"And who exactly are you, Mr. Tusk? I've never heard of anyone by your name." One of the councilmen asked, reasonably suspicious.
"Good, then I've been doing my job correctly," Tusk replied. I am the Founder and CEO of Black Tusk, a PMC operating out of northern Atlas. Upon hearing of the troubles Vale had been going through, I reached out and contacted Ozpin, offering to help. For a reasonable fee, of course."
"A PMC?" Someone said, sounding annoyed. "Is this a joke? We need a proper military, not some jokers with guns."
"I can assure you my men are up to the task. We may not be as large as the Atlas armed forces, but those under my employ are heavily trained and have access to cutting-edge weaponry and technology, making us more versatile."
"Mr. Tusk has sent me footage of multiple skirmishes Black Tusk soldiers have been involved in, and they seem to be worth their steep price," Ozpin said, making the councilmen pause in thought.
"And if you have further doubts about the capability of my soldiers, I recently got the news of a shootout between the White Fang and one of the groups you've been having trouble with, the Cleaners. I've already sent out a squad to deal with the situation, just to give you a taste of what we can do."
"What?! Why weren't any of us notified about this?!"
"Calm down. The situation is being dealt with as we speak. While I was hoping for an alternative solution, as of this moment, Black Tusk is our best hope of regaining control of the city." The Councilmen grew silent as they thought over their options.
"What will you be doing specifically? We need to know exactly what you plan to do." One of them asked.
"Of course. Phase one will involve taking over various key locations in Vale and converting them into forward bases and outposts for my men to operate out of. Once we've gained a foothold, we will begin phase two by tracking down and exterminating the different groups vying for control. The White Fang, the Cleaners, the Redeemed, all of their leadership will be marked for termination.
"Once the heads of these groups have been severed, we will begin phase three by cleaning up any remaining enemy cells and, should you decide to keep us on after all this is said and done, we will begin targeting less dangerous criminal gangs throughout the city."
"And what about Ulysses? He is the primary issue in all this and must be dealt with swiftly." Tusk chuckled at that, sounding as if he already had a plan for the Hellborne.
"As skilled as my soldiers are, they're no match for the demon. So instead, I'll be sending in a special agent to track him down personally, agent Shifter. He'll be responsible for dealing with Ulysses. But one thing I must make clear is I need complete autonomy to take care of this threat. If you want this done properly, we can't be wading through a sea of red tape and bureaucracy."
Everyone remained silent as they thought over what Tusk had said. Ozpin had complete trust in their combat abilities, and that was something rare for him. Black Tusk would subdue the chaos currently overtaking the city, eliminate or capture Ulysses, and restore order to Vale. But they weren't cheap by any means, and they would require near-total control of the city to pull this off. Not only that, but should they still be here when the Vital Festival comes along, it's highly likely they'd be assisting the Atlesian military with security, and who knows how they'd react to that.
They'd have to discuss this further.
Blake held her eyes shut in anticipation of the death-dealing blow that would end her life at the hands of the Cleaners. All this effort, everything she'd done, all of it was for naught, all because of some crazy bastards worshiping a heartless monster. But as she waited, she grew confused as the execution dragged on, and he'd still not ended her. Then, he spoke.
"What the hell is that?" He asked no one in particular, his tone sounding genuinely confused.
"That a Bullhead? You think more Fang are coming in for round two?" One of the others asked.
"I don't think so. It doesn't look like one of theirs."
Gathering her courage, she opened her eyes and craned her head back, trying to see what they were looking at. And, sure enough, a single Bullhead was flying towards them. But instead of being white with the red White Fang symbol on the side, this one was jet black with an unfamiliar sigil on both sides.
Once it was nearly upon them, a pair of guns suddenly popped out from beneath the cockpit, prompting the Cleaners to ready their weapons. But instead of opening up with bullets, each gun fired only once, sending two canisters streaking towards them.
"Shit, get down!" One of them yelled, but it was too late. They impacted the concrete and erupted in an explosion of light and sound, severely disorienting everyone caught in the blast, including Blake. She curled up into a ball and held her hands over her ears, which felt like they were bleeding. The ringing was intense, and the light temporarily blinded her.
As she very slowly recovered from the assault on her senses, ropes descended from the Bullhead, allowing its occupants to rappel down to the ground. The soldiers all had high-tech equipment on them, even the basic assault units. However, while they all had black uniforms consisting of tight shirts, combat pants, balaclavas, comm headsets, chest-mounted flashlights, and varying armor amounts, they differed in their weaponry and high-tech equipment.
The four assault units, at first glance, only appear to be armed with assault rifles, but upon closer examination, you could see pouches in their vests containing grenades. And if you looked closer, you could see a strange device strapped to their lower back, easily within reach. Next was a single medic. Along with the standard equipment, they had a bulky backpack with what looked like a folded-up drone attached to the back, a large red medical pouch attached to his left leg, and a defibrillator on his right.
Finally was the Tank unit of the group. He was massive, covered in heavy metal plate armor, and wielded an intimidating minigun. The weapon in question was belt-fed by a huge armored backpack containing the ammo, but attached to it was a smaller red box, though its purpose wasn't clear.
Music: Death of the God of Light - Brothers of Metal
"Go! Go! Go!" One of the Assaults shouted as he and his comrades rapidly advanced with weapons raised. They immediately began firing on the stunned Cleaners. Since they couldn't concentrate, their Auras were being rapidly shredded, leading to many of them being gunned down before they could recover.
"Medic, get these kids out of here!" One of them ordered.
"Roger that!" He grabbed the drone and tossed it into the air, it unfolding and becoming active. "Drones in the air!" He warned his allies. He hit a button on his wrist device, and it immediately made a bee-line for the still down Sun while he went for Blake. He picked her up and held her in a fireman's carry, running for cover behind the nearest shipping container. By this point, the Cleaners were beginning to recover, and they were pissed, retaliating with gunfire, though the Black Tusk had long since started utilizing the cover offered to them.
The Tank slowly advanced, suppressing the Cleaners with his roaring minigun, tearing apart any who didn't seek cover amidst the shipping containers. A stray bullet managed to slip between the Tank's armor, hitting him in the arm, but he barely flinched. He'd experienced far worse in training; he wouldn't let something like this stop him.
Meanwhile, the medic had sat Blake against a container in a comfortable position and was busy examining her for injuries. By this point, she'd recovered from the flashbangs, but she was still in a good bit of pain from her injuries. He opened her shirt up to examine her chest for burns, and while her skin was noticeably red where she'd been hit, there wasn't any severe damage. Replacing her clothing, he continued to examine her when he noticed a growing red spot on her pant leg.
"Shit." He cursed before rolling the clothing up. Blake had been shot in her outer left thigh, likely hit by a stray bullet while the Medic had been carrying her to cover. He opened up his med pouch and retrieved the equipment he'd need: a tourniquet, a pair of scissors, and a roll of gauze. Upon closer inspection, he noticed the wound wasn't bleeding much, indicating it hadn't hit an artery. The bullet had also gone clean through her leg, which was good, as he wouldn't have to go digging around for it.
He cut a long strip of gauze from his roll before wrapping it around her leg over the holes, sealing the wound and allowing the blood to clot. Next, he secured the tourniquet around her leg above the wound, restricting blood flow to it. As he tightened it, Blake winced in pain.
"It hurts." She groaned.
"Good, that means it's on tight." He quickly replied, never taking his eyes off what he was doing. Once he was sure the wound was stable, he checked her for any more. Aside from a few bruises and scratches, there weren't any he could see.
"Alright, you're patched up as best I can here. The guy with the fire Semblance shattered your Aura, but you'll be fine."
"H-he broke my Aura?" She slowly stammered out, the pain still burning hot.
"Unless my Aura-reader is wrong, that seems to be the case." He peeked around the edge of the cover and, upon seeing the Cleaners were distracted with fighting his comrades, he turned back to Blake. "Alright, I'm gonna go grab your friend. Stay here and don't draw attention to yourself." She nodded, and he picked his rifle up off the ground before sprinting out of cover.
"Just let us do our jobs!" One of the Cleaners shouted from behind cover. His response came in the form of one of the soldiers sprinting around the corner and shooting him in the chest. It shattered his Aura and knocked him on his ass, making him grunt in pain. He tried to get back up, but his world went black when the Black Tusk soldier hit him in the head with the butt of his rifle, knocking him out cold. They had been given orders to capture as many Cleaners alive as they could, so as much as he wanted to put these scumbags down, he couldn't go against direct orders.
"Behind you!" He heard one of his allies shout, but he was too slow. Something from behind impacted his neck, a blow that would've taken his head clean off had it not been for his Aura. Instead, he was sent flying into a shipping container, denting the side of it heavily and making him grunt in pain. He looked up from the ground, seeing the leader from before looming over him, ax in hand.
"Who the hell are you people?!" He demanded angrily. The soldier responded by sweeping his feet under him, knocking him down. He then put him in a lock that pinned his arms to his sides, using his Aura-enhanced strength to keep him down. By this point, the Cleaners were beginning to realize that, while they had the numbers advantage, these soldiers far outclassed them in terms of skill and equipment.
The soldier grappling with the Cleaner leader was thrown off when he activated his Semblance, engulfing himself in flames. They both stood up and, since they'd both lost their weapons in the scuffle, resorted to fisticuffs. The Cleaner charged with a wild haymaker, which the soldier quickly ducked under. He transferred the momentum into a solid punch into his opponent's side, making him grunt in pain. In response, he grabbed the straps on the soldier's back and kneed him hard in the gut, knocking the wind out of him. He went for a second knee but was blocked by crossed forearms before the soldier wrapped his arms around his waist and, enhancing his strength with Aura, was able to lift the Cleaner and slam him into the concrete in a suplex.
This blow shattered the Cleaner's Aura, shutting off his Semblance and making him groan in pain. The soldier wiped the sweat off his brow, glad the intense heat was now rapidly dying down. The downed fighter attempted to stand but was met by a fist to the face, cracking one of the lenses of his mask and putting him to sleep. After taking a moment to catch his breath, the soldier spotted his rifle lying next to the madman's ax, none the worse for wear. He retrieved it, quickly checking it for unseen damage, before turning his attention back to the unconscious Cleaner.
"And stay down." He panted from exertion.
The Tank continued advancing unfettered, the ground around him now covered in spent cases from his minigun. Bullets pinged off his metal armor, falling harmlessly to the concrete, hardly slowing him down. By this point, most of the Cleaners had been subdued, some killed, but most were knocked out on the ground. The only one left now was an Incinerator, who was distracted, preventing three of the soldiers from popping out of cover with a jet of flame.
"I'll burn you all!" He shouted before he was hit by a hail of gunfire from the Tank. He growled in rage before turning his attention to the large warrior and preparing to hit him with a jet of flame, but stopped when a bullet hit the cluster of three gas tanks on his back. They had been armored, but all the damage the metal plating had taken over the fight had proven to be too much, allowing one to puncture. A small stream of flame was now spewing out of the uppermost tank, and the Incinerator knew he only had a few seconds to act. His Aura wouldn't be able to handle the blast, so he tried something else.
He dropped his weapon and pulled the emergency cord, disconnecting the large pack. Then, in an impressive feat of strength, he picked it up and hurled the soon-to-explode gas tank cluster directly at the minigun-wielder. Behind the visor of his metal helmet, his eyes widened in shock and surprise, only being able to raise his forearm before the improvised bomb hit him and exploded.
Like all Tanks, he didn't have Aura, so the blast shook him to his very core and nearly sent him off his feet. The flames engulfed him, and he could feel himself begin to cook in the suit of metal armor. But just as quickly as he'd been set ablaze, the medic's drone flew up to him and began using its built-in fire extinguisher to snuff out the flames. He simply crouched down on one knee and fought through the painful heat, allowing the robot to do its work. Before long, he no longer felt like he was roasting alive and felt all the better for it. Looking back to where the Incinerator had been, he readied his minigun to mow him down. Only to have his anger be replaced by confusion when he saw the heavily armored Cleaner had vanished.
"What the hell?" He mumbled, looking around but seeing no sign of the big bastard. He turned his attention to the other soldiers, but they looked just as confused as him. "Did you see where he went?" He shouted at them.
"Negative." One reported. "We got down to avoid the blast, and when we popped back up, he was gone." The Tank sighed in annoyance, but there was nothing he could do about it.
With the battle over, the Tank moved to the front of the area to keep an eye out for any Cleaner reinforcements but also to discourage any civilians who might've heard the blast from coming to check it out. Two of the soldiers got to work disarming any surviving Cleaners and detaining them with handcuffs, while the one who'd taken down the leader radioed for prisoner transport. Overall, there had been close to twenty Cleaners, and twelve of them had been taken alive. The last soldier was in charge of stripping the corpses of their gear and putting them in body bags.
Blake and Sun, the latter of which was now conscious but sporting a bad headache, had been moved to a more open spot and were awaiting transport back to Beacon, likely to be reprimanded for nearly getting themselves killed. As they looked out over the battlefield, the two teens got closer looks at the mysterious soldiers who'd saved them. They hadn't been able to see earlier, but they could now see that, alongside the sigil that was on much of their equipment, was a name underneath. Black Tusk.
Neither had ever heard of this group before and were unsure what to think of them. The medic went to each of the men and checked them over for injuries, but aside from some minor burns on the Tank's slightly exposed biceps, they were all fit as a fiddle. Once the guy cleaning up the corpses finished, he ordered to keep an eye on the students and ensure they didn't leave. As he stood next to them, checking over his gear, Blake finally spoke up.
"Who are you people?" She asked. He looked over at her before tapping the patch on his shoulder, showcasing the name and logo.
"Black Tusk. We're a PMC out of Atlas that's been hired by the Vale Council to restore peace to the city, so you can expect to see us more often. I'm not authorized to disclose anything beyond that." Blake wanted to ask where they got their technology, like the drone the medic used, but she had a feeling he wouldn't answer that. After a moment of silence, there was a commotion by the front gate where the Tank was stationed.
"This is a restricted area, identify yourselves." The Tank ordered. A group of three girls had approached him, and, just by looking at them, he could tell they were Huntresses-In-Training. The blonde one looked angry at him for stopping them, the white-haired one, who he was pretty sure was Weiss Schnee, looked like she was pretending to be uninterested, and the young one with black and red hair looked very nervous.
"I'm Ruby Rose, leader of team RWBY from Beacon. I know our teammate, Blake, is back there, and we need to see her." So this was the girl's team? That explained a few things.
"If you're her leader, you should have better control over her." He scolded her. She shrank back, and the blonde looked like she was about to say something but was cut off. "I'll let you go see her, but you're not leaving until transport back to Beacon arrives."
"Oh yeah? And what if we want to leave before that?" Yang challenged, but the Tank was having none of it.
"Ma'am, I just had a half-ton gas tank explode in my face. I really don't have the patience to deal with your shit right now." He retorted. Not wanting to aggravate the 7-foot tall man covered in armor holding a minigun, they passed without further issue. They spotted Blake as the extra transport Bullhead for the prisoners arrived, and the Cleaners started being led toward it. But as they neared Blake, they noticed one of the men being led away was shouting at her.
"You filthy White Fang sympathizers! It's because of you we Faunus are feared!" He yelled at her.
The man shouting a Blake was the group leader, the one that'd nearly killed her earlier. And she was shocked not because of his words but because when his mask was removed, it revealed his pair of small boar tusks. He was a Faunus, yet he loathed the White Fang enough to feel no remorse killing them. In fact, a good portion of the surviving Cleaners had been Faunus, their features previously hidden beneath their hazmat suits, and it made her uncomfortable when most, if not all of them, were glaring at her with hate.
"You're lucky these fuckers showed up when they did, or I'd have split your skull open!" One of the soldiers came up and hit him in the gut with the butt of his rifle.
"Shut it." He ordered. The man snarled at him but remained silent. She watched him as he went, his hateful eyes never leaving her. But her watching was cut off when a red blur suddenly careened into her, knocking her off her feet. Ruby.
As the team conversed, a figure watched from a distance atop a roof, cloaked in the darkness of night. Ulysses watched as the Cleaners were led away into the Bullhead, likely to be imprisoned wherever the HQ of this "Black Tusk" was located. He wanted to rescue them but knew doing so would put their lives in jeopardy, so he was forced to watch as they were loaded up.
He would have to begin working with the Cleaners more directly if they would succeed in their goals. He had nothing against them, he respected them for their willingness to take action against their oppressors. He hadn't worked with them in the past because he simply preferred fighting solo, as he would only have himself to worry about. But he had a feeling the Black Tusk weren't merely another PMC. There was more to them, something beneath the surface. So he would have to be wary of them, at least to some extent.
As he watched, he locked eyes with the leader through the window of the Bullhead transport. The Faunus nodded before turning forward, his captors none the wiser. Ulysses turned and walked away, intent on tracking down where the escaped Incinerator had gone and following him back to their HQ.
There was much work to be done.
The live feed from the Black Tusk Bullhead being broadcasted to Ozpin and the rest of the Vale Council cut out, their jobs at the docks done. They all sat in contemplation of what they'd seen. For Ozpin, it was one thing reading reports and watching playbacks. It was another thing entirely to actually watch them do their jobs live. He was impressed by their skill, as well as the technology they wielded. It looked to be Atlas tech modified for their purposes, which was impressive in and of itself. Their personnel were also evidently highly trained; even in hand-to-hand combat, they were extremely skilled fighters.
They were also good at team coordination. The Tank getting the Incinerator's attention away from the soldiers and giving them the chance to hit his gas tank. The soldiers covering the Medic as he got the students out of harm's way and tended to their wounds in the midst of battle. Even the Medic's drone extinguishing the flames engulfing the Tank following the Incinerator's surprising throw. They weren't glory hounds; they knew their limits and fought side-by-side with cohesion and coordination.
"Well, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't impressed." One of the Councilmen admitted, many others agreeing.
"They look to be exactly what we need to regain control of the city. I say we give them what they need to do their jobs." Another round of agreements. This was looking to be a unanimous vote in favor of hiring Black Tusk. Once everyone stopped talking, Tusk spoke.
"I'm assuming this is me being given the green light to bring in the rest of my forces?" After some further discussion among the Council, they came to an agreement.
"Do whatever is necessary to bring order to Vale. We will be informing the Police force of your presence and that they are to assist you in whatever way you require. In addition, you will be providing security for the Vital Festival and will be assisting Atlas forces when they arrive."
"Excellent. I'll be deploying agent Shifter shortly. He will be based in Beacon Academy due to it being the most secure location in Vale, but I'm sure he will be spending far more time out in the field than in the school."
"The students will be curious about this new arrival. What should I tell them?" Ozpin inquired.
"We will discuss that at another time, as he isn't due to arrive for a few days yet. In the meantime, you all can expect to see my men setting up forward bases and outposts across Vale and begin exterminating the vermin infesting this city. There is much work to be done." Tusk said before signing off, his icon disappearing from the call. It was time to see if this would pay off in the long run.
And that wraps this up! This chapter is back at the regular length, so that's nice. I haven't anything else to say, so let's get right to the reviews.
MemeMasterAssBlaster: Well, she's not dead yet.
Phantommore: Not RWBY, but probably would've gotten bodied anyway.
Stratos263: Oh it's far from one guy.
whatsupman: They'll be getting a good amount of resistance from Black Tusk now.
AtomicGod666: They most likely won't. Ulysses wants to cleanse the city of crime, while Neofelis just wants world domination.
That's all for now, I hope you enjoyed.