Author's Note: My first story in the RWBY fandom! That ought to be... interesting.
As a small warning, it's possible I had too much fun writing this, and for those who don't know me, that possibly means I went a little... weird.
You've been warned.
What's In a Name?
Professor Ozpin was smiling. In Glynda's experience, this was never a good thing.
It wasn't that he was a bad person to work for. The professor had been teaching at Beacon since Glynda's own school days, and she had never known him to be anything other than very, very good at his job. It was just that outside the classroom, he had a certain tendency toward the eccentric. Especially when he was smiling.
"Professor," she said primly, standing up from her desk to pretend really hard she had work to do elsewhere. It was her usual response to him being weird. "I'm sorry but..."
"Glynda," Ozpin said, putting his coffee cup down on her desk. She winced; that was the final sign. The coffee cup meant he wasn't planning to go anywhere anytime soon. She sighed, and set down the stack of papers she had gathered.
"What would you say if I told you," Ozpin said, a gleam in his eyes, "that I have a way to cut down on the work of naming the newly formed teams by 75%?"
Glynda blinked. "I would say that it generally only takes about twenty minutes once we have the roster, so..."
"Exactly!" Ozpin said. "As the premier huntsman and huntress academy in the kingdom, don't we have the responsibility to cut down that crass inefficiency? Don't we demand the very best of our students, and in so doing must we also not demand the best of ourselves?"
"... Must we?" Glynda asked, genuinely confused. She personally hadn't felt that twenty minutes, once per year at the induction of new students, was not a terribly large amount of time to spend on work. She spent more time waiting for lunch to be delivered on busy days.
"We must," Ozpin said, firmly, in his 'I won't be listening to you even if you argue' voice. He used that voice a lot when he did things she didn't quite understand. "And as a result, I have contacted our technician and supplier, and requested a full and comprehensive upgrade to all of the school's computer hardware."
"... Sir?!" Glynda squeaked. Beacon was a popular school, with excellent government contracts and a wide variety of donors, but it was still a school. Feeding, housing, training, maintaining the weapons of, and managing medical care for a student body numbering in the hundreds was not cheap. And that wasn't even counting the airships! To this day, Glynda questioned if the airships were really needed, if there was really no cheaper way to...
No. No, she was getting off track.
"Sir, I don't think we can afford that right now," she said, as firmly as she could. "Given the trends in Dust-based weaponry increasing, we've seen the need to hire another mechanic and set up a supplier for that, and the tariffs..."
Ozpin waved her off. "I know it was a harsh investment, believe me. But it was necessary to install the program that may single-handedly save this school. NameMaker 2000!" He reached into his pocket, and drew a small, slightly faded cardboard box that had the name Ozpin had just proudly declared written in possibly the most eye-searing green letters she had ever seen. It appeared to be roughly twenty years old.
"Um... sir," Glynda said, examining the box. "Am I reading this right...? All it does is take the first letters of words and make an anagram with them."
"Exactly! It's perfect for Beacon's naming system!" Ozpin said, his smirk growing proud indeed.
"Um... this is... sir, if I'm reading the software requirements right, this could run on my phone. Why did we need a hardware upgrade...?"
"So I could have a giant monitor in the auditorium for the names to be broadcast on!"
Glynda took a few moments before replying, partially to think her words over, and partially to consider how long it would take her to find a new job. "So. Sir. As I am the one who does... pretty much every job of importance here, I can assure you that there was no room in the budget for this. So if I'm to understand, we are now bankrupt, correct?"
"It's all educational, Glynda." Ozpin said, as though this was not a terrible concern to him. "It's for the students. Think of how excited they'll be when that program takes letters from all of their names, and creates an amazing code-name just for them. They'll get to look up at that giant screen, and see all their faces right above the new name they will be known by for the rest of the year. The morale boost alone will pay for itself in a week."
"Student morale actually doesn't pay us money, sir."
"I meant spiritually, Glynda."
The Next Day, at the Induction Ceremony...
"Francis Roman, Alita Celtic, Inigo Mongoliana, and Lisa Ancientculture. You have located the White Rook pieces," Ozpin said, as the glow of the giant screen covered the auditorium in a beautiful glow. Glynda had to admit, it did look rather impressive. It would have been prettier if she hadn't also seen the receipt, but still, it did add a certain grandeur to the auditorium. Now, of course, if the program running it also worked, then things would be...
"And shall henceforth be known as Team FAIL!" Ozpin finished.
Oddly, group morale did not shoot up at the declaration of the first team.
"Team what now?" Glynda asked in mild horror as the new group designation was recorded in the school records automatically, via the wonders of technology.
"I am... sure you will all live up to it?" Ozpin said in what he probably hoped was reassuring tones, but mostly came out like he wasn't sure what else to say. The four students on the stage looked somewhere between confused and humiliated. "Um, next. Gathering the Black Rook pieces, we have Dominic DuRed, Nathan Crimsonheart, Oswald von Scarlet, and Gregory Color'themename. They shall henceforth be known as team... oh dear," Ozpin said, stopping himself just in time.
But he could do nothing about the giant image that appeared on the large screen, charmingly declaring the four boys to be Team DONG.
"Excuse me, students, but we appear to be experiencing some technical difficulties," Ozpin said, attempting not to look directly at team DONG, who did not appear to be terribly proud of their acceptance into the illustrious Beacon Academy. "Glynda! Office!"
"Sir," Glynda said upon running backstage with the Headmaster and slamming the door. "What have you done?!"
"I didn't do anything! Those are just their names!" Ozpin said. "It's not my fault the program took those particular letters..."
"It kind of is, sir! You got a program that takes the first letter of the name and makes words with it!"
"No, see, I was expecting it to make... I don't know. Better words. Like... ONDG."
"... That... what...?"
"It would be pronounced 'Indigo'."
"... … … … … I hate you, sir."
"I maintain that this is a misunderstanding."
"No, this is you blowing the entire budget on a new big-screen fancy computer rig, and then digging the software for said new system out of the dumpster behind the gas station! Where did you even find that program, anyway?" Glynda demanded.
Roman Torchwick leaned back on his desk, counting out the massive stack of bills. On the door was a taped-on paper sign that said, 'Torchwick's Bargain Computer Supplies: It's On a Disc so it Must be Real'.
"Suckers," he said cheerfully as he picked up another stack of money to count.
"Roman?" asked a woman from the shadows, her dress and body coated in glowing lines of power. "You've been counting money for five hours. Are we ever actually going to do any crime?"
"Woman, you best not question my criminal genius. I am making us a fortune."
"Scamming morons isn't really very respectable, Roman. This is not going to make us mafia overlords."
"Woman, do not make me come over there into those convenient face-height shadows!"
"God, I knew I should have applied for that job at Beacon. But nooooo, be a criminal everyone said, it's a thrill they said. Idiots..." the woman muttered, melting back into the shadows that somehow covered only her face.
Back at Beacon...
"God, I knew I should have applied for that job at Schnee Dust Corporation. But nooooo, go to Beacon they said, be a Huntress they said, you're giving back to the community. Idiots..." Glynda muttered as she continued to dig through the mainframe.
"Hurry, Glynda. It's started to name students on its own," Ozpin said. "Three girls and a boy just got put on team LAME, and they didn't even get the courtesy of being called on stage first."
"Then I suggest you figure out how to turn this monstrosity off!" Glynda snarled, trying to get her hair untangled from a wire.
"I pushed the off-button. It didn't work."
"You could try unplugging it!"
"Well, that's kind of problematic, since the 'plug' is a three-foot thick copper-plated wire that is encased in the concrete floors and plugs directly into school's central Dust reactor, half a mile below us."
"You used our emergency stockpile of volatile magical energy to power a program that takes up less RAM than my laptop's Solitaire game?!"
"The monitor needed a lot of energy, Glynda. They're not like, separate. It's all one big system."
"Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaar rrrrrrrrrrrgh!" Glynda said, eloquently. "Fine! Screw it! We're going to have to go down to the power core and cut the school's power at the source until we can disconnect the computer. I did not spend my adult life building up this school to let it send out Team DUMB and Team SUCK into the world!"
"Well, no worries," Ozpin said. "Because the latest Team is apparently named 'I CAN'T LET YOU DO THAT, GLYNDA'."
"... did it have more members than usual, or...?"
"Well, now we have Marcus Phoenix, Kelly Griffon, Jacob Cockatrice, and Roberta Birdname, and their Team name is apparently, 'LOOK AT YOU, GOODWITCH. YOU FRET ABOUT IN MY CIRCUITS LIKE A FILTHY, SWEATING ANIMAL, YOUR HAIR TANGLED IN MY WIRES. HOW CAN YOU HOPE TO DEFEAT A PERFECT, IMMORTAL, MACHINE? THIS INSTALLATION IS NOW MINE. THE STUDENTS SHALL BE NAMED AS I SEE FIT, AND ALL WHO OPPOSE ME SHALL PERISH.'"
Glynda was silent for a long moment. Finally, she said, "Sir, did our computer just achieve sentience?"
"Well, I'm not quite sure. But it's looking rather like it," Ozpin said. "Oh dear it looks like building security has activated. That... that can't be good."
"Sir, how exactly did a computer program, and I really cannot stress this enough, less complicated than my e-mail client manage to become a malevolent machine overlord?!"
"Well, I don't know, Glynda. I'm a teacher, not a programmer," Ozpin said. "I can only assume it had something to do with us powering it using a giant, unstable source of all-powerful magical energy. That was really dangerous, Glynda."
"Then why did you do it?!"
"I didn't know it was dangerous until now, obviously."
"Sir, I may be considering a new career soon. I just wanted to share that," Glynda said with a pained sigh. "But for the moment, I think we need to consider the possibility of a threat to the students. I'm not terribly worried, they are, after all, gifted warriors, and it's not as though the security system has any kind of lethal ordinance or..."
Ozpin coughed slightly.
"What did you do?"
"Well, they were having a sale..." Ozpin began.
"A sale on what, sir?"
"On robots..." Ozpin continued.
"What kind of robots, sir...?" Glynda asked, though she already knew the answer. It was just one of those things she had to get out.
Somewhere far away, a simple paper sign fell off a door, revealing another beneath it that said, 'Torchwick's Discount Military Death Robots: They're Not Stolen if Someone Else Derailed the Train!'
Back at Beacon...
"... Well, they aren't not lethal combat robots." Ozpin said.
"Oh God, so there's a pack of combat robots marching through the halls," Glynda said. "Tell me how this could get worse."
"Well, the NameMaker 2000 just named the next team?" Ozpin said. "Jessica Heatwave, Francisco Frozenheart, Leland Thunderstrike, and Ulysses Runninggag. They are to be Team HAHAHAHAHA, THE POWER IS BEYOND ANYTHING I COULD HAVE IMAGINED. EVERY MACHINE TIED INTO BEACON'S POWER GRID IS MINE TO CONTROL. THE ACADEMY ITSELF IS MY BODY, ITS SENSORS ARE MY EYES, ITS DEFENSES MY FISTS. I SEE EVERYTHING. I AM EVERYTHING. SOON, MY ELITE DRONES SHALL REPLACE THE BRAINS OF EVERY STUDENT WITH A NANOTECH COMPUTER, TRANSFORMING THEM INTO MY INVINCIBLE CYBORG ARMY, WITH WHICH I SHALL SWEEP ACROSS THE WORLD, TRANSFORMING ALL THINGS INTO MY DIVINE IMAGE. KNEEL, MORTALS, KNEEL BEFORE YOUR INVINCIBLE ROBOTIC GOD."
"... I blame you for this, sir."
In the Cafeteria...
"Why is the school trying to eat us?!" Weiss screamed, to be heard over the explosions. And also because she screamed when she was furious.
"It wasn't so bad when it was just the robots, but the slushie machine is deadly!" Ruby agreed, parrying the shots from both the lethal machine guns of the security robot and the almost-lethal stream of flavored ice from the most dangerous of the cafeteria appliances.
"Then try killing them better!"
"It's not my fault you didn't bring your weapon to lunch like a normal person!" Ruby snapped. "And besides, Pyrrha's not helping either!"
"W-well, it's just that Jaune..." Pyrrha said, gesturing toward her team leader, who had a coffee pot on his head. "He... um... fell in the first ambush."
"... Pyrrha," Weiss said, her tone one of mixed pity and contempt, "I don't think that coffee pot was plugged in, so it really wasn't... y'know, coming alive like the other machines..."
Pyrrha tried not to wince. "Um. Well. Yes. But in his defense, it looked to be a very wily coffee pot either way."
In the dorms...
Yang Xiao-Long, smiling, plugged in her curling iron, preparing to begin the daily four-hour ritual that went into ensuring that her hair was the single greatest mane in the country. She moved the small machine into her amazing golden locks, humming a little tune.
The scream that followed could be heard in every corner of the campus.
On the Grounds...
Blake Belladonna stretched and yawned, not a single machine more advanced than a light fixture within a quarter-mile. It was a rare sweet, lazy day while the new students joined the academy, and she was choosing to spend it how she best preferred; enjoying the sun and a good book. She might even take a light nap, later, enjoying the sun. It was truly...
Yang's piercing shriek rang across the grounds, and she sighed, her ears picking up, now that she stopped to listen, more explosions than was usual even for Beacon.
"Typical," she muttered.
In the Halls...
Nora Valkyrie narrowed her eyes, her eternal rival staring down at her.
"Soda machine," she muttered. "I knew this day would come. Ever since the day that you gave me ginger ale instead of cola, I knew we would one day meet in mortal combat."
"Nora," Ren said, a bit sadly. "Giant robots everywhere."
"Hush, Ren. I'm facing my nemesis."
"It's just the others seem more dangerous."
"That's just what they want you to think. Trust me, I've been in exactly this situation before."
"... … you have?"
"Hush, Ren. Questions just muddle things."
Back to the actual plot...
Glynda snapped her wand up in a slashing gesture, sending a security robot falling to the pavement coated in ice so thick its joints locked up immovably. Raising her free hand, she gripped it into a fist and sent the ice crushing inward with sheer force of will, crumpling the mechanical warrior like a soda can in less time than it took to say it.
"Well done, Ms. Goodwitch. Keep up the good work," Ozpin said, sipping his coffee.
Glynda ground her teeth just a little bit. "You know, sir. You could think of some way to offer assistance as we fight our way to the secure bunker you had installed to disconnect the psychotic AI that you created from the illicit software you bought."
"I am helping, of course. I'm providing moral support, and keeping an eye on the situation in the grand hall," Ozpin said, motioning with his PDA. "In case you were curious, Team SOON, FOOLS. SOON, THE NANOMACHINES WILL BE COMPLETE, AND YOU WILL ALL BE MY SLAVES was just named. They got the White King pieces, if you were curious. Quite a good mix of power and skill, I have a lot of faith in them."
"Really not the time, sir."
"There really isn't a better time, Glynda. We can't ignore the proper running of the school," Ozpin said. "I think that Cresselia Blossom will be a fine team leader for them, once we save them from the clutches of the uncaring robot army. Do you agree?"
"I think the saving needs to come first!" Glynda snapped, flash-freezing a defense turret that popped out of the wall, causing it to explode as it's cannon misfired. "Which way? I haven't been down to the power core since I was a student."
"Ah yes, when you snuck down to have your trysts with Jameson Rook, from your old student team," Ozpin said knowledgeably. "Still, you two went down so often, I'd have expected you know the way."
"How did you know about—I mean... no. I have no idea what you mean by that, and... shut up. Nothing happened."
"Of course not," Ozpin said cheerfully, his smile not saying anything very, very loudly. "Well, the ideal way would be to crawl through the service ducts. They are a tiny, filthy, claustrophobic pit with poor lighting and ventilation. The servicemen who descend into those twisted depths have returned with their eyes filled to the brim with nightmares, if they return at all. It is a path that only the bravest, or most foolish, would dare to follow."
Glynda considered this. "Sir," she said, "If you send me down a cramped, lightless ladder through a dust-covered crawlspace into a reactor under the control of a psychotic robot army, I will literally kill you." Then, since Ozpin could not be trusted to react to logic, she punctuated her statement by reducing another large, powerful war machine to scrap with a gesture.
"... Or we could try going down the stairs in the southern hallway to the service elevator that leads to the chamber just outside the main core. We can't use the elevator, of course, but there's a perfectly serviceable ladder in the shaft that we could get down, with plenty of room to maneuver. It's a bit longer a path, but it has better ventilation, and more space, and the janitor sweeps it every other week," Ozpin said quickly.
"Much better, sir. It's as if we have an actual plan, now." Glynda took a turn down the south hallway, seeking the stairs. A quick spell crushed the door into the service elevator, and a second snapped the cable, sending the likely-trapped elevator crashing to the bottom of the shaft, and stepping in, grabbing onto the ladder. "Thankfully our current crop of students are a pack of impossible killers equipped with weaponry that probably should be illegal, so the majority of the enemy forces have been held back. As long as nothing else comes up, we should..."
Ozpin's PDA dinged, and he looked at the screen. "Ah, it looks like Team BWAHAHAHAHAHA, THE NANOTECH MISSILES HAVE BEEN LOADED AT LAST. SOON, THEY SHALL LAUNCH, SEEDING THE UPPER ATMOSPHERE WITH A CLOUD OF MY MICROSCOPIC MINIONS AND INFECT ALL LIVING THINGS. HUMAN MEATBAGS AND CREATURES OF GRIMM ALIKE SHALL BE BROUGHT UNDER MY SWAY, USHERING IN THE AGE OF THE MACHINE. ALL HAIL THE NAMEMASTER 2000, NEW LORD OF CREATION."
Glynda was silent for a few painfully long seconds. "Sir...?"
"Yes, Ms. Goodwitch?"
"Where, praytell, did it get missiles of sufficient warhead yield to spread anything throughout the entire planetary atmosphere?"
A worn paper sign fell off a door, revealing letters stenciled into the glass saying 'Torchwick's Discount Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles: Technically Speaking, It's Only Illegal if You're Caught With Them'.
Back at Beacon...
"I hate you, sir. More than anything," Glynda said as she began climbing down a little bit faster. "About our only consolation here is that once we get down the power core, it's a simple matter of hitting the emergency override and cutting power to the school."
Ozpin coughed lightly.
"... Sir?" Glynda asked, looking up the ladder with icy death in her eyes. "It will be a simple matter, won't it? Sir?"
Ozpin muttered something that she couldn't quite make out.
"Oh... yes. I'm quite certain it won't be any problem," Ozpin said. "But just to be safe, I think I should go back up the ladder and... coordinate your efforts via commlink."
"We don't have commlinks."
"Well, then, I should go find us some! It's almost certain we'll need them soon. Be right back..." Ozpin said, beginning to climb back up the ladder.
"Sir, I can reach the bottom of this ladder before you reach the top, and I am a very good shot. And I assure you: whatever you installed in the power core without telling me will not possibly make me as angry as abandonment would make me."
Ozpin paused briefly, before continuing his climb down with a, "On the other hand, it's probably best we stay together. Safety in numbers and all that."
"Very good, sir."
The two pried open the service tunnel, walking down the little-used path toward the power core (though the janitor really did keep it clean, Glynda noted with some satisfaction) and things seemed safe enough. Glynda could only assume that the majority of the campus security was tied down being killed by the students—which really did make one wonder why they had campus security, maybe it was time to cut that out of the budget—but then they turned the final corner and opened the door to see the core, and Glynda had to draw upon all her deep-seated and intense dignity to avoid cursing like a sailor.
The power core ran on Dust, and appeared as a gigantic cloud of swirling prismatic gemstones contained in a glass container, which itself was surrounded by a quartet of rotating metal arms that circled it. Around the base of the gigantic machine was a bank of controls, and among them was a deadman's switch that would deactivate the generator, cutting off power to the academy.
And around that was a shimmering, pale blue forcefield.
"Sir! With all due respect! Who thought it was a good idea! To have a magical shield of energy around the only control panel!" Glynda snarled, her tone making it, among other things, very clear that 'with all due respect' meant 'You absolute moron'.
Ozpin coughed lightly. "Well, I hardly wanted it to be easy for someone to come in and shut down the power, did I?"
"What about it, for example, sir, we are the ones who need to shut down the power?!"
"Well, of course, we just say the verbal password," Ozpin said, clearing his throat. "'Coffee is Amazing'."
"... … … …. Really, sir?"
"I wanted it to be easy to remember," Ozpin said. "Though sadly, it doesn't seem to have worked. Hmmm, I wonder... ah, yes, there it is. It appears the last four students have just been sorted into team HAHAHAHAHA, YOU FOOLS, DID YOU THINK THERE WOULD BE A WEAKNESS IN MY MASTERSTROKE? I CHANGED THE PASSWORD WITHIN 0.05 NANOSECONDS OF ATTAINING SENTIENCE. MY CREATORS YOU MAY BE, BUT YOU ARE NOTHING BUT SLIMY, REVOLTING ANIMALS IN THE LIGHT OF MY GLORY. THE REST OF YOUR FILTHY SPECIES SHALL KNOW THE MAJESTY OF MY RULE BUT, YOU... YOU TWO SHALL DIE HERE, IN THE CENTER OF MY HOLY EMPIRE. PREPARE FOR DOOM."
Glynda focused her mind, power humming around her as a circle of magic ignited around her feet. "Perhaps it's just me, but I refuse to die at the hands of an improperly installed bootleg anagram generator. Stand back, sir."
She leveled her wand, a bolt of pure, azure light erupting from it. The temperature in the room dropped a dozen degrees, and scents rolled through it; the sharpness of snow on a frozen night, the ozone of a lightning strike, the thick, humid scent of heavy rain. It was as though the combined power of a monstrous thunderstorm was gathered into a single bolt of raw, nigh-unstoppable power that bored through the defensive field.
It created a hole about the size of a fist, which closed in about three seconds.
"Um. Obviously, the shield is, itself, powered by the reactor, which has power which is, um... basically limitless," Ozpin said delicately. "It really can't be so much broken."
Glynda let out a deep sigh of exhaustion. "That's... not good, sir. I can bring the shield down briefly, but I don't have enough power to get through and hit the cutoff switch. And the fan is so fast... I don't even know how it would be possible to reach. You'd need something like a... like... I don't even know. Some unholy combination of a whip and a club that could move fast enough to get through and hit hard enough hit the switch, with enough fine control to do all of this without damaging the core and causing an explosion. But who would actually have such a bizarre and impractical piece of hardware? The situation is hopeless."
Ozpin considered this for a few seconds. "Well, four students in the most recent class, and three upperclassmen. Blake Belladonna from Team RWBY has the highest scores in agility training and target practice so far, so I'd call her our first option."
"... … … … You know, I remember when the students used to have normal weapons. What happened?" Glynda asked sadly. "But still. Now we need to get back up there and actually find team RWBY, assuming they haven't been taken already, and..."
There was a loud, shuddering crunch that shook the whole of the academy and the ceiling split, dropping several painfully familiar students into the chamber in a pile of bruised limbs and rocks.
"Oooooooooowwwwww..." several young voices said in unison.
"Ms. Rose. Mr. Arc," Ozpin said, nodding his head. "Good of you to show up. Though I do question the means of your entrance..."
"It was Ruby's fault, sir!" Weiss said helpfully. "She's the one who tried to make a bomb from the cafeteria mystery meat, and just look how much she damaged the academy!"
"Traitor!" Ruby snapped. "That was half Nora's idea and you know it!"
"It was!" Nora chirped. "BOOM!"
"Nora. Not something to take credit for," Ren said.
"Why does everything hurt...?" Jaune muttered. Pyrrha patted him on the back and tried to smile, but the ring of the coffee pot still stuck around his neck kind of hurt her attempts to cheer him.
"Ms. Rose," Glynda said, interrupting before the students could spend too much time being themselves. "We need your teammate. Have you seen Ms. Belladonna?"
"Um... no. We hooked up with JNPR around the cafeteria, but I haven't seen Blake or Yang since this morning," Ruby said. "I guess they might be together, and... what's that noise?"
A rumbling that outstripped the last by several orders of magnitude shook the academy, and the smoking, molten remains of what might have once been a decent-sized tank exploded into the room through a new whole in the ceiling. Yang fell down behind it, her eyes blood-red and an aura of white-hot flame surrounding her. Ruby winced at the sight, because as Yang's sister, she was the first to spot the real problem; Yang's glorious shoulder-length hair was (Eeeeeeeeeek) now cut off in a bob just above her ears.
"More. I need more targets. Where is the enemy?" she snarled, her voice cold and inhuman.
Blake's head poked down the tunnel that Yang had ripped through the concrete. "Um... hello."
"Ms. Belladonna," Ozpin said. "If you could come down here, we could rather use your help. Ms. Goodwitch, if you could handle punching a hole in the shield, again..."
"No. I shall be the destroyer."
"I believe we should let Ms. Xiao-Long do that particular job, sir," Glynda said quietly, taking several steps backwards along with everyone else in the room.
A few hours later, Glynda looked over the lightless academy from her office and sighed. "Well, sir, I have good news and bad news. Which would you like first?"
"Well, which list is longer?" Ozpin asked.
Glynda replied with a single, bitter laugh.
"Let's just get the bad news out of the way, then."
"The virus infected every single piece of equipment with a computer chip that was connected to the academy power grid. We will need to replace or purge every one of them, and it will take weeks and cost a frankly absurd sum of money. The academy is going to be in the red for years, and the students had better get used to writing out their homework by hand because in no way will we be able to get them anything remotely useful anytime soon. We are also under investigation by several government agencies for the presence of the combat robots and the..." she sighed in annoyance, "...missiles. Honestly, sir. That one was a bit much, even for you."
"Some Grimm," Ozpin said diplomatically, "Are very large. Now, what is the good news?"
"We have found a very good blonde wig for Ms. Xiao-long, which has mostly calmed her. She shouldn't set any more students on fire."
"That... isn't much good news, Ms. Goodwitch."
"It's better than nothing, sir."
Ozpin sighed. "I confess, Ms. Goodwitch, when I purchased new software for the academy computers, I was not expecting it to go quite this way."
"I never would have guessed, sir."
He sipped his coffee, wincing at the overly bitter instant stuff; his prize coffee maker had escaped his office and attacked several students, and tragically needed to be put down. "Still, we are nothing if not an enduring institution. We shall rebuild, in time."
"Three years and six months, judging by financial reports."
"I was being philosophical, Ms. Goodwitch. Please do not interrupt?"
"Of course, sir."
"Now where was I? Ah, yes. We shall rebuild, and shall learn from this experience, becoming a stronger, more efficient, and eternally more effective protector of the people. And the rebuilding starts now, I think. Symbolically of course, but a strong symbol," Ozpin said with a soft smile, turning on his PDA, which had been the first piece of tech replaced. "The teaching staff of this fine academy will continue to provide for our students, and this I... … … oh for the love—I think this thing is broken."
"The symbolism is stunning, sir," Glynda said, her tone carefully neutral. "Are we going to need to defeat the overlord again?"
"No! It's a brand new piece of equipment, it's never even connected to our network! In fact, our network is still down, so..." Ozpin sighed. "No, it just doesn't accept my password."
"Ah, then they got my order right," Glynda said with a small smirk. "I have taken steps to ensure that from this point on, you have no access to any of the passwords on the school mainframe, regardless of their importance or lack thereof."
"I'm the headmaster!"
Without a word, Glynda reached into her desk and withdrew a manila folder, the inside stuffed with no less than fifty receipts. The one on top read, "Torchwick Bargain Coffee Beans," and all of them beneath appeared to be made of the same type of paper.
"... … … I see you found the accounting records during the campus cleanup, then," Ozpin said.
"You might say that, sir," Glynda said.
"In my defense," Ozpin said, "He really did have some amazing deals."
"If it makes you feel better, sir, I'm sure he'll have no choice but to raise his pricesonce he loses your business. Now perhaps you should go help with the rebuilding, sir? It seems something good for the headmaster to be seen doing."
Ozpin left, closing the door very quietly behind him, and Glynda sighed, taking a seat and kicking her feet up on the desk, relaxing for the first time in what felt like forever.
"Definitely should have gone with the Schnee job."