Weiss: Only my father would turn a hostile takeover into a fluffy PR move.
In their dorm room at Atlas Academy, Weiss is sitting in a circle with Ruby Rose, Oscar Pine, Yang Xiao Long and Blake Belladonna. She, Ruby and Oscar are sitting in chairs, and Blake and Yang are sitting on Weiss' bed.
Ruby: On the news, he said he just wanted to break bread and hash things out. Maybe it won't be so bad? We do want the General to start opening up to these people, right?
Oscar: Yeah, but on his terms. Ironwood's going to be locked in a room at his rival's own dinner party. I know Jacques says he's happy to moderate, but all that really means is he'll be the one controlling the conversation.
Blake: Not hard to imagine how that's gonna play out.
Weiss: I still can't believe he won. Robyn was supposed to be the people's champion, wasn't she? (sighs) There's just too many coincidences.
Yang: You really think your dad might have something to do with Salem?
Weiss: I think my father would do whatever it takes to win.
Ruby: And we should do the same.
Ruby: Well, no one knows your dad better than you, and out of everyone going tonight, I'd say you're the only one who could snoop around the house and not be questioned. If Jacques Schnee is up to something, I think we should know what it is.
Weiss thinks about it for a moment, then gains a somewhat determined look.
An Atlas Broadcast News airship hovers in the night sky above the Schnee Manor. Four hover cars drive along the driveway loop and come to a stop in front of the manor. While Ruby, Weiss, Yang and Qrow Branwen get out of their car, Jaune Arc and Oscar stand nearby, having already exited their car. The Ace Operatives exit another of the cars, and Ironwood steps out of the fourth car with Winter Schnee. Penny Polendina gets out of the other side of Ironwood's car.
Ironwood: Suppose we should smile for the cameras?
Winter: Sir, with all due respect, you'd have to pay me.
Ironwood smiles in amusement from Winter's response, and the two head to the front door of the manor. Weiss stops and takes a deep breath before following them. Everyone gathers at the door, and Ironwood rings the bell. The double doors open to reveal Whitley Schnee.
Whitley: Good evening, everyone.
Weiss: Where's Klein?
Whitley responds with a sarcastic smile and somewhat dramatic poses.
Whitley: What an interesting way to say "Hello, dear brother, how have you been?"
He crosses his arms and continues to address Weiss with a frown.
Whitley: I'm afraid you won't find him here. He was let go. I can't imagine why.
Whitley smirks, and upon realizing what he meant, Weiss gasps and looks guilty.
Whitley: General, exactly how large do you think our dining room table is?
Ironwood: I happen to know it's enormous. But most of my guests will be on standby in case the council requests additional eye witnesses. Until then I'm sure they'll be happily celebrating your father's victory.
Whitley forces a sarcastic grin with a smug chuckle, then rolls his eyes as he turns to lead them into the foyer. Scattered around the room are small groups of formally dressed guests. Waiters roam the room with trays of wine glasses and hors d'oeuvres. Whitley stops in the middle of the room, turns to Ironwood's group and points to his right.
Whitley: For those of you joining us in the dining room, please follow me.
He walks in the direction he pointed, crossing his arms behind his back. Ironwood, Winter, Penny and Clover Ebi follow. Clover glances back at the others.
Clover: Wish us luck.
Qrow: I mean, they already invited you, didn't they?
Clover responds with a slight chuckle. A Faunus waiter approaches Qrow and offers him a tray of wine glasses with his rabbit ears folded back.
Waiter: Care for a drink, sir?
Qrow looks at the wine, his eyes widening slightly.
Qrow: Uh... No, n-no thanks.
Qrow waves his hand in rejection and turns to Team RWBY.
Qrow: I think I'll just stick to patrolling the grounds.
Qrow walks away from the group. Marrow Amin frowns and watches the waiter pass by.
Marrow: Words out of my mouth.
Marrow walks away in the same direction as Qrow, and Harriet Bree turns to address Team RWBy.
Harriet: Right, well, don't wander off, don't break anything, and be ready in case the General calls on you.
Vine: Hors d'oeuvres?
Elm: Let's eat them out of house and home.
Yang: Counterpoint, how about we do wander off, consider breaking things, and then all that other stuff.
Weiss: I'll be in touch.
Weiss points to her ear, then heads to the staircase. She stops at the base of the staircase upon seeing Whitley descending the stairs.
Whitley: Dear sister, I was hoping we could use this time to catch up.
Whitley: I have to know, why did you go through so much trouble to leave home, only to come crawling back?
Whitley gestures as he speaks and ends his question with a smug grin. Weiss looks away and sighs, while her friends watch from across the room.
Oscar: This might be a problem.
Jacques: General Ironwood, please... have a seat.
Jacques is standing on the other side of the room at the head of a long dining room table, and he opens his arms in invitation. Sitting to either side of him are Sleet and Camilla. On the left side of the room, Robyn Hill is standing by a window, staring outside with her arms crossed. Ironwood nods to Clover and Winter, who then take their seats on either side of the end of the table nearest to them. Penny takes a seat next to Winter.
Ironwood: Councilman Sleet, Councilwoman Camilla.
Ironwood takes a seat at the end of the table.
Robyn: Councilwoman Hill would have had a nice ring to it. Though I suppose I should just be grateful I got invited to the table.
Robyn takes a seat at the middle of the table.
Jacques: (chuckling) Miss Hill, that vigor of yours is precisely why we're grateful to have you with us tonight.
Ironwood: What is she doing here?
Jacques: What we're all doing here, James, addressing the concerns of our Kingdom, which means we have much to discuss.
Ironwood: Indeed. I was hoping we could start by--
Jacques: Are we safe with her here, by the way?
Jacques looks over at Penny, who looks upset by his comment.
Jacques: I do recall some confusion regarding her involvement with that horrific massacre.
Ironwood: (defensively) As the official report stated, that footage was doctored. Penny is completely under my control.
Jacques: Which is concerning, I think.
Penny grows even more upset, tensing up her shoulders and looking down.
A waiter and a waitress enter the room, carrying trays with plates of food.
Jacques: Let's talk about exactly what it is you control.
In the foyer, Ruby and friends watch from across the room as Whitley continues to talk to Weiss in front of the staircase.
Yang: Why won't this kid buzz off?
Blake: We need to do something.
Jaune: What was that earlier about breaking things?
Jaune looks at Nora and Ren with a smirk and a raised eyebrow, and Ren looks at him while Nora continues bouncing. A short while later, Nora walks around the foyer, piling all of the wait staff's hors d'oeuvres onto her tray. As she does so, Ren walks around holding a plate with a single hors d'oeuvres, smiling to himself, and Jaune sneaks around to get into position.
Weiss: Well, Whitley, I'm sure the company is lucky to have you, but if you'll pardon me--
Weiss tries to walk past Whitley, but he side-steps to continue standing in her way. While this happens, Jaune hides behind one of the columns holding up the upper floor walkway and looks around.
Whitley: And where exactly is it that you're going?
Nora walks across the foyer, swaying and turning as she goes. Her tray has a tower of hors d'oeuvres topped with a bowl of stew. Jaune gives Nora an enthusiastic thumbs up.
Nora: Careful, messy food comin' through!
Whitley: Of course once I'm old enough to drive, the company has promised me my own parking space.
One of the butlers approaches a female guest and offers his tray of wine glasses.
Butler: Care for a drink?
Female Dinner Guest: Don't mind if I do!
Nora and Ren pass each other behind Weiss, intentionally bumping shoulders with one another as they do so. With a grin, Nora begins spinning around dramatically.
Nora: Oh no, look out!
Female Dinner Guest: I'm going to go get some hors d'oeuvres.
The female guest turns and begins walking in the direction of Whitley and Weiss right as Nora throws her tray into the air and falls backward. The food flies through the air, the stew already starting to spill from its bowl. Ren smiles, and Jaune celebrates prematurely.
Whitley turns his gaze away from Weiss, having noticed the massive collection of food hurtling toward him, and his eyes widen. Soon after, the female guest approaches the area directly between Whitley and the food. Ren and Jaune frown, and Whitley looks at the guest, his eyes still wide. Before she even realizes what is happening, food covers the dinner guest, and Jaune and Ren cringe. Now covered in stew, the guest screams, and Whitley watches her, cringing. The dinner guest begins hopping up and down in distress, causing her wine to spill onto Whitley, who reflexively puts his arms up to protect his face. The wine covers his hair and the front of his shirt, and he holds his arms out and looks at the stain, eyes wide. Jaune, Ren and Nora smile. Weiss has watched the entire event with her hands clasped over her mouth and nose. The dinner guest runs away hysterically, while Whitley stands with his arms out and an annoyed expression on his face, wine dripping from his hair.
Whitley: If you'll excuse me.
Whitley wipes some of the wine from his face and walks away. Weiss watches him leave, then looks over her shoulder at her friends. Across the room, Ruby is laughing, and Yang and Blake are smirking. Weiss takes the opportunity to finally ascend the stairs.
In the dining room, the Council members have begun talking to Ironwood.
Sleet: The fact of the matter is, you've operated with a fair amount of autonomy for the past few years, James. But we need now is for you to work with us.
Winter is tapping her finger on the table with a scowl on her face.
Ironwood: Sir, I have--
Camilla: It's obvious that no kingdom intends to declare war on Atlas. We had no involvement in the incident at Haven, we have proof our drones weren't acting on orders at Beacon. At this point, the closure of Atlas borders is only serving to hurt our relations with the rest of the world.
Robyn: The rest of the world? It's hurting us. The people of Atlas are suffering and they want to know why.
Robyn turns her head to look at Ironwood who looks saddened.
Jacques: Quite right, Ms. Hill.
Ironwood drops the saddened expression and looks at Jacques. Robyn turns to Jacques, as well.
Jacques: And I'm afraid there's more than just your choices that have brought harm to our citizens as of late. Have your forces found any additional evidence as to who is slaughtering innocent civilians down in Mantle?
Clover is looking at Ironwood, and as he begins to speak, Clover turns his gaze to Jacques.
Clover: That is an ongoing investigation, the details of which are classified, I'm afraid.
Jacques immediately begins speaking again, not leaving even a split second of silence.
Jacques: I'm afraid of the ever-growing list of classified information you seem to be keeping. I asked our fellow councilmen here to shed some light on your Amity Colosseum project and, as it turns out, they know about as much as I do.
Winter continues to tap her finger on the table.
Robyn: Even you don't know?
Ironwood: The Amity Project will help with all of the issues you've presented, but you have to understand that discretion is a top priority at this time.
Jacques: Are you saying you don't trust us?
Winter's tapping speeds up, and she aggressively slams her fist onto the table and stands up, facing Jacques.
Winter: You can't just buy trust like everything else, you have to earn it!
Robyn looks at Winter, smiling a little. There is silence for a few moments, and Jacques begins smiling.
Jacques: I couldn't have said it better myself.
Jacques: General, if I may be blunt, you have spent what little trust this Council had left in you. The hacker who turned Atlas drones against us was never captured, whoever's been murdering your critics is still at large. How are we supposed to give you our trust, when you've given us nothing as of late?
Winter: That's not what--
Winter stops and looks at Ironwood.
Ironwood: That's enough.
Penny stares up at Winter, who clenches her fists.
Winter: Excuse me.
Winter quickly exits the room just as a female butler enters, and she shoves the door open on her way out into the hall.
One of the portraits is a painting of Jacques and Weiss, from when Weiss was younger and still had her ponytail centered, before she received a scar over her eye. Another portrait depicts a white-haired man in a suit of armor. One portrait depicts Whitley playing piano, and another appears to depict a man in a white suit shaking hands with a man in a dark suit outside a Schnee Dust mine. There is a pair of portraits appearing to depict headshots of Jacques and Willow Schnee in their wedding attire, from a profile view. The other portraits depict the Schnee Manor, a curved pathway between two unknown structures, the City of Atlas, an industrial type building next to a cliff, and a fountain with a statue of a winged figure holding a staff.
As Weiss continues walking, she is startled by a waitress.
Waitress: Miss Schnee, is everything okay?
Weiss: I'm fine, thank you! Keep up the great work.
Weiss curtseys and walks past the waitress, continuing on her way through the halls. Once she gets to Jacques' study, Weiss enters and breathes a sigh of relief, still facing the door. A voice from across the room startles her.
Willow: Hello darling.
Weiss turns around to see her mother standing behind Jacques' desk with a bottle in one hand and a glass in the other.
Winter stands alone with her arms crossed in a hallway away from the dining room.
Penny: Are you okay?
Winter looks to her right to see Penny leaning around the corner. Penny walks over to her.
Winter: I'll be fine. I just let my emotions get the better of me.
Penny: What do you mean?
Winter: You wouldn't understand.
Penny takes a brief moment to process.
Penny: Oh... right.
Saddened, Penny looks down at the floor, fidgeting with her skirt. Winter looks at Penny, and upon seeing Penny's expression, she realizes that her words were misinterpreted. She moves to stand in front of Penny, speaking with a softer tone than usual, and Penny lifts her head to look at her.
Winter: No, no, what I mean is, this place holds a lot of memories for me, specifically. I thought I was in control, but... you heard me. I sounded like a petulant child.
Penny: I thought you sounded fine. You were just speaking from your heart. (placing her hands to her chest)
Winter: And that is precisely the problem. I should have just stayed in line.
Penny turns her eyes away, thinking for a moment. She then looks at Winter.
Penny: I guess you're right, I don't understand.
Penny walks away, going back around the corner. Winter stays behind, watching her go.
Willow: I'm sorry I couldn't come down for your party, I'm... afraid I'm not feeling well.
While she speaks, Willow walks around to the side of Jacques' desk and sets her bottle and glass on it.
Weiss: Um... it's okay, mom. It's fine.
There is a brief silence.
Willow: (slowly) What are you doing i-in your father's office?
Weiss blinks rapidly, unprepared for the question, but she soon recovers.
Weiss: Just looking for something I left.
Willow looks at her glass, leaning it in circles on the desk.
Willow: That's right, you... left. (pauses, looking at Weiss) You left.
Weiss walks across the room, headed for Willow and the desk.
Weiss: I need to use father's computer.
Weiss: Because I think he may have done something. Something wrong.
Willow: I thought we all simply assumed that at this point.
Willow turns her back to the desk and leans against it, resting her hand on top of her glass. Weiss looks at the glass, then at Willow.
Weiss: Yes, well, some of us are trying to do something about it.
Willow tenses her fingers on the glass. She snatches up her bottle of Six Swans brand vodka and begins drinking from it. Upset, Weiss looks away and grips her arm. Willow finishes drinking and gazes at Weiss, gaining a look of realization, followed by sadness. She sets the bottle on the desk.
Willow: He started locking his home computer.
Willow turns and picks up a Scroll from the desk.
Willow: But... he still has blind spots.
She opens the Scroll and taps one of the buttons, showing Weiss a live camera feed of the office. Weiss gasps and looks at the corner behind Jacques' desk. She then looks at Willow.
Weiss: You put a camera in here?
Willow: (upset) I put them in every room of this house, for our safety, in case I ever needed to…
She quickly trails off and takes a moment to gather herself. She then looks at Weiss.
Willow: You haven't come back to stay, have you?
Willow: (smiling) Good.
A single tear rolls down Willow's cheek. Her smile soon fades, and she wipes her tear away, while Weiss looks away sadly.
Willow: (sniffling) A man came by.
She hands Weiss the Scroll, picks up her bottle and begins walking across the room.
Willow: I'm afraid your father may be involved in something more dangerous than he realizes.
Weiss looks at the Scroll, which has a recorded video of Jacques and Arthur Watts pulled up.
Willow: No matter what happens, Weiss... please don't forget about your brother.
Weiss looks at her mother.
Weiss: Whitley wants nothing to do with me.
Willow stops at the door and turns to look at Weiss.
Willow: Of course not, you left him alone.
She looks at the portrait of Jacques behind the desk, and Weiss looks at it too.
Willow: (sadly) With us.
Willow leaves the room, shutting the door behind her, and Weiss stares at the door with a sad look of realization. She then gathers herself and looks at the paused video suspiciously.
Weiss: Who are you?
She taps the screen to begin playing the video.
Thunder rumbles, and rain pours down on the streets of Mantle. Watts is standing on a roof in front of a billboard advertising Atlas Academy. He is holding his umbrella in his right hand and his Scroll in his left. He holds up his Scroll and taps a folder with the Atlas emblem on it, which brings up three windows. The first window is labeled "ATLAS_SECURITY_NETWORK.EXE", and the other two are labeled "MANTLE_HEATING_SYSTEM.EXE". The third window shows a map of Mantle with the sections colored red. He taps a couple times on his Scroll, and it begins making a processing noise. A large portion of the Mantle map loses its red color. Across Mantle, heating units begin powering down.
Soon, the orange glow disappears from the sky, and the rain stops. Watts tosses his umbrella off the roof as snowflakes begin drifting down. On the porch steps below, Drunk Mann and Drinking Buddy are sitting together. Civilians holding umbrellas are walking by, and a Faunus is sitting on the sidewalk, playing guitar. A small child inside the house runs to the window and looks at where the umbrella fell. He then looks around at the snow. Drinking Buddy points up, and Drunk Mann looks at the sky. Slowly, other civilians begin to stop and notice the snow, as well.
Mantle Child: Hey mom, it's snowing!
The child runs off to get his mother. The snowfall grows heavier, and wind begins to blow.