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The Southern Queen, North End, Freedom City

June 27, 2020
9:00 PM

 

Starlok

 

Ever since Ori-Bath had met the Praetorians, two things had been on her mind. The first was that all Lor bureaucracy was trash and the Praetorians should be able to help her overthrow her brother if she wanted them to. The second was more relevant to now: She had to meet the one known as ‘Maybelle McQueen’, alias ‘Queenie.’ Partially to recruit her to her cause, but also to eat some of the delicious Terran food she was apparently quite deft at making.

 

It had taken some time to track down the place - it turned out that humans were very uncreative and called many locations ‘the North End’, but she finally tracked it down with the help of the Terran mass-information network.

 

Unfortunately, getting there posed even more problems. She had attempted to ‘rent a car’, but apparently that required vast amounts of documentation from the American Empire she simply did not have. And apparently government workers did not know who she was nor did they care. They kept calling her British, too, which was just patently incorrect. So instead, she had to have her servants pilot the Pale Rider to hover over the Southern Queen’s parking lot, causing an awful din.

 

As papers and plastic bags were thrown about by a ship the size of a jumbo jet hovering over the restaurant, a lift descended down from the ship’s base, carrying on it Ori-Bath, Countess of Nos. She had decided to go formal for this, forgoing her normal wargear and instead wearing a fancy, frilled royal blue evening gown and makeup that had the strange feature of using blue wherever a human would use red, namely lipstick and blush. Her long, dark hair was done up in an updo. She felt she conveyed the very image of grace.

 

Sending her ship off, Ori-Bath simply waved off the crowd of people who had gathered to see what exactly was happening. “Do not be alarmed,” she cried in perfect English, speaking with a flawless recreation of a High Received Pronunciation accent. “I am merely here to sample the food. Return to your business!”

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Queenie

 

Maybelle McQueen, chef extraordinaire, was busy in the kitchen when Starlok arrived. Despite being the head chef and part owner, she still put in more hours than anyone else. Superheroics permitting, of course. The dinner rush had about faded, and she was considering taking a break for a while. Of course, her taking a break meant working on one item instead of several. The Ring let her multitask in a way that was kind of awesome. But then there was a commotion outside. And, of course, the engines of a spaceship the size of a jumbo jet weren’t exactly quiet. Seems she had late guests from way out of town. Only natural, she’d been with the Praetorians for a while now, word probably got out in Space™. But still, there were rules to this. So Maybelle casually walked from the kitchen to the front of the Queen, reassuring people along the way.

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Starlok


Ori-Bath, for a rare occasion, actually felt bashful. She really hadn’t intended to draw as much attention to herself on this planet, but it seemed even when she wasn’t trying, she would make a memorable entrance. She managed to keep her head high regardless, maintaining a sympathetic but ultimately detached air about her as she made her way inside the Southern Queen.

 

“I apologize for my entrance,” she said as the Pale Rider soared off into the sky. “But rest assured, things shall go smoothly from here. For I am Ori-Bath, Countess of Nos, alias STARLOK! And I know courtesy.”

 

She marched forward towards the maitre d’s desk. “I would like to procure a table for one,” she said. She then slapped down two solid gold coins the size of her palm. “I think this should be enough to buy a seat, yes?” she asked. She knew that Terrans liked ever so much to commodify everything. They even sold seats to their arts!

 

She smiled, revealing her fangs.

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Queenie (and employees! :D)

 

The Maitre’d ( so to speak) was Rory. He a was relatively unthreatening looking Caucasian man, who look at Ori-Bath, and then down the coins. There was just enough time to wonder if he’d been stunned into silence by her arrival, and then he spoke. He was solidly an Englishman. “Being seated is free, ma’am. It’s the food and service that costs money.” An honest fellow, that Rory. He was perhaps a bit perturbed by the fangs, but he hid it well. He turned his head to speak to a tall redhead who had approached. “Amy, love. Table for one?” Amy jerked her head at the arriving Maybelle McQueen. “Ah, ‘Belle. One of yours?”

 

Maybelle smiled. “You better believe it.” She’d been…was briefed the right word? She didn’t know. Anyway, she knew who Ori-Bath was. “Let me escort you to the special table, all right?” By special table, she meant her own. Like, literally the table in the restaurant where she and people she allowed to got to sit. It was, of course, technically the worst seat in the house (right next to the kitchen), but the exclusivity tended to negate that in most people’s minds.

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Starlok


Ori-Bath nodded, retrieving the coins, and smiled at Rory. “Thank you, I am unaware of your customs. I’m sorry if I offended. Have a good night,” she said before she was lead away from him by Maybelle. Ori-Bath smiled today more than she usually did, as she considered herself something of a gourmand and thought nothing better than being able to receive especially good food.

 

As she took her seat, she felt the need to apologize once more. “I hope I did not upset your guests. It is incredibly hard to acquire a vehicle on Terra. Er, it’s actually called Earth in your dialect, isn’t it? I do not intend to seem dismissive of your culture,” Ori-Bath.

Normally, she would not be so cautious, but Noktonian chefs head a very special and important place in their homeworld’s culture. Given that politics were so vicious on the Night Moon, one had to stay forever in the good graces of those who served you food, lest they agree to one’s enemies’ proposition to put silver in their food. As such, chefs, waiters and cupbearers were effectively as sacred and untouchable as priests were in other cultures, and were to be treated as such.

 

“I am excited to try your food, as I have heard tell of it even from my distant corner of the galaxy.”She paused, and then felt the need to explain things. “I understand I resemble a creature known on Terra as a ‘vampire’. I would like to clarify that my species’ taste map correlates strongly to Terrans, and as such you need not take any precautions for the purposes of food preparation. Oh. And, while this is embarrassing to admit, I cannot touch silver cutlery for very long or I will begin to develop ulcers on the affected area and may potentially get what you call ‘tetanus’.”

 

She frowned. “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to sound demanding. I merely wish to list… health concerns.”

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Queenie

 

Maybelle only smiled. Ori-Bath was kind of adorable in her attempts to placate. “No problem for me, sunshine. But UNISON might be grumpy about unauthorized spaceships almost landing in the city.” Her tone was gently teasing. Why did she know this? A long talk after she first learned she could fly into space. “We do call it Earth, you’re right. Silverware is just what we call it. Most of the time it’s just stainless steel.” The chef’s table was, as previously stated, next to the kitchen. “Have a seat. What can I get you? Do you have any allergies other than to silver?” Not that humans ate silver to begin with, but whatever.

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Starlok

 

Ori-Bath considered for a moment. "Nothing else food related," she said. "At least, nothing that grows on Earth, as far as I am aware. As for Uni-Son, I am certain she and I can come to an arrangement." She did find it interesting that a Terran woman had the same name as her maternal great aunt. Perhaps Noktonians had influenced this planet in the past? 

 

She folded her hands in her lap, smiling up at Maybelle. "Food in the County of Lugo is primarily vegetarian, so I am especially curious to try your dishes. I understand Southern food is very meat-heavy from what cursory research I did before I came here."

 

There were some other thoughts she had, like the fact that the woman's  name was 'McQueen'. Did that mean she was royalty? Or was the "Mc" an indicator of servitude? There was also a place called 'McDonalds' that served food. Perhaps the position of cook was hereditary here on Earth. Questions for later.

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Queenie

 

Maybelle blinked. Obvious confusion flitted across her features before she understood the misunderstanding. “No, sunshine. UNISON isn’t a person. It’s an organization. They cover international security and law enforcement. That covers space, too.” She remembered that nice long talk with them she’d had after the first time she’d flown into space. At Mach 13. Well, it was in the past. “I’ll start you off with something basic. Chicken tenders. Domestic flightless bird, with the meat seasoned, breaded and fried.” She went into the kitchen, but was not there long. That had been one of the things she had been cooking, naturally, and her kitchen staff was well trained so that they’d take over if she had to run out and do superhero stuff. So a minute later she returned with a small plate of chicken tenders, a glass of ice water, and a menu. She placed all three on the table. “I don’t know if you can read English, but that there is what we serve here. I do special requests when I can, but since you’re from around here I probably won’t know what you’re talking about.” She flashed a grin.

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Starlok

 

The Countess blinked. Oh, of course, it was probably one of those acronyms the Earth sorts seemed to love more than life itself. Well, she would have to deal with that later. Wait, she had been to this planet before. Did they know about that too? Oh, she hoped not. She hated having to scream at bureaucrats.

 

When the tenders came out, Ori-Bath inclined her head politely, and using a fork and knife, cut off a small portion, and chewed thoughtfully, letting it travel over the different portions of her tongue, before taking a small sip of water and swallowing. She considered the flavours and the textures, before finally saying.

 

"They're good. There's a similar dish on my home planet made from fried mycoprotein. The family chef would make it for me when I was going through my picky phase as a little girl. It was all I would eat for a few months. It's... Very nostalgic, thank you." she said with a small smile.

 

Her eyes scanned the menu for anything she remotely recognized, her expression becoming more lost with each passing moment. Until her eyes settled on the drink menu.

 

"Oh! Sweet tea. I will have some sweet tea, please. As for food... I... Whatever dish you are most proud of here? I don't know any of these but I enjoy trying new things."

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Queenie

 

Maybelle thought for a little while. It was a bit stumping. Dish she was most proud of? Eh…oh! That’s a great idea! “Okay, so sweet tea, coming right up. Rose?” She grabbed the attention of a passing blonde waitress. “Fetch my guest some sweet tea, please. I’ve got pulled pork and mac ‘n cheese to make.” She flashed a fierce grin and bustled into the kitchen. The pulled pork was more of a “put together” kind of thing. It wasn’t something one made in time for feeding guests who were already there. But the Mac would be fresh. Maybelle threw herself into the task with gusto, but she always did that.

 

Rose did not take long with the sweet tea. “If you need anything else, just call for me. All right? The boss is going to be busy for a little while cooking.” With that, Rose left Ori-Bath with her sweet tea and chicken tenders.

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