DISCLAIMER: I do not own RWBY or BattleTech/MechWarrior. That is all.
A/N: This is a revision of an idea I came up a year or so ago that never went anywhere until I read RWBY: Immortals by Dongyrn (good writer, good fic too). I'd also like to give a nod to Phoenix Commander, who was of great help in figuring some things out for this idea.
PROLOGUE: The Betrayal
Granite Sea Plains, Vacuo
Free Worlds League
29 October 3018
Lieutenant Summer Rose spun her 60-ton Lancelot – her particular machine being a genuine relic of the long-fallen Star League Defense Force – around one of the 'rock towers' that populate the Granite Sea Plains to avoid a stream of autocannon fire. Continuing her spin, she locked her 'Mech's Kinslaughter PPC onto the Marik Rifleman that shot her and gently pulled the trigger, gasping as a wave of heat from the discharge washed through the cockpit before her Double Heat Sinks kicked in and grimacing as the burst of charged particles impacted against the other Heavy 'Mech's torso, penetrating a crack in the armor. It must have been quite a weakness, as the next thing she knew the Marik machine's entire right side exploded, literally sending it flying sideways from the force of its AC ammunition detonating all at once.
"Dust," she swore. Though a MechWarrior of high skill, she always felt saddened about Mankind's eternal need for conflict – though she refused to deny the adrenaline rush she got from piloting her Lancelot in battle. Reaching out, she activated her communications suite.
"Command, this is Stark Actual," she radioed. "Do you copy, over?"
"Stark Actual, this is Beacon Actual," replied Colonel Ozpin, CO of the mercenary unit known as The Hunters – Summer's unit. "You're coming in a bit broken, but still understandable."
"Roger that," she replied. "I just nailed a Marik Rifleman, so the FWLM presence in the area is removed for now."
"That's good, Lieutenant. What's the status of your lance?"
"Well, Stark Two is missing an arm because he didn't bother to consider that the Marik Archer he charged still had some missiles left, Stark Three is currently scouting for any hostiles while being covered by Stark Four. Minor damage sustained on myself, Three, and Four."
"That's good. But recall your lance and form up for a run back to the landing zone."
"Colonel?" she asked, confused.
"We're pulling out, Lieutenant."
"What about the Lyrans?"
"They're already lifting off-world," Ozpin replied. "The Marik presence here was stronger than they were expecting and the main force was routed with light casualties. So we're pulling out on orders from our liaison as well as on my own authority. You are to link up with Major Salem's lance, as she is closest to your position, and then make your way back to the Mountain Glenn and dust off."
Summer acknowledged the order, then closed the line and opened up the lance-only channel. "Stark Lance, this is Stark Actual," she called out.
"Sun Dragon here. What's up?" Taiyang replied.
"Yeah, what's up?" asked Qrow.
"Right here, love. Where the fuck's our backup?" demanded her girlfriend, and Qrow's sister, Raven.
"Ozzy's ordered us to link up with Salem and fall back to the landing zone," she replied. "The Lyrans have already pulled back."
"Buncha pansies," Raven snorted. "Fucking social warriors."
"C'mon, Rae, you forget that I'm a Lyran by birth as well."
"But you got better." Summer couldn't help but chuckle at that.
"Anyways, let's go meet up with Grimm Lance," she said. Raven's growl was easily audible over the channel.
"I don't trust that bitch," she snarled. "I'd trust a Snake or a Capellan before I'd trust her."
"Aw, c'mon, Raven. You're just being paranoid," Tai told her.
"Shut it, Xiao Long. She's been sneaking around on us, and meeting up with Marik officers."
"Raven, are you sure about that? And why were you following her, anyway?" Summer asked.
"As sure as ComStar charges too much. And as for why, more than a few unintentionally overheard conversations."
"Did you tell the colonel?"
"He doesn't believe there's enough evidence to support my reports. Personally, I think he just doesn't trust my word because I'm from the Periphery."
Summer sighed, though she suspected her lover was right; Ozpin, while willing to give anyone who signed on with the Hunters a chance, wasn't too trusting of anyone who hailed from the Periphery. And the Branwen twins came from the Outworld Alliance, which was actually one of the better Periphery States. Plus, Salem was the first person he'd recruited when he initially formed the Hunters as a mere BattleMech Company almost two decades ago. Shaking her head, she said, "Regardless, though, we need to get moving. We'll talk to the colonel after we dock with the Beacon. Stark Lance, let's move out!"
Raven's FRB-2E Firebee – an ancient 'Mech she'd admitted she'd stolen from House Liao as she and her brother made their way to Galatea – ranged ahead of the lance, just outside the effective range of Summer's weapons, to keep electronic surveillance of the area. The 35-ton Light 'Mech had been modified to remove the four SRM-2s and 2 tons of ammo in favor of an SRM-6 with a single ton of ammunition and a pair of Medium Lasers. Its top speed of 86kph made it slower than Summer's own LNC25-01, but then her Heavy 'Mech was one of the few Star League-era relics still functioning with its original tech. Marching behind Summer was Taiyang in his 50-ton Hunchback, it's name derived from the mounting of the massive AC/20 on its right shoulder. Its left shoulder sparked occasionally as a result of the missile salvo that had messily separated the arm from it. Bringing up the rear of the line was Qrow's 45-ton Blackjack, both of its arms up in the ready position, the AC/2s in each arm not considered a threat to many BattleMechs but sufficient against vehicles and aircraft (including Aerospace Fighters).
"Sum, I'm picking up fusion reactor signatures a kilometer ahead," Raven reported. "Four of them. Pretty sure it's the bitch's lance."
"Alright, Raven," Summer said with a sigh. "Let's keep alert, though; last report from Overwatch said that there was a company of Marik 'Mechs in the area." In the cockpit of her 'Mech, Raven shook her head. The Mariks aren't the only ones I'll be keeping an eye on, she thought, as the distance closed and the electronic signatures resolved themselves into a massive 100-ton Atlas (Salem), a 60-ton Dragon (Cinder) that was salvaged from a Combine battlefield, a 55-ton Scorpion (Tyrian), and a 65-ton Crusader (Hazel). The pit of foreboding in Raven's gut worsened as Stark Lance drew closer to Grimm Lance. While Salem's 'Mech retained the massive AC/20 of the standard AS7-D, it had downgraded the LRM launcher from a 20-tube system to a 15-tube and replaced all four Medium Lasers with a Large Laser in each arm. The red-eyed woman (an eye color unique to her homeworld, and a result of environmental factors as well as genetics) discretely armed her weapons but kept her T&T (Targeting and Tracking) system on standby; she didn't want to tip off the other lance. Her LRM-10 launcher still had a full ton of ammunition left, including the ten missiles already in the tubes, and single Large and two Medium Lasers were charging. She discretely moved her targeting reticule over the outline of the Atlas's head, its coloration remaining gray without an active target lock, as Salem spoke over the company channel.
"It's nice to see you, Stark Lance," the older woman spoke in the elegant, noble-sounding tone that was her normal voice.
"Likewise, Major," Summer replied. "Did you get the orders?"
"I did indeed. It proves that we should have accepted the League's offer two months ago."
"That would have had us breaking our contract with House Steiner, Salem, and you know we don't do that," Summer told her. Her Lancelot's torso rotated to the left, towards where Grimm Lance had come from. "We should get moving before Marik troops get here. Any idea what Maiden Lance's ETA-" That was all Summer had time to say before a beam of red energy lanced from the left arm of Salem's 'Mech and hit the 'face' of the Lancelot, being mostly stopped by the viewscreen, though the 60-ton Heavy 'Mech staggered back and sideways, swaying like a drunk that was two drinks away from passing out. The rest of Salem's lance moved to support her, but not before Raven fired off her full complement in an Alpha Strike that nearly caused her 'Mech to shutdown from overheating. Three lances of energy and six missiles slammed into the armored skull-crafted head of the Assault 'Mech, making it stumble backwards as a burst of autocannon fire raked across the low-slung body of Tyrian's Scorpion.
"Tai! Qrow! We've got to get to Summer! Now!" Raven shouted, firing off her SRMs as soon as the tubes reloaded, the flight of six again impacting against the head of Salem's Atlas right as a burst of autocannon fire knocked her sideways, fortunately out of the path of a burst of charged particles from a PPC. Torso-twisting, she discharged her Large Laser into Cinder's Dragon. Taiyang's Hunchback tore past her, its AC/20 slamming a burst into the heavier Crusader and ripping away its right arm, taking away half of the multi-role 'Mech's firepower. Raven's 'Mech didn't carry enough armor to survive a head-on engagement with even one of the 'Mechs in Grimm Lance, but she would not abandon Summer. "Command, this is Stark Three! Grimm Lance has turned on us! I repeat, Grimm Lance has turned on us!"
"Stark Three, what are you-"
"Can it, Ozpin! Summer's down! Salem blindsided her with a headshot!" Raven interrupted furiously, then transmitted her combat data in a microburst to the Union-class DropShip Ozpin was currently running the unit from. There was a minute of silence before he spoke.
"I'm diverting our Aerospace assets to your location, but I'm not getting a response from Nevermore Flight. I've diverted Axe Company to your location."
"They won't make-" Suddenly twin flashes lit up the right side of her cockpit and Raven turned to see Cinder's Dragon drop to its knees, smoke rising from its center torso-mounted LRM launcher. Turning her 'Mech, she saw Summer's Lancelot painfully rising to its feet as its PPC discharged into the Atlas's head, making the 100-ton machine stagger. Looking over she saw smoke rising from rents in the armor of Tai's Hunchback and watched as Qrow slammed his Blackjack's left arm down onto the top of Tyrian's Scorpion. Her electronics detected a scrambled transmission, and Grimm Lance began falling back. She fired off another SRM salvo, watching as the flight slammed into the side of the turning Dragon. The heavier machine paused for a moment before twisting its torso and triggering an autocannon burst that, by a stroke of luck, staggered across the Firebee's slender legs, making the Light 'Mech stumble and fall.
The Dragon itself staggered and stumbled as it was hit by bursts of laser fire from a pair of strafing CSR-V12 Corsair AeroFighters. As the 50-ton aerospace fighters pulled up, the Dragon reoriented itself and followed after the rest of its lance as Raven brought her Light 'Mech back to its feet, screaming in helpless anger as she started to pursue the traitors, only to hesitate in mid-step as she caught sight of Summer's 'Mech. The 60-ton Lancelot slowly sank to its knees as Axe Company, led by Peter Port's 65-ton Axeman, approached. Raven limped over to her lover's slumping machine, losing track of everything else around her as Tai took over, coordinating with Port to set up a defense against any approaching Marik forces while one of the Hunters's Prime Haulers was escorted from the LZ to their location by two of their armor lances. As her damaged 'Mech approached Summer's, her mind awash in flashes of their lives from the moment they met until just before the mission, she didn't hear the comm traffic going on, didn't hear the reports that Salem's complete company had commandeered their own DropShip and was boosting for orbit under escort by Marik fighters as well as the Hunters's two Shilone bombers. All she could focus on was the fallen Lncelot before her.
Hunters DropShip Signal,
Boosting for Nadir Jump Point,
Vacuo System, Stewart Commonwealth
Free Worlds League
29 October 3018
Ruby was sitting in the cabin she shared with her sister Yang aboard the DropShip Signal, reading the technical manual for the Lancelot while said sister was laying on the bottom bunk in the room bouncing a ball off the wall. The sound didn't really bother Ruby as she had learned early on to tune out anything distracting. While usually not a studious person, Ruby had a – according to her sister – rather unhealthy obsession with 'Mechs and weapons and could spend hours pouring over files on her datapad. Her preference, as expected, was with her mom's LNC25-01, named Rose's Thorn; besides being her mom's, her reasoning was that since it was a LosTech relic she needed to know how to maintain its highly advanced Exra-Light engine, Double Heat Sinks, and its KBC Model 3 Targeting and Tracking System.
"Ruby, relax, okay?" Yang said, knowing just how tense her sister was.
"I am relaxed," the crimsonette replied, her tone having a slight edge.
"Look, I know you're tense because you haven't thumbed the screen in ten minutes," she commented, making her sister sigh. "Ruby, it's okay. I'm worried about them, too."
"It's just…" Ruby set her pad down and looked over at Yang. "I heard some of the crew saying that Mom's Lancelot was dragged onboard by a Prime Hauler."
"Well….that could just mean actuator damage," Yang hesitantly replied.
"I don't know, sis; I've got a bad feeling about this." Before anything more could be said, the door to their cabin opened up and they looked over to see Raven standing in the doorway.
"Mother?" the two said at once; Yang was Raven's biological daughter, with her ex Tai, while Ruby was her daughter with Summer (though biologically it was thanks to Raven's brother Qrow that Ruby was conceived; he'd done it to help out his sister and best friend). "Where's Mom?" Ruby asked. Though only 12 years old, Ruby had been pretty much raised in The Hunters and so had an understanding of things most wouldn't until their mid-teens. Raven's expression when Ruby'd asked about Summer had told her everything.
She wouldn't be seeing her mom again.
E/N: And that's that. I feel bad about Summer, but it had to be done. Also, Phoenix Commander is my Beta for this fic. I know I have a couple of open-ended/unfinished fics up on FF, but right now I'm not feeling a pull to them and I'd rather not write in them without that pull, otherwise I could probably turn out something less than stellar. Also, this story will be the only new one I'll be posting to FF; I'm shifting over to AO3 for all of my other new fics – though I will eventually finish my open ones on FF. And my penname on AO3 is the same as it is on FF, so I should be easy to find. I had edit this chapter to correct a time-stamp issue with Raven's 'Mech.