Agent Maine, the Meta, feared by Project Freelancer and the Red and Blue soldiers of Blood Gulch, was defeated at Sidewinder, thrown off a cliff and attached to a Warthog, sent down to the freezing ocean depths. By a stroke of good fortune, the Meta survives when the Time Distortion Unit he obtained from Agent Wyoming's helmet malfunctions, sending him to an unknown planet outside of UNSC colonization.
A month after the disappearance of Jaune Arc, Team RWBY and the remains of Team JNPR are tasked with investigating a strange anomaly found at the Forever Fall forest. Though disheartened by the disappearance of their leader, Pyrrha and the others resolve to continue forward.
As it just so happens, the Meta awakens in the Forever Fall, shortly after coming into contact with Team RWBY. What follows afterwards is a startling revelation, once the helmet of the scariest fucking mute in the galaxy comes off...
This story contains examples of the following tropes:
- Adaptational Badass:
- Jaune, by virtue of being a Composite Character. Before he inevitably became Agent Maine, he managed to fend off and incapacitate two UNSC soldiers with nothing but his sword and shield before he was defeated and captured by Connie. On the flipside, as Agent Maine he accomplished something the canonical mute never did: score a few wins against Tex.
- Church has only ever managed to accomplish a few shots with the sniper rifle, otherwise having terrible aim. During his confrontation with Mental!Sigma, however, he was able to land several shots. Including with other weaponry.
- Adaptational Intelligence: York and Maine communicating with each other properly during the training session against Tex actually causes them to win a few of the rounds as opposed to the Curb-Stomp Battle that happened in canon.
- Affectionate Nickname: Early on, Maine/Jaune hates being called "Vomit Boy" by Church. He eventually comes to accept it.
- Ambiguous Situation: It's never clearly stated what exactly happened to Jaune that landed him in the Red vs. Blue universe. All we know is that he defended himself from UNSC soldiers, was captured by Connie, and then sent to Project Freelancer, where the Director experimented on him and wiped his memory, turning him into the soldier known as Agent Maine.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: In Volume 2, Jaune/Maine and Texas are asked to take care of a White Fang group that has taken over Southeastern Vale. The sight of both of them in armor and kicking WF ass is truly a sight to behold.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: Church vs. Mental!Sigma. In order to restore Maine/Jaune to normal, Church has to destroy the source of the distortion that keeps him broken. It also doubles as a Shout-Out, as Church blatantly refers to the whole thing as a Evil Within ripoff. Whether he's genuinely pissed off or just annoyed he has to go the extra mile is up in the air.
- Berserk Button:
- After what Sigma did to him, the mere suggestion that he has another AI implanted is enough to send Maine into a rage. His armor from his time as the Meta is also off limits, which includes the STRIKER armor that Atlas designed to look similar to it.
- Betrayal is another incredibly sore spot to him thanks both to Connie's betrayal and his own stint with Chronic Backstabbing Disorder.
- Break the Cutie: Jaune's first mission as Maine was not pleasant. Not only was it the first time he was asked to kill a fellow human being when he was training to kill monsters, but he was also forced to kill scientists that couldn't fight back. To say he breaks down after the fact would be putting it mildly.
- Butt-Monkey: Cardin Winchester. Poor guy is practically the fandom's very own punching bag. Case in point, when he tries to bully Velvet...only for Jauney Boy to return and promptly crush his balls with his own mace.
- Call-Back: There are quite a few to mention. Volume 2's beginning and ending segments feature a letter formatted discussion between two characters, similar to what Season 6 of Red vs. Blue did at the beginning of each episode between the Sub-Committee Oversight Chairman and the Director of Project Freelancer. Church and Tex also continuously reference events that no one else was present for but never elaborate on them.
- Call-Forward: In the flashbacks, after Maine survives his throat injuries, the Freelancers discuss what it might take to put him down for good. Someone suggests a Pelican crashing on him (which happens, but fails to kill him), and Wash suggests a bunch of simulation troopers hooking him to a Warthog and sending it over a cliff, much to everyone else's incredulity.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Omega is subjected to Tastes Like Diabetes at the hands of Penny, though she only does so at Church's suggestion.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Done on a few occasions, courtesy of Jaune/Maine.
- The first comes in his battle against Teams RWBY/NPR. He manages to beat them all down, albeit with a Curb Stomp Cushion.
- The second comes after Jaune/Maine returns to Beacon and decides to remain a student. For his first fight since coming back, he settles things with Cardin after he stops him from picking on Velvet. It can't even be called a fight.
- Do Not Call Me "Paul": Maine/Jaune absolutely hates it when Church calls him Vomit Boy, but he's slowly come to accept it. His similar refusal to be called the Meta is taken much more seriously.
- Foreshadowing: According to Delta, the Meta did technically die at Sidewinder ala the Time Distortion Unit leaving behind a copy, which suffered Agent Maine's canonical death. In other words, his armor is still technically feasible to be recovered by a certain someone. Say perhaps a power-hungry chairman?
- Groin Attack:
- Cardin has been taking lessons from Grif when taking hits to the gonads, especially when it's being executed by a Freelancer. Worse yet, he's hit in the balls by his own weapon, courtesy of Maine/Jaune delivering a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on his ass.
- Not only is Tex's tendency to perform these on Grif lampshaded by Washington and Epsilon, Tex continues the trend with Wyoming during their training session since he pissed her off earlier. She even wonders if the fact that he managed to blind York was proof that she should've hit him there more.
- Heroic B So D: In the aftermath of being forced to kill the scientists as part of his first-ever mission, Jaune breaks down into tears and starts puking his guts out, and is still visibly affected by the experience after the fact. He later experiences another breakdown, albeit a Villainous Breakdown at the time since he was in his Meta personality, struggling to remember Pyrrha and realizing he had just nearly killed his own partner.
- He's Back:
- The third chapter reveals Church in all of his asshole-ish glory, having survived the EMP blast along with the other AI fragments barring Sigma and Gamma.
- The overall finale of Volume 1 of Metastability, where after having spent several years as an amnesiac soldier gone mad, Jaune Arc has finally reclaimed his former identity, albeit still missing a few memories.
- Hypocritical Humor: Ruby always calls someone out whenever she hears them swear. She's an adorable weapons nerd, so she should be spazzing all over the place when she sees Maine/Jaune using the Brute Shot, right? Nope. She calls it a bastard. Yang is not amused.
- I Hate Past Me: A non-time travel variant. Jaune/Maine loathes his Meta personality with a passion. When he sees his reflection in the mirror while wearing the STRIKER Unit, which was based on his old armor, he smashes the mirror in anger.
- In Spite of a Nail: Even though Maine doesn't use any grenades during the training session, York still loses his eye, this time at Wyoming's hand.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Church. Not that he'd ever admit it.
- Journey to the Center of the Mind: What the overall second half of the first Volume is. In order to help Maine/Jaune return to normal, Church delves into his memories and tries to find the cause of what's keeping him so distorted. He eventually finds the cause whenever Sigma is nearby, causing the memories to distort.
- Knew It All Along: Church is revealed to already known that he wasn't truly a motherfucking ghost, due to one fact: Texas' full name was Allison Church. Since Church only knows her as his girlfriend and not his wife, he knew there had to be something going wrong. Everything fell into place for him when Washington told him he was the Alpha AI, but he refused to accept the fact that he was apparently the copy of the man who caused all the shit he and the other Simulation troopers have had to endure.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Wyoming's strategy during the fight against Texas seems to be "run in with no plan and get my ass kicked".
- Mind Rape: As per canon, Sigma does this to Jaune/Maine. Sigma's mental clutches are still present in his head long after Sigma himself has died, leaving Church to have to go into his brain and clear his remains out. It's only once Sigma is defeated once again that Maine begins to recover and regain his memories.
- Mind Wipe: Done to Jaune/Maine once he was in the clutches of the Director. The worst part was that the process was entirely unintentional, but overall beneficial to him. Jaune/Maine's memories were only wiped because of the implants and experimentation done to him while under captivity.
- Older Than They Look: Due to his augmentations, Jaune/Maine's body has seemingly stopped aging. As a result, despite being in his twenties, he still looks like he's seventeen.
- OOC Is Serious Business:
- Surprisingly, Ruby Rose, the heroine of the main RWBY series, weapons geek and ball of innocent dreams, has this moment when Maine/Jaune obtains the Brute Shot. How badly does she react, you may ask? Well...:Ruby: No it's not! It's...it's... IT'S A BASTARD!
Yang: RUBY! WHAT HAVE WE TOLD YOU ABOUT CURSING?!
- Ironwood even gets in on the action. Typically in the series, he comes off as paranoid and the first to resort to force. Here, however, he's actually in agreement with Ozpin, and willingly sends some of his troops back in favor of flesh-and-blood soldiers. Apparently, the appearance of Watts and the revelation that he could be working for Salem is enough to put both men on edge.
- Surprisingly, Ruby Rose, the heroine of the main RWBY series, weapons geek and ball of innocent dreams, has this moment when Maine/Jaune obtains the Brute Shot. How badly does she react, you may ask? Well...:
- Precision F-Strike: On more than one occasion, courtesy of this story being a fusion of RWBY and Red vs. Blue. Most of it can be attributed to Church and any other Red vs. Blue character.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner/Post-Mortem One-Liner: Quite a few to list. Here are a few examples:Maine: (After getting payback against Sleeveless by punching his head clean off) 'Welcome to Maine, motherfucker.'Church: Yeah, funny thing is...I'm already human, bitch.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: As a side-effect from his augmentations, Jaune/Maine's eyes, which were originally blue, switch to red in intense combat situations or when the Meta personality takes over.
- Showing Off the New Body: Texas' first appearance in the story is in a brand new body, which is apparently of the same kind as Penny, complete with a prototype armor made from the technology of Remnant and UNSC materials.
- Shout-Out: On their way to Forever Fall, Nora quotes "Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There" from a song to help cheer Pyhrra up.
Church: You son of a bitch! You did NOT just pull an Evil Within bullshit! You cock-sucking motherf-
- In the final chapter of Metastability's Volume 1, Church calls his fight with Mental!Sigma this:
- Neptune gives a minor one to the Neptunia series when Sun claims that his nickname is Nep Nep. Neptune his not amused.
- Spared by the Adaptation:
- The Meta survived thanks to Wyoming's Time unit malfunctioning as he was being sent down to the arctic ocean. Delta later states that, technically, the Meta did indeed die. Similar to Wyoming's usage of the Time Distortion Unit, the Meta left behind a copy of himself, which perished in his place at Sidewinder.
- Church and a few other AI are also revealed to have survived. The reason for this was due to the EMP effecting them on some level, but acting more as a reboot than a complete shutdown. Artificial Intelligences like Church and Delta were fine and repaired almost immediately, whereas other A.I.s like Omega and Theta were repaired at a later date. This also includes Texas. Thus far, Sigma and Gamma are the only AI confirmed to have completely perished in the EMP.
- The Speechless: Since his vocal cords have been seriously damaged by the point blank gunshot wounds, Jaune/Maine can only speak in grunts and growls. He later decides to undergo intensive Aura treatment to heal the damage and regain his voice.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Downplayed between Jaune and Church.
- Wham Line:
Texas: Church...what is my name?
- Easy! I... am a motherfucking ghost.
- Delivered by Texas in her reunion with Church.
- Wham Shot: In-Universe, Jaunes friends are able to handle almost all of his memories without incident - except for when he gets shot in the throat, which no one is able to handle well at all.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Thus far, Eta and Iota are the only AI units that remain unaccounted for.
- Year Outside, Hour Inside: Despite Jaune having only been gone for a few months at best on Remnant, he had been a Freelancer Agent for several years. By the time he returns home, he's well in his twenties.