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1 I Stew For You on Sun Oct 23, 2016 4:05 am

Fire.

A most fantastic invention of nature. A beautiful discovery of mankind.

Gods what she wouldn’t do for a spot of fire.

Just a pinch, a smidgen really. Even the smallest of flickers could be brought to life with a caring touch. Not to say the woman in question required a house lit and billowing smoke to choke out the heavens themselves. That would work certainly, she’d make do with anything at this point, but mostly Chesha required fire because her stomach demanded it. Tantalizing as it appeared to the young woman the meat currently packed away in a side pocket of her satchel already passed the safe date for a “blue steak” type style. At this point she questioned if it remained fine enough to simply grill….more than likely it’d require a thorough cook and while medium had its moments didn’t usually strike her taste buds as the flavor of the moment.

A stew perhaps?

Something she could almost drink, but soup sounded far too light for her hungry belly that craved a pleasurably filling meal. No, something with a thicker juice to it sounded fantastic, her tongue salivating at the thought of something with a light gravy consistency to it. Yes, that’d be the perfect way, allowing her to saturate the meat with a succulent flavor and at the same time toss in a few other things to fill some space. Carrots always gained a nice, softer texture to them in stews and soups, though she’d keep them in larger chunks in this instance. Quickly enough her mind laid out the possibilities of what to add to this brewing mental concoction, teasing her poor tongue all the while.

She still needed fire though.

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2 Re: I Stew For You on Sun Oct 23, 2016 4:20 am

According to experience simply lighting up in the middle of the road lead to grouchy folks yelling at you. Something about putting their businesses, livelihoods, or family at risk. Why couldn’t they understand she’d done it for the sake of food? After all living things required sustenance to maintain their “livelihood” above all else – even the wondrous plants requiring water and some sunlight for crying out loud! It confounded her right up until someone mentioned setting her bag on fire at which point details blurred out, there might’ve been some alarm and vaguely the girl recalled her hand stinging, people getting angry, and ultimately she’d hoofed it out of that place and found her way onto some boat.

They’d been a lot more accommodating to her needs. Those kind people even allowed her access to their food storage after some convincing – and a little proving of her capabilities in the kitchen despite pretending not to know what a “sandwich” was at one point. Purely for the benefit of not getting a rather insistent fellow one. Let their original crew deal with silly things like that. Sandwiches were personal affairs in her opinion anyways. They’d packed away her fillets, nuggets, breasts, thighs, kebabs, and many other things with gusto much to her delight. Their only failing had been a pathetic critique, but like the kind and generous soul that she was Chesha forgave them as obviously their palettes must’ve suffered to consider anything and everything “the best thing ever.”

She liked to imagine every taste bud exploding if they ever had real five star cuisine.

Chesha missed them and their lovely, stocked pantry so much right now. It was a shame they’d set sail rather quickly from Logue Town.

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3 Re: I Stew For You on Sun Oct 23, 2016 4:35 am

”Why do you suppose they left us?” she asked aloud, a few pairs of eyes turning to figure out if she’d been talking to them.

Behind the girl an elongated cape of sorts waved in the wind, swishing as it kept her tail covered, edges rippling with ghosting breezes. From beneath a voice came out, surprising those who’d turned and found themselves staring. ”From what I recall they couldn’t stop staring at me. Quite rude really, I hope we meet some people with manners.” The masculine voice caused a few raised eyebrows, the few people quickly returning to their previous tasks in order to avoid questioning reality too much.

”But you don’t have eyes!”

”You do.”

”Oh yeah, I do!”

That clinched it for the girl, the profound proclamation all she required to answer that line of queries. Unfortunately it provided only a temporary distraction from her primary predicament. Considering people in white clothes disliked spontaneous street fires she required something a little more “public friendly” to avoid them. After all she wasn’t making “fast food” and eating on the run could lead to unfortunate spillage. Toddling into an alleyway the girl slid against the wall with a whiny groan, eyes closing in her distress, ”I just wanna eat, is that so wrong?!” More importantly she didn’t want to waste any money on it, at least not beyond the veggies she’d procured from the markets in her contemplation over that crew. ’I really should’ve nabbed a few things…would’ve if I’da known they’d ditche me like that.’ That still stung too since the pale woman thought they’d hit it off more or less – ignoring the rather wide berth they always gave her backside. That already made them scads better than the crew before…though those memories simply made her recall the meat in her pack that she so desperately wanted to bite into right now.

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4 Re: I Stew For You on Sun Oct 23, 2016 4:51 am

Her main problem lay in finding someone willing to share their cooking space. Restaurants, bars, and even food stands proved pretty obstinate on the subject. Those who truly aspired to become the “best of the best” refused to let “riff raff” so much as touch their tools and something about poison…Chesha couldn’t be bothered remembering their whole spiel. Others didn’t like the thought of losing a few minutes of potential income for the sake of someone filling their belly – usually trying to make her spend beli to fill belly. Even attempts to coerce them of her skill and maybe help push out a plate or few for customers fell on deaf ears. Offers to produce her “famous Mystery Meat” seemed to cause weird recoil…but they completely objected to so much as trying a morsel either. [slateblue]”Stodgy the lot of them,”[/color] she grumbled under her breath, receiving a grunting agreement from the cloaked lump sitting next to her.

Those completely lacking in adventure of any kind confounded the white haired wanderer. How they expected to climb any latter without stepping outside of their boxes she would never understand! More importantly how they could demand so much from a poor girl simply looking for a decent plate of food! Oh the humanity!

The thought evoked unbidden giggles, the sounds quickly vanishing as luminescent eyes dulled for a moment, Chesha’s mind wandering away. Clattering of teeth popped the mental bubble, the clicking of a tongue all the reprimand she required from Alejandro. Past was past, all that mattered was now and right now she wanted to eat damn it! Eyes drifted lazily back to the street only a couple yards away, people flitting in and out of view quickly despite their mostly slow paces. ’I suppose I could always borrow a kitchen. I mean it’s not like they’re using it right now, let alone for monetary purposes. If money’s not involved it must be all right!’

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5 Re: I Stew For You on Tue Oct 25, 2016 2:43 am

Locating a living district proved relatively simple, the girl used to them being more on the outer bounds of towns and cities before you eventually ran into farming lands. Those further houses proved a little tempting, knowing that such people often worked during the day and thus might be out of the house right now, but it’d also been her experience that they still managed to have someone in the house. Sometimes an elderly family member who maintained watch of the living room, vigilant even as they crocheted or grumbled about a sports team from their snail-based radios. Other times it was a mother or elder sibling watching over younger children as they attempted to perform chores in the household. No, these people knew better on some instinctual level even if they didn’t want to admit it not to leave their house unguarded. Except rarely when they went to market or what not.

’It’s also noon so they’ll likely take a lunch break soon.’ The reminder caused a minor huff, but little more. The plus side of those who lived closer to the towns and sometimes just outside the shopping distracts lay in the allure of restaurants and general hubbub. Lunching with friends or family without the pain of dirtying one’s personal dishes or even expending effort while missing out on conversation. She’d spent enough time watching people at restaurants to figure out some of their pull towards these town dwellers and figure out the potential gains.

Granted the pale girl veered away from too close to the city in case people spied her slipping in from the still somewhat busy streets. No need to garner their attention, but often times a street or two beyond became pretty safe targets. Besides aside from maybe some spices and things from the fridge she didn’t take anything and often left the dishes nice and clean for them!

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6 Re: I Stew For You on Tue Oct 25, 2016 3:12 am

Things couldn’t have been any better timed: she caught a family leaving! Their child prevented them from moving too fast, the thing flopping this way and that practically as its wide eyes dodged around, drinking in the sights of the world. Briefly they settled on her, the girl stilling, and breathing only when they forcibly moved on at the urging of its parents. Children usually learned important things from their parents, such as being aware of their surroundings, but she supposed some of these age old instincts and lessons withered to some respects for those locked up in communities. They didn’t have to know after all. They lived here, safe in their little homes, free from worries until someone caused a commotion and then they cheered when people in white came and masqueraded as heroes.

It was only belatedly the altered woman realized her breathing became a bit…worked up, breathing turning huffy. Teeth managed to unlock from their gritted state, a shaky breath forcing its way from her lungs. Past was past. She chanted the mantra internally until even Alejandro’s teeth released from their lockjaw state, the other entity calming much quicker as he rose.

”We’re not alone.”

The warning jolted her, the momentary fury of feelings booted off the side of a cliff in lieu of this distraction. Wide eyes blinked a few times, turning her head to stare up into a stranger’s eyes. Speculation and consideration mixed with a hint of caution swirled in those orbs, or at least the human one. The other merely lost and gained vibrancy in its glow. As the short girl pondered whether it was merely a cybernetic monocle or a replacement for the lost organ the man finally spoke, ”Lookin’ to break into that house I see. You sure you just want to be a simple cat burglar?”

Oh my. Where’d he gotten that idea from?

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7 Re: I Stew For You on Tue Oct 25, 2016 4:47 am

Since the main street he’d followed this little girl, lured by the unusually long protrusion beneath her cloak. Truth be told a large part of him hoped pretty fishman or maybe a mermaid that’d sprouted legs. Curious of her intentions he pursued her, further intrigued by her lack of awareness and perhaps…maybe if she proved something interesting he’d have a neat little treasure to take back with him? Once he cornered her of course. Low and behold as she became worked up over one thing or another the cloak slipped and out popped something very likely unnatural…unless she came from the deep recesses of the Grand Line or beneath the sea. The head at the end of that thick tail looked shark-like after all and he considered she might simply be a weirdly mutated fishman, maybe one even experimented on by someone with weird tastes. A spark in her eyes caught his attention though.
 
Modified.
 
While her species, race, etc remained in question he held little doubt behind that spark: this girl sported mechanics in her. Even the way the jaw clicked in the other head suggested something a little more than simple biological engineering. He could’ve still been wrong, knowing many odd and inexplicable things existed so he’d performed something of a scan with his replaced left eye. ’Hmm…can’t see through everything. Odd.’ Decent at X-raying others, there existed blind spots, but he’d confirmed what he needed: this odd woman was indeed a cyborg. They could use more for their crew, especially if they planned to make a real name down the road, and he wouldn’t mind a bit of eye candy. Surely the others would too, given the plethora of males on their crew…
 

”If you want to stick to a low life of breaking into houses then I won’t stop ya…but…you could be a part of somethin’ much bigger. Whaddya say? You just have to pass a few tests, but you could join our crew.” The man smirked as the girl perked right up.

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8 Re: I Stew For You on Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:08 am

The girl heartily agreed, excited for reasons the man couldn’t begin to understand, or at the very least wouldn’t even consider. As long as they held a kitchen and with usable utensils then she could care less about how extensive their pillaging and ravaging records may or may not be. They could be sinners or saints and not feel ashamed, someone’s hell and possibly her dream as long as they permitted immediate use of their facilities as she wouldn’t want it any other way.
 
With a questionable grin the man motioned for her to follow, turning about to lead her away from this family district. A part of him questioned her naiveté, wondering if she’d stopped for even a fraction of a second to consider what she might be getting herself into. This world held its dark sides after all and even a second mouth near her rump wouldn’t be able to abate that at all times. Still…she held gumption, the man’s captain liking lively sparks amidst his crew. As long as she could hold her own this little albino of a woman would fit right in with the lot of them. They could probably even upgrade her parts once they performed a proper scan, something he made sure to mention. An eyebrow rose as she seemed to huff at this, offering no other vocals to the thought, but she struck him as moody so maybe her parts were a more personable matter? He hadn’t exactly met a lot of female cyborgs…maybe she even still had that organ and experienced the unfortunate flow of the red sea? He wouldn’t think too hard on it.
 
As they dipped through alleyways the man kicked this and that out of his way, grunting a chuckle here and there from the power his upgraded legs unleashed upon crates, garbage cans and their lids, and other things strewn about. A guffaw ripped out of him as one unfortunate mutt came begging for food and found a foot planted firmly in its side, sending the thing skipping like a stone on water. The cats knew better, but the mangy mutt showed some signs of care beneath his grime. Either a runaway or a house pet he supposed.
 

”Do you suppose we could find somewhere to make a meal first? I don’t want to meet this crew on an empty stomach…”

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9 Re: I Stew For You on Tue Oct 25, 2016 10:50 pm

It came off as a rather strange request, but the man chuckled: guess she liked keeping up appearances? Considering the man lived in the area anyways before joining this group he opted to take her home. Besides maybe he could see how she felt about other things? Fantasies kept him on and off grinning, careful to keep it out of her view as he lead the way to a place further on the outskirts. Unlike the neighborhoods they’d been in this place looked worse for wear compared to the middleclass one. Here people dotted the streets in place in various stages of worn clothing, only one child in a group running about sporting a pair of beat up shoes. They seemed too preoccupied with their made up game to bother the pair, racing in front of them quickly enough to stay out of the way and yet laughing all the while at things only their little brains could explain.
 
Even the people who looked as though someone vacuumed up all their emotions and left it in a neat little package out of reach couldn’t bring themselves to take much notice. Others discussed or argued under their breath, further distracted by personal worries, or plots and ploys. At best the man received a greeting from one elderly lady, her hair possibly white if she could’ve washed it more and instead left a dusty and spotted gray. Despite the light stench of the area and dilapidated buildings this woman appeared none-the-wiser, keen on greeting everyone with a smile, one Chesha could only return in slight. It hardly bothered her, wishing the man and his new little “friend” well before toddling off to parts unknown.
 

”It ain’t much, but it’s got a stove and there’s dishes in the cabinets.” Waving her into the house and showing her the unkempt kitchen the man shrugged, ”Don’t really use it much. ‘Spose Ma would be disappointed in me…” A moment’s worth of regret passed his eyes, missing the woman who’d worked her life into the grave to keep him alive and offer the best childhood she could before the neighborhood eventually fell into disrepair.

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10 Re: I Stew For You on Tue Oct 25, 2016 11:16 pm

Judging by the intricacy of the webs the dishes in the sink hadn’t been moved in a fair bit of time. Bottles lined the counter tops showing one of the primary uses of this house for the group, though blessedly it appeared empty aside for the duet. Just tipping a pot’s handle to the side unleashed a horrendous smell, causing the girl’s nose to wrinkle in disgust from the assault. Yes. It’d been a fair bit of time since this sink saw any proper attention. Rather than reel in sympathizing disgust the man guffawed, his laughter loud and boisterous, filling the room as she sent him a mild glare.
 
”Told ya,” he managed between chuckles, ”You’ll have to clean up before you can get anything done, but it’s fine we’re in no rush. The guys shouldn’t be expecting me back for another couple o’ days so we have time for you to clean and us to get to know each other. Don’t suppose you could make me a sandwich when you’re done?”
 

”Get the ingredients for me and sure,” she spoke too sweetly. Her apparent annoyance coated with a thick layer of sugar only inspired another round of laughter at her expense before the man acquiesced to her request. She only demanded he pick up a nice, thick gravy mix while out with a small promise of maybe sharing her food when he got back. The man left with another laugh as the girl outright gagged at another shift of the pile, eager to make quick work of the stack as she could. ’Who lives like this…honestly…’

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11 Re: I Stew For You on Tue Oct 25, 2016 11:27 pm

Upon returning to his home the man noticed how silent it was in contrast to how he imagined. Surely she’d be cursing and there’d be the sounds of water splashing as she combatted the crusted dishes? Maybe even some clinking of bottles – or maybe she’d done that first to clear off some drying space? Given how packed both sides of the sink had been for at least a month or more – gods only knew at this point – it’d have been easier to open one side for washing while having dirty one side and clean on the other. That’s how his mother always did it in the past.
 
With a solid click the door closed behind the burly man as the food jostled the plastic bag, both layers rubbing against one another. He hadn’t felt like carrying too much so he’d opted for double bags to simply strengthen a couple. Bread, couple tomatoes, some lettuce, various lunch meats, sauces of his preference, and even a recommended gravy mix from a nice lady manning the grocery store. Feeling rather pleased at the thought of someone going to the effort to make him food the man even splurged a bit on some of the farmer stand produce and hit up the baker for the bread. Normally the lot of them hit up restaurants and bullied the workers into free food or dirt cheap prices, rarely making anything themselves. Sometimes they harassed the newer recruits into making simple things and mocking them for subpar food, but I actuality they didn’t expect five star quality. These were usually lads eager for adventure, names in history books, and treasure.
 

Entering the kitchen he couldn’t find his new female friend, not even that oversized snake of a tail sticking out anywhere. Nothing but a counter of clean dishes and a sever lack of booze bottles. They laid in a pair of large garbage bags, one of them clinking as the bottles managed a spot of movement. He heard a hiss from behind and then the world evaporated into a growing cloud of darkness.

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12 Re: I Stew For You on Tue Oct 25, 2016 11:57 pm

Pain throbbed in his head to the beat of his heart to the point the man thought it might’ve kicked his brain out. The mere notion of opening his eyes filled his senses with dread, somehow convinced the act would cause a new influx to seep through his body down to his very fingertips. However the multitude of hazy questions provoked him to remain awake. What happened? Why did he feel so sluggish? Why did his head hurt? Reality continued to sink in and forced recollection to ripple before his mind’s eye. A girl in the alleyways. A tail armed with a mouth he saw when the cloak slipped. Food. His house.
 
Sandwich?
 
Fingers clenched as if absentmindedly searching for the bags he’d been carrying only to be met with wood. A familiar feel: one of his sturdier chairs. The one his boss enjoyed as the man’s right palm felt engravings on the thick arm. Captain liked to “mark his property” and that included whatever his crewmates owned that he liked. They might retain ownership in some sense, but when he was around the man gained first dibs. “Everything in the world would someday be his!” the captain liked to proclaim. That charisma really spoke to the poor class boy. Made him believe that he could someday achieve all his wildest dreams, and in his mind make his mama proud. The cybernetic enhancements would make that dream a lot simpler they’d reassured him.
 

Finally opening his eye everything swam, shapes as distorted as rain sloshing down a closed window. The other refused to activate and the man’s jaw tightened at the thought she might’ve damaged it. It’d been a necessary replacement from his younger years, having lost it when some rich person punched him with a hand full of rings. His only consolation? Dirtying that damned diamond with his poor blood.

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13 Re: I Stew For You on Wed Oct 26, 2016 12:24 am

”Why….you..bitch?!”
 
Finally the man croaked, anger seeping in as more of the haze lifted. Chesha stopped spinning the dented frying pan on the ground, leaving it on the couch as she stood up. His resilience impressed her to say the least, having performed quite a whacking on his noggin to ensure he didn’t spontaneously spring back to life in the midst of her preparations. The pale girl had been careful to keep to the reinforced part of his head, hitting a softer portion first before proceeding with some reckless barrages. Some of the burly fellow’s skin cut away from the metal it covered, only small rivulets of blood dripping from the spot and even then primarily from the first blow where it’d scratched part of his bald head.
 
”You say ‘bitch’ like it’s a bad thing! Why give me a tail and pair of ears and I could be considered one…albeit still humanoid!” She smiled, lips parting a fraction more at the way his glare increased. Laughter spilled from her at the way his eye widened and the expression intensified when she produced his metallic eyeball betwixt her fingers. ”Can’t have you scanning me anymore than you already have! Besides, metal has a time and a place, and I’m afraid this isn’t it!”
 
Teeth ground together before he could manage to repeat his question, ”Why the hell you doin’ this?! When they find out they’ll have your HEAD!”
 
The eye had been a gift from the captain, a sort of “welcoming” present when he’d proven himself. To replace what’d been stolen years ago. To know that she’d gone and ripped it out of his head, damaging it only fueled the captive’s flames of hatred.
 

”Why indeed…”

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14 Re: I Stew For You on Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:11 am

Thankfully the man’s mother owned a proper skillet, the thick, black pan placed atop the stove as the chef managed to get the light to spark. A circle of blue flames kissed the bottom, beginning to heat it up as she poured a tablespoon of oil in and swirled to make sure it became coated. No good letting the meat get stuck after all and the juice from it would become the main base of the stew – the gravy came more as a personal flavoring and to help thicken it up a little more. Meat sizzle came as music to her ears, stomach rumbling going unheard beneath that uproarious beat. Even Alejandro clicked his teeth in anticipation.
 
”You know the last crew I joined – well I didn’t really join per say so much as hitched a ride – was pretty great. I liked them, they liked my food: win-win situation, right? Right. Admittedly I kind of hoped maybe it could go on a bit longer, at least a few islands maybe more. Maybe their ship could even become my home! I liked them, I really did. It made me so sad when they ditched me at this port and not even a chance to pick a few things from their fridge first. So, so, so sad.” Scooping the first batch of cooked meaty chunks Chesha moved onto more, pleased to watch as one plate filled while the other emptied. Adding another layer of oil as another batch finished she continued chatting with her captive audience, ”I mean really there was only one fellow I had any real problem with and that didn’t last very long. I think he didn’t even last as long as the kid before him…kind of a shame really when an adult holds less resilience…no? I mean this guy boasted being a man too…he really wasn’t. Well, not for long.”
 

Moving over to the vegetables – of which he noticed already lay diced atop a chopping board he forgot lived in the kitchen, the eye blearily watched as it too went into the skillet – after she’d moved some of the juice over to another pan. Blinking he wished the headache would recede, his mind working furiously to consume her words.

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