Out to Lunch
Posted on August 12th, 2008 by Persephone Busard and Douglas McKnight
Doug McKnight and Persephone Busard
It had been barely half an hour after first stepping through the doors of the holodeck when the Atlantis crew had split up to see the sites. For the prime architects of the program, this meant having the time to go get a bite to eat at one of Lost Harbor’s many little wonders. This particular one was called the Iguana Cantina, and it was located across town from the holodeck program’s entry point. To Percy’s delight, at least, this meant she got to try out one of her favorite features about the program. As she drove down a dirt road in her new Model T Ford, she grinned and glanced at her passenger.
“So, I’d call this a roaring success. What do you think?”
“I think you’ve gone just a little TOO retro there, Busard. Your pun’s a decade old.” McKnight shot back as he opened his eyes behind the sunglasses he wore, taking his attention for a moment off the glorious feel of open air as it blew past them with the ancient vehicle’s top down. And it was nice; a Model T was hardly the fastest thing he’d ever ridden in, especially given that they’d chosen to enhance the town’s remote, somewhat rustic charm by leaving some of the outlying areas unpaved, but even so, it was a lovely day Busard had chosen to unveil the place. Being surrounded by mountains, the town was cooler than one might expect of the South Pacific, and it got a nice breeze coming off the sea through the mouth of the harbor. “But I’d say you got just about everything else spot on. I mean, did you see the looks on their faces? And we didn’t even get to telling Blackthorne that one of those planes parked along the bridge was his!”
Persephone chuckled, nodding as she waved to a random light-hearted passerby. Maybe that was the best thing about this place. There wasn’t any decorum to have to keep up, no massive amount of rules and regulations to live by. Just people being people, and more often than not being happy about that. It was remarkably refreshing.
“I’m just waiting until he sees the name painted on it, personally. He’s gonna go nuts. I just hope he gets to it before Harper tries to steal it.” “It’s Blackthorne and a gallery of antique planes. A metaphor about moths and flame springs to mind, but let’s just say I doubt he’ll be too slow with taking a look.” McKnight replied as their destination came into sight and the Model T at last ground to a stop. Hopping out easily, holodeck safeties making up for the car’s lack of seat belts, he took just a moment to smooth out his “winter green” uniform slacks. That was probably the only way in which this simulation town would immediately remind a visitor of the ship they’d allowed themselves to imagine leaving behind: every now and then, you’d spot some men in uniform. It was one of McKnight’s contributions. Rather than force himself to replicate an entire period appropriate wardrobe, he’d simply seen to it that one outfit would do for most occasions, by writing in a small U.S. Marine presence. It was nothing big, of course, just some 50 marines in the town itself, and around half that besides manning a pair of artillery batteries up in the mountains guarding the harbor entrance against hypothetical “pirates and such”. And every last denizen of this lovely little town had been programmed to recognize this tiny detachment’s CO, Major McKnight from Bean Town. It was true what people had told him over the years; reports aside, writing WAS fun.
Percy stepped a little more carefully out of the driver’s side of the car, not because she was afraid of a lack of holodeck safeties, but because of something a little more personal. It’d been a while since she’d worn a skirt, much less a dress, and though she certainly didn’t seem clumsy maneuvering in one, she occasionally had to consciously remind herself that she wasn’t in the standard pants and jacket of a Starfleet uniform. And breezes were devious things. Still, she managed, and after successfully getting out of the car, headed for the door of the cantina. From inside she could already hear the sounds of a mariachi band, which she smiled a little wider at before looking to McKnight.
“Good to see that the audio’s working fine. After you, Major.”
“Oh, I think not.” he provided with a bit of a grin. “You’re a proper lady, and me? Well, officer, gentleman, and a pillar of the community.” As if to demonstrate his point, he proceeded toward the front door, which rested underneath a surprisingly high quality statue atop the building’s low roof, of an iguana sunning itself on a rock, thus explaining the establishment’s name. Pulling open said door, he invited her to make use of his courtesy with a bit of a bow. It was true that part of him would love to be the first inside to see the place, but naturally, he knew well enough what they’d find once they entered properly and moved past the bar by the entrance. After all, he’d provided much of the decor here, taking inspiration from a place he knew in the real world not too far from home. It was cool in there, and somewhat dimly lit in that way which was somehow just the sort of thing you wanted for awhile for a bit of contrast on a bright and sunny day. It was also loud, and not because of the audio. Bright, sometimes even a bit gaudy murals decorated the walls in every direction you turned. A bullfight in progress here, a couple of rowdy pistoleros engaging in their favored antics there…all told, it wasn’t the kind of place one took too seriously, but the food was as good as ship replicators could make it, the alcohol was real, and though the place was obviously half-empty now, he had a feeling the good cheer would be in abundant supply once this program became common knowledge to the crew.
Percy blushed only slightly at the gesture, hoping it went unnoticed as she entered the restaurant, looking the place over when she got the chance. Of course, the initial thought behind this was to make sure there weren’t any glitches that she hadn’t spotted, but once she got a first look she was a little in awe of exactly how bright and colorful the place was. As a host came to seat them, she expressed this.
“Wow…this sure is one hell of a place.” “And, being this far out from the bar, we can likely expect it’ll be ‘That nice little place no one seems to know about’ for a little while yet. Especially when the others come in seeing that nice little cafe we programmed by the water.” McKnight replied in a somewhat hushed tone, once the host had smiled gratefully at the compliment and led them toward their table with the two menus. McKnight, however, stopped short of that destination a bit, fishing a dollar bill out of his wallet and presenting it to the band with a smile. “I kinda like Guantanamera, gentlemen. And I also like a nice, medium cooked Churrasco steak to go with my margarita.” This second factoid was, of course, supplied for the benefit of the waitress who, for the moment bereft of other customers waiting on her, had already come to their table to take orders. Percy sat before ordering, looking at the menu for a moment before ordering something that sounded spicy and a margarita. Her attention, for a moment, was shifted to a view outside one of the nearby windows. Like McKnight, she had also selected a place for herself in the ranks of the island’s inhabitants. However, hers was no military position, and surprisingly, it wasn’t mechanical either. Instead, she was only known as Miss Busard, who owned a little cottage and a private stables up in the mountains. And as she looked out the window, she could only just see the frontmost corner of said cottage. She smiled nonetheless, looking forward to the peaceful atmosphere.
After a few moments, she snapped back to realizing that she was not, in fact, at said cottage, and turned back to McKnight.
“So…Guantanamera, huh?” He answered that with a grin as he too finally slid into his seat, his eyes momentarily fixed on the window, having followed her gaze. He couldn’t blame her for drifting off a moment. There were any number of locales programmed here that were known to easily divert McKnight’s attention as well, and that wasn’t even just the town itself. The jungle beyond the mountains had a definite lush, mysterious quality to it, and taking a different road out of town, one could find a great expanse of truly magnificent open beaches. And besides, after putting in this much work, wasn’t one entitled to lose themselves in it for a time? “Easy there. I’ll have you know I already checked. Popular concensus puts the song at six years old by this point. More than enough time for it to have worked its way anywhere they’ve got radios. But if you’re referring to what they’re singing ABOUT…nothing wrong with a bit of Latina charm. Not that it’s the only kind known to hold my interest.”
To that, Percy simply raised an eyebrow, chuckling lightly with something of a devilish smirk.
“Oh really now?” McKnight’s counter was even simpler. As the waitress, for whom “charming Latina” coincidentally might not be an altogether inaccuarate description, returned with their drinks, he looked up at her briefly with an amiable nod and quick “Gracias”. His gaze, however, rested mostly on Busard as he wore the quintessential cat who ate the canary grin. Yes, the one that seems to declare “I’m not telling, but rest assured, I’ll find it amusing enough for both of us.” And said grin died only as he brought the drink to his lips. To that, perhaps to the surprise of anyone who knew her, Percy mimicked his actions almost exactly. Looking at the waitress with a smile, she thanked her for the drink, after spending a few moments with something of a Mona Lisa smile returning McKnight’s cat-eating canary. After that, her gaze returned to McKnight, lingering for only a moment before she took a tasteful sip of her margarita. As interesting as a staring contest of this nature might be, McKnight sadly could not see himself spending his lunch in such a fashion, and so after taking his first sip, he raised his glass over the middle of the table, his next words making certain his intention was clear. “To Lost Harbor, and a good first day.”
Persephone clinked her glass against his.
“It certainly is.”