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.

Seeds of Doubt

Chapter 14:

Seeds of Doubt

*)September 22, 2009, 07:37 KDT(*

Lori put her shortwave radio up, once more disappointed with herself. They'd been here almost four months now and already they had run out of things to learn from the storm. She had spent the last hour arguing with her professor to let she and Eoin come back, only to be told in no uncertain terms to stop complaining and keep looking for information they may have overlooked.

She slowly strode out of the privacy of the bushes, a glum look on her face as she looked out at the storm. The Chu were beginning to stir, and Lori's look soured even more as Farai stood up and stormed over to her.

“What do you want now, Farai?” groaned Lori. She sounded quite dour, a tone which Farai had never heard and which startled him.

“What do you think I want, human?” shot back Farai. “Though you do sound like someone else's already pissed on you.” Farai always relieved himself on Lori's or Eoin's, and more recently Chausiku's and Tish's, leg out of contempt.

“The professor won't let us leave. We're done here and have been for a bit,” she replied, nudging Farai away. Farai “hmph”d and pissed onto a tree. “They keep telling us to look for something to report, but we have nothing more.”

“Aside from Mr. Zoophile?”

“I would prefer not to tell my superiors about the Kabaka's bestiality.” replied Lori icily, walking past him. “I'm more apt to take you back with me to cure your DID.”

As Lori walked, she looked amongst the masses of sleeping Pikachu and Pichu. It was rainy today, and all of them had made makeshift tarpaulins to sleep under, using leaves, as well as elevating the ground they were laying on to keep dry. Small puddles were starting to form around the bases of the elevated beds. The sounds of rain hitting leaves echoed softly in the storm. Sighing, she walked over to Chausiku's house, which had a deep moat dug out around it to keep rainwater from flooding the home.

Entering Chausiku's home, she saw Tish there, looking at a small leaflet of paper. Lori recognized it immediately as the research notes Mudiwa took when he was foraging. “Tish?”

Tish didn't immediately answer, instead trying to sound out the smaller words in the document, speaking under her breath. Beside her was a bowl full of bluk berries, and judging by the look of them she'd been attempting to read without assistance, using the berries as a reward for pronouncing a word right. Lori sighed. Mudiwa's words were likely to be simple enough for her to grasp, but, as she'd found out when she skimmed the document before telling her superiors its contents, Mudiwa was literate on about a fifth-grade level. Given how quickly Tish was learning, she was likely first-grade literate at this point. She had an idea, but then quickly dismissed it, since her superiors wouldn't believe the Chu could speak the human tongue so easily. She had left them with the impression before that the Chu had literate individuals, but that they were aberrations and literacy overall was uncommon and difficult to achieve.

“Tish, how long have you been trying to read that by yourself?” she asked.

“...My head hurts,” was her response. She set the document down on a section of log that served as a table. “How do you understand half of that?”

“Simple: I went past the fifth grade,” replies Lori. “Mudiwa's quite literate.”

“That was Mudiwa's writing?!” Tish looked very surprised.

“Well... yeah,” said Lori. “Has he seriously kept his li--”

“I never knew... He never talked about it, never really interacted much with the rest of us,” said Tish, a bit startled by the news.

To be expected, thought Lori. Mudiwa is part of the Moonlight Meet. She sat down beside her. Even without his literacy, he's not a good mate choice since he won't be breeding.
Silence reigned in the room for a few moments. The sounds of the other Chu waking up was barely audible over the sound of the falling rain.

“To be completely fair, I knew Mudiwa was literate since a foraging outing a month or two ago. He handed me a written account of what happened during it,” she said. “He asked that I not reveal it to any of the Chu, since he feared discrimination.”

“So that means you're breaking that promise,” said Tish.

“You're reading his words. I didn't need to; it was already broken.”

Silence echoed in the room for a few moments, broken solely by the raindrops falling outside. The other Chu started to socialize not long after the silence took hold, resulting in conversation floating into the house. With little else to listen to due to the lull in conversation, Lori paid attention to what was being said, her face growing more and more amazed as she listened.

“Hey, I'll offer you three Rawst for that fishing pole you've got.”

“No way! I wouldn't piss on a fire if you were in it!”

“Get your hands off my nimbus, you lech!”

“So you see, if we just keep playing the same spots over and over we're not going to get more berries over the long term...”

Tish broke the silent reverie. “Lori?”

“...This is... a bit disconcerting. They're bartering for goods...holding reasoned debate...” Lori's face grew more astonished the more she heard. She'd been in the midst of the storm quite frequently, but had never actually paid any mind to the conversations that had taken place therein, mainly because there was so much going on everywhere else that she couldn't afford to stop and listen without things devolving to bloody fisticuffs or matings-to-prove-a-point. She began to wonder just how much this tribe knew independent of human civilisation, and even debated asking Tish more, stopping herself once she realised she wouldn't shed any new light on the question. “...Maybe I misjudged this storm,” she muttered to herself.

As she thought, she remembered that Eoin was late with the reports again. This was getting to be a regular habit of Eoin's, and it was starting to worry her. She had to keep delaying giving reports to her superiors because she had nothing to say that she had not already covered, and Eoin was the only one doing any real work due to his more extensive connections to the omulosi and kabaka through the Moonlight Meet, allowing him better access to the “elite” of the storm. A sigh escaped her lips. “Tshofelo, any idea where Eoin would be?”

“None, Lori, sorry,” came the reply as she set the report down on a “table” consisting of a section of log, separated from the rest of the trunk with an Iron Tail attack. “Besides, I thought he was generally with you.”

“For the love of...” started Lori. She turned around, only to find Eoin right there, pulling a notebook from his suit.

“Sorry I'm late.” He handed the book to Lori. “I had to figure out away to keep it dry.”

Lori gratefully took it, accepting the claim at face value. “Thanks. Any luck staying dry?”

“The notebook, yes, me no.” Eoin entered. “This rain's bloody relentless, and even though this suit is insulated, my feet are tingling.”

“Stop stepping in puddles, then. Chu do run a current through their bodies at all times.”

“Don't remind me,” hissed Eoin. “Only got four hours of sleep. Other four were spent shoving my foot into Nicolau's face or ass.”

“Still won't take 'no' for an answer?” asked Lori, skimming through the notes on the storm's psychological profile. It was clear to her that Eoin knew a lot more about the storm's psyche than she did, as the large 20-page report was quite detailed, but simultaneously, she noted a few words and phrases that suggested that Eoin was, himself, becoming disillusioned.

“Nope. I told him to masturbate far away from me.” Eoin looked tired, indeed; Nicolau had been pretty insistent the night before, and there were tufts of orange-cream fur attached to his foot.

“You can sleep in here, Eoin,” offered Tish, stepping towards the door.

“I'd take the whole hut,” protested Eoin.

“You need your sleep,” replied Lori and Tish simultaneously.

Eoin looked at Lori, and then at Tish. Both of them were moving slowly towards the door. Eoin sighed, moving into the hut, allowing Lori and Tish out.

Once outside, Tish looked at Lori. “You think he'll go for the ka--”

Lori glared at her. “Why would he, aside from the fear of being punished for bestiality? The kabaka's been stalking him ever since he got here!” At the look of surprise on Tish's face, Lori explained. “Kabaka's been pestering him for sex ever since he got here. Eoin's quite tired of his advances.”

“Ah,” said Tish as she set the notes aside and stepped out into the rain. It was starting to lighten up, but showed no signs of otherwise relenting. Lori quickly tucked Eoin's report into her suit to keep it dry, then made towards her radio.
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