v.1 Beta: Andy1997


(City of Mistral, Kingdom of Mistral)
(Eastern Anima)

"Hey, Blazko-witz..er…vitch…uh…Blazko-whatever!"

Stepping off the elevator at the base of the mountain, the Slayer's head jerked to see Roman Torchwick waiting for him by the railing on the platform overlooking the chasm that led straight down toward the lower levels of the city – the slums. He saw the Vale gangster-turned-involuntary-informant produce a cigar from his suit's pocket, light it up and walk over to him.

Pocketing his lighter, Roman saw that everybody was giving the Slayer a wide berth, and he found it hilarious that the Slayer was walking around in public as if his very existence wasn't a problem for everybody in this Brothers-forsaken backwater. He rolled his eyes toward one of the civil workers leaning against the platform and fiddling with her scroll before he looked to the Slayer as he stepped up to him.

++Torchwick,++ VEGA greeted him.

"VEGA," Roman replied. He smiled as he looked directly at the Slayer's visor, "Billy."

"…."

The Slayer really didn't like being called that. And he could not chastise Torchwick with a smack upside his head because he needed him cognizant to give him whatever intel his criminal 'connections' scrounged up. He noticed the civil worker with the scroll looking their way.

"I'm having trouble getting used to seeing you walking around in public in…well…" Roman gestured toward the Slayer from head to toe. "…that." He took a drag from his cigar, "Well, not like anyone around here can do anything to you-" the Slayer stared intimidatingly down at him. "Riggghhhtttt…I forgot, not one for small talk-" He saw the Slayer wave his right hand in a motion that clearly indicated 'get on with it'. "Wow, that's rude-"

++Torchwick,++ Roman could have sworn VEGA sounded a bit impatient himself.

"Alright, fine, getting to it. I've been in the lower levels, keeping tabs on all the ne'er-do-wells in Mistral and being privy to all some real juicy gossip," Roman said. He clarified, "From the ones you haven't splattered yet, Big Green."

"…."

Big Green?

++Anything to share with us?++

"Yeah. Good job fucking up Raven Branwen, you just left her tribe leaderless," Roman drawled. "Now, either Cinder or Marcus just needs to waltz right in, threaten to eat their children or whatever and get em' to help with laying siege to Mistral." He frowned, "And I'm pretty sure that's not good for anyone."

"…."

And Branwen's tribe still had the Relic of Destruction in hand, ready to be taken by either of those two psychopaths.

Well, shit.

"Sarcasm by the way."

Neo nodded.

"Though, I'm pretty sure Marcus is partial to human fles-"

Suddenly, he felt the Slayer wrap his left palm around his face, Neo immediately shedding her civil worker disguise as she drew her blade from Hush, thrusting it at the Slayer, the point an inch away from his visor, a look of warning on her face.

"…."

++We are aware you are being sarcastic,++ VEGA said.

Roman's chuckle was muffled, "Ooooh wow, touched a nerve did I? Thought you were still that big badass space marine from the Dust store back in Vale. Little Red's really made you sentimental, hasn't she?"

"…."

He released him, allowing him to breathe. Doubled over, Roman smiled painfully, "Thought so."

++Anything else?++

"Yeah, none of the people I spoke to – shall we say – kept their complexion when I mentioned old Marcus," Roman said, an air of seriousness now about him. "None of them would tell me about the bastard's current whereabouts, but they weren't adverse to spreading rumors about him, dating back to when he first hit the scene at fifteen."

Fifteen?

Try ten.

++Which rumors?++

"That he got himself arrested for obscenity and assaulting some old money suit in Atlas. The suit was some SDC higher-up that couldn't let go of a grudge and bribed a judge to get him shipped off to a maximum-security prison instead of some borstal. On his first day there, he killed a prison boss and eventually took over his entire gang. Months later he started a riot and, in the chaos, broke into the warden's office and caved the man's head in with a bar of soap in a sock," Roman explained. "You know, like a flail-"

++We gathered that.++

"He busted himself out of that hole soon after, out the front door no less over a…well, not a literal mountain of corpses but close enough." The Slayer saw how off-color Roman suddenly looked, drawing a look of concern from Neo. "And that suit he assaulted? He disappeared a week later. The judge at his trial? Gone too. Doesn't paint a pretty picture of the man, huh?"

"…."

"Turns out he had been hired by an Atlas council member to ice the warden."

++Why?++

Roman shrugged, "Beats me. But, think about it: The kid gets himself thrown into max security and bides his time for nearly three months just to whack one guy? What do you call someone like that?"

++Psychotic?++

"Ehhhh…I was gonna say 'dedicated' but, sure," Roman smirked. "Anyway, back to what I was saying. After his brief stretch, he's in demand throughout the entire underworld – pulling off jobs in the kingdoms: assassination, kidnapping, ransom, corporate espionage, larceny, union busting – you name whatever requires a hired gun, he's done it. The man's a legend, and a professional. Or at least he was."

"'Was?'"

"…." Roman dropped his cigar, crushing it underneath his shoe. "This is common knowledge among reputable figures in the underworld: Right after this one job that ended with a village being overrun by Grimm, he got mixed up with some backwater cult and disappeared. As in, no trace at all. Completely disappeared right off the face of Remnant." He made an explosive gesture with his hand. "Poof! Gone."

++Where was his last known location?++

"Somewhere in the sticks in Mistral," Roman answered. He looked thoughtful, "Right near the exact location where the Mistral council designated their 'quarantine zone.'" He rounded off with some finger quotes.

++The Sentinel ruins that the SDC were excavating, currently under demonic control,++ VEGA clarified. ++A gateway connecting to part of the Argentine portal network.++

"Yeaaahhh… that'll do it," Roman acknowledged, visibly unsure of what VEGA just said. "So, where do you think he ended up for a decade?"

"…." nowhere good, that is a definite.

"Suppose you'll be heading down there and cleaning out the place?" Roman inquired. "Please do. The sooner you sort out this whole mess, the sooner Ozpin can cut me loose so I can get back to some good old honest work." He noticed the Slayer looking his way, and somehow looking intense despite the visor. His face dropped, "And by 'honest' I mean 'illegal'." He smiled, "Not that you'll stick around long enough to make what I do for a living your business."

William was still looking down at him. Now it was like he was daring him to keep on talking and give him a reason to toss him over the railing. Roman appeared resigned to the fact.

"Yeah, you do you, Doomguy," Roman grumbled. "You-"

++Six o'clock incoming…++

Even before VEGA said a word, William noticed the look of alarm on Roman's face as his eyes darted upward. He spun around, moving to draw his chainsaw when the last thing he saw was a smiling, green-eyed face before the rest of her slammed right into him, knocking the two of them right through the steel railing off the platform and were sent plummeting down toward Mistral's lower level. This left the civilians present alarmed, and one very stupefied crime boss.

Roman blinked, "Well, that happened." He rolled his eyes and gestured for Neo to follow as the two of them awkwardly slunk out of sight, "Annnnd we'll just make ourselves scarce in case Big Green burns the slums down and the whole city caves in underneath our feet."

"…." Neo nodded.

(RWBY)

Two Sentinels V:
Trust

"All praise to the Mother God, we have ASCENSION!"
- First words recorded from the Shipmaster of the first voidship upon reaching the Empyrean Void, First Age of Ascension

(RWBY)

(Spiders Bar)

"PACK UP! PACK EVERYTHING UP! HE'S HERE, HE'S HERE!"

In a seedy bar in the lower levels of Mistral, everyone jerked to attention when they saw the panicked young man kick open the door and stumble inside, out of breath from shouting out loud for all to hear, especially the proprietor of the bar itslf – Lil' Miss Malachite herself. She recognized the man as the employee who takes inventory of the liquor, and saw how pale and sweaty he was as if he had just seen a demon. An actual demon, that is.

The portly, middle-aged woman glared at the upstart as he stammered over toward the bar, snatching a bottle of schnapps from one the patrons and downing it, not amused by the scene he was making. She asked, "An' just who is here that warrants our little operation here in Mistral be dismantled?"

Wiping his mouth, the bar employee looked at Malachite in disbelief. He then stammered and shouted, "It's…it'sTHE DOOM SLAYER!"

First came the silence, followed by total pandemonium as every lowlife scummer in Spiders broke out into a mass panic, quickly packing up each of their business and hightailing it out of the joint as fast their wobbly, fear-stricken legs would allow them. This past month, just a mere mention of the seriously inhuman sounding name that William Joseph "B.J." Blazkowicz III was enough to make any hardworking criminal break out into hives as they recalled the rumors of an inhumane killing machine that wipes out every Grimm, demon, highwayman, and raider dumb enough to stumble into killing range.

Not even Lil' Miss was immune, as she sat there at her table with a faraway look on her face. She had lost too many of her 'Spiders' tracking down Marcus 'Psychopathic' Black and the crazies that were following him at the behest of that slime Roman Torchwick.

And he had been in Vale recently where her daughters were, and whenever she had imagined what would have happened if Marcus had paid their club a visit, it was always bad. Especially if the Slayer followed him. Speaking of whom, she owed Melanie and Miltia a call.

But first…

"Alright, all of you settle down now."

The firmness in Lil' Miss' voice was enough to bring everyone to a screeching halt.

"Let's not go and lose our heads just yet, figuratively I mean," Lil' Miss said. "I don't doubt things are bad at this moment, but I must question the idea that the Slayer has come to Mistral for the sole purpose of slaughtering us regular 'hardworking' folk that is a far from those cultish types as we're going to get." She smiled, "I mean, surely even we are below even a merchant of death's notice-"

CRASSSHHHHHHH!

Speak of the Doom Slayer. The ceiling of Spiders practically caved in, Lil' Miss's table being demolished and knocking her back some distance away. Once the dust settled, everyone felt themselves frozen in fear as it was none other than…

"…i-it's h-him…"

William blinked, looking up at the sky through the big hole in the roof.

"…fuck," he muttered, as he sat back up, brushing some pieces of wood off himself. Glimpsing around the bar, the first thug he laid eyes on felt his eyes roll into the back of his head before he collapsed in a dead faint.

Highlight of the day.

Panicked screaming from outside the bar's entrance was heard, followed by the embroidered blue door curtain parting ways to reveal the orange-haired girl with a bowtie that walked in, all bright smiles and sword-guns emerging from her backpack and arranged in a Floating Array at the ready. The gangsters all quickly dove for whatever cover they could find as he drew his super shotgun out of seemingly nowhere.

Lil' Miss felt herself unmoving as she sat there, terrified at what was unfolding before her.

"William Joseph Blazkowicz the Third," Penny Poledina called out to him, still smiling. "You are wanted for crimes against the Kingdom of Atlas."

The Slayer opened fire, Penny engaging her blades and deflecting each pellet, causing the ne'er-do-wells to duck for cover.

"As follows: Destruction of civilian and military property…"

He charged her. Penny sent her blades the Slayer's way, he boosted left to avoid each one.

"…multiple counts of murder of Atlesian civilians…"

Chainsaw readied with its blades spinning, the Slayer practically demolished the doorway as he swung away, sending splinters flying all over. boosters in her legs and thrusting herself out of harm's way and right out of the bar. Keeping some distance away from the Slayer, she re-engaged her boosters, arranging Floating Array in front of her to resemble a drill as she charged right back at him.

Putting both hands on the handle of his chainsaw, he double-jumped to avoid her charge and swung again as she turned to him. Sparks flew as the Slayer and Penny locked spinning blades.

"…and trespassing on military property," Penny finally finished reading out the charges.

Lil' Miss and a few of the other thugs blinked at the sheer audacity of this strange floating mechanical girl reading out all those charges. She couldn't help but mutter in awe of the Slayer, "Bravo…"

The sparks flooded William's visor, and through it all he could see that Penny was still holding that smile of hers. Moving his right hand to the foregrip, he pushed forward hard enough to break Floating Array apart and leave Penny stunned. Drawing his super shotgun, he pointed it straight at her chest and launched the meathook. Her Aura, however, caught it, the hook looking like it was floating an inch away from Penny's chest, her Aura illuminating brightly. Undeterred, William grabbed the chain with both hands and swung her through the far wall and demolishing it, Penny skidding across the ground with civilians frantically ducking out of her way as she skidded to a halt, flat on the back. "…." the smile still hadn't left her face.

Noticing the people in the area, William 'holstered' his super shotgun and stuck to his chainsaw, the sight causing everyone present to flee. Penny nonchalantly stood back up; her Array primed. Revving his chainsaw back up, he turned the blade with a flick of his wrist, the flat end guarding against the android's blades, the business end of one of them penetrating the steel. Reaching forward with his right hand he grabbed the blade's wire, holding it tightly as he dropped his chainsaw, drawing his combat shotgun with the explosive shot mod with his left hand.

Penny's smile faded and what could be counted as mild panic flashed briefly on her face as William yanked her forward with his right hand, sending her flying toward him. Maneuvering her Array to act as a makeshift shift, it tanked the Slayer's explosive shot, sending her flying into the air and through a market stand, her blades scattering all over.

The Slayer gripped the one that had been attached to the wire he had been holding and pursued Penny. The android was already back on her feet when the smoke cleared, immediately clearing the gap between them with the one blade she had left and causing them to lock in melee, her Aura still unbroken and visibly cracking against his Praetor Suit.

Penny didn't look happy at all, instead appearing grim.

++Does General Ironwood want to impede us this badly?++ VEGA calmly inquired through the Slayer's scroll.

"I have been entrusted with a mission," Penny replied, sounding determined. "And I will carry it out."

The Slayer angled his wrist and turned himself away from Penny, the android tripping right past him. This left her open for the Slayer to wrap his arms around her stomach and perform a suplex right through the wall behind them, scaring the occupants inside as they hugged the far end of their dwelling as hard as possible. Not giving Penny a chance to recover he kicked her right through the door, reducing it to splinters as they found themselves back outside and onto the street, the Slayer swinging away with the chainsaw.

Penny ducked and swerved around his blows, culminating in her jumping to avoid another swing of the chainsaw, and landing a dropkick on the Slayer's visor, pushing herself off his helmet, activating her boosters and floating in the air, suspended above a bridge over a pond as she resummoned her blades and arranged her Array in a combat position. The Slayer had both hands on the handle of his chainsaw and was ready to carry on.

Until Penny gently floated back down to earth, touching down on the center of the small bridge as her Floating Array stored itself back into her backpack. Her smiles were closed as if she were in focus, before opening then and giving the Slayer a bright smile. As if they hadn't just tried to kill one another.

"Calibrations complete," Penny cheerfully affirmed. "Standing down." Her eyes flashed green as lines of code scrolled down her optics. "Contact with Atlesian command temporarily severed."

William didn't drop his guard, "What?"

"Salutations, William Joseph Blazkowicz the Third," Penny saluted, treating William as if he was an old friend. "And Union Aerospace Corporation Sentient Intelligence VEGA."

VEGA reciprocated her politeness, ++Hello, Ms. Poledina.++

"…."

"I was sent here under orders from General Ironwood to terminate you for crimes committed against the good peoples of the Four Kingdoms of Remnant," Penny cheerfully declared, walking over toward the Slayer. "And to bring back your head as proof of your demise."

"…." Of course Ironwood did.

William just stared down at Penny, the bones in his right fist already cracking as he readied to punch the machine girl through another wall. And this time, he would stick around long enough to crush her brain, CPU, whatever, underneath his boot.

Though, to his unsurprise, VEGA was mellow.

++Except…++

"My father wishes to speak with you," Penny explained.

Were it not for the helmet, Penny would have noted the look of bemused skepticism on the Slayer's face. It faded when he noticed his scroll was beeping. He produced it for the first time in the month, noticing at least a thousand unread messages and accepted the call.

"…." he was silent.

He heard an unfamiliar voice from the other end of the line,"Mr. Blazkowicz?"

++Dr. Pietro Poledina, formerly of Atlesian Research and Development. Creator of the Penny Project,++ VEGA casually identified the stranger through his voice alone. ++The first to reverse engineer Sentinel technology left on this planet and one of the finest minds in Atlas.++

After a brief period of silence, a chuckle could be heard.

"I had a feeling nothing could get past you, VEGA," Pietro Poledina said. "Its fortunate Remnant is blessed with another 'fine mind'."

"…." William frowned.

"But that is not why I've called," Pietro cleared his throat. "I've been monitoring Atlesian back channels that point to your immediate position within Mistral. You're going to the Sentinel ruins I assume?"

"Yeah," William replied.

"In which case, I would like to help you."

"…." This was not entirely unexpected.

++You are going behind General Ironwood's back?++

"I am."

"Why?" William asked.

"Taking the present state of things in Mantle, and by extension Atlas, into consideration, I can't bring myself to lend any aid to General Ironwood at this present time," Pietro explained. "Don't get me wrong, James is doing what he thinks is right, but-"

"Spare me," William interjected, drawing a look of ire from Penny, outraged that he would be so rude to her father. When it comes to General Ironwood, unless his next screw up involves Beacon Academy and everyone in it, the Slayer couldn't care less. "What can ya' give me?"

He heard a sigh from Pietro' end…

"I can provide you with secured access past the barricades the SDC enacted at the excavation site," Pietro offered. "You and VEGA would certainly be able to bypass them on your own, but considering how much time it would take you, I believe you will need every second to spare."

++We assume you understand what is there to be found in the ruins?++ VEGA inquired.

"The last remaining Sentinel portal on Remnant, and our only ticket to Argent D'Nur," Pietro replied. "Whatever we need to stop this demonic invasion, we're bound to find it there." He paused, "Or rather, you will find it there."

What's there left on Argent D'Nur except ruins?

"…."

And the first Crucible that he wielded that brought the Titan down in Taras Nabad? Which he left embedded in its chest.

"…."

And the descendants of the Loyalists that stood alongside him and the Wraiths when they tried to raze Hell the first time, then retreated to the Highlands of the Argent D'Nur?

"…."

Not to mention all the Argenta who sided with the Khan Maykr that survived the war and were most likely operating out of Sentinel Prime?

"…."

Well, shit.

He checked his thousand Unread Messages. Quite a few of them were from Ruby…

Hey

No one at Beacon blames you.

William!

WE NEED YOU!

Miss you…;-(

"…."

The Slayer heard Pietro clear his throat, "I will provide you with said access codes if you agree to help us, and once you arrive at the ruins."

So, blackmail it is, then?

++How do you stand to personally benefit from assisting us?++

"…I don't," Pietro answered. He then confessed, "Jacques Schnee does, however."

"…what?" came Williams' flat response.

"Since Epsilon, he's spent the past month recruiting scientists, engineers, former military personnel and specialists outside the Atlas Council's purview," Pietro explained. "He's channeling his company's resources and what's left of its R&D independent from the Atlesian military into developing what he hopes would be anti-demonic weapons and technology, separate from the Atlesian military and Ironwood's authority."

That revelation came as a surprise to the Slayer. Jacques' building his own private army now? Guess he'd want to surround himself with as many warm bodies and hard steel before Hell comes to Atlas again. Or if Ironwood decides he is not worth keeping around.

"When I mentioned I built Penny, he gave me the access codes to the SDC expedition security in Mistral," Pietro went on. His tone of voice became somewhat humored, "If I recall correctly, his exact words to me were, 'Point that psychopath away from me.'"

"…." the Slayer restrained himself from letting out an aggravated sigh. He knew he would be cleaning up the SDC's mess in Mistral; however he hoped Schnee wouldn't know it and take as much advantage of the situation as he can.

++Was there anything else?++

"I'll be accompanying you," Penny chirped. "After our spar, I can confirm that I am Combat Ready! Atlesian Anti-Demon Protocol uploaded and ready to engage!"

Recalling their 'spar', William didn't doubt for a second that if one were to toss her into the middle of a demonic incursion, said incursion was going to disappear in a fine red mist in no time at all.

"…."

Did she say 'Atlesian Anti-Demon Protocols (AADP)'?

William didn't want to draw this out, and he wasn't going to waste any more time fighting this fake human if he said no.

"Deal," William acknowledged.

Penny clapped her hands, sounding giddy as she said, "Fantastic!"

"You're doing the right thing…William," Pietro said, sounding assured. "Thank you for this. I want to help you save this world." He paused, "And I want to do so without needing to sacrifice anything or anyone else."

"…."

++We will require transport to the SDC encampment right away,++ VEGA said. ++Calling Lionheart now…++

The Sentient Intelligence's call through Williams' scroll was answered in almost a heartbeat.

"V-VEGA? What-?"

++We will require that airship into the Mistral wilds at this very moment. Inform the Council, and let them know we will not risk their pilot's lives and they are to drop us off on the edges of Grimm territory.++

"…r-right away."

++Thank you. Goodbye.++

VEGA ended the call. William noted the finality of VEGA telling Lionheart goodbye. And it was over an open channel with Pietro.

"He sounds like you have him over a barrel," Pietro noted.

William noticed the frightened stares many people were giving them. William holstered his chainsaw back into his hammerspace. He looked up at the sky where he fell.

"…."

That was quite a drop earlier. What's the fastest way back up to the landing port?

(RWBY)

(Central Command Center)
(Kingdom of Atlas, Solitas)

"I have been entrusted with a mission-"

"Sir, unable to reestablish contact with Penny!"

At the base of the kingdom in the clouds within the heart of the Atlesian military, a flurry of activity within the command center following sudden lost contact with 'Project Penny' didn't appear to ruffle Ironwood. Technicians at their terminals and shouting between officers sounded like white noise to him as all communications with Penny were suddenly halted.

Winter saw how 'focused' he looked. She called out, "Keep trying. That fight couldn't have damaged her comms!" They caught the fight in Mistral from Penny's optics right up until they reached that bridge. Then, the footage stopped and there was static. Turning to the general she pointed out, "Blazkowicz didn't break her Aura until communications went dead."

"…." Ironwood nodded. "She cut communication on her own."

Ironwood's stoicism unnerved Winter, "Sir, we don't know that."

"Put a call out for Pietro immediately," Ironwood ordered. He turned to the exit, "Hold the fort, Winter."

"…yes, sir," Winter replied, watching Ironwood's back as he stepped out of the room.

(Headmaster's Office)
(Atlas Academy)

A quarter of an hour later, after ignoring the salutes his guards gave him, Ironwood closed his office door behind him and sat down at his desk.

"…." Ironwood sighed, "Are you there?"

The Maykr Advisor materialized in a beam of light behind him, "Of course, General."

"I have reason to believe that Penny has turned on me," Ironwood said, sounding nearly emotionless. "And by extension, Pietro has turned on me." He dipped his head, a shadow of a frown forming on his face. "I'm…afraid they would side with Blazkowicz over me."

"It is human nature for one to distrust those in authority if they feel that they do not have their best interests in mind," the Advisor said. "The closing of Atlas' borders and the destruction of Epsilon may have caused emotions to rise."

"Closing the borders was…necessary," Ironwood responded firmly. "We can't risk any more cult activity within our borders."

The Adviser nodded, "It is a mere inconvenience, one that mortals exaggerate."

Ironwood clenched his fists on his desk as his voice began to rise, "I'm doing everything I can in my power to protect the kingdom."

"And am I sure your people – the citizenry, the soldiers under your command - are most grateful to you for."

"It's not enough!" Ironwood exclaimed. Embarrassed with himself for his outburst, he turned his head to finally face the Adviser, he meekly asked, "What more can I do."

The Advisor didn't mince words, "Until the Khan Maykr feels you are worthy of intervention, you can only trust in your Semblance, General. It has brought you thus far…"


A/N: Yeah, it's taken this long to get this chapter out. I felt like I needed a long break from…well…everything.

Thanks for waiting.