Friday, 2 January 2015

1.5 The Machine Part 6

Once inside, I can only see six or seven people inside. I recognise Britannia, Dreadnought and another Defender sitting around a table with their drinks.

Despite never having met each other in costume, I still know her as she is Vance’s older sister and one of the reserve members of the Defenders. In costume, she uses the name Powerbeam, but tonight’s wearing casual jeans and a white shirt. Britannia is wearing black trousers and a red sleeveless shirt while Dreadnought is wearing a deep blue dress. Not the sort of clothing I ever imagine those last two wearing.

As for the rest, I spot a young woman with plaited brown hair and freckles. She’s sitting alone with her coffee. The last two patrons are a couple, a middle aged man and woman, half way through a meal together.

A man stands behind the bar. I remember reading that his name is Randy something and he’s a shapeshifter that changes to whatever suits his clients. Chatting to him is a woman in her late teens. She’s wearing a black skirt and a yellow top and has flowing blonde hair. She must be the waitress. I’m surprised there is only one, but I assume the rest have already gone home for the night.

“Sky and I are going to get a table,” says James.

“Narszara and I are going the bar,” I reply.

“No alcohol I guess?” asks Narszara as we split up.

“No alcohol,” I reply, “We’re too young.”

Narszara sighs.

As we sit down at the bar stools with the exception of myself as I stand due to the armour, the bartender starts speaking to us.

“Hi there,” grins the bartender, “I’m Randy Woodham. What would you like tonight?”

He pauses for a moment as if a thought has struck him.

“I’m guessing you’re not doing to want the usual theatrics some of my customers like,” says Randy, 
“If you don’t mind me asking, how are you going to drink or eat through that helmet.”

I never considered that.

“I never thought about that,” I answer truthfully in a blank voice.

Both Narszara and Randy laugh.

“So have you met my cousin yet?” asks Randy before nodding at the woman he was speaking to, who is currently getting Sky’s and James’ orders, “That’s Beatrice Morse, my mom’s younger brother’s oldest kid. She’s been working here a couple of months now. No powers of her own, but Betsy is good employee and a pleasant lass.”

“Must be interesting for her working here then,” I reply.

“Betsy is enjoying meeting all the people,” notes Randy, “Especially heroes like the Defenders. Not many people get to meet them. And even fewer get to know them personally and see them so often. So what are you having?”

“How much coin do we have?” Narszara asks me.

“More than enough,” I reply, “I’m using the League account and the League is privately funded so we have to be pretty rich to stay in business. So order what you like.”

“Do you have any roasts?” ask Narszara.

“I can get you a roast chicken. We still got one left, but it’ll take a while to cook,” answers Randy, 

“What would you like to drink?”

“I will have coke drink,” replies Narszara, “I would have some mead, but that is illegal in this realm.”

“Indeed it is,” says Randy, “Judging from what I seen of you on the news, you’re from a medieval fantasy land?”

“One that been around for tens of thousands of years and has extremely highly advanced magically technology,” replies Narszara.

“What about you Sentinel?” inquires Randy, “You do realise you don’t have to hide your identity here right? Nobody here at the moment is going to spill it?”

“Force of habit,” I reply, “I’ll have coke and a streak with chips.”

“You’ll be paying with the League’s card?” asks Randy.

“That’s the plan,” I answer.

“Good,” says Randy, “Take your seats at one of the tables and I’ll have Betsy deliver your meals to you once you’re done.”

Narszara picks a table with a window view, away from everyone else.

It takes a while for the meals to arrive and we spend that time discussing what Narszara is going be doing at the base. By the point that our meals arrive, only the freckled woman, us, Sky and James are left. The couple left first and shortly before our meals arrived, the Defenders left.

They all said hi to us as they left though, even Britannia. Perhaps she’s finally warming up to us.
“What are you doing?” I ask Narszara as she starts eating.

She has grabbed one of the chicken’s legs with her hand and is tearing away a chuck with her teeth.

“What?” says Narszara with her mouth full.

“Could you use the cutlery?” I ask her.

“Aye Thariloth,” replies Narszara and does just that.

Meanwhile I need to start working on getting this helmet off. It only takes a few seconds mind you, but it isn’t made to be removed without the proper equipment.

“Have you ever had coke before?” I ask her.

Narszara shakes her head.

“Like it?”

“Aye,” says Narszara, “I still prefer Corlon Mead.”

“You miss home don’t you?” I say solemnly.

“It could be worse,” replies Narszara, “I have a good life here with a new home, a duty, friends and a team. I just need to get used to it.”

“If you say so,” I say.

Narszara eats a couple more bites before looking intently at me.

“What?” I ask her.

“We ought to make me some replacement armour,” says Narszara, “My current armour will not last forever and is already fading despite our best efforts.”

I am about to reply when I hear someone clearing their throat next to us. We turn to see the young woman that was drinking their coffee.

“Sorry to bother you,” says she nervously, “But may I have your autographs?”

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