The episode starts off with several airships arriving at Beacon Academy, and the camera moves to a window where Headmaster Ozpin and Glynda Goodwitch are surveying the situation aside. Glynda points out how General James Ironwood always brings his work with him wherever he goes. Ozpin notes that running a school and the military makes Ironwood a busy man, but agrees that the airships are quite bothersome. Ironwood then enters the room and is greeted by Ozpin and a rather blunt Glynda who walks out, seemingly annoyed, as Ironwood makes note that she has not changed.
The two then engage in a conversation, with Ozpin pointing out his concerns with the fleet outside his school, as Ironwood says that such concerns brought him to Vale. Ozpin highlights on the difficulty it takes to travel between kingdoms, but Ironwood interrupts him in telling Ozpin as he knows why he brought his men to the school. Ozpin brings up that the world is currently living in a time of peace and says that shows of power will bring up the wrong impression. Ironwood brings up a warning made by Qrow Branwen, but Ozpin interrupts him, saying that if what Qrow said was true, it should be handled tactfully.
Ozpins asks Ironwood not to scare anyone by transporting hundreds of soldiers halfway across a continent, with Ironwood only reminding Ozpin that he is just being cautious. The two agree that they will continue to train the best Huntsmen and Huntresses. Ironwood then leaves, but not before asking Ozpin if he truly believes that his children can win a war. As soon as Ironwood exits the room, Ozpin answers that he hopes they never have to.
Meanwhile, in the library, Team RWBY is seen to be playing Remnant: The Game. During the game, Yang Xiao Long is seen to be the dominant one, as she first halves Ruby Rose's army and proceeds to take Weiss Schnee out. Blake Belladonna, however, is inattentive throughout the majority of the game, as Yang explains what she is supposed to do. Team JNPR is seen studying at a nearby table, although Nora Valkyrie is asleep and Jaune Arc is initially reading a comic. Jaune interrupts the game by asking if he can play but is turned down by Ruby because they have four players, with Weiss commenting on how the game requires strategy and tactical skills, which she believes Jaune clearly does not have.
Jaune brings up that Pyrrha Nikos believes that he is a natural born leader, but is still denied permission to play by Weiss, as she wouldn't trust him to take care of the citizens of Vacuo. The latter promptly states that she has trusted him with other things, such as Blake being a Faunus. However, before he can finish, Pyrrha runs up and stops him from saying "Faunus", finishing his sentence with "a fun loving person whom we all admire and respect". Blake, seemingly knowing what they truly meant, only stares at the group in discontent.
Sun Wukong, along with Neptune Vasilias, appear in the library and subsequently greet RWBY. Sun then introduces them to Neptune, who comments on how libraries are meant for reading, with Lie Ren agreeing from across the room. Sun sarcastically tells Neptune not to be a nerd, but the latter corrects him that it should be intellectual. After Neptune flirtatiously introduces himself to Weiss, Sun greets Blake, only for her to leave, much to the former's confusion.
Blake is next seen alone in Team RWBY's dorm, remembering the events that occurred in the shipyard in "Black and White", and a conversation she had with Ozpin in reflection to those events. Her team then enters, with Ruby and Yang talking on how they lost the game to Neptune, but as she attempts to leave, Weiss stops her in her tracks. Weiss states that her recent behavior is unacceptable, reminding her that she made a promise not only to her but to the rest of her team as well, to let them know if anything was wrong. Weiss and Ruby ask what is bothering Blake, the latter asking if Blake is still thinking about Roman Torchwick. Blake finally explains that she thinks their enemies are planning something big, and how they will not just "wait for graduation" before attacking. However, Weiss reminds Blake that they are just students and cannot do anything because they are not ready, while Blake points out that they may never be ready.
Ruby, in the midst of the discussion, asks if they all want to be the first ever Huntresses to "bring down a corrupt organization, threatening Vale" to simply answer "Aye", and is met with different responses than she asked for, much to her dismay. Nevertheless, the rest of RWBY agrees to help bring down their enemies, which in turn, leaves Blake in a somewhat happy tone, knowing that her team is with her and that they are in it together. However, before they can start thinking of a plan, Ruby remembers she left her board game at the library and rushes out to get it, before bumping into Emerald Sustrai, Mercury Black, and Cinder Fall. Cinder claims that they are visiting from Haven Academy, leading Ruby to assume they are visiting for the festival. Ruby then tells them that they are in the wrong dorm and gives them directions to the transfer students' dorm. Cinder thanks her and states that they may meet again. Ruby welcomes them to Beacon, as Cinder walks away, smiling, with her eyes glowing ominously before the screen fades to black.
After the opening, the camera zooms in on Beacon, passing a large and unnerving ship as it descends upon a landing pad. Two Bullheads fly by as the camera slowly lowers to show ant-like swarms of people on the paths around Beacon. The camera shifts to the top of a tower veiled behind clouds. Ozpin and Glynda can be seen through the window into Ozpin's office.
Glynda: Ironwood certainly loves bringing his work wherever he travels.
Ozpin: Well, running an academy and a military makes him a busy man. (The camera switches to an over-the-shoulder from Ozpin's perspective as three more Bullheads fly in.) But yes, those are a bit of an eyesore. (A chirping beep sounds repeatedly. Ozpin turns to see a hollow-message "Access Requested" on his desk.) Come in.
The camera switches to a low perspective beyond Ozpin's desk and facing the doors as they slide open to reveal Ironwood as Ozpin approaches to greet him.
Ironwood: (cordially) Ozpin!
Ozpin stands at attention.
Ozpin: Hello, General.
Ironwood: Please, drop the formalities. (Both approach and shake hands as Glynda also approaches.) It's been too long. And Glynda! It has certainly been too long since we last met.
Glynda: Oh, James! (Gives a personable wave and then drops all pleasantries.) I'll be outside. (She walks away.)
Ironwood: Well, she hasn't changed a bit.
As Ozpin speaks, the camera shifts and Glynda can be seen from behind Ozpin and Ironwood as she exits the room.
Ozpin: (As he turns to his desk...) So, what in the world has brought you all the way down from Atlas? (He picks up a mug and a kettle, pouring as he speaks.) Headmasters don't typically travel with their students, for the Vytal Festival. (He turns and offers the cup to Ironwood.)
Ironwood: (The camera shifts to a close-up showing the mug changing hands. A clink is heard.) Well, you know how much I love Vale this time of year. (Ironwood produces a canteen from his inside coat pocket and pours its contents into his mug.) Besides, with you hosting, I thought that this might be a good opportunity for us to catch up. (Ozpin walks around to his desk, kettle and a new mug in hand.)
Ozpin: (Ozpin sits and pours himself some coffee.) I can certainly appreciate the quality time between friends, however, a small fleet outside my window has me concerned.
Ironwood: Well, concerned is what brought them here.
Ozpin: I understand that travel between kingdoms has become increasingly difficult.
Ironwood: Oz, you and I both know why I brought those men.
Ozpin: (Takes a drink and sets down his mug.) We are in a time of peace. Shows of power like this are just going to give off the wrong impression. (Offscreen, Ironwood can be heard setting his mug down.)
Ironwood: But if what Qrow said is true...
Ozpin: If what Qrow said is true, then we will handle it tactfully. (Ozpin emphasizes this as he holds up an index finger.) It's the Vytal Festival. A time to celebrate unity and peace. So I suggest that you not scare people by transporting hundreds of soldiers halfway across the continent.
Ironwood: I'm just being cautious.
Ozpin: As am I. Which is why we will continue to train the best Huntsmen and Huntresses we can.
Ironwood: Believe me, I am. (Ironwood turns and walks away. He stops near the door and looks back at Ozpin.) But ask yourself this: Do you honestly believe your children can win a war? (He continues on his way to the exit.)
Ozpin: I hope they never have to.
In the Beacon Academy library, Team RWBY are shown playing Remnant: The Game. The camera pans from Weiss to Yang Xiao Long, then to Blake, who is obviously distracted, before finally landing on Ruby, who has been contemplating her next move.
Ruby: (offscreen) Hmmmmm.... All right... All right! (Points at Yang.) Yang Xiao Long, prepare your kingdom for battle!
Yang: (Thrusting her elbow down as she balls her fist.) Bring it on!
Ruby: I deploy the Atlesian Air Fleet! (Slaps her card down on the table. Yang feigns a look of shock.) Looks like I get to fly right over your Ursai and attack your walls directly! (Makes noises like airplanes flying and bombing as she makes a bird with her hands.)
Yang: (Feigning indignance as she points at Ruby.) You fiend!
Ruby: (Ruby is now ducked at one end of the table. The camera zooms across the table to show the board and its player pieces in detail.) And since Atlas is part of Mantle, my repair time is only one turn. (Ruby peaks her head up. She gives a look of surprise as, offscreen, Yang can be heard laughing arrogantly.)
Yang: (Yang raises a card.) Pretty sneaky, sis, but you just activated my trap card! (Yang shows the card to the camera. Ruby is visibly disturbed.) Giant Nevermore! (She slams the card down on the table.) If I roll a seven or higher, fatal feathers will slice your fleet in two!
A scene of a Nevermore flying over a field of swords impaled in the ground plays over the conversation.
Ruby: (Ruby points at Yang.) But, if you roll a six or lower, the Nevermore will turn on your own forces! (The Nevermore is shown to be turning back toward Yang.)
Yang: That's just a chance I'm willing to take. (The two glare at each other. Yang is heard shouting triumphantly offscreen.)
Team JNPR are shown as Yang and Ruby banter on about the game. Ren and Pyrrha are studying, and Nora's snot bubble inflats and deflates as she sleeps.
Ruby: (offscreen) Nooooo!!! My fearless soldiers!
Yang: (offscreen) Eh, most of them were probably androids.
Ruby: (offscreen) Goodbye my friends, you will be avenged.
Yang: (offscreen) Not until I draw my rewards! Which are double this round thanks to the Mistral Trade Route!
Ruby: (offscreen) Bah!
Nora: (snores and talks in her sleep) Oh. Have pancakes.
Yang: (offscreen) Oh, and what's this? The Smugglers of Wind Path?
Pyrrha clears her throat and then confiscates a comic book Jaune is reading, trading it for a textbook.
Ruby: (offscreen) Bah! Bah, I say!
Yang: (offscreen) I say, it looks like I'm taking two cards in my hand!
As Pyrrha reads Jaune's comic, a Nevermore player piece is tossed over Jaune's shoulder. Another piece bounces off of his head.
Ruby: (offscreen) Have you no heart? (Ruby collapses on the table, groaning.) Nooo!
Yang: Well, Weiss, it's your turn.
Weiss: I have... absolutely no idea what's going on.
Yang: (Yang slides up beside her and puts her hand on her shoulder.) Look, it's easy! You're playing as Vacuo which means that all Vacuo-based cards come with a bonus.
Weiss: That sounds dumb.
Yang: (Yang starts looking through Weiss' cards.) See, you've got Sandstorm, Desert Scavenge... Oh, oh! (She pulls up a card to show Weiss.) Resourceful Raider! See, now you can take Ruby's discarded Air Fleet—
Ruby: (crying) Nooo!
Yang: —and put it in your hand!
Yang: And since Vacuo warriors have an endurance against Natural-based hazards, you can use Sandstorm to disable my ground forces and simultaneously infiltrate my kingdom! (Yang points a finger at Weiss.) Just know that I will not forget this declaration of war. (She pulls away and returns to her seat.)
Weiss: And that means...
Ruby: You're just three moves away from conquering Remnant!
Weiss: (Weiss stands and a thunder clap accompanies Weiss' overjoyed psychotic laughter.) Y-yes! Fear the almighty power of my forces! Cower as they pillage your homes and weep as they take your children from your very arms!
Yang: (offscreen) Trap card... (Yang's arm appears holding the card.)
Yang: (Yang shuffles the pieces on the board, Weiss' pieces disappearing in a puff of smoke.) Your armies have been destroyed.
Weiss: (Weiss slumps in her chair, cries and whines.) I hate this game of emotions we play.
Ruby hops into Weiss' lap.
Ruby: Stay strong, Weiss! We'll make it through this together!
Weiss: Shut up! (Weiss hugs Ruby.) Don't touch me!
Yang: (Putting her arms up behind her head.) Alright Blake, you're up!
Blake: Oh, um, sorry, what am I doing?
Yang: You're playing as Vale, trying to conquer the Kingdoms of Remnant!
Jaune: (Approaching the table.) Hey! Can I play?
Ruby: Sorry Jaune, we've already got 4 people.
Weiss: Besides, this game requires a certain level of tactical cunning that I seriously doubt that you possess.
Yang: Uhh, you attacked your own naval fleet 2 turns ago. (Weiss makes an annoyed sound.)
Jaune: Bring it on, Ice Queen! I'll have you know that I have been told that I am a natural born leader!
Weiss: By who? Your mother?
Jaune: A-and Pyrrha!
Pyrrha: (waving) Hello again!
Jaune: (Begging with both hands folded together.) Come on, let me play your hand for a turn!
Weiss: I'm not trusting you with the good citizens of Vacuo!
Jaune: Why not? You've trusted me with way more important stuff before. I mean, you told us all that Blake is secretly a Fa-
Pyrrha: (Pyrrha darts over and slaps a hand over Jaune's mouth.) Fun-loving person, whom we all admire and respect. (Jaune laughs nervously.)
Everyone looks nervously at Blake who looks obviously annoyed that her secret is out.
Jaune: Right. That. Ladies, enjoy your battle. (Bows as Pyrrha walks away. Footsteps can be heard offscreen.)
Sun: (offscreen) 'Sup losers.
Sun appears holding his fingers in a "peace" sign.
Ruby: Hey Sun!
The camera shifts to show that Neptune is next to Sun.
Sun: Ruby, Yang, Blake... Ice Queen.
Weiss: Why does everyone keep calling me that?
Sun: I never got a chance to formally introduce you to my old friend.
Neptune: Uhh, aren't libraries for reading?
Ren: (throwing his arms up.) Thank you!
Nora: (popping her head up.) Pancakes!
Sun: Shut up. Don't be a nerd.
Neptune: (shaking a finger at Sun.) Geh, geh, geh, geh! "Intellectual", okay? Thank you. (waving) I'm Neptune.
Weiss: So Neptune, where are you from?
Neptune: Haven. (Approaches Weiss.) And I don't believe I've caught your name, snow angel.
Weiss: Um, I'm Weiss.
Jaune: Are you kidding me!?
Neptune: Pleasure to meet you.
Sun: (to Blake) I never took you as the board game playing type.
Blake: (As she speaks, she shoves Sun aside and leaves the room.) Right, well, I think I'm done playing actually. I'll see you guys later.
Nora: (shrugs) Women.
The scene switches to Team RWBY's room. The camera pans from the night sky seen through the window over to Blake as she sits with her knees folded to her chest on her bed. Voices can be heard echoing in her head.
Blake: Brothers of the White Fang, why are you aiding this scum?
Roman: The White Fang and I are going in on a joint business venture together.
The sounds of battle including slashes, grunts, gunfire, and Torchwick's laughter.
Ozpin: Well, this has certainly been an eventful evening.
The scene shifts to show that Blake is sitting in an interviewing office as Ozpin enters. Blake quietly acknowledges his statement.
Ozpin: I'm sure that after a night of thwarting attempted robbery, you probably just want to go home and take a nap. But, I was hoping that maybe we could have a chance to talk.
Blake: Of course.
Ozpin: Wonderful. As you know, in order to enroll at my academy, students must first pass a rigorous entrance exam. Most applicants spend years of preparation training at one of the many combat schools around the world. You are one of the few that did not. And you passed the exam with flying colors.
Blake: I was raised outside the kingdoms. If you can't fight, you can't survive.
Ozpin: Well, you have most certainly survived, Blake. I admire your drive. And I am proud to run a school that accepts individuals from all walks of life. Rich, poor, Human... (Sips his coffee.) Faunus...
(Blake glares at him.)
Ozpin: Why do you wear that bow, Blake? Why hide who you are?
Blake: You may be willing to accept the Faunus, Professor Ozpin, but your species is not.
Ozpin: True, but we are continuing to take strides to lessen the divide.
Blake: With all due respect, you need to start taking some larger strides. Until then, I'd rather avoid any unnecessary attention. I want people to see me for who I am, not what I am.
Ozpin: And what are you?
Blake: I don't understand what you're asking.
Ozpin: How did you know the White Fang would be at the shipyard tonight?
Blake: I didn't. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time.
Ozpin: You wouldn't have been the first. But what happened tonight was not an isolated incident. I may be your headmaster, but I am also a Huntsman, and it is my sworn duty to protect this world from the forces that conspire against it. Blake, are you sure there is nothing else you would like to tell me?
Blake: I'm sure.
Ozpin: Very well. Thank you for your time, Ms. Belladonna. (Ozpin stands and heads to the door. He stops and turns to Blake.) If you ever need to talk to me. (The camera shows Blake momentarily.) Please, don't hesitate to ask. (Ozpin shuts the door behind him.)
Team RWBY are shown entering their dorm room.
Yang: Ugh, we should have never let him play!
Ruby: You're just mad cuz' the new guy beat you! See, if you had just attacked when I told you none of this would have happened.
As they enter, Blake approaches the door to leave.
Weiss: Stop. (Weiss points at Blake. Blake's hand retracts from the door knob.) Lately you've been quiet, antisocial and moody!
Yang: Uh, have you met Blake?
Weiss: Which I get is kind of your thing, but you've been doing it more than usual! Which quite frankly, is unacceptable! You made a promise to me, to all of us, that you would let us know if something was wrong! (Flips through the air as six copies of her emblem fly through the air.) So, Blake Belladonna, what is wrong!? (She points her finger at Blake again.)
Weiss is shown to be balancing precariously on a chair's back feet. She quickly puts the chair away and returns to stand near the girls.
Blake: I just, I don't understand how everyone can be so calm.
Ruby: (approaching Blake) You're still thinking about Torchwick?
Blake: Torchwick, the White Fang, all of it! Something big is happening and no one is doing anything about it!
Yang: Ozpin told us not to worry. Between the police and the Huntsmen, I'm sure they can handle it.
Blake: Well I'm not! They don't know the White Fang like I do!
Weiss: Okay, between blowing up nightclubs, stopping thieves, and fighting for freedom, I'm sure the three of you think that you're all ready to go out and apprehend these ne'er-do-wells!
Ruby: (offscreen) Uh, who?
Weiss: But let me once again be the voice of reason. We're students! We're not ready to handle this sort of situation!
Ruby: Well yeah, but...
Weiss: We're not ready!
Blake: And we may never be ready! Our enemies aren't just going to sit around and wait for graduation day. (Pointing toward the door.) They're out there, somewhere, planning their next move, and none of us know what it is, but it's coming! Whether we're ready or not!
Ruby: (Ruby raises her hand and does other random gestures, while looking manic.) Okay, all in favor of becoming the youngest Huntresses to single-handedly taking down a corrupt organization conspiring against the Kingdom of Vale... say aye.
Yang: (Pumps her fist enthusiastically and points at Blake.) Yes! I love it when you're feisty!
Weiss: Well, I suppose it could be fun.
Ruby: None of you said aye!
Blake: Alright then, we're in this together!
Ruby: (gesturing) Let's hatch a plan!
Yang: ("Double-guns" at Ruby.) Yeah!
Ruby: (gasps as she freaks out) I left my board game at the library!
Weiss: (Places her hand to her head.) We're doomed.
Ruby: (running out of the room and down the hallway) I'll be right back! (The sound of collision is heard as Ruby seems to slam into the camera and disappears offscreen.) Oo-oof! Oh g-! (looking up) Sorry. Are you okay?
The music score takes on an eerie tone.
Emerald: I'm fine. (Emerald offers her hand from offscreen.) Just watch where you're going. (Ruby is shown to be slouched on the ground as she takes Emerald's hand. Mercury stands beside them.)
Ruby: Oh, right, sorry. (She continues to speak as Emerald helps her to her feet.) Um, I'm Ruby! Are you new?
Cinder: (Emerald steps aside to reveal Cinder as she approaches.) Visiting from Haven, actually. (Emerald turns to look at her.)
Ruby stares for a moment and Cinder stares back.
Ruby: Ooh! You're here for the festival! But exchange students have their own dormitory.
Mercury: I guess we just got turned around.
Ruby: Hey, don't worry, it happens all the time. (Mercury and Emerald walk past Ruby.) Uh, your building is just east of here.
Cinder: (offscreen) Thanks. (Cinder walks past Ruby, gesturing in acknowledgement.) Maybe we'll see you around.
Ruby: Yeah, maybe! (The camera shifts to show the faces of the trio as they continue to walk away. Behind them, Ruby can be seen waving.) Oh, uh, and welcome to Beacon! (Cinder grins evilly and her eyes glow menacingly as the screen fades to black.)
The credits roll as "I Burn" plays.
- This is the first episode in which fanart was shown during the ending credits. In order to make it possible, a fanart contest was held by the production team.
- The comic Jaune is reading in the library is titled X-Ray and Vav, which is a separate mini-series developed by Rooster Teeth. The same comic was seen picked up by Mercury in the previous episode.
- Said comic also has the logo of Achievement Hunter, Rooster Teeth's gaming division. The characters of X-Ray and Vav were created by Achievement Hunter member Gavin Free and former member Ray Narvaez, Jr.
- The line, "Pretty sneaky, sis", is from a 1981 Connect Four television commercial.
- Yang's line, "You've just activated my trap card" is a reference to the 1998 television series Yu-Gi-Oh! based on the manga of the same name.
- In fact, the process by which Ruby and Yang explain the function of each card is a direct reference to Yu-Gi-Oh! and every card-based show that followed it.
- The events of "Welcome to Beacon" are re-told in Chapter 9 of RWBY: The Official Manga.
- Main article: Welcome to Beacon/Image Gallery