Penny Polendina was curious.
It was natural, logical for her to be so in her opinion. She was a new-born after all, new to the ways of the world and more often than not naïve to it.
She was not foolish enough to think that people did not think she was weird. It would be weirder if they accepted her, as her weirdness stemmed from her lack of development.
That logic implied that only those truly weird or lacking development could befriend her. Any who wished to insult Friend Ruby accordingly would become acquainted with Penny’s fists in record time. She was combat ready! Any time, all the time!
But that wasn’t her point. What was her point again? Ah yes. Curiosity.
The world was filled with wonders, from the feeling of swings at children’s outdoor play areas to the wonders of the scrollnet. It was the single biggest source of entertainment for her as well as education, with her routers keeping her connected to the nearest CCT no matter what and her advanced processors allowed her to disseminate the information and neatly store it away.
She even had so much storage space that it only took five whole years for her memory banks to fill up and be in need of a good purge!
Where was she? Processing…storage…disseminate…oh yes! Her favourite pastime in the scrollnet was learning human behaviours and interactions via its most popular platform-Scroll Hub! It was most enlightening.
It was a wonder that Humanity had ever managed to become one of the planet’s apex predators, what with the tendency of their females to get stuck in tight orifices when signalling a want to procreate. It only made their achievements all the more admirable!
Despite her advanced internal system putting nearly all of her contemporary pieces of technology to shame, the amount of information she had to process on a minutely basis often meant her servoes got trapped in specific loops.
Penny quite liked that. It was wonderfully similar to the human emotion of ‘confusion’- the state of being bewildered or unclear in one’s mind about something.
Penny was quite confused right now, her routines and subroutines struggling to keep up with her focal point-or rather train of thought- as the aggravated girl in front of her continued to shriek loud enough to cause a nearby flock of birds to fly away.
“I do not understand?” Penny asked the girl, cutting through her tirade in an impolite manner. Penny did not like being impolite, however the situation demanded it. Whenever she had tried speaking previously the girl had just interrupted her. “Are we not friends?”
“No you creepy freak! Why would I want to be friends with a goddamn weirdo like you? I want you to stop harassing my actual friends.” The girl, Julia, snapped rudely back, gesturing to a giggling trio of girls behind her. “No one would ever be friends with a creep like you.”
That was not true. Friend Ruby was her friend.
“I do not understand your hostility.” Penny replied tentatively, unsure of what to say. Her prior knowledge would imply that Julia was trying to gain her attention and would enjoy being ‘spanked’ for her behaviour.
Penny did not know whether she was romantically or amorously attracted to female humans, however she would be more than willing to engage in the ritual if it meant Julia calmed down. The only thing that held her back was the 86.7% probability she was not actually asking to be ‘spanked’. Or at least the Consent Calculator her father installed after [Redacted] happened seemed to think so.
“Bitch please! You’ve been following us around for weeks, keep calling us your friend and you keep trying to show us fricking porn!” Julia yelled, facing red and a vein pulsing at the corner of her temples. “Do you have nothing at all you want to say about that?! No apologies or excuses or anything?”
“I fear that blood vessel will soon burst.” Penny pointed out worriedly, pointing her finger at the said blood vessel. “I advise you go to the nearest hospital to get it checked out.”
“You little bitch!” Julia spat, and Penny blinked as her receptors noted her hand rise up and backwards, rearing back in order to ‘Bitch Slap’ her. Just as Penny was about to warn her not to, the poor girl could break her hand if she did, another hand reached out and grabbed it.
The hand had fingerless gloves and was attached to a blonde human male who glared at Julia. Penny quickly delved into her memory banks and recognised him as Jaune Arc, a seventeen year-old human male with a pale white complexion, blonde hair, dark blue eyes and a height of one point eight-five metres, which translated to six foot one according to her calculator. He was the leader of Team JNPR [Priority: HIGH] and partner of Pyrrha Nikos [Code SUMMER’S END, Priority: Alpha Level]. He also had several siblings, all of them females.
He was also a friend of Friend Ruby.
“Leave Penny alone Julia.” Jaune said, making the girl whose physical assault he was restraining gape at him. The response indicated a level of fear. Curious.
“W-We were just kidding around. R-Right Penny?” Julia replied, looking to Penny with a mix of fear, pleading and warning.
Penny looked at Jaune. His face indicated scepticism. Penny quickly decided she would rather be friends with Jaune rather than Julia.
“Was that before or after you called me a freak, weirdo, creep and bitch?” Penny asked innocently, and Julia gaped at her before squeaking as the hand curling around her wrist tightened.
“Leave Penny alone Julia.” Jaune warned, throwing her arm backwards and making her stumble. “And if you ask me about trying to hang out with Pyrrha again I’ll tell her what you’ve done.”
“Fucking gay.” Julia spat, cradling her wrist. “I could’ve made you the happiest man alive but have fun playing with the ginger freak instead. C’mon girls.”
With that Julia and her ‘posse’ sauntered away, leaving Jaune and herself in a companionable silence. The seconds ticked by, and Penny’s speech protocol finally settled on a suitable ‘ice-breaker’.
“Thank you for intervening Jaune.” Penny said politely, bobbing her head at him. “It was very chivalrous of you, however they would not have fared well should they have followed through with their assault. I am combat ready!”
With that she gave him a salute, bouncing on the balls of her feet to make sure her leg servos did not seize up. Jaune chuckled and smiled kindly, if not a little awkwardly, at her.
“No problemo Penny. A friend of Ruby’s is a friend of mine. Besides, they had it coming for trying to harass Pyrrha.”
Friend. A new friend? A…A boyfriend?
“A-Are you saying you are my friend?” Penny asked nervously, unable to meet his eyes and staring straight at the ground as she searched the scrollnet for appropriate responses. According to Scroll Hub, she would need roses, alcohol and so-called ‘lingerie’.
She marked it down for later investigation.
“Of course.” Jaune replied quickly, and her honesty detector decided her was 100% telling the truth. “Don’t let what those braindead bullies say get to you. You are a hundred times better than any of them.”
“R-Really?” Penny asked, meeting his gaze shyly. He seemed very kind and earnest, and the compliments were flying fast, heavy and genuinely. Was he truly trying to court her? That may prove awkward as she could not reproduce.
“Really really.” Jaune smiled, repeating the words to hammer the point home. Keyword detected: Hammer-excerpt playing ‘Yes harder oh gods harder hammer me harder’ - end excerpt.
“Oh my.” Penny gasped, eyes widening. “This is moving very fast Friend Jaune. Are you certain of your decision?”
“Of course!” Jaune exclaimed, smiling encouragingly. “You seem like a nice girl. I’d love to be friends with you.”
Oh. Friends ‘with benefits’ so they said. Perhaps she could woo him with time.
“Very well.” Penny nodded. “I shall let you decide what we do first Boyfriend Jaune.”
“B-Boyfriend?!” Jaune spluttered, and Penny cocked her head at his unusual reaction. She had acquiesced to his attempt to begin courtship had she not? Wasn’t he supposed to be happy with the decision? Unless…
“Are you not a boy?” Penny gasped, receptors widening in alarm as she realised the faux pas in assuming his gender. He could have identified as a potato for all she knew!
“Ooooh…” Jaune sighed, panting heavily. “Jeez you scared me there. Yes Penny, I am a boy and I am your friend.”
“Good.” Penny nodded, though the strange behaviour concerned her. According to ‘The Real Housewives of New Argus’ the strange behaviour was a warning sign and unwanted in potential ‘Baby Daddies’.
For his earlier chivalry Penny decided to give him a chance. If he turned out to be a ‘two-timing jackass’ then she could discard him and find another baby daddy.
“Have you seen the new Spruce Willis movie?” Jaune asked, and Penny shook her head.
“I have not seen any of Spruce Willis’ movies.” Penny replied, remembering General Ironwood’s tirade when she had inquired about the man she had heard so much about via the scrollnet. Apparently his movies were banned in Atlas for faking a career in the military, and as such Atlas had featured as the main villains in several of his blockbusters since the ban.
“Not everyone one?!” Jaune exclaimed, and once she shook her head in confirmation he grabbed her hand and tugged her towards the dorm buildings. “C’mon. I’m about to show you a whole new world, starting with Grimm Slayer 2. The first one was good, but the second’s a timeless masterpiece and all you really need to know is that the first one existed.”
Penny nodded, though she was already silently documenting their first ‘date’ whilst simultaneously watching clips of the first movie.
Oh! She would need to update General Ironwood of her status!
And she would probably have to ask why Atlas had such a keen interest in Team JNPR and Pyrrha Nikos in particular. It wouldn’t do to accidentally date a terrorist aferall.
“Sir, we have a status update from Penny Polendina.” Winter exclaimed, barging into his office without warning and an unusually pale face. Ironwood sighed. Just what horrors and monstrosities had his surrogate dau-state of the art infiltration technology stumble across on the scrollnet now?
“Winter.” Ironwood sighed tiredly. “If it’s more pornography then just delete it. We’ve been over this several times now.”
“She’s on a date!”
Then he leaned up in his chair, straightened his collar, and leaned forward, folding his hands together.
“She’s on a date with Jaune Arc! She’s live streaming them together at this moment. Sir-he’s taking her to his room!”
“Ready my battleship!” Ironwood roared, rising up with a fury and flipping his desk over. “I want a dossier the size of my left bicep on Jaune Arc, any associates, family members and anyone who said hi to him in the past twenty four hours ASAP! Winter! Inform the council of my absence and send an prior warning to Vale.”
With that he stormed out of his office, eyes ablaze with murder and hands itching for Due Process, which was hidden beneath his pale white coat.
‘Jaune Arc.’ His mind helpfully supplied, Mettle settling in as his mind focused on his target, on the mere boy who dared defile his dau-best operative with his grubby teenage hands! Who knew were they had been, what they had done, what they were trying to do right now…
“He’s gonna kill me Flynt!”
“Trust me, Headmaster Ironwood’s a chill guy. He boosted my bursary and helped my family out when the damn Schnee drove my dad out business. He’s like the sort of dad who says stuff like ‘I’m not angry, I’m disappointed’ rather than the type of dad who’ll whip off his belt and beat you seven ways to Sunday if you look at him wrong.”
“Flynt…do you have daddy issues?”
“N-No! My dad’s cool! I was just trying to calm you down. Besides Headmaster Da-Ironwood is super chill. Just be honest and everything will be fine.”
“Don’t think I didn’t notice that.”
“Noooope!” Neon grinned, twirling around Flynt on her skates, only to be knocked straight into him by a terrified student. “What the hell!”
“Run!” The traumatised boy yelled. “He’s coming! Oh god he’s coming!”
With that the boy scrambled off of them and ran away screaming, Flynt dusted himself off before dragging Neon back onto her feet, rolling his eyes at her pouting whilst he cleaned himself first.
Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud.
“D-Do you hear that?” Neon asked quietly, and Flynt nodded, the sounds of thudding footsteps echoing down the corridor. The booms grew closer, before a behemoth of a man round a corner and stormed towards them.
“Da-Headmaster?” Flynt stammered, swallowing nervously at the dead look on the Headmaster’s face and the rage glinting in his eyes.
“Arc. Find Arc. Kill Arc. Maim him. Castrate him. Stop him from defling my daughter.” The Headmaster muttered, eyes not even noticing them as he continued his murderous chant, the thuds of his furious footsteps shaking the ground as he barreled towards them.
“Run!” Flynt screamed, and a terrified Neon followed suit.
Neither of them thought to just move to the side and let him pass by. As such, they were ‘chased’ for several minutes before the Headmaster veered off in the direction of the Bullhead docks.
Penny curled up next to Jaune, listening faintly to the blazing gunfire and raging explosions erupting on the screen before her. She didn’t much care for the movie, the repetitive action having grown stale after the first three movies, but for some reason she was disinclined to move from her comfortable position of cuddling with Boyfriend Jaune, even if his partner was sending her uncomfortably blank stares and had not blinked in an hour now.
Pyrrha Nikos was rather scary for some reason.
But Penny was content to distract herself listening to the thumping pounding sound of Boyfriend Jaune’s heartbeat. It was soft, constant and he had a healthy beat per minute.
It was nice. The echoes rumbled through her systems. It made her feel normal. It made her feel more than just a machine.
It made her feel real.