Straight from the Squirrel's Mouth is the second of Diane Castle's Aquerna stories. It initially deals with her rush to save the squirrels that were used in her combat final, Never Look a Gift Squirrel in the Mouth and continues through her Winter vacations and Winter Term until February 3rd.
The first chapter, released September 20, 2009, takes place on December 13. Aquerna goes visit her "little friends" who helped her in the Combat Final, and finds out to her dismay that they will be released on Saturday without consideration to squirrel biology, meaning they would all die. With the help of her friends, she hatches a plan to save then. She goes to Jobe, then to Hazmat for help in inducing hibernation, and checks out burrows all over the campus with help from the groundskeepers. Sensei Ito gets her permission to rescue the squirrels, and invites her to his Special Topics - Martial Arts class in the Winter term.
The second chapter, released on October 4, 2009, covers December 14. Anna moves the tree squirrels, which don't hibernate, back to their nests. The first run ends with her tired and wet, but the second and third runs go really easy with a little help from Lancer, leaving the rest of the day free. She checks on Hazmat's progress and makes sure he eats something. She gets to see some more of the Finals, and after dinner Hazmat is set to test the Hibernation Induction Trigger on a few squirrels. It goes well, but they get distracted and Anna has to really run to take the squirrels to their burrows before they conk out. Again, she gets all wet and cold, and now it's Hazmat's turn to take care of her.
In this third chapter,released on November 22, 2009, covering Friday, Anna finally returns all the remaining squirrels to their burrows, with help from Hazmat on the biochemistry end and from her roommate Skids on the delivery—Skids is eager to field-test her souped-up snowmobile and drives Aquerna around all the campus. On the last run, though, Anna is ambushed by Strongarm, Legbreaker and Crunch, but escapes narrowly. She gets to see the last few Combat Finals of the week beside Hazmat.
The fourth chapter, released on December 20, 2009, covers more than one day for a change.
Saturday Aquerna wakes up early and gets back to doing Parkour with the other Hooligans, helps Winnie who was feeling bad, studies for the Finals and talks to the other Underdogs about the challenge Team Kimba gave the Young Turks.
Monday Anna had her Biology finals, when she got extra credit by spotting some hanky-panky going on. Afterwards, she went to see the upperclassmen Combat Finals, had her math final, and returned the things Mr. Miyamoto had lent her for her squirrel-saving mission.
Tuesday she had a trouble-free English final and spent the afternoon with her girl friends preparing for going out with Hazmat. The date went nicely, ending with kissing and a promise of another date.
The fifth chapter covers from the 22th to Christmas' Eve and was released on January 3, 2010. Out of Whateley, Anna has a series of experiences that bring to the fore the fact that, while she may be an underdog at Whateley, she's still pretty impressive among baselines.
Anna says goodbye to her friends and boyfriend and leaves to spend the holidays with Rhiannon's family. The trip, by RV, is fun and they regale Rhiannon's family with tales of Whateley.
Next day, Anna impresses the Davies by setting up the Christmas lights—a job that usually takes a full weekend—in mere minutes. Later, she spars with the brother of one of Rhiannon's friends and defeats him easily. She finds her new sense of balance made her a really good ice skater, too—and that boys will now pursue her.
On Christmas Eve, they go shopping and Aquerna hears a family being mugged. She saves them without breaking a sweat.
On Sunday, Anna arrives back on campus.
On Monday, Anna sees Kerry at the dorm meeting to introduce her. Then she drops in on Erza and Gina, and shows them to Charmer's and Geomancer's room. She has a chat with Kerry and tells her about the combat finals and warns her about some of the bigger problems on campus. Finally she helps her roommate unpack in self-defense—she doesn't want motor grease all over everything.
On Tuesday, Anna adds Special Topics - Martial Arts to her class schedule, and switches Biology to Chemistry. She doesn't like dealing with Mrs. Hawkins. Her Civics class is taught by a Mrs. Devon, who seems to be one of the prototypical teachers from Hell. She checks out textbooks before going to Martial Arts, where Sensei Ito recommends fighting claws and kama. Then at the evening Underdog's meeting, she gets a set of devisor special earplugs from Gary.
On Wednesday, Anna has her first class session of Special Topics - Theory and Practice of the Escape, with Mr. Robertson. Then, after martial arts, there's a situation between Packrat and Flashbang in the girl's locker room, where Flashbang accuses Packrat of stealing something from her pack.
Anna has a short discussion with Mr. Miyamoto about her work assignment. Then she has a discussion with the rest of the Underdogs about the shoulder angels and her Christmas vacation.
Aquerna works with the grounds crew inspecting trees for snow damage. They have a great time. Aquerna goes to the school meeting about the shoulder angels.
Then she goes on her date with Jerry, they have pizza and see a movie, and she listens to Jerry tell her a lot of interesting stuff.
On Monday, Anna has her Civics class. After lunch her Theory of the Escape class deals with strait-jackets and in Martial Arts she gets to face Shroud. At dinner, Phase invites her to her birthday party.
On Tuesday, Anna messes up her katas during Martial Arts and Sensei Ito makes her stay after to get straightened out. He warns her against trying to imitate Chaka, and suggests she practice blindfolded so she doesn't get distracted. On Wednesday Mr. Robertson shows the escape class how to pick the locks on official EX-4 handcuffs. During Martial Arts, Aquerna is paired against Shadowolf. Then she watches Chaka vs Judicator, Phase vs Swordmaiden, Interface vs Appaloosa and Força vs Gavotte.
Then there’s more martial arts stuff.
Then Sensei Ito called on her to fight Força in Martial Arts.
She ties Força 1-1. Then there’s some discussion of Phase’s birthday party in the locker room, and more in the Underdogs’ clubhouse, ending with some speculation that Jobe might be able to make sheep that would grow paisley and checks wool.
On Saturday, it's Phase's Birthday Party! They get to go on a specially outfitted 767, and wind up at Harrison’s Restaurant in the special dining room with oodles of good food.
Then they get attacked by a dozen guys in power armor.
The fight at Harrison’s Restaurant. On the way back, Aquerna talks to Abby about waitressing at the next Golden Kids meeting. Then she talks to Jericho and Adrienne about Jobe’s Drow plans and Bova, and also about the way Samantha cleaned up and disarmed all the mercenaries after the fight. She learns about the New Olympians by overhearing Phase talking to Prism.
On Sunday, Aquerna has a date with Jerry. Among other things, they discuss Papa Schimelhorn and devisors who can’t make anything work for someone else, or sometimes can’t even reproduce something they’ve done once. Then they talk a bit about Phase.
On Monday, Aquerna goes to the workshop with Hazmat (Jerry) to tell the story of the trip again. She tries to find Phase at lunch, but Phase is off doing her detention with the chefs. She spots something strange with Fey’s necklace.
The next Saturday, Aquerna goes to The Shed to get in some time on her work grant, and is assigned to check the trees in one of the groves for snow damage. She overhears some of the Good Ol' Boyz setting up a trap for Phase, and then her phone rings, giving her away. The resulting mess is worthy of the Keystone Kops. She reports to Lt. Trout and Sgt. Buxton, and then Phase. It turns out that Phase had been setting it up as a trap for the Good Ol’ Boyz to give them a chance to take the bait and get in more trouble.
- Sensei Ito
- Killstench (Mentioned.)
- Outcast Corner (Mentioned.)
- Angelique ("old French superheroine", mentioned.)