Cookout

Summary:
November 17, 2014: Rowan organises a beach cookout, with s'mores…

A Beach - New York


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
[*<http://insert.video.or.music.link.here>]


It's cold enough that Rowan has decided for another experiment in surfacer cooking. Well two experiments, actually. Experiment number one: The bonfire on the beach. He's seen surfacers do it and it looks like fun. But one needs company. Hence an invitation to Babs… and someone he thinks Babs should meet. Her Majesty. Experiment number two: S'mores. He hasn't tried them yet but they're supposed to be a dessert of some kind. Promises to be interesting. He's fairly sure he's got all the required ingredients and equipment.

***

Babs has decided to leave her chair at the car and, with Rowans assistance, is now situated on a rug near the bonfire… Being cold, she's packed a blanket which she's thrown over her lap and is wearing an extra thick jumper. As usual, her hair is down and she looks slightly wind blown. "So, you said two experiments… the bonfire is one I assume, what's the second?" the redhead smiles at the Blue Warrior.

***

Mera arrives bearing her own contribution to this 'cooking' experiment. Mostly, they're her accustomed undersea foodstuffs that are usually eaten different ways and she's curious to see how they react to open flames. She brought: some of her favorite sea urchins, a few of the bottom feeder types like a horseshoe crab and some lobster-ish sorts, a sea anemone the size of a serving platter, and … a sponge.

***

Rowan holds up a package of graham crackers and the necessary chocolate and marshmallows. "I read about a dessert called s'mores." He had to read extra to find out how it's pronounced. "I thought perhaps you might want to try it. Also I've invited - Ah here she is." As Mera approaches he bows as befits royalty. "Your Majesty. May I present to you Barbara Gordon. She's a close friend of mine. Babs this is Queen Mera of Atlantis." No, that's not a joke.

***

Non-plussed, Babs looks up from her spot on the rug… at the approaching monarch. "Oh, Your Majesty." Babs inclines her head to the other woman as she recovers her composure "It's a pleasure to meet you. Let me greet you in the surfacers traditional manner" and she holds up her right hand to shake Mera's hand. "How do you prefer to be addressed? I prefer to be called Babs." Thoughts of S'mores and bonfires have fled for the time being.

***

Mera sets the mesh bag with her food offerings down as she nods to Rowan at his greeting, then after regarding Babs for a moment reaches to shake the other redhead's hand. "Babs. I prefer Mera." She's quiet for a moment longer before adding curiously, "I thought Surfacers were in the habit of standing to greet others." She's always presumed it was either a manners thing or a refusal to show weakness thing. Yet here Babs remains seated while being very polite, and she doesn't appear to be in any way behaving as if she were superior to Mera and trying to show it by refusing to rise in her presence. She very lightly brushes over the seated woman's mind, 'listening' for the most easily caught impressions/emotions/surface thoughts to try to find an explanation why.

***

"Babs… er… I'll let Babs explain, Mera." Rowan looks at the seafood and then back up. Aaaaah. She wishes to experiment also. Plenty of time for that. Meanwhile, he offers her an untoasted Marshmello. "This is part of a surfacer dessert." He explains, seeing if she'll like it before explaining the procedure.

***

Blushing slightly at Mera's comments, Babs looks a little embarrassed "Yes, you're correct. It is a surfacer custom to stand when meeting people, except, ummmm I don't have the use of my legs. I can't stand or walk. Please forgive my rudeness." Leaving the explanation there for now, Babs watches as Rowan offers the marshmallow.

***

Mera looks at Babs almost piercingly for a moment, as if checking the truth of the woman's words, and then nods. "There is nothing to forgive. You are not showing any rudeness." She settles down in front of the campfire then looks from Rowan to the marshmallow and back supiciously. She's found very few Surfacer 'desserts' that she cares for. The sweetness does not appeal to her. But, she takes the small confection anyway and squishes it gently between her fingers. "The consistency of a scallop's flesh…" and then she over-squishes it. "Or perhaps more like a nudibranch."

***

Rowan nods "It's rather sweet… yes. And the whole thing… well… let me show you." The Blue shoves another marshmellow on a stick and proceeds to toast it over the fire. Then offers a preppred skewer with another marshmellow on it to Babs so she can toast one. Once the proper brown texture and nutty flavor has been achieved the sandwich si created and offered to Mera.

***

Accepting the skewer from Rowan, Babs watches Mera play with the Marshmallow a small smile on her face. Leaning over slightly, thank goodness for upper body strength, Babs puts the marshmallows in the the fire and waits for them to brown. Of course, they catch fire slightly and pulling the skewer out Babs blows the flames out before proceeding to the nibble the toasted marshmallows on their own. "It's a nice surprise, Rowan." Mera warrants another look "It's worth trying them Mera, you don't know if you don't try" she encourages.

***

Mera tries to let go of the squished marshmallow and finds it won't let go. Finally, a rather forceful flick of her hand sends the spongy confection flying out onto the sand, where seagulls converge and fight over it. Frowning faintly, she watches Rowan toast another marshmallow on a stick and then assemble one of these s'mores things before accepting it uncertainly. She watches Babs nibble on an un-sandwiched marshmallow, then after eyeing her s'more for a moment longer, takes a bite. At least she chews and swallows the entire bite. "It is…. very sweet."

***

"Surfacers seem to like very sweet things." Rowan observes. "In fact calling someone 'sweet' is a compliment here. Albiet… one given to certain context, I understand." He smiles down at Babs. "How is it?" As he asks he's assembling one for himself while he looks over the things that Mera brought.

***

Babs does well to only offer a small smile as the marshmallow sticks to Meras' fingers and then goes flying over the sand. Still nibbling her own marshmallows, which are cool enough to eat properly now, she watches Mera sample the s'more. "Yes, some surfacers like sweet things… well most surfacers. Sugar, the bit that makes things sweet, has been found to be addictive. Get enough of a taste for it, you crave more." Rowans question gets a big smile "Delightful. Toasted Marshmallows on the beach with such good company, what could be better?"

***

Mera makes a face and tries to hand the bitten-into s'more off to someone else. "I would rather not develop that manner of craving." If someone takes the treat from her hands, she wipes off any excess s'more from her fingers onto the leg of her outfit then reaches to open her own bag of goodies. The urchins are pulled first, and after a moment of consideration, she just drops them straight into the fire to hiss and pop rather unhappily.

***

Rowan watches as Mera toasts the urchins. He happens to know how much she likes urchins. So much so that he keeps them on hand in case she vists. Helps that he likes them too. The blue sits down on the sand to nibble at the very sweet confection. It's not bad. And the bonfire is nice. He can see why surfacers like this.

***

Taking pity on Mera, Babs takes the s'mores from her with a smile. "Good choice, I think, Mera. It's nice and all but…" By now her marshmallows are gone and looking at the partially tried s'mores in her hand, she nibbles on it. As the urchins are put on the fire, Babs tilts her head "Urchins… how do you eat them and manage the toxic parts?" Seeing Rowan sit on the sand, Babs moves slightly to make more room on the rug "There's plenty of room on the rug for you both to share…"

***

Mera is still mostly soggy from having arrived via the water. She looks at the rug, then shakes her head no to Babs. "I am fine here. And the urchins aren't toxic. They're just … mildly spicy." She claims a stick from Rowan's collection to roll the urchins back out to the edge of the fire to cool a bit before picking one up and realizing the fire pretty much completely burned off its spines. That's convenient.

***

"We don't have the same vulnerabilities as humans do." Rowan explains. "We eat many forms of seafood raw and with parts intact that humans find toxic." He shrugs. "It's just part of having devleoped to live there, I suppose."

***

"Well that makes sense, I suppose. It was one of my concerns, if you recall, when you wanted to sample our food… making sure there was nothing that could be dangerous to you." Babs gives her attention to Mera "I would love to learn more about you Mera, Rowan's told me little except you are the Queen of Atlantis. If I overstep, please accept my apologies."

***

Mera adjusts her grip on the urchin and then cracks it open between her hands in a single sharp motion. Hm. The consistency of the flesh has changed. She picks out a bit of the urchin's innards to taste and doesn't seem too offended by it. Then she offers to share the food with Rowan and Babs. "Arthur did tell me that there were some food items that I should be wary of, but I do not remember the names this moment. And please do not be afraid to ask any questions you wish. If I do not like the question, I simply will not answer."

***

Rowan does not ask questions of Mera. Mera will be aware, by this point, that this is because she is considered to be 'skeery'. The Mera he knew was a literal force of nature and a battle hardened water worker as as well. This one isn't, but he can clearly see the potential for city ending tsunamis in her.

***

Babs quirks an eyebrow at Rowans silence and then looks at the urchin being offered by Mera. Warily she takes a bit to try it… Mera's right it is a little spicy and tastes similar to a lot of the shell fish that get eaten. "Well, I guess I should start with, what's it like being the queen? I can't imagine it's easy… so how about, the best thing and the hardest thing about being the ruler of a nation?" Babs might be used to controlling resources in the field, but she can't translate that to governing a city or a nation.

***

Mera considers the question for a few moments, taking the other urchin and cracking it open as easily as she did the first. "The best thing? I would have to say seeing the changes that Arthur and I have implemented actually helping the people of our realm. The hardest? Constantly being in the public eye and having to behave in a manner that's expected of me."

***

Rowan watches Mera and Babs carefully. He's aware of what the most difficult thing for his Mera was. Watching people try to kill her husband. And nearly succeed. Over and over.

***

The manner of Meras' answer interests Babs and she frowns and thinks deeply before responding… "The changes you and King Arthur" there's a small smile at that name "have implemented… that seems to indicate that there was a…. reasonable …. amount to change. Or did I misread that. What was it like before you and your King came to power?" There's genuine interest in the question… Babs can't help but be interested though.

***

Mera eats this urchin completely and rather quickly, tossing the shells back into the fire and picking up the third to open and eat equally quickly. FOr as much trouble as the little things are to open, they don't have a lot of meat in them. Once she's finished the third, she offers the fourth to Rowan and pulls the anemone from the sack. Studying the limp mass and then looking at the fire, she's clearly trying to figure out to cook the thing without causing it to burn like the marshmallows did for Babs.

"Well, it wasn't bad, per se, but there were things that I think Arthur saw that could be improved by some of the knowledge he brought with him from the surface. Things like… improving the way that harvests are shared between different populated regions so that no one area goes hungry while another has food to spare."

***

Rowan cracks the urchin open with his fist and eats it without any trouble. Mmmm. Those are good hot. "In the other Atlantis most everyone went hungry anyway." He says quietly. "All the surplus food went to the fighters and there was little enough for them as it stood." Not famine but rationing was simply a fact for most resources on Earth 81.

***

Babs shifts to rearrange herself slightly and ease some of her muscles whilst watching Mera's deliberation. "If Rowan has packed some Aluminium Foil, you could wrap it in that and put it in the fire. It will stop it burning…" she offers. "Well that seems like smart governance, to share food. I won't ask about the targetted regions, I assume you'll want to keep that restricted information." Babs offers a small smile "Wait, did you say Arthur was from the surface?"

***

Mera looks at Rowan. What IS 'aluminum foil'? And how does it prevent things from burning? Then she nods to Babs, quietly grateful that the surfacer understands about keeping confidences. "Yes. He is from … Mane? I think that is the name. Somewhere near the ocean."

***

Rowan did not pack any but his flat isn't far away. "Mmmm. It's thin sheet metal. I'll be right back." He gets up and runs off. Fortunately he runs fast and it isn't far. When he returns he has a roll of silvery material. Clearly metal but rolled very thin. He offers it to the sea queen. "I'm not quite sure how it works either Mera."

***

"Tear some off, enough to wrap around the anemone totally, skewer it and stick it in the fire. The foil will stop in burning and kind of steam the meat. I'm not sure if it will taste alright, but I've had fish cooked that way" Babs explains the process to Mera. "Can I ask how Arthur became an Atlantean King if he is a surfacer?"

***

Mera takes the foil from Rowan, listens to Babs offering instructions with an attentive expression, then nods and tries to do as instructed. It's by no means tidy (tearing off a piece of the foil is an ordeal all on its own), but finally, the poor, mistreated anemone is all foil-wrapped and skewered and sitting in the fire. "I … am not entirely certain. He was already the Atlantean king when I met him." And the few times she's asked, some of the terms he used and references he made were completely nonsensical to her.

***

"Arthur is half Atlantean." Rowan offers quietly. "He was raised on the surface but is royal by birth. The throne is his by right of blood." That's how it was on Earth 81 anyway and he's willing to bet that's how it is here too.

***

Babs nods encouragement to Mera as she cooks the anemone. "I hope it works for you…" she murmurs. "Your Arthur sounds fascinating…" Babs smiles "I really appreciate you being so gracious to answer my questions. If you have anything you wish to ask me, please do… if I can't answer, I'll say" Babs turns her attention to the fire and the cooking food

***

Mera just kind of holds the foiled anemone over the flames, not really sure what else to do with it. But, she does look at Babs for a moment consideringly. "How did you lose the use of your legs?"

***

Rowan blinks. "That…" He falls silent. It might be sensitive for Babs but honestly it's her call to tell or not tell.

***

"Normally I would put the foil in the fire, Mera, not above it. But given you've started, lower it a little and turn it, like this" Babs gets one of the spare sticks and demonstrates "It will cook more evenly. You won't need much longer either…" Meras question gets a small, melancoly smile "It's alright Rowan, it's the most common question I get… and not surprisingly"

Looking at Mera, Babs takes a minute. "A home invasion, I was shot in the back at pretty close range. It severed my spinal cord." A one shouldered shrug "It was a message to my father… the Commissioner of Police and it could have been a lot worse."

***

Mera watches Babs demonstrate, then mimics her actions. She can't help but wonder if it'll make a difference in the anemone's texture. "So, someone attacked you in your home because of your father is a powerful figure?" Wow, doesn't that sound familiar. Only, Mera was the one sent to do the damage. "And there was nothing your healers could do?"

***

"No." Rowan offers up. "The people here lack magic. They were unable to repair the damage. Perhaps one day their technology might offer something though." He's hopeful. Rowan would love to see Babs walk.

***

"Take it out now… it should be ready, I really hope it's worked.." Bab suggests to Mera. Rowan gets a small smile. "As Rowan says, we lack magic and technology to repair the damage." Babs gives a small shrug and answers Mera more fully "Precisely… a pawn in a bigger game. However, I have learned more about my capabilities through this injury than I would have in my entire life. Maybe it's meant that way."

***

Mera pulls the foil-wrapped item from the flames and sets it on the sand to start pulling at the metal. She only winces once at what must be blistering-hot foil, then manages to pull it open, letting out a cloud of steam that smells… well, probably not good to a Surfacer's nose. She looks at Babs then. "So you have made a tragic event into a chance at improvement. Very admirable. WOuld you like to try the," she hesitates, then offers a word that is clearly not any surface language.

***

"Food." Rowan finishes for the Queen. It's only polite. Rowan himself has made another S'more. Mmmmm S'mores. He stretches and watches quietly. The two women seem to be getting along well which is good since he likes both.

***

Shrugging off the 'tragic event' Babs cants her head "It is a surfacer way… well for some anyway. Tragic… I would have died. Traumatic… yes and I've found a life I couldn't have expected. I wouldn't have Rowan" and Babs eyes fill with warm affection "or yourself if I hadn't have gone through it." Then Mera offers the food and Rowan translates. Laughing Babs eyes the 'food' "I think she meant anemone, Rowan. And given I've suggested how Mera cook it, I'm not sure I should refuse…." Babs looks at the offering and takes a small piece. Meras' correct it smells, different, but seafood often does and Babs eats the morsel… waiting for Meras' response.

***

Mera nods at Babs' explanation. "The path of one's life isn't always as expected. This I am very familiar with." After all, her life didn't exactly go as planned and she can only be very glad it didn't. She lets the woman take a morsel of the anemone, attempting to repeat the reef dweller's surfacer name and sounding a bit like Nemo for a second there. She reaches for a piece of the cooked invertebrate herself, noting the change in the texture before sampling. Hm. Perhaps not an improvement, but definitely not inpalatable this way.

***

Rowan breaks some off and samples it as well. Hrm. Maybe some salt? Bit of seasoning. Either way. He grins. The next time they do this they can make some 'popped corn.' It doesn't have much of a flavor except for what you put onto it so… should be something the Sea Queen would like.

***

Babs shifts again… she's uncomfortable, she's been sitting on her own for a while. The anemone tasted, Babs smiles and says "Some vinegar would go nicely with that. Maybe Mera, if you have the time, we could this again with some seasonings." Noting Rowans smile, Babs looks questioningly "Something has you amused?"

***

Mera watches Babs for a moment, 'listening' to her surface thoughts again and picking up the discomfort. "Remaining still is causing you pain." She looks at Rowan. "I would like to do this again some time, yes. But for now, I think our meal should be concluded." She doesn't mention that being out of the water and near this drying fire is taking its toll. That's not something she's readily willing to share with surfacers, though Rowan very likely knows the symptoms on sight.


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