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25 December 2017 @ 09:59 am
_Cooking Hot_  
I knew this story would come in handy someday . . .

Cooking Hot

Pam Uphoff

" . . . And I'd really love to go back in a few years when, in theory, the heat's off, and just strip that museum. Look for other buildings. Find out where they went." Ebsa scowled at the fabs. "Even Rat shish kabob was better than anything these could possibly produce."

Ra's snickered. "Right. Three days after a totally disastrous field mission and you're complaining about the food."

"Well . . . " Ebsa prowled around the corner. The Directorate building was the smallest of the three office-and-housing towers of the Empire's embassy on the cross-dimensional world of Embassy. The third floor contained the gym, a med station and the cafeteria, surrounding the central core of elevators, stairs and utilities.

Ebsa stopped in front of a locked door.

"Storage or something." Ra'd shook his head. "It's like you believe in magic and think you can create delicious meals out of nothing."

"Fabbed ingredients can be made into perfectly edible food." Edsa tapped his fingers on the door knob. It clicked and he pulled it open.

"See? Cleaning equipment . . . " Ra'd's voice failed as Ebsa flicked on the light.

"And beyond the mops, ta da! A nice little kitchenette. I wonder if it works?"

"You can't even get to it. There's tables shoved in there, on end. Not to mention all the floor polishers and so forth. It's a junk room, not a kitchen."

A laugh from behind them. "The deadly duo, back together. No wonder I felt the Multiverse quake in terror."

Ebsa put down a robotic sterilizer and glanced back. "Hey Ogly. They didn't send you guys back either?"

Ra'd was frowning at their old nemisis from college days. "Ogly. Heard you abused my gun."

Ogly just grinned. "Killed twenty-four giant rats with eighteen shots. And my shoulder. Definitely killed my shoulder."


Ebsa snickered, watching Ogly try to figure out just what part Ra'd found good.

More men crowded up behind them. The two Action Teams, the construction and maintenance crew.

"Now if we can just move all this stuff out of the kitchen . . . "


"I must say, Izzo, the Directorate coddles it's projects. I can't believe you'd send a chef like this into the wilds to nearly get eaten by giant rats."

Izzo looked over his shoulder to where one of the top Warriors in the Empire was amusing himself turning out five star dinners. He strengthened his Parisian accent. "Scientific expeditions do get our top personnel."

Ambassador Ashe half closed his eyes as he chewed. "I don't suppose the fellow's from Montevideo? There's a superb restaurant down there, and this is their signature dish. In fact, it's better. Bring that fellow over, won't you?"

Izzo caught Ebsa's eye and crooked a finger.

"Director Izzo?" Ebsa wasn't well known to him, but occasionally encountered during training sessions at Versalle.

The Ambassador smirked. "Yes, as I suspected, a Uruguay accent. Does Madam Castellanos know you've stolen her green peppercorn sauce recipe?"

"Distinctive, isn't it, sir? And yes, I learned sauces under her tutelage."

The Ambassador sat back looking smug. "But once word gets out that you've used it, stolen a recipe from your Head Chef, you'll never get a position in a top kitchen."

Ebsa raised his brows. A twinkle of amusement in his eyes. "Good thing I like the Directorate, then, sir."

"I could pay you more. You wouldn't be sent off to weird hellholes to cook for Action Teamers."

Izzo blinked. "Trying to steal a cook? In full public view, Ashe?"

"I thank you for the offer, sir. But I really like going Across. Please enjoy your meal." Ebsa stepped back and half turned before the ambassador spoke.

"I really can keep you from ever getting a position."

Ebsa turned back and eyed the man. "Actually, that is my recipe, which my mother, Madam Castellanos uses in her restaurant. I cook for relaxation and enjoyment. In between weird Across postings with . . . Izzo . . . what am I actually classified right now? Am I still Action, or have I clawed my way back up to Exploration Teams?"

"The subdirectors are still fighting over you."

"Oh One! Well, Across with other Teamers of various sorts is an excellent place to be. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'd best get back to feeding people."

Izzo let a hint of smirk show as he picked up his fork. "I must get down to Montevideo again, and try that restaurant."

Ashe growled. "Wasting a cook like this . . . Izzo . . . I think I need your camp cook for few more weeks."

"To train your chefs?"

"No, to put those uppity Comet Fall Witches back in their place with a cook off."

Izzo grinned. "Privately, or publicly? You could challenge Earth . . . "

"And everyone else." Ashe grinned back. "It's late fall, so we could call it a pre-holiday festival. Before Ramadan and their Winter Solstice."

Izzo subdued a desire to laugh. "And Earth celebrates that Christmas thing . . . which is going to fall roughly between the Winter Solstice and the Eid this year. Let's do it."


Lon Hackathorn finished up his summary and looked out at the crowd. The morning meeting were rarely interesting.

But when the Oner Ambassador had walked in, all the reps from elsewhere had suddenly called their embassies. He had a nearly full house this morning, at least twenty ambassadors. And their staffs, and the Newsies has caught on and fill the galleries.

"Are there any further matters anyone would like to bring to our attention at this time?"

Damn, he's standing up.

"I recognize Ambassador Ashe representing the Empire of the One." Lon stepped aside as Ashe strolled forward.

The Oners gave the audience a sharp smile.

"It has come to my attention that the Comet Fall Witches consider themselves . . . "

Oh great, a dramatic pause. What are you up to, Ashe?

". . . the best cooks in the Multiverse."


"I disagree, and challenge them to a cook off. In two weeks. In full public view out in the plaza.

"In fact, to settle the matter, I invite all the embassies to join in." Ashe smirked. "It's rather short notice for a proper Fall Festival, but I believe we may bring in a few cultural displays as well."

Fuck. Me. What the hell are they up to now?

Zan Lynx: photozlynx on December 25th, 2017 04:12 pm (UTC)
I love it!
ekuah on December 25th, 2017 09:29 pm (UTC)
Me too!!!
Will there be
'Steamed horse leg with strawberry mint sauce' from Purple?
'Pink Bunny Stew' and 'Goat Roast Scoonian style' from Comet Fall?
matapampamuphoff on December 26th, 2017 12:34 am (UTC)
Re: Me too!!!

I shall have to come up with some interesting dishes.
muirecan: Withersmuirecan on December 25th, 2017 09:35 pm (UTC)
Oh cool. I remember when it didn’t lead on to what sounds like a fun story. :)
(Anonymous) on December 25th, 2017 11:57 pm (UTC)
Ashe finally gets to be the joker not the butt
He has been the butt so many times including the last time this story was put up, it is great to finally see him coming out on top. A great Christmas offering.
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on December 26th, 2017 02:02 am (UTC)
Why does Ebsa think he is currently Action?

Given his last posting was Facilities on an Exploration project.
matapampamuphoff on December 26th, 2017 04:05 am (UTC)
He'd been Action for however long the hunt for survivors on Neo Helios took. Year and half or so, then reg required a six month Home posting, then a temporary assignment to get him *instantly* away while there was some housecleaning in the Teams . . . He'll be back on a team as soon as the housecleaning is done, and everyone knows it.

And at this point he's talked to Ajha, who's at least told him he's under consideration as a team leader.

Edited at 2017-12-26 04:08 am (UTC)
cnmckenney on December 26th, 2017 02:40 am (UTC)
And loose the lords of chaos...
Oh boy! I have visions of recipe spying ("Ya wanna know what Flare is planning??? Only 500 raels...", ingredient sabotage("I never asked for T-Rex tail."), participant intimidation("Ra'd, if you don't persuade your closey buddy to throw the contest something might just happen to that pretty sister -URK-." "Just taking out the trash, Ebsa."), Appliance tinkering("No...they don't usually slag down three seconds after you plug them in."), Jury tampering ("Now girls when they judges show up I want you to GLOW for the One. Put your hearts and minds into it."). A true Saturnalia of sabotage, pilfering, espionage, pettifoggery, skullduggery, double and triple crossings, outrageous punning, and slapstick.
You know how to deliver a Christmas present to your readers. I can't wait.

Edited at 2017-12-26 02:41 am (UTC)
ekuah on December 26th, 2017 08:45 am (UTC)
Re: And loose the lords of chaos...
"ingredient sabotage"

What about 'Coq au vin' with joy juice?
matapampamuphoff on December 26th, 2017 06:15 pm (UTC)
Re: And loose the lords of chaos...
Well that certainly got everyone's imagination revved up!
mbarkermbarker on December 26th, 2017 08:26 am (UTC)
But is Fanny Farmer going to have a chance? I mean, across the multiverse, where does an AI go...

All right, I'll sit back and enjoy the story. But I think a mystery entrant from far away might add some spice (oh, the puns just write themselves, don't they?).
matapampamuphoff on December 26th, 2017 06:22 pm (UTC)
I have insufficient Oner Children to draft to help. The Comet Fall people will have lots and lots of minions. I need Oner minions!
cnmckenney on December 26th, 2017 09:56 pm (UTC)
Minions, I must have MINIONS!
Start with Zen's children and have them invite their friends and then they can invite their friends... . Then the high Oner's get competitive and we get whole families showing up and then whole clans and our little cooking contest has hundreds of thousands participants and attendees. And the same thing happens with the other contestants. Makes Woodstock look like a country fair.
ekuah on December 26th, 2017 10:04 pm (UTC)
Oner minions.
Did Ebsa already met his son yet?
If so, you have the boy and his mom.

When was Clan Blackpoint? Before Dystopia, right?
(Ajha became third alternate philosopher there, right? And this is after the last merge, right?)
So you would have Xen and Poppy's son (can't remember his name)
And you would have the whole household staffs from the different houses in Clan Blackpoint.
matapampamuphoff on December 26th, 2017 11:50 pm (UTC)
Re: Oner minions.
This is 1408, so Xen's Oner kids are all 11. They haven't met dad yet, and are too young for Ebsa to recruit as assistants. Not to worry, the Muse has cooperated for once.
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on December 27th, 2017 02:09 am (UTC)
Re: Oner minions.
Yep, you had a "fortunately two of them (interns) could cook" in Shadow Zone aka Rescue Mission

Is one tyke available?
(Anonymous) on December 27th, 2017 09:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Oner minions.
If you are going to use one of the tykes, please, please have Ebsa or preferably Ra'd discuss the concept of overkill in regard to kitchen vermin with him.
matapampamuphoff on December 28th, 2017 04:13 am (UTC)
Re: Oner minions.
No, the tykes are among the most seriously burned. They won't be helping in this one.
muirecan: Withersmuirecan on February 28th, 2018 07:38 am (UTC)
Ebsa turns into Edsa and back into Ebsa.