|Restaurant in the Middle of Nothing|
Even though they ate lunch right before leaving, food sounds very appealing all the same just now. "I could eat," Gemma says, a smile gracing her lips.
"Dear God, I wonder what sort of menu a floating chunk of rock has to offer? Curiosity may kill us all after this...but there's little else to do. I'm in," Felicity says, regarding her surroundings with intense scrutiny that only an admiral's daughter can muster this way.
Mimi Valroon finally gets out of her seat and hangs her headset on the back of it. "It looks like one of those total dives you find on the side of a highway in the States. Kinda a crapshoot when it comes to how the food is." She shifts her shoulders and bounces on her feet slightly before heading to the hatch to let the group out of the plane. "I suppose here, it's a crapshoot as to what is actually is, too. And we may have to deal with pirates." Wait, aren't these three supposed to be pirates? Clearly not in Mimi's mind yet.
"Imports would be my guess. Either way, it can't be worse than some of the things I've had to ingest in the past few years. And given the fact that there was a flying galleon attached to the platform, I'd say pirates are likely, but they may not be as bad as you think, and if they are I'm sure we can handle ourselves," Gemma says, confidently. When you've dealt with an army from the Winterlands, pirates don't seem nearly as scary as they might have sounded when she was younger.
There's a glint in Felicity's eye at this talk of piracy and danger. It seems these are the appetites that call to her. Yes, any sensible young woman would wish to avoid danger but Felicity, while having been called a great many things in her life, has not once been saddled with 'sensible.' To even think it! It just so happen that Felicity had anticipated such an occasion and brought along her trusty sword. Now that they are about to disembark, she goes to fetch and fasten it to her person, somehow seeming to stand a bit taller and more gallantly as a result. "Let them come. We'll dispatch them...Though I rather doubt they'd take much. Notice of a trio of ordinary girls....Except for perhaps...more lascivious urges. Hrmph."
Mimi Valroon mumbles, "Well, I doubt the grow much on this rock..." as she fastens her own pistol holster to her hip. Yes, the Mauser. "I'm betting if they're not actively already raiding, though, they won't want to bother anyone. Also, I'm not seeing any black flags." Not that the trio will directly pass by the ship: Halberd, not needing to be moored to a dock, landed fairly close. No, the most interesting vehicle they pass by is a Winnebago with wings apparently haphazardly bolted onto it.
"I would not care to try to fly in this," Gemma says as they pass the Winnebago. "At least Halberd was created to fly, and I am rather certain that simply adding wings to a vehicle or objects does not make it fit for flight. I'd be much too frightened to plummet down into the endless void?"
Felicity can only laugh at the ridiculous looking thing, yet she finds something to admire in its little "can-do" attitude, if in fact objects could be said to embody such a thing. It defies convention and there is certainly a lot to admire in that. Absurd, maybe, but bold and if there is one thing Felicity likes it is boldness....well, her own, anyway. "I'm reminded of a time Skeeve and I toured the outer regions of Elmoria. The port cities were full of all sorts of strange crafts from all over. Most of them were proper air ships, of course, but there were a few absurdly bizarre contraptions that surely must have led to many grisly deaths...One exploded then and there. The creatures that managed to eject all looked like small lizards with great fat chicken bodies...Honestly, I've never seen the like!"
A guy in a brown leather jacket and what looks like a human-dog hybrid in a brown jumpsuit hurry by on their way to the Winnebago. Yes, the dog-man has a 'doggy bag' of leftovers.
"It... probably works somehow," says Mimi, careful not to say aloud what she's talking about in earshot of the two. It's best not to insult someone's plane, ship, whatever in front of them. She knows from both ends of that." She pauses, then winces as Fee talks about the exploding lizard-chicken ship. "That sounds... like... quite the sight to see?" She really can't even imagine it. But of course they're at the Diner now! It looks very much like the classical 50s diner, but not a menu to be found. Scattered about the place are a bunch of rakish but sharply dressed individuals in red and gold uniforms, all well armed with a wide array of weaponry between them, but all clearly here to partake in the food.
"Anyone knows who they are?" Gemma asks in a low voice, wondering why so many men in uniform would be gathered here and what their next stop or mission could be. Most of them are young, handsome and well built and act as if they very much know it. As the trio of girls move towards one of the free booths, a dark haired and dashing young man with a mustache elbows one of his mates and nods at Felicity as she passes, grinning wolfishly.
Felicity 's first thought upon entering is that there are already far too many people for this small space to accommodate comfortably. Oddly, her mind whooshes back to her mother's salon in Paris, with all of it's Bohemian artists and poets milling about. But, no. This diner is nothing like that. The aesthetic is completely different and the people here are certainly not sappy artists. What draws her eye are the weapons. Lots, and lots of weapons as far as the eye can see. The red uniforms immediately call to mind the English soldiers with their intensely red coats. It's Gemma who asks the question that flits across her mind - who are these people? As long as she's been in Mabase, she's never seen soldiers of this sort.
Either she hasn't noticed or she simply refuses to acknowledge the mustachioed fellow who seems to gawking. Instead she moves to stand closer to Mimi and Gemma. "Here now," she says quietly to the girls. "From where do you suppose they hail? Armed that much, they must surely know where to find a good adventure." Ah. It's given her ideas.
Mimi Valroon shrugs at the question of who the dozen or so apparent soldiers are. "Never seen 'em before, either. Probably are from that sailship, I'm guessing?"
And approaching now is a waitress... no, not the bubbly, attractive, flirty type. This is the mid-50s, jaded, seen everything and no longer cares type. "Soup or salad?" she asks with a disinterested, gravelly voice.
Gemma seems a little taken aback by the waitress' lack of manners, but she recovers quickly. "Soup," she says though what she'd really like is to ask if there is anything else on the menu but the older lady's expression does not invite questioning.
Well, this is to be expected isn't it? Felicity regards the waitress cooly. This is a question that - aside from being somewhat rudely put -lacks vital portions of information. Felicity refuses to make an uninformed decision. "What -sort- of soup and salad?" The whole time, she's giving the server the most baleful of looks, annoyed by the oversight.
Mimi Valroon says, "Uh, salad?" She looks to Felicity, then back to the waitress as Fee asks her question.
Said waitress shrugs at the question. She's completely unfazed by the dirty look from Fee. "The cook makes it up as he goes in there. Right now the soup has some rice and vegetables in it. Smells like it has a lot of spice? Salad's got nuts and some fried meat in it. Some kinda green dressing." No mention of what the meat is. Likely she doesn't know. If anyone looks around... there apparently are no other options. Everyone here is eating either soup or salad... but on the plus side, everyone seems to be enjoying the food.
Gemma eyes Felicity with a quirked eyebrow as they all wait for her to make a decision, including the waitress who sighs to emphasize the fact that she doesn't have all day and that if this young lady cannot make a choice, there are plenty of other customers who will.
None of what the waitress has to say inspires a great deal of confidence. She makes a small derisive sound - a scoff of sorts - but settles on what seems the safest option. "Soup then." If it comes bearing any sort of unwelcome additions, however....When the woman is out of earshot, Felicity says, "Any hint of an unidentifiable substance...or an inappropriate number of legs floating up from the bloody concoction and I will throw out it the window."
The waitress also asks what they want to drink before she leaves, offering as close alternatives as she can, but nothing is alcoholic here.
After she's gone, Mimi shrugs. "I'm... betting there's going to be a lot of unidentified out here, Felicity. You might need to get used to it. As for me, looking at everyone else's reactions, I'm not too worried about it."
"I stand by what I said, at least it looks edible," Gemma says. "Say, Felicity, you seem to have caught that gentleman's eye. Hopefully you will be kind enough to let him down easy." As if on cue, the young man straightens his uniform, brushing his hair back as if trying to straighten strays and walks toward them in a confident stride. "Excuse me, miss, I come on behalf of my friend. He seems quite stricken with you but lacks the nerve to make your acquaintance. I was wondering if you'd be so kind as to agree?" He says, nodding in the direction he came from, indicating the young man he left behind who's cheeks could not be more red and looks like he'd very much like to melt into the floor. His ears are a bit too big as are his front teeth and his nose, but his face isn't completely unpleasant and his eyes are kind. His hair are on the longer side of short and slightly curly and brown, nearly the same color as his eyes.
Felicity, gaze meets the stranger's and she listens to his plea with an impassive air. Her eyes flick to the gentleman in question, the man's friend and...Oh dear. He is a tragic sight to behold and it must have taken Felicity every bit of strength not to offer him a pitying look. She allows him the time to give his little speech without interruption but that seems as far as she is willing to go. "I fear not," she begins with a surprisingly well put-on apologetic air. "Tempting though that may be...I am already spoken for, isn't it so....-darling-?" This last word is said with no little emphasis and while looping her arm through none other than Captain Mimi Valroon. Felicity leans in closer, patting the girl's hand.
Mimi Valroon looks as the man approaches and listens as well. Yes, she looks to the guy that clearly does not want to be noticed before looking briefly to Felicity to gauge her expression. Oh, yeah, she can tell there's no interest there at all. Mimi herself nods when Felicity gives her initial rejection, but when Mimi's arm is enfolded by Fee's, that gets a surprised look from Mimi. She tries to play along, but that initial look of surprise may have already given away that Mimi indeed has not spoken for Fee. "Oh, uh, yeah! Absolutely, uh, my sweet." Also, it doesn't help that she's apparently a horrible actor when put on the spot like this. Or that Mimi is going nearly half as red as that guy trying to become one with his bench seat over there.
Gemma can only lean the side of her forehead in her hand with her eyes closed. Wouldn't it have been simply better for everyone involved to just say that she was not interested? But of course not, this is Fee, and every occasion is as good as the next to make someone squirm a little bit more than necessary. She sighs a lock of hair out of her eyes and looks out the window, hoping that the slow torture suffered by Mimi and those gentlemen will soon end and they will all move on from this incident with little more than a slightly bruised ego. If chance were on their luck, the waitress would bring their food now but Gemma is disappointed to find that she is nowhere near at the moment.
Oh for the love of! "Darling Mimi, no need to be -shy-," Felicity says, putting on her most convincingly affectionate tone while giving her "lover's" hand an immoderate squeeze. "We aren't living under your father's draconian reign any longer. We are free to love unrestrained!" She leans in close to Mimi, slipping an arm around her shoulder and giving her a look that is not exactly dreamy, rather, one demanding fealty.
As for the gentleman, if he is suspicious, he doesn't immediately show it. His emissary can do little more than to accept this as the truth. What would insisting do? Besides, he is only the messenger. With a nod of his head and casual apology, he sees his way back to his table to confer with the pining friend. This leaves Felicity to her friends. "Honestly, I don't know what I see in you," she teases as she disengages from her friend. "You must be a fantastic lover."
Felicity's look of command is met with one far more resembling 'deer caught in headlights', but at least the look is given to her and not the guy. Well, he's walking away now. Once disengaged with, Mimi outright faceplants onto the table. "Really? I'd love to have experienced that myself rather than just hear about it from someone else. Not that you sound convinced, either." Yeah, Mimi's just playing along with that statement. "If you really don't know why, then perhaps we simply weren't meant to be." And yet, the aviatrix doesn't lift her head yet, either. Oh, and NOW the waitress shows up with their orders.
The sight of the approaching waitress cheers up Gemma. "Well as long as you remain civil on our expeditions. You don't even have to remain friends if it brings back painful memories. Either way, an empty stomach is not a state on which one should have these conversations." After her soup is nearly thrown in front of her and the content swishes around the bowl, dangerously close to the edge, Gemma quirks an eyebrow as she looks at it and snifs, unconvinced. After a few more seconds, she shrugs. "I can't be any worse than the porridge at Spence..."
Felicity laughs, whether it be from Gemma's crack about the porridge at Spence or at the desolate state Mimi is in. "You need a bit of the old devil in you, old girl," Felicity says, sounding every bit the rake, though she does rub Mimi's back kindly. Ah, but now it's onto the soup. The concoction looks something like minestrone with the requisite beans and bits of green and red one can assume are tomato or pepper. At glance it already looks too watered down for Felicity's taste. It lacks the substance she would prefer, and she has a strong suspicion they simply have added more water to a diminishing batch of midday soup. Taking her up her spoon, she does her best to rally her friend, "We must be brave girls," and with that she takes a spoonful and gives it an experimental taste. Her brows knit. "It's wanting salt...or more to the point, flavor...of any kind." She adds salt and gives it another taste. Her expression changes very little. "Bland, but otherwise inoffensive."
Mimi Valroon's muffled voice comes up as, "Okay, we can end the joke now." There's a startled twitch at the backrub, but she doesn't seem to especially object to it. Mimi rights herself again and is still a bit red-faced, finally responding, "What's wrong with the new devil?" She looks down at her salad and... tilts her head. None of the veggies strewn about on it look familiar to her, in fact, none look like they're native to Earth at all. The meat, of course, is breaded and unidentifiable, but there are little red and blue specks in the breading. "...What is this stuff?" she manages to blurt out, beginning to wonder if she should have ordered the bland soup instead. Well, it's time to be adventurous. She takes her fork and pokes at the salad once or twice before finally biting the bullet and, well, biting into the salad. Her eyes widen and... no, she doesn't spit it out. She goes for more. "You guys should have ordered the salad!"
It's about this time that a very large, very rough, very green man with slightly pointed ears steps out of the bathroom and makes his way back to the kitchen. No, his hands do not still look dirty. About twenty seconds later, there is some loud shouting in a guttural language and then the sound of someone else apparently pleading, though the words are hard to make out. A loud THOCK is heard, then a scream. The passing waitress looks in the direction of the kitchen with a look of utter disinterest and says, "I don't think Coork likes the new guy," without missing a step. Some arguing is heard still, the not-so guttural voice sounding a bit more alarmed now, and finally the sound of a large pot being dropped or hit against something.
"Dear me!" Gemma exclaims after jumping a little off her seat at the loud noise, nearly dropping her spoon. "I suppose that means this new hire is the one who made the soup... Well, this seems to me no way to treat a new employee and I'll gladly encourage his cooking attempt in protest."
Like anyone with ears, Felicity's attention is also drawn to the ruckus in the kitchens. She's certainly not one who is above upbraiding the help when the situation calls for it, but she generally has the class not to do it in such a public manner. That only makes a spectacle of you and shows one to be on their level. Heaven forbid! She had just been about to question Mimi about her salad when the commotion began and now, she finds herself too distracted to enjoy her meal. Unlike Gemma, however, Felicity's of the mind to leave well enough alone. "Don't get involved, Gemma. For all we know, he's relieved himself in the gravy or licked his fingers while preparing our meals. It's not our concern...Well, it is if he's done -that-," she is quick to correct herself. Thinking better of it, Felicity pushes her soup away.
Mimi Valroon looks down at her salad again, then back out at the kitchen area. Well, she's not stopping. This tastes too good! ...Whatever the hell it is. "It did sound more like the soup pot was the point of argument, yes... But... I suppose we should be heading onward soon. Back home after this?" As for the other patrons, the uniformed ship crew seems to completely ignore the goings on in the kitchen, as do most of the others. Apparently loud noises are known to happen in there.
"Yes, I suppose we should," Gemma says, looking undecided about whether or not to keep eating after what Felicity said. "So what's next on our plan? What adventures await? I know you'd like to explore the void some more, but I'd like to search for the door to the Realms too."
"I thought we might have a look around here a bit more....Alas, there doesn't seem to be much worth looking at," Felicity says, her eyes drifting back towards the oblivious men going on about their business. Still, a place like this is sure to have interesting people passing through. Would it be too much to hope for that they run into someone or something that injects a little excitement into their outing?...Apparently. "Yes, " Felicity says wistfully, playing with soup, spooning a bit and pouring it back into the bowl over and over again. "Oh how I long for the Realms....to do a bit of magic." Yes, she might have turned that sludge into a grand feast! Ah, but why waste it on something so ridiculous. And then a terrible idea takes hold. She sits up, her lips slithering into a devil of a grin. "Oooor....we might have a bit of fun now...." Her eyes flick to the men again. "Aren't you curious about what might be in some of those other ships?"
Mimi Valroon shrugs. "I'm open to whichever. I actually am really curious to see what these 'Realms' are like. It's something completely... different to me." Her eyes then narrow as she looks to Felicity. "...Felicity? Don't be a bad pirate."
"Hmm, this sounds like a bad idea, Felicity. Look at how many uniformed men there are around here. I doubt that they'll be too kind to catch anyone where they shouldn't be. Or worse, they might send the cook..." Gemma says as she finally pushes away her soup. There are some biscuits in the plane and they are starting to sound more and more scrumptious by the minute.
"Yes, -here-, not on the ship. If we're to have a chance at all its now," Felicity says, liking this idea more and more as she goes along. But naturally she has pushback. Gemma always being so bloody sensible and Mimi with her aversion to piracy! They are exasperating, the both of them! "Oh for God's sake, you can't very well go and declare it bad piracy without knowing what sort of cargo they've stashed under the decks. For all you know, they've women by the crates stowed under there. Slave trade is certainly nothing to sniff at. It wouldn't surprise me. Spoils of some interstellar war! Would we be -bad- pirates then if our discovery led to their rescue? Besides, we have something they -don't- have." At this, she slides her eyes towards Gemma, fixing her with proud gaze.
Mimi Valroon sighs and facepalms. "Oh my god. You're actually serious about this, aren't you. Okay, fine. We'll pay for our food here, then Gemma and I will drag you back to Halberd and tie you to your chair so you don't cause us more trouble." She makes a hand motion around the room, emphasizing the pair of which one apparently had taken a liking to Fee. "They don't exactly strike me as the 'human trafficking' type."
Felicity's got her and she must know it. Gemma's sense of justice has been struck and though what Felicity suggests isn't likely, it isn't completely out of this world either, or the next... It could happen, couldn't it? And what if they go on their merry way when there is someone in need whose only chance would be a trio of green pirates? Gemma bites her lip, looking apologetically at Mimi. "It couldn't hurt to look... Worst case scenario, it'll be practice for when we really need to do so."
A look of triumph comes over Felicity. She doesn't intend to lose and in her mind, Gemma's agreement to the plot sounds her victory. "Ahah! There, you see? Gemma backs this venture. It's done. We shall proceed with the plan....Oh, don't look so forlorn, Mimi. We won't get caught." She cuts a glance to the redhead, smirking smugly. "We have a secret weapon. They will never know what hit them." The meaningful look she gives Gemma could leave no room for question. Mimi may not have the slightest what Fee is on about, but Gemma is sure to catch wind.
Mimi Valroon groans and puts her face into both of her hands. "Worst case scenario is we get killed. Second worst is our reputation in Mabase is ruined to the point we can't get hired for anything and we're total outcasts. There is absolutely no way you can possibly convince me to take part in your little operation!"
A quick pan wipe and our heroines are crouched behind some cover near that sailing vessel. Mimi looks at Felicity and deadpans, "I still have no idea how you managed to convince me to do this."
Continued in 2020-02-26 - But What Was the Real Treasure?