The morning after Jacques Schnee closed the Schnee Dust Company's nonessential facilities, the Mantle rioters are sitting on sidewalks and in police airships with their wrists bound by bolases. A soldier escorts Drinking Buddy along a sidewalk while Atlesian Knight-200s patrol the area. Drunk Mann stands in line with other Mantle citizens outside a polling station. As Drunk Mann gets to the booth, he decides whether he will vote for Robyn Hill, Jacques Schnee, Ivy Brown, or Pearl Wistier. The outside walls have campaign posters for both Jacques and Robyn Hill, and Jacques' posters have been spray-painted over.
Newscaster: Although rioting in Mantle is finally under control, how does it feel to know that the majority of those involved were your supporters?
In a building somewhere, a reporter from the Mantle Daily is interviewing Robyn.
Robyn: I don't condone rioting, especially when our city is being denied aid for the hardships we've already had to go through, but Jacques Schnee's latest stunt is holding the city hostage for his own political gain.
Drunk Mann approaches a voting booth and begins his vote. His hand hovers over the screen as he hesitates.
Robyn: So I understand their anger, but ask that they show it not in the streets but at the polls today.
Below Blake and Yang, Winter Schnee sends her Beowolf Summon to attack Weiss Schnee, who creates black glyphs above, below, and to the left and right of it. Weiss then uses the glyphs to throw the Beowolf Summon around, slamming it against the glyphs. She creates a white glyph in front of her and uses it to send the Summon back toward Winter, who creates her own white glyph to stop it. However, Winter suddenly winces in pain and drops to one knee. She then discovers that a small version of Weiss' Arma Gigas Summon snuck up to her and cut her ankle with its sword. The Arma Gigas strikes a pose with its sword on its shoulder, and Winter glares at Weiss, who gives a smug smirk in return and giggles.
Behind Weiss, Jaune Arc is using his shield to deflect a rubber ball, while Nora Valkyrie keeps hitting it toward him with her hammer. Nora activates Magnhild's upgrade, charging herself up with electricity. She swings Magnhild around and sends the ball rocketing toward Jaune, who blocks it and slides backward several feet before dropping to one knee. The emblem on his shield glows cyan while he blocks, and the ball eventually turns to ash.
Nearby, Oscar Pine is using his Scroll to keep track of Jaune's Aura, which has been reduced to approximately 65%. Jaune sits up and takes a deep breath, his Aura glowing for a moment, and Oscar watches Jaune's Aura increase to approximately 95%.
Oscar: Nice, your recovery is getting faster.
Nora walks over to Jaune, who gives a cheerful thumbs-up. Nora then gives him a heavy pat on the back, still using her Semblance, which knocks him onto the ground, reducing his Aura to approximately 64%. Ruby Rose zooms past with her Semblance, heading straight toward Lie Ren who is meditating in front of a pillar. She splits into three red blurs, which all go around Ren and the pillar, before merging into one blur and becoming Ruby again.
Oscar: Have you always been able to do that?
Ruby peeks out at him from behind the pillar and then walks over to him.
Ruby: (panting) I don't know. I don't normally think it through that much.
Oscar: You guys are evolving and I still don't have my Semblance.
Ruby: Well, I bet we'll all be jealous when you do.
Ren continues meditating, deep in a state where he has blocked out everyone around him. There is a ringing sound, followed by the sound of the training room door opening, and Ren opens his eyes and looks toward the door.
Oscar and Ren stand up.
Ruby: Well, we have to with the way things are going.
Ironwood takes out his Scroll, which projects a screen depicting the live election results. Currently, Jacques has 30% of the vote, while Robyn has 70%.
Ironwood: They're not going well, are they?
Yang: Better Robyn than Jacques Schnee.
Yang rests her arm on Oscar's shoulder, taking him by surprise.
Ironwood: Oh, I suppose so. Either way, this election doesn't bode well for our stability.
Ruby: It could be a chance to work with Robyn and get Mantle on your side.
Ironwood: (putting his Scroll away) The likelihood of that working--
Nora: She's right, you have to do something about Mantle. If you could get Robyn to trust you...
Jaune: I bet if you opened up to her she'd understand that you're being framed.
Ironwood: (sighs) Perhaps... but it will only work if she's open too.
Nora starts to say something, but Ren steps forward and interrupts her, earning a look from both her and Jaune.
Ren: I take it you're here for new mission assignments?
Clover: You could say that. The General and I want you to take the rest of the day to recuperate.
Blake: You're giving us a night off?
Ironwood: Ordering it. After tonight's election, we'll be waking up to a very different Atlas tomorrow. I need you rested and ready for whatever that may bring.
Ruby starts thinking to herself, looking uncertain.
At sunset that day, Team RWBY is in their dorm room. Blake is sitting at one of the small desks with a mirror in front of her, while Ruby and Yang are lying on beds, and Weiss is leaning against the ladder between the bunk beds. Weiss has a live report from the Daily Mantle playing on her Scroll. While Blake puts on mascara, Yang looks over at her.
Newscaster: We still have hours ahead of us, but as votes come in, it looks more and more certain that Robyn Hill will fill the open council seat.
Weiss closes her Scroll and walks across the room.
Weiss: There's no way my father could've thought layoffs would do anything but hurt him. So why announce this the day before the election?
Yang: Just seems like a power play that backfired to me. Won't matter in a few hours though.
Yang stands up, stretches and walks over to Blake.
Ruby: Where are you guys going?
Blake adjusts her hair, and Yang rests her hand on Blake's back, leans down and adjusts her own hair while looking in the mirror.
Blake: Team FNKI invited us out dancing. Yang and I thought it would be good to get our minds off the election.
Ruby: I thought you said Team FNKI was annoying.
Yang straightens up.
Yang: That's the best part about dance clubs. (whispers, pointing to her ears) I can't hear you.
Blake giggles. Nora and Ren slide the door open from outside.
Nora: Ruby, come on!
Weiss: I still can't believe you're going to that thing.
Nora: Just because Ironwood dislikes Robyn doesn't mean we all have to. From where I'm standing both of them seem to be trying their best to help Atlas. As to who's doing a better job…
Weiss: (sighs) But a victory party?
Ruby walks past Weiss, shrugging, and stops next to Nora.
Ruby: Invite's still open if you want in. Penny's gonna be working security.
On the other end of the room, Yang starts laughing. Weiss turns to see Blake trying and failing to dance.
Yang: Oh my gosh, no. You gotta do it like this.
Blake stops and watches as Yang begins dancing.
Blake: That's what I'm doing!
Blake holds her hands out in exasperation, her cat ears folding over, and Yang laughs again.
Jaune and Oscar lean into the doorway, while Weiss watches Blake and Yang with an unamused expression.
Jaune: Hey, Oscar and I are hitting the movies if anyone wants--
Oscar gains a very happy expression, and Jaune rubs the back of his head.
Jaune: Oh, okay.
Later, after the sun has set, Ruby, Nora and Ren are walking in Mantle, on their way to Robyn's victory party. A truck drives down the street, honking its horn, with people standing in the bed holding signs, which say "HILL IS HERE" and "HILL 4 COUNCIL".
Ren: I understand Weiss' point though. A victory party does seem a bit premature.
Ruby, Nora and Ren continue on their way down the sidewalk.
Nora: Aw, let them have one sure thing.
Ruby: Probably the last sure thing before Amity Tower goes up and everyone learns about… what we're fighting.
They walk past a group of people watching the live election results on a TV screen. Jacques has 33% of the vote, and Robyn has 67%.
Ren: We spent so much time worrying about how Ironwood will react to the truth about her, but have any of us considered how we're even going to beat her if we manage to work past that?
Nora: Jinn said she can't be beaten.
They walk by two people who are sitting beside a heating element, trying to warm up.
Ruby: She told Oz that he couldn't destroy her.
Nora: (looking at Ruby) But maybe someone else could?
Ruby: I don't know.
Ren: We should be training right now.
Nora: We've trained enough! Take some time to--
Ren: We don't have time!
Ruby slows down and watches as Ren and Nora angrily walk on ahead.
A large crowd of people have gathered inside a small auditorium for Robyn's victory party. Wires have been taped up along the walls, and there are Robyn Hill campaign posters decorating the walls. Above the stage is a giant hologram screen showing the live election results. Jacques has 36% of the vote, while Robyn has 64%. A pair of camera drones float around the room, one of which has a "Kick Me" sign taped to the back of it and the other of which has a gift ribbon stuck to it. While Ruby, Nora and Ren enter the building, the vote percentage shifts to 37% for Jacques and 63% for Robyn. Penny makes her way through the crowd and sees her friends.
Penny: Ruby, Nora, Ren!
Ruby: Hey, Penny.
Penny: I am so glad you made it. It's just Marrow and I tonight, so more friends means more fun. Where are the others?
Nora and Ren are still in a bad mood.
Nora: Weiss is out with the boys, and Blake and Yang are off doing their own thing... again.
Ren: At least they're back to being friends.
Nora: Friends, huh? Just friends?
Ruby takes on a somewhat fed up expression and sinks down to the floor, while Ren turns to Nora.
Ren: (speaking slowly in confusion) What else would they be?
Nora: Two people who've gone through that much? I think there's more going on.
Ren: Well maybe one of them feels that way but the other might be worried.
Nora: About what!?
Ruby rises back up next to Penny, still fed up.
Ren: It's just, there's a lot of things going on right now.
Nora: Well, how can they figure things out if they don't talk about it?
Penny: (leaning to Ruby) I believe I may be confused. Who are we talking about again?
Ruby: I'm not really sure.
Nora and Ren continue talking while Penny gets communications from Marrow through her earpiece.
Marrow: Penny, where'd you go?
Penny starts to leave, and Ruby clings to her arm in a panic.
Ruby: Please don't leave me.
Ruby and Penny go backstage together to meet up with Marrow.
Marrow: Oh hey, what-- what're you doing here?
Ruby: Just, uh, hangin' out with a friend while she's on the job.
Ruby casually holds out her fist for a fist bump. Recognizing the gesture, Penny gasps, her eyes wide and shining with excitement. She makes a fist, closes one eye, sticks her tongue out and lines it up. She pulls back her fist and then slams it into Ruby's with a big smile. There's a dull "ding" noise, and Ruby gains an expression of deadpan shock, her hand throbbing with pain. Penny turns to Marrow with an innocent smile, and Ruby cradles her hand, groaning quietly in pain.
Marrow: Yeah, real cute. Look, try not to be too much of a distraction. We need to be vigilant in case--
May Marigold suddenly approaches Marrow, setting the tip of her weapon to the floor.
May: In case what?
Marrow: In case someone tries to start trouble.
May: Oh, funny, that's why we're here. So feel free to take a hike.
Marrow: Listen, the General's trying to help, all right? Just 'cause you can't understand--
Robyn: What's going on here, Wags?
Robyn has suddenly entered the backstage area next to Ruby and Penny. She notices Ruby.
Robyn: Oh, and the pipsqueak is back.
Ruby gives a slight glare, growling a little.
Marrow: (scoffs) We're concerned about security risks, ma'am. The General doesn't want any surprises tonight.
May smirks in amusement. Joanna Greenleaf is now standing next to her. Robyn walks over to Marrow.
Robyn: Fine, but stay out of the way.
She then walks over to stand with May and Joanna, the former of whom gasps in surprise and confusion.
Robyn: If I get elected tonight, we'll all have to learn how to get along.
She looks at May, who rolls her eyes and walks away.
Marrow: Sure, we won't have any problems, as long as you stay within the law.
Robyn: The law isn't perfect, you know. It's certainly not equal.
Marrow: Trust me, I'm well aware.
Marrow tilts his dog tail to the side to be more visible to Robyn.
Robyn: My only goal is that all the citizens of Mantle and Atlas -- and Faunus -- have an equal shot at a good life.
Marrow: That sounds great. And you're planning to do all that equalizing legally, right?
Behind them on the stage, Fiona Thyme is fidgeting with a microphone. Joanna is grinning. Robyn looks at Joanna and smirks, causing Joanna to grin more.
Robyn: Everything I've done is legal.
Marrow: Of course, one hundred percent.
Fiona taps on the microphone, causing loud feedback, much to the crowd's displeasure.
Fiona: Ha-ha, well, that worked.
The live election results now show that Robyn's vote percentage is 57%. Joanna walks away, and Marrow groans in annoyance and walks away toward Penny and Ruby. The crowd begins chanting "Robyn".
Marrow: Scram kid, we've got a job to do. (gesturing to himself and Penny)
Marrow exits the backstage area, and Ruby hops out and blows a raspberry at him, which Penny giggles at. Ruby and Penny wave to each other, as Ruby walks away into the crowd. Ruby's smile fades when she sees that Nora and Ren are still arguing. The live election results now say that Jacques has 41% of the vote, while Robyn has 59%.
Ren: Can we please just not do this right now?
Ruby: I should've just gone to the movies.
Ruby turns back around and heads to the front of the crowd. Fiona has begun giving a speech, and the live election results show Jacques now has 43% of the votes.
Fiona: I want to thank everyone for going to the polls today. This is Mantle's moment. I know that, like me, you're all thrilled that we chose Robyn as our voice in Atlas. No one has fought harder for Mantle than she has. And…
She covers her mouth, trying not to cry, and then wipes a tear from her eye with her palm.
Fiona: I know Robyn will continue that fight on the Council. Will you share a few words?
She turns to look at Robyn, who is off stage, and the crowd begins chanting Robyn's name again. Robyn walks onto the stage, causing the crowd to cheer. She takes the microphone, and Fiona excitedly talks to her for a few moments, before walking off stage.
Robyn: I've never been much for public speaking, probably wasn't my best idea ever to go into politics.
The live election results show Jacques has 45% of the votes and Robyn has 55%.
Robyn: Thank you so much, everyone, for choosing me. You said you believe in me. But I'm the one who believes in all of you. You've proven to me that as individuals, we are strong. But together, we're unstoppable.
Nora looks at Ren. The live results shift to Jacques with 46% and Robyn with 54%.
Robyn: So no matter what happens tonight, win or lose, we will continue to fight for our city, because it is this city that brings us together.
The crowd cheers and upbeat music begins playing. Nora reaches out to touch Ren's arm, but he turns away from her. Robyn walks off stage, smiling and waving to the crowd. She turns her head away from the crowd and looks nervously up at the screen.
Newscaster: We're in the final minutes now, and it's looking to be a closer race than anticipated.
Robyn stands with her Happy Huntresses.
Joanna: Don't worry, it's in the bag.
Joanna smiles, and May grins, winks and gives a thumbs up. Robyn smiles faintly but then looks nervously at the screen again. The results change again, showing Jacques with 47% and Robyn with 53%. She looks away, frowning.
Ren is avoiding looking at Nora, who finally speaks up.
Nora: (sighs) Ren, what's going on? Why won't you just talk to me?
Ren: You know I've... never... been really good with talking.
Nora: Then screw talking!
Nora grabs Ren's shirt and pulls him to her, planting a kiss on his lips. His eyes widen and he holds his arms out in surprise, but then he closes his eyes and kisses back. As he wraps his arms around her, she moves her arms behind his neck. Everything around them fades to a blur. Ruby looks around happily. Penny and Marrow look at each other.
Somewhere else, in a room filled with Schnee Dust Company crates, Arthur Watts is watching live drone footage of the party on a screen projected from his Scroll. Next to the live drone feed is a recorded video of Penny fighting Sabyrs in the streets of Mantle. In windows behind the live and recorded footage, there is a Mantle election map and the live election results screen with the numbers erased. Watts taps the screens of an array of Scrolls laid out in front of them, and the screens light up. He adjusts one of his rings, and all eight of them light up. He strikes a pose with his hands in the air.
Watts: You ready, Tyrian?
Tyrian is standing among the crowd at Robyn's party, with the hood of his jacket obscuring his face. Robyn walks past on the stage.
Tyrian: (chuckles) Always.
Penny cheerfully salutes to Ruby, who grins at her.
Robyn: The polls are about to close. Twelve, eleven…
Penny looks over at Robyn, while the crowd carries on the countdown. Ruby notices Tyrian's prosthetic tail slither out from the crowd as he begins walking away.
Crowd: Ten, nine, eight...
Ruby moves and leans into the crowd to look for the owner of the robotic scorpion tail, her eyes widening in panic. Tyrian chuckles maniacally and looks at Ruby.
Crowd: Seven, six, five, four, three--
Ruby gasps and reaches out toward the stage.
Ruby: Watch out!
Ren opens his eyes and looks in Ruby's direction. All power in the building shuts off. The crowd murmurs in confusion. May and Joanna are leaning against the wall opposite from the stage, looking up at the lights. Ren and Nora hold onto each other, looking around with confusion and worry.
Watts swipes his hand across his Scrolls, lighting up their screens. Robyn drops the microphone onto the stage, and there is a faint sound of blood spatter, followed by a woman screaming. In a panic, someone elbows Ruby, knocking her down and causing her to hit her head against the side of the stage. Tyrian begins swiftly moving through the crowd, kicking people's legs from under them and slashing them with his blades. He stabs one person in the torso and continues his rampage, running and spinning through the air.
Marrow: (over communicator) Penny, what's going on over there?
Penny activates her night vision and looks at Ruby, who is sitting with her back against the stage, trying not to be trampled. Penny turns and looks at the main area of the building, to see Tyrian slash another civilian with his weapon and then impale yet another with his stinger. He drops the civilian and straightens up, licking his lips. Penny draws her Floating Array and points the blades at Tyrian.
Penny: Put down your weapon and surrender!
Tyrian looks at her and then vanishes into the crowd as two civilians run past between them. Penny looks around for him.
Watts continues waving his hands around, while his screen shows recorded video of Penny fighting Sabyrs, live footage of Tyrian attacking the party goers, and 3D models of Tyrian and Penny. As he moves his hands, the Tyrian model and the real Tyrian in the live footage each gain a cyan outline. Shortly after, the Penny model and the real Penny in the recorded video gain cyan outlines, as well.
Marrow: (over communicator) This is Ace Operative Marrow, requesting immediate assistance!
Watts gestures to a Scroll that is showing Mantle's election map, causing the colors to change in Jacques' favor. He swipes his hand across other Scrolls, causing their screens to light up.
Robyn and Fiona stand back to back on the stage, weapons drawn.
Robyn: Huntresses, to me!
Fiona looks back at Robyn, unaware that Tyrian has ascended the stairs and begun running toward her on the stage.
Fiona: Come on, we've gotta get you outta here!
She turns and looks just in time to see Tyrian charging toward her. His right arm begins glowing purple with Aura, and his eyes glow purple, as well. He drags his fingers across her stomach and side, causing her Aura to dissipate from that area, as if he ripped it open. Immediately afterward, he swings his left arm, cutting Fiona with his weapon. Fiona cries out in pain and drops to her knees, while Tyrian leaps over her and Robyn. Hearing Fiona's scream, Penny turns to the stage.
Penny activates her jets and flies toward the stage. Tyrian rises up behind Robyn, giggling to himself, and Penny tackles Robyn out of the way. Tyrian leaps up into the air. Robyn gasps and turns over onto her back, aiming her weapon at Penny, who slowly levitates her swords around her and scans the area for Tyrian. On a beam above the stage, Tyrian watches her.
Tyrian: Right on time.
Tyrian leaps away, and the power comes back on, momentarily blinding Robyn. Once her eyes adjust, Robyn sees Penny standing in front of her with swords drawn. Penny looks around, upset and confused. Behind her, the giant screen displays a photograph of Jacques, with the word "VICTORY!" below it.
Newscaster: And the winner of the Atlas Council election is… Jacques Schnee!
Penny stares out at the bloodied civilians lying on the floor. The rest of the crowd is standing back from the massacre, crying and yelling hysterically. Ruby looks around at the scene in horror, while Marrow looks at the bodies in shock. One of the citizens, who is putting pressure on a fallen civilian's wound, points at Penny.
Random citizen: It's Ironwood's robot!
Penny turns to see Robyn staring at her with distrust. Penny folds her swords and puts them away.
Penny: I... I didn't.
The screen begins displaying live footage of Jacques standing at a podium in front of the Schnee manor.
Jacques: Oho, thank you, everyone, thank you. It's all because of you. It's a new day in Atlas.
Ruby climbs onto the stage, runs over to Fiona and puts pressure on the wound, Robyn watching her as she does so.
Jacques: We've won, we did it!
Robyn glares at Penny and growls angrily. Ren and Nora run over and climb onto the stage.
Nora: What happened?
Ruby: It was Tyrian! Tyrian's here!
Ren draws his guns and deploys their blades, and Marrow climbs onto the stage. May, Joanna and the rest of the crowd charge toward the stage. Marrow points at them.
The crowd slows to a stop.
Marrow: Get Penny out the back, now!
Nora encourages Penny to go backstage with her, and Ren follows them. Robyn aims her weapon at them the whole time, then folds the crossbow away once they are gone. She gets up, hurries over to Fiona, shoves Ruby away and begins applying pressure to the wound.
Fiona: I-I'm okay, I'm okay.
Marrow stops holding his pose and approaches Robyn and Fiona.
Marrow: I-I'm sorry. Is she--
He reaches toward them, and a crossbow bolt just barely misses his hand. Joanna glares with her weapon aimed at him. Ruby runs over to Marrow and begins tugging on his arm to get him to follow her backstage. He continues reaching out to Robyn.
Marrow: This wasn't us, I swear.
He and Ruby run backstage. Robyn glares at them as they leave.
Watts watches a video on his screen titled MNTL_SECURITYCAM_PENNY_001. The video depicts Penny standing among the party-goers, swinging her swords at them.
Watts: Fine work, Tyrian. I think we are done for tonight.
He taps the large "UPLOAD" button, and then the screen fades away. He picks up his bag and his personal Scroll and turns away, tossing his Scroll into the air. His Scroll collapses, showing his W emblem, and he catches it, smirking.
Somewhere in Mantle, Drunk Mann stares at a TV screen while other civilians run past him, screaming in panic.
Newscaster: A surprise victory by SDC Mining Corporation's CEO, Jacques Schnee. Last-minute voter turnout produced a dark horse victory for the Dust industry leader.
He drinks from his flask and walks away.
Ruby, Nora, Ren, Marrow and Penny are standing in an alleyway somewhere. Penny is standing apart from the group. Ren still has his weapons drawn, and Marrow has his hand to his face. Ruby turns and looks at Penny, who is staring into the distance, her eyes glimmering from the shock and despair. Ruby reaches her bloodied hand out to Penny, but then stops and looks at the blood. Marrow turns to Penny.
Marrow: Penny, you need to get to Atlas. Backup's on the way.
Penny does not answer.
Penny turns a little, as if to look back at him, but then flies away into the sky and disappears behind a building. In the distance, Grimm roar and more sounds of people screaming are heard.
Marrow: (sighs, drawing his weapon) We've got a long night ahead.
The run out of the alley to face the Manticores that have begun invading Mantle. The giant screens in the city broadcast a live feed of Jacques' acceptance speech, while Mantle's security sirens begin blaring and the street lights turn red.
Jacques: And as the newest member of the Council, I pledge to serve each and every citizen of Mantle and Atlas.