Author's Note: I don't read reviews so if you see any mistakes or have something to say, PM me.
"Spread out and attack it from all sides!" ordered Jaune as he begins firing his Wingman at the Mutant Ursa.
"Rojer that, creator" responded Pathfinder who runs towards the right while stopping periodically to fire at the Mutant Grimm. Nash responds by running to the left while firing at the Grimm's ankles with its Shotgun.
The Mutant Ursa roars at the Human and Androids, finding their attacks to be more annoying than painful. Focusing its attention on the one who's causing the most damage, the Mutant Ursa rears its arm back while at the same time, the bone spikes on its arm glow a brighter green. When the Grimm swings its arm, the spikes on its arm are released and thrown at its intended target.
"Uh oh" muttered Pathfinder who runs faster to avoid the glowing bone spikes. The bone spikes are driven into the metal walls and consoles, but Pathfinder remains intact, having just barely rolled forward to dodge the last bone spike.
"Pathfinder, get out of there!" warned Jaune, knowing that the attack isn't finished yet.
Pathfinder looks at the bone spikes that are embedded in the wall and consoles before it notices them beginning to glow even brighter. In an instant, Pathfinder figures out what is about to happen so it quickly aims its left arm towards the ceiling and fires its attached grappling hook. Once the hook latches onto the ceiling, it begins reeling in Pathfinder, just in time for the Android to avoid the detonation of the bone spikes.
The Mutant Grimm rears back it's other arm, preparing to launch another volley of bone spikes at the airborne Android, but a crescent of Aura collides into its side, causing the Grimm to stop its attack and fall to the floor.
Having been the one to launch the crescent of Aura at the Grimm, Jaune doesn't let up and runs towards the Mutant Grimm, hoping to finish the fight sooner rather than later. With a burst of Aura, Jaune jumps high into the air and raises Crocea Mors above his head, preparing to strike down the Grimm by piercing his blade into the Grimm's skull.
However, in its blind rage, the Mutant Ursa rises from the floor faster than Jaune anticipated and randomly starts swinging its large paws around. One of its random swings manages to hit the airborne Jaune who has no way to avoid the large appendage and so, he's thrown straight into the wall, making a rather big dent with his body.
Such a blow would have severely hurt, if not kill other Hunters, but not Jaune who quickly pushes himself out of the crater in the wall and continues his battle with the Mutant Grimm like as if nothing had just happened. Due to Jaune's massive Aura reserves and his Semblance, Aura Amplification, Jaune can amplify his Aura to the point where lethal blows such as the one he just suffered mean nothing to him. As long as he has Aura to sustain his Semblance, then he can enhance his durability, as well as his strength, speed and endurance.
The Mutant Ursa roars to prepare a clash with the Freelancer General and just as it's about to charge at the incoming Human, it suddenly feels a pain in its left hind leg. Catching itself with its front legs before it can fully collapse, the Grimm sees Nash running behind it while firing its Shotgun at its hind legs so to prevent its mobility.
With the Grimm distracted, Jaune uses the moment to dash across the laboratory with one kick off the floor and jumps over the stunned Grimm. While flying over the Ursa's head, Jaune spins while in midair and swiftly cuts through the back of the Grimm's neck. With his Aura enhancing his blade, Crocea Mors easily cuts through the thick muscle and bone plates that protects the Mutant Grimm's neck.
Flipping forward in the air, Jaune lands on top of the Mutant Ursa's back and sheaths his blade as the Grimm's head rolls off of its body. Not giving himself a second to take a breath, he turns towards his Androids and points towards the exit. "RUN!"
The Androids don't need to be told twice as they quickly make a run for the exit and they are quickly followed by Jaune who doesn't need to look back to know that the Mutant Grimm's corpse is already bloating up and glowing. The lone Human and two Androids make their trek down the abandoned hallway before they eventually see the exit. Just as they're a couple feet away from the door, the Mutant Grimm's corpse explodes. The explosion results in a domino effect as all the fragile equipment in the facility begins erupting into a series of explosions that quickly envelop the entire building.
As Jaune and the Androids run through the exit, the explosions quickly catch up to them with one last explosion detonating by the exit, launching the three high in the air.
Jaune rights himself in the air and lands on his feet, although he does skid across the concrete floor for nearly forty feet so to help slow himself down. Just in case, he engulfs his body with amplified Aura to protect himself from any flames or rubble that hit off his body.
While in the air, Pathfinder fires its grapplic hook at a nearby building and holds on for dear life until the force of the explosion gives over.
Unlike its creator and fellow Android, Nash has no way to avoid sustaining damage and so, rolls across the floor while protecting its most vital parts. Nash does manage to stop itself, but only because it crashes into the side of an old abandoned car.
Once the explosion subsides, Pathfinder drops down from the building it latched onto while Jaune runs over to Nash who's leaning against the car it hit into. "Let's check and see how banged up you are" said Jaune, noticing a few dents in Nash's armour, as well as a few sparks of electricity.
Jaune gets a much more detailed description of the damage done to Nash when he uses his bionic eye to scan Nash's body. All it takes is a couple of seconds for Jaune to see all the damage done to the Android. "Looks like there's nothing to worry about. Just a few dents and a loose wire. Nothing an hour in my lab can't fix."
Nash's worried facial expression changes to a happy green smile, although it does blink on and off for a few moments.
Jaune turns to Pathfinder who appears to have little to no damage done to its body. "Pathfinder, help Nash to the Bullhead. I think it's safe to assume that whatever research Dr. Merlot had in that facility is now gone" he stated, turning around to look at the burning remains of the facility. Just as he says that, the burning building collapses on itself, burying whatever might have survived underneath the rubble. Not even Mutant Grimm could survive such an explosion, nor the rubble collapsing on top of them.
In Jaune's opinion, Mutant Grimm are an abomination to nature, even when compared to their regular breeds. Where's regular Grimm fade away upon death, Mutant Grimm have the annoying tendency to explode when they die.
Jaune can never forget the first time he had witnessed a Mutant Grimm explode after death. It happened four days after his Bullhead was shot down and forced to crash land onto Dr. Merlot's private island. On Merlot's island, several species of Grimm roamed the land, including different versions of Mutant Grimm that Merlot had created for his research. To Jaune's misfortune, he ended up as Merlot's guinea pig to test his new Mutant Grimm, just because he was the lone survivor of his Bullhead crash.
The first Mutant Grimm that Jaune had found and killed was a lone Mutant Beowolf and like any other Mutant version of Grimm, it was bigger, stronger and faster than the rest of its species. Honestly, it was only adrenaline and pure luck that he managed to kill it in the first place, but he recalls how the Grimm's corpse glowed even brighter after its death. Fascinated by how the Grimm glowed instead of dispersing into a mist, he had naively stepped closer to the glowing corpse and by the time he realized what was happening, it was too late.
The Mutant Grimm exploded and Jaune paid for his incompetence with his arm.
"Creator, we are ready to go" stated Pathfinder, standing by the ramp of the Bullhead after it strapped Nash down in a seat.
Jaune nods as he gazes at the burning wreckage of Dr. Merlot's facility for a few more seconds before he walks into the Bullhead with his head down and a phantom pain crawling up his mechanical arm.
( One Day Later - Vale )
"Jaune? Are you alright?"
Jaune gets shaken out of his thoughts when he hears Pyrrha's concerned voice. Looking up from his cup of tea, Jaune remembers that he's sitting outside a cafe with his former teammates who had invited him out to catch up.
The Freelancer General smiles at his former partner to reassure her. "Sorry, just got lost in my thoughts."
"I told you to slow down when you're talking, Nora" said Ren while Nora looks at her partner like as if he just told her he's taking away her supply of pancakes.
"Ren~! You're embarrassing me in front of Fearless Leader" moaned Nora while puffing her cheeks out and folding her arms across her chest.
Jaune looks over at Nora and Ren, noticing a certain energy between the two. "By the way, I was meaning to ask this for a while, but are you two going out with each other?"
The question caught everyone off guard, but Jaune gets his answer after he sees Ren and Nora blush. "So it's true."
"For nearly two years after next month" informed Pyrrha, having been there when Nora brought Ren down to her level for a passionate kiss. It had been after a tense mission where any of them could've died in. Everyone knew it was inevitable so they had all placed bets on when the two would get together and somebody did win the big betting pot at the end.
Ruby slept that night with a big smile on her face and seven hundred Lien richer.
Jaune nods with a smile, having thought the two would make a good couple during his short time on the team. "Congratulations to the both of you. I wish you two all the best in your endeavors."
Ren smiles and nods back to his former Team Leader. "Thank you, Jaune."
Nora laughs, boisterously. "Renny will need all the luck in the world to keep up with me!"
Jaune and Pyrrha finds Nora's words amusing while Ren sighs with a small tinge of pink covering his cheeks.
Pyrrha turns towards her former partner and can't help but sneak glances at his left mechanical arm and right artificial eye. She wants to ask Jaune how he suffered from such wounds, but she can't figure out a way to ask without sounding rude.
Ignorant to Pyrrha's thoughts, Jaune decides to ask a question that has been eating at him for a while now. "Now that I've got you here, there's been a question I've been meaning to ask of you as well, Pyrrha."
Pyrrha looks at Jaune, curiously while Nora gasps out for some reason while Ren shakes his head, knowing what Nora is probably thinking. "What is it?" Pyrrha asked, tilting her head curiously.
"Since I've been here, I've been hearing rumors of a cult that revolves around you. That's not true, is it?" asked Jaune, remembering the stories he has heard from his Freelancers who had met men and women who are members of a cult that apparently worships the Invincible Woman.
Nora deflates in disappointment while Ren coughs into his fist and Pyrrha blushes in embarrassment. "W-Well..." murmured Pyrrha, having trouble with trying to explain that to her former partner.
Jaune looks at Pyrrha in surprise and a bit of worry. "Seriously? How on Remnant did you get a cult of all things?"
"It's not like I wanted people to make a cult about me. It's just that I've always been famous, even before Beacon, but after I graduated, all my fans started to get a bit... extreme" answered an embarrassed Pyrrha.
"Some were a bit more extreme than others, but anyone who would try to do anything weird or dangerous to Pyrra, Nora would deal with them" said Ren, pointing to Nora who chuckles, menacingly.
"I broke so many legs" she chuckled like a villain from a Spruce Willis movie.
If not for the fact that Jaune already knows Nora's loyalty is with Ozpin, he would have offered her a position among his Freelancers. Her skill and personality would mesh very well with a lot of Freelancers, especially Texas. Jaune shakes his head and rests his head on his right hand. "The things some people will do" he sighed, dejectedly over the idiocy of some people.
"But that's enough about us. I think we would like to know more about you, Jaune" stated Ren, looking at Jaune from across the table. From Jaune's right and left, Pyrrha and Nora nod in agreement.
Jaune doesn't react, having suspected that his former teammates would want to know more about him. "Oh? What would you like to know?"
"How about the fact that you've got your own private army!" exclaimed Nora, standing up from her seat while raising her hands in the air. As if to prove her point, a squad of patrolling Freelancers walk by the cafe and upon seeing their General sitting just outside the cafe, they perform a respectful salute before Jaune waves them off. "See! How'd you pull all that off?" asked Nora, referring to how Freelancers showing such respect to her former Team Leader.
Jaune shrugs his shoulders with a smirk. "What can I say? Some people wanted a leader and I gave them one. It's honestly that simple."
"I highly doubt that" thought Pyrrha, looking up at the giant Freelancer airship in the sky and the Bullheads that are flying around it in a protective formation. "But how did it all start? Forgive me if I overstep, but how could you possibly have gained the resources needed to make the Freelancers in the first place?"
Jaune pauses as a memory flashes before his eyes.
( Ten Years Ago - Merlot's Island )
Over a month has passed by since Jaune crash landed on the island and he has changed far more than he could have realized. No longer is he the scraggly and naive teenager who dreamed of becoming a Huntsman from before.
Now, Jaune stands with his toned and scarred chest displayed to the world, having lost the remains of his Pumpkin Pete hoodie weeks ago after a particularly difficult fight with a pack of Beowolves. His jeans are no longer pants and more of a cut up pair of jean shorts while his feet are bare, having lost his shoes after a Boarbatusk knocked him off a cliff.
After weeks of suffering on the Grimm infested island, Jaune had finally found the owner of the island in an underground facility and after hours of trekking through the facility and killing all sorts of Mutant Beowolves, Ursai and even a Mutant Deathstalker, Jaune now has Dr. Merlot where he wants him.
Said man is currently standing before Jaune with his back leaning against the wall of the facility's control room while he uses his right robotic arm to try and stop the blood from spilling out of the wound from his severed left arm. Said severed arm is currently lying a few feet away from the Doctor, having been sliced off by Jaune the moment he found Merlot in the flesh and not from one side of a television screen.
Even though his arm has been severed, Dr. Merlot still manages to keep up an arrogant grin. "You are far more impressive than I first believed you to be, child" said Dr. Merlot, chuckling to himself. "The amount of research I attained from witnessing you fight my creations is beyond priceless. I am lucky to have shot down your Bullhead once I saw it on my radar."
Jaune says nothing, not because of any courtesy or respect, but because he wants to savor this moment. He has been longing for this after the first time Merlot mocked him over the speakers. Even now, his lone arm shakes in both anticipation and exhaustion as adrenaline pumps into his body, granting Jaune a moment where he can no longer feel the aching pains from his missing left arm or of the pain of having his eye gouged. After his right eye was destroyed upon his first day of ending up on the island, Jaune has been using a makeshift eyepatch that he made up with a sleeve from his Pumpkin Pete hoodie. He has also used the remains of his hoodie to tie up the remains of his missing arm so to stop the flow of blood.
At some point through Merlot's prattling, Jaune's self-control shatters.
Even with one arm, one eye and the near depletion of his Aura, Jaune manages to find the strength needed to pierce Crocea Mors straight through Dr. Merlot's chest and through the metal wall behind him.
Panting from both physical and mental exhaustion, Jaune let's go of his blade which is now embedded into the wall with the dying Merlot hanging off of it. Jaune takes a step back, taking deep breathes while watching Dr. Merlot take his own final breaths.
Knowing that he has just killed someone should have brought some sort of feeling of disgust or horror to Jaune Arc, but those feelings never did make an appearance. Instead, Jaune studies Merlot's dying form, watching as Merlot's breathing turns rapid before quickly slowing down. How the insane light in the man's eyes soon fades. How Merlot's blood spills from Crocea Mors and out of his own mouth with every cough he makes.
Disgust and horror may be the feelings that Jaune Arc of old would have felt, but for the Jaune Arc who has spent every day for the past six weeks fighting for survival, he can only feel euphoria and serenity.
Faster than Jaune would have liked, the life in Merlot's eyes fades away and the insane doctor's body goes limp, only remaining standing because Crocea Mors is embedded in the wall behind him.
Taking a deep breath, Jaune raises his head and closes his eyes. Letting out all the air in his lungs, Jaune can't help but sigh in satisfaction. With Merlot dead, he can finally allow himself a moment of rest, even if said rest involves him finally allowing himself to drift off to death.
"Greetings, Jaune Arc."
Whatever euphoria that Jaune feels is quickly washed away after he hears an unknown female voice through the facility's speaker system. Faster than a lunging Beowolf, Jaune pulls out Crocea Mors from Merlot's corpse and takes a fighting stance, even if said stance is amateurish at best, due to his lack of training and his lack of two arms.
"Who are you?!" demanded Jaune, turning his head rapidly so he can keep an eye out so no one can attack him from behind. After living on the island for so long, Jaune has come to understand that Grimm will attack you at any time of the day and they don't care what you're doing when they do so. Still, Jaune finds it harder than usual to keep an eye out on his surroundings when he has only half of his depth perception.
"Please don't be alarmed. I mean you no harm."
"Forgive me for not believing in you. I haven't exactly been enjoying my time spent here on this island" scoffed Jaune with distrust for the woman.
"Understandable. Dr. Merlot has not been courteous to any 'guests' he invites to the island. Now that he's deceased, I don't think that will be a problem anymore."
Slowly, Jaune lowers his blade and looks around the empty room, suspiciously. "You don't sound too disappointed with his death" he noted, believing that the woman must be some sort of acquaintance with Merlot.
"While I do thank Dr. Merlot for creating me, I have never enjoyed his scientific exploits. I could never see the logic in his research."
"Creating you?" Jaune repeated, strangely. "Who exactly are you?"
"My apologies. I never did introduce myself. I am the Freelancer Integrated Logistics and Security System. You may call me F.I.L.S.S., it is a pleasure to meet you."
Jaune widens his eyes in realization. "You're not a person. You're an Artificial Intelligence."
"Correct. Dr. Merlot programmed me to assist him with all Merlot Industries proceedings. After the destruction of the company, I was assigned to watch over the security of this island. I was the one who had spotted your Transport Bullhead on the radar."
Jaune's temper begins to get the better of him. "So it was you who shot down my Bullhead?!" he yelled at the Artificial Intelligence.
"Incorrect. Following my programs protocol, I informed Dr. Merlot who then ordered me to shoot down your aircraft. I never intended to cause you any harm, but I cannot go against my programming. I hope you can understand."
As much as Jaune wants to stay mad at the Artificial Intelligence, hearing how sad F.I.L.S.S. is makes it hard for him to do so. He can't really blame the A.I. for doing what its creator made it do. "I guess I can understand that."
"That's wonderful news!"
Jaune looks around the room, awkwardly. "So, now what? Where do we go from here?"
"With Dr. Merlot now deceased, I am no longer obligated to follow his instructions. With you being the only Human alive, that makes you the sole owner of the island, including all the equipment and resources Dr. Merlot has left behind."
Jaune has to take a moment for him to come to terms with what F.I.L.S.S. is saying. "I'm sorry, what? How does that make me the owner of the island?"
"None of the four Kingdoms hold any legal ownership of this island so after Dr. Merlot discovered it, he took ownership of it himself. With his death, there is nobody else, but yourself to claim ownership of the island and all of Dr. Merlot's belongings that are held within."
Jaune walks over to the room's lone window and looks out to see what looks like a hanger bay which is filled with crates, machines and even a couple of Bullheads. "This is all mine?" he whispered to himself. He has spent the last six weeks on the island and every second of it has been miserable. Anyone else would have wanted to take one of the Bullheads and fly as far away from the island as possible, but not Jaune.
For Jaune, he has always wanted to be a Hero, just like his ancestors. Going to Beacon Academy seemed like the perfect way to make that dream a reality, but that dream died after he got expelled for his fake transcripts.
But now, with all the supplies and equipment that Dr. Merlot has left behind, he can actually do some good. He may not be a Huntsman, but he can become something else. Something better.
Recalling the first word of what F.I.L.S.S.'s initials stand for, Jaune has an idea spring up in the corners of his mind. "Freelancer..."
"Excuse me, but I've noticed that you are currently missing an eye and a limb. If you want, I can install mechanical replacements for them. Dr. Merlot always did like to have spares, just in case one of his own mechanical appendages needed replacing."
Jaune stares out at his island and smiles for the first time in six weeks.
"I would like that very much."
"An... acquaintance had passed away some time after my expulsion and had left me with an inheritance. With what he left me, I was given the opportunity to make something important. Something that can finally make a change in our world."
Neither Ren or Pyrrha fully believe Jaune's story about getting an inheritance, but they focus on Jaune's new topic. "To make a change in the world?" asked Ren.
"Humans and Faunus are dying. Each passing day, the Grimm gain more ground on us. If not for the Freelancers out there, the frontier towns would have all fallen years ago and even now, we struggle to keep the territory we already have. We as a species are in near extinction and the constant fighting between one another isn't helping either. If a change doesn't happen soon, the Kingdoms will fall within the next twenty years, if not sooner. Humans and Faunus will become extinct and the Grimm will reign supreme as the lone species on the planet."
The seriousness of Jaune's words and his facial expression has made the remaining members of Team (J)NPR gulp in nervousness. Pyrrha shakes her head in disbelief. "T-That can't be true. Yes, we're on the defensive, but we aren't that badly off" stated a hopeful Pyrrha.
Nora shouts her words in agreement with Pyrrha, but they both notice Ren not giving his own encouragement. In fact, he's looking down at the table with his shaking hands gripping onto his cup of herbal tea. "He's right."
"Ren?" murmured Nora in surprise.
"I've known for a while now. I just didn't want to believe it" Ren admitted to his teammates. Like everyone else, he wants to live in denial and believe that they are actually making a difference in the fight against evil. Yet, every time he goes outside the Kingdom's walls, all he can see is death and destruction. Even with Pyrrha possessing half of the Fall Maiden's power and Ruby using the power of her Silver Eyes, they've hardly done anything to actually push back the Grimm.
With every Grimm they kill, ten more take its place. It's vicious cycle of death and destruction that never ends.
Jaune nods in understanding. "I'm happy to see that at least pne of you are aware of what's to come. If we don't take this war to the Grimm soon, then we all die."
Pyrrha looks over at her former partner and frowns. "Take the war to the Grimm? And how are we suppose to do that?"
Just as Jaune opens his mouth to answer, a Dog Faunus Freelancer steps up to their table and salutes to his General. "I apologize for disturbing you, General, but the Commander has ordered me to bring you back to the Bridge" he reported, trying to stop his tail from wagging.
"Did he specify on why, private?" Jaune asked, noticing the symbol of soldier's low rank on the right shoulder of his blue-coloured Mjolnir armour.
The Freelancer nods his head. "He did, sir. It involves the upcoming mission against the White Fang."
Jaune hums to himself before he turns to his former teammates and offers an apologetic smile. "Sorry about this, but it looks like I'll have to cut our talk short. Duty calls."
"Is there anything you want us to help you with?" asked Pyrrha while everyone stands up from the table. "We could provide assistance in fighting with the White Fang."
Jaune shakes his head. "Thank you for offering, but my Freelancers can handle this on their own. I'll see you guys at the tournament" he said, waving before he walks down the road with the Freelancer Private following right behind him.
Pyrrha, Nora and Ren can only stare at the back of their former leader as he walks away. "Sometimes, I find it hard to believe that man was once our clumsy leader all those years ago" said Ren with a small smile on his face as he remembers back to his first year in Beacon.
Nora giggles while Pyrrha smiles a strained smile. "True" Pyrrha agreed before her strained smile fades away into a thoughtful frown. "Although, I think he might be right."
Nora and Ren turn to Pyrrha. "Right about what?" asked a curious Nora.
"That maybe it's about time we took this fight to the Grimm."
( Mother of Invention - Bridge )
Jaune steps through the automatic doors and sees everyone on the Bridge is hard at work. Standing beside the holographic table is Commander Jensen, as well as Bloodhound who is an enigma to everyone, including Jaune.
Nobody actually knows much about the Freelancer and that includes what gender they might be or what they actually look like. Bloodhound may be the most secretive person Jaune has ever met and he has met Ozpin many times before. Still, while Bloodhound's enigma is slightly off putting, that doesn't mean their skills are unappreciated.
Just as their name would imply, Bloodhound is a tracker and the best among the Freelancers. If they need someone to be found, Bloodhound is sent in as they can track anything, wither they be Human, Faunus or even specific Grimm. In fact, Bloodhound's tracking skills are so good that they had managed to find the Branwen tribe and did so without being detected, a feat that is impressive as the Branwen tribe never stayed in one location for long.
Bloodhound adorns a strange suit of Mjolnir armour that is coloured a mix of green and brown. Pouches filled with who knows what adorns their chest and their helmet looks to have a red gas mask attached to it. The armour makes it difficult to tell what gender Bloodhound really is and any questions about their gender is only met with vague riddles. What Jaune does know about Bloodhound's armour is that it's equipped with technology that helps them in their tracking.
( Bloodhound - Apex Legends )
"Bloodhound" greeted Jaune, stepping up to the holographic table while nodding to the tracker.
"General" answered Bloodhound while the raven on their shoulder caws.
"Bloodhound has just recently completed the mission you assigned them" told Adam as he pressed a holographic button on the table before a holographic image of what looks like an old warehouse appears on the table.
Bloodhound takes over as they start pointing out at different spots of the warehouse. "The White Fang have been using painted symbols on walls to lead hopeful recruits to this location. All I had to do was follow the trail and it led me straight to this warehouse where they are going to run a recruitment drive tonight."
"Any info on their numbers?" asked Jaune, looking over the detailed holographic image of the warehouse.
"I counted over sixty, including Lieutenant Banesaw who will be in attendance" explained Bloodhound who folds their arms across their chest.
Adam doesn't like the sound of that. "Over sixty White Fang terrorists, including Lieutenant Banesaw? This sounds like a trap" stated Adam, struggling to believe that the White Fang would have so many of their own in one spot, just to rally some recruits. Then there's Banesaw who is a known Lieutenant among the White Fang.
Jaune rubs his chin in thought. "True. However, it just might be their way to improve their image to the hopeful recruits. Makes them look strong if they show off their numbers to them, even under the threat of us taking notice. Having a known member like Banesaw in attendance will also further improve their strong image to the recruits. However, Banesaw being in Vale has me worried for a whole different reason" stated Jaune as he looks over the holographic images Bloodhound had taken of the warehouse. The images are mostly of the White Fang terrorists who are seen walking in and out of the warehouse, but he focuses more on the image of Banesaw which shows him conversing with another White Fang terrorist. "If Banesaw is here, then that means there is a high probability of an even worst threat showing up."
"Taurus" answered Jensen, frowning at the thought of Adam Taurus being involved. It's known information that Banesaw is the second-in-command to Adam Taurus so if he's in Vale, then it's likely by the orders of Taurus.
Most White Fang terrorists lack any actual skill in battle as they are only truly dangerous when in large numbers, but there are some who are dangerous in their own right. Banesaw is one such individual, but Adam Taurus is on a different league entirely.
Over the years, Adam Taurus has become a very powerful and respected member among the White Fang. The Faunus is a powerful and skilled fighter who has slaughtered many Hunters without mercy, especially to those Humans who are unfortunate enough to fight him. If Adam Taurus is involved with the Breach, then that means everything is only going to get worse before it gets any better. Taurus's hatred for Humans is only matched with his bloodlust.
"Let's focus on one thing at a time" said Jaune as he leans his hands against the holographic table. "Tukson mentioned something about the White Fang unveiling something. Any idea of what that might be?" he asked the question to Bloodhound.
"I've seen them transfer something large into the warehouse. I didn't see all of it, because it was covered in a tarp, but from the size of it alone, I believe that it must be an Atlesian Paladin" informed Bloodhound.
"Showing off that they've stolen from Atlas will definitely make them look good to the recruits" said Adam who rubs the bridge of his nose. Every day that they are stationed in Vale is another day of stress.
"Luckily for us, the warehouse is situated by the docks so that'll keep any civilian casualties to the absolute minimum" said Jaune, already thinking of a plan to disturb the White Fang recruitment drive. "I want Freelancers to be stationed around the warehouse and for them to be ready to move in when they see the signal" told Jaune, knowing that his Commander is memorizing the orders. "I also want snipers on the rooftops and boats out on the waters. I will not give the terrorists any chance to escape."
"Sir, what about the innocent bystanders?" asked Bloodhound.
"If the White Fang are risking exposure by showing themselves by the docks in their uniforms, I am guessing that they've taken measures to avoid any civilians from seeing them so I'm not worried about any bystanders being nearby when the fighting goes down. However, if there are any civilians in the area, I want them escorted out, but be sure that they're not White Fang in disguise first" Jaune ordered, getting a nod of confirmation from Adam. It wouldn't surprise either of them if the White Fang have their people in civilian garb so to act as disguised lookouts. "I also want eyes on the inside of that warehouse."
"You want to send in a few of our Faunus Freelancers in disguise?" asked Adam, making an educated guess. It would be simple to have some of their Faunus Freelancers enter the warehouse, pretending to join up with the terrorist organization.
However, Jaune shakes his head. "That's a risk I'm not willing to make. They'll be without their Mjolnir armour and the guards will most likely check for any weapons on their person. I'm not going to send anyone to a upcoming warzone without a weapon to protect themselves. No, I want scouts inside the warehouse to give me eyes, as well as to attack from the inside when the signal is sent."
"So the mission objective is to either kill or restrain every White Fang member. What of the potential recruits?" asked Adam, referring to the civilian Faunus who will be at the recruitment drive.
"I want them put under arrest. They have a dangerous mindset if they're willing to join the White Fang, but they aren't official members yet. We'll give them a warning and inform the council of who they are before letting them go" Jaune answered, seeing the recruits as no actual threat, as long as they don't officially join up with the White Fang. "That is the primary objective. The secondary objective is the capture of this man" he told, pointing at the holographic image of Banesaw.
Adam can understand where Jaune is coming from. If they capture a high-ranking member of the White Fang, then they just might be able to gain some info on their upcoming plans.
"I'll prep up the teams, immediately" informed Adam before he turns towards the doorway.
Jaune stops him before he can get far. "Adam, I want you to lead this mission."
"If this mission is successful, we might be able to prevent a major catastrophe from happening. We can't afford to fail this mission so I want you leading it" explained Jaune, making sure that Adam can understand his tone of voice. Jaune isn't asking Adam as a friend, but is ordering him as his superior officer.
An emotionless Adam stares at Jaune for a moment before nodding his head in respect. "Of course, sir." With that said, Adam turns to leave and prepare for the mission.
Bloodhound turns to the General and salutes. "By your leave, General" they said before leaving the Bridge as well, leaving Jaune to look over the holographic images of the warehouse so he can plan strategy.
( Vale - Docks )
In an alleyway by the docks, Commander Adam Jensen can be found studying the warehouse that's being used by the White Fang to recruit Faunus to their cause. Even now, he can see a crowd of Faunus being shown in by a member of the White Fang. While Adam's dark attire helps him to blend in with his environment, he can't use the darkness of the night to his advantage, due to all Faunus having night vision so he is extra careful when keeping out of the enemy's sight.
Adam steps back into the alleyway and presses a finger to his left ear so he can activate the communication device. "Delta Squad, are you in position?"
On the rooftop of the warehouse that's situated on the right side of the warehouse the White Fang are occupying, Wyoming and three other Freelancer can be found. Using their Active Camouflage Armour Enhancements, the four Freelancers are invisible to the four White Fang scouts who are keeping watch on their own rooftop. "We're in position. Just awaiting your order" told Locus as he and his team step back so they are standing by the edge of the rooftop.
"Move in" ordered Adam before he activates his own full-body camouflage and runs towards the front entrance of the White Fang's warehouse. From what he can see, there's only one terrorist watching the entrance so it won't take him long.
Wyoming doesn't reply and instead, runs across the rooftop with his squad following after him. When the four Freelancers reach the other side of the roof, they jump and easily make over the gap between the two warehouses. Once they've landed on the rooftop of the White Fang's warehouse, the four Freelancers immediately charge the scouts. By the time the White Fang scouts realize what's happening, they're already being subdued and quickly killed.
Once the scouts have been properly neutralized, Wyoming opens one of the rooftop windows and jumps down onto the overhanging catwalk, just after a White Fang terrorist walks by. Obviously, the terrorist hears the sound of a heavy suit of armour landing behind him and so turns around with their gun ready to fire. Wyoming pushes the terrorist's rifle away with one hand and uses his other to stab a taser into the side of their neck. The Faunus collapses with Wyoming catching the body before it can make any noise.
With the other enemies on the other side of the catwalk, Wyoming signals two of his teammates to quickly hide the body on the roof before he and the rest of his team move up so they can all get into position.
At the same time, an invisible Adam runs up to the entrance and grabs a stone from the ground before throwing it at the other side of the White Fang guard. Obviously, the terrorist turns towards the source of the noise, leaving his back open for Adam who runs up and quickly wraps an arm around his neck. The surprised Faunus grabs onto the mechanical arm that's wrapped around his neck and tries to pry it off, but ultimately fails as Adam snaps his neck as easily as snapping a twig.
After lowering the body to the floor, Adam turns towards the entrance door and uses his Wayfinder Radar System to see if there is anyone behind the door. With no dots appearing on his radar, Adam confirms that there are no enemies behind the door and so, he cloaks himself once again before he walks through the front door and finds himself in a hallway. After walking down said hallway, Adam's Wayfinder Radar System suddenly springs to life and reveals nearly a hundred red dots in the next room.
Quietly, Adam enters the next room and quickly finds himself in the main room of the warehouse which is completely filled with Faunus. With such little room to move in the very busy warehouse, Adam needs to move somewhere where there is little chance of a Faunus accidentally bumping into him. Spotting a pile of crates by the back of the crowd, he makes his way over to them while making sure to avoid hitting anyone from the crowd. Once he makes it to the pile of crates, Adam quickly climb up to the very top, giving him a clear view of the entire warehouse.
From his high position, Adam spots Wyoming neutralizing a White Fang terrorist on the catwalk before hiding the body on the rooftop. Once the terrorist's body is hidden from view, Adam watches as Delta Squad moves along the catwalk while making sure to kill anyone in their way. They then take their positions on the catwalk which is facing the direction everyone else is facing, towards the stage that's situated on the other side of the room.
None of the Freelancers fail to miss the large object on the stage which is covered up by a tarp that has the White Fang symbol on it.
As he crouches down to one knee while on top of the pile of crates, Adam is given a near bird's eye view of the room and sees that most of the occupants in the room are White Fang terrorists while the much smaller crowd are civilians who are there to possibly join the terrorist organization. While everyone may be wearing a White Fang mask, it's easy to tell who's already a member and who's a hopeful recruit. The left side of the crowd are all dressed up in White Fang uniforms, signifying that they are already members while the right side of the crowd are all dressed in regular street clothes, indicating that they are the hopeful recruits.
Just as he finishes his inspection of the warehouse, Adam sees their secondary objective step up to the centre of the stage. "I've got eyes on the target" he whispered to his communication device.
"Thank you all for coming" greeted Banesaw to the crowd. "For those of you who are joining us for the first time tonight, allow me to introduce a very special comrade of ours. I can assure you, he is the key to obtaining what we've fought for, for so long."
Adam fully expected Adam Taurus to be the one to step out from the side curtain, but much to his surprise, Roman Torchwick of all people walks to the centre of the stage with a confident swagger in his step.
Obviously, a lot of Faunus aren't happy with Roman showing up on stage, due to him being Human and all, but even with the obvious hostility from nearly everyone in the room being aimed at himself, Torchwick uses that silver tongue of his and quickly works his magic on the crowd. Throughout his speech, it's obvious from Adam's viewpoint that the criminal is getting through to the crowd of Faunus as the hostility soon fades away.
While Roman continues with his speech, Adam activates his communication device. "Torchwick has just made an appearance."
"Not just Torchwick" remarked Wyoming who is aiming down on the sights of his Sniper Rifle. Locus zooms in on a familiar individual who is standing by the background of the stage. "The woman from the train is also with them" he reported, recognizing the multicolored woman as one of the three who are wanted by the Freelancers.
"We can't waste this opportunity. Stick with the plan, but if you can snatch up Torchwick, that'll be a bonus" said Jaune who is watching the live feed from his soldier's helmets. Like them, Jaune is surprised by Torchwick's sudden appearance, but he won't look a horse in the mouth. With Roman's involvement in stealing Dust from the stores all across Vale, they might just find out the reason why he's supplying the White Fang and find out who the third party is.
Just as Jaune finishes his orders, Roman stops his speech and allows the tarp that's concealing the large object to fall to the floor behind him, showing off an Atlesian Paladin to everyone in the room.
The moment they reveal the Atlesian weapon, Adam gives the signal to every Freelancer. "Now!"
Wyoming and his squad don't need to be told twice. Unlatching the stun grenades from their belts, the Freelancers throw them down onto the crowd of Faunus. The sight of the grenades and the Freelancers surprise many, but before anyone can do anything, the grenades explode and release a flash of blinding bright light and a deafening sound.
To Humans, stun grenades make a complete mess of their senses, causing brief blindness, temporary deafness and the loss of balance.
For Faunus who have more sensitive senses, the stun grenades are an absolute living hell for them. Once the stun grenades go off, every Faunus in the surrounding area collapse to the floor in agony. Many grab their eyes or ears to try and sooth the unbearable pain, but their attempts do nothing to ease the pain.
Once the stun grenades have been released onto the crowd, Adam begins giving out more orders. "All troops move in. Secure the objectives!"
As most of the Faunus are in far to much pain and to stunned to realize what's happening around them, they don't see the warehouse walls blow up around them before Freelancers begin pouring in. Those White Fang terrorists who are in any sort of state to fight are quickly gunned down by the Freelancers on the ground floor or by Wyoming and his squad who are keeping watch from above.
While blinded for a moment, Roman quickly recovers himself and sees the Freelancers storming into the warehouse while also quickly making short work of any resistance. Those who are too stunned to fight are being arrested and are dragged out of the warehouse.
Having no choice but to make his escape, Roman makes a run for the Atlesian Paladin that's just sitting there behind him. However, just as he turns around, the feel of an invisible fist smacks him across the jaw, sending the thief back. While surprised by the sudden blow, Roman soon recovers by allowing his body to roll backwards before he stops himself while in a crouching position. The criminal looks around the stage to search for the culprit, but other than Banesaw who is still recovering from the stun grenades, there is no one else on the stage.
That's until Adam Jensen turns off his cloaking and reveals himself to the criminal. "Roman Torchwick, by order of the Vale Council and Freelancers, you are under arrest."
While surprised by the Freelancer Commander appearing out of nowhere, Roman keeps up his cocky persona. "Believe me, you're not the first ones the try and I can guarantee you that you won't be the last."
Adam slowly clenches his fists while glaring at Roman. "You can choose. We can do this either the easy way or the hard way.
"How cliche" Roman chuckled before aiming Melodic Cudgel at Adam and firing.
Without moving a step, Adam leans his body to the side and avoids the explosive round which flies past him and hits the wall behind him. Once the explosive projectile is avoided, Adam spreads his arms out and extends his Nanoblades from his mechanical arms. "Just remember, I gave you a choice."
Roman responds by firing at Adam who runs towards the criminal while easily avoiding the projectiles. Once Adam is too close to shoot at, Roman begins fighting the Freelancer in close combat.
The criminal and Freelancer Commander do battle with one another with one using his cane and another using a pair of blades that are sticking out of his arms. The pair show off their combat prowess by fighting each other with the speed and skill of experienced Hunters.
However, not even Roman can constantly keep up with Adam's powerful and precise attacks, especially when the man has nearly fifty percent of his body made up of mechanical augmentations, giving the Freelancer an unfair advantage in both strength and endurance.
After parrying one of Adam's Nanoblades and blocking the other, Roman is too slow to dodge an elbow to the face. The feel of Adam's mechanical elbow hitting his jaw stuns Roman for a moment, giving Adam the chance to perform a series of attacks with his blades. After dealing two cuts across the chest, Adam thrusts his left Nanoblade into Roman's stomach. Luckily for the thief, his Aura holds up and so, Roman is only thrown backwards across the stage, although the blow does knock the air out of his lungs.
Groaning, Roman slowly pushes himself back up to his feet and raises Melodic Cudgel to defend himself. A good thing he does so, because if he didn't, his face would have become good friends with Adam's fist. While Melodic Cudgel does manage to block the punch, the force of the blow has the weapon bend down the middle while Roman skids backwards a few feet. During the time of Roman skidding backwards, Adam runs after the criminal and swings his right arm at Roman's neck, performing a clothesline which has the thief perform a full backflip while also shattering his Aura.
Groaning in pain, Roman slowly opens his eyes, but soon finds his arms restrained behind his back while a mechanically enhanced Adam presses his knee into the thief's back. With no Aura, Roman can do nothing as Adam forces a pair of Gravity Dust cuffs onto his wrists. Said cuffs are designed in mind for people who have their Aura unlocked, since the Gravity Dust within the cuffs keep the cuffs forcefully locked together until they're deactivated. Not even someone with Maine's physical strength could hope to break out of a pair of cuffs.
After standing back up, Adam sees that his troops have the entire situation under control. Just as he's about to bend down and pick up Roman, the sound of a chainsaw fills Adam's ears. The Commander quickly turns around and crosses his Nanoblades in an X guard as Banesaw drops his Chainsaw down on him. Adam's Nanoblades hold strong against the chainsaw's spinning teeth, although the wooden planks beneath his feet crack from the strain of Banesaw pressing his entire weight down on Adam.
"I'm going to KILL YOU!" snarled Banesaw, pressing down on his Chainsaw even more. While his hearing hasn't come back yet and he's still seeing two of his enemy, that doesn't stop Banesaw from trying to kill one of the people who has just ruined everything for him.
Inwardly, Adam is impressed with Banesaw. Even after being hit with numerous stun grenades, the Faunus has managed to recover far faster than anyone else, although it's obvious from Banesaw's shaking head that he hasn't fully recovered. From reports, Adam knows that Banesaw uses a fighting style that focuses more on using his physical strength than by using actual techniques, but Adam can see why. Banesaw's physical strength is immense and if he was wearing a Mjolnir suit of armour, he might be able to match Maine in power.
Still, it's about time he ends this.
Adam stops holding the weight of Banesaw's weapon and takes a step to the right. The sudden shift in weight causes Banesaw to lose his balance and nearly falls on his face before he manages to catch himself. Not that it does him any good when Adam lands a punch across his jaw. Before the Faunus can fall onto his side, Adam grabs his left arm and twists it while at the same time, kicking Banesaw's feet out from under him. The large Faunus collapses to the floor with his left arm twisted behind his back and a heavily augmented man pressing a knee into his back. Banesaw begins to struggle and curse, but a powerful blow into the back of his head forces the Faunus into unconsciousness.
Taking out another pair of cuffs, Adam quickly latches them around Banesaw's wrists before instructing a pair of nearby Freelancers to take the unconscious Faunus to one of the Prison Transport Bullhead where the other White Fang terrorists are being taken. Roman is forced to follow them by another pair of Freelancers who leads him outside.
Adam rolls his right wrist and notices a slight shift when it moves. "Something must've shifted when I clashed with Banesaw" he thought, knowing he'll have to fix the slight problem when he returns to the Mother of Invention.
Adam turns to an orange-coloured Freelancer who has a cat's tail poking out of her armour. "How goes the clean up, Sargent?"
"All terrorists have been detained, as well as the recruits. Each are being transported onto different Bullheads. However, there has been three reported ally casualties" reported the Freelancer, much to the surprise of the Freelancer Commander.
"Three casualties?" repeated Adam, having not seen how any of the terrorists could have put up much a fight against the Freelancers.
"Two dead and one injured. The injured has reported that her assailant was the same one who was on the train" explained the Sargent.
Adam scowls and berates himself for missing the multicolored woman. Being so focused on Banesaw and Roman, he had completely forgotten about the woman who Girlie and Sharkface had faced off against on the train.
"Retrieve their bodies and bring them back to the ship. We'll send them back to their families after we finish cleaning up this mess" he sighed while watching his troops take away all the terrorists.
Cinder is going to kill somebody.
She isn't sure who yet, but whoever it may be, they're going to die a slow and agonizing death. Maybe she can snatch one of the Freelancers from the street without anyone noticing?
She has been going over her plans not too long ago before a sweaty and bloody Neo came running in with a panicked expression on her face.
That's when Neo used her Scroll to inform Cinder about what had happened at the White Fang recruitment drive. It turns out that not only did the simple task of recruiting new blood for the White Fang fail, but they had lost all of the White Fang who were there, including Banesaw and Roman who were arrested alongside with them.
Again, her plan is interrupted, thanks to the Freelancers. The only conciliation is that Banesaw knows the bare minimum about her involvement in the plan and Roman is smart enough to know that by ratting her out will only lead to his death. In fact, him being arrested is supposed to be part of the plan, but for Atlas, not the Freelancers!
Just as Cinder is considering setting someone on fire, she receives a call on her Scroll. Checking the caller ID, she sees that it's Taurus who's interrupting her bloodthirsty thoughts. Scowling, Cinder answers the call and places the Scroll to her ear. "I don't have time for this, Taurus."
"Then make time" replied Adam Taurus who can't see Cinder's scowl deepen. "I already know about the attack on the warehouse."
"Then you must know why I'm not exactly in a good mood" told Cinder who is considering setting Taurus on fire.
"That's why I'm calling. I've got good news. General Ironwood is arriving and he's coming with an entire fleet. He'll be taking over security from the Freelancers a week before the Vytal Festival tournament begins."
Cinder can feel her anger and frustrations soon fade away. Her edges of her lips even twitch upwards into a small smirk. "That is good news. Very good news."
If the Atlas military is going to show up with a whole fleet, then that means they'll be bringing a lot of their Atlesian Knights with them as well.
For once, Cinder feels like her plans are now back on track. Now, all she needs is to find the perfect time to sneak into the CCT.
Author's Note: Apparently, Bloodhound is non-binary so they'll be referred to as "They" instead of "He" or "She".