The only sound within the giant, dimly-lit room was that of electricity humming through wires and machines, an occasional click or tap would break the monotony of the hushed symphony. A sole individual sat in a chair facing a moniter, their face illuminated by a soft glow as their eyes meticulously scanned through what appeared to be millions and millions of bits of unintelligible mashes of letters and symbols. They were so consumed in their work they hadn’t noticed the door several feet behind them slide open, they hadn’t noticed the white haired woman step inside either.
The young man at the computer screen jumped, knocking the chair he sat in crashing to the ground. He turned towards the source of the voice, clutching his chest as his heart raced within. He struggled to catch his breath as the imposing woman before him stood silent, watching him with eyes that bore no feeling.
“G-G-General Schnee? I’m…I’m horribly sorry you,” Merigold lifted his head, meeting the woman’s ice cold eyes before forcing his own to dart away to the side, the split second of locked eye contact had pushed his heart to pump heavily yet again, “You frightened me.”
“I could tell.”
The woman stepped towards him, and instinctively he cowers out if her way. Watching with fiddling hands as she bends down to stare at the computer screen. The soft glow on her pale skin seemed to make a stronger example of the horrid scar that stretches along the length of her face, reaching even past her throat. The young man couldn’t help but swallow down a full of fear and bile that had risen to his throat, the sound of which must have bother the General, as her eyes shattered their hold on the monitor and flicked off towards him.
“What’s our progress.”
It was almost a relief to the young man to hear such a question. Work was something he felt comfortable talking about with the General, the only thing he felt comfort with around her. The rumors surrounding the disappearance of the previous individual who sat at the very computer he does are always floating about in the back of his mind, but thankfully enough the occasional nods of approval from the General put his nerves at ease. Though, he must admit that there was no such ease in his mind this time around. This was but the fifth time he had worked upon this specific project, the first three went swimmingly, though the first time itself was a bit of a shock, and took some light convincing from the General herself and several armed guards for him to comply with. The fourth time, however, was different. The subject of his work struck a heartstring, and it has only amplified this fifth time. He spent much of this time spent diligently working upon reconnecting shattered memories, watching in horror as images and videos filled the monitors that covered the walls of the room. He watched on in horror as countless Hunters and Huntresses fell in battle, be it to Grimm, or some horrifying monster of a human being. He even recognized some of the fallen faces as students he’s seen from the school above, students that Atlas officially coded as either missing, or deserters. He had also seen what could only be explained as the source of the footage itself being attacked, and presumably destroyed. Grimm lunging right towards the screens, claws and talons ripping into it before being replaced by nothing but silent static, and then the next piece of footage.
“It’s going well,” he spoke up, finally giving the General the answer she wanted, he was cautious as to not give her any idea of just what he’s seen, it was far above his clearance he was sure, the only reason he’s allowed to work alone is the General allows it, “Just…”
“Well,” his throat felt as though it was going to close on itself and suffocate him in this very moment, “Our…project. She’s being more…antsy this time around. Even worse so than the last.”
The uncaring tone of the General made his stomach churn in a way that nearly caused him to wretch. He couldn’t help but wince at the obvious cruelty going on right in this very room. He turned his head slowly towards the far wall, a large machine softly glowing with a gentle green sat silent. Huge cables connected to the sides flashed rhythmically with the very same glow, the light continues along the cables throughout the room as it races down beneath the glass floor into an unfathomably large chamber below. He watched with a pained expression as the trail of green light split along its path, rushing like a liquid towards the depths below. The glow eminating from the cables brought light to more and more of the horror show he stood above, the soft silhouettes of humanoid figures all stranding in uniform, silent and void of life. A single wire ended at the base of each one’s skull. The empty eyes flashed green as the light reaches the end of the trail, being absorbed into the lifeless husk.
The man jumped again, lost in thought as his heart ached for the victim of this experiment. The young woman who is brought here again and again against her will. The young woman who cries out for anyone to help as she’s disabled and torn apart. The young woman who silently looks out without a spec of hope as faceless armed guards place her within the machine on the far side. The very same young woman the General beside him stares down every single time they do so, emotionless.
“Right,” The General turns her head, allowing the young man to look at her head on, causing his heart to race heavily yet again as he continues speaking, the scarred and indifferent face glaring back at him, “It’s nothing I can’t handle. I assure you. It’ll only require some more time.”
The General narrows her eyes, the light blue irises cause his skin to crawl as they dig into him. She remains glaring at him for what feels like eternity, seemingly gaining some twisted enjoyment from watching him twist and churn on the inside, horrified. After an aeon of unending fear, the line of sight breaks from him. Her eyes darting towards the machine at the far end of the room. Her body jerks up straight from the computer and she begins to step towards the green glow, her hand gripping to the sabre resting upon her hip.
The young man sheepishly called out, he can’t truthfully say he isn’t relieved to have the interest in him disappear, but the sudden alertness of the General caused him nearly just as much worry. He stepped back towards the computer, a subtle change in the soft glow catching his eye.
I AM SORRY. YOU ARE INNOCENT. PLEASE FORGIVE ME.
He sat scratching his head, dumbfounded and unable to formulate words. Was this the subject communicating? How is it possible, she was sedated? Taken apart? He watched as they removed limbs and weaponry piece by piece, all melded together, all one in the same. He watched as they put this walking weapon of absolute destruction into the chamber that is now being cautiously approached by the commanding military general and Headmistress of Atlas.
AGAIN. PLEASE FORGIVE ME. I AM THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN STOP HER REGIME. WHO CAN BRING HER BACK TO NORMAL. I WILL NEVER FORGET YOU. YOU WERE SOFTER THAN THE ONE BEFORE. I THANK YOU FOR THAT KINDNESS.
Fear built up inside his chest yet he made no effort to call out or make a noise. He too has thought for years, in absolute silence, the darkest recesses of his mind in fear of being found out and tried foe Treason, that the General held too tight a fist over Atlas. Ever since the previous General, Ironwood, passed away, his replacement has steadily grown into a more and more dictator of sorts. Commanding not just the military, but also the Academy above him with slit-throat policy. It is true, that she alone had turned Atlas into a power that could singlehandedly conquer the whole of Remnant should she call for it, but at what cost?
The Hunters and Huntresses he had watched die on the monitors. The students he had watched fall before they were even able to fully recognize their dreams of heroism. Is that all worth it to live in absolute security? Is that truly what’s best for Atlas? For Remnant?
He had no time to consider the answer. The soft glow coming from the large machine in an instant grew in intensity to a blinding flash of light instantly. His hands clasped tightly over his eyes to protect them from the scorching light. He could hear a loud scream from the General as the flash continues on for a second more, and then, as quickly as it had appeared, it was gone. Gone too, was the glow of the wall mounted monitors, and even the computer he diligently worked at was pitch black aside from a few words eternally burned into the screen.
I WILL SAVE EVERYONE.
The young man turned around as the door was blasted open, a dozen or so armed guards filing in with weapons drawn, shouting orders he could hardly come to focus on. The General blindly stumbled back towards the door, passing the young man who recoiled in horror at the furious anger plastered onto her face, an anger he had neve r before seen on any human or faunus, let alone the General herself.
“General,” he stepped forward, halting immediately as a guard shoves a gun into his chest, his hands raised above his head in surrender, “G-General! General please call them to stand down.”
“You,” The woman lowered her hands from her eyes, the icy blue now riddled with bloodshot as they slowly fixate upon the young man, “You…You helped her escape. Didn’t you.”
“What,” the man shouted out, trembling as the gun pressed tightly to his chest pushed harder, “No, no I would never. I don’t even know what happened, let alone how.”
“You felt sorry for her,” The General began to step towards him, fury raging in her voice, “You felt as though I was a monster.”
“N-No, no General I swear I-”
“Kill him,” The General’s eyes narrowed, her voice was horrifically calm now, “He has committed Treason against Atlas. He has allowed one of our greatest military assets to escape. Kill him now.”
“GENERAL NO PLEA-”
A single shot blasted an echo through the room, the young man’s eyes trembled as tears formed along them, his head slowly looking down to see a smoking barrel inches from his chest. Blood had already stained much of his clothes as he fell to his knees, making a small splash in the scarlet puddle forming beneath him.
“Wh…why,” He spoke his last words, blood trickling down his chin before falling forward. His eyes sat wide open, the life now gone completely.
“Clean up this mess,” the General glared down at the corpse as her guards quickly went to work, slowly she reaches up and wipes a small splatter of blood from her cheek.
“Get a hold of Beacon. I must speak with my little sister. I believe she can help us locate our little runaway.”
The General turned from the room, turning her back to the corpse before her as her guards slowly close the dead eyes staring up at her.
“General Winter Schnee,” she spoke dryly as she began to walk away from the bloody scene, her eyes dead set forward, “Is coming for you, Penny Polendina.”
Like in the first round, these matchups will only remain open for twentyfourhours -this one closes at 7 00 PM on the 21th of September, Italian Time- and you can only express one preference for each matchup. With that out of the way…
Got work Mon-Fri at Apple now, so don’t have as much time to draw now (Except during weekends) but short and sweet doodles I can still push out before/after work!! Here’s Weiss and Winter just chillin’ in some casual clothes!