"…Now that that's settled," Ironwood waits as Ozpin, visible via his hologram on the desk, takes a sip from his mug, "I would like to bring your attention onto something Qrow has passed on to me."

"What is Salem up to this time?" He immediately asks, setting aside the initial feelings of dislike for the man. Qrow may be an undisciplined drunkard, but there's no denying that he's one of – no – that he is the best field operative they have in this war.

Not like he'd ever tell that to the man's face.

"This isn't about Salem." Ozpin says as he looks directly at Ironwood, whose brows furrow in confusion.

'What could that drunkard possibly know that's not related to Salem, yet Ozpin would feel the need to tell me?'

Ozpin then continues, "Taiyang passed this on to Qrow who then brought this to my attention," the immortal wizard then sets his mug down and steeples his fingers,"But apparently, his nieces had rescued a downed pilot."

"Oh?" Ozpin has Ironwood's interest now; downed pilots are of Atlesian concern more often than not.

"It happened three days ago," Ozpin leans back on his chair, "Crashed on a clearing. Tai took Qrow to see the wreckage, but it wasn't there anymore."

The silence drags on for a moment before Ironwood realizes the unasked question in the wizard's statement. "No." He shakes his head, "Atlas is not conducting any operations in the area." He looks Ozpin in the eye, "Oz, you know that I know your stance on Atlesian troops being deployed anywhere cities that aren't ours."

Ozpin holds his gaze, and even though his form is distorted by a holographic haze, Ironwood could feel the old soul searching his eyes for any hint of untruthfulness, the weight of someone having experienced countless lifetimes judging a mortal man. And despite himself, Ironwood starts to feel a hint of dread.

Maybe an assurance would be in order.

"Oz, if you doubt me, I will personally-"

"No need," The wizard cuts him off as he finishes his search, and it would seem that what he found was satisfactory. A chime sounds out as a file transfer makes itself known Ironwood, "There's more to this. Take a listen." At that, Ironwood looks over the file to confirm that it is from Ozpin before opening it.

"Hello, this is Patch General Hospital, what's your emergency?" A swift, but professional voice greets after a few rings.

"Hey, we just… kind of had a bullhead crash nearby." A young woman's voice follows after the first, with chirping birds faintly audible in the background.

"A bullhead crashed nearby?"

"Yeah. My sister and I went to it to look for survivors and we found the pilot. He's still alive but it looks like he's suffering a serious concussion."

"Okay miss, I'd like to receive your scroll's location, is that okay?"

"Yeah, sure."

"Okay miss, thank you, all our bullheads are busy right now, but I'll see about getting you an ambulance."

The recording ends, and Ironwood looks up towards Ozpin who's sipping on his mug.

"I searched the hospital's records." Ozpin eventually speaks after setting his mug down, "The call was put on hold as the operator waited for a bullhead to make itself available, but it then mysteriously dropped and unflagged itself."

Ironwood's eyes narrow. A hacking scenario. "And what happened to the pilot?"

"Was transported to the hospital via an ambulance, according to Qrow. But there's no record of a pilot being admitted there nor of an ambulance being sent."

Silence reigns as the two men – or a man and an immortal, rather – chew on the implications.

"Oz, if you want to investigate this further, I can lend you some of my own troops" Ironwood starts, genuine in his offer but expecting little but for his old friend to reject it.

"I accept." Ozpin says, surprising Ironwood. "Just make sure that they are the more… subtle sort of troops." The wizard then pauses upon seeing the general's expression and then sighs, the sound of it seemingly carrying the immortal's burden. "I know what you're thinking, and no – I cannot send Qrow to investigate this because…

"…because the fall maiden is missing."


OTOH, my muse got this one out quick, so I don't want to throttle it as much as I did before.

And woohoo, first canon divergence! I guess everyone here already knows what happened to Amber, so don't tell Ironwood!