Edible Arrangements

August 06, 2018:

School's back in sucka'.

Gotham

It's Gotham.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

For people interested in Gotham, in science, in bringing greater opportunities to disenfranchised youth, the Gotham Center of Achievement might be of some interest. It's not yet running — there's still months of building out the space and setting up the foundation to be done, and it's not the only thing on the Wakandan Minster of Science's plate just now, but it's a reasonable time for a press conference to lay things out. Some of the questions are pablum. Some of the questions are along the lines of "so your country has been super isolationist and is now coming out into the world and just how much of your amazing lifesaving technology are you going to be sharing", and Shuri's answers were deft, polite, and reasonably honest. This is a step in the direction of greater openness. Wakanda would no more open all their technology to the world than America would put diagrams and instructions for making nuclear weapons on the internet. Still, the time has come to build bridges, not walls.

Her brother's words. Still good ones.

The press conference part of the evening is over, and the reception has begun. It includes some music from Wakandan musicians and a combination of Wakandan and American foods. Delicious red rice next to Doom Dogs and hot wings. It's an experience.

The Science Minister herself, Princess Shuri, is mingling with the public. She does seem to have bodyguards, or at least there are Wakandans close by her. One is a small woman wearing thick eyeglasses and playing with her phone. The other is a larger man, very possibly a bodyguard. Shuri herself is dressed with dignity and in clearly non-Western clothing: a vividly orange and green dress of batik fabric cinched at her waist and tall, rather curious-looking sandals made of metal and some kind of textile. She's very cheerfully chatting with people who ask her questions.

Rocket had arrived at the tail-end of the press conference, mostly having drifted over out of curiosity for the gathering of people and especially for the delicious smells that promised a delicious spread to be savored once the talk was done. Free food? Of course he's in.

That's not to say that the topics mentioned don't interest him. He's not so sure how much he can swallow of the questions and information dropped by the reporters, but talk of technology seems to be pretty prevalent.

….but now there's food.

Nothing to see here, nothing unusual, just a…well, maybe a child might be slightly amiss at a press conference, except that closer study reveals it's not a wandering lone child wearing a jacket, pants and boots and a cap pulled over his head. He swings around his oversized backpack once he nears one of the tables, glaring a little at the food just slightly above his line of sight. Reaching into his pack, he pulls something out to set up at the table edge.

"Okay, you stay here. I'm gonna go find a chair or something. And probably some plates. Is this a plate sorta event? I think it is."

Children carry bags. That's normal. And in this kid's bag is something that looks like an action figure.

Which is also normal for children to bring around with them if they don't have access to a phone or tablet to keep them entertained.

Except this action figure starts to move. Groot balances on the stumps of his tree feet, looking over the edge of the table once he's set. After getting a tad distracted, he looks back at Rocket, mouth screwing into a forced thoughtful-like expression. "Iii am Groot," comes a shrug. Once he checks the spread behind him, there's another pause. "…I am Groot!"

Oh, it's definitely a plate kind of deal. He'll just…help himself to the closest platter, hands grabby, while he waits for his friend to join in.

Cyborg. Victor Stone.

He may be somewhat famous but if he's not, he's certainly obviously not a human. Or at least, well, not as human as he should be. He looks like an extra from one of the various Terminator sequels in and out of development. Still, though, he has at least taken it upon himself to throw on a 'Gotham Knights' hoodie. He doesn't want to freak out too many of the locals.

He also doesn't want to have to hear it from the Batman. So he's got a few systems running to make sure that he's not going to be hacked or spied on by any of whatever the Batman uses to keep crime surveillance'd and whatever else goes on in this crazy city.

Vic isn't really sure how much of this is his scene but there's food and science and technology and all of those things are very much right up the failed(?) science experiment's alley. Sprinkle a 'help the kids' on top and this Titan is definitely in this for all the right reasons. He's already got a plate of food. He's probably already had two. Maybe three. It's good, okay? But Cyborg is paying more attention to visuals from the press conference than he is anyone or anything else. At least, his optic eyes are focused on the visuals and designs and stuff.

His scanners and sensors, though, are sweeping this entire party like nobody's NSA business.

It's a quiet moment. Most of the rest of the people are mingling amongst themselves, enjoying all kinds of their favorite tidbits. As for Shuri? Apparently princesses aren't too proud to load up their own plates with yummy tidbits, though she's specifically picking things that aren't too big or messy. One or two bites at most, and nothing that she'll look too ridiculous eating. Ravening bouts of devouring really, really spicy chicken wings are for private functions.

Thus it is that she happens to drift near what looks like a very short kid with a backpack and… and something in his backpack is crawling out for food.

She stands stock-still, cocking her head and looking a bit more closely. Yes. A stick is grabbing an entire platter of spicy chicken in fried dough. It's a good choice, though maybe not for a stick. She's not bothered — it's not all fancy people here, and that's not the only kid she's seen — but when she takes a closer look, her eyebrows perk high.

When it comes to security? Those thick bracelets the princess is wearing aren't just for show. And while the big fellow near Shuri is clearly a bruiser, it's the woman a few steps back that has security equipment beyond even the more paranoid Gothamites. Yes. Even that one.

"Would you like a hand?" Shuri inquires. "We have tables if you would like to sit — " That's when she actually sees Rocket's face. Even she's not immune to the effects of seeing a trash panda on its hind legs just, you know, wandering around.

"Pardon my rudeness," she continues. "But I've never seen anyone quite like you."

"Sitting's not the problem, I needa grab me some food first— Ooh, good pick Groot," the raccoonoid says as he sees what the tree tyke's grabbed. Maybe they could just take the whole plate.

He looks up at Shuri so she can get a clearer look, knowing that she's already realized that he's no random kid, a furred brow arching as she at least recovers from her surprise. He grins toothily. "That's cuz there ain't no one like me but me." Okay, food can wait. At least this Terran's being polite. "Name's Rocket. That's Groot," he says, jerking a thumb over at the twigling on the table. Then he pauses, glancing over at Victor Stone who wanders within range carrying a plate of food. "Hey, hey- where'd you get those?"

Yes Cyborg. That is a talking raccoon in people clothes pointing at the goodies on your plate.

"I aaam Groot," the little shrub chirps, mostly to himself now that the moment of crouched admiration quickly turns into the usual sit-and-stuff-the-face deal. He's never had this kind of chicken before. Or the fried dough. It's different from the pizza he's used to gorging. Different from the hot wings he tried at that one place where he vaguely remembers dunking his head into a glass of ice water after two bites. The flavors, the textures, the use of spices and the various depths it creates within the dish itself…

In short, it's delicious.

Between a few more bites, Groot lifts his head. After noticing the thumb-jerk his way from his buddy, he waves a spice-covered hand at Shuri, beaming his best beaming face (also covered in chicken). "I am Groot!"

Getting back onto his feet, he gathers some more of the spicy chicken and fried dough, toddling over to where Rocket is holding his plate out. As he dumps the food there, he glances at Cyborg, making a curious noise in his direction.

Victor raises what's left of his eyebrow as he gets spoken to by… well, it's not the strangest thing he's seen. Being on the internet non-stop has put some serious things in his memory. There are things that he can't unsee. Things that, well, he's definitely going to have to try and delete.

"Back that way." Vic offers a thumb over his own shoulder towards one of the many table with food on it. "… But you can chow down if you want, little dude." And with that, Vic offers the plate down towards the Raccoon that's asking him all about the edibles in this place.

"I don't know if here's anymore so…" Cyborg offers a shrug to help explain why he's just giving up one of the many plates of food he's going to be eating tonight.

Groot gets a quick nod and then Cyborg's gaze lands on Shuri. And he reaches up to pull his hoodie onto his shoulders more. "I dig this whole vibe." He motions around the area. "If you need a hand with any of it…" Witness Cyborg trying to offer a helping hand.

And Vic gets Shuri's attention by being hospitable when he's not even the one who's expected to be. She rewards him with a warm and approving smile, adding: "The caterers have more of nearly everything. The little spinach pies are particularly good. Please, stay if you like; Jabari, please fill another plate for my new friend."

The spicy chicken definitely has a different flavor profile to just about anything available on Earth, though it's not uncommon in Wakanda. Sort of spicy-citrusy with a woody aftertaste not unlike saffron. But not quite the same, either.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Rocket. Groot." And she offers to shake… hands? paws? branches? with them. The hand is then extended to Vic as she introduces herself: "I am Shuri. And I would be delighted to have your help and support. You… you look very familiar. I am sure I have seen your picture somewhere. And you, Rocket, if you are as unique as you say, I know I have heard of you. Don't you have an interest in technology too? In weapons, if I don't miss my guess?"

Thankfully Rocket hasn't helped himself to any of that chicken yet, so Shuri has the privilege of shaking a fuzzy but otherwise (perhaps disturbingly) humanlike hand. "Shuri. Yeah, so yer the one headin' all this stuff?"

He is momentarily distracted when Groot drops some chicken onto his plate, nearly upsetting the balance, quickly righted with the twist of a hand. And then on top of that he's being offered that plate from Cyborg, who gets a good peering at under that hood as he accepts. "Oh nice. Now why can't more Terrans be so generous?" Really. Then maybe he wouldn't be taking things.

His ears perk under his hat, making it poof up a bit. With his hands full of plates he can't tug it back down, so for now he'll just deal, but Shuri's got his attention again, and he's looking up at her, eyes agleam.

"You've heard'a me, eh? Yeah, I might say your guess is pretty spot-on."

Groot smiles at Cyborg, happy that he's made another friend so quickly. But he's met Shuri first. Two friends. It's better in twos.

He tries to wipe his hand off on his chest, but it does very little to save the offered handshake from spice and grease. "I am Groot," he seems to repeat for the princess, his tone differing from the other times he's said it. All of that is easily sidelined for the other plate Cyborg relinquishes without question, eyeing everything with those big ol' eyes.

Let them talk shop. His knowledge and interest in weapons and technology only goes so far. Besides, the food is enough to keep him busy.

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