchen, bowl and glass of milk in hand. Her sister was already leaned back on the couch, the older girl having foregone her jacket, scarf and gloves while lounging. Only the skinny shorts, yellow shirt and orange socks remained.
Without a word Ruby set her bowl on the living room table, taking a bite from her spoon as she positioned where she'd sit on the couch. As she lowered herself down she felt the unmistakably tone shins of Yang resisting her path.
The older girl was toying with her.
Refusing to let her older sister one-up her, Ruby simply continued sitting down, putting her full weight onto the most awkward part of Yang's legs she possibly could.
Moments after realizing what her sister was doing, Yang dragged her legs back, throwing the raven-haired girl a good-humored pouting glare. Ruby merely snickered and punched her sibling in the shoulder. The two broke into a fit of giggles before comfortably settling in to watch the pointless fun of children's programming. It was only after Yang had finished her bowl of Pumpkin Pete's that she finally broke the silence.
"School begins in five days," the blonde stated, draining the last sips from her glass of orange juice. Ruby smiled, not drawing her attention away from the TV.
"It'll be good to see Weiss and Blake again. We barely got to spend time with them this summer…" the younger woman replied, stretching her arms behind her back. She lifted her mostly empty bowl and downed the last of its contents with a satisfied sigh.
"We got two weeks with them at the beach. The Schnee Resort Beach may I remind you," Yang pointed, poking her sister's cheek. Ruby shoved the errant finger away.
"I know, I know, it's just… I thought that we were just so distracted with all the nice things there we didn't really do all that much together… and then Blake was all grumpy the entire time because she doesn't like the company… and you got your per-" Ruby was cut off by her sister's open palm.
"Let's… not… dig that up… shall we?" Yang pleaded, the desire to change topics scribed all over her reddening face. Ruby blushed as well, giving out a low, embarrassed chuckle.
"Right… well… you know what I mean…" she muttered, turning her attention back to the screen. Yang sighed.
"Listen, Blake and the Ice Princess'll be there at Beacon on Wednesday. That's just a few more days and then we're stuck with the cold-shoulder duo until winter break," the blonde noted, rolling her eyes at her younger sister. Ruby took a deep breath before sliding back into the couch, drinking down more milk from her glass.
"Okay, you're right… it's just that while we were there… Weiss was-"
For the second time that morning, Ruby was cut off.
"Emergency new bulletin," blared the speakers. Both girls immediately snapped their necks to the television; children's programming was rarely interrupted by news, so this particular situation was unprecedented to them.
Lisa Lavender's face appeared on the screen, her white hair obscuring half the panel. The camera aiming at her was out of focus and the cameraman seemed to be panicking trying to get it aligned correctly.
"This just in, a large explosion has been seen on the outskirts of the kingdom of Basin. While it is unknown what the source was at this time, many are suggesting that one of the many mining facilities populating the Desol Desert may be the cause.
"As of yet there are no reported injuries, but the force of the explosion was enough to cause an earthquake measuring 8.6 on the Halekan Scale at its epicenter, making it one of the largest recorded in recent history," the reporter spouted quickly.
Images of a black mushroom cloud were cycled behind the woman before switching to some form of security footage that'd managed to catch the apex of the blast. There was a tiny flash on the horizon before dark columns began invading the sky.
"Experts are still attempting to determine what form of ecological impact this explosion will have, but short-term estimates put the dangers of dust poisoning in the local Basin area as a high risk. Due to its relative proximity, this concern applies to the inhabitants of Vale as well.
"Projected fallout will arrive around seven thirty this evening and end around five AM Monday morning. Citizens are warned to stay inside at this time to avoid any form of improper exposure to unrefined dust and to allow the emergency dust umbrellas to do their job properly. We'll keep you posted as the situation progresses. This has been an emergency report, Lisa Lavender live from Vale News Network."
Ruby and Yang just looked at the TV in bafflement, a quiet settling in between the pair. Moments passed before either said a word.
"Well…" Yang began, mouth attempting to find the proper words. Failing that, she continued. "That was a thing…" she spoke aloud. She turned to Ruby, a curious gaze in her eye. "What were you going to say?" she asked, the news report dropping from her train of thought.
Ruby swallowed the lump in her throat.
"Nothing…" Ruby sighed, standing from her seat and collecting her dishes. She laid them in the dishwasher and headed back to her room to change into her regular outfit.
Ruby emerged with corset and skirt and leggings all worn, the blocky red form of Crescent Rose hooked across her back and tucked safely under her cloak.
"Aw… but the Froo-Froo dog pageant was about to come on! We watch it every year!" Yang moaned, twisting on the couch and watching her sister tie up her boots. "Where are you going anyway?"
Ruby looked over at her older sister and gave a partial scowl.
"I don't know, but I do know that I can probably help with the fallout thing happening somehow. I'm going to go talk to the police, see if they can use a Huntress-in-training for anything," she explained, heading to the door. "Tell mom and dad that I'm out helping people around town. Not sure when I'll be home."
Yang matched her sister's half-scowl before standing and writing a note on a small sticky pad and sticking it on the dinner table. Ruby looked at her with a questioning glance just as Yang turned off the TV.
"You're not going alone," the blonde explained, slipping on her jacket, fingerless gloves and scarf. "C'mon, we'll take the cycle. Faster than walking for sure."
Ruby gave Yang an appreciative smile before leaving through the door.
People were going to get hurt, and that killed her to know that.
But, on a bittersweet bright side, she now had something to take her mind off the time until she got to see her friends again.
-Desol Desert, Outside Basin City, Basin Dust Goods Mining Facility 16-
-25 Minutes Earlier-
"Get in, find the target, get out. Don't make this any more complicated than it needs to be."
"I know the objective. Don't treat me like a puppy. I'm aware I have a leash."
In an empty corridor of the facility an errant ceiling grate popped out of its indent, crashing to the concrete with a metallic clink. This was shortly followed by a blurred purple figure dropping from the hole.
The man, a wolfish faunus with deep hazel eyes, stood and surveyed the passage. Pleased to find not a single guard in sight he bent forward and began a silent sprint through the building, turning corners at blinding speeds. Were he to be seen only a hazy lilac silhouette could be identified.
And as luck should have it, he was seen. A pair of guards patrolling the halls for just such an intruder came into view as he screeched around one of the many bends twisting inside the building.
Neither had time to react as the faunus struck, swinging a broad single-blade axe with his right hand. The first guard collapsed as his head popped cleanly off his shoulders, the blade digging itself into the concrete partition just beyond the man's fleshy neck.
The next man had barely begun reaching for his weapon when the assailant jumped and wrapped his legs around the panicking guard's jaw, using the axe imbedded into the wall to hold his weight mid-air. A moment later the second guard's neck gave a sickening crunching sound in tandem with the faunus' flexing ankles.
Without stopping the intruder pulled his axe from the wall, did a small efficient flip and continued on his way in a single smooth motion. Continuing to sprint the man rounded yet another corner, this time passing a set of double doors as he did so.
With no attempts at being subtle he threw open the doors, flipping the battle axe in his hand. The hilt bent in three joints with the pommel of the grip clicking into place just below the blade. Small iron sights flipped up where the hilt first curved, lining up with the back spike of the bladed cudgel. Now in its ranged configuration the man used the weapon to sweep the room, aiming down the rudimentary sights and preparing for resistance. His breath hitched in his throat.
Half a minute ticked by. None came.
He was staring at an empty lab, bar a large spherical container in the center. A mechanical door was open at the center of the sphere, peeling back the outer shell in once slice to allow access to the vacant inner core.
It was empty, just like the lab.
The man growled, barring the fangs among his teeth. He whipped his weapon back into its axe formation before slamming down on a nearby examination table. The metal bent under the force and fell in half. Snarling he put his finger to his ear and pressed the communication pin.
"It's not here! They've moved it."
There was a pause before he received a reply.
"We were warned that was a possibility. The charges are set, so clear out of the facility."
The faunus nodded, teeth still grit in irritation. His triangular set of ears perked as the sound of approaching footsteps echoed through the building. Two hundred meters by his best estimate.
"Also, I noticed that all of the doors have alarms if you don't have the proper clearance. Did you take time to disarm them?"
The man's lip curled. One hundred meters.
"Nope," he responded, cutting the line just as he heard his partner sigh. The feet reached the door just as he changed his weapon back to its rifled form.
Based upon the sound of their feet, the strength of their footfalls, the speed at which they're going… The faunus calculated carefully.
In that split moment three armed guards slid into view, spreading out to block the exit.
Pffwwft, pffwwft, pffwwft.
Just as they had steadied themselves into position each of them were struck with a glowing red bobble the size of a fist that adhered to their clothes. In a lapse of composure one attempted to pull the gelatinous sphere from his chest, only to have his hand stick to the quickly warming substance.
The guards received no more time to panic as the balls exploded in a burst of fiery energy.
The man stepped over the charred corpses, intent to sprint his way out of the building. However, he caught a fine detail about one of the bodies; a set of floppy dog ears, singed but clearly intact, mounted on a guard's head.
The surviving faunus snarled before snapping down his axe and mutilating the corpse further, leaving it nigh unrecognizable.
"Traitor," he spat.
Then he was gone, charging down the halls heading north-east. At the end of one of the hallways came another contingent of guards, at least seven strong. His keen vision picked up a set of rabbit ears and a monkey tail. The intruder gave a hiss.
"BASTARDS! EVERY LAST ONE OF YOU FIFLTHY CONSPIRATORS!" he yelled, firing his weapon twice. Six more bloated bobs leapt from his barrel, passing the oncoming wave of defensive fire from the guards. With a practiced ease he dodged the incoming lead and dust, eventually running up a wall and rolling past the group of stunned rent-a-cops.
Just as he landed his slower moving shots made their marks, gelling into four of the seven men. He stepped forward with his momentum, keeping himself just out of reach of the explosion's radius.
Gaseous warmth enveloped his shoulders and neck. He smiled, not even bothering to look back at the falling bodies. Continuing his dash he finally breached the edge of the facility, bursting through the heavy metal doors into the fresh morning air.
He took a deep breath of the dry desert air, enjoying the clean nature of the wasteland atmosphere. Finding his quickened pace less desirable in such good weather his feet slowed to a relaxed jaunt, carrying him over the walkway's metal plating with a confident grace. He strolled casually over to the railing of the platform he was on, loading a fresh nine-round clip into his weapon.
Below was the cacophony of metal composed the mine's exterior. Catwalks and balconies dotted the dry orange mountainside, met with large metal containers that had rusted with age and a few fuel tanks that'd been unused until recently. At the base of the mountain was a disparaging length of desert eking out into the dunes of Desol.
Beyond that, about two and a half miles away, was a cliff face that overlooked the ocean, which at this distance was barely a thick strip of blue between the washed out sands of Desol and the radiant turquoise sky.
More panicked footsteps. This time coming from all over the facility. His wolf ears twitched.
Guards came rushing from each of the exits, guns blaring towards the infiltrator. With a smooth hurtle he leapt over the railing and plunged to the catwalk below, landing on a rushing guard as he did so. The guard's companions turned to face him, but he was too quick, lashing forward with his lobber.
With a pull of the trigger three red spots gripped themselves to the two men at the head of the group. The last man of the four was kicked into the air by the faunus and then spiked forward like a limp tennis ball. Slamming into his rigged compatriots the trio exploded.
The faunus then hopped the catwalk just as more guards began emerging to corner him. With a gleeful laugh he fired three more blobs into the bottom of the bridge as he fell. The shots exploded, causing the suspended surface to begin collapsing under the strain.
He landed feet first on the balcony below. Figuring he was low enough, an since he had a pretty clear runway with the shape of the terrace, he sprinted towards the desert with the aim of jumping out into the sands. More guards came running from both directions.
He only bothered with the ones in front.
Jumping, the faunus gave a smooth spinning motion and firing off the last rounds in the clip. The explosives landed themselves on the front line of approaching guards. He landed just behind them, his weapon having gone back to its melee configuration.
Carrying the inertia over from his fall and spin he thrashed around and caught the rearguard off balance, sending two soldiers over the edge of the railing and one to the ground with a gash the bulk of a gull grown anaconda. Just as he reached the ledge the front guard he'd stuck with explosives finally detonated, taking out a portion of the veranda with them.
Standing on the railing he twisted around and gave a brief, sarcastic salute to the few guards that wouldn't make it to him in time.
With that, he reverse swan dived to the bottom of the mountain, landed clear on his feet with nary a scratch, and sprinted off into the dunes.
-Vale, Outside Main Police Station-
-Forty minutes post Desol Event-
"This sucks…" Ruby muttered, kicking a nearby stone.
"Ruby, we're not full huntresses yet. Can't get mad at them knowing that we'd probably just get in the way," Yang sighed back, cupping her chin in her palms as the pair sat on the police station steps. "Besides, not much we can do without shipping ourselves over to Basin and helping people get back on their feet. And if we did that…"
"We wouldn't be able to attend Beacon this semester, dragging down Weiss and Blake with us, I know, I know…" Ruby finished, standing from the concrete. With a defeated moan the seventeen year-old skipped down the steps at an uneven pace. Yang followed, pulling the keys to her bike from a pocket of her jacket.
"Hey, upside is that the worst we're going to get is a little dirty snow. Folks can shovel that away pretty quickly, provided those big umbrella thingies don't get most of it," the blonde stated, glancing over at a construction crew rushing to unfold a strange, mushroom shaped tower over the police precinct. She returned her eyes to her sister and returned to her passive gait. "Though you're right this whole thing makes me feel useless," Yang continued, biting her lower left lip in irritation.
Ruby chanced a glance back before giving yet another sigh. Yang attempted a reassuring smile, but it was hard seeing her sister so gloomy. Then a thought occurred to her.
"Well, maybe we can do something… it won't be legal, but it's something…" she said, placing a flame patterned helmet on her head.
Ruby grabbed the spare on the back seat. It was covered in pink flower stickers. The raven haired girl managed a half-smile at the memory of that day Nora bought a sticker book and gotten into the garage. It took her a moment to notice what Yang had said.
"Wait, what?" Ruby asked, lips and brows contorting to a façade of curiosity. Yang gave a wolfish grin.
"Well, with the curfew there's bound to be plenty of crime going around, so… the police might need a little more help… you know, keeping the city safe," the blonde hypothesized, tapping her finger to the chin of the helmet.
Ruby's face brightened, immediately picking up on the mischievous sing-song tone she'd grown up with.
"Yeah, everyone in-doors… perfect witching hour for crooks…" Ruby noted, matching her sister's chin-tapping motion. She smiled at Yang. Yang smiled back through the helmet.
"It'll only last a day or so… the police shouldn't have any trouble dealing with that…" Yang pouted, straddling the bike with a practiced swing of her leg. Ruby hopped on behind her, flower helmet donned, arms encircled around her sister's waist.
"But just in case…" Ruby supposed. Yang nodded back to her sister, squinting through the open visor.
"Just in case," she reaffirmed, flipping down the eye protection.
In moments the two were buzzing down the street towards home. They had a busy night to plan.
-Desol Desert, Nine Hundred Miles Outside Basin, Basin Dust Goods Mining Facility 16-
-5 Minutes Pre Desol Event-
"You took too long."
The Faunus leaned against the wall, taking in deep gulps of air. He was used to running fast, but to assure his escape he'd made the full three-or-so mile sprint to the ocean. Safe to say, he was a little winded. Looking up at his mocking companion the faunus snapped.
"And I was actually doing something useful until it turned out our luck ran dry," the wolf-man spat, leaning up against the cliff face. For a moment he cautioned a look down the sheer drop. It made his skin crawl, even though he was sure he could survive a fall.
"I'm sorry I wasn't busy chasing geese like you, but I have to make sure your mess is cleaned up after when you botch a simple security check. I really wish for once you'd make my life easier Dyr…" his companion sighed, also slouching against the rock wall.
The outcropping they stood in was a shallow dip into the cliff, accessible via multiple cave entrances that had been carved out by heavy rains that fell only at the edge of the desert thanks to the ocean.
Dyr snarled, flipping his thick, lanky black locks of hair away from his eyes.
"I'm here to do actual work, not make things easier on the babysitter, Doil," he growled, throwing his hazel eyes out to the ocean.
Odur Doileir followed the man's gaze and found the foam of breaking waves. The chaotic waters made Doil's stomach lurch. Combined with his partner's attitude this was enough to drag his patience away.
"And I'm not here to play babysitter, but I've been relegated to that task regardless," Doil shot back, hitting the wall behind him with the sheath of his right longsword. "You were seen at least a dozen times on camera and God knows how many guards survived to see your face."
"I don't go out publically anymore. Hell, even before I was kicked out of White Fang I laid low. No worries of being recognized on the streets," the faunus retorted, thumbing the edge of his nostrils.
"Regardless, we can't have people being able to identify you. I've taken the necessary precautions though. Shouldn't have a problem with witnesses after the CD-7 goes off," Doil noted, sticking a toothpick in his mouth and nibbling on the wood. He ran a finger through his thinning grey hair and pushed the dark reading glasses up farther on his nose.
Almost as if on cue explosions sounded from behind the cliff, echoing out to the ocean and the farther reaches of the desert. There was a pause before either of them said something.
"Hey Doil…" Dyr started, scratching his temple. "Do you think there was still raw dust in that mine? I mean since they repurposed it…"
A light breeze passed by, churning the air and delivering a chilling wispy noise akin to a ghost whispering.
The question hit Doil like a sack of bricks. He'd forgotten to take excess dust into the explosives calculations. And he'd seen plenty of raw dust still stored in the facility when he'd slipped through the security.
The toothpick fell from his lips as the realization hit him. Not speaking a peep he glanced down the cliff to the watery depths below. Looking up from the ocean he caught eyes with Dyr and a silent communication ran between the two. Fear, anger, pride and smug satisfaction floated through Dyr's glare.
Not uttering a single word the duo jumped the lip and plummeted into the waters below. As they dropped one of the largest explosions to ever occur on Remnant flattened a mountain, glassed a desert, and shook the planet to its core.
At least for Dyr sake, it was safe to say there weren't going to be any witnesses.
Created by Monty Oum
A Rooster Teeth Production
A Community Effort
Author's Note: Hello and welcome to RWBYS, where the solutions are fake and the points don't matter (except in France)! :D
I am your humble pilot through the coming maze of mystery and madness, a troublesome turmoil that Ruby, Weiss and everyone nice will find themselves entangled with.
This began, as you may know, as an SYOC fiction, and I must say I've gathered quite the impressive cast of characters to add into the RWBY universe. Fear not, I mean what I say about treating this as a sequel season to RWBY as opposed to a full-blown SYOC.
There is an overarching plot, all of the characters from the show (as of episode 16) will make an appearance in some manner and will have some role in the story that's at least somewhat purposeful. The SYOCs will not overshadow the main groups, as THEIR development is ALSO crucial to my grand schemes.
Side note: as landmarks and locations are revealed in the actual cannon RWBYverse, I will attempt to rectify names and locales. You can clearly see me going out of my way with the whole "Kingdom of Basin" and "Desol Desert" thing. So if those locations change, so will their names.
As I have said before, I have the next two and a half chapters written, so I will post them weekly until I run out. Chapters 2 and 3 are going to be quite beefy so as to properly introduce the new cast.
However after that it's all up in the air as to what my schedule of production will be, so don't expect consistent intervals. This is a very intricate story, and I have some great set pieces planned (Can anyone say "A bazillion Mexican Standoffs" ten-times fast? XP).
And yes, that whole "R.W.B.Y.S." thing at the end there was horribly corny. I cringed while writing/reading it, BUT I COULDN'T RESIST. I'M A FILMMAKER DAMNIT, I'LL GET MY SEXY CINEMATIC OPENING TITLE IF I WANT IT! T-T
Until then I leave you with these pointless tidbits of information I'll attempt to get in the habit of putting in my works. Servus, my friends, until next week do we meet! :D
Final Word Count (No Author's Comments): 4,549