Penny Polendina was a lot of things. She was sheltered, and socially awkward, but she was also quite friendly if you got to know her. If you asked other people what they thought of her, some would call her a little weird, yes. But, if you asked one specific girl, she would call Penny her friend, and would even say, with absolute confidence, that Penny had a soul. Despite the fact that she was a robot. Oh, yeah, she was also the first artificial human capable of generating an Aura, although that was technically supposed to be a secret. Like, a military secret. On the other hand, due to her sheltered upbringing and subsequent unfamiliarity with common slang, Penny wasn't exactly the type to say something 'sucked'.
That being said, being torn apart by the wires of your own weapon. Really. Sucked.
Perhaps I should back up a bit and explain the situation, give some context for the stuff I just told you. You see, Penny lived on a planet called Remnant. Remnant is… not a fun place, to put it mildly. Sure, the people living there managed to discover Dust, basically the elements in crystal form, and learned how to apply it to just about every facet of everyday life, even using it to power airships, but it's not like life on this world was all sunshine and rainbows. For one, humans were not the only sapient species on this world. There was also the Faunus, a race of people that are identical to humans in just about every way. Except for the fact that Faunus also possess animal traits, such as horns, tails, patches of scales, or a second pair of animal ears, as well as possessing stronger senses and even night vision. This doesn't sound bad, but the problem there is that it's human nature to hate and fear anything different. This led to there being a lot of animosity between the two races, with the humans oppressing the Faunus. A group of Faunus known as the White Fang rose up and responded to this oppression by using a variety of peaceful methods to gain equality, before experiencing a change in leadership and turning to violence.
But all this pales in comparison to the fact that a dark threat looms over all of Remnant. This threat takes the form of hellish monsters that lack souls and want nothing more than to exterminate all life. These monsters are known as: the Creatures of Grimm. Very little is known about these monsters, however. All that is known, at least to the public, is that Grimm tend to resemble nightmarish versions of normal animals, they disintegrate on death, they are attracted to negative emotions, and that they will generally try to kill anything that isn't a Grimm on sight. I say 'generally' for the last one because there are a few exceptions, but they are a minority.
In response to this threat, mankind created the Huntsman Academies, schools dedicated to teaching hormonal teenagers to fight the Grimm using a combination of transforming weapons and super powers. This is where Penny fits in.
You see, Penny is technically registered as a student at Atlas Academy, located in the kingdom of… Atlas. As a student of Atlas, Penny was one of eight teams selected to represent the school during the biannual Vytal Festival Tournament. The tournament is part of the Vytal Festival, a celebration held to celebrate the various cultures of the Four Kingdoms of Remnant. The tournament works like this: the Team Round comes first. Each Hunter Academy divides its students into teams of four, eight of these teams are selected to represent each school, and so the first round consists of 16 4 versus 4 matches. After that, the teams that won the first round select two members of their teams for the Doubles Round. Once all the 2 versus 2 matches have been completed, each team then selects a single member to go on to the Quarter Finals, Semi Finals, and Finals. Penny belonged to one of the Atlas teams that made it to the Singles Rounds and was even the one selected to represent her team.
Unfortunately, this is where things go south for the poor girl. I say this because it is during her match with Pyrrha Nikos in the Quarter Finals that Penny Polendina dies.
Penny had been ecstatic when it was announced that her opponent for the Quarter Finals would be none other than the Pyrrha Nikos. If she could win against a four time champion of the Mistral Regional Tournament, then General Ironwood would have to see that she could handle going out on her own, and then she would be able to spend more time with her best (not to mention only) friend, Ruby Rose! Even if that didn't convince the General, she had actually been planning on leaving Atlas anyway so…
Moving on, Penny wasn't a particularly tall girl. Only coming in at around 5 and a half feet. Penny possessed short, curly orange hair that comes down to her chin with an ahoge on top. She had light green eyes that, if you looked close enough, resembled camera shutters and pale skin with freckles. For her outfit she wore a whitish-gray blouse with a set of gray, feminine overalls on top, as well as a black collar with vertical green lines and a pair of stockings with a matching design. Her choice of accessories included a pink bow tied behind her head and a thin, black backpack that housed necessary components for her weapon, which consisted of a set of floating swords that she commanded using ultra-thin wires and could be used to generate a very powerful laser.
Her fight with Nikos had been going well, she had managed to keep the Beacon student on the defensive for a fair part of the bout, and at the moment she had even managed to disarm the girl. She had pulled her swords back and was just about to land the finishing blow, but… something wasn't right. Why did Pyrrha look so scared? Was she that worried that her undefeated streak was about to end, on live television at that? Regardless, Penny launched her swords forward, intent on ending the match. Pyrrha responded by crossing her arms in front of her, before throwing them back out. Surprisingly, this caused a black wave of magnetism that collided with Penny's swords, causing them to be sent back towards her. This then resulted in the thin wires she used to control them to wrap around her arms and waist, with barely a few seconds for both Penny Polendina and Pyrrha Nikos to adopt horrified expressions as they both realized what was about to happen. With the sounds of tearing cloth and screeching metal, Penny Polendina was sliced into pieces by her own weapon.
"You're Penny, right? Penny Polendina?" asked a voice, "If you are, I need you to wake up." Hearing this caused Penny's eyes to snap open as she sat bolt upright and looked around frantically.
"Who- What-" she started to cry, before a finger was pressed to her lips.
"Whoa, easy there." the voice spoke once more, calming the ginger gynoid. Taking a moment to look around, Penny saw that she was still in the arena, but it was oddly silent, for some reason.
"Well, now that you're up, I'm sure you have a lot of questions." the voice spoke again, with Penny now noticing that it was distinctly feminine as she look towards the source.
In front of her was a teenage girl that had just finished getting up from a crouch. She looked to be about 18 or 19. She had fair skin with a spray of freckles, blonde hair that went halfway down her back and had a slight wave, and green eyes that possessed an ambient glow, giving off the feeling of standing in a peaceful forest. Her outfit consisted of a white hooded sweatshirt that had a black skull on the front, and an image of a globe on the back. On her legs were a pair of jeans covered in mud and grass stains, as well as a pair of hiking boots. Smiling an airy smile at Penny, the girl offered her a hand up, which Penny took.
"Who… Who are you?" Penny asked nervously, while the blonde girl lightly dusted her off.
"You can call me Celeste." the now named girl replied in a bubbly tone. Taking a moment to look around, Penny noticed that the arena was still packed with spectators, but that didn't explain why they were all so quiet… Looking past Celeste, Penny saw her opponent, Pyrrha. Taking a closer look, the girl was completely frozen with a look of horror on her face. Confused, Penny turned back to Celeste.
"What's going on?" asked the gynoid, "Why is Ms. Nikos frozen like that? How am I even standing here? I thought I died…" she trailed off.
"To answer the first question, I stopped time. That means everyone and everything, except for us, is frozen. Not just Nikos. As for the second one, well…" Celeste scratched her cheek before pointing behind Penny, "Technically, you did die." Turning to look where the blonde was pointing, Penny gasped loudly. There on the ground she saw the pieces of her body, a blank look on her face.
"I- I don't understand…" Penny slowly backed away. Celeste just sighed, the smile on her face falling slightly.
"You see, the body you're in right now isn't actually a body at all. It's just your soul." Celeste explained, "Normally, your soul would have traveled to one of many different afterlives. I, however, am preventing that."
"But… why?" Penny asked, blinking at the girl in front of her.
"Because my…" Celeste trailed off for a moment, "Let's call him my Higher Up, wasn't happy with how your story was going to end. So, he asked me to step in and make sure that your story doesn't end here. It's thanks to him I'm even able to keep your soul here, I'm not normally able to do something like that." Finishing her explanation, Celeste looks towards the ginger soul as she processed all of this.
"Why me?" Penny asked, after a moment, "What makes me special enough to make someone go to these lengths for me?" Celeste simply shrugged in response.
"I don't know." she admitted, "I'm not exactly familiar with you, or even this world. That being said," she then turned away from Penny, motioning to follow her, "Let's get going. We have preparations to make." Hearing this, Penny became even more confused.
"Where are we going?" she asked as she followed Celeste.
"Well, you can't stay here." replied Celeste, "Your story may not be over, but you still died. Your time in this world is over, but my Higher Up already has another world in mind for you to make your mark on."
"Can- Can I at least say goodbye to my friend?" asked Penny, "If I'm going to be sent somewhere else, then I'm probably never going to see her again…" Celeste looked at her and gave a comforting smile.
"I don't see why not." she replied, before looking around, "Any idea where she is?" The question caused Penny to falter. Where was Ruby? Where was she in the immense crowd of the stadium?
"I-" she began, only to be cut off by a bird tweeting. Both girls looked up, surprised that there was something besides them moving in the frozen time, and saw a small bird circling their heads. The bird, upon seeing it had their attention, flew off to one side of the arena. Looking in that direction, they were greeted by the sight of a frozen girl wearing a red hood, kneeling on the ground with tears in her eyes.
"Is that her?" asked Celeste, getting a nod from Penny as she walked over to the frozen Ruby. Once she reached the hooded girl, the gynoid kneeled down and embraced her.
"Ruby…" She began sadly, "I… I have to go. I'm sorry… I'm so sorry that I have to go. I wish I could stay, but I can't." For the first time in Penny's short life, tears formed in her eyes, "I just want you to know, that you're the best friend anyone could ask for. Goodbye." Finishing her farewell, she continued to hold onto Ruby for a little while longer, before standing up and facing Celeste.
"I'm ready." the gynoid stated. Nodding at her words, Celeste offered her hand. Taking it, Penny gave one last look at the kneeling form of Ruby Rose. Raising her free hand, Celeste snapped her fingers, and the two burst into leaves and flower petals, leaving the face of Remnant as time resumed.
In another burst of leaves and flower petals, the two found themselves standing in front of a house. Taking out a key, Celeste unlocked the door and the two walked in. The interior was rather modest, with light blue walls. In front of them was a living room, with a couch and a tv that had various gaming consoles hooked up. To the right was a dining room with a kitchen, and to the left was a hallway with multiple doors.
"Alright, now that we're here, you're going to have to hang tight while I take care of some things." announced Celeste.
"Wait, what?" Penny asked, looking at Celeste with a shocked expression. Celeste responded with an apologetic look.
"I'm sorry, but it can't be helped." the blonde apologized, "The reason I was even on your world was because I was doing a favor, I just happened to get there early. When my Higher Up learned about that, he asked me to do him a favor and help make sure your story didn't end. I just… happened to agree." Before Celeste could continue, the two girls heard a ringtone. Celeste then reached into her pocket and took out a mobile device, looking at the screen caused her to sigh and show it to Penny.
"I actually need to hurry up and get back so that I can do what I originally promised, see?" she explained. Looking at the screen, Penny saw that Celeste had received a text from someone called 'Poison'.
Message from: Poison
Celeste where are you?! You better not have flaked on me, it's bad enough Ace got me to agree to look for this Vergil-looking mf
"H-how long will that take?" asked the gynoid. Celeste just shrugged.
"I don't know, but it shouldn't take too long." she replied, "Until then, you can just watch TV. Just a warning, we're getting rid of cable soon, but we have Netflix." Celeste then pointed to a coffee table that had two remotes, "If you want to watch that, turn on the TV with bigger remote, then press the button on the smaller one that says 'Netflix'. It shouldn't really matter what account you use, but maybe make sure to use the one with the username 'Famine', just to be safe." Turning to exit, there was a burst of leaves and flower petals around her torso. When it cleared, there was a large claymore strapped to her back that had a handle and crossguard designed to look like intertwining tree roots. Celeste looked to Penny one last time, "I'm sorry to have to leave you alone so soon, but I promise this won't take too long. I'm going to lock the door behind me, so please don't mess with it, okay?" Seeing the orange haired girl nod at this, Celeste left, leaving Penny to wonder why someone would use such a morbid username.
Seeing no other options to pass time, Penny grabbed the remotes and sat on the couch. Following Celeste's instructions, she was greeted by a screen asking her what account she wanted to use. Looking over the list, she saw that her options were 'Pestilence', 'War', 'Famine', and 'Death'. Apparently morbid usernames were common around here. Selecting 'Famine', as she was told, Penny then began to scroll through the available shows. As she was scrolling, one show in particular caught her eye. It was called 'Digimon' and, for some reason, that word gave her a sense of… was this deja vu? She could have sworn that there was something about that word that seemed so familiar to her, but she just couldn't place it. Shaking her head, Penny decided to just look for something else to watch, finally settling on a show called 'The Seven Deadly Sins', which was about a deposed princess traveling the land to find seven evil knights and convince them to help her overthrow tyrants that had taken over. She watched the first two episodes before deciding to turn off the tv and maybe wander around a little. Granted, she couldn't just randomly open doors, she may have led a sheltered life but even she knew that going into someone's room without permission wasn't something you do.
While checking out the dining room, she noticed a window that showed a backyard containing a garden, a training area, and a pool. She was so busy watching a hummingbird feed from a bird feeder that she didn't hear the front door open. Now, when she heard someone yell right after…
"WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU AND HOW DID YOU GET INTO MY HOUSE!?"
Oh yeah, that she heard. Jumping and whirling around at the shout, Penny was greeted by the sight of a girl who, for a second, she almost thought was Celeste. Upon closer inspection, however, she saw that this was actually a different girl. There were similarities, yes, such as how this girl had the same fair skin, the same height, the same slightly wavy hair that went halfway down her back, hell, even her facial structure and freckle placement seemed identical to Celeste.
That being said, the differences were also quite Celeste was blonde, this girl had black hair. Where Celeste was always smiling and gave off a calming, comforting aura, this girl scowled and looked like she would sooner tell you to fuck off than provide comfort. Where Celeste had green eyes that possessed an ambient glow that made you feel like you were standing in a forest, this girl's eyes were purple, and glowed in a way that could only be described as toxic. Even her outfit was similar, yet different. This girl's hoodie was black with a white skull, and had a biohazard symbol on the back. Rather than mud and grass stains, this girl's jeans looked like she had repeatedly spilled bleach on them. Finally, in place of hiking boots, the newcomer wore a pair of combat boots. It should also be noted that this girl had streaks of dried blood on her face and her sweatshirt actually had a large, bloody rip in it.
"I-I…" Penny started to stammer, trying to explain. The new girl, in the meantime, had calmed down somewhat and was no longer yelling, but she was still looking at Penny with suspicion in her eyes.
"There's no way you broke in, the sigils we have set up would have rendered any attempts you made pointless." The raven haired girl analysed the situation as she looked Penny up and down, "Not to mention they would have sent us an alert if anyone tried. I'm still waiting for you to answer my first question by the way." The last part snapped Penny out of her slight daze.
"Oh, uh, I'm Penny…" the orange haired girl explained as she took a few slow steps forward and nervously offered her hand. The new girl's gaze shifted between Penny's face and outstretched hand as she made no move to extend her own.
"Poison, what's going on?" Celeste's called as she entered the house as well, "I heard you yell like there was an intruder…" she trailed off as she saw the situation. Penny and the now named Poison glanced at the blonde.
"I knew there was something I forgot to tell her." Celeste muttered as she snapped her fingers. It was hard to tell if she was referring to Penny or Poison when she said 'her'.
"So why is she here?" Poison asked, pointing her thumb at Penny, before smirking, "Unless this is you coming out that you swing both ways. Never pegged you to be the kind of person to have orange hair as your type." In response Celeste put a hand on her hip and quirked an eyebrow.
"Orange hair is not my 'type'. Even if that was the case, that's not why she's here." Celeste then gave Poison a smirk of her own, "Going by your logic, your 'type' is brunettes who look like they jumped out of a bishounen manga or anime, kind of like Ken-" Poison immediately pointed at Celeste, who held her hands up in a calming gesture, "Too far." the blonde admitted. Hearing her relent, Poison sighed.
"Then why is she here, if you don't mind me asking."
"Well…" Celeste replied, "You know how Ace asked us to go to Remnant to grab that guy?" Poison crossed her arms.
"Well, believe it or not, I actually got there early," Celeste explained, "And when our… Higher Up learned about that, he decided to ask for a favor involving her." she gestured to Penny, who had been watching silently, unsure if she should actually say anything. Poison glanced back at Penny and shrugged.
"Whatever, it's not my problem." she started to head towards the hallway that connected to the living room, "Mind turning on the oven? I was thinking of reheating pizza after I clean up." Poison gave Celeste a look, "You might want to clean up a little yourself." Hearing that, Penny gave Celeste a once over and noticed that one of the sleeves of her hoodie was missing, like it was sliced off. There also seemed to be a bloody ring around her neck…
"Sure thing." Celeste replied to the retreating form of Poison, then turning to Penny, "Sorry for not warning you about her."
"It-it's okay." said Penny, "I just… who is she? Why does she look so similar to you? Are you related? What happened to you two?" Celeste smiled at the gynoid's questions.
"That third question actually answered the first two. Poison and I are sisters." she explained, "As for the blood and stuff, we had to grab this guy as part of the original favor I told you about and, as you can see, things got a little messy when he refused to come quietly. Regardless, it's best if we make a plan of attack for getting you ready for your new life." Penny tilted her head to the side when she heard this.
"What sort of preparations?"
"A number of things." Celeste began to list off, "One of which is solving the situation about your body, well, lack of one. We can't just have you running around as a soul without a physical body. The second thing to take care of is that you're going to have to learn a whole new language."
"A new language?" Penny asked, blinking. Celeste nodded in response.
"Yup, but we'll get to that later. Third is that we'll need to get you identification papers, but we can delegate that to a friend." Taking a moment to process all of this, Penny looked to the ground. Celeste noticed this and took a few steps closer.
"Is something wrong?" she asked.
"I… no." Penny shook her head, "I just… It's hard to believe anyone would be willing to go to these sort of lengths for me of all people."
"What about your friend, the girl with the red hood?" When Celeste pointed this out, Penny blinked and thought about it for a moment, before breaking out into a big grin.
"Well, back on Remnant, Ruby was my only friend," she explained, "But I can definitely say that she would do everything in her power to help me, no matter what." Celeste smiled and nodded at this.
"Well, there you have it. When you really think about it, there are people who would go to these lengths. There is one thing you got wrong, though." she put her hand on Penny's shoulder, "This Ruby chick isn't your only friend, because you've got another one right here." Hearing this, Penny's eyes lit up.
"You mean it?" Celeste grinned and nodded in response.
"Now then," Celeste's grin took on an air of determination, "You ready to get to work?" Seeing Celeste smile, Penny broke into a determined grin of her own.
"Indeed I am."
"Alright, here we go." said Celeste as she plopped several books in front of Penny, who picked one up and looked at the title.
"Japanese?" the gynoid read, confused. For a moment, she had another sense of Deja Vu, but she brushed it off quickly. There was no possible way she had heard of this language before. In the meantime, seeing the confusion, Celeste explained.
"Yeah, that's the native language of where you'll be going. I mean, sure, some people do speak English, but it's just a better idea to learn the local language." Unfortunately, the second sentence of her explanation just confused Penny further.
"English?" Celeste blinked at Penny's continued confusion.
"Yeah, English." Penny continued to give her a blank look, "…The language you and I are speaking right now." Hearing this, realization dawned on the ginger girl's face.
"Oooooohhh, you mean Common." Now it was Celeste's turn to be confused, but only for a moment, as she put the pieces together.
"So that's what you people call it, I guess it makes sense. There's no England on Remnant from what I know." the blonde shrugged, "Whatever, to-may-to to-mah-to and a rose by any other name and all that." While Celeste was musing, Penny was skimming a few pages of the book with a look of slight worry.
"I'm a little concerned, learning a whole new language is going to take time. Plus, this Japanese language is so different from what I'm used to…" she trailed off. In response, Celeste held out her hand and drew on her palm with her finger, somehow creating a strange glowing symbol to appear.
"That's why I'll apply this to you before we start." Celeste explained with a smile, "The effect is only temporary, but your retention will be majorly boosted, you'll get the hang of the language in no time." Penny reached out and pulled Celeste's hand closer, looking at the symbol with no small amount of suspicion.
"You're sure it will work?" she inquired. Celeste nodded.
"Positive, that aside, let's get started. If we make good time, we won't have to wait too long for your body to finish." While saying this Celeste reached forward and pressed the sigil to Penny's head. When this happened, Penny felt a sensation she couldn't quite describe, but got ready to begin, nonetheless.
Penny quickly learned that, even with the boost she received from Celeste, Japanese wasn't exactly a language you could pick up at the drop of a hat. Celeste assured her that it wasn't unusual, English and Japanese were from completely different language families, so it was only natural for someone who grew up speaking one would have difficulties learning the other. All the same, Penny was relieved when she finally finished.
Despite Penny being aware that she was currently just a soul (never mind the fact that she was meaning to ask Celeste how she still obeyed physical laws), it was still a surreal experience seeing her own body housed in a giant glass tube, clad in only white cloth to preserve her modesty.
"So, why can't you put my soul back into my body yet?" she asked the blonde.
"Because it isn't quite done yet." Celeste explained, "This sort of thing is like a fancy cheese or a fine wine, you have to let it age properly for the best results." she then glanced at the tube, "Just checking, but how old were you… well, how old were you supposed to be in your old body?"
"About 17, the average age of most first year Huntsmen and Huntresses in training." Penny replied. Celeste nodded at this.
"I guessed as much. All the same, I actually decided to bump that number up to at least 18." Penny gave her a look.
"I felt like it." Celeste responded with a shrug. There was a pregnant pause.
"How much longer will we have to wait?" asked Penny. Celeste tapped her chin and went over to a monitor attached to the side of the tube. Typing something in she gave a once over to the information that popped up.
"Several hours." there was another pause. Celeste turned to Penny. "So, what do you want to do while we wait?" Penny brought a finger her lips as she thought for a moment.
"We could watch Netflix. There were a few shows I wanted to looked at." Celeste seemed to like the idea.
After several hours of watching more Seven Deadly Sins and being introduced to other shows and anime, Celeste got a notification that Penny's new body was done. At that point, Celeste got Penny's new body dressed in clothes identical to the ones she wore before her death, and prepared to transport herself, Penny, and the body.
"So, just to be clear," Penny asked, "Once we travel to this 'Earth', I'll be in my new body?"
"Yup." confirmed Celeste, "Oh, but, uh, heads up. I managed to get you a place to stay in Japan, but we won't be going there right away."
"How come?" Penny tilted her head.
"So that we can get you used to navigating the city and its subway system." explained the blonde, earning a nod from Penny.
"Alright then, I'm ready when you are." Hearing this, Celeste nodded as well and began to wave her fingers while chanting.
"Bibbidi, Bobbidi and Boo, put 'em all together and what do you get? A Disney Lawsuit!" Upon hearing Celeste's incantation and finger snap, Penny felt a sensation of being yanked along at high speeds as she promptly blacked out.
Upon waking up, Penny found herself being held up by Celeste via her arm being slung around Celeste's shoulders, the same way Celeste had been holding her new body before they teleported.
"It worked!" Penny grinned. Celeste gave a grin of her own.
"Looks like it. Now, let's get you standing… nice and easy…" As the blonde spoke, she gently eased the gynoid-turned-human to her feet, making sure her legs would support her weight. Once that was all settled, the two exited the alley they were in and walked amongst people going about their daily business.
"So many people." Penny murmured as she took in her surroundings.
"Eh, it's not rush hour or anything, by comparison the foot traffic right now is rather light." Celeste pointed out, "I'm guessing you never got out much?"
"No, not really." Penny admitted, "I mean, there were certainly a lot of people in the stands during the tournament, but I wasn't really allowed to go out on my own before I-"
Before she died. Penny almost immediately came to a stop as the words got caught in her throat, eyes going wide.
"Before I… before I… before… I…" Her mind kept flashing back to Remnant. Back to the wires of her weapon wrapping around her limbs and torso. Back to Pyrrha's horrified face. Back to the sound of screeching metal and tearing cloth. Back to the sight of her own body lying on the ground in pieces. She wanted it to stop, why wouldn't it stop?
"Penny…? You alright?" Celeste asked, slowly reaching towards Penny. She had immediately noticed Penny stopping and was now looking at her with no small amount of concern.
"I-I… I…" Penny's gasped out as she slowly brought up her shaking hands, why was it so hard to breathe all of a sudden?
It's finally sinking in that she died… Celeste realized, When it comes to traumatic events, it's not uncommon for the mind to put off processing the trauma until it decides they're safe, but because Penny never had a flesh-and-blood body until now, her mind doesn't have the necessary experience to determine if a situation is 'safe'. So instead, she's processing the trauma now, and to top it off, she has no idea how to truly process the fact that she should be dead.
"I… I…" Penny sank to her knees, her eyes tearing up, and brought her hands to her head as she choked out sobs between gasps for breath, ignoring the fact that pedestrians were staring at her and muttering. Celeste noticed the stares and muttering and realized that they probably weren't helping Penny's situation.
"Penny, it's going to be okay." Celeste gently reassured her as she got down on one knee and pulled her into a hug, "You can just let it out, I'll get you someplace quiet. It's going to be okay." Penny registered her words, but couldn't bring herself to do anything but continue crying.
"Oi! What's going on here? What's the commotion?" called out a female voice. Looking towards the source, the two girls saw pedestrians parting as a policewoman walked towards them.
The policewoman seemed to be in her early twenties and wore a standard uniform. A light blue, short sleeved uniform shirt with dark blue trim and a police insignia on the right sleeve. On her waist was a dark blue pencil skirt held up by a black belt with a silver buckle and on her feet were black kitten heel shoes. Her hair was shoulder length and started out brown and faded into a shade of blonde, while her eyes were also brown.
"Hey, is she alright?" The police officer asked, her expression changing from a scowl to concerned when she saw Penny's own panicked and teary expression.
"Uh…" Penny's jumbled mind simply wasn't in a state to form a response.
"She's having a delayed reaction to trauma." Celeste explained quietly, looking around at the small crowd that had gathered, "We need to get her someplace quiet, away from all these people." The officer nodded at this and helped Celeste gently pull Penny to her feet.
"I got you two some soda, fair warning, it's regular, not diet." the officer approached Penny and Celeste, holding a can of soda in each hand and a third in the crook of her arm. She had managed to help the two find a small area off of the main road where they were able to let Penny calm down.
"Thank… thank you."
"Yes, thank you." The two girls expressed their gratitude as they each took a can. Celeste opened hers and took a swig before turning back to the officer.
"Again, thanks. I don't have any yen on me at the moment, but once I find an ATM I'll be sure to pay you back Miss…?"
"Detective Makiko Date." the now named detective introduced herself.
"Right, thank you, Date-san." Celeste thanked her for a third time, "Now that I think about it, we haven't introduced ourselves. I'm Celeste," she gestured to the former gynoid, "And this is Penny." Penny seemed to snap out of a daze when she heard her name.
While Makiko and Celeste were having their chat, Penny had opened her can of soda and taken a small sip. That small sip was all it took for eyes to go wide at the sensations she felt from doing this. You see, back in her old body, Penny had been built with sensors that allowed her to 'feel' things. Some of those sensors were in her mouth, for when she ate or drank - not that she ever actually needed to do those, but it would have looked suspicious if anyone noticed that she never ate or drank. Back in her old body, sensations such as 'taste' had always felt… distant, for lack of a better word, but now that she had a body with actual nerves and taste receptors, this was the first time she truly 'tasted' something. It almost made her excited to be able to taste more food and drink in the future, but that would have to wait.
"Ah, yes, thank you again for the help." Makiko simply shrugged.
"It's no big deal, helping people is kinda part of my job."
"Still, it's nice to know that there are such kind, helpful people here, like you." Penny smiled brightly as Date blushed lightly.
"R-right. So, you two don't really seem to be from around here." the detective noticed, "Your Japanese is pretty good."
"Penny just moved here." Celeste explained, "We were heading to her new place."
"I see." Date nodded, "Y'know, since you're new, I could show you around sometime, when I'm not on duty." Penny nodded and smiled again.
"That sounds sensational!" her grin faltered slightly, "Oh, but I don't have a way to contact you…" Makiko simply reached into the pocket of her uniform and pulled out a notepad and pen.
"Here, I'll give you my cell number and my email, send me a message once you have that stuff sorted out." The detective wrote the information down on a page of the notepad and tore it out before handing it to Penny. Penny nodded and put the paper in her pocket.
"Well." Celeste clapped her hands, "This has been a wonderful meeting, but we should probably get going. I still need to show Penny her new place and you probably need to get back to work." Makiko grimaced at that last part.
"Crap, yeah, I should probably get back to work…" With that she turned and made to leave, "Oh, and I do expect you to pay me back for the drinks at some point." she told Celeste. The blonde in question grinned good naturedly.
"I will, don't you worry." Once the detective was gone, the blonde turned back to Penny. There was a brief moment of silence.
"She was nice." said Penny, Pretty, too. She added mentally. Celeste smiled.
"I won't disagree." and the smile was gone, "But, more importantly, once we get you settled into your apartment, we're going to have to look into you getting therapy. You've definitely developed PTSD." Thinking back to the panic she felt not so long ago, Penny didn't bother suppressing her shudder before nodding silently. Seeing her agreement, Celeste decided to put that topic on the backburner for now, they'd cross that bridge when they got to it. Penny took another sip of her drink and stood up.
"We should probably get going." she stated. Celeste nodded.
"Right, we want to get there before dark." she turned and motioned Penny to follow her, "Let's get going." she gave Penny a gentle smile that the ginger returned. Nodding, Penny followed her.
Five Months Later…
It had been several months since Penny had moved into her new apartment. During that time, a lot had changed. While her apartment had initially only had the bare necessities, Celeste had immediately displayed a willingness to splurge some money - yeah, turns out she and her siblings were beyond loaded, something to do with owning various businesses across the multiverse, Penny decided questioning it wasn't worth the headache - and get Penny stuff like a TV and a fairly impressive computer setup. That was another thing, apparently the internet on Earth was far more advanced than Remnant's Dustnet, what with people here essentially projecting their minds into cyberspace to interact.
Penny herself had changed quite a bit, such as making the decision to get a new wardrobe, with the exception of keeping her bow. Celeste had been perfectly happy to help her ("It's always fun to help someone update their look!" -Celeste), they were even joined by Makiko and her cousin, a girl around Penny's age by the name of Nokia Shiramine.
To start, she wore a gray jacket that she left open to reveal a black t-shirt with a red Ultron face on it directly above the words 'There are no strings on me!' ("I'm pretty sure wearing this would have counted as irony back on Remnant." -Penny), on her legs were a pair of blue jeans and she even managed to find a pair of black combat boots like the ones Ruby would wear, the only difference being that the laces, trim, and soles were bright green instead of red. Lastly, she wore a pair of bright green headphones around her neck.
Currently, Penny was putting away one of many books on coding and programming she had bought. After seeing how advanced computer technology was here, she had developed an interest in the subject and had taken to it like a fish to water. Although, she probably shouldn't have tried to buy so many at once, maybe she wouldn't have had to dip into her food budget. Oh, yeah, Celeste also provided her with a monthly allowance of sorts to buy stuff, the only real requirement being that she be careful with how she spends it. Whoops. Well, looks like she was going to have to live off of instant ramen for a week or two.
After shelving the book, Penny sat in her rolling chair and pushed herself over to her computer desk. Reaching the desk, she decided to check her digivice for messages. Lots of people had different kinds of digivices, some had belt shaped ones, some went with practical phone ones, Penny's digivice was a smooth, white plastic rectangle with rounded corners that had a yellow diamond shaped button in the center that, when pushed, caused the rectangle to divide into two halves and slide open to reveal the touch screen. Long story short, Penny had called in a favor from Celeste to get her a digivice that was custom-made to be a copy of the Scrolls everyone had back on Remnant.
Opening the Digiline Messaging System showed that there were no new messages, and that the most recent message thread was the one involving Penny and Makiko making plans to hang out the next time Makiko was off duty. Ever since the two had first met, they had become good friends, Makiko showed Penny the locations of places that served good food for cheap prices, as well as other noteworthy spots. Yes, the two were good friends, but for the past few weeks, Penny couldn't help but wish they could become more…
Deciding not to linger on her musings, Penny decided to turn her attention to her computer and see what was happening in one of the chat rooms she frequented on Enjoy!Chat. Specifically, she decided to log into a chat room that was usually private, but Nokia had been able to convince the admin to let her have the password. Selecting the chatroom and entering the almost humorously long password, the program happily welcomed her to the room. Once she was in, Penny saw her avatar appear. It wasn't anything special or complicated, just a robot with little, metal angel wings, bright green details, and her username - PuppetAngelR - floating above it. Taking a moment to see who else was logged in, Penny was greeted by the sight of the usual crowd.
PuppetAngelR: Hey guys, what's up?
Akkino: Oh, hey Puppet!
Penny smiled at the sight of the little, pink jellyfish thing that Nokia used as an avatar for Enjoy!Chat. The rest of the room gave her greetings as well, while Nokia brought up a rather interesting topic of conversation
Akkino: Hey guys! Ever heard of Digimon?
BlueBox: What's this all of a sudden?
BlueBox was the admin of the chatroom, his Enjoy!Chat avatar was a little man wearing all blue.
Old Man Fanta: You're talking about Digimon programs, right? Those dangerous programs used by hackers.
Old Man Fanta's avatar was a little old man with bifocals and a long, white mustache. Penny couldn't help but frown, almost dumbfounded at the fact that she had once again encountered the term 'Digimon'. But what was this business about them being programs used by hackers?
AI⭗BA: Dangerous? How dangerous exactly?
AI╳BA: Yeah, I've heard them mentioned here and there. What's the big deal?
AI⭗BA and AI╳BA were essentially a duo that they all referred to as 'the twins', with the use of the nickname being strengthened by the fact that the two had revealed they were, as one would probably suspect, siblings. AI⭗BA's avatar was a black ball with a yellow '⭗' and '╳' acting as it's eyes, along with a yellow cone of cloth hanging down. AI╳BA's was the same, only with the color scheme and symbols reversed.
PuppetAngelR: I am quite curious as well.
Old Man Fanta: They can break through security, steal data… enter password-protected forums with ease… Those programs can do all kinds of nasty things! They're behind most of the incidents that have been happening.
Akkino: Wow, Digimon sound nuts!
AlgerNON: My friend got his account targeted by them. (;_;))
AlgerNON's avatar was just a yellow duck.
Love Crusher: No way…
U Starving: When did this happen?
The avatars of these two consisted of a suit wearing, pink, apple-like fruit and a dress wearing bowl of ramen respectively.
Dark Night Satan: In some areas, Digimon roam around on their own…
This guy's avatar was a purple blob.
Akkino: Wait a minute, Digimon can move!?
Old Man Fanta: It sounds like these programs have avatars. Kinda like monsters.
AlgerNON: Digimon… like "Digital Monsters"?
U Starving: When did this happen exactly?
Just as Penny was about to voice her own thoughts, a notification popped up:
"Mr. Navit" has logged in,
The problem here was that his avatar didn't enter the chatroom the normal way. No, his entrance was marked by a saw blade popping up from the floor of the chatroom and cutting out a circle that popped up like a trapdoor, revealing a robot whos body was a vertical white oval, while his head was more football shaped with light blue tips, and a black analog screen that displayed simple pixel faces.
Mr. Navit: Yoooo, what's up, people!
AlgerNON: Whaaaat, it's Mr. Navit!
Love Crusher: Huh? You mean the EDEN mascot?
Akkino: Sorry man, no solicitations! Haha!
Old Man Fanta: What the heck? Why would an EDEN official come all the way out here?
BlueBox: …This was a private room, y'know? Just who are you?
U Starving: And what's with that greeting? Hardly suiting an official…
Akkino: Wait a minute… is he a hacker!?
PuppetAngelR: It would explain his unorthodox way of entering the room…
Love Crusher: Speak of the devil…
AlgerNON: For real!?
Mr. Navit: That's right! I'm Mr. Navit, the hacker!
Mr. Navit: I have a fantastic present for all of you! Be sure to log in to EDEN tomorrow!
Mr. Navit: Don't forget, now! If you don't login, I'll hack you!
Mr. Navit: Buh-bye, now!
"Mr. Navit" has logged out.
"Well… that just happened." Penny muttered aloud, genuinely dumbstruck now at how the mascot had popped in, cheerily threatened them all, and left. Just like that.
Old Man Fanta: What the heck… Was that an actual hacker?
Akkino: No way, dude!
Love Crusher: Think someone's playing a prank on us?
Akkino: Sounds fun, don't it? Let's check it out!
For almost a full minute, there was zero activity in the chat room.
Akkino: What, don't tell me y'all are chicken?
BlueBox: You want to go, Akkino? What'll you do if it's a real hacker?
Akkino: This is just PR for a EDEN event, ain't it? A REAL hacker would be cooler, though…
PuppetAngelR: Akkino, I don't think PR involves making hacking threats… Wouldn't that result in a LOWER turnout?
BlueBox: Puppet has a point, but all the same, it doesn't sound like either of us can stop you. Fine, I'll come with.
Akkino: What, is this a date now? You asking me out all of a sudden!?
BlueBox: … Anyway.
Akkino: Anyone else gonna come with us?
Old Man Fanta: Better safe than sorry. I'm out.
AlgerNON: I'll pass!
Love Crusher: Me, too.
"Old Man Fanta" has logged out.
"AlgerNON" has logged out.
"Dark Night Satan" has logged out.
"U Starving" has logged out.
"Love Crusher" has logged out.
Akkino: Aww, bunch of scaredy cats! What about you three? You got the guts to do this?
AI⭗BA: I'm in!
AI╳BA: Might as well.
Akkino: Alright, and the Twins bring us up to 4! What about you, Puppet? You've stuck around this long.
Akkino: Or… Are you having second thoughts?
Penny took this moment to lean back and fold her fingers in front of her face as she quickly weighed the pros and cons. Yes, it could be dangerous, but she wanted to learn more about these Digimon. Worst comes to worst, she'll let Celeste know before she leaves, meaning they'll be able to get some backup in case things go south. Smiling as she comes to a decision, Penny leans forwards and types her response.
PuppetAngelR: You better believe I'm coming. This sounds like it's going to be sensational!
And that is the first chapter done of my new story. I came up with this a little while back after getting Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth. My biggest reason for using Penny is that she's one of those characters who's criminally underused in stories like this. Anyway, yeah, Penny's going to be working alongside the Aiba twins here. I have all the pairings worked out, including Penny x Makiko (reminder, Penny's 18 here). Sorry if the pacing seems weird, there was just a lot of stuff I wanted to get established in the prologue without it being too long. I already have the Digimon teams worked out, I'll let you all know what I have planned as they become relevant. With that all said and done, be sure to leave a Review to tell me what you think and I'm always open to constructive criticism. If you enjoy my writing and want to keep up to date on the story, be sure to Follow it, and if you want to see more, be sure to check out my other stories. Also decided to do a little rebranding, so rather than Finch Daemon, this is FinchFlyingAce, signing off. See you next time!