Newly Introduced CharactersEdit
In June 2062, a near fourteen-year-old Arnett McMillan is travelling in an old pick-up truck driven by her father, going up Interstate 80 in California, en route for San Francisco. A song about their destination plays over the radio, which makes both the McMillan's feel nostalgic. Arnett asks if her father met her mother in the Golden Gate City, and he confirms it. He spoke of how he and his future wife met in a musical instrument shop, twenty years previously, when she was consistently sought after by other men. Arnett claimed if her mother was anything like her, it'd be natural if she was sought after. Her father vehemently disagreed, claiming it was two hundred years too soon for his daughter to compare herself to her mother. When asked how she was different, the elder McMillan replied, "from breasts to hips to everything!" As he laughed aloud, his daughter scowled darkly. However, the elder McMillan thought his daughter was becoming more and more like her mother.
A few moments later, she was asked if she knew there was a Chevalier branch in San Francisco, their destination. She admits she'd heard of them, though she believed the Pandora's did all the work. When asked if she thought they were cool, her mood soured again. She denounced them as being "inhumane," and were controlled by a very strict organizational system. Though her father tried to defend them, and mentioned some of the benefits of being a Pandora, Arnett was hardly encouraged. She countered by claiming that only those who survived got to reap the rewards. And that even if one had stigma compatibility, few "normal" people chose to become Pandora's. In her eyes, only people in high class, aristocratic families or those who belonged to the second generation of rich families, truly desired to become Pandora's; who were wholly different from "poor people" like herself and her father.
The conversation was abruptly interrupted as the pair saw a pair of scantily-clad women, one brunette and one blonde, by the side of the road, trying to hitch a ride. Arnett immediately denounced them as perverts, and forbade her father to pick them up. When the older man tried to point out they looked like they were in trouble, the future "Slashing Trickster" screamed at him, which prompted him to keep on driving. They kept on going, until they suffered a flat tire and were forced to stop. As the two women ran towards the vehicle, Arnett screamed at them to stop, explained their situation and told them not to get their hopes up. They tried pleading their case, but Arnett refused to be swayed. She asked for some identification, which they were unable to produce, yet were allowed in the back regardless, once they'd gotten dressed more appropriately.
The blonde, Cynthia Ruth, thanked them for the ride. Arnett warned her if they did anything funny, they'd be thrown onto the road. Her cohort, Kate Aveli, disagreed, and the elder McMillan tried to assure her daughter by saying they didn't look like bad people. Arnett retorted by calling him naive, and easily exploited. She reminded him that the last woman they picked up stole all his wages for the day. She also pointed that their two new passengers didn't look "normal," especially since they'd stripped down to their underwear in order to hitch a ride. She wondered if they were prostitutes, doing XXX-work. When Kate asked if she looked like she'd do such derogatory things with her beautiful body, Arnett deemed it a confession, which made Cynthia groan in response.
Later, Keith is sitting by a camp-fire, when his daughter approached and apparently gives him a cup of hot cocoa. When asked of their passengers, Arnett mentioned that they'd devoured all the food they'd paid so much money for and were currently asleep. She suggested they get the money back once they reached San Francisco, but her father disagreed, maintaining that they didn't look like bad people. Arnett admitted she wished she could've agreed, but mentioned it would've been nice if they'd cleaned their own plates, which was left to the quite disgruntled teenager.
Keith McMillan then mentioned the test results for Arnett's stigma compatibility should have been released soon. The redhead was hardly enthused, as she admitted while it might have gotten her a good life, there were serious downsides along with it. She insisted she was busy enough protecting her father. She then said she wanted to get a good night's sleep and not worry about the future, since they had to drive all day the next day.
They're next seen at a San Francisco hotel, where Kate and Cynthia thanks Arnett's father for the trip. Arnett notes their good mood, and asked if they were going to hit on men. Kate snapped at her, while Cynthia said they need to find a hotel. Arnett suggested they stay at Mr. Smith's hotel, since it was right near the ocean, and had suitable facilities. The pair thanked her for the information and went on their way. As she eyed a hand-held Somsong console, her father soon rejoined her, and suggested they have dinner at Mr. Smith's place. Arnett was elated by the idea, and went off to change.
Later, at the restaurant, Arnett was working on a calculator. She showed the display to the man across the table, Mr. Smith, which showed him the payment for the next job they'd do for him. The man laughed in chagrin, and noted how different she was from her mother. When asked if they had a deal, Mr. Smith complied, which made Arnett happy.
A few moments later, a large cake was wheeled out into the restaurant by Arnett's father, which surprised the teenager. She was even more surprised when her father announced to the whole restaurant that it was for Arnett's fourteenth birthday. The younger McMillan was startled, as she'd forgotten it was her birthday. She got her first present, the very hand-held console she'd eyed earlier. Her emotions were mixed, as she noted it was very expensive. Kate and Cynthia looked at it with glee, and wanted to swap addresses with Arnett. Her father then produced his second present, a plane ticket from Chevalier along with her test results. She was told she had eighty percent compatibility with stigmata, and she could have enrolled immediately at Genetics. While the patrons and her father were ecstatic, Arnett was anything but. "WHY WOULD I WANT TO BE A PANDORA!!!" she screamed at the top of her lungs. She then asked why he'd made such a decision without consulting her, and asked if he really wanted her to leave him alone and go fight the Novas. She called him an idiot, the worst, and fled from the restaurant.
She's later seen on the docks, heavily distraught over what had just occurred. Her father soon joined her, and profusely apologized for what he'd done. He knew he wasn't the one going to the battlefield, admitted his elation might have blinded him, but told her he didn't want her obvious talent to go to waste because of him, and feared he might have ruined things for her. Arnett then admitted if she had the ability to protect others, then fighting would've been the right choice. "Even if there’s danger in it," she went on, "Pandora's are really something. To be honest, I think all girls have dreamed of being a Pandora. Using their innate talents to protect the world, even at the cost of their lives. They’re beings that have been chosen to do what normal people cannot. Whenever I see and read about the actions of Pandora's on TV and in the news, I always think that it would be really cool if I could be a Pandora. That’s why when I was told that my compatibility rate was eighty percent, it felt as if I was in a dream." Her father was shocked, and asked how she'd known before him. Arnett replied by saying it was impossible for Chevalier not to tell the girl in question of her test results. And though she'd been propositioned to join Genetics, she refused. When asked why, she replied it was because she'd have to leave him. And though she'd have the choice of joining Chevalier or not after Genetics, she'd still have to leave his side for four long years. She blurted out she'd rather die than sacrifice her father for her future, since she feared people would've exploited him if she weren't around. As she sadly embraced him, she muttered that she'd have definitely inherited his truck.
Keith returns to the bar and Mr. Smith, considering Arnett's reaction, proposes that Arnett does not become a Pandora, noting the bullying she may endure by not being part of a rich family. Keith, however, explodes, hating himself because his daughter is not using her talents because he is incapable of being alone.
The next day, Arnett tells Mr. Smith she would've made the beds on the second floor, and was promised the usual pay. She starts at room 203, where Cynthia and Kate were sleeping. She knocked on the door, and got no response. She found it open, and made her way inside. She freaked when she saw the hitchhikers all but naked as they shared the same bed. Furious, she pulled on the bedsheets, which rudely awakened the pair, and accused them of being "lesbo whores." They vehemently denied it, and claimed they'd wound up sleeping like that after they passed out drunk the previous night. Arnett still looked unconvinced, until they showed a portrait of themselves and their supposed boyfriends. Still not entirely convinced, she went to making their bed. As she did, they mentioned about her stigma compatibility rate, which they deemed as being near world-class. Arnett quickly dismissed it, and claimed she was going to take over her father's business instead. When pressed on her reasons, the younger McMillan said she disliked the "elite, chosen one feeling." She concluded by saying that if they ever had daughters that could have become Pandora's, then more power to them. But she wanted nothing to do with it.
Later, she called by her father for their next delivery job. She said goodbye to Mr. Smith, who looked oddly concerned. When Kate and Cynthia asked for a ride to the port, Arnett called them leeches and told them they'd be sitting in the back.
As the truck was on en route to its destination, Arnett rode in the back with them. When asked if she wanted to have played with them, the redhead dismissed it and said she'd only done so to make sure they didn't damage their cargo. Their joviality abruptly came to an end when a gunshot came from behind, striking the wind shield. They looked behind them, and saw an unfriendly man in a sports-car. He demanded them to have pulled over, or else. Keith told them all to get down, as the truck was shot multiple times. Suddenly, the enemy driver produced an RPG, and aimed it at the truck with a sinister grin. Cynthia took hold Arnett, and told them to jump from the truck, which was blown off the side of the road seconds later.
Arnett found herself near the broken guardrail, with Kate and Cynthia close by being slightly taunted by the Mafia. She looked about, and was aghast as she saw her father's truck, capsized an on the edge of a cliff. Overcome with emotion, she slid down the slope to the fallen vehicle. She soon found him in the damaged cab, blood running from his mouth. He repeatedly told her to flee, but she vowed to have saved him. It was then that he admitted he'd taken a job for the Mafia in order to have gotten some extra money, and cursed himself for his failure as a father to Arnett. Despite that, he still wanted her to have become a Pandora, in memory of him. She made a pinky promise with him, but didn't want to have lost him. Suddenly, the cliff crumbled, and the truck began to plummet. "Become a Pandora!" Keith commanded from his doomed vehicle. "No breaking our promise, got it?! I love you, my little Arnett."
As she cried out to him, the truck's descent was strangely stopped. She looked beside her, and gaped in disbelief as she saw Kate and Cynthia holding it up. She watched in awe as they pulled it back up the cliff, and thus saved her father's life.
Later, local police, ambulances, and even the military arrive at the crash site, the truck on its side by the edge of the road. Arnett stands by her father's saviours, who are formally introduced as Cynthia Ruth and Kate Avelli, members of Chevalier USA. She ran to her father's side before he was carted into the ambulance, as the elder McMillan proclaimed how great Pandora's were, and that his little girl would've been one of them. The supposed hitchhikers apologized for not revealing themselves, as they preferred to have remained anonymous. Arnett then apologized for insulting Pandora's without knowing the whole story. Kate took it well, and replied by saying a responsible girl like her would have made for a great Pandora. Cynthia then added that not all girls became Pandora's for fame and fortune. Kate then added that being a Pandora meant that Arnett could not only defend her father, but someone else's father as well, along with the world they lived in. That revelation touched Arnett deeply, as she clearly hadn't considered the notion. As the two got into another bickering match, Arnett actually smiled at the thought of being a Pandora.
Later, at the Genetics Basic Schooling Facility, cadet Arnett McMillan is seen in the assembly hall, along with the gathered Pandora and Limiter cadets, being welcomed to the academy, determined to become the strongest Pandora for her "Papa."
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