|Another Night In the UR|
You walk into a very large restaurant with high ceilings that leave the rafters exposed. Fluorescent lamps hang from the ceiling, adding light to the floor and tables. Windows adorn the sides of the place, looking out onto the chaos that is Twisted. On some of the walls are paintings, photographs, and holograms of different movies, and a number of people who tend to visit the UR - caught as they're singing karaoke. The hardwood bar rests at the back of the restaurant, surface polished and shiny and all-together spotless (most of the time). Behind the bar are the various beverages that are serveed, and a giant mirror. There seem to be an inordinate amount of different drinks. A large stage rests in one of the corners of the restaurant, with an amazing sound system and a few microphones strung around it. Multiple round wooden tables are in the room, and a swing door leads into the kitchen. Another door leads to the dance club, and another to the gym. And of course, there's an exit. A large fireplace nestles in one of the walls, with a beautiful stone chimney that flows up and out. A long spiral staircase rests near the entrance to the kitchen, leading to a second-floor balcony that overlooks the UR itself. The lights up there are a bit dimmer than those down below.
Sitting bleary-eyed at the bar, local cat-girl Tabitha quietly slurps her soda. The empty glasses of four more are lined up before her. Reaching the bottom of yet another glass she leans forwards and waves at the random guy working the bar tonight. "Gimmie another!" The poor guy just rolls his eyes and goes back to whatever it was he was doing. "HELLOOOO!?" Dejected, Tabitha sulks back onto her barstool, winces, and pulls her tail out from underneath her. "Sheesh, what's it take ta get a drink around here?!"
A flash of fluorecesnt mollusc flows into the dining establishment, bearing an expression of bewilderment if those expressions are as human-like as they appear. The being is also bearing a thick cloak of water constrained by an invisible forcefield, presumably generated by the black disc hovering above the floor. Serenity 'stands' vertically inside the doorway, looking this way and that at the passing patrons.
Tabitha flails abruptly as she becomes aware of the door opening and turns too quickly to glance at it. One second... Two... and Tabitha spills out into the floor, yanking the barstool down on top of herself. "Ne-!" is about all she gets out before biting her tongue and whimpering. At least half the room is still watching Serenity's impressive entrance, while the remaining crowd scoffs at the childish antics and goes back to ignoring the rest of the room. One of the skutters, small mechanical droids with claw-heads, tries to come to Tabitha's aid but promptly rushes away as she hisses at it. "Hello, " she calls out after a moment from the floor. Just assume it's directed at Serenity.
Serenity still looks confused, but is distracted from the unaccustomed attention by Tabitha taking a spill. Ren doesn't immediately move to assist, but does start to approach after Tabitha starts talking to the floor. "Hello?" Ren sizzles uncertainly, on the way over curving into an S-shape with greatly reduced height. "I don't suppose that was intentional?"
The girl fixes her barstool and sighs, "No.. If it where intentional I'd 'ave tried ta be a bit more graceful." One gloved hand grabs the top of the stool and slowly the rest of her follows until she's back on her feet. Smiling sheepishly she holds out a hand to shake. "I'm Tabitha. Nice ta meet'cha."
Serenity shifts the odd green eyes to a matching height as Tabitha straightens up "I wouldn't worry about that, as you've plenty of years to be improving your grace yet." Ren responds to the extended hand with an extended fin extruded into a vaguely hand-like shape. The grip isn't strong, the slippery skin containing only boneless muscle something like the human tongue. It would be warm if it weren't slightly damp and it smells fainly of wintergreen. "You can call me Serenity. I'm likewise pleased to make your acquaintence."
Tabitha raises an eyebrow at the fin and grins after the greeting. "Cool!" Her exclamation is a comment about the shake, not a pun about the scent. "I guess yer new here, huh?" The neko plants herself on the barstool and gestures towards the stool beside her assuming Serenity can use it. "Can I 'buy' ya a drink?" She then turns towards the negligent barkeep. "ASSUMING SOMEONE CAN DELIVER ONE!" The man finally approaches this time and blatantly ignores Tabitha. "Can I help you with anything?"
With a slam, the door to the Usual opens and in walks the Dragon. Not that she KNOWS she's a dragon, but that's another story for another day! Right now, the tattooed woman with blonde and red hair seems quite content to saunter up to the bar. Tabitha is given a smile; Serenity is offered a curious glance over, followed by a respectful nod. "Hey." That's all she offers, before slamming her palm on the bar. "Drinks for everyone! NOW."
"Yes, I'm a recent arrival, which I suppose is painfully obvious," Ren affirms. "Despite the fact that they were most definitely not employees of the Okinawa spaceport, some train station employees helped to get my luggage to the graciously provided free housing." Ren slips in between Tabitha's stool and the one next to it, dampening the latter when it intersects the forcefield. "Hhh..." Ren frowns at the girl's loud demand before looking to the barkeep. "Thank you, no. Perhaps in a bit." The slamming door and vigorous entrance get an inward 'blink' of the eyes from Ren. Serenity watches Sun wit forward-inclined 'ears' for a beat before hissing a tentative "Hello..."
Tabitha's ears fold back a bit as well as the doors crash open. When Sun slams her palm down on the bar, Tabby's glasses overturn and the girl is forced to leap after them least another type of crash occurs. The bartender just groans loudly and walks away, dropping a towel on the bar as he goes. "Nope. That's it. I'm not getting enough tips to do this another night!"
The tattooed woman blinks a few times at the bartender. "Dude, don't be a dick, I tip and I tip WELL." She puffs her cheeks at the man, before shaking her head and hopping over the bar to make drinks herself. "Too bad, you coulda made a lot of money!" She promptly slams her palms down on the bar again, smiling charmingly at Tabitha and Serenity. "What can I get you?" She does glance at Ren again, curious, but doesn't let herself stare too much. Because that would be rude.
Serenity regards the departing barkeep with an apparent loss for words, then continues the winning strategy of keeping the metaphorical foot out of the mouth while Tabitha makes her promise. "Diablo is the restaurant owner?" Ren supposes. Serenity's eyes then follow Sun's sudden movement, one end of Ren twisting semi-idependently in most un-vertebrate-like way. Ren flashes her a smile (as well as one can flash without teeth) and flutters an alarmingly blue 'wing' to her in greeting. "I'm afraid my credit card isn't accepted here."
Tabitha giggles at the credit card comment. "Okay, first of all. Welcome ta Twisted. Second, Diablo is kinda the guy in charge." The words seem to sour in her mouth, but her cheerfulness returns afterwards, "An' for th' most part food an' drinks are free in th' UR. People pay in tips an' anyone can work here. It's a theme." The girl sticks her tongue out at no one in particular as she tests it. "Ne... Ne, c'n I have a Strawberry Italian Soda?" She casually pushes the empty glasses away like no one can see them. "Ne... Ne..." She sticks her tongue out again and runs a finger across it. "I think I'm bleeding." Tabitha looks at her finger and shrugs. "No. Nevermind."
"Eh, the bartender walked away, I figure that's license for free drinks." The slender tattooed woman shrugs, before turning her blue-eyed gaze toward Tabby. "Hell no." She deadpans like crazy for a moment, simply STARING at the Nekojin. Then, she smirks, and sets about making the soda for Tabby. "Sorry, I think my other job ruined my friendly customer service capabilities." She makes a rum and coke for herself, before smiling to Serenity, waiting for a request.
Serenity nods slowly to Tabitha, seemingly enlightened by the welcome and explanation of the surroundings... And then she goes and confuses Ren again with a tongue inspection. "Hh. I think I see. I'm still confused as to whether the free food is the result of socialism or benevolent capitalism." Ren gestures a pair of fins outward toward the rest of the restaurant. Addressimg Sun, Ren hisses cheerfully, "Some cheese might be nice."
Tabitha plays with her tongue while everyone converses. "Ne... It's just how th' Usual has always been. There's something weird about it's kitchen an' food just seems ta always be there. I asked once if it had somethin' ta do with the nanobots in the bartop, but I was told I probably didn't wanna know." Stealing a drink when it's ready, the girl shrugs. "Gegoshi would know fer sure. She's an AI that kinda runs everythin'. There's a few kiosks around you can ask questions at." Her ears twitch back a moment as she ponders. "Or... there... was...?" The girl hums softly a moment. "I'm sorry, I might be forgettin' who I am at the moment. " She briefly casts a worried look to Sun and then resumes drowning her sorrows in soda.
The woman blinks a few times, before turning and moving to the mini fridge and digging out...a block of cheese. This is set in front of Ren with a smile, before Sun looks toward Tabby, brows raised. "Also, bad idea to go into the kitchen without good reason. Things often get thrown." Drinks and cheese delivered, Sun hops over the bar again, settling into a stool and sipping at her rum and coke. A poke is delivered to Tabby's shoulder. "You okay over there?"
"An artificial intelligence controlling nanites," Ren repeats, "which are floating about where people can touch them?" Ren glances suspiciously to the bartop. "Hhh. That would explain much, but I'm not sure that it's any more comforting an explanation than 'magic'." Serenity seems uncertain how to respond to Tabitha's last enigmatic remark. With the order delivered, Ren thanks Sun and extends a pair of fins to set the block upright on its end at the edge of the bar.
The Neko raises an eyebrow at the comment about the bartop but resumes slurping her drink until she hits the bottom of the glass and her straw sounds off the sudden lack of fluids. Setting the glass to join the others, the girl glances at Sun and forces a nervous smile. "Y-yeah. Sure. Doin' great. I haven't had a breakdown in..." She looks at an imaginary watch on her wrist. "...a few hours." There's that forced smile again. "It's okay though. I think. We're learnin' ta get along so far." With a heavy sigh she pushes herself to her feet. "I should probably get back. I'm just kinda takin' a break from the whole, " she wiggles her fingers in the air dramatically, "mind, search, thingy." Yep. That's descriptive. "I don't know what it is about this place, but I always feel calmer when I'm here."
The tattooed woman smiles to Ren, curious as to why she wants cheese, but unwilling to pry so much. She sips at her drink once more, inclining her head in Tabitha's direction. "That's good to hear. Door's always open at my place, don't forget." She smiles faintly, draining the rest of her drink, possibly a bit too quickly, but oh well. "It does seem to calm the nerves, a bit." She lifts her eyes to the rafters, brows raising slightly.
Serenity regards Tabitha with a mildy concerned expression while listening, then motions a 'wing' edge towards her. "If this place is calming while you're on your own, perhaps it would be even more comforting if you came with your parents," Ren offers. Leaning over to the bar for a moment (as opposed to lifting a pound of dairy product in the air) Ren gives the cheese a few licks before straightening up.
With a nod to Sun's comment about her door a more genuine smile spreads across Tabitha's face. One that falls at Serenity's comment about parents. Somehow she can't help but glance back at Sun at that. "Um.. yeah. Y'know it might. I'll have to let'cha know the answer to that someday." After biting her lip and looking to the floor a moment, Tabitha puts on the best, professional smile she can manage and waves at her new acquaintance. "It's been nice meetin' ya Serenity. I hope we cross paths again soon." With another wave towards Sun she dashes out of the room quickly, trying to silence the voices in her head before they can make a scene.
So...she licks the cheese. That's interesting and new. Sun refrains from comment, however, instead hopping back over the bar to retrieve the bottle of rum. Once again, she hops back over, now pouring her own drink and filling it with the soda gun. All she can drink without having to get up? That's awesome. "See you around, Tabby. Come by soon, I have a mind to cook and not enough space in my belly to consume it." She smiles after the girl, before turning to Serenity. "So, hi. I'm Sun, by the way."
Serenity flutters a raised fin edge toward Tabitha in parting. "Likewise, Tabitha. I expect we will." After she exits, Ren turns back to Sun and straightens, 'standing' taller to match her height. Ren smiles to her and replies, "You can call me Serenity." Ren gestures to the bar. "Is this where you can usually be found?"
"Here, and Coffee of Doom. I actually work at Coffee of Doom. Though if you want me to be nice, don't go in there. I am a bitch by trade over there. It's...kind of the thing. You go there expecting rude service." Sun smiles faintly, sipping at her freshly poured beverage. "If you want nice me, I'm usually here. Or wandering around trying to figure out who the hell I am. And what I am." She suddenly pokes at her teeth. "My teeth got sharper when I was pissed off at a customer the other day."
"That's an... interesting service model," Ren remarks. "I imagine it makes measuring success difficult." Ren looks puzzled at her latter observation. Serenity continues to 'stand' (still thickly cloaked in water) between barstools, leaning over for just a moment to rasp off a shaving of cheese. "Is that not something that usually happens to you?"
"We measure success by who can make customers leave in a huff the easiest. I'm usually pretty good at getting them to stick around long enough to cuss me out a few times." The woman shrugs. "I'm probably the bitchiest there, really." The question prompts another shrug to roll down the slender shoulders of the tattooed woman. "Not that I know of. They stayed sharp, too. I've cut my tongue on them a few times before I got used to them."
"I think that I will forego the experience of your finest work," Ren remarks with a smile, extending a bit of fin from the water and across the bar to motion to her. "But what makes you question your ancestry rather than the workplace, city, or customer?"
"Probably for the best, if you want to keep on liking me." Sun smiles, sipping at her rum and coke again. "Well, mostly the fact that I don't have any memories from before I woke up on the beach in a sand crater." She shrugs. "Kinda gotten used to it, but it's always a source of curiousity."
Serenity frowns thoughtfully at the bit of history. "Curiosity seems a positive sort of reaction to the event, if a bit surprising. It has been some years?"
The woman with blonde and red hair blinks a few times. "No, not that long. Maybe a year? If that." She pokes at her teeth again. "First time my teeth got sharp, though. Never had that happen before." She leans against the bar. "So, Serenity. Where do you come from?"
Serenity nods at the explanation, then motions with an extruded 'finger'. "The teeth look good on you, nevertheless," Ren offers. "Me?" Ren responds to her question with an inward curl of the undulatory fins. "I'm from an urban area, more densely built up than this," Ren explains, gesturing outward. "We heartily embrace foreign media, but foreigners themselves are a rare sight. Hence my intended trip to Earth."
A nod bobs Sun's head up and down. "Well, you'll find plenty of foreigners around here, I'm sure. We have...all kinds." She chuckles softly, draining the last of her drink and eying the bottle of rum thoughtfully. "Welcome to Twisted, in any case. You're bound to have an interesting stay."
"Thank you," Ren replies. "I don't doubt the stay will be at least as interesting as the arrival." Ren leans over for another lick of the cheese. (It seems consuming the whole pound thus would take quite some time). "I'd planned on living for a time in various different parts of Earth, to see as much variety as possible, but it's looking as though that might be unnecessary now."
"Variety is definitely something that we have no shortage of." Sun chuckles softly, idly messing with her long blonde and red streaked locks. "There was a frog guy who came in my shop, the other day. He was just as bitchy as me." She states this as if it's a good thing. Reaching out, she pulls the rum bottle from the bar, idly cradling it. "So you have a place to stay, then?"
Serenity nods in reply. With 'ears' inclinded forward slightly, Ren intently watches Sun play with her hair. "I do. I'm not entirely sure of the terms of this free housing, never mind how it operates. But it's a shelter." Ren gestures downwards. "I'm also not sure if wearing an environment suit all day and night is going to work. But how would I find any better-suited accommodations?"
"Not sure on that one." Sun rubs her chin. "Oh! I bet you'd do good with an aquarium. They have a pet store somewhere around here that probably sells something big enough for you. Either that, or you could find yourself a swimming pool for a bit more free movement." She smiles, flicking her hair back over her shoulder, to cascade down her back with the rest of her hair. "Probably much less cramped, too."
"A cage for pets?" Ren repeats with a smile. "Perhaps. Some people do like to lavish unreasonable care on their pets." Ren continues, "I understand that swimming pool preservatives, though, can be irritating with long exposures."
"I'm sure there could be a tank for you somewhere. And a pool, you might see about repurposing into a home for you." Sun shrugs. "Like, fill it with water that won't hurt you, rather than the chlorinated stuff. The chlorinated water is gross, anyhow." She smiles. "I bet I could probably find you one easy enough."