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Dine and Crash (IC)


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April 9th, 7:57pm

Carrie should of worn sneakers. The cute rarely worn tan boots with the white trim were simply not made for walking, or in her case sprinting. Though her watch told her she wasn't late, she was darn close to it because of her underestimating how very hard it was to find a parking space in Midtown at this time of night. She should of taken Mona up on her offer to be picked up, heck, she should of just taken the freaking bus, but no if she didn't want to risk some random bus stain getting on her white leggings or the matching turtleneck. God knows she had worse stains in her own car, even if it was only in the back seat (she still needed to get Push's friend to clean up the blood like he'd promised). Well at least as far as the parking garage was from the bistro, she wasn't losing any breath running down towards it. Probably had a lot to do with all the recent running she had been doing as a whole,

Not that that's really that important tonight.

As she turned the corner she saw the tell tale line of walk-ins at the bistro, but not the tell tale dark haired heroine's head popping out of said line.

Well they did have a reservation.

Slowing a little bit as she looked at her watch she started to smooth her skirt and reached into her purse to grab a comb. She wasn't that concious about how her friend saw her, but it was a fairly upscale restuarant and it'd be embaressing to walk around in her usual colorful sweats. Moving towards the front she squeezed into the actual little waiting area and started to look around there.

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Mona enjoyed her height from time-to-time. Now was one of those moments as she could keep an eye on the door rather easily. The tables were already packed with happy diners, making the vigil difficult for anyone of normal height.

Her table was in the back corner, near the stage, on a short terrace. Beyond menus and drinks, the happy couple, or at least Fulcrum at the moment, waited patiently for their other guests.

Upon spotting Carrie, she stood and waved her over. Looked like Fulcrum wore a Little Black Dress, and if more were known, a favorite of hers at that.

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Once inside, it was impossible to miss Mona once she both standing and waving. Carrie smiled and headed on over, she almost expected to be stopped, but it was too busy and she was slipped by and headed to the table. She didn't have nearly as good a look at her companion, probably because he was still sitting down, but she didn't concern herself with it. She had seen enough pictures from well, just about every science magazine she had ever seen, so she had a good idea about what he looked like. She waited until she was close enough to be heard over the chatter and jazz to say,

"Hey Mona.'

And even closer to open up and move into a little bit of an awkward hug that probably needed a bit of kneeling on the larger woman's part so as not to have Carrie's face set at her midsection.

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The large menu obscuring Mona's companion lowered, revealing a face known to many far and wide: the thin (imperial, some said) nose and lips, smiling to greet Carrie, eyes as blue as the Rhine that reflexively scrutinized every centimeter of her, all framed by hair like a cascading waterfall of gold. Carrie could see he wore a blue buttoned shirt (no tie), and guessed that the white bundle between him and Mona was his folded labcoat.

Ah, Mona's fellow artist! Lives in the Fens, but works mostly in the Theatre District, mostly making costumes and painting sets. College-educated, degree from FreeSa. I believe Mona said something about one of her relatives owning a hobby shop in Riverside.

The Doktor stood (revealing the black slacks he wore) and shook Carrie's hand, "good evening, Miss Wendle, it is a pleasure to meet you! Have you been here before? They have a marvelous selection of pastries here!"

Dok, as usual for these situations, has his Enhanced Charisma on.

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Yes, indeed, Mona knelt down to hug Carrie. "Glad you could make it, Carrie."

Sitting back down, Mona motioned to her companion. "Dr. Viktor Archeville, as if he needed an introduction," she teased, as per usual, Viktor's natural charm surfaced.

"That's a nice outfit, Carrie," added before browsing the menu. "And he's right. The pastries here are almost divine."

A strange part, perhaps for Carrie, had to be a Mona's vibe. Her normally mellow and confident demeanor felt like a contented glow.

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As Mona broke the hug Carrie smiled at her and than at Doktor Viktor Archeville as he shook her head,

"Well your's certianly surficed. Please, call me Carrie. It's very nice to meet you too, and no I have not been here, and yes I will definitely be looking at those pastries."

She kept her smile as she slid into the other side of the booth, thought for a few seconds and did a quick grace because she was almost certian the food was going to be good here. Before picking up the menu she glanced over at Mona's ensemble,

"I don't believe that's one of mine, but you're rocking that dress Mona, and you,"

She turned towards Dr. Archeville,

"Actually, this is going to be bug me if I don't ask, what would you prefered to be called? I know Mona calls you Viktor, but well I'm almost a hundred percent certian I don't know you as well as she does."

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"Viktor is fine," he replied as he sat, "this is, after all, an informal..." he glanced over at Mona's little black dress, "well, mostly informal dinner. I tend only to go by 'Doktor' when at work, or in the field, or when giving lectures; here, there is little need for such formalities!," he said with a smile.

So glad I can relax now that the Other is gone. None of this 'I'm a Doktor, I've earned more degrees than you'll ever see' posturing!

Archeville quickly recalled something Carrie had said, "so, you make clothes for day-to-day wear as well as costumes for theatrical shows? Which one did you start doing first?"

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She returned the smile,

"Well, I don't make costumes for the shows most the time, most theatres have something of a collection of costumes to fit most shows, and otherwise if it's a traveling show they will bring their own clothing, and usually their own designer. If I'm working with costumes it's usually me doing alterations, fittings, and matinence. Outside of theatre, Mona's the first and really only person I've ever been paid to make casual clothing for."

Paid was the point for that setting since she did make some, not much of her own clothing if only to practice a design on normal scale before she scaled it up for Mona.

"It's not like I really do it say for a living, or in fact what I even what my degree is in."

Picking up the menu once more she started to skim through before setting her sights on a tasty looking beignet,

"Not that I really have room to complain. Anyway, how's the work at that new giant egg shaped lab? I heard a lot of the local heroes with a more scientific inclanation each got there own space to work there. Sounds like an expensive project, but I can probably guess that it has already gotten some good results so far."

She hadn't visited it herself, in either persona. It was a bit awkward really, Silhouette was rarely really seen on that part of town and she only really knew one of the people who were the lab's 'founders' as they were presented from the pictures of the press conference. How they managed to get Dragonfly up on that stage, she'd never know, but she didn't look that comfortable in the pictures.

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"Thank you. This dress is one of my favorite. And one of the few I owned before your collection."

She leaned toward to Viktor and pointed at Carrie, "She is a genius with thread. Remember that gorgeous sari I wore when we went to the symphony? Yes, she made that one. She's just too level headed to work in the fashion industry." She winked to Carrie before returning to the menu.

The mention of a new laboratory, and more importantly, a lab full of heroes, piqued her interest. "Giant egg-shaped lab? I know I've been distracted lately, but this is news to me."

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Aw, Mona only has eyes for ArcheTech, for me! That is sooo sweet!

Archeville chuckled and placed a hand over Mona's, "I suppose ArcheTech does block the view of it from the angle you usually fly in from. Carrie is referring to a new research facility, known simply as The Lab, which opened about four months ago."

He turned slightly so as to face Carrie again, "and I actually have had very little to do with them. The idea for it did come about during one of the Brainiac Brunches I host, but the construction and organization of it was all done by others. Largely this was done so that they could truly do so on their own, stand on their own merits. I -- and ArcheTech -- would of course offer any aid if they requested, but thus far they have not done so, and with god reason: if we did, rumors would swiftly begin to circulate that The Lab was but another subsidiary, or that we were looking to turn them into one, which is the last thing they, or I, would want."

"Enough about me, though," he said with a smile and dismissive wave. "You made that sari? That was excellent work! Have you considered expanding your operations? I know Mona is not the only one who faces difficulties with her outfits."

Oh, I hope Mona does not get upset with me 'talking shop'!
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"That sounds like a reasonable concern, I sort of assumed that it was in fact a subsidiary myself. I'd probably like to visit some time, but I don't think I'd really have a good reason to go there."

Setting down the menu she shrugged her shoulders about his suggestion,

"Well dispite being larger than most humans overall, proportionally Mona is pretty standard and thus relatively easy to scale up for custom tailoring. If I were to make custom clothing for say Jubatus who's form is that of a human cheetah hybrid, instead of just adjusting scale I'd have to make my own cut outs to fit his really skinny build and find a practical way for him to well wear the clothing and have it not like fall off, since it cannot be easy to try and button a fly with paws."

She reached up and scratched her head absently,

"And if I did do all that for just about every metahuman who's uniquely different, well the whole process would be very expensive simply because of how much fabric would be used just doing the trial and error. Most metahumans would find it easier and more cost effective to just go to a local thrift store and pick up some oversized t-shirts to cover whatever obvious deviation a mutation or otherwise has inflicted onto their person. If there was some other change or reason that they might need clothing of a special type of cloth or something like that, well they can probably just head over to the Albright Institute instead."

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Mona didn't seem to mind the shop talk but only nodded at the lab information. Anyway she quieted down and read the menu, occasionally looking up at the two chatting. As far as she was concerned, this topic of conversation was old news. Personally only the good wishes to Carrie in whatever endeavor she found herself. She was hard to read, that one.

"Suddenly, I don't mind being a giant as compared to a cheetah. Poor guy," she mumbled before going her dinner search.

Which became something of a problem. Her appetite had steadily decreased the last few months. Sitting there at that moment, nothing really sounded good. In fact she wasn't hungry in the least. Some part of her worried about that, but another part simply accepted her new situation with stoicism and a touch of pride. Her health, metahuman or not, was better than ever. Her powers were increasing almost geometrically. Frankly, eliminating the food variable came as a bonus.

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"An interest in science -- nay, in the future!" Archeville exclaimed, drawing more than a few looks from the crowd, "is all the reason one needs to come to The Lab! Or, for that matter, to ArcheTech!"

She knows Jubatus? I wonder how...

"Ah, you have met the cheetah-man before?," the Doktor asked. "Was it in his capacity as a superhero, or 'between jobs'?"

As Carrie talked more about clothing, an odd look came across Archeville's face. Partly scowl, partly... congratulatory? "Now, now, I think you are selling your skills far too short. I know the 'simply scaling up' can be trickier than it seems," he glanced over at the jewelry/regulators he had made for Mona, "and I have seen firsthand the quality of your work. I feel you could do similar work for more exotic body types, and do it well. And while you are correct in pointing out that the Albright Institute does make Morphic Molecule suits available to metahumans, those are all basic, utilitarian outfits. They can work with the Atoms to get something special whipped up, but I am sure they would appreciate more designers with which to work. You could make quite the career out of making outfits -- both heroic costumes and day-to-day wear -- for metahumans."

Though the 'bedside manner' -- 'they can just wear baggy clothes from the thrift store'? -- may need some adjustment.

He glanced over at Mona, and saw she was (or appeared to be) eying the appetizers section of her menu. "See anything good, liebchen?"

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"Well maybe I'll visit if I have the time, as for the sewing,"

She shrugged her shoulders,

"I guess I'm not really interested in taking it on as a serious career path. I mean it can be interesting, but it's also something that can get incredibly tedius over time. Though I guess that could be said for really all of my jobs. I guess I don't really have the patience to do the same thing every day, or really having to work to fit someone elses schedule instead of my own. Which is a rather unreasonable approach to thinking in the job market, but I guess the advantage of being strictly freelance everything is that I have both the freedom of time and variety, it's not stable, or even really as profitable as most forms of traditional employment, but it works for me, and unless my circumstances change I see no reason to switch to more professional work."

Circumstances was the key word, at the moment circumstance change most likely included quitting her night job, which probably wasn't going to happen. Sure it had long hours, and she was neither paid, nor given much recognition, but it was in a way for her to accomplish something a little bit more than just the normal expectations of her until recently normal life.

She set aside the conversation for the next involving one of the more recent new encounters with a hero out of costume,

"Jubatus, well when I met him when he was doing something in hero capacities that were a little less than volunteery on his part. You see, Ms. Wells sort of jumped the dimensional barrier again, and on her return trip he got caught up in the dimensional jetstream so to speak. I'd go into more detail, but I don't really remember it as well as I should, since I had to go from dimensional travel to a train car, and I've never done so well on trains."

She tried not to think of that second trip, she wasn't terribly fond of being sick, or really the whole incident surrounding them being there in the first place. Instead she picked up her menu again as Viktor mentioned the appetizers, the crabcakes looked good but she was thinking of grabbing some seafood for the entree so maybe some stuffed shells would be less redundent,

"Any idea about the portion size at this place? I wouldn't want to order more than one of anything unless I was certian I could reasonably work my way through a single serving."

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"Everything looks good, sweetie," replied Mona during a break in the conversation. "I'm not very hungry." She didn't seem unwell, just not very interested in food.

Unbeknownst to the two, Mona eyed the crab cakes as well. Actually everything did look very good. She remembered in particular how good all of their mushroom dishes had been. A smiled crept onto her face: last time she ate here was an early date with Viktor.

Carrie's question brought her back to reality, and she nodded, "Not as mountainous as Tia Marta's. I could reasonably say you'd finish off two lunch specials, but the dinner entrees are another story. Which is another way of saying the portion size is excellent."

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Archeville nodded politely as Carrie spoke

Wow, she is a 'free spirit'! Far moreso than Mona!

but the talk of transdimensional heroics drew his focus. "'Crossed the dimensional barrier'? Oh, do tell!" Archeville turned to Mona, his eyes alight with the joy of some new discovery, "had you heard of this, liebchen?"

One I already know about? Or some new one? Oh, I hope it is a new one!
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Mona looked up and nodded. "Yes, Carrie and Grim regaled me with the tale of their adventures in frozen London town over lunch. Very exciting. Included Edge from Young Freedom and a very strange version of Rasputin. Oh, William Blake too. Can't forget him." Couldn't help but grin at that one.

"I can't remember the name for the dimension, but it reminded me of a steampunk world. All brass, gas lights and Victorian clothing," she added, looking up in thought, "What was the name, Carrie? Earth Victoria? Victori-ana? I can't remember exactly." That's when the full context of the conversation came into focus and surprise registered on her face.

"Ms. Wells came back again? What happened this time?" she asked, a look of keen excitement and curiosity on her face as well.

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Wow, I know something that Doktor Archeville doesn't. I'm not sure if I'm more amused by the prospect, or appalled by the lack of circulation of the existance of this dimension by the other heroes.

She shrugged off the thought, they were probably just to busy to mention it,

"Actually, you're right, it IS a steampunk world, much more literately than I originally thought. As it turns out steam is actually the dominant energy source. Apparently it works a lot better there than here because of some weird thing about the dimension, and adversely electricity is far less reliable there."

Setting down her menu she started to think it over,

"And I think she did call it Victoriana, or something like that. But yeah, the second time around one of her friends was murdered on a long train trip and she brought us over and said she wanted an unbiased investigation party. Ms. Wells is a big time inventor, and her friend was a famous engineer so she suspected that whoever killed him might of had the influence to sweep a proper investigation under the rug. Honestly though, I sort of think she just didn't want to feel like she was being useless, which I can understand. If something bad happens I know I'd want to do something about it."

She looked up for a few seconds and started tapping her fingers,

"While that whole incident isn't something I'd like to get into, I did get a ton of background info on the differences between the worlds this time around. Apparently a lot of what I suspected from the first is true. The British Empire never fell from grace as the American colonies, and really all the English colonies were given proper representation in Parliament and overall treated much better. Also, no French-Indian war, so the taxation thing was a non-issue. Britian in that realm pretty much rules half the world, including most of the far east, India, and the American Colonies. Not France though, France has some of it's own colonies and is still a major competitor in terms of arts and technology. Legally treatment of women, and other races is pretty equal, culturally however, it hasn't progressed much past start of the 19th century, which is probably another reason why Ms. Wells wanted help. Ohh, and in that world, me, Grim, Cannonade and Edge have all been knighted. Which I would assume means something signifigant if I ever spent more than a few days over there."

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Archeville listened with rapt attention. "'Fascinating!"

Lynn was there? And she was knighted? I would think I would have heard her say something about that by now!

"I would very much like to visit this place -- the alterations to the Natural Laws sound fascinating!" His eyes practically shone as ideas roiled and bubbled in his head; the menu dropped from his hands. "If your friend ever returns, I hope you have enough time to send me notice, so I can join in!"

Wonder how my homeland turned out? If France retained autonomy, with colonies...

"Oh, did the Atoms help out any? They seem keen to that sort of thing."

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She seemed to shrug her shoulders,

"The first time they weren't around, but since Grim, Edge and Cannonade was there it seemed fine that they might not of been needed. The second time, well I wanted to call the Freedom League to help Miss Wells because none of the others were around, but she was in a hurry because of her friend being killed and the fact that the time dilation between worlds is so unpredictable that she didn't want to wait. I personally didn't do much inbetween now and than actually, since I sort of thought that they were all already informed. I mean, I know I could of told someone, but who would believe me. Present company excluded, if I didn't have this,"

She reached into her purse, dug around for a few seconds than pulled out her metal,

"I wouldn't have any proof other than my word. It's sort of why I wanted Lynn along when I told Mona the whole story, to sort of prove I wasn't just making stuff up."

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"It's an incredible story I'll say that much," said Mona over her menu, "I mean that world is different, yet plausible enough to really make you wonder either way. The medal seems authentic enough, and between the two of them, they had one amazing adventure."

Finally picking out her entree, Fulcrum settled back and discarded the menu. A light came on in her eyes and she asked, during a break in conversation, "Did Victoriana have superheroes of their own? Sounded like that Rasputin character and some of the others displayed meta-human-like abilities. Is a Captain Britain flying around there? Maybe the changes in the physical laws prevent something of that nature from developing in situ."

Truth be known, that dimension sounded absolutely riveting. Meeting William Blake would be nice enough, but the opportunity to really study a 'steampunk' world and its people would be fascinating. She silently hoped that someday she too could visit and meet Ms. Wells. Being knighted would be cool too, but that was just gravy.

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"Actually no,"

She flipped to the seafood selection,

"There aren't any, it's more of a sciencey society with a strong arsisticratic presense and probably a good strong government one as well, but no super heroes. Apparently the closest they get is the Academy, but being a member I'm guessing Ms. Wells is a bit biased. It's essentually just the Lab, except way older. As for the villians, well Ms. Wells isn't terribly fond of the Vatican of that realm, but it all seems more a grey on grey rivalry rather than actual crisis's. Though, can't really be that much of a judge, since I'm not exactly sure how that all is run there, there might be some kind of alternate history for the church that caused it to retain far more influence than it has now."

Though she wouldn't know how, Ms. Wells seems like a straight up religion of science sort of person, and she really didn't have anyone else to base the world off of.

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"'I shall definitely have to ask Grim about her adventures there!," Archeville said, barely able to restrain his excitement at the prospect. "'The sociopolitical aspects of this world sound almost as intriguing as the changes to its physical laws. Would you have some way to contact Ms. Wells? If I could talk to her for a while, that would be ideal!"

Rasputin? As in, the Rasputin? If he was active, would Kaiser Wilhelm II be around? Maybe not as Kaiser, but surely in some capacity...

"Cannonade... he is the powerhouse with the Trojan helmet, yes?" He nodded to himself as he recalled the few news articles he'd read and seen of him. "Spends much of his time in Southside, I believe. I keep trying to meet up with him; from what I have heard, we face similar foes." He made his menu selection, a Thai dish he'd not yet tried, then looked around to see just how many fellow diners were peeking/listening in on their conversation.

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"Hah, I'll be honest Viktor, you probably haven't met him because Southside is gang and more petty crimes at most, though there has been some weird happenings there lately I'll admit, it's something that's handled just fine by the area's heroes just like West End is pretty well handled by the Interceptors. Though he is a SHARP, you really want to figure where he'll be just stake out a Crusaders rally, he likes to monitor them so those racist SOBs from going around burning crosses, especially since all the fallout from that last big one."

She only lingered on that day for a few seconds before moving back to the menu. She absolutely hated that someone had managed to get in her head after all, even if she didn't kill any of the Crusaders, she should of had better control of herself. Though that didn't really stop her from having to run through and knock out crowds of civilians under the same influence of that weird angry mojo.

"Been lots of weird stuff happening lately, and I don't even begin to understand any of it, but thank god for heroes, heck, thank god for population density. I'm sure the number of heroes probably attracts some of the strangeness, but out in some towns in the middle of no where I bet there's unusual and bad stuff happening that can't be fixed right away because they don't have as many locals as Freedom."

It did certianly make her job easier, she couldn't of handled any of those things on her own. The ninjas for one thing were tough buggers whom she didn't phased, but because there were others she could run distraction while they plowed those grey clad thugs down to the ground. Though she got some hits on the muffied witch with the werewolves, she was glad her posse was all concerned with the local geniune articles as well as a whole little strike team to wear her down. Not to mention Cannonade himself taking in all the hits for the riots while Push knocked the entire crowds on there butts and Warlock had his little gadgets ready to make sure none of them fell under that angry pulse again.

Really, at this rate, I'm gonna have to actually start forming stradegies around meeting random other heroes.

Though the less two times it had been less random, maybe she should just form stradegies based on who would most likely be around to help impromtly.

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Fulcrum scowled at the mention of the riot. "As much as dislike those buffoons, that brawl was completely unnecessary. I'm not surprised that the Crusader rally attracted all of that...hmm...'negative attention' and set off a riot. Still something really weird about that whole situation. I'm just glad no one was killed," said Fulcrum with obvious relief. Mentally, she repeated what she wanted to say out loud.

I wonder if things would have been different if I was there.

Finally, she focused on the menu and actually made a selection, albeit somewhat randomly. Sitting down her menu, she replied to Carrie, "You make a good point there. With my flight speed, I'm receiving calls from outlying communities quite a bit. Thankfully, superspeed heroes and AEGIS are really starting to prioritize outside of the major metropolitan areas. You're also right about the weird happenings. It's been a lot stranger than usual. I'm just waiting for something big to sneak up on us again."

"I hear the Curried Chicken is good here."

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