Oct 14, 2019 11:35 PM
a Jean and Chainsaw in Federation
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"THE SNOOZING GOAT HUT," reads the sign in front of the sleazy bar, and in smaller letters, "FRIDAY: MOLOTOV COCKTAILS NIGHT! ATTEND IF YOU DARE! MEDICAL ATTENTION ON CALL."

It's Friday. There are explosive sorts of noises coming from inside.

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A tall, beautiful woman walks into the bar.

If there's a punchline incoming, it's going to have to wait until she's had a drink.

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There are lots of drink options! The "Science Experiment" comes in a test tube and an Erlenmeyer flask, and pouring the former into the latter causes enormous shooting columns of foam. The "Supercritical Fluid" is brilliantly-colored, involves a concerning amount of liquid nitrogen, and gives off huge dense clouds of mist. The "Wanna Bang?" has an enormous head of foam that explodes when you touch a light to it. And there are about a hundred variations on drinks to be set on fire.

(All of them are free, of course, though the bartenders periodically encourage people to remember to vote for the Snoozing Goat Hut next time storefronts are allotted.)

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Oh she is definitely going for the "Wanna Bang?"

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The bartender makes it very showily! (All of the drinks are half performance art, but he is maybe showing off a little extra for her.) There is an elaborate system of tubing and a ridiculously old-fashioned mechanical eggbeater, and clouds of vapor from someone else's drink wafting about like a thick fog.

The drink, when it's finished, comes in a tall narrow glass half-full of foam, with a sparkler to set it off with when she's ready.

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She takes a moment to admire it first.

Aaaaaaaaaaaand boom.

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There's scattered applause. Someone whistles.

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She laughs and takes a seat at the bar and picks up her amusingly named drink.

(Anyone who pays close attention to this sort of thing might notice some interesting contradictions in her outfit. She's not optimizing for the appearance of handcrafted goods: the most superficially eye-catching thing she's wearing is the black pleather jacket with a rip in one elbow, which couldn't scream 'straight out of a replicator' harder if it tried. But those dark blue pants are denim, moderately difficult to replicate if not exactly high fashion; and the shirt she's wearing under the jacket is hand-embroidered silk, in subtly varying shades of red and purple that look good next to both of the other main articles. And the heavy black boots wouldn't look out of place on a manual laborer, and might in fact have been intended for that purpose, but they aren't shabby, just very practical.)

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Someone is paying close attention to that sort of thing!

"I'd ask to buy your next one," he comments, "but under the circumstances I'm afraid that might come off as rather a threat than otherwise."

(He has a distinct French accent, which is unusual. People here don't. An accent like that says either my parents were crazy cultural supremacists or I am, plain as words.)

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She glances at him with a thoughtful smile, somewhere between 'flirtatious' and 'predatory'.

"You can order me a drink but only if I get to be the one who sets it on fire."

Her accent is... sort of hard to place. It doesn't belong to any specific recognizable cultural tradition, but it's askew of the standard in a hundred different little ways, each individually easy to miss but together building up into an elusive sort of strangeness.

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"You strike a hard bargain," he tells her solemnly, "but I'll take it." (He waves at the bartender; the bartender, in the process of another complicated concoction, nods acknowledgement.)

 

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She grins.

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"Name's Jean, by the way. Lovely to meet you."

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"Ysandre. Charmed."

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"Oh, I know who you are, I've seen some of your work."

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"Oh, this is one of those chance meetings at a bar, huh?"

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"You've caught me, I'm a rabid fan here for your autograph. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring a pen, so I'll have to settle for your company instead."

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"Having fans is the worst part of being an architect. No offense."

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"None taken. Although I really can't relate, I'm an attention whore at heart."

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Snicker. "Yeah, that's not really my style. I don't mind attention but I'd rather it be avoidable, you know? And at this rate I'm going to have to stop going out for drinks."

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"Oh, there's ways to circumvent it, if you know what you're doing."

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"Yeah?"

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He coughs, runs a hand through his hair to change how it lies, and shifts his posture and expression. It's weirdly thorough -- everything about how he holds himself is so different that it's a little hard to believe he's the same person.

"It does take practice," he says, in an entirely new accent and intonation. "And it only holds up to so much scrutiny. But it does tend to stop one from being recognized in bars."

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"I could maybe pull that off if I had your face. I don't think I'm gonna manage it with this one," she says, flicking a finger at her flawless skin and exquisitely sculpted features. "Although I do have more hairstyle options than you." (Her hair is currently in a loose messy braid that falls most of the way down her back.)

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"I used to wear it long for that very reason," he agrees, reverting to his normal mannerisms, "but unfortunately I found it made me stand out more rather than less. It's a very nice face, but I can see how it could get inconvenient that way, yes."

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"Not that you're not pretty, but," she shrugs a 'the facts speak for themselves' sort of shrug.

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