2014-05-31 - Something Fishy

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Title: Something Fishy

Early morning at the fish market, the best time for good chefs to get quality ingredients! Unfortunately, it's also the best time for terrible chefs to get quality ingredients.


Kuniko Saito, Gordon, Fred Burgermeister


Tokyo Bay / Tsukiji Fish Market

OOC - IC Date:

22 January 2014 - 5/31/2014

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.


A dead fish stares into the camera.

It moves, suddenly - as Kuniko Saito's fingers come out of its gill. She is leaning over the large tuna, inspecting it carefully. The auction doesn't start for a little over half an hour, and she is only remarkable for being one of the younger people present for the pre-auction examination.

Well, and for who's with her.

"What do you think, Chef?" she says, glancing to Gordon even as someone comes up, a cigarette dangling from his mouth. "Hey, little gi-"

"Get lost," she tells him, head rolling slightly, her messy hair hanging slightly in one eye.

"I'll get lost," the nameless man says, trundling onwards.

Back to Gordon, she says, "It's pretty fresh, but I'm not sure it's optimal. You want to take a sniff?"

The fish market itself is, at this point, a vast warehouse space where fish that will soon be auctioned off to buyers are being examined by assorted and sundry individuals interested in fresh seafood. Kuniko already put some chits on the sundry bycatch and 'garbage fish' she uses for boillabaise, but that's a well cooked dish; this is sushi-grade tuna, if maybe not the tip-top finest.

<Pose Tracker> Fred Burgermeister [None] has posed.

There is a man. Tall. Broad. American. He tugs at one end of his moustache, and grumbles in consternation. The fish before him - one of a grand assortment of everything the North Pacific has - is unsatisfactory. "Too small, by far. Ah, for a [haddock] now..."

Fred Burgermeister is not fully in his culinary garb - notably, his hat is absent. The rest remains, though, and his implied role as a restaurant-owner is made plainly obvious. The fisherman before him responds - "I don't know what to tell you, sir, but this is-"

"Oh, I am well aware. The region is what it is - determining what might be most appropriate in substitute will be a challenge! It may not be Atlantic cod, but it is worth the effort!" He slaps his chit down - once, twice, thrice.

"Sir, you realize these are auctioned by the crate...."

"Of course. Whatever you have available, I will find some use!" Laughing, Fred goes to inspect some sea bream - Japan's king of fish, it is said - and eyes what there is on display. How much seafood does he intend to buy?...

<Pose Tracker> Gordon [Infinity Institute (S)] has posed.

Gordon is used to being awake at this time. He ran a restaurant in New York City, and that meant being at the fish market early several times a week -- or whatever other place he had to get fresh food from. He hops up after Kuniko, taking a quick hop to a nearby stool, so he can get closer to the fish that Kuniko indicates. He looks it over for a moment, before he looks up at her.

He starts to nod, before he smells something else. Before he can sniff the fish in Kuniko's hand, he turns his head slowly -- and there he spies Fred Burgermeister, tugging at the end of a mustache.

"Saito," he says. "I think I smell something bloody rotten over there."

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

The fish in question is probably about the size OF Kuniko, though she was hoisting the gills for sniffing. She then turns her head around slowly when Gordon speaks, saying in a slow, irritated voice, "Rotten...?"

She stiffens when she sees him. "That living grease clog is here already??" she hisses under her breath. Straightening, she jams her hands in her jacket pockets, thinking better of going straight from fish-fingering to jacket-jamming exactly half a second too late. Oh well: that's what laundry is for.

"What should we do, chef?" she mumbles, glaring daggers at the back of Mr. Burgermeister. "He's just gonna piss away all this fish. Worse! If he pissed on it at least you'd get lutefisk."

(Cooking with Mascot is rated T-14 for swears.)

<Pose Tracker> Fred Burgermeister [None] has posed.

Rival restaurant-owners are a foe Fred has faced before. To awaken before the dawn, to put in your claim first, to conquer the world of food by force - that is his way. He looks over the sea bream, judging their size, considering the density of the flesh. "Hm. Often dried, is it not?" At the fisherman's nod, he contemplates potential uses - and a few do open themselves to his mind.

Slap. Another chit, on one of the crates. He judges the size, then slaps a second one next to it. "Very well. Fortune be with your fishing - should this prove successful, I may require much more!" Laughing, he moves on - and is soon looking at the bycatch entries that already have at least a couple of chits next to them.

There's no way he could know about Kuniko's claim, is there?

<Pose Tracker> Gordon [Infinity Institute (S)] has posed.

"We don't have a choice," Gordon muses aloud, before he looks sideways at Gordon, watching him slap money down. "The fish here is the freshest you'll find. And what he'll do with it... it will be a bloody shame!"

The British rabbit shakes his head; a firm motion, despite his cute mini-lop ears and constantly sniffing nose. The steel in his eyes is apparent, no matter how big and cute they are. "We have to stop him, Saito. You know what to do. We have to show him what ingredients this fresh, this local can do!"

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Kuniko nods grimly. "I get you," she says.

She stares at the back of the man.

For no good reason the scars on her chest, hidden beneath clothing, ache. It is a single sympathetic throb. She remembers when that crab shell dug into the skin there. Her fingers curl, loosely, then uncurl. She raises one hand...

Two fingers go into her mouth. She whistles, piercingly.

"Hey! Greaseball!" she calls towards Burgermeister. "Come back after noon, you can just get the slops from the cat-food people!!"

Her voice raises up with unwonted passion. "You don't deserve to get a single herring here!! So back off and hit the road! I'm denying your fish market privileges!!"

"Can she do that?" remarks a buyer who was inspecting a tuna several ice racks down.

"Hm, I think the rabbit can, anyway," says the other buyer.

This is not the first time this has happened; the local buyers start moving carefully around, so they're near hard cover but have a good view of the proceedings. They may not fully understand it, but boy is it fun to watch when the weird cuisine people melt down.

<Pose Tracker> Fred Burgermeister [None] has posed.

Fred pauses, halfway through testing a rather low-quality mackerel. A challenge? Here? Honestly, the biggest surprise is that it took this long - whatever the Blue Ribbon's influence. He glances to the fish vendor, and gives the young man a pitying look. "You'll never do better with those nets." And then, he turns to face his challenger.

The fun is sure to start - the crowd has already cleared a passage between Fred and Kuniko by the time the American turns around. He looks from human chef to rabbit and back again, and sneers. "Really. It has taken you this long to find the courage to challenge me? I am disappointed, Blue Ribbon. Truly, truly disappointed."

That passion, that fury - if anything, Fred's voice goes more mocking in exchange. "Come, now. This is an auction, yes? Fish to go to the highest bidder? If I am willing to pay these good fishermen for today's cash, whose business is it what I do with that meat?" He flings his arm out to one side, and there's a billowing of a cape that wasn't there before. "If you wish to deny me such ingredients, why not simply outbid me?"

<Pose Tracker> Gordon [Infinity Institute (S)] has posed.

Gordon hops up behind Kuniko and lets her call out the challenge. She looks up, and peers at Fred. It isn't hard; with the crowd clearing, it is quite easy for her to look at him and glower sharply. "We found your stink," he says, "and that was enough to locate you. And I'll have you know, the mackerel in your hand..."

The rabbit's little nose works a couple of times -- and then he nods his head. "Yes. Yesterday, and lower quality. It was on ice, and the ice wasn't changed properly," he says. "If you serve that, you won't get someone sick... but they'll be sick of your restaurant."

He looks up at Fred. "And ingredients like these are about more than money! Something you wouldn't understand. Money doesn't justify someone having things like this!"

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Kuniko stabs a finger in the air. "I don't have to justify myself to you!! I have work to do, I can't just run off on vengeance vendettas. Do you think we're all a bunch of samurai or something nowadays?? If you're going to cause trouble in Japan at least get us straight!!"

She falters briefly when money comes up.

But Chef rescues her (more or less). "Yeah!" she says. "This isn't about capitalism! Don't go laying your consumer values on us, either!" After a firm nod, she adds, "And above and beyond whatever you're yacking about... the laws can't reflect evil of your magnitude, since they're controlled by the rich, ever since the demise of the student movement!"

Gordon probably recognizes the phrasing of Mieko Sugiwara, who scouted Kuniko as aspiring talent in the first place.

"And if they put you in prison for serving rotten fish," Kuniko continues, reaching into her jacket pocket, "You'd just wiggle out of the bars of your cell..."

Maybe she's hesitating. Possibly it's the witnesses. Maybe she fears getting another Crab Stab(tm).

<Pose Tracker> Fred Burgermeister [None] has posed.

"Ah, Gordon. You would think so - but for the discount meal, it would suffice." All the same, he tosses the mackerel behind him, to land back in the hands of that unfortunate young fisherman. "For my purposes, however... the quality is all wrong. Oh, I could shape it - make it serve my purposes - but when I could just as easily use something more appropriate? Hmph. You insult me, rabbit."

The rabbit's insults are put aside as Gordon turns to the rival chef who actually bothered to challenge him. "Well, then. What of the enterprises I have launched since Hokkaido - or have you not been paying attention to your numbers, Blue Ribbon chef? Do you still have the patrons you did two weeks ago, or have they grown...bored?"

Fred folds his arms, making no motion to further invoke his Mise-en-place. "That is where we differ - it is all about the consumer, is it not? What they want, how they choose to spend their money - it is those decisions that, in the end, you must answer to!" With his other harm, he gestures dramatically to the rest of the market. "Those who gather ingredients answer to the chefs, who answer to those who eat. Should Japan decide tomorrow it will dine only on fried bream - who among us can challenge that decision?"

<Pose Tracker> Gordon [Infinity Institute (S)] has posed.

"A discount meal," Gordon repeats. "A... discount. Meal."

He says no more, but the tone in his voice is not approving. His eyes narrow, slightly, at the remark about his species -- and then more at the remark about their numbers lowering. They have been down, he thinks. He hadn't known that Burgermeister was behind it. He will have to look into that. He shakes his head, sharply.

"The consumer comes first, but we have to expand their options! Introduce them to new food and new experiences, prepared with love! It's a matter of respect," he says. "We respect the consumer enough to know to offer only the finest, at prices they can afford, so they can find new food that they can fall in love with!"

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"I'm in high school, dumbass," Kuniko says heatedly, but then she's kind of Gordon's lackey in this moment. She does seem to be digging some cloth out of her jacket though. IMPENDING ATTACK?

<Pose Tracker> Fred Burgermeister [None] has posed.

"And why bother?" The American's voice is cold, and his cape billows in a sudden wind. "You can try all you like to expand their horizons - but if those new landscapes were to vanish tomorrow, how many would care? The consumer wishes to eat - if they believe their choice to be tasty, and can afford it, then any other offer will go spurned. Respect....hah! Rare indeed is the customer who will have respect for the chef - so why should they receive any in return?"

Kuniko gets an appraising look. "Impressive. Young enough to believe this rabbit's delusions - then let this be included in your education. The reality of this world is that my creations will suffice for the masses - and rare indeed will be the day they so much as look outside that culinary bubble. Mastering your art further...is worthless!"

<Pose Tracker> Gordon [Infinity Institute (S)] has posed.

"If even one cares, it's enough! Rome wasn't built in a day--and nor was Escoffier's legend!" Gordon snaps back, before he points a paw dramatically in Burgermeister's way. His eyes look hard, and angry, and his ears bob with the slight energetic hop on his hind legs. "Go, Saito! Show him the cuisine you can craft!"

COMBAT: Kuniko Saito transforms into Commis Kuniko!
COMBAT: Fred Burgermeister transforms into Dark Fry King!

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Kuniko's head tilts slightly forwards.

"Even if you were right," she says to Burgermeister, "there's more than one reason to what I do." Is she trying to sound... dark? Well, maybe it's just the hour.

"Oui, Chef," she says, whipping the sheet of blue cloth around, and in a single glittering trice--

-- Which is of course actually eloquently animated --

-- She appears, clad in her clean whites, the hiragana "kuniko" on her left breast right beneath the Infinity Institute sigil.

She slams something down with a scent of grilling and the warm and deliciously savory scent of... cheese? "You're condescending to your customers, jerk! If you think they could hear you, would you say that?? Even if you're going to be feeding cheap food to people, that can be respectable. But talking crap about your customers, about the people who you're trying to PLEASE?"

The skewers are drawn up - the thick sheep's milk cheese grilled like meat! She hurls them forwards, magic shimmering around them - service!! Eat or be exploded! "That's so STUPID I can almost, like, not call it - argh - UGH IT IS NOT EVEN FIVE AM!"

COMBAT: Kuniko Saito has used Service Halloumi Grilled Skewers on Fred Burgermeister.
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Fred Burgermeister narrowly braces Kuniko Saito's Service Halloumi Grilled Skewers, taking 2 Fatigue damage!  Kuniko Saito is Psyched!  Fred Burgermeister's Block ability activates!  Fred Burgermeister's Parry ability activates!  

<Pose Tracker> Fred Burgermeister [None] has posed.

"Is it really? Would you suffer ten million fools for one curious customer? How many youths will you send chasing after Escoffier's shadow, abandoned to this world containing such indifference?!" The Dark Fry King's hat appears in his hand, and he dons it even as his very apron sizzles with the smell of frying oil. He's ready to challenge Gordon head-on - and glowers in disgust as Kuniko is commanded forward. "And again, you send in your student. Have you no culinary skill of your own remaining, Gordon? Can you only condemn the actions of cooks serving an uncaring world?"

The rabbit is a disappointment - and Fred's attention turns to the student, and her curious statement. Something to remember for later. The sizzling sound grows stronger, and a cloud of steam arises briefly around Fred as his true outfit asserts itself - blackened by the splatter of a thousand friers.

"They wish to be fed, and nothing more - so long as there is food to fill their stomachs, they will be appeased. The rest of cuisine - all other effort you put in - is a waste!" The skewers are hurled, and Fred snatches the first, using it to parry the others high. After a moment's thought, he takes a bite. "Hmph. Could stand to be crisper." He tosses it behind him, where the remainder detonates.

A fryer rises from the ground before Fred, and he pours a bowl of batter in. "Fat. Salt. Sugar. These are the flavours humanity seeks - and so I provide, and they are satisfied. Simple and sufficient - even at five in the morning." He dips in a ladle, removes a glob of semi-solid, still-hardening cooking batter, and hurls it in Kuniko's direction. "Breaded and fried, and they are satisfied!"

COMBAT: Fred Burgermeister has used Hot Off The Grill! on Kuniko Saito.
COMBAT: Fred Burgermeister has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito narrowly counters Fred Burgermeister's Hot Off The Grill!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Kuniko Saito's Reverse ability activates!  
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito's counterattack, Fresh Slivered Garlic, partially gets through, doing 9 Fatigue damage to Fred Burgermeister!  Cripple and Stun applied to Fred Burgermeister!  

<Pose Tracker> Gordon [Infinity Institute (S)] has posed.

"I won't abandon Escoffier's spirit, because it is timeless! Something you failed to grasp, Burgermeister!" Gordon says, with a shake of his head. "And part of that... is knowing that we have to put hope in the future. Saito is up to this task."

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"MORE OF THIS CRAP??" Kuniko shouts, before her hands blur -

And suddenly, she's holding a loaf of garlic bread in her hands.

She seems surprised too. She covers, however, by saying with an insinuating tone of voice, "You're really focused on this, aren't you? Well, you were throwing a big wad of batter at me, like it was going to hit me and make me have a breakout, so I hope you don't mind that I gave it a butter coat and -"

She cracks the forming crust with her bare hands. It stings a little, but she's OK with that. "Spiced it up."

She then crushes the heel of it in her hand. "Come on!! Do you really believe your own line there? Even if you're making a lot of greasy crap, don't you have any pride? Don't you want to make the best, fried... fat... salt dough treat you possibly can?"

Kuniko seems to be regretting crushing the fry bread. "Pfeh! Deal with this," she says, hurling something out underhand and turning partway, rinsing her hands off in an invisible sink.

Those objects topple through the air. Dolmas?

They erupt in a sudden shower of fresh lemony fizz, though - clinging and stinging, as they go! (A nearby merchant throws a tarp over his wares, with well-practiced moves.)

COMBAT: Kuniko Saito has used Yalanci Dolma on Fred Burgermeister.
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Fred Burgermeister fails to dodge Kuniko Saito's Yalanci Dolma, taking 8 Fatigue damage!  Stun applied to Fred Burgermeister! 

<Pose Tracker> Fred Burgermeister [None] has posed.

"Timeless folly, you mean. But you are right about one thing - this youth has more culinary skill and courage than remains in you, Food Critic Gordon." Fred sneers at the rabbit, then turns his attention back to his opponent - and realizes she's turned it into garlic bread. For a moment, he boggles at this transformation.

"Pride? I will tell you of my pride. To take all the works of the culinary world, and grind them down to their base elements. To create the simplest recipes, that the least trained of unmotivated drones could replicate, that will suffice." He throws up an arm to ward against the lemony fizz of the dolma, and growls. "What need does Japan have for your dolmas, when a machine can make an onigiri? Simple, close enough, and easily provided for the masses!"

Cooked rice appears before him - and in seconds, he's shaped it into small balls, dipped them in the fryer, and hurled a brace of sizzling spheres at his opponent!

COMBAT: Fred Burgermeister has used Onigiri, Tempura Style? on Kuniko Saito.
COMBAT: Fred Burgermeister has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito perfectly dodges Fred Burgermeister's Onigiri, Tempura Style?, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Dodge!  

<Pose Tracker> Gordon [Infinity Institute (S)] has posed.

"Food critic... tch!" Gordon says. "Don't think I've lost my touch! I'm showing my confidence -- and knowing she has to do this herself. I still cook every day, and not whatever you pretend is cooking!"

That one stings a little. The rabbit shakes his head, before he looks back at Kuniko, and nods his head. "Good," he says, "but don't forget the grated lemon rind!"

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Behind her, Kuniko's fish d'inspection is tarp-covered (just in time!) - she sees those onigiri coming, and she throws up a hand in front of them. Is she going to make them reverse course, as if she was some sort of chosen 'One'??


She does catch one, though - her hand having presented a tempting target. The magic of Mise en place, as well as her own steadily accumulating calluses, mean that the sizzling hot thing only stings fractionally. "Of course, chef," she tells him, absently.

"There's nothing wrong with a simple recipe," she counters. "But you're taking pains to be gross! Besides, packing kids with carbohydrates and salt and fat is gonna be awful - can you imagine a world where half of the children are little tubby lardasses?! Like those New Zealand parrots! They'd get gobbled up!"

And then Kuniko reaches underneath the invisible counter of her Mise en place and does something that might well horrify Gordon a little. "I don't want to screw around with this any more -"

She lobs a blowtorch cylinder with a rag wrapped around the nozzle and burning.

Fortunately it's one she emptied out.


"This is for all the children!"

COMBAT: Kuniko Saito has used If You Can Brulee A Creme You Can Fashion An Improvised Pipe Bomb! on Fred Burgermeister.
COMBAT: Kuniko Saito has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Fred Burgermeister narrowly braces Kuniko Saito's If You Can Brulee A Creme You Can Fashion An Improvised Pipe Bomb!, taking 2 Fatigue damage!  Fred Burgermeister's Block ability activates!  Fred Burgermeister's Parry ability activates! 

<Pose Tracker> Fred Burgermeister [None] has posed.

"Confidence...or laziness? You condemn and challenge, and then call on others to fulfil your promises. Pathetic." Gordon's advice shifts Fred's sneer to outright jeering. "Bah! The juice will serve just as well for the flavor!"

"You describe America as it is now - the future that cannot be avoided!" Fred's eyes widen as Kuniko produces the fuel cylinder, and he prepares to bat it aside - before, abruptly, glancing to one side. In a swift movement, he instead snatches it from the air, and drops it into the bubbling oil.

There's a small, muffled boom - the frier shakes, and horrible black smoke billows up from it.

"Hmph. If you are prepared to go this far - then so be it. Your passion is boiling over, and your assistant's words stale - I will not continue our debate this day!" The smoking fryer sinks into the ground once more, and Fred turns with a billow of his cape. "My plans will wait for another day - you cannot keep Japan's fish to yourself forever, Blue Ribbon girl." Fred storms off, snatching up his auction chits as he goes - and then awkwardly has to double back for having missed a stall.

<Pose Tracker> Gordon [Infinity Institute (S)] has posed.

"And you're running away!" Gordon snaps after the Dark Fry King, as he departs. "Grow some bollocks! We'll stop your plan wherever you come up--cuisine demands no less of us! If you can't understand helping a student, then I don't know what to tell you!"

He shakes his head; he is still angry, but the target of that anger is gone, his fryer vanished. He lets out a long sigh, and then he turns his head, looing at Kuniko. He nods. "Good job, especially at the end there. But it sounds like he has a new venture. We're going to have to find out what it is... and stop it."

<Pose Tracker> Kuniko Saito [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"Well... fine!!" Kuniko retorts after Fred's takedown of her skills.


He's gone, leaving only the scent of grease in the air. Kuniko, back in her street clothes, is crouching on her heels, shoulders slumped. "Ugh," she groans. "What is WITH him... uh..."

She coughs, once. "Thanks, Chef. Do you think we can use this, like, to get a discount on that tuna...?" She rises back upwards, hands back in her pockets. And so it is that both jacket /and/ slacks got stained up - before school even began.

<Pose Tracker> Gordon [Infinity Institute (S)] has posed.

Gordon turns and gives Kuniko a look. Then he nods.

"Probably," he says. "It doesn't hurt too ask, but they might not be be interested. It depends how grateful they are. But finding the right supplier... is also part of your education!"