author:FutureOracle inspired_by_Oculus police_fluffy undercover

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Buddy vs The System: Filth and Answers

Yeah, this assignment would definitely be one of your worst. Not because of the horrors of this world, not because you had to make haunting sacrifices, but because of all the constant smell of filth. In order to better hide and track down the Shadow Man, you were stuck with either moving by yourself and hiding in secluded spots, or find a herd to sleep with so if a Cleaner came, you could be alerted by the screams and run away. But these fluffies, they had no sense of cleanliness, or “feewing pwetty” like fully developed ones had. They barely made any attempt at cleaning themselves, and the most involved licking they did was to take care of newborns. Though these guys were probably on the friendlier side, all told. Despite looking quite different, they generally accepted you. And because every fluffy had some amount of their own body waste on them, there were no poopie fluffies to be treated harshly.

But the stench! After this was done, you would be spending an extra long time any time you got bathed, for everything right now was feeling extra gritty and awful. No wonder this city hated fluffies, if this was all they had exposure to. They didn’t even know of the different species that existed, like fluffalos!

“Fwuffie wub weiwd fwuffie, gib speciaw huggies?”

“Ehhhh, flu - fwuffie nu wan gib speciaw huggies, aweady hab speciaw fwiend”

“Oh, otay. Fwuffy stiww wub yu!”

Yeah, outside the constant threat of extermination by flame, these guys were pretty relaxed and child-friendly. Were it not for their genetic flaws, which were pretty dire, and the out-of-control breeding, they basically fit the first generation of fluffies image. Though something odd about them was that they had never even seen or heard of alicorns. It seems like the way their genetics worked didn’t allow them to produce one.

“WUUNNN FWO - SCREEEE!!!”

“Buwnie munstahs hewe! Fwuffies wun away!”

Ahh yes, for where feral fluffies gathered, there would be humans bringing death. Though these guys weren’t here for sick thrills, but for paychecks from the government here. You didn’t envy the Cleaner’s job, though you personally wished that you could just flash your badge and not deal with them. But without any official support, any proof of authority would only be seen as a joke. However, you could actually move fast and sneak, so evasion was of little issue. Though this brought you no closer to your target. And while you took to a fast exit from the burning cacophony, you set about in your head what steps to take next.

*Cleaner: Sam”

Joy be to this wonderful day, you got paired up with good old Pastor Cleanse here. The guy wasn’t bad, but the fervent efforts he put in did mildly worry you. That, and despite his old age, he was fast. Faster than you, and definitely faster than the fluffies he was torching right now. No trucks today, the assignment was patrolling a general area that had received reports of multiple herds in it. Those were the worst, for all of the things these heavy suits were meant for, they were not meant for prolonged running. But considering the filth that a Cleaner had to wade through, no protection was to be spared.

“Hey Pastor, *huff* mind slowing down for us normal people?” came your sarcastic call through huffs as you approached the man.

“Burn now, you vermin of filth! Know that your end will only mea - oh, sorry. I forget myself sometimes. Let me finish, then we can find a spot to sit down.”

Man, he could turn from fiery (heh) inquisitor to calm and caring old man in a blink. But hey, that meant you could finally catch your breath and give your legs a much needed rest. Still, this would only be a brief rest, for this place had fluffies practically crawling everywhere. That wasn’t even a figure of speech, there were so many foals and crippled just crawling everywhere. Seems like the reports were only made with people taking brief looks. Though you can only imagine the smell made it to where investigating was not an option.

“Man, this place is bad.”

“Agreed, young lady. This pit of filth has been left alone for too long, and so we must pay for a lack of diligence with intensified effort.”

Right, the guy was a pastor before being a Cleaner, and judging from the choice of words, really enjoyed his religious books. But his description unfortunately matched what was happening.

“At least these guys are normal-ish. Yesterday, I saw this weird looking one in the Marcen District.”

“Weird looking? Did it have longer legs and an oddly shaped face?”

“Yeah. Also, when I looked at its eyes, it was like it actually had some brains in there. Probably the light and nearing the end of my shift though. Hey, are you okay?”

Even with the suits, the amount of shaking coming from the pastor was just a tad worrying. However, he began doing what you assumed were calming breaths, and replied with a voice that was a bit tense.
“I apologize, for what you saw was a mutant that I encountered the other day. It somehow got away from me, and the last time I saw that one was in the St. Josah District!”

Well, that’s weird. But hey, not your problem. A proper herd beginning would be around two to three of each sex, and a singular adult fluffy that wasn’t already in a herd or had a mate stood little chance of making a herd. Still, sitting here meant that the pastor would dwell on it, so the time to get back to torching was now.

“Look, it’s probably just some mutated types that are making the rounds. I wouldn’t worry about it. Besides, it’s close to twelve, and we’ve got about half of the area to clear out.”

“Right, right. I am sorry, a proper person should not let their frustration and anger boil and froth in such a manner.”

It didn’t sound like he got his mind off it, but you and him were moving again, showing to these poor unfortunate ferals the consequence of a corporation’s laziness.

*Buddy*

Out of everything you were expecting for today, two big clues to the Shadow Man were not on the list. The first one came from a random feral, who kept going on about how a human would give funny smelling and tasting nummies that made fluffies high. Originally, the thought was that it was a person who didn’t care about the filth, until you got a proper description of what he was handing out. Purple colored, and from what you could figure out from their limited vocabulary, a texture like soft candy. The Mad Hatter’s Tongue, a synthetic drug that was incredibly effective, but came at a cost of being terrifyingly addictive, with dire withdrawal effects. It also had the effect of quickly dissolving, meaning that for tests to detect it, it would have to be done within a few hours of consumption.

A choice product that the good old shadowy criminal happened to peddle. And from your briefing, this drug had not yet hit the city, so unless it had just hit, you had a spot where Josh was at! And when you arrived at the location, after some difficulties due to the vagueness of the directions, you managed to sneak away from a couple of office workers on their smoke break.

“You know, that weird guy in accounting is doing pretty good from himself.”

“You mean Josh, uh, C something?”

“Josh Chol, the new hire. I had my doubts, the guy’s fashion style is out there, and the way he speaks kinda weirds me out, but man, give him a task, and he gets it done! Helps that he’s pretty friendly as well.”

“Please don’t tell me that he’s new to this sector. We’re not the worst, but these fluffies make it smell like it some days.”

“No clue. And honestly, who cares? He does his job, and doesn’t bother people. Aw great, break’s nearly over.”

As the two headed in, your mind and heart were racing. Considering how this place had never been bothered by the Shadow Man, there’s a good chance that a simple change to his last name would be all the cover needed in a normal situation. Unless it was something drastic, or affected other cities, events that happened tended to be covered only in their local area. And you confirmed that the guy worked here! Unfortunately, you had no idea what his shift was, so a stakeout was - Aw for the love of! A Cleaner showed up, and judging from the smell, had treats with a strong scent to lure out fluffies. Seems like this business paid for an additional tax to have daily patrols around their building. Smart, but a major wrench in your plans. While you could deal with the ferals being taken care of, you feared that one of them would mention you, and would lead to a confrontation. And the devices you had on you were meant to go through only standard clothing, so even discreetly knocking one out was not an option. Well, you could manage to hide for now, and figure out a better way to get to the Shadow Man.
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