AGNPH Stories

Tempestas et Stringere by Bébinn Heffernan


Story Notes:

Sorry for the long absence; I've had a lot of things to do, a massive amount of writer's block recently (The latest Karistaa Usko chapter's presently in Limbo), and a complete overhaul of my mythos, so I decided to do one more in the general Pokemon universe. As the July contest inspired me a bit to write this chapter, it's a contest entry (or, at the very least, Nowhere and Everywhere is since I'm not certain how long this inspiration will hold).As usual: Pikachu, Pokémon, Mother et al. are the property of Nintendo. The characters are mine, as is the plot.

Author's Chapter Notes:

They say Common is the hardest language - a lesson Tish learns the hard way.

Calamari Tricker

Chapter 11:

Calamari Tricker

*-)August 26, 2009-10:04 KDT(-*

Lori and Eoin sat down with Tish in Chausiku's hut. Neither had Chu duty, and Lori was out of her suit.

“Shall we start, Tshofelo?” asked Eoin. He was holding a few bits of text he acquired from various literate Chu.

Pii...” she said nervously. She looked to the door. Ibrahima was there, whittling a small chunk of wood with his teeth, back to the door.

Eoin turned to Lori. “You start, I'll translate.”

Lori nodded, then took a scrap of paper from Eoin. This scrap showed a ball at rest. “Ball. This is a ball.”

Eoin's translator converted it into Chu as he repeated the sentence to Tshofelo. They assumed, in the absence of any formal linguistics training, that this would be the best way for them to do it.

Pii-ka...” said Tshofelo. Eoin's translator buzzed, doing the extra work converting from Chu (which the two had known to translate directly into African languages) to Common.

“No, ball,” said Lori. “Ball.”

...Bee-ka...” Eoin's translator didn't bother; it was gibberish as spoken.

“Close.... Ball.” Lori said it slowly, allowing Tshofelo to see how her mouth moved. “Ball.”

B...baw.....” started Tish.

“You've almost got it,” muttered Eoin under his breath so as not to interrupt her train of thought.

“B...Ball?” said Tishofelo. Her voice was very uncertain at best, and her accent very heavy.

“Very good!” said Lori in a very praiseworthy manner, so that Tish could get the gist of it. Tishofelo smiled and started overusing her new word, before Eoin stopped her. “Okay, next one...” Lori selected a page from an economics notebook, which had a koban (An oval gold coin, held by Maneko Neki statues and beloved by Meowth) on it. She points at it. “Coin.” She mouths it slowly for her.

Ka...?” Tish started. Eoin's translator threw out a “Guh...?”

“Lori, ix-nay on the oin-cay. She wouldn't know what the hell it is,” whispered Eoin.

Lori sighed, then discarded it. “Nevermind.” Tish cocked her head as Lori reached for another item from the stack, not looking. Tish averted her eyes. “What?”

“Uh, Lori, you picked up a page from Playboy.”

Lori sheepishly discarded this picture, looked at the stack, and grabbed a small torn panel from B.C.. She pointed at the rock in the panel. “Rock. Raaawwkkk.”

“Ka...” Eoin's translator wasn't buzzing. “Ka...Kawk?”

Eoin burst out laughing, rolling onto his back and pounding the ground. Lori sighed. “No, rock. You almost had it.”

“Ka...Ka...Kkkkaaa....” She was having a hard time pronouncing the first two letters.





“Progress!” said Eoin. “At least she's not saying 'cock' with a straight face.” Lori shot a glare at him. “That was good, but try to leave out the Chu, alright?”

Tish nodded, trying again. “Ka... ka.... k..rr...rrrawk?”

“Very good, Tish!” said Lori, applauding. Eoin looked through the pile and found a fragment of what appeared to be a cookbook, showing a lovely cherry pie. He handed this to Lori. “Pie.”


“No, pie, as in the dessert, not th-- oof!” Lori punched Eoin in the gut.

“Pyyy...” said Tish. This word was relatively easy since it was very similar to one of the natural syllables of the Chu language.

“Now say it faster,” encouraged Eoin.


“That was a little simple, Eoin,” said Lori, looking for something else. She settled on a small scrap of a card from a trading card game, which showed a big, if stylized, green tree. “Tree.”




“Close,” noted Eoin, “but not quite there. Watch Lori's lips as she pronounces the word.”

“Trrrreeeee.” Lori said it slow and emphasized her lip movement.


“Very good!” said Lori happily.

Eoin looked at Ibrahima, who turned back to look. He gave a frown, sighed, and turned back around.

Lori looked through the material for something else, but found nothing. “Sorry, I don't have anything else,” she said.

“I know someone who does, though,” said Eoin, standing. “I'll be right back.” He strode out of the hut.

Lori looked at Tish. “While he's gone... repeat after me. The.”

Pi?” she asked.

“No, the. Theeee.”


“Without the 'ch',” she said, then let her see her lips's movement. “The.”


“Very good,” she smiled, then went right into the next word. “Is.”


“Is. Iiiiiiisssssss.” For added effect, Lori showed her the movement of her lips, teeth, and tongue as she spoke. Tish spent a few moments working her own maw into that configuration, cursing her buck teeth in the process.

After a few moments imitating the mouth motions, she tried vocalizing it. “Eee... Eeesss?”


“Eee...Ih... Is!”

Lori looked at the door. What was taking Eoin so long? “At. Aaaaat.”

This one Tish didn't need much coaching on, again due to similarities. “At.”

Lori was about to start the next one, when Eoin entered, carrying an armful of reading material and scraps of pages from picture books. All of them had been borrowed from Mudiwa, under the pretense that Eoin wanted something to read other than his and Lori's handwriting. He softly set them down on the driest part of the ground, then gestured at it. “Here you go, Lori. Mainly picture books and illustrated dictionary scraps.”

Lori sifted through the pile and picked out a picture of a moon. “Moon. Moooo-ooon.”

Tish looked at the picture, nodded, and, a bit more confident, got it on the first try. “Moon.”

Eoin nodded. “We'll stick with the one-syllable words for now. Easier to understand.”

*-)August 30, 2009-11:00 KDT(-*

We spent six hours on Wednesday teaching one Pikachu, Tshofelo, the human language, per her request. She was an astonishingly quick study, and by the end of those six hours she had learned to speak rudimentary English, at about a first-grade level. We had assistance from the human detritus that had found its way into the storm, but for the most part she learned it from us speaking, watching our lip movements as we said each word.

The success we had with Tshofelo raises a serious question about the actual intelligence of this storm. We have already established that there is a minority English-speaking population in the storm (See the transcript of the August 16, 2009 report), and that they are largely discriminated against because the storm has had very poor history with humans in the distant past. However, given how quickly Tshofelo learned our language, it's certainly possible they have intelligence on par with, if not greater than, our own. In all our studies of Chu behavior, while the species are intelligent by animal standards, none -- not even other Pichu, Pikachu, or Raichu -- have displayed this level of intelligence.

As I ponder this information as well as the fact I'm technically in a military “blind spot”, I'm beginning to wonder if this intelligence is due to natural evolution -- a possibility that seems more and more unlikely every day -- or if there's another hand in this; maybe the military turned an experimental weapon on them or used them as guinea pigs surreptitiously, an even remoter possibility but still plausible with the evidence I presently have.

All I know is that something is unusual here... and if it turns out to be something the military's done, I fear for my family and Eoin's.
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