Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Beating Around the Bush

Since recent events revealed Vittorio as a supposed Ndakinnian agent, Chepi was only too happy to transfer custody of their disgruntled travel companion over to command central, certain if he really was working for Intelligence, it had probably been a coon’s age since he’d reported in.  Once they’d relieved themselves of that burden, she and the rest of the team headed to NIA headquarters.  With everyone having so much on their minds, for a variety of reasons, it had been a long trip from the states, and no one had done much talking.  By the time they arrived at their home base, Chepi felt it was probably finally safe to address the elephant in the room, as she busied herself about her case reporting paperwork.

       “I just can’t imagine being collared... ” she clucked sympathetically to Fehed and Tala, shaking her head in disbelief. “It must have been absolutely dreadful for the both of you.”

           “I don’t want to talk about it,” Fehed scowled as he dropped his duffle onto his desk, yanked open his locker, and began rifling through its contents.

                 “I might tell you about it later,” Tala sighed, sliding down low into her workstation to stretch out the kinks in her neck.

       Hey, I know how to distract you from all this craziness!,” Chepi blurted, excitedly.  “We have a week of downtime before we’re due for another assignment, so... what are your plans???”

           “I’m gonna go hang out with some army buddies,” Fehed announced gruffly without looking up from loading the bulk of his gear into his overstuffed rucksack.

You’d have thought he was preparing for a violent mission, but Chepi knew her best soldier too well to challenge him.  For Fehed, this was how he relaxed.  And, it was probably exactly what he needed to blow off the steam built up from the past few days.

                 “Well, I have no plans, Chepi,” Tala answered, intrigued.  “What are you up to?”

The werewolf grabbed her jacket and stood, ready for action.

       After being stuck in the U.S., I’m looking forwarded to getting out into nature,” Chepi declared, as she shut down her terminal.  “You’re welcome to join me, if you wish.”

                 “Oh, that sounds perfect,” Tala replied gleefully, donning her wrap just as Fehed, full pack flung over his back, reached the door.

The trio locked the office behind them, and parted ways for their respective versions of R&R.

Chepi and Tala headed out to Cuyuna *Makobaspe Park, in the province of Minnesota.  Both were happy to be away from the turmoil of Chicago, and hoped they wouldn’t be tasked with returning there for quite a while.  They set up camp on the southern shore of Blackhoof Lake, and spent the afternoon fishing from a canoe.   When they’d caught their fill, just before dusk, they rowed back, where Chepi cleaned their catch, while Tala collected firewood from the forest.

*(Mah-koh-BAH-spay)  Ndakinnian term denoting geographical territory:
                                 can mean township, precinct, or province, but is most closely related to “State.”

       So...”  Chepi began tentatively, getting a modest cooking fire going.  “...tell me about the collar?  What was it like?”

Recalling the experience brought a wave of nausea over Tala, and she cringed at the memory.

                     “It was horrible!  When I tried to change into my wolfen form, I felt sick to my stomach, had severe body aches, and got a massive headache.”

       “Ugh!,” Chepi winced.  “That sounds miserable!”

Chepi carefully set the cleaned fish in a pan to cook over the fire.

   “I’ll be honest,” she confessed.  “...that’s one experience I hope I never have to share in common with you.”

                 “I can’t say I blame you,” Tala muttered quietly, losing her gaze somewhere far away in the flames of the fire.  “I can’t say I ever care to repeat it.”

The two sat in silence for a spell, listening to the crackle of the fire, the introductory notes of the evening’s first timid crickets, the waves lapping at the lake’s edge, and taking in the peace of their surroundings while the fish crisped up to a tender golden glow, as its tantalizing aroma warmed their spirits.  Tala leaned back on her elbows, burying her toes in the sand next to the fire, and could feel the chaos of urbanity oozing from her pores like toxin.  In time, she was the first to resume the conversation.

                     “I have a question for you as well, Chepi,” Tala started with a crooked eyebrow at her colleague, who was poking at the fire with a stick, sparks rising up in the heated air above it like kamikaze flies.

                     “Me and Fehed were both special forces in the military... how did you wind up in the NIA?”

       “Actually, that is a weird story,” Chepi mused, removing the pan from the fire.  “I was working on a summer internship in my senior year of college when I was recruited.”

                 “Really?”  Tala questioned.  “An internship?  Doing what?”

She retrieved a couple of tin plates from her back pack, and passed them both to Chepi.

   “I was the assistant to an Antiquarian who specialized in magical antiques.” Chepi said sheepishly, scuffing at the leaves at her feet.

                 “Actually,” Tala pondered for a moment.  “That sounds pretty interesting... what’s the rest of the story?”

   “Well compared to what you and Fehed did before the NIA it seems kind of silly,” Chepi demurred, as she plated the fish, and handed one over to Tala.  “I did get to travel a lot, though... that was fun.”

Tala took a quick bite of fish, then instantly began fanning her half-open mouth, as it was still campfire hot, and she nearly lost the piece back onto her plate, but was determined not to.  Chepi couldn’t help but chuckle at the predicament.  Trying to recover, Tala spoke with her mouth half full, in an attempt to draw cool air in.

                 “Where did you get to travel to?” she managed, sloppily.

Chepi decided to give Tala a break from holding up her end of polite dinner discourse.  She’d seen Tala eat before.  “Wolfing it down” was an apt metaphor.  She prepared to spin the whole tale to anticipate any potential questions all at once.

   “Well, I was apprentice to a regal woman of African descent named Alemayehu.  The first place we traveled to was Gallia . . .

       . . . In Gallia, we stopped at multiple antique shops, and met with several different private owners.  It was the first time in my life I had seen so many white faces.  Our paths crossed from time to time with other natives scattered here and there, but they were few and far between.  There were some Asians, too, but hardly any Africans.  Next, we headed to Nieraeden, which was a real culture shock for me, as there were no natives or Africans there at all, and only a small smattering of Asians.  It was also my first time in Europe...  I was fascinated to see the medieval castles and all the old world architecture there, and I really enjoyed leaning about a different culture.
       . . . Next, we traveled to one of my favorite nations, to visit Atlantis.  It is a true melting pot of cultures.  The Islands there are hosts to peoples from all over the world.  They have developed a mixed culture of their own, and a form of magic that is not practiced anywhere else.  I made sure to pick up a magic book from one of the local antique apothecaries.
       . . . What I hadn’t known was that Alemayehu was a spy, and the entire time we were globe-trotting on our adventure of antique artifacts, she was actually gathering and passing information.  The reason she had apparently selected me as her apprentice is because she had seen that I had taken combat mage training, and if push came to shove, she would need someone to act as a bodyguard.  There were only a few incidents when I actually had to put those skills to use. 
       . . . The worst case was in Asudere.  I was unfamiliar with Arabic culture, and something I did offended a local merchant.  Next thing I knew, we were cornered in an alley by two CIA agents, one with cybernetic implants.  I had never dealt with a cyborg before and had no idea what to do.  I used one of the spells from the Atlantian spell book and that worked.  It caused enough of a distraction for us to escape.  After that, she recruited me Ndakinnian Intelligence, and, I guess, the rest, as they say, is history. 

                 “Whoa!”  Tala exclaimed.

This time, the piece of fish in her mouth did drop from her bottom lip onto her plate, out of surprised reaction, where it bounced off her fork and landed on the log she using as a sitting stool.  Chepi completely lost herself, and howled with laughter, holding her plate in one hand, her side with the other.  Tala nudged her in the arm until she tumbled backwards, fish flying everywhere.

                     “That sounds way more exciting than you first made it out to be!” Tala griped.

   “I suppose it might be,” Chepi retorted breathlessly, still giggling.  “I just figured a special forces combat vet would it find it dull and mundane.”

Chepi nudged Tala back, and they both surveyed the pescetarian carnage in the dirt at their feet, before both started laughing again.

       “Looks like we’re gonna need to cook up some more fish!,” Chepi hollered, wiping away tears of amusement.

Tala shook her head and stood up, as they both began picking up the mess, then Tala headed towards the inlet streaming off the lake to rinse the plates.

                     “I just can’t take you anywhere!” she winked over her shoulder before turning.

Chepi stoked the fire to a warming blaze as the last of the sunlight blinked out over the horizon.  She closed her eyes and breathed in the serenity of the woods.  They had been needing this.  When it comes right down to it, wherever they come from, wherever they go, in the end, the tranquil embrace of nature is where all Ndakinnians truly belong.  It was good to be home.

Posts from This Journal by “omnis terraverse” Tag

  • Notice

    Drustan begrudgingly traversed the labyrinth of tunnels beneath his Apothecary heading to Vito’s subterranean headquarters, annoyed at being…

  • Power Transfer

    Palos, SPAIN. Edgardo Gagliardi plodded slowly towards the docks with his eldest son close at his side. Hoping to rebuild his family’s…

  • Chicago Blues

    Dejhan wandered through the house he had shared with his grandmother in a wistful sense of amazement. He had been surprised to find that not only…

  • Into the Wild

    Fehed never had any problems with feats of endurance, but his mind was elsewhere while the troop finished up the last mile of their final basic…

  • Dark Discovery

    Casimiro shifted in the leather seat of his mid-sized midnight blue sedan, trying to work the circulation back into his lower half. He’d been…

  • Gear Up, Guardian

    Alden dreads election years. He despises having to talk to the press. The complexities of his job alone are bad enough without the added pressure…

  • She Sings the Body Mechanic

    This was the address he had been given by the old sawbones... he double-checked the slip again, just to be sure. But how could this be right?…

  • Check, mate!

    From as quiet an inner space as the back of the mission van would give up, Rhiannon struggled to maintain a firm hold on her reflective calm.…

  • Aftermath

    The Homicide Detective made the fateful mistake of looking directly into Vito’s eyes when questioning him. But the streetwise world-bitten…


Apr. 11th, 2017 11:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I hope you enjoy my other stories.


Mama's Minion

Latest Month

July 2018

Page Summary

Powered by LiveJournal.com