Penelope skittered to a stop in her human office and sat back on her haunches. A tiny paw absentmindedly stroking her long whiskers, Penelope contemplated the whereabouts of her research files. She knew they were in this office, but where? Her beady little eyes darted here and there.
Suddenly, without warning, an offensive odor filled the air and then almost immediately Chelsea slid into the room at an angle, reluctant to use her claws as traction on the cement floor. Her tongue hung out of her mouth as she panted, quite out of breath. Penelope froze, unsure of how Chelsea might react to her mouse form.
Never having been in this particular room before, Chelsea gazed wide-eyed at the quite mundane office as if she were in an elaborate museum. She crept slowly towards a towering bookcase overflowing with dusty volumes as if it were a fascinating exhibit. Noticing her preoccupation, Penelope began to plan her exit, and extended one back leg cautiously towards the door. Somehow Chelsea noticed this disturbance and whipped her entire body around and lept the distance between them until they were nose to nose. Penelope tried to ignore the stench. She held her breath and involuntarily blinked several times in rapid succession. She noticed Chelsea’s tail swishing from side to side. “Feline or canine?” Penelope fretted.
“Hi!” Chelsea yipped cheerfully. Penelope breathed a sigh of relief. After a brief conversation, Penelope scrambled up onto Chelsea’s back. She held onto the scruff of her neck as the unlikely duo bolted out the door and into the corridor.
Penelope heard Edgar sigh for the hundredth time that day. She rolled her eyes. Edgar was certainly Rowena’s cat. The two of them resembled each other on the dramatic scale. Despite all of the modifications she had performed on Rowena and the two years she had looked after Edgar, neither had ever warmed to Penelope.
Rowena’s life work and research had always come before personal relationships. Edgar was the one great exception, but even then, Rowena hadn’t been able to resist a tiny modification on even him.
A pioneer in her field, Dr. Rowena Siobhan Crane, Ph.D. was the top scientist in the known multiverse in genetic research. She quickly became known for mocking her colleagues and being difficult to work with. Nevertheless, she was heavily sought after.
In reality, she had little patience for pettiness and a biting sense of humor which was often misunderstood. After abandoning a series of posts at both public and private institutions, she founded her own research facility. Looking to distance herself from her former colleagues and to fly under the professional radar, she named her facility Odd Mods. Other than the random call looking for automotive modifications, the facility stayed out of the general public’s attention.
She brought on board the only colleague she could trust- the fully competent and highly respected P. Fiona Glyndor, Ph.D. Rowena had known Fiona for thirteen years and had never known the P stood for Penelope. Who would have guessed?
“You think you know a person,” mused Rowena. After realizing her data was intact she had let her mind wander. Now she glanced over and saw Edgar talking to her field companions. They had no idea what they had just flown into. Horatio and Eric were just run of the mill wrens. She heard them in turn scoff at the idea of cats really existing. “Uh oh!” she giggled aloud. The birds turned to her with alarm.