Royal Funnel Cake

Summary:
August 28 2014: People meet at the Burning Human Festival. Funnel cake ensues.

M-Town Street

A busy street in M-Town lined with people attending the Music Festival, shopping and generally cutting loose.


Characters

NPCs

  • Jacky the Funnel Cake Vendor

Mood Music:
[* None]


Burning Human. The festival is entering its final stages but still as boisterous as ever. Bobby has been working security on behalf of X-men Red and so far, aside from a couple incidents, it's all been okay. Presently Bobby is standing between one of the concerts and one of the 'watering holes' trying to keep an eye out for trouble in both and wondering where on earth Mike went. He's got an interesting 'engineering challenge' from Roberto and he's been puzzling through various ways to accomplish it.

*

Late clock-in time + CONCERT = Party Darcy!

We all love Party Darcy, don't we? The one in the sinfully tight black mini-dress with the bright red lips and coal-lined eyes. The one whose hair is loose and wild, whose feet are covered in short heeled calf-boots with chrome stud spikes in rings like anklets. The one who doesn't carry a purse because the important stuff is in her bra and that's absolutely no shame in that. She moves into the area, paying her entrance, and moving to the water hole for a red solo cup.

And all the while, Darcy is thinking to herself: Don't get plastered. You have work. Don't get plastered. You have work. Don't get plastered….

It's a mantra!

*

Mike. Where HAS he been. Well. First, he has this thing he does where he runs a business. And this other thing where he works for his father and he sends him completed part assemblies. Then there's the other other thing. Manufacturing fifty gazillion tiny little bug sensors. Distracting. Draining even.

Speaking of tiny little bug sensors, Concert Mike is more than one fly on the wall. He doesn't actually LIKE operating as a distributed swarm. The lag time between his various processing units makes it difficult to focus, and there's so very much input. So he's a bit scatter-brained. Like all over the place. Literally. Because he ran out of materials to make another set of coordinator computers so he's acting in their stead, and the pretty little gold and silver and black and occasionally circuit-board-green bugs and moths and beetles and so forth are all over the Burning Human.

A bunch of them notice ColdBobby and decide to talk. So they pull together, and he steals a discarded cellphone and a bunch of beer cans and a gun from someone who shouldn't be carrying a gun… they turn into very very small bits and float sneakfully together into a single place where the coalesce into a seven-inch-tall Mikebot with fixed repulsion-drive wings, floating in the air in front of Bobby.

"Yo! What up cold guy?"

*

Bobby should be used to this kind of thing right now. He's not. He yelps probably loud enough to draw Party Darcy's attention to him and the Mike-Lightyear to the Rescue bot floating in front of him. "Oh geeze, it's just you Mike. Been wondering where you were. Everything okay?" Bobby doesn't know all of the details but he suspects that Mike can't simply make thousands of autonomus drones without it affecting him in some way. He's been a bit worried.

*

Red Solo Cup! You fill me up! Darcy, beer in hand, is just walking by Bobby when Mike Lightyear makes Icicle-butt squeak. Party Darcy looks over. Oh! hey! What's his face! From that place with the guy who sucked his brother. .

Look, that makes total sense in Darcy's head!

A step taken and Figurine Mike spotted, Darcy tilts her head as she makes her way over.

"Hey there… Guy and… smaller, flying Guy." Darcy is cool. Shut it. And she takes a drink from her plastic cup.

*

Lookup: SecurityBadge 110-891 Darcy Lewisconfirmed, on dutylightweight warning, do not beer

Mini-Mike issues a signal to a patrolling pair of MikeBots and suddenly Darcy's beer has two flies in it. Doing the backstroke. If she doesn't notice, it won't be a problem; they're just attracting all the alcohol. Not that the American Bog Standard Pisswater Beer is all that strong, but once they pump out all the alcohol, they'll fly off, swollen to the size of grapes, and Mike will burn it as fuel. If she fails to notice. If she does notice, well, they're not actually unsanitary.

Mike starts to say, "Yes, all is well," when he notices that there is a slight scuffle taking place across the Festival and he has to notify his second thread to send Security to the scuffle.

"All is fine. No devices detected so far."

*

"Glad to hear it. What about… you know, elsewhere?" Bobby is vaguely aware that Mike is supporting operations around the world. He's not sure how far around the world nor how well he can keep up, but it's an interesting notion, being able to be in so many places at once.

Darcy gets a wave and an odd look. She looks familiar though in that dress and boots its more like… oh wait! Jamies date! Darcey Lewis. "Hey there!"

*

"No deployed remote stations have reported new detects," Mike says, "but we have detected one anomalous viroid reading which was not confirmed, in Syria, and three false detects of a common pump juncture in New York aqueduct structures, I have adjusted the algorithms."

He floats there for a moment, then says, "I swept DaCosta Industries yesterday. Why is plastic Iceman explodable? Wouldn't that hurt?"

He considers butterfly wings instead of starship nacelles to freak out the meat people. Before he can really consider it, a second Mike Bug lands on his shoulder; "INTERRUPT: Excess processor resources consumed," it buzzes, and flies off.

*

"Because the marketing people thought it was cool?" Bobby shrugs. "It doesn't really look anything like me so, weirdly, it didn't bother me that much. Though yes, if someone were to explode my chest, I imagine that would hurt quite a great deal. What's going on in Syria?" Bobby's still scanning the crowd to make sure things remain more or less under control.

*

"Was analyzed. False signal, electron decay. Happens," Mike-figure says. "Some scanners were deployed there. Do not know why, nobody explains mission to equipment."

He escalates the scuffle, which is between two apparently normal humans, and so far Security hasn't gotten to them. Reviewing logs… the hell. They're fighting over the shape of Power Girl's boob window.

*

Bobby blinks… "Electron decay? How sensitive are your sensors, Mike?" He shakes his head. "Sounds like you're pretty split up right now. I've got an interesting technical problem I'm working on right now though. Should I wait to lay it on you?"

*

"Most sensors will detect or glitch on electron decay," Mike says, "have not debounced the detectors because they work like a sense of smell."

He looks in the direction of the nerd fight, and his 'flies' return to him, attaching to him beside the wings. Darcy's red cup will be remarkably unintoxicating until she swaps it out for something more beerish than 'xtra-lite'.

"Nerds are fighting. Other side of festival. Scan says humans. Why are they doing this here?"

He doesn't answer the question about technical — it's possible that it fell into his 'process later' heap.

*

"Possibly because they're nerds?" Bobby laughs as he watches the bloated flies return to Mike. The ice nerd quirks an eyebrow in question as in 'what do you need those for'?

"So are you doing here at the festival? Watching out for trouble at home as well as abroad?" The notion that he is literally in like eight places at once amuses him.

*

"System status. Thread-1 operating wmd scan system, integrating remote system update messages. Thread-2 operating Festival Security oversight. Thread-3 observing automated scanner fab. Thread-4 operating general-awareness all festival monitor bugs. Thread-5 is this remote construct, current life-force nexus for entity Metal. Thread-6 is currently asleep," Mike says semi-robotically. He looks around and back at Bobby.

"Festival monitor bugs — one thousand four hundred points of view. A bit distracting. Those are alcohol-fuel-packs. Darcy Lewis is on duty and is tagged 'lightweight drinker' so may not consume alcohol on duty. We took it away from her drink."

His face is a little small and a little buglike but it does seem to have the potential for an evil grin. Especially since he has four arms at the moment and is doing the 'plotting evil' emote-gesture with the lower pair of hands.

"Ah. Security has arrived. Nerd fight over shape of power-girl boob window now replaced by whining."

*

"Par for the course then. Riddle me this. What's the best way to protect the DaCosta Building from a domestic missile strike without installing a CWIS on it?" Bobby is of course referring to the US Navy antimissile systems known as 'phalanx' and 'goalkeeper'. They're guns. Big rotary ones. That's probably not an ideal solution.

*

"Switching to Thread-6," Mini-Mike says. "Analysis suggests detect/defend/disable protocol. All systems to include long, medium, short, and point-blank modes. Defend system to include active and passive modes. Recommend energy screen identify solid holographic system options, fast-deployment ablative shields, and reinforcement of structural components to reduce possible spread of damage and to minimize collapse, thermal, and point-failure modes. Recommend active mode include robotic drones equipped with non-lethal weapon-disabling systems. That is current state of analysis."

Mike would blink but he has these multi-lens bug-eyes at the moment.

"I cannot assess validity of Thread-6 schema. My … Note. Nerd fight is now being resumed without slapping. Mutant Town resident Calliope Addams has used mutant power to temporarily modify bodies. Both nerds are now in possession of breast and chest-window configuration of their choice. They are still fighting."

*

Bobby frowns in thought as Mike runs through his proposal. "Hardlight, right? That stuff's theoretical." He's read of it in journals. The since behind it is pretty solid but the energy source you'd need for it is completely off the wall. "Ideal but I don't know ho practical. Robotic drones… there's a thought. We could store bug swarms to deal with missiles, that is if they didn't eat up too much processing power from you or could be made autonomous."

The mention of Calliope Adams gets a laugh. "Remind me to send her cookies. She still lives in the apartment a block down right?" Fight resumed without slapping. Priceless.

*

Mike shrugs, humming a bit higher into the air. He looks distracted again. Music is starting. People are settling down from one part of the crowd and moving to another, and there's a faint twinkle as bugs move around in response. He could totally have had one put on every visitor badge if he'd been that insane. No, really, that would have been insane. Besides there's another technopath around and Mike's been feeling the person's presence, but he hasn't narrowed it down yet.

"She likes chocolate chip," Mike says after the warm-up act begins. "I'm too scattered to tell you if the idea can work or not. It's the result of one-sixth of my mind focusing for thirty minutes on the problem. This … distributed thing. Is not very comfortable."

*

Bobby shakes his head with a smile. "I'll work on it. Can you, I dunno, shuffle the processing off onto a computer somewhere? Maybe cloud it?" He's got no idea if Mike can do that with what is essentially his consciousness but he certianly doesn't seem to have any problem moving it from vessle to vessle.

*

Mike-figure pulls Thread-6 into sharper connection so he can use one-third of himself to explain.

"No. I think with my mind. I can speed parts of it with computers, but my range is about a mile for proper connection. Anything other than that requires physical media for signal propagation."

Seriously, whoever that telepath is who's poking at him from the Astral plane, right now should stop that.

*

"You'd need a relay, or be able to take over an actual network." Bobby muses. Electronics isn't his bag, but he is after all a scientist. "Well, hell, maybe we should try and get something like that set up for you, at least in the local area. You can augment your processing power from the computer banks back at the headquarters…" Still musing, hrm…

*

"That might be helpful on-site," Mike says. He has a momentary, horrifying image that has to come from somewhere else, of the DaCosta Industries building transforming into a BFR — BIG F*ING ROBOT — and stepping on Amanda Waller. Hideous. Where did that come from? Mike's not a Giant Robot fan. Biggest bot he wants to ever be is the fifteen-foot construction system he's designed.

"I already HAVE a network set up locally. That's how I'm doing this much," Mike adds.

*

"We'll talk to Warm Bobby about it and I'll keep plugging away at missile defense… oh? I guess that makes some sense." Robotic networks and missile defense for New York Skyscrapers. Bobby would say he doesn't get paid enough for this but… he kind of does.

"Are you going to take some time to enjoy the festival? The sights? The nerds fighting over Power Girl's costume?"

*

"I do not have time to enjoy things. I will replay it later," Mike says. He may be lying.

*

Bobby leans back and chuckles, straightening his black 'Security' Tee shirt. "I see." He pauses briefly to scan the crowd again. The concert is in full swing and the crowd seems to be behaving. The 'watering hole' that's licensed to serve alcohol is sedate. The folks milling about the street and the shops and stands don't seem to be causing any problems. Situation normal. All good.

M-Town is certainly lively, but unless they make a scene of themselves the two royals should go unremarked, at least at first. Mera gets the usual amount of looks one might expect an attractive woman to get in this part of town, but it doesn't go any further than that. Off on a street corner, wearing a tee shirt that proclaims him 'Security' is one of the young men who met the Sea Queen on the beach that day. The one who froze things.

*

And, the weird mechanical bug-guy in miniature is hanging in the air in front of him. Of course, for anyone who's a telepath of much ability, the weird mechanical bug-guy in miniature is the focal point to something that's pervading the entire neighborhood of Mutant Town and some ways past it, in tiny sparks of awareness rather like a shoal of fish.

*

Aquaman doesn't blend in anywhere. It's not that he's famous so much as he's infamous. That member of the Justice League who can talk to fish? He's been on TV more then most heroes, he claims to be king of something, and he carries a giant golden fork strapped to his back. Sure, he sticks out less then he would on any other street at any other time, but still… Fame is fame. He moves through the people sedately, looking stern but hopeful as he leans over to speak softly with the red headed woman at his side, pointing out things of note with a nod or a glance instead of a jabbing finger. He may not blend in per se, but neither is he making an effort to stand out.

*

A strange obsidian avianoid flies into the area near the concert before landing near the ticket booth and offering some paper currency for a ticket or a stamp. It had been wanting to gain enlightenment into the whole premise behind the festival, perhaps see the perspectives of folks within the community, and most importantly, take some time off and away from the madness that seems to have enveloped the city as of late. Particularly around the Titan tower. Something happened there recently that… was rather eye-opening for the ancient educator. And… disturbing.

On the plus side, given the festival it is highly unlikely that it will be accosted by individuals in regards its appearance or even its demeanor.

Then it sees the King of Atlantis, but more importantly, the Queen. The partner had such a cordial dealing with them. It should approach… but not quite yet.

Mera walks alongside Aquaman, letting him be a tour guide (do they have those in Atlantis?) and even though it seems like they're carrying on a conversation, she's not actually speaking aloud. < I was offered a food item, more than once. 'Funnel cake'? What manner of food is this? > She seems a bit distracted, though, and keeps glancing about in directions other than indicated by Arthur.

*

It's the 'tour guide' activity that draws Bobby's eye. People will come through pointing out this or that curiosity but rarely are they giving the dollar tour, as it were. Arthur is clearly doing just that and while the ice nerd doesn't know him he does most certainly recognize his wife. "Mike, Three O'clock." He nods, indicating to his direct right.

"Isn't that the woman 'Berto was bowing to? Queen of Atlantis, right?" He cants his head. "What do you suppose she's doing here?"

*

The swarm notices the strangers and Mike's floating self says, "Yes. Ah, that's who Arthur is. Aquaman. I suppose they're here for the same reasons as everyone else."

He hangs in place, for a moment, not moving at all, while a swirl of small gold-and-black mechanical moths flies around the bird-person, landing on one of his shoulders and sliding together to form a combination camera-microphone-speaker.

"Hello, Jim's Partner," Mike's voice says from the speaker. "Welcome to the Burning Human festival. The name doesn't mean anything useful."

Back at the flying action-figure-sized Mike… it resumes its animation, and says, "Buddha Bird incoming."

*

The movement through the crowds is almost a dance in and of itself for Corvinus. With a bob here, a dodge there, a slight skip-hop and a few steps of walk it manages to maintain a reasonably graceful pace. Though, it isn't doing the tourist thing. It is a bit more methodical than some of the crowd as it continues to weave through, minding other participants that it does not bash them in the head or other parts of the body with its wings.

Upon being greeted the avianoid bows slightly. "And good evening to the partner's employer of the first degree. This one accepts one's welcome and wishes to learn. This one will be properly respectful and may also seek the attention of someone the partner has met recently, as well."

*

Aquaman seems stumped by something for a moment as he considers the answer before responding in kind, <Do you remember the bread I got you at the bakery? It was the warm brown loaf that felt like a sponge but tasted nothing like one? Funnel cake uses similar ingredients but is made sweetened and fried. They pass the dough, the um… uncooked product, through a funnel to give the food a distinct look. It is a traditional treat at gatherings such as this. You may like it if you wish to try some. Remind me also to show you cotton candy sometime.> he suppresses a grin imagining Mera trying to eat cotton candy. He doesn't mention it to Mera, not aloud, but with a subtle shift of his position she can tell he's reacted to being seen. Mostly in the form of freeing the arm that was fondly around her waist so that it now hangs loose at his side where the trident's shaft is in easy reach should it be needed. Price of spending so much time on the JLA, Arthur's always just a /little/ suspicious.

*

Mera ohs silently. <I declined the offers, as I was unsure. Cotton candy?> She does of course notice Arthur's reaction and becomes a bit more alert as well, mentally dismissing that almost subconscious … something that seems to fill the air. It's like feeling a boat's motor running from several leagues away. Too faint to properly place but still exceedingly annoying.

*

Bobby watches the bird thing. "Friend of yours Mike?" If Corvinus is a mutant, he's one of the more extreme examples. And now the bird-thing is moving toward the Sea Queen. "Is that going to be alright. I suppose I should probably walk over there and say hello at least since I met her. C'mon Mike. You can introduce them to action-figure you."

Bobby turns and starts to walk over in what he hopes is an unthreatening manner. His shirt says 'Security' not 'Police'. No one's afraid of 'Security' right?

*

Mike hovers along like a balloon on an invisible string attached to Bobby Drake. He would explain to Bobby, but he's feeling a strange itch again. Not the telepath he felt earlier staring at him from the Astral Plane. Much less focused, but coming from inside his distributed-self. One thing for sure. He has GOT to come up with a better way to do this 'area monitoring' trick. If it weren't for that other technopath messing with his bugs, he could just let them run by themselves, after all.

*

Caution on some matters is always a good thing, especially in an environment like this. If there was any motivation it ascribed to the weapon-bearing man's stance, it was one of defense and wariness. This is a perfectly reasonable and understandable profile. And then the one the partner knows as 'Queen Mera' also goes on alert.

With a mind learned and partner thoughts of wariness, Corvinus also shifts to a more defensive stance, watching for a potential conflict to erupt, anticipating several different resolution paths depending on the level of conflict. Even at a 'party', there is such wariness, such paranoia? Surely this cannot be healthy for developing species?

And on the matter of 'Security', the partner provides a clear insight that they should be respected unless they go into 'full blown butthole mode', at which point one should respectfully disengage and depart.

It continues to close the distance, at a respectful and measured pace.

Aquaman quirks a brow, <Friends of yours?> he asks curiously, <Or more people seeking to mock my fish powers?> soft amusement in his mental tone as he queries his wife. He does stop advancing however and plants his bare feet firmly on the ground.

*

Mera stops precisely alongside her husband, her chin lifting ever so slightly as she looks from Corvinus to Bobby, not really registering Mike as anything other than the cold-creator's attendant seahorse. <The black-scaled one I do not know, but the other was amongst the ones that offered the 'funnel cake'.> She focuses on Corvinus again and tilts her head slightly as she watches the avian approaching. She's still on the alert, but doesn't seem like she feels in any way threatened. <This one has a very inefficient method of surface travel.>

*

Bobby gives Corvinus a sidelong glance as they all converge on the two waterfolk. He gives Mera - who is after all a Queen - a little polite half-bow. It's not courtly, not even close, but he's trying. "Your Majesty. Welcome to M-Town. Here for the festival?"

Shouldn't, uh, someone other than just an ice nerd be here to greet royalty to the place?

*

The "sea horse" realizes that there probably should be someone else here to greet royalty and welcome them to the festival. The so-called 'festival organizers' have been hiding in their rooms for most of the week, apparently actually organizing things from their fortress of hiding-tude. Almost like a science fiction convention or something. The Security Team is doing its job. But at this time of night, no greet people are around. Fine.

The little bug-guy floating in the air lands on the ground. From all around, small crawling things begin to swarm, pulling themselves together until, after about ten seconds, a humanoid, gold skin, wearing a Security Tee-shirt and ordinary khaki pants, is standing where the bug-guy was. If anyone is going to start a fight, Thread-2 will have to tell him about it, because Threads 3-6 are now combined so that Mike can talk like a normal human.

Incidentally, the weird telepathic/empathic sensation of thousands of presences, for anyone who feels them, is suddenly cut in half.

"Welcome to the Burning Human festival, Your Majesties. The name doesn't really mean anything," he says.

*

The ancient sagely flier slows its pace once it draws near the King and Queen, then bows a bit more deeply than Bobby with folded wings for space issues. "Greetings, Queen Mera, on behalf of my partner whom one has met. This one is The Corvinus, and respectfully acknowledges one's grace and courtesy when one was present on the beach a few days past. The partner informs this one that the man next to one is the sovereign of your realm, and likewise this one offers proper respect and courtesy. Given that this one seeks Enlightenment, perhaps in the future a discussion could be had in a less active environment with nary so may distractions that we might all grow together in Wisdom?"

Bobby gets a bit of a blink as the bird-thing attempts to parse the 'Security' tag with the rather casual attitude.

It says nothing about Mike's action.

Aquaman watches all of this with the stoic expression of a man who's been time traveling, alien fighting, and dimensional barrier hoping so often there's about a 63 chance this isn't anywhere near his original form anymore, and merely nods to all the strangeness politely, "Thank you all, though on the surface I don't think all the pomp and circumstance is required. Aquaman will do just fine." he offers a warm smile to each in turn. Seriously, they're not even the strangest thing he's seen this month… which idly makes Arthur question how high his bar has been set for 'wtf' moments.

*

Mera watches Mike the seahorse become Mike the coral colony. And no, the change in the telepathic 'white noise' is not lost on her. <I did not realize the surface dwellers came in such varied forms.> She recognizes the full size gold-skinned man, though, and nods politely to Bobby then the others. "Arthur thought it best that I experience more of the surface world."

*

Bobby smiles a little. "I see." The Sea King, now properly identified to Bobby, gets a nod and a smile. "Is there anything any of us can do to show you around?" The ice nerd is again, fairly out of his depth. He's got less than a clue really what to do with royalty and it's a good thing Aquaman isn't insisting on pomp and circumstance 'cause there's not a whole lot of that to go around.

"You remember Mike, right?" He says, indicating the now properly reformed metal man. "And…" Bobby hasn't met the Philosophy Bird before…

*

"The Corvinus, he just introduced himself," Mike says to Bobby from the speaker on the Bird's shoulder. His more human location looks thoughtful for a moment.

"As a visitor to the surface world, are you more interested in our culture, our entertainments, our foods, architecture? Anything that you want to ask about that we can try to show you?" Mike asks the couple, but especially Mera. Aquaman knows a lot of this stuff. Otherwise, he'd never have made the JLA. Right?

*

The bird-thing pops back up. "This one on behalf one's partner thanks one for fair winds and following seas when one's partner was in the Navy two decades ago. This one is uncertain if that is necessary, but passes the message on regardless."

To Mera, then, it nods. "Life is the collection of experiences and how one adapts to them to expand the Self. Without growth, intellect dies." How… very profound, Buddha Bird…

"This one's initial reason for coming here was to experience this 'Burning Human' scenario to discover what Enlightenment one could glean from it."

It bows to Mike and gives the man a proper salute. "Thank one."

*

Aquaman's entire history, or at least a good portion of it, is common knowledge and down right Googleable thanks to Dr. Shin outing him as a child to the rest of the world as Atlantean. Most notably, how he was born and raised on the surface world, making it more his home then the waters of Atlantis… or at least so one might argue. He glances at the bird for a moment, "I was not responsible for the fair weather, we try not to tamper with anything on the surface if we can avoid it. Live and let live as the saying goes… that said, thank your partner for his service. It was not so long ago I lived in this nation as a part of it, I still respect the sacrifices made by others in my stead." he nods to the bird. It's not a bow, because Kings do not bow, but it is more respectful then a nod usually is.

Mike's question gets a grin from Arthur, "Um… a little of everything. Mera is very new to the surface. Very new. So far I'm trying to start small and work her into the grander things. Today I think may end up being a lesson about funnel cake."

*

Mera looks at Arthur with a small frown. "You warned me to be wary of surface dweller foods. I am not about to take unnecessary risks." Especially when the other undersea dweller around at the time was Rowan. Which, the strange Blue is friendly enough but still too much of an unknown for her to trust fully.

"Well it make you feel better if we try some first?" Bobby grins.

*

"Mike, there's a funnel cake stand just around the corner isn't there?" He can smell it from here. "I promise I'll freeze his feet solid if he even thinks about causing an international incident." Okay, so maybe the ice nerd should work on the jokes, but honestly it's funnel cake. Aside from the threat to one's arteries, they're perfectly harmless.

"Will, uh, you be joining us for funnel cake, Corvinus?" It's completely unclear to Bobby that the Buddah Bird would enjoy eating it… or be able to, except by maybe setting it on a table and pecking it apart. That beak looks really, really rigid.

*

"There is a funnel cake stand around the corner to the right and down one vendor space. Next to it is a cotton candy vendor. Next to that is something called rat on a stick, which I do not recommend. However, if Arthur eats this funnel cake, then it probably won't hurt for you to test a small bite, correct?" Mike says. He points in the proper direction, even.

*

"The partner has heard the thanks and appreciates them. He is a bit humbled to have met one of the members of… partner term 'Jay El Ay' in person, even if indirectly through this one's presence. And it is important to let live. Death is an end to experience, and much wisdom can be lost as a result." The head nod is taken with the appropriate gravity intended, much like someone recieving a salute.

"The partner was concerned the other day that there may be allergen or sensitivity concerns with foodstuffs, and suggested erring on the side of caution. Partner terms 'Avoid *expletives deleted* international incident.' as well."

The avian entity tilts its head and contemplates for a brief instant.

"This one would be encouraged to attempt a new sensational experience. This one, however, only carried enough currency for a concert ticket, however.

It's not a mooch, nor is its partner. It just plans things a bit more tightly than its partner does.

*

Aquaman chuckles at this, "Funnel cake it is." he says, resting a hand lightly on Mera's shoulder, "You will be fine. You can feast on the various venomous creatures we harvest in Atlantis for food, I doubt funnel cake will be the death of you. Or cotton candy. Avoid the rat on a stick, just on principle." he recommends however. Then he holds up a single golden coin, "I will pay for the food, no one need worry. I seldom get to enjoy small things like this anymore, may as well make the best of it."

*

Mera looks at all of the others and then at Arthur. "What is a 'rat'? And why would one eat a stick with a rat on it?" She seems completely unconcerned about the whole monetary angle, and Arthur's brandishing a gold coin explains why readily enough. "Funnel cake. Cotton candy. Such strange names," she muses mostly to herself.

*

"Jacky's gonna choke making change for that." Bobby murmurs to himself with a smirk as he gesutres to Mike and starts walking around the corner toward the delicious foodstuffs in question. "So what brings you, uh, inland?" New York is really not far from the ocean, but M-Town isn't exactly on the beach. "And specifically to Burning Human? I didn't think the promoters were that thorough."

*

"I'm not sure what the exchange rate is," Mike answers.

They arrive as Jacky is using a special pitcher with a funnel (oh!) on the bottom, which she clicks open to let spirals of batter flow into a vat of hot cooking oil. The thin streams puff up immediately, and after only about a minute she uses a long pair of chopsticks to flip the floating thing over … a minute later, she uses a giant woven-brass net-scoop to pull it from the hot oil, and sets it on a draining rack.

"How many of these do you want, my dears?" Jacky is a dark-skinned woman with reptilian-styled skin and a Jamaican accent. She starts another as she speaks.

"We have fruit compotes or chocolate syrup or honey or powdered sugar, which of these would you like?"

*

"Your Majesty, this one would respectfully submit on behalf of one's partner that the local food stands may have no good method for providing change for such a coin. Also, this one would point out that without the small things, the large things lose their meaning, their context. For example, partner details 'rat' as 'sewer dwelling rodent known for breeding incessantly and poor hygiene with vast appetite.' Without such knowledge, one may believe a thing is something it is not, or vice versa."

It tilts its head a bit at the question about reasons for attending from the visiting royalty.

"This one is at the mercy of those who would provide."

Aquaman chuckles at Bobby, "Atlantis has a growing mutant population of its own, but we've long since overcome social stigma's based upon physical differences," he pauses then amends, "most of them anyway." he's still working on the whole 'hate blond people and hate purple eyed people' thing. He's making inroads on the blond thing at least. "I brought Mera here to show her that the surface is struggling to do accomplish the same, but not in vain. I was unaware of the festivities occurring, but upon seeing them," he shrugs, "it seemed another facet of surface life she should be allowed to enjoy." he then shrugs, "Who needs change?" he asks curiously, "Certainly not I, and I imagine the money could be put to better use by the people in this neighborhood anyway." he hands the coin over to the vendor, "I'll take fruit stuffs on mine, and she'll have chocolate." he says, jerking a thumb Mera's direction. Arthur doesn't know much about women, not even the one he lets in his head, but he knows he's never met one that didn't like chocolate.

*

Mera watches the scale-skinned woman creating fanciful coral-esque shapes with a liquid that cooks the instant it lands in the heated oil, then looks at Arthur with a baffled frown. "Chocolate." She's seen others eating this structures covered in a white powder that gets everywhere. Is that the chocolate?

*

Mike looks up and toward the center of the festival.

"Forgive me, there's a minor emergency I must deal with," he says, and rises from the ground, separating back into a swarm. At least it doesn't seem to be spreading out and causing the white-noise for sensitives, but it does move quickly off into the sky.

Just as well. He doesn't even have the ability to eat in his current configuration. That particular hardware is back at home.

*

Bobby chuckles. "Well in that case, you'll be all set. If you need anything, I'll be keeping an eye on this area for a while. Enjoy your stay, both." With another polite bow, the ice nerd turns and leaves Arthur and Mera to their wonderful and new experience of… funnel cake.


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