“Have you ever heard of something like this happening before, Carmen?” Tesla asked as he looked over one of the latest dispatch requests. More specifically, the one about howling wails being heard in the dome during it’s night cycles. The little pichu waited a couple of moments, and scrolled through the pages on the holoscreen, but was confused when he received no response. Normally Carmen at least hummed when she was spoken too.
Looking up, tesla found his trainer slumped over the dining room table which was buried in blueprints, prototypes, and spare parts.
“...Carmen? Are you okay?...” He called out from his spot on the couch in the living room.
He got no response.
For a moment, the pichu had a mini panic attack. Did she have a heart attack? A stroke?
“Fuff off, yah brraatty kithss…”
Oh. She was sleeping. And sleep talking, apparently. When did she fall asleep? How did she even fall asleep on all the metal pokey bits laying everywhere on the table? That didn’t seem comfortable at all.
Not wanting his trainer to sleep in such an uncomfortable postion, and go sleep in an actual bed, Tesla hopped off of the couch then scampered over to the dining room table.
Once he was at her sock clad feet, Tes started poking, tugging, calling to her, anything he could to get her to wake up.
Nothing really seemed to work…
“Do you want me to zap her awake?”
“Eh?!” Tesla squawked in shock while whirling around to see who spoke
“Relax, yah dumb. Just me.” Snickered the shinx known as Cain. Or, if it was Carmen speaking to him, “lil’ shit”, “spoiled prince”, “Would you stop shocking me to say hello?”.
“Cain, what?! No, don’t shock her! That’s rude! What are you thinking?!” Tesla exclaimed, but he was just a hair too late. Not that it likely would have stopped Cain from going through with it. He enjoys getting actual reactions out of his trainer too much to stop.
“THE F-?!” Was all that Tesla could hear before a loud THUD and groan sounded out behind him. Ouch…
Slowly, he turned around, and found his trainer splayed out on the other side of the chair she had just been sleeping on.
She didn’t move for a second, and it had him worried all over again, until she blow her bangs out of her face. One relieved, and the other trying to suppress laughter, both electric types hurried over to their trainer’s side.
Carmen wasn’t looking at them at first, instead, she was staring at the ceiling with a blank expression, but eventually, she rubbed her face, sighed, and turned her head towards them.
First, she focused her eyes on Cain, with a deadpan expression that conveyed ‘Cain, what the actual fuck. Why?’ weirdly well. Then, she looked to tesla with a quizzical expression. Last she knew, he was sleeping in his bed while she was working.
‘What time is it?’ She thought, and raised her cuffed arm to check the clock, but found her eyes still hadn’t fully adjusted to the light, making it too blurry to make out. ‘Meh, not like it really matters, I guess.’
She let her arm flop back down onto the floor, and laid there for a moment before forcing herself up into a sitting position. A yawn pushed it’s way out of her throat, and she was so tired that she didn’t even bother trying to muffle it.
“Carmen, you seem really tired. Why don’t you go to your room, and sleep in your bed?” Tesla suggested in a way that made her think of a mother urging her kids to do something.
“Yeah... yeah, that sounds like a good idea, Tes… Give me a minute, and I’ll go...” She agreed tiredly while leaning against a table leg.
“Hey, Carmen, I’m planning on heading over to that little kid’s apartment in a couple of minutes. You know, the one I mentioned was having some issues yesterday, and really liked it when I made electronics go wonky? You have any issues with that? Their place is only a few halls down,” Cain asked, like he hadn’t just scared the shit out of her.
Carmen glared at him out of the corner of her eye for a second, but it’s not like it could hurt anything major, so she gave a short nod. The shinx hummed happily to himself, before he started to head for the door, passing the couch on the way. He paused for a second, before calling to Tesla.
“Hey, Tes! Didn’t you want to talk to Carmen about something on the holoscreen?”
“Hmm? OH! Oh yeah!”
“Well, better do it before she passes out again. See you guys later!” Cain called out before he left
Tesla seemed ready to take his advice and hurriedly went to bring the holoscreen over to his trainer’s direction to see.
Despite being mega groggy, Carmen’s eyes had adjusted well enough to all the light that she could actually read what he put in front of her.
“Bunch of howling…? Only at night…? Sounds like a werewolf kind of thing, but the lonely sounding bit is a bit odd…”
“That’s what I thought! I wonder what’s making it?”
“Hhhmmm… Well, since it’s a dispatch, I’m willing to go and check it out, after I get some sleep. The next night cycle starts… In about 15 hours, I think? Wow, I really crashed. Maybe we can rent a hotel room or something like that, cause I don’t think I’m going to want to make the trip back immediately after any investigation... That sound like a plan to you?”
“Mhm! I’m really curious about it! A little worried about anything that could be that lonely too,” Tesla chirped with a swift nod.
“Alright,” Carmen said before heaving herself up to her feet, “Then we’ll check it out soon. Let me get some sleep, and we’ll head out.”
The low rumble of a train car was slowly fading into the distance as Carmen and Tesla stood on the platform, struggling to make out the directions that were given in the dispatch description. Nothing like that could ever be easy, could it? Not for them, at least. Something that they were all too constantly reminded of, as they attempted to make heads or tails out of any of it.
“It says they think it’s in the low key, and relaxing distract of the dome’s entertainment and culinary departements.”
“Well, that doesn’t really tell us a lot, Tesla. There isn’t just one. There are four. At least.” Carmen sighed. Vague frustration was beginning to build up, and it was steadily leaking into her tone.
“True…” came Tesla’s dejected reply
Pinching the bridge of her nose, Carmen tried to come up with a plan of action for the two of them to feasibly follow through with. They weren’t capable of much, as she was too tired when she actually thought about all this, to think of what they would need, so if the thing turned out to be dangerous, then it’s up to tesla to play defence. And that means they have no way to silencing or capturing the thing other than tesla either. So if it was something they couldn’t handle, they would be in a pinch.
“...Alright… Here’s how we’re gonna do this. Since we don’t have what we probably need to actually deal with the cause of the sound, we’re just going to hang around this district, and try to investigate anything here that might have something to do with it. If we run into it, we’re either gonna have to report the location, and get out of there, or pray it’s friendly, and I’d rather not take any risks like that when I’m barely awake, so we’re route 1 if that happens. If nothing else though, we should be able to narrow down where the thing is,” Carmen conceded, all the while wishing she had at least grabbed her taser on their way out the door.
“That sounds like a plan to me. I can’t think of anything else we could do. All the other districts are too far away from our hotel, since we booked it before realizing how many there were.” Tesla mumured.
“We don’t have much time left in this day cycle. Just under 30 minutes. So why don’t you pick a direction, and we can start looking that way,” Carmen offered, “Should be dark by the time we can actually start getting anything done.”
The little yellow mouse nodded, and climbed up to her head from his spot in her arms to get a better view of the area. Didn’t seem like there was much to see in terms of shady areas. As a whole, this place looked really family friendly. A sign a ways off to his left caught his attention though.
“That sign says there’s a park called ‘Greenfair Grounds’ over to the left of us a ways. If it’s heavily wooded enough, I’d say it’s a good place to start looking if someone wants to hide.”
“Okay then, that’s where we’ll start.”
Setting out on the path off to there left, the two fell into a comfortable silence as they passed by families, humble street vendors, no-so-humble street vendors, teenagers and adults buying from both kinds of street vendors, and other small clusters of people.
By the time they hand entered the park, it was only a few minutes away from dark, and the virtual sky was well into it’s transition. The park not only had thick enough foliage for someone to hide, it was dense enough that moving off the beaten path would be noticeably difficult, and would drastically lessen the amount of ground they could cover. This made it all too easy for the two to agree to stick to the already laid paths, and only venture into the underbrush when and/or if they had a reason to do so. No sense wasting all that energy before even finding the howling thing.
It must have been about an hour of walking slowly throughout park, pausing to check in any easily accessible grottos, and coming up with nothing before they actually got anything.
Tesla perked up.
“Did you hear that?”
Carmen halted, and strained to hear anything before replying.
“Nope. Can’t hear anything.”
“Listen again. It’s slowly getting louder.”
Once again, she strained to hear anything, and this time she actually did. There was a slow, languid howl floating through the air. Honestly though, it almost seemed more akin to a moan of pain.
“Yeah… I hear it now. The description was right. ...It’s a sad noise… Like someone lost a loved one, and now they’re all alone.”
“It really does, doesn’t it? I don’t think it’s in this district though. It’s really echoey and sounds far off. Looks like it’s in one of the districts north of us.”
“Hm…” Carmen hummed, before using her cuff to post that the howling wasn’t coming from the district they were currently in on one of the forum posts discussing the mission, and was instead coming from the upper ones, from what they could tell. “There. Should have other’s investigating it soon.”
Neither of the two moved for a few minutes. Instead, they just listened. The sound was soothing in a way. Almost carthritic, but it was making tesla more sad and worried by the minute. He really wanted to go and help whatever was making such a sad sound, but with how long it would take to reach, it didn’t seem like he’d even make it before the other investigators reached it. To Carmen though, it reminded her of how she felt in the years leading up to leaving her family behind her. Of how she had started to lose touch with her older siblings first, and then her younger being basically ripped away…
“Come on. Let’s get to the hotel. Nothing to be done about it now...”