Team RWBY are startled awake by Penny shouting her greeting in the middle of their dorm room.
Penny: (in a sing-song voice) Good morning, Team RWBY!
Yang: Ugh, Penny. What time is it even?
Penny: Time to be Huntresses, of course!
Jaune Arc walks into a briefing room with a coffee mug and heads over to where Team RWBY, the Ace Operatives and his teammates are sitting. He takes a seat and cheerfully prepares to sip his steaming hot coffee, only to notice Marrow Amin staring and wagging his tail. Jaune frowns and hands the mug to Marrow.
Jaune: (sighs) Sure, take it.
Marrow drinks the coffee, while Jaune hangs his head.
Clover: Eyes up, Huntsmen. Time to get used to the new normal in Atlas.
Ruby and Weiss drop down from the sky toward a Manticore outside the Schnee Dust Company Mine #2. Weiss severs its tail, and Ruby cuts it in half. Weiss then levitates a group of Beowolves into the air to allow Ruby to more easily kill them, then turns her attention to a group of Sabyrs. Weiss forms a replica of her Arma Gigas’ sword out of ice and uses a glyph to swing it, instantly slaying the Sabyrs. With the Grimm in the area killed, Ruby gives a thumbs up to three Mantas as they fly overhead.
Clover: Diverting all construction resources to Amity Tower means there are going to be gaps in Mantle’s defenses against Grimm. They’ll need help on the perimeter.
Nora Valkyrie follows Lie Ren along the top of Mantle’s outer wall, playing with his braid. Ren hears growling below and stops to look, causing Nora to bump into him. The two of them look down at the Sabyrs approaching the wall and draw their weapons.
Inside of the abandoned Dust mine, Yang, Blake and Marrow fight Beowolves. After they kill a few of the Grimm, Marrow turns to Blake and Yang.
Marrow: Hey, have you two ever thought about branching out a little? You always pair up, but I don’t know if your styles really--
Yang’s eyes turn red upon spotting another Beowolf that comes running toward her. She uses the recoil from her weapons to launch herself at it and punches it in the head. She then rapidly attaches several explosives to its abdomen and slides between its legs to get behind it. Blake tosses her sickle to Yang, who stabs it into the Beowolf’s chest and fires Ember Celica to launch the Beowolf into the air. Blake tugs on her ribbon to throw the Beowolf toward two more Beowolves closer to the mine entrance, at which point Yang’s explosives go off, killing all three. Marrow watches the whole event and turns back to Blake and Yang, who give him disapproving looks.
Marrow: Really, really good stuff! Yeah, keep it up.
Jaune stands on a crosswalk somewhere in Mantle, holding up a small stop sign, while five small children cross the street.
Jaune: Single file line, you know the drill.
Clover: But there’s still plenty to do in Mantle itself.
A group of five young women stand on the sidewalk nearby, watching Jaune and giggling excitedly. Four of them strike poses, grinning at him. One of the four winks, while another holds out her hand, gesturing for him. The fifth looks away shyly. Meanwhile, a blonde woman in a red coat has approached Jaune with a large casserole.
Jaune: (awkwardly) Oh, another casserole. That’s too kind.
The blonde woman repeatedly attempts to hand the casserole to the reluctant Jaune before forcibly shoving it into his arms, blushing and striking a pose. Meanwhile, a small blonde child in a red coat looks back at her and then sticks their tongue out in disgust and continues walking.
Clover: I think you’ll find everyone appreciates having a Huntsman around.
Across the street, Nora watches Jaune.
Nora: It’s totally the haircut.
Sometime in the later hours, a Sabyr runs into an alleyway in Mantle. It stops and turns around to face Yang and Ruby, who are chasing it. The two exchange a look with a smile and then charge into the alley.
Clover: You’re of course free to enjoy your time off as you see fit. Whatever helps you take the edge off.
In a huge training room, Weiss summons her Arma Gigas while Winter Schnee watches her. Weiss looks back at her sister with a smile and then looks upset when Winter looks away disapprovingly.
Ironwood and Oscar enter the training room.
Oscar: What did you have in mind?
Ironwood turns to Oscar in a battle-ready pose, and Oscar draws his cane and gets into a battle pose. The two then charge each other.
Clover: The Huntsmen around you can be an invaluable resource. If you’re willing to pay attention.
In the training room, Jaune slides back after blocking a hit with his shield. He then scales a stack of blocks and begins jumping from stack to stack. Vine Zeki uses an Aura arm to punch one of the stacks just as Jaune lands on it, causing the latter to fall with a scream. Vine catches him with the arm and places him on top of another stack of blocks.
Vine: Have you ever thought about extending your Aura?
Clover: But make no mistake, school’s over. You get to choose what type of Huntsman or Huntress you are.
Ren leaps from a wall of blocks behind Elm Ederne and fires his weapon’s blades, wrapping the cables around her right arm. He yanks on the cables, causing her to stumble a little, but she stomps on the floor, using her Semblance to root herself in place. She jerks on the cables, turns and puts her left arm out, causing Ren to slam into it and tumble across the floor. He pushes himself to his feet and looks at her with a determined expression.
Harriet Bree runs in circles with her Semblance, while Ruby dashes alongside her with her own Semblance, with Weiss using her glyphs to help Ruby. For a while, Harriet is ahead of Ruby, but Ruby catches up and then passes her. Marrow, Elm and Vine watch from nearby.
Another morning comes, and Penny greets Team RWBY in their dorm room at sunrise. Weiss tiredly walks across the room while brushing her teeth with an electric toothbrush. Blake begins heading out of the room but then looks back to see Yang standing in one spot in a sleepy daze, so she grabs Yang’s arm and pulls her out of the room. While this goes on, Ruby excitedly drops down from her bunk and talks to Penny.
Ruby: Penny, Penny! So yesterday, Weiss and I were like (grunts) and they were like (screams)
In the briefing room, Jaune walks over to Marrow with two coffee mugs and hands him one. He then sits next to Marrow, and the two clink their mugs together.
Clover: So, what’s it gonna be?
Team RWBY sits together in the briefing room, with Weiss, Blake and Yang growing more and more tired while Ruby continues to be excited. Eventually, only Ruby is left awake, sitting still with a smile on her face. Weiss is leaned against Ruby’s left shoulder, while Yang is leaned against her right shoulder, and Blake lays across Yang’s lap, with Yang’s hand on her arm.
Sometime later in the training room, Flynt Coal blasts down a block wall with his Semblance, while Jaune blocks the blast with his shield and Hard-Light Dust. Neon Katt skates by, with Nora chasing her.
Neon: Never miss a beat, never miss a beat. Excuse me!
Neon turns and pulls her bottom eyelid down, sticking her tongue out and blowing a raspberry at Nora. She then turns and weaves around block pillars, laughing, while Nora smashes through the pillars with Magnhild. The blocks disintegrate when they are damaged.
Neon: Come on, lightning bolt, aren’t you supposed to be fast?
Neon: Wow, your boyfriend’s actually holding his own!
Neon comes back to where Ren is from the room-like area and leaps over him. As he raises his guns to fire at Ivori, she hits the guns with her nunchaku, using Ice Dust to encase the guns and Ren’s hands in ice.
Neon: Where’s all that energy when he’s around you?
She points at Nora while she talks, then skates away. Just as Ivori raises his whip to attack Ren, Nora fires a grenade, which hits him in the torso, knocking him down. Nora then hops onto Manghild and uses it to fly after Neon, growling angrily. The two speed past Oscar and Kobalt and turn the corner.
Oscar attempts to attack Kobalt with his cane. However, Kobalt catches the cane, takes it from him and tosses it away. He then grabs Oscar’s head and lifts him up. Oscar kicks him in the chest and flips away. Ironwood, who is watching the spar from an observation room, nods.
Flynt is slammed into a wall by an unknown assailant, and someone flings Kobalt from behind a wall on the other side of the room. Neon skates into the room-like area, laughing. When she comes to a stop, she sees Jaune standing in one of the doorways. She turns and sees Ren standing in another doorway and then Oscar standing in another. She turns to the fourth and final doorway, which has no one standing in her way. She gets ready to skate through, but suddenly she hears someone yelling and turns to look, surprised.
Nora leaps over a wall and slams her hammer down on Neon’s face. Shortly after, Neon talks to JNR and Oscar with a black eye, which soon heals.
Neon: Wow! That was amazing! You guys have really improved since the Vytal Tournament. And that cute farm boy had a few surprises for us, too.
She winks at Oscar with a cat-like smile, and Oscar blushes with a shy chuckle.
Jaune: Well, you really had us on our toes. Thought you had us there for a second, whew!
Neon: Oh c’mon, it was way more than a second!
Flynt blows saliva out of his trumpet.
Flynt: You guys busy? Wanna grab some lunch?
Nora: Do we? I could eat a sandwich the size of Kobalt!
Nora grins as a giant imaginary six layer BLT sandwich drops onto Kobalt, who removes the toothpick, causing the sandwich to disappear, leaving a lettuce leaf on his head. He takes a small step away from Nora.
Jaune, Nora and Ren’s Scrolls buzz. They withdraw their Scrolls to see the words “Incoming Mission” on their screens.
Jaune: Ah, man. We’d love to, but um…
Ren: Duty calls. Maybe some other time?
Nora frowns at the message.
Flynt: No worries! The next time you’re free, just let us know.
Flynt throws up a peace sign, and Jaune awkwardly copies him, earning an amused laugh from Flynt.
Jaune: Yeah, next time.
Team FNKI walk away.
Neon: Hey Ivori, if you’re gonna go get froyo, can I have a bite?
Flynt: Aw, come on!
Ren hops down from the blocks he was sitting on, and Nora rises up from behind him with a sheepish grin.
Nora: There’s still time for sandwiches, right?
Ren sighs, and Jaune smiles.
A truck drives along a long, straight road in the middle of the tundra.
Ruby: Not that I’m bored, but why can’t we just use an airship to take these supplies to Amity?
Ruby and Penny Polendina are sitting in the front seat, while an AK-200 drives. Ruby stares ahead sleepily.
Penny: The components for Amity Tower’s construction are far too heavy. All that weight would require precious Dust we should be saving for the launch itself. And the Grimm that will come after.
Ruby begins to come closer to nodding off to sleep.
Ruby: It just makes for long... very long... supply runs.
Penny: At least the tundra is scenic.
Penny smiles and looks out the window. In the distance, a pair of penguins watch the truck, squawking.
Ruby: (unimpressed) Totally.
Ruby begins falling asleep, soon leaning over to Penny’s shoulder.
Ruby is startled awake.
Penny: I just wanted to say how excited I am to be working with you in a professional capacity. As friends!
Penny grins excitedly.
Ruby: (laughs) Me too, Penny.
Penny: Relationships are so interesting and varied!
Ruby: Speaking of friends… Have you been able to make any new ones? Since, you know…?
Penny: Now that I’m the official protector of Mantle, I don’t really have a team anymore. General Ironwood says I don’t have time for friends.
Ruby: Oh, uh, how do you feel about that?
Penny: I feel like I wish I could do both the things I need to do and the things I want to do. Is that normal?
Ruby: That’s about as normal as it gets, Penny.
Qrow speaks up from the back of the truck.
Qrow: Everything going alright up there?
Ruby: Just fine, Uncle Qrow!
Ruby gives a thumbs up. In the back, Qrow is playing a card game with Clover Ebi, who sets several cards down on the supply crate they are using as a table.
Clover: I win again. Maybe we should call it quits?
Qrow: Shut up and deal.
Clover laughs, then gathers up the cards and shuffles them.
Clover: Your niece sure is one of a kind, huh?
Qrow: They all are. Been through a lot together.
Clover: It’s a good thing they had someone to look up to and get them through it. Not everyone is so lucky.
Clover begins dealing the cards.
Qrow: I don’t know about all that. Thanks, by the way. For looking out for ‘em. You and your team.
Clover: What good is saving the world without another generation waiting in the wings? Hopefully they’ll leave Remnant better than we left it for them.
Qrow: Once upon a time, I’d have drank to that.
Clover: You shouldn’t do that, you know.
Qrow: Don’t worry, I-I gave that up.
Clover: I meant deflect a compliment. Those kids wouldn’t be where they are without you. You’ve had more of an effect on them than you realize.
Qrow smiles and rubs the side of his head.
Ruby: Uh, Uncle Qrow.
Qrow and Clover get up and head to the front of the truck.
Qrow: What’s going on? Grimm?
Clover: No. Worse. You two with me. Penny, stay put and keep an eye on our six. We may need an element of surprise.
Penny: Affirmative. I will plan for six possible outcomes.
The three look at Penny, who smiles confidently.
Robyn: Alright ladies, time to show them our teeth.
The truck comes to a stop, and Clover, Ruby and Qrow exit.
Clover: Robyn! Well, if it isn’t Mantle’s home town hero. Is there a reason you’re blocking an official military transport?
Robyn: Clover, I’m so glad you’re here. Maybe you can help me understand why this truck that’s supposed to be taking construction materials to fix Mantle’s outer wall, is on its way to the middle of nowhere? Are you lost?
Clover: (laughs) It’s pretty easy to get turned around out here in the tundra, everything looks the same. Thanks for checking up on us though. We’ll be on our way now.
Clover starts to walk away.
Robyn: (sighs) I was hoping you’d play it straight with me. What’s Ironwood doing with Amity at the old SDC mine?
Clover stops and turns back to Robyn.
Clover: Oh, that. Just giving her an annual checkup.
Robyn: The next Vytal Festival isn’t anytime soon. Only automated drones and a few select Atlas scientists are allowed out here. And Amity’s getting invaluable resources we need in Mantle to protect against Grimm. Seems like more than just a check-up.
Clover: You’ve been scoping it out.
Robyn: We can’t fix the wall without the supplies on these trucks. I think Mantle deserves to know what they’re being used for. It doesn’t have to be difficult. Just tell me.
Robyn walks forward and extends her hand with a smile.
Clover: I’m going to have to pass on that.
She frowns, then smiles again as she turns her attention to Ruby and Qrow.
Robyn: How ‘bout you, pipsqueak? Five o’ clock shadow? Either of you want to tell me why Mantle’s being put at risk for Ironwood’s pet project?
Ruby: We’re trying to help Mantle. We need--
Clover: That’s enough Robyn. As a potential Councilwoman, you should probably focus on the election instead of harassing Huntsmen. Now, it’s time to let us pass.
Robyn: I think you’ve misjudged the situation. One way or another, these supplies are going to get where they’re supposed to go - Mantle.
Clover: Then I suggest you do that through the proper legal channels as a Councilwoman. If you get elected.
Robyn: Now where’s the fun in that?
Clover tenses his hand, and Ruby and Qrow put their hands on their weapons. Suddenly, Penny flies out from the back of the truck and lands on top of it, her swords levitating around her.
Penny: Robyn Hill. I would like to politely ask that you call off the Huntresses approaching the rear of the truck.
Clover, Qrow and Ruby look back at what appears to be absolutely nothing behind the truck.
Two people fade into view behind the truck.
Robyn: (looking up at Penny) The Protector of Mantle, huh?
Penny: Let us through, please.
Everyone remains tense for a moment, ready for a fight. Robyn sighs, and Fiona opens the gate on the barricade. Penny comes down from the truck, and she, Ruby, Qrow and Clover start walking to enter the truck. Clover stops and looks back.
Clover: Robyn. Good luck at the election.
They enter the truck and drive through the canyon.
Qrow: That was a close one.
Clover: You’re telling me.
Robyn’s Happy Huntresses gather around her as she watches the truck drive away.
Fiona: What now?
Robyn: I want to know why Amity Colosseum is suddenly so important. Whatever it takes.
In the training room, Weiss and Winter have their Arma Gigas and Beowolf summons battle each other. The two summons wrestle to overpower each other, and the Gigas kicks the Beowolf away. The Beowolf leaps out of the way as the Gigas tries to slam its sword down upon it. The Beowolf then leaps onto the Gigas and grabs hold. Weiss and Winter concentrate on the battle. Finally, the Beowolf charges toward the Arma Gigas and slashes with its claws, beheading it. However, at the last second, the Arma Gigas had impaled the Beowolf with its sword, causing the fight to result in a tie.
Winter: Your technique still has those maddening sloppy touches. But you’ve learned how to make them work for you. You’ve made them your own.
Weiss: (smiling) Wow, that was very close to a compliment.
Winter: I didn’t intend it that way.
Weiss: We all make mistakes, I guess.
Winter: (laughs) You’ve grown up a bit, haven’t you? You’re not the little girl clinging to the family name anymore.
Winter: Whatever the case, I am glad to see you’ve moved on. Distancing myself from the Schnee name is the most beneficial thing I’ve ever done. We can move forward without him, together.
Winter places her hand on Weiss’ shoulder.
Winter: I know General Ironwood would have a place for you.
Weiss: I would be grateful to him if he did, but I’m not sure I could accept.
Weiss walks away and sits on a block.
Weiss: It’s just… Our kingdom isn’t supposed to be like this. Fearful, and withdrawn. We should be opening our borders to help the world, not closing them down.
Winter: We will, though. Once we’ve weathered the storm, we will. I know the General hasn’t done everything perfectly, but he’s doing what he things is right.
Weiss: Everybody thinks what they’re doing is right, but usually, they’re just looking out for themselves and their secrets.
Winter: Ironwood isn’t keeping secrets. Not from me.
Weiss: Can you be sure?
Winter: Come with me. There’s something I want to show you.
Winter and Weiss walk down a highly monitored hallway in a hospital. They pass through a door with a guards posted on each side, then down a staircase and through another long hallway with many cameras; four AK-200s are guarding a door on the far end of the hall.
Winter leads Weiss into an observation area overlooking a patient’s room with a one-way window. There is a small kitchen and a machine with a pair of pods inside. One wall near the bed has a few different hanging on it, and there is an easel with a painting on it next to the bed. Winter enters a moment later.
Winter: Good afternoon, feeling better today?
Fria: Good morning.
Winter: Would you care for some tea?
Fria: I do like hot tea on a cold day. Reminds me of home.
Winter prepares a tray with tea in the kitchen and carries it over to the bed.
Fria: Is it cold outside?
Winter: Yes, dear.
She sits in a chair next to the bed, and the two of them drink tea together.
Weiss: That’s the Winter Maiden.
Winter has gone to the observation room and is standing next to Weiss.
Winter: She could pass any day now. Until that happens, I’m the only person Fria’s allowed to see.
Weiss gets a look of realization.
Weiss: Ironwood’s chosen you to be the next… W-When she dies. How long have you known?
Winter: Since Beacon fell.
Weiss: Doesn’t it bother you? He practically groomed your entire military career.
Winter: It did at first, when the General first proposed it to me. But the more I thought about it, the more I saw it as a privilege, a chance to do some real good for Atlas. For Remnant.
Weiss: But your destiny was chosen for you, without your input.
Winter: Perhaps, but I’m choosing it now. I’ve made it my own. And I take great pride in it. That has nothing to do with Father, or the General… That belongs to me.
Weiss: I guess we’ve both had to do a little bit of that. Carving out our own way.
Winter: I suppose we have.
Winter’s Scroll beeps. She opens it to see a message from Ironwood. The top of her Scroll’s screen says “This message comes from a contact who has marked all communications with you as CLASSIFIED”. The message she just received from Ironwood was sent at 18:05 and says “Check the news”. The message is followed by a link to a video of a live news broadcast on the Atlas Broadcast Network, which Winter opens.
Winter: Speaking of the family name.
In the video, Jacques steps up to a podium in front of the Schnee manor. Weiss walks over to watch with Winter.
Weiss: What is he doing?
As Jacques speaks, a news ticker at the bottom of the screen scrolls by. It says:
“Missing Journalist Found Slain In Her Midtown Apartment”
“Perimeter Wall Damaged Last Month - Resources and Funding Are Stalled”
“Surface Level Grimm Attacks Increasing - Mantle Protection Agency Advises Staying Indoors”
“Weather Special - How to Keep You and Your Family Safe From Hypothermia and Frostbite”
Jacques: If I’m elected Councilman, I’ve made it no secret I will be opposing General Ironwood and his senseless embargo that is crippling all of Atlas. It is my belief that these measures are not only reckless, but criminal.
People in a Mantle bar watch the broadcast on a hologram TV screen, and miners in a Dust mine watch it on a Scroll.
Jacques: With no shipments allowed to enter or leave leave the kingdom, I know many are suffering. And my family has been weathering the same storm as many of you.
Drinking Buddy walks along a sidewalk to a building with a Closed sign. He attempts to open the door, but it is locked.
Jacques: Effective immediately, I am forced to shut down all nonessential SDC operations.
The building has a Schnee Dust Company sign above it. The Closed sign taped to the window says:
Until further notice, all operations will be suspended.
Drinking Buddy turns and looks at a hologram screen across the street, which is broadcasting Jacques’ announcement. He walks over and watches with a small crowd that has gathered.
Jacques: If elected to office, I will make the changes necessary to fix what Ironwood has broken. I hope you ask yourself before the vote, can you trust anyone else to stop Ironwood? Will Robyn Hill be able to get your jobs back?
News anchors eagerly hold their microphones up to Jacques, talking over each other and asking questions. He puts his hand up and turns away, and the broadcast ends. The citizens in Mantle begin shouting angrily.
Weiss and Winter’s eyes widen.
Winter: I think… I think Father may have just provided the spark that’s going to set this kingdom on fire.
Drinking Buddy turns and walks away from the TV. He picks up a trash can and throws it at the screen, shattering the glass. The crowd begins shouting even louder. Atlas soldiers become nervous and run away, while citizens tip over a car.