(2017-02-09) Food for Thought
Food for Thought
Summary: Several species of small funny animals gathered together in a cafeteria and grooving with a Pict. Except without the Pict.
Date: 2017-02-09
Related: None
Scene Runner: NA

     It's dinnertime at Coral Springs and the cafeteria is, of course, buzzing with traffic.  And conversation.  And eating.  And stuffs and things.  Of course, being as there's a controlled population at the school, there's obviously still spaces left for people to sit.  Which is pretty good for Kaylee, since she's got a tray FULL of food held up above her head while she stands, eyes closed, trying to detect a table with enough openings for her and her meal!

     Fallon was still trying to get used to the whole boarding school atmosphere.  being homeschooled in the northern Reaches of Canada before coming here did tend to lend itself to culture shock.  Being 5'3" doesn't help a whole lot either.  Looking left, then right as he leaves the lunch line with a bowl of soup and a couple of sandwiches balanced on a tray along with 4 glasses of milk, the little cowboy seems lost…after nearly a month at the school, still lost.

     He must have one unbelievable metabolism.  That's the only possible inference to draw from the combination of Taká's small size, and Taká's tray of food.
     It's not overloaded.  What it is, is a collection of carbs and sugars with a few proteins here and there — in fact, it looks to be half desserts.  The poor piece of baked cod clinging to the edge of a plate and half drowned (ironically enough, for a fish) under a layer of tartar sauce looks desperately out of place.
     Taká looks for a place to sit where he can get his wings to the wall and out of the way of others, and hopefully near a familiar face.

     Nevada is settled at a table elsewise only inhabited by another of his Pro Bros.  Once he's up and moved on, he leans back, easing his weight against the aluminum curve of the chair back, then lifts an arm when he spots Kaylee looking for a place to sit— equal parts hail and invitation, ears hanging easily to the sides of his head, relaxed in the midst of a lazy, slow chew.  He's taking his time with dinner, a white spot of calm in the middle of the storm.

     Dianli bypasses the lunch lineup and finds an open spot at Nevada's table.  "Hello, Nevada," she says quietly as she sits, then pulls a round, woven bamboo basket out of her bag.  From this she takes out a metal bowl, after removing the top, and a pair of ceramic chopsticks.  She starts digging into a mess of spiced vegetables over a bed of rice.
     "Uh…"  She pauses a moment, creasing her forehead.  "Right, how are you?" she asks, apparently trying to remember a script.
     "Oh, hello Taka as well.  I didn't see you over there.  Do you want the corner seat?"

     Well, with her peripheral vision in full effect, Nevada's hail draws Kaylee's attention.  She smiles and is about to wave at him, when she remembers that her tray is taking both of her hands to hold.  So, instead, she just smiles at him brightly, her eyes glowing fairly steadily as she makes her way over to him.  And then there's Dianli!  "Hey guys!  How's it going!?" she asks as she arrives, setting her tray down on the table while she takes a seat.

     Finally deciding to duck and weave through the crowd, Fallon makes his way along looking for familiar faces.  Bypassing a 3rd year with a feint to the left and a wheeling dodge to the right, the boy stops as he catches sight of Nevada.  Not being able to stop himself from staring as momentary pangs of homsickness take over, he finally sighs and keeps moving while trying to keep his Bologna sandwiches out of Nevada's view until he sees Taka.  Motioning to a nearby empty spot, the boy says "Mind if I join you?"

     Taká looks up and blinks — must have really been in his own little world there.  "Corner… yes, thank you, Dianli!"  He can't bow while caryring a tray, but he does incline his head in greeting.
     And it must have been some thinking going on for him to have not noticed at least Nevada until now.  "Kié, Nevada… Kaylee, Fallon," he adds as he works his way into the corner.  "I trust you are all well?" he asks, and promptly tucks in to a small bowl of melon pieces.

     "Dianli," Nevada returns in his low-thrumming baritone, laconic but somehow sweet.  He doesn't much mind a lack of small talk, but angles his head toward Dianli when she makes the effort, giving her a kindly smile.  "Thank you, I'm well.  Hope you're the same," he plays back according to the script, or close enough.  "Kié, Taká," is for the winged student, and he just nods cheerfully to Kaylee before he sets his night-black, wide-set eyes on Fallon.  "Please."

     Once she's settled down at her spot at the table, Kaylee takes a few moments to orient her napkin, silverware and drink.  And then she picks up a slice of pepperoni pizza and begins to nom.  At the mention of a Fallon, Kaylee blinks a little and looks straight ahead for a second before she turns to orient herself in the freshman's direction.  She offers the kid a bright smile and a very fast but contained wave, but with her mouth full of pizza, it'd be rude for her to say hi yet.

     Nodding to Nevada and the others once more, Fallon Sets his tray on an available space and hops into his chair.  toes barely touching the ground once he's settled, the young Cowboy considers Nevada out of the corner of his eye for a moment, then takes a deep breath and forces himself to relax.  Checking out the soup, the boy grins.  "Mushroom…that at least is familiar."  Looking up once more to catch Kaylee's wave, the action is returned with a grin.  "Hi."

     Dianli focuses on her food, picking out pieces of some soggy yellow cubes from the vegetables and slurping them down noisily first, her chopsticks clicking together with mechanical precision as she deftly extracts the chunks.
     "I honestly don't understand how you can eat the food here," she mumbles, vaguely addressing the people she knows.  Spotting Fallon in the process she flickers a smile over her face.
     "Hi," she says.  "I'm Zhang Dianli.  You can call me Dianne if it's more comfortable."  Her attention then fixates on the bowl in front of her again as she starts fishing out pieces of vegetables and bundling it with rice.

     Moritz enters the cafeteria.  He wears his standard slacks, Athena jacket, and polo shirt beneath it.  He carries no books or anything of value as he moves across the room toward the area where he can gather food.  He glances over at those gathered within the hall, recognizes a few faces from passing and others from conversations.  Though he normally keeps to himself, Moritz has been known to talk to others in his English accented voice.  Just not this second.  Food comes first.

     Taká pokes at his sauce-smothered fish, then abandons it temporarily for some pudding.  "It is not bad," he says, "if you pick and choose carefully.  I am just pleased your food and my needs are compatible.  How your planet was fortunate enough to have both popcorn and chocolate, I do not know…"

     Nevada leans a degree or two closer to Dianli when she begins to pick through her lunch.  "That does smell good," he remarks mildly, though for his own part he doesn't seem to have any trouble with the cafeteria quisine.  He's put together a taco salad bowl filled with mexican rice, beans, tofu, guac and all the fixings in generous proportions, and he stabs at it with a fork, taking another bite and chewing at it, letting the conversation drift for a while in and out of the crunching that resounds in his ears.  He taps his fork at the edge of the bowl and chuckles mutedly through a swallow.  "Just blessed," he jokes Taká-ward.  "I'm Nevada," he adds, for Fallon's sake.

     Kaylee giggles loudly at Taká's pronouncement about the food, hiding her mouth behind her hand just in case of projectiles.  "I actually love the food here," she says, once she's gotten her food swallowed.  "There's always so many choices!  And they make stuff special for all the people who have special diets?  I mean, you can barely get that at most public schools!" she shares.  She then takes a sip from the glass of pop that she poured herself, before working on finishing the pizza she'd started.

     Nodding to Dianli as well, Fallon considers for a moment before saying.  "What do you prefer?  OH!  and I'm Fallon.  Fallon O'Keefe.  You can call me Fallon, I guess.  I don't really have any other name."  Another smile and nod is passed to Nevada, though the pangs of homesickness make him wince again "Nice to meet you."  Looking down at his food, he adds.  "I think the food is awesome…what I can identify…Dad and I lived off of buffalo and onion stew for a week once…mom never let us stay home alone again."

     Gathering foodstuffs, Moritz moves along the counter and obtains food.  Then moves to the drink fountain and takes water into a glass.  He hears Taká state 'your planet' and that catches his attention.  He then tunes in on the conversation and the introductions.  But he's not going to move away from the soda fountain just yet.  Instead he drinks more of the water with his back to the group, listening and giving pause.

     "I'll give you my chocolate," Dianli says soberly to Taká, "if I ever get any.  I'm not a fan of it."  Again a smile flirts with her lips before giving up and moving on to greener pastures.  "If you touch my popcorn, though, I can't be held responsible for the results."
     Fallon-way she wrinkles her forehead as she commits his name to memory.  "Fallon."  That simply spoken, she lets it hang a moment before continuing.  "Some people find it hard to pronounce Dianli and get embarrassed," she says to Fallon.  "So I picked another name that people could use that's easy to pronounce.  Pick whichever one you find simplest."  Her voice is dead grave and earnest.  "I don't care either way.  I mean, sorry, that sounded bad.  I have no preference."

     Taká grins up at Nevada.  "Let them be your world's gift, in place of wings."  Another grin goes to Dianli.  "I promise to not invade your popcorn.  Everyone tells me I put too much of the yellow stuff on it anyway."
     He has another go at the baked cod, without much enthusiasm.  "What an unpleasant end for a noble sea creature."  Well, probably no school has ever made palatable baked cod, the piscine equivalent of institutional meat loaf.  "We are surrounded by ocean here.  Can we not have fresh fish?  Preferably uncooked, or only lightly seasoned.  Thinly sliced.  On a bed of soft grains."

     "Is that all?  There are worse things," Nevada smiles in reply to Fallon, shifting some of the salad around with his fork to line up a little bit of everything in a convenient forkful.  "My grandfather just buys us doughnuts and makes pb&js whenever grandmom's out of town."  A stab, and he leans forward to meet the fork halfway, so as to drop a minimum of taco salad back into the bowl.  He sits up straight again, leaving the fork in the bowl and stretching his great arms up overhead, lacing his fingers together while he munches, bovine jaw working in a characteristic side-to-side motion.  Once he swallows, "I'm sure fresh fish can be got in town, if nowhere else."

     There's a few more moments before Moritz decides to step away from the counter with his tray.  In turning, his eyes appear to have something in them since he blinks a few times to refocus <stupid failed heightened senses roll>.  He then glances around the room, the best he can, and will begin to walk toward the tables in question.  He continues to listen, doesn't walk fast, and his eyes are still adjusting to the regular illumination of the room.

     Nodding to Dianli once more, Fallon considers.  "Dianli it is."  Looking down at his sandwiches, the boy reaches into his pocket and comes out with a glass bottle with a Little red Cartoon devil on the label reading 'Little Nicky's Hotter Than Hell Sauce' Taking the top off, he shakes a few drops into the soup, then removes the tops of both sandwiches and soaks the bologna in the spicy red sauce.  "PB&J would be awesome…but dad says he can't cook if it doesn't involve onions."

     "That's why I bring my own food to the cafeteria," Dianli says to Taká.  "I know the staff here try hard, but you can't cook for lots of people like this and have the food suit everyone.  I spend much of my allowance on food I like; I think it's more polite than whining."
     Grinning at Nevada, she adds, "If you like, I can have more of this brought in.  It's as close to food from home as I can find here.  It's all vegetables too because … well … sometimes I'm more Buddhist than at other times, and right now I'm going through one of those phases.
     Fallon's bottle gets a once-over, then a twice-over.  Then a beseeching glance at Fallon.  "Could I try…?"

     Regular illumination … except for the glow that's starting to surround Kaylee while she eats and is distracted.  It's not particularly colorful, like it is when it's an emotional release.  She's just kinda shiny, right now.  "Well, I really like the food here.  But, I'm also pretty used to a school food diet, so!  To me?  This is pretty close to perfection," she says, as she polishes off the rest of her pizza.  She watches Taká pick at his food for a moment and then cants her head to the side.  "Do you guys HAVE fish where you're from, Taká?  I mean, fish like we have fish?  I guess I haven't really asked a lot about it!"  And then, now that she doesn't have her mouth full of food, she smiles and leans over towards Fallon, offering him a personal wave.  "Hey Fallon!  I'm Kaylee!  And we can just call you Jimmy!  That can be your other name!"

     "This poor fish is the first real failure they have had," Taká says, pushing it aside.  "It is not even actually bad.  It is just without flavor.  It is just… warm stuff.  In a crisp shell."  He moves on to a bowl of green Jell-O.  "This, however, is not a failure.
     He can't help but chuckle at Kaylee's enthusiasm.  "Yes, of course.  In fact, there was a lake on my land that was well stocked.  I suppose they were more or less the same as the fish here.  They look broadly the same.  Convergent evolution, I suppose."

     Nodding to Dianli while handing over the bottle, Fallon smiles.  "It's mostly Ghost pepper oil.  I think there's salt and stuff in there too."  Listening to Taká's explanation of fish from home, he chuckles.  "We mostly had Pike where I'm from…They're like…sort of…crocodile fish?"  There's another pause before he adds "Um…Why Jimmy?  and are you supposed to be Glowing kaylee?  I don't know if that's rude or not….but you're uh…glowing."

     As Moritz crosses the room, he's chosen to join the other students at their table.  His focus is upon a nearby chair, he whispers something and the chair slides over next to the girl who glows.  Moritz then will sit his tray upon the table, in front of that particular chair and then takes a seat.  "Good eve."  He notes to those at the table with a proper tone and nod.  His napkin is taken from the tray, laid nicely upon his left leg and will then look about at his companions and then the girl to his side.  Though he's not one to interrupt, it's clear that he's noticed the glow.  While just moments earlier, he was blind.

     Having just started glowing in the last few moments, Moritz probably didn't miss anything.  At Fallon's question, she meeps and the glow immediately turns a rosey pink color before she turns it off.  She smiles, bemused and ducks her head down between her shoulders for a second.  "Sorry!  I'm like, all full right now, so if I'm not paying attention, I leak," she explains.  And even though her body has stopped glowing, her eyes are a shining, brilliant blue color.  Apparently, even when she IS paying attention, she can't stop them.  "And … your name is Fallon!  Of COURSE we could call you Jimmy!  … Jimmy Fallon?" she suggests, looking around the table expectantly, waiting for someone else to get the reference and agree with her.  And then, suddenly, a chair is sliding!  Kaylee meeps a little and flinches- though not terribly, and turns to blink at Moritz a little.  After she settles for a second, Kaylee offers the boy a smile and another little wave as she starts in on the sald she'd made for herself- almost as much diced eggs and ham as it is lettuce, all covered in French dressing.

     Nevada takes the glowing and errant chairscootch all in stride, making his way slowly and savoringly through his tofu taco salad.  He just bobs his head with a flick of one ear to let Kaylee know he knows who Jimmy Fallon is.  He's also familiar with pike, but doesn't feel any great urge to share his knowledge on either topic.  The hot sauce gains a moment of his interest, but he'll wait for Dianli to be done investigating it before he tries for a taste.

     Shrugging slightly with a 'Beats me!' look on his face, Fallon watches Kaylee.  "I only had CBC at home… and we really only watched it for the stock market repor…" giving Nevada a quick, slightly uncomfortable look, Fallon continues on anyways.  "Uh… anyways… sorry.  I didn't mean to embarrass you.  I'm still getting used to-holy shit!  the chair just moved!"  Yeah.  The kid was definitely going into culture overload.  Pulling his coat tighter about him abesntly, Fallon picks up a sandwich, dips it in the mushroom soup and takes a bite, concentratin on his food for a moment.

     Taká notices the chair moving, and watches it.  But he's been here long enough to know a) weird things happen a lot and b) most of the time he'd probably rather not know.  He smiles sidelong at Fallon.  "You get used to that sort of thing after a while."

     There are various bland foods upon Moritz's tray.  Some form of Salsbury steak, mashed potatoes, beans, and a white bread.  He returns the smile of Kaylee's but then turns his attention to his tray.  He takes his fork and knife and begins to properly cut the steak with his right hand and fork it with his left.  The piece is placed into his mouth and he chews while listening to the conversation.  There's a glance to Fallon for a second while he chews to note that the fellow student doesn't yet have a clue what transpires in this location.  After swallowing, Moritz takes a drink and clears his palet.  He then intones, "Though not quite as common in the outside world, it's nothing more than Magic, Fallon.  That's my talent.  The lovely Kaylee glows.  Dianli <said properly> has lightning.  I'd imagine that Nevada is excellent with mazes and Taká quite adept at legal matters.  What is it you do, Fallon?"

     Dianli coats one of the chunks of some suspicious green vegetable with a healthy dollop of Fallon's hot sauce, popping the mix into her mouth and chewing it thoughtfully.  Her facial expression doesn't change, but her face flushes and little beads of sweat quickly break out on her upper lip and forehead.  A blue nimbus forms around her and sparks form in her hair, making it briefly stand straight on end before apparent visible effort puts it back down.
     "That's moderately spicy," she comments approvingly.  "Where did you get it, Fall-on?  I wouldn't mind getting some myself."
     She nods at Moritz's introduction of her ability.  "Well, not just lightning," she adds by way of explanation to Fallon.  "I control electricity in general.  And kill electronics.  Don't get near me with your phone."

     Glowering a little at Moritz summation of her powers, Kaylee offers, "I don't ONLY glow," she offers quietly.  But, she can't really outshine somebody with MAGIC.  "And it's okay, Fallon.  Jimmy Fallon is an American comedian.  He's just about the funniest guy on TV!  You should watch him on youtube, sometime.  His wheel of musical impressions are the best!" she explains.

     Taká can't help but laugh.  "Why do you think I am versed in the law?  I hardly know that of my own people, much less the laws here.  The only law I know here is the one that says I am still a child, not an adult."  He chuckles dryly.  "I expect that much like everything else here, the laws do not make sense anyway."

     Listening to Moritz, Fallon considers for a moment.  "Uh…I've never had the flu?" shrugging slightly, at his own response, the boy looks to Dianli and smiles.  "From the Buuuu…"  His voice falters as once again Fallon reminds himself that he is sitting next to a large man-bull but he recovers well enough.  "uuuutter market back home…Keep the bottle, I brought like…10."  Looking back to Kaylee, he adds.  "Oh…ok…what's youtube?"

     Moritz glances to Kaylee when she gets defensive.  His gaze is confident and there's the hint of a smile that he knows he just got under her skin.  It's a shame however he didn't quite trigger anything from Taká other than a unknowing query.  He leaves it all alone and then attends Fallon's answer with a slight nod.  Moritz will allow the conversation to continue on without speculation or supposition.

     Nevada's white eyelids half-cover his black eyes, and he turns his head to angle one of them more directly at Fallon when he professes his ignorance of the namesake Kaylee'd pointed out.  How did Fallon know the man in question was a television personality, in the first place?  Nevada susspects some sort of false innocence, but he's not going to make a big fuss over something so small, it only tickles him into smiling serenely over his half-eaten salad when Fallon further commits to not knowing YouTube.  Moritz' supposition about his powers makes him laugh, but he's hardly wrong, and he gets a warm look for the effort, before he's bothering Dianli about the hot sauce, since it's been gifted to her.  "May I try?"

     "Please do," Dianli says, handing the bottle to Nevada.  "It's a good moderately spicy enhancement.  I think with this I could eat cafeteria food and save myself some of my allowance."
     She nods thankfully Fallon's way.  "That's very nice of you," she says.  "I have a bottle of my own here that I could share with you, but it would be better not to do that with so many people in the cafeteria.  Maybe later?"

     Kaylee turns and PEERS at Fallon, dropping her fork to her tray.  Blink.  Blinkblinkblink.  "YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOUTUBE IS!?"  Kaylee gapes, astonished.  Her fork forgotten for a second, Kaylee fishes her phone out of her pocket immediately, quickly pulling up the app.  "Ohmygosh, youtube is like, the best.  It's just like zillions of videos that people have posted online of everything.  Like, literally everything.  Well, okay, there are rules against like porn and gore and stuff, but everything NORMAL people would want to watch!"  And then, regardless of if anyone actually pays attention to her, Kaylee will go on a long exposition of what youtube is and how it works, speaking fast enough that it might be hard for anyone not quite well-versed in English, or people who don't have supersonic hearing prowess.  But, Fallon asked.

     Taká catches the scent of the hot sauce as it makes its way around the table, and winces very slightly.  "That smells more like a dangerous chemical than a seasoning," he says, then turns to raise an eyebrow at Kaylee.  "Normal people?  I do not think any of those are here."

     With the explosion of words and physical expression, Moritz remains calm.  He cuts another piece of the steak and takes a bite.  He does note the bottle in question between Nevada and Dianli.  Reads the label and being English, wants nothing to do with hot sauce.  He has vinegar - which says something about English food - The food is so bad that it needs vinegar to make it taste better.  He takes a bite of the potatoes and continues to listen.

     Listening politely to Kaylee, Fallon nods slowly at the seemingly appropriate intervals and tries to keep his eyes from glazing over…when she's done, he nods.  "Mom gave me a tablet when I left…I think it has it on there.  I just haven't opened it."  Dipping his sandwich in the soup again, Fallon takes another bite before looking to Dianli and nodding.  "Sure!  I love spicy stuff!"  Famous last words.

     Nevada adds a daub or four of the hot sauce onto the top of what's left of his taco salad, evidently not afraid of giving it a little kick.  He mixes it around, but not excessively, wanting to make sure to taste it well in the first bite.  Ears splay outward and pinken slightly, nostrils flare and moisten a little around the edges as the sauce clears out every sinus he has, and then some.  He takes up four or five napkins in both hands and holds them over his muzzle, snorting into them before balling them up.  "That's pretty nice sauce," he has to admit, grinning to Taká, in turn.  "There's a fine line between the one and the other."

     Taká winces on Nevada's behalf.  "I do not understand how a food that does that to you can be considered edible.  I prefer my seasonings to bring me pleasure, not pain."

     Speaking of having your phone out!  In the middle of Kaylee's explanation of the miracle that is YouTube, her phone suddenly rings, and for anyone looking, the CID says 'Mommy'.  Which makes it no surprise when she blinks at it for a second and then grins happily and answers, "Mommy!  Just a second!"  Kaylee pulls the phone down and covers the microphone with her hand as she rises from the table.  "Hey guys, I'm gonna go talk to my mom for a second!  Sorry!  I'll be right back!"  She then puts the phone back to her ear and starts off into a highly animated conversation as she walks away.

     "I would really strongly recommend keeping that phone out of my range, Kaylee," Dianli warns quietly.  "I've upset many people by killing those things.  I'm … not in that firm command of the sparking."  She edges away from the table for emphasis, eyeing the phone.  "Also … uh … Youtube is a bit of a sensitive topic for me.  It kind of took six years of my life away from me.  Could we … perhaps talk less about it?"
     Changing the topic she looks over at Fallon, "Well, this stuff has a bite, but it's not spicy.  We'll talk somewhere more private and less in full view of the proctors, OK?"  She winks and tries a whimsical grin, which comes across more as a grimace.

     Moritz will stand, "Pardon me.  I'd best be off."  And he will carry his tray to the recycler before departing the room.

     Turning slightly to Taká, Fallon smiles.  "Originally, Hot spices were used to numb the tongue and mask the taste of week old meat in hot climates…which is why a lot of countries along the equator and the tropics generally serve really spicy dishes.  I started using it for basically the same reason…except instead of week old meat, it was mom's meatloaf…she uses pimentos in it."  Taking another bite of his soup dipped sandwich, he adds.  "Now I'm used ot it."  Hearing Dianli, Fallon raises an eyebrow and grins.  "Ok…if this isn't spicy to you…I definitely need to see what you have."

     Taká munches on a French fry.  No catsup; his appear to have a salad dressing on them.  "Oh, there are spicy foods where I am from.  I just do not care for them."

     "Oh, no, I misspoke," Dianli says, blushing, eyeing Fallon.  "I mean the stuff I want to introduce to you isn't spicy.  But it has a bite."  She, flustered, turns her attention back to eating, something familiar to her.  After a few mouthfuls of rice and odd vegetables, augmented a bit with the sauce bottle she was given, she looks up again, having calmed down.
     "This is more something you use to wash down food, not flavour it," she adds.
     "It's not from my part of the world, but it's traditional where I come from to wash down food with something similar."

     Nodding as realization dawns, Fallon chuckles quietly.  "Ah.  Now i get you.  Though it does make the soup taste amazing."  Looking up at the clock, he blinks.  "Oh crap!  I'm supposed to be in for a catchup lesson in like 3 minutes!"  Wolfing down his sandwiches and pouring the soup down his throat with a speed that would make a competitive eater envious, the small form of Fallon is soon headed for the door with a surprising turn of speed and a backwards wave.

     "It's a good burn," Nevada assures Taká of his well-being, leaning over the salad to take another forkful, keeping one ear aloft and pivoted to surveil the conversation as it wends its way around the table.  "Evening, Fallon."

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