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01 August 2018 @ 10:43 am
_Cooking Hot_ new stuff  

Chapter Fair Day

Bzzzzzz Zap! The actinic flash of the electrical short was bright in the early dawn.

Ebsa leaped for the little portable breaker box, but it had already tripped.

"What the hell? It worked just fine last night." He walked back and opened the oven. It smelled of ozone and melted plastic. He ignored the snickers behind him, where the Ministry was setting up their booth.

Coincidence or sabotage? Doesn't matter, now.

"Ebsa! What are we going to do?" Epic poked the stove like he was checking to see if it was dead.

The girls circled it, wide-eyed.

Ebsa braced himself. "Looks like we'll be cooking over charcoal today."

:: Hey Ra'd! You know those concrete blocks back behind the Squishies? I need thirty of them. ASAP. ::

He fished out a couple of cash cards and checked the balances. "Split up. Start with the two grocery stores in Building Two. I'll probably need at least four large bags. And Real Foods had some little disposable aluminum grills. Two of those would be good for the veggies. Get going while I clean up here." He handed the cards to Epic and Arwen. The little girls trotted after Epic, the two teenage girls followed with more dignity.

Ebsa dragged the range back further from the front of his space.

It would have been nice to have the oven to keep things warm, but the racks will work for a charcoal grill.

Mike-the-unicorn-plate-guy drove up grinning. "Oh, good I was afraid we'd miscalculated the time zone changes. Is the tape marking your space?"

"Yep." Ebsa backed off as three guys started pulling rolls of orange canvas out of the truck, and let the experts have it.

It was a very bright orange pavillion.

More snickers from south, where pristine white with green trim was the order of the day.

To the north, Bamboo awnings were going up, and colorful tablecloths.

I wonder what the Ticktocks are going to serve?

Ebsa admired his own eye catcher, and jumped in to help unload the tables. Four rectangular work tables, five round tables with chairs for people to put their stuff down and relax for a moment.

Mike and company waved cheerfully. "See you tomorrow!" and headed out.

Ra'd showed up and poked at the stove. "Well, it wasn't new, but you've got to wonder . . ." He pulled a double rod out of his pocket and started pulling out concrete blocks. “I just grabbed the whole stack, we can build you an awesome barbeque. Put some flat ones one this side and you can set your sauces there to keep warm.”

Four three foot walls, and he had a barbeque that would take both oven shelves, the kids showed up with charcoal and the little grills, Ebsa pulled open the pencil bag long enough to grab the pile of table clothes, then closed it again.

"We'll light the charcoal in half an hour, and start serving at nine."

Ra'd pulled out a sign. EXTERNAL RELATIONS all wood, nice a heavy to sit on the ground and not blow over.

Paer showed up, dressed for the hospital, and handed Ebsa a big puffed Chef's hat. White—with a wide green ribbon around the headband. "I couldn't get one in all green, Warrior Chef. Now go beat the Multiverse!"

Ten hundred hours. A few people were already out, looking around as the various contestants fired up, turned on, or otherwise starting cooking.

The charcoals were perfect and Ebsa was just throwing on the first round of meat when robed figures paraded out of the Arrival embassy's gate. Singing, they climbed up the stack of boxes and arrayed themselves.

People strolling around the plaza turned that direction, as the man out front gave a brief prayer—not much different than a Christian church prayer in the more Christian parts of the One World—a generic bit of hoping for a nice fair.

Then the choir raised their voices in a hymn . . . and the heckling started. Ebsa looked over the thin crowd and spotted a trio of Oners, laughing at what they probably considered their witty insults.

Ebsa growled, and turned away to flip steaks. "Where's the God of Music when you need him, eh?"

Sophy giggled. "I don't think there is one, Ebsa."

Ebsa shivered, and glanced over to where the voices of the choir were carrying clearly in the morning air. A gray haired man, wearing a suit cut in the Comet Fall style, was standing in the front of the watchers . . . just listening, but Ebsa shifted uneasily and smoothed the hair down on the back of his neck. He cautious lowered his mental shields, and snapped them back up quickly.

Whoever that is, he's very powerful.

And I don't really want to know why those heckling idiots are grimacing and rubbing their throats. Because I'm quite certain that I cannot summon a Comet Fall baby god!

The choir stopped, the fellow directing them turned to bow to the crowd as the Fallen gentleman started clapping, with the crowd joining in enthusiastically.

Ebsa concentrated on getting ready for what he hopped would be a bunch of hungry people. Rare steak, charcoal grilled chicken, and across on one worktable, the veggies were hissing on a little aluminum grill. He got the prepared sauces out, vegan almond milk with poblano peppers and cilantro sauce for the vegetables; wine reduction and a creamy mustard seed sauces for the beef and chicken.

He cubed the first steaks and chicken, and as people started edging toward the stall, he started loading plates.

He waved a welcome to the hovering people, and got back to work.

Sophy and Arwen had the veggie line under control, Epic loaded trays and supervised the littler girls circulating to give out samples.

"The souvenir plates are yours to keep, enjoy the fair!" The boy’s cheerful friendly voice paused as a . . . wheeled sailing ship swooped around the corner.

Surely there's a motor. They can't actually be sailing . . .

The SS Cove Islands, sails billowing in the light breeze sailed majestically past, curving to sail past the Arrival and Comet Fall West embassies. It heeled over to make the turn past Disco, and tacked past the Earth Embassy, and around the southeast corner to drop anchor along the southern side of the Plaza.

Nice. But can they cook?

(Anonymous) on August 1st, 2018 05:04 pm (UTC)
Ebsa was going to start serving at 9:00, but he put the first steaks on at 10:00. Error, or did he just notice that there were no diners there and delay the start?
matapampamuphoff on August 1st, 2018 05:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Timing
Inattention on my part. Plus all the booths need to get set up and so forth, so not so early a start.
(Anonymous) on August 1st, 2018 05:12 pm (UTC)
Ship names
SS Cove Island? The SS prefix normally refers to a steam ship. If I understand correctly (always an iffy proposition) the correct prefix would be S.V. for sailing vessel.
matapampamuphoff on August 1st, 2018 05:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Ship names
Actually it should probably be HRMS, assuming whoever's ruling the Cove Islands at the moment has sanctioned it.
(Anonymous) on August 1st, 2018 05:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Ship names
Quite correct. I had not considered the royal connection. Chalk it up to me being a libertarian type.
(Anonymous) on August 1st, 2018 05:51 pm (UTC)
Are you sure that Ebsa would not also do Paer's dino nuggets dish for the adventurous? It would be VERY External Relations appropriate. "Go to strange worlds. Meet large and dangerous creatures. AND eat them!!!!!".
matapampamuphoff on August 1st, 2018 07:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Menu
For better or worse, it is very difficult to get permits to hunt dinosaurs.
ekuah on August 1st, 2018 08:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Menu
You could 'sell' the T-Rex nuggets as from some 'remote relative of turkeys'.
matapampamuphoff on August 1st, 2018 08:50 pm (UTC)
Re: Menu
But where's the fun of that? And you've still got to go kill one.
ekuah on August 1st, 2018 09:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Menu
You sure they don't have some T-Rex stored in some bubble?
Also, I'm sure there had to be some Action Team idiot, who can't accept that some random Clostuone Upstart can kill a T-Rex, and he (the Action Teamer) couldn't.
(Anonymous) on August 1st, 2018 09:56 pm (UTC)
Re: Menu
Maybe, but can you see a generic Action Teamer caring enough about someone else that they'd be willing to reach into said T-Rex's mouth?

Just killing a T-Rex isn't going to rate as highly as saving a half-eaten party member no matter how it's spun.
ekuah on August 1st, 2018 10:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Menu
It was just an idea.
I mean beef and chicken is so ordinary that anybody could do it.
matapampamuphoff on August 2nd, 2018 12:51 am (UTC)
Re: Menu
I'll have the Homesteaders serving Trilobite in garlic lemon butter.

"Wow! Why don't you guys export this stuff!"

"Oh, the extinct species act. Every single dead specimine has to have paperwork. And if we import them live, it's a criminal offence to kill them. The new gate direct to here is going to be a real game changer for the fishermen."
(Anonymous) on August 2nd, 2018 04:58 pm (UTC)
Re: Menu
Disco requires permits????
The T-Rex would never have to enter Empire territory for the contest.
Besides, just imagine Ebsa's mom's reaction to the fact that his girlfriend's recipe won the contest.
matapampamuphoff on August 2nd, 2018 06:32 pm (UTC)
Re: Menu
No. The _Empire_ has strict regulations about importing and exporting live animals not native to the receiving world, and even more about rare and extinct species live or dead.

The direct corridor from Homestead to Embassy is new, the laws changed to allow it were passed maybe three months ago. The Homestead Booth is a major advertising effort, aimed at future markets all over the Multiverse.
mbarkermbarker on August 2nd, 2018 12:19 am (UTC)
Y'a know, Cedar Sanderson does this Eat This While You Read This thing that would be a great way to publicize this tale (when you finish it...)