Penny Richards is an orphaned character who was introduced in the first book when she was at the same orphanage as Otto, but most of her 'screen time' is when she joins H.I.V.E. with her best friend, Tom, in Aftershock and in the following book Deadlock. After Otto was sent to H.I.V.E., Penny and Tom started their own wealth redistribution program, named The Hoods after Robin Hood. She has bright pink hair, but it's naturally brown.
In The Higher Institute of Villainous EducationEdit
Penny lives at the same orphanage (St. Sebastian's) as Otto. Otto describes her as looking like "the sweetest, most innocent girl that you could ever hope to meet." (106). She and her friend Tom steal items from people for Otto's various projects. They "seemed to be able to get their hands on just about anything" (107) a skill that most likely gets her into H.I.V.E. later on.
Penny and Tom are captured and taken to H.I.V.E. by Raven herself (which doesn't happen all that much, only for important people like Otto or double retrievals like them). During the assassin's assault, Penny manages to hit her with a tazer gun in the shoulder, but to no avail. Once they get to H.I.V.E., the two of them are immediately accepted into the group by Otto, who introduces them as old colleagues. He then coaxes the others into trusting them so that they can help them with their plan to steal the exam papers and the location of the Hunt. Penny is with Nigel, Tom, and Franz during the mission, helping with the technological things. For the Hunt itself, Penny is put in a group with Otto and co. with Raven as a chaperone. But before they can land properly, they are attacked by the Disciples. The students all escape through the hatch in the Shroud they were in, and keep in movement for awhile before Raven catches up with them. Because the Disciples have 'taken over' the Hunt, the Alphas and Raven camp out overnight in a cave. The following day, on their way to an abandoned facility (so that they are in a semiprotected area when activating a beacon for H.I.V.E. to rescue them), the group has to climb part of a mountain. When they reach the top, they are assaulted by a Disciple helicopter. Nigel is hit in the chest area, and Penny's leg is grazed by a bullet. Once they reach the facility, Penny and Tom admire Shelby's lockpicking. Then, Penny along with Tom, Nigel, and Laura hole up in a church in the recreation of an American town. When the Disciples follow the beacon, Anastasia Furan comes straight to the church and blackmails Laura into surrendering. Furan brings Penny and Tom to the Glasshouse with her (because "they had nothing to do with the destruction of Overlord" ), along with Laura because she had given the Disciples the location in the first place, and Nigel so he could act as a bargaining chip.
Penny is now at the Glasshouse, and seems to be doing alright. All of the Alphas that were taken to the Glasshouse hate Laura because Anastasia Furan told them that she was the reason the Hunt had been infiltrated and their classmates killed. Because of this, Tom and Penny rarely speak to Laura. Soon, Laura has a plan to help tell H.I.V.E. the location of the Glasshouse, and she needs the two of them's help. While Tom fake-attacks Nigel demanding to speak to Furan, Penny pickpockets a guard, giving his PDA to Laura to work with. She is done quickly, Penny replacing the PDA without any trouble. Then, things start to go wrong. Tom, who has been holding Nigel over a large drop over a balcony, is shot dead by Furan. Nigel is caught in a net beneath the balcony. Penny tries to run to Tom, but she is held back by a couple of guards. From then on, Penny warns Laura and Nigel to "just stay away" from her, obviously in emotional distress (165). She is later rescued with the rest of the Alpha stream in the Glasshouse and is seen at the end of the book watching the four from afar, "something cold and hard behind [her eyes]" (90).