[personal profile] tangaroa

Tonight I pounded out a new scene from a fic I'm never going to finish. Part of me says, oh, it looks nice! Share it! Another part of me says, this burns many of the plot points and characterization quirks that are supposed to be revealed during the course of the story, so I should hold off until I've finished it. Then I remembered that I'm not going to finish this story so I might as well post it, and it makes a good summary / introduction to the universe. Enjoy.

The East Wing Cafeteria was a place for the working staff of the tournament grounds to get a snack or a quick meal between shifts. The plain white walls, cheap plastic tables, and mobile fast food stands showed an absence of intent to attract a higher class clientele.

The tournament fighters would also need a snack or a quick meal from time to time, so it was not unusual for one of them to stop by. If two of them happened to cross paths, most of them were on friendly enough terms to stop for a friendly conversation. Because the tournament's physics constraints prevented most injuries, most fighters were able to keep the hostilities of combat inside the arena. As all fighters were indentured to their team owners and they would regularly be drafted to serve alongside each other at League functions, they tended to see each other as comrades rather than enemies.

The cafeteria found use as a meeting hall by a team of new fighters, all from shattered or medieval worlds, to whose tastes the peasant food was a luxury. They did not know or care about the more expensive restaurants on the upper deck. With how badly they were performing in the tournament, they could not afford it anyway.

The tournament's marketing department brought extra attention to the room by publicizing a friendly meal that was shared between the orphaned princess Ceilidh Bustamante, whose pretensions to be a battlemage were premature, and Sun Sorceress Solaria who had badly embarrassed Ceilidh in the arena only minutes before.

By the ending weeks of the tournament, the cafeteria was regularly filled with fighters enjoying the good company. There were the three rookies Jill, Ceilidh, and Natasha, the team known unofficially as "Mick's Girls." No one had seen any sign of their manager Mick since before the start of the tournament, but he had a tendency to be dramatic like that or negligent like that. They were joined by Solaria and the green-haired miko Sunny Delight whose natural black roots were beginning to show.

The gunslinger Dick Wood had given up on trying to impress the ladies and was relaxing and enjoying a cup of Sergeant Hawk's signature beverage, the Hawkachino. Sergeant Hawk had managed to get a date with Natasha once and had earned a black eye for getting too handsy with a fighter from a culture with more conservative courtship standards, but he was still welcomed as a friend. Harry the Donkey was telling jokes that too often made cultural references that nobody understood, but he told them with such style and gusto that everyone could not help but laugh.

Even the referee Starman was there, telling stories about the times he had fought some powerful villain or monster and another hero had shown up to save the day. Sunny's team manager Zexler had come down from on high to dip a pair of chopsticks into a quinoa box. Like everybody else, he enjoyed the good company.

Bad company arrived in the form of warlord Conrad wearing his raven-black armor emblazoned with his crest, a skull with rubies in its eye sockets. He stood at the entryway and gazed around the room with his steely eyes. Demanding attention, he loudly queried the room:

"What does this hall have that attracts so many people?"

Breaking the silence that followed, the boy behind the counter of the doughnut shop answered in his usual emotionless monotone. "We have doughnuts."

"Then," Conrad announced as he stepped forward, "I shall have a doughnut." One could hear a quiet giggle from one of the women and almost hear the eye-rolling from the men as Conrad made his purchase and sat down at a table, expecting the social atmosphere that he had interrupted to flow into him.

"So," Harry asked to break the silence, "Whaddid ya get?"

Conrad answered sharply. "A doughnut."

Harry smiled with a small trace of nervousness. "Ah. I thought it mighta been a filet mignon."

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