2020-11-14: Two Mages on an Impromptu Date

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Two Mages on an Impromptu Date
After crossing paths at the Nexus, Ross takes Vic out to dinner... and more?
IC Date November 14th, 2020
IC Time Late afternoon/early evening
Players Lakshmi, Ross and Vic Rasmussen
Location Nexus & Smoke and Barley

It's easy to tell when Ross is using the workroom; the equipment is (a) the sort of thing you could buy at Home Depot, because most of it was, and (b) wired up in an arrangement that in no way resembles its usual mode of operation. "Yeah, should've known that wouldn't work," he murmurs to himself, pulling a twist tie off the wires for a pair of headphones and pulling them off his head.

Coming in from the Express, Vic heads in the direction of the noise of activity. Carrying her back across her back as is typical and her phone in her hand, the V-Dept from another world walks into the workroom half watching where she's going, half looking for who's there and half paying attention to the screen of her phone (yeah, three halves, V-Depts do math magic, remember?). Seeing the tall-ish Ross, the not-quite-tall woman smiles and says, "Well, hello there," to him sounding truly pleased to see the SoE. "I was hoping to cross paths with you sometime soon, how're you doing?"

Now they just need to make it to the summer and find out what that does to her bikini. Ross wipes off his hands and returns the smile in kind. "Likewise. So far so good, I gotta haul all this home later and finish it up, but it's progress at least. What about you?"

"Well, I've been working on plans for the gift exchange planned by Thorn," Vic says and, as an aside asks, "Have you met her? She's a recently arrived member of my Tradition," before returning to the original topic with: "I've got a couple of things in the works, one for it and one for an unrelated exchange, both look to require some Matter magic I'm trying to sort out so I was going to set up in the computer room and grab some books from the library but one-on-one personal research is always better I've found." With that she smiles at Ross, asking with her eyes and expression more than her words if he'd be willing to discuss this.

"I think so. That was the thing we talked about at the pizza place, right?" Ross stands up and nods. "Well, Matter isn't my main thing, but it's definitely up there. If nothing else, I might be able to help work out what to read up on. So what were you thinking for this?"

"Well, one... the one /not/ for the party is a duplication," Vic says. "Ever noticed that my computer's not from here? Our friend Astra's been chomping at the bit to get it cracked open. What I'm wanting to do is duplicate the internal components and build her her own copy to play with as a Christmas Present." She finds a table to set her bag down on and begins to pull out the computer and begin setting it up. "I already discussed getting scrap computers to use as raw material for Transmutation. I'm just not sure I've unlocked sufficient levels of Matter to make it work for one, nor do I have a lot of experience with this sort of fabrication."

Ross whistles softly. "You don't think small, do you? Probably need Forces as well, all that nano-scale electromagnetics involved. I'd practice on the scrap computers too, make sure there's no back-bleed. Maybe something simpler and then work up? But then you risk getting stuck on a local peak..."

Nodding, Vic says, "I've unlocked more than basic Forces also, I figured I was going to need to know nanoscopic details of the circuitry." She looks thoughtful over the whole situation and adds, "Glad that Branton said he had plenty of old Dells he could get me, gives me lots of material to experiment with."

"Definitely." Ross sits down again, absently fidgeting with the blunt end of a screwdriver. "How have you been holding up, anyway? Being someplace that's almost the same, but not quite." Presumably he would have heard some form of the story along the way.

Vic ratchets up the screens on her laptop so that the lower one is at a 45-degree angle and the upper one is perpendicular to the surface of the table and turns it on. While it powers up she looks back over at Ross and smiles wanly before speaking. "I don't let myself dwell on it, instead I think about my new friends... although I sometimes go clubbing just to go find a distraction for the night."

There are no instruction manuals for this sort of thing - or there are, but most of them are crap - and so sometimes you just have to experiment. "I could be a distraction for the night, some time," Ross points out. And then promptly changes the subject, or tries to. "So you said you had two ideas?"

Vic smiles and says, "You, I wouldn't want to view as just a one night distraction, Ross," softly enough where someone not paying full attention could miss the stress on the word just, and maybe even most of the comment. She then shifts quickly to answering the question that was actually asked. "Yeah, for the White Elephant exchange. I want to make my gag gift change color when the item is actually touched. It'd start white and then bleed from point of contact to the other side blue or pink depending on the pairing of the toucher's 23rd chromosomes. I'm figuring Time to delay the effect, Life to scan the person and Matter to do the physical transformation. I don't want the color to be temporary, it'll be the final color though and through after the transformation."

Ross isn't sitting down any more. Somewhere in the middle of her explanation, he gets up, walks around behind her, and just at the end, slips an arm around her waist. "I like the way you think," he murmurs. "And about the gift, too-- though it might bug them, depending who ends up getting it. Or if they happen to be pregnant, not that we do a lot of that..." Well, some do. How many is that one gal out in the boonies up to?

Vic starts to relax into the arm around her waist and then stiffens slightly and asks, sounding slightly miffed, "Do you think I'd not have the Life effect scan the immediate biological being... a developing fetus wouldn't be touching the gift as its taken out of the box...?"

Ross shakes his head. "Not directly, but there's some type of exchange between mother and child, isn't there? I heard something about it a year or two back, I don't remember details, just sounded like something that could trip things up, depending on how you came at it."

"Epigenetics," Vic says with a nod, still a bit stiff but already relaxing a bit. "It gets more and more complicated with successive pregnancies also," she states, "However, it doesn't change enough I don't think... that said... maybe I should test this theory at the hospital..." as she trails off she looks pensive as if planning something out in her head.

And there's the other arm, so he can give her a (hopefully) reassuring squeeze. "Maybe, yeah. Or just start with known quantities, whichever you think makes more sense for your approach." A quick look around. "Speaking of, did you want to get started on anything now, or come back to it later? Maybe hop the train back to town for a while?"

Vic leans into the hug and glances at her computer then laughs softly (about the waste of setting it up with the offer). "Well, I haven't done the research I planned but I don't /have/ to start it right away," she says and then asks, "Did you have something specific in mind?"

"Well, obviously," he says. "But that's for later. In between, not really, I was gonna play it by ear. Unless you did?"

Vic snerks and says, "You boys always just have one thing on your mind don't you," playfully and pulls out of Ross' arms to step over to her computer and power it down after checking the process she started with the power up. She deftly pulls the angled screens up slightly unlocking the ratcheted locks and then lowers down the smaller screen and folds the main screen down to close the machine up. Back into the bag the computer has effectively vanished and then the bag returns to its customary position across her back. "I'm not dressed for clubbing so that's out unless we're stopping off at Raise's gym for me to change," she states. "Or... you could take me out to dinner again?"

Ross remains in a similar mood. "That's not a no," he points out, before taking the time to stash his own stuff out of the way. Most of it just fits back into the original Styrofoam packaging, except for one where the packaging was broken up into chunks and hooked up to alligator wires; that all gets loaded into a larger cardboard box instead and hefted on top of a metal cabinet. "Dinner works. Maybe not pizza this time, though."

Vic nods. "Alright," she says and then, with a mischievous glint in her eye, asks "Are you offering to let me pick?" As she /obviously/ has something in mind based on the expression on her face.

Ross walks back over to her, taking her hands in his. "I'll do you one better. 'Surprise me.'"

Vic and Ross walk out of the Nexus to the Express and take it back to Prospect proper and then Ross' chosen method of transport from there to the neighborhood around Lincoln and First. The pair then walk a short distance to Smoke and Barley. Along the way Vic explained to Ross that she's been looking for a good reason to try the place out and that she was in the mood for a good steak. Upon entering the bar and grill she asks, "Have you been here before, Ross?"

The front door slides shut and a gust of wind freshens the air as new patrons enter.

Ross takes his time looking around the place, finally shaking his head. "No, I'd definitely remember this place. Normally I'd think 'hole in the wall', but... I'm sensing maybe they play it that way to keep it from overcrowding?"

A waitress walks by with a tray piled high with aromatic meat and sides.

Vic passes her gaze across the place and nods. "It looks like a good pub and it smells like they make delicious food," Vic says with a smile. "Thanks for humoring me."

"Yeah, definitely. Worst case, we still get a decent war story out of it." Somewhere a Texan is wringing his hair out, though. "Best case, we can bring in the others some time."

A waiter moves around the room, serving huge slices of meat to anyone with a green card flipped up

As Vic is about to ask a question about picking their own place to sit or not a waitress approaches the pair and offers to lead them to a table. Once there she sits and takes her own menu as the waitress offers one to Ross also. "Oh my, Ross," she exclaims, "They have a whole section of bacon dishes!"

Ross arches a brow. "Yeah? Now /that/ is smart, usually they just go beef, chicken, pork..." Yeah, he may need a minute to sort through these options. "Chicken fried bacon is probably overdoing it, that stuff never is quite the same out-of-territory. That last one sounds better, though."

The smell of chocolate wafts from the back.

Metaphorically drooling, Vic says, "Bacon wrapped chicken tenders with hot sause and curly fries," she pauses and looks up at Ross, "That sounds perfect!"

"I was thinking the one down there with legs and thighs," Ross answers. "But we could get one each and split some. Or flip for it."

Lakshmi steps through an ornate wooden door into the bar and grill.

A waiter moves around the room, serving huge slices of meat to anyone with a green card flipped up

Vic and Ross are sitting at a table together, still looking over menus deciding what to order. "If you want to get one dish and split it that's cool but yeah the idea of both and sharing sounds good to me," Vic says to Ross.

Ross nods to Vic. "I'm definitely hitting analysis paralysis on the rest of this, I may have to roll a die after all." A shrug. "So we talked about white elephant earlier, you got anything lined up for this month?"

A waiter moves around the room, serving huge slices of meat to anyone with a green card flipped up

Not normally one for meat in general, the aroma from the place has drawn Lakshmi; never mind she's had a very strange last couple days and is feeling a little out of sorts, besides. Dressed in a huge emerald green cashmere shawl, a simply cobalt blue tunic-styled top and a pair of black skinny jeans, she walks in, waits to be seated, or just seats herself, ending up opposite across an aisle from Vic and Ross.

From near the dartboard, voices jest as a dart thunks into the board.

Vic shakes her head and says, "No, not really. Its not like I have family to sup with on the 26th or anything," with no self-pity in it, just a simple statement. "Do you have anything planned?"

"I think you'll find that you do," Ross answers. "Me? I dunno, something local, too. I was on the road for more years than I've been here, still. Most places are just hotbeds of drama if you don't find shelter quick enough, you know?"

Lakshmi selects a particularly heavy beer -- it's 'winter' after all, not that that matters or means much in SoCal -- and an assortment of pig styles. If one's going to go lapsed vegetarian might as well go all out.

A waiter moves around the room, serving huge slices of meat to anyone with a green card flipped up

"Maybe you're right, Ross," Vic says smiling at him again. "I, of course, meant it less metaphorically but that's a nice thought."

A waitress walks by with a tray piled high with aromatic meat and sides.

Ross nods to Vic. "Hopefully we'll both have some more time to work on those build projects between now and then. I'll be hitting crunch time again on heater repairs, but not till next month probably."

Laughter bursts forth from a large table in the restaurant as the patrons enjoy their meal.

Lak's beer arrives. It's basically an oil slick in a glass. The massive plate of pig isn't far behind. She looks... impressed and a touch worried? "I'm definitely going to need a box. Maybe... several." she calls as the waiter retreats.

From near the dartboard, voices jest as a dart thunks into the board.

"Oh yeah! I guess its approaching one of your two busy seasons, isn't it?" Vic says. She then asks, "Which is crazier, the summer heat crisis or the 'frigid SoCal' winter?"

The smell of chocolate wafts from the back.

Ross mulls that one over for a second. "You know, you'd think it would be the summer, but it's a pretty close call. Summer, people are too tired to make a lot of fuss. Winter, there's fewer calls, but the ones that do come in, they're more on edge about it all."

Even socially timid Lakshmi can't help picking up on that. Weather! The universal topic. The great equalizer. "There's a winter here? Come now, you can't be serious. I'm amazed people even have heaters." she offers, turning toward the pair across from her and smiling amicably.

Vic laughs at the interjection into Ross' and her conversation and turns to the other woman and says, "Everyone has a winter but for those of us from more northern climes the panic in the south when the temperature dips it can be amusing, yes."

A waiter moves around the room, serving huge slices of meat to anyone with a green card flipped up

Laughter bursts forth from a large table in the restaurant as the patrons enjoy their meal.

Ross turns a bit and nods to Lakshmi. "Yeah, I mean it's nothing on Chicago, say, but you can at least tell it's Not Summer. How far north did you come from, anyway?" he asks Vic. "Seattle, was it?"

The crackling of a sizzling steak on a platter draws attention to the large grill in the center of the room.

A soft chuckles from Lakshmi. "Yeah, Seattle has winter, for sure." she agrees, raising the black-as-the-pit glass of beer toward Vic and Ross in a wordless toast before taking a perhaps surprisingly sizable sip. More of a gulp, really.

Vic grins and addresses Lakshmi again and asks her, "Wait, at you a Seattleite also?" Turning back to Ross she explains, "I was born there... well, you know what I mean."

A waiter moves around the room, serving huge slices of meat to anyone with a green card flipped up

Ross nods to Vic. "I was guessing that general area, at least. Not a New England accent, but far enough north and coastal to make a difference." Someone hasn't made it to San Francisco, apparently.

"Me? No. God no. South Carolina, though don't hold it against me. That was a long time ago, practically a lifetime." Lakshmi responds, grinning faintly. "Hundred and ten in the summer, 30s in the winters. I think it snowed like, twice in 10 years? If you count an inch or two, that is." Lak's own accent is such a mish-mash there's little hope of untangling it. Southern US, Northern US -- Chicago? -- then... British English? A mess, but pleasant enough as an amalgam. "Anyway. Sorry to bother you two, just couldn't help myself."

Vic nods to Ross and says, "My dad was from there so my English is deffinately carrying a Washington accent... if you hear anything different that's the Tagalog showing up which is all my mom and lola's fault." Addressing Lakshmi she asks, "Why would I hold it against you?" and adds, "Its alright, this is nothing formal or anything like that," speaking on the subject before Ross can say anything about the friendly interruption.

From near the dartboard, voices jest as a dart thunks into the board.

"Plenty of things to hold against SC." Lakshmi responds, with a shrug, though she's not angry about it so much as matter-of-fact. "Anyway. You two enjoy the rest of your meal." She smiles and nods amicably toward them, and returns to minding her own business, more or less.

Ross and Vic had a meal. Did they do more than that... its not part of this scene.